I Finally Stood In North Korea

You could call me, in all my matourity, a DMZ veteran if you’d like, seeing as last weekend marked my 4th visit to that very very scary border to the North.


I went once on Mama’s Schaeff’s birthday when sista came to visit me on my first birthday in the Koko. I went twice for 2 leisurely bike rides along the barbed wire majesty, and even got interviewed for all of Korea to witness. But, this last time, this last time I’ll have you know, is the most legit it has ever gotten, and will ever be gotten, unless I ever actually go to visit the North, which is highly unlikely. But never say never. 5 is a good number.

I finally got to check off that fatty trip to the Joint Security Area / Panmunjeom from my Korean Bucket List, and stood two feet in the North next to a soldier guarding the door to the Hermit Kingdom.

I think many people are pretty out of the know when it comes to the two Koreas, so when they hear I live in Seoul and that it’s within an hour’s drive of the North, people are like WTF ARE YOU DOING, GET OUT OF THERE BEFORE YOU GET BOMBED. But it’s so not like that.  It’s so chill, and the North’s shenanigans are so far removed from anyone’s waking thoughts. 

I say this because I never get scared knowing that I’m so close to Kim Jong-un and his missles and $800 bottles of brandy.  But, last Saturday I could feel myself getting more and more tense as we reached the JSA. And honestly, it wasn’t because I thought anything would happen. But it’s just such an intense place, and the dress code was so strict, and the security just to get into the JSA required 2 busses, no pointing, no taking pictures of the building behind us, no walking behind soldiers and no touching of tables. There were so many rules and I really had to practice keeping my gestures to myself, because you know I like to gesture. I fucked up, as you’d imagine, but I’m still here so it’s all good.

The tour that we went on took us to 3 places at the DMZ. The first being Camp Bonifas, which, fun fact, is home of the world’s most dangerous golf course. One wrong move and your ball could land in a field of unexploded mines.  Camp Bonifas was named in honor of the Captain who, along with one other, was murdered by North Korean soldiers for cutting down a poplar tree, in what has since been deemed The Axe Murder Incident of 1976. Our tour guide could not stress this incident enough. Everything he spoke about, which I’m not sure his facts were all straight, always came back to this Axe Murder Incident.

First group shot at Camp Bonifas. Fun fact, the girl next to me refused to wear the skirt provided since her’s was too short.


Just beyond Camp Bonifas lies the JSA, which is comprised of blue buildings that straddle a thin cement slab separating the North from the South, and are maintained by the UN. The particular building where tourists are allowed to enter is where the military meetings necessary to uphold the Armistice Agreement are hashed out. I’ve heard it can get pretty wild in there when they get going, stomping on tables and ish.

By entering the building on the left, you can legally say you have been in North Korea, but a photo will have to act as your passport stamp. Just beyond the blue buildings is North Korea, and if you look close enough, just up to the left of the soldier’s shoulder you can see a North Korean soldier standing post.



Visitors from North Korea can also come to the JSA for a tour of the DMZ from the North, and apparently just the day before there were tons of North Koreans. We were told not to point or return any friendly waves or smiles if we encountered any North Koreans. Not because of anything malicious towards them, but because if we were to do so, they could take that as us believing that North Korea is great and use it to further brainwash their people. Pretty fascinating and I didn’t even think of that as an issue until told not to. Of course I pointed because my fingers have a mind of their own. Thankfully no North Koreans were in sight.

This soldier is standing directly on the border, and we found out the hard way that you are not supposed to walk behind him when Jenny accidentally did. Whoops.


You’re also not supposed to touch or put anything on the tables, which again, we fucked up on. Well, Veny did. Triple whoops.


No trip to a huge attraction would be complete without this guy, his big smile, and my “THIS GUY” face. We were also the last two out of the building. I’m seeing a trend since Dokdo. Token troublemakers.


They also took group shots of us, where girls had to bend down like sorority girls. I’m also pretty impressed with their turbo airbrushing skills.


Following in the haste of Dokdo, I almost forgot to get a picture of the room in its entirety, so here is the cockeyed shot I got as we were bolting out the door, last but not least.


