Friday, December 29, 2006

A Warm yet Snowy Xmas.

Well, it wasn't quite a White Christmas but the morning of the 24th me, my gf and friend Ariel headed East to the city of Wonju. It was a pretty flat city and didn't seem to have much character compared to the city of Seoul or even Anyang and Yeosu (down south) where I visited. But not to worry, didn't go to Wonju for the city itself...we jumped on a bus within 30 minutes of arriving in the city up to the local ski mountain! Snowbaording on new years eve sounds good to me!

We didn't really plan the trip well though as we got there as the afternoon session was closing and waited 3 hours until the evening ski started. They shut the mountain down for 2 hours three during throughout the day I guess to make more snow and get the runs ready. So, after a good wait me and my buddy Ariel rented snowboards and got our lift tickets to go. You notice I said only me and Ariel, my gf spent the day in the spa as she doesn't like the cold and snow and his buddy who lives in Wonju had a hurt ankle from the week before.

The boarding itself was quite reasonanble. Not as big as YeongPyeong where i went last year and of course it doesn't even compare to the shadow od Whistler or even Cypress for that matter. But not to worry, I went for a little fun and relaxing not hard riding.

The snow was decent and the lines weren't all that bad, maybe 15 minute wait at most. That night went out for some yummy chicken BBQ and soju to celebrate the arrival of Xmas day.

On Xmas day itself we woke up and had some bread and coffee at the local Dunkin' Donuts (the closest comparable thing to Tim Horton's but without the yummy French Vanilla Cap.). Got a bus which took about 3 hours to get back to Seoul as the traffic was heavy but made it back to get the end of a nice sunny day in Seoul.

Didn't really have any Xmas nights plan, but you know the best nights are those that are on a whim. So on the subway home I decide we should go to the local market and get some food at home. We should also invite one of Sungku's friends over for dinner and have a nice Xmas dinner. 'Course at the market Sungku buys clams and oysters for an Xmas dinner so I start wondering if a home cooked dinner was a good plan. Oysters and clams on Xmas (and with kimchi of course too)...yuck.

I dropped by the local butcher and picked myself up a nice duck. If I can't have a roasted turkey, I'll have to settle for roast duck. 'Course the lack of an oven meant that I was going to be cooking it in a toaster oven which proved to be quite the experience.

The dinner itself was great. Sungku and her friend polished off a few bottles of wine and I stuck my to brews. Listened to some music and just chilled for the rest of the night and it was great.

So, I think my first Xmas away from the family was pretty successful and since I got to talk to everyone on the phone, I couldn't have asked more. Now the question is...what for New Years?

Hope everyones Xmas was good.


Friday, December 22, 2006

Konglish at It's Best

The Korean language itself has a huge number of words which are derived from not only English but also Chinese and Japanese. Children will understand if you tell them the computer monitor, mouse, keyboard and modem is broken as all of the words are the same in Korean.

I can live with most of the Konglish but when my gf starts asking me to bring my panties when she wants to do laundry, that's just pushing it too far. Men's and women's underwear in Korea are known as 'Girl panties' and 'Boys' Panties" so I can see the translation, but calling my boxers panties is just not OK with me.

I live in Rodeo Drive now! Well, Munjeong Rodeo street to be exact, it's a discount shopipng center from depeartment stores. Here in Korea shopig at a dept. store means your trendy (and I say rich). Everything there is well overpriced although most Koreans say it is the only place where you can be sure your buying the real brands. Anyways, below is a big outlet with about 12 different upscale fashion labels selling coats inside for 500$, sweaters for $150 and toques for 80$ a piece.

A new meaning of having to go to the Dump.

I've heard of yellow snow before...but brown?

My favourite DVD room in Gangbyeon. I dunno if the pun was intented or not, but it's quite humorous none the less. I love the DVD room in Korea, you go there and can choose from over 200 or so videos, Korean and English and you get your own private room with a 60 inch screen to watch. 'Course you should have a red light in your head at the thought of see what happends sometimes in just imagine if there's no one else around what would happen.

Indeed it does, the DVD room is common for teenagers and younger coulples to frequent as a place to kiss and *cough* other things. Some might never even venture inside for fear of dirtyness but I know there are other places just as dirty that we don't worry about. I figure if I don't know about it, doesn't hurt me.

There are uncountable others, but I got a couple of food pics of these examples. It's enough to keep you amused while on a longley bus ride by yourself.

Xmas break!! Well, only Xmas day itself, but should be a good weekend!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Everyday Randomness

So, life always seems to be interesting no matter how much of a routine you get into. Yesterday I was up at a University studying with my tutor and got a call from the GF. She asks me "Did you lock the door when you left?" Ummm, no why? "I'm locked in and I have to leave for work within 5 minutes or I'll be late!"

Actually I specifically remember thinking I won't lock it, nobody is going to break in, although she might be mad at me. I had locked it before when she was inside and never had any problems before. Anyways,

I could tell she was mighty distressed and I'm thinking, shit, I'm gonna have to jump in a taxi and she's still gonna be late. Me and my buddy who is teaching me had plans for lunch, so I brought him along for the ride back. I figured maybe the neighbor hadthe key and locked it or somethin, I dunno.

