Monday, October 30, 2006

C'est Halloween

It's been a long time since I've actually been excited about Halloween.

They don't really DO the holiday in the UK, except of course to have people dress up and get drunk at parties but that can happen on any random weekend so it doesn't really count. I think more and more kids are getting used to trick or treating but not in the extravagant way it happens in North America.

But this year, as last minute as any Korean event can be, we are gearing up for a big party and haunted house at the school...tomorrow. Too boring to explain why but the good news is that it gives us another day to prepare ourselves...since we only started planning YESTERDAY!!!

Needless to say, although it's tuesday I probably won't have time for a longer blog and thought I better get something up here since I haven't updated since last week.

Looking forward to getting dressed up, handing out candy and scaring the pants off little children.

Also battling the bird flu virus of colds (which is not to say it's that terrible just that it's lingering...and every morning is a hacking coughing phlem filled occasion) so hoping it will go away by at least next Monday.

3 months till I'm back in Chicago for my sister's wedding...wow...can't believe how time is flying. And this also means I only have 12 weeks to fit BACK into any of the clothes I lugged all the way over here.

So, cold cold go away, come again...oh no wait, piss off.

Then I get get back to getting huge at the gym. Er, rather, getting huge in my living room listening to Madonna and pretending I'm in an aerobics step class.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Panic Attack

So, I attempted to update my blog last night AND this morning to find that there was something up with the site.

It wouldn't have been SO bad if I hadn't just recently realised that I don't have a back up of the writing that goes on here and have only started to back it all up.

What weird karma it would have been if it was all lost just days after I decided to keep. The universe really works in weird ways.

So, I'm off to finish backing up all the content today, now that it's back up and running.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with a few things weirder than the blogger karma that was bestowed upon me.

Lately I feel a bit spoiled for choice on what to write about here as I've got this energy back that keeps me observing things left right and centre. And of course, I'm not one to keep quiet about my observations!

But since I just uploaded more pics I thought I would bring you the weird wacky world of English Signage in Korea. Call in konglish, call it grammatically incorrrect, call it whatever you like. An English speaker can always find a bit o humour amongst all the hangul signs.



Kraze Burgers. They're Kraze about everything. Their the latest Kraze. Or maybe they mean Krazee. Certainly they're Krazee about burgers. So Krazee they'd be insane not to INCLUDE A PICTURE OF A BURGER. Yup. Pretty Krazee. Word.

This was from a new bar in Seoul called the U2 bar - it spread across the bar but I caught it in two pics:

I'm pretty sure it's not the ceiling, or the stars or the BRIGHT YELLOW PAINT that is the reason I'm drunken, although the paint could send someone on a mad acid trip. I would guess that the SERIOUS AMOUNT OF SOJU SHOTS have something to do with it. Never mind the fact that I didn't realise there was anything really wrong with the word DRUNKEN until I saw this the next morning.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Another Lesson in Taking the Simple Things for Granted

I have never really been vain about my hair. I'm always quite confident that no matter what happens, I will like the cut and hey, if all else fails, it WILL grow back.

When I was younger, I would go for months at at time without getting it cut. This is why in many of the photos of me in highschool you'll see a very Crystal Gayle looking figure. That's until I got the Jennifer Aniston, which sadly, after most cuts, my hair seems to still look like after all these years.

(Ask my sister C about when I get my hair cut and I'm confident she will roll her eyes, smile and say, oh, so you're back to the Jennifer look again?)

I went through a dying stage but it was VERY brief as I suddenly realised there was UPKEEP involved. C'mon people UPKEEP. You mean I have to SCHEDULE IN hair appointments to keep it looking like this? I've now decided no dying until I see a gray hair. Sadly, I can't go by when my mother first started going gray because she was a 'natural' red head for as long as I can remember.

(It's always funny when people look at my mother's hair and say, 'oh, that's where you get your red hair from'. Yes. That's it. From the chemical bottle at the hair dressers...whoops! Sorry Mother Ship, I think I just gave you away...)

My hair certainly wasn't something I was even thinking about when coming to Korea.

It was only after the America teacher L began talking about her nightmares that I stared to become a little cautious. Then again, she seemed a bit OBESSESED with her hair so I took her word with a grain of salt.

