Tuesday, July 10, 2012

New Name & Weekend Fun

Did I tell you I got a Korean name? Some of the teachers at my school decided for me. I told them what my English name means, and they created a name based on the same meaning. My Korean name is 어 소 현, Eo So Hyeon.

I just realized this, but if I moved to many places and learned many languages, I could collect all kinds of new names. The thought is kinda inspiring.

Ah, so this last weekend was as tiring as it was fun. Let's start with Friday evening. I visited a Korean friend at his shop and showed him the video of me paragliding. He was really jealous, so we agreed that if he could plan a paragliding trip, I'd go with him and whoever else wanted to join. I told him I was going to Seoul the next day and needed to go to bed as early as I could.

Why? I signed up for a trip to theYeosu World Expo which was hosted by Talk To Me In Korean and ROKING Korea (not sure about the spelling, sorry). It was my choice to meet the group in Yeosu (almost the southern-most point in Korea), or join the team in Seoul and travel with them. I decided on the latter, and that meant catching a 3:50 AM train to Seoul from my town. Two hours later, I arrived in Seoul and took the subway to the meeting spot (about 30-40 mins away). At some point, I was confused about a subway transfer and decided to take a taxi in order to avoid being late. The taxi driver was a funny old man who spoke a bit of English and had been to Atlanta... or at least I think he'd been there. When I told him I was American, he kept saying "Atlanta!"  This guy was very kind and patient with my attempts at speaking to him in Korean. When we arrived at Ewha Woman's University, I wasn't quite sure where to get dropped off, but asked him to stop anyways. "Here?" he asked in Korean. Just then, we both saw a foreigner walk by the taxi. "Oh, yes, here. There's a foreigner," he said and chuckled.

I eventually called out to the foreigner and together we searched for the meeting spot. With the help of a couple phone calls and recalling directions from the email, we found it. It was really great seeing everyone meet like that. Seeing the TTMIK staff and cameramen... oh yeah. KBS came with us on the trip to film the adventure.

It takes 4 hours by bus to reach Yeosu from Seoul. We stopped twice on the way there: once for bathroom breaks, and a second time for lunch (which was some pretty tasty bibimbap!).  The entire trip was a sunny one, but once we reached the expo clouds covered the sky and it occasionally sprinkled with rain.

This wasn't just a site-seeing trip. We (100 of us) were put into teams of 5 and given various missions to complete. One was a creative picture-taking mission, and the other involved collecting 10 stamps from any random location at the Expo. Each team member had at least one person using KakaoTalk to send and receive info about each team's progress. Once we arrived at the Expo, we took some group photos, received final instructions, and were set loose to explore the various pavillions.

Oh... yes, so the cameramen. They followed various teams around, filming their progress and asking questions. They even interviewed some of us during the bus ride. ...Including me. I'm not sure when the program will air, but I hope I can see it.... lol.

After running around the Expo for 5 or 6 hours, everyone met up again by the buses for award announcements and final pictures. We even did a few chants, cheers, and poses for KBS. No, my team didn't win anything, but, really, just participating in the missions gave us a chance to really see a little bit of everything at the Expo. It was a really great opportunity, and a wonderful experience. Plus, free t-shirts are awesome! : D

We were allowed to stay at the Expo (and find our own transportation back home), but I decided to travel back with the buses. We didn't arrive in Seoul until 10 or 11 PM. By then, I just focused on finding a place to stay before the subways shut down for the night, and resting up for the next early train back home.

On Sunday, I made a rare trip to E-Mart, feasted on a cheese bulgogi hot-dog and 2 scoops of ice cream, did some grocery shopping, and got stared at by the other shoppers. Maybe I should visit there more often. They probably thought I was a brand new foreigner to Jecheon. Well, I was in the pots and pans section for awhile....

I'm going to try making a shepard's pie... or a pot pie. I'll tell you about it if it goes well. ...Or doesn't go well.

'Til next time,

::EDIT::  http://www.talktomeinkorean.com/shows/2012yeosuphotos/

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