Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pre-departure To-do List

Whew... the wedding's over! My eldest brother Tim was married this past weekend, and the ceremony and reception were held at our house. So for the past two weeks -- ever since I got back from school, actually -- I have been doing almost nothing but preparing for the biggest party my family has ever hosted. Making the favors, cleaning the backyard, painting, planting, designing, running dozens of errands... it's been a crazy fortnight. And Saturday was one whirlwind of a day! But Tim and his new wife (my new sister-in-law!) are off on their honeymoon, things at home have calmed down considerably, and now I can turn my attention 100% to preparing for a year in Korea.

So here's my To-do List. Having already finished the very necessary things, like getting my visa, medical clearance, and plane tickets, most of what I think I have yet to do is going to be based off of what I hear the other Fulbright Fellows are doing. Thanks to a surprisingly active Facebook group that was created shortly after we were all selected, dozens of us have been sharing tips and even making some travel plans for our shared year abroad. (Well, the "shared" part is only six weeks during orientation and training, but that's beside the point.) I took some pointers and made my list:

  1. Go to San Francisco and grab some souvenirs, gifts for my host family and school, and prizes for students. I'll see if I can ransack the local tourism bureaus for freebies!
  2. Decide if I want to mail over some magazines, readers, or language activity books that might come in handy for teaching. I plan to do a lot of my teaching with computer technology, but a good book is always nice to have in a classroom, right? People have suggested Mad Libs, which is a great idea.
  3. Seriously crack down on studying Korean. I'd like to be placed in a non-beginner class, if possible, so by the time I take that placement test, I'd better have my verb conjugations down and a much larger vocabulary.
  4. Cut my hair...
  5. Figure out how I want to manage money while in Korea; this may involve closing one bank account and opening another. As long as I can use a Korean ATM from time to time, I think I'll be fine.
  6. Pack pack pack. I have sixteen days left to organize an entire year...! At least I won't be bringing my entire closet with me. I have a feeling I'll be buying a lot of clothes (especially winter clothes) while abroad... so expect me to be dressed head-to-toe in Uniqlo when you next see me! ;)
  7. See people and say goodbyes! I won't see my friends for at least six months, some for a year or longer. But I'll do my part to keep in touch by keeping up this blog. So you should subscribe to it (there's a hidden sidebar on the right; the button on the bottom is a subscribe button!), maybe, if you want to, no pressure or anything, really. Really.
Oh yes, and I must remember to hike Mission Peak a few times before I go. Am I missing anything else?

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations to your brother and your sister in law!

    A few things to add to your list!:
    Review Korean customs and manners...like using formal language and bowing and eating....not sure how much they overlap with Taiwanese customs.

    Get your taste buds ready to eat a lot of kimchi!!

    Understand how Korean currency works! Exchange dollars for won at a Korean bank (maybe they'll exchange for free?)

    Koreans drink and smoke a lot, so make sure you're not the subject of second-hand smoking.

    Best of luck!!