Last night I discovered the my phone has a subway map application on it. I actually noticed this when I first got the phone, but since the map is entirely in Hangul and I didn't know any of the alphabet when I got the phone, I forgot about it. Last night, however, I was lying in bed*, wishing I could fall asleep and fiddling with my phone, and I found the map again. This time, I knew the alphabet** and while I wasn't quick, I could read most of the station names.*** This is all sorts of handy, since I never remember to take a subway map with me and I end up wandering the train, looking for a compartment with a map of the entire system, not just the line I'm on. Also, it has a function that tells you the approximate travel time between stations, and a function that will tell you the quickest route vs. the route with the fewest transfers. I wasted half an hour plotting various trips around the city. (Turns out I can get home from Sinchon like fifteen minutes faster if I transfer at Seoul Station instead of riding the green line all the way to Sadang. This is good to know!)
* I got sent home sick from school yesterday. I woke up with the milder version of this, but decided to go into school anyways since it seriously wasn't worth the hassle. I made it through my first two classes, but was discovered with my head on my desk during class change and my co-teacher freaked out and took me to the school nurse. The nurse, vice principal and my co-teacher all tried to take me to the hospital (Korean solution to everything), but I managed to convince them to just let me go home and sleep. I woke up this morning feeling fine and with my period, so I think I've discovered the cause. I knew there was no point in going to the hospital. I was impressed, however, by the gossip network at the school. Almost as soon as I got to school people knew I wasn't feeling well. I think it's possible my co-teacher sent out some sort of memo saying I was sick, because all morning teachers and students came by the English zone and told me they hoped I felt better. I was all, WTF HOW DO YOU KNOW, DO I LOOK THAT ROUGH?!?!
**I got sick of the whole learn a letter/sound/word a day thing, so I decided to go with the tried and true method of making flashcards and reviewing until I knew them. It took me about an hour on Monday afternoon to learn most of the alphabet. I'm still a bit hazy on some of the vowels, especially the w+vowel combos, but I'm pretty much literate again. :D
***Except for those stations where the name is one thing in Korean and another in English. For example, the station I live at. In Korean, it's 한대앞 (Handae'ap), but the English name is Hanyang University at Ansan, which is in no way a direct translation. This caused all kinds of trouble my first few weeks here, because whenever I got in a taxi, I asked to go to the Hanyang University at Ansan station and all I got was blank looks. Finally, someone explained that the Korean name for the station was completely different.