Friday, June 24, 2011

Korea, part 1

My older brother, Brent, has been living and teaching English in South Korea this year, so it seemed like the perfect chance for me to stop there and visit him and explore Korea on my way back to Wisconsin for the summer.

After travelling around Asia quite a bit, I kind of thought I knew what to expect—after all, a big city is a big city, right? Wrong! I was pleasantly surprised to get off the bus in Brent’s neighborhood and feel like I was in a “small neighborhood”. (I think I’ve been in HK too long!) As Brent introduced me to his neighborhood and as we gallivanted around Seoul, I was excited to discover that Korea has a heartbeat and personality of its own.

The hustle and bustle of HK was replaced by more spacious and relaxed sidewalks.

The concrete jungle and mazes of HK life were replaced by quiet pathways lined with freshly blooming roses.

Being there was a breath of fresh air (literally AND figuratively!).

Some of the most significant differences I was able to experience came with mealtimes. The first night I was there, Brent took me to Korean BBQ which I quickly fell in love with! Upon entering the restaurant, we took our shoes off and placed them on a rack and went to our table where we sat on the floor… a new experience for me.

A grill was right on the table in front of us and we ordered samgyeopsal, which is “pork belly”. I told Brent that I prefer to not know which body part of the animal I am eating. I’ll stick with “bacon”! Anyways, I was able to hop that mental hurdle no problem, and dug right into the delicious food.

At most of the Korean restaurants you pay for the meat only and they provide a variety of side dishes that you can get refills of if necessary-- the most prominent one being "kimchi", which is spicy fermented cabbage and is served at nearly every meal. After grilling the meat, you wrap it in a leaf along with some fresh garlic (resulting in me having bad breath all week, but it was oh so worth it!), soybean paste, and rice and fold it up and eat it! It was delicious!

Let’s suffice to say I didn’t go hungry!

On Tuesday two of Brent's co-workers graciously offered to take us out for lunch, so here we are!


The Paines said...

Interesting. Makes me want to visit!

Emily said...

so fun!!! Can't wait to hear more about it!

Brent Neevel said...

It interesting to see you write about Korea because having been here so long many things are now just taken for granted.