Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

It's 6pm on Dec 31st. Paul and I just enjoyed our last meal of 10 (spicy shrimp sandwich) and are awaiting guests to arrive. Pregame here followed by dancing in Hongdae. And the best part, we found Sam Adam Winter Lager at a foreign food mart!

Happy New Years!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

merry christmas!

I am typing this from my classroom at Cheonpa Elementary school. The kids are all circled around Paul's laptop (he had the movies) stuffing their faces with cookies and chips. Oh did I mention it's Christmas Eve!? And we're at school!? Lame. Anyway, there's not much for me to do, so I'm playing on facebook and updating my blog. I just got a text from Paul, "There's a santa suit on my desk." hahahaha sucker.

For a country that claims to be predominately Christian, it's interesting to see their take on Christmas. They go to church Christmas morning, but then everyone either goes to the sea or to Carribean Bay which is a waterpark. It's not really a family celebration. Just kind of a day off school. Most schools dont even have off next week!!!

For my Christmas I am doing a lot of celebrating. Tonight a bunch of us are heading down to the Intercontinental hotel for a wine buffet. Its usually 30,000 won from 6-9 and its all you can drink wine, beer, magkeolli, and they have a hot bar and cheese and salads. It's a deal. Tonight we're going and it's 60,000 won but we were told they're be steak and better food, and whiskey. Nothing says happy birthday Jesus like whiskey.

Tomorrow morning I'm getting up and unwrapping all (tons!) of my presents with my family via Skype. Theyre going to open their box from me as well. I got cinammon rolls from base and I'm sure my family will be sipping on Bailey's. Then in the evening I will head over to a suite in the Ritz Carolton for dinner. My friend Donnie has kindly booked the room and catered a feast for 25 of his closest friends...even though we aren't that close. Should be a blast!

I wish I were at home with friends and family, but if not, this is a close second. I love you all and wish you a Merry Merry Christmas and a safe and happy new year!!! xoxoxo

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I love this little netbook. I for sure thought with internet access anywhere I would be better at keeping up this blog. FAIL. Ill try, Ill try, its hard during the holidays. Too many parties and not enough typing time!

Things are great here in Seoul. The weather finally warmed up a bit, there were a few days of -10. I do not miss it! Now the countdown to Christmas is on. We did our Secret Santa exchange yesterday. Of course everyone knew who everyone had, to be fair there were only 6 of us. I got Emily a photoalbum of Seoul memories, Sarah got Paul a bottle of wine, Emily got Joe a bottle of tequila, Joe got Nicole "The Kite Runner" (it was hers) and a bottle of wine, and Nicole got Sarah eyelash serum (which she asked for). What did my secret santa get me you ask. A big fat nothing! haha Paul had me and didnt have time to find what he wanted to get me. I already warned him this secret santa would not be a detraction from my Christmas present, it would be a bonus. Then I guessed what it was he wanted to get me....a wallet! I look like a homeless person everytime I go to pay for something now. There's a huge gash in the side and it looks pretty raggamuffin as my mom would say. So now I get to go pick one out with Paul.

Today I didn't have to work. Markus and I switched, he usually has Monday off and I have Friday off, because he's going to Switzerland on Thursday night to visit his brother and new nephew for Christmas. And thank god I didnt work today. Sunday Funday was a little too fun yesterday! Tonight I'm going down to Suseo to tutor blowfish kids, then taking the subway down to Bundang (not even in Seoul) to tutor a middle school boy and his little sister. Then itll be an hour an 1/2 trek home...shold be back 11ish. This Bundang thing is going to need to end.

Oh also in exciting/what am I thinking news, I am officially a candidate for the June 5th CFA Level 2 exam in Seoul. I did it. I'm locked into Korea for another 6 months. Ahhh the studying/guilt ridden hell begins again.....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

merry christmas to me!

I have the best parents in the whole world! I got my Christmas packages this evening from America!! I open the first and there are a couple of wrapped gifts and then a stocking stuffed with goodies and a ton of food; pop tarts, crystal light, cookie mix, hot chocolate (godiva!), marshmellows, yogurt covered raisons. Oh my. I open the second larger box and there's a ton of wrapped gifts and 2 that say "Open now."

The first is a Christmas CD. Emily and I have been rocking out to Christmas songs since Thanksgiving, so we were in need of a new playlist. Then the second box. A netbook!!! I know I broke the last two and probably don't deserve a new one, but it rocks. It's tiny, red, and super cute. Perfect for carrying around while I'll be studying. I love this thing!

I wish I could be home for Christmas this year. The whole family will be wihout but me :( I will definitely be home next year. At least this year I'll be in a country that celebrates Christmas, and I'll be with my friends. We're going to do a secret santa exchange, lunch at a neighbors, and a hotel party at night.

Merry Early Christmas!!! And thanks again family, I love you!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Back to Busan

This Saturday Paul and I embarked on a trip down to Busan. My previous Busan experience was great, one day of awesome sun and beach and two of rain, but that just led to screen golf and other rainy beach day activities. Paul's last trip was a total disaster. The first hour he and his friend got there, his friend fell into an abandoned elevator shaft in the middle of an alley. To make matters worse, said friend was being ultra cheap and wouldn't go out to any seafood dinners, or do anything that cost more than $10.

Start trip 2. My friend was going to host her birthday party at the grand opening of the Wolfhound Busan, but ended up bailed the Wednesday before. I had already signed up for a bus trip and a hotel, so Paul and I figured we'd still go. The bus left 10am on Saturday, and there was only one other person I recognized on the bus, and I didn't know him well. It was the normal large group of 20 somethings. There's the bitchy girls, the dude who passes out early, the dude who hasn't slept in 3 days, the bros, the girls who don't drink, and then the rest of us who fall somewhere in the middle. The 7 hour bus trip was a total shit show. Started out calm, but come 5pm at Busan, things were saucy. I think most people went straight to the wolf, but Paul and I wanted to change and go out to a nice dinner. Our hotel room was amazing!! Definitely the nicest I've stayed in since I've been here (which really isn't saying much), but it was clean and had a sweet jacuzzi, and our trip dominated the entire floor of the hotel, so there was no room for noise complaints as we were the ones making all of the noise. Paul and I found a nice little seafood restaurant which was right next door to the WOlf. We ordered sashimi (who knows what kind). First came the sides; it had the normal ones like salad, kimchi and seaweed, but the we got bondagee. Theyre little silkworm babies. I personally really like them, but it seems I'm the only one. When my parents came my dad tried it, and I got my friend Rohan to as well, but usually people just look at me with a disgust in their eyes and say "hell no." Paul was a good sport and tried it though. Perhaps it was the previous 7 hours of drinking on the bus that persuaded him, but he still didn't like it, or woudn't admit to it at least. Then the brought out live octopus. I guess it's not really alive, but its raw and wiggles on the plate and in your mouth. We'd both had it before, but thoroughly enjoyed picking the pieces up with one finger and watching it hang off before munching it. The sashimi was awesome as well.

We finished and head to the Hound. What a mess. Everyone from the bus was 4x more wasted than the last time we saw them. It was a riot. Day 2 and Paul and I head out of our room, with pounding heads, and made our way to the little fish alley. We stopped and had spicy freshwater eel which was awesome, then went back to the Wolf where we were given free drink tickets. A decent bloody mary in Korea is hard to come by, so it was a welcome post breakfast beverage. The guy who organized the trip, Marty, was a waste case the night before, only to be outdone by his wastedness the morning after!! It worked for me though because he was passing free drink tickets out left and right. Sadly, the afternoon flew by, and come 5pm we had to make the long journey back. After a couple fights were broken up on the bus on the way out, everyone sort of chilled out ad enjoyed (passed out) the ride.

I <3 Busan and cant wait to go back with warm weather!! Did I mention it was in the mid 60s!!!??

Thursday, December 2, 2010

life plans parte 300

I've been kind of stressing recently about finding a job, the end of my contract, and planning my upcoming trips. I can't do much for Christmas, but would like to meet Brian in Tokyo in February and take a week with Paul in March; I'm between Bali and somewhere in Thailand. Then I get an email from a lady at my company saying my contract officially ends February 15th. Hmmm. At the end of my contract I will get a flight anywhere. This presents a lot of options.

After some plotting, I think I have devised a new life plan. Originally it was leave Korea after a year. Then it was leave Korea and move to Argentina or Australia. Then it was stay til March. Then it was move to Hong Kong, or Singapore, or anywhere in Asia. Here's the new and improved plan. Finish my contract in Feb, hope they'll keep me on through the end of March (that's when the school will pick a new company; I'm guessing not mine) then do private tutoring until June. This will allow me lots of free time to study for the CFA Level II exam. I can take this June 5th, right here in Seoul. Krissy is leaving after 5 years in June, and Paul's one year contract will be over then as well. So after I finish the test we can go travel for a month or two. Then when fall rolls around, start the hardcore job hunt again. Right now I'm thinking an India-> Prague trip sounds nice.

PS boo to December and snow. I hate cold and my school still hasn't gotten a heater!!!

Saturday I'm heading down to Busan for the opening of Wolfhound Busan. Party bus with 45 people. Wooohooo, road trip!

