Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Man Comes Around.

So I'm teaching kindergarten in the Seoul area. Alright so far, tiring but sometimes pretty fun. Got to take some pictures of the kids (cute) and school (big money) so I can put them on here. Quite a responsibility for my 23 year old person being the sole caretaker of 7 year old kids 5 hours a day... might not be a perfect fit for me but I'll take it. They cry, they pick their noses, they hug me for no reason. I'm with the same kids each day, every day... I'll miss'em whenever I go.

Trying to figure out how much I want to pursure studying Korean. My level is at the point I can survive but if I want to reach the next level I'll have to step it up. But on the other hand I really want to learn Spanish before I settle back in Florida so...

Anyways, Corea is cool (ugh).

Monday, August 08, 2005

Like whoa.

Currently in Bundang, finished up a camp in Pyeongchang and lookin for full time work. Semi-interesting stuff later when I make time and get the internet hooked up at home.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Don't Stay Home.

I delayed having to make a decision about what I'm doing next by signing up to work a 2 week summer camp in Pyeongchang. It's cool I'll be able to see another part of Korea. I've lived in a small city for 8 months. I'll live in a town for a few weeks. Then try out a suburb of Seoul (probably).

Doesn't bother me I don't know much about the town or the job, it's just for 2 weeks. After all I flew here, across the States and the Pacific and hardly knew what I was getting into. No regrets.

I gotta buy a nice bike. W350,000 or about there. I've been the white guy on the old bike that's too small for him getting all the long looks from the locals recently.

So it's just been lots of bike riding and hanging out with friends and a bit of studying recently. I seriously promise pictures and stuff in the future, I'm gonna be seeing 2 new places and doing 2 new jobs in the next month after all.

One of my favorite pictures from church...

Now, random pictures that maybe maybe maybe are of mild interest.

An alley! Wow!

The view from a friend's apartment.


Sunday, July 17, 2005

아녕, 미미

So I spent the past few days in Chuncheon. Hung around with some Hawaiians and Californians, funny the place I meet the most West Coast people ever is in Asia. Nice city, bit bigger than Gangneung and a bunch of colleges around too. Hard Rock Cafe (not the real thing, they just stole the name) there has a University of South Florida plate hanging on the wall too, go figure. Plenty of open space around like this city. Important cuz I've started riding my bike more and if I move to Seoul I might aim for something around the city instead. Ilsan, Bundang. Nice suburban type areas with parks (hopefully) to ride around in the new bike I'd buy.

2 job interviews there, offered both jobs... turned one down and thinking about the other. The one I turned down seemed ok really except the hours (9 to 6) were longer than most jobs like this. Almost a split shift, really. And with kindergartners. Funky contract. Why work 9 til 6 when I can find one working 4 til 10? Next job was ok too but I sense more entertaining would be asked of me. 1 guy had been there just a bit and one class was already roughing him up. And many weekends I wouldn't get off 2 days in a row.

I head to Seoul tomorrow (if my old boss gives me the money he owes me before I go) and try to get a decent job with a decent apartment (AC required). The one that looks most likely is west of Seoul and in a big city, I'm looking for anything around Seoul that isn't west and more suburbia.

I really look forward to changing now, need to start getting some more cash flow and change of scenery. The people I've met here are great and I wouldn't be mad if a nice job fell into my lap here but... I really need to know what I'm doing next. Sometimes I don't know what I'm doin tomorrow but hey... Wish me luck...

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Tape 2B.

So my options are... pursue a contact here in Gangneung that may or may not lead to a full time job. Take a part time job here that's been offered. Wait around for a job in Chuncheon. Immediately take a job in Seoul and start work next week... or hang around and wait for a better job in Seoul.

I'm leaning towards waiting for a better job in the Seoul area. It'd be a bit costly but I could rent a room here for a couple weeks to put all my stuff in and be free to do whatever I want in the next few weeks. If I'm lucky I could time my hiring so that the school could pay for the visa run and not me.

Where should I go in this section of the country anyways? I've seen Gangneung and the nice areas around it I guess. And Chuncheon. I've been dying for a vacation but now it's here and I don't have quite enough money to do what I want so I need to work a bit more then take some serious time off. Spain or Mexico anyone? And of course home to see the family... don't get me wrong, this free time is awesome but... maybe there are some Korean classes around I can take? Hmm.

Need a haircut. Need an umbrella. Need to find a job. Need to meet some more people or something. Need to get a bike... but if I move to Seoul...

Random pictures!
Woke up early the other day and strolled down to this bridge along the river... i lik tis pictar.
A shot from the bridge down the river in the downtown direction.
Trying to sum up my part of Gangneung in one picture...
And the new profile pic that I'm sending to schools so they know I've got that American look to keep them happy.

Monday, July 04, 2005


So I'm sitting around waiting for a job to fall into my lap. Probably best to just continue phone calls and emails for a few more days until I need to get serious. This is supposed to be my vacation after all.

I want to travel around a bit but... I'm still waiting for when I need to move out of here. I can rent a cheap room for a week or two, I just need to know when.

So tough to pick up enough Korean with the way my brain works. I can only remember a word if I see it written... the country is my classroom and the people are my teachers but man. I just study because I think it's good for my brain. I'm wondering how good my study system is. I'm finishing up some computer programs for vocab and grammar. I finishing up that Survival Korean book with the MP3s, too. Then I randomly read the Roadmap to Korean book. And when I hang out with friends I try to listen and understand what they're sayin but I'm lucky to pick up a word in every sentence. I'm gonna buy a textbook next after I finish all the random material I have now.

I really like the blogs by foreigners in Korea... again I encourage anyone who is interested to check out the Korean Blog List. I sometimes think of good stuff to write too, but it never makes it to my fingers hitting the keyboard. No, really!

You read stuff like:
A Canadian dude who had some good pictures on his blog had an "epiphany" and went back home.
An American girl I can identify with a bit about the whole unique experience of being the foreign teacher in a Korean school. And thinking about what we're doing here...
A guy who likes video games writes about that, every day life and is really honest about how his mind works and what he does in social situations.
And most importantly, how to annoy your hungover friend.

Area Codes.

Nice to have some time off, and then have the option to try out a new city here in this country. I'd definitely be sad to move out of Gangneung, but 2 of my best friends here are going to be living in the US and the UK for a while... people help make the city so. Gangneung, Chuncheon and the Seoul area are the big possibilities right now. 2 small cities and 1 crazy packed area. Not sure but I don't think I'll go wrong with anywhere I choose.

Had 3 of my best days here with my freedom. Just spending alot of time with friends... picked up a new puppy from the bus terminal, played 4 person Winning Eleven 8 for PS2 on the big screen in a PC bang twice. Sang at a wedding... haha I was the only foreigner there.

