Sunday, February 21, 2010

weekend antics

Another weekend has come to pass here in Korea. Ahh what a fun one! Friday I was absolutely worthless. Not having to work on Friday is a beautiful thing, but it definitely does nothing to motivate me to stop going out hard on Thursday nights. The fact that drinks are free at The Loft and Bricx doesn't help either!!! After a day of lounging I hit Gangnam for some pizza and a beer date. Good times.

My school has monthly Saturday meetings for the Korean teachers. Of course the first week I start they decide to invite all of the foreign teachers. Saturday. 9:30. AM. Seriously. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. They served lunch and I got to sign my contract. I think this is the fifth contract I've signed in Korea. After a quick nap it was off to Nanta with the ladies. Nanta is Korea's most popular theater attraction. It's sort of a Stomp that takes place in a restaurant. It was cute but pretty cheesy. There was a lot of knife drumming which was cool and my two friends, John and Liz, got called up on stage. It's always fun watching your friends get totally embarrassed in public! After the show the night began. I was still tired from Friday and decided that it would be a pretty chill, early night for me. Ha such nights don't exist in Ktown.

It all began with an innocent birthday dinner at Los Amigos in Itaewon. A few pitchers of beer and a quesadilla later and it was off to Scrooge's for RJ's going away. RJ is the guy who's job I took. (Thanks!) Then we head over to Gecko's for Leah and Tom's going away. We're just there hanging out and all of the sudden out of no where a parade, I'm talking 10+, fuzzies come in the door. These people were in full out animal costumes. There were a few rabbits, dogs, an alligator and even an Uncle Sam. I have no idea what it was all about but it was pretty ridiculous. They took one lap and proceeded to leave. ANYWAY. Someone decided it would be a good idea to go to Wolfhound. Isn't it always a good idea to go to Wolfhound? Ended up running into beer date from the night before and we all head out in 1:30 in the morning. Hongdae is a good 15 minute cab ride, and if you're going out there it's guaranteed to be a late night. Susan ends up passing out in the cab and when we get there refuses to go inside. haha so she takes the 15 minute cab ride home with her pissed off husband (they were supposed to go see a DJ). I go into Go-Gos and dance the night away. I'm thinking I am such a great dancer spinning around on a pole until I jump up and hit my head on the ceiling. I didn't just hit my head, I bashed it. I start profusely bleeding from the head and one of the guys who checked my head said I should probably get stitches. I'm not insured and I was pretty drunk faced, so that definitely wasn't happening. Finally at 5 we decide to call it a night and go get some Korea food. As we walk out of the restaurant I guess I missed a step or something and totally bit it onto my knees. I ripped my tights and am now profusely bleeding from the head AND both knees. Nice-uh. Then I realize the next morning that I have a huge purple bruise on my inside thigh, presumably from my awesome pole maneuvers. Why do I keep doing this to myself?

It's Monday and I am quite exhausted from all of this. Too bad it's a busy next couple of weeks. I am sooo glad that I love my new job though. I usually dread waking up Monday mornings; yet this Monday I got to work and the kids actually cheered me up. I love this school and I love the kids and I love my Korean co-teacher Sunny, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the fact that my work day is only 3 hours!!!!!!!! It's absoultely gorgeous out today too. This is the first time we've been over 40 degrees since probably November. I decide to walk home from work, which is also another awesome perk!

I'm off to go fight for justice again tonight. BITS won't give me my letter of release from my contract. This is necessary to get my new E2 visa. It's not a big deal if I don't get anew visa immediately because my old one covers me until September. BUT i want my free trip to Japan (visa run)! So it's off to BITS tonight to demand a letter and I'm going out to dinner with Joel and the new "Lauren Teacher." haha I'll try not to scare him too much!

