A Pupu Platter Of 2012 Whathaveyous

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!

Wow, another year has come and gone, and I must say, 2012 was my favorite year of my almost-29 years gracing this planet.  So much that I had always dreamt of in years past same to fruition this year, and I can honestly say I am in the best place I have ever been in my life.  And it feels damn good 😉

I had made the resolution in 2011 that by the end of the year I would be living a life abroad ~ check.  In 2012 I promised myself I would do absolutely as much traveling of Asia as possible.  I came to Korea to conquer this continent like a blaze of fire, and in looking back I can say I did just that.  Along with the travel resolutions, I really put my best foot forward to work on getting what I really want, and making that start from within.  I try my best to communicate what I want, but a lot of time it fails when walls get put up, or life just gets in the way.  So, I’ve really tried to be as self-aware as possible just be the best version of myself and hope that it brings with it what I truly want.  That being said, 2012 has definitely been the happiest and most honest year to date 🙂

Now I’m just gonna throw together a few highlights from each month of 2012. Badabing herrrrrr goes!

I began the year on the beach in Koh Phangan, covered in florescent body paint and drinking liquor by the buckets with one of my dearest and oldest friends on the planet ~ my fave biatch and sista from anotha mista, Miz Diamond ❤

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January marked my first birthday to be celebrated away from everyone I’ve always shared my (obviously) favorite holiday with.  I felt a little down about it, then in flew a gift from THE BEST sista ever ~ Sista Schaeff in the flesh, in Korea!

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On her last night here, she snuggled my foot to sleep.  BY CHOICE! ❤

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In February I visited two of my favorite countries so far ~ Vietnam and Cambodia. I saw some of the most beautiful snorkeling waters, caught my first fish, shot my first gun, ate a bowl of pho a day, wondered why they allow Americans in, and saw my life flash before me about 1million times while in ‘Nam.

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In Cambodia I visited the most breathtaking temples I have ever seen, spent an afternoon with beautiful children in an orphanage on the river, saw insurmountable beauties in some of the deepest poverty stricken eyes, and struggled to hold back tears while walking through a living history at the Killing Fields and S-21 genocide museum remnants from the Khmer Rouge of the 70s~80s.

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In March I visited the happiest place on earth, AKA the DMZ, for the second time.  This time we rode bikes along the most intensely guarded border in the world, all while Obama paid the peninsula a visit and peered over to the North with us.

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April means Passover, which also means the sea parts in Korea.  I made the trek down south with a homie and we met Moses, crossed the parted sea and drank makkoli while doing so, obvi.

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Later in April, my favorite story to date came to be.  A couple morons went to a Lady GaGa concert.  They got all gussied up in the hottest of pink and the tightest of attire, only to miss the whole thing whilst trying to attain the most coveted seats in the house during the “GaGa cover band”…. *face palm* At least we looked sexy.

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In May, Wawa came for a visit.  We did many things, but by far our favorite day was our “Day of Culture.”  We visited Gyeongbukgong Palace, learned about the creation of Hangul (the Korean alphabet), ate a traditional lunch, drank tea in a lovely tea house, dressed up and cracked up in Hanbok (traditional Korean dress), and wrapped up with a journey to the Noryangjin Fish Market.  Twas a wondrous day!

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Then came June, and Buddha’s birthday.  A crew of us high-tailed out of Seoul to Gangneung, a little beach town on the East Sea. There were makkoli and soju spurred chicken fights, sexy man-wrestles, toasty bonfires, crashing of high class fancy Korean booking clubs and frisbee games resulting in broken pinky toes and racial slurs. The Buddhaman had an awesome birthday!!

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Then came July and two events which could be classified as the greatest events of the century. One more than the other, but one got more hype than the other according to the Facebook.  You can use your own judgement on that one.  One required us to dress to the nines to bid adieu to all the homies we grew to call family, and also the ones we grew apart from because a lot of people that came with us were weirdos, let’s face it. The other required some prior temple-sculpting, lots and lots and lots of soju, mudmudmud and practically no clothes. Mud Fest was by far my favorite event of 2012.  Shit was CRAY TO THE MAX!

