2007년 12월 5일 수요일

Korean Music - Rap: Big Bang (This Love)

There is definitely some real good Korean music. Actually, there's a Korean rapper I really like called "Big Bang". He does a rap using Maroon5's song (This Love) and it's really good. I like it a lot. I'm planning on buying his CD when I get a chance. I don't know what he's saying, but here's the song/video.

Found the English translation of the Lyrics:

This love, yeah, yeah, yeah
This love in my thuggin' G's in, uh
I'm straight falling, that's right yeah, yeah, yeah,
This is song for y'all, yeah

For no reason today seems sadder than other days
I miss you
Now I can't say those words any more
I can't even be at your side to watch over you; this must be the end
No matter how I look at it I was stupid
I inflated false expectations and misunderstood
Yea you have a boyfriend I know that
I don't know why but it makes me like you more and more
My friends say I'm a fool
Is she really that fine? Get your act together, she was messing with you
I don't care, it doesn't matter to me
If this is the only way I can see you it's enough for me

This love I'm never falling in love again
When I see my haggard face I wonder why I'm so stupid
This love Hey you, already gone and disappeared
Never returning: fly far, far away to behind the clouds
My story has no real heart or meaning; this is like one minus two
September nineteenth I'm left alone on your birthday
Alone I'm a fallin' love shady

Do you remember? When I passed the night outside your house
I grew nervous as I waited for you
While holding a dozen roses I was already excited
But contrary to my expectations you didn't come out; the rain fell
It was only then I decided to let go
Inside your heart there must be someone else; comfort me
I'm sorry; I didn't even know that and put you on the spot (yes)
Now I'm alone again (one love)

This love I'm never falling in love again
When I see my haggard face I wonder why I'm so stupid
This love Hey you, already gone and disappeared
Never returning: fly far, far away to behind the clouds
My story has no real heart or meaning; this is like one minus two
September nineteenth I'm left alone on your birthday
Alone I'm a fallin' love shady

What am I supposed to do? Loving you
Feels like a crime; my heart is so tired right now
I want to find your guy and talk to him – we can't do this
Now I'm crazy, without you for me

This love now forgotten, buried in time
Erasing all traces from memory, why my heart hurts like this
This love so tender, too young to love
All those memories: fly far, far away to behind the clouds

This love, this love, this love, this love, this love, this love (ye)
This love, this love, this love, this love, this love, this love, ooh~
Ooh~ hoo, ooh~ hoo, ye, ye, ye, yeah yeiyeiye
Ooh~ hoo, ooh~ hoo this love ye, yeah

Hey J, look at me
After you left, it ain't the same
I'm not what I used to be
It hurts so much, you know
I need you girl
Always, all time… this love

credits: Claire @ aheeyah

My Desk: Eeyore and Sponge Bob

This is my desk at work. Eeyore keeps me company. He carries my pencils and pens and stuff (my first pencil case since elementary school!). The kids like him too, although not many of them know he's Eeyore.

I also have a few GIANT erasers that I won from claw games. Several items in the claw games are weighted down with either clay or giant erasers. I like the erasers because at least they have a practical purpose when you win the item.

Anyway, one of the giant erasers is yellow, so I colored marker on it to make it look like Sponge Bob Square Pants. He's friends with Eeyore.

I also brought my mini-Totoro to work. The one my friend Christine Chen gave me! :) But the kids at work thought Totoro was too cute and they wanted to borrow him and give him back later... so I got scared and just brought him home. The others can get lost or damaged or destroyed and it's no problem - but not Totoro. He was a gift from a good friend, so I have to keep him safe.

Toilet Paper VS Mike

In Korea, it's common - anywhere - to see toilet paper sitting around on counter tops and desks. Businesses and homes use toilet paper instead of tissue like kleenex to save on expenses.

Mike has a big problem with it. He refuses to use toilet paper to wipe his nose, and he hates seeing it everywhere. Basically... toilet paper reminds Mike of a dirty butt or a used toilet. Something like that. So... one day, as a joke, I "TPed" his desk when he was gone. Of course I didn't use too much. I didn't want to get in trouble with my boss. Mike was so mad. hahaha - I wish I could have seen it!

