Friday, October 5, 2012

10 Ways to Make Time Fly In October

So you've run around getting things stamped and signed, and maybe you've sent your mountain of paperwork in to your recruiter, or directly to EPIK. Well, if you haven't sent them in yet,

What the hell are you waiting for?
Get a move on! EPIK started accepting applications sent in by recruiters today. And it's first come, first served.

If you're on the ball, and have sent all the things in, you've levelled up! Congratulations. You have progressed to the next stage: Waiting for an Interview.

And waiting... And waiting some more...

Even playing your invisible playstation won't help that email come any faster.
It's so close, but just out of reach. So, how can you make October go by a little faster? Well, let's think positively and assume that you will get the interview, and you will pass it.

1. Make a bucket list.
List all the things you want to do before you skip town, or all the things you want to do in Korea.
For bonus time-wasting points, research all the things and find out how easy, cheap and amazing they will be (or won't, depending). Make a horribly complicated spreadsheet with all this information on it. Colour code it.

My list is here.

2. Inevitable Facebook time-wastage.
Post links to anything and everything vaguely related to Korea on the EPIK facebook group and get sucked into absorbing, exciting and interesting comment threads with your future potential friends.
For bonus time-wasting points, face-stalk the members of the group. Creep.

In the end, everything comes down to the hip thrusting.

3. Get to know your POE/MOE on Google Earth.
Not as dull as it sounds, actually, and you can spend hours and hours following bike trails along rivers - wait, what the hell is that, Daegu?

Is it a maze? Some kind of weird Korean Sports field? A macrochip? A very well-groomed crop... rectangle?
4. Start learning Korean
There are some great websites with free resources for you to start teaching yourself Korean. Let me break it down for you:

KWOW - Korean Word of the Week. I found this youtube channel a while back, which helps with some vocab in her KWOW program, as well as various other cultural snippets. She's also ridiculously adorable. sends (sometimes awkwardly funny) sentences of the day to your inbox, as well as having a bunch of vocabulary-building resources on the website.

The best so far, however, is Talk To Me In Korean - amazingly well-explained and in-depth lessons that teach you not just handy phrases here and there but actually how to correctly construct sentences, and what all the bits and bobs mean. It's awesome! I worked through ten lessons today, and now I can have this hypothetical conversation:

Waegook: 이거 커피 예 요        This is coffee.
Coffee:  안녕하세요! (^_^)         Hello!
Ajumma: 이거 뭐 예요?              What is this?
Waegook: 커피가 예요.              It's coffee,
Ajumma: 커피가 예요? 아니요... 이거 커피 는 이에요!    You call this coffee? No... THIS is coffee!
Waegook: 저 친구가 없에요... (ᅲ.ᅲ)         I have no friends.

So, you know... Useful things.

5. Become addicted to K-Drama
K-Drama refers to soapies made in Korea. But they're not quite like what your western idea of a soapie is.

Less this:

More this:

He has to clean up her puke AND give her a piggy back? Seriously?
Some recommendations to get you started:

My Sassy Girl - Better than the American remake, and pictured above. Boy meets girl. Girl passes out. Boy drags girl to love motel. Less creepy than it sounds. Maybe.
I'm a Cyborg but that's OK. - Girl thinks she's a robot and has to be checked into a mental institution. Kinda cute, actually. You'll like this if you enjoyed Amelie.
200 Pounds Beauty. - Who couldn't love a movie whose message is that the only way to succeed in life is to have extreme plastic surgery? I am not being serious. I am being sarcastic. It's a fun movie though.
Oldboy - A change in tone. Disturbing. Not for the faint of heart (or stomach). Best known for the infamous Octopus scene.

Boys before Flowers: Uh. I don't even know how to begin to describe this. Basically, 4 ridiculously 'attractive' (by Korean standards) men at an elite private school rule the school and are fundamentally evil bullies, in my opinion. But we're supposed to like them anyway. I think the main character, a working-class dry-cleaning girl, makes this show worth watching.
You're beautiful: A catholic nun stands in for her twin brother (whose plastic surgery has gone horribly wrong) in an all-boy band. She's in drag, and wonderfully androgynous. Light and entertaining. A fair bit of projectile vomiting and suggested nudity. Hooray for Korean TV.
Coffee Prince: More androgyny (get used to it!). So butch she's kicked out of the girls' section of the jjimjilbang, this poor delivery girl ends up working at a coffee shop staffed by studly men (and pretending to be one). Hilarity ensues. Some weepy bits too.
Love Rain: A couple of boy hipsters fight over a girl-hipster. Lots of rain and arty shots. Nice music, though, and some good writing.
Moon and Stars for You: horribly cheesy and yet hopelessly addictive, and bizarre series revolving around people involved in the running of a bread company (in which bread is seen as the holy grail of foods, more like cake than like the thing we use to get tasty spreads/sandwich fillings into our mouths) and a whole lot of love triangles.

6. Learn some catchy K-Pop songs
I'm not talking about Gangnam style, now. Everyone knows Gangnam Style. I'm thinking more along the lines of songs by Wondergirls, Big Bang, Super Junior, B2ST and so on. They're corny as hell but learning the lyrics can be a bit of a tongue twister, so that's bound to pass the time swiftly. Bonus points if you can sing and do the dance moves at the same time.

And a one, and a two, and a one, two, three...

(Eoddeokhajyo)  Eoddeokhajyo
(Ddeollineun naneun)  Ddeollineun naneunyo
(Doogeun x 4) Doogeun Doogeun georyeo bameh jamdo mot eerujyo
Na neun na neun babon gabwayo geu dae bakkeh moreuneun babo geuraeyo geu dae boneun nal
Neomu banjjak banjjak noonee booshyeo no no no no
Neomu Kkamjjak Kkamjjak nolla naneun oh oh oh oh oh
Neomu jaritjarit momee Ddeollyeo Gee gee gee gee gee
Jeojeun noonbit (Oh yeah) Joeun hyanggi (Oh yeah yeah yeah)   
("Gee" by Girls Generation)

7. Learn the National Korean Stretching Routine

So far this list has been restricted to things you can do while sitting on your lazy bum, with your face in the internet. Get up. Start moving. Learn this by heart. Here is a video. Good luck.

8. Read up on Korea
Get your hands on any writing remotely to do with Korea; blogs, magazine articles, travel brochures. But most time-consuming of all (and this is our aim, remember), read some actual books.

Nothing to Envy, by Barbara Demmick This book made me cry. It has also made me determined to find some sort of volunteer work in Korea through which I can help refugees/defectors.

9. Meditate
Korea is a buddhist nation, and meditation is a great way to calm yourself, clear your head, and take stock of exactly what's happening right. This. Instant. Read up on buddhist methods and give it a try. What have you got to lose? The worst that can happen is that you'll doze off.

This is as good a place to start as any.

10. Create a photographic tour of your home town to show kids (and mine for vocabulary) when you get to Korea.
Another one to get you moving, and also to get you out of the house. Grab a camera and walk or drive around your town, taking photos of all the things that make it quintessentially HOME-ish to you.

An example from Grahamstown:

Rush hour.

If you're feeling creative and have more time to kill than you thought you would, turn it into a film, with an awesome soundtrack. I bet the kids will love it. And it's a nice way to say goodbye.

(I suppose an eleventh item could be 'Write a blog post listing 10 ways to waste/pass the time'). Writing this post has taken me 3 hours... and now it's 3am. Sheesh. 

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