Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Journey

I have less than 24 hours to India and I'm super pumped! As always something always goes wrong. The dogsitter canceled on me today! Ahhhh, some excuse about a " last minute" trip to the east coast. By last minute, do you mean planned for months and just now feeling it was important to tell me. No worries Korea. I'm quick on my feet. I mustered up my best Korean and called local vets and pet shops to find a suitable place for Binnie. To my surprise, I found a place right here in Anyang to house her. Phew...crisis overted. I've been procrastinating hardcore on packing,( partly because there's no dryer, so my clothes take days to dry)but there's no time like the present. At 2 :30pm, I head to the tailor's to get our secret pockets sewn into our sports bras ( no pick-pocketing going on over here) then off home to pack and straighten up the apartment. Tomorrow, I'm off to the bank to make sure my bank card will work in India. I do not want another Thailand episode. Being on vacation in a foreign country with a bum bank card is no bueno. I'm beyond excited. I remember when this trip seemed so far away, and here it is the day before. I'm freaking out over here just a little bit! I'm India bound in 24 hrs. So crazy.
On a serious note, I talked to an old friend today. We caught up on each others lives and talked about journeys of the mind, heart, and soul. We talked about the things that changed us, the things that held us back and the things that helped us grow. Not to sound all self-help book-esque, but anyone who feels themselves floundering, remember" you were created to live life. So give everything, to this life you are living. Hold nothing back." Just my perspective.
 This year, has been one of  loss and renewal. I truly believe it is what you do with the failures in your life that define your character. In this moment, I could not be happier. My life as it is now, is all that I wanted. Life, love, travel. I couldn't ask for more. I was told by someone " You create the world in which you live, drawing positive or negative energies into your life". So this is me,sending positivity to all of you out there hoping that it makes a difference in your lives.
The journey that I take to India has been many years in the making. Like I said it's # 2 on my list of lifetime places to visit. As long as I can remember I've dreamed of wearing saris,camel rides though the desert, and seeing the Taj Mahal. I've never been to the desert. People say it has an unparalleled beauty. I'm sure I will burst into tears at the sight of the Taj. Life moves and inspires me. With a freed sense of self and another stamp in my passport I'm off to India. Til next time  ... Namaste

Confucius says: Life is like a good curry, it can be unyielding and fierce but delicious and satisfying. The task is to endure it all.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Are you there 7 Eleven? It's Me, 티파니♥

 I'm not sure if your are aware of the 7 Eleven franchise phenomena throughout Asia. I saw a documentary on it, not too long before I left the states. It talked about how 7-Eleven's are dwindling in the states, but are booming in countries all over Asia. It's like a little piece of home no matter where I travel. Kind of like a landmark if you will.
For example, " Dude! I'm pretty sure this is a third world country, they're eating dog kabobs and I just laddled water into the toilet to flush it!" " Nope...there's a 7-11!" When in doubt always search for the trusty green, red, and orange "Oh thank heaven... 7 Eleven!" According to the documentaryYou can walk into any 7 Eleven in Asia and find a myriad of quality snacks from the home country in which it's situated, but also snacks from the UK and America. It's like the United Nations of snacking. ( Now I can only speak for  Thailand and Korea) Thailand's assortmert of snacks was pretty spectacular but Korea...EPIC FAIL! Their options for snacking are lacking! I mean don't get me wrong, sometimes you'll luck out and find Del Monte Fruit Cocktail or a Kit Kat (not to be confused the Korean knock off Kick Ker)next to the dried squid and Aloe juice,but those are isolated incidents. Korea keeps the ill lock-down on foreign snacks :(  I can't say that I'm ever in the mood for fruit in my "spam dog" thats been on the hot dog roller for hours or sweet red bean flavored pretzel. Womp, womp womp.
When I see the flourescent glow of the 7 Eleven sign I think of one thing and one thing only...SLURPEES!
I was sooo excited when I first got here and saw 7 Eleven! Unfortunatley,there are no SLURPEE machines in Korea! Every store I come across I peer in the window with hopeful eyes....nothin'. I'm surprised though, because Koreans are ALL about the ice cold treats! The icecream and popscicle game here is sooo serious!There are stores devoted to popscicles and iced treats. So why not opt for the SLURPEE  Korea? Then again Korea might bastardize the SLURPEE with flavors like Green Tea, Sweet Red Bean, or Aloe.It's mid July and what I wouldn't give for an ice cold cherry/cola SLURPEE! I can almost taste it. But no...I'm left to eat popscicles, Baskin "Lobbins" and 팥 빙 수 ( shaved ice, sweet read beans, fruit, icecream and cereal.I'm not knockin it ,Kate loves it, but it sounds like a stomachache waiting to happen!) I feel some type of way Korea. You bring Taco Bell to Korea (with no Chalupas, might I add) but no SLURPEE? What kind of madness it that? Is there some kind of  Asian anti-SLURPEE conspiracy Im not privy too? Is there someone I can write about this?
Well this "eventful" work day is about to end, so I'm left to walk home past three 7 Elevens and not one SLURPEE machine in sight! :( Until next time...

