Friday, June 19, 2009

say, "kimchi!"

It has been three months since I have written anything on here...so get ready to digest an out-of-order, bits and pieces account of the past 12ish weeks...

***

At a club called Volume, I walked into a packed-out, apartment-sized bathroom-oozing with intoxicated Korean women. Being the only foreigner, they all stopped what they were doing and stared at me like a herd of deer trapped in car headlights.

"You speak Korean?" one of them immediately asked.
"No," I offered with an apologetic smile.
Girl then grabbed my arms, and she pulled me so close I thought she was going to kiss me.

"You are so beautiful! So exotic! I'm so happy to meet you!"

I laughed out loud...me? exotic? I'm still fumbling with the concept that I'm the minority here. I also laughed because this amazingly beautiful woman (if you don't know or have been walking around with a bag over your head...Korean women are probably the most beautiful women in the world) who was wide-eyed, had a gaping mouth, and clinging to me... was telling me that I was beautiful.and exotic.

"You are so beautiful!" I responded back.

A volcano of laughter erupted. I blinked, and they were gone.

Magic.

***

Father: Do you know where the embassy is?

Me: Yes, Dad.

Father: Do you know how to get there in case anything happens with N.Korea...

Me: *sigh* Yes, Dad.


I've never been good at multi-tasking; therefore, I may not be an expert on how many tasks a person can adequately juggle. During my morning runs, I have seen many Korean school children on their way to school. On their bicycles, they successfully steer around chaotic traffic, listen to music, AND read a book.

North Korea?

I'm scared of getting hit by a small child.

***

Lately, I've been craving saltine crackers: the perfectly crispy, nutritionally void, salted squares of taste-bud heaven. Thankfully Seoul sports one of my random food cravings.

***

My director had warned us about consistently washing our hands, and while I adhered to her advice, I proudly announced how I rarely got sick.

Before I could cross my fingers, knock on wood, or complete any anti-jinxing witchcraft, I of course was coughing and constantly blowing my nose. Despite my valiant attempts to overdose on vitamin c, get sleep, drink gallons of water, and eat many vegetables...I quickly got worse. Thanks to the smoggy, yellow-dusted, Seoul air, I developed a pretty serious sinus infection and bronchitis, which led to an even more serious ear infection.

I begrudgingly went to the doctor's office (actually, another foreign teacher, Ashley, at my school kindly walked me there because I was not in any kind of normal functioning state).

He looked at my ear with an intricate mini-camera, and he then sent me to an ear specialist.

I was completely in a daze from the pain, and I was running a ridiculously high fever (102!!!). The map that the doctor drew for me to get to the ear doctor's office was an exact replica of a Mike Patterson map (Alliance Review edition)(1).


Even though I begged the doctor to write down the name of the ear doctor's office in Korean so that I could just hand it to a cab driver, he insisted that I would be able to find my way.

Unfortunately, he couldn't understand how much Patty Blake lacks a sense of direction.

As I bumbled down the sidewalk, the only thing I could think about was how much I probably resembled a cat my family once had. Our kitty, Nanna, had once too suffered from an inner-ear infection. Until she died many years later, she walked around void of any balance and with her head tilted to one side.

Could this potentially be my future?

I was incredibly weak and dizzy from looking up at the buildings, and trying to match the Korean Hangul letters to business signs. By the grace of God, I ended up in a bakery at the bottom of the building I was supposed to be in. I handed over my makeshift map and the kind employees took my hand, put an arm around my shoulders and ushered me upstairs.

The next sight that I saw was directly out of a bad foreign film...

The office was crammed with a sea of black heads. I towered over everyone in the room as I barely made it to the front desk. They handed me a dirty, crumpled paper with English requesting my contact information. The receptionists could see how weak I was, and one of them led me to an open seat.

It was shoulder to shoulder seating. On my left sat an Adjumma who took up most of the space with her dominating expression and to my right sat a small child reading an Anime comic book. As I drifted in and out of a dreamy sleep state, my name was finally called after an hour, and I then saw a doctor (who looked like he was 12) for five min.

He wrote me a prescription and told me to come back in three days.

I now no longer can look at children as children. All I see are slimy hands, drippy noses, and heated, fevered foreheads.

I'm lethally armed with a bottle of hand-sanitizer.

***

The man who lives in the apartment above me has an amazing ability to pee at record lengths of time. I am marveling at human anatomy-how is it possible to hold over a minute's worth of pee in your bladder?

Yes, the walls in my apartment building are that thin...

***

I've been informed by a variety of people (namely my students) that apples are not sufficient for a meal.

I beg to differ:

Apples are the breakfast, lunch, and dinner of a champion. The end.

***

Where was my life before rock climbing?

***

Kindergarten student: Teacher you look a like a beautiful princess!

Me: Thank you!!

Kindergarten student: But you are the most beautiful. Like a flower. Like a beautiful flower.

Me: Oh my goodness! Thank you so much!

Kindergarten student: So...do I get a sticker now?

Me: *sigh*

***

For anyone who really knows me well, I am pleased to inform you that I have been set free of my coffee addiction.

I just better have be able to have black tea as soon as I wake up :)

***


1. Mike Patterson Map: A drawing accompanied by (usually) spoken directions . The picture itself contains no actual road names, only arrows. Forms of shapes that are supposed to represent buildings and/or various landmarks enhance the map's visual quality but mostly do not pertain to one arriving at the correct destination. The map consists of approximately two or three post-it-notes, a scrap of newsprint, and/or a previously written on piece of paper.