|Like Mickey Mouse ears, only not.|
Family Land is a shabby little amusement park on the outskirts of the city with approximately 10 rides, all of which desperately needed a coat of paint 15 years ago. It also houses a shabby depressing little zoo in which animals roam around their tiny, plant-devoid enclosures looking melancholy/angry/mangy and occasionally threatening the passers-by. I’m not kidding – a monkey got up on the bars of his cage and threatened to throw a rock at me and my co-teacher. We left in a hurry. I can’t say I blame him, though. Being constantly on display can get a bit tiring. It’s a little like what we foreigners deal with a lot of the time (only we have far better accommodations). We’re like the local celebrities, and people of all ages feel completely free to stare at their leisure with no consideration as to how uncomfortable it might make us feel. Case in point: while standing outside the baboon cage, a chubby (and, I could just tell, obnoxious) little boy of about 8 pointed at me and yelled, “Waygook!” while frantically motioning for his friends to come over. Yes, kiddies, I am part of the show. I’ll even sign autographs with my surprisingly human-like paws if you have a pen and paper.
Don’t get me wrong; I honestly had a nice day. The second grade teachers (of which I am honorarily one, since I sit in their office) put together a lovely picnic of kimbap, fake onion ring snacks, bean paste walnut waffle thingies and clementines. Eating a picnic with chopsticks was kind of fun, and it was certainly better than the usual daily struggle of getting my kids to keep their chatting to a dull roar so I have a voice left at the end of the day. Yay for amusement parks and picnics!
And now, because I don’t have much material from this week, I present to you:
Strange Things That Koreans Believe: Lesson 2
First, blood type & personality. Much like zodiac signs (which I could include in a post about Strange Things That Westerners Believe), Koreans think that a person’s blood type largely determines his/her personality and compatibility with others. (“Hey baby, what’s your blood type?”) For reference, I’m type O. As far as my perceptions about myself go, this is completely inaccurate. But feel free to correct me. Either way, I do come off in a positive light when a Korean asks me my blood type – type O is not only very rare in Korea (and elsewhere in the world, je pense), it is also viewed very positively. Much like being born a white American female, this is another point on the Korean score board that I didn’t do anything to deserve. Great!
And item #2: Not drinking water with meals. Even though Korean food is almost universally spicy, Koreans never drink water with their meals. They believe that it interrupts digestion. However, they will drink water right after they’ve finished eating, or drink other things (like beer or soju) while they eat. Its’ just water, apparently, that does the damage. Please reference my discussion of logic in Korea.
That’s all for now, folks. I’m off to the Busan fireworks festival this weekend to watch sparkly things exploding in the sky. Pictures and/or video to come.