Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye, 2007

1. What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before?

Hahahaha. I've already been asked this one. The Hong Kong incident. Got divorced (I think, anyway!) Taught kindergarten.


2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

No and Yes. It's not the keeping of the resolutions that is necessarily important, I think, but the making of them. The taking stock.

4. What countries did you visit?

Thailand, Hong Kong, Canada, North Korea, The Philippines.

5. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?

More of all the good things, less of all the bad, I guess.

6. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

April 10th - I left Heritage, thank fuck!
May 18th - Surprise arrival back in Canada.
August 10th - Back in Korea once more.
December 14th - All my loose ends were finally tied up!

7. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Tying up those loose ends, perhaps.

8. What was your biggest failure?

Perhaps being so stressed by the Korea/Hong Kong decision.

9. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing terrible. Did a transatlantic flight with a messed up ankle, did some North Korean hiking with pneumonia.


10. What was the best thing you bought?

It wasn't what Oprah recommended ;) I'm not sure I've bought anything all that fabulous this year.

11. Whose behavior merited celebration? Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Many people's merited celebration. I find that sometimes the most surprising people will do fantastic things. Based on some info I recently found out, my ex is on the appalled list.


14. Where did most of your money go?

Vacations!!! Clothes. Having fun in general.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Hiking in North Korea. Seeing my nieces.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? happier or perhaps about the same
b) thinner or fatter? maybe about the same - I'm not sure, to be honest.
c) richer or poorer? Hmmmm. Again, perhaps about the same.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Exercise. Travelling. Decisive getting-stuff-done.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

I'm not sure I regret too much from the past year. Maybe the odd drunken moment, but nothing in particular.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Brian, Samarra and I went to see the Golden Compass, wandered around iPark, went to dinner at Geckos and then had drinks with people at Queen. Oh, and I got to talk to my adorable nieces :)

21. Did you fall in love in 2007?

Hahahahaha. No!

23. What was your favorite TV program?

Grey's Anatomy, I think, though I am now equally into Private Practice. I've been watching the first season of Lost recently and been impressed since about halfway through. Flight of the Conchords is hysterical. Oh, and I finally got around to watching Buffy - it was really good.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

No. I don't hate anyone at all right now, though there are certainly those I don't care for.

25. What was the best book you read?

"The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank" by Ellen Feldman. It was maybe the best power read - one of those I-can't-put-it-down novels.
"Eva" by Peter Dickinson was the best children's book and it was a reread from the Poly library.
"Oscar and Lucinda" by Peter Carey for the best I-should-have-known-but-didn't ending.
“The Friar and the Cipher” by Lawrence & Nancy Goldstone for best historical non-fiction.
“Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal” by Christopher Moore was the funniest.
“The Brooklyn Follies” by Paul Auster for introducing me to my newest fav author.
"Lucky" by Alice Sebold for the best sad book.
"A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of A Boy Soldier" by Ishmael Beah for the most gut-wrenching emotional response.
"Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert for personal resonance.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Not sure. I love "Smile" by Lily Allen, and the new Alicia Keys album is pretty damn cool. Tons of stuff, really.

27. What did you want and get? What did you want and not get?

I didn't get a job I wanted, though I suspect that worked out for the best, particularly from a financial point of view. I wanted a new wardrobe and I got that.


29. What was your favorite film of this year?

The Golden Compass, I think. I don't actually see many films, in the cinema or out of it.

31.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A year long trip around Asia, with the magic ability to pop back in on the family for a couple of days at will.

33. What kept you sane?

Who says I managed to stay sane? My coworkers, perhaps, when I was back in my old job. My friends. Lots of navel gazing.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007?

When travelling, follow the noise.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Woo!

Happy New Year, everybody, in case I don't get online between now and then!

I leave in 25 mins. I am counting down every last one of them! So excited!!!

My house is clean, I am clean, I'm headed to a beautiful beach - 2008 is going to be a good year, I can tell already.

For Brian


An old photo that I needed to be able to link to...

Countdown!!!!

I have to shower, clean the bathroom and get on the bus to the airport in an hour and a half.

Boracay, here I come! Get the beaches ready!

Gift Train Has Arrived

First the train left Texas. Then it got missent to Indonesia.



But it finally arrived in Korea and I love, love, love it. Grace rocks!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Kidies do Cute Work

I just love Alex's pictures. Also, I am astounded by my kindergarteners doing work that I would have had a hard time getting out of my old 5th graders at my last school!



James has a very interesting view of the world, especially considering he was looking at a map very intently the whole time he drew this.

Merry Christmas!



Turkey dinner at Geckos, with Brian and Samarra. It was very yummy.



Wishing you a Mally Christmas, since that's where I spent mine. I talked to the verbal nieces while I was on the subway, watched the Golden Compass, wandered around the mall, had turkey for dinner, and went for drinks at Queen. All in all, a good away-from-home Christmas.



Me and my favourite Starbucks drink - the back of my freebie planner actually has a place which instructs me to glue one in. So funny! So here I am with my Grande Peppermint Mocha, which I drink far too often.



The chocolates Jenn made for us! I'm astounded by such levels of cooking - I can barely move myself to make toast.



Vanessa, Sheila and the tequila tree, natch.



Santa in a coffee cup - the most bizarre of this year's crop of Christmas cards, though I admit I didn't look as hard as usual for odd ones.



Cheonggaecheon River Walk



A very busy mall two days before Christmas. I was after "The Subtle Knife" to read on the beach (naturally, I've finished it already) and thank god for Brian, because I sure as hell would never have tracked it down. Kyobo has the least logical arrangement of English books I have ever seen.



Brian and I at the Luce Vista festival.



Santa visits the Lions class.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Kindie Christmas!

I'm sure I've swung back and forth in extremes of emotion about other things, but I tell ya, this Christmas pagaent has exhausted me, had me despairing it was ever going to be decent, and exhilerated at how good it was. It's been quite a ride.

In general, it went well enough. I got to see two preschool classes and the other kindergarten play. The first preschool group was just awful. Really, really awful. Two kids kept singing incoherently into the microphone, drowning out the kids who could actually sing the lyrics. The next preschool group looked like rockstars in comparison. The Night Before Christmas play went so much better than in the dress rehersal. The kindergarten songs went just fine too, though Grace just refused to dance, basically.

It felt like our play, The Littlest Christmas Tree, went fine, though I was on stage hissing stage directions, so it was hard to tell. I can't say how relieved I was to just have it over, especially after the extreme low point of the dress rehersal. God, was that awful.

And graduation is just around the corner... Sigh.







Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tequila is the snake...

... and I bite the damn apple every time.

"Ouch," says my head.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Internationality

I just had a Christmas staff dinner at an "Italian" buffet, followed by beers in a German-themed bar with a band from the Philippines singing American classic rock, in Korea.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Pre-Resolution

I do believe that a very big loose-end has finally been all tied up. That had me thinking that it would be fun to try and tie up all my loose ends before the new year.

I can't decide what exactly that would entail exactly though.

Just Like a Prune

I'm all dried out. I hate how dry the air is here in the winter. I just put moisturizer in my nose in an attempt to stop the quasi-bleeding. My nose doesn't actually bleed, or anything, just that every morning when I blow it, it's full of blood. Disgusting. I have been forced to try and use my mystery appliance, which has turned out to be a humidifier.

I think it is, anyway.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

If you are doubtful you will have a white Christmas, go on over to Snow Days and make yourself one. If you want to see mine, you can search for snowflake #5587947.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bwahahahahaha

"Teacher, every time you talk to Ms. Smith, something bad happens. Can you stop talking to her?"

Apparently I start an awful lot of conversations that lead to them doing more work with "I was talking to Ms. Smith and..."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ch-Ch-Changes*

*Title inspired by Amazon and the 3rd season of The L Word.

Things in Korea seem to change faster than anywhere else.

To Relax, It Turned Out That I Just Needed Some Time With Some Balls

I've never been in the playroom with any of my classes until today. 22 students, two teachers, and lots of fun. After 20 minutes I was exhausted, Eric had gotten me in the nose with a ball and it was the most fun I've had in some time.