Jen from PES comes on Friday for the week!! I can't wait to do all of the touristy Seoul stuff I haven't done yet. It's also Susan's going away :( That's going to be a tough party to go to fight justice, wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It had to come to an end at some point

Today was my first day back at work. After a terrible night's sleep (anxious about the first day I guess...and probably had something to do with knowing it was the end of my 2 week bender!) I got up at 8:30 and go ready for work. What a joke. It looks me less than 30 mins to get to work and I have to walk by 2000 coffee shops which is nice and convenient. Since this is technically winter vacation for kids (I work for an after school English program) most kids won't bother to show up this or next week. Since it is the break I work from 10-1, when I get my normal schedule it will be 1-4. Anyway, there were no more than 6 kids in any of my 4classes today. These kids speak very limited English and my Korean co-teacher-helper-lady Sunny is awesome. She helps translate and is totally laid back. We spent all morning making name tags. Come 1:15 and I'm done for the day! Well except my 2 privates tonight. Asa!


More Friends

Krissy Garden
She is one of my closest friends here. Krissy is from Winnipeg, Canada, and has been here for 3 years. She originally came over with her boyfriend Damien, who is now a good friend, and totally hated it. After 6 months she warmed up to Korea and will be here for the next year at least. Thank god because everyone else is leaving!! Krissy's so much fun to go out and party with and she just recently introduced me to one of the greatest things about going out dancing in Korea. 5 am chicken kababs. Krissy made me realize Canadians really aren't that bad :) hahaha this weekend we're looking for a cab at 6. We can't get one and we're freezing so we go into a GS25. She finds this "awesome" scarf on the floor and starts bragging about her new find. A few minutes later she smells something. Then notices her shirt is a little wet. She put on the puke scarf! haahahahhahahahahah. who does that!?

John is also a good girlfriend to have here in Korea. He's been here for just over 4 months and is absolutley fabulous! He's one of the few gay people I know here, and he is totally embracing the scene here and he's super fun to have around because everything is as new to him as it is to me. He likes wine night and shopping, but unfortunetly lives all the way in Mokdong. I'm currently persuading him to quit his job and move to HBC. With that said, one crappy night afew weeks ago he was out in Hongdae. He asked some rando Korea to use the bathroom inside the Korean guy freaked out and started yelling. JOhn, intoxicated, made some response "Whatever, you're stupid" and thought that was the end of it. 5 minutes later out of nowhere the guy came back swinging. He not only hit John, broke his glasses and fractured his cheek bone, but he kept going and hit our friend Nicole who proceeded to bleed from the face. Unsolicted violence is so stupid and it ended in stiches and a police report although nothing has come from that yet.

She was one of the first people i met here. Nicole was at the pool the first day. She's from South Africa and totally fun. Although I havent seen her in a while, she is constantly organizing events and trips and uniting people and friends. She's a great person to know and I hope she sticks around for a while.

Sarah Lily
What a character. She is totally fabulous, always rocks fake hair, nails and a tan, and can't be bothered by details. She's constantly working some guy and is the most vulgar hilarious person I have met here. She kind of reminds me of my best friend from home, Kati, but more in your face. Sarah is a wonderful person to hash out the details of last night over brunch with. She just quit her job and is moving to HBC. Another one joins the club :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Meet the crew

I was talking to my friends last night over 1/2 priced wine (2,500 won!) and it somehow got mentioned that I have a blog. People didn't know and wanted to read it, and then it occurred to me, you haven't been introduced to my friends yet! So here is my attempt to get you all better acquainted.

In no particular order, I give you:

Susan (Ze German)
I know I have mentioned Susan a lot in past blogs, but here's more you should know. Susan moved to America right after high school and met and became engaged to a man in St. Louis. She attended undergrad here and met Dave (more on Dave later). Things weren't going well with finance, so Susan did a 10 week program in Mexico where she met and instantly fell in love with Martin. Martin and Susan went back to the states, got married (I think after like 3 months of dating) and decided to move to Korea to make some money. They lived out in Incheon (where the airport is, 1 hour outside downtown Seoul) where they hated it but ran into good friend Dave at the bar one night! Turns out they all, years later, decided to do the same MBA Korea. Small world, no? Eventually they all moved into Seoul proper, got real jobs and Martin left this past August to go to law school in Canada, where he is from. Susan, against my will, is leaving Korea after 6 years this February 28th to go be with her husband again :( boo. But they found a lovely apartment in Vancouver and Susan will hopefully find another marketing or PR kind of position. She is by far my best friend in Korea. We met my first day here at the Hamilton pool (just wait till you get some stories this summer about ze poo-el), where she was dancing on chairs to the dj and pouring soju and orange out of her purse. We quickly discovered our similar interests in wine and running and have been partying together ever since. She's the most fun, sincere, generous, thoughtful friend you could hope for!

