By the way:
I had to turn on word verification on my comment board. Sorry: the spammers were starting to smell.
You'll also notice my blog suddenly goes back to 2003: blogger added an option where I can change the date of posting, so that I could retroactively date the early posts, which were e-mails sent to friends and family about Korea during my pre-blogging days, on the dates when I sent them, instead of having thirty-one posts on November 26th 2006, or whenever it was I started this blog. I'll also re-date things like supplementary or background posts, eventually, so that they don't clutter things up.
I've been meaning to put this up for a while, just so you all know what a nice guy I am, but I've been putting it off to be snarky (see previous post).
In case you ever doubted. . .
This happened a while ago now (back in April, in fact), but I wanted to write about it, because it was a nice experience.
I was bopping around with the staff-room nutter, Danielle, one fine afternoon. I showed her a nice little bakery by piccadilly cinema, and then, as we headed down one of the lovely little narrow alleys in that area, I saw a young, obviously foreign girl (white), and her friend, looking around with a kind of upset, worried, "what do I do now?" face.
Seeing as I've lived downtown for a while, I consider it my karmic duty to help out lost tourists, when I have the time -- because back in my first year, I'd have wanted somebody to come by and say, "Are you looking for something?" to me when I was lost. So I went up to the two young ladies, and asked exactly that.
"Uhh, yeah, um, I lost my wallet in the movie theatre, and my flight back to America leaves in five hours."
Well, first I helped her find a PC room where she could find her bank's phone number, and then lent her my calling card so she could cancel her card.
Next, we brought her and her Korean friend down to the nearest police box to report the missing wallet. It was a cute little scene in there, as we went in, and Dani and I sat in a corner to watch, and slowly, the police box filled up with officers checking out the pretty young American girl in making a report. When we showed up, there were about four police officers in the room, and by the time we finished, there were about eleven in the small room, just milling about, glancing surreptitiously, and obviously smitten.
After that, we checked one more time at the cinema: no dice, and I suggested, "Well, we could stay here and worry a little longer about something we can't change, or we could go for a walk in a really nice park. What say you?"
We decided to go walking around in a nice park.
Right next to picadilly, where Jenny lost her wallet, is a really nice place called Jongmyo Shrine. I've written about it before, and it's one of my favourite places in all of Seoul, and it was close enough to take Jenny around a pretty piece of Korea's history before she had to catch the bus back to the airport. (Luckily, her plane ticket and her passport were in her bag, so she was out cash, some ID, and some pride, but not missing anything really crucial). In the end, it was a really pleasant afternoon. We gave her some cash for the bus to the airport and some munchies (practically had to force it on her), and wished her happy trails.
We told her to pay it forward, and pass our good deediness on to someone else, and I was glad to have a chance to help someone have a somewhat better experience of Korea. Frankly, helping out a down-and-out pacific northwester made me happy for a good three days, too.
So, all you veterans in Korea: when you see someone with the "where am I right now?" face on, go forth and do likewise. Remember: you were a newbie here once, too.
P.S.: for news of the goofy:
Here are some of the pizza crusts I must work hard to avoid eating in Korean pizza shops (generally I just avoid pizza altogether here):