An njang ha se yo! – week 1

Time flies when you’re working your ass off. Nothing could describe our first week here in Seoul better: we’re exhausted. Wait a minute, ‘we’? Yes, by this time you should probably know Stephane Kaas, the jolly good fellow who accompanied me basicly everywhere I went over the past month or so, and still does here on the other side of the globe – with his camera! (To see a teaser of his promising docu about my dream, click here). Anyway, after a swell flight including a surprisingly o.k. ‘bi bim bap’ and an endless series of K-pop video clips (thumbs up, Korean Air), it took us until dinner time to get ourselves settled in our goshiwons: the student dorms type of thing with private bathroom and a common kitchen. So we decided to enjoy our jetlag err, I mean night’s rest and call my grandmaster first thing in de morning. After all, upon arrival it wasn’t quite clear when I would meet master Kim or anything. Presuming it would be hilarious, Kaas taped the phone call and, indeed, he ended up laughing about my struggling. I was completely confused whether I was calling with one of master Kim students or if he just refers in third person to himself. Either way, “Master Kim wirr be at Sangwolgok station ten sirsy” was what the person on the other end said. So off we went.

I’ll save the first meeting with famous master Kim for the docu and forward right to what it’s all about: his iron-hard training. Boy, that is not to be sneezed at. In his back-to-basics dojang I’ve already spent 20 hours in the past 5 days, non stop repeating my techniques. No fancy excercises, simply doing it over and over again, whilst getting instructions and corrections from the ‘referee king’ himself. It is extremely tough, but it’s exactly what I came for, whoohoo!

What I didn’t come for, though, and what caused this slight delay in my first update, is a malfunction in our cash cards. After master Kim’s dojang I definitely spent the most time at the bank’s office: ATM’s didn’t allow both me and Kaas to withdraw a single Korean Won (= 0,001 euro). So we were forced to a long hike up to the Dutch ambassy, who couldn’t help us either, bla bla bla. In the end we managed to get some emergency cash sent over from back home, but the problem remains unsolved. I guess I might be owner of a Kookmin bank account soon…

Nevertheless, training is still on top of my list at all times, and everything else just has to deal with that so to say! However, from now on I hope to give you an update on a (semi) daily basis. Gam sa hab nie dah! (This means ‘thank you’ and just like real Koreans I tend to say it without any reason whatsoever.)

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