Saturday, September 29, 2012

Chuseok Day 1

Well, it's Chuseok! I woke up this morning with a mission. I knew I needed to find a good pillow, because I have been experiencing the worst neck pain. The pillows I have aren't bad, but they just don't support my neck at all. I need a good down pillow that I can whack into whatever shape I need.

I got up around 8 and decided that my hair held up well from yesterday and decided not to wash it. I headed out of the apartment to go to the base to meet up with Heather and her family. I stopped at the Dunkin Donuts by my place (there are about 65k Dunkin Donuts in Seoul...), and hopped the bus to the subway. I've decided that going anywhere in Korea is kind of obnoxious because of the hassle. I don't live near anything, so I always have to walk, then bus, then subway, then bus, then walk. THEN go back... Very annoying.

But, nevertheless, I headed out around 9. I checked my app for the subway, and saw that I would arrive about 20 minutes early. I texted Heather to let her know. Well, last time I went to this gate, I came from the opposite direction. So little did I know that I had to take the overground, instead of the underground, which spat me out at different exits than last time. So, I left the subway and was promptly lost.

Good thing I have navigation in the blood. I stopped and checked out an "exit info" map (a big poster they put at the exits of the subways, showing the immediate surroundings). I saw that I needed to go to the other side of the tracks, and there looked to be a road I could take. Well, I found the road, but it did not have sidewalks. So... after letting the trains past, the bar went up and as the cars drove through, I walked through next to them. Slightly nerve wracking, but I made it out alive. On the other side, I headed to the barbed wire fence that separates the post from the economy. I walked along this fence line, in a nice little park, and couldn't figure out where the gate was.

Finally, after an extensive description of where I was at, Heather and Ed were able to steer me in the right direction. I was actually next to where I needed to be, but in order to get through I had to go out and around. Sounds complicated; basically I went "as the crow flies" instead of via sidewalks and pedestrian-friendly avenues.

When I got all checked into the base, we hit the secondhand store. When we walked in, I almost turned around and walked out. It was mostly clothes and of course it smelled like other people's stuff... I'm very glad I did not leave, though. I found my way to the verrrry back and found 2 treasures. First, I found a single serving size crockpot!!!! I was not expecting to find that - I didn't even know they existed! But I am pleased, for sure. It was $8! Only problem is that is American plug and uses 110V, so I will need to use both an adaptor and a converter. Not a big deal... Second thing I found was a barely used toaster. They had about 5 toasters on the shelf, and at first I looked right past them because most of them looked about 15 years old. But Heather pointed one out that looked nearly out of the box! The only signs of use was a few crumbs at the bottom. It was $10, but for one this nice and new, it was worth it.

I was so happy with my purchases and felt like I would have a very successful day. After detouring to their house for a potty break and to make sure the toaster and crockpot worked, the whole family went to the food court for lunch. Sari and I shared a pizza (which is becoming my usual weekend indulgence). It was great!

Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed in the PX, so Heather went on a mission for me. She was able to find face wash, 2 autumn scented candles ($10 on post, $30 off. what the heck?!), and a Brita pitcher and refills. There were not any down pillows, and I felt that is what I really needed, so we passed on any pillows. I was also jonesing for a lamp, but they were pretty expensive, so again I passed.

Off base: $45. On base: $22. WIN!

At the small Eco-Mart (which they have off post too) I found a shower curtain for my bathroom (no, I do not have a bathtub, but the curtain will help to keep the water off the door, so when I open the door, the water doesn't drip onto the floor. I also got a little set of new stamps and a new stamp pad for school. I give kids stamps in their little stamp books when they do homework or behave well in class. My stamps are worn out and my ink is almost out, so I got this little set for $2.

When we finally finished out browsing and shopping, Heather and Sari took me back to the visitors gate to collect my ARC. I was lucky and fit all my new goodies in my backpack and 1 large grocery bag (the reusable one). I got the train home, which took about an hour. When I got home, I cleaned my bathroom and put up the shower curtain. I showered, and then put on some laundry. After a bit, I got quite hungry so went out in search of food. I went to the little grocery store near me, and got some milk. After about 5 times of walking away from and back to the meat section, I decided to get some steaks. They were about $8 for 100mg. It was quite expensive, but he weighed it out and it looked like that was about 4 strips of steak. I nodded and he wrapped it. I started to walk away, and saw the sticker said 27,000W!!!! I stopped dead in my tracks and slowly spun around and the meat guy just looked at me like "uh... what is the problem American girl?" I asked "27?!" and he said "yes, 400mg" I put on my most pathetic face and said "ohhh I didn't want that much! I thought it was 8!" He unwrapped it and halved it. It came out to 14, and I agreed to that. Then, he held up an extra slice of steak and put in on for me, but didn't reweigh it. So sweet. :)

I got home and prepared the meat according to this blog's recommendation. I wanted to have a nice good steak, but can only prepare in a pan. It came out very good! It was pretty thin, but it tasted great so I don't even care. I also had some pasta with it.

At this point, I am just searching and searching for where to find a down pillow in this city. My best guess is to go to a fancy hotel and see if they sell the ones they use in the rooms. Most of the department stores don't carry anything nice, just the standard ones Koreans like. Which are not okay. I think tomorrow I will head to Lotte Hotel and see if I can find one. I'm desperate. I would order one from the states and ship it, but that takes SO long, and my neck really can't wait. So, I must find a solution immediately.

Tab is stuck somewhere in the country in Chuseok traffic, so tonight may not work out like we planned. Oh well, it's been a good productive Chuseok so far!!


  1. Mission accomplished. Lovely pillow purchased, now setting about shipping it to you.

  2. But let me know if you find one on Monday! I can return this one if I need to!


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