The most important thing I was told to ask for a 'trim'. For some reasons, Koreans will just start chopping and next thing you know you've got the Demi Moore from G.I Jane.

So, I stumbled into a place that had English on the sign and was pleasantly surprised to find that the woman spoke English. She had lived in Toronto for 7 years and was able to translate quite well.

I walked out of there, with little difference as I had only asked for a trim but certainly not with a style that I couldn't live with.

I decided last Friday to get my hair properly cut, as the trim had been about 8 weeks ago and the hair was become an unruly nest.

My friendly Toronto lady translated my Aniston-esque cut (just to my shoulders and layered around the front) with little effort.

I sat in the chair, confident that I would walk away with my usual.

I've never cut hair but it's funny how you can tell HOW people usually cut your hair. I noticed he was not doing the same thing that other hairdressers do. He seemed to be cutting very little off the ENTIRE head and more concentrating on the ends.

To make matters slightly worse, they don't actually wash your hair before the cut, so it's bascially a dry cut with some spray-bottle wetness, leaving the top of your head basically dry and the ends (where most of the cutting was going on) wet.

Stream of consciouness time...

'He's not actually cutting all the hair...why does he seem to simply snip at the ends but not take the weight of the top?...why am I seeing two of...oh yes, glasses off...

'The top is really looking much bigger than the bottom....like reallly a lot bigger...WHY is he STILL cutting the ends????....He's been doing that for the last five minutes????...this does not seem right.....

'It's just because it's dry....I'm not used to seeing my hair half wet and half dry.....but he is still hacking away at the ENDS!!! I WON'T HAVE ANY END LEFT!!!!...oh, more water...YES!! Make it all wet then perhaps it will make sense to my fuzzy eyes...

'Okay, it's official. I'm getting a mullet. A MULLET!!! BUSINESS IN THE FRONT!! PARTY IN THE BACK!!! I'LL BE ABLE TO PLAY FOR AN NHL EASY!!! IT'S THAT UGLY HAIR CUT ALL THE KOREANS HAVE THAT IS BASICALLY A MULLET!!! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!!! I CAN'T STOP IT!!

'Okay so what? So I'll have a mullet. I'll be in fashion. I'll look hip. Everyone will say, 'Oh Teacher, very beautiful'. It will be just fine. It's just hair...

'BUT IT'S A MULLET!!!! A MULLET!!! YOU WILL BE GETTING YOUR PICTURE TAKEN AT SOME POINT OVER THE NEXT MONTH AND YOU WILL HAVE A MULLET!!!..'

'It's a talking piece. I'll just point my mullet out every time someon asks so that THEY will know that I KNOW I HAVE A MULLET!...

'Maybe it's not a mullet. Maybe it just looks that way. Maybe I will be saved from the mullet...'

(after wash and dry)

'Okay, it's looking kinda mullet-y. Okay, don't panic remember? Rise above the hair vanity. Think of the starving children in Africa. Think of all the poor people in the world. They wouldn't be complaining about the mullet. They'd just be happy to have the lice removed from their heads....

'Oh, he's going to straighten it. Okay, look SEE? SEE? IT'S FINE!! he he he IT'S NOT A MULLET!!! IT'S NOT A MULLET!!!..

'Well, it certainly isn't a mullet when it's straightened. No problem. I'll just straighten it every day...

End stream of consciouness.

For two days my hair looked un-mullety. Then I washed it.

I've a a semi mullet. There I've said it. Now I'm off to find a hair straightener so I don't get drafted to the Toronto Maple Leafs....although D would be my biggest fan.

(ps. I thought about posting a picture, and for humour's sake, I probably will, but I need it to look it's mullety best...and perhaps have the straightened version for you. Watch this space)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

That is So Typical Me

I have this annoying habit (okay I have many but this one of them) of simply trying to 'do things my own way'.

I have never been good at direction and for some reason I have this part of my brain that when I take on a task, no one else has ever done it before. Or more importantly, they may have done it but I can figure it out myself, without assistance.

Sans help.

Uno. Just uno.

Last night when we were out with a bunch of foreigners at this cheezy American style bar (which, we have discovered, has foreinger night not just on Friday but a good crowd comes on Wednesday and it so breaks up the week. Plus, D found not only dudes to play basketball with but their Canadian AND they walked in with hockey gear last night after some ice time at the local centre. And he wanted to go home after dinner....thank goodness for my rubber arm!)

