Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bali-Bali (hurry, hurry)

I'm still honeymooning. Everything is exciting...just walking down the street is fantastic. The lights, the billboard signs which encase buildings like cellophane candy wrappers make for some serious neck-craning, not to mention serious stumbling. I'm having a hard time looking at my feet lately when I'm walking. There's just so much to take in...restaurants with boiling vats of cabbage in the windows and rabbits in neat fenced pens close to the kitchen door. Buildings which are thirty stories high...in this town, Uijeoungbu, which is supposedly in the "country". Men on random street corners selling plums and tomatoes out of the backs of their trucks.

But for all of this chaos, somehow everything is so neat. The people are so obsessed with order: for all of the gaudy colors and bold Han-guel lettering, things are somehow at the same time restrained, contained within a very designated space. Hygiene is of paramount importance. To obtain my alien card (I am a Martian here), I had to:

1) Pee in a cup. If I test positive for MJ, I will be immediately deported.
2) Have my chest x-rayed and measured. Apparently, my boobs are a health hazard here in Korea.
3) Take a survey about how much I exercise/how much alcohol I drink/how many cigarettes, precisely, I smoke per day.
4) Take an eye test, eye patch and all
5) Take a hearing test in a sound-proof box.
6) Have my teeth examined.
7) Give up five vials of blood for HIV/STD tests. I'm getting deported if I have chlamydia.

I was at the hospital for three hours. Ugh.

I'm meeting people. I'm going out as much as I possibly can. I'm running...Koreans are so health obsessed, which might explain why they can eat the fattiest foods. Tootaching-ly sweet pastries, barbecued beef shortribs, Spam and hot dogs in stew, rice slathered with raw egg and sesame oil. But more on the food (which has been amazing, of course) in the future.

Tomorrow I officially begin teaching the classes that will be mine for the next year. Trying desperately hard to get back into teacher mode...it's not going so well. I'm trying to push myself to learn to think creatively here on my feet in the classroom...I feel like I'm good at being creative only at specifically scheduled times; on my own time. But I suck at coming up with teaching ideas on the spot.

Time for bed. Like Korea, this has been a frenetic, rather senseless post. Which is probably appropriate for where I am, head-wise, right now.



I leave you with one relatively tame picture of me out in Seoul with my co-workers/their foxy Korean friends. It was a crazy ladies night.

Much love to all. I miss you constantly. Even on the dance floor.

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