On our way out of the JSA we stopped at the Bridge of No Return, which we were not allowed to get out and see, but just view from the bus.  As the Korean War drew to a close, prisoner exchanges were done here. They were given the choice to stay in the North or South, but if they crossed over from one to the other they were never allowed to return again.

We just take selfies here.


And our final, final stop was at Imjingak, where I’ve actually been on all my trips before this. Imjingak is home to the Freedom Bridge, which was used after usage of the Bridge of No Return was shut down following the Axe Murder Incident.  I didn’t get a photo of the bridge, but we did get this sick shot. That’s North Korean soju that I’m downing on ‘G” for Garry.


Last fun fact for you. While military service is mandatory for men in both the North and South, service in the South is just around 2 years depending on your branch, whereas 10 years of active duty is required in the North.

If you’re looking to catch a tour of the most heavily militarized border in the world, the tour group that we went through was called Tour DMZ. We originally wanted to do the USO tour group that sista and I went through when she was here, but that is sold out for months, so we got the next best thing. For a half day tour to only the JSA the cost is 85,000won. There is also a DMZ and 3rd Infiltration tunnel tour, and another combining the two tours. 

I’ll leave you with a pointer for the wise. If you are hurtin’ to purchase some North Korean liquor at the gift shop at Camp Bonifas, I’d probably advise against it, unless you want to burn yourself from the inside out.  Spend the cash monies on some North Korean wons instead.  Now you tell me! Have you been to the DMZ / JSA or even North Korea? What did you think? Were there any differences between this tour and your’s? 


Seoul Dance Project: Dream.Flashmob.Success!!

When I first got to Korea I signed up to receive Meetups about dance classes and such around Seoul, but until about 2.5 months ago nothing ever quite tickled my fancy, aside from a Tango class that Joshua and I were supposed to go to until monsoon season interfered with his umbrella and our general morale, and we called that a no-go.

I had been feeling in a little bit of a funk and needed a way out of it, and then I got the Meetup event for Jazz classes with the possibility of participating in a flashmob. HELLO SWEET BABY MOSES count me in! The class ran for 6 weeks, every Saturday for 3 hours at a dance studio near Hansung University.  Twas perfect and super close to me! Nothing is EVER close to me!

The class was taught by a really sweet lady named Cheryl Obal, who has lived in many different countries, including Italy and India, and everywhere she goes she spreads her love of dance through dance classes.  Turns out she teaches charity classes every Saturday in Gangnam as well, with all proceeds going to the volunteer group Justice for North Korea to rescue North Korean refugees. She put those on hold for these weeks, as this particular class was for Seoul Dance Project, which is an effort by the city of Seoul to spread happiness to the people of the city through dance. Several classes are held around the city, and this was the only one specific to foreigners or Koreans who like to speak English. The class had people from America, Malaysia, Korea, and Uzbekistan to name a few, and was open to all levels, as long as you wanted to dance dance dance!

During the 6 weeks we learned two dances: 1 “Theme Dance” which is specific to the Seoul Dance Project, as it is the number to be performed with alllllll the other groups around Seoul in several giant flashmobs, and “Raise Your Glass” choreographed by Cheryl to be performed whenever and wherever there is an event to perform it.

Since Cheryl volunteers with Justice for North Korea, we performed at one of their awareness street campaigns on July 27th in an effort to draw attention to their cause.  Fun facts: July 27th also happened to be the 60th Anniversary of the Armistice Agreement signed by North and South Korea after the Korean War, AND National Dance Day in America! To top it off, Cheryl also donated the money she raised from her classes, totaling around $1,200.00, which is enough to rescue 1 North Korean refugee. Amazing I say!

We performed “Raise Your Glass” twice in Insadong, and I must say, it felt damn good to perform again! I also had the biggest cheer squad in my corner which pumped me up even more!  Jee, Josh, Katie, Matt, Tim, Veny, Andria and Steven all came to watch me NOT FALL, therefore Jee owes me 500won, and Joshy and Jee got pulled up to boogey down with me at the end.  Teehee suckas!

