Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Plans Change

Like my title says, plans change. I'm not on my to China. In fact, I'm in Mississippi staying with my family for the holiday. I'll be heading back on Sunday so I can be ready to teach on Tuesday.

It's hard to believe that another Christmas is here. Time is strange...

Happy Holidays Everyone.
I hope everyone is well and happy.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Oh the food!

Top 10 food items I miss from home:

1. REAL sushi rolls: dynamite, golden triangle, ron roll, and old dynamite
2. Breakfast burritos: the ones my mom makes
3. Lasagna!!
4. Sweet Tea
5. Edy's Fruit Bars
6. Chick Filet nuggets
7. Shrimp quesadilla from Mi Toro
8. Whole wheat bread
9. Wendy's Salads
10. Red Bull

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving and Top 10 Subway Stops

Thanksgiving dinner was on Saturday, at Adam's place. It was really stressful to make all the food and clean in such a short amount of time, but once everything was done it was really satisfying. There was so much food for the six of us in the tiny officetel. We had ordered a big turkey dinner from the Marriott that came with a few side dishes. Adam and I also made some extra sides: stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet mashed potatoes, banana bread, and pumpkin bread.

Later in the evening we played a few rounds of charades. It was quite amusing and enjoyed by everyone.

Pictures will be added to Picasa sometime soon. I know I need to update a number of my pictures and when I do I'll post the link.

Top 10 Subway Stations I Use

1. Nambu Bus Terminal
2. Cheolsan
3. Express Bus Terminal
4. Samsung
5. Gangnam
6. Kyodae
7. Seocho
8. Hongdae
9. Jamsil
10. Apgujeong/Itaewon

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The 10 Things I...

I was inspired. This concept is not mine to claim, but I'm thankful. Thank you SY!
So my next few blogs will be "10 things I..." They are not in any particular order.

10 Things I dislike about Korea

1. Uneven sidewalks, which lead to ruined shoes.
2. The Korean Princess Mentality
3. The sound that men make when hawking up spit.
4. Packed subway cars: Pushy ajummas and ajossis that smell like soju, garlic, and moth balls.
5. The loud drunken hollering I can hear from the 5th floor in the middle of the night.
6. Not being able to get a taxi late at night, because you are too close to where you want to go.
7. The stares I get when walking and talking with white people.
8. Expensive fruit and veggies or lack of foreign food choices.
9. High prices for low quality clothing.
10.Separating food garbage and paper garbage.

Other things that couldn't fit in the list:

The rotten smells, hot summers, floor heating that doesn't work, the falling won, and the rude mannerisms people tend to have here (cultural thing).

10 Things I like About Korea

1. Cheap Public Transportation
2. Taxi drivers that have limited hesitation to run a red light
3. The 10 minute walk to work.
4. 17 green tea, Melon Ice Cream Bars, Cham Chi Kimbap, banana milk and dokkbokki!
5. Cheap shoes in my size
6. Cheap membership to the gym right across the street from my apartment.
7. Living less than 5 minutes away from grocery store, the subway station, and my new dentist (Oh the convenience!)
8. My precious students
9. $3 Doner Kebabs from street vendors
10. The ladies at the local Kimbap Chonguk and Joes Sandwich (friendly).

Other things that couldn't fit in the list:
The large leaves that have started to fall from the trees.
An outdoor running track 5-10 minutes away from my apartment.
Cheap burned DVDS.
Cool looking buildings.
Having four distinct seasons.

So I didn't get off from work for Thanksgiving, but I will get to eat a nice Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.

I have yet to meet my biological mother. We were suppose to meet this past Wednesday, but she couldn't get to Seoul that early in the day. I told Soohyun to ask what date she is available and I would plan around it. Now, I'm just waiting for a response.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Disappointment Ensues

This past weekend I was suppose to meet my biological mother. Unfortunately, it was canceled because she wasn't feeling well. Soohyun explained that she was "fatigued" and couldn't make it to Seoul. Hopefully, we will meet in November.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

"There's a thunder in our hearts baby."

In a matter of weeks I will come face to face with the woman who gave birth to me 22 years ago. Surprisingly, at the moment, I don't feel any anticipation or anxiety about the meeting.

Although I am uncertain of what will happen after we meet. The unaswered question of "What comes next?" replays in the corners of my mind.

I'm all too comfortable in my current situation and I think that is why I am bored here. I question where I will be in four months, in a year, and in five years.

In November, I will be running my first 10k marathon. I'm excited!
More later, I have to get back to office hours.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Random Happenings

Here are just a few random things that have been happening in my life lately...

Last weekend I went to the Hongdae/Edae area of Seoul to do some shopping. As I was heading back to my apartment I ran into Sam, which was definitely unexpected. Sam and I went to university together back in Mississippi...I knew he had come to Seoul to teach ESL but I didn't think we'd ever bump into each other in the subway. So we chatted for a few minutes and then parted ways.

Later that evening, I managed to clumsily drop my cell phone down the elevator shaft from the fifth floor of my building. I felt very stupid and embarrassed. With the help of some korean speaking friends we managed to get the maintenance people at the building to retrieve my phone a few days later. Fortunately, my phone survived the fall with only a few scars!

It's Chuseok in Korea which means a long weekend for foreigners and family time for the rest of the country. Since China and Japan weren't an option any longer, I decided to hang out at COEX on Saturday. Sun and I went to see Mamma Mia! and ate dinner at On The Border (delicious by the way). On Sunday, I went to go see Gyungbukgung Palace and to Itaewon to eat supper.

I also think I might have a stalker. The situation is odd and a little creepy. Friday evening, after work, I saw a man standing/walking down the hallway torwards my place. Later that evening, I left to get something to eat and nearly jumped out of my skin and gasped. I saw the same man standing outside my door near the window that faces the street. Immediately he spoke IN English and says, "Sorry. So Sorry." I just shook it off and walked to the elevator. He followed me, stood to my left and then he kinda chuckled, but didn't say much more. We both got on the elevator and rode down to the first floor. The next time I saw him was on Saturday, right before I met up with Sun. I left my room and he was walking down the hallway towards me. As we were waiting at the elevator he started laughing, looked at me and asked in broken English, "You go meet your friend?"

I kinda nodded and said yeah at the same time, obviously creeped out. I wondered how and why this guy would ask me this question. (Later I realized that Sun had called me right before I had left my apartment...Was it possible he was outside my door again, listening to my conversation?) So we got on the elevator....and went up instead of going down. I realized neither one of us pushed the 1 button so I quickly pressed it. After getting off of the elevator first I turn to the left and he tells me to have a good time.

