Wednesday, March 30, 2011

yellow dust blows

After 1.6 years in Korea, I am thoroughly convinced weather/sicknesses are totally intertwined with NJ weather/sicknesses. Exhibit A: It snowed last week. Exhibit B: my poor mother just went through terrible surgery to fix her cough/sinuses and her nose has been runnin like a faucet ever since. Well, mine too! Koreans may blame China's yellow dust, but I blame the NJ/Seoul connection for this one.

I took some over the counter sinus infection medicine (twas quite the show at the pharmacy. Pointing from my nose out to my cheeks aka sinuses, and getting the response "eye creama?" I finially found a woman who got my drift) and have been a total zombie ever since. As I left work today (at 6 30 mind you- my earliest night) he says, "long day?" ha actually my shortest! It was a struggle forming full sentences with my 7th grader. She was cool with it though.

I put in my official resignation with BHive yesterday. They knew I wouldn't be there forever, but they didn't know I was leaving for good in June. They were sad, mostly because they only have 2 teachers now, me and Krissy, but BOY are they going to be....i dont even know what....when they find out Krissy's leaving Korea the same week as me. They're out! I'm trying to find replacements but a) everyone I know has left b) people I do know have jobs. This is the sickest job in Korea though, and if I were working at a hagwon I would bail for it. Some people just aren't as smart as me. ha.

Alright I've had a couple glasses of wine, obviously, on my sinus pills and it's off to meet Brooke for her final goodbye :( she takes off for Texas on Friday. Another one bites the dust.

Another one bites the dust....

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

ring ring. who is it?

Pantsless Paul.


I am on Skype with my mom at my desk this evening, while Paul is laying on my bed applying for HK jobs. I have the camera on but am looking at other websites. Paul stands up to take his pants off because i have the space heater on and it's quite warm in here. As I turn to tell him the camera's on, my mom says, "Please tell Paul to keep his pants on." He sits back down totally mortified while my mom and I can't stop laughing.


I'm still laughing.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Well greetings. Tis a gloomy Monday but there are promises of temperatures hitting upwards of 50 this week. Beats last week's snow!

Turns out the job Paul was offered isn't exactly the dream we were hoping for. After running the school and location by a few friends in HK, we have found out that neither are the most desirable. It's still an option, but Paul's definitely looking for more options. And I too will start job searching again. I have kind of stopped out of defeat, but his offer has given me some hope. Very little, but some....

It looks like we're going to spend about a month and a half in India. We want to take a long time, since we can, and really see as much as we can. It's also much cheaper than living in HK, so why not postpone that as long as possible!? At the moment I'm freaking out about what to do with all of my crap. I think I basically have to throw away about 50% of my belongings, mail the winter crap home, and box everything I need for HK and leave it here with Dave to mail when we actually get there. Thank god for Dave!

Alright school time. Peace out.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It's For Realsies!!!

Tickets have been booked. June 9th Paul and I are fleeing the country of Korea!!! We're going to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for 2 days then flying to Bangalore, India, June 12th!!!

In even more exciting news, Paul just got off the phone with Hong Kong and he has a job offer, with housing!!!! He can either start at the end of July or the end of August; just depends how long we want to travel. He has a week to decide, so hopefully some other offers will come in this week so we have some to compare with.

Yey Life!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


So I know it's snowing back home and I probably shouldn't bitch, but I'm going to. IT"S MARCH! It should be warming up! It's a big fat 0 here today! BOOO. The only good thing is that I'm working all the time so I don't have time to feel the cold anyway!

Oddly, my new busy schedule has hugely increased my studying. I guess now that I have limited spare time, I'm actually using it wisely. Old Lauren with 400 free hours a day used to walk a lot. Instead of the bus, I would walk an hour or so to wherever I had to go. Now I subway and bus, where I reread my notes, and use my spare 30 or so minutes to get through a few pages of text. Ive also been coming home every night at 9 and watching an hour of CFA video. Last night 2 videos. Perhaps I do have a shot at passing this! Although I certainly feel less prepared than last time. 2+ months left....

