"Nightmare," Eve 6
Over a year ago, a lot of Facebookers took part in a "25 Things About Me" meme that turned out more interesting than I anticipated. When I did it, though, I decided to jazz it up by putting my ePonymous MP3 player on shuffle, taking a lyric from the first song that popped up, and somehow relating it to my life. I got through one-two-three-four-five of them before I got sort of bored, but when the above song shuffled into my headphones this morning, it seemed like a good time to resume.
This is partially due to where my head is at right now, but it also reminded me of my three months in Seoul, training Samsung executives to take the GMAT. They arrived every Monday morning and spent the week reading and studying and chain-smoking and kicking my ass at ping-pong. Then they went home on Friday, leaving me to explore on weekends.
One of my trips was to Panmunjom, where the peace talks between North and South Korea are still officially ongoing. Panmunjom is now the epicenter of bello-tourism, where you can sit on the north side of the negotiating table while North Korean soldiers mug for your camera and wave their AK-47s. And the ROK guards stare back in a constant tae kwon do stance.
It's like at Buckingham Palace, only not nearly as hilarious.
Seoul is also interesting because there aren't really any addresses. When it's time to go home, you tell the cabbie which province you live in, then pepper him with "lefts" and "rights" until you're home. All of which made coming home late at night, pickled in soju, a true adventure.
Spending all that time learning about Korean culture--and the true glory that is a spicy-hot hunk of kim chi--was formative because it was my first trip to Asia, where people look at North America's 400 years of white man's history and snicker quietly to themselves. It's a beautiful country that has everything: mountains, beaches, a baseball league, delicious barbecue. The guy I worked for offered to pay for my honeymoon if I spent it in Cheju-Do, a popular vacation spot off the southern coast. And I might have taken him up on it, if I had any confidence that I'd make it home at night.