Co-Habitating With A Dictator

As many know, when I first landed in Madrid and was on the apartment hunt, it was exhausting and stressful and annoying all rolled into one pretty little ball of yuck. I saw so many dumps, was put on so many long lists of others in my same boat, and then after a little over 2 full weeks of searching, found a place. I sat and talked with the guy, who we will call The Dictator, for an entire hour and totally hit it off. The room was massive and complete with a balcony and azulejo tiled floor. I was obsessed, and an hour later told him I wanted to live there if he’d have me.

Oh he had me alright.

At first he was so nice, and even invited me to go watch a movie with his “cousin” and a friend. I had other plans, and frankly didn’t want to go, but still thought it was a nice gesture. This my friends is all building up the facade.

Then Mama Schaeff came to visit a couple weeks after I moved in, and naturally I was excited to have a visitor stay with me. The night before she arrived we actually had a roomie dinner because it was my Belgian roommate, Lorenzo’s, birthday, so he cooked for everyone. I casually told The Dictator that my mom was coming the next day and he put on this smile like “Oh that’s great!”

Dun dun dun!

During her whole stay she felt uncomfortable. The apartment is constantly kept dark, and she just didn’t feel a very welcoming atmosphere from the place. Which I don’t blame her. However, we were never home during her visit, except for during intermittent fights and to sleep. Then the morning that she left, I got a text message from The Dictator asking me when she was leaving and telling me that “it’s normal for visitors to only stay for a weekend”. Excuse me but no. Not when they are flying around the globe it’s not normal. This was the first WTF in a long list.

Dali is the opposite kind of weird.

Even Dali thinks this is weird.

Then my friend Kristia was over one Friday or Saturday night. We were hanging out in my room, talking and drinking some delicious vino because that’s what social people do. They talk and utilize spaces that are theirs. At 11pm on the dot I got a text message (note that it’s always via text), saying that my visitor had to leave now. Um, last I checked I am a grown ass woman, paying rent to live in my grown ass woman room, so as long as I’m not disrupting your life or your property I think I am allowed to have visitors. And also, last I checked I already have a father, and he wouldn’t even tell me to have my visitor leave. I wanted to stay and spite him, but I hadn’t reached the point of revenge seeking just yet. So we left.

This happened a couple more times, and each time pushed one more button towards hatred of The Dictator.

Along the way there were also little things. Like notes on the chalkboard in the kitchen saying not to open the kitchen window, or that the water and light bills were too high, which made absolutely zero sense to me, since we basically live in a dungeon where lights are forbidden. And as for the water bill, I obey the once a week laundry rule, doing mine about every 2 weeks. Meanwhile, I constantly see their fresh laundry hanging to dry almost everyday. To top it off, remember that “cousin” I mentioned up above? Well, The Dictator and his “cousin” share a bedroom, which was not disclosed to me upon renting, and frankly, it’s bizarre that two 40 year old male cousins would share a bedroom. I had a sneaking suspicion that the “cousin” was a cover for boyfriend, which has since been confirmed by a prior tenant.  That aside, I was told there were 4 tenants, which I soon realized was 5. Oh, and we aren’t allowed to have boyfriends or girlfriends spend the night, as was told (via text) to my Belgian roommate at 11pm one night while his girlfriend was over. Enter the double standard.

With the “no significant others” rule, and quickly becoming clearer, no visitors rule tucked in my back pocket, I alerted The Dictator the day before L was to arrive in Madrid. Shocked, but not quite shocked at all, I received several rude texts in a row saying that no visitors were allowed to stay over, and that my mom had previously stayed too long. EXCUUUUSE ME, but 1) who says that about someone’s visiting mother? And 2) when I first rented this apartment that was the first question I asked you and got a resounding “Of course visitors can stay! As long as they sleep in your room!” So sorry, but that is not flying.

He eventually bent, but for a hefty price of 20 euros/night per visitor. Preposterous. I came back to him with a counter offer based off what another friend’s landlord charges non-family member visitors. He told me to get a hotel for that price. I of course didn’t listen and L stayed over for the weekend, and I pushed him to not pay one cent out of principle.