Spent a night at the saunas / 찜질방... can't sleep well on the mats but it was fun to hang out there. Went with a friend who's doing a Korean learning camp with a bunch of Americans. Never talked with people from Cali and Hawaii for that long... haha. Despite the stories West Coast people don't seem too different. And it's hard to sleep in the saunas when guys are turning on the chair massage machine at 6, the kids start horsing around at 630 then the ajummas start cleaning at 9. But hey my body feels good after. I had to sleep 12 hours last night to catch up though.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Way Away.

Job change time! I need to try another job in 강릉 or 춘천... going to take a break. I see hanging out in this city and Chuncheon in the next 3 weeks, with a short trip to Japan coming up too. This all happened pretty quick but it keeps me on my toes I guess.

Went swimming this week, the beach was cooler than my AC-less apartment so it makes sense to be out there! Random beach pics...

Run to the boat! It's rentable. We didn't know why they were running but that's the least of my worries.

I guess to stop the beach from eroding... when they're put in the water. Huge. Back where I come from we just use rocks. -_-

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Hiro's Song.

Still here... I've been to a Korean festival ( 단오 ) twice in the past week downtown, but forgot my camera both times. It's pretty cool, there are some old Korean traditional stuff for sale mixed in with the cheap clothes. Streets closed down for rows and rows of stalls selling random stuff. I bought a shirt making a joke on the Puma brand and 10 fake brand name pairs of socks. Might tough out the hundreds of stares this foreigner would get for taking pictures next time I go... if I can remember the camera!

The big lake in 강릉... bunch of cherry blossom trees around this lake for only like 2 weeks a year. Instead you get a picture of some structure out in the middle of the lake.

Went to 춘천, saw just a few power lines.

Outside of Chuncheon, it's purty.

We decided the guy on the boat isn't drilling for oil.

People like to hang around a river and relax on the weekend in any country. The madness.

Monday, May 30, 2005

The good, the bad, and the... I'm not sure.

The lame and inevitable list of things that are good, bad and the I don't know whether it's good or bad has arrived. We all know things are done differently in the next household down the street, let alone in another country. Being fortunate enough to be able to experience another culture for months at a time has been great. I'll just try to sort my thoughts online here, there are decisions to be made!

The good.
I've made good friends and met really nice people through my local church. I'm not sure exactly where I stand on religion but I do know that I look forward to Sundays. The biggest reasons to stay.

I'm in Korea. Radical.

While not the coolest thing to do, being employed does have benefits. Like when I'm hungry and need money to eat.

I don't need a car here. I would, of course, need one at home. Unless I chose New York or someplace like it to live. Not likely.

Along this thread, I don't want to go home and start racking up bills (car, rent, insurance) and obligations (like a job!) so that I'm in a hole and it'd become financially difficult to pick up and leave again. Say... next spring I want to visit a friend in London for a month. What, my new boss won't let me take 1 month off after working for 6 on the job? Or say I want to live in Mexico for 2 months learning Spanish. Or return to Korea 2 years down the road for 6 more months (maybe half a year is a good time limit for such things, personally).

So... I could lease a car (expensive?), sign a short rent (possible?), and get a temp job (wish me luck). Hmm, no clue what kind of job that would be, either. I still have no experience being part of the American labor force, I delayed that for a year by coming here. What's it like to live in a small American city, paying your own rent? So that possibility interests me, the grass is always greener...

The bad.
It's harder to eat healthily and excersize here (in my case).

On the flip side, I miss a good hamburger and ESPN.

Disrespectful kids. Somedays I wish I never began to learn Korean. It's something that's easy to laugh about with friends, but having it happen to me for the 1000th time and so on wears on me. Yeah, funny thing about kids is that they're in every country. Kids are great, funny, energetic and all that. Definitely. But... edited. I'm posting 99% of my truth here for everyone to see. Sorry, I have some mildly interesting pictures in earlier posts if you look around a bit though!

The I'm not sure.
Stop staring at me, please. Stop pointing at me, please. It's because of the color of my skin, first and foremost. I can even tell you that I've seen 4 foreigners in the past month. So that's why they stare, I'd be curious about the unknown too. But my personal tolerance of it has been wearing thin as of late. I'm not blaming anyone for it, and I knew it was going to happen. It'll be nice to go into a store when I go home and people will barely care that I'm there.

The whole attention thing is in the I'm not sure catergory because plenty of great stuff comes about from it as well. Nice Korean people, everywhere. All the time. Simply because of how I look. I'm guessing they're happy/interested/amused someone not Korean is around. That's what I can gather from my friends.

Why did the taxi driver give me $2 off my fare the other day? Was he really impressed I had no clue where I was going and equally floored by my horrible butchering of his language? He could use the money alot more than I could, I am sure of it. Tiny things like this keep reminding me it's not about the money. I often forget.

Why did the shopkeeper send his son running after me on the street to call me back into the store where he accidentally overcharged me ($20 overcharged actually... don't ask, I was tired), so he could give me my money back? He probably would have done it for a Korean, too. It probably would happen in America, too. Great, nonetheless.

Um, summer is coming. I don't think this place has air conditioning.

Why do you keep giving me free/extra food, you nice lady? Do I look chronically underfed? Not likely.

Safety. Wow, I feel safe here. Walking around town that is. If it wasn't for some rowdy northern neighbours it'd be great.

Health care. I don't know how good it is. Everyone has to go to the doctor every once in a while. I'm in no hurry to find out how it is around here.

So that about wraps it up. I mentioned before that I was homesick. It's really not too bad. I'd prefer to meet some more English speakers, but I'm a bit shy about such things. My personality also doesn't lend itself towards being a career teacher, but I must be doing something right since I've made it for 6 months. I think if I lived in a bit larger city, knew more people and had a different profession (the chance of that last one here is about nil) I'd stay for a few years. The grass...

I think it helped me to get my thoughts down. Most of what I mentioned begins and ends with me, of course thanks to a bit of input from my environment. The cliche it is what you make of it applies here. If I could do it over again, I'd still come here. I've made a pretty good 6 months of it, consulting must be done for the next 6.

15 minutes of fame.

So I'm going to work pretty soon. I'm getting more and more homesick. But it'd be a shame to leave a job that pays on time... leaving one job without another lined up doesn't seem too bright of a thing to do. That being said, I could use a vacation (couldn't we all). Overall it's been a great six months but I'm not sure of the point of keeping going to work at something I'm tired of and can't put my full energy into. I'm tempted to give my notice and return to the States in 6 weeks.

There isn't a job out there that I really want to pursue. I've given thought to volunteering. Lots of the places I've found I stand to lose money, not the best idea when I don't have too much to begin with. Others, like the Peace Corps, you can come out ahead money-wise but it's more than a 2 year commitment. I realize volunteering isn't about making money but it'd be nice to break even.

