Sunday, December 31, 2006

and the leaves that are green...

i was twenty-two years when i wrote this blog
i'm twenty-four now but i won't be for long
time hurries on
and the leaves that are green turn to brown
and they wither with the wind
and they crumble in your hand

today is my birthday. this simon and garfunkel song ALWAYS goes through my head on my birthday. i remember being young and listening to the sounds of silence, and whenever this song came on i would think "whoa, one day i'm going to be twenty-one." it's really strange that i'm even older than twenty-one now. i'm hoping that next year when i hit twenty-five the birthdays will just stop, because that's the age i want to remain forever.

i'm sitting at the computer enjoying a mimosa right now, made with some really good champagne. the twilight zone marathon is on in the living room... feels good to be home. it's hilarious to think at this time last year i was probably making drunken phone calls and being fed tangerines by creepy cameramen. NOTHING will ever top last year's birthday.

i celebrated my birthday last night with my parents. we went to yono's in albany for dinner. it was IN-CRE-DI-BLE. yono is pretty much the top chef in the capital district area, so i was really excited about going. the fun part of the restaurant is that yono is indonesian, so one page of the (huge) menu is all indonesian food, while the other page is continental cuisine (featuring game such as alligator and ostrich...) my parents and i went for the indonesian food, it was REALLY good. i'd never had it before, but it kind of reminded me of vietnamese food with a bit of a chinese influence. for appetizers we got started with a complimentary slice of cucumber with a chicken and chick pea hummous on top. then we ordered the ikan tongul surabaya- an appetizer that featured "sesame encrusted big eye tuna atop a bed of asian slaw with a wasabi and ginger emulsion"- this was probably the best part of the meal. i ordered the nasi rames for dinner, which was an "indonesian tasting featuring sate, kepiting goreng, bakmi goreng, babi kecap, daging rendang, ayam panggang, and served with krupuk, acar, sambal, and peanut sauce." what does that even mean? deliciousness for my body. my parents each ordered different kinds of noodle dishes, my mom's came with shrimp and my dad's came with chicken.

and for dessert i had a disarrono on the rocks, my mom had a chambord on the rocks, and we all shared a slice of the chocolate rendezvous- "lady fingers surrounding a chocolate truffle layer topped with a layer of raspberry and chocolate mousse." that even came with a birthday candle, and when the waitress was bringing it out the live band changed to a rendition of happy birthday. it was a good birthday, indeed. and i got a new pair of earrings and an old navy gift card, to boot!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

things that irk me

i'm talking about you, white haired man who comes in every day with THE SAME COUPON for a free dessert. i know technically we're not supposed to honor it day in and day out, but if we're gonna toss the food at the end of the night, there's no point in NOT honoring it. this guy drives me nuts. he had a coupon that expired on december 15th. the next day i thought "ahh i don't have to see him anymore." WRONG. turns out the old coupon was for his wife's birthday, and his birthday is right after, so the new one expires in ANOTHER fifteen days. luckily tomorrow is the last day i'll see him. i'm gonna draw the line if he brings in a daughter's birthday coupon. go away. don't TRY to be nice just to cover up the fact that you're a cheapskate. you're nothing short of a major annoyance. i will be glad i don't have to force a fake smile at you anymore.

i also hate sick days. i UNDERSTAND if you're truly sick. if you're puking or completely miserable or about to faint i understand. i think it's coming more from the viewpoint of a person who never gets sick and therefore never has a legit reason to do so. i just don't have it in me to take a day off (aside from that bout of tonsillitis, and that's because staying home sick was a compromise so i didn't have to spend a few nights terrified in a korean hospital.) all in all i suppose it's a blessing that i'm always (knock on wood) healthy.

in other news, i think i have a borders job lined up in minneapolis... two of the three requested stores got back to us, and one sounds very interested. keep those fingers crossed.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

what else is new

i've been trying to keep myself busy over the past few weeks. dc was a lot of fun, although i wasn't feeling well through a majority of my time there. i just know you want to know how i spent every waking moment there, so here you go:

thursday night i flew in and stayed at arthur's, who lives right near the capital. on friday i got up and met kate at chipotle for lunch (heaven on earth) and then hung out at her place, where we caught up on the latest episode of the office. yes, the second kate and i reunited, we watched tv. it was just like being roommates again. later on i met katherine at the air and space museum, and then we met arthur, steph, and her boyfriend at mandu, a new korean restaurant in dupont. this was my first time eating at a korean place since being home, and it was quite strange. the restaurant was definitely more trendy than i was expecting, and not in a cool "fusion-asian decor" kind of way... more like an up and coming normal restaurant. and it was BUSY.

dinner was good, although i nearly choked on my rice when i saw that bottles of soju, which cost a mere 1,000 won in korea, were priced at $18. but that didn't stop us from ordering a bottle for shots. my friends rather enjoyed it and thought it was "smooth," though i tried convincing them that after a few too many 7-11 stops on a night out the stuff gets toxic and leaves you with a nasty hangover.

i ordered kimchi jjigae, and i must say that it tasted EXACTLY like the batch i made here a few months ago. apparently the owner got all of his recipes from his grandmother, so all of the food tastes homemade. i was actually a little sad that it didn't taste like the stuff i got at kimbap nara day in and day out.

after dinner we stopped at a few bars and then headed home to katherine's (who lives in the columbia heights area). saturday i woke up feeling hungover at first, then i realized that it was more than a hangover, thanks to the ear infection i was battling all week, and i couldn't get up without feeling sick. that meant the entire day was spent on the couch watching season seven of friends. fun!

sunday morning i was feeling better and katherine and i met kate and the clarks at mimi's in dupont for brunch. it was nice seeing the clarks again, even if for just an hour... see you guys in another nineteen months. after that katherine and i shopped around and then went to WHOLE FOODS to get stuff for dinner. oh whole foods, i missed you so.

my final night was spent at kate's, who lives in the dupont/foggy bottom area now, and then i flew out monday afternoon. all in all a pleasant weekend, but it would have been a thousand times better if steph was there. then it would have felt like a true trailer thirteen reunion.

i had an interesting night last saturday. some people from my high school class ended up meeting at ryan's wake for a reunion of sorts. i saw a lot of people i haven't seen since graduation, so there was a lot of catching up to do. the problem with this for me is it's a bunch of people i never really had too much in common with, so after that "catch up" conversation, there isn't much else left to say. the night was definitely amusing- i drove myself and stayed sober, so as people got more drunk i had even more fun watching everyone. oh and i think i'm one of just a handful of girls left in my class who isn't engaged or anywhere near it. and i mean no disrespect to anyone who's engaged, but GAG ME WITH A SPOON. good for you if you're ready for that step, but when did we get old enough for marriages and babies and mortgages? i felt like an entirely different species there, a person living and loving her quarter-life crisis. i still enjoy that sense of adventure and not knowing EXACTLY what i'll be doing a year or two down the road.

finally, i requested a transfer to a couple of borders in minneapolis for the end of january/beginning of february so keep your fingers crossed that at least one of those places will add me on. i should be hearing about that in a few days. i'm getting mega excited about the move, partially because i'm SO BORED here in new york and really need some city life and partially because i can't wait to have my OWN PLACE (even if i am sharing it.)

