Sunday, September 20, 2009

Onion Say Hello

And here we begin the portion of the blog that comes to you from…the future! That’s right, I’m now in Seoul (17 hours ahead of SF), where I’ll be for the next few months, attempting to learn Korean. I say “attempt” because let’s face it – I’ve spent 29 years of my life listening to a lot of Korean yet for some reason I can’t really speak very well, so we’ll see how this goes. I’m taking a class at Yonsei University so at the very least, I’ll learn some grammar, and be able to form sentences that are a little more complex than what a 7-year-old could construct.

Incidently, Yonsei’s motto is “The First and the BEST” (emphasis mine) which cracks me up, but then again, my alma mater’s motto is pretentiously in latin, so props to Yonsei for choosing something that effectively gets the point across to the masses.

Even though I’ve visited Seoul many times, I would be lying if I said I’m not overwhelmed by the prospect of being here on my own for longer than two weeks. First of all, my parents won’t be around to translate everything for me (that’s mom below, waiting for our plane to take off.)

Second…um…CULTURE SCHOCK. I’d like to think that growing up eating kimchi and watching Korean dramas have prepared me for what’s in store, but the two short days I’ve spent here have proven otherwise. But I’ll get to that later. Here are a few pictures to tide my 3 readers over:

I can’t remember a time my family has visited Korea without eating myong dong kal guk su. It comes with the garlic-iest kimchi EVER. I think I still taste the garlic even though I ate this on Friday.

Spam is properly revered here. If somebody gave me this lovely gift box, I’d be pretty happy.

Full disclosure: learning Korean was only about 10% of my motivation for coming here. The other 90% was that I’d be able to eat these every day. Imagine the most delicious pillowy white bread bun. Then, imagine it covered with a crunchy and sweet mocha-flavored crust. As if that weren’t enough, put a pat of salty butter in the middle that melts as it bakes. Why yes, I will be the chubby person coming off the plane in December.

A typical breakfast. I have trouble eating the same thing every day though, so I brought a jar of peanut butter with me. I’m pretty sure by the middle of October I’ll be ready to kill somebody for a tamale.

My mother and I feasted on this lunch at the local department store food court. The seafood pajun was absolutely delicious, yet only cost 4000 won. That’s a little less than $4. Nuts.

Here’s my aunt, grandma, and mom. My aunt is hilarious. She was a total trooper and came out to help me look for a boarding room even though she had a long week (she’s a teacher, and students here attend school on Saturdays.) Since the moment she arrived we’ve all been in stitches.

So I won’t have regular internet access until I move into my room near school on Saturday, but I hope to be able to update regularly. At the very least, my dad will be able to know I’m alive and well, since I’m pretty sure he'll never be able to figure out how to use Skype. (Dad! It says you're online but you won't pick up!)

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