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!

IMG_2022

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.

IMG_2025

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.

Screen Shot 2014-03-30 at 12.09.32 PM

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.

IMG_2016

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.

IMG_2074

Like mommy like baby.

IMG_2069

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.

IMG_2312

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!

IMG_2208

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.

IMG_2323

3am puppy modeling hour.

IMG_2345

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

IMG_2192

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

A Thanksgivukkuh Miracle

The holidays are always a little odd whilst being abroad. It’s definitely the being thousands of miles and a Skype screen away from everyone that’s close to my heart, but I think it’s also in combination with the fact that as an expat in Korea we have to work right through our amazing Americana holidays.  And then it’s not til the last minute when we all realize that we need to get our shit together.

My first year here was the most depressing of the three. One, it was my first ever away from the world back home, and second, there were big talks of getting a group of us together and buying one of the big turkey dinners from the Army base, but that did NOT come to fruition.  Ultimately Steph and I spent our first Turkey day in Korea with 2 big piping hot bowls of pho in front of our faces. Don’t get me wrong, pho warms my soul on any other day, but on Thanksgiving it was pathetic and majorly deserving of a sadface.

Last year was much better. Though still accompanied by the lingering sadness factor, it felt a bit more like the holidays.  I had Josh “Gay” Rich visiting, which was a wonderful blast from the past, and my beautiful family over here managed to get our butts in gear to make a tasty spread of thanks in our microscopic kitchens.

311198_10102136513182287_1694799898_n

We even took these gorgeous family photos to top it off.

531068_10102136514424797_168268462_n 561581_10102136514339967_729064636_n

Not ripping a page from years past, this year the holidays have begun to feel a bit more like the holidays should, and that makes Danielle a very happy camper! Korea obviously doesn’t get the right ring for an American Thanksgiving, and then Christmas likes to usually follow suit, except this year! This weekend began with a trip to the European Christmas Market that is held at Hansung University, which also happens to be 1 subway stop south of me, or a quick 20 minute jaunt. Nothing ever used to be close to me! YAYAYUYUH!

Joshy, Jee and I all met up Friday night after work for some piping hot Glühwein, a dinner made up of some mediocre excuses for European delicacies, a fully decked out Christmas tree and an extremely miserable looking Santa. But miserable Santa aside, the holidays were alive and thriving in the air, and it was a wondrously toasty night with my loves. It got me super in the holiday spirit!

1451565_10102832193842667_256799976_n

On Saturday we had our Thanksgivukkuh feast! It still took us a good nanosecond to get our lives together, and come to grips with the fact that of the 20 people we invited to our potluck, me, Tim, Joshy and Jee, plus a couple others, were the only ones to respond to be in our company. Hard feelings for all others aside, the few of us managed to slave away all day to pull off what actually ended up being my most favorite Thanksgiving feastgathering to date. Quality over quantity, as the saying so rightly goes!

It came fully equipped with a delicious homemade spread filled with some unsuspecting chefs (super impressed), and photos of said attendees taking photos of said feast. We are in Korea afterall, where the foodie photo reigns supreme, or you didn’t eat it.

1469791_10201437864882688_1667990023_n

Greasy latkes were flipped by the token Jew on the block, in honor of the Thanksgivukkuh miracle of some 79,000 years.

1450804_10201437865322699_1371682291_n

Fattening up was then followed by a few rigorous rounds of Apples to Apples (thanks Andria), Pilgrims and Indians arts & crafts hour with supplies hijacked from school, and a screening of the 2013 film most deserving of a Razzie Award, Sharknado.

I guess I can say goodbye to any form of political office with these totally un-PC photos of me sporting headress.

1477457_10201437863842662_2004511834_n

1472006_10201437864602681_255035646_n 1471864_10201437864282673_900277480_n

The evening wouldn’t be complete without a family photo in front of a screenshot from said Razzie-deserver, of a man chainsawing himself out of the belly of the beast.

62327_10201437862882638_1786078643_n

It was a wondrously delicious evening with those I love most in this damn country that I live in.  A holiday which started out feeling a bit bittersweet with so many friends having already left really redeemed itself, and most of my homesickness as of late has begun to dissipate, thank God!

Even though being away from home during the holidays is sadface but has become my new normal, nothing says home, I love you or Happy Thanksgivukkuh quite the way a wacko Skype sesh with the Schaeffs does!

