Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Korea Thus Far

I've been in Korea for about a week and a half. Seems like I've been here much longer though.
I'm not sure if that is a good or bad thing. Lets hope it's good.

This past weekend I went down to Daegu, which I thought was my hometown. My parents both grew up there. I was even born there. But I recently found out that my mom was pregnant with me in Seoul most of the time, and when I was due, my parents went to Daegu to some catholic hospital. They mainly went to Daegu so that my grandparents could be there when I was born.
But after that, we moved back up to Seoul. This whole time I though my parents lived in Daegu, had both my sister and me, then moved to Seoul. Not the case.

Not a big deal though.

I really like Seoul's mass transit system. The subway system is super clean. It's just as clean, if not cleaner than DC's Metro. I'm not sure about Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), cause I've never seen it, but Seoul's subway system is very very clean. I noticed the subway cars are wider too, which means more standing room, and room for people to exit the car without having to crawl over people.
Look at all that space!
Me going through the gate to catch a train. (you can hear the beep of the sensor as it reads the card in my wallet)
video

Although not installed at all stations, some stops have automatic sliding doors that open up once the train stops and train doors open. Creating a barrier between the platform and the track. Suicide prevention? I think it looks neat, regardless of it's purpose. Here's a video to show you visually.

video

The buses look pretty old, but they work just fine. Not much to say about the bus, cause it's a bus.

The subway system in New York uses the Metro card, where you slide it at the turnstile. In Seoul, most people (like 95%) use an equivalent of a Metro card, except you put the card on a sensor and it beeps. It's much more eco-friendly. It can read through your wallet and some bags (purses) too.

They utilize the same system on the buses too. The cool thing is, when you get off the bus and scan your card at the sensor (they have sensors at the back of the bus too), you can ride the buses for free for an hour. So say you are transferring to another bus, you don't have to pay twice.

Despite the massive amounts of people who use public transit, the roads are always packed.
Taxis aren't yellow, but they are easy to spot.

And as always, the food is great. I'm not in a huge rush to eat everything now though. I'm taking my time cause I know I'm gonna be here for a while. Regardless, I've eaten quite well since I've been here, and have gained a little weight.

I recently joined a fitness club to try and get into shape. (keyword: try)
I'm practically obese here in Korea. I'm going on 3 days in a row (of working out). Starting June 1 till July 1 I'll have a semi-personal trainer. Whatever that means. It's so hard to lose weight when all you want to do is eat food. Especially in Korea.

I still haven't applied for Yonsei University's KLI Program yet. I should soon though. I need to send them my transcript, which I now have to airmail from Columbus, OH to Seoul, S. Korea.
There goes $40 bucks.

Assuming I get into the program, I start at the end of June, and it lasts 10 weeks. Which is cool with me cause I was on 10 week quarters at Ohio State.

I went to the office at Yonsei to get registration forms and such with my mom. The people at the office were so unhelpful it was rather frustrating. They said that we HAD to apply online.
Which in all honesty is fine with me. But, you can do it by hand if you wanted, which was what we wanted to do that day. The girl was just being lazy. I should have given her an evil eye.

Anyways, when I went to Daegu, I said that I'd be without my computer for 3 days. That won't be the case anymore. My iPod found a signal, so next time I go down, which might be soon, I will have Internet access.

If there's anything you are curious about regarding Seoul, or Korea in general, let me know.
Hopefully I know, if not, I'll investigate. Or if there's anything you want me to talk about, let me know. It will give me things to do, besides working out, before classes start.

Bye.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I've been in Korea for 6 days now, and it's everything I expected it to be. And I didn't come to Korea with lots of expectations. Mainly because I've been here many times in the past.

I do come to Korea more mature, so to speak. I'm a little more perceptive now too. Everyday since my arrival I've ventured into Seoul, taken many pictures and ate delicious food. Except today. I realize that I'm going to be here for 3 - 6 months, so I have plenty of time to explore later too.

