I’m sitting in my window sill, chain smoking cigarettes out of pure frustration.
Moving to Korea was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I love it here: the food, the night life, the photo opportunities, and the clothes all appeal to me.
Speaking of the clothing; since living here, I’ve been on the hunt for some threads that are a) hilarious and b) not available for purchase back in Canada. I’ve had some terrible luck. Though I can make purchases from such stores as Uniqlo (not available in Canada), I cannot buy 80% of the things I want (which is probably good for my bank account, but at the same time, very frustrating).
Today I found some KILLER ‘Konglish’ T-shirts and some wicked tanks — all of which are conveniently mislabeled “FREE SIZE.” I asked the sales person if I could try them on. She scoffed and in broken English denied my request, stating that the shirts were, “free size. fit anybody.” I rolled my eyes and laughed. “Again with the ‘free size bullshit.”
Standing 6’0 feet tall and 76kg, I’m not fat, but by no means am I “anybody” in this country. I get it, the majority of Korean dudes are shorter than I and much more… well for lack of a better word, dainty. I understand that I’m a foreigner in this country and I AM different but the FREE SIZE myth is starting to piss me off.
I handed the shirts back to her. Said “sorry, but free size doesn’t fit me.”
She insisted that it would. Pushed the merchandise back at me and said “look good! look good! you [are] very handsome.” God I’m a sucker for that line. I bought the shirt for a mere 10,000 Won and walked home. I passed another store that had a stellar tank on display. I stopped there too. I picked it up and asked hesitantly - “free size?” He nodded. I asked him, do you think this will fit me?
His reply: “nooooo, you are ‘plus-eu’ size. you too fat. this no fit.”
Well played sir.
At least he saved me the trouble of getting home and putting it on only to find that just like the shirt I was (so easily) convinced to buy earlier this afternoon fits like a dry-fit Under Armor shirt.
If only I had an orange tan, gelled hair, and some boot-cut jeans, I could be the next cast member on the Jersey Shore.
I will preface this with the belief that if my employers took me seriously, I wouldn’t do half the things I do, but after being told that my job is to just show up, “be handsome”, and speak basic English, my drive to excel as a “teacher” kind of plateaued. I need a job that is going to make me think. I need a job that pushes me to be creative. I need a job that forces me to my limits and then just past them.
I’m ready to leave this ridiculous ‘in-between’ world I’m in and enter what my parents so aptly call the “scary, real-world.” I suppose it’s time to grow up and accept that only Peter Pan can escape adulthood forever.
sleep. Ahhhh sleep.
write meaningless blog posts (ahem, this one) that probably won’t be ‘liked, reblogged, or even read.’ motherfuckers.
skype video chat with friends back in Canada.
watch movies - mostly inappropriate for a school setting a la Big Lebowski and Pulp Fiction
eat co-workers food
don’t wear shoes, and if I do, they’re sneakers.
don’t wear work appropriate clothes - go to’s include: cut off jean shorts and an American Apparel v-necks.
play favorites. The ‘bad’ kids are definitely rewarded for how hard they make me laugh with all the ridiculous things they say and do.
spend wayyyyy too much time trolling Tumblr and scamming the Internet in general.
use the Vice Principals private bathroom (I stopped doing this because we got new administration who scares me more than Kim Jong-Il).
teach the students slang as much as I teach them proper English.
complain about the air conditioner not being on. (They just turned it on by the way, win).
don’t go to the staff room and socialize with co-workers (because let’s be real, what’s the point. They only speak Korean and I’m sick of hearing my name in whatever context they’re dropping it in).
don’t lesson plan (anymore).
day-dream about potential trips I’d like to take around Asia.
day -dream about my travels post Asia
day-dream in general
countdown the hours until I can have a lunch-time cigarette.
sneak off school property to mow down a cig or two on my lunch which is definitely a no-no.
I woke up groggy this morning. I managed to convince myself it was okay to stay up enjoying what Tumblr had to offer until the wee hours of the morning. Around 3:30 AM I fell asleep, the only thought on my mind was how terrible the morning is going be; waking up in a mere 4 hours. Lucky for me, my expectations didn’t let me down.
I walked to the bus stop. I smoked a cigarette and waited patiently. The bus pulled up, though I was the first in line, I made a motion for the people behind me to go first because (let’s be real) they would have anyway, and at least this way I look like a nice guy. So there we go. I’m on the bus. I reach into my pocket and drop 1,000 won into the token/change receptacle. 1,000 won being the correct amount, I began my walk down the aisles to an empty seat. For once one of my co-workers was not on the same bus – had she been, what I’m about to explain could have been avoided, I’m sure. I sat down in empty seat and the driver began to drive. I heard the coins I dropped in go down and the brakes slammed. He started yelling. I assumed it was directed towards the high school student that ran in front of the bus. I was wrong. He kept yelling. Because I don’t understand Korean I didn’t really care to know what he was yelling about. I put my headphones on. It was at this point that 8 or 9 heads turned and looked at me awkwardly. I popped one bud out and pointed at myself.
The bus driver kept yelling.
“I’m sorry, I don’t understand Korean well.”
Bus driver: continues yelling. Me: looking confused. I looked around for the slightest sign of someone that spoke English on the bus.
A high school girl perked up and asked me how much money I gave him. I said 1,000 won (also in Korean). She told the bus driver. He wasn’t satisfied. I stood up and walked to the front of the bus to give him MORE money even though I had paid the proper fare. If it was going to get him to declare a ‘cease fire,’ I was prepared to give him an extra 5,000. I just wanted to get to work. I tried to give him more money but he slapped my hand away. My eyes widened and my anger surfaced. He started yelling again; this time too fast for me to understand anything but words that really stood out to me. I heard something about ‘white man’ followed by something about ‘stupid foreigner’ and then told me to ‘fuck off,’ motioning for me to get off the bus. When I asked him if he was serious and he said yes and once again motioned for me to ‘fuck off.’ This is apparently when my race started to be a problem as well.
At this point, my tolerance plateaued. I looked around the bus and everyone pretended like this wasn’t even happening. I don’t know what the hell his problem was with me but he clearly had one. Now really angry I told him I wasn’t getting off the bus and that I was only going 4 stops. He kept yelling, “GET OFF!” I hadn’t even done anything wrong.
I said the first thing I could think of that I could say to show this old ahjussi that I was angry, the word 개새끼 (Geseki) flew out of my mouth before I could even censor myself. His head spun around and his jaw dropped. At that time I didn’t care (I regret it now, but can’t live in the past). I got off the bus and he shut the doors staring me down.
I flipped the bird and walked away. I’m ready to get out of this country. Korea is an amazing place to live, but sometimes you run into some real douchebags here.
As it is Thursday, I had the utmost pleasure of once again teaching the teachers at my school conversational English. Today’s approved topic: Friendship.
However, one of the teachers had questions regarding some slang. That escalated quickly to a 15 minute lesson on the origination of the insult 'Douchebag.'
I now have a new found love for my “Teacher’s Class.” There’s just something hilarious about a 23-year old teaching a bunch of middle aged women stuff like this. Oh well, Next week we’re working on 4-letter words.