Saturday, December 30, 2006

and now for something completely different

On account of the fact that I've been so darned depressed lately, I have, maybe for the first time ever, made some New Year's Resolutions. They aren't earth shattering, but improvements to your life don't have to be, do they? So here they are:

1. Join a damn gym that offers classes. Because see, I know myself. No class. No go. It's simple.

2.Get a cat. Yes, I think a little furry companionship would go a long way and this is an easy goal to reach, as I've already lined a furry little kitten up. I know that goals must be achievable.

3. Toss the TV. Again. I've only had it for like 2 months, but I'm sure that it is 2/3 of the reason I'm totally lazy.

4. Laundry once a week. The rest of the house is clean, but damn I've got an explosion of ugly clothes that I hate AND need to be washed in my bedroom.

So happy New Year everybody. Let's hope for a better 2007. Or, as they say in Korean:
새해 복 많이 받으세요!

insecurity on the rise, fueled by good old fashioned sibling rivalry

and some other things, too...

Maybe it's just cause I'm so far away, and things here just aren't that great, but I've started feeling jealous of the rest of my family. Of my sister for marrying into such a great family and now buying a house, and becoming much closer to our mother than I've ever known her to be; of my older brother for finding the job he's always wanted and finding a woman almost immediately after that he wants to marry. It's not just that. When I talked to my family on Christmas, I couldn't help but feel replaced, like they couldn't care less whether or not I was actually there. While I, on the other hand, wanted desperately to be there and share in the fun and the food. Sitting on this side of the computer, and actually watching them hang out with each other and stuff home-made cookies in their mouths via internet camera phone (whatever you call that) really didn't make me feel apart of it. If anything, it just emphasized the distance between us.

To make for me, what is already a strange subject even stranger, I have blog envy. Yes readers, that's right. Blog Envy. I don't really want say exactly what the problem is here for fear of actually making it worse, but someone has kind of hurt my feelings by not wanting to be associated with me on the internet. I know, it's so freakin weird, right? I mean it's the internet. And it's like, mostly anonymous, but still... I'm just so confused about this is whole cyber space thing, and cyber friendship and how all that actually relates to real life, but I'm finding that apparently, it does. And in this case, it relates to the fact that someone out there that I actually know and care about is embarrassed of me, for reasons that I can't quite pin down.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

the christmas that wasn't and the quiz that was spawned as a result

Perhaps this year was the loneliest and most disappointing Christmas I have yet to experience. While my family was busy having a top of the charts holiday, I was stuck here in South Korea with an Islamic boyfriend who has never celebrated Christmas before and wasn't aware that it was important to me, and a couple of well intentioned but equally clueless Korean guy pals. Only now do I realize that I have to tell everyone what is important to me because I'm from a different place and they just don't know. So I guess I blew that one.

On the up side, at least my family did call me this year, thanks to the power of free internet calling and I did receive several international text messages from friends scattered throughout the world, and one of my best pals back home has been trying to get in touch with me for like three days... So hey, I know you guys tried and I thank you for it. And I apologize for being such a schmuck and not even trying to get in touch with any of you... Hopefully you can appreciate my situation.

God, I sound like such a jerk and it's about to get worse. Here's a confessional of a shitty girlfriend thing to do:

I was feeling bad about Christmas. And I was wondering how far apart my expectations were from the GS's in terms of relationship roles, what's important to us, etc. So I last night I gave him a pop quiz. In front of our other two single guy roommates. Yes, I took out my frustration on all of them.

1. What kind of gift would I like to get?
my kiss.
Well, that's very sweet but wrong. Now I'm not saying I want something expensive, but well, I do want something...

2.What's a good date activity?
A long drive with me.
Well, I have to give him points for listening because as we were walking through the markets on Christmas Day, and I did express the desire to get in a car and drive until we felt like stopping. But we have no car and we have no license so it's just not possible. Any other ideas? Uhhhh.....

3.What time should a boyfriend come home?
by 8:30 pm
A more than acceptable answer considering we both work in the evenings...

4. True or False: It is okay to be drunk when you arrive home.
Good answer.

5. Which holidays are important?
New Year's and Sundays.
Um, birthdays? Christmas? Thanksgiving. We're talking about me, too, Mr. GS.

6. True or False: A boyfriend must always tell the truth.
Now, this is not a transgression that the GS is guilty of, but we have a friend who is quite guilty of lying to his better half over the most ridiculous things, so you know... Well, I had to ask.

7. What are the appropriate gift-giving holidays?
Love and some thing special.
Well, sweet again, but not quite right. I was looking for birthday and Christmas.

8. When should you compliment your woman?
Every morning, evening and night.
Okay, I'll take that.

9. True or False: It is a woman's duty to clean and take care of children.
No hesitation. No, "well, what do you mean by that?" And so serious conversation ensued. Don't worry mom and sister, in the end he said it is our responsibility to share duties and the person who is home more should clean more and if we aren't home we have to divide the roles. And about the child thing, well there is a lot more talking to do before there's any bun in this oven.

