May 10th, Monday
The second week of 7, not much to write about, this week was all about work, eating, and sleeping, not much fun. The business unit took us out for lunch every day except for one. Monday we ate lunch at the first place where they made you take your shoes off, and you sat on the floor (I think more Japanese style, but Korean food. . . I think) I’m getting more use to the chop sticks even though everyone is telling me that I’m using them wrong . . . as long as the food gets in my mouth, and not my shirt, I consider it a success. The waiter/waitress usually brings out forks half way through the meal. . . very nice. Of course I forget to bring my camera for most lunches, but I had some sort of soup with veggies and beef, why soup when it is always way too hot, maybe not outside, but in the office, I don’t know. The picture looked good. That is how I order here, if they don’t have pictures of the food, I don’t order it. They do not use air conditioners here even though they have them, mainly to conserve energy (yet they have heated toilet seats when it is 70+ degrees inside and outside, maybe would be nice during the Minnesota winters.?.) I haven’t been good at keeping track of the weather here, but it has been very nice (short weather except that I have to wear dress pants and shirt); nothing like they have been experiencing in the cities, and Hawley, cold and raining).
It might have been late last week, but I have realized that I’ve got sick of the music that I have on my MP3 player (no I’m not cool enough to have an IPod). I put the music on my personal computer and usually play it when I am in my apartment since the TV doesn’t do much good. I have learned that CNN is a lot like ESPNews, very nice expect that they play the same bit over and over again. It is nice to hear it the first time, but not the same info every 30min. I work here with a guy that is living in Minneapolis, but is British, so we have been following the election closely. Learned today (5/14) that moving into the apartment for Prime Minister, is very, very different than moving into the White House. I also found out this week that they have scheduled tickets for us to see a LG Twins game on June 19th, the day I leave. . I don’t think I’ll spend an extra day to catch a baseball game, I’ll find a way to get to one sooner. I might have mentioned it before, but the admin assistance we work with is a sweetie, she puts up with us ‘Americans’ (schedules lunches, weekend outings, soccer games, baseball games, etc.), so I’ll have to ask her to schedule something sooner. I defiantly want to get a Korean Twins jersey. Almost forgot about the food today. For lunch we ate at a Chinese Korean restaurant (I even have pics). Nothing like the Chinese food that we are use to. They must not believe in the fortune cookie (that can’t just be an American thing). First pic shows some sweet-n-sour chicken that we all shared.
Today was the first day that we ordered lunch in, something that is very common back home, but not here. The culture here is to always take at least an hour lunch. Also found out today that we will be moving to a different apartment. One that is closer to downtown Seoul. I’m not too crazy about it because our commute will go from less than 10min, to about 40min (1 way). There supposedly is more to do around the area of the new place, and some of the team’s spouses will be making the trip shortly. I guess leaving them for the day at the Senior Center is probably not the best thing. We ate supper at the Burning Pan, an Italian restaurant that is very American. By far the best place so far. Ordered Chicken Fajitas, just like back home, build your own style. Only difference was the mini tortillas they had. Everything here is smaller.
Today was the worst meal of the trip. After work I went with a couple other guys out to a corner bar. I ordered what I thought was buffalo wings, but found out it wasn’t wings, but a whole fryer. The sauce was terrible, it was hot, but no flavor. The consultant we work with, Eric, had duck which was actually really good. We got the waitress to imitate a duck for us to make sure he knew what it was.
The funny thing is, Eric has the same initials as me (EDM), therefore he is known at work as old Eric, and I’m young Eric. At the age of 28, I don’t mind a bit. After supper it was back to the apartment for some work. I miss my recliner, this couch in the apartment, or at least what they call a couch is killing me.
Friday is here, for lunch we went back to the restaurant that has the Bibimbap. I’ve actually become a fan of this. This time I tried the hotter version. It comes out in a stone bowl that is very, very hot. It makes the rice almost fried like. I need to get some work off my mind so I can start remember to bring my camera at lunch. For supper we all went out to the Burning Pan again. I had taco . .something . . pasta. I found out it was mainly spaghetti in a taco shell, very good red sauce.
