Vicarious, or, For Those Not About to ROK

Remember when someone older than you–perhaps your parents, but for me it was my Uncle Wayne–told you how time begins to move a lot faster as you get older? Of course, when you’re young you’re not thinking about that. And, since you’re not thinking about it, you don’t notice how time begins to start speeding up and speeding up, until you’re about to turn 34 years old and white hairs are beginning to pop up on your chinny-chin-chin.

Turns out that’s not the only one they were right about. While today is Day 55 for me in South Korea, it feels like I have been here long enough that, somehow, some things have become routine. This couldn’t be. I mean, I was in South Korea for 55 days in 2010. Of course, a lot of the time then was spent being unhappy. It’s amazing how commonplace a big-ass bag of dried anchovies staring back at you can become when you’re just living your life.

And, I had heard people tell me this before. Give it time and even the weirdest, most Korean things will feel normal. Well, normal may not be quite the right word.

This got me thinking about what might still seem whacked out were I looking at this blog back home. If I was still working for Patch, or somewhere else in New Jersey, in the U.S., somewhere else and not about to conclude my second month in Busan, what photographic evidence of this adventure would I look at and go, in my best Keanu, “whoa.” Or, at the very least acknowledge that as something I surely wouldn’t see at home.

May I present the first of a hopefully continuing semi-regular series of photos for those still on the outside. For those not about to ROK, I salute you.

Part One: Domestic Korea

I went to the store to buy a can of peas and carrots to add to my curry chicken. There were no cans of peas and carrots. There were no peas at all. There was corn.
I went to the store to buy a can of peas and carrots to add to my curry chicken. There were no cans of peas and carrots. There were no peas at all. There was corn.
Who wouldn't want a spicy kimchi sauce "for a rice"?
Who wouldn’t want a kimchi sauce “for a rice”?
These sesame leaves are used for BBQ and are absolutely beautiful. You never find these at Korean BBQ in the States, even at the BBQ buffet next to the H-Mart Korean supermarket in the heavily Korean part of Edison, NJ.
These sesame leaves are used for BBQ and are absolutely beautiful. You never find these at Korean BBQ in the States, even at the BBQ buffet next to the H-Mart Korean supermarket in the heavily Korean part of Edison, NJ.
They think staring at you with those dead, dried out eyes will save them.
They think staring at you with those dead, dried out eyes will save them.
Image
When your shower isn’t a separate section of the bathroom, you need a pair of shower shoes
Like I said, it's not separate.
Like I said, it’s not separate.

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Leave your shoes at the door.
Leave your shoes at the door.
DSCF5357
But, leave your washing machine under the stove.
Once you're done with the washing machine, make sure you've got a drying rack, since dryers are pretty uncommon in Korea.
Once you’re done with the washing machine, make sure you’ve got a drying rack, since dryers are pretty uncommon in Korea.
Once you've gained a drying rack and have successfully dried your clothes, celebrate with a slice of delicious "Morning Toast."
Once you’ve gained a drying rack and have successfully dried your clothes, celebrate with a slice of delicious “Morning Toast.”
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