Walking around Seoul this weekend I realized something. It has given me the same feeling I had of NYC the first 2 years I went there. Anger, annoyance, irritation, stress, problematic, aggravation…pick your top 3 or all of the above. But after those 2 years, I had an epiphany. That city is a machine. It is this huge system, churning and burning… and nothing will get in its way. It’s survival of the fittest. Adapt or flunk.  You can see it working from the outside, from the shore. And you have to commit to it if you want to survive. It was like I held a grudge against the place until I found that connection, and then all I had to do was make a decision. Accept it for what it is, and how it runs, and enjoy it for what it is. And almost instantly, I went from detesting it, to demanding it. I love being there. Not enough to live there yet, but I do have to have my fix.

And until today, Seoul was headed down the same path. Not as severe yet, but certainly going that way.  It wasn’t planned, but b/c of some miscommunication issues and the girls not being able to find the guys in the segregated sleeping quarters at the bathhouse, I found myself alone and free to roam the streets of Seoul. I don’t think it takes more than one trip to realize you need comfortable shoes, and rarely will form trump function….or at least I think so.  Most Asian women apparently disagree.  After wandering around a little bit irritated at my current situation, I decided to make the most of it and explore. I went to one of the shopping districts and after exhausting myself there, I decided to head for the electronics district using my iffy memory as a map. I popped out of the subway tunnel onto the street and tried to find the place, but failed. So, after realizing I had a wonderful opportunity to sit, I did. I realized that there was some nice black marble behind me, and it made for a very nice chair. Headphones in and sleeves rolled up, I figured I could really use some sun. So for the next hour or so, that’s what I did. Sat and listened to music and watched cars.  It was a good decision.

While sitting, I mapped out my next destination, Itawon, the foreigners district. I didn’t think much about it on the way, but when I got there, something amazing happened. I felt relaxed. I have no problem with what I’m doing here or where I am, but seeing an influx of caucasian people and black people….i felt very different, at ease. Not because I’m nervous or tense around Koreans, they’re very hospitable actually. But because it felt normal. I felt at home. And that is somewhat of a challenge when I’m approximately 6 thousand miles away from where I get my mail.  I found a magazine called Groove, which is in English, and designed for foreigners, and had even more confirmation that hiexpat.com is mandatory for survival. There is a huge amount of knowledge people to help English ppl out, you just have to have the initiative to seek it out. And realizing that helped me out a lot. Whew….

Yesterday I visited the tallest building in Seoul, going up to the 60th floor, seeing the wax museum, Sea World, and a Picasso art exhibit. I wandered through a local street market, and enjoyed a few laughs at some of the things I saw.

Between yesterday and today, I’ve determined that there is nothing inexpensive. And anyone will be hard pressed to convince me otherwise. Somebody told Anna today that there’s lots of cheap things…aside from clothes and food….wait, what? What else is there! That’s why we came here! Because the needed essentials were inexpensive. C’mon now. I don’t really care that a 24 hour bathhouse is 6$....I want my Calvin Klein for 6$. 

3/3/2011 02:04:37 am

Looks like you're having fun, and learning alot! Enjoy, be safe!


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