Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ummmm, huh?

Why did my classroom turn into a laundryroom?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Korea has some of the coolest pencilcases I've ever seen. In spite of that, my students have been going through some odd trends. It started with used Pringles containers and now it's Ziploc bags boxes taped shut.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Magic Paper

I'm not sure what is so magical about paper that is the same colour on both sides...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I'm Stinking Up the Simpson Name

I sent this email to my parents:

Because I only own one sports bra and I've recently started a training program (I'm on week one, so far I run for 60 seconds at a time and nearly fall over dead) that requires that I run three times a week, then I hash 2-3 times a week and my friend Abigail is doing long, fast walks to prepare for a trek in Cambodia and I join her once a week.

Thing is, it's really hot here and I'm a sweaty person. I can't do enough laundry to keep up with all this with the one bra. I was hoping you might send me one asap, since I'm still not home for almost 2 months.

I wear a 38 F. The bra is called Shock Absorber and I need the support level 4 one. Color is not an issue. This is it here:

I got it at the The Bay downtown, but they might have it at Yorkdale too?

And this is the response I got:

Friday, June 25, 2010

Running Insanity

I keep meaning to post an update, but between the 365 project and hashing and C25K, I've just not really had the stamina to keep up with anything else.

I've signed up for a 10K in September, and no one is more surprised with this than I am. How did it come to this???

Week 2 was crap. I didn't enjoy a single run and I thought I was developing shin splints. ButI stuck with it and for me, that's something. I've never been much good at sticking to an exercise program. In Scotland I did this weird combo of Step class and Spanish dancing pretty regularly and even worked out on the elliptical. Here in Korea in my first year, I was a pretty regular gym goer, but since I've moved to HBC I was a regular for all of one month.

One of the things that has kept me going is where I run. I go down to the Han River at Yeouinaru and it's lovely. Each day I'd see something that would make me appreciate at least that I was outside in the sun. The poppies blooming, a guy with a parrot on his shoulder, the old man who does tai chi most days, and tiny little white butterflies flying across my path. It makes up for the bad days and the fact that at best I'm jogging along in enough of an uncoordinated way that I suspect the watching Koreans think I'm practicing to audition for a part in a zombie movie!

However, Week 3 has been incredible. Monday's run had me back to the euphoric feeling I had after the first two runs and I suspect it's the longer runs that is responsible - for all that I'm still only doing 3 minutes, it's enough to sort of hit my stride. I love small inclines, as my shins feel better, and dread running down (I'm convinced I'll fall on my face.) I've got my last Week 3 run tonight and yesterday I was even jonesing for a run - resenting the hell out of a rest day is a huge step forward for me.

I didn't understand why my friend Candace spent so much time talking abour running when I visited her in Hong Kong back in the day. I get it now. I LOVE talking about running with just about anyone who will listen - and that's how I got talked into this 10K run. It's stupid in so many ways - I'll only have done 5K by the beginning of August, leaving me only 5 weeks to double the distance of my runs. Plus, all the 10K training plans suggest that you're a beginner runner, who's been running at least 6 months, and doing 16-20 miles per week already. By August, I'll be doing 15 km a week - half that!

So, I'm looking around for a 5K to do in Toronto and might do yet another here in Seoul leading up to the 10K. As Tim pointed out, I don't have to run the entire thing - if I can only run 5K non-stop, I can finish it off in intervals of walking and running. And the cut-off time is 3 hours - I can walk 10K in less than that and do at the hashes most weekends. So, I'll finish, which at this point is my only goal. I'd love to say I'll run it all, but I think it's too early in the training to even go that far.

But I intend to finish. For someone who used to say she only ran if chased, that's still one hell of a goal to be aiming towards.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Perhaps you've played this game. Your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse lets you have one free pass -- one special man or woman who is so attractive and out of reach that if circumstances allowed it, your partner would allow you to sleep with that person. Most monogamous couples feel safe with the free pass rule as it's more theoretical than practical. Sill, if your partner gave you a free pass, would you use it? On who? (Single people can use this prompt however they please.)

Alison Janney, maybe. Or Mary Louise Parker. Or Katee Sackhoff. This game is impossible!

