July 6-8, my first full weekend!
On Friday night, a lot of people wanted to go out to the clubs here because one of the main attractions in Korea is the night life. One thing I have definitely noticed here is that people stay out WAY late! Every day! In America, everything typically closes around 9 or 10pm (a mall, for example), but here, I feel like everything stays open all the time! And business remains constant throughout the day and night. Many times, I have overheard my fellow students making comments such as, "What time is it?? It feels like 5pm..." but in reality it is 11pm or midnight. And the people who are out are not any different from the people we see throughout the day, it includes adults, teenagers, families, it is just natural for everyone to be out at that hour! Also, when people go out to the clubs, it is not uncommon to stay out until 6am when the subway re-opens and take the subway home. I am not that adventurous: the girls I went out with came home at 3am and that was late enough for me :)
On Saturday, we went to NANTA, which is a group of 4 people who perform an act about 2 hours long where they "cook" food for a wedding all while clanking around all the dishes in the kitchen until they create a rhythm that is amazing. The show tours in 41 countries and in 272 cities.
Items such as food, a full garbage bag, and thousands of little plastic balls were thrown into the audience during the performance. At times, volunteers were picked to "help them out in the kitchen." The student who got picked to be the "groom" was from ONU, Jacob McElrath. He made our student body proud and we sneaked a picture :)
After the NANTA performance, we went to the World Cup Stadium in downtown Seoul! Several students we were with are soccer players and it was much more meaningful for them, including Brent Wolfzorn. It was huge!! They also had tryouts that day for the equivalent of "Korea's Got Talent," so thousands of people were there practicing their given talent, which was cool to see too.
Tryouts for Korea's Got Talent - like show
World Cup Stadium!
On Sunday, we went to the church with the WORLD'S LARGEST CONGREGATION! They hold 4 masses on Sunday (at 7am, 9am, 11am, and 1pm) and they are all jam-packed. The congregation is, in total, over 1 million people large and there are also special services for international visitors where they give a brief description of the background of the church after mass has ended and display 4 foreign languages, including English on one of the many big-screen TV's in the church. They also have headphone accomodations where you can understand the sermon and have everything translated throughout the service! It was an amazing experience :)
Big Screen TV's throughout the church, one of them translating to 4 separate languages
This picture was taken before everyone piled into the church, but every single seat was full by the time it started and there was limited elbow room!
Sara and I finally got a chance to try Bulgogi, a very popular dish in Korea consisting of thinly sliced or perfectly seasoned pork brewed in an almost stew-like fashion with hot peppers, onions, noodles, and other vegetables...it was very spicy but was my favorite dish so far.
Sunday afternoon after church, Sara and I went to the Korean War Memorial and Museum. I was really excited to go see this exhibit especially since my grandpa was a Marine in the Korean War. It was awesome because nothing was roped off; we could climb into the vehicles, boats, tanks, and look into the planes. In front of each vehicle would be a description of which country they were from so Sara and I payed especially close attention to the ones that were from the USA. Here is one example of one of the machines supplied by the USA during the war to help the South.
...and we could sit in it!
Sunday night when we got back, Sara and I walked to the IMAX theater here where they were playing spiderman 4D with Korean subtitles!! I originally didn't want to go see a movie since I can do that in America, but since it was 4D and pretty uncommon I thought it would be a fun experience to try while I was here, and semi-relaxing! The popcorn choices here do not include butter; you could choose from "onion" seasoning or "cheese" seasoning. Just another example of how different things are here :) The movie in 4D was so cool; I really felt I was a part in the movie; water was sprayed on us, wind was blown, and we felt "punches" and "kicks" during the fighting scenes. There was one part where a spider bit him on the back of the neck and sure enough a burst of air blew right into our necks! The seats moved all over the place and we wore 3D glasses. I woke up a little sore Monday morning so maybe it wasn't so relaxing afterall, but it was still fun.