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....