Well, it’s approximately 3 days until my next birthday. Which will bring me to the end of year 40 and my two year time frame to do “40 New Things.” This past weekend provided me the opportunity to ensure that I have reached the goal, just under the wire! So, without further ado….here is the final four.
37. Seoul Art Center and Leem Museum of Art.
After looking through a “Korea Travel Guide” I received from my recruiter, I decided on visiting a couple of museums . I got to see some cool and interesting art, some historical pieces of Korean pottery, and some art work that just made me scratch my head and wonder how it classifies as art. I even got to meet the daughter of the artist featured in one of the exhibits. Good times Neat fun. Really!
38. Greek Food in Korea.
Nine years ago this week (was it really 9? Crazy!) I was in Greece with some good friends studying Multicultural Issues in Family Counseling, celebrating multiple birthdays of classmates on the trip (including my own), eating authentic Greek Food and drinking red wine. This weekend I went to Itaewon, the “foreigner district” in Seoul and decided on Greek food for dinner. I ate grilled fish with an appetizer of Spanakopita and Tzatziki. It was quite good, but being that this is Korea, it also came with a pickle and some sort of pickled cabbage something or other. And salsa. I have come to terms that pickled something comes with most meals. Pickle after a slice of pizza actually helps cut the greasy taste/feeling. But the salsa with Greek food leaves me wondering. I have no idea.
39. Being hit on waiting for the train. Subway adventures.
First of all let me say that, given the right circumstance, I would probably be willing to give my number to a guy I just met on the subway. Let me reiterate, given the right circumstance. I actually had three conversations with men on the underground this weekend. First was with a man who gave an offer of help as I was looking at the map on the wall trying to figure out where my exit up into the city above was. He was nice. And he had the sense to realize that his level of English and my level of Korean were not going to get us anywhere. Nice to meet you. Thanks for your help. Bye.
Second was with a Football player from Cameroon. I actually started this conversation. Maybe it’s just me, but there is something about seeing another foreigner here that seems to forge an instant bond. Unless the other person only stares at you in ways that even the Korean Ajummas and Ajeossis don’t, or avoids eye contact with you like the plague. Okay, so that’s probably unfair. I don’t always talk to every foreigner I run into either. But I do have that sense that I could if I wanted to. We had a nice little chat for a few minutes and then I got off at my stop.
The third one, however, takes the cake. I was looking at the subway app on my phone. Just trying to figure out my route. Out of nowhere I hear this voice asking me a question. The conversation went something like this:
Him: “Where are you from?” – It was a very intense ‘where are you from.’
Me: The U.S., Florida.
Him: I have an American friend
Me: Oh really?
He repeats himself.
Him: Do you need help?
Me. No, thank you. Have you visited America.
Him. I’m Korean.
Me: (slower and with gestures this time) No, have you visited America?
This continues for a few rounds. He never did understand what I was trying to ask him. After I gave up on trying to make small talk there was just silence. He did not go away and just stood there staring at me. After what felt like endless uncomfortable silence…
Him: Do you speak English?
Me: Um, yes?
More uncomfortable silence and attempts at conversation, asking me the same “can I help you” question until the train finally arrives. But no rest for the weary, because he was determined. He stood by me on the train. I couldn’t leave to go sit because there was nowhere to sit. Then he starts saying something to me in Korean. I continue to say in both English and Korean “I don’t understand you.” He either didn’t understand me or didn’t believe me. Finally, in English, he manages to ask me for my “Korean number.”
Me: Sigh. No.
Finally, he gets the idea and leaves. I do give him props. It’s not easy to walk up to a stranger and ask her for her digits. I’ll be the first to admit that my flirting skills are minimal. I can’t remember the last time a man asked me for my phone number. Okay, well, maybe I can..but this was one of the most uncomfortable conversations/situations I’ve found myself in with a person of the opposite sex in a while. I’m sure he is probably a nice person. But my woman’s intuition was in high gear. Kick it up to 11. Stranger Danger.
Dear Jesus, can you please put a nice guy who loves you and likes me in my path? And if English isn’t his first language, can you please make sure he is fluent enough that we can have actual conversations? That would be really nice. Thanks. Amen.
40. The Love Boat. I mean, Motel.
Love Motels. They are a thing. And they are exactly what you think they are. Some people, like me, do use them for things like sleeping, or business trips and such. I think the fact that I stayed in one deserves the final and top spot of my 40 things list. But mostly they are for the other thing. I saw more than one drunk Ageossi in front of the hotel or in the hallway this weekend.
If that’s not clear as mud. Let me submit this photo. What do you see here with your complimentary tea and coffee that you wouldn’t at an ordinary hotel?
Frankly, the deciding factor for me in choosing this hotel was location (it was near where we were supposed to meet for the DMZ tour which got cancelled) and the fact that there was a bathtub, which I don’t have in my one room.
And just a few other pictures of the amenities provided in my room at this fine establishment.
Yes, I’m watching The Avengers.
And just for fun, a Bonus.
41. Sometimes, it takes you years to reach and realize your goals. I’ve been working on this list for two years. Sometimes, goals are reached much sooner. One of the places I went to go see this weekend was described in the guide book as “a picturesque gingko-tree lined street.” I don’t know what I was expecting. Something more park-like I think. All it was was exactly what the book said. A tree lined street.
Sometimes, your goals take years of dedication and hard work to accomplish. Sometimes, you know in all of about two seconds that you’ve seen all there is to see.
[And that’s all she wrote. Not really, but this brings this project to a close. I will continue to write my Korea updates on my theadventurous1 blog. See you there!]