Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Miss Janine's ESL Spooktacular

Halloween in my ESL class yesterday!

For once, I had fun with super-hyper Eric instead of spending the whole class telling him things like: sit down, stop whistling, stop throwing things, stop talking, etc. etc.

Janine and her favourite pirate (and one of her favourite witches)

Two of Liz's ESL kids... I took a picture of the girl in white because she was dressed as the scary little girl from the horror movie "The Ring"- the likeness was uncanny, she creeped me out. I hated that movie, it totally scared me, can you tell?

This is my class! Skeleton- David, Witch to my left: Jenny, Witch to my top left: Yena, Witch above me: Yea-na, Warlock to my top right: Eric, Captain Jack Sparrow: Andrew. Joshua missed out on the fun; he was sick.

Making our jack o' lantern treat bags!

The three girls- they are too cute sometimes.

Jenny, Yena, and Miss Janine

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Autumn Sights in Suwon

Time to harvest the rice! This is the field close to my neighbourhood... I've been watching it grow all summer and although I'm no rice expert I think it was a pretty good haul this year! I almost asked that farmer if I could help him, but my fear of talking to strangers is stronger than my desire to break my back harvesting rice. Think I made the right decision?

A beautiful fall day! Last Saturday I had to go to school (I'm a workaholic... annnd I don't have a computer in my apartment) to do some prep so I stopped by the Mandhu place in Yeongtong before heading to my cubicle. I love watching my mandhu steam, I'm utterly fascinated. You can arrange to go on a Buddhist temple stay and learn how to make Mandhu- it's number three on my list after going to Pusan and Jeju Island. The Mandhu place is also a kimbap place- you can see the rolls of kimbap all ready for some hungry individual on the go.

Across the main road in my neighbourhood- harvesting an unknown grain (I don't think it's rice, but I have been wrong before) outside one of the gazillion churches around Gokbanjeong-dong (and Korea in general).

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pizza and Fried Chicken: A True Korean Experience

I've never had Papa John's pizza before since there are none where I live in Canada, but there is one in Suwon just down the road from GS Mart and I do get tired of the same old sweet potato pizza from my neighbourhood pizza place. Kerri and I went a few weeks ago. The pizza was good, but I think the decor was better. What ambience! I think you'll agree:

I think this abstract take on such a traditional piece really adds something to the general feel of it. I really must meet Papa Johns' interior designer.

In other news, Fried Chicken is really big here. I also heard, although I'm not 100% sure about this, that Korean Fried Chicken (....KFC?) has started to catch on in other trendy places like New York. I can't really taste much of a difference, except the chicken is usually better quality (like, you can tell that it was once a real live chicken) and sometimes the batter is a bit on the spicy side. We already have one or two places in my neighbourhood and I never felt compelled to eat it, but a new place opened as well so I met up with Lisa and Enda one night to check it out. Then Chris, Helena and Liz showed up. Then I had to go meet Kerri at the gym to work off all the grease.

My Dad would love this place.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

50% Off Galbi! NO WAY

If you live in Korea, you know that Galbi is not something considered overly expensive- especially if you only go out for it once in awhile. I would say I definitely go out for Galbi more than once in awhile, but for the amount of food you get (jiggae, lettuce, various types of kimchi, two kinds of dipping sauces, rice, this amazing egg dish, marinated onions, soup, two kinds of salad, sliced garlic, and of course the huge slabs of marinated beef that cook right in front of you on the grill) 10,000 won (about ten bucks) doesn't seem to be an exorborant amount of money to pay! I usually go for Galbi once a week with some friends and it always takes us at least two hours to get through all the food, especially since the woman who owns our favourite place constantly refills our side dishes. This particular Galbi place (pictured below) had just opened recently and since it was in the neighbourhood we could hardly pass up delicious Galbi at half price (imagine, five bucks for ALL that food).

