Wednesday, April 28, 2010

catch me if you can...

My year thus far and beyond:

01/01 - 01/08: Home
01/09 - 04/05: London
04/06 - 04/10: Paris
04/11 - 04/14: London
04/15 - 04/18: Florence
04/18 - 04/22: Rome
04/22 - 05/18: London
05/18 - 05/25: Home :)
05/25 - 05/31: London
06/01 - 06/04: Taiwan to see Cynthiar!
06/05 - 07/??: Busan ^^
? - 08/09(ish): Seoul
08/16 - 08/20: KPCHV retreat
08/30: And senior year begins...

Man this year has been and will continue to be a whirlwind. I'm tired thinking about it already haha. Working is hard. And so is playing.

Btw does anyone else have the problem of "aeroplane" ears? I definitely get it when the plane is landing. I am not looking forward to all this flying :(

Friday, April 23, 2010

Korean Studies

Growing up Korean in America has been both enlightening and frustrating at times. I was born and raised in the U.S. and speak English fluently, but my "Americaness" has always been questioned. I wasn't sure how to feel about this when I was younger, but have come to better understand it through my studies (and more importantly through faith). While I identified as Korean growing up, it wasn't until senior year of high school that I started getting interested in Korean society (via kpop and kdramas haha). Especially after taking classes on East Asia and Asian American studies, I became interested in more important aspects of Korean culture. As part of the Korean diaspora, I wanted to better understand Korean culture so as to understand "Korean American" culture. While Korean Americans may feel that they don't fully "belong" to Korean or American culture, I am thankful for the somewhat objective or outsider perspective I am able to have on both cultures.

One of my main areas of interest is the Korean diaspora and Korean society. There's definitely a lot of stuff I love about Korea, but there are also many things that make me worried, sad, and disgusted at times. These are some of the Korea related topics I want to explore more in the future:
  • gender inequality
  • class disparity
  • hierarchy (sunbae-hoobae system) & the abuse of it
  • suicide (highest rates in the OECD)
  • education & schools (high costs and crazy competition)
  • regionalism
  • the role of military in shaping culture
  • sex (industry, affairs, etc.) --> 1 in 10 men in the world have purchased a prostitute, 1 in 5 Korean men pay for sex more than 4 times a month (see more stats on prostitution)
  • intense working culture (Korean men work the longest hours in the world)
  • superficiality (plastic surgery anyone?) & body image
  • consumerism
I've been meaning to use this blog to write more things on my mind (and in my moleskin) and not just post pictures. Okay must go write some papers now :( I shall update with Italy pictures soon and still need to do a food post!

Btw heads up! I shall be coming home May 18-25! Honestly, I was starting to forget home, but am definitely looking forward to going back :) See y'all soon!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Adieu Paris, Merci Pour The Memories

Bonjour mes amis! I have returned from Paris and had a wonderful time! Before Paris, I went to an Easter retreat with the church I attend here. It was very cold, spring has not yet fully sprung on this side of the Atlantic :( The picture above is from the retreat center. The retreat got me thinking about many things, but I felt very frustrated at times because I couldn't express myself fully in Korean (its a Korean church)...

"And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." [1 John 5:11]

What is Easter to you? Eggs, chocolate, spring, fasting...? Like it says in Ecclesiastes, "Meaningless! Meaningless!...Everything is meaningless!" Unless you have faith that is. I hope that God will bless us all with the wisdom to have faith and to know the true meaning of life. Happy belated Easter everyone!

Subway entrance. By the Seine River. I love all the historical feeling of the city and all the green everywhere!

Lunch at a crêperie. In front of the giant Notre Dame Cathedral.

Inside the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Guide books at the Louvre. Locks on a bridge by the Seine.

Next to the RER station by my friends house in the suburbs. The Eiffel Tower at night.

A beautiful day at Versailles. Inside the palace.

The beautiful garden behind the palace. "Unni jump!" This picture cracked us up for a while :)

Unni taking up all the room in our picture ;) Enjoying the b-e-a-uuuutiful weather.

Dinner at a brasserie.
My sirloin steak. We! With my friend and her cutie parents.

At Montmartre. The view towards the top.

Macaroons from my friend's mom! At
Champs-Élysées while the sun set behind the Arc de Triomphe.

My flatmate and her parents were so accommodating during out stay! I had low expectations going in, but I enjoyed Paris much more than I thought I would. Bits and pieces of the 6 years of French I took in junior high and high school started coming back to me, but only un peu haha. The weather was sunny and beautiful, which I think made a huge difference.

I shall be hopping off to Florence and Rome in a few days. I'm already getting tired from traveling and will have a whole lotta essay writing to do when I get back ㅠ.ㅠ Its weird that I consider my flat home now, I just wanted to pass out in my bed in London while I was going around. I know a lot of people think its exciting traveling and what not, but if I didn't have people to see in these places, I would be okay with not going. I think its the people that makes somewhere worth being, so enjoy your time with the ones your with! Au Revoir my friends! :)