65 Is The New 31 If You’re A Baller.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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<3,

Your favorite Whore

My Korean Mommy Got Married <3

On Sunday I finally had the opportunity to attend my first Korean wedding! Leni, my first co-teacher and Korean mommy when I was on my death bed, got married and looked like such a princess in her humungous gown as it flowed and draped so perfectly while she posed for photos with guests.  I got there a few minutes after the rest of my co-workers, and when they came out from taking photos with her, they told me she kept asking where I was. I quickly ran over to her and almost cried. Then we threw up some peace signs 🙂

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As for the rest of the wedding I really didn’t know what to expect.  All I’d heard was that Korean weddings are extremely different than weddings back home.  That they’re really quick ceremonies, like 20 minutes max, some people wear jeans, and that as soon as one ends the next wedding is ushered in, and of course the buffet afterwards.

That’s pretty much how it went.  After taking pictures with Leni we went downstairs and there were so many people there.  Jin told me that this was one of the biggest weddings she had been to.  I lost my group of people for a little bit, but ended up stumbling upon Leni’s twin sister and her parents, so I introduced myself.  They instantly knew who I was and their faces lit up.  I was so excited to meet them, especially her sister, and they were so adorable and sweet like her. I also met her hubby-to-be who was so smiley and cute when he said hello to me. Good thing about being the only foreigner there is that the important people instantly knew who I was!

Then I gave my white envelope of monies to Leni’s sister, after not really being sure who to give it to.  Jin later told me that the people sitting at these tables collect the money and have you sign some book.  They’re typically relatives of the family.  But she told me that giving it to the sister was perfect.  Life of a foreigner here, always being some kind of clueless! It’s also not customary to give gifts.  Everyone gives money, and you generally give varying amounts depending on how well you know the people.

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A few minutes later, the workers started ushering everyone to the sides to form a walkway.  The musician started playing, they rolled out a fancy red carpet (which apparently is unusual!) and down the aisle she came with her dad. I almost started crying again.

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And into the really long wedding hall.  Jin really liked this one because she felt it was really simple and not gaudy with lots of candles and chandeliers like most of them. Very *her style*.

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Here’s one of their engagement photos and the announcement for their wedding just outside the chapel.  It says their names, Oh Won Taek and Kim Chan Young (Leni).

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The ceremony was really different.  In the states everyone pays attention to what is going on and it’s intimate no matter the size. But here as I looked around everyone was on their phone or talking to each other, and a huge group of us were just gathered at the back by the door which was open into the foyer area.  The guests for the next wedding were all out in the foyer and it was super noisy.  Obviously I can’t understand the ceremony, but it was so loud back there.

The next part I thought was really cute and funny.  I wish I got it on video.  I guess a lot of times the groom or someone sings at the end of the ceremony.  So, the groom and his friend sang and rapped a song for Leni.  It was like a noraebang on steroids and chiffon.

Before the ceremony even finished, per usual Korean standards, I was told we were going to go eat now, and off to the buffet we went! We handed our food cards to the hostess and then my stomach exploded with excitement. SO MUCH FOOD! Here’s a picture of my second plate filled with sushi and japchae.

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While we were eating, Leni and her husband came around dressed in hanbok to pop their heads in and say hi to their guests.  It was super informal and many of the people eating were attending different weddings.  In the dining hall there was also a huge projection screen on the wall showing the wedding that was going on.  So, essentially people can come to the wedding and just sit and eat and watch the wedding while stuffing their face.  So bizarre, but tis a huge cultural difference!

In total the whole wedding from arrival to departure was about 2 hours.  Totally different from the extravagant ceremony and reception that is typical of western culture.

I’m glad I finally got to attend a wedding in Korea, and I’m so happy it was for someone that I love so much!

Brotha Schaeff Is 25! YA YA YU YUH!

I still remember the day my brother came home from the hospital. My mom was holding him and I ran over from my seat in the waiting room and he was in this red and black tie dyed tank top number.  He was so skinny yet chunky and teeny and had this jet black head of hair.  I was officially a big sister for the 2nd time that April 21st, 1988.

He probably looked something like this, with the addition of the tie dye. Mama Schaeff loved tie dye, and yes, I have the most bizarre memory.

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Then he grew up a little more, got cuter and learned where his feet were, like most babies do.

