Thursday, December 31, 2009

아 바 타!

Also known as "Avatar!" We just got back from seeing it in IMAX 3D and it was amazing! If you see it in regular 2D, you're just missing out. Don't do it, man. 

James Cameron overdid the political/social undertones just a bit. It didn't really distract from the movie too much, but there were a couple of moments that I had to say, "Really, James? REALLY?"

All in all, great movie. I wanted to get some pics of Marc and I in our superhot 3D glasses, but there wasn't enough time. You see, Marc bought these tickets a week ago (yes, we had to get them a week in advance) and at the time the "evening" showing was 8:45--so I guess it was just assumed that it was the same time tonight. WRONG! Marc pulled out the tickets as we were leaving and I glanced at them and said...well, shouted... "8:05?!??? It starts at 8:05???!?!?!?" I looked at the time and it was already 8:10. We got to the theater around 8:25. Luckily, we didn't miss too much.... super-long previews at this theater. Sigh.

All of the movie theaters here have assigned seats, which is nice. Since we were late, one of the employees showed us to our seats... he looked at the ticket, went up one side and pointed us aaaaaalll the way down to the other side of the aisle. So after crawling over about 20 people I got to the other end and realized the guy showed us the wrong seats. I walked back around and realized by myself that our seats were right where we'd started from. Sigh again.

Time for sleep. Goodnight!
Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Oh, Vacation, How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Today was the last day of our December session, so now I have FIVE glorious days off! And I am going to do NOTHING. That's right, N-O-T-H-I-N-G. Marc still has to work, which means even BETTER vacation! ;-) 

I've been downloading lots of movies lately, one in particular that one of my coworkers mentioned called "Dead Snow". It's about Nazi zombies. I'm a little bit excited about watching it. Seriously! I just might finish the Rocky movies too, and maybe even start The Godfather. Or maybe I'll read some books! Oh dear, so many choices, what's a girl to do?

Here's some pictures of my classes today. They're all high school seniors (they graduate in February so YBM lets them start taking classes now) but they're really great. I think I'm going to miss them a little bit. We played Scrabble and ate donuts. Well, they ate the donuts that I provided. They also kicked my ass in Scrabble--but in my defense, they were in teams of 2 or 3 AND I let them use their electronic dictionaries (note to self--next time, no dictionaries). 

Elementary class--Boys vs Girls

I'm pretty sure these two are besties. The girl on the right always tightly covered her mouth when she spoke so I'm not sure if she can actually speak English. She can, however, grunt and gesture.

Look at the beautiful symmetry!

Helen, Hye Rim, Michel, Alex, and Joe

Intermediate class--I caught them with their mouths full, heehee.

Oh my, who is that smokin' hottie? She looks a little crazy-eyed. Oh wait, that's just the sleep deprivation.

I'm gonna head off, time to watch Sweeney Todd--g'night all!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Eve and Other Musings

Merry Christmas from Korea! None of that "Happy Holidays" crap here, just straight up Merry Christmas

(Every time I try to type Christmas, I type my name first. It reminds me of when I was in kindergarten and we were making Christmas cards for our parents and I couldn't quite read yet. The teacher had already written "Merry Christmas" on the cards, but since I couldn't read, I thought "Christmas" was supposed to be my name. I told the teacher that she spelled my name wrong and she said, "Aw, honey, that says Merry Christmas!")

Marc and I had a nice little Christmas, just the two of us. We listened to Christmas music, made cookies, a Christmas Eve dinner, and just relaxed.

Christmas Eve dinner of apples, crackers, and cheese

My oven

Marc modeling his new man-bag that I got him

(We're a little tired, it's after midnight and I'd been awake since 5am)

And now I'm writing to you (with Chere's delicious cookies next to me)!

Now I've made loads of mashed potatoes to take to Marc's work Christmas party. I must bid you adieu. Have a great Christmas everyone!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A familiar sound

So, I'm sitting at work, listening to Rush Limbaugh when he takes a caller from New Orleans. Of course, the lady starts talking and its classic New Orleans accent. I thought, wow, I really miss that. I know I haven't actually lived in New Orleans for a long time, but I did grow up there for a while and the majority of my family is from there. I guess it just felt nice to hear something familiar like that. Just thought I would share, besides, I personally haven't posted anything here since Christina arrived so.....Hi from Marc :-P
Tuesday, December 22, 2009


So. Remember that whole "we're going to see Avatar tonight in IMAX 3D!" thing that I mentioned earlier? Well.

