Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What all the kids are hoping to see in their stockings this Christmas

Merry Christmas! Enjoy something more delicious than spinach wafers and pumpkin cookies.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I'm Also a Culture Teacher...

As a (hopefully) good teacher, I try not to let on when I'm feeling crabby or when my students are driving me insane. However, my perception and reality are not always one and the same. All of my students seem to have consumed several gallons of Red Bull immediately before any class with me this week, and it is grating on me. I hadn't realized how irritated I was, until one of my students started looking like she was possessed-- staring straight ahead with only the whites of her eyes showing. I asked what was wrong and she said she was trying to make her eyes look like mine. Apparently, I had been rolling my eyes with such abandon, that she thought I was purposefully trying to look like I was having a seizure of some kind.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Korean Kids Really ARE More Innocent

I've been reading Walk Two Moons with my 6th grade reading class and today our discussion included the revelation of a character's mother having had a child before marriage whom she gave up. My students were VERY puzzled and kept asking in different ways trying to confirm that she in fact had not been married and yet had had a child. Finally, in Korean, one of the kids opined that it was a miracle. The book has a number of unusual plot twists, so apparently, a virgin birth required no more suspension of disbelief than, say, the main character's mother dying in a wreck (which had also been revealed in the portion we discussed today). Fortunately, the virgin birth scenario seemed no less plausible to them than the rest of the story and I was able to put away my jazz hands. :-)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

To Be a Cat Lady or Not To Be a Cat Lady

A couple of years ago, I discovered a baby yarn that looks like terry cloth. Of course, not in Korea, just online. Since it was not locally available, naturally, I lusted after that yarn in an unnatural way. The only thing that stopped me from ordering a sweater's worth (as in, adult sweater, for me) was that it was only available in hideous baby pastels.

Then, last weekend, at Dongdaemun, I saw something even better. What could be better than terry cloth yarn, you ask? Mink blanket yarn! It looks like gigantic pipe cleaner yarn, but feels like a mink blanket. And! It was available in a purple/ lavender/ white variegated colorway. I snapped up a sweater's worth without even asking the price (so, undoubtedly got the foreigner/ rube "special"). Well, it IS NaNoSweMo, right? Right. and if it's knit on 10mm needles, I can get it done in a month. Or a weekend. Whichever.

I will not take a photo, because it is a sweater which screams, "THIS IS WORN BY A DIVORCED CAT LADY!" I will say that it is an over-sized cardi and it took me about 10 hours to knit. My kind of sweater.

In addition to my sweater success (I thought I would run out of yarn, but I finished with about 1/2 a row's worth left over), my weekend was full of surprises. One of which was unexpectedly having a favor for a friend turn into 350K with a promise of future paydays. :-) A little something to offset the won's swan dive. I also used Korean today and... actually had a conversation. About politics. Okay,the guy obviously was experienced with foreigner Korean, but still...

AND I put off the church lady that has decided to be my friend, at least for another week...

Monday, November 03, 2008

I'm Ready to Have Something on the Needles

I haven't had anything on the needles in a few weeks, since I finished this:

Like the error right there in the middle? It's my nod to the Amish. ;-) I know you are also in awe of my ghetto lace blocking style. It works, though. This scarf was super-easy. It's just two repeats of the tilting blocks stitch pattern. I did around 30 repeats. The yarn is Filatura di Crossa, I can't remember the colorway, but it's a nice autumnal blend of rusts and olive-y greens. It's for my mom, as soon as I get it in the mail...

We had another contest on the SeoulPodcast, and here was the grand prize:

Not one, but two earpickers, an Englice dictionary, a "V-line" face massager, Korean stickers, some socks with gambling card images on them, and some random Korean candies.


We had Halloween at work this week. I forgot to take my camera one day, but here are a few kids from Wednesday.


I went to Yuldong Park to check out the foliage this past weekend. It was definitely not a date. :-( It was fun, anyway.

If you look closely, you can see that the bungee jump faces a huge church (above and slightly to the left of my head).

Don't know what it is? Me, either.

Even the port-a-potties are nice. :-)

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'm Done!!! And I hate Word

So, here it is, after 1 AM, and I'm putting the final finishing touches on my final paper, which is not stellar work, but enough to get me through the course, when the file DISAPPEARS from my drive and Word is refusing to open the file, because it is not a valid path. I hate Word! I am forever a convert to Open Office, since it had no trouble finding the file on my thumb drive. Now I don't have to throw myself at the mercy of my instructor, who I have already determined to be a hardass and unlikely to be too sympathetic that I had a problem at the 11th hour due to my extreme ability to procrastinate.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Why I wish I were Karl

On my way to school today, I saw an awesome example of mutton dressed as lamb- a Korean specialty if there ever was one. This woman was, shall we say, of a certain age (I'll generously guess mid-fifties) wearing skintight leopard skin pants and platform stilettos at least five inches high. I had my camera, but not the balls to take a photo on a crowded pedestrian mall. Karl would never have let bystanders put him off. I'm pretty sure he would have walked across broken glass to get a photo of her.

