Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Lost in Translation #2: Des

{Des also used to be an expat in Korea, where he worked as an engineer. We bonded over our mutual love for Seoul and living abroad. He shares my passion for film and travelling, and knows all about the intensity of going places and coming back home. You can find him at Des in Real Life, and I'm happy he agreed to share some of his wonderful insights}

Hi my name is Des and it’s very exciting to be a guest blogger on “Lost in Translation,” because I am a big fan of this blog. Like Vivian, I lived in Seoul, South Korea so I’ll be sharing a few of my stories and anecdotes about living in Seoul. But before I do that I thought I’d write about why I enjoy this blog so much. I thought long and hard about this and the final conclusion I came up with is that “Lost in Translation,” is so appealing because the central theme of Vivian’s blog is identity. Whether Vivian is discussing fashion or living abroad, her discussions are all relatable because they center on that process of trying to figure out who you really are. It is not an easy thing to write about at all, but Vivian manages to do it very well.

So let me talk about my own experience living in Korea. Living abroad and then returning home is both fascinating and difficult. I think the main reason why I found it so challenging was that I changed during my time in Korea in both subtle and more overt ways. And then when I came home to my family and friends I felt like I had to revert back to my old self again. It’s a strange feeling and I have to admit that I really do miss the person I was while I was in Korea.
Now I’ll list some anecdotes from Korea and I’ll try not to repeat any that Vivian has written:

Being Canadian
I was in Korea during the George Bush years when it wasn’t so hip and trendy to say you were from the US. To avoid a lot of grief, all of us from the US would simply say we were Canadian and it made life a lot easier. Everybody likes Canadians.

I think Korean men are arguably the hardest drinkers on the planet. Whenever my boss or Korean friends said we were going to get some drinks my liver would quiver. Korean men have a way of drinking to within an inch of their lives the night before and looking fresh the next day at work. It really is amazing.

Being single and dating in Korea was an interesting experience. It’s difficult to meet the woman of your dreams if you are speaking in broken English and T-A-L-K-I-N-G L-I-K-E T-H-I-S A-L-L O-F T-H-E T-I-M-E. It made for some hilarious dates but I could write a whole post just on that.

I had a car in Korea. So just imagine you’re driving home and all of a sudden every driver simultaneously ignored every traffic rule. Then you’d start to get the basic idea of what it’s like to drive in Seoul.

Sitting on the floor
I have to disagree with Vivian on this one. I hated sitting on the floor. It’s tough to eat and have a conversation if your legs are numb and your feet are asleep.

Again, I’d like to thank Vivian for allowing me to write about my Korean experiences and please take care everyone.



Anonymous said...

I totally hear you on living abroad during the Bush years. I didn't pretend to be Canadian, but had a lot of frustrating encounters with many ignorant people who assumed I was the representative of all Americans (including Bush). Meanwhile I never voted for him, but still hated the generalizations people made about my home country. Also, I wonder if Koeans can out-drink the Swedes. My alcohol tolerance has increased vastly since I moved there :-)

jojo said...
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Dana said...

Lovely blog!



Anonymous said...

great to see this...
thanks for sharing....

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