Oh, and after today? That conversation at Thanksgiving? To hell with the germs, I'd do it in a minute!

Woo! Let There Be Light!

Why I Love Korea



The galbi restaurant we go to, where the lady knows all of our names and always finds a table to squeeze us in, no matter how busy, sent a gift of Vitamin C drinks to work for us all.

Free beer, good meat, and gifts. I'm sold.

A Mouth Full of Sand



Ahhhh, experiments. The bane of my life back when I was a student, as I could never get them to go right. With the new Xmas schedule, I had to run this one on a Friday to cover all the classes in one day. It made a ridiculous mess and I'm sure the cleaner secretly hated me that day. We sieved things, we described things, we demonstrated wind and water erosion, and how the wind causes waves. It was fun, but I spent the best part of the day with sand in my mouth.

I think the Christmas play is going to go alright. I veer between desperation and hope, depending on the day, how much sleep I've had and if I've had my daily dose of coffee, basically. Fingers crossed.

Apparently, all I want for Christmas is for my students to memorize their lines!

The First of the 2007 Memes

My 2007

The year is ending!
answer the following about your year:

1) Where did you begin 2007?
ln Thailand with Sheila

2) What was your status by Valentine's Day
I was single

4) How did you earn your money?
Teaching

5) Did you have to go to the hospital?
Yes, but nothing serious

6) Did you have any encounters with the police?
Yes, here in Korea. Slightly idiotic cab driver, trying to overcharge me, the police were charming.

7) Where did you go on vacations?
Thailand, Hong Kong, Canada

8) What did you purchase that was over $1000
Plane ticket home :)

9) Did you know anybody who got married?
A few people.

10) Did you know anybody who passed away?
No one very close to me, thankfully.

12) Did you move anywhere?
To a new part of Korea, after a 4 month vacation in two countries.

14) What concerts/shows did you go to?
None, I think...

15) Are you registered to vote?
I'm not actually entitled to vote in any countries at the moment, so no

16) Who did you want to win Big Brother?
More importantly, who's your daddy now? (hahahaha. i'm leaving V's answer.)

17) Where do you live now?
Hwajung, KR

18) Describe your birthday?
A place called the Feather Boa, with Candace, Dom, Jolee and some other people, then dancing at some Hong Kong night club, finished up by taking the bus back to Tuen Mun.

19) What's one thing you thought you wouldn't do but did in 2007?
Hahahaha. What it is happened in Hong Kong.

20) What has been your favorite moment?
Spending the summer with my nieces.

21) What's something you learned about yourself?
If you keep on plowing through, all bad things do end.

22.) Any new additions to your family?
Nope.

23.) What was your best month?
July

24.) What music will you remember 2007 by?
lots of random hip hop with the girls in Korea on Ladies' Night, Amy Winehouse and Justin Timberlake with Candace

26.) Made new friends?
lots

27) Best "new friend"?
they're all cool

28) Best new hotspot?
Anywhere I'm at baby

29) Best movie you saw this year?
Nothing is popping in my head - I don't really watch many movies. I became addicted to Grey's Anatomy though.

30) Favorite gift of the year?
You can't go wrong with chocolate and V-neck sweaters, as my parents have learned ;) And books. I love books.

31) Favorite Night out?
Pride Weekend in Toronto, maybe. Or the week leading up to my leaving Korea in April, those were all pretty wild.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

You Know You've Written Too Many Xmas Cards When...

... you write the address of the recipient in the top left hand corner under your own name. Twice.

And yes, if you take a little gander at your callendar, they are going to be incredibly late.

I have been procrastinating horribly, which is odd, as I quite like doing them, even in huge quantities. However, much of the procrastination has been driven by the packages and my complete lack of ability to find bubble envelopes anywhere.

Today, after finally using a number of slightly odd packaging solutions, I finally found some bubble envelopes, naturally.

I have one last little thing to package up, after a quick trip to the 7-11 tomorrow, and then it's off to the post office!

Batshit Crazy!

Yesterday during afternoon prep, our boss brought out our pay stubbs.

Then Christi went batshit crazy, had a screaming match with him in the teacher's room, went home in a snit, packed up, and today left the country.

Dudes, I can barely make it to the post office given a good couple of weeks of knowing I need to. I am astounded by the logistics that must have been invovled.

We had a new girl coming anyway, to work herself towards a Academic Coordinator position, so it isn't as crazy as it could be, from what I can tell.

Let's just hope she's not crazy too, cause she's gonna be sitting next to me, and really, four months of crazy really ought to be enough for one girl.

Happy Holidays ;)



Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Little Things That Disappear

Sometimes I think that the part of my brain that is responsible for remembering the little things, like where I left my keys, where I took off my glasses, or where that piece of paper i just had in my hand went, fell out one day, unnoticed.

It was replaced by extra snot storage. It has to have been, because otherwise where does it all come from?

I think the universe likes to fuck with me. A month ago I lost my tweezers. I bought new ones, figuring that would lead me to find them, because really, you can only lose tweezers in your own house somewhere. They seem bound to turn up. Today I finally found them, while making up Christmas packages. You see, I usually use old bubble envelopes sent to me to package up gifts, in an environmentally friendly way. This year, all my gifts from my family arrived via my little sister's visit, so I don't have any. Inspiration struck and I decided to use plastic bags. They fill up all that extra space nicely, I have millions of them, AND the other person can either reuse them or recycle them upon arrival. Brilliant, right? As I pulled out some of them from the messy pile in a cupboard, out fell my tweezers. In a million years, I would never have looked there, so I was only ever going to find them by accident.

It's been a weird weekend. I stayed in because I accidentally shorted myself when I transfered money home. I forgot that I was going to buy a new phone and then didn't have quite enough money to do much this weekend. I easily could have taken money back out of my Canadian account, but it's been kinda a long couple of weeks and so I decided I should just chill for the weekend. I watched movies, read a couple of books, napped a lot, ate the random food that was already in my cupboards (contrary to popular belief, you can't really throw just anything into pasta and have it taste decent...), chilled. Then I went out for Bonny's birthday dinner at VIPS and ate far too much at the salad bar.

Naturally, the list of to-dos I thought would get accomplished are still sitting around, in need of being done.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Students Make Me Laugh and Sigh

He has a round, red nose. He has a long two horns and he has four long, thin legs. It has a happiest face when he runs by Santa. and he has a meanest face when his friend tease him , and he has a saddest face whe Santa get drunk a booze.

Emily, Grade 4

When I grow I will become woman, I will cook good.

Sarah, Grade 1

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Lost

I have finally gotten around to watching Season 1 and I must say, I think I'm hooked!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I Think I Might Be More Girly Than I Want To Admit

samarra says:
ahhhh yes, the dreaded shaving

Amanda says:
yep

Amanda says:
i wanna wear my skirt

Amanda says:
sigh

samarra says:
that is quite the dilemma

Amanda says:
lol

Amanda says:
i know

Amanda says:
akin to solving issues of world peace

samarra says:
truly

samarra says:
it's a wonder more women don't get the nobel peace prize

I Wonder Who The Other Five Would Be

s says:
i'm sleepy

Amanda says:
i'm hungover

Amanda says:
and we are two of the expat dwarfs

I Will Only Eat One Meal Today, But Look How Perfect It Is

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Soap

As I went to wash the dishes tonight, I suddenly realised that a) I was out of soap and b) this has never happened to me before. Back in the days of Edinburgh flats and Vancouver basement apartments, I never ran out of dish soap because I always had at the back of my mind a mental list of what we had in our fridge and cupboards and what was running low. Certainly the ex didn't keep such things in his head - he was responsible for the ten opened and 3/4 full bottles of salad cream.

It struck me that being single has some benefits that people often over look. Not having to have that damn mental inventory is certainly one of them. In my happy, swinging-single days, the only food related thought on my mind is whether the place downstairs delivers or only does take out.

But I'm going to have to buy some soap. I think I'll make a list.

Interesting Time Wasters

The Wooster Collective - some street art.

Cat Cam - a cat's day.

Mah Laud...

I wonder why my voice went all southern when I read Mama Bear's lines in Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Also, when did I learn to put on a southern accent, even if it was a bad one???

Emerson

Family members of mine now have babies that I didn't even know they were pregnant with. I am shockingly out of the loop, even if we are talking about the kid of my mom's cousin. I think. Anyways, congrats!

This Is About the Opposite of What I Expected

I have never in my life seen people drink the way they do here in Korea - expats and Korean people alike. So when I was sent a link to an article about drinking in contemporary South Korea I can tell you, this isn't the article I expected to read...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ahhh, the Hypocracy of Teaching...


Amy and I are two peas in a pod, it seems.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Yes. Yes, it is easy...

I sincerely hope I have to teach a class about farm animals soon...



Thanks to the Thirsty Gargoyle for the link.

Ugly Betty - Love It!

"What do we want?"

"Integrated chocolates!"

"When do we want them?"

"Now?!?"

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving, Y'all

So, I thought I'd take the opportunity of American Thanksgiving to finally get around to telling you about my Canadian one...

Hahahaha. Ok, ok. First the American one. Coworkers all got together to make the meal - very Mokdong Poly Xmas meal-esque - and once again I made the mashed potatoes. I make wicked ass mashed potatoes, when I'm not busy servering my fingers while trying to cut and peel them. I had a bout of seafood-not-cooked-itis all day before this and in fact just woke up after a day off work (not the whole day, I had a kindergarden open class to show up for, which I managed by spending a lot of time trying to look casual while leaning on a wall...), just in time to make said mashed potatoes. Thankfully, my throwing up hours had passed, so I got to indulge.

We had chicken, not turkey. First off, Korean people just don't eat turkey, so you can't get it anywhere that isn't catering specifically to foreigners. Secondly, ovens are very uncommon in apartments here, which meant we were relying on toaster ovens. This is why I offered to make the mashed potatoes - my toaster oven is very, very small.

I then attended Annie's Thanksgiving, with turkey and all the trimmings from off the base. Yummy. Plus we celebrated with lots of wine, followed by a very, very drunken trip to Soho. Lots of free shots says Thanksgiving to me.

But for Canadian Thanksgiving, I went to Rocky Mountain Tavern, the Canadian bar in Itaewon, with Samarra and others. We drank Canadian beer, ate the worst poutine ever, and ended up drinking some Canada Dry Gingerale.

When you don't have much to work with, it's important to be creative. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

The Road Not Taken

Ms. J's class is making poetry anthologies and one of her students included this poem in his homework. She told me that it was her favourite poem and it occurred to me that it has been too long since I have read any good poetry and also how much more I love this poem in its entirety, rather than the often quoted last lines.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost

Argg!

After The Thirsty Gargoyle got an R rating when I only got a PG-13, I thought maybe I'd check my rating again, just for kicks. I've slipped down to a PG!!! I recently blogged about exploding my vibrator! Didn't I? If I didn't, I should have, as it would have been quite the amusing headline if I had burnt down the building or something...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

This Summarizes My Saturday



Plus, I seem to need to host it somewhere to make it my default blogger pic.

Gift Train!

By way of AO and Frog.

By the end of the calendar year, I will send a tangible, physical gift to each of the first five people to comment here, so long as each of those five people are willing to make the same offer in their own LJ or blog. Just comment and then email me your address (chinook _ wind at hotmail dot com.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Squick!

I didn't have a lot of time today for extra prep, what with tests and report cards and monthly writing assignments... The list just keeps on going, believe me.

So, I did this easy-ass (well, sort of, if I was craftier) Thanksgiving style craft. And I used a very quick powerpoint presentation created by a coworker to explain the "history" of Thanksgiving to my students first. American Thanksgiving, complete with Mayflower and Pilgrims and everything. So not my own Canadian Thanksgiving, which doesn't seem to get much in the way of explination, such that I can recall anyway, and is more all about some turkey and pie. In fact, up until fairly recently I could take or leave the pumpkin pie and I spent my veggie years without the turkey, but anyway...

This post does a great job of explaining that squick feeling I got in my stomach. Leave behind the great food and the funny-but-slightly-dysfunctional family moments and Thanksgiving leaves me with a sick feeling in my stomach and a bad taste in my mouth.

And that's not good for a holiday that usually does just the opposite, culinary wise.

Just Couldn't Be Arsed

Do you ever get in that mood where you don't want to cook, you don't want to order in, you don't want to go out? That's tonight's mood. I'm overtired, it's been a long day, I had to stay an extra 20 minutes at work to finish off my last class worth of report cards, and basically what I really wanted a magic, futuristic pill that would just make me not hungry without any actual effort.

The best available option seemed to be the instant Thai noodle soup I bought on impulse about a week ago, intruigued because instant-anything-not-Korean isn't exactly common in stores here.

It was good. Except. Where the instructions read, "Add chili flavour to taste," what I apparently needed to have read is, "Don't add the whole packet right away, ya fucking idiot, or it'll burn your mouth and leave you over-salivating for a good hour."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Interesting

Man Builds Toilet-shaped House
Man Builds Toilet-shaped House

Feelings (please hum the Streisand song)

From a first grade assignment on feelings:

"I was angry when I had to go to Church and I can't see God."

I Suppose Snoring Might Break the Students' Concentration

I'm sitting on test day in an overheated classroom after a night of not enough sleep.

I can barely keep my eyes open.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Server Is Busy

What's up with that? This has never happened to me while using Hotmail before. And today it's happened three times.

Unicorns Are The Next Chuck Norris

According to the Hipster Olympics.

Thank God I Didn't Have the Internet At Home During University

I Am Not Much of a Fashionista

There are some interesting street fashion blogs out there on the web.

I like looking at them because it's interesting how differently people dress in different places. Korea is certainly very different fashion-wise than anywhere else I have ever lived. The women wear more high heels than anywhere else, for one. Even more than in Paris it looks like.

But what amuses me the most is what people have to say about their outfits. For example, on woman states: "I found my jacket and leather shorts in Emmaus second hand shop. I've always liked red and black. And all the primary colours. Piet Mondrian, Rubik's cube, seamarks and Russian avantgarde artists have always inspired me."

If I was stopped on the street for one of these things during the week, I'd end up saying something like "I'm inspired by things that aren't dirty and are easy to find in my early morning stupor. I've always liked to try and match colours, though I can't say I always achieve it. I attempt to wear things without any holes and that keep my clevage out of sight."

Ha!

Then on this one, I noticed that one of the people has a very, very interesting job title: "Welfe, 26, jewellery designer & Sofia, 19, personal jesus, from Australia"

You don't see that advertised in your average Jobs section of the newspaper.

What Am I Going to Eat Now?

I finished my last Kraft Dinner today. Hungover Sundays are about to become a lot more difficult. What am I supposed to eat now? I need carbs, I need cheesiness, I need easy to prepare and fast. Sigh. I'm sure I could buy more in Itaewon, but it will take me ages to get around to it.

When Did Milk Stop Being a Staple For Me?

I think it was around the time I started drinking my water straight from the bottle. Hmmmm.

Cravings

I spent all day craving a glass of Coke intensely. But, I'm lazy and I was fairly hungover and I couldn't be bothered. When I finally did rouse myself from my lazy stupour to go to the 7-11, I ended up with milk, orange juice, Coke, and a glass jar of sliced peaches. Which I've just eaten with some dill pickles while watching Private Practice.

Yep, I'm offically odd.

It's Air France Pilot's Jacket Time

My apartment sucks for figuring out the weather. The next building over is so close that the woman living there sometimes waves to me when she washes her dishes. It's almost impossible to look out and tell if it's raining or sunny. And now that it's winter, somehow my apartment is still so toasty all the time. Apparently lots of other people have started turning on the heat, but so far I've never had to do anything but put on a sweater once or twice. And it's not like I have a high tolerance for cold or anything, in fact for a Canadian born and bred, I have a ridiculous hatred of cold and no ability to put up with it. Especially transitioning from hot to cold - I shiver like crazy.

This bodes well for the winter and low heating bills. And is good for the environment too. However, I love, love, love floor heating and have been fighting the urge to pamper myself by turning it on today. There is nothing nicer than a hot floor on bare feet in the morning.

Well, maybe those heated toilet seats. I tell ya, I could have used those back in Canada.

Musings on Important Matters

I have been spending my lazy Sunday pondering an age old question, one that has baffled poets and scientists and philosophers over the centuries.

Where exactly does all the snot come from???

I am Such a Geek


Maybe it's teaching children, but this article fascinated me:

Volcanoes could have caused dinosaur deaths
Growing body of evidence suggests extinction came from more than meteor

New research suggests that volcanoes that erupted between 63 million to 67 million years ago may have contributed to a mass dinosaur extinction.

Instead of being driven to extinction by death from above, dinosaurs might have ultimately been doomed by death from below in the form of monumental volcanic eruptions.

The suggestion is based on new research that is part of a growing body of evidence indicating a space rock alone did not wipe out the giant reptiles.

The Age of Dinosaurs ended roughly 65 million years ago with the K-T or Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event, which killed off all dinosaurs save those that became birds, as well as roughly half of all species on the planet, including pterosaurs. The prime suspect in this ancient murder mystery is an asteroid or comet impact, which left a vast crater at Chicxulub on the coast of Mexico.

Another leading culprit is a series of colossal volcanic eruptions that occurred between 63 million to 67 million years ago. These created the gigantic Deccan Traps lava beds in India, whose original extent may have covered as much as 580,000 square miles (1.5 million square kilometers), or more than twice the area of Texas.

Arguments over which disaster killed the dinosaurs often revolve around when each happened and whether extinctions followed. Previous work had only narrowed the timing of the Deccan eruptions to within 300,000 to 500,000 years of the extinction event.

Now research suggests the mass extinction happened at or just after the biggest phase of the Deccan eruptions, which spewed 80 percent of the lava found at the Deccan Traps.

"It's the first time we can directly link the main phase of the Deccan Traps to the mass extinction," said Princeton University paleontologist Gerta Keller.

Clues in other life forms
Keller and colleagues focused on marine fossils excavated at quarries at Rajahmundry, India, near the Bay of Bengal, about 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) southeast of the center of the Deccan Traps near Mumbai. Specifically, they looked at the remains of microscopic shell-forming organisms known as foraminifera.

"Before the mass extinction, most of the foraminifera species were comparatively large, very flamboyant, very specialized, very ornate, with many chambers," Keller explained. These foraminifera were roughly 200 to 350 microns large, or a fifth to a third of a millimeter long.

These showy foraminifera were very specialized for particular ecological niches.

"When the environment changed, as it did around K-T, that prompted their extinction," she added. "The foraminifera that followed were extremely tiny, one-twentieth the size of the species before, with absolutely no ornamentation, just a few chambers." As such, these puny foraminifera serve as very distinct tags of when the K-T extinction event started.

The researchers found these simple foraminifera seem to have popped up right after the main phase of the Deccan volcanism. This in turn hints these eruptions came immediately before the mass extinction, and might have caused it.

Double trouble
Both an impact from space and volcanic eruptions would have injected vast clouds of dust and other emissions into the sky, dramatically altering global climate and triggering die-offs. Keller's collaborator, volcanologist Vincent Courtillot at the Institute of Geophysics in Paris, noted upcoming work from her collaborators suggests the Deccan eruptions could have quickly released 10 times more climate-altering emissions than the nearly simultaneous Chicxulub impact.

Keller stressed these findings do not deny that an impact occurred around the K-T boundary, and noted that one or possibly several impacts may have had a hand in the mass extinction. "The dinosaurs might have faced an unfortunate coincidence of a one-two punch—of Deccan volcanism and then a hit from space," she explained. "We just show the Deccan eruptions might have had a significant impact — no pun intended."

Although paleontologist Kirk Johnson at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science called these new findings "significant," he noted a great deal of evidence connected a single massive impact with the K-T extinction event. He suggested that advances in radioisotope dating could now hone down when the Deccan eruptions occurred to within 30,000 to 65,000 years. "That could help put to bed some of the disputes regarding the issue," he said.

Keller and her collaborator Thierry Adatte at the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland detailed their findings Oct. 31 at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Denver.

© 2007 LiveScience.com. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Cheshire Cat Probably Wants His Smile Back

I got the best, best, best news in the mail today!!!

I have been grinning like an idiot ever since!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Candace's List of Things Essential to Happiness (in no particular order)

Physical Stuff

1. Exercise (releases endorphins, gives you energy, and just makes you feel good in general)

2. Sunshine (helps in the production if vitamin D which makes you absorb calcium and also makes you feel good)

3. Healthy food that your body can use (no weird chemicals)

4. Omega 3 and B Vitamins

Psychological/Spiritual Stuff

5. Meaningful relationships (having people who support you and who you can go to whenever you need them - people who see you for exactly who you are and love you anyways)

6. Appreciating small things everyday

7. Laughing (at yourself, with others etc)

8.Embracing Change

9. Letting go when necessary

10. Accepting uncertainty

11. Not taking things personally

12. Assuming the core-goodness of everyone

13. Being thankful

14. Being true to your character

15. Being forgiving (of others and yourself)

16. Spreading your crazy around (don't concentrate it all on one person!)

Wabi**

God, it's complex. How is that simple things turn out to be so difficult? I guess that is life, and really, if things were simplier, they might not hold as much value. But still!

wabi - the flaw in the object that makes it more interesting.

Apparently I Double Tag (and to be honest, I double dip too.)

Back when I was on Exchange in Edinburgh, I went to the St. Andrew's Day Ball with four friends I lived in residence with. We got all fancied up (and I remember the dress shopping taking ages and costing far more than I wanted to spend) and ended up getting one of those professional photos done that they all have at things like this.

When we finally got the photos back, everyone stared at their copy and immediately found something wrong with the picture. Naturally, each of us only saw flaws in ourselves. Naturally, everyone else looked fantastically beautiful. If I remember correctly, my main beef with myself was that one of the straps of my dress had slipped off my shoulder and I thought it looked ridiculous.

So, zip forward to the present. Everyone and their brother posts photos online. I've been doing it for about 4 years now, so my family can see where I've been. I started out just scanning on my favourites, but with the digital I put on most of what I don't delete as horrible shots. And so does everyone else. And sure, you share around the photos you take with those who were there and didn't take any. That seems to be fairly standard.

Now that Facebook has added tagging, it's all that much weirder, I guess. I've got friends who can't be tagged in smoking photos, and friends who don't want to be tagged looking "too drunk" (no idea how I am ever meant to judge that), friends who think that this photo of them is ugly, why is it up??? It cracks me up. Because, folks, just like I think you all put up tons of photos of me that are cringe-worthy and yet you just chucked them up there, I too am not looking and obsessing about every detail of photos except the ones I have of me! Basically, it's the age old problem, just in a computer age. Most of those pics you think are horrible, other people just don't see it that way. They think you look fine. They might even think you look gorgeous. Untag yourself if you feel the need, but there seems no need to do anything more.

It just cracks me up! Double tagging is the new double dipping! We can all now feel slighted over pictures that others must have put up just to make us look bad!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

You know what's disturbing?

How dirty the water is after I wash my hands when I get home each evening from school. And it's not like I don't wash them several times a day at school too. Nasty.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Hmmmm

I appear to be a horrible friend.

I have one friend accusing me left, right and centre of ignoring her texts. I didn't think I was that bad. Interestingly, this person forgot about my North Korea trip, which I had been talking about incessantly, not least because I wasn't overly keen on hiking with impending pneumonia. One of the nights that I ended up feeling like I was supposed to feel very guilty, I didn't check my phone because I was out on a date! I ended up feeling horrible, like I was responsible for ruining someone's night out. And I felt a bit resentful about that, because I basically invite anyone along to any sort of plans, all the time. That hasn't been reciprocated by this person, and yet somehow I am left feeling guilty.