Another night, Mike went out for the night (he's a social butterfly) and, as a joke, I took one of our new clean rolls of TP and set it on his pillow. I felt a little guilty afterwards because I know it really bothers him, and I was a little afraid of the repercussions... but I went through with it. He was mad again (not a serious mad, a good-sense-of-humor type of mad).

There were no repercussions - although he said he thought about it a lot. And I told him that was my last toilet paper prank. I COULD keep myself entertained for a long time with this... but I know he really doesn't like it so much. :) hahahahahahaha

Our Claw Game Stash (AKA: Prizes)

I mentioned Mike and I's claw game stash in my last post about our wild night out. But I forgot to include a picture of it! Rather than describing the items in the post... just check it out for yourself!

A Wild Night Out: Casino and Claw Games

In early November, Mike and I had a fun night out. We went to a Casino in Seoul. It's pretty far. We take the subway and taxi... so it takes about 2 hours and costs about $10 to get there. It's on the very far end of Seoul in a hotel. It's REALLY nice. The Casino isn't huge, but it has Texas Hold'em tables and other stuff. It has a little restaurant with a menu and free food. Anything you order is on the house... their way of getting you to relax and stay. As soon as they can, they play non-stop happy Christmas music (noticable). The waitresses are all really cute. Pretty much everyone there speaks English and is a foreigner. Koreans aren't allowed to gamble in Casinos. I don't know why! So all Casinos are catered to foreigners. Anyways, we went and had a lot of fun.

Mike loves Texas Hold'em and he's pretty good at it. I'll make another post on that another time. So he played cards the whole time.

Mostly, I sat and watched. But for kicks, Mike stuck $10 into a slot machine and said, "here. Play this while I play cards." He giggled a little as he stuck the money in and I was objecting. Slot machines are SUCH a waste of money!!! Mike agrees with me... but he just did it for kicks. Anyway, after pull after pull on the slot - I was down to my second-to-last pull and... DING DING DING. I won $63. Cashed out. I gave Mike about 2/3 of the winnings.

You can guess it. After watching him play cards... eventually I wandered over to the Roulette. DOH! House always seems to win. I lost $100 on Roulette. So, feeling pretty crappy, I wandered back to watch Mike play cards. Mike stood up and came over to talk to me again. The nearest seat to the card table is at a slot machine. So I told Mike I lost $100, and he stuck another $10 in a slot machine, then handed me another $10 and as he walked back to the poker table said, "play that." WHAT A WASTE! WE DON'T WANT TO GIVE THE SLOT MONEY WE WON BACK!!! So I considered KEEPING the $10 he handed me, but since he told me to play and it was his donation... that's what I did. Well, I ended up winning another $50 on slots. So as I sat there staring at my money... I thought... that would be nice to get my $100 back. So I took my newly won money and put it on red. All on red! Double up and I have my money back! Lose it, and I'm just back where I deserve to be.

It landed on red. ALWAYS pick red. It's the winner.

So I walked out even. :) Mike walked out with $200 extra dollars just from Poker.

We had this awesome plan for the way home. You see, as we arrived at the subway station near the Casino in Seoul, we took a taxi and drove from the subway to the casino - and we saw SO MANY claw machines!!! There were TONS!!! So we had this awesome plan to play EVERY SINGLE machine at LEAST once on the way back! It was a NIGHT OF CLAW MACHINES!!! And we also decided to take a picture at each machine we played.

The first machine sucked. It took our dollar, as expected. So we played the next machine on another corner. When Mike went to put money in, it wouldn't accept his dollar bill! Instead, it started SPITTING money at him! THREE dollars came out!!! So we put one back in and played the machine, and I won THREE torch lighters in a ROW from ONE dollar (which is 6 trys). It was amazing! Then we took a picture, and remembered that we forgot to take a picture at the FIRST machine we played! So we went back for another picture - but after the recent luck, I insisted on giving the first machine another try. I wanted something specific: a little lighter shaped like a mini golden gun. We put a dollar in... and I WON it!!! We were on a ROLL!!! The next machine, Mike played... and on one dollar, he won a BIG prize! On first glance, we thought it was an MP3 player - which is common in claw machines, but it turned out just to be a mini digital radio with headphones. But it's stylish.