For those keeping track, I finish my MEd. tomorrow. I have a manageable-ish amount of work to get done before school tomorrow. It's far from my finest, but it's enough for me to pass. Unless my teacher is stricter with the grading than last semester. I could link to my previous complaint about him, but I shouldn't even be spending this time writing this down. My ace procrastination skills have limits...

Friday, October 03, 2008

A Good Time Was Had By... Me or The One Where Chandler Dates Rachel's Boss

I may have just gotten a little karmic retribution for snubbing Soldierman so cavalierly for his...um... intellectual deficiencies in the form of a rather brutal dating experience tonight.
Well, as you may have guessed from the title, *I* had a great time. To quote Rachel's boss, "Click, click, click." He's smart, funny, and articulate. ;-) We talked for hours and the clicking *seemed* to be mutual.
Until it was time to go and he gave me a one-armed, sideways hug and said..."We'll have to keep in touch."
So, I'm going to try not to dissect the evening and figure out where it all went wrong. But I probably will.
On a more positive note, I got an email from Please-Be-My-X and he is NOT coming back to Korea at this time.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Another Reason Not to Use Make Up Testers

While at COEX grading papers and stocking up on The Face Shop's cheap toiletries today, I witnessed one of the grosser events that I have seen in recent memory. While a young mother was putting every single lipstick on her mouth, her son repeatedly sneezed all over the testers. I mean, all over. I guess she figured she lived in the house with him, so she was already exposed. Or mothers don't mind their kid's bodily fluids. Or she's a Korean mom and, therefore, oblivous to her child's actions.
At any rate, I will no longer even be putting testers on the back of my hand-- I *do* mind kid's bodily fluids.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

When Matter Meets Anti-Matter (or not)

Last night, both guests (Stafford and a comedian) backed out at the last minute. Okay, the comedian had been admitted to the hospital... Stafford's excuse was...um... I don't remember. Joe knew how sad I was to have missed the chance to meet Evil Jennifer, so he surprised me by having her on. A good time was had by all. Or by me, anyway. You'll have to listen yourself to this week's episode-- due out Saturday. I know, I know, that's three days away. Try to hold your horses. :-)


Getting back to work has been fine-ish. The days still seem much longer than they should. I've got a good bunch of kids and the new teacher is actually a teacher, so she has not had any problems so far. Even better, her college roommate may be coming to work with us from next month, so I won't have to force myself to be sociable.


Last week, I missed out on discussing this topic on the podcast, but I revisited it this week. Now all I need is a T-shirt with this on it:

Friday, September 12, 2008

Home Again Home Again Jiggety-Jig

Well, I made it through the rest of my visit without any more hurricanes.

I decided to pony up another $130 (it was already the most expensive coach ticket ever, so why not?) for the extra 5" of leg room. I know, if anyone doesn't need extra leg room, it's me, but I figured not too many families would pay that for their kids, and I was right! I had a window seat and no one next to me for the entire flight (three planes)-- money well spent.

I missed getting my cat out of jail last night by about ten minutes, so I was there at opening this morning to spring him. He was totally freaked out and jumped out of my arms on the way home and hid in the bushes. I finally had to pull him out by the leash (he has the kind that wraps around his chest-- I wasn't going to choke him, so don't send me nasty emails.)

Now I've got to try to get my cable hooked up today or (gasp!) I won't have TV for the long weekend. For the past four years I've gotten free cable, but my apartment has discontinued that service. I imagine that has something to do with the ajumas that put together a petition to lower our monthly bills, which are already pretty low. Thanks for saving me that $3, ladies.
ETA- Reason Korea is great #33: I called the cable company at 12:00 and the cable guy just left (5:15).

I guess I should unpack. Or take a nap and then unpack... I just hope I didn't miss this while I was gone:
(Thanks to Brian for the head's up and the link to I lobe Konglish.)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

It Wouldn't Be Home Without a Hurricane

Gustav has now pretty much come and gone with little damage to my family members and their homes but now I'm stuck in Tampa, because the airport will still be closed when I was supposed to fly back to NO. I rescheduled the flight and was happy to get on one, but my sister is pissed because the traffic's going to be bad. She wanted me to reschedule it for Saturday-- the day of the opening game between the Saints and... Tampa. Whatever. I guess it wouldn't be a trip home if she wasn't pissed off at me about something...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

If it's Thursday, it must be Disney World :-)

Why don't work weeks go by this quickly? Needless to say, I'm having a great time and doing a lot of relaxing and not a lot of homework...
I've been home for a week now and am already at destination #2-- my Dad's in Florida. Tomorrow we are going to Epcot. Apparently there is a new ride that simulates a hurricane-- is that really necessary in these parts?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

