Tuesday, January 18, 2011

backwards and forwards...

Today, I was thinking back to when I first arrived in Korea.  I was fucking terrified.  I had never left Canada before, I had never traveled alone before, I cried for the entire plane ride over... not just because I was scared, but also because I was leaving the people that I love behind.

The first month, I was afraid to do things.  I was afraid to go to the grocery store because I didn't know what things would be, I was afraid to go to the PC rooms because I didn't think I would know what to do and I thought that people would laugh instead of help... I was afraid to go wandering because I was even more afraid of getting lost.

If I got lost, how would I be able to get home?  I didn't speak the language, and I didn't even know how to say where I lived.

Then, I slowly got my footing.

I started figuring out what things were while I was shopping, I figured out bus routes, I learned how to tell taxi drivers where I needed to go, I became self sufficient.

This place has gone from feeling utterly terrifying, to feeling just like home.

Yes, things are still confusing.

Yes, I still get lost.

Yes, there is still a language barrier.

But, I know how to get around all of it... most of the time.  I can give people directions (albeit, bad ones.  I'm REALLY bad at directions, and, in Korea, you really only have landmarks to go on), I can tell people which bus they need to take to get most places, and I can usually figure where I need to go.  I can use enough Korean, or use enough hand signals, to get MOST things done, but, sometimes I do still need the help of my main co-teacher.

Going back to Canada is going to be weird.  I didn't experience much culture shock when I moved here, but I feel as though I will experience reverse culture shock when I move back to Canada... all of that English, all of the different rules, all of the different customs and norms.

One of the first things you notice when you live here, is the people who rummage through garbage and collect the cardboard.  Apparently, if you turn in cardboard, you can get money for it.  So, the little ajoshies and ajummas go around every morning, collecting cardboard to turn in for money.

The first weekend that I got to spend in Korea, I went for a walk to explore the neighbourhood around where I live.  Up ahead, I saw this ANCIENT woman, dragging a cart of cardboard.  As I got closer, she turned into a gate, and was struggling to get the cart up through the gate.  I walked over to her and tried to help her... until she freaked out on me and started shooing me away.

I was dumbfounded, I had no idea why she would be so angry about my help.

Then, I learned about the cardboard ajummas.

I think she thought I was trying to steal her cardboard!

I went to the old downtown to get pizza for dinner last night.  Alex, Annie, and I found this pizza place that makes pizza that tastes like the actual pizza from home!

I was craving ham and pineapple pizza, so, I decided that I would need to get it from there.  I knew that they had pineapple pizza, so, I assumed it must also have ham.

Looking at the menu, it had pineapple, ham, and something called "ogsusu."  I was so close to Canadian style ham and pineapple pizza... but this "ogsusu" was keeping me from achieving it!  So, I grew a pair, walked over to the waitress (a really incredibly sweet high school girl), and asked her what "ogsusu" was.



Why??  WHY??!!  Why must you put corn on pizza, Korea?!

I asked her if I could get my pizza sans corn, and, of course, she had to go and ask someone.

Thanks GOODNESS they said yes.  Ohhhh magical ham and pineapple pizza!

One of the nice things about Korea is that they give you free stuff!  I was offered a cup of coffee while I waited for my pizza.  I gratefully accepted, and was given a cup of hazelnut coffee and a bowl of sugar, and I was informed that it was very VERY hot.

I put in a bit of sugar, and decided that if I stirred the coffee really fast for a while that enough air would mix in into it, and it would cool it down.  I really didn't have enough time to cool the coffee, I could hear them taking my pizza out of the oven and putting it on the cutting board... I didn't want to offend them by not drinking the coffee that they made for me, so I decided to suck it up and drink it.

It HAD cooled down substantially, but it was still really hot.  I'm one of those people who lets their drinks cool down A LOT before they drink them, I don't like the feeling of burned taste buds.

That is exactly what the first sip did, it burned my damn taste buds... right off, I swear!

I realized, at this point in time, that that is what you masochists who drink their hot drinks hot do... you burn the CRAP out of your tongues to the point where it is numb and you can't feel the HORRIBLE PAIN anymore.

A day later, and my tongue still hurts.  I am not impressed.

I did, however, manage to finish my coffee, so as not to offend anyone... go me.

I finished my tattoo design tonight, I'm pretty excited:

I want to get it done at the top of my back, between the shoulder blades... hopefully within the next few weeks!

AAAAND, to finish off the day, I have been tagged for duck-duck-goose by Jennie from Too Hard to Find a URL.  You should check out her blog, she knows how much you hate lettuce, and has provided a yummy sounding recipe for a lettuce free salad that I can't wait to try!

So, apparently I must list fifteen things about myself, and then I must pass this on to five other bloggers.

1.  I grew up in a ridiculously tiny town, and my graduating class from high school consisted of thirteen people.

2.  I wear my heart on my sleeve, which can be beneficial, but it can also cause me a lot of problems and result in me getting hurt, because I'm such a people pleaser.

3.  I get frustrated really easy, and when I get frustrated, I cry.  I also cry when I'm mad.  I cry in a lot of situations, it can be REALLY embarrassing.

4.  Some of my biggest fears include raccoons, most bugs (spiders, butterflies, moths, ladybugs... the list goes on), the down escalator, clowns, the dark, being alone (lamest fear ever), among other things.

5.  The house I grew up in is haunted by a lady ghost and a boy ghost.  Ask my sister and my dad, they've also both seen the ghosts.

