You know that saying Once you go black, you never go back. Where did that come from? Cause I’m pretty sure back in the day, if you were a white woman and had sex with a black man, there was no going back because the townspeople would kill you.
“From these slanted little eyes,
I see more than you do.
Behind these crooked teeth,
I have a stifled voice.
I long to speak.
See beyond this flat nose,
These large lips,
I will never be as tall as you are
In this land of foreigners.
You have me figured out
We are all the same.
Not you and I. Me
And the rest of them.
Of course, I hate you too.
But I have thought
About why you hate me.
I know every possibility of you,
And so I learn to love you
In spite of your ignorance
In spite of your denial
In spite of these masks.
I learn to love you because
I want to be happy.”—
Monday through Friday, nine to five and even after. Anger’s a good thing. It marks your stand on matters of principle. It’s healthy. It’s negative reinforcement, buttressing the cause of sensitive issues. But in the company of allies, a sense of humor is better. Because we all know, recognize, understand, experience, abhor, and practice hate. And a moment to forget is paradise.
oh my god, do i still love you? this is the worst realization ever. all i want is to hold you in my arms, kiss you on the nose, and tell you how much i hate you. oh god, what have you done to me, you unbelievable bitch.
It’s an adage that I’ve heard countless times during the past nine years that I’ve been learning about and doing journalism, both as a student and now professionally.
I’ve used it myself in essays and scholarship applications in high school. In the…
I’ve been thinking about this too. Relevant for community advocacy as well. I’ve had a few frustrating conversations with writers/journalists/”activists” from privileged backgrounds who just don’t seem to get this yet (or are just too self-interested in “making a name for themselves”), perpetuating the cycle of privileged visibility.
Reasons why I decided: Fuck journalism. &switched to ethnic studies.
Conservatives, I get it man. You can’t say that I don’t. No one wants to pay taxes. Every paycheck, there’s two numbers. One at the top, and one at the bottom. The wages I earned, and the wages I get. You feel me? But at some point, you weigh yourself against those numbers in between. Then, it’s okay.
“on this occasion, there are a couple of things we know that we’ve pulled from fact magazine. ONE the king wears a king hat and lives in a king house. TWO. your time will come. but tonight is our night. so you should give us all your drugs”—
We weep over old Korea, a victim, not so much of political agencies, as of the social and intellectual revolution that has come from the west.
We have unwittingly brought about the destruction of East Asia, in which Korea is involved. To her the west evidently does as it pleases, why should she not? The west has no barriers between the sexes, why should she have? In everything that she has seen of the west, religion counts as nothing: why should she bother about it? Labour-unionism, communism, socialism, bolshevism, and anarchism express the real mind of the western nations; why should she not take them up and be the same? Why should she sing in falsetto when the west sings with the whole throat wide open…. Why not go whirling off for joy-rides, boys and girls? Why not be divorced at pleasure? Why not be up-to-date as the west is up-to-date? This wild dream… well expresses the mind of the advanced youth of the city of Seoul in these days of confusion.
Let us glance once more at the Korea that is gone, “the land of the superior man,” as China long ago called her; land of the scholar, land of the book and writing-brush, land of the beautiful vase and polished mirror; land of rarest, choicest fabrics; land of poems and painted pictures; land of the filial son, the devoted wife, the loyal courtier; the land of the hermit, the deeply religious seer whose final goal was God.
”—Gale ends his book with this passage and a poem from Kim Yun-Sik (1972), pp. 319-20.
But I’ve been busy and lost-minded the way it is in a dream, all fast and loose and happy and sad and this and that like a Faulkner novel but I’m waking up. I’m slowly waking up. Within the dream itself, I’m realizing that I’m living in a dream and that this life of mine here and now is crazy and great and fun and comfortable and perfect and I don’t want to wake up because I feel like this is so me and where I’m supposed to be and for the first time in life, I’ve never been so afraid of everything changing.
Seunghee’s back in Siheung. Sam is gone, in Singapore, then Australia, then Hong Kong, then Canada. Louis leaves for Spain tomorrow. I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to savor every last moment that I could with them, some of the closest people to me in this life. And them leaving up till now has been so surreal, unreal really, just weird and awkward but not like anything changes. But the life I’ve lived now for the last year which has become such a part of me, the greatest adventure in my entire life, is slowly crumbling around me and to be frank it really just blows.
But I’m still here, living it out. I have three more weeks to stick it out with those remnants of this dream-like nature of mine and I don’t know whether it’s a blessing to continue what’s left or a curse to watch the well dry up when it all could’ve just ended with a big ol’ bang.
