Well, it has certainly been a rush of getting through the past few weeks. Getting rid of practically everything I own. I have managed to narrow down my entire life to about 5 storage containers which a friend is graciously keeping in her garage.
After getting my apt emptied out, I spent a week with my mother. Still lots to do and phone calls to make. I feel like I haven’t stopped in quite a while. As I write this it is my first full day and weekend in my new place. I have been thinking about venturing out for a walk, but honestly since I’ve been going like the Energizer Bunny for over a month I think I just want to rest and not do anything. There will be plenty of time for all that soon enough.
What I thought I would write about today is the longest journey ever! I’ve traveled internationally before, but I can’t remember every going anywhere that took quite so long. Here is the timeline of things:
- Two days before call the local airport to ensure they are even open when you need to be there. Trying to keep in mind airport recommendations to arrive 2 hours early for international flying even though you know your flight is ridiculously early.
- Get told “yes, we’ll be open.”
Wednesday, February 25th
- Arrive at airport at 3:30am CST
- Building is open but nobody except the janitors are around.
- 3:45…Delta agent walks through, looks at you like you’re crazy and says “the counter doesn’t open until 4:15.” She did not seem interested in hearing that I had called to confirm I still needed to come as early as I did.
- Flight leaves Huntsville at 5:30am
- Sit on the runway for 10-15 minutes while they defrost the wings. This was the only delay.
- Arrive in ATL at 7:30am EST with 1 hour layover
- Depart ATL 8:30am EST
- Arrive Chicago O’Hare 9:35 CST
- Note, I have changed time zones twice already!
- Get somewhat confused by having to go through an exit to get to my connecting terminal. Go through security again due to getting on an international flight.
- 2 hour layover in Chicago, half of which was taken up by the above mentioned going through security.
- Try to get online and check email, make calls to say some “see you later’s.”
- Leave ORD 12pm CST on Wed 2/25.
- 14 hours later….
- The 14 hour flight deserves a paragraph or two all of its own.
Thursday, February 26th
- Land at Incheon airport in Seoul, Korea!
- Take your time de-boarding and such. After 14 hours your legs are in need of a serious stretch!
- Go to restroom, brush teeth, brush hair, and freshen up.
- Take your time walking to Baggage Claim, taking the floor rather than the moving sidewalk; because, really. Why?
- Take forever to get through the immigration line. You don’t really notice how much time has passed.
- Get through and you can’t find your flight listed on any of the monitors so you can get your luggage.
- Finally you ask the nice man at information and he has to look it up. Directs you to Carrousel #17.
- You wait a while but still don’t see your bags. You’re minorly worried but think maybe it’s just taking time to unload all the bags from the plane.
- While you wait you text your sisters b/c T-Mobile has told you that international texts are free.
- After waiting about 30 minutes and still not seeing your bags you ask an attendant from the airline you took when you see her walk by.
- She very kindly tells you “oh, that one is finished. Please follow me.” Your bags are in lost and found.
- Get your bags and use a cart. Whoever invented these was a genius!
- Take no time at all to go through customs because you have nothing to declare.
- Try not to get too bewildered trying to figure out how to call your hotel for the shuttle. You’re very tired and ready to crash.
- Get change for some won so you can use the payphone to call hotel. Yes, you may hum “Payphone” by Maroon 5 in your head.
- Finally take shuttle to hotel. Meet some very nice people from Australia and their Korean friend on the shuttle.
- After landing at about 5pm you finally find yourself on the shuttle by around 7pmish. I really don’t remember.
- Have some tea and conversation with nice Australians. 🙂
- Go back to your room and get yourself situated. Finally go to bed around 10 or 10:30pm.
Friday, February 27th
- Wake up around 3am. What? Really? You are hungry but all you have left of your snacks are some homemade by your mother butterscotch chip cookies. You eat some and go back to sleep.
- Wake up at about 5:30am. You want to cry because really you just want to sleep but are wide awake. You decide to cure the jet lag just getting up is probably the best course of action.
- Start to re-pack and get things together to go back to airport to meet EPIK representatives.
- There are two other new teachers also staying at Hotel Sky.
- 7am Meet nice fellow teacher from Ireland and walk to the corner and have some breakfast and conversation.
- 9am get on shuttle to airport.
- 9:30ish, find desk and sit to wait for EPIK as meeting time is 10am
- Meet one more new teacher at airport.
- 10am, meet nice ladies from EPIK who help us buy bus tickets to get to our respective cities.
- 10:30am, bus leaves the airport to take me to my city. There is one other person on said bus. Not one of the new teachers I just met, as they are headed in another direction.
- 2 hours later
- 12:30pm you are met at the airport by the school counselor and another English teacher. Apparently your school is one of a very few which has another English teacher. You will not be the only foreigner at your school.
- You go to have lunch where you meet up with the rest of the faculty who have been in meetings and training all day.
- Around 2pm or 2:30 you get to your apartment where you talk to a co-teacher, sign contract, meet landlord, etc.
- Later in the day fellow English Teacher, who is also your neighbor, graciously takes you shopping so you can get hangers and a few other items. Also food.
- Mostly finish getting yourself unpacked.
- 9:30pm, go to bed.
- Your first full day in Korea is over!
**Although I do have internet access in my apartment I need to get my sim card or Wi-Fi before I’ll be able to use my phone to send pictures to myself and share them. Please be patient, the pictures are coming. I want to share them with you all, as I know you want to see them! 🙂