Monday, December 25, 2006

joyeux noel

merry christmas. merry christmas. merry christmas. merry christmas. kiss my ass. kiss his ass. kiss your ass. happy channukah.

the stockings are no longer hung by the chimney with care... because i tore through them in a feverish holiday-induced frenzy. so far it's been a very merry christmas indeed. i was both surprised and delighted with my presents, and i'm sure my parents and grandma felt the same way. after playing the christmas vigil mass last night, we came home where my mom gave me, my grandma, and herself the first of the presents- red pajamas. very stylish.

they even came with eye masks!

after that, we ate some INCREDIBLE spinach lasagna that my mom made all by her little lonesome, which was followed by a viewing of it's a wonderful life. i was the first to get tired so i headed to bed...

which meant i was the first one up! this year i had to shout up to my parents bedroom that they were missing christmas and had to wake up... a little after 7 am. we made some irish coffee, complete with whiskey and irish cream, and gathered around the tree. notable presents this year:

for my mother i got "i know this much is true," by wally lamb. that was the book we all read and passed on in korea and i think my mom's going to like it. i also got her an awesome coffee mug from persnickety's... if it's missing when i move out to minnesota, i have no idea where it went...

for my dad i got "santa's favorite piping tunes" for his (you guessed it) bagpipes and some hemp pipe resin.

and for my grandma i got a tea caboodle, a box filled with different types of holiday tea.

kimchi got a warm coat, which he wanted nothing to do with.

my father got my mom the first season of the dog whisperer on dvd, a pair of ed levin earrings, and a wine making kit. apparently she hasn't figured out how to use it yet.

my mother got my father things scotland- and bagpipe-related, most noteworthy the "bagpipes are dead sexy" t-shirt.

i got a gift card for gap, where i can finally get some things from the red collection (the card was signed "from oprah and bono"), an ed levin bracelet, and a bose ipod player- completely awesome and totally unexpected.

here, my bracelet, my grandma's bracelet, and my mom's earrings, all compliments of ed levin... and dad.

still on today's agenda: eat and drink until we all explode... i even made a fudge torte, which i'm muy excited about.

oh, and hey. if any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, i have one. i'd like frank shirley, my boss, right here tonight. i want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on melody lane with all the other rich people and i want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and i want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is. hallelujah. holy shit. where's the tylenol?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

what's with that?

so somehow my blog must've gotten out to the general public (aside from the korean blog list that it's on) because as you may have noticed i've been getting a lot of strange comments.

but if you want viagra, apparently you need look no further than right here.

two days until dc. i'm so excited.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

thanksgiving, santa baby, and washington dc

before i get started on yesterday's trip, i just have to say that thanksgiving was fabulous. it was so nice to get a lazy day to do nothing but eat, work on a puzzle, and spend time with family. i saw some family members that i haven't seen since before korea, which was great. i also brought the puzzle we got for last year's korean thanksgiving but were too inebriated to work on (puzzles are a thanksgiving tradition in my family). what i didn't realize was that we usually do a 500 piece puzzle and i brought a 1000 piece puzzle. my family started complaining that it was too big, so i was completely focused on finishing it that day. i did not stray from the puzzle table until it was complete. and somehow we managed to finish it before dinner. bummer: there were two pieces missing. i'm figuring someone dropped them and a dog snatched them up or something.

yesterday i took an unexpected trip to nyc. my mom's office was going down there for their christmas party, someone dropped out at the last minute, and i was invited to come along. compliments of dr. gleason, the entire staff (and one guest each) took a charter bus down, saw the radio city christmas show, ate lunch at carmine's, did some shopping, and took a bus back. it was an amazing day, although i don't think i'll ever be able to handle the touristy parts of the city during the christmas season again. i've realized my asian attitude can come in handy when i want to weave through a crowd- i have absolutely no shame anymore in just bumping people out of the way.

the show itself was great, but a word of caution: if you're planning on catching said show and you're female and have to go to the bathroom make sure to get there early enough so you're not standing around the block in line only to get inside and stand in a ridiculously long line for the ladies room. as a result, i missed the very first rockettes number. but that didn't bother me to much because the rest of the show made up for it... especially the toy soldiers number where i was just waiting to see some rockettes bump into each other, which never happened.

carmine's was loud and fun, and i got to talk to a coworker of my mom's and her husband about their two years spent in korea when they were in the army. it was nice talking to people again about foods and places and culture and soju (of course). the food was great- we had two appetizer courses (first course salad and calamari, second two types of penne pasta), the main course (veal marsala and chicken parmigiana), a huge dessert platter, and plenty of beer and wine for all.

after we stuffed ourselves, i went shopping with my parents at macy's and then bryant park. i got an awesome skirt from a kiosk at bryant park . after that we took our bus home, but not before dr. gleason gave us all snack money at a rest stop. how thoughtful.

all in all, a very nice day. thanks, dr. gleason.

one more thing, i'm finally going to dc in two weekends to visit good friends, get good eats, and have a good time. obviously i'm quite excited.

Friday, November 17, 2006

there's ultra power in it

i get to sleep in tomorrow. and saturday. and sunday. awesome. but what could be even more awesome than that? i only work monday and tuesday of next week, thus giving me wednesday-sunday of thanksgiving week off. i don't know how i lucked out on that one, but i'm stoked.

time is getting weirder and weirder for me. i'm glad i'm working to keep myself busy, because otherwise i feel an overall lack of stimulation. it's so strange that next week is thanksgiving. i'm incredibly excited to be home for it but oddly enough i keep thinking about how awesome last year's makeshift thanksgiving was. and thoughts of last year's thanksgiving lead to thoughts of last year's christmas season lead to thoughts of new year's and so on. needless to say i'm missing people and places, both korea and dc-related, and i feel the need to do some visiting and take a break from upstate life.

friends here are great, of course. i had a fairly amusing night at jeni's. i ate my weight in food, joe and matt kicked our asses at cranium (but i showed off my mad humming skills. wait, what?) while jeni and jude straggled behind, and matt randomly said that he could see mr. clean and me being very happy together. and no, that's not some sort of code name a la mr. big, he literally means mr. clean. so, apparently i have a very bright future with the fictional cleanliness icon himself.

mr. clean. <3saranghae<3

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

happy halloween

it's hard to believe that a year ago i was dressed as tinkerbell, downing whiskey shots with my dad at j-rock. my, how time flies. also scary: i'll be 24 in two months.

in the updates department, i'm working at a borders cafe. i started last friday, and it feels good to have something to do other than work as my parents' house slave. the cafes are now run by seattle's best so it's a little different from the old borders cafe, but i think things run a lot more smoothly because of it. we also have a dress code: black or white "structured shirts" and khaki or black pants. as a result, i got some great buys at jcpenney today because most things were on clearance. because i refuse to wear khakis, i ended up with a ton of black clothes.

as a result of getting this job and the fact that kimchi isn't welcome in alisun's aunt's house, i decided that i won't be moving out to minneapolis until february. i'm ok with this because it means i'll be able to save more money and squeeze in a dc visit (although i'm sure most people down there refuse to believe that i'll ever get around to visiting... but i swear i will).

for halloween, i went to jeni's for game night. very halloweeny, i know. thanks to coinstar, i got $17 and used it to buy some frozen hannaford appetizers (spinach and feta in phyllo, cranberries and brie in phyllo, and bruschetta), and jeni made a scalloped potato soup. don't ask, it was good. matt showed up to surprise jude, which was good fun. after the feasting we played scattergories (finally!) and the friends trivia game. i schooled them in the latter game... and also got so overly-excited that i shoved jude while trying to beat her at answering a question. apparently i need to practice a little self-control.

anyway, i'm happy to say that i have tomorrow off. which, of course, means i have to clean the house. oh and lost is on tomorrow night. this will be episode five in the new season, which means after this one we have one episode left before they bring in repeats for a while. bitches.

happy halloween to all, and to all a good night.

Monday, October 16, 2006

typical conversation with dad

dad, referring to girl with short hair on "heroes": she kind of looks like you
me: because i have short hair
dad: well, yeah, she looks like you from a distance
me: he (referring to indian guy) has short hair, do i look like him?
dad: yeah. well, except your moustache is darker.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

what to do when bored

i just finished cleaning the house and don't really feel like doing anything. perfect opportunity to put up a long-ass survey. and i am officially a loser.

Full Name: if i told you i would have to kill you.
Birthday: 12/31
Birthplace: albany
Eye Color: brown
Hair Color: brown
Height: 5'8"
Weight: never ask a girl her weight
Right handed or Left handed? righty
Your Heritage: slovak/scottish/pennsylvania dutch/french/english
My Worst Habit: constantly shaking my leg/foot
Zodiac Sign: capricorn
Shoe Size: 8.5
Pants Size: 4
Innie or Outie? innie
Parents Still Together? 28 years and counting
The Shoes You Wore Today: imitation uggs
Your Weakness: food
Your Fears: never finding exactly what i want in life
Your Perfect Pizza: hot peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms
Goal You Would Like To Achieve This Year: enter grad school or find a kick ass job
Your Most Overused Phrase On An Instant Messenger: haven't been on that for a while
Thoughts First Waking Up: what time is it?
Your Best Physical Feature: eyes
Your Bedtime: anytime between 9 and 1, depends on how much coffee i drink in the day
Your Most Missed Memory: being young and care-free (how cliche)

Favorite color? blue
Food? kick ass pizza
Sport? running
Animal? dog
Ice Cream? cherry garcia
Candy? sour patch kids
Store? elves
Salad Dressing? vinaigrette or honey dijon
Actor? johnny depp or cary grant
Song? depends on my mood
Letter? don't have a favorite
Number? ditto
Gum? trident whitening
Holiday? thanksgiving
Season? summer
Toothpaste Flavor? anything ridiculously minty, but not spearmint
Radio Station? pyx 106
Perfume? ralph
Scent besides perfume? midsummer's night by yankee candle... or freshly baked bread
Body part on the opposite sex? i'm an arm person

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up? i don't know
How Do You Want To Die? happily of old age
Turn ons: sense of humor and confidence
Turn offs: cockiness and taking yourself too seriously
Which One Of Your Friends Acts The Most Like You? celeste, but she's my sister
Who's The Loudest? i don't know
Who Makes You Laugh The Most? they all do. i couldn't be friends with unfunny people.
Who Have You Known The Longest? jeni
Who's The Shyist? is that how you spell shyest?
When Have You Cried The Most? i don't know
What Is The Best Feeling In The World? laughing. i also like sneezing.
Worst Feeling? dreading something you have to do the next day.
Where Do You Want To Live When You Grow Up? someplace warm would be nice.
If You Could Change One Thing About You What Would It Be? i don't know.
How Long Do You Think You'll Live? hopefully a long time

Let's walk on the beach
Let's look at the... shark
What a nice... "day (oh yeah!)" that's totally a korean elem. school song
Where did all the... cats go?
Why can't we... walk
Silly, little... pig
Isn't it weird... that there are no pajamas here?
Never under any circumstance... will i finish this sentence
I wish... i had a fish
Everyone has a... fish
I am... the walrus

Been In Love? nope
Been To Juvie? nope
Mooned Someone? i think when i was like 8
Been Rejected? i suppose so
Ran Away From Home? nope
Pictured Your Crush Naked? yep
Skipped School? college yes, high school no
Thought About Suicide? nope
Slept Outside? yep
Laughed So Hard You Cried? yep
Cried In School? i don't remember
Thrown Up In School? oh bad memories of first grade
Wanted To Be a Model? yep
Done Something Really Stupid That You Still Laugh At Today? yep
Seen A Dead Body? yes
Been Bitched Out? i don't think so
Drank Alcohol? yes
Smoked? not cigarettes
Been On Drugs? oh ganja
Eaten Sushi? yes
Been On Stage? yes
Gone Skinny Dipping? no
Shoplifted? no
Been Drunk? yes
Been Called A Tease? probably
Been Beaten Up? no

Swear? yes
Sing Well? define "well"
Shower Daily? yes
Want To Go To College? been there done that
Want To Get Married? yes
Believe In Yourself? yes
Get Motion Sickness? only when drunk
Think You Are Attractive? yes
Get Along With Your Parents? yes
Like Thunderstorms? yes
Play An Instrument? yes
Own An IPOD? yes
Pray? yes
Go To Church? yes
Sleep With Stuffed Animals? no
Keep A Journal/Diary? does this blog count?
Dance In The Rain? yes
Sing In The Shower? yes

Pepsi or Coke? diet coke
McDonald's or Burger King? neither
Single or Group Dates? single
Chocolate or Vanilla? chocolate
Strawberries or Blueberries? strawberries
Meat or Veggies? veggies
TV or Movie? movie
Guitar or Drums? drums
Adidas or Nike? neither
Chinese or Mexican? mexican
Cheerios or Corn Flakes? cheerios
Cake or Pie? pie
MTV or VH1? vh1
Blind or Deaf? blind
Boxers or Briefs? boxers

Do The Splits? what does that even mean?
Write With Both Hands? not well
Whistle? not well
Blow A Bubble? yes
Roll Your Tongue In A Circle? no
Cross Your Eyes? yes
Walk With Your Toes Curled? yes
Touch Your Tongue to Your Nose? yes
Dance? ha ha ha
Eat Whatever You Want And Not Worry? yes

You Touched: is it sad that i can't remember?
You Talked To On The Phone: celeste
You Instant Messaged: i don't remember
You Hugged: my mom
You Yelled At: is kimchi a person?
You Played A Sport With: i don't remember

Time You Laughed? about an hour ago
Time You Cried? about a week ago
Movie You Watched? might've been the wedding singer
Flavor Of Gum You Chewed? some sort of minty thing
Joke You Told? i don't remember
Song You've Sung? i think it was that "a day! a day! what a nice day oh yeah!" from a few questions back.

Where Are You? in my den
What Can You See Out Your Window? if i turn around i see the post office
Are You Listening To Music? no
What Are You Wearing? a long sleeve shirt and my "sunset glory" konglish tshirt and jeans
What's On Your Mousepad? we have a special mouse that requires no pad

Do you believe there is life on other planets? yeah
Do you believe in miracles? yes
Magic? no
Love at first sight? maybe "lust at first sight" or a "strong sense that we should date at first sight"
God? yes
Satan? i believe there's evil in the world
Ghosts? yes
Santa? of course
Evolution? yes

Fav Eye Color: brown or green
Fav Hair Color: brown
Short or Long Hair: whatever works for them
Height: taller than me
Weight: height/weight proportionate
Best Clothing Style: pay careful attention to how your jeans go with your shoes. seriously, whatever works for them

What Country Would You Most Like To Visit? spain or greece
Number Of CD's I Own: lots
Your Good Luck Charm: don't have one
How many pillows do you sleep with? i have a ton but i only use 1
Do you drink milk? only with cereal
Person You Hate Most: i don't hate anyone
Most Outdated Phrase: i don't know
Do you think God has a gender? no
Where do you think we go when we die? heaven
How many rings until you answer the phone? about 3
What is something scientists need to invent? i should make a list
Are you a health freak? off and on
If you could travel into space, where would you go? to another galaxy
What is the worst weather? the end of winter when everything is gloomy and mushy
Did you play with Barbies as a child? like it was my job
How many grades have you failed? none

Sunday, October 01, 2006

happy anniversary

as i was changing my calendar to october today, i realized something... wasn't it this time last year that i was united with a pipsqueak of a tan furball?

that's right, checking back at the date in my blog, it's been officially one year (taking the time difference into account) since i got kimchi.

it's funny to look back at those days now and think "wow, that was an entire year ago."

for those who may be wondering about kim-man's progress, i can safely tell you he's turned into a little shithead. he used to be very sweet (well most of the time), but he can't seem to find his alpha place living with two people and two dogs. he almost seems bipolar. he'll lay on your lap one second loving every second of contact, and the second you try to move him he turns into the spawn of satan (a new nickname which he has acquired since his us arrival). hopefully cesar gave celeste aka dog whisperer, jr. some good tips on dealing with pint-sized terrorists.

happy anniversary mr. kim. it's been a whirlwind of a year.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

doncha know

well kiddies i am officially very excited. i will be moving out to the twin cities right after thanksgiving to live with al, one of her friends, and possibly salsa in al's aunt's house. we'll be there for a few months housesitting and then we'll get an apartment together.

i don't have a job, but am going to apply to just about every place that's hiring... cafes, state jobs, entry level jobs, you name it, i want it. it would be nice to get out there and work a steady job and save up to allow me time and money to look at grad schools. i'm also selling my car as soon as i can- that will give me a nice little nest egg to start out with. i figured i'd be ok with no car seeing how al and salsa both have cars and i have no problem with buses. if worse comes to worse i can always get a cheaper car with that money (though i love my lumina so...).

i'm house/dogsitting this weekend because my mom and celeste got tickets to see a lecture by cesar millan, so they went with my dad and chris down to staten island. the plan is to use this time and silence wisely to research jobs and such.

i should also seriously be looking into heavy duty parkas and snow shoes. word is it's COLD out there.

let the good times roll.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

good vibrations

back from vacation. amber left for the airport this morning. it was a great time and the house was AMAZING.

i think after a bed count we determined that 20 people could easily sleep in the house with room to spare. you could fit more if you wanted to have more than 2 people in the king-sized beds. seriously. even hetty had her own bed.

so what did we do with our time? a whole lot of nothing. after having a great time at the irish fest on saturday (which involved inviting some pipe band members to the house with the king-sized beds as the incentive), we got up early sunday morning and got to the cape at around 3. after some confusion as to which house was actually OURS (which involved trying to open every door on house 15... turns out we were 45), we were inside and unloading. the house was on the bayside of wellfleet, just down the road from the harbor, where we always used to drive by and say how amazing it would be to rent one of those houses. we had our own beach and a view to kill... wait, what?

