Sunday, February 27, 2011

For all my single readers

Do you ever get to feeling like you want a boyfriend or a girlfriend? Maybe, you are at your house cooking dinner for yourself, and you think... " would be nice to have someone here, to share this with."

Well, every now and then, I catch one of these feelings. And what I do is, I take it up to the roof of my seven story building and I push it off.

Problem solved.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Confrontations in Korea

Ru Ford - Hello, My name is Ru Ford, and I too am a victim of racism.

Audience- Helloo Ru Ford, telll uss whatt happenedd. 

Ru Ford - Well, before I dive into the incident, I should preface it with something that happened earlier in the day while I was on break at work.
I was looking out the window down at the street below, as a often do during my ten minute break between classes. I notice that everyone is looking in the same general direction. I followed the onlookers' line of sights to where they converged, a man in a yellow jacket surrounded by four other men in black jackets. At first glance, it seems as though they are just talking. After watching them for ten seconds, I realize that the man in the yellow jacket is losing ground. I then hear one of them yell loudly as he throws his arms in the air. 
I open the window to the teachers lounge, while at the same time getting the attention of my co-teacher to show her the free event taking place 40 feet below. By now the man has backed up about 7 feet from the original position, but this will be about 50 feet before the end. 
The yelling is getting even louder and is coming from both the man in yellow and the four men in black. More pointing and throwing hands in the air and other erratic behavior. The man is losing ground faster and the confrontation is becoming more heated. I begin to think that they're going to fight. 
THEN... one of the men in black bumps into the man in yellow. Yes, I said "bumps," not pushes, not tackles, not shoves, not rams, not spears, not lunges, not punches, not kicks, not knees, and not shoulders. Bumps. Then again. Then another man almost meanderingly bumps into the man in yellow, then again and again. Then the first does it again. Then a third man bumps a couple times. It is comical. 
I'm waiting for the punch or ghetto slam (take down) with some ground and pound that comes with almost every fight I have ever seen in my life. It never comes.
I look to my co-teacher, "Uhh... what are they doing?" 
She says, "They are arguing about something. I don't know. This situation happens a lot in Korea, on the streets.. men arguing."
"No, I mean why are they bumping into each other like that? In America someone would have been punched in the face by now."
"Oh," she said, "Men are afraid to fight because the police will know and they will have to pay a fine."
I am amazed. Honestly, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum bump each other with more force than these guys. The men looked like a couple of dogs trying to hump the man's leg.

Audience- (Laughing)

Ru Ford - Now, about the incident that occurred later that day after work. It was about 7:25 pm. I had decided to go down to the Mini Stop at the corner of my block, and take some money out of the ATM to go buy a snack before hitting the gym. The ATM was next to a freezer, packed with ice cream, and before I knew it, I was standing in line waiting to purchase some fish shaped ice cream treat. 
There was a woman checking out at the left register. But, she was paying with coins and for some reason, unknown to me, she was using the counter area at the right register. I stood a good 4 feet back to allow her to resume position at left register after her coins were counted. 
Then, a woman walked in with nothing in hand and stood 2 feet in front diagonal left of me. At first I thought she was breaking in line. I later decided she just could not she the brands of cigarettes and wanted a closer look.
This is about the time I hear the bells ring on the Mini Stop door. I look over my left shoulder and see a man enter and think nothing about it.
He comes from behind me moving to my right and gives my two strong shoves with his left forearm to my back/right side. He says nothing and and is now diagonally 2 feet in front of me to my right.
Several things went through my head during these happenings. The typical nice guy, don't jump to any conclusions type of things, but I knew as soon as I felt the second push, what was happening. Even though, I had never experienced this before. And, if there was any doubt, he killed it when we made eye contact and then he told the clerk to get him two packs of cigarettes in a tone that said, "F*** this foreigner, get me my cigarettes girl."
See... the girl saw what was going on. I could read it all over her face, and I am sure the man could, too.
She got him his cigarettes and he paid. I am still standing in the exact same spot I have been this whole time. The man turns around, goes to my right and it seems as though he is going to go around me with no problem. But, I have braced for a possible shoulder impact because I am not losing ground. He passes me without hitting my shoulder, and just before I think everything is cool, I feel him shove his arm into my back. I completely ignore him. 
I pay for my ice cream bar and walk out. Guess who's there? 

