Friday, October 31, 2008

National Blog Posting Month

Last year I wanted to make my first foray into NaBloPoMo, but I was off to North Korea to hike in the Geumgangsan Mountains for a weekend, with a some pneumonia thrown in just to make it more interesting.

This year I also have a November trip to North Korea, but this time just a day trip to Kaesong city with Adventure Korea.
We have organized a special one-day tour to Kaesong City, North Korea. Kaesong City was the capital during the Goryeo Dynasty in the years 918-1392 AD. With its scenic waterfall, historic Buddhist temples and tombs of kings, Kaesong City is home to many legends and story tales.

After crossing the heavily fortified border we will visit five famous tourist spots. The tour includes a luncheon prepared “Kaesong style” at the city's main restaurant, Unification. The restaurant is in the city center and is overshadowed by a gigantic gold statue of North Koreas former leader, Kim Il-Song. The statue is situated on top of a nearby hill.

This tour enables us to experience North Korean citizens daily lives, similar to those in Pyeongyang - North Koreas capital.
So, I should be able to participate this year. I did manage a month earlier in the year, and tried for a second but if memory serves I didn't finish the second month. I recall it being a nice challenge and an interesting focus, though it wasn't easy to stay interesting. I'll try harder this month!

However, November is looking like it might shake up to be a very boring, tiring month for me. Hopefully I'll find something to say.

It Isn't Easy Being Green

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sashimi-Sized Morals

That's me!

One of the best things about this videos was this comment on YouTube:
Rated 5 gay polar bears! 2 married polar bear couples and 1 single and available.

Whistle While You Work.. or Dance.

I've had a very cheerful day. First off, I've been riding that high of excitement over the soon-to-be-drunk Peppermint Mochas ever since I was in Gangnam this morning. As you can see, I'm not terribly hard to please. Then, I stopped to get a sandwich to go from Indigo and had one of their yummy Festival Smoothies. Delicious. I also grabbed some PowerAid and some V8 - I seem to consume a lot of smoothies and V8 lately, which is good. If I'm going to be obsessed with food, at least it's all fruits and vegetables! I had time to watch a bit of CSI and take a shower before heading to work.

On the way there I had a hysterically funny cabbie. I like Korean cabbies a lot - I've had so few bad experiences and so many great ones. This guy had me in gales of laughter when he kept saying, "Miguk, Canada sarum. Same-same." Well, yes and no. I don't really mind that Korean people might think I'm the same as an American - compared to most Asian cultures, I am to most extents and purposes. I think there are indeed important differences, but I also don't consider it an insult to be considered like an American. My cabbie also pointed out Korea's only Japanese church (according to him, anyway) which is right around the corner from where I teach, which might explain my class of five Japanese boys.

It's been a really lovely fall day. The air is chill and crisp, but not too cold. I spent some time walking home from the bus stop in the sun and that was lovely. I also bought a couple of apples - the taste reminded me of fall at home.

Kindergarten dance party - we do this often and this is their absolute favourite song. I love that Jain stops to check what's coming next in the lyrics book on the table. I shouldn't have sung along - you can't really hear them over me! K1 is my first class on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I find all three of them adorable. Plus, there are three, which is always nice.

My day started off great and just kept on going. I don't love my third graders, but for once we managed to plow through all the work we needed to get done, and that was a nice change. My fifth graders were obnoxious but lovely as always. The Elite class was just constant tangents, but it was fun and I'm happy if they are talking in English and practicing their speaking skills.

Then SSAT. We had some discussion, we took up the grammar homework, and I gave them their five minute break. The next thing I knew, they were all being corralled into helping decorate for the Halloween party, as they are in general a great deal taller than the staff. Juluen in particular was quite helpful. We spent about twenty minutes putting stuff up and then just chilled in the classroom for the last five, which is when Morgan took this rather amusing video. And, yep, they are exactly that American and French. That class is entirely unlike any other teaching I have done in Korea.

After work I took a taxi home with Sara and I've been watching TV and waiting for my laundry to finish ever since. It was a nice day.

