Friday, April 30, 2004

The boy has gone back to his home country for 2 weeks before starting a new job here.
I miss him, but am happy to sleep undisturbed for a while.
He is to bring back for us (hmm - me, really):

~ Plenty of purple Silk Cuts

~ Dark lacy underwear: hipsters, thongs, whatever he'd like to see on me

~ 6 months supply of lg. western condoms (decided that 6 months' worth was too much pressure, so I just asked for as many as he was comfortable carrying on a series of international flights)

~ Lube for some extra-fun things

He liked to count them off on his fingers before he left: "Cigs, condoms, knickers..."

And left a present for me on my pillow yesterday.
Toothpaste and cavity-causing chocolate-covered almonds.
Just like him to be full of contradictions and deliciously bad-for-me things.

Here, faux pas in fashion are everywhere you look, so I wear things I never would elsewhere.
Like whitish socks with black (pleather) trousers and black Doc Martens.
But, for all you fashion police rookies out there, the socks have fat, luscious cherries printed all over them.
And who can argue with a girl who'd wear cherries on her ankles?

Thursday, April 29, 2004

"Teacher, look: it's the principal!" 

one kid shouted in my last class.

This particular authoritarian, who (and I say this in the kindest possible way) looks like a half-revived corpse with dyed black hair and bulging eyes, put his finger to his lips as I looked over in a dazed panic.

The class had been broken into 6 groups of 5 students each, and of course they'd been loudly discussing the assignment in Korean, in my English Conversation class. I tried not to pay attention as the principal motioned in several cameramen who followed me as I wove through a labyrinth of desks.

Hoping my red-blackish hair wasn't too straggly and my lipstick dark enough but not too dark.
That kids weren't torturing one another in Korean, or talking about my boyfriend in front of the camera.
That my pale eyes didn't look as tired as they felt.
That one of my heels wouldn't fall off as it's been threatening to do.

A pair of mothers gaped through large classroom windows and I wouldn't have minded heaving a brick through it.

Why does it so often feel like we westerners live within isolated fishbowls here?
We'd rather not be stared at constantly.
Peripheral vision seems unused in Korea, both when staring at people who look different than the rest of your neighbor Kims - and when driving, too.

Note: One has spent too much time around other english teachers when in an argument with your lover you bring up his use of pronouns in an offensive phrase. Then you assert that because he used these pronouns, he really meant the innuendo in a much more personal way than he realized. This could also be classified as relatively delusional thinking.

Monday, April 26, 2004

DVD Bangs (rooms) 

can be an entertaining time with your friends or lovers.
For many younger Koreans, it's a rare opportunity for private time together (ergo the windows now mandatory in the rooms).

Walking into the reception area isn't any different from going to a rental store.
But then you pay your 10,000 won ($9 US) and are led to a small private room where you can smoke and have an intimate cinematic experience.
We've been several times and are usually armed with beer, anju (something-or-other to munch on while we drink), and plenty of desire.
The other night we were desperate and couldn't find a secluded spot anywhere on the beach we'd walked to, far away from where we live. He moaned as I pressed him against a railing next to roiling waves.

Then I spotted a "Hollywood DVD Bang" sign, and we rushed in as he exclaimed about good ideas.
We chose Vidoq, as it looked like a decent background to what we were really after.
The grey room was windowless and furnished with a vinyl sofa that looked more like a longish bed. We looked at one another and grinned.

It was a great, uninhibited time to the cacophony of monsters and terrified screaming that let us be as loud as we wanted.


ended with smashed glass.
In the bathroom. Inside and behind tub and sink.
Shards and water splashed into the bedroom.
Thrown in the direction opposite from the boy, I was soaked, and nothing got onto him.

Had felt the breaking urge for days, and it took an afternoon of several misunderstandings and cheap Korean beer to bring it out.
Springtime quickens my blood, speeds up my brain, warps perception of time (10 minutes can feel like hours), disturbs sleep, gives me a volatile energy, easily throws me into rages. Several years ago, circumstances (death in the family, a breakup, and nearly losing my job in the same week) led me to a week-long psych ward experience.
Came out of it with the label of "manic-depressive". They had to put something on my file, on me. I prefer the more archaic, if histrionic, term: "nervous breakdown," which is how the boy refers to colleagues' similar experiences.

"Fast-food psychiatry" we called it, as the ward was for short-term patients: it was designed to get us out of there as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Then increasing prescriptions were written; for the insurers, they were much cheaper than weekly shrink appointments. I took serenity-in-a-capsule (or would that be "soma") for several months, then gradually cut down over several more, and finally stopped altogether.

Shortly before I left for Korea, an appointment with a rosy-cheeked doctor fresh from Harvard med school:
"So why haven't they put you on Lithium?" he asked.
"I didn't want the risk of liver damage, or have my blood monitored constantly," I said. Also the associations with that drug weren't pleasant.

