Sunday, November 30, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Interesting Fact: Did you know since I have moved to Korea, I still have not finished my first toilet roll? It has been a month.
Korea does not cater well to the single living person as it sells practically everything in bulk. If I want to buy a pack of toilet paper – it comes in a pack of 20. Toothpaste - a pack of 6. Rice and washing powder are in at least 5kg bags. Fruit comes in pre-packaged boxes, there is rarely such thing as a single onion or garlic clove. It’s lucky I am trying to gain weight because I am eating so much to keep up with my food going off!
One of my favourite places in Incheon is the Home Plus department store. It’s never a bad day at Home Plus. It has EVERYTHING! I feel very foreign at Home Plus – there is staring – especially at what I am buying, then there is the person that slyly slides up beside me as I am looking at the biscuits “Where are you from?”, “New Zealand” “Ahhhh New Zealande” and then they just walk away.
Noodles anyone? If I bought bulk items like this I wouldn’t have any room in my room!
It is weird having everything all to myself in my small, cosy dorm room after sharing my living space (and milk) for so long. And my small, cosy dorm room can barely cope with being a bathroom/kitchen/lounge/bedroom let alone being a mess! So I have decided to become a tidier person. I am even trying to be one of those people that make their bed everyday. I know this tidy bedroom thing may come as a shock to my nearest and dearest – this is a small but positive change.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
My cellphone is a piece of crap – the camera is broken and half of the menus are in Korean. It was second hand and dirt cheap so I wasn’t expecting anything to be working perfectly and actually, it’s really nice being able to call people without it costing $1.50 per minute. *
My first gripe is that I can barely text anyone internationally – 90% of the time it just doesn’t work – my text flies into message never never land. The truly annoying thing about this is that in any normal situation I could go to the cellphone company and say “Hey! Why doesn’t my cellphone text to these phones internationally but it works to these phones internationally?...and while you’re at it, why does my phone say I have a film message but I can’t find it anywhere?”
Oh no…asking questions with more than a yes or no answer can turn into something more longer and confusing than one can ever be bothered with. I KNOW I am in Korea, where the main language was Korean. But if a Korean speaks English I would love if they would wear some sort of flashing light and then I would run towards them with open arms and ask a million questions. Oh man, it was quite embarrassing the other day when we were discussing how we were going to ask for a two-day pass to the Platform exhibition and the women behind the counter spoke perfect English. Doh!
ANYWAY back to my cellphone. My second gripe is that a text message has only 70 characters! I can’t fit ANYTHING in!!! What happens to the song “160 Characters” by The Tweeks?? – Anthony would barely get to say hello let alone “I would like to tell you I, had fun with you tonight, would you like to do it again sooooooommmmmeettimmmmmmmeeee” (I have heard that song a lot.)
Hmmm who took this sweet photo?
No wonder the kids didn’t get it when I played this music video in class (they like the song (Tweeks) AND the music video (Luci)). But they just don’t get what the song is about. Korean squiggle just takes up less room. My text messages have turned into short, robotic answers.
I’ve been pumping my students full of Dunedin music – Librarian by Haunted Love is a favourite but they find the video SO scary hehe. But, again – they love the song. They will be Backstage groupies by the time I have finished with them.
Ahhhh I'm off topic again…anyway, having a cellphone means I am free to travel alone – not that I couldn’t before but it is reassuring to have instant access to a person I can call if I get lost or need translation. Often if when I catch a taxi home, the driver will ask me to call a Korean friend. This is the problem with living in Wang-dang Dong, which is next to Wang Dong – or do I live in Wang Dong next to Wang-dang Dong. Who knows? I am now able to be more independent and adventurous in Korea. Ka pow!*Hmmm at least I don’t think I pay $1.50 a minute. This would involve asking a question with more than a yes or no answer.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
These were only the highlights. I can’t believe its over because I want everyone I know to see it, ESPECIALLY if you live in New Zealand or London because then you could have swung by and visited me on the way.P.S. Thank you to those amazing people that blog about these things because otherwise I would never find out.
I have had to wait to blog about my arty weekend because I have had to wait a few days to process it all. I managed to catch Seoul Platform 08 in its last 2 days. I freaking couldn’t believe it. This is art I love – installation, performance, video, technology, culture – most of all – IDEAS! Simple ideas that are presented as a strong, inspiring piece. Oh man – imagine if this stuff could get to our little Blue Oyster Gallery?
Old Seoul Station was INCREDIBLE: it was built in 1925, it still has the chandeliers, the ceilings are amazing but the paint is peeling off the walls – it is so beautiful I can’t explain it.
AND most of the work was inspired by the space. We went on a tour (in Korean) but a man followed along with us and handed us a translated explanation as the woman spoke.
As we walked around the building we stopped at a window at north, south, east and west. As we looked out the window a recording was played of telling family stories that focused on something that happened in whatever direction you were watching – his aunt catching the train to Busan before she moved to Japan, the poor living in the mountains and stripping the trees bare for warmth. It was simple and beautiful and even though we read the translated version as he spoke the concept came across beautifully.
