5.12.2010

How do you and Korea get along?

You're direct, straightforward and like your space. How do you and Korea jive so well considering it's the exact opposite? Great blog, btw! It's definitely *not* boring!


Oh, really. Don't worry about the boring thing. It doesn't bother me to think that people might find me boring. I'm not a shuddering shell of an insecure person -- I'm quite happy to let people go their own way, while I go along on mine. I do think it's odd, however, that of all the boring blogs in the world, someone would feel the need to make that specifically known. One might (possibly) assume that perhaps the intent was not so much a deafening cry out into the ether caused by a boredom so thick that it couldn't help but be expressed, so much as possibly an attempt to knock me down a few rungs. Possibly (possibly) because I may have had an easier time adjusting to life and work in Korea, which might serve as unpleasant evidence to those who have not had quite such an easy time that perhaps their inability to adjust is more about them than about Korea. Just thinking hypothetically, here. And based on the complaints I usually get out of people, which tend to run along the lines of, "You're good at things in Korea! Fucking good for you! You're obviously a social pariah who has an uncontrollable tendency to rub your good fortune in everyone else's faces! Waaah!" Or something to that effect. Well. Sorry.

Don't feel bad, anyway. It's not about you -- Korea really is that awful. I'm just impossibly good at absolutely everything I do, and capable of charming absolutely everyone around me. You've not done anything wrong -- it's just that I'm that incredibly right.

There. Don't you feel better now?

Seriously, though. It's fine. I'm a big ol' bore and I'm not upset about that. To be honest, I'm more comfortable with the boring comment than I was with that crazy sexy thing earlier this week. The boring thing is at least closer to the truth. And less creepy.

So. Speaking of boring, though. Actually, this is nice.

I'm direct, straightforward and I like my space. All of these things are true. Korea is known for the exact opposite of these things. This is also true. So how are we so seemingly madly in love with each other, even after all this time? Easy enough:

Opposites attract. Not complete opposites, obviously. But I think to think of it as more of "salt and pepper" situation -- we compliment each other. Or at least, Korea compliments me.

I'm a calm, cooly rational person who, for the most part, speaks sparsely and directly. I like to do things efficiently, but not in a hurry. I, personally, am a pretty ordered individual. Which is possibly why every person I've been magnetically drawn to in my lifetime has been a hot fucking mess, or well on their way to becoming one. Which is why I've had myself on a big long punishment/hiatus from serious relationships, while I retrain myself to be able to distinguish the difference between "acceptable as a partner/not acceptable as a partner".

However, with places, I don't have to be so careful.

Despite all my big talking about my enormous ego, I actually do find myself to be quite boring. I live with me all the time, 24 hours a day. I understand how I think, how I work. I know myself inside and out. So what in the fuck would I want with more of me? Furthermore, the positive qualities that I have, have come quite naturally to me, so I don't find them to be that remarkable. Whereas qualities that I can't seem to cultivate within myself absolutely captivate me. I'm fascinated with anyone who can do something that I absolutely cannot do, and do it well.

If I were to visit Korea for a week, I'm fairly certain I might size her up as loud, flashy, pushy, commercial, excessively and unnecessarily disordered, nonsensical, frustrating and obnoxious. Lucky for me, I didn't visit Korea for a week -- I moved to Korea. I've had time (and, really, no choice but) to peel back the surface layers, and see what's going on underneath. I've had time to dismiss my initial reservations and hesitance to come into contact with anything that is different, strange and disarming to me, and to allow something entirely separate from myself to become familiar. In short, I've been challenged by Korea. Because it's not the same as me, because I don't naturally understand everything (almost anything) that goes on here. I'm not bored here.

And Korea can teach me, if I let her. I don't need to go to a place that reflects every quality I already appreciate -- I can save that for my retirement. I'm still young and I'm still learning, and I want to find out what all there is out there for me to love. I lived in New York for nearly six years before I came to Korea -- I already knew I loved beautiful architecture, well developed public spaces, street art and a wealth of ethnic diversity. But what else would I find out I loved if I went to a place that didn't have those things (Korea)? I've found out I love a city that's easy to get lost in (as long as I'm not going to an appointment, obviously), a city that demonstrates an almost astounding sense of contrast (hurry up and take the long way around, centuries old palaces setting right next to modish coffee shops). A city that somehow will never feel as lonely as New York sometimes could, no matter how much time I spend alone, because of the smothering nature of the culture.

It all goes back to that night at the hostel in Paris, where me and a 30 year old Japanese architect (the sole Asian in the hostel that night) sat in the kitchen and tried to figure out why it was, exactly, Paris just wasn't doing it for us. I love to quote the line he came out with then, to anyone and everyone who will listen: "I just cannot find the chaos in this city."

Paris bored me to tears, because Paris is all straight streets, quiet sunny afternoon cafes, no garbage on the streets and soft-spoken merchants. Paris is way, way too fucking much like me. Korea, on the other hand, is a hot fucking mess. The crowds and the noise and the fly-by-night urban layout, the neon and the smells, the generations overlapping -- it's a right fucking mess. And it's changing everyday. It's absolutely everything that I'm not. Or that I'd rather not admit to being, anyway. And that's exactly why I love it.

9 comments:

Kel said...

OMG the internet. I now direct your attention to THIS - http://www.dullestblog.com/

I'm no Picasso said...

Hehe.

Anonymous said...

ㅋㅋㅋㅋ
i am no picasso, i think i'm starting to worship your sarcasm (the first few paragraphs of this post).

Anonymous said...

ps: i couldn't agree more about paris except for the clean streets part. i was there for two weeks and i spent half of my time sidestepping dog shit everywhere. well, except for the tourist areas. but you're definitely right. that city couldn't be more dull.

asadalthought said...

Paris is overrated. Interesting fact: The Japanese Foreign Ministry has a special phone number that Japanese tourists can call that deals with "Paris Syndrome." That's what they call it when Japanese tourists go to Paris expecting the absolute pinnacle of Western culture, art, society and so on - because that's what they've been told it is. But it's not, and when they get there, it makes them have a bit of a breakdown, because they can't get their heads around the manners - or lack of them, and the general unamazingness of the whole place. This is such a common occurance they even gave it a name! And it's own government helpline! Classic...

saharial said...

hehe I guess I am among the few that adore Paris I guess, but then I am very biased since I discovered the best Pain au Chocolat and coffee while I was there last year ( i swear it was heaven).
Perhaps the trick with Paris is to only go for a few days rather than 2 whole weeks.
I am aiming to see Versailles this year. Maybe its because I'm a bit of a busy bee and chaotic that it appeals to me.*ponders* does this mean I'll not get on with Seoul? hmmm. Interesting thoughts.^^
@asadalthought - that's so amusing they have their own help line for this!

Marilyn said...

Once again you've taken something that I've half-thought (I like Korea because it's not boring) and put it into words better than I could've.

Also, I think the best part of "The Dullest Blog in the World" is the infrequent updating. Well done, Dave.

동수 said...

Your views, your thoughts, and your freedom~! Nicely done ^-^
After all, it's your Blog~!
I like the honesty which depicts the very moment of your thoughts being processed.

I'm no Picasso said...

Dongsu -- Haha. Thank you. That's a great compliment.