I'm learning Korean! I can pretty much spell or write anything you throw at me. (Ask me what it means and we might have a problem) That said, I've found that there isn't really a sufficient "translation" for Diet Coke in the Korean alphabet. It comes out sounding something like "tyet g(k)awk" which doesn't really do it or me justice. But I've decided that this liguistical conundrum might actually be OK since I have essentially been off the devil's whiskey since sunday and will probably never utter the blasphemous name again once I am in my new country.
How does this tie into the mini-dictator of North Korea, you ask?
Well, I will tell you. People keep asking me if I'm scared to move to Seoul which is neighbor to unstable North Korea which is run by unstable puppet master Kim Jong-Il. The answer- YES. But not for the same reasons that you think I am scared. I figure if I happen to be in a scary place when scary things happen, I will either be protected by a secret forcefield OR I will die heroically trying to save the children of my school. Thus, I am unafraid of such things...but what I am afraid of is not being liked by Koreans in general. "But kaRyn!" you say incredulously, "Isn't your charm UNIVERSAL and thus INTERNATIONAL?" Oh yes, dear reader, I am sure it is. But so is the charm of Diet Coke (see! I told you it connects)and ipods both of which come from the same steeping ground as Ninny Beth. And both are probably beloved of evil N. Korean dictator (as reported on very reliable internet gossip site). But they do not stop him from wanting to explode Alaska with intense nuclear laser beams and show us what's what. So while my charm may be universal, it is no match for intense and gross cultural bias which could make me a constant outsider in Seoul. That will be a very scary and new experience for me. I will immediately be recognizable as a loud, fat, pushy american. At least in Australia nothing was different until I opened my mouth. In Asia, I will just LOOK different not to mention act different. What if I can't do it...what if I can't ever meld myself to the new culture?
Now, to play devil's advocate to my own argument...my fears about being unable to change to assimilate to Korean culture are somewhat countered by the fact that I also thought that I couldn't give up the firewater...and here I am 6 days and holding and when I did "accidently" taste some DC today I realized that I don't even really like the taste of it anyway. AND it's not like I have to completely give up who I am to be part of this new adventure...I just have to be willing to try new things and let go, right? Kim Jong-Il understands.