Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Cat and Girl Comic Strip

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Night of the Rats

Last night there was a big thunderstorm. Today was really cold. Perhaps that is why we saw two rats while walking home from work?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I have a phone!

The weekend passed by far too quickly, as always. Saturday I spent with Julie, chatting and watching silly movies on Ebaum's World. Very funny. We went to Carney Station for all the food and drink we could get in by 11pm for 20,000 won and then to norae bang for an hour, and then to Stompers (where I managed to lose my free drink ticket again! and this time I didn't discover it in my purse when I got home). It was a good night and it was great to be back out in Hongdae.

After a long lie on Sunday, I woke up a bit on the hungover side to get ready to go shopping in Yongsan. I was on a mission for a cell phone and not only did I find one, but it was easy as pie. The third place I asked had a KTF phone for 50,000 won that is half English, half Korean and so I took it. I even got some service: a cell phone charm, an extra cover and battery, and an earpiece. Julie picked up some DVDs and then we headed to Itaewon for phone cards and food at the Outback. I had missed those cheesy fries. And I showed the girls What the Book, where I then succombed to the lure of books and bought three second hand ones.

We've watched two of Julie's new DVDs already - Team America (America! Fuck yeah! Kim Jong-il is so ronrey!) and Matchpoint.

I have just finished reading The Jane Austen Book Club, which I thought was cute. I had been reading Women Who Run With the Wolves, but as much as I feel like I should like this book, I don't. I like the myths she tells, but all the Jungian analysis just bores me. I feel like I should finish it, as I am one of those people who finishes books, no matter what. I can only think of a very small handfull I haven't finished (War and Peace, though I loved it and intend to one day and Pride and Prejudice, which I have since finished but I started it over again at least three times). If I can keep myself from the bookstores, I suppose I will be driven by necessity - I only brought about ten books with me.

I have been up for hours cause I was going to go and get my alien card this morning, but my boss didn't fill out any of the info on the sheet he gave me. I don't even know my address in English, much less Korean!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Kimbap Calm

On Thursday night, I went to Ladies' Night in Itaewon with Amber and Marissa. We started at Gecko's for some food and a round of fancy drinks (Green Apple Martinis, yum) and ended up having a round bought for us by a soldier on his way back to the States. Amber was also the recipient of a lovely bunch of flowers from a Korean man who later fell asleep in the bar. We moved on to the Loft, which was fun as always. Highlights of the evening included a short guy totally into the music, dancing all by himself; a Korean guy dancing on the tables and doing a wee strip show; a Swedish guy who started off nice and ended up insulting everyone; and meeting a girl from Glasgow.

Friday I walked to school alone. The school is not even a five minute walk but for some reason it has taken me some time to figure the whole thing out. I picked up some kimbap on my way and thought to myself "aren't I wandering to work just like a Korean person? Picking up my kimbap on the way!"

I met up with an old friend Friday night and it was one of those evenings where you end up wondering if it is you who has changed or them. Some friends you can just pick up where you left off, others not so much. I had to go to Dangsan Station, for the first time, and alone. Managed to make it there, but had no idea where the bus stop to get back was, so I ended up taking a taxi. And I got slagged off for my poor ability to get around, but frankly, I thought I was doing pretty damn well!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

My first week at Heritage

My introduction to Heritage School has been interesting - first off, I am replacing a teacher who had a nervous breakdown the week before I came. Her classes were taught by other people for a week, which always causes confusion, things were left unmarked, she didn't leave me any notes or a schedule - all little things that just made those first couple of days that little bit more confusing. And, to top it off, there was a fire in her apartment a week before I moved in. It delayed my moving day, it meant that before so much as hanging up my clothes I had to wash the inside of the wardrobe and all the hangers, it meant that there is a real lack of any furniture or stuff that most apartments would have.

My first day of classes was long. First off, the way we teach at Heritage is very different than the way I was used to teaching at Poly. Not better or worse necessarily, but it took me a couple of days to wrap my mind around. And the schedule is definitely bizarre - each class is in a different week, in totally different parts of books. And on day one, the schedule I was given wasn't correct, so I walked into three classes with the wrong books or prepared for the wrong week.

