Monday, August 11, 2008

Me and My Mallet

(Back and Blogging! After a lengthy hiatus from the “HA!”, I have decided it is high time to return!)
I will catch you all up on my new situation! I’m now teaching at a well accredited English institution which only requires me to work during the extremities of day. (So I have free time from to !) It’s a M-F gig (with the addition of two Saturdays each month) and it gives me time to practice both piano and flute and do other random things.

Today, I happened to run a few errands for some friends and myself, and once that was finished I decided to explore my neighborhood. Recently, I received a mirror from a neighbor and I’ve been meaning to get something to hang it up with. So I compulsively purchased a cheap mallet from a hardware store just down the road.
After showing the hardware store ajama (a Korean term used for any lady who is basically over 50) my mini mallet and holding a chopstick in the other hand, to resemble a hammer and nail scenario, she was able to conclude I needed nails. Under her cash box she pulled out a very large box with an assortment of nails, screws and enough nuts and bolts to build a small village and we finally settled on two nails that are perfect for the job.

We then siad our cheery good-bye and I turned to see a yoga mat planted outside her door... I picked that up as well and went along on my way! I walked for a while with my mallet, yoga mat and two nails exposed for all to see!

Later, I stopped at a chicken shop near my place and bought a small chicken for a tasty meal in the near future. This is a store that sells ONLY chickens and eggs and she cuts it up for you on a very large, circular tree stump. I noticed that the store also sells a few twigs and bark for those who wish to grill their chicken over a fire (remember... twigs and bark) for a unique taste and enchanting aroma. (It really does smell fragrant so I’d like to test it out someday!)

As I was walking up the hill to my home I chortled to myself and thought, "what a special combination of items I have in my hands."

So today was just me, a mallet, a yoga mat, two nails and a chicken...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Notes for a Seoul!

Please stop making me cough! Every time I go outdoors you seem to make it worse. I know this is the initiation process for every new foreigner but still... Couldn’t you cut back on the generosity?

I am aware that all the traffic and the lights are probably not ideal for the environment; nevertheless, I still find it all very pretty! Especially because it’s all right out my big picture window. The hustle and bustle is nice and not too overwhelming!
Thank you for all the stairs! I know they seem a bit daunting sometimes but at least I feel like I’m getting a bit more exercise than I normally would.

I promise to study your Hangul alphabet more so your newspapers won’t seem so cryptic.
Next week I plan to visit more that you have to offer, that is, if you promise to help me get rid of this nasty cold!
A many happy cheers to your week Seoul!


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Musical Machines

South Korean washers/dryers sing a little tune when they are finished! This deserves a video next time I have laundry!
Trucks play music too when they're backing up... Not too sure if that's a really good safety feature though.
There are three pigeons that find my window ledge homey!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Fluteing in My Tiny Apartment

So on days that I go to the store I usually don't make it back to the apartment until 8:15 or so. This evening I rushed back and warmed up to my decision to just see what happens if I practice in my apartment. Already I know that the walls can't possibly be too thin because I NEVER hear anyone below, above or beside me. With a pit in my stomach and a pinch in my throat I blew the first note... a low D...
any noises... any reactions from above... no!... phew... practicing can commence.
After the first 15 minutes and a few stares at the walls and floors--looking frightened as if a neighbor who was disturbed could possibly be seen through these surfaces--I worked up enough gumption to play Daphnis et chloe. About 3 minutes passed and this seriously loud bell tone and Korean voice rang through an intercom that I didn't even know I had. So there it was. I could no longer practice...

Well, that's what I thought. It turns out that was some sort of warning system that rings throughout the entire building. WHO KNEW! Well at least Pam and Samarra knew so they informed me it was OK and I'm feeling like I can practice once again.

