Monday, November 26, 2012

Abby in Seoul Part II: So Many Steps

I'm writing this post without seeing Chelsea's blog because she wanted to write her blog and then have me write mine and kind of compare our viewpoints. I am positive I won't be able to remember everything and in the right order, but it will be fun to see her post after I write this one.  I actually won't even TRY to list everything, I think that could be kind of boring!

Chelsea works Monday through Friday and starts at 1:00pm and ends at 9:00pm with the exception of Friday when she gets off an hour early. We sleep in as much as possible, eat breakfast and check email, etc., then off she goes. I've been so tired since the flight, it's been good to fall into bed (air mattress) at the end of each night, and to sleep as long as I could!

Waiting in the subway station
We've been super tired because we've been trying to cram everything in during the short time I will be here. It's going to break my heart to leave her here. If you don't know, it's hard enough to have your child leave the nest, but actually leaving her in a foreign temporary lonely nest is just indescribable. She really wanted to have this experience, but it's so lonely for her. I pictured her here with a super close network of other teachers here and some friendly school with adorable obedient children. Unfortunately, she hasn't really had that experience, but she knows that it's temporary and is just biding her time till she leaves. It IS a great experience, to live here in this culture, but there is no close network of teachers; she HAS become friends with a couple but not to the point where they go out together or hang out in each other's rooms. That makes me sad because it really would help them all. Well, at Chelsea's 6 month point in February it will be the traditional main hiring time for English Teachers, and another set of teachers will come. Chelsea is planning on making them feel really welcome and she's even thinking about doing a little "booklet" with information on this area of Seoul. It's so hard to find anything: Google searches bring up Korean language; inquiring of Koreans brings a blank stare; walking around brings you strange smells, strange things in windows, and losing your way! Also, this area does not have many English speaking folk, it's not close to the Army Post that is here, and there just are not many ex-pats living here to meet and to help with things.

You can tell I'm quite concerned about her, but from my last post, I'm also so impressed with how she manages. She can tell a taxi driver where to go, catch the right bus and decipher the intricate subway system!  I get lost walking around the block! (That's our girl, right Scott? She got a lot of her logical thinking from you, my dear.)

Waffle and Substitute Cuppa
So... food: I have discovered I'm really not a fan! I've tried the super-spicy dish, true, and I have tried less spicy, and I still can't get used to it! So, we have eaten the waffles Chelsea previously blogged about; I had mine with strawberries (pluralised because there were two on it) and yogurt on top. Very good, and I ordered it again a couple of days later. I miss my British cup of tea but have substituted "Milk Tea Latte" which they don't have in the States (I don't think!) but it's pretty sweet, so, probably high calorie. Ugh.  Last night we tried a Mexican place which was kind of like Chipotle where you walk up and order it. I got a taco but am so picky, I didn't like the meat. But I ate the chips and salsa and they were GREAT! Yay! During our shopping times, we located the Tornado Potato on a stick and the Dragon's Beard candy; very yummy but not real food. Chelsea cooks at home when I'm not around, and I can see why! She does like some of the Korean food, obviously. Actually after I finish this blog, I'm going to a shop near here to try Kimbop, at the urging of Chelsea, and I believe her friend Tab blogged about it as well.  At least I'm trying!

Speaking of eating, on Saturday, I got to meet Chelsea's friend Tab, and in the evening, we were invited by Ed and Heather to a little post-Thanksgiving gathering on the base. "The Base" is a US military base. If you've never been on one, it's a self-sufficient community, with grocery store, a department type store, houses and dorms for the soldiers, schools for the children, post office, etc., really everything you would need, sort of a "piece of America". So, after being cleared through the security gate, we went to a normal, American household! I think Tab was overwhelmed, as this was her first time since the end of July of being in a "home." We had great conversation, and lots of pie and dessert and it was so comfortable, it was really wonderful. I love my military family, because, even if I have never met them, we all have shared experiences of being far from home so try to make it better for each other in similar situations.

It's been great fun being with my daughter. She got her hair cut this weekend, which is a big step for her! Now she has bangs aka a fringe, as the British say (that word makes more sense... we were wondering why they are called "Bangs" in America! ever think about that?).  And, I took a serious plunge and tried semi-permanent eye lash extensions. I used to have lashes sort of like Chelsea (but not quite that long!) but over time, well, I don't any more. And, it bugs me. So, it was a weird experience, but the lady was super nice, and her dog made me want to get a poodle! Ha! Sorry, Scott, I won't bring one home!

We did try to go to a Night Market that has THIRTY THOUSAND VENDORS but most of it was flippin' closed!!!  There were maybe 40 vendors who had tables set up with knock off shoes, purses, scarves, some clothes, cell phone cases.... that was it! Rats. It was late Saturday night which actually makes the Night Market closed on Sunday, if that makes sense. We thought Saturday night would be Saturday, but it's really Sunday. Anyway, we are going to try tomorrow night, I think.

Excited for the tour!
Last night, we decided to be tourists and take a "Seoul City Night Tour Bus" -- we were excited, we met up with Tab and after the Mexican place, climbed on the bus and went to the upper deck. Great! They had headphones and we selected English. Unfortunately, the entire tour consisted of about an hour or so of driving in a large circle and the recording telling us the names of the bridges and what they "symbolized". ...  ...  alrighty then. Underwhelming. I told Chelsea it would be a good funny memory, but other than that, it was pretty lame. I don't recommend.

Cell phones aka: Time filler
I am sure there are things I have temporarily forgotten about, but don't worry, Chelsea, when I look at pictures it will ALL come back to me!  I will never forget all the stairs. Stairs Stairs Stairs. I'm talking hundreds of steps UP to get to and from, up and down, the subway. No wonder Koreans are so slim! They exercise on those darn stairs every day! I'm sure I would get fit if I stayed longer and took the subway as much as we did the past few days! I mean, feel the burn baby!  Oh, speaking of the subway, I took a photo of what all the Koreans do while they are riding it. Well, some fall asleep, but most do this.


  1. Well Ab you are doing great on the blog and I am doing terrible on comments. This is my third try ... anyway, sounds like you are making the most of your trip!

    Hey - bring me a present!! LOL!


    1. I tried to reply to this on my iphone and it didn't work, just disappeared when I clicked publish! Very frustrating. I'd love to bring you a present, but you are SO HARD to shop for! Love you Sis!

  2. Love hearing of your fun adventure & interesting thoughts >Donna

  3. Sounds like a good time to me. I like spicy food so I'm looking forward to that and the shops. I'm not looking forward to trying to find my way around like you and Chels do. Maybe she can do maps for me. I'm pretty good at those. I got it from my sons, especially one :>) We'll have to make a trip to Houston some time after you get back and are rested to see pictures and hear first hand you adventures. Give Chelsea a big hug for me. Love ya bothj

  4. Count me in with your friend Mel. I commented big time - yeah, "poof" when I published. So, did it again, and "POOF" yet again. Very frustrating. HOWEVER, didn't keep me from enjoying your blogging & experience. Rhea is going to have fun!. . . I know Chelsea is SO EXCITED over her visitors! Makes her more "in touch" with her loved ones. Her haircut is beautiful. Love the blog - it's the best!


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