This week, we’re in Pyeongtaek, South Korea ! I’ve teamed up with Amaris to bring you the similarities and the differences between living in Alicante, Spain and Pyeongtaek, South Korea. (A last minute change of location!)
Don’t forget to read Amaris’ blog to get all of the information about how Amaris’ day went!
This week, it’s the lead up to Christmas, so before we let go of those festive feelings and kick into the New Year, let’s head back to pre-Navidad! Today, it’s short and sweet.
Thursday 20th December 2018:
It’s a quiet day on the Costa Blanca. The day starts quiet and I feel, well, not very festive. The sunlight comes bursting through the curtains and the heat can be felt through the glass. I wake up late and find myself in a rather frantic rush.
It’s been surreal this year. Where did Christmas come from? It doesn’t seem a whole year since we last did our carol service at work, yet here we are again ready to dance and sing with my colleagues dad. The children love it when he comes in and they can have a good old sing-song. This year, it’s Must Be Santa, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and We Wish You a Merry Christmas. It’s so heartwarming to hear them sing in English.
I rush to get ready and head off to work. It’s such a more enjoyable experience now that we have a car. The journey is a lot more pleasant.
I head into work and its straight to business. I woke up so late that breakfast wasn’t even a thing, I didn’t even get to my cappuccino! I make a mental note to head to the bakers to pick up some delicacies and a coffee during my break.
Costing just 4€ for everything, it’s a good deal. A few empanadillas de Carne, pizza with mushrooms, cheese and ham and a cappuccino. My kind of lunch.
We make little Christmas decorations, like a snowglobe for the Christmas tree with the children’s faces in to take home. They love making it and I must admit, seeing their faces light up and talk so passionately about where on the tree they’re going to put their ornament makes me feel a little more festive. Especially after our little sing-a-long too!
After a late finish, we head back home and Alex prepares a quick and easy dish. Spaghetti Carbonara. It’s a new dish that has been making its rounds on our dinner rotation plan. It’s quick. It’s fairly simple and it’s delicious. Alex is such a gem for always making the dinner.
My cold is still lingering around and the weather has dipped drastically now the sun has long gone. I get on my cosy pyjamas, warm up my kuddli buddy from The Hot Water Bottle Shop and settle down in bed to play a few games of Clash Royale.
One more day of work and then we’ve finished for Christmas. It feels so surreal. So soon, almost unexpected. Tomorrow, we have our works party and I’m so excited to find out what we get up to. I get an early night. Tomorrow will be a crazy one.
Another day has ended in Benidorm. It’s time for bed.
Similarities and Differences
I’m not going to lie to you when I opened an email from Amaris saying she was documenting Pyeongtaek, I had no idea where it was, what it looked like or what exactly life is like there.
I’ve been doing some googling to try and find out enough about it as I can to share with you all today. So, bear with me, because this one is certainly off of my normal radar!
Pyeongtaek is a city in Gyeonggi Province in South Korea. My initial thought would be how many people would be living there. There has to be millions right? A huge city like this? Aren’t all of the cities in South Korea huge? How wrong I was. Sure, the population is bigger than that of Alicante, but, surprisingly, not by much! With a population of 427,460, it’s a little more than the Alicante population of 330,525.
The time difference between Spain and South Korea is, as expected, enormous. I can’t even begin to envisage what sort of jetlag it would bring. For comparison, 7:00a.m in South Korea is 23:00, the day before here! It’s funny how Amaris would have been already well underway of her documentation day before I’d even got out of bed! When I woke up at 11:30, it would have been 19:30 in South Korea, meaning Amaris would have been nearly finished, before I’d even begun.
One of the most distinct differences is most certainly the language. I’ve always admired those who are able to speak a second language, and they say once you learn a second, the rest becomes a doddle. Now, after trying to learn Italian, I can say it’s certainly easier to follow the rules and understand a wider range of vocabulary, but, I’m not too sure it’s a walk in the park. However, languages like Chinese, Russian and Japanese have always fascinated me. They are so incredibly different that learning Spanish would give an absolutely zero advantage to learning one of those languages.
In South Korea, the language of Hangeul is one of the most unique creations to the nation. Born in 1443 by their late King Sejong, it was introduced to aid all locals to read and write the new language. It’s quite fascinating to read about Hangeul and how the alphabet is composed of basic consonants and vowels, each with their own set sound. A dot or a line adds to form more sounds. The 5 main consonants (ㄱ, ㄴ, ㅅ, ㅁ, ㅇ) imitate the shape the lips and tongue make when producing that particular sound. It makes it sound easy, right? I highly doubt it’s as easy as it looks though! I mean, how do I even make those shapes!
Hansik refers to the traditional Korean food, usually centred around rice, soups and side dishes. Most foods in Korea contain an element of meat and vegetables as the main ingredients, which are boiled or steamed in brine or water as opposed to fried. Traditional Korean food, therefore, is a very healthy diet to follow. Outside of Hansik is the popularity of fermented foods. The most well-known is Kimchi which is fermented cabbage. Now, I’d try the Hansik, but I think I’d rather stick to my pasta as opposed to the fermented dishes!
Now, I’m not sure why this surprises me, but I didn’t expect Korea to be so cold. With highs of 1 degree in the day and lows of -10 at night, I’m sure there’s a dusting of snow on the ground there.
I must admit, looking through the photos on the Korea Tourism website, which has helped me massively in writing this, has really shown a beautiful picturesque location. I have loved finding out more about Korea and I hope you enjoy it too. For the photo, I opted for a photo of Gyeongju Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond which is in the Gyeongju National Park and not actually in Pyeongtaek. There weren’t any photos without copyright that I was able to use, but I’m sure Amaris will have plenty of gorgeous photos on her blog, so go take a look if Pyeongtaek has intrigued you!
Next time, we’ll be comparing the similarities and differences between Spain and Vienna.
Want to know all about life in Vienna? Well, stay tuned because next time I’ll be teaming up with Susanne.
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