There are some downsides to having your first week of work actually be vacation. For example; you have no friends, you don’t know what to eat, you have no where to go, and even if you do have somewhere to go you have no idea how to get there.
But, there are also a lot of good things.
For instance, I’ve made two really good friends this week out of mutual bafflement aka shared obstacles.
I’ve tried a lot of new foods by literally pointing at a menu, picking things off a convenience store shelf, or stopping at random street carts. I haven’t eaten anything I’ve regretted yet, which is saying something about Korea (except for a Dunkin Donuts hot chocolate that was surprisingly strange).
I had a lot of places I wanted to go during my year here, but I didn’t think I’d be able to get so many done in a single week. With all of the things I’ve done and seen, I feel like I’ve just been on vacation and now I’m exhausted and it’s time to go home. But then I remember I have 51 weeks left.
Lastly, while getting places is still an adventure, the great thing about having your first week be vacation is that you can be going on the bus in the wrong direction for half an hour before realizing it, and not worry about it, because it’s not like you have to make a meeting. Or you can wander around the streets of Hongdae without real aim because you know you’ll be back. It’s just an acclimating time, and I can honestly say that after one week I am much further along that I thought I would be. I almost know how to use the buses and subways now.
I’m learning a lot of Korean though. Mostly by trial and error. Mostly error. Except for the food, like I said before. Here’s what I’ve been eating lately:
And of course fried chicken, banana milk, and all my little drinks from the coffee shops. Except for the chicken nugget rice combo which I found next to the frozen mcmuffins in the convenience store (also gross), I’d definitely eat them all again.
I crossed another thing off my bucket list yesterday as well–norabang! Essentially karaoke in Korean. If you’ve ever watched a k-drama, which you should, you would know that norabang belongs on the k-drama BINGO board (if there was such a thing). Yes, it’s a karaoke room, but it’s also where people make confessions and release hidden talents and come out of their shell.
My personal favorite norabang sequence starts at 16:41. But there are many. MANY.
Anyway, I may or may not have sung and danced (jumped up and down) in a small dark room with disco ball. Don’t worry I wasn’t alone
There were two huge books of songs that must have been in some order more confusing than the Dewey so we mostly just scanned 나오ㅓㄹ알ㅇ나ㅓ롼얼ㄴ아ㅓㅗㄹㅇ나ㅓ SOMETHING WRITTEN IN ENGLISH 나어론어ㅏ롱나ㅗㄹㅇㄴ라 (that’s me smashing on the Korean keyboard–not actual words). Luckily, most popular k-pop bands are actually written in English to appeal to an international audience, so I got my fair share of singing in. There are videos of that night, but they are tucked away in a special folder to be saved for a rainy day and not on the internet.