Monday, 28 February 2011

There's No Place Like Home...

Things I will miss about being in Korea (don't get excited; there's only one):
Being able to pass a police officer, on the right, while breezing through a red light (note to travelers - this isn't the best place to be a pedestrian).

Things I will NOT miss about being in Korea:
* The smells. They aren't just limited to the freaky wildlife and wildly inappropriate house pets.  I've stepped out into my hallway more than once only to be olfactorily assaulted by my neighbor's eye-watering cooking. And to be honest, it just smells in general here.  I don't know if it's because people just randomly poop outside or if there's an underlying sewage management problem, but this section of the country smells like dog shit.
* The restaurant selection.  Yes, we're spoiled in the States.  Even in a small town, you can choose between All-American, Steak House, Mexican, Mexican-American, Tex-Mex, Japanese, Chinese, American Chinese Buffet, Italian, and Chick-fil-A.  Here (unless you go on post) there is Korean and Cheap Korean.  (caveat: they do have some suspicious Koreanized American chains like Pizza Hut and Dunkin' Donuts [they love Dunkin' Donuts!] but it's not normal Pizza Hut... unless Pizza Hut has started offering a pizza that has corn dogs and Spam on it. I wish I was kidding).
* The moronic, idiotic, suicidal, head-in-the-goddamn-clouds PEDESTRIANS. There are footpaths, sidewalks, and bike paths all over the place, and CLEARLY DEFINED pedestrian crosswalks - do you think these people use them?  Fuck no.  Instead they literally walk down the middle of the road, tugging a cardboard-laden cart behind them, or cross against the light (and in this country that's practically a death wish), or just stand in the middle of the road, cars whizzing by on both sides, waiting to dart across like a reality version of Frogger.
* People. Are. Rude. Especially old women.  They will literally barrel you over rather than walking around you.  However, if you happen to have a blonde child (check) or one with a Mohawk (check) they will detain you, pick him up, take freshly purchased socks out of their own shopping bags to put on your sweaty-footed child, put a hat on him, and wrap him in blankets, all the while clucking away in Hangul, which you just know is a diatribe on your inferior American parenting skills.

Gah. There's no place like home.


weetziebat said...

But I have learned oh so many korean words from them telling my child what a bad parent I am, Cold Hungry, Tired. I am gonna start telling them that they are cold hungry or tired soon.

merda taurorum animas conturbit said...

Heh, little, old Korean ladies have much in common with little, old Italian ladies.

I wish I didn't understand the diatribe about my lack of parenting skills extending to forgetting to include arctic circle style outwear, on a nice spring day. It would be better for my blood pressure.

Anonymous said...

Remember that in Korea, Koreans define what is "normal". You're the weird foreigner. Sounds like you have some culture shock. It'll be nice to come home.

Aleah said...

And thank you for that profound and deeply moving statement, Anonymous. And kudos on that armchair psychology, you totally got me with the "culture shock." Perhaps a visit to Merriam-Webster is in order? Or at least a quick reference to the DSM-IV. If you're going to get shitty on my blog because you don't like something that I wrote on facebook, at least grow a pair and use your name, dear.

staceyjw said...

Too funny. Sounds JUST like where I live in Mexico- 15 miles from CA, but a whole different world.

What's with old women and wanting to put blankets and hats on other peoples kids? This happens to me ALL. THE. TIME. here in Mexico, and it's usually 70 degrees during the day when I see these ladies. Local babies are dressed as if we are in Iceland or something. One lady at our favorite restaurant tells me what to feed the baby too, and if we are feeding him something she doeant approve of, she comes over to tell us! In Spanish, which I barely understand.

Oh yeah, they talk to each other about how we are crazy gringos who don't know what to do with our babies, or I think that's what they are saying? I just can't seem to learn Spanish, but no matter, we are going back to the USA next week (BOO! I love it here.)

But it does SMELL AWFUL here too, not everywhere, not always, but it's NASTY when it does (raw sewage will do that). And the obsession with Roosters is pretty weird, cock fights are all the rage, and the cartel guys keep zoo animals.

One thing I am not looking forward to- Santimommies!