Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Actual excerpt from a 3rd grader's English diary

house go in parokeet in house and little cock so big and parokeet play. and little cock in house.

I'm glad I'm reaching these children. Way to go, Nina, way to go.


First off, I am sitting at my (well Paul's) computer drinking none other than a Sam Adam's Winter Lager. And it only cost me 3,000 won at the local Filipino mart. Ahh the taste of home or at least of good beer.

Last night with the BBoys was a total blast. I went over to Apujeong (the ritzy area of Seoul) early so I could find the venue and study while I wait for Paul to join me. I wandered followed the directions from Platoons website: go out exit 3 walk straight for about 15 minutes. Well I know I walk faster than Koreans, so after about 20 minutes of walking I stop into a Starbuck's. Of course, I can't figure out how to log into their Korean password protected internet on my iPhone (thanks Henry!) so I go to the next coffee shop, Cafe Bene. These shops are popping up more than Starbuck's circa 1997. There's got to be one on every block throughout all of Seoul. This is a good thing though. Despite their 4,000 won Americanos, they also have waffles and gelato! And they're warming decorated and have wifi (ah hem Starbuck's). I find my bearings and discover I need to make 2 more turns back in the direction I came from and walk an additional 15 minutes. Did I mention it's been in the negative teens (C) for the past month!? Anyway, I finally find the place and it's awesome. It's what I guess you could describe as an "art house." The building is all windows facing the street and is completely made of shipping containers. According to their website, the entire thing can be taken apart and rebuilt in a new location. Cool I guess. When you go in you immediately see a bar/cafeteria area. On the right there's a large open space and above is a projector. There are several levels of seating on the periphery of the room, and even a couple box seats (probably more like the projector room).

Looks cool, but there's studying to do. I make my way to a Tom and Tom's (the Zoo Coffee was a few blocks away :( ) and sit and study, and I quote, "autoregressive conditional heteroskedacity." Yes, I do know what that means, how to test for it, and how to correct it. CFA i own you.

Paul comes and meets me, surprisingly doesn't get lost. This is probably due to my amazing abbreviated text message directions. We go to Platoon to get some dinner. Their website promises traditional German fare, including, German pizza ish thing which we were going to get. As we approach the front of the line, they take the menus off the bar and say food service will be held for 30 mins. Sweet, the movie starts in an hour and we're hungry. So instead of eating at the venue to hold good seats, we venture out into the cold into the depths of a new foreign neighborhood. We walk just a few feet when we see a large sign with pictures of seafood red (which means spicy!) soup for 6,000 won. Only as we're passing through the door do I notice it's a Chinese restaurant. I HATE Chinese food. I don't like it in America, I don't like it in China, and I assume I won't like it in Korea either. Although, I do really enjoy dim sum. I try to put on my I'll-try-anything face and we sit. We're greeted with hot tea, yellow radishy things (Korean), and Chinese pepper/cabbage stuff. A good start. I order the gochu (pepper) haemul (seafood) tang (soup) (myeon) noodles. We looks at the one below and it says pa-something-tang myeon. We know it's noodles so Paul puts on his adventure face and orders that.

Less than 10 minutes later and we both have huge piping hot bowls of soup and noodles. Oh boy! Mine is blazing red with shrimp, real ones! not the crappy little ones you get at a kimbap cheonguk! all sorts of shells, squid and mushrooms. Paul's is essentially the same thing except with a brown broth. They were both really good. It was still a little too Chinesey (see greasy) for my taste, but the best Chinese I've had in a looong time.

Anyway, time to go to the movie. We walk back 30 minutes later and it's wall to wall people. We're informed there are no more seats but we can go get camping style fold open stools. We find a good spot and sit. We sit here for 2+ hours on little tiny ass stools. By the end my shoulders and back are stiff. The movie was great though! The director came out and introduced the movie, then it began. It focused on the world championship of bboying. If you've never watching break dancing, you should watch this movie or at least youtube it, it really is impressive. They followed the leading teams, USA, 2 South Korea teams, France, and Japan, and gave little back stories about the dancers. Then they showed the finale. Totally impressive and it totally makes me want to go see the BBoy and the Ballerina again! Post movie was a Q&A with the director, which I could have done without, and then they brought out some dancers. Some were local and some were from the movie. It was amazing!!! I need to hit the gym ASAP and work on my headspins!!

