Sunday, May 23, 2004

Musings of a homesick Canadian

Good morning,
I miss Canada... I miss the space, the clean air and most of all the personal space! Koreans have no sense of personal space, they never say sorry or excuse me when they push you or step on your foot or shove you into oncoming traffic... they just walk on whether you are a forgeiner or not has nothing to do with it!

Korea is good, crowded but good for the most part. There are some amazingly odd things but for the most part the culture shock is not to bad. Every now and then I walk down the street and laugh to myself at something I see that is just so different...

men in suits drunk out of there minds stumbling in front of moving cars on every street, every night, alcohol is cheap here and men (mostly men) start early, like at work and drink all night.

people sleep on the subway until all of sudden some internal alarm goes off and they wake up at a stop, read the sign and get off... and not just one or two people, everyone does it.

men wear pink and boys hold hands but women are not allowed to smoke in public go figure

cops do not carry guns and yet there is very little crime and they have this cool little breath analysis thing that they use to check for drunk drivers, the cars stop and the driver breathes on and then drives away, unless it beeps and then I do not know what happens... there are lots of police though

there are books and couches in the subway stations and no one steals them, people actually sit and read and then put the books back... who would ever thought.

ice cream is as cheap as potatoes at home and potatoes are as expensive as ice cream would be, plus they are not washed, like at all, I buy them almost right out of the ground, literally.

there are stray animals everywhere and there is a dog in my building who barks more than anything I have ever heard, yes even more than Killarney.

the trucks that drive through the markets have these annoying loudspeakers that shout out things in Korean to get you to buy their products and they start in the wee hours of the morning... thank god for ear plugs!

children do not listen.... oh wait that is the same at home, they think because I do not speak Korean that they can get away with murder, they are quickly learning this not the case!

I was told by teaching partners yesterday that overalls were coming back into style so I could wear mine... when have I ever cared about style! hello comfort comes first.

street food looks good but smells awful most days, depends where you are but it is not to appealing to look at squid pieces and silk worm larvae and know that people enjoy eating them.

I am surprised that there are any squid left in the ocean for the rest of the world, there is squid everywhere... fresh squid, frozen squid, dried squid.... you name and I am sure you can find it.

You can buy your fish from a tank and take is home live, like they don't kill it before they wrap it up so the newspaper is still moving.... I'm avoiding that experience along with the silk worm larvae.

people here have little or no support as seniors (unless you have kids to support you) and so you see these little old ladies selling vegtables on the side of the road and men collecting cardboard to recycle on these huge carts that they pull and it is really sad to see but no one here even thinks about it.

you get free stuff when you buy gas, like kleenex and bottled water, actually you get free stuff everywhere because there is so much market competition, my school gives the children backpacks.

Korean women wear the craziest shoes, it is pouring rain and there are women running around in 2 inch spike heels, they are slipping and sliding and yet they all do it anyway.

Anyway I am sure that there are million other things I could tell you about but it would take days and frankly I do not want to type for that long. I am having fun, the kids at the school are fun and although they groan at my high expectations they love that I let them play uno if they get there work done, bribe is a universal word.

I am glad to hear that so many of you enjoyed the photos. I have not seen much this week but things are busy at school and I'm tired. I have plans to go away on the next long weekend in early april so there will be more pictures then.
Alright so that's it for now. Hope you are all doing well.
PS a prize for the first person who can list all the uncountable nouns - yes there is a list and it's not very big and until I had to teach it I did not know that we classified nouns as countable and uncountable. I am serious, treats form korea for the first one... there are

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