Anyway, besides that this week has been pretty unexciting. Oh except Sunday night when Paul was puking all night. I guess he got food poisoning, poor thing, but luckily I somehow avoided it. The only things we ate differently were quail eggs (and I did have a bite) but I ate them today and I was fine. Anyway, a night of bootin and he's fine now.

Tomorrow is Ms. Han in the AM! I totally look forward to seeing her, and I'm pretty sure we're going out to lunch tomorrow. This weekend should be pretty low key as everyone's gone. A friend is having a birthday party in the Hangang park Saturday and Sunday we're doing Sunday Funday at the fish market for Brooke's going away. Yumm! Happy hump day!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Green Beer Obsaeyo

So St. Paddy's obviously isn't a widely celebrated holiday here. But, there are foreigners, so there is a party. Actual St. Paddy's seemed kind of ignored. I guess a lot of people had work or something. I went out for a bit to a couple non-Irish bars, tried to avoid the crowds of the Wolfhound (total show last year, you couldn't even move), and called it a pretty early night. Most people I talked to on Saturday said they stayed in, you know, saved their energy. ha. The real party is Saturday. This year they moved the party from the Cheongycheon River over to a parkinglot in Insadong. It was weird man. Last year was fun because there was free Guiness and everyone got to march in the parade. This year you had to fight the crowds in the only GS25 in blocks to get one of the last remaining Cass cans.
A little forsight on the store's side would have been nice. Once you got your collection of magkeolli soju or beer, or whatever else you could find (I actually found a nice little juice box of wine), you head to the parking lot to stand amongst the other 300 foreigners there. Sure it was fun to see some people I haven't seen in a while and there was some rocking Irish tunes, but it seemed to lack some of last year's excitment. Chee, Brooke, Jesse, Greg, Paul and I head over to this traditional little restaurant.
We had awesome dinner of soups and meats and tons of side dishes, and of course soju, then taxied over to Hongdae. We figured this was the best place to get away from the crowds of drunk foreigners who would probably (and did) infiltrate Itaewon for the night.

Enter the Silent Disco! I went to one years ago at Bonnaroo, but didn't know it existed in the real world. Apparently this is even a monthly event in Korea put on by the World DJ Festival. So you go to Hongdae park, just a public outdoor park, and give your ID to a dude who then hands you earphones with a balloon tied to the top. Only those with earphones can hear the music. To passersby, you just look like a crowd of morons bouncing in silence. It's awesome!! We met Joe, Renzo and Brian (the gays) and danced our little hearts out.
Hongdae's a college area so we danced with the youngsters, and they didn't seem too horrified by our drunken shakery. Of course, this is still Korea, so you go across the street to the GS25m buy some beer and soju cheap, and go back to dancin in the park. I will absolutely be going to this every time they do it!! We're now facebook friends.

So yeah, a lovely weekend here in Seoul. Krissy is out on a visa run to Malaysia for the next 2 weeks with her boyfriend which means I get to cover her classes. I am working a ton this week. Dolla dolla bills ya'll.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Further Proof Koreans Rule

Today after class with Ms. Han and Terry, I went over to Dunkin Donuts for a little study sesh. First off, I studied a full 3 hours and got a ton finished, so that was exciting within itself. I packed up and started to leave when a Korean woman chased me down and handed me a wadded up cheonwon (1,000 won, < $1). I never in a million years would have noticed I dropped it, and even if I did, it was only a dollar and wouldn't go back to look for it. But she booked it to make sure I got that buck back. Tell me that would happen anywhere else in the world!

After getting my buck back I head home for a 9k run!!! That's run #2 this week. Yey, beer gut be gone! Although today is St. Patty's so I am going to go drink it all back. You win some you lose some.

Wooo these next few weeks are gonna be killer! I just started a Mon/Wed 10-12 kindy (an hour away) and picked up like 8 new classes at BHive, where each class is 2 hours. I had to drop all of my blowfish tutoring which was sad, but it will save me 6 hours in commuting time a week! Then I picked up a new business English class Tues/Thurs nights which is awesome. It's all these old government workers who sit around and make fun of each other's English. "You 30 and single? ha ha ha." "You work dis company 30 years? ha ha ha." They're awesome.

