Tag Archives: apartment

the one where “Friends” totally screwed up my ideas about “real life”…

You may not know this, Reader, but “Friends” is my all-time favorite television show. Like, ever. I finally made an effort to personally own all ten seasons on DVD; and for the last six months or so since I started to accumulate them, I play them over and over and over again. I don’t actually sit and watch them every time, but I just like having the noise. And I always, always laugh at Chandler’s jokes. Could I be any more addicted?

I wasn’t allowed to watch “Friends” growing up; the first time I actually ever watched more than an episode or two was in college. I found out a girl living on my floor in the dorms had the entire series, so I started borrowing them from her, a season or two at a time. Reader, I was so engrossed that I made it through ten seasons in a mere three weeks. I even skipped some pretty important statistics classes to sit and laugh at the characters I came to love.

Even though I was a little aware of the fact that technology was changing life around me rapidly and that there were things about “Friends” that were becoming – or in some cases, already – outdated, there were plenty of things I observed on the show that I hoped and expected to experience once I became a “real adult.” 

Well. Having been a said “real adult” for several years now, I can tell you that I have been sorely disappointed in some ways. My life has totally not turned out like the lives of the “Friends” party.

Here are ten things I thought life would be like or that I would have once I became a “real grown up”:

1. I would record a cute, corny answering machine message.

There are a few times when we hear the outgoing messages throughout the years of all the “Friends” gang – when Rachel moves in with Phoebe and they alternate every other word (before Phoebe changes it because Rachel gets all the “good words”) or when Ross moves in temporarily with Chandler and Joey and makes a message to the tune of that “We Will Rock You” song. I’ll never do this. No one has a home phone anymore or a physical answering machine, for that matter. I’ll never get to share this fun with a roommate, should I ever have another one. Everyone has their own cell phone now, and messages are not shared. Bummer.

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so, i cook weird, boring stuff?… i’m single. don’t judge me…

With my weird work schedule, cooking and eating at home isn’t as easy as pie… If I’m lucky (and not overly lazy), I’ll make one thing a week that will last me for a few days. And being a single woman, I go for what’s easy and what I know.

Chicken fajitas.

Over time, I’ve gotten a little more creative with how I whip this stuff up. About six months ago, I quit using tortillas altogether and started mashing up an avocado and mixing in the chicken and veggies and eating a kind of “fajita salad.” A couple of months ago, I started shredding the chicken instead of just dicing it up, pre-cooked.Then I started dicing up canned jalapeno slices and throwing those in. And then several weeks ago, I started throwing in quinoa, black beans, and corn; and finally, a few weeks after that, got even crazier by adding some pepper jack cheese.

And oh. My. God.

My go-to meal has turned into a Korean Tex-Mex fiesta.

maybe it looks gross to you (and I agree, this doesn't do it justice), but it's soooooo good...

maybe it looks gross to you (and I agree, this doesn’t do it justice), but it’s soooooo good…

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a short list of grievances… Game of Groans

As you might imagine, living in Korea is pretty awesome. I love it here, and I’m not planning on leaving anytime soon. However, this being said, you might also imagine that living in Korea (or living in any foreign country, for that matter) might also bring a few headaches… Like, seriously? What possesses these people to do these ridiculous things? Wear that? Just not do stuff like we do it in the Americas, where everything is bigger, better, and more delicious?

Here’s a list of 5 things that cause me to become an irritable white girl:

#5. Socks with sandals.

...this lady... i can't even...

…this lady… i can’t even…

Women here will literally wear socks with their sandals, regardless of how stupid it looks. Now, there is some logic to this – Koreans remove their shoes before entering many places, like homes, schools, and even some restaurants. So, it helps when you’re wearing socks… However, it just looks dumb. Women also dress their children this way, so their littles look just as ridiculous as they do. My other favorite part about this is the random sock designs they choose… Which are pretty much any design you can imagine, including superheroes, brand names, and Psy, that guy that sang “Gangnam Style.” (I have a pair of those… and Starbucks socks. What a shock.)

#4. Air conditioning is not centralized, so you’re basically dripping in sweat when you leave the room.

the "air con" unit in my apartment...

the “air con” unit in my apartment…

For some reason unknown to me, South Koreans don’t incorporate central AC into any of their buildings. Instead, you have to have a single, separate unit for each room. (Or, in the case of a           business with a large open room, maybe two or three units to get it cool enough.) “What does this look like?” you ask. Well, they come in three standard units: a long, skinny-ish thing that gets mounted on the wall; a tall, skinny thing that stands upright and is a cooling beast; or a large, nearly meter-wide square set into the ceiling. (The last ones are usually found in businesses.) So, when you walk into a house or a business with multiple rooms (like a school, for example), the minute you leave that room, you’re dying from heat stroke. Basically, I suffer from chronic sweating all summer long. And it’s just gross.

#3. There are approximately five public trash cans in the whole country.