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His hair and eyelashes also grew longer, and then the compliments came rolling in.  I still remember my mom getting compliment after compliment for my brothers eyelashes.  He was seriously the cutest baby with the biggest eyeballs in the world!! I meannnnn!!! Here he is with my mom’s dad, Grandpa Jack.

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As he got older, and by older I mean like, in kindergarten, he learned what *bad words* were. That’s when I learned that soap and Tabasco sauce were used for things other than washing your hands or flavoring your food.

There are also a couple memories of Michael that still to this day crack me up to TEARS, and I do mean literal CRYING OF LAUGHTER TEARS.

1.  Strawberry Jacuzzi.  I had a massive crush on this guy Sahand in 7th grade, like, it bordered on obsession. Anyways, one summer day my mom drove me, my sister, Cori and Michael to Sahand’s house (to stalk him? I don’t know?) I was wearing a forest green Yosemite tank top and Birkenstocks.  I remember that.  And my brother did this crazy full body convulsion dance while blaring “WHOAAA STRAWBERRY JACUZZI! WHOAAA!” just like Kel does in Good Burger. He would continuously do the Strawberry Jacuzzi whenever he’d watch Kenan and Kel, and still to this day Cori and I die of laughter and still talk about THE Strawberry Jacuzzi.  It never goes out of style.

2. YA-YA-YU-YUHHH. Back in 8th grade I got my first computer.  It was a Dell, because that’s what everyone had.  They came fully equipped with a detachable microphone to record all the gems you saw fit. Well, I came home one day with Cori, plopped down at my computer to probably do one of those sUrVeYs or something, and found a voice recording on my desktop.  Naturally we clicked on it.  It was of my brother, and it started out really slowly of him singing what we believed to be “Hallelujah” but sounded more like “yayayuyuh”. Well, it was slow and almost a whisper in the beginning, and as it progressed on it got higher and higher and higher and as it ultimately reached the power crescendo, he burst into this MAGICAL rendition of “YA-YA-YU-YUHHHHHH”. It went on for maybe 5 minutes and Cori and I were crying and peeing in our pants at the same time. Yet again, we still talk about YAYAYUYUH. YAYAfreakinYUYUH!

I will say Michael and I have not always gotten along or had the best relationship, but I have only been blessed with one little brother, and despite everything, I love him with all my heart plus more.  He’s a nut ball, but who isn’t a little whack in the noggin these days? And there are two big things I can thank him for introducing into my life ~ *NSYNC and Britney Spears.  If it wasn’t for him bringing a couple of their CDs on a cruise to Hawaii, I may have remained in the dark for a little while longer.

Now for a little time travel just because 🙂

Here I am with him while he looked like the Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters had a baby with a mad scientist.

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Thanksgiving one year with Grandma Lucy.  Mikey decided to give the fagala hand.

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We went on a family trip to Washington D.C. and obviously posed with The Acorn like all those from Agoura did.  Duh! Can you believe this only won us Honorable Mention?!

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This photo captures the 3 of us TO A TEE.

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We went to Israel for my Bat Mitzvah and sat on this camel posing with this Arab.  On this trip, Michael spit in a boy’s face, and laughed at me (with Jacquie) when I couldn’t accurately read my Torah portion swiftly enough.  Neither of them had a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, thus making them still children.

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Flash forward a few years while I’m in college at UCSB and Michael is in high school. He came up for a very famous Halloween in Santa Barbara.  He got drunk for his first time, did his first beer bong and then got lost with a bunch of men dressed up as Playboy Bunnies.  Then he made this face.

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Jacquie and I played *Best Sisters in the World* for the evening and took him to see Britney Spears on his birthday.  We came home with this photo with “her”.

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I eventually moved across the world, and we all cried at the airport and looked like sloppy Rudolph’s.

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Then I came home for a visit, and when I left for Korea again, the airport security man took this awesomely flattering and exquisite photo of us and Papa Schaeff.

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Well, Brotha Schaeff, I love you.  I hope you stay out of trouble, keep ‘bows in check and that all of your teams have pristine records this year so you don’t fly off the handle! I know we don’t always get along, but know that you’re always in my heart and I love you more than anything and would do anything for you in the blink of an eye. So, keep it in line and don’t scare those puppies, mom, dad or Jacquie. Love you, crazy face! Mwah!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<3,

Dani

Healing The World Thru MJ & ESL

There have been a couple times in my life when I quite vividly remember Michael Jackson songs leaving a feeling with me that so permanently stuck.  I’ll start with the second story first because it isn’t as applicable to this post as the first is. 

