Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Cheer

I'll be honest. It was a little strange not being home/in the country for Christmas. I missed my family and our traditions, but despite these differences, it was still pretty rockin'. I went up and stayed with some friends in Seoul and we had a couple dance parties, good food, and good times.

I had a few students come in with little Christmas goodies and that also made my life a little better.

The one I got today might be my most interesting gift ever.



Yes, I know. I should make movies professionally. I'm considering it.

Oh, and that thing they call the eye? Not an eye. It is, in fact, a beak. I had no idea squids had beaks. You can google that, but its gross. I don't recommend it. But I do know you're not supposed to eat it.

(I can relate to that kid though. Sometimes I eat things I know I shouldn't. Just because I can. And before I started recording he said he wanted the whole squid, and he pointed to his gut. And that right there made me think we were kindred spirits)

As you can tell, the kids loved that I shared. If only they knew I wanted to share because the smell was grossing me out.

I think I like the kid who brought me a candy bar better.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

RIP SANTA***


(Merry Christmas friends!!)

-------

A couple of my friends and fellow English teachers mentioned a few weeks back about how some of their students had told them that Santa had died. We tried figuring out where this lie came from; maybe the students were told this to encourage less requests for gifts, or maybe it was just some random kid trying to make us Westerners believe something wack. Either way, we all agreed it was sad.

I mean, Santa can't be dead. He has a job to do.

So last week in one of my classes, I was spreading some Christmas cheer by throwing out candy to my students, and I nonchalantly asked if they had Santa Claus in Korea.

There were a couple students who said yes, but then there were a couple students who exclaimed: "Santa is dead!"

(I'm pretty sure every time someone says that, a reindeer loses an antler)

Since my students are older than my friends students, I figured I could try asking them where this absurd information comes from.

None other than Korean Child Prodigy comes to my rescue.

According to KCP, my most reliable source,
Santa Claus was killed
in the Korean war in September 1950.

North Korea ruins everything!

I was so shocked, so appalled at this piece of information, that a couple of other students quickly came to my aid. They told me that some parents tell their kids Santa is dead so they don't ask for presents. They said most Koreans don't tell their kids Santa is dead.

Phew. I was about to get real sad.

***This is just a Korean lie. Santa is, in fact, still alive and using his vacation time in Portugal after a long yet successful Christmas.

I love technology

Sometimes I come up with really good ideas.

This is one of them.

It stemmed from this photo taken last summer. My dear Deanna was in Mexico and we would spend a considerable amount of time gchatting (it's an addiction), making me frequently late to work/class. To honor our relationship, this photo was taken. And I must admit, it is a classic. (PS if anyone needs pointers on how to maintain a successful long distance relationship, Deanna and I have mastered the art.)

Fast forward to about a month ago.
Webcam+camera+friends=success

Now, this is a fairly recent phenomena, so if you would like to chat via webcam/have a photo taken, let me know. We'll make it happen.

Rachel was the first. This was taken at school.

Bringing a webcam to school to entertain me=second best idea ever.


Since Todd doesn't read my blog, I have no qualms in posting this next photo. It is both terrifying and comical. Like unto our relationship.

This is just a good one. Darren, you have never looked better. Except for maybe in my dream last night.

And this last one happens to have a special place in my heart. I was webcaming with the fam on Christmas and I made them take me down into the living room when they opened presents. So, here I am, with the fam, on Christmas day. Like it should always be.

So, in the words of Kip, I love technology.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Who is Ryan Toby?

Why, this is!

Don't recognize him?

How about now?

Yes, he is the one and only Ahmal James from the hit blockbuster sequel, Sister Act 2!

Fun fact: He wrote the hit song "Miami" for Will Smith

He was also in the group City High, who gave us this gem:


He is full of genius. Obviously.

blurb.s.

in direct relation to my wake-up call fire drill, i slept in and neglected to take a shower. this meant hair was back and my forehead was exposed, in all its glory.

it must've been the first time my tuesday classes saw me like this because the first thing a student said when i walked in was (pointing to his forehead)
"wow, teacher, very big!"

thank you, child. thank you.

------------

saturday night i went up to seoul to see a performance of handel's messiah. it was beautiful and the best thing to get me more in the christmas spirit.

-

i took the metro back home and about 7 stops from my city, i heard some american voices. i looked down the train and was surprised to see a couple of my friends on their way home from drinking. it was so random! i only say they were drinking because of the following reasons:
1. they went to this bar crawl where you had to dress up like an animal. so, they were wearing animal outfits. they definitely got some good looks.
2. the moment we made eye contact they screamed my name and ran towards me. more looks.
3. they told stories of how our other friend had vomited on the metro earlier. made me sad i wasn't there.
4. when we got back to our city, one girl and i decided to taxi it home, because it was cold and because we live real close to each other.
a. it was snowing at this moment in time
b. there was a limited number of taxi's working because apparently they get scared of snow
5. we asked one taxi driver to take us home. he said no. we needed to walk.
a. friend then yelled at him in a drunken rage for a few minutes until i got her to walk away
6. i convinced her that we should start walking home and we could find a taxi on our way
a. she decided that wasn't her favorite option, so after about a minute of walking, she stopped a car and asked the driver if he would drive us home.
i. random stranger korean man drove us home that night.

------------

i started reading harry potter for the first time. so far, so good.

------------

COT still scares me a little bit, but I think our relationship has gotten better. she did give me some free samples from her husbands mary-kay like cosmetic company. and i did share some american (read: herseys) candy with her...

------------

yesterday i paid my bills, did laundry, went to the gym, did the dishes, watched some seinfeld, and wondered when i became a boring grown-up.

-----------

go cougs!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Boys in Korea

There are a lot of cultural differences between the U.S. and Korea.

Forks vs. chopsticks, for example.

But one thing I was not anticipating was the amount of physical touching between human beings.

In Korea, its not really awesome to have a lot of PDA with a significant other. There are signs on the subway that show its not cool to kiss a boyfriend or girlfriend on the train.

But when you're not dating someone, it seems like anything goes. Especially for people of the same sex.

I mean, its cute when you see two old ladies walking down the street, holding hands or linking arms, making sure they don't fall.

But what I'm really surprised about is the amount of touching that goes on between my students.

Yes, my students at the all boys middle school.

They hold hands. They link arms. We're watching a movie this week, and they have cuddled up with each other on the floor. And thats just the beginning...but I'll stop now. You get the picture. But we're talking 9th grade here. Isn't that a little old?

It weirds me out a little bit.

(not my students. well, maybe? you never know)

Fire Alarm

The buzzing seems to get louder and louder as I turn over in my bed and fumble for my phone.

The numbers light up as soon as I push a button. 5:23 am.

Ugh.

At first I'm a little dazed as to what is happening. It's too early and my level of functioning is low.

Then, in a moment of inspiration, I realize that the sound is my buildings fire alarm.

Great.

My first reaction: put on pants

My second reaction: pack my laptop in my purse in case the building goes up in flames.

Once I put my laptop in my purse, however, I figured out I was probably jumping the gun. I decided to do some investigative work to see if I should jump this conclusion. I looked out the window to see if the rest of the tenants were gathering. There were none.

So then I looked into the hallway. The alarm was flashing and beeping and I hated it. But I did not see one person leave their apartment.

I went back to the window. Two women had made their way down there. They then proceeded to have a conversation with the guy next door to me through his window, and soon they were back inside and into their apartment. I figured it must not be that serious.

I go back to my front door. I peek into the hallway and see another girl doing the same. Then, a man comes down looking classy in his pajama pants. He walks up to the alarm and hits it a few times. The red cover over the flashing light falls to the ground. The man then hits it again, ensuring the demise of the alarm.

It would've been better if the man had destroyed the alarms on the other two floors too.

So I went back into my room and put my computer back in its rightful spot. I jumped back into bed and hid under my covers, listening to the noises around me at 5:30 am. The alarm continued for awhile longer, until (I'm guessing) the building manager came to turn it off.

It was a rough morning.

And I'm pretty sure if there were to be a real fire, everyone in my building would die.

the end

I also miss my older brothers

Yes, that includes you "Ninja Monkey" and "Neoteric Warrior".

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Today I Really Miss:

My little bro's.


(I really like how Asian Erik looks in this picture. Legit.
)

We really like eating refreshing treats together.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Snow

You'd be surprised how much COLD this little bit of snow brought to my corner of the world today.

Seriously. I'd take Colorado's four feet to this light dust any day.

Freezing!

Oh, and one more thing:

(not everyone will get this reference (sorry). but those of you who do will love it. i promise)




Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Reason #4058 Why I want to be like Stephen Colbert

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorU.S. Speedskating


He may not be Jay-Z, but this is just awesome.