During his entire stay we felt like we were being sneaky and tip-toeing around. Which forgive me if I’m wrong, but that is no way to live in your own home, except if you’re 16 years old and under your parent’s roof. Well, L left on a Monday morning, and on Wednesday late night Jeanette arrived, and without a mere peep to The Dictator. I thought I could be clever by sneaking her in late and he wouldn’t notice. But he would. More on that in a bit.

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Here I am tip toeing through an art installation.

On Thursday morning I got a text message from The Dictator saying “your friend is in the house”. No shit. He said (didn’t ask) you didn’t tell me this, and it’s not allowed. With every message he would send he would nip it abruptly, leaving it like that was the end of that and he has the final word. No no, sir. That is not how the world works. So I told him we are going out of town, so you won’t have to worry about losing your precious bathroom time, or whatever it is you’re so concerned with.

So we went out of town for 4 glorious days for the puente (long weekend). We got back late Monday night and Jeanette was leaving Wednesday morning. Well, Tuesday during my 2nd period class I clicked on my phone to check the time, and what do ya know? There was a string of nipped in the bud texts to me telling me “your friend is in the house” and that I’m not good to co-habitate with. Then the kicker……. I have 22 days and I’m out. I GOT KICKED OUT OF AN APARTMENT. It’s almost comical.

I didn’t respond to any of his nonsense, and then late that night, while Jeanette was using his precious shower water, he came and knocked on my door to just speak at me in Spanish and reiterate his text messages. I of course have a big mouth and I love to use it, and that I did by talking over him in English.  I told him that he’s a liar, and that I won’t listen to him because he went back on his word. I asked him how it affects HIM if MY visitor is in MY room, sleeping in MY bed, and occupying MY space? His response (in Spanish and ultimately in English when he realized I wasn’t going to shut up) “I need to use the bathroom!!!” Oh, you’re a big boy. You can hold your pee 2 minutes so my friend can shower. He also scolded me for turning on the lights so that we could see when we walk. Pardon me for wanting to use one of my vital senses in my own home. Not to mention, it’s also freezing because they don’t turn the heat on, so I sleep bundled up.

Flash forward to a couple days later as I’m perusing Idealista.com, the website used to look for apartments in Spain. I saw my room pop up and immediately posted it to our Auxiliares Facebook group to warn people not to rent from him. This proved to be the greatest way I could have ever used the fabulous internet to my advantage. Not 1 or 2, but 4 people chimed in who were previous tenants or had a friend who was, and EVERY SINGLE PERSON was either evicted after a couple months for having visitors, or had to get the cops involved because The Dictator tried to spin the situation. Nearly everyone was jipped out of their deposit, and everyone said this guy is a psycho. Oh, and remember how I said that I thought I was being clever sneaking Jeanette in late night? Well, one of the previous tenants alerted me that there is in fact a camera/motion sensor in the main hallway of the apartment. Yes, you read that correctly. There is a CAMERA IN MY APARTMENT. Specifically used to track comings and goings of visitors.

So naturally I went out to the hallway to look for it, and low and behold, high above there is a damn camera, and right when I get in shot a red light flashes. I also found some other suspicious wirings in the hallway, but I’m not sure what they are. Did a full sweep of my room and bathroom and kitchen, but thankfully haven’t found anything else. Needless to say, I feel extremely creeped out in my home now, and I’m pretty sure that is some illegal shit, especially if not disclosed prior to renting.

And there you have the apartment hunting and living nightmare that has landed in my lap wrapped in a pretty poopy brown bow. Many people who haven’t moved abroad don’t always take into account the real life things that go into the everyday, and finding a home is one of those huge things. It takes a lot of stepping out of yourself before getting to enjoy your new city, to get the answers you need when you speak a different language from someone. This has now happened in 2 instances, in Korea and now here. I have found out how easy it is to get taken advantage of as a foreigner in a situation like this. When it comes down to it, people basically suck and are money hungry and will exploit all they can to get what they want.

And you know what? THEY CAN SUCK IT.

Or sniff it.

Or sniff it.

Now you tell me! Have you ever had a horrendous living situation abroad? A psycho landlord? A person who literally chills you to the bone that you have to coexist with? Let me know all about it so we can bond over the nut jobs of the world.

