If you have read my blog and find it fascinating, distasteful or anything in-between, I want to know!
Emails are pleasant, they make me feel like I’ve left the cave for two minutes. You can send questions and concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org. I usually respond in 1-3 days, depending on how busy I am and whether or not I have access to the Internet.
Please don’t write to me in all caps. That looks like yelling, and disrupts my ladylike sensibilities. That also makes you look crazy, and I don’t like crazy people. I also don’t like it when people write without capital letters, or in cRaZY caps. That just makes you look stupid.
I realize that most people who visit “Musings” for the first time are interested in learning about South Korea. And although I left Paju City in December 2006, I will still do my best to help you.
Korea-related topics I’m eager to address:
What to bring to Korea.
How to find a good school.
How to avoid a bad school.
What to expect at the workplace. (Considering I’ve only worked at one school in Korea, I’m not an expert by any means. However, I am willing to share my own experiences.)
Temples I’ve visited. If you want to know more about the temple from Meat, Men and Meditation, I can give you directions, the temple’s website and contact information.
Good books on learning the Korean alphabet and language.
Programs on learning the Korean alphabet and language.
Topics on Korea I won’t discuss:
Korean men vs. Western men. (As of now, I’ve dated neither during my stay here. And I hate generalizations, so I’m not going to write about which race is more dominating, which dresses better and which boasts the bigger penis. So don’t bother!)
Legal matters regarding your hagwon.
Politics. Yes, I do discuss North Korea from time to time, but I can’t give you a thesis on why Kim Jong Il is really the devil in a short, Asian male-looking disguise. I also can’t tell you why capitalism is superior to communism. Well, maybe I can, but there are people who are far more capable of providing an explanation without resorting to phrases like “because I said so” and “so-and-so is a dummy.”
Now, on to reader inquiries.
Don’t get the wrong idea, I don’t get a slew of love/hate mail for this blog. I actually average about two emails a month for “Musings.” Friends and family occasionally ask about specific posts, but they know I don’t like to talk about the blog in person.
However, I enjoy emailing people back individually. If you have one simple question and don’t want any of my drunken ramblings, well, that’s what this section is for.
Why do you post your journal online?
When I was in Korea, “Musings” made me go out and do stuff. I could have gone the way of most expats and gone drinking/sleeping/screwing every weekend, but I knew people wouldn’t want to read about it. So the blog was basically a way to push myself out of the door and take on new opportunities.
Once I flew back to California, I decided to keep up the site so I can share my other interests besides travel, like baking, writing and comic books. Also, I was exposed to other blogs that encouraged me to experiment with other writing styles. In the beginning, “Musings” was kind of written in a somber, reflective manner. And although I fall into funks from time to time, I am not a depressing person.
After I moved to Santa Rosa I decided that I would take my writing–and myself–less seriously, and kind of turned the blog in a new direction. You’re still going to get moodier posts, but I’d like to think those will be balanced with lighthearted bullshitting.
Why did you give up your anonymity?
I was anonymous for two reasons:
1) I didn’t want to lose my job.
2) I wanted to protect my family.
I soon realized that I really do not have anything to worry about. I don’t talk shit about my job, because I really do like it. And although my mom complains about the content every now and then, for the most part she enjoys my posts. I don’t list real names on the blog, including my own. So no, I don’t think I will get dooced or disowned any time soon.
You post too many photos of yourself. Where are all the travel pictures?
I realize the blog has been narcissistic for the past few months. I plan on uploading more photos (and videos!) from Korea and Japan in the near future, but those take a while to fix on my computer.
What camera do you use? Do you edit your pictures?
The first few photos on “Musings” were taken with an Olympus CAMEDIA C-300Zoom. It had only 3.0 megapixels but it took decent photos.
Before I vacationed in Japan, I bought a DiMAGE X-1, which boasts 8.0 megapixels. But I have had very little success with that camera, and when I’m short on time I would much rather use my 1.3-megapixel Motorola RAZR camera phone.
Before uploading my pictures to Flickr, I usually adjust the focus, lighting and coloring on Ulead PhotoImpact XL. And no, I do not make myself skinnier or fairer in my pictures. Ulead doesn’t have those features (I think?), and I wouldn’t do that to myself anyway. Not that there’s anything wrong with Photoshopping yourself, but my family would heckle me if I tried to skewer my image, and I try not to provide them with any ammunition.
Now that you’re not an English teacher, what do you do?
I do editorial work for a small newspaper in central California.
You mentioned a graphic novel a few months ago and I volunteered to read it. What happened?
My job, that’s what.
I also shortened the story to just three chapters, or issues, to make the book more appealing for publishers. I cut out a few characters, which meant I had to change the plot. So I’m basically starting over.
If you volunteered to read the story, I have not forgotten! You will still get to critique my work. And I appreciate your help.
I am an artist! And I am very interested in your graphic novel. Can I send you some samples of my work?
Actually, no one has ever asked me this question but I thought I’d throw it in there, because I am desperate for an illustrator.
YES! Yes, I will see your work. I can’t afford to pay you in anything but prunes, though. But has anyone ever told you prunes are good for your digestion? So if you really are interested, email me and send me your name, telephone number and describe your style or what artists have inspired you.
What happened to K?
Surprisingly enough, people ask about this guy more than anyone else from the blog. K and I fell out of our “friendship.” We didn’t have a huge fight, we just lost touch after the events of “Full Moon.”
Also, I did not sleep with him! Geez. The guy treated me like shit, okay? We had a few dates and slept in the same bed, but we never made squishy sounds with our bodies. I found him repulsive when he was drunk, and unfortunately he was drunk most of the time we were together.
As for The New Yorker, we did not speak after “Full Moon, Part Three.” Recently he sent me an email, inviting me to Facebook, but it wasn’t a personal letter at all.
Can you speak Korean?
I can only recite short phrases. I used to read fairly well, but since I left Korea I haven’t practiced.
Are you Korean?
No. I am 100 percent Filipino, and a naturalized U.S. citizen. I probably know more Korean than Tagalog, though.
How were your experiences in Korea as an Asian, as opposed to someone who doesn’t look Korean?
Very different. I was able to blend in more, and sometimes locals were more willing to chat me up. On the other hand, Caucasians were definitely seen as more “special” and more American. But overall I liked pretending I was Korean. I can’t imagine what it’s like to get stares wherever I go.
Will you go back to Korea?
If I can afford to visit I will. I love Korean food, the language and people. However, there are other places I’d like to tour first.
Someone once asked if I would work for a newspaper in Korea. If I didn’t have my current job, I would.