Monday, December 26, 2005

christmas in corea (oooo i just pissed off about 48 million koreans)

what a weekend it has been. to bring you quickly through the series of events:

~friday night was spent downtown at watermelon sugar
~we had a very outback christmas eve dinner followed by a night at everyone's favorite korean night club, booby booby
~it was a lazy christmas day consisting of a super-good brunch at my place and a special screening of napoleon dynamite, followed by an outing at friend bar, dinner at kimbap nara, and a trip to hunter bar (a tiny bar around the corner from my apartment)

and now i'll break it down a little bit for you: the funny thing about this weekend is that it turned out exactly how i hoped it would. why is that funny? because i wasn't hoping it would be like anything in particular, i just wanted to do random things and have fun, which i did. i wasn't even expecting to do the christmas brunch, but i'm so glad that's how the day turned out. any special things to remember? let's see... i'm slowly building up my clothing collection via trips to booby booby. since this is the place that i lost my camera at, i've taken it upon myself to make up for what was lost... i still have a long way to go, but thus far, from past visits i've acquired a scarf, a pink hat, a bright red soccer tshirt that says "be the reds," and the latest addition is a santa claus hat wtih blinking lights. of course most of you would consider this "stealing," but i assure you that most of these items were abandoned at tables or entrances with their owners somewhere far away in the city of daejeon.

here is chris, alisun's friend from home who's visiting for 3 weeks, after our dinner at outback, hanging out with korean guys in a hot tub:

and who knew kimchi was a champion jenga player? we were all quite impressed when, after the game was set up, kimchi ran up to it, started sniffing, and plucked a piece right out.

and here he is with his winning piece

alisun tried the same thing after, but it ended up toppling over. must suck to know that a chihuahua has better strategy than you do.

because we wanted to keep the streak of going out and were denying the fact that we had to work the day after christmas and had no days off, melissa, tom, and i decided to check out friend bar, a bar fairly close to my place that's on the top floor of a fairly tall building. it was really nice inside with an awesome view. after that we went to kimbap nara and shared bibimbap, kimchi mandu, and chamchi kimbap and the bottle of wine we shamelessly brought in to drink there. and we weren't ready to end the night there, so we went to one of the tiny hole-in-the-wall bars right around the corner from me to have a beer. it wasn't at all a crazy night out, but it was definitely a nice way to wind down from the weekend.

all in all, a very fun weekend- i got a little bit of the christmas feeling, but also did some things to make it feel very korean too, and it was nice to have no expectations that the weekend would have to measure up to in my mind. i'm hoping for the same "no expectations let's have fun" weekend next weekend, which happens to be my birthday AND new year's eve. assaaaa!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

and steph will too!

it's official, steph and katherine are both coming to visit. assaaaaa!

anyway, i'd like to tell you a little bit about the blackout of 2005. there i was sitting in kimbap nara after work, getting ready to enjoy my chamchi kimbap (actually it hadn't even made it to the table) when the power went out. i figure it was probably from the giant heater they had in the middle of the place. but that didn't stop business from being carried on as normal, because the guy was midway to my table and didn't even hesitate in his step to deliver the food to my table. so i sat in the darkness eating and thinking "well, this is bizarre." that's it, no high point to the story, i just found it to be an overall amusing experience, sitting in the dark eating kimbap.

in other news, i just got back from the store... i made purchases that will ensure a very sugary christmas for all of my kids today, so i can release them in all of their sugar-high madness to their next classes... i love being the evil foreign teacher.

and now you may be asking "tanya, what do your christmas plans entail?" and i can proudly announce... i have no clue. my friends and i have no aspirations to make this a very christmasy christmas- i think we all tired ourselves out after all of that thanksgiving cooking. so we're probably going to maybe get together for a little $5 gift exchange, or maybe go out to dinner, or maybe just go out and have fun... perhaps we'll do all three. at this point, it's just our goal to have fun, and i'm ok with that. same thing goes for new year's eve. i keep forgetting that i will be 23 and still i don't have any huge plans for that weekend. so class, what have we learned so far? that my friends and i have no idea what we're going to do, but sometimes things are more fun when you don't plan anything.

happy hollendaise all.

Monday, December 19, 2005

katherine does korea

so this is a story about a little girl named katherine, who will be visiting the first week of april, 2006! i didn't even realize she'd be able to visit until last week when she announced she had enough money... and she purchased her ticket yesterday. so now is the time to get excited! and what's even more awesome is it will be almost like a trailer 13 reunion (minus certain girls in africa) because steph found a cheap flight from thailand for the same time! i'll be twice as excited when it's official and steph also has her plane ticket purchased. i just don't want to get over-excited in case something goes wrong with that, but i just keep thinking how great it's gonna be having not one, but two friends visiting at the same time. so what's the first thing i plan on showing them? our beloved j-rock, because secretly i think they're going to love it because it's so much like trashy johnny k's.

and i'm sure this is the kind of madness we're gonna have when they get in, which was the typical scene on any given night in trailer 13:

of course, i don't have a couch or coffee table that we can randomly break out into dance on, so my bed is gonna have to do. and there's always the noraebang for all of our couch needs.

Friday, December 16, 2005

little things that make my day

so i had one of those great weeks where i love all of my students, and mostly it came from these little things that just make my day. for example, one class that i won't be teaching after next week because they're moving to junior high wasn't too happy to hear that they're going to have a new teacher. one even went as far as to tell me to go to the principal with a knife and tell her i must keep the class. a little scary, yes, but the sentiment behind it was nice.

and then today i got a christmas card from another student that i won't be teaching after next week that was very nice. looked like she put a lot of effort into it, and her english was pretty good in the letter, also. i just had to take a picture of it to show people back home.




it's kind of hard to read what she wrote, but it says:

"To: Tanya Smith. <3 (teacher) in cursive next to this it says "I love you" surrounded by hearts

Hi, Miss Tanya Smith

I'm Bella. Thank you for teaching me till now.
Well, we'll can't see each other, I'm so sad.
But I believe that we can see each other later
If we are still alive until 20 years or more,
Maybe one day, we can meet, right? Anyway I'll really miss you then and bye!