Got a call when I was about 5 mins away and she had got it open by what I understood as using a knife to jam it open. I was worried it would be costing me an arm and a leg to get it fixed, and when I got back I saw the door open and the bolt and lock swaying freely some side to side.

Damnit, what did she do to the door. After a quick inspection I realize she only took the screws out and it could be easily fixed again.

What was gonna be a relaxed afternoon and turned out to be a hectic little adventure. Just another day in sunny SK I suppose.


Monday, December 11, 2006

I got all my pictures and videos that were on Sungku's camera (which are 99% of them) so I have all kinds of new pictures poseted on my MSN Live Space. I even got a YouTube account and got some videos up. Let's start with some from my Bday. Yes it was mid-September, but it was a memorable one...and not in the best way. The better part of the night was here watching Sungku eat some live octopus. Since I had eaten more than enough meat before hand I had no problem drinking and watching the spectacle.

The plate is crawling with the sticky suckers...

And now it isn't...

YUCK! I really prefer not having the choice of either chewing my food or it eating me!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Let's tak'em back a bit.

How far you taken' 'em?

Well we're goin...wayyyy...well, not that far just a few weekends ago.

I got pics from a wedding I went to (though not the professional ones) so I can post about it now.

So Friday night I take off right to Hapkido after school, finished my first test and got my Yellow Belt. Beware the Yellow Belt!!! From there right to Konkuk Uni. area where some friends where having 삼겹살 (pork BBQ) with the school. They were already well into the Soju by the time I got there and when me and a buddy Richie showed up the drinks just kept on flowing. From there we went to another HOF (what they call a pub in Korea) for much more beer and Soju.

I managed to piss one of the girls off well with some of the dirty Korean comments that I have learned. Koreans (most) don't use swears or dirty words and when you do, they aren't too pleased in the least...and this goes double for girls. In the cell phone she translates something and shoes it to me and a buddy...LOW QUALITY. Hahahaha, she was even less pleased when I couldn't stop laughing at the comment. Ahh well, all in good fun.

From there off to the 노래방 (karaoke room) where we blasted away at the usual tunes and heard a few different ones form the Korean girls there. After some Chinese style bowsa (big dumplings) and a taxi home it was after 4 when I got to bed.

Woke up to a phone call from Sungku who was on her way up on the subway. Your still sleeping..aiaiai!! Hurry up or I'm gonna be, your already mad girl. I'll be there when I can. Got there only 4 minutes late, but still a very uncomfortable rest of the subway up 'till she met her friends and got in a better mood.

The reason we were up so early 'tis to go to one of her friends' weddings. We were all meeting and getting on a bus to go to the northern city of Youngja. Was a good 3 hour drive up, but the wedding was fun. Very quick...20 minutes of photos to begin, a 30 minute ceremony, and then a 40 minute lunch. Then back on the bus for a 4 hour ride home.

The ceremony was good ('cept I didn't understand much of what was said) and I wouldn't really say it was a recpeption lunch as you only really chatted with the people that were sitting with you.

The ride home was long as me and Sungku had to sit on opposite sides of the bus. There were two Korean men sitting on either aisle and me and Sungku were looking trying to figure out where to sit...I figured they would move over and we could sit together, but no. The one Korean guy slides down, the guy I had to sit beside just moved his legs to let me through. I talked over him and across the aisle for a good part of the way home, you'd think it would be annoying, but he never moved. I was mighty pissed and thought he was being a dushbag 아젓시 (ajissi, older man).

I find many older men here will do nothing nice for younger people, especially if it means standing up and moving over one seat on the bus. Korea is very much for treating older people with respect, but I find older people could care less for lots of younger people and maybe not disrespect, but arn't very nice to younger people. Even if one person is 20 and one is 21 your whole personality and way of speech changes. I say f*&# that, I show everyone the same respect, older or younger, and if your older and an asshole, I'll treat you so accordingly.

Sorry, little vented rage. So me and Sungku were not gonna come home and planned on staying at the other city, but it was quite small and I didn't think we'd enjoy it much. So we came home and went out for dinner with some of her friends. A good choice it was. More BBQ pork, a grille fish house (which I dind't eat) and 2 pubs later and we were all well tossed.

I always really enjoy going out with Sungku's friends as it is a change in scene and of course they all like to drink. Had a good talk with a Korean history buff...learned a bit about the local history and made a plan to meet next Sunday and do some archery.

Sunday was alot of sleeping and a bit of shopping. Havin a party at my house next Saturday and need to fix up the house and get it ready! Just rain and warm weather here, I hear there's more than a foot of snow in Langley, I'm Jealous!! Aiaiaiaia, I want snow.


Friday, December 01, 2006

A Couple Drinks After Hapkido

Wake up, wake up, wake up, it's the first of the month! in Korea I don't get paid until the 10th of the month, so I won't be cashing any cheques just quite yet.

Finally made a plan to go out with some people form Hapkido for a few beers after the class (it ends at 1030). Me, Simon (from England), the instructor, another Korean student and Sungku went to the local German brewhause for some grub and yummy draft beer. The German beerhause's usually have the best beer around and this one was no different.

