Tuesday, January 30, 2007

AHHHHHH

MAN, I don't know what has gotten into me (or out of me for that matter) but I usually really enjoy going to the gym and exercising. I haven't been to the gym in 3 months and time just keeps passing and i just keep making silly excuses for myself. Oh I have a little cough so I should start when I am feeling better. I don't know what it is but I need a serious kick in the butt and some motivation from a friend!!!!!

Anyone out there to help

Monday, January 29, 2007

My first Korean friend




Because learning English should be fun right? So here are some of my beginner students, and since only 2 of them showed up today I thought I would have some friendly competition. I have been teaching them a lot of phonics and as you can imagine it is quite boring. I have been focusing on ending sounds (for instance: et -- pet, set, met, vet, bet....... at -- sat, bat, hat, mat ...). So instead of using the textbook I used a plethora of cue cards, with random words on them. I would yell out an ending sound and the object was to get as many word cards with that ending. They loved the game and played their little hearts out -- probably because I was giving cookies to the winner.




I met PJ about a year ago in some pub style restaurant. He was hanging with his Korean work buddies playing some drinking game. I was so interested in what it was they were doing so I asked if I could join them. Since Pj spoke the most English I got along with him really well. And although we don't see each other often I really do enjoy his company every chance I get. He is actually my first ever Korean friend.




Tonight we just chilled at my place, sipped on some Crown Royal and reminised about the past. He has studied English abroad (in England actually) so we are able to effectively communicate. It's so funny to hear his English accent.............on top of that he always says "bloody" (ie. "Jennie that was so bloody funny"). Since Pj has not been exposed to English since he has returned from abroad, I have agreed to teach him. In return he will help me with my Korean. Our first study date will be Saturday at my house............I hope it goes well.
........AND we musn't forget the sidedish. Korean's NEVER just drink. They always have to eat a snack. At Korean bars, you MUST order a side dish when ordering alcohol.




And I just had to throw this picture in. Believe it or not, it's the same kid. He is so small but packed with so much energy and laughter. He must have gotten his hair permed on the weekend. SUPER CUTE!!!!!!!

KOREAN THOUGHT OF THE DAY - When you consume alcohol with Koreas who are older than you (even if only by a few years), you should turn your body away from them and cover your mouth with your hand when you drink. It is considered rude if you don't do this, unless of course you are among some very very close friends.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Very Important Peoples Society

Tonight we had a totally awesome dining experience at V.I.P.S., despite the fact that I only have $40 to last me till pay day (2 weeks away).......that's were the good old VISA card comes in handy. Although the food is never worth the price you pay, I just couldn't be bothered to cook on a Sunday night, especially when this restaurant is only a 5 minute walk from my house.


The night started slow, with a one hour wait to even be seated. Their waiting area is huge and they always have snacks on hand to keep you occupied. I had expected that we would have to wait a while since it was a Sunday night.


Sung Hyun dropped me off to get the ticket because he had some stuff to do at home meanwhile (Oh maybe I should expain..........the numbered ticket tells you when it's your turn to be seated). No problem with me, I just parked myself in the waiting area and wipped out the Korean studies, to everyones surprise. Infact, the millions of Koreans glancing over my shoulder did not make studying an easy task. Since the benches are so close to one another they were all able to see what exactly I was doing. Let's just say that it was not very successful, and I will probably fail my test tomorrow. So instead of choosing to study tonight my handy procrastination skills have kicked in. Tonights events consists of blogging and movies.


So after our hour wait, we are seated at this little table in the walk way, in direct contact with all the Koreans who rush back to the buffet table for seconds, thirds.....you get my point. There is no way that I am spending half my paycheck to feel like I am at a fast food joint. Needless to say we got a different table after some pleading (I think it worked because I was white).


So the way VIPS works is if you order off the menu then the salad bar is free. If you don't order a meal then the salad bar alone is $20. So we decide for an extra $5-7 we can't go wrong if we each order a steak. Now I think the technique at VIPS is to bring the food out as quickly as possible so that you don't really get a stab at the salad bar, because usually after my first mouthfull of salad my meal arrives at the table. How do I know this, well lets just say that I have been there too many times, enough times to get a VIP card to VIPS. Anyways, knowing this, I tell the server to bring the food in 30 minutes (well I didn't tell him but Sung Hyun did).


So after about 10 minutes later Sung Hyuns food arrives. What is going on?????? What happened to the 30 minute waiting request?? Well just so happens that Sung Hyun only requested my food to come out 30 minutes after...........thanks for the heads up huh!!!!