Friday, November 26, 2010

turkey soup fail

So our Thanksgiving party was a roaring success. Tons of food, wine, and friends. So today, Friday morning, while cleaning I decide to make turkey soup with the leftover bones. My mom and aunt instructed me to fill a pot with bones, cover them with water, and allow to boil for a few hours. I was here for the first hour or so, but decided after gorging on leftovers, I would go out for a run. I was gone a mere 30 minutes when I returned. Outside my apartment smelled like burnt something. We have Filipino neighbors downstairs, so I figured they were bbqing something. Nope. I opened the door only to be blinded by a thick cloud of smoke. The entire apartment was filled. It looked like backdraft exploded in the kitchen. Quickly I ran to the stove, turned it off, then ran around with towels spinning in the air. I didn;t know what to do and if someone had peeped in, they probably would have thought I went insane. Finally I get the pot (which was covered) off the stove and outside. I opened the door and every window (one, the rest are all duck taped shut for winter. Yes, I do live in a classy establishment, quit judging) and put all of the fans on. At this point I need to shower because I have to go meet Ms. Han. My room is three steps up and has zero windows and hey, you know what, smoke rises. Even after I put fans in there I would have to hold my breath grab everything I could and run back downstairs. Ugh, and the smell!!! I didn;t want to close the door because of the smoke, but didnt want to leave it open while I was closed in the shower. So I left the bathroom door open, hid all the laptops, and hoped no one came in. No one did thankfully. I left all the fans on when I left and notes on all of my roommates doors. "If it smells like burnt turkey it's because I burnt a turkey." "North Korea just bombed our apt, they apologize for the smell." After I met Ms. Han I came back armed with scented candles, febreeze, and air fresheners of all kinds. PS Ms. Han didnt booze me up this time :( Just tea. Anyway, the smell is a little better, and best of all Dave was here (he was gone for the week) and didn't want to kill me. I thought I was going to have to search for a new apartment. Fingers crossed Emily doesn't hate me!!!! FYI I did this after the apartment was sparkling clean and smelled only for 409!!! FML

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Soju wanna get in a fight

Last Friday night was possibly one of my favorite/most Korean nights I've had here. I was in Namdaemun (a market) on Thursday poking around and noticed a plethora of soju tents. These are literally tents with makeshift kitchens in them, plastic stools, and plenty of ajusis. The point is to go drink mek-ju and soju and eat. In Korea you don't drink without eating. We, as foreigners, can get away with this more so, but if your Korean it's expected if there is a drink on your table, there is also a plate of something as well. So in these tents you find old men boozin it hard. I thought this looked fun, and seeing as I had nothing going on Friday, and have been getting sick of Itaewon and Hongdae, decided this would be a good little diversion. Paul and I head over there 10ish on a Friday only to find the Namdaemun market shut down! We finally found one tent found two little stools and plopped down. We are clearly not their market. Everyone in there, especially the ajuma cooking (who was the only other woman), looked at us like aliens. At this point my Korean is good enough to order and make it known I'm not some tourist here for the weekend. We ordered a mekju, soju and ojinga (squid). The squid was awesome. Cooked perfectly and sprinkled with sesame seeds. I wish I could order it like this everywhere. Anyway, the old dudes next to us start trying to talk to us. By talk I mean, they talk, pour soju shots and laugh. We all get pretty drunk and they try to get us to go back to their what I can only guess, was their hotel room. We politely decline and keep drinking. A good friend (korean) came to meet us and for whatever reason started in on some random dude. Apparently the other guy called my friend young which was a huge insult to his ego, and all of the sudden punches were being thrown. Man I thought the tent was going down. It eventually made it's way outside. I just sat with the ajuma and waited, Paul tried to help but at the same time didn't want to get in trouble and deported, and my friend was just out for blood. The cops came. hahahah I can't even tell you how funny this statement is. Cops came to a fight. In Korea. hahahahahah. I've never ever seen the cops interfere in someones business ever. I've certainly never seen them arrest someone. And I've never even heard of them being called somewhere before. So the fact they showed up was pretty monumental. What did they do? Absolutely nothing. They got the two parties separate I guess, but after that, we all went on our merry little way. I LOVE SOJU TENTS. Paul and I are plotting our next destination.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

marathon fail dugae

yeah didn't make this one either. perhaps my 10k days are done did.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

das gluwhein

Gluwhein party was a huge success! Emily had a disastrous day of apple picking, let's just say it was true Korean style, and I spent the day outside not preparing for the party, but it all came together. There was a great turnout, minimal drama...just kidding. There's always drama. Apparently Brooke made out with David while David's girlfriend Emily (different one) was outside smoking a cigarette. Brooke didn't know he had a girlfriend and everyone else just felt awkward. It was pretty funny. We bought a ton of $2 wine. It shouldn't actually be called wine. Perhaps more like, slightly alochol-ed juice. We dumped that with whiskey, cinnamon, apples, and chai tea bags into a pot and heat her up. It was divine.

Sunday was another funday. We had a bunch of people over for pancakes, eggs and bacon. The party continued all day and I think we were all feeling it on Monday. Tomorrow is Sunny teacher's last day. They finally found a replacement so she's obsayeo. Boo. Ugh if only I could find a new job. Apparently after February the school won't renew its contract with my company. At least now I have a deadline!

This weekend should be exciting. I have my first blowfish class Friday, all you can drink at Oktoberfest from 1-5 in Gangnam Saturday, and a 10k race Sunday am. The jury's still out on that one :)

Weather's turning and it's getting pretty miserable to be outside. Oh and in my school because have I mentioned we don't have heat?! That best get fixed soon. Off to apply for jobs followed by an eel dinner. It's almost hump day....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nov. 12th... apparently my best day for jobs! As I am boarding the subway on my way to meet the blowfish guy and his wife, I get a call from Ms. Han requesting that we meet today. I haven't seen her in months and her son has blown me off the past 3 weeks. Then Paul and I meet the blowfish guy, his wife, and the mother of another child for the class. Blowfish man and friend's mom both speak great English, the wife not so much. After they make it clear I'm the one for the job (Paul doesn't have time anyway and they'e more comfortable with a woman) they invite us to stay for a blowfish lunch. I love free lunch, and more than anything, eating meals with Koreans. Foreigners just kind of make up the rules, but when you eat with Koreans there is definitely a more refined/restricted way of eating. The sides aren't appetizers, they're meant to accompany your meal. I always scarf em down before the meal. You don't eat until the eldest dishes it out for everyone and starts. You don't finish everything (again I always do), and you usually don't drink water. Why is it that Americans are the only people who drink water!? I digress. So we decide the class will be once a week at one of the students' houses, this will change monthly, there will be 6 students between the ages of 5 and 8 (Korean), it will be conversational, I will be paid monthly, and I will get a snack in the middle. Asa! In the middle of lunch I get a text from a recruiter I wrote to on craigslist regarding a tutoring job. He wants to know when I'm available to chat. I call him back later and he says he has a tutoring job Tues/Thurs 7:30-9:00 for a 38 year old doctor, $40 an hour. Between these two new jobs, and Ms. Han, I'm back to my salary before I left and I only work 18 hours a week. Woohoo Thailand back on! Although now I hear there's been a large volcano eruption in Indonesia, so perhaps Bali's a better option (cheaper flights).

Off to meet Ms. Han now, then run, Joe's birthday dinner at Zelen. Zelen is my favorite restaurant here. It's Bulgarian food served by really attractive Bulgarian waiters. Once Susan and I got a bit tipsy in the afternoon after a wine tasting and head in here for a late lunch. It was 3 and they said they were closed until dinner. We weren't having it. They finally let us in and said they'd serve whatever they had in the kitchen. It ended up being an awesome soup and stuffed cabbage. Even when they're closed they're good!

Tomorrow Emily, Dave and I are hosting a gluhwein party. We're basically taking cheap sweet wine, heating it with bourbon, and putting apples and oranges in it all served with homemade banana bread, which Paul Em and I made last night, and brownies, which I will make tomorrow. Looks to be a nice little weekend.

pepero day dugae

For those of you who remember, 11/11 is a national holiday here. It is, in my opinion, the best holiday here. Today is a day for all of the little children to spend their hard earned o beck wons to buy their teachers and friends alike, PEPERO. It's awesome. Pepero is the same as the Japanese pocky sticks, although if you asked a Korean, they were invented here. They are cookie sticks covered in chocolate. There are peanut varieties, almond, coffee, and even inside out. I bought 10 boxes to give to my kids in school today, man was that unnecessary. I thought I got a lot last year, this year's kids killed it though. I have a bag full of giant peperos, have been eating them all day, and still have 2 extra boxes in my desk. I am officially pepero-ed out.

Today also marks the beginning of the G20 meeting here. I just left school and saw riot police (I live on the opposite side of the city from where the G20 meeting is) and a huge parade of protesters marching down the street in the rain. "Down with G20." Not really sure why, but whatever. Everywhere you look for the past month were notices about the G20. Banners, signs, the flowers in the streets were even covered in plastic wrap during the frost to keep them until today!

Last Saturday Paul and I were out to eat at a blowfish restaurant. We had never tried to posion fish and the guy outside lured us in. We were the only two in there and the man serving us was a chatterbox. He told us all about what we were eating, where it came from (Busan), the restaurant history (started in Daegu), and about his experiences in Australia (hence his English). He then inquired about us and after we mentioned we were teachers his eyes lit up. He has two young daughters who are learning English and he wants a tutor. He then decided he would get a few kids in the neighborhood involved and we could have a class twice a week. I quoted him a price and he said he'd run it by his wife and get back to us. I get a phone call this morning from him stating he'd like Paul and I to come by and meet his wife and show them the materials we would use. Asa! He lives down probably an hour away, but I a) have time and b) will travel for $65 an hour. So hopefully the meeting goes well tomorrow! And conveniently enough, he wants to meet down in Gangnam very close to where the G20 is! I wanted to go check out the protest scene anyway, so it fits nicely into my schedule.

Here's another random tidbit about this week. Yesterday a kid in my first lowest level class ran out of the room and came back with a little plastic bag. The bag was cheeping. I look in and there's a tiny little chick! It was shaking uncontrollably and of course every child in the classroom is trying to get a hold of it. Apparently there was a woman sitting outside the gates of the elementary school selling baby chicks for 1,000 won (<$1). How many parents are in for a suprise that night!?? I walked by her this morning and she literally leaned on the gate with a huge box of hundreds of baby chicks. Poor things don't stand a chance!!

Oh and the lack of posts this week is due, yet again, to computer trouble. I got the power cord working with some fanagling for a while, but no longer. It's had enough. May it RIP. What's really annoying is that while I was typing a food review it died ad I can't get it. It was about Halloween so it's no longer relevant. Bah. Paul's computer it is!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

time time time time

Apparently is all I have these days. I definitely fill my day, but it's usually doing pretty worthless stuff like walking two hours to get anywhere. At least my butt's looking good. The only part time tutoring Ive been finding is early in the morning which I don't find to be worth my time. And all of the other jobs throughout Asia in the Finance world, I have gotten negative or no responses for. Maybe I should broaden my horizon....

Sunny teacher's last day is next Tuesday :( I'm going to miss her! She always interrupts my class with really important info ("Ricky Martin's gay!" "The miners are out"...) and she's super cute and gives me daily weather (although usually wrong) updates. So this Monday her replacement, KP, came in for training. She's super cute and nice but has no teaching experience. Her job is mostly secretarial anyway, so I guess it doesn't matter too much. Today, Thursday, and she's not here. She comes later very quickly and leaves. Sunny teacher explains to me that she doesn't think she can do the hours and that she just found out that morning she's pregnant! Smells like an excuse to bail to me!!! Poor lady. No one wants this job. They must get paid really crappy! Apparently the backup is coming in tomorrow for training. Markus and i are pretty sure we can scare her off in only 2 days....

I was teaching my kids neck tie the other day (we have really stupid books). I asked when Dad wears a necktie. They're quiet. I make some suggestions, "Parties, church, work, weddings, funnerals."

"Teacha, what's a funera?"

I motion to cutting my neck and then praying.

"No, no teacha. Dat's a rope." hahahahhahahahahahhaha

They are cute!

