(Insert majestic and heroic music here, like the Utena theme song or something by Twisted Sister)
To begin with, let's discuss some things that have not gotten less awkward with time:
1) How difficult it is to find cheese (real cheese) in Korea.
2) The fact that I barely ever have anything to actually do at work, and yet I'm still somehow supposed to have something meaningful to say I did/ will do/ contribute to the weekly progress meeting which takes place completely in Korean.
3) The fact that people in Korea don't know who Beyonce is...
4) The fact that my humor does not translate at all here, but I'm still trying because it is my major mode of communication...
5) The fact that I'm not sure anyone is reading this or watching my YouTube videos or liking my pictures on Facebook, but I'm still doing all those things and uploading more content.
Anyway... awkward segue....
This week was interesting. I got to "help" with another of those pre- teen boy fake campaigns against smoking. This time was worse than the first time because it was raining and the boys were extremely rude. It was obvious that they really did not care about what any of the adults were saying or the message that they were supposed to be sending with their boards and shouted slogans.
Then, Tuesday was a really big youth orchestra concert that my whole department got wrapped into. I got to go into work at 12 instead of 10, and even though the subway trip was 53 minutes, getting to work for a day on one of the outer edges of Itaewan was actually tremendously cool. My coworker and I shared a burger that was basically as big as my head, and even though the burger did not taste like home, the whole idea of a coke and a burger with fries felt pretty familiar (even though I almost never have a burger with soda of any kind)... I spent that day working hard, finding chairs, lifting boxes, slicing my right middle finger open with a program, putting up VIP signs, and even making a small video of the super cool bathroom. I must admit that I try to be the best at everything I do, so of course I taped the informational posters in a way that spaced them completely evenly, as well as matching each one to one of the sign boards above them. Obviously, this arrangement did not look aesthetically pleasing from above, so my coworkers moved it all around and I winced internally, before remembering that I had to leave before the concert anyway, so the whole thing did not really matter much.
Speaking of things that matter, that same day I received a series of calls from someone who said my phone number had been stolen and was supposed to belong to the US Army. The man on the other end spoke English, but refused to believe me when I denied any association to any armed force, and continued asking me if I was part of the US Army. Finally I handed the phone over to my coworker, who then had a fast paced conversation with whoever had called me involving a complete set of words that I had never heard in Korean before. I went to the phone shop yesterday with one of the higher- ups in ICYE, and the man in the shop said that I could ignore any more phone calls like that, since they were probably fake.
Also, yesterday I had Korean class, something that I always look forward to. We wrapped up our section on making phone calls by watching a funny video clip of some guy telling his boss that he was sick to avoid going on a business trip, and ordering fried chicken and jap che over the phone to practice our language skills. The food was good, but that probably had more to do with how hungry all of us were, rather than the food's actual quality. Our teacher also regaled us with a story about the most handsome guy she had ever met, who was from Sweden, and both of them happened to be studying in the US. Apparently he flirted with her and she felt so uncomfortable and awkward that she responded to his kiss on the cheek with "no thank you". I feel her pain, and when she asked us what she should have said to him, we all had good ideas, but everyone agreed that my response was the wittiest (If I ever need to use it, I'm armed and dangerous with flirtatious language and talents such as touching my nose with my tongue and singing in Pig Latin, I doubt I'll ever have to use them). She asked us who was the most attractive man in Northern Europe, and three of us came up with Dan Howell at the same time... Then, we digressed into arguing about attractive Europeans, and what the difference was between adorable (Phil Lester) and attractive (that one British guy whose name sounds like a sneeze in a wet bathtub). We also did some actual learning, studying the words and titles for different family members. We had time for two people to draw their family trees, me (I'm extremely boring, since most of the drama in my family is inconsequential when talking about actual blood family) and Switzerland (whose family tree is convoluted even without the inclusion of all the family members of her step- parents). We will see who else has a confusing family tree next week!
In other news, by the middle of January, all of the ICYE volunteers in SK will be living in the same apartment. Finland is moving in with everyone else this Saturday, and my host family leaves for vacation in the middle of January, so we will all end up under the same roof. Yay! Explosions ensue! Well... probably not. However, this means that I will have to beg and plead my parents to take one of my bags back home with them, since there is not chance in Hogwarts that there will be space for both of my suitcases, or really any of my personal belongings that is bigger than a screwdriver.
Sending loving thoughts to everyone being affected by everything that is awful in the world these days,
(Also, if anyone wants to buy me a Piglet onesie, that'd be great :))
Everyday Acts of Activism