Busan and a New Frenemy

28 Mar


This past weekend I took a short trip down to Busan, the second largest city in South Korea.

Busan is a hilly metropolitan city (at least in comparison to Pohang) with beaches, a cafe at every corner(usually more than one) and most importantly, some attempt at a music scene; something seemingly unheard of in Pohang, so it is not surprising that this is where I ended up first.

The night is called Rad City and it happens around once a month. Along with a live performance, DJ’s were spinning oldies that made me hungry for home(but not ravenous, which is what I would have to be to ever considering heading back) and a table where locals sold art and crafts.

The live show was by a band called Surisuri Mahasuri. Rad City’s facebook invite used terms like ‘positive energy’ and ‘spirituality’ when describing them, all a tad too new age to strike  a cord with me. But I was pleasantly mistaken as a hodge-podge of instruments, from accordion to what appeared to be a PVC tube, overlay a beat that can be best described as infectious(so no I’ve made no literary leaps and bounds by describing a beat as infectious, but sometimes tried and true works best). What I was most taken by, hands down, was the accordion, despite the pseudo rasta(??) outfitting.

I don’t know him but he was really eager for me to take his picture so here we are:

Use that force!….or something(this is likely the extent of my Star Wars knowledge)

The rest of my stay was a mosaic of old staples from home including huffing down a giant bowl of pho, indulging in overpriced coffee, sifting though hoards of secondhand goods( though back home overly ornate ajumas- a term used to describe older korean women- aren’t there to tell you with …erm… the utmost politeness that you are picking from the wrong pile)  and having special moments with my Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Full moon look out

Busan bridge from afar

Nampodong Market

Oh, you’ve been missed

Effective, as we would have forgotten

All in all a 24(ish)hrs well spent.


Shortly prior to my departure, a fellow Canadian expat who is nearing the end of her Korean residency made me an interesting offer, as not only would she be soon leaving Korea behind but a pet hedgehog as well, and so was in search of a new owner. Ironically, I had fairly recently befriended another woman, who among many things, is a proud hog owner(and a literary hog at that…..her prickly antics can be followed here: The Pickle Jar ) and felt the situation too serendipitous to pass up.

Thus the main cause for the trip though was to pick up my new “friend”(I use the term with discretion as I feel that such relationships work best if one party is not in hate of/petrified of the other party-more on that later). And after what must have been the longest, most terrifying trip of his little life, Baji** arrived safe at my dark stale cave.. erm…I mean apartment.

Despite attempts to make my subpar living quarters as livable as the bright chic condo he previously resided  and feeding him disgusting… I mean dee-licious!(ala Tony the Tiger) dried maggots, he growls?(or at least thats what I feel he thinks he is doing; in reality he is too small and cute to do so with any conviction) and has has full blown anxiety attacks when I come within a 1 meter radius of him. And though I was initially contemplating giving him Valium or fashioning him a mini paper bag as both have been proven to diminish hyperventilation, I have discovered upon further reading found that such behaviour is normal and it will simply take some time for him to trust me.

In attempts to have Baji gain his bearings and to win brownie points I let him out of his cage. And though I thought I had restricted access to any hard-to-reach areas in my room, I was clearly mistaken, as he decided to furrow himself  under the furthest corner of my wardrobe, the same place he resides now. And despite the fact that he has access to food and water, which he has clearly indulged in while the giant was sleeping or working,  I myself am now experiencing bouts of anxiety. Will Baji ever emerge from his comfy corner?  Won’t he be lonely with only dust balls as friends? Will this traumatizing experience prove to be all too overwhelming, causing the little thing to dramatically commit hedgicide?

To further my anxiety this is hauntingly similar to when I first brought home my second cat at sixteen. At the time only a kitten, it playfully climbed up into the frame of my pullout couch, where it stayed for nearly a day. Reasonably convinced that the feline was tragically trapped in what was destined to be her tomb, I spent the day bawling and hollering through my sobs “by the time we get to her she will be dead!” while my family rolled on the floor with laughter. Surprisingly the story is a happy one as she came out on her own accord and continues to reside in my family home.

Thankfully, what we can deduce from my tales of animal rearing is that I will be a calm and reasonable mother someday….

For now its back to the fruitless task of coaxing Baji out of his hiding spot. Mama Shauna out.


**Baji in Korean means “pants”, or if mispronounced…… “lady parts”, thus I feel it may be necessary to rename him as I feel a tragic, albeit familiar, faux pas a-brewing, likely involving that very judgmental mother from my Hagwon.

UPDATE: HE’S OUT HE’S OUT! Oh man, has ever such a sigh of relief been released? Ah! First thing he does with his new found freedom? Run back and forth across a 1/2 foot track underneath my bed. What a weirdo! I am confident that we will get on just swimmingly…


One Response to “Busan and a New Frenemy”

  1. Natalie March 29, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    ahhhh love it! you are hi-larious as always “Will this traumatizing experience prove to be all too overwhelming, causing the little thing to dramatically commit hedgicide?”

    i think we need some pics of baji!

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