Alright off to shower, teach some bus eng, and booze it at a non Irish bar. The Wolf just gets too busy on St. Pday. Happy St. Paddy's!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


(Paul came up with that gem of a title)

Thailand is awesome. If you haven't been, you simply must. We started off our adventure braving the freezing weather in no more than longsleeve shirts. Who wants to carry a jacket around the tropics all week? Followed by a quick flight to China. Bejing is the shittiest airport ever. It's huge and clean, but there is absolutely nothing to do there. You can buy stupid Chinese souveniers i.e. panda bear everything, or sit. There are 3 restaurants all of which totally suck, oh and yeah, there's a Pizza Hut. Paul and I sat an bitched over a couple beers then we were on our merry way to Thailand!

We arrived and booked a hotel right on Khosan Road which is the main party street in Bangkok. We then met up with Garrett, Paul's friend from home who left Korea 4 months ago to travel for a year. Khosan Road is a show. There are 100,000,000 tourists, mostly Europeans, wandering, drinking buckets, and solicitors up the butt selling anything from fake diplomas to tuk tuk rides. Despite the solicitation and ads for ping pong shows everywhere, it truely is beautiful. There's definitely an energy in the air. Oh and the air is an amazing 85 9 o clock at night. Asa! We hit a few bars and I called it a night. Day 2 Paul and I hit up some street food (again) for breakfast. The food in Thailand is simply amazing. There is so much flavor, seafood, spice, and it's all super super cheap. I think we probably spent less than $100 between us the entire time. After some wandering we meet up with Garrett again who promises to take us out to a different area for a good time. It starts out fun enough. We take a boat ride at dusk down the river where you can see all of the palaces and temples all lit up.
It was really spectacular. But this is where Garrett's idea of fun, and Paul and I's idea of fun differ. Garretts single. He's been traveling for months in poor countries (Philippines, Loas, Thailand) and he is all about the Asian women. He takes us to an area, Nana, where there are rows and rows of titty bars. He insists we walk into everyone to find the one with the hottest girls.
I'm a good sport, but after 10 or so of these, it's getting old. We finally settle on Spanky's (ha remember I used to work at one in college!?) and pay a stupid amount of money for a stupidly watered down whiskey. We sit and watch the "show" which consisted of a topless girl rubbing oil on herself. Garretts totally into it and thinks we should stay for the next show, but Paul and I drag him out. Let's go back to the fun area where we can buy giant cheep beers. A large Chang (think 22oz) will cost you about $2 at a bar. And it's 6.8% boozy.

Paul and I have a flight at 6 am the next morning so we decide not to get a room and just stay up all night. Garrett lost interest in us back near Khosan, so Paul and i venture around and end up getting leg massages
at 3am while we wait for the 4am van to the airport. Day 3 and we fly to Surat Thani and take an hour bus to the port. I remember none of this as I slept the whole time. Then there's a 2+ hour ferry boat ride to Koh Phagnan. For whatever reason most of the Euros sit down in the AC deck. Paul and I are here to get tan. We rub on the 30 spf sunblock left over from the mudfest last summer, and lay on the top deck in our bathing suits. It was an amazing ride. As we pulled out of port we saw a dolphin, then you cruise and can see all sorts of islands amist the blue Gulf of Thailand. Totally spectacular. We get to port, are immediately directed to a hotel (we didn;t book one) and put in the back of a tuk tuk. We get to our resort, The Great Bay Resort, and we have our own bungalow!!!!
I've always wanted a bungalow on the beach! It was immacuately clean, had a queen and twin sized bed, mini fridge, tv, huge tile bathroom and an awesome balcony. Have I mentioned I <3 Thailand? Oh, so apparently the SPF we had was watered down or something because as soon as we changed both Paul and I were streaked red. My hand, inside of my left leg, and below my bellybutton were RED. Im talkign sun poisoning painful.
Pauls entire chest was streaked red. Pretty funny really, but hey were on vacation and we;re not giving up that easy. We got checked into our hotel by 1 and we were on the beach right after. We walked the beach, then in the evening walked along the street through "town." Not really much town, just a few restaurants spread out here and there. We settle on one that looks like a mom and pop place. It was all outside, including kitchen, as are all restaurants on the island, and we had the BEST BEST BEST meal. I had a seafood salad and paul had some noodley or ricey meat thing.
But YUM. It has totally inspired me to learn to cook Thai. We meet a nice German couple at this place and they tell us we MUST get mopeds as that's the only way to get around, and we decide to meet that night down at the beach where the full moon parties go on. We never ended up meeting them, but the party was insane. There weren't a lot of people there, but it was still insane. There were fire thrower/twirlers all up and down the beach and just rows and rows of vendors selling buckets. Fukin Good Buckets.
A bucket of whiskey, redbull and coke runs you about $4. We had a few of those, almost got hit by smoe fire ropes, and then hit a bar with an awesome cover band. Beach life is so relaxed.