I Now Know For Sure That Obama Will Win

And I know it because the universe has sent me a sign that I will be getting things I like very much on November 4th, namely that the Christmas coffees at Starbucks are returning. I can't wait to start drinking my liquid After Eights again! I am even willing to get up an hour earlier to walk into Itaewon every day to drink them.

Thus, I feel the universe will also make me happy by having Obama win. Go, universe, go!

Oh, and I saw a Timothy's Coffee on my bus ride home from Martha's this morning! Who knew they were in Korea? It's odd being in Gangnam on a weekday - waaaaay too many people in suits. My life is not about people in suits any more and it's an odd reminder of my banking days.

Dudes, Martha lives faaaaar from me.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

It's Almost November

But I just started sleeping under more than a sheet in the last week and I am still sharing my bed with mosquitoes!

I'm Tired

Which is why I didn't go away this weekend. I had as much fun as I had the energy to have.

I'm a very boring person! And old!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Punctuation Matters

Time Is Elastic

Some days, if I have 15 minutes until I absolutely need to be at work (we have this mandatory half hour prep before our first class which isn't as mandatory as it appears and in the last couple of weeks I've been breezing in with just enough time to turn on my aircon, grab my attendance and maybe do a quick bit of photocopying before teaching, all in just five minutes or less), I can't get anything accomplished. Fifteen minutes isn't enough time to do anything more than grab a bottle of water or juice at the 7-11 before legging it into the building. Today, somehow, I managed to mail two packages, get a sandwich and a coffee, buy some shampoo and get a bottle of LifeWater. I felt like an errand running superstar.

Then I marked tests all day, which kinda got rid of all the joy in life. And I've still got a class of marking and two classes worth of report cards to do. Meh.

But it's the weekend, so fuck that. I'm off to see pretty coloured leaves in Seoraksan, a national park about three hours from here. Should be lovely, once I get past the fact that I will have to wake up at 6 a.m. I'm not sure I know that 6 a.m. still exists if you go to bed before then.

I guess I'm about to find out.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Obama's Biggest Fans

They might just be found here in Korea, where every school child supports him, now that the primaries are over. Before there were a fair number of Hillary Clinton fans too, but for sure, they are all little Democrats. And the cabbies of Korea are Obama fans to the last.

I tell ya, it's too bad that Koreans can't vote in American elections. I'm not a huge Obama fan by any means (and once I finish the Audacity of Hope, which is taking me forever and a day, I may post about why that is), but I do think for the sake of the world, the Americans need to elect him.

Four years of McCain/Palin? I can tell you one thing, if that happens, I'm not sure I'm willing to live on the same continent!

Not that that is terribly likely. But you never know. I may want to move home one of these days, so I'd appreciate it if the American public would stop electing assholes who will then dominate far too much time on Canadian TV and in the print media. After my lovely zen bubble protecting me from politics (since I can't understand Korean news) I can not even fathom having to go back to that. Eeuk.

I'm Not Your Mom

It's not something I've had to tell the teenagers - for all that they are messy, it's not actually hard to get them to do stuff. In fact, I've found it surprising just how easy it is to mess with their heads (I mean this in a good way). It's not any harder than with kindie kids, who will believe me completely when I tell them that I'm an alien from Mars and I can prove it with my Korean ID card. (Hahahaha, who knew that Alien Registration Cards would prove to be so much fun?) Really, messing with teenagers is just as easy. Granted, you have to try and get a word in edgewise, as they seem to be on an unrelenting mission to try and shock me. I just sit there, grinning inwardly, thinking, "Oh, if only you knew..."

However, it's the K1 class that got the amusing "I'm not your mom" comment and it's because the little poppets can't say my name correctly. This isn't any big surprise, as little Sang-yoon also can't spell his name or even print an S without writing it backwards. However, much like in my first job where the preschoolers had a tough time, these kids have also apparently interpreted Amanda as Mama.

Mama Teacher. I just don't think so.


So, my SAT kids were sitting around, casually reading an issue of Seventeen when I walked in today. I was ripe for being sidelined from the grammar lesson - after a day of supervising tests, which at my school involves shuffling more paper than you can even believe, my brain was half fried-half dead of boredom.

