Wednesday, September 15, 2010


 An nyoung ha seh yo!

That's hello.  In Korean.  Written in Hangul, that's 안녕하세요.

This is a crucial phrase if you want to get by in Seoul.  Everywhere I walk, I hear "an nyoung ha seh yo!"  People answering cell phones, passing friends on the street, bowing to elders and superiors in the hallway at work.  When one walks into any store or restaurant in Korea, he or she is greeted with a chorus of "an nyoung ha seh yo!" from any employees in the vicinity of the door.

Also, a phrase I've recently learned, and put to very good use:

"kamsahamnida"  (감사합니다)

This means "thank you."  I got into the habit of using this today, much to the delight of the Koreans I interacted with. They were so happy when I used it, and really made me feel more at ease about trying different Korean phrases out.  I purchased a bottle of orange juice at the Mini-Stop convenience store near my officetel, and when I couldn't quite remember the phrase, the store clerk had no problem with helping me out a bit.  She asked where I was from, and welcomed me to Korea.  Many people here are so inviting, it really makes me feel very welcome.

Friday, September 10, 2010


It's pouring rain outside, so I'm enjoying a relaxing Friday evening in, catching up on watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, eating nachos and drinking a Chilsung Cider:

"Cider" doesn't really mean the same thing here that it does back home.  Chilsung Cider tastes almost exactly like Sprite or 7-Up.

Things have been going fairly well for me.  The kids that I teach are amazing, and incredibly friendly and inquisitive.  My favorite part really has been teaching the classes so far.

I've joined a few meet-up groups, hoping to meet some fellow English-speakers.  One group, called "Seoullites," is meeting for a dinner/karaoke night next Saturday, the 18th.  I don't think I'll take part in the karaoke, but so far 27 people have signed up to go, so I think I have a good chance at meeting some fellow world travelers.

One oasis I have found, and for which I am very grateful:

I was pretty excited when I heard about this place.  It really felt like being back home when I went inside, and I'll definitely be going back for Tuesday wing night!

I hope this post finds everyone well, and I look forward to talking to you all very soon!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Wolfhound Pub and the Seoul Metropolitan Subway

On Sunday, on the train to Itaewon, I met a girl from New York City named Adrienne. It was really great to meet someone with whom I could converse. Once we arrived at Itaewon, she helped me find the Wolfhound, an Irish pub that is apparently a very popular foreigner hangout. Let me tell you, fish and chips and a pint of Guinness? I was in Irish heaven...

I should take this time to tell you a little bit about the Seoul Metropolitan Subway. If you're like me, and the only experience you've had with city train transit is in cities like Edmonton, the Seoul Subway is quite a shock. In a city as densely populated as Seoul, an efficient rail system is key, and it is really amazing how well the subway here works. There are nine different lines in the system, with a total of 291 separate subway stations. You can quite literally get to almost any part of Seoul using the subway system. On top of that, the trains and stations are, without exception, nearly immaculately clean. The trains are very modern and obviously well-maintained.  To give you an idea of the scope of the entire system, here is the map of the Seoul Metropolitan Subway:

To me, it looks as though someone has dropped a bowl of cooked spaghetti on the city.  Crazy!