Friday, June 30, 2006

Air Con Fixed!

The 'after-care' man - as they call 'repairmen' here - came and fixed my aircon so now I'll hopefully sleep better and not go so crazy... Yay. I realised when it started raining-pouring last night that every time it rains, I think, great, the change has come, it'll take the edge of the heat... But no, that's not how it works... It rains AND it's hot.
Anyways, this weekend I'm going to finally catch up with the expat e-friends I've made here... Should make me feel more human and also see more of this shitty.

I know it's wrong, but

Still so young to travel so far
Old enough to know who you are
Wise enough to carry the scars
Without any blame, theres no one to blame
Easy to forget what you learn
Waiting for the thrill to return

Thanks, Crowded House... I feel like a cliche when I listen to youse.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Maybe you know... My mother is a poet, I like poetry, I read poetry, I listen to poetry... But I don't write poetry... Maybe there's a good reason for that...
Last night I tried haiku... Not strict haiku, but free-form... In the new-skool Melbourne tradition of Myron Lysenko... I hope!

Anyways, here goes:

Neon crucifix
Many beacons on the hill
Welcome to Korea

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

More News from the Hood

So I just heard that the Aussies are out of the World Cup. Bummer. Whatever.
Last Saturday Korea also dipped out, and as the Koreans are NUTS about soccer, I thought it would be something I could talk about with my more advanced students. So I asked them: 'Did you watch the soccer?'; 'Who did you watch it with?'; and then 'Did you cry?', because the newspapers and TV showed thousands of people crying when they lost... Every students said 'No! No cry! ANGRY!!'. Funny. They were bloody vitriolic.
Ok, the other thing that was mildly entertaining was (again) on the Defence TV channel... WAS SKID ROW! They do a shout out to the troops! Can't remember the exact words but it's something like 'You're doing us proud - America, and Korea, wouldn't be the same without you'.
I really need to quit watching it. It's like the most toxic brainwashing.
Anyways, it's been a week. I walked home from work tonight and thought, 'a week ago this time I was arriving at the airport in Incheon'. A week. I guess it could be worse. I still can't believe this is my life... But I think I had that feeling in Eltham, in Hawthorn, where ever. Kids called me a 'monkey' today because of the hair on my arms... How lovely! And yesterday... 'angry dinosaur'! Fuck that. I've started to try planning my lessons... Felt much more confident going into class with some handouts and stuff today. Lots of the classes have 'finished their book'... which means 'have nothing to do', which means 'teach them a song by The Beatles'. Which is not as fun as it sounds.

Songs that Kill Me

Charlie knows this... and KP does too, prolly. There's a buncha songs that 'just kill me'... Every time I hear them, it's so intense I can't believe things will ever be the same again. These are the songs I listened to in the mornings driving to work, when I was feeling deadly... JC knows about my sucidal mornings. On the list are songs like Hold On by Tom Waits, Last Goodbye by Leonard Cohen, A House is not a Home by Clinkerfield... I think you get the picture.
Don't worry there's a converse list too... with happy dreamy celebration songs like Mint Car by the Cure... and... oh... I'm sure there's more.

Anyways, my song of the day is The First Day of My Life by Bright Eyes. Ohhhh so lovely.

Remember the time you drove all night,
Just to meet me in the morning?
And I thought it was strange,
You said everything changed.
You felt as if you just woke up.
And you said, "This is the first day of my life.
I'm glad I didn't die before I met you.
But now I don't care,
I could go anywhere with you,
And I'd probably be happy."

So if you want to be with me,
With these things there's no telling,
We just have to wait and see.
But I'd rather be working for a paycheck,
Than waiting to win the lottery.

Besides, maybe this time it's different.
I mean, I really think you like me.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Beer Hunter

I have a bar in my building called 'Beer Hunter' - YIKES!
And... I just ate my first chocolate in over a month... A Snickers from the shop in my building. I looked for a chocolate milk, too, just to really send my body into a spin, but they were all STARBUCKS brand.
When I stepped outside there was a massive wind blowing, monsoonal, I thought... The American channel had an info-ad about monsoons in Korea for the troops here: 'know your area and be prepared'.

Blue Blue

Saw some blue sky yesterday. And today, it looks like it's as blue as it gets. Nice.
I started reading one of the novels I bought with the Readings voucher from my colleagues, jPod, by Douglas Coupland. It's made me laugh out loud from the first page. I fear that I'll finish it with a day cos it's so good and I have nothing better to do.....
Went for a walk through the hood today, took my Zenit, and saw what Alanas was talking about with the colours: black for big shiny cars; yellow for melons at the street stalls; red for the Red Devil t-shirts; green for the distant mountains; silver for the trendy phones.
I bought new silver chopsticks and matching spoon for myself, a big knife and 3 cute little ceramic tea cups... For visitors! If I have any! They will sit on the floor cos I have no chairs! Or table!

Saturday night

Tonight I cooked my first meal. Yay. I think it was a success. It started with peas that I bought from an ancient woman who was shelling them by the side of the road. Her 5 teeth were a silver row at the bottom of her mouth. She thought I'd bought a great snack. But I thought, 'fried rice'.
I also turned on the TV and found the American military channel, which is free-to-air and has all-American programming interspersed with community announcements for the defence forces, news from the pentagon, and vignettes about American heroes. Un/fortunately they were showing an episode of Law and Order, so I had a TV dinner. Yum.
This (propaganda) channel is one more thing on the list of 'things that make Korea seem like Bladerunner'. Last night I had to add car parks that have cameras automatically take a photo of your licence plate when you enter, and print out a ticket with your car's info on it....

Today 2 things happened that made me happy for at least 30 seconds.
The first was when I was standing on the subway, an old man grabbed my bag and motioned for me to take the seat next to him. It was so sweet.
Then, when I caught the subway again later, I did some crap sign language to the attendant to ask for a fancy swipe ticket, who smiled and spoke to me in English: 'I have to tell you that it is non-refundable, ok?', very feckin impressive.

Ok. Lyrics for tonight. Just a sample from a song by Beck.

There's someone calling your name, it's driving you insane
You were wearing that stained raincoat and your umbrella was a tangled mess
You were washed up on the glittering shoals looking for another crime to confess
You bribed yourself out of a place in the sun, but you had some change to spare
So you said you want to spend it on me and shook the blues out of your hair
Ooh such a beautiful way to break your heart
Ooh such a beautiful way to break my heart
There's someone calling your name, you're gonna miss that train
Ooh such a beautiful way to break your heart
Ooh such a beautiful way to break my heart
There's someone calling your name, it's driving you insane

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Red Devils

My list of stuff to blog today:
  • Things that make this place like Bladerunner
  • Greenday
  • Consumerism keeps us safe, and warm
  • My Friday night/s
  • Red Devils
  • and maybe, hard to see where the smog meets the clouds

Let's see how much I can get through.
Firstly, it's the weekend! Yay! Only now that I'm here do I realise that even though I technically only work 30 hours a week, I'm at work from 10am to 6.30pm everyday. I have 2 or sometimes 3 45-minute breaks, which I've used to go for a walk around the neighbourhood market, try to get on the shitty computer at work to email, or to use the phone to call KP or Charlie.

It's been hot and clear the past 2 days, and the forecast is no rain, so even though there is still no sky, no blue sky neither, I get to wear my sunnies and feel the sun.... The temperature is perfect at about 2am, I've discovered, though my room is hot hot hot all the time cos my aircon is fecked. I am becoming more friendly with my room though, I did a load of washing, used the stove to cook some rice, and have started playing some music. Last night I found the American FM radio station... They were playing Pink Floyd, pretty hard to miss on the FM dial amongst the k-pop.

So last night, after a looooong day at work, which was made harder by having to teach some real little creeps in the late afternoon (my colleague told me to make the boys stand holding their wooden chairs above their heads as punishment...), Luke came to collect me from work. Such a treat! We drove around the fucking massive megapolis that is Seoul for about 3 hours, me hanging out the window taking photos and trying to pronounce the road signs. Was fantastic. This morning at 4am Korea played and lost to Switzerland, so Seoul was abuzz as 20 million 'Red Devils' - the soccer supporters - came out in their red t-shirts to watch the match on the megascreens that adorn the big CBD buildings. Although it was 6 hours to the game, the streets were FULL, there were literally thousands of (cute) cops lining the streets, and the team's anthem was BLARING as the k-pop heroes sung sung sung in the biggest patriotic pageant I've even witnessed/imagined. Photos to come.

Eventually we got some dinner, dodging joyful drunk businessmen who were pouring out of the restaurants, which was yum-o. There was a gas burner in the middle of our table, and we ordered some beef... In noodles and broth with various shredded vegies. The Korean way is to have a main dish like this, but more importantly umpteen side dishes, which you eat with your mains. They vary, but within a repertoir of about 50. So last night we had pickled radish in cold broth, rice, sliced garlic, broccoli with tomato sauce, egg pudding, crab, lettuce, kimchi and a mayonnaise salad. No drinks, just water. Probably cost about $15. Hmm.

Ok. Post to be completed later. It's time I climbed outta this bang and got some fresh air.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Korean Fashion

Woke up
This morning
with the
blues three
different way Had
two minds
to leave you
only one to

-Saw this printed on a t-shirt today on my lunchtime walk.
-Just had a ballbreaker of a class: one 13 year old boy.
-So far I've had 2 students called Charlie and one called Charles. And one Jack, one Brendan and one Brian. Where do they get these names from?!

First Real Day

Saw 4 'Westerners' today. Oh, actually, that was in the wild, but in a fancy bookstore which has a massive foreign section, there were a few seppos in the lift talking about their students. But I ignored them.
Saw 1 beggar. 2 nuns. LOTS of handsome local men.
Went to work for the first time. Yikes! The director of my school generously said 'it will take a few months, maybe 3 months, but then you will feel ok'. Thanks a freakin lot.
Met the students. So cute! Very groovy kids with ironic mullets and lots of bling. The pressure is on.
Met up with Luke and he took me out for a proper meal, and a wander around. This place is intense. And I am kinda slumming it in my area. But I think I'm going to resolve to like my pen and environs. Might put my map up.
Anyways, we had dinner and then a drink. I caught the subway by myself, changes included. And bought my tickets - by pointing at my destination and throwing money. Had a stranger come up and introduce himself on the platform and practise his English on me. It was ok. I'd be warned this would happen.
I think once I eat a meal in my apartment I will feel more like it's home. I only realised today there are no chairs and no table. I have no cutlery either. Anyways.
I miss cafes. I miss Jack. I miss text messaging. I miss cool fresh air. Everyone knows I miss Charlie. I miss coffee at home. Hmmm.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


My view gives a new definition to 'grey'. I'm sure I'll be able to write a poetic meditation on grey... It's raining raining and grey. But still hot. My aircon is on 18 degrees.
Out the window there are 4-wheel drives on the narrow road, and coloured umbrellas marching up its sides.


Ok, so even blogger is all in Korean so dunno how this will go. No spellcheck. But that's my 'view', such as it is.
Not only was there the stopover in BKK, but also HK. Yikes. My new 'boyfriend', as the stewardesses called Luke, and I thought the flight *must* be punishment for some misdeeds, as it just became hellish. No inflight entertainment, just the same propaganda about the Thai royal family over and over. So we drank.
Arriving in Seoul, relieved that the Immigration didn't pull me up for having a misspelt visa, then horrified at the heat, then fascinated by the army boys parading the airport. I waved adieu or whatever it is in Korean to Luke and turned to my next babysitter, Seoung-Yeon, who spoke only a small amount of English but had mini-massages and smiles for me. She told me to get on a huge bus called a 'limosine', sit for an hour, listen for 'Cheolsan', then get off, meet my school's director and tell them I was hungry.
I tried not to cry, tried to get a sense of the place, strange knowing the airport is on reclaimed sea, entered urbanity and noticed lots of neon red crucifixes fixed high on buildings. Got off the bus and was met by a Mum and her daughter who were unable to help me carry my 35 kilos of shit to my stinking little pen of an 'apartment', and certainly weren't going to feed me.
Anyways.......................... Try not to get bogged down. I cried hysterically for a while, then had a satisfying shower, turned the aircon up and called Charlie for a cheer-up chat. It worked.
Olivia from upstairs has pointed me in the direction of the nearest PC Bang, spitting distance from my window, and here I am making the post. In 10 minutes I'll be back in my room trying not to die.
Hopefully I'll get mobile and landline hooked up in the next few daze so then I'll be back 'connected', but in the meantime I think email/blog is best for communication. Sigh.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Well I can't say it felt great to farewell my tearful brother, the sweet Teach, the beautiful Charlie and the uber-cool Toby... It was weird to suddenly be on Thai cultural territory, too. No in-flight movies, just propaganda about the royal family. I read the letters Jack and JC had pressed in to my hand and told me to read only in the air, was amazed and overwhelmed all over again at how many bright stars are in my galaxy.
Anyways, I slept, read, ate. Then eventually the guy sitting next to me - who I spotted at Melbourne when checking in - started a conversation and so now we're hanging out in this fucking hot and shit airport. He's carrying my heavy carry-on and telling me things are expensive in Seoul, you will be loved, everything is air-conditioned, kids will be great, buy your beers from the supermarket, etc etc. Of course this new friend lives on Brunswick Road, Brunswick and basically has lived in that same small radius that Teach and Charlie occupy.
Oh, Charlie.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Ok. So I'm going to spead the love. Majakas I learnt when in Vilnius. It is nearly the same a prank-call but it's context-driven and friendly. It works like this: I'm thinking of a friend, thinking I love them, but don't need to speak to them and don't have anything specific to text, so I dial their number and hang up after one ring. They'll see that you just gave them a majakas, and get a warm fuzzy feeling because they know someone's thinking of them. Maybe they'll do the same back, just to say 'thanks, you're ace'. Or majakas can be used like this 'I'll majakas when I'm out the front - just be ready at 7pm', or... a million other uses. But it's based on mutual understanding and CONTEXT.
My Lithuanian friends were too cheap to text all the time, and so had developed this system. Majakas means 'lighthouse' in Estonian. Not sure where the name came from....

Fizzy vs Angsty

Charlie and I don't seem to be quite clear on the definition of 'angst' - the new shorter oxford says 'anxiety, something something', but Charlie thinks the current use is different. I thought it might be moroseness+tension=angst. Anyways. The Danes think it's more like 'dread'. I think I'd prefer to use weltschmerz from now on. Doesn't roll of my tongue so easily but packs a punch.

Theme song yesterday was the Jessies favourite, and not just for the line 'feels so big it almost hurts', yes, Mint Car, by The Cure :::::

The sun is up
I'm so fizzy
I could burst!
You wet through and me headfirst
Into this is perfect
It's all I ever wanted
Ow! it feels so big it almost hurts!

Never guessed it got this good
Wondered if it ever would
Really didn't think it could
Do it some more?
I know we should!!!

Anyways, work is over and I'm a 'lady of leisure' for 4 whole days. Saw my brother and Mona last night, went to Tiamo, excellent, and got some sleep, wonderful. Today I visited the beautician and then spent my last $39.75 at 'Petticoat Junction' in Eltham. Yum. Might go see my baby out at Wattle Glen before I donate blood over in Bundoora at 4pm with my new vipassana friend.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Tits As!

