In one weekend I feel like I’ve lived an entire lifetime. Asia Time is really something else. And this is the good side of AT.
Last night, after the gym debacle, I met a friend for marinated raw crab in her very cozy neighborhood. It’s really cute and clean and the buildings are nice and I feel a bit jealous. Also her place is twice the size of mine because #trendy.
At the restaurant I felt four older men watching us in absolute agony (and discussing the “waygookin”) until one brave man approached us and demonstrated how we are “supposed” to eat: squeeze the crab onto the rice then mix and eat. Okay, dude. I did it once to appease him then after they relocated I went back to sucking crab out of the shell like the other patrons.
We had a brief pit stop at Pub a la Mini Stop because soju is a dollar and I’m all about drinking on a budget. We got dessert after and who did we see? TWO Oneus idol group members sat down with coffee, cake, and their parents at the table right next to ours. We texted about them but didn’t want to be a bother and kept to ourselves. Our loud American selves.
After, I ran to catch the night bus because Seoul is lame and doesn’t have public transport after midnight.
I woke up and wanted a burger, badly, which is completely unrelated the the convenience store alcohol I had last night. Having seen an “all day brunch” place I took the market shortcut. While I resisted the donut stall, I did stop by a lingerie tent to replace my sports bra. I asked the man if he had sports bras, and MIRACLE OF MIRACLES, HE understood me.
He only had four out though, and I don’t know my Korean sport bra size so he grabbed a lady from the break room. We had a short chat about sizes and availability. She thought the L might be too small a band size and that the only other option was free size. I understood almost everything that happened in that store which says 1. my Korean is improving or 2. I shop a lot.
I continued on to the river and ordered at the brunch place. Although the menu was subtitled in English I ordered in Korean anyway. I asked “does it come with potatoes” but the cashier was very confused so I just said “uh… fries” in a Korean accent and he understood. I also asked for mayo in Korean which confused him so switched to English pronunciation and he understood.
Well, at least I got what I ordered.
I then walked down to the river and into a giant flea market– I think this is a place where people can sell without a permit if they register at the desk and now I want to sell all my “vintage American” high school t-shirts (if they’ll allow a foreigner to sell). I am 90% sure I saw a sixth grade student there but the 10% risk of terrifying a child stranger was not worth the mediocre reward of my student maybe saying “hi”.
After, I went to the language exchange club and saw my dream person giving a business presentation across the coffee shop </3 Please cue my early 2000s Alicia Keys playlist, “You Don’t Know My Name”.
Every day Seoul feels a little smaller and I’m happy that it’s decided to keep me.