World's Meanest Mom

That's how I felt when I took my cat, kicking and screaming every step of the way, to the vet, which, fortunately for me, was two blocks from my house. May I just say, that was the longest two blocks of my life. I did at least get some enjoyment from seeing how much he freaked out all of the Koreans we passed. :-) Watch out he might steal your soul! Actually, the sounds he was making did fit a soul-sucking demon...
When I got to the vet, there was a bit of a Korean moment, of course. Last week, I talked to the vet, made a reservation, if you will, to make sure they could take care of him for three weeks. I was quoted 300k, which was what I had expected. No problem. When he saw my "big cat" the price changed to 375. What, are they going to feed him more? I will just have to trust that the higher fee went to getting him a larger cage. I will also have to trust that they will let him out to exercise each day. I had to hit up the ATM, since I had been told 300, and when I came back, Kneivel was out of sight and silent. So, I am also trusting that they didn't drug him up to keep him quiet.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Koreans Can be White Trash, Too

While I was grocery shopping today, I saw a store employee doing inventory. No big deal, except he came across an open bottle of wine. Yes, some thirsty shopper uncorked a bottle of wine in the store and had a little drink. Were they carrying a corkscrew around with them? How did they do this surreptitiously, anyway?
I was finally able to get a ticket from New Orleans to Tampa with my inferior Korean credit card. Well, actually, I used Paypal. I heart Southwest. And Paypal.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dear Sallie Mae, Please Pull Your head Out of Your Ass. Thanks, Jen

Around the beginning of the year, as you may recall, I paid off a student loan more befitting a doctor/ Harvard grad than a teacher/ state school grad. As you can imagine, I did a few happy dances and then forgot about it. Until today. When I got a nicely worded note letting me know that I was going to default on my loans. After I gave the nice (but clearly uninterested) customer service rep a piece of my mind, I was informed that I had not paid $300. Let me just back up and say that I called my student loan people and confirmed that everything was paid and they happily announced that I was debt free. How, I would like to know, can I pay money that I don't know is owed? The nice (but clearly uninterested) customer service rep insisted they had informed me and gave me the address they had been sending mail to, where I lived in 1996. Did they lose the five (six? ten?) addresses I've had since then? I would understand this if it were still state-run-- government workers aren't really known for getting off their asses for much of anything but a break, but Sallie Mae has been privatized. So, theoretically, this is a profit-seeking corporation. Were they hoping to cash in on the massive interest that has accrued to make a total of $300?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes...Or Reason Korea is Not Great #1

As long as I have been here, I still am occasionally stopped in my tracks by my students' offhand remarks. Or writing.
Yesterday, I was given two college application essays to review for a student. Let me repeat: college application essays. You know, the ones that make you stand out as the perfect freshman that the school absolutely must accept. OK, just wanted to make that clear.
The topic of both essays was something along the lines of "Discuss some hardship you have overcome." Essay #1 was all about the "hardship" of sharing a room at boarding school with a girl that had multiple airplanes and homes around the world. The hardship? The roommate was messy. Really. Space devoted to said hardship and its resolution? One paragraph. Space devoted to telling about the girl's wealth? Three paragraphs. She actually said that their difference in socio-economic status was a cultural difference they had to deal with. You know, as opposed to the cultural difference of coming from different cultures. Which, BTW, she did not mention.
So, the first essay was basically crap. No problem, I thought, she has a second essay with basically the same topic. If necessary, she can revise the second one and use it for both schools. Then I read the second one. This one was about the hardship of staying with a black family for a fortnight in England. It was a hardship because of the stink of their weird food throughout the house. However, she found their hair very interesting to look at, even after she got used to the strange smells. Now, she proudly announced, she tells her friends that black people aren't scary and dirty. Really. I read the entire thing thinking it had to be a joke-- this girl lives in the US. But, no, no joke. So, I edited the grammar and vocab and put a nicely worded note suggesting she revise the overtly racist parts, without specifically stating that she would only be left with an introduction.

Monday, August 11, 2008

So Close I Can Taste It

One week from now, I will be getting on a plane for home. My first visit to BR in four years. I've only got a few classes this week, so I've got to do some shopping, packing, and arrange the kennel for my cat.

I'm not looking forward to that last one-- it took him a while to forgive me for the last time and that place had a huge cat area with floor to ceiling condos and room to run. Of course this is Korea, so that place is gone, so it looks like he's going to spend three weeks in a cage.
SAT classes mostly ended last week, which is why I have so few hours this week. They ended much better than I expected except for a few of my private tutors. My tutoring sessions weren't as popular as the ones with the young teachers that spent equal time chatting and teaching. I'll try not to take it personally. ;-) Now I have no excuse not to work on my CALL coursework and a couple other papers I've got ( long over-) due.