1457742_10102831600197337_277947696_n

Happy holidays from my crazy faced family/ies (sans Brotha Schaeff) to your’s!

America, F*%# Yea!

The 4th of July is arguably one of my favorite holidays.  It’s been mine and MayMay’s *special day* since we spent it together in Zoo Bar with Sammy, his homies and a bunch of Brits in London on Eurotrip 2006.  Ironic place to fall in love with such a holiday, doncha think?! Well, whether we were in London, San Francisco, Newport Beach or Manhattan Beach, we’ve spent each together up until last year. Needless to say, I miss my MayMay tremendously more today than the usual huge amount that I always miss her (and everyone else for that matter).

London 4th of july

The holidays are always a bit odd while living abroad. While I find myself to be the happiest version of Danielle since transplanting into Korean society and traveling my face off, I do get a teency bit homesick on days like the 4th of July.  It’s weird knowing that back in the states it’s a long weekend where all my friends are together with fireworks and beer bottles popping everywhere, and here I show up to work wearing my red white and blue and it’s just any other day.  While teaching yesterday, I actually looked around my classroom and so many of my students were decked out in red white and blue.  Totally unintentional, but it made me smile and think “AMERICA, FUCK YEA!”  Despite noticing their wardrobe, I completely forgot to tell my kids that it was American Independence Day. There went that little cultural lesson.  I blame it on the humidity and the AC Nazis.

There are tons of times when I am totally made aware of my Americanness while living overseas, and one major way came when my co-teacher and I were leaving school. I’m in the midst of getting ready to move from my current apartment in “North Korea” to somewhere more central.  While I’m sitting here not stressing about being able to find an apartment, my Vice Principal has relayed countless times through Jin, and then this time directly to me,  how I should “hurry up and find a place”.  Most Koreans live at home until they get married, or have never made a big move across the world, so the idea of finding an apartment on your own is a big process and takes time and figuring out. After my VP told me I better hurry up, all I responded with was “I’m fine. My Korean friend is helping me. I’ll move when I get back from vacation”, and that was that.  When we left, Jin had told me how well I handled that. It made me very aware of my Americanness and how I’m so used to being independent, moving around (and across the globe!) and handling things on my own in the real world.  While  Americans are typically out of their parent’s house and figuring things out for themselves at 18 years old, many Koreans live at home into their 30s.

The rest of my 4th of July consisted of teaching all day and meeting up for some bomb burgers and a Root Beer float at Salt & Butter in Apgujeong Rodeo with Tim and our funny friend Brian.  Joshua, our *AMERICAN*, and our token Chinese PandaLin were supposed to come as well, but work and rain interfered with that fun. Sadface.

Now to flashback in honor of one of my favorite holidays, and to celebrate the greatest nation on the planet, here are some of my favorite 4th of Julys past spent with some of my greatest loves in the sun!

San Jose with the Baller & MayMay. 2007 was the year I learned that Bretty gets his *unique* dance moves from his awesome mother.

77_515860614067_470_n

Puppy time in Newport with my MayMay in 2008.

2640_663815875537_303807_n

Fanny Packs & sunkissed whistle blowing with my JeanellyBellyBluJ in Manhattan Beach 2011.

269156_10100314969590247_7414971_n

Shenanigans in Manhattan Beach with DeBarros and a very patriotic Chizzy.

264820_10100314970223977_7445229_n

Happy Birthday America! Even though you’re sometimes really messed up and I have no desire to live on your soil for a very very VERY long time, you are by far the best country in the world, and home is always where the heart is! Cheers to 237+ more years of beautifully celebrated diversity and freeeeedom!

 

 

 

A Paint By Number Journey Thru Chiang Mai & Luang Prabang

I know, I know. This is beyond tardy.  It has taken me a year and a day to post about mine and Stephanie’s jaunt to the beautiful cities of Chiang Mai and Luang Prabang back in February, but I am finally getting around to doing it.  Holy moly, I can’t believe it’s been that long.  Shame on me!!!

This time, instead of doing my typical posty post about the entire vaca, what we ate, who we ate with and at what time, I’m going to chronicle my favorite moments of the trip. So buckle up peeps!

