Thursday, December 31, 2015

Stop & Chat - December 30

The Commissary has a coupon section up front. WOOT!


I dunno what I think of the title for this series. I'm rolling with it, though, because I like the idea that I stop at the end of the day to chat with my bloggy buddies! SO! On with my December 30th!
My day started off really bright and early. That's when I wrote my previous post, which incorrectly includes the 30th in the title. I may have been writing it on the 30th, but that was only 3 hours into the day. Doesn't really qualify, does it?
I spent some time cleaning up and made myself some food for breakfast. Today was a weird day because Michael starts work again and since he's a night shifter he tends to sleep during the day. The only issue is we've been up during daylight hours to explore, get settled in, shop, and just because the sun was out. It's been really hard for me being awake during the darker hours because I've wanted to go out and do stuff. I know Seoul is awake well into the night but it's weird for me to be out and about when the sun has been gone for so long. Also, I don't think the stuff that Seoul has to offer at the wee hours of the morning is what I'm particularly looking at exploring. I'm not ready for any night clubs and we're trying to get some grocery shopping in, dangit!
Once the sun was fully up I took my Lush bag out to the living room and took some pictures. For an upcoming haul, yes, but also because I've been dying to take a Lush bath and I haven't let myself because I hadn't taken any pictures yet.
That didn't take very long, so I chopped up the two items I wanted to use (a bubbleroon and another bubble bar... bubble galore!) and took my bath. I should not have used my feet to gauge the temperature of the water. My feet were colder than the rest of my body so the bath was already a bit cooler than I'm used to when I got in. Then, I discovered that because it's so damn cold outside and the tub is on an outer wall the water has trouble maintaining a warmer temperature. I still spent a good forty minutes in the bath, so I'm happy enough. Lesson learned and I will adjust next time I bathe.
While I was in the tub Michael woke up and showered to get ready for some off post grocery shopping. Once I was done, I got dressed and we left.
The first place we went to was a butcher's shop. The gentleman did not speak any English and we don't know enough Korean yet to really communicate with him so it was a lot of talking in our own languages and gesturing. It seemed to be in good humor, though. The man was eager to mime asking how we wanted our whole chicken cut up, and telling us how much we owed turned into him pulling out the appropriate amount from the cash register and showing us. A fun experience for all of us, I think. :)
The next door shop was the local grocer. For me, this was a more difficult store to be in. There were a lot more people, the aisles were cramped, and nobody spoke any English. Michael said that the employees are very helpful and the last time he was here one of them pushed the proper buttons for him when he was trying to weigh out and buy some produce. More on my difficulties in a moment.

I didn't take any pictures besides these two seaweed pictures, which were intended for my sister. So much seaweed! They also have what looks like tortellini noodles so we picked some up for the familiarity factor. Michael picked up some of what I call ramen but apparently is not actually ramen. It's microwaveable noodle meals. Of Asian styling. I don't know what else you would call them.

Now is where the difficulties step in. I was very aware of the looks that we got. There was no ill intent that I noticed, but it was very obvious that we were foreigners to all of the customers around us. I became painfully aware that our basket was much fuller than those around us. That we were almost too tall and wide for the aisles. That there were stares when I wasn't looking and glances when I was. I can understand the novelty of the both of us, but this was my first true experience with it in close quarters and it was unsettling beyond all explanation. I do not like attention in most circumstances and this gentle air of standing out was not fun for me. After we paid Michael realized that we had forgotten another produce section that is slightly outside with a plastic covering around the area. He suggested we go check it out, only for me to shut him down and insist that we just leave. Initially he was a bit annoyed at me being a 'party pooper' as he called it, but once he saw how uncomfortable I was he softened up a bit. In fact, him calling me a party pooper was in a very gentle, joking way, said after he had noticed my discomfort.

A couple stores down from the grocery store was a bakery that Michael had visited before and really liked. There it was much better for me as there was one person behind the counter and at one point one other customer. We had time to look around and pick a variety of goodies to pick up, including a cupcake-in-a-bowl, some sausage twisty bread thing, cinnamon twist stick, and a variety pack for Michael to take into work that included a breakfast sandwich. And no, silly old me did not think to take pictures of what we actually bought. I'm still new to this picture taking thing, give me a break!
We got back and ate before I settled in for the night (at around five in the afternoon, mind you) and Michael took a nap before his PT and work began. At one point our realtor, landlady, and internet guy came in to give us a new router since the one we had before was very shoddy and dropped its connectivity quite often. Michael was the one that took care of that because I was dead to the world.
At several points I was vaguely aware that Michael had come in and was either getting ready for PT or work, but by the time I fully woke up he was already at this shift. As it is I may still go back to sleep as my body thinks it's still sleepytime. I've had a whole seven hours! I should be okay!

Have you ever felt so out of place you quickly left an area? Does it ever get better? I know it does, and that's a childish question to ask, but I had to ask anyway.

5 comments:

  1. Well of course you stood out, you tall white Americans! And they probably all suspect you're military anyway. I doubt anyone thought anything more beyond the initial curious looks. Just like in my previous comment, I think it's so cool that you actually get to LIVE there and will learn to fit in and get by, instead of the rushed visits of a short vacation. Put your smiley face on and embrace your new adventure. =)

    And takes lots of pics! LOL

    ~Deb

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    1. Yeah I wasn't harassed and nobody was mean but it was just very unsettling for me. I know I'll get used to it eventually but that first time was hard, lol.
      I still keep sleeping through suppertime so Michael can't take me out to a Korean restaurant! We'll have to do breakfast or lunch instead so I don't fall asleep!

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  2. It is slightly discomforting to be the obvious minority at times. I felt that way sometimes in Japan on the trains and such, as Ashley and I were many many times the only Caucasians in sight, plus my bumbling bumping into people and things awkward ways were painfully apparent in a place where everyone has an obvious personal space force field that my lasers never detected until it was too late and their eyes would pierce my armor. But once the customs and language are learned I am sure you will feel more comfortable. I am still super excited for you over there. I hope the sleep comes easier and you regulate soon. I remember getting to Japan and we went to the mall and Lush pretty much first thing and I was totally off kilter and looked to Ashley to help me a bit and she snarked about me wanting some assistance in communicating but I think maybe like Michael she didn't realize that it was my very first time in a totally foreign atmosphere and she has been doing it for a few years now in different countries and has become accustomed to it. I made a point to fend for myself after that lol! But it did make me uncomfortable. Miming. I became good at miming and trying Spanish if English didn't work. I found myself muttering "Lo Siento" a lot. After bumping into people.

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    1. We were lucky in Germany/France/Switzerland because most people seemed to know enough English to get by. They didn't offer it up immediately but when communication became bungled they would bust out the choppy English for the Americans. I will never forget one day, in a photo shop, we were trying to find out if they did 1-hour developing. Hubby was trying to get his point across with extremely limited German, and it was going nowhere. Finally, I just stepped up, held out the roll of film and held up one finger, and said "Do you do one hour developing?" The clerk smiled and nodded and said "Oh yes, we do one hour here."

      LOL!!!

      ~Deb

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    2. LOL Deb! That sounds like a very memorable moment for the two of you!
      It's so weird to me how curt and yet... I don't know, respectful Koreans can be? People run into eachother all of the time here but there's no "excuse me" or "I'm sorry". That's extra fluff that's unnecessary. But there is no malice in the way they interact with you.
      I got myself worked up when reading a couple of horror stories on some blogs about racism/sexism/general horrid behavior. After thinking on it and my own experiences I decided to just keep my own excitement and positive attitude and worry about a bad situation only if it arises.

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