So there it is. I enjoy keeping this blog, and enjoy even more reading other people's. Many out there spend more time on their's than I do mine.

Mmm rambling, but anyways preferring to lie down and take a nap instead of going to work in 10 minutes isn't conducive to excellent teaching. I've gained plenty more respect for teachers after walking around in their shoes for 6 months. Especially for those teachers who have overworked students or work even more difficult situations... inner cities, the Mid East. The thing about teaching, might be obvious but anyways, you can't just go into it 80% without someone noticing.

Must throw on the nice clothes and get to it.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Ring of Fire.

I'm working on a nice mullet. I'm scared of going to the barber again, after what happened last time. It's ok, I think it might be in style here. Some goalie for the national team here had a pretty good one going. Or I'll just keeping telling myself it's in style til the hair gets in my eyes.

It's really cute when kids bow to me but awkward too. It happens more than I would think. And then some kids might bow if they see that their rough-housing in class is annoying me, followed by a chorus of "sorry"... but once they saw my reaction to their bowing they do it often now. Haha.

Random picture of where I play some basketball sometimes.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

99 Red Balloons.

Spent most of Sunday at church, then last night walked around a local temple. It was Buddha's birthday so it was suggested yesterday would be a good day to go. They were getting ready for a parade that would go through half the city. I'm guessing we were the only non-Buddhists in the crowd... and the non-Buddhists snapped some pictures.

Yours truly.

It was insisted that I get in like half the pictures so... it looks like I was photoshopped in there. I just noticed 3 people making funny faces that they probably wish weren't on camera... can you spot them? No, don't count my face.

Some people waiting for the parade to get started, dressed up in some traditional clothing.

Inside the temple of course. Can't tell you much about what is in the picture but I can tell you it's inside the first temple I've been to in Korea.

Bad random picture.


Thursday, May 12, 2005


I've made it for more than 5 months at the same job so I must be doing something right. I'm not sure if that luck will hold but there have been alot more good experiences here than bad ones. To speak bluntly, I can get over shyness well enough for teaching but not being much of an entertainer is a drawback here in the teaching business. It's alright, it doesn't bother me too much because I like who I am. Haha, maybe I have job problems but at least I don't have ego problems.

I paid $9 for a tiny stick of deodorant today... and had to go to a woman's perfume and body lotion type store to get it. My buddy told me next time I should order it off the internet next time. That way I get get what I want for a third of that price. But I needed it now, not in a day or 2. It's cool though as it seems I can get everything I'd want off the internet and for cheap too... I'd just have to wait a day or two for it to get here from Seoul.

One of my 11 year old kid's was listening to some loud music in the background during my phone check. He listens to music while he studies. I knew right away who it was.

I asked, "What is that I can hear in the background?"

He said, "Hear?!?!?"

And put his phone next to the speaker. I was then able to enjoy his Greenday just ask much as he could. I, of course, told him he had good taste in music.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


A taxi driver told me I speak Korean well, I think he was being too kind. The fact that could barely understand him when he said it leads me to believe that. The drivers are good to practice my skills on though.

Nothing like a tiny bottle of what tastes like milk and Sweet Tarts combined to drink after dinner.

We played some basketball today. I was unstoppable as usual. I'm pulling for a Miami-Indiana Eastern Final. And wishful thinking has me hoping for the Rockets to dig out of a hole in the West. Tough to enjoy the product the NBA puts out but anyways... Hard to catch the NBA playoffs over here, but maybe I can see some on the computer. When I've tried to get other games, I get soccer instead! Soccer... maybe if the name was different the sport would catch on in the US.

I ate cow lung today.

Monday, May 02, 2005

The Day I Tried To Live.

Going to play some basketball tomorrow. Trying to think about what kind of guitar I should get. Not trying to think about working for the next 40 years.

Children's Day on Thursday, so I foresee a trip downtown Wednesday night in a fitting celebration of this.

I give up, I sit down to write some of these posts sometimes and 30 minutes flick by and I still have nothing. Have a good one!

The hill.

The houses.

The road.

The school.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Aliens exist.

Some of the kids are sarcastic. One of them tries out a new magic trick at the start of class, and fails repeatedly. Then others respond with a chorus of clapping and "Fantastic, interesting!"

Some of the kids have never seen much facial hair, so yesterday when I went to work without shaving for a few days they wanted to pet my face. Haha.

One of the kids is supposedly a children's movie and TV star. So why does he stare at me in the hall way like I'm the movie star? And he asks his friends to ask me questions just to hear my voice, since he doesn't want to talk to me directly. He isn't in any of my classes. So much for teaching a famous student.

$5 at the dry cleaners for 2 shirts and a pair of pants. They don't even ask me my name, the owner just writes down 미국인 in her record book. That's Korean for an American. Just me.

In many contracts, the school will cover your airfare expense to Korea if you make it past the 6 month mark. 1 more month to go for me to reach that, I'm going to buy a cheap acoustic guitar as a present for myself if I make it that far. A friend of mine can teach me, but not for long since people will soon be calling him a 영국인 (Englishman)!

Thursday, April 14, 2005


I'll miss watching the NBA Playoffs. I think it's a good trade-off though. In this age of technology I guess there's no way I can watch live games off the internet. I'd have to spend another W50,000 and get a dish or something. Then make sure I get that channel out of Hong Kong that shows games... ah well.

I want to shoot around a bit but this Yellow Dust has got me skurd. A bunch of things are cheaper here but... bummer to find the adidas shoes downtown were as expensive or more than what they are at home.

Haven't traveled anywhere recently, maybe with the warmer weather...

I'm continuing to handle work alright because the job is what enables me to be here. It's cool to know I now have plenty of employment options here after this current contract. It's something to do anyways, that's for sure.

Wow, it's the weekend again.

Monday, April 04, 2005

When I Come Around.

We were doing a little conversational activity in one of my classes. I draw on the board a hot air balloon, with four stick figure people in the basket. Then I draw one stick figure upside down out of the basket falling towards Earth. The idea is the kids have to name 5 famous people, then choose the one who is to be dropped off because the balloon can't handle so much weight.

Orville Wright was one of the 5. The girls chose him to be the unlucky man taking the fast elevator down because "He wants to fly." Haha. Another kid insisted on drawing a propeller on the back of "Orville" so he really could fly. Another class chose Einstein to take the leap of faith because "Ago, ago he is die." Yes, ago he is die. During the year 1955, as a matter of fact.

Bad dream last night, I was suddenly back in the US for some reason. I didn't know why I was back. I was mad I hadn't tried harder to stay in Korea longer. I seriously woke up expecting to be in my bed in mom and dad's house. Weird feeling. I'll take it as encouragement to hang around here as long as my contract allows. So when I come back home, there won't be that huge feeling of regret like in the dream.