1. Our 16 Hour Train Ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

Instead of flying directly to Chiang Mai, we flew into Bangkok and opted to indulge in the journey of getting to Chiang Mai.  And what reeks more of wanderlusting travel than the huff and puff of a locomotive train? We stocked up on snacks, including  an accidental choosing of PICKLED mango on Miss Stephanie Anne’s part, ordered a surprisingly delicious dinner on board, got our train bunks turned down by the train maid, tucked ourselves in with a good book (50 Shades of Grey anyone?), and then buckled ourselves into bed for the night.  At least I did in my coffin of a top bunk. We rolled into Chiang Mai bright and early the next morning.

542573_10102322777661777_1969187136_n

  2. Our guest house in Chiang Mai ~ Finlay’s Cottage.

Steph and I hadn’t booked a place for our first night in Chiang Mai, and since we were meeting Abby for a night we asked her to book us 1 night at Finlay’s Cottage, the place where she was staying.  We loved this place so much that we ended up cancelling our previous reservations and it ended up being our home base for our entire stay in Chiang Mai, both before and after Laos. We loved it that much! The man and woman who run the guest house are a couple of unlikely friends, but are somehow fantastically hilarious. The woman helped us book all our day trips, got us a great tuk tuk driver, made us delicious breakfasts every morning, woke us up to make sure we ate our breakfasts every morning, cancelled our prior reservations for us and made great sarcastic conversation with us when necessary.  The man is from Australia and just never returned, and the woman lived on Koh Phi Phi for 37 years as a masseuse, but when the tsunami hit she broke nearly all her bones and chose to relocate up north, and has been there ever since. They were top NOTCH!

Finlay's Cottage mommy

3. Thai Cooking Class With Beery.

I love cooking but it’s something that I just don’t really have the patience or timing for.  I like to think of myself as more of a “throw together whatever I have kinda chef” and it always works.  I’ve always wanted to take a cooking class in Thailand since I saw MayMay took one on her trip! I figured Steph and Abby were the perfect people to do this with since they are both chef masters.  We signed up for a wonderful cooking class at Asia Scenic Thai Cooking School and had a fabulously flamboyant instructor named Beery, who was just the cherry on top! It was boot camp in the most fun way possible.  We started with a trip to the local market, then went to the school’s garden to smell the herbs and plants native to Thai cuisine that we’d be cooking with, and then got down to cooking!  I made Pad See Ew (because it reminds me of Jessie), Kow Soi Curry and curry paste (the native curry to Chiang Mai which came recommended by MayMay), and Mango sticky rice.

542667_10102322781464157_253815469_n

4. When I Discovered That Friendship Is Hoisting Your Friend Atop An Elephant.

We went on an all-day Mahout elephant trekking course through the jungle, atop the most gorgeous and friendly and massive animal in the world. We learned key commands to “drive” them, fed them endless amounts of sugar cane and bananas, struggled to hoist ourselves atop their massive bodies, struggled yet again to steer our still hormonal lady thru a jungle trek, squealed with glee whilst sliding down her trunk, and then took the most glorious bath in the world with her even though it was filled with piles of shit, I’m sure.  This is my favorite photo from the trip. I really made an ass out of myself, but at least I know who’s got me from all angles as I migrate through this world of ours.

Elephant ass

5. Taking This Photo For National Geographic While Sitting In Tiger Pee.

We didn’t really take it for National Geographic, but we might as well have.  We spent an afternoon at the Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai posing with a 3 month old tiger, a 5 month old tiger, and then this full grown tiger. We even saw this guy snap at someone.  OPEN WIDE and guard your life!

427256_10102300533249757_961696943_n

6. Getting Annoyed By Chinese Tourists While Trying to Observe the Long Neck Karan Tribe.

The Long Neck Karan tribe native to Chiang Mai is a bit of a circus detour, but I really wanted to see it since this tribe is the one thing that I’ve always remembered since going to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! as a child.  We went, it was awkward and fascinating, and then we got annoyed by the Chinese tourists that always come in loud like they own the place with zero respect.

435_10102322797312397_1910671547_nchinese tourists

7. When Steph Walked Like An Ajumma Up The Massive Stairway to Wat Doi Suthep.

The greatest Wat (temple) in Chiang Mai is Wat Doi Suthep, and it’s located at the tippy top of a massive mountain.  To get there you have to take a tuk tuk, to a red jeep and then walk up the insane stairway.  Here is Steph getting back to her Korean roots en route to the top.

doi suthep

8. Riding In The Back Of A Pick Up Truck While Crossing The Laos Border.

We decided to take the slow boat journey from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang.  This consisted of a 7 hour minibus to the border, where our small group was greeted by a pick up truck, and we were instructed to hop into the bed of it and stand. Obediently we did so.  FEELIN LIKE A CHOLA.

