I’m about to hit the five month mark of being in Korea; it almost seems unbelievable. They say that time flies when you’re having fun and at this point, I could not agree more. I learn something new every day: how to play chess, Korean wedding gift-giving etiquette, subway shortcuts, how to properly turn a piece of pork over an open flame. I’ve also learned a lot about myself. Everyone knows you can take the girl out of Mississippi, but you can’t take Mississippi out of the girl. I have my roots in the country and that has no doubt had a strong influence on who I am today, but I am slowly finding that I am a city girl at heart. I love the vibrancy of a fast paced life and always (quite literally) having something to do.
I’ve built myself a network of resources so that I am always in the know. The Groove is a magazine targeted at expats that is published monthly. It’s a compilation of articles about living life in Korea, many of which are focused on food and fun, with others highlighting foreigners making a name for themselves in the city. The best thing about The Groove is the calendar of events which list every bar worth visiting, including each’s available drink specials and live music events. It can be picked up at What the Book in Itaewon or viewed online.
The Korea Herald is an English newspaper, which is fortunately available for viewing at my school, but is also on the internet. It covers national and international news, but also boasts sections such as “Culture,” “Weekender,” and “Rediscover Seoul.” I stay updated on what’s happening in the world, but also get the latest celeb gossip and advice on the best places to visit in Seoul, including festivals and special events.
Finally, the Korean Tourism Office’s website is a continuously updated website of the very best Korea has to offer, geared at tourists and expats alike. [Thanks to the KTO for choosing my blog as one of the top 100 blogs on traveling in Korea.] I took advantage of their suggested itineraries when I first arrived to get myself oriented to Seoul, and have continued to find them useful on my off days when visiting nearby areas, such as Suwon. There’s also a database of restaurants categorized into location and type of food, in addition to areas and sights worth checking out.
Being “in the know” has definitely helped me to get the most out of my experience living abroad. I’ve been able to see different aspects and lifestyles of the city, all the while having fun. Sure, I’ll always stick out in a crowd and my “anyoung haseo” has an undeniable twang to it, but I now feel that I am a part of this place, rather than being just a visitor. If the next seven months pass as fast as the past five have, I may find myself considering to stay a bit longer here in Korea. So much to do, so little time…