Saturday, November 29, 2008

MONEY!!!!

The exchange rate SUCKS. Big time!!!!!
I officially have taken a HUGE pay cut ;(
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Two years ago if I sent home 1 million Korean won (about half my paycheck) I was able to make approximately $1300 Canadian. Now if I send home the same amount I make only about $850. Yikes!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Wedding Work

To be honest I never dreamed of my fairy-tale white wedding. I just never pictured myself in a flowing white dress walking down the aisle to my prince charming.

And to be even more honest I'm certainly not looking forward to a wedding. Especially two, because that's how many we will be having*. I have had lots of people hassling me with dates (well not hassling, just asking) and asking me to document stuff online, on this blog. Well I haven't said anything or done anything because I haven't started looking. I don't want to start looking.

But on Sunday (yesterday) Sung Hyun and I went out to the Yongsan War Memorial to check out a wedding venue (yah I know, get married at a war museum, jazzy). But I'm pretty certain that I'm NOT interested in a cheesy wedding hall style wham-bham-thank-you-maam wedding. For those of you unfamiliar with this, let me explain:

Well it's in a WEDDING HALL building -- a building specifically for weddings. You are allowed 30 minutes or so in the hall before the next wedding starts (can we say Vegas?). The next bride is basically waiting for her turn as you walk out. After you walk down the aisle in the rented wedding dress with the make-up and hair package (and yes MEN get make-up too) you cut a fake cake while bubbles and fake smoke starts blowing and your friends start popping their crackers, then you do a champagne love shot and go to the buffet table. While you are exchanging your vows however, okay no vows are exchanged you just stare at some man who is giving his 15 minute speech about love (well actually I have no clue what he talks about), the audience chats away to the person next to them, or decides to have a phone conversation DURING THE MIDDLE OF YOUR CEREMONY. Furthermore, people get up and come in and out of the wedding hall like it's some kind of come and go tea. I've seen Koreans be more respectful during movies.

In case you think I'm kidding about the disrespect thing, why don't you watch this:



Did you see that? Okay play it again!!!! Yah the ajumma (old lady) elbows the bride and drags her veil into the seats WHILE SHE IS WALKING DOWN THE AISLE. Wonderful!
Okay back to the wedding halls. If you manage to make it to the service, (because it's not required that you go, in fact some guests head straight up to the buffet), next you turn in your money (because guests have to pay to attend the wedding or you don't get your food ticket) and head to the buffet. Now since they are pumping through a new wedding party every 30 minutes, the buffet area usually has 3 wedding parties eating from the same buffet table sitting in the same room. Yes 400+ people pushing to get their food first.

And then after you eat you go home and it's done. No speeches, no dance, no kiss!! Boohoo

So I'm pretty certain we've ruled out that idea** The other option we have decided on is a traditional Korean wedding. I have no clue what that entails, but I think it will be pretty interesting to get dressed up in bright colours and get carried in in one of these funky carts:
Which I think will be pretty unique!!!
So after we went to the war museum, which I thought was expensive (but what do I know) then we headed to another outdoor wedding venue, which was even more expensive (see I don't know). Not so successful. But one thing that I did discover at the second stop was an option for studio pictures. And then when I looked through the book I fell in love with what I saw. Granted I know nothing about photography (well I know more than my mom) but who cares about the technicalities behind it. One thing I do know is that I loved what I saw. So I have decided that if I'm dressing up as a pregnant mushroom (right Amanda) for the ceremony, then we will be going to studiokhan to get our photos taken. http://www.studiokhan.com/
I picked out my top (12) pictures for you to see: They are classy, cute and cool!!! (and look at those models, yum)

Looks like he got caught doing something naughty in the bushes.

So after navigating through the website for an hour or so while listening to the background music I thought YAH I CAN DO THIS. And then I smiled and started to feel excited to plan for MY wedding. So if you've made it thus far then ignore the rant above. And bring on the wedding planning!!!!!!!
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* One in Korea for Sung Hyun's extremely large family and one a year or so after we get back to Canada
** Read: there is no way I'm getting married in a wedding hall.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fun Friday

I couldn't have thought of a better way to spend my Friday then by having a dinner party at my place with some great girls (and a boy).

