Rural Life: My Apartment and Solo Exploring

            Before leaving home I researched conditions for teachers in Korea to ensure that my expectations were as realistic as possible.  Most people are placed in an apartment within a 30min walk from their school, and apartments usually consist of a bathroom and then kitchen/bedroom combo.  On our drive from my motel in the city, to Namchang, we passed many giant apartment buildings.

            With this in mind you can imagine my surprise when my co-teacher had our taxi stop in front of this building.

            It is also normal to be the only foreign teacher at your school, but outside my building I met my first foreigner, Cecilia.  She and I are two of three foreign teachers at our school, Onyang Elementary.  We actually live in the same building, while the other teacher lives in a nearby town.  The ladies helped me get my baggage up the stairs to number 304, no small feat considering my bags felt like I packed rocks in them.

            My expectations were completely blown out of the water upon entering my apartment.Like I said, most people have a one-room apartment, comparatively I live in a mansion.  I have a bedroom, bathroom, laundry alcove, kitchen, and living room.  My bedroom alone is the general size of most teachers’ entire apartments.

The previous dweller even left me a bookshelf with some books! Quite a good selection, including two books that my book club decided to read this year, what are the chances of that.

I am truly amazed by my apartment. During my pre-trip research I found that it is normal for tenants to not clean before they vacate, and many teachers arrive to find a grime encrusted apartment. 

Cecilia told me that when her boyfriend was shown his apartment a bunch of cockroaches scurried out from underneath a bag of garbage. Our co-worker Haley had to eventually be moved to a different apartment because she got sick from the aggressive mold growing there.  My apartment had been cleaned, and came with enough basics to get by with for a little while. 

After a shopping trip with my coworker, I even have my house slippers, a bathroom rug, and my shower shoes. 

My First Solo Exploring Expedition

Merriam-Webster Definition

Explore: to travel over (new territory) for adventure or discovery.

My Definition
Explore: to wander around and familiarize oneself with current surroundings, while trying desperately not to get lost.

Namchang is a nice little city, and my few hours of wandering have already endeared it to me.  There are many little shops, stores, and restaurants. Sometimes I even found myself forgetting that I am in Korea.

And then….
Four little piggies went to market, this little piggy….whack!…..oh, nevermind.

Also the recently opened clothing store for adults.

Even though Namchang is in the country, we still have the ubiquitous coffee shop that you see at every street corner in the city.
Je parle francais…..une baguette……s’il vous plait?

I would consider my exploring a success! I am better acquainted with my surroundings and was able to find my way back to my apartment building. What a good day!

I would love to hear your thoughts!

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