Friday, October 19, 2012

Today's Cultural Experience

I had the grand opportunity to go to the doctor today. Have no fear, it was just a health check which I needed in order to get my ARC. I was lucky enough to have a fully functioning Korean with me who knew the drill and knew exactly what I needed to do and when, although his English is not very good. Not to mention, this Korean is a bus driver for my school. On one of my first days at the school, I was informed that the bus drivers are much more than bus drivers; they pretty much do everything around the school, not to mention most of them have engineering degrees (go figure). To name a few things they do: drive buses, drive me to the doctor, clean around the school, paint the school, get the persimmons out of the tree with a broom, help me move my luggage from apartment A to apartment B, the list goes on.

Anyways, he drove me to the doctor, I had my chest x-rayed, my weight and height checked (which was actually pretty cool because it was this automatic thing that slides down until it hits you in the head and then it records it and goes back up), sight, sound, blood test, urine test, the usual. The hospital itself was actually buzzing with a lot of people, but they put people through so quick it's AMAZING! I waited for 20 minutes to get my x-ray (which was apparently a mistake because the first lady I talked to came running over and was like "they still haven't seen you????" and then talked to the lady and then came to me and was like "ok you're next"...she was a little put off by it). Once I had my x-ray, the rest of the things happened within a half an hour. I even talked to a doctor in that time, of course all he asked me was "do you have any diseases?" and "are you taking any medication?" Easy enough.

Tonight I had an ajumma (Korean for old can look it up and you get many different definitions about the age, but it is used to reference those ladies around this country that push and shove because they are old and have the right to do so) teach me how to eat ramen and rice. Keep in mind, I have had plenty of ramen on my own before, even ramen and rice (up on the mountain), but she felt like taking me under her wing. I also feel like she had a camera because I, ever so quietly, snuck into the kitchen and then 2 minutes later she popped up and was trying to feed me rice, some meat, and kimchi. I took the rice, brought my ramen packet, and then she proceeded to cook it for me. I was just gunna put some hot water in a bowl and bring it to my room. Not the case anymore... I was sitting at the kitchen table waiting for water to boil while she tells me something about Gangnam and that she has a house there or something. So the ramen is finally ready. She pours it into my bowl and I start to eat it with a spoon. She rushes over, grabs the spoon from my hand, shows me that I should hold the spoon with my right hand, use heavy metal chopsticks with my LEFT hand and pick up the dangling noodles and put them on the spoon, then she blows on it, and feeds it to me, like a small small child. I smile and nod as she's shoving noodles and rice into my mouth, quickly take the spoon and chopsticks from her, decide it is in my best interest to hold the spoon in my left hand pick up the danglers with my right hand. She finally leaves the room and I'm thanking God. Then she comes back, laughing, and hands me a fork. Thank you dear lady. Thank you.

Now let's talk about probably one of my most idiotic moments I think I've ever experienced in my life. I must preface this with the layout of my apartment. I get out of the elevator, walk down a corridor and there are glass doors. Most of the time the doors are open and I can walk in, go down the hallway and unlock my door to my room. However if the glass doors are closed, the landlord showed me how to wave my card outside in the first hallway and I'll hear a beepbeepbeep and the door will unlock. However he did not show me/tell me how to get out from the inside. Previously this had not been a problem because the door was always open when I wanted to leave. Last night, I decided to leave when the door was closed, so I walk up to it and push on it (the door says push, so that's not my blonde moment) and it doesn't move. I look around hoping nobody saw, and then in a fluster walk back to my room. I decide to give it another go thinking "maybe I didn't push hard enough" and "I should look around for something to wave my card by on the inside." I go up to the door again, first putting my shoes in their cubby, realizing that I might legitimately wait by the door till someone comes in or out, and then I push on the door really hard. It still doesn't move. I look for somewhere I can wave my card by. I see no where. I see a little black button next to the door that says "push" so I push it, hear a weird noise, but nothing happens (keeping in mind that many "automatic" doors in Korea have a little push button and then they slide open...pretty cool, also relevant). So I end up standing by my cubby, pretending to text, and within the minute someone comes in and I slip out. It's quite alright if you're laughing at me right now because I laughed out loud at myself multiple times throughout the night whenever I thought about it.

Today I go to leave for school, and the door is shut. I try the button again, I try waving my card by an internet box (that's right, I was trying it all), and fortunately within the minute someone walks in again and I sneak out, laughing at myself again because I STILL don't know how to get out of my apartment.

Here is the best part. I'm telling my head teacher this story today as we're sorting and filing things while I'm "training" and his suggestion was "maybe there is a button somewhere you push." My response: "There totally is! I tried it and it didn't work!" His response...."maybe you have to push the button AND the door...." FREAKING GENIUS! Now, I have yet to try it, but as soon as he suggested it, I thought about that clicky sound the door made when I pushed that button...I'm quite positive that was the door unlocking. Stupid me was waiting for the door to move all by itself like the automatic doors do when you push the "push" button.

Here is the even better part. Although nobody saw me in the flesh, CCTV has their eyes everywhere and I'm sure they, as well as whoever was watching on the supposed apartment cameras that my ajumma had her eyes on, got a KICK out of this stupid American girl pushing a locked door multiple times, then finding the push button, pushing it, and then JUST STANDING THERE. Freakin idiot.


  1. bahahahahah you so silly. I learned how to do this when entering my dorms last year. you wave your card by a box. the door clicks, idicating that its unlocked, and then you go. but thats okay. I love you anyways and I am glad that you have finally figured out how to get out of your apartment.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed my story. Too bad you weren't here to help a sista out