Now I know why…

…everyone moans about the hospital check. After that, I’ll never be rude to an immigrant ever again. Everything was in hangul (Korean), and we just wandered from nurse to nurse, saying aanyong haseyo (hello) and kamsahamnida (thank you). I’ve never felt so utterly stupid in my life. And we tried to help, but just knew nothing.ย I was x-rayed, bled, eye examined with lights 2x, ears checked, neurologist asked if I was “crazy,” dentist checked my teeth, then blood pressure, hearing test, sight exam (with color test) and finally, peed (not enough) in a cup. I hadn’t been drinking enough water. I don’t know how much pee it takes, but I sure hope it was enough. If all was well, we go to immigration on Friday with the results to get our Alien Registration Cards on our E-2 Visas.ย 

I’m so tired. But I still got to shadow David’s class! ย Image

New Kids On The Block

You know the first days at a new job? Where you’re terrified and excited and you know where nothing is? Add not understanding half the language and 16-hour jet lag to overcome to the mix and you’ll understand about where I’m at.

We (Steven from Chicago and I) met up in the Seoul-Incheon Airport for our domestic flight to Daegu. After our long flights, immigration, baggage, customs, re-check-in and security again, we were pretty wiped. The taxi ride was a dark blur; I remember seeing cutesy animals on skyscrapers and a 555-1268 number, which made me laugh because here that’s a real prefix!

I arrived at DGEV about 9pm on Sunday night, and was immediately greeted by David and Roy-Gene, as well as Gail. Friendly faces and people to carry my bags was the best thing in my life at that moment. I got to my room and there was a welcome bag with the DGEV white tiger (see photo!), and included snacks, tissues, baby wipes and guides to seeing Daegu. I pulled some things out of my carry on and promptly fell asleep around 9:45.

I woke up around 2:30 and said “I’m not doing this,” so I slept 2 more hours and got up at 4:30, unpacking most of my suitcases. Roy-Gene made me coffee around 6, and I got ready for my first day by showering (I will make a post about showering here, trust) and trying on about 3 different outfits. David and I went to breakfast and from there, a teacher meeting, which they do on Monday mornings.

Here’s Colleen and I at said meeting:


PS it’s muggy, y’all. I didn’t save more time to fight with the borrowed straightener I used:) I rocked heels all day, which I was a little worried I couldn’t do. My feet hurt but weren’t murderous by the end of the day. It’s just like getting used to the stone floor of the Apple store all over again.

We went to opening ceremonies: aka a waving tunnel to greet the kids on Monday and observed about 4 classes, including Orientation, Self-Intro, Pet Shop and Constellations. I got some free hangers from the freebie table, and a laundry hamper! Then, dinner and hanging out with people, hanging up said clothes and finally feeling like the room was my corner of the world. Then, ๐Ÿ’ค.

Today, beat the jet lag a little more by waking up at 5:45 and coffee-ing with Roy Gene again. I didn’t want to fight with the weather nor the flat iron, so I threw some gel in my hair and called it a curly day. Navy TOMS, jersey pencil skirt and gray shirt made it a wrap.

I’m about to go have my immigration physical in about 10 minutes–not sure why everyone groans…

Can’t beat waking up to this.



And here. we. go.

Made it past the I-5 bridge collapse. Survived family goodbye, but only by pretending to be Spock and have no emotions. Snuck both suitcases under weight. Made it through security despite the pat-down and laptop search. Leaned right on the train to international “S” gates. Found a bathroom. Now a Smart Water. And finally, the blog! The infamous blog! It LIVES!

Welcome to!

I’ll try and post often (but not, like, too often, where you feel the need to hide my updates on Facebook or pretend you have “plans” so you don’t have to see me kind of often). If you want to, I think there’s a submission or “ask” box where you can ask questions or say hi–and of course, there is always a comment box at the bottom of each article. Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@alyssa_bailey, or just click the link on the right side of the blog) as well for smaller, quippier anecdotes.ย 

Without further ado,ย 


The Night Before Christmas…

2 Suitcases, filled to oh-so-close-but-still-under 50lbs

1 Carryon, filled with various “stuff,” plus a northface and wool coat

1 Personal item, holding laptop, iPad, (now SIM unlocked) iPhone, wallet, visa, passport, itinerary, glasses and gum

1 very nervous woman, trying to remember everything

Korea: it’s time.



Roadblock (literally)

The first roadblock on my way to DGEV: an I-5 bridge collapsed into the Skagit River about 40 minutes south of our house. Rerouting for our trip to SeaTac on Saturday will probably involve leaving 2 hours earlier to take the slower (and likely crowded, especially as its Memorial Day weekend) state rural routes. The images are frankly frightening, considering how often we drive it without a second thought. Happy to hear that there’s no serious injuries nor casualties; looking forward to a latte early in the drive.

Bridge collapses in Washington state

Me, tonight, taking the trash out in the pouring rain after saying goodbye to brother & sister-in-law and gorgeous 10-day-old little niece.

That Prep Life

So many people have asked if I’m “excited” about this South Korea move (which is this Saturday, mah babies!). And it’s strange. Really strange. It’s hard to anticipate something you know will be so monumental. I remember feeling the same way before moving to Oklahoma at 18 for college.

It feels hazy; like it could be someone else’s life. I don’t know when it will hit me that I’m going to be in a foreign country for real. Maybe over the Pacific, crossing the date line, maybe upon landing and I have NO CHANCE of reading the language. You can’t cheat it like French or Spanish; the whole Korean alphabet is out to get you.

I think I’m ready, though. I’m 25 and I’ve been at my parents’ house for 3ish weeks. I’m so giddy to see David and Colleen and Roy-Gene. And I’m looking forward to something new.

Working at Apple has been, without a doubt, the best job I’ve ever had. And I’ve held a job consistently since I was 12–radio, raspberries, oil refinery, custodian, newspaper writer/editor, referee, camp counselor–so I’ve had a lot to choose from. I started part-time and worked hard and met such heartfelt, unique and genuine people that loved me and laughed with me and became my family when mine was far away. But almost 3 years later, I’m ready for a change. At least for a year.

I hope I’m ready.