I'm about halfway through day 2 at the EPIK orientation. Fortunately (or "un-", depending on your level of patience) I just got my internet to work which means, joy of joys, blog posts!
I'm not going to bore you, dear readers, with a blow-by-blow account of orientation activities (including highlights like Filling Out Korean Bank Account Forms! And Cell Phone Plan Selection!) but the highlight so far was the traditional Korean drumming demonstration at last nights welcome ceremonies. It was pretty similar to this, only infinitely more awesome in person:
There was also some traditional narrative singing and a "fan dance". All of the above featured pretty girls in fancy costumes so despite many cultural differences it's nice to know that some things never change.
For the next seven days I'll be residing in a very nice dorm room. This dorm room, let me tell you, was designed by some storage space genius. One entire wall is composed of cleverly sectioned closets and shelving with further drawers to be found below the nightstand and beds. This is a country, I think, long accustomed to making due with small living spaces. New York University dorm management, please take note.
Since I've spent most of my time interacting with fellow EPIK teachers and not the natives my "culture shock" has been pretty limited. There's a little shoe well at the entrance to my room where one is expected to doff one's shoes (I remember to do this at least two out of three times) and showers are not sectioned off from the rest of the bathroom but rather the whole floor slopes subtly down to a drain. I guess this is convenient if you plan on having eight people shower at once although I wouldn't recommend it. The thoughtfully provided shampoo claims to contain "effective microorganisms" which I find more unsettling then reassuring.
I'm a little hungry right now since my "class" (teachers heading to Gangwon-do) is not allowed to eat lunch for medical testing purposes. I'm not sure exactly what these will involve but reports assure there will be some needles. Despite this I remain strong in my resolve.
PS: Photos now on view