As part of Catapult’s essay series on adoption, I wrote about bizarre, hilarious weekend away I took with Umma’s side of the family when I was still living in Korea: Traveling with the Seongs.
Peril Magazine asked me to review two Melbourne International Film Festival movies, so I obviously chose two Korean movies: Seoul Station, a terrifying animated zombie movie, and The Bacchus Lady, a slow-moving film following the life of an ageing sex worker.
Late last year, I realised that I was forgetting a lot of simple Korean words that I’d learned while I was living there, so I enrolled in the Korean Language School of Melbourne at the beginning of this year in the Intermediate I class. The Saturday morning classes are a struggle, but luckily I have a wonderful teacher who runs most of the class in Korean and encourages us to have conversations in Korean. There’s also kimbap for sale during the lunch break. I didn’t grow up eating kimbap but it tastes like comfort food to me, especially when it’s handmade by Korean mums.
There’s still a few stories from my time overseas kicking around in draft form that I haven’t posted yet. I’m going to make an effort to finish them on a rainy day (plenty of those in Melbourne) and upload them eventually. I still haven’t told you about the time I got on the booze with my Korean teachers, or when I saw an amazing Jindo dog show and danced with ajeoshis to rappers. If there’s anything about my time in Korea that you’re curious about, don’t be shy and let me know!
I’ve taken up running and boxing. I’m in a pub trivia team. I work for a family welfare not-profit that manages foster kids, which has been an enlightening experience. I’ve become hopelessly obsessed with Pokemon GO and Stranger Things. And I can cook bibimbap quite well now, thanks to my time in the “Bibimbap Capital” of Korea.
I’m going to Korea. Again. Not to live! Just for a few weeks over Chuseok. Halmeoni is very sick, Air Asia was having a sale and I jumped on it. I feel a combination of eerily calm and terribly nervous. Calm because I know how to get around, where to go and what to do in Korea now. Which, in turn, is an odd and new feeling to have about another country. Nervous because of all the conflicting feelings I have about being in the Motherland and hoping that my Korean is good enough to communicate better with my relatives. Either way, I am looking forward to eating lots of kimbap.