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Archive for February 22nd, 2011

Namsam Tower

22 Feb

This is Namsam tower. This is the highest point in Seoul. Originally, Ajumma wanted to bring us up there but the rules had changed so we had to take a bus which was too inconvenient, considering that she had taken a car.

This is also another point that’s used a lot in K-dramas.

 
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Posted in Korean Culture, Search and Korea Trip

 

Korean Street Vendors

22 Feb

In every Korean market there are vendors, usually in the middle of the street or at the side of the street selling wares. Unlike American markets, and Chinese markets, they aren’t districted to one particular area. The foot from street vendors are very cheap and usually various foods are seasonal. For example, you can get more Odeng in the winter months rather than in the spring.

It’s something one should try to experience whle in Korea. This vendor was just outside of Myeong dong’s main drag. They were also selling silk worm around there too, which my parents refused to allow me to try. (My mom was getting really up tight.)

This one is selling chestnuts, which they give to you in paper bags and are piping hot.

Technically, most of these stands are illegal, but the Korean government overlooks these vendors, and it’s become integrated into the culture.

I wanted some of her wares but my Mom whined and said no and started to move off without me. Since I had friends who were curious, I took this shot for them. If Ajumma is still there next time, I’d have her wares. One Odeng and one serving of Deok please!

It has a very sharp smell too.

 
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Posted in Korean Culture, Korean Food

 

Sunset in Seoul

22 Feb

The woman I was staying at has a balcony. This is the view from it. By the time I got back I was dark out…

 
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Posted in Korean Culture, Search and Korea Trip

 

Halmoni in Korea

22 Feb

It’s true that in Korea, the older you get the brighter and more patterned clothes that you wear. I’m amused by this idea quite a bit, considering the reversal in the US.

 
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Posted in Korean Culture, Search and Korea Trip

 

Tools for the Trip

22 Feb

Pictured is a wallet I picked up from a Yomikiri in Nakayoshi (Japanese.) Nakayoshi is a compilation magazine of manga (Japanese comics) and they put in gifts into their magazines. I put that on a string and wore it below my shirt.

Also pictured is a public transportation card. At the time, there were no magnetic cards like that in the US, so tapping it like I did was a joy to my mind it was stuck on paper tickets. It’s also a lot cheaper than in the US for where I live. Also the thing that keeps the charge–the reader is also stronger. I kept it around pretty much to hang onto something even after the tripe to make me feel Korean, as if that small token could finally prove that to me. Or maybe to remind myself that I really was there.

And lastly, Korean money which doesn’t go higher than 10,000 won. Higher denominations are done in notes one gets from the bank, which can go up towards 100,000 won and higher. Many people use that instead of money.

Credit cards are only used for withdrawing money.

 
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Posted in Korean Culture, Search and Korea Trip

 

Clear shot of Namsam Tower

22 Feb

Koreans have a lot of pride in their country. Why one stands up straight with their back up is to show that pride. Why one tries to get their visitors to see all of the tourist spots possible in the city in one go is because of that pride. It’s not the kind of pride that’s self-serving so much as the kind of pride that is entrenched in history and time.

So when I was shyly trying to take shots of Namsam tower, Ajumma was pushing me to take more pictures–you don’t take enough pictures and even helped me a few times. This is taken from her car when I wasn’t with my parents, but I was meeting up with them. I think she didn’t understand why I liked pictures of the very common things–at least to her, but not these huge tourist spots.

So I took another picture of Namsam, because I liked the mix of Namsam with everyday life with people coming and going in their cars.

 
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Posted in Korean Culture, Search and Korea Trip

 

Korean Tunnel

22 Feb

I really like this shot. On the way to meet up with my parents, we went through this tunnel and something about the orangey glow appealed to my art sense. The way it blurs and saturates everything really made me impressed.

 
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Posted in Korean Culture, Search and Korea Trip

 

GOA’L

22 Feb

I insisted to my parents that we should go to GOA’L. This is an organization that helps adoptees. I wanted to get them a translator so when we met Appa, they could understand what he was saying. I thought this would help. And since the translation was free, I thought this would be a good idea.

What I didn’t realize was that my mom was getting more and more wound up. After asking my brother to meet Appa, and after I had started to act more and more Korean with a lot of effort, exchanging cultural notes. She became a lot stiffer. And since she became a lot stiffer, my Dad had a compulsion to protect her from everything, including me and my brother, even if it meant alienation.

So when I asked them to come to GOA’L with me to pick up a translator, I think this broke my Mom. My mom who really didn’t want to face the fact that her children had to be shared with someone she had never met. She had to meet other adoptees like me and confront the fact that she took children from another person. GOA’L seemed to represent that for her–all the issues that she never faced in the adoption were sitting right in front of her.

The nearer we got to GOA’L and the more I was happy to finally find the place from the subway station, the more my mom stiffened. She seemed to hate this country that was stealing her children, only her children one by one. What if on this trip, I decided to stay? I could feel that come from her. A desperation and an anger that we were leaving her, despite the fact we’d been adults and found a place in the world, she could not deal with it.

So by the time we got to GOA’L, she was so stiff in the chair and her back so straight that it was visible that she really didn’t want to be there. As the person there talked to us, (I know his name, but I’m trying to be fair), and talked more about adoption, the loss, gave us maps, the more I could see that she was breaking. And he talked about how I’d talked to him before and I could feel a wave rising within her. She was about to break. I tried to signal him that it was not the best thing to talk right now about adoption issues.

I calmly called my brother and got him the information and got them the translator after coordinating with my mom. I knew at this point that it was going to blow up, deep inside of me, but at the same time, I wanted to believe that even for a second they could handle this–they could handle facing my adoption, the country that they adopted from and one of the languages of my heart. I wanted to believe it so hard and tried so hard to believe it hat I was willing to delude myself that it wasn’t going to blow up.

I could feel my mom saying that I couldn’t leave today. The same air of control I felt from my last boyfriend sprung up and I knew it wasn’t going to be alright.

 
 
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