This was during my junior year of college during Fiesta weekend.  I drank too much of a bucket at Sharkeez, however I wasn’t even drunk, but felt absolutely sick so I was sitting down moping in the corner while everyone was dancing and having a great time.  BUT, the second “Billie Jean” came on, a fire was lit under my ass and I lept up and to the dance floor I went for a good 4 minutes of hardcore dancing….ultimately retiring to my nauseafest in the corner once the song concluded.  If only for those 4 minutes, thanks to the great MJ, my night was quite complete.  Ever since then, I cannot sit down during “Billie Jean.” IT IS MY JAM.

Now on to the first story.  When I was in 5th grade, the music teacher would come around to our classroom and  teach us songs once a week.  This one week we happened to learn “Heal the World.”  I instantly FELL IN LOVE with the song and all I remember trying to do that whole period was steal the lyric sheet that the teacher handed out to us.  Then when goody-two-shoes-ol-me was too scared to steal it, I began frantically trying to write down all the lyrics.  When that got to be too much, I finally ended up stealing the sheet.  Phew!  I was determined to learn that song! Essentially, I thought the song was so beautiful and fell in love with the power behind the words at such a young age, and it is a memory of a song I will never ever forget. 

Well, this past chapter with my 5th graders, Jin and I were teaching about “What a wonderful……”  She had taught them the song “What a Wonderful World” and thought it would also be really great to teach them about the differences the world over.  The poverty, the obesity, the riches, the diseases, the fighting, the different ethnicities, the different religions and skin colors, all co-exiting together.  This is so important, especially since Korea is such a homogenous society and many will never have the chance to leave, or may never choose to leave.  It was also really special to me to have the chance to teach it to them with Jin since I had first learned the song when I was their age and it had such a lasting impact on me. After watching the video with Korean translation, one of my students ran up to me asking if she could please have a lyrics sheet.  I instantly gave her a hug and it brought me right back to when I was her age scrambling to keep those lyrics for my own.  Major heart swell.

The irony in all this is that while teaching these children about healing the world, and while I was making this video, our neighbors up above are all consumed with blowing the world up.  Anyways, below is a video of the song project that they did. Hope you enjoy 🙂

 

And just for fun, because I’ve had a week FILLED will Michael Jackson love, here’s another video of two of my little nerds singing, and completely GETTIN DOWN with their bad selves, to “I’ll Be There” by The Jackson 5. 

With the 6th Graders we were learning “I will….” so we learned this song as a dictation exercise.  I caught the little guy on the right totally gettin all soulful in his seat all the way in the back, so I jokingly asked him if he wanted to come to the stage up front and perform for the class, and he gladly accepted my invitation!  John, on the left, is my favorite, super nerdy, computer programmer boyfriend. I love him more than words can say. Enjoy the comedy.  This has definitely been one of my teaching English in Korea highlights 🙂

 

Nothin like a lil MJ to unite the freakin world.

Party In The USA!

So far 2012 was my favorite year to date, but it kind of ended with a little bit of a thud for me, so naturally the thought of fleeing the country for a couple glorious weeks was well received.  And what better distraction than 2 weeks stateside with family, friendzies, puppies, beach and lots and lots of cheese.  Nothing that I can think of.

Breathable air, a handsome black man displayed under the “Welcome to the United States of America” sign, and a fat screaming black woman ushering American Airlines passengers to their connections were the first three WELCOME BACK TO AMERICA’s that I got. Then came Mama Schaeff surprising me from behind at the curb, the puppy kisses from Presley, the “Why did you leave me?” ‘I’m mad at you’ stares from Cilla, and the jumping around the car hugs with sista!! Only to be followed up with the greatest welcome home surprise party ever!  Not only was there Porto’s and mimosas, but there was Wawa, Brianne, Kendra, MayMay, Jeanelly, Joel, Justin and the whole fambam. Ahhhhh it felt good to be back in the greatest country in the world!!!

