Name: Lindsey Andrews
Occupation: Radio host
Hometown: Ottawa, Canada
Length of time in Korea: Seven years, all in Gwangju!
My hometown is famous for . . . really, really cold winters, maple syrup, the Rideau Canal (World’s longest outdoor skating rink? That’s what they say~) and the Canadian government.
I have never been able to . . . make it through a game of pool. I’m so terrible, it takes me forever to land a shot and I get bored and give up.
A great book I would recommend is . . . Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader, North Korea and the Kim Dynasty, by Bradley K. Martin, for an in-depth look at North Korean history and first-person accounts of life in the DPRK. Bradley Martin was just in Gwangju for 5.18 Commemoration Events as well, and was one of the foreign journalists responsible for covering May 18th when it first happened, so he’s played a pretty big role in popularizing Korean history abroad.
The best discovery I have made in Gwangju is . . . Mat Jeon Jip, for my favourite jeon in Gwangju- they oblige me when I request no octopus in the kimchi jeon. It’s in Chonnam University’s back gate. Even the ramyeon is fantastic!
My favorite movie is . . . Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade– although Raiders is a close second.
How did you end up in Gwangju?
It’s an old story- I wanted to travel and work abroad after university. I actually tried to get a job first in Eastern Europe, but competition was fierce. At the time my parents hosted a Korean homestay student who first introduced me to Korean culture, and I started looking at jobs here. One of my first offers was for Gwangju, and as I researched, I found out Gwangju was known for food, arts and culture, and democratic movements. That was all I needed to know- I was sold! And it certainly hasn’t disappointed.
What is your best tip for living in Korea?
I remember my dad told me this the first week I was here, and I guess it holds true of any place you live- make connections with the people in your neighbourhood. The staff of the family corner store, café workers, your landlord- when I got to know the people in my neighbourhood, I felt more rooted in Korea and more involved in the community. It helps with language learning as well!
What is the oddest job you have ever had?
Considering how little I enjoy exercise or movement, it’s a little surprising I was actually a soccer referee throughout middle and high school and university. My whole family, under the influence of my soccer-loving dad, were referees or assistant referees at some point. It was great fun, not a lot of money, a good way to see a lot of soccer games. I will never forget the rules for offside- thanks Dad- and it has been great to have a knowledge of the game as I travel, because it’s just so popular in so many countries.
Tell us a strange or interesting fact about you.
I’m obsessed- OBSESSED- with fashion history. I love to find out how people- particularly women- lived and dressed in the past. What was underwear like? What would you wear in the snow? I know it’s strange, and I’m not sure why I’m so compelled to know what different periods of time. I think I had a recurrent fantasy as a child where I fell into a time machine and had to survive in whatever period I ended up in, and knowing what to wear was part of that. Since I’ve been in Korea, I’ve really enjoyed finding out about the surprising history of hanbok, and how it’s changed over time with different social and economic shifts.
Do you belong to any clubs or community organizations in Gwangju?
I’m currently hosting the Korean culture morning radio show “Hello Korea” at the Gwangju Foreign Language Network a city-run public foreign language radio station, which works with a lot of different communities in Gwangju.
I’m so lucky to be a part of the Hello Korea team, and it really is in some ways one of the most interesting and fun jobs I’ve ever had. Getting to spend my days learning about different aspects of Korean culture from our hardworking radio guests, and getting to share my interest with others, is just so cool. Our guests bring in information and experiences with a variety of aspects of Korean culture- from language and cuisine to history, film, and trot music- we even have a segment where we learn folksongs, if you can stand me trying to sing Korean traditional tunes.
How long has GFN been operating in Gwangju?
GFN just celebrated its 7th Anniversary, and I’ve been on Hello Korea for the last year.
What is the best part of your day?
Working with my wonderfully creative and young team- shoutout to the handsome Choi PD and our super-positive writer Geehae- just brainstorming about different parts of Korean culture we can explore on the show. And sitting down with our guests, who really go above and beyond researching and preparing material for the show. You can really feel how passionate they are to talk about their respective interests, and it’s really thanks to all of them we can have such an interesting show. And coffee. Coffee is a massive part of my day.
What can be the most difficult part of your day?
Starting early-morning recordings is tough, because I’m such a night owl. I sincerely and deeply thank every one of my coworkers who tolerate me before I’ve had my first cup of coffee.
What is the thing you wish more people knew about GFN?
GFN is not just for English! We also host Chinese shows in the evening, and on Hello Korea itself, we invite weekly guests to tell folktales in their native languages- we’ve had guests from the Philippines, Vietnam, China, Malaysia, and Thailand!
What is the best advice you can give to people listen to GFN?
Check out the GFN website for back episodes of different segments (gfn.or.kr) On the Hello Korea page, you can find episodes discussing language history and how to sing traditional folk music!
What is the most useful thing that GFN does for the people in Gwangju?
I hope Hello Korea can bring together international residents and the Korean community- anyone interested in the culture and history of the country we call home, if only for a brief time. GFN in general through its variety of shows provides really useful tips for living in Gwangju, and a slew of different perspectives on life in Korea.
Are there any amusing anecdotes you can share about your work day?
My Korean pronunciation is not the best, and one day we were learning a folksong as part of the traditional song/dance Ganggangsulleh, the circle dance traditionally performed by village women under the full moon. Anyways, the lyrics had the word “저색이”, a dialect word referring to “that scarecrow over there”, but because of my pronunciation, it came out sounding more like “that son of a –“. My writer told me after the live show. Mortifying.
What are some future plans you have at GFN?
Shameless shilling, but GFN hosts events for the community throughout the year- scavenger hunts and “Running Man”-type events. We have one event coming up at the end of the month- the 2016 GFN Photo Contest at the International Rose Festival Gokseong. You can sign up in teams of three or four, and hang out at the Gokseong Rose Festival taking pictures with your friends. Best pictures by public vote will win cash prizes, and GFN provides transportation, lunch, swag and free entrance to the festival. That’s coming up on Saturday May, 28th, and you can check out gfn.or.kr for details and registration! It’s really a great, free way to visit a different spot in Jeollanamdo and maybe win prizes at the same time.
Are there any places/services/experiences you can recommend in Gwangju that a lot of folks don’t know about?
Definitely get out to the traditional markets- Daein Market has tons of art and culture, and Yangdong Market and Namgwangju Market can be great places to buy cheap, fresh products and eat delicious traditional foods. Yangdong Market actually has six different markets all wrapped up into one!
For more information about the show, check out the website, or their Hello Korea facebook page (where you can send Lindsey a message any time for questions or comments about the show, or if you’d like to appear on Hello Korea!). GFN is sponsoring a photo contest on May 26 at the International Rose Festival Gokseong. Get more information about signing up your team on the Facebook event page.