Monthly Archives: June 2007

Thanks Anthony

 
These days on Tuesday and Thursday I only teach one class after Kindergarten. Although it is slighly balls that it is at 4:00, I have appreciated not working from 2:30 until 4:00. It makes me a happier teacher at 4:00.  At that time I teach a grammar class. I tells ya, I have a degree in English and never before now have I known so much about flipping grammar. It’s disgusting.  Anyhoo, this particular class we were reviewing articles and adjectives. On one page, the children had to complete the sentence "Kay’s _____ pants always make us laugh."  A few of the kids said colours, two said "crazy", Amy Koo said "ugly", which made me laugh.  But the topper that day was from Anthony who wrote, "Kay’s invisible pants always make us laugh."
Well played, Anthony. Well played.

Poop. And Other Stories.

 
::Passport Panic::
 
Guess what I’ve learned. That you can’t travel through most of SE Asia with a passport that expires within six months of travel. Guess when my passport expires. NOVEMBER.  Now, as soon as I found out, I hauled ass to the embassy to get it renewed. What is it about dealing with government officials that makes one feel as though one is up to no good?  I probably looked guilty as sin and I hadn’t done a thing. Well, I hadn’t done anything that should impede getting a new passport. I’m still pretty stressed about this situation though. It takes three weeks to get a new passport. I go on vacation in three and a half weeks. Wish me luck. I’m going nowhere if that passport doesn’t show up first. I’ll let you know.
 
::Poop::
 
So, at go-home time the other day, I notice a rank smell. I’m thinking one of the kids just farted. After lunch, some of them let fly and they are rank-tastic. Kimchi doesn’t smell good as a food. It smells worse as a fart. The kids are picking up on the bad smell situation when they finally figured out where the smell was coming from (I was too busy getting things ready to go).
 
There was poop on the floor.
 
Poop!
 
Not like a turd rolling around; more like a poop smear. But, and here’s the thing… how did poop get on the floor?  I checked the bottom of my shoes, less because I thought I had stepped in the poop that had magically appeared, but more because I thought maybe I stepped in poop outside and brought it in. Nope. Clean shoes. And thank goodness, ’cause they were flip-flops. Not much poop protection there. Emily and Lauren saw me check my shoes, so they checked their shoes.  Emily’s shoes were clean. Lauren’s right shoe – poop show. And not a little poop. Quite the slick there. I managed to get her to take off the poopy shoe before she walked around any more. I told her to take it to Lily-Teacher at the front desk to get it cleaned up. Once the kids were out of the room, I took some tissue and cleaned the poop up off the floor.
I cleaned the poop up off the floor. Cleaned. the. poop. I don’t think that is in my contract. 
 
What remains a mystery is where the hell the poop came from in the first place. The kids change their shoes from outside shoes to inside shoes (much like Mr. Rogers) every morning. There was no poop in the classroom in the morning. The poop was on Lauren’s outside shoe. The poop didn’t hit the floor until after lunch.  How did she get her poopy little shoe into the school without smearing poop all over the place until after lunch?  It’s a mystery.
 
Funny end to the story – Jacky, one of the directors, was very concerned about where the poop may have come from. She seemed unable to accept that it just showed up after lunch. Apparently shit shouldn’t be so mysterious.
 
::Rainy Season::
 
It is raining like a mad bitch right now.
 
::Dinner with Amelia::
 
I went for dinner with Amelia (who I’m pretending isn’t leaving because being abandoned might be easier than saying goodbye. Again) the other night. Dinner was hilarious for us but probably unremarkable for anyone else. We went to Sizzler and ate ourselves sick. Amelia punched herself in the nose laughing because I said "soft delayed" (actually, that punch in the face probably would have been hilarious for anyone that would have been there) but other than that dinner was just dinner.  And a Brooke-less dinner at that (hope you got your evals done). But something did happen on the way there that I kind of want to jot down.
The traffic here is bad. People only vaguely follow traffic laws when they are in the mood. They treat them more like suggestions. They honk. A lot. They have to swerve around each other and pedestrians. They don’t always look for pedestrians. A monk almost hit Brendan once.  But for all of that, I’ve never seen anything more than a fender-bender.  On the way to dinner though, we saw something happen that missed being a tragedy by only a few seconds.
 