Friday, October 29, 2010

a very ghetto halloween

Yesterday at school we had our annual Halloween party. Halloween parties at public elementary schools are verrry different than those at private Hagwons. At my Hagwon last year all of the teacher's get decked out. Every single student gets decked out. We have organized games, and candy, and snacks, and activities for everyone to partake in. Halloween at public school not so much. I walk in at 1 wearing my devil ears, red pants, bright red eye make-up, while gripping my pitchfork. Sunny is delighted with this, and what is she wearing? She's wearing a red sweater and that's it. Well I mean pants too, but no Halloween costume. Then Markus comes in. He's wearing a hoodie. Sunny informs me she bought candy. Candy= one bag of cheap lollipops. Games = a few worksheets with ghosts and haunted houses. haha. Oh well I guess Halloween in public school just means an excuse not to teach for a day. I'll take it!

Friday and still no job. The recruiter that really likes me keeps offering me morning jobs. I'm talking 7-8am. No thanks! I told him I am only willing to do evening jobs, and it's legit because in January I switch my schedule for a month. Just as in the summer, winter vacation means a modified schedule. So instead of 1-4, it's 10-1. Which is nice, but in the winter I don't really know what all there is to do in the afternoon. Perhaps I'll take up knitting. Anyway, this morning I typed out all of my level tests for next Tuesday, has some sushi and headed out. It's a beautiful day! I hear back home it's been in the 80s. Well not here. It's been cool, and today was actually sunny and I think hit 63! So I walked from Hongdae to Emart (roughly 4 miles), got ingredients for dinner, and home. I think all in all about a 6.5 mile walk. I didn't want to run today since I'm doing a 10k tomorrow, so this was the compensation. The 10k is a Halloween themed race which I didn't realize until last night. I guess I'll pull out the devil ears again. Tonight to carbo load for my extensive 6 miles tomorrow (ha I hope I can make it! I'm so out of shape) I'm going to make linguini and clams. I have never made this before, but I've watched Trisch Lagana do it for years, so I think I can handle it. I bought what I think are clams, white wine and linguini, so I should be good to go. Throw some garlic and red pepper flakes and it's a winner. Alright off to start that now! Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


On a particularly lame morning run I was stopped by a group of kids (in Itaewon, foreigner area) to do an interview with them for a school project. This happens all the time. Either Itaewon or up by the Cheongycheon River (stream). There are always kids and university students doing some sort of project they need your insight, experiences, or just a photo for. This was no different.
"Where are you from."
"Oh, Atlantic City." haha is that the only place in NJ people know!??

"Why are you in Korea." "What do you notice about Korean culture." Blah blah blah.

They were cute and I always enjoy seeing what questions they come up with. Last Saturday Paul and I were stopped by 2 uni students. They wanted to know our favorite designers, stores, musicals. Clearly all things Paul is really into. hah Poor guy didn't know what to say.

Anyway, later the same day I am leaving school, walking outside Sookmyeong Women's University where 2 young women stopped me. First they asked in Korean if I understood them, I said no, I don't know Korean. Then they spoke in broken English asking if I had some time. Sure. Big mistake. Then they pull out a bible. Ahhhh not this again! They tried to tell me about the Mother Mary and if I don;t celebrate Passover my soul's done did. Ok ok, all of the sudden I really have to go, thanks and good luck!! They always trick me! I just wanted to talk about why I love being in Korea.

After that I hopped on a bus down to COEX where Emily and I had a lovely time at the Intercontinental Wine Buffet. All the wine and food you can indulge in. Yum! Then we walked over to Without You. Our dentist gave Emily tickets for this one man show neither of us knew anything about. It's the videographer from Rent and he recounts getting the part in the play, his relationship with the writer and his death, and his mother's death. All told through a mix of song and prose. The play was worth it just to hear the Rent songs! He has an amazing voice, and it was only an hour and a half. Just long enough.

I am typing in my room, under a desk lamp because my overhead light died, under down comforter and next to a heat lamp. It's freezing in here and my room has zero heat!! Now it's time to get ready for my school Halloween party. I'm going as a sailor. We're going to play games, eat candy, and not teach all day. Woohoo. Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 25, 2010

success doogae

So I came home and was bitching to Dave about how my computer charger isn't charging the computer anymore. He said he had a similar problem a few years back and used some books to prop up the charger. I try this and what happens? The charger works!!! Thank god for Dave!! So I'm back and typing my brains out!

PS my pumpkin is delicious!


This morning I went for my "interview." It was actually an interview!! Weird. They asked my about my experience and backround etc...and then I had to give a sample class while they taped it. Who knew real interviews even happened here. Regardless, they loved me and are looking for some part time work for me. They will provide the books and best of all, the classes are all for adults! No more kids!

So my computer is dead. I am going to take it today to a repair shop, but I'm not hopeful. 2 computers dead in 4 months. NIce-uh. I suppose if they can't fix it I will have to rely on the PC Bongs and the use of Emily and Paul's computers(because Im too poor to buy a new one).

Had a good weekend even though I wasn't home for the races :( Friday night was chill; just some Real Housewives with the ladies. Saturday I got Paul to run with me!! It was absolutely gorgeous out and he agreed to run with me even though he hasn't run in 5 months. He did well too! He finished a whole 5k with me. We went and had an aweosme brunch with Emiluy (berry/ricotta brioche french toast and eggs pesto avocado) and hung out in Itae. Another chill day although there was some drama Saturday night. Paul's friend Garrett met us at the bar. He hadn't slept since two days prior. Let's just say he was "fun" and he ended up getting thrown out of the Wolfhound after we left. People don't get thrown out of bars here. He must have really worked it. Then Paul found out a friend (cricket team member- we have learned through Emily that they're all bat shit crazy) that Rich was only hanging out with Paul when I was gone to keep him close so he could get to me. haha seriously. Does this stuff really happen? PS good luck Rich. So Paul was bummed and the night just went down hill from there. It was an early one at least.

Saturday was ultra productive. Paul and I ventured over to Myeon-dong, walked to Jongno, Insadong and Gwanghuman where we ran into 2 different festivals. There's always some festival going on. We happened to catch the ginseng (free magkeolli and deer antler life saving solution- how Korean) and some other one, not sure what about, for kids. We got popcorn there though so it was pretty sweet. Then we went to a palace, caught the changing of the guard, walked over to my school and hung out in the park and eventually made out way over to Hongdae for a pizza dinner. Pizza here isn't really pizza,it's kind of a thin crust (tortilla like) with cheese. No sauce. We got mozz with gorgonzola, and for whatever reason, that always comes with honey. It was good though. Review coming soon to We probably walked 7 or so miles through the day too. 10k on Saturday, bring it!

Tonight I'm going to try my hand at making some pumpkin (kombucha squash) curry. Should be interesting :) ALright I'm at school typing this, so it's time to go. 3 hours is enough time here

Friday, October 22, 2010

the interesting world of job hunting rok style

I just found out I have been dumped from my one solid tutoring job (2 brothers Tues night) and today, Friday, Jun Han bailed (it must run in the family). Feeling sorry for myself, while not working on Friday haha, I cruised craigslist and found a M/W/F tutoring job 6:30-7:30 near where I live. Within a half hour of replying I got a phone call and interview for Monday. Interview translates to "you are the person in the picture you sent us." So that seems positive. I also just signed up for an Asian Finance job sight. I posted my resume and I'm just waiting for the offers to come in....any minute now...

So I think computer dos is on it's way out. I say this as I am running on 25% battery and I can't seem to get the charger to actually charge the computer. Hmm good thing I have no money and one small job. Maybe it'll work again tomorrow. Sure.

It's Friday night, 8 27pm and I just got back from an awesome 7k run. I told myself I was working up to the run I just did, one day I'll be able to run the mountain, well that day was today. I ran the whole steep way up. On a Friday nonetheless. Go me!! Perhaps I will run the 10k this Sunday.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

too much free time leads to....

...too much walking around bullshitting and not enough productivity. On my to do list for the past couple weeks:

find a job
find tutoring in the mean time
cook more
clean my room/hang up my pictures that have all fallen off the wall (crappy cheap tape)
post pictures/get a usb cord for my camera/backup my computer (as i have a tendency to kill them)

hm how many of these things have a I done? Yes, approximately zero. I have looked, somewhat quickly and shallowly, for some tutoring, and have sent a few emails regarding real jobs, but other than that I've run, gone out to eat, walked around, spent some time in a PC know the usual important stuff.

Last weekend was great though. Pretty low key and early nights all around! Friday I finally got on base!!! i guess I had built it too much up as this magical land I was not privy to, but once there it was quite disappointing. A good friend, James, also Krissy's boyfriend, is going to Missouri for 2 months to study something. I don't know. But for his going away party he invited us all to his "house." It's a dorm. A pretty seedy one at that. We drank some nice beers and played beer pong, but come 12 or 1 it was time to go home. I think if I could go to the PX I would have different feelings. One good thing, hopefully, came from it. One of James' friends, Tyrone, wants to take his wife out this Friday for her birthday, so I offered to babysit which he seemed stoked about. It would be 120,000 won for me to sleep over and eat his food and he said I could have friends over if I want. Unfortunately I have not heard from him since.

Saturday Paul and I got up and got bagels with bacon egg and cheese (a treat here in Ktown) and hiked up Bukahnsan mountain. After a 3 or so hour hike we were beat and came home for Craig's rooftop bbq. It was a great night and they had the BBQ blazing so it was plenty warm. Again called it an early night and had a lazy Sunday filled with Indian buffet and a long stroll on the Han River.

I have officially signed up for 2 races (10k) and may bandit run the We Are Nike Run this Sunday night. Depends how I feel. I've been doing pretty well running, although I can't believe how far out of shape I have gotten! I used to run 10ks backwards, now I'm struggling to hit 7! But with that said, I have also given myself a sinus infection. This happens every spring and fall. Running + trees + yellow dust = sinus overload.


The plan was for Paul and I to go spend Christmas on the beaches of Thailand. Paul asked when his vacation days were and he school informed him that he did not, in fact, get a Christmas vacation, but he could take any week in Feb-April off. Seriously!? His school sucks. So I obviously give him a lot of shit "why do you put up with this school" "tell them you're taking it regardless" "you're ruining my Christmas..." haha and this went on for a couple days until I went to the bank to transfer money to pay my substitute and pay off my credit card debt from my month vacation. I quickly noticed that there's no way in hell I will be able to pay for a vacation in just 2 months. So new revised plan is to work a winter camp the week I have off for Christmas, make $1,000, maybe take a ski trip on Christmas, then when my contract is up in March take the Thailand trip. It'll be cheaper, Paul can come, and I can stay as long as I want. My friend Brian, who I traveled with last Christmas, will be in Asia in January, so I think I'll meet him in Tokyo for a long weekend (he has Hilton points, hello fancy pants hotel) then he's coming to Seoul for a week. You hear that Scott and Stac, 3 of my old co-workers have been out to visit?!

