An Awkward Date & Signing Away My Life

A couple awkward things happened in the past couple days.  Won’t you let me tell you about them?

1. There is a little maintenance man who works at my school, and who also happens to live in Danggogae up in North Korea where I live.  About a month or so ago he sold me my pretty purple bike with a basket.  Ever since then he has been so nice to me and literally every time he sees me starts rambling mumbo jumbo that I don’t understand, throws his hands up in excitement and then brings me some kind of treat.  First it was a peanut butter sandwich that he probably got from Family Mart down the street, then it was a Capri Sun, then it was a ginger drink, then an energy Bacchus drink, ice cream and a cup of ice water, then it was 2 pieces of caramel candy. THEN he wanted to get 피자 (“peecha”…or pizza) with me in our hood. After asking me (thru Jin) a couple times, I obliged. So we met this past Sunday at 3pm in the Dontgogay. This is the story of how I was courted by a tiny little ajussi (old Korean man).

First we ate Nangmyeon (냉면) which is delish.  It’s buckwheat noodles in an icey cold broth with a hard boiled egg, julienned cucumber and pears and then you put vinegar and dijon mustard in to taste. Tis the perfect summer meal! Anyways, we went and ate that first.  He talked to me, I didn’t understand, he slurped uncontrollably, I tried to remain unnerved by it.

Next he bought me an iced latte from the 17th Street coffee shop that I sometimes go to.  I drank, he smoked a cigarette and tried to talk with me some more.  He basically said Itaewon (the foreigner area) over and over again because he knows I went there one of many weekends.

THEN after motioning to me if I wanted any home supplies (I didn’t), we went over to the THE school.  Pizza School that is.  He motioned for me to pick out any pizza I wanted, so I chose cheese pizza.  This is him sitting and waiting for it to finish cooking.  That’s his jazzy bike in the foreground.

And to conclude our “date,” he put my pizza on the back of his bike, walked me in a circle through some janky Danggogae alley way, back to the station and to the hill before I turn off to go to my apartment.  Gladly he did not walk me further so he doesn’t know where I live. Then he told me “bali bali” (kinda like hurry hurry, go go), handed me my pizza and I was off on my way.

It was slightly awkward, but it’s interactions like this that make me so happy I’m living abroad.  It’s so interesting to me how two people literally can not effectively communicate because of a thing called language. So simple yet so complex.  Good sociology project I reckon.

2. For those who are out of the loop, I renewed my contract and signed my life away to Korea for one more year.  The first step in the renewal process is to get a medical check.  You know, to make sure I don’t have AIDS and to see if the crack is all out of my system.  The whole check consists of peeing in a cup, giving blood, getting a chest x-ray, getting my blood pressure, vision, hearing, height and weight checked, and being “interviewed” (if you can even call it that) by a doctor.  All he was concerned about was if I had any cocaine or other narcotics exposure and if I had the AIDS. Thank God I’m not a dirty waygook!

Anyways, my male co-teacher, Mr. Jang, took me and it was slightly awkward, but whatever in the grand scheme of things.  The part that really gave me a good giggle was when he directed me to the room I was supposed to go change into the x-ray gown in.  He points and whispers to me “now you must go in and take off your clothes.”  Normal co-teacher chatter. Afterwards, he continued to stand behind me through each process.  He honestly could have just sat in the waiting room while I handled it. I’m a big girl.  He almost walked me right into the women’s restroom stall until I put a hand up and said “I got it.”  He got the message.

So yea, next on the list of renewal to-dos is to renew my visa at immigration.  Now all you people who have not come to visit me have a whole year longer to figure out how to get to the far east.  Make it happen.


2 Morons Went To A Lady GAGA Concert

Well, this is for sure going to be the most embarrassing, moronic, completely stupid post I will ever write on this here blog.  Why? you ask.  Plain and simple, Collin and I are morons/pop concert music vets (turned amateur) and expected FAR MORE from a Lady GAGA concert. UGH. Please read on to feel good about yourself and laugh at our dismay.

To begin, I fucking L-O-V-E Lady GAGA and it has been a dream to finally check her off my list of pop divas I’ve seen in concert. Then I found out that she was kicking off her world tour in SEOUL while I’m living here, I thought HOLY SHIT, this will be AMAZEBALLZ. Collin and I scurried to buy tickets  on the crackpot Korean site a couple months ago and I have been bumping Lady GAGA even more than I do on the regz, and that’s a lot. So you can imagine how many subway rides consisted of the Lady bumpin in my ears.

Fast forward to Friday. In between classes I was watching GAGA videos, after classes I was blasting GAGA from the amazing speakers in my classroom.  Left school, headed to Holley’s to get glamorized and drunk for the festivities. I planned my whole outfit to slightly mirror the “Marry the Night” video plus hot pink lipstick. It felt like Halloween 2.0.  Collin was last minute scrambling for fishnets, liquid leggings, caution tape, mini florescent tank tops…anything that would convey GAGA~GAY and that she is the devil by Korean standards.  Here’s me doing his makeup, and then us just sexing up the camera.

This is where the haziness of this night begins. We left Holley’s around 7:45pm maybe (not sure, but I think). Collin changed into Steph’s liquid pleather leggings on the street, and we bolted for the subway.

