Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cloudy City

I was walking home from work on a rather regular weekday, but I noted that the clouds were awe inspiring. It hadn't rained in a few days and it appeared the weather was about to break hard. However, for that moment it was just giant columns of clouds, towers building over Harlem and New York. There was something beautiful about the impending chaos, which inspired me to take a lot of pictures of it.

It was beautiful, crazy, and I'm glad I was able to document it.

Clouds gathering over Harlem. 

El Barrio under clouds. 

Rather impressive display. 

Fascinated by the clouds.

A neighborhood on fire with light. 

Religion under pressure. 

Well, me, posing. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

It's Not Chicken Soup, But Works So Good

That night, when I finished work I did not walk home.  Instead I got on the special service bus and went to find the Korean restaurant. It seemed straightforward enough. The SBS bus was what I was looking for and lucky for me it was practically waiting there for me when I got off the train, I did a mild jog to get to the bus before it would disappear.

On the bus I took a moment to be terribly confused as to where to put my metro card.

But there was nowhere. Finally the driver indicated to me to sit down and I did. The rather packed bus took off and I sat there trying to figure out exactly what was happening. It dawned on me a few stops later that I was supposed to buy a special ticket for this particular bus. In the end, I had a free bus ride to the jjigae.

I got off the bus and started walking where my phone told me I should.

With the steps though, I had a sort of panic where I was trying to figure out if I had the right directions. Maybe this place was closed. Maybe there was not going to be any jjigae. But the hajuma in my dream was very insistent. The walk was about three blocks, and I knew I had to be in something like the right neighborhood as I passed a lot of Asians speaking Korea, several Asia marts that looked like they were set up specifically to sell kimchi and other Asian foods, and finally, after about five minutes of walking I say the sign that said “The Mill” Korean.

In my brain was saying sweet thanks to dream hajuma for bring me to the restaurant.

I sat down, surrounded mostly by foreigner and groups of Chinese students on the sidewalk outside. Inside it was packed and I didn’t want to wait. I was happy to sit outside on the chily night. An ajoshi walked over to take my order and I looked at him and asked “Hangulma kinchaneyo?”

He just stopped and stared at me for a moment.

“Excuse me, what you say?”

I repeated my question in Korean. “Is it okay if I speak Korean?”

“Nay, nay, okay.”

I smiled.

And launched into my entire order in perfect rapid fire Korean, granted with my Daegu accent. But he managed to follow along, only asking me to repeat once or twice.

I got hamul paejon, hamul jjigae, and a diet cola. The jjigae without egg, of course.

The official server for the rest of my meal was very impressed with my Korean and we exchanged several pleasantries over my meal. The food was like I dreamed it.

For a moment I almost cried over my soup, something so overwhelming, so homecoming about being able to sit and eat this food of my dream with so little fuss. I ate, burning the roof of my mouth on the insanely hot soup, but it was what I needed. I ate, I thought about Korea, about my favorite restraint for jjigae in Daegu. I thought as I ate that the soup tasted like it was made by a chef from Seoul, slightly more bitter without the extra sweetness that tends to come with food made in Daegu. I even asked before I left if the chef was from Seoul, having this confirmed.

I was amused.

Sleep was long and undisturbed that night, my body and mind happy with having had what it was I needed. When I woke the next morning my sore throat was gone.