Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Monday, Day 20 (from day of departure, minus 16 hours for PST)

Daily observations. It's amazing what you'll find different from your own country, when you've put yourself in the position of observing another. You'll find the differences if you only take a minute and ask, "Why?" Today I did. Several times, too.

For example, let's talk about the heat and the muggy weather in Daegu.

1. There's no use in washing your hair everyday. I like to call this particular syndrome of after just having walked out of the shower, you find yourself already sweating from the heat: the after-shower sweating syndrome. Not fun. I experienced this in Baton Rouge/Alexandria, Louisiana, and now once again in beautiful Bukgu Daegu, South Korea. The most important thing to remember is to always wash. Foam up with good antibacterial, deordorant soap. Sweating is not always a nice smelling natural body function. In fact, I think the smell of sweat gets worse, the more the body has to kick up the inner-cooling system. Unfortunately, the body doesn't allow us to just 'turn off the sweating' function just for the vanity of not feeling sticky and sweaty--hence, thanks to our local drug stores, there's plenty of deordorant readily available. Vital last point, one is not to forget the deodorant in this muggy weather.

2. So, because it's so hot and humid in Daegu, I find it quite natural to want to always kick on my fan or crank up the AC. Bad idea, for a couple of reasons. Interestingly enough, I came across this idea that Koreans believe that fans can kill you in your sleep. Read more to find out why. I think it's just a myth. Ok, aside from that funny note, fan causes dust to fly around. I noticed I have more dust around my apartment than ever before. This is crazy! Plus, if I leave my fan on during the night, I find that I keep turning it off and on constantly. Either I'm too hot or I'm too hold.

In comes the AC. I use the circulation mode more than anything else--but if God didn't help us invent this neat contraption, than I'll be darned. I have a remote control that allows me to turn on my AC with a push of a button. And, not only that, but it makes a cute chirping sound to let me know whether I'm turning it on or off. Talk about neato!

3. And my washer, on that note, makes a cute ringtone when the cycle is done. I have to say though, that even after almost 3 weeks of being here in South Korea, I still don't know how to quite use my washer. I think I just need to ask Angelina next door instead of guessing. the truth is, my whites aren't just as white as they should be! No lie. But the washer is cute, anyway. See: My washer and drying rack

Then comes the idea that I take my dryer back home for granted. Point is, I don't have a dryer here. I have to hang up my clothes. Then when they're dry, I iron the wrinkle out. What a painstaking process! You know, I had to do this during the year that I lived in Switzerland--the clothes would come out damp, even from the dryer, THEN I would be required to iron them still. Back then it was easy--well, sorta. I had to iron for a family of five, which included myself. But there was space. You see in the picture, THERE AIN'T ANY ROOM TO IRON IN THE DINKY HALLWAY! So, I iron in my room, on my bed, with a little iron board I bought for $7 bucks. Yay. At least I take my clothes for less granted too.

4. Last notable observation for this evening--because I forgot my camera at work, and I can't upload my new pictures that I took from this past weekend, I'm having to dig deep and write a bit about my daily observations, which is wonderful. I finally get to put a few things in perspective. While I miss home and the 'ordinary'.. family, boyfriend, my car, the things I took for granted--I have to say that I'm really liking this country. Despite the hot weather, and the Korean characters, Hangul, which I can still barely read, and the differnt food, the sometimes unwelcoming mannerisms of these Daegu Koreans...I find myself becoming more of a Korean everyday. I like Kimchi, and I search for the spicey foods. I eat less foods like home, and I crave to try something new. The girls at work must think I'm insane because I want to acclimate myself to this culture---but then again, that's normal for me. That's why I'm here.

People are starting to respond to my eagerness and desire to learn Korean. I've walked on the playground, next to the school where I live, along with the neigbourhood Koreans who go out after work to exercise and play with their kids---simply because I want to fit in and be like them too. I've made a retard of myself, ordering a plate of food at a take-away joint, trying to learn the Korean name of what I'm ordering, meanwhile risking the fact that I look silly. And the more I smile and gesture hello to passer-by's, the more smiles and hello in both Korean and English, that I get in return. It's like a little progress everyday. And what's more enjoyable, is witnessing these awesome kids that I teach, learn a new word---and in return, they teach me a new Korean word or two. It's really fun stuff, and I cannot believe I came across this place nearly 3 weeks ago.

My body still hasn't gotten used to this weather, nor the time, either. It's already past 2am, and while I want to continue writing, I only have a half-hour left on my laptop battery before it runs out of juice. Yessirree, I left my US plug to Korean outlet converter at work with my camera. And I thought I was going to bed early too! (well, I ended up going grocery shopping tonight, and cleaning my gruesome bathroom from top to bottom. The smell was overpowering--yay, for Tilex!)

Cheers to a good night :)
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