Friday, September 12, 2008


It's a five-day weekend for me as billions swarm across this microscopic nation to celebrate Chuseok, Korea's sorta-Thanksgiving. All the trains are booked. All the highways have traffic. Fortunately I'm not going anywhere.

Instead, on my first day off I went looking for a haircut. My first haircut in Korea took place in July and it was horrible. It was some old guy who took almost an hour. He didn't use any kind of buzzer, snipping one hair at a time, I swear. Today I wanted something better.

I walked over to a grungier neighborhood that I like and found a place. In English it said "Men & Women" on the sign. I'm a man, I thought. I can get a haircut here.

An oldish woman was sweeping in front of the shop. I made a scissor-cutting motion and pointed to my head. She nodded.

"Olma-eyo?" I said.

She held up five fingers.

"OK," I said.

She cut it, did an awesome job, then shampooed it. All for $4.50.

So she is my new hair stylist.

That's all I really wanted to accomplish this vacation. Anything else is icing on the cake. The rest of my time will depend on how many stores, bars, and restaurants are open this weekend.

Holidays kind of mean nothing to me now. I breezed through July 4th and September 11th without nary a thought, but my co-teachers were concerned that I wouldn't have family to celebrate Chuseok with. They fail to see that Chuseok is meaningless to me - just time off. Wherever I'm living, I'd rather have my holidays selectable by me and not synchronized by the state.

Actually, wherever I'm living, I'd rather not work at all.

Check out this clay guy my students made me. I don't know if it's supposed to be me.

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