I apologize in advance for the negativity that’s going to out pour in this here post, but I’ve had to get it off my chest in a documented fashion for a few days now. Though, however negative it may be, hopefully in reading this back down the line I’ll get a good ol’ hearty kick out of my Korean aggression!
On with it now. I don’t know if I’m just going through a phase of “Koreans can suck it!” or my tolerance is just outgrowing my welcome, but lately I have been so unbelievably anti-Korean and I’ve really begun to notice it in my actions and thoughts way more than the usual average everyday annoyance.
Or, maybe Andria passed her torch onto me when she departed this tiny crazy weird country. Love ya mean it toots. Smooch smooch.
Whatever it is, I find some semblance of comfort in supposing such feelings are normal whenever you live somewhere other than your native country for any extended period of time.
Well, my time is now, dammit! And, well, I’d like to invite you on the journey of my rage.
About a month ago now, I was transferring from line 4 to line 1 to meet Jee for an unlimited bomb diggity sushi go-round dinner. I’m standing on the platform waiting for the train to come, and some old ajussi (Korean man) with his fat ass designer hiking backpack equipped with double hiking sticks jutting out on each side, decided he didn’t need to open his eyeballs and observe the human being standing directly in front of him. Instead of making the conscious effort to be mindful of his surroundings, he side-swiped into my human body as I stood there, leaving his 2nd hiking stick to trail behind and gash straight across the left lens of my spectacles, which I actually use to SEE THINGS WITH. If it weren’t for the plastic protection of my glasses, I surely would have gotten my eye poked out, or at the very least been rendered blind. A lose-lose situation if you ask me.
Of course the man just carried on his way, unaware (or uncaring?) of his attack on my seeing apparatus. So, with the fire boiling in my belly, I lunged and smacked the back of his backpack to spark some, ANY, attention, while shouting some expletives in his direction. Of course he turns around, and gives me the most blank stare you ever did see. Oh, I’m sorry man, did you not notice when you plowed into another human being? Don’t give me that look! Needless to say, the lone foreigner made quite the stink on that platform in front of line 1, my second least favorite line in this city, just to top it off.
To anyone not living in Korea, you’re probably thinking “WHOA DANIELLE! Why’d you hit him?!” But, I can wholeheartedly say I am not alone in the hit-back. Sometimes you just really need to stand your ground in a country that likes to relentlessly save face and basic societal manners are lacking, and that’s the only way to be heard. This kind of stuff really drives me mad, because it’s not even a matter of living in such a densely populated city that makes shoving and walking into people acceptable. I mean, yea, there are a CRAPton of Koreans, but I’m sorry, there are a CRAPton of Japanese and New Yorkers but they don’t act as if you are as invisible as the air they’re breathing. They’re not walking into walls so they shouldn’t be walking into me! Or maybe they are, and if that’s the case, I should poke your eyeballs out and let Darwinism run its course.
Oh, and as a nice souvenir of the altercation, I have a long, beautiful hairline scratch on my left lens now. Which by the way, will not come out, and yes, is annoying. My lenses cost more than my frames, I’m that blind, and now a little more blind.
End rant 1. Begin rant 2.
As most know, I moved out of my old apartment at the end of August. When I moved, my maintenance man had prorated my gas and electricity bills and tacked them onto the monthly maintenance bill, which in retrospect still seemed a bit higher than I usually paid. I usually got those two bills sent directly to me so I paid the companies on my own separately. However, since I moved out earlier they said they’d divvy up the money if I just included it with the monthly maintenance fee. After calculating, maintenance man told Jee to have me wire all the money in one lump some, which is what I did. He literally harassed her about this while she was helping me move out, so there is no way we f’d anything up.
Flash forward 3 months (almost 4!) later, my horrendous excuse for a landlord decides that the maintenance man miscalculated the bill and didn’t factor in the gas and electricity bills. 3 MONTHS LATER! Which um, he clearly did, because what the hell else was he adding to my bill if it wasn’t that? And the big elephant in the room, why are you just now “noticing” this miscalculation 3 months down the line? Is it because you are incompetent? Or because you didn’t fill the apartment yet and thought “Oh! I’ll trick the impure foreigner into paying it!” Whatever it is, I’m not buying any of it. You will have to pry my bank information from my cold dead hands before you get the 14,000 won you are arguing over.
Yea, 14,000 won. The equivalent of $14.
But that’s not all. She didn’t call with just 1 story, not even 2. But 3 stories with 3 different amounts of money she was claiming me to owe. First it was the electricity bill for August. Then it was electricity AND gas from June, which is a crock because like I said before, I paid those separately to the companies themselves. Third it was for water (which I never paid for in 2 years) and an elevator fee. AN ELEVATOR FEE?! Should I have paid to breathe in my apartment as well if I was being charged for each time I stepped on the blessed elevator?
Of course this was all funneling through Jin, who at first was hearing her out, and then got more and more fed up with her and started getting snappy and ignory (mostly at my advising). She felt weird at first yelling back at this woman because age is the end all be all in Korea. It doesn’t matter if you are old and a moron, or young and brilliant. If you are old you are right, if you are young you are wrong. Anytime Jin snapped back at her, the landlord had some condescending tone with her, and even had the audacity to tell her that she doesn’t know anything about paying bills because JIN’S NOT MARRIED.
Jin ended up blocking her number, but clearly that didn’t matter because the landlord CAME TO MY SCHOOL last Thursday. Unannounced and completely inappropriate, she took a day off work (and 70,000won worth of a day’s pay) to come and argue over 14,000won that she was not going to get. If I was not at school, with children coming in and out of my room and running in the hallways I would have surely given that landlord a verbal cutting, but instead I completely ignored her, dashing in sprinklings of biting words and devil eyes whenever I saw fit. Jin said the lady was most definitely scared.
I have seriously been so outraged, especially because just a few days before she showed up, I read a blog posting about another foreigner’s horrendous experience in Korea. Her foreigner status was completely used against her and her boyfriend by the Korean system, and it totally disgusted me. It’s not uncommon for Koreans to completely take advantage of foreigners simply because we are not Korean, and then we are made out to be these awful, dirty, lying thieves.
So in the end, it’s 14,000won that this woman is fighting over, which is petty change, and she could have gone to work that day instead of harassing me at school and gotten her 14,000won. But it’s the principle. I sent my bank statements showing everything that had been paid and she STILL keeps telling Jin “make her understand the situation”, even as Jin has told her innumerable times “SHE UNDERSTANDS PERFECTLY AND WILL NOT PAY!”
I don’t normally hate on Korea, aside from the general “this place is f’ing weird”, but lately little things, and bigger things, have really been digging at me. GRRRR. I’m sure I’ll be back to lalalalalaDanielle soon enough, but I had to paint the dark side of the moon for you.
In happier news, mark your calendars, diaries, sundials ~ whatever. I will be home for a 2 week visit from February 14-28.