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

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

What a great day - all things considered. Even though it's warm outside and all the stores are open, our apartment was a little bit of Canadian Christmas.

We had a good friend sleep over, and shared in opening our gifts. Yes, my mother did send me furry fishnet stockings. (and Girl Guide cookies!!) As the day progressed, more friends came to share in an extended breakfast time that ended around 1pm, followed by some serious "hanging-out", (and a very welcome call from my Aunt and Grandma in Saskatchewan) and finally dinner for 10 around six o'clock. There aren't any turkeys in Korea, as I've mentioned before - so roast chicken it was. With almost all the fixings.

So now, I'm stuffed, Kim and Paula are singing carols as they wash dishes (I've spent most of the day in the kitchen, so I've been awarded a break) and everyone else has cleared out. A great day all round. If it's necessary to spend a Christmas away from my family, this isn't a bad way to do it!

Hope you've all had a great holiday, and have spent it with those you love, and eaten too much. I pray that you've taken some time to reflect on the precious gift of Christ.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2003

It's beginning to taste like Christmas...

Mike's Grandmother just sent 2 big boxes full of cookies and mincemeat tarts. Who needs turkey when there are cookies to be had?

Sunday, December 21, 2003

A Super Weekend

Mmmm, I just had a great weekend. I've broken it down into sections below. Enjoy!
Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll...

Okay, I tricked you into reading this segment. It's actually about the Paper Museum....which was really cool!!!

Highlights included a page from the Guttenberg Bible, a page from Ann Franks Diary, and we got to make our own paper.

The funniest part was a small diarama showing the paper making process, onto which was projected a hologram of a 'paper nymph', and 3 small logs. In a sickenly sweet voice, the nymph told the logs that they would "enter the processing plant, where they would be stripped of their bark, and mashed into a porridge like substance before being flattened into paper." At which point the masochistic little logs shouted "Hooray! We want to be a paper!!" sick. really really sick. They didn't even tell kids that they shouldn't try it at home. Now all the little tots who frequent the paper museum are going to race home and try to mash each other into porridge.

A Night of Music and Culture...

Ahhh, our hotel. It's like Upper Canada Village goes to Asia. A small Korean Inn, built to emulate a Korean manor of 150 years ago. The rooms are small and cozy, with really really warm heated floors. The doors are twin sliding doors ... heavy paper on wooden frames. It was freezing cold outside, but so toasty warm inside. No beds, we slept on heavy mats on the floor. Mmmmm so toasty warm.

For an hour in the evening, the folks at the Inn put on a Traditional Korean music festival. First, some cool stringed instruments that look like benches sounded lovely.

Next, a guy playing a tin-whistle made out of bamboo-y stuff. His facial contortions were amusing to watch. First, he went red in the face, then he went puffy in the cheeks, then he went crossed in the eyes, then odd screeching sounds were brought forth from the instrument. That one was harder to listen to.

Third, a guy played a solo piece on the stringed bench.

Fourth, a woman 'sang' a screeching, shouting, grunting song - that sounded very difficult to do, and she got a loud ovation for it.

Finally, the group of Bench Players returned and played some really nice Christmas carols. It was awesome.

Afterwards, they served us boiled sweet potatoes and green tea.

Lord of the Rings...

We saw Return of the King, it was pretty good! The last LOTR movie I saw in the theatre was in the front row. All I remember seeing were giant hooves, and noses. This one was much better.

PLUS the seats in the theatre in JeonJu are big semi-recliners, that VIBRATE when massive armies are approaching. The seats are hooked into the bass / sound system. Awesome. ... slightly reminiscent of 'the feelies' in
Brave New World, but awesome nonetheless.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Hooray for Holidays!!!

Wahoo!!! Our boss just decided to give us Boxing Day off! So instead of 24 hours off for Christmas, we'll have 4 days. Sweet deal.

She's also added 2 extra days to the lunar New Year holiday, which will work out to be an unprecedented NINE DAY holiday in January. Yes, I know that doesn't mean much to those of you with vacation time in your jobs, but here I'm nearly beside myself with giddiness. Yes indeed - giddy giddy giddy.

To make the joy even greater, both Mike and Paula are planning to travel outside Korea during that time. I'll have the apartment to myself for DAYS!! oh sweet bliss. I love living by myself. Infact, I'm pretty sure that if I ever get married, I'm going to make my husband live next door with the neighbours.

Oh - also, this weekend Gina, Liam and I are heading to the cultural city of Jeon-ju and staying in a traditional inn. AND seeing Lord of the Rings in their new theatre. Good times all around.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Mittens, Change and Turkey...

