So this morning we woke up with a purpose and for once I wasn't the first one up. I'm going to complain just the one more time. Skip to the next paragraph if you want to skip the complaining. I have been taken over by this booger inducing monster and it comes out at night to torment me when I'm trying to rest. Thus, rested or not I must leave the bed and flee to the the unoccupied office room so not to disturb Ethan or Stacy in their last few hours of good sleep. I'm determined to go to the doctor Friday if it hasn't disappeared by then. That is when our medical insurance kicks in. I figure it will be good to go ahead and find a family doctor in case something comes up later. 2 birds, 1 stone...that's efficient.
Like I mentioned in a previous blog, our inner clocks are syncing with Korean time. Awake by 6 am! Not 3 or 4 - 6am! It is amazing how much you can get done in 3 hours. We didn't know what time we would return home today so we did a little laundry, dishes and tidying. I did some ironing (with my new iron) and Stacy made breakfast. No rushing around this morning.
The KIS bus was scheduled to pick us up at 9:40 at our bus stop. At the stop we met 2 families that live in our 'hood who will be working there also. A family of 4 that came from Costa Rica arrived last night. I can't remember the husband's name or what he will be teaching but his wife Miriam will be teaching Spanish. They must have been the couple hired 2 weeks before us. They have 2 children, older than Ethan. Their whole family is fluent in Spanish. The husband is originally from California...that's pretty much Mexico right? The other family we met was only partially present. Susan and her daughter Gaby hail from Canada. She is teaching 3rd grade and her husband who we haven't met yet will be teaching MS history. They also have a son who we didn't meet. Her family arrived about the same time we did. They have been a little more adventurous than us. They have done twice the amount of exploring. She was super friendly and talkative.
It was a short ride to KIS where we were led into one of the computer labs in the middle school. They provided brunch type stuff...muffins, cookies, fruit, coffee and juice. We visited with our new school director (we would call him superintendant) Mr. Cathers. Ethan was bored and not hungry so Stacy went ahead and took him to the nursery so he could play. I noticed there were several married couples hired and a handful of singles hired. Kevin who is the new associate principal (grade level ?) attended the annual Boryeong Mud Festival when he arrived. This guy is going to be my boss. He seemed very down to earth. Lloyd the Australian who's going to teach a Math and Science course. Like I said...lots of wonderful people. I also found out that this year they had a record setting 17 new students from newly hired faculty. Ethan is part of a record!
We spent about an hour on a walking tour of the school. David, the High School principal, and his wife, a science teacher, were our tour guides. It is huge, very nicely built, and hot. They don't heat or cool the hallways but your classroom is always comfortable. The amenities are amazing! I'll start with physical activities. You can swim in the lap pool, play ping pong on one of the 15 tables, play basketball in anyone of the 3 gyms, rock wall climb, play foozball, air hockey and work out in a gym-worthy weight room. They have squash courts, a turf soccer field and well, I think I named it all.
There are 4 buildings: Elementary, Middle, High School, and G (specialty subjects). We didn't tour every floor. We were shown the highlights of each building and how to get from one building to another. The cafeteria has been expanded and will have 3 lunch lines now. Woohoo! Faster lines means more time to eat. You know what I'm talkin about. Words do not do this school justice. There are an insane amount of stairs so students get lots of exercise even before PE and sports. Lucky staff, we get to use the elevator. :) Remember how in high school if you wanted to hang out at school you had to sit on some hard wooden bench or even maybe a cold metal bench? Well at KIS there are lots of hangout spots throughout the school that have modern cushioned couches with flat screen TVs.
Guards are on site 24 hours a day so there is never a problem with getting in. Just show your ID and tell them how long you intend to stay. Apparently this school will do almost anything for teachers. If we buy something large and have it delivered to the school, the school will deliver it to our apartment. We don't even have to ask. If we need something, just say the word and its done. We were told that teachers are revered here.
So, on to E-mart for the 3rd time. On the bus ride there we sat next to a 20 something Kaitlyn from Michigan. She studied abroad in Australia and then spent 6 weeks student teaching in South Africa. She has the travel bug too. She tagged along with us while we shopped. I bought a rice cooker. I didn't realize there were so many variations of rice cookers. I saw at least 20. Oh yeah, we went up to those mystery floors and were sadly surprised. The top 3 floors were PARKING GARAGES! I expected those to be under the store not on top! Who knew. Anywho, we shopped for stuff on our list and every time we turned around there was a KIS Korean staff person waiting to help with translation. Nice. We had an hour and a half to shop. The meeting place was the Starbucks on the 2nd floor. I have to say the Starbucks is about $1 more expensive than in the US and I personally have not tried it but according to my colleagues totally worth the extra $1! Kaitlyn and I decided to scope out the clothing while we waited for everyone to gather. Clothes are priced comparatively with the U. S. I can't wait to go clothes shopping! Especially if it takes longer for our stuff to get through customs.
The most ironic thing happened. As we were walking to the check out line, an Asian looking young man stopped us and asked , in English, if we could help him. He called himself a "foreigner too" so I assume he was not Korean. He wanted to know where the fedoras were. I had to do a double take. I was so used to Asian people speaking words that I didn't understand and he didn't. LOL!
We all made it out of the store with boxes of goods. I would like to say that the 18 of us made a dent in E-mart but I doubt it. We were all really glad that the bus was dropping us off at our doors. Stacy and I stayed on the bus to head back to the school and pick up Ethan. Elizabeth, who I mentioned earlier, offered to drive us home. She was a very helpful source too. Her and her husband have lived here going on 3 years I think. She told us that we landed in the best school possible.
Tomorrow we are going to explore the shopping malls and see what movies are playing. We'll fill you in soon! (Pics are up of today's adventure at our shutterfly share site)
On a side note, Stacy wanted me to mention that he bought a bottle of gatorade and it tastes like pears. You just never know what your going to get no matter how familiar it may look.