544076_10102322798450117_1765808634_n

9. A Dramatic Reading Of 50 Shades of Grey In French In The Middle Of Nowhere, Laos.

We spent the night in creepy cabins in the middle of nowhere Laos as we awaited our boat ride along the Mekong the next morning.  Our fellow companions were a Swiss couple and our newly made travel companion, French lassie Audrey. Their common language was French, and having never heard of the epic 50 Shades of Grey before, our new friend decided to translate the novel for his lady.  It was oh so sexy.

10. The Sweetest Sendoff From Adorable Laotian Babies As We Set Off On The Mekong.

We woke up bright and early and were escorted to our private boat for our Mekong River cruise.  Our escort service couldn’t have been any more adorable if it tried.  Heart. Melt.

11. Our First Laotian Meal Of Various Flavors Of….Buffalo Jerky.

Steph, Audrey and I set out to try our first Laotian meal since arriving in Luang Prabang.  We turned down a sleepy road in the early-to-sleep city, and perused a menu of our selected restaurant.  There were so many oddly named items, so we took it upon ourselves to order the ones that stood out the most to us.  I believe mine was called “Day Meat Smashed Style”. Basically, we all got variously flavored versions of buffalo jerky.  Needless to say, we were not impressed and stuck to baguettes from the street food vendors for the remainder of our stay in Luang Prabang.

306121_10102322805675637_1616735170_n 540841_10102322805391207_1276464729_n

12.  This Pleasant Lady And Her Amazing Baguettes.

This woman had such a pleasant aura about her, and call me a weirdo, but I loved watching her make her sandwiches. She was so calm, and her sandwiches were so amazing. They were massive and I scarfed them DOWN.  I always got her chicken, brie, tomato, avocado, lettuce and cucumber sandwich and boy did it satisfy.  I also loved that she was one of the only street food stands that had all of her food covered and away from the flies.  Sanitation!!!

sandwich lady

13. Meeting A 16 Year Old Monk Who Loves to Speak English With Foreigners.

We were making our way up to Wat Chom Si atop Pousi Hill just before sunset when we met this friendly monk, Bee.  He is 16 years old and was so sweet and friendly.  He told us about how he loves studying English and hopes to one day travel to America, and loves hanging out on that walk up to the top because so many foreigners come through and it gives him a chance to practice his English.  It was so refreshing to meet someone as young and eager as him to learn and practice, especially after working with Korean students who a lot of the time can care less about learning English. We exchanged information and are now Facebook friends! 🙂

bee monk lp

14. Taking This Glorious Photo Atop Pousi Hill.

Audrey was traveling by herself, and was a lovely addition to our stay in Luang Prabang.  Im so glad we got this awesome photo of the three of us!

pousihill girls

15. Going to Kuang Si Waterfall And Doing A Boob Flop Rope Jump.

We made the journey out to Kuang Si Waterfall with Audrey and 5 Germans that we met.  It was a gorgeous hike in, and once there we got to swim in the springs, and if we wanted, jump from the rope hanging from the tree.  I of course wanted to do it, but was deathly scared once I got up onto the tree.  It was SO slippery, and I was trembling as I used the wooden stick to grab the swinging rope to clutch between my shaking hands. I was a ball of nerves!  Klutzy McKlutz over here.  Well, I didn’t hold high enough on the rope, and when I swung I barely swung and BOOB FLOPPED flat into the water so hard that my top came off under water.  FAIL. But awesome.  This is the face I made upon emerging and confirming my breasts were still in tact.

boobflopface

16. Observing A Man In a Diaper Walk Down The Street Carrying A Machete.

As the heading says, a man with deathly leather colored skin traipsed down the street wearing nothing but a sheet-like diaper, while carrying nothing but a machete.  I felt safe.

macheteman lp

17. Temple Hopping And Bicycle Riding.

One thing I always try to do while traveling is spend a day with a map in hand and my tuchous on a bicycle seat.  It’s so whimsical and I think the best way to see a city.  Luang Prabang is probably one of the best cities to do this in because it’s so small and quaint.  So, we spent a day temple hopping, monk spotting and drink sipping on our bikes, and it was a beautiful, hot and sweaty day!

