Deep breaths… it isn’t long now until my escape. Sweet, sweet freedom! Here’s hoping the next big boss ain’t like the ole big boss…
Deep breaths… it isn’t long now until my escape. Sweet, sweet freedom! Here’s hoping the next big boss ain’t like the ole big boss…
I remember the first time that I went to Lotte Mart. I was so excited to find Kit Kats that I bought all of them. And a jar of peanut butter (which I am fairly meh about) simply because I recognised it as food. I spent hours in there just looking around. And even after I had lived in Korea for a long time, it was still interesting to make new discoveries, try mysterious new foods, and toss out a bunch of shite that wasn’t actually digestable.
The grocery stores here aren’t that exciting. It is Britain. And they are fairly serious and bland**** about their food. Furthermore*****, all the packages are in English (albeit******in “British English” which is a whole new animal for me), and I mostly understand what the food is about.
There are things that make me smile…. like that they can have an entire section of the store that is just for “Pies”. I’m not joking. These people will eat anything in a pie. It is kind of cute (until they put liver in a pie: not cute at all). There is also beer in every store, which is pretty darned handy. There’s beer in Korean stores too, but only shitty beer. England has some very nice beer. And it is in the grocery store.
There was something the other week though that made me nearly wee right there in the bakery department. The staff at Waitrose probably think I’m a nutter. Well, I got it in my head that I would like some nice English muffins to toast and eat with some butter for breakfast. So I headed over to the bakery department. And guess what? They are just called “muffins” over here. I don’t know now why that struck me as so funny (although it did at the time) because it doesn’t sound as funny now. Perhaps it was the fact that they were sitting beside the crumpets. That’s right – crumpets. I thought that was a food Dr. Seuss made up to rhyme with “trumpets”, I didn’t know it was a real food. Well, it is… and nothing gave me greater pleasure than having tea and crumpets when I got home from the store.
*Granted, a really effed-up version of fun
At least I didn’t swear that I wouldn’t go out Friday. Because that would have been a lie. Went to Joe and Orla’s place, had some beers, and headed to the Beer Cabin. It’s a friendly little place with this weird mural of an old dude sitting on a porch of his cabin in the woods (in his socks), holding a Cass Beer and miming that he is shooting a gun. A white dude. I DON’T KNOW WHY. But it was fun, with a lot of good conversation and a whole load of beers. All-in-all, a good night. Most excitedly, we found out on Friday night that there is a Subway coming a block away from the school. WHOO–HOO!
Orla, this one is for you, as per Merriam-Webster:
One entry found for bestiality.
Main Entry: bes·ti·al·i·ty
Pronunciation: "bes-chE-'a-l&-tE, "besh-, "bEs-, "bEsh-
Inflected Form(s): plural -ties
1 : the condition or status of a lower animal
2 : display or gratification of bestial traits or impulses
3 : sexual relations between a human being and a lower animal
::END SIDE NOTE::
Headed into Seoul in the AM (but not TOO AM, if you get what I mean) to do some shopping and endure some self-inflicted pain with Andy. We went to the Coex first to have a bikini wax done. Although I have had this done many times in Canada, I was nervous about having it done in Korea, as Koreans in general don’t have much hair. So what the hell do they know about removing it?? It wasn’t really any better or worse. It’s a beautiful, universal fact: having hairs ripped out by the root from your pubic area is god-damned uncomfortable no matter where in the world you might dwell. Ouch!
After that, we headed over to the Technomart (didn’t I say it was dangerous that I was brought there in the first place?!? Didn’t I?) so I could get my Nano. And wouldn’t you know… the 4GB black ones were all sold out! Fuckerpants! Looks like Colin will get his before me. But, you know what a trooper I am… I ordered mine online to be shipped to my moms. Who can send it to me. Hooray! This way I could have them engrave “i caught you a delicious bass” on the back for free. If you don’t know what that refers to, you probably didn’t watch the funniest movie to come out in years enough times. Go watch it again.
In order to make up for not spending too much on an Apple product, I bought some more movies and socks. Not Techno-socks, but they are still cool. Then to Itaewon, where we ran into Orla (small country, you know) and went to Hanan Market. Got more dill pickles. Yummy!
Regarding the weather this week: It is fucking cold.
::END SIDE NOTE::
After jaunting home for a quick change of clothes, we headed out for (another) night on the town. Long story made short: the girls and boys were each having their own night out. The boys were supposed to be going… somewhere, but the plan fell through. So, they ended up going to Itaewon, same as the girls. But they weren’t allowed (nor did they want to) come with us. They were probably 2 buses behind us. Crazy. Anyhoo, the girls all went to The Hollywood Grill, had some pitchers, then headed up Hooker Hill.
Yes, moms. Hooker Hill.
Andy kept telling us about a bar up there called “Polly’s Kettle” that was supposed to be good times. After ascertaining that she was, in fact, serious about dragging us up Hooker Hill, we relented and went with (I make it sound like she twisted our arms. We were on our way to drunk already by this point. The conversation probably went like this: “We could go to Polly’s Kettle on Hooker Hill…” “Okay.”) It was just a bar, but we had tons of fun dancing and drinking beers. While we were on our way up, we said that we would have to slaughter the boys if we caught them on Hooker Hill. They showed up in Polly’s Kettle not too long after us. Stupid boys. They didn’t stay as long as we did (they weren’t busy shaking it on the dance floor). After it got super-late, we headed back to Hollywood Grill, drank some more beers. Then ate some chicken skewers and headed home.
Honestly, after Friday and Saturday, what the hell did you think I was going to do Sunday??
Multiple France vs. the bidet
I swear I have permission from Frances to tell the funniest story I have heard in a long time. PERMISSION TO TELL THE WORLD. I’m giggling right now… this is something that doesn’t happen to people you know. Unless you know Frances.
Tonight Frances and I skipped the gym and headed to Lotte Mart. We concurred that our first order of business was to stop and use the toilets. Frances mentioned that the bathrooms there were nice (trust me, not all the bathrooms in Korea are nice, so this is a big deal. Some of them are bad enough that I would rather pee my pants. No, really.) and I asked if she had been to the ones in the new E-Mart. She had.
You need to know that the toilets in the E-Mart are equipped with bidets. Now, I’ve never used one before coming to Korea either, and it was slightly intimidating, because the damned thing is in Korean. But, I gave it a try because… well, there are some things you should try before you die. Having water squirted on my bum in the supermarket bathroom was apparently on my list of things to try. Try to picture the control panel for this bidet: there are about six buttons on this wee box attached to the side of the toilet, and it is all in Korean. Frances didn’t realize that it was a control panel for a bidet. She thought it was how you flushed the toilet.
Before you can start laughing (I am), this gets better. Because Frances was already standing up when she tried the buttons. (Now I really am laughing). She pushed one, and it didn’t seem to do anything. So she pushed another one, and she says “this weird little nozzle poked out from under the rim”. So Frances leaned in closer to see what it was.
Okay, wait a minute… I have to get control of myself.
Okay, I’m okay… nope.
Okay. I’m okay. I can finish this without laughing now…
So of course the damned thing starts spraying water (cold water, she tells me) and Frances panics. She backs up and the water pressure is good enough that it was hitting the stall door. She was crammed into the wrong corner, and got hit again when she had to unlock the door to escape. Then, of course, you now have to picture the toilet spraying water right out of the bathroom stall and hitting the opposite wall.
Oh no… here I go again. I gave myself the giggles.
Poor Frances! She finally escaped the bidet and had to try and dry herself off using the hand drier. At the supermarket.
Oh Frances: thank you so much for this story! I will treasure it forever…
Went out on Friday with the girls – Frances, Laura and Andy. We went to the Wa Bar, which is where one can always find foreigners on a Friday. Now, this doesn’t make the Wa Bar the best or funnest place to go, but one can always hope to make some new friends there. We didn’t. But I did have some tear-inducing laughs. We were talking about how much different Frances, Andy and I look now compared to how we did when we first got to Korea. Frances and I both cut off all our hair and had eye surgery. Andy has had eye surgery, a hair cut, and lost a bunch of weight. So Frances and I had out our alien cards and looking at the pictures. Frances says that Andy should get hers out because the difference is so amazing. While Andy is looking for it, (she didn’t have it) Frances says, “Who was it who said that you look like a farmer in that picture?”. I start laughing. That’s funny. Funnier, Andy answers “YOU did, asshole”. HA HA HA!!! It went on for a while, and was much funniness. I was just starting to calm down when Laura innocently asks, “Well, you ARE from Saskatchewan, aren’t you?”. The best part – she wasn’t trying to be funny. But oh, it was funny.
We were out until 4am. I’m serious… if they won’t close the bar apparently I don’t know when to leave. Because I had to be up at 8am. Lame.
So, I get up at 8am with minor grumpiness and head out to catch a bus into Seoul with Amelia. We were going to the Coex Mall for hair cuts. It was all good. We shopped around there for a bit, and I picked up a couple of Christmas presents for the fam. I love the funny weird stuff that they have here. After that, we headed to the TechnoMart.
I should not be allowed anywhere near a building with eight stories of nothing but gizmos and gadgets and SWEET ELECTRONIC GOODNESS.
::END SIDE NOTE::
I needed to go to the TechnoMart to pick up a cell phone in English. You see, the school was kind enough to provide us with cell phones (“hand phones”, as they are known here), but they weren’t FUCKING SMART ENOUGH to get their ENGLISH teachers ENGLISH phones.
Sorry ’bout that.
My old phone (old as in “13 years old”) was all Korean, so I had no idea how it worked. BECAUSE I DON’T READ KOREAN. Also, the battery would die if it was in my bag for 4 hours while I was in the city. Even if I wasn’t using it. It was stupid. But I found a new phone which is all English-y goodness. I also bought a webcam, so my moms can have some proof in real-time that her daughter is alive. I also bought 5 DVDs for $20, including the newest (“newest” as in “still in theatres”) Harry Potter and Corpse Bride. They might be pirated copies… I’m not sure (HA HA HA). It was a fun day shopping with Amelia and her friend Chelsea. Amelia and I ended up buying the same shirt, and we located a New York Fries and ate poutine. HOORAY!
Went into Seoul again, this time with Aaron to Insadong (that couldn’t possibly be spelled more incorrectly, I believe) to do some Christmas shopping. This shopping was all about prezzies for moms & Harv, but I still managed to buy myself a couple of things. It’s a God-given talent, my friends. Mostly, I bought phone-bling. Sorry Mike, I have those charms on my phone. I know I promised to never do it, but it is SO funny I couldn’t help it. I have a little leather monkey (of course), and Hello Kitty wearing traditional Korean garb. That’s funny because Hello Kitty is Japanese, and the Koreans aren’t fond of the Japanese (they hate them with the white-hot intensity of a thousand imploding suns). So I like that they took the ultimate Japanese symbol and dressed it up like a Korean. Sweet.
Once I got home, I just cleaned the place up. It was so messy in this tiny dump that I still need to wash floors and make the bed (oops, and wash the bedding) and finish laundry and dust. LAME! I was busy doing other stuff, like hanging up the rest of my Christmas lights (priorities, people… priorities). I don’t know if I have mentioned this – but I like my place. It isn’t much, but it is pretty danged cozy. Mmmm… coziness.
My open class went well. Or at least, I think it did. Because of course I have had no feedback from the school. THANKS GUYS! A-holes. Rino’s mom gave me feedback in his report book though: “Rino and his friends did a good job at open house. Rino’s attitude is much better now… thanks to you.” That’s right bitches, thanks to me. Overall, my kids were good. Except Grace, who was off the hook. But I’m still pretty happy with it overall.
On Saturday nine out of the eleven foreign teachers went to Jenny’s wedding. I would like to tell you more about the ceremony, but seven out of nine (including yours truly) were late. OOPSIE! Stupid traffic/buses/subway/trying to run in high heels. If you want to know more about it, try M.C. Frances-Teacher’s blog. She’s a better person than the rest of us, and she was there on time. We caught some chick singing, some crazy cake-cutting (it looked like they were using either dry ice or a smoke machine as a special effect) and then a zillion pictures. After that there was food, and then they went into another room for the traditional Korean ceremony (which is a different outfit and a lot of fucking bowing). The entire thing didn’t even take three hours. So of course, the North Americans were a little lost, having expected the wedding to run much later. We made up for it by pub-crawling in Seoul. It was great fun. A highlight was having Frances teach Aaron, Woody and I how to make cranes out of napkins. There was a good twenty or so on the table by the time we were done. Hey – when you hang out with retarded five-year old monkeys all week, you become easily amused. (And before you can even THINK of a sarcastic sassback to that one, mother… “MORE easily amused” in my case. I know.)
Because we didn’t do enough on the weekend (just drinking Friday night and the Korean wedding and pub-crawling on Saturday – aurgh!), Frances, Laura, Andrea and I went to Everland. Yup, again. And yup, it was fun fun fun again! Hooray! I love rides! And we did buy some silly hats. I have pictures at my Flickr site, as does Frances. It was a bit chilly, but a quick attempt at “Dance Dance Revolution” warmed us up (and I’m sure the Koreans that were laughing at us were warmed up too). There was an amazing fireworks display, and it is all made up for Christmas. We plan on going back (with some longjohns on) sometime in December to check it out again.
Sigh. Immigration seems to be cracking down again. So Tuesday after work we all had to go to Suwon to hand in a “Confirmation of Degree”. No biggie, but a reminder that I’m not in my home country any more. I will have to go back to Suwon one day soon – they have this ginormous fortress wall that I would like to check out. It was nice that the school drove us to the immigration office. Aaron, Orla, Frances, Laura and I took the opportunity to have multi-entry visas added to our passports. That will be handy when travelling to Thailand, Japan, and China (or, so is the plan) over the next year. Poor Brooke had to sit and wait for us all to finish, but she was a really good sport about it. (I don’t think Brooke reads my blog – but in case she does – dude, I hope they fix your mold problem soon.)