Happy Korean Arbor Day. 식목일 죽하해요? Probably not.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Battle of Who Could Care Less

I almost feel spoiled because of my ability to enjoy my experience here... sounds cliche, but I can't really do it justice with words. The newbie fascination with pretty much everything still exists, I've only been here 4 months. I'm not sure I've ever learned so much in a short period of time since I real young but nonetheless... not a significant period of time. So now I just need to pick up more of the local lingo and do some things to ensure job security and bingo. I'll be all set.

I don't have too much to write about recently except I'm pretty much enjoying life. Once again, I recommend going to the Korean Blog List and seeing what else is out there. Plenty of good stuff out there, especially some of the sites with authors who are dedicated enough to consistently post some pictures.

Kimchi tastes great if you cook it on the pan a bit.
And it's finally warming up a bit.
뭘 봐요?

Friday, March 25, 2005

Parallel Universe.

Mostly a learn Korean post! Too bad I like talking about this almost as much as I do actually studying... :(

Back in the summer, I knew I wanted to do TEFL but hadn't decided between Korea and China. Japan was still in the mix too. I did some research and found Japan too expensive. I thought China would be too much of a cultural shock, especially for the first year. So here I am. If I had known earlier / was a bit more motivated, I would done this to pick up some Korean to make some things easier:

Buy the whole Korean pack from Declan (a bit expensive).

Buy Suvival Korean by the guy who does the Let's Speak Korean show here on Arirang TV.

Spend alot of time on the Sogang University site.

See if there's anything useful I can pick up from Mith's place, link on the top right.

Go to the same guy's website, click on 게시판, click Korean lessons / music and memorize some songs.

Or you could just do a Google search and find something like this, pick up some of the alphabet and wing it when you get here. Make Korean friends, try out your skills on them... but this might be tough since most of the younger people here have been studying English for a bunch of years and really want to practice their second language with a native speaker. You'll be the one living in Korea where Korean would be pretty useful but... you've only studied for a few weeks.

Oh, and don't listen to Pimsleur Korean until your Korean is good enough to figure out how flawed the product is... almost not worth the time, especially if you've arrived in Korea.

It snowed like 4 inches on Thursday. Horrible. Luckily even though I'm really tired of the winter, I felt great on Friday. Mostly because it was Friday.

I wish there were windows where you could actually see outside where I work. The windows have been covered over with huge logos/stickers.

"Webster, good morning time. What?" I'm trying to get my kids to turn this sentence into... "Hey, Mr. Webster. What did you eat for breakfast?" :)

Weekdays: Study, work out, go to work. Saturday: Bum around, Saturday night hang out. Sunday: All day with friends / at church. Repeat. Ah well, hard to avoid not getting into some kind of routine since I do have to work after all.

Listening to: RHCP, 자우림, Johnny Cash, The White Stripes, Pearl Jam.
Reading: Confucius Lives Next Door by T.R. Reid.
Watched: My Wife is a Gangster. Alright I guess, too much slang in it to make it too useful for me to study. But the subtitles in it are excellent.

Monday, March 21, 2005

You have no faith in medicine.

Um... time continues to fly. It always seems like Monday morning I'm thinking, "Ugh, it's Monday." And then it's Friday night. Too bad, really, because I'm sure that whenever I come home I will wish sometimes I could come back. Once again, I fully recommend doing something like this if you get out of college and still don't know what you really want to do.

A bit disappointing for me to rediscover the obvious though... like that lame 80s song, everybody's working for the weekend.

Popeye's is out of business! I'm down to McDonald's now for Western food I think. Rough... there's always pizza I guess. I like Korean food for the most part but... a trip to Outback is needed. Next time in Seoul...

Bob Knight, I try to like you, I really do.

Monday, March 14, 2005

White Day!

Ack, I forgot today was... another Valentine's Day in Korea, for the benefit of the girls. I did receive a bunch of candy anyways. I also got... a bulgogi burger and a can of Pepsi! Thanks to the mother who thought of this, I was starving! Like most hagwons, there is a bunch of food invariably present because the school hours run right through dinner time and the kids sometimes don't get enough time to eat properly.

The wedding was a big event yesterday. Many people shuffling in and out to wish the bride and groom well. I even got my picture taken with my friends and the bride! Haha, she was surprised. And when the ceremony started... only some of the crowd was allowed in to sit down. It was a lot louder than I am used to, a big crowd of people were in the back chatting. Bubbles! When they had tied the knot, a bubble machine popped out bubbles every where. And we had (English translation) party soup, along with a ton of seafood and veggies.

I brought up weddings in one of my classes. I was asked why American weddings are typically longer than Korean weddings even though Korea has a longer history. Wow, now there's a question. From what I gathered yesterday, some weddings are held in churches and they are more like what I am used to. And other weddings are more traditional and I don't have a clue what they're like other than they involve a horse and carriage coming to the bride's house. Also, I don't think the bride and groom see each other on wedding day until they're married.

Anyways, I think I answered the question with something about differences in culture when I should've said something about how each individual wedding is different everywhere. I'm trying to keep myself from making too many blanket statements and cringe a bit when the kids do it. Don't ask me what they think about China and Japan.

The Hoosier State is going through some tough times. Talks about no team from Indiana making it to the tourney.

Ah, if you're out there... thanks James for the comment with the bars and blogs on it. It was a while ago but I forgot to say thanks. Heh.

I wonder as I wander

What will be the first thing I do whenever I get back home that isn't the social norm? I spend all my time with Koreans here. I definitely get the white Westerner treatment here, for better or for worse. There's got to be some habit that I pick up, good or bad, that I haven't realized yet. I've talked to maybe 6 fluent English speakers in person since I've been here, for a total of around an hour. Monday through Friday I teach Korean kids. Weekends I spend with Korean friends.

Thankfully, I'm pretty sure whatever social mess up I make when I get home, it won't be that serious.

Social mess up here, the other day I walked on a carpet with my shoes on. Oops.

I went to a wedding yesterday. It looked like a very expensive event. It was held in a wedding hall. The food was good... more later I guess, because it's work time.

Friday, March 11, 2005

My body is very weak.

More than 25 hours a week of classroom teaching time can be a little tiring. I don't know how my students feel. They spend more than my 25 hours in private after-school academies and at home studying. Add on the time they spend in public school during the day and I can see why they're bouncing off the walls. Such long hours led my student to say, in the very clear fashion that often is a benefit of learning a new language, "My body is very weak." He just wasn't mentally tired. And I doubt he had much physical activity this week. Some of these kids get winded after some simple rough-housing in between classes.

Chinese overload, on the BBC Asia-Pacific news site at 01:16GMT the word China appeared 12 times. The word Korea... 0.

