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Sunday, December 26, 2010

December Update

And just in time, I might add :)

So, as most (all?) of you know by now, I AM PREGNANT!!! Marc and I are positively elated. As in I've already got 3 pregnancy books and Marc's reading them too. Oops, he may not want me to share that. Oh well! We got the positive on December 4th; it was only a minor surprise. We actually started trying LAST December, and then decided to stop trying in October until after we got home, and then I was pregnant :o)

We found a wonderful doctor here in Daegu, Dr. Song, to take care of me and the little one until we come home in April. He worked in Wisconsin for 17 years, and he's friends with Dr. Chung from St. Luke's Hospital in Newburgh, NY, who was my mom's OB when she was pregnant with me! Apparently they went to medical school together or something. I don't think I need to tell you that it's a small world after all.

The official due date is August 8 but when we commented to Dr. Song that our anniversary is August 5, he decided to change our official due date to August 5 in his computer. Maternity care is a little different here, because I will get an ultrasound at every visit (it's only $25 for an ultrasound here, as opposed to something like $200 in the US). I guess it's common practice in the US to only get 1 or 2 ultrasounds--LAME. I was also able to get the Go-Un Mom Card, which is basically a $300 credit card to use for my doctor appointments and any medications I need. It's available to all pregnant women in Korea who are covered under the National Health Insurance.

I'm a little disappointed that I'll have to change doctors and health care systems when I'm 6 months pregnant, but I suppose it's worth it to be at home. Even though the hospital just built a brand new labor and delivery wing and the birth would only cost about $1000 (and that's with 2-3 days in the hospital)... I promise I'm excited about coming home and having this baby with friends and family close by :)

Now for some pictures:

self-explanatory (wahooooo!)
The smiley mouth is my uterus, and the "tongue" in the middle is the baby
It's snowing tonight!
Yeah, that's really all I have to say. I'm waiting on Marc to come home with some delicious Taco Bell from the army base but it's probably going to be a while because of the snow. It's okay though, I have lots of scrump-dilly-umptious Christmas treats to snack on while I wait, hahaha.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Thanksgiving "Feast" in Korea

Thanksgiving has come and gone here in the Land of the Morning Calm. Marc and I are thrilled that this was the last one on this side of the planet! We hadn't intended on cooking any special food, but at the last minute I decided to make a little something special.

I made pecan-crusted chicken breasts, mashed sweet potatoes, and green beans. That's about as close to Thanksgiving cooking as I can get without having an oven. Tomorrow (Saturday) we're (probably) going to a cafe downtown that's serving up some Thanksgiving goodies; turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and apple and pumpkin pie.

Oh, something I learned while making my pecan-crusted chicken: dried parsley can get worms if it gets too old. I learned this AFTER I added it to the pecans. Luckily, I had plenty of pecans so I just threw out that first mixture, and you know what? The chicken turned out just fine without the totally useless herb known as parsley!

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving. See you in 4 months and 27 days!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Oh man, I almost forgot!

Okay, I can't believe I forgot to mention this in my last post. Be warned, it involves poop.

I teach elementary and middle school students, ages 8-14, roughly.

Two weeks ago, an 11-year-old student POOPED HIS PANTS. IN THE CLASSROOM. Luckily, it was during the few minutes before class started. My poor manager had to deal with it; I didn't know about it until I got to my classroom and the smell hit me like a 2x4 to the face. Surprisingly, the other students were gracious enough--we just opened up the windows and the door and turned on the A/C.

When I asked my manager about it the next day, she said she only found him because she was trying to figure out where the horrendous smell was coming from (it had permeated both floors) and her nose led her to my classroom. She called each student out individually to ask if they had a problem, and the particular boy in question refused to get up. Finally she made him get up and he had diarrhea all down the back of his pants. The poor kid was so embarrassed he just sat there, in his poop pants!

He tried to say he fell in the toilet (squatters, remember?) but his mom told the manager the truth. He also hasn't been back, not that I blame him.

So, I just thought I would share that little event. Ta-ta for now!

Monday, November 01, 2010

What day is it?

Right, so, as per my usual intro, let me apologize for failing in the upkeep of this blog. Lots has been going on over the last few months, and if you're lucky, you know what it's all about already.

So anyway, just a few highlights:

  • Josh and Kate came to visit us for a few days back in August! It was great being with family and really helped us feel a little less detached from the "real world". 
  • Rachel came to visit us in September! Again, it was fantastic to see people from our "previous" life in America ;) We travelled all over Korea--and there are lots of photos on Facebook to prove it. 
  • We went to Singapore and Malaysia during the first week of October. Now that was a TRUE vacation, as in we didn't do a single touristy thing. We flew into Singapore, stayed overnight at a hostel, caught a bus early the next morning to travel 4 hours to the ferry port in Malaysia. From there we took a 2-hour ferry ride to Tioman Island (Pulau Tioman) where we did nothing but lounge around, sleep, and read books. It was FANTASTIC.
Earlier this month we met with our manager that handles contract stuff, and we've got an official going home date of April 22nd! I can't tell you how excited this made us--there's actually a light at the end of the tunnel! Not that our time in Korea has been bad, because it's really been great this past year; it's just time. We miss our friends, our families, and Marc's ready to make use of that fancy Master's degree he has :)

Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure: 

Dr. Fish!

Dr. Fish! (and Josh and Kate)

Lunch at the shabu-shabu restaurant near our apartment

Now here are some photos from our Malaysia trip:
View of the beach from our porch
Looking down from the porch 
Beautiful view from the porch 


Who's that sexy guy?
Our chalet
It's a monkey! Next to our chalet!

