Thursday, October 13, 2005

><))'> Suicidal Fish and Why I Like Korea

I like Korea! But more on that later. First, we got fish! They were .50 cents each. Mine is named Maeun-tang ('spicy fish soup' in Korean) and the roommate's fish is Seppuku. Formerly Midas but it was renamed after the Japanese form of ritualistic suicide after it decided to try just that.

I came home for lunch yesterday and noticed only one fish in the bowl. I looked on the floor, the table, under my feet. No fish. I widened my search and rescue perimeter and found he was a few feet away, next to the phone. Dead, I presumed, for he was dry and roasting in the sun. I intended to scrape him off the table for a quick toilet flush burial, but when I poked him, he started breathing. His slime had turned into glue and he was adhered to the table. I peeled him off and it made a sound like tape ripping off a surface it doesn't want to come off of. I dropped him back in the bowl and he stared ahead glumly, mad that I foiled his suicide attempt. No floating on his side like high-maintenance Vancouver fish that get sick despite three types of water conditioners, a filter, pre-soaked organic food, and PH adjusting chalk blocks. Ok, so a few of them died because I left soap in their bowl.. but pshh what kind of fish die from a few bubbles in their water? Korean fish are invincible!

Maeun-tang's on the left, and on the right, you can see that Seppuku's mangled tail is no longer split into two. It has fused together after his adventure:

Next, I've been having fun with the fashion here. Asia is really the place to experiment and not have to worry about depleting walletry. I found a store here I really like that has funky Japanese clothes at about $20 a pop. ( ). I bought this shirt:

And tried matching it with other wardrobe pieces like so:

And solicited ideas from people, one of whom suggested wearing it like this :

So this Saturday is shopping day, and I plan to see if I can find a red shirt, army green bag, skirt and nylons, and thick brown belt to wear with this pesky shirt. And maybe some winter boots. And a jacket. And a bunch of xmas presents. Phew!

And finally, about this 'liking Korea' thing.. Since the Andong trip, I've gone for about two straight weeks not thinking vile, mean thoughts about Korea at all! Ok, so I still raise an eyebrow at the overflowing toiletpaper bin and germ infested communal towel in the washroom, and I still fantasize about easy access to random products like Revlon New Complexion One-Step Compact Makeup in Ivory Beige (the only foundation I've ever used, since grade 10) but overall, every aspect of Korea is warming up to the idea of my presence.

My students are no longer wicked devil-spawn brats. They are simply brats. Sometimes they even make me laugh. Like yesterday, when they started asking me a million personal questions, which I answered, until I realized 10 minutes later it was a joint effort to postpone the lesson. Or today, when we were playing my patent-pending 'Dragon game.' (I draw a dragon on the board, they answer questions and roll a dice, and we advance along the dragon like a snakes n ladders game.) They suggested I draw 'Ryan teacher's head,' on the dragon and they added a goatee which looked like double chin. Much guffawing was had.

Other things I like about Korea:

-The $6 galbi, which is my favorite food ever. It's more than just food. It's a deep and deadly addiction. Brent and I sometimes go, and spend about half the dinner raving about how much we adore it and plotting how to obtain the recipes.

-The food in general. It's all much better than what I was bracing myself for. In fact, it's quite amazing.

-The cheap transportation, and cheap cost of living in general, and as a ratio to salary.

-The people. Yes it still irks me that they keep to themselves and can be xenophobic. But Koreans are quite a playful and loving race. They're cutesy and always have their arms around each other, and their ringtones are so sugar laden it hurts. Where else can you see two grown male cops holding hands as they walk the beat?

-The events / entertainment. Andong festival, the Pusan film festival (I didn't go but check Ryan and Brent's blogs for reviews), the recent exhibition at the local Polytechnic college, and even in downtown Daegu there's more often than not some sort of sexy dance competition.

-I really do like my job. I enjoy being able to inject creativity into each lesson. I like the freedom of choice. If I don't want to teach something, I can scratch it off the lesson plan. If I want to invent a new game or use new props, I can do so. I get to mould childrens' futures, and strive to be that 'fun teacher they always remember' when they're older.

Being not-too-sick right now helps a lot as well. All in all, things are looking up, and I could even see myself staying in Korea longer after this contract. *Knock on wood*


Blogger deepthoughts said...

You're makin it sound pretty sweet over there. God, I need to get out of this corporate hole and do more traveling.

As for suicidal fish, I had some too. Sometimes I wonder about fish. They look so blank all the time and are purported to have like 30 second memories, but maybe they are more like Nemo than we think, and really long to be free just as much as the rest of us. The fishbowl is to Seppuku as the world of debt and jobs and endless cycles of meaningless are to sensetive creatures such as myself;)

Ok, maybe that's a bit bleak-sounding. It's gotta be the virus talking. Goddamnmuthafuckinflutypesyndrome*#%*!@!@!#

12:22 PM  
Blogger moolz said...

How can I convey how much I miss you each day with more than mere words?

How can I let you know that each day, I sit on the back steps with Max and cry when I ask him "Don't you miss Jo and wish she was here?"

How do I let you know that I never stop thinking about you?

How can I create more time in a day where I can work, handle moving into a new house, please my parents and find time for you when you are so far away?

How can I bring back that smile that I know and love to your face?

How can I let you understand that even if I do say 1 or 2 things to you on a given day that the words are never hollow?

10:25 AM  
Blogger s said...


8:57 PM  

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