Friday, September 29, 2006


I have another niece. Welcome, Baby Chloe!

Thursday, September 28, 2006


What kind of Christian are you?

The following "diagnostic" quiz will attempt to pigeonhole you, reducing you from a complex, nuanced person to a simple caricature. We obviously don't pretend that this is scientific, and, to be honest, part of the goal is to have some fun.
But there is a serious point here, too: One's approach to the Bible reveals a great deal about one's approach to religion generally. More so than denomination, one's attitude about who Jesus was and what the Bible is can define an individual's spiritual type.

So we hope that in addition to being interesting, this quiz will help you learn something about yourself. At the end of the quiz, we'll offer you the opportunity to complain about the quiz to others who have scored similarly.

With a preamble like this, who could resist? Even if I'm not any kind of Christian at all.

Bishop Spong Christian
(a.k.a. "Biblical Revisionist")
You think the Bible is a powerful metaphorical narrative and believe that Jesus was a heroic figure similar to Gandhi. You believe in God as a loving creator and that She will forgive you for just about anything. You're willing to admit that you don't believe in the resurrection. You go to church for the sense of community and the music and because you like to hector your fellow Christians about their backward ways. You read Toni Morrison, Elaine Pagels, and Bishop Spong, the controversial Episcopalian prelate. You enjoyed the "The Da Vinci Code" as a thriller and found its ideas about Christian history thought-provoking, if not always historically accurate. Though you probably didn't see it, you're sure that "The Passion of the Christ" presented an utterly backward version of Christianity. You ardently support gay rights and feel guilty that you yourself are not gay. (If you are gay, you're in a loving, committed relationship). You live in a leafy university town, order Chai at the local coffee house (never Starbucks), and subscribe to The New Yorker. You watch TV so you can talk disdainfully about how bad TV is. You give to charity, preferring the local homeless shelter to those bureaucratic national charities. For you, the crux of Christianity is Jesus' revolutionary message of empowering "the least of these."

Except that, um, well, I'm not. I don't believe in God. Not in the slightest. I have only been to church for other people's weddings, christenings and funerals. I tried liking Toni Morrison, I really did, I know I should, but I didn't enjoy Beloved. I have ideas of trying again. I have never heard of the other two. I thought the Da Vinci Code was rather crap, but somehow subjected myself to all but one of the Dan Brown novels, which is bizarre, cause if I am going to read stuff I don't like, it might as well be Toni Morrison, which at least won't get me laughed at by my friends. Granted, the historical inaccuracy of the Da Vinci Code did grate. I would like to live in a leafy university town, but I order mochas (yum!). I don't much like Starbucks, but more cause they put too much chocolate in their mochas than any particularly lefty reason, though I get why I shouldn't like Starbucks. Here in Korea I like them very much as I can order in English! I don't read the New Yorker, perhaps largely on account of being a Canadian who has been living in Scotland and Korea. I do support gay rights. I don't donate to charity, particularly, on account of my massive, horrible debt. And, more honestly, the fact that I rather like spending my money frivilously on me. That is embarrassing but true.


Five is on in the background of a commercial.

And the Fox channel ad involved a ferret attacking a man's tongue and the line "Don't fucking mess with Fox". I kid you not.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Wanna try and guess what I was up to at 4am yesterday? I'm gonna bet you can't! I was sitting in my room, belting out the lyrics to Carmen (love google). I think the choice of music was inspired by all my reading of Sofiya's blog lately, though if it wasn't Carmen, it would have been something.

I love living alone. I love that freedom to do what I want, when I want. To have no complaints about my late-night loud music, or my choice of bedtimes, or eating funny things at funny times. I love it. It makes me ponder why I was in such a rush all those years ago to move in with someone else. How silly it was to think that I would be bored living alone. I am the furthest thing from bored. And lonely? Sure, sometimes. But generally I am simply alone, not lonely. I like spending time with me.

I've been thinking a lot about the past lately. I think breakups do that to you. What I would like is to get past the horribleness of the breakup itself and just remember all the good times, which is proving to be remarkably easy, as long as I don't speak to the ex in anyway, cause that brings back all the nastiness of the recent past. But we had lots of good times and they are worth remembering fondly.

Carmen also made me think of the past. It was the first opera I ever saw and I saw it with a really good friend, who I have since fallen out with. I miss her sometimes. The past is a funny thing, as are those people in it.

Back to the present, I went for dinner with Laura after work in HomePlus. It was an odd meal, the Korean attempt to imitate western food I think. Doncas (pork cutlet), some sort of other pork patty, some spagetti with sauce that was far too sweet, cream of nothing soup (which is odd, cause it should be cream of something or other!), cooked corn, rice with a tiny bit of seaweed, a salad with very mayonnaise-y dressing, and of course, a side of kimchee. Then we went shopping. And oh, my god, the hilarity. First off, it is Chuseok next week, Korean Thanksgiving. The gift baskets of food are not to be belived. Can you imagine getting a gift of mushrooms? Even special Korean mushrooms??? Or a gift basket of fish? A whole pig's foot? A basket of beef? Or maybe one of spam and tuna???

Then there was just the sleep-deprived hilarity. A gift basket of plastic cheese (processed, for those not familiar with my terminology) cost more than one of brie and camembert! There was free plastic cheese with my mozzarella purchase! The multipacks of toothbrushes. The spectacle we made of ourselves spraying the room spray samples. The lenghty debate on dish washing liquid. (it was so much easier when I could chose my products based on whether the Queen endorsed them.)

I met Laura's new friend Grace and her coworker Joshua. Yep, my grocery shopping was likely the highlight of this week's social calendar (not including the weekend, i certainly hope!) They are fun, it made shopping fun, and I once again have some food.

