Pics- Nothing too great
It is starting to get quite amusing the amount of Koreans that will come up to me and start talking with me; whether it is walking down the street, waiting for a train, sitting at a bar, playing pool, etc. Most of the time it is a positive experience, they tell me something unique about Korea, things to do, some history, they say how much they Love the USA but have never gone, but it is a dream of theirs. It is totally insane, a dream just to touch the land of the USA; It is really tough to realize how special a place the USA is. Think about it, just about everything the USA does is among the best in the world, and the Koreans are in absolute awe of it. One of my teachers from London summed it up pretty good “When the USA sneezes, the whole world gets a cold.” It is pretty amazing, especially currently being on the outside and seeing it from a Korean perspective. Anyways, enough of that; but I thought it was pretty interesting. Sometimes when you get a Korean coming up to talk to you it is painful. Mostly they want to just have a conversation to practice English and it takes forever to get one sentence completed and to understand what they were talking about. When I first got here I thought it was pretty funny and I still do but it does wear on me. I still sit there and try to hammer out what they are trying to say out of respect to them. Another cool thing is when you walk by a kid 5 years or younger, their eyes light up and then when the parents notice they turn and say hello a million times and get their kid as close to me as possible, just to get their kids introduced to the tiniest amount of English as possible, I also think they want them to see an American just as much to hear a tiny bit of English. Another interesting thing about Koreans, when they see a white person the white person is automatically from the USA, ( I think this is the case with most Asian countries, which we all know simply is not the case. So for all the good or bad a white person does the USA tends to get the credit or blame, whether they are American or not. You have to remember that Korea is almost all Korean people, there just are not many blacks, whites, etc, just basically Korean’s.
Here is one of the most random stories that anyone will ever read about. A few weeks back I was talking to my mom on Skype, she got a phone call and it happened to be from the University of San Diego. They were calling to get donations and my mom simply responded that I was in South Korea, and the girl on the phone (USD student) said her sister was in South Korea, who happened to be living in Suwon ( I live in Suwon) I was on skype the whole time so I was listening to the conversation. This girl also happened to be going to visit her sister the next week in Suwon, and she also went on Semester at Sea. Last Wednesday we all met up and went out to dinner and played some pool, it was a fun time but the story how this all happened I thought was pretty interesting. Speaking of interesting, the cab ride to meet up with this girl was real interesting. We planned on meeting at a police station, well the cab driver brought me to the wrong police station, I had the place written down and everything. Going to the wrong police station made for an interesting time, I told the guard that I was meeting a friend and she then thought my friend got arrested and I was looking for him, it got pretty amusing, after a few minutes I cleared up the story and the police officer told my driver where to go. It took about an extra 40 minutes ( good thing I planned on getting there about 20 minutes early, in a cab I tend to plan on a screw up like this) Small World. When we were playing pool (a group of maybe 8 of us) I noticed about five minutes in that our pool table was the only one with pockets. It threw me for a loop, wondering if my eyesight had left me. I guess they also play pool here with no pockets, I have no clue what type of games they play but it is interesting. After playing for a while, two Korean men came over and played. They knew some English and they wanted to play pool with us, they turned out to be pretty good also. Korean men are very interesting, these two were no different. They loved to drink, make a lot of weird noises randomly and they really get into what they are doing. Maybe it is one of those things you have to see but it is pretty funny. Around midnight I was heading to bed and I said to the Korean men bye and he was not too happy about me leaving and then someone said the word Kimchi and he tried dragging everyone to a street vendor to eat Kimchi together, and he did this for about 10 minutes and he was pretty adamant about it. I do not think anyone went; I just took off after a while with a good laugh.
Saturday March 13- It has been about four days I have not known the date and many random times throughout the day I have thought what day it was but never took the time to look. I finally found out and it is the lucky 13th. Today I finally found some stuff worth buying as souvenirs. I went to Insa-dong, this place is pretty cool. It is a huge street market of all traditional items. A lot of nice Korean ceramics and other cool things, it is also another great place just to watch the crowd. Today I think I was in the biggest subway station in the world. It easily took me ten minutes to get to the exit from the train and it was not because of foot traffic. It was just so big, it was quite amazing how big it was. I accidentally walked into a few Buddhist temples today, they are awesome. All the designs and colors are the same and they are designed pretty cool, the colors being with a pleasant background to look at. I looked at one sign and it said no pictures unless you pay a small fee, well this sign was about five pictures too late and no small fee was paid.
I have been here three months, it is weird; sometimes I feel like I just got to Korea, but most of the time it seems like I have been here for ten years. Don’t take that the wrong way. I am enjoying my time here. But when you go out traveling a country every weekend you see a lot and experience a lot. It is basically non stop. I am looking forward to March Madness when I find myself at a bar and watch college basketball all day and not do much traveling for two weeks other then traveling to the bar. It will be a nice resting point. Then after that the weather will be nice and it there will be the Han river cruise, the DMZ (which seems to get a little more creepier every passing day), and a trip to the west coast beaches.
Sunday March 14-
It rained today and man was it boring. There is not much to do here when it rains, especially in this small apartment. I purchased my MLB subscription so I can watch the Red Sox, Can’t wait for opening day….