Monday, August 29, 2005

An annoying fact

You know when you're sick and super tired and everything just happens during the course of the day that makes you want to say "what's the point...I'm going back to bed"? Well, I do.
So I'm totally sick right now, but it's hard for me to fight the urge to go out and do things. I'm not really good at sitting around I guess (I thought I was for such a long time until coming here). Anyway, I have a cold and quite possibly a fever and it took everything logical inside me to say "Andrea, don't go to the gym". I know that seems stupid, but each day that I don't go feels like forever. I'm getting weird. Ok so I convince myself not to go to the gym cause it's probably not a good idea and thought, well maybe I"ll go to the PC room and load some pictures on my blog before work. So here I am, except I get all the way here sit down and realize I've brought the wrong cord to attach my camera to the computer. Annoying? Yes. But this is the second time that I've done it. I came the other day and was also feeling a little sick, and realized that I didn't bring a cord at all. Grr.

Well, I've made two attempts at loading pictures and I have no idea what I'm doing here which is incredibly frustrating. I guess the smart thing to do would be to test the cord at my apartment before walking to the PC room, but hey, your brain gets a little cloudy when you're sick I guess.

Anyway, that's all for now. Stay tuned for pictures.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Credit Card Camera

I gave myself a deadline and the deadline is here. I swore that I'd buy a camera before my mom got here, so this past weekend was the last one before she arrives...I did it. Not only did I buy a camera but I bought a WICKED camera. I had a camera in mind before I started shopping and so I looked around for a while at a place called Yongsan pricing it for a few hours. Rob was definitely helping me with the stuff that I didn't know (cameras...they take pictures...right?). It was great. After shopping around for a bit I bought it. It is a Casio Exlim. It's a very thin, grey camera with 3x zoom, 5 megapixels, antishake, and mpeg-4 movie (which means it takes some pretty sweet video with sound). The other thing, there is no delay when I go to take pictures. Y'know how some digital cameras take a second to actually snap the shot after you've pushed the button? Mine doesn't do that, it takes right away, which is pretty sweet. Oh yeah, the other thing that I love about it is the size of the screen. It's pretty huge, possibly double the size of the screen on the back of a regular digital camera taking up more than half of the back of my camera which is about the size of a credit card. More technically, it's a 2.2 inch LCD screen. Cool huh? If you want to see it online, you can check it out here:§ion=EXILIM%20Series&product=EX%2DS500
Or just check out and look for the EX-S500 Series.

After I bought my camera I was finally able to meet and hang out with Erin. It's been a while since the two of us got together. We went to Hyehwa and shopped a bit, although after dropping a significant amount of coin on the camera I was a little hesitant to spend any more money. We went to a really awesome restaurant that served Kimchi Jiggae (Korean Kimchi Stew, one of my favorite dishes here). It wasn't a spectacular restaurant, as most aren't about ambiance and atmosphere, but the food was great. They have little hot plates on each table and they bring you a pot of cold raw soup that cooks infront of you on your table. One was enough for Erin and I to share and it was super cheap too at $2.50 each. From there we grabed a Starbucks (costing more than my dinner) and headed to my house. Erin spent the night and we went to church in the morning. It was a lot of fun.

Well, since I have my camera I have a ton of random pictures, and I'm sure there will be many more to come. I'm super excited to take pictures of so much that I haven't been able to!

Six more days till my mom comes!!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Independence Day

Back a blog or so ago I mentioned that I was in downtown Seoul for the fireworks display on Korean Independence Day (they celebrated sixty years of independence from Japan). Anyway, I mean it when I said that we picnic'ed in the middle of the street. Just layed out a fitted sheet, and chilled. We got our pictures taken quite a few times.

Brunch at Suji's

Erin, Sarah F, Dan, Kevin, Jennica, Me, Jenny, and Micah. Having breakfast at Suji's restaurant in Itaewon.

Brunch at Suji's

Brunch at Suji;s in Itaewon. Dan, Kevin, Jennica, and me. All chowin down on some fantastic food and some even better chill time.

I'm stuffed!

I had the weekend of appointments involving food this weekend. It was fantastic. Actually, not only did they involve food, but also my students from the Academy that I teach at.

Saturday I met with some friends downtown to have brunch at a restaurant called Sujis. It was pretty good western breakfast, although western food always comes with a high cost here. It was worth it though.

