Tag Archive | expat hats

From Kingdoms of Elfin

“Monks, prisoners, conscripts, have the support of rule: they live as they are ordered to. The exile has nothing but himself to depend on. If he chooses to lie on the ground and yell, he may be a nuisance but he is not an offender. If he he tries to be a model exile, he makes a rope of sand. His conformity is of no account, and is based on guesswork, anyway. Accident may tell him he has guessed wrong, experiment on experiment may lead him to guess right. But that, too, is by accident. He plays a kind of Hunt the Thimble without knowing what a thimble looks like.”

– “The Climate of Exile” by Sylvia Townsend Warner

A Doctor Visit

So I have this laryngitis-cold-thing and sound like Tom Waits. It’s cool. I hope it never ends, though if it didn’t I’d probably lose my job. Can’t teach English if you sound like the Cookie Monster. I went to the doctor’s this morning. Some details: they do stuff like take your blood pressure and temperature in the waiting room. So folks are all around you waiting while a nurse takes your blood pressure and looks in your ears and whatever. Then they have you go back to sitting down, while you wait for the doctor to see you. The doc was a youngish guy and wanted to know about my mucus and stuff. His English wasn’t great, but whatever. Between Jin and me, we could figure out what he was asking. He sprayed some stuff down my throat and some more stuff up my nose, then gave me a prescription. Easy peasy. The thing is I feel fine. I just sound like death.

Price for visit and three days of meds: less than 10USD. I pay into the National Health Care program about 60USD monthly, but damn, a five buck Doctor visit? Yeah. Not complaining.

Complaints Department

There’s nowhere to get breakfast in Pohang on the weekends. It’s crazy. Say you’re up at 8AM and decide to walk along the beach, if you’re lucky maybe, just maybe, you’ll find a coffee shop open. Even the toast places don’t open until 10:30AM. And. They. Make. TOAST!?! Doesn’t anyone in this town want to drink coffee outside of their house early on a Saturday morning?

It’s become so bad I’m starting to daydream about opening up a restaurant that would just serve two eggs, toast, and hash browns. We’d be open from 6AM to noon and that’s it. Nothing but breakfast.

I also regularly daydream about learning how to play Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast” on the ukelele, so yeah, pipe-dreams both of them.

Questionable Complaints

A complaint I hear regularly from expats is that X (where X is some Korean thing like beer or gum) tastes like chemicals.

“Korean beer sucks. It tastes like chemicals. Where can I get good gum? Korean gum tastes like chemicals. Anyone know where I can get shampoo online? Korean shampoo tastes like chemicals.”

(Yeah – I don’t know about that last one either.)

But my question is where the hell are these people coming from and what were they eating there to know so well what chemicals taste like?

Expat Blogs?

Anytime I spend too long reading expat blogs I normally end up wondering if there’s a bunch of Korean expats in the States writing the same presumptive and condescending crap about America. I suspect there is.

Shit happens, but I’m not going to spend the time writing a diatribe only to realize weeks or months later it’s based on my own shallow assumptions, the fact that I didn’t have all the information, or simply the fact that being offended is the natural consequence of leaving my house. Shit is shit, and Bad Habits isn’t going to be an endless investigation of the South Korean brand of shit. This might not make it much fun to read, but if you want that start your own blog and call it International House of Shit. I’d likely read it.

So yeah, there you go — not much of an expat blogger, except for the fact that I am by default as long as I live in Korea and blog.

(And in case you’re wondering, I read two expat blogs regularly: Gord Sellar’s blog and Burndog’s Burnblog. Between them, Facebook, and waygook.org I feel like I’ve got things covered.)