Sunday, January 6, 2013


Happy 2013!  Or as the Koreans say, 새해 복 많이 받으세요!!  This roughly translates to, "please receive a lot of fortune in the new year".

I returned to Seoul for New Year's after a quick one-week trip to the US. Despite jet lag, I was able make it to midnight and celebrate my first dawn of a new year in Asia.  2012 was an incredible year for me with a lot to reflect upon – finishing business school, travels all over the world, starting a new job and moving to a new country, making new friendships and enriching existing ones.  Now I look forward to an exciting year ahead.

Many sidewalks are a treacherous, icy mess right now

But in the's COLD in Seoul!  I knew I would likely experience my first "real" winter here since college, but I wasn't quite prepared for the frigid onslaught that has swept over the Korean peninsula so far this winter.  Even though I've lived through even colder weather in Boston and Wisconsin (and I did check the historical record on this) my blood has thinned from 8 years of reasonable Virginia winters.  Thankfully, I'm prepared with a down overcoat and a closet full of sweaters.

My colleagues and I picked a helluva winter to move here, though.  Even by Seoul standards, it's frigid right now:
All this cold has made going outside a little treacherous.  Thankfully, snowfalls here have been light so far, but as Koreans don't seem to believe in salting walkways, every sidewalk that hasn't been thoroughly swept (usually with a broom) becomes an icy mess.  I only slipped for my first time today (and thankfully wasn't hurt) but I have lost track of the number of my "almost slips" – too many to count!  The office isn't too hospitable either...allegedly set at 20 C (68 F) by government regulation, but feels far cooler than that. I guess energy efficiency does have its downside...

Seoul Samsung Thunders vs. Incheon ETLand Elephants

As I learned from my childhood, the only remedies for getting through the dark, bleak winter are to bundle up and find activities to help you pass the time until the weather becomes more hospitable. This weekend, my colleagues and I checked out our first Korea league basketball game! Though the quality of play roughly the quality of NCAA Division 3, we weren't complaining as it was, similar to Korean baseball, quite cheap. I also look forward to trying out some of Korea's ski slopes soon.

I'll leave you with another Korean phrase I've learned this winter: 감기 조심하세요  ("take care from the cold!")

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