I would fight an army of racist ajusshis to get my hands on one of these. 
Audience- Thee Ajusshii!

Ru Ford - That's right, the ajusshi jackass. He is standing all alone in the middle of a huge sidewalk. I stare him down the whole way, as I walk past him as close as possible without touching him. He never broke eye contact... nor did I. 

Audience- Whyy didn'tt youu punchh himm inn the faace or sayy somethingg.!

Ru ford - I thought you might ask that. Well firstly... I was a little taken aback and trying to get me head around what was going on. Secondly, I have read many things about foreigners fighting with Koreans and it never turns out beneficial for the foreigner. Thirdly, he was around the age of 50 and I was raised to respect my elders. Fourthly, I don't speak Korean. Fifthly, saying something in English would have probably only escalated the situation. 
Next time it will not go down the same way. 

In closing, I really hope these instances are few and far between. I would hate to ruin my visa renewal opportunities because a hateful man coxed me into kicking him through shelfs of ramen and sticky rice. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Korean Alphabet

Basically... I can read Korean. Well, at least, I can very slowly pronounce each syllable, and eventually, one minute later, finish a sentence. Problem is... I have almost no vocabulary. I just recently started stealing my students vocabulary sheets, because they have English words with Korean translations. I am not only teaching in class, but I am learning by using my students to check my pronunciation of Korean words. It is great having 5-8 students diligently working to help improve my Korean, and it is free! Normally when they start seeming inattentive, I randomly say something in Korean and it amazes them. Then, for the next 2-3 minutes, I have nine year olds teaching me. They are once again enthused, and I jump back into the lesson.

The videos below are the only source of information I used to learn Hangul. Watch them a couple of times and you should be set.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Korean Beer: Cass

CASS Fresh is the Budweiser (or Bud Heavy) of Korean beers. It is one of the top selling beers in South Korea. Cass is widely considered the best overall Korean beer for its taste and price. It carries the stigma of being a "man's drink." Just as in America, lite drinks are thought to be for "girls." Cass's slogan is 'Sound of Vitality" the ultimate refreshment with fizzy and crisp taste.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Subliminal Messages in Korea: Practice Safe Sex

Korean candy gifted to me from one of the students at my hagwon.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hives in Korea: Hive Genocide

I have been reading a lot of Hive Testimonies, and have decided to try to kill the Hives before they kill me. 

My Plan of Action:
Attack the Hives from within by eating a controlled diet of fresh vegetables, breads and water. After weakening the adult male Hives, I will then send in a second wave of fresh fruits and exercise to ruthlessly slaughter the women and children Hives, thus preventing a new generation.
Food Journal:
January 29, 2011
Peanut butter (Skippy, Peanut Butter, Smucker's Goober Grape), Bananas, Berry Berry Jam, Bread, Water, Milk
January 30, 2011 Woke up with a sore throat 
bread, Peanut Butter, banana, water, Skippy, zucchini, mushrooms, cinnamon bread. Berry Berry Jam
January 31, 2011 Woke up with a sore throat 
Bread, Skippy, Berry Berry Jam, Water, Sunkist Candy, zucchini, mushrooms, egg, banana 
Going to bed with what I believe to be a cold
February 1, 2011 Woke up feeling great 
Bread, banana, egg, water, coffee, Sunkist Candy, Apple, Skippy, Berry Berry Jam, zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes 
Going to bed with a sore nose from it running all day (get it? sore... from running?)
February 2, 2011 Woke up late and great 
Bread, Skippy, Egg, Water, apple, UH-O!!! Hite, Cass, German something, Jager, Pizza (with everything), pickles, nuts, salad
Thought I was itchy, but too drunk to say for sure
February 3, 2011 Woke up with a headache, no runny nose though 
Mushrooms, tomatoes, egg, water, orange juice, JAYUSIGAD candy bar, Coke, Skippy, bread
Feel good, no signs of the hives
February 4, 2011 I think my hives are almost completely gone 
JAYUSIGAD candy bar, coke, egg, German sausage, spicy onion salad, mustards,
February 5, 2011 
JAYUSIGAD candy bar, Korean Foods, more Korean foods
I think i'm OKAY.