Our movie started at 8:45 and since the theaters here have assigned seats, we mosied on up around 8:40. We were told to wait, the manager was coming. Hrm. Ok. Well, the manager came up and we walked over with a small group of 5-6 people--of course we had no idea what was going on. After a couple of minutes, the other people in the group disappeared into the theater and we were left standing out like the poor little waegookins that were are.

Well, after about 10 minutes (I guess they were looking for their best English-speaker) someone finally told us that the movie was broken and did we want to see it on the normal screen or get a refund. We got a refund (especially since the IMAX tickets are $16 each! Twice the regular movie price. ).

Now, this normally wouldn't be so bad, except that A) we already tried to see it yesterday, and B) we wasted 2.5 hours that could have been spent at home, relaxing. Oh well. Hopefully the IMAX movie will be working again soon and we can see it.

All I Want for Christmas is an Alabama Winter

Too cold here, you guys. Too cold.

Marc and I saw Ninja Assassin last night--don't worry, it wasn't our first choice (but it wasn't bad!);) We wanted to see Avatar, but both the IMAX 3D and regular 3D showing were sold out all night and we didn't want to see it on a regular screen. We did, however, buy tickets to see it tonight in IMAX 3D--SO excited! I've never seen a real movie in IMAX before, only those weird under the sea or in space type documentaries that always make me nauseous.

In case you haven't heard, I'll be home in Birmingham for about 2.5-3 weeks in March. Marc will not be able to come with me, due to lack of vacation time and we have those darned kitties, too.

There's a park downtown with lots of pretty Christmas lights, we're going to try to take some pictures there tonight. Hopefully I'll get some good ones that I can post later.
Sunday, December 20, 2009


Another weekend is over, folks. However, this week is a 4-day week, and next week is only 2 days! And Friday is Christmas! Woohoooo!

I've already gotten Marc his Christmas gifts: a new video game (Dragon Age: Origins), D&D stuff (miniatures and dungeon tiles), and something else that he supposedly doesn't know about (but it's going to replace something he's been using for like 10 years or something).

Christmas in Korea is not nearly is big as it is in the US (or Canada or England, etc). My students are so surprised to hear that I've bought 3 gifts for Marc for Christmas... most of them only give/get 1, if that. However, nearly every business has a little Christmas tree that they've put up and Christmas music is playing in a lot of places. The favorite holiday of most Koreans is Lunar New Year (seollal). It's a 3-day holiday for family and honoring ancestors. Children get money from their parents (which is why it's usually the favorite holiday).

Also, no work parties (at least for me):-( Strangely enough, Marc's old job (same company as me, different location) is providing a Christmas dinner at a hotel for the teachers; my location is doing zip. I'm not really sure why the 2 schools have such differences, but whatever. Marc's new job, Moonkkang, is having a big Christmas potluck. They've rented out a bar and everyone's bringing something; we're bringing good old fashioned mashed 'taters--Southern style!

Well, I'm out. Have to wake up at 5 for work :( Happy almost Christmas!
Saturday, December 19, 2009


You're probably thinking, "Why is she posting about Walmart?", either because it's your favorite store or because you hate it with such passion that you're not sure if you can associate with me after this.

I miss Walmart. Really! I mean, Korea has E-Mart and Home Plus, but they're not Walmart!

 First of all, we needed a new telephone. SOMEONE, I don't know who (and certainly not me!) plugged it in without a converter and it mysteriously stopped working.  We went to Home Plus to get a new phone, and the cheapest cordless phone was like $80. What??!? The cordless phone I got from Walmart was only $25! I even asked a sales girl, "Telephone? Cordless? Cheap?" She went to her manager and asked and she came back with, "Sorry, no telephone cordless cheap--only this" and pointed to the $80 phone. We ended up with the cord phone ($15, baby!), and now I feel like I'm living in the 1980's with my phone cord that reaches 5 meters.

Second, where's the cheap stuff? Sometimes it seems like E-Mart and Home Plus just put on a cheap face to suck people in and make them think they're getting a good deal.  With Walmart, everything is as it seems--CHEAP. 

