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The city I am from, Daegu.

I come from the ‘large hill’ in South Korea. Yes, that’s what my city, Daegu, literally means. I guess many people reading this article know about or are interested in Seoul, the capital city of South Korea. Maybe, I shouldn’t be talking about my city that probably no one cares. But, as a person who spent my childhood in Seoul, and moved to Daegu later, I have grown a considerable amount of love for this city, and now I proudly call it ‘my city’. I want to tell you how unique, crazy and lovable this city is by introducing a few key words related to Daegu.

^ Daegu, the large hill!

First key word: Daefrica
What is that even supposed to mean? Daegu is situated in the middle of a wide, flat valley in the south-eastern part of Korea. Now, if you paid attention in your high school geography class, you will know how a city situated at the bottom of a valley can get heated up during summer. Daegu is famous for being the hottest city in the whole of South Korea so people came up with the nickname, Daefrica, which is combination of Daegu and Africa. We have some strange pride for living in the hottest city in Korea so they feel really hurt when another city takes the place even for a day.

^ This happens in Daegu, oh the heat!

Second key word: blunt people
Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, people from Daegu are known to be blunt, mean and tough people. This perception mainly comes from the accent we have. Although South Korea is a small country, different regions of Korea have very distinct dialects. Daegu or Gyeongsang-Do (the province) dialect is very fast, short, and strong. People from Seoul often think that people are fighting when they listen to us speaking, when in fact, we are just casually conversing. However, we are very honest and straight forward people, too. We are nice people, it’s just that we are not very good at lying to make other people feel better. So, if tell a joke and it’s not funny, we will just tell you to shut up – which is what my friends tell me all the time. However, most of the times, mean people are funny people. I love the sarcasm and the blunt honesty we have. Plus, you can always be assured that what you are being told is true! I have to admit that I am seriously generalizing. There are truly nice or seriously boring people in Daegu, too.

^ typical reaction of people from other parts of Korea (credit: mykoreanhusband.com)

Last key word: conservative
Yes, we do tend to fall into the most conservative part of Korea. South Korea has a long history of regional divide for various political, economic and historical reasons. In Korea, there is an expression for these regions that, no matter what, vote for certain political party: the party field. Daegu is the conservative party field. Korean ideological spectrum difers greatly from the American one and therefore the word ‘conservatism’ shouldn’t be understood as American conservatism. Not only politically, we tend to uphold the traditional values of Korea compared to other cities. Many Confucius ideas are still active and alive in Daegu. I think this is related to the fact that Daegu is surrounded with mountains. It was a very secure city and often was disconnected from the outside world. Religiously, Daegu has the highest percentage of Buddhist population. It’s a nice combination of the old and the new.

I tried to make this short piece on Daegu as interesting as possible. Now I want to provide facts before I finish, some dry, and some more fun.
Facts
1. Daegu is the fourth largest city in Korea.
2. Two presidents in Korean history are from Daegu (obviously from the conservative party)
3. Daegu is famous for some good food; but some foreigners may find certain type of dishes to be gross such as grilled pig entrails and fried chicken gizzard. So what? They are tasty!
4. The weather station of Daegu is situated in the middle of the mountain, which is most of the time cooler than the city center and still it is the hottest city in South Korea!
5. Daegu has two subway lines. Next year, the third line will be open.
I could really go on and on talking about Daegu but I don’t want to bore you. If you want to learn more about Daegu, visit http://english.daegu.go.kr/main.asp or please contact me.
Here comes some cool photos of Daegu!


^ Daegu’s night view


^ Street performance in downtown


^ My university, Keimyung University, has one of the most beautiful campus in Korea!

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