biking lp

18. Bargaining My Face Off At The Most Colorful Night Market I’ve Ever Been To.

I LOVE night marketing while I travel, and the market in Luang Prabang exceeded my expectations.  It was by far my favorite night market I’ve ever been to.  The colors were so bright everywhere I turned, and the handmade items being sold were so fun and vibrant and unique.  I bargained like it was my job and ended up snagging a pretty awesome travel bag for a sweet deal.  I love this photo I took, and every time I look at it I just want to pop back there!

lp night market

19. Meeting New Friends At The All Vegetarian Buffet At The Night Market.

While Instagramming, Steph stumbled upon a guy’s posting of this all vegetarian buffet just off of the night market.  There was a massive spread of food that you put on a plate and then a guy heated it all up for you in a wok.  It was for something outrageous like $5, and was so delicious! We pulled up a seat with everyone else and nommed down on our food. We met some fascinating friends from France, Argentina and Mauritius that we spent the rest of our last evening with.  It’s moments like this when I realize why I love traveling.

601442_10102322814443067_125719978_n

23378_10102322814547857_1363371675_n

20. Sitting In The Back Of Our Second Pick Up Truck Crossing The Thailand Border.

We did it once, and we did it twice.  Southeast Asia seems to follow Mexico’s lead when it comes to border crossing, because I’ve never felt more illegal in my life.  Sometimes it feels good to live life on the edge.  At least we had a stamp in our passeporto.

truck 2

21. Stumbling Upon This Awesome Art Shop In Chiang Mai.

On our last day in Chiang Mai, we randomly stumbled into this art studio/shop filled with a man’s artwork strewn about with every life and travel quote imaginable.  We spent a wild amount of time wandering and finding the perfect purchases for ourselves and our parents.  We both chose pieces for our parents with quotes about our own need to wander the world, and how no matter where we are they’re always in our hearts.

art shop cm

22.  These Young Boys Getting Massages In Bangkok.

Because they were such babies and they looked so funny and adorable getting a group massage.  I couldn’t help myself.  They were 18 years old.  BABIES!

boys in bangkok

23. These Gangnam Style Sandals On Khaosan Rd.

Well, because there would be no better send off back to Koko than to see Psy displayed on some footwear.

gangnamstyle sandals

Well, there you have it.  Chiang Mai and Luang Prabang in a somewhat brief pictoral nutshell.  I hope you enjoyed despite my tardiness! Better late than never!!

65 Is The New 31 If You’re A Baller.

Absolutely nothing about the following song reminds me of the Baller, except for one significant opening line…..”You remind me of my Gucci shoes.”

During our first year out of college, Bret and I used to talk on the phone every morning on our horrendously long traffic filled commutes to work. Along with hearing about his morning coffee consumption and other morning *movements*….I got to hear his sweet “sweet” rendition of Monica’s A Dozen Roses. Only for the longest time, I had absolutely NO idea what song he was singing because his annoying, nasally, almost Urkel-esq version was so far off from the sultry jam, that I was floored when I finally heard the actual song he was mimicking. He still doesn’t understand where my auditory disconnect went awry.

His awful singing voice aside, per his Facebook page, Bretty is turning a ripe 65 years young today, and his bone structure wouldn’t let you believe he’s a day over 31. He is the reason I love White Russians, why I’ll always find being called a whore endearing (but only by him of course), why I’ll always refer to that *classy* blue liquor that only grill-wearing ballers drink as “The Hypo”, why I’ll always remember my Women in Film class because of his incessant knee shakes, why men’s ties and the word “Façonnable” will always roll off my tongue, and why a New Years Eve will always be somewhat empty if he’s not there to grace me with his *sensational* hip-swiveling and claptastic dance moves. He’s the best roomie I’ve ever had, and the best platonic manfriend a girl could ever ask for. He’s the baller to my whore, and thank you UCSB and that lovely apartment complex on one Segovia Rd. for introducing us.

Oh, and Happy 31st Birthday old man. I hope your racquetball ankle sprain heels in a jiffy.

Now for a little time travel complete with a dance video, or two, because this post would be incomplete without.  Apologies in advance for the embarrassment.

