Beginning six days ago, I began my new Korean language classes. I start my day at 6:30 am. An hour later I am out the door with an hour long commute ahead of me. This is nothing unusual. In the states I did the same. However, now I am riding the subway instead of driving down the interstate. I find the subway more pleasurable than the driving. First, I get to be half asleep while riding to my destination. Second, I feel safe because I am not in a hurtling between 70 and 80 mph in an economy car. Third, I think the marginal impact on the environment of me on the subway is much less than the impact of driving.
Once I reach the university my busy day begins. I usually pick up 3 cans of warm maxwell house coffee in order to pull myself through to 4 hour class that will happen. Once in the classroom, I greet my happy classmates. The social dynamics are different that my previous language class. These people come from all walks of life and are in the classroom because they actually want to learn Korean language and culture. Instead of sharing the classroom with annoying frat boys I get to enjoy learning with graduate students, office workers, house wives, etc. The nationalities in the classroom are mostly Chinese and Japanese with one or two Americans and Canadians in the mix. I make note of this because Korean is the only common language shared between us. I wish I could show you how funny it is to see us try to communicate with each other. After class we socialize. In particular, I enjoyed a Korean cooking class yesterday that was a part of our curriculum.
Today until Wednesday all the classes are canceled. In addition a majority of the stores, restaurants, and businesses are all shut down. The streets look like a ghost town. It is because of the North Korea missile launch. Just kidding, nobody in Seoul paid attention or cares about it. It is funny how Western news really make a big deal while life just goes on as usual here in South Korea. The true reason why the streets are empty is because of a holiday.
The holiday is to celebrate the new year of the lunar calendar. In the United States, I have heard this holiday referred to as the Chinese New Year. That is true that this holiday is a big deal in China, but that nickname is somewhat misrepresentative because other nations, such as Korea, celebrate this event. All the natives in this region are all clustered at home with their families in their hometowns. Some families are attending mass at Church today, others are preparing offerings to their ancestors. I could write a whole report about this holiday but instead I will spare your eyes today.
Since I am not lucky enough to be celebrating the holiday with a Korean family today, I intend on finishing up my blog post, doing laundry, and studying for many hours. I intend tomorrow on doing some sightseeing. This week I intend on meeting my classmates for some fun activities such as more sightseeing in addition to eating lots of food.