I wrote this 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 and what fragrances I would have to spray to get rid of it. It also has a prevailing scent of old tobacco. Did I notice these smells in America? I don'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 was 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 husband 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 and faux silk and faux polyester. He goes from car to car selling his spewl and every once in a while he sells one- or two, each going for a price of 2,000 won.
He can't think of his children. He can't appeal 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. All become professionals, students, 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. Jin, a 4th grader goes to 5 academies. He goes to a Tae Kwon Do and a piano academy twice a week. He goes to two English Clinics 5 times a week for an hour at a time. 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.) 8am-2pm(but some stay till 5 for special clubs.) He's 12 years old and he says that he wants to work for a corporation. Shit, I'm 26 and I don't know what I want to do.
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 that 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 for these girls. Men can make dreams come true and all they have to do is to be submissive subservient housewives.
All the King's Men. A film review.
Today I went to see the Korean movie, "All the King's Men." I was under the impression that I was going to be watching a comedy. That was what all the reviews billed it as, however, it was another Korean movie that I will probably never going to watch a second time. The reason you might ask? Jung.
What is this elusive but utterly all encompassing idea? It's like a form of philosophy that has permeated through the entire culture. Maybe it has to do with being humble, but I think one of the major elements of it is that one cannot be happy. Wait.
How did Choi put it? I have to get off the subway, so I'll get back to you.
He said that sleeping with a prostitute was just like peeing.
Let me interprete. He meant that all men have to pee and prostitute was basically like a urinal- an object needed to fulfill a basic need. How does this tie into Jung? The wife, is not like this. He loves her, but in different way. He can't lust after his wife. She is the being that will carry on his life. To have a content life you can't lust. You can't have any real emotion- it becomes too turbulent. You just settle in and except all that comes. When Choi got married he didn't do it for love. He didn't do it because she was his soulmate. She was willing to accept him- and put up with his junk and in turn, he was willing to support her and concede his lustful nature. It's a way of settling.
So you would think that the Korean divorce rate would be next to nil right?