You can see in this video that I messed up a couple times, which pissed me off considering I nailed it in class, BUT, nonetheless it was soooo much fun and felt so awesome to get out and dance again (without falling…..).  I even accomplished my cherry-on-top wish of scaring Koreans with public dancing by ripping a girl’s hand right out of her boyfriend’s and forcing her to dance with me. She frightfully came, nervous laughed and then ran away. Ch-ch-check it OUT!

I will definitely be frequenting Cheryl’s donation classes going forward! Dancing and raising money for a wonderful cause is the perfect combo of feel good 🙂

Running For Ramen……..Sike

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

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

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


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

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

April04, 2013

A Security Message for U.S. Citizens

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

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

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

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






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

Sending lots of kimchi kisses to everyone :*

I’m a Celebrity

Well, not really.  But kinda.  Somehow I was nominated to be the waygook spokesperson and was interviewed (and air kissed on camera) last weekend when I went on that DMZ bike tour with Seoulites.

No one will be able to read this article, but scroll down to watch my debut Korean television appearance around the 30 second mark, and scroll even further to see the sexy group of folks I rode with.

The caption under the photo of all of us reads like this, according to Google Translate: “Fighting foreigners who participated in the DMZ bike tour is taking pictures and shouting.”  That’s exactly what we were doing.

My 2nd Journey To The DMZ

Yesterday I went on a bike tour of the DMZ, aka the most heavily militarized border in the whole wide world. I’ve lived in Korea for a total of 7 months so far, and already have been to the border twice in the past 2 months. What’s wrong with me? Anyways, this was far different from the actual tour I went on with sista a couple months back.

This time about 16 of us made the 1.5ish hour trek to the border.  Upon arrival we saw what I would definitely deem the happiest place on Earth.  I think it might even give Disneyland a run for its money. That would be the amusement park just grazing the border between North and South Korea. Weird.  There were like 2 people there.

Instead of paying $50 for the tour sista and I took, or $100 for the Panmunjom tour which grants you access into the Joint Security Area (where the North & South meet for discussions of sorts.  This is the only place where you get the chance to step into North Korea), we paid 10,000 won (~$9) to rent a mountain bike with tracker, helmet and a neon green tank top so we wouldn’t get lost or wander into a land mine and go bye bye. As you can see, I dressed appropriately for a strenuous bike ride. Anything in the name of fashion.

Apparently this bike tour happens once a month.  My Korean friends Keira and Jeewon organized it for a group of us to go, which was an awesome get-out-of-Seoul day. Though I must say, it was awfully strange to look to your left and see barbed wire lining the pot-holed road and having suited up soldiers directing you and watching your every move. Bizarre, but cool (?) way to see the border.  The ride really got my juices flowing and I worked up quite a sweat.  My ass is also killing me today.  Since Obama was also walking on the same land as us, we couldn’t bike on a bridge that’s normally part of the tour.  However, we were breathing the same air and looking at the same lack of scenery as Barack.  Kinda cool.

Here are some more highlights:

Spring water, straight from the border. I am a fan of the barbed wire detailing.

Ze group of waygooks and our token Koreans who organized it ^^

Stretching as a group with 300 Koreans and our bikes. Shake out your hands.

Let me know when you receive this Schaeffs!

Most of us were zonked on the return.

All in all, yesterday was awesome.  Twas a great group of people and a fun new thing to add to the list of Korean happs so far! And, I’m back in 1 piece with a new backpack that we received as a souvenir. Schaeffs, you better frame that postcard when it gets to the house as a souvenir from North Korea.

Bucket Lists, Birthdays, Butchered Octopi & A Bomb Ass Visitor


When deciding to move to another country, especially one so different from your own, you obviously put together a list of things you have to do when you’re there.  I made a Korean Bucket List during my whole research and application process,which has continued to grow since getting here, and in the past month I can say I’ve successfully checked off 3 big things. Therefore, this will be a somewhat video-heavy post topped off with my old lady laugh in most.  Hope ya don’t mind-uh.

