Saturday, December 18, 2010

New Discoveries (6 – 7 November)

Having dragged myself to last night’s potluck dinner rather reluctantly, I wake this morning with renewed optimism and hope.  The Canadian couple I met last night have offered to take me around Gunsan today.  The day is both interesting and fun; their daughter is really sweet and has already taken to calling me “Onni” (spelling?) which is a term that Koreans use for ‘elder sister’.  Had I not had this explained to me at the EPIK orientation last week, I would probably have been rather confused at her constant use of this – although, for some reason, she occasionally calls me Lisa by mistake.

For most people, today probably wouldn’t be exciting at all.  These Canadians have lived in Korea for seven years, their daughter attends Korean school and I’m content to be shown around my town by people who know the little hidden away places that I wouldn’t otherwise discover.  It’s also great to get a couple of the larger things that I need for my apartment (like a small wardrobe that has shelf space) and advice on where to buy future items that are already on my shopping list but spaced out over the next three months’ budgets.

The Canadian couple is awesome!  They take me to Subway, the fabled Lotte mart where we do actually see quite a few foreigners and finally they introduce me to the Galbi restaurant which I probably will never manage to find again followed by ice cream at Cold Stone which is a novel experience in itself.

The next day, I’m exhausted.  Somehow, this weekend has proved to be the most social I’ve been since arriving in Korea (apart from orientation).  The potluck dinner has opened up a new realm of possibilities and foreigners to get to know.  Considering that I’m not the most social of people at the best of times, I find myself looking forward to a relaxing Sunday at home, attempting to assemble the mini-wardrobe that I purchased yesterday. 

I’m woken by a text message from NZ2.  He, NZ1 and NZ1’s wife are going to Wolmyeong Park for the day and invite me to join them.  My apartment is begging to be cleaned and I’m working on an essay for a competition – exciting, I know but I can’t really do a third day of socialising at this stage so I decline the invitation. 

DIY Efforts

My day proceeds with a trip to the store to buy a screwdriver and a few other items that I’m not entirely sure I really need although this doesn’t seem to stop me.  Back home, I find that assembling a wardrobe is not as easy – or quick – as I’d anticipated.  First, the instructions are in Korean (of course) although the parts are all numbered as I discover on closer inspection.  Getting the basic frame together is rather satisfying but I’m looking forward to securing the two shelves and being done with this mini project. 

The bits and pieces waiting to be assembled...

Thirty minutes later, I’m feeling rather proud of my DIY efforts even though I don’t quite remember the edges of the shelves being as rough as mine appear to be.  Unbelievably, I’ve put the shelves in backwards which involves another 15 minutes of undoing and 20 minutes re-doing the shelves which I carefully triple check.  Nearly three hours later, I have a mini-wardrobe and finally finish unpacking my suitcases which have been doubling as shelves.  I feel a sense of achievement at having assembled my first project but I’m not sure I’ll be tackling something like this again too quickly. 

The finished product.

Fortunately, my school will be holding interviews for students for the 2011 school year so there are no lessons tomorrow, which means an entire day of trying to look busy at work although there’s nothing for me to do.

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