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Archive for November, 2006

My replacement didn’t show up today. She emailed me this morning to tell me that she would look for another job.

My trip to Thailand is canceled. I am not taking a break this month.

I have never felt so miserable. I want to go home.

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Only 29 Hours To Go

I am drained. And I haven’t even packed my stuff yet.

And after some deep thinking (and deprivation of sleep), I decided to come out of hiding. No, I’m not giving up the anonymity thing–although I have really grown to hate it–because I have a job and family to protect. But if you will be Seoul during the last two weeks of December, I’d like to meet you for some coffee and musing. Not to talk about the blog, because that would be boring. But I’m always up to making new friends, and seeing new areas of Seoul.

Note that I am currently open to only meeting girls in public places, for obvious reasons. And no, toting a man-bag and smoking those really skinny cigarettes aren’t going to do you any favors. If I see that you aren’t of the fairer sex, I’m going to take off.

I don’t want to offend any guys out there, but, well, some of you male expats are a bit too freaky for my taste (relax, I said some!) and I don’t want to take any chances. And don’t worry, it’s not a big deal if you never see my face, because I would most likely eat your food anyway.

Feel free to email me at raven_lily09@hotmail.com.

P.S. I’m not sure if I will be able to post or even check the site while I’m in Thailand, so I might have a family member moderate comments (I usually don’t, but I’ve received heaps of spam recently) and check in with news and/or pictures. So this site will be updated.

If you don’t want to check my site too often to see whether or not I’ve gotten food-poisoning or been run over by an elephant, click on the orange box on the sidebar and subscribe.

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Those Darn Americans

Marbs on Thanksgiving, caught on Myspace:

I caught Pa eating a Filipino dinner before the turkey was even done, and I’m not sure Mom even had any.

Hee! You can take my parents out of the Philippines, but you can’t . . .

***

I’ve decided to spend the second half of December in Seoul. But this time, I’m going to stay out of my safety nets–Gwangwhamun, Itaewon and Seoul Station.

In the meantime, I’d like to work on boring, dopey interests that have been long neglected in favor of work, Taekwondo, yoga and that cute barista I’ve been stalking. I’d like to reconnect with friends with whom I’ve lost contact (in and out of Korea), take pictures, type on my dumb blog and untangle that funky scarf I started months and months ago . . .

And a big thanks to Amanda for posting pics of the gorgeous Cho Jae-Jin. Christmas has come early, ho ho ho. This should make winter slightly more tolerable.

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“I have a new favorite British word!” I told my roommate last night.

“Oh no.”

“I’ve been thinking about how we have this huuuuuge communication problem, and how it affects our relationship in and out of the office.”

“What are you talking about?”

“So I figured that if we took some time to learn about our different languages and cultures, we’d share a stronger bond. So, you wanna hear my new favorite British word?”

“No.”

“It’s ‘besotted.’ How cool is that! ‘Besotted.’ I bet you didn’t think I’d heard of that before, huh? It’s so fancy, and it’s very versatile. Like, ‘I am so besotted with this muffin.’ Or, ‘I find this book very besottable.'”

Shelly lit a cigarette and groaned. “First, you’re saying it wrong. It’s besotted.”

“Besotted. Yeah, that’s what I said. Beh-saw-ted.”

“Er. Never mind. Second, you’re using it wrong. You only say besotted when you’re talking about a person.”

“Gotcha. ‘I am besotted with my mummy.'”

“Um, no. I mean, when you love someone in a romantic way.”

“That sucks. I’m not in love with anybody! Anyway, nobody except you and I know, so I can keep using it my way. Mmmmm, I am besotted with this ginger tea.”

“What? You can’t do that. You have to use it properly.”

“I am besotted with my bum. Look, I used two of your words! Heh heh, I am going to be so British when I get back to California.”

“I’m going to sleep now.”

“Don’t you wanna learn some kick-ass Californian vocab?”

“No.”

***

I spent so much time planning my trip to Thailand that I didn’t think about what I’d do (or where I’d stay!) when I get back to Korea. I’ll have seventeen days left on my vacation!

I decided against spending all of December in Thailand because I wanted to be with friends on Christmas and New Year’s Day. But what about the time in-between? Today I picked up Lonely Planet Korea and flipped through it, trying to come up with a ten-day trip.

Then I started to get a little sad, because apparently Korea is not something you want to do on your lonesome. There isn’t much to do in Busan right now. And while I would really like to go hiking, it’s too cold and I’d be scared to do it on my own.

I called Mark, a friend of mine who I met while temple-hopping in Gyeongju. He suggested I go to Jeju Island, but it would take me sixteen hours to get there from Seoul, because I’m sure the flights are taken up. I’m thinking about it, though. But ten days on my own–man that could be depressing.

A part of me just wants to sit back and chill, and not do anything except read and drink overpriced coffee. So I’m also thinking about Seoul. But man that would be so depressing, to go all the way in Korea, then go home and tell people you that you spent a year in Korea and just visited Seoul, Busan and Gyeongju. And seventeen days in Seoul??? I don’t know if I would die from the bliss of not working, or kill myself out of boredom.

A few of you gave me some super-duper advice on Thailand. So if anybody has any suggestions on what to do in Korea, I’d be happy to hear them.

Ugh, now I have to grade tests and write report cards. So unbesottable.

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Edited to add: The blog just passed 15,000 views, wooooooo . . . Happy turkey day indeed. Although I suspect my dear momma might have something to do with it. Should I do anything to celebrate? Might upload some more Japan pictures, if I need to procrastinate between grading tests, report cards and prepping for my Thailand trip–

I’m a lousy American. I would have not known it was Thanksgiving in the states, had my (Korean) co-teacher not reminded me yesterday afternoon.

