A Beautiful Performance…

Random frustration: I am getting really confused on the days with this blog. I think the days are based on the US for the blog, but since I’m writing the next day about the day before it sometimes hurts my head that I can see the date of the day I’m writing about. It just really messes me up. 

Today: Sunday July 7 (I think I will start dating it like this)

I spent my morning sleeping and dreaming of all the bad things in the world that could happen to me. I wouldn’t really say that I was having nightmares, but I would say that I was experiencing all the fears that had plagued me in the past and I had to fight through them. I woke up realizing that I was safe and that all would be made better once I got out of confinement (my room). Today was one of the best days of my life. I thought last night was amazing, but this was well above what I expected to experience, but maybe it’s because it was a performance art. My friend Jin and I met in Jongno3ga (종로3가) to head to the World Beat Vinari (월드비트 비나리) Performance. I was shocked and amazed at the beauty of the set and the use of the silk screen in the beginning. They used a lot of visuals throughout and the instruments were amazing. They played these huge drums and what I found interesting was that there was only one male and the rest were female. Each person seemed to play a variety of instruments, but there was one person in particular who just wowed me. She sang, played about 4 instruments, and was full of energy and passion. Actually the whole show was full of energy and I can’t even tell you how fabulous this performance was because you will just have to be there to get the full effect. I was very impressed with these artists because of the high energy they used while drumming and dancing. I know that I would not be able to do what they do. It is definitely an amazing talent. During the show I was given a special gift for being a great audience member which was a cute bag with candy. The energy throughout that theater was soul soothing and I actually got really emotional at some points because it was just so beautiful. I know that not everyone would enjoy this because I can think of several people who would not like how loud it was, but I really think that it’s something that should be experienced. With audience participation, the emotion put into the music, and the comical transitions this was just wonderful. 

After the show I spoke with them and thanks to Jin I was able to speak through her and understand them. I asked about their arms and if they were tired. Then several of them flexed their muscles and I was a little jealous. Then they showed me their hands and I wanted to cry. They were so rough and calloused, but these ladies didn’t care. They were doing what they loved to do and it really did show. I will never forget today’s experience and I’m hoping that I will get to go again in the future. They said that they will be in S. Korea next year too, but traveling around to different venues. I really wish those people the best and I hope that you will have a chance to see them. They do world tours as well so maybe in the future if you can’t go to them that maybe they will be headed your way. You can visit the website “www.worldbeatvinari.net” and you should like them on Facebook just because I asked you to “www.facebook.com/vinaristory” 

Tips:

Experience the local popular shows! Take some friends out and go to a show that you would normally not go to see. Here they have many interesting shows that just can’t be seen anywhere else. The prices are about the same as if you were going to a musical, but I think it’s well worth it. 

미소 (smile)…

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Solo Adventures…

I don’t know if you know this, but I actually don’t spend a lot of time with other people. I mean I did before classes started, at least I tried my best to spend time with friends because I knew that I would become really busy with school work. Almost every day I get asked if I want to go out to some place or if I want to do something, but I always end up turning people down. Right now it’s mostly just because of classes and trying to keep up with this bundle load of readings that I have to do each day, the teacher certification, and my urge to study the Korean language. On weekends I have a different reason for not going too many places with other people. I like to hear myself think. What? Ren, do you talk to yourself? HAHAH Yes, sometimes I do, but it’s not spoken aloud it’s an inner conversation mostly arguing with myself about what to write in this blog. That seems really weird right? Well on weekends it’s now my only real chance to soak in nature, watch people, and understand this world around me. One of the more normal reasons is that it gives me a chance to meet new people more easily. Does this make sense? Probably not, but in my head it somehow does, but then again I’m already a really outgoing person who loves meeting new people. Why are you telling us this? I am informing you so that you can consider going out alone because sometimes people are not going to want to go anywhere with you or they may just be too busy and I don’t want you to put your life on hold because you are afraid to go out alone (of course I don’t mean to go walking through the woods at night by yourself or something like that). I found that getting used to traveling around alone is a very good thing to do. My heart and mind feel at ease when walking and I don’t feel like I have to look over my shoulder every ten minutes to make sure no one is following me. Ren? Yes? You did have someone follow you before  and you are talking about feeling at ease walking around alone, are you crazy? I am not crazy, I am just a normal human being who does not believe in letting fear get the best of me. I don’t want to be afraid of going out because of something someone might do. I would rather go out without worry and if something happens to already have a plan in my head to overcome in those situations. 

Anyway, my day was grand since I went to a Noraebang (노래방-Karaoke) with some new friends and it was amazing! I actually thought that my voice was gone because I had not really been talking very much, but I guess I was just being overly cautious of my throat this time. I am pretty sure that I only sang 4 songs, Adele “Someone like you”, Avril Lavigne “My Happy Ending”, Nicki Minaj “Super Bass”, and the song the guys chose for me first…Jason Mraz “I’m yours.” I don’t know the name of any of the songs the guys sang because they were all in Korean and I can’t remember them, but I will say that it was hilarious listening to and watching them. 

