48 hours in

We’ve been in South Korea for 48 hours.  These first two days feel like a lifetime. 

I know from my experiences in Spain and Mexico that the first impressions are some of the strongest and stay with me far longer than some down the road.  So I will try to capture some of what I’ve seen and done here for you.  Unfortunately, I realized today that my camera cable is still back in Altadena, so until I get that, you’ll have to rely on my witty commentary for visuals.  Sorry about that!

The land: is verdant and green.  Our city, Daegu, is surrounded by large hills and small mountains.  We are in a basin, but the smog doesn’t seem bad at all.  On our train ride down from Seoul yesterday (was that REALLY only yesterday?!) we enjoyed the views of amazingly lush vegetation.  Those of you from greener parts of the U.S. may not appreciate it, but my dear friends in Southern California know why I am so in awe of this.  I mean, there are green things in summertime?  Incredible.

The people: are kind and helpful.  Everywhere we go people smile at our family, talk to the kids, and offer to help.  When we got off the train yesterday with our luggage ( 3 large suitcases, 3 carry-ons, 4 carseats, a double stroller… oh, and 4 kids!) 2 people came up and offered to help us.  At first we refused, but they persisted and ended up carrying a lot of our stuff out to the curb to where my brother and his friend were waiting to pick us up.  The unbelievable thing was that my first impression of these 2 people was of a mother and her teenage son. As we parted ways, however, they walked off without a glance at each other.  How generous is that? Well… either they were strangers or they were estranged in some way.

The city: is big and crowded.  I drove all over it today with 2 different real estate agents, and I only have a basic understanding of the location of 2 places: one is near my husband’s work, and the other is near our (hopefully) future home.  There is more English on signs, etc, than I expected.  But people don’t speak much of it.  So I wil persisit with my Korean lessons. By Korean lessons, I mean asking every Korean I come in contact with to teach me a few words.  So far I know thank you, hello, goodbye, baby, numbers 1-4…  I think that’s it.  It’s overwhelming but I am bound and determined.  There, I put it in writing, so you can call me on it later. 

The food: is spicier than I am used to, but that’s no surprise.  I am a big wimp when it comes to that.  The kids can’t handle spicy food at all and I wonder if that will change over the next few months.  I find myself forcing myself to try stuff that is spicy, and so far I haven’t hated anything.  But I will say that my favorites are some of the non-spicy things like bi-bim bop, kim bop, and potstickers.

The time change adjustment: is wicked.  We’ve had 2 nights in a row of kids waking for the day at 2 a.m.  No thanks.  We starved them for naps today, so hoping for a great night’s sleep.

Speaking of, I’m falling asleep in my chair.  That’s a good start, right?