Monday, 28 September 2015


Well, once again I have returned from a conference and not maintained my posting schedule.  My excuse this time is that I was moving countries, and for the first time going to one where English is not the main language.  I am now in the Republic of Korea, with what is probably my last postdoc.  And it is certainly quite a new experience.

Of course, I can't blame my absence from here just on my travels.  Though there were a lot of issues that made this move more stressful.  When I moved to the US, Canada or Australia, I was solely responsible for the immigration paperwork, and I had it taken care of at least a month in advance.  This time I was left waiting on my employers, and only got my visa 3 days!! before I flew.  But I've already gone on about this and other issues to friends and family, so I don't want to go into more detail now.

I will comment a little on culture shock.  I've never really experienced it before; there are certainly differences between the US and the UK, for example, but there are far more similarities.  That said, even here what I'm feeling is not so much culture shock as language shock.  Korea is much like any developed nation; it has a few quirks, but nothing really shocking.  The fact that I can't communicate with most people beyond sign language is my main problem, and it also makes buying food more difficult than I'm used to.  It doesn't help that I have yet to find shops selling my comfort foods; good bread, good cheese and plain black tea a la English Breakfast.  I mean, I should probably eat less cheese than I'm used to, but the lack of a good cup of tea for a month has really left me unsettled.

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