Twas a lovely night out, sans drinking, which is rare here trust me, and I was still home and in bed by midnight. Asa.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

electronics fail

Does anyone remember last summer when I killed my computer and my camera was broken (not by me!)? Well this month has been pretty similar. Someone, again not me, dropped my camera and broke the lens on Christmas Eve. It was kind of on it's way out anyway, so I opted not to fix it and just buy a new one. Paul and I head over to the electronics mart (behind Emart my favorite place in Korea) on Saturday afternoon. This place is a scene. It's 4 or 5 floors of individual vendors selling anything from cameras to laptops to mp3 players etc. Paul and I just wandered from vendor to vendor seeking out the cheapest digital camera. After 6 or 7 stops we found a dude who was willing to sell me a black (I wanted blue) Fuji 10 megapixel for 100,000 won. And the case was service. And now I have a camera again! On the way to Emart, through a sky walk, Paul and I found the best artwork! A guy was selling holographic pictures of tigers, jesus, rabbits, you name it. At first I kind of walked by and laughed thinking "who would buy this crap." After we pased, Paul asked, "Did you see the bunnies getting married?" NO I did not!! So we go back, and there they were, two perfectly in love bunnies getting married. You could tell because the man bunny had on a tie and the woman bunny had on her finest pearls. There was no turning back.
I asked the guy how much (almayo), and he came back with 5,000. What!? We say too steep and go to walk. "Ok, ok sacheonwon (4,000)" Eh, still not convinced. "OK samcheonwon." $3, it's a deal!! He tried to throw in another 3D bunny picture and charge us 5. But honestly, how much bunny art can one keep in their home!? One's just fine.

New camera. New bunny 3D art. Kindle trouble.... :(

I am just now able to talk about it without losing it. I've been carrying my netbook with me everywhere because I am studying for the CFA. I figure it would be safe to put my Kindle in the same cover as the laptop so as to protect them both. I guess this was stupid because I took my Kindle out and the top 1/5 of the screen is blacked out and the text in the rest of the screen is a lot darker! I don't know if it was from magnets or just pressure from being in my backpack against the laptop, but I do know it's devastating. Krissy got one for Christmas and was super hesitant about it. I secretly had my fingers crossed that she hated it so I could have hers. But alas, she, like everyone who's owned one, has become obsessed with it. So now I just sit on the subway reading 4/5 of the book and just imagine all the wonderful details I am missing. [Side note: Im reading Cutting for Stone and it's really good!]

Onto other things. This weekend was pretty low-key, as are most throughout the winter. Friday night I stayed local. Galbijim dinner and soem beers at Orange Tree which is the bar above Indigos. Saturday was the electronics mart adventure followed by Indian dinner with Chee and his buddy DC. We went to this awesome restaurant in Hongdae, Ustav, and had a bunch of different curries. Its definitely the priciest Indian I've been to, but it was also the best. Yum. Then we all went over to Sincheon to a bar called iPub. Its usually hopping, but was totally dead on Sunday. We went to meet up with a different group of friends and they pretty much kept to themselves. We watched some soccer and called it a night. [Note: Korea is going to the semi finals for the Asia World Cup this weekend. We beat Iran on Saturday.] Sunday morning Paul and I got groceries and made an elaborate brunch and watched Top Chef. Come 5 pm we thought we should get out of the house again. We opened the door and there was 3" of snow! How did it snow that much in the past 3 hours!? We tried to go to 3 different magkeolli bars, all to no avail. We finally went to a seafood restaurant on my street and order magkeolli and pajeon only to be shut down again! "No pajeon." We got eel instead and as we drank a second bottle of magkeolli they came out with a plate of pajeon! Service!! Alright, we'll take it....although it wasn't very good. Clearly not their specialy.

