WTF?! Wednesday ~ Patbingsoo With A Panda

HI guys! It’s Wednesday today so that means I get to share something weird, wacky, silly, horribly written or just plain ridiculous with you, per the usual here in the Koko.  Anything that makes me utter a WTF?!

It’s spring now, which means that the weather in Korea is becoming muggy and completely and utterly clammy.  Basically, I’m one uncomfortable human being 95% of the time.  Between my school keeping the AC under lock and key because “WE MUST SAVE ENERGY”, and the subway and bus Gods taking the liberty to turn the AC on and off whenever they feel like suffocating us in a confined space, my skin is constantly sticky and in desperate need of a bath.

However, one of the splendiferous perks of spring and summertime in Korea is the patbingsoo. This my friends is heaven in a bowl.  It’s made of shaved ice, condensed milk, mixed fruits, ice cream, sometimes red bean which I prefer it without, and any other assortment of cereals or nuts.  It is usually served in a big bowl so you can share with a few people and cool yourself down from the inside.

Two Thursdays ago was Memorial Day in Korea, which meant we had the day off of school.  My friend Veny and I went down to the Han River and got our couple on by sharing a tandem bike ride along the river. After we biked around for an hour, we wandered for something sweet.  We ended up choosing a cafe that wasn’t too packed except for this little Panda man sitting outside at his own table havin’ a cuppa joe.  Strange yet inviting we thought.

We were really confused at first because we didn’t know if it was someone’s table and they just brought their cute lil friend along for a treat.  We finally figured it wasn’t being occupied, and pulled up a couple chairs to sit with the Panda and his joe while we enjoyed our delicious patbingsoo. I do LOVE Pandas afterall.

If we were going to join Panda, we might as well include him.  Here he is trying a taste of our treat.

Patbingsoo panda

Planet Moron Round 2

Remember this guy?

Well, it appears that I have been served up a second serving of him, and it tastes just as foul as I remember.  My school  A) doesn’t care about the English its students are learning and B) travels to planet Moron to retrieve specimens of idiot to throw into a classroom with me and see how well I can tolerate their just.standing.there.doing.nothing.  I AM NOT HAPPY. Especially when I had finally been graced with a young, lovely, SMART, new co-teacher who had a strong enough grasp of the English language and a spectacular eagerness to learn more. Hong-Eon was my new little dream boat and she was snatched away before I could even say “Thank you”.  Good thing I didn’t get a chance to.

A homeroom teacher in the 3rd grade had to go and get pregnant (the nerve!!!….totally jk) and the school decided that since Hong-Eon is young and new she could be moved easily, so that’s what they did.  The Vice Principal actually asked her if she knew anyone looking for a job and could fill in for a month and a half, regardless of their ability to speak English, just so they could finish out the semester, and a new English co-teacher would be hired at the new semester in September.  She and I were both severely annoyed by that.  The school ended up posting the job opening somewhere, and that’s where they got this guy.  Thankfully he’s only here for a month and a half, but still.

When I met him, my principal actually told me (thru Jin), to learn Korean so that I can help him out since his English is really poor.  Excuse me, but I am here to teach English to the students, not do my job AND his job for him.  During the upcoming year I’ll probably finally get my ass into gear and  take some Korean classes, but I’m definitely not going to say anything to the school, especially after they said this.  I was so irritated by that comment.  What nerve! Hire someone who is qualified for the job they are applying to work, not just to have a body fill a space.

I know I have come into this situation with preconceived notions about the whole arrangement, but so far it’s shaping up just as it did last year with Mr. Jang…  Me leading all of my 3rd and 6th grade classes with a man who literally stands in front of the classroom leaning against the white board not paying attention to the lesson or the kids in the class.  Not picking up on cues to their lack of understanding and need of translation.  Him not disciplining them at all, even while he’s standing directly in front of them and they have not responded to my scolding in English. And me jumping around like a monkey between touchscreen and handing out points because he doesn’t help out AT ALL, even after I’ve asked him to multiple times. Worthless!!!

I have also picked up on some of his mannerisms at lunch, and I just think he hates kids. He makes weird faces whenever they’re messing around and doing things kids do with each other, and it annoys me. Maybe that’s just one of my weird neuroses, but it does.

