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Sunday, May 14, 2006


Here's the thing: I started doing this blog for a couple of reasons:

#1 My emailed updates to friends, family and other interested parties were getting out of control. Keeping track of address changes was a hassle, I would spend weeks between starting to write an email a finishing it (most of that messing around, with like two hours of non-stop writing right at the end to follow up the first paragraph written two weeks earlier), and the emails that I did send just sort of disappeared into the Ethernet. I wanted something a bit more lasting, easy to keep track of.

#2 To remember.

I have a terrible memory. Well, terrible in a practical sense. I can spit out entire Monty Python sketches almost verbatim, and I'm not too bad at song lyrics, but the events in my life, the things that happen once, seem to leave my head faster than the first class passengers bailing out of the Titanic. And so I write.

At first it was journals. A "Journal" is just a more manly way of saying "Diary", I know. I've looked back at some of them, but not for a long time. I remember that I started when my Grandpa Sack died in the fall of 1988, but I couldn't tell you for the life of me what exactly I wrote. However, I have memories of that time that were reinforced by the writing, feelings more accurately preserved than by memory alone. And I can easily go back and remind myself of what happened, and how I felt.

Well, it would be easy if I were in the same country, but that's a different problem.

I also want to pass some of these memories on to Maxine. The daily stuff changes so subtly that we don't even notice when something has changed. For example, a few entries back I had a fixation on vomit. Yesterday Maxine nailed me good, soaked the leg of my shorts, and my real leg as well, got her own pants, and a big blotch on the sofa cover. And I was shocked, because I couldn't remember the last time she had done that. And then I was shocked because I couldn't remember the shift from fountain-of-vomit girl to less-than-the-average-university-student girl.

I've seen blogs with automatic things to fill in, like "Music I'm listening to", "Mood", "Book I'm reading", etc. I kind of thought "Number of diapers today", "vomit count", "poopy diaper", "amount eaten by Maxine" and "Trouble sleeping" would be good categories for me to keep track of Maxine, but there's no way I could ever keep up with that kind of information, and I'm not sure that even I would find it interesting or useful, much less anyone who happens to be reading Roblog.

My point: Sometimes when I sit down to write Roblog, I can't think of anything to write. Not surprising, I'm sure, but quite annoying, especially when I remember saying to myself (or to someone else) "I have to write that in the Roblog." A couple of days ago Horyon told me I should write about something that happened. When I sat down to write this, I remembered that she had said that, but not what she wanted me to write about. With some trepidation, I asked her what she had said I should write about. I kind of expected to have a whole entry about how I can't remember what I want to write about, but she came through for me!

But I'm not going to write about it now. Too much other stuff to cover.

Here's the main one: at church on Sunday, I was talking with my friend Mike, and a Korean woman I don't know came up to me and said, "You Gabrielle?"

"No, I'm Robert," was my quick and witty reply.

Then she figured out that she had made a mistake: "You baby Gabrielle?"

"No, my baby is Maxine." I figured that would settle it for sure.

"Really?" she said.

"Yes. Really."

As she walked away, Mike said to me, "It's like she didn't believe you! That was totally cung!"

I was kind of floored, but kept my cool, and pretended that cung was just another word that everyone uses. Well, everyone with good breeding, anyway.

"Definitely. Definitely cung. A most excellent example."

I had emailed back and forth with Mike about a month and a half ago, but he's never mentioned Roblog. As far as I knew, he had never seen it. And so now he is the first person to ever use cung in my presence without having first discussed it. And I must say, that he was a very cung choice for it.

Just by way of informing those of you who aren't familiar with Korean culture and the status of foreigners here, it is not cung for a person to come up to you and start a conversation with no "Hello", "How are you?", "What's your name?" or any of that nonsense. It happens way too often to be cung. If there were a manual for foreigners living in Korea, there would no doubt be a paragraph or two about this phenomenon.

I have to admit, part of me wants to follow up the first question with "Who are you?", but that part is usually shouted down by the rest of me that doesn't really want to get into a lengthy conversation with someone who I don't know and who obviously doesn't speak English well enough to know that "You Gabrielle?" is at best a C+ conversation opener. I'm sure that she's a nice person, and meeting at church suggests that we have at least one thing in common. Nowadays I don't have any spare time for the friends I have already, much less making new ones, but I haven't been interested in making this kind of friend for a long time.

I sometimes worry that Korea is making me hard-hearted.



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A Brief Introduction

Roblog is my writing lab. It is my goal to not let seven days pass without a new post. I welcome your criticism, as I cannot improve on my own.

Here is a link to my cung post, which remains the only word which I have ever invented, and which has not, as far as I know, caught on. Yet.