Saturday, July 31, 2010

having lived with an awesome dog before i came to korea, sometimes i really miss that dog-to-human interaction. there's nothing better than man's best friend and the unconditional love they show---whether you're feeling down or happy, it's always nice to have a buddy around.

i learned of a place called bau house, which is a well known dog cafe in seoul, soon after i arrived in korea. this is a cafe where you can go and have coffee and veg out while playing with a large number of dogs that just hop on the tables and roam around freely. some of the dogs are bau house residents, while others are dropped off by their owners for doggy day care. i've been looking forward to going to this place for some time now and finally did the other day with a good friend who is in town from nyc. it's always nice to see a familiar face from home, and getting some doggy-interaction made this day extra special.

thanks to john for the photos!







Friday, July 30, 2010

i've been looking for work for a while now and haven't had any luck in seoul.

i've been applying to places here and there and then i get an email response this morning that stated they're looking for "CAUCASIAN CANDIDATES" only.

i was born in nyc, studied non-fiction writing in college and have extensive work experience in the field of editing and writing---yet, these places would rather hire "caucasians" that might possibly be professionally under-qualified with no work experience whatsoever but their korean clients will think "ohh, white people! this is where i want my child to study!"

isn't that a trip? i think it's pretty funny but i guess it's just the reality of how things work here.

it's interesting how being korean-american in the states, there's a lot of baggage that sometimes comes with being a minority and not feeling accepted in certain circumstances. then i come to korea and people tell me "you're korean! you should know how to speak and write better, you need to study more!" nyc is really the only place i will ever feel like i truly fit in and can be myself. the absurdity in the disparaging statements i've gotten in korea insinuating i'm not korean enough or am not up to par on culture makes me laugh so much in the inside, and i never take it to heart whenever it's directed towards me. trust me, i want to learn a lot more and i know there's room for vast improvement in my "korean-ness" (or whatever that means), but i think i've done pretty okay for myself in learning about korean stuff back in the states and if people don't understand why their statements are ridiculous, there's nothing i really want to do about it.

it's not my job or place to educate those who can't learn basic things about life and human-beings on their own.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

i don't know anymore. the dream, the bubble, the fake reality i've made for myself is closing in and i can see my inevitable truth ahead. i've suddenly forgot how to walk and am not sure what to mobilize first in order to take the baby step back to how i want my life to be. is it my head? or my shoulders? or my fingers? no---it's my feet. the first step requires me moving one foot in front of the other, but i'm so fucking scared.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

i'm so grateful to my true friends who accept me completely for who i am, major embarrassing life issues/problems and all.

from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Harlem/Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

what is it with people who can't understand the concept that all human beings are different and that it's not necessarily a negative thing?

yes, it's a very simple notion, and that's why it's even more frustrating and annoying that ignorant/provincial folks just don't seem to get it.

think of life as an equation. in our own individual lives, aka math problems, we're trying to figure out the right numbers, factors and components that will lead us to that ultimate solution to the equation. whether we're adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing or whatever, we all use the same numbers and systems.

however, that doesn't mean that each equation is ever the same because all of our desired solutions are different. some seem more complicated and some are more simpler than others and then as individuals with our own personalities, we add our own elements that represent ourselves. some of us use oxford legal notepads, and some of use bar napkins to write on. some of us have impeccably legible handwriting, and some of us have really bad chicken-scratch handwriting. some of use an abacus (okay maybe only asian people a long time ago), and some of use an expensive texas instrument calculator. some of us like permanent sharpies, and some of us prefer pencils with erasers. some of us will only use the colors black or blue, and some of us will spray paint with bright colors. some of us cheat, and some of us are adamant on figuring it out on our own. some of us are good in math and enjoy it, while some of us (like myself) really hate it and would rather write an essay---i'll stop here but you get what i'm saying.

my point is, when the math problem is finally completed and you look at it in its entirety, no two will ever be alike and that's totally okay because that's fucking life. so why is it that certain people feel the need for themselves and the rest of their surrounding world to fall into their own version of the boring ass equation of 1 + 1 =2 written on white paper with a black pen?

