Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Truth About Bling

I am absolutely infatuated with my wedding ring. Sounds a bit vain and worldly, I know. But the truth is, it's absolutely perfect for me.

Photo courtesy of Ashwood Photography

I also adore my jeweler, Kristy at JK Jewelers. Her and her employee Ashley were wonderful at making sure I got exactly what I wanted and weren't afraid to tell me no, or give me more information so I could make the best decision for me.

Lately I've been receiving lots of compliments about my ring, and getting lots of comments on it as well. Grandma will be so upset I'm telling the world, but it's not something I'm ashamed of; in fact, it's something I think more people should know. So here goes.

I love the fire of a diamond. The way the facets work together to create a brilliance that can be altogether breathtaking. But when it came to getting a ring I knew the cut I wanted was extremely expensive because it's unique and difficult to get right. My solitaire ring features a 7 trillion. Because of it's shape it looks like it could probably be a 1.5 carat, but they're measured differently (again because of the unique shape). I started developing the concept behind my ring when I was 15 years old. That's a story for another time and place. Suffice it to say I wanted a solitaire trillion on a by-pass band (the band doesn't form a complete circle, it passes by the two parts that would complete the band).

As I grew up I was exposed to some seriously disconcerting information. First, I read the book A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah (you can read more about that here). I also watched the film Blood Diamond . What I read and heard stuck with me. So I did more research. 

Blood Diamond is not just a catchy movie title, it's a literal object.

The U.N. has some information, but you can see it hasn't been updated since 2001, and reads somewhat like ancient history. The truth is, the issues with blood diamonds are prevalent today, and are just as much a threat to peace and stability as they have always been. In spite of the Kimberley Certification Process Scheme (you can read more about that in this article on Wikipedia, as well as the on-going history of blood diamonds) of 2000 the blood has not ceased flowing for the sake of diamonds.

If you've bothered following any of these links you have learned that purchasing diamonds from non-certified countries supports drug and war lords who, in turn, run armies of children, cut off the limbs of individuals who will not help them, and use sexual abuse against children and women to gain their goals. Many of them seek for power and use vast stores of weapons and drugs to achieve their means.

You may think, "But I bought my jewelry from _______(insert national chain here)." They verify that their diamonds are conflict free." The sad fact is, diamonds are smuggled across borders from non-certified countries to certified countries, exported as their own (even though the numbers clearly do not add up for numbers mined versus numbers exported), are mixed with the conflict-free stones, and sold on the market. Congratulations, the drug/war-lord has been financed.

I am not saying that jewelers are the enemy, nor are people who purchase and like to wear diamonds. The enemy is greed and power. The enemy is a corrupt system which is willing to sacrifice human lives to line it's pockets with even more money. There are some  articles, like this one, dedicated to helping the concerned consumer try to purchase conflict-free diamonds. Yet there is no guarantee unless you mine the stone yourself (good luck with that).

After I learned all this I could not, in good conscience, buy a diamond ring. So I opted for the truly conflict-free alternative. My ring is set with a cubic zirconia. To any trained jeweler's eye it is easily recognizable. But most people who look at my ring would never know the difference. They are cost effective, they are conflict-free, and they are, for all intents and purposes, a spot on match for a real diamond. My stone has perfect cut, color, and clarity. Not to mention I was able to go big without breaking the bank. A real diamond with a slight inclusion, less-than perfect coloring, and half the size of mine costs over $6,000 USD.

Instead I have a virtually flawless copy that I can replace every one to two years for maybe $40 USD. I could replace it every year for the rest of my life and still not spend a fraction of what a real one would cost. And I know that nobody had to die so I could enjoy my sparkle. There is the age-old retort, "But it's not real." 

Well, here's what's real to me:

I work in a fairly global community. The English Village where I work in South Korea represents at least nine different countries. One co-worker, from a country rife with diamond conflict, overheard me talking about this and seemed surprised that I knew what I do, and cared enough to do something about it.

No. It's not real. And I can sleep with that.

Monday, November 28, 2011


*Sorry for the lack of colors and such--I really think they make the blog more fun. But at this rate I was just glad to get it written and posted. Hopefully you will be, too!

Yeah. It's been nearly a month. No, I don't think I'm busier than anyone else. No, I don't have any excuses. I believe that time plays tricks on us all, and moves much faster than it seems.

