Tag Archives: Korea

Fear of Failure: Where I’ve Been Hiding – Part 2

A few weeks ago, I started chronicling my long absence from this little writing exercise. (If you missed that installment, you can check it out here.)

Looking back at that rambling essay, I see that I promised to continue my story the following week and I (unsurprisingly) dropped the ball. This seems to be a bad habit of mine that I’m currently (and very actively) working on overcoming.

So, I wrote out the basics of my sabbatical and here’s where I wanted to go with that “continuation”: I was afraid to take a step I saw as “backward.”

Let me explain.

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Daegu Story Slam | once a storyteller, always a storyteller…

Last weekend, I went out on a limb and stopped into a monthly Story Slam meet-up in Daegu. I vaguely recall seeing past events shared to various local Facebook groups I was in over the years, but I always turned up my nose and just assumed it was something I had no interest in.

Oh, how wrong I was.

I don’t remember if I took the time to research what an actual Story Slam is the last time my interest was piqued, but this time I made the effort. And I was immediately enraptured by what I saw.

I was born to be a storyteller…

In short (if you don’t want to do the research), a Story Slam is like an open mic for people to (obviously) share their stories. A theme is chosen for the night/event and your story should somehow relate to it. You’re given a certain time limit to tell your story and it does have to be a story – not a poem or something you’ve written or a performance: it’s a real-life story that happened to you. You don’t make notes, you don’t over-prepare, you just get up and tell your story to (most likely) a room full of strangers.

Now, I love telling stories… If you’ve read any part of this blog, my guess is that’s pretty apparent.

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I’ve been to the winner’s circle…

Today, I met a friend of mine for what she has always called “gaming.” This term has scared me in the past because in my mind, I equated it with super-nerds gathering to play things like Dungeons and Dragons (the original board game) or others like it.

While there’s definitely some of that going on at said weekly “gaming” gathering, there is also a lot of playing not-so-intense-and-insanely-serious games, too. Caitlin and I began playing a game she had with another “gaming” friend called Splendor. The premise is to gain 15 points by collecting “gems.” This, I totally understood and enjoyed playing. Turns out I’m not the best strategist, though.

After a couple games of Splendor, we moved on to something more intense that Caitlin’s friend, Marc, brought a mammoth game that takes literally hours to play. (There were a couple of other games present that took hours, too, but we didn’t play those.)

The game: Eclipse.

Marc told us it would take a minimum of 2 hours to complete. It was way too much for me to (want to) handle on my own, so I asked if Caitlin and I could play as a “team.” (This basically meant that I had no clue what was going on most of the time, but helped make decisions here and there for our “team.”)

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Start of the game. I was already feeling lost, but things got clearer as we went along.

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here’s what the world thinks of Americans…

Several weeks ago, my KBFF sent me some videos taken on a university campus in Korea, presumably in Seoul. They’re pretty funny and frankly, spot-on in some cases.

It’s not terribly surprising what many of the campus’ international students thought of Americans. As an American, myself, I have thought often that we as a group tend to be loud, a bit obnoxious, and overweight. (Not all of us, of course, but stereotypically speaking.)

What was also funny to me was how the international students (including Americans!) described the Korean students. They, too, were spot-on! Korean students do have a certain “look” about them… I’ve learned since I have lived here that it’s almost a requirement to have a rather square-looking backpack and glasses. Girls usually have the same basic haircut, or something similar, anyway. And everyone wears those fake Adidas slippers. And I mean everyone.

While the qualities in these videos are certainly not true for everyone, they seemed to be on the right track. If nothing else, they made me laugh. I hope you’ll laugh, too.

 

 

What do you think? Did they get it right on either side?

Share your reactions in the comments!

I saw North Korea… no, really…

I went to the DMZ last weekend with a tour group and it was pretty amazing. If you don’t know what the DMZ is, allow me to explain: DMZ stands for the “Demilitarized Zone.” This is the literal, heavily-guarded line between North and South Korea. And I saw it.

The weekend trip was awesome and overall, totally surreal.

We first went to an area along the border that had previously been closed to the public until 2006, called Dutayeon (두타연) Falls. If you plan to go, you have to actually apply with a tourism office no less than 3 days in advance. They’re that serious about patrolling there.

They’ve cleared the area (mostly) and have made some walking paths through a beautiful section in this range of mountains. To keep track of visitors, though, they make everyone wear a GPS tracker around their neck. North Korea is so nearby that they want to keep close tabs on everyone. Crazy, isn’t it!? So, I wore a GPS tracker.

Dutayeon Falls, Korea

Dutayeon Falls, Korea

Also, there are still live land mines throughout the area. They’ve cleared most of them, but there is barbed wire along all the paths with little warning signs that simply say “Mine.” You DON’T wander from the path unless you have a death wish. Seriously. There are mines out there! It was crazy to fathom.

At one point, I got pretty pissed because this older guy totally ignored the “Mine” sign and just made his own little path down a steep hill. Now, it’s not likely that there were mines in there, especially being that close to the actual path… But seriously. Buddy. DON’T ENDANGER EVERYONE AROUND YOU BECAUSE YOU’RE IMPATIENT. Good gods. We could have all died.

Dutayeon Falls, Korea

Dutayeon Falls, Korea

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