Wherever you go, there you are
One of those universal axioms that I’m beginning to take a bit more to heart is that people are all the same. I’ve absolutely loved Korea and the crazy long flight over was made much shorter by making a new friend on the airplane.
Once we landed I was exhausted though and took a short bus ride to the city of Gunpo. This took about an hour from the airport and it’s where my host graciously picked me up at, around 7:45 AM Saturday morning in Korea (which was 3 in the afternoon on Friday in the US). After a short drive to his house I met his family and got to have some fantastic traditional Korean food for breakfast though other then the KimChee I have no clue what we had.
After breakfast they must have noticed how tired I looked so they suggested I might want a nap and I promptly slept from 10 am to 5PM and then we went out for delicious Chinese food. Where I can’t tell you any of what I had other than it was all delicious and the main dish was some kind of black noodles with a mushroom and onion sauce
We then walked to a coffee shop and then came home and played board games
I had a lovely time with the host family and in particular I loved how I felt like part of the family. While nothing we did in and of itself felt special or Korean, I’ve begun to understand that in and of itself is kind of the main aspect of the Korean culture that I really like
There is a focus on openness and family that are both very refreshing. I also loved playing Bohnanza with people across a bit of a language barrier, though in general I’ve been VERY impressed with how well this host family speaks English.
When I travelled to Costa Rica I stayed with my family and mostly interacted with people in a customer/consumer fashion but I really enjoyed being able to speak to Su Hyuk about his dreams and ambitions. I think regardless of the cultures we come from everyone cares about the same stuff at a very fundamental level, and I think those core principles have been all the more obvious being transplanted into a culture where I can barely communicate with the people around me
I think in the coming days things will be a bit more touristy and I’ll have more pictures of strange sights but it was nice to have a friendly home to “come home” to in a strange country. Even the simple act of playing board games was fun. Because I knew the basic idea of how games work, I was able to figure out the first game (UBONGO), and then we played Bohnanza and while Su Hyuk’s daughter Eva gave me the English rules to the game (and I’ve played it before) it became clear they were playing a different game than what was printed in the rules so it was fun to try to puzzle out that game. Then we played a matching game the main rules of which were “Elephants hate strawberries” and “Monkeys don’t like Limes”. All these games were really fun but I think the bell you had to ring when you made a match was pretty brutal late at night after a few glasses of wine.
I’m about to set off on a second day of adventures so here’s the roundup of day one
Day 1 Food!
Home cooked Korean food for breakfast (Kim Chee, lots of pickled thing and a jellied almond tasty thing!)
Chinese Food for dinner! (Fried chicken and black noodles)
Coffee! (at a place called Angel-in-us)
Funnel Shaped corn chips dipped in Jam and Wine back at the house for dessert