I’m trying to breathe and bare with the fact that I only have about a month-ish left with him.  I’m just crossing my heart and hope to die that my school pulls through and hires someone like Hong-Eon or Jin for the coming semester.  It makes a world of difference teaching with someone you have a rapport with, and someone who even if they can’t speak perfect English, they are willing and eager to learn from you and work together. 

PRETTY PLEASE WITH A CHERRY ON TOP!

WTF?! Wednesday

Hi guys!! Quick lil thang first off! I’ve decided to make an ever-so-slight change to my Wednesday weekly posting and will now be calling it WTF?! Wednesday.

Since Korea is a dream boat for all things weird and WTF, this will give me free reign to show you all the great Engrish fails PLUS all the other amazingly ridiculous things this country has come up with.  It’s absolutely fascinating.

SO, for today’s WTF?! Wednesday, I’m treating you to one of my personal faves.  This photo just goes to show that anything goes and zero f*cks (or many, according to this young lady’s head piece) are given over here in the name of fashion.  In this girl’s case I wouldn’t really qualify a bucket hat as fashionable, but that’s neither here nor there.

I was sitting across from this girl on the subway, and when I looked up from my phone I had to do a double take and reread because I thought my eyes were fooling me. They weren’t, and BOY what a statement she chose to make!

The hat really is a masterpiece.

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Your eyes are not deceiving you.  It does in fact say “FUCK IT” around the entire bucket and rim.

Perhaps her boyfriend broke up with her the day she made the purchase? Or she just liked the style? Or she’s never listened to rap music? Or foreign movies? I’m at a loss.

Whatever the reason, she gave zero fucks that day and it definitely made my day!

Paws For A Cause

I think most people who call themselves animal people have probably been animal people for the majority of their lives.  They probably grew up with a dog or a cat and that was how that came to be.  Well, I was pretty much scarred of at least household pets from the get-go.  I can pin point the exact moment I became scared of dogs and how it stuck with me for most of my life.

I was in 2nd or 3rd grade, over at Kyla Reef’s neighbor’s house, who happened to have a dalmatian.  Having just seen 101 Dalmatians, I was SO excited to see one of those adorable little pooches with my own two eyeballs and pet with my own fingertips.  Well, that sentiment lasted for oh, a whole nanosecond, when that massive black and white spotted, hyperactive dog came charging directly toward me and chased me through this complete stranger’s house!  I just remember screaming and crying and hiding behind a couch and under a wooden hallway table because I didn’t know what to do and I was so insanely freaked out.

Cue hatred of dalmatians and kind of being scared of dogs for most of my life….

Until Jacquie got these beautiful little babes that stole my heart forever and officially made me a dog person for the remainder of my life.

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Which brings me to the point of my tale today.  Last night I had so much fun, and helped raise $806.00 in a few hours for some foster animals in Korea! As most things go here on the peninsula, soju sells.  And when paired with a good cause, it really outdoes itself!

My friend Andria and two other girls, Kathy and Caroline, had the idea to have a fundraiser selling shots of Korean melon, aloe and jalapeno infused soju to drunk foreigners.  So, we took to the street at Haebangchon’s Music Fest, filled with an overabundance of the intoxicated waygookin willing to support the cause, minus the select cheap douche bags that I had a few choice words with.  My mouth can be intolerant and sometimes gets the best of me.  Can’t help it.  Needless to say, it was a tremendous success, and me, Andria and Jee want to do another go at it since we had such a fun time and felt awesome doing something to help the animals!

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Andria is super involved in Animal Rescue Korea, and is currently fostering a 3 legged terrier named Lola that has lived most of her life on the street.  She’s been taking care of her for the past several months ~ paying her countless medical bills and just being all around patient with her as she tries to adjust to her new life in a home where she’s being cared for.  When Andria leaves Korea in September, she is bringing Lola back to the States in hopes of finding her a loving home so she has a chance at a fresh start.  So, a good chunk of the cash monies that we raised last night will go towards paying for her airplane ticket to America and other miscellaneous expenses towards getting her back on those 3 footsies of her’s.

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Coming from a country where pets are unquestionably a part of the family, it’s really heartbreaking to see the amount of stray cats and dogs that run around aimlessly here in Korea.  Koreans have a mentality where unless something is cute or perfect or young they don’t want it.  That doesn’t leave much to run with for a dog with only three legs.  So more often than not, when a pet has outgrown its “cute” stage, it’s just discarded.  Additionally, as I just found out last night, the city shelters kill after 10 days.  So, if your pet goes missing and a shelter has it, you only have 10 days to hopefully find and rescue it.

