I have arrived in sunny Miami, Florida! I know this blog is about my experiences in going to and preparing for Korea, but I am so excited to be here! I will be here all of July, taking an extended vacation to spend time with my boyfriend before I leave for Korea in August.
So far, I have managed to be extremely lazy, get a sunburn (curse of the fair-skinned) and eat. A lot. I thought I would use a portion of my obscene amount of free time to continue my blog, which I apologize has been neglected for a week or two... oops!
I certainly do not claim to be a technology guru, but I would say I am a bit of a junkie. Especially following my last job, where I learned about TONS of awesome stuff you can do with your technology, I now have a bit of everything. So I thought I would share my preparations for Korea regarding technology.
I am a Mac. I hope that I do not offend anyone, but if you are a PC, your life probably sucks. ;) JK... kinda. Hehehe
Well, I am a Mac, and following college, I got a desktop iMac (27" if you must know). It is my beautiful wonderful magically baby. I guess it was the extended amount of time spent with my 13" MacBook (white) on my lap in bed in college but I just don't like laptops anymore. I like the big screen, big power comfort of a beast of a machine. So with the prospect of moving to Korea, to a itty bitty apartment, I realize that toting along my iMac is impractical. Actually, it's almost impossible for me. I do have an iPad, but since I am not a 70 year old woman who only uses email, I need a computer. I was lucky enough to be able to work out a deal with my mom wherein she buys a new MacBook Pro (for herself) but loans it to me for my year abroad. While I am away, she is at liberty to use my iMac. Basically, we switch for the year. This works because her iMac (about 6 years old) is getting, well, old. So, after much hoo-ing and haw-ing (ps, where does that expression come from...?) we decided on a new 15" MacBook Pro. It is NOT the retina display (damn! too much money...). I originally wanted the Air, due to the weight, but I simply wanted a larger screen. My mom agreed. We know it is more of a computer than either of us will probably ever need, but oh well! Now I just need to find a Korean plug for the charger.
By way of a phone, here is where my problems begin. I am spoiled on my iPhone. Absolutely spoiled! As you may have guessed with my introductory sentence above, I am loyal to Apple. This includes phones. I don't understand other smartphones. I'm sure there are good ones, but I don't want to try them. I like my iPhone. However, I use an iPhone 4 (I know, I need to upgrade...) The 4 is NOT a world phone. Mine is also tied to Verizon. I have been desperately trying to search forums and websites about using an iPhone in SouthKorea. Apparently, iPhones are available, but the way their networks work is different from America (and the rest of the world) AND if you bring your own, you have to register the phone with the GOVERNMENT to get the serial number approved to use on a line of service. I found some service plans that would work, and are certainly cheap enough. However, even if Verizon unlocked my phone, I believe the network will not work due to the technology that goes into the phone. So my options are thus: bring the phone and try to get it approved and put on a line of service (about a 30/70 chance of working, not in my favor) OR buy an iPhone there (cons being that i have to sign a 2 year contract which I cannot do, or pay full price for the phone, can't afford) OR buy an iPhone 4S here (world phone!) but we all suspect a new phone in the coming months, plus would have to pay full price which i just cannot do.
So, being the devious little imp that I am, I start talking to my crazy-smart coworkers about my dilemma. One of the suggests, in a tone which implied that I should have already known this, that I could use Google Voice thru Talkatone app to make free calls to US numbers (also texts and voicemail). This is so unbelievably brilliant, I can't help but doing a happy dance. Now my only problem is to get data on my iPad. I will need to obtain the same approval from the government for my device (I do NOT understand this process) and then purchase a SIM-card for the iPad. So far, I am not 100% sure I can do this, but it is possible in almost every other country in the world, so I am crossing my fingers. If this works, I will buy a cheap flip-phone for local use over there, but keep iPad with data to make international calls to America (taking away the need for calling cards or international calling plans). Can I just say that technology is INCREDIBLE. Seriously, it just keeps getting better!
What do you think of my plan? If you have any insider knowledge that I need to know, please comment! I want to cover all my bases before I get there. BUT please do NOT comment that I need to stop being so picky and get a phone over there, that that is the land of technology, or some other negative-nancy comment. I know what I want! So there :P
Oh, also, this is neat. I bought an AirPort Express router (Apple also). This little baby is awesome! It is about the size of a deck of cards, and I expect will be extremely helpful over there. When I get my internet hooked up, my American AirPort Express will be able to use English (without the horrible attempts at translations). I am excited to have an English router. It just hooks up into my modem or my ethernet and broadcasts my internet :) I can control it in English settings from my iPad. This way, when I am at my apartment, I can use the iPad (or iPhone in WiFi-only settings) to call home, thru google voice also. Finally, I can take the AirPort Express with me when I travel. Anywhere that has ethernet, I can plug this baby in and create my own little WiFi network. Brilliant!
If you don't speak techno, I probably just simultaneously bored and confused the hell out of you. But, if you can follow that, I hope I gave some good information. Please feel free to comment questions or advice! I welcome all help! :)