we went to dinner at the bookstore, which started a string of good luck with restaurants. celeste called that night and decided she was going to leave that night and get there at 1 am instead of leaving the following morning, so we waited up for her.

on monday we went to head of the meadow national seashore in truro and had goulash for dinner. kimchi and i really enjoyed the ocean breeze.

tuesday we spent all day at our beach and went to nauset beach club (possibly one of the nicest restaurants i've ever been to) for dinner. i was able to finally get my snorting mojito fix.

wednesday was spent in provincetown, where we did some shopping. side story: my parents told us that they would get us each something. thinking we had a $20-30 limit, i found an awesome turquoise necklace in a jewelry store where everything was half off. i thought the original price was fifty something dollars, turned out i read it wrong and it was ninety something, so my dad ended up spending $47. "oops."

we had a tasty lunch at governor bradford's.

we also got some tasty fudge.

then, i made roasted red pepper lasagna for dinner. amber really liked it!

on thursday we went to the vineyards for a wine tasting and came home with a few bottles of a merlot blend, a cranberry blend, and some sickeningly sweet white wine.

we had dinner at duck creeke, where i definitely had the best meal of the week- "shrimp margarita"- tequila cooked shrimp with rice and beans and really good veggies.

we also got some key lime pie, but celeste and i decided we'd enjoy it more by wearing it.

on friday we did some shopping in wellfleet and hung around at our beach again. celeste and i went clamming and ended up with a ton of topneck clams.

my family got fresh lobster to have a seafood feast. i wanted no part in the lobster. as celeste can show you, lobsters aren't the only ones that get hurt during the meal.

my dad, however, couldn't have been happier.

saturday was our only day of lousy weather... very windy and cloudy. celeste decided to go home a day early, and the rest of us went to see little miss sunshine (finally... it was really good). after, we went to dinner at winslow's tavern, which completed our week of amazing food. i also enjoyed a few gin martinis.

of course, we cheated a little in choosing the restaurants because my parents and i had been to these places before, so we kind of chose on a "best of" basis.

all in all, good family, good food, good times.

we were sad to leave.

no, really. it was very sad.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

good times good eats

being home isn't all bad. it's nice to have a neverending monetary supply when it comes to buying food. i've been keeping myself pretty busy with dreaming up and cooking dinners every day. with every meal i make, that cookbook al and i are working on seems a bit more real.

last night i got a little cross-cultural. i made tabouli-stuffed eggplant and a mexican lasagna. the night before i made a really good pesto pizza. and the day before that i made my best spinach and artichoke dip yet. last week i made an AMAZING roasted red pepper lasagna, but we won't talk about that because i followed a recipe. it was good, nonetheless.

it's a lot easier to indulge in foods now that i have my own treadmill again and an watch tv while i run. those miles really go by quickly and i'm beginning to feel my muscles again.

at the moment i should be cleaning the house, but i decided to sit back and enjoy my coffee first. tonight my mom and i are going to make baked macaroni and cheese. it's one of the best dishes in the family and i've decided it's about time i learned how to make it. but we're really making it because AMBER'S COMING HOME TONIGHT! oh how exciting. i haven't seen her since may of last year. i'm not sure what tomorrow holds... perhaps shopping. saturday we'll be going to the irish fest at the altamont fairgrounds because my dad is playing with the pipe band. and of course the next day we'll be leaving for THE CAPE!

we've already decided one night will have to be sister's night out, another night all of us will go to a karaoke bar (where i can release all of my pent up noraebang energy), and in addition to visiting the vineyard and days at the beach we'll have to spend a day in provincetown.

let's hope the weather gods will bestow us with plentiful sunshine.

Monday, September 11, 2006

five years later

everyone has their own story of where they were five years ago. i was a freshman at college in washington, dc. the day before i had made a running date for 11 am with a guy i haven't hung out with since. i woke up and tori was at her computer. whoever she was talking to on instant messenger with must have told her what happened, because she said "oh my god, turn on the tv." we turned it onto the news and there was a tower up in flames.

there was a lot of time spent out in the halls talking with everyone about what was happening. jill spent a good part of her day waiting to hear from her father, who worked in another world trade center building. he was all right.

i forget what time my first class was at... around ten, i think. i got myself over to the music building for harmony, but everyone, including my teacher, was sitting in the music school's lounge, with a tv dominic had pulled out. we sat there for a while, watching it, not sure what the school was going to do for the rest of the day. mr. stark finally said we wouldn't be having class, and i think around that time it was announced that classes would be canceled for the rest of the day. i headed back to the dorms.

because we were in dc, phone lines were really tied up and it was next to impossible to call out or receive calls. finally i got a hold of my mom and we cried over what was going on.

at around noon, the national shrine was having a mass for it, and i remember a lot of people were weary about going there because they thought the blue dome top was more like a big blue target. i went anyway and the basilica was more crowded than i'd ever seen it.

i honestly don't remember much of what happened during the rest of the day. we weren't allowed to go anywhere off campus. a lot of sitting around and talking with new friends over what was happening. most people thought this was only the start of it and that other cities would soon be hit. whenever i heard a military jet fly overhead i falt a pang of panic. i cried off and on. my ra thought i was related to someone in the wtc because she knew i was from ny and i was a mess when i got back from my class. she asked my roommate if i was ok. i got a lot of emails and messages from people back home making sure i was nowhere near the pentagon.

i don't remember when the candlelight service was held downtown, but i also went to that. it's amazing how new i still was to the city and school, because i remember not knowing if i had enough for the metro. we got down to the capital and walked around, i think maybe to the monument. jill and dave wore their "i love ny" t-shirts and their picture was in a newspaper the next day.

five years later and it's a day none of us will ever forget. when i think back about it, it was a horrible day, but i'm really greatful that we were all together in a new, caring community. i was with a group of people my age with tons of supportive staff all around us- no one knew what was happening, but we were all there for each other.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

does anyone read this anymore?

i've been home for over a month now, and i can tell you this: the newness has worn off. i was so busy seeing people again/traveling around/eating missed foods in this past month that i didn't really think about korea or other things. but that next step of culture shock has hit. i don't miss korea, per se, but i miss a lot of things about it. the independence, the friends, the sense of adventure, MY OWN APARTMENT, etc. it's not just korea, either. i miss a lot about college, too. korea for me felt like an extended year at school and this is really my first time home without that feeling of taking the "next big step."

schaghticoke seemed great at first- a nice, laid back contrast to the hustle and bustle of my past five years. my friends, though i love them, aren't completely on the same page as me... we all have different priorities. jeni's doing her wedding plans (how's THAT for being on different pages?), amy and jude are working and i'm bumming around. but it is great that i'm not the only person who came home to live with their parents while figuring their lives out... amy and jude are doing the same thing. i guess it comes down to how great it was to spend the past year with people who have the same job/schedule/amount of money as me.

it seems like doing anything here takes a considerable amount of effort. going out at night means finding a designated driver. all of the good restaurants are at least a half hour drive away. i can't just walk to the movies by myself if no one wants to see the same movie as me, and although i love going to the movies by myself, it seems strange to do it here.

i'm seriously considering moving to minneapolis in the next few months and doing grad school there. al says i can stay there rent-free for six months while she house sits for her aunt. i just don't know that i can stay around here... my family wasn't surprised at all to hear me say it, they figured i'd come to that conclusion sooner or later because i'm "just not a small town girl."

in other news, jeni's wedding is in two days, her rehearsal dinner is tomorrow at the ripe tomato. last week we took her out for a bachelorette party in lake george, which was a lot of fun. a bit too much fun for jeni, who had a rough night upon returning to my place and a painful day after. we ended up at king neptune's pub, where there was a really good cover band (girl gone bad) playing. this is the first cover band i've REALLY liked, and the only live band i've ever thought would be cool to have at a wedding reception. they played every song i've ever requested at bars, without my requests! i think some esp had a part in last night's activities. i thought it was funny enough that they played paradise by the dashboard light, but when they started shoop, i was in heaven.

a week from today amber is coming and we're all going to the cape. i've been waiting since winter for this, so i'm beside myself at this point. i can't wait to get to truro vineyards, eat at great restaurants, and of course get a good dose of laid-back nautical new england.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

a year complete

i'm home! i'm home! and it's wonderful!! in the past 24 hours i've been to nyc, seen times square, and eaten nachos, tapas, spinach and artichoke dip, and richie's pizza the way i want it: peeppers, onions, hot peppers, tomatoes, and mushrooms.

