Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Crap That I'll Miss: Hearty, Tasty and Inexpensive Food

I'm crazy busy, but the little and not so little things I'll miss and won't miss keep hitting me. When they do, I whip out the digital camera and snap a pic.

I'm working at my last English camp for awhile. Honestly, I've done them consistently for two reasons. If you get the right one, in terms of pay, it's worth the time you put in and I actually have fun changing the type of student that I teach from adults to kids. Kids are hilarious and have tons of fun energy.

But the schedules are almost always intense. That means when I get home, I just want to relax, goof-off on the Internet, and get ready for the next day. I don't want to cook, and, even though I have someone who helps me keep my apartment in order, I don't want to have dishes piling up.

Korean food is awesome. Now Koreans still have a mental block when it comes to the concept of non-Koreans liking, knowing and craving their food. That's one reason why you don't see as many Korean restaurants abroad as you do Chinese, Japanese or other Asian cuisines. That sucks. However, they are easy to find in areas where there is a Korean population nearby. When I'm home or just about anywhere in the world I can find Korean food when I crave it. One time that meant, wooden chopsticks and a bag of kimchi while walking around in Brussels and another time that meant noticing an Asian woman reading a book written in 한글, hangul, on the Metro in Paris and asking her where I needed to go for a good bowl of 김치찌개, kimchee jjiggae.

I'll miss being able to have a hearty, tasty and inexpensive meal for less than $5.00 (okay, with the current exchange rate, more like around $5.00 USD). Tonight I had a bowl of 국밥, literally "soup rice". The cost was 4,500 won. I'm glad my camera caught the steam rising up off of the soup. It's really cold right now and a warm bowl of soup and rice was just awesome. I'll miss that a lot.

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  1. Ok, I'm slow, but are you actually LEAVING Korea!? What is this?!

  2. Not entirely sure how to react as, um, yeah, I'm leaving.

  3. Koreans sure do have winter comfort food sussed out, no doubt about that.

  4. Yep, it was so good last night that I went back for the same thing on the way home this evening. I'm also a creature of habit at times. If something works, I'll just keep eating that until something forces me to change. This time, that change will be the end of this camp. After that, the change will be leaving the country.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Thanks for the compliment.

    It's best to leave your email in a comment (I won't publish it) and then I'll answer your questions about Ewha's GSIS program.

  7. Hey, it’s such a shame you’re leaving Seoul... I’m truly going to miss reading your entries. I know it may sound odd coming from a complete stranger, but I’ve been visiting your blog for years now and it has almost became a part of my daily routine. I’d like to congratulate you for being ever so successful, determined and extremely inspiring; after all, it’s not everyday you see a black woman graduate and move to a new country where she barely knows anyone, and still maintain her focus. I have laughed so many times, after reading or listening to your pod casts… and on that note I can also say that I relate a lot to the difficult and perhaps lonely experiences you’ve had. I’m currently half-way across the world in London, England, and although I think I’m much younger than you, I believe that you’ve still managed to give me a very vivid image of your ideas and perceptions of life. Undoubtedly, you’ve unwillingly thought me things which, those close to me have not and for that I thank you. I wish you the best of luck and continuous success with your teaching career, may wherever you go next, be the best place for you.

    From a great fan, Carlos Carvalho.

  8. Thanks Carlos ;)

    Actually, let me correct that..."it’s not everyday you see a black woman graduate and move to a new country where she barely knows anyone, and still maintain her focus."

    I didn't know a soul ;)

    I just knew it was time to get out of the USA, so I could see some of the world and get a real idea of how other people lived. I've learned tons being here and just traveling.

    I don't think I'll be teaching, well, not formally. I think I want to make writing my bread and butter.

    Thanks for your encouragement. I do appreciate it. It probably won't be half as fun, but I'm sure I'll also keep blogging once I'm back home too.

    Enjoy London! I love that city!

  9. Hey, I'm korean-american and I confess I'm guilty as charged when it comes to that mental block. I had a non korean friend in College who exhibited the most awesome craving I've ever seen for 총각김치. During her cravings she would raid my fridge and take out the huge bottle of kimchi and starting wolfing it down *all by itself*. No rice, no other sides dishes, no nothing. I stood there completely in disbelief but understood soon enough that for a significant number of non koreans kimchi just ain't so bad.

    Good luck with your new direction.

  10. Thanks, I hope my new direction works out.

    I'm also glad you recognize that an appreciation for Korean food isn't exclusive to Koreans. I don't understand that way of thinking. It's food.

    It's not tied to ethnicity. A Korean who, for some reason, is raised in Russia on Russian food is still ethnically Korean. And, the inverse is someone who is not ethnically Korean can enjoy food from Korea. I don't see why that's so hard when it's clear that people enjoy foods from all regions.

    I'm glad that by having a non-Korean roommate, you realized other people like Korean food ;)


Hey there! Thanks for visiting my blog. It's my first blog, and I'm glad folks are still stopping by even though I'm no longer living in South Korea. Feel free to comment. If you want a personal answer, leave your email, and I won't publish the comment. Nasty comments and spam links will not be tolerated.