Daily Archives: May 23, 2006

the bathroom hurts my lungs

(and that’s just not right…)
within the first few days of my new life here, i noticed a peculiar phenomena. at first, i almost liked it, the smell of comforting cigarettes in every bathroom i enter – some holding just the lingering sniff over the typical bathroom smell, while others affront you directly with an obvious cloud of the cancer-causing grey stuff. after quitting a few months prior, the familiar smell in an unfamiliar country had a calming effect. but soon enough it began to sicken me. i could not figure out why people were too lazy to go outside, and i began to avoid public restrooms when possible. i quickly realized that the issue was only a problem in women’s bathrooms, because in Korea women are not supposed to smoke. but women smoke everywhere in the world, and thus they smoke here, and thus they find wierd, sneaky ways to committ the scrutinized habit away from the public eye, particularly those of the elders. i live on the girl’s side of a co-ed dorm, so i really had to grow used to this somewhat irritating phenomena. as a current non-smoker i encourage pals to abstain, but as i mentioned before – women smoke everywhere in the world. this archaic social constraint is outdated and wierd. but thats why i came to Korea. i want to know about the archaic and wierd, and i want to revel in it. i know longer notice a smoky bathroom, but appreciate a public restroom’s usefullness in a reasonably timely fashion, avoiding wet cigarette butts and piles of ashes on the toilet seat, and then get the hell out into my own newly discovered fresh and preferred source of oxygen.

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Filed under contemplation

soju and school spirit

i left my dorm this morning at 10am and just got back. its 10pm.
i guess you could say that i have been fully appreciating my quickly disapearing time here. or is it just because the campus has come alive with the sounds of celebration during this week of school spirit? there are strawberry waffle stands, soccer games and high-flying flags, free ice cream, fancy outfits and makeshift bars set up in tents outside of every building. drumming, megaphones and constant singing and dancing. why can’t school be like this all of the time? more realistically, why don’t we have these celebrations at home? okay, i realize the whole “tent bars on campus” wouldn’t really fly in the states, but we could still have fun. or maybe not. but the whole event is really ‘major centered’, so to say.
the wierd thing about school here is that everyone has close-knit circles of friends that they rarely wander outside of, and those parameters are usually set by one’s major. that is, korean students don’t know other korean students who don’t share their major. this event serves to initiate some contact beyond those parameters through sports competition and getting wasted in other majors’ tents. so it’s fun in more ways than one, sociologically speaking.

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Filed under events!, news etc

loss of words

Dreams never smelled so sweet
Windows down, sun on my face, wind in my hair
Jasmine floats in the warm air
As we speed past citrus and nutmeg trees
Over deeply hidden volcanic caves, along the sea
Garlic patches that flourish in the fertile dark soil
Bob their heads in revelery for the mighty Hallasan
Harraban, with their chubby hands resting on their bellies
Chuckle at the quiet omnipresence of that magnificent,
Sleepy volcano that has the means to create and destroy
But rather, sits quietly, witnessing the ins and outs
Of days and nights for millions of years and never tires
A haze settles across the hills and valleys, stretching
Out across the ocean with its long fingers
Fishing boats disappear into mysterious corners
Of the universe, and harvest mysterious creatures
From mysterious dark depths
Waterfalls crash down upon huge boulders
Spraying fresh, green, voluptuous trees and vines
With life-giving blood of all things
Eels squirm their long bodies through the pools below
Ancient volcanic rock, unable to restrain it’s grainy,
Unrefined self from participating in all of the action
Witnesses the lives and events of every living creature
On this paradise island
My eyes must be lying
But how did they get my ears, nose and fingers to
Cooperate?
Jeju-do dream come true.

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Filed under contemplation, special trips