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August was the most bittersweet month of the year I’d say.  It was sweet because I took a 2.5 week summer jaunt on over to the Philippines with my lovely lass from home, Brianne.  We saw some of the most picturesque islands, snorkeled and ate our faces off, hiked miles in our little warrior Havaianas, posed with stalagtites, missed the whale sharks, got in a fist fight with a very mean typhoon, and let tempers fly with shitty budget airlines.

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August was bitter because our contracts ended and some left KoKo and I had to face the harsh reality that the world as I knew it was shattering before me.  Well, that’s an over-dramatization, but that’s how it felt at the time dammit. I also got thrown into my deathbed by some plague I contracted in the Philippines.   So, not only were my friends leaving, but I was deathly ill and partying with an IV in the hospital, unable to hand out proper goodbye hugs. NOT COOL WORLD.

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Then on rolled September.  Grabbing my bearings on who was still left in my Seoul-cial circle happened naturally.  I got back in the go-out mode (at least for the time being), and some friendships from the previous year had the chance to blossom.  Late in the month for Chuseok holiday, a group of us gals decided to pop off to Osaka and Kyoto, Japan with boy toy Joshy. We frolicked by bicycle all over Kyoto, made the most of the typhoon stricken city by stuffing our faces with enough sushi and sake to fuel an army, and tore up (literally) a karaoke room.  Best weekend ever!!!

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October was of course Halloween, and we got down with our bad selves…and Bob the Builder.

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In November I actually had a REAL Thanksgiving, none of that Pho shit (pardon me, it’s just not suitable cuisine for Thanksgiving).  Josh Rich was also in town as my 6th visitor to the Orient. A Happy Happy Turkey Day it was!

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And last but not least, I think the winner for best December event goes to my dance crew’s (WORD TO YO MAMA’S HIGH WAISTED JEANS) epic ass kicking in the 90s dance battle for the African kids. Real winners put in the effort, and effort we put in. Obviously you would know this had you been at our latke-rehearsal party, our cheese and crackers rehearsal party where Matty ripped his jeans, and our final rehearsal party that almost interfered with us attending the actual party because we were too focused on perfecting our dance.  What a BOMB DIGGITY way send out 2012!!!

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As you can see, 2012 was quite the year, and it’s been a pleasure looking back on it with you. Here’s to an even better 2013, and going home to America in 10 days!!!!!!!

PEACE & CHICKEN GREASE, HOMIEZ.

A Passover Miracle – Korean Edition

When I was a wee lass, every Passover Papa Schaeff rented The Ten Commandments with Charleton Heston as Moses.  I looked forward to eating matzah ball soup and latkes from Agoura Deli and watching it every year like a huge nerd, but whatever. I loved it.

SO, imagine the thoughts bolting through my head when I knew I could have my very own chance of seeing a real life sea part before my very eyes…AND ON PASSOVER nonetheless! MIND BLOWN. This is how my little Jewish girl dream of seeing a sea part came true (even if it didn’t look the way Hollywood in the 1960s depicted it).

This past weekend I went down to Jindo in the very south of Korea for a sea parting festival that happens twice a year for about an hour, and goes hand in hand with its own Moses story.

A Jindo village was attacked by tigers and all the villagers ran to Modo island for shelter. All, except for a helpless old woman who was left behind, out of despair she prayed to the Sea God, who split the sea and helped her escape the blood thirsty animals.

I read about it before coming and had it on my list of must-dos, but didn’t realize it was this weekend til my friend Jeremy said he wanted to go.  Of course my little Jew girl excitement hijacked the trip and we made plans and went down therrrrr together with his overactive bladder and a couple other homies. It was an organized tour led by this guy who takes people on hiking trips all over South Korea, so everything was set up as best as this one little man was capable of.

The bus ride down there started at 7:20am and took about 7 hours, AKA lots of sleep time / now needing an elbow in my neck and shoulders.  We got down there probably around 3pm, checked into our pension where we made the wise decision to migrate from the room we initially chose with a bunch of loud-mouthed, underpants-only-wearing people to another room with some Texans and a British lass, and of course our token saucy ginger 4names.

