This week I’m attending the IKAA Gathering 2010, which is the 5th overall Gathering (DC, Oslo, Seoul, Seoul, Seoul). I had the privilege of attending in 2007 – what an amazing learning experience. I’m looking forward to listening and learning this time as well.
Being back in Seoul for the first time since 2007 has also been a trip. It seems like Korea changes every year – more and more apartment buildings going up, more and more shopping centers (recession? what recession?), and more and more foreigners walking the streets of Seoul. I’ve always seen white (and a few black) people in Korea and assumed they were probably American military, but now I’m definitely noticing more Southeast Asians. Korea is definitely changing – and yet how much is it not? We may think Korea is becoming more globalized because so many more foreigners live here, but I wonder how easy it is (not) for them to live here.
What hasn’t changed – Korean girls are still wearing high heels everywhere they go. I tried this yesterday, and they weren’t even spiky heels, but oh boy my feet hurt. Cute flip flops for me, thank you very much. Also, the food is as good as ever. Where else can you get 냉면 for w4,000? Some days I’ve had 팥빙수 once after lunch and once after dinner. I know, I know. Rough life. Public transportation (the subway, buses and taxis) are as accommodating and accessible as ever. Traffic jams aside, I love how it’s so easy to get around Seoul. And one of my FAVORITE things about Seoul – cafes on every single corner. I’m writing this blog entry from a doughnut shop across the street from the Myeong-dong Lotte Department Store – sitting on the second floor, next to a huge window, watching as the people and cars rush down and across the street. I could sit here and stare out the window all day.