Confucius say: 7 Eleven with no SLURPEE is like Korea without's just WRONG!

Monday, July 12, 2010

A little face time

Dear Korea,

I wanted to take a minute to talk about face care. I've seen just about everything here in Korea when it comes to skin care. In such an image conscious society, it's normal to see a Skin Food, Face Shop, Etude House, Tony Moly or Holika Holika  or every corner. In a place, where a visit to the dermatologist is only 6,000 won, you really cant be mad at that. There is a cream , spray, or gel for everything from peeling, bleaching, pores, wrinkles, toning, hair removal, to dark circles. If there is a skin or facial need Korea has the cream, gel, or spray  to suit you. I'm sure of that! A cute little sales girl came up to Kate and  I as we were perusing nail polish colors in Tony Moly and in her best Konglish " Help you?, 당신이 찾고있는 무엇?" Holding up a conspicuous tomato shaped jar " 해볼까요? 3 minutes don't touchee" Unbelieving we tried this mysterious tomato paste on our hands and some other lotions. " ku-lean-uh! no dirty..yes?" After three minutes of raiding the lipglosses and trying other products, the sales girl wiped off the paste to reveal an even toned and clean part of my hand. SOLD! Only 8,000 won.Asaaaa! We also decided on a face detox/exfoliating gel and a pore reducer/oil expectorant. I'm usually not one for trying things that sales people push on me. But these were all winners! Our cute and bubbly our sales girl made her way to the counter showing up numerous products along the way including a waterless bubbling body and face cleansing spray.What will Korea come up with next? I love Korea's " go ahead...try it!" attitude with products. I like to know what I'm getting myself into. I might have to cast my Biore aside. 감사합니다 토니 모 리! I know lately I haven't been Korea's biggest fan but the tides are a changin'.  I posted some pics so you can see the after affects of the products. ( Gold egg: pore cleaner/oil expectorant, Tomato: skin purifier and toner, Blue Gel: Skin Detox and Exfoliator ♥ )  Yes that's me with NO makeup! Ouch...don't stare too long at the screen. So what I guess I'm trying  to say is ...Korea is I'm sorry being being so hard on you! Thanks for the awesome facial products!
Love ,
Ps. This doens't mean I forgive you for not carrying my shoe size!

Monday Morning and wonderful Sungmoon suprises

So it's Monday afternoon and I can barely concentrate. Good thing, I planned my lessons last week. So as I mentioned in my previous blog. This weekend is my Jeju-do getaway! I'm super pumped. Let's hope the weather keeps and monsoon season doesn't piss on my parade.  Anyways, enough with the travel blabber. So my new coiff  is a big hit with the students. I've gotten comments like " Oooh teach handsome hairuh", " Oh teacher beautiful lion", " So pretty Girl's Generation hairuh", " You are so berry beatipul now!" and my favorite while pinching her cheeks my student said" Big eyes. big hair, oh so very beautiful. I envy you!" lol. 
One of my favorite students came into class today and said " Teachuh you like my ba-ling  ba-ling eyes-uh?" " So pretty like Lady Gaga right?" Referring to her anime-esque looking  blue-grey contacts.
 I even had one student with turquoise contacts to match her new balances and her pencil, which she called her " sky blue set-tuh" Oh Korea!
It's all about the looks in Korea! Today I even got asked on a coffee date by a high school student when I taught a special class this morning. A class of all boys no less.  After teaching in the high school and seeing the enthusiasm of the students and their English ability I wouldn't mind teaching high schoolers.
Random note: The past few afternoons my school broadcasting station has taken to playing no, blasting Korean Soft Rock around 7th period. Let's just say Im less than excitied about this development.      I must say I love Mondays, they are really low key after a weekend of no sleep. However I am excited to actually be teaching again and not having my classes cancelled  every five minutes. I was a little tired of desk warming. My day is winding down and I've just painted my nails a spectacular shade of turquoise ( similar to my student's set-tuh), I can't wait to get home to book hotels for India. Speaking of India, the new passport pics Kate and I took  for our Indian visas on Friday are ridiculous. I look like Im 12 and Kate looks like one of those Russian nesting dolls. Dear Korea, please ease up on the air brushing and photoshop. No one wants to look like an Anime charcter. Wait ...I'm sorry I forgot it's Korea! Looking forward to another weekend of birthday celebrations and fun in the sun on Jeju-do. Until next time...

