Sunday, February 28, 2010

Foreign toilets.

I thought my days of embarrassing toilet moments were over. I share the following story with you in order to entertain you at my expense.

Today I traveled south to Yongsan to see Stephanie Houston. (Mercy Monarchs...flutter flutter 4 EVA) We had a very enjoyable evening, which almost made up for what had happened earlier in the day...

I was making a transfer at one of the subway stations and I had what one might call a bathroom emergency. (I have a lot of bathroom emergencies for being a twenty-six year old, but that's for another day and an extremely bored audience.) I really, really had to go. I saw a sign that said restrooms were 90 meters away, and although I had no idea what distance that was, I hoped it was close. I made my way there only to find that there was only one regular toilet and it was taken.

Now, let me clarify. There were many available stalls, but all of them were labeled with a sign that did not look like a toilet (see below). It looked like a bidet. I now know that it was a "squat toilet." However, I had never ventured into one of these bathrooms due to my fear of the unknown, so I could only assume they were the mystical toilets that Chin-Hwa had told me about.

I was desperate, so I entered one of the open stalls. (I figured it was a better choice than peeing my pants or crawling under the occupied door of the regular toilet. You be the judge.) The toilet was closer to a hole in the ground that was surrounded by porcelain so it would not look like a hole in the ground. It looked like a toilet bowl that was laid into the floor. It had water and could be flushed and everything. Needless to say, I didn't have time to dwell on the particulars. I had to go. I unzipped, crouched down, and let it fly.

I missed.


The details aren't important. I'll just say that it was embarrassing and required more clean up than I had hoped. I am not not proud, but I can say that I will indeed try again. After I ask Chin-Hwa for some directions.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Last Sunday was Korean New Year, also known as Seollal, Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year, depending on one's mood and location. On this day, Koreans go and meet their families and celebrate their ancestry. Most Koreans travel to their hometowns if possible, and spend the day eating and celebrating. Chin-Hwa had a long weekend and we were lucky to see his late father's family on the holiday.

Meeting Chin-Hwa's family is always awkward for me. I can't communicate with them, my chopstick usage is faulty at best, and I have a really hard time sitting on the floor for long meals. Chin-Hwa's cousin's kids Eun-Bin and Ji-Bin were very excited to see me (duh!) and quickly began to make fun of Chin-Hwa's accent, which is one of their favorite pastimes. Ji-Bin asked me many questions, none of which I understood but she was persistent, and even sat on my lap and tried to see if I would give her my necklace. Please keep in mind that Ji-Bin is the same girl who infamously asked for my beloved Hello Kitty phone bauble, which Chin-Hwa freely offered to her because she cried (he's such a wimp). I told her she could not have my necklace because it was a gift from my grandma. She saw this as an acceptable excuse, and proceeded to giggle as I tried to eat my kimchi.

Chin-Hwa's family were very nice and polite, and I took some pictures with them to share. They gave Chin-Hwa trouble for not having taught me Korean yet and smiled and nodded as I asked them questions through Chin-Hwa. Overall, it was a very enjoyable holiday and one I hope I'll be able to celebrate again.

Please enjoy the picture album below if you want to see a bunch of Koreans and me:

Friday, February 12, 2010

A confession...

...I'm not much of a dog person. There are a few exceptions to this general rule (Sophie Anzur and Wendy when she's not puking or barking) but if you own a dog, and you asked me what I thought of said dog, and I was feeling scandalous, I would probably admit that I'm not a fan. Please don't take it personally. Dogs are just to eager and too smelly. I prefer the standoffish, near hatred that cats offer.

I bring this up because it seems as though about half of the residents in our apartment complex own at least one dog. I always catch them gathering, discussing the merits of treats vs. punishment, snausage vs. puppy chow, and other such doggie things, and I try to shirk away quietly. Their dogs can always sense me passing, and seem to see it as an opportunity to convert me from my cat-loving ways. They bound up to me, drooling all the way, and then I am forced to reach down and pet them. Why, you might ask? Because I have this strange idea that any one else would do the same thing. I can't openly scorn a stranger's pet, unless it is actively attacking me. It would be in poor taste.

Imagine my disappointment when I opened the elevator door recently to find an eager dog owner and her even more eager companion. I was trapped. I had to reach down with my hand outstretched. I let her dog show me adoration for what I felt was an appropriate amount of time. Her dog licked my arm up to my elbow, despite me sending it body language signals to stop while it was still ahead. What did the woman say to me next?

"Be careful. He's been eating his poop today."

That would have been helpful information FIVE MINUTES AGO. Who the heck do you think you are? Do you think I like having poopy slobber hands? NO. I was upset.

And this is was yet another reason for me to silently scorn dog owners. Who would let a dog lick a stranger before telling said innocent stranger that the dog had a dirty secret?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Trashy television

*Editor's note: Yes, I do look crazy in this picture. Why? Because that's how I feel on the inside when I watch Jeff Probst announce the next kooky challenge for immunity. Still.*

Although I have not had a television with cable for the last few years, my fascination with trashy reality television has only worsened.

There was something about watching Tila Tequila's Shot at Love (and part two...I'm not too ashamed to admit that I, too, wanted to know if she would find love the second time around) or the more recent Jersey Shore that makes me feel so intrigued. I spend the hour judging the actions of the participants on these shows (Ronnie! Don't punch him!), whilst I sit, covered in thousands of tiny, sharp pieces of skittles that missed my mouth and using my toe to move the mouse so I don't have to get up.

Chin-Hwa likes to make disparaging remarks about my television choices, as if his YouTube binges consisting of 80s and 90s hits are far superior (Toto? Really?), but even he can't quite look away in the middle of The Bachelor. I could say that I watched it to see the beautiful and familiar scenery of San Francisco, but really I just wanted to know if Ali would finally slap Vienna or not.

I've heard that people can make a living doing cultural studies. I want in on this mythical cash cow. I want to be featured on Bravo, analyzing the upcoming season of the Real Housewives of New Jersey. Maybe I'll even try out for the 50th season of Survivor and pretend to be the dumb blonde who later reveals that she has a Nobel prize...oh, I'm dreaming big, people. And it's all centered around t.v.

Until then, I'll waste far too much time gaping at others' life choices and pretending like I know enough about fashion to tell who's going to make it on America's Next Top Model or Project Runway.