But I’m happy. I’m really happy. It’s bittersweet having to let it all go, but it’s not so bad. I guess the biggest difference between this dream and every other I’ve had is that this is one dream that I can never forget. I’ll come back to it too. It’ll be different. It won’t all be here. It’ll be there and over there and in Spain and in Germany and at home and in here. And that’s a really really good thing. A really really good dream. The one I’ll stick in glass jar and open up now and then when the time is right. And I’ll make the time right because I can.
I got this jar o’ dream and I can still hear everyone’s voices in my head even though they’re not around anymore. And that’s fine. I’ll see you all of you guys again soon. The end’s never the end. So goodbye till next time.
It’s about that time again. I’ve only about two more months left in Seoul. I have to start picking classes for back home next week, and it’s a reminder of how much the future is freaking me out.
Planning out what to do with the time I have left, as well as the things I have to do. I have to figure out my whole citizenship status with the embassy to ensure my coming back or not in the future, and I have to travel back down to 전라도 to visit family before leaving.
Planning and planning, and I’ve also pretty much got the next 5 years of my life roughly mapped out. I’ve got the next three semesters’ classes all scheduled so that I can graduate by winter 2013.
Once I get back to the states however, it’ll be a busy, busy rush of trying to find a place to live some 800 miles away, and organizing play dates with people for the two or so weeks I’ll be in San Diego, and spending time with family, and figuring out when and how I can get all my shit back to me in San Fran. Gotta get plane tickets and blah…
Then it’ll be study, study, study, find a job, find a job, find a job, be a buddy, be a buddy, be a buddy, play, play, play, study, study, study, and I HAVE TO STUDY REALLY REALLY HARD because I have to get intro graduate school so I don’t have to join the real world yet because it’s scary and it’s nice when your parents can always take care of you, but they can’t always take care of you, and I don’t want them to because it’s an economic crisis and I don’t like asking people for money.
So SCHOLARSHIPS, SCHOLARSHIPS, SCHOLARSHIPS.
Blahhh, maybe if I get enough scholarships I can go to Europe with that. I want to go to Europe. I’ve never been. I wanna visit Alejandro and Louis in Spain and eat jamon and wine, and then go to France and meet Bejamin and party and drink wine and eat cheese and go to Dutch coffee shops and eat German sausages with German beer and play with Bartosz at a beer garden and say that I want two beers instead of one, please, and then go eat falafel and stuff.
And then back to Korea and teach and make money but not in Seoul because that’ll be too hard especially cause I’m not white, so maybe somewhere else like Jeon-Ju or something, because that’s fine, and I have family there. Staying in 경기도 would be nice too but I don’t know. I guess 인천 could be cool too, but wherever they’ll hire me is fine really. Then Yonsei!!! And for one of those semesters go abroad again for the dual-degree program or whatever, because that sounds cool to have heh heh.
But I’m very aware that all I have set for the future may change, so yeah. I wonder how they might change… I kind of hope they don’t. I’m very happy with the trajectory of my life right now. Yay! and when 황수 comes back, it’ll be even more fun!
Because they’re over and thank 신라!!! Baha…ha… I’m a nerd.
So who the fuck gets fucking trashed on the Monday of midterms week and screams like dicks till 5:00 in the morning??? Oh yeah, these new dumb fuck int’l kids who are just retard-iculous.
Like, okay, I understand there were Koreans at the pond drunk and shoutin’ till late in the night too, but it wasn’t Koreans barging into my dorm room at 4:00AM and being stupid punk loud up and down the dorms for an hour the night before my midterm exam, like
DEAR CHILDREN: IS THERE NO SUCH CONCEPT OF MANNERS IN THE WEST? OH WAIT, I’M FROM THERE. AND THERE IS. SO GO FUCK YOURSELVES.
FYI, my midterm for Korean that day went terribly. I don’t blame the noise. I was really not prepared for that test. I blame the teacher, and I know that’s not necessarily mature because if I don’t know the material that’s my fault, but seriously Miss Just-Came-Out-of-a-Cooking-Show, YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO TEACH US. NOT JUST TALK ABOUT CRAP LIKE HOW YOUR SISTER MARRIED A FRENCH GUY AND WHAT YOUR PARENTS THOUGHT ABOUT THAT AND THEN SPEND A WEEK AND A HALF OF CLASS TALKING ABOUT MARRIAGE CULTURE AND THEN NOT HAVE IT ON THE TEST. LIKE COOL THANKS. But it seems like all the kids in all her classes felt the same as me. (NOW MAYBE PEOPLE WILL UNDERSTAND WHY I HATED HER FROM THE BEGINNING)
Midterm for 중지연 — Society and Culture of China — went well, but it was a cake-walk. I feel bad for the Korean students in that class because this class is in English and I’m worried that they might not have done very well.
Midterm for Korean History was… better than I expected but I’m still worried about it… There were nine questions, 8 of which were 10 points each and the last one was 20 points. The professor let me answer in English (well actually he let the whole class, and he let Ayaka answer in Japanese), and he suggested a Korean history book in English to study for the class also but… that book isn’t as comprehensive as the Korean one we use. Anyway, I only knew enough to answer seven questions, and I didn’t write anything for the other two because I really had to pee so I was just like, meh, fuck it. So best case scenario I can get 70 out of 100 points, but hopefully the professor cuts me some slack for being a foreigner?
Oh well, it’s all over now and I’ve pretty much just been playing ever since. Really excited for my plans tomorrow YAY. Finally getting out of the university area again for once.
Sorry for the lack of updates recently. Haven’t had toooo much going on. The feel of this semester has been a lot different than last semester. A lot of the fall was just party, party, party, drink, drink, drink, fun, fun, fun, play, play, play.
But all those people who made party, drink, fun, play so enjoyable are gone now and the new kids just don’t stack up really. So I’ve found myself studying for the most part (especially since, well, I kind of have to given my new course load). And a lot of the Koreans I hang out with this semester too have a lot to study for, whether it’s to go study abroad or graduate or this or that, I don’t know. But it’s an influence to work hard.
Anyway, in case I haven’t written about this already, I kind of do this little work thing with KT&G, the biggest tobacco company in Korea, where I’m kind of like a tester, promoter whatever. But they give me free cigarettes. So Friday, I got these. Lamborghini cigarettes, and they’re pretty rad. They come out in Korea next week, but I got them early heh heh, to test and tell all my friends lol.
They’re definitely the classiest cigarettes I’ve smoked, which might be a bad thing, but even the plastic wrapping on the pack is thicker so it just feels more… sophisticated or something lol. Friends back home: I will bring back cartons.
Hmm… What else have I been up to… S-Cafe is fun. Being one of the keepers this semester is awesome because I can take full advantage of the space. The other night, we were there until like 2am drinking and last week I made like… 7 liters of sangria for our group meeting/after meeting party. (And it’s my go-to place when I want to study on the weekends, like today!)
Oh yeah, went to Insadong yesterday to buy a present for my dad! It’s really pretty. It’s one of those scroll paintings, 족자 in Korean. So have to send that to him tomorrow. Yup yup!
Five or so weeks into the semester and this is my sum-up of the new exchange students.
Emre Yilmaz is from Sweden, and he knows Sharmila and Dahlak from last semester. He’s nice! Mila and Dahlak told me about him before they went back, saying that he was cool and I should hang out with him and blah blah blah, and he is cool. He’s pretty funny though, and pretty easy to talk to, I guess. I’m not entirely sure because I haven’t gotten very close to any of the new Westerners yet.
There’s also Roy, from Holland, and Ferdi and Jasper also know him too. He’s also nice! He dressed up all fancy for the S-Cafe Welcoming Party (which really, really warmed my heart <3) and he won best dressed too bahahahaha. He’s also fun and cool to chill with, but again, I haven’t really hung out with the Westerners too much yet, except for like… going to clubs together or something, but even then.
There’s Phillip, from Germany, I think. I don’t know him very well. So I can’t really say too much about him, but when we were at the club he was talking to Louis and I about this Swedish girl with a tattoo above her right breast and saying how hot she was and stuff. She was really hot though. Like… Yeah. Louis and I kept telling him to make a move and try to do it. He also mentioned how his roommate wasn’t going to be in for a few days so we kept on pressuring him to have sex in Korea. Does this make us bad people? I think I might’ve heard that he has a girlfriend but I’m not sure.
Then there’s the new Americans, both from Stony Brook. One is Tess, who’s a tiny little girl who looks like a mouse and is really, really, really not interesting whatsoever. That’s really it. She dresses hipster.
And Aaron, who I’d heard a lot about because he was here for the International Summer School apparently. Koreans don’t have very good like… douchebag meters. Because they kept talking about how cool or fun he was and stuff, so I had some expectations, but when I met him he just came off as… an obnoxious, loud, proud New Yorker. I don’t like him. I think he’s a douche.
