i almost have a life in seoul. today i proudly got my own korean bank account and a debit card... all by myself. equipped with a korean sentence on paper (translation of 'opening a bank account please') and my alien registration card, i took a new step into my korean life. they even showed me how to use the atm, i'm all set to go shopping now.
with my first paycheck (finally) also came the membership at the gym. it's a small but adequate gym located in my neighbourhood, a 5 minute walk from my apartment. apparently they don't give you a membership card, i don't know what's the deal. perhaps they recognize you, but aaron told me they give you a locker for the duration of your membership. i must have misunderstood the instructions, it was quite confusing once again. the lady at the front desk took me to the locker room and showed me around. one locker for your sneakers (with the most complicated lock i've ever seen), and one locker for my clothes. i still don't get the two-locker system. oh well. she then proceeded to show me a big pile of... yes, uniforms. apparently you are not obligated to wear them, but everyone else in the gym does. navy sport shorts (uh, long shorts) and an orange and grey baseball tee. the lady watched me to make sure i put on the uniform... a bit odd. once in the workout room, things seemed a bit more familiar. except the treadmills are in korean, but i figured it out. you also have a personal television monitor on your treadmill, so i watched a korean variety show. then again i need a picture of the uniform, it made me look like a little boy.
last but not least, another confusing adventure in korea land. after school today i walked in a trendy hair salon to see how much it would cost to get my hair color fixed (for some reason i get brassy tones from past highlights, wanted a uniform brown color). so i walk in requesting information and possibly an appointement at a later date. they make me sit at a consultation table, bring me a coffee as i'm trying to tell the girl (who does not speak a single word of english) 'i want the price for brown hair color'(excitedly pointing to a picture on the wall). next thing i know i'm wearing a robe and have two girls working on my hair. wow, no appointment needed, and apparently no explaining needed either. i was nervous and confused. they did a pretty great job, even though it's a tad bit darker than my natural brown (i don't think have so many shades to choose from). i also had two other girls blow drying my hair at once, then trying to style it. for some reason they cannot really style our type of hair, they're not used to it so it ended up looking a bit odd. i'm very happy though, but a little scared about an eventual haircut.
in the end, every simple activity like getting a haircut or a bank account or a gym membership turns into a mini adventure in seoul, which makes it fun to learn i guess.