Makjang: Noun a genre of Korean drama that usually airs daily and is over 100 episodes long where unrealistic and dramatic things happen to the same characters to keep people interested (coma, fatal disease, switched at birth etc etc). It lies somewhere in the middle of realistic fiction and fantasy
Makjangs are written. To have the most dramatic, over the top, bordering fantasy plot lines. They are not a real thing.
But as Silvia has said with every event that has happened to me over the past 5 months, to the day,—my life here in Korea has been a makjang. To be clear—every other employee in my company has not had the experience I have had, which makes mine only the more ridiculous. My experience is not normal. It does not happen to normal people. Makings are written by sadistic men with mommy issues (every makjang has an evil stepmother).
I haven’t written about them every day for a couple of reasons.
a) I didn’t want people begging me to come/flying on a plane to get me
b) I didn’t want people to be like “oh I know this girl who went to Korea and Koreans are crazy people and no one should ever go there”
c) I didn’t want my blog to turn into a makjang
But I think it is time. In summary
Whoever is writing my life said, “let’s put female lead in an apartment barely larger than Harry Potter’s closet and 1/3 the size of everyone elses’s. Let’s have the apartment not have hot water, a working stove, an air conditioner, or a washing machine that does more than just swish clothes around. Let’s have the water system malfunction, filling her laundry room with an inch of standing water and despite her complaints, no one coming to fix it. After weeks, let’s have black mold grow in that water giving her health problems like dizziness and allergies. And THEN, let’s make her boss borderline crazy. A boss that makes her come in to work despite the fact that the room is swirling. A boss that every day rats on her for something new—markers not colorful enough, book reports not done fast enough, desk has too many mugs, anything and everything every single day to the point where she involuntary shakes when she walks into the room. And yet, when it comes time for confrontation, the female lead has witty comebacks for every remark. And let’s make a fatal virus run rampant through the country giving her time to see the drama cliche of Jeju Island, but also means she works Saturdays in the future. But more Saturdays than everyone else of course.
But, let’s give her some good things too. Let’s make her legitimately enjoy her job, despite the long hours, to the point where she looks forward to it every day. Let’s give her amazing friends, friends so good you wouldn’t believe they are real, that she meets completely by chance at different times and who have their own side plots that at random points intersect and forward her own story. Let’s make her run into a Korean boy band while she is lost on her way to the bathroom, and have her take a selfie with a pop star. Let’s have her favorite pop star acknowledge her existence for 0.3 seconds, making her life complete. Let’s have her light off fireworks on a beach at midnight on her birthday and let’s give her supportive friends and family back home who are always there, despite being thousands of miles away.
Let’s make her refuse to acknowledge that her life is a makjang because she believes that doing so will only create more drama, but one day, let’s let her realize that accepting her crazy life is actually a good coping mechanism that will help her get through the hard parts.”
Yes ladies and gentlemen, that female lead is me.
You may recognize the good parts.
You won’t recognize the bad parts.
For reasons stated above.
I only even informed my family of the bad parts a couple of days ago, and now things are going tumbling into oblivion even farther and even faster.
So from now on, I promise to update more frequently with the bad, as well as long as you promise me something.
a) I am not ready to go home. I am having the time of my life and I don’t want pity from anyone.
b) This experience is atypical. It is not normal. Do not judge an entire country/experience because of my own.
c) This blog was supposed to be informational with musings and observations, and a healthy dose of fangirling. Please, forgive me for this blog turning into a makjang script. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.