I’ve taken to wandering the city before going to work at the school in the mornings. It seems to be helping me get my bearings, plus it’s something to do when I can’t sleep. I love that even though Chungju is a small city there is some form of life around every corner at every hour of the day.
Yesterday was pretty frustrating. I spent about two hours looking for E-Mart (the Korean equivalent of WalMart). I knew there was one close by because I had seen it when Mr. Shin drove me home a few days ago. I finally gave up and got the Korean characters for E-Mart from Genie (she’s my boss at ESL) so I could give it to the cab driver.
The driver was very patient with me and even helped me figure out how to pay him. (I’m still having troubles getting used to the Korean won.) I got to E-Mart and was overwhelmed by the amount stuff and people. I finally found my way to the electronics section and got the converter I was looking for and a few other things for my house. I also picked up an ethernet cable so I could finally have internet at my apartment.
The cashier was not very patient with this foreigner. And I think I got yelled at in Korean. On the plus side of not knowing the language, it was pretty easy to ignore her. I also handed over exact change! (Seriously, I was totally proud of myself for this.)
Next I took a cab back to my apartment. This time the cab driver was friendly and he used his GPS to find my place from the Korean address I gave him. (Thankfully, Genie wrote this one down for me, too.) Unfortunately GPS got it wrong so then I stuck pointing across his face from the back seat saying, “left, left.” Thinking the whole time, “God, no wonder people think Americans are rude. What the hell is Korean for left?!”
Finally I was home and with a little bit of work I was able to hang some pictures I brought with me and charge my laptop with my nifty converter.
Everything was taking way more effort and time then it should have. I was trying to hammer nails into a concrete wall. So that took patience and effort. Not to mention the two times the hammer hit the nail just right to send it rocketing off the TV. Then the converter had these stupid plastic things making it almost impossible for me to shove the plug into the outlet. I finally worked it out after practically smashing my thumb off.
Then it was time to get the internets working. And this is where I failed. The cable was too big for the outlet in the wall, but just the right size for my laptop. So now I have to figure out if I need a converter for the ethernet cable, if I can just set up wireless and find someone who is willing to translate for me. This should be fun.
At least hanging up my photos made me feel a little closer to home.