Sunday, January 31, 2010

Everyone knows how Asians are the worst drivers back in the states, and Asian women are even worse; well, in Korea its all that combined into one. The traffic in Korea is not fun. The people can not drive. Korea has one of the highest traffic deaths in the world. It is easy to see why. I am happy that I do not drive here and take the train almost anywhere I go (sometimes the bus) The train is great, runs on time, easy to use, and very comfortable. Back to Korean drivers, they are bad. Waiting at a traffic light to cross the street is always interesting. Not all drivers follow the “red means stop” idea. It happens all the time, it is more of a shock to see people obeying traffic signs then to see cars or bikes running a light. A major reason why everyone runs these red lights is that the traffic rules just are not enforced heavily. Motorbikes are the worst, they do whatever they want. They drive on sidewalks, run red lights more frequently and they will do just about anything to get somewhere. You just have to be really careful when crossing the streets or walking on the sidewalk because you never know who you are going to cross paths with. South Korea is considered the “most wired” country in the world. Between their cell phones and internet Koreans can not get enough of it. There is something always going on with their phone, whether they are playing a video game, talking, texting, music, looking at websites, it is nonstop. It makes people in the USA look like they never use them. I do not have a cell phone here, at first I did not plan on getting one, and I might cave on this idea. Whenever I tell someone I do not have cell phone they look at me like I am from outer space. It is nice not having a phone and at times hard. Like when I meet people of course it is hard to meet up with them, but that is what facebook is for. Korean kids absolutely love video games, it seems like that is all they do on the weekends. Whenever I ask my kids what they are going to do for the weekend video games always comes out of the boys mouths. And there are pc rooms around the area. You can not walk anywhere without seeing one. Pc game rooms and coffee shops are everywhere.

I have been here for almost two months now. I have realized a few things. First thing is I do not want to be a teacher for the rest of my life. It is not that I do not like it; I like it enough to do it for the time that I am here. Private business definitely is more appealing to me. It can be really frustrating at times and also very fun at times. Seeing the kids learn English right in front of you is pretty cool and rewarding though. S. Korea is very modern, yet not westernized which can make for some interesting sites. When I go to Seoul it seems like I am in a major city in the USA, but when I walk down Suwon at times you would think you are in a third world country, and then some parts of the city feels like I am back in the USA again. My favorite part of Suwon is the Suwon Station area; there is so much to do in such a little area.

On Saturday I went to Seoul National University of Education. I was expecting a lot more then it was. I was expecting to see this beautiful campus like University of San Diego because that is the school I went to and what I was used to being a part of. Well, I was wrong. It was still a nice school with modern buildings but nothing of what I was expecting. This is the best school in Korea, and it is known for its rigorous academics so I thought I mine as well check it out. I was a little disappointed that I did not find any parties going on at the time I went. It was a fun time, after that I went to Itaewon again and got some Mexican food and it was awesome, I then watched the Celtics get beat by the Atlanta Hawks (they got a very good team) then I left Seoul around 10:30 to catch the last train home, I made it by seven minutes. This is the worst part about the train system here. It shuts completely down at 12. In order to get back to Suwon you have to plan really well, and we all know that losing track of time at a bar in a major city is very easy to do. This is when you have two choices; take a cab home and pay about 50,000 won or party till 5:30 AM when I believe the trains and buses start working again I made the train, talked to some kid from Georgia. People from the south are always interesting. I was telling him about the Korean War memorial and the next words out of his mouth were “is there a lot of war history there?” He was interesting to say the least, but a good kid. As I got back to Suwon I decided to grab a beer at a bar before I went home. This turned an early night into a long night. I met some kids from London, New Zealand, and the USA. After leaving that bar we went to a new place right down the street and it was a fun time. The bars do not close down in S. Korea so it makes for a long night; I honestly think that closing bars down at a certain time is real beneficial to society. Before I knew it, 4:30 AM comes, once I realized how late it was I headed home, this club still with a pretty good crowd (mostly Koreans) as I was walking to the door there was a bunch of people coming into the club. I could not believe it. 4:30 AM and they are entering a club, that was pretty cool. As I was walking down the street there are a few carnival esque games you can play. The game I played entailed a gun with rubber bullets and it was awesome. Any place you can stay out all night then go shooting is good in my book. I hit a few targets, missed a few more then took a cab ride home. Noon time Sunday I got up and walked around Suwon (It has started to get a little warmer here and hopefully that will continue.) and went to the market I saw the week before to get a meal which still looked delicious. It was not. They served the meat cold and it was not the best quality meat. I ate about half of it and paid for it. It was actually very expensive too, which did not help matters. It did not compare to the burrito I got the night before. I have found a few cool things to do but I am waiting for it to get warmer outside so they can be enjoyed a little more, I can not wait to take a boat ride on the Han river and go to the DMZ. Obviously these will have to wait until the weather gets warmer. My friend that lives in China (I went on Semester at Sea with) is flying into Seoul on the 14th. I am looking forward to that; I met some fun people this weekend, always nice to meet good people when you live in a foreign country. After this weekend I realized that I should spend time on learning the language. I started to learn it but I read a few books and stopped learning the language and have fell back to knowing just about nothing. So this is what I will be doing in the coming weeks.
I hope everyone is doing well

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