Thursday, April 28, 2011


So Paul and I went to the local clinic this morning and got our first round of shots- tetanus, Hep A, and malaria pills which we need to take once a day for one week before we leave, one a day for the whole time we're there, and one a day for a month after. Ah. And it only cost us $300. Double Ah. The clinic didn't have yellow fever or typhoid, so that's another trip.

Just found out Taeha cancelled today (yey, more study time) and then Ms. Han called and invited Paul and I for dinner and drinks with her tomorrow!! YEY!!! And tonight is a restaurant opening near my work. Free food and Absolut cocktails. Tis looking to be a good weekend.

Reality Check

As I went for my weekly run this afternoon, I had one of those "oh shit" moments. Not in a bad way, just a Woah-way. I ran, then walked (it's a freakin mountain! c'mon) and just looked around at all of the flowers, trees, hundreds of Korean hikers in fluorescent, and I realized in one month, one week and two days, this will all be over! I may not ever come back here- ever. I certainly want to, but it's not like the US where I know I'll be back. Weird.

Anyway, Tuesday was a nice day with Ms. Han and Mr. Pang. We had a lovely lunch and chatted about the seminar, which Mr. Pang had to miss because he was on vacation in China. Today it was just Ms. Han and I. We wrote the usual emails, she told me if she didn't have kids she would have been out of her marriage years ago, and then we went to lunch. Which was awesome. Naemul, which literally translates to vegetables, was 4 sides of veggies, soybean soup, oysters and a whole fish. Ms. Han told me I must come back with Paul for magkeolli. Add it on the list. Apparently Mr. Pang is facing litigation due to patent infringement, so he will no longer join our class. So instead Ms. Han and I are meeting Wednesday nights at 7! I smell magkeolli.

Tonight class is cancelly! Woohoo- then next week there's Children's Day and the week after some other holiday. Extra full days of studying- woohoo! So night I'm going to meet my friend Kyla for rolls and wine. This will be the first time, in get this, 3 days I am consuming alcohol. I can't even tell you the last time I went more than 2 days. Let's call this India prep. Speaking of, tomorrow is shot day! Every Friday Paul and I check another thing off our check list-this week it's malaria, tetnus and whatever else. Oh and we just bought Lonely Planet's for Nepal and India. I flipped through it and it's totally gotten me more pumped to wade through some trash and see some elephants and rhinos. Apparently dead people float down the Ganges while you bathe in it. Sounds fun, no!?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter at The Opera

After an especially boozey, although still early, Saturday, I woke up early and hit the coffee shop to watch the last installment of Equity Valuations. Exciting I know. I had a difficult time even copying the slides from the video, so after it finished I decided that was enough of studying for the day. And it was, after all, a holiday.

So I go home and Paul, Dave and I cook up a lovely Easter brunch. Dave made eggs, I made french toast and Paul made "bloody mary's." I put it in quotation marks because the tomato juice you can get here is just that, juice. It's not tomatoey as much as it is sweet. Weird, but we take what we can get.
If you haven't noticed I;ve been on a bit of a french toast kick lately. There are two reasons for this. First, while looking through our pantry the other day I noticed a can, yes CAN, of syrup. The label was in both French and English which leads me to believe it's Candadian. Neither Dave or I are Canadian, so the origin and age remain a mystery. The second reason for the FT action, is the new bakery up the street. It's super close, they don't add milk or sugar to their breads, and the bread is super delish! So yeah, FT will continue till that can is empty. I think we got a good 3 more rounds left in her.

That was entirely too much detail about syrup. And french toast. And Canada. Then it was opera time! Paul and I got pretty dressed up and took the bus (in heels!) to the Sejong Center in Gwanghamun to see Tosca. Paul and I had never been to an opera and we didn't know much about it, so we went in with pretty open minds. Oh and an open purse. Our dear friend Derek left a bottle of Absolut for us Saturday night. Even post-bloody mary's there was some left so we made purse drinks- vodka cran. Just tryin to keep it classy.

We enter the theater, get our opera glasses, and go to the usher. She immediately gets on her walkie-talkie and whispers, "wayguken." (foreigner). We hear this, pretend not to, and wait until the next woman grabs us and takes us to our seats, which were pretty decent. The theater was pretty full and I don't think there was really a bad seat in the house.

