A Year Ago.

I’m feeling a bit reflective today after failing at yet another Skype date with my MayMay and just missing my lovers back home….or rather in the States because practically no one lives at what I call HOME anymore.  Sad face.

A year feels like such a long time, but I’ve come to realize shit flies by! A year ago last month I was “let go” from my jail sentence of a job that I thought I had really really wanted, filed for unemployment and was almost denied it by the prison warden, then high-tailed out of LALA with Brianne on a 2 week cross-country road trip to New Orleans for that disgusting, festive, boob-baring celebration called Mardi Gras, so we could both check that off our bucket lists and have an amazing excuse to belt out “Born This Way.” Leaving that job and going on that trip was probably the best transitional thing to ever happen to me.  Some highlights of this journey included:

Falling off a seesaw and knocking the wind out of myself.

Rejuvenating a long-time friendship that had wanted reconnecting for a really long time.

Kissing a plastic frog beaded necklace and thinking I met a prince (who turned out to be a toad)….but I believe I met for a reason.

The reason being Korea. Had we not met, hit it off ridiculously well and then decided to go together on a whim, I really don’t know if I actually woulda grown the balls to pick up and move across the world 5 months later.  Well that relationship crashed and burned, but the plans did not.  We both made it to Korea but on our own devices.

He doesn’t play a part in my life these days (thank god), except for the random “I’m in Seoul” texts every now and then, but I am grateful for having met him. It’s not often you meet someone who you click with and find that you both want a lot of the same things out of life.  That was a freakin year ago.  Seems like it was just yesterday.

It’s also been a year since the first of my LA lovers picked up and became NYC transplants. Jeanette and Kayla (and then Sammy) moved almost a year ago, and this time last year we were “celebrating” their goodbyes 😦

I think I just really miss all you bitches back home and wish I could be better with time zones and realize the time we set Skype dates for, but I’m sorry for my epic fails.  Erg. But more importantly, I was just thinking about how so much growth and change can happen in one year and how you don’t even really realize it til it’s happened. A year ago I decided to get serious about moving abroad for one year, and now I’m starting my second semester of school and getting ready to renew for another year. I’ve traveled far more than I thought I would in  a year, met a lot of super interesting people, some annoying as fuck people, dated some ratards, and realized the difference between what I used to look for in a person and what I want now – the complete opposite and something much more.

That’s really it.  I spent the morning Skyping with Sista and Presley (and my mom via speakerphone), found out Brotha had his head stapled last night after falling and drinking too much (but he’s ok, thank god), and looking at old videos of the Baller dancing which bring an eternal smile to my face.

Now I’m just sitting in a cute little cafe with a sleeping Mandu and his teddy bear beside me.

Also, a year later history repeated itself.  I had another epic tumble. This time I was also completely 100% sober and just couldn’t master one-foot-in-front-of-the-other.



Diamond & Schaeff Took Thailand…& Almost Beheaded Each Other <3

I have been wanting to write this post for like, the past week, and finally decided to not be lazy about it and document mine and Cori’s rendezvous in the gorgeous country of Thailand. This was kind of a monumental trip for me, as it was my first time venturing out of my new home in South Korea.  I was on the phone with my sister before leaving and I kept saying how anxious and nervous I was to leave, and kept thinking I was forgetting something.  She was like “it’s so funny how now you’re nervous to leave Korea.” I guess home is where my ish is, right?  And yes, I quadruple checked that I had my passport and flight documents and allergy medicine and every last summer clothing item I brought with me to Korea before I scampered off to the bus stop in the frigid cold snowy air to head to ze airport.  BRING ON THE STICKY HEAT….but not before I nearly froze to death after waiting for nearly an hour outside the bus stop for the comfy bus to shlep me to Incheon Airport.  NOW bring on the sticky heat!

I landed in Bangkok at around 1:30am on Friday morning, and after about 2.5 hours of waiting to get through immigration, I headed to the taxi line to get my tired ass taken to D&D Inn on the dirty Khao San Rd. My first thoughts after exiting the airport were “holy shit it’s hot here, this coat needs to be out of my arms and boots ripped off” and “WTF, why is the cabby putting my suitcase in his seat? OHHH…they drive on the opposite side of the car. Well then.” About 30 minutes later the cabby dropped me off at the entrance to Khao San Rd, which is the main crazy animal party street in Bangkok. He motioned that my hotel was down the street and that he wasn’t allowed to drive me all the way in.  I soon found out why. Drunkards everywhere, carts of street food, fresh fruit and fried insects littered the shithole of a street. I just remember walking and laughing to myself and reminiscing on my first thoughts of Bourbon St. in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. HOLY SHIT SHOW. Same thing, minus the beads and the boobs from the balconies above.

I finally checked in at D&D, and was initially planning to meet a friend from high school out somewhere if we could get in touch, since he was leaving early in the morning but planned on being out.  That didn’t happen. I checked in, showered and passed out to the sweet sound of party animals outside.

I got in a day before Cori so I spent all of Friday just wandering up and down Khao San Rd. checking out the endless amounts of flourescent tank tops and booze and jewelry  and street food.  I ended up going to the spa in my hotel and got a 1.5 hour foot and thai massage by the tiniest little asian woman I have ever seen. I swear she was barely up to my boobs. It was on top of my hotel and under this temple like structure but it was all open air, so it was really cool. I still think it was the best massage I got the whole trip. This cost me all of like, $6. After breaking the bank and feeling like I could fall over from relaxation, I decided to wander and get my first pad thai of the day. NOM. Throughout the day I had 2 pad thais, a coconut, a nutella crepe, a thai coffee, mango, pineapple, got hustled for a custom-tailored coat, and ate who knows what else. That night I stopped to get another hour long foot massage and watched some all-too-young Thai girls dance with a ladyboy in the middle of the street.

Saturday morning I wandered some more, checked out and then went to wait for Cori at Buddy Lodge, where we stayed. God bless wireless, because I waited forEVZ for her ass. Maybe like 2 hours. I had to pee so bad but I didn’t wanna get up in case I missed her and she thought she was at the wrong place. I finally decided to go to the McDonald’s right in front of our hotel to get fries to tide me over while I waited for her ass.  And literally as I’m ordering I turn my head and see this confused blonde trapsing up the stairs in a daze. I threw my money at the chick and ran to throw my arms around her! I was so excited to see my TRUE sista from another mista! We checked in, went to our room, gave each other our “gifts” and then sauntered out to see what the hell Bangkok is all about.  BUT, not before taking a Merry Christmas photo with the wondrous staff of Buddy Lodge (minus the bitch on the right….worst.attitude.of.life).  Look out for us on their wall if you’re ever there. 2 Jews and a buncha Thai Santas.

The rest of Saturday we wandered, ate, and took a tuk tuk around Bangkok.  For 20 baht (about 60 cents) we got a 3 hour or so tour of Bangkok.  Our precious driver, who was probably not a day over 18 took us to I think 3 temples, all of which I forget the names of. But, at the 2nd one we went to, there was the sweetest Thai man sitting in the temple.  He directed u where to sit and then talked to us for a bit about Buddha and Buddhism, asked us where we’re from and told us all the places that we must see while in Bangkok.  He was super sweet and then took a few photos for us.  He clearly has done this before 🙂 We ended up getting stuck in a bunch of traffic that day, after spending far too much time getting hustled (and a bit buzzed) at a couple tailor shops (they have a deal with the tuk tuk drivers, something about bringing tourists to them in exchange for gas money).  So we headed back to Khao San Rd. for a disgusting fish foot eating pedicure, hour foot massage and hour head, shoulder and neck massage. Day complete.