And we had what I assume was an argument last night. Basically, she accused me of calling her a suck, which wasn't the case at all, and then stopped chatting. What can you do? I was merely expressing my lack of ability to understand what exactly was the problem. That seems fair, since I keep being told about it and I don't get it. I could pretend to get it, but I don't and I don't see how stating that translates into me calling someone a suck. I don't know the people, I don't get how personal history affects the situation, and nothing I've been told about the present situation sounds shockingly different than what goes on in hagwons here all the time. A lot of it doesn't sound much different from nasty ass politics I have encountered at every single job I have ever had. Now, that isn't for everyone and that's fine. But I don't get it and was looking for some sort of clarification. And to a certain extent, in Korea, I judge stories of working conditions by a slightly different yardstick. I mean, I presently work with a woman who stuck it out 8 months without a working toilet in her work-provided apartment. Now, I happen to think that's somewhat crazy and I would have fucked off by the end of the first month. But it does put a lot of other "my hagwon done me wrong" stories into a totally different perspective, you know? Those Dave's ESL Cafe stories of hell are occassionally true. Stay around long enough, you start to know people who have gone through them. And you'll undoubtably at least brush by one yourself.

Part of this may well have to do with being something of an old hand here. In a country where most of the foreigners stay a year, if that, and no longer, my third contract makes me something of a long termer. I have a lot to say about Korea and what it's like working here. And I can't normally be arsed saying it to newbies. I find that someone (and I am most certainly not directing this at anyone in particular, because every newbie seems to do it) who has been around for 6 months or so will still think they understand Korea better than or as well as I do. There are certainly people who undersand Korea far better than I. Some might even have clocked in less time here. But in that case, presumably they are fairly fluent in Korean and very well read. That doesn't really describe much of anyone I personally know here though. And you know, at some point experience really does start to count for something.

And back to the text ignoring. I work like a fucking maniac, so I don't often check for texts during the work day. I regularly mark through my 5 minute breaks. In 11 hours, I will take 40 mins for myself at lunch and then maybe another 15 to go get a coffee during prep time. Other than that, I'm working full out. I care about doing my job well and with the number of students I have, that takes a hell of a lot of work. And I am occasionally lazy and forget to charge my shitty ass batteries, which now last for about one 5 minute phone call, and thus can't check for them. I get it, I need a new phone. But the lazy has stopped me from bothering, thus far. Though I can't call Canada until I do.

So I suppose that is another thing. I am a horrible daughter, sister, aunt, etc. I haven't called home since I've been here, due to the shitty cell phone issue. And I don't have a landline. I blog, but seldom email. However, people seldom email me. So.

Then, there were two separate leaving parties that I left early during and it has been suggested to me that I should have made it until 6am or the party girl left, whichever came first. Interestingly, they were both for people who were drunk as skunks by the time I arrived on my last night in Korea at the end of year two and were both gone by midnight, one of whom didn't even say goodbye. I didn't care in the slightest. These things happen when people are drinking. You peace out when you need to peace out. For one, I was drunk as a skunk, couldn't find anyone, and didn't have a working cell phone. For the second, I had bronchitis and was tired and sober and coughing every ten seconds while in smokey bars. To top it off, one of the people who seems all "disappointed" that I left early for the first party, herself left and went to a different neighbourhood to drink! At least I had the excuse of being passed out in my bed, rather than drinking elsewhere.

As for the other individual who thinks they are being ignored by text - well, that is actually the case and it may well continue.

So, yes, this is a completely passive aggressive post. I don't actually think I am the most terrible friend ever. I do my damnedest. I try to be around and out when people want me to be. I have spent years keeping in better touch with many people than they have kept with me. As the one overseas all the time, that seems natural. I try and send letters and postcards and remember birthdays and all that. I do my best. Are people really looking for more than that? And if so, do they really think they are regularly doing any better?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Short (later the Long)

I hiked, there were lots of soldiers, I ate crap, I Kimed it up!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Did you know?

It's possible to melt the wires of a vibrator? Melt!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Why Halloween Kicks A Normal Day's Ass

1. Kids are cute in costume.
2. Moms are cute when they take that many pictures. I have been immortalized in the photo albums of many a Korean child today.
3. Test days kick ass. I'm not so far behind on my marking anymore.
4. I have that "I'm wearing a hat" feeling long after taking off my witch's head gear.
5. The woman in the restaurant didn't even blink when four foreigners came in for bibimbap dressed in costume.
6. I ate too much sugary crap.
7. Face painting was a super chill way to spend the morning. Plus, my strawberry drawing skills are now top notch.
8. I carved mini pumpkins with OT and Jen last night.
9. It's OT's birthday.
10. We had kick ass food. Galbi, that egg thing, tofu, soup, the fucking red sauce of wonderfulness...
11. There was chocolate cake that tasted like brownies.
12. We played the game where you float an empty shot glass in a glass of beer and take turns pouring in soju. The sinker has to drink.
13. I didn't have to one-shot anything.
14. The lady brought us coals to put under the tables to keep us warm outside.
15. We met new foreigners in our building.


As for Halloween in Itaewon over the weekend, it was great. I didn't have the most obvious costume, as I went in the guise of a sober person. Yep, that's right. I am in the midst of another bout of bronchitis, I'm heading north to chill with the commies on the weekend, and I'm trying to avoid it morphing into anything worse for that reason. They have me on so many pills, even I quaked at the idea of mixing it all with booze. It was an odd evening to be sober - the costumes at Wolfhound were fantastic, Brian seemed to have a good time on his first night out in Itaewon and Hongdae, we managed the curfew thing by the skin of our teeth, chilled out on a couch in Bricxx (which is oddly where I started my Halloween last year in Seoul, it's a redo, but backwards).

It was Sarah's last weekend and her birthday. We started out at Buddha's Belly and no doubt annoyed the staff to death, as tons of extra people showed up and we kept yogi-ohing for extra chairs and another meal order and... Aside from Wolfhound, we also stopped into Friends, to have a place to sit and chat. I'm really going to miss Sarah.

The rest of my weekend was all about lazing around and watching DVDs with Brian. We watched the Bourne Ultimatum, which was good, and 28 Weeks Later, which wasn't nearly as good as the original. We even went out to the "Chinese" place, which was fantastic as always.

You know you've been gone from North America a long time when you can't recall if Halloween is one of those holidays that happens even if it falls on a week night on that day, or if it gets pushed to a weekend...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Friend Wheel

He Has Terrible Taste in Music

But he puts me in a happy mood. As did carving mini-pumpkins tonight. As does my neat house. And the jaunt north this weekend. Even my cold is kinda fun, because I paid $4 for chest x-ray today. Four dollars! You know you are obsessed with photo-taking when you wish someone could have been there to document it... ;)

Monday, October 29, 2007

What I Learned in Canada

-I really don't want three kids, as lovely as kids are

-The Backyardagins are ok as long as you don't have to listen to them while the DVD plays on repeat every time you get in the car

-24 hours of children's programming is just.too.much (damn you Treehouse!)

-I miss patios

-Only ever go to a Science Center on sunny summer days or wait in line forever

-Bra shopping is no easier here

-Reading an actual newspaper on a weekend morning is a sensual pleasure the internet will never be able to top

-Tourist attractions are ridiculously expensive outside of Asia

-You will bump into people you know in this city, even if you haven't lived here for 7 years

-Don't take your hand off of the electricity ball

-I miss vegetables

-Two year olds will say "mine!" every ten seconds or so

-Having the grandchildren really is the way to go to get to the top of the heap ;)

-Nothing is as big as I remember - not this town, not how long it takes to walk places, or the buildings in downtown Toronto

Hmmmm...

If you decorate with a blanket stolen from a Korean Air flight, what does that say about you?

I "did" something cultural on the weekend.

