Morning everyone! It’s interesting to think that, while the day is ending and the sun is setting over here, you all are getting up and ready for the beginning of the day. Either way, I’m guessing we’re both pretty sleepy right now :3
After what may have been the deepest sleep of my life, I took a shower (that beautiful, wonderful, sweetjoyfullovely feeling of being CLEAN!) and went to breakfast. At least I think that’s what it was. As far as I can tell, there is little distinction between Korean “breakfast” and Korean “food.” For example, here is a picture of my Dad’s breakfast:
In their defense, they did have bananas.
After breakfast, my brothers and I went walking around Gangnam District, which is quite different in the morning than the evening. There are always people walking around, but it’s less busy and crowded. A good many of these streets are so narrow you nearly get clipped by passing cars, which can make walking a little stressful when you’re an inexperienced pedestrian like me. And drivers are not shy with their horns.
We stopped by a coffee shop called Tom N Tom Coffee shop, which seems to be a fairly popular chain around here. One thing I really like about this area is that the shops spill right out into the street. They have a balcony that looks out onto the street – a very good vantage point for people-watching, an interesting practice when you’re in a new place.
Next, we met up with the rest of the family, and I went on my first-ever metro ride on our way to our bus tour. It was a great experience – this system is very streamlined, and the colors and numbers make it easy to understand. After a few pointers from my travel-savvy big bro, I think I could get around by myself, despite the fact that the multiple-rhyming stations all sound generally the same to me.
Observations of the Day: One downside of looking Korean but not speaking the language is that it makes walking around a little awkward because some people think you’ll understand them if they speak to you. About half a dozen times today someone came up to me with a question (at least, I think that’s what it was) and I had to sheepishly apologize in English and wave them on. Also, though most of the signs are in the English and station announcements are repeated in English, it’s still very disconcerting to look around at dozens of signs that contain symbols that I have no context to understand. Literacy, whether it is cultural or linguistic in nature, is not to be underestimated.
Luckily, my grandparents do know what they’re doing – thanks to them I can now count to five. Well, kinda. Once I learned what I thought was the only counting system my halmoni revealed that there are a total of three different ways of saying numbers depending on the context. Blergh.
Next post: our tour of the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ), which is perhaps the most ironic name I’ve ever heard because it is the most heavily militarized place in the world. Once I corral various photos from our picture-happy family, I’ll share them with you all. Until then, good morning to you all. If it’s any encouragement, Wednesday is a pretty good day 🙂