A Travellerspoint blog

A (not-so) Precarious Gait

Day 24

61 °F

I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my Feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch --
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Honestly, my days are increasingly predictable and not very precarious at all. I have been working 10 hour days this week at ECC: arriving at 9am to greet the arriving kindergartners ("What day is it?" "What did you have for breakfast?" "How's the weather?" "Are you awake??"). Fueled by instant coffee and a traditional Korean school lunch, I've been trying to crank out my lesson plans and get really familiar with the material. The books and lessons are very structured but we've got some freedom with supplemental material and games. A couple of my classes can be trying--the foreign teachers are not as strict as the Korean teachers and I don't think we command as much respect and the students really push this. But I'm learning to channel their energy into productiveness.

Because I'm eating at the school and I'm pretty occupied with learning to be a good teacher, I don't make it out of the building much unless I am coming or going. However, today I shopped at the Lotte market and made a fantastic discovery: the Orga "Organic" section of the market. There are several imported items...peanut butter, honey, mustard, grains and juices. Mmm. It's outrageously expensive but nice to know it's there. In the general grocery section I found broccoli, red leaf lettuce, bell peppers and almond/walnut salad dressing. I think I can find these at my local grocery but the shininess of the store and my waning enthusiasm for instant meals made them particularly appealing. Lotte is a huge (literally huge at 12 or so floors) marker of the consumer culture here: it's a very chic shopping center and we're not even a particularly wealthy suburb, let alone downtown Seoul.

I bought my first item of clothing here: a Clovis v-neck knit sweater from HomePlus's clothing floor. At 14,000 W, it's a bargain. Ah, speaking of "Homeplus": it's also a huge shopping center...akin to a Target, Fred Meyer or Walmart. My first experience was pretty comical because I could't figure out how to get to the merchandise floors. I took the escalators up after I couldn't find the home goods but got stuck on the parking garage floors. I'd take an elevator down and then get stuck up in the garages again. Grr. Turns out that the grocery and home goods floors are below ground.

The most unusual thing I saw today: At the Lotte Department store, drivers are directed to available levels by attendants in stark white uniforms and caps, who gesture with wrist flourishes and very deep bows to each vehicle as it enters the garage.

This weekend: Jarasum Jazz Festival!

Posted by H Kingrey 20:47 Archived in South Korea Tagged living_abroad

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