Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Weekend with Roboseyo

Post soundtrack:
Don't Stop the Music, by Jamie Cullum

cross-posted at Nanoomi.net

The weekend before last was an interesting one for me.  Great, but also full of surprises.  Giving blood, a concert, and a flower boy, coming up...

First of all, after a bit of build-up, the 2S2 Meeting I wrote about earlier, met on Saturday afternoon at 2Pm, near Anguk Station.  We were planning to go down to the blood clinic in Shinchon.

Though there are now 350 or so people on the facebook page, only two people came to the 2S2 Meetup where we planned to give blood.

Maybe that was because all the talk of who can and who can't give blood... maybe it's because a Facebook promise means less than a pinky-swear, and maybe it's because everybody'd already given blood elsewhere.  I'll assume it's the third choice.

So those of us who were eligible to give blood headed to the clinic in Shinchon.  We were told several times that it would be very difficult to take foreigners' blood, for a few different reasons.  The biggest one was the requirement that foreigners have lived in Korea for the last year (continuously, according to some interviewers); secondly, we were quite clearly told that if I didn't speak Korean well enough to answer the questions in a Korean-only interview, without an interpreter, I couldn't give blood.  Now, blood doesn't have a language, so even though it seems to me that it wouldn't be hard to find a way to work around language gaps, for people who are willing to give blood, the clinic people were fairly emphatic about the language issue.  However, when we actually went to the clinic, they allowed the lovely Ms. Hwang (see the photo above) to help me out with the interview after all.  I had a translation of the interview questions in front of me, and we could have probably done the interview on our own, with a little pointing and nodding, and my limited Korean, but it worked out well with Ms. Hwang's help as well.  Once we figured out that I COULD give blood, the process was almost too easy.

I gave blood.  The needle hurt, but I didn't cry.  Because I'm brave.

I'm AB+ - a somewhat rare type, but unfortunately not the type that YooWoon Jeon needs; however, it felt good to give blood, and I'll do it again in two months, when I'm once again eligible.

That night I saw a concert by Jamie Cullum, a British pop/jazz artist whom Girlfriendoseyo adores.  Before the show, we got some free coffee from this table:

It was free, so we got what we paid for... but it was so weak we couldn't even tell whether it was supposed to be coffee or tea, and we left it on top of the trash can, where everybody else left their sad, abandoned cups.  The bathroom sink counter was also littered with cups, where people had poured out their swamp-water.

the coffee was so bad nobody seemed to finish their cup

As for the Jamie Cullum concert, he was awesome: his singing voice is beautiful, cool and smooth but also youthful and energetic (if you played the soundtrack at the top of the post, you're listening to him now).  All through the show, it was obvious that he was having more fun than anybody else in the building, and he not only performed a fantastic live set, but he entertained the heck out of every audience member.

We weren't actually supposed to take pictures, but during the second encore ("High and Dry") everyone else had their cameras out, so I didn't see the harm in getting out mine.  Maybe later I'll put up video of the audience singing along on Youtube.  It was a sweet moment.

Jamie Cullum in Concert

On Sunday, I met some friends at Yeouido park to see the cherry blossoms that hadn't quite come out yet.

Yeouido Park was packed with people.[/caption]

The picnic was good, though I was a bit late; however, the highlight of my day was this guy, who was prancing around dressed in pink, plastic flowers, motioning or asking for people to take their pictures with him.  I'm not sure whether he was doing it because he lost a bet, or was being initiated into a super-cool club (and he'd better be on the fast-track for president, if that's the case) or if he's just naturally like this, but this kid, who might have been fifteen, was the unexpected highlight of the Sunday.

This funny kid was posing for pictures

Thanks, buddy.

More later, readers!


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a fun weekend. Do you have a link to your post that explains 2S2? Sounds interesting.

Celebith said...


I'm interested in giving blood, but according to the donation guidelines at the last blood drive we had on military installations, we were told that if we'd been north of Seoul in the last year (to include day trips to the DMZ or JSA) we couldn't donate. Was this a requirement at the blood drive you went to?

Roboseyo said...

They asked about that, but I think it depends on how much time you spent north of Seoul - an afternoon might be OK, but living in Paju wouldn't be - for example, I'd been outside of Korea a few times, but they still let me give blood; however, it might be that they looked a little more carefully for certain things when they tested my blood, given the places I'd traveled.

Can't hurt to try, can it?

Eric: 2S2 has its own blog: you can read up on it there.


Bonnie said...

Hi Rob-

I'm AB+ too. I've given blood a few times in the US and am under the impression that our blood is not too in demand (since we've universal receivers but can only give to other AB folks). It still does feel good to give blood, though. I've only been in Korea 7 months, but will try in the future.

The Seoul Searcher said...

If someone tells you that you can't do something in Korea because you are a foreigner that doesn't really mean you can't do it. It means the process of foreigners doing it is a little bit more complicated and they don't want to deal with the problem because one extra customer/donation is not worth the hassle.

I have no sympathy for people who say that they can't get a cell phone.

The only case where this actually applies is registering for internet websites without a CRN that begins with 1 or 2.

I've been told by the immigration office that I didn't have the proper documents to renew my visa, only to collect said documents and go a week later. When I got there a different immigration officer didn't even ask to see the documents that the first one asked me to produce.

People are often incompetent in this way. I think they ought to go about things the way you did, by actually trying instead of giving up and complaining.

조안나 said...

I would love to give blood, but of the three times that I've given blood, 2 times have been disasters... The first time I gave, I fainted in the middle of a store, and the third time I gave I fainted at the table where I was supposed to rest after giving blood... then I vomited in my friend's car on the way home. I've got no problems with blood or needles, but my body just can't seem to handle the loss of blood...

beatnix said...

That last pic of you...LOL
Looks like you are about to have a "Crying Game" moment...