So, I hope you enjoyed this update. Maybe I'll get better, maybe I won't. We'll see :)
Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Seasons may come, and seasons may go...

But humidity lasts forever!


Well, some things have changed since my last post. Marc got a new job! His editing job just wasn't what he expected, so he made the switch from editing to good ol' teaching (same company). He was actually quite lucky because usually the teaching jobs are filled 3 months in advance, but one new hire's paperwork didn't come through or something so there just *happened* to be an available position. Now we both work 4-10pm every day--not too bad. 


I started Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred. It's a fate worse than death. At one point, Jillian actually says, "I want you to feel like you are going to die." When she started the final exercise on the video, I shouted some not-so-nice words at her and just did regular crunches. Ugh. On the bright side, I now have a yoga mat and hand weights, so I can exercise all proper-like. 


I guess that's all. Josh and Kate will be here in just over 2 weeks, and Marc and I both managed to get 2 days off to spend with them! Since it's summertime, lots of teachers are taking vacations and we were on a waiting list to see if we'd be able to get the days off. Luckily, I guess some vacations cancelled because we found out Friday that we were able to get them. Now we will be able to show them all the wonders of Daegu (and the surrounding cities). Hahaha. 



Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm officially a Shredhead

Last week I decided to start a new exercise program. I haven't been going to the gym as regularly as I ought to (read:never), so I started doing Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred. I used to hear people talk about it a lot on my Weight Watchers boards, so I finally decided to give it a try. It's just a 20-minute workout, which is the biggest appeal I think, and it gives you results pretty quickly.

I tried it the first time Last Tuesday (or, That Day I Nearly Died). Back on TDIND, I was just minding my own business, watching the cleaning lady down on her hands and knees scrubbing my floor (when I have a perfectly good mop), when I decided I should start the Shred. I looked online to find some before/after photos, and came upon a website called The Shredheads. It's pretty encouraging to see how some people's bodies have changed in such a short time.

I've managed to do it every day since then. My endurance is much better since TDIND and I'm pretty happy about that. I've also lost nearly 4kg (about 8 pounds) in that short time! I told my Korean partner teacher this and now she wants a copy. That's me, spreading the Jillian Michaels love throughout Korea since 2010.
Sunday, July 18, 2010

Where have you been all my life?

So, not quite 3 months since my last post--not too bad. I just needed to take a break for a while; writer's block, if you will. Anyway, I've decided that it's long past time for me to write something so here I am at 2:17am, ready to go! Haaaaahahahaha...okay.

Let's see, where were we? Oh yes, April 30 was my last "semi" post, but nothing substantial occurred until June 10 when we went to Beijing. That city is AMAZING. There's so much rich history and culture; we already decided that we must go back some day with our kids and their grandparents. I know you probably already saw all the pictures I put on Facebook, but they don't really even begin to describe how cool that place is. We went with a tour group from TravelChinaGuide.com, and that was totally worth it as well. It's a little difficult to get to all the places easily, so it definitely helped having our own van driving us everywhere.

On the morning of our flight back to Korea, I was the unfortunate victim of what I now have dubbed the Great Bowelpocalypse of 2010. I woke up that morning practically running to the toilet where all hell proceeded to break loose (both figuratively AND literally). I had 2 more episodes before we even got on the plane. I think after that point I was so traumatized by memories of the Great Bowelpocalypse of 2007 (or, "The Honeymoon that Wasn't") that I was able to freeze my bowels into submission, because I did not have anymore problems until after the plane and bus ride to Daegu (a total of about 8 hours). During the 5-minute taxi ride from the bus station to our apartment, I was clenching so hard that I was practically levitating off the seat. The Great Bowelpocalypse of 2010 finally came to an end 2 days later (although to be honest, things really haven't worked right since then).

In the month or so since our Beijing trip, things have been pretty much standard. Work, sleep, hang out on the weekends. Oh, we got a cleaning lady. I do okay on my own, but I really hate dusting and vacuuming and mopping. So twice a month she comes and dusts and vacuums in all the little nooks and crannies and corners that I normally skip over. Our apartment gets so dusty, I just gave up trying to keep up with it. I blame it on the lack of central air (which would normally filter all the dust and crap out of the air). Next time she comes I'll try to take a picture so you can meet our adjumma (Korean word for older married woman). I have no idea what her name is, I just call her "adjumma".

The next couple of months should be a little more exciting. Josh and Kate will be here in August, then my bestest friend is coming in September for a couple of weeks, and right after that we're off to Singapore and Malaysia. I can't believe how quickly this year is passing!

Until next time...
Friday, April 30, 2010

In passing...

Sorry for the lack of posting lately. Not much has been going on that's worth reporting. I'll try to change that this weekend. Bye ya'll.
Sunday, April 18, 2010

Yeah, I like make-up. So what?

[Girly topic. You have been warned.]

Today was a good day. I lazed around the Internet then took a walk to various make-up shops. Now, Korea loves their make-up shops. You don't really buy make-up at places like E-Mart or Homeplus--but that doesn't mean you have to spend loads of money on make-up either. Here we have Face Shop (my favorite), Innisfree, Nature Republic, Skin Food, Aritaum, and probably a few more that I've forgotten. They all sell the same stuff, more or less--make-up, hair stuff, skin stuff, body cleanser, and nail stuff. The make-up costs about the same as Cover Girl or Maybelline back home. They're also wonderful because you get tons of freebies with your stuff. I've got a shopping bag full of lotions, cleansers, masks, toners, sunscreen, hair stuff, etc. It's my go-to bag for traveling.

