Tag Archives: boys

Imma Set It Straight, This Watergate

My coteacher is undermining me. This is not Euna, the tiny, terrifying ball of badassery, but someone we will refer to as B. What you need to know about B: he had never taught a day in his life prior to mid-March, nor does he speak English. Likes: picking lint off his suit. Dislikes: Me.

I cannot figure out why we were paired together to teach young children English when we can’t even communicate with each other. (I reserve the right to punch the balls off the authority figures responsible.) In our first week of teaching together, I tried a few questions to get him to open up.

Me: So did you always want to be an English teacher?

B: No.

Me: Ha. Um.

B: <scowling at sidewalk> I have no skills. I am English teacher.

I then tried to decide if this comment was directed at me. He is Korean (thus, incapable of sarcasm or direct insults), so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. However, now that we’re over a month into the semester it is increasingly clear that B’s entire purpose is to undermine my every move and push me toward a psychological break. At first I chocked these incidents up to the language barrier, than to simple stupidity. But the trouble is too persistent…his attitude too sinister…he is here to destroy me.

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Seoulja Boy

In lieu of Erin writing about K-pop today, TWD has a very special guest contributor: Korea’s own hip hop icon, G-Dragon.


Yo yo yoooooo, it’s ya boy GD, burnin up dese hoes like I was a VD! Naw son, chlamydia ain’t no joke. Getcha junk straight cleaned up befo’ ya hit da club,  heard? Anywayz, some Erin bitch up in herr be all like, G-Dragon, you ain’t no gangsta MC. But I be all like, yo grrl, yo’ punk ass gotz da rightz to remain silent and shit. Then I be all like, pop and lock!Then she be all like, aw why you so fine an’ shit, G? G-Dragon done made a fool outta yo ass. Recognize, 4 realz.

Dis year, me an’ my boy TOP be layin down some mad rhymes-uh, so get yo fine ass on da flo an’ let me see dem tittays. Peep my video, grrl:

(Ed: Can’t see it? Go here.)

Iz dat legit enough fo you?! Aaaaaaaw yeah, dat shit be crazay! Me an’ my crew be all up in da club,  sippin on soju and bangin some hoes! Nawm just jokin, we be straight proper up in herr. Respek deez bitches.

Ya’ll know we be wearin some fly ass shit up in therr too, you feel me? Shoulder pads be hella tight this year, an’ you know you already done shaved ya eyebrowz like a brotha, an’ don’t fahget, you won’t be tappin shit widdout ya eyeliner. GD – bringin da fashion to yo fine ass since 2008.

Yo grrl, you know I wanna stay and play and shit, but G-Dragon gotz to bounce -uh. Don’ worry, I be back next time dis triflin punk ass bitch try an say I ain’t got moves and grooves. Pray for ODB. Word is born.

This Post Is About Birth Control

Being the perfect mix of anxious and lazy, I tend to worry about things but never quite follow through on the actions that would ease my concerns. This means that I will spend a lot of time fretting over how much work I have to do for this week’s English Camp, for instance, but I won’t actually DO the work in a timely manner so as to ease my own distress.

I found myself in a similar situation coming to Korea. I knew I’d need to find THE birth control pill while here, and so I scoured the internet to determine how feasible this task would be before I actually set out in search of it. I read it’s available sans doctor visit, and that it’s criminally cheap, so I decided not to stock up before I left the U.S.  Then that was all I did until the last minute when I finally really needed it.

When I lived in Argentina, getting birth control pills was as simple as going to the pharmacy and requesting the “pastilla (pill) de no bebe” or “embarazo (pregnancy) no”.  At least that’s how I did it when I first arrived and my Spanish was less…civilized.

The language barrier here is considerably more daunting, and while I had eight years of Spanish under my belt to help me in Buenos Aires (I could understand most questions asked to me and mime in response), these days it’s all I can do to get out a gamsahamnida (thank you) and anyeongikaeseyo (goodbye) to the cab driver. The thought of rolling into a pharmacy with something scribbled in my “Korean” and hoping to end up with oral contraceptives seemed way out of my league. Also, remember that I’m lazy.

So I turned to my female coteachers. While researching, I had read that Koreans might be kind of judgy and weird about the pill. I didn’t know if this was true or not, but I didn’t want to push my luck in the first few weeks I was here and so I took the advice of Random Internet Person, who suggested saying that I need the pill to ease PMS symptoms and/or make my skin clearer (two other fucking awesome things that the pill does besides ensuring that there aren’t mini-Megans terrorizing the world yet).

See?!? No one wants this.


This is how that conversation went:

Me (to my three young female coteachers): So I have a weird question…about birth control pills…

Them: Whaaa?!? Birth?!?

Me: Not birth, birth control, you know, like contraception. Prevent babies pills. Pills. That you swallow. And no baby.

Them: *staring at me and shifting uncomfortably, afraid to look one another in the eye*

Me: You know like, a pill that you take everyday so that you don’t GET pregnant?

Them: Mmmmm *more shifting*

Me (cue appeal to sympathies): I used to take them but I don’t here and I’m in a lot of pain because of my period and I need to get back on them, but I don’t know how to ask at the pharmacy. What do I say?

Them: Ah! Tyrenor. You need Tyrenor. No birth control. Tyrenor.

Me: Okay, yes, Tylenol now would be good. But also, what word do I use at the pharmacy for contraceptive pills?

Them: Tyrenor?

Me: Could someone write it down maybe please?

Them: Tyrenor? “T” “Y” “R”

Me: Nooo, no. Birth control pill.

Them: Let’s go. Let’s go school nurse, ask now.