Anyway... we hit claw machine after claw machine, and on EVERY SINGLE ONE - except two - we won at LEAST one prize! By the time we got back to the subway station, Mikes bag couldn't even FIT any more prizes! We were laughing SO HARD. I felt like a thief, we won so many prizes!

We started a box in our apartment collecting the prizes won from claw machines. We have all sorts of things - several lighters - a couple LED lights, a hand held game device, a volleyball net, a cell phone case, and some other stuff. One night (a different night) Mike won a HUGE lighter that looks like a pistol from the 1800s. You pull the trigger and a torch flame comes from the top. We didn't even know it was a lighter at first - but it's definitely my favorite item... well... that and the volleyball net. :)

Pictures range from us dominating the machines to us getting ready to destroy them. :)

Cute Hats

They have these cute hats in Korea for kids. They're like stuffed animals, but just the head - and they're hats. One of the kids at our school wears one of a sheep. They have all sorts... so I was with Ellie one time and we saw them in the store. I couldn't help myself! So I bought one for my nephew Joshua. I'll have to send it ASAP. It's a tiger. I forced Ellie to take a picture of me and with me wearing it. :) :D ^_^

2007년 11월 29일 목요일

Music: Wonder Girls, Tell Me

Okay, I get it. Anywhere in the world... there are 1 hit wonders. Anywhere in the world... at some point, some artist will write a bad song and it will catch like a wild fire and you'll hear it EVERYWHERE. Heck, it happens in America ALL the time!

In Korea... that song is "Tell me" written by pop artist: The Wonder Girls. 5 cute Korean girls, that sing and dance. The song is really not so good... and the dancing... gosh, it's just emberrassing. Yet - watch it... it's just catchy. The only English is "tell me, tell me, t-t-t-t-t-tell me". All the kids know it... so I purposefully bring it up in class often. Sometimes I'll mimic a few of their dance moves to be funny... or when I'm quizzing them, I'll ask a question somewhere in there and the answer is "Wonder Girls". Today we were playing pictionary as a review game for a book we read. At one point I drew a picture of the wonder girls. :) It was fun.

Here's the video. Check it out. It's pretty obvious from the video, who it's meant to appeal to!

I found the translation, credits ginaaax3 @ soompi.com.

I didn't know you would like me,
What do I do? It makes me so happy.
Because it feels like I dream I consistently pinch myself
I'm so happy.

Just in case you wouldn't like me,
I don't know how much I had to worry,
But since you say you love me,
Oh my. Say it once more

Tell me tell me tell tell tell tell tell tell me
That you love me, that you've waited for me
Tell me tell me tell tell tell tell tell tell me
Tell me that you need me, tell me
Tell me tell me tell tell tell tell tell tell me
I want to continoulsy hear it, please continue to tell me
Tell me tell me tell tell tell tell tell tell me
Please tell me this isn't a dream

How come my heart beats like this?
It feels as if, my heart will explode.
When you look at me, if feels as if I'm getting electrocuted,

I don't know how much I've waiting,
I don't know how long I've dreamt for this,
But since you say you love me,
Oh my. Say it once more

Tell me tell me tell tell tell tell tell tell me
That you love me, that you've waited for me
Tell me tell me tell tell tell tell tell tell me
Tell me that you need me, tell me
Tell me tell me tell tell tell tell tell tell me
I want to continoulsy hear it, please continue to tell me
Tell me tell me tell tell tell tell tell tell me
Please tell me this isn't a dream

Tell me tell me tell me you
want me want me want me too
Tell me tell me tell me you
love me too love me too

I don't know how much I've waiting,
I don't know how long I've dreamt for this,
But since you say you love me,
Oh my. Say it once more

Tell me tell me tell tell tell tell tell tell me
That you love me, that you've waited for me
Tell me tell me tell tell tell tell tell tell me
Tell me that you need me, tell me
Tell me tell me tell tell tell tell tell tell me
I want to continoulsy hear it, please continue to tell me
Tell me tell me tell tell tell tell tell tell me
Please tell me this isn't a dream

The rap part:
Hit me once time baby, one more time,
Ok, I know what you did just now, but once more,
Ye, keep telling me, even if I hear, even if I heard, I wanna hear it again,
Sometimes I wonder if this is a dream
Ohmy! What I do?

