Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Marry Christmas"

I wish I could be with my grandfather when he receives all of the letters that I had my Drama Club students write to him. In the past two years he's lost a daughter and a wife, so he's a bit lonely right about now. Hoping these might cheer him up. :-)
I had them write a letter on the inside with a little bit about themselves. Of course they all felt the need to tell him what they thought of his grandson... some of the most memorable quotes being:
"I like Mr. Fitz his legs are long."
"My friends like Mr. Fitz."
"Mr. Fitz is very handsome and he has a husky voice."
-or when talking about themselves-
"I like to eat pizza and chicken so I am a little fat."
"I have one brothers and one kangaroo."
"This is my address (insert address here) PLEASE SEND ME GIFT."

I'm super thankful to have students that were willing to humor me and help me put a smile on good ol' Papa's face. Yay Christmas.

Mushroom Bulgogi

Brian and I met our two Korean friends at Hanam University last Sunday for our weekly grub and language exchange. Though it had actually been about three weeks since we had seen them last, so I feel like a liar saying they're weekly; anyways. As always, the company was fantastic and the food nearly rival.

I had eaten bulgogi before, but never mushroom bulgogi. Mushrooms are perhaps one of my favorite foods and there's not much to say about beef other than, mashifrickensoyo. Combine the two and you get a delectable amalgam of culinaryness. They brought out a giant tray of beef and mushrooms which we immediately started cooking in the center of the table- we emptied this pan three times and refilled it with roughly the same amount of food every time. Koreans know how to eat.

After the bulgogi we walked to a little cafe with a swell interior and indulged in some most excellent brews, tea and coffee. I would type to you some of the Korean I learned, but I don't have a hangeul enabled keyboard- I'm thinking I'll purchase a wireless one soon so I can be lazy and type from my bed. Well it was a great meet, I saw them again on Friday of last week, sans Brian as he was not feeling well. I tried to teach them some tongue twisters-- more on that later.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Small Things

Seriously appreciate a self-heating toilet seat.
High-five South Korea, high-five.

La Moustache!

During Epik orientation we were told by a presenter that Koreans pay attention to appearance, a lot of attention. So much attention that if you change your hair style, for example, they will question your mental health- didn't quite make sense to me either, but that's exactly what we were told. Due to this information I had been putting off shaving my beard even though mustaches kind of annoy me. I generally change my face once every other month or so... I like change.

I shaved last night! Went from a beard to a goatee with burns- a classic me look. I expected to go into school today and have everyone comment on my newly shorn face; it was not so. In fact, I went the entire day with only one person making a comment about it- the crossing guard outside the school. I don't know if you've ever seen the movie "La Moustache" but I certainly felt like yelling "LA MOUSTACHE!!! LAAAA MOUSTAAACCCCHHHE!" On more than one occasion today. Oh well.
Facial hair for me, and maybe all men and some women, is significant in that it becomes part of my identity. When I sport a full beard I look and feel older which juxtaposes my clean-shaven self when I look like a teenager and feel younger than I actually am. Since being in Korea the beard as added yet more depth by making me feel and appear obviously foreign. It is very rare to see a Korean man with any sort of facial hair; I'm told that being hairy is a signifier of lust here. In fact, there have even been stories of teachers being asked to shave by their schools due to these superstitious complaints. Koreans have on more than one occasion told me that I look like Jesus Christ, the comment is always set-up first by asking if I'm religious/Christian, the answer being "No" never stops the comparative follow up. I'd like to tell them that Jesus was probably not a white skinned, freckly, blue-eyed, Euro-mutt... with a pinch of Native American... but I would make less friends if I did that. Needless to say, now that I've shaved I'll be curious to see how new Koreans interact with me when we meet, looking like Jesus was a good way to break the ice.

P.S. I need winter vacation ideas.