Sunday, March 23, 2008

Citizen of the world

so i got bored and read "me talk pretty one day" by david sedaris. the last of his books (out of 4 that i know of) that i hadn't read. i read his other 3 books 2 summers ago while living with heather bc she had them. that was totally random but yea ok (sedaris is the author who is singlemostedly responsible for my realizing that i wanted to write for a living).

in reading some sedaris these past few days, i found a passage that really struck me:

I’d begun to imagine my life in a foreign country... Life might be difficult for a year or two, but I would tough it out because living in a foreign country is one of those things that everyone should try at least once. My understanding was that it completed a person, sanding down the rough provincial edges and transforming you into a citizen of the world.

So yea, life in a foreign country is difficult but you have to tough it out bc it'll transform you. or you're supposed to let it. that's the goal anyway. and i agree. that's one of the reasons i've always been drawn to living abroad. ykno, life as an ex-pat. sounds kinda cool. like i was too liberal and smart for life in america and settled on living in another country, one that suited my tastes and lifestyle more. i had always imagined returning to switzerland or settling in france or italy. korea wasn't exactly my first choice for the ex-pat lifestyle i had imagined.

in any case, here i am, about 3 months plus a few days away from returning home and what have i learned? will this year in a foreign country "complete" me? did it sand down my "rough provincial edges" and transform me into a "citizen of the world"? well, not quite yet. the transformation, if indeed it will ever take place, is not quite complete.

example: today a bus driver made me cry. of the many many times i've taken the bus in cheongju, 3 times i've ended up at a bus depot. however, the last two times were yesterday and today. i don't quite understand the system other than the fact that it doesn't quite work (in my opinion). the bus has a list of places it is supposed to stop in the window and it's side.

today, in front of my apt was one of those places. well, no. the stupid bus pulls into the bus depot and the driver is nice enough to ask me where i'm going. i tell him and he answers that i got on the "wrong" bus and to transfer there to another one. i ask him which to switch to and he says ask someone in the front of the area. i find 3 bus drivers standing around, ask how to get to "bunpyeongdong" and am answered by "iiiiiii donnnnn't knoooowwwww, why don't you wait over there?" in a totally teasing jeering singsong. WHICH I DID NOT APPRECIATE. idiot man.

so i walked over to where he indicated, and then pondered over how NONhelpful his words were. wait over here for WHAT? HE clearly didn't have the info to help me, none of the others offered up what i needed, i assumed none of them were going to prove helpful. after a few minutes of contemplative tears i couldn't stop, i remembered the reason i had gotten on a 405 anyway was bc there was a 20 min wait for the 822-2. well, if i walked a mile back to the main road i might just make the 822-2.

so i wiped my tears and started walking. damn those stupid men, if they couldn't do their ONE job right, that was my problem? what a stupid system. i walked and walked. despite there being NO sidewalk and being sprayed by car tires on the rainy shigol road. about 15 minutes and 3/4 of a mile later i hit the main road. i panned the intersection, decided that there was prob a bus stop to my right and walked a bit. about 50 feet down was the hi-mart where i distinctly rmember the 822-2 making a stop. i got there and there was a little sign for the 822-2. i waited about 2 minutes and it appeared.

that's right. it was ALMOST korea 1 christine 0 but i was too crafty. PUUUUUHAHAHAHA. christine 4 korea 0 (i dunno, i think 4 is an appropriate number for my response).

maybe becoming a citizen of the world, losing my "rough provincial edges" means learning to see the world through a broader lens. in some countries, following the order of the locations listed on the side of a bus is NOT what a bus normally does. far be it from me to figure out why that is so. if the bus driver wants to do what he wants, far be it from me to think HE is the stupid one.

hoom. so much prep. for school/classes. and i didn't even get to talk about how much fun i had up until my mile's walk in the rain in the road (NO SIDEWALK? WHY KOREA WHY?)

1 comment:

lydia said...

haha, i got a chance to read the book this weekend too~

Have you ever read Augusten Burroughs - Running with Scissors? Similar kind of humor - I think you'll like it!