Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sixth Floor Amenities of My Apartment

I've really enjoyed the sixth floor of our apartment building. Not only does it have 2 different playgrounds, but it also has cafe table and chairs to sit and drink your coffee in the morning or just hang out and chat with friends.   

There is also an outdoor exercise equipment area. I saw similar equipment located around the perimeter of Suseong Lake. There is an indoor gym on the same floor, but if you prefer to walk around the outdoor track that is also available on this floor. It reminds me of a park complete with a modern sculpture, water feature, and open space for the children to skateboard or ride their bike around.

The spa and indoor pool is another amenity that is offered to the tenants for a monthly fee. A coin operated washer and dryers will be convenient for me to wash my large king size comforters.

I have enjoyed living in our new apartment and it’ll be nice once we receive our shipment of household goods this Thursday. I can hardly wait to set up the apartment with our belongings and hopefully it will feel more like a home. I truly miss sleeping in my own bed.

I didn't realize how much I would miss living in the suburbs. Thankfully, the mountains are nearby and I can just look outside the window and realize how easy it would be to get away from the “concrete jungle”. I am definitely not comfortable living in the city. I love the convenience and easy access to just about everything, but I do miss my house back in Savannah.

Feeling very homesick lately and I find myself wishing I had never left, but I know that as soon as I am able to enjoy Deagu and see more of our new home that it will all be worth it.   

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Grocery Shopping at Costco and Homeplus

Here are some photos of our recent grocery shopping trip to Costco and Homeplus. The first thing I noticed is that the escalators allows carts to ride along with you to the different levels of the store. 

 The cart snaps into place and you don't have to support the weight at all.  Since most of the mega stores here are built with different levels rather than on one floor, this is a great design that accommodates the masses rather than relying on elevators alone. 

More photos of what you can purchase at the local grocery stores. The Cheetos did not taste the same from back home. Thankfully, we can purchase the American version at the commissary.

First Korean pizza we had from Homeplus food court.

Seafood section of Homeplus.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Commute to Work

I find it funny that my commute is still the same.  It took me 45 minutes to drive to Ft. Stewart and it still takes me the same amount of time to walk the 3 miles to work. Unfortunately, the lights are not synchronized to allow the flow of traffic and pedestrians to move efficiently.

A few things I've noticed during my "commute" is that the sidewalk is not solely reserved for pedestrians. Not only do you have to dodge bicycles and mopeds (yes, they are allowed), but automobiles are also allowed to park on sidewalks.  It wouldn't be so bad if drivers were actually respectful when parking or entering the streets. I was extremely annoyed when a car came too close to Jensen's stroller. I guess I have to learn to have my guard up and always be very aware of my surroundings when walking.

I wish the same respect is applied on the roads here in Korea.  Just about every facet of life here shows some type of respect. From bowing to elders and even eating and drinking customs are geared to show respect for each other.  Here is an example of another way they respect not only people, but their property. I wish I had a better photo.  To prevent the grass clippings from hitting the parked cars, ladies hold up a protective barrier while another worker is cutting the grass.

When it comes to driving here, all bets are off. Horns are freely used not only as a warning, but also as a form of gesture. Instead of flashing our lights to let the other car go, using the horn is customary. Forget about the 2 car length space in front of each vehicle. Driving bumper-to-bumper is normal. Also, if an accident occurs, it doesn't matter who is at fault.  Here the blame is 50-50 shared responsibility of both parties involved. I don't quite understand how that is justified, but I wonder who thought that was a good idea. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Celebrating Independence Day

Happy 4th of July! I know it's early for those back in the States, but since Korea is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Standard time zone, we are able to celebrate earlier. We are off from work and plan on going to Costco today.  The last time we went it was a Saturday and it was jam packed! It was so difficult to navigate thru the store so we decided to try again on a weekday when we hope it isn't so busy.  Luckily, today is an American holiday and most of the Korean population will be at work while we are off.

Today is going to be a busy day for us.  We are meeting Song at Home Plus at 10:30  for brunch.  I'm glad she invited me since I have so many questions about some of the things that are in the store. Meeting Kylie at 17:00 for tea or coffee.  She suggested meeting at Suseong Lake which is a great venue. Fireworks at Camp Walker tonight.  Hopefully, Jensen will not be startled because this will be his first viewing.

Yesterday I had my Occupational Health physical for my EEC status.  I had to get an anthrax shot and will need to get small pox next Friday.  Also some blood work next Tuesday for DNA, blood type, and cholesterol check. Feeling like a pin cushion again.  Oh well..........makes me wonder why the heck I took this job.

