Sunday, October 14, 2007

America: Same Same but Awesome

I've been home for a week now. However, even though I managed to escape Korea, it still likes to taunt me. I have not yet rid my body of all the harmful toxins that ate away at my soul over the last year. Everyone has a nasty hacking cough in Seoul, but when I get this going at home, people are genuinely disgusted.

The school probably ended up shorting me a few hundred bucks but when you're dealing with the Yellow Man, at some point, you just roll over and take it in the ass. And overall, I can't complain, I know a lot of people get screwed a lot harder by their schools. The last batch of photos is here, along with a couple videos at the bottom. One video is 15 minutes long, please do not watch it.

The flight home wasn't terrible, but I couldn't get to sleep, despite taking enough xanax to kill a small horse. When we landed in NY, the plane's parking spot was blocked so I had to wait an hour before getting off. It was like God's last evil trick of the year, "Ryan, I know you've dealt with these Asians for an entire year, but now, just for laughs, I'm gonna make you stay inside a metal tube surrounded by the bastards for another hour."

I was all paranoid about going through customs, since I was smuggling in about a 5 year supply of prescription drugs. But I guess I was white enough to not get picked out for inspection. I did declare the two liters of soju I brought home but when I tried to pay the tax at the cashier, the guy told me "Don't worry about it, thanks for being honest." I haven't had the stomach to crack open the soju yet, I'm saving it for when Bender is around, at which time, drinking soju will at least seem somewhat acceptable.

The day after I got home, I went to the supermarket and all of the white people and English was enough to almost get me to curl up into the fetal position, stick my thumb in my mouth and fall into a peaceful sleep on the floor. It was that enjoyable. I even saw three fat high school girls walking around the store together in their pajamas. That was pure American and it was beautiful.

It has been kind of weird getting used to New Yorkers again. Koreans bury their emotions and back down at any sign of conflict, and I sort of adopted that same mentality. But here, everyone is crass, in-your-face, if you look at me the wrong way, I'll kill you. I love it, but I'm still a little bit scared of New Yorkers right now. In Korea, people looked at me with apprehension in their eyes, I was that white thing to be stared at and analyzed. Here, I'm just another douchebag. And that's perfectly OK with me.

I got a job with the local Democratic committee. Basically, for the next month, I walk around town, knock on peoples' doors and find out if they are voting for the good guys. Even though I only go to houses where the people are registered Democrats, most of them want nothing to do with me. I'd say a good 20 percent of the houses I go to, the lights are on, TV blasting, but when I ring the bell, suddenly no one is home. The most depressing thing is how few people know anything about local politics. Who is that guy? I've never heard of him. I just want to smack these people.

That's all. Good to be home. To my buddies still in Korea, the next time you see a table and a pole, dance on it for me. Oh, and for the record, I've only been to Taco Bell once since I got home. Let's just say when you toss a few grande soft tacos into a body accustomed to only rice and vegetables for a year, turns out it doesn't work too well.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Homeward Bound (and Gagged)

Post #92 from Korea, and the final one. I'm throwing up a hot four-way of videos, which I don't expect anyone to watch, I couldn't even make it through them. I was trying to get the kids to be cute and say goodbye into the camera, and that just went terribly. In the first video, I had just told the kids that when I got home, I wasn't going to get a job but instead I would just steal my parents money. So they had a blast grabbing the camera from me and delivering that message to my parents. In the second one, it captures one of the rare times where I've been genuinely pissed off at a kid. When I utter the words "not funny", after a kid draws on my face and shirt with a marker, that could be translated into adult speak as "@$#@ off".

So yeah, I've got two more days of work, then I collect my huge final paycheck and catch a plane out of this place on Saturday. The school paid $1800 for the plane ticket, because they are retarded, but that's not really something I worry about. The only two things I have to worry about between now and 7:05 Saturday night when the bird touches down at JFK is making sure the school coughs up all the cash I'm due (but don't deserve) and deciding how many drugs I can take on the plane without lapsing into a coma.

