Making my way through Asia (and grad school) one adventurous step at a time.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

We decorated for Christmas on Friday night. We made eggnog and played Bing Crosby's White Christmas CD. We've got a little tree, and some lights and some stockings. It looks pretty festive (If you forget that it's sunny and 13 degrees outside.

This afternoon I spent my time at the clinic, and got a shot in my butt and 6 pills to take 3x/day for 2 days. The clinic and the drugs cost a total of 4,500 won (about $5). I've got a really sore throat...I think it's strep throat. nasty. ouch. ouch. ouch. ouch.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

I got arrested yesterday.

By a 5 year old boy.

I walked into my 'Tiny Talk' kindergarten class, and Julius came roaring up to me making siren noises, grabbed my wrists saying "", dragged me across the room and pantomimed locking me in jail. Luckily, Laura staged a daring jail break and freed me so I could teach the class.

The above scenario was a deviation from their normal greeting - which involves drawing a graveyard and ghosts on the whiteboard, turning off the lights and hiding under the table. Then, when I come in, they all make "spooky" noises, and shout "Happy Birthday!".

Monday, November 24, 2003

today, it's all about food.

For starters, this is Kimchi making season. Kimchi is fermented Chinese cabbage, with red pepper paste packed between the leaves. It's a Korean staple. A meal isn't a meal without Kimchi and rice. 3 times a day, 7 days a week, 12 months a get the picture. One of our Korean teachers helped her mother-in-law make Kimchi on the weekend.... 120 heads of cabbage worth. That's a lot of kimchi.

Second, ahhh, Jamie "The Naked Chef" Oliver. What a wonderful program. He sounds so much like Simon, it's a riot. I'm quite content to sit here and watch him boil potatoes all evening. Tonight he was making ravioli. yum. I can't decide if I like the program because he's such a cutie, or because he's got such a great accent, or because he makes food that I just can't get here. Either way, it makes me happy.

Third - food for thought. I borrowed the book 'Stupid White Men' by Michael Moore from Mike. If I were an American I would be furious. As it is, I'm just disgusted. ... and I'm only on the 1st chapter.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

So, some people want to hear about my roomates. I hesitate - since someday they will learn that I write this and will want to read it. Hmmm what to do, what to do?

Here's a brief intro. (1) You've met Sideshow Bob before. She's a dancing maniac and sheds enough hair to make a throw rug every other week. (2) Mike "Puff Daddy" Peacock. We've been friends for ten years, but it's taken living with him in Korea for me to realize just how many quirks he has. More on my roomies later.

Friday, November 21, 2003

*** SNOW *** - well, about six tiny flakes swirling past a streetlight. So really, more like a mild case of sky dandruff than snow, but as we close in on the end of November, and I'm still not wearing a winter coat, I'll take what I can get. I was pretty excited.

My roomate Paula (aka Sideshow Bob. -it's the hair) is playing her trombone in an orchestra concert tomorrow. I thought there would be more to say about that - but there really isn't. Well, I could talk a great deal more about the hair, but that might be impolite.

Wow, it's not until I sit down to write a journal (which at least one other person will read) that I realize there's not really all that much to say. I work. I eat. I sleep. rinse and repeat. Oh - and sometimes I visit the website of my favourite little Korean cartoon character. Her name is Pucca. You can visit her too at I even have a little Pucca ornament on my cellphone.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

HA HA HA... Mike's on his way out the door to go to work. He teaches Kindergarten on Thursdays, and today they are going to a musical. Oh, I know, it sounds like fun. I thought so to for the first 4 I went to....then I clued in that a Korean Kindergarten musical consists of brightly costumed characters, flashing lights, squeaky voices, and music so loud that the poor kids (and one Canadian English teacher) are holding their ears and crying in pain. The last one I went to was some kind of teletubbie/Barney hybrid. You can imagine how exciting that was!!!

I was re-reading my little notebook where I've written down some funny things my kids say. I laughed again at a test they took about American Pioneers setteling the west. According to one little guy, when asked "What chores did families have?" he replied "Mothers made children....fathers made furniture". right.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

I think I've just added the option to comment on my blogs. I hope it works. As we all know, I'm more adept at using late 19th Century technology than I am at using modern electronic devices. So, if it works - please feel free to comment on my blogs!

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Ugh - Tuesday. I'm pretty sure it's my least favouite day. It's long, it's spelled funny, and it usually smells like fried chicken. ...or socks that I really should have washed on the weekend.

We've finally turned our heat on. I love turning the heat on in Korea. No nasty baseboard heaters, no jumbo hot-water radiators that take up perfect 'sofa walls'. Nope - just nice warm toasty-cozy floors. It's like the entire living room floor is one big wool sock. Mmmmmm. Amazing.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

안영! I just taught my computer to type in Korean. I'm so excited. Despite the fact that I didn't do ANY of my planned activites, it's been a good day.

It was bright and sunny, so I hopped on my bike to go shopping...but the breeze was deceptively cold - I should have worn a jacket. In November, go figure. So instead of going shopping, I stopped at a favourite restaurant was I to know that it's not possible to order just one serving of BBQ??? So there I was all by myself cooking up TWO servings of pork on the I got two servings of all the side dishes. Two servings of marinated spinach. Two servings of kimchi. Two servings of acorn jelly. Two servings of spicy jellyfish. Good thing I was hungry.........

Now I'm heading out for a walk before the sun goes down. There's a great little shop nearby that serves the BEST chocolates. Chocolates with a strange magnetic pull....a pull that draws me from my livingroom....must....resist.....can't hold out....mmmm....chocolates......

Saturday, November 15, 2003

I've found a new webpage that's always good for a laugh...especially for anyone who's lived in Asia. It's's a lot of pictures of humourous misuses of the English Language. Most of them are from Japan - but you're just as likely to see similar errors in China or Korea.

In pottery today I made a mug! After months of nameless shapes, I've finally made something I recognize!!! Hooray!!! I'm not saying the other stuff isn't pretty, or doesn't serve a function - I'm just saying I'm not 100% sure what they are. But today...oh yes, today. The breakthrough. The crowning achievement. The mug. There was some concern though - it spent part of the afternoon looking remarkably like a bowl. A little more squishing and pinching helped, but it was really the addition of the handle that helped define it's roll in this world. (Let's hope it makes its way out of the kiln safely).....

Friday, November 14, 2003

My friend Ken has a new job at a 'pissbong' ... translated as PS (Playstation) Bong (room). We go to visit him every so often....and wind up staying for an hour or two or three as we try to improve our gaming skills. I'm still at the 'you suck' level, but hope to work my way up to 'hopeless cause' by the end of the month.

My favourite innocent cusser is moving to Seoul next week, so I won't have him in my classes anymore. Sad. His lisp, combined with his accent made me smile. Every Monday, in respose to my query "What did you do this weekend?" he replies "I played f**ker wif my friends" when really, he means soccer.

Speaking of innocent cussers, I taught my l'il kids the song "Shoo Fly, don't bother me" ... and some of my really wee ones have trouble pronouncing lots of syllables at once. So their adorable rendition came out sounding like "Shoo Fly, don't f**k with me". Which, considering the size of the local insect population, I think a harder line with the buzzers might just be in order!

Thursday, November 13, 2003

We took the kindegarten class to pottery this week. Those kids are so funny. One little guy (with a mullet) armed himself with a wad of clay, a wet sponge, a pointy stick and was trying his darndest to pound, gouge and slap a lion sculpture out of the whole mess. I can't say he was succesful, but he had fun trying.