THE HILL: Stars and Sequined Shirts, Prostitutes and Sausage Biscuits

What comes to mind when you think of South Korea? Fermented cabbage? North Korea? What about TV dramas?

Korean dramas are not only popular in Korea; they’re famous around the world. Did you know television dramas are considered one of Korea’s leading cultural exports?

It’s not uncommon to watch a Korean drama while riding in a taxi. Most taxis come equipped with mini televisions screens, and dramas seem to be the only watchable option. Even though I don’t understand what’s happening most of the time, I usually get sucked right in for the ride.

I’ve decided my life in this country is like a Korean drama series. Those closest to me would probably agree. Drama in some way, shape and/or form is always present in my life. Usually it’s fun. Sometimes it’s messy.

Central to my dramatic existence in Korea is a place I’ll call The Hill, for no obvious or apparent reason. I have plenty of stories to share about what’s happened on The Hill, as a result of The Hill, revolving around The Hill, and connected to The Hill. Of course I can’t really go into detail about half of what happens on The Hill. Either you wouldn’t believe me, or it’s slightly inappropriate. Let's just say The Hill is a place many people go to dance.

And now for the PG-13 version of episode one, The Hill: Stars and Sequined Shirts, Prostitutes and Sausage Biscuits.

Picture a smoke-filled bar full of foreign people trying to line dance to country music. It’s hard to picture, I know, but such a scene definitely exists in Korea. Now picture stereotypical Texans dressed in tight jeans, sequined outfits and/or cowboy boots. The pub was filled to the brim with them.

Around 11:55PM the whole bar started singing Lee Greenwood's hit, God Bless the USA. Of course! Why not? We’re in Korea. It’s the natural thing to do, right? And just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, the Star-Spangled Banner began to play.

Oh, say can you see we're not in America anymore?

I’m not the most patriotic person. And I tend to make fun of people who are overly infatuated with their country. I’m not apologizing for it either. You’ll understand why in a moment.

A good friend and I couldn’t stop laughing. But two women (one wearing the aforementioned sequin get-up) weren’t pleased by our display. One punched my friend in the side. That shut him up, and prompted me to hold a hand over my heart as best I could. However, it didn’t stop me from laughing.

After, "...Home of the brave," the two women (both quite intoxicated) yelled at us for being disrespectful. This made me very, very angry. And I don’t get angry often.

Disrespectful! I’ll give you disrespectful. We were in Korea, in a bar, in an area known for prostitution, it was midnight, and America’s National Anthem was playing. How were we supposed to know it was for real? Secondly, what if I wasn’t from the United States? How did they dare assume?

People like these women are the reason I don’t particularly care for the military presence here (most of the country line dancers were military personnel), and another reason why I make fun of overly patriotic Americans. I assured them we weren’t trying to be disrespectful. Of course a lot of other words were exchanged, but by the end of our brawl we hugged, laughed and were thankfully still alive.

Not long after our stars and stripes incident, my good friend and I got into an almost-fight on the street. I was in a sassy mood. I said things I shouldn't have said. He cried for about an hour, while we stood next to a pile of trash. It was fitting.

Other highlights to include in this episode of The Hill:
My no-longer-crying friend, who was punched earlier for not singing America’s National Anthem at a country bar in Korea, got the back of his foot run over by a car. Why do bad things always happen to good people? 
Sharing a bottle of “iced tea” with a Vietnamese American friend next to what appeared to be a burned-down brothel. People walking past us undoubtedly assumed she was my Korean hooker for the evening. 
By 5:30AM I was skipping down the sidewalk with my good friend, singing Jesus songs on the way to McDonald's. We had gotten over our almost-fight by this time. Two sausage, egg and cheese biscuits were the best way to put an end to another dramatic night together.
I'm living the dream, people. Can't you tell? And this is my dramatic life a la Korean television drama series. Stay tuned for next week's edition of, The Hill: Leave Me Alone.


  1. Anonymous12:19 PM

    Vietnamese girl.... I like ^-) K dramas are awesome to watch and live in! especially whilst in Korea my friend!

  2. I loved this Chase. Korean drama is the best when it happens in Korea. It's all so dramatic and all true. :)

    1. I kind of miss our dramatic times, Ryan! Let's have at least one more big one before we depart. Okay?