my impressions of home and america in general? schaghticoke is smaller (read: more hick-ey) than i remember, my cat looked way too big and i was convinced over the past year my parents got one to replace him and never told me (then i realized it was, in fact, felix), it's nice and quiet, and my home looks really nice and homey. it's also funny because over the past year i've been programed to look at restaurants and businesses with names in french, italian, etc. and think "oh they just wanted to call it that to seem sophisticated, but it's the same ol' stuff with corn and mayonnaise on top," but then i realize it IS he real deal and people named pierre or mario probably own these places. it's also annoying to be able eto understand everything that goes on around you, i feel embarrassed to walk around with a cell phone (it's amazing how comfortable that got to be over the past year), and i also have to remember that not only can i understand what goes on around me, but people can also understand what i am saying.

kimchi got here with no trouble and is doing great, though my cat is twice his size and he's scared of hetty and judson, even though they don't seem to think too much of him. but i think in no time he'll be used to the two giants.

anyway, i should get some sleep. tomorrow i'm going to the GROCERY STORE!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

break on through to the other side

operation check into incheon airport has been a success. i have an hour and 9 minutes until i board for my flight, so i'm wasting time here in the internet zone. so far, so good. everything has gone over smoothly, despite a few incidences of running around.

took the 6:15 am bus from daejeon this morning. first of all, i'm glad i bought my tickets yesterday, and second of all, i'm really glad i bought two. the driver was going to make me put kimchi's kennel under the bus in the cargo area, but i said no way jose, i had two tickets, one for me and one for mr. kim.

got to the airport around 9:15, waited in line for the japan airlines ticket counter to open, and then when i finally got up to the counter they said they weren't ticketing for my flight. but it was a good thing i waited in line anyway, because they pointed me to the animal office to get the form to get kimchi into america. the lady also said i didn't have to wait in line when i came back, just stand to the side and they'd call me up. so i went and got kimchi's information all filled out and came back, checked in my suitcase, paid the excess baggage fee for kimchi (270,000 won) and then came back to the counter where i found two "higher guys" and the ticketing lady hovered around airline regulation books. figuring it had something to do with the temperature, i just waited to hear the dreaded news "i'm sorry but it's too hot for your dog to fly, we're gonna have to put him on the next flight."

but that never came. turns out they were concerned because he got a rabies shot on 7/17, although he already had one back in december, and the rabies vaccine must be done no less than 30 days before the flight. so i told them it wouldn't be a problem because he had one before and i ran back to the animal office to have them change the date on the form. thank god i never waited till the last minute to get that shot, because i don't think they would've let him through without it or even if he had gotten the first one in july, because it must be done no less than 30 days before traveling (for the record, i think it changes airline to airline, i know some people who only had to sign something saying they'd keep the dog away from wildlife for the 30 days required.) so with that all done and good, i got my ticket, took kimchi to the customs declaration where they checked his cage, said everything was good to go, and i went through immigration.

SUCH a relief to have that over with. now i get to kick back and enjoy my fright. start spreading the news, i'm leaving today.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

all my bags are packed, i'm ready to go...

i thought this weekend would be strangeey with al and melissa gone, and yes it was weird, but i've had fun. i cleaned and cleaned and cleaned some more on friday. i really have to pat myself on the back because i'm really proud of how well i've done with this moving process. i scrubbed my bathroom on friday and never knew how white my bathroom could be. i cleaned some more on saturday, so my floors are good and done. everything is packed and ready to go.

last night was my final final dinner at cin cin (for serious). man i'm gonna miss that spinach pizza. who knew you could have some of the best pizza ever in little ol' korea?

anyway, it was good times. i went with sylvia, jim, tessa, tessa's friend meaghan, and alex, a korean teacher. it was a lot of fun. first we did dinner, then sylvia, jim, alex, and i went to ethnic.

we drank quite a few rounds of strawberry soju. after that we got our groove on at bubi bubi. i must say, i'd been disappointed the last few times i've been there because of how crowded it is and how many pushy people are starting to go there, but it was just like old times. we got there early enough where it was crowded, but not obscenely crowded. i got to see my favorite workers there and say goodbye. we called it an early night at 1 am, just when the foreigners were starting to show up in masses.

man, i'm REALLY proud that i came home so early. i got a full night of sleep and was able to get up early to take kimchi to the vet to get his health certificate. also, sylvia, alex, and i are going shopping in the underground mall downtown soon. apparently neither of them have been yet (alex moved here from seoul in february so she isn't too familiar with everything yet), so that'll be exciting to show them around. i feel like i've come a long way in one year. if someone told me that i would be this familiar with the city at the beginning of the year, i'd laugh in their face.

also, i got word from al, who is home safe in minnesota. she said things are weird there, but wonderfully great. strangeey that in three days i'll be able to experience that for myself!

Thursday, July 27, 2006


30- number of dunkin donuts munchkins i gave to my first class this morning
20- number of ice cream cones i bought for some other classes
13- number of hours on my tokyo to nyc flight
8- number of boxes i sent home
7- number of classes i have tomorrow
6- number of students i can't wait to get rid of
5- number of days left in korea
4- number of minutes left in class today when i kicked luke, one of my favorite students, out of the room for trying to smear his donut on his buddy jim's cheek
3- number of classes i treated to snacks today
2- number of teaching days left
1- chihuahua in a pear tree (sorry i've got nothing for that one)

well i'm finished with my tuesday/thursday students. today was enjoyable. i got a card from one class (one of the three classes left that i've had from the beginning). we played some scrabble, had a "snack party" in a few classes, and got some email addresses. just two teaching days left. i mailed out my last box today. that pretty much cleaned me out of cash. after getting the snacks for today i only have about $25 to get me through till monday. i'll have to use the remaining money on kimchi's health certificate and see what i can still afford snack-wise for my monday classes. i also have to go out with sylvia and jim and possibly tessa this weekend as the last co-workers night out thing. in order to avoid selling my body to make some quick money to afford said night out, sylvia said she'd cover me, which saves me some hassle (not to mention hustle...) i haven't been this broke since my first week here. that severence pay is looking mighty delicious now.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

and then there were two

alisun has officially finished her year in korea. as i type she's probably somewhere over the pacific. i think i'm in denial about not having salsa and alisun in my daily life when i go home. part of me thinks that i'll get to jfk and they'll be there waiting. when it comes down to it, they made korea for me. of course it's a great country and everything was amazing, but i can't imagine what my year would've been like if i hadn't met them.

last night salsa and i helped alisun with last minute cleaning. i went home at about 1 am to get a few hours of sleep, and at 2:50 i was up again and on my way to help al get her suitcases to the airport bus stop for her 4 am bus ride. man am i GLAD that i stuck with my original plan of sending most of my things home in advance. her two suitcases were quite heavy, plus she had a rolling carry-on and her purse. waiting for the bus was interesting, most of the time was spent watching one of the biggest spiders i've ever seen working on a web. it's weird something so trivial can unexpectly be associated with something you'll remember forever.

it definitely didn't feel like good-bye. salsa and i had work on our minds plus the three of us were too tired to be emotional. what were al's final words? "thank you for coming to my restaurant." someone was definitely lacking sleep.

as for me, most of my stuff is packed. i only have a few clothes out and one box of souvenirs left to mail out. kimchi is updated on his shots, and i need to get him to the vet sometime this weekend to get his certificate of health. the smaller details are coming into play. just yesterday i was looking things up on japan airlines website, curious about meal and movie selection. so far it looks like i'll have my own little tv, which is really nice. on the way here i was subjected to a giant screen showing miss congeniality 2, beauty shop, and the sandlot 2 (which i didn't even know was in existence)

tomorrow is my last day with my tuesday/thursday kids. that includes two of my favorite classes, one of which only realized on tuesday that i wasn't coming back to korea. guess they just thought i was going on vacation. in total, three teaching days left, with monday being my last. not sure how i feel about it, part of me wants to be finished already and part of me knows i'll really miss some of the kids. but i'm really greatful that i have tuesday off to really clean and run errands. also, this weekend i won't really have anyone around, considering alisun's gone and melissa is going to pentaport rock festival with aaron, tom, and tom's friends. but i'm looking forward to some "alone time." it's kind of ironic that i'll go out the same way i came in, on my own.

