My first day back in Korea
I have been back in Korea for about 10 hours and I never realized how much it is going to take to get used to. One of the first things that I notice are the smells. They are pungent and fishy and raw. My apartment, which I previously took to smell like just any other room has a scent. A scent that is a mix of baby and sewage. I don't know how to get rid of the smell or what fragrances I would have to spray to get rid of it, because ultimately those scents fuse with the latter and it ends up a collective nasal dump. Korea also has a prevailing scent of old tobacco. Did I notice these smells in America? I can't really remember. I am going to meet Jin and Jaewon today. Did I bring the chocolate? I did. I met Ashley Clemens on the plane. I wonder if she is going to call. She is a very unique being- with her mocha caramel skin and smokey southern drawl. We:ll see what will come of it.
Across from me sit two little girls and they have a look of placid sadness and want. I don't know why. Maybe the mother married a man who's business isn't doing too well.
I can see it know. He's a tie salesman. He gets on the subway everyday with a nice suit and well oiled hair and peddles ties- multicolored faux silk and faux polyester. He goes from subway car to subway car selling his spewl and every once in a while he sells one- or two ties, each going for a price of 2,000 won.
He can't think of his children at work. He can't plead to the sympathies of the subway riders. The riders fein apathy because no one wants to be singled out. This way they all become one entity. They all become professionals, students, wives, sons, daughters, husbands and mothers. The man in the suit selling ties is breaking those boundaries and he does it for his children. He does it so one day his daughters will be a student, a professional, a wife, a mother riding on the subway.
I saw an Ad for Wall Street English. I need to take a picture of it. I guess their focus is on business English. It is amazing how many institutes are in Korea. Most of my students go to at least 5 different academings. One of my students Jin, a 4th grader, goes to 5 academies. He goes to a Tae Kwon Do and a piano academies twice a week. He goes to one English Clinic 5 times a week for an hour at a time and another, (a SAT writing academy) twice a week. And he then goes to a Math academy 5 times a week. On top of this he goes to school Monday through Saturday (3 Saturdays a month, but Korea's trying to phase out Saturday classes) from 8am-2pm. Sometimes he'll stay till 5 for special clubs. He's 12 years old and he says he wants to work for a corporation. Shit, I'm 26 and I don't know what I want to do, but I do know that I NEVER want to work for a corporation.
I'm going to meet Jin and Jaewon today. These are two special Korean girls that transcend the Korean stereotype. I'll get into the Korean stereotype later. It's one of my projects- to deconstruct the Korean ideology and Jung.
Jaewon works for a international bank now and works 6 days a week 12 hours a day. She doesn't seem very happy about it. She's happy she has a job, but I don't think she wants to work anymore. I starting to sense that she wants an out. Now an out can come in two forms. She can get married or she can go to graduate school and then later get married. It's all about marriage in this society. Men can make dreams come true and all the girls have to do is to be submissive subservient housewives.