After we took up the homework, Morgan suddenly complained about how none of the Asia models in Seventeen had monolids. Then she pointed out how she was the only girl in the class who didn't have the double fold (one of the girls is only half Korean, but I did start to wonder about whether or not the other three have had surgery.) It was an interesting discussion - I asked if there were any Korean versions of Seventeen and did she find them more representative. She said not really, so I suggested that the girls make a magazine of their own. I think they may actually come up with some sort of zine or blog or something, as they seemed very interested in it.

I was feeling all pleased that we had had such a serious discussion that they were so interested in, when Ashley went and suggested they call the magazine She-pal. I mean, it's funny and smart - after all, Koreans count age differently, so 17 would be 18 here. It's just that the word for 18 pronounced a little bit differently is a Korean swear word.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


After listening to one of my SAT students talking about bumping into the same guy twice in a day, I bumped into the same French family leaving my house this morning and coming home this evening.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Eating My Words

Ah, the days when I mocked my mother for falling asleep in front of the TV all the time... Those days are long and gone, as I now do it myself. Doesn't help that I watch TV on my computer while lying in my bed, granted.

I just accidentally napped and am now wide awake in the early hours of the morning. Oops. Maybe more TV will work?

I Don't Even Remember if This Price is Ridiculous

I just bought Cheetos. Cheesy Cheetos. One would think by the name that cheese would be the standard flavour, but ever since I arrived in Korea all they've had is horrible tasting BBQ and Spicy flavours. Today I found some cheesy ones, though they are oddly twisted and hence don't fit easily in the mouth.

I paid $5. Is that how much Cheetos cost back home? It's not that I'd care either way, just that I can't remember.

I'm going to have to share with the damn kids if I want to eat them in class. That makes me feel more than a little bit sulky.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


My iPod is having on again-off again issues since it went out in a blaze of glory (also known as the Coke Spilling Incident), so I'm going to take a leaf from Grace's book and post some of my favourites here - plus I love that the tape turns while the music plays! A bunch of stuff I would have liked to put on here I couldn't find, so some of these are not my absolute favourite songs by the bands in question.

MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes

Martha's Birthweekend

It was Martha's birthday this weekend, so there was lots planned. I had a great time overall, but there were a few snafus, for which I feel rather guilty. Oops.

We started out by going to Ladies' Night on Thursday, just the two of us for a bit until Annie joined us. It was a great night and I bumped into lots of random people I haven't seen in a bit, including my friend Taru. If Samarra remembers the bet from last Christmas at Geckos, he was the guy that answered that question. Anyway, it was fun - we started at Bricx, which I actually haven't done before for Ladies' Night but it was great - you can actually hear yourself think in there, so we got to chat before moving on for an hour of Loft madness. We went back to Martha's very early but then stayed up chatting till the late hours.

Which is why I now know that there was a point in the past year or so at which I lost the ability to only get two hours sleep and teach all the next day and have that be ok. I'm not sure when I passed that point, though I think it might have been around about the time that I skipped my own 30th birthday in order to stay in with a friend, rather than partying it up around Hongdae and Itaewon. Which isn't to say that my party girl days are over, just that I can't have them and only two hours of sleep during the week. However, it was well worth a day of exhaustion, though the bus ride home the next morning sucked and once I got home I could have slept for three hours or so, except that I am soooo bad at napping. I need to be sent back to kindergarten to get remedial lessons in napping. Friday night obviously was all about sleep, after an episode of CSI to wind down.

Saturday didn't go to plan. I was supposed to have a doctor's appointment that I anticipated being over by around 11ish, leaving me plenty of time to meet the gang at the race track around 2. However, I ended up getting two new stiches in my toe (who knew you shouldn't get stitches wet? no one told me and somehow it didn't occur to me until I noticed that they didn't seem to be very... effective, let's say), plus giving up some blood for further tests (seriously?!? what's left to test? I'm the most tested human alive, I think), and then a very unexpected, actual treatment. It's a bit pricey and time consuming and not necessarily even going to work, but for now I'm comfortable with this being the action plan to make me feel less shit as soon as possible. We'll see how it goes. Unfortunately, by then it was too late to make it to the race tracks for me, and everyone else had bailed as well. I felt really shitty about it - I could have for sure postponed the treatment had I known about the other bailers, but I didn't find out until too late. Martha and I met for coffee before dinner at Carne Station instead, but it always sucks when things don't work out to plan on your birthday.