Dinner was good and as usual we stuffered ourselves silly. So much that Sung Hyun left with a stomach ache. I didn't even touch my meal, rather I got it boxed up so that I can enjoy it for lunch tomorrow. Our conversation consisted of reminising about how we met and our first few dates, and of course our first kiss**** which by the way makes for an interesting story.....hehehe. Anyone care to hear??


Our bill came and to no surprise it was far to much. But no worries, the stories and laughs made up for it. Plus my VIP card gave me a 10 % discount. And with no tipping in this country, $52 and a pre-made lunch for tomorrow..........score!!!!!


Oh yah.............I almost forgot. Sung Hyun loves bananas, he is my little monkey, so we had a brilliant idea to sneak one in my bag. Then I made a joke that we should sneak for more fruit so that we could have a mid-night snack. And although I was really only joking, Sung Hyun thought that was a great idea. And more fruit turned into some cookies too......sweet!!!



DAD, Sung Hyun could really use a lesson in packing. By the time I got home, most of my cookies were broken.



Not only is he a monkey, but he's also a hampster. Seriously, do you really need to stuff some much food in your cheeks at once????


Here is my yummy Mexican Steak. Well I am not too sure just how it tastes but I will let you know tomorrow.

The best part of the evening was the drive home. Or shall I say walk. Sung Hyun has a work truck that he is allowed to use for personal reasons. He is so embarrased of this truck that instead of conviently driving places, we go via bus or subway. One day I took a picture of this truck and later it was deleated from his camera. He hates this truck so much that he didn't even want me to tell this story. So anyways, we walk out into the parking lot and I start to look for this truck. Remember the reason he drove it was because he was coming from his mom's house. He tells me that he parked up the street, which I just assumed he did because the lot was full. But no, it's not just up the street, its like 3 blocks away (a ten minute walk) in some remote darkened black alley. I was laughing so hard when I found out where it was and I knew immediately the reason he didn't park it at VIPS. I seriously can't believe that he is so embarrased that he would make me walk to it, when my house is only 5 minutes away by foot.

KOREAN THOUGHT OF THE DAY -- Sung Hyun you make me laugh!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

POCKET BALL

Hello fellow blog fans,

Sorry I have not been blogging lately, but I just feel that I have nothing interesting to write about. So here is some more randomness................


This is my friend DoYoung, he is the most WHITE Korean man that I have met -- all of his friends are white, he likes Western movies, he doesn't like Korean food (or women). And look at his sweater, what does that say??? That's right, CANADA!!!!!!!!!!!

Yesterday I had a craving for Korean food. Lately I have not been eating too much local dishes.............instead I made the mistake of buying a huge bag of mini TWIX at Costco. So yesterday at lunch I insisted that we eat Korean, despite DoYoungs attempt to persuade me otherwise.

I am really sure this big purple thingy loves the fact that I have my arms roped around her/ him/ it, but what can you expect it's just so cute.

I didn't get to hang out with my friend for too long because he was off to teach some other girl Korean...............he double booked ;( But I did leave with 3 Korean DVD's that he brought me as a gift (with English subtitles of course).


This sign reads: " ONLY FORIEGNERS".............this outwardly discrimination is tolerated in Korea. And despite what the sign said, I brought my boyfriend in anyways.


The night consisted of copious amount of alcohol and fun times in Itaewon (foreigners district). And although I don't care for the place I certainly had a fantastic time. The company was grand................it was just me, Jackson (picture above) and my lover.



Since I had not been to Itaewon in a long long time. I decided to hit up some of the old bars that I went to about a year ago (Gecko's and Seoul Pub mostly). It was nice to see some familiar faces and be greeted by people who I used to hang with.
By the way, I kicked butt in pocket ball (also known as pool).
KOREAN THOUGHT OF THE DAY -- When handing something to a Korean, offer it with BOTH hands. Never offer anything with the left hand (even if you are left handed); it is considered rude. This includes payments at shops and restaurants. When offered something by a person of a higher status (or someone who is older) always accept it with both hands.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

FOOD AND SKATING

Sunday mornings always start with a home cooked Western breakfast, so this Sunday was no exception!!!!!


Yummy -- a real Canadian breakfast -- pancakes, scrambled eggs with peppers and melted cheese, served with a side of fruit.


After we stuffed our tummies we headed to the Mokdong ice skating rink. This was Sung Hyun's first time ice skating (and believe it or not, he has not even rollarbladed either). After some basics on how to go/stop, there was no stopping him literally. For a guy who has never done this before I was quite impressed. He was almost lapping me.