I really would love to help foster a dog, or have any dog for that matter!  I want one so badly!  However,  I know what a humungous responsibility taking care of a dog is, and I just don’t think I can devote myself entirely to one right now at this point in my life. As much as I would LOVE to. I actually met Lola for the first time yesterday, and she sat under the table in the corner the entire time shaking because she was so scared.  I know that’s not how all rescue dogs are, but on the off chance, I just don’t know if that’s how I want my first “my own dog” experience to be right now.

In any event, I’m glad I can at least help out in the little way I am able.  It’s really inspiring to know that there are people out there who care so much about animals that they will bend over backwards for these little babes.

 

 

Lucky Number 3?

Remember this post?  Well, scratch that.

Here’s a sentence I never envisioned myself uttering during those tear-fest drives to LAX on August 16, 2011 and January 25, 2013: “Year 3 in Korea is happening.”

Yep. I have renewed for one more year, and the 3 letters W-T-F are still swimming thru my brain.

I knew by going home in January I’d ramp up my anxiety a bit about the future.  I live a rather anxiety-free life, especially in Korea, except when money or big changes are happening, which I think is fairly normal.  However, when it kicks in, it kicks into full blown I’m-not-slowing-down-to-even-let-you-sleep mode.  The past 1.5 years in Korea have been completely void of this feeling, which is the most wonderful thing ever.  That is, until recently. Dun dun dun.

Up until 2, maybe 2.5 weeks ago, I was completely 110% set on the fact that I would be leaving Korea by September 2013 at the very latest.  I had started thinking I’d go to another country in Asia (maybe Hong Kong, Taiwan or China) for a new experience after traveling India and going home for a bit.  Then shit started getting more real.  There’s only 4 months of our current contract left, and I realized I’m almost 30 and need to have a more stable plan in order for that return home, and then the jumping off point after to go off without a hitch. I know myself, and if I were to go home with just the money I’d leave Korea with (which would be a pretty penny after 2 years!) I’d sit and stew at home about my next move, blow that cash in the process, and my anxiety would be left even worse.

So, in the long run, a year is only a year, and for my own sanity it’ll be easier for me to get my ducks in a row this year abroad than it would be to do the same thing at home in the crazy Schaeff abode. Not to mention, I’ll basically be doubling the money that I’m going to be leaving Korea with.  I never thought I’d be here for 3 years, and I thought I’d have my shit together, but turns out that even though this year has been awesome, I feel like I didn’t do anything remotely proactive to make that happen.  So big girl pants must be worn this year.  And I plan to write a lot in the process.

I know my mom is not happy about it, per our 10 minute phone call resulting in a swift click of End Call, and Sista wants me home for her and the pups.  But, after talking to some pretty unbiased close friends who have their heads tightly screwed on straight, my dad, and lots of introspective Seoul searching, accompanied by a very trusty dusty Pros/Cons list, I feel that I’ve made the adult, mature, responsible decision.  Even though my heart is running rampant and can’t flutter straight, my head is the only thing that feels remotely clear, so I’m ultimately happy with my decision, albeit the massive pit in my stomach.  Plus, that means more travel adventures para mi, and there ain’t NOTHIN wrong with that! 🙂

Oh, and I will also be looking into finding a new apartamento in a more central locale, because home girl can’t hang in the boonies of North Korea (not really) for one more year.  And word on the street is that a good handful of my loves will still be around, so that is easing me just a skotch.

So folks, you’ve got 16 more months to find a way to make me even more popular than I already have been in the visitor department. August 2014 will be my OFFICIAL OFFICIAL departure date from South Korea.  You’ve got my word 🙂

And one last OH! I’m going to look into flights home for August.  I know, twice in one year…CRAY! But, this is in order to make Mama Schaeff and Sista a little happier, and to ease my probably forthcoming anxiety if I were to come home in January.  I may try to come to NYC as well, so I will keep all you fine lovelies abreast 🙂

My Quest To Rock The Eye Chart

I still remember the first pair of spectacles I ever owned.  I was in 2nd grade and they were a very stylish plastic girly frame fading from magenta to purple to a deep blue.  It was pretty much love at first “ok, if I really have to wear them.” We bought them in the shopping center in Agoura where Subway and TJ Maxx are.  I swear I have the most freakishly weird memory for odd detail.  I had those for a second, then I graduated to these brown and black speckled gems, which I believe I really should have kept because I could have rocked them all these years later, but of course looked (and posed) a whole lot cooler.