Korean TV is bizarre. The channels dedicated to education-English, math, Korean. Guys with chalkboards. The channel of computer games. The channel with the cheerful looking monk. The commercials on all the channels! The show of cute, little poppets dancing around in hanboks. The odd English shows. Oprah after midnight making me teary-eyed about the horrible conditions in American schools. My god, I can't imagine that I went 5 months without watching TV. I love it soooo much now. Granted, I surf the internet at the same time!


I just read this:

(I gave up biting my nails in 1987 when someone told me it was six times more unhygienic than licking a toilet seat, so you get the idea.)

on Sofiya's blog.

100% baby!

Look, mom, I can spell!!!

In Praise of Korean Chuseok Giftpacks

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee with a box of lovely mushrooms,
With enough bottles of soju to spell out doom,
With coloured rice cakes that look like lace.
I love thee with an entire pig's foot,
With cans of spam, tuna, and olive oil.
I love thee fishily, dried and ready to boil;
I love thee fruitily, kiwis wrapped and in a box put.
I love thee with soaps to put to use
In boxes of seaweed, and roots of ginsing.
I love thee with meat, the cut hard to choose
With beef and pork, --- all the protein makes my heart ring,
Smiles, tears, of all my kiwis! --- and, melon dews,
I shall love thee better after eating everything.


Ten Top Trivia Tips about Amanda!

  1. Medieval knights put the skin of Amanda on their sword handles to improve the grip.
  2. Amanda is the male seed of a flower blossom which has been gathered and treated by bees!
  3. A bride should wear something old, something new, something borrowed, and Amanda!
  4. The state nickname of Iowa is 'The Amanda state'.
  5. If your ear itches, this means that someone is talking about Amanda!
  6. It is bad luck to light three cigarettes with the same Amanda.
  7. Julius Caesar wore a laurel wreath to cover up Amanda.
  8. Amanda is 984 feet tall!
  9. Europe is the only continent that lacks Amanda!
  10. Michelangelo finished his great statue of Amanda in 1504, after eighteen months work.
I am interested in - do tell me about

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Yum. I forgot about how yummy cooking could be. Not that I made anything fancy, but my pasta tonight was delish. Sauteed shrimp in garlic and butter, mixed with chopped tomatoes and parmesian cheese on top. Lovely.

In other news, we got free nail care kits because Amber and Julie counted in English. They are in nifty silver, suitcase-like containers.

And the episode of Sex in the City where Carrie meets Petrofski for the first time. I love it.

I am not quite that nerdy... but I am a bit of a nerd...

Monday, September 25, 2006


Check out this amazing website.

Tonight's Evening Meal

Shrimp sauteed in butter (well, the can't-believe-it's-not variety) and garlic, a boiled egg with a bit of salt, a dill pickle, and some Chic Chocs.

Just what any doctor would suggest after recovering from some mussel-induced stomach dodginess.

I like this telly watching stuff

Dr. Who is on the telly. Not the TV, dahling, it's British. :)

I like this show already...

So, this watching TV and surfing the net at the same time gig is fun. I am watching How I Met Your Mother. It isn't great, but then there is this quote:

Robin: I am Canadian. Remember? We celebrate Thanksgiving in October.
Ted: Oh right I forgot. You guys are weird and you pronounce the word 'out' ,'oot'.
Robin: You guys are the world's leader in hand gun violence; your health care system is bankrupt and your country is deeply divided on almost every important issue.
Ted: (pause) Your cops are called 'mounties'.

My Favourite Korean Commercial



It’s a meme I snagged from Frog. She gave four words and we are to write something about each of them. If you want to play, your words are: bamboo, rice, tiger, and calm (yep, there is a Korean theme there). Please leave me a comment if you're up for the challenge!

squeegee: Since I still don't have a license (I know, I know!), my only real association with sqeegees was reading about the debates over squeegee kids in Toronto. Of all the places I have lived, I have noticed the most begging in Edinburgh and Vancouver. The least is probably here in Korea, where you occassionally see begging by disabled people. Generally they ride along the ground on what looks like a board on small wheels, lying down, with music playing. Occassionally you get people on subway trains who ask for money by putting cards of writing on the laps of riders and then collecting them again, preferable along with some money.

ridiculous: Many things are ridiculous, but the most stunning examples of ridiculousness have been provided to me by my boss over the last five months. For example, did you know that North Americans NEVER check the internet for personal business during working hours? That North American teachers would NEVER lean on desks when teaching? That all North Americans have horrible handwriting? Ah, the gems of wisdom from the Jooster.

muffin: Muffins are difficult when you spend time living in both North America and Britain. In Canada, there are muffins and English muffins. In Scotland there are American muffins and muffins. Here in Korea, there isn't much in the way of muffins at all!

rhinoceros: I last saw one in the flesh was when the ex and I went to the Edinburgh Zoo. He took some really amazing pictures of rhinos. The zoo is extremely hilly and they have a penguin walk, where the penguins are allowed out of their enclosure for a little parade. The first time it happened it was unintenional, now they do it as a tourist attraction.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I'm Sending the Picture, Prom Queen!!!

It is Sunday evening and I am watching Sex in the City, after a day spent alternately napping and watching the CSI marathon on OCN. Which has also allowed me to get my fill of amazingly silly Korean commericals (La-la-la-la-lemondade-e). I love that the actors in the commercials manage to look so amazingly, astonishingly overjoyed about whatever it is that is being advertised. If all it took to make me THAT hapy was some kiwi juice, well, I tell you, life would be mighty different.