Final thoughts on Korea? Don't care? That's OK, I'll give them to you anyway. My feelings towards this place have changed a lot since I first came, the first few months were all just new experiences and it was exciting. Around the 4th month, I really loved it here, it was getting easier at work and I wasn't feeling so isolated. And then there was a problem. You stay in Korea more than six months and that's enough time for the country to really bear down on you and beat you with its culture.

Simply put, foreigners just aren't treated properly in Korea. Screw the excuses about cultural differences and how Koreans aren't used to be around foreigners, you're either nice to people or you're an ass. And Korea is full of asses. The racism isn't blatant and it isn't in your face, probably one of the reasons I didn't really pick up on when I first got here, but dig a little deeper and it's there, and it's not a pretty picture. I've always felt alone in this country, even when surrounded by Koreans. It's tough to describe, but anyone whose been in Korea for any length of time knows that feeling I'm talking about.

The worst isolation, by far, has come at work. Nathan and I are up against a great beast, in the form of a bunch of Koreans who have no desire to even be remotely friendly towards us. It's easy to just say, so what, just ignore them, do your job and go home. And I convinced myself to do that a long time ago, but it still eats away at you, day by day. Somehow God forgot to give Koreans the gene that controls showing compassion towards people of different races. Here's an example, the teacher who will replace me will get here on Saturday night, just as I did last year. Then at Monday, at 2pm, still jet-lagged and probably awake since 5am, he'll be thrown to the wolves. He will walk into that office and the Korean teachers will look up from their desks for a second, smile and say hi, and five seconds later, all will be calm again. He will just be the next white guy. Besides Nathan, nobody will help him, nobody will ask him anything about his life, about how he's adjusting to Korea. He will be expected to teach 30 classes a week and teach them all well, without any direction as to how to teach, what materials to use, and if he doesn't do this, he will be looked down upon and treated like an idiot. It's an awfully difficult situation to come into, and all I can do is wish him the best. Although, for his sake, he better not see this blog until at least his 6th month here.

If I could do it all again, I wouldn't. As in, I wouldn't have come to Korea. Living abroad is an amazing experience and I think everyone should do it at least once in their life, but the world is full of incredible places and cities, and Seoul, South Korea is not one of them. I knew before I came here that I was choosing money over the experience and I also kind of knew before I came that would be a mistake. I should have gone to Thailand, but what's done is done and getting out of where I was with my life in America last year was still the best decision I've ever made.

I'm heading on a prolonged blog break, although I might post a few more photos and videos once I get home. Honestly, I appreciate the comments people have made about this blog, especially the ones that exaggerate my writing ability, which I will still accept at face-value. To any potential future employers, who will inevitably find this blog: Today (insert future date here), I'm a much different person. I don't even remember that douchebag who wrote this stuff. Please hire me. I'm probably very poor.

To everyone else, until next time, it's been fun. But not real fun.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Last night out downtown

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Am I still here?

Any gains I made at the gym were wiped out over the past five days, with multiple trips to McDonalds, KFC and Pizza Hut, plus 85 beers, 15 jager shots and 10 gin-tonics. It had to be the first vacation I've ever had from work were I just wanted it to end. That wouldn't be the case if I wasn't 10 days from going home, but since it was, I tried my best to sleep 20 hours a day, waking only for alcohol and food intake. Before the holiday, I decided that I would hit up a few of the touristy sites around town during the break. I don't know what I was thinking, though. I had no desire to do that. There are two cool things to check out in Seoul, and that's Seoul Tower and the Korean War Museum, everything thing else is either a crappy temple or just crap.

I made my last trip out to Itaewon the other night and thankfully, it left with me with that dirty nasty taste in my mouth like always. On the bright side, we did go to this country bar uptop of Hooker Hill, where they seriously had every country song ever made. It was almost like being in Nashville, just chilling out and listening to some quality music, except there were $10 whores right outside the door and my friend was plowing his Korean girlfriend in the bathroom.