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Then in 4th grade Mama Schaeff forced me to go to Eye Therapy so that I could start wearing hard contact lenses and stop imitating my dad putting his own contacts in with my own piece of very thin ice…(there goes my memory again).  I HATED Eye Therapy, but I think in some odd way it made me develop a bizarre love for going to the eye doctor. So, then in 4th grade I was forced each morning to pop my hard contacts into my eyeballs even though they felt really weird, and then pop them out of my eyeballs with this tiny plunger because I was too young to figure out how to do it with my own two fingers. This is what I looked like every night, minus the fancy nail polish, and i bit my nails back then:

ImageThen I grew up a little and decided I wanted my eyes to be different colors, and those colors only came in soft contacts.  So I had blue eyes and really green eyes, and then my eyes got fucked, for lack of a better word. Those contacts were really bad, especially when worn for too long. They’re not specifically shaped to your eye and then the printing that goes onto the lenses is also not very good.  In mid 2006 my eyes started getting really red all the time, probably because I would get drunk and pass out in my contacts, but then it would just never go away, and then it got worse.  It was to the point where I could barely see when I would drive and even looking at the computer would hurt my eyes and they’d water uncontrollably.  Most of you know the long story, but after countless optometrists, ophthalmologists, eyedrops and months, I had Keratitis, or a really bad bacterial infection, thus resulting in the spectacles that are now part of my essence.

It actually took me a while to get used to having to wear them all. the. time. I hated having something covering my face, it felt ugly and like people couldn’t see ME.  Then it just flipped and they became a part of me, and before long I felt weird without them. Now I’m pretty much at the point where I feel normal with or without them, but very much “Danielle” with my spectacles.

HOWEVER…….

Now that I’m in Korea I have decided to get laser eye surgery, something I have always had in the back of my head because, well, why not? But, I’ve always envisioned it as something out of reach because in the States it’s so expensive, the charge is per eye, and my eyes have been through the ringer and back.  Korea, on the contrary, offers the surgery for a flat rate and for even less than half the cost I’d pay back home.  At home I would probably be looking at paying anywhere between $5,000-$7,000 total for both eyes with my vision, astigmatism and myopia, whereas in Korea I’m going to be looking at around $1,300.  Many of you are probably thinking “UMM Danielle, is it safe????? Don’t DO THAT.”  But it is.  Korea is LEGIT. It is a 1st world country, and is actually a major surgery destination in the world.  Many people come here specifically to have any number of surgeries done because it is so highly regarded and so frequently practiced with top notch doctors and results.  So not to worry.  I have also been on three different consultations to weigh all my options.

Now for a brief overview of the three consultations I went on for anyone else who reads this on their quest to reading eye charts perfectly. 

**All consults took about 2 hours and go through an assembly line of different machines to check everything about your eyes.

CONSULTATION 1: DREAM EYE CENTER (www.hellolasik.com/eng_site/)

Dream caters to foreigners, so it was the first place that I went to.  My friend Casey went there last year for a consultation but never actually got the surgery because he was scared after being told his myopia (steepness of cornea) was too high. Turns out mine is even higher! The optometrist who helped me was wonderful, super sweet, spoke perfect English and explained everything she was doing the entire time.  It was very informative, so when I met with the doctor I felt like I had a good idea of what to expect.  I also really liked the doctor.  He told me that since my cornea is very thin, my astigmatism is super high, my myopia is very steep (not the steepest he’s seen, but still pretty steep), and my eyes are extremely dry, I’d have to have LASEK instead of LASIK done, which has a more painful and longer recovery time, but with less chance of complication.  He was also very honest and said that about 10% of people with my eye condition do sometimes regress in their vision after surgery, so there is a chance that my vision won’t stick to 20/20 afterwards.  It wouldn’t go back to my current vision, just wouldn’t be 20/20.  Also, given the thinness of my cornea, he said I would only be able to have the surgery once, without any chance of a touch-up surgery if I were to regress. After surgery, they would also make an eye serum from my blood that would help with the pain.  They also take a DNA swap prior to surgery to test for a gene that would make the surgery ineffective.