So the cast is totally Korean, singing in Italian, and the monitors can be set to English or Korean. We're the only foriegners there, so it was a sea of Hanguel monitors before us. I really enjoyed the play! Then they broke out intermission 1/3 of the way through- kind of odd. We came back in, enjoyed some more purse drink, and sad to say about a half hour into the second half I totally fell asleep. I woke up early, was kind of hungover, and drank a substantial amount while in the dark. I suppose it was bound to happen. Paul really enjoyed it, and we're both looking forward to seeing another one. I'll try to stay awake this time.

As for now, no drinks til Thursday

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Holy Weekend of Culture

After the dentist and kimchi museum, I had the normal Friday routine- tutoring, home for a tofu dinner and out for a beer. Literally. Paul and I went out for ONE beer, decided we were tired and went home, which was a great decision because I got up early on Saturday and studied (rocked) valuing a company using residual income models. I figure at this point I need to get through two videos a week- ahh. Equity valuations finishey!

Then I got dressed up and head to the Sejeong Hotel in Myeondong promptly at 4pm. I was clearly quite early, but was immediately greeted by (I didn't know at the time) Ms. Han's husband. Turns out this wasn't a keh meeting, it was the annual alumni dinner for the Korean Jewelry Industrial Education Research Association. Ms. Han had taken this course 3 years ago with this association, so the members of her keh are all from her class. It all kind of makes more sense now. Ms. Han's husband is in the class now and is the Director for his class, so he was running the show.

A little note on keh's. So I brought this up to everyone I teach on Friday because I was so curious after the lunch. This is a common thing. Im talking most people in Korea are in at least one. Taeha's mom just went on vacation with her keh. I guess it's now just kind of a fun way to get some money. As Taeha explained, if you have $20 in your pocket you probably don't do anything cool with it, so why not pitch it into a pot with 10 other people (your keh) and take turns giving out $200/month. That way you can actually do something/buy something fun while spreading out the cost to $20 a month.

Back to the alumni dinner. As I walked in I snuch a picture.
The tables were all set with cokes and cider (Sprite) and there were buffett trays in the back. Then people start showing up. Ms. Han's there, most of the guys from lunch on Thursday and Mr. Kim who often comes out to magkeolli with Han and I. We sit. And sit. I can't really chit chat with anyone, as no one speaks da englishy. Although Ahn OK Hyeun does introduce me to everyone he sees as his girlfriend, chincha!? (really!?) Turns out this program doesn't even start til 5. So finally at 5 it begins. And then it goes. And goes. And goes some more.

First we start with introductions. Lots of bowing and clapping. Then the first seminar. It was some young dude giving a presentation about the benefits of laughing. How this relates to jewelry or sales or whatever was definitely lost on me. He has us playing cowie gowi bow (rock scissor paper) dancing in our chairs, and all sorts of odd things. I had no idea what was going on, but Ms. H would lean over from time to time to give me an update or tell me to put my fist in the air. Thsi went on for a solid hour. Then it's a 10 minute break where they serve rice cakes. And thank god because I thought we were eating at 4, so I came hungry! Then act 2. This was a lecture by the CEO of one of the biggest jewelry companies in Korea, Golden Dew. I'm sure it was all very informative, but I wouldn;t know as I think I may have slipped into a coma of bordem.

FINALLY, at 8:30 we got to go to the back for dinner. Dinner was awesome! There was sashimi, salads, duck, fruit, kimchi of course, and all sorts of other deliciousiosities! And of course this is when the booze comes out. Of course there's no wine; just Cass, soju and cheap whiskey. If you pour a drink for someone they have to drink it. So drinks are being passed left and right. Ms. Han's not drinking as she has to drive, and her husband is wasted!! I guess everyone there was pouring him drinks because dude was blitz. Oh side note, no one brought their spouses or anything, I think I was the only outsider there, definitely the only foreigner there. So we're getting a little tipsy and then comes the comedy act. Of course immediately spots me and I get the typical, "Hello!!" He goes on for a bit then Mr. Han starts the noraebonging. Oh man. One song down and the comedian comes up to me, brings me into the front of the room, in front of 70 or so people, hands me the mic and tells me to start singing. Seriously!? I am more than embarrassed at this point, i cant even imagine how red my face is, but hey, Im a guest who am I to say no? So I choose "Born to Be Wild" and about 2 minutes into it her turns it off and says, "pop song." So someone, I dont even know who, picked "Hotel California." Not sure why this is more poppy, but whatever. Again, 2 minutes in, cuts it off and tells me he's had enough. Dude, I could have spared you, I know I can't sing!!! But gave me a (tacky) necklace and let me sit back down. Thank god. Every once and I while I'd hear a reference to the wayguken (foreigner) where i'm sure they were making fun of my horrid singing. So after sitting through 4 hours of boringness, I get to get embarrassed it front of the woman I tutor. haha awesome. It was a great cultural experience, and I'm glad I went, but my god, never again!!!

I went home at 9:30 and met Paul and Derrick, we just stayed local, but turned out to be a fun night. Sunday is Easter and opera day, more on that next time. Time for a vid.

Isn't she cute!?

Friday, April 22, 2011

No Cavities....

....and my teeth aren't falling off. Success at the dentist. Paul and I even went to a kimchi museum afterward. Clean teeth and culture, can't beat that on a Friday.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My New Secret Society

Ok, so it may not be the Skulls, but I am now (unofficially) in Ms. Han's Keh. A keh, from my understanding, is a group of people, generally professionally or socially linked, who can borrow money from eachother, then pay it back. It's a way for people to get help without having to deal with banks. There's also some element of gambling involved where one person "wins" at each meeting, but I'm unclear on this part. I'll have Taeha explain it to me tomorrow. They all started back when Korea was an agrarian society and people relied heavily on eachother in the case of death or whatever problem. They formed these small groups to look after one another, sometimes it's your turn to help, and sometimes you're gettin the help.

Let me back up. On Tuesday Ms. Han, Mr. Pang, and I met for our usual Tuesday meetings. Ms. Han asked if I was free, and I was until 7 (haha love Tuesdays!) so she asked me to come along with her for a while. First we went to her office, then her friend's store to return some things (where I have been before and she has awesome jewelry for wholesale prices. I definitely have to pick something up before I leave!), then took a taxi to Namdaemun where I watched her show samples of stones to one of her customers. All very enlightening about what it is to be in the jewelery business. Afterwords we went out to lunch, for guess what! Daegutang! Twice in two days, asa! She seemed more upbeat and we didn't really have a chance to talk about her husband, but she seemed content with how busy she was at work.

Flashforward to Thursday's meeting. Mr. Pang is in China so it was just the Hanster and I. I helped her with some business problems and emails, and then she started telling me of her friend who was in a similiar situation to her. The woman ran her own store, her husband works at Samsung, but basically takes her money and piddles it away while she's working 12 hours and raising kids. She said her friend asked for a divorce as well, and recieved the same answer her husband gave her, "just wait a while longer." hmm. So things don't seem to be better on that front, but I think she's gaining the confidence to leave him. She's noticably proud of all of the work she's done recently to grow HER business which she started 11 years ago without his help!

Anyway, she has a meeting with one of her two keh's at 12:30. This keh is all friends and they all work in the jewelry industry in Jongno. So I go on my way and get a phone call a few minutes later. She mentioned to them that I didn't have plans so they all invited me to come to their lunch meeting! I walk in and it's Ms. Han and 6 men, all 40s+, sitting on the floor around a large table, beer's in the middle. ha I like this keh already. Not one of them, except Ms H., speaks a lick of English. One man, Ahn Ok Hyeun, I met a few weeks ago with Ms. Han and we all had lunch and tea. This guy is hilarious. He has full on conversations with me, knowing I have not a clue what he's saying, and at the end just laughs and says, "ok?" Then asks how much soju I can handle, which in truth is 0, but I say about two bottles, he laughs and says he can down 5. To be fair he's a big guy. And Korean. Unfair advantage. They all sit around chatting, sometimes noticably about me, and I just observe. There's lot's of gesturing, smiling and nodding, and very little understanding of what the hell is going on around you. :)

