Monthly Archives: June 2011

Cloudy with a Chance of Dying

Erin wrote about it the other day and I’ve been whining about it on Facebook to anyone who will listen all week. It’s hot. And humid. And miserable. As a result, I’m one drop of sweat away from a breakdown. I’m not exaggerating when I say that every conversation I’ve had this week has revolved around how hot and wet and straight up pissed off I am.  I really almost lost it yesterday afternoon when I walked by my principal’s office and realized that all his windows were closed because he is the only one in school allowed to have the air conditioner on. I dare him to look at me today.

To spare you the pain of a whole new ranty blog post about it (it is seriously the only thing I can think or talk or write about, I’m sorry), I’ve reduced my daily gchats to a “word cloud” that shows exactly how climate-centric my life has been in the last ten days. August 26th, where are you??

Heat Stroke

Humans are warm-blooded, maintaining a near-constant body temperature. Thermoregulation is an important aspect of human homeostasis …. High temperatures pose serious stresses for the human body, placing it in great danger of injury or even death. In order to deal with these climatic conditions, humans have developed physiologic and cultural modes of adaptation. (Thank you, Wikipedia.)

I would like state for the record that Korea has not made any physiologic or cultural adaptations. They are a people willing to accept discomfort.

But I am an American.

So I do not accept discomfort.

So I am on the brink of a sweaty, dehydrated breakdown.

Have you ever gone to the zoo during the summer? Have you ever checked out the polar bears while you were there? Know how depressing and crabby they look because they’re very obviously in the wrong climate? I am that crabby polar bear.

Heat makes you do crazy things

This is one of those horrible times when your spoiled middle class  American-ness gets thrown in your face. “Pardon me sir, but your country is not chilled enough for me to properly enjoy my champagne and caviar and money.  See to it tout suite, my good man.” What can I say? I have led a comfortable, dry existence prior to this, and I would like to continue on that less-sweaty path.

Like any developed nation worth its salt, everywhere is air conditioned in Korea. (Please do not get on my back about the environmental ramifications of this. I will tear off the widest part of you and use it to fan myself. I AMHOT.) But somehow, the Republic of Korea has not deemed June worthy of turning on said AC. That means my bus, full of unwashed high school boys, smells like unwashed high school boys.  Coffee shops are stuffy, ATM bank alcoves are nearly unbearable, going outside in the damp, jungley heat will make you pray for death.

I was willing to overlook this heat intolerance as a problem limited to my foreignness. I simply not used to it and do not understand, like I didn’t understand wearing coats indoors during the winter.

But today, drowning in my own useless sweat, my classes of NATIVE KOREAN CHILDREN did nothing but bleat the two relevant words they know: teacher, hot, teacher, hot, hot, hot, HOT, HOTT, TEACHERRRRR.

So much unnecessary suffering.

Enlightened

Well, I’ve been walking past an ad for this:

Careful, this might kill you.

for a few months now. Looking at it has made me cringe many times. I simply could not fathom what it was, and hanging in a Lotteria window, I was extra afraid. Duk, cornflakes, beans..milk…? Whaaatttt? Continue reading

On Hydration **UPDATE**

Remember when I wrote about drinking water and how Koreans don’t really do it? And I wanted to show everyone that commercial with the slapping and the water that advertises special water pills to make your skin nice? Thanks to Erin I found it for you. You’re welcome.

Bloodsucking Shiteaters

Upon arrival to Korea I was introduced to some grody-ass toilets that triggered this epic rantalysis. Little did I know then the true horrors that were in store for me every time I step into a 화장실. At this point bathroom bitching is so yesterday, but you guys, this last week it has a reached a new level of filthy disgusting awfulness.

why hello! sit down on me!

The temperatures are getting higher and the humidity is climbing its ever oppresive way to unbearable and so the bathrooms have mutated from frigid, dirty puddles of horror to damp, malodorous bogs of all that is nasty and vile in this world. There’s an inch of water on the floor, toilet paper strewn about, dirty mops hanging out in the wash basin. Everything is wet; it can be best described as “swampy”. I would be absolutely livid if I were a parent and discovered that my child played unsupervised in Satan’s rectum. I just can’t understand how any part of the school is allowed to exist in such an unsanitary state. I mean, isn’t this how disease is born and spread? Hasn’t Korea heard of the Middle Ages? What is everyone thinking!? Continue reading

Weird Shit On Korean TV: Bob Ross?!

I lived in Chicago when Bernie Mac died, and everyday the terrible bus I rode as some karmic punishment (read: my commute) went directly beneath this enormous billboard of Bernie Mac’s grinning face and everyday I was like, “Man, that guy died of the flu, which is one of the bigger bummers out there considering it’s the 21st century, and here he is smiling at me from an enormous  billboard, but he’s been dead for like a year now so I feel like this is creepy and I cannot help but ponder my own fragile existence.” It might have been this exact picture:

The grim face of mortality.

So anyway, guess who I spotted on TV the other day: Bob Ross. And not in the capacity you might expect.

Is this the same Bob Ross of “The Joy of Painting”, you ask? The be-‘froed, gentle renaissance man Bob Ross? The Bob Ross who passed away in 1995?

I say to you, the same.

Only now, he’s hawking smart phones in commercials and reminding you that your image is apparently public domain or something in South Korea and that death is no reason for people to stop making money off you or whatever.

I use my smart phone to communicate from beyond the grave.

And it’s all creepy cgi-ed and there’s some dude dressed up as Bob Ross demonstrating how he can use his phone on the subway. It’s just so….unsettling. Of all the dead American celebrities out there, you choose Bob Ross, Korea. Another great mystery to this waygook.

In slightly less weird Dead Person News, one will occasionally spot the odd Billy Mays commercial. But dubbing doesn’t do the man justice.

………………………………….UPDATE!!……………………………………

For the first time ever, I have discovered a relevant video. This is NOT the commercial I saw when I took the above photo, but it’s obviously related. How  weird is it that there appears to be a whole SERIES of Bob Ross commercials in Asia?

Is it just me? Tell me this is weird:

77

Well our time here in the ROK is seriously winding down. Something like 77 days left? (But who’s counting? Moms?) My giddiness over being in the homestretch (IPAs…I’m coming home!) is overshadowed by how quickly time is passing. When people from home ask if I’m excited that August is so close, I’m unfailingly overwhelmed by the never-ending list of things that need to happen before then. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Visiting at least three places that I haven’t visited in Korea (like Jeju!)
  • Crossing off a few random but important things on my Korea bucket list (live octopus damnit)
  • Organizing and financing trips to Thailand and Hong Kong (traveling pre-final-departure from Korea).
  • Planning and executing weeks of English summer camps.
  • Navigating the Korean bank system so I can get my due money when I leave.
  • Extending my visa so Korea doesn’t detain me on my way out.
  • Deciding where I’m going immediately after Korea (Europe for two weeks? Europe for two months? Straight home?)
  • Arranging undecided journey.
  • Buying a ticket out of Korea, Destination: Still Unknown.
  • Packing up all the crap that can’t come to Europe with me.
  • Figuring out how to send home all the crap I will have packed.
  • Finding a job so I don’t have to turn tricks when I return to the U.S.
  • This is the list that never ends….it goes on and on my friends….

Not to mention my many mundane daily responsibilities like: Continue reading