My weekend has been good and rather low key. Went to the Loft on Thursday after some dinner at Geckos (very yummy quesidillas) and bumped into Val, who is now back in Seoul. Yay! Played darts again (and managed to tie one game, though I barely scored in one other and didn't score at all in the third). Had lots of rum and cokes of the "coke is just for colouring" variety that the baretender at the Loft seems to speicalize in. Friday I merely went out for some nosh in Insadong. Saturday James came over and we went out for dinner at La Tavolas. Apparently YunJin and Laura were both there too, but I didn't notice. James did, but hadn't met them yet. We had a drink at Bricxx, in the hammock, and then met up with the crew at Route 66. I dodged out of some dancing at Halaboogies due to a slightly sore stomach, which I think was likely the big plate of mussels I ate. They were well worth it though.

I have done very little today, wating for my sore stomach to go away. Eating Dunkin' Donuts didn't really help with that, surprisingly.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


One of my highest classes at school has been pissing me off lately. Not all of the kids, but the three boys in particular.

On Friday, I handed my kids a crossword containing the vocabulary test words. The have to do some fill-in-the-blank, 5 definitions, and 5 sentences. Now, the Jooster has declared crossword puzzles verbotten. Along with all activities that involve personal study, but excepting the "projects" the kids do and colour and make into little gems of goodness to brighten up the report cards and make mommy and daddy splurge for another month at our delightful hagwon. I don't personally think these projects are always terribly educational, but whatever. So, I deviously handed out the crosswords because they really are the most educational way I can think of to prep the kids for the test (which I do have to do because they must get good marks on these tests, as they also are to be gems of goodness for the report cards).

And the boys decided they would sit around for 40 minutes speaking Korean, no doubt assuming that Teacher would tell them the answers at the end of class and they could just skive away. Well, Teacher is in fact fed-the-fuck up with these lazy boys and decided that she would not give out any damn answers and would, in fact, instruct all students to finish the crosswords as homework. Teacher is happy to help, but she won't be doing your fucking work for you. She, after all, already knows what words like disallow mean or how to use envious in a sentence. Now, in addition to Teacher's instruction that they should complete the crosswords for homework, it said ON THEIR HOMEWORK SHEET, that they get every Monday, to finish the vocabulary review crosswords. Remarkably, come Monday they hadn't done them. So, I again instructed them to finish them, as solving the puzzle gives you all the test answers. I marked the girls' crosswords (all finished, of course. not that the girls are little angels in the slightest, but they are far more conscientious.) We moved on to the reading review.

Today was test day. All the girls finished their vocabularly sheets and passed them in and started the reading tests. The boys didn't even finish the vocabulary section and Teacher certainly isn't giving them extra time next class. In fact, they'd better study for the reading test, cause Teacher is giving them the one class in which to do it either and then they are out of luck.

I haven't had time to mark their tests yet, but at a glance I could see that their marks are going to suck. And it serves the damn little buggers right. I love to teach. I am happy to help and explain and all that. But you have to meet me halfway, and if you don't, don't think I am going to pamper your lazy little ass.

The amusing part? I was a lazy ass in school. But I still managed to get good grades. Had I not been able to pull that off, I'd like to think I might have studied a little bit.

Season of Hell

aka Mosquito Season!

I don't usually expect mosquitos in September. But, as was pointed out to me, it makes sense as Korea's rainy period is later, hence the laying of all those nasty mosquito eggs and their hatching is later.

The damn things are everywhere. There is one somewhere in my room RIGHT NOW. As the airconditioners start to go off and the windows start to open, they are all over the place at school. The kids tend to just wave their hands at the mosquitos, so I've been encouraging a tougher, killer policy towards bugs. MOSQUITOS MUST DIE!

And the damn cold season is starting. One of my classes has a very large concentration of snotty, coughing vectors-of-disease. And they like to hug me. Nasty. I wash my hands like a fiend and I am all about the anti-bacterial handwash. I have 3 sick days all year, folks. I need to stay healthy!

Not that that means I will do anything sensible like eat more veg, exercise, or get regular sleep, or anything. I mean, really.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Why Living Alone Rocks (pay attention Candace)

I am dancing around my apartment to Outkast in my undies. Do you think perhaps someone injected crack into those dill pickles???

ah HA!

I have been having cravings for something I couldn't put my finger on all night. After the kimchee mandu goodness, I didn't need dinner, but was peckish.

Dill pickles and coke. Who would have guessed?

Fess up now or the ghosts of my dead toenails will haunt you...

Half of one of my big toenails just decided to come off. All I did was rub my feet together!!! WTF?!? I had always kept my toenails super short, since really, I bit my nails folks, and if you have ugly nails, what is the point in beautiful toenails?

However, once again, being resident in Korea seems to have cured my nail biting. (Ha, mom! Bet you never thought of that cure!!!) My nails are stupidly weak though and so they break off a lot. I had them and my toenails at perfect manicure/ pedicure length, only to have one of my student step on my foot in such a way as to break my toenail vertically up to the nail bed. Not fun, I can tell you. My toenails are very, very dry and so they seem to break alot.

So, what do I do??? I am sure they taught this in school while I was busy skipping (along with the secret of eternal youth; the answer to life, the universe, and everything; the proof of a higher being; where the missing socks go; why toast always falls peanut butter side down; and many other fascinating facts. i skipped a lot, so they had a lot of time). Obviously I caught the part on semi-colon use, though.

If you don't post an answer in my comments section, I will send the ghosts of my dead toenails to haunt you. And that would be icky!!!

Happy and a little bit weepy

I just had a conversation with Sarah on MSN (ok, Kari must have helped!) all about what she does at recess at her new school and what she makes with her PlayDoh.

I am sad to be missing all that in person. It was a great chat, but I am very weepy.

