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Sunday, November 23, 2008

It doesn't take much to make me happy

The highlight of my day yesterday -- nay, my entire weekend -- was finally finding the American grocery store in Itaewon. Thankfully Karen knew that sometimes, a girl needs some mac & cheese and peanut butter to survive in Seoul, so she graciously took us to the American (well, Western really) grocery store yesterday evening.

Picture this: shelves lined with Annie's Organic Macaroni & Cheese, pesto sauce, real cheeses, pretzels, root beer, Cheerios, tortilla chips and salsa... The store even imports "foreign" fruits and vegetables like avocados and limes when they in season. The only thing I couldn't track down that I've been massively craving is pita and hummus, but the stock is always rotating so maybe next time.

And this might not sound very exciting as you're reading this from the USA, but trust me, it's pretty thrilling when you're living in Korea.

Even though I didn't buy very much, it was nice to see that familiar foods are available in Seoul and to get a little taste of home (literally). It's certainly more convenient to shop at the local grocery store and markets, but once in awhile I'm happy to trek to Itaewon to stock up on comfort food.

This came just a few hours after being invited to lunch on the American military base here. A number of people from my church are in the US military and said to come on base one day for a real American hamburger and grocery shopping -- they get all the American products for much less than we'd pay at the Western grocery store off-base.

It's been great to finally find a church to call home too, especially with Christmas approaching and Advent starting next Sunday. I've already been drafted to join the choir (excited) and it will be nice to have somewhere to celebrate the holidays. I'll have to take some pictures of the building because it's a gorgeous cathedral.

Although having an Irish vicar and attending an Anglican service makes me think of a cross between "Father Ted and "The Vicar of Dibley."


  1. This post was great, because two of my favorite things to do in foreign countries are going to grocery stores and churches! Obvi the American food is clutch if you've been abroad for a long time, but when I first get someplace I always want to check out the market first. You learn so much about people that way. Also, it can be confusing, but in a fun way :) I'm Jewish, so going to synagogues in other countries is totally familiar but absolutely foreign at the same time. But there's nothing like going to mass in a Catholic country and seeing all the little old ladies there at 7 am! (P.S. That cathedral is so beautiful!)

    <3, Jealous and in New Jersey, Emily

  2. heyy! so glad you found me! how are you doing??! my friend just moved to s. korea last week!! not seoul, but near some air force base i believe. teaching english. i'll have to tell her about your "western" market. i'm sure she'll love hearing that! hope all is well with you, keep in touch :)

  3. Emily -- I love wandering around markets too and seeing what different products are available, especially the completely unidentifiable fruits and veggies that end up tasting delicious. It's definitely nice to have a taste of home occasionally though, too.

    Caitlin -- Very excited to see what the next two years hold for you and to hear your stories. One of my coworkers was in Peace Corps in Morocco and I currently have a friend doing it in El Salvador. What an experience!