Monday, September 29, 2008

Paradise Found Plunging Headlong Into the Abyss


On September 6th, 2008, I began a relationship with a Korean woman.

Just when you'd think I would have run out of interesting things to say about this country, a new porthole opens up, and, being the curious dolt that I am, I, of course, step straight in.

Her name is Kim HeeJung. She is 32 years old and doesn't speak much English, although in the 30 days she's spent living in my "house", her English ability has easily more than doubled.

I need to say this up front. Korean women are absolutely amazing. The amazing thing about them is how utterly bizarre they can be. The most striking example I can think of off hand is her absolute insistance that I place my used toilet paper in the wastebasket, rather than flush it down the toilet. I've been happily and successfully flushing my streaks down the porcelain gullet for most of my human existence. I suppose if you factor in the sum-total-yet-still-few hours of unpleasantry spent plunging away at some mysterious clog, almost uniformly something(?!) other than TP, I may have to submit that a very, very small percentage of my human life has involved some dealing with the aftermath of a vomitous toilet bowl.

But she swears -- I have come to appreciate this through a charade-like-enacted explanation including sound effects that is worthy of YouTube.com -- she swears that if you continue to put toilet paper down the toilet, you will have a bathroom filled with shit. What's more, if her charade is accurate and not at all an exaggeration, then the walls will be covered, as well as the floor. Some of the regurgitated material may perhaps even drift as high as the ceiling. The thought of cleaning such a mess nearly scared me into believing her.

But then my senses returned.

It turns out her mother taught her this. Now, I know that she is not the only Korean who believes as much. In the Incheon University public john stalls there is a wastebasket next to each toilet. It only takes one encounter with a half-opened lid to realize that Korea deserves its age-old moniker: Country Most Unwilling to Part with its Personal Production of Waste (or something similar).

<...now another month has expired since the above section was written...>

It is November 3rd. Kim HeeJung is the one. There is no doubt about it.

Korean tradition is so strong that much of our future hinged upon the frightful meeting with her parents. Apparently, her father is of the old school Korean mentality -- i.e. marrying a foreignor is strictly forbidden, and any mixed-blood offspring are considered demonspawn. Nonetheless, I did meet my future mother-in-law. She must like me, because she is already planning a Spring 2009 Wedding.

I hope as many of you as possible can attend. I will provide a date in a future post, after more details fix themselves. It is considered bad fortune if a groom doesn't have adequate representation at the wedding. Cognizant of this, I have done my part to make slews of Korean friends, so the familial or comeradique pressure won't be so great on you to attend. Still, we'd love to have you! And I likely won't leave Korea now...or ever.

I have found my paradise. It is in the arms of HeeJung.

1 comment:

rradzville said...

Congrats Jed! When I read the part about throwing used toilet paper in the trash, I experienced a major sense of deja vu, as that is also the standard practice in Baghdad when I was there, the reasoning being, it's one of the oldest cities in the world,and they've still got the original plumbing system. :) How much are tix from the East Coast to Korea?