Well, while the soldier has been in the field for two weeks I have had plenty of time to "reflect" (obsess is such an ugly word) on things. I've decided not to see him any more. As nice as he is, I want to meet someone that I don't have to modify my vocabulary for, I do that all day at school. It's not like I'm some super-intellectual person, so I don't think that's unreasonable. I think things were really over when he was shocked to hear that I was (gasp!) reading one night when he called. Having two weeks to fixate on it sealed his fate. Onward and upward. :-)
I got some unhappily surprising news at work on Friday. Just last month, I signed a long contract in order to get this vacation and another month off in January. I did it not only to get the time off, but also because there are some developments going on at my school that, if they come to fruition, would be an excellent opportunity for me. Then, out of the blue, on Friday, one of my bosses (the one spearheading the project) announced that she and her (horrible, wretched) ex have reconciled and are talking about getting married in spring, but she wants to get married be the end of the year. After they get married, she is going to move to the US so he can go to dentistry school. Her plan when I met her was to become a dentist, BTW, but now she wants to be a wife. Only. I have to say, I'm really not pleased with this turn of events-- surely she knew this was a possibility last month. In fact, I may not finish my contract if she leaves.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I Haven't Fallen off the Face of the Planet

I've just been busy. Friday was the end of the regular semester. I had foolishly thought that the next few weeks before I go home would be relaxed. Well, it will be slower than the past six weeks, but I'll still be teaching about 35 classes a week.
Since I'm going home when SAT classes finish, I was not scheduled to teach children's classes for the summer. I thought that meant I would be teaching 9-1 for the next three weeks. I was half-right-- I'm teaching 9-1. And 2-6. Mondays, at least, are half-days. I suppose I'll be happy on payday, because I'm working August on an hourly basis. That will make up for the most expensive cattle class airline ticket in history.
Other than teaching, I've just started my final course for my MEd!!!! Hold your applause, hold your applause. Yes, this course I began a mere five and half years ago, it coming to a conclusion only 6 months past the technical deadline. Go waivers!
I haven't written about my personal life in a while, so here's an update. Things are fairly quiet on the Please-Be-My-X front. Right after I sent him home for the third time (but who's counting), he was emailing me on his usual stalker-esque schedule. It has petered out, though. He managed to get a job and hold it for an entire week before he sabotaged himself. When he complained to me about his mom's lack of understanding (he's squatting at her place), I told him pretty straight up that he does the same thing over and over and over, knowing what the result has been the previous umpteenth times. So, it is his fault for thinking things would be different this time. Since then, there has been near radio silence. I may even send him divorce papers soon...
I also started seeing someone about a month ago. He's really sweet and seems eager to prove that he is NOT like P-B-M-X. He's a soldier stationed about 1 1/2 hours away, so that's a little inconvenient, but we're taking turns going to see each other, so... so far so good. I have to say, it's weird to go out and have someone else pay. Good weird. :-) He's going to the field for some extended training this week and when he gets back, I'm going home, so that kind of sucks, but I'm sure I'll survive... ;-)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I'm in Wikipedia

Check it out.
Also check out cheerleaders at the 7th Wheelchair Sports Tournament doing a dance inspired by Japanese horror movies. Some things just don't translate well...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Castus Interuptus

There will be no new podcast this week, but not for lack of trying. Last night, we talked to Annalog for exactly two hours and twenty-five minutes before Joe realized that the record button had not actually engaged when he had clicked it. In his defense, I hadn't noticed either-- there is a voice prompt and a warning from Skype that the call is being recorded, neither of which occurred last night.
Since it was already well past my bedtime, we decided not to have a new episode this week and to have her come back in September.
I received my grade for the only project that I had to do for the CALL class I was taking-- not what I was expecting. I'm pretty pissed, because I put a lot of effort into it and the comments are kind of ...um... nit-picky. Now I can only hope that my online participation grade will boost my overall grade. I put so much work into this class-- way more than I would have if it were a traditional classroom setting, so getting this grade has put me in a crappy mood.
I had heard ages ago that this particular instructor is a hard ass, so I'm going to go with that, rather than think my research/ writing is sub-par. ;-)
My SAT classes are going well. The kids are pretty good, behavior-wise, considering that most of them live in the US and that this is their vacation. They spend four hours a day getting filled with exam-y goodness and then go home to do about six hours of homework, five days a week. I can honestly say that I would not have given it my all had I been put in their shoes.
I've only got six more working days with 11 classes(MWF I *only* have 8 per day). Yea! At the end of the month, my regular classes will finish for the month and then I'll only have SAT classes. Then, when those finish, it's off to sunny LA (Louisiana, that is) for almost a month.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Estonian Potpourii

Estonian Potpourii
Originally uploaded by crazylacelady
Estonian Potpouri-- I've got the center block of one square plus the first pattern done-- 25 lace patterns to go. ;-)

A Month?!