Merry Christmas"

almost too cute. anyway, if there are any teachers out there who are finding themselves in my situation (end of the "term" with a few classes left and a finished book), i highly recommend showing the class "the santa clause" with tim allen. most of the kids hadn't seen it or even heard of it, but they all loved it, no matter what their age was. a nice, safe movie for kids, even junior high age, who won't feel like their intelligence is being insulted by being shown a family/kids movie because it's pretty funny.

fa ra ra ra ra.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Sunday, December 11, 2005

my post to appease celeste's nagging

dear diary,

i sat next to billy today in class. he had a really cool new spongebob t-shirt. i was going to pass a note to him asking if he wanted to sit next to me in art, but we had to go out for recess. i love him 4-ever.


but seriously, folks... i don't have a ton to update on. i brought kimchi to the vet this morning for the last of his shots (yay!) then i came home a little worried because my vet said to bring him back if he has an allergic reaction to the rabies shot. so now i'm going to be paranoid until the day is over. awesome. i'm sure he's fine though... i can't really see him right now because he downed a bottle of soju and is crawling into the toilet... cute little guy, that one is.

my vet also asked if i wanted to get him castrated (seriously that's the word he used) sometime in the future... i'm sure korea's vets are wonderful and all, but i told him i'm gonna save that for america. secretly, i'm planning on making a little bach of kimchis when i come home for some cross-cultural puppies.

this weekend was fun. the foreigners soccer club had their annual christmas party at k.o.p, so a lot of people went out for it, resulting in a pretty crowded bar. naturally alisun and i (basically everyone else was sick so they stayed home) hung around till about 6:45 in the morning (seriously, who are we?) with maybe 4 other people.

on saturday we went to alisuns for a day-long feast... we just kept making everything in stages- fruit and yogurt, then hash browns, then eggs, then baguettes with olive oil and sauce, then hot chocolate. nice relaxing day (i feel like i say that about every weekend). and yesterday melissa, alisun, and i decided to take a random city bus and get off at the end of the line and see where it would take us. nothing too exciting though, we ended up in koondong, which is just another fun little area (where santa claus the bar is) so we did a little bit of shopping, wandered around looking for this place where they have a pizza buffet for 7,000 won that includes a salad bar. we couldn't find it though, and just ended up taking a taxi to pizza hut. i've said it before and i'll say it again... man i love being a turtle. no that's not right. i meant to say i'm so korean it hurts.

then we made a trip to the grocery store to get some food for tom, who must have some sort of flu because he's basically bed-ridden. everyone ended up getting sick this week- melissa's finally getting over her bronchitis, tom's stuck in bed, and alisun and i battled colds during the week (we're so brave) what can i say, 'tis the season of kids with green snot bubbles coming out of their noses. those little vermin are the ones that get us sick- them and their "don't cover your mouths when you cough, don't wash your hands after the bathroom or EVER, and above all make sure you aim your face right at teacher when you sneeze, and then pick up teacher's bottle of water and drink from it."

Sunday, December 04, 2005


had a nice little surprise this weekend! at about midnight on friday night/saturday morning i got a text from sean saying "snow! get into it!"- looked outside and... this is what i saw:

that definitely helped me get a little more into the holiday spirit, so i took some pictures of it from my apartment window. i went to bed thinking "oh well, it's not gonna stick, but at least i got to see the first snow of the season." woke up this morning, didn't even bother looking outside until alisun called and said "have you looked outside?" well, i looked outside, and this is what i saw...!

turns out it did stick- we must've gotten 2 or 3 inches. it was even cooler that we went shopping downtown today and it was snowing lightly pretty much the whole day, and it's snowing pretty steadily right now. completely awesome when you're not even expecting it!

(alisun and tom enjoying the snow downtown)

today definitely had that nice, cozy holiday feel. we started at starbucks and enjoyed peppermint mochas while listening to christmas music, and then i was pleasantly surprised that most of the stores were also decorated and playing christmas music! christmas music and lights completely make the christmas season for me. we went to the dollar store where i got a little charlie brown christmas tree, and a small set of lights and decorations for it... completely gaudy, but that's why i love it. it's only about a foot high, but i still got into the holiday spirit and played christmas music while i set it up... it's sitting on my desk now, looking quite beautiful... ok ok, at least it was set up with love, that's all that matters. i'd take pictures of it, but my camera battery is dead. it's a nice addition to the other christmas lights i put up in my room and the $1 stocking i also got today.

anyway, i've found out (as i'd already had the hunch) that there's nothing better on a cold wintery day than getting some ssamgyeopsal while sitting on the warm ondol floor. made the day that much better for me. plus, we hit the jackpot in choosing the place, because their sidedishes were nothing short of awesome.

(alisun, tom, and kate)

mmm, i feel like it's been a while since i posted. i didn't even talk about our thanksgiving feast last week, but it turned out rather well. i think there were 11 or 12 of us, and we had all sorts of food. and of course, like any normal thanksgiving, we had to end the night in the noraebang. i just put the pictures up on (if you lost the link)... it was a fun night.

ok i figure the best way to end this snow post is to quote salsa from the text message i just received: "i slipped outside. now i'm sitting on frozen mandu to numb my ass. i <3 korea."

p.s. i've officially been in korea for four months exactly- time sure does fly.