Friday, September 14, 2007

Trying to Find the Post Office

I set out on a walking excursion to find the post office and a community center which are both within a half mile of our apartment. I found a set of buildings and this sign. I'm sure it identifies what the buildings are but I couldn't read it. So I went into the nearest building and up to the information desk. I heard an orchestra playing in the background and I inquired if this building was the community center. No one spoke English and they tried to give me a program to the concert. I declined, thanked them and headed for the door.

I found a second building that looked (to me) like a community center. I entered and again inquired at the information booth. The young girls here were quit giggly and also spoke no English. They talked among themselves for a time and then a security guard came up and led me to another building. I assumed he had understood me.

We enter the third building which seemed more like an office building and we approached the counter. A group of six girls gathered and the guard was telling them something and they were responding. Finally, a girl from the back of the room came forward and took me to a another counter and gave me a form. I told her I was looking for the community center. She said the guard had told her that I was moving and wanted a form to change my address. She didn't really understand community center so I said that I liked to swim. She understood and pointed me to a fourth building. I thanked her and off I went.

I entered this building and was greeted with that old familiar smell of chlorine. I love that smell! It reminds me of so many fun times. I went up to the information desk and asked if I could get some information. More of the same - big smiles, embarrassment and no English. I said, "So, no one speaks English here?" I got a bunch of smiles in return and took that for a yes. Oh well, off the the post office.

I became lost taking many of the tiny sides streets in my neighborhood and came across this elementary school. I would love to do some volunteering while I am here so I went into the school. I was surprised that none of the doors were locked and were, in fact, propped open. I found the Administration Offices which were also labeled in English and I entered.

Work ceased and I had their full attention. I spoke to a girl about volunteering. She didn't know English and really didn't know what to do about me. Suddenly, an older Korean came over and asked in English if he could help me. I think he could have been the principal. I told him that I would like to volunteer or help in a classroom. He said, "Must be Korean to teach." I said, "I don't want to teach, just help. Volunteer, for free." He said again, "Must be Korean, only Korean." So I said, "So that means I can't help out here at your school?" He said, "Yes." I said thank you and that was that. I'm going to ask our relocation agency about it. I would still like to do it.

I never did find the post office.


Helena said...

How frustrating!

I don't see "post office" anywhere on the sign. The word sounds like "oo-chay-gook," if that helps. I hope there's one nearby!

When I was serving as a missionary in Korea we volunteered at the local schools' English classes a few times. I'm sure there'll be someplace where you can help out. Sounds like fun!

CreekHiker said...

Becky, I'm so relieved you posted again. Thank God you didn't die of fan death! LOL!

What an experience. I'm sure someone would love for you to volunteer. Art is such a universal language and you could teach so much. English too.

I was thinking the Ronald McDonald House would be a good place for you... but they don't have one there. What about the Salvation Army? Do they have a post there???

Becky said...

Thanks Helena, I found it today!

The Salvation Army is here but the only one I know about is in Seoul.

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