So that's Susan in a nutshell.

Onto Dave
Dave as you know, went to undergrad in St. Louis, moved out here for his MBA and has been teaching/working here for the past 6 years. He just recently got laid off from his job and is trying to figure out what to do in life. At the moment he is in St. Louis taking part 2 of the foreign services exam. I hope he doesn't leave Korea though!! Dave is the most generous, laid back, cool guy here in Korea. Whenever you're down and out, need somewhere to crash or just want to smoke some sheesha, Dave's your guy. We have a running joke "I quit my job and moved in with Dave." There are at least 5 people I know this is true for, myself included. Dave lives directly below me with Emily so I get to see a lot of both of them which is nice.

I have known Emily since high school. She is my little sister's best friend and major reason, if not the reason, I am here in Seoul. Emily is the one who told me about the Hamilton on my first day here where I met a lot of my closest friends. Recently Emily and I went out for a couple of glasses of wine. She was helping me look for jobs and we got to talking. I was telling her how my life changed when I moved to HBC. Life was so much better and she got to thinking. A week later and Emily lives downstairs quit her job and is my partner in unemployed crime. We go out to lunch together everyday, make jello shots, bake cupcakes and participate in debauchery every night of the week. When we get bored we ready books together and she girl-ifies her apartment while I update my blog. Sadly we both start work next week.

Brad Teacher
Thinking about the Hamilton pool, my mind immediately goes to Brad. It was his last day here in Korea and my first. He was a drunken mess, but totally funny and memorable. I find out weeks later that I am the new Brad teacher! I replaced him at BITS. He apparently was totally over Korea after one year, and then on the plane ride home realized he made a horrible mistake and decided he must come back. 4 months later and he's back! I ran into him at the bar one Sunday evening and he tells me to hire a lawyer and quit BITS now. This started to get me thinking and one week later I quit. Thanks Brad! He's a riot and now every time I go to Wolfhound I see him there. He's always trying to sleep with someone and always handing out shots. He's 23, looks 30, and has the hair of a 50 year old. He used to date our co-teacher Jasmine, and called her his weekday girl friend. haha Got to love Brad Teacher.

Monday, February 8, 2010

the end of the korean job saga...hopefully.

I have a job! A new job. Again!

I was all set to start my new job at a 2 hour a day kindy in April, and work teaching private lessons until then, until this morning. I got a call from James, a recruiter, who's name I got from RJ at brunch a couple weeks ago. RJ informed me he had this sweet public school job and would be leaving mid-Feb. I said pass me the info and last night I get a call from James. We set up an interview for 10 am this morning.

Interview in Korea is a very interesting term. 90% of the time an interview = job offer. Today is no exception. I meet him and James outlines the details:

Monday- Thursday
Public School (20 mins walking distance from my apt)
12:00-6 (teaching 5 classes in a row 1-5:10)
Kindy-Grade 6
10 days vacation + Korean holidays
E2 visa support (they'll pay for me to go to Japan)
best of all....

same salary i was making at BITS! For 24 hours a week! No Friday classes! This is amazing. So as badly as I feel for bailing on the school I already signed a contract with, I have to do it. How could I not!?

Tonight I have 2 privates and Ms. Han should be back next week for some more. So that's an additional million won a month almost. My summer is going to rock.

The only downside of this new job is that I have to go in tomorrow for "training." It's RJs last day so he will show me the ropes. Then I start next Tuesday (Monday is Lunar New Year.) At least I won't have to worry about starving in March!