Sunday was Christmas and we jam packed our day! Luckily there was a travel agent next to our hotel so we booked an awesome day tour of about 4 temples including Wat Pho and Wat Anan, which was my personal fave, and the HUGE reclining Buddha.  We had a wonderful tour guide that we later found out was named Max.  At first I thought he looked like Ceelo in his crazy wackadoodle yellow sunglasses and curly moppy hair. He ended up being so funny. He was our personal photographer and chauffer and told us lots of info about where we were and the important ideas of Buddhism.  He also told us that the most important things in a Thai man’s life are money (lots of it) and women (lots of them).

Wat Pho posing with Buddhas.

Gorgeous & humungous Reclining Buddha

Wat Anan.  My personal fave! The climb to the top was practically vertical!

Earlier on Sunday I met a precious British lad named Dion who was also staying at our hotel.  He was traveling by himself and having debit card/front receptionist troubles/being lonely on Christmas sadness so I invited him along with us on our journey about 1.5 hours outside of Bangkok to the Amphawa Floating Market that night. Max’s brother, who we only know by the name Kung Fu Panda, accompanied us (why, we don’t know) to the floating market and waited for us to shop around and such. The floating market was pretty cool! They have them at sunrise and in the evening, so we went to one in the evening.  Basically, people cook and barter from their boats on the river.  So you can essentially walk along the river shopping, eating and watching these old Thai people cook for people who are eating boatside.  At the floating market I had THE best ice cream I have ever had in my life, saw some of the prettiest sushi, went on a boat ride for about an hour, hugged an elephant named Nampen, and Cori almost walked out of a folk museum with the first gas can in Thailand for her mom.  She had a transportation strategy and everything.  Then we discovered it was a Folk Museum and not a shop.  Oops! It was pretty awesome, except for the 4 hours worth of traffic we hit on the return home, forcing us to miss our ladyboy show 😦 Cori, jetlagged and frustrated by the traffic, hit the hay early that night so Dion and I headed out to carry on the massage-a-day challenge and have a couple of beverages. Twas a divine time with my new friend!

We like to believe he stole this boat and took us (and himself) for a joy ride.

People cooking & eating ‘long the river.

That would have been a big oops!

Monday we explored China Town and bought some pretty friendship rings and jade Buddhas and elephants before catching our flight to Phuket. We did absolutely nothing in Phuket aside from sleep in our dump of a guesthouse.  Who knew something with the name D’s Cornerhouse could be so sad.

Bright and early Tuesday we caught the ferry over to Koh Phi Phi, which I would go so far as to say was my favorite place on the trip, and the place we stayed at the shortest 😦 The ferry ride over played a random Beyonce concert on board, but as we neared the shore we saw some of the most breathtakingly blue water and lush cliffs I’ve ever seen. It was truly gorgeous!  We were escorted to our bungalow at the Twin Palms, right on the beach.  After getting checking in by the ladyboy receptionist, “her” sister helped us book our tour for the day to Maya Bay and Monkey Beach. Maya Bay was where The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed, and let me tell you, I tried to find him to no avail 😦 I did pretend I was walking in his footsteps though.  Duh! We took a wooden boat out to Maya Bay, and along the way we went to Monkey Beach, which as you would assume, has monkeys just running around on it. They were so cute! And so wild! I don’t know what I did but one of them jumped at me and grabbed my leg, and then a few others jumped after, but I ran away so fast.  They did this to a couple other people too who freaked their shit, one girl even started crying.  We then headed out to Maya Bay which is where we snorkled, but didn’t really see anything cool which sucked.  I think it was because it was a bit overcast. Despite that though, it was so beautiful. While there we talked to a few other girls who were actually also on vacation from teaching in Korea.  They all lived in Daegu and came over at the same time I did. We all pretended to search for Leo together.

I’m saying “what’s up lil monkeyman?”

Ta da!

Wednesday morning we were up at the crack to hike up to the “PeePee Viewpoint” as they so cleverly call it.  We did not anticipate such a hike so early in the morning, but it just kept going and we were shvitzing like a coupla Jew ladies. The morning started off a bit snappy (naturally), but as soon as we got to the top we were fine.  It was overcast still but really beautiful.  We got to climb on rocks to find the perfect photo opp spot.  We also met a little Indian (I think) guy up there and a very rude girl and her weird friends.

Thank god our day started out so glorious, because it quickly went to shit after we spent the entire day in the phuking Phuket airport.  Long story short, we originally wanted to get on an earlier flight instead of waiting til 4:30 to fly to Bangkok en route to Samui, but we were told we couldn’t. When we checked in after a few beverages, we found out our flights were delayed (buzz kill), Asia Air put us on another flight so we’d make our connections, that flight got delayed, and then we were put back on Asia Air. Between landing in BKK and making my connection, I had all of 15 minutes to check in, yell at the bitch at Bangkok Airways for taking her sweet time, haul ass through security and run through the biggest f’ing airport to catch the tram to take me to the plane.  I have never felt more winded and out of shape in my life than I did while running through that airport. I’m surprised I didn’t fall on my face with the speed I was running at and lugging my oversized carry on.  Oops.  If we hadn’t made our flights to Samui all flights were booked through the 2nd, so we would have been royally screwed.  PINK POWER WORKED IN THE END!

Thursday morning we woke up in Koh Samui refreshed from our clusterfuck of a Wednesday and ventured out from our cute little hotel, Rattana Guest House on Chaweng Beach.  We booked an all day Safari tour for Friday, so we took all of Thursday to just wander, get massages and do some shopping.  We found a cute little cafe that we brunched at every morning after that we were there.

Friday was AWESOME!!!  We were picked up in an open jeep with a group of 9 people. From there we were taken off-roading all over the island! We first went to the PC named Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks (the most phallic natural structures ever!) Taking pictures with these was better than the Leaning Tower of Pisa!

Your baby penis is so handsome.

Other highlights of this Safari tour were holding a monkey and unbeknownst to me having him almost bite my head off, going to this wild animal park where we saw an elephant show, which was kind of sad watching them dance and throw hoola hoops to Mama Mia songs, got to RIDE an elephant and sit on its head!  This was so cool! I was soo impressed by the guys ability to just sit on the elephants head, with his feet on its ears and not fall. The second I got on the head and he moved I thought I was gonna plummet down. At this same park we also got to get up close and personal with TIGERS and a LEOPARD!!! They were out in the open, but on these platforms that they were chained too.  It was sad, but so cool at the same time.  I got to feed a 4 month old tiger milk while he sprawled across my body and I hugged him and held his bottle for him.  Talk about death in the face! I was so shocked at how soft his paw pads were.  OMG I wanted to take him home he was so cute! There was also a huge 1 year old tiger that I got to get right up in his face.  It was nuts!  The leopard was on edge the whole time and wouldn’t stop pacing back and forth.  Freaky!!!  The tour concluded with dinner on the tippy top of the mountain we were on and then going to see the Big Buddha which was, well, BIG.  That night we went OUT, and finally hit up a ladyboy show with CJ.  We sucked back our sugary Mai Tais as we watched some he/shes pretend to be Beyonce, Christina and Cher. EPIC ladyboy success!

Uh oh.