Third, Christmas. Hello??!?!? It's CHRISTMAS! I went to Emart around the beginning of December to look for Christmas decorations, and there's just a little set-up in the middle of the floor with maybe 2-3 tables of stuff. Not even shelves! The few things they did have were so much more expensive than I would pay at Walmart! Oh well, thank goodness for Korean dollar stores--the only thing I had to buy from evil Emart was lights.

Finally, I would like to leave you with this little gem: People of Walmart
Friday, December 18, 2009

Korean Living

Like Southern Living, get it? Anyway.
I told you I'd update with pictures of our new place, so here I go. Marc is officially working at Moon Kkang English School now, "the most famous children's hagwon in Daegu!" my adult students tell me. They gave us a really nice apartment and right now we pay half the rent but when I start working there at the end of March, it will be free!
We used to live in Samdeok-dong, Jung-gu (a Dong [heehee] is a small section within a Gu, which is a larger small section within the city)--basically the downtown area. Now we live in Beomeo-dong, Suseong-gu--the affluent part of the city. (Does anyone else hear the Jefferson's theme?) I love our new apartment because it's like a REAL American apartment! With rooms and everything! Our other one had rooms too, but the living room area was more like a narrow hallway. Now we have a nice living room that opens up into the kitchen. And a laundry room. And a closet!
Okay, so, pictures...
Main bedroom
The closet!
Our miniscule bathroom
The kitty bathroom
Our awesome living room and kitchen
Of course, since it's Christmastime we have a cute little Christmas tree...
It's only about 3 feet high, but anything bigger was more that we wanted to pay. As you can see, there's a little angel under it, along with an Xbox controller and game--no mistaking this is the Marc & Christina Prados household ;-)
Okay well that's all for now--I'll update soon with some Christmas cheer!
Thursday, December 17, 2009

Back from the dead... maybe

Sorry for ignoring you all for so long. I keep making such empty promises that I'll update, and I never follow through. I hope you can forgive me.
My last post was June 19--honestly, not much has happened. We went to Japan, we moved into a new apartment, Marc started his new editing job (it's going really well, by the way), and we hosted a housewarming party!
In other news, it's COLD! Since it's so cold, I've been taking a taxi to work rather than walk (it's about a 20 minute walk, and the taxi is only about $2).
I had the unfortunate experience of seeing a dead accident victim in the road on my way to work yesterday... police and ambulance were there, but they were making no effort to cover the body. I'd like to think it was because it had JUST happened, but that really didn't seem the case and I've heard stories of how they don't really rush to hide bodies in accidents. It looked like the guy was either walking or riding a bike and was hit while starting to cross the road. I didn't see another car either, so I think it was a hit and run. I was highly disturbed and almost immediately burst into tears, especially when my taxi driver STOPPED TO STARE at the poor guy! I yelled at him to go, and thankfully he listened.
Ah well. Sorry to be such a downer. I'll put up pics of the apartment and our Christmas tree later :)
Friday, June 19, 2009

