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.

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

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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!

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

A Less Than Peppy Pepero Day

This past Monday I had the pleasure of celebrating my 3rd Pepero Day since moving to Korea.

What is Pepero Day you ask? Well, it’s one of the handfuls of monthly lovey dovey holidays that Korea designates as a day to express your undying love to another. Pepero are essentially the Korean version of the Japanese Pocky, and are cookie sticks dipped in chocolate, or covered in almonds or strawberry and sprinkles. The day falls on November 11th each year, because when you put 4 Pepero sticks next to each other it looks like 1 1 1 1.

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Great marketing, Lotte!

Well, in honor of Pepero Day, virtually every mart decks out the front of their store as if Valentine’s Day threw up, and Koreans try to find the biggest and best display of Pepero to show their love to their friend who’s face they love to fondle beside me on the subway.

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As you can see, Pepero Day had me a bit bitter this year. Not because I don’t have someone to flower me in Pepero, I can, and do, do that for myself on the regular (my personal fave are those dipped in chocolate and almonds), thank you very much. But rather, because I realized I’ve truly surpassed the honeymoon phase with my students at school.

My first Pepero Day had my desk drenched in chocolate stick goodness and love letters, and last year there was still enough to give me a stomachache. But this year was a rude awakening. I got ONE measly box from my 5th grader Diana, and a bunch of “Teacha! Teacha! Give me da candy!!!” Hmph. My, how the tables have turned.

I imagine if I were to stay a 4th year I’d get absolutely nothing. Just a hunch.

And that there is the reason I will be leaving next August. Just kidding, that’s not the reason, but it is a valid one.

In any event, Happy (belated on the blog) Pepero Day!

Happy Rocky Horror Freak Show Halloween!

After quite a wonderful but oddly emotionally draining year dos, and with a third year full swing underway, I really felt the urge to throw myself into something fun and new and out of my comfort zone that was totally my own.  That was when I decided to get myself notified about theatery things around Seoul.  I figured I always used to want to act, and love being on stage, I might as well revisit that old love and see if something was still bubbling down there. Well, when I got over my high schooler nerves and threw myself into auditioning on a brilliant whim, it was quite possibly the best most exciting thing I could have ever done!

Before auditioning, I had only seen the movie once or twice, and forever ago, so I wasn’t too familiar with all the nuances aside from the obvious pop culture references that you’ve been living under a rock if you don’t know.  After securing my role as Magenta, I watched the movie about 20 times with the additional uncountable amount of listens to the movie on mp3 whilst riding the subway to and fro. I ate, slept, breathed, peed and any other bodily function you can think of, Rocky Horror for the past month leading up to the most fantastical Halloween weekend I’ve celebrated to date. I also never thought I could know any film so.damn.well.

After less than a month’s worth of weekend rehearsals, the 2 shows went down last weekend, October 25th and 26th at Bull & Barrel in Itaewon.  On Friday before the show began, everyone was done up, pumped up and whipped up with madd amounts of anxiety and before show jitters. Well, we all through those into a huddle and shouted “Antici……..PATION”, and on with the show we went!

Here we have my sexy balding brother, Riff Raff, head tranny and master, Frank N Furter, and eternal groupie, Columbia, alongside my frisky elbow-sexing alien maid, Magenta, just before show time.

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Most of the shadow cast hadn’t actually seen Rocky Horror live before, so it was an exciting and unique experience to all be performing it together. If you’re unaware, watching the movie with a shadow cast is a very interactive experience. The audience shouts out lewd comments in response to the movie script and throws things like toilet paper, toast and rice at particular parts of the show. After a few minutes on stage, it’s entirely impossible to not be high off the insane amount of audience interaction. At one point on Friday night, someone was yelling about Riff Raff’s hair looking like soft serve dick from Dairy Queen, and I about lost it!

Friday night was NUTS, Saturday night was like Friday pumped up on a lethal dose of steroids with my garter belt secured firmly in place.

I’m gonna toot my own horn and say that playing the “domestic” really got me in touch with my sexy side.  Not typically one to bare the cleave, all that noise flew out the window the second the final button came undone on my little black dress during the opening number.  It was pretty much breasts and sassy eye rolls on a platter for the rest of the show.