Carne Station was its usual wonderfulness, the kind of wonderful that can only be produced by the mood conjured up by all you can eat and drink for $25. In fact, the Gangnam branch has an even better alcohol selection, though sadly no chocolate ice cream, so I couldn't make my favourite soju mudslide concoction. From there we went to norae bang, though I admit I tend to prefer my norae bang with the same old crew and I'd never sang with this group before. I like knowing good picks for group songs and what the list is like and all that silly stuff. I did get distracted by a rather long conversation on the phone as well. From there we went to Soho, where we drank some Pussy Licking Cowgirls (yum!) and danced a bit, but I was tucked up in my bed fairly early in the night, as Martha was staying with me and by 1 a.m. she was falling over with regularity. We both ended up with more than our fair share of mystery bruises, though I blame mine on her! Thank god I didn't join in the tequila shooting at Carne, is all I have to say.

Today was lovely. Martha and I were lazy and didn't do anything more than go to Indigo for breakfast and then we went over to meet Jenn for dinner, along with Alex, Adrian, Liz, and Lizzy on our way to.... Cirque du Soleil! I loved it! So cool. The fire spinners, the trapeze, the contortionists (soooo weird what they can do), and the clowns. It was great! Too bad you can't take your own pics, but I've stolen tons off the internet.
Alegría is a mood, a state of mind. The themes of the show, whose name means "jubilation" in Spanish, are many. Power and the handing down of power over time, the evolution from ancient monarchies to modern democracies, old age, youth—it is against this backdrop that the characters of Alegría play out their lives. Kings' fools, minstrels, beggars, old aristocrats and children make up its universe, along with the clowns, who alone are able to resist the passing of time and the social transformations that accompany it. Cirque du Soleil

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Don't Believe That Has Ever Happened All at Once...

"I was kind of hoping for a ridiculous story that involved an irate cab driver, a mysterious injury, alcohol, good sex, a busted appliance of some sort, and a random stranger passed out on your floor."~Samarra

i am too old

because getting this little sleep never used to make me this tired.

too tired to capitalize.

must nap before work.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


God, I am.

You might wonder how anyone who regularly sleeps till noon might be stressed, but I am.

I have a decision to make.

But I don't wanna.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I Do Odd Things In the Early Morning

The mosquitoes appear to be finding it too cool outside at night these days, because they are all in my apartment. How is it that I am more covered in mosquito bites in October than I was all summer? Granted, it has only just become the kind of weather that requires a sweater in the evenings.

Does anyone but me decide at 2 a.m. that they want to do a bit of cleaning, hang a couple of posters, put up a thing on the wall to hang the cowboy hat off of (have to do something with it, after all), wrap a couple of gifts, hang t-shirts by colour, and decrumb the toaster oven?

It's now very late - ok, really it's very early. And I'm out of milk for tomorrow's coffee. Bleagh.

My Banned Book for This Year

Not that I necessarily intend to read only one, but for the week highlighting banned books, I read "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton. A few things struck me about it: how enjoyable I found it regardless of its classification as teen fiction, how uncontroversial I found both the plot and the themes, and how much it reminded me of my sister, Lindsay.

I can't figure out why exactly it reminded me of her. Unlike myself, I know that she read S.E. Hinton books as a teen. She even sought out the movies on DVD, in spite of the fact that they are quite old for someone her age. This could explain the collection, but I think the connection goes a bit further - Ponyboy's frustration with the labels he is saddled with seem to mirror some of what Lindsay has talked about regarding growing up disabled. There might also have been something in the way the character spoke that somehow brought Lindsay to mind.
I could picture hundreds and hundreds of boys living on the wrong sides of cities, boys with black eyes who jumped at their own shadows. Hundreds of boys who maybe watched sunsets and looked at stars and ached for something better. I could see boys going down under street lights because they were mean and tough and hated the world, and it was too late to tell them that there was still good in it, and they wouldn't believe it if you did. It was too vast a problem to be just a personal thing. There should be some help, someone should tell them before it was too late. Someone should tell their side of the story, and maybe people would understand then and wouldn't be so quick to judge a boy by the amount of hair oil he wore.