Got a plate of friend chicken, a plate of fire chicken and a plate of smoked big feet for food. Yes, you read right, smoked pig feet. It came with the meat stripped off it and of course the bone with the ankle and foot to gnaw on if you so desire. I had a couple of bites, it tasted pretty much like smoked ham, but after all the chicken I was already pretty full. Things were goin well and everyone in the place was having fun.

Then the night turned around.

Some guy that was drinking in the place was cutoff by the woman who ran the Hause and just lost it. He went to the kitchen area (which wasn't sectioned off from the tables really) and started yellin' at her and swearin. She stayed calm and dealt with it fairly well. He kept stepping forward like he was gonna hit her, but she stood her ground and just kept saying leave.

He almost made it to the door, but then turned back around, started yellin and screamin again. The Hapkido instructor gave the cops a call and just stayed calm. The guy obviously hears him and looks at his and says stay out of this, you don;t wanna get hurt (or somethin of the such) and continues berating the poor woman.

'Course the whole time I'm thinking... this guy has no idea there are a table of Hapkido people who arn't too happy with his antics. Anyways, he and his shy buddy take off and so we think all is ok. Back they come in 1 minute with a couple bottles of Soju to show the lady up. He never really drank any..sat up..yelled more. Then chucked one of them (full) against he wall by the kitchen. The women came down and lost it on him, and both there were kaiseky's and ship'pal's tossed all over the place between them (SOB and fuck to translate them). I thought we should have tossed him out of the place by then, but the instructor wouldn't let us get up. There was another table across from us with two middle aged couples and a 4 year old girl. I felt the worse for the little girl..poor thing has to witness that. Anyways, her dad and another little skinny guy has to get up and keep this drunk fuck from hitting the women. Finally, as always, the cops show up after everything has happened (even though the copshop was right across the street) and they take the guy outside and calm him down.

Supposedly if you get rowdy and crazy like that there is no drunk tank here in Korea. A $60 fine and he's on his way.

The women who ran the Hause was really ashamed and brought us a couple rounds of free beers, but it was us who felt more sorry for her.

So, off to the taxi and on our way home from the crazyness. Actually we just got into more. The taxi was flying through red lights and stop signs Harbin style and as we pull up to a red light with cars in front a blue truck with two guys pull and and start swearin at this guy as he passed them without his signal (that is why there were mad, Sungku translated). The driver says and points to pull over. So..we bust a right, pull over and the truck pulls in front. Out jump these two scrawny little things, taxi driver jumps out, rips off his shirt to show a whole back tattoo of a dragon and grabs these little guys.

No full punches thrown..but he taxi has both of these guys by the collar and is just swinging them around everywhere. The one guy gets on the cell to call up the buddies. The taxi driver just keeps walking around and throwing these guys on the ground, they get up, he gets them by the collar again.

Me and Sungku watch for a bit thinking they will end it at that, but after two minutes this is still goin on, out we go and into another cab.

Holy my. Not our night. Sungku was right rattled but I enjoyed the drunken displays and crazy ness a bit. Kinda reminded me of Harbin! We left unscathed so it's just another tally in the old Asian randomness nights.

Havin' a party at my place this Saturday, so hopefully more positive stories next week!


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Korean Religion

So what comes to your mind when you first think of Korean Religion? Well, probably Buddhism, Taoism or Confucianism right?

A 2003 survey by the South Korean government showed that only about 50% of Koreans adhere to any particular religion, while the rest are either Atheist, or as I’d like to call myself, spiritual.

Well I’m quite the opposite of a religion buff but I thought Confucianism was more of a way of thinking than a religion. Anyways, stats showed that only about 3% of the population are Confucians although I believe the respect for elders and some other Korean values are related to this old way of thinking. My last rant about having to show uber respect to older men comes from this way of thinking.

Buddhism used to compose a high percentage of Koreans but today is practiced by only about 1/4 of the Korean population. There are numerous famous Buddhist temples and mountains in Korea that provide great hiking and sightseeing on the weekend.

The most surprising thing to me though, is the number of Christians here in Korea. Christian missionaries first started coming here in the late 18th century and converted a large number of Koreans, and then again in the 70’s and 80’s a large number of people converted. The later I am guessing can be attributed to the US led force against North Korea in the 50’s and the continued presence of American Army bases here. Christians statistically comprise only about 25% of the population, but wherever you go in Korea, and especially Seoul, you see churches absolutely everywhere.

The majority of my students both now and in the past are Christian. I think every one of my 12 co-teachers is Christian and on Sundays…. oh on Sundays.

You think the odd Jehovah Witness is a little annoying back home in Canada. Well…you ain’t seen anything then. I would say about 70% of the people who approach me in the street are coming to talk to me about Christianity and to ask “Have you found Jesus?” On Sunday you can find streets lined with people who are signing hymns from the bible and if you go to downtown Seoul you get the really hardcore who are walking around with big banners and picket signs damning anyone who doesn’t believe in the Lord and Savior.

I am all for doing something that makes you happy and gives you purpose in life, but the minute someone tries to push those ideas and beliefs on me or someone else than that is the time I lose respect for them and their religion. Only once has a girl who approached me on the street responded when I told her I’m not religious with a ‘”No problem, you can think as you which.” I was very astonished as all the others have continued pushing and trying to attest their thinking.

