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Living Life The Korean Way

I’ve been living in Korea for 18 months now, enough time to get over the initial culture shock and to adapt to living the Korean lifestyle. There have been both good things- going out for dinner and getting a delicious, filling meal for under £5, and bad- fearing for your life every time you are on/ near the road because of the crazy drivers.

Here are some of the things I have become accustomed to during the last year and a half in  Korea- the good, the bad and everything in between…


Protectors of an Ancient Time

 

Originally Published at TeyMarieAstudillo.com

Today, we have satellites, aircraft, bombs, guns – a whole slew of modern warfare technology that countries use to protect themselves from other nations.

But in ancient times, the only thing that separated people from a potential invasion or destruction by a foreign nation or their soldiers was a simple brick and mud wall.

These defense walls were the common protectors of cities and sovereign lands in ancient times. We can see the remanence of them all over the world – from The Great Wall of China to The Walls of Constantinople in Turkey.

Which brings me to the Seoul Fortress Wall.


Letter to Korea, August 2014

Dear Korea,


Why did you come to Korea?

After "What's your name?", "How old are you?", "Do you have a boyfriend?", "Why not?" and "Do you know Dokdo?", one of the most common and weirdly challenging to answer questions I get in Korea is "Why did you come to Korea?" Why Korea, and not some other country? Why would you fly halfway across the world, leave everything familiar, and take a job here?

Well? Good question.

Before I came to Korea, I'd been considering both Japan and Korea as possible destinations. Thanks to a dumb mistake on my JET application (postmarked by and received by are VERY different, kids), Japan fell out of the running pretty early. However, that doesn't mean that there weren't plenty of reasons why Korea felt like a good choice.

 1. Food


The Yeowoorak Festival reinvents traditional Korean Music

If you’re a music lover coming to Korea, your in luck! Seoul’s music scene is alive and well. Known worldwide for K-pop, you don’t have to be a fan of this genre to enjoy the music Seoul offers. Eastern and Western talent can be enjoyed all around from venues as large as international music festivals held at huge stadiums housing tens of thousands to small dive bars found throughout the city.


The Kiwi Connection

nz korea

Hello everyone,

Today we will talk about the lovely Kiwi people of New Zealand. They call themselves kiwis because there is an endangered species called the kiwi.

kiwi

By Goudron92 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Having not attended a Korean school in South Korea, I can’t imagine fully to what extent the environment is like for kids growing up in South Korea.


The Badass Koreans

First thing is, there are two types of categories for Koreans who’ve made Russia their home.

And when I say Russia, I actually mean the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).


(The Last) Letter from Korea, June 2014.

Dear Ireland,

If you’re not already aware I’ll be leaving in about a week. I know I’m going on about it a fair bit, but it is what I’ve been building up to for quite a while and it feels appropriate to me to talk about it a lot. Right now, in terms of being in Korea, it doesn’t feel like there is much else I should be talking about. One thing though that I’d like to make clear though is my intentions.

Never at any point have I turned around and said I have to get out of Korea for some abhorrent reason, like the usual tripe you hear about the inadequacies of Korea, Koreans, or indeed the inadequacies of those who cannot accept that this is a very different country to the one which they were raised in. I could go on here, but I won’t.


ZenKimchi Foodcast – Makgeolli, Korea’s Fizzy Brew

 

We are still playing catch-up here at MMPK headquarters, with a lot of new and exciting things in production.  A while back in May, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Joe McPherson, of ZenKimchi fame, for an episode of his Foodcast.  Of course the topic of the conversation was our beloved makgeolli, and despite chewing each other’s ears off for a good 40 minutes or so, I’m sure we could have gone on for much longer!  Every time I get chatting about makgeolli, Korean traditional liquor and the future of the industry, I realise just how much there is to know and how much more we have to learn.


Couldn’t Have Done it Without You Sweden

 

Today, Sweden is the highlight of the hour!

If you haven’t learned a lot in history class, which I didn’t, all you have to know is Sweden is neutral, and they are organized.  I’m not one to generalize, but when I came across the 50 year Diplomatic Relations between South Korea and Sweden, it was surprising that everything was documented from their first encounter with us in the 1720.

1720?! Jezzus ! Who is the historian in charge of this ? Who does that ?!

Some think Korea always looked like this beautiful.
joseon palace When Sweden decided to help Korea, our infrastructure was in terrible condition, and there were more peasants than you can count.  Just look at our markets back then.


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