Strange or have I let myself get a little paranoid?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

It's never too late.

Surprisingly, the dinner I made tonight was somewhat tasty. The last time I attempted a fried rice dish, the rice turned into a mush and it didn't have much flavor.

Over the past month, I have been working out with my personal trainer for four days a week. It usually consists of running, an ab workout and a body workout. I'm pleased with the results so far and can't wait until I reach my goal. Lately, I've been on this push to be physically stronger as well as mentally stronger. In the end, I would like to be able to run a marathon.

My place of employment has undergone some changes. The Seocho branch has been remodeled and it looks much better (plus I have a spacious room--pictures soon). There are also a number of new teachers. It's odd to be grouped in with the "veterans." Unfortunately, there aren't too many of us left... Marie has left, due to unexpected circumstances back in the well as a number of others. The atmosphere at work is different now, but I can't determine if it is good or bad.

I have picked up a "private" and will be teaching the Vice-President of Sony in Korea on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the morning. This will be a one-on-one lesson (conversation based) which is much different from what I'm use to... Sessions start next week and I'm pretty excited about them.

My birthday came quietly and it also ended quietly. Although this past weekend I managed to have a good ole time out at the clubs and bars in Seoul. For my birthday dinner I ate a laid-back meal with a friend in Gangnam and one of my students gave me a small turtle figurine which I named Sprinkles.

Currently, I'm on a mission to try and get my visa for China. I would like to go to Beijing for a few days for the upcoming Korean holiday. Hopefully I will succeed and see the Great Wall within the next few weeks.

The mistakes I've made are my past. The aftermath of the mistakes are my present. The strength gained is my future. There are moments where I have flashes of my past. Quick, ephemeral clips of my life. They remind me of situations and of a self I don't wish to see again. My moments of desperation, my moments of loss, my moments of confusion, instability and chaos....all return to haunt me unexpectedly. I am dealing with these intangible photographs of my mind...learning how to grow and how to change into the person I desire to become.

That "one-fine day" is drawing nearer with each sunrise and setting of the sun.

I look at strangers on the subway, on the uneven sidewalks of Seoul, and discover the same thing in each face, in each pair of eyes. We all long for the same thing. Understanding. Love. Inner Peace. There are too many of us searching for things that shouldn't have to be sought after and that is unfortunate.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Simple Sunday

Life doesn't stop. Even when your life ends, life continues. The never ending process of birth, growth, decline, and rest. It's a beautiful circle that spins in one direction. No possible chance to reverse it. The colors radiate brightly at the highlight of it's spin, then the colors fade. *brainstorm*now I have a writer's block*

I think I've spent enough time debating whether or not it's the right moment or the right choice to meet my biological mother. So that's why I've decided to meet her within the next month. This is a rather scary, big step for me. Jumping in and not knowing what I'm jumping in to is hard to do.

Over the last few days I've realized that things can change without notice. I don't want something to happen that would ruin my chances of ever meeting this woman.

Yesterday, it was rainy and foreshadowed the next season. Fall is coming and I'm excited. The colors, the weather, it makes me feel..hopeful...It's beautiful.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Goal Conference Weekend

This weekend I went to G.O.A.L's 10th Anniversary Celebration and Annual Conference.
G.O.A.L. is an organization for people who were adopted. This was the first time I had ever been to an event like this. It was odd being surrounded by so many people who had somewhat of a similar background as me. On Friday there was an opening ceremony and dinner. Saturday was definitely a long day filled with a variety of workshops, meals, and mingling.

A few of the workshops that I went to were rather interesting. The first one was about the myth of the angry adoptee which was presented by members of ASK. ASK is an organization that wants to put an end to intercontinental adoption from Korea. They believe that Korean children should be only placed up for adoption domestically which is difficult because many native Koreans don't want to adopt for the sake of their bloodline. I found this absurd and disagreed with what they were discussing. Some of the questions from the people at the workshops were not given clear answers. The presenters talked about the different stereotypes of the angry adoptee...If you're angry then it must be because you had bad experiences with your adoptive family, any time an adopted person is angry it's because they are adopted, etc.

I also went to a post-reunion discussion in the afternoon. There were four panelists that talked about their situations meeting their birth families and all had amazing stories. The discussion helped me a little with my decision to meet with my biological mother and in a way also hindered it as well. Some of the advice was to not wait too long because time might not be on your side, to really consider the feelings of your biological parents, to set boundaries and to set them up in the beginning, and to know what you want from them.

I'm not exactly sure what I want from my biological mother. I know I want answers, but then what? How do I set these boundaries if I don't know if I want her in my life? What if there is some kind of disappointment? What if she has expectations for me?

After the workshop I heard someone call out my Korean name. I turned around and realized it was Soo Hyun, my social worker from SWS. It was random to see her at the conference and also that she knew Sun (new coworker at E*Spirit). She told me that she had received the second letter from my biological mother and that she would send the translation sometime this week.

Saturday night there was a big party at Club Air in Apgujeong for all of the adoptees. I had a lot of fun mingling, dancing, and drinking. Although it took awhile for people to really start dancing because there was a lot of techno music (the majority of the crowd preferred hip-hop)...the music switched back and forth all night. Around 11pm, non-adoptees began to mix in and it got really packed. A group of us left around three in the morning.

Today I went to a show called JUMP. It's a comedic martial arts show and it was fantastic! The music had great beats and the performers had a lot of energy. They also were really fun to look at!

Final Days of My Adventure (quick overview)

The rest of the trip...

On the tiger temple tour I managed to see a few other places such as the River Kwai Bridge, War Museum, and a snake show.

Wednesday I got on a plane and flew to Koh Samui and stayed there for three days. The weather was wonderful for the majority of my visit. While I was in Koh Samui I stayed at Rummana Boutique was very nice but there wasn't much to do locally (Lamai). I had to go to Chaweng beach to get any shopping done.

I wanted to go snorkeling near Koh Tao but an island storm was approaching and I decided it was best not to go out on the water. So I went back to sleep and then woke up for the two hour "Touch of Paradise" treatment at the spa. This included: the steam room, mandarin full body scrub, aromatherapy full body massage, and many cups of delicious ginger tea. Afterwards I decided to go take a walk down the street to take a look at the popular rock formations called Hin Ta and Hin Yai. They are known as the grandmother and grandfather rocks and are popular because they resemble male and female genitalia. The rest of the day was spent relaxing by the pool and on the beach (the rainstorm cleared out rather quickly). While I ate lunch I heard a country version of Cotton Fields. It made me smile and think of all of my Masker girls.