I'm going to starve to death... or not...

In Korea, things happen fast. Buildings are ripped down and go up and businesses suceed and fail in amazingly short time spans.

Sadly, the galbi restaurant in our building is gone. We have been eating there 1-2 times a week since I got here, so not only is it sad, I may have just lost my only source of weekly protein!

Across the intersection, a Baskin Robins has now joined the Dunkin' Donuts and Mr. Pizza. Are people in Korea trying to make me fat??? Except that I may be the only person saved from weight gain by laziness - I am too lazy to cross the intersection and it isn't on my way to anywhere. That said, I have a mocha every single day from Magos and will even be the receiptient of a free coffee this friday. I don't want any comments telling me the calorie value of a mocha or how much I could save per year by making my coffee by myself. Life is about the little luxuries and it doesn't get more luxurious than a really well-made coffee with just enough chocolate to sweeten it, but not enough to take away that bitter coffee taste.

In other food related news, Mr. Joo bought us kimchee mandu. Yum. It was even spicier than normal, so I have been drinking water, and of course peeing, like crazy all evening.

In non-food related news, I bought another pair of earrings. To hell with creating pigs with extra livers and hearts, it's about time the mad scientists of the world got together and started working on a method for growing extra sets of ears. I am going to need them to display all my Korean earring purchases. I am a bit afraid that I am starting to get a little too familiar with the bling...

Also, Julie has mad skills with The Claw. I certainly know who to ask for a light.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

If there was a Miniskirt Olympics...

...Korea would win. I can't take credit for that insightful comment though, it was said by someone I was with at 66, though I can't recall who.

Another weekend has gone by

I was going to blog when I got home last night, but I got one of those weird small cuts that bleed like crazy. I made myself a small, late night caprese and cut myself a tiny bit on the thumb while cutting the tomato. It was the tiniest cut EVER and yet I managed to bleed all over the place. So, as I was tired and injured, I ate my salad and hopped into bed to sleep for the next 12 hours. It was much needed sleep.

My weekened included many of the same things it always does: a bit of time at 66, some silver earring buying, the trip into itaewon to put money on my phone, and movie watching with James (Final Destination 3 and Dark Water). Unlike normal, I didn't go out on any late nights (except Ladies' Night on Thursday, more on that later) and I had to wake up early to go up to Dongducheon. This time I took the second last train home and actually made it back to Dangsan before the subways stopped running. I'm going to have to start getting little weather reports before heading up to Dongducheon because it is a lot cooler up there than it is in Seoul.

So, Thursday. YunJin's birthday, though she didn't tell me that! We went to ladies' night after a quick stop at a little park for a "smoke". The kind of smoke you can't buy in the Family Mart. lovely. Then we hit Itaewon and I bumped into Frank and got to steal some of his mandu, as he was on his way home and I was on my way into the Loft. YunJin and I played darts with some random people. I suck at darts. I can generally hit the board, but seldom what I am aiming at. Nor do I understand which numbers I am supposed to hit or the scoring system or to go up and get my darts (I wish it was like bowling and they just came back to you). However, I managed to win! We drank a bit and danced a lot and bumped into Sesh, who is by now on her way home.

So that was my weekend. As per usual, Sunday was my favorite part.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

If only I was the slightest bit artistic...

Which Western feminist icon are you?

You are Frida Kahlo! You are an artistic, passionate, vulnerable person, with openly bisexual tendancies and were the first womyn to have her own gallery show in Mexico. You slept with ... Trotsky?
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Stop taunting me, dammit!

I am staring at a very delicious looking chocolate ice cream/popsicle. The problem is that it is in a very odd plastic package. I can't get it out. I want it! NOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWW! But I don't understand this popsicle and haven't the faintest clue what I am supposed to do in order to eat it.

You know you need more sleep when...

... you think to yourself that poor cats have hairballs of the same stuff that makes up dust bunnies. And that it must be so nasty to have to deal with that.

In other news, I bought two shirts and a sweater for $20 in a Giordano's sale. Yay HomePlus!

I love the girls at Maggoos. The make really good mochas, with only enough chocolate to sweeten it, so it is still has a lovely bitter coffee taste, and they now start my coffee before I even order. There is something so reassuring about being a regular somewhere.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Yet Another Cute Niece!


Finally a morning without the jackhammering and instead I end up with someone at my door at 9am wanting to talk to me about Jesus. In Korean. Is there anything I would rather do LESS at 9am?

I never see them normally and then...

...two of my students saw me holding hands with James on Sunday. Nothing like 20 questions on boyfriends from a bunch of kids.

Random Thoughts on Grown-up-ness

Poor James is sick.

Which lead me to think about the blog entry I kept meaning to write and forgetting about. Basically, Sunday's lunch involved a lot of discussion about his house, its furnishings, and landscaping.

And it is bizarre to think that I have reached the grand old age of 28 without really ever dealing with any of this myself. Sure, I bought a bookcase and desk and sulked my way through refinishing some iron bedposts before my second year of university. However, aside from two university shared houses, I have always lived in furnished accomodation. Oh, I suppose there was the Ikea purchases with Alan, which I was required to make myself (am not half bad at furniture construction, apparently, as I do like to read the instructions and follow the pictures, and the damn desk turned out to be lopsided due to the uneven floor. though a hammer would have been greatly apprecieated during construction). But, basically, furniture purchasing and thoughts about landscaping, or nice kitchen stools, or cars have just not been part of my adulthood.

Which is not to say I feel any less adult. While I am sure your average idiot could figure out how to live life in Korea, not everyone could do so and find a way to like it. And I do not so bad at the whole dealing-with-life-in-a-foreign-language-i-don't-speak. Even dealing with a lovely round of pneumonia and a very dodgy ankle. I have now lived in three different countries with three very different cultures and I think it has done me a fair amount of good. And taught me some miming skills that I expect one day to come in handy in competitive games of charades.