Another one here that was awesome was The Forty Part Motet by Jane Cardiff (Berlin). You walk into an old ballroom and stand in the middle of 40 speakers that are in an oval. A choir is singing – except that each voice is recorded on a different speaker, then there is an intermission in the music and you can hear each choir member chatting quietly. So as you walk around the speakers the sound changes. Oh man it was cool.
Imagine this but in a Korean 1920's ballroom.
As I walked into doART Gallery in Jongno-gu. I saw this.
I thought it was a statue. I walked up to it and looked very close. It was blinking. I thought it was a statue that blinked. I went up to the woman waiting at the side and asked her if was a statue (poor thing – imagine how many times a day people ask her that!). It was a person, caught in mid fall – completely still (except for blinking) for half an hour. Oh my god it was beautiful.
There are a butt load off galleries in the Jongno-gu district. If you go on the orange subway line to Anguk, get off at Gate 1 and walk towards Gyeongbok Palace you will find them.
Are you excited for part 2? I bet you're thinking "but this art is SO COOL - how could it get any better??!!" Well, my friend, just you wait.
Monday, November 24, 2008
This un-P.C.ness is great for teaching as well. We can hug the kids, stroke their hair or on the other side pull them by the arm or the ear and put them in the hallway. We can make them stare at the wall with their hand in the air, or some other body part raised. Of course none of this is too violent or "friendly" - it's just normal interaction with children.
I have this crazy assed kid who just can't stay in his chair - he is tiny and adorable but a little shit; so the other day I just picked him up like a baby and continued teaching the class. It actually worked - the other kids were sick of him running around so they just went with it and he was getting attention and was listening to me. Just in my previous class, I had two wee girls massaging me - one on each shoulder (they offered, I took it.) It is just nice not to have the P.C. wall up. It makes teaching a lot more fun and interactive and I feel I get more of a bond with the children.
It is the end of the semester this week so today is the last day of teaching. It will be nice to start the semester from the beginning rather than coming in the middle. Hopefully Ivy (my co-teacher) and I get to keep most of our classes. It's going to get a bit busier as we are taking on a special class but it means we get to be a bit more creative with our teaching. Of course this was sprung on me in the staff meeting today but who needs notice? I am also getting to decide the art programme for the next semester (this was sprung on me after the meeting) - which I wish I could go wild in but trying to cram all of my ideas into 45 minutes is a bit ambitious.
I was a bit sad sacky last night as I lay in bed with no curtains and no music or TV and also this morning as I blow dried my hair in the hallway, but it is all fixed now. As long as I don't miss Sex and the City at lunchtime I am happy. Carrie has just started hooking up with Aidan. Yuss.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Last night, I waited 5 hours (3 outside, 2 inside) to watch 5 boys with an average age of 18 sing, no, lip synch 3 songs. This was my first taste of live music since I left home.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
a) blood and pee test which is out of the usual BUT
b) I was given breakfast this morning, which means I am not having an x-ray - which I thought I was going to have before I went home.
Even though Day 1 was rather traumatising (the only thing I knew about kidney's was that Toni Warner from Shortland St died from hers), it hasn't been too bad. I LOVE the ladies in my room - I can't even begin to explain their kindness, humour and generosity - especially when all of their english extends to is Hello and Bye Bye.
Sometimes I will be asleep and my room mates will have visitors - who will gasp when I sit up. I am 99% sure I am the only foreigner in this hospital so there is a bit of starring going on.
- The nurses are adorable - I am pretty sure none of them are over the age of 25. They get a bit embarrassed about their english - but some of them are so good. It makes you feel better when someone can tell you why they are poking you!
My room is so busy - for every patient there is at least 1 family member at their sides at all times. They will also help everyone else in the room (including me - alot!) which is so lovely, everybody shares everything and will help everyone as much as they can. A few have even been helping me with my Korean!
If i had my computer here I wouldn't even mind being here as much - there are 2 computers downstairs which middle aged men sit on for hours playing games. It grinds my gears.
Food is 50% ok. Not the best.
Through my foreign face I have met some fantastic english speakers - so I am making friends. Everyone just keeps giving me food and soy milk.
Um people are starring over my shoulder trying to read out the english I am writing. It is weird. I am going to go.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
- Friday + Alcohol = Saturday hangover, sore back - I must have knocked it...
- Saturday hangover + fever + vomiting = Ok, I must actually have the flu - Just like everyone else
- Previous events = a whole day on bed on Sunday
- Monday + fever + sore back + teaching = not a good day
- Tuesday + doctor + "kidney! infection! hospital!" = me in hospital
- Me in hospital + Korean language = not really knowing what the hee har hey is going on
Today = Day 3 of 7, feeling better - have sweet as Korean ladies in my room - they do my hair and feed me. It's going alright.