Swan Lake Love


Last fall, my mom and I went and saw Swan Lake performed in Denver. It was lovely.

This weekend, I went and saw it again in Seoul.

Two things about seeing it again:
1. I love the ballet in Swan Lake, but I love the music more. It's beautiful.
2. I miss my mom


And I really want to buy opera glasses.

School.

So, I'm on a quest to post a bunch of posts with pics tonight. Mostly because I haven't shown some vital photos of my day to day life.

Take, par example, my school. You haven't even seen what it looks like!

Until now.

Welcome to a tour of where I spend so much of my time.




And thats all I got right now.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Woes

I was going to title this "Bathroom Woes" but I thought it might give the wrong impression.

If I talked to you before I came to Korea, I probably expressed my excitement about the potential of my Korean bathroom. I had read and seen some Korean bathrooms where the shower was connected to the sink and the entire room was essentially a shower. I was mostly excited about being able to shower and go to the bathroom...at the same time! (tmi?)

Well, as expected, when I got to my little apartment I found what I was waiting for:

Every morning I have to turn the little knob to make sure the water pressure goes to the shower head and not the sink.

Sometimes I forget to change it back. Like today:


This has happened 5 times in the past week.

You'd think I'd learn.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I LOVE Half Days

This week has been pretty awesome as far as work is concerned. I haven't had to teach at all and Wednesday through Friday are designated half days. Well, half days at school. The second half of the day is 'work from home' time.

I don't know if I'd call it all work, but I've definitely been productive with those half days so far.

First stop: Isaac Toast.
I was walking home and I always see this little food place and I decided it would be the day to taste it. It's a kind of french toast sandwich dealio type place and while there were no pictures displayed to point to, I was able to order a ham, cheese, and egg sandwich.

(Insert: Today I was marveling at how I am able to survive in this country. I mean, I don't speak the language, but I get by just fine. It's seriously amazing).

The verdict? Hands down the best sandwich I've had in Korea. Maybe even in my life. It was soooo good. Like heaven. They put this kind of sauce on the bread and it was a little sweet and the moment I left I wanted to go back. Oh, and only 1600 W. About a $1.50. Its my new spot.

Next up: a nap. Definitely necessary and definitely took up most of the afternoon/early evening. I do what I want. And yes that is a Powerpuff Girls pillowcase. And yes I always look this good when I sleep. And I can take pictures of myself in my sleep.


Next, and maybe the most exciting! I put up my Christmas tree!! Well, as much as possible. But I'm rather fond of it. I downloaded some Christmas tunes, pulled out the tape and recently purchased garland, and inspiration hit. I love it. It makes my little apartment seem livelier.

I also tasted that treat handed to me on the street last night. Here is video documentation, because I know you all want to watch me try weird food.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Defining Moments

Last week I was telling my friend about how the night before I had a defining moment in my life when Avril Lavigne came on the radio in the cab and our taxi driver turned it up and started singing along. And then we all started singing along (except me because it was a tune I was unfamiliar with) and we rolled the windows and for that moment we were one with the old man Korean cab driver.

Today I had a lot of defining moments.

First, a student told me my Cher impression wasn't good.

...

Excuse me, but have the rest of you been lying to me for the past 10 years? Because that's not very funny and I'm upset I had to hear this from a Korean boy. Ouch.

Secondly, after lunch I went out and played a little basketball with the students. Its been awhile since I've been able to shoot hoops and even though it was short lived, I loved it. I think I'm going to make it a more frequent occurrence. But maybe only after it warms up a little bit. Aka March.

Third. I joined a Korean gym. Yeah.

Fourthly, as Kong and I were walking back home from the gym, this random guy stops me and hands me something. I take it.


I have no idea what it is. It wasn't open when I got it, so I feel like if its food I can eat it. But it depends on what food it is. Sometimes I love being blonde here, just because strangers give me candy. Well, maybe candy. This is my request for a translation.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dominic. Take 2.

A lot of you already know this story.

In second grade I had a crush on a boy named Dominic. Dominic and I were in the same class and he was super cute. He's probably the first crush I can remember having. I mean, there was the boy in preschool that I used to kiss all the time (shout out to Matt!) but I'm pretty sure that was purely physical.

Dominic was not only cute, but just so nice.

So naturally, we did what most second graders in love would do: chase each other around the playground.

This was all fine and dandy until one day during the chase, as I was coming around the corner of the field into the playground area, Dominic seemingly vanished. Not a second later I spotted him laying down in the sandbox (more like pebbles) so I walked up and sat down next to him. I began to cover him in these little rocks. I put them on his feet and hands and head....and ear.