Now here it is Monday again. Im at ZOO Coffee which is by far my favorite coffee shop in Seoul (Ill write more about it some other day). Time to study. Head to Suseo to tutor. Home to watch Narnia (which I fell asleep to last night). Tomorrow night is going to be super exciting. Paul and I are going down to Gangnam to watch a screening of a new bboy movie and then it's meet and greet with the director. Maybe my dream of becoming a bboy will finally be realized!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The bus gods are not smiling upon me today....

You know some days are just not your day? Yesterday was like that for me, but only in terms of transportation. School was fine. Tutoring was fine. Dinner was great. But buses, man they were out for me.

I finish school at 1:15 and have to be to tutoring at 3 in Bundang, which by subway, is an hour and a half away. I wanted to get there a little early to maybe pick up lunch or study for a few quick minutes, so I decided to take the bus. I hopped on the 110A to Hannam with no problems. As we pull in I see the red bus (red buses go further than blue and green buses) I need to Bundang right behind us. "Wow," Im thinking, "this is my lucky day." I run and get onto the 5500 bus. Immediately I notice this bus is pretty shady, and not as clean or nice as the usual bus I take home from Bundang. Whatever, I turn on my Kindle (another story on this later. I can't bring myself to write about it yet) and start to read. 20 or so minutes later and the scenery becomes a bit unfamiliar. I've only take this bus in the daylight once before, so I kind of dismiss it as bad memory. We make a few stops and we're still not at mine. Hmm. Then I see a sign for Suwon. This is bad news. Suwon is SW of Seoul, Bundand is SE of Seoul. I get nervous and ask the bus driver, "Jeonja? Jeonja?" which is the stop in Bundang I need. He shakes his head. I may have lived in Korea for a year and a half, but my Korean is still very minimal. I can't even articulate to this man that I need to be in Jeonja and need him to tell me how to get there. So I get off at the next stop.

I'm literally standing on the side of the highway in god-knows-where Korea. I have no idea which direction I need to go in or how I'm going to get there. I guess some ajuma overheard my convo (pleading) with the busdriver and comes up to me and says, "Jeongja," and points to the other side of the road. It's a start. I go to the busstop on the other side of the highway and look at the bus signs. I can read Korean just fine, and I know there is not one bus on that sign that goes to Jeonja. Out of desperation I ask the ajuma next to me, of whom I am sure speaks no English, how to get to Jeonja. She holds up one finger and says "hanna, hanna, hanna" (one, one, one). So I guess I need the 1 bus. Just then the 17 bus rolls by and she gestures I need THAT bus. She starts making running motions at me. So I start to run after the bus that may or may not be able to take me closer to Jeonja. She yells at me to stop and starts to walk with me. I guess she just wanted to walk me wherever.

I walk, more like inch, with this old lady down the icy sidewalk. She keeps talking at me in Korean and saying one, just one. Ok Lady, sure, one! I say to her, "Seoul, Itaewon." Then point around me and make a confused sad face. She laughs at me. Then she goes on about something. I point to my backpack and say, "Teacha, sunsangnim." Ahhh, ahh. The next 10 minutes of crawling are silent. We finally make it into town and the gets me to the subway and says one. At this point I know I am one subway stop away. Why didn't she just say that to begin with!? I kept petting her and saying "comsahamnida. You save me!" She smiled and walked off into the sun. Luckily after all of this hullabaloo there was a waffle vendor outside the subway. I bought 6 for a chunner (<$1) and made my way to tutoring. I tried to avoid an hour and 30 minute trip. This took me an hour 40. Asa.

As previously mentioned, tutoring was fine, although they didn't feed me. It's always hit or miss with these people. Well they did give me some Hershey kisses, and I shared my waffles, so not a total loss. Anyway, I figured out the problem with the bus was that it was the 5500 bus, not the 5500-1 bus. Seriously, you're going to have buses with the same number going different places!? WTF Korea!? In what kind of utopia must I live to find that buses going different places have different numbers!? It just makes too much sense. Oh and you know what else, there's a 5500-2 bus. Where do you think that goes? Because I have NO idea.

I leave tutoring to take the bus home. The bus is 30 minutes. The subway is 1 hour 30 minutes. It's a no brainer to try this out again. A bus pulls up, says Hannam-dong (in Korean) so I figure I'm good to go. We get to Gangam and the bus driver kicks me off. "Hannam-dong" I argue with him, but he just points to the blue bus ahead of us. False advertising buddy. Why does it say Hannam if it only goes to Gangnam!!!?? Regardless, I made it to Hannam, walked the 20 minutes to Itaewon and got a beer at Sam Ryan's to study with. Transportation finishey.

On a similar nothing-is-as-advertised note, I met Paul for dinner an hour later. I had seen in one of the foreigner magazines an ad for free drinks for ladies and discounted apps on Wednesday nights at The Crow's Nest. We had never been, heard of anyone who had, but knew they boasted the largest pizza in Korea. Pizza is Korea is interesting. It's super cheap or super expensive. Cheap quick pizzas run you about 5,000 won and usually have sweet potato and corn on them. Expensive pizzas are at "Italain" restaurants and are kind of like tortillas with cheese and no sauce. There has been a recent push for real pizza, although nothing even compares to pizza from home. So we go in, reluctantly, to this new jaunt. When I ask about their happy hour the waiter says, "Hold on. Its still under consideration." The group of foreign girls at the table next to us ask the same question and get the same response. The dude clearly had no idea about this happy hour, but the girl showed him the clipping from the magazing. He goes and sees what he can do. He comes back a few minutes later and says, "One free round. That's it." Whatever we'll take it.

Paul and I order the spinach and ricotta pizza. There's ricotta cheese in Korea!!!?? That alone scores huge points in my books. We know the pizza's big, so we get a medium for 17,000 won. The bartender comes over with our service drinks. They're flourecent green. Paul and I keep sipping them trying to figure out what it is, but still couldn't figure it out. Then the waiter brings the standard bowl of pickles and jalapenoes (who decided pickles, sweet pickles, go with pizza?) and our pizza. The pizza was maybe a little smaller than a normal pizza in the states, but that's huge by Korean standards. Pizzas usually serve one here. It was delicious!!! I can not even describe how good it was. Kind of like real pizza!!! Real mozz. Sauce with flavor. Spinach. Ricotta!!! and they even had balsamic and oil on the table to dip it in!! This place kicks every other pizza place in Korea's ass!! We will for sure be going back. Although they need to work on their whole "happy hour" scheme.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

unemployment, employment, which is it!?

As I have mentioned, my contract with my school is over February 28th (which his a Monday and really stupid they make me go to work that day). This is my first completed contract! Completed contract's are sweet. Not only do I get pension when I leave for Thailand (2+ mil), I also get a bonus from my company for fulfilling my promise (another 2 mil). This is true of all schools, and really speaks to the amount of trust they have in us to keep our promises. ha OHHHH Korean contracts. Anyway, I thought after February I would do some private tutoring to pay for living and whatnot, but really just needed the free time to study. Well apparently not! The blowfish people have me 2 or 3 nights a week, the Bundang people have me 2 days a week (although that will change in February), I just got a job at Krissy's school teaching a 2 hour class on Fridays, and if that isn't enough, I just got a text message for an interview this Monday. This job would be sweet. It's a morning kindy, 10:30-12:30 Monday through Thursday, starting this March after my Thailand vacation, and would pay over a million a month. I can make as much money in my retirement as I am now! I'm hoping this morning kindy works out. It'll get me out of bed, I'll finish at 12 and then study all afternoon and have my nights free to tutor and relax. Here's hoping.

This whole January schedule has really messed with me. I used to be a morning person, but here it is, 2 weeks into the month, and I'm still struggling every morning to get out of bed and through 3 hours of class. Last night I fell asleep at 9:30. haha I wake up at 8:30, it's not even that early!

The best thing in the whole world happened. I was looking for CFA books on craigslist and ebay hoping to save a few bucks. The first go round I put out $500 for books and luckily got a scholarship for a $1,500 class which also came with books. This time I didn't want to spend too much and I have some serious vacations coming up; priorities. So on ebay I found what promised to be the Schweser books, videos, MP3s, practice tests, and a bunch of other crap, all for the discounted price of $50 (face value $1,500). Of course I was skeptical, but for $50, what do you have to lose. I had my parents order it to base. It finally arrived yesterday in a small envelope that says "Sri Lanka." Hmmm not filling my head with confidence. I open it and it's only 3 CDs. Shit. I put the first video CD in and it requires a password. I have no password. I open the 3rd CD labeled "Books" and it has all of the Schweser study books in pdf files along with the mp3, along with additional readings and practice. Asa! I brought the CD to the printer today and had my books printed for 100,000 won. I also emailed Sri Lanka for the password and he wrote right back. I'll have to test it tomorrow. So basically I got the ultimate Schweser premium package for $150. Word. If anyone has any big tests coming up, check out for books. They're amazing.

I'm currently in Zoo Coffee studying, blogging, texting, emailing. I think I need to bring less distractions with me. Off to blowfish in an hour...Today's a good day :)

Monday, January 10, 2011


I just realized I forgot to write about this a week ago. The whole time it was happening I was thinking about how exactly to describe the goings on around me on this platform. New Years Day 2011. After a night, well let's be honest, a week of excessive drinking, Paul and I decided to do something good for ourselves. We decided to go to a jimjilbang. I've been hearing about these from day 1 in Korea, I have just never made the venture. Perhaps fear of the unknown, perhaps lack of companions, and perhaps just lack of opportunity, all prevented me from experiencing this Korean specialty.

Jimjilbang is a Korean spa. You pay a fee and get a variety of options. Depending on which one you go to, so I hear as I've only been to one, you get different things. They all have saunas, hot tubs, cold rooms, and then in addition you can pay more for massages and scrubs. Paul and I ventured down to Yongsan (5 mins from my house) to the Dragon Hill spa. This is supposed to be the nicest in Seoul. I went once before but only to use their pool, which is outside but open 365 days a year and always heated to 96 degrees. We approach and there's a line out the door. We are told there is a long line because "today special day. No children." Despite this tale, there were approximately 800 children running around. We were also instructed one in one out. Pass.

I remembered there was a jimjilbang just steps from my first apartment in Bongcheon, so we take the 40 minutes bus ride down. We go in, having no idea what to expect, each pay our 7,000 won, get a ticket, towel (more like hand towel) and a matching t-shirt and shorts, and are instructed men upstairs, women down. There is a common area in the middle where we will meet after we change. I go down to the women's locker room and have no idea what to do. I put my shoes in a tiny locker unsure of where I'll put my other belongings, when someone takes my ticket and ushers me to the correct locker. You leave your shoes, take the key and go to a locker room filled with big lockers.

I have never seen so much bush in my life. Everyone in the locker room is naked. Im used to it from my gym days in Bongcheon, but this takes it to a new level. There were hundreds of women and children walking around in their birthday suits. I change and go to the common area. As I'm waiting for Paul I take a tour. It's a huge open room with mats on the floor and everyone there is wearing the matching tshirt and shorts. Since this is the common area it's all families. Everyone is either laying on the floor sleeping, or eatings, or reading a book. There's a snack bar, a restaurant, a cold room (-16C), several hot rooms ranging from 40-70 degrees C, massage parlors, massage chairs, and then the best part. There's two igloo-y, indian hallugienagine-looking rooms. I wait for Paul. Did I mention we are the only non-Koreans? So of course everyone there, especially the children, are just jaw to the floor wide-eye staring at us. Paul comes and we get into the igloo-y room. It's super hot, has a cool unidentifiable smell, and is wall to wall with people. You have to crouch through a mini oompa loopma door to get in, then scurry around looking for a vacant square foot to plop down on. We finally find seats, Paul and I meet eyes, raise our eyebrows, and then bail. Had we had books, or perhaps not been so hungover we may have lasted longer. Next time we'll see.

