Isolation Tool Kit: YouTube and a Cell Phone Holder


I watched my first Korean Englishman video in the winter, when my friend introduced me to the “Ollie Alone in Korea” series. She brought it up as a lesson about the value of immersion when learning a new language – in this case, Ollie had been practicing Korean for years, but made the most leaps and bounds when he was forced to communicate with native Korean speakers who only barely understood his English. (You know me, I love my languages!)

Since then, and while in quarantine, I’ve watched – probably not an exaggeration – days worth of Korean Englishman videos, including the Twins series, Juno, lots of Jolly mailbags, Josh’s mom, Ollie’s dad, and Johnny being his crazy self, and too many mukbangs to count. I’ve even expanded into the greater Korean Englishman universe – watching Gabie’s cooking videos, some of Dan and Joel’s channel, Rev. Chris’s Instagram 60-second sermons, even their Twitch streams. I’m obsessed! and I have quarantine to thank! thank? thank!

Even outside of the Korean Englishman universe, I’ve expanded out to many other foreigner-in-East Asia vloggers – I guess I have a type!

From white girls in Japan…

(double points if they’re visiting Tokyo Disneyland)

to white girls in Korea…

and a Black girl who has lived in both…

I feel like I’ve immersed myself so much in vloggers living in these areas because – surprise! – I miss travelling, especially Japan, and want to go back ASAP. Even just a simple “day in the life”, which, for them, still includes going to places like cafes and the mall, has served as an escape from the low-lit living room where I’ve spent the better part of this year, feeling like I haven’t done much of anything.

Is this healthy? I have no idea! But, like Korean Englishman, I’ve spent probably literally days watching the minutiae of these women’s lives, living vicariously through them, pretending that I can still do mundane things like ride the train and order a coffee and go furniture shopping without being nervous about literally everyone and everything around me (spoiler alert: I can’t yet!).

I’m also embarrassed to admit that this isn’t even all of the YouTube that I’ve watched since going into isolation. There are so many other channels that have sucked me in, too many that I’d care to admit! Definitely too many to list here, unless I want to lose everyone’s attention (spoiler alert: I don’t!).

I couldn’t have done many of my YouTube binges without my favorite unexpected quarantine purchase: a cell phone stand!

I wanted to take a picture of my phone in the cell phone stand before realizing that I need my phone to take a picture… of my phone…

I originally bought one because the headphone jack on my work laptop broke and I was getting tired of holding my phone for hours-long meetings. Funnily enough, my headphone jack started working again as soon as my package came in the mail! (Of course!) I thought about returning it, but was too lazy/confused/scared by the prospect of having to go to the post office during the initial peak Covid spread that I decided to keep it. And I’m glad I did!

Embarrassingly, I felt like there was so! much! content! out there that I needed to be taking it in during every possible moment in my life. I set it up in front of my chopping board while making dinner, next to my sink while washing dishes, next to my TV screen while playing Animal Crossing (a peak quarantine moment), even, once, dangling precariously over my tub while taking a bath (once, and only once).

And, though I started that last paragraph with ’embarrassingly’, I am decidedly not embarrassed about how much more efficient I became after adopting this habit. I started to look forward to doing these chores because I could have a “familiar” voice on in the background. Washing the dishes becomes more tolerable when you can pretend that you aren’t, right? right?

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