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Monday, October 31, 2005

You Should Learn Korean

You're cutting edge, and you are ready to delve into wacky Korean culture.
From Engrish to eating contests, you're born to be a crazy Kimchi-eater. Ahssah!

Happy Halloween!

Yo. I have pictures. Huzzah! Anyway, here are a couple from the disease party a couple weeks ago. One is of me and Colleen. Contrary to appearances, Colleen was neither drinking nor doing drugs. But it's the only picture I have of me from that night, so I'm putting on here. Plus, you can see my Jaundice name tag. The other picture is Jaclyn and Will. They are making a heart with their hands, which is a popualr thing to do here in Korea. I guess it kind of means, "I love you." Or something.

So I did celebrate Halloween. I went and met up with a few people in Osan prior to the party (Jaclyn, Andy, Elissa, Meghan, and later Will). We bought a couple pumpkins and carved Jack-o-lanterns. Pumpkins here aren't as orange as in the US. They're a dull orange-y color...pasty, if you will. I didn't have a costume because...well, I didn't have one. I guess I didn't care enough to spend more than 10 minutes attempting to be creative enough to fashion a costume. But that thing on my face is a temporary tattoo of a pumpkin and a witch, or something. But I did help decorate her apartment for the party, so I thought that made up for it. She had orange and black balloons and I took to the orange ones with a black Sharpie to make them look like Jack-o-lanterns. Kick-ass ones, at that. And I made a sign for her door which was universally admired. I got a group pic of all at the party who were dressed up. I ended up taking a taxi home that night at about 2am...I went with Jaclyn, Andy (her bf, the guy in the pumpkin carving picture), and another guy (B.T., the guy in front wearing bling). so it was just over $5 each...about a half an hour drive or so (with no traffic)? So it was nice to wake up in my own apt instead of waking up on the floor of someone else's apt and then having to take the subway and bus home.

On my way to catch the bus to go to the party, I had to walk by Pyeongtaek City Hall and go through some sort of demonstration that was taking place, complete with police. I don't know what it was against, but Jaclyn (who heard parts of it waiting for the bus) thought she heard the word "miguk" which means "America." So maybe it was an anti-American demonstration. But no one yelled at me or anything when I walked through it, so if it was they were pretty benign about it. I guess (according to my parents) there was a pretty big anti-American protest a few days earlier in Pusan/Busan. Which is on the SE coast of South Korea, so pretty far from where I am. Who knows?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Anoteher Amerikan Bosuh Netuhwerkuh Komershial Postuh

Note: This is the 2nd of 2 new entries. If you want to read the one written first, scroll down a little. If you don't care which you read first (and it really doesn't matter as they were posted only about an hour apart or so) then just keep reading. The choice is yours. Choose wisely. Not...poorly (In the words of a Knight Templar to Indiana Jones...well, approximate words).

Ok, more fun with TV. First off, guess which shows are on tv here that I stumbled across the other day? Hell's Kitchen, Num3ers, and The Bachelorette. All those shows have some sort of meaning to someone, so that's why I mentioned them. Oh, Sex and the City is also on. And CSI:Miami, CSI:NY, and CSI:Regular. And House. And Las Vegas and Dr. Vegas. I guess they like Vegas here as that's 3 shows where Vegas is the setting.

Ok, I was watching AFN and here is one commerical line-up I had the fortune of viewing:

1. The setting: a normal looking kitchen. Enter: 2 kids, approxiate age 7. They look around then one of them says, "It's up there!" The camera pans up to a cookie jar sitting on the top of the fridge. The 2 kids then proceed to hoist each other towards the cookie jar. Now, the camera quality is that of a home video, so I'm sitting here thinking of those drunk driving commercials where there's home video of a kid singing or having a bday or something and all seems happy until the black screen flashes and the words, "Dave Johnson [or whatever]. Killed November 4th by a drunk driver the night of his 15th birthday party," or whatever. So I'm expecting the damn fridge to topple over and crush the kids and have it be a PSA for proper house safety. Instead, while the kids are still struggling to get the cookie jar, a voice over proclaims, "Remember what we can accomplish with teamwork?" Yes. Getting cookies, apparently. Then again, you can also accomplish the same task a hell of a lot easier and on your own by walking to the grocery store. Whatever.

2. Scary as hell PSA on POWs. It's this long commercial with different really serious people talking about what to do if you're ever taken prisoner by "the enemy." For example, you need to do everything to escape and help others escape. You can't do anything to help the enemy. You can't do anything the enemy wants. Etc. I'm just hoping that those in the military get more training on what to do in that situation than a stupid 30 second PSA on AFN.

3. The Scene: A town square with a fountain and a bunch of people milling around. Cue: A suspicious looking old lady slowly walking across the screen holding a large bag. Voiceover: You want to avoid being in a terrorist attack? Just do what these people are doing. What are they doing? Acting completely normal." Umm, first of all it's just a weird commercial. Second of all, are they all really acting completely normal if I initially thought that the old lady was a terrorist?

4. Then there's a commercial for a sorority dance. (??) First off, I had no idea that there were sororities in the military. Yet I swear I both heard and saw the word sorority more than once....and the word Kappa. Second, the song in the background was Ace of Base's All That She Wants. Nice.

5. 15 second spot featuring Skid Row telling you to watch AFN. Hey, this job doesn't only fall to Quiet Riot! There are also a lot of these types of commercials with pro-wrestlers. I guess military personnel like wrestling.

6. Previously mentioned AFN Korea commerical featuring guns and bombs exploding to the Linkin Park song. They really are advertising themselves a lot...

7. A commercial on Navy Firefighters with no clear discernable purpose other than to say, "Hey, these guys exist." Also, and more importantly, the song being played in the background was great. Sarah, pay attention, you're going to like this. It was Powerhouse's Some Like It Hot. Otherwise known as the song that Rusty Griswold was listening to on his walkman in National Lampoon's European Vacation. Sweet.

That was all for that commercial break, but there's another commercial of note that I want to explain. It seems to have been created specifically for a Mom-Joleen hybrid. Most of it is just clips from Bambi. Bambi frolicking around the forest, etc. Then Bambi runs up to his mom and says, "What are we going to do today, Mommy?" Then another screen comes up and we see that it's a Smokey Bear commercial telling us, "Only YOU can prevent forest fires." But this commercial always makes me laugh because I always want to pretend to be Bambi's mom and answer his "What are we going to do today, Mommy?" question with, "Die!" Because, you know, she gets shot by a hunter...

Ok, enough with the commercials. But let me now explain my new favorite game. Now, there are quite a few Korean channels on tv that show American movies. And they always show the name of the movie in the upper corner of the screen while it's playing. But, it's not written in English, it's written in Hangul. But, it's not translated into Korean, it's just the American movie name transcribed into hangul (Korean letters). So, I try to figure out what movie it is (oftentimes I'm not sure the name) by attempting to read the Hangul. Which I find humorous because the sounds don't translate right, so it can be challenging to decode. Here are a few examples: Enemy ubuh Suhtaetuh=Enemy of the State. Joan Kyu=John Q. Delta Bosuh=The Delta Force. Seksuh and Sheety=Sex and the City. A Byoo Goot Main=A Few Good Men. Etc. Nae Sachin Binny was on the other day as well...but on that one they actually translated "My Cousin." Joan of Arcadia was also funny, but I can't remember how it sounded now. Anway, that's all for now. Over and Out.

Eureka! The Mother Lode!
candy, candy, candy, candy, candy, candy, candy, candy...

Ok, let's see if I can update this thing successfully. Well, the Disease Party was fun. It really didn't have anything to do with diseases, though. Everyone wore a nametage with their disease. Jaundice rules! There was also an Asian Bird Flu, which I thought was funny. There was also a 'game' where you had to guess the number of pills Will ahs swallowed in the last 3 years (vitamins wre included). I was way off with my guess of about 5,500. The right number was a bit above 10,000. Wow. That's just over 9 pills a day.

I got really confused getting to his apt, however. I had been there before, so I wasn't too worried about it. I took the bus to the stop closest to his building. It kind of sucks that to catch the bus I have to walk 15-20 minutes to the stop. Anyway, I found his apt building and went up to his floor and his apt (he has the same apt number as I do, so wasy to remember). The party was supposed to officially 'start' at 8, and it was only 7:50 at that time. So I knock. Nothing. I knock again. Nothing. Pretty soon I swear to God I hear Korean women talking in his apartment. I knock one more time and I only hear Korean women, but no one comes to the door. So I am super confused. I don't have a cell phone nor Will's number, so I can't even use a payphone to call him to see what's up. I thought I must have the wrong apt, but I swore it was right. I had no idea what to do, so I ended up catching a taxi and taking it back to my apt. I could have taken the bus again, but I was already annoyed and that would've taken longer. Plus, I didn't feel like walking from the bus stop to my house that extra 20 minutes. Anyway, the cab ride only ended up costing me about $2.50, so definitely worth it. I get back in my apt and call Will. "Hey, were you in your apt at 7:50?" "Ummm, no." "Oh. I went and knocked, but I only heard Korean ladies. Did you leave your light on [another reason I though I had the wrong apt was because the light was on]?" "Yeah, sorry. I was at a restaurant with Jaclyn and Elissa. Are you near my apt right now?" "Umm, no, I'm back at mine." Etc. I felt like a dumbass. Anyway, I took a cab back over there and all was well. But I was seriously confused for a while. Note to self: try to tone down the nerdiness and not arrive early to parties.

This week at school has been nice so far because I only have 4 classes on Monday (plus a teacher class). Then today I didn't have any classes because they whole school was testing or something. And tomorrow morning I will only have 2 instead of 4 because the 5th graders need to do gym tests. But I'll have them again in the afternoon. :( Then Thursday is only 4 classes again (plus a teacher class). But Friday sucks because I have 6 classes. Oh well.

Fyi, Halloween is not celebrated in Korea. And kids here don't believe in the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus. But a girl in our group is having a Halloween party on Saturday night. And she lives not far from here, so it's nice that I don't have to travel 8,000 years since I usually have to because I'm way down south in the province. She lives in Osan, which is 3 subway stops from Pyeongtaek. She has a big apt. And she has 2 beds because she told her school she had a boyfriend. I just thought that was funny. She's good friends with Jaclyn and this is her 2nd year here. She's very nice. She was also good friends with Liz Kas. Anyway, we're encouraged to dress up, but I have no idea what I would dress up as since I have no costume and nowhere sells them. Maybe I'll just be jaundice again.

I guess there's also a big Halloween celebration in Seoul (in Itaewan, the American part) on Friday night. But I don't like Seoul, so I'm not going. Actually, I have nothing against Seoul, I just don't like going out until all hours of the night to 8,000,0000 clubs which is the only thing people apparently do there after 8. I'd rather stay home and watch Survivor. And then The Apprentice (The Donald, not Martha).

Anyway, today was another very exciting Christmas-like day as I got a package from Joleen!!! It was friggin' huge, and again, cost a small fortune to send (she beat you out, mom...by a decent amount!). The office lady calls my room and says to me, "Mommy package. Here down." So I go down there and tell her that's it's from my SISTER. Get it right, woman! ;) This time she didn't go through the customs slip list with me. But she did read it as evidenced later. As I was leaving, this guy in the office asked her what was in the box and she says, "Candy." [which was ONE of the things listed] So this guy thinks that this gigantic box I'm carrying is full of nothing but candy! Haha. He's probably thinking, "No wonder Americans are so fat." On a related not, my co-teacher was reading this article thing to me today about a 5 year old American girl who weighs like 250 pounds. That's possible??? Anyway, after opening and unloading the package I felt like being Scrooge McDuck and swimming through it all. But I didn't. Inventory: Home-made beef jerky. Shit-load of candy, including coffee KitKats and Reeses Big Cup. And awesome truffles. A block of cheddar cheese. A roll of summer sausage. Microwavable desserts. Pancake mix and chocolate chips. VHS tapes with recorded episodes of Lost, Desperate Housewives, and Grey's Anatomy. And much, much more. I am smiling at the thought. Ahhh...

Ok, I'm now going to end this entry and start another one on more funny commercials. Because I like to break things up that way.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Ok, I just spent an hour writing another post that somehow deleted itself when I published it...actually, it published...but everything in it was GONE. So now I'm really pissed and will have to wait to retype it as it was my "humorous" post and I'm really not in a humorous mood anymore. I actually feel like throwing my computer out of the window.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Yeah, Well Lesson-Plan THIS!!!

Hey, I'm back ya'll. I have been beyond tired this past week. I'm sick...sore throat, voice randomly going out, bright yellow flourescent snot. But not really a cough, which is good. So anyway, my being sick didn't help. Then I've experienced a lot of, "Hey, schedule 9,000 lessons in 2 days" deals. Yeah, I usually plan my lessons the night before and now you're asking me to plan 30 lessons, the last of which will occur at the end of Dec? I was complaining about it a bit to my co-teacher and she just said, "Make something up. Lie. Then change it later." Good advice. Not like they haven't changed shit on me at the last minute. They also wanted me to plan out 4 weeks of the English Camp I have to do over winter break. I randomly wrote shit down, but again, it'll probably be changed.

I was trying to find out about my winter vacation today, as well as negotiate a little. I think it kind of sucks that I only get 2 weeks off (esp when there are at least 3 months when school's not in session). I was reading over my contract (they actually gave me back a copy of one without me having to ask, wow!) and there was a part talking about OT hours...of which I now have 6 a week. [Side note...I teach 28 hours a week and the average other person in this program teaches MAYBE 20/wk] At least I get an extra $480/mo. But back to my point...I can either get $20 for every OT hour or exchange 1 OT hour for 2 paid vacation hours. Now, in a "normal" week that would mean 20 OT hours (40 hour weeks). BUT...my contract states that during the school winter/summer break I only work up to 20 hours/wk. SO...I want to try and trade in only 10 OT hours to get another week off this winter, making it 2 weeks. So I was asking about this and she was confused on that (but I think she understood it and thinks it's possible). But I was trying to figure out what weeks I wanted off and she didn't know when school resumed in Feb...which kinda put a hitch in me planning when I wanted my vacations. If I had my way, I'd "buy" one week right after Christmas and have the last week of Dec. off. The Korean New Year is apparently at the end of Jan, so I'd want to use my 7 days vacation tacked on to that holiday to get about 12 days off total (including the holiday and weekend days) at the end of Jan/beginning of February. Cross your fingers!!! If this works out I'd also want to "buy" more time off for my summer vacation.

Man, this is going to be long as I haven't written about anything really for a while. Maybe I'll make one post for "things that have been/are happening" and another for "Things I find amusing." In case you don't know, this post would not be in the latter category.

I had super excitement about a week ago when I received a package from my mom. It was sent to my school, so that was kind of funny. I went down to the office to get it (after a long and confusing conversation in Korean and broken English with the office lady after which I only understood, "Mother...come down now"). Wow, she knew it was from my mom, kudos to her. Anyway, on the package the huge custom slip was stuck on there and on the custom slip everything in the package had to be listed. So the office lady starts reading the list of stuff to me. Which was both funny and a little embarassing. I mean, it was all food. I wonder what she was thinking. She seemed confused by the beef jerky. Dude, it's my mail and in a way, you're reading it. Stop. So I got home and cracked that baby open like it was friggin' Christmas. Mac and Cheese! Velveeta cheese (not generally thought to be quality, be in Korea, it IS...and it's made some killer grilled cheese sandwiches...or 'sandwitches' as they spell it here), mashed potato stuff, various packaged cheesy pasta meals, Chips Ahoy!, Riesens, beef jerky (I finished that off in approx. 10 minutes), and a great microwaveable cookie that I saved until last night. It was really good. THANKS, MOM!!!!! It only took 8 days for the package to get here, but she sent it fast mail (by accident, apparently?) and it cost a small fortune. It's been taking 3 weeks for letters to get to me. Yikes.

I had a low-key weekend, which was nice. Colleen and Will came over Friday night and we had a sleepover at my place. We had Mac and Cheese. Originally it was only going to be Colleen and I, but Will heard about it and bought his way in by bringing a block of sharp cheddar cheese that he bought at the underground market in Seoul. So we had that, too. It was good. We had a lot of cheese. Although none of us are from WI (Colleen is from St. Paul and Will is from someplace in Ohio). We then watched A&E's 'Pride and Prejudice' because Colleen really wanted to see it. Which means we were up watching it until 4:30am since it's so damn long. I don't think Will was the most pleased with the choice, but he's a trooper and a gentleman so he sucked it up.

Anyway, fast forward to now because I don't feel like talking more about my week. Tomorrow night I'm going to a party at Will's that he's hosting. Ok, get ready because this is a weird-ass party. It's a Disease Party. You go and you wear a nametag with your 'favorite' disease on it. At first I was like, wtf?, but it makes a little more sense when you have the explanation. I guess 2 years ago on Oct. 22 he was diagnosed with this rare disease. I can't remember what it is right now. Anyway, he's pretty much fine now but he has to take a lot of medication and stuff. So now he holds an annual "Disease Party" in celebration of the fact that he's not dead, perhaps? I'm not quite sure of his overall motive. Anyway, I've gotten clearance to have jaundice. I wasn't sure if that was a disease, but I was told that anything that makes you turn funny colors counts. JAUNDICE ROCKS!!! Can anyone remember where my love of jaundice originated?? Because I can't. Anyway, it should be interesting.

Ok, I think I'm pretty much updated. Oh, it was Jaclyn's Bday last week so we celebrated. Here are a couple pictures of us at World Beer House not far from my apartment.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

In a Past Life...

You Were: A Gentle Sailor.

Where You Lived: Korea.

How You Died: The Plague.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Spectacular Cities!

One thing I find humorous about South Korea is that they apparently went through this 'branding phase' where they felt the need (on a tourism standpoint?) to give the country a motto, or logo, or whatever. So walking around you see this pasted up in numerous places:
Oh, but wait! It actually is well thought-out! Here is the official statement/explanation on the new dynamic name:

"The new design represents a contemporary interpretation of the traditional Korean taegeuk (yin and yang) pattern and seeks to express new waves of change and innovation. The design also symbolizes the vision of a dynamic future as well as energetic, self-confident and high-tech images for the nation.

"The letters of the word 'DYNAMIC' gradually increase in size as they move toward both ends in a symmetric way with the letter "A" serving as anchor. This expresses the nati
on's aspirations to reach out to every corner of the world, win popular international support, and achieve national prosperity. The red and blue colors shown in the taegeuk pattern further symbolize the inspiration of the present and the future dreams of the Korean people."

Yes, that's exactly what I thought when I saw that logo...

Then various provinces and cities began to join in the fun, scouring the English language for various complimentary adjectives (or in some cases, greetings) to stick before their name. The first one I became aware of was Happy Suwon. Now, at first I thought that this was just a cute (and funny) nickname...but just the other day I learned that 'Happy' also stands for something! That's right, it's an acronym! Without further ado, here is the acronym:


If that doesn't give you a clear idea of the type of city that is Suwon, I don't know what would! I personally also love how the H doubles as two people shaking hands...

I actually find Seoul's to be the weirdest...but again, there is multi-faceted meaning behind the choice:

"The name combines the greeting "Hi" with the name of the city "Seoul , the new brand aims to convey a friendly image of Seoul to the global community, and to promote harmony and unity among Seoul citizens. Since "hi" is a homophone of "high , the brand offers a new vision for Seoul and reflects the city's commitment to make Seoul one of the world's leading cities. The design of the brand features three colors to represent Korea: blue, red and yellow."

Sure...what I love most, however, is that this was chosen out of a crap-load of entries:

"With the aim to introduce a city brand, representing the nation's over 600-year-old capital, Seoul City held the Seoul Brand Contest from August 18 through September 5, 2002. A total of 7,283 entries were accepted. Among them, 'Hi Seoul' got the highest marks from the expert selection committee consisting of experts. During the Citizens' Day celebration in October 2002, the city government announced its selection of 'Hi Seoul' as the city brand."

At first I didn't think Pyeongtaek had a 'brand' and it really saddened me. But yesterday I came across an official-looking sign hanging on a bridge that had the sharp looking logo, Super Pyeongtaek! Woo-hoo! Houston, we have lift-off! I couldn't find a picture of it online, so sometime I'm going to have to head back to the sign with a camera and get the job done myself.

Anyway, here are a few other city brands:

Fyi, Gyeonggi-do is a province, not a city. And Yongin seems to be having an identity crisis, as my friend who lives there told me that she thought it was Global Yongin. Oh, and Busan? Just to let you know, your adjective is already taken...by the country...

Monday, October 10, 2005

Spotlight on Commercials (esp AFN's)

Let me first talk about 2 Korean commercials: One is for a fast food restaurant called Lotteria...it's like a McDonald's but Korean-y (I gather, but I have yet to patron one). Anyway, I just think it's hilarious because it's all about advertising this burger called the "kimchi burger." I have no idea what is said in the commercial, but at the end a chick holds up one of the burgers and yells in this incredible annoying high-pitched voice (reminiscent of the dubbed voices used for the Japanese actress judges on Iron Chef), "Kimchi!!!!" Which reminds me, on the kimchi note (but not the commercial note) we had a Korean tak a picture of us once and they said to us, "Say kimchi!" Haha. :D

Korean commerical #2: It's for a face wash, but it confused the bejeezus out of me the first 10 times or so I saw it. It's your typical face wash commerical what with the Korean chick washing her face and looking all fresh and whatnot, but the voice-over (annoying Korean chick again) keeps saying what sounds like, "Neutrogena sensitive bone cleanser!" First of all, why is it in English, second of all, wtf is a bone cleanser?? I finally figured out that she was supposed to be saying "sensitive foam cleanser." Ahhhh...ok...makes much more sense now...but it still cracks me up when I hear it.

And now for your feature presentation of "AFN 'Commercials'"!

AFN (American Forces Network) commercials can't advertise any products...I guess it has something to do with the fact that all the shows they play they get for free or something. Anyway, so instead of normal commercials they are just military propaganda spots or public service-type announcements that are shot with the quality of local car or lawyer commericals. If even that good. Some are also incredibly bizarre. And they don't exactly paint a pretty picture of our armed forces.

First there's the commercials for AFN Korea itself. One commercial features Shaggy (Jamaican-sounding singer of 'It wasn't Me,' not Shaggy from Scooby Doo) talking in his annoying voice about how great AFN is...and ends it with some assinine statement just so he can get the phrase "It wasn't me" in there. Then there's the one with the members of Quiet Riot singing AFN's praises. That's just funny in itself. Then there's my favorite, which just shows bombs exploding and huge guns shooting to the beat of a Linkin Park song. Cool, let's blow shit up!!! Join the Armed Forces! Kill some gooks! Ugh.

Ok, now on to their PSA-type
commercials. The one that I find the most bizarre involves a girl putting on make-up in front of a mirror. Now, she's not doing anything but putting on make-up. Then, words start flashing on the screen. First 'Love.' Then 'Sex.' Then the word flashing starts getting more frantic and the words 'ABORTION' and 'AIDS' are added to the mix. Huh??? She's just putting on make-up! Then the last word flashed up is 'DEATH," with the tagline, "Think about it." Ummm, ok, I'm trying to think about it but wtf? I guess it's just supposed to be promoting safe sex, but 1) it's a little extreme, and 2)she was just putting on make-up. There wasn't even a guy in sight.

Then there's a crap-load of commericals about sexual harassment. What gets me about these commericals is their rationale for not committing sexual harrassment. Never do they mention the fact that it's just plain wrong. But they do say that it should not be tolerated because it "disrupts troop morale and hinders the smooth functioning of the troop." It just seems odd how they discuss it. The fact that there are a bunch of them playing (along with a decent number of domestic abuse commercials) makes you wonder how life is going for women in the military (not like I though it was great for them before seeing these commercials). There's also this one about how prostitution and human trafficking is illegal, so don't do it and report any of these activities that you see. It was a surprise to me to learn that prostitution was against the law in Korea as I've walked down more than one red light district (one in Seoul that was pretty bad and another in Suwon). I guess there's also a huge one in Pyeongtaek right by the subway/train station. But I haven't walked down that street. Anyway, for a place with obvious red light districts it's interesting to note it's illegal.

There's this commerical I just saw that starts with a shot of a coil of chains. It starts being uncoiled as a voice says, "Strength, both physical and mental are of key importance. Any weak link affects readiness." Then the chain breaks apart and shatters and the voice says, "Enough said?" :D

Then there's the doozy I just saw that's pretty much a big Christopher Columbus orgy. I especially hate this commerical because I hate CC. I guess it's because they're telling about when CC Day is, but it's seriously sick how much glory they paint Columbus in. They talk all about his great discoveries and his triumphant return to Spain, etc. Then they mention some Columbus door that's a part of the US capitol building and how it's in honor of CC. It made me either want to puke or throw something at my tv. I did neither, but it took quite a bit for me to hold back. Ugh.

Ok, all for tonight. Sorry no pics, but I haven't taken any recently.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Fun with Photos!

So, I don't have much of anything to write for an update, so it'll be picture day. I scoured my pics of Korea that I've taken thus far and chose random pictures to post that I thought were either funny or mildly interesting. This first picture is the view from my apartment balcony. Quite the nightlife scene, eh? Then there's this nice picture of a clock outside of the police station at Gyeongpo Beach. I thought it was cute, so I've stuck it here for the pleasure of all. And who doesn't love monkeys?? Honestly. At Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul there are fake monkeys on the roof ledges. I love it. Fake Monkeys. I mean, they're almost better than real monkeys because who likes getting poo thrown at them? Not I. Fitting in with the cute police picture, this is another cute sign that was at Gyeongpo Beach. I don't recall what it was for, but it reminded me of Joleen and Sunny because they looked exactly like that at their wedding. :) Although Sunny was sans hat...

Who wears a suit to the beach??? That's all I'm saying about this one...

Here's a brief glimpse into who I hang out with here. Picture 1 is of a large group of us in Itaewan (a super American part of Seoul). Note: the black guy front and center is an imposter. He was just a passerby who apparently wanted to get in on the photo action. Power to him. Hey, this way we don't have to Photoshop in a black person to get diversity. ;) Man, I really shouldn't make fun of my alma mater. Go Badgers!!! The other pic is Will rolling down a way too steep hill at Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon. Note: The concrete partiton he's heading towards. Note #2: This roll was later found to have shattered his cellphone display. Costly roll. I warned him not to do it.

Next up: Various cultural elements of Korea. How cool is this dragon car/trolley/thing? I didn't get to ride on it, but it looked fun. I also didn't see it spew fire, but I bet it can...if threatened. For your moment of zen, I've included a Buddha picture. This was at a Buddhist temple at Yongchu Falls. It kinda looks Hindu-ish to me. And yes, Koreans do perform acts of vandalism. Here is a picture of hangul graffiti. I don't know what it says as I haven't taken the time to look it up. No doubt it's the formula for world peace or the truth behind the formation of the universe.

I will leave you with a note on one of the most famous guys in Korea as of now. He's in about a million commercials that are on about a million times each. Honestly, one time a car commerical he's in came on twice in the same commerical break. His name is Daniel Henney and he's Korean-American. He doesn't really know any Korean (his mom was adopted when she was 1). He's super hot, although these pics don't fully capture that. One pic is from a commerical he's in for...MinuteMaid, I think. The other is a picture from his commercial with Gwyneth Paltrow for a clothing company called Beanpole International. He's in another commercial for a car called Gentra, but I couldn't find any pictures online of him in that one. But that one's on all the friggin' time!!! "Are you gentle?," he asks. Wtf? Whatever. I also see him plastered all over billboard ads for things like cellphones. Anyhoo...Enjoy His Beauty.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The One Where I Get Beaten With Crow Bars

Hey, so I'm late with the update. Lo siento. Anyway, I just thought I'd start today's blog with a big ol' I knew it. So after teaching 2 classes on Saturday morning I took the subway to Seoul and met Colleen and Audrey. We wanted to do a little shopping that day, but didn't really do any. Didn't really do much of anything, actually. We went to a big bookstore that supposedly had a big English section. It took us about 1.5 hours to get there even though it was only like 2 blocks away. Everyone we tried to ask pointed us in different directions. We finally got there and there was quite a large English section but the books are all pretty expensive. Much more than the listed book price...probably due to import taxes, etc. So I didn't buy anything since I'm not desperate for reading material yet.

We then met up with Leeanne (the Kiwi girl on the left) and Erin. And in reference to my 'I told you so', we ended up drinking that night. Leeanne can't go a weekend without drinking, apparently. This time her housemate was considerate enough and gave me a key to their apt gate and passcode for the door so I could get back in case something similar to last time happened. It's interesting because her housemate is a 42 year old guy. He's from the US (Colorado, I think) and has been living here for 10 years. So he knows quite a bit of Korean. He works for a relocation company or something (relocates people moving to Korea for business purposes...find housing, etc). Anway, that was nice because they ended up staying out all night. At 3am I finally had enough (I was falling asleep in the bar) and took a taxi home with Colleen (Leeanne and Audrey and Leeanne's friends stayed out until 5). It took Colleen and I a while to find the right apt (they live in a confusing area), but we finally managed. I couldn't believe Audrey because she was up all the night before drinking (never went to bed) then stayed up until 5 tonight. So she went about 48 hours without sleep. And she wasn't planning on even staying in Seoul one night so didn't have a change of clothes with her (she ended up staying the whole weekend so wore the same clothes for 4 days...miraculously, she didn't reek).

The next day we went to a jimjilbang (spa) that is supposedly the biggest one in the world, but it didn't really seem that big to me, so maybe we went to a different one. It was called Haesoopia. I got the most painful massage of my life there. Honestly, I think I was beaten with crow bars. I was all looking forward to a nice relaxing massage when suddenly I found myself being beaten to death. It's amazing the amount of pain I can stand without actually crying out. I figured although it hurt like a bitch at the time, it must end up feeling better later...right? Well, can't say it really did. Oh well. I did get some bruises.

The next day we were planning on going to Costco because David (Leeanne's roomie) was going to get a car. I was super excited because there's all kinds of western food there (cheese!!!). But the next day he wasn't able to get the car (from work). So we just wasted time walking around a mall that was way too expensive. It was boring as hell and a waste of a day. I hate that. I wish I had just gone home the night before. Oh well.

Not much else to say. There aren't any more vacations/days off until Christmas, so that's kind of sad. I think my English camps are the first 2 weeks in January. What I'm doing the rest of the break (I think winter break is like Dec. 24-Feb. 10 or something) I don't know. One week of vacation, then going into school and doing nothing all day with no one else in the school, I guess. I'm going to try and see if I can get another week off and just not get paid for it or something. Good luck communicating that, Emily.

I got paid, so I'm now a millionaire. :) I think I also got my plane ticket money reimbursed, which is nice since I was having issues with that. I also got my health card today, so if I get hit by a car or get some horrid illness I can now go to the hospital. Yay! Anyway, Emily out.