The girls I work with are great. I've been hanging around with them a lot and everyone is so nice. Our neighbourhood is perfect for food shopping - a Home Plus (Tesco), an Emart and a Carrefour within five minutes of the apartment. However, there doesn't appear to be a whole lot else to do but eat. I have been to a couple of good restaurants (kimbap place, galbi) but the nearest movie theatre is probably Mokdong and we are a 15 minute bus ride from the most convienent subway station.

In general, I like it here. I like my apartment, I like my coworkers, I like the school. Life is good.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Back in Seoul

So, here I sit, borrowing Amber's Mac, which I find a bit odd to use after a lifetime of PCs, back in Seoul.

The flight over was really, really long. I flew through Vancouver, so after five hours of flying there and an hour to change planes, I still had the 11 hour journey to Korea to get through. It gave me a lot of time to think, trying to figure out how I actually feel about my return to Korea - at one point, I was just sitting and trying to decide where I actually wanted that plane to be landing. Korea? Scotland? Back in Toronto? The last six months have been ridiculously chaotic for me and the one good thing about this move to Korea is that after months of introspection and constant analysis of absolutely everything in my life, at least right now I am doing something instead of just thinking about what I should do.

The flight in itself, while long and boring, had a few spectacular moments - for the first time in ages, I had a window seat and the view was spectacular. The view of the mountains flying into Vancouver, the view of the islands flying out. Alaska. Russia. Ice and snow. Amazing. I like flying over the far north because while it's on that ever lengthening list of places I would love to go and explore, realistically I am not likely to ever get THAT far north. And it is just beautiful.

At Incheon, we landed early, I cleared immigration in moments, and then my bags both showed up minutes after I arrived at the luggage belt. I don't think I have ever been off a plane and through the exit gate that quickly before. Mr. Joo, my new boss, picked me up and drove me to the apartment I will be staying at while waiting for mine to be ready. He seems nice and we managed to have some bizarre conversations. Whether this is the result of extreme jet lag, I don't know. Mr. Joo on Scottish people: "They are conservative people, but honest. I like them very much." On music: "The music of the 70s and 80s is better than hip hop. They were beautiful ballads and easier to understand."

So, he left me at Amber and Sean's apartment, to wait for them to return. I have to wait for him to clean my place - I had assumed this was because the last girl had just moved out, but it turns out there was a fire there a week ago and it has to be cleaned up and new furniture bought. Which is fine, but a bizzare thing to learn upon one's arrival. I had high hopes for knowing where I was - I saw the Carrefour and thought perhaps it was the one I knew, as Mr. Joo had suggested we were near Mokdong. That turns out not to be the case - which is good in terms of having a new neighbourhood to explore, but disappointing in that I felt good to think I knew where I was in the city in terms of subway access. However, I am sure given a week I will have that figured out anyway.

Amber and Sean are really nice and I went out with them for galbi. It was good to eat Korean food again. We chatted, drank some soju and rum & cokes, and watched a film, though to be honest, couldn't tell you what happened. I was in that horrible jet lagged place where you are just totally exhausted and yet somehow totally wired. They are off rock climbing today and I had intended to sleep in, but woke up at 7 and have been up since. I am actively attempting to rehydrate, after the dryness of flying combined with last night's drinking. I may be meeting up with another teacher, Julie, today, or I will have to go out and do some exploring of my own.

I am excited to be here, I think. I am sure that sounds silly and I wish I had a more concrete feeling about whether or not moving back was the right choice. I seem to go from elation at being back (like when I got an email from Val saying she'll be back in Korea for 10 days in May and suggesting a Ladies' Night at the Loft) to being really not so sure. I have a lot of confidence that all things will work out for the best, I just wish I had more idea how that was going to happen. I need to turn my brain off for a bit and go back to that zen bubble feeling I had in Korea last time - just let life happen. Go with the flow.

Leap and the net will appear, goes a Zen saying. I've leapt!