After that I was on my way back home to meet up with some of my old middle school students from last semester. I told them that I would take them out to Pizza Hut for dinner and hang out with them for a bit. I've come to the conclusion that even though I'm not at home and youth leading myself to the max, I can't seem to stop being a youth leader here in Korea. This time it's just without the backing of the church. Then again I guess you could say that the church is wherever Jesus is. And he's definitely here. I guess it's just part of who I am and what I really love doing.

Anyway, after eating some pizza and chillin with some giggly excited 14 year old girls, we walked for a bit and caught a cab toward my house. The girls said that they had a "surprise" for me. Turned out they had planned to buy me ice cream at Baskin Robbins. They were super excited about it and it was super cute. They bought a huge tub of ice cream and we walked back to my apartment. One of the girls grabbed a blanket, put it on the floor and we sort of "picnic'ed" in my apartment while listening to Korean pop music, eating ice cream, and reading my "western" magazines. It was super fun and totally high school. They also noticed that I had a flat iron in my apartment, so that meant I was straightening hair all round. Overall, it was a lot of fun. I think that kids definitely bring out the best in me and remind me not to take myself too seriously.

Sunday was yet another food related appointment with students. On Friday night I was walking home from the Bath House and I ran into two of my younger students, Angie and Leon (pics are in student pic area) who were having dinner with their family at a Chicken house that is on the first floor of my building. The kids came running down the street yelling "TEACHER!" when they realized it was me. I was pretty tired (it was about 1am and yes, kids are definitely still awake and out at that hour), so I didn't really realize what was happening at first. Anyway, the whole family was there and they invited me to sit down and have a drink and some chicken with them. So I did. Before our hour long meeting, introducing, and attempts at translating (the parents don't speak any English, only the kids speak a little), they had invited me to their house for dinner on Sunday night.

The kids came to pick me up from my apartment and walked me to their house. They didn't come alone though, they brought half the neighbourhood. Friends, neighbours, cousins, all came to check out my apartment (they're always interested to see where and how I live...turns out it's just like them;)). I've heard that Korean women can typically cook up a storm. The rumors are true. I was fed SO much food and it was fantastic. I can't even tell you what it's all called because some of it I'd never had before. We did have something called Chap che which is beef and clear noodles and we also had Bulgogi (beef), with rice and a million side dishes (in typical Korean fashion).

Anyway it was incredible, great food, awesome people. I had a great weekend. I didn't get to see much of my Canadian friends though, which is ok, because typically when I get an opportunity to spend time with Korean people, particularly a Korean family, I generally jump at the chance. I figure it's a great opportunity to experience a more realistic Korea. I guess I'm just as interested in what 'their houses look like and how they life' as they are in mine.

We all want to learn more about what we don't know I guess. But, it typically turns out that we're all the same underneath.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

At the beginning of our short trip to the Suwon Folk Village about an hour south of Seoul a couple of weeks ago. No idea what these things are that I'm standing infront of.

Is Rob looking in a mirror? Nope, just a single cow chained up at the Folk Village.

Puppies! We stumbled upon these tiny babies in the Folk Village in Suwon. They were so teeny they could barely walk. I wanted to steal one!

Rice field at the Suwon Folk Village. Seeing green space is a luxury in this country.

This is from our trip to the Suwon Folk Village. I'm not sure why I look so stunned, probably cause I thought Rob was cutting me out of the picture (like I told him to) in order to catch this dude dressed in traditional gear talking on his cell phone. The image was hillarious. Turns out, the only thing hillarious is my face!

Rob's birthday party! On August 10th I definitely showed up at Rob's door with a birthday cake AND a birthday hat, a gift AND some Korean kids to have a little kid style birthday party. The best part was that Rob had just woken up (at noon) and so he was not sure what was going on when I opened the door with little kids and shouted "HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROB!" It was awesome.

Nerds on a subway. I swear, always with guys. Thank goodness for Sarah Hunter!

Went up to check out Dan's new place in Ilsan just outside Seoul on Sunday afternoon. Spent some great time shopping, eating Galbi, and sitting by the lake.

These are the jokers I hang out with everyday, or close to it anyway. I don't think there's a picture that captures these four any more perfectly.

Friday, August 12, 2005


So I'm finally near a computer when something totally insane happens to me. I'm at work right now and this story is about 10 mintues old....You're never gonna believe this....