2007년 11월 17일 토요일

Facing the truth: Korean food

I've decided to fess up to the truth... I'm sorry - I can't hide it anymore. I don't (generally speaking) like Korean food. I think it's more similar to Japanese food than it is to Chinese food... and I just don't like Japanese food so much or Korean food.

Korean foods I don't like that I've seen, heard of, and some of which I've eaten:

Seafood like clams, mussels, crabs, fish, fish eggs, and other sorts

dog meat

chicken feet (yeah, they eat the feet of chickens... those little claws. They fry 'em up in hot sauce and eat them. They look very chewy... but I think Koreans like chewy foods because there are a lot of things like that that are chewy and people seem to like them.)

chicken/pig intestines (I ate some for the first time yesterday. It was chewy. The flavor was good... but I wouldn't eat it again)

Cold noodles

Cold sweet potatoes

Kimba - it's like sushi... it's almost exactly like sushi, but generally speaking they don't usually put fish in them.

Anyways - that's pretty much it. It's not the taste... the taste of the food is usually good - but it's the textures that get to me... and other things like that. I know I sound like a picky eater here... and I probably AM a picky eater - but let me tell you some things, just to try and redeem myself more:

I love Chinese food. It's my favorite.
I love Mexican food. It's SOOO good.
I like Indian food a LOT.
I like American food (pizza, burgers, hot dogs, corn dogs... yada yada) of course.
I like Egyptian food. It's very good.
I like other Middle Eastern dishes - very good!
I love Thai food! Chicken Pad Thai! Where are you???

I don't like seafood... and Greek food is... okay. Not wonderful, not bad. Somewhere in the middle. Anyway - that's my confession.

Don't forget: I'm in the city

Don't forget when you read this blog... I'm living in the city. Incheon is the 3rd biggest city in Korea... so some of the things I say might not be the same in other rural areas. In fact... I hear it's much different.

Claw game friends: Park No Hoon

A week and a half ago, Mike and I sat outside for a while playing the nearby claw game. We were playing the heavy weight machine. Mike wanted the MP3 player. We almost had it SO many times - and we tried SO hard! But in the end we couldn't get it. It got so intense, there were a few people meandering around. One guy started watching us for a while (watchers are common). He started trying to communicate with us and tell us how to get the item. Mike smokes cigarettes lightly here because they're so cheap... about $2.50 a pack. So people sometimes watch us play and bum cigarettes - it's friendly and social.

This guy turned out to be pretty cool. He's a crane operator - of all jobs - and we're playing the claw game. He played the middle weight claw game, won a couple lighters, and gave one to each of us for a present. Actually - all in all, we've probably received 4-5 lighters as presents from those games.

Anway, when we finally called it quits - No Hoon started to walk home with us (we live only a block away from that claw game). But I stopped half way home and said "I'm hungry. I want some chicken."

"Chicken?" No Hoon said.

So he lead us to a place (it was about 1am) and we ate chicken and drank beer. We met some of his friends that worked at the place we were eating - and we had a great time. So we met a new friend at the claw game and we ended up going out with him again the next weekend.

The Claw Games... (Part 1)

So in Korea, claw games are very popular. You know the ones I'm talking about - those game machines you see in movie theaters and places like Dave and Busters - the yellow ones with the claws. It doesn't matter what neighborhood you're in - there are claw games. It's not a question of whether there will be claw games on an outside street corner... the question is HOW MANY street corners will have them? Within a ten minute walking radius... in my neighborhood we've found 4 - but we haven't looked everywhere.

The claw games are actually pretty fun. (speaking in USD) You pay 20 cents for 1 try, or 50 cents for 3 trys. So it's normal just to stick in a dollar and you get 6 pulls. That's the official lingo - "hey, hey, lemme get a pull..." - Generally speaking there are 3 types of claw machines here.

