Friday, January 29, 2010

Turning Japanese

I jet off to the land of sushi and anime (I think I want to go to one of those restaurants where the waitresses are dressed like Pokemon or whatev) so I figured I'd blog real quick because we all know I probably won't while I'm gone. You're a priority, blog, but not that high on the list.

Ok just kidding my blog is like #1 in my life. Maybe #2, after MTV Reality TV. Judge me.

Anyways, students become the devil after having them every day (Saturday's included) for three weeks straight, so needless to say I'm stoked to be done with my super lame conversation class. Don't tell anyone, but maybe for the last class all we did was play Uno (not really English, oops) and watch The Simpsons. It was a party? Thats my story.


It's sad that this is what Ricky Martin has become: a popcorn machine at Home Plus (like Walmart-but bigger) in Korea. Awesome.


I'm basically a really trendy Korean. Minus the Korean part.

See you in a week, blog.
(and MTV)



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Saturday Night

What happens in a Jordanian restaurant, stays in a Jordanian restaurant


(matchy matchy!)


(the most awkward richard nixon ever)

I wish I had more pictures from later in the night, including my new love crush: Jackie Chan. I don't remember his real name, but he was a Korean my friends had invited along for the night. And when I say invited along, I mean he was their waiter at dinner and that created a bond that would last all night.

The real bond formed when, at the Noraebang (aka karaoke), Jackie Chan and I danced and sang to Usher's "Yeah Yeah" together.

I miss him.

The night also included a belly dancer performing at dinner for my friends birthday, out of control dancing, and a crazy (in a good way) cab driver.

Just another good night in Seoul.

Because...

Align Center
Why wouldn't a bunch of Storm Troopers be walking around Seoul advertising for Adidas?


Monday, January 25, 2010

Preparing



I'm planning on singing this and doing the robot the entire time I'm in Japan.

I'm sure many videos will result.

4 more days until I'm Mr. Roboto!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

RIP

There's a place in this world that brings joy and happiness and sometimes pain to the people who visit.

That place is Taco Bell.

Korea doesn't have Taco Bell, except for on the military posts.

It's very sad.

But what is sadder is that the Taco Bell legend; the man who made it all possible, Glen W. Bell Jr. has died.

Thanks for all the memories, the cheesy fiesta potatoes, and heartburn.
RIP Glen.

RIP.

Japanese Glee



Awesome.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I came to Korea and saw The Wedding Singer

There is a musical version of the hit movie The Wedding Singer making its way around the world.

Lucky for me, Korea picked up on this and made dreams come true.

When I was...14? years old(ish) I went through a period where I would watch this movie every week. I don't know why. I mean, its funny and I like it, but its not THAT funny. Needless to say I have most of it committed to memory.

(I have all of Saturdays Warrior committed to memory)

Anyways, I convinced (it wasn't very hard) my friend Corinna to go as well, and after a lovely dinner of oysters and pork wraps (yeah, love those combos) (actually it wasn't very satisfying and I longed for more), we hit up the art center for a life-changing performance.


The guy who played Adam Sandlers character is pretty famous I guess. He's in that movie Nine (that nobody really cares about) but when he came on stage as Robbie Hart the crowd went wild. I even busted out my 'siren' yell. You know what I'm talking about.

The show was fantastic. I think. I don't really speak Korean.

But what it lacked in English, it made up for in costumes, extreme interpretations of the film version, and Korean love.


The scene where Robbie, Julia, Glenn, and Holly all go on a double date to the club was the best thing of my life. They turned it into a giant dance scene with costumes very similar to that of strippers (including a man in a very tiny pair of shorts and a leash-bow chicka bow wow) and it ended with a gush of water pouring down on Holly. And...then it was intermission. What a rush.


And for your viewing pleasure, some clips from the show. Don't tell anyone. Also, they're poorly shot so I understand if you say no to pushing play.
(poorly shot=most of the time its pure black and is only useful for audio. but if you want to hear the Korean version of "Grow Old With You", its the last minute or so)


video

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wanted

While I was at the bank I noticed a poster of sad looking Koreans on the wall.

I realized it was a "Most Wanted" sign.

And then I thought to myself, "it must be hard finding criminals in Asia because, well, they all look pretty similar."

I mean, if you had to decribe a bank robber here, you'd say "um, average height, dark hair, Asian".

Well, that leaves out the foreigners.

Sa-tan.

I tell you this story not to worry you, but to give you an idea of the most horrible kind of taxi driver.

You see, in Korea, taxi's are wicked cheap, making them a staple in everyday life. Most of the time the drivers are pretty nice. I've taken up to offering them a piece of "American gum" because it seems to ease the language barrier. They laugh, they try to talk to you in English, they tell you about their families and ask why you're not married. Quite exhilarating convo.

But the other night I met the worst of all the taxi drivers. He is, for the point of this story, called Sa-tan.

I had been up in Seoul for the night, enjoying a rather entertaining evening, when after a series of unfortunate events I missed the final train down to my city. By probably less than a minute.

Welcome to my life.

At this point I had three options.
1. Stay with my friend in Seoul for the night
2. Find a cheap hotel/hostel and stay there
3. Taxi back to my city

Seeing as the next day was one of two Saturdays I'll have to work my entire year here, it was pretty vital for me to get back to P-taek (my city) by 8:15 am the following morning. This would have put my departure time at approx 6:30 am, which is all but too early. I'd rather stay up late and wake up early than the opposite.

It would've been possible, but I also had to finish an application online by the morning.

(procrastinating is bad)

Therefore, option #3 seemed to make the most sense for my situation. I knew it'd be expensive, but I also knew I had to be home. Suck.

I leave the station and outside there is a line of cabs waiting to take people home. They stand outside yelling places they'd drive to and blah blah blah. I approach one and tell him where I need to go. We agree on a price. I get into his cab.

He goes back outside to try and get more riders. They do this to make mad cash. He sees me open my door to leave and runs up to me, holding up his fingers to indicate to wait for a few minutes.

I get out of the car and tell him I won't wait. I will find another cab. He gets upset with this, but I walk away. Three other drivers run after me. I negotiate with them and get the same price as before.

We start on the trek down south. The cab driver is CRAZY. He drives super fast (I clocked him at 185 km/hr) and I fear a little bit for my life. But we get to my city and I'm alive.

I give him the previously agreed on price. I had even written it on my hand to ensure that we both knew the price (remember, we were saying the numbers in both English and Korean and sometimes it gets confusing).

He tells me I need to give him more money. We took a toll road and I had to pay for it.

"Oh, but no", I say. "We agreed on this!" (I point to the price on my hand)

He starts waving the paper from the toll booth around. I say I don't care (they understand this because of a famous pop song).

He yells at me. I yell at him. He tries giving me my money back. I throw it on his taxi and start to walk away.

He gets out of his cab.

He grabs me by the shoulders.

I get angry. I almost deck his face in.

I yell at him "Don't you touch me!" and he tells me I need to pay more. I tell him no way. I start walking away again.

He grabs my shoulder again and threatens to call the cops.

I tell him to do it. We'll see who they side with.

He comes up to me again and before he lays a hand on me I push him away.

I decided to end it right then and there so I throw five more bucks at him and storm off. Way less than he wanted, but apparently it was enough to make him satisfied.

But yeah I was really angry. Luckily I had him drop me off a street away from my apartment so I felt better about that. And it gave me time to blow off some steam. I mean, obviously he was already charging me more than he should have, so to have the audacity to ask for more money? I was not having it. And he physically touched me. If he had done it one more time I would've straight up pounded his face in.

Fin.

Stories...almost

I have a billion stories from this weekend that I know are blogworthy, but for some reason (laziness?) I just don't have the energy to write them all right now.

I'm working on it, but until I actually hit 'publish', this is what you get.

I got glasses.


You see, I haven't ever really had my eyes checked, save those days in elementary school where you cover one eye with a cup and read letters. So I didn't really know what to expect. I took the eye test.

I failed. Well, my right eye failed.

At least its a new accessory?

Also, I found this on the seat in front of me on a bus:

If you can't read it, it has a phone number and then "I'm sex perther". Which I'm guessing is supposed to say "sex panther".

Of course I had to take a picture, if not just for future reference.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I do what I want.

Once upon a time, there was a boy (actually, he is #8 in the photo a couple posts down) named Han Seong.

He has been in my classes since I got here, but I never got to see his personality like I did last week during Winter camp.

This kid is a riot.

First off, I had trouble understanding him when he said his name. He always said it really fast and so it took awhile to catch what it was. So, to ease my situation, I nicknamed him Handsome. Because when he said his name super fast, thats what I heard. Also, the rest of the class really liked it. And it was better then their nickname for him: Crazy.

Anyways, Handsome said some of the funniest things I've ever had a student say. One day he answered every question I asked with "How should I know?" and a shrug of his shoulders.

"Hey! Handsome. What are you doing?"

"How should I know?"

"Um, you're the one doing it. What is your name?"

"How should I know?"

(this continued for a good three minutes. with brief laughter between questions)

Classic.

He has serious attitude.

But he ensured himself a spot in my favorites list when he said, without prompting:

"I do what I want"


Seriously, we're MTBBFFs.
(meant to be best friends forever. duh)

What is it?

I saw this specimen today and was confused at what it was at first.

It was either a giant dog wearing a scarf, or a bear. Both were to be feared.
(Or I guess one could be eaten...bahahaha)

To my relief, it was only an old woman.

But as you can see, she was hardly recognizable:


This is how cold it is.

(It was also pretty tricky taking these photos. The woman sitting across from me on the subway was staring at me the entire ride. Luckily, I had a book to cover up my undertaking.)

(ps: the book? harry potter 3. i finished it tonight. i apologize for not reading them sooner)



Friday, January 8, 2010

truth.

That's all I have to say about that.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Boys Boys Boys

This week has been different than most. I've actually had to work while at work.

JK.

(Kind of)

It's just been crazy. Along with eating dog and going to the Noraebang, I've been teaching two sessions of English camp everyday. Now if that isn't a fantastic way to start winter vacation, I don't know what is!

I'll admit that initially I wasn't too excited about this. I was unhappy with the timing and I really just wanted to go to Thailand. But I'm actually glad I was here this week and I'm excited to go into school tomorrow. Weird, eh?

We've been playing lots of games and I've been able to see the students personalities better, which has been so much fun. We've got the kids with attitudes, the suck ups, the silent leaders, the gentlemen. Its fantastic. I wish every week could be like this, even if it is taking ten times more energy. I love it.

Along with my morning session of camp, we've had to plan and make lunches every day. Now this I was really dreading (who dreams of cooking with 15 14-year old boys?), but again, it happened to be fantastic. I taught them to throw their spaghetti noodles against the wall to see if they're done (don't tell anyone) and they showed me how its possible to ruin pasta sauce (from a can).

I love these boys.

Even the punks who fight each other nonstop.

I love Korea.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

i ate dog.

I was going to come up with a funny or clever title for this, but the fact of the matter is that it's awesome no matter how I say it:

Last night I ate some dog.


Ok, so its kind of gross. And even though I despise those little creatures, it was still weird eating it. But mostly it was awesome. A teacher at the high school took three of us foreigners out to this restaurant hiding in a corner not far from my place. It was quite an experience.


The woman at the restaurant brought out the pot with the seasonings and the veggies first, and then she brought out the meat tray and plopped it in so it could all stew together. The worst part was seeing the pieces of skin amid the meat. Ick. I will admit I did not eat that.

As far as taste goes, it was aight. Not amazing, but not horrible. Its pretty tender. I guess Koreans used to eat dog a lot back in the day when they had limited options for protein, but its becoming less and less popular. I told my students that I ate it and some thought it was cool and others thought it was weird. So times are a changing in this country. Sad day.


Oh, whats this? Why, its a video documenting the first bite! How convenient!

video

After the dog (dog burps are icky), we decided to complete our night by being fully Korean and going to the Noraebang aka KARAOKE.

I am now Korean. Mission accomplished.



Monday, January 4, 2010

Frozen Tundra

Today was a cold, snowy day.

I woke up to the snow flurrying down in a crazy array of cold. It was not the best walk to school ever. And I just read that "The accumulation in Seoul broke a one-day record of 25.6 cm (10 inches) and is expected to grow, said weather officials, who have been keeping records for about 70 years." (Reuters)

Awesome. I'm such a lucky girl.

(P.S. I know ten inches isn't that crazy to my peeps back home, nor it is actually that crazy to me, but its different when you're in Korea. Trust me).

Anyways, what made it even better was that today was the beginning of Winter Vacation, which also happens to be the first day of English Winter Camp. I don't know how Koreans got so confused. Vacation and school camp should not start, or actually ever be on, the same day. Alas, this is how it works.

Today as a little ice breaker game we played Two Truths and a Lie (i love this game. we played it all summer. or at least one night).

My two truths and a lie:
1. One time my hair caught on fire
2. I met George Bush
3. I have six brothers

Which one is the lie?

This was one of my students:


If I could give grades, I'd give him an A. Because this is exactly the same kind of thing I would/did do all during school. Well done, Park Ji Hun. Well done.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years Eve

Happy New Year!

(Peace out 2009)

For a final meal, and for the beginning of our "Take Over Seoul" New Years Eve celebration, we decided we'd grab some food in Seoul for dinner. We being Kong, my neighbor, and I. So we hopped on the train and headed towards the corner of the city where we'd be hanging out for the night. We didn't have a specific restaurant or type of food in mind for dinner, but we knew we wouldn't have any trouble finding a place to eat. There are restaurants on every corner and in between in this country.

So, we were walking around and after some deliberation, we decided to eat at a local Korean place. There are some restaurants that are used to having a lot of foreigners, and there are some that are not. It was obvious when we walked in that this place was not.

Sometimes this means its legit local cuisine, and sometimes this means that foreigners don't typically enjoy this cuisine. It's always a hit or miss kind of dealio.

So we walked in and made ourselves at home at one of the tables. It's a specialty restaurant, like most here, and they only serve a few variations of the same thing. So we point to a table and say we want the same as them.

We were in for a treat.


I told Kong that if someone had put this in front of me four months ago, I would've probably been disgusted or confused. I most certainly would not have known how to eat it.

I'm still confused most of the time, but when they set this down, I knew it was pork. Yeah, that was definitely a pig. I just wasn't sure what part of the pig it was.

This tipped me off:

Yes, that is a pig hoof.

I looked up this food tonight to try to figure out more of what it is. If Wikipedia is right, this dish is called Jokbal and it is, indeed, pigs feet.

Wiki says this, "The hair is removed from pigs' feet and they are thoroughly washed. Leeks, garlic, ginger, cheongju (rice wine) and water are brought to a boil. The pigs' feet are added, brought back to a boil and then simmered until tender. Then additional water, sugar and soy sauce are poured into the pot and the contents are slowly stirred. Once the jokbal is fully cooked, bones are removed, and the meat is cut into thick slices. It is then served with fermented shrimp sauce called saeujeot (새우젓)"

Sounds delicious, yes?

Actually, Kong and I left feeling mostly unsatisfied. Maybe its an acquired taste? It's also supposed to be eaten with soju, the Korean drink of choice, so maybe that's what we were missing.

Luckily this guy who worked there was awesome. He came up to our table to say something and I told him this was delicious (I lied) and he laughed all happy and proud and then I took a pic with him and then he got really excited and laughed some more and grabbed my camera to show all of his friends. Thank you sir!

As for the rest of New Years Eve, I made this video. It's not that awesome. But I made it, so its going on the blog.

video