I believe this blog has been on hiatus for over two weeks and for valid reasons. As much as I enjoyed reviewing Korean dramas for the past four years, this summer has marked a great change in my life. Namely because, I am finally a Masters student, and guess where I am? Anyone? Yes, I’m in Seoul. Who knew my love and dedication, not just to the Korean popular culture but also to the whole process of East Asian development and rise to the global stage would actually manage to get me this far. Honestly, it’s been two weeks here but I still can’t believe that this happened! It’s like a dream come true to say the very least and I have got so so so much to share about how I am finding this country and its people. From hereon, this blog will probably drop drama reviews unfortunately, because when in Korea, dramas actually lose their importance and real life takes over. So without further ado, here goes my first blog post about life in Korea and since most of my viewership happens to be from Pakistan, I will probably be dropping some references that all the Pakistanis can associate with.
First of all… South Korea is a beautiful place to be in in terms of its natural beauty. There is a constant wind that blows from, I believe the Han River, all the way into Seoul and no matter the weather, it usually brings a freshness with it. However, when I arrived, my first reaction at smelling the air of Seoul was ‘IT SMELLS OF FISH’. It honestly did for maybe one or two days but then I am so used to this air now that I don’t smell that any more. Anyway, the breeze is amazing in the mornings when the sun shines brightly, but by evening you can feel a very slight chill, especially if you’re from near the equator. People seem to detest the afternoon sun but love the evening sea breezes… and then there’s me who misses the heat of the Lahore sun… Wondering who’s the crazy one… Probably me… haha. I have never seen a sky as blue as the Korean sky. I don’t know if it’s because of its green hills surrounding the entire region or some other factor, but when that blue sky is sprinkled with clouds as white as snow, it makes for such a beautiful contrast with all of the high rises present on the ground. I really feel like Nature gave birth to me when I stop and admire all of these sights around me.
On the other hand, I guess I should be discussing Kpop and Korean dramas for a brief time. As it stands, Kpop does not seem to be superbly special for the people here. I have yet to visit the actual places where SM Entertainment or FNC Entertainment are but while studying at a university, you are only engrossed among the serious, hard-working and studious Korean boys and girls. Honestly, I am grateful for the atmosphere around me otherwise the fan girl within me would have to be forcefully tamed else she would lose all calm and forget that she is studying here. All shops here play Kpop to attract customers so I get plenty updates at convenience stores and random street shops playing all of the latest hits. However, there is seems to be this pervasive concept of relevance of artists and groups which essentially means that majority of the older artists who used to be the face of Kpop once upon a time can rarely be seen in commercials, billboards etc. It’s rare to find any poster with any member of Girls’ Generation or likewise, Big Bang and this is slightly bothersome because I wish there was equal representation of all artists in the public sphere.
As for the people here, I have usually had good experiences with Korean people, especially those within the university. I find the men over here helpful since they will go out of their way to resolve your problems. Most of the girls I have interacted with are generally very nice, however, I do get the feeling that much like girls back home, there is a prevalent emphasis on always looking your best. I never understood this in Pakistan and neither do I understand this in Korea. From hair to shoes, the girls are usually dressed to the tens, which makes a casual dresser like me a little alarmed to dress better but I really don’t think I can compete. Furthermore, coming from a country where any and every level of touch is considered PDA and hence, banned it is strange to see so much PDA around me. Everywhere I turn there are couples, and more couples, and even more couples, and yet everyone studies. It’s rather fascinating to see how these people balance all aspects of their lives, and then I remember people back home, shying away from hard work. Time we learned some lessons on hard work and practical living from those Asian states that used to be our equals or behind us when we began to gain independence.
Lastly, I managed to go to Hongdae twice over the course of the last two weeks (glad I live so close to it), and that was something to see, I believe. All these people, possibly rookies are out there, be it a weeknight or weekend. There are huge groups of people who gather just to check out dance covers by these fresh talents. There are also many musicians or bands that play there at times. Some are great, some are just playing for fun but the atmosphere in the region is so lively and since I absolutely live for the music I am my happiest whenever I go there. It’s just something else to see it up close, so any of you planning to visit, definitely go check out Hongdae!
Anyway, for now these are all of the updates I could possibly share with you guys! Eventually there will be much more that piles up, and I promise not to let this page die just because things more important than Korean dramas happened in my life!!!