1) light weight: candy machines. They're usually pink and the claw is smaller. You reach in and try to grab candy and put it on a platform where a moving block pushes it in the WIN pit if you get enough candy on it.

2) Middle weight: butane lighters with all sorts of designs on them, gold or silver watches (probably priced in the $10 range in the USA), and random other items in that category.

3) Heavy weight: Items that are probably $50 - $100 price range. MP3 players, mini heaters, mini tvs, dvd players, GPS car navigators... - these machines are such a waste of money. Mike and I know first hand. It's virtually impossible to win these! It's NOT impossible... but you're looking at spending a minimum of half the cost of the item - and that's only if you're successful! There's always a great chance you won't ever get it.

I don't want you to be confused though. There's a reason these claw games are everywhere. People PLAY them. When people leave bars drunk - they love to try a few pulls on the claw games. When little girls get out of school... you can see them trying a few pulls for candy. In the morning... you can spot a business man in a suit and tie, one hand holding a coffee and the other hand playing a claw game. It's popular here. Yellow trucks drive around to the different claw game locations and switch up the prizes and move things around probably ever 3 days, maybe once a week.

I say... if you started this claw game business in the USA... you'd make some money. :)

2007년 11월 10일 토요일


Before coming to Korea, I knew I wanted to study a martial art at some point. I assumed it would be Taegwando since it's so popular and it originated in Korea and is used by the Korean military... but that's not how it worked out.

The husband of one of my co-workers has a very good friend who is a Hapkido master - and he expressed interest in learning English. So, I was able to get connected with him. He grew up in the neighborhood where I live and he lives nearby. He's been studying Hapkido for about 17 years, and he studied Taegwando for some years before that. But he has a center where he runs Hapkido classes.

Hapkido is like a mixture between Taegwando and Jujitsu - it's self-defense. Here's a little blurb about it form Wikipedia.org

Hapkido aims to be an effective form of self-defense and employs joint locks, pressure points, throws, kicks, and other strikes. Hapkido practitioners train to counter the techniques of other martial arts as well as common "unskilled" attacks. There is also a range of traditional weapons including short stick, cane, rope, sword and staff which vary in emphasis depending on the particular tradition examined.

Although hapkido contains both long and close range fighting techniques, the purpose of most engagements is to get near for a close strike, lock, or throw. Hapkido emphasizes circular motion, non-resisting movements, and control of the opponent. Practitioners seek to gain advantage through footwork and body positioning to employ leverage, avoiding the use of strength against strength.

The guy in the blue uniform is one of the instructors. The guy in the black uniform next to me is the master who runs the classes, and the guy on the very right is the other instructor. They're all great guys. There they are below again. We went out for a few drinks a couple times - the second time I brough my roomate and it was a lot of fun.

2007년 10월 27일 토요일

Korean version of my roomate, Mike

I came into one of my classes at work and the kids had a big picture of my roomate on the marker board. It was so funny I decided to take a picture. It's Korean-Mike! hahahahaha... it's like a little Korean version of Mike - it's so hilarious. If they ever draw one like this of me... I will definately take a picture and post it here!


I work at Shim's Language Academy, known as "SLA". It's a chain in Korea. I don't work at a Public school, I work at a Hogwon. Hogwon's are private schools that only teach English.

Kids here always go to school. I work from 1pm until 8:30 or 9pm, Monday - Friday. I teach elementry aged kids through middle school. That's ABOUT age 8-13. The kids here are SO cute. It's a lot of fun teaching them - MOST of the time. Some classes are very hard. The first week - it's VERY hard to imagine being here for 12 months teaching... but after the first week, you start to get to know the kids and the classes and you get into a routine. That makes it much easier to teach and know what to do - and it makes it easier to write lesson plans.

Many kids here go to school from 7:30am until around 3pm. Then they go to a Hogwon to learn English. Then they go home and do homework... and they don't finish everything until 9pm. In addition to that... they go to school every other Saturday (the first and the third Saturday of every month). Because of this... I try hard to make my classes fun AND do everything I can to teach them English. Their parents pay a lot for them to learn English - and it will help them get a good job.