Everyone brought a bit of food and then we stuffed ourselves with goodies. Patricia's homemade macaroni and cheese and sweet potatoes were a hit. Krista's, Sarah's and Matt's fried chicken was delic. And my banana bread and apple crisp was pretty yummy too. I got to keep the leftovers so I've even got lunch for tomorrow.
And no night is complete without a board game. Patricia loves board games. Here we are playing Cranium. I think Matt is winking to me in this picture......haha

Patricia and Matt posing for a couples picture.
Thanks for coming everyone ;)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

YAY!!!

Got a little bored of my room so I decided to change it around a bit. Sung Hyun's not too fond of sleeping by the window in winter so he opted for the heated floors; which meant I got the whole bed to myself.....yipee!!!
I guess I'll be opting out of fun things this coming weekend. Hope your eye sight and my blurry picture combined means you can't see my monthly cell phone bill of $192
No more mid-week phone calls home.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

If only I could marry more than one Korean......sigh*

Dude these guys are hot and sexy, make me drool and feel like I'm in a groupie. Ahhhhhh!!!!! If only I could marry you all.......
video

video

video

drool* (Korean male fashion -- yet another reason to love Kboys). I'm going to sulk in my bed now!!!

p.s. these videos were taken at a concert I went to two weeks ago

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sauna

On Monday night I decided that I needed a night to myself. So Alisa and I headed to Yongsan to spend the night at the sauna. For 10000W (like 10 dollars people) I got to spend the evening soaking in bath after bath. I scrubbed my body and left feeling really clean with baby soft skin. We spent the night, which was included in the price. But unfortunately I'm not very keen on sleeping on a little mat, with a hard pillow, in a hot room with about 50 other Korean women. So next time I do it, I'll skip the sleeping part and come back to my cozy bed.

Only in Korea could you buy a loaf of fake break. It took us probably a good minute to realize that it wasn't real. It was even ripped which added to the appeal
As it gets colder, Seoul gets brighter!!! Christmas is coming

The pathway to the sauna.
I didn't even realize you could enter through this little door to one of the steam rooms
All you need is a good 10 minutes in here before you sweat out all the water you drank that entire week....hehe
Ice room. I better get used to the cold because I'm going to Canada in a month
One of the steam rooms
cool floor design
Massage chairs - $2 for 10 minutes.
I had never been to a sauna before. But I think I'll go back!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sunday with friends

Sung Hyun and I met up with Hodge and Annie on Sunday. We had a quick bite to eat and then off we went......Annie was getting a dog. She found the cutest little American Cockerspaniel (sp?) and had to take it home. It will be a handful.
I love Sung Hyun's new jacket that I bought him. It's green but shows up brown in pictures, weird!!

Why thank you!!!

Korea doesn't get boring. Living in Seoul there are always things to do and neat places to explore.
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A little Shabu shabu for lunch.
And we tried to get a good picture of the boys, but that didn't work.

So we had them take one of us instead.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Violence in South Korean schools

Sung Hyun tells of times when he was punished by his teacher for not completing his homework. His punishment didn't come in the form of a phone call to mom much like we would expect in the West, but rather in a beating. Much like what you'll see in these videos below (and yes these are Korean students):



What's unfortunate is that incidents like these often go unreported. Reported incidents are often swept under the rug by the police. The Metropolitician who has witnessed such incidents describes best:

Korea’s instinct is to cover up, change the subject, point to “national shame”as a reason to silence everyone. Remember — in Korea, it’s not about guilt, it’s about shame — and how bad you look in public. That is more important than what was actually done. The parents dropping the charges is a case in point. Too much shame brought to the community, which overrides anything else.

(The Metropolitician, http://www.koreasparkle.com/2008/11/more-on-teachers-beating-students/#content)

More of what he has to say can be read by clicking here and checking his response in the comments section. He also describes of an incident where a student died because of teacher abuse. He was brought out of class and beaten hard, then forced to do laps around the school until he collapsed from exhaustion. Only to be followed by another round of beatings and laps which continued all afternoon. He was denied water and collapsed when he was allowed to go home. The official report -- HEART FAILURE!!!

