Some things are the same everywhere...

There are so many cultural differences that I can write about when comparing home to here, but today I felt so much at home it was almost funny.

I've learned that I am mildly addicted to the internet. I survived 8 months without it, having to frequent the PC rooms, the games room, and horde the 1 shared computer at work...this was no problem and I had adjusted to it quite nicely. It wasn't until I was "given" the internet (someone's wireless connection) and then had it "taken away" (blocked from said person's wireless connection) when I knew I wouldn't be able to survive the last 3 months w/o it.

Sooo, I had my director call the company and blah blah blah, they said they would be here today between 10 and noon. So I waited. At 12:30 I called my director and said they hadn't shown up yet (notice my 30 minutes of pure impatience and frustration building up). By 1:30 my director hadn't called me back but by 2:00 there was a little tech man fixing my life. I am now a content little child who got her internet hooked up.

It's funny to me to think that I was seriously getting worked up by 12:30. It's like at home, when comcast says they'll come hook your cable up between such and such a time (usually a ridiculously early Saturday morning where you don't want to wake up early but know you want cable bad enough so you endure the pain it takes to get your lazy bones out of bed) and the stupid company doesn't show up until 3:30...and inside you feel yourself gettingreally mad because you could have in fact, slept in.


Quarter Century Craziness...

So I'm finally able to sit down and write about the wonderful birthday celebrations I had the past few days. Thursday was my actual birthday, which was celebrated at school with cake and ice cream and multiple little gifts from my beloved students. I was swarmed with cards, pencils, pens, led, notebooks, and even jewelry. My co-teachers bought me a nice pair of earrings and two bottles of wine were from my director. My friends here too were amazing and unbelievably generous with their gifts, which included a floor table for my computer, a gi-normous plant, a shirt, a dress, a pair of scissors (haha) and one yet to come. Then I got a surprise package from home and boy oh boy, I was and still am constantly reminded of how blessed I am to have such wonderful people in my life.

Saturday night was the night of celebrations. A bunch of Gimhae people went to Changwon to celebrate 80 years of life (25 of mine and 60 of Lois, an Aussie teacher here who's birthday was the 22nd). We ate at Bennegin's where those silly girls ordered up a delicious cake served with a parade of clapping Korean waitstaff and a big white bunny.

We then went to O'Briens and IP's where we met a bunch of other people and had a wonderful time. Lots of dancing, lots of celebrating.

I am very much looking forward to this year. There are many times when I think I should be more accomplished by now; where my goals have been forgotten and replaced with new ones. But. I look forward to another year onward, maybe even a quarter century crisis of some sort (probably when I go home with no prospective job offers). All silliness aside though, I am thrilled to be 25 and so happy to have been able to celebrate it with such great friends. THANKS!!


baboom shakah wam zoom zoo.

It's 11:19am and I'm still laying in bed. I feel like such a sack of lazy bones right now not wanting to get up and put on a pot of coffee. Plus I'm waiting to call me old man, but unfortunately his cellphone is dead and my mother's is with her in the car while she's picking my sister up from our cousin's house (siiiigh). Oh how complicated and ridiculous its' become to wish him a Happy Father's Day, which by now is almost over.

So yes, the weekend is over and I often find myself waking up on Sunday wondering where the past two nights had gone, not particularly happy that the next day I wake up will be a work day. This weekend however, passed at the perfect speed.

Friday night was spent with my "triangle" of girlfriends and as we sipped on red wine and relived the stories of how we met each other. A few more people popped over before heading to a norebang (singing room) where Abbey & I sang our signature songs (Heart of Glass and Sk8r Boi) while also ripping the mics out of other people's hands when we just HAD TO SING their songs.

Saturday was spent in Busan where I tried my hand at windsurfing again - rather unsuccessfully I might add. I wasn't even able to get up this time, the wind was sooooooo strong and the waves were soooooo big that I think I spent more energy trying to set up the 'wing-board-sail' configuration that by the time I jumped on the board and pulled up the sail I would be parallel with the waves and wipe out. I threw the towel in when I fell off and the damn thing conked me in the head. Again though, I will do it again.

