Right now, as the semester slumps toward the finish line, I have a lot to concentrate on at work. Namely, keeping both my game and the students' game on target, as we all just kind of want to give into the death rattles of another semester survived. It's not time quite yet. Two more weeks. But keeping myself motivated and from slacking off, while maintaining the students' attention so that we can keep on actually learning shit up until the last minute takes a lot of energy. Also, those relationship things... I forgot how much work they are, when you want to do them properly. They take a lot of mental energy, and even more so when there's a language barrier involved. Me and this guy, we work hard to stay on top of our cultural differences and to keep in mind that we can't always communicate well with nuance when we hit on conflict, but sometimes you just lose sight. So it takes a lot of stopping, resetting, and restarting.
I'm also redoing the extra bedroom in my flat to turn it into a work studio, which has been a long time coming. I guess I just decided that, since I'm mentally and emotionally exhausted a lot of the time these days, why not be physically exhausted as well? Just kidding. It's a stress-relief thing. I'm not the yoga type. I'm the kick boxing type. I cannot sit and just 'be' with my thoughts. That shit will put me in a head hospital. Nothing helps me to get centered and clear my mind like hard physical labor. And the twenty-odd years worth of wallpaper I'm currently ripping off the walls is helping with that, a lot. And I'm excited to be able to have a space to work in, because, if you don't already know, I'm kind of mental about keeping my flat clean. Which prevents me from really getting into some things. Soon, I'll have a space where I can make whatever kind of mess I want, and then close the door at the end of the day and have it quarantined off from the rest of my living space.
Now. It's come to my attention that I've been linked to from Korean Sentry. I groaned when I saw it -- it's never good news, right? What have I done now? I was suprised to find that I was credited as a 'foreigner who actually RESPECTS Korea and actually wants to understand it'. What I have to say about that is this: I don't respect your website. And I don't think you respect foreigners. And the track history that this forum has makes having it in my corner make me feel a little queasy, honestly. I've never seen such psychotically racist shit in my life.
I don't respect Korea or want to understand Korea -- I respect and want to understand people. I don't think many of the people involved with that site can say the same. I think that website is something that the Koreans I know and respect would find to be a huge embarrassment. Respect and understanding are two-way streets. Do you have legitimate concerns and objections to some of the things that foreigners in Korea do and say? Sure. I'm sure it's there. But the way you go about expressing that makes me feel targeted and hated. And I've done nothing wrong. You and your website make me feel like there is a portion of the Korean population who will always target me on the street and make assumptions about who and what I am. I don't carry my blog around with me. My first impression is just that of a foreigner. And it doesn't really seem to me that many of the people actively participating in the kind of conversations that go on on Korean Sentry would be keen to give me much of a chance, seeing only that.
In short, people like you are something that I've had to overcome to be able to understand and respect Korea. People like you are what the foreigners who constantly bitch about Korea on the internet are getting hung up on. You're not helping the problem -- you're making it worse. So, in my mind, you don't really get to complain. Just like Lousy Korea didn't really have the right to point the finger at Koreans in her situation, either. I said it then, and I'll repeat it now: these two groups deserve each other, and they've nothing to do with the rest of us. The rest of us who are working hard to respect and understand each other, and improve the relationship between foreigners and Koreans in Korea.