Friday, June 10, 2005

I thought this might be fun. Found this on The World of Ashley

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your LJ (or blog) with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions

So I left her a comment and she responded with some questions. Here we go:

1) how did you end up in Korea?

After graduate school I stayed around NYC for another year, my 7th year, and I thought it would be my lucky one. Instead, I was miserable. I moved to Williamsburg in Brooklyn, got a decent job, but it made me feel worthless on a daily basis, and I was generally discontent. I started to get bored with the place I had been in love with for so long. I realized I couldn't stay there forever. New York is great but it's not everything.

I needed something new. So as a gift to myself for my 25th Birthday I went west on a trip. I went to Denver to see my aunt, LA to see my friend Dave, and to San Fran to see my Uncle. When I came back I quit my job and took a 4 month hiatus from life. I hid out back in Philly and came to the conclusion that what I really needed was an adventure. Though what I really wanted was a successful career, more importantly I wanted a full life. So, I applied for a job teaching English and I got it. I had no expectations and had no idea if I had sold myself into sexual slavery or something by mistake. All turned out to be good though. No sexual slavery.

2) what do you miss most from home?

This is kinda silly but I miss VARIETY and familiarity. I want Thai food, Burmese food, Mexican food, Indian Food, Mexicans, Indians, lesbians and gay boyfriends, trannies and a variety of gender and sexually oriented people. I miss good falafel, belgian beer at the corner store, all kinds of tofu creamcheese, a variety of cheese, soft toiletpaper, being able to understand people (at least on the simple level of comprehension of the words that they are using), walking on sidewalks for pedistrains only(when's the last time you had to do the which-way-should-I-go dance with a delivery guy on a motorbike or A CAR in the states, ON THE SIDEWALK?), The New York Times Magazine, having a vast variety of tea to choose from... just to name a few. I miss New York for the variety it always had so readily available. I miss "home" for the people I couldn't pack and take with me. At home, I didn't have to search so hard for interesting things or fascinating like-minded people.

These pleasures and simple joys have been replaced with other new things to love, like a variety of flavored milk, or sitting on the floor at a restaurant. But there's nothing like home, right? ...where'd I put those red slippers?

3) what do Koreans think about the Japanese?

I'd have to agree with the general consensus, that due to historical conflicts, Koreans generally don't like the Japanese. However, they really enjoy many Japanese things and they admire cultural tidbits. I'm sure that many Koreans when actually put in a situation to interact with a Japanese person they have no problems with them. With my students, there is this strange thing that happens when you talk about Dokdo--"It's our land"--it's like you can see that the wheels stop turning in their brain. There is no budging or questioning the hatred. At that moment, the Japanese aren't people, they're monsters or some alien being only in existence to be detested. To me, it seems that this prejudice is taught, it is rarely questioned, and frequently promoted. It can be "un-taught" but it takes a lot more effort.

4) what's your favorite part of Korean culture?
Though I've felt my "otherness" in outstanding ways in Korea I've also been overwhelmingly included, and sucked into people's families and their entire world. This weekend I'm going to a wedding in Cheonchun and I'll go hang out with the Jung family. They rock.

I must also add that I love the food culture here--the behaviors and excitement that surrounds eating are fabulous. Such a production!

5) what's your least favorite part of Korean culture?

They push and make no gesture of apology, but instead ignore your presence. Many people say that it's because Seoul is crowded, but I've lived in cities all my life, and that's NOT the case. They push, and Koreans even hate it.


Ashley said...

good answers. Wanna interview me now?

sem kim said...

nice meeting you.
some great interview!
i miss living in Korea
anyways see you around~