Another Thought to Ponder

Here in Korea, when a cabbie offers me a drinkable yoghurt because there's bad traffic, I think nothing of taking it and drinking it.

Would I do that at home? I tend to think not. Though perhaps no one would ever offer a yoghurt to a fare back home?

Sometimes I can't really remember what it's like to live in North America.

Why is it that...

... they never turn on the lights when searching houses in CSI?

How to Win When You Can't?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

You Know It's Been A Good Weekend When...

... there is a straw cowboy hat in your apartment but you aren't entirely sure how it got there. I mean obviously either Martha or I brought it back from the bar, but I really don't understand how we ended up with it. I do remember seeing a guy selling them at one point early on in the evening, but we didn't buy it. Curious.

I stayed in on Friday, sort of to spend some quality time with my computer. Mock me all you like, but I've missed both the internet and being able to watch TV. I had a slightly stressful week (which I've now realised was undoubtably affected by some hardcore PMS - I don't get bitchy, I get weepy). When I went to have my physical in order to be granted an alien card, I failed one of the tests. Well, to be honest, I appear to have failed several - the hearing and eye test did not go well. I sort of suspected they'd figure out the anemia thing, but I didn't think it would be a big deal.

If you've read anything about my trip to Japan, I'm sure you can guess that I'd be really, really wrong to have thought this was going to go smoothly. Now that most of it is over and I know that some of the emotional reaction was PMS-inspired, I have realised that what likely happened was that the doctor basically looked up the list of side effects/serious problems that can come from my sort of pernicious anemia and ran through them with me. However, due to either a communication issue or simply a different style of medicine, this list was presented to me as things my blood test had indicated might be happening. Now, I should have realised that you can't be experiencing heart failure and feel just peachy, but it shook me up more than a bit to hear all of this and then I had to spend an entire week having follow up tests and hence was exhausted - nothing like a day that starts at 9 a.m. with medical tests and ends at 9 p.m. after hours of teaching children.

So, I sort of needed the escapism that comes from TV rather than reading Obama's latest book, which while good, isn't so light (what the fuck is a bicameral Senate? He says it in his book and I can't figure out what it might mean about the Senate, nor can anyone seem to tell me.) Martha finally got herself a proper, fully operational cell phone, so I joined her in Itaewon for coffee/beer at RMT to feel that something Canadian had been done to celebrate Thanksgiving (I WANT TURKEY, DAMMIT!), and then we ended up in Bungalow and Soho, with lots of random people along for various parts of the ride. One of my ex-coworkers even joined in, but she had some sort of whitening powder on her face and it glowed in Soho. More amusingly Martha told her we were going to a gay bar and asked if that was ok with her, but after we arrived and she had a look around, she leaned over to me and said, "Amanda, I don't think I know what gay means." Hahaha.

Today we met Jenn and her friend from New York in The Waffle Factory for breakfast and I though Martha was going to kill me long before we got there. At around 10.30, the excoworker had been calling me for about an hour straight and I had been refusing to get out of bed to find my phone and answer it, but we had given up all hope of sleeping. Martha started me on a countdown to waffles then, but I wasn't feeling at all well, which I attributed to a hangover until I realised that the problem was actually really bad cramps. However, I was overtired and slug-like, so with five minutes left until we were supposed to be at the place, I was still in bed, not at all ready and I decided I had to check my Facebook. I'm not sure how she managed to restrain herself from dismembering me at that point.

Then we got to the place and were told it would take 50 minutes to serve us. And that we couldn't skip the sausage and get extra bacon as we always do - not sure why this was today nor why the so-called sausage is really hotdogs. Some things in Korea are puzzling. Anyway, the food was indeed good and we bumped into Liz and Lizzie. Liz bought a scooter and I said I wanted a ride. Lizzie accussed her girlfriend playfully of giving rides to all the girls and is now refusing to let anyone use her cute pink helmet. Then Steven showed up and we ate with him too.

