The only time I don’t feel safe in Korea is in cars.

My host mother gets behind the wheel like she’s throwing herself into one of those ping pong ball lottery machines and counting that her number won’t be picked. Her driving has two overriding characteristics: 1. avoidance when at all possible of having to down shift or stop (including running red lights and making turns in fourth gear) and 2. complete reliance on other drivers not to hit her. One starts to wonder if her head actually can pivot side to side, not once does she sneak a look at her blind spots.

Which is why this afternoon, when we turned left from a non-turning lane but failed to achieve the necessary speed to cut off the white van in the proper turning lane, she forced the woman to hit us. I smacked my forehead. The entire ride I had envisioned scenarios under which she might let me drive and felt a little guilty then; like I had made it happen through my lack of faith. She, however, was neither terribly shaken nor particularly repentant. I’m not sure she realized what had gone wrong.



  1. Was just surfing, interesting blog, good luck in korea ! Have you watched the movie , “Please teach me english” ?Its a korean movie, and reading through your entries got me reminded of it. Anyways, take care.


  2. No! Although I have heard of it, I still haven’t gotten around to seeing it. I never feel like reading subtitles when I go to DVD bangs, so I have seen few movies of consequence in the last eight months.

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