Korean Packaging

I just ate black bean noodles from a package.  Very yummy and comforting.  So glad I got something and it actually turned out to be what I thought it was.

The only jeans I brought with me just presented me with some air conditioning…sigh

Friday at lunch, the only gorgeous male teacher at school (he’s married with a 4 year old daughter, of course) told me I was very strong.  Huh?  Yes.  It is so cold but you are just wearing your shirt.  Koreans all have their coats on.  You are very strong.  He also commented on how much jewelry I have.  Huh? I explained how I really don’t have much jewelry, I just wear the same jewelry every day.  But you have three rings!  Korean women don’t wear jewelry.  Maybe only one ring.  I looked around, and sure enough, the women were wearing no jewelry or maybe only one ring – their wedding rings. I told him this was nothing.  I modeled many piercings all over my ears, my eyebrows, my nose, my mouth…  Korean youth like earrings he says.  I have seen a couple boys with one earring.  Pretty radical.

Also Friday, as we were at the cell phone store, I noticed that my co-worker and the cell phone girl both had on gray eye liner.  So it looks like they have on no makeup, but their eyes are almost imperceptibly lined so as to have some more definition. Koreans are pretty classy.  And it’s having an antiseptic aftertaste to me.  When I see someone who is not put together, who is wearing something crass, who is slightly askew, who looks comfortable, I just want to hug them.

I must look like some gaudy whore to them, all this jewelry and make-up!  Every day I regret bringing my most conservative clothes and fitting in so well with the status-conscious dressing.  I wish I still had my afro and was even more outrageous.  I wish I had piercings everywhere and I was a scarey dragon lady.

Every day I look at my closet and dread putting a monkey suit on.  I feel strangely corporate and part of a machine.

I like all the people at school who have bothered to talk to me.  They have all heard about me and that I am an adoptee.  They all feel – I don’t know – apologetic.  It kind of makes me lonely when they talk to me, though.  I ask them about their families, and then they tell me some scenario that makes me fall silent. Everyone misses their kids.  Idiots.  Their kids are right there.  Spend time with them.  I don’t think I’m going to ask about families anymore.  But I also don’t know how many more times I can say, yes, I like Korean food, yes, I like kimchee, no, it’s not too spicey for me.

It’s time to think about what to ask the students so they will be motivated to say answers out loud.  What do/did you want to be when you grow/grew up?  What are your hopes and dreams?  What do you do/would you do in your free time, if you had free time?  So sad. They will tell me lies.  They will tell me I want to be a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer.  They will all tell me that.  I think they believe that they believe that.  I don’t believe that.

The things they are proud of, I just can’t relate to.   I did one exercise where I asked them to tell a new person about living here:  where should they visit, what is there fun to do, where should they live, where should they go shopping, eating, etc.   The answers were kind of predictable.  they are proud of their pop music.  they think this area south of the Han river is the best area to live (this concrete new city, devoid of street life and color), they think the over-priced conservative boutiques here are the best.  they love E-mart.

1/4 of all Korea lives around Seoul.  That means 3/4 of the people don’t.  Hopefully don’t live like this.  Maybe I will move south and learn to speak low-class Jeollado dialect and wear cowboy boots and swear and smoke in public.

Right now, all I want is some soju.

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