I had no idea it had been so long since I last posted.
Well, I haven't had anything exciting going on, so I guess there was nothing to post about. I was too busy finishing the semester (the penultimate course for my master's!) to knit or anything else, really.
At school, I'm teaching SAT classes from 9-1 and then my usual schedule (2:30-8:30), so I still don't have much of a life even though I finished the class I was taking.
After much leg work on my mother's part, I was able to secure a criminal background check for my visa renewal. Since I haven't lived there since 1991, I'm sure no other place in the world would consider that a valid check, but I'm not anywhere else, I'm in Korea. I also got my medical, which was the usual fun of a Korean doctor's office.
So, I'm sitting in the (full) waiting room while the nurse tries to figure out exactly which drugs I'm supposed to be tested for, when she realizes she's forgotten an important question. Rather than call or motion me over, she shouts, "Ms. Jennifer, Ms. Jennifer, are you having your period?"
There is an older woman there who is afraid something might get lost in translation, so she starts calling out possible English translations (she never did get it right), while the other nurse starts calling out all the Korean euphemisms I am likely to have heard before. Nurse #1 later realized she had forgotten another important question, so we replayed the scene, replacing "chronic illness" and "medications" for "period."
I then got to give the crowd (okay, about seven or eight people) a thrill when they got to see me get weighed. Koreans are always very curious about my weight, which always makes me want to answer, "I weigh enough to crush you like a bug, so don't tempt me!"
In the hospitals defense, they went to a lot of trouble to make sure I was taken care of. A candy striper (or something similar) walked me through the correct lines, because it was set up like the DMV-- it took three lines to set up the physical. She then walked me to the first testing area. Shortly after the nurse got through shouting her way to a medical history, a guy showed up to translate for me. He stayed with me the rest of the visit (about an hour) to make sure I didn't have any communication problems. From what he said in passing to other employees, I gathered that his job was to babysit the elderly and foreigners. ;-)
I called my school before I left the hospital to make sure I had done everything and the secretary asked if she could pick up the results, because it would interfere with my teaching schedule. In typical Korean fashion, the rule is, if the tests are normal, anyone can pick them up, otherwise, only the patient. One would think that they could a) contact the patient in case of abnormal results, or b) seal the results in an envelope, but clearly that is not the case.
Anyway, with medical records (yea! I don't have TB!) and criminal background check in hand, I went to immigration day before yesterday and renewed my visa. Either they finally have enough copies of my diploma and transcripts on file (at least half a dozen) or that was last year's issue and now they are on to drugs and molestation.
Total cost: around US$250, not counting the gas money I paid my mom for the inordinate amount of running around she had to do.
That's pretty much been the height of excitement around here.
I've finally got a project on the needles, but it isn't getting anywhere fast. I'm not sure about my yarn choice, so I'm not bothering to take pictures. I've posted the finished pattern. I started with block three, because there are no nupps or other weird design elements in the center pattern. Of course, what I really ought to be doing is knitting something for my mom to take when I go home, but I'm pretty stingy about my knitting...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Forest in Seoul and "Eco-mowers"

This is going to be another drive by post. I'm madly trying to finish my coursework for my penultimate class for my MEd. However, I found time to go to a picnic in Seoul Forest on Buddha's birthday.

The forest is still new, so Seoul is clearly evident.

Even the drain covers are fancy.

Unlike the wine.

I didn't get a shot of the Dixie cups the wine was consumed from, but you get the idea.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Jennifer Teacher aka The Ball Buster

So, I went to work today in a good mood. Last night, Joe and I had Amanda on the podcast and it was fun. I actually got to talk a little knitting. Not much, because we had already run about 90 minutes longer than intended, as we do every week, but whatever. We've pretty well established that neither of us is capable of thinking a thought that we don't utter. So, Amanda and I kept the knit-talk (is that knittish?) brief.

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow are "event days" at school, so I was in a good mood about that as well. Just one little meeting to get through. I'm sure you can see the fly in the ointment already.

About a week (maybe two) ago, all teachers were given a form to fill in showing what lessons they had remaining in each textbook for the next ten weeks. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the results of our labors and any adjustments that needed to be made. To give you an idea of the amount of work involved, one teacher started doing hers about an hour before the meeting and finished on time.

However, another teacher came in 90 seconds before the meeting and we had the following conversation:

Him: "Um... I haven't finished the paperwork for the meeting."

Me (not surprised, since he generally starts any paperwork on the due date): "Well, just bring what you have so we can discuss that."

Him: ... (Deer in the headlights with crickets chirping in the background.)

Me: "Did you not finish or not begin?"

He hemmed and hawed and apologized, but this was pretty much the end of the conversation. I'm about as non-confrontational as they come, but his stuff is always late and this particular paperwork required little actual work to do. However, that's all I said. Really.

So, the meeting starts a few minutes later and when we took out our paperwork to get started, he started crying. I felt like complete shit until I rewound the conversation in my head. I don't think I was overly harsh, insomuch as I didn't actually scold him.

Later my boss pulled me aside and asked if I was the reason he cried. She then thanked me for putting the fear of God in him about getting it done. Yeah, nothing like tears to let me know I've done a good job.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Colbert v. Rain

Of course, a dance-off with a Korean wouldn't be complete without a round of DDR.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Reason Korea is great #96

I have pink eye. Okay, it's not a usual reason to celebrate a country, but bear with me. I went to the eye doctor yesterday (no appointment, I just dropped in.) I waited nearly five minutes before I was examined. It was hard to wait so long, but I'm a patient patient. Hehe.

