"Words have no wings, but they can travel a thousand miles" (Korean Proverb)

Welcome to Flying Words, Jon and Aileen's blog of our adventures in South Korea! We will be in South Korea for a year, starting in mid-July, teaching English in a private school. We just graduated from college this past May, and are looking forward to having some adventures before continuing our education. 
We started this blog to keep all our family and friends updated and to share our photos and stories. We hope this is entertaining for you! We will miss you all, and are very thankful to have the internet to keep us in touch. 

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving in Korea

            Turkey? Check. Stuffing? Check. Cranberry Sauce? Check. Mashed Potatoes? Check. Korean Vegetable and Rice Rolls? Check?

This Thanksgiving day, I was working. Clearly, the Koreans do not celebrate the Pilgrims and the Native Americans sharing a historically-dubious feast, so Thanksgiving day was like any other Thursday. But on Saturday, some Americans (and a Canadian and an Irishman) got together to eat. A lot. 

It all started the weekend before Thanksgiving, when Jon and I took the train up to Costco to search for a turkey, and maybe some cranberries (please?! please?!) and other Thanksgiving staples. We found the turkey, a huge 17 1/2 pounder, but not much else in the way of Thanksgiving foods. But oh well. We stocked up on other necessaries like cheese and Oreos, and headed home to put the turkey in the freezer. Luckily, it fit. 

After scouring the local grocery stores for cranberries, I discovered that it was indeed possible to
make cranberry sauce out of dried cranberries, which I had been able to locate. So on Thanksgivingmorning,
as Jon roasted the turkey and started the gravy, I reconstituted the dried cranberries and 
turned them into sauce. I also made a huge amount of stuffing, and an apple pie. 

We were supposed to meet people at our school at 2, but at 1:45 the turkey still wasn't done. 
Our director had very kindly allowed us to use the big conference-style room at school for this feast,
which we had arranged pot-luck style with 8 other foreigners. So I left Jon and the turkey and headed
to school, where I found Dana (a Korean teacher) waiting on some students to come take level tests.
One at a time, foreigners trickled in, much to the delight of Hillary and Sally, the director's 2 daughters
who were also at the school with the director and his wife, who were getting some work done and talking
to the parents of the students testing.

As we waited for the turkey, food amassed on the table. There were huge bowls of mashed potatoes,
lots of yummy bread and dip, olives, pickles, cheese and broccoli casserole, canned cranberry sauce,
and of course, a few bottles of wine. Hillary and Sally hung around at the edge of the room, suddenly
shy but fascinated by the food and people. They tried cranberry sauce, but made quite comical faces
and ran out of the room, I'm assuming to spit it out. I guess it's an acquired taste.

The turkey finally got there at 2:30, but we discovered it needed a little more cooking. By 3, we
were ready to eat. And eat, we did. It was amazing. I guess I should mention in here that I've been eating
meat for the past few months, something I've conveniently left out thus far (Tara, I don't want you
to be disappointed in me! :) ). I discovered that I just can't get enough protein here, with the absence
of almost all dairy, no whole grains and few beans. Since protein needs to come from varied sources,
and too much fish isn't good for your health, I had to start eating chicken and a little beef. And, on
Thanksgiving, turkey. And it was good! (Though I am already getting tired of eating meat.)

All in all, it was a good meal. After cleaning up, Jon and I went back to the apartment to rest and watch a Christmas movie (The Santa Clause). Then we attempted to navigate the bus system
(by getting on a bus we knew came to our neighborhood and I had seen downtown) to head to
a coffee shop where a friend was having a photography exhibit. We made it...eventually...but the bus
took us allllll over the city. There's gotta be a shorter way, but it's still a quarter of the cost of a taxi.

After coffee, we window shopped a little, went to the bookstore, got a piece of cake and split it
(still disappointing as Korean cake consistently is). After a while, we went to Deep In, a bar frequented
by foreigners, and played a game of Scrabble. Sometime towards the end of Scrabble, I got actually
homesick for the first time since I've been here.

I think I haven't gotten homesick yet because I know I will go back. I love Vermont, but I've gotten
accustomed to going for a few weeks a year, hanging out at my house, doing typical Vermont things,
and it being more or less the same. I can hang out with my mom and sisters, eat good food and
do other fun stuff that I miss, but know I'll do again.

But that night, I realized that I couldn't go back to Catawba. I mean, I can physically go back.
But it won't be the same. The same people won't be there. I won't be a student anymore, and 
call me a dork but what I miss partially the professors, the classes, hanging out and studying in 
the Lilly Center and the library...and hanging out with my friends there, taking random adventures
around North Carolina, going to Dixie's, Sushi 101, the Caper.... 

Oh, and I forgot the 'best' part of my getting homesick...wanna know what brought it on? That 
country song "I like this bar." I don't even know who it's by. Go ahead, laugh at me. I'm over it. 

But I still miss you guys.


Lyn said...

It's okay. I won't hate you! :)

By the way, it's by Toby Keith. You can laugh that I know it. lol

I know how you feel. I get homesick for Catawba all the time. I was going back regularly, but I haven't done it much lately. We're supposed to go to Salisbury on Saturday to have dinner with a friend of Joe's from high school (I've never met her). I used to get excited but this time I was kind of depressed. It's disappointing. It's just not the same anymore. I still enjoy hanging out with Nate and Kelli a lot, but it's always bittersweet. Everyone isn't there. It'll never be the same. It breaks my heart.

The good news: Joe, Nate, and I will be in Korea with you in 94 days. :)

Dad said...

What about your dear old dad?

Jon and Aileen said...

dad, i believe you fit in part of the vermont that will still be there........

Mom/Mama Bear said...

Your not homesick, you're Catawba sick. Yeah, and you can't go "home" again....it will never be the same. Like Lyn said. But aren't ya glad ya went to that random school? :)
Again I say Costco????? What does a Korean Costco stock? That is so disappointing. ha!
Next Thanksgiving you're cooking! wherever you end up...here or somewhere.....Well maybe not the turkey. Oh and I am glad you are no longer a veggie............don't change back before you come home...to Vermont....your real HOME.... again!