Monday, June 28, 2010

India... Ahhhh!

So where do I even begin? Kate and I leave for India in less than 4 weeks. It ranks # 2 on the places I"ve always wanted to travel to,right behind Egypt. So needless to say hitting India before I'm 30 is a pretty big deal. Visions of colorful silk and desert winds cloud my mind while I can almost taste the spices in the air. I almost can't believe I'm going. Every few days I randomly scream " I'm going to India...Ahhhh!" The original plan was to explore Indonesia and Malaysia but after Kate read the BBC news (which is her source for most things), we found out there was some political unrest going on in Indonesia, so a little distraught we opted out of our original plan. While scowering Seoul for a reliable,English speaking travel agent, and reasonably priced tickets we popped into a random shop I happened to see in passing. The gentlemen were really nice and asked where we wanted to go. Our hearts had been sooo set on our Indonesian/ Malaysian trek we hadn't really bothered to think of any other destinations. I looked up at the world clocks on the wall, and one read New Delhi. I shrugged and asked " Hypoethetically speaking my friend... how much would it be to go to India?" "Oooooh India" Kate smiled. A few minutes later he quoted us prices for round trip tickets. We could barely believe our ears. It was definitely within our price range and on our favorite... Thai Airways! I looked at Kate, Kate looked back at me. " India?" we both said... and in that moment our destination was decided. " I guess we're going to India!" I smiled at Kate. " Ahhhhhhhhh... India!" we yelled.
So now we've purchased our tickets, mapped our travel route and are about to book our hotels.  A sneak peek at part of our itenirary: New Delhi:Taj Mahal/ Red Fort ,Jaipur:Amer Elephant Safari (you know how I love riding elephants), Jaisalmer: Fortress/Paatu Bar,Thar Desert Trek ( What? A trek through the desert on a camel... yes please!) and then a little beach time in Goa(possibly some more elephant riding :)
I'm sure there are going to be some unexpected twists and turns along the way. Waiting for trains that never come, making sure I don't drink the water on this trip, keeping away from punjabi scam artists, and securing suitable accomodations No matter what I'm going to roll with it. I hear when it comes to India you either LOVE it or HATE it.  I'm going in with an open mind and a cautious stomach. :) I can't wait for our Indian adventure to begin.
Ps. Mom thanks for the new camera. I can't wait to capture the world! I'm going to India in less than 4 weeks...Ahhhhhhhhh!

Confucius: We all travel the same journey, each of us just have different maps


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wanna know a joke about a Waguk?

Dear Korea,

It's been a while since my last love letter to you.  I got the kimchi scented roses you sent lovely.  But as per usual, it's time for my four favorite words when  it comes to you. We need to talk! Now I know you are a homogenous country,but how long have "waguks" been a presence in Korea. Ummm let me check... quite a while. Something like the Korean War ring a bell? You've seen our faces time and time again and yet in still when we walk outside our homes, ride the train or ever...god forbid speak Korean you giggle, point and stare. Really? You laugh at me just for existing? That's some real a*****e  s**t!
I mean seriously, is it REALLY that unbelieveable that  we walk, talk, eat,shop, and travel all by ourselves. Contrary to what you think, we all had full adult lives before we came here and are quite capable of taking care of ourselves.I know it's hard for you to believe but we are REAL people. Another thing... we are NOT here for your amusement so stop screaming " Hi! How are you" and forcing impromptu language exchange. And stop watching us as if we are some crazy species of mammal in the zoo, and are about to do some kind of show! We are not minstrals. We are people! It's not cute and we are not impressed!
Wooh sah! I'm more ranting my love, just needed to tell you how I feel. It doesn't mean that  한국의 name plate necklace that said " 티파니" isn't as special. We just have some things we need to work on if you want this relationship to work.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Snack Attack!!!!

Store d'oeuvres: Snacks and food samples that a grocery store will serve at various locations in order to tempt the patrons into buying something they weren't planning on (pizza, chips and dip, sausage, etc.). Usually happens on the weekend but its EVERYDAY in Korea!
Usage:I went to E-mart the other day and filled up on store d'oeuvres
LUCKY DAY! ( I love this phrase, it's seen usually on special event store signs to let you know there's a sale, and guess what... it's your Lucky Day!)
This brings to mind my favorite thing in E-mart ( well my second favorite thing next to scaring little Korean children): The Store d'oeuvres
"God, I'm so hungry I could eat the ass end of a cow?"
"Wanna go for Samgyupsal?"
" I'm sooo broke, I dont get paid til next week!"
"No money... no problem"
" Let's go sample stalking at E-Mart"
" Asaaaaaa!"

Peruse the market section of E-mart. You have you choice of various baked goods, kimchi, sauteed meats, fruit drinks and mandoo. Don't be shy about taking 3 or 4 helpings. Get in there with your toothpics and mini cups and have at it! You'll be stuffing your face with little adjummas and children alike.
Koreans will tell you" 먹 어"! "Nom, nom, nom" and the smacking symphony will commence!
I wish they would make E-Mart commercials featuring foreingners because I would be all about that. I would wear a shirt that said Snack Attack in Korean and perhaps even do a dance! You know Koreans are all about the ridiculous commercials complete with signature dance moves. Asaaaaa!

Confucius say: When funds are low and stomach starts to growl, head to E-Mart and start a sample prowl

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Poop Story

This morning on my way to work as I was leaving my apartment. I smelled something FOUL. Now I know Korea has it's own Eau du Funk if you will, but this was something different. Upon further inspection of the hallway I noticed huge piles of dog poop on the landing and consequetly tracked down 2 flights of stairs. I know a lot of things are lax in Korea, but dog shit in PILES in the HALLWAY C'mon! And these were not little doggie treasures. These were Great Dane after a 6 course meal poop piles. Irritated and running late,I made my way down stairs carefully as not to step in the doggie surprises 1 through 20 in my barely there sandals. I was not impressed.
 Now it's time for google translator and writing passive aggressive notes in Korean to my upstairs neighbors.
Until next time...

Confucius say: When there is poop on your stoop indeed you must take a stand, before the poop bandit gets out of hand!

As my uncle says: Put a wrap on the crap. Good luck and step carefully! ( haha I love it)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Silly wagukenim...

Dear Korea,

Now you know I love you dearly but there is something I have to get off my chest. Just because you lure me in with your foreign wiles, waving ridiculous accessories and "strangee" cultral customs in my face doesn't mean you can treat me any old kind of way. I'd like to take a moment and dicuss the 13 reasons you feel that I, the wagukenim, and my fellow expats are not considered the real people:

1.Why are we bound by contract unable to change jobs if treated badly without being banned from Korea?   (  not speaking from personal experience)
2. Why are we unable to get certain free cell phones ( Me: " Why do I have to pay 250,000  won for a phone my students get for FREE?"  SHOW: " You have no choice! you are the foreigner!" Thanks real need to sugar coat it for me)
3. Why are we second guessed when our solutions are the most logical? ( This applies to most situations)
4. Why do you think it is ok to " WHOA" and giggle as walk by then stare without blinking for minutes on end? (Is it funny that we exist? Didn't your mom ever tell you it was rude to stare? Wait it's Korea.... NOPE)
5. Why are all of our medical bills not covered under out insurance ( Doctor: Oh you are sick okay... maybe your insurance doesnt cover... Me: why?  Doctor: Oh maybe because you are the foreigner Me: Hmmm...FML)
6. Why do adjumma think it's appropriate to touch our food or person at any given time to "help us" or "show us the correct way to do something" ( I know you think we are accelrated 5 yr olds but we grown people, so stop it)
7.Why is it every time we attempt to eat spicy food " you know this food? It is very spicy... Are you sure you can eat?" ( I'm pretty sure Korean food isn't what we'd call super spicy. Ps. We have more peppers in North America)
8. Why is it that Koreans think we came here to teach because we were unemployable in our native countries ( All of us have degrees, and some multiple ones with teaching experience.Just a thought why would you hire someone who wasn't employable anyway? C'mon let's think about it)
9. Why is it that we are put in sub-par apartments and expected to tough it for a yr or more ( once again I'm no speaking from personal experience, but I've heard some horror stories)
10. Why do you think it is acceptable to make our business YOUR business? I'm pretty sure it's none of youe business where we go after work, if  we have the Korean boyfriends/girlfriends or if we sleep in til 2 on Sundays)
11. Why is that basic services are inaccessible due to us being  foreigners? (websites, phone registration, etc.) I'm sure most of us managed our lives before we came to Korea we dont need a korean to hold our hands every step of the way.( You would think it would be important for our bank/credit card statements to be in English , and thats just the tip of the iceberg)
12 Why are you AMAZED and ASTOUNDED when we can understand the slightist bit of Korean. Especially when we have lived here fo half a year or more? ( It's not like we have a choice in such a homogenous country )
13. Lastly, why do you think it is appropriate to comment on our appearance. Anything from clothing to hair to weight?( Once again didnt your mom ever tell you " If you dont have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all?" Of course not it's Korea)

According to Kate, Korea is the place that you can do all the inappropriate things your mother told you NOT to do when you were 5...but we're not the real people? Hmmm?

The answer to all of these questions is simple... " silly wagukenim you are not the real person"

Now, now Korea, don't get you hanbok in a twist I just wanted to tell you how I feel. Doesn't mean I love you less. I love you for you who are , the good, the bad and the ugly.
Until next time...

티 파 니