books, kimchi, old loves and new

Monday, September 12, 2011

How about a book recommendation as something for the eve of this Sunday? I’ve got a great share.  It’s called Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and it’s written by Jonathan Safran Foer.  Heartfelt and poignant, the story is set in New York right after September 11th and told from the point of view of a boy who loses his father to the attacks.  I started the book on the plane ride to Seoul.  When I finished it, I did something I’ve never done before.  I closed the book, turned back to page one, and started reading all over again.  It is honestly that special.  My cousin, Tippy, recommended it to me, and now I’m recommending it to you.  Really, read this book.  I think you’ll enjoy it just as much.

On another note, I’m happy to report that up until yesterday, I have eaten authentically everyday since I arrived.  Everyday I have kimchi as part of lunch.  It’s got this heavenly balance of acidity and heat, something for which I’ve quickly come to crave.  I wake up yearning for the stuff.  Yesterday, I broke the pattern when I had a hamburger from Burger King.  As you may or may not imagine, depending on your stance on these sorts of diversions when there is a plethora of peculiar, enticing, authentic foods within your grasp, it. was. incredible.  Like no fast-food burger I can remember having.  I guess sometimes you need those types of shameless comforts when home is a full day of travel away.

And finally, I had my second language exchange meet-up with my new friend on Saturday.  She is lovely, and I can tell I’m going to learn a lot from her.  I’ve realized that I need to take the bull by the horns, which is a more polite way of saying what I really want to say, if I’m going to make any progress with the Korean language.  As it is, I can say “hello” and “thank you” and “yes,” and she told me my pronunciation is nice.  That is definitely encouraging.  So I’m writing this as a sort of pledge that I will work harder to improve.  If I write it, I’m somehow responsible to follow through, you see?

I leave you with a song that has some beautiful harmony, and harmony reminds me of two things: New Ulm, a small town in Southern Minnesota, and of the coolest grandma in the world, one who could have written the book on good hugging.  Happy week, all.

Drops in the River by Fleet Foxes

  • Mary Jo

    I like your pledge. I can’t wait to visit and have you fluent in Korean ;). The food sounds great. I had some great vietnamese on Friday, but still haven’t tried much Korean. Miss you terribly and I can’t wait to see pictures of your experiences!

  • Nikoline

    I’ve been wondering what my next book will be. Thanks! It’s great to hear what you’ve been up to. And I agree with MJ, we need pictures! Miss you and love you lots.

  • Annie Kuensting

    Yippeee!! She’s back and blogging…watch out! Thanks for sharing, you’re delightful.

    • jlgabel

      thanks for reading. I’m already making a list of songs for you to perform at a noribong the first night you’re here. Or, we could save it for a dive bar in Minneapolis. Doesn’t matter, as long as you’re singing.