Saturday, August 29, 2009

Koreans Love English

Koreans really love the English language. I know this because I see English everywhere: used in product names, company slogans, three English channels on basic cable (more on premium, I would assume), on stationary, and most widely on people's clothes. I met a guy who was visiting Korea--from the US--and all he wanted to find for someone back home was a shirt with some Korean writing on it. He couldn't find anything in the mall, but finally came upon what looked like a school uniform store. He stepped inside to the screech from the woman behind the counter to get out. English may be ubiquitous, but it correct grammar is only sometimes used.

I saw a man working at an outdoor display of cell phones, and the back of his shirt said, "Cover yoor fase before I fomit." That was really wonderful. I also saw a shirt at the outlet mall (Newcore Outlets at Sanbon Station) with some birds, saying, "Bird Need Safe" and something below it using the word "endangered," so the designer still asserted their message.

With English everywhere, I'd assume more people who be able to communicate with me. But in the words of a friend, "Don't assume: accept." Wise, I think. The prevalence of English may be because of Korea's interested in or desire to be more Western-like. There are English schools on every corner, but even so, I need to remember that I'm not in the US, and I can't expect to talk like I'm in the US. P.S. Korean night clubs are wild.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Diana and I Explore Itaewon

My new friend, Diana, invited me to come with her to Seoul onaccoun'a it being her last day before starting work. I recommended Itaewon because of all the shopping and the surplus of foreign faces (for a change). We took the subway. She's a Washington D.C. native, so subway navigation comes easily to her.

I know we don't look that much alike by American standards, but I kept wondering if the Koreans we saw thought we must be twins, at least sisters.

Left: Many subway stops serve these tasty little molded pastries. They smell Delicioso!
Right: "Long-Love" condoms in the vending machine. Be safe, people, and love long, for christssake.
We got lost and had a great patchworked view of clay-roofed houses.
I was in freaking shopping heaven. I realize the cliche of an American woman loving bag and shoe (below) shopping, but I really love browsing this stuff. More great rip-off brand names: Parade=Prada, The Redface=The Northface, etcetera. Lots of leather goods and furs in the market.
If you feel the buzz from looking at this many hot, unique shoes in one place, please comment and let us share:)
Itaewon must seriously be the city of ugly dress shops, because this was only one of like six on the same block.
Two ladies had a little (tiny, like a phone booth) room on the street, painted pink , from which they sold kimbap, which is like a sushi roll, but with ham and other good vegetables in it, not raw fish. Salty, crunchy, cool, like a soft-textured mouth spritz. Best lunch I could imagine.
Corn ice cream treat. (as with all images, click to enlarge)
I'm looking at some New Zealand made ice cream in a coffee shop called Rotiboy Bakeshop (the sweet smells and A/C beckons us in).
After Itaewon wore us thin, we travelled back to Sanbon Station, our home base. The "breadou" you see above is a piece of toy bread. Check out what it claims (click to enlarge):
Freaking weird. And it's $3. Would you? Not I.

Definitely a Korea exclusive (meaning not including the US): A male model used in a pink makeup and bath store's marketing. I'm all for it. A cute, clean guy who looks like he may run a 1950s candy shop in the window: I'm definitely down for that.
We ate at a place there recommended by Diana. These two dishes, plus soup for $10. Very good. And each table has a pull-out drawer with silverware and napkins inside! Bonus!

What is this thing? Any idea? It came with the apartment.

And I came home that night to this smiling face, keeping my place . Thanks, Von. :0)

Diana's positive attitude and assertions like, "I love Korea!" scattered about reminds me to look on the bright side of my stay here. I'm happy I found her, and since she's so close, we'll probably see each other the majority of days of the week. Looking forward to more good times avec mon Diana nouveau!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

New Friend (Maybe)

I found out that I won't have internet until Friday. I still don't have a power converter, but I should be able to get one today. There's a store called EMart in Sanbon (next town over), and I might go there today. I might have a new friend! She lives in Sanbon and her name is Diana. I met her at the doctor's office today doing the same thing I was (medical exam). My blood pressure was killer high, the nurse said. 167. I wonder why? All I eat is tuna and peaches. Heheh.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Okay. So I don't have internet at my house; I don't have a power cable adapter for my laptop. I can't put pictures up yet, but I have some lovely ones. Korea is full of lights and signs, fashion and food. As soon as I figure out how to say, "Can I take your picture?" I'll post a Look of the Week. As soon as I figure out how to say, "I'd like to order some food," I'll (eat, first of all, and) post Food of the Week. For now, I'm a little hungry most of the time, and a little lost most of the time. My senses are definitely on overload. Until next time.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


As many of you have heard, perhaps from Facebook or by phone, I will be leaving for Gunpo, South Korea tomorrow, Wednesday, August 19, 2009. I will be flying into the Incheon International Airport at 6:45pm on Thursday. Looking up pictures of the port, I found an article boasting its rating among international travelers as the world's best airport for customer service. (And look, Grandma and Grandpa Orpen: Kuala Lumpur was rated third!) I will post pictures of the inside and my new lovely home as soon as I get there and as soon as I get internet service. Perhaps there will be a PC Bang--internet cafe, pronounced "bong"--around the corner from my place.

On the plane, I plan to wear a t-shirt and jeans, but I've packed a blazer. Once I get done traveling by air, I'll be on my way to my school via "limousine shuttle bus." Don't worry, I'll let you know exactly what that means once I see it. A two hour ride. Whether I'll be wide-eyed for the scenery blurring by the windows or sound asleep, I will soon know. The blazer is to dress up my crumpled clothing and dark under-eye circles. "Boepgessuemnida!" Pleased to meet you! Away I go.