The Unreality of it all

Chatting with friends last night over dinner about Korea got me thinking. There is so much to be said, too much to be said really, about the ups and downs you go through living here. How you have to be here, to see it for yourself, before you really understand what people mean when they say, “That’s just so Korea”. We talked about work and the attitudes that go along with it, Korean and Western, respectively. How, without even realizing it, we’ve been slipping into new habits, thinking in new ways. How it feels when you first arrive here, and slowly but surely, learning to live between the beats of this place and the beauty of that rhythm. And it never stops, the music that vibrates the air.
Went to Gangnam with Dave and Shannon today. Bought a few books, and grabbed Mexican for lunch. We browsed a few random shops before settling on a cafe for a quick afternoon pick-me-up of coffee and cake. The three of us sat in a window overlooking one of the side streets off the main strip, chatting about school, friends, life. I happened to glance out the window at one point in the conversation and saw a woman walking down the street with her dog in tow. She was swathed in a thick, black fur coat and her hair was piled half-hazardly on top of her head. Fuzzy slippers poked out from underneath the black and white striped pajama pants that she was sporting, and her arms were loaded down with shopping bags. Her small dog was jogging to keep up with her and I watched, as its little legs came into view, four booty-covered paws scurrying across the busy street. The dog was wearing shoes while it’s owner rocked fuzzy slippers while shopping on a Sunday. And just like that it hit me, as it has hit me before during the most random occasions…I’m in fucking Korea.
This place is hilarious at times, things that must be seen to be believed or understood. This place is a strange mixture of old and new, east and west, dichotomous and ever changing. You can, in the same breath, curse it and adore it, love it and hate it. Type’A’ to the max, dyslexic with the occasional acid trip. That’s Korea. Superficial yet deep, rocket science intellect and the organizational skills of a chimpanzee. That’s Korea. A concrete jungle in the land of the morning calm.
It doesn’t seem real sometimes, me being here. Weird how drinking coffee on a Sunday afternoon with friends can feel unreal. As we were packing up to leave the café, I watched a scooter drive by the window, its leather-clad passenger weaving through the hordes of people clogging the streets. A stuffed teddy bear was tied to the front end; it’s arms and legs stretched out as if to help clear the way. No one looked twice. I smiled. I couldn’t help it.
That’s Korea.



Comments

Kathy said…
Sweet Tuff, you are one great writer. This was a beautiful, detail-rich, intellectually satisfying piece of my day.

Write on.
Anonymous said…
Yea - what Kath said - but with a - oh yea - there's that F-BOMB - yet again - gotta' love that girl.

mom

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