Seoul isn't like New York City. New York City is actually really simple to navigate in comparison to Seoul. NYC is a giant grid. Seoul is just a mess in comparison. This is all my perspective of the city. Don't get me wrong. Seoul's great, but I have no sense of direction here.

I don't know when I'm going north, south, east or west. Also, I don't know where things are.
Thankfully the subway/bus system is great. There are a ton of stops, but you should be able to go where ever you need to go via subway or bus. But again, you just have to know the general area of where you're going.

People are a little rude, but I've always known that. One thing bothered me though. I was standing at the subway stop, waiting for the train, and the stop was pretty empty. I'm standing there and this dude shoulders me in the back. This usually happens in a crowded street and people can't help but make contact. This was not the case. I looked at the guy as he walked away, and I looked around me. There wasn't a single person or object within 5 feet of me.
Dude was major dick status.

Anywho, gotta go.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Blogger frustration

I hate uploading photos onto Blogger. I'll probably post 2-3 pictures per post from here on out.
Blogger needs a better way to upload photos into blogs. Make it more painless. And less time consuming.

I'm uploading all my photos onto my Facebook page.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Korean Air Flight 094

My life, packed in 3 bags, for the next 3 - 6 months. This was taken in my garage, while I was waiting for my uncle to pick me up. My uncle's car, a Lexus hybrid SUV, has got to be the most quiet car I've ever been in. When the car is idle, it's as if it's off, but I guess it runs on electricity then. I don't know much about hybrids, except that I'd want one if I had a car.

I get to the airport, say thanks and goodbye to my uncle and I make my way to the Korean Airline check-in desks. I was told to go in the "Morning Calm" line. I think Morning Calm is for members of Korean Air? I used to be, I still might be, but I'm not sure. I have a Morning Calm Skypass card (for milage). Anywho, I get to the desk and I'm told that I have access to the Korean Air (KAL) Lounge. Holler.This is a terrible picture of the lounge, but I didn't want to sit there and take pictures of the place because I wanted to sit there and eat...
Everything I ate was good, even the two cookies I ate that I didn't take a picture of because I devoured them so fast. At this point it was around noon. At 12:45 the lady at the gate desk made an announcement that Morning Calm passengers were allowed to board at that time.
I got in line and when it was my turn to go, the lady looks at my ticket and says I'm just a "regular" passenger. I said (in english) "I checked in Morning Calm." Then after a few seconds of awkward silence, she lets me in. Holler.
My seat was 28A(window), which is the first row of the economy section. Which is actually really nice, cause I had a ton of leg room, and nobody in front of me to recline their seat in my face. I can't say that I didn't do that to someone.
Normally we have screens behind the headrest of the seat in front, but because my row had no seats in front, we had screens that could be stowed away in between the seats. They were pretty nice, being touch screen and all. And the movie selection was pretty good, not for quality, but quantity. There were some good movies, but I didn't want to watch all of them.
This was my view:
Besides that engine, the view was decent. I didn't mind though. I like looking at parts of the aircraft. So after napping for a little bit, I decided to watch a movie. I never saw Bolt, and I sort of wanted to see it cause I like animated movies. Puppy Bolt is cute. Bolt, is not. Mainly because the voice actor for Bolt is John Travolta. Let it be known that I think Scientology is one of the worst ideas ever.
Because our flight was early in the afternoon, lunch was served fairly quickly after takeoff. Of course for lunch, KAL offers Bibim Baap. It's not the best bibim baap I've ever had, not even close, but for airline food, it's pretty bomb. I forgot what else they were serving. I didn't even listen, I just asked for bibim baap.
After eating, and then sleeping for a few hours, reading/writing a little, and watching a movie (Paul Blart: Mall Cop)
It was time for dinner. "Chicken over rice or pasta" they asked. I responded, "pasta."
Stewardess comes back. "I'm sorry but we only have chicken now.."
So, chicken it is. Chicken was flavorless, even with the "gravy." Veggies and rice were okay.
The potato salad was decent and the smoked salmon (top left-hand corner) was pretty good.
The cake wasn't too bad either, a little too sweet (I LOVE sweets btw) though.
While eating, I wanted to watch a movie, so I selected Transporter 3. The movie was just, meh.
By this time, we're getting close to Korea. As you can see below, we traveled 6383 miles, and the outside temp. was a nasty -60*F.
The Captain told us we were preparing to land, so I took a photo outside. There's no land in sight...
But rest assure, I got there.

