Woman Shows Aaron Her Asian Pears

Crude? Yes. But accurate? Almost! There was only one asian pear, but a woman did give it to me unprompted…and for free! It was the same person who helped bat off the drunk the other other night who was harrassing me. Another friend of mine suggested that I start yelling at him in bad Spanish. No me gusta Coreanos quien estan barracho.

The pear was almost as big as my head. Here’s a picture:

In other news, I got a haircut and have a new health food which I can eat every day for lunch: cold crushed soybean soup. It’s not mungbean pancackes, but it’s got protein which I may need now that I discovered a gym near my apartment. Then again, that may merely add to the list of things which I will do any day now…yeah…real soon…

At least I bought a UV light for the turtles.


A Quick Weekday Wangdoodle

I bought new sunglasses yesterday. Tomorrow, I’ll post a picture of them.

There was a great east/west divide about their sex appeal. The Koreans loved it, in particular the seventh grade boys. Lucky me. One of them offered to set me up, I think he’s already suggested that.

Two nights in a row I’ve been interrupted by very drunk Koreans trying to practice their bad English because they think it’s funny and they wouldn’t leave me alone. The second night my secret admirer at Dorothy Cafe had to shoo them away. Thank you, secret admirer.

That gives me a whole new reason to learn Korean, so I can tell people like that to ‘fuck off’ in their own language.

My turtles Jinhee and Han are still alive. Yesterday I got rocks for them, from broken part of the pavement. When I woke up this morning, Han was sunning himself on top of the rocks. I should have taken a picture. Oh well.

I had about ten things to do that I wrote down last night, and I didn’t do any of them. But at least I made a list.

Aaron Gets Some New Roommates

This weekend I went to the five-day market. It’s housed in a massive open-air structure and the whole thing is a wonderful mess; there are hundreds of stalls with hundreds of random items from belts to dried squid to barrels of kimchi to knock-off brand baseball hats to live hedgehogs.

Two of the other Yale teachers and I went there with a mission to fill the lonely silences in our apartment with some creature features. Here they are, Charlotte and Robyn, in living color and all their Canadian glory:

The five-day market is notorious for its cheap assortment of household pets who have been very badly treated.

There were miserable puppies living in cardboard boxes, and a very sad dog sitting in a cage that was too small for him. There were also chickens and ducks for sale.

What we were looking for, and eventually found, were these adorable miniature painted turtles who not only could fulfill my desire for a pet, but also turtles for a long time were my favorite animal (until I discovered narwhals) so this is like a childhood dream come true. You CAN be young again!

The first thing I read when I got home from the market was something along the lines of “most people think that all you need for a turtle is a tank, some pellets, and a little plastic bridge. These people are idiots and their turtle will die in two weeks.” This week I’m going to have to buy a UV Light and a “basking area” so they can sun themselves during the day. There is a teacher contest to see who can keep their turtles alive the longest. I’m kind of cheating since I bought two (and maybe there might be some more turtles on the way? I actually have no idea about my turtles’ gender).

So far Jinhee and Han don’t like me very much, and I don’t blame them. I’m this giant creature who placed them in a tank and didn’t read about how to take care of them. It’s as if well-meaning aliens were to abduct you, and they were very friendly but they kept on trying to feed you sheet metal and were confused why you were dying. I am determined, however, if not to give Jinhee and Han a deeply fulfilling life, then at least to let them party for a while. Maybe I’ll put a few drops of soju into their tank.

On an unrelated note, this Sunday I met an aerospace engineer who had traveled all the way to CLEVELAND to see the Korean outfielder Sin-Soo Choo who plays for the Indians.

The food this weekend was truly wonderful. On Sunday I ate Mungbean pancakes with spicy soy sauce. They were delicious. We also had some homemade fried pork cutlets at a place I like to call the “KKK Kitchen” because its real name is the Komkkatchi Kitchen or something like that. There’s enough Ks in the name of the restaurant not to be racist, but not enough Ks to impress Nolan Ryan.

Also among the adventures this weekend was an open-mic night. I brought a short story to read and it was went very well for the first 5-7 minutes and then people understandably got bored. I wasn’t sure what to do though; I didn’t think I could really stop. Oh well. Next time, I’m seriously considering just getting drunk, jotting some notes down on my hand, and just spouting about whatever the hell I want for 5 minutes or so. Trust me, this idea is a lot better than it sounds.

Next post: Koreans and Emma Watson, New Sunglasses, and More Nonsense

But first, two hilarious conversations which occured today:

(me and Robyn sit on the curb)

Korean Children: Girlfriend?

Me: No. She is girl, she is friend. But she is not girlfriend.

Korean Child: No. Girlfriend.

Robyn: (pointing to Korean boy) but Ginny, is Ken your girlfriend?

Ginny: No.

Robyn: But you like him as a friend, right?

Ginny: No, I hate him.

(poor Ken)

Conversation 2:

Background-apparently one of my (best) students, Steven, works at my favorite restaurant (it’s a 24-hour joint, always open but more delicious and less racist). His parents own the restaurant and he’s there all the time and yet somehow I never made the connection. How this happened may say a lot about my selective memory.

Aaron: Hey, Steven. Are we studying for our test on Thursday?

Steven: No. I’m eating.

Ba dum bum.

