Asia loves ramen. I could take it or leave it. It's not the worst thing ever, but it certainly doesn't qualify in my list of comfort foods. When I first got here, I found out that they sell ramen (or as the Koreans call it, ramyen) nearly everywhere, but I never really took the time to seek it out. For some reason, this has become of the utmost importance to me in the last month or so, and I frequently have conversations in my head about which place looks like it could boil the best noodles. Today on the way home from work, I stopped at a kimbap place (remember kimbap?) because I knew they usually also sold ramen. I stood outside for a while trying to locate "cheesy ramen" on the all-Korean menu. Once I found it, I ventured inside and proudly asked for "chee-suh ram-yen" - a pronunciation I had practiced in my head a dozen times in the street. The guy in the restaurant looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language (English, maybe?), so I repeated myself. Twice. Three times. Finally I sighed and pointed at the name on the menu and he gave me an expression that clearly asked why I hadn't said that in the first place. Such is my life.
I waited for a few minutes, handed over 3500 won (about 3.50), and headed home feeling like I had finally located the holy grail of dinner options. It was only when I got home and opened my bag that I discovered that this was riskier than I had ever anticipated.
That's ramen, alright. In a plastic bag. They were kind enough to give me a bowl to dump it in, but alas I was a little concerned that my meal so closely resembled, well, vomit in a bag.
See what I mean?
No matter how it is packaged, ramen is still just cheap noodles, so after I stopped laughing at how hilariously disgusting it looked, I poured it into the bowl and enjoyed my dinner quite a lot. This, however, I ended up throwing in the trash. No matter how Korean I'm feeling, I still can't manage to stomach kimchi (sorry, Korea).
And now, at the bottom of a post about ramen noodles that about four people will actually read, I'll make a quiet announcement that I went on a date this weekend with the bank boy. You know, the one I'm in love with. It only took me eight months to catch his eye, too! He's so sweet and almost unbearably polite; he walked me back to my apartment and (no joke) the whole way there I kept asking if he was lost because he lived the other direction. It simply didn't occur to me that he was purposefully walking me home. On top of his impeccable manners, his whole family is awfully fancy. Considering the fact that I cheerfully consumed what may have been a bag of vomit for dinner, I don't think I'll ever be on his level. I'm not expecting to hear from him again, so this will probably be the last post about our love affair, but I wanted to chronicle the completely unanticipated event that a guy whom I am attracted to actually liked me back. Well, almost. Baby steps.