But it certainly seems like the ultimate in grown-up-ness to own a house and have to maintain the bugger. And perhaps to learn to drive... One of these years, anyways...

Serves me right

So, I realise that I could be eating a more healthy diet. Today I tried to improve the situation. I had a peanut butter and banana sandwich for breakfast and took fresh pineapple, mandarin pieces, and some yoghurt to school with me. By the end of the day I was so damn hungry that I stopped at Two Two Fried Chicken on the way home.

Now my stomach hurts. Serves me right for trying to eat healthy!

Why I am a Goof

So, I just found both the earrings I thought I lost on the weekend...

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Thanks so much to the construction people in the building. Two days in a row of jackhammering in the early hours of the morning.


"Knock knock."

"Who's there?"

"Interrupting cow."

"Interrupting cow -" "MOO!"


"Knock knock."

"Who's there?"



I just realised that I managed to lose TWO earrings last night. I keep a set of stainless steal earrings in my top 3 holes because I don't want them to grow in and one is missing. WTF did I do to manage to lose that? They are normally quite hard to get off. It is very annoying, cause I want to buy some more to replace the missing ones, but haven't a clue where I could get them here.

Okay, okay, it's not that much different than the last time

create your own visited country map
or check our Venice travel guide

If I was a TV show, this would be my theme song

I am such a ditz. My ability to forget things places, or lose them in the house, or whatever is phenomenal. I managed to leave my sweater at Pedros and lose an earring last night. This song was meant for me, though I admit, I don't have to be drinking tequila, or drinking at all in fact, to lose my stuff exactly like this!

Joe Nichols - Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off Lyrics

She said I’m going out with my girlfriends
Margaritas at the holiday inn
Oh have mercy my only thought
Was tequila makes her clothes fall off
I told her put an extra layer on
I know what happens when she drinks Patron
Her closets missing half the things she bought
Yea tequila makes her clothes fall off

She’ll start by kicking out of her shoes
Lose an earring in her drink
Leave her jacket in the bathroom stall
Drop a contact down the sink

Them panty hose aint gonna last too long
If the dj puts bon jovi on
She might come home in a table cloth
Yea tequila makes her clothes fall off

She can handle any champagne brunch
A bridal shower with Bacardi punch
Jello shooters full of Smirnoff
But tequila makes her clothes fall off

She’ll start by kicking out of her shoes
Lose an earring in her drink
Leave her jacket in the bathroom stall
Drop a contact down the sink

She don’t mean nothing
She just havin fun
Tomorrow she say oh what have I done
Her friends will joke about the stuff she lost
Yea tequila makes her clothes fall off
Oh tequila makes her clothes fall off
Oh tequila makes her clothes fall off

The Smell of Smoke and the Feel of Sunshine

Is it weird that my apartment smells like smoke and I like it? James was over and smoked at the window and there is just a nice wiff of smoke in here right now. I also like the smell of smoke when I go to bars - I don't actually think that smoking bans make bars/pubs/clubs better. For me, that smell is just part of the experience. And while I don't love the smell lingering on my clothes, it doesn't take that long for them to air out. Granted, I have to admit that I do smoke the odd cig myself. Not often (like maybe once a month?) and not many, but there it is. And that idea that kissing a smoker is like licking an ashtray is silly too. It isn't unpleasant at all.

Anyway, it's been a good weekend. Pedro's party last night was really fun. I think I attempted to salsa. I really wish I knew how and I love the music. I was amused to see that YunJin and I were the only non-military at the party at the beginning and that the tequila was being shot with salt substitute. And I have never seen such a large amount of Vanilla Rum. Pedro is well stocked, should anyone have a vanilla rum shortage. Speaking of drink, there is a $3 bottle of gin in HomePlus. It can't possibly be any good!

Then, James came over today. We went to Outback and had steak. Which is weird for me, because I have never been a fan of steak. I was a vegetarian largely because I didn't really like meat for a long time. I certainly can't claim that now!

Fall is here in Korea, thank god. The hot weather has broken - it's now a tiny bit chilly sometimes and the nights are definitely cold. This is my favourite kind of weather - sunny and warm enough to walk around in a skirt and t-shirt, but not so hot as to be uncomfortable.

Sun is wonderful. I think after three years in Scotland and a year in Vancouver, I appreciate it more than most. It is remarkable how much of an affect it has on my mood. People seem to think I am crazy for not putting up any curtains/blinds, but I actually love waking up with the sun in my face. Always have, actually. I always used to open my blinds at night before I fell asleep. Besides, how would I ever manage to put up curtains??? The walls are cement, I don't own any tools (though chopsticks can be very multipurpose items, I have discovered), and really, I am far too lazy to try and figure it all out. Especially since no one can particularly see in and I like having the sun pouring in the room at all times anyway.

I am eating real Cheetos. With proper cheesy taste. James is amazing.


How Fast Can You Read?

You read between 400 - 450 words per minute. Well above average reading level. (The average rate is between 200 - 250 words per minute.) It is assumed that you did not skim the words nor fail to understand the meaning of what was read.

Interestingly, I probably read a lot of stuff even faster than that, cause I skim read a lot. Even when reading for pleasure. Which I realise is odd, but is just naturally how I read. There are some books that I really like to read slowly and take in, but most often I don't.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

I am eating $5 worth of cheese RIGHT NOW

So, the stress of the email takeover did get to me a bit yesterday. It sucks cause I had a lot of saved emails on there. I have contacted yahoo to try and recover the account but I can't seem to match my registration info. It has been over 10 years since I set the account up, so I guess that isn't that surprising.

