Sunday, April 18, 2010

I am reading a book on Koreans and I have read a very interesting chapter relating to why Korean’s stare blatantly at white people and I am left too wonder why the hell do they keep on staring at me. We all know the answer to that, it is because they never see white people. The interesting thing is when I see another white person in Korea I basically become a Korean and stare at them and they draw the same blank stare back at me. It becomes quite amusing; I am just not used to seeing a white person randomly on the street. This happened tonight when a Korean man at the gym brought me over to see two other white girls who were signing up. I probably stared at them for five seconds before realizing what was going on and that they were white. It is a really weird situation and quite amusing. This is never the case in a place like Itaewon because you are expected to see white people. Korans love the game rock, paper, scissors. I am still trying to figure out why. I mean they live and die buy this. They decide just about everything by it. When we play basketball this is how we decide teams and who gets the ball. My students play it all day it seems, they always want to play against the teachers. I see old man play it on the streets and shouts of victory erupt from them. This blog is getting harder and harder to write, it seems that is has run its course. On Saturday I will head to the DMZ (weather depending) I have had to postpone it twice already. I have put my 60 day notice in to head home. I am ready to go home, Korea has been a good time, I finally found a good way to explain my reason to go home. Most people will think that I do not like korea, it is not the case; I am having a good time and that results in the problem. Is a good time worth living half way around the world? I do not think so, if I loved it here I would finish my year off, but I do not love it, I like it. Also if this was my first time traveling I would definitely stay but I have been traveling for a few years now and after a while just like most things, it gets old. I really enjoyed my time here and I would recommend it to anyone who is thinking of going; I would also recommend living in Seoul. Seoul is an absolutely amazing city, about the size of New York and it has so many things to do. I am lucky and live 45 minutes away from Seoul so I can make easy day trips into the big city. Seoul and Busan are really the only true great cities Korea has, (think of how many great cities USA has) Korea is really small; about the quarter the size of California. Of course with the small size it makes the train system so efficient just like in Japan (although not up to par with Japan) A lot of people have asked why the USA train system is not as efficient as Japans and it has simply to do with the size. Imagine how inefficient it would be to travel across the USA by train instead of flying. It really is tough to understand how big the USA is and how many natural resources it has which has helped in making the USA so great. People in Japan do not fly for the same reason the people in the USA do not use trains as often, it all has to do with efficiency of time and money.,

When Korean’s meet up with a white person they say “nice to meet you” no matter how long you have known them. It is just one of those misunderstandings in the language translation I am guessing. I was also told it is a Korean joke, it just does not seem to be too funny, just confusing when you hear it for the first time. One of the guys I play basketball with is from Japan and he flew in the exact same day as me and he is also leaving the same day as me, I found it pretty interesting and I really do not have much else to write about.

As of now the weather is suppose to be nice next Saturday so the DMZ trip is looking good, but we all know how wrong the weather man are.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter! Funny story about this Easter, it completely slipped my mind that today was Easter. I did not realize it until a Korean girl and her mom came up to me in the park while I was playing basketball and handed me eggs. I was shocked that I forgot it was Easter, but that is the oblivious life an expat lives in Korea. After handing me the eggs the Korean lady asked me for my phone number, I had to get a little help to explain to her that I did not have a phone; it gets funnier each passing day I do not have a cell phone, but it is awesome. This blog update is not too interesting to me; maybe next Saturday I will head to the DMZ, all depends on the weather. I was very happy I finally got to play a basketball game today; there were finally enough people to play. The talent level was not too great but it was fun. Nothing good to read about this week, Saturday I went to insa dong, the markets there are awesome. I love seeing the huge crowds in such a small area, the insane amounts of items that are for sale and of course the awesome street food.

It is amazing how Koreans can be afraid of foreigners. Maybe because Korea is probably the most homogenous country on earth, I mean you know who is Korean and who is not. In the USA you got no clue, which is awesome. There is not more then one race here, I wish I could see the percentage. It must be 99% Korean. I got a few ideas why they are so afraid of foreigners. Number one, look at their past; the country has been treated like shit. They have been bullied around for so long they are probably happy it is mostly if not all Koreans in Korea. Japan tortured them, China tortured them, (they both at one point in the not so distant past controlled the country) When I first got to Korea I was told you will always be “an insider looking in from the outside” no matter how long I stay, and I believe it. Now with Korea holding the 11th largest economy in the world they are no longer pushed around; they went to rice patty workers to industrial leaders in one generation; there success story is pretty impressive. One major thing is left to happen and that is the future of North Korea. From what I can see the South is just waiting for them to eat them selves away. They are doing a pretty good job at it. At some point the North will fall, everyone hopes it is not war because that will just set the South back because of the damage to the infrastructure, I really think they are just waiting for the North to implode, and it could happen, not tomorrow but maybe in a decade? In the newspaper they wrote about civil unrest occurring in the North which was unheard of because of the brutality the North Korean government treats their civilians. The North’s citizens are tortured, hungry, all those things. I wonder how long it will go on for, will the South some day step in or just wait for the implosion of the North? The North’s government is dumb enough and powerful enough to do it. The citizens have no internet, government run media, tv, newspaper, a small private market which the government is forcibly eliminating. It is absolute hell to be in North Korea right now. This weekend in Insa dong was the first time I have seen a awareness group for the suffering of the north. They were not even Korea which was quite amazing. They were white; I got no clue what country they were from. Koreans are really passive so maybe it is harder to find a group of Koreans doing a public showing like this but North Korea is a very interesting country in the world today. Last Week a S. Korean nave ship sunk of the coast, they are now saying it might have been a torpedo, not a mine; they are still not entirely sure.