Sunday, September 21, 2008

Exploding sinks, drinkable coffee and a night on the town

So this morning when I woke up I noticed that my sink was leaking. Not a drip from the tap but an increasing amount of water pouring from the place the tap met the pipe. Needless to say this was making a mess of my apartment. I frantically stuck a bowl under the leak (which overflowed in about 3 seconds), threw towels down on the floor and tried to see if I could turn off the water from under my sink. No such luck. Thank god the word for sink is a cognate (sinkuh) and that my landlord was in his office. It was actually pretty comical. An American girl in her pjs comes bolting down the stairwell, dashes past the old men smoking cigarettes in the alley (who all stared bemusedly at me) and into his office where I managed to say sink and 'leaking' with the help of my dictionary. I think he asked me where but since the only number I know is 2, and my apartment is 601 that really wasn't going to happen. Then of course I resorted to what I do in every situation, I point and act out what is happening. He followed me up and managed to make the water flow go down enough that the bowl actually worked and then came back in 5 minutes with a wrench to get it tighter. Needless to say, that is not how I pictured my Sunday morning going though it was pretty entertaining.

Afterward I decided I was sorely in need of company and coffee so my friend R. came to my neighborhood to hunt for a coffee shop with me. I found the best one 2 blocks from my apartment! The coffee was actually drinkable! The guy who owns the place spoke a little English because there is an artist residency program right across the street where American artists work with Korean artists and do home stays for 3 months. It is 3,000 won ($3) for a cup of coffee which would be pricey except for the fact that there are free refills. This cheered me up to no end and I sat and read Andre Gide's "Straight is the Gate" which is absolutely fabulous. There were actually 2 other New Yorkers there and it was just relaxing after the commotion of this morning.

Yesterday I was supposed to go be a tourist in Seoul but it was really pouring all day and miserable out so I ended up hanging around my apartment and reading. However, I met up with some people at Psycho for open mic night. Originally I was going to help Yujong tend bar if it got really busy but it ended up being less hectic than usual so I left around 11 and headed to a hip hop club down the street with another teacher and a few army guys. Why a hip hop club you ask? So we could laugh at the Koreans. Also, so I could laugh at the American boys trying to hit on Korean girls. The dancing was... well do you remember dancing in middle school? It was a bit like that. Some people were actually pretty decent but the guys were just hilariously bad-- wiggling around and bobbing their heads. One of the my guy friends obligingly pretended to be my boyfriend when a Korean guy grabbed my arm and tried to drag me onto the dance floor (I was just sipping my beer and chatting for awhile). Korean boys tend to back off when 6 feet+ of army boys say 'she's taken' and looks menacing.

This past week was pretty low key tourist wise, teaching is exhausting, especially when you have a cold. Mind you it is a total taboo to blow your nose in public so that makes it interesting to try to get through the day without alienating anyone's sensibilities. I got lost on the bus a few times but managed to find my way home eventually. This week is going to be more stressful because I have an open class on Friday and there will be Korean parents in my classroom. I'm reviewing material all week so that my kids will be able to show off what they've been learning this month. In fact, this blog post is a break from preparing lesson plans. I found this great website that will take flashcard pictures and you can design worksheets or they can generate one for you. I am such a fan. More later. I promise to update more this week, now that I can actually log into my blog.


Roshan said...

u hv a nice pic.
I hv read catch 22. Its funny!

Still can remember the words

"Yossarian LIves"

m 22,m india. wanna b frnds.??

Nancy K said...

LOL. I am really enjoying your blog. Good luck on Friday

"Aunt" Rachel said...

Alex, I read your blog every week and am immensely enjoying it. So much better than keeping a journal that only you read -- when you pull it out. Sharing your stories is wonderful and makes all of us appreciate a different culture.
(Now hopefully I can figure out how to save my comments so you can see them)

Alex said...

Mission accomplished! The comment posted. I'm glad you are enjoying reading my blog, I'm having fun writing it too. I split my writing between my paper journal and this, especially since I can't really write about work stuff online. Feel free to pass it on to relatives I may have missed in the mass email.

Chris! said...

Those Korean guys sound a bit forward :P. You cant just grab a cute girls arm if you're that bad of a dancer *budump-tish*