Published: September 18th 2012September 18th 2012
Out to dinner with some friends for some samgyupsal and soju!
I cannot believe it - my class syllabi all say one thing: Week 4.
This week will mark one month in Seoul!!!!!!! YAY!!!
Currently it is only Tuesday evening! I recently finished my homework, ate dinner, poured a cup of mint tea (try it! - its called "Refresh" by Tazo), and now I am all set to narrate the life and times of Theresa in Korea :)
The first thing I want to talk about is something very near and dear to me: personal space. Have you ever thought about how much space you need? Not emotionally, but physically. As in: how much space do you need from a stranger when you're in line at your local convenient store? I kid you not, this is actually a science. Personal space differs between people of different cultures. I am not entirely sure on the numbers, but I think that in North America (or in U.S./New York region at least), we generally give the person in front of us 3 to 4 feet of space. In Seoul, South Korea? Try less then a foot of space. Honestly, i'm not sure if it's city life, or
Seoul, or the whole country of Korea, but nevertheless i've noticed that people get unusually close to one another when they're in line for things.
Last week when I was seriously pondering this whole personal space ordeal, I decided to experiment. When I was in the check-out line at an on campus convenient store (called GS 25), I decided to give my usual 3 feet of space between me and the customer at the cash register. Another student (other than the one at the cash register) was mulling over a gum purchase. When this other student decided to buy her spearmint xylitol gum, she looked at me and then at the person at the cash register, noticed the space, and proceeded to SKIP me in line. All because I was following my personal space rules.
It should be noted that I did not proceed with the scientific method. With that being said, this example of social science will probably not be used in any literature in the next 4 years. But come on now.
Since then, i've learned to stand a foot or less behind the customer at the cash register.
I'll get the numbers and
i'll get back to you about personal space in Korea - it's definitely different in Seoul than in upstate New York!
Now onto more exciting news: I know you'll mentally say "Yay!!!" when I tell you this: I ran 7 kilometers straight for the first time EVER on Sunday!!!!!!! WHOO!!!
For some of my avid readers, this is nothing (Ahem: like my crazy sister Elisha who has ran in about 20 marathons in the past 5 years).
Personally, this time last year you could not get me to run. I refused to run do to my calloused memories of middle-school cross country.
Now a-days however - I find running to be a perfect stress reliever and a wonderful all-over body make over.
It's definitely become the most convenient form of exercise here -- and thank God, because it is much needed. Recently i've put on a couple pounds and honestly, I contribute it to my diet. It has consisted primarily of one basic dish: white rice. It's killin' me and it's terribly difficult to run away from; a real devil of a side dish that comes with every. single. meal. This is why
There were tons of bunnies around the park!
it will be difficult to continue on with this next piece of information: I am going to make a serious lifestyle change by only consuming one serving of rice (or less!) each day. That may sound easy to a lot of people, but in Korea - it's difficult. If you tell a waiter in Seoul that you do *not* want rice with your order, they look at you like you have a booger hanging from your nose. Hopefully this change in my diet will help steer my weight back to the right set of digits. Also, do not worry! This is all sprouting from my basic awareness in personal health and I am in no way going to become obsessive about my weight - I promise!!!
OK! So, onto some recent events :)
This past Friday, I went to "Pungap-Toseong
". This is the name of a fortress wall that was built by one of the ancient 3 Kingdoms of Seoul. Present-day Koreans did not know that this 7-meter wide wall even existed until construction began on the 1988 Olympic stadium. When the wall (along with countless artifacts) was discovered, the area was excavated for
This green arch reminded me of the one featured in "Sound of Music" during "Do-re-mi"
research. Since then there have been tons of archeological finds dating well back to the 4th century AD.
The wall and the Olympic park/stadium
are astounding. It all reflects how South Korea modernized from the late 20th century to present day conditions with great velocity. From ancient history to modern times, the history of South Korea is richly engrossing. When you have time, definitely look into to the colonization period of Japan over Korea from 1910 to 1945 or check out some of the literature of the ancient Korguryo kingdom.
On Saturday I went to Lotte World! Lotte World
is an amusement park with both an indoor section and an outdoor island. It actually boasts the largest indoor amusement park in the world.
Really, I am an amusement park fanatic. I love roller coasters, and heights, and crazy rides loopy rides that break world records. It should also be noted that I have a slight Disney obsession (ok...a little more than slight). With all that being said: I was not too thoroughly impressed by Lotte World.
The Lotte World logo, the characters' castle on "Magic Island", the monorail train, the international small-world feel - it all
seemed suspiciously familiar.
The park offered two roller coasters (the third was in repair) and about 5 other adult-friendly rides. Now I know that ny friends and I could've gotten to the park at 9:30am and left at 2pm if we knew the layout of the park. It's relatively small and it has few lines if you go in the morning.
On the overall positive side of things, the park is very clean, it's accommodating, and you can have a great time there if you go with great friends/family or if you have younger kids with you. It would definitely be a fun park to go to with 6-11 year old kids.
Speaking of which, we met a group of girls who were a part of a class field trip to Lotte World. They were so cute and they loved practicing their english with us. My friends and I met them while we were all in line for the 3D haunted house theater show. Chatting with them and going to the mini-movie with them all was probably the highlight of my day there!
On Sunday I relaxed, finished up some homework, went to bible
study, and went to mass. My friend Johanna and I went to bible study together and we loved it! Basically all you do is discuss Sunday's readings together with some of the other members of church and with the pastor. I already tell that these bible studies will be a great way to find more fellowship at my university - so so so excited!!!
Alrighty, I have to wrap up here. In another hour or so, we are going to celebrate my friend Justine's birthday! She is 20 today!!! In honor of her birthday, she and I ventured up to "Paris Baguette" (she's French) and we bought a strawberry-yogurt cream cake for tonight! YUM!! We're so so excited!!! Bon anniversaire mon amie!!!!
Ok you guys, have a lovely day!! Please email me with your stories, random thoughts, prayer requests, and/or any updates on YOU!
There are more photos below