Kerri, Kim, Drew, me, Helen, Amy, and Rachel went last Friday night and the place was packed! I should tell you that even if you sit in a spacious area in a Galbi restaurant your table will eventually be completely packed with dishes- this usually leads to a clumsy Westerner such as myself dropping, breaking, spilling, and reaping general havoc around my table. This restaurant was so crowded we were forced to sit at a table I would consider too small for three people, let alone seven! Anyway, I made it through the meal without making a fool of myself and enjoyed both the tried tested and true Galbi and this delicious cut of pork- I couldn't tell you what it was called, but Helen said it was the neck of the pig. Good thing I like to know what part of the animal my meat is coming from- there was definitely some mystery body parts at some other tables!

We let Helen take care of the BBQ- I would never trust myself to do it with such a tiny, crammed table!

Kerri and Amy

Rachel and Drew... and Kim's newly permed hair.

Janine and Helen, tongs and all.

Drew left, and the girls got a group shot... see how small our table was? Oh... I just realized it looks like Kerri and I are holding hands in this photo. That would be false. Funny though!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What is happening to me?

Why are there no Asian barbies?

Typical fattening Saturday breakfast/lunch- caffe latte and caramel pastry from Paris Baguette

Cafe Vergnano, where Kerri, Kim and I go to practise our Hangul. And gossip. Mostly gossip.

This abandoned motorcycle was outside the school for quite awhile- I guess I'm the only one who has ever experienced theft in Korea.!

The lights of Yeongtong at night... Now Bar is located to your right on the 2nd floor.

I read my last few blogs and wow... has Korea made me this much of a sissy?! Maybe I've been one all along and I'm finally comfortable acting like a sissy. I should stop saying sissy. I know that I've changed a lot though, holy moly. I feel like I was so reckless during university and living at home and I'm finally realizing that life is precious! Hahaha. OK, I really am a sissy. I've just been noticing that lately I've been very... careful. About everything. I used to tease my mom when she would lock the doors in our house- we live in the country, who would break in? But now I'm obsessive about locking my own door, and turning off the gas when I'm finished using the stove, and unplugging my lights, and looking both ways before crossing the street (ok, that one's universal). Is this what happens when you grow up? You become a huge 'fraidy cat? Time to change the subject.

Korea is so beautiful in October! My boss David has organized a day trip on Sunday for all the staff to go hiking on one of the mountains surrounding the city, and it should be a good time! The leaves are starting to change, so it's the perfect time of year to go hiking if you're a nature junkie like me. There will be lots of pictures which I will share with you all.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Can I start this post by saying that I know I probably shouldn't have gotten these sweet little kittehs (in a practical sense)?

But if my parents have taught me anything, they have taught me to help those who need it, even if the ones who need help are little animals. Right, Chelsea?

Soooo I thought a lot about it and I adopted these loving little ladies. And all you other expats should adopt too, if you're animal lovers. There are so many cats and dogs out there who need your lovin'. Speaking of which, there are dozens of dogs right now in terrible danger of euthanization because their shelter in Daejon is being shut down. If you're interesting in helping, please check out and see what you can do. Sorry to be preachy! I know it'll be a hassle for me when I want to go back to Canada with these kitties and I'll have to put them up somewhere if I want to travel around, but I've only had them for two days and already I'm absolutely in love... and my apartment is no longer empty!

This is Somi, my sweet little Japanese Bobtail- seriously, the tail is hilar.

And this is Ha Jin! She is so curious and loves to play with her toys...

I think the best thing about them is that they like to cuddle.

And don't worry Belle, you're still my number one kitteh, I just missed you too much so I had to get TWO cats to try and make up for not having you around (that, and these two can't be separated- they aren't sisters, but they've been together since they were kittens).

Monday, October 22, 2007

Happy Birthday to Meeee

Pictures from my 23rd birthday celebrations (24 in Korean age...):

Rachel thinks something is very funny! Oh, this is at Now Bar. Where else would I choose to have my birthday party?

Miss Janine and Miss Faye, finally surrounded by people who are not 5 years old!

Kerri and Kim

First shot of Soju! Nice eyes Amy!

My first of three birthday cakes (I would get one from each of my kindergarten classes on Monday- very cute!)

The cake was so pretty! And it tasted like yoghurt- so healthy, no?

It was this guy's birthday too! I can't remember his name... he knew my friend Latif.

