I feel like that title is a quote from someone, somewhere… but it just felt appropriate. I was waiting to make my first post on this blog for a while now, I was debating posting about my preparation and freaking out before actually coming to Korea but I feel like a real, raw post of what I’ve actually went through on my journey here made for a better blog. The goodbyes were hard, leaving my family including my 2 year old niece and my amazing boyfriend basically killed me. I cried a lot. They were stars and dealt with me at my most dramatic (sorry for saying I didn’t want to go any more several times). So I’ll start out by saying I did not pick my flight. If I did, I would have picked a direct to Seoul flight, or one with a layover in Japan. My school picked and paid for my flight here, because when you get a contract teaching that is one of the perks. I was given my itinerary a few weeks ago and I didn’t think it seemed that bad. I’d leave Toronto at 8pm, arrive in Los Angeles at 10pm and then fly to Seoul at 12am and land in Busan by 7am the next day. Reading that gives me a headache, and that is exactly what my trip was.
To begin with, Air Canada was the first carrier I flew with, I’ve never flown with them before. They tried to make me pay $400 for overweight suitcases, and then sent my bags to Incheon instead of Busan… stupid airline. And while I was waiting a Youtuber I used to be a fan of was on my flight. I tweeted this all but basically he showed up, plugged in a phone and abandoned his bag at the gate. A person was going to take it away but I said I knew him. This youtuber was Toby Turner. I used to be a huge fan of him, and I had just lost interest. I now understand why. This guy left his bag at the gate, while he went off and got piss drunk. I only know that because when he finally came back 5 minutes before we boarded, I told him that they were going to take his bag away. The booze on his breath was so noticeable! And this wasn’t the first time I’ve seen him drunk… Maybe this is one of the reasons I’m not such a huge fan any more? He’s irresponsible and acting like a child when he is really almost 30. Grow up dude.
Now, aside from that weird tidbit of drama, I was excited to fly Air Canada for the first time. I got moved into preferred seating (which wasn’t really that different from regular seating) because a family wanted my seat. I thought this was a great sign and then we got onto the plane… Now Air Canada wtf… For starters: WHY DO YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR EVERYTHING? What happened to a little bag of pretzels or something with that mouthful of gingerale you gave me? I don’t want to pay $5 for hummas and chips. It is ridiculous. Oh, and $3 for a set of earphones?! Come on Air Canada, give me a break. Our flight was a bit delayed getting into LA but for the most part the flight went well. I watched How to Train your Dragon 2 and Neighbours. I love watching movies on planes. Ahh. Now, for LAX… wow I was so excited to fly into LAX and then I got there… and it was so CRAPPY. There was construction everywhere, it was impossible to find an employee to help me and I had to walk so far to get to my gate. I got off in Terminal 2, and I had to go to Tom Bradley… Why were there no maps or signs?! After basically crying to a customs guy he pointed me in the right direction, all the while I’m freaking out to my lovely boyfriend Andy on facebook. After what seemed like an hour I finally made it to the terminal and it was actually beautiful. The Tom Bradley International terminal is very nice and I enjoyed my short little layover once I found the way. I was freaking out at first because I had to sort out this baggage issue with no time (why didn’t it go to Busan, why did it stop in Incheon?!) and a very helpful guy with Asiana sorted it out for me. I had a turkey sandwich that cost way more money than it should have and then I got into a line filled with people. The boarding went pretty quick and the plane was HUGE.
This was my first time flying Asiana Airlines and it was such a good experience!! My seat was an aisle seat which I suggest for a long haul flight. My flight to Incheon would be 13 hours, or at least I thought it would be. I left LA at 12am, and we got to Incheon at 6:15am. For those who aren’t good at math that is….. well 4pm Korea time to 6am Korea time.. 14 hours. 14 hours in a giant steel bird filled with people coughing and sneezing and sleeping all around you. I watched The Other Woman, which was severely edited for swearing but still a great movie. For the rest of the flight I tried to sleep, got a few hours here and there. During the flight we were offered one meal at the start, Western meal was Beef pasta (which I had) or Korean bibimbap (rice with veggies). I had the western option both times because I figured I’d be eating enough Korean food in the next year. The second meal was breakfast, served 2 hours before we landed. Korean Chicken and rice or scrambled eggs with ham (and mushrooms barfffffff). I don’t usually like plane food and this wasn’t a five star meal or anything but it was decent and filled me up for the plane ride. The flight attendants with Asiana were constantly handing out drinks of water and even offering snacks during the flight. They were attentive and so so helpful. I had asked one during my flight if I was going to make my connection. My flight to Incheon was supposed to arrive at 5:20am, and my flight to Busan was at 6:20am so I would have had just under an hour to get sorted in Korea. I watched in horror as the estimated arrival time kept going up and up.. This is when I asked the flight attendant if I was going to make my connection. She said it would be okay and she was right. She moved me to the front of the plane just before landing so I could get off first. All of the attendants helped get me off the plane really quickly. Our plane docked at 6:15am. My flight to Busan was in 5 minutes and I was feeling sick, I didn’t think I would make it. Then I had something happen for the first time! Someone had a sign with my name on it! Another Asiana flight attendant whisked me and 2 Koreans away and let us cut through lines at security. She had them hold the plane for us and we made it. The flight to Busan had maybe 15 people on it, and my throat was raw from running to the gate so I was thankful.
I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived in Busan but I was pleasantly surprised. The security screening on the way out was so quick, there weren’t a lot of people at the airport so that was nice. My luggage was rerouted to meet me in Busan, thanks again Asiana! I was sniffed at by an adorable drug sniffing dog, who tried to eat my travel pillow. My luggage came and I was out through the gates in minutes. After being approached by a man, who I later learned was my recruiter’s brother, I followed him through the rain to his car. I sort of stopped for a second thinking “who is he and why am I trusting him?” but he knew my name and I felt safe. Korea is a very safe country. May’s brother was so helpful and he even put on the only English radio station so I could understand what was on the radio. He dropped me off and carried my bags up to my new school where I met my new boss. I also met a super helpful Korean guy named Scott, who helps all the Western teachers at my school (he is also a teacher here!). Both guys took me to my apartment, which was a 2 minute drive from the school, and told me to rest up and they’d see me at 3. I had a short nap on a thin futon mat because my bed hadn’t arrived yet and then I was woken up by some Korean men. They came in and built my bed and then left promptly. I got ready and headed off to the school. I didn’t think it was so close so I gave myself a bit of time to get there, and when I did was so shocked. It took me less than 10 minutes which is fantastic. I love being so close to work!! After meeting all of the Korean teachers at my school and some of the other staff, I headed off to Lotte Mart to grab a few things.
Now I’m sitting here on my bed with a belly full of grilled cheese (yep first meal!) and writing this up. It’s only 6:30pm in Busan and I’m already ready for bed…
I will probably sleep soon, but I really should unpack. I apologize for any errors, I’m writing on a few stolen hours of sleep.
I’m excited to start work, which is next week on the 29th. I’ll be shadowing and helping with the Halloween party.
Until my next post,