Monday, June 18, 2007


Things I've seen in Seoul in the last week:

- 3 men urinating in public. 2 of these men were my commute bus drivers. We're trucking along the highway and just as we merge onto another road, the bus pulls over for an unscheduled stop. I appear to be the only person concerned since everyone else is asleep with the curtains pulled on the bus to block out the possibility of a ray of light (did I mention that makeup here is called things like "superwhite" and "whiteout" and "pastywhite"?) When the bus driver reappeared a few minutes later from behind the bush zipping his pants, I realized what was going on. Not that I take umbrage. I do hold the Creativity School record for the most trips to the bathroom within a 1 hour period. If I was a Seoul busdriver, I think I would just wear diapers or spend my life dehydrated, the latter not being a very difficult acheivement in a place where they sell corn water in bottles the size of a thimble and call it refreshment.

-A sign that read "Mr. Pizza...made for women." I'm not kidding...their entire advertising campaign is all about how they make pizza for the female population. Exactly HOW do you make a gender specific pizza? Extra estrogen? Oddly enough, it was the best pizza I've had in korea. Maybe the secret ingredient is subliminal messaging... This girl I met once here wrote a blog all about Korean pizza that is it here:

- A Red Dodge Ram. You might not think this noteworthy but I promise you it is. I swear that with as many SUV's as Seoulites own, there is not ONE car any color other than white, black and maybe MAYBE silver...a Red American TRUCK is like a total fish out of water. It made me happy for a minute.

-A little girl about the same age as my students learning how to walk after a surgery. It was humbling. She had to stop every couple of steps and her mother had to encourage her the entire way. I saw this while Lumina and I sat on a bench making fun of Korean fashionistas (no kidding, green, brown, yellow and navy blue all in one costume) to make myself feel better about the fact that not one pair of shoes will ever fit me here and that the only skirts I can buy have elastic waists...And the reality is, as imperfect as our bodies may be, they are a gift. We walk, we move, we dance, we emote, we feel. I wasn't feeling sorry for the little girl...It was more like a deep sense of wonder at the resiliency of the human body and spirit and the lengths that we have to go to make them work together. It was a really nice reminder that there are better ways to deal with my discontent than dragging another person through the mud (even if they are wearing stilleto heals with cuffed jean shorts) and that I can do better at treating my body with the respect it deserves.

-Baked Cheetos. I saw baked cheetos in my hand and in my mouth. A taste explosion of orange MSG goodness thanks to Liz who knows how to make a homesick girl ALL BETTER!

Went to Andong Folk Village with Youngji and JiHyun and Lumina this weekend and miracle of miracles, my camera pictures coming soon!


Dainon said...

Personally, I'm a fan of the pee when you need to pee theory. Reminds me of the mission in the Philippines. The most popular places to relieve yourself was ALWAYS where signs were posted telling you not to do so. Amazing.

Hey, It's Ansley said...

Baked Cheetos always bring a smile to my face and all I have to do to get them is go to Smith's and fork over $3.29 (+tax), so I can only imagine how happy they made you!

When I was in France, I saw a sign that said, "Urinating is prohibited to animals with 2 and 4 legs." Still saw lots of it anyway.

PS hardest word verification ever - bckzggqq - double g's, double q's, and a z?

Marie said...

Pizza for her? I'm guessing lots of sausages. Maybe fresh mozzarella balls, too.

Thanks for the word-snapshots of everyday Korea. I love travelogues like that.

Sharon & I sent you a postcard, but I'm not confident it will arrive -- that is a veeery long address with weird words and I probably wrote it wrong.