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Garbage and the Kindness of Strangers

I didn't make it to the internet cafe this weekend so I'm still finding minutes between class to update. I have yet to plan any of the 5 classes I have this afternoon and since I have to be in class in another 20 minutes, this will be brief.

This weekend had its ups and downs. I'm very conscious of the fact that I have not exercised and thinking that I need some happy hormones to begin floating again. I am also aware that culture shock hits you in many different ways at different times.

Sunday I was left quite annoyed..at everything. There is this whole garbage system which we haven't really figured out and are not really sure who we're supposed to ask about. We had been told to leave our garbage out side our door and wait until Tuesday. Tuesday came and it was still there. On Sunday morning, I realised fruit flies were beginning to invade the garbage. I had left some food in one of the bags and the hallway was beginning to smell like shit.

For some reason, this put me at a real loss. I had visions all day of someone coming to the door, yelling at me in Korean about how messy I had left it outside.

I managed to clear the food, find the right place for it to go and at least rid the hallway of the smell. I have not, however, been able to rid the hallway of all the other garbage.

This drawn out story about garbage is really about the frustration of not being able to communicate. I can't read the signs. They might say something about garbage but how the hell will I know?

I made myself feel better by practicing more Korean.

But I had a great Saturday. Saturday I got to go to the movies. I got to eat popcorn. I got to sample some fantastic Vietnamese food. I got to build a stronger friendship with the two other teachers at my school. I got to meet other foreigners, all Canadian and I am reminded that even though we have a large country, we are the same, in some small way.

It was the kindess of the evening. The generosity of the people who to them, it was just a night of poker. For me, it was a bit of a light. It was a little home. And I left, amongst a monsoon to get to a cab, so grateful for their friendliness, pledging to myself that someday, I would return the favour to another new arrival.

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