So, let’s say, for example, you went to Starbucks with your friends. When everyone was ready to leave, you still hadn’t finished your drink, so you took it with you. As you’re walking around the city, shopping or doing whatever it is you do, you finish that drink. So what do you have? Bingo. An empty cup. And where should you deposit that cup? Well, Western logic tells you that you should chuck it into the nearest trash receptacle. But wait. Where is that glorious rubbish bin?

Oh. Right. This is Korea. They don’t really like those.

According to my Korean friends, these public trash cans used to be everywhere, just the way we expect them to be. But at some point, Korean citizens got a brilliant idea: I’ll just throw all my home garbage out at one of the city receptacles. So apparently these cans were constantly overflowing. As a result of this unfortunate behavior, cities all over the country ripped out the vast majority of these bins. If you’re lucky enough to be near one, clean out your handbag. Otherwise, remember that Starbucks cup? Yeah. You’ll be carrying that around all day until you get home. Enjoy that.

#2. Old ladies and their entitlement. And young ladies and their lack of directionality. 

Now, it may be a scientific fact that Korean women can’t walk in a straight line. Period. Even when they’re not looking down at their phones, women, both old and young alike, meander through a walking area like they’re following a speck of dust through the air. I find this very annoying. They also have a tendency to just bump/SLAM into you whilst meandering and they will not stop to apologize. Nay, they will ram you and just keep on walking. This irks me to no end. I almost always swing back around to say, “chwesomnida,” which means “excuse me,” but they’re always already gone, continuing on their path of non-direction.

Old women are another story entirely. As an Asian society, you may remember from history class that the elderly are highly regarded and are treated with extra respect. If an older person gets on the bus, you should give up your seat (which is just nice to do anyway), and you should also move the hell out of the way for them… In every situation. Old women have grown so accustomed to this entitlement, they will cut in front of you for everything.

Because it’s their right. They earned it. How? I’m not sure.

They will not change their direction or placement while walking, they expect you to. They will attempt to shove you out of the way so they can board the bus or subway first. They will try cut in front of you in line at the supermarket. Sometimes, you give in. Other times, you stand your ground. Oh. My. GODIE. This is so annoying.

And… Finally…

1. Real bad English. Like, everywhere.

"A really good chicken, go to dakzip [restaurant name] has it all  Thinking about thinking chicken taste good drink  Today I come to think of a cup of chicken"

“A really good chicken, go to dakzip [restaurant name] has it all
Thinking about thinking chicken taste good drink
Today I come to think of a cup of chicken”

You would think that in a country obsessed with learning English, a society of people that spend millions of dollars to become proficient English speakers, and being a country literally crawling with native English speakers, that Koreans would be better about getting someone to proofread stuff before they publish/print/hang/produce stuff with English on it. But alas, clothes, restaurant slogans, notebooks, and a slew of other products have some of the dumbest, most non-sensicle (I just made that word up) wording you’ll ever see. Like, really? You couldn’t find a waygook (aka foreigner) or someone more proficient in English to read that for ya before you sent it to be manufactured?

This stuff is everywhere. And it’s bad. But, luckily, it’s equally hilarious.


So, this installment is just a short chronicle of things that irritate me… There are others, so I’ll revisit this topic in the coming weeks.



Here’s a question for you, Reader. What things have gotten on your nerves as you’ve been traveling or living somewhere new? Even if it’s a new area in your home country, what just drove you crazy?! Tell me all about it. I want your stories!

Write on. :)


*This post was written in response to WordPress’s The Daily Post: Game of Groans.

good news… i have room for at least three more scarves

Hey, Reader.

What you probably don’t remember is that I mentioned a few weeks ago that I moved from my old apartment, where I spent my first thirteen months in Korea, into JW’s apartment upon his departure. Said “new” apartment is a major come-up: no strange mildew smell; natural sunlight; brand new gas stove; bathroom with dimensions that allow for a hung shower curtain to keep half the space dry at all times; actual, working cable TV with a handful of channels playing English-speaking programming; and more storage space than my little heart could imagine.

The downside: it’s up four flights of stairs. But whatever. This place is the bomb.

So, I moved in more than five weeks ago. And over these five weeks, I have hardly made a dent in getting organized… I had a giant pile of scarves in the spare room, tangled and indiscernible from one another. I had crap all over the floor, begging for a home. I had Ziploc storage containers waiting to be washed and housed in a cabinet. I had clothes still in suitcases…

You get the point… I had junk everywhere.

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DUDE. I live in Korea.

Well, I’m finally doing it. Coffee in hand, I’m ignoring the fact that my apartment looks like a homeless person camped out here and finally sitting down to start writing. And yes, there’s plenty I should have written about before. So, to simplify and get a quick start, I’m going to keep this short. (Short for me, anyway. Maybe not for you…)

Let’s start with a list of what I consider to be my top ten accomplishments thus far:

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