You know you’re getting old when…

  • You get really grumpy when people don’t say thank you.
  • You are looking at the second hand when SOMEONE ELSE is talking long distance.
  • You think being in front of a camera is something shy of going to the dentist, only more formal:  You expect to pay a lot and get a free comb.

Okay.  So that was my day today.  The last one being at YTN studios.

I am SOOOOO  NOT  making love to cameras.  I don’t think I did very well, because they asked me to do it over again.  And afterward, they said, “the first one was better.”  It’s okay.  They can edit it.

Anyway, I actually had no idea what YTN is.   I only saw little clips of adoptees asking their families to come forward on a website link.  Turns out YTN is a major news station and half of Korea will be watching me on Thursday.  Yayy.  (repeat that – with a dry, sarcastic tone)

But at least it wasn’t live t.v., and at least there nobody watching was hoping I would weep.  I thanked them a lot.  All five of the crew who spent a half hour with me for a minute and  a half piece.

I bought the translator a Starbucks coffee afterwards, and we chatted a bit.  She seems to think YTN will produce successful results.  Her last translation volunteering job was at a reunion, and she said it wasn’t weepy at all.  A lot of apologies expressed, but mostly relief on everyone’s part.  That particular family had been searching for their daughter for years, but had finally given up.  But I think I made her uncomfortable, talking about being lonely and the non-existant avenues for dating I have here, and though she stayed quite a while, I could tell she was relieved to go.  I seem to make the young translators uncomfortable.  Thank God Eun Seong didn’t run away and is now my tutor…

And after that, I hit Namdaemmun market.  Yes, another market.  Because it was right there and I had an afternoon to kill.  But I blew some money too.  What a jerk I am.  Now I’ve got an upcoming week off with hardly any money.  Stupid.  Also, the hidden costs of doing anything adoption related or meeting anyone in Seoul is the price of Starbucks and eating on the run.  The consumables alone equaled the price of the folding purse umbrella I bought…(but it’s a really cute one from Japan.  Again, I’m stupid, as there were Chinese ones all around me for a tenth of the price.  But at least it won’t break with one gust of wind)

Namdaemmum market is twice the size of Anyang’s.  Only it isn’t in an arcade.  It is more of a street market, mostly uncovered and fronting small shops.  The food section was similar to the other markets (with less by-product foods) and yet the bulk of the market was a potpourri of cheap goods from (probably) China and Thailand.  There was one section where it became apparent all the best dressed adorable children in Seoul’s parents must shop:  basically a whole block of children’s boutiques. There seemed to be more handcrafts there, yet I couldn’t figure out if they were really Korean or not.  And there were also a lot of Korean souvenirs, a Tourist information booth, and a money exchange booth.  It was as genuine and real as the other markets but in different ways  – I mean, picture fifteen adjummas sifting through a mountainous pile of cheap clothes from China while someone is barking out what a good deal they are.  It doesn’t get much more real than that.  There are also a lot of foreigners souvenir shopping because they heard about it like I heard about it:  on the subway map, listed as a must-see.  There are no souvenirs at the other markets I’ve been to.  And parts of it seemed even MORE market-like, as I saw in Jamaica, because there were men pushing precariously over-flowing hand carts through narrow alleys and pushing their way through the crowd and adjummas carrying things on their heads.  There were also a few narrow narrow alleys, so narrow (will return and photograph later) that were dark due to overlapping tents and tarps, so those parts have a smaller scale that feels both scarey and ancient.  And I did happen across a couple of dive restaurants.  But only a handful.

Namdaemmum, though bigger, feels less like its own magic world/way back machine than Anyang’s market did, though.  But it’s full of treasures you can’t find at a regular traditional market – like wrapping paper shops and beauty supply houses, tatami mats (pi), bead stores and hair ornament stores.

I didn’t even get to the undeground fashion market at Namdaemmum.  I just headed home, took out my garbage, and then put this old body to bed.

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