Monday, October 18, 2010

Another Mailing Address!

A few of you need to know that if you plan on sending me something in the mail that is bigger than a letter, you need to send it to my school, not my house. This is mostly because the mail man does not know the key code to get into my building, and partly because of the weird hours I work and sleep that don't quite line up with the mail schedule. There is a chance I will receive a package if you send it to my house, but not a good chance. If you have already tried to send me a package, let me know, and I will go with a Korean-speaker to the post office; I think they hold them there. The address you should use is:

Kirsten Smith
c/o: Moon Kkang English Academy
2nd floor, 470-5
Daejam-Dong, Nam-Gu
Pohang-Si, Gyeongsangbuk-Do
South Korea, 790-310

Letters can still come to my apartment address, for now, but that may be changing soon. I will let you know.

And just for fun, a word about addresses, in case you're curious.

Moon Kkang English Academy, 2nd floor, 470-5: This, of course, is the name of the school, followed by the floor and building number. In my home address, the first line is just my apartment complex name, apt. number, and building number. In Korea, there are very few signs with street names. Most streets don't have names at all! And though buildings all have official numbers, they usually aren't posted anywhere. Some buildings have names, but those usually aren't posted either, unless it is a business or a school. In addition, they number buildings according to when they were built, so you could have number 19-3 next to number 174. It makes it loads of fun to find someones' house for the first time!

I'll take a brief aside to point out that I say "house" in the non-literal sense--I have yet to see a single house; everyone lives in apartments buildings, many of which are up to 30 stories high! Mine is only 5, which means no elevator! The style of building that I live in is called a "villa" (pictured right and above) because it is somewhat smaller than the high-rises you see everywhere in Korea. I'm not sure, but I think villas are a little nicer than most high-rises. Though my apartment number is 502, I live on the 4th floor. Why? Because in Korea, the number 4 is superstitiously bad luck and a symbol of death, much like the number 13 at home. Therefore, when numbering, lot of buildings go right from the third to the fifth floor.

Daejam-dong, Nam-gu: Dong means neighborhood, so Daejam-dong is the name of my neighborhood. A Gu is an urban district or ward, which contains many dongs. Nam-gu is my district. Fun fact: I live right next to city hall! It is beautiful. To the left is city hall from the front. To the right and below is a picture of the park behind city hall were I like to hang out and read sometimes.

Pohang-si, Gyeongbuk: "Si" is Korean for "city." Pohang-si is simply, the city of Pohang. Gyeongbuk (formally Gyeongsangbuk-Do) is the province of Korea that I live in, much like a state. It has 13 cities and 10 counties, and a local government that reports directly to the national government. My city, Pohang, is the major port city of the region, as well as being a major port city to all of Korea.

South Korea 790-826: This may seem obvious, but I won't assume--the numbers after Korea are just the postal code, much like a zip code.

This post was prompted by a question from Claudia, feel free to shoot me any other questions you may have, I'll be happy to fill you in. :)

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