The Japanese girls this semester are freaking adorable though. There’s like 6 of them and they’re all fun to hang out with. I like hanging out with Sam Lam and them because they’ll talk in Japanese and limited Korean and they’re just cute and small and I want to pet their heads. One is actually Korean, and she’s the most interesting to me because she’s a kyupo like me. Except, what’s even more interesting, is that she never even knew that she was Korean until she turned 16! Like, she got her ID card application thing in the mail or whatever and it said she was Korean and she was like “whaaaaaaaaaaat mooooom daaaaaad” I think it’s fascinating.
Yeah. That’s really about it, I think. Post more soon~
Finally, a place to be on campus that isn’t my dorm room! Not that I spend much time in my dorm anymore anyway lol, recently I’ve pretty much been living at Seunghee’s place at back gate. I’ve gotten so tired of my dorm after not leaving it at all over the break, and after not living in the dorms back in SF, it’s way more comfortable living outside in an apartment or whatever. AND, by being at Seunghee’s, I have the capacity to cook for my damn self! Too bad Korea doesn’t have the ingredients I usually cook with… and when it does, they’re friggin’ expensive lol.
BUT S CAFE. It’s cool working here, whereas last semester I was always just a visitor. Getting closer with the new Keepers, and making new friends. Slowly getting used to some of the newcomers (I’ll describe them later, once I get some better impressions of them or something, or at least get to know who they even are).
I’m really thankful to be a Keeper though. The meetings, whether related to S Cafe or just eating together are good opportunities to me to practice my Korean more. Since a lot of my Korean friends from last semester went abroad as exchange students, getting closer to new Korean people makes me glad. Hanging out with close Korean friends are the best for practicing my Korean and to work on speaking more fluently/naturally.
But S Cafe opening! All us 10th round Keepers were expecting like…. VERY small turnout today. We thought, okay, well, the conversation partners this year are starting a week after the actual opening, so this opening will be like a pre-opening sort of opening, but there were tooons of people here. More surprisingly, a lot of the new exchange students and lots of new Koreans. Last semester, not too many Koreans were coming so it was kind of a problem, but for the majority of today, I was talking to a lot of Koreans who had never come before and trying to get them all hooked into coming to S Cafe lol. I also had no class today and, with nothing else today, stayed pretty much from open to close haaaaaaaaaa.
But tomorrow’s going to be hectic… I signed up for a Korean History class… in Korean. I’m shitting my pants.
My Korean language program ended a while ago, on 17 Feb. and I immediately went to go meet my dad at the airport. For the next ten or so days I’ve been traveling around Korea with my parents. Went to Jeonju, Gunsan, Impi, Yeosu, and Namhae — pretty much all around Jeolla-do, the province where my family is from.
I met family on both sides, some I’d met and some I’d hadn’t. I visited the house where my dad and aunts grew up in, the home of my grandparents. I met my two oldest aunts for the first time, daughters of my grandmother and her first husband (who was taken away to Japan during the colonization and died there).
The entire trip was a series of eating, sitting in cars, meeting people, and smoking in hotel rooms. It was good. Jeonju, famous for its Korean food, was a huge disappointment as far as food went; it seems that all good food has made its way to Seoul, where the money’s at.
In Yeosu, in the far south of the Korean peninsula, the dozens of tiny islands in the southern sea are a beautiful sight. Islands dotting the horizon, seen from atop high mountain views was amazing. The winter fog and clouds obstructed the view, but just imagining what that view must look like in summer clarity is almost enough — not that I’ll never have another chance to see it anyway.
I did get food poisoning in Yeosu though, which kind of sucks a lot, because it kept my dad and I from going to Mokpo, and to the islands by it, home of the Chu line, where 주시 settled after leaving China. A shame. My dad was really set on taking me there, and adding my name to the book keeping track of the Chu lineage. My grandpa brought over a copy with him to America, recorded all the way down to my dad.
All in all, it was a really good trip. Though I felt like dying from eating so god damn much and I probably gained like… a kilo or two. But I also got an average 100,000W (~$100) from every relative and father’s friend, which is very helpful. Means I didn’t have to ask my dad for any money before he left. I hate asking him for money. He works too damn hard, and I don’t want to depend on him, when I know all I can do is depend on him. I think that’s one of the reasons why I love it here so much. I can get jobs here, enough to live on. I have scholarships and this or that and I don’t have to worry about being a burden on him. It makes me feel good about myself, that’s for sure. I don’t want to graduate. I don’t want to enter the real world. I appreciate how good it is to be young and in school. This won’t last forever, I know, but I’m stacking my experiences now.
