Life as I Never Knew It

Survival, was the basic training I received in high school when I joined the youth scout club. I was familiar with that word and had experienced the once in a life time near-death experience in the woods which ended up with our club supervisor resigned right after the activity. But it was years a go. I think I have forgotten how life could be very hard in terms of basic survival: looking for a comfortable shelter, nice foods and proper clothes.

Arriving back in Seoul without any idea how my life would be in this cold country was a bit overwhelming. Some people might frown and asked, “how come? you’ve been here before and it’s not your first time being abroad.” The answer is I don’t know.

This country is so damn cold. Like it’s own name. South Korea called itself Han Guk, literary means cold(Han) country(Guk) <– a stranger told me that . Though generally the winter is bearable and not crazily windy like winter in Australia, it’s a lot colder here and my body reacts differently. I got a little nosebleed on my first day. And then the skin problem, especially my face. The Inisfree (a friend recommended this) moisturizer I bought caused my sensitive face went very red and felt awful the whole day yesterday.

Seoul is one of world’s most expensive cities, and it’s true. Except for cosmetics, everything is expensive here. But that’s not the main problem for me. The thing is everything here is nationalized if not made in Korea and all written in Hangeul. So I have no many options for safe snacks and foods(read: Halal)…Not that i didn’t know it, but I don’t know why it took me about two days to let my mood up again to start speaking Korean and read through Hangeul tags on the food.

My place is up on the hill, exactly around Namsan park area and located maybe about 500 m-700 m from the train station on the main street. And because it’s on the hill so it’s all climbing up to reach my place. Haven’t visited my uni yet, but my friend said the shortcut would be going through the Namsan Park’s track I could see from my window. The uni is on the other side of the hill. Dealing with distance is absolutely fine for me, really, as long as it’s flat. But this…this is too cruel to be true.

And the kitchen was another torture. For a cooking person like me, kitchen is an important part of the shelter. The thing is, the kitchen is located on the basement while my room is on the 4th floor. I thought I’d be stressful for having no TV, but having no TV turned out to be not a problem at all and having this kind of huge-effort-kitchen was wayyy stressful. I thought I couldn’t live without TV, but I just realize that I can’t live without a proper easy access kitchen. Food is basic survival, right?

Community. For a loner like me, community could be overwhelming. There are 4 Indonesian students in this place and a lot of Indonesian students in Dongguk uni, in Seoul and the whole South Korea. I have no other choice but to be in the community and I think i’m not ready yet. My new friends here are very nice and helpful, but i still need sometimes to really digest this whole community thing in my head. An A person is very uncomfortable with new people. And me, with my bad social interaction history, was more than just feeling uncomfortable. My best friend said I need to compromise with myself first and give myself sometimes to adjust to this new environment, and I think that’s what I need to do now.

The survival training was years ago. I need to recall all the memories back.

Well, the best thing for taking your own choice is that you can’t blame anyone and just to live it well till the end. Complaining is humane, but no place for regretting. If others can bear it, why won’t I?

This is part of Namsan Park and it’s track that is seen from my small window ~my everyday view:

*just click the pic to see larger

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