I think this is the first photo we took as the best foursome of neighbors on the block. By this time I knew his name and wasn’t calling him “the Matthew McConaughey guy” anymore.

ad30

Winter came, Natty Lite and White Russians got us super acquainted, I called him Doug Funnie nose, and I actually remember this hug quite vividly. We totes became BFFs then and there.

c3e1-1

I turned 21. White Russian, sweaty face and awful tank top. He also cracked open his very special bottle of “Hypo” on my very special day.

abe8-1

He especially loved 2am wake-up calls from his awesome sisters and their friends down the way when he had water polo practice in 4 hours.

3fda

He loved repaying the favor by jumping on his sister while he was intoxicated and she was trying to sleep. This is actually still one of my all time fave Baller/Jones photos. High 5!

28b0

We also had Three’s Company naptime on the famous couches after a long day of watching Sex and the City or Desperate Housewives, two of Bretty’s favorite TV shows.

bretpassedout

Then the Baller and Whore 1 & 2 graduated ❤ Santa Barbara would have never ever been the same without these two.

23_515851133067_3767_n

After graduating, Bret moved back up north to Coup Town and me to LA, and I was SO sad, but it honestly never really felt like it, aside from not seeing him everyday.  Since then we’ve spent I think nearly every New Years Eve together and a couple trips either him down to LA or me up to San Francisco within the years.

Botched trips up north for Oktoberfest, only to be greeted with the alternate gay Love Fest, have never been sweeter.

354_617190962237_54_n

And mind-altering afternoons in LA laughing our asses off while watching Borat have never been funnier.

When I came home after a year and a half in Korea, the Baller (and Rami!!) came to LA for my birthday weekend, and it was the best gift ever!!

150027_10102230923657937_2143409581_n

We of course danced, and he spent a lot of time practicing his dance moves and gettin’ low…..his “specialty”.

540749_761116725834_1770078465_n

A tribute to the Baller wouldn’t be complete without documentation of some of those masterpieces he likes to whip up. Please. Indulge your eyeballs.

Here he is dancing to his own natural rhythm. His own essence. Really feelin’ that music. Pardon the side angle.

And rounding it all out with my personal fave. Everytime I watch this video I can’t not laugh. It gets me every, EVERYtime.

Love you to the moon Baller, and I hope you get over your fear of Asian cuisine and come visit me in the Orient. I’ve got a live octopus with your name on it waiting.

HAPPY 65th BIRTHDAY, DOUG FUNNIE!!!  YOU’VE NEVER LOOKED BETTER!

226965_10100222678063207_7702232_n

<3,

Your favorite Whore

ByeBye, HeyHey ~ Off You Go To “A Whole New World”

I can’t believe I am even writing this post.  It actually pisses me off that I’m making myself do this.  However, I’ve come to use this blog space of mine to pay a little love to the people near and far who I want to give a big virtual hug to no matter where we both reside in the world at any present moment at any present time on any day of dire significance.

This one is dedicated to my beautiful Stephanie Anne Heyduck, who has become one of the nearest and dearest to my heart during this last year and a half in Korea.  It makes me really sad that her time here has expired, but that’s what comes with the expat territory.  Those who we become so close with weave in and out of our lives and that’s that.  I guess it’s what we indirectly signed up for in choosing a lifestyle fueled by wanderlust; bonding together with others who also thrive on that same passion to wander and move about this glorious globe to explore and conquer.

As we’ve cuddled, danced and traveled our way through an ever-growing friendship, it’s always been apparent to me that Steph is totally one of those people who is unbelievably wise beyond her 25 years.   Whether it be in matters of the heart or the world, she always manages to have the wild child in check with the mature adult who’s got their head screwed on straight.   She’s also one of those people that just knows something about everything, no matter the topic.  I only know a few of those kinds of people and she’s one of them.  It always kind of amazes me and I’m just like WHA?!  Where you come from?!  She’s a special one, and I love her dearly.

Now for a little journey thru some of my fave highlights of the past year and a half frolicking thru the far East together 🙂

The first time I met Steph was when Jeanette and Carmen were visiting.  It was maybe my 3rd week living in Seoul, and Jeanette and Steph realized they had practically matching tattoos.  Friends.Seoulmates.WHAT.

