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!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

M c Ps final days

So on Saturday, Mom, Dad, Dave (roommate) and I ventured down to Jeonju. Jeonju is known for Korea's best food and magkeolli. Two of my favorite things, no? So we toured around this lovely town, saw the cute temples, palaces, traditional style buildings, then hit the magkeolli restaurant. WOW is all I can say. Jeonju is known for it's bibimbap (veggies and rice) which we had for lunch, but that had nothing on the magk place. You order a kettle of magkeolli for 12,000 won and they bring you no less than 20 sides (I counted!). Then they bring pajeon, and al tang, and rice and kim and crab. It doesn't end. At the end of the "meal" we were stuffed, ate less than half of what they brought us (which includes, squid, eggs, kimchi, tofu, silk worm larva, snails, fish eggs and onions, and way more I can't remember at the moment). It was insane. After 3 kettles of magkeolli and more food than I have ever seen, we were ready to go.

What an awesome day though! If you're ever in Korea, go to Jeonju, or at least somewhere in the Jeolla province!!


After this we did a dinner with my friend Chee-ha (his dad is running for Korea pres in 2 elections from now!!), the Namsan Tower, lunch at Indigos, a lunch at the fish market (parents first sashimi), and tongiht we went out with my business class. It was my last class (after 8) and they took us out to this old Korean house that's been turned into a restaurant in Bundang. I have never been ehre before, but it was lovely. Great food, great company, and now I am super sad to see my parents go. It seems they were here so quickly!!!

BUT tomorrow I go to Jeju!!!!! yeah beach vacay!!!!!! Going to hit the beach and hit it hard! No plans on where to stay or what to do, but I guess I'll figure it out when I get there!

Happy Thursday!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

the M C Ps featuring Ms. Han

A few weeks ago I mentioned to Ms. Han that my parents were coming and we would go to the DMZ. She immediately asked if she could join us. Of course Ms. Han! A few days before my parents arrived I sent her an email detailing the tour we were planning to take. "Oh no, 8 am too early. 46,000 won too much. I'll drive." Ok, awesome!

Ms. Han picks us up in her MV from the Hammy and we're off to the DMZ. She's so cute! She talks to me and when my parents try to talk to her I kind of have to translate. By translate I mean I use simplier language and speak slower. First we hit an observatory. It was cool. You could see 4,000 meters across the river to the North. We looked through binoculars and could see the people out frming. It's amazing to look over there because there are no tress. The South side is filled, but the North, due to a lack of energy resources, has cut down all of their trees to use as energy. Nuts.

Second stop. We go to a bus station (filled with an amusement park, weird) and buy a 3 stop ticket/tour thing. First we hit a train station to the North that's been out of commission for 60 years. Kind of weird. Then the Dora observatory where you can look over to the North again. FInally we hit the tunnels. You check all of your belongings, they hand you a helmet and you get on an open monorail thing. After you sign your life away, down you go. You go for 300 meters down 74 meters into the earth. It was dark, wet and small. But cool nonethe less.

After we finish Ms. Han takes us of a tour of the Blue House (the White House equivolent). Well by tour, we drove by it. Then she insists on taking us out to a traditional Korean meal. We go to a lovely place in Insadong near where she works. Holy shit was this meal insane. It was no joke at least 20 courses. They start out bringing out some fish and meat and salads. Then octopus more fish, mussels, clams, shrimp and stuff. When you think it's finally finished they bring out rice and the normal banchan. All the while we're sipping on dongdongju which my parents now like...or at least can tolerate. It was by far the nicest, best meal I have hd in Korea. Thanks Ms. HAn.

And as if Ms. Han wasn't already awesome enough, my mom mentioned she wanted to find some pearls for a friend back home. Ms. Han makes some calls, takes us to some back alley near her office and hooks us up with a pearl wholesaler. Ohhhh Ms. Han, you never let me down! Well excpet for when you cancel every meeting.

Next post; Jeonju. The city of tradition, food and of course, agkeolli.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

M C Ps invade the ROK

After a pretty uneventful night Tuesday (no school Wednesday due to voting) and needlessly staying up til 5am, Emily comes in and wakes me up at 9. IT'S POOL DAY! This is the first "summer" feeling day we've had and most people don't have school. We arrive, not even first, at 10 am and stay until 5. I get a great tan, a slight buzz, and super excited to see my parents that night!

After showering I start walking to the subway to go to the airport. My excitement has been building since my parents booked their trip, but now I start thinking about actually seeing them at the airport and I start tearing up. What's wrong with me!? ha. I haven't seen them in 9 months which is definitely the longest I have ever gone without seeing my parents. I gather myself and get on the train. A few minutes later CA (Carolann) calls:

"So you gonna cry?"

Totally. I arrive at the airport just as my parents are supposed to land (stupid subway takes wayyyy too long) and start panicing that I won't be able to find them. I didn't write down flight info or anything, I just know they're coming in at 8:50 from Tokyo. Then there she is. I see my mom from across the airport, back to me, sitting on a bench. I immediately start bawling, run up behind her, and give her a big hug. I scared the hell out of my mom!!! She thought there was something wrong and couldn't understand what was wrong with me. haha perhaps it was the few beers, but mostly I think I'm just emotional to see my mommy after so long! I pull myself together and then I see my dad walking up to us. I lose it again. hahah. Eventually I become a real person again and we depart on the bus to the Hamilton.

The Hamilton rooms are actually really nice, and the best part of staying there is that my parents can get us 1/2 price discounts to the pool!!! And it's only a 15 minute walk from my apartment. My mom starts to unpack. SHe pulls out 4 bags....for ME!!!

Bag 1:
food! avocados (6!), feta cheese, teddy grahams, graham crackers, 3 boxes of teas, honey, animal crackers...etc. It was amazing

Bag 2:
toiletries. tooth paste, razors, lotions, sunblock...asa!

Bags 3 and 4:
CLOTHES, CLOTHES, and more CLOTHES!!! She brought tons of tanks, pants, dresses, shorts, new flips, and then also went into my room and brought some of my old tanks. Most of which I forgot I even had.

It was Christmas in June. And my parents are here for an entire week!!!!!!!!!