I was feeling very homesick yesterday.  I haven't missed home so intensely since we arrived.  I know it will take some time to acclimate to a new country, job, apartment, and just about everything! It feels like this past year has been full of life changing decisions which included having our son Jensen and now moving to Korea. I've decided that since we are not going to be able to go home this coming holiday season, I asked Christian what he thought about going to the Philippines to be with my family.  He agreed and I'm looking forward to going back to my original home.  I haven't been back since I left in 1986 and I'm sure it will be very different from what I remember. I'm excited that Jensen will be finally meeting his grandfather and also Christian will be able to visit my country of origin and the rest of my family.

One of my favorite spots back home, Jekyll Island.

Only beach that allowed pets, of course we brought the fur babies.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Gear for Emergency Essential Personnel

I picked up my gear from Camp Carroll couple of days ago.  At first we thought that they issued me the wrong equipment, but when I called to confirm I was notified that I did receive the correct gear.  The only reason why we thought I had the wrong type of gear was that I was issued body armor along with the gas mask and other things I would need if a war occurred. The others in my department did not receive the same equipment.

Not really sure how I feel about accepting a job that requires me to have this type of gear. I don't believe I would ever need to use it, but if I did I hope I would not panic and loose my cool.  I still have to pick up my uniforms before the training exercise next month.  I have to wear fatigues for 2 weeks to work and go thru the motions of what to do if war does break out here.  I also just finished training that shows me what I need to do if I am ever captured and steps on how to evade and escape.  It was an 8 hour long training course.  Needless to say, I was a bit overwhelmed on the possibility of war and the necessary skills I need to know and do while working here in Korea.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Self Discovery in a Foreign Country

Since arriving here in Daegu, I've learned a lot about what living in a foreign county is like. I thought that since I was born and raised in the Philippines that the adjustment for me wouldn't be so difficult. I figured that it would have prepared me for what life would be like in Korea. I was truly mistaken and the comparison between both countries are definitely unexpected.

Not only have I learned about new customs and what is considered "normal" here, I have also learned a few more about myself in regards to my personality trait and my preferences.  I have never lived in a high rise apartment or in a bustling city like Daegu.  Although, I thoroughly enjoy my apartment and the modern amenities it offers, I have learned that living in a concrete jungle does not suit me at all.  I've visited NY several times and have been to Manhattan and Queens, but I think that bright lights and big city features of Daegu is not for me.  I'm hoping that once our own furniture arrives and I am able to sleep in my own bed, I will feel better.  I'm not even really sure if it's the fact that I live in the heart of the city or if it's still not home to me yet. However, I still need to give it some time since I just moved in the apartment a week ago.

Christian seems to like it and have been able to enjoy the city.  We went for a walk about 2 km away and spent some time at Suseong Lake.  It was very nice and Jensen was having so much fun running around the lake.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Making Friends in Korea

Thankfully, Christian has been feeling better.  We went for a walk and met an English teacher at a local coffee shop.  I stopped and started playing with her cute black dachshund. I've noticed that a great way to meet people is to have a pet.  Wish we could have brought over Talon, I really do miss her.

My favorite photo I took of Talon

Day we brought her home

She is a kindergarten teacher and has been here for the past 2 years.  After talking to her for a few minutes, she informed me that she had just met someone in my department just last week.  Sure is a small world.

Glad to make some new friends who I am able to communicate with.  Hopefully, as soon as we take a Korean class we can broaden the possibility to make new friendships.

It was nice to meet the nurses at the hospital when Christian was admitted for surgery. They were so helpful with Jensen. We were lucky to have the whole private care center to ourselves during his stay. 

Jensen at Fatima Hospital courtesy of Kylie, one of Christian's nurses

I keep trying to find ways of meeting new people since we moved here.  The language barrier has been the biggest hurdle we still have to overcome. We definitely limit ourselves without knowing the native language.  I’m hoping to sign up at the local YMCA downtown.  Camp Henry offers free classes, but it is not an accelerated class.  The one that we are going to try is a boot camp type class and would offer a faster way to learn.

For the most part, Koreans are very friendly and since we have Jensen everybody is so quick to try and strike a conversation with us.  They love children and dote on him everywhere we go.  I can’t believe how much attention he gets.  Koreans generally love kids.  I’ve only been passed by a few Koreans who didn’t give him some sort of attention, be it a wave or hello.

I have noticed a big difference between Koreans that work on and off base.  Some that work for the US government like to flex their egotistical muscle when they have any sort of authority over you. They are rude and not as friendly as their counterparts off base. I do recognize the value of working for the US.  Filipinos feel the same way, but I would hope that we stay humble and not have an attitude towards others.  It’s quite irritating when anyone, regardless of race, gets an ego trip and tries to give me a difficult time.