I'm wracking my mind for a male choice, but no one is really jumping to mind. Maybe the kid that plays Jacob in the Twilight movies - but I'm not quite ready to be a Cougar just yet.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Do you think it's ever permissible to cheat?

In a relationship, I think it's sometimes understandable, possibly forgiveable, but not permissible. At school, well, let's be honest. I did for a couple of years on math tests, until I could be bothered to learn my times tables. I'm sure I've accidentally plagarized at least once - I did attempt not too, but it must have happened. However, it drives me crazy when my students do it, so no, I don't think it should be permissible. Tests are about more than just determining how any one child can do, they are also important feedback for teachers as to which lessons have been understood and which haven't. If students cheat, they screw up the chance for a teacher to realise that a concept needs to be retaught.

Monday, June 21, 2010

What was the worst job you ever had?

Sometimes I'd be tempted to say this one. I'm definitely not cut out to teach kindergarten. In terms of asshole bosses, it would be my second year of teaching in Korea at Heritage Institute. I sincerely hope someone googles that and I can talk them out of working for the biggest jerk I've ever met. When you make teachers (not me) cry during a staff meeting, you are going too fucking far. We did make him up his own hilarious Myspace Profile.

In terms of job satisfaction, the worst has got to have been my years at RBS. That job was mind-numbing in a way I've not experienced before or since. It was a good group of coworkers that made that job tolerable. Most office temp jobs follow right behind it.

I do love teaching, but I'm not sure I enjoy teaching ESL anymore. It's just too repetitive and I've been at it too long. The things I've liked teaching best so far were social studies and grade 11 lit.

Friday, June 18, 2010

What's the one food you feel like you could't live without? What's the one food you'd rather die than put in your mouth?

Travelling and living abroad has pretty much made both of these questions irrelevant - I've learned I can cope without just about anything and I've eaten some disgusting shit (bondegi being the worst).

Thursday, June 17, 2010

If you could take a train journey through any part of the world, where would you go?

Where wouldn't I go? I love trains - they are absolutely the best form of transportation EVER. On my hit list is the Transsiberian because, well, it's awesome. I'd also like to crisscross as much of the US as you could by train. I'd like to go back to BC and do the northern train route and I'd like to take the train from Toronto as far east as you can go (because then I'd really be able to say I'd ridden the train all across Canada.) I'd like to take a train across the Australian Outback, in India, across parts of Africa. I'd love to go back to Cambodia with the time to take the train from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville and ride on the top of it so that I could see the hill stations.

Basically, if there's a train there, I'd like to ride it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What's your greatest fear?

Being left out of things/behind or being broke - not a hard question in the slightest!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What's your superpower?

I read really quickly. It has been known to come in handy.

Monday, June 14, 2010

What are the five best bands you've seen play live?

One of the best shows I've seen live was definitely The Flaming Lips at T in the Park. That man knows how to put on a show and I love "Thank You Jack White" so damn much. For pure Canadiana, it'd have to be seeing the Barenaked Ladies at the Canadian Scout Jamboree in Thunder Bay. Ani Difranco, with Hamell on Trial opening, was pretty amazing. And seeing Radiohead in Toronto right in front of the stage was incredible. Plus, there were the Lilith Fairs - I went to two of them, one where it rained until we were soaked through and once with my sister, and loved them both.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Tell us about your first kiss.

It was with a boy named Kevin and I don't recall liking it. Things have improved a lot since then. Plus, I started kissing girls too.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rock On!

Abigail and I just walked for two hours around Namsan at a fairly quick pace, talking the whole way. There wasn't a lot of elevation, but some. I'm pleased to say that while I could feel my leg muscles, they didn't hurt and the shin pain I get when running wasn't a problem walking. That seems like a good sign. I'm now wide awake, in spite of a paltry amount of sleep last night and full of energy - I figure I'm likely going to crash soon, but I could get in some more cleaning/furniture rearranging before that happens, while chugging water. It's HOT here and my hands swell rather badly. I wonder if there is something I can do about that.

Last run of week one is tomorrow, post field trip, which may be rather tiring. Then hashing all weekend.

I've looked up the Toronto hashes for vacation and I'd like to get in some canoeing as well.