Today, my last day of unemployment, Emily and I went out to a lovely lunch, baked cupcakes, and have been planning her birthday party all day. Then we're off to our priavte lessons and it's trivia night at the Orange Tree! Last week we came in second, going for #1this week!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

send diamonds here

Now that I no longer work at BITS, or live in Bongcheon, please send any packages, cards, contraband, money etc. here:

5-764 Yongsan-gu 2GA
2nd floor
Yongsan dong, Seoul, South Korea

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

unemployment continues

I know I have to get a job at some point. But seriously, this rocks. I feel like it's the summer all over again; except cold. Very cold! I wake up at 11, talk on Skype, go for a run (On today's run I saw some old ajuma walking backwards down the street. hah). Check in with the downstairs unemployed neighbors, Emily and Dave, then do whatever I feel like! The past few days I have been fighting for justice against my school, but now I just have to wait. So today I went down to my new school, the one that I start in April for 2 hours a day, and signed my contract. Done did. Now I'm sitting in Tom Tom's coffee shop (It's more expensive to get a black coffee in Korea than a glass of wine/beer. This is stupid). I am currently applying for new jobs, and then after I think I'll hit the Lotte Mart for some samples of kimchi. Some things never change, right?

Last night the unemployed kids hit up the Orange Tree for trivia night. We had some random, well I guess Dave knew them, gentlemen on our team and we dominated!! We were on the "polite team with the cute girls" according to the host. He was pulling for us to win but we ended up tying for second. How do you end a tie in HBC? With a drink off of course! We nominated Dave and he had to race Sam from the other team to see who could drink a pint out of a straw the fastest. Who do you think won? We did of course. 2nd prize gets 20,000 bar tab so we immediately bought 2 pitchers and celebrated.

Tonight I think Emily and I will head to 1/2 price wine night at Vin Vino. I have never been there except for special events, so I'm curious to see what the scene is and how the wine is. I will let you know.

In other news, I am really looking forward to my visa run. Sometime in the next 3weeks I have to go to Hong Kong or Japan (well I don't have to go those places, but they're the closest.) My new school is paying airfare so that's pretty sweet. I need to seriously watch my money. I went into BITS yesterday to see where my money was and Christine assure me, again, that it will be there Friday. Oh how the story keeps changing. But if I don't end up seeing the money I'm owed there and don't have a job until March/April, I'm going to be scraping by! Good thing everything is so cheap. I have decided my new economically depressed diet will be comprised of sweet potatoes and pumpkin. Filling and cheap :) and Emart wine of course. Although I may have to switch over to soju.

Ok this is turning into bored ramblings. Man I really do have a lot of free time now. I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!! I guess it may change when Emily goes back to work. Lesson learned through unemployment: I'm not meant to work. I am really good at this. And it makes me happy to figure out ways to spend my day. Even when it is negative 8 out! ANYWAY...

Monday, February 1, 2010

private tutoring rocks

Last week Susan hooked me up with a woman who she used to private tutor. This woman, Ms. Han, cancels a lot because she has lots of unexpected travel through her work in the gem industry. Susan was sick of the cancellations and passed her on to me.

Our first meeting was rather dull. I didn;t know what to expect, her level, what she wanted from the meetings, etc. and I had never taught a private lesson before. Especially not to an adult. It was pretty awkward, and I assured her the next meeting would be better because i would have more material prepared.

So yesterday Im dreading going to meet her. I get there at 5:30 and Ms. Han is hungry. She takes me to a street car where we get a snack; odeng (fish cakes I love!) and hotteok (which i had never had but was delicious). We go into a coffee shop, where she buys us coffee, and she tells me she needs help writing a business email. We spend the entire hour and half writing this great email. It was interesting to me to learn about the gem (Swarovski) business and I got to write a fun professional email which I haven't done in a while.

After we finish the email she asks if I have any appointments tonight. It's Monday, so no. So we go out to dinner. She orders like there are 12 of us, we got seafood pancakes and al tang, fish eggs soup. And, of course, a huge pot of makgeli!! Yum!!! Her friend ends up coming and we sit for hours drinking makgeli and Ms. Han is playing translator. They taught me some Korean words, I taught some English phrases, and we all got pretty wasted. Ms. Han rocks!!!

Next time Susan's presence is requested!