I even uploaded videos about two weeks ago because I really wanted to post. They're still waiting (and will be dumped at the end of this blog for your viewing pleasure). And no, I still haven't finished my crafting projects. The store where I bought the paint redid their crafting area, and I don't even know if they carry what I need anymore. I'll have to check more closely when I have time and more money in the future (yeah...that distant, nebulous future which so quickly becomes the past).

Anyhoo, I explained how life has been going to a coworker like this today, and I think it sums it up nicely. The last four days have felt like the last four months were crammed into four days (ie, I was freakin' busy). An issue with over committing? Perhaps. It just seems that I'm destined to be busy with a million projects the last week in November whether I'm in school or not.

It's not the slideshow that I spent three hours working on that suddenly ceased to function in the middle of a closing ceremony that took the cake, or the entire day I literally (felt like I) couldn't do anything right. No, no. Not even the day we spoke in church, I forgot my talk at home on the kitchen table, the fire alarm went off during the opening hymn, and we taught a song we hardly knew on the fly to fill up time in primary that is the catalyst for this. Although, in a way, I suppose they are all contributing factors.

No, this can all be traced back to a two hour time slot on Friday night. You see, we're very exciting people.  Friday night we split a cab with our friend Brandon and took off for a neighboring town for a Friday night filled with dinner shopping. Like I said, we're very exciting people (no offense, Brandon. You are not included in that "we." Unless, of course, you want to be. Then you are, and you're welcome.). I called a taxi and within a few minutes we were on our way. We talked a little about whether we planned to eat at the Popeye's (which, I have been informed, is not a "real" Popeye's, it's "Korean Popeye's") located inside Emart (the store where we were going shopping) during the drive, but didn't decide anything. Once we arrived Brandon asked what we planned to do, I wanted to check the time to see if we wanted to arrange doing some shopping before eating. My phone wasn't in my coat. It wasn't in my pants pocket. And it dawned on me. It was in the taxi.

I abandoned my cart (and purse) to run outside to see if the taxi was still there (thanks for babysitting it, Brandon!). Alas, it was not. We decided that acting fast would be the most likely thing to get it returned. But Adam didn't have the taxi company phone number. As we were dialing the number we saw on another taxi a kindly man came forward and, I'm guessing, asked us if I left my purse in the taxi. I could understand he asked if the taxi brought us from the English Village and we said yes. He called, I'm assuming, the taxi dispatch and told them what happened. We gave them my number so they knew which cab took the call, and we gave them Adam's number so they could call us back. Except we weren't sure of Adam's number and gave them the wrong one. Fortunately, we were able to correct that minor oversight rather quickly.

The cab driver called back and said that, rather than make an extra trip back to Emart to give us the phone we should call him directly when we were finished shopping, and he would return the phone and take us back. We agreed, and went inside and did our shopping. Apparently he got a little antsy waiting and called Adam two or three times and yelled at him in Korean. Needless to say, it was rather stressful. We finally made it back outside, and Adam declared that he could not speak to the cabbie. So I called. I pieced together what little Korean I know and he said "Nay, nay." and hung up on me (in this sense it means, "yeah, yeah." As in, "Ok, I know.") Our kindly helper was there again and asked if the cab was coming. As he tried to call the other man pulled up. My phone! Our ride! Hooray!

Once we climbed in I searched for my phone. I could not find it. Nor could Adam. Brandon, who was sitting in the front seat found it in the center console between him and the driver. The driver snatched it back and said, "No handepone. You pay." and held up one finger. So I tried to give him 1,000 won (roughly $1). He swore and made a disgusted sound, and said, "No. One hundred!" If I knew how to flatly refuse in Korean I would have, but I didn't. So I offered him 10,000 and he was appeased.

In case you were wondering, cab fare from where we live to Emart is just under 8,000 won. It was highway robbery. On the flip side, it is not unheard of for taxi drivers to take the things they find and sell them to people for money. So, in the long run, I was really lucky.

And now, some videos...

Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to teach a group of 5 and 6 year olds. They were freaking adorable.

Adam took me out for my birthday...this is what he looked like to me all night.

The Bloomin' Onion with a Korean twist.

A mini "choco" cake to round off a birthday feast!

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Mind Divided

It's funny (not in a laughing way, in a sad-smile at the pathetic way). This has been ruminating my mind for a few weeks now (some may ask, why not put down what you had then? The answer is not simple.), and yet each time I sit down to write something else comes up. For instance, I intended to write it yesterday, but ended up Skyping with my sister and her children (an experience I would not trade for anything). I told her that I would write the post today. Then this morning while doing push-ups--ok, random side-explanation. I don't think what I was doing would be classified in anybody's book as a legitimate push-up, not even girl ones (sorry you had to see it, Adam. I really did try to protect you!), but the point is that I'm trying--I noticed how dirty my carpet is, even though I swept it Saturday (yes, literally swept it. Our vacuum doesn't work at all. It's kind of ridiculous), and the thought came to mind, "I have time this morning. I'll just sweep it again this morning instead of writing my blog."

