Sunday, November 20, 2011

My first 24 hours: A recap.

Fun fact: When I opened up blogger to post an entry, it was all in Korean... In fact, quite a few websites are trying to be in Korean. Thank goodness for Google Translate! Haha.

Well, I made it! Safe and sound. Now that I've been here for almost a full twentyfour hours, I figured it was time for my first blog post from this side of the Pacific.

Packing was a bit of a nightmare... The weight limits for bags had us all very stressed out. I don't know how many times we made Dad hold a suitcase and stand on the scale so we could get an idea of its weight... We thought we had both of my suitcases under the 50 lbs. limit, but when we got to the airport, they definitely were not. Luckily, the nice woman at the United Airlines desk didn't seem to care.

Unfortunately, I couldn't pack
my Maisie dog. :(

We had another panic moment when we saw something online saying the combined weight of my carry-on and "personal" bag could not exceed 22 pounds. My carry-on was a good 23 pounds on its own... But again, when my bag was weighed at the Asiana Airlines desk at LAX, they didn't say anything about it being over. It was such a relief. I was envisioning being THAT person at the airport -- sitting in the middle of the floor, frantically pulling things out of my bag so I could meet weight limits.


Flight route. Saw some gorgeous, snowy mountains and landscape
out the windows. (And since we stayed north and near land, there
was no sign of mysterious islands with smoke monsters.)

Flying on Asiana was enjoyable. Plenty of legroom, good food, and I didn't have anyone in the seat next to me, so I was able to curl up and get a little sleep. I also quite enjoyed the luxury of having my own television and access to lots of movies. I only ended up watching two -- Midnight in Paris and Deathly Hallows Part I, but they definitely helped pass the time. (I thought of watching Deathly Hallows Part II as well, then remembered I was physically/emotionally exhausted and that movie makes me cry. Decided I didn't want to look like a total mess on the airplane.)


Menu! Pretty sure the guy a couple seats from me thought
I was a weirdo because I took pictures of everything.

Meal number one. (I got the steak instead of bibimbap because
my stomach wasn't pleased with being on a plane. Decided
to stick with something I knew.)

Meal number two. Chicken and rice.

My flight landed in Incheon around 7pm. Getting through immigration was really easy, which was a relief. And by the time I got to the baggage claim, pretty much everyone else had picked up their bags, making mine quite easy to spot on the carousel. I grabbed a little luggage trolly and was on my way. Hit a spot of confusion at the ATMs... but it ended up being really obvious (I was really tired) and taking out cash was quick and simple.

Like a boss.

The next leg of my journey had me a little nervous -- I had instructions to get on a bus that would take me to a different location so I could find a taxi that would take me to my hotel in Seoul. I had pictures of these vehicles in my welcome packet, so I figured I'd manage just fine, but still. My jetlagged brain wasn't feeling very optimistic. Luckily, it was very, very simple and the instructions I'd been given were perfect. While waiting in line for the shuttle I actually met another trainee who'd been on my flight, so that was nice. It's always good to have a friend. The bus and taxi got us to where we needed to go and didn't cost much at all.

Once we got to the hotel and checked in, we ran into about a dozen other trainees, including my roommate, in the lobby. They were all venturing out to find food and drinks, but I was way too exhausted to feel like going anywhere. Everyone I met seemed super nice though, so I'm looking forward to being in a training group with them this next week.

I crashed out completely at the hotel by about 10:30pm and didn't get up until 8something this morning. So far the jetlag isn't too bad... Fingers crossed.

I had today free since training doesn't start until tomorrow, so I got to actually see some of Seoul. I met up with my friend John and he took me on a tour of sorts. We hopped on the subway and went all over the place. I'm not really sure where all we went because we did a lot of subway riding and a lot of walking, but he took me through the shopping district and to see some of the lanterns from the festival that's been going on for the past week (and ends today). Since it was daytime they weren't all lit up, but impressive nonetheless.

Seoul Lantern Festival.

SO cool. I wish I could've seen this all lit up.

This guy is Haechi, the mascot of Seoul.

He was an excellent tour guide and tolerated my sleep deprived ramblings like a champ. I'm pretty sure I was still relatively coherent overall, but I caught myself not really making sense a few times. Oh, exhaustion. I will not let you win. Then he treated me to a delicious lunch and I've gotta say, I'm already a fan of the food here. I want to eat all of it. All the time.

Yummmm. That's kimbap on the left, then clockwise on the
right: seaweed, some weird kind of radish, kimchi, and a mystery
thing that looked like sliced jalapenos (but wasn't).
Not pictured: bibimbap, which was also delicious.

Now I'm back at my hotel, in my pjs, planning to spend the rest of the night studying up for the exams we have tomorrow morning over grammar and the like. All the walking today definitely wore me out a little, so I should be nice and sleepy by the time I need to go to bed in a few hours.

So! It has been a good start to this grand adventure. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone in training tomorrow morning and I'm really excited to explore this country. I don't think it's really sunk in yet that I'm here. I mean, I'm very aware I'm in a new country and all that, but the fact that I've MOVED here? Not feeling real yet. Part of me still can't believe I actually made this move, whereas the rest of me is just so ready to get out there and enjoy living in Korea. :)

ps. Family and friends -- some of you have already said you would, but for everyone else: If I start slacking on updating this blog, GET AFTER ME. I do want to document this whole experience and share it with everyone back home, so don't let me get lazy!

pps. I DID enable anonymous comments, so if you wanna leave me a note, you don't have to have or log into Gmail to do it! But if you leave an anon comment, please sign your name so I know who you are. <3


  1. Zannah! Good Morning from SF! Love the pictures and all you have described so far. Can't wait to learn more about your training, new friends and students.
    Love you,
    Aunt Debbie

  2. Hi Zannah! I'm glad your trip has started out so well, and oh wow how cute is it that Seoul has an adorable mascot/protector! Everything sounds amazing. <3

  3. hey! really really excited to follow you on this journey. you've got guts, girl, and this looks amazing. ps, i totally hear you on the DHII thing.. i think you made the right decision ;) -cate

  4. Hey Zannah!

    This is fantastic! I'm still so excited for you, your going to do amazing things there! Have the best time and keep taking lots of pictures!

    Miss you!

  5. I love how my first thought was, you don't cry in Deathly Hallows Part 1?! Hahaha. I totally lose it in that movie. Sounds like you are having an awesome time! Hope I can keep your with your blog! Good luck and have fun!!

    -Shannon Hackett

  6. Z, I'm so excited for you! I see you are fitting in already. Lots of my Asian facebook friends constantly take pics of what they're eating and post them; one girl even tags the ingredients. I look forward to more blogging!! -Ruthey

  7. if you don't bring me back airplane slippers I will cover all your sweaters with glitter. i used clues. figure out who i am.