Big Buddha meet Big Booty

Those are dudes.

Our last half day on Samui consisted of some more shopping, some more bickering and some more massaging before we caught a speed boat over to Koh Phangan for the Full Moon/New Years Eve Party.  We met CJ on the island and got down to bucket buying and body painting STAT. I think the painting alone would make me come back!  The rest of the evening was one giant clusterfuck of people on the beach.  It was crazy madness but so much fun! I had planned to try and meet up with Dion who had rerouted his trip down to the islands instead of Chiang Mai, but there was absolutely no luck finding him.  You honestly couldn’t move on that beach there were that many people and buckets flying everywhere. I ended up staying til around 2am when I had to hightail out of there and catch the boat back to Samui to take the longest most amazing shower of my life and then peace out to the airport for my 6am flight to Bangkok. I have never been so tired in my life!!! My flight back to Seoul from Bangkok was at 10:30am and I had a random stop over in Hong Kong for 30 minutes which I had no idea about.  So weird!

Happy New Year!!!

All in all the trip was so great and it was soooo good to see my Diamond, even though we wanted to kill each other every 2 minutes.  What are sisters for right? Now I’m just back in Seoul and in my 2nd of 3 weeks of winter camp, and then I’m popping off to Vietnam and Cambodia mid February which I am SOOOO excited about!  Talk about conquering Asia like a biatch!

Sorry it was a novel, but that was to be expected from a 10 day whirlwind of a trip!  감사합니다 for reading and hope you are just an eency bit jealous.

PS. Here’s a tip for future Thailand travelers.  Pack near nothing because you won’t wear any of the shit you bring.  Cori and I both severely overpacked and ended up only really wearing stuff we bought there.  Everything is DIRT cheap and there are clothes galore! Not to mention, I found bras that fit me!!!!!!!! HAIL THAILAND!


Ho Ho Ho-ing It Up

I know, I know, it’s been a year and a day since I wrote to you world.  My deepest apologies. But, I’ve just been so f’ing busy trying to plan a Hollywood themed Winter English camp that I start teaching the day after I stumble off the plane in Incheon on New Years Day, after a, what I’m assuming will be, ridiculous trip and a 6am flight that is giving me anxiety already.  Pardon that run-on, but it warranted it.  So yea, let me try and give a quick catch up on the recent happs, because the next thing I write about will be after Thailand. AHH!  It snuck up on me so fast!!  BOO! Ahhh!

In the past 2 weeks it has snowed two times (but according to Mirandawg from 6,000 miles away, it doesn’t classify as snow. Dirty Jersey snob!) But I don’t care what she says, there was white frosty stuff falling from the sky on 2 occasions, my building has icicles hanging off the edges, and my fingers and toes want to fall off from numbness.  On top of the snow, the frigid cold is numbing, and my classroom is so huge that it fails miserably to heat up.  I’ve been wearing thick ass tights under my jeans and 1-2 pairs of socks on top of them PLUS boots and my toes still want to die. I’ve even resorted to using a kid’s puffy vest that they left in class as a blanket for my feet under my desk. Oh well.  It’s my foot warmer now.  And now it’s time to invest in a heating blanket and/or heater for under my desk.

Itaewon 3am snow dribbles & a kebab.

I finally went ice skating in Seoul! I have been wanting to go so bad and finally went.  Helllloooo winter!  I went last week with a British lad whom I like to call Leonidas King of Sparta. He lives right by Lotte World, which is an amusement park, and there is an indoor ice skating rink there! There are several other rinks also throughout the city, some inside and some outside. I was expecting it to be super cold (given my prior ice skating rink experience) and almost brought my brand new super warm and fat coat, but thank God I didn’t because I was schvitzing hardcore the entire time!   Compared to the show-off speed skaters spinning circles around the center of the rink (some face planting and eating shit), Sparta and I were skating at quite the slow pace, mostly because he was clenching every muscle in his body (and my arm) to not fall over.  Great success because he didn’t fall, nor did he bring me down with him. Thank god for that because I was wearing a skirt and that wouldn’t have been lady like.  He will hate me, but such is life.  Here’s some comic relief for you.  The one time I took my camera out to videotape, I got him plowing into a precious hand-holding Korean couple. Pardon my potty mouth and Blair Witch Project video skills.

Smart lil Koreans they are, misspelling when they spend all them won on us Englishee speakers!

Ice rink at Lotte World! Doesn’t it look magical?

Strugglin to stand still.  It’s slippery out there!

The holiday season/best time of the year has officially begun and I must say it feels nice to be in a different city this year to celebrate! There have been a couple excuses to go out, drink a bottle of makkoli and don a Santa hat in the past couple weekends, which has been lovely. 2 weekends ago was Santacon, which basically entailed a crapload of people gathering dressed up like Santa.  Like a good Jew I participated, if only because the Santi hat made my head feel rather warm.

Lots o’ Santas for Santacon in Hongdae!

Aren’t they gorgeous?

2 great Seoul loves. Santa Collina and Benji Boo Boo Pippylongstocking Bear…and random Korean Santi Claus.

My one true Seoul love. The KOKmaster.

Friday night was pretty mellow but I hung out with some new friends and it just felt nice to meet some new people and go and just HANG OUT in a different part of town besides Zen/Hongdae for a change.  Saturday I impressed myself with my productivity.  I hardcore planned winter camp at Cafe Bene during the day, and then that night rewarded myself with a delicious Mexican feast cooked by one Miz Professor Heyduck, with a side of some saucy, much needed girl time before we all scamper off to different parts of the world for the holidays.  Video below (though I might get my head chopped off for posting it. Oh well). Afterwards, the 4 of us met up with our pallios in Itaewon for some more Santi hat wearing and imbibing.  I saw pretty much everyone I wanted to see that night, and was just happy happy happy ;).  Not to mention, put over the moon at the most ghetto club in all of Itaewon (The Loft, or as I like to call it, the UNclub). Collin and I shared an EPIK few moments of dance party madness.  The Macarena, Spice Girls and Footloose.  Back to back.  Made my life. It was a great weekend to say the least.  I’d say one of my favorite weekends so far in Korea…not sure why, just was 🙂

I look aZn. Yea?

This week has been almost non-existent at school since the vacation ceremony is tomorrow and technically we get to leave school at noon after a staff meeting.  The kids have also been done after lunch everyday.  Super sweet and gives me time to get my shit done! I left today with pretty much nothing left to do before I leave except tie up a few loose ends and tweak some things.  Feels good, one less thing to worry about when my 6am New Years day flight is clouding my brain. Livin’ some part of my life on the edge.  Yea-yuh.

I will conclude this posty post with an adorable picture and video of my 3rd & 4th grade babies making chocolate pudding during our final afterschool class. Thanks to Mama Schaeff for sending the pudding to me and helping make some little kiddos very happy while making, eating and watching (and FINALLY finishing) Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (after about 15x of start and stop).

Those punims!!!!

Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas and a very Happy Kwanzaa to all.  Until next year……. mwah!

PS. I’m fine in terms of the DICKtator’s death. Mom, you can stop sending me 3 emails every hour telling me to come home. LOVE YOU!

Do You Dare To Bare?

The theme of this post is nudity. Butt ass naked nudity. But in the purest form, of course.

