A while ago, I was reading in one of Paulo Coelho's books, and it said something that stuck with me, something that helped emphasize the story of the Talents in the New Testament. We are given talents, but some of us are afraid to actually develop them or to take the talent past a point of comfort and into greatness.
I read that and I thought about the things I've wasted. I had wonderful intonation at the bassoon, and reading music came easily to me, but I was lazy. Math and science weren't necessarily weak points, but instead of applying myself, I skated (sorry mom, dad). When it came to languages, I kept it up for as long as it was fun.
I am talking with Tosha right now, and it dawns on me. This is a second (third, fourth, eightieth) opportunity. I am in Korea, the best possible circumstance to learning a foreign language! It's time to stop being lazy and to make time to apply myself and learn the language thoroughly. So, no more copying sentences down just because I like writing the characters. It's time to understand how to say the sentences and what they mean, too. Hooray!
Today was one of those hard days. I actually told a class that I hate teaching them. I turned into some sort of monster that now, with hindsight, I don't even recognize myself. It was so ugly. I made them all write 20 sentences using most, more, -er and -est comparisons. No one got more than 12 right. So I failed, they failed, we all failed. And then this one girl was cheating off of someone else's homework, so I erased both of their workbooks and made one of them cry.
I'm going to my favorite coffee shop with my Bible study and Korean books. With any luck, tomorrow will come swiftly.
One side note... it's been 3 months as of today. I'm glad to be here, I really am. This is also my 100th post in this blog. Kind of proud that I update it on an almost daily basis. I wish I could say the same for some other culprits. :)
All week I've had mixed anticipation and anxiety for going to the amusement park today. So, deciding not to make an excuse to get out of it, I boarded the bus to make it downtown by 2 o'clock. At 2:03, I was outside of the bookstore, looking around. Waiting.
By the time 2:32 came, I was kind of disappointed. It turns out, though, the poor guy was beaned in the eye with a soccer ball and has been in bed all day. And he couldn't call, because my phone is MIA (again).
So. That's why there's no new pictures, no happy post about living through a roller coaster. But I am pleased to know that there was a real reason. :)
So tonight I was helping celebrate someone's birthday, and I consumed more food and sugar than is ever required, and to some people I'm sure it would have been a lethal dose. Fortunately, I have super American blood that is accustomed to processing all sorts of toxins. :)
I still felt sick, though, so I called it an early night and grabbed a cab. I get in and ask, "Chilgok DongA Bickwijam?" and he didn't look at me like I was retarded, so I stayed and got comfy. He tried to talk to me and I was like, "I'm sorry. I speak English"--because it's true! But we're driving along and this dill hole BMW pulls up alongside of us and revs his engine and just acts like a tool. He kept screaming ahead of us to get to lights first, but still had to wait. By the 5th time he weaved in and out of traffic just to be sitting next to us, I gestured and said, "Ipabo!" (Foolish man.) This started the taxi driver on a full-blown tirade in the fastest Korean I've ever heard! It was totally awesome. I heard some words I knew, so I nodded and made the Korean version of "uh-huh" (it's something like "unh") until he started gesturing something reminiscent of Mussolini. I'm pretty sure I agreed that we should either make tighter laws for getting your license or to wiping out North Korea. I'm not really sure which.
So we turn off from BMW guy and drive along in quiet when this car randomly starts to back into our lane while we're speeding by at 110 km/h (68 mph)!! Fortunately my driver was seasoned and he swerved out of the way (and avoided the minivan next to us). I gasped, even though I was watching, and he tried to explain what was going on in an apologetic tone. That was kind of endearing, so I smiled and sat back in my seat--never even once considering putting on my seat belt, sorry mom--when we ran into our third loony! This guy was sitting on his bicycle in the middle of the 5th lane (out of 7)--the one we were driving in. Fortunately he was wearing white clothing, otherwise I'm not sure we would have seen him in time. This started the last tirade of the night, to which I agreed on every point.
"Kate Teacher," you may be wondering, "how have you lost weight even though you go out for lunch and dinner every day?" Well, dear reader, it's because I live in a country that is anti-cheese. Your cheese-stuffed, deep-fat fried Enchilada only exists in one restaurant in a city of 3.5 million people, and you literally have to be classified by the U. S. Government as not a threat in order to access the nearest Taco Bell.
Today I went to dinner with three of my favorite Korean teachers, Yuria (who is considering a new English name: Annabelle or Autumn), Alice (who is considering a new English name: Summer), and Alex (who likes her androgynous English name). They were fighting over where to go and asked my opinion, so I played dumb foreigner and went where they told me--down a set of stairs so narrow I had to turn to the side and jump down the last 3 feet. When I did, every single eye of 30 high school boys was on me. Yeah, I'm kind of a big deal. (This is me pretending to be a rock star, again.)
So we all sit down, they order, and we're so tired we basically just look at each other the five minutes it takes for our order to arrive: chumchee kimchi jiggae. It's a boiling hot, spicy soup that has chumchee (Tuna fish), kimchi (fermented cabbage), tofu, onion, green onion, peppers (spicy: red and green), and weird mushrooms that I still avoid. While we were waiting for our sticky rice (sticky rice = love), a waiter knocked over a stand that had probably 200 stainless steel cups, and they went scattering across the floor. The guy was obviously embarrassed, but the sound was probably the coolest thing I've heard. $13.50 later (for the four of us), we were all full but still went for coffee across the street.
Korea really is my speed. After talking about the "fun" of English, I speed walked back home the 1+ mile, with just enough time before bed to post in my blog about my wonderful dinner and to watch a Pirate movie. I love my life.
Kate says: do you know how far I have to go to get a bagel James says: how far? Kate says: I have to walk 10 mins to get on a bus that takes 40 minutes just to get to costco. Kate says: then I have to go down 3 floors' worth of escalators and FIGHT past koreans to get to them. James says: Whoa! James says: You have Costco there!
I'm sitting in my apartment frantically tearing at the box like a mad woman, laundry finished so I'll allow myself to break into the packages. Carving into it with only enough caution to prevent blood loss and damage to the box, the first thing I see is Skittles. So far so good, right? YES. I also discovered HAMSTER treats (laughter ensued!), coloring for my kids (and me), girly smelly stuff, and a card. So I'm smelling all of the stuff and turn to open the card.
I got Hello Kitty sent to me from America. I'm still laughing at the irony. Thanks again. :)
I am sitting in the almost-dark, contemplating. This doesn't mean I'm feeling particularly deep, just that I have laundry to put away that I'm just too lazy to move from the rack to hangers. So, in this seemingly common bout of laziness, I log into Facebook to post a heart-felt thank you to Ashleigh for the as-of-yet unopened box sitting in my entryway, because I send out thank yous about 3 months late, and I see that our high school friend Patti is on.
In a lightning bolt heartbeat, I am overwhelmed by how blessed my life is. Often times, I do what I shouldn't--compare my life to others and end up depressed about how much better so-and-so's life seems to be going. The clarity that showered down upon me brought me to tears as I understood a fraction of Patti's strength and dedication to God. I don't know what I am at liberty to share, but the most painful thing seems to be public: her daughter was born maybe 6 weeks ago with cystic fibrosis, a disease that doesn't have very good statistics for living past 30. In addition to that, her army husband is being transferred to Georgia--even further away from her family. In the midst of these preparations and dilemmas, she took time out of her schedule to counsel me and to help me rally my faith.
Meanwhile, I'm living in an apartment provided by my employer (with a washing machine, no less) with parents (hi mom and dad!) and friends (hi Ashleigh, Tamara, and Tracy!) who send me packages. Instead of holding my breath, waiting for the bubble to burst, I choose to let it out slowly and enjoy this moment. For the first time I understand the whole "being happy with where you're at" thing. This post is kind of fluffy and pointless, but it serves the purpose of marking a happy time in my life that I can look back to and remember when things are less simple.
You have probably seen the e-mail about what happens when girls drink too much. For those who are maybe beyond the "stay up until 8 a.m." stage of life, here is the e-mail and perhaps a few entertaining stories.
1. We have absolutely no idea where our purse is. For those who may have forgotten, my wallet was lost for a 24-hour period, and I was frantically checking wellsfargo.com every few hours to see what my pervert taxi driver was buying. Fortunately, it was just at one of my coworker's homes.
2. We believe that dancing with our arms over ours heads and wiggling our butts while yelling "WOO HOO!" is truly the sexiest dance move around. This is literally what one of my Canadian friends was doing at approximately 4:32 at Club MK. After a few minutes, I looked up around and saw that we had a crowd of 25-30 Koreans watching, and none of them were really... smiling. But to be honest, we don't know them, they probably don't speak English, and we were having fun. :)
3. We've suddenly decided that we want to kick someone's butt and honestly believe we could do it. I wish I had a picture of one of my favorite blonds flipping off an entire room of Koreans, yelling because they were too put-off by the aforementioned dancing to dance with the people in our party not flailing around like retards. The nerve.
4. In our last trip to pee, we realize that we now look more like a homeless hooker than the goddess we were just four hours ago. Heh... yeah.
5. We start crying and telling everyone we see that we love them soooooo much. Fortunately this story is just a little different. Instead of professing our love for everyone to their face, we just yell it at each other in the middle of a busy road. That's all.
6. We get extremely excited and jump up and down every time a new song plays because "OH MY GOD! I love this song!!" Yup.
7. We've found a deeper/spiritual side to the geek sitting next to us. Check and double check, a.k.a. Matt and Josh.
8. We've suddenly taken up smoking and become really good at it. Fortunately, I don't remember it the next day, so I don't know that I'm addicted. ;)
9. We yell at the bartender, who we believe cheated us by giving us just lemonade, but that's just because we can no longer taste the alcohol. Fortunately, no yelling at this point in time, but it is amazing how sweet some drinks become over the course of an evening, e.g. Long Island Iced Teas turn into Sweet Tea around 3 a.m.
10. We think we are in bed, but our pillow feels strangely like the kitchen floor (or the mop?) No, but there has been an occurrence of forgetting one was on someone else's couch and rolling off of said couch.
11. We fail to notice that the toilet lid's down when we sit on it. Thank God, not this one. But there is maybe the old, "we fail to notice our skirt is stuck in our tights." Hehehe.
12. We take our shoes off because we believe it's their fault we're having problems walking straight. This pretty much wraps everything up in a complete package, lol.
I just realized that that e-mail has 12 things, and AA has 12 steps. I wonder what sort of correlation exists. Identities have been slightly modified to protect the at-one-time innocent.
So a few times this weekend Ross (aka DVD Room pervert) called and texted and IMed me out of missing me. And given that the conversations didn't include invitations to DVD rooms or, well, anywhere--which lent authenticity to the statements of missing. Going with my new-found motto of "Nobody's perfect" (thanks, mom!), I figured I'd give it another shot.
Tonight I met him downtown again, and I think it's a little funny that he was wearing the same outfit as the first time we went out. He thinks it's funny that I scream like a little girl when I'm startled, so he snuck up behind me. After procuring a frog-styled replacement for my broken panda sleep mask, he took me out to dinner. I would love to say that we just went and walked around the Memorial Park again, but unfortunately there was a bizarre shopping trip in the middle of it.
On our way, we passed a denim store, and I was walking along, kind of glad to be familiar with a section of town when there was a jerk on my hand. He was pointing up expectantly like, this is where we need to be. With a small, nervous smile, I followed him in to this tiny store where every inch held some slightly-faded treasure for some skinny-ass Korean to come buy. I was kind of smirking and whipped out my little notebook to write down some critical witticisms. Three pages later, I heard my name and looked up at a decent Korean Urkel impression: kind of tight, high-water jeans with a flannel shirt and sweater vest. It was actually kind of endearing.
Fortunately, the store had a longer pair. After honestly answering, "Are they comfortable?" the jeans were (thankfully) handed back to the store clerk and we were off for the walk and talk. Talking has become easier--I go slower and use smaller words, and I think he's growing accustomed to the times when I don't speak slower.
It was a good time, and Sunday we're going to an amusement park. Maybe. I'm a bit afraid my large American butt may break the tiny Korean wooden roller coaster. We'll see.
I remember this couple I knew in college who lived in neighboring apartments. At some point in time the girl snuck a reminder into the guy's phone, "October 21, 10 p.m., give Rochelle flowers." There was no real reason, it was just to horse around. She kind of forgot about the reminder, and October 21, around 10:15, he came over and knocked on her door. "I'm sorry," he said, "I forgot to get you flowers," thinking that he had forgotten some silly anniversary that only girls remember. "But I drew you this, instead." And he gave her a sort of silly little stick-figuresque flower. Happy Sunday, everyone.
Yesterday, after a pleasantly lazy day, I met up with one of my co-workers, Alex, for a girl's night, and we had so much fun. It started at 6 and ended at 5--not too shabby by any standards. It started with dinner, where I was served my bulgogi rice with the rice on the plate and the meat & juices in a gravy boat. Confused, I looked around to see if I could just dump everything onto the plate when I saw a table of Koreans staring at me. Self-consciousness turned into self-righteousness and I up-ended the gravy boat over the rice. It made such a delicious mess.
After accidentally insulting the owner by calling his food expensive (which it was, and he marked up the cost of the iced tea by about 900%), we headed off to watch Mamma Mia!, which was better than I expected. I didn't know Pierce Brosnan could sing (and its quality is debatable), but I was entertained the full two hours. Sometimes I was the only one laughing in the theater, but I'm going to pretend it's because the subtitles weren't keeping up with the colloquialisms.
After the movie, we hit up a singing room. I thought it was like an open karaoke bar, so I was really nervous, but after paying a man led us to a room not too different from a DVD room, actually, except with a comfy bench around a table where Alex and I had our own machine. No one watching! I still felt a little silly not knowing any of the songs--even though they were from America--but it was a really, really fun time. I managed to get a perfect score on Obladi Oblada!
By the time we were done partying like rock stars, it was late enough to commence with typical weekend activities. We caught up with Mel and Ashley at Ping where many silly photos were taken, and off for dancing until far too late. Now it's Sunday afternoon, and my laundry beckons. Time to return to real life.
So before the "fun night" on Thursday, we had a 5-hour long seminar. The first hour and a half was dedicated to advertising some marvelous book that we will never see or use. It did look pretty interesting, and I did come away with some ideas about teaching kids how to use transition sentences. For the MLA test, a test for writing proficiency required to graduate from college, a big part was being able to use transitions between paragraphs. Now, I don't like to brag (stop laughing!), but I did pass on the first try. Only 1/3 or 1/4 of students pass on the first try. Bwuaha.
Anyway. The second half was more interesting, I thought. Yuria taught us some songs to sing to get the kids involved, and I wish I could remember more of the songs from when I was little to try and incorporate something. There's a series here by JY Books that believes, "If you can sing then you can say, if you can say then you can read." I wonder how much truth is in that philosophy, because it seems to be setting them up for rote memorization, but I guess my part in life is just to give them a good start.
The second presentation was by Heather, and she did a really good job. She told us about the games she plays to reinforce grammar or vocabulary, and some of the suggestions were really helpful. I knew hangman and charades and pictionary, but introducing actions to songs for storybook, or laying out all of the flashcards, then hiding one and asking which one is missing.
The third was Sunny, where she reminded us of basic duties of teachers, i.e. acting in respectable ways, understanding that this is not public school and that it needs to be a profitable business. It's left me with a more sober approach towards school. I think it might be time to look at getting my TESL certificate.
I was tagged (how do you tag people's blogs?) last week by my beloved former coworker Sue to reveal six secrets (or perhaps things you simply might not know) about me. Here goes :)
* I used to play CIA spy with Molly (sister) at Subway. We were usually French opposing an older man with a huge beard who looked very Russian. * I went to college to become a lawyer. I now color for a living. * I was born in Wyoming. * Often people tell me I look like Kirsten Dunst. * My hair was permed the first 16 or so years of my life. * I would rather eat a toasted plain bagel with cream cheese more than anything else in the world.
I am never, ever drinking again. Last night I learned why girls don't keep pace with guys while drinking soju. It is because soju is inherently evil. I somehow lost my key, lost my wallet, and acquired a huge bruise on my fist.
This post would be longer, but that would require remembering details. And to be honest, it's probably best that they aren't remembered. But to all those considering South Korea: beware the soju.
A DVD room place is an establishment where you kind of rent a room for 2 hours after you pick out a movie. Once you're given a room, you go to the bathroom and settle into a built-in couch-like thing, turn off the lights, and wait for the projector to start.
The girls said that these rooms are basically used for sex since Koreans live with their parents and don't want them knowing what they're up to. Jong Seok propositioned me, and culturally speaking, yeah, it's typical to just have sex right away, and thanks to the American film industry, it's expected that foreigners do it, too. Unfortunately he didn't count on finding one of the few people who believes in waiting. The first hour was spent trying to keep him off of me, and the second was spent with his arm around me while we watched the movie. It's a shame the whole thing hadn't been like that.
So I was very excited about the handsome Korean who spoke German and paid for dinner. Past tense. Last night we met downtown, and after a walk through a park he took me to a DVD room. It's something the girls warned me about, but I thought, oh, that's impossible, this guy is different. He wasn't, and I'm pretty disappointed. I don't know where the great man from the night before went.
After the movie, all I wanted to do was go home, and after 10 minutes of looking for his (unknown-at-the-time) towed car, I said I was going to take a taxi. Out of nowhere, the guy from Sunday night reappeared, gave wonderful directions to the taxi driver and paid for the ride.
I wasn't really mad at him, I was mad at myself for making snap judgments (like that after 5 hours I know he isn't a creep), and mad that I didn't just slap him. That really would have made for a better blog story.
My cough hasn't improved, so I went to the doctor. No insurance, and an appointment, another shot, and a chest x-ray cost 16,500 won. ($12 or so) Seriously, I'm kind of pondering whether our doctors are overpaid and our standards for doctors are a bit high. Like, if we want everything screened for, then it should be our own expense. If we just want something treated quickly, then let it be cheap! Jeez. So I don't have pneumonia, just bronchitis, but there's some sort of infection, so I got to moon another Korean. The pharmacist lady knows me by name, now, and gave me a 25% discount off my drugs.
I really am incredibly well-cared for here.
The rest of today was spent pretty low-key. Coloring flash cards, eating donkaseu, eating galbi. That pretty much takes us to the point in time when I started this post. I'm going to go work on my Korean so I can stop obsessing. Since my blog was started as kind of a guide for others maybe interested in Korea, I thought I'd send out a cosmic warning to avoid DVD rooms with strange guys. They're loads of fun with friends though.
After a month of failed attempts to meet up, Ross (not Nike) and I met up in front of a local bookstore. Tracy can testify, I can gush about this ad nauseum, so to prevent losing readers (hi dad!) I have decided to pull a Letterman and give my top 10 things.
10. It was a real date: boy pays for dinner and movie! (I think first instance of this ever...) 9. He picked a movie that he knew was an American movie so I'd understand it. 8. He was so nervous that his hands shook for the first hour and a half. 7. His teeth are perfect! And he's a snappy dresser. 6. He lives on his own, has a car, and a steady job. (Most people live with their parents until they get married--at age 30-32!!) 5. He chose the name Ross after the Friends character--the smart, funny scientist, because Joey is too foolish. 4. He plays guitar--in a K-pop cover band. 3. His English is wonderful! 2. He volunteered in China. 1. His third language is German. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
And this is why I didn't get any letters written yesterday.
Last night was pretty awesome. We went out to The Holy Grill, an establishment owned by two Canadians and their wives. They offer a wide array of Western food, ranging from hamburgers to breakfast burritos and the creme de la creme: Mexican. Last night I gorged on nachos and a (pause for effect) chimichanga. It was perfectly fried, perfectly filled, and perfectly topped with perfect guacamole and perfect sour cream.
I just salivated.
I'm sure there was other stuff, like getting mad at an old fart taxi driver who wouldn't understand me even if I spoke perfect Korean, or leaving early because the smoke was literally suffocating, but I choose to focus on, celebrate, remember, and savor the chimichanga. Ahhhh.
First, thanks for the encouraging comments regarding my observation period. It's good to know it's just part of the learning experience and the give-and-take that is life.
Second, I had a great day! I woke up and headed to the doctor's; she was disappointed that my cold has evolved into some sort of lung infection, but anyone who has known me since the pneumonia incident of '98 knew it was what would come. Just like in the past, though, I know this will pass. I have a slew of drugs to take, and I'll see her again on Tuesday.
So that part of the day wasn't great, but the walk there was. What a beautiful fall day! You know, in Colorado and Montana I always felt like fall only lasted for 3-4 weeks before it went from dreadfully hot to pretty darn chilly. In Daegu, it really has progressed at a decent pace--less like a sprint to winter, and more like a rambling walk through freshly fallen leaves. The temperature would have been a little warm had it not been for the crisp breeze that followed me wherever I walked. My first destination was my favorite coffee shop; while I was walking the 1 1/2 miles, I realized that in Colorado my problem wasn't that I didn't have the time to exercise, I was just damn lazy! So, the thought did cross my mind to hop on the bus, I chose not to. I chose to take those extra steps for my health. And it was beautiful out, who would waste such a nice morning?
Unfortunately, when I got there it was closed. :( The sign said they open at 10, and it was 11:03 when I got there. So I stopped off at a less favorable but suitable establishment, drank some espresso like it was going out of fashion and prepared for the trip back. Again, the struggle, "taxi versus walking." Since I didn't have to be anywhere until 2 (when I was meeting Yuria for our painting adventure), I headed out on foot. To change things up, I walked on the opposite side of the river from the one I live on, and like Robert Frost's poem, it made all the difference. Along the road I walked, marveling at the public exercise equipment, pondering whether I would actually use any of it, and just as I started to reach the conclusion of "no," I stopped in my tracks--much like a deer in headlights. Not more than 100 feet from me (33 meters?), was a student. It was too late to head off in the other direction, so I went and greeted Alice, smiling to her mother, and in general looking like a retard.
Alice felt shy around me, so when I spoke to her in English, she did the bashful little girl dance (the same regardless of language), and when her mother prompted her to speak in English, it yielded much of the same result. At the end of an awkward pause, I tried to head off, but the mother insisted on offering me a ride. Since I had sort of gotten myself lost, I agreed and climbed into the back. When we got to 7 Valley, though, it looked like I had partners waiting with me for Yuria Teacher.
While the hour was fairly awkward, I guess I passed muster because once Yuria arrived, we made an appointment (you need an appointment for a pedicure, but not the doctor?), and partook of lunch. Lunch was half a ham sandwich with processed cheese, ham, honey mustard, apple, and yellow bell pepper. Bizarre but yummy. Thoroughly caffeinated by this point in time (I think I had 5 cups of coffee total today), and with Alice bouncing around with the energy only the young possess, we headed back.
It was a good first pedicure experience! The woman changed the blade on the scraper, mom, I saw her use a new one. So the disgusting skin is gone, cuticles are pushed back, and I have the brightest, sparkly toes on my block. It's a shame I'm allergic to nail polish and it will have to come off soon. I'm enjoying it while it lasts, though.
Through the periods when the mom and I were quasi-alone, it felt kind of awkward, but she seemed happy to be around another adult. Sometimes, though, she sat as far away from me as possible--I think the foreigner thing intimidated her. After all of it, though, she paid the $57 for my foot spa experience. I told Yuria I wasn't comfortable with it, but for whatever reason the mom really wanted to do it--she paid for Yuria, too.
So now here I sit with my princess toes, pondering this road not taken.
Yesterday I was observed for the second time. It didn't go so well. There I was, sitting, giving a test when I had the test taken away from me and done for me. It was done in a professional, business-like manner, but I've felt awful since it happened. I wasn't the best student; I was smart, and I knew it, so I only put forth as much effort as I needed to get a 90.0% so I could have my A and eat it, too. At the time I was in school, I lied to myself (and everyone else) saying it was the best I could do, but now that I'm in the teacher's shoes, I'm a little disgusted with myself.
Anyway, moving on, here I am in Korea, trying at least 95% (better!!), and well... only getting an 80%. Barely a B-. It makes me wonder, what can I do better?
Today I found out that it wasn't so much my inability but that I looked like I was going to pass out. I kind of felt like death warmed over, so in honesty I appreciate Sunny taking over and being energetic for me; I just feel like a failure.
This morning was pretty interesting as we went on a kindergarten field trip. We picked chestnuts, played in the cooler weather, and had a delicious picnic lunch. And I do mean delicious. We had fresh fruit, kimbap, sandwiches, and other stuff I can't spell/pronounce/remember. Having a real meal and 12 hours of sleep helped the afternoon significantly.
I don't know about the other girls, but I'm going to take this weekend easy (e.g. no dancing until 8). So far I have planned my first ever pedicure with Yuria and a trip to see a show and grab some dinner with Min (and some other foreigners). Should be interesting.
Mostly what I want to do, though, is clean my stupid apartment that I keep messing up and write some letters. I still have my chuseok postcards, for pete's sake! It's time to get everything sent out.
Thanks for all the comments on my posts--it helps me keep that lovin' feeling. And the mascara comes in a yellow tube, and it has something to do with colossal and has collagen in it. Take care!
My beautiful, darling friends here in Daegu just pounded on my door shouting my name and ringing my doorbell loud enough to wake the dead. About three minutes later, I finally realized that a level 3 hurricane was going by my window and awoke to the mass confusion. Heart pounding, I ripped out my ear plugs and weakly croaked into the phone, "Hello?" fearing the police had discovered my use of illegal garbage bags. "IT'S TIME FOR MCDONALD'S!" aforementioned friends screamed. Insert the unintelligible, and I stumbled to my door to meet them, having the forethought to bring along Mel's prized mints.
Opening the door, I thrust them into her arms amid squeals while Ashley stepped in and looked me right in the eye. "It's time for McDonald's, man!" The snowman pajama defense received mild reproach ("I'm wearing MY pajamas!"), so with a quick wardrobe change (too quick--was wearing a hoodie without a shirt underneath), we braved the frigid Daegu night air (still 57 degrees, haha).
The walk was one of the better ones I've had. Ashley and Mel, from what I can tell, had a bottle of fun on the bus and several cocktails while chilling downtown. After being driven home, "Sugar Mama Ashley" needed to treat Mel to a Mini Mac. Even though they were already past my house, they walked back to get me and bring me along on the adventure. It was pretty great. They tried to share the same mp3 player (unsuccessfully) and shared the songs with the rest of the world with surprisingly good tone considering the amount of alcohol and the late hour.
Two Mini Macs and one Spicy Chicken Snack Wrap, five packets of ketchup, one not-included large fry and one medium Coke later, and Sugar Mama Ashley had her girls well-treated--despite stealing Mel's burger for the second time that night.
While messing around on the internet doing God only knows what (well, God and Firefox's browser history and whatever South Korean government agent assigned to monitor my "foreigner" activity [I SEE YOU KIM-PARK-LEE!!]), I started goofing off on Amazon to see what bits of American culture I was missing out on.
Imagine my surprise when I encountered this image (on my recommendation list!!!!!), whose description was hidden by the bottom of the screen. To all of those who did not attend a public university with b-r-o-t-h-e-l-s (I believe that's the proper spelling for fraternities), that little blue package really only reminds me of a condom wrapper. There, I said it. I am a little embarrassed that my mind was not focused on holier thoughts from above, but it's the truth. Wondering what retard at Amazon would be stupid enough to recommend condoms, I did scroll down to discover it was in fact a package of starter yeast for yogurt.
I forgot the "awww" moment of my day. This morning I got up early to go to the doctor for my second butt-injection, and I felt good enough to put a little effort into my appearance--and by little, I do mean little. I couldn't easily find my eye shadow brush, so I gooped up my eyelashes with some mascara before heading to my appointment.
After seeing that my tonsils are still disgusting, I stood with half of my big American butt hanging out of my pants when the nurse preparing to stab me pointed to her eyes and said, "Your nuna, pretty."
Julie: but it's "eke" Julie: lol Yagadaa: no Yagadaa: it isn't Julie: sorry, had to Yagadaa: I'm in Korea Yagadaa: it has to end with an e Julie: ROFL Julie: but eek doesn't Julie: unless you're trying to SCARE a blog post out of her
I thought I should bring it to the attention of Miss Chris that Miss Chris has not blogged at Miss Chris: This is my Opusin forever. Seeing as how my usual techniques of discovering e-mail addresses is sometimes thought of as "creepy" and "stalker-like," I choose a very public forum to contact Miss Chris and try to eek something from her.
From my (whopping!) experience, I see teaching is hectic, and I'm sure having a little boy at home probably makes things even more hectic, and then having a grown little boy (husband), is the topping on the cake. But inquiring minds want to know, how is Miss Chris doing? And said inquiring minds hope she's doing well.
In Korean, they do not have the letter "f," which makes saying "coffee" difficult. How about a fresh cup of iced coppee? Seriously, why does she lick her finger and touch her nose? WHY?
In other news, I went to the doctor. The entire visit, injection, and medication cost was $20--and that was without my insurance. Thanks to Kevin the retard, my card was lost and had to be reordered. Still, without insurance it was TWENTY DOLLARS.
Dear America, Stop your lawsuits. Stop expecting hours of a doctor's time. It will really help out your wallet.
I went, waited for probably three minutes, had a five minute consultation (in English!!), was shown a picture of my righteously infected tonsils, and received an injection in the butt that I have to repeat until situation normal returns. One of the great things is, my boss was there to take me to the doctor, wait for me, and make sure I was okay. In my first class I thought, "Oh I hate Korea, I want to go home!" But life is good again.
So let's pretend I didn't spend August as a limp noodle fresh from the boiling pot. As I look over this week's weather report, I think there might be something to this tropical climate thing. For the next 4 days, it's supposed to get to a high of 77 degrees. Even I the local weather whiner see something to smile about there.
So my trip to Seomun was a pretty good time. It started off with Starbucks (love), and involved the subway. If it wasn't for the 2 flights of stairs, often unassisted by a rail, subways would be pretty cool; as it is, I think my balance is improving because I haven't fallen down for approximately two weeks! Woo hoo! After a wrong stop or two, Ash and I figured out where to go: The exit that says Seomun Market. Who would have thought?
As we get there, we were like, "Eh?" because the stop didn't necessarily deposit us safely at the beginning of the market. After a few minutes of contemplating what to do, I realized there was a sign that, thanks to hours of study, I could read: Seo Mun. Haha. So we started our walk with "sock street," a two-block area where every single vendor only sells socks. Those who know me can appreciate the irony of the situation: I, queen of flip flops and bare feet, wandering down rows and rows and rows of socks. Once we got to the end of sock street, we weren't there yet, but because most of the market is 10-20 shops in the same area selling the same stuff, we knew we were on the right path. (Okay, Ashley did, and I was following her blindly, kind of wishing I had extra strength ibuprofen.)
Turning some sort of corner, we looked up to the left and saw... a castle? It was the most bizarre thing. The architecture here is fairly nondescript, but when there is something to behold it's typically a traditional Asian-inspired building. I saw 3-4 government buildings that looked European-inspired in Seoul, but that has been about it. Considering there was a gate, Ash and I approached slowly, on the look out for guards, when we saw a bunch of school girls coming out in their uniforms. Faced with 4 more flights of stairs and the prospect of nothing being there, and possibly getting caught if there was, we turned back and finally made our way to the market.
Truth be told, thanks to our excellent senses of navigation, total trips into the market were 4 or 5, because we kept leaving somehow and having to walk back around to get in. There really was everything you would ever want, and everything you never thought you'd see. Stacks and stacks of dried fish, a store dedicated to ties, feather boas that would put most cabaret houses to shame, one ambitious man selling bag upon bag of buttons, fabric merchants as far as the eye can see, and the list goes on. Ashley was really into the dried fish, and judging by the number of photos I took, so was I. I'm really glad I finally went. It's kind of funny, though, because despite all of the things I saw, we didn't get run over or mauled by anyone, so there isn't really anything funny to report. Who knew tragedy bred interest?
The night concluded with Ashley cooking pancakes for me, and it was really nice. She's a great cook and fun company; I'm sad she's leaving in 2 months.
I wore myself out this weekend; apparently when you're sick you shouldn't be running around on adventures. Unfortunately, that's not what I did. I went to Seomun Market, Korea's 3rd largest open-air market, and saw all sorts of sights that you would expect to see.
I'm really tired, and disappointed I don't have the energy to write a long update, but these pictures have captions.
For the second time, now, I am sick in Korea. My tonsils are swollen, even one of my lymph nodes aches every time I swallow, talk, or smile. Today I decided to actually try and remedy my situation, so I wandered to my nearest pharmacy where I used my nifty new cell phone to call Alex Teacher, who relayed my symptoms to the pharmacist who gave me 3 packages of pills to use for the next day; apparently, if your symptoms last longer than a day you need to go to the doctor.
Unfortunately, the term "doctor" does not mean the same in Korea as it does in America. To go to the doctor here involves going to the hospital. While I am not inherently afraid of hospitals (I volunteered long enough to prove to myself that they are fun and often a source of good candy), the thought of going to a hospital in a foreign country for an average sore throat leaves me a little uneasy.
In other news, I bought a yo for my bed. A yo is the typical floor mat that people sleep on in lieu of a bed; my intentions are to use it to make my bed less satanically hard. As I was waiting for the bus to take it home, a taxi took one look at me, flipped a u-turn, and in a split second I was standing and ready to go. Apparently when you read minds, it doesn't matter what your first language is.
So now I am safely at home with my yo and new pink tea kettle lacking just one thing, really: tea. So, with Ashley's volunteering to take me along to Seomon market (the third largest open-air market in Korea), I am off for a bit of shopping.