 

 

 

 

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What Have I Been Up To?

This weekend marks 2 months of living in España, and let me tell ya, my day-to-day life here is pretty damn busy. I don’t know what I was really expecting to expect from life in Madrid or working as an Auxiliar, but I will say that for the amount of work I do, I run around and am drastically busier than I ever felt the past three years.  It’s becoming quite clear that even though Spain is all about the siesta, the vino, and the “no pasa nada”, it’s also a place about the hustle. Since we are paid mere pennies by the Comunidad de Madrid and are allowed to legally tutor, I’ve been trying to pick up private lessons left and right. So far I’ve picked up 2, one with an adorable pudgy 3rd grader, and another with a 7th grade boy twice a week, who also happens to go to the middle school that I was originally assigned to.  The pay is crap compared to Korea, like literal crap, but like I said, it’s all bout dat hustle!

As if the errrday hustle of regular life here hasn’t been enough, I’ve also enrolled myself in a 9 month online course en route to getting my teacher’s license so that I will in fact be a certified teacher….in the state of Florida. But more importantly, the world of the International school is about to be at my fingertips. After much deliberation, and pretty much two years of sitting on my thumb deciding if I want to do the course or not, I’ve pulled the trigger. I’ve come to the realization that after 4 years living abroad teaching, I really enjoy it, and most importantly, love the amount of traveling I get to do. So, it’s about time to bulk up my resume with legit certifications. I’m a little annoyed with myself for waiting until I got to Spain to do this, seeing as I was actually making good money in Korea, but then I give myself a lil pep talk that Spain would have never been an experience in my repertoire had I done it then. So, even if I may be broke again after this course, it’s only for a brief nano. Then it’s 3 month vacas and $$$. Eye on the prize. Eye on the prize.

And I'd have never taken this selfie with my first real Dali.

And selfie eye on my first Dali.

In other news, while I still don’t really talk with my roomies (which I’m awkwardly okay with), I really love my apartment. Even though the heat hasn’t been turned on yet, or that my landlords are a little bit too “ruley” as of late, I can’t really complain. I’m in the heart of Madrid, in Malasaña, where life is crackin all around me. I’ve got an exquisitely azulejo tiled bedroom floor, a balcony that opens up to the noisy but fabulous street below, and closes me into a cave come nightfall. My roommates are super clean, and there is NEVER a dirty plate left in the sink. I can hang. Perhaps my one complaint in living with 3 males that I don’t know is that I feel the need to scurry from bathroom to bedroom when I choose to be a girly girl and give myself a beautifying mask. Oh, and the no visitors past 11pm rule. Excuse me but dinner isn’t even until 11pm here, and more importantly, I AM A GROWN ASS WOMAN. But…

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Despite my extreme distaste for being told how to run my boudoir, I have finally gotten around to decking the walls with homey things. I’ve become obsessed with the podcast Serial, and while I listen (read: finished) I’ve been hanging and decorating. It’s proved successful, and my room finally feels like a little slice of home. All my jewels are displayed, and all the faces and places that I love and miss are all ova da plizace.

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Yes, I’m aware there is a massive disaster hanging above my head.

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And when I haven’t been domesticating or tutoring, I’ve enrolled myself in clases de Español twice a week! If you consulted with me about 12-15 years ago, you would very well know that I was not particularly fond of my clases de Español with Señor Sanchez and I-totally-forget-my-other-teacher’s name. I actually hated them, like I’m sure most other high schoolers could attest to. At that point you’re just sitting there thinking WHY DO I NEED TO KNOW THIS? But now, a shocker to myself, those 2.5 hours per week have easily become some of my favorite hours. While I don’t think my speaking has progressed exponentially in everyday life, my listening has really grown. I do always surprise myself though when I remember lots of vocab from way back when. The classes are super small, the teacher is so sweet, I love the other people in my class, and it feels so good to use my brain for harboring knew knowledge. Especially that can be used on the reg.

I've also found one of my favorite Korean snacks in European form.

Behold, one of my favorite Korean snacks in European form. This was a Happy “Peppero Day”.

I’ve also made some efforts to break up the week with friends and food and film. Wednesdays have been dubbed Cinetaco Wednesdays with Jen and Kristia, as that is discounted movie night in Madrid, which we have been following up with either 1 euro tacos, or in recent weeks, trying out the Korean spot I had a hankering for. The tacos are bomb, the Korean was aight, but totally satisfied the craving. And to conclude my work week, Thursdays have been spent with my new very Larry-esq homie, Justin, grabbing 5 euro all you can eat Italian food and vino at Aío, perfectly situated right down the street from me. I’ve also acquired a little wine glass collection from Aío because my klepto sometimes gets the best of me when I really enjoy some glassware. Don’t worry, I’ve only done it enough for a pair.

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The kimchi was lacking, but Gayagum Gallery Restaurante totally satisfied.

And finally, when I’m not domesticating, or tutoring, or teaching, or learning, I’m enjoying being lazy. That’s right. Laying in bed in my cave until noon. I don’t know what it is, but I don’t really feel bad about it when I do. In Korea, even though I did it OFTEN, I always felt kind of bad about laying in bed until who knows when because I felt I should get my butt outside. Perhaps because the city is constantly moving and Koreans act as if the night before never happened. Madrid is always moving too, but in a more leisurely fashion. That, and people are out until all hours of the morning and definitely remembering it when they lay in bed all day the next day.

I’ve also given Tinder España a go, but that’s for its own amusing write up.

Until next time, enjoy looking at this picture of an extremely moist piece of double down dark chocolate cake from Federal Cafe in Malasaña. It was no Dark Baby, but oh my!

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Dicking Around At Deulmusae

I’ve been a total perv lately. Seeing as the time bomb is ticking quickly on my Korean journey, I’ve been trying my hardest to get myself and my fellow perverts to a Penis Park in this country, and to no avail.

BUT, I found the next best thing!

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Over the weekend I conquered two things: figuring out how to use the Seoul Bus app on my phone that has been lying dormant for 3 years, and visiting a penis themed PLACE. I successfully figured out what all the bus station codes mean and how to properly plug them into the app so that Chrissy and I knew exactly how much time we had until the bus headed for Pocheon was gonna fetch us from the non-existent bus stop stop at Wangsimni Station.

After a 2 hour traffic filled bus ride from central Seoul to the glorious green countryside of Pocheon, we landed at the station that came after the station we were supposed to get off at. In the theme of the day, we had a truly dickish bus driver who completely overshot our bus stop all together after we AND a group of Korean girls told him the station we would be exiting at. He exited the bus, turned off the motor, and lit a cigarette outside the mart across the street before we could even swipe our T-Money cards out. Don’t mind any common decency or customer service, for I am AJUSSI!

With that, we took a stroll backwards in search of the World Mart station, wherever it may be. We later discovered it was unmarked as well, and with no “World Mart” in sight.  Along our wander, we stopped to admire heaps of yellow Korean melon before stopping at the GS25 for directions to Deulmusae, the local penis cafe. The young guy working there had no idea what we were talking about, but a nice lady stopped to help us figure it out. Turns out she was with her hubs and 2 little daughters aged 6 and 8 or 9. This would begin the awkwardness of the day, surely.

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As her husband Navered the directions, it calculated that we were about 30 minutes away.  His phone was 100% incorrect. But, he told us to hop in the car and they’d take us to our destination. We tried our best to fenagle our way out of the generosity, but before we knew it, their 2 little girls were grabbing our hands, handing us a piece of candy for the road, and escorting us into their playground of a backseat. Sandwiched between our two little playmates and their Gak, colored pencils, and every toy under the sun, we were taken on a 5 minute drive, which resulted in the most horrendously awkward thank you and goodbye I have ever been involved in.

Turning right at the yellow sign we had been looking for, we drove across the penis lined bridge to the shrine that is Deulmusae. We were living up to the foreigner cliche that KBS tells the public is truth. Trying desperately to contain our laughter, Chrissy and I were graciously let out of the car by the giggling parents (who I could not look in the eyes), and were greeted by a garden of erections. A happy afternoon we were to have!

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This place is beyond unbelievable. As you enter there is a man baking penis bread filled with red bean in his penis mold bread maker.

