South Korea sounds beautiful and interesting in the same time…that’s because it actually is 🙂
I went there in 2009 with a scholarship together with a friend and another girl who shall not be named ( a stalker more likely, but let’s not get into that 😀 ) …So, we left Cluj Napoca for Budapest where we had our flight, and the final stop was Incheon, South Korea.
The flight was beautiful…in Europe I mostly traveled by car, so it was the first time I was over the clouds and I was in awe of how amazing is the world we’re living in. We have soo much to be thankful for, yet we rarely are.
First thing we got there, we took a 20 hours sleep…the time difference really had us, so we were very happy to rest.
Then, we started exploring.
Number one on my list was the food. And let me tell you something: korean food is absolutely delicious. It was love at first taste 😀 …even though first time I tried it, it was like someone has just lit a fire in my stomach… and it was felt in other parts too ( human body people 😀 )
Then started attending the classes…. of course, everywhere my friend and I went, we were like stars, because of our different looks : university, on the street… people would sometimes stop and stare or wanna take a photo with us… the differences between cultures were very big… it was weird at first, but slowly we got used to it.
Then, one day I had an interesting “experience” (weird for me, usual for korean students) when my professor asked me to go and have a drink… inside, I was kinda shocked, because I had never heard before about this thing anywhere unless something was mushy, so I politely refused and later on, a friend lectured me on what should I know about koreans…. apparently I needed to learn a lot.
Another thing was when people were trying to guess where was I from. My accent made me either american or canadian, but my looks were very russian, or french, or british, or italian… well, let’s just say that I got very international all of a sudden. And a funny story , is that I was together with two of my friends (all romanians) and a guy came asking us where were we from, so one of my friends politely answered that from Romania. So his next question was… So, how is Armenia? And he never got it where we were actually from ( so many countries in the world 🙂 )
Apparently Romania is associated with Dracula, and vampires. So one guy from one of my classes asked me if there were really vampires… I calmly replied that yes, and in fact, my ancestor was a vampire… next thing I know, he started avoiding me, and he never spoke to me again ( so watch out… I bite 😀 )
What it hit me though, was the influence the media has over the young people… the stars promoted on TV are really praised, and adored and every little girl or boy would want to be just like X or Y. Another day, another band, another korean drama, another reality show… even I participated in a cooking show, and the funny thing is that we had a translator there, and while the presenter was taking me an interview, he asked me if I’d like to participate again, and the translator failed (lamentably) to tell me exactly what the presenter said, so I firmly answered that NO… and that was LIVE people… so I guess, in that moments I lost a few fans (maybe even more…. at least I didn’t have eggs thrown at me for not loving the country).
I also got to travel from Seoul, all the way to the south and back , and I discovered beauty without compare, and wonderful people (with exceptions definitely ), who loved to see a foreigner speaking korean, but the culture is too different to be understood sometimes. I mean, without judging, who would do a plastic surgery to their 8 year old?
So after almost 2 years spent in Seoul, South Korea, I can say that I am definitely lucky to have been there, because as a result, I have some really wonderful friends there, and I would love to go back and visit.
I will not go into further details on how my friend and I delayed a plane 20 minutes, and when we actually got on board, while making our way to our seats, we were in such a hurry that we forgot we were carrying our laptops, so we caused a few bruised here and there, or that when my 2 years were up, I came home, alone and my plane crashed on a runway in Moscow (it was soo scary because people were screaming, the plane was on fire, and I was just sitting in my seat, calm as I never were before)……
….. The awesome thing about traveling is that when you go in a new city, a new country, you get to be who you want to be (it’s always better to be yourself though 🙂 ) and opportunities rise everywhere.
You get to experience all the new around you.
So, South Korea, I hope we’ll meet again some day 🙂