Thursday, July 27, 2006

7 Thoughts after one week

So tonight I head back to the airport for one week in the UK and then to bring our kids back to their new life here. What are they going to make of this place?

At ages 5 and 3 their entire life experience has been Asian-based, and so in many ways they will likely see less weirdness than we do. The Koreans are a handsome race - strong-looking and handsome with high cheek bones, generous features and a willingness to smile and laugh heartily and often. I think the girls will be a focus for much attention from people here, but because of the respectful nature of the Koreans, I hope that they will endure less physical touching than they have had to deal with in the past from mainland Chinese in Hong Kong and the gentle Thais. And korean kids are soooo cute in their own way, that perhaps two blonde little western girls will present less of an attraction.

Already I can feel myself adapting to life here. The fashions are very different, and Koreans LOVE their complicated patterns and off-beat cuts. Assymetric tops for ladies are common, and the layered t-shirt effect is common. Lace trim and a colour palette that favours plum, yellow, turquiose green and apricot tones as well as lots of strong spots and stripes make for a colourful and interesting range of attire.

In bureaucratic terms life will likely be easy here. Everything is efficiently set up to provide minimum red tape and fuss. The subway has tickets of course, but once you have a credit card you can use that as your pass to travel eliminating the need for travel cards and another thing to remember.

When we go out at night, if we travel by car and then decide to have some beers, we can phone one of about 20 companies who will send a sober driver to our restaurant and drive us home. We tried this the other night and it was fantastic. To order this service you need to speak Korean or ask a waitress to call them for you.

Expat life is well set up with societies for everything that all have websites and responsive members to help with all newcomers questions: The Royal Asiatic Society for cultural tours, the British Women's Group for networking and the Seoul International Womens Association which includes a working women's network and charity raising activities thrtoughout the year. National societies from all over the world are thriving, websites abound with information on restaurants and bars.

Life here will be as good as we make it. If we work hard, master the language and remain permanently positive, I think we will be very happy. Let's see how I feel when I return.

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