August, 2010

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

A Life Without Hockey (Month 3)

안녕하세요! In this installment I will discuss how I have chosen to spend my third month in Korea by replacing hockey with public indecency and Chinese food. Give it a try if you’re experiencing severe offseason withdrawals… and even if you’re not – 아싸!

They say in three months you’ll know whether you love Korea or hate it. Truthfully, I find myself disliking my life here more and more. Not that I expected Korea to be a smellier (you know, squid on every street corner) version of North America, but culturally there are some things that are hard to live with every day especially if you are the type that is prone to over think pretty much everything. Although things are starting to change here, and I’m sure in ten years South Korea will be even more Americanized than it already is, men and women in Korea are not equals, not even on paper. I don’t want to go on a rant or anything, but I will say that I tend to look a little more closely at the other westerners here because of that – especially the men. I know a few guys here that were offered jobs just walking down the street, and, while such opportunities are rare anywhere, the fact that I know that this would never happen to me here BECAUSE I’m a woman irritates me in principle. Don’t get me wrong, I would say a large chunk of Koreans that are my age and younger are less traditional, but at the end of the day, I still live in place where men feel like they have the right to follow me home and try to break into my apartment because I’m Caucasian and therefore must be a Russian prostitute (not that those actions would be OK even if I was said Russian prostitute) –zhopa!

Anyway, as I mentioned last month, the wanderlust was starting to creep up on me again. Luckily, I had my first vacation period schedule at the end of July. Sadly, there’s no hockey anywhere but Australia at this time, and I wasn’t really into making the long trek down unda for a four night stint. China on the other hand was a much easier commute as Korea is essentially China’s dick anyway – geographically speaking.

If I had any advice for people traveling to the other side of the world, make sure you have a good two weeks to dedicate to China (at LEAST). And be prepared not to have any relaxation time during your stint. I would also advise not to go on a soju binge hours before your flight, but that’s another story. There is so much to do in China. I felt like I was on the go non-stop. My friend and I never slept in later than 7:30 in the morning. Considering that we normally start work at 3PM every day, and don’t often get up before noon, this made for some minor unpleasantness. Beijing was an interesting city. At times it felt like I was back home in Toronto, and at other times it felt like I was in Cuba. The Great Wall was definitely the highlight of the trip for me. It’s one of those places that you never think you’re going to experience for yourself, so even seeing it from a distance is really incredible. Oh, and make sure you dedicate a full day to JUST the Wall, and a full day to the Summer Palace.

The food in China was really great and dirt cheap as well, but it tastes a lot different than the stuff you’d get back home, and even the Chinese food we have here in Korea. The shopping was just as cheap. Make sure you visit the markets. If everyone took a trip to China once a year to do all their shopping, they would be A LOT richer! My friend was smart, she brought a big suitcase, I didn’t as I’m not much of a shopper, but let me tell you, I became one in China! If you’re the type that likes your designer stuff, you can get some of the best knock offs in the world there for next to nothing. I actually think these people steal the real things from the factories and resell them because making any money on them is worth it, as most people don’t make more than $800 a year, which is the tragic part of China. Even little babies know how to beg for money IN ENGLISH!

So I’m probably boring you with my China adventure. I’m sure what you really want to know about is the public indecency. Well, that’s pretty self-explanatory I would think. Some of the westerners have a saying that in Korea everyone will develop two addictions. The popular choices are drinking and smoking, but I’ve not been one for those two vices – even the drinking. Back home I’d never have more than a drink or two if I went out. The problem is that a drink or two of soju will just utterly fuck you up, it’s not even funny. So we all know that hockey is my first addiction, and if I’m not one for the drugs and alcohol, then all that’s left is…………………….. Quiet! It’s a REAL disease!

Before I sign off again, I’ve given a few more Korean kids some hockey inspired names this month. Here’s the updated list:


1. Messier
2. Bauer
3. Scotty (Bowman)
4. Ovi [New]
5. Modano [New]

1. Darcy (Tucker)
2. Vezina
3. Quinn [New]
4. Kovy [New]
5. Souray [New]

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