The next day I ended up going snorkeling but I didn't go to Koh Tao. I went snorkeling near Dog Free Island/Koh Tan. The water wasn't that clear but I could see well enough. I noticed two kinds of fish and all of the neat coral as well. On Koh Tan I ate some Thai chicken and veggies with a family from Denmark and relaxed on the basically deserted island. Dennis, the tattooed uncle, talked to me the most. He was an amusing man and told me that I should come visit Denmark because it had the best beer in the world. Oh and he gave me the nickname "Mississippi."

That night I decided to go to Chaweng and do some shopping. I ate salmon and french fries (tsk tsk) at a local bar called The Orchid and enjoyed a mojito as well. Through out the night vehicles would drive down the road with advertisements blaring out of speakers for Thai boxing shows. At first it didn't bother me so much, but then I found it rather annoying. I was also asked if I was a "China person" or a "Japan person." One guy got offended when a Thai man asked if he was an Indian.

The next day I went to the elephant show and then caught a ride back to the airport. The elephants were amazing! Flower, the name of one of the younger elephants, got to come around and greet all of the guests. She would use her trunk to touch everyone. It was amusing to watch people freak out as she went for their heads. After the elephant show there was a monkey and short Thai boxing show. At the very end I got to go on about a 30 minute trek on an elephant up a hill. It was a little bit bumpy but overall the ride was enjoyable. On the way to the airport traffic started to back up. I thought it was a bad car accident. That wasn't it at all! The king had come to the island and stopped traffic until his dark blue van had passed....

Overall my journey to Thailand was exciting and memorable. I look forward to the time when I can make it back to see/do more things, meet more people, and perhaps enjoy the food as well! I'm already trying to decide where I want to go for winter vacation...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

It's so hot, hot.

Day 1 continued/Day 2

On my first day in Bangkok I decided to check out the tourist information desk to see what my best options were. Looking through the laminated pages of various tourist sites I finally determined my choice. I paid around 1500 baht for a full day tour which included: a trip to the war bridge, coconut sugar making farm, floating market, and the tiger temple. Can you take a guess as to which one I was the most interested in? Roar.

While I was at the desk I managed to meet a guy around my age from Scotland who had been traveling around for about 7 months and was on the last part of his adventure. He decided to join the tiger temple tour as well. A trip to the tiger temple meant another trip to Khaosan Road. Bright colors shouldn't be worn when visiting the tiger temple and the majority of my clothing were of that nature. A trip to the tiger temple also meant that there wasn't enough time to see the Grand Palace or the most famous temple in Bangkok. I'll save that for the next trip.

I rise bright and early to get ready for the trip and find my new scottish "friend" and his girlfriend waiting outside of the hotel (Hotel de Moc) along with another couple. Their names are Rachel and Michael, both of whom are friendly and I enjoy being around them. The shuttle bus continues to pick up all of it's eager tourists until it is full. Then we head out of Bangkok to our first destination, the coconut sugar making farm. This was a very quick stop but I managed to get a taste of the coconut sugar and a few pictures. I didn't care for the sugar that much, but then again, I don't care for coconuts.

Our next stop is the floating market. Six people (this including the Thai woman rowing) managed to get in the tiny boat. There were so many things for your eyes to see and your ears to hear. Early on the ride I purchased some fresh mango that tasted sweet and warm. Rachel and Michael were the first to purchase something from one of the vendors and it was fun just watch them haggle with the tannned Thai woman. Next, it was my turn...which was just as fun. As I put the item back on the wooden plank floor and said, "No. Let's move on." She (of course) gave in and accepted my price. The Korean couple in front of me and the "Scots" helped me out as well.

At times the boats would get in a "traffic-jam" causing all of the boats to wiggle and shake. It was fun to watch the faces of other tourists in their quick moments of panic to a relieved laughter.

Eventually, the group gathers together at the meeting point to head torward the next destination (the highlight of the trip). The drive was long and hard. My thirst, exhaustion, and hunger were growing at a rapid pace. After an unknown amount of time we arrived at an eating area where most of the tourist companies bring their customers. I quickly refreshed myself, but my hunger had left me. I ate the Thai veggies, chicken, and rice just because of necessity. The smell of the spices and the food just caused my stomach to revolt and didnt' want to have much to do with it. I thought that was strange. My desire for a tasty and juicy hamburger is growing by now.

The group arrives at the tiger temple and we all purchase our tickets. Walking onto the site it looks barren. There are a few trees, rocks, and pigs scattered about freely. I continue walking and turn into the "tiger's den" where I see a big area of large pretty rocks and a waterfall in the background. There I stand in line, waiting for my turn to pet and take a picutre with the large and powerful animals, and hear the staff advertising how you can spend four hours with the tigers cleaning, feeding, and playing with them the next morning. Unfortunately, this is something that I can not partake in because of the poor planning on my part. I had to leave the next day to Koh Samui.

It is finally my turn and the male guide grabs my hand then with his other hand brings a finger to his lips, as to motion to be quiet. I take my picture with the first tiger and can't help but smile in and out. Wow! The fur isn't soft like a calico or a long haired dog. Rather it is more rough, like a bulldog or a short haired canine. When I arrive at the second tiger I realize that the tigers are chained (this is a blonde moment for me). Seeing the chains take away the slight "thrill" of thinking they could roam freely and do as they please. By the time I am finished, I have taken photographs with all of the tigers and am smitten as a...kitten. The woman taking the pictures took plenty and was very pleased with the experience.

The fellow behind me, who was part of the same tour I was on, was also very thrilled. He was also an independent traveller who was on the last part of his year long adventure through the Southeast part of the globe. (HOW DO THESE PEOPLE MANAGE TO FIND THE TIME AND MONEY TO TRAVEL SO LONG!) Peter (who is from Holland) and I walked on to the baby tigers where we could play some more. When it was my turn with the baby tiger, without thinking, I started to pet it's head. Oops, the tiger turned to play with my hands and the staff quickly told me to not touch that area. I could lose a finger or hand. :)

Until next time. Peace.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cheap, cheap! You buy?