Amelia and I were on bus 15 on the way for dinner, talking about Woody’s suprise birthday party because Amelia had to miss it. Suddenly, the bus slammed hard on the brakes. That was no big shock – that happens a lot in Korea because they all drive up each other’s asses constantly. But then we heard the most horrific scream from outside the bus.
The driver had run a red light for a crosswalk. And a mother with her two twin girls, both less than seven or eight years old, were trying to cross.  The bus just knicked the one little girl – it looked like it possibly just touched her knee. The little girl was not even crying.  But the mother….
 
Even know I’m not sure how to explain what it was like to witness that woman’s pain. I’m sitting here in my room, listening to the rain, and shaking my head. I can’t even imagine what that poor mother went though. She came within seconds, mere seconds, of losing her little girl forever. And you could hear the realization of that possibility in the anguish of her cry.
 
Although the driver ran the light, and was therefore entirely at fault, my heart goes out to him as well. The guilt that poor man must be feeling. And for all I know, he was having a bad day. Perhaps he was distracted for a very good reason. But he will have to live with the fact that he almost seriously hurt that little girl, and that he did emotionally hurt her mother very much.
 
I know that in the end, it was all okay. But I sometimes wonder about close calls like that. I’ve had a few. It makes me wonder about the purposes we may have for sticking around, even when circumstances take us so close to checking out.
 
Sorry to be Captain Bringdown at the end of this entry… but this is what my week has been like. Some ups, some downs. Some moments of just wanting to crawl in bed and cry. Or scream. Or both. Some moments of laughing until it hurts. Moments of just being glad. Of being exhausted. Of being relaxed. Of being sick. Of just being, I suppose, in the end. And in the end, that’s enough for me right now.

Survey Says

I do have real things to blog about, but I’m having trouble getting started. I’ve been pretty stressed out for a while now, about a variety of things, so it is hard to sit down and type about… stuff. Or whatever. So  I’m going to do this wee questionnaire and see if it doesn’t get me in the mood for typing. But first… I have to make popcorn for dinner. Then we can begin. 
 
Who was your first childhood friend? Are you still friends?

The first friend I remember (that wasn’t a child of my parents’ friends) was Trish.  We met when we were four years old. My family had just moved to Quesnel.  I rode my bike to a neighbour’s house and knocked on the door. When it was answered, I asked the lady who appeared if she had any kids my age that I could play with. She had a daughter who was a year or two older but she was at school. So I got back on my bike and went to the next house. Mrs. Schley (who would later drive me to kindergarten with Trish) answered the door. I said, "Hello, my name is Jodi. I am four years old. Do you have any kids I can play with?"  Trish was hiding behind the door. Mrs. Schley introduced us, and then we went outside to play.

I just used Trish on my application to renew my passport. Under relationship I put "friend".  Under years known I got to put "27".  That’s pretty rad.

How many times have you moved in your life?

I’ve lived in seven different cities. I’ve lived in two different countries in two different continents. But just moving?  Ummm… a clean 20 times. But that isn’t including all the summers I moved back home to work while I was in university.

At what age would you say you stopped being a kid?

I don’t think I’ve entirely stopped being a kid yet.

What’s your favorite scent?

There are so many!  I like the smell of dinner being almost ready when I wasn’t the one who had to cook it. I love the smell of jasmine. I love the smell of suntan lotion on warm skin. I like the smell of a warm spring breeze coming through the window after the floors have been washed. Many others.

Have any good-luck charms?

I have a wee stuffed hedgehog named "Lou" that I took to every exam in university.

Have any snow dances/superstitions for getting a day off of school?

No! But that’s an awesome idea!

When you were five years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? And now?