Friday, July 21, 2006

getting excited!

i talked to my parents on the phone today. they had decided that since i was flying in on wednesday night to nyc we'd just stay the night and drive home in the morning.

just got an email from my parents, and we'll be staying at the marriott marquis.

with a room-view of:

at first i wasn't too happy about not getting home that night, but my mind has definitely changed. although i'm sure it will in no way compare to when steph and i stayed there in april (cause really, what can beat water aerobics, grilled sandwiches, room service, and two hilary duff movies?), it will most definitely be a great "welcome to america."


i love kimchi. i love koreans. i really do.

what i find humorous is the fact that most koreans cannot believe that you like kimchi. or korean food. yes, they get excited when you tell them your favorite korean meals... but more times than not, their excitement is followed with a "but... it is so spicy!"

yes, kimchi is spicy. yes, kimchi jjigae is spicy. yes, fire chicken is spicy. but do they think there is no other cuisine in the world that is just as spicy, if not more spicy? i've had mexican food that's blown the top off of my head. i've had thai food that is cause for a five alarm fire.

in all honesty, i don't even find kimchi or korean food to be that spicy anymore. i think i inherited my grandfather's tastebuds... that man could pack on the red pepper powder like nobody's business to a point where i was pretty sure he could no longer taste the food underneath... either that or he burned his taste buds right off.

just yesterday, the school got some chinese/korean food for the english teachers. we were all huddled around the table, picking at the food. i reached over to get some kimchi, and a teacher looked at me quite seriously and said "this is spicy." i just smiled and said "i know." please, give me some credit, lady. do you honestly think i've spent a year in korea without even KNOWING what kimchi was or what it tasted like? i even went back for seconds just to show her that yes, foreigners here CAN handle the food. it's not that spicy, folks.

i once saw a post on daveseslcafe about korean's incredulousness that foreigners can handle a little red pepper paste. one poster decided t-shirts should be made saying something along the lines of "other countries have spice, too." i don't think that's a bad idea.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

how do i love thee...

as promised, now that i'll be home in less than two weeks, i've compiled a list off what i will miss about korea. i thank my lucky stars that this past year has been filled with communication with people back home. with visits, emails, this blog, phone calls, and my picture website, i think my family and friends have really gotten a taste of what this year has been like. this is essential when it comes to lessening the anxiety of getting home and dealing with people who most likely will have a lot of questions. i remember being a crying mess when i got off the plane returning from guatemala, not ready to talk about everything and just feeling like nobody would understand... and that was after only three weeks there! i still am concerned about reverse culture shock. i can already imagine what it will be like, which is number one on my list of what i will miss:

-being able to tune out people around you. i'm already picturing how irritating it's going to be sitting in a restaurant, cafe, or just walking down the street and understanding every single word coming out of strangers' mouths.

in addition to that, i will also miss:
-kimchi jjigae
-chamchi kimbap
-kimchi dopbap
-dolsot bibimbap
-rice desserts
-using chopsticks for practically every meal
-a culture that isn't afraid to include tofu in most dishes
-spicy food galore... but a different kind of spice from mexican food and the spiciness i'm used to
-having a meal that costs less than $5, which includes multiple sidedishes
-assigned seating in movie theaters... they really need to take this idea to america, because it's great to not have to worry about making it early enough to get enough seats together in a decent section
-taking numbers in banks and movie theaters, no lines needed here.
-NORAEBANGS. maybe i should have made this my number one.
-jjimjilbangs and saunas
-having no shame in going ANYWHERE in heels or dressing like i just stepped out of a fashion magazine
-giving and receiving things with two hands
-soju. although i don't drink it often at all and it leaves you with terrible hangovers, i'll miss the fact that it's only a dollar and tastes pretty good when mixed with orange juice. and i'll really resent it when i hunt it down back home for sharing with friends and family and forking over a good $10 for it. ridic-u-lous.
-not having to make conversation if you're not in the mood, it's so easy to withdraw yourself in public or at work because you don't speak the same language
-the accessibility of everything... being able to run right around the corner in the middle of the night to grab something at the convenience store.
-being able to walk to work
-being able to walk pretty much anywhere and getting what you need... without having to drive for 20 minutes
-watching reality tv to my heart's content... somehow it's not as shameful here
-being in a country where you can go to any major city and make it a day trip... from seoul to busan and back.
-alcohol sold anywhere. i love being able to grab a bottle of yellow tail merlot at the local 7/11 at 2 in the morning
-speaking of 7/11s... i'm going to miss, and perhaps be nostalgic when seeing, 7/11s, starbucks, bennigans, outback steakhouse, and tgifridays. i rarely went to starbucks back home, and man do your world-views on globalization really take a backseat to your comfort level and happiness when living in a foreign country. i've never stepped foot in a bennigans or outback back home and don't plan on ever doing so when i return. but god i loved them here, and i don't think anyone back home can ever realize the significance it holds for the expat community here... they'll always have a special place in my heart.
-no taxes... when you see something you want to buy, that's how much you pay. no ridiculous adding necessary.
-no tips. i'm actually really nervous about returning to a country where this is necessary and trying to remember to tip after taxi rides and leaving restaurants... and being generous in the process
-a job with short days that allows me to sleep in and never need an alarm clock... with exception to my last week here >:(
-playing with little kids all day and having the opportunity to just give writing assigments or play games if i'm not feeling like actually teaching (though i don't do that too often)
-being able to be an extreme goofball and have it be for educational purposes... kids definitely understand concepts better if you act like a moron and draw terrible pictures on the blackboard
-for a full year, having people back home actually interested in what you're doing because it's different
-though it gets annoying at times, feeling like a celebrity whenever you walk outside
-it's so much easier to meet people here, there's more reason to
-wacky t-shirts
-if you ever need a good laugh, you'll pretty much encounter a funny situation on a daily basis here. strange things do happen and i'll be sad to return to a "normal" life where things just don't shock you in the same way
-the sense of adventure
-mountains EVERYWHERE
-ondol heating
-downloading movies
-interaction with taxi drivers... some of them are among the funniest people i've ever met
-"serbicuh" with any purchase, large or small. love those freebies.
-appreciating your background/home more than you ever thought possible. i do love america, but i know in my head i have a glorified image of new york and the us. i know i'm going to go home and realize it's not as great as i was thinking and then create a glorified image of korea in my head and want to go back.
-those moments i've lived that were seriously lost in translation. i will watch that movie over and over when i'm home and laugh and laugh because really, only people who have been to asia can really GET the subtle humor of that movie
-though i don't go out much anymore, that great freedom of staying out as late as you want because everything's open all night, and feeling no shame in returning home at 6 in the morning. or 6:30. or 7:30.
-having friends that are sharing in the same exact experience. though we have different backgrounds, we all have a unique bond. we are here for more or less the same reasons, have the same financial background throughout the year, and have just about the same schedules. i'm never going to have that opportunity again, having friends who make the same amount of money and are on exactly the same page as me. we all came here for the adventure.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

i've got seoul but i'm not a soldier

this past weekend was my last weekend in seoul. alisun, salsa, sylvia (the new south african teacher at my school, rika's friend from home) planned on a day trip: get up saturday, head to insadong, get some last minute gifts (well, last minute for al and me who are leaving within a week of each other) and souvenirs, check out a few museums, and then go to songtan, which apparently has a huge outdoor market.

the first two parts of the plan went over well. we got to insadong at around 1 or so, did some shopping, and hopped on a bus going to the gana art museum, where there were some great photography exhibits. we had dinner across the street at monet, a nice little italian cafe/wine bar. at that point salsa decided to head back and al, sylvia, and i were going to try to get to songtan. long story short, the metro took longer than we thought (actually, it took as long as i'd anticipated, i just didn't really pay attention to the time we left, therefore it was just poor planning.) we were still on the metro at 9 pm and decided we're be in a race now to actually get an express bus back to daejeon. so, we hopped off the subway and headed back to suwon to get an express bus from there. by then it was after ten and the last bus had left long ago. so, we got tickets to kangnam, seoul, and though maybe we'd make the last ktx train back. we didn't. we didn't get to seoul until 11:45 or so, so we called it a night and shacked up in a motel. i would've been fine with the plans, i just felt irresponsible that a certain kim-man was waiting for me to return home.