In the end, they quoted me at 1.8million won, and that’s down from 2.2million won for having a referral and if I write a testimonial.  I told them that I was going to sit on it and think because I wanted to weigh my options given the percentage for regression after surgery. So I left with a pamphlet with all my eye info to look over in a neat packet.

CONSULTATION 2: BRIGHT EYES ST. MARY’S (http://www.oklasik.com)

I read about this place on a few blogs so I made an appointment, but I’m not going to say much about this place because I couldn’t stand them. I felt extremely rushed, and about the only redeeming quality about them was the girl Chloe who was the English translator, and the prescription they wrote me for the artificial tears and special ointment I’d need to take for the scars that are on my cornea.  I knew I had to do this already so I took the prescription in preparation for my third consultation so I had a head start.  The optometrist got all huffy with me when I couldn’t accurately read the eye charts, and she was extremely short with me.  I basically got shoved into the doctor’s chair without even a hello, and then quickly ushered out without a goodbye.  I attributed it to the language barrier, but I think most doctors have a basic knowledge of English, especially one working in such an affluent area as Gangnam, so a hello and goodbye would have been nice. Then it was a back and forth between nurses who could mime things to me until Chloe came because they realized I actually had questions pertaining to a surgery. Duh.

I ended up leaving with a prescription for the artificial tears, ointment and a follow-up appointment that I intended on cancelling.  They didn’t give me any neat pamphlet with my eye results like Dream did, and I didn’t know who my doctor would be. They ended up quoting me at 1.5million won.

CONSULTATION 3: GANGNAM ST. MARY’S (http://www.perfectvision.co.kr)

This was by far my favorite of the three, and I don’t think it was because it was the final one I went to.  I was referred by my friends Jeremy and 4names who both had their eyes done a while back with sparkling results. I made the appointment with the English speaking girl who works there named Yunmi, and she was SO accommodating and helpful. The first time I had actually called and they only spoke Korean so they had her call me back even though she wasn’t working, so when she called I was super confused how she had my number, but then it clicked. Anyways, I went in today, and right when I walked in she greeted me through the bustling waiting room and helped me fill out the medical form.  I then had an English speaking optometrist who did the most thorough eye exam of all three that I had been on.  I had told them about my previous Keratitis and they had the doctor check my eyes before they took the special measurement of my pupil to make sure I was bacteria free before moving forward. None of the others did that even though I had told them my history. After all the tests were over I met with the doctor again and also told him about the prescription I had begun taking.  He advised me to keep taking it, and take the ointment 2x a day instead of once because if the scars on my corneas don’t go away then I can’t have the surgery.  He also told me that I have about a 5% chance of regression if I have the surgery, and there is a possibility for a second surgery if regression does happen.  He broke down the numbers right in front of me too which was very reassuring.  Told me the thickness of my cornea, how much they take away, what it will be after, and so on.  So I made a follow-up appointment for Thursday to check my scars and hope for a big fat YES YOU CAN HAVE SURGERY.

They ended up quoting me at 1.7million won if I have the surgery in April or 1.5million won if I have it done in March, but I’m hoping they give me the 1.5 deal even if I have it in April because I came with the referrals and both friends got it done at 1.5 or 1.4.  They also offer a payment plan broken up into 3 months which will help out tremendously.

In sum, it’s not a 100% go YET, but I’m going to be extremely anal in dropping those artificial tears and applying the ointment because I would love to be able to see the world for the first time through crystal clear perfect eyeballs.  I can’t even remember a time when I could see clearly, so eye surgery is still impossible for me to even fathom, but it’s getting there.

Cross your fingers, toes and eyes for me pretty please with a big fat cherry on top with sprinkles! More to obviously come on this at a later date!

 

 

I Barack’d the Vote!

This weekend I checked one big thing off my to-do list!  I voted in my third Presidential election, and filled out my first absentee ballot, which was a bit exciting!  I’ve been trying to figure out the process to vote from abroad for the past couple weeks but kept getting confused.  Then, my friend Josh told me that the US Embassy was having a special day for all foreigners to come and cast their absentee ballots.  Ka-ching!  Off we went to BARACK THE VOTE!

