Hi, I’m Kara Pyo and I began my overseas adventure teaching English in a small fishing town in Northeast China eight years ago. While I was there I fell in love with everything in sight, including my future husband. I now live in my husband’s hometown in Korea for almost 5 years with my husband and my three young, hilarious, semi-bicultural children.
Good morning from Korea! It’s 7:00am and we’re already outside because apartment living and small children who wake up early don’t mix well if you want to be a good neighbor. Thankfully this bike trail is a five-minute walk from our front door. We spend a lot of time here when the weather is nice.
We also spend a lot of time on the playground at our apartment complex. This is the primary way I meet and connect with our neighbors. I’ve learned a lot about language, culture, and myself while pushing swings and chasing after my kids. I’ve also fielded an enormous amount of staring and awkward conversations.
Welcome to our dimly lit kitchen table where the brunch menu is extra fancy today, thanks to my mother in law. This is a very traditional meal here in Korea: rice, fish, kimchi, a soup made with soybean paste, and crispy seaweed. It is completely different from what I grew up with, but I love it all. So do my kids.
Today we’re taking the subway to the big supermarket/everything store. We do all of our shopping online, so when we go out it’s usually just for a change of scenery. As you can imagine, we attract all kinds of attention and questions. Most people are genuinely curious and intrigued by our family. And children here are always dearly loved by everyone.
This EMart, one of the most popular superstores here in Korea. It’s loud, it’s colorful, it’s crazy.
I love how flavorful Korean food is, including the snack food. There is always a trendy flavor popping up. Things like sweet potato lattes, honey butter potato chips, and coffee peanuts are common here. Today we’re buying gifts for my family in America, so we’re sticking with a flavor everyone loves: churros.
The recycling areas of our apartment complex are big enough to be houses, but we pass this cute station on our way home from the store. Recycling is a big deal here. Food waste is the least fun to collect and dispose of. I really miss garbage disposals.
It’s common to find flyers and advertisements taped to our door when we return from errands or trips to the playground. It’s a little unnerving sometimes, actually. Do the advertisement people just hang out in the stairwell and wait for us to leave?? I try not to think about that. Instead I think about all the takeout that is just a phone call away.
This is my view while hanging the laundry.
And this is the view behind me. These are my babies (minus their brother, who is not interested in getting his picture taken). I learn so much from their multicultural view of the world. Their insights into culture and language make me laugh (and cry) daily.
It’s dinnertime now, so here are the essentials in my fusion kitchen: toaster oven, kimchi refrigerator, and rice cooker. The kimchi refrigerator is genius because it keeps the (delicious) kimchi flavors separate from the milk and butter. Amen.
After dinner and the circus of putting three kids to bed while my husband works late, I sit at my desk and let the light fade around me until it’s just me, my thoughts, and my computer, begging me to write something down for once. I sit and punch out a couple words until my eyes refuse to work any longer and the blurry traffic swooshing out the window, in the dark, lulls me to sleep. Goodnight everyone!