At Woodstock Tuesday night, unfortunately, I met a Korean guy who spoke perfect English and had traveled the world. And if there's one thing worse than a normal Korean, it's a douchebag who has been other places, comes back to Korea, and still has the nerve to defend Korea against it's insular, pure-blooded, f-the foreigners, attitude. He said Koreans have cause to discriminate because of poor behavior by American soldiers, namely when they ran over and killed a few people several years ago. I honestly almost brought up the VTech shooter, not because I believe for a second that would justify any sort of backlash against Koreans, but because that is the kind of ridiculous logic that flies in Korea.

Another foreigner posted this on a web forum, and it sums up the experience of white guy perfectly, and the fact is, if you don't agree with this as a foreigner, you're either drinking too much or you've got thicker skin than a elephant:
"The constant endless little things are what get to a person. Each tiny racist or discriminatory thing builds and builds. Imagine a paper cut and everyday you get a new paper cut on the same place...that's Korea."

Going out to lunch with my co-workers last week was about painful as expected. Me and Nathan were put in our little imaginary cage and separated from the rest of the group. Credit to the new Korean teacher, though, who planned the event and pretty much did talk to us the entire time. I worry about her, though, since she is constantly violating Topia's most cherished rule: Make the foreign teachers feel as unwelcome and uncomfortable as possible at all times...or face death.

Not much else to report, this is the homestretch and I'm just trying to make it through it alive. This weekend will be the last, which only means I won't remember it. Nice life.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Old Korean guys honestly don't have penises

That top photo basically sums up just about every experience I've had at tinpan in Hongdae. I get there and there's nobody dancing on the tables. I promise myself that I will not get on the table under any circumstances. But incredibly enough, after double fisting a couple jack and cokes and just a little peer pressure, well, that picture is what happens. They really shouldn't let people dance on the tables at that place. Since it's not really a table, but a two foot wide bar, and people tend to keep their drinks on top of it. Also, take a look at the girl hanging from the pole in the other photo, I almost wanted her to fall and die. Almost. But I've done the same thing. Basically it's just a terrible terrible place. (That I love).

I went to the gym here for the last time today. Somehow I made it an entire month, I really didn't think that was possible based on past observations of myself. My body fat percentage dropped from 13.8 to 9.3, which is amazing considering how much ice cream and sausage egg mcmuffins i eat. My body is still pathetic but I like to think I could beat up a 12 year old girl now, or at least keep it close. So, goodbye, gym, I probably won't be near one of you again for a solid 5 years.

Tomorrow was supposed to be my last day at the gym, but another awful work event has taken its place. The new Korean teacher, who is actually friendly to me and Nathan and makes an effort to treat us like humans and not white circus animals, suggested that the whole office go to Outback tomorrow for lunch since a five-day weekend is on tap for Korean thanksgiving. While this might be a nice thing for other places/offices, going out to eat with the office at my school is usually worse than getting your man-sack chomped on by a bulldog. Honestly, I'm not sure which I prefer. The worst part is that since it's for lunch, I can't get trashed, which is usually the only way I can remain even partially insane for these events.

One would think that with only a few weeks remaining here, or 7 more work days, I'd be able to just coast through my classes, happy to finally be able to see the end. Turns out, not true. Today I threw a kids notebook across the room. I wanted to hit him in the head, but I suspect not doing so was for the best. I'm trying to keep my brain on about 25 percent power at work, but even though I'm ready to relax and call it quits, kids are still kids and Korean kids still treat foreign teachers like they're some homeless guy lying on the side of the street. The racist attitude is branded into these kids at an early age, all for the purpose of setting them up to fit right in with their awful parents when they get older.