End of the second week. I spent the day mainly working, after catching up on some much needed sleep. I did go out for a big lunch/supper, and a quick trip to the EMart. I need to remember that Saturday is the worse day to make this run. There is soooo many people, and a vendor at the end of each aisle trying to sell you something. Way too much Korean being spoke, almost loud enough to drive one crazy. Today work was actually fun, we have enough of the data identified for one of the deliverables so I was able to start to combine/join it all together. Today was also a breakthrough, I figured out how to use the dryer. It seems that this machine has complete cycles, meaning it washes, and then dries. Before I did a quick setting, which excluded the dryer, it is weird to think that one load takes over 3hours, but that is how it has to be. Below is the chicken fajita
Today I spend most of the day relaxing. Tried getting some work done, but got distracted by some movies on TV. Tonight I get to use the webcam for the first time. Trisha and the family plan on heading over to use the parents laptop. It will be 9am Sunday for them, and 11pm Sunday night for me. Should be fun, this week I finally got my soft phone hooked up, so it is just like me calling from desk in Minneapolis. It was nice to hear some familiar voices. That about sums up the week, I hope to add a little more fun moving forward instead of just the usual work, eat, and sleep. 2 down, 5 more to go.
Week 3 May 17-22
This week was filled with a lot of hours at work. I got real behind on writing daily updates, trying to remember week at the end of week 5. This week I attempted at making my first meal in the apartment. I was able to find what seemed to be a chicken stir fry combo. It came with chicken already cut up, and a sauce that had a red pepper on it. I also picked up some broccoli, peppers, and rice. I couldn’t find Minute Rice, so I had to deal with the ‘real’ thing. As you can see from the first pictures, I don't have much of a stove to work with. The second pic shows the final product. It was actually realy good, almost too spicy.This was also the weekend that we moved out of the senior to an apartment downtown Seoul. It was sad leaving behind Cheers and the other eating/drinking places close to the apartment. It took a couple of weeks, but we found a couple places that we really liked. Plus we were real close to the EMart for groceries. Friday a couple of us made one last trip to AKPlaza to the Mad For Garlic restaurant.Simon (the Brit) is on the left, and old Eric (the consultant) is on the right.
We made a pretty big scene moving out. Six people, most who are here for 16 weeks. We had over twenty bags of luggage. Two vans were needed, one for suitcases, other for us. Our commute went from 15-20min both ways, to over an hour. You can also see from the pictures that it is very, very, very small.
The second one you will have to tilt your head. My legs do not fit underneath the desk, so working on the couch is the only option. Finding a place for lunch, or early supper since it was past 4pm, the first day (Saturday) was difficult. I bet we walked for about 45 min before we went to a Japanese place where I had the pork cutlet and rice, and maybe a beer that ended up getting in the picture.
We definitely have more of the downtown atmosphere, the streets light-up at night. We are all amazed by how late the Koreans will stay out and drink . . every night. We will get in around 10:30-11pm, and there are a lot of people just going out. No wonder why most are not into work until after 9am.
Week 4 May 23-29
Another hard week for me, we added a new team member this week; we now have a Frenchman (Jacky). First lunch for him was back at the Chinese restaurant (339). I am having issues trying to get use to the new area from a food perspective. The EMart is further away, so we try to go to a grocery store closer to the hotel. Fresh, fresh fish anyone?I also made my second meal in four weeks. I know, very similar to the first, but I found a package that said chicken wings, and veggies are easy to pick out. I also make a stir fry usually once week when back home.On the brighter side of the move, the bed here is 10x more comfortable, but that and the downtown atmosphere (vs. the senior life atmosphere) are the only two upsides of move. I guess the breakfast is much better, but know I’m either eating French toast, or pancakes on an almost daily basis. You also can build your own omelet that is prepared for you.
Also trying to get use to the commute, my days have already been busy, and now we spend almost an hour in the van to and from work. Thankfully we start having some of our meetings in the van, so we no longer have to have them in the office. Around week 3 and 4 I have also noticed issues trying to keep in contact with family/friends. As you can tell, I haven’t had much time to work on the blog, and even finding time for returning/sending emails has been difficult. My nieces (1st grade) had their first track meet, and I also missed their dance recital that I usually attempt to get to.
On Friday (5/29) the team except for the Eric’s left for the annual sales meeting in a beautiful city of Pusan. Since the driver was getting the others to the airport, Eric and I took the subway to work. It was about a 40 minute drive, and was so busy. We took a taxi back. After work we stopped by a seafood place for happy hour. Couple of first for me, first was octopus, but I can’t exactly considering it a first, since it was fried in Canola oil, so everything tasted the same. This place also serves Makkoli (I’ve heard/seen it spelt differently), which is Rice Wine. Doesn’t taste anything like normal wine, but is very cheap. Saturday afternoon Eric and I walked a little bit around the area near the hotel. I then went back to work a bit, before the others got back from the sales meeting trip, and we went to back to the great Mexican restaurant. The same one that Eric and I went to Friday night after work. After supper the guys decided to walk back instead of taxi. We noticed an outdoor concert that turned out to be a political rally. Their election day is June 2nd, another vacation day for them, and suppose to be for us, but we worked. That sums up end of week 4 . . . 4 down, 3 to go, at least for now I'm scheduled to fly out June 19th.