I wanted to be so many things. At one point I know I wanted to be a lawyer. An actress. A veternarian. But for most of the years where children are expected to answer that question (people stop asking when they realize you proabably aren’t going to grow up. Ever.), I would answer, "rich".  Now I would settle for happy.

Can you read music?

Yes, but not very quickly. It may have something to do with the fact that I don’t play any instrument particularly well.

Can you speak another language?

I can speak very little French and even less Korean. And most of what I know in Korean is dirty words. 

What’s your favorite cereal?

Captain Crunch.

Your opinion of the 80s?

I actually hate all the glorified reminising about the 1980s. I don’t think it was a better or worse decade than any other.

Given the chance, would you become a hippie?

Actually, I probably… I was going to say "wouldn’t"… but it would be kind of fun. I would give it a go.

Do you believe in magic? Think you’ve done any?

I believe everything is magic. So what I do must be magic too. Or at least… that’s what the boys tell me. WHOO!!!*

*Not lately. I hate this country for that.

If you could go anywhere, where would you go? 

I would go to Orla and Joe’s wedding in Ireland in August. I really wish I could be there with them!

Who would you want to be stranded on an island with?

The Professor.

Did you read a lot when you were a kid? And now?

I only had few friends as a kid – I was a nerd. And I went to the library a lot. I still read a lot (and most people would still probably consider me a nerd).

Have you ever watched cheesy sci-fi shows like Farscape and Buffy?

I did watch the first few seasons of The X-Files. Does that count?

Do you like Broadway musicals? If so, name a favorite.

I’m not big on musicals. They are the theatrical equivalent of seeing a Disney movie. They can be entertaining, but it usually doesn’t go deeper than that. I’ve seen one live musical (Rent) and I hated it. I was *in* a musical (The Wiz – I was Adaperle, the good witch – go ahead and try to make a witch joke that I haven’t already heard a thousand times) and that was fun. I would actually like to see Phantom.

Do you like instrumental movie soundtracks?

I do. My favourite one is for "Kundun"…. I hope I spelled that correctly.

Do you like indie movies?

Not particularly. I like indie music though.

Do you have a favorite composer?

I actually like Phillip Glass, a minimalist composer from NY.

Do you have a favorite director?

I like the earlier stuff from the Cohen brothers. I really appreciate the stuff that Tim Burton does. Oh, and I do dig the way Michael Mann and David Finscher do their films. And what’s his face… the guy who did Life Aquatic… that guy’s good too. I’m too lazy to Google it. You Google it.

What superhero did you always pretend to be as a kid?

I had to be Wonder Woman if I wanted to play with the boys.

What is your favorite Disney movie?

The Brave Little Toaster. If you haven’t seen it, you should. And then you will understand a bit better what the hell is wrong with me.

Did you have any mortal enemies in elementary school?

Probably. As mentioned before, I was a nerd. I got into fights every once in a while, sometimes because I was trying to look out for my little brother. I forgive my enemies pretty fast though (I quickly forget that we are supposed to be enemies) so I don’t really remember any one in particular.

When, would you say, was the best time of your life?

This time is kicking some serious ass.

What are you looking forward to most in life?

Finally finding that sense of being "there". Or "here", I guess, if I’m "there". Sigh. Hard to explain.

How do you express yourself?

I blog sometimes. I make jokes that aren’t funny to anyone but me.

Are you a fan of the movie Office Space?

I love Office Space. Any time there is a miscommunication at work here in Korea, someone will inevitably say, "I heard you are having some problems with your TPS Reports." Of course, there is always a knob or two that have never seen it and they don’t know what we are talking about.  I also think that "no talent ass clown" may be one of the funniest insults EVER.

Do you watch anime?

No.

If you could have one superpower:

I would like to be invisible. Once when I answered this question I was accused of wanting to be invisible only so I could find out what people thought of me. At the time, I argued with whoever that was. Now… nope. I’ll admit it. I would find out what people really said about me when I wasn’t around. And then I would destroy them.