Before coming to Korea I had heard a thing or two about Korean bath houses, otherwise known as jjimjilbangs.  First, I heard that you get completely naked and wander around a bath house (which made me quite nervous), and second, that they are everywhere and that you can even stay over night for practically nothing if you want to. Other than that, I didn’t know much until I went on a very fun first date and got the low down about the amazingness, and the sometimes wandering hands of the local Koreans. From the couple stories I was told, I was urked yet rather intrigued at the same time, and knew it was something I’d have to experience for myself.  Cue last night’s adventure to the top-of-the-line Dragon Hill Spa in Yongsan (http://www.dragonhillspa.co.kr/) with my loverlies, Abby and Steph. All of us were jjimjilbang virgins and had wanted to make sure our first time was as pleasurable and memorable as possible so we chose a place we new would be legit.

Here’s how it went down…

After braving thru the frigid cold upon exiting the station, we oriented ourselves and followed the bright lights toward the spa.  We walked in, feeling a bit clueless as to where to go, so we just followed a group of Koreans who were just ahead of us. When in doubt! We made our way to the register, and for a measly 10,000won (less than 10 bux!) we were given a luxurious t-shirt and baggy fat man pants, a key wristband and 2 teeny towels.  I felt like we were signing our lives away to a heavenly nudist concentration camp (I’m a Jew, I can make that joke). We then followed the Korean crowd again and did as they did and took off our Uggs before walking into the shoe locker room where we found our first of two lockers.  This one was cubby-sized and for our shoes.

Moving on, following the crowd still, we made our way past a co-ed arcade room where a bunch of adults were just hanging out and playing ski ball and other arcade games in their sexy concentration camp attire. We found the elevator which gave us the choice of 2 floors; one for men and one for women.  Upon reaching the 3rd floor, we exited into a land of naked Korean bodices, Korean hard boiled eggs and what we would later deem Heaven on Earth. I was already really nervous about getting butt ass naked with my homies, and I got even more nervous when I was greeted by the nakedness.  I mean, yea we are all girls and have the same stuff but it’s weird, and we’ve all only been friends for a few measly months.  I guess you just get super close with peeps fast when on a journey such as this.  Nonetheless, we made our way to our second locker where we disrobed and changed into our fancy spa duds.  Easing our way in.  I like it.

After changing, we made our way into the main area where we yet again followed some Koreans into a room which was littered with some sort of bamboo type mats and rectangular cushy blocks for your head.  It had this scent that I loved, which was a woody amberish scent. Here many were napping, but we continued thru to the little tiny door across the room, which was called the Ochre room.  Curious, we opened the door and were greeted with a blast of excruciating heat.  I’m not even exaggerating when I say it was excruciating.  I felt like a poor turkey being plopped in the oven to roast, or just someone who decided to go take a seat on the sun for the hell of it.  But like the champs that we are, we made our way past the 6 or so older Korean women sweating their asses off, and found a seat in the back of the oven.  Keep in mind I had not even been in there for more than 45 seconds and I was already dripping sweat, or gravy, whichever you prefer. I blinked my eyes and they stuck together and burned.  This was unlike anything I had ever felt before.  It was like a sauna on steroids. I sat down on the ground and my butt lit on fire.  I put one of my tiny towels under my butt and it burned thru the towel and scorched my butt even more.  It was like playing hot potato with my butt, but I stuck it out for probably about 7 minutes.  I had to leave because I thought I was gonna die, but Steph and Abby stayed in for about another 2 or 3 minutes.  After cooking ourselves, we laid on the cool bamboo mats for a good 10 minutes and it was the most heavenly lay of my life.

You know what part comes next?  The naked part. That’s what comes next. Eeep. After leaving the Ochre room we made our way back to locker number two to shed our concentration attire. The whole time walking back all I could do was giggle and go “omgomgomg I’m so nervous!” Over and over, as the naked bodies kept shuffling past me. Back at the lockers Steph undressed the quickest, you eager beaver you. Then she greeted Abby and I on our side of the hall with nothing but a teeny tiny towel covering her “important parts.” This was literally a “Hello girls!” moment.  It was like the first time MayMay and I basked topless together in the French Riviera. Twas a little weird at first, but after about 3 minutes passed it was all fine and dandy and liberating.  So, we nakedly walked down the stairs into Heaven.  And let me tell you what Heaven is like.

First, upon entering Heaven you must take a shower. After futzing with the lever for a couple seconds warm water came out.  We then walked past a bunch of women sitting on plastic white stools in front of sinks showering themselves, washing their hair and scrubbing the shit out of each other.  There were even a couple little kids running around frolicking in the pools. There are both inside and outside baths, and they range from luke warm, to mildly hot, to freezing cold, and each is infused with different aromas, or salts, and has jets that you can turn on or off at your own desire. One of them even had individual baths with hand railings in case the jets got you a little too excited that you lost yourself in the water. Watch out Abneet. My favorite was the last indoor bath we went into which was FREEZING cold and smelled like eucalyptus.  I think this bath alone could cure my disgusting cough and open up them bronchials.  It was painful at first, but once in the water it felt amazing.  And then even better when we got out.  I felt like my body was in this state of euphoria or something.  My next favorite was the outside bath.  After scampering outside, butt naked, in the probably below 30 degree weather, we gracefully sat in the piping hot bath.  The combination of the heat and the cold was so delicious.

Next came the sauna and steam room.  These were normal, not on steroids.  The first was a sea salt sauna, and the second was an aroma steam room.  The aroma of which we couldn’t place, but it was bomb diggity. We hung out with a bunch of older Korean women in both for a bit, and got in touch with our inner Korean woman.

After sweating, relaxing, observing full on naked body massages being performed, watching random women scrub each other’s backs and butts down, checking out the au naturale Korean-ness, and a final shower, we made our way back to our lockers where we put on our concentration camp pjs again and went back to the Ochre room for a lay and a snooze.  Drifting in and out of a deep REM sleep, I had probably one of the best naps I’ve ever had, and it was on a bamboo mat on a rock hard wooden floor.  Then was when we decided that this Kimchi Curry Matzah Ball soup-ness was soon to become an every Wednesday ritual to break up the week (with the addition of our other Kimchi bitch).  I don’t think I have ever felt in that much bliss as I did last night.

So yea, it was amazing.  I didn’t get touched inappropriately by any Korean women this time, but I’m sure it will happen some day.  Until then, I can’t wait for next Wednesday! Oh, and maybe one day I’ll get this horny substance removal done, whatever that is, but probably not.





Heart Exploding All Over The Damn Place <3

I’ve been here for almost 3 months now, I honestly can’t believe it. Where the heck has the time gone? I know in the grand scheme of things 3 months is nothing, but this is the longest I have legitimately been AWAY from my family and close friends.  Having always lived within an hour of the Schaeffs, it’s kind of crazy to think that it’s been so long since I’ve seen them.  I spent my first Halloween abroad which ended up being my most elaborate, and now the holidays, my birthday and both Mama and Papa Schaeff’s birthdays are fast approaching.  It’s nutty to think I will have to ship presents to them. Regardless, the past almost 3 months have been the most amazing I’ve ever had.  I’ve talked to a few peeps back at home in the past week, and they all keep telling me that it looks like I’m having the best time.  And all I can respond with is “YEP, best decision I’ve ever made :).”  It was a bit hard for me to actually tell my mom I was already considering a 2nd year here.  A couple days later, I got this adorbz pic of me from when I was 3 with my first Korean friend/neighbor, Hana Ko, from when we lived in North Hollywood.  When I would sing the Hannukah song like a good Jewish child she thought I was singing about her.  Or so Mama Schaeff says. Keepin the azns close by from the get go I reckon!

