It’s been a long while since I’ve give you a bunch o’ lil’ Korean bites! Want to know what’s it’s like living in Korea in the summer for a couple foreigners? Here ya go!
– I seriously find the best stuff in the trash along the street around here! (Not pictured, three records I took home, one of Korean folk songs and one of a 90’s Korean boy band)
– The other day an old Korean lady gave me a bag of cherry tomatoes she picked from her garden, saying “For you. All. Toe-mah-toes.”
I said, “Oh, ALL these toe-may-toes are for me? Thank you!”
She then got embarrassed, and corrected her pronunciation of “tomatoes”, and then I got embarrassed, trying to tell her both pronunciations were totally fine. I should have broken out into song…
– Number one thing I dislike about apartment living: every time someone nearby is cooking it smells like farts.
– Heheh, this one website I’m looking at has an advertisement in the sidebar reading “Adventure! Explore Korea!”
– Explaining the word “made” to my Chinese friend. After about 10 minutes a light bulb must have gone off and she exclaimed “Ooooh!! Made in China!!”
– Something to start my day off thinking that I’m an absolutely terrible person: I was walking down a hall and saw a middle-aged woman standing on some steps reaching to staple a poster high up onto the wall.
I literally had these thought: “Looks like she needs help. I could so easily give her a hand. Meh, but I have places I need to be.”
As soon as I was past her I heard a bang and turned to see that she’s slipped and had fallen down the stairs. She was sitting on the floor holding her ankle and trying not to cry.
I AM THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD!
I obviously helped her after that, but seriously? I feel like such a terrible person.
– Here’s a new one: Apparently some older people at the church might be getting pissed that I sometimes do drawings on the whiteboard. That no one else ever uses. In the completely empty office that usually only us are ever in. That are… erasable. When I began asking constant questions about why this could possibly be (Do they not like “graven images” like some churches? Do they think I’m “showing off” with doodles? Is it just a little jarring to see huge drawings?) the only answer that could be explained to me was “It’s just… culture maybe?” I am completely baffled. This is what brought up the conversation:
– Last night we went to see the new Wolverine movie. Beforehand, in a bookshop, a couple non-Koreans walked by. It’s been, I dunno… Weeks I guess since we’ve seen a non-Korean (that we didn’t already know).
Then while we were picking out our seats at the ticket counter (here in Korea you pick out assigned seats) the same non-Koreans walked by.
Then they were hanging around a table near us in the food court and we could feel their eyes on us.
Then we noticed them walking behind us as we went to the movie theater again.
And finally, they all happened to have assigned seats RIGHT next to us at the same movie!
We finally figured we might as well say hello and it turns out, they know some of the same people we know and told us they’ve heard about us.
Korea is so small!! Also, you don’t often see too many other foreigners.
– me: “Hello, how are you?”
adorable little Chinese lady: “I love you.”
– This kid makes me want an Asian child so much.
– It wouldn’t be a Saturday morning walk to the grocery store without coming home with a story!
As I neared the huge busy intersection near the store I saw a guy assisting a girl cross the street, both about my age. The girl was shuffling along in a flimsy hospital gown and rolling a portable IV next to her. They entered the store right in front of me and apparently NO ONE found this strange in the least!
Then, as I was wandering up the ramen aisle a guy in his 20’s turned around to see me and stepped back in shock as his eyes got as big as dinner plates. He then grabbed his girlfriend and swung her around, pointing at me as though he was seeing a ghost. Apparently, I’m a stranger sight than a hospital escapee.
– Just passed an empty motorized wheelchair and assumed it must be for a child, based on how small it is. Then I realized that no, either Eric or I could sit in it comfortably. Then realized that I’m just so used to seeing the triple-XL wheelchairs in at the States that this normal one actually looked like a child’s to my American eyes!
– Uh… the guy spraying the plants outside our apartment complex is wearing a gas mask… Something tells me he’s not just watering the trees.
– I was asked to organize and perform a mini Christian-themed musical to put on in a week & a half with a handful of people I won’t even meet until the night before the performance. Person asking me to do this kept saying “This is no problem.” as if she thought that if she said that enough, I’d just repeat it after her maybe.
– Some kids asked me about my haircut yesterday. I explained that it’s a common American style. Misrepre-SENT!
– Pointing at a photo, I was explaining the other day to my Chinese friend that the English word for this animal was “donkey”. Her response: “Don-key… Donkey… Ah! Don Quixote!”
– Feeling sick, decided to come home early from church. Within minutes of getting changed into more comfortable clothes there’s a knock at the door. Three middle aged Korean women dressed extremely nicely are smiling at me, holding an iPad, and begin asking questions. I might have finally scared them off because I was mumbling “I don’t speak Korean” through a mouth full of crackers while in my pajamas.
That is all.
– We walk past this sign a few times a week. I seriously hate his face.
– Tell us we need to meet with some people from 4:00-5:00 everyday. No problem.
This goes on for 2 straight weeks.
Smack-dab in the middle of week 3, we’re waiting just like every other day, but today no one shows up.
No explanation, so reason, no warning, even though the guy in charge talked with us earlier that day.
We’re still expected to wait the full hour, just in case someone shows up late.
Getting use to this kind of thing.
– Guy just gave me a huge handful of these mini walnut-shaped cakes, talked in Korean non-stop for about 3 minutes, then walked away. Bonus! I’d seen these earlier and had been wanting to try them! Counter-bonus: not a fan.
– Talking to a handful of Korean kids today, explaining what the word “masculine” means. Suddenly I demand that the conversation grind to a screeching halt because one 11 year old boy has pulled a chicken wing out of his backpack and is eating it. They don’t understand why I find this so strange.
Side note: They all think I’m very masculine. I think I might need to redefine the word for them.
– This is Rose, my Chinese friend. Recently she told me (in her VERY broken English) that she wishes she could live with me.
– Finally, I’ll leave you with this trash can we saw at a university we were visiting…
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