Day 2 KP we go rent mopeds. BEST IDEA EVER. Motor biking is the most fun thing in the whole world. They cost you roughly $5 a day and you have the freedom to go anywhere on the island. We biked up the West coast the first day.
We went through the jungle and stopped at an awesome waterfall, passed by elephants and monkeys, stopped for watermelon shakes (which are my new favorite thing- watermelon + ice + blender. yum!) and eventually ended up at the Northern most beach. The beach was basically desserted. The beach near our hotel was pretty rocky and had some fuzzy stuff in the bottom and no waves (bayside) but this beach was white sand and had coral so you could snorkel. There were tons of fish and sea slugs. But the coolest part is that there was a sandbar so you could walk 200 or so meters to Koh Ma, another small island. There was nothing there, but it was still cool to be able to walk through the water to an island.

Day 3 was more of the same. We motorbiked, ate our hearts out, and found the coolest beach. This time we went through the middle of the island to get to the East side beaches. Holy shit, scariest/most fun ride ever. The road stops pretty quickly and turns into a dirt path. There are rivets and bumps all throughout from rain, which is does about 3 times a day for 2 minutes, and it's only one lane. Granted there aren;t many people on the island, but you have bikes passing you, trucks, tuk tuks, it can get a little dicey. Paul was such a good sport for putting up with my pussiness. On downhills I refused to go more than 10km/hr. He always stayed behind me to make sure I was safe and ok. What a great boyfriend! We accidently went down one scary ass road (I'm talking 85 degree slope down and BUMPS) and found this secret beach. There was one small resort there, maybe 4 people, and HUGE waves. There's no way you could have swam on this beach, so we couldn't quite figure out why people were there at all. We finally decided it must have been a swingers club or something. Ewww and on the way out of this road a green snake tried to jump onto my moped!! Well, he was probably just trying to cross the street but I almost fell off my bike at the sight of him. EWWWWWW snakes. We finally went the right way and found the sickest beach on the island. There were definitley no more than 50 people along a 1km or so strip of beach.
There were lovely resorts with pools and restaurants, and the water was crystal clear blue with nice small waves. We had an amazing day relaxing, then got to bike back through the jungle. For our final dinner in KP we went and found an amazing restaurant on the top of the mountain overlooking the sea at sunset.

Everything about this trip was totally romantic; definitely a coupley place to go. It was quiet, beautiful, and really peaceful. Paul and I just talked and relaxed the whole time- there was absoultely no stress, except maybe getting through the mud jungle bumps with tuk tuks zooming by. But I made it, and am better off for it. Motorbike pro. By the end of the second day I was zooming around at 60km a hr. Yeah, what!

Every night Paul and I had an amazing dinner, we'd go out for a bit, then sit and make cocktails on our balcony. We walked along the beach at night and just chilled. I would definitely recommend this island to anyone who wants a private quiet beach getaway. Sadly Thursday morning we had to leave. The ferry from KP to the port near the airport only leaves twice a day, so we decide to head over to Koh Sumui for the day and catch a later ferry from there. Again we had another early morning flight. Koh Sumui is known as more of a touristy island, which is why we avoided it in the first place, but it's only a quick 40 min ferry ride away.
We take a taxi down to the the port we need to leave from later that day and then wander. We find a desserted resort and beach. I'm talking not a soul in sight. We chill on our own private beach, then head to our own pool. It was an absolutely perfect way to end our island tour. No one from the resort even bothered us, it was kind of weird. Im used to "what room, maam. Sorry you gotta go." But no one seemed to care.