I believe all Hives to have been successfully annihilated. However, I have heard rumors of survivors. My body and I are constantly on the look-out for any trace or clue to their existence, but any evidence found thus far has been inconclusive. My eyes are peeled.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Inevitable E-mail

I knew I would one day receive an e-mail with this as the subject. Still, it comes to me as a surprise. My Great Grandmother has passed away. All that will remain of her are the memories others have of her and how she has influenced the lives of those around her. As I was fumbling through my horrible memory, looking for those of my Great Grandmother, I found that they shared a common theme, my Great Grandmother's hug. I will always remember the unusually strong hug from an old lady and the words "I love you." As long as I live, I hope to pass on her spirit by hugging the ones I love with the same sincerity with which she hugged me.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pizza in Korea

Pizza in Korea is different, but the same. The prices for pizza in Korea tend to be higher than the United States, but since tipping is not practiced in Korea, if you order delivery, it can be close to the same. And, if you live in Korea, you know delivery bikers risk life and limb to get you your pizza quick. They fly through red light intersections. They drive on the wrong side of the road. They drive off-road, and they are constantly coming within inches of pedestrians. The choices of pizzas toppings, in Korea, seem endless with potato, sweet potato, prawns, corn and many more available. All pizza places serve pizzas with a side or two of pickles, Parmesan, and hot sauce. Some of the pizzas I purchased even came with a complementary soda.  The pizza places below are those of the Singa-Dong residential area in Gwangju, South Korea. 

PIZZA HUT or ν”Όμžν—› 
Pizza Hut (home service) pizza in South Korea taste just like Pizza Hut pizza in America. The pizza shown is a regular supreme and cost ₩14,800. It cost ₩17,800 for delivery. 

Nanta 5000
Nanta 5000 has got to be the cheapest pizza in South Korea, but that only makes it better. Larges start at ₩5,000. They say it feeds 3-4 people... NOT TRUE. It feeds one person, but at ₩5,000 it is a great deal. I would compare it to Ci Ci's Pizza in the United States. The pizza shown is a large Combination Pizza.

High priced pizzas with great specials.  The pizza shown is a large Bulgogi Pizza for ₩9,800 (normally ₩16,800). It taste good, but expires fast. So, eat it before it gets cold. The crust is a little tough to chew. 

Dasarang is a nice sit down restaurant that also delivers. It sells american-style pizza and chicken, as well as, various Korean dishes. The pizza shown is a large "whatever I pointed to on the menu" for ₩18,000. I think 
a combination. I remembering it tasting awesome, but I had the drunchies. So, what doesn't taste awesome?

Pizza Club
Pizza Club was is my choice for best crust. The pizza shown is a large combination for ₩21,000. It was the most expensive pizza I purchased, but the crust was made of individual cheese filled bread rolls.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

FEBRUARY: The Month of the Yellow Brick Road

My first month in Korea has passed too quickly, and I am now standing at the First of February. I have labeled this month: 'The Month of the Yellow Brick Road.' Because... like Dorothy, from The Wizard of Oz, I am going to make friends as I am on it.

Potential Friends: The stupid one, the heartless one, and the wimpy one.

I will not only make friends by happenstance, but I am going to diligently seek new faces and attempt to create friendships out of thin air. This is going to involve me leaving my comfort zone and facing the possibility (more like probability) of rejection. I will be imploring the use of internet advice, morning pep talks, music <= after you get the thunder you can do anything, excessive creepy smiles, head nods, enthused interest, and after five pm alcohol.

I will be looking for friends on all fronts.
  • Local Bars, Facebook, Foreign Bars, Language Exchange Sites, CouchSurfers, Anybody within yelling distance, Gym, Koreans, People that stare too long, Other bloggers, Whiteys, Old People, College People, People that look me in the eyes, Lotte Mart, Slow walkers
BEWARE!!! If you fit into any of these categories, I will start a conversation with no clear ending point. This will lead to a noticeable silence. We may or may not make it to the other side.

February also brings other firsts, such as: 
  • Gym Membership 
  • Less Work!?!?...  
  • Ru Ford and Trot G: Almost Mediocre Mix (working title)
Also, the saga continues with,
  • Hives in Korea: The Diet