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Then you’re greeted by a big ol dick, and a map of the world illustrated in…you guessed it.

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Walking through the cafe, it’s a pervert’s paradise, really. Dicks of every shape and size everywhere.

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Dick family portrait.

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In case one is curious as to what it feels like to be the opposite gender.

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Surprisingly, in a country so buttoned up about anything sexual, the place was overflowing with the elderly. Literally every other customer aside from us and one other group of foreigners were old people, and they giggled whenever their food was served and every time they took a phallic photo. Instant bonding with the monster breed in this country.

Double the fun. The bread was warm and yummy, though I’d like to make a suggestion for the Deli Manjoo creamy filling. More delicious and more realistic.

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Oh, and so this is a cafe/restaurant after all, so you’ve got to see the tableware! We ordered Dongdongju, fish donkkas and hamburger steak to share, and look at that presentation! The men are served their meals on vagina plates, and the women on penis plates, and the same goes for the cups. This is apparently supposed to balance out male and female energy, or Yin and Yang. Ok. Let’s just say a lot of thought went into every detail of this place.

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The also have tons of the makkoli jugs with faces of famous Korean politicians and actors on them. I even found one of Jin’s favorite politician, Ahn Cheol-soo, that we met last year when he was doing publicity by our school. I doubt they meant it, but how appropriate to put such people on a penis jug.

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I hope you found my brief tour pleasurable! Now, I will leave you with some more modelings, and failed-to-be-captured leprechaun jumps on the penis lined bridge.

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Twas a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon, and I highly recommend for anyone wanting to get down with their inner perv and experience yet another of Korea’s oddly themed establishments.

Directions: If you’d like to get down with your inner 변태 out in Pocheon, you’ve got to hop on the 3201 bus. We caught it at Wangsimni Station, but it makes several stops en route to the north, so if one is closer you could surely do that. The Wangwimni stop also doesn’t have a designated bus stop for this bus, but rather just kind of stand in between the other two bus stops and wait for the guy to come and flag him down, kinda dealy. 

 

España, I’m Comin’ For Ya!

The cat’s been let out of the bag, peeps! In a little over 4 months I will be calling Madrid, Spain my second home away from home! It took me a hearty nanosecond to get back to the thrill I had when I first clicked apply, but I have since found my way back and BOY, AM I FUCKING EXCITED!! Excuse the emphatic fuck, totally necessary.

This is coming as a bit of a shocker of shocks to at least a handful of you, I know, considering just as recently as Monday I was on the boat to make Shanghai my next hop. I talked to a recruiter in China, sat at my desk preparing a spreadsheet of countries I’d like to hit on a 4 or 5 month backpacking excursion, sent text messages attempting to recruit travel companions to India, and when that was a bust, because you know, people have jobs back home, psyched myself up to bite the bullet and hit India on my own to get down and dirty with myself. I began concocting this plan to travel through the end of the year, be back home for a few months to watch people tie their knots (and quite possibly go mentally insane), and then peace out after that.

That flipped almost instantly as soon as I got my 2nd acceptance from Spain.

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I applied to two programs that are specific in getting us North American’s legal working rights in the European Union. BEDA and the Ministry Auxiliares de Conversación program through the Spanish government allow Americans to work in Spain under a student visa for one academic year. This is huge because work visas for us are notoriously near impossible to come by in Europe, and well, my dream must be conquered!

I found out I had been placed with BEDA at the end of April, and decided to turn it down since the start date is 1 week after I finish my contract in Korea, the pay is super shitty, and that big of a move with zero time to decompress frankly stressed me the flying fuck out. The Ministry program in turn starts at the beginning of October and runs through June, meaning I’ll need to get myself to Madrid within the last two weeks of September to get settled and attend an orientation. The pay is still crap, albeit a teency bit higher than BEDA, but I will be working less hours than I would with BEDA, for a smidge more money, AND 4 day weeks! YAYAYUYUH! The program doesn’t provide housing, so I will be tasked with finding a little nook to call my own. That should be fun, considering the last time I was in Spain MayMay and I got horribly lost during our first hop on the metro, and my Spanish needs some severe help. Rosetta Stone I’m coming for you.

