so i shamelessly stole this entry from an email that salsa got from her friend lisa, who taught for a year in korea. lisa wrote her an email discussing the trials and tribulations she experienced during her time here, and salsa forwarded it to us, along with her response (she followed the format of lisa's original email). i thought her thoughts were too funny and true to not share with those who just can't imagine the small funny things we encounter every day here. first, i give you lisa's email:
"I could talk about Korea for days... what's the social climate in your opinion in Daejeon and other places you've been? What do you do to teach? Who are your good friends that you mentioned? What ajuma do you buy your apples from? How much do you pay? Have you eaten anything that had an unknown, unremoved stomach that exploded in your mouth? Have you found a black market that sells chicken broth, cocoa powder and deoderant yet? Did you buy a bike? What do you think about matching couple outfits? Did you receive socks? Do you do pullups or lift weights on the tops of mountains? Do people think you're a genius because you know how to say hello in the language that you've been hearing for the last 4 months? Do you find that you like TGIFriday's and Starbucks even though you were previously against globalization, and still are at heart? Have you eaten Shabu-Shabu? Are you obsessed with raw garlic? Does kimchi slide down your throat like a pad of melting butter? Does the sight of raw meat make your mouth water? Does a picture of a dirty pig make you think of eating Doeji-Kalbi? And many many more questions I would like to ask you and that I know would spark a million great conversations."
and here is salsa's response:
"When I teach, I use books with Peter Pan and the characters from Toy Story on the cover. They highlight valuable words like "wigwams" from the historically accurate Disney's 'Pocahontas.' Did you ever feel like you were singing and tap dancing just to keep the attention of your youngsters?
I buy my apples from the ajama with the plaid pants, visors and pollution mask...do you know her!!!Did ajamas ever slap your butt at the grocery store, steal your taxi or push you out of the way while entering an elevator? Did you ever develop theories about how ajamas are planning to overthrow the government...an ajama coup d'etats if you will?
I have eaten things with an unknown stomach AND I'm growing fond of them! Did you ever get handed a fork and a 'service coke-a-cola" at a restaurant b/c clearly meegooks can't handle chopsticks and the spiciness of the Korean 'stamina' food?
I haven't bought a bike, but did you ever have a near death experience involving cars and sidewalks?
The matching couple outfits!!! AND the pink spray painted dogs! Do you now make your hubby hold your purse everywhere you go as a means of declaring, "Hands off ladies - He's holding MY fake Louie Vuitton for a reason!"
I have received socks -- ones with dogs with red noses. Come to think of it, maybe they were suppose to be Rudolph? Did you ever get vitamin drinks from your students' parents or cooked sweet potatoes from your boss's wife?
Starbucks coffee means more to me than water. What's globalization???!!! Do you wonder how America survives with so few Dunken Dounuts and 7-11s?
My girls and I ARE in fact obsessed with raw garlic. How do you feel about dried kim in small rectangles for appetizers at bars and restaurants? There's nothing like looking across the table at your friends and seeing tiny, green speckles stuck to their lips!
I ACTUALLY had some Korean bbq for the first time last week. After 4 months of getting harassed by my boss to eat meat...I finally decided that that cartoon dancing pig on the sign outside IS, in fact appetizing! Is your favorite part when they snip-snip the raw meat with scissors? Yummm.
We shall have some fabulous conversations!!! Thank God. Makes me happy to know that just when I think that I will forget about the most elaborate pencil cases that transform into board games and robots....SOMEONE can remind me!
Anyway...hope we stay pen pals! I still have 8 months here so I WOULD love to seek your guidance on important issues like, 'must you eat the entire dried squid when you order it by accident? Will it taste better if you dip it in the bean paste/mayonnaise combo sauce?''