People & P(a)laces

by benrobins1

One cannot claim to have lived in a country until one encounters and, if possible, embraces as many aspects of its culture as possible. In much the same way, airport stopovers and holidays spent on Facebook behind curtains don’t really count. This coming from the man who is currently battling to stop Star Wars: Force Unleashed from crashing on his laptop may seem a tad hypocritical, but at least I can say this food looks delicious in Korean.

I am fairly sure that I am becoming a slightly more socially tolerant person in public – which is to say that, rather than resorting to passive-aggression, I only think nasty thoughts. You can’t live in Korea and expect to maintain your ideals of ‘crowd logic’ (oxymoronic as the term is). Now, whenever somebody blocks the way on/off a train because they’re busy playing Angry Birds or staring at the English couple, or hocks noisily in the street – we go to our Happy Places and imagine hurling gimchi at them.

In terms of more enjoyable cultural experiences, we finally managed to breach Gyeonbukgung Palace, after previously being locked out by sturdy doors. We unconsciously managed to time it so that we arrived during the changing of the guards; a vibrant display of silk, pointy shoes and enough Oriental weaponry to make the Wachowski brothers salivate.

This was sadly marred by the intervention of another person under the misled assumption that we really, really wanted to let Jesus into our trousers. Chruggers (Christianity Muggers) are like the chuggers (Charity Muggers) of Korea – they can’t be avoided, and can’t be deterred by any claims of Judaism – as it turned out. I should have gone with Hinduism or Islam and hopefully been spared the whites of his eyes as he prayed/foamed for Meg and I to turn from Abraham and accept Jesus into our orifices.

The palace, however, is beautiful; never have I been so jealous of royalty as when I pictured wandering regally about the grounds, admiring the distant palace gates and dispatching servants on errands. I have since decided that my life goal is to own a house which requires a workout to traverse.

Meg is in full Twilight mode in preparation for the final movie next week, and it’s starting to influence my lessons. As it turns out, significantly more boys are fascinated with the series than girls – but they still haven’t memorised werewolf, so ‘Hangman’ clues remain a surprise.

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