Andrew started work Tuesday! He's off at a five day orientation, a couple hours outside Seoul. When I woke up the first morning without him, it started to feel real. "I live in Korea." But, by the afternoon, the feeling had passed. With so many errands to run, very little furniture, and lots of exploration - it still feels like a long vacation. Maybe when our stuff finally crosses the ocean it will feel real?
While Andrew has been gone, I've done errands and looked for jobs. But mainly, I've been exploring around town. I met some of the other "better halves" [in Business School, we were called "partners"; here, we're called "better halves." Who can argue with that, really?] for lunch at Plant, a vegan place in Itaewon. I cannot tell you how happy I was to see food made of fresh vegetables! Korea loves their pickled vegetables and meat.
We walked around the antique street of Bogwang-ro, where everything is way cool…and way expensive. I left coveting all of the amazing card catalogs. On the way home, we stopped at the foreign food mart to buy some hard-to-find things (lentils, chickpeas, nuts, hooray!).
I met up with Ashley for a sushi date at the Noryangjin Fish Market. Since we were there late, the fresh fish auction stalls were closed, but there were plenty of stalls open selling fish from tanks. In theory, you purchase a fish or crab, and bring it to a restaurant upstairs. For a fee (like a corkage fee), the restaurant will cook it, or cut it and serve you sashimi. We didn't BYOFish, so we just ordered from their menu.
A group of us also explored the Yangjae Flower Market. I have never seen so many orchids! But my real goal of the trip was achieved when we found herbs! I already miss my container garden from Michigan. Fresh herbs are hard to find in Korea, and when you can - they are expensive. As an example, I saw three basil leaves for sale at the grocery for 3,000₩ ($3.00). So, you can imagine my delight at finding 2,000₩ plants. Most of our apartment faces north (not ideal growing light), but fingers crossed I can find them a spot.
My big adventure this week: getting my hair cut! I looked up Korean words to describe what I wanted before I went. Once there, I exhausted my Korean within 45 seconds. It wasn't hard to find someone who spoke English, but there were definite language barriers. For instance, when I asked for 7 centimeters cut off, she thought I wanted 7 layers. [FYI Males, or people without layers: 7 layers is mullet territory.] Once that was cleared up, my haircut was interrupted multiple times by stylists coming over to feel and remark on how thin my hair is. But it was easy to forgive them, because the second set of interruptions was calling people over to look at my "very blue lovely eyes." All in all, I left with shorter hair, so it was a success!
I ended the week out to dinner with a couple friends. Korean food is served with multiple types of side dishes, called banchan. So many plates on one table!