Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Love of a Taxi Driver

So I've had some issues with taxi drivers over the past 8 weeks here in Jeonju... they either love me or they hate me. Some will have me repeat "Yeoul Chodunhakyeo" about 8 times because I say "Yo-ool" instead of "Yo-eul"... and then they give up because I continue to (in their minds) butcher their language!

But whatever, you win some and you lose some, right?!

So one day, a cabbie tried to strike up a convo with me in Korean. I told him I could only speak "Chokum Hangeul"... he smiles and goes "Chooookum" (in the absolute funniest voice ever), so I try to repeat how he says it because it's so funny.. for about 30 seconds we just continued saying "CHooOOoooOkum" back and forth, whilst giggling. So fabulous and cute! Highlight!

On a different day, I was taking a cab to work. And the driver looks back and says "I lub you" (quickly).. "huh?"... "I luba you"... "OH! Ha.. (sketched) Ha"... "I luba you"... "Uhuh!"... "I luba you, KAMSAMNIDA (duh?)".. "Ah, Thank you (does he really think you say Thank you after someone says I love you?!?!)"... "Sam-ship? (30)"... "NO! I-ship-sam (23)!!!"... "OOOOHHHHH (all giddy) I LUBA YOU!".

::::Thoughts.. holy cow, get me out of this car right now! Egh, this is disgusting!!::::

Car stops. I pay him. "Tip? Tip?" ..."ANIYO!!" (NO).. dirty old creep!!!

OH my life! Sometimes I have to just stand still and soak everything in .. and LAUGH .. you'd go crazy here if you didn't!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Korean Ants Climbing Moaksan

So we know that everywhere around the world has ants... carpenter ants, fire ants, army ants, leaf cutter ants, big head ants, lemon ants, congo ants... have you ever seen Korean Ants?!

I went with a lovely group of people to climb Moaksan Mountain, which watches over and protects my fabulous city, Jeonju. It was definitely difficult, my calves and buns are still burning from 4 days ago!!! And it was hardcore the 'Korean' hiking experience.. people EVERYWHERE! People scurrying up, people scrambling down, people wearing brightly colored-brand new-super expensive-brand name hiking clothes/masks/gloves/shoes/visors. A majority enjoyed listening to K-Pop/Traditional Korean music on the way up, everyone had picnics, smelled like Kimchi, offered us fruit and coffee.

BUT there were liars among us, we were told that Makgeoli was sold at the top of the mountain.. a reward of sorts.. that was why we did it quickly and wanted to get to the top so bad.. Makgeoli? MAKGEOLI? Where is the MAKGEOOOLLIIII?!?!!

Easy. There wasn't any.

Fail. On many levels.

Tired. In more than one way.

Ate Me a Live Octopus, Y'all!

Yes, you read that right. It wasn't just 'raw'... it was ALIVE... go ahead, call PETA now, I'm ready for them. Forgive me Lord for I have sinned. I have already repented and I still feel horrible for that poor li'l guy...

... given the same cultural situation, I think I would try it again... I'm sure the Makgeoli within our systems did not help steer us away... but this is what Koreans do, this is how they live, kids eat this without crying!

The video in the YouTube link is quite.. umm.. graphic, let's just say that there is no remorse! Korean.
JoJo attempts.
Korean shoves wiggling leg in his face.
JoJo denies.
Then takes it like a man.

I decided to try it myself... it took me a little while to muster up the guts (no pun intended) to do it, and it was still wiggling even though it had been hacked to pieces 5 minutes earlier.
Morning after.:
Wake up.
Use the bathroom.
Wash hands.
What happened last night?
stayed in the bathroom.. blech..

Stuck in the Middle of a Buddhist Ritual


What happens when curiosity gets the best of you?!

You get stuck in the corner of a room while 15 men are bowing continuously... 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25... oh no... 26, 27, 28... I hope my friends don't leave me... 29, 30, 31... how did I get myself into this?!

Easy explanation, while hiking up Moaksan with my friends, there was a small temple about half way up the mountain. At this temple I wandered around while my friends sat and rested, I got snoopy and walked into one of the buildings.. then a whole bunch of men came in, one tells me to sit, as he could see that I was seriously curious, and I ended up sitting in the worst place possible.. in the corner farthest away from the door!!!

It was SO calming though, and quite relaxing.. I just sat there in awe at their dedication/rituals.. they were all extremely serious, and just.. in a trance of sorts! I liked it until I realized that they're probably going to bow 100+ times.. and then I figured when I left, my friends would be at the top of the mountain already! Luckily, I got to sneak out... side-step, bow, side-step, bow, side-step, bow... and eventually, I reached the door without accidentally touching anyone or making too much noise!

Almighty Soju Tent

Have you ever sat in a tent with hundreds of Koreans drinking Soju?

I have, and I am here today to tell you how it changed my life.

When we first arrived, I thought it was winter time... Christmas time to be exact... then noticing all of the signs, I realized that it was in fact New Years. HAPPY NEW YEARS everybody. Then I had to be told that it was all a lie.. that I was living a fantasy life.. a Korean fantasy life... in this life there were 50+ tables of Koreans sitting around chatting and giggling whilst drinking the almighty Soju.. not because of Christmas, not because of New Years, because of LIFE! In this fantasy, I realized that I am IN FACT living in Korea... and loving every minute of it!