Wednesday, August 30, 2006

U-Turn lane...

We went into Seoul today to observe a lesson. My group went to one of the best schools in the city where students are drawn from a lottery to attend. The students wore uniforms and couldn't help but stare and laugh at us all. It was very cute. I said hello (in Korean) to a couple of kids in the playground and they just laughed at me and ran away.

I was talking to the English teacher after the lesson and he said what we observed was not a typical class. The students all knew the answers and behaved frightfully well. According to the teacher, it was the best class in the school and they had done all of the activities we witnessed before. I've heard people saying that Koreans love to have something to show people, and this was a fine example. So is our orientation, for the most part.

I'm glad I finally got to see Seoul. It was pretty much what I expected but there were way more mountains. The city is built around, between, and on mountains. We went to a huge Korean museum and when looking out the window all I could see was skyscrapers and mountains. It was quite a sight to behold.

One strange thing I noticed (and have been told about) is that all similar businesses usually exist right next to one another. For example, for one full block both sides of the street were filled with stores selling chairs. Any type of chair you can think of was there. Yes, even rocking chairs. Imagine that.

The coolest/craziest thing I saw was the driving of the locals. These people should all be Indy car drivers. They swerve and weave into spaces that I wouldn't wanna drive a power wheels jeep into, and they even have arrows on the road allowing u-turns. We were on an eight lane road and the bus pulls a u-ee and I'm thinking "What in the hell is the driver doing." Then I ask the girl sitting next to me (she's been here for two years) "What in the hell is the driver doing" and she tells me u-turns are legal here. People just cut u-ees with masses of cars heading in their direction without any street lights to allow them to do so. Korean drivers must be extremely focussed people and have much faster reflexes than all of the drivers in North America.

No wonder they are so good at ping pong.

I'm gonna eat a slice of Pizza Hut tonight!! My roommate went to visit his Korean girlfriend while we went to the museum and he brought back a slice. I'll pay whatever he asks for it.

Tomorrow we move into Seoul permanently and work our first day Friday. Then I'm gonna try to catch up with some friends from Newfoundland over the weekend and figure out the subway system a little. Everyone says it's super easy to navigate and everything is labelled in both Korean and English.

Now, it's pizza time. This is going to be friggin' amazing!


Paulette said...

Hey, Sounds like you're having an adventure! Watch out for those korean drivers...they are not watching for you.

who are you over there with? YOu're orintation is way more intensive than anyone elses I've been talking to.

take care


Richard said...

I came over by myself but I met a few people at the orientation who I'll keep in touch with. Or at least try to.

My orientation is probably different than other people because I'm working with the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (the public school district).

Here in Korea, they value education like no other country. There high school dropout rate is lower than any other country and they have the highest rate of post-secondary education on Earth.

I was talking to a lady from New york city during the orientation and she said they are tearing down buildings in Seoul that they dream about having in New York.

Even my ghetto school is more decked out than most schools in Canada.