Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Stop & Chat: June Catch-up - Garak Market! (가락 시창)

I've been up to quite a bit this month, but it's not much that I can write about. I've made a new friend and pretty much spent the past month talking to and hanging with her. There was about a week where my sleep schedule had finally gotten to an acceptable time frame where I was awake before 9 AM each morning, but the past few days have completely screwed that up again and I yet again find myself a night owl.

One exciting thing I can write about is my trip to Garak market, 가락 시창 ("galak sichang"). I've also started working in earnest on learning to read/write in Hangul, so expect to see a little extra language written in. For instance, Hanji is written 한지!

Anyways, on to my trip to Garak market!

I with with K to Garak market, as she needed fruits and veggies and I had never been to the market. We took the subway one stop past the market so we could eat at a restaurant on our way back. I can't remember the name of the restaurant (sorry!), but we each had beef miso soup! It was delicious!

While we were eating it rained, and we had to stop and grab an umbrella at a nearby Emart. Emarts are everywhere in my experience, which turned out good on this day!

Once we arrived we quickly got to work!

This was the 'aisle' we went down. There are other  aisles for meat, fish, & other products, but we were only here for fruits and veggies today and stayed away from the other aisles. We could smell the fish aisle, though. :)

The prices of the fruits and veggies were phenomenal. I got over 10 lbs of onions for about ₩6000/$5.21. Three pounds of green onions were ₩10000/$8.70. Five pounds of jalapeños were ₩4000/$3.48. I also got bell peppers, but I can't remember how much they cost. I want to say ₩6000/$5.21 for several pounds.

I can't recall what the prices for these veggies are back in the States, but at the commissary and at Emarts and other Korean grocers it is quite expensive to buy fruits and veggies. I was incredibly excited about the prices we were able to get on our veggies here, especially since we try and cook with plenty of fruits and veggies nowadays. If there's one thing Korea has taught us, it's that meat does not have to be the main part of a dish.

I do have to say that I am very proud of myself here. I was the one who went up and talked to vendors and bought items. Two or three months ago I would never have done that. Even in a situation where everyone involved spoke English. In a very non-touristy part of Korea where all we can do is mime and use our fingers to count prices/amounts? I would never have done that before. What's even better, I did not shy away from it. I wasn't anxious or nervous. There was even some difficulty in explaining the price of green onions, as I had bought two separate 'types' (one bundle was without the white heads of the onions, which is typically how it's used in kimchi), and while there was some confusion at our inability to communicate I was still not uncomfortable. I mentioned this to K as we were leaving and she even told me she fully expected me to ask her to buy the veggies for me. To some people that may not be a big deal, but it's a huge win for me.

The subway system was rather empty on the day that we went, so I took the opportunity to take some pictures. Above is where you scan your t-money card. Even if you're visiting Korea for a short time, it's worth it to pick up a T-money card because you get discounts on all public transportation. They're available to purchase/recharge at every GS-25 (convenience store) and several subway stations have places to buy/recharge as well.

This is the view from the tracks. It is almost never this empty; we were just using the subway system during off-times and days. Normally it's quite packed.

Wow, that was rather short. That's what I get for taking so long to finally post about the only adventure I can really post about. Hurray.

This friend that I mentioned, K, is the person that I've managed to develop quite a close friendship with. I'm at the point in our friendship where I'm stumbling, though. I have never hung out with anyone (M excepted) as frequently as with her, nor have I 'logged' as many hours with someone in such a short time. We really started hanging out a month ago after discovering that we had a lot of similarities in our personality (we're both smart asses LOL). Since then we've talked almost every day and hung out several times a week. The issue for me comes in right about now. Since I have no previous experience with this level of friendship with someone that's not my husband, I'm starting to feel awkward. Like I've run out of things to talk about. We've learned a lot about each other and talked about everything that I can think to talk about. Do we just sit in silence and enjoy each others company? That doesn't work for either of us; we feel like we did something wrong if there's prolonged silence. But we want to keep hanging out. The problem here isn't K. It's me and my own social anxieties that I have been working through in the past several months. I've explained it to her and she's incredibly understanding, but it doesn't help me feelings of awkwardness and... well, "what now?" It's a learning experience, for sure, but I wanted to mention it since this post is talking about a lot of personal growth!

Over this past weekend some sort of cleaning bug bit, and boy did it bite hard. I spent an entire day cleaning. Bathrooms were scrubbed, floors were swept and scrubbed, surfaces were wiped down and detail cleaned, rooms were decluttered. That was Sunday. Monday I spent the day with M in Yongsan for one of his dentist appointments and a little visit to the Ipark mall. Tuesday evening I got right back into it. I re-swept floors, re-wiped surfaces, and further decluttered and organized rooms that hadn't been finished. In the next week I hope to finish up the last of the house and finally do a house tour video for friends & family back home. And if you're reading this chances are you fall in that friends category :). I'll message you on Facebook when the video is uploaded if you'd like!

Okay, that's it for my catch up. Here's hoping I don't make a habit of doing monthly catch up posts!


  1. I would love to take a virtual home tour! I am happy to hear that your nest is complete. That beef soup looks amazing and good for you for taking charge at the market! That is huge! It kind of sounds like you feel a lot of pressure for a friendship to develop in a certain pattern. It doesn't have to. As someone who is introverted the best advice I can give is to just take it easy. Talk if you have something to say and don't worry about silences. Quite is not a bad thing. It can be a peaceful thing. But if it makes you panicky try to make up a game. My sisters like to talk a lot and if things get quite they will start the "which one would you choose" game. Like standing in front of a ton of coffee mugs they will ask which one do you think I would choose? Which ones would the other choose? Were we right or wrong? Even in restaurants, which painting would we take home? Which pattern of fabric we like? And so on. It fills the air and gets the brain going I suppose. It can be fun too. But silence shouldn't be feared, especially in company you enjoy :-)

    1. I've taken some time to relax my expectations for my friendship and that has solved a lot of stress. It's silly that I felt that way, I know. LOL

      Of course once I think the place is finished we pick up a stray piece of furniture that needs some TLC. We've been working on it off and on for the past couple days, but it's taken over our kitchen table. My life is way too exciting for my liking.