Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My Homestay Family

Since I've been here for over two weeks now and getting to know my homestay family, I thought I should share what they are like and my experiences with them. ^_^ I live in Ilsan Donggu, Kyeonggi City in an apartment complex called Samla Midas. It is an hour away from Seoul by subway and is surrounded by many shops and a large shopping mall known as Lafesta which is very popular in the area.
This is where I live~ Below are shops, doctor office, etc. below the first three levels of the apartment.

I am living with the Nam Family
(Top Left: Mi Soo Kim, Tae Ho Nam, and Pun Hi Chong, Bottom Left: Shin Jong Nam holding Baroon (miniature poodle puppy), and Min Young) Shin Jong looks serious and grumpy in the picture because I woke him up from his nap to take the picture... Sorry Shin Jong~!  >_<;

Note: In Korean years, you are born one years old, so the ages I provided is based on Korean age

Tae Ho Nam (45): Mr. Nam, who I also call Sumcheun (Uncle) doesn't speak much English but he does like to talk to me. He loves to golf with his friends and jogs every morning and enjoys drinking a lot. He treats me as if I'm his own daughter and would tell people that I am. He is very kind, helpful in attending to all of my needs (such as taking me to the doctor, buying my school supplies and books, taking me out to eat and drink, opening a bank account, etc.) and is very generous; he cares about me and worries about my health often, especially in making sure I eat three meals a day when I am normally used to eating one meal a day (Chinese medicine doctor said to eat three small meals everyday, no snacking or junkfood, no chicken, one bowl of rice for each meal, regular exercise, be 50kg which Mr. Nam follows doctor's orders religiously!). He is best friends with my friend Jin Hak Seo in Illinois who helped set up a place for me to stay in Korea. Mr. Nam is a self-made businessman in production engineering and construction machinery located in Seoul.

Mi Soo Kim (45): Mrs. Kim who I also call Sumo (Aunt), in the Korean tradition, the wife does not take her husbands surname but keeps her own so that you know what family she comes from; but her children takes the surname of their father. She is a great cook and I love her food! I eat very well while staying with the family and I never get tired of the food I eat. She treats me as part of the family and even though she does not speak English, we get along well and try to communicate with the help of a translator. She is very kind and is helpful in taking me to places I need to go (such as the bank, shopping, getting my alien registration card, etc.). She is very friendly and is always cooking, she does not work and is a stay-at-home wife that manages the money her husband makes which is the normal tradition of Korean household.

Pun Hi Chong (78): Mrs. Chong which I call Halmony (Grandmother) instead does not speak any English but when she speaks Korean, I can understand her some, especially when she does hand gestures when she talks. She is a nice old lady that cares about me to have me eat often also. She will even wake me up to have me eat... She enjoys watching the news (9 News) and Korean dramas, her favorite kdrama is "Ohjakgyou Hyungjaedul" (Oh the Plot Stirring Brothers). She also exercises on a regular basis walking back and forth in their apartment. Her middle son (Mr. Nam) out of seven of her children takes care of her and lives with us. In Korea, it is tradition for the eldest or next in line obligation to care for their parents when they are old of age since Korea does not have nursing homes.

Shin Jong Nam (20): Shin Jong who treats me as his sister and calls me Nuna (Older Sister) and treats me with a certain respect such as asking for my permission to use his computer in his room since I use his room to live in. Because I am the oldest among the children, in Korean culture, I am given my own room and is also free to use his computer. He sleeps on the floor in the living room and does what I say, same goes for his younger sister. He loves to play computer games, reading manhwa/manga (Korean and Japanese comics), watching American movies and hanging out with his friend and family, specifically his male cousins. His youngest cousin Song Soo Kim comes to visit the house often to play computer games with him. He has a pet miniature poodle name Baroon who he loves and adores (the dog is quite annoying and doesn't listen). He was here at the home for a couple of weeks before he left to live in the dormitory at his college at Duhwan Kongghwa Taeha in Ansong.

Min Young Nam (16): Minyoung who also treats me as her sister, calls me Unni (Older Sister) and does a lot for me in assisting with my needs and translating. She speaks English enough to have a conversation but there are times she needs a translator when communicating. She is a sweet girl and respects me in a certain way because I am her senior, such as getting things for me, asking me for permission to do or use something, carrying my bags, etc. She loves Korean dramas, listening to Korean pop music, and hanging out with her best friend Heun Jin Kim. Her favorite Korean drama called "Gung" (Palace) is a romance themed drama based on a manhwa (comic). She also likes to eat pizza but has never ate American style pizza and Korean pizza is quite different from American pizzas. She goes to 9th grade middle school in which she wears a plain uniform and runs to school everyday to Paelsan Junghakyo. She is there from 8 am to 3 or 4 pm along with after school activities and/or tutoring, in which the math tutor visits her home two times a week. (the picture on the left shows Min Young in her school uniform)

The Nam Family are a close family who love each other and treat me as their own, I am blessed to have met them~ Even though I am a stranger in the beginning, they did not hesitate to help me, feed me, and clothed me as if I was from their family. They are kind and are very generous and good hearted people. I hope that even after my stay with them, that I can return to Korea again to visit them in the future and keep in contact. When I return home in December, Min Young will accompany back to live with the Seo Family that Mr. Nam and I are close friends with. I plan to give her the same courtesy to her as she did for me and to take her out to eat Chicago style pizza at my favorite pizzeria: Aurelio's~! YUM~! :D


  1. I believe there is an Aurelio's in Indy now. I'll need to check it out.

    Your foster family seems extremely nice.

    I know it's a lot of work, but I hope you keep finding time for fun and exploration!

  2. Wow! Your host family sounds so nice. They're keeping you very well fed and healthy, hehe.

    BTW, I love Korean drama also, my favorite is Boys Over Flowers, but I haven't finished it because I got frustrated over two many misunderstandings between the main characters, LOL! I wonder if Minyoung has watched it? Right now, I'm watching a Tai drama called Skip Beat, based on my favorite manga. :)