KOREA: FOUR MONTH UPDATE
Sunday March 8, 2009
Today I have been in Korea four months. This weekend the octopus tank on the street outside my apartment was broken. I don't know where the octopi are anymore. I don't know how their tank was broken. I suspect it was alcohol-related. Now there are just two wet brown stones and cracked plexiglass.
When I was younger, college friends of my parents would visit, infrequently. I remember thinking it was strange. How could they be friends? I saw my friends every day.
A year ago Christmas I had lunch with my best friend from high school, as we both happened to be in what passes for our hometown. He emailed me this past Christmastime to see if we might meet again. He didn't know I was in Korea. He didn't know because I hadn't told him.
My birthday was last week Wednesday. One of the most pleasant things from my birthday, cake and all aside, was sneaking in a brief chat with my old friend, while I should have been working. We're still friends, somehow. Today is his birthday. I emailed him.
My active grandma contacted me on facebook recently to ask about things. She is a smart lady, so she probably wants to know what everybody else wants to know:
"Acclimated? Language? Weather? Food? What are you eating these days? Fish? Traveling to scenic places? I realize this is all besides breakdancing. Maybe there is nothing else but!"
I guess I'm mostly acclimated, after a fashion... There are degrees, you know. I'm not a native Korean, that's for sure. I can speak almost enough Korean to get into trouble. I eat mostly boring American foods. Subway. Starbucks. Pizza. I don't go anywhere scenic. There is not much beside breakdancing.
I am studying Korean as much as I can, but there is only so much time. I spent this entire Sunday studying, except for a break when I went and saw a Korean movie in the theater. The fraction of dialogue that I can follow has increased dramatically - to a larger infinitesimal.
Language is a roller coaster. Absolutely fascinating to study, terrifying to actually use - even though there's no real danger. I enjoy roller coasters, but only very occasionally. I enjoyed not talking to anyone all day.
A friend of mine from New York is planning to come stay with me for a week in July during his summer travels. That's how far in advance we plan these days.
I missed Switzerland today. After the movie I stopped in a convenience store called Buy the Way. I've almost forgotten how ridiculous a name that is. They happened to have miniature Italian pastries similar enough to the ones we ate on the farm in Switzerland. Sometimes I think they've got the right idea, those mountain farmers. One of these days I'm going to have to stop visiting and start living somewhere, I think.
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