A Rather Honest Valentine

How’s that for a Valentine? One of the kids in my kindergarten class wrote this to one of her classmates. Chubby James didn’t seem to be too bothered by it, but I did catch him reading and re-reading it a few times.

In other Valentine’s related news, did you know that in Korea, women are expected to give men gifts on Valentine’s Day, not the other way around?! Women get gifts from men on White Day, a month later, on March 14th. And they made a holiday for all the single folk a month after that, called Black Day, where single people get to eat noodles with a black bean sauce and celebrate being single. Bet you won’t find Hallmark making White Day and Black Day cards anytime soon.

Moving Day

Since I’ve lived in some kind of house for most of my life, I never really thought about how people in apartments move in or out. I can imagine that it’s challenging to fit a couch in an elevator or move it up ten flights of stairs. In Seoul, they have figured out an ingenious solution to this problem; just take out the windows.

As shown below, you can avoid the hassle of moving all of your belongings out of a huge apartment building by ordering a truck service. They will take out your window and send a large ladder to your room. They put everything on the platform attached to the ladder and it swiftly moves to the ground where it is then loaded into a truck. Somebody was moving out in the building across from my classroom, distracting my kindergarten students and leading to a discussion about moving. Most of them have already moved multiple times in their few years and know the moving process well.

There was a big red truck parked out front for a few hours removing things from the apartment and then after it left a big white truck came and moved the new folks in. Everybody was moved out and in within about six hours. Incredible.

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Dongchimee: The Poopman

Instead of posting a picture of the week, I would like to share with you some epic pictures from this month, along with some very interesting insight into Korea.

Today I would like to bring to your attention a very strange infatuation we have discovered within Korean culture. Believe it or not, they really like poop here. Not in an unhygienic way, but I still find it rather disgusting and at the same time amusing. Kids of all nationalities enjoy talk of bodily fluids, so I guess it is understandable that my students like to discuss how disgusting all forms of poo are, including rotten poo. But Korea has taken this silly childhood obsession with poop a step further by giving into the infatuation and creating an incredibly popular cartoon character based on it.  I have tried researching the reasoning behind this craze, but all of my searches only resulted in people discussing its existence and that there is a similar craze in Japan.

Dave and I took a trip to the Heyri Artists’ Community outside of Seoul and stumbled upon the Dalki Theme Park, which I was completely tickled by. I can’t get past how wild this poop obsession is! At the end of the day, Dave had beautiful artisitc pictures from our visit and this is what I ended up with on my camera…

 

This is Dongchimee, who Dave and I referred to up until today as Poopman, until I researched him and discovered some very interesting nuggets of information regarding this ridiculous cartoon character. This image was on the side of an escalator in Heyri. Yes, you are seeing correctly, that is a massive turd next to him landing in a poop river. And his hat is in fact a poop swirl.

Dongchimee is friends with Dalki (AKA Strawberry), who is the main character of the Dalki cartoon.

This lovely picture of Dalki was featured on the bathroom stalls in the ladies room.

 

Dalki’s boyfriend is Subak (AKA Water Melon) and happens to have the same birthday as yours truly. How exciting.

The the sign for the mens room. This is Subak with a green turd on his head. He doesn't look too thrilled about it, but really, who would be?

I found a wonderfully descriptive profile of Dongchimee on the Dalki website.

Name : Dongchimee
Sex : Male
Hobby : Making art work using Dung
Constellation : Virgin (September 9)
Features : Creative only in Dung

Dongchimee, one of the characters of Dalkis, is different from Dalkis, the main character. Dalkis’ friends do not live in the neighborhood and live with Water Melon, Lemon, Dolbam, and Banana. Dongchimee loves Dung very much. It is his own creation. It is hard to adjust and makes him feel good every morning.

Dongchimee tries to test to have creations. He sometimes makes dung watery or dry. He makes sketches of such satisfactory dung and put it in a glass bottle. Dongchimee spends most time at home. He sticks out dung of others unconsciously when he is outside. He can’t stand just watching it. That’s why they call him “Dongchimee”.

The last part of the description refers to a popular prank here in Korea known as ddongchim. This is when you make your hands into a gun shape and poke your buddies in the butt. The translation of this wonderful action is poop stick/poke. So apparently Dongchimee likes to ddongchim people because he can’t stand just watching it. He really likes to get involved and help out. I would also like to point out the translation of virgo they chose to use under his constellation.Virgin is indeed the name of the constellation, but we usually say virgo when referring to our signs. In this case, the use of virgin instead of virgo seems more appropriate because how could this poop man not be a virgin? His hobbies do not seem like they would entice any woman or man.

 

The rest of the escalator shown at the beginning of this post.

 

The sign for the restrooms. Notice Dongchimee has face-planted into a a large pile of poo with a turd on his back. There are also jars of poo, he is picking at the poo, and he seems to have fallen into the toilet during a particularly exhausting poop.
I just had to have my picture taken next to Dongchimee. He is pooping while holding onto the arrow. What talent!
Dongchimee showing the way to the bathroom. If you follow the poop river on the wall, you will get there!
Same wall on the way into the bathrooms. Dongchimee appears to be admiring his poo collection.
This one is particularly disgusting. This is still on the way to the bathroom as well.
Now we've arrived at the ladies room and Dongchimee is having an emergency.

If you have fallen in love with Dongchimee, you can be friends with Dongchimee on Facebook by clicking here. And if you would like to see a short video introducing the Dalki cartoon characters, click here.

Before discovering this Dalki Theme Park in Heyri, Dave and I found Dongchimee envelopes at the dollar store which we gave as a Christmas present to one of our friends, who we thought might appreciate the absurdness of poop envelopes.

 

I also found this phone charm which I gave to one of our coworkers for Secret Santa last week. She introduced us to this insane poo craze. One of her students came to school on Halloween dressed up as a belly dancer with a poop mask fully equipped with flies on pipe cleaners protruding from her face. I kid you not.

That’s all I got. I hope you are as entertained by this as I am. I don’t think I will ever understand the poo obsession here in Korea, but at least I can giggle over it! Hope you weren’t eating when you read this!

Fun Facts 1 and 2:

FUN FACT 1:

The Thai translation of foreigner is farang, which also happens to be the same name for a guava. If you hear farang and you don’t see any guavas, then they are most definitely talking about you. I am referred to using this word so often that my new name has not just become Dee Dee, but also farang.

Thai is not the only language spoken here in Khon Kaen. Because we are so close to Laos, the majority of the population here can also speak a language called Isan, which is very close to the Lao language. In Isan, the word for guava is baksida and does not mean foreigner. If someone calls a foreigner baksida it is considered degrading because instead of calling them a farang they are purposely calling them a guava.

Don’t worry, I have not yet been called a guava in an offensive way.

FUN FACT 2:

Just like American dogs, Thai dogs are suffering from the stupidity of the dog clothes epidemic.

Poor Dog