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Half-Way Through My Quarantine!
Here comes the food parade...

안녕 친구! Hi Friend!

Now that I’m past the halfway mark of my quarantine, I thought you might enjoy some food porn. Although, I must admit, I feel a little guilty about sharing, especially when I know that so many folks aren’t able to travel right now. But if you’re anything like me, you like looking at food, especially from other countries. And if nothing else, I hope to make eating well and often part of my experience living in Seoul. And I must say, things are off to a pretty good start.

To be honest, the best food so far, was probably on the plane ride here:

L to R: crab wrapped in radish; pumpkin porridge; bibimbap; chicken and mushroom jjuk; prosciutto salad; yummy Korean desserts; passionfruit cake and chamomile tea.

Upon arrival at Incheon airport, immigration was a pain, not gonna lie. Ever orderly, of course, but it did take me about six hours total to get through immigration and to the hotel where they would test us for Covid, one more time, before releasing those of us who were quarantining elsewhere (some folks stayed at the hotel for their entire quarantine). By the time I arrived at my hotel, I was pretty delirious. But the hotel was clean and comfortable, the staff entirely polite and accommodating, and the food arrived right on schedule, three times a day:

I don’t really know what the food was, lol. But the bed was super comfy and most welcome.

After a clean bill of health in the morning, I took a taxi to my apartment where I’d be quarantining and also living for the duration of my residency. My sweet cousin and the thoughtful Fulbright staff made sure that my fridge and self was well-stocked for the first few days:

Korean food pantry surplus 🙂

During my first week of quarantine, I’ve ordered 배달 or delivery a couple of times:

Top: Tonkatsu and Cass beer
Bottom: Pizza! and a dutiful salad.

(Pizza delivery felt like Christmas. I’ve never received such a beautifully wrapped pizza before):

Merry Pizza-mas

And I’ve done some light “cooking” (with big quotation marks, as most of it was just frying eggs and boiling water for, admittedly, an excessive amount of ramen + heating up leftovers):

First self made meals in Seoul!

All in all, quarantine has been painless, if not a little bit lonely. I don’t yet feel as though I’m that far away, actually, since I’m able to stay in touch with everyone I know and love via texting and email and video/audio calls. It does feel a little bit as though I took a flight to nowhere, sitting in a plane and then an airport for about 24 hours,  just to move into a different room. I know things will start to feel different next week, once I’m able to venture out and experience Korea, finally.

I’ve been thinking about my parents a lot and the circumstances that they faced when they immigrated to American nearly fifty years ago. As much as I wrung my hands about leaving (and I know that it’s not totally unwarranted; we are, after all, still in the midst of a global pandemic), I can’t help but marvel, once again, at my parents’ bravery in leaving Korea all those years ago. Back then, they weren’t sure if they’d ever see their family again and making an international call was a rare, crackly luxury. Like so many immigrants before and since, my parents courage in leaving everything and everyone they knew continues to astound me.

Thanks for following and stay safe and healthy 🙂

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