I’m retarded and shouldn’t be allowed to use sharp objects. On Tuesday I was cutting erasers in half (so they will last longer. I’m not sure if the kids eat them or what, but they go missing quickly) when I got distracted and cut a HUGE chunk out of my left index finger. No. HUGE. It was gross. GROSS GROSS GROSS. Right at the pad of the finger, where my fingerprint would be. At first, it didn’t even hurt. I thought “Holy crap, that’s quite a hole there” and then it started to bleed. A lot. So I went off in search of a band-aid with my finger in my mouth. I asked Richard-Teacher, who said he had one. He grabbed it, and had to help me put it on because by this point my finger is bleeding badly enough that I can’t get the bandaid on one-handed. (Side note: it was a Betty Boop bandaid that Rich stole from one of the kids. Good job!) Within moments I realize that I’m starting to bleed through the bandaid. So I get another one and put it on top of that one. Start bleeding through. So I get the Korean front desk teacher to help me put on some gauze and stuff. And then… well, then I had lunch. Thought that was that. Didn’t hurt too bad – just throbbing a little. But around 1:15 (we start lunch at 12:30 and the finger mutilation happened at 12:00), I start thinking that I should switch back to a regular bandaid to teach in. Take of the gauze. Realize that I am still fucking bleeding. They bring some white powder and dump it on there to help with the clotting. No go. Now there is blood and white powder all over the place. So the school director says “Maybe more serious?”. Yes, more serious. So they say they are going to take me to a “hospital”. Apparently, any doctor’s office is a “hospital” ’cause I ended up in a plastic surgeon’s office. Okay, look. I DON’T KNOW WHY. That’s just where they took me. It said “plastic surgeon” on the door. In English. And I asked why we were at a plastic surgeon… and Kelly-Teacher doesn’t know enough English to tell me why. They thought I would get stitches… but he just cleaned it out and bandaged it better. Whew! I didn’t want freaking stitches. Now comes the cute part.
I was late getting back from lunch – supposed to be back at 1:30 and it is now 2:00. Ellie was looking after my class while I was gone, and must have told them that I went to the hospital. When I came in the room, all the kids came up to hug me at the same time, and Amy and Grace cried because I was hurt. Cute little monkeys! I might try to slip one of them in my suitcase. All of them were very good for the rest of the afternoon, and I found out today that Rino’s mommy called the school to see how I was doing. Nice!
That brings you guys up to today with me. I try to remember to blog, but sometimes it feels too much like work and so I don’t bother. Sorry about that. If you read this… leave a comment for me so I know that it is being read. I do miss you guys.
careybatgirl wrote (on 24/11/05):
If I call immigration and tell them you are a murderer, will they send you home???? I miss Jodi
Pattie Girl wrote (on 24/11/05):
I read it all the time, and I sent the link to Mom Perszon and Brynn. Hope your finger’s better!
dirtyaurghpants wrote (on 24/11/05):
carey – if you want immigration to send me home, just call and tell them i didn’t pass english 304 and my degree isn’t legit. that will get me kicked out faster than telling them i am a murderer… (i miss you too!)
and-errhea wrote (on 29/11/05):
What’s English 304 again? Don’t tell me it’s Merv’s class, or I will laugh so hard that I will pee in my pants a little bit.
jeanine wrote (on 03/12/05):
hey dude! just trying to catch up on your life adventures in Korea. Sounds like you are having a good time(other than this finger incident). I did get your message thanks! I was so excited!!!! And upset I missed the call! Will send you a xmas card with more jeaniney goodness. Miss ya lots! J
>Yesterday I went with Veronica to see an eye doctor in Seoul that speaks English pretty well. Eye exams, glasses and contact lenses are supposed to be really cheap here, so I thought I would get my prescription updated. As well, Andrea had corrective surgery with this guy and I thought I would ask about doing that. Most of the morning was pretty standard – no scary or weird procedures. I had to see two doctors though, because of my interest in the surgery. Good news: I’m a perfect candidate for it. So they have me talk to the receptionist to book a time. I let her know that I can only come in on Saturdays. So she whips out a calendar so we can pick the day. She has the calendar on September, so I explain that she has to turn to October because the only Saturday left in September is… well… TODAY. She says “You want today?”. So I said yes.
Would you like to know the number one reason to make sure that your doctor can speak English when you are asking him to cut open your eye and cook it with a laser? So he can understand you when you say “I can FEEL that!!!” The second eye… the second eye I could feel what he was doing. Not cool. He stopped right away though and refroze the eye (drops, not a needle).
Although I hope I never have to do anything like that again, I am so happy that I’ve done it. Hooray!
Here is the last picture of me (hopefully!) with glasses on….
The company’s slogan is: We Make Time Taste Funny.
You sure do! HA HA HA!! The other great thing is that the only English on the instruction manual is the cautions they give. I repeat them here for your giggly enjoyment:
I hope I remember their words of wisdom.