I decided my birthday was an occasion for 7000 won Hoegaartens (my favouite beer)

Latif couldn't stay very long, he had exams this week- I'm so glad I'm finally exempt from that scenario.

We moved the party to the Norabang place upstairs. Of course. What else do you do on a typical or even a special night out in Korea?

Deryck reminds me of Sean Ryan with the funny faces. I miss that fella, what a boss!

Kim, showing off her mad Norabang skills

Amy and Rachel

At this point we went to the Noise Basement- only the coolest dance club in Suwon! Everyone else was tired and went home after awhile, but Kerri and I danced til 4 Am!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Seoul International Fireworks Festival, Night out in Itaewon/Hongdae, Day in Insadong

These pictures are in very random order, so I will outline what I did this past weekend and label the pictures accordingly! First, well... there are no pictures from Friday night, but Kerri and I went to Now Bar and met up with some people and ended the evening at a fancy Norabang place in the same building as Now Bar. We said we would leave by 2 AM, but when we looked at our watches it may have said... 4. Oops. I got up later that morning and since we were all planning on seeing the international fireworks display (from the US, Japan, and of course Korea) I thought I would go into Seoul on my own first and get some early Christmas shopping done in Insadong. It was a beautiful day and I strolled along the streets seeing the sights and smelling the smells (some are better than others... I will miss a lot about Korea when I'm gone but I will never miss the smell of grubs boiling at the street vendors). When I finished shopping, I sat at a Paris Baguette and had coffee and studied Hangul for awhile.

Then I met up with my friend Eric in Itaewon! He just arrived in Korea a few weeks ago and this was the first time we had been able to meet up, so we went to Gecko's for some food and then made the (nearly impossible) journey to meet up with my Suwon people at the fireworks festival. This festival was so busy we couldn't even get on a subway! We managed to get a cab and slowly made our way through the traffic to an island in the middle of the Han River. In the end, we couldn't find my friends. There were just too many people! We arranged to meet them in Itaewon later and found a place to sit and enjoy what was left of the fireworks. Whose were best? Well, in all fairness we missed the Japanese display and half the American display, but I still think Korea blew America out of the water. They were the best fireworks I have ever seen!

Afterwards, we went to Itaewon and met up with my peeps at Subway and then said goodbye as they were heading back to Suwon before the subways closed for the night. Eric and I made our way up the street, gorged ourselves on street food and then bought some soju from a convenience store and drank it on the street, simply because it isn't against the law to drink in public here and because we can buy soju for $1.30 whilst it would be a little more expensive to drink in a bar.

We met some of Eric's friends and arranged to meet them in Hongdae; and after a gruelling 25 minute cab drive (some drivers like to take foreigners for granted in this country...) we met up with them and went to the TinPan bar. Hongdae is a university neighbourhood all the way, and one of the coolest places in Seoul if you're looking to hit the bars. Unfortunately, Eric and I were in no such mood at this point! We had a drink and then made our way back to Itaewon to stay the night in a jjimjilbang (Korean saunas... for ten bucks you're safe for the night- they have separate saunas for men and women, and they give you pajamas and a mat for the floor and full use of the facilities- if you don't mind getting naked in front of 50 othwer women). And so ends my day in Seoul! I woke up refreshed in the jjimjilbang and hopped on the subway back to Suwon!

Beautiful Korean fireworks

There were constant bouts of cheering...

On the way to Itaewon after the fireworks- finally, a subway not packed to capacity!

While drinking our Soju in the street we realized we were sitting right outside a police station. Yes, we really are that smooth.

In Hongdae: I thought this bar was called "Ho Barn" but really it's just "Ho Bar IV"

At the fireworks display: twin view blockers

Eric at the fireworks display...

Can you see all the people down there? This was our view from the bridge. Then we decided to get down there ourselves.

More view blockers

American fireworks

In Insadong: drumming performance

Even the livestock joined in the fun!

This picture was accidental, but I kinda like it.

Beautiful, busy day in Insadong!

And.... da da daaaaaa! My first cafe au lait in Korea! It wasn't very good, and I had to walk them through it in my very limited Korean, but it really did hit the spot.