And I knew they were wrong, wrong about it all.
Didn't want to be on anything unless it was absolutely necessary; there had to be other ways to manage the sensation of and desire to fall off a cliff. I was looking for backup medication for times like now....didn't want to be on it constantly. Before, I'd been on an anti-seizure drug experimentally prescribed for mania, and was looking for more of the same.

"Moving to a new country, an unfamiliar setting, could trigger another manic episode," he said. Mmm-hmm, I thought. "Part of your desire to move around so much comes from the mania, manifested as a restless drive," another had said.
Who knows?
Avoiding caffeine [am drinking coffee mix right now] and getting enough sleep [hard with the boy around] are more important.

This is the worst it's been since I moved here quite a while ago.

On another note, a new store opened down the street. American Apparel's hot shorts look and feel divine. Mine are of brilliant tramp-red cotton, and look much better in three dimensions than they do in two!

It's the first pair of underwear I've bought in Korea.
Much of what one sees on display in lingerie stores is high-waisted, full-coverage, and unflattering. "Bikini" is a generous term for the raciest ones, and thongs are non-existent in this city. Lace tends to be scratchy and cheap-looking.

For months I've wanted a pair of hipsters: a nice alternative to thongs. Also thought that Korean underwear wouldn't fit me as the women are so small here, but after finding plenty of trousers that fit, I'm not apprehensive anymore.

A friend and I walked past A.A. store the other night, and our eyes popped out. Thongs in the window! Twice lifesize, half-naked women plastered over the rear of the store!
We rushed in.
Though the prices were high for Korea, it was worth paying extra for soft strong cotton. Most fabrics are cheap blends, cheaply made in China.
The sweatshop-free workmanship was a bonus.

It shows how removed we are here from issues in the west.
I've forgotten all about things like sweatshops and Mountain Dew.

Friday, April 23, 2004


your head
to the right people.
I am bowed to (or would that be "at"?) all day long at school, by staff and students.

Dip the head to teachers
but never to students, for they are below you in the Confucian hierarchy that Koreans seem to have adopted with a fervor unlike anything else, save materialism.
Bow head and shoulders to the principal and VP, for they are far above you.
Not only are they part of the old boys club, but you are a woman, and your worth is only confirmed by bearing male children.
Bow to administrative staff?
I'm not sure, but do so, because they all do to me.
Same for the cleaning ladies and gents, all splayed mops and rough regional accents.

A woman comes by soliciting cash for some cause, and I've no idea what she wants the money for, so don't give her any.
She scowls at me.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

It's the little things... 

...like two-three months paid vacation,
that make being here worthwhile.
Makes up for the obscene amount of office hours (read: sitting on my derriere emailing/reading others' blogs) I put in here.

During the "vacation-discussion," I was also advised to socialize more with the Korean teachers.
"We are very happy that you live in the neighborhood now," they said. "That way we can spend time with you after school."
Or not, I thought as I nodded vaguely.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Sex in North Korea 

Quote: "Cunnilingus is a dialectic like any other".

Turn up the volume if you like Nina Simone interpreted by St. Germain

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

It's been a while, but things have been relatively calm lately, save for petty conflicts with the administration, which I probably won't want to remember, so I won't write about it.
Unless they fire me, which is always a possibility.

I'll just say this:
Yesterday, I either slept through my 730 alarm or it never went off.
This is after getting a sunrise massage from the boy as my shoulder was out of place from curling up to him all night....it could be either from strange sleeping positions or contortions on the bathroom floor.

So I called the only school administrator whose phone number I have who speaks some English, letting him know I'd be late, and he told the vice-principal that my mom was sick. The VP of course promptly called me to confirm my mother's illness and I tried to tell him what happened. He didn't understand.
So it looked like I was lying because some guy thought I said "Mom" when I said "alarm"! but of course the guy-in-question would never admit a mistake. Nor would I talk to him about it...I've learned that much at least in my time here.

After I got off the phone with the VP, I successfully suppressed my urge to throw a dilapidated hand-phone across the room and curse at stagnant air. The boy looked over at me, having the tact not to let a smile cross his face till I made a random crack about Canadians' appropriation of English spelling and American pronunciation.

Recent PMS-inspired conflicts with the boy have led to the following scenarios [he's in between jobs at the moment]:

Said one night I wanted no male company so he stayed on the couch at a girlfriend's house...this'd be the same insane, charismatic, always desperately-seeking-attention chick he was in love with before he met me. I didn't find out where he'd been till the next evening, and couldn't sleep next to him afterwards....he knows I can't stand her, for many reasons. So I asked him to leave again.
What did he do?
Walked several miles to a hilltop temple complex and watched the sunrise as he ate breakfast, hanging out with the temple dogs.
I love the way he can turn a miserable situation into something inspiring.

The next afternoon I walked into my room with dehydrated-urine-colored floors and glanced wearily at the bed. Then back again.
He'd turned clean laundry into a message atop the red-and-white checked bedspread.

