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