When I Was In Korea

In "When I was in Korea", ex-pat Korea stories, Korean withdrawl, Lee Myung-bak encounter on February 26, 2010 at 12:13 am

Lee Myung Bak Post a comment with your own “When I was in” story and I’ll share how I met this famous Korean.

People from my high school will probably remember Dean Ringer’s “When I was in Korea” stories. Why did he always tell them? Did anyone want to know about days gone by in a foreign land with lots of rotted cabbage?

Well, I do now. And, I have those very same urges to share my own “When I was in Korea” stories.

I’ll just get them out of the way so we won’t have to have this conversation in person.

When I was in Korea I taught some of the cutest kids on earth. No lie. You might think you have some little ones in your life that beat their cuteness, but no.

When I was in Korea I could travel from one end of the country on a high speed train in 3 hours. I could get across the entire city of Seoul on a train, bus or even in a cab(for less than $20). Oh, the transportation system was lovely.

When I was in Korea I could walk by myself in the middle of the night and feel completely safe. My first week in Syracuse I was afraid of walking to my car at night after class. And I still haven’t gotten over that one.

When I was in Korea I could spend a day at a spa full of saunas and whirlpools and get perfectly exfoliated skin for a only 7,000 won/$6.

I could keep on going, but I will stop for now.

A common issue among returned travelers is that they have so much to talk about and hardly anyone wants to talk about their travel/living experiences. OK.. That is not completely true. People do ask, but are ready to move on to another topic in 5 minutes.

When I first got back. I was lucky enough to have travel-friendly friends who actually wanted to talk about my experiences, and to have friends still in Korea that I could live vicariously through. But, a few more “When I was in Korea” stories would have probably helped me get through my KimBap Chungguk withdrawl faster.

Thank goodness I also started grad school soon after I got back. Now I can talk about my “When I was in bootcamp” stories with my fellow MNOers and discuss our exciting Syracuse winter weather with the senior citizens at my church. Still not as exciting as seeing a B-boy show in the middle of the night in Seoul, but fulfilling.

Now, please share your “When I was in” story.

  1. When I was in Ukraine I remember once getting on a train that went from my city to a smaller city. There was a great mass of people on the platform as the train slowly halt. Once the doors opened I began to picture that black and white footage of the runs on the bank back in the 30s when the stock market crashed in America. People were pushing and shoving to try to get onto the train. I had my backpack on one shoulder and it fell off and knocked a man's hat off of his head. People were so close together that his hat didn't fall to the ground, just down to someone's shoulder. I picked up the hat and put it back on his head. I was laughing the whole time. We were all in a rush to get a seat on the train. They don't pack them like they do in say…Bangladesh or some country where the rules are even more lax than Ukraine…but it is mainly standing room only on the trains. It was a funny experience.

  2. When I was in Ghana I could get anything I needed by sticking my arm out the bus window and plucking it off someone's head: mangoes, cookies, t-shirts, tomato paste, bread, really big snails.When I was in Ghana waiting alone in a bus station with my luggage and I needed to run a quick errand, I could walk up to any strange woman and ask her to watch my luggage for a moment, and then run off knowing that my bags were perfectly safe.When I was in Ghana I could manage anything as long as I had two yards of cloth and a bucket.

  3. When I was in Sri Lanka we stayed at luxury beach resort hotels and had them all to ourselves. No tourists wanted to come with all the fighting that was going on.When I was in Russia we went shopping in open air markets at -40 degrees (both C and F meet around this point). We also bought ice cream from street vendors who didn't need ice or a freezer during the winter.When I was in Southeast Asia I stayed in waterfront bungalows for $1 a night and could get a massage for $2 an hour. I took 12+ hour trips in the backs of 4×4 pickups loaded with luggage and once bathed with an entire village at the community well where you had to elbow your way in to rinse in the running water.When I was in Guam I got SCUBA certified, learned kiteboarding and discovered a waterfall on one of many hikes. I then tried to climb the waterfall but fell and had to hike out before getting stitches on my head.

  4. Your stories make me want to travel more. Like I need another reason;).Jennifer– Did you pay for those snails? Hmm?Andrew– I'm just jealous. That is all I can say. I especially miss the cheap traveling in Southeast Asia.ESL Teacher–I can see that happening to you. šŸ™‚

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