IU falls to Minnesota...

Never microwave those microwaveable rice packages you can buy in E-Mart with tuna on top. The rice gets all dried out for some scientific reason that is beyond me.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Flowers and beer.

They might not be two things you put in the same sentence, but they do have something in common. Some store owners in this city don't mind leaving them outside in front of the store unattended. I was meandering home tonight from work, trying to get my mind off the job. Granted, I'm sure there are very few flower robbers in the world. A person would be more inclined to steal beer, I'm guessing. But there it was out in the street, just like the flowers. A ton of it. No cameras, no policemen nearby. No shopkeeper.

Imagine a 7-11 in some city in the USA leaving beer outside the store at night. You wouldn't even have to make the "steal me" sign. So, sure, there are plenty of generalizations that one can make about Korea. I'm trying to keep them to a minimum, as this is my first time being immersed in another culture. I still need to keep my wits about me as, of course, crime can happen in any country at anytime. Nonetheless, I am comforted by simple things like seeing beer out like that (and flowers!).

What does one do when they've graduated college and don't know what they want to do? Come to Korea, of course. What else. I hope everything works out for me here one way or another. If I had to come home tomorrow, I'd leave here with many great memories stored in my head. It's difficult to put into words what I have learned about myself here. Since I enjoy the obvious statement; life is life no matter where you live it. I have the good fortune to go pretty much anywhere I want. I need to remind myself that I need to live my life in a way that I can be content with. My selective memory sometimes drops out the simple yet important stuff.

My friends here are great, but I don't have any fluent conversations in person. I use this blog, communicating with friends and family back home, reading books, and watching movies to maintain my awe inspiring level of fluency in the English language. I often produce just train of thought posts, lacking pictures, that might turn off the average blog reader. Especially when you flip through some of the other blogs on the Korean blog list, some great stuff is there. I bought a mic so I can speak with family across the pond through the computer for "free"! AIM and MSN for friends. Books... let me plug What the Book? again. And there are plenty of English movies to be had from my local movie rental store and other means.

Ah, reviewing my posts... I hope none of my old English teachers stumble upon this. I'd feel like I have failed them. Any writing is better than no writing at all, in my case.

Please forgive me IU, for not being able to follow your season very well. You are on the bubble. As a Korean might say, fighting! 피팅. Sorry, I didn't even know who Andrew Bogut is. And he's up for player of the year. Paul, yep. Redick, yep. Simien and May, yep yep. Bogut... erm. This is the information age and I can't get the Big Ten tourney on TV here. Something is amiss.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Hi, my name is...

Work, play, study, sleep, repeat. Like millions of other people everywhere. I'm trying to do this routine in a place that will hold my interest for a while. It seems I have job ADD, maybe I have been trained into this by only working for 3 months or so for my summer jobs. Luckily, the kids might stay the same but they're at lot more interesting to communicate with than a bicycle or a sledgehammer like in jobs past.

I am going to try to have some food delivered to my house today for lunch. The only catch is that I have to order it... wish me luck.

저는 Nate 임니다. 외국사람. 해물 볶음밥 한개 주새요.... 하하.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Ponamdong 2(i)-gil

Big snowstorm in this little section of the world today. I took the obligatory pictures of snow this morning. I was going to take some more but it started snowing harder. Trekked out to E-Mart, made lunch at home. Then I got a phone call 5 minutes before I was going to walk out the door to work. No class today. So here I am. It's still snowing pretty hard. I hope you enjoy my pictures as much as I enjoyed my 3 day work week.

Earlier in the week, a bit down river.

Snow-blind, a bit up river.

'Round here.

Sky thick with snow, and this was in the middle of the day.

Not uphill both ways, but still a ton of snow for someone who's spent the last few years living in South Carolina and south Florida. It reminded me of my high school trip to New York, when lots of my classmates saw snow for the first time.

I'm a bad cook, and I want the world to know it.

일본에 가고 싶어요. 비싸요...

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Not useful.

When you're not fluent in a language, you often come off as pretty blunt when trying to express your opinions. A funny example of this was this week when one of the kids had to describe a grandfather without actually saying the word "grandfather". So he said "This is not useful." Awww. Sorry, grandparents out there. Sure, our older fellow human beings are useful. Just tonight one closed the big window that was open for no reason at the restaurant we ate at. See, right there. Don't fear your kids having kids, you'll still be able to close windows.

If you're thinking of moving to a small Korean city and are white be prepared for some serious attention. It's something I'm getting used to. The majority of attention has been positive by far. But if you go shopping, you'll get long, lingering looks (I've gotten used to it). People will want to try to speak with you because they're eager to use their English (fine with me). Some friends will push their friends up to you to talk because they're too shy to speak (cute). Sure, you'll see people that you know are talking about you simply because of the color of your skin. I have to remind myself; it's pretty rare for people here to see foreigners. Kids are naturally curious. And if they've been studying English for hours and hours like tons of the children here, seeing a native English speaker is worth commenting on.

When I return home, I'm betting I'll miss the attention. Don't get me wrong, many people don't give you a second thought. But I appreciate the new perspective being the minority is giving me.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Misty Mountain Hop.

Pictures from around town and my meals yesterday. It's not even 8 and I feel like crashing. The sign of a good weekend... I guess?

Little did I know that 소머리 국밥 is cow's head soup with rice.

닭 갈비 (ugly romanization dalkgalbi) is my favorite Korean food, like I've mentioned before. Chicken, sweet potatoes, cabbage, onions, some kind of hot sauce... yum. Split three ways for less than $5 per person, with water and soda. Before cooking and right before devouring.

A neighborhood and a "skyline".

Not the best picture you'll see of the city, but gives you an idea of what my part of town looks like on a cloudy February day.

Friday, February 18, 2005


One of the fastest weeks of my life is almost over. I don't know why it was so fast, I remember waking up Monday and here it is Saturday already. A decent week of teaching and not much else. Trying to get used to working evenings again, and the weather was pretty crummy.

Remember Kris Lang from UNC? From a few years back... well he's one of the best players in professional Korean basketball. Gives you an idea about the quality of play here. I'd still like to go see a game though. So the point about mentioning Lang is that I found an article about the league in general and the language gap in particular. It sounds like the league is crippling itself by limiting the foreign presence. The NBA isn't too great today, but players like Nowitski and Gasol are obviously top-tier talent. I wish the KBL good luck, it's going to need it with a Japanese league starting up to attract foreign talent.

I know at least one person who might be interested in the random photo of a telephone pole close to my apartment.

And a piece of work from one of the many fine artists I have met since coming here.

Almost forgot... I play an English version of this in class... "일, 이, 박수, 사, 오, 박수, 칠, 팔, 박수".

