Tag Archives: Korea

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.

I’m constantly recounting epic tales to my friends about my ridiculous experiences, family interactions, and crazy Tinder-related sexual escapades over the years – I love hearing and telling a good story. I love flexing my funny muscle and hearing my pals laugh at the stupid situations I’ve found myself in.

To get a feel for what exactly a Story Slam is, I watched several YouTube videos of other storytellers doing their thing at various events across the US and I knew immediately I wanted to see it in action. Many speakers told funny stories and had the audience laughing, others told heart-wrenchingly honest stories that plucked at listeners’ heartstrings – on both sides of the spectrum, these were my people.

The problem was that these one-off videos didn’t really give me a completely clear idea of what a live event would be like, so I needed to see it for myself. I decided that I would attend the next Daegu Story Slam.

And here’s the kicker: I decided to be brave and went alone.

(I might also add that the event in Daegu is held every month in a bar… and I’m doing Whole30 this month so I’m not drinking… So I resolved to buy someone else a drink to earn my spot at a table.)

a lone storyteller…

I didn’t know anyone in town that would be willing and able to accompany me to the latest Story Slam, so I decided to go on my own and just sit and observe. As it turned out, I did know a few people who ended up being there throughout the night, but I sat on my own at a full table of strangers most of the night.

The theme of the evening was “Confessions” and the event hosts were collecting “anonymous confessions” from the audience. I dropped a couple of my own in – participation is key, right?!

As the night wore on, the hosts kept encouraging attendees to be a storyteller because just a few people had signed up, so there were several spots available.

I hadn’t planned on telling a story but there were openings, I was being given an opportunity to observe before jumping in to see how it “worked,” and my friend, William, encouraged me.

My conversation with William went a little like this:

“You should tell a story,” said he.

“Well, I’m just not sure what story I should tell… I have plenty of things I can confess to and few things I’m overly embarrassed about, so I guess I could,” I replied.

“You can totally do this. ‘A little bit brave’? How about ‘a lot brave.’ You can totally tell a great story,” he gently pressed.

“Yeah, okay. I’ve got a story,” I said.

So, I signed up and it was like I had been doing it forever…

I put my name in the hat and when I was called up, I told a fantastic tale about how I have always loved to laugh but it has caused me trouble in the past… because I used to have a terrible time trying to hold my bladder. (Translation: I used to pee in my pants from laughing too hard all. The. Time.)

I was invited to the mic and introduced and it was made clear to the audience that it was my first time. Everyone cheered their encouragement and I hit the ground running with my story.

 

daegu story slam

 

And you know what? I was nowhere near as nervous as I thought I would be. In fact, I was completely energized and just a tinge nervous – I was barely aware of my heart beating a little faster and my face wasn’t getting too overheated.

It was like I had been telling stories to an audience for years.

I’m no stranger to public speaking, but I’ve always been nervous about being in front of people. I just don’t know what happened that night…

I’m glad I took the leap…

What I haven’t admitted to you, Reader, is that I almost didn’t go… I had been out shopping for a few things and had some cumbersome bags; I didn’t have a buddy to join me in a bar and I wasn’t drinking alcohol. But I dragged myself to the gathering anyway and saw just a single face I recognized.

Since returning to Korea in September (surprise!), my friend pool has dwindled and changed. Folks have moved, had babies, or left the country altogether. That initial decision of bravery on Saturday night introduced me to something new that I know I’m going to love being part of and opened a new door for meeting people.

It was a fantastic decision.

 

I haven’t taken many brave steps over the last 12 months – something I’m a little ashamed to admit – but this one was a good one. I’m so glad I went, even with my shopping bags and no tag-along pal. Sometimes, being brave doesn’t mean stepping far outside of our comfort zones – even small steps matter.

Thanks, Daegu Story Slam community, for offering me a seat at the table and an opportunity to be part of the human connection in that room. It was a blast.

 

As we close out 2018, what brave steps have you taken this year? What do you want to do before the year is over? There’s still time! Share with me in the comments.

 

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

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