Now let's talk about the food. First I sit down and there's salads, fish/lettuce/pickle wraps (so Korean to put a pickle on anything), sushi rolls, shrimp sushi, kimchi, sweet potato salad, japchae and some soup out. Then came the large plate (one of each side of the table) of raw shell fish (penisy fish, fish eggs, octopus, and other unidentifiable things) and a huge plate of spicy squid salad, which is my new favorite thing in the whole world! Then comes the sashimi. Two whole fish served with kaesip (sesame leaves) and lettuce leaves for wraps, samjang (spicy red sauce), jalepenos, wasabi, and garlic. Then in typical Korean fashion, just as you're reaching your max, out comes the next course of pumpkin and shrimp tempura, hot bulgogi (beef) served on a mushroom, and two huges pots of the leftover fish in a spicy soup. Then they put ramyeon in the soup! Somehow I even managed to finagle my way out of eating rice without comment. That's a feat, especially among this group of boistrous men...and Ms. Han! It was amazing. Amazingly healthy, and totally entertaining. They asked if I would joing their keh, I said yes, and the whole table clapped for me! I felt so special! The best part of it all is they're having their official (I guess?) meeting on Saturday in Myeondong at the Sejeong Hotel, and have requested my presence! Food, you say? Booze, you say? Of course I'm coming!! I can't even count the amount of amazing experiences I've had with Ms. Han. She really has served as a social embassador of Korea to me, as well as a great friend/mentor.

Tomorrow is one check off the long list of crap to do before I leave. Dentist time. This will be my first cleaning in about 2 years and the first time back since I got my new teeth. Finger's crossed everything's ok. So that's Friday, study and Keh on Saturday (while everyone else will be at the pool), and Sunday evening Paul and I are going to the opera! I have never been and he's a good sport, so he agreed to come with me to see Tosca. I asked the ticket lady if people dressed up, she kind of laughed at me and said no, but that won't deter me. I'm going full on!

2 beers deep on a Thursday afternoon, must be time to go study. Late.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cherry Blossom Bye Linn!

Twas a lovely weekend in the Cheon! Friday evening I met Derrick and went to a magazine launch party. There's this tiny (I'm talking 10x10) gallery up the street run by foreigners for foreigners. It's pretty much the only culture in HBC. So they recently put together a magazine with photos, poems, prose etc. So we went to the launch. There were maybe 30 people, 15 of which could be inside, and 15 of which were forced to stand out in the street. We all hang out in the streets anyway (Club FM= Family Mart convenience store where everyone pregames) but I guess we annoyed the police. They drove by once and gestured for us to back out of the street. ha that's about the extent of police control here! Anyway, there was wine and cheese and lots of hipsters. They must be new to the hood because it used to be all Canadians.

I went to bed early, because that's what I do now, and then woke up bright and early Saturday to post up at Latte King. Latte King is an awesome little coffee shop up the street. Previously the only reason I came here was to get Kahlua coffees, but now I just get my Americano and watch CFA videos. Which I watched 4 hours of Saturday morning! Post-study sesh, I head up the street for a friends going away party. Linn is dating, I think still?, Jodie, so Jodie hosted an awesome pot-luck on her patio. Well I guess it's more of an open air garage, but who has a car here!? Surprisingly everyone brought something.
Paul, Derrick and I brought Pizza School pizzas, but other people brought mac and cheese, linguini, pesto, chicken, Paris Baguette selections, and the best of all red velvet cake from Craftworks. Yum was it good!! It was a perfect afternoon among friends. The night obviously led to some dancing, but come 12 I was pretty beat from studying/drinkings/sunning.

Sunday am wake up early again with plans to study, but it's too nice a day! Paul and I started walking and got an amazing lunch of daegutang, which is a codfish soup. Then we subbed it down to Yeouido and made our way through the thousands of people enjoying the cherry blossoms. This is peak week, and the weather was absolutely perfect, so the park was CROWDED!
We found some swan paddle boats to rent, and paddled for an hour, walked all afternoon, and finally made it back to Itaewon for a lovely galbi dinner. We're definitely trying to soak as much of Korea in as possible in these next two months. Wish I wasn't studying....

Here it is Monday again, rainy, but I don't have to work the morning kindy! Woohoo for field trips or whatever it is they're doing today. I really really dislike teaching the kindies. They're super cute one on one, but 25 on one, not so much. Only one more month. Tonight I am going down to blowfish people's aunt's house to tutor her 6 year old Hanna. We had just started classes when I had to sub for Krissy, so I had to cancel, but now we're back on! She's super cute and really likes me! So yeah, one hour of work today at 6. And I'm already 2 CFA videos down :)

still no socks

As I mentioned earlier, I made an amazing dinner of squid, tomato, jalepeno, and veggies. I served mine over zucchini straws and Paul's over linguini. Her's photographic proof:

Paul and I spent a lovely afternoon taking in the cherry blossoms in Yeoido park. More to come later...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sans Socks

First off, I just made the best mook salad ever. Mook is acorn jelly and most foreigners hate it. I used to until i had it with Ms. Han, now I love the stuff. It's low in cal- has a weird but fun (think jello) texture and is super cheap. Cut some up with zucchini, sesame oil, soy sauce and hot peppers and I'm good to go. Yum.