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Inquiring minds want to know.

I get asked if I have a girlfriend more than where I am from. I've been asked about the quality of the dental school at the University of Michigan. I've been told Romania is spelled Lumania and Vancouver is spelled Bancouver. People are surprised that I've only been to LA once, even though it's on the opposite coast of where I've lived all my life until now. I guess I should consider it motivation to learn more about this country that I'm living in.

I read today the Magic turned downed a trade offer for Andre Miller, Nikoloz Tskitishvili and Voshon Lenard in exchange for Steve Francis. I'm not a fan of Francis... and apparently he's not playing as hard since his friend Mobley was traded away. It's good to read about the success of Grant Hill, at least... even though Duke isn't on my list of teams I pull for, either. I've watched some highlights from this season. Not too much to be impressed with the product the NBA puts out on a night to night basis.

My power bill was less than $12 for last month. Oil, on the other hand, is expensive. But still... $12. I dig out my pocket change tomorrow and the bill is paid.

More than 2 months in country and I'm still grateful that I decided to come here. Working here gets my recommendation for anyone who just graduated and wants to see a bit of the world. All the cliches apply: get a new perspective on life, have an adventure... etc. You can even save up a bit of money if you're so inclined. Just read up before you come here and know what you're getting into. Come with an open mind.

I look forward to some sunnier weather that will inevitably come. I'd like to take some pictures but 1) I don't want to get my camera wet 2) I'd rather take pictures on a sunny day. Point 2 might not be valid, any pictures are good. Some views of my environment would provide a nice diversion from my rambles.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


You should see this cell phone a student of mine has. It plays MP3s either through a speaker or headphones. It shows movies or pictures on the full color screen. It has a built in digital camera. Perhaps best of all is the phone's remote control option... TVs, VCRs, DVD players, radios... It's one fancy Samsung phone. Not sure it's worth the price of admission though. He didn't know how much it costs.

I'm cheating a bit to get this into Korean writing ( I got some help from a Korean educational forum) but this is the correct way to ask for a large pepperoni pizza to go when you walk into the store. "뻬 뻬로니 피자 대자로 하나 포장해주세요." You could substitute the Konglish "라지" in for "대자" to mean large... If you know very basic Korean like I do you can understand that, and if you just know the alphabet you can make out the words for pepperoni pizza. And if you're Korean skills are above my rating of pretty bad... you might be asking yourself, "What is he doing, trying to show off?" Please forgive, this is how I kill time to put off actually studying Korean seriously.

There are a bunch of good blogs out there by English teachers in Korea. I've gotten into reading some of them. Since I've only made Korean friends here so far, I find out about other foreigner's reactions to living here through their writings online. Good to know there are other people out there who agree with me about what I find amusing, interesting, and annoying here in the Land of the Morning Calm. I'm not going to link any in this post because there are so many out there and they're so easy to find. And I don't want to be responsible for one you might not like.

I've noticed I've been writing mostly as for an audience. I'd like to try to maintain somewhat of a journal style too in the future, we'll see how it goes.

We play a spelling game in class... one of the kids discovered the word "id". Man, is that a tough word to try to explain to kids who are just getting started with learning English. I didn't even know that word until late into high school.

I got a tape of the Super Bowl that I can watch... I'll let you know how who wins.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

뭘 했어요?

I didn't do too much today except work and relax and study... another average day in Korea I guess. I've got to say though I do appreciate having a computer to keep in touch with the rest of the world... not that I don't like Korea and my Korean friends. But the newspapers here are in Korean (!) and I'm not meeting any other foreigners (I'm not trying too hard, though).

I'm back working evenings again, 2:30 til 8pm. I like it, but will have to eat more dinners by myself now. I went to "I Want Pizza" (spelled in Korean 아이 원 비자 which makes it sound like "ai won pi-ja). Mildly amusing that so many things are spelled the same way with 2 different alphabets... sort of spelled the same way, anyways. So the pizza place is run by a man and wife team. It's cute that the baby is strapped to the back of his mom while she is working, but I bet the poor thing is hating the smell of cheese already. I'll need to take a picture sometime of a mom with the kid in tow. It's like a big blanket with the baby stuffed in it and the four corners of the fabric tied around in front of mom.

I was sitting in the pizza shop waiting for the box (that includes the pizza and... pickles) and I wanted to watch the TV that wasn't turned on. I completely butchered the phrase "텔레비 봐요?", maybe the wrong way to ask "Can I watch television?". But I was psyched nonetheless because she said yes... along with something I didn't understand.

Oh and to clear up any confusion... yes, the title Ramble On was taken from the Zeppelin song. No, I did not go 'round the world like in the song to find my baby. I came here because I wasn't ready for a regular 9 to 5 job back in the States.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

5 3 Bulgogi

So I've managed to spend all the time I was going to use to write a fascinating entry doing emails instead. The end result is an added blog link at the end of the page, Unity. Authored by my cousin living in Massachusetts, it offers a...

Sorry, tangent. I was thinking of saying it offers a unique look. But I don't like how that sounds. I was going to say refreshing... and maybe that would be appropriate but I don't want to say that either. In the end, I think it comes down to the fact that currently my writing skills are not adequate to express how I feel about the blog. And I'm not going to root around in a thesaurus because I feel like my writing is terribly unoriginal when I do that. Anyways, I like his blog, please go visit it.

And the tangent leads into a couple other points. Short point first. It's brutally obvious, yet I still struggle with this fact: the world is loaded with people, so there's no need for a coolness contest. Someone out there is going to like you for who you are. I can hear echoes of "dude this isn't cool" already. Again point isn't the right word, because I think point is better used when you're actually trying to say something semi-original. I digress... (haha digress, now that's an appropriate word for my writing today).

Ok, second point. You'll see at the bottom some links. One of the links is for my cousin's blog who I've been out of touch with for a while. He's a minister in a church in MA. Another one of the links is to a blog that I'd prefer my mom not read by a guy who by some accounts drinks entirely too much. So yes, there's a contrast there. I'm not quite sure where I stand with religious matters. For the past 8 years of my life or so I haven't been dedicated to church-going... and the friends I've made haven't been churchgoers either. We might not've often done the right things, but I don't regret any of the time I've spent with friends from both St. Ed's and Clemson.

So here I am going to church again regularly, just like when I was little. Should I be bummed that I am spending my time in church because of the friends I've made there just as much as because I'm assuming there's God out there? I don't think so... but I hope this isn't the point where people think in their heads, "Just keep telling yourself that." I'm grateful for some of the things I read by my cousin, and I'll be sure to point that out to him in the next email.

Yes, the inevitable religious post has occurred. No apologies here, I had to write about it. It helps clear my head... but then I start thinking about the great science vs. religion debate all over again. Ah well.