Confucius say: Anime airbrushin... it's what the people want!!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dog Day Afternoon

Just finished talking to my old co-teacher. Did I mention how fantastic she is? She is also  always full of ridiculous misinterpretations and laughs. So she asked me about Soo Bin and her " injections". I told her that the vaccinations went well. She then told me about her dog Yoo Bi who is this cute little Maltese. "The other day Yoo Bi got the surgery". " Why, is he ok?" I asked. " I noticed that he was peeing strangee these days, like this" ( she lifted her leg). I almost lost it! " Oh you got him fixed!". Looking lost for a minute, "Yes he is not the man he gay?" Then I started cracking up uncontrollably. When I was able to choke back my laughter. " You got him neutered".  " Ooooh, yes noodled" she said. I'm sorry it was too funny I couldn't correct it. " Noodled?" I love it! She smiled and said"But, he is not angry with me anymore "     You remove a dog's balls... I'm prtty sure he's still mad at you, but you pick up his poop and feed him, so he grins and bares it!

Confucius says: Beware of taking your dogs balls without warning, the next victim might be your favorite shoes then you'll be the one in mourning.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Yay! It's JULY ~

So it's  the second week of July and I realized my birthday is right around the corner. (to my friends and loved one stateside... I LOVE PACKAGES) wink, win @_< Anyways ( in my best korean voice), this year flown by and I can't believe I'm going to be 28.  I have to say this isn't where I thought I'd be at 28, but I'm not complaining. Tonight is my birthday dinner. It's a little early, but I was suprised with a trip to Jeju-do next weekend. Asaaaaa! If you didn't know, according to Koreans Jeju Island is the " Hawaii" of Korea! Kate you're the greastest! I can't wait fun in the sun, erotic parks ( cant wait to see that!), waterfalls and beautiful sunrises. Did I mention we're staying right on the ocean! Ahhhhh! But I digress, tonight we are going to do it up real Korean style with my favorite Samgypsal ( Korean pork BBQ) and soju, then Norebang so I can channel my inner Prince! I promise to take pictures to document the ridiculousnes.Those of you who know me, know I will be gettin with it! So watch out. I have to say  I'm super excited. July is turning out to be an eventful month this weekend my party, and an invitation from on of my students to see Eclipse, next week: off to Jeju-do, then we leave for India the following week. I can barely contain my excitement or concentrate! My job has been pretty low key this month cancelling classes left and right.생일 축하의 티파니no classes for you. I'm not complaining :) July seems to be the month of all things SPECTACULAR!

Confucius say: Birthdays are a  time to special celebrate, and surprise packages from the U.S. with presents are always great!

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Costco Caper and Onions Galore

