Saturday, March 29, 2008
-- What the hell is happening to the Korean won? I thought the United States was the one who was making all the financial blunders. How come it's the won that's getting rocked? I never enjoyed hearing that bad things were happening in America, but if she was going to make mistakes, I was always glad I was here to reap the financial rewards of government bungling. Now America is in the midst of a housing crisis and a rescission (don't keep deluding yourself, it's a rescission), but instead of coming out ahead I keep falling behind. What is the Korean government doing that's so bad that the dollar looks good in comparison? I can't keep from losing won. That's an odd sentence.
-- I have a Korean co-teacher who speaks very little English. I understand that I'm in Korea and it is me who should step up my Korean language studies to accommodate her, but we do teach English together. The other day we were walking to class and trying to make small talk. This is always painful because we usually have no idea what the other person is saying. Conversations about things as benign as the weather derail and get lost in mire that is translating Korean expressions into comprehensible English. On this day though I understood my co-teacher's English perfectly as she declared, "You look bad."
"You look bad."
"I'm sorry, can you say that again?"
"Bad. It is you. You look bad."
"Oh, I thought that's what you said."
After some finagling I figured out my co-teacher was curious about my health. I had told her the day before that I was feeling sick. What she meant to say was that I still looked a little under the weather and she was curious if I still felt ill. This came out as, "You look bad." We'll work on that phrase.
I've learned to take these things lightly though. I've found that most phrases the Koreans say that are offensive are usually just translational mistakes. I've been told I look ugly and that I was stupid by one of my co-workers last year. I mean c'mon, that has to be a mistake, right?
-- Scott and Al left on Saturday. I'm happy for them as they get to do some Asian country hoping before they head back to the great white North, but I am sad for myself. I am in need of another Canadian couple who will plan trips, go to the no-re-bong, and put up with my shenanigans. I'm currently accepting applications.
-- The cast came off a week ago. I can't say that I'm sorry to see the thing go. I once heard that the stereotype many Koreans have of foreigners is we smell like beer and cheese. I've always been a little self-conscious about this, occasionally sniffing myself to see if I can detect this beer and cheese odor, but with the cast I became a walking personification of the stereotype. That dirty cast smell is fairly reminiscent of Gorgonzola cheese and feet. And the fact that I spilled beer on the cast didn't help either. Now the arm is free and smells a lot better. I also now have nothing to blame my odd waygook scent on either other than the fact that I do indeed consume large amounts of beer and cheese.