Expat Dribble

Andrea Avery Jackley: An expat with lots of dribble to write about.


I got my first taste of Korean teenage rebellion in Seoul this weekend, when I noticed the side of a building spray painted with the word “sex”. This is a rare occurrence in Korea, where the general public does crazy things like line-up orderly at the city bus stop.

To really demonstrate for you the obedience of this homogenous population, I give you exhibit A: The motorized street manaquin that directs traffic around road construction sights. In any self-respecting Western nation (well, except maybe Britain) the dummy would be destroyed – its body parts strewn across the whole neighborhood; head tied to a stake perhaps – within hours, if not minutes. But not in Korea. Here, these faux-roadside workers live on until their batteries give out.

So, needless to say, the random graffiti shocked me. But inside my insolent self was silently rooting on those gutsy kids – and maybe even hoping they nurtured their offbeat ways. Korea could use a little more of that spirit.

We got a good cold snap here in Chongju, and I realized the pains of living in a country with a winter (well, still a semi-winter by Minnesotan standards, but nonetheless…) that’s only equipped with a floor heating system. That’s right, the only thing in Korean homes that’s heated is the floor. For sleeping, of course, and this is all done with the boiler. So for a few nights when the temperature was in the teens (below zero Celsius here, which had everyone crazy), I was huddled under several blankets. I finally bought a cheap, small space heater. And then it warmed up. Of course.


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