10. Do you love me?

So I know this was a kind of silly thing to do, but really it was helpful because even I didn't know I cared so much about receiving a present until I didn't get one. And because we are from completely different worlds, I guess we have to really tell each other what is important because we just don't know. I was just hoping that we would understand me without having to spell it all out, but I guess that's a stupid thing to think. Except that a lot of those things would be kind of automatic to an American, so you know, I don't know.

The GS really is a good sport, participated, endured my criticism and still loves me even though I'm kind of crazy... And he seems to know that I can dish it, but I can't take it so he's always easy on me... guess I'm lucky about that...

Friday, December 22, 2006

how do you get mail in korea?

like this:

건강권 실현을 위한 보건의료연합
110-500 서울특별시
종로구 이화동 26 - 1 3층
South Korea

Korean Federation of Medical Groups for HealthCare Rights
Lee Kang Yong
26-1 3rd floor
Lee Hwa Dong, Jongno Gu
Seoul City 110-500
South Korea

mail away, people...

by the way, your cards and presents are sitting in my bedroom. maybe they'll make it to the post office this week? mom, how long is the fam going to be at your house? it's easier to mail only to one place, but if i'm too late, i'll try everyone because you are as bad as i am about going to the post office.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

round and round and round she goes

where she stops?


To my room-mates: Gosh I'm sorry.

To the GS: Gosh, I really really really am sorry.

To my Korean Teacher: 선생님, 정말 미안합니다. 오늘부터 꼭 공부할거예요.

To my job (which I flaked out on yesterday by faking the stomach flu): Not sorry at all. I just don't care about you anymore.

My fit of depression seems to have temporarily ended and boy do I feel embarrassed for all the tears, not-so-nice-words directed at a certain special person, and the general crankiness that I make people endure. It's just that... well, I feel like I just can't control myself.

So today the merry-go-round stopped in a good place. Hopefully... well you know. Hopefully we can all look at the day and see some bright things and try to feel not totally and completely awful about the world...

And now, CHICKEN! (time for dinner!) (Yes, I know there is avian influenza here. I'm the one who told you, remember? It's just that... it was already cooked on a spit and it smells soooo good.)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Al Green Said It All

I'm so tired of being alone.

So say for example, that you started getting real fat even though you don't actually eat that much; that you can't sleep and you have chronic headaches; that the only people you talk to in a day are your 10 year old students who can't even speak english; that you are in a relationship that feels dead in the water despite the fact that you really are in love; that you cry over everything; and that you aren't actually interested in, well, anything anymore... Do you think this would mean that you are depressed?

I'm just wondering because, uh, I have a friend who really wants to know...

Saturday, December 2, 2006

a day of deeds

Hey, I know, no one likes a braggart. But yesterday I was feeling darn good and here are the reasons why:

1. A friend introduced me to a really nice sweet loving and poor family yesterday who desperately wants their little girl to learn English. In Korea, every kid who can afford it is enrolled in private institutes for English, Science, Chinese, Math, Japanese, Music... Sometimes one and sometimes all... Korean education is intensely competitive and in this system, only really rich kids can really afford to get a good education. So what about a smart poor smart kid? Out of luck. So how could I say no when my friend asked me take on this student for very little money? I assessed her level (can't even read) and went out to the most crowded bookstore on the entire planet and bought her some phonics books and an easy reader, and on Monday, we'll start learning. Oh, she is so sweet and earnest... If only all of my rich bratty students were like her...

2. After enduring world's most crowded bookstore, I went off to world's most crowded market to buy some gifts for the General Secretary's family. His daughter wanted a badminton set and his mom wanted a black purse. Yeah, I know, they are Muslim, they don't celebrate Christmas. But the post to Bangladesh is really unreliable and we have a mutual friend who is going there on Thursday, so the GS is sending packages with him. Why did I endure world's most crowded market? Well, the GS is too busy saving the world (or at least migrant workers in Korea) to do much of anything, so that pretty much leaves me to do things like shopping (ew yuck gross) and even, on occasion, laundry...

So then I rode the bus home from world's most crowded market. Thankfully, it wasn't the world's most crowded bus (it usually isn't to my neighborhood), but it was still full and this little old grandma gets on and all these damn bratty school kids who were riding WOULDN'T GET UP for her. I mean it's always a good idea to get up for old ladies with bent backs, but in Korea it is like, not an option. You must do it... But they didn't. So I did. And she was so freakin sweet to me about it. And impressed that I could understand that she was being sweet and chatted my ear off the whole way home about how rude kids are these days and that Korea is in a bad state when only foreigners are getting up on the bus for old folks.

So then I just felt like doing good deeds all day, but it was late and I was home and I ran out of things to do for people. So, I turned to the internet so I could talk about (what is actually very few) good deeds.

The End.
for now

Friday, December 1, 2006

the greatness of the general secretary is in the daal.

I'm hungry. And sick of Korean food. And afraid of chicken and beef. So what's a girl to do? Well, that's when the General Secretary is real handy. Last week, he taught me how to make daal. Dahl. Okay, I don't how you spell it, but you know what it is. That lentil bean deliciousness native to the Indian Subcontinent. Well, folks I can make it. And I did. A lot of it. And now I'm making rice. And in a few minutes I'm going to eat. A lot.

Besides daal, this post is a tribute to a truly international relationship. An American and Bangladeshi living together in Korea can really cook up a storm. Ain't it great?