One brown-and-white bath towel [a luxurious rare find over here] was folded into an "I".
A pink hand towel was pleated into a heart.
A red-and-white bath towel bent into a "U".
And - this was my favorite part - a pair of black socks formed a period: full-stop.

Yeah, I cried a little.
It doesn't take much these days.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Dong Shin/Kancho 

Dong shin is the Korean equivalent. I think most of us here have experienced it from young students; it's one of the most disconcerting sensations. Here's a great description from Gavin in Japan:

Okay, so I've been teaching for about a week and a half now, and...I've been anally violated about three times and my balls fondled perhaps one more than that. And no, I am not teaching at the Saku City Correctional Facility. This happened at ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS. The sad thing is, I had warning, and I didn't really pay any attention to it.

So I went out with a few of the guys that have been in Japan for a few years already, a little bit ago. And they mentioned something, in a scarily casual manner, just in passing: Japanese schoolchildren think it's really funny to form their fingers into the shape of a gun and jam it up the ass of an unsuspecting teacher. Particularly FOREIGN teachers. I didn't really take him seriously at the time, until my first day...I was in the hall when second-period break began, and kids, after realizing I was a foreigner, immediately swarmed me. The presence of a gaijin in any sort of elementary school is usually a terribly enthralling thing, even if he happens to look like a native, apparently.

Anyway, I was pretty euphoric about this. Here I was, my first day, and the kids are absolu-fucking-lutely ecstatic to have me around! I was having the time of my life, wrestling these kids to the ground, giving them piggyback rides five at time, in general just goofing around. The kids kept piling on as I playfully fell to the ground, and I couldn't have been happier. But it was then I felt it: a tiny pair of fingers reaching around in my ass like there was candy hidden in there. Not coincidentally, it was also then I realized that I actually couldn't move under the combined weight of the children, which by then numbered more than a dozen. So there I was, trapped under the weight of a classful of children, with the tiny digits of a mischievous 8 year-old making like a frightened ostrich, with my asshole playing the part of the sand. Lovely.

I should note here that when Japanese children do this, they don't really realize they're being so disturbingly disgusting, as unbelievable as that may sound. Apparently the social mores concerning such "pranks" just happen to differ CONSIDERABLY from American standards. This ass-excavation hilarity is called "Kancho," by the way, or "Enema," and is apparently performed by TV comedians all the time, thus making it okay. Someday I will hunt them down and replace their testicles with their eyeballs so they get a bird's-eye-view as I hammer nails into their scrotums. Speaking of which, there's the same lack-of-morals for nonchalantly handling male genitalia -- one of my first days, this fat kid just reached out and grabbed my nuts like they were stress-relief balls, chanting "Galvin-sensei no chin-chin" (Mr.Galvin's pee-pee), over and over, in a very disturbing manner. I wanted to point out that, as the class fat kid, he really should be too busy being mocked about his unbearable cravings for Pooh Biscuits and other such confections to have the time to gleefully fondle his teacher's Wrinkly Wonder. Sadly, I didn't have the Japanese capability to do so.


Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Contracts bite 

~at least if you have to make life decisions based upon them.

It's torn me up since we've met.
At first, because he was going to leave.
Then, when he decided to stay here till I leave, and, he hopes optomistically (no matter how negative I get) go where I do.

Emotions shouldn't be subjected to, or regulated by, job contracts. It's heightened my doubts about him in the past few months (though they've settled down somewhat, for many reasons). How? I have felt obligated to decide, now, whether to take the next step with him or not.

Fear that if I wait too long, then I'll become so attached I won't be able to make a rational decision about it as I prepare to leave at the end of the year.
But I already am.
Both irrational and very attached.
He wants to talk about the future occasionally...okay, often...but recent scathing emails from me, saying I wanted to hear none of it, have cut those conversations short for a while.

All he'll say these days is simply, "We don't need to live together there - wherever there may be."
Well, of course not!!
Still, it's nice to hear he thinks the same way.

Suppose I just need to relax, as I often have lately. And think of where I want to go next, rather than where we'd like to go.

He says, a man cynical about many things - but not those romantic - that he'd follow me anywhere.
Perhaps I'll just have to see if he means it, if we're still together at the end of the year.

It's always great to have a man for a digestif after midnight, and then for breakfast the next morning...

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Speaking of swallowing... 

always remember to take out your gum first.

The brain must've stopped working this morning after a month of celibacy.
Of course we couldn't wait till tonight.

Example of an "If/Then" sentence: If heated fumbling in a morning taxi isn't enough, then there's always the deserted bathroom at Starbucks, the cleanest in town.
Bitter, black, unsweetened coffee was a perfect complement afterwards.

Later he'll discover what I've written on my skin - around my tattoo and cleavage, under black thigh-highs, under my skirts.

He started it all, weeks ago, with a valentine's day missive brushed in arabic on my back.

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