We are preparing to move to Mokpo-si, in South Jeolla province (Jeollanam-do) South Korea. We received our contracts in the mail as well as an orientation handbook. Now we need to get these contracts, our passports, and transcripts to the Korean consulate in Chicago, IL for our work visas!
We are about half packed. The storage containers arrived last week. The basement is all packed, the books are all packed (into 47 boxes), the bookshelves have been broken down and packed away, and we are down to about 1/3rd of our clothes. ARC Value Village has benefited greatly in this process. Painfully, we have gone through ALL, and I do mean all, of our files and shredded every single unnecessary, old, ridiculous piece of paper that we have stored. There are currently 4 bags of shredded recycling and there were 3 bags last recycling day. Yesterday we dropped of a 20 gallon tote of electronic recycling, a dead computer tower, and a keyboard at Bestbuy for recycling, thanks congress.
This weekend Mike’s family is coming over for a birthday lunch, after that we are packing up the kitchen, only a few simple items will stay out. Next Saturday, April 2nd, is the bon voyage at the VFW hall. So far we have about 50 R.S.V.Ps, looks like we might need a few more jello salads and bars. The decorations, plates, plastic ware, and beverages have all been purchased, but we are still looking for an amp so that we can have music.
Oh, I forgot to tell you about Mokpo-si! We are going to LOVE it. It is similar to Seattle, WA in that it is on the west coast, surrounded by about 150 islands, very hilly, has a mountain range passing through it, and rains a lot. The winter low is 27 f and the summer high is 86 f, it rains a lot and isn’t very sunny. I loved the weather when I lived in Portland, OR and I think Mike will too. It is a small-ish city, about 300,000 people. There are ferries to Jeju island and Shanghai, China, it is a quick train ride to Gwangu and a 4 hour bullet train ride to Seoul.
We know that there will be some big differences including toilet styles, shower styles, no full size bath towels, no ovens, stovetops on top of washers without dryers, eating without forks, unfamiliar spices and foods, lack of personal space, and not having our own cars. Did you know they don’t eat black pepper in South Korea! I’m sure that some days will be trying and we will miss many aspects of home. I am so excited for those first few weeks when everything feels upside down. We have noticed that the expat blogs are either super accepting and enthusiastic, or so negative, gripey, and racist that they are unreadable. I hope that we will bring enough cultural relativism that we will continue the trend of kimcheerleading! I have become super addicted to the Korean cultural blogs of eat your kimchi.
We are not expected to learn the Korean languge, 한국어, but we have been learning. We have mastered the consonants, are trying to learn the vowles, and can speak like a toddler. We are proficient at polite greetings, can name ourselves, household objects, clothes, simple foodstuffs, and count to ten. We can decode simple words and are trying to figure out word order. Korean grammer is very different from English.
Please don’t feel left out from the fun, there are still 22 days until we leave. Give us a call and we’ll go out for a drink, go bowling, or do something you like before April 15th.