So we're out with these foreigners and this lovely lady L who is 60 and has been teaching for probably about 40 years starts telling me about all these games you can play and these exercises you can do with kids.

I was happy when I figured out my 'come up with as many letters as you can that start with this letter' game.

And suddenly I realised, people HAVE DONE THIS before. People ARE DOING THIS right now. And she had actually gotten her ideas FROM A BOOK.

Oh. You mean people acutally SEEK OUT HELP for this whole teaching ESL thing? Like, publishers have put money, time and effort into compiling methods THAT WORK and DO NOT NEED TO BE INVENTED AGAIN?

Today I was searching for materials for my class. And I stumbled upon GADS AND GADS of websites that contain exactly the type of information that is useful for classes that have already finished their books.

And I had to laugh at myself. Because it's so typical of me to assume that I could just figure things out on my own and reinvent the wheel.

And yet I was so pleased with myself that I had FOUND the information.

Because, you know, no one ELSE is using the resources online. I guess only SUPER GENUISES like me can type in a search in Google.

Ya, that's it.

See? Still so me.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Some Random Facts about me Today...

Four jobs I’ve had:
* Babysitter
* Waitress
* Reporter
* Telemarketer
(funny enough in that order)

Four movies I can watch over and over:
* Office Space
* Dirty Dancing (of course I'm a girl from the 80s..or is it the 90s? Okay I'm just a Dirty Dancing girl)

Four places I have lived:
Ingersoll (okay, if people don't know my real identity now, I think I've just given it away)
Toronto
Leeds
Belfast

Four websites I visit daily:
www.crazyauntpurl.com - cause she's so crazy
www.dooce.com - cause Leta's just too cute
www.canada.com - woo hoo! Canada rules!!
www.bbc.co.uk - a bit o unbiased news...well, as unbiased as news can be...

Four places I would rather be right now:
With my family
On a beach
In a pub
In my bed

Four bloggers I am tagging:
Umm...I'm not sure any bloggers acutally READ this site but hey, if you do, go for it..

Friday, October 13, 2006

Get a Load of this Cute Face

How could you ever get angry at this one?


(And um yes, I'm talking about the kindergarten student. The Korean one.)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fat Wrist Girl

Just thought I'd share with you all my most recent lowest of the low.

You know you need to lose weight when...the bracelet that once slid with ease up and down your forearm is now stuck in its place.

Oh dear. Too bad I all my fat pants are in a box on its way back to Canada.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Get a Life

The past week and a half have been so dramatically different than our 3 previous months here.

We have been out pretty much every night, not exactly Belfast style, but just getting out of the house and enjoying adult English conversation.

With our new teacher B and my new best friend K - she's a girl from Michigan who we met a few weeks back by chance and we clicked instantly. She's Korean American teaching here and lives right near our hogwan so it's easy to just meet up with her. Plus, she's a fellow Gemini and you know how us crazies get on - anyway, with their introduction into our lives it feels a bit like we now have some...lives that is.

I suppose that was one of the biggest adjustments. Not having a social life and not being able to switch off from work. D and I did a good job on the weekends simply saying that on Friday night, no more school talk. But during the week, we couldn't help but moan a bit about our days. And we had holed ourselves up in our apartment, watching DVDs and not really venturing out during the week for fear exhaustion would kill us.

I suppose I feel a bit more tired since we have been out during the week but at the same time, I don't mind being tired as long as it's from enjoying life and not from stress, work and worry.

Last night I had a strange worlds-colliding moment as I met two of my dad's business associates out for dinner with a Korean business man who is working with them. I sat through dinner, happy to have a chat with a couple of dudes from Chicago. I watched them struggle..and succeed..with their chopsticks and thought of how many different countries and cities and cultures my dad has been through. He must have been just like them.

(Okay, well not EXACTLY like them with the chopsticks thing because for as long as I can remember, our family ate Chinese food with chopsticks. I grew up thinking everyone really already knew how to use chopsticks and even still find it odd when people ask if I know how. Then, I feel like I sound a bit pretentious when I say 'Yes. I've been eating with them for as long as I can remember. Now pass me my mallet Jeeves, it's time to play some croquet with William and Harry. I think Charles is sitting this one out however. And don't let old Lizzie in. She'll surely whip our posh derrieres.')

