Monday, May 30, 2005

The good, the bad, and the... I'm not sure.

The lame and inevitable list of things that are good, bad and the I don't know whether it's good or bad has arrived. We all know things are done differently in the next household down the street, let alone in another country. Being fortunate enough to be able to experience another culture for months at a time has been great. I'll just try to sort my thoughts online here, there are decisions to be made!

The good.
I've made good friends and met really nice people through my local church. I'm not sure exactly where I stand on religion but I do know that I look forward to Sundays. The biggest reasons to stay.

I'm in Korea. Radical.

While not the coolest thing to do, being employed does have benefits. Like when I'm hungry and need money to eat.

I don't need a car here. I would, of course, need one at home. Unless I chose New York or someplace like it to live. Not likely.

Along this thread, I don't want to go home and start racking up bills (car, rent, insurance) and obligations (like a job!) so that I'm in a hole and it'd become financially difficult to pick up and leave again. Say... next spring I want to visit a friend in London for a month. What, my new boss won't let me take 1 month off after working for 6 on the job? Or say I want to live in Mexico for 2 months learning Spanish. Or return to Korea 2 years down the road for 6 more months (maybe half a year is a good time limit for such things, personally).

So... I could lease a car (expensive?), sign a short rent (possible?), and get a temp job (wish me luck). Hmm, no clue what kind of job that would be, either. I still have no experience being part of the American labor force, I delayed that for a year by coming here. What's it like to live in a small American city, paying your own rent? So that possibility interests me, the grass is always greener...

The bad.
It's harder to eat healthily and excersize here (in my case).

On the flip side, I miss a good hamburger and ESPN.

Disrespectful kids. Somedays I wish I never began to learn Korean. It's something that's easy to laugh about with friends, but having it happen to me for the 1000th time and so on wears on me. Yeah, funny thing about kids is that they're in every country. Kids are great, funny, energetic and all that. Definitely. But... edited. I'm posting 99% of my truth here for everyone to see. Sorry, I have some mildly interesting pictures in earlier posts if you look around a bit though!

The I'm not sure.
Stop staring at me, please. Stop pointing at me, please. It's because of the color of my skin, first and foremost. I can even tell you that I've seen 4 foreigners in the past month. So that's why they stare, I'd be curious about the unknown too. But my personal tolerance of it has been wearing thin as of late. I'm not blaming anyone for it, and I knew it was going to happen. It'll be nice to go into a store when I go home and people will barely care that I'm there.

The whole attention thing is in the I'm not sure catergory because plenty of great stuff comes about from it as well. Nice Korean people, everywhere. All the time. Simply because of how I look. I'm guessing they're happy/interested/amused someone not Korean is around. That's what I can gather from my friends.

Why did the taxi driver give me $2 off my fare the other day? Was he really impressed I had no clue where I was going and equally floored by my horrible butchering of his language? He could use the money alot more than I could, I am sure of it. Tiny things like this keep reminding me it's not about the money. I often forget.

Why did the shopkeeper send his son running after me on the street to call me back into the store where he accidentally overcharged me ($20 overcharged actually... don't ask, I was tired), so he could give me my money back? He probably would have done it for a Korean, too. It probably would happen in America, too. Great, nonetheless.

Um, summer is coming. I don't think this place has air conditioning.

Why do you keep giving me free/extra food, you nice lady? Do I look chronically underfed? Not likely.

Safety. Wow, I feel safe here. Walking around town that is. If it wasn't for some rowdy northern neighbours it'd be great.

Health care. I don't know how good it is. Everyone has to go to the doctor every once in a while. I'm in no hurry to find out how it is around here.

So that about wraps it up. I mentioned before that I was homesick. It's really not too bad. I'd prefer to meet some more English speakers, but I'm a bit shy about such things. My personality also doesn't lend itself towards being a career teacher, but I must be doing something right since I've made it for 6 months. I think if I lived in a bit larger city, knew more people and had a different profession (the chance of that last one here is about nil) I'd stay for a few years. The grass...

I think it helped me to get my thoughts down. Most of what I mentioned begins and ends with me, of course thanks to a bit of input from my environment. The cliche it is what you make of it applies here. If I could do it over again, I'd still come here. I've made a pretty good 6 months of it, consulting must be done for the next 6.

15 minutes of fame.

So I'm going to work pretty soon. I'm getting more and more homesick. But it'd be a shame to leave a job that pays on time... leaving one job without another lined up doesn't seem too bright of a thing to do. That being said, I could use a vacation (couldn't we all). Overall it's been a great six months but I'm not sure of the point of keeping going to work at something I'm tired of and can't put my full energy into. I'm tempted to give my notice and return to the States in 6 weeks.

