Monday, September 5, 2011

This Is Why I Am Here

I officially passed the two year mark in Korea not too long ago. Though most days, I generally love my life/job here, there are certainly many aspects which have become routine (read: preparing similar lesson plans/drinking in the same bars/eating the same food/meeting up with the same people). Saying goodbye to important people (Mark and Alex, my students at the hagwon, Emily, Charles, David) always makes me question why I'm not following some of these people out of here and moving on to bigger and better things (which, don't get me wrong, I eventually plan to do...or rather, am planning to do ;) more updates on that to come...)

BUT THEN 

Something (or some things) invariably happen(s) which is great and reminds me of why and how I fell in love with this 'ole place to begin with. On Friday, I hung out with my old co-worker/friend Katherine, who made her triumphant return to the R.O.K. a few weeks ago. We went to a DVD 방 (bang)--a big hall with individual rooms that you can rent out. Each room has a HUGE projector screen, on which you can watch any DVD of your choosing. Korean couples often rent these places out to get some, umm, privacy, but Katherine and I of course went to watch this movie:
Really, we watched it! WE DID NOT HOOK UP. GET YOUR MINDS OUT OF THE GUTTER PEOPLE

It was a completely ridiculous Korean romantic comedy about a supposedly "experienced" sex therapist who is hired by a graphic novelist to create an adult comic. It was really interesting to talk about all of the stereotypical Korean movie tropes (re: emotionally constipated male characters, naive virginal female characters who pretend to have more experience than they actually do, the male character eventually falling into the role of the "protector" of the female character) with Katherine afterwards. The next day, my friend Diana called me with a surprise: free tickets to see K-Pop superstars Mighty Mouth, 8Eight, MBLAQ, and headliners 2ne1.
'Doin a pre-concert dance, notice the hordes of middle school students in the background 


ZOMG SO EXCITED

Now, photos of the concert, followed by a popular video clip from each group for reference: MBLAQ!


8Eight!


Mighty Mouth!


2ne1!


And, video footage I took on my awesome new smart phone:

The concert was way more fun than I was expecting. Though some of the groups were far less than awesome and the performers themselves looked a little dead on the inside (MBLAQ's member all looked like they weighed less than 130 pounds), some of the groups really shocked me--the singers in 8Eight were really good, and the guys from Mighty Mouth were really fun and energetic, like an American group almost.

On Sunday, my friends Hanadi, Diana, and I all hoped on a bus and went to Gangneung Beach on the East Coast. Even though it was raining, we got lunch a sashimi place on the coast: 

Sushi chef considers Hanadi considering the fish 
It was gorgeous 
My fun, silly friends
The waves were HUGE, the biggest I've seen in Korea
Coarse, sandy sand
On the way home there was a gorgeous sunset--the best one I've seen in a long time

It felt so good to get out of the city, to be in a place that I had never been before, and to spend some time with some awesome ladies in such a beautiful, peaceful place.

I'm not exactly sure what this next year holds in store for me, and sometimes it can be so overwhelming to think of all of the options I have. But, it is nice to know that in the meantime between then and now, there are beautiful places to go/exciting and interesting people to spend my time with/new things to discover and learn...

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