I never pay much attention to politics, but I’ve gotten quite interested and eager to listen to the debates and all the hooha going on with the upcoming election.  Perhaps a sign that I am getting older?  Also, screw Romney for trying to take away our ovary’s rights.

Here is a picture of mine, Steph’s and Josh’s absentee ballots ready to be sent off to our designated counties in California, Washington and Florida.  All of us proudly Barack’d the vote (I’m gonna keep saying that til it goes out of style…which will be never).

And another posing with the seal at the US Embassy in Seoul, ballots in hand.

Hopefully Obama wins, because I’m really excited to be home in the states for it on my birthday AKA Inauguration day AKA January 20th!  #fourmoreyears (Yes I just hastagged in a blog post, so what).

Diary from my Death Bed

Just to update all ya’ll peeps, I thought I should let you know that I am fine and out of the hospital, out of my bed and back at school.  Last week I happened to get really sick out of what seemed like nowhere and it was so miserable. I’ve never been sick like that before. I didn’t eat for a week, could barely sleep because my whole body hurt (still does a bit) and was throwing up pretty non-stop. My old co-teacher-turned-friend, Leni, was my little Korean mommy and took really good care of me though, along with Jin who was the first one to come to my rescue and take me to see a doctor finally.

Long story short, the 2nd doctor I went to told me that I would have to go to a hospital after running a blood test because he thought I may have caught Hepatitis A or some other disease from traveling in the Philippines.  So, after a violently dramatic performance of throwing up in the doctor’s office, Leni whisked me off to the big hospital where I was hooked up to an IV and got some much needed fluids back in my system.  They probably took 4 or 5 viles of blood from me so they could test for everything I requested.  One of my many bug bites had gotten infected in the Philippines, so I had them test for Dengue Fever, Malaria and anything you can catch from a stupid mean bug.

This is me partying with the typhoon and my IV. He was a great dance partner. I was an equally pleasant partner.

After I got back from the hospital, my other Korean angel mommy, Jeewon, came up to North Korea to prepare me a heaping batch of the vegetable soup I had been craving all day.  I love her.

Turns out all my tests came back negative, but my liver is all out of whack.  How that is possible, I have no idea, considering I am Grandma Schaeff and barely drink, but the doctor said it’s manageable and will go back to normal on its own.  So I go back to be checked out again on Monday, before which I starve myself all day at school so I can go get my blood drawn again. Oh well, at least I’ll find out if I’m A-OK or not 🙂

Anyways, thought you might like to know that I’m alright.  Philippines post coming soon 🙂

Ya Gotta Get Clean To Get Dirrrrty

As of yesterday, I’ve been living in Korea for 11 months.  It’s crazy to think that a year has come and gone in the blink of an eye.  I’ve met so many people over here.  Some amazing homies I will for sure remain friends with forever, some a little too ‘off’ for my liking and who I will be glad to see bounce. Real talk, yo!

So, the past 2 weekends have consisted of a couple so-long-farewell-i-bid-to-say-adieus.  No tears have been shed yet, but I’ve definitely told a select few to lock up their excitement when they talk about leaving Korea and all the things they will do when they’re back stateside for good.

2 weekends ago was the over-the-top black-tie-mandatory EPIK Farewell Party (or as I like to call it, Prom 10 years later) at the swanky Banyan Tree Resort.  Despite the annoying hype, it ended up being a fun night and twas lovely to see people all gussied up. Here’s a few of my fave shots from Prom.

US President Hord & his First lady on the right, Korean President Kwon Jee Won and her bodyguard/man toy on the left. Nations uniting.

Standard shot of me & a slew of sexy AZNs.

Game face time with Mr. Monette.

Making flirty eyes with my Benji Boo Boo Bear.

Dancing with my favorite Jordanian prince. Once again, uniting nations.

And what would a black tie event (or any event) be without me & boo sexing up the camera?

And last, just because Tony is making the most horrendous face in the universe.

THEN, this past weekend we dressed down for the most amazing weekend I’ve had in the past 11 months! Around 15 of us hopped on a bus and took it 2.5 hours out of Seoul to the Boryeong Mud Festival.  It was like going back to college for a weekend, and it was nothing short of awesome. Twas such a great way to begin wrapping up the best year of my life so far with some wonderful people.  I don’t really think there’s a significance of the festival, but it lasts for 10 days, and it’s mostly foreigners with a smattering of Koreans who think it’s appropriate to bring their sheltered children to a festival of naked, drunk waygooks.

