Thursday, June 17, 2010

Daeeee Han Min Guk!


So, I get it. I failed. Again. Sorry! Things have been busy around here. So busy that I can't even actually remember what I've been doing for the past few weeks.

My school had "sports day" a few weeks ago. One of my classes has only boys in it, and they needed a girl for their relay races, so they asked me. One of them was just plain running, which was fine. But the other one was some obstacle course where I had to crawl under nets, hop in a potato sack, do summersaults, and grab a piece of candy with my mouth out of a flour-filled tray. Fabulous. It was pretty funny, but I helped my team win both races!

My team!

Posing with the rival team

A few weeks ago, Jane came! Jane is one of my good friends from Wisco who happens to be from Seoul. She comes back when she can on her breaks from school to visit her parents who still live here. She went shopping with me, Sara, and Rebecca in Myeongdong one evening, which was fun. It was so weird to have my friends from here be with someone who I knew back home too, but fun as well. Jane and I also found some time to take a dance class at one of our favorite studios in Seoul. Its pretty far from me, so unfortunately its not my regular studio. I forgot how small the dance world was...I saw so many people I knew at this random studio in Seoul. Go figure.

Post-dance class

And most recently, the World Cup started!! Unlike America, soccer is HUGE DEAL here and everyone goes nuts. Everyone dresses in red (South Korea's team are the Red Devils) and many of the big plazas in Seoul block of the streets and set up big screens for people to watch. This past Saturday my friends and I went to City Hall to watch the first game against Greece. It was absolutely crazy, made even crazier by the incessant rain. We decided we were going rain or shine, and bought some red plastic ponchos to protect ourselves and our homemade t-shirts. We were some of the only foreigners in the gated area near the stage and screen, and as a result, the press was going nuts for us. Rebecca's students saw us on the news, and my students found us in a newspaper! You can find us here. The caption says something like "Nations don't matter - foreign Red Devils shout 'dae han min guk' ". Kind of a nice idea actually now that I think about it. I guess the longer I live outside of America, the less I see the boundaries of countries and just am sort of in the moment wherever I am. I'm in Korea. Therefore, I'm cheering for Korea. Simple. My students thought it was so cool that I made the newspaper. We also made another website, although one of the pictures was before we had bought our red ponchos, so we're wearing yellow ones. We're the two pictures on the bottom right. Korea won, of course, 2-0 so the entire city was celebrating that night.

Before the game!

In the middle of the chaos - so many people!

Me, Q, and John watching the game in the pouring rain

Following the Korea game, we went to Itaewon where there were lots of foreigners getting ready for the US vs England game. The game was on at 3:30am so we were in for a long night! We sat the bar that was full of English and Americans arguing and cheering as loud as possible. We ended up tying, which was way better than us Americans expected so we were happy. By the time the game ended it was 6:30am and the sun was up! Except it sort of wasn't because it was still pouring rain. We ran to McDonalds to get some breakfast, and then back to the room we had rented for the night. We finally went to sleep around 7am and woke up around 1 the next day. We're lazy, but it was so worth it.

Watching the World Cup over here, it sort of makes me wish America were smaller sometimes. All of our sports are so regionalized and we rarely cheer for a national team. No one in America really seems to care about the World Cup. Everyone is so united here, so its really fun to be a part of.

There is a game on tonight, actually. I sort of wish I was in the madness of Seoul again to watch it - they set up the big screens for every game - but we all have work tomorrow so its probably not a good idea. But I'll be sitting here cheering for 대한민국 (Republic of Korea) wearing my red!

Here's your K-Pop song...its sort of the unofficial theme song for the Korean team, by Big Bang and Kim Yuna! Click here to listen! You can find a version with English subs if you search for it, I think. Sorry this was a little short, but if you don't mind, I have some Red Devils to cheer on now :)

"Imagine there's no countries. It isn't hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for. And no religion too. Imagine all the people living life in peace." - John Lennon, Imagine