Doctors and Beards and Other Musings

Ah, so, I got bitten by MORE mosquitos last week; 4 on one leg, 3 on the other. They got really huge and gross and bubbly and leaky so I went to the pharmacy to see if they had some magic cream for my disgusting bites--3 of them got especially bad. The pharmacist said they weren't mosquito bites and I should go to the dermatologist next door immediately. I went to "Dr. Lee's Urology and Dermatology Clinic" (a lot of the clinics have these odd combos) and was taken to the doctor immediately. He looked at my bites for about 30 seconds, and gave me a shot (I'm assuming it was a cortizone shot) and a prescription for some cream and pills (2-day supply), and told me to come back the next day. That trip cost me about $5 and I don't know what the prescriptions cost because one of the Korean teachers that I work with went with me and she took care of it (so nice, right?). 
I returned to Dr. Lee the next day (my bites were already 93847948 times better), and same drill--shot and prescription for pills (3-day supply this time), and come back Monday (this was Friday)--and this trip was about $4, and the pills were $3. Oh, and they also redressed my wounds for me, complete with painful antiseptic; the blisters had all broken and I just had exposed dermis (that's below the epidermis, right?)--I bought gauze and tape myself, but I was changing the dressings every couple of hours because they were leaking right through the bandages. I told you it was gross!
On a side note, I giggled a little when they called my name over the loudspeaker--most (if not all) Korean names are 3 syllables, but my name in Korean pronunciation is "Kuh-ree-suh-tee-nuh"--and they don't bother with the last name. It's quite amusing to me :) Sometimes when Marc and I are feeling silly we call each other our Korean names--Mah-kuh and Kuh-ree-suh-tee-nuh.
So Monday I went to Dr. Lee AGAIN and received--you guessed it--a shot and more pills! However, he said I didn't have to go back again unless I didn't get better. So now it's Friday and I'm pretty much healed except there's one that's still a little red so I'm keeping it covered because I've been wearing skirts and nobody wants to see the giant hole on my leg.
Oh, that's another thing--each of the blistered/broken skin places was about an inch in diameter. I looked like a leper (still do, kind of). 
Alright, enough about my leprosy. Big news--Marc shaved off his beard! Apparently his face was hot (like sweaty hot) or something. It's taken me a while to get used to it, but it's growing on me. He looks like he's about 18 now. With his beard, several students said he looked like Tom Cruise; now they say he looks like Tom Hanks. Someone also told him he looks more approachable. Koreans have this idea that men with beards are dirty and mean; I think it's beard envy because the majority of Korean men can't grow a full beard.
Also, for those of you who are interested, I'm still losing weight--more slowly that before, but still losing. I don't have a scale, but I can tell with how my clothes are fitting. I'm about 3 sizes smaller than in December (probably more--my clothes were pretty ill-fitting) and today I'm wearing a shirt that I haven't been able to fit into in over a year! Here are some comparison pictures...
December 18, 2008
5 Minutes Ago 
I found a great store on eBay to get clothes; their international shipping price is one of the most reasonable I've found, and it's all brand-new clothes from Macy's (I know the brands). The best part is that for $100 I basically got a brand-new wardrobe for work. Just wanted to brag a little :) 
Alright, that's all for now. I'm waiting at Starbucks for Marc to get off work so we can get some lunch. Take care!
Sunday, June 07, 2009

Long Day

Ah, many apologies for being a bit slow on the updating. Truth is, there's not much to tell. However, some things are developing so there may be much news in the next month or so. 
I got my first mani/pedi in Korea today, and it was a success! I went outside of Camp Walker, which is one of the American military bases here, to a shop called Magic Nails. The owner speaks English (I'm pretty sure her husband's military) and all of the technicians speak pretty good English too. I actually thought I could be back in the USA--all of the employees are Asian, all of the customers were American (except my friend that went with me, she's from the UK). They even took US dollars, so I saw a $20 bill and almost crapped my pants (not really. But I did see the $20 bill!). 
There really isn't much else to report. I'll try to take some pictures this week and post them. 
Saturday, May 30, 2009

Break-a Break-a Time

Yep, taking a break from cleaning the apartment (finally!) just to write you a little note. I'm a little ashamed to say that I don't remember the last time we really cleaned the apartment, not just did laundry or the dishes. Oi, have two cats creates SO MUCH HAIR. Here are some pictures that best illustrate my frustration with cat hair:
We use a tool called a "Furminator" to brush the cats---it's amazing. 
Here's a picture of our very own ball of cat hair (it's Elliot and Mewster together):
Have I mentioned that all of our food waste goes in a special bucket that really grosses me out?
When it's full, we put a special ticket on it and it goes outside to be "picked up". I've been told the food goes to a place where it's made into animal feed. Blech.
The kitties have been bathed! Or, showered, rather. Yes, our cats take showers :) Here are the boys... Mewster refused to sit still for his picture so he looks a little crazy. My sweet little Elliot looked at the camera perfectly!
Now some evidence of cleaning day. The washer appears to have leaked somewhat, but I'm going to pretend I didn't see it and just continue washing clothes. 
This is the spare/dressing room on laundry day. There's the rack where we dry our clothes, the fan we use to speed the drying process, and Marc's "closet" (mine is on the other side of the room). Also note the pile of clothes waiting their turn in the washer.
Last but not least, I've heard stories about Korean mosquitos and I think I've finally fallen victim to one. However, I'm not totally convinced that it's a mosquito bite because I have one on my shoulder also and it looks nothing like this:
It was difficult to get a decent photo, but the center is the actual bite and it's all puffy and leaky, then the darker area around that is very swollen and hard. The reddish part around THAT is slightly swollen, and the WHOLE THING itches! I've been keeping cortizone cream on it, but it doesn't seem to help much. 
Ah, and here's a cartoon I found about mosquitos... The caption is "Who has the barbeque in a Korean summer?"
Tuesday, May 26, 2009

*Doo do do doot do dooooo!*

Who’s awesome? Christina Marie Prados, that’s who!