I opened the show with a very odd interpretive dance to Science Fiction, Double Feature with Angela who played Dr. Everett Scott, and Lauren who played Columbia. There was a lot of heavy petting and crawling on the floor, and in true Korean fashion, I even got ddong chimmed up the butt.

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Just after Janet and Brad get caught with a flat tire in a rain storm, and are met with a creepy greeting from ol’ Riff, here I am making my grand entrance with a “he’s lucky, you’re lucky, I’m lucky, WE’RE ALL LUCKY!!!”

With a swing of a leg over the bannister (and zero falls), the flailing maid has arrived.

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Which brings us to an old Halloween favorite….

If you’ve never seen Rocky Horror, you’ve at the very least seen or heard Time Warp.  Here’s a little snippet and a glance at what Saturday night’s full capacity looked like. It’s really fun to watch us along with the movie and see just how well we synced up!

Here we’ve got Frank molesting “her” breasts, as Rocky, the perfect male specimen, is brought to life in small metallic gold undies.  This scene also boasts my fashion mask debut and serious amounts of crazy face.

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With a “shanananana” and a blonde bimbo chase through the audience, we hopped our way through the making of a man in just 7 days.

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Stacie and I used to be a couple of awkward Disney sibling-esq peeping Toms in college. This time I got to be on stage and peep, but it was more like trying to keep face and refrain from my typical bursts of laughter. Especially when our male Janet got his legs thrown over his head.  I also have a very VERY sexy romp of elbow sex with my brother. As you can hear, the audience is really into this incest thing!

After the show, Columbia and I recreated our balcony scene from Toucha Toucha, looking nothing short of alien from Transexual, in the galaxy of Transylvania.

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Then everyone sat down to an awkward birthday dinner for Rocky, where Columbia had a tantrum, and Dr. Scott sang about Eddie, who everyone ate for dinner. Meanwhile, Riff and I enjoyed the tune and flirted behind our master’s back.

Kayla (Riff Raff) and I were on stage for the entire show, except for the final floor show where everyone pranced around in the almost nude.  When we came back, we came back with a vengeance and wreaked havoc on Frank N Furter and his perfect man.  Only to revel in taking that glorious step to the right once more, so we could all have elbow sex, and most importantly, do the Time Warp againnnnnnnnn!

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Rocky Horror is by far the best worst movie I’ve ever seen, but it is so damn bad it’s excellent, and partaking in the shadow cast was the most fun I have had my whole time living in Seoul!  I always heard that Rocky Horror shadow casts have some crazy love affair, and it’s so true. After Saturday night’s show, the entire cast bonded so quickly and fell so hard in love.  I’m so happy to have been a part of it, and met some awesome people along the way, even if it means I have Dammit Janet and Time Warp on a repeat loop in my head. My only wish is that this could be a regular thing, and not just a Halloween jam.

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I have always loved being on stage, so celebrating Halloween in this fashion really sealed the deal. It was the perfect way to celebrate my favorite holiday, crack out of my shell and kick off year three with a bang.  I definitely see myself auditioning for more shows this year!

To top it off, this fan club of lovers got to share in the madness with me, even if some of them would rather choke on some fishnets than watch the movie ever again. Hey, it’s not for everyone, but I still question your sense of humor and taste if you can’t find the glory in this treasure!

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I’ll be shivering with antici……pation, until I have a chance to do this again!

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).

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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.

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Puppy time in Newport with my MayMay in 2008.

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

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

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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!

 

 

 

I Came, I Fell, I Conquered

I know I’ve been a complete slack of a human being on the blog front as of late. I keep telling myself to post about the recent happs, but then life gets the best of me. In my defense, I’ve been a bit preoccupied with all the visitors I’ve had here in the KoKo.  I’ve been top of the pops lately if you hadn’t heard. In the past 2 months I’ve had 3 visitors to Korea: Jeff Davidson, one of my ATO homies from the good ‘ol SBeezy days, Josh “Gay” Rich, my old Santa Barbara neighbor and favorite non-homosexual gay person, and lastly, my long-awaited, MUCH anticipated visitor, Adam Allegro, photographer extraordinaire (http://catchthejiffy.com). It’s been awesome, and that brings my visitor count to 7 in the last 16 months.  Who’s next?!?!