Then a prevailing thought, or voice if you will, came through. NO! I need to prioritize. I have been putting off blogging, I have been putting off facing myself and the people who read what I write and care what I do, I have been putting off working on me in the guise of housekeeping and improvement for too long. It may sound strange to some to think that blogging is a higher priority than clean floors. The point is, blogging is cleaning my emotional and mental floor. And in case you haven't noticed, it's been a long time coming. My literal floors were swept just three days ago. They can wait until tomorrow.

The long and short of it is that I haven't been in the best place emotionally or mentally of late. There are certain things which will always get my ire up, and no matter how many times I hear it I will always tear up when I hear the Star Spangled Banner, and I will smile every time I hear the laughter of small children. These are truths about me. I'd like to think I'm pretty even keeled. The past few weeks I've been in more of a pre-pubescent-teenager-with-all-the-angst-and-hormonal-rollercoaster-mood-swings kind of place. In short: I've been out of balance.

Of course it's not til I get to the really bad place where I almost feel like I'm losing my mind that I do something about it, cause I'm stubborn like that. But in the past few days I've done a lot of soul searching and have realised that to be the best teacher, to be the best wife, to be the best friend, to be the best sister, to be the best aunt that I can be, I need to make sure I spend a little time on me. And I don't mean in self-indulgent pedicures, hours whiled away on Pinterest, a shopping trip and dinner with friends kind of way. I mean really investing in myself. Developing skills, working on talents, improving my mind, taking care of my body.

Now that I've had this realisation, and even been given some pretty pointed direction on what I need to do, I feel overwhelmed. I have the tendency to "run faster than [I] have strength." Yet, my intellectual self takes advantage of this and will occasionally justify laziness as a ploy to avoid that very fault. Once again, it comes back to balance. The careful ground of knowing my limits and pushing my weaknesses.

No, I don't have any real answers or miracle cures of how to make it all work. But I have direction. I have determination. And I have the best support. It's time to find some middle ground and start making tracks.

P.S. I have been up to some pretty fun/cool stuff lately, too. Like painting my apartment and getting my craft on, but I promised myself I wouldn't post that blog until all my renovations were complete. So a few more cans of spray paint, super glue, and ingenuity and you'll see the results!

Friday, September 16, 2011

We're All One Big Family

At least that's the motto the Mt. Odu Unification Observatory tries to pedal. While it does have some good points about people trying to work together to get along it plays more like South-Korea-is-trying-really-hard-to-unify-and-North-Korea-keeps-screwing-it-up. It also stated that North Koreans, unverifiably, suffer from lack of proper nutrition, housing, and general modernization.

We walked up a freakin HUGE hill to get there, and on our walk down a cab picked us up. We celebrated by going to lunch at Salad and ShabuShabu. I found this happy surprise in my noodles...
(after turning the camera off Adam was mocking me and said, "I'm never letting you kiss me again!" hahaha) It wasn't bad at all--just really chewy and not very flavorful. But I did succeed and I'd do it again!

Museuming We Did Go!

Actually, we didn't. We tried to go to the National Museum of Korea, but because Chuseok is a three-day event, causing it to fall on the museum's normal day off (Monday) and it's secondary day off (Tuesday), it was also closed Wednesday when we tried to go.

Fortunately, the grounds were still open so we were able to see the outdoor exhibits.

After seeing these really awesome sites we also had the good fortune to visit Insadong. It is very popular for its artistic and antique shops. Additionally, it is renown for the cuisine. Which was fortunate for us because we were hungry by the time we got there! On the way we met his fellow...

Here is some of Insadong and the restaurant where we ate.

The last video is quite possibly one of my favorite discoveries thus far in our adventuring. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Everland: Where Every Day is a Holiday!

So it's not the happiest place on earth, but it is a crap-ton closer and A LOT cheaper! During Chuseok (chew-sock) they offered "Foreigner Day" where the regular price of $40 was reduced to a measly $23. So with 5 co-workers and another friend we went a tramping to Everland!