But we survived, and very much fell in love with Barcelona (and a boy named Giuseppe).

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I’m sure you’re curious about my sudden change of pace, right? Well, lately I had gotten the notion in my head that I’d be turning any offers from Spain down because I decided I fancied making a bit more money, something China would ensure, and up until recently, I thought I’d enjoy an extra cherry on top (read: man). Even though China still is a massive adventure I want to conquer, when this offer popped into my inbox, something snapped. I instantly remembered why I jumped through hoops in a flurry to make the application deadlines. I wasn’t basing my next move on the money, but on following my heart for the experience I’ve always dreamt of. Cue sappy music now and an ecstatic 4th grade (and 30 year old!) Danielle.

Not to mention, cobblestone streets, architecture adorned with character, paella, wine and delicious espresso need a fatass place in my life right about now.

I won’t lose my Asian touch though. That shit sticks with you like kimchi to your refrigerator and apartment and breath. Sorry Cori.

So now begins the annoying task of getting all my legal documents in a pretty little row. I feel pretty overwhelmed right now. It was a huge pain in the ass when I had to get everything for Korea, and now that I’m abroad I feel a little more flustered because there’s all that distance from America. I also have to get all these documents translated to Spanish to add another layer of fun. But it’s all in excited good flustering. Since all my classes were cancelled on Wednesday, literally all I did was scour blogs of people working in the program and it got me SO PUMPED!

To think, just a year ago I was on the phone with Papa Schaeff freaking out about staying a third year, and how my major goal to tackle in the next year was to really figure my shit out, because I was not going to stay in Korea for a 4th year. I’m quite proud of myself for sticking to it and putting myself en route to checking another huge experience off the ol’ bucket list.

Whether or not I will be home in between contracts is up in the air at the moment. I have plizans to hit up the motherland on a free flight that I get for being Bat Mitzvah’d and now in my 30th year (don’t ask), and pop on over to Greece to visit the man my family once asked to bring toilet paper up to our hotel room just because we wanted to see him (don’t ask again).

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So if I don’t see you in Korea before August, or home, I better be seeing you in Spain. I’m on a mission to get double the amount of visitors I had to Korea (and that’s a big number to top).

In other news, it looks like I’m gonna need to start brainstorming a new, broader name for the ol’ bloggy blog. I may just stick with Seoul Tapper because I am quite fond of it, but something all encompassing of the globe may be nice. If you have any ideas, please, help a sista out with your creative seeds.

Hasta luego purple people eaters!

#tbt The Night We Repped The LBC

For this #tbt (read: #throwbackthursday, read: flashback to days past), I’m going to visually recount when Joshy, Jee, Veny and I took our ghetto a$$e$ to see Snoop in Seoul, because, well, I realized I never repped him on the blog, and because it was super fun and it also wasn’t an epic bomb of a show like that time Collin and I thought we saw Gaga cover Gaga.

I realize this was pretty much almost a year ago next month, thus making it the perfect specimen for a flashy flashback.

We all got really super excited when we knew Snoop was coming.  There was the minor wonderment of how the man was going to enter the country under the influence, because you know he has to be, and there was no way he wasn’t going to be without it, but Korea is a druggless country. There was also the brief discussion of how we ourselves were going to get “lit”.

Joshua and I seriously looked up directions for how to smoke banana peels like a coupla hippies, but that turned up preposterous results, and work that proved to be far too extensive for an outcome that would not warrant our backbreaking labor over my measly toaster oven.

Guess we would just have to sip on dat gin (soju) n’ juice the old fashioned way while we got to work on our hand-crafted Olde English LBC represent costumerie. We kept in true Rastafarian color scheme to go along with his Snoop Lion-ness.

I would personally like to thank Itaewon’s skeezy scene for being a magical garden of glorious ghetto herb jewels!  Thank you for bedazzling our bosoms!

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After Snoopifying ourselves. Purple drank and a fat one.

Moving outdoors to some bars to get all hood and shit.

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Bad bitchez.

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Is this guy the biggest thug you ever did see or what? Livin dat THUGLYFE.

