Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Winding down to departure

So here I am, with a few weeks left until I go back to Korea again.

You see, I've been in the USA since the end of October, which means that I'll have been in the states for a little less than four months. I just counted now, and I'm personally shocked that I've been here for less than three months. It has felt much longer than that.

I'm currently staying at my father's house, along with his wife and a toddler who is my half-sister. I'm from a small city with very limited public transport and I also haven't had a car here, so that has had its challenges. I generally like to stay active by going to places and doing things and that has been difficult. Having a small child around also has its stresses, and the wife is a stay at home mom. So they are around all the time, kind of like having a room mate that is always there. I don't quite fit nicely into this second family that my dad has, and I have definitely been in their way as well.

Despite all of the time we spend together in close proximity, we haven't really done much together overall. Dad's wife told me once that she wanted to try Korean food, so I thought it was a good idea for all of us to go to a local Korean BBQ place.

The restaurant, also called "Kahl-Bee". I had to explain to dad why the different spellings existed.
It was like a nice version of what you would typically find in Korea -- with MUCH larger portion sizes. We ordered some dishes such as samgyupsal (삼겹살), bulgogi (불고기) and dumpling soup with rice cakes (만두).

Dumpling Soup and you can see the samgyupsal in the background
You typically grill your own food, but the restaurant staff here didn't like me touching the grill!
Overall, the food was good and we had the chance to spend some time together doing something interesting, which was a plus. Afterward, we stopped by a family friend's house, chatted and had a few drinks. It's worth mentioning that I was quite sick the next day, so one or both of these events was the culprit.

I have been spending lots of time in the house, so I have been looking for ways to keep myself busy. I've mainly been reading books and studying some Korean to prepare. I have learned much more useful vocabulary/grammar, to the point where I really regret not having been able to say certain things last time. 

It looks like the upcoming weeks will be more eventful. I'm supposed to see my step-brother, whom I haven't seen in years, shortly and my mom's going to cook for us. I'll also see my grandparents again. I made a photo book showing my last adventures abroad because they haven't seen any pictures. I'm excited about giving them the book and showing them in person. I'm also supposed to visit some cousins in Maryland. 

In the meantime, I've shipped off my passport to the Korean consulate and am waiting for them to ship it back, with my work visa inside. With that, I'll book my plane ticket to Seoul! The school will reimburse me later.

Honorable mention related to Korean food: A friend and I pointed to a picture to order grilled fish. Instead, we were sent what was in the picture next to it -- grilled abalone!


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