This summer is shaping up nicely!

Subway Stories

Good in Bed, Jennifer Weiner

"The truth is this-I'm all right the way I am. I was all right, all along. I will never be thin, but I will be happy. I will love myself, and my body, for what it can do-because it is strong enough to lift, to walk, to ride a bicycle up a hill, to embrace the people i love and hold them fully, and to nurture new life. I will love myself because I am sturdy. Because I did not-will not-break."

The first time I read this book was my first year in Korea. I had discovered Abby's Book Nook in Itaewon for the first time and Abby herself recommended it. It is pure chick lit - implausible happy ending and all. That said, I loved the storyline about having a premie and I found the narrator easy to relate to. The point of rereading it was to read the sequel, though I'm going to need a chick lit break first.

From the author interview: "... but, of course, there's no new or original way to have your heart broken."

A Mercy, Toni Morrison

My first experiece with Morrison wasn't good - I disliked Beloved and then ended up feeling quite guilty that I didn't like it, so I went into A Mercy very tentatively. Perhaps it was my lower expectations, perhaps it's this time in my life, or perhaps it's just, for me, a better book, but I really enjoyed A Mercy. It explored the numerous ways it really sucked to be a woman in the 1690s, mostly in America, but England is touched on as well, and the numerous kinds of slavery found in the new colonies.

100 Bullshit Jobs, Stanley Bing

Unsurprisingly, it's a fairly bullshit book. In its favour, it's also a very quick read. And some good quotes:

"Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, and spend their money, all for a little, base, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking, nauseous puddle water." The Women's Petition Against Coffee, 1694.

"Times are bad. Children no longer listen to their parents, and everyone is writing a book." Cicero, circa 66 B.C.

"Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worse kind of suffering." Paulo Coelho

"Before forty eting is beneficial. After forty, drinking." The Talmud

Our New Hareraiser Is Effective!

Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 11AM
Sadang Station -- Line 2/226 and Line 4/433; Exit 14

Please pack light and leave bags in the subway lockers in case there is no bag sitter!!!

Your Hares for this Sunday:

G.I. Hoe (A Real American Zero) and NN Riley

According to G.I. Hoe this will be the first trail in the history of hashing that will be 100% downhill.

So don't miss out on being part of history.

It's summer!!! Cum out and Hash More! 5,000 won. Bring virgins, the last ones tasted great!
If you could go back in time and meet your 16-year-old self, what three things would you tell yourself?

1. Don't marry Alan.

2. You aren't fat. You might want to exercise regularly though.

3. It's all going to turn out okay.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

No Vodka Makes This Tolerable

Yesterday was good. W1D2 didn't leave me quite as euphoric as that first run did, but that could be partly due to the fact that I am supposed to be doing these on non-consecutive days and I didn't. I'm not sure if a 2 hour hike around Namsan was the logical choice of activities for my day off either, but so far I'm feeling fine.

Except the exhaustion. Tim showed up unexpectedly at quiz last night and we won! Woot! However, only he and Gus (with a bit of help from Gaby) were drinking the free bottle of vodka, so we were at Phillies until about 2 a.m. and then I just could. not. get. to. sleep.

I'm more than a little tired and when you teach kindergarten, that's fairly fatal. However, of the four classes I have left, only one is really annoying and then I can make up the homework while futzing around on the Internet. Granted, as soon as I get home I need to clean and rearrange the furniture to accomodate the new elliptical and all before 8 p.m. (walking time with Abigail) as well as arrange a ticket home...

I'm already looking forward to going to bed.
Japanese lore suggests that if you fold 1,000 paper cranes, your wish will come true. What would your wish be, and what would you be willing to do 1,000 times to get it?

My main goal has always been to work on 6 continents and visit Antarctica and for that, I'm willing to teach 1,000 kindergarten classes. Don't get me wrong, the kids are cute and all, but I definitely prefer teaching older students.


I wrote last night's post struggling to keep my eyes open and it wasn't even very late! I guess that's what happens when you run.

I packed my backpack full of running stuff this morning. I'm supposed to be doing this every other day, but the way I've organized my week, that's not really possible. I'm supposed to be walking around Namsan with Abigail tomorrow and then the weekend is full of hashing, so it has to be today and Friday for the C25K runs. I didn't get up 20 mins early to do some elliptical before work, but I'm not going to sweat that.