I realized that some of the best times I have had here in Korea were with people I just met. They have no preconceptions of how you act or how you should be so I think it’s easier to truly be yourself around people. For some…it’s easier to pretend to be something you’re not then to be yourself, but as for me I am striving to always show my true colors in every situation. I don’t want to change who I am to fit someone else’s ideas of how women should be, act, or speak. I am me and I’m happy with who I am. You should be happy with who you are too. 

Tips:

Try to communicate in the spoken language. In my case that would mean attempting to speak Korean. The guys I went to the Noraebang with had very broken English. They understood more than they could speak, but it was fun watching all three of them communicate to come to a general understanding of what I was saying. Luckily I remembered a good deal of Korean vocabulary (thank you TTMIK!) and I was able to understand a bit of what was said. If you want to improve in a language you have to practice it. There is no better way to get in practice than to be in the country and use it. If you’re like me and don’t like saying the wrong thing, study harder! 

내일 봐요 (see you tomorrow)…

Dance style….

So…Yesterday was my Korean Pop singing class and it was not what I expected it to be. I thought the Professor might split us into several smaller groups based on song genre and have us learn a songs that way. Nope! We got something even better than I could have imagined. The class was split in half one group (the one I am in) goes from 10a-11 and the other from 11-12p. I am quite excited about this because we get to choose our own songs and he said it will be more like private lessons. I’m not exactly sure how the time would be split though, there are probably 18 people in the class and less than 10 minutes a person is not good enough. I already chose my song…well at least I thought I did. I was going to do G-Dragon’s “That XX” because I really enjoy love that song, not really the words of the song, but the flow of it. Now after really thinking about it and listening to more Korean music yesterday I realized that I should try to sing a woman’s song. I always try to stick to male songs because of the ease of transition, but I think I may do a song by Lyn or IU. I love both of their voices and they each have some great songs. My throat has been better and I think I can do it, but I will really have to take care of myself and work hard. 

Korean Dance Style? Only because someone asked me about it…and Yes, it’s definitely different. I apologize in advance for this poor explanation…

So I went out last night to Itaewon for a language exchange meetup which was held at a bar. I really wanted to try to capture some video of the people dancing at the club so you can see what I am about to tell you, but I realized how strange that may be. Plus when I tried on my phone it was too dark and there was no way I was going to turn my camera light on because that just seems super creepy. Anyway, there is no real way to say this except they dance really strangely. I feel like a horrible person because all I can do is laugh and it’s not fair to them because that’s what they know. I was actually told that shuffling is very old here, but that’s what we still do in the states. They now say they do “sexy” dancing, but what I have seen would not fit into my mind for that word. I really want to put up a video of me doing the types of dances they do, but I know I wouldn’t even be able to do it right. How do I know? Because I already tried! HAHA, I wanted to bring it to you and show you some how, but I can’t even do it right. They do a lot of interesting movements with there legs and arms. There is this one thing that I just started calling body bobbing because it reminds me of a fishing bobble going up and down, but as much as I try to do it…I can’t! It’s some type of Korean magical dance that looks really amazing, but I can’t do it. It’s the one move I see that I want to learn, but it just must be a Korean body thing. Oh something that has kind of bothered me here is that guy friends….dance on each other. I have seen it first hand! I was really shocked and I even went the next step to ask the guy if that is normal and he said yes, a lot of guy friends do that. I don’t know about you, but if you are a guy and started trying to dance on your guy friend in the states you would probably get beat up. This actually makes me love Koreans more because they have a completely different view of sexuality and I sometimes wish that my mind wasn’t so skewed from the US way of thinking. 

What about the girls Ren!? How do they dance?

Glad you asked me…I’ll talk about it next time….

 

 

Just kidding! 

The Korean female style of dance consists of swaying with friends. You will rarely see a Korean girl alone and if she is alone that means that her male counterpart just went to the restroom or to get drinks. Some do have more moves than just swaying, but it mostly consists of that, fist pumping, and jumping. Both sexes really enjoy singing really loudly to their favorite songs just like us Americans. Now if there is a couple you will see your typical “grinding” dance moves and you will probably see more PDA than you bargained for. I’m not the biggest fan of PDA in club setting especially since drinking is involved. I don’t know about you, but I always worry about other people and if they will be okay. I’ve seen guys grabbing girls and dragging them around with the girls trying to push them off. In the US I would stop the guy, but here I see it so much that I don’t know what to do. My brain and heart are not communicating the same in that situation so I don’t do anything, but watch and make sure that nothing strange happens. I have asked several girls if they were okay before and one of them did say they wanted to get away from a guy so I helped them. 

I want so badly to bring you a video of these dance moves so I will try to see what I can do. 

Tips:

Learn some dance moves: I noticed that Koreans pick up dancing so quickly and a lot of times if you show them something new they will do it with you. You should just practice some basic things and if you have no rhythm it’s okay as long as you move around. 

Prepare your mind: I don’t really know what I meant while typing this, but I guess I’m trying to say that you will see and hear a lot of things that are not in your realm of “normal.” I think the best way to combat this is to be very open to new things. Try new foods, listen to new music, explore, and don’t be afraid to get your feet wet. Traveling to a new country would not be worth it if you didn’t try to take in as many new experiences as possible. Yes there may be challenges along the way, but just take a deep breath and you can make it. 

 

Until next time…