Since it was a beautiful, sunny fall day, Martha and I did the logical thing and decided to appreciate the great outdoors... from the inside. We went back to my place and had a nap, though the sun does stream in the room in a pleasant manner, which we undoubtably would have appreciated if we had been awake. Thankfully Alex called, or we would have napped right through Jenn's birthday dinner, which was all the way up in Hwajung. The galbi was great, though I had to tell my ex-boss that Orin pulled a runner this weekend and would not be into work tomorrow. I am always stuck doing this, as when Linda left it was me who finally broke and said to Brian at lunch that she was not sick or anything, she wasn't come back. I can't believe he didn't see it coming.

The galbi-lady bought Jenn a cake and a birthday hat, which I thought was incredibly sweet. We then went to our usual noraebang. When I bought water from the old dude there, he looked me straight in the eye and said, "Today, no soju?" Hahahaha. You generally aren't supposed to bring booze into noraebang, but he for sure doesn't care that we do because by the time I had my leaving party there, I was in the habit of walking around with my open soju bottle, drinking wherever and whenever. In fact, we watched the Olympics Opening Ceremony together while I drank my soju and fed him shots of it. However, it being Sunday, we sang sober and I think it is a sure sign that you've been in Korea awhile when you are just as happy to sing sober as you are drunk. Martha is a laugh to noraebang with.

The bus home was fairly convienient, as I only had a $3 cab fare from where it dropped us off. It was the second time I had ever taken a bus out of Hwajung and it occurs to me that perhaps it might have been helpful. Haha. My lack of knowledge or curiousity about the neighbourhood was legendary.

I suppose I should go to bed. Perhaps.

Thrifted Toothpaste Is Not Lovely

Since I live in Korea, I don't do any thrift shopping of the variety one might back home. In Canada, my mom is a Value Village fiend and I occasionally score as the result of stuff she gets - my coffee is made in a French Press she got ages ago and I carted over in my suitcase on my last trip home and she once bought me a ton of black trousers when I couldn't find any here in a couple of sizes, just to see if anything would fit.

However, Korea is all about the thrifting in a totally different way - first off, we all dumpster dive here. When people throw out couches in particular, someone is bound to come on over and take it long before the garbagefolks could ever get around to lifting it. My friend Vanessa once found a throne (likely from a wedding hall) which she had in her apartment for a year and another friend, Pam, had a cardboard cutout of a Korean pop star of some sort and a sombrero that she found on the street.

The main form of thrifting I partake in here is when someone leaves and gets rid of all their stuff, which seems to regularly include a lot of random beauty products. Hence the toothpaste reference in the title - I hate the tube I'm using right now (Arm and Hammer - yuck!), but I can not in good conscience waste resources and buy different toothpaste when I have a perfectly adequate tube here. I also own enough moisturizer of various types to last me an entire year.

I love used books. It's not just the cheaper prices, though hallelujah, but I also like the whole experience. I like digging around to find interesting books and I aesthetically prefer some older books - especially old Penguin ones. A used bookstore is not a place I can allow myself to visit often though, as I have no willpower whatsoever. Interestingly the book buying ban is going alright though - I cheated a tiny bit by buying two books recently but since they were only a dollar each, I don't feel too bad.

I don't so much thrift for environmental reasons - in fact, I am a rather shitty environmentalist here in Korea in terms of actions. I live a fairly environmentally friendly day-to-day life, but not on purpose. Mostly I don't like the wasting of my resources - something finally clicked for me about how many hours of my time went into earning the money it takes to buy some shampoo and while I will happily spend what used to be half of my montly budget back in university in a single night in a bar these days, it annoys me to spend my hard earned won on toothpaste and moisturizer. I don't really get why, but there it is.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Now that I have a new crumb-free keyboard with a pleasant clicking sound when I type, I feel that perhaps I should avoid eating near it.

However, I'm rather peckish.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Apparently it was World Teachers Day last Sunday. I had no idea, though Korea has its own Teachers Day in the spring.

My most influential teacher without a doubt was Mr. Ruddy. He taught history in a room filled with art posters on the wall and candles. It was obvious how much he cared about his students and after I graduated, we went out for a series of lunches when I've found myself in Canada and exchanged a bunch of postcards. Mr. Milburn, affectionately known as Uncle Milby, was also a great chemistry teacher who almost had me abandon the liberal arts for science. And then there was my English teacher Ms. Adele - I hated her with a passion, but she was likely very good for me.