I spend most of my time in class now explaining to the kids what English words are curses and which ones are acceptable. Example, today I taught them that "Oh, shut" was fine to say when frustrated or upset and that "Oh, shit" should never be used, when adults are around. They have been having some trouble understanding how "Son of a Bitch" works though. First, they pronounce "bitch" as "beach" so I had to get them over that and make sure they knew how to spell and say bitch. Next, since most of them never heard the word "bitch" before one of their douchebag friends told them about "son of a bitch", they don't understand that the word "bitch" on its own is in fact a bad word. After I told them to stop saying s.o.b., they simply just starting shouting "Son of a" or just "Bitch". This does not work. One girl, in an attempt to annoy me, wrote on the board simply "Ryan= Son". I have never been less offended when someone has tried to insult me. So these kids have some serious work to do if they are ever going to properly curse someone out in English. I think I've at least explained the basics to them, the good words and the bad words. But they might need another lesson. At the end of class today, when they finally understood that bitch was a bad word, one kid said, "What about fuck?"

I've probably got two more blogs in me before I head home, which is a damn relief at this point, who is reading this crap, really? But more importantly, I have a solid 8-9 days of drinking left to do in this country. Because if there's one thing I haven't done enough of in Korea, it's drink soju alone in my apartment and blackout. The bartender at Showbar, who has grabbed my ass at least 5 dozen times, kissed my hand last weekend. And then, since I was drunk, and I'm gay, I kissed his hand. The bartenders said they are going to have a going away party for me, and if that does actually happen, I just can't imagine returning to America as an anal virgin anymore.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

13 days left of work until 3 years of unemployment

Warning: This video contains children using the term "son of a bitch" repeatedly and also relentless mocking of the crusifiction of Jesus.

I've resigned myself to routine for my last month here. There was time, many many months ago, where I enjoyed the excitement of new things and new experiences in Korea. But now I'm perfectly content with gym-work-sleep during the week and going to the same two bars every Friday and Saturday night. Really, the only thing that changes is the names of the one-night Korean friends I make at the bars each weekend.

The end is near, which has caused needless worrying on my part. I stayed awake for about 3 extra hours the other night trying to figure out how I'm going to exchange my money before I get home. Teaching contracts are also heavily backloaded, meaning you gets most of your cash and benefits right before you go home. My school has given me no indication that they plan on screwing me over, but still, I won't be able to relax until I'm on that airplane flying across the ocean. I also obsess about the price of the flight. Which is absolutely retarded. Because the freakin' school pays for the ticket! Why the hell do I care? I blame all of this on the internet. I have too much free time and too much stupid, pointless information to consume.

In nearly a year here, I still cannot understand this: Why is it that Koreans will never, ever, never, hold an elevator door for you? If I walk into the school building and see the elevator door open before I'm right next to it, I already know I'm not getting in it. I could be sprinting towards the thing yelling and screaming and it wouldn't matter. Koreans won't even look up. They are like robots, get in, hit button, do not pass Go and definitely don't hold the door. In fact, I bet the open door button has never been pressed by a Korean unless it involves pushing a foreigner out and down into the elevator shaft.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

"Teacher, do you like to masturbate?" That one is real.

Video- the small girl in the pink t-shirt is pure evil. prior to this video, she had already smashed me in the balls twice when i wasn't paying attention.

One month. Solid. I'm starting the mail-it-in period at work. Which means a lot of hangman and also a lot of kids drawing pictures of me on the board with a beard and turban and labeling me "Taliban". During a use a verb in a sentence with a different tense thingy, one student insisted on saying "I love Jason. I loved Jason. I will love Jason." He insisted he was not gay, although Jason was clearly embarrassed by these homoerotic gestures. I told that class to make up a story for homework and I already know one of the topics is going to be "Ryan is gay." I know this because at the end of class one girl said "I'm going to write about how Ryan is gay." I'm cool with that, though. If these kids can write a story in English, I don't care what it's about.

