It's been a few days since my mom arrived in Korea. Since her vacation time would be longer than mine if I had gone to the States instead, we decided it'd be better for her to visit me. Going to Seoul to get her was a bit of a hassle. There were no seats available for the bus that went directly from my town to the airport, so I thought taking the train was my next best option. I knew it ahead of time, but the trip was long and tiring. The train goes directly to Seoul, but it stops at one end of Seoul. I had to go to the exact opposite side, and even further, to get to the airport. Incheon airport is on an island west of mainland Seoul. It is even further away than Gimpo airport. Since I don't have a car, I took the subway all the way to the airport once I got into Seoul. Between standing on the train (the seats were full there, too), alternately standing and sitting on the subway, and standing in wait for my mom to get past the arrival gate, it had turned into an incredibly long day. With the help of my phone friend, we were able take the subway to the Express Bus Terminal (only halfway across the city), and take a bus home.
I've mostly focused on getting my mom to experience food culture here. Since I still have to work, the best thing we can do with our time together (on weekdays, at least) is go out to eat. Last weekend, I took her to the Andong Maskdance Festival. There was so much going on there that I think she got a little taste of almost all the culture Korea has to offer.
Taking my mom around has been a bit difficult. Though I'm studying Korean, there's only so much I can say (translate) or explain, only so much I can convey between my mom and Korean strangers who don't speak English. I was soooooo happy when the English translators at the festival came over to walk with us. My mom has many questions that are simple (in general), but that I still can't successfully answer. Every day is a still a learning process for me as well, and I think my mom sometimes forgets that.
Still, because of my mom, I've had to interact with Korean people on a level way past my personal quota. I've also made some new friends (who I may or may not be able to continue talking to after my mom leaves). Honestly, my mom .... She really wanted to know about some beads being sold at a store in the train station. I really didn't know how to ask about it, and I didn't understand answer once I figured out how to ask. Even so, we ended up talking to the lady for an hour. By the end of the visit, I had the shop lady's phone number, she had mine, and my mom told the lady that she could be my aunt since the two of them had become friends. ...smh.... ...And at the festival, one of the translators told me to add him on Facebook. ....smh.... That's what happens when two or more people go on an adventure together.
Since she's been here... well, actually I noticed I do this when I'm with anyone: I think I have a friendlier face while walking around. It's easier to smile or have a content expression because usually I'm in the middle of a conversation with the other person. I believe that for this reason alone, strangers find the bravery they need to approach me (us) and talk. I'm trying to put myself in their shoes, but I wouldn't have a problem smiling to a lone person as I walked down the street, or choosing a random person to ask a question too. For them, the usually only talk to me when I'm with others (if at all). Maybe my face looks scary. Well, I don't feel like smiling the entire time I walk down the street. That would invite too many people....
'Til next time,