Category Archives: South Korea

Walk Like a Korean

A well known ‘problem’ foreigners have in Korea is predicting at what speed and in which direction a Korean is going to walk near you on the street. They are notoriously erratic in their travel from A to B and one must always be wary. I have become mostly numb to this specific issue (except for the occasional krazy who walks AT me at Home Plus).* But that is because all my anger is used up in another daily Korea walking conflict: Getting from Office to Cafeteria.

See, this can never happen in a normal manner and it never ceases to enrage me. I’ve wanted to write about these ten minutes for a long time because it is a daily fight. But it makes me so mad that I can actually feel my blood pressure rise and I don’t know how to write it nicely. The best I can do is present the situation factually and reflect on each part. Continue reading

Schooled

When one spends everyday at school with students who still don’t know how to ask to use the bathroom or employ the past tense of ‘go’, it is sometimes easy to forget that these kids are actually pretty smart. Today I was reminded of their intelligence, though, when they tried to tell me a joke and I was the reh-tard who couldn’t understand because I only know nine words in Korean.

First, they were trying to get me to agree that I know what “stwaaaws” is. I insisted that I do not, in fact, have any clue in the freakin world what “stwaaaws”, and so they reenacted a great battle scene with swords and head chopping. I thought, okay “stwaaaws” is “swords”. They were happy I had identified their miming as weapon-wielding, but then indicated that “stwaaaws” is a movie.

…Sword in the Stone???

No.

I don’t know what finally gave it away after four more minutes of their desperate attempts to inform me, but someone must have muttered “Skywalker” or “Han Solo” or something, so I eventually hollered, “STAR WARS!!! YES I KNOW STAR WARS! YES! I AM AMERICAN DAMN IT,” and everyone was excited and I was relieved that the game was over.

But it wasn’t. There was another battle reenactment, this time with lightsabers, obviously, and mad lightsaber sound effects.

Girl Student: Chawwohhhhngngng!

Boy Student: Teacher! Chwwwwooongngngg!

Girl Student: Teacher, what color rightsaber?

Me: Err…um…green? And…red? And…blue? Maybe?

Them: No teacher!

Me (more defensive confident): Um, yeah-huh guys.

Them: No! Rightsaber oranchee! HAHAHA!  Chwwoongngng Chwwoongng 주황!! 주황!! HAHAHA!

I stood there completely bewildered (what the hell is so hilarious?) while my coteacher laughed and asked, “Do you get it?” I scowled and waited for the explanation. (This conversation had been going on for like 9 minutes).

주황 is ‘orange’ in Korean. And it is also phonetically pronounced “choohwang”. Thus, “rightsabers are oranchee”.

Clever. Clever indeed.

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??

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

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