Posted by: marthacoolcat | December 27, 2008

I left my Seoul in Korea

I am waiting for my delayed flight to leave Seoul at the moment, which gives me a second to catch my breath and catch up on blogging. Okay so what have I done for my ten days in Korea?
Thurs Dec 18 arrive and get to the Embassy. Ahhh, so nice to have a room of my own.

F dec 19 I stayed in for the morning, walked in the neighbourhood, looked at public art, went to the spa got a scrub down scouring, ate Jukporridge for lunch with Brent, appetizers (amazing lemon cilantro dip!) at Rene’s, delicious French meal, then drinks, and finally dancing at Queen. A very fun if tiring night.

Sa 20 Kevin and Brenda came to town, and we all went to Namdaemun. We came back to Brent’s and ate Paris Bakery chocolate cake. That night Sergeant Wayne had us all over for a Christmas party. I like this crowd.
Sun Dec 21 Brent and I went to Insadong where there’s art, fabric, celadon pottery, lots of things with inlaid mother of pearl, clothes for small ladies, and art. We ate bulgogi (Korean Barbeque). Koreans use chopsticks, but not wooden ones, ones made of metal. Way easier to reuse. They also set the table with a long handled soup spoon. Next, Brent and I went to Haddon House, the imported stuff grocery store. We got home so late we were starving so we went to Mr. Pizza, whose slogan is “Love for Women”. We had an odd pizza, bacon and potatoes, with stuffed crust, but it wasn’t stuffed with real cheese, maybe whipped oil, maybe sweet potato, I dunno. We watched “The Nightmare Before Christmas” but neither of us loved it.
M 22 stayed home day. Tried to find a DMZ tour online that I could join.
T 23 – I went to the DMZ. They have a movie of bizarre propaganda about the DeMilitarized Zone. “The DMZ is our hope. The DMZ is the last place in the 21st century where man and animals can coexist peacefully.” The fullybelieve in the inevitability of a reunified Korea. The film starts with a bad overdone rock beat and all these power shots of South Korean soldiers, but it just made me grimaced embarrassedly. There’s a forlorn lost little girl crying as bombs explode at the beginning, and then by the end she’s all cleaned up, and magically touching things that flourish andgrow. Seeping with an odd patriotism.
Then I took the subway ($1) and 45 minute bus ($2.70) (so cheap!) out to Yongjin where Kevin and Brenda live. We visited in their place, and as non-Korean’s we sat ON the couch, not on the floor leaning against the couch. We went to a hole in the wall, or floor rather, as it was a basement, where you can get all you can eat barbeque at the table. I tried eel and octopus.
W 24 – baking for party, hosting Christmas Eve party. A lot of embassy-ites (embassadors?) stay in country for Christmas, so there was a neat collection of Kiwi, American, British and Australians who came over. Shauna made tacos.
I went to church.
Th 25 – Brent and I opened our pressies, Brent cooked the turkey, and we went over to Steph and Tauri’s (Aussies) for a trad Christmas diner. Great view from the 12th floor, and really fun company.
F 26 – Boxing Day Steph and Tauriinvited us back for leftovers lunch. Steph was all pumped to go to Dragon Spa, but it was closed! I wandered through the National Museum, and then went to Marronier Park in Haehwah, near Dongdaemun to hunt for my SouthKorean cousin (in law) Vick’s art, but I couldn’t find it sadly. I DID have a Korean experience of eating starch in a tent. Now I bet you can imagine a tent restaurant, and I say starch because my meal was large (pinky-finger sized) glutonous rice ‘links’ in spicy red sauce, wonton-wrapped rice, deep fried, andtempura fried noodle. Yummy, but what’s so bad about other food groups once in a while? Then I took the subway home, where just a few doors from the embassy there is this percussion show, kind of  like _Blue Man_, but with kitchen things to make the noise. It was really good, funny silly, great rhythms. When they asked for a volunteer, yours truly sat right up and beamed and waved like the sun. It worked! So I was on stage, tasting a weak congee, wearing wedding wear, and hamming it up with the actors. My Korean “husband” was more embarrassed to be on stage. That’s barely worth typing, because Koreans are very easily embarrassed, and I am extroverted like a golden retriever puppy in this kind of situation. I got a great photo of us at the end of the show, but sadness of sadnesses, no sooner did I figure out I was married, then I was deserted!  Hubbie didn’t even pick up his copy of our wedding photo.  I shouldn’t be too surprised ti wasn’t marital bliss; Brent says Korea is full of MBAs. Married But Available. Oh well, I’m too feminist to be happy as a (traditional) Korean wife. Easy come easy go. I walked around the ‘hood and took some photos before coming home, all in all, very happy with my day. THEN it got even better when Brent and I watched _Elf_. I have a large spot on my heart nd gut for anything Will Ferrel. I laughed so hard, repeatedly. My fave Christmas movie. “Santa’s coming, I know that guy”. I really want to have a Will Farrell Science Fiction movie watching symposium weekend. Okay James?
Sun 27 – I futzed about in the am, planning the stuff I’d bring to the post office so they could pack it. Hours later, I got to the Post office, and it was closed! Grrrr. Brent and I went to Insadong in the afternoon, and to Colonel Steve’s beautiful apartment for a Belgian (duh, wouldn’t you have assumed that was coming too?) meal, castonade (beef stew)  in tall round glasses, frites, and chocolate lava cake. Mmmm. Then Jacki (the mom) and Cassandra? (the daughter) played music on the flute and piano. A lovely evening. The Colonel and I didn’t see eye to eye on the bravery of Ursula Franklin, and I just didn’t bring up anything more about pacifism. He disliked CNN’s coverage of the American election, too lefty I think. The food was delicious, and the hospitality very gracious.
Then I went home and fretted about packing and repacking till 5am. Maybe this will reset my circadian rhythms…
28 – flying. Brent drove me to the airport at 8, but the flight is delayed. Now you are up the the minute on Martha’s life.


I have really mixed feelings about this flight, because I am really excited to see friends in Vancouver and then Ontario, I am sad that this is my last country.  I have LOVE loved this trip, and I’ve learned so much.  I feel so grateful for my adventures, for my life, for my sense of curiosity and boldness.  Well, they’re boarding finally, an hour late.  Take care, Martha


  1. Symposium suggestion noted!

    Sounds like it’s been quite a trip 🙂 Thanks for writing about it.

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