I love Jinhee Park

It’s true, I really do. Too bad she lives in Buffalo, NY now and not with me back in Korea. Oh yeah, speaking of Korea – I’m baaaaack! Sorry I haven’t updated since mid June. I’m a terrible, inconsiderate, and lazy person – but to be fair I was also busy and really, I was hardly doing anything interesting. So since mid June I:

1) Said goodbye to all the friends from my program who are returning to the land of the free at a fancy lunch thing at the U.S. army base in Itaewon. It was touching, to say the least. Here’s a picture:

These are friends, one of whom is Jinhee.

2) The school year finally ended and I went home for some sweet, sweet summer vacation. I spent 2.5 weeks in the States where I kicked in Orange County, ate everything in sight, used my parents’ credit card to buy things for which they were unaware they were paying, visited good friends in Minneapolis (where I ate the most divine slice of pizza of  my life – a macaroni and cheese pizza), didn’t cook anything like I thought I would, saw good friends, and pet a deer at the county fair (which I went to twice, not ashamed). Here’s a picture of the deer and me, since I would classify that as the most memorable and touching moment about my time home:

3) I went on vacation to Thailand with Boyfriend. Basically, I only ever vacation in Thailand, which is a major first world problem. Sometimes I’m, like, embarrassed because people are like “OMG you had 2 months to travel around Asia during your grant year in Korea – where did you go?!” and I answer “Thailand.” and they say, “Oh, and…?” and I say, “Thailand.” Then they say, “…oh….cool! I’ve always wanted to go to Thailand, you’ll have to tell me all about it!” which is code for “Yeah, I’m sure you could tell me all about it since you’ve never been anywhere else.” Anyway, I have too many first world problems to get into so instead I’ll summarize my 8590485th trip to Thailand with many pictures and limited captioning:

Here’s a picture from the airport while we were waiting to board our flight. This was when I was still happy because the fact that I hadn’t slept in like a fully day hadn’t set in yet, and before I later got so sleepy and grouchy I declared the entire vacation a “bad idea.” Oops. Well, I took it back later.

Here’s some fancy thang near our hostel in Bangkok, where we stayed the night before departing for island paradise at another ungodly early hour. Speaking of Bangkok, I just want to say that I think the Bangkok International Airport (airport code BKK) is probably the worst place I can think of.

Finally, we arrived on Koh Samui, one of Thailand’s major islands. This airport is like the most resorty cute airport ever – the exact opposite of it’s counter part in Bangkok. Here, I ran into a woman whose mom was a PZ alum from when PZ was still a womens’ college! The Claremont Colleges world once again proves to be a very, very tiny one.

Walking along this questionably stable pier to get to the ferry that would take us to Koh Phangan, the most heavenly place I’ve ever been…aside from the jelly fish larvae that I’ll  talk about in a second.

My own private sherpa. Every girl should have one.

Koh Phangan. Gorgeous, I know. The only catch was that if you stayed in the water for a prolonged period of time you’d start to feel a weird stinging sensation, as though you’d rubbed against a bunch of nettles or something. Turns out near the full moon jellyfish larvae come that way and then they like pinch you for fun. I won’t suffer any long term damage from it so that’s good.

It’s cool to be jealous.

The sky wasn’t always this blue…in fact it rained really hard like once or twice a day, which actually ruined a few afternoons for hanging out at the beach. But, when it was blue like this it sure was pretty.

This is another beach we found – it’s a lot rockier so you couldn’t swim, but on the bright side there were no secret swimming things in the water.

I took this picture to show you all how forboding and scary the sky could become.

Oh snap, the worst torrential downpour I’ve ever found myself in is approaching.

I quite liked this dog. I wouldn’t have minded abducting it, but Boyfriend just kept yelling, “DON’T YOU DARE PET IT!”

This is the last picture I took before I got caught  in a terrible torrential downpour which caused me to throw a pretty decent temper tantrum screaming things such as: “I hate my life.” “I hate you.” “Why did you do this to me?” “I’ll never feel good again.” “I think I’m dead inside.” and “AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!” Eventually I got over it, but it involved getting dry, sitting in bed eating chips, watching English sitcoms and then taking a shower.

This is what happens when you date an artist. Also, that body paint stays with you FOREVER – it’s worse than glitter. This happened on August 14th…I’m still finding bits of it in my hair.

After another night in Bangkok, filled with more delicious Thai food and fresh fruit I was off to Korea to start another year. (I just realized I made this trip sound like it kind of sucked, but actually it was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken. So, don’t be mislead by…me.) I’m at the same school still, which is wonderful because everything feels comfortable and I was able to just jump right in and start teaching. No more of those awkward introductions and wasting lessons letting small children ask me questions like if I’ve ever been on television (answer is “yes,” btw). I’m also living on my own now which rocks so hard because not only is my apartment beautiful and in the most perfect location, but I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, and I never have to eat that disgusting weed soup again. On the sucky side there is no maid to clean my space and do my laundry on a daily basis. Hmmm.

Amusing school happenings:

I was exiting a teachers meeting and I accidently kind of like knicked a chair and it made a sound and the entire faculty looked at me like I was a freak…which isn’t entirely a lie.

The 5-2 boys are obsessed with killing these wasp things that plague the school. It’s great they kill them, but it sucks they learned I’m scared of them and try to shove their dead carcusses in my face. Five of these wasps were in the English classroom and one time on the first day. I’m not sure how to interpret that.

The school lunch is as crappy, carb filled, and unable to sustain one’s appetite for very long, than ever before.

Today we had an all school dinner and afterwards we all went to noraebang where I watched the most powerful, old, and stuck up men at my school cut a rug and sing their hearts out to Korean pop songs. I also learned that the portly woman with glasses in the administration office has got some sick dance moves. Whoo, boy. Also, a sketchy janitorial like man stole the raw meat we were cooking from the restaurant where we are. I straight up saw him take the tray of meat, take some pieces off, and put them in a plastic bag he had under the table. I mean, I can understand if money is tight, but man, that’s a little….inappropriate. This same man told me my computer wouldn’t turn on the other day because my desk was too messy – it turns out the computer wouldn’t turn on because they turned off the power supply for that side of the room over the summer. Go figure.

Ok that’s it for my current Korean life. I might be better about updating in the future.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Spending all my money on instant film

This update is brought to you by my good friend Devon and also because I need to do something else aside from watch “Breaking Bad.” If I watch another episode it will be my 6th today….and that is just disgusting (though to be fair that show is SO addicting!).

So remember how I interned for that museum over winter break? If you don’t, I interned for this contemporary art museum in Seoul and basically just copy edited all their English materials over winter break. Oh yeah, I’m interesting and totally not crazy seeing as I worked for free during my vacation. Anyway, one of the perks about working there is that they keep sending me these free tickets to the special exhibitions they hold, which is actually pretty sweet. On Saturday Boyfriend and I ventured out to see the Kim Chong Hak retrospective they’ve got going on right now. If you’re in Korea and you like art I would DEFINITELY take a peek at this exhibition. I didn’t expect too much out of it when we went since I wasn’t familiar with him or his work but the show totally drew me in. Boyfriend and I spent two hours in the exhibit, totally enthralled with every piece. The only reason we left when we did was because we had dinner reservations to make. Anyway you don’t read my blog for my take on current exhibitions about contemporary Korean painters and anthologies of their work sooo I will let you google that and then tell me what you think, otherwise I’ll have written a very lengthy essay the time I’m done saying what I have to say and I don’t think most people want anything to do with that.

The museum is pretty far out there on the subway and once you get to the stop it’s still a good 30 minute walk from the subway. Usually they have a shuttle that takes you there but the service has been suspended for some reason. Again, just another example of how directly I’m feeling the effects of this poor economy. Anyway, since there was no shuttle bus Boyfriend and I decided we should take the sky lift, which I always thought was way rad looking but that I could never ride because when I was there it was too cold to be that high in the sky. The broken shuttle turned out to be a blessing in disguise because the view was beautiful! The sky lift experience looked like this:

If you’re afraid of heights, sorry I just gave you a heart attack. If it makes you feel better I just recently a Sloane Crosley essay about how she used to volunteer at the natural history museum at a butterfly exhibit (which is terrifying enough) and how one followed her home one day. I pretty much was wheezing and moaning with fear on the train ride home from Seoul, thus throughly disturbing the woman next to me. So, I get how I probably just made you feel. If you’re not afraid of heights, that was cool, right?