Well, I'm off to update my iphone with contact info, read, and watch tv until this sinus infection flees. Happy Hump Day!

Monday, October 11, 2010

back in the ROK

I had an absolutely amazing trip home filled with family, girlfriends, weddings, reunions, and, of course, cheese. After an all too quick East Coast tour, I head out to Vancouver to catch up with my dearest friend from Seoul, Susan. We had such an amazing week of outside adventures, club hopping, and beautiful meals with her and her husband on their balcony. Again, it went by all too quick and here I am back in the ROK.

It's so nice to be back though! Friday night was date night and I managed to stay awake until 1 or so, so that helped combat some of the jet lag. Of course was up at 8 am the next day, so I went and hiked Namsan with Paul. It was a perfect reminder of why I love Koreans. There were 500 people out in matching flurescent outfits and anyone who could speak English went way out of their way to say good morning. I was greeted Saturday afternoon with all my friends celebrating at my house for the HBC festival. This neighborhood festival happens twice a year and since it's literally outside my door, Dave Emily and I decided to have people over to celebrate. It was sort of a Happy-Birthday-Dave-Welcome-Back-Lauren-Happy-HBC Fest party. We drank wine, caught up, toasted marshmallows (finally!) to make s'mores, then when evening rolled around we went out and joined the party. HBC is the neighborhood (it's one street) I live in and on this day all of the bars and restaurants participate in throwing a street party; except they don't close the street to public. So there are hundreds of people trying to go from concert to concert while trying not to get hit by cars. And of course the police come out and try to create some semblance of order, but always to no avail. I honestly still can't figure out what a Korean police officer's job is. Regardless, it was a good weekend to come home to!

After an awesome Sunday or laziness followed by a nice walk to the river, it was time to go back to work. Bah. Monday starts out with an email informing me I was replaced for my Friday job. Hmm kind of saw that one coming. And I really liked that job, and I was already told all of my tutoring has been postponed until NOvember. And I'm broke.... But then I get to my normal job and the kids were all super shocked and excited to see me. "Lauren teacha!?" It was like they saw a ghost! I fed them all candy corn all day and played a game, and they told me Angelina teacha was ok, but Lauren teacha was...what what...ahhh bettah! But sadly Sunny teacher put in her notice and her last day will be Sept 22nd. I really enjoy her and am so upset to see her go, but it's definitely a better opportunity for her to go and start her own private school and not have to deal with the nonsense our new company has put her through.

Now that I have no jobs (well except the one) I am on a big saving spree. No more going out on weeknights, much more cooking in, and no shopping! As I'm heading to Paul's to make dinner I get a phone call. Krissy (part of the blonde trouble friends) had referred me to a friend of hers who is rolling out a marketing firm here in Seoul. Apparently this firm is global, but they have just been introduced to the Korean market. I talked with Andrew, who is super enthusiastic about his company, and we arranged for me to have an interview on Wednesday! Woohoo. I have no idea what the position entails, but he informed me they had both full and part time work. God knows I have the time now, and if its a legit position, I would definitely take it on full time. If not, the job hunt continues. I am going to start full on searching in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Korea for finance positions. If anyone knows anything, drop me a line!!! :)

Dinner #1 a success. Tuna, guac (from Canada), and kimchi sandwiches. Yum. Tonight it's round 2 starting off with figs and goat cheese (again from Canada) followed by Nainamo and Date bars (again Canada).

I miss all my family and friends, especially now that I don't know when the next time I'll be back, but I'm so glad to be back home and in my comfort zone here. I say that now that its still sunny and warm out....

Monday, September 6, 2010

daekyo sucks

The company I work for sucks. I am so excited to come home and deal with competent people again. Fingers crossed I still have a job when I come back here.

"You going home for a month isn't in your contract." Yeah no shit, you want to take up an issue with this a week before I'm leaving???

"Maybe you could come back sooner than a month." Yeah if you want to pay the thousand dollars for my new ticket. You act like this is news to you! I told you I'm going home for September since day 1. bah.

YOU ARE AN IDIOT CHARLOTTE!! "I can't get a hold of the sub, can you contact?" Ring 1 and who answers? My sub. Are you even trying here Charlotte?? Come on now

stick a needle in me

Only 4 days until America!!!! I can't wait to step back into a country where people know what I'm saying! And better yet I get to see all of my best friends for the first time in a year. Yesterday marked exactly one year in Korea. Weird!!

On Saturday Krissy, James, Paul, and 3 of Jame's military friends (there's a reason I don''t have any army friends....) head out of Seoul to Caribbean Bay. We get to the bus stop in Gangnam and the line for the bus is at least a block long. We say screw it and take cabs the 40 minutes there. That was an adventure in itself. Traffic, lying GPSs, bad directions and the fact the main gate to the waterpark was blocked by cones, made it quite the journey. We finally get in and its absolutely gorgeous. Not only is the sun shining, but it also seems (seems being the operative word here) pretty deserted. We quickly learn this is not necessarily the case. Paul and I decide to wait the hour to go on the straight down slide. It was a fun ride, but not sure it was worth standing in the shade for an hour. Then we all got in line for a huge tube ride. You sit in the tub go down a steep hill then go up what looks like a skate ramp. Krissy and the army boys' tube almost went over the edge. Americans tend to be a little heavier than Koreans!! After the wait for 2 rides, everything was closed. haha. 2 rides all day. Nice-uh. It's a beautiful park though and the wave pool was super fun. Oh and Koreans, I don't know if it's that they can't swim or are just nervous, but they all wear life vests. I'm talking full on adults walking around with swim caps and life preservers. Too funny.

SO that was a lovely day in the sun followed by a good galbi dinner and drinks with Chi Ha in Gangnam. Funky Monkey is my new favorite drink. Banana liquor topped with Baileys. Yum!!

Sunday was uber productive. Well maybe not productive, but busy. Paul and I head up to Insadong (shopping tourist kind of district) to check out a new taco place. Dan from was asked to go check it out, but he's super busy with his new company, so he asked me to go. Review coming soon. It was a lovely day when we left, but by the time we got downtown it was pouring. I'm talking torrential. Ive never seen it rain so hard for so long. We hit up Jongno Tower for the view (Paul had never been downtown) then found an acupunture place. We walk in and the old (like 90) man asked what our ailments were. Um no problem, just curious. I think this baffles him, but some woman who speaks English got him to check us out and make a diagnosis. Paul and I both apparently suffer from hernias in our lower intestines. haha not sure what that means, but apparently it causes my right leg to be shorter than my left which will lead to back and neck problems. No sooner do we hear this than he starts sticking needles all over me. I don't know what I was thinking, but it never occured to me it would hurt. Uh duh, he is sticking me with needles!!! Then you just lay for 20 minutes. I totally fell asleep. Overall an interesting experience. I would definitely go again if I had pain. I wish I had known about this when my hip was bothering me.

After an adventure on the Korean bus system we end up in Hongdae. We met my Friday co-teacher, Sunny, and go watch her boyfriends band play at this small club. I wasn't expecting much, but he was phenomenal! He was like the Korean John Mayer. I was blown away by how good his voice was. Sunny promises to get us CDs soon as he ran out. Sunday Funday!

Tonight Paul and I are getting some Indian, tomorrow's tutoring, Wine Wednesday with the ladies and Thursday Paul and I are going to Namsan Tower for a going away date. Then I fly home!!!! I can't believe it's been a year already. See you all soon!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

you know it's fall when

the peaches and plums have disappeared and been replaced by grapes and corn. But best of all, the waffle trucks are back!!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

playing on the pitch

Even though it had been raining for the past two weeks, we still somehow enjoyed playing a cricket match in the swamp that was the pitch. Emily's boyfriend, his brother, and good friend Rich, all play pretty competitively on a cricket team here in Seoul, well actually it's in Suwon, about an hour outside Seoul. It's getting late into the season so they wanted to have a fun game, so naturally Emily, Paul, Nicole and I couldn't resist. We drew up teams at the bar on Thursday, picked captains (me!), and decided on team colors after we recruited a few more sorry souls.

Saturday afternoon we all made our way down to Suwon (some of us more on time than others...), Cass cans in hand, and learned the joys of playing cricket. This is now the second cricket game Ive watched/participated in, and I still have not a clue what was going on. People just seem to run back and forth, get out every now and then, and you only switch sides once. And apparently the score gets up into the hundreds. I was told I scored 2 points. Go me! ha

When it was my turn to bat, I geared up and ran out. I told Luke, who was pitching, just to yell when I should run and stop. Worked well enough except I kept forgetting to hold onto the bat. I'm used to chucking it when you hit. Basically we got absolutely soaked, pretty wasted, and had a great workout! It's 2 days later and I'm still sore!!

Next weekend Paul and I are heading to Carribean Bay. It's the biggest water park in the world!!! Then the next weekend I'll be in NYC!! Just a week and a half now :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

namsan baby

Now that I have been living in the HBC for 8 months, I deemed it time to finally climb Namsan. Don't get me wrong, I took a bus up there with Jen when she visited and took the cable car up with my parents, but I had never actually walked up the mountain and it's literally in my backyard.

Today I was out for a run, well more of a walk, and I went past the war museum. There were probably 20 police buses on either side and loads of cops just standing around (I'm still not sure what cops do here in Korea). Then I get to the front of the museum and there's hundreds of ajusi wearing red vests with flurescent green headbands. They're just sitting around drinking Cass and Hite listening to some sick chant. Not a clue what it was all about, but they seemed happy, and they all said hi as I walked through the middle of their little pow wow. Protests are no unusual here. I see people all the time just sitting in lines banging drums and chanting about something, but it's usually just a couple people. This thing was huge! The cops get even better. On each side of the protest there were riot cops with full on robo-cop gear and sheilds. haha I know a riot when I see one, and this is not it my friend.