I am usually nice and respectful to those who approach me like that but there are times when I can lose my temper. Last March while me and Sungku were sitting in a park, a man and what seemed like his son came up and said hello to us. I said hello back very kindly knowing what they were going to talk to us about. They show us a little brochure and I respond with a, no thanks, not interested. He pushes it forward again, and I repeat the answer in Korean. They start talking Korean to Sungku who is actually quite anti-religious and she gets angry and gives them a few harsh words to go away. They stay for another solid minute just talking and ignoring our request and it’s about this time I start getting pissed off and when Sungku decides she’s had enough, stands up and really starts giving it to them in Korean. Got the attention of the whole park, but finally made them leave.

I sometimes wear a chain with the Buddhist symbol around my neck and I’ve gotten trouble from a Dutch friend back home about it and a foreigner here, as it looks similar to the Nazi symbol. Fair enough error back home, maybe not for the guy here. But one of my students the other week sees it and asks me, “Are you a Nazi teacher?” I look at him funny and ask him “You are Christian, aren’t you?” Of course he didn’t understand and maybe it’s for the better but definitely the next week I saw him wearing a cross around his neck, pulled out and displayed for my viewing pleasure.

The worst thing about most religion is the zero tolerance most take on having and studying other religions. I think it is good to read a variety of religious books to understand certain peoples ways of thinking and to take a little from each to come up with your own philosophy on life. Like this kid in my class though, he knew what the symbol was and was just poking fun at it and comparing it to one of the most known and despised symbols in the world.

This lack of acceptance has provoked a few outbursts from me in this country. Although most religious people I meet both here and back home are kind, generous, caring and keep their convictions to themselves, those who persist and ignore my free thought will always be the reason why I have a negative view on religion as a whole.

I hope I haven’t offended any readers with this post. But if so… I don’t apologize… I didn’t force you to read my thoughts and views and you are more than welcome to carry on believing what you will as long as you’re not hurting anyone with them.

Peace, love , cheese, and Freedom of Thought,


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Got warm again here in Seoul this week and I haven't had to put anything more than a sweater on for the last few days. Enjoying it.

Getting psyched for my first Hapkido test this week where I can get my yellow belt instead of my newbie white belt if I pass. Beware the yellow belt!!! Aya!

Last Friday I finally moved into my new place. It was reasonably clean for Korean standards after moving out, but not up to par with a new house residence you would move into back home. So first day of cleaning is just a basic sweep of the floors and a first level wash with towel and water. Second day onto the cabinets and porch, and third day...well that's yet to happen although the cabinets and floors as well as an overall dusting is much needed.

The last tenants took absolutely everything from the house so I needed to get a new bed, gas range, washing machine, TV, closet, and everything else you might need. The school was reasonably good about it and most of it is all installed and running. The bathroom is still bare and needs shelving and stuff (as well as a good cleaning) but I have another week or so before I'm going to have anybody over. Speaking of people over!!!

House Warming Party! Gonna be two Saturdays from now and as always with my pa rites it will be a quite random mix of people and events with nothing really planned and just kinda following the flow of the night.

Back to last weekend, lets look back not ahead. I moved right off a Rodeo Street which is geuss is supposed to be a take on Rodeo Drive as it has a whole pile of cheap discount name brand stores. I'm sure my cousin Katie will love it when she comes and visits. As for me, I enjoy the sights that come along with a shoping center, but not the shopping itself. Went shopping with my girlfriend on Saturday for a solid 3 and a bit hours, she managed to drop over 7 bills on clothing and I had a few bags on my arms to walk back with. It's hard work going shoping with people even though you don't do much shoping yourself. A good nap was had afterwards.

So, out to Iteawon tonight for some grub (gonna try to get Egyptian food) and gonna stay over at my buddies place. Got a private lesson tomorrow afternoon near my school so I can start earning some drinking money and sending more of my salary back home to pay them student loans (interest is a bitch!).

Great link to a translated menu at 김밥나라 (KimBub Nara), good for newbies or the soon to be!

Having a hard time finding my camera cord and my GF has most of our pics on her cam. I'll get some goodies up sooner or later. Till next Time. Hap Ki!


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Well...wasn't quite the weekend I expected, but was a goody anyways. Friday had a dinner with my Korean tutor and a few other friends. Some good 감자탕 (Meat and Potato Stew) and a few bottles of Soju. My friend Mike who brought his guitar decided to break it out and play a little bit oafter we urged him on. A few stums and some chill music later he got the attention of the two ajissis (25 year olds + men) a few tables over. In broken English the guy says " You play a song for us!" Mikes a bit uncertain at first but the green courage kicks in and over he goes to play them a song. A reggea/rock song, one he wrote himself and the guys were enthralled. The guy offered him a shot and even made him do it the 'love shot' way. Mike said, hanna, dul, set (korean, 1,2, 3) and the guy was not happy. Have to do it again but this time in English. After the shots were concluded the guy said he has to now play us a traditional Korean song. He does a few notes...stops. Few notes again, stops. And once more for good luck./ Thought he was just messin' with us but then he began and kept it up. THought it was a nice peaceful Korean song until he started singing. He must havae thought it a kareoke room as he started just bellowing all kinds of stuff in Korean and got the attention of the whole restaurant. Another table called over the waitress and got her to tell him to shut up.. a bit disrespectful I thought, but maybe for a good cause, I couldn't handle much more of his singing.