I bought some foundation while I was home--Maybelline Dream Mousse or something like that. It's crap. My face looks like I'm smack in the midst of puberty again. I only bought it because every store was out of my color in my favorite foundation, Almay TLC 16-Hour. That stuff rocks. I could sweat all day in the summer and my make-up still looked great. A little creepy, yes, but very convenient. And my face never broke out.

Anyway, I haven't had much luck with the Internet and I hate always asking for people to send me stuff. So I've been shopping around to the different make-up shops and I bought some "Aeromix Make-up Base" and "Aeromix Foundation" and "Herb Soft Twincake". The Aeromix is formulated with MD201 water, whatever that is. The Herb Twincake has lavender in it--oooooh. Other than that, I have no idea what to expect. I'll let you know how it turns out.

I could just go to Debec or Lotte Department Store and get MAC or Chanel or Clinique, but those brands are SO EXPENSIVE here. I bought a Clinique blush when I first arrived, maybe $12-18 back home, but it was $30 here! However, if this foundation thing doesn't turn out I may just have to suck it up and spend the money for something decent.

Mmm, Korea. You're so vain. I love it.

Give me all your kimchi, or I'll shoot.

[I actually wrote this a few days ago, but I forgot to add it here.]

Recently, a Korean Navy ship mysteriously exploded and sunk (right now suspicions are on North Korea) in the Yellow Sea. Only 58 out of 104 crew members were rescued. Therefore, one of the largest cherry blossom festivals in Korea was cancelled in honor of it; this sucks because we were actually going to go.

Also, recently, a Korean-operated ship was hijacked by Somali pirates (Damn pirates!). I normally don't comment on Korean news, because I really just don't care. However, I was reading some random blog and the guy was talking about how some Koreans seem to think the pirates were directly targeting Korea, not just any old ship that happened to be passing by. This, of course, is because Somali pirates are so discriminatory with their piracy and all. Whatever. Anyway. Onward to my point.

A lot of foreigners in Korea have this problem with Korea as a whole. Koreans have so much pride, straight up down and dirty nationalism, that anything that happens to Korea is because the world is working against them. Now, I'm not saying that I share this view--again, I don't pay enough attention to the news to really form an opinion on this matter. But it does seem as if most foreigners believe this; and not through any of their own research. Nope, it's only because some other foreigner on some website said so.

And they're the first to accuse Koreans of acting like a bunch of sheep!

Korean Green Tea Energy

Korean Green Tea Energy Mask--I feel energized!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Me and Korea, it's a love-hate thing.

Some days I really like it here. Maybe even love it. The people are pretty nice, I have a good job, it's cheap to live here--most days I feel this way. Oh, and let's not forget that it's damn cheap to travel around Asia. Who wouldn't love it?

Then there are those days when I hate it, loathe it with such passion that I just want to pack up and go home. However, most of it is not really Korea's fault, per se--well, except for the whole squat toilet thing. (Go read this person's R-rated take on Korean toilets: Lousy Korea) On these "Korea must be the 8th layer of Hell" days, it's more because I'm missing family/friends, or because I'm sick of not understanding the language, or one too many people opted to walk straight into me rather around me on the sidewalk/subway/in E-Mart.

It's partly America's fault for spoiling me with such fantastic food. America's the melting pot--therefore, Greeks make Greek food, Italians make Italian food, Mexicans make Mexican food... you get the idea. In Korea, Koreans make Mexican food, Greek food, Italian food... so it's all Korea-fied. It's always just a little too sweet, or a little too bland, or just plain wrong. I think that's what I really miss. To get any really good food (because, let's face it, Korean food sucks), I have to be willing to spend copious amounts of money--and even then there's no guarantee. I already spend too much money on coffee everyday and the gym, isn't that enough? What more do you want from me?? All I'm asking for is a decent Gosh Darn taco! (Speaking of which, Taco Bell is opening in Seoul in May--3 glorious floors! I hope I'm not setting myself up for disappointment.)

So, basically, what I'm saying is that sometimes I love Korea, sometimes I hate Korea. I really don't mind being here all that much. (It's gotten infinitely better since I mastered using a squat toilet while keeping my pants on.) I'm not counting down the days until going home (yet) so that's good, right?

And now for your viewing pleasure:


The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Korea in Your Kitchen
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party
Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I'm pat, yo.

I've been talking with my co-teacher a bit about a couple of kids that I think might really be a bit on the slow side, and not just when it comes to Englishee. One kid, whose English name is Dree (I have no idea what it's from), tends to stutter a lot and he always speaks just a little too loudly. He also doesn't always catch when we're moving on to something different.


Tonight I was teaching about superlatives and everyone was making "So-and-so is the blahblahest in the class" statements. A couple of kids said, "The teacher is the fattest in the room," to which I kindly told them that's not very nice and they should think of something different. A couple of minutes later, Dree starts shouting, "TEACHER EESH DA PATTESHT! TEACHER EESH DA PATTESHT! TEACHER EESH DA PATTESHT! TEACHER EESH DA PATTESHT! TEACHER EESH DA PATTESHT! TEACHER EESH DA PATTESHT! 


I was in the midst of helping other students and I couldn't just stop and give him the same exact speech, but he wouldn't shut up. TEACHER EESH DA PATTESHT! TEACHER EESH DA PATTESHT! TEACHER EESH DA PATTESHT! TEACHER EESH DA PATTESHT! 


I was trying to get his attention so he'd snap out of it... "Dree? Dree? DREE!" Still nothing but TEACHER EESH DA PATTESHT! TEACHER EESH DA PATTESHT! TEACHER EESH DA PATTESHT! 