Next Time: Landing in Korea

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Peace


It's my last night at home. I'm all packed. I just have to put away my toiletries, but I'll do that in the morning.

I'm watching the Cavs playoff game against the Atlanta Hawks. We're dominating. As expected.

I'm really tired. Probably because I've been going to bed real late the past week. I guess that's good for me now. I'll go to bed earlier than usual and wake up early.

I haven't travelled long distance in a long time, so the plane ride will probably suck.

I'll try and update my blog weekly. I'll have to think of a new title...
I'll figure it out at the airport.

Till we meet again.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Countdown: 5 days

I've been having trouble sleeping lately. I think it's because I stay up so late...
I'm thinking about staying up all night and staying up till it's night again to sleep, because then I'll be exhausted. Or I might just fall asleep really late again.

I feel like I have so much free time that sleep isn't even necessary. We sleep because we need to rest for the next day. But all I do is rest. I don't have to get up early and go to work. I don't have to study (although I could find something to study). The past few weeks I've put the job search on hold. My fate was decided weeks ago. I'm off to Korea this Friday. No looking back. Unless I all of a sudden get a job offer within the next two days, I'm gone.

I'm excited, but I'm also not. I know my trip to Korea this time will be different from my visits in the past. I'm not there on vacation anymore. Although, I could sorta treat it like one...

I'm not taking this whole, "learning Korean" thing very seriously yet. I will though. I hope.
The hardest thing for me is knowing what I'm leaving behind. I hate to miss out on good times with the people I love. But I forget that I have a rare opportunity to experience something that not many people have.

I hope to make lots of new friends in Korea. I'm just not sure how it's gonna happen. I'm the kind of guy that always thinks of the "worst case scenario." Honestly, I think it's better than the guy who always thinks of the "best case scenario." I like to prepare for the worst, but that also makes me a little pessimistic. I wish I could find a balance. I'll have to work on that.

I'm bummed about many things, but two in particular.

1) I'm going to miss the last few episodes of 24. UGH it kills me. I heard abc.com doesn't work in Korea, which leads me to believe fox.com won't work either. We'll see. Maybe hulu will have it.

2) I can't watch my Cleveland Cavaliers play! This kills me too. I think a little more than #1. I mean I love 24. I love Jack Bauer. But I LOVE the Cavs, LeBron James, Mo Williams, and Z!
We have a great chance to win it all this year. Most people predict the Cavaliers to play against the Lakers in the finals. I hope so too. And I hope the Cavs win the series. I trust the coaches and players. Let this be the year!!!

I guess it's May now, which means I have to update my playlist. But I don't know if anybody actually presses "play." No pressure. Although I do try to put good stuff on there.

I had this idea last week. I have this Moleskin journal (mini one), that I wanted to use to jot down ideas. I didn't use it up until last week though. I guess you could say I wrote in my "journal." I did recap the day. Which sounds incredibly lame, but you don't see me judging you. Keyword "see."

I only wrote on one side (the right), but I didn't want to waste the journal and leave the left side blank, so I had this idea to draw some (awful) illustrations of the entry, or at least the "theme" of the entry. I don't think I'm gonna hold back on the drawings either. Although I am severely limited by my drawing abilities. Which might be on par with a 6 year olds. And not the ones that are good at art. I mean the ones that are "slow" to "normal."

Everyone's perception of normal seems to be a little different though. When I think normal, I envision myself. And I don't mean that in a way to say that I'm not weird. What's normal to me, is generally based off the things that I do or think.

I don't expect to update daily for this countdown. I just couldn't think of a title...

I have gone off topic a million times. I have no transitions. But I think that's acceptable, because I didn't transition any of my thoughts in my head. I just started typing whatever came to mind.

I'm going to end on that.