Aaron Gets Locked in a Bank

Today ended with me sitting in a bank foyer for one hour while I waited for the police to come get me out. It wasn’t a very good day.

I should have known today was going to be a no good, terrible, horrible, very bad day. Last night I dreamt that I had been fired and my parents came all the way to Jeju to vouch for me, and it almost worked, until a teacher named Ron who I’VE NEVER EVEN MET BEFORE, and only exists to me by name, was in my dream and said that he refused to work with someone like me. He had more weight than my parents. I tried to punch him in my dream but before I could, a girl (no names just to be safe) got in the way and said that I would have to go through her. So I took her hat and spit on it before leaving. Then I killed myself, became a ghost, and tried to scare other teachers at the school, but they just laughed at me.

And this was all before I even got out of bed!

A cab driver today took me on a “special” route to Yale and overcharged me by 200 won (okay, 20 cents, but still).

Later shenanigans occurred at school which will go unmentioned.

What will go mentioned is that my eighth grade girls alternate between wanting to be my girlfriend and wanting to be my mother. Or worse, my great Aunt. They ask me how old I am. If I’m single. How tall I am. If I know Justin Bieber personally (because I’m from New York, and Justin Bieber is from…New York? What?)

Then they tell me I should shave. And that I should clean my glasses. They won’t even play games, they just “want to have conversation.” C’mon, girls, I thought I looked like Harry Potter! Doesn’t Harry Potter deserve some respect?

The pizza for dinner tonight was okay. So there was that.

Then I went on a hunt for a poker game at an apartment called Hyorim Sky. Finding the place was difficult to begin with. I got very confused and had to ask four different people, getting closer each time, until finally they made fun of me because it was the building just next door. One kid, however, manning a cashier station at a 7-11, just looked at me with his eyes glazed over when I asked where it was. I stood there for 90 seconds and then just gave up. Kids these days.

Once I got to Hyorim Sky, I not only knocked on three wrong doors, but they were three doors of PEOPLE I KNEW. They seemed to take it well but it was kind of strange and embarrassing. I got to poker in time to lose 4500 won ($4.50) on a hand where the winner hadn’t even looked at his cards.

It was on the way, at around 1 in the morning, that I made the fatal decision to stop at the bank to get some cash from the ATM machine. I have no idea what happened. Maybe the bank doors were designed to open but not close after a certain hour. Maybe the door broke. Whatever the case may be, I went in, saw that the ATM machines had all been shut down for the night, and then couldn’t get out. I had to go to the bathroom and seriously considered taking a leak in one of the potted plants, if not for the fact that help did arrive and also, there was a camera which was taping the whole thing. A few people went by while I banged on the doors, until finally someone noticed that there was a foreigner screaming from behind glass doors, and took pity on me.

The police came 30 minutes later and were laughing at me. Whatever. As long as I got to sleep in my own bed tonight.

And Rick Perry and Danny Danon are having a séance together or something shitty like that.

And the Mets lost.

Is it the weekend yet?

Udo Photo Dump Part II point 5

He’s not dead. He’s just resting.


Now he’s upright.

Our “camp grounds.”

Family fun on the rocks.

Elizabeth, another Yale teacher, looking dapper in her sun hat

The boat as it docks on Udo.

A lighthouse on Udo.

There are some more extraneous photos, but those are the highlights. Hopefully there will be some more new adventures to come soon. From a blogging standpoint, the last few days haven’t been too eventful. I went over to Jungmun Tourist Complex a few days ago but didn’t get a chance to see too much. It’s quite a place, but it deserves a longer stay before it gets a blog post of its own.

Later this week I’ll post something about my visit to the 5-day market. That was a fun experience, although also a semi-failure as I didn’t get what I was looking for.

Tonight was the first night of the Seogwipo Writers Workshop (run by yours truly) and it was a fair success. My favorite part was finding out all but one attendee wrote blogs. We debated the relative merits of wordpress, blogspot, etc. I’ve been working on a story all week that I think I’m proud of, but I want a second opinion.

It was a co-teacher’s birthday today and the directors of the school bought her a purple cake. No photos, unfortunately. And by now the cake is subject to the laws of entropy.

There’s a barback who I have started to really dislike at one of the cafes I go to. He never smiles and tries very hard to make it clear that I am a customer, not a friend. He nags me about money in really obnoxious ways. Dude, I’m going to pay for my yogurt.

Doesn’t this kid have to go back to school or something?

I know I do. In about 13 hours. That’s life in Seogwipo.

Udo Photo Dump Part I

The lovely Udo beach.

Walking up to the beach on Udo.

Palm Trees near Udo beach.


Sunset on Udo.

Goodbye sun.

This photos were uploaded in reverse, so the setting sun will actually continue to rise in these pictures.

They call the little mountains that dot Jeju island “oreums.”

Look at this kid!

That’s a good photo.

Earlier that day, there was a storm above Jeju island.

Ailbhe from Ireland and some other people who I went “camping” with.

The girl on the left is another Yale teacher. The girl wearing the Brazil dress is actually from England. Tricky!

A different Udo beach.

These people didn’t realize they were posing for my blog.

It’s like Jeju Abbey Road.

Fellow Yale teacher Elizabeth takes a photo. She’s watching the oreums. But someone is watching the watcher.

A closer look at the anonymous oreum.