Then we took a sunset ferry back
to mainland so we could bus it to Surat Thani. We took a bus where it was us and 3 other foreigners and then all Thai people. We drive about an hour and the bus just stops. A man jumps on, tells Paul and I to get off the bus. Who are we to argue? Then we notice the other foreigners get off. We are ushered into the back of a tuk tuk and take off. None of us have any idea where we're going. Paul and I obviously don't have ahotel booked, we don't do that, but the 3 Canadians with us did. After a while we stop and the man tells us this is our hotel; The BackPacker Inn. Ughh sure dude. He then gets us a room, 400 baht (~$12) and tells us he'll come get us in the am to take us to the airport. Now this is service!! The room was actually pretty nice, and we have the whole night in Surat Thani. We venture out and there are temples and a ton of street vendors.
We have a good dinner- 2 curries and a soup with extra rice for just over $1. Thailand is insanely cheap, man! We have a couple beers, then notice the vendors are shutting down. Paul's getting nervous for my safety so we had back to the hotel and drink our Changs and watch TV. There's only one channel with English and it was showing some weird Mila Jovovich movie. I promptly fell asleep. Next morning and tuk tuk dude is there with his son, and early! Quick flight and we're back in Bangkok. We only have 10 or so hours before we need to be back to the airport, so it's only a quick trip. We had a great lunch, of course, walked down along the river and tried to go to the Emperor's palace, or was it the King's, I don't know. Regardless, we weren't allowed in because we were in shorts and apparently it's only open in the morning. Oh well. We could see it from the outside, then we took a the boat up the river back to Khosan area. We were just chilling drinking some beers when we noticed a crowd of people around the TV. We check it out and of course the week that we're out of Korea traveling Japan gets hit with the largest earthquake ever. We're nervous about our friends in Korea, Japan and Taiwan, then realize our parents are probably freaking. A few fb messages later and everyone's reassured. What a tragedy though. I can't even imagine what the clean up is going to be. As far as I know they;re still digging people out and haven't even been able to reach the worst hit areas. We stayed pretty glued to the tv for the evening, but need a break. Paul goes for a Thai massage and I get a mani-pedi. Dinner, and then another massage and it's back to the airport :( Did you know they sell valium over the counter in Thailand? Because I do! I don't think Paul and i remember a moment of our flight back. We flew out at 1, got back to Korea at 11:30 am (slept the entire time during both legs of the flight) got home and slept again until 7:30. But now we're back, more in love than ever, and totally confident in our traveling abilities together. Now we're just counting down the days til India. According to immigration, it's got to be before June 10th. Countdown is on....

Sunday, March 6, 2011


i made it to thailand. after many many many hours of traveling, i made it! so far have seen: cheap hotels, tuk tuks, titty bars, cool corner, and not much else. tomorrow it's off to koh phangan. yey beach!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

3 days

Til Thailand.

Im definitely feeling better. I took a few nights off, slept a lot, and took some left over antibiotics I had from a sinus infection. I know you're not supposed to do that, but it helps! Today was my last day "teaching" at Cheonpa. It's such a joke; first class was one student so we colored. Second class was more so we did a few pages in the book but then played a game. I have adapted scategories for the class room; Animal, Name, Job and Food are the categories and then I pick a letter. N is hard! Third class I have no students so that's FB time, and the last class was only 2. We ate cookies and chatted about their new teachers. Tomorrow's snack party day!!! But first I have to subway it an hour to go meet and greet parents for a new job. I have to be there at 8:50. Ouch. Jobs just keep rollin in.

Tonight was my last free night (no tutoring) until I leave so I packed, filled all the little bottles, and finished CFA class 4. I have really high aspirations of studying at the beach, but who am I kidding? I'll be way too busy racing Paul on a moped through the jungle. We'll be picking up hitch hiking monkeys and swerving to avoid snakes and elephants. Man next week is going to be rough...