“Life Itself is the Proper Binge”

I think I would have forgotten about Thanksgiving had it not been for my very loving parents who so graciously have spent the last week and a half sending me pictures of the products of experimental baking (shout out to the Skype call which delved into my mother showing me some of the food she’s been making in time for the fall weather). Regardless of my jealousy, the holiday will come and go, and unfortunately, I will not be able to partake in it. Did you know that the cost of a small turkey (enough to feed about four individuals) in Jeju is over 100,000 won (roughly $100)? Let’s just say I spent last night’s dinner leaning over a bowl of fish soup daydreaming about mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, rolls with butter, turkey, cranberry sauce, and everything and anything that contained the word “pumpkin” in it.

I believe this was sweet potato pie, but do you see now that this is the kind of family that I come from.

So, as I do sometimes when I’m forced to eat school food with the girls, I look through old photos I’ve taken of different meals I’ve had since I’ve moved to Korea and reminisce (because as you know, in Korea, you have to take a picture of everything you eat – I’m embarrassed to say that I often pause and rearrange bowls to make the picture look even better because for some reason aesthetic is now a hugely important part of the food featured on my Instagram feed). I don’t know what this really says about me as a person, but I’ve got a strange collection of photos of me either eating or drinking coffee, which are sent to me by various friends (like…maybe a generous three individuals).

My (sole or Seoul, hah) friend has made it a point to take pictures of me the majority of the time that we go out to eat. She is still amused by my eating habits which at this point, shouldn’t be such a shock, but I think it’s renewed confusion because the other Korean people around me always make comments or watch me eat. I’ll never get over how Korean people are always impressed that any foreigner is able to handle the level of spice in Korean food. Which, I have to say, who are all these Americans from the North (sorry Maine, New Hampshire, and whatever other states are up there taking the prize for the world’s blandest food) and British people coming over to Korea and attempting to eat spicy food? I’m bitter about this because I still have to argue with servers over what I know I can handle (this is also a pride thing, so thanks, family). I can even eat the fire ramen they have here no problem…but, okay, tangent over, I’ll stop bragging.

So, moving on; I’ve collected a fair amount of these photos, most taken by Hayla, which she sends to her mother simply because her mom still gets a kick out of how “Korean” I am, and possibly how ridiculous I look when I’m eating soup because I still haven’t mastered the chopsticks and slippery noodles thing. But, for anyone who thinks that Koreans are naturally skinny because their meals are relatively small and full of vegetables, how wrong you are (more on why this is later). Most every meal I’ve eaten out here has ended me with groaning, leaning over, and wishing for a swift death – so to all my family back home – I am eating well, do not worry about me.

If you’re wondering what I’m up to when I’m not working, this is it! I’m eating! Taking after the foodie family I was raised by, I’m trying to do them proud by eating my way through Korea. I’m also lucky to have found someone who shares my love of food at the same level that verges on something almost spiritual. I think wherever you go if you manage to find someone who loves food and loves sharing the food of where they are from, you will inevitably enjoy one of the best parts that a country has to offer. Or maybe we just have an obsession and I’m trying to make it sound more poetic than it actually is.

(I wanted to share some of the photos that I’ve taken, and others have sent to me because if you don’t regularly follow my Instagram, you might have missed them. I added some additional photos with friends to convince everyone that I am actually eating this ridiculous amount of food with at least one other person)