VOTE 2012

The turnout at the American Center in Korea for ballot collecting

The U.S. Embassy Seoul’s American Citizen Services Unit hosted an event yesterday at the American Center Korea to collect absentee ballots and to answer general questions about voting abroad. For those interested, the American Center Korea is located a few hundred meters from Sookmyung Women’s University Subway Station (subway line 4, gate 6). For those that came without ballots, a lot of paperwork had to be filled out…

Forms! Bureaucracy! Small Envelopes!

… as well as some origami making. Some of us were better at it than others….

Yeah…..

If you are an American currently living abroad and you previously requested an absentee ballot but have yet to receive it, you can still vote by using the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). You can also check the status of your application and ballot on the FVAP website.

For those living in South Korea, you can turn in your ballots at the Embassy guardhouse. Make sure they are in a self-addressed U.S. postage paid envelope that has been addressed to your local election officials. To get to the American Embassy in Seoul, take subway line 5 to Gwanghwamoon Station and use exit gate #2. The Embassy is across the street from the Sejong Cultural Center and next to the Ministry of Information and Communication/KT Building. If you have additional questions, you can always contact Seoul’s Voting Assistance Officer at 02-397-4114, or at voteseoul@state.gov.

About to cast my ballot!

I was so excited to “cast” my ballot! What a productive week– taught kindergarteners how to say “your welcome,” learned how to ask for a beer in Korean (makju juseyo!), and voted the shit out of 2012 election. I found out today that over 300 people came out during the 4 hour event to submit their ballots. Love it!

!!!!!!

After turning in our ballots, some fellow voters and I went out for a celebratory drink at Magpie Brewery, a popular micro-brewery in Itaewon. Unfortunately Magpie’s wasn’t quite open yet and the guys were hard at work making “zombie guts” for an upcoming zombie party, but one of the owners took pity on us and poured us porters in to-go cups. Gotta love that Korea doesn’t have open container laws!

Celebratory porters at Magpie Brewery

After drinking the beer and discussing West Virginian coal barons and Donkey Kong, we headed towards a Mexican restaurant for some grub (but really, who am I kidding… we went for the margaritas…). Just can’t seem to get enough tacos and burritos in Asia.

Porters turned into veggie burritos, margaritas, and breakfast stouts…

Soon after, I took the subway to Anguk station (subway line 3, exit gate #2) to do some shopping and exploring. The neighborhood is home to many artisan shops and features museums (such as the Seoul Museum of Chicken Art or the more staid Hansangsu Embroidery Museum), art galleries, and even the ancient royal residence of Unhyeongung. A 15 minute walk from the Anguk subway station yields quite a treat: hillside alleyways of traditional Korean homes.

I walked into a shop that sold Chinese and Korean tea sets and ended up making friends with the owner. She invited me to drink Chinese Pure tea with her and I was impressed by the elaborateness of it all: heating the water to 100°F, cleaning the fermented tea leaves, using utensils to move the tiny teacups, …  I stayed with her for a couple hours before deciding that I really should get back to Seoul Station to take the train back to Cheonan.

At the tea shop

Once back in Cheonan, I met up with my friend Steph at a wine bar in Dujeong-dong. Somehow we managed to attract the attention of a young woman who called herself Lady Gaga… Steph and I stayed out for quite a while before we concluded the evening with 4 a.m. street food: dukboki and fried veggies. nomnomnom

Steph with our new friend, Lady Gaga

Say “Kimchi!”

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