Safa Bandi is ruining my life and the yellow shoes.

Today was a good Saturday. Hooray for that. I got a lot accomplished, perhaps because I woke up (involuntarily) at 6:30.

I was able to find a lot of things I've been looking for and trying to get around to getting today. I got Carl Sandburg's selected poems for S, whose birthday is next Saturday (the day we will be meeting her and Mr. Kwan in Hongdae). I also got one for Mr. Kwan in case he decides to start whining about how I like S more than him. Also, the main reason behind it is not that it is S's birthday, but that they told me they both nearly failed (and hated) their English language poetry courses at university. They said that poetry is too hard to read in English, and they don't understand it. If you're reading Wordsworth or Keats, I can see their point. But the more modern stuff they (S especially, as she is significantly more fluent than Mr. Kwan) shouldn't have too much trouble with. Well. The English language selections here can be limited, particularly the poetry, because poetry is always limited where ever you go. Carl Sandburg was the most modern thing I could find. Even so, although he isn't one of my favorites, I appreciate him, and I hope he will show S and Mr. Kwan that English language poetry isn't as difficult or dry as they think.

I was also finally able to find a Korean cookbook in English. It isn't so much that I want to learn how to cook Korean food specifically, as it's just easier, considering the ingredients are more readily available. My food situation here is dire, and although everyone recommends just eating out (cheaper and easier, in most cases), I really am a homebody and prefer cooking in. Plus, I really should get myself sorted as far as my bachelor habits. I've been living on my own for over half a decade now and I can't answer anyone when they ask me what I know how to cook. It's ridiculous.

It's a really fantastic book that gives a great outline of the ingredients and methods, as well as the recipes, which is good for a foolish foreigner such as myself, to whom all of this Greek, so to speak. I won't feel as intimidated in the grocery store anymore.

I also got myself a massive Korean language workbook. I got an audio thingy a few weeks back, but I get too fucking bored staring off into space and repeating things out loud to myself. I can't do it for more than fifteen minutes without wanting to die. Plus, although the audio set insists learning a language "organically" -- IE just by sound and in complete phrases -- is the best method, I'm not really inclined to agree, especially since I'm not really trying to learn just enough to get by, but to actually properly learn the language. I'm also an extremely, extremely visual learner -- if I see a word written, I'm one million times more likely to remember it than if I just hear it.

There are plenty of free websites available for learning Korean, but, again, since I get so bored having to do the repetitive work it takes to learn a language, being on the internet at all while I'm doing it is not a good idea. Too distracting. A workbook forces me to focus. Hopefully I can pick up the speed with this stuff now.

Eventually, I will sort myself out with one of the many Korean classes available here, but not until I have a little more confidence, and not until I feel I have my work situation firmly under control. Right now, working on being a better teacher is still my main focus, and a lot of my free time centers around that.

I also finally bought an mp3 player, but it's being a little bitch and not installing properly. I'm a little nervous, because I went against expat advice and bought the damn thing at Lotte Mart, where apparently people are continuously screwed over by the electronics vendors. Anyway, I'm hoping it's just a bout of my usual bad luck with all things electronics related, and I will eventually manage to sort it out. The trouble is that the website is all in Korean, since it's a Korean product, so I don't know where to begin with getting information on how to work out the problem.

Mike and I decided it would be acceptable to eat at Bennigan's tonight, because we were having a decent day and wouldn't be using it as an opportunity to get out of the always somewhat nervous experience of walking into a Korean restaurant. Mostly it was because we were standing right in front of it and it was fucking freezing out tonight, so we didn't feel like wandering around like we usually do. I think it's funny that I can eat at Bennigan's here, while all the ones back home have shut down. Anyway, we both felt terrible afterward and are now worried we're going to be those people when we go back home -- the ones who bitch and complain about how unhealthy the American diet is. I really hate to admit it -- I love terrible food -- but I do notice a significant difference now (after not even two months) when I eat Western food. It's heavy and greasy and makes me feel awful.

Oh please, God. Please don't let me become one of them.

Next weekend: a phone and a new pair of shoes. Aren't I just the good little consumer these days? Last week when I had my Day of Kwan, I was complaining about how every five minutes my right shoelaces come untied. Mr. Kwan decided that we should go get me a new pair of shoes right then and there. I told him I wasn't ready for that yet. I tried to explain how much I hate clothes shopping of any kind, to the very core of my being, and that I would probably get a new pair of the exact same shoes. This bothered him for some reason, and he began to insist that I should get a pair of yellow shoes instead. Well. The insisting didn't begin until after I shot the idea down with real passion, as is often the case with Mr. Kwan. Then it became an issue. "No. We will buy yellow shoes. Tonight." I pointed out that he should have noticed, by that point, that for me, there are three colors -- red, black and grey. Mostly black. And as Mike so aptly put it, "Mr. Kwan, she's not a bee."

After I calmly explained, for the umpteenth time, that trying to force me to do anything is a surefire way to make certain it won't be done, he eventually gave up on the yellow shoe shopping escapade. Then he suggested we should simply get some scotch tape to sort the shoelace situation out.

Now, everyday at lunch, he brings up the shoes. "When will you buy new ones?" It kind of makes me want to hold out for the rest of the year. But, sadly, there is a hole situation developing, and, given the recent change in the weather, I may have to swallow my pride on this one.


Kel said...

hi again! just wanted to say i'm still reading your blog and loving all of your korean experiences... it's getting me really excited to live there! good luck w. everything.

I'm no Picasso said...

Hello! Good to hear you're still checking in. When are you meant to be arriving in SK? And how is the agonizing visa process coming?

Hope all is well. And you know, I'm not much hope as of yet, but if you have any questions or concerns once you get here, feel free to contact me. I'll do what I can.

Kel said...

Visa process is smooth so far, and it's almost over. I'm actually leaving L.A. in mid-January for 6 weeks in Thailand (yay!) then arriving in Seoul Feb 27 to start the new school year in March.