On living abroad

I moved away from the US in April 2014, and I have been back inside the US for 20 days since. If I made enough money for this to be a tax issue, the 20 days would totally help. But as it is, I don’t have to worry about that because I don’t make six figures.

I was chatting with a friend from back in the day, another life, another industry. Friend mentioned the stuffing being the best part of Christmas dinner, and I was briefly confused — isn’t stuffing a Thanksgiving thing? It took me a moment to remember that yes, Christmas dinner is a thing, and there is stuffing at Christmas dinners. You’d think that in the age of the Internet, I’d remember.

I’ve had a 4 day Christmas vacation – weekend plus two days. Everyone else in the office flew off to Southeast Asian beaches and whatnot. I enjoyed staying at home. I discovered Travelers on Netflix and bingewatched all 3 seasons in about 2 days, so good. And then I briefly wondered if I was like the agoraphobic character. And then I decided that no, agoraphobia means being afraid of the outside, and I’m not afraid of the outside world. I just like being at home with all my favorite things. It’s cold and windy outside, too.

The Bund, and psycho behavior

I went for a stroll at The Bund with a work colleague. The weather was either misty or foggy or simply polluted, and some of the buildings on the other side of the Huangpu River were obscured by it. At 10 pm, the main lights on the buildings around the Bund shut off in sync, which was really fascinating to see! I also want to check out what seems to be a rooftop bar with flamethrowers for lighting. I don’t even know which one it was. “rooftop bar shanghai bund” doesn’t really help. I guess I’ll just have to go there in person and find it again.

Anyway, the psycho behavior. Is it the colleague? Is it China? Work Colleague called me randomly at 9 pm, said he had just gotten out of an awkward blind date, and didn’t want to go home yet, and was I available for a random stroll around the city? Sure. I peeled myself off my couch, where I had been drinking whiskey and watching Galavant.

And then. Work Colleague was just shoving into people who weren’t even in his way, and he excused it by saying “someone did that to me earlier”. A car passed us by and then he sprinted and ran up really close to it to shout “Boo!” at it, which, by the way, almost got his toes run over.

We passed by someone taking a photo and he did some stupid I’m-in-your-way gesture just as the camera clicked, which would require another photo to be taken. I got upset and told him to remember the human, and he shrugged it off by saying that he has a lot of passive-aggressiveness built up. He also mentioned failing at online dating and that someone tried to call the police on him. I WONDER WHY. I cut the night short by saying it was raining, plus he needed to get back on the subway before it closed, so that he would only pay about 3-5 RMB for the subway instead of 100 RMB for a Didi. It was only about an hour, but I’m never hanging out with him again by choice.

7 Days Out

I enjoyed watching 7 Days Out, the documentary series from Netflix that shows the seven-day lead-up to big events. I hesitated to watch the episode about Eleven Madison Park. I used to work in fancy restaurants – not in New York, but in Los Angeles. Did I really want to watch a show about hectic stress?

Obviously, I did end up watching it. It was very much a trip back down my restaurant memory lane. The perfectionist FOH guy/gal, who never misses a thing. At one point, they check on the comfort level of the couch velvet, and that was TOTALLY a thing one of my previous jobs did.

The only thing I disagree about – at the end of the episode, the FOH guy goes on about how you can close your eyes in the middle of dinner service, and hear how good the shift is going. NO!!!! There is no difference. He was spouting nonsense. The only difference is if the dining room isn’t full = less noise. Also, less problems = FOH leader not flipping out, and not taking the time to close his eyes and bask in whatever the hell he thinks he’s hearing.

Election ballot


I finally got my ballot in the mail! I get a sticker this time – very exciting. I’ve never had an I Voted sticker with my absentee ballot before, and always felt a bit left-out because of that.

I spent two days, two days, fretting over my choices. I couldn’t vote for the presidential candidate choice again, because I had already done that through Democrats Abroad – but of course I’m going to vote downticket.

Angrily voted against the useless local representative Judy Chu, who has an effectiveness rating of 0% and is the 7th least effective member of Congress (and there’s 535 Congress members). And yet somehow, she gets re-elected every time. Merely because of the letter (D) next to her name. I’m also Asian and also a Democrat, but I’m not going to vote for someone just because they’re also an Asian and/or a Democrat. Be useful!

When I was dealing with my FBI criminal background check for my job, I sent the representative’s local office an email through her site, for assistance with this federal agency. You know, the kind of assistance that representatives are supposed to help their constituents with? After a long two weeks, I received a letter in the mail that basically said “fuck you”. No, fuck YOU, Judy! I’m Asian too and even that’s not going to make me vote for you. Was this petty of me? Possibly. Was I her constituent? Absolutely.

Mart trip

A quick trip to the mart today, to stock up on flour and milk. Here’s some sights.


Mansage! I think it’s mandu + sausage, but still, kinda funny. But seriously, it’s probably meant to be paired with mandu somehow, or it’s super spicy and can only be tolerated by men, something like that.



I’ve seen a lot of wacky free gifts before, but this is a first: toilet paper, free with crab meat. Doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

Also, I imagine the condensation isn’t great for paper.

One year

I have now been in Korea for one year.

When I first signed up for Korea, I told myself that I would be there for two years.  I have signed a contract for a second year, and I cannot imagine leaving at the end of it. I would very much like to be here longer. So far, anyway.

We shall see!

Korean Air upgrade

Not sure what happened, but I have no complaints! Instead of being seated at 31A (I had asked for a window seat not by the bathroom)…  when I got my boarding pass, the seat number had changed to 16A.  I didn’t notice this at first, because the airport was a lot busier than I expected.

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2014 Reviewed

And here I am, closing the year in South Korea. This time last year, I didn’t know I would be here. I only started the process in late February, and expected it to take a while. It was quick. I arrived at Incheon Airport in April.