Today the world is as globalized as it could be - - yet we struggle to find meaning in our daily existence.

04 March 2010

day 105: in the heart of seoul

So it has been three months since I traded Costa Mesa, California for Seoul, Korea. In essence, I left behind my family, my friends, my car (which my parents promptly sold after I left), my nishiki, my "stuff" (RIP George Carlin), In-n-out burger, Mexican food, Chaya, (damn. the chicken teriyaki dinner was money! Well so was the beef bowl I suppose), the desert, the mountains, the beach, and of-course the fantastic ~70 degree weather that has graced Southern Californians for centuries.

For what? Minus celcius degree weather, winds that slash your face with invisible ice daggers, and the never-ending coldness. Doesn't sound too pleasant huh?

To be quite honest, it hasn't been all that bad. Having a "season" is definitely something most Southern Californians take for granted. Not because we're all superficial, or need a constant tan, but it's primarily because we never have the opportunity to experience such wonders. About two months ago, Korea was hit with a record breaking snowfall that halted all activities in the country, including schools! That day I left from my Aunt's house in Suwon (about an hour south of Seoul) around 10 AM, and got to my school around 3 PM, only to be told that I could go home because the busses could not shuttle the students to school. What a great break for a Monday I thought! The minute I sneak in a "f*ck yes!" I'm told I would have to make it up that Saturday! -__- Awesome. Anyways, it's March now and Spring should be arriving sooner than later.

Even in Korea I still value my weekends like every other individual in the work-force. Most of that time has been spent hanging out with hj and jungle. With our Nikons strapped, we shoot up every district we go to, and make tourists look like... well tourists. I'm too lazy to repost all the pictures that I've shot, but you can definitely find them on that social networkin g site. You know! (the one that beat out myspace, and is now crawling with creepers and bots). We were also graced with the presence of Jason Kim, and Janice Kang (thanks you two!). Hopefully, we will have more visitors in the coming months. Recently, I have been a home-body, opting to stay in-doors, and playing with my cousins. I can't wait for t-shirt days, and biking along the river.

Some things I've noticed here:

1. Shopping is a national pastime.
2. Drinking is a national hobby.
3. Smoking is a national leisure activity.
4. Passing out on the subway is acceptable.
5. Err... passing out ANYWHERE is acceptable.
6. Korean food is not that expensive.
7. Too bad everything else is!
8. Public transportation is awesome!
9. If you don't mind sitting next to ajushi's that reek of alcohol.
10. Everyone's watching something on their cell phone.
11. I can watch a starcraft match on tv while running on the treadmill.
12. I can simultaneously watch a Big Bang music video while biking.
13. Anything American is 35% over-priced.
14. Need any McDonalds, Burger King, Starbucks, Coffee Bean, Dunkin Donuts, Krispy Kreme, 7-11, Black Angus (wtf?). I know I'm missing more...
15. Being a couple requires matching shoes, or matching winter jackets. Or both.
16. Being single means you're hanging out with friends that are of the same sex.
17. There are a million foreigners here.
18. You either stop abruptly, or the car takes you out. Pedestrians do not have the right of way.
19. PC bang, DVD Room, Karaoke, Billiards, Bar, Cafe - ALL IN ONE BUILDING!
20. Everyone wants to know your age, and if your single or taken.

Oh man. I could go on, but I think it'll be more fun if I made another list later. Maybe 3 months later? Heh. I should definitely blog more often, cause everyday is an adventure for the most part, especially when it comes to teaching. However, my favorite days are those that are interrupted by non-Korean speaking foreigners seeking help. One day while I was heading home after work, an IT consultant (of Indian descent) asked if the seat next to me was taken. I said no, and we talked about what brought us here to Korea. He was on a business trip, and I told him I was teaching English. That turned into a forty minute conversation about absolutes, words, and experiences. Suffice it to say he was an extremely knowledgeable man, and the rationale he provided me that night was invaluable. It is impossible for me to rewrite our script, but I will let you in on a seemingly obvious truth: go and seek your own wisdoms, find your zen master.

Last week I finished up my Winter semester, and I already miss my old kids. Some of them were rascals, many of them were adorable, and a few were straight geniuses. Nonetheless, I am interested in seeing how these new kids will be this semester. I got one kid whose going to be a comedian when he grows up. I literally LOLed in the middle of class today. Fortunately, I have to work on Saturdays now. There go my weekends! Just a little run down of my work schedule incase you were wondering (probably not, but what the heck). I usually leave for work around 2pm, arrive at work around 2:30pm, prep my classwork, teach from 4pm to 10pm (with a 5 minute break every 55 minutes), and finally get home around 10:40-10:45pm (depending on the timing of the busses and subways). What do you think? Regardless of that seemingly hectic lifestyle I am thankful that my co-workers are all fascinating people, who have all come from different walks of life that teach me something new every day. It's a different lifestyle out here, with divergent customs, and new habits; but so far it has given me a lot of insight, and I've come to appreciate more of the simpler things in life, and the things that I had taken for-granted.

an-yeong!

3 comments:

omabu said...

wow wow 105 already?!?! woooosh...
you have been taking this change by the horns my friend. its kind of secure being able to leave all the "nice" of cali for a new place that we think doesnt equate. but i definitely begin to realize the beauties and nastiness of back home. maybe not nastiness but means of improvement.

anyways happy for you brotha! keep enlightening me with what is Korea. have fun with the new kidos!

Melissa said...

haha i like your list. but you left out baskin robbins! i like your blog ddong hee.

12FV, RFV said...

11. I can watch a starcraft match on tv while running on the treadmill.

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