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The show was at Olympic Park Stadium, and once we got in, it felt so lax compared to concerts back home. I’m used to hardcore security at Staples Center where you cannot walk an inch without someone checking your ticket, but once we were inside, we were able to run down and we were on a lower platform just dancing and singing (screaming, let’s be honest, I lost my voice) the whole night with a slew of other people. It was bomb diggity.

We also made bets about what time and what song he was going to start with, and guess who was the lucky ducky?! That’d be moi! He kicked it off as Snoop Lion with his then-new “La La La” and after that he was Snoop Dogg for the rest of the show.

Everyone owed me a cocktail that I really did not need at that point in my life.

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In keeping with the theme of the evening, and because we wanted to try and stalk him and sneak into the after party with him and 2NE1, we went to every super gangsta bar in Itaewon. We ended up spending the bulk of our evening in Club Zion, which I deem the island bar because I like to imagine that’s what it’d feel like if you were on some sweaty island somewhere. I met a bald man named Herbert, and I will not be returning there again!

And no, we did not meet or get into any Snoop Doggy Dogg parties. But I know where to find all the Tanzanians if you’re looking.

All in all, it was an excellent show and we had SO much fun!

Always remember, WEST COAST IS THE BEST COAST!

Zumba & A Chop&Dye

As a foreigner in this far eastern land, there are a couple life necessities that are quite difficult to find that reach top notch western standards. One of those is a good hip gyrating Zumba class, and the other is a solid ‘do chopping. Well, the hair has actually been covered for quite a while, as my post on the gloriousness of Lucy has received much traction on the interwebs. However, I have recently tested other waters because, just because, and well, Danielle is happy.

And well, the connection between the two is that one who cuts yo hair also gets you to shake yo azzzzz! Sexy for sexy!

I Zumba’d quite regularly before coming to Korea, and the class was taught by a girl I used to dance with at Retter’s, so it was legit. Then I came to Korea and took a few classes, all totally made me sweat buckets, but totally sucked on the Zumbaness factor. The teachers just didn’t know what they were doing, or it felt like they were just making the dances up as they were going, or, um, they just didn’t look like they danced hardcore on a regular basis. Apologies, but you want your instructor to look like they get down and this ish works.

Then Veny enlightened me to the HOTT Zumbaboyz, who are HOTT. That’s with a double T. Dan and Jin are magical and so much fun and exactly what a Zumba class is supposed to be. They have classes that they teach together every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the Latin American Center in Kyungridan for 10,000won/class, or you can get a card  for 10 classes and pay 80,000won. Win win.

Kyungridan is on the opposite side of Hae Bang Chan, so go out Noksapyeong exit 2 til the underpass and cross under. Cross the street by Noxa and just walk straight, it’s just past Millions of Milkshakes and a taco place.

Dan also teaches at the Body Star in Jongno-5-ga on Tuesday nights and Jin at the Body Star at Sungshin Women’s University exit 4 (my hood!) on Thursday nights at 9pm.

Token photo with them the first time I went to one of their classes. They had a big fancy opening party with disco balls and flashing lights. Totes approps.

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As mentioned above, this post is two-fold. Not only is Jin a mover and a shaker, he’s also a hair chopper! He recently opened up JP Hair in Hae Bang Chon, just up the main road when it curves around to the left. That wasn’t supposed to sound dirty.

You see, I started cultivating my glorious “Garden of Gray” at the ripe age of 25 while stressing out over JLo, but it was manageable until the day I turned 30. On that fateful day in January, the garden started looking more like a forest each time I gazed in the mirror. It was a minor horror at each glance. It had to be dealt with immediately. My virgin locks had to meet dye for their first time. That, and I needed life brought back into my limp mane.

So I put my trust in Jin.

Since I am not a #selfie #narcissist I don’t have any just-after photos for documentation, but I actually told Jin just as I was leaving how much I loved my hair and that I never usually like how my hair looks when I leave a salon. He curled it, which looked divine, but to be expected, they fell by the time I reached the bus stop. Stupid hair.

So foreign AND Korean ladies, you should totes check out Jin for your next ‘do revamp! He’s a pro, speaks perfect English and his studio is centrally located and greatly priced. 20,000won for a cut and 50,000won to have my roots dyed. Not too shabby.

