Tuesday has come and gone so quickly, but Monday night was a long long evening...As I was here typing and uploading pictures, our little group dispersed to find adventure, Sun, Margaret, Kristy, and Carolina took off for a jaunt in Seoul; Rochelle, Megan, Jairo (now nicknamed "Ghandi" by our Korean friends) and Jeremy (now nicknamed "Lex" as he looks like the Lex Luther character from Smallville) had an evening soiree (drinks) at J&J's, and Dave, Paula and Jim (from what I've heard) set out for Chinese food and an evening at a gentlemen's club (what exactly is that? hmmm...). Later, Kristy (my roomy) and I stayed up until past 3am chatting and Lex, Ghandi, Megan, Margaret and Carolina went to visit our new friend Serabi (sp? - a grad design student at Hanyang's room/studio at the design center) for more late-night frolicking. Suffice it to say, it was a LAAATTTEEE night! And believe it or not, we all groggily crawled out of bed by 6:30am and set off for a day with Prof. Choi and 20 of his seniors and a few grads. Our day consisted of a tour of LG Chem - a design company (you've heard of LG). Afterwards, we were treated to big mac's and fries at the National Museum (http://www.museum.go.kr/eng/) - a truly amazing structure, that houses many antiquities. Then back to Seoul and dinner with some of the seniors. Dave and Lex were considering going somewhere to eat live octopus (yes, I said LIVE - PETA won't be too happy) but the event won't be occuring tonight. (I'll keep you posted.) It is past 9pm and I still have to pack for tomorrow - what a day!
I may not update for a couple of days as tomorrow we will be going to Kyung Ju - a city 4 hours (by train) to the south of us, to view historical sites. That's about all I know about it, like most things here, we are kept a bit in the dark until we're actually in the thick of things. This dynamic keeps us all guessing and also keeps things fresh, allowing us to experience the moment first hand, rather than through a retelling or planning. (Sometimes, it also makes us a bit crazy.) We leave at 6am for Kyung Ju and will check out of the Hanyang Guest House (HGH) for one night and spend the night in the new city. We should be back here and checked back in to the HGH by Thursday evening. Friday, our wonderful Sun departs and two new students, Satenik and Nar will arrive. I have no idea what is on the agenda for Friday, but I do know Saturday and Sunday are free days YAY! I'm thinking...shopping! I think that is what is on most of our minds as handicrafts, textiles, and fun kitschy items abound. Sunday, Jim and Dave return home :(. It has been an amazingly fun dynamic with them here and personally I will be and am already sad at the idea of them leaving - please petition them to stay on longer through the workshop. If you'd like to email them to ask them on your behalf to keep handing out w/ us in Korea through the 11th...(firstname.lastname@example.org). :)
About trips like this one...if you are a student, I highly recommend applying for the next workshop, first of all, you'll never get a better deal for 18 days to Korea. Secondly, the amount you learn about the world and yourself is well worth it and then some. The group dynamic is an interesting one. Each person brings something to our team of 9 (soon to be 10). I think when spending this much time with people, you start to notice quirks, some quirks become a challenge and others become endearing. It is part of the territory, but in the end each person learns from the others and from themselves in how they deal with and adapt (or don't) to new situations. Sometimes, you just have to take a break and check back in with yourself for a moment of silence in the busy blend of day/night and sometimes you just have another soju and laugh your head off. (The latter tends to be more fun.)
So I asked Sun for some of the names of the foods we've tasted thus far, it is not a complete list (and spelling may vary as I spelled them phonetically), but if you'd like to go to Korean restaurant (and use this as an interactive blog), here are some things I can recommend:
Kimch'i - great with everything and comes in many varieties (I've heard it even cures bird flu!)
Su gu gitopa - spicy beef and rice
Keye bidabop - not so spicy beef and rice
Bibin bop (sp?) - a mix of rice, meat, and much much more, a really essential food here! Eat it, you'll love it!
Hamul Pajath - Seafood pancake (I also recommend the Kimch'i pancake)
Raminyan (spicy ramen soup)
Dok Manduku - Dumpling soup (not spicy)
Pou gugi - korean beef-meat bbq (there is also rib bbq)
Hootah - a 'snack' like a donut but w/ a nutty, cinnamony, almost-like-apple-pie, made fresh on the street vendor carts for ~$0.50. Really really really wonderful!
Kimpap - a seaweed roll - I think this is also like a snack or appetizer
A few other things of note - to Jane and the art dept gang, we all send big smiles and we're taking good care of Roro. She's having loads of fun (I think she bough a purse for S).
To our families, we are safe and on a new adventure each day, we are treated extremely kindly by all the people we meet and by eachother...& we do miss you.
& Hello to Megan's mom who posted. It is my pleasure to keep you updated. Thank you for your thank you. :)
Something amusing - today (& what seems like everyday thus far) I have been stopped by Korean kids asking to take a picture with me, when I asked why, I was told they had never seen a foreigner before...lol -- parents beware, kids need more outings and less tv! Just FYI, we have an International-melting-pot-American crew (Philipino, Chinese, Taiwanese, Colombian, Korean, Italian, Irish, Guatamalan, Latino and Iranian (w/ Armenians on the way). Something that is of note to mention, from my first posting where I wrote about the plethora of wars over Korea and on Korean soil, it is lovely to see how proud and stong a culture this is. Each person I meet is truly proud to be a Korean and to live in this country, this is especially of note because of the troubles we have over this issue in the USA. Anyway, something to think about...what do you and how much do you appreciate your life and who you are and where you live?
Smiles from our Korean-crew to yours...