A perfectly healthy, 17-year-old boy died of heart failure. I wonder why?
Dehydration and extreme physical and mental abuse? Naw. No charges were filed,
and the family tried to fight it, until they were intimidated into not doing so.

(The Metropolitician, http://www.koreasparkle.com/2008/11/more-on-teachers-beating-students/#content)

For more information check out The Hub of Sparkle!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

MOM

I feel extremely blessed to have a wonderful relationship with my mom. She's my best girlfriend and knows exactly what to say to make me feel better. And after our weekly late night Sunday chats, I am always left feeling so warm and loved, like she has filled me up and recharged me so I'm good for another week.

Thanks Mom,

I LOVE YOU!!!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

FACEBOOK.......

.......when I send an email in facebook that has my blog address attached to it, I always have to enter a password. Obviously this is to filter out the spam. But who would have thought I would have to type this:

Handicap Wortman

I HEART earrings

It's no secret that I'm addicted to earrings. And since I can't really fit into Korea FREE SIZE clothing, I've got to feed my addictive shopping habit somehow. Okay, honestly it's not that bad!!!

But every time I go back to Canada for a visit my good friend Jennifer's sister always compliments my earrings. I figured why not get her some too. So I asked if she would be interested and she said she trusts me to pick them out for her. And honestly if she doesn't like them, I do so it's no big loss to me for buying them. Actually I'm kinda hoping she doesn't like any of them so that I get to keep them all to myself. MUAH HAH HA!!
Here's my collection for her so far:

Earrings in the top two rows are $1 each

Bottom row from left to right -- $3, $4, $5, and $7

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Getting pointed in the right direction

This past Saturday I headed out to visit Amy, a fellow blogger. We've met in person before but it was over a year ago so it was great to see her again. I got the whirlwind tour of her life -- her boxing club, weight training gym, apartment, and her fav. coffee hang out.

Can you spot her ADIDAS?
It's what's for supper!!!
Everyone needs a little inspiration!!
Her cutie pie, MiNam!!!
MiNam looking not too happy to be sitting by me.
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The main reason that I went to see Amy in Cheonan, aside from not seeing her for over a year, is so that she can help me get started on a fitness plan, which she likes to call 'The Fool Proof Plan to a Better You'. A couple months back, sometime over the summer I emailed her and asked her for some advice and inspiration. Well what started as a few suggestions to a friend snowballed into a fitness book.
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We sat at the coffee shop and read through most of it. I could see her get excited when she talked about her own fitness goals. Her face lit up and I could tell this was something she was really passionate about. I was a good listener and took in all the info she had to share. As I left the bus terminal I immediately took my new stack of papers and I read her book from front to back and then re-read things that I wasn't quite familiar with. I am excited to embark on a new fitness plan, which by the way started on Monday.
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And you know what I learned? That there is no easy way out, no magic pill to solve all your weight loss problems. Duh, I knew that!!!
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So thanks Amy for the wealth of info that you passed along to me. I hope we can meet again sometime soon!!!
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I was thinking of sharing my story and progress on my blog, even though this is a personal issue for me. So would you be interested in reading?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Happy Halloween

Ahhhh Halloween!!!! I remember this holiday because it was the first holiday that I celebrated when I returned to Canada after my first year of teaching in Korea. And then the Halloween after that Sung Hyun dressed up in my teenager slumber party pajamas, blue flowered slippers and carried my teddy bear out to the bar. People were stopping to take pictures of him every few seconds. I remember him saying 'why everybody picture me??'.......to which I replied 'because you're so cute' but I really meant, 'because no guy in Canada would be caught wearing your costume!!!'

This year Halloween was nothing special. I scared my students with my mask and had most of them jumping and screaming. Played some games at school and then carved myself a pumpkin. So that's how I celebrated my Halloween!!!! Oh yah I toasted up these seeds with some olive oil, a dash of cajun and a handful of seasoning salt. They were delis and didn't last more than a day
My short, fat, heavy pumpkin ;)