Two plus hours later we finally ended up in Itaewon, the foreigner district of Seoul which is actually really skeezy and weird feeling except they have fantastic food there. Saturday night we went to this French bistro we’d heard about and it was actually pretty decent. It was no bistro in Paris where I can sit outside next to my friends and harshly judge all the people walking by, but the food tasted really good and the ambiance was lovely. It gets really busy though so I was glad we made a reservation. Our feast was as follows:

French onion soup.

Bleu cheese muscles and fries.

This was an amazing ribeye with a bleu cheese sauce. Obviously I hate half of it before I remembered I wanted to photograph it. Oops, but also a testament to how good it was, right?

There was a profiterole dessert but that disappeared in the blink of an eye. We did however have a post dessert dessert in the form of this iced chocolate raspberry drink at a chocolate cafe nearby.

Tell me you don’t want that.

Oh yeah I also dyed my hair as you might have deduced. The night I got it done I looked like this:

Obviously it’s much flatter now.


Synopsis of other things:

The 6-1 boys are really strange and funny and they enjoy having weirdly hilariously conversations in front of me. In the past they have gone like this:

“Hey, baby.”

“Yo, yo what’s up baby?”

One day the key expressions were “How much is that ____?” “It’s ____ dollars.” Two of the boys produced  a conversation that went like this:

Boy 1: How much is that watch?

Boy 2: Hmm (looks Boy 1 up and down) for you? It’s fifty dollars.

Boy 1: Wow baby, I’ll take it!

One time they acted out Osama Bin Laden’s death. Most recently though they have been yelling, “GHETTO LIGHT!” I don’t even know what that means or how they could have possibly heard it. The thing is – they are not good at English or good students. But at least they make me laugh.

In host family news I think Sokbom might be one of the funniest people I know. I took a picture of him the other day and when he looked at it he yelled at it exclaiming, “You are a monster! An ugly monster! AAAH! GO AWAY!” He also chose a whale shark as the animal to write about for his English academy…only he called it, “whale plus shark.”

My host family now also has baby salamanders and tadpoles they collected on a recent camping trip. I’m so glad I disappear on weekends so I don’t have to do things like camp. The baby goldfish though are growing to quite an advanced stage. The parents, however, are dead. Womp womp.

Boyfriend bought me an instant camera (like a polaroid only fujifilm makes it) and I can already tell it’s going to ruin my life in the cutest way possible. I can’t stop taking pictures with it. It’s too cool, it’s too cute. I’ve blown through three packs of film already. Oh and the film is so cute! They have all kind of colors and characters like Mickey Mouse and Hello Kitty. I. Am. Obsessed. They even have photo albums just for these polaroid pictures. I have one. Oh maaan. Taking over my liiiife. The film is kind of expensive too, almost $1 a picture. (Never saves money again) Lately I just think about things and people I can photograph with this thing. I have a problem, only I don’t really want to treat it.

Quick trip home July 17-August 4. Wanna hang out?

Alright that’s all she wrote…for now.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

If you ever need help moving, don’t ask me

I’d love to tell you that I’ve been doing all this cool stuff since the last time I wrote, but then that wouldn’t be true. I’m in a routine now more than I ever have been before and I realized today that in a few months I’ll be in my eleventh month of being in Korea. Crazy, right? It’s strange now because nothing I do really seems that novel or fascinating anymore. I remember when I first got here I took a picture of nearly everything I saw because I thought it was just so awesome, but now I’m pretty unphased by most things, which is why I don’t have many pictures these days to share or even really think that anything I do is share worthy.

A couple weeks ago I headed to Cheonan to check out this concert featuring a medley of Korean rock bands – that was something new. I’ve seen a lot of live bands in Korea but this show was actually really nicely put together and actually felt like I was going to a place to watch a gig, not to hang out and then realizing that a live band just so happened to be playing there too. Cheonan is actually a pretty rad place the show was fun albeit chock full of douchey looking foreigners…guess I will never be able to escape that aspect of my life. No pictures but check out this bar we found before the show:

It’s the counterpart to the “Chanel” bar I found earlier. Koreans love everything to be designer. Even their bars.