Anyway, I had pink eye. Which I figured. Which was why I hauled myself to the doctor on a Saturday. As I was paying the receptionist, she apologized to me. Why, you may ask? Because my insurance wouldn't cover the visit, prescription, or follow-up. The cost of the visit and prescription together was right at $20. I'm guessing the follow-up will be in the $10 range. I think I'll live. ;-)

Now I'm wondering if I should take tomorrow off. There was a pink-eye epidemic in Seoul a couple of years ago-- I wouldn't want to become known as Pink-Eye Jennifer Teacher...Hmmm... the big struggle for workers in Korea: work even if dead vs. public health concerns. If my eye is still pink tomorrow, I'll call in. The crust is already gone, though, so I'm pretty sure I'll be fine. (Dammit!)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

May the third time be the charm

Well, after a mighty push of two consecutive weeks of working, Mr. Please-Be-My-X showed up at my door at 1AM Monday morning. He rang the bell for two hours before I clued in that I could disable it by taking if off the hook. (Hey, I've only lived here nine years, how could I be expected to know that.) It was a testament to a) his bull-headedness and b) Koreans' unwillingness to complain about noise. We used to have a wife beater next door that would have been in prime fight mode at that time. For the first time, I wished they hadn't moved. HE would have complained.

Anyway, he showed up at my school the next day looking like he'd spent the last year doing meth. My co-workers didn't even recognize him. He's lost about 75 pounds or more-- he's pretty scrawny now and shakes like Muhammad Ali. He gave me his usual story about things "not working out." I gave him some money and, what else, bought him another plane ticket home. (Yep, that's three.)

I heard from my sister-in-law that he actually made the flight. So, I will be sleeping easier tonight. To be honest, it was worth the cost of a plane ticket to know he's out of the country and won't be showing up in the middle of the night. I had been waiting for that visit since he arrived in country three weeks ago.
Other than that, things are rolling along as usual. I'm studying for my class, but not as much as I should be. It's interesting, but not as practical as I would have liked.

We recorded the fourth episode of the podcast last night. Five hours. The guest host was the Metropolitician aka FeetmanSeoul, co-host of Bomb English . He does a couple of other podcasts, too, as well as being a columnist for Ex-Pat Living in the Korea Herald, etc etc, you get the idea. He and Joe can conversate in a big way. Fortunately for me, he's a very knowledgable and interesting guy. We recorded from 10PM to 3AM. I'm glad that Joe is all into the editing and tech side. Actually, I've been slacking on that, too. He does the website, the editing, the posting, and I...show up to record. I can live with it if he can. ;-)

That's about it. My life these days is pretty much work, study, sleep. And yet, I'm not studying enough. I've got some long chapter books for school that have been taking my time (for the next two weeks, I'll be covering The Hobbit-- in four lessons). That, and I watched every episode of Firefly last weekend.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Why do Koreans love Nazis?

Those of us that have been on the peninsula a while remember the Hitler bars in Seoul. We also remember how surprised everyone was by the German and Israeli embassies stepping in and basically demanding that they be closed down.

We also remember the much more recent racist comic books (the anti-Semitic ones mostly follow the anti-Black and anti-immigrant ones) which caused an uproar that seemed to catch (Korean) people by surprise.

Now we have a skin whitener (no the irony is NOT lost on me) claiming that their product is revolutionary, like Hitler. Seriously. I could not make up idiocy this extreme.

Yes, these are the same people who can work themselves into a lather over the Evil Empire of Japan. I guess it's only bad behavior when Koreans are on the losing end...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Another Drive-By Post

Well, I haven't gone insane yet, but I can feel myself slowly losing my grasp on sanity. I have been going through some kind of weird insomnia where I lie in bed for hours staring at the ceiling and then wake up tired (since I work evenings, I could sleep pretty late, but can't seem to sleep past 9:00). I haven't had anything on the needles in weeks, since I finished that pair of rib socks which someday I'll post an FO photo of.
I'm knee deep in my CALL class for my MEd. The instructor is, how shall I say, a sadist. We are doing all of the work of a face-to-face class, including discussion. Since this class is asynchronous, this means wading through 50+ emails a day from my classmates, which I am supposed to comment on/ further contribute to the "discussion." This is in addition to weekly assignments. I haven't even started thinking about my major project which, as you may have guessed, will be a major undertaking.
Tomorrow is the KOTESOL Seoul Chapter conference, where I'll be in charge of volunteers and whatever as needed.
Today, the first episode of Seoul Podcast was uploaded. Check it out. Karl was our guest host and we caught up with what he's been doing his first month back in Canada.
So, that's my life at the moment.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

If you ever wondered what my life in Korea is like...

it's like this, with 98% less rapping and dancing.

I love to see foreigners go for the gusto. Koreans think we're all crazy anyway, why not confirm that by rapping on the bus, at the market, while enjoying a refreshing adult beverage at the Family Mart? :-)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

This arrived in my mail box today

Knitting & Crochet Pattern-A-Day Calendars
March, 2008
As always, please share the news!