Last week, two students, twins, came into the office and said "Teacher, do you know masturbate?"I made them repeat it about six times before my brain was able to acknowledge what was going on. They said they learned it from a friend, and even though I don't think they know exactly what it means (One of them asked today if "masturbate is a movie?", they think its hilarious because I turn red whenever they say it. Actually, now that I think about, one student did ask me "Does masturbate feel good?" Too much. Even for me. These kids are 10 years old. I didn't even know I had a penis when I was 10.

I've cut out drinking during the week, even though I wasn't really doing much of it before anyway. Wait, actually, I got drunk last night. But that doesn't count because I was out with my co-workers and the alcoholics who work at the front desk kept pouring beer in my glass. I can not be to blame for that. But anyway, the result of this lifestyle change has only been to make me blackout more on the weekends. I have to make up those missed beers somehow. So that happened last Friday night when apparently I met a bunch of Koreans at a bar, hung out with them for a couple hours. Then I went back to the same place on Saturday, saw the same people again and had no clue that I had met them the night before. If that doesn't make me a terrible person, then I don't know.....screw it, I'm terrible.

The Korean government, and therefore, a large majority of Koreans have no clue how the world works. In order to get the hostages released in Afghanistan, they basically exposed their vagina and fucked over the rest of civilization. Sure, remove our troops, no problem. Want a hospital? We'll build that if you want. $20 million? It's all yours. All Koreans care about is other Koreans, and they don't even do a very good job at taking care of each other. I guarantee if the offer from the Taliban was "We'll release the 20 Korean hostages in exchange for the deaths of 500 " the Korean government jump on with a full hard-on. I wish I was exaggerating, but that is a fact. That is how this country operates and that's the mindset of most of its people.

Even though I'm more than ready to go home, it's kind of scary. Home means real life decisions and crap. Sign a contract and teach in Korea for a year and all you need to worry about is showing up for a work less than an hour late and remembering to brush your teeth. At home I'll have to get a car and crap. I don't even remember how to drive. Thankfully I do remember how to play video games and sit on the couch all day, and if there's one thing Korea has taught me over the last year, it's that I love videos games and the couch. And I'm sure they miss me too.

Monday, August 27, 2007

"Teacher, how old do I have to be to get some sweet-ass poon?"

This blog is suffering. I literally have no more photos. So here's a classic horsehead shot. When you're in a bind, you can never go wrong with the H-Head. I went out to Woodstock by myself on Friday night, just planning on having a couple beers and getting to bed early. But it was not to be. Two drunk girls started talking to me and they somehow convinced me to go with them to the crappy dance club in town. This is pretty unusual in the sense that it’s routine for drunk girls to talk to me just for their own amusement, then they tell me to call them and I don’t because they are either terrible or awful. But to actually leave a bar with two girls, they must have been really really drunk. Once we got outside, they insisted on holding my hand so I’m walking down the main drag in town in between two Korean girls. I was incredibly scared. Walking around town at 2am past a bunch of Korean dudes while two Korean girls are hanging on you is basically like me just kicking every single one of those guys in the balls. So I’m surprised they didn’t kick my ass. I might as well have challenged them to a “Whose got a bigger Schlong?” contest. That’s how embarrassing and deflating it is for a Korean man to witness white-on-yellow love.

I think the school director cut off the wireless internet in the office. I would ask about it, but they would know immediately I don’t need the internet for any work related purpose. “Um, hey, what’s wrong with the internet connection?” “Oh, I don’t know, Ryan, do you need it turned on so you can dick around the web watching baseball highlights and poking people on facebook? You asshole.” They wouldn’t actually say that, because even they aren’t retarded enough not to think it. So yeah, things have been rough at the office. I’ve been forced to download movies at night so I can watch them the next day at work. And that’s just inhumane.

