Friday, October 9, 2009

I Need Friends Friday: Penney and Englebert

It's that time of the week:

(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow-author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)

Today we're going to have twice the fun: two friends for the price of one. One of our INFF friends is Penney, who, along with her family, is currently living in South Korea where her husband is stationed with the U.S. Army. Penney's 8-year-old son has also joined the interview! Because I am particularly protective of children on the Internet, I've given Penney's little guy a codename: Engelbert.

Enjoy the very first international INFF interview!

SME: Welcome to INFF! And thanks for joining us all the way from South Korea. How long have you lived in South Korea?

Penney: We have lived here only three months in Uijeongbu--40 miles north of Seoul.

SME: Wow. I thought Phoenix was hard to spell.
What has been the hardest part of adjusting to life in a foreign country?

Engelbert: Not being able to talk to the Korean kids.

SME: Yeah. That could be frustrating.

Penney: Language barrier is very difficult. The first week I was here it took me about 20 mintues trying to ask for a trash bag. You have to purchase special trash bags to throw away your garbage. Yellow bags are for leftover foods--they use it to fertilize their crops and then anything that can't be recycled goes into a white bag. Anything that can be recycled goes into one of 15 bins with Korean writing on the outside. So you have to peek in each one to figure out where your trash goes. If you don't do it right you get a fine!

Engelbert: And the airplane ride over here was very long and boring!

SME: What have you enjoyed about living in South Korea?

Engelbert: They really like kids over here.

SME: A definite plus if you're a kid. Which you are.

Penney: The Korean people take great care in the way they dress. Their hair and makeup is always done when going out in public.

SME: I would never survive.

Penney: They wear high heels everyday - even though they are probably going to walk at least 4 miles in them that day.

SME: I would probably get kicked out of the country for being a slob.

Engelbert: Korea has the world's largest waterpark.

SME: Definitely cool. (I wonder if they wear their heels and makeup to the waterpark. Hmm.) Anything else? INFF is suddenly very culturally informative.

Engelbert: It's where Taekwondo was started.

SME: A definite point on the coolness scale for South Korea.
What has surprised you the most about South Korea?

Penney: There are so many people everywhere! They aren't afraid to bump into you and not say excuse me. They are not afraid to practically sit right on top of you. The trains and buses get so crowed you can't even see your kids. You just pray they don't get off without you.

SME: Especially if you have to run after them in your high heels.

Engelbert: I didn't think the bathrooms would smell so bad.

SME: *sits in stunned silence* Wow. That would... stink.
What is the best/worst thing you've eaten (or seen people e
ating) in South Korea?

Engelbert: I thought the food was going to be really gross, but I like it a lot. My favorite thing to eat here is bulgogi (beef dish).---->
My most unfavorite is the cabbage kimchi.

SME: Cabbage Kimchi? I'm getting a sense of the odor problem you mentioned earlier.

Penney: I think the best things I've eaten are Sol Long Tang (beef soup with rice, noodles, onions), Kal bi (barbeque beef ribs), and Ya Ki Man Du (like a fried won ton). The worst things I've had is
<---Yuk Gae Jang with gross vienna sausages and so spicy it left blisters in my mouth. SME: Well, the dish is called yuk. I think that should have been a warning.

Penney: They also fry some kind of beetle on the streets and serve it as a snack--never had the courage to try it.

SME: Stick to your guns, Penney. There will be no eating fried beetles. What do your kids think about living there?

Penney: The kids seem to really enjoy it. We try to see something new once a week on Saturdays. We've seen a Korean Folk village--->
and learned how they did everything back in the old days. They love to sight-see and now their new hobby that they like is hiking with the family. They like being the popular kids.

SME: The Popular Kids. I wonder what that feels like. Er... um... I mean... Yeah, sure. Being "the popular kid." Been there.

Penney: All the older people are trying to give them candy, toys, and love to rub their heads. I guess it's supposed to bring them good luck. They get so much extra attention here because there really aren't that many Americans here.

SME: Now for a very important question, What's your favorite continent?

Engelbert: Of course Asia.

SME: Why Asia?

Engelbert: There are a lot of styles of fighting here. Karate, Taekwondo, Jujitsu, Ningitso, Kungfu

SME: Lots of styles of fighting. I can honestly say no one has yet given that as a reason for their favorite continent. And, yet, it's a very good reason--I mean, you're essentially saying, "Don't get Asia mad!"

Penney: This one you probably guessed for me considering I've loved America forever! North America!

SME: Yeah. I pretty much called that one. You've been Patriotic Penney ever since I've known you. What do you miss most about America?

Engelbert: My family. And the McDonald's playgrounds.

Penney: They have McDonald's, but no playgrounds inside.

SME: Wow. No McD's playground. I can see how you would miss that.

Penney: What don't I miss about America? I miss my dishwasher, my non stinky bathroom, my yard, my family, the South. I miss Walmart - nothing can replace Walmart, NOTHING! They have tried with a couple of stores, but it is still not Walmart!

*Just a note: Because of the time difference between here and South Korea, this interview was conducted a little differently from the others and, therefore, Penney and Engelbert have not seen their INFF portrait.*

SME: Now on to the portion of the interview where I draw a portrait of my new friends.

*A long, drawn out, dramatic pause while I labor over a pad of drawing paper.*

SME: Yep, a family portrait. I drew them in walking shoes and not high heels. I am certain young Engelbert thanks me for it.

Generally, this is the part where I ask my new friend the top 5 reasons why this was the bets blog interview he or she has ever done. Again, because of the strange logistics of this interview, I don't have the answer to this question.

So I'm going to make it up.

SME (speaking on behalf of Penney): 1. I got a new family portrait to hang on the wall
2. I got to talk about America--I LOVE America!
3. I got to show off my new-found ability to spell the names of Korean dishes that most people have never even heard of.
4. "Engelbert" answered a lot of the questions, which took some of the pressure off.
5. Because Sarah M. Eden is absolutely amazing!

SME: Wow. That was so nice of you, Penney. I am flattered. What about you, Engelbert?

SME (speaking on behalf of Engelbert): 1. I got to have a codename.
2. I got to talk about bathrooms.
3. I got to talk about fighting.
4. Um. That's all.

SME: Good enough. Thanks for stopping by, guys, and sharing your experiences in South Korea!
*cue exit music* Well, this has been "I Need Friends" Friday. Come back next week when I will make another friend!!

If you'd like to be interviewed for "I Need Friends" Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!


Cindy R. Williams said...

Once again, you made me laugh. I needed this today. My darling son leaves on his mission to Brazil in four days, and he just broke his leg.

Swicks said...

englebert, i vote that as best code name on inff :D

Aubrey said...

Awwww, I want a codename!


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