Goodbye ‘Merica, Annyeong Haseyo Korea

April 12th, 2013 · by kmeredith03 · Uncategorized

You know what the worst part about a fourteen hour flight is? It’s not the bathroom. It’s not the food. Sometimes it can be the people sitting next to you, but my “plane-mates” were interesting and very nice. Nope, none of the typical annoyances were a problem for me at all. For me, it was being completely bored with the abundance of media I brought to keep me entertained from wheels up to wheels down. I had enough entertainment with me to open up an In-Flight Best Buy store:

·         Two iPods full of music, audiobooks, and podcasts.

·         An iPad full of movies, TV shows, games, and books.

·         My iPhone which has four separate folders dedicated to games.

·         Two books. And not even picture books. Real books that were at least over 50 pages long.

·         A deck of cards.

And on top of that, I had my own personal TV with over 100 movies and television shows, its own set of games, in-flight status, and radio. And what do I decide to do at one point during that 14 hour stretch? Read the nutrition and ingredient information on the wrapper of my Kellog’s Breakfast bar that I bought at the Minneapolis airport. And somehow I’m the person another country chose to thrust into their education system.

My point is the flight was long and boring.

But then I landed. I finally touched down on new soil. My first time outside of the US with the exception of Canada and Mexico, which doesn’t count in my opinion. I stacked my luggage onto a cart and headed to the rendezvous point along with many other teachers that had just landed. This was supposed to be the exciting part right?

Has anyone else had that moment, as a guy, where you look around and realize you have more luggage than most girls? And not just a small backpack or pair of running shoes you’re carrying, but full on luggage twice the size of everyone else. And you are struggling to push your cart because it’s so heavy. And the first thing your recruiter says to you when you meet face to face is “did you bring everything you own?”

My point is I looked like a diva.

But oh well. I’m American right? Go big or go home. Who cares if I have to make the Korean airport worker strain his back to put my luggage into the shuttle bus? So what if I packed my set of 25lb dumbbells. I’m not going to look for weights over here. Right!? Of course I am only kidding. I packed my 20lb set.

My point is…. I think you know my point here.

You know what the second worst part of a 14 hour flight is? A three hour shuttle to the orientation location. Most of the ride was stop and go through rush hour traffic. However, this was slightly entertaining. Many people told me Korea has traffic laws, but this trip proved differently. My experience was a lot like a real-life version of Toad’s Turnpike on Mario Kart 64, only with ten times the amount of vehicles and no turtle shells. I can’t count the number of close calls we had colliding into another car. Gambling is highly illegal in Korea, but apparently with the exception of the lives of Westerners packed into a bus.

After almost a full day of travelling, I finally arrived at the orientation center. Key in hand I headed up to my freshman style dorm complete with a roommate (My roommate was awesome). There were no bunk beds and only a single Ethernet cable for us to split. A quick plop onto my rock hard mattress and I was out like a light. And that was it. My first experience of Korea was a crowded airport, a stop and go bus ride, and being herded into a dormitory with other non-Koreans to live for a week.

But despite what many would consider setbacks and bad experiences, the only thing I could think of was how awesome this entire day was. I hand’s down have made the best decision of my life. I can’t wait for tomorrow.

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