316514_10100362731115767_672660_n

Here’s the first time Steph, Katie, Abby and I officially became a foursome after each others hearts.  We hiked to the top of Namsan Tower and then struggled to take this photo in the geographical center of Seoul! Many of my “I’m so happy I’m in Korea moments” have been spent with these ladies, and they’ll all always hold one of the most special places in my little Korean heart.

301194_10100376043577487_624608948_n

She introduced me to one of my favorite Korean foods, Shabu Shabu, in the Ying Yang pot, one freezing cold night after shopping our butts off in Myeong-dong. Nom.

314595_10100400379483137_1003761335_n

We’ve had some shenanigans, and this was one random night out on the town while everyone else got down on a bus filled with soju.  Hey, we all make mistakes. She dragged me, she loves me despite it 😉

382048_10100444994279727_1592600095_n

We got money hungry at the Trick Eye Museum. AKA the most fun museum EVER!

310903_10100457248542087_2057913123_n

Then we got ballsy and decided to eat some live octopus together for the first time.  Actually not so bad and kinda fun.

Somewhere around this time we decided we’d bare it all and get naked with each other at the jjimjilbang.  We did, and it was weird for like 2 minutes, and then it was awesome, and then we went again, and we became obsessed even though we didn’t do it as often as we thought we would.  But still.  It brought us as close as 2 naked platonic girlfriends can get.  Both in and outside of our sexy jjimjilbang attire.

Her family came to visit, got us smashed to pieces during her mom’s first date with soju, and then Papa Heyduck did a sorority pose in this photo with us all.

246572_10101653402390187_1006809465_n

There were a couple girls nights in.  This may have been what they started out looking like.

534411_10101758585322747_1950753165_n

And then the aftermath to the tune of some Disney movies and Twilight and makkoli and soju.

295150_10101758586156077_563330710_n

Then we took on a bit of traveling together.  First came that unforgettable typhoon of a trip to Japan where we rode bikes around Kyoto…

398202_10101793756878667_2127673675_n

Got our plans “horribly” rearranged by an unexpected typhoon…

246785_10101793784393527_575667527_n

And then relocated ourselves to the nearest karaoke room where Steph gave us this private show (before I inevitably hogged the mic).  Adele or Celine perhaps? The sake won’t allow me to remember.  Whatever the song, her voice sang it magically.  From this moment on we became noraebang obsessed.

420795_10101794731540437_422290533_n

Shortly after, we went to go Barack the vote together.  We were VERY excited to make our voices heard.

525975_10102071821035867_640972375_n

And after he won the election, the two of us rented out the VIP room at a local noraebang in Itaewon (because it was the only one available), drank ourselves silly on a Wednesday night, and sang our Disney hearts wild for 2 hours because we were so happy for our man Barry.  One of my all time fave Steph & Dani moments to date. “I can show you the worldddddddd……”

Of course by far one of my favorite things everrrrr that we’ve done was going to Thailand and Laos together this past February.  You don’t really know someone til you either live or travel with them, and we traveled really really well together.  We had such an amazing time playing with elephants and tigers, cooking exotic cuisine, crossing the border like a coupla Mexican cholas in the back of one too many pick-up trucks, and meeting lovely French lassies and gorgeous Argentinian men along the way. (I have majorly slacked in posting about that trip, but it will be coming soon, I promise. Eeeep!)

Needless to say, friendship is nothin if you’re not there to help hoist your friend’s fat ass up on top of a hormonal elephant…

5708_10102322785965137_1838488328_n

Or sit down next to each other in some tiger pee to get those one-in-a-million shots in life!

427256_10102300533249757_961696943_n

Tonight after Abby and I had to fight back premature tears while saying bye to Steph at our 2nd to last dinner together, we were talking about when we first signed up to move our lives to Korea.  We had envisioned living amongst a new culture, with new foods, new experiences, new travels, a new language to make up the white noise in our background, and we knew we’d make friends abroad.  But, we both made the connection that neither of us had really put much thought into the relationships we were going to build and who would soon become our family whilst carrying on our new lives.  I guess you don’t really plan or think about those types of things because they’re organic and happen as they will. With the ending of year one a slew of great loves left, but Stephanie is my first great girlfriend who’s been there since the beginning, to leave Korea, and that’s a killer. Great girlfriends are not easy to find, and she is just one of those friends that I am so lucky to have snatched up.