I upgraded the operating system on my Mac just before I came to Korea; apparently I bought my laptop mere months before Leopard was standard on all Macs. Anywho, since then, my computer has been sloooooooooow. Like, dinosaur slow. Like, if I wanted to open a Word document, I would click on the document then listen to 2-3 songs/cook dinner/go to bathroom and MAYBE it would be open by the time I came back.

I tried everything I could think of. Unfortunately, everything I could think of I only knew how to do on a PC—defragging, disk clean-up, clearing temporary files (are they the same as cookies? Hrm.). Finally I had the bright idea to Google my issue… “leopard slow macbook”… “macbook leopard upgrade”…. “my macbook is effin’ slow! Argh!”. Okay, I finally found some forum where somebody asked like a year or two ago if anyone had issues with Leopard making their computer slow. Someone else said something about memory, RAM, and “you’re crazy if you try to run a goliath like Leopard on anything less than 1GB. 

Well, since I’m a genius and all (have I told you that my IQ is like 140? Well, it is. Be impressed.) I thought, “Hmm, I wonder how much memory I have?” Lo and behold, I only had 512MB of RAM! AH HA! I AM A GENIUS! I immediately turned to my husband and said, “Darling, I have to buy a new computer. Mine is old and slow,” to which he replied, “Uhhh… really? Maybe you should revert back to the old operating system.” The pouting commenced.

For roughly 1 minute, 37.8 seconds, I pouted. Then a light bulb hit me. “Wait! I bet I can just upgrade the RAM myself!” Again I turned to my old pal Google… “MacBook RAM upgrade.” Whaddya know, some OTHER genius made an instructional video on YouTube on how to upgrade the RAM in your MacBook. The entire video was about 7 minutes long and it seemed super-easy. I then managed to decipher what type of RAM my computer uses (DDR2 667MHz, thankyouverymuch) and also that my computer can handle up to 2GB of RAM, and I should buy 2 1MB cartridge thingies.

I found some fairly cheap RAM online that ships internationally, and I received it today. I borrowed a screwdriver from work, and now I’m at Starbucks where I successfully upgraded my RAM (thanks to the video I watched 2 weeks ago) and it only took me like 5 minutes! I opened Word and it took like 10 seconds! WHOA!

I so didn't take this picture, but I could have!

Okay, so there a few morals to this story.

  1. I am a genius.
  2. Macs are the greatest computers in the world.
Saturday, May 23, 2009

Desert Fox = Elliot?

Marc and I ate dinner at the Holy Grill tonight--a Canadian-owned restaurant here in Daegu. They were showing "Planet Earth" on the television, the Deserts episode, and there was a bit about desert foxes. Well, holy crap Batman, we're pretty sure that Elliot was a desert fox in a past life--see the resemblance?? Just look at those ears! 
I wanted to post a short clip of the desert foxes in action just so you truly experience the similarities, but I wasn't able to find one. In any case, Marc and I feel much better knowing that Elliot is not all cat--he is definitely part desert fox (and quite possible part kangaroo). 
Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I *heart* Korea

You know why I *heart* Korea?
Because in the two months we've both gotten a paycheck, we've paid off 2 credit cards and the last of my car loan--about $3500 total. This may not sound like very much to some of you, but this is HUGE for us. :) Now we just have the two "big" credit cards left... but that's okay, because Dave Ramsey would be proud of our debt snowball. 
Now I have to try to sell my car... or my dad does, rather... I'm going to post it for $4000, hopefully get $3000 for it, but I'll take $2000. Anybody want a 2001 Volvo in decent condition? It's a tank! It's one of the safest cars on the road! Fo' rillz!
Okay. So. I *heart* Korea!
Sunday, May 17, 2009


