Monday, December 29, 2008

Thoughts on Seoul

Some broad observations in bullet point format for easy digestion:

  • My grandmother is 93 (not 90) and still as sharp as a wit.  Within seconds of seeing my father and me, she was already complaining and forcing food at us.  Her memory is also completely intact, better than my dad's even.
  • Everything's really clean, from the streets and department stores, to the subways and even the taxi's.  People take quality seriously.  
  • The train system, e.g. KTX, is superior to Amtrak.  Smooth ride, flexible ticketing, and free bottled water and snacks.  
  • Over half of the women have the same unattractive bowl haircut.  But prevalent plastic surgery makes their faces look ridiculously attractive.
  • Service is better, from ordering food to hotel staff to taxi drivers.
  • Everyone thinks I look Japanese, as evidenced by multiple greetings of "konichi-wa" by hotel staff and random women on the street.  
  • I can understand conversations in Korean, though I couldn't tell you what each word meant.  I think my unconscious brain interprets language because my parents talk to me in Korean sometimes so it's in the back of my head somewhat.  
  • Soju doesn't really hit you till the third bottle.  
  • Kimchi is really a staple.  I ate enough kimchi the first two days to completely cure a cold I had on the flight over.   That is some strong, spicy stuff.
  • My dad's side of the family is very loud.  At dinner or other meals, it's like they were yelling at each other, but really we were just chatting.  Now I know where I get it from.  
One thing I've realized, though, is that I'm American.  As much as my family is Korean and I grew up with some Korean culture, my thinking, habits, language, and philosophies are distinctly western.  So there was a distorted "Joy Luck Club" epiphany but I've come to accept this truth. While I enjoyed learning about my past, the future remains my chief focus and priority. 

1 comment:

Bowei said...

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