The best things about living in South Korea

Mr. White Teacher(a nickname given to me by my students) here:

So I know Lindsay already wrote a similar blog, but you asked for it again in our poll and now I am giving you my opinion.

5. The music.
Korean music may just be the best and worst thing you have ever heard. The new pop-py stuff sounds just awful. Everything I have seen on the T.V. or blaring from the record stores makes American pop music sound like Mozart. But at Songwon, our floor doubles as the music floor. Some of the music these kids make is absolutely beautiful. They mainly play traditional music with a Kayagum(a stringed instrument) and a drum. It is absolutely funky. I highly recommend it.

4. The traditions.
Korean people seem to be highly traditional. It also seems that through the years the traditions that they perform have not lost there meaning. Korean history goes back thousands of years but it seems that all people still take an active part. Or at least they don’t seem quite as commercial as, say, an American Christmas(although this may be lost in translation). For example, during Chuseok most all families get together with their families and honor those ancestors that passed on before them. We heard drumming late into the night in our apartment during this holiday.

3. The people.
Again the people can be the best and worst people you have ever met. Most people in Kwangju seem cold, but our trip to Andong this weekend revealed a world of smiling and helpful people. Not to give Kwangju Koreans a bad name. Most people smile and say hello, but there is more of a big city mentality just like in American big cities. But don’t expect to go into a restaurant here and not have the waitstaff fawn all over you. They will cut up your meat, tell you how to eat it and bring you free refills. To top it off, they don’t expect a tip.

2. The landscape.
Our bus trip to Andong this weekend was absolutely gorgeous. Save for the cities we went through several tunnels and beautiful green valleys. This peninsula is mostly made up of mountains making for some great views. While we were in the less urban part of Andong there were times I felt like I was home in Virginia. Subsequently, you get great hiking trails right in the middle or right outside of large cities. I can’t think of many cities that offer such a perk.

1. The food.
The food is sooooo mashinnun (delicious). It is a party of flavors in your mouth. You almost always get a soup with your meal that is fantastic. Usually a miso base with all kinds of vegetables. Then there is the kimchi that I have grown very fond of. There must be an abundance of this stuff here too as they eat it for all three meals and serve it at restaurants as an afterthought. And if you are looking to go fast food here, that generally means a gourmet, healthy meal. Korean food is as cheap as it is good.

Just to give you a visual of the music, here is a video. It is a bit of a satire of it, but not too far off. Enjoy.