We got to Olympic Stadium probably around 8:15pm thinking that there was going to be an opening act on the stage so it was fine that we got there a tad after the schedule 8pm show. We heard GAGA songs coming from the stadium, but we just assumed it was a track playing, because that’s what it sounded like, that’s normal for concerts back home before the act goes on, and plus there were so many people just outside the stadium! NEWSFLASH: No opening acts and everything starts promptly per the ticket here in Korea.

Well, we bolt to get inside, and Collin and I lose everyone and start scopin out how we’re gonna sneak down to the front. We find a railing lacking any form of security guard, we hoist ourselves over it and jump to the level below. I got “caught” one of the five times that we did it, mid-strattle, and all the 2 “security guards” said was “No.” and I carried on walking briskly through the lower level. Guess they’re just not used to people not following the rules here in Korea.   Please keep in mind that while this is happening GAGA is in fact on stage performing.  We were just so convinced that it was a cover band because there were zero close ups, it sounded like pure track, her hair looked like GAGA circa 4 years ago, there were 2 catwalks which were not used, most importantly, she was wearing PANTS. AND on top of that, I was expecting a complete madhouse because I’ve always heard that Asian fans are the nuttiest.  But no. they were all literally just standing there with arms crossed.  SEE?!

All signs led to GAGA cover band, because that seems normal for Korea too.  The only thing that made us question our judgement was the occasional time she spoke to the crowd, or rather, yelled FUCK to the crowd.  There were about 6 times that Collin and I stopped in our tracks, stared at each other and said “I AM SO CONFUSED RIGHT NOW. IS IT HER?!” Meanwhile, I was texting my friend Jeremy who I thought was telling me insider info, that yes, she goes on after the cover band around 11pm.  That got lost in translation because he didn’t realize he was talking to a couple of morons who THOUGHT they were watching a cover band.  He just wanted to find out when people were leaving the concert to go to dirty Hongdae. Erg.

We found a few aisles that we scoped out for “when the concert actually started” where we could post up. So, in short, the entire concert Collin and I were scoping out the perfect place for the concert that was never going to happen because it was already happening. We probably paid attention to max 3 songs. In fact, I can remember the 3 songs we paid attention to ~ Americano, Paparazzi and Just Dance.  We were so set on the fact that we were watching a cover band. During the encore, we were in the concession area taking photos and being annoyed that our phone service wasn’t working so we could tell the rest of our crew to come down and sneak up with us.

After the encore, I asked some Koreans why they were all running/leaving. They looked at me blankly and continued running. Collin and I even ran over to the area that looked like the gateway to the floor so that we could get a prime seat for THE SHOW. We were asked to leave because the “show was over.”

So, that’s the tale of how two GAGA fans were made to look a fool. At least it’s an amazing story.  I still believe that the show was extremely tailored for konservative Korea.  If you didn’t hear, all the super Christians turned to prayer to ask God to prevent the concert from happening in Seoul because Lady GAGA worships the devil and will turn people gay and will make them watch pornography.  Basically, they think she is the spawn of Satan. NEWSFLASH, but your 5th grader probably already watches porn on his Samsung smartphone.

Here is the one photo that Collin and I have of us with Lady GAGA at the concert.  And I believe we said “let’s take a photo with the GAGA cover band behind us.” UGH.

At least I didn’t pay hundos for this concert, otherwise I woulda probably gone and watched some porn, turned gay and killed myself for paying all that money to see Satan’s offspring.


Get Out Of My Way.

My 7 month Korean anniversary was yesterday, so I celebrated at a waygook St. Patty’s Day Festival in Sindorim.  All the kokos probably thought “wtf is with all the waygooks in green today?” It was lovely to be in an area with all foreigners (waygook = foreigner), wonderful friends, face painting, a Korean U2 cover band (who were actually pretty good!), some Irish dancing and lots of day drinking.

There are lots of things I really really like about Korea, such as: everything is cute (EVERYTHING), THE BABIES, public transportation is wonderful, you can always find fried chicken (I never really ate fried chicken before moving here, and omg), best coffee shops ever, THE BABIES, being here is like a break from life and it’s amazing, buying near anything on the run is always so convenient (makeup, booze, a new outfit, whatevz), the shopping is OFF THE CHAIN, etc. Oh, and THE BABIES. Cutest babies in the world.

There are also many things that are starting to piss me off about Korea, such as: everyone always on their damn smart phones 24/7, walking like snails, men carrying women’s purses, not knowing what I’m eating half the time, no water at lunch (just salty soup), they eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner (I’m starting to get really sick of Korean food), the awful customer service, or lack thereof….and being PUSHED ALL THE TIME.

I really started realizing the things that have been wearing on me when returning “home” from my travels.  I found myself getting constantly irritated by Korean things. Yesterday one thing really HIT me, literally. Someone hit me. As I was walking to my transfer in the subway, just walkin along, iPod in my ears, minding my own damn business like every other Korean, some old ajussi (old Korean man) walked head on towards me, jutted his arms out, and literally SHOVED me out of his way. Um, pardon, but I’m a walking, living human being.  Get some spatial awareness and some manners PLEASE. I might not look like you, but I’m not an inanimate object you just shove out of your way.  Ah, the Land of Push & Shove.

I wonder if CCTV caught that live in action. Probably.

But yea, 7 months have passed.  Kinda cray cray.  Despite the nagging things, I’m still loving it here, yo.  I’m also a bit shocked I haven’t gotten supremely homesick like I thought I would. Maybe that’ll kick in soon.