Night 1/Day 1

My flight left Seoul a little later than planned but I arrived safely in Bangkok around 10:45 p.m. I get picked up in the shuttle bus to the airport and find myself in a van full of people speaking foreign languages. I have not met a single American on this trip yet. I love the diversity of people and the different accents I can hear daily.

Sitting beside me on the airplane to Bangkok were some young Korean guys (Andrew and Jimmy) who were headed to London. They were amusing and fun. By the time I got to the hotel I was very tired. I relaxed in the big tub filled with bubbles and read for a bit. Overall, I was impressed by the general decor of the Novotel Hotel. Although the room was rather plain for the price paid. The breakfast buffet was enjoyable but a little too fancy for my taste. I like things nice and simple.

Throughout the trip I have had to control myself from saying "Thank You" in Korean. Strange that I find myself wanting to say certain things in another language than my native one. I suppose it is out of habit.

My cab driver, Somsak, took me to the Khaosan Road area to check-in at my second place of lodging. The Hotel de Moc. He was friendly and wanted me to call him if I needed to go anywhere. I did not.

My first impression of the hotel was not a very good one...but for a mid-budget hotel I can't complain. It had a tuk-tuk that took people to Khaosan Road and back, free of charge, which I used a few times. Khaosan Road was fine. There was plenty of shopping to do. There were even strange phallic and sexual position statues for sale. I laughed out loud a number of times.

Walking along the road I heard a remake of a country song by Kenny Chesney. This too I found amusing. The heat didn't immediately hit me, but when it did it didn't go away. There was a woman wearing a very heavy looking white sweater with a hoodie while I was waiting to exchange some money. She must have been taking some kind of medicine that made her body temperature low. It was WAY too hot for a sweater.

My first impression of Bangkok: run down and dirty. Although I did have a fine time. I didn't like the tuk-tuk guys hollering at me though. One guy, who was rather large and balding, even started to follow me and put his hand on my shoulder. I continued to ignore him and walked faster in to a local shop. The smells: sweat, spices, and sweetness in the air. Nothing too horrible that I couldn't stomach. Which reminds me, I haven't been able to get rid of this nausea. The entire trip I have had it. I hesitate everytime I eat afraid I might not be able to keep it down.

Enough for today. More next time: tigers, snakes, etc.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

What happened to the spice?

For me, life has slowed down just a little. There isn't much to update on. Perhaps I should get out of this routine that I am in again.

Here's a typical weekday for me: I wake up late, go to work, go to the gym to work out for a few hours and shake off all of the day's stresses, eat dinner from the local kimbap place, read or play on the internet, and go to bed late. Insert the occasional dinner with friends or a date. The banal process repeats...but at least I'm in a different country experiencing a new culture. Right?

I've planned out all of my accommodation in Thailand. I'm very excited and can't wait to be in Bangkok in seven days! This trip should provide the excitement, adventure, and cure to my boredom that I have been looking for.

It's vacation time which means report card time. This coming Thursday is the last day of spring semester at E*spirit (it's a little sad to see the little kiddies go) and for fun, the students get to participate in an auction that sells little toys and snacks (pictures and info to come later). Friday is a full day of preparation and planning for the summer session during August, followed by a company dinner.

My lunch is ready (Ramen) so until next time, peace.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Running Away

Well it's official.
I bought my ticket. So in a few weeks it's goodbye Korea, hello Thailand. I'm doing the trip solo, but it should interesting and exciting.

I definitely need this break.

Oh and Happy Independence Day.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Working Over Time

If it were a perfect world pain wouldn't exist. Love would last forever. Drugs would be used to cure and not destroy. Mothers wouldn't leave their daughters. Fathers wouldn't leave their families. Abusers wouldn't throw punches. Children wouldn't starve. People wouldn't die on the streets. If it were a perfect world people wouldn't hate. People wouldn't kill each other or themselves. Women wouldn't have to prostitute themselves. Men wouldn't go to them for validation. People wouldn't need plastic surgery to feel better about themselves. Women and men wouldn't starve themselves. Hands wouldn't be used to hit but to shelter and protect. Questions would be answered.

Sometimes when I think about society and our world I get disgusted.

What's wrong with wanting perfection?

My mind is working double-duty right now. I wish it could stop. I have thoughts of every kind running through my head.

Coming soon: What was inside the letter my biological mother wrote to me?

Friday, June 20, 2008

No Distractions

I feel perfect. For now, at least.

It could be the wine. It could be the feeling that everything is going to be just fine. It could be the feeling that I'm not the only person in this world who feels the way that I do. It could be a mix of all of these things.

I really felt like writing tonight. For some reason though, I can't express the words that I want to say. So forgive me if this doesn't make much sense....Sometimes the thoughts don't flow so smoothly.

But for now I am just fine. I feel relaxed and at peace (been awhile since I've felt like this). For the past few years my mind has been a storm. There were many turbulent times. For the most part, I managed to hide these emotions..but they were there, raging inside of me all along.

I've learned to accept things. I've learned to have more patience. I've learned to move on.

I know there will be setbacks, despite what I say. I know there will be days when I'm pushed to the edge with thoughts that I don't want to deal with. But that is alright and I'm ready for it.

Music is so powerful. It just makes me release all of what I'm feeling. No matter what the emotion is, it is a good release.

So enough of this...

In class, a few days ago, I was reading a student's journal. I found an amusing quote, "If a boy can eat really hot kimchi it shows how strong of a man he can be." Well, it made giggle.

Another student wrote about her sister's friend "piepied" on himself...Sometimes it's great fun to read their VE books.

Monsoon season is here. Yeay for rain?! o_O

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Get-away weekend

Friday night, Marie and I met at Seoul Station to get on the KTX (fast train) to Busan. After a three hour ear-popping ride we arrived at Busan Station around 12:45 a.m. and thanks to some friendly locals we found the bus stop to Haeundae Beach. The bus ride wasn't too long. It was only about forty minutes. We hurried off of the bus and sank our toes in the cool sand. It felt good to be at a beach again. Then we found a convenient store to buy supplies and went to the kimbap place for some food.

Marie was waiting for me outside of the restaurant, where she started talking to a local Korean. To make a long story short they hung out with us for awhile on the beach. Although the language barrier made it a little difficult to communicate. They knew some English, but not enough to have very interesting conversation.

J (boy in hat): Unbelievable.
N: What?
J: You are from?
N: America.
J: L.A.? I have friend in L.A.
N: Nope, Mississippi.
J: Ah....moment of silence.....WOW.

