Saturday, October 25, 2008

Chapter Seventeen: On Any Given Weekend

This post will be brief. I just want to give you a better idea of what my life is like when I'm not at school with the kids and not trying to hike up mountains. On Friday nights, we frequently go out to dinner and then a bar or two. Last night, we went to the "Tent Place" for Korean barbecue again. The "Tent Place" is nice because you're outside but kind of inside, sitting at picnic tables. Since fall finally hit, they had standing heaters. I love the restaurant for everything except its squatting toilets. I have managed to never pee on myself--but that doesn't decrease my fear every time.
After the "Tent Place" we went to one of the few Western style bars in Daegu. At this one, you could actually get cocktails! Arthur, above, is drinking some sort of Jack Daniels cocktail.

While I enjoyed a pina colada. I paid about $7 for it but it was worth it. I was excited to have rum for the first time in a while. And it was a pretty surreal experience to be drinking a pina colada in Korea.

More cocktails for the rest of the table (I called it a night after my single pina colada). Last night, we had an embargo on shop-talk. We were not allowed to talk about school, students, teachers, teaching, English, or anything related to work. It was pretty difficult but I managed. I may or may not have written down some conversation starters from the internet to take with me in case it turned out I was a very boring person when not talking about school. I didn't use them, but they ended up being kind of meta--the fact that I had written out conversation starters was fodder for conversation itself.

I had spent all night staring at these coasters because they had little notches in the sides that you could punch out. Eventually, when everyone else was sufficiently distracted by alcohol consumption, I started putting them together. Everyone joined suit and we made some nice "Modern Art" ala The Table from first year.

On to Saturday:
I wake up at 9:15, always, without an alarm clock. This is a little strange since I wake up at any time between 7:23 and 8:23 during the week. Then I turn the alarm off; it was set for 8:30. I'm not even sure I know what my alarm sounds like.
On Saturday, I wake up and smell cigarette smoke in my hair from going out on Friday night. I vow to take a shower soon. I watch one or two episodes of Sex and the City and miss New York. I shower. I watch the same number of episodes of Friends and miss my own. I think about the quirkiness and lack of sentimentality that sometimes defines my friends. I wonder if I'll ever find anyone like that here, but have to remind myself that I don't have too much longer. After the second episode, I go to brush my teeth. Every Saturday morning, without fail, I forget to push down the knob that changes from shower to sink. My hair, which was just starting to dry, is completely soaked again. As is the towel hanging up behind me, so I have nothing to dry it on. And I have to change again.
I sit down on my bed with my computer and check some blogs then watch an episode of one of my favorite TV shows on sidereel. Or, I watch half an episode, then realize I'm hungry. I go into the kitchen to find that there's no way I can make breakfast because the dishes from the whole week have piled up. But before I can do dishes, I have to wash the counter where they will dry. After I have finished washing 2/3rds and run out of room for them to dry, I decide to just have some toast and eat real lunch later. It's around noon anyway. I feel bad for missing breakfast because it is my favorite meal. It seems strange to eat breakfast after noon, so I don't. I let the dishes dry while I eat my toast and finish the episode. It's around 12:30 and I realize that I have to decide what I will do today.
What do I need to do? Grocery shopping and clean. But I always want to go shopping shopping. I want books or just to be in a shopping center. I decide that I will first clean, then go grocery shopping, come home, update my planner, and then if I'm still up for it, I'll go shopping shopping.

Then I realize, I don't feel like cleaning or going grocery shopping. But it's Saturday. So it's okay.

I read some, then finally get out of the house at around 3, deciding I want a rotibun and hot chocolate. So today, I headed downtown in search of a bun place that I could sit and read at. It's finally fall, so it was quite chilly. It was nice to put on a sweater and scarf and still feel a little nip. It is late October, after all. I walked downtown via the subway, as usual, and came out by the police station.
It seems that on Saturdays, there are always people in silly costumes selling you things downtown. The pedestrian streets are also so crowded that you move in a mass, like New York. I didn't get a shot of the pandas, but I liked the marshmallow people.

Near Jungango, there are fewer people. I went into Rotibun and, as usual, felt helpless when the guy working tried to explain why I couldn't have a bun. Apparently I'd have to wait 1 or 2 hours. Disappointed, I walked to a nearby Dunkin' Donuts.
I know it's corporate America and imperialism, but they have red bean filled donuts and darn good hot cocoa (not hot chocolate). It was a nice fall day to sit and read with my hot cocoa. Also, Dunkin' Donuts in Korea is very much like a cafe instead of a donut shop.

Jungango on the weekends is a nice place to just sit and hang out. I saw a few other white girls while I was inside, which is always nice. It makes me feel less alone.

Also in Jungango is our favorite Western-style restaurant: Outback! It's always funny to go there with Nicole as she is actually Australian and it's full of Aussie kitsch. The jokes never get old. Another great quality about Outback is that they have 100 minutes of beer for less than the price of 2 beers. My ability to be "sensible Colleen" always fails at Outback. Also, you can see the second of two McDonaldses in downtown. Unfortunately, they do not have the "southern style chicken sandwich" so they are primarily of no interest to me.

After I got coffee, I wandered around in Jungango where I have been a few times this week. On Sunday, we went to the movies there. Then on Monday, I went back to Kyobo book store and got a totally sweet book for American kindergarteners entitled Yes, You Can Speak Korean. This book has actually helped me more than all of my stuff for adults combined. In half an hour, I already knew the hangul consonants. Right now, I'm just worried about reading (or rather, pronouncing) and not so much talking. But in a matter of days with this book, I have progressed far beyond my previous knowledge (i.e. "beer, please").
Anyway, today I wandered around the Jungango subway shopping center and bought 4 pairs of earings for under $10. On my way back home, I stopped in my favorite classy stationers shop in the Banwoldong subway mall and got this lantern. Holy hot air balloons, Batman! It makes me feel so much more at home. I still need to get a light for it, though.

On the way home, I did, finally, go grocery shopping.


  1. Eeeeeee! A hot air balloon!

  2. I like your shirt and also your earrings and now I want a Pina Colada...NOM!

  3. I always dream of going to Korea. Just to meet all BIGBANG members especially my super crush T.O.P!!! I know quite a few Korean like annyeonghaseyo! :)