I HATE my feet sometimes. I can't buy shoes in Korea because my feet are way too big--my Korean size is 270, and all the stores only go up to about a 240. Stupid size 11--WIDE!
I've been searching the Internet for a few hours now trying to find some cute flats for the summer, but either they aren't wide (which really is important because of all the walking I do) or they're $9874987.82, or I can get them in black but not brown (and really, what's the point if I can't get more than one color?), and it's just so irritating! I found a really adorable pair of shoes on, but they don't even have them available in my size in normal colors---my choices are like pewter, yellow, and blue. I just want BLACK or BROWN. Is that so difficult? Arrrrrgh.
I tried JCPenney, but all of their wide widths are just... ugly. Because, you know, girls with big feet obviously have no sense of style and just have to settle for whatever they can get. Pssssssh. 
Thursday, May 14, 2009

Kimchi or Garlic?

One of my absolute least favorite smells in Korea is the scent of most of the 65+ population--kimchi and garlic. It's so... pungent. Sometimes I think the smell is actually burning off my nose hairs. It's the worst when I'm on the subway--one morning I was surrounded by old people who just STANK (stunk?) and I definitely thought I was going to barf all over them. It's even better when the old men have been drinking and the smell of old alcohol is on them too. 
Another least favorite smell is the sewers. You can't smell them all the time, but when you can, you CAN. Sometimes I think everyone wears face masks here to block out the smell; maybe they actually have built-in gas masks. Here are some nice pictures of face masks in Korea: 
They are quite fashionable, some of them. Oh, notice the guy holding the "Free Hugs" sign? Yeah, students actually stand downtown with signs like that and people walk up to them and give them hugs. It's interesting. I think if people tried that in Downtown Birmingham, they'd get arrested. 
So I've been trying to find a video online of this commercial for Soju that's been playing recently--after you watch it, you'll no longer wonder why Korean women have so many body image problems.
Alright, time for me eat some blueberries and watch Lost with the husband. 
Monday, May 11, 2009

Getting Lost with Lost

Alright, I don't have the swine flu. I was really worried, because we eat so much pork here and didn't you know you can get swine flu from simply EATING pork? 
(I hope you caught my sarcasm.)
Marc's still watching Lost--he's up to season 4 now. Woohoo! We haven't been doing too much really... just working, sleeping, and eating. Just because we're in a foreign country doesn't mean we alwaysFont size get to be tourists (unfortunately). However, we did go to Busan last week for 3 days--it was a nice mini-vacation. It's a beach city, but the weather was rainy and windy so we didn't get any sun. It was still a nice time though. 
I'm feeling a little lazy tonight so instead of posting random pictures, I'm just going to post a link to the album online:
Work is going alright this month; Marc is working mornings at my school because his is overstaffed and mine is understaffed. We'll see if we're both still alive by the end of the month ;) 
Oh, Star Trek! You must see it! We went on Friday and Sunday, it was great both times. We also saw Wolverine a couple of weeks ago--I liked it, but Marc wasn't as thrilled by it. Whatever.
Korea is still Korea... some of my students are irritating me already because they think they know soooo much about America because they watch American movies and/or TV programs. Actual conversation last week:
Me: Not as many Americans smoke anymore because it has become so difficult to smoke in public. Many people are trying to quit.
Student: That's not true, everyone in America smokes.
Me: Why do you think that?
Student: Because I watch TV programs and my girlfriend studied in Chicago and she said everyone there smoked cigarettes or marijuana.
Me: Okay, number one--don't believe everything you see on TV! Number two--Your girlfriend was at one university in one city. That one observation does not make it fact! Number three--I said the number has reduced, I did NOT say that very few Americans smoke.
Ugh. The conversation actually took much longer than that because it's a level 1 (out of 6) speaking class so I had to use much simpler language and really terrible grammar to get my point across. 
Ah, I have to get up for work in about 6 hours. I'm going to bed. Goodnight!
Thursday, May 07, 2009

Swine Flu, Oh Noes!

I am so so so sick. I think Korea has it in for me. Or maybe it's the swine flu. In any case, whenever I think I have the energy to properly update, I will do that. Until then, pretend this is Mewster and Elliot: 

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