Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Finding Korea in Toronto

It has been almost 2 months since I left Korea and I miss it. After a year and half of living there and blogging about my life in Korea, I was curious how to continue my 'travel blog' when I arrived back in Toronto. I am still blogging for THE KOREA BLOG, which means I am still expected to have Korean content. I knew I was itching to explore Korea Town in Toronto and I can't wait to attempt to cook Korean food at home, but I wasn't really sure where to take it from there. Just last night I was driving through Toronto's 2nd Korea Town further north of downtown and it took all my power to focus on the road instead of reading all the Korean signs written in hangeul, for restaurants, norebangs (Korean karaoke) and private academies.

The day after I arrived back in Toronto I received a phone call from the Korean Consulate. My presence was requested for lunch with the Consular General and 2 other Officers. I was a little shocked and my interest was totally piqued. So just last week, another Toronto based blogger Cindy, also from The Korea Blog (check out her blog at and I met outside the Consulate and headed in.

The Korean Consulate in Toronto is gorgeous. It is located in a beautiful old house at St.Clair and Avenue Rd. We were led straight up to the Consular General's private office for tea. I was instantly taken back to Korea. Even though it is all so recent and relatively fresh in my mind, it still feels like Korea was a lifetime ago. It's like as soon as I stepped foot back into Toronto, it's like I never left. So sitting with a bunch of Koreans, switching back and forth from English to Korean, and sipping tea was such an unexpected and pleasant surprise.

It ended up the purpose of the meeting was solely to thank us for our efforts in reporting about Korea in the blogosphere. How humbling. After our tea, the 5 of us were driven in 2 private cars down to a nice restaurant down on Bloor St (Korea Town). I think Cindy and I were the only 2 non-Koreans in sight and I was basking in it. It was such a familiar circumstance for me from my time in Korea. It was so nice to practice Korean customs in Toronto! It was great to use chopsticks again (I really miss chopsticks in my life on a daily basis) and to say hi and thanks and the basics in Korean. It lit a little fire inside me to really find a place for Korea in my life back home.

The best part of the whole meet and greet was the invitation to be an ambassador of Korea here. In a nutshell we were invited to the next few events at the Consulate and Korean cultural events in the city (like the Korean Film Festival). As I know from living in Korea, there is so much to take part in if you're aware and connected. So this was the perfect first steps to take here. They were really adamant about us covering events here and taking part in the Korean community. So with me feeling a little homesick for Korea, this is happened at the most ideal time.

So now along with my own explorations of finding the best bibimbop in the city and tracking down the best Korean grocery stores to stock up on my favorites, I am now going to be part of the more official side of things here, totally well connected at the Korean Consulate. 아사!!!

Below is a photo of us with Kwang-Kyun Chung, the Consul General.