1. Eat octopus.

  • This first time I ate it in a fishy soup with co-workers. I watched it go from breathing to boiling to death in a scalding hot pot, then cut up with scizzors on my table. Sad but whoa, Koreans don’t mess around.


2. Eat octopus…again.  This time purchase a living, breathing octopus and then eat it while still alive.

  • I spent a lovely and smelly afternoon at the Noryangjin Fish Market with Steph, Abby and Nick, Steph’s boyfriend. We walked through a massive fish warehouse while we mustered up the guts to finally choose a baby octopus, go to one of the little inside restaurants with our bag of octopus, then have them cut it up and serve it to us.  I don’t think this video or my words could actually express how nervous I was to do this.  It actually didn’t taste like anything and I didn’t even really feel the tentacles stick to my throat or mouth like the others, probs because I doused it in sauce then threw it back.  So sick, but I’d do it again for the novelty 🙂


3. Go to the DMZ.  AKA the De Militarized Zone AKA the most heavily guarded border in the world.

  • I have been wanting to go to the DMZ since before I arrived, because honestly, who can say they have been to one of the most intense borders in the world?  Not many. Well, the perfect opportunity presented itself when Sista decided to put her impulse buying to the test and booked a flight out to see me for my birthday!  Me, Sista and my friend Casey ended up going on Sunday, which also happened to be Mama Schaeff’s birthday, so we decided to keep our plans to ourselves until we were back in the South in one piece.
  • There are 2 different DMZ tours that you can take, the one we went on that takes you to the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel (the 3rd of 4 discovered tunnels dug by the N. Koreans after the war, discovered by S. Korea), the Freedom Bridge (when the war was over, this bridge connected the North and South and allowed those to come to the South), the Dorasan Observatory (where you can look thru binoculars into the desolation of North Korea), and Dorasan Station (the station that will ultimately be the link between the North and the South, whenever, if ever, they unite one day).
  • The 2nd tour is the Panmunjeom, which is the most Northern location within the South Korean border.  Here civilians can go to the Joint Security Area (JSA) and see the North and South Korean soldiers guarding their territories together.  I must do this at some point!!

De Militarized Zone. There’s barbed wire with a flower on the “M”

The ribbons behind us have notes on them that many families have written to family they still have in the North, and hopes for a unified peninsula one day.

On the Freedom Bridge, where people escaped the North to the South after the war.

Just trekked it down and thru the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel.  Got our exercise in for the day!

It’s forbidden to take pictures past this yellow line.

Us with a backdrop of North Korean mountains.

South Korean soldier at Dorasan Station.

Creepy propaganda.

In addition to quickly checking things off my list, I celebrated my first Korean birthday.  And as if turning 28 wasn’t enough, I’m technically 29 according to Korea. Blah.  The way that works is that when you are born in Korea you are considered 1 yrs old, and then on the 1st of the year everyone gets another year older, then another year older on your actual birthday.  So I turned 28 on the 1st and then 29 on the 20th. Bahumbug.

ANYWAYS, digging myself out of that sad old hole, JACQUIE came to visit me for my birthday!  I don’t think anyone has ever done anything that nice for me before!  I made the 2 hour trek from the Dontgogay to pick her up at the airport last Wednesday (and another 2 hour journey back!) and she came to my last 2 days of camp with me on Thursday and Friday.  She of course fell in love with how cute the kids are, especially one little peach named Lisa, who gave us both matching gold rings on my birthday 🙂

One of my other most adorable 5th graders, Jena, gave me a notebook with glasses on it, a white board pen (because mine are always running out of ink) and some candy.  Adorbz and so thoughtful.  I love her.

When camp was over all the little girls wanted pictures with me and Jacq, so it was the perfect completion of Hollywood week.  Nothin like getting caught in the middle of a paparazzi storm, especially with little Koreans pumpkins.  Trust me, I’ve been involved in a paparazzi storm or 2.

My birthday was absolutely lovely, despite being a little sad that I wasn’t spending the standard January birthday-sharing with my MayMay lover, and of course all my friends back home.  It was definitely amazing having Sista here to fill the missing-home void.  That night a bunch of us went to a wine buffet at the Artnouveau Hotel in Yeoksam, which I must say, was quite the classy venue.  I’ve been invited to it a couple times in the past and always flaked, so when I wanted something out of the ordinary to do this year it seemed like the perfect idea…and it twas!


