Saturday, 19 April 2008

What do I miss about Korea?

1. The four months of paid vacation.
2. Strange men coming up to me in the bar asking me what my favourite colour is. To the first one, "Blue," I say. He runs away as his favourite colour is red. To the second one, I tell him, "red." To which, he responds, "My balloon is red," and then sits down again as we are out of conversation. To the third one, I save his breath...."Don't ask me what my favourite colour is. My favourite colour is none of your business."
3. Sunday driving a car with diplomatic plates which allows for bad parking and going the wrong way up one way streets.
4. My rabbit which was eaten by neighbours when I was on holiday in Thailand.
5. Not knowing what anybody is saying. Not needing a walkman to block out background conversation on the train.
6. Daily kimchi and bi bim bap. Opening conversations about kimchi with every new person you meet.
7. Queen Bee...the English Department Head who used her assistant mainly to hold her curling iron while she was on the phone.
8. The Scottish boy who had a harem named: Girl Friday, Girl Monday, Girl Tuesday,...and Weekend Girl.
9. The Worker Bees
10. Insadong Tea Houses: the tiny stools, the free flying canaries, the bonsai nooks of quiet
11. Korea's proximity to Thai and Indonesian beaches
12. Playing the lost foreigner in a tv show.
13. Getting lost on the way to pseudo-legal suburban guerilla housewife lessons that had to change location on a weekly basis.
14. Cutting pojagi silk shapes in Chunghie Lee's studio and sharing kimchi
15. The neat paper-clipped rows of papers on Michael Christiansen's desk
16. Marco's desk? Out to a long lunch.
17. Allison's desk? The nearest cocktail bar.
18. Rob Riski? The nearest diplomatic party or giving privates in his red kitchen.
19. Lawyer Sawyer? The nearest woman.
20. The Dutch Psychologist? The nearest man.
21. Remmert? Sitting at his desk waiting for any student to come with an enquiry of any kind.
22. Lynch? Detangling himself from a potted palm.
23. Heinz Tengler, The German General? He was never at his desk as he was always pacing the floor lecturing the staff on how English should be taught, saluting all employees as they walked in the door, and reminiscing about his days in Saudi and DC, and on the odd drunken occasion, hinting at his life as a spy.
24. Malenfant? He was there.
25. Late night soju tents with deep fried offal and live octopus
26. The ondul floors of Love Hotels
27. The pig farmer on Cheju-Do who gave me a tour of his giant shed of shit which he used as fuel.
28. Hang Moon, the monk with a giant stereo system and speakers the size of a double bed. He asked for donations in the form of cds.
29. The Psychiatrist's wife, Mrs. Kim in Yoido who lived between the gym and the beauty parlour and took lessons in the best restaurants. Her driver wore white gloves. And her living room floor was made of shiny black stones which seemed to belong more on an outdoor patio of a garden centre.
30. The Canadian woman who lived in a fisherman's house on Cheju-Do and spent the summer in Seoul until her car was washed away by a flash flood. She moved to Washington State to be with a man she met on the internet, but he died six months later.

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