I live for live music. A perfect night for me consists of a few friends, an awesome outfit, a cold beer and front row standing room at a concert, preferably one with a performer who doles out dance-worthy beats. As soon as I arrived in Korea I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Seoul is a hub of fantastic music venues. I snatched up Lady Gaga tickets for the first show of her Born This Way Ball in late April, I aced ‘KPOP 101’ when my friend brought me to an exclusive taping of Inkigayo in Seoul, I ventured out to Nami Island to dance with Korean hippies and listen to Jason Mraz sing sweet nothings in June and I jumped for joy when I realized I could attend Seoul’s Super!Sonic show in August. I originally thought I would have to miss the two day music festival because it was scheduled for mid-week (Tuesday and Wednesday) in Seoul, but I soon realized the Wednesday was not just any Wednesday, it was Korean Liberation Day, so I had the day off and attended my first mid-week music festival at Seoul Olympic Park.
Super!Sonic is the sister festival of Japan’s famous Summer Sonic. I missed the festival’s first day line-up (due to work) which included The Smashing Pumpkins, Gym Class Heroes, Idiotape, Soulwax and more. As much as I wanted to see The Smashing Pumpkins, Wednesday’s line-up impressed me with New Order, Gotye, The Vaccines, Tears For Fears and Foster The People. What was supposed to be another rainy and humid summer day in Seoul turned out to be surprisingly sunny and comfortable. My friend and I spent the day shuffling in an orderly fashion (that’s how it’s done in Korea) between two stages where bands performed back-to-back sets.
Music keeps me sane, and especially in Korea where you can sometimes feel a bit out of place, concerts remind me that (as corny as it sounds) we’re all in this MAD WORLD together. When I burst into song upon recognizing the familiar lyrics to my favorite Foster The People ballad, I was amazed that all the Korean fans were singing right along with me, and not just the chorus, they were belting out each lyric with passionate perfection. Just last spring I watched the same band rock out in downtown Boston, and I have to say the Korean fans proved to be the more enthusiastic bunch. They weren’t afraid to dance and show the band how much they loved their music. Although many of the bands confessed it was their first show in Korea, I am quite certain due to the lively and devoted Korean fans it will not be their last. If you’re in Korea next summer make sure to check out Super!Sonic, I promise it will be a perfect day in the land of kimchi: Grab some music-loving friends and your umbrella and raincoat (just in case) and enjoy a few cheap beers paired with an authentic collection of dance-inducing acts. Oh, and most importantly, get right up there in front of the stage. You WANT TO RULE THE WORLD, doesn’t EVERYBODY? (Tears For Fears references there, sorry if you didn’t catch them.)
Tears For Fears
Foster The People
*Be the person you envy. Live the life you’d be envious of if you saw someone else living it.*
Here is my first travel piece published in my hometown NH newspaper. I hope to write a piece each month for the paper – wish me luck. I have included the first paragraph and you can click the link for the rest. What should I write about next?
Last spring I found myself up too late on a weeknight perusing the time sucker that is Facebook. I pathetically drooled over photo albums from my adventurous friends exploring the world. I fell asleep with a small seed of jealously planted firmly in my stomach. The seed grew, and soon I found myself daydreaming at work and realizing I had to do something to squash this unflattering jealousy. I undoubtably loved each messy, new, hilarious, challenging and delightful moment of my two post college years living with friends and working in Boston, but I was itching for change. It took me a few months and lots of advice and encouragement from my friends and family, but I finally decided to skip town and get lost.
Here are five things I have learned from living abroad (so far)…
Fosters Daily Democrat
“Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.” – Anthony Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly)
Korea has become my home – I have been here for more than 2 months now – I can’t believe it! Although I have yet to experience serious home-sickness, I am able to text, email & Skype friends & family easily, I do find myself missing small comforts from home. Can you say drive-thru Starbucks!!? Korea does have Starbucks, but not on every corner like I am accustomed to. Like the rest of the world, Korea is home to most chains you know: Burger King, McDonald’s, Jamba Juice, Dunkin Donuts, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Outback Steakhouse etc. I have learned, from experience, that a Korean Dunkins is a touch different compared to its Boston counterpart. A foreigner may stumble into a familiar chain in Korea for a taste of home and find themselves (pleasantly?) surprised. These brands have tweaked their product and presentation to serve their customer: Koreans. You can still grab a burger at Burger King, but it may not be as big as you remember. Your pizza might have some surprising toppings. Corn anyone? And of course, at Dunkin Donuts you expect coffee & donuts, how can you change that up? Check out what I found: A Potato Ring donut, a Choco Banana, a LARGE iced coffee (that could have passed for a small in Boston), and an interesting article (travel itinerary?) exploring all the strange Dunkin Donuts you can find around the world. I am proud to point out that Korea made the list a few times! Cheers!
Enjoy this article from BuzzFeed.
(Some of) The Most Unusual Dunkin Donuts From Around The World:
Mojito and Banana Daiquiri (Spain)
Red Bean Bismark (Korea)
Dry Pork And Seaweed (China)
Glutinous Rice Stick (China)
Pork Floss (China)
Pink Dual Heart (Korea)
Garlic Glazed (Korea)
Donut Ball Sticks (Thailand)
Green Tea Chewisty (Korea)