As we walk around, Paul notices we're being trailed by a chubby 12 year old. He doesn't say anything, he just follows us into every room we check out. We are facisnating, I know! We eventually duck into the cold room and lose him. For 1,000 won you can sit for 10 minutes in a massage chair. Holy shit do I need one of these in my living room. Its a full neck, back, and leg massage. We definitely sat there and kept feeding it chonners (1,000 won notes). After we held up the chairs for a while it was time for a drink. As I have mentioned before, you can't just drink places, you must accompany booze with food. We go into the restuarant and agree to share subdubu (spicy tofu/seafood soup) and order a mekju. The amazing thing about Korea is that there is no price discrimination. The price of a Cass at a bar, is the same as the price of a Cass at a restaurant, is the same price of a Cass at a baseball game, is the price of a Cass in the spa. 3,000 won is the price of a Cass, unless of course, you're at a hotel.

Post food and we venture in separate directions and check out the gender specific floors. I go down, he goes up. You go in, strip down and walk into the hot tub room. It's a huge room with multiple pools of hot water, a warm pool, and then rows and rows of vanities that are a foot off the ground. And every single one of them is packed. This place is wall to wall naked ladies. There are women everywhere scrubbing themselves down. I was clearly not prepared for this. Had I known I would have brought a scrub brush and some exfoliant. I kind of wander around checking out each pool with the eyes of several hundred women and children on my tall naked pale body. There are also steam rooms and saunas which were quite enjoyable. The kicker with this room is how social is was. Not only am I the only whitey in there, but I'm the only one rolling solo. This is supposed to be a social or family activity. Maybe it's just me, but I don't picture my girlfriends and I sitting around chatting in the buff. Especially not while we're scrubbing ourselves. But hey, to each their own. Oh and a really funny thing about Korean ajumas in locker rooms. They always blowdry their crotch hair. hahahaha oh brings me back to my Bongcheon gym days...

So yeah, that was my experience at the jimjilbang. As weird and foreign as it was to me, I can't wait to go back. You can spend an entire afternoon relazing, eating, drinking, for less than $10. Why not!? Now just to find one closer to home.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

but of course

Before dinner last night Paul and I decide we're going to book our tickets. Of course we search and the tickets have gone up $50 each in the past 2 days! I decide maybe this is because there's high traffic on the website, so let's let it cool for 12 hours.

We go to a lovely galbi (meat) dinner. I don't think I've detailed these out for you. It is the ultimate Korean experience. You walk into a building, usually very poorly insulated with floor heaters everywhere, and sit down on plastic stools around what I can only describe as a barrel. The barrel has a hole in the middle where the coals go, and theres a long metal tube hanging from the ceiling directly over the hole for the coals. The metal tube is there as ventilation; it sucks the smoke from the bbq. Then you have your choice or beef or pork and prices vary depending on the cut of the meat. We usually go for samgapsol, which literally translates to 3 fat pork, but sometimes spring for a nice cut of beef. Everyone must order. So when it says 10,000 won per 200grams, you must order 200 grams per person at the table. (Note: no one goes to a galbi jim alone. It's always a group activity). Then you must order your soju (rice alc 20%) and mekju (beer; you guys should know this by now) although last night we had magkeolli. Wasn't feelin a soju hangover. Once you order they bring the coals to the middle of the table. Flaming hot coals, with no warning. I'm shocked I haven't seen some sort of fire accident here. They use a lever to carry the bucket of coals and there's always 2 or 3 people running around doing this at once. It screams lawsuit.

Then they bring the sides. You usually get: leaves to wrap the meat in(ssam), a soy bean paste to put on th leaf (ssam jang), a huge bowl of onions covered in sesame oil and pepper flakes (also to go on the leaf), kimchi, garlic, jalepeno, and a variety of other sides. Last night we had a soybean spinachy thing, sprouts covered in red pepper (a favorite of mine), a salad (rando veggies covered in mayo- eh).

