Miss-ah Gu (Ms. Gu)
Did you miss me? I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a while, but I’ve been busin being a Korean and doing all the things Korean’s do on a day-to-day basis. Before I begin on my latest adventures I wanted to address some of the comments that have come in:
James, yes there are scrub downs for men, but they’re given by men. If you want a scrub down by women… well that’s just a whole other story on a whole different day.
Denise, ha, ha, I didn’t ask for your two cents about getting my hair did. Just read the blog and enjoy LOL!
Dad and Donna: When I was at the school I was drinking a black bean and soy milk drink. It serves as a dessert. Although not too sweet and a little grainy. Nothing you’d wake up for for one of your midnight snacks. The clear drink in the shot glass is Korean wine. I believe it is made out of potatoes. It tasted a little like gin and put a whole new meaning on the word HOOCH. I think I got a little tipsy.
Auntie Carol, that was a braided wig the dancers wear. It’s braided in a circle and is attached to a head peice that sits on your head. It’s not too heavy but you wouldn’t want to wear it all day.
Now where was I, oh yes. When last I wrote, I had been to the dance school, the Palace and yes the hair dresser although after today I need to go back to the salon to get done up again, no worries, it’s only $10. I could go everyday if I wanted to and still not pay what I pay in the States. Any way, I digress.
Now you know you can’t travel a foreign country and experience all of the culture without going to one of those folk villages that demonstrate how life was lived way, way, way back in the day. Well that’s exactly what I did on Tuesday with Ms. Gu is Omma’s employee at the costume design and manufacturing company Omma owns. Oh did I forget to tell you that. Omma, upon returning from the States opened her own dress and costume design company. She makes all the costumes for the dance companies in Korea, including Halmonie’s dance academy. Well Ms. Gu thought she was going out in the field to source fabrics for some new costumes, little did she know she was going to be touring me around Suwon and the Folk Village, some 2 hours away by Subway. Let me describe Ms Gu (I have to discribe because she wouldn’t let me take her picture), she’s a pretty petite woman in her mid-thirties/early-forties. She has a cropped bob, wears glasses and is very dainty and lady like, you almost want to call her Miss Priss, but in nice way, and speaks very little English, to my non-exisitent Korean. Ms. Gu, has traveled all over the world — Thailand, Australia, Europe, but never to the US although she’s always wanted to. She can’t get a US visa because she’s unmarried, with no kids, so no real reason for her to return home from the states if she didn’t want to. Go figure, but she won’t be able to come to the States until she get married or has a kid. Whatever it’s the US’ loss, cause Ms. Gu is cute.
So Ms. Gu arrives at the house and Omma hands her some cash and tells her that her mission for the day is not to look at fabrics but to baby sit me, because Jenny had to run Omma’s errands and Omma had to stay home because the housekeeper (who does and excellent job) had the day off and you never leave the house unattended, I didn’t know that. So Ms Gu had the pleasure of me for the entire day. Lucky her. So off we go, me and Ms Gu. Because of the language barrier, conversation was at the bearest of minimums, so I did what I find myself doing when traveling with others who know where they’re going when I don’t — I slept. I slept from the time we got on the first train to the transfer; from that train all the way to Suwon, which like I said is a good hour and a half journey. Oh, before I forget, subway ettiquette in Korea, there is none. When traveling by subway, you’ll be gently nudged out of the way to get on the subway, nicely moved to get a seat and your toe may be stepped on once or twice. Not different from New York, so I felt right at home. Also, I quite haven’t figured out the word for excuse me, you know like when you brush past some one you would say, ‘excuse me,” well I said it and no one acknowledged me and no one has said anything remotely close to it as I was being knocked out of the way. Oh well, when in Korea… suck it up.
Anyway, I don’t think this was the afternoon Ms. Gu had in mind, she didn’t seem at all pleased but I was totally psyched to see Korea of yesteryear. It was quite fascinating to see how organized and simplified life was back in the 1500-1800’s . You’ll see some of the images of the Village (once I upload them). Also in the Village, there is a museum that explains some of the customs and rituals, some of them still practiced today, such as the New Year’s ritual, the autum harvest and the procedure for praying for the birth of a boy child ( I was a little offended, what’s so special about a boy?)
All in all, we spent the entire afternoon at the Folk Village in silence. I had a ball because I was learning, not so much for my companion — poor Ms. Gu. Do we know anyone in the State Department so that we can get her a visa–it’s the least I can do?
Stay tuned for more from Seoul Baby D