Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cultural Difficulties

I've been sick all week, one of those nasty colds that leaves your sinus' aching and your body tired. I SHOULD be posting about the Hanukkah party from Sunday and posting those pictures but that would require me moving...they'll get up on the blog eventually. I actually did take some photos this time.

Okay, enough excuses as to why I haven't been writing. Why am I writing now?
This is a rather long rant about preparations for traveling:

Friday I am flying to Borneo, Indonesia. This is exciting right? Only I can't find anything I need for my trip and suddenly realized I should have started looking WEEKS ago. It took me 30 minutes to find sunblock at Emart today. I finally gave up trying to look for it myself and used the dictionary function on my cell phone and held it up to one of the sales people. [My cell phone does everything but make coffee and this was the cheapest one they had. Maybe the nicer phones DO make coffee, in which case, I want one.] I couldn't find travel sized ANYTHING. Not even little bottles I could convert to traveling purposes, I checked housewares too. That's what I did when I went to France, bought the little bottles and filled them up because when you are moving somewhere for a year you don't want to bring the big bottles AND the little ones, it takes up too much space. So now I'm going to look like I have no idea how to travel properly when I show up with my full size bottles of shampoo and conditioner. [No, I cannot go without my conditioner for a week, don't even THINK of asking something so terrible of me. Unless I am camping in which case I wouldn't bring either.] Then I spent a fortune on the one American brand of tampons that the store had. They had an aisle full of Korean brands that were much cheaper but I couldn't read the package and it was just too intimidating. And while I ask my Korean friends for recommendations and advice on many things, tampons just don't come up in conversation very often [read: ever]. My last frustration: they carry Neutregena products which is amazing since that's what I use BUT THEY DIDN'T HAVE ANY OF THE FACIAL ONES HERE!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm almost out of the stuff that has the SPF 30 uva/uvb protection which I put on every morning to keep away the harmful rays and whatnot. I know it doesn't sound like a big deal but I can't read the packages of domestic brands so if I can't get what I know it makes it very difficult to buy anything. For things like shampoo, I would have taken a travel size in any brand. However, the pollution makes my skin freak out so much as it is that I don't want to play with it.

This all seems very silly and I know that once I get near the beach I really won't care about being stressed about things like travel size shampoo bottles but it's just a little stress that I don't need.

Today, for Christmas my boss gave me a cake. She gave all of us a cake. My boss knows I'm seriously allergic to milk and milk products so she gave me a gift that not only can I not enjoy, it is also tortorous to me since I would really love some cake. She remembered just as she handed it to me and was like, 'oh you can give it to your friends?' I said thank you and was polite and all but I think a bottle of wine or soju or something would have been much nicer. My Chusok present was way better: a case of tinned ham which I am still working through. I eat it whenever I run out of groceries and need a snack. It's lovely that she got us all gifts, it really is, I just really would LOVE some cake and I have one sitting in my fridge now that I can't eat. I'm going to bring it to the expat bar tonight and let the other foreigners drown their sorrows in icing. At least it's not a chocolate cake, that would have been cruel.

Right now I should be getting ready to go out but my apartment hasn't warmed up yet and I'm loath to take a shower when it's this frigid in here. I think I need to start leaving the heat on a little during the day, maybe super low but enough that it doens't take 2 hours to heat up when I come home. Unfortunately, the cheapskate in me has a deep aversion to this solution. I'll continue huddling under my comforter with my laptop for a couple of hours when I come home for now. I can't wait for Indonesia, 80-90 degree weather. BALMY WONDERFULNESS!


Josh said...

Poor little alex...... HAVE FUN IN BORNEO!!!!!

Nancy K said...

Have fun in the sun kiddo!

Chris said...

Enjoy thawing! :P.

and I cant really believe there are sparse numbers of travel size bottles out there given the size of the country.

Chris said...

oh, and given the coffee drinking nature of the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle/Bellevue I'm sure that a phone that can create coffee is in the works.

Toyota has something close to that already. One of its brand new GPS systems can drive you to, lets say, a coffee shop automatically AND it can tell your friends you're going if the have the same system or by sending a text to their phone

Jessica said...

Have a safe and awesome trip!

Alex said...

Thanks for the good wishes everyone!

Anonymous said...

lol Chris, the phone like that came out in Korea 5 years ago