Anyway, that sort of eclipsed my last HomePlus trip, but it was fun. Laura showed up at my door around midnight/1am and asked if I wanted to go along with her for some grocery shopping. Random, yes. It was fun though. Not the slightest busy and we found real mozzarella. The kind they package in water. Yum. Which I why I am now eating a caprese salad, thus eating $5 worth of cheese in one meal.

I didn't get a lot of sleeping Thursday night, so I was slightly hyper, crazy teacher all Friday. Nothing like exhaustion to make you a bit weird. But I actually had a great teaching day. Good lessons and had a great time with the kids. And of course, I got my big paycheque with all the camp pay, which was fun too :)

There is a new building across the intersection from us, with a Mr. Pizza, Dunkin' Donuts and a rooftop bar/restaurant called Ivy. It is really nice. I skipped out on the dinner part, but joined the gang for a beer. Then when the others went in, Laura and I moved to a Hoff for some pineapple soju and fried chicken. And a few cigs too. Then, since we weren't ready for the night to end, we headed into Hongdae at 3 in the morning. Yes, weird, I know. But fun. We bumped into Julie's brothers in 66, so joined them for a drink. Then we danced for maybe an hour in a very empty Halaboogies. The music was good. Had a long chat with Dongchun, who is a cutie. Then a quick trip into Bricxx, inspired by my need to pee, but let us finish the evening with a lovely peach marjarhita. So, after starting off Friday night not even wanting to go out, I ended up coming home at 5am after having a really great night.

Have been tidying up the apartment, as James is coming over tomorrow. I still have the floor and the bathroom to do, my least fav part of cleaning. Might call James to put it off, though I do have to get it done soon, cause I am off to a party at Pedros' tonight. That's right, a party in someone's place in Seoul. Doesn't happen often!

Thursday, September 07, 2006


So, I got back from a 1 a.m. grocery shopping extravegenze with Laura to find that I am having some technical difficulties. Someone has hacked my yahoo email account and changed the password. And my myspace profile had the same thing happen, with the profile being deleted.

If the yahoo was the only part affected, I would figure it was random and I was unfortunate. The weirdness of the myspace being involved, especially as a certain someone was always complaining about what I said on my profile, makes me wonder. It still could be random, I don't know.

If you didn't get an email from my hotmail account about all this, you can assume I have lost your contact details. Please drop me an email with them.

I had a weird dream...

A scientist told me that ladybugs now have square and triangular spots in addition to circles. It was all very stressful, though I have no idea why.

Not much else has been going on today. It was just one more busy day at work. Without a break, I have to be more efficient. I managed to prep, do a class worth of report cards, and do all my homework lists. I'm quite pleased. And I taught a particularly good lesson to my newest class, which felt great.

I was thinking today just how important contact from home is. And email is brilliant, cause it's fast and more people actually make the effort to email, but mail is just on a whole other plain. All the people who have mailed me chocolate and sent postcards, and of course, Jenny's remarkable 28 page letter, have really made such a difference on how i feel living overseas. I love being here, it is the right thing for me. But that doesn't mean that I don't hate missing everything that is going on back home, both in my Scottish home and my Canadian one. And it is the little emails and packages of chocolate and peanut butter (esp notable that Louise sent me some since it is hard to find in Edinburgh) and letters and all that make me feel still a part of what is going on in my absence. And I certainly am not great with correspondence myself. I have been lazy with emailing, cause I know that people can read the blog. I haven't so much as bought a pack of postcards since I arrived, with the exception of the trip to thailand. It is the sort of thing that easily slips by the wayside when I get busy, but it really shouldn't. I can't really think of anything more important. Cause I miss you all, so much. And I hope everyone is doing well. I promise to try and email you all soon.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Only in Korea

T-shirt sayings:

"Love is... wearing matching t-shirts" (and, yes, I will get a pic)

"Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest one of all?"

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Disappointment is harsh

What exactly is the point of Cheetos that taste of anything but cheese??? Barbeque is NOT what my Cheetos are supposed to taste like.

Also, I had no idea that Labour Day weekend just passed, until I got a text message asking what I was doing yesterday evening. When I replied that I was sitting around in my pjs rather than drinking, I was called boring. Which confused me, cause normally drinking on a Monday evening would not be a good sign. Unless, of course, you are an American soldier stationed in Korea with a four day weekend. Bastards!

Monday, September 04, 2006

It won't work!

Trying to stir a packet of Lipton lemon ice tea into a glass of water with a chopstick does not work. You really do need to get off your lazy ass and wash a spoon.

Now, I am sure you are thinking to yourself, as you grab your jacket and head out the door to buy some Lipton ice tea to try it yourself (and some chopsticks too, if you are like many North Americans), this silly Amanda just has poor stiring technique.

But, you'd be wrong. And that is why my dirty dishes have now been done. And why I really should buy a couple more spoons.

Overly Prolific

I sure am blogging a lot today. But, in case I am somehow better informed that those of you in the English speaking world (and that does seem pretty doubtful), I thought it important to mention that Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter, died today.

There are two weird things about that:
1. He wasn't killed by a crocodile, but by a stingray.
2. Julie apparently had a big crush on him.


Another amusing student notebook:

Foster a desire. Nothing is more precious than each day and the truth, freedom, and peace that it brings.

Now, I am sure those of you playing along at home will be thinking "But, Amanda, where is the funny English useage there?"

The amusing part is that the notebook is covered in pictures of wine corks. Foster a desire, indeed.

