So yeah…how do you like the new look? Thought it was time to lighten things up a bit and actually start blogging a bit more about the odd turn my life has taken recently.
Before I get started on that though, I want to add an update to my last post, on family and the things that I have learned and let go when it comes to the topic.
Shortly before leaving the US for Korea, I got some bad financial news. Went into deep depression, mourned, stayed in bed for two days and accidentally let the whole sorry episode slip to my grandmother when I went to go visit her.
What happened next shocked me. I had started a crowd funding campaign to get me out of the bad investment hole I had managed to dive headfirst into, and while my friends were incredibly helpful, my family members–including some folks I barely talk to these days–were responsible for over half of the donations.
I was stunned. Shocked. And am eternally grateful. As a result, I left Colorado feeling loved, safe and secure. That is a way I had forgotten how to feel. Thank you family. You know who you are.
I guess that’s a good lead in to the point of today’s blog entry, which is…Korea is different. My Korea experience so far has been very different both from my UK expat experience and from all of the blog and vlog and book accounts I’d read before coming, and I’m glad.
I’ve heard horror stories, weird stories, stories of discrimination etc…but I’ve had nothing but good experiences here when it comes to Koreans and Korean culture. The only issues I’ve had so far have been with other expats–primarily white Americans and Europeans but chile, that is a whole other topic for another post. Not gonna touch that now.
My point is, despite what you may have heard about Korea–political turmoil, cultural pecadilloes, etc…–my experience here so far has been one of feeling safe, secure, and remarkably unworried. Even though I’m working a full time job, don’t speak enough of the language to understand most of what anyone says to me yet, and don’t really know many people yet–I feel so relaxed I might as well be on a extended vacation.
Part of that is the usual culture-shock honeymoon stage wide-eyed thing, I know. But part of it…I don’t know.
For example, right now, it’s Friday night. I’m chillin’ at home. Ordered a pizza(in Korean! Amazing, right?). Went to the corner store and got a beer and some cookies too. I had all these grandiose plans to clean my house and work on some crochet patterns, but I’ve been talking to people all week so instead I’m sitting in front of the TV with my laptop and a terrible beer and a decent pizza typing nonsense and watching this;
No, really. What the hell is this, anyway? Is this a grown ass man in a hipster outfit doing crisp choreography? And do I actually think it’s CUTE? What has my life come to?
Comfort, that’s what. I don’t feel guilty for relaxing. I don’t have the constant pressure I felt in the US and UK to always be doing something, working on something, making something happen. I don’t feel like I need to be talking to someone, forcing a social connection, or helping somebody.
Maybe it’s selfish. But if this is what life in Korea is like so far…I think I’m going to love it here. It won’t last forever, but right now, I need the break. It is so nice to have options to do a lot of stuff–and not HAVE to do anything.
There are pressures and odd spots and major cultural differences, of course. I’m 15 minutes away from the DMZ(aka the North Korean border) and that’s certainly interesting, if not as drastic as most English-speaking media makes it seem. Hearing K-Pop music everywhere constantly has pretty much ended my temporary love affair with it. Americans are often racist morons, to my chagrin. Koreans seem to be polite to us allanyway, which is kind of them. And I am really embarrassed by my low level of ability in the language…I’m so used to talking my way into and out of things that without that ability, I feel like I seem stupid and inept. In fact, I AM kind of stupid and inept. Viva humility. Over the course of time, I’m sure I’ll blog about all of that but right now, I’m still riding out my first impression of Korea. That impression is…
…I like this place.
But seriously though. THIS just came on. What the hell is this? Where’s the dude with the Bane mask?
Follow me on Twitter for more consistent updates on the mamalazarus Korea experience and hit the subscribe button on this blog…it’s somewhere over there. —>
PS; Today’s blog title comes from this song…
Yeah, so it’s official. I am a terrible person(personne/사람). A terrible person who is hanging on to my attempts to become trilingual because that may be all that redeems me. Excuse the vocabulary practice, then, please..
So what happened was this. I was speaking to someone on the subject of another person, who happened to be in the first person’s house(maison/집). First Person said, “Oh, Other Person is here…didn’t you two have an um, thing?”
I didn’t even think about my response. It just fell out of my mouth. “Yep, I hate her.”
What? What! WHAT!? “I hate her”? I hate her? WTF! I’m me. I don’t hate anybody, except for maybe The Man, and I don’t really even hate him…I just want him to go down because I stuck it to him.
Needless to say, me saying that I hated anything, let alone another human being, really disturbed me. I don’t do hate. I don’t even do nasty. I am the original annoying lily-throwingpacifist. I have literally let someone hit me with small noxious projectiles rather than fight back because I believe just that much in passive resistance(or at least, I used to). So how is it, that all of a sudden, I just casually hate folks? And mean it, too?
Well, if you ask some folks, it’s Jesus’ fault. And that brings me, however indirectly, to the topic of today’s post.
The story so far, after the jump…
I just can’t get away from this pop music thing.
These youtube videos, featuring random strangers in big cities being asked what songs they’re listening to, are INCREDIBLY cool to me. My favorites are Singapore:
and my semi-hometown, Denver;
A long, slowly growing list of these videos can be found here.
A few things I noticed:
Big cities are super diverse. DUH, but still…they are. Was not expecting to see so many non-Asian folks in Singapore…or non-Scandinavians in Stockholm. Hmmm…
Wiz Khalifa and Lady Gaga are, literally, EVERYWHERE. Every single video seems to feature Black and Yellow. That’s kinda unexpected.
English-language pop music blatantly dominates the world market. Even the people who blatantly didn’t speak English were often listening to English language songs. Still, given my recent obsession with kPop, I think it’s telling that 2NE1 popped up a few times too.
Anyway, that’s all for now. Blog title comes from here…
I don’t actually like it, but this mess is catchy as hell.
Ok. So on my continued quest to learn Korean(Coréenne/한국어) I’ve been exploring new ways to acquire vocabulary and grammar skills naturally in addition to the normal lessons. When learning French fifteen years ago my tactic was to watch lots of Caillou and warp my little teenage heart with Jacques Prévert. Children’s programming works wonders at teaching the basics(colors, shapes, numbers etc.) and poetry gives a framework for how to speak about intangibles. However, for whatever reason, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of children’s programming or poetry easily accessible in Korean(or if there is, I can’t find it).
What there is, is pop music and soap operas.
More after the jump….
*ahem* so yeah, my blog operates on CP time. And what?
I’ve got a few things to talk about on this Mother’s Day Sunday…
*Why is it so hard for people to mean what they say and say what they mean? Even in the superficial things? This is something I always work on…I don’t like empty words and I try not to use them. I’ll be honest and say, I’m not very good at removing empty words, but it’s something I’m working on.
I feel really ill. It’s raining. There was dirt on the shower floor this morning, and white paint(?) all over the back of the bathroom door. One of my housemates had some sort of porridge for breakfast this morning that involved most of our pots, bowls, and countertops, and very little washing up. (I hate porridge!) The radio is playing the same Pussycat Dolls song again. Some random Scottish guy is killing sea eagles. Meanwhile, some random Pakistani guy keeps feeding the pigeons on this street and they’re responding to his generosity by ungratefully splattering every square inch of the sidewalk with creamy white pigeon poo. There’s a spider the size of a terrier posted at the front door like some sort of bug bouncer. There are goofy commercialistic Christmas decorations up everywhere in town already. And did I mention it’s raining, and I’m ill?