Travel Vicariously through the Fitzgerald's

We are happy to provide our experiences as a stay-cation for you! If you have any questions feel free to ask. We have a lot to learn and lots to see!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 13 - Ethan's 6th BIRTHDAY!

Today was again full of orientation stuff. We began with introductions to some non-new KIS staff. They had great tips and information to share, like learn the language and eat kimchi. They also shared some great websites to help out with questions we might have.

Then it was on to more macbook training for me while Stacy stayed behind for round table discussions. Again, I love what Macbooks were created to do. Dragging photos from facebook into applications is so efficient. Stacy and his group discussed healthcare, housing, and pension plans. We have 2 retirement plans. KIS retirement, which matches a percentage of your salary based on number of years worked. Then there is the National Korean Pension which KIS also matches a portion of your salary based on your salary AND you get 100% of both of them when you leave.

Below are the notes I took during all of this. If you have questions about our shorthand notes please ask. (So google docs has a feature that allows you to share notes even while you are taking them and whoever you share them with can also contribute, hence the "our" is myself and 2 other colleagues.)

Living in Korea
  • Korean ppl are soft-spoken, soft hand shake, males bow to a lady
  • Koreans cry out loud at funerals
  • drinking - if someones glass is EMPTY you pour their drink with 2 hands.
  • pouring when glass is 1/2 full is only for dead person
  • sip your drink turned sideways when sitting next to an elder
  • take your shoes off before entering a home
  • calling into Seoul dial 020
  • Cell phone- 2 year commitment. ARC only good for 1 yr. Company will not hook you up for contract. Buy pay as you go plans.
  • Don’t eat raw fish and oysters during summer months
  • Western groceries - will be shown later
  • T-Money card -Going to Seoul, swipe in and out.
  • Faculty support can help get more T-Money cards - or buy at Hi-mart for 2500won
  • Multiple visas? Check your passport. You must have multiple entry visa
  • High end hotels and restaurants you will pay taxes. Otherwise it’s built in to price
  • Safety tips - apply with your local embassy
  • Koreans eat quickly, don’t talk to each other
  • Koreans don’t walk and eat at the same time
  • Cars have right of way, not pedestrians
  • Shopping - Iteawon
  • Maintenance - Bundang will receive statement for utilities. Bills can be auto-deducted. Wait a few months before beginning this
  • Watch electricity usage, don’t leave on overnight. The more electricity you use, the more expensive it gets
  • Use handy wipes for everything, Spinning Mop is awesome for floors, walls, and ceilings.
  • AC in classrooms turned off at 11am and 3 pm every day, you can manually turn back on if needed
  • 119 - fire dept, 112- police dept,
  • Recycle as much as possible
  • Buy HIPPO dehumidifiers for closets or clothes will mold. Last ~3 months

Sherman Taylor and Lisa
-History of South Korea
  • Ask Sherman for web links to Korean dramas with English subtitles
  • Don’t let anyone pour their own drink, always pour someone else’s drink
  • Sip from drink so not to have empty glass
  • children can share food with you as a sign of respect
  • parents may try to negotiate grades, students may sometimes continue more school after KIS bc education is their resource.
  • Rude to summon someone with the index finger, you may use your whole hand
  • kam sah ham ni tah (thank you)
  • Give and take with both hands (respect)

Ben Harnish
  • travel within the country from time to time
  • eat kimchi - one of the 5 healthiest foods to eat, cancer-free food
  • learn to read Hangeul
 As stated early, ask if you have any questions. :)

Since Stacy attended the round table discussions, I didn't have to attend this after lunch. We have a pattern going for meals, western breakfast and korean lunches. We are definitely seeing what we like and don't like.

Anyhow, I was summoned to the textbook storage room where I worked with Danielle, our curriculum coordinator, to organize the thousands of books KIS has. It was quite a task and I know we only made a dent in it in the short time I was there. Clair, who is the textbook manager for 2 more days, is leaving to move to Belgium for 6 months while her fiancee finishes up research, then they will marry and move to the US where she will begin her Phd. She spoke the closest to perfect English so far and that is because she lived in Maine for a few years during elementary school. I felt terrible for having to leave but I couldn't miss my bus home.

Before leaving, we had to take Ethan to the nurse's office where we received good news about his TB test. We hustled over to the business office to ask another handful of questions and made it to our bus right on time! Why were we NOT going to walk home you ask? Simply put, the humidity lately has been worst than it has ever been here. Walking home or for that matter, standing outside for more than a minute will have you soaked in sweat.

The big event tonight was a soccer game between Korea and Barcelona. We were going to take Ethan but he chose not to go at the last minute. Instead, we hopped on the bus to AK Plaza. We stopped in at a shoe store because Stacy spotted a pair of Nike basketball shoes which they didn't have in his size. He must have a big foot according to Korean standards. Ethan ended up with the new pair of shoes. Some Nike sandals that he desperately needed because his flip flops were "talking" to us. I spotted some Birkenstocks but they were 69,000 Won. Maybe next time. We got lucky here because the shoe salesman spoke enough English to communicate effectively with us.

We chose to have KFC for dinner...super spicy and we didn't even order spicy. I think they add some Korean spice to the ingredients of western food. We headed on to Baskin Robbins for an ice cream cake that Ethan had been eyeing. It also helped cool our mouths down. The "cake" cost 20,000 Won plus a candle which they lit for us also. Again, super of the employees spoke really good English.

The 3 of us sat down and we sang the birthday song to Ethan...kind of sad that we were alone. We plan on making something a little bigger this weekend with our neighbors. We all ate as much "cake" as we could then had BR pack it up for us. The girl asked Stacy how long it would take us to get home. Turns out they ask so they know how much dry ice to put in the cooler. No charge for this extra service either.

All in all it was a great night! Enjoyed every minute with my family and even ran into some friends while we were out. Truly enjoying life and everything it has to offer.

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