We dragged ourselves out of bed in a university dorm and threw down a breakfast feast of cereal, rice and fermented, hot pepper paste flavoured cabbage before stumbling out into the freezing cold street. With hands in pockets and bright red noses from the cold air we headed up to rows of buses that would take us to our new home. We were off to become English teachers in ‘nowhere’ Korea. After a cushioned, gentle week of teacher training and orientation to Korean, food, culture and language we were to leave our captivity. We were set free into the wild.
One nerve wracking bus journey later we found ourselves in a human aquarium of sorts. New English teachers were pressed against the windows of the bus as a swarm of Korean teachers fought to find their newest prey at the bus’ entrance. Little known to us it would be the last time we would see each other till much later that night. The second after I watched my boyfriend get sucked into the crowd and promptly disappear my Korean co teacher identified me from an unattractive passport picture she had seen and swept me away. After what can only be described as absolute chaos my co teacher and I collected my vagrant looking luggage and set forth on the next stretch of the journey. Homeward bound.