I work with one other American, my roomate Mike. And I work with two other Korean ladies that speak English fluently. My boss also teaches some classes and his English is very good. All in all - I really like work. The kids are great most of the time - the co workers are very helpful and nice, and my boss and his wife are both very nice, honest, and generous. They really do a lot to take care of us here.

The teachers all share a big office/room for making lesson plans. The windows at our school are partially private windows, but there's a little clear strip so you can see in the rooms. Anyway, there's one of those windows in our office - and the kids ALWAYS walk by and put their faces up against it to peek in on the teachers. It's pretty funny. My friend Peggy (in the USA) calls things like this "creepy"... so I named it the creepy window. You never know when you turn around if there will be a little kid peeking in. hahahahahaha

The first two pictures you can see the creepy window - my roomate Mike - and my desk is that empty one. Here are my two other co workers. I'll put up a picture of my boss and his family soon.

The first class picture is one of my favorite classes. They're so good! They do what they're supposed to, so I am happy to reward them by doing fun things, too.

The second picture is another one of my classes. We're reading a book about sports. Every day, at the end of class, we play the game Simon Says. It's great for them! They learn the words head, shoulders, chest, hands, knees, elbows, mouth, hair, eyes, nose, ears, toes, heel... and some other ones like jump, turn in a circle, sit, stand... they have a lot of fun and it's perfect to go along with what we're learning. Each time, I make the game a little more tricky. I've started saying "Simon Says touch your knees!" but then I'll touch my elbows! So the kids get tricked if they just copy me instead of listening to the words and knowing what to do. Anyway, it's really good for them.

This is a picture of the first class in the day. I don't teach it, but it's such a cute class! hahaha- I hear they're a little wild sometimes. Three of the boys in the class wear their martial arts uniforms to class. That spells trouble from the start! But... I don't have to teach that class so I just get to have fun with those kids. :)

Korean TV

Korean TV? Interesting that you ask...

well, it's not as crazy as Japanese TV. Mike and I get about 76 channels or so. Maybe about 10 of them have things in English either all the time or some of the time. Two of those channels are dedicated to the computer video game called Starcraft - 24 hours a day, every day. Once in a while, you'll catch them playing some other game... but it's very, very, very rare.

Another channel is dedicated to a traditional board game... gosh I forget the name! I'll post the name when I think of it. It starts with the letter "B". Basically there are circular checker-like pieces. Half of them are black and half of them are white. The board is big and light brown with a grid on it (like graph paper). You place the pieces on the grid intersections. I wish I could explain how to play - but I have no idea! And trust me... you CAN'T learn JUST by watching. I've tried.

I'm going to learn how to play it, eventually. It's a big part of the culture. So are video games.

There's a channel here called ACTION - and pretty much all the time it's playing an action movie. MOST of them are English - so we've seen cool movies like Alien Ressurection and Predator and Dawn of the Dead and several others. It's pretty cool.

Another channel here is broadcast by the US Military - and it's for the soldiers that are stationed here in Korea. So what they do is they take all the good TV shows from America and play them all on this one channel. :) It's pretty cool. They play Leno and Letterman and that other Irish guy... The Office, Lost, Heroes, and several other shows. It's a good fix.

Korea is 13 hours ahead of US Eastern Time. So... when it's night time in the US... it's "tomorrow morning" for me here. As a terrible, terrible consequence - it's VERY hard to catch NFL games on TV!!!

BUT! One thing Mike and I have found out is that they ALWAYS have "Monday Night Football" on TV! But to us, it's "Tuesday morning football" - which is a LITTLE less exciting, but still awesome they play it here. Unfortunately the announcers are speaking Korean.

Sometimes I watch Korean channels and it's interesting. They play Tom and Jerry in Korean, and music channels, nature channels... and sometimes a funny drama. I watch too much TV here... but I hope to get out of that habit when I start learning the language more and getting set into things such as Taegwando or Okido.

Our Apartment

I hear that the apartment Mike and I are sharing is much better than each of us having our own place - bigger, more expensive, more room... it's nice.

Here are some pictures of our apartment, inside and outside. The second-to-last picture, we're in the building on the very right side of the picture. The last picture is actually just looking down the street from our building, about 3 blocks down. Mike and I teach in one of those buildings on the left, on the 3rd and 4th floors. There are a lot of Hogwons around here (Hogwon is a private English Academy/school).

We work at Shim's Language Academy - SLA for short. It's a chain, but we work at the one in our area - I can't spell the name of our area, but I'll put it up here when I can.

Mike, my roomate

When I got here, I found out I had a roomate. My contract says I might have a roomate, but before I came, I asked about it and they told me I would be living in my own place. So that's what I was expecting and I was really looking forward to it! When I arrived, my roomate was out having fun, so I went to sleep in the apartment not knowing who the heck I would wake up and see. I was a little angry because I really wanted to live on my own.

As it turns out, my roomate is really cool. His name is Mike and he's from Pittsburg. He has a few flaws... you know... like, for one, he's a Steeler's fan - not a Bears fan. :) That was a joke. hahaha - no we get along great. We have very similar habits (good and bad, and we work together to find creative ways to get around our bad habits). We have similar taste in food and a lot of other things - so really we get along great. We both like to talk (too much). When we do laundry, we have to hang our clothes out to dry on the little balcony - and we both leave our clothes out drying for a week before taking them in - out of pure laziness, even though they dry after about one night.

We have trouble finding motivation to do dishes... so we made a pact that we would get rid of all our dishes except ONE plate and bowl and spoon/knife/fork/cup for each of us. That way, we use our own stuff when we eat and we HAVE to wash it if we want to use it again. hahahaha - hey, it'll work!

But we have fun, so I look forward to a good first year, here.

Some Korean Food

The most well known Korean food is kimchi - a side dish. Basically...it's aged lettuce smothered in hot juice and sauce. It ranges fromokay to excellent, depending on the quality.

Rice soup. It... doesn't taste like anything, to me...

Water with radishes floating in it. This is like another type of very spicy. Then eat the radishes (only about 3 small strips of radish in a wide tea cup). You're supposed to use a spoon and sip the water, which isvery hot/spicy. Then eat the radishes (only about 3 small strips ofradish in a wide tea cup).
Lettuce with chunky strawberry yogurt on it. It's surprisingly pretty darn good.VERY spicy soup with tofu and various veggies in it. I loved this!

Beef/pork/chicken cooked on an "upside-down metal bowl" or somethinglike it so the juice drips to the rim. Usually it's marinated, andsoooo good! One way of eating it is to wrap it in lettuce leaves(always on the table), put some chili sauce on it, a snippet ofgarlic, and maybe a few onions as you like - then wrap it up and eatit in one bite. This is good... but my opinion is those leaves ruin the taste. I don't know why but I don't like the way the leaves taste.
Seafood is really big here... and I've eaten shrimp and mussel... butnothing too exotic. They like to cook whole crabs, half the size ofyour fist, smother them in hot sauce, and you just take one and eatthe inside... but they couldn't get me to do that. :D hahaha - youknow me. Sooorrrryyyyyyyy - no thanks!
I tried to pick some pictures here that showed the food. I've eaten out several times at traditional Korean restaurants. This is one of those times. The first picture is myself and my roomate Mike (by the way, I have a roomate). The second picture is my friend Ellie and her mom. The third picture is just of Ellie (just in case you didn't know which was which in the previous picture), and the last is just me - mmmmmmm!
Oh! By the way, there's lots of pizza here! There's probably a pizza place every 2 blocks at LEAST! YAY! I love pizza! Also, I learned from the kids I teach that they eat Kimchi for BREAKFAST here!!! Yikes! I can't imagine... but that's the culture! They eat Kimchi for every meal. Other breakfast items you might see are rice (every meal), hot soup, or fish. I told the kids what I eat for breakfast. When I mentioned Orange Juice... they all gagged. :)

McDonalds: Located

I've located a McDonalds... haven't eaten there YET. I'm going to holdoff as long as I can - until I start missing American food. But theKorean food here is good as long as I Americanize it. Let me tell youabout some of the things I've eaten. First of all... I have NOT eatendog, and I haven't encountered it yet. I have eaten out several timesat traditional Korean restaurants.

