Korea: architecture

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Seoul is covered in interesting buildings, not only are most of them high rise apartment blocks, or shopping centers. but there are also the tiny side streets that are squished in between in almost no space at all between all of these massive pillars of glass. Also some how  there is still space for the traditional palaces and Buddhist temples. With a population of 25.6 million, with a population density double that of new York city. I don’t see how seoul has managed to fit everything in, and with the amount of detail that is put into everything.

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the detail that has gone into the traditional buildings is beautiful, and incredibly colourful. To the point that your not 100% positive if it was created and looked like that when it was first built as there is nothing built anywhere close to the detail put into these traditional Korean palace in todays buildings . Though I’ve noticed in Korea they put detail on everything, its not the amount of colour and cartoon pictures on packaging of food and everything, but its also pattern details on the door in the subway  station and on the sides of the escalators and the drains  are also little pieces of art.

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Not only is it just detail on things in the street its the actually buildings as well, some have light animations that run all day and night, some buildings have an exoskeleton on the outside that adds extra detail to the building so it doesn’t look like a pillar of glass, and sets it apart from the other buildings. One place I went to was Gagman where we walked down a street that was just high quality fashion store after store. However these stores were joined in anyway, they were all individual stores and buildings, and each building had been deigned in a way that would best represent the store. Also the subway station in gagman looked as if I had stepped into an entirely different country(see picture below) I guess it was to show the fact that its a affluent area, and has to be set apart from all the other stations in some way.

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Korea: food

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The first night we arrived we went out for a traditional Korea meal, it seems customary that you the chef will prepare the main item of food then you cook it over either a hot plate (like in the picture above) or over a ceramic bowl of hot coals with a a pull down extractor fan above it. then all the side a fully cooked and prepared and provided in small bowls that can certainly fill the whole table leaving little room for anything else. It also seem to be mainly family style kind of eating, ordering one meal for the table and everybody shares that one meal, with a large amount of sides and rice to fill you up.

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another aspect of the Korea culture is street food, in the uk you  don’t tend to get street food. I think the closest thing to street food in Cardiff would probably be the indoor market in town. Where its fruit and veg stalls, butchers and a few places to pick up a sandwich or welsh cake. But the street food in Asia and especially in Korea I’ve noticed that every class (from people in jeans to people in suit and ties) will sit down on the side of a road in a tent made from clear plastic and have a full meal. As you can see in the picture above there’s also just take away food, like hot dogs and dumplings that are placed on wooded sticks to make it easy walking food. This is something you defiantly don’t get in the UK, i think the only food that i ever see people walking and eating with is probably Greggs but that’s nothing compared to the food that’s provided in Korea.

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Even in the indoor markets  have food stands (restaurant) after stand, and its all hand made and on the spot and cheap (hand made noodles and dumplings). I finally felt like i was having a real Korean experience when a few of us sat down in the middle of an indoor market and had a bowl of noodles and dumplings for 5000 won, as it was something that an every day Korean would do on a regular basis, obviously they go out to restaurants like we have but I felt more immersed into the culture by experiencing that. Not only was the food amazing by the experience of being welcomed to sit down by the owner, then having him setting our table (he placed a napkin on the table in front of each of us with our chopstick on top of it then placed a glass and filled it with the water) it was something i haven’t received from anywhere else we’ve eaten, it showed me how much he values his customers and the pride he takes in running is food stand.

 

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internationalism before korea trip

I find myself to be quite an international person, and I am definitely a multi-culture child. I believe that spending almost all my life abroad and away from British culture has allowed me to form my own culture in my own way, making me a very individual person. Though I’m not as individual as people would think.

When people that I live with and i am surrounded by now find out that I spent all my life abroad they are fascinated by it. For me its a very normal way of life and the friends I grew up with. We all grew up in a culture that defiantly had an effect on us and has probably made us change who we could of been if we had stayed in our national countries.

AGE 2- 9

In the middle east was a huge change for my parents more then me I think as I didn’t know anything different. To me it was just normal life, going to school that’s surrounded by desert, and having friends both from the uk and little girls in burkas. Living in a mansion with 6 floors a basement and a marble stair case, seemed very normal for me back then but thinking back on it now sounds absolutely mad for a family of 4, with 2 children under the age of 10. Living in the middle gave me a different view of the Muslim culture, when I was a child walking on the street  I used to look up and feel terrified by only being able to see the eyes of a person. But there was no danger of harm or anything whereas today someone will see a woman in a burka or in full traditional Arabic clothing and avoid them completely and get the stereotypical thoughts in there heads.

 

AGE 9-15

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In Thailand, Bangkok, is a place that is completely different to anywhere else in the world. I think people from the uk get this impression of beaches and cocktails and beautiful sunrises everyday. Whereas the reality is streets covered in filth, stray dogs and cats and people on every corner, high rise building squeezed in every space place available, with shanty houses held in place by the 50 floor sky scrappers. Don’t get me wrong I love thailand, and I loved my time there. The time i spent in thailand was a time for when i started defining myself as a person, almost grooming myself into the person i wanted to become. I love Asian food, i don’t stop eating it tbh i think i eat it just as much if not more then typical british food. I think its one of those things that becomes developed when your immersed in the culture for so long. Me and my brother are always splashing Tabasco or a whole chili in dishes that doesnt require it. I tend to blow peoples mouths off with the amount of spice i put in my food but for me its only a tingle. Thailand wasnt only good for food, it was good for everything that you needed or wanted. there was some strange rules in bangkok though, due to the company my dad works for they sent down rule to the workers and the families of those workers. My mother was never allowed to drive the family car, this was mainly because of how bad the roads actually were, and my father only drove it on the weekends if even that, meaning I always had a driver to take me to the shopping center or ballet class. It was a very typical thing of that culture whether you were a foreigner or just a wealthy business man. Also maids, my mum had so much freedom to do what she wanted, because we had a maid coming to the house like 3 times a day to do all the cleaning and washing. Though my mother being strict would only allow her to clean certain parts of the house so that we wouldnt become lazy children who couldnt pick up after themselves.

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Age 15-18

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Moving to Colorado USA was probably the hardest move for me, as I knew I wouldnt have a support system of expat kids like me. When id lived in thailand and kuwait I had other children with the same background as me, they were forced to move to the country because of the work that their parents were doing. We just had to follow, though my family was very lucky with the time we had, as some of my friend would move year after year, making it very difficult for them to settle in to a knew place. But back to the USA, the first place id lived where almost everyone was from the same culture background and there was no outsiders. I stepped into the high school to the completely unknown, thinking that it was going to be like the movies where the cheerleaders were the hottest girls in school and the jocks would pick on the nerds. the first thing they all noticed about me was my accent, which to them was surprisingly british. An american high school is a culture in its self, because it is just like the movies, which sounds bonkers. There’s cheerleaders (though ares werent very good), jocks (with there big letter jackets on), and of course the nerds. But the weird thing is, that there not individual groups they are all mixed together, my best friend was a cheerleader and i of course the nerd. learning to drive and living in a house with a white picket fence and having the family pet, just makes it sound like i was living the “american dream”. But by far the so called”american dream” is dead, there is no longer freedom for all and all that picket fence and get a better life blah blah blah. It reminds me of that bansky piece which say “dreams cancelled”, no joke i had a white picket fence, the family dog and the big 4 wheel drive car. But life is still life wherever you live it. I still had to go to school from 7am till 3 pm, still had to study and was constantly trying to find time just to see my friends.

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