To get there, just walk out Noksapyeong Station exit 2 and into HBC past the kimchi pots. Walk allllll the way up the main street, and when you see it fork off just turn left and it’s around the corner above the 7-11.

Happy thrusting and sexifying!

The Grand Baby Tour Of Los Angeles

I like to refer to my last trip home as the “Baby Tour of Los Angeles” due to the fact that my trip entirely revolved around meeting new babies, peppered with the wine and sangria imbibement with friendzies along the way. Thank the heavens above for my Schaeffeur of a sister for shlepping my carless tuchous all over the greater Los Angeles area, and even deep into The OC.

Now I know you want to see these babies as much as I did, so join me if you will.

But first, let me back up to August when I was enjoying my first evening basking on my balcony in the Mexico of Bali, Kuta, where I was forced to spend 1 wretched night. Wretched until the best Facebook message ever popped up! I’m pretty psychic (sometimes), and well, when I got a random message from Kendra, the first thing I thought was “I BET SHE’S PREGNANT.” We don’t message to say hello on the reg, after all. Sure enough my psychic powers were on point, and along with a sonogram photo, her little man had a due date of February 18th, meaning I was definitely coming home for a visit come winter time. He could not have had a more perfect debut date to match up with my vacation. That, and he was born a few days before I landed, so he was ready to rock n’ roll for Auntie D’s arrival! Good going on the baby making calendar Kesslers.

At 6 days old, little Grouchy Gavin was the perfect Pororo model! And look at the size of that hand! He’s gonna be a giant just like his daddy!

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From Bali to Seoul to Irvine and back to Seoul, Auntie Danielle would like to thank Social Media and technology for allowing her to virtually be there every step of the way, including live updates during the entire labor. After all that, she just can’t believe she’s holding you! It’s true love.

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We even got to enjoy a Skype date this past weekend. Gavin has changed so much! He is no longer grouchy, has learned how to flash his gummy gums, has Kendra’s chin and Justin’s Japanese eyeballs. I am even more in love, and hope to be back in the States (for a quick sec) in time for his 1st birthdizzle.

Here I am oogling at the cutest baby hoodrat in all the land.

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Another little munchkin on the “Baby Tour of LA” was my friends Alessandra and Steve’s little Cuban cutie. Leah was 6 weeks old and has the most pinchable cheeks, big tummy and curious eyes. Alessandra plopped her into my arms right when I walked in the door, and she was so unfussy the whole time. Definitely a sweet little love bug.

I stole this shot after our stroll around the neighborhood when she was ready to trek around town with mommy.

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Next up was a revisit to the juiciest Georgia Peach in the whole entire land, none other than Shiloh Jolie-Pitt’s little baby doppelganger. Last I saw Georgia, she was 4 months old and cooing on her back while Chizzy and I played with her underneath the baby mobile. This time she was riding her Grandma’s back around the living room like she was a pony, kicking her daddy out of her seat in the living room, pointing to her belly button, and trying on Mirandawg’s highest of heels. Uh oh. Cutie trouble awaits! I just. I can’t handle it.

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Like mommy like baby.

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And the final little babe to get the Schaeff treatment was a very special one. Due to family politics, I thought I was never going to have the chance to meet my 2nd cousin, my cousin Jackie’s son Kian. I’d always see photos of him on Facebook and get a little sad thinking I would probably never meet him. He recently had surgery on his brain and has had to wear the most adorable race car driver helmet during the healing process. Well, seeing photos of him rockin’ this helmet made me even more sad. BUT, I am sad no more thanks to my cousin Danny! Danny (yes, sista and I have cousins with the boy versions of our own names) helped arrange everything, and sista and I popped on over to play with kutie Kian, Elmo and his elephant.

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Our little race car driver is so darling, and even crawls like a little monkey, of course making me love him even more. I am one happy camper after this play date!

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That about does it for the “I’m so old my friends are all having babies” portion of my life.

I will leave you with the cutest babies in the whole wide world, my little perfect puppy Presley and Cilly Cilla girl.

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3am puppy modeling hour.

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It would be incomplete without this creeper shot taken by my darling sista.

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As you can see, this trip home was not lacking in the heart explosion department. Thank heavens for tiny creatures.