It's a Fake, they tell me

So, there I was, innocently telling a class of 4th-6th graders about how we would be reading one real, non-fiction story about space and one pretend, fiction story about space, when I learned that I believe something that makes my students think that perhaps Teacher is a wee bit stupid.

They don't believe that Neil Armstrong really walked on the moon. I couldn't have been more astounded if they had tried to convince me that I had purple polka dots all over my face. Apparently, they agree with the nutters who think it was faked by the American government. This is apparently because the flag appears to be fluttering in the wind, something to do with shadows and angles of light, and the mysterious deaths of the three astronausts (are they all even dead? i thought neil armstrong lived to be an old man?). This left me a bit speechless and unsure of what to say next, beyond that while I understand that that there are people out there who believe that the moon landing was faked, they are in the minority and I am not one of them. Which means that my students are still pretty unimpressed with my historical savvy.

Sometimes, teaching is a really weird job.

Why my boss is a moron, part 1

So, today the joo-ster held a staff meeting. As someone without a break and a series of tests to rewrite after their mysterious disappearance, I was generally unpleased by the time wasting. However, he made a silly statement that caught my attenntion. He is unsure as to why Heritage is a very popular school for the 1.whatever books but not popular for the 2.whatever books. Now, I have pointed out in similar bullshit meetings that it is very, very obvious that the change in level between the 1.6 and 2.1 books is too drastic. Basically, it's too hard. The kids don't understand the stories and the schedule doesn't allow us enough time to explain them to the kids. Especially the Tuesday-Thursday kids, because in a moment of pure scheduling genius at some point in the past, it was decided to make up schedules for Monday-Wednesday-Friday kids and just teach the same schedule to the Tuesday-Thursday kids, who have one less class per week (or in some particularly fun cases, to make up a schedule of a five day a week class and just apply that to the Tuesday-Thursday kids too). So, one would think that a) soo yong would think that perhaps it might be an idea to find some textbooks to bridge the levels in such a way that we might actually teach the kids in a way that they have a chance of understanding rather than continuing on with the present "trimming the herd" technique we presently have going on, where some kids manage to make the transition and the others drop out (survival of the fittest, education style!!!) and b) that once this has been pointed out to you by the same teacher on more than one occassion, it is pointless to pretend you don't understand the problem. Because if you don't? Bascially, you are an idiot. And that isn't good.

I can't recall how long it's been

since I made a boiled egg.

I was cleaning out the fridge at work today because it smelled like something died in there. This involved two boiled eggs of indeterminate age that belonged to Laura. And it gave me quite a craving for an egg salad sandwhich. In retrospect, that is quite the most distusting inspiration for an evening meal ever.

However, while peeling my freshly boiled eggs (just making it clear I didn't snafu Laura's scary eggs for my evening repast), I suddenly wondered how long it had been since I had last peeled a boiled egg. The last time I can recall doing it, particularly, was when I lived in Edinburgh and worked at the bank. I used to make myself egg salad sandwiches to take to work at least once a week. This is because I refuse to eat egg salad sandwiches made by other people because the slightest bit of crunch that indicates eggshell in the sandwich makes me want to throw up. It was in Scotland I learned that there are people who hate the smell of egg sandwiches even more than the smell of tuna ones to the extent to which it was implied that i wasn't very community-minded for bringing such a smelly lunch. I don't recall Canadians thinking this way, but perhaps I just missed out on hearing it, seeing as I ate lunch at home all the way through elementary and high schoool.

Now, I am sure I must have made at least one boiled egg in the intervening 3 years, but I can't recall doing so. And now all my readers know all my thoughts on boiled eggs. I am sure you are all feeling fascinated, enlightened and terribly entertained.

The difference between men and women

As illustrated by the following text message conversation:

Me: I just bought a new pair of glasses.
James: Why did you buy new glasses?
Me: Because they are really cute.
James: But why? Did you break the other pair?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Tiny Ikea

I totally forgot to mention the tiny Ikea we found yesterday. See, in most Korean stores, there are entire floors of independently run stalls/stores. And in the Carrefour there is a tiny corner of Ikea. I now own a breakfast tray, which means I can eat on my bed more easily. I do have a kitchen table, but it is a dedicated home to Chester, so I prefer not to eat at the table.

It was a bizarre little corner of home away from home.


Is she not the cutest kid ever? And she looks so much like her mom!!!

Bell Hooks is the Bomb

I just finished reading "Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center". She is amazing. She says a lot of things I think, but articulately and intelligently. I loved, loved, loved it. Everyone should read it. It is that good!

I am 10 pages away from the end of "The House Gun" by Nadine Gordimer (and 40 pages into "The Food of Love" by Anthony Capella because I somehow forgot that I hadn't quite finished "The House Gun" before going out last night!). It took me a good 200 pages to actually start to like this book, which isn't great, cause the book is only 300 pages long. That said, I really enjoyed it once I got into it.

I think it is something about the style. I have noticed lately that some books just take me ages to get into. I find the plot interesting, even provoking, but I just can't dig the style. And then after a while, I get used to it. When I first noticed this trend, I thought it was the result of changing styles drastically between one book and the next. I'm coming to think that I have a very distinct style preference, one which I can't quite put my finger on, that makes me like some books from the beginning. And yet, cause I CAN NOT leave a book unfinished, I give myself the time to adjust to things that don't appeal immediately, and generally like a lot of things in the end. I have a ton of potential good reads stacked up next to me right now, which makes me very happy.

And I am glad I started "The Food of Love" after last night's great dinner at La Tavola, or I'd be craving good Italian food right now intensely. As it is, this book makes me hungry for the kind of food I am just not going to get here in Korea. And reminds me so much of my fantastic trip to Italy and how absolutely amazing the food was there. I can't wait to go back one day. And eat a lot. A lot.

