* This post is written by Gisela Verdin, one of the Korea Blog’s Worldwide Korea Bloggers.
A few months ago I ran into someone whom I took Korean Lessons with… after catching up a bit I remembered she had traveled to Korea just a couple of weeks back and asked how it was…. To my sorprise she said she didn’t liked it O_O (WHAT?!!!) I wasn’t shocked because I wants everyone to love Korea but because she was taking Korean Lessons and seemed to be very into Korean Culture,,, but no she was only into Hallyu/K-Wave, I’m not sure about her age but she is older than me (I’m 27) by at least 10 years, she’s a teacher.
When she started with “I didn’t like it because you can not experience K-pop the same way you do it here (KoreaTown in Mexico City)”…I was like.. REALLY?? That’s your reason? HUH?… how is it possible?
So, let me tell you a bit about my experience with Korea…. After listening to her stories I was pretty relieved I didn’t know much about Dramas, Kpop and Hallyu in general when I traveled to Korea…I wouldn’t even dare to say more than 3 words in Korean… I was very into Korean Culture, I loved (still do) the language, the culture, the food and it just seemed like a very cool place to travel. I read TONS of K-blogs writen not only by Foreigners but also by Koreans so I new a bit about both sides of what was going on in Korea… when the time came and I traveled to Korea I wasn’t really expecting anything and ended up having an amazing trip…I still feel like I didn’t do enough even thou my schedule was packed everyday and sometimes I feel like I wasted too much time sleeping while I was there (What???!! this country has 24hrs deliveries, Noraebangs, Spa’s, etc!!)
On the other side, this ex-classmate was VERY into Korean culture, on the 1st day of classes most of the people there expressed they wanted to go to Korea and meet their Idols O_o (Maybe that’s why I never felt like I fit in that class…), they would go to K-pop meetings, watch Dramas, buy (extremly expensive) K-pop products and would gather at a famous (expensive) Korean Coffee shop in Mexico to drink 8USD Teas with a 5USD piece of bread. I know for fact she was expecting to go to Korea and ran into someone famous or maybe find a Tall, rich and handsome Korean man who would be mean to her at 1st but then would fall in love with her. Sadly she went to the other side of the world for pretty much nothing, I even felt bad when she said she arrived at Incheon and thought it was an Ugly place….
I wonder if all Hallyu fans are like this…. if they will feel disapointed if they travel to Korea and can’t meet their idols, sometimes we read so many things about Kpop that we believe Kpop is TOP priority in Korea, althou Kpop it is popular not everyone in Korea likes it and not everything is about Kpop and most people (I’ve met) think Kpop is for Highschool girls… which is what I told her…. there are some “famous” Mexican bands who are very famous in other Countries (RBD) among teens but in Mexico older people (like me) don’t even think about them at ALL.
This is why I’m worried now… even thou I’m not obsesced with Hallyu… I’ve seen WAY to many Dramas (On my 1st visit I’ve only seen “My name is Kim Sam Soon”) and I know a tiny bit more about Kpop… what if I get dissapointed with my next trip to Korea???… have I been biten by the Hallyu mosquito? is this contagious?… will I be expecting a Goo Yoon Pyo to come and resque me from the bullies from Highschool?? O_O or am I expecting to run into BigBang on the subway?? (okok,,,maybe I am expecting that lol)… I wonder if I would see PSY horse ridding while crossing a street in Gangnam….
What Most Hallyu fans will expect:
1.-Kpop playing everywhere
2.-Seeing your idols everywhere
3.-Each and every Korean to be extremely handsome
4.-Sexy women wearing super short shorts
5.-Korea as a country to look just like in Dramas
Reality…remember this is only my experience:
1.-Kpop was played in Shopping areas or Malls…not everywhere (most of the times I was unable to recognize the songs….)
2.-I didn’t see anyone… one day I was at COEX Mall and people were gathering for an event…I don’t know who it was but there were less than 20 people waiting for him…so it might have been just a book signing?
3.-….. Not everyone was dead gorgeous, I mean most people are into fashion and people tend to wear nice clothes but NO, not everyone is as cute as Gum Jan Di or Goo Joon Pyo (Can you tell I don’t know many characters names?? lol)
4.-THIS I will give you… on my 1st visit I went in WINTER…once I stepped outside of Incheon my face froze…I desperately wore my 2 jackets, a hat, gloves and a scarf and still I was freezing but Korean girls?? pfffft they don’t give a (insert your word here) if it’s 0°C…they will go out with a miniskirt and high heels, you will see them on the subway, at coffee shops, malls, buses, etc… they are awesome, either they are VERY used to that cold or they are much more worried about how they look (I will go for the 2nd one)
5.-Korea does look like in Dramas because well it is pretty in reality, BUT…. remember most Dramas will show you the Big City, the newest mall, the cutest Coffee Shop and well..the BEST of the best, but there are also very poor zones, at night you’ll see homeless people sleeping in the subway (this is a bit scary actually….), does anyone remember when Gum Jan Di goes to sleep on the subway on BBF?? well…it’s like that O_O, but it’s safe if you hurry and get out of there as fast as you can!
Anyway, on My 1st trip to Korea the REALITY of my trip overcome the EXPECTATION….. I wonder what will happen on this upcoming trip 0_0 … stick around for new stories and let’s see if I can make it yo YG Entertainment to deliver a Package to convince them to bring Big Bang to Mexico (…)
How was your 1st trip? How did you handle the Expectation/Reality of the trip?