Did a lot of dancing, a lot of mingling, a lot of imbibing and my night ended listening to a 40 something year old Canadian White guy sing Kelis’s, “Milkshake” at a noraebang (karaoke) and the sun shining brightly in my face. The next day McDonald’s was definitely in order. So that’s what we had and it was exactly what we needed. Here’s what we didn’t need though:

Usually Korean typos are just kind of funny and don’t really deter you from wanting the product advertised too much…but this one does. Hilariously, this restaurant is also right next to the bathrooms.

Aside from my Cheonan adventure (though there was really nothing exciting about it) Boyfriend moved to a new place (a real place!) about two weeks ago. I was supposed to help him move but then his co-teacher drove all his stuff to his apartment already so I couldn’t help with the actual moving so then I was supposed to help with the unpacking…but then I accidently got too drunk and fell asleep all the time he was unpacking. Oops. The next day I put away his groceries…redemption? Maybe? Ok, I suck. Anyway, his new place is real nice and his new city is waaaaaaaay better than that country hick place he was living in before. It’s only about an hour or so to get to Seoul, which is really nice because now we are never bored and can pretty much do anything we want. In fact we took advantage of this by going to Seoul to see Cirque du Soleil’s “Varekai.” It was AMAZING! I mean, it was no “Ka,” but man, Cirque does not disappoint! Also, there were A LOT of White people. A LOT. So many it actually made me feel uncomfortable. That’s how I know I’ve been in Korea a long time – it’s become weird for me to be around too many White people. What’s that about?  Anyway, “Varekai” – AWESOME. Youtube that now and feel the jealousy surge through your veins. The whole area was really great. The arena was decorated like a big top circus, see here:

Don’t worry, I know him.

The bathrooms were also waaaay pimped out:

I wouldn’t even have thought to decorate the bathroom.

I wasn’t supposed to take any pictures inside the show, but I’m a rebel so I suck this picture anyway:

Oooooooh! Aaaaaah!

Ok so here’s a question to all my faithful readers out there who shop at Costco. SO they have Costco here, which is awesome, and Boyfriend and I went to get a membership the other day. God, we’re exciting, I know. Anyway, we wanted to get that spouse card because you just pay the membership for one and then they add your spouse on the card for free. So we thought, “Hey, great deal!” BUT THEN when we went to get the card made the people denied it to us because they said to have spouse card made you and your spouse have to show government issued identification that confirms you have the same address! IS THIS REAL?! We were OUTRAGED! HOW does having the same address prove you are married?! I mean ok, so sure we were lying, but isn’t it perfectly reasonable that we could be married but maintain separate residences? Like, what if they just couldn’t place us together in Korea so we lived separately. It was ridiculous, and so we were mad and the lady told us that this is an international Costco policy, that all people applying for a spouse membership have to prove they have the same address. So, my American readers with spouses attached to your memberships – IS THIS TRUE?! If it is then I will 1) at least not feel like I got swindled but 2) I will be even angrier that this is a thing. SO MUCH DUMB. Anyway, only I was able to get a Costco card made, so now I’m a member except that my card says my name is “MISA KABA SHIMA.” WHY?!

Stupid incompetent teacher at my school is leaving so a new teacher will come. I’m excited but also scared again.

The other day at school I held up a picture card of a glass of water and underneath it said, “Water.” The key expression was, “Can I have some ___?” so students were supposed to fill in the blank with whatever I held up on the picture card. When I showed this student the card he said, “It’s winter.” D’OH

The other day at school a 3rd grade student asked me, “Do you like chocolate?” I heard, “Do you like juggling?” and I answered accordingly…then I was corrected. …REMIIIIIIIIIX.

Um, if you ever go to dak galbi don’t ever get the ddeok sari AND the ramen sari. It seems like a good idea at first, and it is…until about half way through when it really isn’t. First world problems.

Speaking of first world problems, I spilled a bottle of Coke Zero in my Marc Jacobs purse yesterday.

Also, this is my new friend:

Isn’t she cute?

I can’t believe these were like the most exciting thing I had to share with you about my life these days. Wow, that was so sad.

