Monday, July 1, 2013

Settling in in Seong san

My luggage came! yea! And now I'm unpacked and almost done decorating :) I have some lights to string on the wall that I won't plug in, but I haven't had time for that yet. And I need to make a little box bedside table to hold things I don't use all the time, but don't want to hide away where it's difficult to get. But I'd say, all in all, I'm settled in with clothes hung, electronics charged, music stand erected, snacks to my right :)

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I even have the windowsill personalized!!





It's not much time I get to sleep here though. I send hours and hours and more hours each day practicing and rehearsing and trying to communicate through simple English and my handy Korean dictionary and sometimes (if I'm near wifi), a translator app, though it's usually not that easy.

My days usually consist of waking between 6 and 8 a.m. (yes, I know that is heinous for my usual schedule, but my body seems to work on "normal" in Korea), doing internet stuff, and getting errands done and practicing during the morning hours and then I head to the aquarium sometime in the early afternoon to begin rehearsals. And it's usually 8 or 9 p.m. when I finally slug my violin over my shoulder and head for home. Then I check emails again, do any phone call business in the US and crash hard between 11 and midnight and do the whole thing over the next day.

Sounds tough maybe, I'm certainly tired by days end, but I'm having so much fun and learning so much. I'm lucky to get three meals a day so I'm really looking forward to getting a juicer (hopefully soon) so I can at least get one super healthy meal each day.

It does make things a bit easier when this is the view coming home and going to work each day.

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I'm walking home along the sidewalk from the aquarium and there is a beach on both sides of the road. I love the breeze and sound of the water everyday, but you all already knew that from all my cruise ship love posts!

And you can see from the picture above that I get to see the bowl volcano everyday when I walk to and from work and if I get to sit down and eat in the aquarium restaurant. Can't wait to hike up it at what is called the "Sunrise Peak". I better do it soon though before I start going to bed and getting up late!

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Yesterday was 'get a physical for a Korean ID card" day. So a group of about 6 of us trouped off to the hospital to get blood work, x-rays, vision, hearing, height, weight (I've lost some btw!), etc done. And of course what is the first thing you do when you get a physical? You have to pee in a cup! So we were all given a little paper cup and off we headed to the shared bathroom facilities. By this I mean that there were two urinals (on the floor) and two stalls. And, no, it wasn't a men's bathroom with two stalls in addition to two urinals, but two stalls for the ladies and two urinals for the men (with no dividers or anything btw. If you happened to be walking up or down the stairs and passed this particular landing, you'd be witness to a Korean dong if one was there peeing. The door was held open so anyone could look inside....  Thankfully, we had a stall! Oh, but it wasn't American! Nope! For the first time in my life, I got to use the "squater".


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It was very disturbing that there was water(?) everywhere on the floor. After I flushed it, though, I saw that the plumbing leaked horrendously. Dousing me with water and making a nice puddle to wade through on the way out of the stall. gross. And you don't put toilet paper down it, that's what the trash can at the side is for. ick. Best not to wear long dresses or skirts (like what I had on), or even blue jeans. Heals would be bad too since you have to squat so low. You definitely don't want anything splashing back out of the bowl!! Shorts and sandals are the key! And good leg muscles and aim help too :)

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After the bathroom humor I figured why not move on to food, right?

There is little privacy here I am learning. People just walk in whenever and more people have keys and just come in than me and my roommate. Needless to say, it would behoove one to stay dressed at all times, close the bathroom door (it's the first door on the right after entering) no matter, and always keep things neat and tidy and clean.

Today was a nice surprise in this world of privatelessness. I had been awake for hours and had already eaten breakfast and was getting ready to practice (still in my nightgown since I would rather shower after practicing then before) when in walked (through my locked door) the secretary from the office next door. She wandered into the kitchenette and rummaged around and then asked if i eat black pasta. She doesn't speak English really, nor understand it, but I said, "I've never had it but I'd be happy to try anything". She then left and I went back to what I was doing assuming at some point in the future I would be invited to some restaurant where black pasta was a specialty or something.

Well, I was wrong. 10 minutes later, in she walked again with cooking supplies and proceeded to say something along the lines of, "I cook"? To which I said, "Sure". So while she started setting up her supplies I went to take a shower and get out of my night gown. It was a good thing I did too, because unawares to me, one of my bosses working in the office next door (a man) was also coming over for lunch.

My stomach isn't doing so well here yet because I've gone from eating fresh and organic and super healthy to who knows what. Really, sometimes I have no idea what I'm eating. I just smile, nod and eat it thankfully. This includes meat of various kinds (I have said I'm a vegetarian to some people but that hasn't translated across yet and I don't want to be rude), lots of sugar and white refined breads and lots of milk. It seems they only drink milk with meals here. Weird. Unfortunate for me too since I steer clear of lactose in the States. I'm supposed to be getting a juicer sometime though, so hopefully that will help keep my body on some sort of even track.

Cheers everyone to pan fried, sugared bread and italian sausage and onions in hot sauce!

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I clearly should have not included myself in this shot since I look manic....

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I think that's enough for one entry for now.

Oh, I almost forgot...

This "little" guy and I did battle to the death today. If I didn't live 3 flights up and if I had windows I could open I would have just suggested his relocation instead, but alas, that didn't seem a possible alternative.



Farewell my many-legged co-habitant for a short time.