Blowpops and Rectangular Frames

I had a great night out on Saturday. YunJin and I started out by going to La Tavola. We split a starter and then I had a main course, dessert, red wine, and a cappicino, which set me back $60. Which seems hideously expensive for a meal for one, but it was so.damn.good! I had pasta with scallops in cream sauce and it was yum. We then wandered over to Bricxx 1, in Itaewon, which I haven't been to since I was in Korea on my last contract. I do like the Bricxx in Hongdae better, but it is still nice and particularly cozy. And the peach marjaritas are still to die for. We then wandered over to Geckos, just missing Amber and John, but hanging out with Mel, Derek and some of his friends, and of course, bumping into assorted others (Sesh, Yuri, Patricia, etc). I chatted briefly to one girl who I'm sure i either recognize from being at Geckos or 66 or the Loft often or from photos on someone else's myspace. Once curfew was about to hit, we headed to Hongdae to meet up with Julie and brother, Amber, John, and Sean, Natasha and Kelly, and who knows who else. From there we went dancing at Halaboogie's, which involved a shared blowpop (i did not get the gum, dammit!) and lots of pole dancing, and possibly some fun pics, though i've yet to see them. Then we headed to Tin Pans, both 1 and 2, and finally home. We arrived in time to catch the early hours of the morn, after wandering around the neighbourhood to buy water. So much easier before the Paris Baguette replaced the little Mart (though I love the garlic bread access.)

Today Laura and I headed over to the newly built Dunkin' Donuts and were distracted by the Mr. Pizza in the same building. After a lovely pizza, we decided to finally walk down to Carrefour to see what all the fuss is about. I ended up with a pair of white flats, some Lipton lemon ice tea packs, two white peaches, and another pair of glasses. Laura calls them my funky pair and for me they are quite the digression from my usual round shape and non-descript colours. They are rectangular and purple. I am curious to see what the kids make of them. James has already stated a preference for my other new pair after a glimpse on webcam. Interestingly, they cost $10 less than my dinner last night at La Tavolas. That's right folks, my new glasses were $50. I love Korea and its cheap glasses. Thank Bob for the bad sight of the population here. So, I now own 4 pairs. One pair I actively dislike, but they have the coating that darkens them into sunglasses. One pair I did like, but they are old and the frames are not what they were and who knows if the free repair job will hold. Then I have my two lovely new Korean pairs. I think I might keep on collecting...

If you don't want feminine detail (dad, you are going to want to skip this paragraph!), stop reading now. I have nasty, nasty cramps. I made a bizarre decision to try taking the pill again. Now, chosing one's pill brand based on the cheapest of three you've never heard of in a Korean pharmacy is probably not the brightest move. It has made my skin worse, made me PMSy like you wouldn't believe, and now that i stopped taking it 4 days before the end of a pack, I seem to be paying for it! I never should have gone back on. I just kinda forgot how much better I felt the last time I stopped taking it. So, the acne (out, damn spots!) may have to be dealt with using more serious methods - perhaps another round of Accutane. Some people have horrible experiences with this drug. For me, it isn't fun but I can stand the side effects I get. What has been holding me back is the connection to pregnancy. Basically, you have to wait. The latest doctor's advice I got said wait three years. Now, at this stage in my life, I am in no position, nor do I even want, to be popping out a kid. But... Three years... I'd be 31. I haven't a clue what I may be doing in three years or what I may want. It just seems such a big decision. I am not even sure I ever want to have a kid, and especially unsure as to if I ever want to go through pregnancy. And yet... But then, there are the zits. And the bastards have GOT to go. I have been toying with the options for awhile now and have yet to make up my mind. I keep waiting to wake up one morning feeling decisive. I hope soon!

There is something personal I keep toying with posting. I have written the post twice, only to delete it. Sometimes I write it mentally in my head. Once again, I don't feel ready to send it out to the world. But I have been pretty introspective the last year of my life. Can't believe that a year ago I was leaving Korea after my first contract ended. I can't believe what has happened over those 12 months. It has been a rollercoaster, certainly. And yet, I think that it was all just meant to be. In hindsight, there were 20,000 ways I could have done things better, easier, differently. But, regardless of the smarter things I should have done, it's been 12 months that at the very least I am glad to have gotten through. And not just gotten through either, but come out on the other side happier with myself and more content with my life, as lacking in direction as it presently is. I can think of a million possible things I could be doing and places I could be living in another years time. All that possibility is wonderful. Life without that sense of being alive to possibility is too sad. I am glad it is back in my life.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Korean t-shirts: Do unto others before they do unto you.

Interesting. They are everywhere.

I am downloading French Rap right now

Yesterday started off annoying - my boss pissed me off. He is so annoyingly inconsistent.

However, it got much better. Laura, Hannah, and I went out to try and eat middle eastern food, and after some incompetance on my part, ended up eating at geckos. it was yum. We then met up with YunJin at 66, visited Condomania, went to a norae bang where I did not sing, and then went dancing at Stompers. I love hip hop, I love dancing, and I love the music they play at Stompers. I had a great time. Got home at 5.30am to collapse into bed and sleep.

Consequently, haven't done much with my Saturday. Slept in and have been padding about the house ever since. I love lazy days. Sent a series of silly texts to James, which is always fun, as he is stuck working this weekend. Chatted with Jenny on MSN. Has been nice.

Amusingly, the other day one of my students told me that sometimes I am a Snape teacher (mean? diabolical?) and sometimes a Hagrid teacher (jolly and fat?).

There are drums playing outside my building. This happens most weekends actually, but I can't for the life of me figure out where it is coming from. It sounds cool, so that is too bad.