I haven’t been blogging much over the last week or so cause Julianne and I were packing up my apartment and cleaning it, and taking taxis with the stuff I want to take with me to China, and other stuff we still had to sort through at her apartment . . . and so on and so forth.
We’re in the last stretch and the finish line is looming in terms of finally finishing up dealing with my pack rat issues. UPDATE: This is NOT normally how the apartment looks! We’re packing . . . and it’s nutbar!
Looking at all the stuff I’ve accumulated I’d have to say that I truly made Korea my home after arriving here back in March of 2005. Anyone who tries to say all native teachers just come to Korea to take take take needs to take a look at my 3,000,000won teaching library of ESL/EFL books, and all the other things I’ve spent my income on in Korea and shut their ‘cake hole’ as we used to yell at campers when I was a summer camp counselor during high school, lol.
I had been thinking about selling some of my books but I decided to ship them to China after learning that ESL/EFL books are really hard to get over there, and VERY expensive. I may sell some once I’m in China, but Julianne and I are hoping that we’ll like our new jobs and the culture enough to stay for at least two years, maybe three, so keeping these books a little longer is in line with our job plans.
After looking at shipping prices at EMS and FEDEX, I found out that the post office will ship 20kg boxes (it’s less if it’s lighter in weight) for 40,000won each surface mail (by boat). Julianne and I have sent seven boxes so far with books and things like winter clothes that we won’t need till later this fall (apparently the city we’ll be in is colder than native speakers expect).
We also took two full COSTCO bags of novels and what not to What the Book in Itaewon to sell. The original value that I paid was something like 500,000won for the pile of books I was offloading, and all I got was 150,000won in store credit (which is ONLY good for used books!), or 75,000 cash . . . yikes! I took the in-store credit, and Julianne and I grabbed some literature titles (I got a nice volume of 18th century poetry) that we’ll take with us to China to read. I know that used bookstores always give less than the seller wants, but damn . . . oh well, live and learn, eh?
While Julianne and I were in What the Book? two readers of my blog said hi to me. I’m always surprised when I’m recognized because of my blog, lol. I was actually a little ‘bashful’ about it, and laughed at myself later. We chatted for a bit, and then they went off to look at books, and Julianne and I paid for our books and left.
Later, though, we ran into the same two people at a Greek restaurant–what are the odds? Lol . . . of all the restaurants we could have chosen we chose the same one as them, wow.
After eating, Julianne went to the New Balance store to get new running shoes. I’ve read too many stories now on Chinese expat blogs about scams and rip-offs to want to go shopping for anything in China till I’ve been there for a few months and have some sense of how to avoid being punk’d. Plus, imports are more expensive in China, and it’s likely we’re getting better prices on stuff in Korea.
Alright, I’ve pretty much satisfied my urge to blog and updated nearly everything that’s been going on lately. One last story, though, about the as#ho#e taxi driver we had to deal with a couple nights ago . . .
Julianne and I were moving two suitcases, and two large bags of stuff, from my apartment to hers a couple nights ago. It was raining, and we had a hard time getting a taxi. Finally, a taxi pulls over and I open the door and begin lifting an insanely heavy suitcase full of books we hadn’t had a chance yet to sort what we’d be shipping and what we wanted to sell. I get all our stuff in the taxi, and we pull away after telling him where we want to go.
During the entire time I’m putting our stuff into the taxi (at least a minute and a half) the driver says NOTHING. But about a minute after we pull out into traffic he says in perfectly fluent English, “This is not a cargo taxi. You should have called 120 (I think) to book a cargo van.” His tone was very hostile and rude, and I could tell he was pretty peeved off at us.
Now why this yokel didn’t tell me to stop putting our stuff into his taxi and to take another taxi or to call 120 . . . I don’t know. I mean, based on the ajusshi-does-whatever-he-wants-code he could have done this and driven away.
But he didn’t do that.
Instead of getting out and helping me put our stuff into the car (it was really REALLY heavy) he just sat on his ass and watched, and said NOTHING.
Now I know I shouldn’t generalize comments about groups of people, but in Korea there is a sub-group of ajusshi that just crawl under my skin like toxic maggots every time I have any kind of interaction with them–which is far more often than I wish.
There are other sub-groups, or types if you like, of ajusshi who are awesome human beings and share behavior patterns and personality traits that rock. Julianne and I love these guys when we interact with them during taxi rides or wherever we happen to be in Korea. They make us laugh, and we always leave these interactions feeling good about Korea, the culture, and its people.
But the scumbag sub-group of ajusshi . . . they, unfortunately, have left such a bad taste in my memories of Korea that I will forever always have this nasty taint in how I see Korea and its culture and people.
I will not be able to, at least for a long time anyways, leave them out of conversations I have with others who ask me about Korea.
Getting back to the bad ajusshi taxi driver . . . I said nothing in response to his rude and hostile comment. I had PLENTY OF THINGS in my mind that I wanted to say, but I kept quiet.
When we finally turned off the main street and began driving down the tiny side streets towards Julianne’s apartment we had one last dose of rudeness from him. When I asked him to take one last turn up the side street to the apartment he stopped the car, sighed, glared at me viciously, and then made the turn.
Normally, I’d have been really angry about the whole experience due to the cultural exhaustion I’ve been fighting for the last six months or so . . . but I actually just shrugged it off. He’s the one who was damaging his mind and body with anger. He’s the one who was damaging the reputation and image of Korea with foreigners who are leaving and will talk to others outside Korea about the culture and people.
You know what? It’s no skin off my back. We got our stuff safely to Julianne’s place, and that’s what counted.
92 hours and 32 minutes to China–and goodbye Korea!