I am Korea

나는대한민국

There was a show i watch yesterday on KBS World it is a Korean Broadcasting Station. The show was called I AM KOREA, this show is about the preparation for a great celebration of Korean Independence. This year they celebrate 70 years.

So the project is to create a big Chorus, with 700 000 people, so they have invited all the active chorus from all over the Korea from Seoul to Jeju to participate, aside from it they are creating a special chorus which will include people who was born in 1945 and they are currently 70 years. old.

While watching this Show, through out the show i had only 4 People on my mind, My Grand Parents. They have lived all their lives with Korea in their hearts and never had a chance to visit the place they have always talked about, the place they have dreamed about, the place they have always sang about. Right now I have only Grand Mother who is still alive and she is one who had taught me to sing my first Korea song, I used to sing it all the time with her, while she was sewing my new dress, though that time i did not know even the meaning of those songs but I could feel that they were about Korea.

I will brief you about the Korean people in Central Asia. Korean people had traveled across the sea for new life opportunity, During Japanese occupation period. So this is how they were end up on Russian Territory. Many of them were fighting Japanese from there and other were just trying to survive. When the Second World War has started, Stalin had ordered to Move all the Korean population to Central Asia, because they were afraid that Korean people will start to fight against Soviet people. Korean people were allowed only to do the field work and never allowed to participate in a war, but many still tried to fight Germans and protect Soviet Union. So this is how my Grand Parent end up in Uzbekistan. My grandmother used to tell me that she was about 4 years old that time, when Russian Soldiers came to their house, it was very early in the morning,  gave her a big chunk of sugar and then they have been taken away to the train station. Lots of Koreans died lots of them lost their family members and it took them ages to reunite. My grandfather from my mothers side was educated and he had even managed to graduate and hold a degree but his wife, my Grand mother could not even speak Russian properly, till she died the only language she had spoken was Korean. I remember how they have kept all Korean Newspapers in the living hall, and my Grandfather was reading them over and over again, this is how my Younger sister had learn how to read Korean. They had missed Korea a lot and they had so little to cherish, only memories and those newspapers.

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Many times I have been asked if I am from South or from North Korea, I always say that I don’t know, because when my Great Grand parent left Korean land it was still just Korea, as One united.

I have visited Korea few time already, and every time I feel sorry that my grand parents never had this chance, and every time i visit the old villages museums in Korea I start to remember the old days, when our houses were just the same, Korean people in Central Asia were building the same houses, with the same heating system and the same yards.

I am Korea, this is so much suites to my Grandparents, if they would only had a chance to Enjoy Korea, because they loved Korea so much, their love for their country was undying and unconditional.

And when I sing that old Korean song now with my Grandmother in my heart, its always aches and always bring back memories, Arirang, Arirang, Arariyo…

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10 Things I love about Korea

I am Korea fanatic, i think you have already noticed that. K-pop, K-dramas and Fashion style those things i crazy about, but Korea has so much more to offer and Korea is a country you must visit just to understand the difference of culture, life style and vibrancy of life itself. Here are my TOP 10 Things I Love about Korea

1. Tourism Friendly

Once you are in Korea and you are ready to explore it, from the airport you will find it everything tourist friendly. This country invest so much into inbound tourism, you will even feel it too easy to explore. Korean tourism Organization offers many interesting programs for you, you will always find something interesting for yourself. here is the website you need to visit http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/index.kto I personally used the facilities of this website to book a beautiful holidays in Jeju island. And it came with such an attractive package price, that many people still ask me for an advice. So you just need to chose what you want to do while you are in Korea, surf the website and you are all set. If you want to explore the culture and looking for a budget tours I recommend you to use a hop on tour buses, it will coast you about 10 USD for a day use, buses come and go every 20 minutes from the major most interesting cultural places. There are so many other programs like shopping tours, ski programs, Entertainment programs, were you can visit even TV stations, food lovers will never be disappointed either. but I think I will blog about it with more details in my next blog post about Korea.

Don’t be afraid of the language barrier, Korea had improved so much, so now you will find tourism information centers scattered through out the city and there you will be able to get more information.

2. Transportation.

Korea is offering so many types of transportation that makes it so easy to move around. One card will allow you to pay for buses. metro, even taxi. Bus stations has a screen showing in how many minutes your bus will arrive, and information about the rout of each bus. Seoul Metro is huge and even interconnects other cities, like Incheon, you just need to know which station you need get the rout from the map and the rest just follow the signs. Jut be aware about Express rout trains, those trains do not stop at each station, you may find them in you see that there are to rails for two trains going to the once directions, means you need to be more careful. English signs are everywhere so you wont find it difficult at all.

3 Cosmetics

Do you know that they have invented BB and CC creams, it already says a lot. Korean cosmetic products were always popular in my country since 2000. I remember how i used my first foundation and it was Korean made and i still use it. I love the constancy of their products, they mostly use natural and healthy products, I am with sensitive skin and never had any negative reaction. Plus they always offer so many different unusual treatments that always come in a nice packaging you will be surprised. Another interesting things is men products. Men in Korea use BB cream too. and eye liners, not mentioning many many skin care products. You will find skin care product made of tomato, sea weed, natural volcanic extracts, green tea etc ect. all those ingredients are very healthy to use. And another most important thing is the scent it is always calm and easy. I bet once you experience using the Koren Cosmetics product you will never stop exploring.

4. Service and Service,

Service has one more additional meaning. Aside from serving you in a great manners they will offer you something called service. For example if you are purchasing cosmetics in a the shop while at the check out point you can always expect free goodies, like extra face masks or many different samples. You will may end up getting more freebies then your purchase. I the restaurants as a service they offer additional side dish or drink. Its a special way to WOW the clients.