Oh yeah, in a weak attempt to show off my incredibly poor knowledge of Korean and speed my learning process, I'll be adding at least one most likely random and grammatically incorrect sentence in this foreign language to each of my posts. To begin, the classic... "아줌마! 오삼 불고기 주새요." Probably a better word for waiter out there... but I used 아줌마 because I'll never forget the grandfather of one of my students using that word repeatedly to get the attention of our waitress one night when he took us out to dinner.

Thursday, February 10, 2005


Vacation time... I spent most of Monday lounging around. Watched some Saturday Night Live episodes. The new stuff is horrible. Studied a bit of Korean, learned the important fact that bae / 배 means both pear and your gut. Yes, I think the average pear here looks like a big apple.

Tuesday and Wednesday were mostly spent with a family from school. Wednesday was great because it was the first day of the lunar new year. The family dressed traditionally. The grandparents were bowed to and they said happy new year, then the grandparents would give out money. The money should bring good luck. Then the people of the same generation bowed to each other and exchanged money. A pretty happy and relaxed time.

Later we went to Ojukheon. It reminded me of Sturbridge Village without the people.

Then we went out for my favorite Korean food...

Dalkgalbi / 닭갈비 is my favorite Korean food I've had so far. I always forget to bring my camera when I'm going out to eat it, I think some might find it a little interesting to look at. Chicken, thick noodles, sweet potatoes that aren't orange, and cabbage are the main ingredients. Some mild to real hot red sauce is added and it's cooked over a burner. Yum.

Yesterday I went out to Unification Park with some friends. The North Korean sub that "drifted" in South Korean waters in 1996 is on the left. I went in it... it seemed like it was Russian-built from the 1960s. That's probably not a bad guess; it was tiny and not exactly state of the art. And the huge boat is a retired South Korean warship. A relatively new ship, it was only the second warship I've ever set foot on. It was a stark contrast to the sub... no doubt to inspire confidence in the minds of the South Korean people. And hopefully the Captain has been spending more time with Abel recently.

We went to Jumunjin, too. The best scenery I've seen in the country yet. A jetty... and some rocks. There was also a cruise ship taken out of the water, placed at the top of a hill and converted into a nice hotel. We don't need to put our palm trees in winter clothes in Florida, though.

And I'll leave with a couple more. To the northwest, from the top of the cruise ship hotel. My new desktop, a cool piece of art.

Saturday, February 05, 2005


In an effort to make my blog seem like others I've been reading recently, here is a post with no purpose. But it won't be funny. With more time and practice maybe my writing style will become more interesting. I think it's called creative writing... something I've steadily done less and less of since grade school.

After this rough week is over I look forward to some home cooked Korean food and seeing what the lunar new year here is like. My first... I wasn't even aware of the fact that the lunar new year existed or that people celebrated it as a holiday.

Met a guy from New Zealand today... he was hard to miss. A white face with long blond hair on his head kind of sticks out around here. I guess the only person that would be harder to miss at the area we met at would be me. Random people I am meeting are telling me I need to go to two of these bars downtown to meet other foreigners... determined to get me drinking I guess. Not exactly my idea of a good time to go walk into a random bar full of people I don't know but hey. A fluent English conversation in person every once in a while can't hurt.

I know how to tell people that I am very hungry in Korean now so if some ajumma steps on my toes in the line at E-Mart at least I'll be able to tell her that my stomach requires food.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Negative ten degrees what?

Nobody knows Fahrenheit to Celsius or inch to centimeter conversions here (there's no reason they should). I get asked by my kids sometimes how tall I am and I reply in feet and inches... they give me a puzzled look and maybe go look up the conversion in their electronic dictionary. Anyways we went to Yongpyong / 용평 Sunday night just to have a look around and see the snow festival. I had more fun with the people I was with than actually being at the snow festival.

And it was -10 degrees Celsius, which is very cold degrees Fahrenheit.

Mediocre pictures pictures of the lodge and ski slopes were taken.

I'm in the middle of a 7 day workweek before 7 straight days off for the lunar new year. Meh.

Thursday, January 27, 2005


I made a basic sentence building game this morning with the help of the laminating machine and "cutingi" (sort of how you say laminating film in Korean). I just printed and cut up a bunch of different subjects/verbs/adjectives/objects and let the kids build sentences. Hopefully they will get used to using the letter "a" and "s" more in their sentences this way. For example, sometimes the kids say "I like horse." "I like horses" sounds better... or "I want puppy". "I want a puppy" is correct. Maybe boring but important for them to know... they often forget.

This is hopefully my last post from a PC 방, I bought a new computer for about $400... used monitor included. 규상 said he would assemble it for me. A great price... he got it online. Much better than the prices in the Samsung Digital Plaza down the street, for example.

You can pay bills at the bank, in cash. It's pretty convenient... if you're in a city like me. You get paid in cash, not a paycheck. This is common for many jobs here. It is not convenient and I'd prefer a check.

If you know how to put the BlogRoll on the side instead of the bottom, drop me a comment or something. I haven't met either of the people I've linked but they're a good read. They both live/lived in 강릉. Apparently they drink a bit more than me but hey... don't hold me responsible for the contents of their sites. ;

Time is going so fast...

My power bill was about the equivalent of 10 dollars for the month of December.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Do you like the weather?

Good weekend... but I think the twins broke my sofa. Not cool. We're developing our own language... Iguesso means I understand. Butter means give me it. Akabi means that was close. I didn't think I'd be amused by this kind of stuff... most inside jokes aren't funny when you take them outside.

I have to do a phone check with just about every one of our students. They have varying levels of English... My 3rd highest level class doesn't know what a noun is. It can be pretty hard thinking up stuff to talk with them about. I have to think up simple questions for the kids to answer. Anyways, the conversations are pretty funny sometimes. One of my questions today was "Do you like the weather?" I get embarrassed for no reason some time... like earlier when they thought it was real funny. I thought their reaction to it was funny too. Anyways it'd be cool if I wasn't so easily affected (effected? English teacher says what...) by these things but what're you going to do?

Wow, it's a bit of a challenge teaching the boss's daughter in your lowest level class then teaching his son in your highest level class. But I'm the win so it's ok.

No hungry.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

These are a few...

Assuming the random potential hagwon teacher stumbles upon this site... to fill up class time I play a bunch of games. If you teach in a hagwon, you know you do it too. Many different games. The ones that work for me with various levels of success: Bingo, Hangman, Stop the Bus, Ball spelling game, Card spelling game, 20 Questions, Chair Showdown. Tough work playing games all day, let me tell you. Let me know if you want to know about Chair Showdown or Stop the Bus. I wish I had known about these games before I got started. They make filling up time alot easier.

