I have officially completed my first week in my new city of Donducheon, South Korea. It has been a whirlwind of a week and I decided to take it easy this weekend in order to recuperate. As you all know, I flew in last Sunday and spent three nights in a “motel”. Even though it was a love motel, if you get my drift, I was lucky to have very quiet neighbors during my stay. The motel wasn’t too bad, other than the smell of cigarette smoke. It had a queen bed, big bathroom, a fridge to store small items, TV with plenty of channels (some of which are not meant for young eyes, if you get my drift), and the best thing was the water purifier which had both hot and cold water. I took a short video of it so you all can see.
Monday was a hectic day; first, there was a health check up which didn’t go great because by blood pressure was through the roof. I am going to blame the flight, and not all of the salty, bad for you food that I had in Chicago before I left. Needless to say, I had to go back later in the week to do the blood pressure again, which gave me anxiety the rest of the week until I got it done.
During the week, I spent most all of my time going back and forth to school and was not really able to do much exploring, plus you can just about swim in the humidity that envelopes you as soon as you walk outside, sapping all of your energy. My first impression of my new city came from the window of the school that I am working at. I took pictures of the buildings right across the street. I’m not sure if you notice, but there is a taco place in one and a Nepali-Indian cuisine restaurant in the other picture. Although I didn’t take a picture, there is also a Vietnamese pho restaurant down the street and a Latin American restaurant by the military base. However, the number of Korean restaurants and coffee houses significantly outnumber the non-Korean restaurants, as it should since it is Korea.
I forgot to take a picture of the first meal here which was dak-kalbi, a spicy stir fried chicken which was absolutely mouth watering. I will eat it again sometime soon and add the picture. My first meal for breakfast was coffee and a grilled cheese, not very Korean I know, but it was next door to the school. That night I did have Korean barbecue which was also divine. The other English teacher that I work with invited me. I do have a picture of that. The next day I had Udon soup- amazing! The broth was definitely clam based. It had a taste of the ocean without being too overwhelming. The noodles were perfectly cooked and chewy. The next day I had bibimbap (unfortunately no picture), a traditional meal of rice, vegetables, hot pepper paste, and a fried egg on top One of my favorite meals so far. The rest of the week I ate at home until today. Today, I went out to eat with one of the Korean teachers that I work with. She and I are the same age so we are 친구 (
The rest of the week I ate at home until today. Today, I went out to eat with one of the Korean teachers that I work with. She and I are the same age so we are 친구 (chingu, meaning friends in Korean). Relationships in Korea are based on age, so the formality of the language used when interacting with someone depends on if you are older, younger, same age, or if their rank is higher. Anyhow, we went to a cold noodle restaurant. The owner makes his own noodles by hand and adds leak to them, thus making them green. Leeks, according to my co-worker, is good for women’s health because it warms up the body. I had noodles in a cold broth and she had noodles mixed with vegetables and red pepper paste. Both dishes were perfect since it was another humid day.
My first impression of Dongducheon is good. Overall it is clean and people are fairly friendly. I like that the city is smaller but has everything I could possibly need. I have a train station about ten minutes walk from my house that will take me directly to Seoul. I am excited to explore more of my area and the surrounding cities. Next weekend I am meeting a friend in Seoul and will try and take lots of pictures. For now, I will leave you with a few from my city.