First, Michael and I FINALLY got our Alien Registration Cards. These make us legit as in now we can get our own internet, cell phones, a bank account, AND I have a terrible photo that certifies me as an alien to boot! How appropriate. The lady who took the picture made me take off my earrings, put my hair behind both ears, and said not to smile. It reminded me of my unfortunate experience at the DeMotte DMV where on my 25th birthday the lady pushed my freshly cut bangs "to the side because they obstruct the view of your face" and told me "don't show your teeth when you smile now." She had to take two pictures although I can't imagine how the first one was worse than the one she gave me. Further proof that DeMotte may be more similar to a foreign country than I initially thought.
So yes, the beginning of October has been full of many pleasant firsts: the alien card, first paycheck to go with that brand spankin' new bank account, aaaaannnndddd my first Korean hair salon experience!
On my way to set up my bank account last week, an old lady handed me a coupon with a free shampoo sample for a hair salon a block away. I thought, "good enough for me!" and made a mental note to go for it Friday night after work. Since I am trying to grow my hair out, the speed of which is so slow no appropriate adverb exists, I was only in for a trim. Exactly two months to the day since the last time I had it done! (Aren't you proud, Mom?!) And believe it or not, the only blunder of the entire experience was my exchange with the counter girl who apparently wanted to put my bag in a locker while I got my hair cut, while I sat there, stupidly holding onto and searching my bag thinking she needed an i.d. of some sort. I don't know what the hell for. Anyway, the girl who ended up cutting my hair spoke enough English to get the point through my thick skull, took my bag, and gave me a great trim. She faintly smelled of beer and cigarettes but for some reason, I wasn't too worried and just kept my eyes shut the whole time. I had my hair blow-dried by TWO people ---luxurious---and then she gave me a flat-ironing job that made me look like the teacher I'm supposed to be in Korea. Weird. Although it's not customary to tip over here, I did anyway. She politely refused the first time (which IS customary) and then accepted. I can't stomach the idea of not tipping someone who has to touch another person in their job. They deserve it. At least I'm not a disgusting slob --points for me and her!
Saturday, Michael and I woke up to search for a non-dirt basketball court in Hwamyeong. Some Korean guys had pointed him in the general vicinity of one last week so we began our journey. We finally ended up at a huge building which I realized was a church on our elevator ride up. The court was not dirt but was rather lame --kind of carpeted and soaked from the previous night's rain. We were shooting around for not even ten minutes when the terrible but I-should-have-known-better inevitable happened: Pastor John came out to meet us and witnessed to us about Jesus for over an hour.
What was so horribly interesting about this experience in my mind were a few things:
1) no matter where you are in the world, there are always people who specialize in the ability to talk and talk and talk and talk and not care at all if the other person says a thing
2) that these people who talk and talk and talk and talk and talk would presume they could do so at great length about something as personal as religion or spirituality, to a complete stranger without their permission
3) that to boot, this guy was completely sexist and hardly made eye contact with me the entire time; apparently women are not worth saving. I was so relieved when Michael pointed this out after we left before I even mentioned it --he noticed it as much as I did. Pastor John did however look at me when relating the story of Adam and Eve and Eve being the first one tempted. He also told us about how he used to lie about his wife only having a high school education. She's since graduated from college.
4) and lastly, there is a Bible app for the iphone.
So after Pastor John had sufficiently buzz-killed our potential balling, we decided to head home. Michael still wanted to ball and ended up taking the hour-long subway ride to the sweet courts we knew about and I decided to grab a few tasty delights at the carnivale known as Gupo Market!
The Gupo is only two subway stops away from where we live and is one of the coolest, most action-packed places I've ever been to. It's basically an open air market that has everything you can imagine in the way of food, housewares, clothing, and yes, it's true, even a dog market. Luckily, I avoided the dog market on this voyage but I'm sure I'll run into it unexpectedly at some point. The place is a giant maze.
Seaweed? Anyone? Just a guess...
Under the sea assortment.
Tiny dead, dried fish. Michael and I got a small bowl of these for an appetizer a few weeks ago. I didn't try them. They were staring at me for too long. And yes, that's squid to the left.
Vampires will not be tolerated.
Mini-pools of frogs, fishies, and other apparently edible delights from water world.
That was basically my Saturday. And since this has turned into a mind-numbingly long post, I will keep Sunday as brief as possible. Two beaches in one day, another attempt at Mexican food (not too shabby), and me moving from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" to finishing the first 2 books of the Harry Potter series. That's right folks, I am teasingly diverse.
Now check out these gorgeous mugs and continue missing me.
Daily T-shirt: Be full of the confidence.
"I slid from between the sheets and walked barefoot across the cold tile between the beds. I felt the tile with my feet and wondered how many times, how many thousand times, had I run a mop over this same tile floor and never felt it at all. That mopping seemed like a dream to me, like I couldn't exactly believe all those years of it had really happened. Only that cold linoleum under my feet was real right then, only that moment." --Chief Bromden "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"