2010 Submission Deadline

Dear Jennifer, Thank you for your past (and hopefully future) support of the knitting & crochet pattern-a-day calendars. We wanted to make everyone aware that the 2010 submission deadline will be November 1, 2008.

2009 Knitting Pattern-A-Day Calendar Thanks to everyone, our knitting calendar is out to the printer. It is my goal over the next 2 months to email everyone individually and let you know what date your pattern will appear in the 2009 calendar.

2009 Crochet Pattern-A-Day Calendar We are oooh so close. I am waiting for the final batches of patterns to come back from the editor and then it will be a mad dash to layout the remaining pages in InDesign and get these files off to the printer as well. In a continued effort to keep up communications, I will be emailling everyone to let them know what date their patterns will appear. I am hoping to complete this process by the end of June.

When to expect your 2009 CalendarIf you contributed to the 2009 calendar and are wondering when you can expect to receive your free calendar, you can expect it to arrive in the mail by October. As I send out periodic updates, I will include any up-to-date information I have from the printer and the distribution company. If you submitted to both calendars, the Knitting calendars will arrive first and the Crochet calendars will be close behind.

Submission Tips:
Have you ever submitted a pattern and wondered why it wasn't included in the calendar? Most likely there was an error in the pattern or your photo was not high enough resolution.

Avoiding Pattern Errors:
Try to have someone you know reproduce your pattern.Submit early! The sooner you submit your pattern, the more time we have to review your pattern and work with you to resolve problem areas in the pattern.

Image Resolution:
If you are using a digital camera, look for a setting called image size, resolution, or pixels and use the highest setting possible.If you are scanning a photograph, scan at 300 dpi.Images that are optimized for website are typically too small and will print blurry.

Susan Ripley, Ripley Designs, Inc.
Click Here to Submit Your Pattern!

If there is justifiable homicide, why is this considered the work of a lunatic?

Quite possibly the most annoying man in the known universe No Hong-Chul was attacked.
Is there a fund for this so-called crazy person's defense fund?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Designer clothes let people know if you are good or bad

So sayeth one of my students. We were practicing brainstorming and the topic was "clothes". Most of the other students came up with: you can express your personality, you are protected from the weather, etc.

This was par for the course from this particular student. He can endlessly discuss the cost of latest acquisitions. ("My phone cost $900!") Pretty much every class, I want to look at him and say, "We've got it-- your parents are willing to waste insane amounts of money.")

Of course, as a teacher, I love all my students equally. ;-)

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Brand-Spanking New Nephew

How beautiful is he? He is my oldest brother's second child and my fifth nephew/ niece.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Namdaemun Down in Flames

Last night, "a guy in his 50s" torched Namdaemun-- Korea's national treasure number 1. Karl thinks National Treasure number 2 played a role. Joking aside, I really can't express how I feel about this.

I am more than a little angry that the nation has literal hordes of riot police to "protect" every square inch of Seoul were one might run into an American, but they can't spare one or two to guard it's number one national treasure?

Apparently, some of the blame lies with the firefighters who "thought" the fire had been extinguished. You know, in some countries, firefighters check every inch of a fire to check for smoldering... The president-elect has said it will cost $21 million and take three years to rebuild.

Update: A classic example of why Korea will always be foreign to me. The arsonist has been caught. He was trying to get attention to his cause (a property compensation dispute) and was caught last year trying to burn down one of the palaces. Are you kidding me? Seriously, is there any other culture where that would make sense? This is like someone in the US destroying the Liberty Bell to protest losing part of their yard to a road widening project.

There's a new Yacht Rock!

Check it out:


If you haven't seen it before and are "of a certain age" (40ish), you have to watch Yacht Rock. It's a mockumentary behind the scenes of 80s "smooth music" and is hilarious. The production values are proudly backyard, but that is actually part of the appeal, IMHO, and the stories will make you laugh out loud.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sigh... Vacation is Over

Short but sweet. I did not leave my abode for three consecutive days. maybe not something to brag about, but fun nonetheless.

I read three books. Two were for school, though, so they had to be read anyway.

Before I go to bed tonight I will have finished a pair of socks. No photos yet. Here is the scarf I've been knitting for my sister to go with the LSU Tychus I knit her for Christmas (but still haven't mailed):

Perhaps you can see the problem. I've started and frogged seven or eight different patterns that I ended up not liking. Maybe she wouldn't mind just wrapping the yarn around her neck... Students like to make fashion statements, right?

While I'm showing exciting photos of unknit yarn, here are my wound skeins for the first round of Sock Madness 2. Yes, that's lace weight. Lace. Socks. It's going to be doubled, but it will still require very small needles in order to create sock fabric. I'm hoping 2mm will do, since that's the smallest I can get here.