To catch you up, because I’m sure Facebook doesn’t do that for you, I’ll show you some highlights from the past 3 months. It’s a bit of a time traveling experience, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.

The first highlight after Japan was Halloween.  Halloween is my favorite holiday, and last year it was a sour disappointment, despite my amazing costume.  However, the company I shared it with this year more than made up for last year. I got creative while exploring the world wide web and decided to go as a Roy Lichtenstein 1960s pop art lady (in case the uncultured folk out there are confused and just think I had really bad acne for the evening).

I kicked it with some saucy Japanese schoolgirls.

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Had my “damsel in distress” moment when I got rescued by Spiderman in a seedy alleyway in HBC.

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Then I went on to get down with Andre Agassi’s zombie circa 1990.

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A couple weeks later me and a bunch of Koreans decided to hit up a 1960s/Andy Warhol shindig.  Here’s me and Jee shmoozing with Mr. Warhol about being in one of his next films.

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Then we just got sexy with some spectacular wall art.

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Then I had an unexpected 5th visitor when Jeff popped over from Singapore for a few days on business.  Here’s us drinking somak (soju and beer combo) at Noryangjin fish market, over a plate of freshly killed sashimi and octopus.

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Shortly thereafter, I time traveled to a roller derby set in the 1980s. My closet and I love the 80s, and this was the perfect opportunity for me to cut up my newly purchased California Raisins sweatshirt into true Flash Dance style.  It also provided the perfect setting for me to showcase my wild agility and ability to stand on two feet.  My hands hurt for a good 3 weeks after this tumble.

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A couple weeks later Josh “Gay” Rich came for a week-long jaunt to the peninsula to learn what Gangnam Style is all about. I’m not sure if he discovered it or not?  He was my 3rd school visitor, and my kids thought he was very handsome and very TALL.  The girls were oogling at him and the boys were jumping to try and reach his head.  It was adorable.

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Then he met my 6th grade boyfriend, Jinho.  My little angel boy talked baseball with him and was so excited to meet him. I was like a proud mama.

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During Josh’s visit I also celebrated my 2nd Thanksgiving abroad.  Holidays are so weird in Korea.  They literally sneak up on you.  I swear I didn’t realize it was Thanksgiving til like 3 days before and we had to scramble for where we were doing our potluck because I was not settling for another bowl of Pho on Thanksgiving like last year.  Anyways, this is my beautiful Seoul fam plus Josh.  Every family has that one “special” member right?  Can you spot ours?

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This pretty much catches me up to present-day and my most current visitor.  Adam and I have been wanting to be on the same continent for a few years now, and the time finally came!  He just got out of the Navy stationed in Italy and has begun  his year of jet-setting across Asia to pursue his photography dream.  We started bonding over his beautiful photos a few years ago, so I’m thrilled to have him in my home-away-from-home to capture some stunning photographs of this peninsula that now holds a special place in my heart, despite all it’s oddities.  He’s been here since December 10th, and is here until January 4th popping all over Korea.

Aside from taking brilliant photos, I brought him to school with me as my show and tell special gift to my shithead 6th graders.  I felt they needed a little inspiration, and to many he was.  They were all impressed with his gigantic stature (6’4″), his ginger hair, a term I taught to my 3rd graders, and how his feet hung out over the back of his slippers.

Here he is with my best class of 6th graders.  They were amazing and had so much fun with him!

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He also handed out piggyback rides to my favorite 3rd grade babies.

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And met my 6th grade boyfriend again 🙂 Isn’t he just the cutest?

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He even arm wrestled my man co-teacher after my students dragged Mr. Jang over to the table.  Peep the video below to watch Adam kick his ass.

 

This week I also celebrated my 2nd Christmas abroad, but first in Seoul. I was actually feeling crappy all day, but was coaxed into going to my friend Keira’s for a potluck/housewarming party.  It ended up being really nice and quaint and I’m glad I went, because the holidays are already really depressing living over here that they shouldn’t be made any more by staying in bed by myself on Christmas day.  So, here’s another semi-family photo with some new Koreans that I met.  Once again, can you spot our “special” member?

