Another thing that’s markedly different from last time is that they seem to be way more accepting of non-Korean speakers, even ethnic Korean ones. Before, taxi drivers yelled at me for not speaking Korean. Now, a lot of the taxis offer free English translation via phone. Friend says it’s more common all over Seoul to see kyopos speaking in English so maybe they’re more used to it now? I dunno.
So anyway, you know the Korean system, just like the Chinese system, all the paternal cousins have one of their two syllables in their name the same. You’d think that makes it easier to remember Jieun’s cousins, but honestly, it’s a nightmare. Keeping straight won vs. hwan vs. hwa, stuff like that. To these Western ears, insane. The other thing about my ears is, I can’t pickup language cues in Korean, so I’m constantly laughing at stuff that’s not supposed to be funny and people give me a strange look. The literal translation is funny in English, but it’s quite the opposite in Korean. Not easy.
I’m really glad I switched jobs before going. Explaining what I did at my old place was fairly difficult even in English, forget Korean. Now, I just say the name and everyone recognizes it, no one asks more questions. A godsend.
Did I ever explain why I switched? Ted doesn’t understand it, thinks it’s just more of the same. What it is is this. My natural state is inertia. Sometimes inertia’s good, if it’s like sticktoitness, but when it means staying in the same bad situation, it’s awful, because I just end up doing nothing about it. And I’m tired of that. So I decided, given my nature, if I know what I’m doing is not good, it’s more important that I just do something, anything, different, instead of waiting to figure out the perfect thing to do. Because, again, given my nature, I’ll end up waiting forever. Better to do something proactive about it then sit around forever and whine.
My dad has long said the reason for my inertia/laziness is because I’m a perfectionist. I won’t do something unless I can do it perfectly and completely, and since that’s rarely possible, I usually end up doing nothing. There’s truth to that I think, and it’s something I’m trying to actively combat in my life. So given the choice between doing nothing while figuring out what I’m supposed to do and doing something while figuring out what I’m supposed to do, I’ll do the latter. And that’s why I switched.