October 2009


It’s Halloween this weekend and this is the extent of the display at my local E-Mart. Thankfully I have thoughtful family and  friends who sent us cute baby costumes and candy corn in the mail.

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Happy Halloween!

There seems no limit to what can be delivered using a scooter in Seoul. This motorbike is outfitted with a covered garment rack to deliver neatly pressed clothes to your door.

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The weather has cooled and the snack vendors are selling different foods now. The little fish snack cakes/붕어빵 are back. Did you know there is a Korean expression for when a baby looks just like his father (we’ve been hearing this a lot)? They call the baby boong-uh-bbang/붕어빵, think “chip off the old block.” Because the snack cakes are made from a mold, they are identical.

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Little fish snack cakes are filled with 팥/sweet red bean paste.

There is a new brand of snack foods on the market called “Mother’s Fingers.” The name conjures up visions of bloody phalanges inside of baked goods, kind of like Halloween treats at a haunted house. It was a Korean food company’s poor translation of 손맛/sohn mat, something closer to personal touch plus family recipe…which explains why kimchi or bulgogi tastes depending on the cook.

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When Koreans move, the movers arrive with a truck that reaches all the way up to the balcony window. Everything is placed on a large flatbed that makes quick work of big loads and allows other apartment residents unimpeded access to the elevator.

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Korean moving truck that reaches up to the 25th floor of a high rise apartment building.

Today is Hangeul Day/한글날 which commemorates King Sejong’s development of the Korean alphabet in 1443 so that more people could be literate, not just the scholarly who studied Chinese characters/한자. As a result nearly 98% of the population is literate today. There are flags lining the streets of Seoul but it’s not an official holiday.

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Hand it to my mother-in-law to find me the perfect Korean language class that fits my schedule and it’s FREE. There are local “Global Village Centers” in a number of neighborhoods and mine offers Hangeul classes twice a week. The teacher is friendly and speaks English, Chinese, and Japanese while teaching us Korean. My fellow students are also foreign-born wives trying to improve their reading and writing.

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Each Global Village Center provides different programs, here is a link to get you started:  http://global.seoul.go.kr/yeoksam/