I just got my itinerary and this might sound insane but when I scrolled down and read the dates, times, and connections, I swear time sped up. I heard it whooshing in my ears. Suddenly I am alert and feel quite productive whereas before I read the itinerary (about an hour ago) I was lounging languorously with no constructive goal in mind (other than mundane housekeeping, which is my contribution while I’m in the States).

So it’s here, and it’s real, and somehow I have the capacity to be surprised by it, that the nebulous and inchoate idea of “teaching overseas” is now beyond the larval stage (lots of paperwork, emails, fees, post-office-breakdowns) and is moving to the pupal cocoon of a 13-hour international flight.  (Following this analogy, my emergence from the plane on Korean soil is to be read as the triumphal advent of the butterfly [moth, if you want to get picky about cocoons vs chrysalides {until 15 seconds ago I did not know the plural of chrysalis. isn’t this learning adventure FUN?}]. But I probably should have abandoned the analogy a while ago.)


Now I am here, and soon I will be there.  After four–FOUR– changes to the departure date I should probably take the cosmic hint and begin packing now, rather than Monday, which would be, typically, my standard of preparedness.

In all honesty, I’m starting to get a little nervous (which is why I would have preferred the earlier departure date, grateful as I am for the extra time with family. Less time for nerves). I can tell I am getting a little nervous because I have begun obsessively googling.  The current research smokescreen? Korean cell phones.

I’m leaving my phone to my mother, since it won’t work in Korea.
Side note: if you have my number now and try to reach me by it as of Tuesday, you will instead be reaching her. She is a lovely person and would probably be very happy to talk to you. This should not be read as a deterrent.
On leaving the phone: this means I’ll be traveling with no immediate, pre-paid, reliable means of communicating. Which, as of this morning and the Slight Nerves, seemed less than desirable.

So here’s what I’ve learned about traveling with cell phones to South Korea:
It don’t work.
Not, that is, unless you are more well-versed in phone technology and well-padded in the bank account regions than I am. I just got texting a year ago. That’s right. 2010 saw Colleen taking the world of texting by storm. I still spell things properly, even. Here is an excellent article about international cell phone service, broken down by the different US providers:


In essence, South Korea uses different mobile systems than the rest of the world, excluding Japan.  Which means that any international go phone just won’t do, oh no, it would have to be set to work in South Korea. Which means more expensive. Which is fine: it just means I’ll be traveling phoneless.  This did not worry me until the onset of the obsessive googling.

Having said all of that, I just remembered my purpose in beginning this entry was to outline the plan for this blog: what kinds of posts I hope to be writing, how often, and so on.  Thanks, obsessive googling.  But hey! All is not lost!  We have learned something about South Korea today: the fascinating mobile network diversity of my temporary homeland.