So after walking through that, I decided I didn't want to run back through on the way home like I usually would. So instead I kept walking, went past Seoul Station, and decided to head up Namsan. It's probably 1.5km to the top and it's all paved which is nice. It really was quite lovely. You forget sometimes that there are trees and birds in Seoul. Got up, ran back down, went home, and found that I had done 9k. Go me!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

chamchi saran hae

After a 6k run (I'm trying to get back into it! Have yet to run more than 2 days in one week though) and lots of traveling on the bus, I arrive in Hongdae ready to eat. Paul doesn't get off work until close to 8, so if we go to dinner it's late. I'm used to eating after school, which is generally 5 or 6 pm by the time I get home. Anyway, we're wondering around Hongdae trying to decide where to eat. We rule out galbi (bbq), and I don't want noodles or rice. I have wedding pictures to be in 3 weeks! So this significantly narrows the choices. As we wander, I progressively get more, well let's say anxious, to get somewhere. Weird for me to be cranky around feeding time, no?? :) Then we see this shining blue sign. "Dokdo Tuna." For those of you that don't know (and I don't know why anyone would know this) about Dokdo, give it a google search. It's basically a big rock in the ocean that is a huge point of contention between Japan and Korea. Both claim it as their own, and the rest of us sit around wondering why anyone would want it at all. Regardless, tuna sounds just about right so we pop in. I had only been to one of these chamchi restaurants once before with Susan months ago. We went with some of her co-workers and it was a full on 3 hour event. There must have been 12 courses of food!! So, hey, it's a Tuesday, why not?

We order the tuna special. You can only order sets here, there is no a la carte. The special begins. First, mek-ju, duh, followed by miso soups, and radish and apple mayo sides. Next, two sushi pieces of tuna and two pieces of a roll (basically kimbap). Then for the big show. They bring out a tray of what seems to be a bunch of tuna. There are 5 different cuts and 4 pieces of each cut. We kind of fight over the favorites, which we later learn is obviously a mistake. As soon as we finished the plate the chef comes over with an entirely new tray of tuna (again like 20 pieces) and an additional piece of fin for us to try. It was kind of like octopus; chewy. Then they bring a larger soup with odeng (fish cake) and some grilled corn. We barely finish this tray and agree that this is a crazy amount of raw fish. No sooner did we utter these words then a waitress shows up with another plate of fish! It just didn't end. We are totally full and trying not to be rude, so we eat as much as we can. They waitress comes up again and says something. I say, "oohhh pebula (full)" and she comes back with 2 maki rolls. Geeze. Finally, Paul and I decide to make a run for it before they have a chance to bring more food. We go to pay; 50,000 won. By Korean standards this is quite pricey. Well compared to, let's say, galbi. But when you think about the fact that we probably consumed an entire raw tuna, had a beer, and soup, it's more than reasonable. Especially compared to US prices. Going home (in 2 weeks!) is going to be a trip. I have to tip again, pay more than $3 a meal, and can't walk or take public transport wherever I want. Man, this will be tough.

On the bright side, avocados and mac and cheese are waiting for me when I get home. How awesome is my mom!?

PS I have the best roommates ever. I come home the other day bitching about my 4 hours on the bus and Dave goes, "Well if it makes you feel any better I found chunky peanutbutter at Emart and bought you 2 bottles!" We had a conversation about a week ago about how you can only get creamy here, and he goes no you're crazy, they have it, to which I rebutted, "well i have never seen it." So he bought it. Dave saran hae too!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

promise, one day i will finish writing my experiences in malaysia

Today is just not that day.

So I got my new teeth! Hooray. I really like them and they look natural; aka not like Hilary Duff teeth. They look big, as I guess most vaneers do, but they're super white and straight!!! I spent a looooong day at the dentist, but will never ever have to do that again. I hope. On the way to the dentist I fell asleep on the bus. As a result, almost missed my stop and didn't think to check the time on my phone until off said bus. Hmm no phone in my pocket. Definitely fell out while I was sleeping. Being the genius that I am, it didn't occur to me to call it until the next day when my friend Renee suggested it. How brilliantly obvious. I call, some Korean dude answers. There just happens to be a Korean chick hanging out on the roof at the pool with us, so I hand the phone to her. She explains to me that it's at the bus terminal, which I had accidentally been to once before when I took the bus the wrong way....all the way to the end of the line.

Monday I decide to take the hour and half field trip to the end of the line to retrieve my beloved phone. I get there. "Handa pone. Anyeo (no)." We look all around this shack of a "bus terminal" and there are no phones. That's interesting because just two days ago they said it was there!!!! Of course they speak zero English and I speak minimal Korean, so they couldn't even tell me where else it could possibly be. I said "Odayeo (where)" and they assumed because I knew one word I was fluent in Korean. The dude continued on a 10 minute rant in Korean while I just stared blankly at him. Time to go. Get back on the bus (after I finished the book I was reading, bah!) to go an hour and half back sans phone.

By the time I'm getting close to my house it's about time to go tutor Ms. Han's son Jun. So I hop off the bus and onto the subway for another 40 minutes to get up to their house. I get there and ring the door to get into the building. A man answers, clearly speaks no English and won't buzz me in. Odd, and I know I'm at the right apartment because I've been there twice before. I wait outside the door, mind you with no phone or any way to get in touch with anyone, until someone lets me in. I go up to their apartment, ring the bell and again the same man mumbles something and won't let me in. At this point I don't know what to do, so I just go and get back on the subway. Basically 5 hours of my day were totally wasted riding around on puublic transportation. And for what? At a grocery store near Ms. Han's apt I found 3 blocks of tofu for 1,000 won. So I guess it wasn't a total loss. haha good thing I have nothing but free time!

Today I got a new phone. It was 30,000 won and it's a piece, but it works and I still have the same number. This is why there is a cell store on every corner here. Phones just disappear.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

more on malaysia later...

more important news to share first! Last do Wednesday I went to Emily's dentist (she got invisiline from him) for a consultation on getting vaneers. They are something I have wanted for over 4 years now, but they're so expensive. I heard they were half the price here, and now that I have some money saved I thought it would be a good chance to go see what the deal was. I was only planning on being in there for a half hour, two hours later and I walked out with bleached teeth and an appointment to get my top 8 put on the following Friday!!! WOOHOO!!! The teeth bleaching was service, I guess if you spent a few grand you get free whitening. Asa. And since they make the teeth right there in the office, I dont have to get temporary ones while they make the new teeth. I go in at 10am this Friday and walk out at 6 pm (I was told I have a break in the middle, I hope!!!) with beautiful perfect teeth.

The timing of this is quite funny though. Right after I paid, I meet with some people from my new company who inform me some changes will occur. First, we need to now send an email when we get to work and when we leave, like a punch card. Seriously?? And we need to work our contracted 5 hours a day. Ummm I only teach 3, what do you expect me to do for 2 extra hours with no AC and one computer between 3 of us????? Not going to happen. Also, my school is the only one within our company to have 2 foreign teachers. Usually it's one native speaker and one Korean. So it looks like after a few months they're going to want to move us in that direction. At this point I'm wondering if I should quit or if I'll be fired. It's never easy here!! haha and good thing I just laid out most of my savings....

Oh well, there's always Australia or the CFA or something huh??

Last weekend Paul and I went to the beach. Got in Friday night, booked a room, and went out to the beach. We met some really cool Koreans who invited us to hang out with them even though they didn't speak English. We lit off fireworks and drank beers on the beach. On Saturday we made our way to the beach and within 10 minutes of getting there it starts to downpour. We chilled at a restaurant and had a quiet afternoon. Sunday was beautiful. We laid out and watch the ridiculousness that is Korean beaches. Korean must be fully dressed at all times and covered by an umbrella and a tent. God forbid your skin sees the sun!!! They can't really swim so everyone has a floaty or raft of some sort, and theyre all drinking and eating. It doesn't matter what time it is, everyone has a beer and soju in hand. Too funny. After some yummy fresh off the boat sashimi, we're making our way back to the bus station when this old man approaches us and asks where we're from (there are NO foreigners in Sokcho). We tell him and he invites us to come listen to him. He and his buddies are chilling in a gazebo on the beach singing Korean ballads and his one friend has a trumpet. They were amazing. After a few songs he grabs Paul and I and says, "Your turn." Ughhh what do you want us to sing??? haha so we started with some Silent Night then broke into the Killers. I think they were entertained and we certainly were. Paul's first noraebong-ish experience in Korea. We got our bus home and after a few beers decided to continue the noraebong on. We each took an earphone from my ipod and continued belting the Killers. We were popular on the bus :)

Off to go tutor, tomorrow's hopefully a pool day, and then it's time to start getting ready to go home. Lots of loose ends to tie up before leaving!!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

rags to riches

Back from Malaysia!! Emily and I had a pretty amazing trip. We did a lot of sightseeing, beach relaxing, and old man scamming. Well kind of haha. We fly, the crappiest airline ever, into KL on Saturday night. Ok so China Air. Not only do they have shitty, small seats, but the food was terrible (even though we got the veggie meal! Which is always better than regular, except here!) and they ran out of beer after 2 hours. It’s a 6 hour flight. It’s bad enough they only had shitty Chinese rando beer, but then to run out!! It’s Saturday night for crying out loud. Anyway, we got there. We took the shuttle train into downtown, kind of looked around, looked at each other and said, now what? Then some nice Australian girl asked if we’d like to share a cab to hostel. Perfect! She asked us later, “If I didn’t ask you to the hostel, what would you have done tonight?” Haha we hadn’t gotten that far yet. That’s kind of the theme of this trip. We had nothing planned except a flight to and from Langkawi.

Night 1 and all the hostels/hotels in Chinatown are booked. We were told this is the party fun area and that’s where we wanted to stay, but hey, there was nothing we could do. We meet some nice boys from Buffalo who have the same problem and they tell us about some hotels over in Golden Triangle. So we share a cab over there. The guys start bumbling around, we’re not having it, so we just go to a crap hotel and book it. We put our stuff down and decide to head out for a drink. Holy shit, what was that!? Oh just about the biggest rat in the whole world right outside the front door of the hotel. Emily and I are standing there screaming and pointing, so the owner comes out to see what the problem is. He’s like, “oh that’s it. Many rats, no bite.” EWWWWW. There was an army of rats, big giant rats, and they all seemed to live right outside our hotel. We wander down the sketchy dark street and get beckoned into a local “restaurant.” The locals are totally infatuated with us and keep offering their native Myanmar whiskey. After an hour or so of hanging out with them and their really super broken English, we call it a night (it was 4 am) and go back to the rat hotel, where of course there were no less than 3 rats there to greet us.

