Saturday, December 19, 2009

End of Week 1

Training is over! After the most intense four days I think I’ve ever been through, I am so ready to relax and explore the city. All week, we attended orientation from 9:30-3:30 and then went back to the hotel for another 6-8 hours of studying and practice mocking. We were responsible for knowing about 8 lessons and we spent most of the days Wednesday and Thursday practice mocking at the training center with our trainers. On Friday we had our final mocks while our prospective bosses watched us through CCTV.

At the end, we found out that fourteen of the fifteen people in training passed, including two of the three in my group (Eagle). As soon as our finals were over, we had to disperse to our locations, so it was kind of a bittersweet moment as we found out that we passed but then had to say goodbye to each other. We’re all hoping to meet up for Christmas next Friday.

The four of us who are going to be in Seoul moved from our hotel to another hotel, and we still don’t know at which branch we’ll be located yet. Apparently we have another week of training, albeit less intensive, and that means yet another week in a hotel room. At least they’re paying for the hotel and training next week will also be paid. I can’t wait to find out my location and move into my apartment though. Also, the longer it takes us to finally start, the later our contract gets moved so the 12-month contract that was originally supposed to go from August 2009 to August 2010 is looking more like January 2009 to January 2010.

Today we went to the Coex Mall, a huge shopping center with an aquarium, movie theater, and hotel in it. We watched Avatar, which was kind of like Pocohantas meets Star Wars.

I think tonight a couple of people want to go to Itaewon, the foreigner neighborhood in Seoul, to go to a couple of “waygook” bars and clubs. Seeing as it’s like twenty degrees outside and will only get colder tonight, I’m not sure if I’m up for a nighttime expedition.

Which leads me to the weather. It is freaking cold, around fifteen to twenty degrees Fahrenheit (-9 to -6 Celsius). My face and fingers hurt from the cold, and I find it difficult to speak when I’m outside because my lips turn numb. I’m hoping it won’t get too much colder in January or that I’ll get used to it because otherwise I am not going outside until spring or at least when it's less cold. Maybe I should use the word "cold" again. Cold.

Our new hotel is located in Gangnam, which is the ritziest neighborhood, and business district, of Seoul. We’re right along the main road and there are some truly beautiful Christmas lights out. I’m hoping to take some pictures tonight (if I can handle the cold).

Ooooh and it might snow on Friday….for Christmas!!!! Eeeeek!


  1. Hi Sonali,

    You may remember me from nano - I saw you at a few write-ins.

    Interesting travelogue - well-written.

    I think you are very brave.

    Best wishes for your teaching experience in Korea, and happy holidays (which ever you choose to celebrate)!

    -= miles =-

    p.s. if you want to reply, please send nano-mail and I will reply with my email address.

  2. Sonali, please take my advice and do not write to the above person. He is some old guy always on the lookout to pick up on young women, even though he has a girlfriend (and is always looking to cheat behind her back--several women in her dance classes are going to speak to her soon about it). His flattery is part of his pickup process. And Miles, if you return to read this (which I have no doubt you will), shame on you!