They left about the same time as us, and as they were walking by, he shakes my hand and says, you are a good man, but running (as he points to my stomach). Excuse me? Running he says again and demonstrates the big belly motion with his hand. I'm livid with this. Sure I'm not thin by any means but u don't go around saying taht to people. He had a few chins so I have him a good ging and said, 'How many chins do you have?". He says, but I'm old. It quited down but I was still not pleased with his comment since I've been working out and getting in better shape over the last month.

Anyhow, Monday morning I was teaching some businessmen who work at Samsung and they said I looked like I was in great shape. I said, well not great, but not horrible shape either, but thanks for the compliment. I’m just doing a three week fill-in job there, they have good English and are quite interesting. Three of them work in the military defense division and design rockets and missiles. The others work in the computer engineering division…a slight change from my 10 year old kids. Very enjoyable.

Back to Friday night, afterwards we head to a little back near Konkuk Uni. (like most countries the best bar scene is around the Universities) where there’s a little bar that has cheap ber and shots and a good environment. From there to the 노래방 (karaoke room) where we sung a little of everything from Nirvana and RATM to Bob Dylan and Oasis. Great fun to go singing after a few drinks. Much more relaxed since you get your own room and unlike China, you sing at the screen with your friends behind you…you never feel like your up on stage and could care less if your singing bad. Friday as a good success.

Saturday got a call in the morning while still in bed. Come hiking! Ummm, maybe let me talk to the girl and see what I can manage. After a little convincing I got us up outta bed and out the door on a hike. Expected a little hill but got a good hour and a bit hike up at mountain. Great view and got rid of the hangover nicely.

Was waiting for a call on Saturday from a friend who lives outta Seoul,. We’ve made plans to go out but he’s missed calling me before, so when I got offered to go for home-cooked Spaghetti, I jumped on the idea. Korean cooked but it was still mighty cheesy and tasty. It was an elder sister of a friends and there were about 6 of us there and a little 1 year old baby. The baby was very scared at first, but was playing with me by the end of the night. Sungku was very surprised that I was fooling around and playing with a baby since all she hears is about my bad students at school and thinks I don’t like kids. The women’s house we were at was a hard drinker. We brought 3 pitchers (about 5000ml) thinking it would be enough. We proceeded to polish off another case of tally’s and when were all feelin fine. A bit too fine for some as the women almost toppled over my friend Richie with her baby in arms. I was a bit surprised and repulsed at carrying a kid around being uber drunk and I could tell Richie was a little shocked himself. When I told Sungku the next day she thought I was just being very conservative, maybe I just havn’t been around many younger parents, but my gut tells me something’s amiss.

Anywho, hit up the 2nd 노래방 in as many nights and went singing away with another 3 pitchers of beer. Planned to go out to hit up the bars at about 230 but the mom was hammered and wanted to come out with us. We therefore had to go in and get her food and let her calm down and stay in the house, she was a wreck and was in no condition to go out any farther. ‘Course after sitting down for a bit it was lights out for me too and soon enough I was in the taxi heading home.

Sunday was chilled, Poker was cancelled which was disappointing but it’ll get doing in time. Saw my new apt. this week! Looked pretty nice. 2 bedrooms, decent size, small bathroom but very manageable. I was supposed to move on Tuesday and had everything packed and cleaned before I went to class on Monday. As I get to school the manager informs me I might have to stay in the house a few days without a bed of fridge…or anything else you might find in an apt. (it was completely bare). Ummmm, hellz no. I’ll just be staying where I am now and you can let me know when you have bought new stuff for me. ‘Course if I would have looked myself I could have found good furniture online the week before, but she has managed to get some 2nd hand and I hope its relatively good condition. It’s a hagwon (small academy) and they love to save money any way they can. Hope they found some good stuff and I’m all settled in by next Monday (finally). I’m sure I’ll have new stories before the week is out on that. I’m spent. Hope your doin well. I’ll post new pics here soon. Happy bday Jerry!


Friday, November 10, 2006

Mooooonnnnnnnnneeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyyy!!! Today is payday and since I have a total of 4$ plus a little change to my name, that is a good thing. Been takin’ ‘er slow this past week since I’ve been pretty broke and ready to have a good weekend. Dinner tonight with some friends, probably out to the bars tomorrow night and gonna try and take some money from some guy sin a poker tourney this weekend. Actually quite resemblers a weekend from back home. ‘Course the green relaxant back home has been changed to a different kind of green relaxant here, Soju!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Aiiiyaaaa!!! Headin' to Hapkido tonight. It's great exercise and fun to learn. Based on using other peoples energy for your own self defense. So far I've learned how to break some wrist holds (good for when my friend Derek tries to wrastle me, I'm gettin free now!!), some basic throws and some differnt kinds of kicks. The 1st 30 mins is purely stretching and cardio so I'm satrting to get a bit more flexible and back into reasonable shape. Hope to keep it going all year while I'm here, so see where my energies lay in a few months.