Of course by this time the other students were trying to tell him to stop talking too, but nothing worked. Finally I just stood right in front of him, knelt down, and firmly said, "Dree! STOP! TALKING!" And that was that. I saw a look of confusion flash across his face, then he just smiled. It was like he literally was just stuck on repeat, but didn't even realize what he was doing. I don't know. 


Then he wrote a story where I was the angriest monkey. I was just happy he spelled "angriest" correctly.
Thursday, April 08, 2010

Jealous much?

We've been contemplating where to take our vacations this year. We've decided that we're really not "touristy" people, meaning that if given the choice, we'd really much rather be beach bums than walking all over looking at old stuff. We're going to be all touristy in Beijing in June, so our remaining trips will be random tropical locales.

So far, I'm 99% sure that we're going to Tioman Island, Malaysia in October. It'll cost a bit to get there, but it's super cheap to stay there and the food's not too much either. 

After that, possibly Thailand in January. We'll see. I feel like we need to see all these places while we're on this side of the planet and it costs less than $500 to go anywhere, as opposed to over $1000. 

We'll also be taking random weekend trips around Korea. We really need to get out and see more of what this country has to offer before we head back to America. Only 50 weeks to go! )J/k. I'm not really starting a countdown. Yet.)

Your love is like a river...

Does anyone remember that song? Wasn't it Backstreet Boys? *looking up in Google* Oops, no, it was 'N Sync, "God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You." Crap, that's a long song title. And the line is, "Your love is like a river, peaceful and deep..."



Anyway, I was saying that I remember I used to change the line to say "Your love is like a river, murky and contaminated..." because 'N Sync was pure crap. Duh. Except that they were my guilty pleasure and I loved singing their songs really loud when I was alone. Them and Britney Spears, man. Of course, I eventually managed to find like-minded closet teeny boppers who listened to the same music in private. (It would have totally ruined our dork/hipster images if word got out that we listened to that crap.)

(Hey, remember when Britney was all cute and sweet and a positive role model for young girls? That lasted all of what, 20 seconds?)
Saturday, April 03, 2010

Yippee!

Hm. My new tattoo looks kind of disgusting right now. It's scabbed over and the scabs are starting to come off (totally normal, I swear) in big chunks. It's just not pretty at the moment.

My new job is going well. I really like my Korean co-teacher; maybe in another life, we could be friends. However, I've not yet mastered the art of making long-term Korean friends so I think we will just remain friendly coworkers.

I have roughly 200 students now. I teach 6 classes every day, with the same students on M/Th, T/F, and then different students on Wednesdays. Some of them are good, some of them are not so good. I've got one student who's like 15 and has absolutely no motivation. Luckily he just sits there and does nothing, so he doesn't give me any problems. When I give out a test, he doesn't even try. He just writes his name, then turns it over and doodles on the back. Then there's another student who's maybe 9 years old... his attitude came across as really rude and disrespectful, but I talked to my co-teacher and she said she thinks he might be a little bit "retarded". Of course, after that I really felt bad because I was getting on to him and he probably just didn't even have a clue as to what I was saying. Oh well. He'll get over it. I hope.

I still haven't used the squat toilets at work. I try not to drink too much, and I try to eat "normal" food before work so I won't have any "problems" (if you know what I mean) while I'm at work. Only 50 more weeks, right? I can make it.

I'm going to talk my husband into going out tonight. It's Saturday night, y'all, time to party!!!! (or so they say.)
Friday, April 02, 2010

Excuse me, is that a sun on your foot?

Last weekend, I decided to get a(nother) tattoo. I've been thinking about it pretty much since I got my last one, so I finally caved. I thought about doing it while I was at home, but there just wasn't enough time. I managed to find a good quality tattoo studio here in Daegu, so that kind of cinched it for me. Anyway, without further ado...




In case you were wondering, it did, in fact, hurt like a you-know-what. I came close to tears one time, when he was filling in the sun. The writing on the side didn't really hurt, but that sun, man. Wow. Most of the swelling and redness is gone now, but it still hurts sometimes (like after I've been standing at work for 6 hours). 

Why did I get this tattoo, you say? My mom used to sing that song, a lot. Not so much when I was younger, but when I was older she started singing it--mainly to our dog Fremont (he died in May 2007) and then after. Anyway, it's one of my more recent memories of her. I like it.

Why did I get it on my foot, you say? Because your foot doesn't really age like the rest of your body. Feet don't sag or get wrinkled. Duh.

Oh, check out this photo of Daegu I took last weekend. Isn't it a pretty day?
Thursday, March 25, 2010

What's that you said? Oh, right. Nothing.

After I left the gym today, I was waiting for a taxi (I didn't feel like walking 30 minutes in the cold rain) when I saw an ambulance and 2 fire trucks with sirens wailing coming down the road. Then they just stopped in the middle of the road, no apparent reason. Then I saw it... someone trying to cross the road in front of 3 emergency vehicles ON A BICYCLE, not even at a crosswalk! Not to mention they already had to wait in line behind cars at a stoplight because nobody would get out of their way.

Anyway.

I was going to post a video that I made, but I'll have to work on it. I tried posting to YouTube first, but I can't because I haven't verified my real name in Korea yet. Or something like that. Then I looked up how to post directly to Blogger and supposedly I should have a little video icon on this editing toolbar to do so, but alas I do not. Maybe it's because I'm using Safari or something like that. I'll figure it out, don't worry. 
Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I hate doing squats.

Hm, first day of the new job came and went. I have to be there by 3:55pm (I know, it annoys me too), and I finish at 10:00. Not terrible hours, but I do have to stand the whole time. By the time the last class rolls around, my feet are aching but I'm sure I'll get used to it.