One of my students told me all the Korean words for red today. He won't discourage me from studying Korean a bit after this though. But he did list like nine different words. I assume he was talking about like dark red, maroon, burgundy, etc. Then we talked about all the different expressions there are for English. My brilliant deduction is that they're both tough languages.

Book I am reading now: Colors of the Mountain by Da Chen. Memoir of a kid growing up in China in the second half of the 20th century. The author had a tough time of it because his father was a landlord (Commies say what). Worth a read, I'm going to have to get some English books from here when I've finished all my English reading material. Haven't found much in the way of English books in the city other than a couple Learn Korean textbooks. What The Book gets my full endorsement if you're living in a smaller Korean city and need something in a language that is familiar.

Music, 자우림. TV... funny Korean game shows that I can't understand (except for the physical comedy of course).

Was thinking of switching to Blogdrive. Or maybe I'd like this blogspot better if I could figure out how to change all the words in here to English from Korean... drop me a line if you can help. I'm sure it's not a tough problem.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

3 weeks.

The amount of time it took an envelope to get from Florida to my school in Korea. My mom sent it for $1.55. Don't know if this is average time or not... I was hoping for more like 10 days. I guess email is the clear winner here. is the software I'm using to get the Korean basics down. I've done the alphabet one first, then started vocab and will start up the grammar part soon. Have yet to install the dictionary, will let you know how it goes. Anyways, Declan gets my recommendation. I wish I had known about it before I came over, I would've done it all at home then started learning intermediate Korean from friends here right away. is the site for picking up some Korean through music. Click on the 게시판 tab. Then click Korean lessons/music on the left and 5 on the main window. The author of the site walks you through some Juarim / 장우림 songs. A different approach so I don't get bored with getting the basics down.

The NFL doesn't even register on the radar here (of course) so I didn't even know until yesterday the Patriots beat the Colts. Oh well, I hope I'll be able to watch the Super Bowl at least. Every year on the US broadcoast the announcers always talk about how many countries show this excellent event on their televisions so I assume it'll be on in Korea.

I lost my winter hat so I got to buy a new one. Went downtown for just a little bit after work and got the only hat I even liked a little bit... Boston (the store assistant had heard of the Braves were but they didn't have any Braves hats). It was an official MLB store. Hard trying to find a place that sells hats that will fit my big ol' bucket head. Especially when the style here seems to be for younger guys to wear skull cap type things.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

My shoes.

Last week was so fast. Wow. Haven't made time to update... if I make it to a computer I spent the time emailing or practicing Korean. I just revised some English stuff my buddy 규 상 gave me. Difficult at times, but studying a bit of Korean has helped me see why learning English is so tough for most Koreans I've encountered. So different (duh). Maybe that is advantageous in the long run: you've got to really know the language and you're starting from scratch. Not like going from Spanish to French or something like that.

Executive decision... spending some of my next paycheck on internet for the apartment. Not worth choking down tobacco smoke each time I want to get on the computer. KT has English support so it shouldn't be too big of a problem. Then I can put pictures on here to my hearts content.

Had a solid week. Work went really fast and I spent a decent amount of time laughing with the kids. Funny stuff just naturally happens when you're trying to express yourself in a new language.

Fun weekend, one of my students and her grandparents treated me to some Korean style ham for lunch of Saturday. It was good stuff. The grandparents like to make sure I eat enough... not a problem because it seems there's always a massive amount of leftovers with most traditional Korean meals I have. And the seating arrangement is traditional too, "indian style". Haha... terrible name for it now that I think about it but oh well. I can't do that though or I'm in pain for days afterwards. I just stretch my feet out under the table and the Koreans I'm eating with get a good-natured laugh out of it. I'm glad I can't sit that way... I see many middle-aged Koreans with knee problems and older Koreans with back problems. Significant ones. I'm taking a wild guess sitting on the floor with your knees in that awkward position doesn't help things. Many restaurants in Seoul that I saw had Western style seating... but not 강릉.

Saturday night I hung out with some really friendly people my age from church (Gyu Sang included). They have varying levels of English. Some of them are studying English solely from tapes. It's a little bit funny when they try to recite things from the tape in conversations with me, and they realize it. Couple of them were desperate to arm wrestle me...

Sunday: Went to church, dinner afterwards downstairs in the church. Good company. Went downtown... bookstore, cd store. Juarim / 자우림 album. I found an internet site where you can learn some Korean through music. This cd used in the first few lessons. I'll edit with the link when I figure out more MS Windows Korean (it's a bit difficult because the site uses frames and stuff).

Thanks to the generosity of everyone I've met I only had to figure out breakfast on Saturday and Sunday for myself. The other meals were taken care of. Now to figure out ways to return the favors...

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Tiger Foot.

I play some games in class that require teams. I let the kids choose names for the teams because normally there's a bit of an amusement factor with choosing a name in a new language. And more so for them just because they're kids. Team Tiger Foot defeated Team WWE Smackdown in an intense game of Stop the Boat on Friday.

More pictures! Food! I'm working 9 to 5 for this month; with my hour lunch break I've been eating out because food is so cheap. Both of these meals cost W5,000... a little under five bucks.

Beef is hidden in the seasoned watery soup. Rice is in the metal container on the right.

Sorry, I took a couple bites first. This was a filling meal. Rice with ham and eggs. The brown stuff is some sauce... not sure what. It has some more meat hidden in it. Spicy soup with onions and squid in it. Gimchi, of course, with both meals!

I got out into the city this morning and needed some air so I headed for the woods. Just ten minutes away which is nice. I like the city alright but it was so much more quiet out there...

The stadium, built for the World Cup. Not used much since. And the nice scenery of course.

Should've zoomed in a bit more.

At a dangerous curve in the road...

My edge of the city, with the East Sea slash Sea of Korea slash Sea of Japan in the distance. In line with the ocean on the right is the yellowish E-Mart sign, where I do most of my grocery shopping.

Country, city, mountains.

Tiger Foot.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


I am getting into the rhythm of work now with the start of the new year. Trying to keep the kids entertained, learning an English through games isn't a bad way to do it.

I went to E-Mart (big department store) the other day with my boss's family. We were walking around shopping and my boss's son turns to me and says, "They are all looking at you." Haha, yeah for whatever reason that day I must've looked especially interesting because a bunch of people were indeed basically staring at me. It's alright though, I can tell it's good attention. A little odd though getting looked at so much just for how you look.

I went to Seoul over New Year's. It was alright, some nice shopping areas. In the end I prefer the city I'm in over Seoul. It was a bit too big and jam packed for me. One of my students asked me when I got back which city I liked better: Kangnung or Seoul. When I answered Kangnung the kids were pretty happy, they agreed. They said it was too full of people and dirty for them. Easy to justify where I live as better, especially to the kids that live here.