Then they bring the meat. You cook it yourself over the coals You get tongs and scissors. In Korea they don't use knives. You cut everything with scissors; it's pretty awesome.
You flip and cut the meat up and when it's all ready you put it in the leaf with toppings and stuff it down. Yum! The amount of food is amazing. And if that isn't enough, while you're eating meat they bring out a boiling pot of dwenjenjjigae (soybean soup). This soup is awesome. Its made with fermented soybeans, tofu, onion, radish, and either has pork or fish. Last night we had fish. I'm talking whole dried anchovies that srare back at you. Got to love soup that looks at you. Then they brought out pajeon! Another favorite. I hated this when I first came because of the chewy texture, but Ms. Han has changed my mind. It's a pancake made with rice flour and is either filled with kimchi (kimchi jeon) or my favorite, green onions and seafood (haemul pajeon). This is usually eaten when it rains with magkeolli. It's an unbelievable amount of food for a total of 20,000 won! We make it a point to go once a week. It's especially fun in the summer when you can sit outside. The only downside is that you're going to smell like bbq the rest of the night. Some galbijims even fabreeze you on the way out, or hold your coats in plastic bags to avoid the smell. Aren't they thoughtful! Even though it seems totally archaeic to sit around a barrel of coals and cook your own dinner, it's still the most popular form of restaurant here. You will find one in any neighborhood, and they are always full. There are some that are better than others, and the way I guage (because I don't really like meat) is totally based on the sides. Good sides = I'll be back :)

Fast forward 12 hours. Check the flights and it's still the $50 higher price. Bah, got to go, so we booked it. YEY Thailand! I was supposed to go last March but everyone ended up bailing. So now, a year later, I'm on my way, and with the best person I can think to go with! Now to plan the trip....oh and study. Still haven't gotten my CFA books. Thats my excuse for now.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

welcome to 2011

So far it's been a good year. All 5 days of it. I have been writing to my boss-ish lady trying to get my Thailand ticket for March booked. She finally writes back today that I am only eligible for a flight if I renew my contract. Ahhh crap. I reread my contract and she's actually right for once. Regardless, I need to bail in March and come back on a tourist visa, so it looks like I'll still be going, now it'll just be $400 out of pocket. Buggars! Come March I'm going to need some sun anyway.

School is getting really old. I work 10-1 which is nice, but getting up early is tough!! I haven't had to get up at 8 since July. I know, I know, poor Lauren! But I guess it is working out because now I can tutor down in Bundang (the Boonies) twice a week, go straight to the blowfish people's house where I get dinner and genuinely like teaching and hanging out with the families. So this adds an extra 6 hours of tutoring a week, which is amaze-balls, as Sarah Lily would say.

There's nothing too exciting going on in Seoul in January. It's cold. It's icy. And everyone's broke after holiday traveling/spending. I am also on a hardcore saving spree. No more going out to eat every day, no more shopping (not that I really do anyway), no more wine buffets, instead it's more tofu, soups, box wine (I know, how far I have digresses in this past year...), pirated tv shows and movies. Have you checked out, because I live by it!

Emily is officially an Aussie now. She seems to love being a nanny, being on the beach, and being out of Seoul. I don't blame her! But it's so quiet and sad without her here. Although I have enjoyed having the house to myself this week. Dave will be back Thursday...I think. I moved down into her room which is nice because there's heat down here, but I still haven't gotten used to her bed. There's no real mattress, it's more of a pad that should go on top of a mattress. I haven't had a full night's sleep since I've been down here, so I need to figure something out. I would go buy some memory foam but it's $200+ for a single, and I have a queen. Hmmm any other suggestions???

Alright off to shower. It's 5pm and I have done nothing today. Well I wrote a cover letter which I have been trying to do for about months now, so I guess that counts as something. Tonight is the only night of going out to cheap Korean food this week. I have tutoring all other nights, so Paul and I are splurging on a 10,000 won galbi bbq dinner. hah where in the US, other than McDonalds, can you get a 2 person meat dinner with soup, and 7 side dishes?? You can't. No, no you can't.