Secondly, I have decided today that I give up socks. From now until the indefinite future, I can think of no need for them except running (for which I will wear them because who wears sneakers without socks? That just screams smelly feet). So you heard it first, no more socks for Lauren.

I had a super productive Thursday. Got up early went for a 9k run, watched 2 CFA videos, took a walk, did some practice problems, am off to teach my 1 class today (bus English) then it's off to Craftworks for the tapping of their new beer. I believe it's an IPA and the proceeds go to save the Jisan bears. Apparently there are only 10 wild ones left in Korea (they thought they were all gone until a couple years ago when they found a pack) because Koreans like to kill them to use their liver (?) bile for medicine. Apparently the medicine is BS, but the practice is engrained in the culture. Regardless, Im saving bears and gettin beers. No complaints.

Monday, April 11, 2011

spring is finally upon us!

The weather has consistently been up in the 60s, woohoo! It has been getting cold at nights, but at least now I can walk around in the day sans North Face.

I ended up not meeting Ms. Han on Friday. Her friend cancelled and I had to work late, but I did help her with some signs for a jewelry show via the phone. She also cancelled classes all week so she can get ready for the show. I really want to go and she said she'd get me tickets, but it doesn't look like I'll see her before then. Bummer. I hope she's feeling better this week!

I renig what I previously said about the creepy Russian place. I now love it!! After a lovely Indian dinner with Paul and Derek, we all head back to the hood for a couple beers. Derek had to say goodbye early- he lives in the Boonies and had a ride- so Paul and I decided to give Russia another chance because they had some interesting looking beers. Interesting is right! Again, this place is tiny. The Russians were all sitting at the bar (ie 3 people and it was full) so they ushered us upstairs to a loft!
It was like being at a sleepover at a cool kid's house. There was a little table on the floor and mats with backs to sit on.
We each ordered different beers. Paul got a lighter one that tasted like honey and I got a dark one. Probably the best beer I have ever had....well certainly in Asia. Who knew the Russians drank anything other than vodka? No me, my friend.
As we were extolling our compliments to the owners (Russian woman, White dude) they mentioned they were opening Siberia; The Restaurant across the street. The one we were in is only Sibera; The Cafe. They invited us to the grand opening next Saturday and promised free food, and get this, vodka. They said there are some government/zoning problems with handing out free booze, but where there's a will there's a way.

So that was Sunday funday. Well not really so much fun now because I have studying to do. Both Saturday and Sunday Paul and I spent studying/job hunting in cafes. Saturday night we were invited by a friend to bbq in Sincheon. We show up to a crowded table, the inviter wasn't even there, and everyone kind of half-assed shuffled around pretending we could fit. Pass. We'll go somewhere else. So we went to our own, probably much better, bbq place then met for beers at Beer OClock. Then we hit FF's in Hongdae for some live bands. Korean bands are fun, especially when it's all you can drink cocktails from 11-12.
I wasn't a huge fan of their chasers so I was basically taking shots of rail gin and vodka. Not smart. I don't recall leaving FFs (which I was told was at 12- ha!) but I do remember the raging headache the next morning. No more liquor. The soju with dinner probably didn't help either.

Anyway, it's Monday. Work, study, work, study. Seems to be the schedule these days. Today I only work 10-12, so I studied at Dunkin Donuts for an hour, came home got my computer and went to the library for an hour (CFA video watching) then hiked Namsan. I am currently roasted kamboucha squash (we call it pumpkin here) in the oven to have for lunch this week and am about to go clean some squid. I'm making pasta with a squid/tomato sauce. Yum!

Friday, April 8, 2011


Go watch Thor. My brother's name is in the credits!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My Korean Mom

First off, I need to stop eating banana chips. I have a full on addiction, perhaps to replace my waffle obsession. But, I have recently learned they are deep fried in coconut oil. Not exactly the best way for me to get into bikini shape. Although I have been running! Well twice this week...