Day 1 in Kuala Lumpur was busy. We wandered around and dropped our bags off at the Mandarin (hey it worked out well for us in HK, and went sightseeing. We tried to go to the Patronas Towers but we were told the tours sell out before 8am. If we wanted to go we’d have to get in line at 6am. Yeah, see ya there. Then we found Little India where we had awesome, and awesomely cheap, curry then took a bus about an hour outside the city to the Batu Temple. This place was awesome. Apparently on holidays there are hundreds of thousands of people here praying, luckily this was not the case when we were there. You immediately notice the 50+ foot gold Buddha standing at the base of the stairs. As you climb the stairs there are tons of monkeys trying to steal from you. They take food, plastic bags, sunglasses, whatever they can get. Then you get to the top of the stairs and enter a 400 million year old cave. There are statues and people peddling stuff all over; including taking your picture with a snake, which I did. It was really a unique experience to be in this cave with a bunch of foreigners and locals alike, and to be chased by monkeys the whole time!! Definitely my favorite tourist sight in KL. We head out and sightsee around the city more. We go up to the KL tower and found a mini rock festival, so we bought tickets and listened to some Malaysian rock. Not bad. It was a pretty exhausting day of a lot of walking and sightseeing, so come evening we went to Chinatown where we tried to stay the first night. I had some sharkfin soup, again not bad, and then we went to the Reggae Bar where were met new friends DJ and Tom. They weren’t doing much but suggested a bar area to us. They don’t know how helpful that was. This new bar area was amazing!!!! A long street lined with nice bars! The KL we had experienced all day was a bit run down and vacant. It reminded me a lot of Alabama in the fact that 40% of the stores were gated closed. Wasted real estate galore. But this area was super nice and we settled on Gypsy Bar. Within 10 minutes a group of older (40s-50s) men came in and started chatting with us. We invited them to sit, they bought us drinks, Em told them it was my birthday, and a few mojitos later we were heading back to their hotel, Trader’s Hotel, for the rooftop SkyBar. Well, it being my “birthday” and all, they felt obligated to buy champagne. We don’t settle for Moet here, it’s Verve all the way. 3 bottles later and I pushed Em into the pool in the middle of the bar and jumped in after. I supposed it didn’t go so well, especially to the Muslim table on the left, because they quickly bathrobed us and ushered us out the door. But new best friends John and Charlie wouldn’t let us get kicked out and we were invited to stay in their room! Asa. Free 5 star hotel. And they were old and married so there was no threat of creepiness.

Wake up and have an amazing buffet breakfast at the Trader’s Club, best place in KL!!! And we’re on our way.

Day 2 KL Waterpark.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Malaysia coming soon

I started writing my post about my recent trip to Malaysia, but it became clear quickly that it will be quite lengthy. I'm currently on day 2 :) but I will get it up soon.

After traveling throughout Saturday night and Sunday morning/afternoon, I got home and the party continued. Sunday was Paul's birthday, so of course we had to have people over to celebrate. I was surprisingly not too tired Monday. I even went for a run. That was definitely the first time in a couple weeks. And I'm going again today. I think I've really missed it and I want to get back to running 4+ times a week. It's hard when it's so hot and there's so much going on though.

The kids at school aren't even driving me nuts. I guess vacation really does help! It also helps 1/2 the kids are gone due to vacations and other academies. Ohh, in big news, I found out today that my boss, James, quit my company. Why you ask. Well apparently the company I work for has been sold to another larger company. This better not mean longer working hours. If that's the case I'm bailing and just doing privates! ha. But I guess the new company won't take control until September (please don't fire me while I'm not there) so I have a few months to weigh some options. I'm going to start applying to finance/wine jobs in Australia soon, and perhaps in Hong Kong as well.

This is a busy week though. Lots of tutoring to catch up on, level tests to write, and errands to run. All the while trying to catch up with everyone I haven't seen in a week. Then this weekend is another beach trip!!! I can't wait. Paul and I are heading out to Sokcho to celebrate our birthdays (I'm really dragging this out, huh?) and get out of Seoul for the weekend. Let's keep this tan going :)

Alright off for a run through Hongdae in the blistering 30 degree heat. Hopefully I won't get beaten up too badly by the ajumas...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

some silly things about korea

stop lights are optional. as are helmets, seatbelts, and general safety.

everyone's "favorite food" is kimchi even though no one seems to really like it (except me)

it's like kurosh's house; no shoes!

you must have bangs

shorter your shorts the better, but you better not show shoulder

you must wear glasses even if the lenses are plastic

don't talk about sex, it doesn't really exist unless, that is, you're married. in which case you should have no less than 3 mistresses.

passing out anywhere is OK and encouraged

you're not allowed to pour your own drink or turn one down

we are all slaves to the traffic lights (pedestrians)

korean's can't walk in straight lines. and they have sharp elbows

the harder you push on the subway the better

there are english teachers galore, yet no one speaks english



Ok so now updates. Wow I haven't written in a while. So the weekend after my birthday was Mudfest. What a mess! It was so much fun. I signed up to take a bus from Noksapyeong (my hood) with 250 other foreigners. My friend Dave organized the buses and hotels, as Mudfest is 2 hours away in Boreyeong. Enily decides she doesn't want to go so she gives her ticket to Paul. Paul is my new boyfriend who's been in Korea for 2 months now. I met him at a bar a month ago and have pretty much hung out with him every day since. He's 25 next week (I'm a cougar, I know), from Pittsburgh, went to University of Michigan and is now teaching English with the rest of us in Korea. He lives in Hongdae which is awesome. Itaewon and Hongdae are the two main places people go out in Korea. I don't go to Hongdae too often because it usually means a 6am night, but now that I have a place to stay there, i've become a regular. Anway, we were supposed to get on the bus at 6:30 am with everyone, so of course I wake up at 8:30 to 300 texts from Krissy saying "where the hell are you?" haha oops! So we get our stuff together and run to Yongsan to jump on the next train. We ended up getting down there by 12, so we didn't miss much. And when we get down there it's pouring rain. Im talking torrential rain. Did I mention it's rainy season? Stupid July in Korea. On the trainride down Paul asked me to be his girlfriend. haha I've never been asked before! And we'd only known each other for a week. So it's official, I am off the market :)

In Korea 1/2 the time you get a hotel (minbok) there are no beds. It's just a blanket on the floor with some pillows. So, of course, here is no different. We have 8 people staying in our room and it's probably 10ft x 10x. It was tiny and we all have to curl up next to each other on the floor. It's pretty funny. So we start the trip off by meeting Krissy and her dude James (see my zoo pictures) in our empty room and take tequila shots chased with mudslides, appropriate right? Did I mention Paul and I drank the entire train ride down? We go outside to partake in the rainy, kind of cold mudtivities.

Right outside our hotel there are what look to be inflatable pools except instead of being filled with water, they're filled with mud! Everyone's running around fighting eachother, bouncing off the edges, falling, and just getting covered in mud. So we jump in! At this point the rain is moderate and kind of stopping. We played in the mud all afternoon, swam in the ocean, and fell a few times. There's free medical care which was good for Paul because dude could not stop hurting himself. Come 10 pm and Paul is a waste case, put him to bed and I went out. Ended up going swimming in the dark fully dressed, saw some fireworks, had some late night seafood, and just had an overall great time with some of my best friends from here. At one point I went into our room to change out of my wet dress and Brad teacher was in there. We chatted for a few minutes while I changed and then we went outside. His "girlfriend" (who I am friends with, or so I thought) then approached me and said we need to talk. "What were you and Brad doing in there?" Talking!!! I thought it was all over until I was out on the street later and her and her friends walked by and yelled, "Whore" at me. hahaa ive never been called a whore before. I thought it was funny and Brad assured me she would be kicked to the curb ASAP. What a nut!

Day 2 and it's absolutely gorgeous out. Paul and I venture further down the beach to where the real activities are. There are sinks filled with mud and paint brushes, mud slides, mud pits, mud painting stands, all sorts of mud crap. And everywhere you go, you are a celebrity. The paparrzi here are hilarious. One starts taking a picture of you and then you're swarmed by 15 Koreans trying to get a photo. Since Paul and I were together we were stopped no less than 20 times by Koreans asking if they could take pictures of us kissing. "No no over here" "In front of this statue." "Do it again." It went on all day. Hey, Im not complaining, I liked the celebrity status.

We ended up making the bus ride home and then it was all over. Definitely going back next year!!!

Last weekend was also a productive weekend. Friday was pretty low key, and then Saturday Krissy, James, Paul and I went to the zoo. I was expecting a small crappy prison like experience, but it was just the opposite. Seoul probably has the nicest zoo I have ever seen! It was massive, clean, and had tons of animals. We were there all day and didn't see the whole thing. Sunday was equally as busy. Emily Paul and I took a train over to Suwon, like an hour outside Seoul, to watch Emily's boyfriend Luke's cricket game. None of us had seen cricket before, so were sitting in the stands making up our own version of what's going on. It was a lovely Sunday in the sun.

This weekend is going to suck. Ha right. I'm on vacation!!!!!! Tonight I'm having a smore party. My mom mailed tons of marshmellows, grahams and chocolates, so I'm having people over to eat it and drink! Then tomorrow AM Em and I are off for Malaysia!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait. Were going to try to do a day trip to Singapore, we're flying to Langkowi (a Malaysian island) and from there take a ferry to an exclusive island of Thailand, Kipe. It's supposed to be totally untouched and amazing. I can't wait.

To the beach!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Again, sorry for the delay in posts. Between not having a computer, a new schedule, and summertime silliness, I just haven't the time to maintain this piece. After next week it will get better!

So awesome Henry mailed me his old Macbook. How great is he!!?? I got it yesterday with some added goodies from my mom; oreos, avocados!!, chocolate (im talking 3 giant sized bars), yogurt covered raisins, and graham crackers!! What a great package!!! And the best part is the avocados aren't even ripe yet! I was nervous they would mush out in the mail, not so. So anyway, now I have a laptop and can get back to writing. I still need to write my food review, but that's going to have to wait as I'm on summer vacation!!!!

Starting at 1:15pm today, I am officially child free for the next 10 days!!

.....Alright 2 hours later. Ive been on skype the past 2 hours, am now late to dinner and have to run. Updates tomorrow...

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I think I like kids. I don't know when it happened. Sometime in the past week or so. But the little buggers are growing on me. On Wednesday I brought in a cake and a bunch of the kids brought me presents!! Sunny Teacher gave me a bottle of wine, Martin brought me a fondue fork set thing, I got some bracelets, candy, and the best was from Nina. She has to miss my class every Wednesday for a cooking class. She knew it was my birthday so her mom called the cooking class teacher and special requested they make birthday cake!! So she brought me cake warm out of the oven, a notebook, bracelets, lollypops and a really sweet note. Who knew kids could be so thoughtful!? They all agreed I was their favorite teacher (because I brought chocolate cake) and then best of all, all went on a school field trip today. All of my classes except my last were cancelled because the kids were at the pool, so I didn't have to be at work until 3. Asa!!! Class today was exceptional too. There were 7 or so kids and I showed them all my friends on Facebook, shared sour patch kids with them (from Maria and Chetta!!) and we grew dinosaurs. My friend DC gave me dino eggs last night. You put them in water and they grow into dinosaurs, it's pretty sick.

