Random Monkey Thoughts

Some thoughts on the last day of the Lunar Holiday:

1) I’ve said it before — if I was to do South Korea over again, I’d be living and working in Busan.  The ocean, the general atmosphere, the more relaxed approach to life — it’s by far the prettiest and most livable city over here.  Sorry, lurvely Daegu, although I do prefer you to Seoul.

2) Could I have been more wrong about the Super Bowl?  The answer is no.  No I could not have been more wrong about the Super Bowl.  And in addition to being an idiot (obvious to most) the game was just pretty damn boring to boot.  The random GI’s I drank with during the game on a sunny Monday morning agreed.

3) I like Hillary.  I like Bernie.  Why my fellow Democrats are managing to turn what should be a straightforward election versus a very beat-able Republican buffoon into an existential crisis is beyond me.  Also, it’s the Supreme Court stupid.

4) Doing these “listicle” style blog posts is either a sign of laziness or pure genius.  Or just the way my brain is working these days.

5) This will more than likely be my last year in Korea.  I’m signed on through February of 2017.  I’ve got mostly great things to say about my time here.  But the miscommunications and such build up.  The feeling that I’ve gotten the most out of living here mounts.  I’d have gotten the fuck out of Dodge years back if not for finding a really great job.  Oh, and I think I said all this back in 2014 or so who knows.

6) One interesting phenomenon about expats in South Korea is that they’ll try new things like a sport or musical theater.  (My god, expat musical theater is fucking everywhere grumble grumble.) But that’s natural — you’ve got twenty- and thirty-somethings living in a new country, more than likely teaching for the first time, and willing to take chances.  Let your freak flag fly, proudly!

And the related phenomenon is that of the expat English teacher who marries a Korean, establishing F-visa status, which allows him or her to start a business.  Huzzah!  Marriage and a small business!  But invariably this business is a western-style restaurant that becomes an excuse to sell ten dollars Guiness drafts.  And almost invariably, they do a shit job of it.

It’s one thing to try your hand at Shakespeare or ultimate frisbee or a gnarly threesome, but wholly another to run something as complicated as a restaurant.  There are some nice Western-owned places in Korea (the economy of Itaweon, Seoul is basically built on them) but the bad ones really stand out.  The logic seems to be hey, I didn’t get fired after three years of teaching phonics, so let’s start a full service bar!

Throw in Korean wait staff who, through no fault of their own, aren’t taught the major differences between Western and Korean standards of proper service (Westerners may be rude, but we’re also highly uncomfortable with the ancient Korean custom of screaming across the room for another beer) and, well, maybe you should have just stuck to teaching.

Full disclosure: I’ve been here long enough to have actually seen some of my favorite places close, as the owners tend to have kids and decide to move back to America or Canada.  To go full-blown old man mode, those guys busted their asses to make successful places while the newer ones just seem to ride their coat-tails.

Was this post too salty?  This post was a little too salty.  I’m not sure why because I had a really nice, low-key time in Busan and for the rest of February I’m just prepping a little bit for the new semester come March and taking a few day trips.

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