i am the tree


Outside my window this morning, I saw what appeared to be one dragonfly hitching a ride on another dragonfly.  I figured this was a pair mating, and dismissed it but later I saw this phenomenon again and again and again.  It seems they all mate on the same day.

I went and ate at a nearby place that had two pairs of the gossamer-winged insects shamelessly copulating for everyone and ordered dubu kimchi. (tofu with cooked pork & kimchi)  It’s usually quite mild, but this one is hotter than hell, the woman adds so many hot peppers to it.   I can never finish it, it’s too much pepper for one sitting.  This time other single guys individually came in and ordered their drinks and anju (drinking appetizers)  soju with fried potato cake and maekju with dried squid.  Sometimes I am blown away by how NOT Korean some Koreans look.

The proprietress was THE most inefficient person on the planet, (for example, getting a man his beer took her three trips – one for the beer, one for the glass, and one for the bottle-opener) she had very little prepped and even had to run to the store to buy tofu, but everyone seemed to have nowhere to go and were in no hurry.  I was sad that ordering a cola made her forget to give me mul kimchi like everyone else got, which she ladled out of what seemed to be a refrigerated cooler just for mul kimchi.  She seemed to have a brisk take-out order for something she made on an actual short-order-cook griddle.  So it took an eternity to wait for a nice moment to ask her to wrap the food to go.  Koreans would have yelled for her attention, but I still don’t feel right about doing that.  I’ve been here a year and a half and I can’t remember how to say please wrap this to go in Korean.  Poja?

When I got home, some boys in my building were outside with butterfly nets, catching dragonflies and saving them in a plastic box, giggling.

I wish I could join them, but I’d spoil their fun.

I think about the boy I love and realize he’s the only person I’ve never wanted to gain anything  from.  Stupid me, I think I am the tree, of the giving tree, and he is the boy.  I fret about how i told him to stop breaking my heart, worried I’ll never hear from him again.  Please never disappear.

Anyway, that was my day.  Somehow I managed to get nothing accomplished again.

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12 thoughts on “i am the tree

  1. Fyi pojang or 포장 is more for gift wrapping so don’t use this in this case or you might get laughed at. You would say ssa ju seyeo or 싸 주새요. I prefer using hangul because I think you lose something when you romantize Korean. Hope this helps.

  2. Yayy! THIS is how I learn Korean – when there is a need to fill. And you’re totally right, getting the hangul is better because of the confusion with Romanization systems.

    Thanks!

  3. I like the new layout of your blog except for the color. Black and gray to me convey loneliness, is it intentional or purely an accident?

  4. No sack cloth and ashes for me. Being sad and lonely is really getting old and boring.

    Only picked it because 1) the sidebar works and 2) it’s easy to navigate. The other remaining ones were hard to read or hard to navigate or were too dreadful to contemplate.

  5. This layout for me is better. I suggest you join a dance club. You will find friends. Who know, just maybe a handsome Korean gentleman. :)

  6. this one is also broken – just less noticeable – so sad, I liked that theme I’d been using.

    I’m a bit wary of dance scenes, they’re not kind places.

  7. I know what you mean about dance scences and traditional Korean dance classes would be nice but can get pretty expensive. How about maedeup or 매늡 classes. I believe it is reasonable and quite unique form of art that you can only find in Korea. Also a great way to bond with other females.

  8. I had to look that up. I think I’d have that mastered in about ten minutes: not long enough to bond with anyone. So any handcraft needs to be something that takes repeated classes.

    Actually, the sad truth is that there won’t be any bonding in Korean, right? Unless the activity can be taught mute. (which is kind of a fantasy of mine) Or everyone else bonding is willing to stop mid-joke and translate for my benefit. Which doesn’t happen. So that limits me to expat/tourist things.

    At the train station in Gapyeong there is a display of miniature examples of woven straw and carved wood everyday folk items in the past. Something like that would be interesting to me, but I’ve never seen any classes for it being taught anywhere.

  9. You under estimate the art of maedeup. It takes some time to master because there are many intricate knots. My MIL use to do this. As for the language barrier, there seem to no problem for one White American woman to learn the art. Check her blog out: http://theconstantcrafter.blogspot.com/ Don’t let the language barrier to stop you from doing anything. It maybe difficult at first but the more you try, your Korean should get easier beside body language is a universal language. I know because I have lived in 8 different countries. Usually people who are into art do know limited English and couple that with your Korean, it should be perfect. So get out of your little room and enjoy more of Korea. Fighting!!

  10. you’re right about much of that. but I’m just not interested in knots that much. I liked the pottery class idea better, as being a plastic medium it’s not so limiting.

    I’d be interested in a dance class, but they aren’t offered to non-Korean speakers. (and I’ve still got an impossible [3 hr, round trip to central Seoul] commute if it’s weekdays, which means I have to spend the night in Seoul as I miss the last bus and train home) It’s actually easier to learn about traditional Korean culture forms in America, believe it or not.

    Websites all over the world are not kept up to date. English websites in Korea are really limited and except for tourist-related ones, they are often begun and then never maintained. To do any research on authentic things, I have to take a word and put it into an on-line translator a dozen different ways and then search for something I can intuit from Korean websites, which is usually only if there are some photographs indicating I’m heading in the right direction.

    For instance, Korea and Japan are centers for ball-jointed dolls. I’d like to learn to cast resin body parts and make art dolls, but I can only find collectors sites and manufacturer’s sites. I can’t find classes. And if I could find these in a totally alien language, then how do I find a supplier for casting supplies?

    Anyway, I’m going places on Thursday to see if somebody can help me out. I’m going to try and tell them I want something more than the pre-fabbed kits they hand out to foreigners to decorate as I-did-it-myself souvenirs.

    But to be honest, I appreciate Korean hand crafts but am more interested in learning some fine arts, which are even hard to get access to in the states without being an art major. So for getting me out of the house I think I need something active. I signed up for some meet-ups but nobody seems to like the same things I do. (I don’t know WHY people in Seoul don’t want to learn African dance – I mean, EVERYBODY should want to learn African dance…) As pretentious as Seattle has become, I miss how accessible everything there is.

    But really, all the things I like to do are anti-social. So if meeting people is important, than I need to suppress my antisocial tinkering and do something uncomfortable. (as if I’m not already uncomfortable enough here) And I don’t necessarily want to sit around a quilting circle becoming more matronly. And I don’t want to rave all night with college students. Nor turn my nose up higher at wine-tasting events.

    Maybe volunteering is the answer. Tons of Koreans volunteer for things. I just don’t know how they match up with that.

  11. As far as why Koreans are not interested in African dance or culture, well, the answer is because they are poor. I won’t go into details in an open forum because I might be misunderstood as racist. Fine art=$, that don’t fall into your criteria because of finance issue right? I think pottery and then leading into celadon/porcelain in the future might be the most cost effective way into fine art. Your volunteering idea is an excellent one. I don’t know how you feel about religious organizations but they alway do volunteering work, try the monastery or churches. Also bi-cultural centers.

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