If you could be any animal:

A bird. Bet you ass clowns thought I would say "monkey", but I like to look at and laugh at monkeys – I don’t want to BE one. I wish I could fly though so being a bird would be pretty cool.

If you could change something in any book, movie or TV show:

I would change the season finale of season 6 of 24. Weak.

What movie made you want your 7 bucks and 2 hours back?

In what year were movies still seven dollars?  The only movies I’ve seen that make me wish I had not wasted the time and/or money are Clockwork Orange and Time… Time something. So bad I don’t even remember what it was called.

What movie scared the crap out of you?

When I was a kid – Raiders of the Lost Ark and Poltergeist.  As an adult – Silence of the Lambs and The Exorcist.

What movie made you cry?

The last one I remember that made me go a messy rubbery one is Big Fish (but I saw it just months after my dad died and it is about a dad dying).  The one that made me cry the hardest (to the point where I couldn’t watch it with someone I couldn’t trust 100%) was I am Sam. Oh man! I cried so hard (starting near the beginning of the movie) that Mike had to ask me if I wanted to turn it off. I wasn’t just sniffling through that one – I was SOBBING. It is really good though.  My moms told me that when I was a kid I cried pretty hard watching The Fox and the Hound.

What movie do you love even though you know it’s stupid?

Strange Brew. Most retarded movie of all time and I freaking love it. Take off, eh!

Favorite Monty Python skit:

I really like "The Undertaker" sketch.

Favorite poet:

Bronwen Wallace and Leonard Cohen (both Canadian).

Favorite toy when you were a kid:

I want NO GUFF FROM YOU SWINE… 

Barbies.

Do you still dress up for Halloween?

Yes, of course!

If you could have any animal for a pet:

A helper monkey.

What embarrassing/amusing incident do your friends always love to bring up?

My *real* friends wouldn’t do this to me because they know how much I hate being embarassed. Besides, I don’t do thinks to embarass myself. HA!

Do you blush?

Not really. It takes a freaking lot to make me blush. It has been accomplished though.

Do you hate public speaking?

I love public speaking!  Lord help everyone in the room if I have a glass of wine and a microphone!

Do you hate numbers?

Just the number six.

Do you think you were brainwashed as a little kid?

We were all brainwashed as children. Just some more so than others.  I think my parents tried their best to allow my brother and I to be free thinkers (damned hippies).

Do you agree with the religion you were brought up with? Do you plan on giving your children a choice in the matter?

I wasn’t brought up in a particular religion, I still don’t follow a particular religion, and so I suppose I agree with not being brought up in any particular religion. I wouldn’t force religion on my own children any more than I would arrange a marriage for them. I think it is important that all people are given a choice. That said, I also wouldn’t prevent my children from persuing a religious path and would support them whatever they would choose.

What is your philosophy in life?

You should act as though everything you do is of upmost importance with far-reaching impact across all life and time. And then laugh your ass off at yourself for believing it.

Do you consider yourself an optimist or a pessimist?

I’m an optimistic pessimist. Or a pessimistic optimist. I hope for the best and expect the worst. I would call myself a "realist", but as I don’t make contingency plans for "the worst", so I’m not really much of a realist.

Do you frequently experience deja vu?

I did experience deja vu a lot until my mid-twenties, but I don’t very often anymore. I wonder what THAT means?

What little-known band/singer would you recommend to anyone?

I’ve been seriously digging Midlake. Check it out.

Do you have a favorite animator?

Rough Draft Studios in Korea (they do The Simpsons and Futurama).

What single event/person/thing has most changed your life?

All events; each person; all things… they all have impact and influence on our lives. The difficulty lies in assertaining how each one has impacted your life.

What’s your favorite Shakespearean play?

I have most enjoyed reading and performing Macbeth; I have most enjoyed watching Midsummer’s Night Dream.

Are you a ninja or a pirate?

I wanna be both. I’m a ninja-pirate, baby.

Friday's Feast

 
Oh man, I’ve been bad about blogging. Sorry guys. I am currently panicking because my passport expires in just under 6 months. This may mean no Philippines for me. 😦
 

Appetizer
Name a funny habit you have.