Sunday was spent relaxing, I took a bike ride through the rice fields where I kept kicking myself for not bringing my camera. I was also chased by a growling/barking/fang bearing dog that was trying to bite at my toes (I was wearing sandals) and I started screaming out loud and panicking a little bit. I finally out rode it though.

Anyway, I think it's about time to try calling home again...and to make some coffee...and to start the week...and...there must a mosquito somewhere in my apartment because I have new bites this morning. I curse them bugs. CURSE THEM!



baseball, birthdays & other bits

Time's a flying by now. It's been a whirlwind with Zac's visit, holidays, warm weather etc. Outside of work I've been trying to hang out and enjoy my time here as the months dwindle down and the weeks melt into each other.

Last Saturday I was able to go to a Lotte Giants baseball game in Busan. They played the "Something Unicorns", yes, Unicorns, what a name to take pride in. I haven't been to a baseball game in years, at least not a major league one (I don't think this is the equivalent to the major leagues...maybe??), not since a van full of the Koeman's went to a Tiger's game and broke down in the middle of D-town. awesome memories. The game was surprisingly energetic equipped with newspaper pom-poms, a random selection of chants and hollars, the wave, and little old women and men selling beer and baseball snacks (dried squid). I'm glad Aaron was there to teach me about the basics of this all-American sport, which I'm still pretty clueless about.

a view of the team and crowd

After the game we headed out for dinner and then to Gwangali beach to try and meet some friends who were out for a birthday party. Luckily we ran into another foreigner who brought us to the "only real happinen' spot in Gwangali" and our friends happened to be there!

Aaron (my friend from home who's teaching in Busan) & I livin' it up in Gwangali

Other than that, work is going well. My Aussie co-teacher is quitting (I'm kind of happy about this) and Scott, another friend from home, is coming early July to take her place. Things are shaping up and the summer's in full swing. 3 more months to go!!!


gotcha-hadya...I have a caloose on my foot, oh dear.

This past Wednesday was a Korea's Memorial Day, which meant we had the day off work. After waking up a bit groggy and an awful nauseating bus ride to Busan, some friends and I went to SeongJeong beach - a beach much less touristy/built up than other Busan beaches. On our way there Emma pointed out all the Korean flags hanging outside of the large monolithic concrete apartment buildings. They were hung at half mast to remember the fallen soldiers. I wish I had a picture.

This beach quickly proved to be one of my favorite places in Korea. It was nestled into a rather large cove and it felt more like we had escaped from Gimhae, and even Busan to a cool little beach town. We had gone with intentions to go surfing (with lessons of course), but when we got there the swells were piddly - hardly enough to boogie board on. Despite the small swells, there was still a good strong wind so we decided to give wind surfing a try. For 50 "bones" we were able to rent a wind surfing board and wetsuit for 3 hours plus a private lesson. Our lesson was a joke. It basically consisted of a little Korean man who drew images in the sand of a our board, our sail and the wind. He showed us how to pull the sail up and how our feet should be placed on the board, then he dragged us out in the ocean and let us be...until we got too far out and he had to drag us back in with the dingy. All in all it was awesome and exhausting, but I hope to go again soon. We were also able to rent kayaks, boogie boards, go for rides behind seadoos on these blow-up torpedo type things (can't remember the name), play frisbee and drift freely into the mindset of being glorious beach bums.

Kelsey & I in our wetsuits all ready to goooo

One of the rented kayaks

By 5ish(?) the wind had gotten stronger and the temps cooled so we decided to head back to Gimhae. Before we boarded the bus we thought it would be nice to sit somewhere and have a nice drink before heading back to reality. We ended up at Bennegins where we knew we'd be able to have red wine by the glass.

Emma, Kelsey & me sun-kissed and enjoying our vino

It turned out to be one of, if not the best day I've had in Korea and as the hot temps and humidity continue to rise, I can't wait to get back there...


My motherland

So I titled this here little blog as "back in the motherland" because, well, I think it's funny and I'm here for a year living in the country I was born in... Of course when I go home I'll title it something different such as "wandering idiot with a useless degree and no prospective job offers" or "left my heart & Seoul in Korea" (shoutout to Cyndirocker).

Anyway, while in Seoul we stayed near Holt adoption agency which is the sister organization of Bethany Christian Services, which I was adopted through. As I pointed it out when we walked by, this awesome banner caught my eye and I just busted up...If you can't see it, it says, "Welcome to your Motherland".