Dinner last night was exceptional. Emily had been planning it and wouuldn't tell me where we were going. We walk up to Itaewon and stop at Praha. I love Praha. I had only been once before, probably 8 months ago, on a date with a Korean dude. Emily crashed the date (it's how we roll here) so it was more a group dinner. I had scallops and pumpkin and a delcious dunkel, but hadn't been back since. Last night there was a group of 10 or so of us, and oh my god, best dinner in a long time!!! The beers here are exceptional, which is a luxury in Korea. Usually you have a choice between Cass, Cass and Cass. But here they have small dark micro brew- yum!!! SO all of my best friends are sitting around the table and we get delicious beers, bread and pesto. Carolann and I started with an eggplant cheese thing. It was the best thing I have probably ever eaten. Henry, it beats the panko crusted eggplan from Mei N Yu. Uhhh I am totally going back next week for it!! Then I got "sparrow" with potatoes. Im no bird expert, but this was no sparrow. It was 2 huge chnkers of meat, I'm guessing pork. It was good, and very typical Eastern European. Everyone agreed their food was awesome, but perhaps abit overpriced, which is awesome on your birthday when you dont pay :) Then Emily and Jeff disappear for a few minutes only to reappear with a chocolate ganache ColdStone cake. It was sooo good. I probably ate half of it on my own. We had all stffed our faces at dinner though and couldn't finish it. When does that ever happen!? Emily and Dave are the best roommates/friends you could have. They totally made my night. Oh and Chee brought me a bottle of Bailey's! ahhh bestill my heart. Oh and best of all Jeff came from out of town to celebrate. He usually sleeps on our couch once a month when he visits, but he made a special trip and bought me flowers at the bar!!!

Then we proceeded on to this new bar At First Sight. This place is awesome. It was touted in Groove Magazine (wait for my review of Praha, coming soon!) as the new/best cocktail bar in Korea. We went and ordered pitchers of mojitos. I haven't had one since I';ve been in Korea. They're not big on fresh herbs here. But holy god these were good. I think between 10 of us we went through 5 or so pitchers in an hour.

It was an absolutely wonderful birthday!!! I think i had the perfect day bewteen school and dinner and going out. I love my friends here, and I miss you all at home so much, but I'm so glad to have found the aweome people I have here.

With that said, home in less than 2 months!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! America, F yeah.

Monday, July 12, 2010

swim success

Good morning. It's Tuesday on what appears to be a sunny morning, although they're calling for rain all week. I had a lovely weekend of sun as well. Saturday am I get up at 9 am because I'm hungry. I get dressed and start walking up the street to get some bread, who's sitting outside Family Mart except Ben and John from trivia night, and Steve and Jeremy from Philly's. Oh and some drunken Korean woman who can't seem to pick her head off her knees. They proceed to hand me beers, and let's just say by 12 when I'm supposed to meet the swim group, I already had a good buzz going on. Liz, James and James' friend and I all meet and we're headed for the river...

With my buzz going I am super pumped about the swim and i let everyone on the subway know it! We had a group of 17, the largest so far, and we jumped in. Unfortunetly Chee and his buddy DC didn't make the entire way. They went 1/2 and turned back, a Han river swim first! The four girls dominated the swim though!! Even though it's not a race, we were a solid 300 meters in front of the boys the whole time. 30 minutes later and we made it without skim irritation (surprisingly) to the other side; Jamsil. We all celebrated with chicken, beer and watermelon (i know, i know) and then it was time to go out!!!

I met up with Em at home and we went to meet the boys, after a serious scrub down fyi. Her new boyfriend Luke, brother Jarrad and friend Richard are all super tight, and the dude I'm seeing is sliding seemlessly into their group. By the time we get to Luke's at 8, they're already pretty drunk, and they'd only been awake since 4!!! But we all go out and have a good time regardless of the sobriety differences.

Sunday's another funday. Newbie and I go out to tacos then head to the World Cup stadium tro see a movie. We're both fairly intelligent people but we could not figure out how to order a freakin movie ticket. We solicited some help from the ajusi behind us, and he informed us he didn't know either. Well then how will you buy your ticket??? ANyway, it was a nice day out so we started walking. We stumbled upon this gorgeous park and then strolled down the Han for a couple hours. It was a lovely afternoon on the river!! Then found this sick all you can eat sushi place in Hongdae (where he lives. It's nice having a post in Itae and now one in Hongdae!!!) and went out. Hongdae is an area we usually frequent on Saturday nights and almost always assures that you won't get home until after 6am. But Sunday we were mildly well behaved and called it a night at 2. ha.

It's my birthday week!!!! Tonight I tutor til 11 but then newbie and I will celebrate because he can't make the party tomorrow. Does anyone know what we're doing?? Emily's not talking!! I can't wait for the surprise, keep you updated!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

poor ms han

Ms. Han mentioned her father-in-law was not doing very well at all. She said her husband and three brothers would all have to go to the hospital today to make some serious decisions. I guess Dad couldn't wait around long enough for that.

I sent Ms. Han a text saying "thanks again for dinner, it was fun."

her response: "dad dead."

eehhh. I don't know if this is necessarily a bad thing. He seemed to be in tough shape and wasn't going to get any better, but still, he was only 71. I offered to help in anyway, but I don't know what that would be. Poor thing!

Anyway, it's Thursday night, which means ladies night. Free drinks everywhere. I'm supposed to go out with the new boy, but I'm getting shit for it from my friends, so I thik I'll just drag him along. All his friends are in Busan anyway. Have a good ladies night back in the US!!

Oh and update on the computer. I guess in my blackout stage I somehow dumped a ton of water onto it. I brought it to the service center, they took one look at it and said water damage. Shit. Why am I such a bad drunk!!!?? So man is definitely down but lovely Henry has agreed to send me his old ibook. Hopefully it will get here soon. Emily's probably sick of me borrowing her computer all the time!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

some updates

So as I mentioned, I have killed my computer so it's been a bit difficult to get on and update. But here are some highlights from the past week:

1. Teddy (little nightmare kid but is so freakin cute) from my youngest class (1st graders) looks up at me the other day and says, "Teacher, may I go to the pencil please?" hahahhahaha. Sunny and I just about died. I keep teaching them "may i go to the bathroom please" and "may i have a pencil please." Guess he couldn't keep it straight.

2. Yesterday we had open class in which parents are invited to come sit in on a class. From what I hear this is a big deal at some schools, but mine was very laid back. I planned a couple of activities, but nothing too far out of the norm. Poor new teacher Marcus had to teach it and it's only his second week at the school!

For homework on Tuesday night I made my 3rd and 4th classes (older kids who I like best) write the following and sign it:

1. I will be ontime tomorrow
2. I will do my homework
3. I will be on my best behavior
4. If I do the above, I have earned myself a party on Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

haha I was going to have a party anyway for my birthday but I figure I may as well make them work for it. They all know its my birthday and keep asking what I want; diamonds chocolate and cash, of course. I have a few kids promising chocolate :)

So I ask Simon, from 3rd class, if his uncle will be coming for open class. His uncle is a professional soccer player for FC Busan. He's like, "No, you lika my uncle." "Yes!!" He's says the uncle can't make it but he'll bring me his signature for my birthday...he brought it in yesterday!! How sweet is that!?

Open class went really well though. The kids all participated and it was cool to be able to chat with some (very limitedly) of the parents. The day just flew by, and the kids were good so party on! And Bryan's mom brought me a box of Dunkin Donuts, asa!

3. Ms. Han cooked me dinner last night. We've been trying to do this for sometime, but something always came up. So she picked me up and went to the grocery store together. The I went to her house and hung out with her 2 kids, 14 and 12, while she cooked. She said next time we'll cook together. But the 14 year old was quite chatty and wanted to know a lot about America, so starting next Friday I'm going to private tutor him. Awesome!

Ms. Han has a super cute apartment, she kept apologizing for how normal and messy it was. It wasn't. It's definitley one of the nicer korean apartments I have seen. Then we all sat down, her, her husband, 2 kids and me, and ate. She had homemade kimchi (3 kinds) from her mother in law, and she made chamchi kimchi jiggae (tuna kimchi soup, yum!), dakdoritang (spicy chicken soup), and bulgogi (sweet beef with onions). It was all soo good. She's like, "This is all normal stuff for dinner. Next time we'll do something more special." Trust me Ms, Han, this was plenty special to me!!! Her mother-in-law also made her own gochujang (spicy red pepper paste) and she gave me some and some seaweed to take home. I love this woman soo much. She's so warm and inviting and her family is just as awesome.

She drove me back to Jongno (way out of the way) so I could take a bus home and promised next time they do a picnic in the park that I can come!!! What a sweet heart!

4. Next Wednesday is my birthday if you didn't pick up on that!! Emily is planning my birthday dinner/going out and I have no idea what it is. She sent out invite apparently, but no one's talking. So I am pretty pumped!

I'll keep you updated on that one. And if you want to send diamonds, choc or cash, please don't hesitate

Monday, June 28, 2010

what a week

Last week was a whirlwind. Between working Friday AND Saturday, and all of the parties, it flew by! Working on Saturday was pretty awful. I didn't go out late Friday; just a few drinks with Emily and her new boyfriend (who I really like!) Luke, and home. But work was still terrible the next day. I basically stood there and cheered on 5 year olds as they colored garbage drawings onto umbrellas. I had to start each class with a 5 minutes introduction of the activity. These kids know nothing and just stared at me blankly. Their parents basically had the same expression. I would seriously walk around to each child saying, "Good Job!" "What color is that?" "Keep it up." Ughh it got really old really fast and I had 4 hours of it. And they're trying not to pay me for the hour lunch (which was crap!). I'm fighting them on that one though!!!

Anyway, I was finished by 3, so it wasn't too bad. I got dressed in my new Forever 21 frock and head next door to Trev and Steph's engagement party. What a blast!! It was a great group of people, great food, and great sangria. What more could you ask for? Asa! We all had a great time, even though we all watched together as South Korea blew it in the World Cup, and then it was off to find a bar to watch the American game.

The American game didn't come on until 3:30am, so we bar hopped, dance partied it up, and participated in general debauchery before settling at Sam Ryan's. By this time I had been drinking since 7 and with not enough sleep from the night before. 5:30 and I called it a night! I had such high hopes of calling Saturday an early night. Not possible in Seoul!!!! At least on Sunday I got to sleep into 3, only to ake up and find my computer dp (deadpants). AHHHHHHHHHH

In awesome news, I'm going to the Mexican restaurant with Krissy tonight! We're going to stuff our faces with tacos and sangria then I'll be writing about it (on what I don't know, hopefully computer will be up and running again tomorrow!) and trying t get it publish! Off to dinner....

