Since last week was midterm week I spent most of my time studying. However, the highlight of the past few weeks was meeting locals and exploring the city with them!
As I was studying in a Hanok (traditional Korean house) cafe, two twins came up to me and sparked a conversation! Since they are both older than me they decided to show me first-hand the uni/oppa culture in korea. In Korea, when a younger person meets an older person you must show signs of respect and adapt your manners such as bowing and view them as an older family member (uni means older sister and oppa means older brother). I have been enjoying spending time with them when I can and have been learning much about the culture from them!
Jin (pictured on the right) took me on a guided tour of the Han river in Seoul! As we traveled by bike, I discovered that this is one of Korean’s favorite past time when the weather is nice. I highly suggest taking the biking trail from the Cheonggyecheon stream as it leads directly to the bridge crossing over the hang river. Here are couple of pictures!
Yesterday I met the twins’ mother who was kind enough to give me a driving tour of seongbuk-dong where all the celebrities live! Presumably this area, along with Gangnam, is the “Beverly hills” of Seoul.
I’d like to once again thank the Genshaft/Greenbaum Passport scholarship to offer me the opportunity to truly immerse myself in another culture. Meeting such special people in my life is incredibly influential. This trip is teaching me that Korea has a deep rooted culture of kindness and respect and that many Koreans are open-minded and proud to show off their country and culture to foreigners.