It's gotten freakin cold here. Literally two weeks ago I was in shorts and a T-shirt and it felt like June in Vancouver, now I am in my heavist coat and am still a bit cold, like January in Vancouver. Eeeeks, there is a total lack of the spring and fall season here in Korea. Hot or cold, better used used to both of them. Classes are OK, sthe same old, good ones and bad ones. Going to move into my new house in 6 days finally! It's going to be good to actuyally settle down and know this is where I'm going to be living for the rest of my 10 months in the contract. I'm sure it will be a big relief. I'm off! Hap-Ki!

Monday, November 06, 2006

First real post!!!! So as always when I am at school, I'm chatting with my mom and others on MSN and never get the time I want to type. I'm pretty broke these days as I came here flat broke and have only gotten 2/3's of a months pay since the pay monthly salary on the 10th of the following month (aka this Friday the 10th should be a fun one). Went to a Hyundai dept. store with SAungku who was going to get her pants tightened. The normal ajumma dry cleaners said it was too complicated for them, so we went right to the clothing line in the dept. store where she bought them. To one place on the 5th floor, tried on, pinned the mark, then up to the 8th floor, tried on, pinned and 45 minutes later we were able to get 2 pants hemmed. Back again tomorrow up and down the whole store just to get them. I didn't think we got pants hemmed right at the store itself in Willowbrook, but I'm a boy, maybe I don't know whats what. It was interesting though as I could watch all the men carrying their womens purses wandering aimlessly in the ails. Moms and their 12 year old daughters who come right out of a fashion magazing and a song playing in the back which all i could here wa the word Jealousy repeated over and over.

Good dinner and card games that night. Took 'er easy on Sunday, back to it today.

Well, I sure didn't get what I wanted out and it's alrady time for class. I guess I'll have to keep at it to improve. I'm out.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Below are all my emails since I left for Korea in January. For pics, check out Reds MSN Live Space, link is on the left of the main page. Ill still send out the odd big update for people, but will have lots more day to day stuff that I won't include for those that care to read.


Monday, October 30, 2006

Here we go. Lets see how often I get release my mind. I'm going to copy and paste my old emails for those of you who missed out.


Monday, October 09, 2006

The Life and Times of Redderick Milla Volume 3 (2)

Monday Oct. 9th, 2006

Now where did I leave off? Let’s see on the train heading down to Beijing. Woke up to a sunny day and the Beijing skyline coming up quick. I had an interesting conversation the night before with a Korean couple that were studying in China. I was trying to figure out where to go once we got to the station and Sungku was sleeping so with and interesting combo of Chinese and Korean I managed to talk a bit with them and they got the guy across from us (who they were shocked was some big Chinese film director) to help me figure it out. Just a quick subway 5 stops then a short taxi, perfect.

Leaving the station I got the expected nagging of old ladies wanting to sell me their tour maps, hotels, taxis, etc. and even a college aged guy who wanted to get a picture with me. Being in Beijing, a land of many foreigners I wasn’t expecting the whole, hello how are you? Where are you from? How old are you? Do you know Yao Ming? Can I get a picture with you routine but I suppose he just got off the train from somewhere else like me. So, on the subway we go looking for our stop. Very much like the Korean subway but not as massive in magnitude…the Beijing subway is just a circle around the first ring road with another line running horizontal through the other from East to West. Beijing was developed like a circle with the downtown in the middle and new growth expanding outwards. There are three main roads that divide the sectors of the city, 1st ring, 2nd ring and 3rd ring road and you can easily find our hotel by saying it is just passed the 2nd ring road south of Chang An Ave. Anyways, so after walking for 20 mins and a food stop we continue to walk towards where we believe our hotel should be. Eventually gave up and called a taxi and showed him the hotel name that Youjia (Scotts gf) gave us back in Harbin. The guy didn’t recognize it but CB’d some guys who ‘thought they knew where it was’. In we get and we’re off…if you’ve even been in a taxi with me (most people in Canada haven’t as we always drive) you’d know that I despise taxi drivers and am always worried about being cheated or taken the long way around. So the whole ride I’m watchin’ the meter go up and up and taking us nowhere close to where I thought we should go. Luckily the CB friends were right and we got to the hotel in 35 rmb (more than the 10 rmb I am used to in Harbin, but less than the 50 or 100 I have heard about in Beijing). Hotel was reasonable, not super clean, but well located and after Harbin and my brothers house a little dirt is the least of my worries.