Sunday, June 27, 2010

man down

I woke up Sunday am and went to turn on my computer. Nada. Just black. It didn't even pretend to power up. Hmmm...interesting. I'm hoping it's just a powercord issue, but I supposed I'll find out tomorrow when I bring it to the electronics mart. Keep her in your prayers!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

sunday email

So it's 3 pm on Sunday and I'm just waking up (3:30 am USA game) and my computer seems to not want to turn on. This is not good. Anyway, check me email on Em's and this is what's awaiting me in the inbox:

Hey lauren.

It would be great if we could meet for
Drinks or meal some day.
Your a beautiful new jersey girl!
Email me a time and a placeHey lauren.

It would be great if we could meet for
Drinks or meal some day.
Your a beautiful new jersey girl!
Email me a time and a place

Hmmmmm who is Richard Dalton?? Certainly sounds Korean....I guess we'll wait and see.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I've been pretty lame about posting recently, eh? I'll try to get a few up a week. So, get ready for this, I'm going to be a food writer! Dan from (check out my review of La Vert) sent out a message saying he was looking for contributors to Groove magazine. I wrote back asking what I needed to do, do I need a writing sample etc., and he said nope, I know you can write, go out and do it! So this Sunday Krissy, Carolann and I are going to Mi Amor a Mexican place near my school for some tacos and sangria, and then I'll review it. And then hopefully I'll be published. haha we'll see.

Today is Ben teacher's last day. He's sick of teaching, especially at our school because the kids are so ill behaved. But seriously, aren't all kids? Anyway, new teacher Marcus from England starts next week. Fingers crossed he's cute :) Tomorrow I have to work the new Friday gig, ew. But then I'm meeting with Ms. Han. I've missed her! Then Saturday I have to work too! it's an open class day so I'll I have to do is decorate umbrellas (random, no?) for 4 hours and I get lunch. Then an engagement party and a going away party. Busy weekend!!!

Did you watch the game last night?? How exciting to score in over time. I went to a foreigner bar, Roofers, and they projected the game on a big wall on the roof. It was pretty cool. They played the England game downstairs at the same time. As soon as that game was over all the Englishmen came up to gloat, and then what happened? WE SCORED!!! Americans be going nuts.

Time for work...I miss when Thursdays were my Fridays...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

jeju and back

Sorry for the long delay. I keep meaning to sit down and write about the end of my trip but it just seemed so daunting. After I finished the last posting I went out and hit up some waterfalls. It was raining on and off, but at least it was warm. After walking all morning and afternoon I was tired and needed to sit somewhere dry. I found out where Gecko's Jeju was, which was annoyingly a 25 minute cab ride away. I didn;t realize it would be so far, we are on a tiny island no? There were 5 people in Geckos. Me, a korea couple, and two waiters. Party on Jeju. i had a beer then head out again to do some resort hopping. After making my way down the highway in high winds, I get to the resort area. it's spitting rain on me. The sidewalks here are made of polishes lava, beacuse that's smart on an island where it's warm, it rains a lot, and there are lots of beach go-ers in flips. I bit it. I bit it hard. The smooth polish with the rain with the flips = disaster. I must have looked like bambi the first time he stepped onto that frozen pond. Let's just say after this little incident I had had enough. Screw you Korea. Screw you Jeju. Let's party.

Took the bus up to Jeju CIty (an hour and half, damn this island is so much bigger than I thought) and found a new hotel. The Korea Greece World Cup was about to begin and I wanted to find somewhere good to watch it. Koreans love their soccer. Everyone was super decked out in devil horns and red and just partying it up in the streets. I met some nice Canadian boys and hung out with them. Late into the evening one of the guys offered to walk me home. Sure why not. He had to stop to buy something at GS25. While he was inside, I guess Igot bored or unsure of this guy (although it's hard to tell as my memory of this is a little vague) and I boltd. I ran. I ran around corners and down alleys. I'm shocked I was able to find my way home, and there was no way in hell he could have found me. So, if he happens to be reading this, sorry for ditching you at the GS25, Scott. ha.

The last day in Jeju was the best. Sunday I missed my race, woke up at 10, it started at 9 and was an hour away, but that's ok as I was too tired to run anyway. I went down to where the race was and hung out. Had some porridge, met a few foreigners and hit the beach. Aza the sun is actually out. Me being hungover and in a tizzy on the way out of the hotel room forgot sunblock. Beach fail. So I ended up getting a little pink, but it was nice to have some color. I was beached out by 3 and decided to take a bus to another area on the West COast. I forget the name of the town now, but it was adorable. Tiny street of minbocks (hotels), and restayurants and a totally beautiful beach. I got a sick room and stayed the night. This was my favorite part of Jeju. It was quiet and scenic and i felt like I was on a quiet deserted beach in Northern Cali.

But all vacations must come to an end. I flew home MOnday night and I must admit it was nice to be back and just relax for a week. Between touring with my parents and going to Jeju I was pretty nonstop for 2 weeks. Break.

Back to the grind. This is Ben teacher's last week and I have to work 6 days!!! I'm now teaching a class on Fridays (not sure how long this'll last) and this Saturday they have an open class they want me to teach. It's only 4 hours and we're making umbrellas, but I'm really not looking forward to working 6 days in a row!!! Wish me luck

Friday, June 11, 2010

rain rain go away

Greetings from Jeju. I am currently sitting in a PC bong because it's pouring freakin rain. The beach is awesome when you're by yourself and it's raining...right. After school yesterday (Thursday) I got myself over to the Gimpo airport. I had never been here before, as I have never flown domestically here, and it's a cute little airport. There are a couple "Snack Shacks" and a GS 25, and that's it. I got me some pear magkeolli opened my book and waited for my flight. The flight to Jeju was less than an hour. As soon as you take off you start to descend again~ Arriving in Jeju was super simple. I had written down the names of several hostels, one of which was close to the airport. Of course it was full. They pointed me next door and I got my own crap room for 30,000 won. It was almost identical to the room I had in Sokcho a few weeks ago.

I put my stuff down and it's only 9 30 or so, so I go out exploring. DP.

[here's the DP story: When Susan was here we walked into a bar and it was dead. Like no one there and totally lame. She said we have a word for this in Germany, Toterhosen. I know I butchered the spelling there. Anyway, the literal translation is deadpants. aka DP.]

Ok, walking down the street and DP. What do people do at night here?? I asked the little old front desk lady where to find food. She points me a block down to a cute seafood restaurant. I go in and sit on the floor and order the al tang. I love my fish baby soup!!! This place was sick. They brought out the usual sides, but then on top of that brought a plate of sashimi; fish, shrimp, octopus, squid. Then they brought another plate of sashimi and shrimp with quail eggs. All of this before they bring the soup!! The soup was definitely the lamest part of the meal. But all of this food and it was 8,000 won. Nuts. After struggling through some conversation (really forces me to practice my Korean!) with the waitress/owner, I decided it was time to go, but I didn't want to go home quite yet. I found a cute Hof a block the other direction from my hotel and sat down. It was pretty crowded with groups of friends, and no one seemed to want to befriend me :( I drank my beer and went home. haha.

Friday AM and I set out on an adventure. It's me, my backpack and my umbrella. Since it was kind of drizzling I thinks to myself, "What can I do not outside...caverns!" So I get on the bus and head toward the lave tube caves. Man this island is big. I thought I could bike around the entire thing in a day or so, definitely not. As I'm riding the bus the guy behind me asks if I can open my window. Sure. Then he starts chatting. Turns out he's 24 year old Andy. Born in Korea but has been living in Chicago and this is his first time back to Korea in 6 years. He's in Jeju by himself and so am I. He asks what Im doing and what my plan for the weekend was. I informed him I have absolutely no plans and am kind of wandering around the island homeless, and he asks if I'd like to join him in going to Udo island. Sure why not, Andy. The bus takes a solid hour and 1/2 (went from the West side to the far East side) and then we get on a ferry to hop over to Udo island. It's a tiny island, probably the size I pictured Jeju to be!, so we decided to rent bikes and tour around. First we're hungry. We go into a cute restaurant where I get sea urchin seasweed soup (good for health) and he gets the famous Jeju black pig kimchi jiggae. Then he pays. "It's the Korean way." haha ok buddy. We jump on our shady bikes and go. Along the way we see lava stones (and lots of them), white beaches, black beaches, the diving ladies (these are 70+ year old women fully decked out in diving gear. They go out and collect sea squirts for restaurants. I guess this is what you do when you retire here??), statues, and best of all caves. We hike down a mountain and over some trecherous lava stones and make our way into a cave. It's absolutely beautiful. Exactly how you picture them to look in Hawaii. The lava stone on the inside is smooth and purple. There are all sorts of colors running through the purple stone though, it looks almost like it was splatter painted. As you get out toward to ocean enterance to the cave water comes in. It's crystal clear. I wanted to jump in, but the fact I was wearing jeans and had no towel deterred me.

So after biking for 2+ hours in sprinkling rain, we head back. The rain kind of came and went and was no big deal because the sun was out as well, but then by 4pm it was full on raining! We went back to town, dropped my bag at a restaurant we were going to have famous Jeju black pig BBQ at later, and walked over to sunrise mountain. This place was names one of the national heritage places in Korea by UNESCO. At this point it's full on raning, but we want to see what the hoopla's about. We walk up up and up stairs. It took us more than 1/2 hour to walk up this mountain. Rough times. Then you see some old ajuma coming down and you remind yourself, this 80 year old woman made it up, you can too!! But wow, when you get to the top it's spectacular. Not only is there a cool crater in the middle from where the volocano settled, but you can for kilometers and kilometers!! You could see Jeju, Udo, and way out into the ocean. Totally awesome. It got cold and wet so we descneded to dinner.

Dinner was good. I couldn't tell you the difference between normal pork and black Jeju pork, but apparently everyone else can. We also had some tangerine (also famous in Jeju) magkeolli. I'll stick to regular! Andy met up with some buddies form his hostel (he was staying in the one that turned me down the first night bc it was full!) and I decided ot head south in hopes of finding a more happening nightlife. I took a bus another hour South and found a little hotel in Seogwipo. This is where all the resorts are (so I hear, I have yet to see one) so I figured there had to be some Western style bars. Not so much. More hofs. Again last night. Me. Beer. Book. 11pm I called it a night.

Today of course it is raining. All I want to do is go lay on a beach!!!!!! So I am here, updating my blog instead. I think I'll head out and try to hike to a waterfall, then Im thinking of doing some resort hot tub hopping. Wish me luck!