When we were clean and excited to go get dirrrrrrrrrrty.

Last minute temple sculpting.

Dawning my (and Polio’s) best ajumma wear: leopard ajumma jellies and his pink visor.

Cue madness.

Polio threw us all in the pit. Then got the pit closed down with his actions.  Oops.

Superman that hoe.

Later that night outside our pension. “Is that 4names?” Nope…some random.

Fireworks to begin the festival!

Nothin like some good clean (and dirrrrty) fun to wind down a bombass year living on this tiny peninsula in the far far East.

WaWa & SchaeffSchaeff in KoKo

I just had my 9 month Korean anniversary last Thursday, May 17th. Holy shit! In the 9 months that I could have been with child, I have had 5 visitors, 4 of which hail from the Orient.  Damn I’m popular, especially amongst the Eastern folk. The last most amazing friend in the world to trek their ass across the world for me with a bag full of cheese and other American delicacies was my lil WAWA!!! Her 10 day visit definitely warrants a posting.

I was so freakin excited to see Wawa! I haven’t seen her since I think my birthday last year (I think), but of course we have kept up to speed on all the juicy gossip that’s gone on in our lives in between.  But, I was especially excited for 10 days of good old fashion girl talk, rehashing past relationships, current whatevers, what went wrong and adding further insight to the past, that we’ve since gained in our old age. Oh, and play tour guide of this country that is now my home away from home.  I was a little nervous to play tour guide because the pressure’s on, but it was probably the closest to relaxing yet jam-packed trip possible. Twas awesome.

Wawa and about 10 pounds of candy came to school with me 2 days of the week, so she helped teach and squeeze the cheeks of my 3rd and 4th graders with me and Jin.  My classroom is also on the 6th grade floor, and since she didn’t come to class on days I taught them or 5th graders, they could only get candy if they asked Wanda a question.  Most of them asked the same shit, “What’s your name?” “How old are you?” “Where are you from?” and just dug their dirty hands into the bag of candy, but then they had to actually ask her good questions.  Especially the smart ones. I made them. Some were actually good “Who’s your favorite Hollywood star?” and of course “Do you have a boyfriend? No? Why not?” Our favorite question EVER. Both days that she was here this is what it looked like just outside my classroom.  I had to play zookeeper to a bunch of candy crack babies  a couple times. That was fun.

Wawa is also no longer “solo.” I knew she’d come to Korea and find a boyfriend ASAP. This is her and her new boyfriend Julian. They even dress like a kouple.

Our absolute most favorite day of her trip was our “Day of Culture.”  That day we went shopping in Insadong where we got down to tradition and cried of laughter as we posed in Hanbok. We went to Gyeongbokgung Palace and got a taste of celebrity when some middle schoolers asked to have their picture taken with us, saw the King Sajong statue, ate some bomb tofu and pajeon (Korean seafood “pizza”), drank tea at a lovely little tea house, and went shopping for a fish and live octopus to eat at the Noryangjin fish market. I ate live octopus for my 2nd time. Jesus.

Here’s a video of us eating that octopus.

We also had some very ladylike evenings.  We caught a jazz show at  my favorite location in Seoul, Jazz Story, in Hyehwa, and had a night of vagina at Vato’s Tacos followed by some vagina pops at a Vagina Monologues show.

We went to Gangnam and did what you do in Gangnam. Take glamour shots and hang out with very sophisticated men.

We also hiked, or rather walked 50 million flights of stairs, up to Namsan Tower to lock up our love (next to mine and sista’s) to forever overlook the smoggy sky of Seoul, and found our first epic Geocache.

All in all, it was soooo much fun having my lil Wa here! I’m so happy she came and it’s always nice to have visitors because it gives me a chance to feel like a tourist once again 🙂 Here are a couple other highlights of her trip.

Our new Vietnamese family.

Eating fried potatoes with some new male suitors.

Eating a hot dog wrapped in a pancake.

Swapping manicure secrets.

Shopping with ajummas, her new favorite breed of people.

Schaeff Schaeff loves you WaWa! Now come back soon! Mwah!