I made it!
Let’s begin with my flight(s) over. I would just like to comment on the differences between United and Korean Airlines:
1. On a 4.5 hour flight with United, there was no food service and two beverage services, whereas on an almost 13 hour flight with Korean, I received 2 (vegetarian!) meals with complimentary wine, multiple beverage services, and two snacks. The meals were delicious.
2.Korean Air gave me a fresh blanket, pillow, and bottle of water. United? Nothing.
3.Pretty sure I had the choice of over 20 new movies to watch, as well as various other forms of media on my personal tv screen with Korean. United showed one movie that I had never heard of.
4.The flight attendants were SO SO nice on Korean. Not so much on United.
I am very thankful that I flew with Korean. We all know I don’t exactly love flying, and the airlines made, what could have been an unbearably long flight, almost enjoyable!
When I got off the plane, I made my way towards customs, then to the baggage claim (one my bags ripped on the adventure over, but luckily nothing escaped) and then through another customs line. It was all very efficient and easy to navigate. They didn’t even search my bags. From there, I wandered outside towards the buses and bought a ticket (warding off the taxi drivers!). The bus ride from Incheon Airport to Seoul took about 50 minutes and was fairly relaxing. Unfortunately, when I got off in Seoul, at the COEX stop, I must have gone into the wrong building……because this began almost an hour of toting my 100+ bags around, searching for my taxi. Finally, an older Korean couple took pity on me and offered to help…and they did! (Others had tried, but to no avail.) The gentleman even rolled one of my bags for me and led me in the direction of the CITY AIR TERMINAL (I had been in the COEX building) where my taxi was waiting. Woohoo!
When I arrived at my hotel, I checked in and went up to meet my roommate. Her name is Tara Lynn and she is from South Caroline. I found out that those tricky cab drivers at the airport got her and she ended up paying $130 to get to the hotel. !!!!! I only paid 19 in total. She’s at the point where she can laugh about it, though. ☺ Tara is very nice and we seem to have a similar sense of humor, so we’re having fun. After settling in a bit and brushing teeth (best feeling ever) we collapsed into glorious sleep.
We woke up this morning, went down to the complimentary breakfast, and then set off for a bit of exploring. Our mission was finding the route we will have to take to training beginning Tuesday. Tomorrow, they provide a van, thank goodness.
This was quite the hilarious expedition, as neither of us have a clue how to read Korean and we could not find any of the streets printed with English in our guidebook maps. After wandering for probably over an hour, we gave up and went into a Starbucks (I know, I know) where a very wonderful gal helped us with directions. We were able to find the subway and made our way to the Children’s Grand Park exit. Little did we know…the exit led us to a most spectacular, huge, wonderful, GRAND, park! In the park are many attractions such as the “fairy garden,” a zoo, and a botanical garden, all which were free of cost.
After a couple of hours wandering around the garden, we were both starving so we found a lovely café of sorts. This particular café was chosen because the menu had pictures! There were no vegetarian options available, so I chose, instead, a beef-based soup (a cow bone leg, in fact) with vegetable dumplings. Those dumplings were simply DELICIOUS. Oh, and the kimchee wasn’t too bad, either! I rather liked it, actually.
Anyhow, we finished lunch and made our way back to our hotel to do some much needed studying. Tomorrow, we will have training orientation and will take a few tests on Chungdahm culture, grammar, and something else (?). HA. If we don’t pass, there are opportunities to retake them. I’m feeling fairly confident, so that’s a good sign.
Okay, it’s off to dinner and then back here to sleep. Ahhhhh, sleep.
This is probably the longest post that I will ever do. My apologies for all of the details…it’s probably not that important to others.
Pictures will follow when I get to them... :)