Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Kids on the Block

Blah. So, a dozen Michigan State Univ engineers have been randomly merged into our program for the last week. And they're Annoying. As a Canadian friend I've made put it, they're the stereotypical Americans we were all glad had not been present on this trip. They are not here for the culture, they are here for internships they're getting paid for - which wasn't even work according to them, basically they took tours of the Hyundai plants for 3 weeks, and did nothing to learn about Korean culture.

The other night a bunch of us were at WaBar (Waba is Korean for Western, so its a "Western Bar" where you can get beers from Europe, the Americas, Asia and Oceania.) And a group that decided to try putting up with them for a party night walked by and they went up to the Kareoke bar on the second floor of the building across from WaBar (me and Dion's favorite place to frequent.) One of the Canadian girls came up to us, and we were like:
"Oh my god..." - Her
"The Michigonians?" - Me
"Do you mean the 'Ameri-Can's? Because they "Can." And we're from "Can't-ada."
"On behalf of the United States of America, I appologize..."

(Behind the bar at Wabar. I've never actually sat at the bar, but the bottles look cool.)
And today we did Taekwondo which was alot of fun, but they were annoying and stayed in they're little corner. Adding people at this point is counter productive because we've all settled nicely into our cliques and friend circles, while being in a small basic group (the program) we are all friends on some level at least. We've tried to be nice to them, but for the most part they're dicks so we're good keeping our distance. In the locker room after VERY SWEATY Taekwondo, they talked so loudly and obnoxiously and arrogantly, and I did not hear a single word of Korean (meaning the Koreans are probably quiet in they're locker rooms. a fact the Michiganites did not pick up on at all as they complained about how Korea's not as good as America.) And just now, I passed a perfect example of the way they are avoiding interacting or learning from Korean culture.
(Drinkin with the Prof., as well as Jin, Mi-Yeong, and So-Yeong.)

Whereas most of us have frowned at even the suggestion of going to KFC or Burger King, "places we can get back home" - we have almost exclusivly tried to eat Korean foods to get the full experience. The Michiganders are in the lounge, eating Oreos and potato chips with Pepsi. Watching American shows (some cop, crime drama show.) The rest of us have watched Korean programing almost exclusivly since we got here, again, taking in the culture.

Haha, oh, and earlier the biggest arrogantist one came into the lounge (while we were watching a Korean drama eating Korean food ironically enough) in his underwear and asked where the dryer is. There are no dryers in Korea, they hang-dry they're clothes. But the arrogant Americans put all they're clothes in the washer, down to a pair of underwear. Now that's just dumb. On top of that, all the clothes drying racks have been in heavy demand since the group number increased from fifty-something to almost 70. UGH, Michiganders.

Interesting fact of the day: Michigan-folk, they're demonym (or 'name') is Michiganian or Michigander. Most of us in the program did not know this (until I wiki'ed it) so we basically have been coming up with a new demonym every time we mention them, including but not limited to: Michigese, Michigonian, Michiganite, Mich-lish (pronounced mish-lish, like English), Michgaanians, Michiganian, Michiginian (ie: Mish-ih-gan-ee-ins, Mish-ih-gane-ee-in, Mish-ih-ginn-ee-in.)

Song of the Day: The "Hello Song" from The Animaniacs, cause we were (on the bus the other day) trying to say Hello in as many languages as we could and this song helped up my score a bunch. It's actually the source of my first Korean word - Anyeong haseyo (Hello!). The youtube video appears to be missing unfortunatly tho. So you'll have to live with Lyrics.

Quote of the Day: (The first in a while, I think, to not come from something someone IRL's said around me personally.) So I was googling/wiki-ing in that way I often do, and found this poem on the wikipedia article for the fact that no word rhymes with Orange:
"In Sparkill buried lies that man of mark
Who brought the Obelisk to Central Park,
Redoubtable Commander H.H. Gorringe,
Whose name supplies the long-sought rhyme for "orange."
Remarkable cultural observations: Haha, had dinner at my favorite Korean restaurant today with friends from the program, and one of their Korean friends not from the program who just came home to Korea from a year studying abroad in Canada. He was astonished at alot of things we did! He was literally shocked, jaw on the floor to see us eating with chopsticks. He was amazed at the tiny amount of Korean we knew, and the Korean facts we could say about culture even. It was entertaining, as Dion put it "Makes ya feel like you actually learned something don't it..."

Also the game "Panchigi" (which could double as Korean word of the day I suppose.) It's a game, where in you put 3 coins on a book on a desk. You then use yer palm to hit the book trying to flip all three coins to the heads side (without hitting them). After one shot, the other person (or more) goes, so you don't want to just flip two and make it easier for the other person I guess. I think I've seen this before, but it's a Korean invention - popular in middle school. Oh, if you win you keep all the coins, lol. Haha, the koreans were then astonished that I was able to find the rules online, "INTERNET IS AMAZING!" I then continued to astonish them with Google Earth of where their house is going to be in Ohio. Unfortunatly streetview had not been there yet.

(Van De Camp demonstrating Panchigi, enjoying some ice cream)

Other cultural note: the Ladder game (not the leather or letter game.) Haha, when the Korean guys say "want to play the ladder game" they aren't used to saying a hard-A (such as in Laughter, Andrew, Can, Ladder, etc...) so it sounds like they're saying the leather game and us westerners kinda smirk. But you draw the number of lines of people playing (ie: 3) and you have someone write at the bottom of one line "Lose." You assign a vertical line to each person, and you then each get to draw 5 lines between the three vertical lines (without crossing over any line.) The drawer then follows the lines made from the top of yours to the bottom, and if it hits the lose you lose.

In our case, me, Van de Kamp and Kyuhun played for ice cream. In Korean cultural, when guys play this game (for ice cream, apparently a popular reason to play) one person wins, one person pays for all three, and the other goes and gets it. I had to go and get the ice cream, and Kyuhun suffice it to say "Lost." Just another interesting aspect of the communal nature of Koreans. But man I can't wait til these guys come to Akron, they're awesome!

P.S. Today was a world-famous eclipse in South-East Asia, the longest one in the 21st century and I saw it! btw, I am now a superhero.

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