The other day a friend of mine told me that I have to be proactive to survive living in such a big city in a foreign country. He was referring to making friends here in Daejeon and, more specifically, when making plans. I understand that this is especially important during this period that I like to call my own personal communication limbo. I don't have a phone so I don't have, god forbid, texting! (If you know me well then you know that I've never been one to drink the "texting cool aid"). But bless Jesus, I do have the internet. And what would I do without it?? I've become a skyping, facebooking, blogging, instant messaging junkie, which (undeniably) has always been true (to a degree), but has amplified since I've been in Korea. Type Type Type. The tip tap strike of the keys has become the soundtrack to my life these past 2 weeks. In all seriousness, it's my only mode of communication because I live alone and I'm the only native English speaker in my school. So, yes, I agree, you do have to be proactive to survive in a foreign country, but I believe in more ways than one.
I've been walking in larger concentric circles about my neighborhood... if you could call it that. Daejeon has over 1.4 million people and I live in the heart of the city in an area near its "new downtown." It's not your quiet residential neighborhood. I'm slowly getting my bearrings. I'm not a person who can look at a map and understand the layout. I need to see it, walk it. Plus, it gives me something to do during the week, which hasn't been entirely action packed. Survival 101 in a large city in a foreign country: keep busy doing something, whether that be going for a run, teaching myself korean, going for a walk, having dinner with friends, cooking, blogging, reading, talking with friends, or going shopping. It's different during the weekends where I have the time to get out of the city and do something, but during the week my antidote to impending boredom and possibly homesickness is constant motion.
Today I tried to go for, what has become, my daily run in the park by city hall. What I found was rehearsal for the 2010 World Archery Festival. I watched for a minute as 10 Korean boys practiced their routines in colorful robes. I opted for a walk around the city instead. I suppose I could have run on the side walks and I sometimes do, but I get looks for that. I've got my neighborhood pretty well mapped out. Crispy Creme, check! My co-teacher, Jella, calls it, "The Crispy," which I find incredibly cute and very funny. Dunkin' Doughnuts, check! McDonald's, check! Fellas, if you've been searching for the "Sexy Bar" and have yet to find it, lucky for you, I now know where that is too. KFC, check! All my essentials are right around the corner ;)
I think on my next venture I'll take the metro to another area of the city and see where that lands me.