In elementary school, there was the forth grade teacher who taught us words of Swahili and encouraged us to paint and my second grade teacher who I don't recall overly well but I recall adoring.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Granny Shoes and Sitting in the Sun

I just shared an elevator with two women of grandmother age who were discussing their shoes. Now, I have no idea what exactly they were saying, but it did amuse me greatly that they were both wearing stylish heels and I was wearing a pair of comfy flats.

What I like best about my new hours is the amount of time I have in the mornings. Some mornings I just sleep incredibly late. Some mornings I'm forced to run errands. But the best ones are when I either sit around drinking coffee in bed, basking in the sun that streams through my window or sitting on a patio of a restaurant, leisurely eating my breakfast/lunch and reading a book.

Life, it is good.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Make Voting Rampant, Like Herpes

See more Sarah Silverman videos at Funny or Die

A Long Weekend Is Never Long Enough

But this past one was a blast, minus the slight electronics problems (basically the universe has taken out my laptop and iPod in the same weekend. That seems very cruel.)

As long weekends go, my last was tiring. We went to Dokdo/Ullengdo and it was a great trip, but the kind from which you come back from unprepared to start the week fresh - I never quite felt I had time to unpack or unwind for the rest of the work week. This past weekend turned out perfectly - the weather was sunny and cool (T-shirt and jeans cool, minus any sweating), I mostly just chilled and we rode rollercoasters at Everland.

The month of October is a month of birthdays for me - this past one was Annie's. She skipped out on Ladies' Night on Thursday because she had an online class the next day, but Martha, Orin and I went. It was crazy busy, as you'd expect with a Friday off and free drinks. We went briefly to Helios but spent most of our time in the Loft. At one point they had run out of glasses at the bar and everyone was off washing them. Since the ladies have to keep their cup to get free drinks, we were all rather drunkenly annoyed to be kept waiting for no reason when I got the genius idea to just serve myself and half the line. I am quite surprised they didn't chuck me out of the bar for that. Not only was I not kicked out, they didn't even cut off my free drinks!

Obviously it was a late night. Orin and Martha stayed at my place and the next morning we decided it would be a fine idea to walk the one block over and sing happy birthday to Annie - however, at this point it was so early none of us had even had the time to get hungover. We hauled ass to Indigo, which was full of all the same people as had been in the Loft the night before, plus an army guy named Bobby who was in uniform and having lunch on a workday. He looked mighty surprised when three drunks plopped themselves down at his table as there weren't any free ones. Turns out that while I remember being introduced to him (friend of my coworker Lauren), he didn't have a clue who I was until Lauren showed up and he pieced it together. I can only imagine what was running through his head...

Orin, Martha and I went back to my place in search of a nap, which turned out to be difficult. Orin never shuts up (he talks more than I do!) and when he finally ran out of steam, Martha started coughing up a lung. However, Martha and I had dinner plans, so we attempted to look presentable - and awake. Annie's birthday dinner was at Villa Sortino's, which was fabulous. I had always assumed it was a bit pricey for my budget, but it wasn't acutally much more expensive than most good Italian restaurants here AND they served unlimited French bread. It was soooo good and I was so hungry, I deeply suspect I might have eaten an entire loaf. After stuffing ourselves, we headed over to Homo Hill to have drinks at Queen's. The party later moved to Soho, but Martha and I bowed out, pleading exhaustion, over-eating, and a desire to actually make it to Everland the next morning.

Getting to Everland proved difficult - at Nambu Bus Terminal they claimed that there wasn't a bus to Everland (though once we got there, we found out that indeed there was one). We wandered over to Gangnam and braved traffic to hop on the bus while it was stopped at a light. After a nice nap on the bus, we hit the park. We went on all the rollercoasters and a couple of other rides, including the music one that I will never forget riding for the first time with Babs, who was from Ghana and had never been on an amusement park ride before. The T-express rollercoaster was the scariest - beyond having a near vertical drop from incredibly high up, I wasn't allowed to wear my glasses and it was dark. Very cool. Martha makes a very good rollercoaster buddy.

