felloutofthenest

A topnotch WordPress.com site

Month: May, 2013

The Osan Crew

The CrewI’ve been in Korea awhile now, and I’ve experienced my share of cultural differences, sights seen etc. etc. – but, naturally (I think) for foreigners living abroad, for sanity’s sake one has to cultivate a group of fellow expats from one’s own culture. However, as I know astonishingly few British people in Korea, I took refuge in that most wondrously somber and infamously subtle culture: America.

Note from the author: Apologies, but there may be a number of photos of the following human specimens already seen in this here blog. As this is a post/mid/pre-nostalgia entry, however, I feel justified in this lack of originaliphotography.

Allow me to introduce…

The Civvies

See also: the teachers, the sleepers, the non-gymers, the (slight) Korean-speakers. The Civvies live their lives in Korea itself, struggling to navigate lurking pots of kimchi and savaged streetside plugogoi every day of their lives.

Moi

Heere's Sweepy!

Yours truly. But screw that guy.

Megan ‘Grumpy Cat’ Coast

Sexy WolfMy sole source of British familiarity and affection, Meg functions as long-suffering girlfriend and the group’s lion-tamer; a force of sheer bloody-minded exercise and motivation, she puts to shame most of your average Spec-Ops personnel with her 10-mile-a-minute gait and rippling abs. When not functioning as fitness poster-child, she is introducing simious (see also: gibbon) running techniques or dominating the men with her sheer indomitability.

Catchphrase: NO.

(disclaimer: I would like to emphasise that Megan is not grumpy herself, per se. She simply takes no excrement from nobody, foo.)

Hailey ‘Chocobo Knight’ GoodwinHowling Wolf

One half of the dynamic Louisiana (read: ‘Leezyana’) duo, Hailey is fellow Final Fantasy geek, lake-diver and lover of life in a sexily-bosomed package. Always the first to throttle others via hugs and embraces, Hailey is the beaming soul of the Osan chickadees – and her resonating battle cries invariably put others to shame.

Catchphrase: Assa! (see also: DRRRRRR!)

Lori ‘Hot Sauce’ Mine

Yo LoriChef extraordinaire, lavish hostess and downer of pints, Lori puts the manly-men to shame with her  multifarious skills. If ever the group manages to organise itself past alcoholism, you can be sure the adventurous Lori will be the Captain Nemo to our slightly unsteady Nautilus as we pave a path of obscenity ‘cross the nation.

Catchphrase: We do this! (with regards to drinking/travelling/immersing selves in mud/caving/bungee-jumping/tattooing/skydiving, etc. etc.)

The Manly-Men Airmen

The Fighters, the Wakers, the Munition Makers – defenders of earth, sea and pub, these gods of raw testosterone and lethality protect us vulnerable lambs in Seoul from the onslaught of the North. With American Steaks for muscles and Red Bull for blood, these are the stuff of legend.

Aaron ‘Obnoxious One’ Miller'Ard-On Aaron

My Souther brother from another mother, Aaron is the complete antithesis of conventional Britishness – which is why I love him entirely.

Chattanooga, Tenessee born and raised,
on the shooting range’s where he spends most of his days,
Rootin’ and tootin’ and shootin’ all day,
Fondlin’ shafts and firin’ blanks (not gay)…

The originator and perpetrator of the majority of the group’s obscenity, Aaron does a fantastic job of balancing precise professionalism at work with obnoxious moronity in the pub. Always the first into the fray, Aaron is usually halfway up the mountain we’ve just decided to walk to. For better (or worse), Aaron is the very embodiment of everything The South is proud of.

Catchphrase: AMERICA! CAW!

Josh ‘Pinkeye’ Peek

Cheeky PeekThis softly spoken man is not to be underestimated. Once you filter out the Aaron Noise, you realize that this smiling man is, in fact, ridiculousness given form; never have I seen a man put so much commitment into waking someone up simply by staring at them for an extended period of time. Usually requesting that you ‘put [any given item or sustenance] in his mouth’ with a straight face, Peek expresses his patriotism not through waggling his arms like an ape, but through small gestures of speech…’mericuh.

Catchphrase: ….’mericuh.

Anthony ‘Pantsony’ Shea

Anfony!I only have a vague recollection of where that awful nickname came from, and I have a suspicious feeling I may have been the one to come up with it while semi-conscious in a hostel. For that, I apologise.

Anthony (to all the British readers, in ‘Mericuh they pronounce the ‘th’ rather than abbreviating to ‘t’. I don’t know why, either), or ‘Anfony’ as I shall now name him, is our international man of mystery: while the other guys are grunting and building and blowing up stuff, mild-mannered gentleman Anfony is masquerading as Kim Jong-Eun himself! Or something. Need-to-know intelligence basis, I suppose.

Catchphrase: [on the subject of British/American spelling] – Why’s there a ‘u’ in the word?

Shawn ‘Dancing Pecs’ Hewitt

Sleepy ShawnThe recently-departed-to-Hawaii-and-therefore-a-bastard Shawn Hewitt, while in another time-zone entirely, is nonetheless still a member of the Osan Crew. He tries to escape, but Anfony can track him with Technology if he flees. Shawn is a towering obelisk of Spartan physique, and we worship him as such; any man who could pec-dance to the Macarena is not a man to be reckoned with. Alas, now he has gone to follow his childhood fantasy of roaming Hawaii painted blue, snarling at passers-by. I pity any girls going by the name Lilo.