You know, I really don’t think I have a funny habit. Now I’m going to think about it. A lot.

Soup
If you could instantly know how to play a musical instrument, which one would you pick?

Guitar. I mean, I can play a little, but I would love to be great at it in an instand.

Salad
How long is your hair?

It isn’t.

Main Course
When was the last time you forgave someone, and who was it?

Today I let it slide that most of the buggers I teach didn’t have a presentation written. Does that count?

Dessert
What is your favorite kitchen appliance? 

My fridge because it keeps my beer cold.

Flipping Comedians

 
Although I dread my 5:30 Monday/Wednesday/Friday class, I look forward to it too. They are high-energy and hard-to-control… but they are fun.
 
When asked "Why is it called ‘Great’?" (meaning the Great Wall of China), Eddie responded, "Well, because it IS great."  Thanks, Eddie. Who taught you sarcasm?
 
In my last class they read a story about weddings. One of the questions was "What are some reasons to get married?"  Here are some of the answers:
 
Lydia: To get cute daughters and handsome sons.
Sally: To have babies and be happpy.
Sophie: Because you love each other.
And (sigh) Eddie: So you can go on a trip.
 
Eddie also accidently gave me another great answer. I guess what he said is "They fight", but that’s not what I heard. The question was, "What problems does a foreigner have in a new country?" I swear that little bugger answered, "They’re white."

Friday's Feast – Served Cold on Sunday

 
This was a busy weekend – we ended up having Girls’ Night on Friday and I went to Janet’s wedding on Saturday (and then out and about because Korean’s don’t know how to do up a wedding reception properly).  I spent most of today asleep – Friday and Saturday ended up both being late nights (very late – I saw the sun come up both nights – yikes!).
 

Appetizer
Fill in the blank:  The best thing about where I live is _________________…

The best thing about where I live is  I don’t have to be the one responsible for paying the bills.

Soup
Create a new name for a deodorant (like “Flower Fresh” or “Shower Scent”).

"Doesn’t Smell Like a Damned Thing" (I hate scented deodorant.)

Salad
What was the last piece of software you installed onto your computer?

I re-downloaded and installed "Last.fm".  Before that was "Sims Seasons" (thanks Mike!).

Main Course
If you were to receive a superlative award today beginning with the words ”Most likely to…”, what would the rest of the phrase say?

Today’s award would be "Most likely to fall asleep in front of a movie instead of doing evaluations", but tomorrow’s award would probably be different.

Dessert
What two colors do you like to wear together?

I like light blue and dark brown together.

And I PAID Her to Do This to Me

 
Last time I trust Ellie! I’m going for some sort of weird-ass Korean massage and it flipping HURTS. Works though – I’m feeling quite relaxed. Or at least, I was until I saw what her vacuum did to my back.  YIKES!

Dog Eat Dog World

 
So, I get asked questions about eating dog meat here in Korea from folks back home.  Yes, Koreans do eat dog meat, but not very often. Most of them never eat it. Yes, they have dogs as pets. No, they don’t "have" to eat it because there isn’t enough beef/pork/etc to go around, it is considered a delicacy and is actually more expensive than other meats. No, you can’t find it at just any restaurant (or in a supermarket). Yes, there are particular dogs bred for meat (they are actually a very nice looking dog).  Yes, they will cook other breeds, but usually just in poorer areas of the country.
 
And until today, the number one question I get asked I could answer: No, I haven’t tried it.
 
Until today.
 
Today Mira and her husband took me for lunch. They wanted to do something for me because I have been helping Mira, a former Korean coworker, with her writing without charging her (in a country where I could charge approximately $55 per hour).  Mira offered to take me to a fancy spa and a nice restaurant. I tenatively told her that the one thing in Korea I would really like to try is dog meat.  I didn’t want to offend her, but Mira agreed that they could take me to a restaurant where you could eat it even though neither she or her husband have ever eaten it. Like I said, not all Koreans have eaten it. Before we even got to the restaurant, Mira’s husband said he wouldn’t eat it out of principle – he likes dogs – but he did once we got there.
 