How fitting.


weekend in seoul...

...and a tale of unfortunate events. And by "unfortunate", I mean nothing less than frustrating, maddening, hilarious, ridiculous and random.

Zac's vacation here has come and gone and as I write, he's on a plane heading for home - heading to work tomorrow. A few of us went to Seoul for his last weekend and for some reason, Seoul was not our sister, our friend, or even a general acquaintance....Okay, I'm exaggerating a little bit. We had a great time, but there were a few bumps over the weekend that added to it's awesomeness.

* CRAZY STUPID TAXI DRIVER: After arriving in Seoul, we dropped our bags at Kim's Guest House in Hapjeong and quickly hailed a cab to meet up with Brett (from Calvin) and some of his friends. We told the taxi driver "hongik Dae Hakyo" (Hongik University) and he repeated it showing us he knew where we were going. Hong Dae (shortened version) is literally one subway stop from Hapjeong, maybe a 15-20 minute walk and only a $3 cab ride. Since we were in a hurry we got in the cab on the wrong side of the street, but as most Korean drivers disregard most traffic laws, I expected him to whip a u-ee (how does one spell that??) and bring us safely to our destination. Well this stupid idiot hopped on the highway and started off in the wrong direction. Being somewhat oriented with the area, but not confident enough, I thought he knew a short cut. Unfortunately, he didn't. We called Brett to have his Korean friend speak with the driver and found out he was taking us for a ride...all the way to Kyungblah blah blah University. Do Hongik and Kyungblah blah blah sound even close to similar? No. I don't think so. When he finally "understood" he was going in the wrong direction he didn't exit off an off ramp to turn around like normal people do. Instead, this crazy fool jumped on one of the bridges that crosses the Han river only to catch another bridge (and these aren't particularly small bridges) back. $21 later we finally arrived at Hongdae where we threw him $10 and a few choice words. STUPID STUPID STUPID. I was sweating I was so pissed.

* LOCKED OUT: That night we arrived back at the guesthouse quite late and were trying to be quiet as to not wake the other guests. None of our "room" keys worked in our door and were afraid we'd have to crash in shared living room area. We weren't very happy. We heard someone upstairs and thankfully Sunny, one of the owners was still awake and was able to let us in. He told us we weren't allowed to have a room key b/c it's a dorm room and that our "room keys" were in fact locker keys. We thought this to be very silly since Zac's suitcases don't actually fit into the tiny little lockers and b/c we were the only people staying in the room. Whatever, we were able to get in and sleep.

*DRIVE BY SHOOTING: Saturday night we (Aaron, Zac & I) went to meet Wes, Bill and Bill's friend from home. We were having a hayday trying to find where they were. While I was talking to Bill I suddenly felt a horrible pain and heard something drop. I screamed into the phone "arrgghhh, OMG!!! Bill, I think I just got shot!!!" After I said this I
heard Bill's voice become very serious as he said, "OMG Kim, are you alright? What's going on??" I then realized I was okay, there was no blood or bullets in my body but something was definitely shot at me and it really freaking hurt. Well, it turns out some really funny people thought they'd drive around and shoot people with air soft guns or soft air guns (whatever they're called) and I was one of their lucky targets. I had big ole' welt to prove it and there's still a tiny mark but it no longer hurts. Needless to say, I had a lot of fun talking about how I got shot in Seoul.

* LOCKED OUT OF THE LOCKER: Wes or Bill lost their locker key and of all the key copies at Kim's Guest House, they didn't have one for their locker. So we waited while they tried numerous other keys before a locksmith was finally called.

Well, there were other things but these were some of the highlights. We were able to meet with kimberbop, Brett, Gracie and her fiance, plus we randomly ran into some other Gimhae/Busan people. We walked around Itaewon, Insadong, the Palace, Meong Dong, Gangnam and hung out in Hong Dae & Sinchon...We were all really tired when we separated ways and for some reason my feet looked like I had walked through piles of coal. Anyway, here's our family picture and it's time for me to get ready for work. Vacation over. (sigh).

Brett, Aaron, Zac, my shadow, & Kim Hall