We suited up in these sexy florescent orange fisherman boots to our thighs and made our way to the parting sea en route to the promised land of milk & honey…. in Korea.  There we saw ajummas digging for dinner and all their spawn assisting.  We didn’t see as much sea life and pretty seashells as we thought we would (except for the smiling starfish), but it was still a trip to see water on either side of you, and then watch the tides come in later when we were walking back.  To celebrate before being washed away, we drank some makkoli in the center of the sea and paid our respects to Moses.  It was pretty cool, and quite the Passover miracle if I ever knew one! Don’t think a Jew has literally spent Passover at a parting sea since like, Moses led us out of Egypt. Ch ch check it outskies……

My attempt at finding a walking stick to be truly authentic. Fail.

History is all wrong. We escaped Korea, not Egypt!

Makkoli in the sea.

Jeremy, moi and Heather with the lady, the tiger and some delicious celebratory makkoli.

We also stopped off to see a Jindo dog show and pet some of the gorgeous pups, which are considered a national treasure of Korea.  They are ADORABLE and I wanted to steal all of them.

Aaaaand Spring has hit the South!  We went on a lil hike but mostly basked in the gorgeous sun, on a rock, beside the sea for a few hours. Twas heavenly, and I got some of my sun-kissed glow back.  I think this fool got burnt tho.

All in all, I think I’ve begun satisfying my get-out-of-Seoul-and-explore-Korea-now goal quite swimmingly.

Bouncing Off to Busan & Hallows Eve Hookering

Last I wrote it was pouring rain, and the weather isn’t getting any better.  It’s starting to get absolutely freezing here, and even me, the person who sweats in the rain, is keeping a coat on with the heat blasting in my classroom while teaching a classroom full of hot-bodied elementary school kids. That being said, I am even more afraid of the winter. Eeep!

Two weekends ago a group of us headed out of Seoul for the 2nd time and ventured to Busan for a fireworks festival.  Busan is in the South, on the side closest to Japan.  This trip was quite the bumpy one, but oh well, it’s all a learning experience I suppose.  I think I was really annoyed/in a funk to begin with on Friday night once I realized I needed my passport for the return on KTX (the train that takes 2.5 hours to get from Seoul to Busan).   Katie, Collin and I met at Katie’s to watch “Drive” and gawk at sexy Ryan Gosling, and I planned to head out to HBC to crash at my friend Mark’s that night.  Instead I had to back track to the Dontgogay to get my passport (which I ended up not needing!) and then head out towards Mark’s.  I don’t think I got to his place til almost 1am, but bless his little curly haired heart for leaving me a key so old lady could crash while his young ass got buck in none other than Zen.  The next morning me, him and Abby woke up at the crack (I think they were still drunk) and made our way to Express Bus Station (with a minor detour to Seoul station on accident first.  Oops!) We met Matt, Katie, Heather and Nick at the bus station but ended up missing our 7am bus by like 5 minutes!! We ended up having to rebook our tickets for the 8:20am bus, which actually ended up being far more luxurious (name that movie quotable!).  The seats were like first class airplane seats, and that was the only bomb diggity plus to the 6 f’ing hour bus ride that cost us the same as taking the KTX (always listen to people who know what they’re doing…lesson for the day!)  The bus also dropped us off an hour outside of the center of Busan, so it took us 7 hours to actually get into the city.  Erg! Oh well, lesson learned.

Once we arrived in Busan, none of us with umbrellas (except smart Mark Antony), we were greeted with a downpour of rain.  Welcome to Busan!!!  We got $5 umbrellas/parasols and made our way to the little motel where 5 of us crammed into 1 room.  Erg. The fireworks were right on the water, which was like a 2 minute walk from where we were staying.  The fireworks festival was a competition between 4 countries – Korea, USA, Poland I think and one other.  It was super cool and I got some perty pix!!

That night before going out, I got kind of in a shitty funk, and in true moody Danielle fashion, stormed off out of the motel and wandered down the beach.  I think it was a combo of things getting to me all at once, being irritated, still feeling sick and then really missing sista and my friends at home.  I ended up not going out to the club with everyone that night because I would have just been a bitchy pain in the ass to myself and others, so I sent myself back to the room and talked to my lovers back home for a bit before passing out.  Erg, lame way to spend my one night in Busan but oh well.  Shit happens.