The restaurant was nice. It was out of the way in the "country", but only about 30 minutes away from where I live. The "dining room" was lovely – there were low Korean-style tables set out under tarps beside a creek. Mira and her husband both speak English well, so it was nice to sit there with them and their two daughters (aged 2 and 4).
I know, I know… get on to the meat (HA!) of the story already.  Okay… here it goes….
 
Dog meat looks mostly like roast beef.  There are parts that look all fatty and gross, like pig. But the part I would consider "good meat" looked… well, looked exactly like roast beef. 
 
Now, the taste… I’m a little lost on how to describe it. I suppose it tasted more like cow than pig or chicken – it tasted NOTHING like chicken.  It reminded me more of the wild game (moose, deer, bear, elk, etc) that I have eaten (thanks to a huntin’ dad) than anything else, but not as gamey.  And it was served with sauses (the first course) and in a highly garlic-y soup (second course) so it was hard to say. I did try some with nothing on it, and I’m still hard-pressed to make a comparison.
 
Bottom line? Dog tastes like dog, I suppose.  Was it gross? No. Would I go out of my way to eat it again? Nah… beef is better.  But I do feel like I’ve definitely had a culinary experience that not many people can say they have had.  Or that many people would WANT to say they have had. Now maybe I will relent and try those disgusting smelling silkworm larvae that you can buy on the streets…

Friday's Feast


Appetizer

What do you consider to be the ultimate snack food?

Popcorn.

Soup
On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 as highest), about how popular is your last name?

Zero.  There aren’t that many people out there with my last name. In fact… most of them are family.

Salad
Who is your all-time favorite sitcom character, and why?

I don’t watch sitcoms, so this is a really hard question. Probably the Professor from Gilligan’s Island… if I was trapped on a deserted island I would want to be with someone who really knew how to work a coconut.

Main Course
Do you shop online? If so, name some sites you like to browse for goodies.

NO. Wait, I mean YES YES YES!  I buy the most things from Victoria Secret, but I’ve also gotten some shirts from PalmerCash.  I love shopping online! Hooray mail! Hooray no shopping malls!

Dessert
Fill in the blank: I think ___________ should be ___________.

I think I should be rewarded in some way. (No, I don’t have a reason to be rewarded. I just like winning things.)

Worst Hair Ever

 
When will I learn?  When?  I’m like a retarded child who keeps touching the stove to see if it is still hot.  And I keep getting burned.
 
I decided that I wanted to dye my hair. I haven’t done it in over a year… which is about the longest I have gone without colouring it since I was, oh, about 18.  Truly exciting. I don’t really care for my own hair colour, to be honest. It looks a little like mouse fur. And lately, it has been looking like ageing mouse fur, which I don’t support. In the least.
 
Today after work I went to the salon to have it cut and coloured. At least the cut was okay!  But the colour. Whoo-boy.  It wasn’t that the colours weren’t right, it was a nice blonde and a lovely red. However. HOWEVER!  The way that he APPLIED the dye was horrible! HORRIBLE! OH THE HUMANITY!  I have never wished that I carried a hat around more than I did today, I would have been mortified if anyone had actually witnessed the monstrosity that was my head.
 
I don’t know what made the stylist think THIS was a good idea… he applied the colour in stripes. Yes, I said STRIPES.  It looked so weird! And… and wrong.  I couldn’t have pulled off that particular dye job if I was a fourteen year old boy pretending to be all bad-assed and gansta.
 
The other thing was… well, I just didn’t have the heart to tell him how much I hated it. He seemed so proud of himself. Crazy Corean.  So instead of refusing to pay, or asking it to be redone, or otherwise making a scene, I thanked him, paid him off, and ran to the nearest store that sold boxes of hair dye.
 
It now looks mostly normal, but very orangey-red. I can live with it, even though I think I can still detect those stripes under there. Aurgh! That is the LAST time I try that in Korea.