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Seeing as this was my first time back in the states in nearly 1.5 years, I was totally eager to see what super weird Korean things I was gonna carry back with me. To my surprise, I don’t think there were too too many.  My stomach definitely shrunk and I could only eat about half the portion that I could before making kimchi a daily staple in my life.  Jacquie told me I talk way more with my hands, but I also talked like a freakin Italian before I left anyways, but I guess it became a little more dramatic.  But I like dramatic, so hmpf! The big thing for me was the shoes in the house thing. I obviously don’t care about wearing shoes in the house while I’m home, but since living in these parts I keep an almost completely Korean household with regards to outer footwear on my precious floors. Except for when I forget something and my shoes are already on.  Then I wear my shoes in the house. Screw crawling across the floor, no time for that. I’m walking. Swiffer that shit later. However, when I arrived at my surprise party, the first thing I did (after hugging everyone that was there and complimenting them all on their great boots), was say how I needed to take my boots off because it felt weird to walk inside with my shoes on. Here I am sitting with May May wearing her boots, and me wearing my jazzy socks, and my suitcase throwing up beside me.

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The whole time that I was home I was constantly moving, with the exception of my first Sunday home where I slept straight through the night and day until 5:30pm. Heyo jet lag! I’ll take a quick lil wander through the highlights of my trip and all of the beautiful faces I saw and glutinous cuisine I stuffed my face with.

The first thing I did after resting my peepers from a day of travel, was head up to Santa Barbara for some Mexican food and a night out with the Fab 4 and sista!  It was May’s little sister’s 21st birthday, so the alumni came back to show her how it’s done (or tried to). In the end, we realized that in our old age we just can’t hang quite like we used to.

Nomz.

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Kamikazi shots at Sandbar. Where’s the Cassie song?

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Jonesy and sista also sang their own interpretation of Rihanna’s “Diamond.” Give your ears a treat, will you?

Sista and I had a wondrous dinner at Lala’s in Weho with the two handsome brothas Dicecca, followed by Koreanizing Michael Claudio and showing them my Korean hangul (alphabet) skills. They were easily impressed with my enhanced Asian genes.

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The next day (a bit delayed), came the cream of the fatass crop.  I finally stepped foot into an In N Out establishment, and it was even better than it tastes in my dreams.

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Moving onto other excruciatingly delicious things, let me introduce you to the latest pledge to the FRAT house, the gorgeous lil Georgia Jeanne!

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And another gorgeous human modeling his new PSY socks. ❤ Chizzy!

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The next day, Jessie and I helped MayMay celebrate her 29th birthday over heaping bowls of Pho Tai. All things very nom.  I was so happy when the little Vietnamese workers remembered me and asked where I’ve been! They were quite shocked when I told them I lived in Korea now, but very happy when I told them I’d visited their country on my travels.

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Then came Friday, MLK weekend, and the arrival of some of the best friends on the planet!!! Bret, Kayla, Jeanette and Priya all flew in from San Jose and NYC for my birthday weekend, and I must say, that was the best gift I could ever ask for! The weekend was one of the best I’ve had in a really long time.  Absence definitely made the heart grow fonder, and it was so unbelievable to know that even though almost 2 years had gone by since we’d all seen each other, we just picked up right where we left off. It’s so lovely to get older and know that your friends are still so close to your heart no matter all the distance or time between.

My birthday party was on Saturday January 19th at Bodega in Santa Monica, and I could not have asked for a better turn out!  People that I honestly thought were not going to show, showed up, even if only for a quick hug and a smooch on the cheek.  I originally didn’t even want to come home for a visit (sorry), but everyone really made it 150% worth it, and I’m so glad I came 🙂 So, here’s a gander at some of my fave moments as I rang in the last year of my 20s.

Perhaps the favorite, most unexpected of the night was this wonderful guy. Twas so amazing to see Nicholas.

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Brotha was VERY excited to see Nick, and of course talk the sports.

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Siblings Schaeff and one Ho-el.

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The Agoura+ shot. We finally got it good, then Brotha did that!

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TAYLOR LAUTNER CAME! JK.  But my favorite New Zealander and vulgar conversationalist came.  I freakin love you, Alavi!

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Baller & Whore, but he doesn’t call me that anymore because I am a lady. BFFFFFFFFFFFFF4lyfe ❤

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The 1, the only, the FAB 4.

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My beauties clappin somethin out.

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YES.YES.YES. Happiness embodied.

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SBeezy in the Heezy!!!

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Good girl’s gotta get down wit the gangsta!  Love our T$!

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Bromance and a princess of mine.  My favorite part of this photo is Rami wearing Bretty’s sweater.  True LOVE.

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The ladies of LALA who made my 20s the most unforgettable ❤

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Salmon pants and a sassy Asian.  Can’t ask for more!

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My favorite intern ever!!!!!!!! And also just one of my favorite human beings ever.

