I've lots or misplaced my Alien Registration Card. It's akin to loosing a driver's licence. Actually, I need it to get my driver's licence in Korea. I wrote about some of it here. What I haven't written about is my four subsequent driving test failures.
The first three times I took in a truck... because I checked the wrong box. The truck was a manual. I can drive a manual so when I failed the first time, I was stubborn. I'm going to pass this in a truck! I thought to myself. As if that proves anything.
By the third failure, I decided to ask for a car. Which, seeing that it was my third try, the department of motor vehicles obliged for a small fee. I love how small fees are in Korea. I mean they add up I guess, but it was a few bucks and I was set for my next test.
The thing is, I have no depth perception because my eyes don't work together. It's called an alternating eye. I was born with a muscle in the wrong place in my eye. But it wasn't properly diagnosed-- I was told I had a lazy eye until I was seventeen. By that time all the surgeon could do was move the muscle so kids would stop making fun of my eyes. She could not rewire my brain.
I get on in life quite well and can and do drive in the United States. I just drive slow and carefully and code the tricky spots such as a stoplight at the top of a hill into my muscle memory. I passed parallel parking when I was in high-school, but I practiced it until this action too was muscle memory. After getting my licence though, I didn't back muck. I didn't live in a particularly big city or go to university where parking was too difficult. I parked where I knew I could and avoid backing anywhere.
But in Korea everyone backs in. So the test includes backing into a parking spot, because that's how every parks in Korea.
On my fourth try at my Korean Driver's License I was given excellent news. Apparently I have failed so many times, the center has upgraded their test to all English!!!! No more English and wait for the Korean in Gangnam. Just English and the computer happily tells you every time you miss points. Let me tell you, when you're worried about failure, that doesn't exactly help. But at least I can count the ways I've failed.
Anyway, moving on. I went to Daegu in hopes of getting my ARC card reissued so that I can have one more try at the driver's licence before starting over.... except that it takes three weeks to replace.
Well, at least I haven't had to ride my bike in the rain.
The alarm on my phone rings and I hit snooze. Getting up on time has become an outright battle with me, myself and I. First, its cold. My apartment is on the second floor of the Korean equivalent of a strip mall in Bongheyon. I often say I'm in Punggi because its big enough to find on a map... some of the time.
Koreans use a type of heating called ondul. You heat the water, water runs through pipes under the floor, heating the floor, heating the apartment. This is ancient technology, stretching back thousands of years. In some ways it's very effective. Sit on a hot floor and your heart sends warm blood to your limbs.. which might be chilly. Yet it's a unique and pleasurable experience of hot and cold.
Most apartments or villas have others to the left and right and up and down. This means that even though this heating is ineffective, there is a cumulative affect. Now, below me are businesses that don't turn on the heat. Instead, you'll see them sitting around a space heater during the day. They're closed at night. Thus, I'm freezing and my gas bill is $200.00 a month.
On top of a freezing apartment there is the English Center itself, which is not much different than whn I worked here before. It's harder to be on time to a job you're not interested in. I suppose that makes me human.
Finally, there is the habit of hitting snooze. You can foster good habits and bad habits, and while tucking oneself deeper into the covers on a cold morn feels, it is nonetheless a bad habit. One I intend to break in 2019. So what is your resolution this year? And no resolving to make a resolution does not count. I tried. Liz said, "Nuhu."
Mariel R. is an ESL teacher, horse trainer, writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. She lives in South Korea with two house cats, three horses, a German Shepherd and three barn cats .
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Goldy in English) R.I.P February, 23, 2018