The Internet- An experience from the S(e)oul
This is my entry to the Indiblogger ‘Internet is Fun!’ contest by Vodafone. Hope you enjoy!
16th April, 2012- We moved to Seoul, South Korea, as my dad got a job offer there. After a 9-hour flight in Business Class, we got off at the Incheon airport, Seoul. There, when we looked around, everything was something like this:
Now, being an Indian who has never lived in Korea before, HOW ON EARTH WAS I SUPPOSED TO UNDERSTAND THAT? And learning Korean is no cakewalk either. So the next option here was to ask somebody how to go where, but alas, there we land up back in square one. About EVERYBODY there knows ONLY KOREAN. And as I said before, learning Korean is no cakewalk. However, we had one tool which could help us navigate. THE INTERNET!!!!! (unfortunately even that was coming in Korean for a while, but we fixed it). And to add to that, the internet speed in Korea is about a hundred megabits per SECOND in metropolitan areas. That’s about twenty times faster than the speed in India. So now, suddenly, I was not so helpless despite being an alien to this native environment.
For example, the Jihachul app which is now downloaded on my ipod was taken off free from the internet. It not only gave us a clear route of which trains to take and where, but also gave us the train’s timings, the time it would take to reach the destination, where we were to transfer and even brilliant information like which car of the train we have to board which is the optimal to reach the transfer train! It was totally awesome and so worth it. It made my life so much easier to reach my cricket sessions with the Indians in Korea.
Google Translate which is a website which translates any sentence or words or even a website itself from any language to the language that you know and understand! That helped us atleast with the daily words like Thank you and Hello. Before long, I was able to Kansahamida and Annyeong every Korean I met! Translating also helped us compare and contrast the rates between the Korean websites of the essential biggies that we had to invariably buy- the refrigerator and the washing machine.
However the biggest relief that the internet gave me was that I could still watch the IPL. The DLF IPL is arguably the world’s best Twenty20 tournament. And it’s one of my favorite contests. It was going underway when we had to move, and it isn’t broadcasted here in Seoul, so that could have meant that I would no longer be able to watch the IPL. However, that was when the internet helped me again. I could now watch the IPL, live and streaming, on YouTube. It is great fun as I stay up until 3AM watching the IPL and cheering for my favorite teams. And without getting the results of these games, there was no way that I could have continued this blog successfully. Other than IPL, I could watch a number of hilarious videos and movies on YouTube, and that was, and still is, a major way of killing time for me.
Putting aside the IPL, one of the best things that the internet has done for me is letting me keep in touch with my friends and relatives. Luckily for me all of them either have an email ID or are on Facebook, so interacting with them makes me feel a lot less homesick knowing that I still have people to talk to, no matter how far away they are. I am almost up-to date with the happenings around my friends that I dont feel like I live in Seoul at all. With Video chat on Gmail and Facebook and Skype, I am able to see them and show them my home in Seoul and also show them the weird things that Koreans do- like eating live octopus- and listen to how they whine to be about the homework they are supposed to complete in a few days 🙂 Even when we were in Bangalore, I wasn’t sitting and chatting in their living rooms so often!
Putting that aside, It’s still quiet difficult to kill time here, because I can’t keep watching movies all day, or expect my friends to be able to chat on FaceBook all the time. That’s when computer games are quiet useful, as I don’t yet have any friends and I can’t always play with my brother. Sadly, all of the PC games are still coming in the shipping, and won’t be arriving for a while. So how do I pass all this time without losing my head? Quiet simple. I played games off the internet. And as we have two laptops, My brother and I now play many multi-player games off sites such as notdoppler.com, miniclip.com, and more. And that not only makes time fly away, but gave me and my brother lots of things to talk about as well.
So now you’ve got a glimpse of how the internet helped me in Seoul. Actually, before we came here, I was biting my nails off wondering how I was going to be able to leave behind my school, my friends, my house, and my pet cat that I would feed everyday, to go to a new country, where I did not know anybody, let alone the language. It was hard, but in the end, somehow coaxed by the business class lounge in Singapore, I did it. And the internet made sure that I did not lose my head out of having nothing to do. So all I can say is that the internet is nit just fun, but amazingly fun. And it gave me, and is still giving me the time of my life.