So I taught seven classes today. Generally it's a pretty tough schedule for Fridays, but it didn't get interesting until my last class. My last class is a pre-middle school class, so they're about 12 years old. I was teaching away as usual and one student said, "Teacher, Bathroom." "Wait." I said. Since all students usually ask to go to the bathroom a few times per class it wasn't out of the ordinary. She had a discheveled look on her face, but accepted my response. Once we finished reading the paragraph that we were in the middle of I let her go, even though the school wants us to keep students in the room during class time.

So off to the bathroom she goes. Only as she passed by did I get a raunchy whiff of outhouse. Naturally I assumed that she had farted and left it in the room for all of us to enjoy. Wrong. When she returned back to the class about 10 mintues later I noticed a giant brownish yellow smear on the back of her white pants. Yes, she chose white pants on this blissful day. The smell returned with her and immediately after I saw the poo stain on her pants I froze. I didn't know what to do about it. I didn't want to further embarass her, so I let her go back to her seat. I mean, these problems are tough enough to deal with, let alone in a second language.

After the class ended, I returned to the teachers office to talk to the Korean teacher who would follow my class. I told her that one student looked particularly "sick" and I tried to explain what happened. Again the language barrier cursed me. "Um, Sujin, one student...pooed (wait, that's slang), umm she sh* (crap, slang again)...she ddong'ed (ddong=korean word for poo) her pants. Or I guess I could have tried "Hey Sujin your student released fecal matter into the seat of her pants. How would that have gone over? The look on Sujins face was the horror that I had anticipated. She wasn't sure what to do just as I would. How do you approach a conservative, quiet, well behaved, studious Korean girl about how she just crapped herself?

Frick. I'm just glad it's Friday AND a long weekend.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Good Eats

This weekend was a lot of fun. Rob and I co-hosted a foreigner bbq at our apartment on the roof. Since we don't often eat a lot of "western" food, it's nice to indulge in some fat steaks from time to time. We had a bunch of people come by for dinner and just chill on our roof. We're quite fortunate to be able to hang out up there, because most of the rest of the apartment dwellers that we know aren't able to get roof access. Anyway, it was nice, we ate, we talked, we chilled. It was perfect being that most of us are working "intensives" right now and putting in a ton of overtime hours.

I've really been thinking lately about how incredibly blessed I've been to get to know so many really awesome people out here in Seoul. I know that for a lot of people, teaching English in a foreign country can be a very lonley time. There is quite a growing group of Christian twenty-somethings that I've been a part of for the past few months. And, as my friend Matt says, "It's all a rich tapestry" in the way that we've all connected. We've all known someone, who knows someone, who knows someone. It seems like all of it came together for a purpose. As hard as we can try to discover the "flukes" that happened to bring us together, none of us can really deny that it's anything other than God wanting us to chill in community in this massive city. It's really kinda cool when I take the time to sit down and think about it.

In other news, I cut my hair. I went to a random Korean hair salon, which I was a little reluctant to do, due to the communication barrier. However, I hadn't up until this point cut my hair for about six months, so it was time. I walked into a place close to my house that looked like someone just might speak a little English in there (not quite sure how I could tell this, but I could...). Anyway, I went in asked a few questions (ie: "Do you speak English" "Can you cut my hair?" When?"). All worked out and I got this guy to start cutting. I have to admit that I was a little nervous at first, especially when I told him to cut off three inches and he took over five! My hair was pretty long to start and now it's just a little below my shoulders. The Koreans working in the salon were all crowded around me listening to the one guy speaking English to me. When others tried to throw out phrases that they knew in English, the rest of the group would make fun of them. I just laughed. What a gong show. Anyway, I'm pretty happy with the results. It's nice to have shorter hair right now. Not to mention the price...get this...$12. No kidding. At home I pay more than triple that! I was very happy and I'm sure that I'll head back to the same place for my next cut. My hairdresser was telling me all kinds of stories about how he's been to Australia for the Vidal Sasson hair styling show and how he's been cutting hair for eleven years. It was fun. I even got asked to tutor, yet again, by some of the girls in the salon. I swear I get approached almost daily, it's ridiculous.

It was a nice weekend all in all, spent hanging out with really awesome friends.

Three weeks till my computer (and my mom!) comes to Seoul!!! Look forward to posting pictures soon!