I joined a gym last week for the sole purpose of losing 10 pounds so I can gain that all back in a week eating Taco Bell when I get home. Nathan, the other foreigner at my school, goes to the same gym so he’s helped to not look like a complete idiot. I still screw things up a lot, though, so the Korean trainer guys have to come over and yell at me all the time. I hurt my left arm, probably from doing too much the first couple of days after I forget I that the most strenuous workout I had ever done before that was pushing through my mother’s womb in 1982. So now I can’t touch my nose with my left hand. I may soon decide that I was right, and that exercise only ends up hurting you in the end.

The first day at the gym, an older guy helped me out when I accidently put about 200 pounds on a machine, instead of 20. So I was thinking alright cool, nice guy. Then last later on after I got out of the shower, the same guy comes running over to me pointing at the ground in an attempt to tell me to dry the floor. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Koreans, they will jump at the first chance to order around a foreigner. Nevermind I had gotten out of the shower 20 seconds ago, (and it is wet in the shower), and I had ever intention of drying the floor after I was dressed, I thought this guy was going to strangle me. Next time I see him in the shower, I’m going to smack him in the face with it.

A bunch of my classes this semester are speaking classes. But instead of having the kids actually use theirs head and converse with each other, they just read dialogues from the book for 40 minutes, it's plain torture and I'm surprised the students don't just say "Teacher, get the F out of the classroom, I could learn more watching English pornos all day." (Note- They probably don't watch porn. At least not the good kind.)

I love it when they broadcast soccer games where all the players are 5 years old. They have two announcers and it's pretty professional looking, besides the whole Blind Date type pop-up bubbles that spring up above a kid's head. Not being able to read the bubbles actually makes it more entertaining because then when a fat kid falls on his ass and it pops up, you can just make up your own caption. Like "I'm such an ass" or "I'm never gonna laid when I get older."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Who loses their virginity to a prostitute? You guessed it, more than half of Korean men! So romantic!

This video is of the kids playing heads up 7-up the other day. It's not that good, but if you have 10 minutes to kill, well, enjoy. I used to let them play it all the time, but then it quickly fell apart. Some kid would inevitably smash another kid in the head or one kid gets picked like three times. I know these kids don't understand much of what I say, but, come on, it's a pretty simple game. Listening to my voice on these videos is getting kind of creepy. I speak terrible English, basically just short phrases, usually not sentences, like "Light on! Light on!" and I also seem to have picked up a weird Asian accent.

As I was walking home from a bar last night, I saw a Korean guy punch a girl in the face. She fell down in the middle of the street, crying. After a few minutes, the girl got up and ran away. The guy stood next to me and said something like "That's Korea." The sickest part of it all was the crowd reaction. All these other Korean guys just standing around and watching. If a guy punches a girl in the face in the middle of NYC, he's getting tackled, plain and simple. I wonder what would have happened if 9/11 took place in Korea, would people just crowd around the rubble for a few days, stare at the victims, and then go home? The basic lack of human compassion in this country is pretty unbelievable.

The girl drawing on the board in the picture above is destroying me at school. First off all, it looks like she drew of picture of me getting run over by a truck and that's kind of cruel. During class, she's in her seat for about 20 seconds and usually that's because I'm holding her down. One of her favorite things to do is to get behind me and use her hands to give me angel wings. The 10 other kids in the class love this. In fact, they are entertained by just about everything she does. I've made a mistake of just trying to ignore her, figuring she'd get tired if I just didn't give her any attention. This has not worked. I've tried to kick her out of the class 10 times, but she's smart and calls my bluff every time. Usually I'll go outside and tell her to follow me, she then closes the door and locks me out. A new semester starts this week, and if there is a God, any God whatsoever, she will not be in my class. Otherwise I've got another seven weeks of torture.

I know the end is getting near since I've been having dreams lately about what life will be like in America when I get back. And let me tell you, the skies are blue, the air is breathable, edible food can found and there isn't a Korean within a hundred miles of me. Sorry, that's harsh. 20 miles.