Thursday, July 31, 2008

Itaewon (why?)

Ahh vacation time... a period in life to reflect on how much hard work you have done and release yourself into the unknown. Sometimes your list of stuff to do may be bigger than what you are capable of, but nonetheless you truck on.

One of my goals this break was to get some shopping done (clothes, shoes, etc). So BK heard that Itaewon is a great place to shop for clothes. However, I think we must of ended up at the wrong end of Itaewon or maybe it is all just hype.

Why I thought this is because I had heard the streets were too much like America and that it wasn't like visiting Korea. Ok?

But what I saw was just like any other Korean street in my mind. Little shops crammed next to each other with goods spilling out onto the sidewalk. My idea of an American shopping street is where you get brand name stores with shiny store displays in front of you. But typically in Korea the streets are narrow and clothes spill out onto the sidewalk: example But hey I don't mean to complain, I am just stating what I saw. (actually this is not my photo, and this was not the street I was on, but is pretty much a good example.)

Besides I didn't travel away from America so to find slices of it hidden in another country, right? I came here to be here. So I will say that this kind of shopping area isn't that bad, its just a way that I will get use to. Besides, there are malls here and department stores where I can get that western feel and spend my money well.


But if anyone can tell me where the golden part of Itaewon is I would love to know.

Anyways, we walked on despite this small imperfection.
We found a taco place and ate some tacos!
They were pretty decent and I wanted to ask them where they bought their ingredients. So after filling up on some chow, we headed back out this time our destination was a Buddhist Temple, but to get there we had to transfer trains and take a bus. So I will post about my visit to a Buddhist Temple later on because I am beat from being a tourist.

So here are just some pics from the rest of Itaewon...
(Below: Why I am not a tourist...thinks BK)
Man carrying a fan down the escalator in the subway station.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Total Solar Eclipse

The world will be blanketed in darkness and all will crawl in fear!



Just kidding...not all the world just a portion. Its happenin' August 1st!



Monday, July 28, 2008

Complaining Expats: A resolution?

Roboseyo and Ask An Korean have done it again with a follow up post this time examining the causes for Koreans defensive attitudes and a way to be criticizing without being so damaging.

It is a doozy to read but well worth it.

I have to say that I can not find any memories of when I complained about Korea to a Korean and got an angry response. Actually I haven't really been complaining about Korea all that much. If I do it would end up in BK's ears. I think sometimes I joke about the amount of stairs from subway stations, or other little nuances. But is never a reflection of how undeveloped Korea is.

A quote from the post that I find illuminating:
First, let us eliminate one popular hypothesis from the running. Some observers posit that Korean culture is simply not a “criticizing culture”, because it emphasizes homogeneity and harmony. Because Koreans are reluctant to criticize one another, the theory goes, any amount of criticism is considered a very bold act, and often deeply insulting.

The Korean can unequivocally say that this theory is 100 percent crap, because Koreans liberally criticize their country and each other. And truly, the severe and ignorant nature of their criticisms aimed toward their fellow Koreans makes criticisms from expats look like sprinkles of flowers and baby powder
This is so true!!!! I experienced a Korean's level of complaining when I met Rainbow (young Korean woman) last year in San Francisco when I worked at the Asian Art Museum. She complained and nit picked about people and places with great accuracy and also a fierce tongue.

The Post goes on to say:

that a Korean when trying to defend a nasty comment about their country will fail to respond in English in an analytical and objective way:
So when the irresistible compulsion to defend Korea against non-Korean-generated criticism of Korea strikes an average Korean, she is often poorly equipped to do so. Her argumentative tools simply are not adequate to properly express her fervor. Therefore, she flails about as she tries to stand her ground, and frequently resorts to poor rhetoric and obstinate denial.
 Now, I think this needs careful reconsideration. Because I have had very intelligent conversations with Rainbow (she made this name for herself) and BK. I was very impressed by Rainbow's  understanding of her country's position in the world and her understanding of its differences. The same goes for BK, he too understands that Korea, although developed, is still using old regimes of thought to function.

Of course though both of these individuals English levels are high. But I think I am making an important point.

As an Expat you kind of naturally believe that because of the language barrier you tend to think that a Korean speaker does not have the capacity to think as advanced as you.

This is FALSE!

Anyone on this planet whether poor or rich has an opinion. They may not be able to express this in every language or within a thesis paper, but the ability to form an opinion is a function every human is born with.


The Point:
  • Leave your assumptions at the door.
And so I hope we all can see that these kind of issues arise out of the fact that the world functions on a global scale. That when an American travels to Asia they bring with them their American way of thinking. And so a mixing of thoughts is born in cities across the globe. 


This is nothing new and has shaped many cultures for centuries. The only realization now is how it will shape our world for the future?


Anyways its VACATION TIME!


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Living Your Dreams

Mom has sent me a video lecture of the individual Randy Pausch who has given this lecture on living your childhood dreams. A lecture he gave before he passed away.
Since I feel like I have lived a dream to live abroad I thought it would be important to share this. 
The video is long due to being a lecture. But you could leave it on and do other things while just listening to it.

Mom says:
VERY LONG and VERY SIGNIFICANT!
Maybe watch it in chunks...........
Anyways:

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Coex = Totoro love

Last weekend BK and I traveled over to Coex. I believe since it was raining a lot of people had the same idea to go to Coex, because it is an indoor mall that offers shopping, fun and food. Anyways, I made a little video of the adventure for all of you to enjoy.
video

You may want to know but the song I chose for the video is really popular here, especially amongst the youngins'. I know because I hear it being sung at school.

The mall is an extensive maze of shops and restaurants. There is a movie theatre inside too and probably other places of interest.

Actually while BK and I were making our way out we passed by what appeared to be some kind of celebrity appearance. Because suddenly a large crowd of teenagers came rushing pass us screaming in glee. It reminded me of when I was much younger and went to a mall in Florida to see one of the popular guys in Beverly Hills 90210. He didn't show up but there sure as heck was a crowd.

I would like to return to COEX for shoe shopping or just general Totoro shopping. ;-)

Camouflage

First things first, because I have a backlog of photos from recent outings that I want to get up, I need to express what I have been struggling with recently.

If you had happened to catch a post I put up here about my situation recently at my work, than you would also know that I deleted it. Why? You may ask.

As you know my last week of work was the intensive one and of course was going to be a walk through hell. And yes it was a walk through hell. But the worst came on Wednesday when I became irritated with everyone and everything around me at work. I had few falling outs with one coworker and thus wrote a little complaint about it here on blog.

One of the responses I got was that I need to get use to the Korean way of relationships. When I read this it felt like an appropriate response to my post, but also that I must have not explained my situation well enough.

First off I think it is oh so important I make clear my situation at work:
  • There are 5 Korean co-teachers, all female.
  • There are 4 Foreign teachers, 1 female (me) the rest male.
  • 2 of the Foreign teachers are engaged in relationships with 2 of the Korean teachers.
  • The teachers room is small and offers no privacy.
  • I made the mistake of not going out with everyone after work during my first few weeks.
  • I am now left out of the social group. This makes me feel alone and more alienated than usual.
Let me make clear my opinion:
  • I do not blame my coworkers for my situation for I did not take enough action on my part to interact with the group.
  • I feel each and everyone of us works hard as the other, and all get in trouble from time to time by our supervisor.
  • I know it would difficult to be a part of the group now that it is too late, but I at least want to be on the same level w/ everyone so to have peace in the office.
My solution:
  • Talk more with everyone about the classes or just general opinion questions.
  • Apologize when necessary but don't overdo it.
  • Join in during after work gatherings on occasion.
  • Accept I am not in the group, but I can still be friendly.
So there you have it. Whether I need to start becoming Korean and try to figure out the Korean mind is up in the air. Actually I think this isn't necessary because it is practically, in my opinion, impossible to think as a Korean woman would think. I think as an American woman and so be it! The key lies in that I make the two compromise with each other. I understand their side and if they don't understand mine, well that is up to them anyways.

This is what it is about being a foreigner, for you encounter not only the foreign sites but the foreign way of thinking and functioning. You can grow to hate it, loathe it or love it, but no matter what it will always remain foreign.

So last night my coworkers were going out for dinner after work and I decided to come along. BK joined us as well. I didn't socialize with everyone due to the table being so long, but I think it showed my human side and also I got to see my coworkers human side as well. I could tell by their tired faces that the job is hard on them too and so I know that no matter whether we are Korean or American work is work and it will always be a duty that is difficult at times.

From now on I hope my coworkers see me, if not a part of the group, but someone willing to get along with.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Right Medicine

This weekend was by far my most interesting and also the most homey. ;)

Last week I was starting to feel the homesick blues along with not seeing nature blues. So my feeling inside about my life here was beginning to turn sour.

Yet just as the typhoon is sweeping through the country so came another surprise.
Can you guess where I took this picture from?
I will give you a hint, it is from a bedroom...

Hmm, maybe you guessed it by now. It is BK's house! Today we met up at my home and talked about what to do. Then kind of forget about what to do and relaxed. But the next thing I know BK asks me if I want to go to his house? I was nervous, but I said yes because I thought it a great idea.

His idea was that it would be ideal because his parents were not home. But when we arrived there an neighbor was outside and saw us so our cover was blown. Anyways, he contacted his mom and told her I was there and we should meet. So yes I met his parents!

But first lets just take a look around his neighborhood and home.

Here is the street which leads to his home.
Now we turn into a little alleyway. At the end of this block is his home nestled in between all the rest. I actually realize that I don't have many pictures of the interior of his home. But BK and his family keep a wonderful garden on their rooftop, and I just happen to have taken some pictures. I think it is a very proud rooftop garden! You can find corn, flowers, tomatoes and chile peppers.

There was a mirror on the roof so it made a great photo op.
Also this is the view from the rooftop, he lives near a forest, but sadly these trees may get cut down and an apartment building will go up instead.
I have more pictures of the house and home but I need to go to bed. So I will just comment on meeting his parents. I will have to say that it was very pleasant and congenial. We met briefly at the house then went out for Shabu Shabu dinner. Which is where you cook some meat and vegetables on the table before. VERY HEALTHY!!!!!!!!! I think my body has a ga-zillion vitamins now! hehee

Anyways it was very formal and I didn't break too many Korean rules. I would love to talk more about it but I need to get my rest before the intensive period starts tomorrow morning.

I feel refreshed and loved! The best medicine before facing 10hr work days.

Thank you so much BK!

Typhoon Kalmaegi

Right now I am experiencing a different type of storm, this one real. It is typhoon Kalmaegi. This kind of weather system is similar to a hurricane so different parts surrounding its area can be affected. So South Korea is getting the brunt of the edge of the storm.

That means rain...a lot of it! I actually don't mind the soothing sound of the rain but it makes shopping or going out a bit tougher.
Kalmaegi means "seagull" in Korean.
I found a scientific website that can give you all that nerdy information.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Before the Storm

Now is my time when I will be sitting back and embracing the storm that is about to come. This storm is the intensive month. Yes, I have overly mentioned this but now I just want you all to know that I feel I am mentally prepared and now all I need to do is physically get through it.

In other news hopefully I will find my way to a park this weekend so I can feel safe again under a tree.

To continue the food theme I thought I would note my breakfast and lunch. These are the ingredients I take out of my fridge for making lunch.
  • Bread
  • Lettuce
  • Peppers
  • Cheese and ham
Put it all together and you have:
Yummy!
And as for breakfast: It helps to eat a full breakfast, I can make it to lunch time and not feel starving. Yes! That is strawberry cream cheese with sstrawberry jam on top!

Having these foods in my fridge is comforting and makes me feel homely here. Of course some of these ingredients are pricey, but I have always considered that paying more for food you would eat is well worth it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Buzz: Expatriate Adjustments

Let's face it, sometimes the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the world. Especially if that world doesn't even have grass and is all covered in cement and cigarette butts.

The word on the blog streets is that Expat's complain a hell-of a lot. So much that it is indeed annoying. Now the buzz is why the hell do expats complain?

Certainly there must be better things to do with your time like:
  • Read up on the culture you are living in.
  • Try to get to know a native person around you.
  • Think objectively about your situation.
The Gordsellar states the necessity to complain is practically a natural cause and effect relationship.

A look at how a complaint is turned into a firestorm:

Say you come from the pristine suburban land that is America. On your streets are mostly friendly people who say "excuse me" or "hello, how are you today?". The landscape is laid out in a pedestrian friendly manner. People make eye contact and help you if you need it.

Your life is familiar and you know how to function within your environment.

But then you pack yourself up and move to South Korea.

You are out of your native habitat and everything and everyone seems different. After having a few bad days and nights these people and these places begin to look ugly.

Everyone and everything around you becomes a scapegoat for the natural crap that is going on in your life. You need to rant so you find outlets online and speak unthinkable things about the people and culture around you with disregard for the truth.

Although you are just one person your flames of spite ignite a torrent of fury across the Internet, which ripples its away around the globe.

Thus giving the impression that foreigners can't stand it in South Korea.

Conclusion:
It doesn't take much thought to understand that when you throw a big rock into a small pond it makes a big splash.

But this sort of splash can leave a residue behind that affects writers on the Internet that aren't pissed off.


Problematic:
I think as an expatriate blogger myself I am constantly having to check myself and ask:

Am I sounding like I am complaining?
When all I want to do is write about my opinions and realities that I experience. I feel that when we try to be politically correct most of the time, it pitfalls into an area where the true raw feelings we experience are washed away.

REALIZATION:

Please know that complaining isn't only reserved to the American in Korea. Koreans, UKer's, South Africa and others complain their asses off while in America.

I know because I heard an ear full of this working at summer camps where these people worked (except the Koreans).

My boyfriend would constantly complain about America and its poor transit system and lack of cleanliness. (visited San Francisco).

All in all just remember this first: when you take a fish out of the water it is going to gasp for air.

I leave you with that.

Dinner for one

Tonight I decided to put a blog featuring what my dinner looks like. Because I come home before 8 pm there isn't much time to throw something big together. So it has to be quick but somewhat decent and healthy.

Recently, though I have gathered enough materials to make some pasta with sauce and cheese. :)

Let's see what I got: Here (in this really bad picture) I have my pasta noodles, closest thing to a cheese grader, and cheese! The cheese cost about $5 due to it being on sale.

Cooking the noodles is easy and allows you to walk away and check your blog.

The results: YUmmm! Or at least I think it looks yummy, it certainly tastes yummy. Sorry for the blurry picture.

Anyways sorry if it seems I am obsessed with finding and cooking food that is familiar to me. I think that this may be natural for an expat. I recall foreigners in America sticking to their homely diets, although they were in the land of inexpensive cheese and milk. But I think what is most interesting is that there is ought to be an fusion of homely and the unfamiliar when it comes to eating here. I try to taste something new and see if I like it.

All right well thanks for reading!

Monday, July 14, 2008

What kind of Expat Am I?

I wonder if I am the expat who complains a lot about Korea and misjudges everything or am I the expat that is too obsessed with Korea?
Everything in Korea that appears odd to expats has its own logic, and once explained (as the Korean tries to do in this blog,) they are completely understandable and not very odd after all. But because expats never talk to the people responsible for creating such logic, (it is, after all, people in their 40s through 60s who run the country,) the oddities continue to remain incomprehensible. And instead of coming to an understanding, expats go on with their complaining.
Very good point~! When I do he or read from another expat a complaint about Koreans, I always wondered if they considered where their issue stems from and why they are confused.

But Roboseyo and Ask An Korean are attempting to pinpoint why exactly foreigners in Korea tend to complain about Korea.

I would take the time to scroll through my blogs and see for myself if I am a complainer, but I am not going to do that. Instead I will just conclude that I feel I don't complain as much as I could be, considering instinctively I do find things to complain about.

Instead it has always been my goal on my blog to write about my experience living in South Korea, while at the same time respecting the differences around me. Also I have strived to digest what it is I reject in Korea and why, so that my opinions come out thoughtful.

However, I know that there are complainers on the internet and unfortunately they take up a lot of space. I hope I don't become one of them.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Look at the Korean Healthcare system

This weekend wasn't as eventful as previous ones, but that was okay because I really needed to get some things done.

First off was a visit to the GI Doctor:

For those not in the know, I have a chronic illness called Crohn's disease. When the conditions are bad and I am not in remission the symptoms are the equivalent of having the stomach flu. Needless to say it is important that I keep in regular contact with a doctor and also keep my medicine replenished.

One might think that living far away from family and their local health care system poses as a threat to someone with a chronic illness, for example if you have diabetes too.

Questions like:
How do you get your medicine?
Is the health care system up to date on your disease?
Will it be costly to receive treatment?
Will I receive insurance or should I buy travelers insurance?

Answers:

So yesterday (Saturday) I managed to get these answers up close and personal. I visited the Yang Hospital. Amazingly to get to this hospital all I had to do was walk a couple of blocks in my own neighborhood.

Inside the hospital was neat and clean, with friendly personnel at the front desk. BK went with me so all I had to do was follow his instructions. I think if you are a foreigner visiting a hospital in a foreign country and do not speak the language, it would be wise to take with you a native speaker.

Within minutes I was sat down with a GI specialist. I brought my medical records from back home and handed them to the doctor. He seemed to not have a problem reading it, but did read it carefully. He spoke to BK and then he went on his computer and searched to see if he can prescribe me my medicine. This he was able to do, except one of my drugs he could not find a matching company but was able to find the matching formula from a different company. Afterwards he discussed something with BK and we were dismissed.

Blood test:
As part of my drug treatment I take a pill which works against my liver, so I need regular blood tests to determine whether the drug is depleting my white blood cells.

So we went upstairs in the hospital to the blood room. I for one can't stand needles, no matter what hospital I am in. So I looked away and hoped it would be over soon. The first try I didn't hold my fist hard enough but managed to do better on the second try.

Results of visiting a Korean hospital:
Keep in mind that this hospital basically specializes in just gastrointestinal issues. It isn't a big University hospital and so I think that can be cause for its genial atmosphere.

All in all, I have been very pleased with Korea's health system and National Insurance Program. The total I had to pay from this visit was 10,000 Won, or about $10. Compared to America, when I had no health insurance, this visit would have cost me on $35.

Filling Prescriptions:
I take a large amount of pills, lets just say 13 in one day. So making sure I get each and every pill is important.

Going to a Korean pharmacy is just like visiting one back home. You take your prescription slip to the pharmacist, they mumble something and then you sit on your ass and wait.

One particular difference is that they don't put your meds inside a bottle, rather inside wax paper daily packets. Here is a photo explanation: Next to my package of pills is some Birth Control Pills. I was not able to bring with me a year supply of what I take at home, so I am going to have to switch to what Korea offers. Looks pretty similar to what I take, so I hope there won't be any complications. Total cost was roughly 87,000 Won or abut $88 US dollars.

Back home I was on the Poor Man's healthcare system, so my drugs only cost $5 a month...looks like I have to spend more. However still affordable.

Well that is my experience of the health care system. This won't be the last time I visit the doctor so we will see if this good service keeps up.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Requested Items

The supplies I brought with me of hair gel, curling hair conditioner and face wash, brands that I treasure are getting depleted everyday. So being the pack rat that I am I have requested my Family to send me a replenishing package with the following items inside: Also on this list are:
And if my Dad could pack in California sunshine or green grass that would be nice!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Relativity

Life revolves around many particular patterns. The patterns can cycle around other spheres of change in your life.

Ummm nevermind...trying to sound philosophical here but failing.

Anyways when my life is turned upside down for whatever reasons or when it is going awry the one thing I most like to do is organize.

Organizing my thoughts is one place to start, but another area is my surroundings. So tonight I did a little quick organization of my desk and living area. It is like giving myself a big sigh of relief.

Anyways, work is still work but I am feeling more confident now and a bit less ashamed of myself.

Of course here comes the weekend so I can feel a sense of relief. I hope I get time during this weekend to relax. :)

To end here is a picture of my desk at work:


My cubic feet of space:

Stupidity

I now admit my stupidity for planning so much. Sure the result of having it all ready to go for every class is a great pleasure, but the work that goes into is not.

Not only have I been planning so much but worrying and stressing out as well. I seem to worry like it is a bad addictive habit and thus causes me to stress out.

What am I worrying about?
I worry that I could become a bad teacher/worker. In my other jobs I tended to slack off a lot and ended up disappointing my superiors. I always felt terrible for this and so I think in this job I am trying to do my best.

But now that I am doing all I can and working so hard, it seems my reward is that I am tired and stressed out.

So I need to let go. I know that now I can get by without planning everything in advance and can show up about an hour early each day and just plan for the day.

However:
The intensive period schedule came out and I will be teaching 10 classes everyday. That does not please me and I am not looking forward to it. So all my planning for next month will pay off I think because I won't have time to prepare easily.

But after the intensive period...I am going to switch to just taking it easy.

~Waking up at 2am and stressing about work, is well not a favorite past time of mine.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Outdoor Sauna for free!

Yes you too can enjoy the luxuries of a sauna. The steamy air and the clingy moisture ... can all be yours for the price of ....

Nothing!

That is right, just step outside and enjoy the hot steamy pleansantries of a sauna.

Act now and we will even throw in our free Sweating to the 80's soundtrack!!!

(It is hot here, steamy hot!)


Anyways, been finishing up planning for August so that I can have a worry free time. We have an all teachers meeting tomorrow, so that will be interesting. I hope they discuss the intensive week and what will happen in September (perhaps class changes ?)

Other than that have some usual items to take care of now that I got paid.

  • Visit a GI doctor
  • Buy new clothing
Yep!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Just say No

If you happen to be catching summer tv in America there is this new Reality Game Show called:
I Survived a Japanese Game Show.

Hmmmm

The premise being that you take a handful of Americans plant them in Tokyo, Japan and make them play crazy games on a game show.

Oh yea while at the same time emphasize the craziness and wackiness of Japan and its people with disregard to the reality of Japan.

I think though you could watch it for some value. For instance it appears that for the first few episodes everyone is excited and happy to be there, then things go downhill from there.

That is just like any foreigners experience in a foreign land so it can give you a visual example of what happens to go to another country.

Anyways I may watch this to see the poor Americans crumble under the pressure to win money. But it isn't a priority of mine to watch.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Date in Insadong: Part 3 (tea)

Insadong is a cute place and I think if you try to go beyond just the streets you can find cute little places. We were pleased to see that the rains had stopped while we were eating and so now could enjoy walking down the streets.

While BK was on the search for the Teahouse he heard about, we came upon a part of Insadong that was set off from the street. It was a shopping area, that had several floors to it. Basically you start out the bottom, climb up some stairs then circumambulate the area. In the center is an open area. Some of the vendors of this place were local artists selling jewelry, hats and other little knick knacks they have made. I saw a lot of cute things, that I know I will be thinking about purchasing after my salary comes in.

What I really loved about this place was that on the stairwell there were graffiti scribblings, I didn't manage to get a pic but enjoyed it nonetheless.

This is a picture of a plant sale going on.
Also there was a shop that featured Korea's version of Hello Kitty.
I forgot the name, but isn't it cute! Well I didn't do much shopping and felt a little guilty of this when we left, but I figured I can come back again anyways.

Next we were off to the teahouse. Following BK's lead he went up a flight of stairs in a building and opened a door to a large room that had wooden tables and chairs, along with calligraphy paintings on the wall. The place was empty except for the host and so I immediately felt a sense of relaxation come on due to that it was a space away from all the people on the street. (smart move BK!)

We sat at a table where you take off your shoes and sit cross legged. Bo Kwan ordered the tea, a cool red tea for himself and a hot flowery tea for me.

I really felt at peace in this place, mostly because it was quiet and simply decorated. I think if anyone was going to treat another person to something special I would highly recommend going to a teahouse.


I think all the relaxation at the tea house made the activities of the day catch up with me because I became tired, so we headed home.

It was a lovely little trip and I hope to go back and do some shopping. Maybe pick up some souvenirs for everyone back home.

Well another work week ahead of me, I think I am getting the hang of things. :)

Date in Insadong: Part 2 (explore)

When we stepped outside the movie theater it was pouring down rain, thankfully I had brought my umbrella. We then traversed our way over the Insadong corridor, slowing our pace to window shop and enjoy the street. Along this street there are many shops that sell tourist tokens, like jeweled boxes and mirrors along with fans and pottery. The set up is like any tourist part of a city, because practically every shop sells the same knick-knacks.

But nestled between these shops are some stores that offer up other treats, for example I found one that sells art supplies. We walked inside and their quantity and quality of supplies were pretty good. I found that they had watercolor paints and brushes so I already made a mental note to come back some day.

Moving on from the art store we went down the street, but with the rain pouring down it made shopping at the street stalls somewhat cumbersome. So it seems BK just led me down the street to where we would be eating our lovely date-dinner.

The restaurant he took me to was down a corridor off the street. Already from seeing the way it was decorated I was put in a romantic mood. This feeling was further captured by the restaurants decorations, which were tasteful and set the mood for an Italian dinner.The name was An Da Mi...something like that.BK did a good job taking his girl to a lovely restaurant in Seoul. The food on the menu all sounded truly delicious, but you could only pick out one dish, so I tried a spaghetti dish that had vegetables in it. The taste was great and there were some surprising veggies inside like a roasted potato wedge and some beans. All in all I am pleased with the meal BK took me to and the overall date. After the meal we left the restaurant and headed back onto the street in search of a Teahouse.

But those details will have to be revealed in Part 3!

Date in Insadong: Part 1 (movies)

My sweety pie BK took me on a date to Insadong. The day was rainy and mildly hot but we had a good time anyways. I was looking forward to doing something besides working and planning so this was a very nice treat.

Insadong is an area in Seoul near Jongno-3 station. If you recall I had been here during my first week but only had a small amount of time to explore. This time I was able to walk aimlessly with BK down the street and window shop at the street stalls.

But before we headed over to the Insadong street we first watched the movie Hancock. I was excited because this was my first time to see a movie in Korea, and it was an American movie. So I was able to get a taste of home. Hancock Movie Review:
I have to say out front that I am a fan of Will Smith. After seeing his performance in The Pursuit of Happyness I found him to be an endearing actor with a conscious. So I like seeing him the screen.

Hancock isn't one of those movies that will turn your world around, but does give you a fun ride. The story takes some twists and turns but none all too surprising.

I do think the writers and producers could have expanded on the story behind his superpowers more, because that was really interesting.

Anyways, if you have the time go and have some fun and watch this movie.

Korean Movie Theater experience review:
Watching the movie in Korea at the cinemaplex wasn't all that different from back home. A note of difference were that during the previews they did not dim the lights.

What was intriguing was that during the movie I found myself to be the only laughing at certain parts. I think this was because I got some of the jokes before others did. I am sure if I watched a Korean movie the rest of the theater would be laughing at times, and not me.

Otherwise there was popcorn and nice cushy seats, so not much different.

It was fun and refreshing to be taken to the movies. In the next part I will reveal our fun times in Insadong.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Earthly reminder

I like to watch CNN to catch up on what is happening in the world and back home. So I was watching some videos and came upon one about international weather. I enjoyed watching it because it reminded of how many countries and continents there are on this planet. Now being in another country I can somewhat feel how I have neglected to consider all the other places in the world and how they function. Anyways take a look at the world's weather.

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/showbiz/2008/07/04/anderson.us.queen.bees.cnn

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Soothing rain showers

Awe, yea relax.... the rainy season allows one to slow down and remember to enjoy your moments in life. This is something I need because lately I have been drowning myself in preparing my lessons. Working hard is one thing but trying to get ahead to the point your at the office from 9am to 7:30pm, and only getting paid for 6 of those hours...is well nuts really.

But I take pride in my planning because I know that when the intensive period comes up at the end of the month (and in August) I will be able to tackle it with less stress. Everyday when I go to work at 10am I remind myself that for four weeks I will have to get there by 9am, that isn't a great feeling. But at my last job I had to be there before 8:30 am, and make it by a 45 min ride on the subway, so there is a contrast.

Anyways, back to the relaxing
rain. Seeing it come pouring down outside reminds me of my Florida times when it would pour and pour then stop for a little bit then pour down again. Let me help you understand some history here.
(Me in Florida at age about 12-13)
I lived in Florida for 15 years when then I moved to California to live with my father. Since then I have visited Florida only about 2-4 times. There are certain aspects of Florida that I miss:
  • Tropical fruit
  • Thunder, lightning and pouring rain
  • Swimming pools
  • Atlantic Ocean (warm)
  • Family
So I find it somewhat humbling to travel across the world and be reminded of my childhood upbringings. I guess it is cliche to say but it is like going full circle, only exception is this is another country and it has mountains, Florida is as flat as pancakes. Anyways I will be going to work here in an hour or so, but I made it a point to just relax this morning and not think about work, instead try to focus on myself and my life.
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