Headed right downtown that night and took some photos (most of which didn’t turn out) around the main hall and Tiannamen. We got there just as the hall closed but got a nice sunset over the Forbidden Palace and the square. As we’re walking by some other huge building I don’t know the name of this bicycle guy with a pull seat (similar to a rickshaw) came by and asked to go on a tour with him. I said, no thanks, boo yaow, no thanks and another boo yaow (no want) but he just kept peddling beside and asking. Alright I ask him, “How much buddy?” He says 3 money…I’m like ok, san kwai (3 rmb in Chinese) he says yes, yes. I double check and say ‘wo gay ni san kwai?’ (I give you three rmb) and he agrees. We jump in and at the first light just 30 feet up he jumps off and another guy jumps on the bike...the other guy shows his legs are stronger than his so he is better. Thought it a little odd, but hey that’s nothing compared to other things I’ve seen in China. So he takes us around the area for about 10 minutes and back through some old houses and stops back behind them before we get back to civilized areas. Pulls out his plastic card and points to guided tour…300 kwai! WTF! Ummm, ‘ni panyo shwa san kwai’ (your friend said 3 rmb). He just keeps pointing and pointing at his card and I’m thinking, really, what was I thinking getting into this buggy right downtown on our first day. So I tell him I’ll give him 20 rmb and leave it at that. Course by then there’s another 2 Chinese guys around us listening as any time there’s an argument or fight people will get surrounded by passerby’s who have nothing better to do than listen to other peoples troubles. After about 10 minutes I just drop 30 kwai on his buggy seat and Sungku and me walk away. Together we only had 50 kwai that night and we still needed to have cash in case we got lost and needed a taxi home. Managed to find the hotel on foot and grabbed a handful of beers to celebrate our first night in the Red Capital. All’s well that ends well…well meaning with beer in hand in China.

The other events and sights of Beijing are in random order as I took no journal and there’s been a lot of blur since the trip. So, we went back another day to Tiannamen and the Forbidden City to check it out in daylight. Tiannamen was ok, nothing too spectacular, more just the history that made it special. The Forbidden City on the other hand is an enormous monstrosity of a palace in the middle of Beijing. It took a solid 3 or 4 hours to walk around, and that was at my fast pace and not taking many rests. The main building was being remodeled for the ’08 Olympics so instead of seeing the big awe-inspiring centerpiece of the palace we saw a great green blanket (construction sheet that is used all over China and Korea to protect from falling debris) with a painted picture of the main hall on it. Grrr, disappointing, but nothing to lose sleep over. The back of the palace had a great little garden with really old trees and was a very peaceful atmosphere even with the tourists running around; it was my favourite part of the palace. I enjoyed looking at the stories of the concubines and was amused at the chart that said ‘The path to Royalty,’ or something of the like, which showed how women went from nothing to being concubines of officials and then to royalty and then if lucky enough to the emperors. Just amused at how well sleeping around can do for you status in life. Wonder where they’d get today? On another note, you get a cool electronic tour guide that has the palace map and shows where you have been and where you haven’t. When you get close to a building or location a GPS (or of the like) will activate the audio file and tell you about what you are seeing. They were great as they had one in English and in Korean so we both knew what was going on as we wandered around the old buildings.

The Tiannamen gate was nice as we got to go up to the front of the palace and oversee the entire square just across Chang An Ave. Took some pictures of some traditional Chinese garb and just chilled out in the shade for a good part of the day. We checked out the Drum Tower later on, which is east of the Palace and found it gave a really good view of the last major area of Hutongs (architecturally traditional Chinese homes) and the hustle bustle of rickshaws fighting for the next tours just in front of them. Right across the square was the Bell Tower, it was looked the same as the Drum Tower but instead of the big drums there was one big bell at the top. We watched a drum performance, which was OK, but nothing to amazing. The best part was the Tower was the old drums from the turn of the last millennium and the odd little time keeping devices and old machines that the Chinese invented long ago.

Just south east of the Drum Tower is Beihei Park. I know it had all kinds of history but I’m not gonna go into it on my email. I’d research it if you’re planning a trip to Beijing though as it adds a lot more feeling to the walk around it. It was really nice and had lots of pubs and cafes through the first half of it directed towards the tourists while having old officials homes and temples through the lower end. There was a calm feeling walking through there and it seemed hard to believe we were in the middle of Beijing where only a few blocks away the hustle bustle of commies and tourists were a plenty. At the south side of the park there was a little square where a few old men where having a little Beijing opera jam session (If I can call it that) with some traditional Chinese instruments and men screaming notes and distorting their face to the sound of the instruments. Stayed there for a solid hour or two (although it was hard to keep my beer flow going as there was few side markets around to get it) but it was one of the most enjoyable parts of the trip for me.

We went to Xidan market as there was supposedly lots of stuff to look at and buy there but we where very disappointed with the indoor supermarket like setup and abundance of foreign goods (although Sungku found herself some good coffee there...good being instant Maxwell!). Did prove interesting as I was walking buy some lady cleaning some dudes shoes, came near to check out what was going on, and out of nowhere, boom, another lady bounces over and before I know it she’s rubbing down my right foot and cleaning my shoe. I was wearing these white Filas I’d had for almost a year so they were pretty much black already. I was very surprised at how well it worked as I thought they would never come clean. I bought a couple boxes and had her clean the rest of the shoes (cant go around with just one side cleaned now can I?) Course the fronts of the shoes didn’t clean so well as Dereks fire the year before pretty much burnt all the leather off them, but all in all I think it was a good purchase (I have some brand new white Etnies that are already blackened by the Seoul streets to test it out again on). I went to Xidan first because I had just finished reading about the Xidan Democracy Wall as it was the place where the first posters (dazibao) against the Communist regime and where the first verbal and written disagreements with the Cultural Revolution could be found. Course I looked for the actual wall but never found it as I don’t think the gov’t would want to keep that site on the tourist maps. Found what could have been the wall, but just gave up on it eventually. All in all Xidan wasn’t what I expected. Day ended well with more Chinese BBQ and lots of more beer. All ends well that day with chuar (BBQ) and beer.

