Driving in Korea

Korean drivers, if you didn’t know, aren’t the most safest of drivers.  That’s why I drive super safe lol and at the maximum speed limit – people like to overtake me lol.

I looked around and found a few map applications to use based off of other people’s blog posts about what apps you need in Korea or whatnot, but I found that the SKT’s (a major phone company in Korea, AKA: T World) “T Map” application is the best.  It’s like Google Maps back at home that gives you turn-by-turn navigation.  If Naver’s Map application has it, I have yet to find it – it’s not that user friendly then… I like to think of myself as somewhat technology savvy after all.  Plus, I live in Korea’s countryside so Google just doesn’t do the trick; Naver has accurate maps from what I’ve seen but no navigation, and the directions for public transportation isn’t quite reliable…maybe that is just a language barrier thing though.

In other words:

  1. Be f***ing safe because you can’t trust the drivers around you
  2. Use T Map or another map application from your phone company in Korea, I think each has their own

But who am I to really give advice… Just thought the map info would be extremely useful to prospective drivers in Korea.

Korean Hospitality

It’s already been two weeks since I started working as a full-time english teacher.  Since starting, other teaching and/or admin staff have been so kind as to ask and even actually giving me a ride around.

An admin staff member helped me move into my apartment, and assisted with the initial shopping needs per my contract.  He also graciously gave me a ride the following Monday to go to work.  He’s been so helpful with everything although his english is lacking, he gave it his best shot and even at times we were communicating via a translator such as Google or Naver; Naver is better for Korean-English or vice-versa translations than Google in my opinion.

I’ve probably mentioned this before but I teach at 4 separate middle schools.  Two are quite out-of-the-way further into the countryside, and on Tuesdays I hitch a ride from a fellow colleague at that school.  She’s always worrying about me although I’m the one concerned because I’m freeloading off of her essentially.  The first time we met to go to school she was maybe 15 minutes late due to traffic or whatnot and she felt so guilty and was worried about what I may have thought but I was completely fine with it.  This week she was only 2 minutes late and that bothered her a lot too!  I can’t stress enough how ok it was, but she’s a worrywart.

At my furthest countryside school, 1.5 hours or more by express bus (including a transfer), I was waiting for the bus to go home at the bus terminal after my first day there when someone popped into the terminal and asked if I was the english teacher from the middle school I was just at and offered me a ride.  Mind you, I might’ve met her at the office but I honestly couldn’t tell – but she knew me well.  And to this day, not that it’s been that long, I don’t remember her face…

This past Monday morning I was waiting at the bus stop when a car pulled up and rolled down its windows – it was the admin I mentioned at first.  He gave me a lift since he saw me – so nice of him!  I thanked him of course and as we walked towards the office, I realized that it was Monday morning again and that I was due at another school so I walked to that school from there; he probably felt bad, but it was ok!  The school is only maybe a 15 minute walk from that one, and he saved me a dollar on the bus fare.

Just a few examples of some korean hospitality in the past couple of weeks!  Looking forward to my paycheck next week so I can return the favors back in full!

On a side note, sounds like cats are having the time of their lives outside my apartment building; I guess this can really happen anywhere in the world!  NYC, Japan, and now Korea – I can’t recall if I heard any during my stay in Singapore…

Random – Coffee, Beer, Education, and Creativity

I just had to link these two together, please watch the TED conference and read this blog post before continuing on.

If you didn’t bother watching and reading the other materials, the TED conference basically gets you thinking about our education and how it actually does kill our creativity / how we think, and the blog post simply goes into detail about how beer gives us the opportunity to be more creative unlike coffee; coffee only helps us focus a bit better.

I’m connecting these 2 important pieces of information as follows:

  1. We are born artists
  2. We start being educated in specific areas not involving creative thinking, and usually shot down or discouraged from being creative
  3. As we grow up, our brains are programmed to think certain ways and it becomes a habit to no longer creatively think as we first did as children prior to primary education

The above is simply taken from the TED conference and the blog post supports this.

To expand on #1

Prior to primary education, we are constantly learning about the world, surroundings and environment; due to our limited knowledge of everything and seeing connections between one thing to another, we basically use our imagination to come up with what we think at the time is a logical explanation.  However as we grow up, we are told what is right and wrong, what to think and what not to think, and how to think by our parents, teachers, and simply put, society.  This is why, for example like the dancer mentioned in the TED conference, artists in all shapes and sizes feel left out and different growing up in such a society.  Now you may think of all the arts around us like music, photography, fashion and etc., but to a parent, teacher, and a young kid growing up, none of that really matters; it’s honestly not a priority compared to math, science, and reading.  Sure, some parents and people do encourage the arts more but we’re simply talking on an overall societal aspect.

More on #3

Habits.  All habits are hard to grow out of.  Think of a bad habit you have, do you still have the habit; did it take a lot to get rid of it, or even lessen it?  Yeah, that’s why this is so frustrating; because now as young adults or adults, we have the habit of not thinking creatively and it prevents us from many opportunities.

Takeaways

As mentioned in the TED conference, we need to emphasize the arts to the future generations as they are being educated since creativity advances society forward; just look at Google, they flourish on creativity.  The technology being developed by Google and any other company is the future.  If we had more intelligent and creative people in all industries we can only move forward, and at a much faster pace.