The one big negative about the job? There is not a single Western-style toilet in my building. Six floors of squatters (I have not yet checked this out personally, but my coworker shared this info with me). For those of you NOT in Asia, this is what I'm talking about:

God help you when you have sudden diarrhea in a restaurant and the last thing on your mind is grabbing napkins from the table, because in Korea you typically should always keep some toilet paper with you. Often times, there's a toilet paper vending machine just OUTSIDE the restroom. I heard from one poor fellow that the first time he used the vending machine, he ended up with a maxi pad. Luckily, Koreans also don't flush their toilet paper--it goes in the garbage can conveniently placed next to the toilet. However, I'm a rebel and flush the paper anyway because I refuse to touch that thing. Apparently, I am not the only one.
I'm happy to say I've only had to use a squatter 3 times since coming to Korea, but I fear that number may be increasing. So far I've successfully managed to just hold it until I got home, but I'm sure that at some point in the next year I will not be able to just hold it for 6 hours. It's just such an ordeal--I'm so paranoid about peeing on my pants that I have to take them off every time, which usually means the shoes have to come off too. (However, it was recently suggested that as a woman, I should try keeping my knees together--it forces the pee straight down or something like that.) Also, there's no way to support yourself in these little hell dungeons, so you really just have to either have really good balance or hold on to the wall to keep from falling in. 

So aside from the toilet situation, things are pretty good. Oh, and we joined a ridiculously expensive gym, but since there don't seem to be any other options we didn't really have a choice in the matter. I'm now going to make use of our ridiculously expensive gym membership.
Saturday, March 20, 2010

Home Sweet Korea

Alright, I'm back. I've taken a long enough hiatus, I think, and it's time to get back on the blogging track. My trip home was very nice, very nice indeed. I spent way too much money on silly things like clothes and deodorant and taco seasoning mix, but it's all worth it. Unfortunately I was unable to fit my winter jackets into either of my suitcases, which was quite unfortunate--indeed--since it's still winter apparently in Korea.

(I like to say unfortunate[ly] and indeed. Indeed.)

I posted my pictures on Facebook, so I'm not going to post them all again here. Sorry, but I'm just that lazy.  You should just go look at Facebook. My profile name is Christina BlahBlah Prados, in case you forgot my name or something while I was gone. So anyway, while I was home I enjoyed such delicacies as J. Alexander's, The Melting Pot, Taco Bell (!!!!!!1!), Sol Azteca, Los Compadres, Iguana Grill, Superior Grill, Brio, Flip Burger, California Pizza Kitchen, Formaggio's, Bob Sykes' Barbeque, Jim 'n Nick's, Purple Onion, and Al's. I failed to eat at Five Guys and the Pita Cafe, sadly. I love Mexican food.

Oh, so Flip Burger is this pretentious place at the Summit that calls itself a "burger boutique". I went with Rachel and Adam; I got a chorizo burger, Rachel had a raw tuna burger, and I don't remember what  Adam got. In any case, here's a picture of the menu:

Do you SEE that abomination??? A "korean bbq" BURGER??!??!?!??? Are you SERIOUS???!?!?!??!!111! First of all, the thought of kimchi ketchup and "pickled veg. crispy tempura onion" just makes me want to hurl all over the menu, but then...What the hell is an "american wagyu beef patty"? (According to Wikipedia, it's Japanese Kobe beef. That just angers me more, since it's not even Korean. If they really wanted a korean bbq burger, they would have used bulgogi meat. Whatever. Pretentious.) Ugh. I'm horrified all over again just thinking about this "burger".

Here are our pretentious "burgers":

Right, so, everything else about the trip was great. Dad got married, and I got to see all of my homies. We ate a lot of food and drank lots of beer. Then I had to come back to Korea. The flight was torturous and I was totally exhausted when I finally made it to the apartment, but I was happy to see my husband and kitties again. Only like 365 days or something until we're back in America. Until then, we can look forward to a trip to Beijing, visits from Rachel (and Adam?), Dad and Darlene, and possibly Kelli (my sister). And then a trip around SE Asia or Thailand or maybe even India. I really want to see Thailand and India.

Oh, we went to see Alice in Wonderland last night with a friend of our, and lo and behold--


A sign in Korea advertising KEBAB! We searched, but could not find where this was being sold. It's probably better anyway, considering I'm pretty sure that's not actually kebab meat, but sausage. Sigh.
Monday, March 01, 2010

EPIC Journey, Part Three

Well my flight to Dallas was pretty comfortable, despite the window seat. I watched "Up in the Air" while waiting for dinner, then right after dinner my seatmate said, "Goodnight!" and I said, "Goodnight!" as I took 2 of my Equate Nighttime Sleep Aid pills--at that point there were about 9.5 hours left on the flight. Next thing I knew, I was smelling breakfast smells and woke up to find there were only 1.5 hours left! My seatmate was like, "Wow, I think I slept through the entire flight!" and I said, "Yeah, me too!" (We were really excited because it made the 11.5 hour flight feel like 3-4 hours.)

Got to Dallas, found my way to the gate, then jumped on the plane to Atlanta and slept on that flight. The guy in front of me was telling the people next to him how he started traveling 26 hours earlier, and I refrained from one-upping him with my 30-hour ordeal because he was returning from Air Force duty and it just didn't seem right ;)

Got to Atlanta, finally found Dad and Darlene and we ate some crappy (but delicious!) Chinese food at the airport, then piled into the hot rod Camaro and drove home. This guy driving an older Camaro kept trying to get Dad to race him, and Dad punched it one time and smoked him :) Ahh, men and their toys.