Last weekend Kate and I took the train to Costco, which seemed to take forever because we had to transfer 3 times. I said we should take the rolling luggag to cart back groceries, but Kate said she didn't think we would need them so I grabbed my durable costco bag and headed out the door. Apparently Kate forgot how much we both like to shop. Needless to say we should have brought the suitcase. There were so many things I missed that i didn't know I missed until we were strolling down the towering aisles.  Costco is an overwhelming commerce experience. I had never been while living in the states, so when we entered the buy-in-bulk metropolis(which by the way, Koreans supposedly don't like) I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people and the special needs logic of people steering their over sized carts. Why is it that there were proper traffic jams in 10ft wide aisles? Six peoples' carts can fit across, so why is no one moving? Ahhhh...Kate took me aside " Tiffany, relax, remember it's still Korea!"  as she maneuvered us  through the cluster-fuck of carts I was grateful, that she was there. There were families with multiple carts, parents who converted carts into nap time carriages for their small children, as well as play pens. I could tell they were Costco for the long haul by the snack bags and water bottles in their carts. I had only planned to get a few things. What had I gotten myself into?
Kate had once told me about the Pizza at Costco. So I was very excited to have pizza that tasted like home. Apparently Koreans LOVE the Costco pizza too! The Food court was packed and buzzing with crying babies, yelling adjummas, snacking families, and hungry foreigners. In true Korean style the seating area was only big enough to accommodate about a quarter of the people buying food. Mothers watched closely, hovering over tables, waiting for an opening , then swooping down on the limited seating, while fathers had the arduous task over ordering and  then finding their way through the masses with their family's meal. Not enough seats for your family.... No problem. Feeding order: Children, Adjummas, Fathers, then doting Mothers. Eating in shifts? What's that? DPRK is that you?
Not only were pizzas being slung into carts in the food court left and right ,but hotdogs wrapped in foil moved so swiftly, I thought I might have an epileptic seizure from all the foil being thrown about. People were pushing a shoving making their way to the coveted condiment corner. I wasn't sure what all the fuss was about , but then I saw the Holy Grail of the Korean Costco food court... The Onion Dispenser! Koreans were lined up with plates in anticipation of turning the wheel clockwise( as it says on the dispenser )and recieving a pile of scumptious onion goodness. Koreans are serious about their onion game. While sitting at the table with Kate enjoying my pizza I couldn't help but stare at the onion phenomena, countless hands mixing enormous piles of onion with ketchup, mustard, relish, and hot sauce and subsequnetly shoveling  large fork fulls into their mouths. And I thought I liked onions! The family across from me ordred onions with a side of hotdog. There were more condiments on their hotdogs than actual hotdog. Are onions the new kimchi? But the onions, like most things  in Korea, Go HARD or Go Home!

Confucius says: Beware of Korean adjumma's tales about not shopping in bulk, don't take the last 70lb bag of rice she might go hulk.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Monsoon Season and the Ashy Ankled Bandit

Now,I've been anticipating monsoon season since I got here. It's July, so I knew the torrential downpour was right around the corner.I KNEWwhat to expect.    I was warned and yet somehow I left the house this morning without my rain boots! Whyyyyyy did I do that? By time I got to school I had little pools of murky water in my favorite patent leather flats(strike 1). 축하 해요! As I mentioned before my school is up a steep hill, and situated at the base of a mountian. The downpour was no joke. Walking up the umpteen steps to the teacher's office I almost bit it. Tripping up the steps on a rainy day...NO BUENO! (strike2) At the top of the steps I took off my shoes and emptied my miniture lakes onto the sidewalk. Once I got inside I shook off  the rainy day blues and made it to my classroom without any major catastrophies, and relaxed. I ate my dry Honey Nut Cheerios ( Yay for Costco... that's another story) and started my Fall semester planning. When the bell rang, I was ready for action. Board games prepped, and lesson ready. As I was going over the phrase of the day I saw a student at one of the front tables staring at my feet. My students always stare at my tatoo, so I thought nothing of it.  When students were engaged in their groups playing their English Review board games. My oggling student raised her hand and called me over to her table with a worried look on her face. " Yes?" I said. " Ummm...( she paused for moment to think) ummm..teacher legs is sick?" " Huh? Sick? No,why?" I said  " Because teacher's legs "Hwite" color.(white) That's when it happened! I looked down at my legs after my cute black leggings stopped it was Ashiness for days!창피! (strike 3) womp..womp..womp, thanks for playing!
"No I'm ashy" I explained. Confused she scratched her head "Ashley?"." No, I'm ok" I said. She did a sign of relief, I laughed. There was no way I was going to have this conversation. So when the bell rang I rushed to my desk and moisturized my legs and feet thoroughly... "Ashley" the ashy ankle bandit was no more. From now on I know to do an "Ashley Check" on rainy days before class.

Confucius say: when rain is about and you are in doubt,lotion first ask questions later!