Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sometimes you just have to be a Korean

Today was a big day. My boss, who I normally ride with into school, had a meeting at the Pangyo campus. His daughter, Addy, and I go to the Seoul campus (for different reasons-I go to teach, she goes to 5th grade). It was his idea that he pick me up at Good Morning Hill, drive to Pangyo then have me drive his car to Seoul. Ha! Let me give you some background on driving in Korea. You know that game "Red light! Green light!" Kids here would not understand that game. Mostly, if you don't go through a red when no one is around to hit you, the car behind you will honk at you. I was a little nervous to drive, but hey, AAA gave me an international driver's license, so that must mean something. (Actually, it looks more like a book for collecting stamps-no driving test or anything needed, just $15 and a valid US license).

Anyway, Addy and I buckeled up and got on the road! (Addy was my co-pilot and photographer)
Leaving KIS Pangyo

In the correct lane here...

Look how focused I am!


Right about here is when we need to turn left. I missed it and at the red light realized I needed to turn left. Co-pilot Addy said, "just get up in front of everyone and turn anyway. Sometimes you just need to be a Korean." I took her advice and did it. It worked perfectly.

One of a few tunnels along the way

What does that say?

More traffic (this is day-after-a-holiday traffic)

Look what's in town! A landmark that tells me when to turn right

We made it!!!
 We made it! Hooray! Driving in Korea was fine today. I can't wait to get a car myself. We're going to get a junker, this way I can drive recklessly.

In the afternoon, I got Miss Ricki's class to participate in a jumping picture! It took a couple tries. Some of these kids have a really impressive vertical.

I have to tell you my story about our neighbors. I posted this on facebook yesterday, but it's worth retelling. Yesterday was a holiday and I decided to get out of the house. Jim wanted to see a movie, so the kids and I got our rain gear and headed out the door. Just outside of the building we met a couple, Helena and Joseph (these are their Catholic names, not their actual Korean names). Here's the thing. We meet a lot of people this way, just start chatting in GMH. We found out that Helena and Joseph studied in New Jersey for a couple years and had a friend who attended DU, it was a nice chat. We told them we were off to the grocery, and told them what a pain it is to not have our ARC number (green card) yet because I can't get a cell phone or a car until I do. The kids and I got right on the 17 bus to Migeum. While we were on the bus it started to pour down rain. We got off the bus at Migeum, opened our umbrellas and walked less than one block to the grocery. We wandered through the grocery, eating meat on a stick and tasting lots of samples. We were almost done when I saw Helena and Joseph! They came over and said they were worried about me with the three kids on the bus with the groceries because it was raining. They had driven to the grocery to give us a ride home. I was so grateful and seriously did not know how to thank them. We gathered our things, went down into the parking garage, got in the car, drove in the pouring down rain to GMH. Then they drove into the parking garage under our building and dropped us off at our elevator. Then they left. I don't even know which apartment they live in. I would totally drop off cookies or something as a thank you.

Tonight was the market at GMH, we went out to get some snacks and ran into Amy, Mia and Jessie. Amy and her husband teach at KIS and Mia is in Ruby's class and Jessie is August's best friend. We let the kids play and they eventually built some figurative bridges and made friends with some Korean kids.

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