After we got home I ended up staying awake until like 4:30am because I was so wound up, and I woke up today at 12:37pm with a headache and puffy eyes. Now my headache's gone but I still have puffy eyes and stuffy nose. Oh well. Aw, and there was cake and a welcome home sign waiting when I got here--I'll take pictures later and post them. Feels good to be home.
Saturday, February 27, 2010

EPIC Journey, Part Two

So, it's 5:20...do you know where your children are?

Ugh, I've been sitting here for 5 hours... luckily I discovered a magical way to watch full episodes of "Fringe" on fox.com (it's usually for US viewers only) so that's been keeping me occupied. I charged up my computer battery while I was watching, thankfully, because out of the blue the plug just stopped working. I know it's not my charger because another guy tried to plug in his laptop and nothing happened. Oh well, now I have plenty of battery life to get me to Dallas.

I've been taking my "No Jet Lag" homeopathic remedy, and it seems to be working. I haven't bloated up like I normally do when flying, but the real test will be the 11.5 hour journey to Dallas. I can't believe that I'm not even halfway through my journey yet. Ugh. Makes me want to cry a little :(

Lots of military guys waiting. It almost doesn't even feel like I'm in Japan because I all I see are American faces (presumably)... wait, there's one Japanese family. I only know they're Japanese because they're speaking Japanese. See how smart I am? Okay, time to go. The next update will be from AMERICA!!!

EPIC Journey, Part One

So here I am sitting in Incheon Int'l Airport (Seoul(ish), for those of you who are stateside) with about an hour before my flight to Narita Int'l (Tokyo). I thought I might keep you updated on my progress, as well as the size of my cankles ;) (I swell up like a water balloon whenever I fly).

While I was waiting for my plane to leave Daegu, the Olympics were on in the waiting area--many foreigners, oddly enough, and I was curious if anyone else was rooting for Team USA. Well, we were watching a speed skating competition, the one where 3 people skate together against one other team--USA vs Canada. USA won (!!!) and I swear, like 5 people all shouted "YEAH!" and fist-pumped at the same time. The poor Koreans were all so startled, they actually looked a bit frightened by the outburst. I couldn't help but smile :)

Here's my view while waiting:


I know, it's not that impressive. I feel like I shouldn't give it my all just yet, I don't want you to get spoiled.
Friday, February 26, 2010

Half o' Chiquapin Parish'd give their eyeteeth to take a whack at Ouiser!

Ten points if you know where that title quote's from!

I've avoided writing anything here lately because it would just be more "only x days left!" and "oh, not much is happening here" and who really cares about all that? Not me, that's for sure. I'm pretty sure if I was reading my blog, I'd be like, "Geez, I wish she'd get a life and write something that will entertain me for 3 minutes!" So that's why I haven't written lately.

Today was my last day at YBM. As I said to my coworkers earlier today, I'm a bit indifferent about leaving YBM but I'm sad to leave all of them. Luckily, we have neat things like cell phones and Internet access, so it really shouldn't be THAT difficult to keep in touch. Unfortunately, I'm not really looking forward to starting my new job either; they've been really difficult to get any information out of and today was really too much. I needed to get my visa transferred to my new school before I leave tomorrow, so the guy from my new school (Moon Kkang) came by YBM to pick up my passport and ARC (Alien Registration Card) yesterday. I was told I'd have both back today, and I just assumed it'd be in the afternoon sometime.

Since it's Marc's birthday, we'd planned to go out and have a nice dinner after he finished work at 6:30. Well, 6:30 came around and I still didn't have my passport. We called and hassled people and were told someone from MK would bring it to the apartment before 8pm. Well, 8pm came around and still no passport... by this time I was angry and ready to cancel my contract because I really hate this kind of crap. Marc called again to find out what was going on, and was told that "something came up" but we'd have my passport within 15 minutes. Oh. Em. Gee. The guy finally showed up around 8:20 and said, "Sorry, oh and it was fifty bucks." I'd forgotten about payment, it would have been nice if my "contact person" had mentioned something about cost. Whatever. I'd really like to make an official complaint about this whole ordeal but I have no idea who to complain to.

In any case, I'll be on my way to the grand ol' U.S. of A. in about 6.5 hours--weeeeee!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010

나는 여자 임니다.

i.e. I am a woman.

In order to improve my grasp of the Korean language, I've been studying via a website called Live Mocha. It teaches me useful phrases such as "I am a woman/man/boy/girl; I am young/old/rich/poor/fat/thin." I can also negate each phrase!!! So this means I have already increased my Korean vocabulary by like, I dunno... 200%? Just in case anyone ever asks me if I'm a man or a woman, at least I can answer them correctly. In Korean.

Really, I've only studied for any length of time like 2 twice; mostly I just get emails from other people who are learning English on the website to check their writing/speaking assignments. One guy even made me his friend! WooooOOOOOOooooooooOOOOOOO!!! It's a little embarrassing to admit that I've been here a year and I really can't speak any more Korean than I did within my first month. Maybe this year I'll try harder?

Here's a great blog you should check out. These people even make supercool videos, much more entertaining than me :) Eat Your Kimchi
Monday, February 15, 2010

For those who are still experiencing Valentine's Day...

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

13 days!

Are you tired of my countdown yet? I hope not. Even if you are, I don't really care.

Right now we're in the midst of Lunar New Year, one of the big holidays in Korea. All of Asia, really. Most businesses were closed today so we just sat home. Most of the day anyway. We went out and had galbi with some friends, so that was good. Even BETTER is that we're off work tomorrow! WOohoooooo! I'm so excited about it that I'm not even going to make that "o" lowercase!

