As I briefly mentioned last time, I'm having some difficulties with Kimchi versus Korea.
Flashback to Monday night. I came home from work to find a poorly translated note on my door from my building administrator. It said,
"Complaints came in on my dogs do not look. If you encounter this problem in the future will be deported."Poorly translated, like I said. But scary. Deported? I started pacing around my apartment, wondering what exactly the note meant. Was Kimchi making too much noise? Was I being an inadequate Puppy Mama? Was this like the Korean-dog version of child services? And if so, where were they for this guy? I took Kimchi out for a long walk, determined to get her tired enough that she wouldn't start barking. I did so the next morning as well, to the point that she needed me to carry her the last stretch of the way. No barking out of that one, for sure.
At work, the next day, one of my Korean co-teachers pulled me aside to discuss the situation. Not only had my building administrator left the poorly-translated note on my door, but also called my supervisor to let him know that my dog was being obnoxious. I asked her what details she knew, since I had none, and she told me that Kimchi was apparently behaving really badly. The complaints stated that it sounded like not one, but many dogs along with giant parties coming from the apartment. She looked at me gravely, and warned me that I needed to be careful.
Many dogs? Giant parties? Really, me?
I had some doubts. Unlike many of the other Korean dog-owners I've met, I have put in quite a bit of effort to (gasp!) train my dog. If I say, "SIT," Kimchi sits. If I stop walking, Kimchi stops walking. I know it seems almost unfathomable here, but yes, I decided to train my $500+ puppy, and that has included teaching her not to bark.
In addition to taking her on twice-daily walks, I began checking on her multiple times during the day (no barking). I stopped leaving her alone at home if I could help it; if I was heading out to sit at a cafe with a mocha and learn Korean, then Kimchi sat too. If I was going out to get galbi with my coworkers, then Kimchi got galbi too. Even sitting on an open-air patio amidst loud music and drunk people staggering by our table, Kimchi didn't bark once. Despite my growing doubts that she was really the one causing all this ruckus, I started feeling paranoid making any kinds of noise in my apartment, for fear that they would complain again and deport her right then and there. For goodness sakes, I turned off Animal House halfway through because I was afraid someone would hear a "giant party" coming from my apartment. It has not been a fun week at all.
But here's the kicker. Friday night, I left my apartment to take Kimchi on our second long walk of the day, only to hear a party coming from the other end of the hall. Like door wide open, 6-8 loud Korean voices emanating from within, party. Awesome, Korea. If you want to complain about noisy neighbors that sound like they're having a party, maybe complain about the ones actually throwing a party. In a language I don't speak. That would be great.
Furthermore, Korea's not exactly a quiet place to live in to begin with. I live nine floors away from an elementary school that often has these "announcements" which are about as far from quiet as possible. I'm not exaggerating that they're really just a man screaming into a microphone for hours at a time. Sometimes it sounds quite militant, like he's rounding up the students to go march on the North, and other times it just sounds like jibberish. Even more jibberish than Korean already sounds to me. In short, they're super annoying and should really make anyone think twice before complaining about any other noise violation they could possibly have.
So here it is. Dear Korea, My puppy is not the obnoxious one.
At this point, I am almost that certain Kimchi's not to blame for these complaints, but at the risk of deportation, I may try to switch apartments in the next couple weeks to assuage the situation. Even though deportation would mean I save money on shipping her back to the US (kidding, kidding) this Puppy Mama's not about to let that happen. Wish me luck!
- Christine -