“Oh Hana Ko, oh Hana Ko, come light the menorah…”

In other news, I thought I’d take a post to just talk about some of the things I’m loving about being in Seoul.  First, that would be my lovely girlfriends here. I really love them. Katie, Abby, Steph and I had a wonderful girls night out on Saturday filled with martinis, tequila sunrises, some amazing jazz and most importantly, some much needed GIRL TALK.  We went to Jazz Story which is in Hyehwa, the area I’ve decided I really want to live in.  I think I wrote about it before, but I went on one of my favorite dates ever there and I needed to go back. Abby had been saying she wanted to go see some jazz, so twas perfect.  Originally, I had only intended on going out to Jazz Story and then making it an early night because old lady over here has not been wanting to booze it up like a young buck these days. What is becoming of me? I guess I’m becoming more matour.  Anyways, that went to shit after a couple “dirty” martinis, a good buzz, a bottle of soju and the need to make up for a shitty Friday night. We ended up going to yet another ghetto ass club in Hongdae, which was awesome good fun.  I didn’t get home til about 5am, after which I proceeded to sleep/Skype/sleep the rest of the next day away.  All in all, I am in love with my girlfriends here.  They are simply amazing and make me happy.  I really needed a good group of girls, especially after leaving so many lil gems back state-side 🙂 YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.  Anyways, here is a video of Billie Jean (how approps 😦 ) and some pictorals!

Written in the menu ❤

From classy to trashy. Enter Club Naked.

I know I literally talk about my students like they are my children or food that I love so much that I just want to eat UP, but there were a couple things that made me even more obsessed today. First, one of my favorite 6th graders, Billy, is entered in an English speaking/writing competition.  He asked me if I could proofread his speech for him, and of course I was so excited about it. He wrote about challenges that we all face in life and compared it to his favorite show called Challenger.  It was seriously the cutest thing ever. Kids are so freakin smart and it becomes even more apparent everyday. Here he is in 6th grade and I was truly impressed by how he not only could write a 2 page speech in English, but it also made sense.  I was talking to my co-teacher Leni about how good it was while on our way to lunch today, and she told me he is one student who truly cares about learning the context as he wants to become a writer one day.  I knew I loved him for a reason.  But now I’m sad I came half way through and only get him and all the other 6th graders for 1/2 a semester 😦

Second, last night Katie and I had a coffee date, and afterwards we were walking around Suraksan, which is where she lives and where both our schools are in North Korea. I ran into so many of my students!! It was actually really nice to run into them and talk to them outside of school.  1 of the girls was Sally.  She sits right in front of me in one of my 6th grade classes and she is always so cute and sweet and shy.  She doesn’t ever raise her hand but I can tell she’s smart and she’s one of my faves.  I was talking to her last night and was so impressed with her English.  Katie and I kept telling her how great she spoke, and then today she comes to my class and raised her hand 3 times, giving 3 correct answers.  Truly impressed and it made me happy to think maybe just that little “you speak so well!” had an impact. Another one of the girls I ran into was Sara.  She’s in 5th grade and apparently has problems at home.  She’s super tough, pretty obnoxious and is always punching the boys.  But I still really like her.  I think she’s really smart and just needs someone to actually tell her that because I don’t think she gets it at home. I was telling her how I always call on her because I KNOW she’s smart, and that she always gives correct answers, and when I look at her work it’s usually almost always perfect. I also told her she was pretty and she just kinda hid inside herself and kept saying “No I’m not. No I’m not teachaaaa.”  While I’m sitting at lunch today, I told both Jin and Leni how I ran into her last night, and Jin tells me “YES! Sara came to me today to tell me how you told her she was cute and smart! She was very happy.”  Ah, the freakin little things just keep getting me 🙂

Last thing about my students then I’ll stop.  Today I learned that Sesame Street is PURE GOLD.  I taught my 1st and 2nd grade afterschool babies about feelings and emotions this week.  Whenever we start the class and I ask how they are today, they give me blank stares, so it seemed only suiting to teach them something so vital.  Anyways, we started the class today with a Cookie Monster and Ernie video about being happy and sad over a cookie. THE KIDS WENT NUTS. I honestly didn’t expect it.  I ended up playing the video 3 times for them because they couldn’t get enough, and frankly neither could I.  Something about hearing cute little babes laugh.  I also had them draw feelings on monkeys, and originally asked for one student from each table to come up and tell the class what emotion their monkey had.  No no. Every single student shot their hand up to come to the front of the class, show their monkey and speak complete English sentences.  It was one of those “OMG I’m actually doing something right” moments.  They’re having fun and learning 🙂  So great.  Now here’s a video of them watching Ernie and Cookie Monster, because I couldn’t handle it and needed to bottle it up.  Let your heart explode NOW.

In completely unrelated news, not only will I be ringing in the New Year with my sista from anotha mista, my favorite bossy pants, Cori, BUT it also looks like Bret is going to be able to come out here and we will travel to some exotic land together over my birthday!!! BEST NEWS EVER!!! Now to get the fam out here soon! 🙂

That’s all! Goodnight moon 🙂

So I Was A Huge Fatty.

So I was a huge fatass this past weekend and I thought I’d share that with all of you. The food was just that good that I felt I needed to urgently (or not so urgently since I saved this as a draft and am just now getting to posting it) report back about my indulgent weekend. Nom nom nom bitches.

This past week was Canadian Thanksgiving, and as many of you know I have met an over-abundance of Canadians in the past 2 months.  And I am of course thankful for them because they are the freakin nicest people ever. No joke! This was the 2nd Thanksgiving dinner that another group of friends of friends had this week, so of course when the invitation was extended to the American, I came.  I love food and good company and any excuse to gather with people for the holidays.  Plus, I’ve been feeling like crap for the past few weekends, and being all the way out in f’ing Dontgogay, I’ve been feeling a wee bit of anti-social Danielle creeping in. To top it off it was pouring rain on Saturday with thunder and lightening, the whole shebang. Anyways, after not going to the Expat Festival I decided to pack a bag and make the hour trek in the rain to Canadian Thanksgiving in Hae Bon Chong (HBC). There was mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, broccoli and cheese, rice, squash, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and cheesecake and some chicken filling in for the turkeybird. Not to mention, lots of wine, something I haven’t had much of since arriving.  I never see it, and if you do it’s really expensive.  Hell, a $5 bottle of Yellowtail at home apparently costs $20 here!

All in all, twas delectable and just what I needed.  It just reminded me that my absolute favorite time of the year is finally upon us.  It also made me think of how much I miss all my friends from home and that I won’t be spending the holidays with them this year 😦 Needless to say, it was really nice to be in a warm apartment with a bunch of people cooking, drinking and just enjoying each others company. I couldn’t help but reminisce and get a little homesick for all of my friends.  I miss weekend and holiday brunches at Club Charnock and KP Hizzy.   Love you guys.

Heaps of nomz.

That night was the celebration of 2 of my friend’s births.  My Aussie friend Jason and my precious plane buddy Casey.  It was at a freakin flashy club called Eden.  Apparently it’s the top 7 club in Seoul.  Whatever.  Anyways, Abby and I carted our bloated and scantily-clad selves all the way to the Ritz Carlton in Gangnam for the flashy affair.  The club was nothing spectacular to me, but twas a birthday and we had fun. We watched our friends spend a lot of money for a table, fended off handsy Koreans and then watched a sea of Koreans stand and video tape the apparent celebrity DJ, instead of dancing to the music.  Interesting experience to say the least.