Our journey consisted of a 45 minute bus ride, 35 minute train ride, and another 40 minute bus ride. Except it was Chuseok (read: everybody in Korea has the day off). Traffic was insane, the buses, subways, and terminals were crowded beyond belief. But we made the best of it and had a good day!

The following videos are a progression of our journey and adventuring...

The return trip was a little more intense, as the bus we rode home quit running (we were told) at 10:30pm. Adam and I left ahead of the rest of the group around 8:30. For a trip that's total time is supposed to take 2 hours that sounds like plenty of time. Except our trip TO the park had taken 3 hours because of the crowds. We waited about 20 minutes for a bus. That ride was the promised 40 minutes. Then it was a 5 minute wait for our subway. It was not a 35 minute ride. It was 55. That's right. We arrived at our subway station right at 10:30. With relatively little problem we made it to the bus stop and the great wait began. As did the debate, do we taxi? Do we try to ride a train that goes closer to home and hope to taxi from there? 15 minutes later the blessed 2200 express bus pulled up. Apparently the driver was trying to make up for lost time (or just driving like a maniac like they all do) because that 45 minute ride only took 35 minutes.

In short, the trip was a smashing success! Today we recovered by doing absolutely nothing, and tomorrow we're going to a museum with some friends. Happy Chuseok!

I Spy!

So I am fully willing to admit that my blog has become nothing more than short narrative surrounding video clips of my life. But ya know, it works for me right now.

With that, here are some of this week's clips!

First, I went into the ladies room to "freshen up" and noticed this HUGE creepy-crawly in the window. Nevermind that there were several other people going in and out at the time who may have been put-off by my whipping out a video camera, I just had to capture this behemoth in all its glory.

And last, I had the opportunity to volunteer to cover some of my co-worker's TEMP (Teaching English to Military Program) shifts this week. The first one just out-and-out never showed up. I was paid $30 for their negligence. The other one our ride took us the 40 minutes to the base of the 25th Infantry Division, only to be told there would be no class. So I was paid $60 for an 80 minute car ride. Go me!

During the ride we drove at speeds that accommodated some video of real Korea, so here they are!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Season of FIRSTS...and Some Seconds, Too

This week has been the hardest week for me in Korea so far. I believe it has to do with the fact I was battling a cold, we hosted our biggest group of students thus far, and I was just plain ol' homesick.

But do not be dismayed! This has not prevented any new adventuring, and the week actually rapped out very nicely. I also have a slew of new videos and a couple of still-lifes (I know, who does THAT anymore?) to bring all of you a little closer to me--cause I'm selfish like that.

First things first in the week of firsts, cute little kids! Ok, so this is not the first time I've seen them, but this was my first chance to get video of the wee ones. These kids are part of the One Day Program (ODP). They usually arrive around 10am and wander to the different facilities throughout the day. Unfortunately, we do not get to work with them. It's probably a good thing or I might die of cuteness overload.
Our next first: riding the subway! All of the people who worked in the Special Programs department during the month-long Vacation Intensive Program (VIP) went to dinner together. We rode the free EV Shuttle into Ilsan, then took the subway to WesternDom (pronounced Western dome). Another first involved is you meeting my fabulous co-worker Patricka. Love her!

The next first is getting to see WesternDom itself. They have an IMAX theater there (note: In Korea even going to the cinema your seats are assigned like when going to performance theater--kinda strange, but the theaters are nice!) and lots of shopping and food. We ate at UNO's (for my Western US friends who were clueless like I was, it's a pizzeria that was started in Chicago).

Following that we have the first look at some of my Korean classes. The first group, boys from Buchan Middle School were my "home room" (we basically play games and just try to have fun with the boys, also take them shopping on Market St. and teach them language-centered lessons about going out to public facilities like travel agency, post office, clinic, bank, police station, etc.). The second group, girls from Buchan Middle School were my language/content area students. All of the really language-intensive lessons are in the morning and I was able to work with these girls. Later in the week I was also able to work with them on the M2NE1 (Message to Anyone) project in my content area (which is Arts, Broadcasting, and Communication or ABC).

On Friday I went with Adam's content area to lunch (the video is us proving the true meaning of HOV in Korea). Not far from where we live is a Shabushabu restaurant. Rather than me explain, I recommend you Google what it is, because I'm sure my limited understanding will be too narrow in defining it. Basically we had a huge salad bar that you could take as many trips to as you liked (it even included a chocolate fountain) and the actual shabushabu. It was really good! We'll probably be going back. But next time we'll likely be on foot...