J: Hi cutie boy..
N: what!?
J: CUTIE GIRl. oh, sorry. so sorry.
J: Do you have man friend? You be my man friend?
N: Excuse me?
J: Do you have man friend?
N: Yes, I have many man friends.Do you have man friends?
J: uh.? huh? oh ha ha. WOW. Sorry?

J: You be my man friend?
N: TO MARIE: I think I'm having an identity crisis.
N: You. Want me. To be friend?
J: Yes.
N: I'm not a man.
J: Oh.....*moment of silence* You want be my man friend......

It was amusing to play with him for a little while. I knew what he was asking and I thought it was just silly.

Around 4 a.m we said goodbye to our Haeundae beach pals and went to a love motel. We paid 40 bucks for the night and got what we paid for. It was very ugly on the inside and the shower didn't have hot water. Sometime between 5 am and 9 am we woke up from some loud banging and yelling. I thought strange people were going to barge into our room and tell us to get out of there...they didn't and I fell back asleep.

After the cold shower, Marie and I went to the local Starbucks for some coffee and breakfast. Saturday was a busy day. We went on a Ferry ride, visited a temple that is on the coast line of Korea, and played at the beach. Later that evening, after listening to a variety of musical acts, Marie introduced me to her French Korean friend Jullien and his girlfriend. They were very nice people.

I even had my first hand-in-arm experience too. As we walked to find the restaurant, Soo Hyun ( I believe that was her name--I'm so bad at remembering Korean names) takes my arm in her hand. In Korea girls (and guys) hold hands or hold arms to show that you're friends or that you are comfortable with one another. It was a little awkward at first...

Towards the end of the night we saw fireworks and drank makju (beer) on the beach. We then played a game of rock, sissors, paper. The winner decided what the loser's "mission" was. It was a good bit of fun.

Marie and I planned to leave Saturday night because she had a prior commitment with a friend back in Seoul on Sunday. Due to lack of information we managed to miss the KTX back to Seoul by about twenty minutes. So we decided to go to jimjilbang (Korean bath house). This was Marie's first experience with jimjilbang and I felt a little awkward just because she is my coworker and I saw her naked.

The jimjilbang was really nice compared to the other one that I have been to. Bally Aqua Spa has seven floors and the women's shower room was a good size. Marie and I played in the PC room for a little while and then decided to go take a short nap before our trip home. Unfortunately, I only managed to get thirty minutes of sleep. I was uncomfortable because it was warm and there were people coming in and out of the room, "papa bear" snoring, and whispers. I didn't sleep on the train either. I was too busy looking at the Korean countryside.

The trip officially ended around 9:30 this morning. I went to sleep, as soon as I got home, and didn't wake up until 4p.m. Then I went on a Costco trip...pickles, yum.

I really enjoyed the beach and the Busan area. The people (especially the girls) in Busan, compared to Seoul, are friendlier and more laid back. The scenery is wonderful. In the taxi ride, on the way to the temple, I didn't feel like I was in Korea at all because I'm so used to seeing tall buildings, business suits, and a plethora of convenient stores in Seoul. There were so many trees, so much nature, and there was a constant breeze that made me feel so good.

Updates on my biological mother: I received the translated version of her letter.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Picture

Whatever I am feeling at the moment is not what I had imagined I would be feeling after seeing my biological mother for the first time.

I feel a little disappointed. Possibly ashamed. Even hurt.

I imagined that I would feel relieved or happy...Not this.

The social worker says that she can see a resemblance between me and my biological mother. I haven't seen it. I'm trying to.

I'm even having second thoughts on whether I should meet her, since I'm feeling this way. We'll see what the letter says.


This past weekend I got this strange anxious feeling...It almost prevented me from leaving my apartment, but I overcame it.

I'm tired of this feeling..that comes. You would think, after feeling it for so long, I would know what it is. I don't. Emptiness? Sadness? Restlessness?

Being forgotten or let go. Struggling to let go and struggling not to let go.

I'm trying to plan a trip to London for my vacation in July. Let's hope it works. I think I could really use a get-away adventure for a few days by myself.

Monday, June 2, 2008

That's not what gets me...

A student told me that I looked 32 years old.

Another student told me that she is afraid of blue eyes because you can see the pupils (she didn't use the word pupils)...

Important Notice: My biological mother has written her letter to me. I have yet to receive the translation...Soohyun, the social worker, should be sending it to me sometime this week. The original copy will be mailed along with the photo.

To be continued.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Last night, as I was washing my hair, I began to think about all the little things that I missed about home and random memories.

Driving the two and a half hour trip from Columbus to Hattiesburg. Driving the four hour trip home to Gulfport. Driving my standard silver Mustang. Heck, I just miss driving. Singing in the car to mixed CDs. Being a waitress. Sonic trips for Cranberry or Watermelon slushes. Watching and listening to Brook and/or Peppy after long rehearsals. Long late night phone calls on the couch in Jones Hall. Running to jump on my bed in the dorm room I shared with Calli. Late night Wal-Mart trips to get a DiGiorno cheese pizza and Pepsi. Late night drives around Hattiesburg to scope out houses. Playing the flute. Sharing an Eel box with my great ex co-worker. Driving past WCBI to get to my apartment. The red lights on Main St. Walgreens. Carrier Lodge. Waiting in the drive-through line at Wendy's. Edy's grape popsicles. Leaving Victoria's Secret with the pretty pink paper bag (yeah, so what). Wall's. Waking up on a staircase to find a cleaning lady looking down at me. Rush parties. Pledging. Profitt's Porch. Snow Cones. Going to Blockbuster with Rachel to pick out a new movie for her collection. Getting grapes thrown at me in Callaway. Painting on canvas. Shaving cream fights and playing in the fountains on campus. The friendly bald guy at the front gate. Working in McDevitt. Working in the Spectator office. Band practice with the girls. Grilling out. Eating dill pickle slices. Hot dogs in the face. Rides on the band bus to and from football games. Flowers. Eating breakfast burritos and sausage biscuit combos with him. Baking. That smell that I can't explain from the apartment. 3rd floor Callaway right wing, my Freshman year. Having Laura Hughes as my roommate. Getting late night phone calls to look out my window for a surprise visit. Getting my car stuck on the curb at Sonic in Hattiesburg. Wearing overalls. Mi Toro's shrimp quesadillas. Seeing the snow come down outside at work at Lowe's. Getting locked out of the dorms during Thanksgiving. Holiday Inn. Birmingham. Listening to Landed. Trying to skip rocks. Smelling Auntie Anne's Pretzels after work at Edgewater Mall. Little hugs from Cat and Zack. Playing scrabble. Theatre....

