Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas is Fast Approaching...

I think I'm finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel! Progress reports are finished. Two week plans are finished. Most of my Christmas shopping is finished. My kids know their Christmas songs for the concert next week. I have the turkeys ordered for our Christmas dinner at Now Bar. My visas are taken care of for China, as are all of my hostel, train and ferry reservations. And today is Friday! Awesome!

On a much sadder note, my boyfriend has left me for the green grass of Ireland for the holidays. I can't tell you how jealous I am of him. Also, I don't really remember how to go to Now Bar or out to dinner without him. This "independence" thing will take some getting used to (and hopefully I figure it out before my trip to China in eight days).

My Mom and Dad, of course, felt that giving me money for Christmas just wasn't enough and sent a big box of goodies for Pat and I, which we opened last Friday at our own little Christmas celebration. We ate some steak and mashed potatoes (some of my best work yet- stay tuned for recipes), watched Muppet's Christmas Carol, and opened our gifts. Here's some photographic evidence:

My ornaments that my mom sent me last year. She's pretty good at finding kooky stuff for me.

Pat is like a kid in a candy store. He loves Christmas!

My mom puts so much thought into her gifts. We got P and J belgian chocolate. The J was delicious. I packed the P with Patrick so he could enjoy his on the plane. We also got TURTLES! My favourite holiday chocolate! Pat had never heard of turtles before but he soon became addicted. They were gone in about five minutes.

"Your Mom really went all out!"

What could it be? (The answer is: pajamas)

And an Eric Clapton biography. Thanks Mom!

I really love my parents. Can you tell? Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

December in Gok Ban Jeong Dong

This past Sunday the weather was beautiful. Usually, my Sundays are spent in bed with movies and a cup of tea except for about one hour of the day, when Patrick will go for a walk and I will attempt to clean my house.

This weekend I decided to come along for Pat's weekly walk, as he told me there are lots of dogs and people fishing. He wasn't lying! There is all kinds of farm life just on the other side of the rice fields where we never go! It was great to see animals and farmers and people fishing again- almost like being at home, except some of the farms looked like shantytowns and the water people were fishing in looked like it contained nothing but "blinkies" (insert Simpson's reference here).

Some people might find this area ugly, but for me it's a breath of fresh air from the high rises and neon lights that tend to dominate this country girl's life. Here are the pics:

The dogs weren't friendly, but they were pretty. This one wanted my head on a platter; thank God he was tied on a short rope. Or maybe that's why he was mad in the first place. All that space and he can't even run around!

The long road beside the rice fields...

The tractors are being put away for the season.

My neighbourhood is in the background; in the foreground are the remains of this year's harvest!

People had fires going and they were grilling fish as they caught them. I wanted to go down and give it a try, but Pat wouldn't let me. He probably figures I would have fallen in the water or something stupid like that. Let's face it: he's probably right.

Walkin' along.

FINALLY, I found the stupid effing rooster (and his harem) that wakes me up every morning. He is so loud. I thought he lived much closer to my house than he actually does.
Back in civilization....

Or are we....?

Here is the kitteh that lives in the grocery store. We say hello to her every morning on our way to the taxi stand. She likes Kerri more than me.

Annnnd here is my street! You can see the hagwon (private kindergarten) in green, the grocery store I like to frequent and my apartment building at the end of the road. I am on the second floor to the right.
Happy December!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

People I've had to Say Goodbye to Over the Last Three Weeks:

Living here is hard, somtimes- I won't deny it. The worst is when the people who become your extended family members go back home while you're still in Korea for several more months. I won't lie about another thing: Christmas in Korea sucks. I want to go home. But this feeling will pass by January, hopefully. Anyways, in the meantime here is a tribute to some of our dearest friends who have gone back home recently:

Now Bar is eerily quiet without you, Grace. See you in Toronto.

Paul: your jokes about Canada aren't funny. Your accent is funny. We miss you a lot.

Lindsay: I have had to resort to being the "picture taker" now that you're gone. I really suck at it, too. Ask Michelle. We really, really miss you.
To top things off, it's progress report time again. Didn't I JUST do those not so long ago? Ughughugh.