In the heat

Ventured out today to find the subway station and explore the streets around my apartment.

Things around here generally feel calm, even when there’s a lot of traffic from both people and cars. Maybe it’s the summer haze casting a filter between me and the world, or perhaps I lived in NYC too long. The humidity here is pretty intense right now, but everyday I try to get out and record some audio or take photos or video.

A side street:


Near Hapjeong station:

mapogu street 1 small

The culture shock is not nearly as intense as I was anticipating. Hopefully I do not speak too soon. Of course, this is based on the last time I was here, fifteen years ago, a teenager with absolutely no knowledge of the language, very little knowledge of the culture, with pink streaks in my hair and beat up clothes bought at vintage stores (or ‘the flea market’ as Mom always fondly says). In 1994, to the average Korean, I looked like an alien, a crazy homeless girl, or Japanese. I didn’t even know the meaning of the word kyopo (ethnic Korean born outside of Korea), much less the complexities of what it meant to be kyopo from America in a country that harbored very mixed and sometimes hostile attitudes toward America. I never really got over the culture shock on that trip.

Things are very different now, both with me and within the sociocultural attitudes here. Exactly how they are different with the latter is one of the things I am curious to find out more about…

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08 2009

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  1. Dad #

    Helen, I very much enjoy reading your blog. I think I feel how you feel in Korea. I hope you get what you are looking for in Korea.

  2. Mike #

    kyopo = “banana” according to your sister-in-law. I remember the Helen Park garb of the mid-90′s… It was a special time for our family, having the 3 sibs in the country at the same time! Hey, can you make the vlog scratch and sniff? That would be a great accompaniment to the pics and description – nothing like a hot, humid day on the subway after lunch!