The neighborhood where I live and work, called Banyawal, is an older part of the city of Daegu, and quite a bit out on the subway from downtown. While it is still technically in a city, it's not as built up or neon bright as the downtowns of Korea (which just from flying over Seoul look darned intimidating!), but it's very walking friendly (which is good because I don't have a car!) and has lots of little stores, restaurants, and bars along the streets like a city. I took this picture of the main street on my walk to work yesterday:
Banyawal is also very communal (though this may be true of other parts of Korea)--there are all these street vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables (and of course, cheap clothes/shoes/purses/etc.) all hours of the day and on Sunday there were some people with fresh fish/seafood, kimchi (which I bought and tried to cook with a couple days ago), street foods like these yummy looking fishcakes and tempura fried veggies and stuff. It's like an ever-present farmer's market. I will try to take some pictures of it this Sunday if it's not raining again.
People work out in the park together at night when it's not raining. I mentioned the ajumma aerobics class before, which was led by a very hyper young man. There is also some interesting looking equipment that I took a picture of on my way to work yesterday:
I also like that everywhere I've been so far remembers me (partly though, because I'm the "new foreigner" in the neighborhood--Korea is very homogeneous). Which makes for interesting conversations with anyone and everyone who speaks even a little English. Like when I was out walking on the weekend, two young guys from Sri Lanka approached me and I found out they had been living in Korea for three years, or the weird old Korean dude who talked to Jane everyday when she went to work and now talks to me and offers me fruit from his stand. Other expat bloggers in Korea have talked about the "celebrity status" white skin seems to grant you, but I somehow thought I'd be immune from it more 'cause I'm a little on the heavy side.
I actually don't feel as ridiculously overweight as I thought I would in Korea. I'm bigger than most of the women and men here, but it really seems to be more from natural body shape (like even when I lose the weight, I'll still be bigger than all of them in several dimensions) than from fat. Plenty of Koreans I've seen are carrying around a few extra pounds for their frame. I also fit into the largest size of women's shoes here (which I discovered when I bought a cheap pair of sandals on Sunday).
Besides, at the rate I'm going with the farmer's market-y goodness abounding on the streets, I'll lose the excess weight without even thinking about it too hard, especially if I keep working out a bit. Like this morning's culinary adventure involved a cool vegetable curry mix from Nais Mart:
I chopped up half an onion, a small head of broccoli, and stir fried it with the mix from the store. Then, served over the instant microwave rice that is super cheap and easy, I'm eating like a queen in about 10 minutes!
So royally delicious!