Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's About Time You Tell Us Something More About Seoul

I have been in South Korea for three full months now and the time has passed by very fast.  It is hard for me to believe that I have been here for that long.  Everything is going very well and I am really enjoying myself here.
My job is great and I am (mostly) enjoying teaching these kids English five days a week.  Everyone I work with is really nice and the kids are (usually) great.   I am the only native speaker at my school other than a Korean American named Cho.  So there is not much English being spoken at my work, which makes me feel like I should learn Korean; I just need to find the time. 
Outside of school I have been having a great time and made a bunch of friends.  I've been having too much fun and spending too much money.  Seoul is really an amazing city, its size and endless possibilities makes makes the time fly by, as well as the money. 
Some of my favorite parts about living here are the food and eating culture.  There are all kinds of crazy foods, some amazingly delicious and some that the smell alone will blow you away (not in a good way).  When eating with Koreans there is always entirely too much food on the table and half of it is fermented or pickled and the other half is raw or spicy.  Lucky for me I love spicy food because if I didn't would be missing out on some delicious side dishes, like raw peppers dipped in hot chili paste. 
Something I have gotten used to and don't particularly like or dislike is the fact that I am a 'waygookin,' a foreigner and a minority.  I have gotten used to kids staring you down as you cross the street or board the subway.  It is pretty funny when some drunk 20-some year old girls cannot stop blushing and calling you handsome and asking you ridiculous questions about things like what kind of dogs do Americans have as pets.  And I love that every time I go to a restaurant I am brought all kinds of special "here foreigner eat this" gifts.  That being said, I have not gotten used to the hostility toward foreigners, that I encounter (or hear about) every once in awhile.
Some of the things I like the least but am getting used to are the copious amounts of Soju (rice liquor) that people drink and the difficult to handle smells that I have to endure throughout the day.  As for the Soju I've learned to just not drink it, I can't handle it mostly because of the taste.  As for the smells; in addition to normal stinky city smells, there are these berries that have fallen off all of the trees that stink something awful.  Of course the kids like to step on the berries and bring the smell into the classroom, then complain about the smell. 
Anyway here are some pictures I have accumulated over the past few months.  A nice mix of school, food, nighttime and a touristy outing with my friend Briana.  We went to a huge palace and drank some "traditional Korean tea."  It was sweet and thick and had pine nuts and fruit floating around in it.  A bit strange really, but not bad.  I will be posting another blog in the next week or so because I have been invited to a coworkers wedding this Saturday and I have a feeling that it will be worth writing about.

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