Skating in Korea is NOT fun...................why you ask???? There are soooo many frickin' people. And to top that off, there are no rules of the road, no slow/fast lane, no apologies for bumping/pushing you over. It really just becomes a game to see how long you can go without having some major problem...........there were several times I came close to running over the little hands of children who had face-planted in the middle of the ice. I almost thought that we should sign some sort of waiver so that we were not sued if we ened up debilitating someone........like seriously

These pictures only serve as a slight indication of what I experienced. When I look at them, I think 'oh it doesn't look like there are many people', but in reality it's way worse.

Here is an action shot of the sports man. Once he discovered how good he was at skating he kept saying 'yes I know, I am a sports man.............I am good at all sports" We'll see about that Sung Hyun!!!!!!!!!! In two weeks we are going snowboarding, so we'll see just how good you really are!!!!!!

Here we are posing in the rest area. Or the area that was the least crowded.

Look at me!!!

"I CAN'T STOP!!!!!"

"KIMCHI" on the ice

Time for a well deserved rest.

We started the day with a good meal, so we ended with one too. After skating I made some Chicken Cacciatiory.

........served on a bed or rice with a greek salad............AND kimchi!!!!!
KOREAN THOUGHT OF THE DAY = We Westerners seem to have bubbles around us, the way strangers stay away. You always see people standing a few (or several) feet apart. We don't even have to bump into someone to say 'excuse me'. Just pass someone too closely and you mumble it automatically. NOT IN KOREA!!!! Koreans elbow their way throught crowds and cut in line without a word. In fact, they usually don't bother to form lines at all. You never hear 'excuse me'
The good news is that Koreans don't expect anything different from us. After a while you'll learn to push and jostle as well as they do. You may even get used to not apologizing.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Korean goodness....


Imagine folding tiny pieces of paper into little stars no bigger than the size of your thumb. Well that's what my student do for fun. Origami is a huge thing here. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I do believe they even have origami school.

Hand phones, hand phones everywhere!!!!! I've never had a cell phone in Canada but it seems as soon as I get to this country I can't be without it. EVERYONE HAS ONE, including my 11 year old student; infact he has two. Hand phones here are like wallets -- you would never leave your house without your wallet, so that holds true for your phone as well. In fact, with the advanced technology in this country, you don't even need your wallet. The capacity for such a small little device is outrageous -- not only is this thing used to talk and send messages, but it serves as a TV, MP3 player, Internet, subway card, and credit card!!!!!!!! So I guess you would never want to lose it then either.

This is our whoaaaa it's Friday picture. Unlike most Koreans we get the weekend (full two days) to just chill out and relax. The sweater that I am wearing, which by the way was bought in Canada, is sooooo Korean style. All the Korean teachers at work today were complimenting me on my wardrobe transformation..................just wait till I bring out the leggings and the skirt, ladies!!!!!!!

Thankfully my box that I shipped from Canada about a month and a half ago has arrived here in one piece. Well, that's not entirely true -- it arrived, but not in one peice. And when I opened it I discovered that the eagle brand condensed sweetened milk EXPLODED (which was going to be used for some kick-ass fruit dip in the summer). Yah it was everywhere, but thankfully my dad -- who packed the box -- had everything wrapped in 2 plastic bags, so nothing was harmed.

Some of the stuff that I packed in this box will never be worn, including the jeans that are two sizes to small. What was I thinking?????? At least I have some Western goodies, that you can't find here.


And lastly, here is the trainer at the gym that I used to attend. Don't let his tough look fool you because is just one big teddybear. He is soooo short but very muscular. If it wasn't for him, then I would never have started talking with Sung Hyun. So thanks trainer.......
Korean thought of the day -- Don't point at anyone; this is considered impolite. If you want to beckon someone to come to you, don't use the usual Western gesture. That's the way they call their dogs. Instead, hold your had palm down with the fingers bend downward, and sort of flap your fingers toward you. I know this sounds weird, but trust me, after you see someone do it, it'll make sense.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Some randomness......





I have been getting settled in Korea the past week or so and I am finally starting to feel better.....whoaa!!!! Some of you have been asking what my place looks like and I will be posting some picture of it once I have it all set up. It was pretty barren when I first got here, so I plan on going shopping for some more furniture (or dumpster diving shall I say). So don't expect to see the pics for at least another month or so.



I have officially cooked 2 out of 5 boxes of Kraft Dinner since I have arrived here. I am just on my second week, so at the rate I am going, I will need to have a dump truck of this stuff. It's not that I really really like this stuff, but it's quick and easy to cook and it is a nice change from spicy Korean food.



