Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More of the List

8. Combo meals are called sets.

9. Free stuff is called service. You often get service when you buy things in the many convenience stores. Sometimes you will end up with two coffees, a granola bar, and a sea weed wrapped ball o' rice in a nifty triforce shape. Service.

10. Chinese food is amazing here.

11. Pizza usually has corn in the sauce. Potato wedges also tend to show up on pizza. It really grows on you after awhile, but I don't think I'll ever request Dominos to put corn in my sauce.

12. You don't tip cab drivers or waiters. Both of these jobs pay a normal, livable wage and so there is no need to tip.

13. 4 packages of Craft mac and cheese=14,000 won (about $13)

14. Koreans look at you weird if you smile at them on the street.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

About South Korea

I enjoy lists. Don't know why that is, but it is. SO I will now share a list of some of the odd things that go on in this country. Hurray!

1. Koreans love head bands. They sell head bands in every shade, with glitter, and with bows in the super market, on the street, in clothing stores, in stores that specialize in electronics, in short everywhere.

2. You can drink everywhere. You can drink on the bus, in a taxi, on the street, on the way from one bar to another at 5am, but no one in an alcoholic in Korea because Koreans only drink at night? (not true, they also drink at 7am and at any point in the afternoon that strikes their fancy)

3. The subway is, for the most part, clean and quiet.

4. Old people will push you out of their way, and then look at you like, "What the hell is your problem? Can't you see that I'm old and I want to be walking/standing where you are?" They will also throw an elbow or two just to get the point across.

5. There are a lot of signs in English here.

6. There are convenience stores EVERYWHERE. There is one in my building, in the building that touches my building, one in the building behind mine, and another 5 within a two block radius. EVERYWHERE!

7. People yell at you in the grocery store in an attempt to entice you into buying meat. You can also make a meal out of the free samples they serve in all the isles, and that includes an after meal shot of beer or wine.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Promise to Me

Since I can remember, I’ve been writing. I’ve been writing journals that never get filled. I’ve been writing short stories that never get finished. I’ve been building and writing a novel that never got very far at all.

I remember the first time I showed Mr. Young a poem. As I held out that poem my heart pounded, my throat seemed to close, and my hands were sweating. I remember feeling like handing that piece of paper over to that blonde, over weight man, who had the patience and understanding of a saint, felt like I was about to jump off a 30 story building.

It took me a year in middle school, and a year in high school to work up the nerve to submit a poem to the literary magazine. In both schools, my poetry was almost always accepted. I even got nominated and won a literary contest in eighth grade. I recited my poetry in high school, and managed to dominate the literary magazine staff. And I kept telling myself that I needed more life, I needed more time before I could be serious about my writing. I figured somewhere in college or shortly thereafter, I would have what I needed to try and get published. I figured I would have found that “something” that “it” that made an author worthy of publication and serious consideration as a writer.

Then came college. Again I was told I gifted. I was good. I should write and put it out there. I worked on the literary magazine in college. You can find my name on the publication page my senior year, but you won’t find my name in the table of contents. I never submitted anything for scholarly publication, though my advisor did everything but submit my work for me. I even tried to set myself a goal of publication with my honors project. In the end, the part of the paper where I talked about my own experience trying to get published was a lie. I never sent anything.

When it came time to put my work in an envelope and send it off to a stranger, I thought of all the authors I’d ever read. I thought of the words, the phrases, the works that had moved me to tears, to convictions, to passions, to hopes, to love and I thought of my own words. What I found between what I loved in literature, and what I wrote terrified me. I felt like a fraud as I held envelope and manuscript. I felt as though I hadn’t developed or learned anything since high school. I felt like I was still that 12 year old kid handing a piece of my soul over to a man who could crush it with a cruel word. Except this time I knew that the person on the receiving end of that envelope wouldn’t be so kind and patient.

Mr. Young and all the other people who have told me I had talent, who accepted my work, and praised me where very kind. I appreciate that kindness and I do think that I understand that some of it is earned. But I’ve always kind of wished that Mr. Young would have looked at that poem and laughed. That had he torn down this dream before it got so damned big. Now I feel like if try, and I fail that it will put the truth to all the kind lies. But if I never try, then that kindness can remain. The potential for this pastime to become something more can remain potential if I do not try. I don’t want to feel like the one thing I was always good at, the one thing I always had, was a lie.

If you never try, you can never fail. If never try, you can never succeed. I know I am scared. I’m scared of all the normal things that anyone doing something big is afraid of. I am choosing to believe that I have to do this. I know that the odds are against me. I know that it might take awhile, or that publication may never happen. This is my dream though, and not everyone has the ability to chase their dream by simply putting an envelope in the mail. So, this very long entry is my promise to myself that I am going to do this. If I tell everyone who reads this that I am going to do this, then I can’t really back out. I was honest so that I can’t make any excuses as to why I’m letting my dream get stale. So thank you for putting up with this long entry and thank you for unwittingly forcing me to chase my longest, most dear dream.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Communications Dry Spell

I've got no good reason why I haven't felt like posting, or communicating in general, the last couple of weeks. My life has taken a turn for the hermit like. Maybe it's the fact that my apartment is beginning to look less like a box and more like a place to live. Maybe it's the nice cool weather that's making me enjoy the company of myself. Whatever the reason I'm going to try harder to stay in contact, and check my email. I've really been sucking at checking my email.

So what have I been doing with my time?

Well, I've been amazing myself with my ability to stick to, and more often than not coming in under, a budget.

I've been devouring books. Unfortunately with how expensive books are here, reading as much as I've been might be what ends up ruining my budget. I'm trying to limit myself to one trip to Kyobo a week. We'll see how that works out.

I've been spending a foolish amount of time thinking about my Christmas trip to Thailand. Oh how I long for a day on the beach and elephant tours.

I've been exploring my new found urge to clean by, you guessed it, cleaning! Cleaning almost everyday...sometimes before and after work...sometimes again before bed...I think I have a problem.

I've been cooking. I am downright amazed by how much I can do with chicken. Where has this talent been? Where has this desire to cook been? I find myself longing for an oven because if I had an oven I could do so much MORE with chicken. I've also had to forcibly restrain myself from photographing my dinner every night. I don't understand my desire to photograph my food. It's not like I'm some sort of celebrity chef whose food is going to appear on the cover of a magazine. I really don't get it.

I've been watching Dexter. I've watch the first three seasons in under three weeks.

I think I'm developing a serious problem with moderation. I should work on that, but oh my floor looks like it needs swept and my bathroom mirror definitely needs cleaned and I'd like to do something with that pasta in my cabinet...