Welcome to Jeju, South Korea Door Sign

환영 (Welcome) to Jeju-do, South Korea

Getting There

Almost 24 hours of travel, 2 planes, 5 bags, and 1 new helpful Aussie friend later, I arrived on Jeju Island on August 6th. Thankfully it was a lot less hot than anticipated.  I don’t know about you, but personally, I am a sweater.  There’s no way around it.  If temperatures are high, those little beads can’t wait to leak through to cool me down and threaten to drown those around me.  I travelled through Southeast Asia two summers ago and I swear Niagara Falls 2.0 sprung out of my body the second I walked out of the gloriously (over) air-conditioned doors of the places we stayed.  Bodily cooling systems aside, the island is absolutely beautiful and it’s no wonder people flock here to honeymoon and vacation.  I feel so spoiled to call this my new home!

Arrival on Jeju-do, South Korea

Upon arrival at the Jeju Airport, I was greeted by my new boss, her husband, and a woman from HR.  It was a good thing I arrived after everyone else – my luggage took up most of the back of the school vehicle!  Some colleagues had shipped their belongings, but I trudged it all with me through the airports.  At the residence I met a few of the girls, back from a night swim, and received a lovely welcome note on my door!

Jetlag didn’t hit until Day 2 so I spent the first night unpacking and organizing my new abode.  I will have two places of residence this year: the teacher don residence and the dorm where the students stay.  As teacher dons we have overnight shifts in the dorm every other week.  I have yet to see the dorms, but I hear they’re similar to the teachers’ residence.  My new apartment has two bathrooms (!), a queen-sized bed, a living area, and oodles of shelving and storage.  Each don’s apartment furnishings vary but all have the same layout.  I think our residence will be used as a dorm once the population of the school expands further, hence the two bathrooms.

Our rooms also came with welcome packages that had brownies, butter, milk, cereal, Jeju oranges, hangers, and TP.

Work Begins

The next morning I attended PYP training for teachers so I could learn more about the IB program and met another group of fresh faces to the school.  Everyone was friendly and a few colleagues even asked how the wedding was.  I caught up with some logistics (setting up a work laptop) and settled into the day.

In the evening the teachers and staff at Branksome attended a Welcome Dinner at the Hyatt Resort in the Cliff Garden.  My inner self rejoiced as it was only hot for a small fraction of our evening outside.  No one wants to be the sticky one when they’re dressed up and meeting new people. There were a variety of local (black pork) and Western (pizza!) finger foods to fill our bellies and lots of vino to keep us hydrated.  After an initial flurry of group paparazziing (I’m not the only camera-happy person here!), we explored the beach and paths nearby.

All in all, I’d say it was a pretty wonderful first 24 hours on the island.  It’s safe to say I’m looking forward to what’s next.

Thanks for reading!
-Tara

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