And finally caved and saw a doctor.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hot! Hot! Heat!

I have a fever. In fact, right now that feels like an understatement. I feel like I could power all of Seoul with my heat.

But in the chills portion of this lovely cold, even three layers of wool left me shivering while my coworkers ran around in T-shirts.

I also have a very, very sore neck and an odd cough that makes the top of my head hurt.

Gah. If you aren't a doctor, but you like to play one on the internet, feel free to offer advice.

I've ruled out menangitis. There is a chicken pox outbreak at school...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Seriously? Seriously???

It's the end of October. Why are there mosquitos in my apartment?

It's not the bites, though they're no fun. Especially since I'm allergic to mosquito bites and have to take antihistimines to prevent my entire body from swelling up like a giant balloon or my eyes swelling shut or something (that's happened three times - once when my nana was watching me as a child, very amusing story, and twice since I've been old enough to remember.)

It's that fucking buzzing. Why do they have to do constant ear fly-bys??? It drives me fucking up the wall with anger and impotence. I could not kill that last little fucker. I slept with my lights and glasses on in the end because I was lying there ready to try and take him down.

What I need is evil minions. Ones with super fast reflexes.

Sometimes Kids Are Scary

Like when they appear to remember everything you have ever said to them or make incredible connections.

Lucy is apparently never going to forget the story I told about my two pet cats eating my two pet mice. And she compared her class to meadowlarks after I told them that meadowlarks like to sing a lot. She's quite freakily intelligent.

Teaching at a Poly School again has reminded me just why I like teaching. I hadn't realised how much a year at a school with a ridiculous timetable, badly done ciriculum and levelling, and a boss who was a constant thorn in my side had sapped my love of teaching.

Poly exhausts me. The hours are long, the demands are high, there are constant Open Classes. And yet. It's good. Quite good.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Cigar...

... and sometimes a packet that says it's onion flavoured cream cheese turns out to be wet wipes.

Sigh. I'm hungover, I want to eat! I want onion flavoured cream cheese!

I guess I can't complain too much, it was one of those "taped to something else" freebies that Korean supermarkets are so fond of. I'd take a picture to show you just how misleading the package is, except I forgot my camera at Margaret's last night. I thought to myself, as I was leaving, "Don't forget your camera!" but since my brain can basically only hold a thought for about as long as a fish memory lasts (reputed to be three seconds, but that might just be random bullshit), I managed to leave without it anyway.

So, I've been pondering hangovers. Thank Maude I don't get real ones. Mine are just a combo of tiredness from staying out till the sun comes up and dehydration. I occassionally get the sick feeling, but that is an indicator that I had way too much. How do people manage if they get real ones? Mine are bad enough, as I want to laze around in bed and eat everything with carbs that exists.

Thus, I must really get someone to send me more Kraft Dinner and ensure I always have milk in the house. Though Julie is my hero for introducing me to making Mac & Cheese with plastic cheese slices - it made up for the lack of milk and apparently with some Cheese Whiz thrown in, I won't need Kraft's help.

It's funny how sometimes inferior foods just taste better. Plastic cheese is a must for grilled cheese sandwiches. Nothing else will do.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Things That Make You Go Hmmm

Cold bonjuk with cashews tastes quite good.

Friday was even more frantic than Thursday, but I got those fucking report cards done 15 mins after classes ended and was out of there.

Thank Fuck It's Friday.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

It's a Good Thing I Didn't Bring My Handgun to Work Today*

*Thanks to OT for the quote.

I had a very odd day at work today. It made me angry, inexplicably. The morning was great - kindergarten field trip to the zoo? Could it get any better??? I had a great time, the kids were awesome.

I think it might have been missing my own lunch time. That 40 minutes of not working in the course of a 10.5 hour day is very, very important to my sanity. Otherwise, I'm on the go non-stop, teaching, preping, getting books for the next class in my 5 minutes between classes. My schedule is intense.

So why Tyler planned a meeting for today, straight after we got back from the field trip, I don't know. But, there has been a change regarding homework, that annoys me and I feel I already had the marking covered more than adequately, and I was just annoyed.

Then one of my coworkers, who I have been nothing but nice to, who I have socialized with and listened sympathetically to when she complained, accused me of intentionally shutting the door on her. Which was totally not the case. I mean, obviously. Anyway, since I was having a bizarrely off day already, I totally bitched back at her. And I feel that wasn't terribly professional but also not uncalled for. I suppose I should perhaps smooth the waters tomorrow, though she has stated she might be quitting, so it might not matter much in 30 days time!

But, a very odd day. For example, I had to teach writing. I swore up and down that my book was missing. And it was right on my shelf, where it should have been. I looked at it a million times and just didn't see it. I don't know where my brain was today.

But... Speeches started off well today, tomorrow is Friday, I might have a date as well.

And I'm toying with going to Borneo for Christmas holiday...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Excusez-moi, garcon?

Why do people say "pardon my French" to excuse swearing? I'm too lazy and tired to google it and I'm sure someone who reads here must know.

Also, in unrelated news, the 30,000 steak at Outback with the mushroom topping is not worth 8,000 more than the one I usually get. Also, how was I ever a vegetarian for so long? I love steak! Love! Steak!

I Need Sleep

I have sat on/leaned on and bent both pairs of glasses within the last 24 hours. Thank god they can be bent back. But perhaps it's time to buy another pair...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Questions from Frog

If you could have a one-on-one lunch with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Lucy, the Australopithecus. Because this is the archaeology I should have studied at university - I find it fascinating in a way that the Greeks and Romans never interested me.

How did your favorite color become your favorite color?

Hmmm. It's blue, I guess. I think basically that I liked pink, in a stereotypical little girl way, and then got very fed up with it. When it next came time to paint my bedroom (we moved) that's what I went with. The opposite of pink, in gender terms. And because I have blue eyes, all through highschool I wore a ton of blue clothes, since they made my eyes look nicer, or so I thought. If I ponder it longer, I'm not sure I have a favourite colour anymore. I still answer blue, but these days I find that I appreciate all of the colours, for different reasons and in different settings. I feel like the older I get, the less certain I am about much of anything, and apparently that includes my favourite colour. All those shades of grey have turned my blue into a rainbow... Or something. And that makes me sound rather like I am on drugs.

Describe your ideal home.

I'm not sure if this was meant to be as impossible a question to answer as it is, but wow. I've spent a good day thinking about this and getting nowhere. Right now, my little place suits me just fine. Not too big to require much cleaning, it has a bed, a computer and a toaster. There are shelves for my books. There is music, and as of last weekend, there are candles. This is absolutely ideal, for right now. Perhaps minus the flooding. I have been thinking a lot lately about how contented I am these days with where I am and how little real thought I have put into future plans. I am not sure if that is a bad or good thing, but it certainly is my thing, as of late.

I used to toy with the extremes of living in listed flat in Edinburgh in the city centre or out in a croft in the Hebrides. Sometimes I think that maybe that first ideal home, the one in downtown Toronto, in an older house, one that resembles either of the houses my Aunt Lynne & Uncle Donald have had their fabulous parties in, with the dark paint on the walls and the candles suspended over the bathtub, might perhaps still be the most tempting ideal. As a teenager, and in fact now, I thought my Aunt Lynne was just the coolest person ever. If she doesn't read my blog, perhaps mom could feel free to tell her that? In fact, and I'm getting really off topic here, I've had some amazing aunts. My Aunt Corrine when I was younger I thought was sooooo cool and fun. My Aunt Julie always made me these special presents, like care packages for university, which always touched me because it was obvious she understood what the milestones I was going through meant to me, though many others might not have considered them worth marking. All the aunts that come to my parents' house for get togethers, with food and chat and a lot of laughing. My Great Aunt Joan, my Nana's twin, who I got to show Edinburgh to.