--No one cried in class today! That's totally worthy of being blogged!--

--Tomorrow I will definitely be an official alien--

--I wish I could work with the people I work with right now for the rest of my life!--

--The Radio stations here teach English at 6 AM! I'm so impressed everyday at how they value education and not just English.
They also have a US military radio station that I find very annoying and disturbing; from their broadcasters to their music selection... I just won't turn to it again... nevertheless it's a shame this media base is representing the US--

--Truly I believe it is OK for me to stereotype Korean men as equally vain as the Korean women. They both stop at any mirror in the subway just as often as the other. And it was probably the men who installed the many yes MANY mirrors in the subway terminals. I say somebody needs to get some wind in their hair and some dirt on their shoes! :D--

--So far I don't feel like I know Korea at all...she really is a bit intimidating, however now that I feel MUCH better and my sniffles are gone I'm going to explore much more this weekend and try my darndest to get to know her! Getting to Know You!-here->--

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Starting in SEOUL

I'm BACK and Moving Maps once again!
This time in Seoul, South Korea

Hello my lovelies!!! (My apologies for this coming so late!)

Things are going alright over here. Lately I've been waking at because of the time adjustment but this weekend has basically cured my cold and my sleep deprivation! I’m very happy and human now! I took a video of my apartment this morning, however, on the first try my battery died and then I did a second video only to find that as of late my computer is not accepting my memory cards from my camera... SO sad! So sometime this week after school, I'm going to attempt to look for an electronic store to find a cable so I can transfer these photos and GET THEM ONLINE. (It will be tough because I tried searching for a store just this afternoon and found nothing... I'll ask around though!)
As for the food!!!! I’m having many new discoveries! And it's becoming an obsession!
I sort of made a pledge for myself to try anything... OK, you got me, not ANYTHING but I'm going to try to expand my pallet by insisting upon tasting new dishes, especially in the realms of meat....because it's hard to get anything meatless in Korea so I will just ride the wave. This little experiment so far is actually working (when I eat out at tasty places only though!) I had some yummy, sweet and fruity caviar on the first day! It was a free meal so I couldn’t say no, and as it turns out, WHO KNEW I liked caviar!!! HA!
That same day I had oysters... OK even though they were cooked "well" still definitely not my taste!
On Friday night all 6 of the American/Canadian teachers in my school decided we needed to bond. So they said we were going out and I put on my scarf, gloves, and hat to face that winter wind and I was ready to go far, however, we went just out the door of our school and one door down to this cozy authentic Korean restaurant! Again sticking to my goal to TRY more, I was offered this Korean smoked pork specialty called Bulgogi, which as we sat on the warm floor cross-legged, was cooked right on our table! You cut this meat with scissors and it has a nice tangy sweet glaze almost like barbecue but even BETTER! :D It was served with 4 different types of radishes, all uniquely prepared from being pickled to just sweetened with a light glaze; a not so spicy and really rather crunchy Kimchi (this was cabbage with a special mild chili sauce); a creamy coleslaw like salad (this may be called Kimchi as well... I’m not positive...). OH and most importantly you wrap the Bulgogi in lettuce leafs, whole garlic, onions, and peppers and just bite in. OH so good! I could really eat that all day!
(One thing I did try but is much too spicy for my taste is Bee-Bim-Bop. As fun as it sounds WATCH OUT! Only the experienced spice eaters should venture into this guy!)
Another meat I tried yesterday was lamb. It’s a bit too game-like for me yet but there may be potential enjoyment with lamb if I keep trying it. I'll stay optimistic!
OH, and one more food related thing and then I promise I’ll stop making you salivate; ginger water is big here. Twice now I have had ginger water and on the first time I thought my water was just unusual but my friend Pam informed it was ginger in the water. It’s really an amazing way to spice up the plain old H20!
I truly lucked out and I have met some AMAZING people who work in my school. I could not have been placed in a better place! They all are very positive, upbeat souls (maybe I should say Seouls) and I’m looking forward to working with them! Tomorrow is my first day of REAL teaching! Wish me luck! :D
The traffic here is quite vivacious! Never in my life have I been in such an environment. Also I've never actually been stood out so much. As Pam and I went for our walk yesterday, two school boys said "Hi!". Apparently it is very common for foreigners to receive these random greetings especially in the areas where foreigners come far in between.
I was told there are several Germans living in Seoul. I hope and cross my fingers to find at least one so I might be able to keep the German going. Also I have just found a website (in a very round about way) that is leading in the right direction for Flute professors. I'm still going to browse a bit to see if there might be options.
Anyways, I hope to keep this as a picture blog, so I will try to find that cable tomorrow evening.
Ta ta for now!