Still in the Present Day

Jan 28, 2009

What it means to be a Failed Koreanist, Part 2

In addition to the stacks of read and unread books on Korea, I've got random mementos and souvenirs hanging out in all corners of my house. I've got a room upstairs where I occasionally "work from home." Nobody is allowed in there but me. In the closet next to baby sister's Halloween Mouse costume hangs the beloved 태극기 :

Peacefully dangling from the doorknob in my son's room is this bolo. Sometimes number 1 puts it on and parades around with it. Daddy so happy:


My grandmother was confined to a wheelchair most of her adult life. When my grandfather finally got too weak to take care of her, they moved in with my aunt. My father and I went down to sunny Arizona and packed up their condo and drove it to Oregon. My payment for that effort included this small china hutch. I filled it with little bowls and mini kimchi pots I bought in 인사동 at one point. (I can never remember what they call the pots they put the kimchi in, and that really bugs me. Especially because of all the other useless trash in my brain that I can't forget):

Like a middle school girl, my backpack is festooned with all manner of hangy-thingys. For Korea travel info dial 1330. And use the soft backside to wipe the screen on your mobile. A colleague gifted me the money bag mobile 꼬리. The Soju bottle broke off leaving only the opener. The poker chip is not legal tender in any country, but it bears the label of 중문 resort on Jeju island. I bought in Seoul:

I took this picture at 경복궁 and printed it out. For a while it hung in my cubicle at work but I got tired of answering questions about it. One time when I was leaving Korea, I gave a phone card that had several thousand left on it to a worker girl at the Ginseng counter at the airport. In return, she gave me the cup with the 한복-clad girls on the swing:

Who else would really hang on to all this crap?

4 comments:

Diana said...

I have one of those Andong Mask necklace things, too :)

I'm really enjoying reading your experiences in Busan from 20+ years ago. Yours is the second awesome blog I found as a result of the Hub of Sparkle thing.

Happy writing!

White Rice said...

Thanks Diana. I'll pop over and check your blog too. Good thing for the Hub...
Cheers!

jeanny said...

I believe they're called 김치항아리.

I've somehow found myself in the situation that you were in, albeit slightly different: I want to go to Korea and re-acquaint myself with the motherland, but can't find the motivation to leave my field (vfx in films) behind!

I love your posts about your experiences in Korea. I hope you keep writing about them!

White Rice said...

Jeanny-
항아리. That is it. I don't know why that won't stick in my brain. Thank you.
항아리 항아리 항아리 항아리.
Thanks for reading and commenting!