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I can always count on this pretty lady to show up to a coming or going party.  God bless our crazy ex-bosses dysfunctional relationship because we had the chance to meet each other ❤

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Here was a nice little cherry on top, minus the poor lighting. I love all you guys!

The next day was my actual birthday.  The day began as LA as you can get.  Cruising down Wilshire Blvd. in Danni’s Audi convertible, getting green smoothies, rubbing elbows with one Sofia Vergara, and then popping off to an afternoon of brunching, bouncing around a baby Georgiecakes, and planting our butts in the warm Venice beach sand. It was by far the best most beautiful birthday I have ever had.  Thanks guys 🙂

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Sorry Fran and Nick, we are stealing your child.  Meet Mr. & Mrs. Schaeffenchiz and our baby girl Laverne.

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What a beautiful lesbian family you guys make.

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Awkward poses with baby props.

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My trip revolved around lots of important people’s birthdays, and on Tuesday was Mama Schaeff’s birthday! Jacquie and I took her out for a nomtastic dinner, and this is the video I took of her enjoying her chocolate cake and strawberry a little more than anticipated!

On my last day in the land of LA, sista and I went to visit our cousin Danny and his dazzling girlfriend, Nicole, at their boutique, Clover, in Silverlake (cloversilverlake.com).  It was sooo nice to see them and see what they have done to the store.  If you live in the area you definitely have to go!  We caught up on life, travels, work, family and also took many unflattering photos along the way.  Here’s the cutest one, where we cut out Danny’s 10 chins.

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When it really clicked that I was going back to Korea it was a little bittersweet.  I think the two weeks was the perfect amount of time to be home, because by the end I was definitely ready to return and pop off to somewhere in the orient. My last night was a little weird, but I think that’s because it was setting in for everyone that I was leaving again for who knows how long.  As I packed up my 62 lb bag, Cilla laid at the edge of the bed just staring at me, like she knew I was leaving and she was prepared to be mad at me for another year 😦 I definitely miss those babyloves maybe more than anything ❤

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My flight was the next morning bright and early, and I was pissed because my mom didn’t come to the airport with me.  She knows very well!!!! So this time I left back to Korea with tears AGAIN.  Drastically (DRASTICALLY) less than the first time, but tears nonetheless.  Jacquie was sick, so she got a get out of jail free card, so I was off to the airport with Papa and Brotha Schaeff.  I of course had my standard airport anxiety, on top of a stupidly heavy load of luggage that my dad was shlepping around for me.  I always get bitchy when I’m stressed, so I felt a bit bad for how I was acting right before I left.  Nonetheless, here is the last known photo of father, daughter and son before I escaped to the Orient yet again.

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All in all, a trip home was so necessary.  I really needed to get out of Korea and see the faces of the ones I love so much at home, and get a little perspective, because some things over here hit the fan before I left. So, to everyone who made my trip home unbelievable, many many many times one million thank yous!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Last but not least, there were of course those things that popped out to me as either things I felt differently about or did differently since returning home. Perhaps the biggest that I noticed was something more than just things I say or do.  Obviously most people in the world do not chose to go live in a country other than their own at their own accord, or travel the world for more than a few weeks  at a time.  So, already that is a huge thing that has set me apart from the people that I associate with home. While everyone at home will always be that part of me that no one else will ever be able to fully know, let me put this bluntly, I almost felt like I didn’t entirely belong anymore. It’s not as bad as it sounds.  I just think that I have wanted to live abroad for SO DAMN LONG, and now that it’s finally happened and been in motion, and I’ve been surrounded by others who have picked up and moved their lives across the globe as well, this side of me that never got the chance to completely flourish has finally found its way out and found others who are passionate about the same thing in the same capacity.  It was most apparent to me during times when catching up about relationships and jobs, and times when everyone would ask me where I’ve been, and where I’m going next.  It’s like people were fascinated with what I’ve seen and where I’ve gone, but at the same time wondering when I’d be back in the states and what did I plan to do once this “vacation” was over.  I couldn’t even put a pin on what the emotion was that I was feeling the whole time until a friend who had lived abroad some years ago, asked me how it felt to be home.  I couldn’t really explain it, and then she said the words “you don’t feel like you fit in anymore, do you?” Ding ding. Life’s funny.

