Check-ins: South Korea (Episode 5)


Episode 5: The Good, the Bad and whatever this is

Date: December 31, 2012

So my passion for blog writing has been lackluster, and I only really realized this after wordpress sent me a beautiful email detailing my stats and my non-impressive contribution of blogs. Can you believe they told me this:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

I think the writers at wordpress were the ones breaking my leg instead of wishing me it. Ouch!

Wow, it’s been a while since I wrote anything. And I actually have a great explanation for that: I am a lazy adult. I’ve been ignoring the signs for too long… I’m a lazy person. How kind you all are for thinking otherwise but do you know what I’ve been doing every day since school ended? Sleeping, skating, dancing… so I’ve been busy and lazy. School’s ended with a bang! As in I think I kicked ass in my finals. I just pray that I’m actually right this time he he.

Today is new year’s eve!! So I’d like to wish everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013!!! I wish everyone a wonderful new year wherever  you are in the world and hope that this year brings you great success in all your future endeavors. Celebrate with your loved ones and look forward to a brighter new year!

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Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the skating rink at Seoul’s City Hall!

We also had a wonderful white Christmas which was great because it made me feel not too far away from home! I really miss Canada and all the terrible weather that comes with it. Seoul was covered in a blanket of white snow and I can’t help but feel giggly when the snow fell from the sky. Laughing to myself and what not, don’t you feel the same?

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Also, a word of advice, don’t go shopping on Christmas. It’s like every Korean decides to go out that day and things aren’t cheaper despite what you might think. There ain’t no boxing day here aigh’t.

There are nice little parades though with girls dressed up in cute little santa costumes if you think that's worth fighting through a sea of Koreans.

But there are nice little parades though with girls dressed up in cute little Santa costumes, if you think that’s worth fighting through a sea of Koreans.

So what to talk about… yes. Well my days left in South Korea are numbered, literally. I leave on January 11th off to India! There, I’ll meet my uncle where we can explore one of the most spiritual countries in the world together. Also one of the scariest but hey, I’m game. And this will be special because I will be with someone I cherish deeply. I love my uncles and aunts and I am very lucky I have a great relationship with them. At least the ones on my mom’s side. And I will also continue this blog, but from India! Yay a blog from India! So original, right? Damn right it is.

Now, I’ve done so many amazing things here in South Korea and I think if everyone gets a chance, they should take the time to visit this country. The country offers so much to do, whether you just love Korea cause of kpop or because you’re simply and adventurist and appreciate travel for what it is: an opportunity to educate yourself about the world and to open your eyes to a reality different than your own. Now me, I’m a bit of the two I just mentioned. I’m not going to lie, the reason I chose to come here was because I fell in love with Korea through kpop and dramas. But after coming here, my love grew beyond these boundaries.

I want to share with you some deeper reasons as to why Korea is a wonderful place to visit. If you’re even reading this blog it’s because you have some interest and have probably heard the generic reasons  of “OMG Korea is so fun, so much kpop and boys are so cute and so technologically advanced and people are so nice and I want to marry a Korean and have a drama scene.” But let me give you a sincere explanation for my love for this country. In my perspective, Korea is one of those gems in Asia that is too often ignored. Believe it or not, Korea is more than Starcraft and Samsung. Far much more to my surprise. And why is that? Well… Korea is different from any country I’ve ever been to. And maybe I’ll be eating those words after I return from India, but each country is unique in itself and now I’m talking about Korea ok. People here work hard and have such a twisted concept of life. You work hard all day for a decent salary (about 5-10 thousand won an hour, depending on the job), then you go blow your salary on a 100$ Bean Pole bag. You cover yourself head to toe in brand names and you go on crazy diets when you’re already so skinny. Oh and don’t let me rant on plastic surgery cause that is A-OK. I think Koreans prefer tiny dogs over children and there’s this sick, sick obsession with dying your hair. Women here are so beautiful and men are actually really tall. Koreans drive really well despite the Asian stereotype’s we might all refute but deep down inside do believe. Korea is so mesmerizing to me because it’s so unique. Nowhere in the world will you find this. And although it seems like all I did was list bad things, it is what makes Korea. People here are nice and food is cheap and boys do look better in Gangnam. South Korea is the most unique country I’ve been to. There is such a beautiful coexistence of traditional Korea and contemporary Korea in one. And the youth don’t revolt; they accept it with open arms. Even the most plastic of Barbie dolls and the most handsome of Korean men will sit on the floor of a restaurant and enjoy black bean noodles as an activity with their friends.

People here are different. The air is different, the feel is different and the sense of knowing your place, regardless of your age, exists and applies to everyone. This is why we don’t have subways in Ottawa, because even if we did, it’d be like herding animals into a far too sophisticated carriage for them. My hat goes off to the youth and adults of Korea. I don’t know how you were raised, but it never ceases to amaze me.

So how does this make Korea interesting? I’m providing you with a non-generic opinion. Everyone is different in the world. But what intrigues me the most about Koreans is that they are just as fortunate and beautiful and full of life as we Americans are. I’m not comparing countries and their economic states and power; I’m comparing life which can be the same even in countries that stand at two completely different areas on whichever scale you choose. They live like us but they’re not like us at all. They’re… Korean. They’re shy, nice, friendly, skinny and speak terrible English. But they are so unique and amazing. Most people, given the opportunity, try to be different than what they are. The Koreans, no matter the age, never forget where they come from. I think that’s also why Americans like Koreans so much, because they feel part of something different. It’s… liberating. I don’t need to be like the people back home. It’s not that they’re bad, it’s just, I realized its ok to be different from them. I don’t need to try and hook up in clubs and move out of my house at 18 or be ashamed that I am a total fucking nerd. And it’s ok to want to eat food my mom made at my age and that my idea of a fun night is going to a karaoke bar or playing PS3 all night. Even though I’m a social and friendly woman, I love that double side to me and I think we all have a double side. One we repress more because the other one is what helps us fit in. I’m the youth, and I’m telling you even we forget all this all the time.  I forget to be me and fit in by doing things that aren’t really me. I guess, that’s why I love Korea. People seem, sincere. Heck they might not be, but they seem like it. And that’s all it takes, right?

Well, I guess this blog was more about me and my opinions instead of being  an informative piece on South Korea. But as the amazing show Community has told me, it’s good to shake up the system sometimes. Also, try yuja-cha when you are here, it is my favorite tea ever.

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Now that I am free of school, I will try and take the time to write more, especially before I head off to India 😀

Take care and I wish you all a Happy New Year!

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