anyway, we got up at 9 this morning and headed back to daejeon. went to our respective places and showered, and then the three of them came over to my place where we ordered pizza and watched transamerica (highly recommended). overall, an enjoyable weekend, but i was still disappointed that i 1) didn't make it back that same day. guess it was just sort of a mental goal to say "hey! i CAN just do a day-trip in seoul and be successful!" and 2) didn't get the airline-approved dog carrier that i was hoping to find in songtan.

so, on my to-do list for tomorrow and tuesday:
1) go to the post office and get the biggest post-office approved boxes i can find
2) come back and pack up all things that can be mailed home now
3) maybe run to e-mart or other department stores to see if they have any dog carriers there. i have to find it soon to let the airline know exactly how much space i will be taking up. if anyone is reading this and knows where i can find one, please let me know!
4) take mr. kim to the vet and get his shots updated and ask about getting his certificate of health
5) mail boxes (see no. 1) home

i have the feeling this remaining time is really going to FLY by, judging how fast june went by. also, july 17th is another holiday. assssahhh!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

recurring dreams

it happened again last night. i don't know what it is, but i've been having a few recurring dreams over the past few years. one of them i've been having since high school and the other two probably started during my last years in college.

the first one involves my teeth. my back molars just start crumbling apart and soon i'm spitting pieces of my teeth out. creepy, i know. for a while i thought it was a strange dream, but then my curiosity got the best of me and i did a search for common recurring dreams on the internet. turns out it's one of the most common ones, and there are a few meanings behind it, from anxiety about something in your life to not feeling that your voice is being heard. i actually haven't had that one in a while. guess i've been speaking up loud and clear.

the next two dreams i've been having a lot, especially since graduating from college, and maybe even during my final semester. oddly enough, both dreams involve high school. in the first one, i'm thrown onto stage because we're doing a reunion of "how to succeed in business without really trying" (my senior year musical) and i'm incredibly worried that we haven't had any rehearsals and i just keep praying that i'll remember my lines, dreading stepping onto the stage.

for some reason, i think the rest of the cast had been practicing without me and i was coming in late from college and could only make it for the actual preformances. my dream never goes as far as the actual performance, though, usually i just walk out on stage and say a few lines (they're actually a mix off all of the lines i can remember today) and then i wake up, relieved that it was only a dream.

the dream i had last night is also another "unprepared" one, and always involves the SAME PEOPLE and the SAME CLASS. i'm back in high school, i think even at my current age. the registatrion process is rushed, usually my transcript is messed up, and i'm running around trying to find mrs. nadeau's math class. i always get there and realize i don't have my homework, or sometimes my book, and i just sit there anxiously waiting to be yelled at, sometimes scrambling to pretend i did my homework. and of course there are always the smartest people in the class there, homework done, excited to be back in high school after finishing college. a lot of the time the layout of my high school is different and involves many floors and elevators and i'm running around completely lost. usually there's also a locker, thrown in, that i was supposed remember the combination to, although i hadn't used it in five years.

and i'm sure we're all familiar with the dreams that we have that feel real. at no point do we ever think "oh, i'm ok, it's just a dream and i'll wake up." these dreams always feel real. they're pretty easy to decipher, and it makes sense, i suppose, that they're starting up again. my days in korea are coming to an end and i'm looking at grad school programs and a new life chapter is about to begin. i suppose there's that subconscious uneasiness that i won't get accepted to any program (maybe because i'm unprepared like my dreams?). let's hope that doesn't happen.

in the meantime, i'll sleep with one eye open.

Monday, July 03, 2006

homeward bound

the date is july 3, 2006. in less than a month i will be home. it's really a mix of emotions for me. there are so many things i'm looking forward to, and so many things that i will miss. this has been an incredible year. part of me is ready to go, and part of me would sign another year in a heartbeat... but that wouldn't happen because i think i'm ready for the next part of my life. what am i going to do? i thought i would be living in nyc with some friends, but i decided against that and instead am going to take a year to live at home (that's right, make your jokes now) and save up some more money, maybe work a cafe job, and apply to grad school. grad school. never thought i'd end up there, but i'm really excited about it. i'm thinking definitely a suny school, with buffalo at the top of my list.

i want to break this blog down a little bit. i want to share with you the things i can think of that i CAN'T WAIT to return to. in about two weeks, i'll make another list of all of the things i'm going to miss terribly here. i think over the past year people who have read this have gotten a pretty good idea of who i am and what life is like here, but i'd like to add another dimension and really compare the differences between life here and life home. we're talking culture, customs, behavior, foods, geography, everything. i love korea, i really do, and although some of these things may sound like i have a negative attitude about living here, i still wouldn't change anything about my past year and i realize most of these things, although seemingly everywhere i go, are the exception to the rule of how most koreans act.

i know most things in life are contradictory. i am no exception to this, nor is my country. i've actually grown to have a loving relationship with these things which i call "irksome." i wouldn't change anything that happened in the past year for the world. after all, these are the things that really teach you about who you are and help you to appreciate your own background.

and here it is, why i can't wait to return home:

-grocery stores. no screamers and shouters announcing that a special selection of dried squid is on sale. no obnoxious pricing system of fruits and vegetables where if you forget to put a sticker on the bag and then try to pay for it, they simply won't send someone for a price check and won't allow you to buy it.
-burritos, tacos, fajitas, sour cream, guacamole, tortillas, and all that fresh latin goodness that makes a fiesta for my taste buds
-health food! aisles and aisles of "well-being" glory- hummus, tabouli, whole wheat EVERYTHING, every flavor of salsa you can imagine, natural grain cereals, great soy milks, organic yogurt, veggie burgers, fake meat, and organic teas
-greek food
-ben and jerrys... cherry garcia, you will be mine. oh yes, you will be mine.
-my mom's veggie chili and flax seed bread
-fresh, gourmet sandwiches with REAL BREAD (see: health food)
-salads, sushi, and sandwiches without strange sweet "koreanized" ingredients like thousand island, kiwi dressing, or sweet pickles
-dilly beans
-fresh fruit that doesn't look like it's been sitting out for weeks
-being able to ask for substitutions at restaurants or to add something to a dish without the waiter looking at you like you have lobsters crawling out of your ears and receiving a prompt "ani-o!"

-being able to TALK to anyone you need to- walking into the convenience store and being able to make small talk, ordering food the WAY I WANT IT, being able to ask for (and give) simple directions, being able to read EVERYTHING on signs, etc.
-no more "hwwakkkk" spit going on everywhere around me whenever i'm out walking
-no more "hello! nice to meet you! i'm fine how about you? i love you ::giggle giggle::" from people who think it's funny to spit out every sentence of english they've ever learned to their friends as they're passing by
-no more ajummas or ajosshis poking me, walking right up to stare at me, or taking up the whole elevator
-no more people who think because i'm foreign i'm obviously not standing in line and, therefore, they can cut right in front of me
-no more STARING
-no more embarrassed giggling from store clerks or waiters who are too afraid or embarrassed to talk to us in both english AND korean
-no more "sending out the one person who speaks english" to deal with me before even giving me a chance to see if we can work together in korean in any public place
-no more crowded elevators
-no more fear of getting run over by a motorbike on the sidewalk
-no more fearing for my life in a taxi
-no more "special" trash bags that i just toss out into the street
-the freedom to run to the local convenience store with no shame that you look like you just woke up and "forgot" to put on your favorite fancy stilettos
-no more negative connotation to the simple question "russian?"
-no more ajumma butt slaps
-no more marriage proposals from taxi drivers
-no need for taxis of any sort!
-going back to that marriage thing... after deciding i'd never be able to date a korean guy who is actually from korea, i think i'll be going home with a whole new outlook on availability. a country with walking-talking real boys. if you speak my language, i don't care who you're hitched to. you're available if i say so.
-driving through country and farmland
-the adirondacks!
-shopping malls
-shoes everywhere in my size!
-familiar faces!
-being in a culture that sees the humor in staring at yourself in the elevator mirror or taking pictures of yourself on your camera phone out of sheer boredom
-being in a culture where it's impolite to smack food or chew with your mouth open
-no more people telling me how to eat my food- i'll eat it however i damn well please!
-hot water, soap, and western toilets in every public bathroom
-having a microwave again
-interesting people. after a full year of asking a "foreigner" what he or she does, knowing "i'm a teacher" will be the response, i can safely say it gets tiring.
-individuality- no more "confucianism" and "we do this because it was always this way. period."
-returning to a society where having tattoos, facial piercings, and short hair for women is quite common!
-the smell of fresh cut grass
-small town traffic
-nothing beats that "colonial new england" feel. though we're not technically in it, i consider most of the northeast to be new england. i've spent enough vacations in cape cod, done enough antique shopping in vermont, and picked enough apples on a cool upstate new york autumn day to know that no matter where i may travel, i'll always be a new england girl at heart.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

what a long, strange trip it's been

ok so i have just about a month to go before i head back to the good ol' us of a. the time is currently 2:39 am and i feel like reminiscing. i just downloaded the most recent episodes of "so you think you can dance?" and it just brought back memories of *last* summer, when i started watching the *first* season of the show. and i realized how fast this year really went.

