Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Night Life in Daejeon

Ok, so for those of you who've never set foot in Korea probably don't understand that the serious, studious Asian that you assume is a very responsible, non-partying adult does not exist. From the day they are born, Koreans are thrown into an everyday competition of who can be the best, the brightest, and the smartest. To achieve such an honor, they sacrifice most if not all of their childhood. Their childhood vanishes because as soon as they turn five years old they are given an adult-sized dish of stress. Many Korean children do not know exactly what it feels like to play because everything they do they are forced (by their parents) to be the best at. Their after school playtime consists of swim team (where they have to be the best), maybe baseball or soccer, and of course English school and/or Math school. Their elementary and middle school years fade quickly into high school which is significantly harder than Korean college. They have to study hard to get into a good college (even though once at said college its not as difficult). They want to get into a good college that will look good on their resume so they can get a high paying job. Once in college, they continue to study English so that they will have the best TOEIC score because a high TOEIC score almost guarantees a top job. So with all of this stress and no childhood memories what do these hardworking Korean adults do to stay alive? Drink. A LOT. Seven nights a week. While most of the world saves hardcore partying for the weekend, for Koreans, every night is a party. There is no prejudice. Which brings me to the beginning of my story...

Every morning I wake up at 7am and every night after school I go to the gym so I like to get a good night's sleep; so I go to bed early, around midnight. Last night was no different. I went to bed and was asleep for a good hour and a half or so when I woke up to a noise at my door. I laid still for a minute assuming it was my neighbor going into his apartment, but my heart sank when I realized someone was trying to unlock my door. I got out of bed and walked to my door to confirm whether it was in fact my door. I stood a bit shocked for a second and reminded myself that I did have three locks on my door. Two of which can only be unlocked from the inside. I also reminded myself that Korean men often come home drunk. So, I assumed after a few minutes he would realize his mistake and leave. A few moments later he did in fact walk away. He went up the stairs to try one of those doors. For some reason, he decided that those weren't right either and came back to my door once more to try again. This time, he wasn't giving up. Finally, I very rudely yelled at my door in Korean for him to go away. He spoke back to me in Korean asking me to let him in. Once again, I told him to leave. Then, I asked him what he was doing. Once again, very rudely. He would not leave. So I called my best friend, Jeffrey, to have the police come to my apartment. The guy hears me talking to Jeffrey in English. He realizes I don't understand what he's saying so he starts speaking to me in English. Say what?!?!?! How was he too drunk to figure out he was at the wrong apartment, but not too drunk to understand and speak to me in English? So then, I tell him in English that he needs to leave because it wasn't his apartment that I've been living in this apartment for over a year. It definitely wasn't his apartment. So then, he asks me to open the door and let him see that it wasn't his apartment. Hahaha. I was like...uummmmmmmm...no. I am not opening up my door to some drunk man. He was like please just let me in. After that I just stopped talking, shortly after that he left to try upstairs one more time before leaving the building. Two minutes after he left the building, the police show up. Guess who didn't speak English? That's right the police. How can a completely trashed man who can't find his own apartment speak better English than the police? Fortunately, I was able to get my point across that the guy had left and Jeffrey was on his way to my apartment to help me out. They told me (in Korean) to keep my door locked until he got there, and then they left. Very helpful right? I did have a description of the guy, but they didn't wait around for Jeffrey to come and help out. Anyways, Jeffrey comes, and he's like I kind of want to see if the guy is still walking around. So he suggested we go get some juice from GS25 across the street. As we are walking toward the front door of GS, I look at the window and notice its covered in bugs...hilarious right? I'm telling Jeffrey, "Ew, disgusting look at all those bugs..." when I look past the bugs and inside the GS is none other than the guy trying to get into my apartment. What??? I shrieked and ducked down and was squealing "That's him. That's him." Dude...how does that even happen? Only in my world does this stuff happen. Jeffrey went inside (I stayed in front of my apartment) and asked some questions. The guy said that he didn't do it and the cashier said that he'd been at the GS since about 1:30 which is just after the whole door incident (it was definitely him, I know it was), Jeffrey said the guy just made a mistake, and he waited with me until the guy went home. Wow, what a night, and of course, I still had to get up at 7am to go to work. Ugh.

This is the world I have come to live in, and oddly enough fallen in love with. Even though there are people that don't make it pleasant sometimes, that is life and I still love it here. It's the same everywhere. The thing is while it wasn't pleasant last night. It was hilarious in many ways, and I'm still not afraid to live in my apartment alone. Now, don't get me wrong, not all Koreans are like this. Most Koreans do know their limitations and are not drunkards. It is only every now and then that a situation such as this pops up. Who can blame them for wanting to have a bit of fun after missing out on such a precious thing as their childhood?