Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Korean Morning

How was my morning?
My Facebook post:
After seeing my mom off at the bus terminal, I headed to my own bus stop, munching on a choco donut and drinking some marshmallow hot choco. 
The kimbab 아줌마 (whose store is at my other bus stop) saw me as she was walking down the street. She now knows the bus stop I prefer to wait at. She almost knows everything about me. o.o
Then two 할머니s looked me up and down and asked if I was Filipino.
Just another bittersweet Korean morning.

The details:
My mom and I jointly packed all of her belongings two nights ago. Last night we spent one last outing with my phone friend and one of his OTHER 형 (brothers). Afterwards, my mom and I feasted on the smallest serving of 감자탕  (because you can feast on a small serving here. This restaurant gives you way more than you can eat; that's why we love them!).  In the morning, my mom was anxious about getting a bus ticket. She woke me up several times before my alarm went off (a huge pet peeve of mine), asking about when I was going to wake up, so I eventually just got up and went to go buy her ticket. We weren't able to buy a ticket earlier in the week, so she (I was, too) was concerned about not getting a spot on the bus. The bus would be her only option to go directly from my town to the airport (nonstop) without my aid or guidance. I bought her ticket while she got ready. When I returned home, I got ready for work, and then we lugged the suitcases down to the corner of the street and caught a taxi to the terminal. I sat with her and helped her find the right bus. During the wait, some ladies tried talking to my mom, asking her where she was from (and going), and how her hair became the way it was (it was in braids). With a mix of my Korean and my mom's "sign language,"  we held the conversation until the ladies departed. It wasn't 'til my mom was on the bus waving to me that I started to feel that old sadness I've felt many times before whenever my mom went for long-term journeys without me. Still, I thought, I should be used to it. Besides, she came to visit me, so it's more like I'm leaving her again. Well, no matter how I should think about it, I waved and blew kisses until she was out of sight.

The donut and hot choco was a treat, not something I needed. The day before, I'd had to wake up earlier than usual to visit the bank. I'd had just enough time to grab two donuts from Dunkin Donuts and a bottle of water from the convenient store before catching my bus. This morning was more of the same thing: time to kill (though, I shouldn't have had another round of donuts for breakfast). It started to rain mist outside, so I walked with treats in hand down the long street to my stop. While waiting for the bus, the kimbab lady (I wrote about before) appeared down the street. "Hi," she called out when she recognized me, and then rambled in  Korean. From her gestures and some Korean words I was able to pick up, I could tell she was a bit annoyed that I waited at this bus stop rather than at the one in front of her shop. Honestly, waiting at her stop means I'm running late. I'm not sure how to convey this to her. I also slightly avoid waiting at her stop because I can't always answer the many questions she wants to ask me. After she passed by and wished me a safe trip (she was headed somewhere today), I watched her leave, and stared down the street for signs of my bus. ... I didn't realize right away the two grandmas who had stopped in front of me. I turned and saw them, and they both looked me up and down, smiling. The first one asked me where I was from. Before I could answer, she guessed. Philippines? I told her, America. Then she and the other lady said some things quickly in Korean (to me and to each other), that I didn't quite catch. The first lady smiled again, gave me a solid pat on the shoulder, and they both departed. I wished them a safe journey and they nodded, hobbling along in the rain with their umbrellas.


'Til next time,

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