Special Olympics World Games Blog

Special Olympics World Games Blog

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So, are you intrigued by the blog title? We sure hope so! After a long day in transition from Seoul to PeyongChang (we did pack the car better this time), we spent some time "brushing" with the famous. We checked in with the Special Olympics and received our credentialled badges. It's official! We are a consultant group for Special Olympics International! This badge gets us access to a lot of activity behind-the-scenes. We are awaiting the arrival of our really cool Columbia Jackets that will keep us warm in the cold weather here. These jackets will identify us as part of the Special Olympics team helping throughout the next few weeks. We will post a picture of our new item once we receive the jacket.

Besides the really awesome jacket, we have seen Yao Ming (NBA Basketball player) and Cindy McCain (John McCain's wife). Both were polite and said "hello" and smiled at us as we passed. It took a little while for some of us to realize what just happened, and we started to get excited about what the rest of the next few weeks will hold. In addition to this, we got a taste of our own "celebrity" status as a reporter for a Korean National Magazine took a group picture of us and interviewed Peter about his purpose at the World Winter Games.

Tomorrow is a fun day in the morning; some will go swimming at the indoor water park, others will ski or snowboard. The Opening Ceremonies is tomorrow evening! Let the games begin!

Tonight's blog question: What is one thing you have learned about this country in these past few days that you want to share with others in South Dakota?

Devon: I have learned that Korean people are very brand conscious and the pricing of their clothing reflects that. An “outlet” mall here had the majority of their items “on sale” for $300 to $400. I have also learned that Korean foods can differ a lot from restaurant to restaurant and that sometimes not having any idea what you’re getting is all part of the experience.

Alyssa: It seems that Koreans are far more accepting of foreigners than people in the US are. Everyone here is really happy to help us with whatever we need, and it doesn’t seem like anyone is looking at us very funny. We seem to be very welcome here, and it is really nice.

Peter: I’ve learned that Koreans are brand conscious and that the clothes they buy seem expensive to me, but they see it as a deal when it is still over $200. The size of the clothes also doesn’t translate exactly to the way it is done in the US. Health is something that is a big concern here, and being thin and very trim is made into the culture, especially in the clothing as it is made for people who are thin.

Lauren: One thing I have learned is that people appear to be healthier than those in the United States. When it comes to soda portion sizes the cans and bottles are significantly smaller than our version of a ‘small’. Food that is served appears to be a lot of food but it is healthier than ours can cost about the same as our fast food. To go to a restaurant here may cost between $6 and $26 American. Water is also very valuable here because we cannot drink the tap water and must purchase it at stores or find it in restaurants. The food is a bit more salty here but overall it tastes pretty good.

Nicole J: I’ve learned that reading travel books on South Korea do very little to prepare you for the experiences you will have here. It’s been an exciting journey to see both urban and rural areas here so far!

Amanda: One thing that I have learned about South Korea is how women are really respected. Upon arriving I have noticed the little things that they do for women such as having special parking for women that is closer than the rest.

Nicole D: One of the things I’ve found most striking is the amount of sharing that takes place. In the U.S. we each get a menu, we tend to choose something for ourselves and not worry about what anyone else wants. Here, it is much more common for a group to get one menu, the portion sizes are intended to be shared, and some drinks you can’t even order for just one person. It’s been really fun to enjoy communal dinners with my teammates, a tradition I would like to bring home and take advantage of more often.

Hilary: One thing I have learned about this country is that image seems to be quite important. They men and women dress wonderfully and always look their best, even at breakfast at 8:30am. Even the babies dress better than I do. I have also noticed that tattoos and piercings are not very common; it is rare to see a Korean with these. I have also noticed that family is very important. I have seen a lot of Korean families with young children and the dads seem really active when taking care of their babies. I think this is really cool.

Janie: I’ve learned that in this country there is so much importance place on respect and being honorable. This was most obvious to me in the temple. I enjoyed watching them asking for a better life. They want to better themselves in so many ways. This is even in taking our shoes off when we enter certain places. They stress keeping places clean. I want to live an honorable and respectful life, so it is nice to be shown what that truly looks like.

Morgan: The thing I will take back with me to the United States is that the people from South Korea are extremely helpful. Sometimes people feel that people from another country will not be welcoming, but that has definitely not been the case. After being lost in the street it is good to know that people will try the best they can to help you out.
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