Recess ended. I ran into class.

After class had started, I looked around and saw that Dominic was nowhere to be found!

A moment later my teacher called me up to her desk. She asked me if I put rocks in Dominic's ear.

Next thing I know, I'm on my way to the principals office.

Turns out my playful second grade flirtations had led to a problem. The rocks I *gently put* on Dom's head/in his ear had become stuck in his ear canal. His mother had to be called and he had to be taken to the doctors office to get the rocks vacuumed out.

(*shoved*)

Needless to say, that basically ended the love affair between Dominic and I, despite the fact that we continued going to the same school through high school. Things were never the same.

All of this leads up to one of my first teaching days here in Korea. I was going around having each student stand up and tell me his name. When I got to the boy who said his English name was Dominic I began to chuckle. Second grade memories started flowing back and I knew I was going to like this kid.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. Korean Child Prodigy has made himself scarce in my office, sadly, but right about the time he stopped coming, Dominic began to make surprise visits to my office after school. Mostly he got nervous and would say hi and then walk away.

It all ended one day two weeks ago when he came in and we talked about how he loves the American show "Big Bang Theory", which I've never actually watched but I've heard its funny. I told him this, and he pulled out his little mini game system/TV and began playing an episode.

Awesome.

Then last week.

It was Monday. I had gotten up late that day and felt pretty blah. Until after school, when Dominic and one of my coteachers (not COT) came into my office. Dominic then explained to me that one of his friends dads had gone to the USA for business and he brought back some hot chocolate-Swiss Miss to be exact.

Dominic then proceeded to pull the packet of hot chocolate out of his pocket and told me that I could have it, because I probably missed home.

Is that not the most darling thing you've ever heard?

I told him that I couldn't take his hot chocolate! He had never tried it and I had. It just didn't make sense. We compromised and decided to share it. He was prepared and got out his bottle of hot water and we mixed it up. I took the first sip, and yeah: Swiss Miss is good stuff. Hot chocolate here in Korea just isn't that great.

Then Dominic took a sip. His eyes lit up and he tasted the power of sugar and you could tell he just loved it. And I loved seeing him love it.

It was what most would call a 'precious moment'. In fact, if I could have Precious Moments customize a figurine, it would be me and a small Korean boy sharing hot chocolate. You know, kinda like this:


I know, cute, right?

The next day I brought him some American candy my parents sent me. Just as a kind of thank you.

Two hours later he walks into my office with a Korean juice drink. This gift giving will never end! And for the last half hour of my day, Dominic and I talked about his family, tv shows, and music (which included him singing a lovely rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"-yeah I know-it was a defining moment of my life. His voice was so sweet).

I live for these bonding moments with the kids.

I love Korea.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Erik.


This kid is awesome. He is turning 13 today. I wish I could be there to see him transform into a teenager, but I'm sure it'll be a smooth transition. He knows whats up.

Erik! Happy birthday! My gift to you is a blizzard from Dairy Queen in approximately ten months. Don't forget.

Miss you! Love you!

PS Korean gifts will be shipped shortly. Hopefully in time for Christmas, but we'll see if that happens. No worries.

Content.

I have a super BFF named Jeff.


Jeff and I were able to meet on our study abroad in Paris. It was a magical time with friends, French, and fromage. He was a brave soul and stayed strong and sane while being the only boy out of 30 people in our program. Yes, that means he was almost constantly surrounded by 29 girls. Impressive, eh?

Jeff and I didn't hang out a ton on our study abroad, but it was only the beginning.

Almost four years later, I have found Jeff to be a solid friend. He is a good example and a good time. We have shared moments of utter happiness, disappointment, and confusion. And one time he yelled at me because I was being obnoxious during a very important phone call. (I'm still sorry about that, JD)


Anyways, the point of this is that Jeff is again living in Paris. He graduated and decided to fulfill a dream/work towards bigger goals by attending a prestigious acting school in the city of lights. Right around the time he moved to Paris, I came to Korea. It was comforting to have a friend in a similar situation as me: leaving home to find a new one; going to do something that other people couldn't really understand; living a dream.

Jeff is a talented guy. I would say he has good luck, but he works super hard to open up tons of opportunities. A few weeks ago he wrote a blog post that hit me about how while his decision to move to Paris could be considered a plethora of things (i.e. crazy) it was right for him. While reading his words I found myself beaming in happiness for him. He is where he is supposed to be.