6.  We had theme days at my school, and, in junior high, we were forced to do an educational science video for our school district during crazy hair day. I had ridiculous amounts of sparkles and a toilet paper tube in my hair... I was also chosen to be one of the video's hosts, I really hope that video never actually left the school...

7.  I bought an xbox 360 specifically so I could play one game... the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.  This was after I had pre-ordered the game for PC and then been utterly devastated when I realized that my computer was JUST below the specs to be able to play it.

8.  I love the rain and cloudy days, and I don't like sunny days because I get sunburned really easily; spring and autumn are my favorite seasons, unless it's a rainy summer, but I will always hate winter.

9.  I am a terrible procrastinator, but I always get everything done on time.

10.  My passons include reading, writing, painting, drawing, cooking, movies, and music.

11.  I'm really gullible in the worst ways possible and some people have used that to their advantage; I like to think that people have the best intentions in mind and I prefer to think that they aren't lying to me or screwing with me to get what they want out of me, unfortunately that hasn't always been the case.

12.  I was in an abusive relationship that lasted for three years, that ended this summer.  It still causes me trouble to this day, and I have been in therapy for it for the past few months.  One of the hardest things to deal with is the fact that he still keeps trying to get in contact with me, that he keeps trying to draw me back in.  My therapist believes that he sees me as a challenge, because I always fought back, because I wouldn't just lay down and take it, and the possibility exists that he may not ever stop trying to exhibit his complete and utter control over me.

13.  One of my biggest goals in life is to get married and have a family.  After the past three years, I have a constant nagging fear in the back of my mind that I will never be allowed to accomplish that, that I will spend the rest of my life alone, that I'm not good enough, that I don't deserve to be able to have this.

14.  My sister and I used to fight like cats and dogs when we were little.  We pretty much hated each other.  now, she's my best friend, and I miss her more than anything.  I especially miss our random midnight trips to Wal-Mart.

15.  I'm going to go back to school in September to get an after degree in education.  Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher, but, in the back of my mind, I kind of always wanted to be a tattoo artist... and I still kind of want to.

So, here are the five bloggers that I will tag:

My friend, Natasha, from Lolita Lemon.  She's a really great girl that I met in my first year of university, and I love reading her blog!

Jessica, from Musings of an Underestimated Youth, who makes me laugh with almost every post that she writes.

Krista, from Awake and Dreaming, who is entirely inspirational and strong, and makes me smile and laugh.

Angela, from Craving Cupcakes, who makes me smile with each one of her posts.

Jess, from Not Your Average Joan of Archetypal Patterns, who makes the best damn pea comics I've ever seen!

Anyway, I smell like dust or chemical dust or something, for whatever reason... so I'm going to go shower and watch some Six Feet Under.

Toodles <3

OH!  OH!!!

I meant to tell everyone about three movies I've watched recently, that you should watch too... if you haven't seen them yet (Korea makes me really behind on things, movie wise).

1.  I Love You Phillip Morris:
This story was sheer insanity.  I can't believe what an amazing con artist this guy was!  I know, I know, you shouldn't applaud people's abilities to con others, but, jeeze, this guy deserves the title con ARTIST.  He made conning people INTO an art.

2.  Julie and Julia:
Yes, I am 302928487 years behind the times, but this movie was cute, and it made me smile... and I even shed a few tears, which is utterly ridiculous... but it was SUCH a good movie.

3.  The September Issue:
I LOVE VOGUE.  I will not deny it.  I get lost in the pages, it makes me feel all smiley when I get a new issue, and my mom even bought me a subscription to it once when I was in high school.  LOVE LOVE LOVE!  Anyways, as most people who love Vogue know, the September issue is the best issue of the entire year, and this documentary chronicles the making of the September issue in 2007.  It is so well done, and so interesting, I watched it twice in one day.  Oh, Vogue <3  Also, Anna Wintour seems really lonely, and I spent the whole movie feeling kind of bad for her, even thought I know I shouldn't.

Okies, toodles for real, now <3


  1. I can't even imagine moving so far away from home. I applaud your courage. Raccoons are bastards indeed. I had a drunken run in with one of those furry little devil spawn.

    I hope this finds you well.

  2. You've obviously learned so much! Good luck on the reverse culture shock. YOu're so brave for everythign, I don't think I could go somewhere alone where I didn't speak the language.

  3. I love your tattoo design! I can't wait to see what it'll look like completed :)
    Also, thanks for the award!

  4. Raccoons are the scariest effing things ever. I used to have nightmares about a pack of them chasing me and killing me. It was a recurring nightmare, it was awful!

    Surprisingly, it was a lot easier to live in a country where you don't know the language than I thought it would be! Still, though, it can be a real challenge. I am not looking forward to the reverse culture shock.

  5. Thanks, Angela, I'm excited to get it done! I'm not going to get any colour or anything in it... for some reason, I don't dig colour tattoos on myself. I like the thickened outline sort of look.

  6. It's so strange that they put corn on pizza! Do they do things like that with a lot of foods?

    Also, that's an awesome tatoo design. I've always admired tatoo artists. If I had any artistic skill whatsoever i'd totally do that!

  7. Corn and sweet potatoes on pizza... I will never understand this. Actually, Koreans make the weirdest pizzas. I could do a whole post on it. There was the Hawaiian pizza that was all fruit, you can see a picture of it in one of my earlier blog posts,corn chips... all sorts of "interesting" things.

    Thanks, it's not the one I'll be getting on Friday, but I hope to get this one done sometime soon.


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