Dear Korea,

Dear Korea - the mini ajuma was hi-larious!

Blogging | December 19, 2009

Hey Korea,

How you been? Good? I hope so.

Me? Well I've been laying low. Sick. Again. So thanks. Thanks for that.

Although this time I was sick enough to go to the doctors. Where I discovered that Koreans wear face masks everywhere - except a hospital waiting room. There they just like to cough and sneeze as loud and as hard as they can for as long as they can. I would have found this more amusing, except I felt like I was about to die.

And the doctor seemed awfully concerned that might happen once he read my blood results and realised that I wasn't just "a little tired" which had been his earlier hypothesis.

I went from whinging westerner to really sick person in the time it took for that magical lab report to reach his eyes.

So then he gave me a prescription for about 18 different antibiotics. Which I appreciated and all but it may have been nice if he had also told me when I had to take them - being that I don't speak Korean and all.

But you have made up for giving me three different bacterial infections at once lately with all the amusing things you have been throwing my way.

And I know it is just for me.

Like the midget ajuma. I know that you define ajumas as just any older married woman, but to me they are so much more.

They are spiral perms and fluro visors. Bum bags, or fanny packs as my American friends would say. Occasionally a fake Louis Vuitton may grace her shoulder. Really, really awful clothes - usually made from materials which are usually reserved for curtains or couches - the type that still have the plastic over them 10 years after they were purchased. And rudeness. I really admire their single mindedness. Only ajuma could make an art form of pushing through a crowded subway stop, elbowing her way through with grace and staring people down for their seats.

And then the other day you gave me a little ajuma. An ajuma in all but height she came up to just below my hip. But her hair was still permed and her visor was still fluro. And she could elbow with the best of them. In fact she was the perfect height for elbowing because you couldn't see what was coming. All I saw was just people suddenly stepping back like a human wave and then there she was. She pushed me with her LV satchel and then elbowed me in the hip for good measure. Thank you Korea. Thank you.

I also really appreciated the Korean policeman arguing with me about whether I was Russian or not. He seemed to think that I was confused about my nationality and that it was his job to set me straight. Because according to him "You, only Russian!" And then to prove that, he proceeded to speak to me in Russian. So he was quite miffed when my identification proved my claim that I was not Russian and actually was from Australia. He looked at me like his faith in humanity had been irreversibly shaken.

Also amusing was the security man at E-Mart who stopped me to tell me that I needed a security tag for my small bag. But after speaking to me in halted English and listening to me respond, he asked me where I was from. When I told him Australia he looked quite confused and then asked me if I spoke English. When I just stared at him blankly he proceeded to jump around like a kangaroo and then spoke really loudly and quite slowly as he acted out placing the security tag on my bag. He apologised for not speaking Australian so I told him I spoke a little English. He then followed me through the store. Bless.

Also - thank you for the man who threw a 1000 won note at me as I waited for the train in my probably-belonged-to-a-Russian-whore-in-the-70s-wool-and-fur-coat and for the little boy who moved in closer so he could stroke said jacket before looking at me and bursting into tears.

All this and more has cheered me up immensely. I can't adequately express how much you make me laugh when I am down Korea. All I can do is thank you time and time again.

Keep it coming.


Me xoxoxox


1. Blythe on December 19, 2009

Bahahahahahaha. I saw a mini ajuma on the subway the other day. She, like your mini, was hi-larious. And as aggressive as any ajuma of regular height. Although, I have it on good authority that the LVs they carrry are usually real (and paid for by daughter-in-laws). Peace out x

2. Loopy on December 21, 2009

What a bunch of crackers! Feel the peace :}

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About Louisa Jones

Louisa Jones is the pen name for a recovering journalist who randomly decided to leave her very understanding and patient husband for a year to randomly live in Seoul.
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