Sunday, March 25, 2007

a korean family follow-up

This really should have been written 3 weeks ago. However, my month has been hectic. I have been substituting for a teacher who went home to South Africa for the month of March so I have been working 10 hour days. Somehow, I wasn't feeling too up to updating my blog. But, I had such a good time with my family who lives in Korea! Although we met at the beginning of March, here's a little summary of our meeting.

I met my great aunt Kyung Sook or Karen as she likes to be called, my second cousin Sean, and my Great Grandmother for a Saturday afternoon lunch in Itaewon. We met at a hotel that has a few restaurants inside, and Aunt Karen suggested this Indian restaurant. I have never really eaten Indian food. I love Naan bread but never really endeavored into all of different curries and other dishes, so I was willing to try it. It ended up being this huge buffet of amazing food! I have all of a sudden grown to love spicy food, and Indian does not hold back on its spices. I don't even know what I was eating half the time, but it tasted great as well as the naan bread. It has even gotten me to go to a couple other Indian restaurants in the area since then. I've started to need my Indian fix once a week, but that's another story for another day.

My Aunt Karen is great, and her English is really pretty perfect. She spent a fair amount of time in the States, living in Chicago in the 70's and LA in the 80's i believe. Anyways, she had no problem telling me a lot about her life. Her husband is a top architect in Korea and she pretty much ran his company for many years. This enabled her to travel a ton. Her daughter also lives and works in the US as an event planner and was even in Santa Barbara last year for business. She seems really interesting, well-traveled and in general, she is just beautiful. Even when I talked to my mom after the meeting, she asked me "Is my aunt Kyung Sook as beautiful as always?" She definitely is.

My cousin Sean's English was really good too! This was pretty cool, since he is only 26 in Korean years which translates to 24 in western age, so he's just a year older than me. He'll be done with his university degree next year, since he's taken this semester off to study for the TOEFL and GRE. The TOEFL exam is the English exam that you have to take to be able to go to grad school in the US. He's studying computer science/ business and wants to go to grad school/ work in somewhere in America. It's funny because he was asking me "why did you want to come to Korea? It's boring here, I want to go to the US." It's funny how wherever you grow up, there's somewhere else you want to be.

I can't believe how cute my Great Grandmother is! She's 94 years old and doing really well. We had our communication problems though, as I hardly speak any Korean and her as well in English. She was so sweet though and it was great to meet her. My mom thinks I should go hang out with her more often so I will be forced to learn Korean.

After lunch, Sean, my Great Grandmother and I went to their house in Seoul. It was a great place, a really new condo near Gangnam. It was the first time I've been in a real home in Korea, as my friends and I all have these little studio apartments. I think Sean's room was the size of my entire apt. After some fruit and ginger tea, Sean took me into Gangnam to set up my cell phone, thank goodness. It's so nice to have a mobile, and decently cheap. I have a pre-paid phone, and it doesn't even charge me when people call. I don't think I'll go too overboard with the cell phone calls anyway since my house phone is unlimited and cheap. Sean thought I should get a new phone because the one I got, although free of charge, is all in Korean and doesn't even have caller ID. I guess its a crappy phone compared to his, which has this swivel screen that you can watch TV on.

I really hope to spend more time with my family. They were all so nice and I feel like I'm now a little more Korean just spending the day with them.


Rhymes With Lasagna said...

How fun, Trace! I'm so happy for you! Having family where ever you are always helps.

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