23 May 2010

One year in Korea

So I really like looking at the many abandoned "one year in Korea" blogs.

It's not a tough one to figure out. Everyone wants to keep a record of their witty observations and cultural misunderstandings, while also informing their friends and family back home about their adventures. But it's actually pretty hard to regularly record an intelligent narrative and commentary. There's a distinct pattern.

First, they post about themselves and what they're doing and how excited they are. Obviously, they will often spend a lot of time on this first post. Don't be surprised if this post is the only one that has a metaphor in it. Actually, there could be any kind of literary device. These posts are fancy.

From whitemaninkorea.blogspot.com:
Eleven days ago, I left YYZ behind and found myself - a mere 16 hours later - jet-lagged and alone in my small Korean apartment. It felt like such an ordinary transition when juxtaposed with how extraordinary the change was going to be for my life. Could you really just apply for a Visa, snap up a giveaway job in another country, and then follow the instructions on the boarding pass? Somehow, it felt like turning the world on its head would take more effort, but I suppose that's exactly where most people get it all wrong. Hitting a home run, it seems, has more to do with stepping into the batter's box than the swing.

Then in one of the initial posts, there's a list of weird cultural things. People like lists like these because they're pretty easy to write, and even though the first few days in a new country can be pretty busy, they promised themselves they'd write in this thing every few days so they can look back on it when they get old and also Mom wants me to put up some more internets on my blog so I need to do it...

From sarahsnyder.blogspot.com:
"Most different" things to get used to...
- taking shoes off before walking into a restaurant, home or other place with nicely kept floors
- no shower sectioned off - water drains straight onto floor (so I have separate bathroom shoes of course!)
- no toilet paper goes into toilet - goes in the trash ALWAYS (if you know what I mean!)

But it's not too long before the strain begins to show. You start to get brief posts that just hint at recent events. Before, it was, "Today I had kalbi for the first time, and this richly marinated beef barbecue with a thickly sweet taste contrasted well with the knitted floor cushions, which I was told were woven in imitation of the Joseon dynasty." But now it's, "Went out with the boys for some bibimbap, which is a thing with rice in it."

From keithsyearinkorea.blogspot.com:
I went out last night for the first time. I was amazed to see how many bars there were. There has to be about 10 bars per 2 blocks. Its crazy. Well here is a picture of my first night out.

Everyone is learning Korean. Everyone is getting better.

From seouldier.wordpress.com:
Everywhere I go, I bring along a stack of paper, and write down every word people will teach me. I often thumb through the stack of paper and find the phrase I want to say to someone. I can’t memorize vocabulary like I could at age 13, when I would read a French vocab word once and it was in the lexicon. However, through repetition, I’m getting better.

At times, there's a revival before things start to spiral away. Yes, they haven't updated very recently. Things have been busy. They apologize (invariably apologize, as if something was owed) and try to write up at least one more good, lengthy discussion of their new life.

From mychangeinkorea.blogspot.com:
Since I haven't updated this for the past 2 months or so, I'm not quite sure what to write in this entry. A lot of memories have been made and forgotten. Nothing too traumatic or dramatic mind you. An important point to state though is that I am enjoying my time here on the whole. I have met some really cool people and am embracing the culture in which I find myself, with the exception of my poor chopstick skills. The Korean people are generally extremely welcoming and accommodating (don't those two words mean the same thing? Oh well). This country's society seems to be based on politeness and respect, both admirable qualities that I very much enjoy about Korea.

In the end, there's inevitably a final post that wasn't meant to be final. It's usually some glancing bit of a thing, maybe an "I'm here and still okay" or a "drop me a line on myspace." But it's always a sad and lopsided end. The one cheering factor is that I have no doubt that many or most of these people had great years and great experiences - or else they'd probably have needed an outlet to complain!

From zacklim-ibnkorea.blogspot.com:
'm sorry for not updating my blog as often as i do last time.
I'm just a little too busy lately packing and meeting with all my friends. :)

however i've uploaded all of them in this facebook album.
I will write some photo captions to tell you guys where the photos were taken.

[removed]

just click this link and you'll be able to see the photos!

have fun!

Of all the abandoned blogs, this is the best one - and I know the guy!

From chriscontent.wordpress.com:
I thought starting this one would serve the purpose of relaying information on our wonderful Korea experience to anyone who cared enough to click on a link. All the info in one place at any given time. But the truth is, I’m more interested in just living my life than writing about it.
Straightforward.

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