Update

Life in Seoul goes just so fast. I haven’t even had the time to update my blog for some time, so these are some of the things that have been going on in my Korean life:D

First, I got my flight tickets to go to Spain for Christmas. I’ll be at home from December 23rd till January 1st, so I’ll miss the three king’s day with my family for the first time in my life, but at least I can spend Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve with them.

Last week, our boss at the Commercial Office invited us to his house to have some Spanish food and get to know us a little better. We met his wife and son who live with him in Seoul and we spent a nice evening.

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From left to right: Myself, Ciro, Alex, and Isabel.

Winter has come in Seoul. Trees turned yellow and they’ll loose their leaves soon, so before that happen I took some pictures of Yonsei Campus, which looks pretty nice now.

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Yonsei Campus.

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Another view.

I took my housmates Ga-Young and Eun-Hye to a Spanish restaurant in Seoul. It’s called “Albayzin” and its decoration reminded me so much of southern Spain. We ordered paella and it really tasted like paella, which kind of surprised me, because none of the staff at the restaurant was from Spain:P

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At the Spanish Restaurant. From left to right: Myself, Eun-Hye, and Ga-Young.

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Interior of the restaurant.

After the restaurant, my housmates took me to a Korean norebang (노래방). These are the Korean version of Japanese karaokes. It was a very nice (and posh) norebang, and thankfully they had some songs in English. Even some in Spanish, like “Eres tú” by Mocedades, which seems to be quite popular in South Korea.

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Norebang’s main entrance.

Rumiko, our Japanese classmate in Yonsei KLI (KLI stands for Korean Language Institute) turned n+1 years. So we celebrated it with some Korean food, birthday cake and beer.

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At the Korean restaurant. The bottles on the table are “Yogurt Soju“, I love it!

We went out for some beer with our taekwondo classmates. The big finding was that the bar that we went to had a table football! So I guess we will come back to this place.. many times;)

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The taekwondo gang working out so hard:P

We played our first official soccer tournament as “Atlético KLI”. We lost in semifinals and honestly Koreans were in a much better physical shape than us. It was sooo cold (around 2 degrees), but we had a good time playing.

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Getting ready for the game.

And this is pretty much all so far. I wish I had more free time to update more often, but right now I’m afraid that’s just not gonna happen:)

Pepero Day

Today it’s November 11th (11/11). In South Korea this means it’s Pepero Day. Pepero (빼빼로) is a very popular Korean snack. It’s like a thin stick covered with chocolate, very similar to “Mikado” in Spain. The difference is that we don’t have a “Mikado Day”, and many people in Spain don’t even know what Mikado is.

Because the date November 11th has four “ones” (like four sticks) Pepero has made of this day in South Korea a day as important as Valetine’s Day in other countries. In Pepero Day, couples (also friends, but specially teenager couples) give each other Pepero as a sign of love or friendship.

Peppero Day is relatively recent (about 13 years according to the wikipedia), but it’s on its way to becoming part of Korean culture (perhaps it already is). Quite a marketing lesson from Pepero (which by the way, is part of Lotte, a Korean chaebol to which I also want to dedicate a post).

And to finish this post, here’s a Pepero commercial:

Green Pizza

Have you ever seen a green pizza?

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Masisseoyo!

That’s what we had for lunch today. Here’s a picture of the group:

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From left to right: Ciro, Faisal, Alex, and Jairo.

One Month in Seoul

Today I has been exactly one month since I arrived in Seoul, long enough to draw some conclusions about the city. Overall, I have to say I love it here and I feel just awesome. I still haven’t felt homesick at all and that’s a very good sign. About my life in Seoul during this month, these are some of the main points:

  1. Food. Korean food is quite healthy and eating in Korean restaurants is very cheap. Specially in the area around Yonsei University, we usually have lunch for about 3,000 to 4,000 won (1,000 won is $1, more or less). There is quite a lot of variety, although if you don’t like spicy food, this variety decreases.
  2. Korean Language. I like Korean and I seem to be pretty good at it (at least that’s what Koreans say). By the end of the internship I hope I can maintain a conversation in Korean and understand at least 80% of what I hear…
  3. Public Transport. Public transport works perfectly in Seoul, although it’s a little expensive if you use it a lot, because there is no monthly flat-rate like in Madrid, for example. By subway or bus you can go anywhere in Seoul, and usually all signs are also translated into English.
  4. Stress. Whenever you walk on the streets, specially in areas like Sinchon, you get the feeling that this city live in a constinuous bballi bballi. In Korean, bballi bballi (빨리 빨리) means “quickly, quickly”. This expression can be heard quite often when Koreans are crossing the street or getting on the bus or subway, for example.
  5. Smells. When you walk in Seoul, the mix of smells is amazing. Here in Seoul, there are many street kiosks in which they sell spicy (and smelly!) food. On the other hand, many (old) areas in Seoul lack a sewering system, and still use septic tanks for wastewater. This makes walking in Seoul a unique experience for your nose.
  6. Oegugin (외국인). Oegugin in Korean means foreigner. Sometimes I have the feeling that foreigners are kind of “apart” from the rest of Korean society. Anyway, this problem is common to many countries, and I guess nobody is to blame for this situation, when such a big culture difference is present.

In the following months, I just hope “good things” continue overcoming “bad things”, as it has been so far.

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