Back to the ideal home. The thing is that there is the whole world to see. How could I possibly pick just one ideal home, with the whole world out there? I mean, how could I want a flat in London, or an apartment in Buenos Aries, or a bungalow in Indonesia, or... Right now, my ideal home is my suitcase and all I can stuff in it, combined with all the love and friendship of all the people who I try to keep in touch with properly (though I often fail horribly.) I wonder if there is ever a time when my ideal home will be more rooted?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fluff

"He's Just Not That Into You" by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. Gah, gah, gah. This is what comes of reading out of someone else's bookshelf.

"Lipstick Jungle" by Candace Bushnell. Meh. It was fine, I guess. Passed the time in a relatively interesting way and was the untaxing read I was looking for.
And what a joy it was! ... To be one her own in the world, free. Why did the world never tell women about this kind of happiness? The feeling might not last, but it didn't matter. What was important was to experience everything in life, the struggles and the sadness, and the dizzying triumphs.

Shane wanted something intangible (possibly self-esteem), something emotional, but the problem with filling that emotional emptiness was that it wasn't something else someone could give you. It had to come from inside.

Where's My Ark?

My apartment flooded. There is some sort of leak with the hot water pipe to my washing machine. It was far too early in the morning when I heard what I thought was rain and then slowly realised wasn't...

The only damage was two boxes of Kleenex. And the bonus is that I now have very clean floors.

But, because I cleaned the whole apartment, a lot of dust got into the air. Thus I went through a lot more Kleenex. And now I'm out!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I Like It

Remake of a Ramones' Song, on BlueLily's Blog.

Happy National Coming Out Day!

Enjoy! I know I did!

Alexander Has It Right

"My bath was too hot, I got soap in my eyes, my marble went down the drain, and I had to wear my railroad-train pajamas. I hate my railroad-train pajamas."
Judith Viorst, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

It's that time of the month. And it's been that type of week.

Go, Doris!

I have two of her books sitting in my shelves right now. I think this determines what I'll be reading next (after getting weepy while reading Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner, right after watching the second episode of Private Practice. And not because I have any desire to have any babies of my own, let me make that clear. But because dying babies have to be the saddest subject on Earth.)

Doris Lessing wins Nobel for literature

By MATT MOORE and KARL RITTER

English writer Doris Lessing, who ended her formal schooling at age 13 and went on to write novels that explored relationships between women and society and interracial dynamics, won the 2007 Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday.

Lessing, who turns 88 in just over a week, was born to British parents who were living in what at the time was Persia. The family later moved to what is now Zimbabwe, where she spent her childhood and adolescent years.

She made her debut with "The Grass Is Singing" in 1950. Her other works include the semi-autobiographical "Children Of Violence" series, set in Africa and England.

"We are absolutely delighted and it's very well deserved," said Lessing's agent, Jonathan Clowes. He added Lessing was out shopping and may not yet know that she had won the prize.

Her breakthrough was "The Golden Notebook," in 1962, the Swedish Academy said.

"The burgeoning feminist movement saw it as a pioneering work and it belongs to the handful of books that inform the 20th-century view of the male-female relationship," the academy said in its citation announcing the prize.

Other important novels of Lessing's include "The Summer Before Dark" in 1973 and "The Fifth Child" in 1988.

Lessing is the second British writer to win the prize in three years. In 2005, Harold Pinter received the award. Last year, the academy gave the prize to Turkey's Orhan Pamuk.

A seasoned traveler of the world, Lessing has known many homes from what is today known as Iran, to Zimbabwe to South Africa and London.

"When you look at my life, you can go back to the late 1930s," she told The Associated Press in an interview last year. "What I saw was, first of all, Hitler, he was going to live forever. Mussolini was in for 10,000 years. You had the Soviet Union, which was, by definition, going to last forever. There was the British empire — nobody imagined it could come to an end. So why should one believe in any kind of permanence?"

Lessing's family moved to a farm in southern Rhodesia in 1925, an experience she described in the first part of her autobiography "Under My Skin" that was released in 1944.

Because of her criticism of the South African regime and its apartheid system, she was prohibited from entering the country between 1956 and 1995. Lessing, who was a member of the British Communist Party in the 1950s, had been active in campaigning against nuclear weapons.

The literature award was the fourth of this year's Nobel Prizes to be announced and one of the most hotly anticipated given the sheer amount of guessing it generated in the weeks leading up to award.

The awards — each worth $1.5 million — will be handed out by Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf at a ceremony in Stockholm on Dec. 10.

What's up with THAT?

First off, I'm right now eating a sandwich filled with pasta salad, egg, and bits of hotdog. It was the middle layer of a perfectly normal sandwich. It isn't too bad, considering.

Secondly, I teach an American Health and Science program to my kindie kids. When did people start saying healthful food instead of healthy food? I think it sounds moronic.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw: Travels in Search of Canada

I love reading books about Canada and this one is particularly awesome. It covers Victoria, Fort Vermilion, Moose Jaw, Churchill, Thunder Bay, Chatham, Amherstburg, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Tadoussac - Lac Saint-Jean, New Brunswick, the Republic St. John's, and L'Anse aux Meadows.

Of those places, I've been to six. Since I never did finish this post back when I read the book, I have no idea what my note "cash cars at Eaton's and Woolworths" might have meant. But I do know that this quote:
"At its peak, the company's territory would encompass nearly five million square kilometers, an area ten times the size of the Holy Roman Empire, making the HBC the largest commercial landowner on earth and the biggest private company--in terms of real estate--in human history."
made me laugh my ass off after my short employment for Hudson's Bay Company.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I'm really fucking tired

samarra says:
everytime you say natch I think of pinky

Amanda says:
lol

samarra says:
from pinky and the brain

Amanda says:
tonight I take over the world!

samarra says:
only he says narf

Amanda says:
but only if I can do it from my bed

Monday, October 01, 2007

This is worse than...

... Ann Coulter.
... reading youtube comments.
... the Davinci Code, both the novel by Dan Brown and the movie.

Warning - his language is foul. But if you grew up playing old skool Nintendo, it's funny as hell.

Progress

Korean kids find the idea of multiculturalism a bit foreign. In particular, images of Black people. However, due to our American textbooks, my students have started colouring some of their people with brown skin.

Or Maybe Not

I have been teaching my kindergarten classes about how to manage stress. (I know! Don't come to our school, we'll give you homework and monthly tests!).

So we talked about how when you have angry or sad feelings, there are things you can do to make yourself feel happy again, like exercise or talk to a friend.

One of the kids pipes up and says, "Or get married>"

Friday, September 28, 2007

"Everything felt awkwardly brutal."

This is a quote from "A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of A Boy Soldier" by Ishmael Beah.

Go read it, because I am not sure I have it in me to put into words my guttural response to this book.

It is moving, shocking, horrifying, and hopeful in turns.

Eating With Jenn







Thursday, September 27, 2007

Chuseok!


Girls in hanboks watching top spinning.


Beyond the joy of five days in a row of no work, Chuseok is fun because at my school, the kindie kids had Chuseok Day. I so wish I hadn't been more sick and had enjoyed it more. For the non-Korea savvy readers, Chuseok is a thanksgiving holiday, where people visit their hometowns/grandparents' houses to honour their ancestors. Basically, it's a time for family. In China, the Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated at the same time. For teachers, it's travel time; or in my case, time to have a visitor.


Boys waiting in a line: Joy, John, June, Eric.


First off, little kids in hanboks (Korean traditional dress) are just so cute! Much cuter than in their rather drab Poly uniforms. And they are so serious about showing them off too.


Teacher explaining jaegi jaegi technique.


Then there were the events. Jaegi Jaegi, which is basically a traditional form of hackeysacking. Top spinning. Traditional bowing. Wrestling. It was fun.


The boys teach Dave how to bow properly.


And the mooncake making. I coughed all over the ingredients. I am not kidding. All. Over. Thank god bronchitis isn't contagious. (And this is where some medically minded reader tells me it is, and my entire homeroom class ends up out sick for a week and I feel very, very guilty.) Anyway, what can you do? The assistant director knew just how sick I was (or he's having some eye and ear troubles of his own). He came in to do the talking portion, as my voice wasn't particularly in commission until the afternoon, thanks to something the doctor had me inhale and a contraption that sucked the snot out of my nose.