And more.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Someday I might know my heart

Reasons why I like teaching...

1. Getting random questions: For example "Teacher, how do you spell poo hole?" (no joke)
2. Receiving hugs from my students: Sunny came up to me before class this week and gave me a huge hug...instant happiness.
3. Little hands shaking eagerly in the air to answer a simple fill-in-the-blank question.
4. Reading my students' funny sentences, stories or essays in their journals or VE books and being able to laugh out loud.
5. Pretending I'm a secret agent with a special kind of "hand phone" that looks like a clock.
6. Random happies: Dried Mangos from Lucy (they were yummy)
7. Students that make me laugh
8. Being able to stun my students into silence.

Reasons why I need a break from teaching...

1. The incessant "Teacher, Teacher, Teacher" and interruptions
2. The constant repetition of everything
3. The moments when I feel like I'm not doing anything
4. Having to be the "bad guy"
5. The endless grading and corrections
6. The Problem Children.
7. Dealing with nose bleeds, drool, and nose pickers

I had a student (Jack) burning mechanical pencil lead with his cell phone battery on Wednesday. O_O

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Can I dance with you? Baby, baby is there no chance I can take you for the last dance?

Warm ginseng drinks taste like a pumpkin spiced pie. The after taste mixed with strawberry yogurt is not so pleasant.

Today I took off of work because I am sick. First time I have felt this way here and it isn't pleasant. Ben (head teacher at Espirit) was nice enough to bring some Korean style medicine to me. I'm not too sure how it is going to affect me. I guess we'll see in an hour.

Yesterday (or today) is Teacher's Day in Korea. One of my students surprised me with a small bouquet of purple and pink carnations. Another one of my students gave a nice set of oriental spiced soaps. The most outrageous present I got from a student of mine was a $100 gift certificate from Shinsegae Department Store. Wow! They were nice tokens of appreciation and it made me feel a lot better yesterday.

A friend of mine from home, aka Ducky, has inspired me to write more about the everyday smells and sights I experience in Seoul.

"The smells are not very pleasant. When the subway is packed, the heat radiating from the people seem to "broil" the smells in the air making me gag. Yes, gag. The mix of soju, garlic, and kimchi is not pleasant. AT ALL. (Ok, so there was only one time when I gagged...) Other days, you are walking along the streets of Seoul and you get a whiff of something that has been decaying and rotting. The summer shall be interesting. In the spring, the weather is perfect. Some days, just walking outside feeling the breeze and the sun on my skin puts an extra pep in my step. The summers are going to broiling and the winter will be frigid. The joys of all four seasons!"(Memo: NOT trying to say that it smells bad all the time, just at certain moments)

On a typical day I Walk through the "Red Light District" of my area, Seocho, to get to work. It's not as bad as what a person would usually see at other areas (glass boxes with the girls on show, ready to be picked off). Usually cards or advertisements litter the streets from the night before. Large printed phone numbers and scantily clad girls appear on matted paper. There are a number of large barber shop poles that spin. We've all seen them, the ones that are red, white and blue. In an odd way, they look like candy shop signs to me. Those poles are everywhere and can't be avoided.

My mouth tastes like burnt rubber.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Three Day Weekend

Thankfully, I got a three day weekend because of Children's Day. I spent a lot of the time shopping and exploring other areas I hadn't been to. Friday night was the same as any other Friday; I spent it relaxing and thinking.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to go to the Jeonju International Film Festival. I was going to leave Sunday, but plans change.

Saturday, I went to Sinchon to eat at On The Border. YES! Burritos, margaritas, salsa & chips. My craving was satisfied and it was pretty good. After eating lunch, we headed over to Hongdae to check out the Free Market. It was relatively small but there were a number of vendors selling interesting homemade items. We also got to see a free street performance that involved a guitar and an accordion. A few hours later we took the subway to Dongdaemun. We spent most of the time wandering around the many shopping centers. I bought a white fur covering for when it gets colder.

On Sunday we headed over to COEX (has an aquarium, movie theatre, and kimchi museum). It is a huge mall, I think the largest in Korea, with a wide variety of stores. Then we headed over to the Sports Complex to see a baseball game. The Lotte Giants and Doosan. When we left, which was somewhat early in the game, Doosan was winning. Koreans really get into chanting and cheering at these games. It's a shame I didn't take any photos.

Then on Monday I headed over to Itaewon to find a tailor that could hem my pants. $20 for three pairs...would've been $24-25 back at home.
So not a bad deal. They also make dresses, I might look up different patterns and see how much it will cost for them to make some. I also went to Gangnam to do some more shopping.

This coming weekend I will get another three day weekend. Woo hoo! I'm thinking about taking a short trip to Busan. I'll leave on Saturday and come back Monday morning.

I managed to start my letter to my "bio-parent." It is far from finished.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dig down deep.

Unbelievable. I am almost finish with my third month of teaching. Unfortunately, I've been getting into a routine and need to put a stop to it. My weekends need to be filled with new exciting adventures with plenty of pictures to upload... ^_^ (Asian smiley face)

A big event has happened within the two and a half months that I've been here... I have located my biological mother.

Intense, isn't it? My thoughts and feelings are mixed at the moment and have been since I first found out about the possibility of meeting her. It has been about a month that I have known...but I have not written a letter to her.

My biological mother is married and has two other children ( a boy and a girl, both younger than me). Her husband knows about me so there isn't any hesitation that she wants to meet me (at least that is what the social worker at SWS said). She doesn't speak English so a translator will be necessary for the initial meeting. I don't know when I will see her face-to-face, but the first step is to write a letter to her with a photo or two of myself. It's strange to think that within any amount of time I could be staring at the person who gave birth to me 21 years ago. A person, whom I should have memories of, but don't.

What questions do I ask? What do I say to this stranger? It's a lot to think about.

I haven't really had a lot of time to stop and consider what I want to say to her. Work keeps me busy. I have two jobs now. I'm working full-time at Espirit and then part-time at Pagoda, teaching a business conversation class early in the morning (EARLY!!!!)

I get two three day weekends in the month of May, a much needed break. Although, I have no clue what I want to do during that time, but I am pretty sure I will be able to find something to get myself into.

