Thursday, August 27, 2009


Back to the vacation posts. On Tuesday (07/28) we went to Costco. People are always surprised to hear there are Costcos in Korea, but there are seven in Korea, four of which are in Seoul. On the way, we stopped by my school so I could transfer money home.

Sack of Money Face

Due to complicated and boring reasons, to transfer money I have to withdraw the money from my bank and then go to another bank to actually send it home. Until very recently, the largest bill in Korea was a 만 원 (man won = 10,000 won), or roughly $8. It's still the only bill offered at many ATMs, which means that when I need to transfer money home, I end up with a very large stack of cash. I sent home 1 million won (about $800) which meant I ended up with a stack of one hundred bills. Here I'm showing off my sack of money in front of my school.

On the way back from Costco, laden down with bags and bags of cheese, a guy came up to us on the subway. We exchanged greetings, shook hands (very difficult to do when holding bags and bags of cheese) and he asked, "어디서 오셨어요?" (Where are you from?) I told him we were 미국인 (Americans). He asked if I spoke Korean and I told him 조금 (a little). He thought that over, looked at us and said, "Obama!" Then he bowed and walked off. Sarah and I spent the rest of the trip discussing what the proper response to that would have been. Clinton? (Hillary Clinton had been in Korea a few days prior and pictures of her with Korean president Lee Myung-bak were all over the newspapers.) Micheal Jackson? Oprah?!

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