Dduk. Rice cakes. I don't like them.


Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Mooncakes: "Songpyeon is a traditional Korean food made from glutinous rice. It is a variety of tteok, consisting of small rice cakes traditionally eaten during the Korean autumn festival, Chuseok. They have become a popular symbol of traditional Korean culture. Songpyeon are half-moon-shaped rice cakes filled with sesame seeds or chestnut paste steamed over a layer of pine needles, which gives them the fragrant smell of fresh pine trees. They used to be made into various shapes with the participation of family members and were often exchanged between neighbors. They are eaten on Chuseok and other festive days.


Tigers class, ready to get down and dirty with some gelatinous rice.


Unlike China's moon cake, which is round and also eaten on Chuseok in China, Korean people made songpyeon in the half-moon shape because they regarded the half moon as a symbol of expansion and development, while the full moon no longer expands, but has to wane. The earliest records of songpyeon date from the Goryeo period."



Anika was a blur of motion.


Only one of my students made anything resembling a half moon. Anika was a star who had obviously done this before. Since I spent most of my time trying to get the gelatinous rice mixture to stop sticking to my hands, I referred my students to her fine example. And coughed. On things the students took home and possibly ate. Most of them kept getting the beans stuck to the outside of the moon cakes. And then, naturally, we were only provided 6 plastic bags for a class of 12. Thank maude they hadn't used their plastic gloves to stay clean, because that's what the rice treats went home in.


What I got.


We also got some gifts from the kids in honour of the holiday. I was the recipient of some rice cakes (Unfortunate, as I can't stand them. I have tried really, really hard to like them, but I just can't wrap my mind around a treat that is so lacking in sweetness. In general, I feel that Asian cuisine falls down over the issue of dessert.) I also ended up with a pair of socks, a bookmark, some whitening cream (!!!), some heathful tea & candies (timely), a bottle of wine from the lovely Jenn, and some Krispy Kremes to share with all the teachers. Why, oh why, do the students point out my lack of skinniness and then constantly bring me doughnuts???


Girls lined up in the playroom, ready to crawl through the tunnel.


The fun and excitment for my afternoon students? Tests to study for immediately after the holiday and a monthly writing topic making them describe Chuseok (lower grades) or compare and contrast it with another holiday (upper level). It obviously doesn't pay to leave kindergarten. Unless you go on to teach it!


Top spinning!

If My Head Explodes...

... the cleaning supplies are under the sink. I'm guessing it'd be messy.

So, I have bronchitis again. Woo! My favourite disease!

Trying to get out there and do stuff over Chuseok was no easy feat, since I feel like death warmed over, with a side of ass. It's not pleasant. To top it off, my little sister has decided to give me the silent treatment over a conversation that was started off by the fact that she has insulted several of my friends, made others feel uncomfortable, and basically made me feel like a class-A asshole for bringing her to the party to rain on other people's parades.

I would likely have ignored the whole thing with her and just apologized profusely on her behalf, except that she still wants to go out and socialize with my friends. So, I thought perhaps a conversation. Set some boundaries. And god, was I wrong.

Perhaps it's just a sister thing. Perhaps we can never have a conversation that doesn't lead to shouting and the silent treatment and years of apparent resentment coming out. I certainly can't claim to have stayed calm for the whole thing, though I started off that way. God knows, anything to do with my family seems to make me feel like a pissed off 16 year old. And certainly, that's what she reminds me of.

Naturally, none of the fault is hers. She is simply misunderstood by various people who have texted and messaged me, and I am a big bitch besides. You know, one of those evil bitches who invites you over twice and picks you up at the airport, and cooks and cleans and does your laundry and entertains you and still works 10.5 or 12 hour days. Oh, I treat her like shit. Did the whole last time she visited and I cooked and cleaned and entertained. I have always treated her like shit. All those movies and shopping trips I planned especially to spend time with her ever since I moved home, it's all just my way of being evil.

I get that family is important. I get that we must love them regardless of a lot of the crap they might dish out. That we should forgive them for things we might not let go by if our friends did them. And I am sure that I am not anything approaching a perfect older sister. I am sure that at least half of all our problems are my fault.

But. Fuck. If my friends ever treated me in any shape or from the way she does, they would have been out on their asses. No response if I say good morning, or ask if she is ready to go. Taking hours to get ready, making us late for things because she is too busy emailing people. About what, I haven't a clue, as we've done very little in the time she has been here because she is too busy emailing people about Korea to actually see it. Making a huge mess of my place and expecting me to clean it all up. Acting like doing the dishes once or twice means I should get down on my knees and thank her, though I am expected to daily make her lunch on my 40 minute break. When I suggested she make her own tuna sandwhich (and I had already prepared the tuna), she gave me a look like I was from Mars.

But all of this I was biting my tongue about. I kept reminding myself, "She hasn't moved out of the house yet. She is used to this stuff being done for her. She's young. She's your sister. You have barely seen her since you were 19, you need to just let the shit roll off your back."

And then she insulted my friends. In a way that really, really insults me too. In a fundamental way. Was it a mistake? Was it a lack of familiarity with dealing with such situations? I don't know. Because her entire response to the situation is that A) I am making it all up and B) that everyone else is just wrong, that she is completely in the right. She doesn't acknowledge that if a whole bunch of people think you were insulting them, maybe there is something about your behavior that does, in fact, need to be questioned.

Homophobia in the family is not pretty. I don't know what to say, do, or how to react, exactly. It's new territory for me.

But it isn't something I take lightly. And I feel it is important that be made clear to her. This won't be brushed under the rug. What that means for the next four days I don't know. As much as I'd like to please my mother by "making my peace with her" before she goes, I'm not sure I'm ready to do that without a significant statement from her.

And I don't think that's unreasonable of me.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

It's the Little Moments

It's the man playing a traditional flute on the subway. Not busking, just playing while he gets where he's going.

It's the guy practicing his sword techniques at 3am on a Sunday in the courtyard near my building.

It's the people crowded around watching a soju-induced fight.

That's why I keep coming back. For those little moments.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Now I See Where All My Diets Have Gone Wrong



I haven't been drinking low calorie water!

What Dad, Dan, and Andrew Are Getting For Christmas*

Note the use of the Oxford Comma!



The last row is particularly pastel. And look at how blinged out the ones below are!

Lotte Mart Is Where It's At


Lindsay eating chicken donkas - I think it is basically anything breaded and fried, though usually it's a pork cutlette.

Lindsay and I weren't up to much last night - I made dinner (okay, warmed up leftover pasta from Outback and tossed in a few things) and then we watched TV. The weather seems to have forgotten that it isn't supposed to be monsoon season anymore and it is wet, wet, wet. And I'm definitely coming down with a cold. I had hoped it was bad allergies, but not only did doubling up on allergy mediation not help, but I also now have a sore throat. It sucks. 10.5 hour days + a guest + a holiday where I intend to enjoy myself, dammit + a cold? Not fair! So, she fell asleep early, I farted about a bit, and we both went to bed early.


Mine was a pork cutlette, smoothered in egg, on top of rice and in some sort of broth. Not bad, but I'll go back to the original next time. Served with a million side dishes, of course.

Tonight we went out for donkas (sp?) nearby and it was like they were hosting a special night for foreigners. Bumped into a coworker and her fiance and there were three other randoms. We outnumbered the Korean folks, which doesn't happen often in good old Hwajung. Since it was still raining, the planned shopping expidition on the Rodeo has been postponed, but we went to Lotte Mart. I had some stuff I needed, we needed more juice, and Lindsay was after a hat that I bought a few weeks ago.


Lovers Original / THE LOVERS & MARCH - OCTOBER 2007 / Vintage Military Excellent. / All Rights Reserved

And a marvelous hat it is, though I think the second one is even more fun. I just couldn't resist them, though I really don't need a hat, much less two hats. At least they were cheap, I guess.


Where am I ever going to have the ovaries to wear that??? But I do love it!