Korea Take 2

Since Pete and I have decided to return to Korea I have started to start blogging again! It’s a great way to stay in contact will all my friends and family and let them know what we’re up to!

fall in Korea

fall in Korea

I’ll start with the million dollar question which we got asked numerous of times “why are you going back there again?” Well the short version is that there are not that many jobs* for University grads in Canada at the moment. And the long version that risks me getting into some hot water with my family is that there isn’t much there for us back home.

Being two young and adventurous people with little responsibilities it was incredibly hard being back in Canada for the summer.  We found jobs after a few weeks and we gave it an honest chance, but as the weeks passed our savings dwindled, our happiness went out the door and we quickly realized something had to change in order to maintain our sanity.  I feel bad for having put my best friend, Alaina, through those times.  Sure, she was glad to see us after being gone for 2 years and would never admit we were Debby downers but… we were.  We didn’t adjust very well, we started fighting and bickering and I would have to go to the gym in the middle of the night just to escape my thoughts of how sad we actually were.  It was nothing short of a miracle when our directors emailed us and asked us to come back to Korea.

Pete’s family was ecstatic for us, my grandmother insisted I could “find full time work at Tim Hortans and make decent money to live off of” and Alaina gave me the silent treatment for a few days. We love our family (please note that I am including Alaina in this section because she truly is my family) so much but if it’s one thing we learned while being away is that you can love people from a far.  Love does cross oceans and seas, it flies over mountains and swims through rivers.  I may not be there when Alaina’s little boy goes to sleep every night, but my love is always there.

So we decided to accept the offer to go back and give Korea another go around.  After all the hard good-byes, we made our way back to what we now consider “home”. It is the one place we have spent the longest in the 4 years we have been dating, it’s the place we are most comfortable, have the most freedom and have a life.  We are extremely happy here and love our lives. Pete and I joke that Korea would be perfect for us is we could just uproot all our friends and family and bring them here.  The stress free life and the decent wages have allowed us to travel and accomplish some of our goals that would never have been possible back in Canada.

We know that we won’t be here forever and that one day Canada will offer us more than Korea but for now Korea offers us everything we need and although our friends and family miss us, I hope they are happy for us.

Pete and I rocking traditional Korean Clothes

Pete and I rocking traditional Korean Clothes

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Health and Beouty

Before coming to Korea I was worried about the there being a gym readily available to me.  I know this is probably the last thing on some people’s minds but after spending 4 months living in Europe and having my only outlet for exercise being parks to run in, it was my top priority.  If I was to live and survive in foreign country there needs to at least be a gym to workout at.  In fact, it was one of the first questions I asked while in the interview for the position in Ulsan.  So after we got paid we signed up for the reasonably priced gym membership and got our “Health and Beouty” on.

It is conveniently located directly next to my school, so no bus ride was needed to get there.   The gym itself is unlike anything I have ever seen, some of the equipment is something you would see in an 80’s workout video.  They have the shaking band massagers; you know the ones where you put the band around your waist or ass and watch it jiggle away all your fat. By looking at all these stick thin Korean girls you would think such a contraption actually works.  I’m sure it gives a great massage but I am terrified to try it, let’s just say I have a little more junk in my trunk then the average Korean girl.  They also have wooden rollers, inverters, and some interesting old school equipment.  All jokes aside though it is a pretty amazing gym, with almost everything you need. And the great thing is that not a lot of Koreans like getting sweaty, in fact I have yet to see a girl sweat half as much as I do, so it stays pretty clean.

There are only a few negatives about the gyms here.  For starters, the change rooms have the most impractical set up I have ever seen.  When you first walk into the change room you need to take off your shoes in true Asian fashion, which if you like your shoes to be tied just right, it gets really annoying having to take them off whenever you go into the locker area.  Then everything is at knee level because everyone sits on the floor here.  So once you have taken an extra 10 min untying your perfectly tied shoes, dodging the corners on the tables that are out of your line of sight they are so low and tried not to make eye contact with the older Korean women pointing at your belly button piercing while muttering, you are ready to go! Oh but wait, you now have to re-tie your shoes.  So you sit down on the edge of the platform floor and carefully put on your shoes making sure not to bend the backs down like your mother has always told you.  When you notice that every other pair of shoes there have the backs all stepped on and broken.  Some of the shoes there even have built in platforms to be taller while working out! I couldn’t think of a better place to strive to be taller, I bet if they were allowed to wear actual heels on the treadmill they would.  So alas, you have made it out of the change room, 15 min behind schedule, but with perfectly intact shoes.

But wait, that coffee you had for breakfast has really made you need to go to the bathroom!! Not an issue, we’re in Korea, there are sure to be bathrooms here! Right? Well yes right, but hardly what I would consider and appropriate bathroom for a gym.  These bathrooms are fully equipped with the finest in squat toilets and sinks with no running water.  Don’t get me wrong, having backpacked India, I am no stranger to squat toilets, but having done strenuous leg exercises the day before, if I happen to made it down there without falling in there is no way I will be making it back up.  Needless to say, I do the potty dance every now and then until I can run home.

Although the gym may not be up to my western standards in way of the change room and bathrooms, I am just grateful there is a gym.  If anything it just makes for an interesting story and a better understanding of the Korean culture!