Sunday, April 27, 2008

sparkling seoul

a good day in korea makes you feel like you're at the top of the world. equally, a bad day in korea makes you really miss home. i guess that's why i haven't been writing much lately, i go back and forth between loving it and hating it. the love is always stronger than the hate, thankfully.

then i remember that exactly a year ago i got my first taste of bibimbap, at a korean restaurant back in montreal. i remember dreaming of being here and experiencing a new culture and daily excitement. and i remember why i'm here in the first place. i knew some days would be more difficult, and i knew i'd miss my job. but there is a reason why i quit, and i don't have regrets. even though i have mini breakdowns once in a while, i still believe i'm so lucky to be experiencing life in asia.

and exciting it is. seoul is a city that never sleeps, and i try a new thing every single day. however, it gest exhausting. some days i just wish things were.... easy. and simple. i wish i could find the food i like at the grocery store and not have to embarrass myself everywhere i go. sometimes it makes me laugh when i put myself in awkward situations because of the language barrier, but other times it's just plain annoying and frustrating. i am on some weird mood elevator, where one minute can be totally exhilarating, and the next minute completely excruciating. i'm definitely experiencing the culture shock at its best (or worse) right now.

and the things i hate are usually the things i end up loving. sometimes the idea of eating yet another rice meal is nauseating... then i wake up at 6:30am to go out for breakfast only to find myself craving 'gimbap' (california rolls, very popular korean breakfast).

sometimes having my boyfriend sitting right next to me in the staff room right after we just had a stupid argument is annoying.... then i can't help but smile when he comes sit in my class and draws with the second graders.

a crowd of hyperactive fifth graders who jump on me while shouting "vivian teacher, vivian teacher!!!!" can be overwhelming at 8:30am... but there is no better feeling in the world knowing those kids look up to you and can spend 20 minutes looking at Canadian currency and asking you questions about your country.

and there is nothing more disgusting than hearing people spitting in the street (trop common here...) or carrying pig's heads at 1am (a mental image i'm trying to erase)... then again, the next day you find yourself sitting at a restaurant enjoying the best bibimbap in town, served by the nicest korean people.

going to a dvd bong on a saturday night.... which is basically a private room with a couch and a big screen to watch a movie of your choice (looking a bit sketchy but clean). i would never have done that in montreal.

and... where else can you sit on a swing, in a d├ęcor reminescent of 'alice in wonderland', while sipping a fruit smoothie?

only in korea.

homesickness level: high. i still refuse to pay 5$ for a taco seasoning mix in itaewon (foreigner town)... looking like it's been sitting on that shelf since 1996.

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