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Meandering Absentmindedness

Holy crap. It's been an eternity since I've blogged. What's becoming of me? Well, first of all my delimma is this: I don't have a computer, and neither does Rob since it's been shipped back to Canada to be fixed under warranty. Some sort of "motherboard" issue. Whatever that means.

Anyway, a lot has happened, and as usual as soon as I sit at the computer in this dark and shady PC room all thoughts leave my mind as if they never existed in the first place. I can never remember all of the funny and interesting things that have happened between blogs.

Well, I'll start with today. It's Tuesday and I had the day off today. I get my typical 10 days of paid vacation, plus holidays. But this is a different sort of thing. This is the "Korean Teacher's Holiday" at my school only that I, as a lazy foreigner, get to cash in on. Hey, no one's complaining here.

So anyway, I went to this place called Suwon today for the second time ever since being here. The first time was to walk the fortress wall and this time was to check out the Korean Folk Villiage. I wasn't sure what to expect, or really how long the commute would actually be, but it turned out to be pretty good. First of all, we decided to leave around 1pm. Probably not the best choice since the total travel time there turned out to be about two and a half hours. Not to mention the heat, plus the drizzle that was present for the duration of the day. Still not complaining, I had the day off work.

So finally we arrived at this Folk Villiage, got our tickets and started wandering around. It was actually quite huge, but the two hours or so spent there was more than enough time to see all that we needed to. There were all sorts of building reconstructions to make this entire villiage of huts, barns, stages, pathways. If you didn't know any better (that Japan burned this entire country to the ground... a few times...) you'd think it was all authentic.

After eating a really good dinner at this place, some of the best Kimchi Jiggae I've had yet, and not before spilling some of that dang red pepper sauce on my khaki coloured pants (doesn't top Matt spilling kimchi on his crotch at our after church lunch!), we started the trek back home to Chang Dong.

One of the highlights of the Village, although I'm sure it wasn't intended to be so, was the two teeny puppies we found just chillin in a dog house alone by some other huts. No one really seemed to be around to tend to them, and they were really too small to even walk. Super cute though, I kinda wanted to keep one. Just like a Korean baby....puppies and babies are the same...right?

The rest of the weekend seems to be a blur. Sunday I went shopping with friends in Gangnam, but I didn't really buy anything. Monday was more shopping at Dongdaemun Stadium. Prior to this visit, I vowed that I would never go there again because it's just too busy, plus I really despise shopping (surprising that I hate it yet I went twice in one weekend). Anyway, I returned for the third time and didn't mind it too much, although I didn't end up with anything but a necklace. Buying accessories is way too difficult for me, so I mostly avoid it.

Later on Monday night Rob and I went to Nowon to meet Jennica and Jamie Graham who have just joined the expat crew here in Korea. We were on our way to Nowon station, one stop from where I live, arrived and called the Grahams as promised. Only to realize that I had the wrong phone number. I couldn't get a hold of them. So Rob and I sat out front of the Lotte Department Store for an hour watching these Korean guys skateboard for a while. I got bored so we decided to walk around a little in hopes that Jamie or Jennica would give us a call wondering where the heck we were. No such luck. I guess they figured that we just weren't coming and didn't have the courtesy to call them to let them know. They were on their way to Japan the following morning so decided that they would call it a night and go to bed. It wasn't until a random call to Kevin Dueck made by Rob at 10:30 Monday night while Kevin was in Pusan, did we discover the real number thanks to Kevin's call display and a call made by one of the two of the Graham's earlier that night. I called, woke up Jamie, and explained my situation. I was just worried that they were going to think that I was a total jerk for not calling. I know that they're both way too nice even to consider it, but still, explaining that I had waited for two hours for them to call me wondering if I had been hit by a bus on the way over made me feel a lot better about the whole situation. So I bought a T-shirt in Nowon and went home.

As for work, nothing too exciting. I'm working overtime these days, so I'm a little tired. Not to mention my work out schedule has been a little intense partly due to early morning boredom and the risk of feeling lazy, and also because at the gym is where I practice Korean and assist in more English teaching with my friend, Sung Joon, the trainer there.

I'll try to keep future posts closer together, to avoid these massive random posts that seem to drag on and on in a winding fashon. Also when my computer gets here (ps I bought one!) I'll be able to not only keep in touch a whole lot better, but also start posting some pictures again.

To those of you who don't "just look at the pictures" thank you for continuing to read!