Phone and Address

If you know me and you want my address here, e-mail me. If you don't know me or haven't been in touch much, e-mail me at chrispalasz@yahoo.com - I'll try to get it to you. But the addresses here are pretty confusing. It's hard to get clear address information even from Koreans because of the system they have set up. Numbers and addresses don't always go in a sequencial order...

My phone number here is: 010 4000 0594
If you are dialing from another country, you will not use the numbers 010, you will only use the last 8 digits and you will need to dial the international code first, which I think is 001 10 then my 8 digits.

I have an awesome phone. I'll put a picture of it on this post very soon. It's the SKY IM-U140. It only cost me 10,000 Won (about $10). It gets TV (free for the first 6 months, after that who knows if I'll keep the service, but I figured out how to get CNN! So that's one English channel I have). It does internet, e-mail, text messages, movies, mp3s, 3 megapixel camera, camcorder, expandable SD card slot, games... and other features that are normal like voice recording and alarm clock... it's an awesome device. I just need to figure out how to use the darn thing. And realistically - I won't use half of the features - but I couldn't pass it up! I thought "why not get an AWESOME phone for once in my life if it's that cheap?!? Oh, and it has a large, wide touchscreen and comes with a stylus! hahaha

Hey, if you HAPPEN to know how to use some of this stuff - PLEASE tell me! My friend is going to sit down with me and help me figure out how to put music on it when she has time. The instruction book is 90% in Korean! At least it does provide 10% of the most important instructions in English.

How I came to Korea

I was thinking about where my life is going. For a long time, I knew I wanted to travel and go to East Asia, but there were a few things on my mind. Back home in Illinois, there were a few things I thought I should take care of... but my life was going astray pretty consistently and I wasn't being very faithful or obedient. I kept making the same selfish choices and as a result my relationship with Jesus was suffering - but I always looked to God to bail me out. I always expected that I could keep making choices for myself and being disobedient and He would just fix things for me - but that's not how it works. It wasn't until I realized this that things turned around. After reading Phillipians chapter 1 with a very good friend of mine and really having that accountability to sit and consider what God was saying to me, I understood what the right thing to do was.

So I started making choices for Jesus again, and immediately, it's like the gates of opportunity opened up and prayers that I had been saying to God all started to be answered at the same time. It was as if God was just waiting for me to take those steps of devotion towards Him again. I listened to some good advice from one of my other friends. I asked her, "how do you make important decisions in your life?" And she said that if a good opportunity is there, she usually takes it. So I thought more seriously about my ambitions to go across seas and decided I would look and see if there was opportunity.

I went online and searched several jobs in Taiwan. That's where I wanted to go. But none of those jobs seemed to work out for me. It didn't seem like there was opportunity. I was also searching for jobs in the USA on Careerbuilder.com. I came across a job listed for South Korea, and the offer was VERY good! So I thought, it's a good opportunity. I never thought I would go to Korea, but I decided I should apply and see if there is an opportunity for me. It was such a good deal that I thought if there is opportunity I might take it.

The very next day after applying, I got a phone call from the company: G'Day Korea. They asked me several questions and I seemed to be in the perfect position to go to Korea and I already had all the documents I needed. So they told me I would have a short phone interview with one of the schools. I asked them if I could have any influence about where to work in Korea. I have a very good friend there, Ellie Kang. She and I did our YWAM DTS together in January 2007 in Nicosia, Cyprus. She happened to be one of my best friends while I was there, so I wanted to be close by if I lived in Korea. I called her and we talked and she was very, very helpful - she still is.

So I asked G'Day Korea if I could work in Incheon, near Dohwa Dong. They said they just happened to have a school that needed a teacher near there. And that was it - that was what I was praying about. I asked God, if He wants me to go, then let everything work out and give me accountability and fellowship in Korea. Everything worked out - and much more.

It took longer than I expected for me to get my work visa, but that gave me extra time to say goodbye to my friends and it all turned out fine.

I flew here on October 11th and arrived on October 12th at night.

2007년 10월 23일 화요일

Coming Soon

Check back on Saturday, October 27th - and see pictures and stuff I've been up to!