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.
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).
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!)