Back to the food.  Abby and I headed back to the HBC after Eden, but made a pit stop in Itaewon for a monster Egyptian sandwich.  It was not necessary but our taste buds really wanted it, so we indulged.  It’s basically a kabob on a roll.  Chicken or beef, onions, delicious sauce and who knows what else.  Here’s the fat happy man preparing our 3am meal on the side of the street.

Abby and I cuddled that night until my alarm startled us both in the morning beckoning me to rise and make my way to my temple food date with the music teacher from my school.  Her name is Choi Jung Soon and she is so sweet. She is taking me under her wing to teach me about Korean culture, and in return I’m going to help her with her English (which is already so good!) and help her read Mary Poppins, and also teach her how to make latkes.

I briskly made my way through the 3 subway transfers from HBC to where the temple was near Insadong, which is a very holy area in Seoul.  The temple we went to, the name which is slipping me, is the most famous Buddhist temple in Seoul.  Across from the temple is a Buddhist center and on the 5th floor there is a restaurant serving temple food, which essentially is delicious vegetarian food.  The Schaeff fam would enjoy this! I ended up arriving about 15 minutes late after getting slightly lost, but it wasn’t all my fault!  She apologized to me because she gave me incorrect directions after coming out of the subway station.  Nonetheless, we found each other, and I plopped off my backpack and sat against a wall because my whole back was sweating like a disgusting man.  I debated ducking into a bathroom somewhere to change to my top from the night before because I felt so gross and sweaty.  It went from thunder, lightning one day to scorching hot the next.  I did not pack appropriately! Whoa is me! I decided to suck it up and let my back dry through lunch lol. Sexy, I know.  From gross to delicious (pardon me), check out some of the delicious food we ate during our 10 course meal and my best effort at descriptions!

Our 10 course menu!

Potato and vegetable pancakes, salad in a very fresh and tasty dressing, vegetable dumplings, tofu, rice wrapped in lettuce with spicy sauce and my fave radish kimchi.

Cold taro root soup. Mom and Michael, I guess this is the root your fave taro frozen yogurt is made from!

Fried mushrooms and peppers in a super spicy sauce!

The most delicious rice.  Boiled in a lotus leaf and stuffed with dates, pine nuts and jujubes.

The rice with some tofu and seaweed soup.  Sort of like miso.  By this course I was stuffed!

Bibimbap fixins which I didn’t eat because I was already so full. Except for the kimchi, because I love it!

Dried root vegetable, orange and seaweed chips.  Lotus root, sweet potato and potato.

So yea, I ate a crapton last weekend.  The Koreans don’t mess around.  It was lovely though.  I’m glad to have all these cool new cuisine experiences. Last night Katie, Abby and I also had a ladies night in Hyewa with some soul-warming pho followed by a decadent dessert at Beard Papas.  They are Japanese massive cream puffs.  I first tried Beard Papas in LA because some of the Japanese dancers used to bring them in for us at bloc.  They can be filled with strawberry, chocolate, vanilla cream, etc.  The one I had last night was chocolate filled with what I think was green tea cream or custard.  It hit the spot, along with the nomtastic hot cocoa and a tiramisu type dessert Abby got.

Beard Papas!

Oozey goodness

My new fave pic and sweater.  Thanks Abneetika!

That concludes the food portion of this post! I am off to Busan for the weekend on Saturday.  There is a fireworks festival going on so a bunch of us are making the journey down south.  I am so excited to go to Busan, I’ve heard nothing but awesome things about the place.  It’s on the beach and on the side closest to Japan.  I’m sure there will be lots to report back next week.  And now I’m off to fetch me a Halloween costume.  Ciao ciao lovers! ❤


Drugs, Discos and Other Decadencies

Pardon my excessive delay and the length of this post. But I know for many of you this blog is the sunshine in your life, so I promise it is filled with lots of eye goodies. Do enjoy the recent happs!

I must admit the last couple weekends I’ve been pretty lame because I’ve felt like a pile of crapola. But, you will be happy to hear that I took myself to the doctor to get some drugs like a mature (pronounced like matour) a-dult.  Back at home I was pretty bad about taking care of myself, mostly because I didn’t have insurance for a while (UGH), lived crappy paycheck to crappy paycheck, and tried to refrain from the already incessant credit card usage.  Therefore,  I would just let the fake smoker’s cough grow and grow and I’d slowly die at my desk in my thick cloud of Mucinex.  Well, you will be pleased to know that I will be taking care of myself over yonder because 1. I’m terrified of getting sick here, especially when it starts to snow, and 2. it is SOO freakin cheap! This jew likey!

My co-teacher Leni took me to the “hospital” (as they call the doctor here) down the street from my work on Monday.  It’s a bit like Urgent Care back home where you can just walk in anywhere and they will see you.  All I have to do is show them my ARC (Alien card) and it covers as insurance.  So, we left work early at 4 because apparently if we got there after 4:30 we’d have to wait for 1 hour.  I walked in, they took my temperature right in the waiting room, which I thought was hilarious, then I sat down and waited 5 minutes to see the doc. I walk in, sit down and he just looks at me.  I was expecting to need translation and just use big hand gestures, but once I started speaking a little slow he was like “yes yes, elaborate” and I was so excited to see he spoke damn good English.  I told him the usual symptoms, I coughed to show him how gross it is, he squeezed my glands to prove they were swollen (which hurt) and then did a lot of talking in Korean to Leni who then relayed all the info to me. The doctor was super nice and asked me where I was from.  When I told him LA he got excited and asked “where in LA? My-uh parents lives-uh in Las-uh Virgeneees.” Well isn’t that a small world. I told him my family is from Agoura Hills and he was vaguely familiar with the suburb. That made me feel a wee bit more at home.  We then said goodbye and thanks, I paid the measly 3,000won (about $3) to see the doctor and then walked next door to get my drugs. For 7,000won (about $7ish), I got a bottle of Nasonex, and 3 days worth of a cocktail of pills (I have no clue what I’m taking). I literally lept to pay and sign and then told the pharmacists (who also spoke English!) that a bottle of that same nasal spray (or one similar) back at home cost me a whopping $150 fat ones! Screw you American medicine.  Given the cheapness factor, I’m also highly considering getting Lasik done while I’m here.  Total it’ll probs cost be a little over $1k for both eyes.  Nice-uhh.  This is how my drugs came prepared for me. Silly Asians and their silly ways.  And yes, that’s and outdated copy Elle of Justin and Mila in the background. Nom. Girl needs her eye candy.