Did you know that marriage makes you older? I find it interesting that if my students know I'm married, they always assume that I'm at least 30 years old. However, if I haven't told them that I'm married, they assume I'm 23-24 but that I look like a university student. It's just because 30 is the magic marrying age in Korea. Here you can't get married until you have a stable job and can afford to buy an apartment. Because of the bad shape of the economy, they're putting off marriage and therefore putting off having kids, and even then they're only having 1, maybe 2 kids. Therefore, the population is shrinking and some government offices have ordered employees to go home and make babies. Seriously, you guys.

Also, Korea doesn't offer dual citizenship right now, but they're working on changing that because so many Koreans are in other countries but they're not Korean citizens and therefore their children aren't Korean citizens, etc. For example, a lot of Koreans that move to the US are quite happy being American citizens and while they'd like to retain their Korean citizenship, it's not worth it.

I'm not sure why I went into the plight of the Korean population--it's just interesting I guess. I've also heard that due to all this, prenatal care and whatnot is much cheaper to encourage people to have more children. The cost of giving birth is only like $1000, as opposed to $10000 in the US (assuming that everything's all normal and nothing goes wrong). It wasn't until I moved here that I realized just how expensive healthcare in America is.

Alright, I'm kind of tired of rambling. Marc's playing Star Trek Online (ahhhhhh!!!!) so I guess I'm going to watch TV. G'night!
Thursday, February 11, 2010

16 Days!

It's been a few days, but honestly not much has been going on. (And it least it's just a few days as opposed to few months.) I'm excited to go home; however, I'm not so excited about the flight. I leave Daegu around 7:30am on the 27th, and I'll arrive in Atlanta around 9:30pm that night. Now at first glance that doesn't seem so bad--only 14 hours. HOWEVER. Add 14 hours, and you learn that I will be traveling for 28 hours; that doesn't include arriving at the airport around 6:30am and then the 2.5 hour drive home from Atlanta. Oh well, at least I'll be home :) 

I ordered some "No Jet Lag" so I can maximize my time, especially since I'll be making the trip twice in 2 weeks. I heard good things about it from a coworker and I was able to find a retailer in Hong Kong so it was cheap to order it. 

Alright, so, officially I will be available February 28-March 13 (27th and 14th are travel days). I start training for my new job on March 16th, so no time to really recover from the flight--but that's okay, because I will have NO JET LAG! Hopefully.
Saturday, February 06, 2010

21 days!

Now, this might be TMI for some of you, but it's important to me.

I cannot wait until I can take a shower without having to practically sit on the sink. Yes, I said it. I *practically* sit on the sink to take a shower.

Now, I can either stand in front of the sink and lean waaaay back--which at 5 in the morning doesn't always work out since I'm sleepwalking at that time---or, I can just slean (lit?) on the sink. Slean, by the way, it the word I just made to describe the action of not quite sitting on the sink. As in, "I'm just sleaning."

Just 21 days! 3 weeks! Only 504 hours! Wahooooo! 
Wednesday, February 03, 2010

"All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother."

Abraham Lincoln said that (according to the Internet anyway). It's so true.

This entry has absolutely nothing to do with Korea. It's really a pretty selfish entry, if you must know.  Tomorrow it will be 2 years since my mother was buried; I really can't believe how quickly the time has passed. (Doesn't that sound cliche'?) I debated whether or not I would write anything, but I think she deserves some mention. 

My mom was really goofy. Some people have trendy mothers, some people have old-fashioned mothers, and some people have soccer moms. Mine was all 3, with a dash of Rose from the Golden Girls. The older I get, the more I realize how fortunate I was to have the mother I had. She truly was my best friend.

The stories. Ooooooohhhhhh, the stories my family can share about my mom! I remember being in college and my parents took my best friend (at that time) and I to Six Flags in Atlanta; on the way home we stopped at IHOP for a late night dinner. My family has always had this strange fascination with bodily noises, and such stories inevitably came up during dinner conversation. I remember the four of us laughing SO hard, tears rolling down our faces, just telling fart stories. Yes, I said it--fart stories. I'll refrain from telling the actual stories themselves, because I'm pretty sure Mom would be pretty angry if I told the whole Internet world about her *ahem* fluffles

And what about the flat tire story? Remember when Mom was driving me and Bethany down the interstate and we got a flat tire in the van? It was like 10 o'clock at night and she was POSITIVE that nobody would help us because she didn't have her nails on? And then she was worried that we would roll down the embankment so we all had to huddle on the left side of the van? *cue Rachel's terrible Bronx accent imitation*

Oh, and what about UAB Day (wasn't that it?) when Dad decided it was a good idea for mom to drive downtown and she turned left into oncoming traffic? Rachel (I think?) and me and Dad we all screaming for our lives, and all she could say was, "What? What's the big deal?"

I really miss her advice sometimes. She always warned me about certain people in my life growing up, but I never believed her. I always told her she just didn't understand. Years later, when the day finally came that I learned she was right, she never said, "I told you so." All she said was, "To hell with them," and took me to Starbucks. 

She never tried to be my friend. She was always my mother. She always told me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear. And she was persistent. Relentless, even. I'm so grateful for that. I hope I'm as good a mom to my kids. 











Monday, February 01, 2010

26 days!

Yes, that's right, a mere 26 days until I will be arriving here:

     Do you realize what all this city has to offer? It has Taco Bell. Purple Onion. Al's. Dreamland. The Melting Pot. J.Alexander's. Cracker Barrel. Olive Garden. Five Guys. I don't think I'm going to eat a single meal at home! Okay, well maybe a couple. Oh, just remembered Superior Grill and Habaneros! I'm just so tired of mediocre food, and how I've become accustomed to restaurants charging outrageous prices simply because it's not Korean food. I mean, when is it ever okay to charge 5 bucks for a taco?? ONE taco! Geeeeeeeez. 
     I'm also excited about seeing family and friends, of course. Oh, and reasonably-priced Starbucks! And shoes that fit me! I'm a little nervous about driving, however. I'm sure it's like riding a bike. 
     Okay, enough rambling about food. I'm going to eat dinner and go to work. 

