Monday, August 11, 2008

North Koreans

First of all, sorry; I havent' kept up with this blog as much as I should.

Not, that there's like a blog-o-meter or something.

Anyhow, been back from Jeju Island and just finished peeling all my skin off. Pleasant to itch my back only to find a sliver of skin has decided to jump ship from my back . . . onto my hands.

(A full week of beaching on a volcanic island was kinda nice, though.)

Anyhow, now that that business is done and over with* I have another topic I want to (aimlessly) ramble on about;

North Koreans.

I mean, where to begin, right? Well, let me be a little more specific here - I've been to North Korea, the most totalitarian nation on the face of the Earth, before this whole fiasco - right before, and to the same damn place, actually, and let me give you an impression of the North Koreans I've seen there.

Stiff as a board.

You may ask yourself; what, are they bored stiff**? Are they dead? Are they the stereotypical-hard-nosed commie types we've all seen in 80's codl war movies? Are they scared stiff?

My answer, and of course I could be wrong here, is that it's a mix of all - and in retrospect, an uneasy fear, especially around caucasians.

Why do I being such a topic up, you may ask? First, I'd say get out of my head, and secondly, I'm currently volunteering to teach North Korean refugees English through a small church*** - essentially, they get a free college education but they have to qualify to enter - and admittedly, I've just started to help, but damn.

It's kind of weird to see them in person - what I mean is, they are, physically, just the same as South Koreans - but they do have a North Korean accent, and they seem just as friendly and outgoing as any of us - it still blows my mind that just two months ago I've seen others like them in North Korea, standing stiffly, monitoring our evey move and anxious to not be around any white people. And that they had to risk their lives to get here.

I'm not saing that we should be grateful to be here (where ever that "here" may be - America or S. Korea), but goddamn that outs some things into perspective.

I tell you - one the one hand, I feel for what they may have had to go through, but they have my utmost respect.

*I'll post pictures later. Maybe.
***No, I've not suddenly turned fundie Christian - it's a coworker's church that I've decided to help out in.

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