Anyway, on to the real post. So we all know how near and dear Ms. Han is to me. She really is my Korean mom! After our Tuesday lesson she had plans to go out to lunch with friends. She called and asked if I could come...and poof I was in. We went out to an apparently famous galbi tang (pork soup) restaurant near Insadong. Her two friends spoke zero English. Every once and a while they'd try out a word or expression, but it was a lot of nodding and smiling. Then we got hotteokks on the street (fried awesomeness) and went for tea. It was a lovely day so we sat at a place with an awesome outside balcony. This place was pricey ($8 a tea!) but of course I never pay, for I am the young one! Then the translation questions came. "Why leave Korea?" "Why not learn Korean?" "Will you come back? Ohh, when." They are crazy proud of their country and couldn't quite understand why I would want to leave this paradise. Don't get me wrong, I love Korea! but working in a corporation as a woman, much-less foreign woman, is not the ideal situation. Trust me, I've heard stories. Anyway, from this little outing the man wants me to tutor his daughter. Asa more tutoring.

Flash forward to Thursday's class. Mr. Pang wasn't here today because he had a funeral to attend, so it was just Ms. Han and I. She's been telling me for months how stressful work and life are. She's told me her husband annoys her, and she's even mentioned divorce before, but hasn't gone into too much detail. Today she told me of the huge fight they got in last night. She, I guess, has been telling him since this summer she wants a divorce and she's finally had enough. They work together so he takes advantage by coming in late and being overall lazy. She straight up told him she wants him to quit the job and she's sick of living with him. Poor Ms. Han. She's working her ass off, raising two kids, and he's along for the ride spending her money. So I don't know if it's really going to happen, for Ms. Han was interrupted by a call from a client in Japan. When she got off the phone she started tearing up and excused herself. I guess some asshole client called her and basically yelled at her and insulted her pride. She was so upset. We went out to lunch after and she just kept saying she wanted to call back and tell him to f off. She didn't use the f word, but she knows Japanese so I bet she would! But she eventually decided to exercise patience in order to keep the client.

I just want to give her a big hug, but we don't do that in Korea so I just ate my rice. I'm trying to get off early tomorrow so we can go out to magkeolli and just drink the troubles away....that always helps, right??

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Just the Paperwork

Paul has accepted a position as a kindy teacher at Tutor Time in Hong Kong. Now they just need to process the documentation for the visa and we're good to go!

Although the school has a reputation for overworking their employees (ahem working Saturdays 8-1), and the area of HK is not the most desirable (read: very Chinese), they do provide (shared) housing and will sponsor his visa, which no other company throughout Paul's search has been willing to accommodate both those requirements. I think the best part of it is that Paul is super excited about it. He's been pushing for this school and I was kind of telling him to hold back, check out other options, wait to see what else comes up. But after all his searching and applying, he's still sticking with this one, so hopefully it's a winner. If not he'll just work there until I find a job and we can move out! Perhaps I should start job week. We have something locked down, and now we get to start bombarding them with the million questions we have. Can we mail our stuff there in June, most importantly.

Exciting Ms. Han stories, well exciting to me at least, coming soon. For now it's off to meet my black friend Krissy for Wine Wednesdsy after her 2 week long hiatus in Malaysia.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Yesterday I covered my last class for Krissy. She was tired from her redeye and didn't have it in her to go right back to work, who can blame her? So I teach this sweet little girl Valentina and after we finish my boss Jay asks if he can talk with me for a minute. Again it's running through my head, "Crap, what did I do!?" While I'm waiting for him, I chat with this teenaged girl who's studying in the office. I had never seen her before, but she told me her name and that she knew Krissy and has been at this school a while. Then Jay pulls me into a classroom. And then he begins....

"Jessica's been at this school a while. And she's a sophomore. She's a middle child...and uh, kind of feels like the ugly duckling of the family. And uhhh recently she had this boyfriend and they just broke up. "

Like do you want me to teach her or date her? I'm so confused about what's going on here. Then it comes....

"Well they just, you know, had sex, and she got kind of worried about being pregnant. No,no she's not worried anymore....but you, could you, uh, talk to her. About girl stuff."

No problem!!! Jay, do you know my mom works for Planned Parenthood, I'm an expert on this stuff!! So she comes in, a lot more confidently than I would be talking to some older foreign chick I only met 4 minutes ago, and we start chatting. She tells me about her boyfriend, why they're kind of breaking up, and her pregnancy scare. First off, kids are not taught sex ed period here. There is no talk of sex. You are not supposed to do it until you're married, end of story. No talky, no happeny.

