Day 32 in Korea

In Asia on August 11, 2010 at 11:40 am

Today is my 32nd day in Asia. It’s a gently sloping week left until my return to the states when I’ll have to rush to make sure I get the classes I need to graduate in eight months. Very, very important.

Somehow, now that I don’t have quite so much necessity to drag myself around the countryside and cities of Japan and Korea, as I’ve done what I wanted to do for the most part, I’ve developed the chronic pains I ignored for so long.

My ankle has been sprained since June and that little fucker hasn’t completely healed, though it’s only really noticeable when I kneel or try to sit on my feet. I normally twist and crack my spine in all sorts of different directions, but my right hip, which jams from time to time, like now, doesn’t like it a bit. Not one bit.

So here I am wandering around downtown with a gimpy hip, like an old American lady (the hajimas here never seem to experience any illness or pain, but walk around like teenagers). At Dart’s suggestion, I’ve borrowed his backpack to even out the weight of the great machine that I’m typing on currently.

The superfluous little straps that expand and contract the bottom panel scrape and chafe at the backs of my thighs. The dangers of wearing short shorts, I suppose. But the chest buckle chafes at my armpits, and I am wearing a shirt already. Not only uncomfortable, but I feel like a soldier in my flip-flops, t-shirt and backpack.

Some of that very profession noticed me at the pasta place, Italy-Italy, which is a comforting, cozy little place. It’s strange that I don’t feel camaraderie with these fellow citizens, but I don’t hang out with soldiers back home, and it doesn’t feel right here either. What with their dopey voices and tattooed t-shirts, I just can’t make myself want to talk to them.

I suppose this would be a good example of one of my personality flaws that people call arrogance. Somehow I must change. I don’t really mind how judgmental I am, and depending on the situation, I warm up real fast, but I can’t let my attitude interfere with job prospects. Some say this attitude could interfere with boyfriend prospects, but I don’t think that’s really anything to worry about. I can be polite and professional at work. That’s not going to happen in my personal life, so why pretend?

I am a big believer in time and experience being useful tools of improvement. A lot has happened these past five years to file down some of the rougher edges of my life, and while there are still crags, I know they’ll get theirs too.

Unfortunately, in my walking, reading, talking and looking, I have been extremely lazy about recording the details of my trip. Hopefully my pictures will jog my memory into vivid detail.

Just now, I’d like to remember that Italy-Italy overlooks a tarot café that almost always has a pair of customers poring over their futures described on dozens of cards with their cappuccinos and designer bags hovering around their hands and feet.

Two girls and one boy are at the opposite end of the cushioned bench in DaVinci Coffee where I am currently. One girl wears oversized glasses, popular both here and in the states, but I think more suited to Korean faces.

“Yugi, yugi, yugi,” she exclaims.

Shanee used to call Koreans at our school yugi’s and would run around shouting “Yugi-o!” whenever vaguely pertinent to the topic of discussion, as we all soon began to do. It was hilarious and still provides us with a certain percentage of the foundation of our relationship.

But it just struck me how little I actually paid attention to the foreign students at our school. Here I’ve learned to say “Hello” and “Thank you” when I never even bothered with my Korean roommate. I accidentally used a profanity, which she pointed out to me with a large gasp/moan, but otherwise, nope.

In retrospect, it’s kind of sad, but I’ve definitely paid my cultural dues in the past month. What with the 120,000 won cab fare and various English lessons to pedestrians, I think I’ve settled with karma.

  1. feel like armybros r just “poor, undereducated, lower-middle class americans” who want to “blow shit up” in places with oil (and korea). feel solidarity that u h8 the armybro, too.

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