Bye now.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

My last weekend in rural Korea

YIPPEEE!!!!!!!! I tried to be subtle about my feelings…but I couldn’t. Also, I actually spent like a week there….for some reason. Oh yeah because I accidently got almost the entire week off from school, it was kind of amazing. Sadly, my main co-teacher’s grandfather passed away on Monday so she had to leave school right away and wouldn’t come back to Daejeon until much later so I didn’t have to go to school Tuesday and then Wednesday was Sports Day so I didn’t have to go because she wouldn’t be there, Thursday was a national holiday, Friday was our school’s birthday, and then there was the weekend. It was pretty glorious. I spent that week doing nothing productive and it felt great. Some people get tired of being lazy, but not me. There’s not much I did that’s worth writing about except this picnic Boyfriend and I had on the beach on Thursday. It was absolutely delicious and the weather was perfect – I felt like I was back home in California and it felt so good…until I became depressed that it wasn’t actually California…and that I wouldn’t be there for a long time…and then there were tears. Anyway our picnic looked like this:

What your looking at: mango juice, two rolls of kimbap (tuna and kimchi), two types of steamed dumpling, soju, a box of strawberries, sashimi, and a basket of garlic and peppers. Did we eat it all? Yeah. Did we feel full for like two days after that? Also, yeah. Oh I also date that guy in the sunglasses…for some reason.

Spending a warm sunny day at the beach was amazing – my legs had missed the sun so much. Sadly, the sun had to leave me but at least it wasn’t cloudy that day so Jake and I got to see the sunset we’ve attempted numerous time to see. It looked like this:

Not too shabby. Also, moments after this picture was taken a very healthy, happy, joyful, and medium sized dog (which to Koreans means it’s the size of an adult Grizzly Bear) innocently galloped up to a little girl and she screamed bloody murder and then cried until she had no more voice.  This very accurately demonstrates the attitude Koreans have towards dog bigger than a corgi (a corgi, by the way, is considered a ‘big’ dog). I was mortified for the dog.

Sometimes I forget I live in Korea, but not when I see things like this:

You might be asking, “Are those exploded fish in the street?!” Yes, yes they are. Another reason I won’t miss going to the country.

Fast forward to the next day when we’re walking around town and people are setting up shop for the big Buddha’s birthday bash! Here’s what they had in store for him:

Don’t mind me. I’m just texting. Some things never change.

Happy birthday to you, Buddha. Happy birthday to you.

And now for my section on hilarious bars in Boryeong:

That’s real.

My personal favourite.

And now for the part where I make it look like I enjoy nature:

An impromptu scarecrow. One of the best things I’ve seen ever.

What you can’t hear in these pictures is me screaming, “WHY AM I HERE?!”

After a week away from my home stay I came back to find that the goldfish had knocked each other up again. Behold our new babies:

Yeeeeeah I don’t have much hope for them. The hamster, shockingly, is still alive though I’m convinced it’s got to have diabetes at this point.

School’s been the same old thing though it’s been raining like crazy in Daejeon for days now and it’s really got me down so school is actually more depressing than usual these days. Also the students’ midterm is approaching so they are all going crazy since they’re either tense with stress just thinking about it or have decided to go buck wild since they know they won’t pass it. After this week there are only nine more weeks until my first year in Korea is complete. Crazy to think a year ago at this time I was graduating and getting pumped to come here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