My cat has been busy this week playing hide-and-seek. I don't think he quite knows what to do with so much company; he hasn't had this much constant companionship since I successfully jetisonned Mr. Please-Be-My-Ex. You might notice his hiding skills are, um, rusty. I was changing the sheets when he "hid" here. That's just poor strategy.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


Or, in English, "Happy New Year!" (basically)

The traditional soup to eat on New Year's Day is Rice Cake Soup, which helps you become a year older (since everyone gets older on New Year's Day, don't you know). However, Rice Cake Soup is somewhat lacking in delicious-ness, if you know what I mean. If you've ever eaten homemade play-doh, you DO know what I mean-- just imagine it in boiling water. Yum! So, this year, try this Chinese version of a Korean favorite instead:
Mmmm... that's right. In just three minutes you can have a nice steaming bowl of dog ramyeon. Don't you just wish there were a Chinese grocer near you?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The End of an Era

Well, after nearly a year, the podcast I've been doing has come to an end so Karl can move back to Toronto. We recorded the final podcast at my apartment and it ended up being a three hour extravaganza of the usual rambling and nonsense (this week with 50% more rambling!). Don't despair, Joe and I have a new podcast in the works, tentatively planned to begin at the end of March.

If you are asking yourself, "What podcast?" you can listen to the last episode here:
Part 1-- Disclaimer: I am not Cajun, people from outside of Louisiana just lump us all together.:-)
Part 2
Part 3

If three hours just aren't enough, you can listen to the previous 58 episodes (I'm only on the ones since February or March of last year, though). OR:
You can check out Joe's blog here.
You can check out Karl's writing here and here and Franglais lessons here.
You can check out Karl's other podcast here.

What with Karl being quoted by the BBC and Joe being in the New York Times (not to mention his biweekly column (click Expat Living) in the local tissue, uh, I mean newspaper), I'm basically the unknown loser of the podcast.

Monday, January 28, 2008

From the Mouths of Babes (or Hands)

We've been giving our students timed essays over the winter camp and this is what two of my second-graders wrote to answer the prompt, "If you could by any age, what would it be and why?"

So, one wants to be 33 to experience the joys of cooking and cleaning (aim high!) and the other wants to be 34 to by-pass the "ouchy"-ness of childbirth because having a baby is like having a monster cut out of you. Days like this make me truly love being a teacher. :-)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Free Beer and Animal Hats

My local grocery store has been running a Heineken campaign lately, which means, what else-- free beer samples. Today, I finally decided to play the crazy foreigner card and take a photo of the Heine Girl.

I've also been taking photos of one of my students this week. He went to Everland ("the Disney World of Korea" hahaha) last weekend and got himself a stylish hat collection. He happily posed for pics, but wouldn't arrange the lemur hat to show the nose. Brat. ;-)

Winter camp is now 60% complete, which means... two weeks until vacation!!! I'm starting to wish I had bought tickets for somewhere. Oh, well, I'll stay here and torture my kitty with static electricity nose kisses.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


On the way home from the dentist (again!) today, my coworker and I stopped at Moran Market to see the dog stalls (for dog meat, not pets).

I saw dogs which were crammed in far worse than in this photo, but the vendors know that there's only one reason foreigners go there and they aren't happy to see us. So, this was the best photo I could take on the sly.

I also saw goats, birds (some of which were packaged in mesh bags-- like for onions-- still alive), and cats. Next to the cages were prepared cuts of meat. One cage had a partially processed dog lying on the top of it, waiting to be butchered.

I wanted to get a photo of the dog restaurant with a smiling dog on the sign, but we were stopped and questioned by some unfriendly types and thought it best to head back to the main road.

At the dentist, I finally got the tooth fixed that I chipped in October. After the Summer of Dental Repairs, I was pretty used to some nice discounts, so I have to admit I wasn't too pleased to pay $100 for the repair, since it literally took 5 minutes. Yes, I am completely ungrateful, I know, especially since that tooth now looks better than the ones around it.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Would it be wrong to steal from a student?

This awesome product made its debut in my classroom today. I whipped out my camera and had my student pose. This was too good for a surreptitious photo.

Check out the link if you want to learn the secret to the ultra-delicious-ness of Korean pizza. This is the guy I do the podcast with. Lest you think it's just a joke, let me assure you, products much like this are available at any bakery (and some "pizzarias"). Yum!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Now, take these scissors from Mommy and run as fast as you can...

For nearly ten years now, I've been watching Korean parenting with one hand covering my eyes. While mothers in the US may at times seem to think children can die of a stubbed toe, Korean moms tend to behave as though their children are bullet proof.

I've grown accustomed to kids jumping on and off curbs while their mothers look for the bus and toddlers wandering unattended in shops. Usually, the mothers are just oblivious to their children's near brushes with death/ dismemberment/ doom. Yesterday, I actually saw one applauding her child for his death-defying derring-do.

So, I was walking through Kangnam Station in Seoul, which as usual was so packed a person could probably die and just be swept along by the crowd. A little boy and his mother were completely lost in their own world, though. He was pirouetting on one foot while practicing his roundhouse kicks with the other all while eating street food (served on a sharpened stake, of course) all at the same time. His mother was competing for parent of the year by... cheering him along.

I really wanted to hang around and watch for the inevitable, but crowds like that make me want to hurt people.