Butter Spoon

I can’t find any butter knives for sale at Emart, so I have to use my spoon…

I can’t find anywhere else to shop except Emart.  Emart is really expensive.  WHERE IS THE VALUE VILLAGE???

I went to buy an umbrella, because it’s started raining, and I walk 20 minutes to school.  I saw some cute umbrellas in a stand at the Emart beauty salon, all packaged up in long matching umbrella length bags, so I went in and was looking at them so I could buy one.  Only then I noticed they were damp.  And then I noticed women looking at me strangely.  I put the umbrellas down quickly and left.  Oops!  As I was leaving Emart, I noticed a special dispenser of long decorated bags, specifically so people who have umbrellas don’t drip water all through the store…I’m glad nobody called security on the potential umbrella pilferer.  It just looked like packaging to me, honest!

I love Korean disposable pens!  They are all extra fine point, something really hard to find in the U.S.!  A medium point would be too thick to write hangul without it looking like kindergarten sized letters. Yayy!

I can’t find sugar-free anything.

Most of the milk is homogenized and super rich and yummy.   I’m buying lactose-free here because it’s no more expensive than regular milk.  But DHA milk for extra brain power or melatonin milk for sleeping is super expensive.  I never drink milk much in the states, but here I am eating cereal in the mornings because I’m in too much of a hurry for a proper breakfast.  I’m also eating a lot of toast.  I buy banchan and  mean to eat it with rice or the frozen mandu or meat or fish that I’ve bought, but mostly I just snack on banchan.  I’m dying for Korean potato salad and can’t find any anywhere.

I think I’ve injested more salt here in three weeks than I have in an entire year in the U.S.

I keep forgetting to buy salt and pepper.  Sometimes I make soft-boiled eggs, and it’s pretty bland.

It took me an hour to figure out what kind of instant coffee sticks to buy, since I can’t read the ingredients.

I need a Korean companion to show me what to do.

2 thoughts on “Butter Spoon

  1. Omg! the anecdote about the umbrealla made me rofl. hahaha. A few things that happened to me during my first or second trips at which I laugh now.

    I also liked the Korean pens. I bought some in a bookstore but my handwriting is aweful so useless for me. I found on the back of a holt’s picture something I wrote myself probably on my first year here. It was well written but my handwriting in Korean is worst.

    For the milk, I was surprised to find so many yummy diary produts in Korea. At my time, diary products were absent. I remember drinking goat milk that our neighbour gave us only once when I was about 2 years old.
    Milk and diary products made me sick my whole adoptee’s life. I cut them completly almost a year ago.
    I had no problem eating Korean foods for breakfast. I could eat kimchi with rice anytime. At Molly Holt’s house, they had western breakfasts, so I was envious of the residents of the other houses having korean breakfast.
    Once after I came back from Korea, I missed so much kimchi and other Korean foods that I cried. I cried for a food! It made me realize how brave I was when I was kid.

    BTW, I made mandu, bulgogi, and few korean side dishes thanks to your link of Maagachi’s korean recipes. I also made kimchi but the result is aweful but I’m still eating it since it’s what tastes the most like korean foods.
    If it was only about foods, I would go back to live in Korea

  2. Oh God Myung-Sook, I wish you were here with me now! It gets so lonely sometimes.

    I went to Korean heritage camp for a week one summer, and I saw the kids writing their hangul in script, and the example hangul we had was done with brush calligraphy (why would they do that to show kids how to write?) Anyway, I tried to replicate the brush strokes with my pen and the Korean kids had a great laugh at my hangul with calligraphic serifs added to it. I laughed too, but the irony of the whole thing makes me want to cry when I think of it.

    The lunch we get at school is great. So was the lunch we got at the Koroot guest house for adoptees. I like these so much better than the stuff you get at restaurants, because it is more like somebody’s home cooking. There is always the rice with cracked beans or peas. There is often fish. There are often stews. There are always at least two side dishes and as much kimchee as you can eat. There is always a yummy watery soup with cabbage and greens. Sometimes with duc (rice cake), and with laver (seaweed), fried egg, and green onion to add. There is always the rice tea. (except someone always thinks they are nice ladling this out for me – but they give it to me too early, so it is cold by the time I am done eating) I have started to make rice tea myself, so I will make some rice and then leave a spoonful in the rice cooker and pour a cup of water over it. Not as good as the real deal from the rice crock, but it’s still satisfying.

    You know, you WERE brave not to cry about the change in food. It’s such a radical change. I was told that I hoarded my food, and that I would eat every last drop – every kernel of corn, everything on the plate gone, and that I protected my plate from others as I ate. My parents quit going out to eat when I arrived because the entire family had to wait while I made sure I ate everything that was given to me, because I was afraid someone would take it and there wouldn’t be anymore.

    This description made me doubt my mother’s story that I was in foster care and had a foster mom. I wanted to love that woman in the photo so much, but deep down I knew I had to fight for my rice in an orphanage.

    I made mandu once a long time ago – okay, it was gyoza, but same thing. BIG job. But tastes so much better than those things you buy in frozen packages. I don’t know how to cook bulgogi on my glass top electric range…I wish I had a gas grill!

    If it was only about food, I would stay in Korea.

    Right now, I am wondering how long I can stay here. I know it is just culture shock and lonliness speaking and I haven’t given it much time. I also know that now I am here, I really have no choice BUT to stay. I’m just having a hard time weighing the discomforts with the benefits. Right now, school lunch seems to be about the only thing I can think of.

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