All the meat I could eat

If I could sum my weekend up in two words they would be, “meat coma.” Or more specifically, “beef coma.” So right now you’re probably just thinking I ate a whole lot of galbi, which is a good guess but WRONG. So wrong. This weekend I feasted at a Brazilian steak house…and I will never forget it. Oddly, there are quite a few Brazilian all you can eat steak houses in Seoul (I know, right?!) and I went to what it apparently the best one on Saturday night. Pretty much you sit down and then prepare to eat all the most perfectly cooked, most scrumptious meat you’ve ever eaten in your existence, and the best part? You don’t ever have to stop if you don’t want to. They have some pretty good cole slaw type stuff, amazing mashed potatoes, rice, and a great chili sauce to accompany to the entire cow you’re about to eat as well. I can’t even tell you how many phenomenal cuts of meat I ate all I can tell you is that I think I actually ingested the equivalent of an entire cow. Also, the best thing they had was steak wrapped in bacon. So good I cried. I also got so full I cried. A whole cow, several servings of potato and cole slaw, and a pint of beer later I was dead inside. I ate with like 8 guys and I was the only girl (summer 2008, anyone?). Everyone was uncomfortably full but I actually thought I was going to need a stomach pump. We all went out afterward and I managed to tell the cab driver where to take us and then I immediately passed out and didn’t wake up until half an hour later when we got to our destination. The best part? Eating at that meat coma inducing establishment only cost about $35. I definitely ate a year’s worth of college tuition there. I felt like a thief. Anyway, should any of you lovely people decide to come to Korea I will allow you to take me to dinner here.

This is where the magic happens. Everything good in the world came out of that meat roaster. Everything.

This plate is empty…but it saw probably about 20 servings. No joke.

After leaving the restaurant everything is a blur, all I can remember is being in a cab, then waking up, then Boyfriend stopping me from drunk shoe shopping, something about a live band, eating skittles, something about a hookah, and then sleeping. The meat coma really took a toll on my memory, but it was so worth it.

Next day I went to the contemporary art museum at Deoksugung Palace to check out the abstract art exhibition they had going on. On the way there I discovered that my favourite coffee shop chain in Korea, “Twosome Place” now has cupcakes. Amazing. They look like this:

I could have eaten the frosting all day.

Also stumbled across this awesome building:

Up close is looks really wavy and crazy like this but from across the street it looks almost perfectly straight, just a tiny bit bulky. I don’t know what they use this building for, but I’m a fan.

This Nike shoe is a really cool popart ad. Seoul’s got some rad public art. Also, don’t let the sunny weather in this picture fool you into thinking Korea’s got awesome weather right now. The day before it was so dark at cloudy and full of rain that it felt like either the apocalypse was here or that I was trapped in Gotham City. Neither of those are great situations.

Beautiful day at Deoksugung, makes you feel like you live in Metropolis instead.

On the way to the train station we came across this:

They decorated the stream with these incredible lanterns in preparation for Buddha’s birthday, which is next Tuesday. They really pull out all the stops for that guy.

This blog entry is coming to you live from my bedroom on this lovely Tuesday afternoon since I have NO SCHOOL. I went to school yesterday but due to a series of very strange events it turns out I don’t have to go in again until next week. Awesome. Yesterday was THE strangest day I’ve ever had at school. If you have like 2 hours, I’ll tell it to you.

Yesterday Sokbom was playing some kind of mahjong game against himself and he was saying this:

“You killed my pet so I will kill you!”  I know.

and now here’s the randomest thing I can think to show you:

Yep. Those are real socks. This is my life in Korea.

The end.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Spending a half day in nature afraid for my life

So again, last week I was like “Yeeaaaaaaah spring!” but now it’s pouring rain and is gloomy and kind of chilly outside. Statement retracted. Actually, this weekend wasn’t much better. It started to rain Thursday night and it came down steadily all of Friday. Luckily I didn’t have school on Friday because the sixth graders were on a field trip so I had the laziest day ever and did absolutely nothing productive except clean some dishes…which actually almost made me barf because they had week and a half old remnants of Boyfriend’s homemade onion ring experiment caked on to them. Disgusting. Also ate a looooooooot of samgyeopsal again, which is great because I’m pretty sure anemia is on the horizon. Saturday also didn’t yield much productivity except for walking through a freshly fertilized field in Boryeong to get to Home Plus (It’s like Target meets JC Penny meets a supermarket meets a mini pet store meets a mall food court). I haven’t smelled the pungent scent of fertilizer since Janet was working at the nursery. Can’t say I missed it, but I can say it brought back memories.