This past weekend, I went on a hike up this semi-mountain...AKA a really big hill with some rocks and grave sites. It was refreshing and enjoyable although the grave sites were a little strange.

Weekend before that, I went to Club Volum in Itaewon and had a 'lovely' time. There was some kind of strange "lady boy" show...and dancing....and lots of light....and alcohol.

I love spring.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A Month has gone by...Really?

Two weeks ago, I had a very interesting experience. I opposed, at first, to going but I finally agreed...I considered, it's Korea and I should be experiencing new fascinating things.

So I went to a Korean bathhouse / sauna. I'm usually a modest person so having to undress and shower in front of a number of strangers was a bit shocking and disturbing at first. When I arrived, the woman at the front desk gave me two small orange towels, some clothes to change into (to be worn after the shower/hot tub) and then proceeded to show me where I needed to store my shoes.

Next thing I know, I entered into the main part of the bathhouse for women.

So there I was, trying to communicate with the woman that I don't know how these "bathhouses" work. Eventually I bought a scrub and body wash to use in the communal shower. I found my locker and slowly began to undress...trying to avoid eye contact with the naked women. I walked out of the locker area, revealed all of my glory and managed to keep a straight face.

Then I entered into the showers and began to wash myself. Before I came, I was told that it was going to be a relaxing experience...I saw no signs of relaxation yet. It was very busy on this Sunday evening. Many women were washing each other while sitting on plastic shower seats. This concept was strange to me. Some women even managed to get a massage as well. I took my time washing myself, trying to pay attention to what the other women were doing, all the while, feeling very self-conscious.

After washing myself two or three times I got into the hot tub. Very nice...I've started to relax by this point. Then I decided to head into the sauna and then the nice cold pool.

I lost all track of time...Finally, I managed to go downstairs where there were other saunas where men and women could mingle. Adam and I went into this room where there are hot little clay balls that you lay on. It was great...

We left. I went back the next Sunday and will probably go again in the future.
Life in Korea has its ups and downs. The job is nice, but it can be exhausting at times. I'm ready for vacation time and travel. In May, I have two three-day weekends because of Korean National holidays.

Last night, was the Espirit dinner. Fun was had...First time I've ever gone past the tipsy stage. After dinner, a number of us went to an "All That Beer" establishment..not a big beer drinker but they had tasty sausages.

Then we went to a Norae Bang.. ^-^ (yes, I just made an Asian smiley face...) It is a singing room where people go with their companies or friends, that is a lot of fun. I have some video footage of some of the events from last night so once I can get them uploaded to the Internet I will let you guys know.

Next time, I will try not to let a month go by before I write again.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Something tastes different, maybe it's my tounge.

Thank goodness for the weekend.

This past week was a little bit rougher than my first few weeks here. I'm attributing to the fact that the kids started public school this past week as well... they need to release their energy some time, somewhere, that being my classroom.

I had a good start to my weekend. After work a number of the teachers from Seocho and Apgu went to Smokey Saloon. This is a burger place in Apgujeong. Very tasty and satisfying :)
Being the person I am, I didn't get a hamburger...I got a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich. I was rather concerned about what the cheese would taste like, but it was good!

After dinner we all headed over to Kangnam for drinks. We found this "Hof" bar-I don't know the exact meaning of "Hof" but it's just a place that has REALLY cheap soju. A bottle of soju for 10 cents or 100 won. Flavored soju = melted popsicle juice...this too, was tasty. There were pretty fruit plates and some kind of spicy pork dish for our "anju." Anju is just another word for expensive appetizers.

We played a number of Korean games which was, I did not get drunk or even feel woozy. I was surprised considering I had a number of soju shots.

Around 1am we went on a taxi search. None of the taxis wanted to take us because Kangnam is so close to Seocho (the subway was closed). So we all decided to stretch our legs and walk back. The walk isn't too long or bad, I had walked it before about a week ago.

More later...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Find a new reason, a new way of living...

This past Friday was payday and thank goodness it came when it did. Funds were getting low and I was getting worried. It is the beginning of cycle two at school which means I survived the first two and a half weeks. This job is pretty easy and enjoyable. Here are some photos of a few students I teach.
(top/left to right: Brian, Joseph, Duke, David, & Monica)

(middle/l. to r.: Heidi *sweet girl*, Asela, and Herry)

(l. to r.: Kyuri, Christine, Yujin, Jason, and Christina)

I haven't done anything too exciting since my last post that is worth mentioning, but it did snow this past Monday. It started snowing on the way to work and continued snowing through the night. Here are some photos:
I walk this street to and from work...

Playground on the way to work.
Went to the City Hall area, one Friday evening, in search of this little water-way in the middle of town. I will have to return when Spring and Summer arrive.

Under water lights
A few weeks ago I went to a bar opening. It's called the "Happy Bar" and is in the Gwangmyeong area. Some Koreans have two names, a Korean and English name. I met a guy named Kurt... Kurt Cobain. Yes, he named himself after the guitarist/singer in Nirvana. Slightly amusing. Even more amusing, he said that he knew who Alison Krauss and Nicklecreek were (fib).. Here are some pictures of me participating in the Korean way...
(yes that's a REAL pig's head)

Array of Food at Chu Ok's "Happy Bar"
How can I forget! I got my cool red 'hand phone' this past Friday (pictures will be available soon)! It's a pretty cool piece of technology and I only paid 90,000 KRW for it. It has this video conferencing tool on the phone where I can see the person I'm talking to. It also has the microSD card slot (still trying to figure out how to work it) that allows you to bring outside music, pictures, and videos to your phone.

A few last words...If you ever have to tinkle while you are in a Korean subway, HOLD it. Don't use the bathrooms...the "toilet" was covered in unidentifiable brown and red was also very slippery and wet inside the stall because it had been raining that evening. I could not figure out how to 'use' this contraption with out making a mess. Too difficult to use...Needless to say, I was grossed out. FYI: a number of Koreans do not take the time to wash their hands after using the bathroom...take caution.

(photos and updates on apartment, daily ups/downs about living in Korea, and school).

Saturday, February 16, 2008

"TEACHER! Are you a Korean people?"

