In the past week, we’ve been very, very busy. We took the train out to Chicago to pick up our work visas and relax before the final push to Korea; since our return we’ve been busy packing. And by packing, we mean we’ve been going through everything in the house and deciding whether to take it to Korea, put it in storage, donate it to ARC, put it on Craigslist, talk a friend into holding onto it for two or three years, leave it on the curb, or put it in the trash. We also had a great time at the party, thanks to all who made it. It was a blur, but we were so happy to get in one last hurrah and hug everyone. We were feeling so emotional it was challenging at times to keep it together. It is a gift to have so many wonderful friends and family.
Currently, the cars are 1/2 sold, the bedroom is 2/3rds packed, the basement is 3/4 empty, the offices are 4/5ths done, the kitchen is 5/6ths gutted, and the living room is 100% filled with things we still need to deal with. (and then there is the garage)
We’ve received our tickets: We leave at 7:35 on April 14, and after 3 flights and 7 hours of layovers, we end up in Gwangju on April 15 , at 9:35 pm. That’s 30 hours of travel time plus 15 hours of time zone changes for a whopping 45 hours of adjustment. We’ve been working with Korean Air on the details of getting 1 dog and two cats over safely – it’s not going to be easy (or cheap), but it will definitely be worth it. (Akasha here- if we sent them with a pet travel service it would be $5,000 for one or for all, so it is far cheaper than that!)
We just learned what schools we will be teaching at, where they are, and where are apartment is. Akasha will be at Dong Elementary and Mike will be at Seohae elemenatry. Both of us will be teaching grades 3-6. Mike had been hoping for older students, but accepts elementary age kids in the spirit of adventure that began this voyage. Both schools are quite close to the apartment: Dong is a 15 minute walk and Seohae is a 5 minute walk, so we don’t need a car, and barely need a scooter. (Mike wants a scooter anyway.) Both teachers say their schools are nice and their co-teachers very helpful, though in Korean schools things can change very quickly. The teacher Akasha is replacing has been through several co-teachers, and his responsibilities have changed several times since he’s been there. Later I’ll write about the differences in principal rights and powers. It is truly interesting.
We are replacing anther couple who live in our apartment and teach at our schools. The couple who is leaving was kind enough to send us a video that the couple before them made. You can see where the kitties, the dog, Mike, and I will be living. It’s a good thing we love each other very, very much, but we have seen even smaller Korean apartments. It looks to be about the size of Akasha’s old place. We are excited to see the western style bathroom.They informed us that we don’t have a dryer and that line drying takes a long time in the winter and the summer. There’s no oven but there is a toaster oven. We will look at finding an air mattress for visitors. It has a great view. All of the apartments we have seen are in the same complex, we can even pinpoint them on the map, and most have a view of another building. From this unit you see other buildings, hills, and coast. I love the patio.
Our address will be:Yeonsan-dong (suburb) Yeonsan Jugong (Apartment complex) Apa 402-903 (building and apartment number) 530-752 (area code) Mokpo-si (city) Jeollanamdo (state)