Kian in Korea

Saturday, July 08, 2006


So, after being here for three weeks, I've decided that instead of switching to a high school, I'm going to stay at the elementary school. There are a few reasons, but the main one is that I just want to get settled somewhere. I like my job and coworkers and students, and if I change to a high school I'm going to have to give up the month that I've invested here and start all over again. In my opinion, it's better for my sanity that I stay put. Now, three weeks into my trip, I can finally relax about the future. To celebrate, I bought a plant for my bedstand. I've decided to name him Kabob, for reasons that will be clear once you've all seen a picture of him.

My internet is still not installed. I don't know why the phone company thinks it can tell me that they'll be by my apartment "sometime Saturday or Monday" and I'll just hang out all day until they come. Hopefully they'll come right after work on Monday.

Strange Korea Facts:
1) For some reason, young Korean couples think it's charming to go out wearing the same outfits. I've seen this seven or eight times already, and when you go out shopping you will often see the man and the woman mannequins in matching outfits, too.
Going out shopping also revealed that there's not often a difference between men's and women's jeans. Because of the way Korean people are shaped (i.e. no hips), stores just carry different styles and the women buy the smaller sizes and the men buy the larger sizes.
2) Koreans take their games very seriously. There are two channels on my TV devoted to gaming- one is all Go, all the time (or at least in the evenings when I tend to watch TV), and the other is about video games. Or rather, it's not so much about video games as much as it shows them playing video games.
There are "PC Rooms" everywhere. They occur in the same frequencies here as Starbucks and McDonalds do in America. People stop by, usually pay 1,0000 Won an hour, and play video games or use the internet. It's where I am now. Nothing stops these people from getting their gaming in. Last week, sitting right next to me was a guy who was actually attached to an IV.
3) People wear the same clothes over and over again. I didn't notice this until I saw one of the teachers at my school wear a frilly, flowery dress two days in a row. Then, all of a sudden, it was everywhere. The students, the other teachers, people who work in stores by my apartment, the kids in my Taekwondo class. They wear the same exact thing, over and over again, for two or three days (maybe more, but I can't keep track longer than that). I knew that I was in a somewhat poor area, but are these people that poor?
No. As it turns out, this is a byproduct of the fact that until not very long ago, Korea was a very poor country. The younger generations now are the very first to actually have enough money to do and buy whatever they want. But, because of their past, Koreans are very frugal. So, they save extremely high percentages of their income and spend relatively little on anything else.

My internet time is running out, so until next time, 안녕히 가세요!


  • Karma's a bitch! This is what you get for making me watch you play Sim City when we were kids. Now you get to watch people play video games...boring isn't it!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:16 AM  

  • i checked out your blog and it's awesome. those matching shirts are called couple-Ts (that's actually what they say in Korean) and my friends and i have been collecting pictures, taken discreetly of course, of them. we have like 40 pics. i did a lesson in one of my classes where i had my girls write about what they would do if they had a dream date with Brad Pitt and about 70% of them included buying couple-Ts in their date. if a girl in the States tried to get her boyfriend to wear matching shirts she would end up single faster than you can say kimchi.
    anyway, cool blog.

    By Blogger Ellen, at 5:31 PM  

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