Every time I step out of my office-tel I get this anxious feeling. It subsides by the time I'm walking among the other Koreans, I just wish it didn't happen at all...
Today I took a trip to NamDaeMun Market. I think it only took me 30-40 minutes to get there by subway.
This is a huge place with many vendors selling all sorts of items. Some with good prices, some with not so good prices. For example, I wanted to get another pea coat. I bought one for 45 KRW (originally it was 55)...about an hour later I discovered a store that had a large number of pea coats and jackets for 15-30 KRW.
I also ended up paying 10 bucks for a snack of chicken skewers...NOTE: ask how much before sitting down and eating.
At the beginning of my shopping excursion I thought I would get lost in the market because it was so large...towards the middle of my journey I discovered that I had gone in a circle about once or twice...The market was packed, but I didn't mind it so much. There were a large number of foreigners shopping as well.
When I see other foreigners I get this comfortable feeling because I know they are just like me or were like me. Struggling with the language barrier and new to their surroundings. Then I realize that when they see me they just see another Korean. They don't think I speak English, or that I come from Mississippi where there are Fried Pickles and Fried Green Tomatoes. When my eyes see the people I am familiar with, I can't let them linger too long...Foreigners get stared at by Koreans which can be uncomfortable. I don't want them to think that I'm just gawking at them in awe or negatively. Although when I see them, I can't help thinking what their story is. Why they are here and where they come from.
Some guys were sitting at one of the food vendors and as I passed by they started talking to me. Of course I didn't understand them so I continued listening to my mp3 player and pretended to not notice them. All of a sudden they holler something at me and I turn around. Haha--a vendor looks at me smiles, says something and points to them. I immediately respond and say, "I don't understand them. I speak English." He nods and points me in to his "shop." Ha ha, I'm sucker and buy some cute black pumps that I had on my list of things to get.
(Watch out for those Korean men!--RD's advice to me...taken.)
I bought a towel, pea coat, 6 mugs, an umbrella, 2 pairs of leggings, three pairs of shoes and a bag to tote all of it around. I wanted to buy a floor mat but it started getting cooler and my feet were hurting so I headed to the subway.
This coming Monday starts the spring semester at E-Spirit. I'm really excited about teaching. Hopefully, I won't have an rascals in my classes. Tomorrow Marie will be coming over to my apartment so we can prepare a little bit more.