Me: The nurse has birth control???

Them: Tyrenor. You need Tyrenor.

And then I was physically led downstairs to the nurse where I was given a box of Tyrenor. Mission: Failed.

I can’t say for sure why three women were unwilling to accept that I was asking for how to say ‘birth control pill’ (though this might explain a little bit, and maybe this). It was obvious that at least one of them knew what I was talking about and could tell that I was not satisfied with just Tylenol, but wouldn’t help me with the info I wanted. I don’t think it was malicious or mean, it was just terribly awkward and a complete failure in both getting the pill or feeling comfortable trying to ask someone else to help me.

I got pretty psyched out about the whole thing and then suffered my own ‘worried meets lazy’ fate. I fretted over how I would get my hands on some damn birth control, but let months pass before I grew the balls to ask someone again.

The only person I could still ask was my female coteacher at my other school, the one who, by way of another lady’s maternity leave, has been pretty much solely responsible for babysitting me since September. She is kind and sweet and probably the only Korean who I can say knows me in any real sense. She is also very religious and it is for that reason I had not wanted to broach this particular topic with her. The Christiany-religious stuff here really scares confuses and I don’t have a good grasp on just how devout my colleagues are and what it means (I’ve seen people pray before using the computer?). I wanted this coteacher to continue being my friend and I just wasn’t sure how my barbarian need for the pill would be received yet again.

This week, though, post-English Camp, I went out to lunch with her, just the two of us, a block away from a pharmacy. I waited until we were finished eating and then pretended like I had just then, there, on the spot!, remembered that I wanted to ask her something.  Like I hadn’t been planning for days that I would make this conversation  happen this week when we’d have a lot of “alone” time.

My question came out at super speed, a mumbly nervous mess of “and  I used to be on it and I don’t know how to say and I know it might be weird and I’m sorry but maybe could you help me and you take it every day for a month and no babies and I’m sorry are you confused it’s everyday no babies”.

She stared at me for a moment and I couldn’t read whether it was disgust or confusion or a combination of the two. But then she said, “Hmm. I am not familiar with that. I don’t know what it’s called, but we can go to a pharmacy right now and see.”

SCORE. We marched into the pharmacy, she asked one question, and in less than two minutes I had paid for my $7 box of oral contraception, ala Korea.


Yeah it's got wonky Korean directions, but still

For anyone who needs to know, the brand is Mercilon (마시른) and it comes in a pink box. Bonus!: It’s really low hormone, so I win again.



Playing The Foreigner can mean suppressing your personality (at work and in public and such) for the sake of Fitting In or Not Going to Asia Jail. This strategy works flawlessly, so long as no one asks you any questions about yourself, ever. And this never happens, especially in Corea del Sur. Thus, The Foreigner must consider three courses of action when confronted with an inquiry:

A) The Truth

B) The Simple English Response (whatever answer will be easiest to explain in broken Korean/basic English)

C) A Complete Lie That Will Make A Future In Place Much Much Easier

These aren’t always mutually exclusive, but frequently so. Let’s witness this process in action. An Example: “Do you have a boyfriend?”

Possible Answer A) The Truth: No, I do not have a boyfriend. Yes, that’s my age, you heard right. Your frowning and head-shaking and pity are not necessary and unappreciated. What’s that? You want me to date someone  you know? Likely a man raised with a Confucian value system that quite specifically outlines the subservience of women to men? Super great.

Possible Answer B) Simple English Response: No.

Possible Answer C) A Complete Lie That Will Make A Future In Place Much Much Easier: Yeah, I totally have a boyfriend. But, um, heee….doesn’t live here. Yeah yeah, far away from here. I know, it’s totally sad, right?! But that’s okay. I’ll, you know, maybe see him over winter vacation or something, no big deal.


Guess which one I chose? (Hint: C) And for awhile, there was peace in Erinland. My well-meaning coworkers were happy that I wasn’t going to die alone, and I was happy because my answer effectively killed the question, and my 6th grade girl students were happy because Boyfriend meant I wasn’t ever going to date Kyung Hyu – my babe of a coteacher and the man that they are clearly all destined to marry.

Complications arose. First, my 5th graders were to speak with my family on the phone as part of a lesson. As they wrote down their questions, I spotted several “You like Erin Teacher boyfriend?” Goddammit you little bastards…of the four sentences you know… This would end in much shit upon my head if my parents thought I had a secret boyfriend OR if my parents thought I had a secret boyfriend and then I had to tell them I didn’t. They would cry the bitter tears of those with a spinster daughter. Blessedly, the question never reached my mom & dad – proof of a divine, benevolent force at work in the world.

And now, with winter vacation on the horizon, I’m getting more and more curious questions from coteachers about where I’m going, when I’m seeing Boyfriend, what we’re going to do, when we’re getting married, if my parents like him, when they can see pictures, etc. The lies! The tangled, tangled lies!

Anyway, this is all making me feel like Jan Brady.

Update, yo: In efforts to keep my finger on your pulse, dear readers, I need to know if I’m racist and if that bothers you. More specifically, is that picture caption racistly hilarious or hilariously racist? There’s a difference, believe it or not. Fire away.

“It’s like a fucking fairytale.”

Because no one wants to read about a bunch of Debbie Downers, I move to lighten the mood! Travel gets all sorts of great representations on screen – there is probably no more accurate medium to translate the feeling of being a stranger in a strange land than film. So here, I give you “In Bruges” – not just my favorite travel movie, but possibly my favorite movie ever. Makes amazing use of “otherness” and the fucking gorgeous scenery.

Anyone else got a favorite?