even if they don't embrace the differences in people, i would hope that as a fellow human being that these idiots would acknowledge that they are no better or worse than them, just different.

being in korea, i get frustrated sometimes because i've heard people sometimes say stuff that is blatant ignorance and generalizing. it's so ridiculous that i have to laugh it off in my head and i don't let it upset me and just choose not to waste my time with people like that. i guess it just makes me sad that some people will never learn or grow by meeting someone who's completely different from what they're used to. i'm not saying they have to be best friends, but just opening up the door a little can let a smell, sound or light that they've never experienced before come through.

Friday, July 23, 2010

life is funny.

but then i'm never really laughing...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

i've been going to han-gang, the large river that cuts through seoul, as much as possible to clear my head and get some air.

the other day i discovered that you can rent a bike there for $3 an hour---what a great deal. i've been wanting to buy a bike since i arrived in korea but this works out so much better since i don't have anywhere to store it and i hate owning stuff. the bike path along the river is so beautiful and there's a lot to see. whether it's people fishing or wild flowers or small streams or fields of dragonflies or families picnicking or people swimming in the large river-side infinity pools, it's easy to just keep biking along the path and lose track of time.




Tuesday, July 20, 2010

the concept of "double-dipping" and its negative connotation is such an american thing.

Monday, July 19, 2010

i generally don't trust people and that's got to change.
i need to keep busy.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

i can't concentrate. insecurities + anxiety + insomnia + feeling like absolute shit is so fucking distracting. i think it's my loneliness that's possibly triggering everything. i think i have way too much fucking time on my hands to just think about stuff. i try to keep myself busy when i get like this but i can't do anything but sit by myself as my mind wanders into crazy places. isn't it funny how our brains are wired and we have no natural control over some things?

i just want to be happy. no, actually i don't even need to be happy, i just want not feel like this. i was feeling the same way last night as well so i decided to go for a run to hangang at 3am but i won't be doing that tonight.

i just want to fall asleep.
can't function.
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Friday, July 16, 2010

back in nyc, there's nothing worse than going out and having a few drinks and then riding the subway home and then you have the urge to take a piss. it's easy to hold it for a stop or two or five, but after a certain point you know you're going to piss your pants if you don't go RIGHT NOW. then you know it's time to get the hell off the subway and onto the street when you start to do the piss dance, where you contort your body in whatever way you can to prevent the leakage. the worst part is that public bathrooms in nyc are rare so even if you get off the subway at an unknown stop to take a leak, you still have find an actual bathroom. i've experienced this nightmare countless times and i can say that it is the absolute worst.

however, one of the great things about seoul is that public restrooms are almost everywhere. whether it's a subway station, cafe, bakery or random building, finding a bathroom usually isn't hard at all. and many of the bathrooms in seoul are pretty modern and clean from what i've seen---a large percentage even happen to have electronic bidets.

then there are days like today where i have to urgently use the bathroom (the sitting down kind), and i find a pretty clean and decent one. everything seems normal up until the point where i kick open the bathroom stall and stumble onto the gem pictured below---the history of these types of toilets is not something i'm really familiar with but i do know that they are old school style.

i already have weird issues about pooping in public toilets on top of the fact that i don't have the skills to use this sort of squatting toilet. suffice it to say, i squeezed with my life for long enough to take a quick photo and sprint on to a toilet where balancing skills are not required.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

korea is making me feel old.

i think i was living in this insular little bubble in nyc where the natural cycle of life (at least for most of the world) didn't affect me and my close friends.

most of us lived carefree, single lives where thinking about things such as getting married, having a mortgage and starting a family was as foreign as discussing people who have pogonophobia: a fear of beards. and even for my close friends who are in relationships, the thought of finally settling down with eachother and walking down the aisle is something way down the line---it's nothing that they're anticipating for at least a few years. instead we enjoyed eachother's company, ate good food, met different types of people, partied, looked for fun cultural events to attend and basically took advantage of the fact that we could live this way in new york city and have an awesome time doing so.