I hate to admit it, but immediately after those feelings of happiness came for Jeff, feelings of bitterness and sadness for selfish reasons surrounded my mind. I wanted to be able to say that I knew I was where I was supposed to be. I wanted to declare that Korea and I were a perfect match and that I woke up everyday happy and knowing that I was in the right place. I mean, I've always felt like Korea is where I'm supposed to be right now, but I just didn't know it.

Until today.

It's late. I'm tired. But I am so happy.

I don't know what changed, but as I'm sitting here in my tiny studio apartment in Pyeongtaek, S. Korea, I know that I am meeting the best people, having the best experiences, and I know I am right where I am supposed to be.

And that, my friends, feels so good.

(my school in the back)

(Thanksgiving friends from church)

(Thanksgiving friends from America)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

hat love.

i love hats.

its a fact of life.

sometimes i love them because they cover up my greasy day-2 hair.

other times i love them just because.

korea has already provided me with some good ones:

I know you've already seen my New York Salt Lake hat, but I had to include this picture for its awkward factor. This guy was our server at a typical Korean restaurant and he totally hammed it up for us. When he came to cut our meat or stir in our rice he was very theatrical, and we totally ate it up. I loved him for the night. So naturally I had to get a picture with him. Only when the camera came out he got real shy. And his coworkers laughed at him. Which explains his face. Oh, and this place gives you aprons to wear while you eat. Yes please.

And sorry my face is so giant:


I got my first Korean haircut! I'm legit starting to fit in here. My Korean name is Bomi (thanks Mark!), I have an Asian haircut, and I eat rice every day. Bam sucka.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy. Birthday.

It is my bro's bday today.

I am sad I cannot be there to celebrate with him and the rest of the fam. Real sad.

Kris is really awesome.


I mean, seriously. He has a heart of gold and more faith and dedication than I can even fathom.

I'm a real lucky girl when it comes to having the most choice brothers, and Kris is no exception.

So while I know its the end of your day, I hope your birthday is most excellent. And the next time we happen to be in the same place, we're doing sushi.

Miss you love you!! happy birthday!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Out of the mouth of Max Hall

As I sat here following the game of all games on my laptop in Korea, I had nothing but feelings of love and truth and happiness as my beloved Cougs beat the nasty Utes. I got homesick for LaVell Edwards stadium. I wish I could've sat there cheering for my team. But I think they heard me all the way from here.
Align Center
As I'm reading up on the game, some quotes from Max Hall really stood out.

And when I say stood out, I mean he was pretty harsh. And I kinda like it. I mean, its his last regular season college football game.

Max said:

"I don't like Utah. In fact, I hate them. I hate everything about them. I hate their program, their fans. I hate everything," Hall said. "It felt really good to send those guys home...

"I think the whole university and their fans and the organization is classless," Hall said. "They threw beer on my family and stuff last year and did a whole bunch of nasty things. I don't respect them and they deserved to lose."

BOOYAH.

Mostly I really like that.

What I didn't like was the 4th quarter. I mean, we were up 20-6. And then they managed to tie us. Not awesome.

Thankfully, things came together in the end and Andrew George will be worshiped on BYU campus in the coming days.

Awesome. Go Cougs. Thanks for making me happy.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Shopping



Hankook Mart:
This is where I usually do my grocery shopping. The first time I went there I wasn't so sure about it. It's smaller (and therefore not really stocked full of American food) but now I go there probably at least twice a week. There is this random man whose job is to talk constantly into a microphone over the loudspeaker. I have no idea what he's saying, but he sounds like a game show host. Someone said he's just saying the big sales or discounts. But sometimes when I walk in and he starts talking and I see people laughing I have this fear he's warning the store that a white girl has entered.

Anyways.

This week, however, heaven came to me in the form of an even greater shopping experience: Costco

Did you know there are six (I think) Costco's in Korea?! I love it. I went with some friends and we walked in with wide eyes and happy hearts. Like kids in a candy store. I'm not even joking. And its not like it's super close to us. It took an hour bus ride and a 15 minute cab ride to get there. But every moment spent getting there and back was worth it. Because I got to partake of the goodness of a Costco hot dog and chicken bake. Oh soooo good.


We also had the luxury of hauling all our goods back down to our city. Buying in bulk is much harder when there is no SVU or mini-van to pile in all your boxes.

I love Costco. So much.