Thursday, July 14, 2011

DoubleDan and Joo Times Two

Here's a close-up shot of the mulnaengmyeon I had mentioned in an earlier entry (although I think I wrote it in Korean that time instead of English) - one of the most refreshing summer dishes in Korea. Below is the traditional vegetable spread we enjoyed thanks to Smile Lady, Puma Lady, and Rice Cake Lady (these are the fixed names I lovingly bestowed on them a couple years ago when I first met them - this is a habit I still use simply because any given Korean can have many different "names" depending on who is talking about them or to them).

Back at the café, Kiwi's lone employee - ShiYul - showed up to work in a rather ironic T-shirt, especially considering that this is the Korean countryside and that he had no idea what school I attended. I like the color scheme; maybe I should promote it back in Athens.

Kiwi himself was busy with some more projects around the café. The first was an attempt to emulate a potting trick he saw my mom do.

The second was a hand-carved stamp he made for his Japanese girlfriend Yuki.

While it's nice to have a break from the typical schedule, it has been a bit tiring at times to keep our feet in two continents (mostly stuff for my school). Luckily, we can take naps any time day or night to freshen up a bit.

One of the most interesting parts of a trip like this is to spend time with my second wife as her second husband. Living in a country for a long time, you build a sort of alternate identity. For example, in Korea, I rarely know what is going on even an hour ahead of time and certainly don't have control over my schedule. The vocabulary I use and the way I act are based on limitations I have in Korean that I don't have in English, and result in a much more animated character. Joo, who is often more reserved and laidback in the U.S., undergoes a Popeye-like transformation once she's back in Korea and the kim-chi starts flowing through her blood. At first, these differences are somewhat superficial (like perhaps if one goes on a vacation), but after years of reinforcement, they entrench themselves deeper and deeper into who one is. I find that Korean Daniel has a whole different set of desires, aversions, goals, and perceptions than does U.S. Daniel. This isn't to say that there is no intersection between the two Daniels or the two JooYeons, but the contrasts are stark. Thankfully, both Joos love both Daniels and vice-versa, and so we're fortunate to have a twofold marriage (now it makes more sense why we had two weddings!)

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