Friday, January 29, 2010

Drama! and other tidbits.

Who knew it could be so much trouble just to go home? After much begging and pleading and demanding, I finally got a flight home for February 27th--it lands in Atlanta at freaking 10pm (meaning a 2.5 drive home) but it's better than the flight to Birmingham that leaves on February 28th with a total of 15 hours in layovers ("Oh, but it still arrives on the 28th since Birmingham's 15 hours behind us!"). Whatever. 


Now that I have the flight situation worked out (more or less), I just found out I have to be back in Korea by March 15th in order to start training on the 16th, meaning I have to leave Birmingham on the 14th (as opposed to the 19th). Sad. Oh well. At least I get to go home, unlike my poor husband. I keep forgetting just to be grateful for that :) 


Oh, and congratulations to my dad and Darlene, who will be married while I'm home! (This is the only picture I have of you guys, I need more pictures!)
Thursday, January 28, 2010

What's with all the fist-pumping?

      Alright, alright. Be jealous. 
    Marc and I are planning a 5-day trip to Beijing in June. I'm super excited, mainly because means another stamp in my passport :) We're doing the package tour thing with this one, which is a pretty good deal (I think). It includes hotel and almost all of our meals, basically everything except tips. Oh, and we get a discount for booking early. Everyone I've talked to about it says it's a good thing, especially since English-speakers are not as readily available in China. 
    Now, the REALLY good deal is 2 roundtrip tickets to Beijing for only $291? That's outRAGEous! I promise it's not usually that cheap, it's just a special that was going on right now. (Now if only it was so easy to get my flight to Birmingham...hdktyrjhvjhf)
    So, anyway, we're going to Beijing for 5 days for less than $900 including airfare. I don't even want to talk about how much money we spent going to Japan. Ugh. I suppose it was worth it though. 
     I do have lots of pictures to upload, I just haven't gotten around to it yet. I'm lazy, can't help it. It's in my genes (just kidding, Dad!). I just wanted to brag a little bit about our good fortune.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A little disappointed

So, there's this blog I read sometimes, and the girl lives in Korea and she posts about her weight loss efforts and different tips and things; I usually read it when I'm looking for some motivation. Well, she posted yesterday that she hasn't posted in a while because she finally gave in and got weight loss surgery. She had the gastric sleeve done, which is where they basically cut out 85% of your stomach so you're left with a stomach the size of a banana. 


Now, I'll admit I've definitely thought about it--in Korea, it only costs about $7000 as opposed to $20,000 in the US. However, I would have to gain weight to qualify (although the restrictions here might not be as strict) and, the most important thing... I love food! Ah well, I guess I'll just keep on keepin' on. Just wanted to share.



Monday, January 25, 2010

You need a perma? Perma what? Hahahaha.

Sooooo... I did it. I took the plunge. And I think I like it!
I've been letting my hair grow out some because I want to have a long voluminous mane of chocolate hair, but the downside is that it doesn't really do much when it starts getting long (hence the reason I always cut it). I decided to get a little body wave put into it to give it some oomph. Perms (or permas, in Konglish) are really popular here so I decided to just go for it finally. I mean, in the past, the way I gave my hair some "oomph" was just not brushing it. I know, kinda weird. But it worked!
Now, I'd hoped to get a digital perm...

but maybe you have to ask for it specifically. Doesn't it look scary? Anyway, I ended up having the regular perm method--I was a little nervous when it was first finished, but I expected it to be extra-curly... it was still a bit of a shock though. Now, 2 days later, I think it looks pretty good. 







I'm still learning how to style it properly; today was the first day I could wash it, and I had to be at work at 6:30am, so I just did whatever. Maybe this weekend I'll have the time to really mess with it. Anyway.
Now I'm cooking lunch for myself, attempting to make my first-ever Korean dish--bibimbap. Rice and vegetables, more or less. It's really tasty though, I just hope I can duplicate it. Wish me luck!
Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Where I end and you begin

my boys, doing what they do best.














And let me leave you with this:

Hey there, Mr. Fish Head

So this weekend I was super busy. Ummmm, Friday night went out, Saturday worked in the morning and then went out for a friend's birthday, and then Sunday was the usual game day. Oh, and I cooked too. (Rae, I'm finally channeling my inner Martha Stewart!) 


We went to a really tiny Japanese restaurant for the birthday party, where we had delicious sushi, eel, and fish! Here's what's left of the sushi...

the eel...


and the fish!





Yes, it was a whole fish. Yes, that's the backbone. Yes, that's the tail AND the head! And it was all SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good! However, some of us were a bit inexperienced at eating the wholefishonaplate and just started sticking our chopsticks in. Then we noticed that a more experienced Korean was cutting out the backbone. Sooo.... yeah. Hahahahhaha. 


Later we moved on to a bar called BilliBowl... it's got darts, pool, drinks, food, and billibowl of course! What is billibowl, you ask? Let me show you... 



It's a combination of billiards and bowling (get it?). You put the little ball on the green area and shoot it like pool down the bowling lane. It's scored just like bowling also. It's incredibly difficult if you're totally inept at shooting pool (I finally got better right at the end). Here's the only pictures of me and Marc from the evening: 

Guess who?

Me and Ellen




Wow, I look like I'm plotting something terrible. Oh well. Over and out. (ha ha ha, I'm so funny!)

 

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