Yesterday, I forgot one ingredient in making yummy taco salad with my husband. We have a mini market across the street from us so I sauntered there with a lil hope in my heart that I wouldn’t need to quest for tomatoes. Sure enough they didn’t have them, though I did discovered they sell Soju (korean rice vodka and usual drink of choice here) snacks and house hold knickknacks you’d need in a pinch. I didn’t want to walk to post to hop on the bus to take go to the comissary. Sure it wasn’t that much of a hardship but still there should be a supermarket within walking distance. Knowing my husband had the kiddo I ducked into winding streets just going in the general direction away from my apartment. The houses and buildings just spring up with no pattern and the streets bend and wind like they are an after thought placed around the houses. After artschools, shops, minimarts, bars, lil restaurants, farming gardens, random houses and the occasional korean giving me a weird look, I found a vendor selling tomatoes instead of the supermarket.
I said hello and motioned for two. She said no and motioned I needed to buy the whole lot. These tomatoes where places in small washbins full of about 15-20 tomatoes. I only had 5,000 wons (about 5 dollars). The lots she motions if for 10,000 wons. I make face, point to my purse and motion I only have 5. Oh well guess I’ll have to quest a bit further, I said goodbye bowing my head politely and I was walking away she calls and motions for me to come back. She holds out her hand and I give her my 5,000 wons and she drops the bin into a bag and hands them to me looking irritated. Since I couldn’t tell her I wasn’t trying to haggle her, I just smiled bowed my head again and went back home with a bag full of tomatoes. Feeling guilty because I thought I cheated her out of money and yet laughing because I managed to interact with someone without help from my husband.

One the way home I decided to kill two birds with one stone. My landlady and brought us the same type of washbin-tub-thingie full of strawberries. We had inhaled those strawberries and shared them too and now we had an empty bowl and no idea what the custom was to return it. When I go home I took out the two tomatoes I had originally needed then I had my husband write a note for me basically saying: It’s our custom to return a container full to its owner. Thank you for the stawberries.

She doubled back with questions 😉

I took Thomas with me and we went downstairs to drop it off. She as always was delighted to see Thomas and more surprised to see me since usually its my husband that drops in when we have questions. I hand her the big bowl full of tomatoes and the note. Then motioned I couldn’t come in, I had to go back upstairs. I started to cook dinner and with StarTrek in my head I was feeling like Jonathan Archer (CPT of Enterprise) making contacts with new cultures and just happy I didn’t blunder.

PS It turns out, returning the bowl with food in it was correcting thing to do anyways 😉


2 responses »

  1. MOM: What do you mean that you were making taco salad with your husband. That sounds like it wasn’t him making it and you just shuffling about.

    ME: And then she goes swindling koreans out of tomatoes.

    MOM: Yeah! Here I am all worried about you and you’re the one that’s taking advantage of others with your non-korean speaking ways.

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