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!