Anyway, happy holidays to my family, friends and fellow bloggers–save some pumpkin pie for me, please.

Random things I am grateful for in Korea:

5) Cho Jae-jin. I’ve come close to buying this issue of Men’s Health, but I’m too embarrassed to actually do it. Sob.

4) Those little walnut cakes. I always crave them–I took a photo but I’m too tired, will post later.

3) YouTube, because I can download Korean soaps.

2) Canned lychee. My mom would buy this for us in California, so when I saw this at the supermarket today for less than a dollar I went a little crazy.

1) My “Samoan mommy,” who arrived in Seoul after visiting her family in New Zealand for three weeks! Our reunion took place in Itaewon’s Burger King, where we shared this tender little moment:

Me: So I’m getting really good at yoga, and my instructor says I should be a teacher. But I’m still not very flexible down there. My crotch is too stiff! It’s like concrete–it takes about ten minutes for me to warm myself up for half-lotus position, and even after that it’s still so hard, and my hips aren’t opening up. I work at it for ten to fifteen minutes a day, and all I’ve got to show for it are sore knees. What do you think? I’m wondering if I should see someone about it, you know, someone who can really get down there and–

M: You know what helps? Getting laid.

Me: . . . I hate you.

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So . . . is it December yet?

I almost have all my travel stuff sorted, except that the hotels want to know when I’ll be arriving. I only have my flight to Bangkok confirmed, and I’m still trying to decide whether or not I’ll take the bus or fly to Chiang Mai. Yeah, flying is faster, and I might get motion sickness on the bus . . . but I love long, scenic rides. So I can’t confirm when I’ll be in the city, thus guesthouses are reluctant to reserve rooms for me.

Also found this spa in Ko Samui. I’m worried about all those tourists (wondered about Ko Tao and Pha-Ngan), but Shelley convinced me to stick with the most popular of the three–she even thumbed through my Lonely Planet guide for hotels and resorts. She went last year, but with her sister and friends, so my experience will be different.

Why do I always travel on my own? Yeah, it’s empowering and I don’t have to compromise (I’m still pissed about that time my girlfriends dragged me out of the Louvre only two hours after we arrived, and Paris was six years ago), but it sure would be nice to share these two weeks with someone. I could totally see myself doing Thailand with my parents–but they went for their 25th anniversary.

Anyway, I have tests, syllabuses, phone teaching and report cards this week. I can only take one yoga class a day, and I’m bitter, getting zits (changed facial cleansers when my face got too red and sensitive) and reaching for the chocolate. Shelley’s dear mum sent a care package with two Cadbury bars, including Fruit & Nut! So Mummy can crash on the couch any day she wants, provided she keeps fattens me up with my favorite candy.

And, just in case my relatives (and, uh, generous friends) still read my blog (it’s gotten dull around these parts, I understand), here’s my wish list!

1. Long johns.

2. Leg warmers. The more 80’s, the better.

3. Warm socks.

4. Wool sweaters. (See a theme here? And no, a sweater can never be too outdated or dorky for me–as long as it gets me warm, I’m chipper.)

5. Preacher volume 3, 100 Bullets volume 3, Fables volume 7 or 1001 Nights of Snowfall. Actually, I want to know why my sister Marbs won’t pony up the latest issues of Runaways. She must still hate me for eating all her Pop Tarts.

6. An electric blanket.

7. A one-month stay in India or Nepal. Hey, a girl can dream, right?

P.S. Tomorrow we’re taking the kindergartners to Outback Steakhouse. Christ! What a shitty field trip. Why don’t we just shuttle them to McDonald’s, at least we won’t have to leave town.

I mean, isn’t there any other way to introduce the kids to western culture? As if Americans don’t get enough bad press in Korea, and now we’re imposing our bad diets on future generations of Asians.

Plus, Outback is as Australian as Taco Bell is Mexican. I don’t know why so many people, Korean and foreigners, like eating there. I had dinner there two weekends ago and ordered cheese fries, a salad and two cups of coffee–twenty bucks.

I ended up eating six loaves of that wheat bread, because after I ate three fries my arteries clogged up. I’ll never eat there again–I’d rather go to the crowded, sleazy meathouse that is Gecko’s, where the food tastes great and would less likely cut my life expectancy by fifty percent.

End rant.

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Cheese kimchi dol sot bibimbap!

Just thought y’all might like to see what I’ve been eating for the past three months. Cheese kimchi dol sot bibimbap!

I think this is the third time I’ve blogged about bibimbap, but I could eat this every day. And oooooh, kimchi (notice that second bowl of it, above the main dish, because that’s what I eat first), it is so perfect. I think I have kimchi three times a day now . . . still don’t eat the yellow radishes, though. There’s something so off about them.

The soup on the left comes with every meal, but I suspect it has fish in it. Well, the kimchi probably has fish in it too, but I’m playing dumb for now.

I’m slightly lactose intolerant (thanks a lot, Papa!), but milk is good when the kimchi is too spicy. I can deal with very hot food now, but I still have my limits. Anyway if you can barely deal with spicy food, take it with milk instead of water, which helps heaps. I think that’s why my Punjabi friends back home drink so much of the stuff.

If you’re a vegetarian in Korea and are frightened of eating out, bibimpap is a safe dish. I mean, seriously. You can’t eat just rice and seaweed here.

And speaking of rice, bibimpap typically comes with more than what you see here, but I usually ask for a small amount, because I like a stronger cheese taste. Also, my students think I’m gross for eating cheese. I just think I’m nuts for drinking strawberry milk with my kimchi.

Yummy closeup.

P.S. You can’t tell, but the egg is always shaped like a heart. I don’t know why that makes me happy, but it really does.

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