대한민국! Day-han-min-guk! Go Korea!

“So scared of getting older- I’m only good at being young” – John Mayer

World Cup fever hit Korea!! Being an American, I’ve never followed soccer at all, but I love being a bandwagon fan of anything with an exciting and energetic atmosphere. Koreans could NOT have been more excited about the World Cup, especially after hosting it recently and doing so well in 2002. You couldn’t turn around without seeing Korea jerseys, headbands, temp tattoos, dresses, flags, banners, etc.

This picture is of City Hall, one of many places around the city where people could gather to party and watch the games on giant screens. This was the size of the crowd for the game that was on a weekday at 3:30 AM. The strangest, most Korean moment I had was when I went to watch one outside the giant mall by my house and all the Koreans were SITTING DOWN on mats with their shoes off. It was odd to see such a massive group deciding collectively to sit on the street and watch a game. Unfortunately, Korea lost eventually and the amazing, exciting spirit and sea of “Fighting” red jerseys and devil horns died down. But it was a blast while it lasted!

As the weather began to grow warmer… no wait, I live in Asia so the seasons are only “Hotter than Hell” and “Terrible Snowstorm.” Okay, well as the heat and humidity began to hit, we could no longer continue the amazing Hot Yoga classes we’d been throwing money at. I’d looved taking classes in 100%Korean by a bendy woman who made the language so beautiful. I’d enjoyed the frog humdifiers, sweating more than I knew was humanly possible, and hearing the subway beneath us in quiet moments, but it was no longer bearable. Time to move on to… Korean Aerobics! This might be the funniest experience I’ve had here. Imagine me and Sara dancing around a room with 40 old Korean women dressed in shiny leggings, short skirts, cropped tube tops, and fancy hair to K Pop songs. For a taste of it (and actual song and dance!) check this out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8hoAX_4Lc4

Picked yourself off the floor? Yeah, well it’s random, hilarious, and awkward, but I am loving every minute of it!

With Annie gone, Brandon and I had to make sure we were still friends without her, so he came into town for a visit. Among the crazy things and awesome hiking we did that weekend, the best part was when we stumbled upon some Koreans having a bunch of games in the Childrens’ Park. They invited Brandon to whoop their butts in a jump roping competition, and me to win a gift certificate to Lotte in the hula hooping competition.

The Wangshimni crowd and I hit up a Busan Giant’s/LG Twins game where we decided to buy Giants Jerseys to wear at games back in SF. About the 7th inning, though, they decided there was a better way to show team spirit and passed around a bunch of orange trash bags which everyone then did this with:

To take advantage of the summer weather, a few friends and I decided to hike the most grueling mountain in Korea, Seoraksan. It was rumored to be nothing but deadly stairs straight up, and a hike lasting anywhere from 10-16 hours. After an “overnight” bus to the east coast, we arrived and began hiking on Saturday morning at 2am. They weren’t kidding about the stairs, but luckily that part was all in the early morning hours before the sun had come up, or we’d realized we were awake. We were up pretty high when we watched the sun rise, and we able to enjoy a few more hours of beautiful views before the rain came. Opps- forgot that summer here means monsoon season! It was still a surprisingly wonderful hike even underneath our ponchos, despite the fact that we had to take the 12 trail rather than the 16 hour one we’d been planning on.
As July approached, the anticipation grew for a festival I’d been looking forward to since before I even came to Korea- MUDFEST! This is one of Korea’s biggest, most famous, and most invaded by foreigners like me. A coastal town called Boryeong is famous for its good-for-your-skin mud so the gorgeous beach town of Daejeon trucks the mud in and has activities ranging from mud wrestling, Mud Prison, colored mud painting, mud-covered dance offs, mud sculptures, and of course concerts by Korea’s top K-Pop stars along with fireworks. Deciding that one weekend wouldn’t be enough, I booked trips to go both weekends. The first weekend was with 5 party buses and my girl, Sara, and the second was Christy, me, and a whole crew of new & amazing friends. Both weekends were some of the best weekends in Korea- drinking and being muddy all day, then running to jump in the ocean and wash it off to start all over again. The best part was probably the fact that every single one of my friends I’ve met since being here was there the first weekend and it felt like I was back in Chico surrounded by people I know & love all over again. Hurray for debauchery!
Sorry to have been so terrible with updates this summer! I’m doing my best to play catch-up now that the end is in sight. Love and Miss you all.
xoxo
Advertisements