Speaking of food, I had been craving some good American fare and asked Adam when we got paid if we could go back to Johnny Rocket's. So we did! But this time, we went with friends :) So this first is you seeing Brandon's first time to Johnny's and meeting our friend/co-worker Caleb.

While we were at the outlet mall where Johnny's is located we happened to spy a little "mall security." I may or may not have shouted, "PAUL BLART, MALL COP!" as I attempted to get my camera out and film as much as possible. But Dude was fast, so there's not much.

The next series of videos and stills document our FIRST excursion into Seoul! Honestly, we were surprised at how many people cared so much that we hadn't been yet. So Saturday we went (mostly because it involved books and because we are such bookish people we made it a priority).

Our first stop was in the foreign-district of Seoul called Itaewon (ok, so we pronounce it ee-tay-juan but Korean's kind of drop the W and it sounds more like ee-tay-ohn). Lo and behold, our booking at What the Book--

oooh! Doesn't that just look like home?!--(which you can visit here) took long enough that we didn't want to walk far to eat and right there, next door was this...

Real hamburgers TWO days in a row! It was bliss. They also had a special for ice cream. Two cups were 1000won (roughly a buck). So we decided to enjoy some. The taste was a little off (like they used powdered vanilla and the sugar was cooked too long), but it was the best we've had so far! Plus we had really cool utensils to eat with. Check them out!

Our other stop was in an outdoor market called Namdaemun (nom-day-moon). The very first thing we saw when we rounded the corner was Seoul City Tower.

(look mom! Proof that Adam is, in fact, alive and well!...and that I still have sad, ugly hair)

I took this video and Adam snapped these stills walking down our first street in the market (let it be known that we walked at least 6 or 8 different roads and still didn't hit them all, not to mention we skipped all the alley-ways in between).

It was so fun to see, and I even got to do a little bartering (Mama you taught me well and would be so proud!). These are my purchases for the day:
From front left: a clutch or "wristlet"--you can't see the strap because it fell backwards, but it's the cutest little bag for about $15! Sunglasses (these were 10,000won--roughly $10--I bought these after seeing another pair that were going for $135,000). A FABULOUS new purse--it has pockets, pockets, pockets galore (literally 8 zippered pockets and two open spaces). It's when I did the bartering. 

The guy told me, "I give you discount." He punched 120,000 into the calculator and said, "Price, but!" then he erased it and typed in 95,000 and said, "For you." And smiled. I grimaced and said, "I don't know. Let me go ask my husband." He didn't want any of that, so he said, with a very pained expression, "Ok, ok, ok, how much you pay?" Then he handed me the calculator. So I typed in 65,000. You would have thought I hit him with a baseball bat, but he relented in the end! And I also the super great slouchy cap (it totally reminds me of you b and Tia, too!). It's still a little too warm to be sporting the hat just yet, but September is here so the time is short!

The last first, at least for this post, was getting to see a new species of crab. The owners of Tom 'n Tom's Coffee Shop here in the village had them on display. Their daughter caught them at a little inlet not far from here. We asked if they would be kept for pets or if people would eat them. The woman made an awful face and said, "inside" and mimed lots of bugs crawling around.

I don't know if I could eat them either...

So in spite of the week being less than good, I think it turned out pretty alright.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Video Dump

So basically anytime I see something particularly interesting/unique/funny, etc. I just whip out my handy digital recorder (thanks Mama!) and hit the big red button. True story: I carry it in my pocket in place of a cell phone to remind me to record often.

And so, in no particular order of importance rhyme or reason (nope, they're not even chronological) are little videos of my life in Korea.

Note: I watched all of these prior to uploading which means you're only getting a sampling of the videos because I find myself really annoying as a narrator. You also have my sincerest apologies for the narrating you do get. I mostly do it to help me remember why I was recording and what the subject matter of the recording is...and because I have this disease where I think I'm funny.

Video 1: Jet Air Dryer

In some bathrooms they have regular run-of-the-mill hand dryers. They don't work here at all. It's too humid and the dryers just are not powerful enough. However, at legit places (like the airport, movie theater, and Costco--yes, Costco) they have these super-high-powered air dryers. They're kind of the equivalent of the dryers in car washes, but for your hands. The difference? These work! I can stick my dripping-wet hands in there and they come out desert dry. I am fascinated by them.

Video 2: Filming at EV

It is common for different companies to film different things at EV. This is for a laundry detergent commercial. And yes, those are bubbles. Lots and lots of bubbles :)

Video 3: The Price of Feel-Goodery

There are lots of Western food items in Korea. Some of them have been rather mainstreamed. Most things we recognise from home are actually marketed by a company here by the name of Lotte (low-tay). Like Oreos, Post and Kelloggs cereals, Pringles, etc. However, there are some things that one must pay premium price for. Like this Maple Syrup.

