First of all, let me direct you to Lee’s blog, which is authored by an Australian Korean Adoptee that I met at G.O.A.’L (and later KoRoot, where we were housemates for a week) recently. His blog has a much better documentation of typical Korean scenes as well as some nice pics of KoRoot and Hongdae nightlife. If I’ve been sucking at blogging lately, at least there are others out there doin’ it and doin’ it and doin’ it well.
I am SO HAPPY that the rains are over. Woo-hoo!! Sure, it’s hot as blazes now, but I will take this any day over monsoon rains. Any day. I’m also very happy that my cold that desperately hung on for three weeks is officially over. No longer do I have to pop Sudafed every 12 hours, nor puff on my inhalator and listen to people exclaim, “I didn’t know you had asthma!” Combined with not having my cold and there not being any rain, my commute to the office is so much more pleasant, faster, and enjoyable. Sometimes I really like commuting on the subway in the mornings in Seoul. In the morning, there’s the higher likelihood that you’ll be smushed up against someone who recently showered, and I like getting subtle whiffs of people’s various soaps, lotions, colognes, etc. In the afternoon/evening rush hour, you’re more likely to be crammed between two sweaty ajashis (old men) that reek of one of three things (or perhaps a combo of all): 1) cigarettes, 2) soju, or 3) kimchi. The thing that makes it all bearable, however, is that Korean people, for the most part, don’t seem to have very offensive body odors emanating from every gland. And the subways are air-conditioned. (I shuddered at Mudeng’s description of the European subways being air-con-less.)
My health, however, is always shitty in Korea. I’m not sure why, although I think it’s a combination of stress, lack of variety in diet, pollution, chemicals in food, 2nd-hand smoke, lack of vigorous cardio exercise, lack of sleep, and extreme weekend drinking. Hm, yeah, I guess that’s probably why. Anyway, I feel like ever since I arrived, I’ve been dealing with one thing or another. I won’t go into the laundry list of ailments I’ve had this time (as soon as my cold cleared up something else appeared that required a doctor’s visit this week), as some of it is stomach-turning. Word of advice: to save yourself from dying of embarassment when talking to your Korean co-workers or the old pharmacist at the local 약국, I strongly suggest bringing your own mini-pharmacy when you come to Korea. Go to Target. Stock up. Pretty much everything here is “behind the counter” (although many things don’t require a prescription–including birth control pills). There have been many times when I’ve been longing for the anonymity of an Osco, where at the most, your embarassment is at the checkout counter.
Last week, I had my oral history interview with KPN, and we had an awesome good time! I rambled for a total of three hours (not consecutively), which surprised both of us. I saw the look of relief in her face when she clicked “stop” on the tape recorder. This was the third oral history that I’ve done this year alone. Each time I participate in something like this, it’s a different experience. I’m excited, b/c both KPN and another adoptee researcher from Colorado have both promised to send me copies of the interviews. Although I know I’ll cringe upon hearing my annoyingly girlish voice, I’m curious to listen to how I put my thoughts together. As I told KPN, yes, I am just that much of a narcissist.
It was cool, though, to kick it with KPN, and to actually listen to her after we finished my non-stop soliloquy. I respect her for being an independent thinker, and it was really interesting to hear her perspectives on group/organizational dynamics within the Korean adoptee community. I saw her give a presentation last Sunday for ASK (and learned a new term, “racial etiquette”) and am happy that she’ll be presenting at the G.O.A.’L Conference.
The G.O.A.’L conference is going to be 재미 있어! (that probably makes no sense grammatically–basically, it’s going to be f*cking great) I’ll give more details once it’s passed….
There’s no grand point to this post other than a little update…..