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Last but certainly not least was the EPIC event that I partook in last weekend.  My friend Jeremy runs a non-profit organization (http://gosena.org/) where he raises money to pay for high school costs for a select group of students in the Namibian school that he used to work at during the Peace Corps. So a couple times a year he throws fundraisers where we spend an over-abundance on alcohol and have an amazing time and it goes to support little African kids.  Well, this holiday fundraiser was an In Living Color themed t-shirt tag party fully loaded with 90s dance battles.  However, the 3 other “crews,” if they can even call themselves that, didn’t even stand a chance against my craftily put together crew.  All hail to the 1st place champions: WORD TO YO MAMA’S HIGH WAISTED JEANS (or WTYMHWJ for short).  We featured a medley of jams sampling all the great hits from every NOW music CD you ever owned. We won the whopping prize of 100,00won which we generously donated back to the kids, and of course superstar status for the rest of the evening.

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If you want to relive the Macarena, Barbie Girl DDR style, the great Bboys, the amazingness of “The Carlton” or watch a tap dancer slam her ass so hard on the ground that she pulls her groin muscle, I beg you to please tickle your eyeballs with the video below.  I promise you it’s worth every second of the 4 minutes that it is.

 

I hope you enjoyed the speedy version of the past 3 months. I’ve felt like quite the sorority girl that I never was.

OH, and if you live under a rock, I’ll be gracing the United States of America January 12th~25th.  So, if you know what’s good for you you’ll accompany me as I eat myself a winter coat during the duration of my visit, and come celebrate my birthday the evening of January 19th.  SEE YOU SOON AMERICA!!!

The Big Guy’s Birthday By The Sea

Last, last weekend was the big guy’s birthday, and by big guy I mean Buddha, duh, I live in the far east now. What his birthday meant to us waygooks was a 3 day weekend and another opportunity to get the hell out of Seoul, so off to the beach we went! That group of us lookers above bought some bus tickets and went to Gangneung beach in the eastern province of Gangwon-do. This is supposed to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Korea, and it was wondrous!

I convinced my co-teacher/basically friend, Jin, to come and get out of the city with us and meet some fun waygooks.  I was so happy when she came in on Friday morning and told me she bought her bus ticket.  She was super nervous and scared that her brain would hurt after a weekend of only English, but was totes in for a bomb ass weekend.  I think this was probs the perfect group of people for her first truly foreigner filled hang sesh. And it was. She said it was her favorite weekend ever 🙂 Mission accomplished. Here she is playing a brutal game of Ring of Fire aka Kings.

We booked 2 nights stay at a very classy pension called Fantasia.  In case you were wondering, all of our fantasies were fulfilled here. A pension is basically a big empty room and they give you blankets, pillows and mats and you all snuggle together on the heated ondol floor (fun minus the heat permeating your body when it’s already a million degrees outside). They also provide you with a delicious array of  body sprays, lotions, toothbrushes and everything you will need to beautify yourself after a roll in the hay with your nearest and dearest. Err.

Here are two lovebirds getting our bedding dirty.

The rest of the weekend consisted of adult chicken fights:

Sumo wrestling, fully equipped with Gavina, our sexy ring girl:

Manly workout seshs in the sand:

An assload of sunbathing:

Strumming some ukulele tunes:

We also made (well, Jeewon the boy scout) a couple bonfires that went into the wee hours:

Watched our male friends try to desperately pick up chicks and fail miserably:

We even crashed a fancy Korean night club (where men and women specifically go to be set up with each other).  Needless to say, our rambunctiousness and stage hogging was well out of the ordinary for their nightly patrons.  Jeremy even gave them a beautiful ballet show. It was a treat to all the senses.

Overall, I’d say the weekend was a success, and by success I mean I was successful in breaking my first bone in 28 years. If it wasn’t for a frisbee game of Tips, Jeremy yelling “DIVE JEW!” and my baby pinky toe colliding on the dive with Jeewon’s ankle of steel, I wouldn’t be hobbling right now. All in a weekend’s fun I suppose. Here’s a picture of me in my cast after being forced into it.  It has since been ripped off against doctor’s orders, and toes taped instead of this overcompensating sweat machine. In 3 weeks time I will be good as new. I hope.