After Everland, Martha and I retreated to the bars of Haebangchon, as neither of us was sure we'd have the energy for a night out in Itaewon. We stayed long enough to close down first the Orange Tree and then the downstairs Phillies, though I personally only made it through two beers. My reputation as the slowest beer drinker ever is not tarnished, in fact, I feel that perhaps I should contact the Guiness Book of World Records. Bobby joined us briefly for a beer.

We were up relatively early the next day, and Martha made coffee. It was really nice having someone over for the entire weekend to chill with, and the coffee making in the morning was an added bonus. We wandered out to the Waffle House for breakfast - the previous two days of Indigo breakfasts had fully satisfied my need for English breakfasts, so we thought we'd mix it up. After we ate, Martha wanted a cigarrette and we ended up sitting outside a coffee shop for about two or three hours. What I love about my new neighbourhood is that if you do that, people you know will inevitably walk by.

We walked into Itaewon slowly and by a slightly different route than usual, which brought us past a tiny solo art exhibition. It wasn't the most fascinating, but they gave us free magnets. We ended up at What the Book and I bent my book ban to buy two books that were $1 each and the newest Bust magazine - after all, with my computer out of commission and no TV, I'm going to have lots of reading time. Jenn met us for dinner at a new taco place called Amigos, which had decent food, and then we headed over to play trivia. There were lots of missing people, notably Alex whose Dad is visiting and we didn't do as well as usual, but it was fun. I walked home with Annie and Seedra and retired to bed to read.

All in all, one of the best long weekends I've ever had in Korea.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

What would you do if?

What would you do if?
The President of the United States called you:
Tell him to fuck off. Though that might soon change.

You won the lottery:
Pay off my debt. Travel, travel, travel, travel, travel. And then I'd travel some more.

You got invited to be on a reality TV show:
Is it Amazing Race? 'Cause then I'm in.

You witnessed a murder:
Call the police.

A random stranger offered you candy:
I'm not 8 years old...if I liked the candy, I'd eat it, if not I'd say thanks and put it in my pocket. Children offer me candy all the time - that I feel more obliged to eat. Often it's nasty and has been sitting in their pockets.

MySpace and Facebook closed:
Well, I'd have no procrastination tool without big deal for me.

A genie granted you one wish:
One billion dollars

You lost your favorite possession:
I'd be devastated - I'm not sure what exactly it'd be though.

You found 10 dollars on the ground:
Go straight to Taco Chili Chili

Your date throws up on you:
Well...if it was going badly, what a great excuse to duck out early. And either way a shower would be required asap.

Someone cut off a chunk of your hair:
Are they under the age of five or a hairdresser? 'Cause otherwise I'd be pissed.

Your favorite celebrity comes to visit you:
I'd ask them up for a cup of coffee...

You were stranded on an island with nothing but the ability to make one phone call:
I'd call the Coastguard

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Not Vertical Yet

Let’s face it, being as generally awesome as we are, nerdy women have very few vices. Our indulgences veer toward the literary – perhaps we have purchased too many books and can no longer sleep laying down in our apartments?

I love the Park Bench.

I think...

...I can hear some English-speaking boys nicking the wardrobe that's been outside my apartment for two days. Which is great, because the garbagepeople don't seem inclined to remove it.


Today I just started teaching five third-grade boys who are Japanese and speak no English. We are presently covering the alphabet and letter sounds. I am going to have to come up with some interesting games to keep this flowing - however, they are cheerful and well-behaved, so I'm sure it will be fine. And I only see them once a week. They don't really speak Korean, either, so thus far communication has been interesting. They catch the odd word of Korean, the odd word of English and from there on in we mime like mad. It'll be fun.

I have noticed a few times that when cabs drive by the American army base, the GPS just shows this gigantic blank space. How odd to be denied knowledge of part of your own country. I live along the side of the army base and basically drive around it in cabs to get to and from work (must start taking the subway soon, as I'm spending far too much on cabs, but the broken toe is the perfect excuse for laziness.)

The toe hurts like fuck today. Monday and Tuesday were fine, but today has just taken all my energy to get through. Thank maude Friday's a holiday.

So, Me. Basically.

slugabed \SLUHG-uh-bed\, noun:

One who stays in bed until a late hour; a sluggard.