Chilgok.. not Daegu!!

Trip Start Aug 16, 2013
Trip End Aug 25, 2013

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Flag of Korea Rep.  ,
Wednesday, August 25, 2010

So I get a random email from the current teacher at the school I have been placed with. He says its in Chilgok which is about 30 mins by bus from Daegu. Epik (the govt program i'm on) tells us nothing. So I google map it and do some research on the internet. Regardless of 30 min bus ride, Chilgok is Gyeongbuk province, not Daegu metropolitan city. I was pissed at first. I specifically said metropolitan city when it asked on the application if you want metropolitan city or provincial placement. Plus I listed five cities on my application Daegu, Gwangju, Busan, Incheon, Daejon. can they not read or do they just like screwing around people?

So the guy says the school is nice. apartment is 5 min walk. teachers sound ok. he doesnt have to do lesson plans, co-teachers dont do anything so gives you more freedom to run the class. they let him leave early and dont hassle him with vacations. Chilgok looks built up, population 100,000, 3000 foreigners, some high rise buildings, shopping malls. just like putting me back in the tail end of brampton, no-one i know lives there, nobody wants to drive there, i always have to commute back into town to meet anyone or do anything

city description says 31 kindergardens, 21 elementary schools, 7 junior highs, 5 high schools and 2 universities, so still a good size town, but still not the city

if i want the high speed train line anywhere else i would have to change trains in daegu main station. to the north is another small city called Gumi so options for shopping too. probably this is a commuter city to daegu such as georgetown, oshawa, or newmarket which are on the Go train lines to toronto but seperate from the metropolitan area by some distance. also he said he is throwing out a tonne of stuff and did i want anything so i said to leave it all for me and i'll do a clean out when i get there. he is flying home today, i think he is from toronto as well. also he says he paye $2.50 for 50 cable channels including six english ones.

the other nite we watched a korean movie about street performers that made their way into the royal court. they would perform what people were thinking but were afraid to say. so after each performance some scandal would be exposed and somebody guilty would end up being executed. good movies. interesting and odd at the same time.

today we had to present our lessons with our group. tonite is the farewell dinner, then tomorrow we go on our buses to our towns and schools. i dont know if they take me straight to my apartment or if i have to goto the school and meet the principal? people dont know if we should dress up coz we will be hauling all our luggage at the same time. i hope the co-teacher doesnt have a small car or my two suitcases and other luggage wont fit.
we dont have any canadian historical movies so i'm downloading a lot of the one  minute heritage commercials such as the underground railroad, gold rush, women getting the vote etc. also commercials such as molson beer ads as they show a lot of canadian footage

we had a farewell dinner. the buffets here are strange. after the food items you come to the dessert section which is normal, so you stock up on desert. then the food items start again but you\ve already filled one side of your plate with dessert. or they randomly throw a dessert item in the middle of the food buffet which is even more strange?? or why not, a sandwich in the middle of the dessert section? so i took a seafood salad but did not realize there was a baby octopus hiding under the dessert i had piled up. when i uncovered it i just looked at it and i couldnt bring myself to eat it, just too creepy.

before the dinner we finally got to meet with our district head and find out our school placement. i got the one described by the one in the email from the guy who is leaving so i knew exactly what i was getting. also, google maps are old and showed this to be well outside the city. actually, its just a spillover of the city like sherway garderns area. but technically it falls the wrong side of the border so is considered gyeongbuk province and not metropolitan daegu.

daegu itself seems pretty small, probably coz it is closed in by mountains on all sides, maybe like vancouver or sarajevo. there is a pakistani restaurant alibaba mabye short cab ride or half hour walk. also met a moroccan guy from the states going to daegu on this program. anxious to get to my apartment. what the guy has described sounds like a nice area. there is a big homeplus store like walmart and movie theatres. that is the downtown area of chilgok. but the downtown area of daegu is not that far by bus or cab. the map is reminding me of munich. we are the only group that specifically said A/C in our contracts coz the summer is too hot there.

so we have our bus ride to our cities tomorrow. i'm surprised, there are actually 165 people going to daegu, not 130 as they first said on their website. now all 400 people at this orientation have to get their luggage down to the lobby in two hours using this ridiculous elevator system, not possible. then when we get to the school i'm not sure if the principal will meet me. we might have to start teaching right away on friday, i would rather wait till monday but will just do a Q&A about where i'm from to kill time if i must.

happy to be on this program. the 9 day orientation was a big help even though a bit of a drag. better to do it this way, make friends, network, instead of just getting a job directly with a school and going there from the airport on day 1 like a lot of people do

imagining my principal with indoor slippers doing kareoke... the daegu district head that gave us our contracts sang a ballad on stage during the closing ceremonies so that does not bode well for what is in store for his staff.... :(  

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