California Girls…we’re unforgettable 🙂

I’m convinced that Texans are the best people everz ❤ Benji Boo Boo Bear


Well, after who knows how many bottles of vino and how many pieces of delicious sashimi, the night took a turn for the trashy as we headed to the not-so-classy Monkey Beach in Apgujong (like the Beverly Hills of Seoul).  Since it was my birthday, I got a free bottle of tequila.  Eeep! Soon enough tequila shots, buckets of booze and Abby’s ass were flying all over the place.


All in all, twas a wondrous birthday!  The rest of the weekend I took Jacq all over Seoul.  We were literally out all day everyday and we were exhausted and freezing!!!  Even though it was so tiring, it was nice to play tourist again and revisit some of the spots that I went to right when I first arrived.  One of my fave places in Seoul is Namsan (or Seoul) Tower, which we hiked with Abby.  It wasn’t so cold walking up, but once we got to the top we reached a level of cold that I have never felt before (except for the night in Insadong with Jacq!) Our fingertips felt like they were gonna fall off it was so cold, so we ate pancakes, took pictures with the love lock trees and even locked a lock of our own up there reallllly quickly!

It’s hard to believe that my 5 month anniversary just passed, that I’m off to Vietnam and Cambodia in 3 weeks and that my freakin sista was just here!!! Time freakin flies when you’re having an amazing (sorry for the cheesy) time! Now, I will leave you with this fantastic video of quite possibly the best, most enthusiastic teeny bopper of a cab driver ever.  Sorry it’s dark and don’t hate on my loud old lady laugh, I warned you.  Enjoy!  Now I sleep.

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!

3 Month Anniversary and the Firsts Just Keep Comin!

It’s November 17th, 2011 which means I have been living in freakin Seoul for exactly 3 months today.  I remember that day quite vividly.  On the 16th I was a damn waterworks show while saying bye to the Schaeffs at LAX, and all that I could think was “WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING?!” In the end, I grew a pair and whimpered my way through the security line like a little bitch. Here are the last known (and sexiest) photos of Rudolph and the fam before peacing out.

The sexiest photo of me on the planet.

I landed at around 6:30pm in Seoul, and as soon as I walked off the plane and into the airport I was SHVITZING…and I hadn’t even stepped outside Incheon Airport yet. My plane buddy named Kevin (wow, I remembered that) was a skinny little Korean boy who helped me hoist my life-of-luggage onto my cart and we were on our way to exchange some dolla dolla bills for some wonios.  I then meandered around the airport by myself for a bit trying to get oriented and figure out where the hell I was supposed to go to meet the EPIK/Korvia peeps.  I found them after walking in a few circles.  My internal compass needs some work, clearly. I met my plane buddy Casey in the flesh and met Henry Oh from Korvia who gave me my cell phone.  I also thought my eyes were playing tricks on me when I thought “WOW. He’s cute.”  Casey and I ended up talking talking talking and missed the memo to get on our bus to head to Kyung Hee University, AKA our orientation site. We got briskly shuffled out to the bus and I plopped on down next to little Miss Veny.  Who I l.o.v.e. LOVE. The rest is 3 months of history.

Fast forward to now, 3 months in, and yesterday I took my first sick day.  I never fully kicked my last round of sickness so I was bound to get sick again. I signed up for my first Yoga membership in Seoul after school on Tuesday with my co-teachers.  For 12 classes/month it’s only 80,000won, which averages out to about $6/class!! What a steal!  Tuesday’s class ended up being Pilates and it felt so good.  It was really funny though because I was wearing the least amount of clothing, but I was dressed how we dress for Yoga in the states.  Yoga pants, sports bra and tank top.  I felt a wee bit out of place when everyone was in baggy pants over their tights, longer sleeved shirts and no cleavage whatsoever.  Oh well!  I have the gift of sweat and could not do that!  Not to mention, the teacher paid extra attention to me.  I think this is because I was the lone big-bootied Waygook standing out in a sea of skinny Koreans in the class.  Needless to say, I felt amazing after, but as soon as I got home I started feeling shitty. I ended up going to bed super early (for me) that night, around 10:45pm, and when I awoke in a congested haze I was not about to get my ass out of bed and stand all day. I always take myself down that road and therefore I never get better.  So I stayed home and slept literally all day, and caught up on some guilty pleasure television between naps.  I also received my beautiful purple warm comforter, which coupled with the warmness of my Ondol (heating in my apartment that heats the floors!) made for an even better day of slumber.

