Thursday, March 10, 2011

Korean Solidarity

For someone who speaks Korean every day, I don't have many Korean friends. There are unique reasons for this, but most of them stemming from the fact that my Korean roots are different than others'. My sister and I are grounded in a much more traditional Korean way, a much less LA Korean way. We're different from Koreans in Korea, too, of course, because my parents' Korea is from the 1970's and 1980's.

In Albuquerque, of all places, I found a friend that happens to be Korean. One of my co-workers is a Korean woman who moved to the States after she had completed college (incidentally, she went to university in the city where I was born). She's been in the U.S. for a while now, and is married to an American.

She and I speak a strange Konglish to each other, switching to full Korean to annoy our co-workers, and she's just a funny, sweet person.

Today, she ran up to my desk while I was picking at my sandwich and said, "Jeanny! Stop eating!" and ran off. (She says my name the way Koreans pronounce it, which gives me a pang of homesickness every single time.)

She scampered back with a double roll of kimbap (or gimbap, 김밥), wrapped in, as Koreans are wont to do, about fourteen yards of plastic wrap.

Sometimes, it's the small gestures that put a surprised smile on your face. This unexpected and delicious picnic food always makes me happy, and never more than today.

It's not that I'm sad or depressed or anything, because I'm not. I'm fine here, if annoyed at how busy I am. But eating gimbap, tasting that distinct seaweed, crunching through the pickled radish ... it brings home to my mind and I am reminded of how much I really do miss it.

I think I'm going to try to make some gimbap for my lovely Korean friend on Saturday (we're all working), when I can get away with coming in later. If I'm up to it, maybe I'll even document it. Gimbap's one of those things people always ask about, and it's really easy, just time-consuming and a bit fiddly to get the technique down.

Really good gimbap, but still not as good as my mother's. Of course. ^_^