Thursday, March 19, 2009

Up and Down or A Climbing I Will Go...

(thinking out loud)

I always try to concoct long, epic blog posts. Yet, what usually happens is that I run out of time to finish or halfway through, I decide that it sounds ridiculous and I don't post it.

Therefore...

Since it is important to me to be documenting my life here...and hopefully interesting to anyone who reads this, I'm going to try a new strategy of posting smaller bits and pieces more frequently.

***

Tomorrow I am going climbing (finally), and I couldn't be more excited!! I feel incredibly thankful to have found an online community of climbers who have made me amazingly welcomed into their circle. I haven't been climbing in a couple of months, so it will certainly be challenging.

*I promise to post pictures :)*



This is one of the walls that I will probably be climbing. The wall is about 15 meters high and unlike all of the man-made walls that I have climbed, this one is outside!

Friday, March 13, 2009

While I have been experiencing a great deal of culture shock on an everyday basis, I was hit quite hard this morning:

Taylor Swift singing, "Our Song," in Korean.

Before I heard her (well...the dubbed over her... or a Korean singing and sounding EXACTLY like her), I could only hear the guitar part. In the middle of blinking, the twangy music transported me back to Nashville. Then in hearing a slew of Korean words, I was immediately brought back to Seoul. Even though my plane ride was 17ish hours long..I felt like I traveled home and back again in seconds.

*sigh*

I have really been missing home...

***

Last night, the only exciting thing that I did was buy delicious apples from the little fruit stand outside of my apartment (my fruit sellers are going to make a killing off of me this year..haha). Apples are my favorite food and having them gives me a "slice" (sorry, I couldn't resist) of home. Since the work week in Korea apparently means 50+ hours instead of a normal 40, I opted to go home....on a Friday night... in a huge, new city. I am awesome.

Since I haven't written that much, over the next few days I will TRY to re-cap what I have been experiencing...

Last weekend, all of the English teachers and I had an amazing dinner. In many of the restaurants in Seoul, you have the option of sitting on the floor.

Chopsticks+floor sitting=dining heaven

Since Koreans are awesome, they heat buildings from the floor up. What does heat do? Heat rises! Therefore, everyone takes off their shoes...gets comfy on the warm floor and is served an abundance of AMAZING Korean food.

Most of the places we have eaten at are Korean barbecue restaurants (note: I am the ONLY herbivore in our group..so I go where everyone else goes. I'm a sheep). However, the word barbecue is more than likely offering an incorrect connotation. Normally, barbecue restaurants in the US are places such as Texas Roadhouse, Logan's, etc....that serve lots of meat, french-fries, fried anything and everything, lard-cooked veggies and of course, good ole country music.

Here, the plate of whatever meat is ordered is brought out (gag-reflex) and the dining party or the server cooks it in front of everyone on the table's personal grill.

The part of the meal that I enjoy is the bottomless kimchi, HUGE romaine lettuce leaves, rice, red bean paste sauce, onions, garlic, jalapenos, bean shoot/sprout things, and sometimes jiggae (soup with tofu...and I'm counting on it being made with miso, not chicken stock).

Amazing.

Rather than to be stuck in a over-sized portion on a personal plate, the group sharing the meal is much better able to enjoy the company of one another. I have found that meals here are far better for experiencing people, as compared to meals served back home. Through the reaching, the food falling out of a chopstick grip, the messy lettuce wraps, and friends (or sometimes strangers..haha) re-filling your water glass, the focus is forced to faces, hands and conversation.



(sorry Taylor...I swiped your pic!)

Monday, March 2, 2009

heart and Seoul...





Before I left for Seoul, I said that I was going to try and blog often...post pictures and videos...blah blah blah.

And now..two weeks into my Korean city-life, and I have not blogged ONCE!

So far, here are 15 things about Koreans that I have learned:

15)It is completely acceptable to be an alcoholic here.

14)If you don't watch your back, you will get hit by a bicycle.

13)While you are looking over your shoulder to dodge a possible bicycle injury, you will either walk into someone who is playing with their cell phone or listening to music.... or you will step on pigeon. '

12)When ordering something without meat, fish, eggs or dairy...you will be stared at like you ordered a salad without lettuce, vegetables or salad dressing.

11)Koreans LOVE gear. Example: If you are hiking, every Korean will have the gadgetiest backpack, the most tricked-out hiking shoes, and a walking stick.

10)If you are hiking, no matter how good of shape you are in, you will get passed by a Korean that is at least 70 years old.

9)Korean men LOVE western girls, but they will barely talk to you.

8)Korean children are not only beautiful and amazingly cute, they are also ridiculously intelligent.

7)Korean women are gorgeous. The end.

6)K-pop is bigger than Britney Spears.

5)Kimchi is magical.

4)While there are driving schools here, EVERYONE drives erratically and over-aggressively. If you have ever watched the Harry Potter movie scene of when Harry is riding in the bus, that is exactly how I feel whenever I take the bus...

3)A fire-show at a random, everyday bar is not uncommon...even on a week-night.

2)Koreans are incredibly hard-working.

1)Koreans are very sneaky...you will never know what kind of restaurant/bar/grocery store/stationary store/animal hospital/driving range that you could possibly find on a floor of a high-rise building.

So far, my experiences here have been absolutely amazing and I am so thankful that I decided to do this. While my heart is so deeply tied to Nashville (in so many ways), I fall more in love with Seoul everyday...