Getting to Korea

We made it!  And faster than we had thought.  The flight from Honolulu to Seoul was only nine hours (instead of the 11 we had thought).

Anyway, major thumbs up for Korean Airlines.  They were amazing – two delicious meals, hot towels, lots of legroom in coach, super friendly flight attendants…they made the flight considerably more pleasant.

to korea

As we landed in Seoul, we were immediately formed into lines as soon as we got off the plane and had our temperatures tested.  They take the H1N1 (i.e. swine flu) virus very seriously (it is a pandemic afterall).  Also, had to pass by cameras that sense your body heat.  If it’s too high, you get quarantined.  This was a new experience for us.  (And yes, Micah and I were both fine). 

We got our bags (and used the FREE carts at the airport), exchanged some dollars into Korean won, and found our EPIK people to check in.  The lines were LONG.  It was super interesting to look around and see all sorts of different people – all here to do the same thing as us. 

The Seoul airport is pretty sweet.  It’s big!  It has free wi-fi.  It’s got a mix of shops and restaurants I did and did not recognize.  One of the nicer airports I’ve been to.  And did I mention…they allow free use of carts.  A critical factor when dealing with four large pieces of luggage, two carry-ons, and two backpacks.

We all boarded into different buses headed to Jeonju University.  We were informed by our recruiting agency weeks ago about the 4 hour bus ride, but apparently many others were not.  They were in for quite a surprise.  With traffic, the bus ride ended up being more like 5 hours (with a small pit stop inbetween).  

It was fun looking out the windows and seeing the new country we’ll be living in for a year.  Oh, and at the Korean cars – many mounted with TVs on the dashboard for the driver to watch (similar to GPS device size).  Hmm…a little scary. 

We finally got to the university sometime after midnight.  (And that was early…many others arrived well into the early morning).  We had to register, get our room numbers, and get our temperatures taken again.  In fact, they gave each of us our own digital thermometer.  We are required to take our temperature everyday and record it in this booklet. 

Fortunately, Micah and I got to share a room on the “couples” floor.  And these dorm rooms, although small, are practically brand new.  They have A/C (it would be unbearable without it) and the bathroom is unique.  There is no separation between the shower, sink, and toilet.  It’s all one room…no dividers.  So, when you shower – everything sorta just gets wet.  Many countries use a similar layout.  It’s more efficient use of space – and actually is kinda nice. 


So far, although we are in a completely foreign country – it doesn’t feel like we are.  In no way has it even remotely sunk in that we are going to be living in Korea for a year.  And during orientation, we’ll be surrounded by English-speaking people – so it may not sink in for quite some time.  Really, it feels like freshmen orientation at college.  Go COUGS! 🙂


4 Responses to “Getting to Korea”

  1. 1 Allison August 20, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Glad to hear you made it there safely and in one piece, luggage and all!

  2. 2 Roz L-M August 20, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Please say hi to Micah- he will remember me as the occupational therapist from Pt. Defiance. My two now-adult kids were born in Korea and we were in S. Korea 6 years ago. Now, as I read your account, I am missing Korea so much! We had such a wonderful time there. I fell in love with the dumplings. There is a little restaurant behind the hotel we stayed in,near the Myung-Dong Station and the Seoul Central Post office. I guess there are dumpling shops all over Seoul, but that one seemed the best to me- they let their dough rise. More like a steamed hom bou. Lots of music and dancers in that area, too.
    Have a wonderful time exploring- the people were wonderful to us.

  3. 3 Deborah August 20, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Great commentary and pictures. Almost like being in your pocket for the fun ride. -Deborah

  4. 4 Kate S August 20, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    Hi Lisa! Great to hear about your trip and glad you and Micah made it there safe and sound 🙂 keep up the writing–everything sounds so wonderfully exotic and fun!

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