Work in Progress

“In the best travel, disconnection is a necessity. Concentrate on where you are; do no back-home business; take no assignments; remain incommunicado; be scarce. It is a good thing that people don’t know where you are or how to find you. Keep in mind the country you are in. That’s the theory.”
–Paul Theroux

I'm just a girl who loves the world, finds beauty in the unknown, and can't keep her feet on the ground. I like finding unique (and cheap) ways of making my way around the globe. Interacting with people while living, learning, and loving the culture I'm surrounded by.

This is my attempt to keep my friends and family updated, to keep track of my experiences, and to serve as an inspirational resource for all those travel addicts like me out there.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Discoveries

Ordering tteokbokki from a street vendor was fun and hard and easy all at the same time. I stopped at the first big bowl of red saucy deliciousness I found along the market stalls. I smiled at the lady and said it just how I practiced. Tteokbokki hana juseyo! And then a whole bunch of Korean followed I didn't understand. I later figured she asked if I wanted to sit or take away... my head nod signified I wanted to sit and eat and she made am a bowl and set it in front of me. Fine by me. I got to listen to cute Korean ladies probably make fun of me while watching her, and all the others, cook. After I finished eating and went to pay her, I handed her 3000 won assuming that would be enough to cover my meal. I haven't engrained into my brain how to ask how much something is yet. It ended up being only 1000 won a serving, and instead of paying and leaving I somehow agreed to getting another bowl - and her handing me 1000 back. Fine by me. I was hungry anyways. Even though I already stopped by the stall before hers and got some delicious chicken thing on a stick. Couldn't tell you what it was for the life of me. Then I spotted a bowl of fried mandu (like a wonton) and I definitely wanted one of those, so I pointed and said Hana. And then there was more confusion - that is, until the lady from the next stall sensed our troubles and walked over to tell me that one piece was 200 won. Despite not being able to talk to my lovely street stall lady, she never seemed mad or annoyed or anything. She was laughing the whole time and so was I, and so was her friend. I'm going to try and eat tteokbokki with her once a week and practice talking to her in Korean. Food and language practice for under 3000 won, it's a pretty good deal if you ask me. 


Then I stopped and talked to a little Korean man with a dog that looks just like Honey, my pupsters back home. He could speak a bit of English though and was very excited to use what he knew to try and have a conversation. He was so friendly, and we chatted a bit about his life and how cute his dog is.

I also tried to get a little android phone set up at a mobile store. The lady was kind enough to call her help desk so someone could translate for us. We kept handing the phone back and forth to each other, and she smiled every time. 

All in all, the Korean people I've interacted with this far have been more than happy to accommodate and deal with our language barrier. I can't wait until I can communicate better, that way I can start impressing people. 


I was sitting in my new found park on a rock next to a stream practicing Korean numbers when an elderly engineer walks into the stream and starts squatting. I got a little nervous about what was to follow, but to my delight this man dips his cupped hands into the water and splashes his face. He then picks up a bit of a muddy rock concoction and starts rubbing his hands clean, or dirty. I guess that depends on perspective :)


JAPAN! It's almost here. My evenings have mostly consisted of figuring out what I wanna do and when I want to do it and eating yukgwa. I'm thinking of splitting my time up between Osaka and Kyoto - maybe a day trip to Nara and a day trip hiking somewhere if I can find a good spot. Regardless, I'm not trying to go to every temple and I'm definitely not trying to go to any museums. Wandering aimlessly sounds like a better plan for this trip. 


My bosses took me to apply for my Alien Reaident Card and afterwards treated me to a meal. They took me to a noodle house and ordered some delicious mul-neagmeyong - buckwheat noodles served in an icy broth garnished with Asian pears and cucumber and beef and egg. I was in love. They slurped all of their noodles down despite being tiny Asian men, and I barley made a dent. Then they grabbed me some tradition Korean snacks for me to take home. 


I've been trying to eat at home more than eating out in order to save some money and be a little healthier. Instead I just eat yukgwa as much as I possible can. It's the most delicious treat on this planet.

Friday was a special day in Korea - the beginning of the "dog days of summer" - meaning it's supposed to be HOT. Traditionally they would eat dog meat so9.up on these days, but recently the dad has shifted from dog meat to samgyetang - Ginseng chicken soup. A whole chicken stuffed with rice in a delicious broth. YUM. My boss, once again, treated me and my coworkers to lunch and coffee.