Laugh all you want. I look sexy.  Cheers to you, Buddha Babe!

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!

Thanksgiving Bluesy Blues

Thanksgiving was yesterday in Korea and today back home, and let me tell ya, I’ve got an eency weency case of the Thanksgiving blues. To fill the void of a Thanksgivingless year, I decided to teach about the very first feast between those freezing Pilgrims and the almighty Indians and that great big Mayflower ship.  With my afterschool kids, I taught them a very brief dumbed down history, told them that we eat turkey (many have never even eaten turkey before!) and that we also eat this amazingly delicious thing for dessert called pumpkin pie, or to one of my adorable 1st graders, “pumpkin cake.”  Oh they just keep melting my heart. Over and over….again.

I had to teach these classes for an extended amount of time on both days because of make up classes, so I had to fill my time with projects to minimize me having to entertain.  I found a really cute “Thankful 4” project online and spent much of my day on Friday and Monday (since classes got cancelled!) cutting out multi-colored number 4s, tying yarn thru a hole on each, and writing “I’m thankful” on them. I then had each student write and draw however many things they could think of that they are thankful “4” on their’s.  Most were thankful for the same things as me, you know, their family, friends, FOOD….with the addition of Angry Birds, computer games, and dog…but in a whole different way I’m sure for some. I also had the kiddies make those paper turkeys where they traced their hands for the feathers and then wrote what they are thankful for on the phalange feathers.  Peep the Thankful 4’s and my 3rd/4th graders Thankful Turkey tree.  Some nice little additions to my classroom if I might say so myself 🙂

In other news, a group of us have been trying to organize some sort of feast for this weekend, but that seems to have fallen thru, so we are trying to concoct a makeshift potluck for tomorrow.  We’ll see how that goes.  I hope it happens because seeing everyone’s pictures of turkeys from back home is making me sad!

In happier news, I was awoken by a text from my beloved MayMay wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving! Princess Priya also texted me stuffed and ready for a nap from her Texas Turkey Day. That started my day off right fo sho.  All of my classes except for one were cancelled today, so I got to Skype with the fam.  They were pretty stuffed from the Tofurky and whatever else they had, so they were pretty untalkative (shocker), with the exception of Papa Schaeff making sure I’m “not ashamed to go to the doctor as much as possible until that cough of your’s is gone” and Mama Schaeff telling me “you better buy a hat. Are you crazy for not wearing a hat? You’re going to get a head cold!” and “Do you want to buy a jacket from Victoria’s Secret online? They can probably ship it to you. You probably can’t find a jacket over there, can you?” Some things never change :). I was ready to walk out of the room or hang up Skype from 5,956 miles away. It was also beautious to see the precious lil pups who looked quite tryptophaned out for their own good. I of course took some Skype snapshots to document the lovely conversation.  My favorite is the standard downward dog shot of Mama Schaeff.  I don’t think a Skype sesh passes without a Yoga pose.

Cori and I also Skype planned the shit (kinda) out of our Thailand adventure today. Even though my mind was racing and I felt like an anxious piece of crapola, it made me really excited to have a little bit of home up in these parts.  So I can’t wait to see my sista from anotha mista. Twill be quite the adventure for us…if we can ever figure out a way to get away from the lady boys in Phuket to Ko Samui and then back from Ko Phangang on New Years to make a flight at the butt ass crack of dawn.  FMLxInfinity.

So yea, nothing too exciting, but I felt that my first Thanksgivingless Thanksgiving abroad ought to be documented.  Back I go to sippin this awful bottle of Makkoli and eating this piece of awkward tasting pumpkin candy that I purchased, and watching some Glee.

Gobble gobble and love to all ❤

 

 

 

Bouncing Off to Busan & Hallows Eve Hookering

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

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

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

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

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

Men being children for a day.

Dying from cuteness overload.

Korean businessmen just kickin it on the beach.

Sneak attack!

This is life…beautiful.

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

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

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

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

Black Swan hooker & Korean school girl lost at Woodstock

With Thing 2 & a Sailor Mooner

Rawr

Sandwiched between naughtiness

In a seedy alley-way in Itaewon. meOW.

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

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



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! ❤