my bubble in korea has been drastically different thus far. that's not to say that people aren't living that way in seoul, but even while doing so, korean culture is so different and family oriented that it affects so many different aspects of your life.

for starters, while i'm 27 years old in america, i'm 28 in korean age. i still don't understand the reasoning well enough to explain it here so we'll just say that it's a korean cultural thing. when people ask my age, i always just say i was born in 1983 and let them figure it out themselves. since i'm 28 in korea, it's the ripe old age to get married. many people are already married by this point with kids or are engaged or thinking about all that stuff and i've been told countless times here that i should be doing the same. i've also already met some people here who said they'd like to set me up with a nice girl so we can get married, which makes me laugh so hard on the inside but i just politely smile or say "sure, i'll meet this person." my cousin who is a few years older than me introduced me to some friends of hers who are both 30 and have been married for a while and have a 7 year old daughter. they're both very nice people and the wife insisted that she set me up with a friend of hers who is a nurse and also 30 years old. i nonchalantly said i would meet her, not actually thinking anything would come of it but they called me today and said that they had set up a double-dinner-date for the four of us this saturday. i naturally panicked on the phone (but still kept it cool) and said i'm not ready because i'm still unemployed and would like to focus on finding a job before i start any sort of serious relationship, but man that was a close one.

one thing i do appreciate about korean culture is its importance on family. it's nice to see parents out with their kids enjoying life and spending quality time together, whether it's going on outings or playing at the park or going out to eat. yeah, i know this happens everywhere around the world but seeing this firsthand in seoul is really refreshing because i'm not used to seeing korean families like this. i'm used to being in new york where most of the immigrant parents are working all the time and struggling to cope with all the anxieties that come along with american and new york culture. having leisurely family time where you actually bond with your children and spouse was sadly not something i witnessed firsthand very often in new york, creating a large disconnect amongst family members. so it makes my heart melt when i go to the park in seoul and it's teeming with happy parents and children who are smiling, laughing, playing and acting how families should act. sure there are plenty of dysfunctional and fucked up families here as well, but it's still just nice to see the korean families with some normalcy between them.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

i can't sleep.

i'd like to write about something here, but all i can do is stare at the empty, blogger-box with the blinking cursor, void of anything except for a vast amount of white space that can be filled with an infinite combination of words and sentences... oh, i know---i'll write about something i saw today.

today, i saw a very brave man---a gentleman who can obviously list courage, spunk and fearlessness as character traits. i had my final appointment this morning with my doctor at the hospital to get my stitches removed from my surgery. after i left the hospital, i was crossing the large street directly outside the exit and there he was: a food delivery man on a moped without a helmet who had on an obvious toupee... how the hell did he keep that rug on his head with the wind blowing through his synthetic, sinewy and plastic-like hair??

i guess i'll never know, but what i do know is that a man with that sort of gumption will always be listed as a hero in my book.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

i've had the same nightmare at least four times within the past two weeks. it's always the same where i'm flunking math or science in high school because i've been cutting classes and my eligibility to graduate is in serious jeopardy. i usually freak out in my dream and feel so helpless and scared to go back to class because i'm deathly afraid of getting in trouble.

i graduated high school in 2001 and i still wake up panicked from these nightmares---so odd.
i understand that i'm in a new country with societal and cultural norms that are different from what i'm used to. i always try to keep an open mind and try to embrace these differences as learning lessons that will help me overall through my time here, but there is one thing about korean culture that drives me absolutely bonkers: WHY DO PEOPLE WEAR CLOTHING WITH SO MUCH NONSENSICAL ENGLISH ON IT???

holy shit, sometimes i read text on people's clothes and want to violently shake them and ask, "DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE F* YOU'RE WEARING???"

i guess i just believe in sincerity and knowing/loving/understanding what i have and what i choose to represent myself with, whether it's clothing with some text on it, a tattoo on my body, etc. i've asked my native cousins about this issue and they say most koreans have no idea what their shirts say and wear them because they like the design and the way it looks. but don't people understand that all words have meaning that should be respected? when i see people walking around with all this bullshit on, it just makes me not take them seriously. but then i think, maybe i'm just too serious and need to pull the-big-nyc-stick out of my ass?

