Non co-workers to the rescue


So Saturday it’s being arranged for me to meet a volunteer.  I’ve asked for some basic grocery shopping skills, such as:  is that price on the fruit PER KILO or PER BAG?  How can I avoid sugar?  Is one of these dairy items cream?  Etc., etc. Also, how to use my damn cell phone…Try to save a caller ID number and end up ringing the number instead – that kind of thing.

Sunday I’m meeting a 28 yr. old language exchange partner/college student for conversation and some tips on how to live cheaper.  He lived in Australia by himself for a year, so he knows what I’m going through.

Maybe I’ll start going to Koroot events on Saturdays.  Everyone was so great there, and I believe in what they are doing and how many visiting and repatriating adoptees they’ve helped.  But it’s also a big deal to make the trip and spend that much time every Saturday.

Ran into a bunch of expats, all English teachers for GePIK, sitting in front of the gs 25 mart in front of my building last night, so I bought a can of beer (it was payday!) and sat with them before it got too cold outside.  They actually LIKE this sterile area because it has more creature comforts than living in one of the older parts of Seoul.  Found out that no, there are no other places to shop than Emart.  But also found out there is a Saturday farmer’s market in the Central Park.  Found out that no, there’s really no night life here, but Boemgye, the next stop over is more happening.  Found out that you can walk to Boemgye, and it’s a direct shot from my apt., same street, about a half hour’s distance.

Of course, they were startled when this really forward Korean chick starts addressing ALL OF THEM in perfect English.  And then they made the switch, and they started telling me where the Subway was, and the Dunkin Donuts, and croissants, etc. Contrast that with today’s lunch, where I was meticulously cleaning every bone from my fish and the Korean teachers were all amazed and asking, “how did you learn to use chopsticks?” I told them there ARE some Asians in North America, and that there ARE Chinese and other Asian restuarants.

There is no middle ground.  With anyone here.  NOBODY understands what it is to be adopted or Asian-American.

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4 thoughts on “Non co-workers to the rescue

  1. Yes. Some people have bicycles. I have thought about it, but can’t afford it right now. The bicycles all ride on the sidewalk here, so it is safer for the cyclists, but it’s a little annoying for the pedestrians. There are a lot of nice paths for bikes & pedestrians connecting parks and housing developments.

    As a means of short transportation, it is okay. For something to get around – really get around, I don’t know, especially given that the riding is on the sidewalks. I don’t know how extensive the path system is between the buildings. Probably pretty extensive. But the scale of the greater Seoul Metro Area is also too huge to comprehend. 11.5+ in Seoul proper and 24+ million in the whole metro area means an hour and a half subway ride could mean a three hour ride on a bike to some destination.

    I also haven’t seen any bike racks on the buses like they have in Seattle. I would like to get one, actually, someday. The edges of Seoul are very hilly and I couldn’t handle that, but all of these new satellite towns have been leveled flat as a pancake.

    The other Korean teachers go hiking on the weekends, but I don’t have any appropriate shoes to wear for quite some time, and I won’t be attempting anything like that in the middle of summer either.

    Gym memberships start at about 60,000 won a month, which is more than I can afford right now as well.

    I have no idea where someone would buy a bike, either. They don’t have any at Emart!

    All the resourceful skills I had in Seattle are meaningless here. Anything Craig’s list or used or swapped or bartered, hidden gems or underground movements or anything of interest is denied me because I can’t read the language or understand any of the vocabulary. I might as well be in Afghanistan or Russia.

  2. I was wrong. Emart has bikes. Of course. Of course they do.

    I HATE EMART. I might as well just live there in a tent. Next month I am boycotting Emart. Even if I have to travel an hour. One stop shopping means one place means Suki is a dull girl.

    I know there is a whole world beyond this public square surrounded by concrete high rises with everything you need and nothing you want.

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