“Where are you from?” and Other Musings

where are you from

A classic introduction here is made up of the following questions: what’s your name, what classes are you taking, and where are you from. Simple enough, right?

Well, I have some faced problems with the last question because people apparently don’t know what Albany is (IT’S THE CAPITAL OF NEW YORK STATE BY THE WAY), and even if they do know where it is, they assume I live in the boonies because I guess everything upstate of the city is automatically covered in corn fields and nothing else.

So now I just say “I go to school in DC, but I’m from New York”, but here are a few examples of actual conversations I’ve had with people (all of whom live in the states, so there’s really not much excuse):


Geography Wiz: Where are you from?

Me: I go to school in DC, but I’m from New York

Geography Wiz: Oh! Uptown or downtown?

Me: (clearly joking) Pretty far uptown. Maybe like 2 and a half hours uptown. Haha, I live in Albany.

Geography Wiz: Oh cool, so how do you like living in New York City?

(thinking to myself) Were you listening? Or do you think that NYC extends really far north and Albany is some sort of new borough…


Guy on Metro: Where are you from?

Me: I go to school in DC, but I’m from New York

Guy on MetroOh cool! Your English is like really good.

Me: Thanks, so is yours.


Girl who was actually joking: Where do you go to school?

Me: I go to Georgetown in DC!

Girl who was actually joking: (looks me over) … but where’s your polo?


Guy who wasn’t actually joking: Where do you go to school?

Me: I go to Georgetown in DC!

Guy who wasn’t actually joking: Oh!! Do you play basketball there?

(Yes, actually, I do. I am on the D1 Georgetown women’s basketball team. I run between everyone’s legs like a little Asian bolt of lightning and my teammates throw me into the air so I can get to the basket. My action figures sell really well in China).


Girl 1: I’m from NYC! Where in New York are you from?

Me: I’m a proud Albanian!

Guy 1: Wait, but like…don’t Albanians have super white skin and stuff?

Me: Ah, I mean that I’m from Albany.

Girl 1: That would be albino.

Guy 1: Oh, do they have those in Albany?


Guy 2: Are you from Brazil?


Now, I’ve met tons of people, so these few encounters are the exception, not the rule. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not still entertaining.

On a different note, here’s a brief update on my life in bullet form, for those of you who are curious:

  • Classes are amazing. I’m loving them but completely forgot how to do readings and motivate myself to do work so it’s been an adjustment. On the flip side, I’ll return to Georgetown in a student mentality instead of my usual summer bum mentality, so that’s certainly a plus!
  • I’ve officially been in Korea for 23 days. How is that possible? I simultaneously feel like I just got here and like I’ve been here for several months.
  • I basically dressed up like a combination of Wonder Woman, Rosie the Riveter, and an American flag on the Fourth of July.
  • Monsoon season is not my friend. My umbrella flipped inside out yesterday on the way to class just as the rain really started coming down. Everything in my backpack got soaked and my very heavy cargo pants were not fun to wear for the rest of the day. I also made the decision to wear glasses so I was either blinded by the rain on my lenses, or unable to see without my glasses on. Today, I am better prepared: plastic bags covering everything inside of my backpack and I’m wearing contact lenses. COME AT ME RAIN. I DARE YOU. (Feel free to stay away though…)
  • I saw Les Mis completely in Korean this past weekend and it was just brilliant. I just couldn’t contain myself, and I also got the live recording on CD. So, if you feel like hearing “One Day More” in Korean, hit me up.
  • My friends and I just got tickets to the South Korea vs. Japan men’s soccer game for July 28th and I am beside myself with excitement. South Korea also just officially invited the North Korean women’s soccer team to play here on July 21st and I’m trying really hard to go see that too.
  • I was placed into Beginner 1-11 Korean which is the group of kids that just missed placing into Beginner 2. This means that we all know the a lot of fundamentals, but for our own respective reasons, missed the mark for the next level. Because of this, we’re all immensely frustrated by how repetitive and simple the curriculum is. Today, we all had a talk with our teacher and convinced her to teach us two more chapters if time allows so we are now speeding through the basic material. It’s quite a win for Korean class 528.
  • I will now be tutoring three kids every weekend in English (one on Saturdays and two on Sundays) so I can’t wait to get started with that! I’m hoping I’ll be able to restrain myself and speak more slowly with them since I tend to talk at 100mph when I get too excited.
  • My mom left Korea today and is currently on her way home to Albany. It’s going to feel so weird knowing that I no longer have the option of seeing her on the weekends, but we had a lot of fun while she was here. I’m really hoping we can do this again at some point with my sister and dad too.
  • I stil love all of the food.
  • New development post-publication: South Korea invited North Korea to the EAFF and we just got tickets!

That’s all for now, folks. Thanks for tuning into today’s installment of “all of the sass and rambling by Lindsay Lee”.


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