There isn't a job out there that I really want to pursue. I've given thought to volunteering. Lots of the places I've found I stand to lose money, not the best idea when I don't have too much to begin with. Others, like the Peace Corps, you can come out ahead money-wise but it's more than a 2 year commitment. I realize volunteering isn't about making money but it'd be nice to break even.

So there it is. I enjoy keeping this blog, and enjoy even more reading other people's. Many out there spend more time on their's than I do mine.

Mmm rambling, but anyways preferring to lie down and take a nap instead of going to work in 10 minutes isn't conducive to excellent teaching. I've gained plenty more respect for teachers after walking around in their shoes for 6 months. Especially for those teachers who have overworked students or work even more difficult situations... inner cities, the Mid East. The thing about teaching, might be obvious but anyways, you can't just go into it 80% without someone noticing.

Must throw on the nice clothes and get to it.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Ring of Fire.

I'm working on a nice mullet. I'm scared of going to the barber again, after what happened last time. It's ok, I think it might be in style here. Some goalie for the national team here had a pretty good one going. Or I'll just keeping telling myself it's in style til the hair gets in my eyes.

It's really cute when kids bow to me but awkward too. It happens more than I would think. And then some kids might bow if they see that their rough-housing in class is annoying me, followed by a chorus of "sorry"... but once they saw my reaction to their bowing they do it often now. Haha.

Random picture of where I play some basketball sometimes.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

99 Red Balloons.

Spent most of Sunday at church, then last night walked around a local temple. It was Buddha's birthday so it was suggested yesterday would be a good day to go. They were getting ready for a parade that would go through half the city. I'm guessing we were the only non-Buddhists in the crowd... and the non-Buddhists snapped some pictures.

Yours truly.

It was insisted that I get in like half the pictures so... it looks like I was photoshopped in there. I just noticed 3 people making funny faces that they probably wish weren't on camera... can you spot them? No, don't count my face.

Some people waiting for the parade to get started, dressed up in some traditional clothing.

Inside the temple of course. Can't tell you much about what is in the picture but I can tell you it's inside the first temple I've been to in Korea.

Bad random picture.


Thursday, May 12, 2005


I've made it for more than 5 months at the same job so I must be doing something right. I'm not sure if that luck will hold but there have been alot more good experiences here than bad ones. To speak bluntly, I can get over shyness well enough for teaching but not being much of an entertainer is a drawback here in the teaching business. It's alright, it doesn't bother me too much because I like who I am. Haha, maybe I have job problems but at least I don't have ego problems.

I paid $9 for a tiny stick of deodorant today... and had to go to a woman's perfume and body lotion type store to get it. My buddy told me next time I should order it off the internet next time. That way I get get what I want for a third of that price. But I needed it now, not in a day or 2. It's cool though as it seems I can get everything I'd want off the internet and for cheap too... I'd just have to wait a day or two for it to get here from Seoul.

One of my 11 year old kid's was listening to some loud music in the background during my phone check. He listens to music while he studies. I knew right away who it was.

I asked, "What is that I can hear in the background?"

He said, "Hear?!?!?"

And put his phone next to the speaker. I was then able to enjoy his Greenday just ask much as he could. I, of course, told him he had good taste in music.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


A taxi driver told me I speak Korean well, I think he was being too kind. The fact that could barely understand him when he said it leads me to believe that. The drivers are good to practice my skills on though.

Nothing like a tiny bottle of what tastes like milk and Sweet Tarts combined to drink after dinner.

We played some basketball today. I was unstoppable as usual. I'm pulling for a Miami-Indiana Eastern Final. And wishful thinking has me hoping for the Rockets to dig out of a hole in the West. Tough to enjoy the product the NBA puts out but anyways... Hard to catch the NBA playoffs over here, but maybe I can see some on the computer. When I've tried to get other games, I get soccer instead! Soccer... maybe if the name was different the sport would catch on in the US.

I ate cow lung today.

Monday, May 02, 2005

The Day I Tried To Live.

Going to play some basketball tomorrow. Trying to think about what kind of guitar I should get. Not trying to think about working for the next 40 years.

Children's Day on Thursday, so I foresee a trip downtown Wednesday night in a fitting celebration of this.

I give up, I sit down to write some of these posts sometimes and 30 minutes flick by and I still have nothing. Have a good one!

The hill.

The houses.

The road.

The school.