(Update: Last night when we were at Costco I saw a quart of Maple Syrup for $46 and a quart of honey for almost $50. Adam said, "There must not be any bees in Korea.")

Video 4: Photo Op

Tons of tourists come through EV each day, and nearly all of them are snap-happy camera-toters. There is also another, more specific market for taking pictures in the Village. Wedding photos. I've seen several couples in the six-seven weeks I've been here.

Video 5: Primary Children Singing

A woman in our ward turned 70 years old, so the ward planned a surprise potluck for her. As one of the gifts the Primary sang her a birthday song. My heart melts every time at this...

Video 6: The Birthday Party

This was actually a precursor to the previous video. It features the buffet of traditional Korean food and a look at the building where we meet! This is taking place in the chapel/gym/cultural hall/stage on the second floor of the two story (well, three if you count the basement) building.

Video 7: Meister Artwork

In my earlier video about Meister I forgot to include my favorite part--the artwork! I'm pretty sure you cannot see all of the detail, but I love this stuff! I seriously am mesmerized by it every time we go.

Video 8: Green Space

During our first foray into a neighboring town called Ilsan we happened upon a lovely walkway designed as green space in the downtown area. A Korean coworker explained that Ilsan did not develop organically, but was a planned community, and people from Seoul have been moving there because they like it so much. We like it, too.

Video 9: The Not-So-Friendly Neighbors to the North

On a map if you look at Paju City, or read about it's location it appears to be about 45 miles from North Korea. WRONG! We are within swimming distance. Literally. This shows the meager boundary between the North and South.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why Women Use Going to the Bathroom as a Reward

Several years ago I had the good fortune of hearing a comedienne (yes, that is the legitimate spelling for a woman comedian) Wendi Fox at Snow College. As part of her routine she asked why women use going to the bathroom as a reward. As in, "I'll go as soon as I finish washing these dishes." or "I'll go as soon as I finish changing the laundry and fold the big pile." Until eventually you forget you had to go until hours later when you have to go again and you can't remember if you ever went when you needed to before (admit it, this has happened to you).

But having moved to Korea I think I've figured out the real reason why.

If you live in an arid place, like Utah, you may not fully appreciate this. Likewise, if you have never worn nylons with a skirt and a slip you cannot appreciate this.

I used to think Ohio was  humid. I was wrong. During the 5+ weeks I have been a resident of Korea we have had a grand total of 5 sunny days. Some days it hasn't rained, but it's been overcast. Most every day it rains. Some days it's not legitimate rain, it's more like the sky is sweating on you--like this moist, hot dew that just condenses on your body.

It is under these conditions that I have had to go to the bathroom. 

Remember with me, if you will, those times when you've gone to the swimming pool and no sooner than you have submersed yourself in water you get the "I-gotta-go-NOW" sensation, so you do the bent half-shuffle to the bathroom, avoiding running so as not to attract the attention of the life guards, only to get into a stall where you peel the saturated suit off your wet self. Sitting on the seat you're not sure if everything coming from your person is making it into the bowl because you have, what you hope is just water, coursing down your legs. 

And you can almost forget wiping.

As soon as your soggy fingertips touch the paper it practically melts to your flesh, let alone trying to get enough to the place where it's supposed to perform its purpose. If it does get there the majority of it has flaked off onto your thighs and there's a mass of floating toilet-paper bits in the bowl.

Then comes the most arduous task. Getting the wet swimming suit back on. No matter how much you dance, wiggle, shimmy, jump, twist, shake, tug, pull, jerk, shove, stomp, or squat that sucker is not going on right again.

This happens when a woman wears nylons as well. Getting them on is difficult enough, but as soon as they're partially pulled down for a pit-stop there's no getting them back on right without starting from scratch. Conditions must be just right for a successful nylon application attempt to be succesful. Bathroom stalls are not incubators of good fortune in that department.

You may think I'm wandering, but here comes the point.

Combine all those elements and it's like going to the bathroom in Korea. No. I haven't been swimming. It's just that humid. I've found I avoid going to the bathroom, not because I find going a complete waste of time (which I do), but because I want to avoid the fiasco of getting everything put back together again.

My take is not that I use going to the bathroom as a reward, but as a process of procrastinated punishment and effectual torture.