So I felt a bit closer to him all the way in Korea and made the two dudes promise to say hello and let him know I missed him and although they drew the line at giving him a big hug for me, they did promise to let him know that I was looking happy and healthy.

There is talk one of them wil be back in a months time and with a little presuasion (and I suppose work justification) I'm hoping maybe my dad will get back here with him.

Dinner was finished early enough that I headed to our 'local', this cheezy American-style place called Beer and Girls where D, teacher B and Korean Best Friend K were waiting.

It reminded me of so many times in Belfast on a Friday night, when I would be getting back late from work and D would already be out with the gang and then I would arrive a bit later.

It kinda felt just like that.

So I'm certain I've almost found my place in Korea. My comfort space. A way to call it home.

And somehow, that makes the kindergartens all that more cuter.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I'm Such a Star Sign Junkie

Okay, my favorite crazy aunt posted her usual monthly horoscopes and I just couldn't resist posting mine. If you know me, it's not really that far off...

GEMINI (May 21 - June 21)My most favorite Gemini recently turned 62, cashed out all his stock in a Big High-Tech Company, and bought himself a brand new Corvette. HE IS SUCH A GEMINI. Hi wife, a darling Cancer, probably had a near heart attack. Geminis are always being characterized as impulsive and selfish. But I'm going to teach ya'll a great Southernism you must embrace: ya'll are just particular. It's not that you fly by the seat of your pants, always running afoul of the boring signs with your hedonism and impracticality. Ya'll are just particular, see? You have needs, and while they may not mesh with anyone else's vision of reality, ya'll just keep on down the path to crazybones because you know, you KNOW, that when you find happiness you better damn well be driving a fun car. Amen.

See? I'm just slightly misunderstood.

A Clear Head...almost..

Any of you who know me well, or perhaps have read this blog for awhile will know that I have recently (meaning in the past two years) become a fitness freak. Actually, FREAK maybe a bit harsh as i'm not the 5-hours-a-day type freak but I'm certainly one that feels my brain needs activity to function normally.

Our school has finally hired one new foreign teacher which has a) lightened the workload and b) given me a social outlet - two things I was in dire need of at the end of September.

A relaxing week of shopping, eating and drinking in Seoul didn't hurt my situation either.

But now, after waking up last night about 4 different times, I realise that I need to become active again.

Insomia is not a cool thing and mine stems mostly from anxiety which I seem to not have any of when I've got the good old seratonin going.

In Belfast, the gym was right across the street from my house AND had all these amazing classes that kept me interested and well, fit.

I'm not really that happy with the fact my clothes aren't fitting but I'm more worried about 'going postal' if I'm not getting some regular cardio into my day.

The gym here is not great and it's inconveinent, especially with the hours I work. So, in Seoul, I treated myself to an MP3 player. Now, I just have to get songs on it. The new teacher B has been most kind as he has many songs on his laptop and said he'd be happy to put some on their for me now.

I figure with some kick ass music and good earphones, I should be able to get back to running outside, actually running for longer than I did at the gym.

Life in Korea is definitely changing all the time and for the better. I have more of my day back, which makes me feel less like a work horse and more like a human being.

Now, I just need to get my nights back.

***********************

In light of the fact that this ENTIRE post doesn't really have an interesting Korean angle, I thought I would post you all a picture of the recent kids cutlural event. How cute are they in their outfits????

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

And Then There Was 3

We welcomed another foreign teacher to the school on Sunday night. We went with our director to pick him up from the airport. And then in Korean style, we went out for food at 10pm.

I already feel lighter. Things feel like they're coming together.

To make matters even sweeter, he's from England, near Leeds and is everything I have missed about the old place. What a great reminder from the 'old country'.

We have a break after today and I don't expect to be blogging much. We're off to Seoul and then maybe to Busan on the weekend - I never turn down an opportunity to get to the beach.

Thanks to everyone for your emails, comments and maybe silent thoughts. Your karma and kind thoughts have lifted me just as much as the bloke from Yorkshire.