To make up for our lack of productivity on Friday and Saturday Boyfriend decided we should go for a walk…which seemed like a great idea to me except that he didn’t tell me where we were going which at first didn’t matter but then became frightening. At first we were just walking the normal way we walk when we walk around town and then suddenly nearly forty five minutes later I was in a part of town I’d never been in before and I had no idea where we were going. I asked him where we were going and he told me, “not to worry about it.” Well, obviously I was going to worry about it! Here’s what also lead me to worry: 1) I walked under a freeway overpass…multiple times. 2) I walked through one of those grassy knoll things that separate highways from each other. 3) I walked ON THE HIGHWAY. 4) I walked through a resort construction site. 5) The town of Boryeong became a tiny dot I could see from where I was…and I had no idea where that was by the way. Terrifying. There were several points where I thought I was going to get thrown into the highway on purpose and my homicide was going to made to look as though it were an accident. It was all very perplexing seeing as I’m a young twenty something recent college graduate…which means there is absolutely nothing anyone can gain in the event I meet my untimely death.

So anyway almost two hours later I end up in this place:

Wow, not so bad. Turns out it was all a ploy to show me how pretty the cherry trees look now that they are blossoming in Boryeong. He could have just said that instead making me scared for my life.

We walked farther a long and got to the foot of a mountain that had a lovely paved road….it’s like it was made for people like me…which is why he took me there. Best mountain ever, it’s ballet flat and heel friendly.

Spring is pretty.

The cherry blossoms are something I really love about Korea, they are everywhere and they look so lovely. Here are some outside my apartment building:

Random things:

Bulgolgi pizza is awesome.

I’m pretty sure I deeply offend every person who finds out I’m American when they were so sure I was Korean.

The other day I poked Sokbom’s butt to be funny…now he has made it his life’s mission to get his revenge. It makes me a little scared and nervous.

The sixth graders at my school are learning to type now – one girl Kyung-Min can type 105 words a minute. She and her friend Tae-rim have estimated my typing speed to be at least 300 words a minute.

You’d think cheese on ramen would be disgusting, it’s actually amazing.

There’s this bottled coffee/tea brand called “A Cafe La” here in Korea. Their products are awesome. Lately they’ve had a 2+1 sale, meaning that if you buy two of their drinks you get one free. This made my life. This weekend I discovered that sale as ended, and I was way more depressed about it than I should have been. It’s like they built me up just to let me down.

Apparently there’s word around my host sister’s elementary school that my host dad might run for some kind of office. I wonder now if I’m just a political ploy to help him get elected someday.

Bus drivers in Korea are out of their minds. ESPECIALLY at night. I’m so surprised there aren’t more bus accidents in Korea. The other night when I got back to Daejeon the ride was so wild I almost puked when I got off the bus. Also, Korean drivers must be magic, like the Night Bus in Harry Potter, because Koreans drive like crazy, crazy people but I never see any accidents where as in Thailand people drove just as crazily and I saw accidents daily.

Watching too many kpop videos has made me want to dye my hair blonde. Must. Resist. (Don’t worry I’ll definitely resist.)

Host mom has got to stop confusing the word “hour” with “year.” It’s really messing me up.

Sokbom is only six years old but I think he is quite possibly the most dramatic person I have ever met…and that’s saying something.

Considering changing schools next semester. I’ll keep you posted.

Shout out to Todd Sasaki, a loyal reader of my writing since at least 2009.

The end.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Spring is in the air?

Well last week I would have been like, “Yeah! Spring is heeeeeeere!” but this week I’m like, “Look, spring, are you staying here or aren’t you?” The weather this weekend and all through the week was LOVELY but now it’s cloudy, grey and raining. WHY? I mean really, Korea, all I want is good weather that lasts longer than five days. Is that too much to ask? Also last week I caught some kind of mild/flu cold thing. I totally had a fever but since I live in Korea where everyone works until they die I had to teach with it. Delirious teacher. I survived though and my nose is just mildly runny. Friday night I went to Boryeong where I beasted a samgyeopsal feast and was SO content. The whole inadvertent vegetarian life without other means of protein I’m living is really cramping my style…and my energy…and my iron levels. Saturday though I somehow got my congested self off to Seoul for the day where I could see the one and only Caitlin, who’s visiting from Thailand right now. We had a mini PZ reunion featuring Sean, Josh, Caitlin and me. It was a beautiful thing. Here’s photographic evidence:

After dinner I went to the Hello Kitty Café because Caitlin hadn’t been there yet and it is basically my life’s mission to take everyone in the world to the Hello Kitty Café. Plus, she wanted to go. I didn’t even force her…that much. We also sat upstairs – uncharted territory for me, so it was like a new experience for me too. Kind of. Anyway here are pictures of the upstairs of the Hello Kitty Café – a place much more glamourous and far less claustrophobic feeling than its downstairs counterpart.

