September 20, 2013 § Leave a comment
We are going to step right over the fact that it’s been two months since my last post.
In any case, I’m here! I made it.
I left off mentioning how I decided to check and see if there was any way I could get into Korea sooner. It turned out that there was a training session during the last week of August– Perfect! I told my recruiter I was interested, and I received a job offer right away. Everything started to move very quickly. Forms were reapplied for and sent, the great shopping list was created, and I started an elaborate money-juggling ploy, which, thanks to thearrivalstore.com’s flight package, has worked out swimmingly.
One of the biggest perks was that the offer I received came from Bucheon. So many of you are familiar with Eat Your Kimchi already, so you know how cool that is. (If you’re not- they are a Canadian couple who lived in and blogged from Bucheon for several years before they just recently moved to Seoul). I watched their TL;DR’s (and then everything else) religiously when I first thought of coming, and I couldn’t believe I’d be in their old stomping grounds. I sent them a heads up, and they responded:
This is also wonderfully convenient for me, because, while I haven’t really buckled down and walked around Bucheon talking to a camera, (it looks a lot more awkward when you’re alone), they have! I can show you where I live despite my apparent laziness. So, here, allow me to show you around… sort of. Check this out:
2:09 is the Hyundai Dept store. This is about 3 minutes from my apartment.
2:51 UPlex right next to the same Hyundai Dept store.
4:00, yep. Same woman works there! I haven’t eaten there yet, though!
5:30 The green tunnel is on my way home from that side of town.
5:50 that’s where I get my groceries! And… everything else… ever. It’s immense in there.
6:14 I can’t find this! I will find it. Someday.
The rest of the video is in a different area, not as close to mine. I still have a lot of exploring to do. Perhaps I’ll even be better at this updating thing in the future! I hope. Maybe. In any case, happy 추석! If you live around here and want to hang out, let me know. I’m always up for shenanigans.
I’ll leave you with some inspirational Engrish:
July 19, 2013 § 4 Comments
I am.. not in Korea!
Here is why. March and April were disastrous. My family had been somewhat on the edge about the move to Korea since the beginning, but America’s irresponsible, money-driven, fear-mongering “journalists” had them questioning why I was going to my inevitable martyrdom just to teach English somewhere. My Father, out of concern for my safety, withdrew the loan he would have given me for startup costs, (flights, cost of living before first paycheck, etc)… (I was, of course, graduating broke). The unexpected cancellation of Korea in July combined with several overdue graduate projects and an English major’s existential crisis about what I had dedicated my life to over the past 6 years, (laugh if you must; I think too much), left me a bit … hm–
I would have had a much more difficult time getting through if it had not been for my friend Ashley, who is probably the most inordinately generous soul I have ever met. (I am shouting out to you in my blog. *waves*).
But life just demanded a bit of recalculation. I finished up my master’s degree (woohoo!), moved back to New Hampshire, and started creating Korea plan 1.2. If I worked the old cake decorating job, I could put funds together for myself and reapply for the next hiring round in October and November.The political reporting would hopefully calm down a bit over the next months and put my parents at ease. They would never directly forbid me to go, but I didn’t want to put them through the amount of stress they would have gone through if I had left earlier.
On the first day back on the job, however, I realized that Korea plan 1.2 was no good. I had to get out of there. A 23 year old masters grad just can’t go back to a high school job without enormous doses of early-morning life-guilt. I spent that night crunching numbers, (an activity a literature major only does in very serious situations), and I sent an email to my recruiter asking about positions in August. It’s difficult to decorate cakes with your fingers crossed, but I managed to do it for a few days before I heard back– But
My plane is here, and I should break this update into two pieces rather than leave you with a book. The next part will come in a timely manner, I promise!
March 24, 2013 § 1 Comment
As a kid, I used to dream about finding out I was adopted. No, my family wasn’t that bad, (I actually rather like them), but the idea of having more family somewhere out there, waiting for me to discover them, always excited me. But despite my best efforts at willing this truth into existence, (which included instigating a sit-down talk in which I let my parents know, “It’s ok. You can tell me”), it seems that there are no mystery siblings for me.
But… not so for youtuber Samantha Futerman.
Sam knew from the beginning that she was adopted from Korea, but she had no idea that she might actually have a twin until this message showed up in her spam folder:
The girls have skyped since and found so many crazy similarities. Just a quick look tells you that they have stumbled across their other selves.
How awesome is that? They are now trying to get funds together to meet up in London, where Anais is studying.
Here’s Sam’s video about the whole thing
On February 21, 2013, I received a message via twitter that would erratically change my life. It was a mention from a stranger, letting me know that a girl named Anais had friended me on Facebook. At first glance, I saw only my own face staring back from “her” profile picture. Yet, after just a few clicks & a personal message from Anais, I knew I was about to embark on a journey that no one else had ventured before. Through just a few brief-yet-super-effing-loaded, Facebook induced, interactions, I was positive that this girl was in fact my biological twin sister.
Crazy? I know. Yet, after extended communication through what seems like every popular social media platform in existence, there is little doubt in my mind that we are twins. It would seem only possible for us to be unrelated in a wacky, alien, zombie existing, clone-producing, twilight universe—Day 10: It has been little over a week since first contact…I write to you from my Iphone5, for it is my main source of communication.
But in all seriousness, the similarities are endless. We both share a twisted sense of humor, a love of cheese despite any & all lactose intolerance, flatulence as a result of said lactose intolerance, & an apparent napoleon complex to name a few. We are a shining example of nature vs. nurture & are eager to explore the extenuating circumstances that have & will come to pass.
The ever expanding, social media obsessed world we live in has given me the chance to reconnect with a person whom I knew only from a nine-month extravaganza inside my biological mother’s womb—or so I think. Although I have been granted many opportunities to write, comment on, speak to and see my so-called twin sister, I have yet to make physical contact with her, let alone a scientific, DNA-verified, sibling confirmation. Our relationship is a virtual reality, but a reality nonetheless.
How is it possible to feel so strongly about some one that I have never properly met? Why I am able to lose all inhibition & speak to her more frankly than with any other person? It has been said that, “they eyes are the windows to the soul,” but does that count if the eyes are connected through an electronic device that I am able to hold in the palm of my hand? Is it possible to say that the front facing 720p HD camera is the device that harbors the windows to the soul? That can’t be right…can it?
Whether it is the arguably beautiful level of protection given by electronic communication, the slightly eerie—and slightly French—mirror image that comforts & calms my nerves, or the feeling of glee that I have somehow managed to recreate The Parent Trap, I have an innate unconditional love towards this stranger.
Amidst the mayhem of my Los Angeles actor/waitress routine, lies nothing more than the will to fully experience life as is. & what better opportunity than this? What I once thought was a world being slowly depleted of all human interaction & a profession inundated with results and “success,” is actually a world ripe with opportunity. I have been given the chance to start a new journey in life, one that includes my first connection with a living, blood relative & a potential identical match. Here lies my chance to document every occurrence from Skype sessions to DNA testing. How the story unfolds I cannot say…but I am eager to find out.
Pardon my French…
In December 2012, a friend posted a screenshot of a youtube video by Kevjumba on my facebook wall. The girl on the picture was looking at me & I was looking back at myself. If I have had a twin sister, it would have been mentioned on my adoption records. I researched a bit more on the doppelganger, but could not find any information on her & dropped the research. I was just keeping the idea in the back of my head & on facebook with a photo-collage of both our faces.
In February 2013, two months later, my dear friend told me that the girl was in a new film: 21 & Over. Unsheathing my smartphone from my pocket, scrutinizing the trailer, scanning the cast crew’s names, I could finally type in “Samantha Futerman” on google. My blood pressure dropped & my eyes opened as wide as they physically could on her date and place of birth: South Korea. I turned to my friend on the bus and excitedly shouted: ‘she is born the 11/19/1987!!!!’ ‘so what?’ he casually asked, ‘I am born the 11/19/1987!!!!’. Her name & surname sounded like she would have been adopted too & I had to confirm it.
Social media & I have had this weird relationship where I think I was better at hiding my personal information rather than sharing them with others. But at this particular moment, I could follow Sam through her life of the last & lost past years. I was already getting to know her without her knowing I was even here. I saw her trip to Korea, her baby pictures, got confirmation that we came from the same birth town, watched “How it feels to be adopted” and I knew for sure. I was about to contact her on Twitter: ‘@samfuterman: I am your #twin sister’… but sent her a private Facebook message instead… which went straight into her spam box as Facebook is not 3.0 yet & thus could not see we were connected not through friends or our respective families… but in a very singular & extraordinary way.
Growing up as an only-child and discovering you have a twin sister is thrilling. Well…’possibly’ twin sister as the final DNA test still has to confirm it. However I don’t imagine how chance could bother itself with producing two short girls with a napoleon-complex who still need to artistically sleep 10h a day & eat the rest of it, born the same day, in the same country, in the same city from different DNA patterns. I guess it would be the worst creator’s nightmare but it would be my best sci-fi dream coming true: ’I am your clone…’
In the last months at college, in the middle of the final collection for my diploma, wondering what is going to happen next & trying to get in control of everything, chance hit me when I least expected it to show up. Skype, Facebook Messenger, the Internet allow us to both be in two different places at the same time & at different times of the day in the same place, chatting, catching up about the 25 past years since we were poking each other in our mother’s womb. I am saving everything that has happened so far, from mentally pressing ctrl+S in my head to recording our Skype sessions. What I am looking forward now the most is to be in one same place at the exact same time as soon as possible so as to build our future memories. And it has already started.
March 7, 2013 § 5 Comments
Last night I went out to get Korean food with my friend/한국어 tutor, Pius. (It has become almost impossible to follow all of your blogs without craving it constantly. You guys are killing me. For shame). Thank goodness I’m in Dallas with all its little country-pockets and not in the snowy homogeneity of home. My second visit to 단성사 was a great success. The food was perfect– all I’ve been craving–and more, as Pius insisted on ordering almost everything on the menu. Chatting about Korea was enjoyable– well, up until:
Pius: I eat a lot of eggs, and —
Pius: … *stare of absolute confusion* … That’s milk.
Me: … oh. … I have incorrect vocabulary tourettes.
Things to put in mouth:
• Delicious 떡볶이
Really, It is odd enough to be so excited about knowing a word that you blurt it out– but, for heaven’s sake, if you must do so, please pick the right one.
Luckily, I don’t think he’s disowned me quite yet, and the rest of the night was delightful.
Plus, all the gorgeous 김치 지게 I’ve squirreled into the fridge will keep me impervious to your tantalizing posts for a bit! (Come at me, bro!) :)
March 2, 2013 § 18 Comments
I have a question for all of you who have lived in or are living in Korea now… What do you do about your names? Now, for all you Dans and Kates and Toms and all other lucky people out there with sounds that don’t deviate too much from the 한국어sphere, this isn’t too much of an issue. But for my “ph” brothers and sisters, my short-and-long vowelers, my v-ers and ch-ers and combined consonanters, 어떻게요?
The first option, of course, is to keep it. “Sopie,” though, sounds as awkward in Korean as it does in English, and 소피 essentially means “cow blood.” (Charming).
The second is to take a native name. This is what every international friend I have met has done here. It spares a lot of pronunciational grief both on the native tongue and foreign ears. But, I feel that this would be a pretty ridiculous route for an English teacher to take, so, strike that one out.
The third possibility, (and the one that I’m leaning toward), is to borrow a Korean-friendly name relatively close to my own. Sonia, for example. A little strange, but it would work. On second thought, why stop at Sonia when I could be Bam Bam? Hmmmm…
So, you 다비드s and 사라s, 이단s and 오리비야s, 조세프s and 크리스틴s– What did you do? And you lucky Nicks and Mias, what’s your opinion?
February 25, 2013 § 2 Comments
I believe Homer’s early draft of the Iliad said it best:
“Sing, O goddess, the excellence of Memrise.com, that brought countless graces upon the self studiers. Many a brave soul did it send hurrying up the slopes of linguistic victory, and many a hero did it save from the clenches of forgetfulness and mute despair.”
Corny English grad student jokes aside–Seriously, please go check this place out. I have been planning to make a huge page of language-learning resources, but I have to jump the gun a bit just because this site is so awesome that I can’t keep it to myself. So, everyone, meet Memrise.com, the simple, free, painless online memorizing site of greatness and majesty. Memrise, everyone.
• You see results very quickly. I’ve learned about a hundred words just in the past few days. I mean really learned, completely ingrained. (That includes meaning, pronunciation, and spelling… spelling has been my weak point up until now).
• You will learn to type in 한글 much more quickly than you used to. That 45 second timer is occasionally very short.
• There is a course that covers all the vocab used in TalktomeinKorean.com. (Sweet!)
• It is completely painless. I would even say fun, but I can’t tell if that’s just because I’m a Korean vocab geek.
• The site doesn’t stop at Korean. Memrise is for facts, not just vocab. Whatever you’re studying and whatever level you are at with it, there’s a course for you. There are history courses, geography courses, literature courses… There is even a Harry Potter facts course– for… reasons…
• You joking? None. This is a free unicorn that doesn’t eat or poop.
So! There you go. Memrise.com. Check it out. :)
February 21, 2013 § 10 Comments
My first biggest fear probably has to do with being packed away in a tiny 3×4 crate full of spiders and dropped from 5,000 feet into the ocean where I sink until I run into this dude dressed up like a clown.
But a close second is having to pronounce this little sadistic character right here:
ooh. So terrible. I’ve heard all the tips. “It’s between an ‘l’ and an ‘r,'” supposedly. “Just sort of pass over it the way you do with the “t” in “hippopotamus.” But all I know is that there is some kind of black magic that happens in the mouth of a native speaker that I don’t think I will ever be able to understand, much less replicate in this lifetime. So, as any responsible, self-interested person would do, I have decided to avoid the pesky linguistic dementor as much as possible. Plurals? Who needs them. 를 particle? psh.
Imagine my dismay when I ran into this rainbow colored chart of doom.
So, I’ve decided to get really biblical next year. “Suppose you and I get some coffee on the third day.” “On the sixth day I hath work from 2-10.” You know. Genesis style. That’ll work, right guys?