For those of you who somehow don't know or haven't heard, I've decided to go to Korea for a year to teach English. I left last Wednesday (25th) and got in at about 11:30 on Thursday, local time. This included a 22hr. flight, and a 3hr bus ride... oh yeah and an hour and a half car ride at 4:30 in the morning to the airport to start the whole thing off. Marathon.
On the whole, I really thought traveling on the day before Thanksgiving would be a bit more hectic, but I kept waiting for something to get screwed up and it didn't happen. I was in for a bit of a surprise though during the flight... It seemed to me that flying out of San Francisco for Korea, we'd just fly straight across the Pacific.... shortest distance between two points, right? Well, a few hours into the flight, I opened my window (had a window seat with no one next to me!!) to see... this first photo on the left. The helpful little map feature on the lcd screen in front of my seat told me that apparently that is the western coast of Alaska. I managed to suppress the second of panic where I imagined a scenario in which I got on the wrong flight to the north pole. A few hours later, after crossing the Bering Strait, I got a view of what Sarah Palin supposedly sees from her window... Russia! Actually a barren landscape in Siberia.
Anyway, when I got into Gumi on a bus I took from Seoul, it was so foggy it was impossible to see more than a block in the distance. And the bus station was closed. And I didn't have any change small enough for the pay phone. I didn't actually have an address I knew I was supposed to go to, just a phone number. I bummed some change from some Korean girl using my best sign language and called the number. Soon enough two westerners (Canadian and English) swung by in a taxi to take me to my temporary apartment. The big ugly box I packed all of my clothes in would not even come close to fitting in the trunk, but we took off anyway. At this point I couldn't have cared less if the thing flew out the back and exploded, scattering my whole wardrobe all over the road.
So, that's the whole story of the trip. I made it and nothing terrible happened (except completely teleporting through Thanksgiving). I've already met plenty of westerners, and they seem like a pretty friendly bunch. Today I get to actually go to the school I'll be teaching at and see what it's all about. I'm pretty excited about it. When I get around to it, I'll post some pictures of Gumi and my apartment.
Here's an illustration I did for my mother the other day. Every year she and a group of women go to the Bahamas for a week. One of their members isn't a native English speaker and instead of "Social Butterflies," she made the mistake of calling them "Sociable Flies" and i guess the name stuck.