This is my life in Korea.

After scarfing down the awesome yogurt I hopped back on a bus to Boryeong and then fell blissfully asleep to the sounds of an old man snoring behind me. Apparently the bus driver was driving like a crazy person and almost tipped the bus over…but I had no idea. I think it’s better that way. Then I drank tea and watched “Sleepy Hollow.” Remember when Cristina Ricci was a working actress? Yeah, I forgot about that too.

Sunday was a gorgeous day, perfectly sunny and just the right temperature. I wound up at this sculpture park outside of Boryeong where I looked at mediocre sculpture, feasted my eyes on spring flora, feasted on makkoli, panjeon and herb ice cream, fed fish, and enjoyed a green house. Yep, my life in Korea where I am a 9 year old alcoholic.

You can see sculptures like this, which are really nothing special but man it’s nice to be outside and not wear a peacoat!

Lake and greenhouse…in a sculpture park. Yeah, I don’t know.

Real. Live. Flowers. I’d forgotten things aside from pine trees could actually grow from the ground.

Obviously the best sculpture in the whole park.

No wait, this one.

This is makkoli, unfiltered rice wine. It tastes like juice, gets you plastered and then gives you the worst hangover you’ve ever had minus the kind you get with 151. I love it. This one is berry flavoured which is why it is so pretty…and coincidentally matched the color of my shirt and camera.

First you’re thinking, “Um, are those guys FISHING?! You can FISH at this place, they’ve set it up for that?!” Indeed they have. Next you’re thinking, “Why is that guy on the right holding the pole with just one hand?” Because he’s holding a cigarette in the other. Further proof I live in Korea.

The other side of the lake was bumpin. Young and old gather to fish at the sculpture. Yep. Priorities. Different. That’s for sure.

A ninja fisherman.

At this point I was drunk and was not only taking mass amounts of pictures of fish, I also bought fish food so I could feed them and got way too much joy out of it. I am 9 years old.

Isn’t this beautifully grotesque?

Around 5ish we finally decided to go home after indulging in some herb soft serve ice cream they have at this greenhouse for whatever reason (It was pleasantly delicious!). We waited for the bus for about an hour and in that time I went from drunk to passed out to hungover to passed out to hungover again and then I ate pizza and felt light years better. Got on the bus to go back to Daejeon and start another week teaching. This week I have Friday off because my 6th graders are going on a trip and I could not be happier about that.

Random things:

For some reason when I get on the bus to Boryeong is makes me LIVID if another person sits next to me/if the bus is full. In fact I go to great lengths such as fake sleeping, talking on the phone in English, and pretending I’m saving the seat for someone to ensure no one sits there. I don’t know why I care so much about this, on the way back from Daejeon to Boryeong I don’t care at all.

I am also perplexed as to why the bus to freaking BORYEONG is always so full. It’s not even a real place.

Also, WHAT ARE OLD PEOPLE DOING ALL THE TIME IN KOREA?! They are everywhere, on the bus, stealing my taxis, taking up all the seats on the subway, what are they doing?! If you are an ancient person like that, what are you busying your life with? Confused.

Also, old women have awful perms and they all have the same one. In their old age is their dementia so bad they think that looks good?

Once upon a time I could wear heels all day and all night. What happened to me?

Real conversation:

Person: How did you even get sick?

Me: You know those 300+ elementary school kids I teach who like to hug and touch me every day? That’s how.

Person: Hmmm.

There is an English speech contest at my school and the 6th graders’ speeches have to be about their dreams. Today their dreams include: wanting to be the top cake maker in the world, wanting to become a professional chef and then traveling around the world adventuring and cooking for poor people while telling them about her adventures, and proving to the world that overweight singers can be taken seriously. Can’t wait for tomorrow.

Today I watched that movie “Winter’s Bone.” I have never been more afraid of the deep south.

This is a shout out to Sam Morrow.

The end.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized