Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!!

It's almost Christmas, and I am missing my family and friends very much! As my Aunt mentioned, it will be the first Christmas that I have not spent with my whole family..... It is Christmas Eve in America right now, and I just realized I don't even know where my parents and Patrick are going to be today and for Christmas. I guess this year I wasn't included in the plans for obvious reasons! I will miss walking into the living room and seeing the magical arrangement of presents that Santa left, having to wait to wake up my mom and dad until I could see the cars in the driveway, and of course finding Patrick passed out with his pants down to his ankles on the shoe pile in front of the door tomorrow morning. I have so many awesome Christmas memories that I couldn't even begin to share, and being alone on Christmas for the first time in my life is VERY strange for me. Luckily, I have Snowflake, my favorite Christmas ornament since 1989, with me to keep my company!!! I will miss everyone, and I wish I could be there to spend Christmas with you! It is 3:15AM and Santa will be here soon so I must go to bed soon!!!! I love you all, and Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Work Hard Play Hard

I had a very very busy week, and a very fun weekend!!!

Last week was the first week I subbed for the second half of morning preschool, meaning I had to be at work early. Teaching an extra 80 minute class may not seem like it would effect my week, but it really did! I got used to having my mornings free, to straighten my apartment, and catch up with emails and stuff, but this week I was getting up and going straight to work, and I missed my morning time to myself. Then to add to it, another Korean preschool teacher was sick, so Jane, my boss, asked me to teach both morning preschool classes on Thursday and Friday. It made for a very tiring day, especially my Thursday. I had to teach from 9:40am to 5:50PM straight through with only one lunch break. Then after work I went straight to my "Language Exchange" and had to speak English for another hour and a half one-on-one. I didn't get done teaching for the day until 8:00PM!

On Tuesday after work Amanda and I went to Yongsan(where the digital superstore is) and I bought a new digital camera!!! My old camera still worked, but it was starting to take pictures really really slow, and I didn't know why, and it is 4 years old, so it was time for a new one. I get enough use out of it that I was able to justify buying a new one! I bought a Sanyo camera, it is gray and beautiful! The first booth we went to had a guy who spoke perfect English, so he was able to tell me about all of the cameras. When I showed him my old camera he laughed at how big it was, the fact that it used double A batteries(apparently all new cameras use a rechargeable battery), how small the screen on the back was, and that it was only 4 mega pixels(I don't think they even make cameras with only 4 mega pixels anymore). So I found the camera I liked, and he said it would be $170 plus $10 for the 1GB memory card. I asked him to throw in the memory card for free, and he said instead he would give me a 2GB card for$10, when normally it was an extra $30. So I wrote everything down, and I said I may be back, and it was already 7:30 and the whole place closes at 8pm, so I guess he figured if we left we wouldn't be back, so he said if I bought it right then he would sell it to me for $170 with the 2GB card, and I said I would buy it for $165 plus a camera case, and he said sold! I think I got a good deal on it. When I got home I looked online and saw it for $159.99 without a memory card or case! And if you think about the exchange rate, I only paid about $125 USD. I also bought Eagle Eye, my best friend's girlfriend, and 21.

This Friday was our Christmas work party, and we were doing a Secret Santa so on Wednesday after work Amanda and I went to Dongdaemoon to look for a bookstore that sold English books, because I had to buy a present for Jess, who's contract is over and is leaving on Tuesday, and going to Cuba for Christmas. I was going to get her a travel guide of Cuba, but the English section of the store was really small and they didn't have such a thing. On the way home we stopped at Homever and I bought a DVD player! I had been using my computer to watch movies, but I hate doing that because it isn't the same. I looked on Craig's list and there was a woman selling a DVD player with 30 DVD's for $100, and I didn't know how much they would be normally, and at Homever they had one for $55 so I bought it. I felt so High Tech this week, with my new camera and new DVD player! On Thursday after work I went to Homever to get Jess a present and I got her a daily planner, and a sketch book (she is a sketcher), and a picture frame.

On Wednesday after I bought my camera, we went to Fish N Grill to meet Laura, my co worker's, boyfriend who just got to Korea that day. I nicknamed him Dream Boy because there is a very romantic story that brought him to Korea. It is a long complicated story, but I think they should write a book about the whole thing. It will make a great movie! Anyway, we met him on Wednesday. He works about 3 subway stops from us.

Friday after work we all piled onto one of the SLP buses and went to Hungdae for our Christmas party. We went to a sushi restaurant. No one was happy about it because no one liked sushi except for the Korean teachers. Most of the foreigners ate McDonald's before we went. I was pretty excited about trying it. I liked cooked sushi, like eel rolls that we used to eat on Block Island. When we got to the table there were these tiny eggs, that someone said were quail eggs. They were brown with polka dots. They were really tiny. They were hard boiled and tasted just like a regular hard boiled egg, only bite sized! I wasn't really sure what to expect going to the dinner, I didn't know if it would be like a formal uncomfortable dinner or what, but it turned out to be so fun. There was probably about 35 of us all together, including foreign and Korean teachers and our bosses and helper teachers and stuff. It ended up being very loud and so much fun. The sushi wasn't what I was expecting, it didn't come with rice, it was just raw fish sliced. There were some sauces to dip it in. It wasn't bad, and I ate it, but I wouldn't say it was excellent. It tasted exactly what you might think raw fish would taste like..... We ended up staying and drinking after dinner for a long long time. I ended up going to the Korean desk teacher table, which consisted of the Koreans who spoke the least amount of English, they answer the phones at the school. They were the most fun because they were playing Korean drinking games. They were playing this one game that involved banging chopsticks against the tables and plates while singing a Korean song, and then pointing to someone and counting. I don't understand how they determined who had to drink, but at the end someone had to drink the Soju, coke, and beer mix that I blogged about in a previous post. I ended up loosing a few times, and although I didn't want to, I had to drink it because I was with Koreans and I felt like I couldn't disappoint them. It tasted pretty delicious.

After the dinner Tara and I went to Tinpan and continued to drink there. While we were in the bar it started down pouring, so it took us forever to find a cab. Somehow I ended up taking off the sweater I was wearing, and I guess I gave it to Tara so I could go get us a cab, and she lost it. I am pretty sad about that. I didn't even find us a cab. We had to walk around in the pouring rain forever until finally we found a cab to get in. I may or may not have accidental broken a cab window while searching for a cab..... Oops!!! It was a bit of a sloppy night, but lots of fun!!!!

I woke up in the morning feeling like a HUGE bag of smashed apples; I haven't been that hungover in a long long time. Amanda and I planned on going shopping on Saturday, and although I felt like death, I went anyway. We were looking for shoes, but ended up buying dresses instead. By the time we got done shopping it was about 4, and I was really dragging and didn't think I'd be able to make it out Saturday night. I took a long, coma-like nap and when I woke up I was somewhat ready to go out. We were all meeting at 7:30 to go out to dinner for Jess's like night out. She is leaving for Canada on Tuesday. We went to a Thai restaurant that was pretty tastey. After dinner, we went to Alisha's apartment before leaving for Hungdae. The theme was ties and Fedoras, so we were all wearing ties and silly Fedora hats. Amanda and I were matching, she had pink plaid and I had green plaid. We went to a club called Catchlight, and there was a $20 cover that no one was really thrilled with, since we never pay a cover to get into anywhere when we are in Hungdae. But it was Jess's last night out so we went. It was pretty nice inside, and when we got in we found out the reason there was such a pricey cover was because there was a famous Korean rapper who was performing! We got to see him and it was awesome. His name is Drunken Dragon. Google him, he is pretty famous! We had a great night, I strolled home at about 4:00am with my tie, hat, coat, and not a single won! My dogs were barkin while we were walking to get a cab. I couldn't wait to get home and take of my stupid shoes off! As soon as a walked in the door Tara texted me saying her and her boyfriend and some of his friends were at a Nora Bang (karaoke room)right by our house and she wanted me to meet her there. Even though my feet were hurting, and I was cold and tired, I was going to throw on some flip flops and go meet her. I thought she meant it was walking distance, like one of the 10 that are in the buildings surrounding our apartment, but it was a taxi ride away, and besides having zero won on me, I was in no mood to find a cab at that hour, and try and explain to the cab diver where I needed to get, and probably end up somewhere completely different. It was already late, and I was ready to just call it a night. This morning I woke up around 1:30, and although my plan was to sleep until Monday morning to make up for all the sleep I missed during the weekend, I feel refreshed and surprisingly not that hungover.

Ahhh, the peas..... I promised I'd write more about the peas! I was telling Amanda how I had such a hard time finding peas, and she said she had seen some in Homever! She took me to them, and I was the happiest girl in Seoul!!!! I am back to eating peas in my pasta, in my chomchee, and everything else that I eat in my apartment!

It's now Monday the reason I didn't post the blog last night was because I can't get the pictures off my new digital camera!!! I have lots of good ones, and when I can figure it out I'll add the pictures in.
Today we had our Christmas concert rehearsal at the concert hall. It was a mad house like I expected, but hopefully Wednesday will go a little smoother. Jane asked me to assist John in running a raffle for the parents in between classes. We are drawing numbers and my job is to bring the presents to whoever wins. She brought me into her office today to tell me how important it is to use two hands to give the parents the presents. In Korea if you give or take something with only one hand it is considered rood. In every store, even 7/11, when they take or give you money, they use two hands. I've gotten used to it, but at first I thought it was a little strange. I try my hardest to remember to use two hands when giving or taking anything. Jane also told me to only speak English, and not try to use the little Korean that I know because the accent is so bad the parents would not understand me. I would have been insulted, except that she said the same thing to the other teachers too. Tomorrow I am teaching early morning preschool, and then teaching my super long day again. I'm going to so a little more sewing on the project I'm working on, that I will talk about when it is finished!!!

Check back for the pictures soon!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Peas Peas Peas!!!

I just wanted to write a quick blog saying that my life is now complete..... I have found frozen peas in Homever!!!!!! They were $4 for a tiny bag, but SO worth it!!!!! I will send a picture and go into more details about them later, but I'm sooo excited to finally have peas back in my life!!!!

I have an exciting weekend ahead of me. Friday night is our SLP work Christmas party, and Saturday is Jess's going away party. I will blog again on Sunday!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Jello Shot Party and more Korean children

I'm sorry it's been awhile since I've written a new blog. I have a lot to share with all of you and it should be well worth the wait!

One of the bars we almost always go to is called Ho Bar III. We usually start here and end here every night. There are at least three Ho Bars, and I don't think I've been to any of the other two. Whenever it is someone's birthday they turn on these fancy lights and play these strange version of Happy Birthday. Then they bring over a flaming shot of something to the birthday boy/girl. We pretended like it was Tara's birthday, and they played the song for her and then brought her over a flaming shot. In Ho Bar there are pictures of groups of people covering all the walls in the whole bar. One of the waiters came and took our picture and then photo shopped it so we are wearing birthday hats. He came over with a a few copies of the picture, and I asked him to hang one of them on the wall and he did. Everyone elses picture is like a polaroid, but ours is fancy and photoshopped! Here is the waiter hanging it up.

And there it is! We will probably be hanging on this wall for years and years!!! Next time you are in Seoul, Korea, go to Ho Bar III in hongdae and look for our picture!

This is a park that Amanda and I sat in during our break from work on Friday. We ate popcorn and people watched. We work in the building to the right in the background.

I mentioned before the exercise equipment that are in parks. Here they are. The thing in the middle is like a Tony Little Gazelle Glider, and machine to the left swings left to right, and on the right is a disk you stand on and twist left to right.

These are two twin girls in my Reach Out Bridge class. Their names are Cathy and Lisa, and they are 9 Korean years old, so 8 American years old. They are the same age as my cousins, Madison and Makenzie. I have to tell them every day to put their toys and cell phones and candy away. They always have SOMETHING they are playing with. In Korea people put up the peace sign when they are having their pictures taken and it means cute. Also, instead of saying "Cheese" they say "Kimchi," the famous Korean side dish.

This is one of my Reach Out Bridge classes. They are 9 Korean years old. the back row is Harry(who falls asleep every class), Alex, Julie, Lisa/Cathy(I can only tell who they are in their assigned seats), Jamie, Washington, Lia, Heidi(The smartest girl in the class), and Lucy. Notice how many of them are wearing glasses..... Washington wears glasses too, he just took them off for the picture. There are only 3 kids who don't wear glasses in that class. Most of my classes have similar ratios. Someone told me Korean's have bad eyes because they study and read SOOO much, even as young kids.

This is Cherry class. They are 6 Korean year old preschoolers. One of the weeks I subbed for a Korean teacher, I taught this class in the morning. I also teach them phonics every Friday afternoon. That is Sally all the way to the right. She is so adorable. She is the smallest kid in the class by far. She is like a little doll and I want to pick her up and play with her sometimes! She must be one of the younger Korean 6 year olds, so she is probably barely 5 in American years.

Some more Cherry students hard at work...

This is our office that is on the 5th floor. The classrooms are on the 4th and 3rd floor. Also in the office is the copier room, and Jane and Susan(the directors of the school) have a tiny office in the corner. There are other offices on the floor next to our office.

This is John, he sits in the desk next to mine. We share the computer and phone(although I have never used the phone).

This is my desk. Jess sits across from me, although she is leaving in December so the new teacher will sit there. To the right of my desk are two Koreans. I wonder if they put that bookshelf there so that the Koreans didn't have to hear the Americans....... Across from John is where Adam sits. The plastic bin on my desk is what I take to each class with me. It has board markers, pencils, tape, an eraser, and some other random stuff that I would need for class. I take the books I need for the upcoming class and put them in my bin too. As you can see, I have my own organization for my classes books. I know where everything is, although you might not know it by looking!

This is a bad and blurry picture, but it is of the door to our office. There is a keypad on it and you have to enter a code everything you enter.

This is the sign by the elevator. SLP is on the 3rd and 4th floor. I'm not sure what is on the 1st and 2nd floor but I'm sure something is there! Speaking of missing floors, I don't think I have written about the extra floor I have in my apartment building. I live on the 10th floor, but really it is the 11th floor. When you walk down the stairs, you can walk all the way down, and when you get to floor 2, and next floor is called The Pit, and then below that is floor 1. I think it is a business of some kind, but I don't know why they would not give it a floor number!

On Friday night I had a housewarming party. Tara had Jello in her apartment that Susie left, so I made Jello shots with Soju. They were delicious and reminded me on college and making Jello shots using our RA's measuring cups and water bottles. The party was a good time.

Amanda and I went to Dungdaemoon after work last week, and every building was all out decorated for Christmas. This one mall had a huge sign saying Good Morning 2009. Amanda and I thought it was funny and needed to take a picture of it.

When we were in Dundaemoon we saw this fancy stage and on it was this very young girl, maybe 10 years old, and she was dancing. I don't know if anything else was going on on the stage, like someone famous, but there were a lot of people gathered around watching this young girl dance on a stage.

In the subway stations there are these big cabinets that have stuff to put out a fire. This one didn't have it, but sometimes there are actually fireman suites in the cabinets. I'm not sure who is supposed to throw on the suite and the air supply and walk into the fire... Maybe the person closest to the fire? The bags on the right are in case of a flood I think.

These are the Happiness women. They work in the restaurant that is right next door to our apartment building. They make the greatest suindubu. The younger woman on the right is always so happy, and even if we aren't eating and she sees us walk by, she waves and smiles. She has a daughter in SLP.

Last weekend we went out Hungdae, as usual, and we weren't finished with a cab beers, so of course we snuck them into Tin Pan. We had to go to the bathroom to drink them, and while in the bathroom I took a picture of Janique and a random Korean girl. "KIMCHI!!!!!!!"

We were super classy drinking our smuggled mekjue(beer in Korean) in the bathroom of Tin Pan.
I have been teaching the second half of morning preschool for a week now. I will be teaching it for the next 6 weeks because one of the Korean teachers is in the hospital. We have been practising the Christmas play all week and will continue to practice even more next week. The play is called the Golden Ax and it is Korean folktale. Some of the kids are good, others of them I can barely understand. The plays are on Christmas Eve. It is hard to believe that parents would send their children to school on Christmas Eve! Some of these kids have class until 8pm the night Santa comes to town! The few American teachers who are going home for Christmas have to leave Korea on Christmas Eve night, and they will get to America on Christmas Eve night because of the time difference.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


I missed everyone back home on Thanksgiving. I guess it was kind of good that I am 14 hours ahead because when I should have been eating Thanksgiving dinner it was still Wednesday morning in America, and America was eating Thanksgiving, it was already Friday morning for me. It would have been harder if I had to think about my family having fun without me while I should be eating Thanksgiving dinner. On Thursday after work, Amanda and I went to part of the city that is known for its cheap shopping. We got there around 6:30 because we had to work. As soon as we got out of the subway exit we could see tons of shopping. Most of the stores were just little tiny closets, and then had things displayed outside. One of the first stores we went into Amanda and I bought jackets. They are the same jacket just different colors. The strangest thing about Korea, is that all of the clothes are the same size. It's called a free size. It's amazing that Amanda and I can wear the same size coat. It fits a little differently, but it fits both of us. The other strange thing about shopping in Korea, is that you can't try anything on. Not only do the clothes have sizes, but you you can't even see if it fits before you buy it. This makes shopping extremely hard. I ended up buying two dresses, and hoped they would fit. One is very short, but if I wear dark tights under it it isn't so bad. The other dress fits perfectly and I'm so excited.
Me and Amanda in our matching coats!!!

On the way home Amanda spotted a Quiznos, so we thought it would be fitting to eat turkey on Thanksgiving the only way we can, in a sandwich. When we got back from shopping we met at Fish and Grill and had drinks with some of the girls from SLP.
Our $10 small Quiznos turkey sandwiches were delicious on Thanksgiving!!!

Friday after work I went and bought a Christmas tree. It was the same tree that two other girls from SLP have, but when I got it home and opened the box, it was a white tree!!!! Yuck. I refused to set it up, and I returned it for a green tree. It was surprisingly easy to return, they didn't even ask me any questions. I set up the tree and it looks MUCH better than the dollar store tree.

The weekend was spent doing the normal Hungdae, Ho bar tour. On Saturday afternoon I went to Korean class and was very very frustrated because I felt like everyone else "got it" and I didn't. I'm going to study this week and hopefully be better next class.

You can't really tell, but this was some rice drink we got at Korean class. It tasted bad and had rice floating in it!!!

My Korean teacher, SoHee. That also happens to be the name of one of the Wondergirls, a famous girl band in Korea!

On Sunday night Amanda, Lindsey, John, and I went bowling in Korea!!! It was wicked fun, and there are pictures on someone elses camera that I will try and get soon. Bowling is the same as back home, except that you kind of bowl with the people next to you. Meaning that they wait and watch you while you bowl, and then you have to wait and watch them bowl. The other bowlers next to us were cheering for us too. And John was bowing to them men next to us, and they were bowing to us after each throw, but I just kind of nodded my head like "Thanks for cheering for me guys" kind of thing. They also went and bought us these energy drinks in a can that tasted like watermelon juice. The other girls didn't like theirs but I thought it tasted pretty yummy! John gave me a 10 point handicap about a week ago, and we made a bet that whoever lost had to do an hour worth of correcting for the other person. I won even without the 100 point handicap!!! I only needed about 40 points to beat him!!! Sooooo now he has to do an hour worth of book reports for me!

After bowling we went to the pool hall on the next level. It was very smokey and bright, and was filled with Korean young men. Amanda, Lindsey and I were the only girls in the place. They brought over a tray of grape soda for us. Strangey...... Also, Koreans think that regular pool is for girls, and they play this other game that I can't think of the name for. It only has three balls and there are no holes. They use different tables than regular pool. There was only one regular pool table, and the rest were tables with no holes. John and this other boy played pool for awhile, and the Koreans were probably laughing at them for playing on the only "girly" table in the place!

Something VERY exciting happened today...... I walked into my building after being harassed outside(I'll get back to that) and I saw there was a note on my mailbox! That means I got a package!!!!! I ran into the office holding the note, and guess what was there......

MY FIRST PIECE OF AMERICAN MAIL!!!!!!!!!!!! My grandma mailed a package before Halloween, and I just got it today! There is a note on it that says "MISSENT TO TORTOLA, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS." I don't know how that happened! Anyway, I am so excited to get a piece of home here in Korea. Inside is Halloween candy! Thanks Grandma!!!!!

When I was walking to my building after going to Yungsung with some girls from work, there was a man walking the other way, and he stopped me and said he was reading some script and listening to it on an MP3, and he wanted me to listen to it and tell him what it said. I was really confused, and a little nervous, but I said I'd help him, he looked harmless and there were tons of people around so he couldn't kidnap me or anything. I didn't want to put his dirty earphone in my ear, so I just held one up to my ear so I could hear. As I was listening I stood away from him incase he was trying to pickpocket me or something, and I had a magazine in my hand, and he went to touch my magazine and I pulled away from him and he bowed to me and kept apologizing over and over. I told him what the sentence was, and walked away quickly. Strangey..... The noise sounded like a movie or something, and it was an English man saying "Now they will have stories to tell for a long time" and he was saying it really fast.
I will try not to get so far behind on my blog postings. It's just so hard to keep up with all the exciting things going on!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!!! I went to McDonalds today in honor of you and I took some more pictures.

Here is the menu. Cheese burger, Bulgolgi burger, Chicken sandwich, Shrimp burger, Big mac, Big bulgolgi burger, Bacon tomato burger, another chicken sandwich, and spicy chicken strips.

This is what the uniforms look like.

Amanda and I toasting to McDonalds for bringing my mom and dad together, and creating the greatest girl in the world.... ME!!!!!!

I had my camera with me at school today, and when I was on the bus, stopped at a red light, I saw this truck also stopped at a red light. There is a bunch of fish on it, and I'm guessing he is going to park somewhere and sell the fish. None of it is covered or wrapped up. Yummy!!! Tying the fish together with that yellow rope is very common, they even sell whole dead fish like that in the food store!

I ate dinner at our normal Kimbop place, but I got Beepinbop. It looks pretty when they bring it over to the table, its rice with different color vegetables on top, and a fired egg in the middle with spicy red sauce. I take out some of the red sauce because otherwise it is too spicy. Tonight, while we were eating, the Kimbop man came over and was telling me to mix it all together, and I guess I wasn't doing a good job, because it got a spoon and mixed it all up for me. I must say it did taste better all mixed together. Usually I eat all the vegetables separate and then a little of the rice. I guess he knows what he is doing! This is the Beepinbop mixed together.
We had some interesting sides today that I have never seen since I've been here. This was some kind of dish with octopus legs. I thought it was my normal vegetable side dish that I usually like, until I ate it and noticed it was way different, and then I took a closer look and saw the little suction cups on the legs from when it was alive. It was not very delicious at all.
We also got these little fishies that were kind of half dried. They are like a snack in Korea, people snack on them on the subways and stuff. (That reminds me that this weekend, I was talking to some Korean boys at one of the bars on Saturday night, and they were snacking on strips of dried seaweed. The smell was awful!) Back to the fish, Susie loves these little guys, and I tried one and did not like it. The Kimbop man saw me try it and laughed at me and said something to me in Korean that I obviously did not understand. They are full fish, head, tail, eyeballs......
I don't think I have posted a picture of what the inside of the kimbop looks like, so here it is.
My kids took their end of the month test today. Sometimes I am impressed at what they know, but times like today I am just so disappointed in them. They did way worse than I thought they would do! In my last class of the day, I almost killed two students. It was a listening test, so I would read a paragraph, and then questions, and they had multiple choice answers on a sheet of paper and they had to circle the correct answer. They did not have the questions written so they had to listen for me to ask the question. This one pain in the ass kid kept answering the question out loud after I'd read it, even after I explained the whole class that this was a test, and there was to be no talking at all. I threatened them in the beginning of the class that if I saw anyone cheating or talking I would take their paper and they would get a zero and have to go to the desk teacher. I thought that would scare them enough to not cheat or talk, but after giving this one kid so many warnings I had no choice but to send him to the desk teacher. I'm not sure if I am even allowed to give him a zero on the test, or if I even would. I think sending him to the desk teacher was bad enough. The other kid who pissed me off just stared at me the entire test like I had 5 heads. I kept asking him if he understood what he was supposed to be doing, and he said yes, but I have a feeling he was lost. He got a 9/20.
So that was my day today. It's 12:15 and I am just waiting for my laundry to be finished so I can hang it to dry before I go to bed.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Vegas Style

Last week was fairly uneventful... The weekend, however was very eventful and I should be able to fill up a whole blog on just the weekend.

Thursday night was Susie's going away gathering, so we all met at Fish 'N Grill for drinks to say goodbye to Susie, although we will see her when she comes back from her trip to Japan next week. It was her last night in her apartment, so it was a good night to all get together as a group one last time! On Thursday we got talking about a place called a Booking Club, or what a Korean calls a Night Club. It's a place that men go to to pick up women.(You may be thinking, what bar isn't like this? but this kind of bar is a bit special.) So men buy tables and when they see a girl they are interested in, they call over their waiter, and he goes and gets the girl and brings her to the man's table. He buys her drinks and chats her up, and if they get along they exchange numbers. The girls are not allowed to go up to anyone's table, they have to be invited by the waiter. We were going to go, but decided against it. I do want to go sometime though, just to see what it's like. Some of the girls have been before, and they have always been booked.

On Friday night, after work, I went to meet people from work at Pizza Maru, for our ritual of pizza after work. I wasn't planning on getting a pizza because I don't like the leftovers sitting in my fridge all weekend, and Friday nights I get so tempted to come home and eat the whole thing when I come home from the bar. I changed my mind when I got there, and got a pizza, but I am proud to say that the leftovers are still in the fridge and I will be throwing them out tonight!!!

So Friday night everyone was being pretty lame, because all of the preschool teachers had to go into work on Saturday morning and do something with preschool. So Jenn met Jon(From SLP) and me in Hungdea, and we went to a bar, drank and played Tiger(the Korean version of Jenga) and then met up with Adam(from SLP). It turned into a pretty rowdy night that ended with Jon, Adam and myself in a crazy cab ride home.

This was the end of the crazy cab ride home, while wasted Jon was trying to count money, and wasted Adam thought it would be a good time to jump in the front seat with Jon. The cab driver hated all three of us that night....

Jenn had to rock the cash box before we went out, so what a better time to buy a can of beer than when we are in Family Mart waiting to use the ATM???

At the bar the beer comes this this little napkin folded into a hat. I'm not sure why they do it, but I like it. Cafri is the beer that is like Corona.

Saturday morning I did my normal hung over Saturday morning thing, which includes wishing I had someone to whine to and tell how I feel crappy. I went to Korean class and learned more of the alphabet. Janique and Tara have joined the group in going to class. It's fun to have so many friends in the class. After Korean class I went to use the bathroom and saw it had a squatter toilet, and I am happy to say that I used it successfully!!! when looking at it, it looks like it would be easy to pee on yourself, and I thought I'd have to take off one leg of my pants, but if you squat low enough it is fine.

This is the squatter that I actually used, but the picture was not taken as I was using it, obviously. Check out my new Korean sneakers. Again, they are something I would never wear at home, but when in Korea.........

On the way home from Korean class I decided to suggest that we all wear dresses and go Vegas style (Thanks Patrick for giving a name to the act of everyone wearing fancy outfits out!) and everyone agreed. Amanda and Laura came up to my apartment to shop through my dresses and found some they liked. In Korea everyone wears tights, something I would never ever do back home, but when in Korea! So we went to Homever and I bought some crazy black and purple tights.... Totally not my style, but I fit right in in Korea! We went to Alisha's apartment and met everyone from SLP and a few people from other schools, to pregame. We all got into a bunch of cabs and went to Hungdea, and after meeting in one bar, we kind of split up, because there was about 20 people in the group by the time we got to Hungdea and we could not agree on one place. I went with Tara, Janique, Hojin, and Jess to a bar called Tinpan that I have been to a million times. On the walk there Jess tripped and busted her face up on the sidewalk. I actually saw her fall in slow motion and I had flashbacks of a similar fall, and I was shocked she had all of her teeth in her mouth when she stood up. I saw her on Sunday and her face is all bruised and cut. She was shitfaced and ready to go home anyway, and then she busted her face so Janique and Jess went home very shortly after getting to Tinpan. The bar was crazy packed, apparently there are no fire codes in Korea because literally you could not move. Tara and I were loving it but it really was way too packed. We got home around 5:30 and it was overall a great night. Sunday was another hungover morning. Jenn stopped over and we filled each other in on what we missed from the other bar, and then met up with Alisha, her boyfriend Jimno, and Jess and ate shamu shamu, which translates into swish swish. It consists of a pot of soup that you put meat and vegetables into and let cook. It was pretty tasty. Jenn and I went back to my house to watch a movie, but I fell asleep about 2 minutes into the movie. We were supposed to meet the boys to go bowling, which is why Jenn hung out around here all day, but when we woke up it was the time we were supposed to go bowling, and I was sooo tired that we canceled. Hopefully we will be able to go next week. The weekend was very fun, although by Sunday night I was sooo tired.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of when my mom and dad started dating. They met at McDonalds when they were in high school, so my mom thought I should write about McDonalds in Korea this week. So mom and dad, here's to you!

There is a McDonalds across the street from where I work, but I have only been there twice since I've been in Korea because honestly I like Kimbop better than McDonalds. The menu is different than America. They do have a cheese burger and big mac and chicken nuggets. But they also have a shrimp burger, a spicy burger, and a burger called bulgolgi burger, which is delicious. It is a hamburger patty that has been soaked in a kind of soy sauce, and it is sweet. I like my meat sweet, but not off the street.KKKKK (That is Korean laughing.) They do have french fries. They also have corn salad which is mayo, corn, and I think crab meat. It is not very good. When you order you have to ask for a set, otherwise you only get the sandwich. Also, at lunch time there are a few sets that are really cheap, but if you order them for dinner they are more expensive. The bulgolgiburger is $3 at lunch I think for the set. That is cheaper than at home.

On Sunday Jenn and I knocked on my next door neighbor's door because I know that it is a kid that doesn't work at SLP, but he is an American from another school. I have never seen him in the elevator or outside or anything, but I see him out at the bar a lot. Anyway, we knocked on his door and went in, and he had a couch-chair in his doorway that as we were leaving he mentioned he needed to get rid of. I asked if I could have it and he said yes! So now I have two couch-chairs in my room. My apartment gets homier and homier every day! It is bright orange, but its ok... It is in good shape so I like it.

This is Bocumbop, or Korea's version of fried rice. It is not fried and has no soy sauce. It is very good. They put ketchup on it, which is actually very good.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Club Volume

I didn't blog last weekend, but I will make up for it with one huge blog! (I actually started writing this on Saturday, and I've been adding to it since then, but I didn't have the pictures in it so I didn't post it...)
Jenn in front of Club Volume

On Friday night we went to Club Volume, which is in Itawon, about a 30 minute cab ride away. We went because one of the Koreans at our school, the guy who works under Danny and fixes the copy machine, and does a bunch of other things around the office and with the kids, is a DJ at the club. He is a pretty big deal, because Club Volume is supposed to be the hottest club in Korea. I think they call it the hottest because it is the most expensive to get into! The cover was $30 before 11pm, and after 11 it went up to $40!!! I never would have paid that much to get in, but since we work with DJ Swan, he put us on the guest list and we got in for free. It was pretty fancy inside, but the drinks were also expensive. It wasn't my style of music, but I still had a fun time. After Club Volume, Jenn and I went to Hungdae and met up with some other people from work. It was a good Friday night, but Saturday morning I wasn't feeling so hot.....

Tara, Susie, me, and Janique at Club Volume.

DJ Swan doing his thing. His Korean name is Suin, and it sounds like Swan.

Jenn, Janique, me, DJ Swan, Tara, and Susie.

The drinks were mad expensive at the bar, and this was "happy hour" which was at 11:20. They passed out these drinks for free. There were no drink specials.

I don't think I've mentioned this guy before, so here it is....
In the alley behind my apartment building(when I say alley it's not what you are probably thinking, it's more of a dead end road with restaurants, a hospital, a church, and some other things on it.) there is this old man who stands outside one of the restaurants handing out fliers. I always shake my head no, and he makes this huge grunting noise and gets mad. He does it every single time anyone refuses his fliers.

On Saturday I was feeling pretty hungover, and Amanda and Susie came by on their way to get coffee. I don't drink coffee, and I was too hungover to get out of bed, so I declined the invitation. Susie is leaving next week because her contract is up. She is trying to get another visa so she can come back in February to go to college here. Her mom is Korean, so she can get a visa that would make her like a Korean citizen, but her mom is missing one document that is important, so her other option would be to work at SLP part time, and still go to school. Since she is going home, and not positive she will be able to come back, she has to get her Korean Won back to the US. Right now the exchange is AWFUL going from Won to US dollars, and if she transferred money now she would get only $6700 for 8,000,000 won. When she first got here it was almost an even exchange and it is killing her to loose so much money. I hope by the time I got home in 11 months the exchange will be much better!

I met Amanda for lunch before Korean class. I still wasn't feeling so hot, but I did want to go to class because it was starting over today. Alisha has joined the class too, so we were too many people for a cab, so we took the subway. It was kind of a pain, and we had to transfer a bunch of times, and it took forever and we had to stand the whole time. We were a little late to class, but we learned the alphabet! There are a few letters I haven't memorized, but I did pretty well. After class Amanda and I went to Yongsung, the electronic market where I bought my cell phone. We bought speakers for our computers, and I also bought a humidifier because it is very dry and I wake up every morning with chapped lips and a sore throat. The speakers are really nice, they were originally $31, but Amanda and I were both buying some, so I tried to give him $50 for two. He said no, so I said ok, $55 and he said no again, but I just kept telling him we were going to give him $55 for two, and he boss came over and finally said OK. So we got them for $27.50 each. My humidifier was supposed to be $25, but I knew there was one at Homever for $20, and I said $15 and he said OK. So we got a lot of good deals! We also ate at a fried rice restaurant that was really good. We had this salad that was shredded cabbage with strawberry yogurt on it, and surprisingly it was really really good!

In all the subway stops they have bootlegged movies for sale that are 2 for $5. They are new movies, usually still movies out in theater, so it's a good deal. They have Korean subtitles, but that doesn't even really bother me anymore! The one we were at on Saturday had Max Payne, which I wanted to see, but they were sold out of the other two movies I would have chosen as my second choice. If you only buy one movie it's usually $3, but since they were out of the only other two movies I liked, I told him I'd give him $2 for Max Payne. At first he said no, but then I just kept pointing to the one they were out of, and then I gave him $2 and he gave me Max Payne. I was in a real bargaining mood and I wasn't going to pay more for one movie just because they were sold out of the other two movies! I was getting so good at bargaining on Saturday that when Amanda and I bought mittens at a legit store, I was thinking about haggling with the clerk to see if I could get a discount!!!

After shopping, we went to see Eagle Eye in the movie theater in the mall we were in. It was really good. I'm shocked at how many Koreans who can't understand English go and pay to see a movie they know is going to be in English. I would be so pissed if I had to go to a movie in my own country and read subtitles. It must be so annoying, but the movie theater was packed! During the movie my throat started hurting a lot and I thought I was getting sick again, but the next morning it felt fine again.

It's very interesting spending so much time with Amanda, who doesn't drink. We have been doing other things besides going out to bars. She does go out to the bars with the group, which is nice, so it's not like I have to choose to hang out with Amanda or drink, because I can do both. But sometimes it's nice to just hang out and do sober things. (I know, most of you are probably shocked at this statement!!!) Apparently I made a comment one time that has been quoted... and it was "Amanda, if you drank, you would have no problem peeing there!" as we were walking miles to find sober Amanda a bathroom after a night of drinking. Janique said that is when she fell in love with me. haha You would think that not drinking would save me money, but really it doesn't. Because instead of drinking cheap beer while getting ready and then going out for cheap drinks at the bars, we tend to go out shopping and I spend way more money than if went to a bar!

Amanda and I went into a food store we went into while we were waiting for the movie to start. They had samples galore! It was so fun walking around trying all the weird things they were cooking up! I did skip the Spam and dried squid sample tables though... There were about 5 beer samples set up. It was amazing, I've never seen so many samples in one food store!

On Sunday we went to Costco. I'm not really a big fan of Costco, because I am only one person, and how much food can one person who eats out every meal really eat? But they do have American things there, like oatmeal and cereal, and stuff that you normally can't find in Korean food stores. I got a huge box of oatmeal for $27. It killed me to spend $27 on a box of oatmeal, but there are 55 packets, so that's about 50 cents per breakfast, and that I can be happy about. I know everything is in bulk, but there are just some things that I can't see spending so much money on at once. I did find sheets for $22. The coolest thing, is that I have Pajamas that match the new sheets!

Where does my arm end and my sheets start???

I also bought laundry detergent. Liquid, good smelling, bubbly laundry detergent! The stuff I had been using was powder, and when I took the clothes out they had the powder still stuck to them, and I watched an entire cycle one time and it didn't get bubbly at all! I feel like good detergent was a good investment.

On Monday after work I went to the dollar store, and found a Christmas tree for $2. It's about two feet tall, and I really wanted a tree, so I bought it, but when I got it home I realized I made a mistake. I need a bigger tree..... It's a start, but I need to be patient and wait until I see a nice tree and buy it. I do have a start on some decorations though.

There is a new girl who came named Laura. She is staying in a hotel until Susie moves out of her apartment.. tomorrow. I'm sad to see Susie leave, because I liked her, but she will be back in February. Laura is from Canada and seems very nice so far. Last night Susie let us walk through her apartment and take things she wasn't keeping. I got a mirror, a cute chair, a pair of green sneakers, some beautiful Korean cereal bowls that are actually meant for beepinbop, and the curtains that Susie had hanging, but it may be awhile until I can figure out how to get them up in my apartment.

Something really cute happened today... I'm teaching one of my classes about prepositions (under the desk, in the desk, on the desk, behind the desk, in front of the desk, etc.) and for homework they had to draw pictures of sentences. One of the sentences was "The mouse is in the kitchen" and when I was checking their homework, I looked at one boy's paper and he had drawn a circle with what looked like drum sticks coming off the sides with a mouse in the circle, and at first I was confused, but then I realized he thought it said "The mouse is in the chicken." I tried not to crack up laughing when I saw it. I understand how he confused the words kitchen and chicken, because they have similar sounds, but I wonder if he thought it was strange that I wanted him to draw a mouse in a chicken.....

This is the famous Suin du boo! The big bowl of soup is on the left, and I spoon the tofu and soup over the rice. Most of those sides I do not eat, but the side that looks like noodles is actually some kind of vegetable that I do like, but it is a little spicy. I put a fried egg in the soup too, but that's not in the picture. You can see the tiny tin cup in the picture too. I get all of this for $4. It's very delicious!!

I finally found a famous squatter! I never need to use a bathroom in public, so I have never seen one, but when we were in the subway I wanted to take a picture of one so I went to the bathroom. I'm still not sure how to use it without taking your pants all the way off, or peeing on your pants... When I need to use one I will let you know how it goes....