Moving on to the things that I HAVE been doing despite my glorious sickness. A couple weekends ago was a long weekend here, I think it was for the independence or creation of Korea.  One of the two. What that meant for us teachers was long weekend!  I got Monday and Tuesday off (all my other friends only got Monday off), so it was very very nice.  This was the weekend I began feeling not too hott, so I stayed in that Friday and Saturday night like a responsible adult in hopes of getting better.  However, I did decide to go on a rigorous hike on Saturday with my lady loves.  I don’t really know what I was thinking given the fact that I’m not a big hike lover to begin with, but I never want to miss out on an exploration opportunity so I just suck it up and go because I know I’m gonna want to see that amazing view from the top.  So, I went with Katie, Abby, Steph and Liz to hike Dobongson mountain, which is actually fairly close to where I like in NorKo.  What started out as an almost vertical incline at the base (UGH) turned out to be more like rock climbing as we got deeper.  That was fun, though I’m such a freakin girl when it comes to getting my hands dirty.  I kept commenting on how every time I place my hand down I’m looking for the least dirty spot, and then I always dust my hands off immediately after hoisting myself up. I am actually really glad though that it was more rock and rope climbing because it’s way more fun, even though I’m way more scared of climbing up things than jumping off them.  Normal right? Anyways, we trekked thru but didn’t end up making it all the way to the top.  We met a sweet little Korean man who befriended us and told us we should probably consider making our way down because we still had a little ways to go and wouldn’t want to get stuck up there when it got darker.  So we made our way down the very tricky trail.  We insisted our new friend come to dinner with us, to which he found us a little bibimbap place, ordered 2 bibimbaps for the 5 of us girls and thought that would fill us up. No no little Korean man.  We are North American women who like to eat and didn’t pack lunches for our hike. He ordered us 3 more with the most shocked look on his face, and then sat and watched us eat.  He later told us he wanted a hamburger.  Go figure.  Here’s some pictorals of the beautiful hike, view of Seoul, and the gorgeous temple we saw along the way.

God I love long weekends. That Monday a bunch of us met up for a day in Olympic Park.  It was such a gorgeous day out.  Twas super chill and just nice to hang out with good peeps and drink the Makkali (sp?).  Makkali is this milky soju alcohol that is sort of fizzy and weird.  But it’s aight. My lovely recruiter Dia, who I LOVE came as well, so that fulfilled the Korean quotient.  Some friends played soccer with the cutest little Korean baby, some lounged and read like scholars, some listened to music and drank to happy times, and all gazed up at the phallic statue towards the sky. It was a lovely lovely day had by all.  Take a gander will ya.

Then Tuesday rolled around, and I had been planning to venture into Hyehwa to show myself around the artsy part of Seoul since I had the day off and I had been dying to go there.  The day turned into a full on walking tour with a British lad.  He lives 2 stops away from Hyehwa,  so we met at his exit and walked there.  There wasn’t much going on since it was during the day, but I got an idea of the area and decided I needed to come back at night.  We then walked further to Dongdaemun, which is what I would compare to the Fashion District in Downtown LA, but with a huge temple in the center.  We walked along the river (at quite the brisk pace because he walks too fast) where there was some religious group performing on the river stage (interesting), and then got caught in the huge textile building that we thought was going to be a mall.  Holy hell was it hot and clusterfuckish in there.  Moving on, we made our way back through Myeong-dong, which is hardcore for the shopper.  My feet were killing me but it was a pretty awesome day, and the company wasn’t too shabby either. Shockingly, I snoozed on the photo taking, but here’s a couple of the ones I took.

Random street in Hyehwa

Love this!

Dongdaemun Palace

I did end up going back to Hyehwa at night, which I will get to in a bit.  Before that though, I would like to say that I can check off going to a silent disco from my bucket list.  God bless you Hongdae Park and your random happenings.  This past Saturday night I was about to send myself home early after a long day of voice-overing (saving that for another post) because I was feeling like crap again.  But thank god I didn’t.  The silent disco cost 3,000won for the headphones and it was just a party in the park and freaks all over the place.  I think you can imagine what it was like, so here’s some pictorals.

Back to Hyehwa! I went back Tuesday night after my plans to go to a soccer game got changed.  I went back with that British lad  for dinner and then a jazz bar.  I must say, it has been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and just never did.  This one was called Jazz Story.  It was so cool and I’m glad it was my first. Twas delightful company, the ambiance was gorgeous inside (I kept thinking their interior decorator did a bomb job lol), and the band was divine.  It was an all Korean band but they sang pretty much all English songs from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s with a few Korean jams thrown in.  I think I really got off on the right foot when the first song they sang was the theme from “Grease” (aka my favorite movie ever). They also sang some Beatles, Stevie Wonder, and some Hotel California amongst others. LOVED. IT.  This is their sign which I just love.  It’s made from car headlights!

I know this was an intensive course in the past couple weeks, sorry, but I hope you enjoyed the visuals 🙂 Today and tomorrow my 5th and 6th graders are gone at some Halloween/Talent show camp so I’ve got my days wide open which is an awesome and welcomed break.  I got to Skype with Kayla and Mama, Papa and Brotha Schaeff and show them all my classroom too.  I will leave this post with 3 different images.  One that will leave a disgusting taste in your mouth (or eyeballs), and two that will make you giggle.  Enjoy until next time. Mwah!

Just some innards of a fish being sold on the street. nbd.

Drunk, passed out Korean man occupying a few too many seats on the subway, and oblivious business man.

This is what my parents look like when they Skype with me. Love you 🙂

Heart & Seoul Tower

In my last post I said the next post would feature a drawing by one of my students about eating dogmeat and how it’s SOOOO delicious.  Well, this is trumping that for the time being and I’ll show you that disturbing drawing in an upcoming post about how much I freakin love my students and teaching them English while slowly losing all my brain cells 🙂

The place that trumps dogmeat is Namsan Tower, also known as Seoul Tower.  On Friday night Katie and I slept over at Abby’s (again) in the HBC (Hae Bong Chung – AKA the super cool and hip foreigner dwelling area near Itaewon). She lives at the base of Seoul Tower, so hiking up to the top seemed like an awesome plan to kick our hangovers come Saturday morning.  Our lovely friend Steph came over to Abby’s where we all lounged for quite some time before making the journey to the top.  Here is a tale of the 3 really awesome things about Seoul Tower.

First is the gorgeous hike to the top.  For those who know me quite well, I’m not very agile on my footsies when it comes to hikes, or anything outdoorsy for that matter (eh hem Jtart lol), but this one wasn’t bad at all, as we did NOT go off-trailing 😉 Along the hike we got to see glimpses of Seoul below us.  I must say this city is so gorgeous when you get up and see it from above. Another silly thing about the Koreans is that they love their outdoor exercise machines.  We stopped at the little gym about half way up to test them out.  Unfortch no photos though (shocking, I know).  Next time.  I’m sure it will only be a brief time before I stumble upon another outdoor gym.

Second, and most awesome thing about Seoul Tower is that once you get to the top, you kind of get overwhelmed with love, as lametard as that sounds.  But, once you get up there, there are thousands upon thousands of love locks secured to trees shaped like Christmas trees, and all along the outer edges overlooking the city.  It’s a place where couples, and I’m sure friends, come to leave a lock as a token of their love for each other.  It really is so beautiful when you see it. It made me think about a lot of things.  My first love, all of my friends who I love so dearly back home, and of course hopefully coming back here with a new lover someday to leave a lock of my own.  But, for the time being, I was atop this gorgeous tower surrounded by so much love and conversation and 3 girls who I am very fortunate to have met and call my Seoul sistas (again with the lametardness, but shut up).

The third awesome thing about Seoul Tower is that it is the geographical center of Seoul.  So, of course, just like tourists (hello, still in tourist mode!), we all took our turn standing on the mound that is the center of the city.  Then we all attempted to hop on it together.  That was funny.

As if I wasn’t already in love with this city and my choice to move here, coming to Seoul Tower really made me even more happier about my decision.