I am officially the only Waygook who belongs to Lime Yoga!

Another first happened last week.  I shlepped my ass down to Hongdae on Wednesday for my first tap class in Seoul.  Well, that class was a rude and brutal awakening to my complete and utter rustiness.  I SUCKED ASS.  There were 4 of us in the class plus the teacher.  My friend Woo Sik, who is the guy I originally met, was in the class, his brother and then one other guy. I can’t stress how awful I was.  First, I haven’t tapped in probably 3 years or so, and even then it was like once a week since I began working, and second, they are legit Rhythm tappers which is a grittier style of tap than I am used to.  The class was fun, but I was super frustrated and nervous, and my feet and head were NOT working together.  On top of that, I was stressed about planning for my first Winter camp.  I told the guys I would definitely like to continue classes and they thought it would be best to take them on Weds and Fri (which I was kind of bitter about committing to on a Friday). I told them I would, but then last night decided since I’m gonna be traveling it’s probably not the best idea to buy a whole month’s package (100,000won/8 lessons) when I will probably be missing a bunch of classes coming up.  So, that’s out, but perhaps I’ll go take one off classes here and there when I feel like being made a fool of 🙂

On Tuesday was yet another first, and this was quite an interesting one.  You know how at home we have fire drills to practice what to do if there’s a fire?  Well, I found out in Monday’s meeting that in S. Korea they have War drills for if N. Korea and S. Korea ever go to war.  Yep.  Sorry mom.  So yea, during my Tuesday after school class with my 1st and 2nd graders we had the drill.  The principal said we didn’t need to go out of the classroom, but to just stay in the room and keep quiet.  Everyone else had to go downstairs and underground.  I’ve heard that not all schools have underground areas, but they go out on the field.  How that would protect you, I don’t know, but my school has an underground.  So, if anything happens I will be saved :). During this drill there was a radio announcement that was broadcast for 20 minutes in Korean, from 2:-2:20pm.  It really felt like we were back in WWII or something.  It wasn’t scary or anything, but just the foreign language and the way it sounded over the broadcast sounded very old fashioned.  While the broadcast was going I gave the kids a worksheet to do, then when they finished they just went and read in the playroom to keep quiet.  That gave Leni and I a chance to go over necessities for Winter camp.  So yea, Bomb Drills.  New and different thing to add to the ever-growing list!

Next week is Thanksgiving!  This will be my first Thanksgiving away from home and it’s so weird! A group of us are planning a feast for this weekend so I can’t wait to eat lots of nomz!  I’m also going to be teaching about Thanksgiving in my after school classes next week, so that is the perfect excuse to have kids make paper turkeys and bring in pumpkin pie for us all to eat. NOM NOM NOM.

In other FIRSTs news, I have officially booked my first flight out of the country for just before Christmas to New Years!  After much harassing from my favorite morning wake up call, Cori and I are almost set to go.  We’ve got our RT flights and hotel in Bangkok, just need to book the domestic flights, and we have an itinerary planned.  I am SO excited!  It’s gonna be so much fun.  It’ll also be nice to get out of the snow that will be covering Seoul.  Bret is also planning to come visit me end of January for my birthday, so I’m just waiting to see if he got the dates approved.  Then hopefully we can start planning!

That’s about it for now.  Sorry for no new pictures, but here’s a cute lil one of one of my munchkins and some creeptastic mannequins.  Enjoy!

Precious lil Gabriel

Creepiest mannequins of life. Why would anyone want to buy pj’s from this store?