The next day I woke up still in a bit of a funk but I think I snapped out of it soon after we got to the beach and it was gorgeous out.  We went to Gwangalli beach, which isn’t the main one there, but it was so fun.  There were tons of games laid out on the sand and swarms of people and their babies just playing and having a good time. There were also some ridiculous face-painted beach actors roaming around sneaking up on people which was hilarious.  It was also the perfect venue for a creeper like I to take some creepy shots that we all know and love.

Men being children for a day.

Dying from cuteness overload.

Korean businessmen just kickin it on the beach.

Sneak attack!

This is life…beautiful.

Sunday we were supposed to take KTX back at 6:30pm (18:30pm, please keep this in mind). Turns out Mattheu Pierre mistakenly purchased tickets for 6:30am instead of pm.  He was upset, but we ended up re-booking seats for the 10:50pm train that night.  All of us were exhausted, some had to lesson plan, and none of us wanted to get home at 3am, but that’s what happened.  To kill the 4 hours we still had left in Busan, after walking through some seedy alleys, the 7 of us crammed into a DVD bong, which is a place where Korean couples go for some privacy (since they all live at home with their families).  The little man laughed at us when we said we wanted a room to squish 7 of us into, but we made do.  No orgy here.  So we all crammed into the musty room to indulge in some Inglourious Basterds.  None of us used the roll of toilet paper that was strategically placed beside the bed/couch.  All in all, I guess it’s good we all got back in time and didn’t have to call in sick.  I looked like shit the next day, and could have fallen asleep standing up. Eeep!

This catches me up to this past week.  Sorry, I suck at updating in a timely fashion.  Anyways, this past week was lovely.  One of the highlights was my date with my lovely friend Veny.  We were bus mates from the airport to orientation and are both old ladies.  We had a major catch up date filled with gossip over dinner, some lattes and a hard Hello Kitty waffle, at none other than the Hello Kitty Cafe.  It was so f’ing cute.  I also met some street tappers along the way.  Turns out one of them was a trainer for Billy Elliott in Australia, so I’m gonna start taking classes with them next Monday!  Yay!! God bless Korea and their amazing dancers!!!

This weekend was also Halloween (well, today rather). I finally settled on being a Black Swan hooker and I was so pleased with my costume!  I originally bought a black feathered skirt, but my ass is too big and didn’t fit into a large by Korean standards.  I ended up spending an embarrassing amount of money at American Apparel for a leotard and petticoat, then chopped the feathers off the other skirt and used my high school sewing skills to deck the petticoat out in feathers.  I then gave myself a makeup test run Friday night after watching some overly-dramatic Youtube tutorials.  I can say this was the most effort I have ever put into a Halloween costume and I loved it!

Saturday night I went out, but I felt it to be a bit of a bust.  Abby and I trekked from Itaewon to Hongdae for our friend Nick’s birthday party.  Turns out the line was ridic so we didn’t end up going, and hung out in the park drinking Makkeoli with some other peeps and a Silent disco.  It was fun for what it was, and I at least felt like a celebrity when random Koreans came up to me asking for a photo.

Black Swan hooker & Korean school girl lost at Woodstock

With Thing 2 & a Sailor Mooner

Rawr

Sandwiched between naughtiness

In a seedy alley-way in Itaewon. meOW.

And now it’s Monday morning, Halloween, and it’s Sports Day at school.  This means classes are all cancelled and the kids are doing crazy dances and sports outside.  I was supposed to have a Halloween party in my afterschool class today so I brought a crapton of candy that I spent way too much money on at Costco last night.  I guess that means Halloween continues tomorrow and Wednesday because I am not keeping all this candy for myself.   Now I’m about to go back out and watch the kiddies because they are so damn cute.  I keep thinking I can’t even fathom how it must feel to be a mother, because I keep taking a bagillion photos of these kids and they’re not even mine.  Yikes.  Well, off I go to watch more of the cuteness and let my heart burst even more.

Oh, and Happy Halloween and Happy Birthday to my Adam Reff (if you read this).  Love you tons!!!!