And last but certainly not least, a post wouldn’t be complete without a creeper shot of an adorable Korean baby (or two….or three if you count the one above). I CAN’T HANDLE THE CUTENESS.

PPS: Though not from my day at Seoul Tower, this felt suiting given the theme of love.  For all my asian lovers in the states, this is just for you.  I learned this from the best ❤

PPPS: For those who aren’t in the know, I finally got an iPhone like a real human being.  Let me know if you didn’t get my digits and I shall send them to you so we can Kakao or WhatsApp again!


Weekend Jaunt to Muuido Island

I took my first mini-vacation this past weekend for the long Chuseok holiday, which is Korean Thanksgiving.  We have 5 days off so a bunch of pals and I ventured to Muuido Island, which is off the west coast of Incheon (on the China side).  Katie, Liz and I all slumber partied at Abby’s Friday night, and woke up at the crack to take turns showering and then make the long and epic journey to the island.  From Itaewon it took us about 2.5-3 hours, which was a bit absurd, but it was an awesome journey with my 3 new Seoul sistas 🙂

After about 50 subway transfers, 2 buses and a 4 minute ferry ride, we made it to the shore where we snagged a cozy little hut-for-four right on the water.  We immediately threw our backbacks (and pillows, and towels, and sweatshirts – eh hem Liz) down, made a quick change from our typhoon attire, which had us scorching hot, and ran off to meet the rest of the crew who made it much earlier than us.  We ate lots of sodium-filled spicy ramen noodles and mystery flavored chips, imbibed lots of 1,000won bottles of soju and Powerade, played some silly animal games and took lots of awesome photos.  It felt so great to be enjoying myself with such a fun and sweet ass group of new pallios on a little island in the far east.

The amazingness struck at sunset, when the tide drew back about a mile, exposing the softest mud (and some glow in the dark penis fish).  The 4 of us, with soju bottles in hand,  literally ran out like we were running to the edge of the world, and shared what I would like to say was the best, most happy moment of my life.  It was yet another one of those “I’m so happy I’m in Korea” moments.  Certain people and times popped into my head, and I realized that even while not present, they still have such an impact on where I am today, whether I like it or not.  And all I could be was happy.  Ch-ch-check out the videos below to see the most gorgeous sunset of life, and some ugly (what we think are) penis fish (and cute little Korean boys!)

I love taking photos, of course you all are aware of that since you love when I take awful photos of you (love you), but being in this place, this weekend, with the people I was with, just made me want to snap snap snap and do lots and lots of reflecting.  It was just so breaktakingly beautiful.

Hope you enjoy these little nuggets of beauty, because next post will be some bomb diggity drawings of me by some of my very creative students, and one of them involves eating dog meat.  Enjoy the beauts!

A Real Teacher! Jnet&Carmen! And the Aquarium!

I have completed more than half a week of officially being an English teacher…and it’s three things….fun, repetitive, and EXHAUSTING! I honestly always underestimated what it takes to be a teacher, because after teaching 5 regular classes and 1 after school class to 1st and 2nd graders, I was as pooped as they come, and my feet were throbbing from standing in slippers all day! This whole week has been about me introducing myself (over and over again) to each class of students.  I made a powerpoint with lots of pictures of me and my life back home, which the kids really seemed to love.  Their favorite is this picture of me eating a fried twinkie at the rodeo in Texas, but I just tell them it’s a hot dog, it’s easier to explain haha.

I also feel like a celebrity walking the halls which has pretty much been my dream since I could talk. You know this if you know me. Attention whore. Well, South Korea is giving me the attention I desire.  Little 5th grade boys yell out in class “I LOVE YOU TEACHER!” and stop in their tracks and stare at me.  I showed them a picture of sista too and she’s a mini celeb as well. “Teacher’s sister Ja-kwee is BEAUTIFUL!”  They don’t get how to say her name (Jacquie). They also now refer to my brother as Michael Jackson since his name is Michael 🙂

I must say these kids are damn cute, and their English names are so freakin hilarious.  On Monday I had 3rd graders who were named King Kong, Vanilla, Boss, Money, Albert Einstein and a little boy named Rainbow. I also had some other kids named Good, Nice, Percy Jackson and Obama. How creative these youngins are. I often find it hard to keep a straight face when calling on some of them (you know me!) I also received my first penpal letter from my student normal-named student, Olivia. If my memory serves me, she’s in one of my 4th grade classes.  Here is a letter she wrote me 🙂

As far as classes go, all of my classes are taught with one of my two co-teachers, Leni and Jin.  During my normal school hour classes we do a lot of stuff out of the book and CD-ROMs that go with them.  I’m assuming as I get more well-versed in teaching I’ll help get more creative with them.  I also have 3 after school classes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  Mondays and Tuesdays are 40 minutes each and with the baby 1st and 2nd graders who don’t speak a lick of English. I want to squeeze them and put them in my pocket. Instead of being a creep, I pat their backs and let them give me big hugs, and then I let the little girls pretend they are putting my earrings on as they press them again their cute little faces lol. I also started teaching them the ABCs. I was pretty nervous for these after school classes because they’re entirely open and up to me.  I started playing them songs, did some matching games and had them create name tags with their English names which was fun. With the 3rd and 4th graders, it’s an 80 minute class once a week.  I told them about my summer vacation and what I did, and then had them all write or draw me postcards of what they did.  They then had to get up and tell me about their trip.  I’m going to take some pictures of the really good ones tomorrow so I’ll post for you! I’ve got some budding artists on my hands! All in all, the first half of my first week has gone amazingly well which I’m so relieved about.  Maybe I am a good teacher after all 🙂

Aside from the work ish, Jnettybear and Carmennnn came to visit me in Seoul this past weekend! It was AMAZING and I’m so excited that some of my friends from home got to see my new life and meet my new friends and fall in love just like I have 🙂 I love when new friends meet old friends and begin a love affair. It was also so nice having them here because it gave me an excuse (other than living here) to go out and explore my neighborhood of Danggogae (Dontgogay), which I like to refer to as North Korea since I’m so far North in Seoul.  We met a precious little Korean woman who served us noodles (Jnet, picture please!) a couple doggies who we have fallen in love with, especially Mr. Kim Chi, and we dined out at a lovely establishment across from me called “Chicken The +”  with Cricket Mr. Name Awesome.  We also found some cute boutiques which could prove to be danger on the dance floor.  As far as the nightlife goes, we ended up staying out later than I have ever stayed out in a ridiculously long time because I’m old and get tired by 2am. We partied like we were Katie’s age (aka in college again. Love you).  We stayed out til 5am both Friday and Saturday night and I honestly can’t believe it.  They also had to book it by 7am on Sunday morning.  Apparently Jnet had a fun trip to the airport.

Sunday a group of us made like kiddies and went on a field trip to the COEX Aquarium which is south of the Han River.  It took about an hour for me to get there for NorKo. It was a really nice aquarium and some of the things really made me laugh. For example, they had some sort of rodent there running in a wheel as part of an exhibit, weird, and some of the fish tanks had Korean style temples in their tanks so we knew they were Korean fish, and the foreign fish from Holland got to swim thru windmills.  How thoughtful to make the fishies feel right at home.  The coolest part I thought was the shark tank, obviously. There was a moving sidewalk that went alongside and under the whole shark tank. Bomb diggity.  Check out some pictorals below!

Here is a photo of a cute Korean baby to meet my creep quota for the day.  Enjoy!