I should start things off by correcting a rather ambitious statement I made in my first post: seeing how intense class, socializing, eating and seeing is here (not that much sleeping!) I will have to lower my frequency of posts here to once a week! :[
Not sure if that makes you sad or happy but there is other news regardless, I am starting weekly posts in the 3rd category of my blog, Natural news and common thought!
So there has been lots of questions to me on what I have been up to while here, so aside from the obvious school work (language class + earth/env. courses) that rest of the time has been the following:
-food eating, food buying...
-sightseeing, photoseeing, seeing
-computer work + not work
So boring list right? WRONG! What is key here is the picture behind the word...yes picture! The snaps below try and cover the past few days, the words are the filling to this blog sandwich...I think I need to do more food buying.
So as the title suggests, I have been putting a lot into Seoul, mostly in the form of money (albeit it at an incredible exchange rate; come to Seoul, you Canadians!) but also in amazing conversations that have left me rather happy…really happy!
I guess the best part here is meeting so many people (everyone) for the first time in my life, its almost like a child exploring the new world around him, every moment for me is truly an adventure. I think this feeling is a bit exaggerated for me since, as some of my friends know, I like to get as much info and depth from my surroundings and places as I can. It used to mean lots of silly moving and games but nowadays it is much more sophisticated: photos and discussions…and moving and games. :]
So what to add…ah yes there was what I promised in my past blog, my checklist for any future Seoulites (made up) of this city…
For starters, get all those forms ready and prepped, this is a list best consulted with your university, parents, advisers and program staff – so listen and ask questions, especially from the host University and its groups/exchange branch when you can!
So…Going? Files and pre-departure all done? Well assuming you got all your shots, made backups and digital copies of ALL important docs and aren’t sick or trafficking anything, here’s what the luggage should have!
-Clothes, seasonally adjusted (buying here will be inevitable, so stay focused)
-Food; limited to legal, dry, small, delicious and “rare” goods…avoid meat (a piece of life advice too!)
-Hygiene products (so that you feel as good as you did here, bring some toilet paper and deodorant!)
-Technology; safe and only the essential, or if you don’t have, buy here for cheaper!
-Your stuff; this could be a few books, notes, and instrument, games, etc.
-Critical stuff: such as first-aid kit, umbrella, medication for full stay supply, cables (but buy special plugs here), pillowcase/blanket, water-bottle, local guide depending on your taste ad needs, and anything else you feel.
Try and stay within limits, you shouldn’t have more than 2 suitcases and a bag for a full year! This list is most useful for the residence Seoulite!
So for you (and me) while here, there have been many interesting expenses, most wonderfully cheap (to Canadian standards!):
-There will be lots of events to attend here – be it with clubs, groups, friends or exchange planned gatherings – and they mostly cost money! Yay!
-Food, mostly from the cafeteria at $2-$3CDNE (Canadian Equivalent)
-Other food, where the big flavor and diversity can shine is surprisingly, often pricey, averaging so far about $15CDNE but ranging $4-$40CDNE (the $40 brings tears of joy though, so its worth it!).
-Transit, incredibly cheap at $0.80 for local bus or any subway trip (complete with smart pay-by-distance, auto transfer with bus and subway, 13 line epicness and artistic-architectural symmetry)
-Goods not brought – limitless cost apparently! So this includes the initial bedding and pillow, later blankets and clothes, foreign plug, cellphone, probably a good shoe pair and refilling hygiene supplies!
Overall though, the stay here is cheap and comfortable, the view is mind-blowing on campus and life can come under $500 per month for everything (yes including residence if you’re on campus!). The key for me is slowly integrating the sustainability and often obvious places for improvement where I can in my life and environment around me…everyone should do this all around them!
With the exception of replacing and upgrading things that still have life in them to work well, you should always ask – how can I do this more efficiently, with less stress, fewer resources and minimal waste as the end/summation product? This excludes eating, then just choose the local/organic/vegan/veggie if possible! I feel if you start with this, you’re stay/life will become much greener without any of the denying, silly ads or dangerous green-washing needed in the world around us. So cheers to living abroad and keeping it real!
Chuseok joy and strange good and bad on the next leaf! All for now!