I got new mittens. With idiot strings. They're striped ~ the 1st stripe matches my orange fleece, the 2nd matched my gray sweater, the next 3 match the great scarf Ken gave me for my birthday, and after that it's every colour for themselves. I miss my Grandmas mittens though. I didn't think it would be cold enough for them here.

Yesterday as I was biking to pottery class, I thought about change. Mostly because the path/road I usually take was all torn up, so I ended up splashing and sliding through the mud on my Mary Poppins bike. (I had a few really nice things to say about the guy who invente paved roads). That got me thinking about how they had waited until after the rice harvest to rip up the road...which got me thinking about how much i had enjoyed watching the rice during it's growing season...which got me thinking about how nice it would be to settle down sometime and have a piece of land that I could watch go through the seasons year after year. I think these thoughts also come from facing another move in the next few months. The only time I think about settling is when it's time to pack up my life again. That part sucks, but as long as I keep loving where I wind up, ( I always do) I can't see how I'll ever stop.

And finally - Turkey!!! (A rare bird indeed in this part of the world) We had a fabulous Christmas dinner after a candlelight service at church today. Turkey, stuffing, cranberries, and pumpkin pie...and of course, kimchi. I'm not a huge fan of turkey, but there are some times during the year that just aren't right without it. So now, it's a warm sunny Sunday afternoon, and I'm full of Turkey ~ there just isn't any other option but to have a nap...mmmmm.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Mike just cooked supper...and it actually looks edible!! I'm impressed. hey, wait, he's even going to share it with me......wait.....smell....taste.....oh my word!!! It IS edible. wow. Life is full of so many truly amazing things.
Okay, it's decided. Atticus Finch is my new literary hero, and I'm going to name all my children after him. .... hey that's not a bad plan! I get to 'name' children every few weeks. The next one is going to be Atticus.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

I've decided to work my way through the BBC's top 100 books of all no particular order. Of course, Catch-22 is still my personal favourite. I feel like I've gone back to highschool, since that's where I read many of the books for the first time. Right now I'm barreling through 'To Kill A Mockingbird' again. What a great book. I think everyone should be forced to take 10th grade English again in their 20's or 30's....they'd get so much more out of it!

Ironically enough, Oprah was on Larry King Live tonight (which I don't usually watch) and she was mentioning a conversation she had had with Harper Lee (author of To Kill a Mockingbird). Oprah asked why she never wrote another book, to which Harper Lee replied "Because, I said everything I wanted to say". It's true...she certainly packs a lot of life and wisdom into such a tiny novel.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Coming to you live from Seoul.....It's Saturday night. Liam is in the kitchen making Thai Green Chicken Curry for supper and Gina is next door having a nap. We've just returned from a jaunt down the bustling and colourful market street in our search for fresh produce and a can opener. (I'm told it's for the baby corn).

Yum, I just got to smell a fresh lime leaf that's about to go in the mix, and the smell of the long grain rice has already made the apartment smell cozy and warm. Later, after we all eat, we're going to crack open the cans of Strongbow that Liam brought back from the UK (mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm) and do Rock-Scissors-Paper to decide if we'll watch Indiana Jones, or Twin Towers. It's going to be a quiet evening, since we're all suffering from different ailments - mostly of the Cold&Sinus variety.

Afterwards, we might do some shopping in the super night-market (it closes around 3am , if it gets around to it.) I'm in search of some 'professional' clothes, and purple hair.

Okay, the smells coming from the kitchen are too good to resist. I'm going to go find out how he's doing it.
So what on earth do you tell your cellmates when they ask you what you're doing time for......

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A Texas woman was sentenced to 10 years in jail for running over the manager of a McDonald's with her car because she wanted mayonnaise on her cheeseburger.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

So here's what's really happening in my world....

As some of you may know, I've accepted a job offer from a University in a nearby city. I'm excited about it, and am getting mentally prepared to make the shift from being a kindergarden teacher to a University Instructor within the next 3 months.

Here's the current employers don't want me to leave. (To the point of calling another university that offered me a job, and 'requesting' that they don't hire me!!!!) My contract is finished at the end of February, but even though I've tried to tell them 3 times that I'm leaving when my contract is finished, they don't believe me!! They keep asking me to "think about it some more". I seriously don't know how to tell them that I'm really really going. So things are kind of touch-and-go to say the least.

But, on the bright side, I do have the memory of that Chicken sandwich , and all those socks to cheer me up.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Mmm. I just had the BEST chicken sandwich ever. I also bought 8 pairs of socks I can postpone doing laundry for another week. There's a woman outside our school who sells socks every Wednesday and Thursday. Today, I couldn't resist.

yes, it's been a slow news day in my world........