Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Crossed Cultural Wires: Conversations in taxi with boys

There's always unique aspects to living in a foreign country; different customs and traditions to deal with, and tons of new ways to trip up that you never even knew existed. You end up blaming a lot of things on cultural and language barriers, probably more than they deserve, but there are just some things that make no sense no matter how hard you try...For nearly two years I've tried and tried to chock it up to cultural differences and social gobligook and crossed cultural wires...but seriously? Some Korean men can be down right spooky!

(5sec after meeting & 1 sec after he mustered up enough courage to talk to me (I'm scary what can I say;))
Korean: Where are you from? How old are you? You have boyfriend? no? nice! *Me starting to get twitchy* Where you live? *Me trying to be vague* That building there, right there? Right there? What's your apartment number? *Me starting to looking for escape routes and things to throw* You sleep alone? No, namja (boy)? Just you, sleep? (he mimes sleeping with his hands against his cheek) *Me trying to remember Korean number for 911* (Korean brain: hmm…so she lives in building 4, apt 3, alone, no boyfriend, and gets home at…*checks watch*)

Wait, uh, I forgot, I'm married, no boyfriend, just married. How many? Oh maany maany husbands, (Korean shakes head in disbelief, tsk tsk you foreign women..) boyfriends are a pain in the butt, you gotta be nice to them n' feed them, but husbands? no problem! Children? Um, yes, like 6, (Korean gasps, gives me the beady eye) *I shrug* much much love, it happens. Yup, these are some well used organs, all stretched out. (Korean now very confused) I mean once you've had one baby the rest just start falling out! Gotta get a cork and cork that sucker up! (Korean looking very worried now, changes subject) Yes, I live there. No, no boy, but dogs! Maany maany dogs! Big ugly beasties who eat Koreans for breakfast. Yep, I tried to stop them, but once they got a taste of Korean blood they were hooked! Addicted. No doggie biscuits for them, nope, but when a little Korean man comes knocking on the door, it's like, "snack time boys!"

I swear I'm not a compulsive liar, it's just when I get asked a certain number of personal questions in a certain sequence all alone in a strange country, the alarm bell go off and self preservation techniques I didn't even KNOW I had start rearing their heads. Maybe Koreans are culturally wired to ask ubber personal questions on the first meeting that look super suspicious, but in my defense I am wired to make up all sorts of crazy, unbelievable lies when strange men start asking me unnecessarily personal questions especially when I'm riding in a taxi all by myself in the middle of the night in the middle of rice paddy country. I wonder if this is how all those strange misconceptions about Western women got started! ;)

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