And provides service and attentions is extremely good as well. Do you know that many word first class airlines always prefer to hire flight attendants from South Korea, just because of their service skills. You will get a special attention in each shop and restaurants even in the big hyper market stores. You will notice that with the greeting.

5. Coffee Shops

Koreans Love coffee and tea, they love to spend time chatting in the coffee shops, or study or just chill. There are many major coffee companies in Korea like Starbucks, Gloria Jeans, Tea leaves and Coffee beens, plus local coffee shops brands like Coffe benne, Mango Six, Holly. But I advise you to skip those and try to find a small coffee shop that offers not a special made coffee or green tea latter but also and treat for your eyes with the mind calming unique interior designs. Like this, I found it near to the Namsan cable about three years ago

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I always wanted to find a day in Korea when i will be strolling the cities just to look for the places like this. And one must find palace for my next visit will be a Standing Coffee, they don’t offer the sitting but offer and eye catching baristas, all handsome and tall 🙂

6. Food.

I love Asian food, because i was born with the Asian food mind and taste settings. I think i have tasted kimchi before i started to walk. But I love Korean food not because of it, I love Korean food because of it unique mixture. Like McDonald will offer you a Bugogi burger, it has a twist of local marinated beef taste. or how they serve stake with the Korean pickles on the side that match my taste, fried chicken in different spicy coatings. So many different noodles, you will forget about spaghetti. And always try a mall food courts you will be surprised.  Deserts Oh MY Oh My. Binsu with shaved ice sweet beans and ice cream that comes with so many different flavors. And off course the street food. Sea food, you can try raw octopus that will be chopped right in front of you  in a sea food market.

7. Promotion of Korea.

Korea had a great way of promoting the country and it products. People come to Korea to find special places they have seen in drama or in a variety program, as soon as Samsung or LG come out with a new phone, you will notice how on ongoing dramas leads will change the mobile phones introducing new features. People come to Korea to visit restaurants or entertainment building of their favorite Idols. Too many TV shows will let you learn about new provinces or Island to visit and will show you what is the interesting things to do there, they will make you wanna jump into TV so you can appear on that place instantly. it will make you start to surf the net and find the place and make sure you out it on you itinerary for the next visit. They use dramas to promote the fashion and cosmetics, new trends and music. I bet you once you complete one Korean drama, you will wanna go there next day.

8. Fashion and Shopping

When I go to Korea i always end up coming back with the something new, like bag or T shirt. Korean style for women is very girly and very comfy at the same time. They love to pair up over sized t shirt with the cute skirt and sneakers, sneakers in Korea will match to everything, even to a an office wear after work. In Korea you can wear too short but never wear to open up. I dont feel comfortable with too short and too open so I always feel comfy with the dress code in Korea. There you can look stylish with matching up white shirt and blue jeans, you main accessory will be make up. If you will try to look at the Korean fashion brands collection you will notice simplicity in each item, less bling bling more comfy vibe and point of the collection will be the signature sign or label mark. Like Nohant T shirts, that were a big hit in Korea, that even I had couple of those with me

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Shopping, I want to tell more about Duty free shopping. There are few duty free shops with in the city, yes with in the city not only at the airport. You will nee to have with you passport and the ticket and you are all set for a shopping. It a tax free shops, were you can purchase the good and collect them at the airport before the departure gate. it has two pluses; no overweight charges and free from tax refund procedures. I love to used this shops because my flight are always at night and after nine mostly all duty free shops inside airport are closed, so there is no way for me to do the tax refund procedure correctly, aside just placing the envelop and await, and it allows me to arrive to the airport and just simple enjoy the coffee while waiting for the boarding time, not running like crazy around shops, because the women nature is like this.

9 Accommodations.

Before traveling to Korea you need to decide on your budget, you may stay in the hotels or in the guest houses. Since my parents currently live in Incheon, I usually stay with them, but few days during the week days I stay in Seoul in the hotels because i want to explore more and not waste my time commuting and disturbing my family while they are busy working.  just because i am in to Marriott Famtastic program, i can stay at Marriott courtyard hotel near to Time square just for around 60 usd a night which is very convenient for me, so I am yet to experience the guest houses, but few of my friend had already done it and they were very happy about it.  Guest houses offer different accommodations, it can be separate room or shared room were you will have you own bed. it comes with breakfast sometimes dinner, but the main advantage of staying in a guest house is to gain new friends, and even may be a travel companion. At the hotel spend most of the evening watching TV with the snacks right after midnight, and i will be fast a sleep because i was running around the city exploring and exploring, and i walk a lot. In a guest house you will enjoy a great company while drinking beer and sharing the experience of the day.  So in the end it is your call, where you want to stay, just tot say you will never be left with no place to stay in Korea while on visit.

10. Nature, Parks and Camping

I love to keep one day just visiting a park with the nice picnic ground. What I like about Korean parks, is that you can rent a bicycle and enjoy the fresh air while riding it. I love how the parks have separate line just for a bicycles and separate for joggers.

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Koreans love to spend day at the camping ground, so almost each family owns a camping gears, tent and BBQ grill. There are special camping Ground specially dedicated for people for like to spend the day out door, do BBQ and have a nap in the tent. So grab you picnic basket nice book and you are all set for a day of fresh air by the Han river, were you will be able to treat you eyes with the happy faces, laughing children, and passing by bicycles.

Korea has a great nature to offer you can swim on a sea, hike in the mountains, stroll in the forests, chill by the rivers, enjoy the waterfalls, or spend a day exploring a beautiful island.