So yea, sorry to end on a weird note.  I’m sure I will be back home by the end of the year, but only for a minute 😉 Being home felt amazing, but being abroad and traveling the world feels more amazing to me. Life is just crazy and I feel like everything is happening so fast these days.  But if there’s one thing I am so freakin thankful for, it’s all of you fine folks that I will always call home 🙂

LOVE YOU ALLLLLLZ  (and come visit me) ❤

I Have The Best Baby Thithter!

The story that my mom, aunt and grandma always told me of when my sister was born is by far one of my favorite stories, because it perfectly encapsulates how I feel about my sister to this day.  It was September 24th, 1986 and my whole family was waiting at Cedar Sinai hospital for lil Jacqueline Lisa to be born. As soon as we got word she was here, my 2.5 year old self let loose running through the hospital halls shouting “I HAVE A NEW BABY THITHTER! I HAVE A NEW BABY THITHTER!” I was a very happy big sister with a lisp, and a new chunk of a little sister.

We used to walk through Toys R Us and speak in our own language, which now that I think about it, sounded like some form of Asian dialect.  We would post up in an aisle, or wherever we had an “audience”, and just go “ching chong hoishi mashi moo,” accompanied by “believable” gestures, to try and get people to think we were from another country. Apparently we thought people would think we were Asian. That, or we were really racist. Errr. We also used to dress in matching outfits and seriously believed that people would think we were twins, despite our vast difference in height.

Of course things weren’t always sweet and matchy matchy.  There were of course the days when I wanted to desperately ring her neck…but instead settled for dragging her out of my room on her back by her hair while she was crying and kicking. I still can’t believe I did that.  How rude of me! She also used to spy on me and my boyfriend by sticking her nose under the door, just like the younger sibling always does in every Disney movie.  That’s when I would shove towels under the door in hopes of getting rid of her.  Of course it never worked. As the bigger sister, I was just that intriguing.

But of course that’s all in the past now and we are grown up mature young women, and BFFFFFlyfe, with the occasional “Danielle’s-moody-and-gonna-bitch-and stare-up-sideways-to-the-sky-now” moments which causes a brief fight.  I know girls who no matter how old they get never get along with their sister, or just never form a closeness, and I can’t help but feel a little bad for those people because I am so freakin lucky to call my sister my #1 best friend in the entire universe.  She is someone that I can literally tell everything and anything to, who is the biggest teeny bopper in the world alongside me, who finishes my sentences, who knows what I mean when I say “it smells like Paris,” who feels the same music and does the same dance to “Pumped Up Kicks” as me as we interpret how our parents met at a party, and who flies across the whole world on a weeks notice to come celebrate my first birthday in a foreign country with me, in the snow, in a country where there is nothing for her to eat.  She is the absolute best sister that I could have EVER asked for in a million bagillion gazillion years, and she is definitely the person that I miss the most while being abroad. God bless technology and being accessible to each other at all hours of the day.

Here’s a very convincing performance she gave in an effort to coax me back stateside. Her interpretation of the puppies was the ultimate selling point.

Here is a little journey through the years.  The only thing missing is the baby video of her humping a pillow.

Can’t you see the happiness in my eyes as I squeeze lil Alfalfa Sprout?!

Most likely before or after my daily video recording, where I would shove her out of the way.

2 homegirls just kickin it on the red carpet.

Me and my shadow.

Best mama and best sista.  Hands down.

We went to the Dead Sea in our sexy Speedo bathing suits, where we slathered ourselves in mud and she laughed at me as I stumbled through my Torah portion and became a woman.

We got Jiggy wit it in a bunch of Concert of Loves.

We tapped our way into hideous stage makeup and dizzy pants, in yet another Concert of Love.

She moved to Santa Barbara to be closer to me, and got drunk for the first time.  This is what we looked like.

We experimented with our new Macbooks.

We partied with a stripper named (Lor)Enzo, who also sold sista her car.

The Disco Zebra, Santa and Ice skater celebrated ze Halloweenie together.

And then worked it out in the sexiest way possible at one of Hollywood’s classiest establishments.

We went to Bauducco’s, ate Mrs. B’s Capellini, and then took a nap at table 3… just because we are Bauducco’s royalty.

Then I decided to move to Asia, and we cried a lot.

5 months later we were reunited in the Seoul of the Far East when she paid me an impromptu Birthday visit, and broke a wine glass Gangnam Style.

As the quote says, we are “sisters by chance, friends by choice,” and I couldn’t ask for a better sister or an even better friend. LOVE YOU SISTA!!!!!! Now welcome to your almost-late-20s.