Tuesday, February 27, 2007

i'm baaaack!

I am back in my homestay and trying desperately to convince myself that having to go back to work is not the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.

Today, awesomely, my coteacher asked me to help with the new sign they are having painted for the library. "What do you call libraries in America," she asked me (English signage is wicked trendy, and there is nothing--besides possibly volleyball--more important to our principal than being trendy). "Uhhh...Library," I answered, having no idea what she could possibly be asking for. "No, no. Like a nickname," she said, "Like GE." Now I honestly have NO IDEA what on earth she could possibly have been talking about...GE?? I weakly tried Reading Room, Reading Corner, LBR, and thought about suggesting a random collection of letters or one of my friend's names, but they failed to satisfy. My coteacher, tired of my incompetence, came up with a name on her own: LOD, which stands for "Library of Dream" (I tried to tell her there should be an S on the end of dream, but she didn't really get what I was driving at). Just...awesome (although if I had managed to get her to call it "Katie Dale" or "Anina" or something, that would have been even better).

After lots of frustration and despair and several tries with Hanaro Telecom, I finally have wireless internet in our apartment! It's not perfect...the family computer has to be turned on in order for me to use it and the family hates wasting power...but it's definitely worlds better than no internet at all.

I have a million things to post about from the past two months and almost as many pictures to put up. For part of my travels I semi-kept a journal to try and help me remember things, but I wasn't very good about it so I'll try and put things up quickly before they slip out of my head. The following is from the journal, and is not very interesting since I wrote it before any traveling actually happened, but I bothered to write it so I'll also bother to post it:

I’m on the second of three flights to meet up with Katie and Mary in Phnom Penh. I didn’t know about this flight at all—this morning when I got on the plane in Incheon, I thought we were going to Bangkok (a reasonable assumption since that’s what it said on my ticket and itinerary). However, a few hours into the flight, well before I thought we should be landing, the captain came on and said, “We will be landing in Hong Kong in about 30 minutes.” My heart stopped—I was on the wrong plane! I was going to be stuck in Hong Kong with no way of reaching Katie or Mary! I was probably going to miss the whole trip to Phnom Penh and mess up my whole chain of plane tickets! I looked around frantically, trying not to hyperventilate, and then 20 minutes later realized that the plane was probably just stopping in Hong Kong before going on to Bangkok. Sure enough, we were herded off the plane in Hong Kong, covered in Thai Airways stickers, and led to a holding pen to await our next plane. I had a shining language moment when a Korean woman from my flight couldn’t understand the Chinese airport worker she was trying to ask questions. They were trying to speak English to each other and it wasn’t working so I translated from Korean to Chinese. They were so shocked by the random white girl who could magically speak both their languages. I have got to actually learn to speak Korean.

I got the journal I wrote that in with my dad in the Old Port a few days before coming to Korea. Before the existence of this blog, I wrote in it pretty regularly, but I hadn't looked at it in months before digging it out to bring to Southeast Asia. I was reading through it just now, and the first entry made me laugh:

“AGH! What was I thinking?! Finally on plane to Koko…so far I have broken my computer, cried, lugged all 500lbs of my stuff across all five terminals of the Chicago airport, and failed to call my parents like I said I would. But at least I am not the only one who doesn’t know the dang alphabet.”

A later page says only, “halmoni [grandmother] smacked me with the flyswatter today!”

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