One of the advantages (or disadvantages, depending on how you look at it) of studying my Korean textbook on the subway, is that on a regular basis some Korean will ask me if I'm studying Korean and try to start a conversation with me (typically those over thirty, the younger Koreans are too busy listening to their mp3 players or sms messaging).
A couple of weeks ago I met one Ms. Yun in this manner. Ms. Yun teaches kindergarten like me, but at a school for black children (Nigerian or American immigrants, etc.). It's the first time I found someone with a teaching job more rare than mine.
We were going to meet for her birthday later last week, but scheduling conflicts arose, so we decided to meet this last Saturday for kimbab (note: posting delays have made this event a week old now). I have, of course. had a lot of kimbab in my four total months in Korea. However, Ms. Yun took me to a special restaurant whose name translates into Kimbab Heaven. At first I felt this was just some more optimistic advertising, but I must say kimbab at Kimbab Heaven is every bit as delicious as the name would suggest.
Up until this point I had thought there were only two kinds of kimbab: The kimbab I can buy on the street with some vegetables and mayonnaise-like sauce, and the kimbab I eat at home which is only rice (bab) and seaweed (kim). However, at Kimbab Heaven there are well over thirty varieties of kimbab from which to choose. On this particular day I chose the tuna kimbab and the beef kimbab rolls and they were delicious. To be completely honest I never knew I could combine my love of tuna with my love of kimbab; it was amazing.
(At this point I should probably explain for those of you who forgot my last explanation seven months ago, that kimbab is basically sushi with the seaweed on the outside and the rice on the inside. I believe this is called a California Roll in America.)
I had thought that Ms. Yun would eat the kimbab with me, but she said she was already full so I was tasked with finishing off everything by myself. While I love kimbab, one roll (about twelve pieces) is a essentially a meal in itself, so I was quite pleased when I was able to stuff down twenty pieces and finish the soup and kimchi side dishes at the restaurant. I made sure to bag up the remaining four kimbab pieces for an evening snack.
After kimbab we went to find a DVD bang (bang is Korean for room, and is actually pronounced "bong") to watch a movie. Ironically Ms. Yun does not like Korean movies, so the DVD bang is her best opportunity to find the American films she do enjoy.
Ms. Yun had originally wanted to see a comedy, but there were no comedies there that I considered to be of any value, so I convinced her to watch The Bourne Supremacy instead (one of the finest American films ever made in my opinion). Since Ms. Yun had not seen The Bourne Identity (the first film in the trilogy, of which The Bourne Supremacy is the second) I had a fair bit of work to do at the begining, catching her up on the back story and all the references to characters from the first film both dead and alive. However, it was all worth it, as she now wants to see The Bourne Ultimatum on our next visit. This particular DVD Bang did not have The Bourne Identity for some reason, but luckily DVD bangs are a common as mosquitoes in Seoul (especially around the university areas) so I'm sure I can find it somewhere.
A few of you may be wondering what one gets as a reward for paying $12 to watch a DVD... not much. You get one free 200 mL beverage, and the luxury of sitting on a couch in a room the size of my first gosiwon, while a movie is projected in LD (low definition) on to the opposite wall, and the sound is buzzed through blown speakers. That said, the couch is quite comfortable, and you do get a matching ottoman on which to rest your legs.
While Saturday started out quite warm, by the time I reached Sillim-dong (you may remember this as the place I went to have sundae with Charles, Woojin, and Seong-bok some time back) the wind had picked up considerably. Most of the Seoulites have been wearing scarves and coats for a few weeks now, but my blood still had at least some of its formerly high Canadian living induced thyrosin levels and I was able to manage quite fine. However, on Monday I finally bit the bullet and put on a jacket. Some of my friends were quite surprised and thought I "would not wear a coat even in winter." (Note: Since this event I have gone back to wearing short sleeves again.)
One last exciting note: tangerines (mandarin oranges) are back! These have been really expensive since my return, but the season has started and Jeju island is pumping them out by the thousands again. Like buying clothes for less than the price of a cup of coffee (at Starbucks) in Korea, because they're made right in the store's own sweatshop in the basement, I never get tired of buying a bucket of fresh fruit shipped in that day for less than it costs me to buy 2 Litres of synthetically created "milk."