...nah, don't think so.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

a good friend of mine ended up moving into my room at my former upper west side apartment. even though she's been there since i left, my other friends/roommates are throwing her her welcoming party tonight. i wish i could be there but i guess that would defeat the purpose of having the event.

here are some photos in honor of my old room, which i miss dearly. i'm sure it looks completely different now since she's moved in, but this is how i will always remember it---empty without any furniture and with clutter kept to a minimum, just how i like it.







i don't know where the past 5 days went... oh wait---yes, i do. i was in the hospital recovering from getting emergency surgery for appendicitis!

i got suddenly sick on tuesday afternoon while, comically, at the largest bookstore in korea. the kyobo bookstore is located in kangnam, i had just arrived and at that point was perusing through a magazine.

well just got out of the hospital today. i'm going to recover at my aunt's house for a day or two before i go back to my place.

since i arrived in seoul a little over a month ago, many great, annoying and uneventful things have happened. i don't know how to list this recent life adventure but all i know is that moving to a new country and trying to settle into some sort of life and routine is taking much longer than i expected. perhaps i'm lucky that my life isn't boring---which doesn't necessarily mean full of drama but interesting to say the least.

but i'm recovering and no longer in pain and have my health back. what more could i ask for?





Friday, July 09, 2010

i will not allow myself to get stressed about things that are out of my control.

Monday, July 05, 2010

life feels like such a soap opera sometimes.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

it is so difficult for me to lie in bed with the lights off and just fall asleep.

it's just me, the darkness and my thoughts and my mind starts to wander and i get extreme anxiety. i have nothing to concentrate or think about other than the fact that i can't fall asleep, on top of other subjects of worry which i won't discuss. lately i can only put up with five minutes of doing that, and then i hop out of bed and decide to come online until i think i'm getting sleepy again. then i get tired after mindless web-surfing and go to bed and the same thing happens again. this happens at least a few times a night, with hour gaps between each cycle.

at times like this, i really fucking wish hulu.com worked in korea.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

we all have our own paths, aka our own story.

"your profession is X and you hang out with X and you've been with X for X amount of years and the two of you met in this X way and you went to X school and do X stuff for fun and your family is X and your sibling does X and X years ago X happened to them and so on." that's your path/story for now and while it can change in so many ways within a moment's notice, as of now that's what it is and that's how people define your story.

i think when it comes to relationships, my path/story has always been the same: i think i want commitment but i haven't met anyone as of now where i've wanted to pursue anything serious, or at least i haven't met anyone where those feelings were mutual. my story is "i'm the chronically single guy, even though i am earnestly seeking someone to share and enjoy my life with." that can change on any given day, but it could also not.

i'm sort of not in a clear state of mind to write but my point is, i don't think i'm meant to be in a relationship. you know that person you describe as "oh he/she is always single and always has been..." that's me at this point in my life and i'm not sure if this path/story of mine will ever change. i'm not upset about it or anything because it's mostly me and i've had opportunities to be in relationships but it's just never felt like the right situation. i don't like being in anything where i'm not willing to give 100% and my whole heart and don't like to waste neither my time nor anyone else's for that matter.

i date pretty often and meets lots of people but meeting someone where i can foresee the two of us being together for a long time, that just rarely happens for me. and when i do meet someone where i think that's possible, those feelings fade soon after and i don't always know why. up until now i've thought of it as "well i just haven't met the right person yet and when i do it'll be great." but it's been 27 years now and i don't know if that person is ever even going to come. it could also be, maybe i'm just not a relationship person and i'm just learning to really accept it now.

i guess this is my path/story and role within society. it's not such a bad thing because there will always be people with my same story that exists in everywhere at any point in time, i fill that quota.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

why do i feel like such an emotional wreck??