This week I started teaching. It was a whirlwind of classes, preparation, and cute kids with the sweetest smiles. My classroom is super tiny, but it works (will post pictures later). Monday I had the first day jitters, but after my first period I was calm and everything ran pretty smoothly. It turns out that on Tuesdays and Thursdays I don't have a class my first block 1/2 periods until public school starts. That gives me the privilege of doing some office hours, prep work, and observations during the next two weeks. Today (Friday) I didn't have any classes...This should be the norm. I spent six hours creating quizzes for future cycles.

I have two small classes...The first one is a Monday/Wednesday class. Mike and Robin are the babies out of all of my students...They are brand new and eager to learn. Mike has a smile that could get him out of trouble and Robin has caring eyes.

My other small class is a higher level course. Currently, Minji is the only student in it...Maybe in March my other student will show. Minji is an intelligent girl, she attends an international school and is learning French and Chinese in addition to learning English. I think I am really going to enjoy this class because I will get to know her well and because it's more of a debate and essay style course.

There are a number of other children that have made impressions on me as well. Johnas-- "I don't like school. Don't like reading. Don't like English. Don't like homework." Teacher--"So what do you like Jonas?" Jonas--"Games!" Behind his round Harry Potter glasses there is a very expressive face which makes me smile every time I look at him. In the same class there is a boy named Daniel. He is a happy boy and likes to laugh. During the quick twenty minute period he kept me and the rest of the students laughing.

During a quiz, I had one little girl named Yujin ask me, "Are you a Korean people?" I told her right now it is quiz time, during the break she could ask me more questions.

I never thought I would be a teacher, but here I am and I enjoy it.

I'll leave you with some photos of food that I ate this past week...

Cham-chi kimbap (bottom) and kimchi mandu (top)....

The Titanic roll from ROLLS.

Yes! They have Pizza Huts in Korea (less/little sauce)...They package your leftovers nicely.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Where ever the wind blows...

Every time I step out of my office-tel I get this anxious feeling. It subsides by the time I'm walking among the other Koreans, I just wish it didn't happen at all...

Today I took a trip to NamDaeMun Market. I think it only took me 30-40 minutes to get there by subway.

This is a huge place with many vendors selling all sorts of items. Some with good prices, some with not so good prices. For example, I wanted to get another pea coat. I bought one for 45 KRW (originally it was 55)...about an hour later I discovered a store that had a large number of pea coats and jackets for 15-30 KRW.

I also ended up paying 10 bucks for a snack of chicken skewers...NOTE: ask how much before sitting down and eating.
At the beginning of my shopping excursion I thought I would get lost in the market because it was so large...towards the middle of my journey I discovered that I had gone in a circle about once or twice...The market was packed, but I didn't mind it so much. There were a large number of foreigners shopping as well.

When I see other foreigners I get this comfortable feeling because I know they are just like me or were like me. Struggling with the language barrier and new to their surroundings. Then I realize that when they see me they just see another Korean. They don't think I speak English, or that I come from Mississippi where there are Fried Pickles and Fried Green Tomatoes. When my eyes see the people I am familiar with, I can't let them linger too long...Foreigners get stared at by Koreans which can be uncomfortable. I don't want them to think that I'm just gawking at them in awe or negatively. Although when I see them, I can't help thinking what their story is. Why they are here and where they come from.

Some guys were sitting at one of the food vendors and as I passed by they started talking to me. Of course I didn't understand them so I continued listening to my mp3 player and pretended to not notice them. All of a sudden they holler something at me and I turn around. Haha--a vendor looks at me smiles, says something and points to them. I immediately respond and say, "I don't understand them. I speak English." He nods and points me in to his "shop." Ha ha, I'm sucker and buy some cute black pumps that I had on my list of things to get.

(Watch out for those Korean men!--RD's advice to me...taken.)

I bought a towel, pea coat, 6 mugs, an umbrella, 2 pairs of leggings, three pairs of shoes and a bag to tote all of it around. I wanted to buy a floor mat but it started getting cooler and my feet were hurting so I headed to the subway.

This coming Monday starts the spring semester at E-Spirit. I'm really excited about teaching. Hopefully, I won't have an rascals in my classes. Tomorrow Marie will be coming over to my apartment so we can prepare a little bit more.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Ne, Anio, Juseyo, Kamsa hamnida, and All That Jazz.

Welcome to South Korea. The land of girls wearing short skirts and leggings in freezing weather, delicious foods, PC bangs, and soju.

When we arrived in Seocho, we went to this restaurant right around my apartment. It was delicious and the environment was pleasant. The restaurant was on a side street where they cook the meat in front of you. Next time I eat at an establishment like this one I will take pictures. I also tried soju for the first time at this restaurant. It is potent. I only took one shot--hehe--and I felt the affects quickly. It has a slightly odd taste to it, it isn't something that I would want to drink by itself a lot.

Sunday we went to Yongsan to check out one of the largest, if not THE largest electronic stores in Seoul. If I remember correctly, there was one entire floor dedicated to just cell phones. I managed to buy a hair dryer and an iron for 35 bucks...The guy wanted 40 for the two...I still think I could have gotten it cheaper.

I also went to the Army base in or near was useless to get on base. I can't do much of anything. The PX now has the rule, if you don't have a "ration control card" you can not enter the facility...At least we got to eat REAL Popeye's.

We went to the Costco in Yangjae, it is gigantic! I had never seen escalators that accommodate buggies. I spent about 30000 KRW for a year'll be worth it since I can get cheese, meat, and foreign food items there...but the prices are not impressive.

Koreans like to hand out stuff for free on the street. Cards that advertise their bar that have candy with them, international calling cards, sewing kits (which I got), etc...They also like to sale stuff to you--while you are eating, riding the subway, inside the subway station, etc.

Looking Korean and not being able to speak Korean has been interesting and some what of a challenge...One girl started laughing and laughing when she realized that I could not speak it. She was pleasant though ;) It is hard because I don't want to be rude and ignore the people when they speak to me, but I also don't want to say anything either because it just confuses them even more.

Before training today I went to go get some noodles from the 24hr Mini Mart downstairs...The cashier was very helpful and spoke a good bit of English too. He showed me how to mix everything together and showed me where the hot water was. Many of the Koreans that I have had interactions with have been very nice...

Yesterday I rode the subway by myself and did not get lost! I was so proud of myself for being able to accomplish a task such as this. On the way back to my apartment I was listening to my mp3 player and "Tell Me" came on...If you don't know what this song is, it is a song by Wondergirls, a Korean Pop was popular for awhile and still is.
Anyway, it made me smile and made me feel like a real Korean for a moment on the subway.