Catchphrase: [flexing]

Any and all of the above are freaks of nature whom I value ridiculously highly as friends. I’m English, and therefore obvious indications of affection are an executable offense – but I will happily travel ‘cross the land again, that I might offend other countries alongside you.

Sorry: ‘y’all’.

 

Wolf-Pack

Envious Winter and Sprung Spring, or The One Where My Computer Died.

Hongdae FameIt’s been a while, chums. I’d like to say it’s entirely the fault of someone else, but I’ve had Toshiba back for at least two weeks now.Sun-Squinters

RainlightUPDATE: Make that roughly two months. I drafted this WAY long ago, but have miraculously managed to procrastinate all this while.

There’s a rather fantastic Korean expression – 꽃샘추위 , or Winter Envies The Spring (the cold envies the flowers, if we’re being specific); the phrase referring to the schizophrenic nature of early-year weather in Korea, where a few days’ unexpectedly hot weather is violently punctuated by a disabling cold/snow snap, leaving you in the delirious state of wandering into town with shorts, an umbrella and thick socks – just in case.What's This?

Pink BlossomNow, however, it has been several months since my last post; the weather has changed from bipolar spring to the more predictable progression of summer, with the living-room thermostat climbing a digit every day or so. In true white-trash fashion, I’m finding vests to be an entirely suitable fashion statement while my rabid beast lolls up and down the apartment. We’ve had a few ominous thunderclaps to emphasise the weather’s confusion, but now I suspect we’re in for the long haul – and my quasi-albino complexion has a gauntlet to run between now and Heathrow.The Guys

A lightning-fast update for those who have nothing better to read – practically every weekend is occupied with some kind of inanity, so I’ll do my best to be concise.

Pre-Sprung WoodsBetween then and now, the predominantly grey topography of wintry Korea has apparently exploded, leaving white-and-pink fallout fragrantly drifting to the green earth. Nonviolently speaking, spring has sprung like a well-coiled Slinky, and it’s driving the dog apeshit.Oblivious

Speaking of the aforementioned minibeast, we’re proud to say that the pathetically tiny 2.4kg animal we rescued in December now weighs a whopping 4kg: that’s about the weight of a slightly indulgent bag of rice.

She Likes Ice-Cream NowA few weeks [months] back, we and the ‘Mericans ventured into Hongdae, douchebag central of students and nightlife in Seoul, wherein lies the exclusive percentage of the local population daring enough to show any skin from the neck down. I don’t mean to say that was the inspiration for going, but that it proves how wild they get here. I might have seen a bare collarbone at one point.Aaron The Gentleman

Shawn's SkillsOur accommodation for the night happened was settled at Big Choi’s Guest House, a discreet and completely welcoming hostel ferreted away in one of Hongdae’s quieter back-allies for the more discerning foreign traveller. Concerning our accommodation, however, we were initially presented with a guiltily dark and quiet room filled with already-unconscious late-night frequent fliers. Our group being who and what they are, conservative use of sound would be a problem. This is the point where our Ukranian, skateboard-toting friend Phil Makarenko (Crackachenko to you, quoth he while skateboarding into a moving bus) reveals the slightly tatty gem of Big Choi’s: an Anne Frank-esque hidden ladder in a tiny cupboard, leading up into the mysterious Attic Room. By ‘mysterious’, I mean ‘mysteriously cosy despite the emphysema-inducing mould apparently used as wallpaper.Manly Portrait

Macarenko's HabitatOn the subject of new discoveries; greet the newly-adopted member of the Obnoxious Crew (actual group name to be confirmed): Anthony Shea, our very own super-duper secret military secrets have-to-kill-you-if-I-tell-you American James Bond. We tend to attract the exciting types.Obnoxious Consumerism

Josh

Lineup

ShawnHowever, Anthony’s initiation coincides with a decidedly more mournful occasion: our pec-dancingly handsome friend Shaun has left us for the somewhat envious shores of Hawaii. Given such a destination, our sadness is entirely selfish and we can only have schadenfreude hope his job is very, very tiring so he can only go to beach every other day (if Shaun’s reading – we love you really. You have been, will be and are missed something fierce).  The leaving ceremony predominantly involved a surprisingly English stubbornness to have a barbeque despite the pissing rain, and the pleasure of having the EOD workshop’s enormous female bulldog, Shelby, enthusiastically humping everybody’s leg.IMG_2426 IMG_2396 IMG_2315 IMG_2337 IMG_2345 IMG_2262

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On a more political note, I gather there’s been some hulabaloo with them familiar-yet-completely-different-and-batshit-crazy neighbours up North: Mr. Kim Jong-Eun said some very hurtful and completely pointless things which were, have been and are entirely ignored by the actual populace of South Korea. It seems the entirety of the world outside of ROK (Republic Of Korea, fyi) had been biting their nails in a pseudo-Cuban Missile Crisis fashion, but the locals honestly couldn’t have given less of a toss. A few of my kids expressed their wisdom in the form of such sentiments as ‘North Korea crazy, teacher,’ or ‘Kim Jong-Eun is dirty psycho and is very very fat.’ With such moral and ethical safeguards as these children, it’s no wonder Jong-Eun’s backed off.Checkertails' Crew