I can't recall the last time I was this excited for 4 p.m. to come round and have it not be because I wanted the work day to end, but because I can't wait to do what I have planned right after.

This time, I aim not to get lost and to shower before I meet up with people.

On on!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Secrets Can't Be Kept in Haebangchon

So, I had this plan. It was a good plan, in that it gave me an out in case my plan didn't work out as planned. But I live in the smallest giant city in the world, and in one walk home from the subway, my secret was out.

I've decided to do the Couch to 5K running plan. Last summer I was just starting to run hashes rather than walk them and then I went on vacation and came back and winter hit and... Excuses abound, but basically I got lazy again. It's time to stop being lazy, but usually it just sort of organically happens and I don't plan it - also the only way I've ever lost weight. Since I'd like to be more in shape in time to hash in Toronto, organically-happens didn't seem like such a good idea. I need structure.

But I almost wimped out. I live in hill central and I decided it would be much nicer (read less likely to kill me) to run alongside the Han River and I wasn't sure how long it'd take to get there and if I'd have time before meeting Gus and Gaby for steak night at Phillies and I was tired and... Excuses yet again. And then I saw my package from home - coffee, Cadbury Creme Eggs, and three super cute letters from my cousin Alannah and I was in such a damn good mood, how could I not follow through on a promise to myself?

So, I ate a handful of almonds, grabbed a half bottle of water, threw on some running clothes, shoved my iPod down my pants and my subway card and money into my bra and off I went to Yeoinarou.

Couch to 5K seems a well known training program and there is a dude out there, Robert, who made a bunch of podcasts to tell you the times to switch between running and walking. Then Sue made some with much better music, so Sue's my girl for the next 9 weeks. After 2 subways and a transfer, I was down by the Han feeling mighty fat and out of place. However, I hit play on that podcast and did exactly as it told me the entire time, no cheating. I can't claim I was going as fast the last time as the first.

It was a good run, 60 seconds of actual running followed by 90s of walking. Most times, I got very close to 60, but Sue's reassuring, confirting voice just kept telling me to walk again and so it was great. The weather was sunny and lovely but not too warm and it wasn't too busy on the paths.

The problem was that I somehow ended up in the Yeoido nature preserve at the end, that lovely moment when Sue said my cool down walk was finished, which not only means I did extra walking but also prevented me from having a shower before meeting up for steak. Gross.

All in all, I've been feeling incredibly rock-star ever since. The runner's high kicks ass and though I feel a bit of an idiot reporting my progress with 60 second runs to Tim, who is doing a 10-mile run on Saturday with two other of our friends, i am quite proud of myself.

Just 26 runs left to go.
Happiness is a hound dog in the sun. We are not here to be happy but to experience great and wonderful things. Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Monday, June 07, 2010

You've just been given a million dollars. You are not allowed to keep it or give it to anyone you know personally. What do you do with it and why?

I'd go back to Togo and build schools/fund schools/pay for school uniforms. I remember when I was visiting Togo, an old man was taking to a little girl, reminding her that school was starting up again soon and that she had to make sure she went. It was a poignant moment considering her gender and the poverty of the area we were in.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Do you owe an apology to anyone? Why?

Probably - I've been rather self-absorbed lately. A fair number to myself, but I'm working on that too.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

What's the first thing that pops into your head when you think of your father?

Intelligence. Stealing his books and liking them - especially all the Russians. A time he taught me math when I was home sick. That he looked like Buddy Holly in his wedding pictures. That he tells a good story.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

What's your favorite poem? (And if you don't have one, why?)

My favourite, and I know I get no points for originality here, is The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost because I feel that I've very much taken that untrodden path. The only poem I've got memorized is In Flanders Field by John McCrae.

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.

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Writing Prompt for Tuesday, June 1, 2010

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Once Lindsay was born, an Occupational Therapist. I don't think I was really all that interested, it was just a good answer to give. In French class once I did a report on being an archaeologist, which is interesting given that I ended up doing a Classics degree. I always swore I wouldn't become a teacher and yet, here I am.