A few days late, but Happy Seollal
(Lunar New Year
) everyone!. Here in Korea
, we all ate our ddeok guk
(rice cake soup) on Saturday, and got a year older. I'm 25 now, although still just 23 back in Canada
(see Korean age system
for details on why this is).
Unfortunately, the biggest holiday in Korea is also the most boring time of year for a foreigner, because everyone goes to spend it with their families (the whole family goes to the house of the oldest living relative), so most stores are closed, no one goes out to the bars, etc. The whole country is like a ghost town.
To deal with the Seollal boredom, I bought myself a Samsung DVD player-VCR (445,000 Won at Carrefour) on Friday. Now I can watch Korean movies, since the DVDs have English subtitles available, while the video tapes don't. That evening, my girlfriend, Eun Jung came over, and I took her to the video store (which was open, fortunately) to rent a movie. I was expecting to just get one and then go out to do something else, but she picked out three, which we then watched back-to-back. We saw I Am Sam, and two Korean movies; one was a romance called "Lover's Concerto" (I can't remember the Korean title), and the other was a thriller called "Phone" (same name in Korean). I found both a little bit hard to follow, even with the subtitles, because both involved minor characters that I kept getting confused, because Korean names are all so similar to the Western ear/eye, and the actresses all looked quite similar (Hollywood actresses all look alike too, but coupled with the fact that it's harder for a Westerner to tell two Asian faces apart, it makes it quite difficult). I watched Phone a second on Sunday, and it made more sense that time, since knowing the surprise ending in advance made some earlier events a bit clearer.
Saturday, Eun Jung came over again, but we were all movied out from watching three in a row the night before. There isn't much to do in Suncheon at any time, and on Seollal weekend, it was completely dead, so we eventually decided to take a trip to Mokpo. If you're in Korea, don't go to Mokpo. It's boring as hell, and I don't think that was just because it was the holiday weekend. It's a waterfront town, but too industrialized to be beautiful. Despite having a higher population than Suncheon, the downtown is even more lacking in interesting bars or restaurants.
The long weekend over, it's back to work. I have a new girl in one of my classes. The other two girls in the class had chosen the English names "Candy" and "Sandy," so I tried to name this one "Mandy," to complete the set, but she decided on "Olivia" instead.
At long last, I'm going to be a published author! I've done a couple of freelance writing projects for roleplaying game companies, but both projects got hung up with all sorts of delays for years. Finally, three years later, Clockworks Games is finally going to publish Asylum: Eastern Seaboard, to which I contributed a section on post-apocalyptic Montreal. I wonder if Grey Ghost Publishing is every going to publish the FUDGE sourcebook that I helped write for them. I don't even know if they still have my email address to get in touch with me if they do. I've sort of given up on ever getting money from them. Freelance RPG writing is not a good career choice, for anyone considering it. It pays fairly well (3 cents US a word, so if you're a fast writer, like me (500-1000 words an hour; the writing, not just the typing), you can get about 15-30$ an hour), but most companies only pay you when they actually publish... and small companies tend to take years from conception to printing.