Friday, July 3, 2009

Party All the Time

Stayed in a 1362 year old Buddhist temple. Just for my own math, it was built in 646 AD.

Korean words of the Day:
Interesting: Whom-mean-dinn

Remarkable language barriers of the day:
While trying to explain how Buddha is in everything, our teacher (who's an awesome translator most of the time) did not quite understand Christianity enough to use it as a metaphor. Also, he was under the impression 90% of North America was Christian -- and me and 2 other students explained Christian denominations to him. Regardless, while referring to God, he would always say "the Jesus". ALWAYS with a the, I found it entertaining.

Me and a Canadian student (this isn't really language barrier so much as accent barrier) were complaining about the food at the Buddhist temple and she mentioned how it could use some something and "paper." I'm like "What?" and she's like "What?" and that continued and I'm like "Paper???!!" and eventually I figured out it was her accent saying pepper.

While in a mediation pose Julia (German) asked "What is Hannis?" And I'm like "Hm?" and she's like "Your name is Andrew..." and I realized she was referring to "HANES" sewn on the bottom of my socks.

I managed to translate and confirm the existance of shrimp chips! Haha, at first *NO ONE* knew what I meant and thought I made it up (jokingly.) But I hate when absolutly no one knows what I mean. So I used the last of my internet to google it, and wikipedia's article didn't have a korean version to change to but there was a german version (Krabbenchips) which reminded Julia of their existance. Also the Chinese students recognized the picture. Eventually I figured out how to ask if they had Arseyu chips and they do, but not at Chinese restaurants.

Remarkable Observations:
Just like there is Americanized Chinese food, there is Korean-ized Chinese food (according to Kim.) Rather than traditional, it has been modified slightly to appeal more to Koreans (ie: includes the yellow radishes they're so fond of, also spicy stew on the side of Everything.)
And Korean-Chinese restaurants have (at the table) soy sauce, chili powder, and vinegar. But never salt, sugar or pepper. Korean-Chinese food is very different from American-Chinese food. And their eggrolls are quite di-- HEY I didn't get a fortune cookie! (jk, I know, Americanized.)

Now for the juicy part: Koreans have a group-based mind. They do things in groups, everything. This has been merely interesting until now, when it became an irritation for some of the Americans. You see, this weekend was supposed to be "free time" -- so a group decided to go to Busan (nearby major resort city - clubs, beaches, saunas, etc.) but we're not supposed to stay out over night. Eventually that group grew to like the 8 main ones (who'd wanted to from the beginning) and like, almost half the Program. To when the Koreans decided it'd be best to plan an organized thing, for people who want to go for beaches, shopping, clubbing, etc. A few of the Americans then started to get irritated when the Koreans (by which I mean head teacher, and his about 7 student assistants) tried to organize their road trip -- as it was meant more of a their seperate, "unplanned" thing. But Koreans like plans. So there was a bit of a culture clash, and I don't think the Americans took it as well as they should have - this is the Koreans country and all, and they did require some Koreans to go to translate.

Anyway, as I was not up to partying Again tonight at Busan clubs (that and I hate dancing, didn't really bring club attire, ...) I decided to go with the morning group. Kim, wanted sincerely to go with whatever I chose -- (Koreans are also very honor bound to their guests. He's pretty awesome actually!) but the most of the Koreans were going tonight, and as he explained it to me the other korean students feel more comfortable the more of them are in one place. Group mindset. I assured him it was no problem, so he's out uncomfortably "partying" (I've seen the man party. He does not like to party.) So hopefully tomorrow goes better, poor Koreans, I hope we respect them better for the rest of this trip.

No comments: