Monthly Archives: January 2006

Half Done a Four Day Weekend

I passed my test and am now a yellow belt. Which means that I still can’t really kick anyone’s ass… but I feel much tougher than I did wearing a white belt. And I have my Tae Kwon Do sticks now too. Although all I can do with the sticks is twirl them around like a fucking faerie, it is still cool. Our Master also told us after the yellow belt test that for the green belt we are going to have to break a board with our fist. Sweet!
This was the weekend of the lunar new year. All my monkeys came to school in their traditional Korean garb. It’s pretty cute when they do that. But this was the coolest part: before they went home for the weekend they each had to bow to me. YES! And it isn’t a bend-at-the-waist bowing either… these little bastards end up all the way on their knees with their foreheads on the floor. I gave them each 100 won (about 10 cents) and told them to study hard. It was worth it. I should get them to do it EVERY Friday. Also, for a New Year’s gift, Julia’s mommy gave me spaghetti sauce. Mmmmm…
Frances and I went out to Itaewan on Saturday night. It was crazy. It started with the worst bus ride and ended up with the wort cab ride ever. But in between was a lot of fun.
The bus drivers here are on crack. The one we had Saturday… oh my God. They are all bad, but he was suicidal. Probably because he was dying of Tuberculosis. At least, it sounded like he was. Now, skip this part if you don’t want to be grossed out, because I’m making a gag face already just typing it. So skip the next paragraph and think of… I don’t know. Flowers or something.
In Korea, there is this huge issue (well, I mean, I have huge issue with what I’m about to say) with horking up snot. You aren’t supposed to use a kleenex in public, but making that horrific noise and spitting it out is fine by Miss Korean Manners. FUCKING GROSS! I hate it. I hate it MORE on the bus, because (shudder… don’t read this part even if you are actually reading this paragraph instead of thinking about flowers like I suggested) because… aurgh! BECAUSE THERE IS NO WHERE TO SPIT IT AND THEY DON’T HAVE TISSUES!! AURGH!!!! And the bus driver was really having a go at this. (I’m seriously making the gag face right now, I’m grossing myself out).
And then… he was doing the speed up, slow down, speed up, slow down that makes me want to hurl. And then… (it keeps getting worse) the buses make a "bee-oo, bee-oo" sound when the bus is going too fast. Our bus was making that sound. We couldn’t figure out how it wasn’t driving the driver crazy. And then Frances noticed that he was wearing earphones so he probably couldn’t hear it. Or himself horking up his lung. I was VERY happy to get off the bus.
Frances and I then went to Hollywood Grill, where we saw a bunch of people we know from Suji. Lorraine hooked up with us and stuck by for the rest of the night, which was so much fun. I won’t go into tons of detail (because if you weren’t there, it won’t be that interesting), but it started with someone at Hollywood asking Lorraine if we were models (yes, because all of us are 6 feet tall and weigh 100 pounds put together). He was smarmy. We left. Checked out Rocky Mountain Tavern…
~Side Note on Rocky Mountain~
Weird that there is a Canadian-themed bar in the world. It is the equivalent of an Irish pub in Canada, but instead of fake Irish shite on the walls there is fake Canadian shit on the walls.
~End Side Note~
… and it was empty. Jumped to Geckos, which was dying but we started the Zoolander portion of the evening. If only Smarmy Man had not asked if we were models… Again, there is no need to go into detail, but by the end of the night, there were 150+ pictures (of us) on Frances’ camera. It was good, clean narcissistic fun.
After Geckos, up Hooker Hill to Polly’s Kettle. This is where most of the photos happened, and most of the drinking. And dancing. We finally left after 7am. Then the cab ride happened.
You have to ask 100 times if the cabbie knows where Suji is. The first cab we approached said no, but cabbie2 said he did. Well, it is usually around 28-34 (tops) thousand won to get home. Our meter was at 34,000 and we didn’t have any idea where we were. Not good. We (okay, mostly me) got mad at the driver, made him pull over and let us out. And we walked away. He chased us down (okay, not that dramatic, but he did follow us) and was yelling. I was yelling back. He grabbed my arm and tried pulling us (okay, me) back to the cab. I was SO ANGRY… I already felt like he took advantage of us, and now he is grabbing at me. So I pulled my arm away and put up my fists… I was ready to fight him (moms, calm down. And don’t blame this on the TKD… I would have defended myself against this asshole even if I had never learned how to throw a punch). Frances jumped in, grabbed a stick ( calm DOWN moms…) and started playing good cop. She kept repeating "Suji… Suji…" and wrote "30,000" in the dirt on the ground. Frances is not just beautiful boys – she is also fucking smart. So back in the cab… and another 40 minutes to get home. We were in the cab over an hour and a half. And I had to pee. Think of the one time you had to pee the worst in your whole life. Double that painful feeling. Now understand that is NOTHING compared to how bad I had to pee. I thought I was going to die from a burst bladder. I didn’t want the cabbie to stop anywhere either because we needed to get home. The minute he did stop though (FINALLY), I ran (literally) from the cab and tried every building (okay, two) to see if there was an available washroom. I couldn’t find one fast enough (so I don’t want to hear about the bathroom YOU used ever again, Frances) so I just ducked between two buildings. Thank God it was early on a holiday so no one was around. Would have been embarrassing. I was happy to get home finally at just after 9am. It’s a new Korean record for me. Thank God we have two more days off…

General Ramblings

Not much to report on… hopefully this long (read: four day) weekend will supply some interesting stories of some sort.
First, I have to say something about the uniform. You aren’t "supposed" to wear ANYTHING under the uniform, but girls are allowed to wear a bra to support their… girls. I’m also wearing a white t-shirt, because the damned thing is more low-cut than anything I would wear to the bar. Now, when I get home, I take off the uniform shirt, but leave the t-shirt on. So now I’m wearing a white t-shirt tucked into a pair of volumous white pants with the tightest waistband ever. It dawned on me the other day – I look like Hannibal Lector after he is taken to Baltimore in this particular outfit. That’s hot.
I’ve officially pulled something too, although it is hard for me to pinpoint what exactly was pulled. My lower abdominal hurts. As do my hips. But the abs… egad! I didn’t know I HAD lower abdominal muscles to fucking pull. I skipped Tae Kwon Do yesterday because I’m supposed to do the damned test tomorrow. Can’t do that if I can’t kick. I’ll let you know if I pull through and get my sexy yellow belt.
I need to send a big THANK YOU to Tricia… her Christmas package arrived this week and it was the greatest thing ever! Candycanes! Lifesavers StoryBook! Cinnamon Trident! Trashy Mags! Chocolate! HOORAY!! I had to beat coworkers away from the package with a stick. There are quite a few things you can get in Korea that I didn’t think I would be able to (like Ferrero Rocher…my favorite!), but candy canes and cinnamon gum are no where to be found. Also, they are low on Skor bars here, which is a crime against nature. So again, Trish – thanks so much. I also really appreciated your note and card.
Almost forgot – this week our Master made us sit in a dark room in front of a lit candle and meditate for five minutes or so. Which was cool. And then he told us to blow the candle out with a punch. I’m very proud to say that I was able to do this. I felt very tough and at one with everything that I could punch. Heh heh.
I get to do a lot of weird and wacky things whilst teaching monkeys, but I topped even myself this week: I had to do an impression of a lizard on a fork. And it was good.
So, yah. I’ve been reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy for the last five months. I’m not very fond of it. I mean – world’s greatest novel, blah blah blah… but not my thing, you know? So I hate it, but I’m going to finish it, because it is one of those books I thought "I should read that" (next: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand – why do I hate myself so much??). I’ve read several other books in the meantime, but I’m hoping to finish W&P by the end of February (at the latest). Anyway, here is a quote from the book that I want to type out so I don’t lose it… I want to add it to my book when I get home.
"Nothing is trivial, nothing is important — it’s all the same: one should only try to escape from it as best one can."
Right on Tolstoy, you crazy bitch.

The days are just packed

>For being my “short” day – today felt like a long fucking day.


Today we had a “market” for the kindergarten kids. Basically, all the little monkeys brought in old clothes, toys, and books. We also had stationary and snacks. Then we gave the little hooligans 20 pretend dollars and sent them off while we manned the stations. It was pretty fun, actually. We had to teach them the language of shopping, and apparently every teacher thought bargaining was an essential part of shopping (must be vacationing in Thailand, Malaysia and the Philipines that did it). They are totally screwed if they shop at a supermarket. So it was fun because they would say “Teacher, how much is this cookie?” and I could say “5000 dollars”. Most would say “too much”, and we would go from there, but the quieter kids and the dumber kids and the younger kids would just hand you whatever they had and let you figure it out. It was mayham, but it was good mayham.


I was a little sore from Tae Kwon Do – I have pulled my… well, nearly everything hurts, okay? Everyfreakingthing. So I decided to go to the sports massage guy. And he tortured me for an hour. It feels good, but it kills you at the same time. It felt like he was trying to separate the individual muscle fibres. I think he succeeded. It was painful… but not the most painful thing I did today.


Today Tae Kwon Do was also painful because of the massage. And I was sleepy. I felt like I couldn’t do anything, and was very sore trying to do it. But we did start to learn to use weapons today – and that kicks serious ass. Even better… I wasn’t too bad at it and I thought I would blow. We are using “Tae Kwon Sticks” (I forgot the Korean for them – that is the English the Master told us and I think it sounds goofy as shit) and they rule. They are about as long as your forearm and you get two of them. They keep getting caught in my shirt, but I still like them. I thought I wouldn’t be any good with them because you sort of twirl them like a baton – and I had a silvery baton with tassels when I was 7 and I wasn’t any good with it. But I didn’t do too badly. And the sweetest thing is that we can buy our own. Whoo-hoo! Also, I should get a yellow belt after next week. More sweetness.


I was sore after Tae Kwon Do, so I thought I would go to the sauna to soak in their tubs, as I do not have one.

~Side Note on Muscle Soreness~

Can you believe I can’t find Tiger Balm in this country? What the?

~End Side Note~

While at the sauna, I thought I would try the scrub service, as it is only $15 and I could use some exfoliation as much as the next person. Some exfoliation – yes. What this half-naked Korean woman did to my body – no.

Remember that at a sauna you are walking around naked everywhere. So I walk (naked) to the scrubby ladies (who are wearing nothing but bra and panties – which is more than me) and indicate that I want the 15,000won jobbie. She doesn’t speak English, I don’t speak Korean, but through pantamime and gesture we get on the same page. She has me lie face up on a pink plastic table. And then the pain began.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I thought it would be a little rough – it IS exfoliation, after all. However, I did not think that she would come after me like you would a dirty freaking floor. She had a glove on each hand that felt like those little green scrubbies you use to clean pots. And she started rubbing. AURGH! Not only was it ROUGHER than I thought – but she exfoliated in places that I didn’t need exfoliating. Like my armpits. Like my colon. It was really, really invasive. My favorite part was lying on my side, one leg up in the air and the other bent on the table so she could really get to my upper inner thigh. Oh dear.

In the end though it was worth it. After the scrub she massaged oil in (also everywhere – I should have tipped and lit a cigarette) and then hosed me down (definately should have tipped). I liked her; she would indicate that I needed to turn over by giving me a slap. Nice.

Now I’m off to bed ’cause I’m very tired after today. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m very happy that tomorrow is Friday. I definately could use another weekend.


Moms – I’m not dying of some weird tropical disease. The weird vertigo and nausea thing isn’t happening anymore, but I did go to the doctor exactly as you ordered. Although he isn’t 100% sure, the doctor thinks the sickness I experienced was due to my extremely (apparently) low blood pressure. It doesn’t usually bug me, but he thought the change in humidity, temperature, and altitude probably dropped it so low that I was near passing out all the time. Next time I will just have to ingest more salt. Who’da thunk it?


It is Wednesday, so we went out for some beers (read: several). And I just wanted to say thanks to Chad for picking up a choco milk for me. It was the best shit ever. Hooray!

Happy Birthday, Colin

Tomorrow is Colin’s birthday, so I thought I would say "Happy Birthday" here as he JUST thought you should tell me TODAY that his birthday is tomorrow. Not enough time to send a card. Cheers, Colin. Have fun tomorrow.

Pictures from the Wa Bar – Friday Night

You know, I really should have to say much more than that… but there is a bit more you should know. Like that these photos are censored and many were deleted. Frances made me. But I do promise, Frances, that none of them were horrific. I just thought "if it was ME, would I want it online?" If the answer was no, I deleted it. I’m a good friend.
It was a fun Friday night, made all the more exciting because of Frances. My love for her has increased dramatically, and there was a lot of love before.

Just Shy of Five Months

Sometimes I can’t believe I’ve been here this long… other times it doesn’t seem very long at all. Time is certainly moving fast, which seems not-good when you are this old (ha ha). I’m pretty sure time is flying because I’m so busy all the time. My work hours are on par with what I was working back home, but I go out a lot more.
The weekend was fun – the opposite of last weekend. Last weekend I didn’t put on pants; I didn’t go out; I don’t do anything.
~Side Note on the Preceding Sentence~
I KNOW that was serious infraction of the "Thy shalt not misuse nor over-use the semicolon" commandment of writing. I DON’T CARE. I like semicolons. They seem friendlier than colons and a little more exciting than a comma. Definately less serious than a period.
~End Side Note~
This weekend I went out Friday and Saturday night, as well as Saturday afternoon. There may have been some drinking involved. Today I’m glad I’m sitting around doing nothing but playing Civ though, because I want to be rested for tomorrow. It sucks going into the week worn out.
One thing I really MUST stop doing here is buying books. I’m not going to send them all home (read: I’m not keeping the damned things), and yet every time I see a book written in English I’m compelled to buy it. I don’t know if it is a love of reading or a love of spending money at any opportunity. Either way, it’s all good. I bought "The Tipping Point" by Malcom Gladwell (I read "Blink" and really enjoyed it), "All Tomorrow’s Parties" by William Gibson (Mike – have you finished Neuromancer yet? If so, how was it?? Have we already talked about this? Everyone else – Gibson is a Vancouverite who’s book "Pattern Recognition" was brilliant), "Memoirs of a Geisha" by Arthur Golden and "The Satanic Verses" by Salman Rushdie. I really may just be looking to avoid reading "War and Peace" as long as I can. But it is doing me no good… I can FEEL the book behind me on my bedside table, trying to bore the knowledge of its half-read existance into the guilt-centre of my brain. GET LOST TOLSTOY! I hate you!
Another thing I found is a really, really good case for my Nano. I’m pretty excited about it. Sweet!
It is a fact that I have "Pink Moon" written on the back of my left hand from last night. Yes, I know why.

Kicking it in Style

Forgot to mention that Orla, Brooke and I have our Tae Kwon Do uniforms! Yes! Now I feel freaking tough, even with that pussy white belt.

When the Abnormal Becomes the Norm

If you are always expecting the unexpected… is the unexpected REALLY unexpected anymore? That’s teaching in Korea most of the time.
Yesterday the heat was out in 75% of the school. This isn’t bad news for me – it is usually pretty stinking hot in my class because I get the sun all day. But some of the rooms were really, really cold and it was uncomfortable to teach (or, I suppose, learn). This didn’t impact most of my day too badly, we just had Andrea’s baby class join our class for playtime (both classes were extra cute), and after lunch we all stayed in the "Big Gym" to watch a video of last year’s Grad ceremony. The heat was on in the Big Gym. And it was turned up high to compensate for the rooms with no heat. And then we put 110 children and 20 adults into that room – and it ain’t really all that big for a "Big Gym". So, it started to get hot. And there was little to no sound on what was already an incredibly boring video. I didn’t want to sit still either, so I felt bad for my kids. So I started making my own fun.
Sometimes when the kids are misbehaving in a not-life-threatening-sort-of-way (read: always), I will curl my lip and growl at them. They usually laugh and stop doing whatever small bad thing they were doing. Well, my Amy was at the back of the line and a wee bit giggly. At one point, I did my curl the lip trick at her… and the cheeky wee monkey did it back. Which made me laugh, so she did it again. So I decide to up the ante on this little performance a bit. I tell her to say "Hey, baby" while she is curling her lip… sort of like Elvis. Atta girl, Amy! She nailed the funniest Elvis impersonation done by a five-year old Korean ever. Made me laugh every time she did it.
No real word back on Macbeth yet, if you can believe that. Today Jenny called me to her desk to talk about it. First thing she asked me was "is this a chant?" to which I replied "well, no… but a chant isn’t what you think a chant is anyway. This is closer to what you said you thought a "chant" is." And the last good part of my soul rolled over and died in the shadow of my cruelty to this poor, incompetent twit. Now Jenny is going to take it to the Grand Poobah. Because Jenny knows I’m not going to write another one. Score! It might still get approved… I will still let you know.
It also snowed yesterday. It was the kind of snow where you can see that each snowflake is different from the other, you can name them as they fall, and you can still point out the different flakes once they hit the ground. It was nice.
I mentioned that I was sick while I was there. Very sick, actually… with extreme vertigo and nausea. It was pretty unsettling. I only actually threw up once and I was thinking about that today. I don’t really mind throwing up. I know how much some people hate it but I don’t mind as much as I probably should. I think it is because I always feel better afterwards, and I don’t remember any time I’ve thrown up more than once per illness/hangover. Now, I don’t like to watch/hear/think about other people thowing up – that’s fucking gross. But I don’t mind if I have to throw up once in awhile. Unless of course it is that weird little throw up that you do just in your mouth. That’s a hundred shades of wrong. I hate that.

Disproportionately Pleased with Myself

It felt like the longest week in history. I haven’t ever really been on "vacation" before (unemployment does NOT count as "vacation") so I have never really experienced the "first week back from vacation" blues. Now I have. Sigh. And although it wasn’t a fun week, I would happily put up with it again if it meant going on another vacation.
I believe I’ve mentioned that we are doing a song and a "chant" for the graduation. Well, I finally found out what Jenny thinks a "chant" is. In essence – not what I think an effing chant is. Because I did not know, and repeated inquiries regarding what was actually being requested were unsucessful, I eventually handed in a poem of approximately 10 lines that I thought was "cute". Not that I’m a good judge of "cute", but whatever. I had a sneaking suspicion (after talking to Amelia) that this was going to be unsatisfactory. Amelia is doing a wonderful story with her kids that she rewrote so that each child says about 5 lines of the story each. Oh! A CHANT! NOW I FUCKING GET IT. Assholes. If you wanted me to rewrite a goddamned story so that each child has an equal amount of talk time, preferably no less than 4 or 5 lines, FUCKING SAY SO.
~Side Note on Swearing~
I did not make a resolution to swear less. Fuck that noise.
~End Side Note~
I knew that the rejection of my cute little poem was eminent (I looked up the spelling of "eminent" and – get this – I spelled it right the first time. Rock!) so I started walking around threatening that when it WAS rejected I was going to rewrite Macbeth for the little bastards to do.
My poem was rejected.
Now, I like to puff up a bit when I’m angry, and make general threats that I don’t mean. One would think that rewriting Macbeth so that 10 five-year-old Korean children could perform it would be one of those types of threats.
Tonight I rewrote Macbeth. There are 10 parts. Each child has 10 lines. It is still the entire play (in essence). I hope they can get some kilts for the little monkeys to wear.
I’m sure that this will also get shot down – 10 lines is a lot of lines. And I suppose it is a rather gory play full of revenge and murder and stuff. Which is fine, actually. I set out to do what I said I would do. And I’m not going to write another. If they don’t like it – THEY can write another one. I’m done. And if they DO like it (a scenario that I’m secretly cheering for), I will let you know because that is funny. They are five years old. They are Korean. They are going to learn to refer to it as "The Scottish Play".
I found the only two bagels that were in existance in Korea today and bought them. They smell good and I’m excited to eat the damned things. It’s not that there aren’t bagels in Korea; it is just that they are just hard to find.
The island where they filmed "The Beach" was very beautiful and a national park in Thailand. The Gila Lizard was guarding the way to the toilet. Which I needed to use. Which was disgusting once I did. I should have just peed with the fishes.