To wrap it all up, I love you Stepaneeeeee, and I’m gonna miss you, like, times 10 million to the max.  But, I know we are both wanderers and this is just a BIG “see ya later”.  My time spent in Korea would never have been quite the same without you in it, and I hope this next chapter of your life is a lot less (kimchi) smelly, but just as fulfilling as the past 2 years have been.  I love you to infinity and beyondddddddd.

<3,

Dani

Running For Ramen……..Sike

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve obviously heard that there’s been a bit of a ruckus going on over here on this tiny little peninsula in the far East for about the past month or so. While I deeply appreciate all of the concern that Mama Schaeff and all my friends have shown during these very trying times as I’ve been running to the corner mart scouring for the last package of ramen and kimchi and whatever bottles of water I can manage to hoist between my arm and bosom up the treacherous hill to my apartment….I AM FINE. WE ARE FINE.

I just thought I’d put this little piece of work together to reach all of you state side who only have the US media as a point of reference to where I am living and carrying on life as normal. I will admit, yes, I have had some nerves about it because who knows what the hell that fat fuck (pardon my French) will do in an effort to flex his barely-there muscles, and with little to know guidance or from what I’m sure, life/war experience.  I actually got my first ounce of fright last week at lunch when my co-teacher, Jin, told me that her mom was getting scared.  I think, at least for me, that bit of anxiety comes from just the fact that we really don’t know what he will do.  I read an article about the past and present young and reckless leaders of North Korea and when they rose to power.  I thought it to be a bit interesting, and frightening.  It’s like handing a kid a gun and telling him to just blindly shoot in the dark with Kim Jong Un.  Who knows what he’s capable of.

HOWEVER, since all this has gone down, I have pretty much scoured the interwebs and read everything and its mother about what in Gods graces is going on, but I am obviously by no means well-educated, just trying to stay as best informed as I can.  But, just on the basis that I am living here, and functioning, and carrying on life as I have for the past year and a half, nothing out of the normal has changed.  On that note, I’m really not scared in the least.  I don’t think that an attack on Seoul in going to happen.  An attack will probably happen, but that will probably be to an island.  In fact, just this afternoon while on my way down south after school, I snapped this shot of some soldiers riding the subway probably playing Anipang or some new stupid mobile phone game.

Image

Keep in mind, I live pretty much as far north in Seoul as you can get and just about 4 hours ago, North Korea issued this very “legit advisory” notice to all foreigners (because we always listen to what North Korea says….).  These soldiers must be taking our well-being and their fellow brothers’ very seriously.  The very thought of every foreigner and every Korean storming Incheon or the KTX down to Busan to peace out to Japan makes me want to poke my eyeballs out.  As if I don’t get shoved enough on my daily morning commute.  Eeeep!!!

Until the US Embassy sends out something of more urgency than the following, I’ll continue on my merry little way.

April04, 2013

A Security Message for U.S. Citizens

The U.S. Embassy informs U.S. citizens that despite current political tensions with North Korea there is no specific information to suggest there are imminent threats to U.S. citizens or facilities in the Republic of Korea (ROK).  The Embassy has not changed its security posture and we have not recommended that U.S. citizens who reside in, or plan to visit, the Republic of Korea take special security precautions at this time.  The U.S. Embassy takes as its highest priority the welfare of American citizens in Korea.  Should the security situation change, the Embassy will issue updated information.

We urge U.S. citizens to keep in regular contact with family and friends.  U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad are encouraged to enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), to receive the latest travel updates and information and to obtain updated information on travel and security issues.   

**Rest assured I am registered with the Embassy and they have all my contact information should I need to be evacuated.

Well, aside from calming your jets on the rising tensions that you’re all reading in the news, I thought I’d include some screenshots that I got a great giggle and smile in my heart from. I know you guys only care, but seriously, take a chill pill. But, and that’s a BIG but, know that I appreciate your love and concern for the schaeff schaeff ❤

-3

-1

-4

-5

-6

Well, for mine and my fellow peninsular comrade’s safety, I hope the big guy upstairs is just talking a big talk and we don’t get a special surprise tomorrow on April 10th. I would like to stay safe, not have to actually panic, buy ramen, flee to Japan for anything other than leisure, and I’d like the above Mama and lady loves who voiced their concerns to actually book the flights that they’ve been planning to.

Sending lots of kimchi kisses to everyone :*