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Lockdown

Had the most boring weekend ever . . . and loved it.

On Friday I suddenly became obsessed with watching Prison Break. I’d heard good things about the show, and I have a fetish for bald guys (don’t ask!) and convinced myself there would be some hot guy-on-guy action (sorry).

The next day I found it at Kyobo bookstore, but for $90. This is quite a bit for me, as I’ve grown accustomed to downloading and pirating music and movies here in Korea. So, as when I’m faced with any crisis, I called my mother.

Mom: Huh? What’s wrong?? Where are you?

Pia: I’m at Kyobo. I really need your help.

Mom: Where is Kyobo? Are you okay???

Pia: There’s this television show I really want to see, Prison Break. I just found it, but it’s 90 American dollars! Mom, are you listening?

Mom: . . .

Pia: Mom, that’s a lot of money for a DVD, isn’t it.

Mom: Maybe.

Pia: I know it’s early in the morning over there, but there’s only one copy left in the bookstore! I’m dying to see this series, but if I buy it here and find it for less later, I. Might. Die. Can you look it up online?

Mom: (Sighs.) Okay.

Needless to say, she didn’t call me back that night. Sorry for calling so late early, Mom. After agonizing about it for an hour–and promising myself I wouldn’t get manicures for a month–I decided to buy it.

Pia: Shit, 93,000 won for one TV series. This better be a good show.

Shelly: Oh it is.

Pia: I mean, there aren’t even any cute Korean guys in it. I better get some hot guy-on-guy action.

Shelly: What?

Pia: Well, it is a prison show.

Shelly: There isn’t. There are some hints, but nothing’s shown. Nothing romantic. But it’s a good show, Pia, with a good story and good acting.

Pia: . . . Then why did I just spend 90 bucks?

On the way to What The Book in Itaewon, Shelly suddenly started giggling. I looked over, and one of the pirated DVD sellers had displayed Prison Break. All of season one and five episodes of season two for twenty bucks!

So I went back to Kyobo, returned the set and bought it off the street in Itaewon. Pirated movies are surprisingly good here, as long as you buy films that have already been released on DVD. If you buy a film that’s just come out on theaters, then it isn’t going to look so hot. Anyway, the quality of this particular DVD set was super, with the exception of its sound, which was a bit soft. Also, there were no English subtitles, which I like when I’m on the treadmill.

Anyway, the show itself was good, despite of the lack of guy-on-guy action. A brilliant, head-scratching story with in-depth characters; awesome action sequences; nail-biting cliffhangers and one or two romances that didn’t leave me gagging like love scenes usually do. The acting wasn’t top notch–I though Wentworth Miller was actually the weakest link (like, take off that smirk, you’re in prison!), but he was very, very pleasant to look at so I didn’t really mind.

I bought enough food for two days and locked myself in my apartment. Watched all of season one (but fell asleep in the middle). Because as you can see, I tend to get a bit too obsessed with certain things.

Will watch season two this week. Still holding out for at least one hot gay love scene.

Anyway, it wasn’t like being in Thailand but it was nice enough. It’s been a while since I’ve laid down with crappy junk food and watched television. Even longer if you consider I haven’t watched an English program in months. Sometimes I get a little anxious about wasting my time here, because who knows–these could be my last weeks in Korea.

But it’s always nice to just take a break and do nothing.

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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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I probably won’t be posting as frequently as I used to–maybe once or twice a week? The new foreign teacher is here (she’s cool, but I miss M terribly), and I’ve been showing her around, taking her out to dinner, the train, bars–you know, what my friends did when I arrived in Korea last November.

It’s rather time-consuming, but validating for myself, because I never really knew how familiar I am with Korea until Shelly arrived. Not that I’m some sort of guru on kimchi or anything, nor can speak Korean half-decently, but it’s nice that I know little things. Like how to order food, where to find the only decent cup of coffee in my area and the fastest way to get to Seoul.

Hmm, what else. Oh yeah, I’ve been a lot more social lately, which is quite the feat given how I’ve dropped the booze. Dancing, shooting the shit with foreigners and Koreans alike, going to random little pubs and just sitting back and listening to really bad songs from the 80s that no one would ever admit to liking back home. If we got any more emotional whenever Bon Jovi played, we’d be in tears.

Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, I kicked ass during open class. Dressed immaculately–ironed, flowery blouse, knee-length pencil skirt and green, pointy heels . . . so Korean, and the more we say about my yellow-tipped French manicure, the better. It was so nice to get all dolled like that, and all my late-night preparation paid off. The moms loved me.

Even the director congratulated me afterwards–and she rarely addresses me because she’s embarrassed about her English.

I don’t plan on working for Wonderland ever again, but I have to say that I’m really proud of my work here. More important, I’m proud of my kindergartners. They really showed their parents their progress and the great potential they have as English speakers.

I’m not the best teacher, and to be honest I don’t think I’m even a decent instructor. I still have a lot to learn. But no one can ever say I don’t love my kids.

P.S. Just started getting into 100 Bullets–awesome comic. If you like excessive amounts of sex, violence and profanity with your antiheroes, this is your next favorite book.

I was so psyched about getting the second volume that I didn’t notice that the cute guy I’d been eying was hitting on me.

“He was waiting for a sign!” Shelly said after we left.

“Huh . . . which one?”

“The cute one, in the brown shirt . . . not the fat one,” she sighed when I drew in my breath. “He said he’d start reading comic books for you!”

“Oh, he was hot! Not Korean, but hot!”

“Uhhhhh, yeah . . . so why didn’t you say anything?”

I smiled sheepishly. “Because I was really excited about this comic book?”

She shook her head, laughing. “I’m beginning to understand why you haven’t dated since coming here.”

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My fellow bloggers in South Korea probably received this email from The Washington Post and Oxford International Review:

In the wake of North Korea’s first successful nuclear test, The Washington Post’s PostGlobal and Oxford International Review are sponsoring exclusive blog responses to a question posed by former South Korean President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kim Dae-Jung:

Why do you think the current US Administration has refused direct negotiations with North Korea, despite North Korea’s proposal to do so?

OIR posed this question to a panel of students from the United States and Asia gathered at Hong Kong University to participate in the Asia Institute for Political Economy, a program conducted by The Fund for American Studies. Click here to read their commentary, in light of recent events:

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/postglobal/debate/korea/

Because of your interest in the region, you are invited to join the conversation and pose questions to our panel. OIR and PostGlobal would love your input.

http://www.oir.org.uk
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/postglobal

I’m not very articulate when it comes to current events, so I’ll leave the commentary to those more capable.

Let me just say this: I don’t feel threatened. And aside from a protest in Seoul, I haven’t noticed any worried or angry South Koreans or foreigners either–and our city houses many U.S. and Korean army bases. Not to mention the DMZ.

Of course the test is newsworthy, but nobody’s stocking up on bottled water and canned goods just yet.

What I am concerned about is how other countries–the United States, Japan, China and South Korea in particular–are going to react.

Imjingang

In the meantime, here’s my favorite article written on the situation in the north, written by Selig S. Harrison. He’s the director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Policy in Washington.

More important, he has actually been to North Korea and has a more balanced view on our northern neighbors.

***

Going to Pusan for the film festival. I really need a weekend out of Seoul.

Good thing too, because I’ve been hooked on Full House for the past two weeks. I love KDramas so much . . . I could seriously spend a whole month watching them on YouTube.

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So today, while looking around WordPress, I found out that you can post videos from YouTube.

I plan to abuse this in the best way possible.

So, for your viewing pleasure, here is one of my favorite music videos, courtesy of Kenny Chesney!

Because who doesn’t love a farmer’s tan? 

If you ever see me driving on the highway, shaking my shoulders and grinning like a dope, I’m most likely listening to this song. 

Hmm. I will probably regret this in the morning.

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What The Geek

Nerd alert!

M just returned from What The Book in Itaewon with the first volume of Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore’s The Walking Dead.

Stupid me, I couldn’t wait and read the story synopsis on Wikipedia! I always spoil myself. I’m a sad, flawed woman.

Haven’t read an Image book since WildC.A.T.S. but I really feel like TWD is a winner . . . Should write more, but . . . oh, what the hell. I love comics more than this blog. Peace out, biatches.

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I’ve given in. After noting that I get five to ten hits a day from Hyun Bin fans, I decided to share a little present D gave me upon my return to Korea last month.

I brought this to work, and my coworkers laughed at me.

She’d been touring Incheon with her Korean coteacher, Amber, when they came upon a little stand carrying celebrity memorabilia.

“Pia loves this one actor, I can’t remember his name,” she had said.

“What does he look like?”

“Well, he has dimples–”

“It’s Hyun Bin.”

The vendor gave her a few wallet-sized photos of Mr. Bin for free–gotta love “service” here. (And yes, they are in my purse.)

You can find more images of my favorite Korean actor here.

I’m this close to subscribing to Tiger Beat. Help.

***

Aside from that, I noticed that a few people have linked me on their own blogs.

I’m always a little confused when this happens. Because really, who wants to be associated with a sheltered, whiny drama queen who writes about–let’s be frank–not dating, comic books and cake. I look at past posts, and I swear to God my ovaries shrivel up.

Nonetheless, it’s a bit flattering, and I get to read your stuff and find sites that are ten times more compelling than my own. And if you link me on your page, of course I’m going to return the pleasure. (Check out the new links on the sidebar.)

If you are one of the people who are embarrassed to read my site when there are others in the room (much less comment), that’s okay, too. My mother feels the same way!

But I really want to learn more about you guys. Are you in Korea, do you teach, are you fellow Hyun Bin fans . . . basically, are you going through what I’m going through?

Because even though I write about myself 95 percent of the time (well, 99 percent if you consider how I lovingly bring my friends’ issues back to myself), I’m interested in the the experiences of my fellow expats. What do you do for fun, do you blog, are you learning Korean? Seoul or Busan? Are you also addicted to the green tea pastries, do you keep every odd knickknack your kids give you, did you watch every episode of Kim Sam Soon in three days too?

Email me. I’ve still got that small-town hospitality. I’ll write you back real quick.

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