Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Random Things

More random things, because I (still!) have not ventured out beyond a half-mile radius. I honestly have no bloody idea what's wrong with me.

To trick myself, I have made plans for next weekend. With my aunt. So I can't back out from sheer laziness.

Anyways. More random things:

Cicadas. They are so loud. I've never seen one, because they're in trees and hiding, but I can hear them every time I walk by a place with trees (every single day, at least twice a day).

Dragonflies. I have never seen a dragonfly before in the States. I think they need lots of water and tend to be near rivers, creeks, and the like? I lived in the desert-y parts of the States, I have no idea what to make of these enormous flying bugs with giant cellophane wings. They're pretty, but quick and startling.

Restaurants. I realized this week that in every restaurant that I've been to (quite a few, at least 15, probably more), the patrons are expected to do some sort of work. Water is usually handed over in a lidded pitcher with teeny cups, not poured and re-filled for you. Most places have utensils and napkins on the table (in containers or drawers) and you set your own place. A lot of places make you cook- there's a burner in the middle of the table and some sort of cooking device goes onto the burner, where you grill / stew / boil whatever you're going to be eating. On the other hand, no tipping. So it balances out. (And the cost of eating out here is ridiculously cheap- my co-workers tell me that it's become pricier lately, but I've never paid more than 7,000 won ($6.65) for lunch.)

I can't think of anything else right now because my brain is frazzled. I think it's a combination of having to speak in Korean all day, being frustrated by problems that I'm trying to solve, and being stressed out about Koreans just coming at me a mile a minute. I need some mental adjustment time and I need to stop expecting to hear English everywhere I go.

I've been reading e-books for a while now (I have multiple e-book readers on my iPhone and iPad), but there is something about books printed on paper that call to me. I love (LOVE) books. I love the smell of paper and ink, I love opening that first page of a new book with an un-cracked spine, I love it all.

The bookstore in the Lotte Department Store calls to me every time I go (it's on the ninth or tenth floor), and I go fairly frequently, for the grocery store in the basement. I went on Sunday and finally found the elusive (single column) of English books. I was ecstatic, and proceeded to look at every single book they had that was printed in English (not many).

A set of three books caught my eye- their titles all started with the words "The Mysterious Benedict Society"- because, contrary to ye olde saying, I do judge books by their covers. The covers of these books are adorable and old timey and just great. Written by Trenton Lee Stewart, with charmingly askew illustrations by Carson Ellis (I love Carson as a girl's name, by the way), I was pretty much sold right away. I looked up the series on my phone, just to confirm that my judgment was sound, and noting how many stars (a lot) the first book received on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the like, I scooped up all three books. I really like them a lot- a cross between Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling, and Madeleine L'Engle, I know I'll enjoy all three of them.

(And yes, I have thought this through- I may have spent my money on books that are too heavy to take back to the States with me, but I have plenty of family here that reads English and would enjoy these. I'm debating which cousin will be the lucky recipient.)

Sunday afternoon turned into a mini-shopping spree, but everything I bought was on sale (I bought some tops, I wasn't kidding when I said I didn't bring enough clothing to Korea) and comparable (at least in price) to items I would and have purchased back home. I love that there's a Muji and a Uniqlo right next door to me, but I should probably be careful not to visit too frequently. Sigh.

I thought about watching "Harry Potter" last night, but ... yeah. The constant lack of energy makes it difficult to do anything at all. Plus, it's a long movie (over 2 hours is long, to me) and I may fall asleep if I go to the movies after work.

On the (literal) bright side, it hasn't rained in a couple days. It was even sunny today, a sure sign that the clouds have lifted, if only for a little while. Yay, vitamin D!


william,  August 2, 2011 at 5:52 AM  

물을 셀프입니다. hate. not the act, but the term.

jeanny August 2, 2011 at 10:54 PM  

I don't like the term "self" (or "service," for that matter) at ALL. So dumb.

Korean kids have the most backwards grasp of English because of the way that English is widely (and wrongly) used here.