this entry will really be a mental purge. i intend on getting a lot of thoughts out. like:

the fact that i only have 1 month left. so strange!

the fact that two new teachers are coming in tonight (actually, in 10 minutes!) and tomorrow night and the chemistry of the foreign staff is totally going to be different. i will no longer be the only girl, and it won't be just me, jim, and zolst any longer. we're adding two, count 'em, TWO foreign girls. strangeeee.

i'm beginning to think about applying to grad schools for the fall 2007 school year. i really want to become a certified teacher and teach esl in public schools. who knew that majoring in music ed would lead to this?

i've also had a funny week, including a hilarious conversation with a student. now, if you remember, back around christmas time i put up a picture of a christmas card i received from a student, bella. bella moved on to junior high, and i was quite sad because she was quite possibly the cutest student i had at the time. oh but with the next semester came jenny, or "baby bella." jenny is bella's younger sister. now bella is short, but jenny is ten times shorter. i didn't think they came any cuter than bella, but i was wrong.

yesterday i went into the bathroom to clean out the coffee filter. i ran into jenny, who was excited to see me out of class. "hi, tanya!" she exclaimed. she ran into the stall and proceeded to use the toilet, meanwhile keeping conversation with me. she joked with me and a friend who was in the bathroom with her about our differences in height and other wonders of the world. then, cute as ever, 'tanya- do you have man?" i had to make sure i heard her right. "what?" i asked. she repeated "you have man?" struck by the humor of the situation, i replied "no." she asked "why? you're so pretty!" i said "because" but she again asked "why?" obviously no answer would do. how would they understand "johnny depp is still taken" unless i spoke in korean? at this time, a korean english teacher walked out of a stall, obviously finding the conversation hilarious. at that moment, the sheer absuridy of the situation struck me... oddly enough, the "absurdity" of it was the fact that it felt totally natural- chatting in the bathroom with my "girls"... or korean students. whatever. really, it felt just as if i was home with any friend, gossiping in the bathroom. who'd've thunk a year ago that this would turn into my normal life? oh i'll miss my students.

Friday, June 23, 2006

fighting korea

tonight (or, rather, tomorrow morning). 4 am. korea vs. "swiss."

i'll be watching it behind my eyelids. ^_^

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

beach bums

last weekend was amazing. alisun and i went to gangneung, a small city on the northeast coast. gangneun is known for its beautiful sandy beaches, and we hit up gyeongpo beach. that's right, 1.8 sprawling sandy kilometers of ocean bliss. because it's still technically the "off-season," it wasn't overly crowded. we got a motel room right on the beach for 50,000 won. how can you beat a view like this from your motel room window?

so, i enjoyed the beach in all its sun-soaked glory. basked in the sun, watched the waves crash in, and reminisced about my own family vacations. it was also a great place for people watching:

sunday morning we got up at 8 am and went to the beach again to make the best of our few remaining hours before we had to check out. we hadn't gone swimming the day before, but decided to go for it. the water was cold, but it felt really good. after, we were laying out in our swimsuits to dry when we got that unwanted dose of "oh my gosh! foreigners on the beach!" that we had fortunately avoided until then. we were both laying on our stomachs, minding our own business, when i heard some giggling and saw from the corner of my eye a group of koreans discreetly trying to take pictures of us. a girl was standing somewhat in front of us, and they were obviously taking a picture of her just to get us in the background. sighing, but figuring there wasn't much i could do because, after all, aren't we all guilty of this every once in a while? i returned to my book, and glanced over to see if they were still taking pictures. what do i find? this same girl is now crouched RIGHT NEXT to alisun, posing and smiling for a picture. come ON! taking a picture from a safe distance is one thing, but to be blatantly using us for pictures is downright RUDE. alisun was obliviously dozing until i told her to look, and when she did finally see what was going on, there was hell to pay. "are you kidding me? no! this is not funny! go away!" she tossed a little bit of sand at the girl, who was by this point standing, apparently torn between giving another peace sign for a picture or backing away. the "photographer" was finally the one to motion her back over. we kept giving them dirty looks, but they weren't at all embarrassed or ashamed of their actions because they set up camp next to us.

alisun, still spitting daggers, was very upset. "it's like we're not even people!" she was about to get up, take my camera, and put it right in their faces to take pictures (she was actually standing and going for my bag) but i convinced her that that would only make the situation worse, but if we caught them taking pictures again, by all means go for it. so, we went back to lounging in the sun, but glanced over periodically to try to catch them "in the act."

11:00 rolled around, and we were closing up shop when a DIFFERENT group of koreans came up to us. a man started asking if he could take a picture with us. alisun right away said "NO!" and we marched back to the motel.

now i know what it feels like to be a celebrity on the beach.

in other news, i joined a new gym yesterday. it's actually the gym right next door to me. why it took so long for me to check it out, i couldn't tell you, but i'm sad that it took almost 11 months. i bought a month for 70,000 won, expensive, yes, but this gives me membership to the entire building- it's a jjimjilbang/sauna/fitness center all rolled into one, with seven floors. the gym itself is pretty nice, on the top floor, with treadmills that overlook the busy intersection below. the equipment is rather nice, also. after that i soaked in some hot tubs and sweated in the hot rooms. nothing soaking your muscles in warm water after a good workout.

also, i just read this morning about a movie that is in the works called "expats."

imdb link

i'll definitely be seeing that one, finally a movie about living in south korea! although i have no experience with gangs in busan, i'm really looking forward to watching it, so i can say "that's EXACTLY what life was like in korea!"

going back to vacations, less than two months and my family and i will be renting this house on the cape for a week:

waterfront view!

oh, i can't wait.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

worlduh cupuh

as promised, here is a more detailed account of the korea-togo match. word is there were a lot of parks showing the game on a big screen, but alisun and i opted to go to a bar to get the smaller atmosphere and really feel like part of the crowd. most of the bars were PACKED, so alisun and i ended up at some random bar after checking out a few tried-and-true (and filled to the max) bars.

it was pretty exciting to be in a country that actually cared about soccer. all day tuesday my students kept telling me that america had lost to the czech republic the night before, and i kept saying that i didn't really care about america's team. then i took the time to explain how soccer isn't a popular sport in america and how i was willing to bet that if you went anywhere in america, the average person might not even know the world cup was happening, much less be able to name a player on the team. a few of the more knowledgeable students nodded their little heads in agreement and then said to the students who weren't in the know that baseball, basketball, and football were america's pasttimes.

enough about america. after korea's win, it was pure craziness. it was like a city winning the superbowl, but countrywide. and that was only the first game. everyone poured into the streets and it was red t-shirts and glowing devil horns galore. people were cheering 대 한 민 국 ("dae han min guk" or "south ko-re-a!") clap clap clap clap clap. for the rest of the night you couldn't go for one minute without hearing a horn beeping to the cheer. i'd love to watch the second game, but unfortunately it's at 4 am and i don't think i'm that dedicated.

in other news, i saw x-men 3 last night. a good movie, but a word to the wise: if you go see it, make sure to stay through the credits. apparently there's more, which i didn't find out about until i got home. i want my 6,000 won back.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

대 한 민 국!

대 한 민 국! (clap clap clap clap clap)

korea 2, togo 1

i will write more about this adventure when it isn't 1 in the morning and i am well-rested.

but, indeed, reds go together.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

no gold star for you, stella

the charming comments like "teacher, your face is so small, your eyes are so big" are now no longer part of my memory, and a new evil has taken its place.

i know our faces are different from the typical "korean layout," but man.

it seemed innocent enough. a couple of girls giggle-giggling away until i asked what the problem was. they said my nose was so long and upturned. and then brave stella announced "you are pinocchio!"


do you see the resemblance?