This is the book I bought just a week before I returned to Canada, in hopes that I would have some free time to study Korean when I was at home. I am not too sure what I did with all my time when I was home, but I certainly didn't hit the books. Since I have been back to Korea I have been studying my butt off (haha, it's only been like a week). I have a private tutor that comes to my house to teach me an hour on Monday and a half hour on Wednesday and Friday. It will be really good if I keep up with it, because she is keeping me really busy with homework and such. Today I learned how to tell time and I have to memorize a paragraph about myself and recite it to her on Friday.



Just a bunch of jiberish to me right now, but some day it will make more sense.....ㅋㅋㅋㅋ



Here is a card I got from one of my old kindergarden students. He was so excited when I got back here. There were all so excited when I got back here........

I love my classes. Since I am not teaching kindergarden this month I feel that I have a lot more energy at the end of the day. But I still like to jump around and act goofy for all my kids, no matter what age.


Sung Hyun has been impressing me with his cooking skills. For dinner last night I had rice with bulgogi (seasoned beef), brown bread...................and kimchi.......ummm so delicious.

Korean thought of the day -- don't write anyone's name in red ink. That would mean the person is dead. Death is a highly emiotional issue in Korea. It's probably best to just avoid red pens entirely.

Monday, January 15, 2007

WHAT IS GOING ON......

Okay, two really weird things happened to me tonight.......

.......Number ONE -- I had plans to meet my Korean friend Charlie in an area of Seoul that is pretty up-beat and happening. He lives 90 minutes out of town by subway. When I made my transfer to get on a different subway line I managed to settle down into a seat, when no longer than 2 minutes later Charlie comes up in front of me. What are the chances of meeting him on the WAY to the meeting place -- I happened to be on the same subway train as him and also in the same box car.........so weird!!!


.......Number TWO -- On top of that, when I was exiting the subway I came across someone I knew. Although I have never met the person I recognized her from pictures that I have seen. We have never talked on msn, emailed each other, or exchanged phone numbers. The only contact we have ever had was leaving comments on each others blogs. She too is an english teacher, but she happens to live outside of Seoul. So how is it possible to be in the exact same city with her at the exact same time, in the exact same subway? Don't ask me!!!!!! She totally recognized me when I saw her and she even recognized Charlie. Likewise, I knew that the man she was with was named Kim Tae, because she writes so much about him on her blog. Two fellow bloggers meet in person............so weird!!!!!


So here she is -- meet AMY everyone!!!!! (She is just as pretty in person as she is in the picture). Check out her blog here. Hey, Amy next time you are in Seoul, you should call me up so we can go for 커피..............you do like 커피 right? (haha)




So here is my friend Charlie, you may recognize him for the motorcycle he was driving. Before I left back to 캐나다 (Canada) he bought me a little Korean gift. So naturally I decided that I must bring him back something truly Canadian -- FUDGE!!!!! Also, I got him a business suit shirt so that he can look professional, Canadian style.



First we ate dinner -- Pizza, spaghetti, and salad. Charlie never gets a chance to eat Western food at home, so he tries to everytime we meet.

Charlie loves taking pictures. So I got to be his model for the night. There were so many lights, it was amazing!!!!! After dinner we had to treat ourselves to Krispie Kreme Doughnuts. They are full of so much FAT but they are sooooo delicious.


Here they are being cooked

Nothing like the glazing process................ummmm!!!
How about some steaming hot goodness................
MORE PICTURES


THIS ONE IS FOR YOU BELOVED -- if I didn't check out your site then I would have never know about about these cute little creatures. So here's a token to you in Korea......






KISS THE PIG CHARLIE -- pigs are a sign of wealth and good being, so they are represented in statues and tiny figures all around the place.
Okay, its true I bought an International Driving Permit before I returned to Korea. But you certainly won't catch me on this flowered scooter.........
......especially when Charlie is driving

There was a row of about 5 or 6 beautiful ice sculptures. It sure added to the night!!

....BUT nothing beats goofing off. Check out Charlie as he side-kicks the snowman. He doesn't stand a chance.
Charlie set his camera so that it would automatically take this picture. I counted down the seconds till it flashed and gave him a big ol' push before it snapped the picture. Do you think I've taken him by surprise????

This is my favorite picture of the night. I love how relaxed I look. Even better is all the lights in the sky. I wish you were all here to see it.
Korean thought of the day -- if a friend arrives while you're with a group, you're obliged to introduce him to everyone present unless he's already known to them. But after you introduce him, don't be too surprised if you're the only person he talks to. The rules about who can talk with whom are complex, and some people will ignore other people in a group situation. They're not being rude; they just don't know each other well enough for converstation to be socially acceptable.