She didn't think it was OK for her to buy condoms because that's the boy's responsibility. Show me a responsible 16 year old boy! Paaalease. I very casually and openly explained to her that girl's need to keep their bases covered. And more than that, go get birth control. In a country where sex isn't talked about (although adultery and prostitutes are common), it's easy to get. 7,000 won over the counter at any pharmacy. The poor thing had no idea how it worked, not one of her friends have it , and she definitely, 100 million %, could not talk to anyone in her family about it. Then I went onto why you need condoms and birth control. Child didn't know what herpes, HPV, or Clamydia were! She didn't even know that HIV was a risk in Korea. It's so upsetting to see a teenager in this position with no where to go. Thank god she and Jay have a pretty open relationship and she could ask him for help. Otherwise it's go home prego at 16 in a country where abortion is illegal!

So, I was soooo soo happy to be able to help, but just so sad for her. She said a lot of her friends (of the few she even told) didn't approve, and the ones that were open to it certainly had no experience. PS this boy that she slept with was an American. She said she had been out with Korean guys and they had never pressured her in any way....hmmmm.

Korea needs to do some serious overhaul on their health education. Teenagers are everywhere. They will have sex. Even if they don't they will eventually. Let's get some dialogue going people.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Do you wanna small face?

Last week Brooke left Seoul to go back to the states and this week, well tomorrow, Krissy returns. This means awesome work schedule for me. Monday 10-12. Finishy. Tues/Thurs 11-12 and 7-8. Finishy. Wednesday 10-12, 1:30-3:30, and 4:30-6:30. Finishy. Friday 2-8. Ahh long day! This means I have primo studying time!! All day Monday, and a 7 hour break Tues/Thurs.

Last Thursday Ms. Han, Terry, and I went out to an amazing lunch in Jongno (near where I tutor them at a coffee shop). I got fish baby soup (al tang) and before the soup even came you got sushi, sashimi salad, mackrel over radish (awesome!), and the usual sides of kimchi and whatnot. Then Ms. Han informs me that'd she'd like to drink magkeolli with me. No problemo! And I scored Paul an invite so he can meet the infamous Ms. Han. He'll be a couple hours late so we'll probably be pretty magkeolli-faced by the time he does meet her. ha.

Friday evening and I met my old co-worker Sunny (one of 3 old co-workers Sunny) for dinner. We went to this awesome little German place in Gangnam where they had awesome beers (a rarity if haven't already heard me bitch about this) and flat bread pizza-y thing. Yum. It was awesome to catch up and she even hooked me up with one of her friends for tutoring. Then I call Paul to see where he's at. Homo hill, of course. It has recently occured to me that most of my friends left here are gay. Acutally, I think all of them are except Krissy. I've been on Homohill every weekend for the past month! Homohill is beside Hooker Hill in Itaewon. Once you pass all of the hookers and tranny hookers, you make your way up the hill to a row of 6 or so gay bars. There's a lot of sparkles and dancing going on. In a country that doesn't acknowledge gay people, there sure are a bunch of em. So, I go meet Paul who is out with 6 of our friend's and he's the only straight one. Paul has no problems with this, but some drunk old ajusi has not stopped groping him since they got there. As soon as I walk in Paul grabs me and makes me sit on his lap. haha just so there's no confusion about gender preference. The Hills is definitely the best place to go for dancing!

So now it's Saturday, Paul's out on a date with Derrick to the War Museum, and I am at Latte King "studying." Well I was until I started this. The new, new Phillies opens tonight. There are 4 bars in HBC, but we only go to 2; Phillies and HBC. They both decided to shut down the same week for rennovations, so we've been heading up the street to the Local, which is surprisingly awesome, albeit very very small. So tis quite exciting to have Phillies back, it's the go to for lazy nights.

Oh so randomly here's an ad that makes me laugh:

Did you know Korea is the best place to go for cosmetic surgery? Not only do they do a good job, but it's cheap. This is a direct result from the fact that Koreans are very vein. They want to look Wesstern (small face) so it is very very very common to get work done here. Usually eyes and chin. I am not judging, for I too, gave participated in the vanity. Can we say fake teeth?

Friday, April 1, 2011

when the girl's away, the boys will play

I went out with a friend for dinner last night. When I was finished I went to meet my a gaybar.