With the horribly long day I had yesterday, I knew today had to be better. And, fortunately, I was proved right! I am updating my blog a little less lately, since now that I am more comfortable with school, the days are not so remarkable. My readers have also tapered off a little, more to what I figured would be my average number of views per blog. I suppose I should try to update more about my kiddos, since the progress in our relationships and their skill levels will surely change and develop by the time I leave Korea. But, the days tend to blur...
Yesterday was an especially long Monday. I woke up and was in the shower by 8:15am. I always have my alarm set for 8, but that's usually just to wake up and Facebook or check emails or FaceTime. I was ready and had eaten breakfast by 10am. At that point, I set off on a mission to get a bank account.
I had spent hours researching Korean banks in the last week. I had been stuck between KEB and KB Star. KEB has a specific foreigner division, supposedly dedicated to assisting, well, foreigners. They have branches that are specialized for English customer support. And their international cards are supposedly the most reliable. From my research, I found that they have very reasonable wire-transfer fees (which vary depending on how you complete the transfer: at the counter, via ATM, or online). KB Star, on the other hand, is much more common. I see them everywhere! They have the same services at the ATM (passbook printing of your statements, ATM wire transfers, etc), and I found that they have a demand deposit (American style checking) account specifically for foreigners, as well! They don't boast specialized branches for this, but those were quite far from me anyway. The main difference I could tell was the KB Star might be more difficult to get help in English, and their cards were subject to more hassle in other countries.
After much debate, I decided that convenience won out for me. I liked that the KB Star was literally around the corner from my apartment, and their wire transfer fees were only slightly more than KEB, if not the same. I'm not planning any major trips which would require the use of an international card, and I figure someone in the KB Star locations must speak English, at least enough to communicate what I need. So, Monday at 10am, I grabbed my passport and Alien Registration Card and headed to my local KB Star location.
After figuring out I needed a ticket with a number to be seen (and unfortunately being passed by several old ladies in the mean time), I sat in the waiting area until my number was called. It took about 15 minutes. When I approached the desk, the woman greeted me with a smile. Good start. I asked if she spoke English, and she said a little. I was slightly apprehensive, but after a little while I realized that she was being modest and in fact, she spoke moderately good English. Not fluent, mind you, but we could understand each other.
I told her I needed to open an account. She got my passport and ARC, and set to work on the paperwork. The weirdest thing was that she immediately began the computer forms and typing away before I had even told her what kind of account I wanted. She didn't ask, so if I hadn't already known what type of account I had wanted, I may have been SOL. I mentioned that I wanted a "welcome account" (the account for foreigners). I told her in a way that in America would have prompted a conversation of "what are your needs? what kinds of benefits are you looking for in your account?" Not with this lady! She just set to work. I filled out lots of paperwork, and I was very glad I had done my research and brought all the required materials and information.
When we were finishing up, I asked about setting up my wire transfer preferences so that I would be able to complete the transfers at the ATM anytime. She had to call someone to ask about that, since apparently it is uncommon for Koreans to want to wire transfer money at the ATM. But, she successfully figured it out. After additional paperwork, some phone calls to clarify what information went in which boxes (since the info I had from my American account didn't use the same lingo as their paperwork), we finally had it all set up. And just in time, at 11:45!
I made it to work just on time. Mondays start at noon, and end at 9pm. So, with my morning plus a full day at work with an additional hour, by quittin' time I was TIRED! I knocked out early...
This morning was fun because in addition to laying in bed luxuriously for an additional hour after the alarm, AND not having to be at work until 1pm (the usual time, but seems like such a blessing after Monday at noon), I also got to have a little date with Michael! I call it a date because it was actually more than just a basic phone conversation. We watched our favorite show together at the same time! :D It was silly but really fun. We watched Once Upon A Time; it has some history with us as a couple.
Work was not too bad; Tuesdays and Thursdays are my "better" kids (that is relative). I also gave a test in 2SAP and no one needed a retest. I even got their report cards completed by 9! That is rare!
After work was the best part of my day. Not only because it means another 16 hours before I have to be there again, but also because I had a surprise dinner date with one of my coworkers. We didn't plan it, but she mentioned a restaurant near our apartments and I said I would go with her. We got the chance to talk and get to know each other. She is also the one that took me to church on Sunday! Her name is Casey.
Funny enough, she was the one that, when I first met her, I had a good feeling about. She gives off a good vibe. I didn't feel like she was going to judge me or be rude. She works in the mornings, so we haven't had much of a chance to get to know each other. She also is so bubbly and friendly, she's always talking to someone, so I was a little intimidated to talk to her at first. I found out a lot about her at dinner; not necessarily personal stuff, but just got to know her personality better. And I like her :) I can definitely see us hanging out in the future.
It really lifts your spirits to have that feeling about someone, when you've been feeling so down and left out and alone. I've been managing because I have Tab to spend weekends with, and no one has been rude or anything. But I've definitely felt the difference between having an entire sorority to call if I need something, versus having a handful of real friends in the entire city of 14 million people. It just takes a little weight off the burdens that wear you down, to get to know someone that you can consider a friend.
Plus, we ate chicken strips and french fries. What beats that?!!? (In Korea, not much...)
I am feeling good about life and the rest of the week looks to be fairly easy at work. Honestly I am most excited about church on Sunday, and also getting fresh highlights and a haircut on Saturday. :) It will be a relaxing and pampered weekend! Until then... 3 more days of work!