Saturday, September 15, 2012

All You Need is Love

Mine and Andrew's mantra these past two weeks, All You Need is Love. Sleeping on the floor, wearing wrinkly clothes, walking our little tails off, and trying to be patient with all these frustrating issues..."Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be, it's easy, all you need is love, all you need is love!" And how fitting since we are newlyweds. (cue the audience awwwwwwwww)

Ok, it’s been a little while, about two weeks since my last post. It has been an array of emotions, from frustration to joy and I will try my best to recall some instances.

First things first, on August 31st, Andrew and I moved out of that closet we were living in and into a brand new “mini two room” apartment. We were excited but annoyed at the same time. We moved in to an empty apartment. Literally nothing!! No bed, no closet, no table, no chairs, and no couch! So at the end of our first week of teaching, instead of celebrating, we spent Friday night at Homeplus (like Walmart) purchasing some necessities; a blanket, pillows, a cooking pan, two plates, two bowls, a trash can, silverware, 2 cups, milk, cereal and floor cleaner. For the first two weeks we were super strapped for money. We only brought over about $300 that had been converted to Korean Won, and the rest was in USD. (The banks close at 4pm, and we don’t leave school until 4:30pm, so we couldn’t exchange any money.) So we were only buying necessities so we’d have enough money to eat and take the taxi to and from school which is now more expensive because we live further away….ugh.

So with necessities bought, we spent the first night in our apt, on our hands and knees scrubbing the floors with floor cleaner. They were covered in dust and grime. Since we knew we’d be sleeping on the floor for several nights, we at least wanted it clean! (Pictures to come in the next post, when our futon gets delivered!)

The rest of the weekend we spent exploring our new surroundings. And we walked….A LOT. We are an amazing 5min walk to Bukbu beach which is full of café’s and seafood restaurants. We are a 25 minute walk to downtown, where there are more restaurants and a lot of shopping, and sadly, we are a 40 min walk to Homeplus L

Our second full week of school was ok. We both were exhausted from six nights sleeping on the floor but Christmas came early for us on September 5th when we finally got a bed and internet! Wahoo! Friday the 7th we were taken to pick out a closet so we could finally get out clothes off the ground. (Funny story about the closet: The school bought us a closet on Tuesday. It was waiting for us when we got home and I was so excited when I heard about it. HA! A closet…it was a foot and a half long horizontal bar that two of us were supposed to share! Ugh, I began fuming…and once again, Andrew had to calm me down. He talked to his co-teacher about it, and that’s why we were taken shopping to buy a new one on Friday! Yeah Andrew!)

Other furniture we have up to this point: a small table that Andrew swiped from a side of the road trash pile on our walk back from downtown (score, a FREE table!), a cubby type orange dresser that we took from another school’s trash pile on the way back from dinner at the beach (score again!), and the bed that the school provided. We are looking into buying a futon this week, so we are getting closer!

We have found a few Korean restaurants that we like so far. One ripped us off….grrr, and the other is fairly close walking distance which I’m sure we will frequent. I was able to order off the Korean menu and speak it entirely in Korean, so I was pretty proud of my selfJ

September 4th has proved to be the most frustrating days to date. Pretty much all amenities for foreigners require our Alien Registration Card (ARC). To get this, we had to wait on our medical check from orientation. After a week and a half, we had it in hand and went to a photo shop to get "new passport photos" because our American ones were the wrong size. So we each paid $12 to get a set of eight really ugly photos (you can't smile) when we really only needed one. So, we took our medical check and our heinous photos to the immigration office to apply for our ARC card. The immigration officer looked at our photos and told us he couldn't use them because the background was slightly gray and not  "white." Pissed does not even describe our emotion at that time. So we left, to get more ugly pictures taken. The closest place charged us $13 we have now spent $50 for the required one photo each with 15 useless pictures left over.

The frustration is not over yet. We returned to the immigration office with our "bright white" photos and our filled out form. He then asked us for our orientation certificate from EPIK. We tried to explain that we did not have this since we did not have to attend orientation. Well, he wouldn't let us apply for the card without it. LONG annoying story short, we had to visit that office three times before we finally could cost us $70...ugh.

On Saturday, September 8th, Andrew and I decided to try to find Pohang’s famous Jukdo market. It was super easy to find as it is full of over 2,500 vendors! An easy 25 minute walk and we arrived to the fish part of the market. Similar to the Busan fish market, it was full of flopping live fish, squirmy octopus and screaming vendors. Once we passed through that we made it to the home goods, the clothing and all the misc. I managed to by some rain boots for $10 bucks so I call it a success! It’s definitely a must see in Pohang.

Hopefully our ARC cards come in so we can get cell phones this week. Typhoon Samba is currently taking over Korea so it has been raining for three days straight it's supposed to rain for three days more....fabulous, I love typhoon season! ...."all you need is love."