Fuck we are a good team, the Brunny Massif!
I woke up a number of times this morning and gloated in the darkness about having known the names of Jordan's two offspring - Harvey and Junior - when it really counted - that is, at the East Brunswick on trivia Tuesday.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Ok. So what is important for me to say at this point? Now that I have met Charlie everything becomes a little confusing... I need to be in the moment so that I don't sacrifice this joy for the crazy future. But I still gotta organise all my shit - and answer everyone's questions and be nice to everyone. Got my flight itinerary - I'm leaving Monday night at midnight, got a 4 hour stopover in Bangkok where I might just do a runner and try my luck at becoming a sex slave, then - if I get back on the plane, I'll arrive in Incheon at 7:45pm on Tuesday. What's the bet that they'll want me to start work the following day at 10:15am? So it's 20 hours of travel, when I KNOW a more expensive flight would get me there in 8 or 9 hours... Lotsa time to learn the alphabet and become 100% angst-ridden.
Ok. So Toby said it was the Best. Weekend. Ever. and there's no way I'll argue with that, though I was pretty vacant on Saturday, and failed to meet Locksmith to breakfast and see his new tattoo be drawn up... And I failed to go party in St Kilda with Jack. But golly, it was worth it. High tea wasn't bad either.
Ok. So tomorrow's my last day at work. Long lunch will ease that pain.
Oh yeah and I spoke to Mum last night - she's in Dubrovnik, heading to Turkey in the next few days. Sounded good and sweet. Then at 1am I received a call from the lovely JoJoHannahHannah in Helsinki and I chatted with her for an hour. Now there's a reason to go to Korea and make some money - so I can visit wonderful friends like her who live in northern Europe.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

How good is Jack?!

He told me that he was going to burn me some CDs to take away - I rock around there today and he's got Outkast, The Shins, Bjork, Cut Copy, DJ shadow, Beck and Modest Mouse. What a champion. LOVE! I'm set. A new friend in Korea has warned that there is dearth of real music in Korea and that you end up getting addicted to K-pop, which sounds like a death sentence to me. I think I'll be a happy lil vegemite with these new CDs and all the ones I'm gonna buy with the $100 Readings voucher that my colleagues gave me as my fuck-off pressie. Yay.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Courage Faith Determination

When I did the Landmark Advanced Course way back whenever, I reconstituted myself as the embodiment of courage, faith and determination. Of course, within months of finishing the course I completely forgot these carefully chosen tenets. They came back to me at vipassana and I was really pleased - these still attract me and drive me.
Yesterday when it dawned on me that I wouldn't get my visa in time to fly on the 18th... I thought, have faith... 'twill work out.. And it will. Methinks I'll be leaving on the 20th now, which gives me an extra couple of days at home after I finish work to turn the music up, eat long brekkies, receive visitors and drive around in my lil car.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Doll Digga Buzz Buzz

Rediscovered 'Golden Age of the Grotesque' yesterday, which I listened to heaps when I first got my car, and when I was in Lithuania writing my thesis. But it's been lost in my room, unlamented for months. Cranked it since I got back from vipassana. Excellent. But! Just looked online to find some quotable lyrics and... There weren't any really, which shows which I also like Rammstein, even though I don't understand what they're crapping on about. Nothing if not diverse, my music taste.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

So Much To Say...

Survived vipassana. Well recommended. Cried for the first three days. Bored and frustrated and full of self-loathing the last 3 days. Thought of so many many things. Vivid dreams for those few hours I slept. Saw many beautiful birds and amazing fogs in the morning. Made a new friend.... Just in time to say goodbye!
Back at work and it's insane. Home is strange cos Mum's not there. My consitution's all mucked about because of the 6.30am and 11am mealtimes at vipassana. Fruits only, after noon. And I've had no booze since the 24th... mmm that chardonnay at The Lane with Mum before going to the airport.
Got a roll of Zenit shots back. Strange one of bro where he don't look like himself at all. Some of the fog near my place which I like, not sure if anyone else will.