So back up: Growing up, I was always taught to do the good thing. The good thing, as in, like, the ideal thing. What would Jesus do? and that type of shit. Even if telling the truth will get you into more trouble, telling the truth is always better than lying. Well, what a crock of shit that is.
So my entire life I’ve spent honing this sort of self-development model of not doing what I want to do and do what is good instead. This has bred, I think, a sort of moral superiority complex in me for sure. And so I’ve been able to excuse what harm I’ve done with the justification that I had good, like ideally good, intentions while doing it. Caring more about being honest than hurting people, that sort of thing.
But now I realize that’s just fucking stupid. Words hurt people. Actions hurt people. Intentions don’t matter a fuck, because you’re only left with the result. It’s the result that you have to think about. “Some things are better left unsaid,” means being honest doesn’t mean jack shit, and “You can’t handle the truth!” is a precautionary warning that ought be headed.
And so I wonder how much it’ll cost me this time, putting my good intentions before regarding another’s feelings. I wish I didn’t have to learn this the hard way. It’s not worth it, learning it the hard way. Cause now I sort of totally hate myself.
Finish off remaining semester in Korea, play/work for a month or so afterwards and return to America sometime in June.
Once back in the States, play in San Diego for about a month as I figure out my whole living situation back in San Francisco.
Return to the Bay and finish off remaining semesters (2-3 dear God, please no more than that), graduate, get a bartender’s license over the summer as well as become qualified to teach English.
Come back to Korea for 1-2 years to teach English, make some bucks, and figure out what the hell to do with my life after that.
Graduate school is a definite. But where? and what first? Should I try and get an MD at Yonsei, and then apply for PhD back in the States? I’m down for any excuse really to stay in Korea longer, so a couple years of teaching English and add two to grab an MD sounds good to me.
I’ve obviously fallen in love with this country and its people.
#things that reminds me of blazing con Bell y Mando in the living room, blinds open letting the summer rays and every other day’s clouds seep in and consume and fill and uplift, and last night’s leftover beers in the fridge and fireplace sill and floor and coffee table, cigarettes and gin, morning coffee and late night tea, rain on hardwood floors and biking the Great Highway up and down, up and down, waving to the beach, looking up high with a head high through the trees in GGP and smiling, smiling, smiling and laughing and breaking bread and blunts and the sweet ol’ Carlo ‘gria.
I miss our late movie nights where I always fell asleep (I’m sorry… LOL). Our pooping conversations and fiber-goods transactions…
And to comment on your correlation between Fruit Ninja and fecal matter: LMAO. HAHA. For me, it’s “Bakery Story” or “Scramble with Friends.” Do you have “Scramble with Friends?” If you don’t, GET IT NOW. WE PLAY.
The days I poop more than once, I automatically think of you.
And your turtle-like smile. HAHA. HOHO.
I miss eating your cereal and dried fruits in class and eating Korean snacks together like all the time. And I miss going over to your dorm before the security guards kicked Bartosz and I out for being in the girls’ dormitory, and I miss you not being able to poop at our place because you’d get too nervous.
lol, I just downloaded Bakery Story, but I can’t find an exact match for “Scramble with Friends.” What’s its developer’s name?!
I can’t do my homework/study without it. I mean, I can. I do have other pens, but I’ve totally fallen in love with this pen and I don’t know what happened to it but it MUST be in my room somewhere. I mean, it’s not like I really go anywhere else. I haven’t left the campus in like two weeks. WHERE IS MY PEN.
Okay, it’s definite: I’m turning into a crazy person.
I blame the drier. It totally fucked my shit today. Put holes in three pairs of socks, destroyed a wife-beater, and put these black marks on a whole bunch of my clothes. I mean, thank God my Strokes t-shirt is okay. But you know the plastic tips on the hood strings on hoodies? The right plastic tip on both of my hoodies got ripped off! HOW DOES THAT EVEN HAPPEN. LIKE REALLY. WHAT.
BUT. My mom landed in Korea today! So that’s exciting! Except now I have all this pressure on me to do all this Korean homework, which is like… ridiculously a lot, by the time I wake up tomorrow.
It’s 3AM. Blog/rant break/smoke break.
EDIT: IT’S TOO COLD TO EVEN GO OUTSIDE AND SMOKE A WHOLE CIGARETTE. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO BE HAPPY.