Tag Archives: Korea

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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starting the end off right…

As promised (more to myself than you, Reader… no offense), I’m going to keep tonight’s entry short and sweet.

I made a ton of intentions (because I can never seem to keep up with “goals”) for this year, which you can read about here. Needless to say, I’ve kept up with my usual not getting around to keeping said intentions. While this new list is meant to be completed, chances are, it simply won’t be. I’m just telling you now so you’re not disappointed later.

I’m really bad at this. As I’ve previously made clear, I can’t be trusted with my own goals. Intentions. (Whatever.)

Assume that everything I list here was probably an intention I totally blew. With all that said, and without further ado, here’s what I’d like to accomplish before the end of the year:

  1. Bake that effing cheesecake I’ve been talking about for years. I have cream cheese that’s ready to go and needs to be used, so it’s a win-win.
  2. Run a minimum of 50 miles before Dec. 31.
  3. Write 4 letters a month to people that mean something to me.
  4. Cook once a week (at least) at home. Suck it up, do the dishes, and just make something.
  5. Plan an epic Christmas party for my other expat friends and KBFF. Blog about it (because you know you want to know how it goes!).
  6. Start producing stuff to use for my own business next year.
  7. Redesign A Little Bit Brave (again).
  8. Drink more wine.
  9. Finish NaBloPoMo without missing a single day.
  10. Visit Bali. (It’s happening, Reader, Christmas 2015!)
  11. Participate in a temple stay. Meditate and stuff.
  12. Read 2 books.
  13. Make an appointment at that laser hair removal place on the opposite side of town. (Time’s a-wastin’.)
  14. Wake up no later than 8:30 every morning. Also, be in bed by 12:00 and asleep before 1:00 AM.
  15. Take more photos. A lot more.

That’s it. Well, for now anyway. I’m sure I can think of others, which I’ll add later. Peh. Here’s hoping I can get my shit together and accomplish these. As always, feel free to hold me accountable. (I need you, Reader, more than you know!)

Image via Flickr user johnonolan

Korean animals are weird…

So, not surprisingly, I’m totally late to my own posting party. Are you surprised? Yeah. Me neither.

So, due to my bad habits and a ton of business happenings, I’m not going to write much to you. I’m going to show you something.

Months ago, I talked with a class of girls about how Korean animals, apparently, sound totally different than American animals. Well, at least when humans are speaking for them.

So, we wrote it down:

Korean animal sounds

Korean animal sounds

Let me translate:

Frog: “geh-guhl geh-guhl” (this is weird, because it’s not a true “l” or “r” sound. Saying it as a native English speaker is just downright awkward)

Pig: “ggool ggool” (think a hard “g” sound)

Dog: “mong mong” (dogs so don’t sound like that, RIGHT?!)

Cat: “ya-ohng ya-ohng” (“oh” sound there)

Cow: “um-may um-may” (huh?)

Sheep: “mayyyyyyyy” (not too far off from the American version)

Horse: “hee-hing hee-hing”

And then, to make my point more understandable for you, dear Reader, I recorded us making all the sounds.

 

Notice how adorable all of them are. I’m sad that I no longer have a single one of them in class anymore. They’ve moved on to bigger and better things (or just a higher level, but whatever).

I think the difference in horse sounds was their favorite; we often say “neigh” for horses in the Americas, which literally translated here (Korean spelling is 네) would be an agreement. So horses in America must be very agreeable… Or so I’ve come to assume.

This is just one of the many things I’ve noticed that are remarkably different in Korea. Many things I’ve come to accept as “normal” and it wasn’t until coming home to the Americas this year that I remembered that they’re, well, not the norm to Americans.

More on that later.

But anyway, enjoy the adorable children and the strange sounds their animals make. Happy Friday, Reader. And an even happier weekend to you!

 

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