If your like me at all, you’ve either stopped reading already or are getting antsy to get to your next e-mail, so I’ll cut it off here. Hope everyone is well. I just finished a week Thanksgiving holiday and am relaxed and feeling great.

Early evening one day we decided to try and find Silk Alley, as it is one of the more famous destinations and I know Sungku could do with some more shopping. Wasn’t too hard to find, but was nothing as I expected. Maybe in the past it was actually an alley, but today it is just a big building many thousands of stalls like you would find in Harbin or Seoul. We bought a little bit but the good memories were more from the bargaining and having fun with the younger aged store clerks. Sungku and I were having contests to see who could get the biggest discount from the original price. A normal go would be them asking like 300 rmb for it and us eventually paying like 30. Got a bed cover down from 2500 to 650 but still didn’t buy it as we would have had to ship it back to Korea and didn’t want to deal with that. Sungku was by far a better bargainer than me, dunno if it’s a women thing, a shopping thing (is that the same thing? Heheh), or that my face can be easily read by sellers. After dropping a few hundred rmb we figured we had better call it a night…back to the hotel, got some more beer, prepared the 2nd half of our tour and called it a night.

If you are like me, you have either stopped reading by now, started skipping sentences/paragraphs or are at least antsy to get onto your next e-mail. I’ll leave it at that and send more in a couple days. I’m doing well here in Korea, just came off a week vacation for their Thanksgiving and feel well rested. Hope everyone is well,

Peace, love and cheese,


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Life and Times of Redderick Milla Volume 3 (1)

Monday, September 26th, 2006

To say I’m a little behind in my updates and there are a few stories I have to tell…well that would be quite an understatement. I’ve been here, there and back again this summer and had a hell of a time all the while.

Where to start, where to start? I think I ended off last time working 10-7 at a private academy just south of Seoul. As my time on my visa was running out I had to choose to do a visa run to Japan and stay fro another 9 months or do the weaguk (foreigner) dash. The other teachers at the academy were awesome and it was relaxed environment where I could teach what I wanted, but the director there was a deceiving, lying and trashy *#&$#&*. After a talk with the manger who confirmed I couldn’t trust her if I told her I was leaving in a month I decided who needs morality, I’ve taken shit for the last three jobs in Korea and it’s my turn to be the ass. So, the mid May I get paid and I call her telling her I won’t be at work on Monday, she freaks out of course, starts crying and sobbing and all the rest (of course I’ve seen the act twice already with other teachers there), tell me if I say she’ll give me more money, less time and all the rest. Worst mistake of my last few months (and maybe my life), I thought hey, maybe I won’t take all my money out of my account just yet. Try it three days latter, nope, no dice, talk to a manager, its been put on hold by her in the other city, supposedly she had already paid me in cash and that was a mistake. So now me and my girlfriend (Sungku) have to go talk to her at the bank, she proceeds with the whole drama again, starts yelling at my gf (which made her break down in tears hours later as she said she’s never been talked to like that in her life) and pretty much blackmailed me with saying she would call the police. I knew she wouldn’t but wasn’t sure if I would be allowed back in the country if I did. Been told I was ok cause I dint have a working visa with her, but I wasn’t going to chance on being on a blacklist for 5 years…plus I knew since there were other illegal teachers there the school would pretty much get shut down and the 1 teacher who was really committed and gave 110% at work would get f*&^$# with only a month left in his contract and I couldn’t do that to him.

Finally being me and not able to get angry and not wanting to fight, said screw it all, gave her most of the money and left with just enough money to pay my girlfriend back for the ticket she bought for me to Harbin, China. I had power over the whole matter but for sure looked at it in the wrong way…a learning experience to say the least.

So now me and Sungku are on a plane to Harbin, China. She wanted to go to the Philipinees for a week, but I wouldn’t have been able to since I had to apply and pick up my Chinese visa, plus if I went there I would want it to be longer than 3 or 4 days. I convinced her of China. Got picked up by my bro and gump (a good friend from back home) greeted with beers and led to a taxi hat will take us home. Greeted at home by a fire-eyed ryan and sat hanging out while the rest of the Langley crew and other friends showed up. Pretty surreal to see how my bro and 4 of my good friends from Langley have developed their own life and I just kind of sat back and listened and imagined them all while they told their stories. Course out of the 15 people there more than 10 were smokers and of the room was pretty much boxed with all of them…hard the first night, but got used to tit eventually. In harbin for two days, girlfriend hated it as first as we were all crazy drinkers and lived the mai shi (whatever) lifestyle and that’s not what you want when your on vacation (sometimes). Luckily I wasn’t completely broke since my amazing Aunt Patty had given me some cash to do something I would not normally do for my graduation…I definitely wouldn’t have been able to go to Beijing without that cash, and still shoulnd’t have, but really I can’t have been in China twice and not been to the capital, great wall, forbidden city, etc.

So with bags and beer in hand (90% of my photos in china have beer in hand) me, Sungku, Scott and his girlfriend You-Jia go to the train station for our 11 hour train ride. The train was reasonable and since I had the lower bunk and Sungku the middle (they are 3 high on the train) me and Sungku were able to chill down on the bottom, read, talk, listen to tunes and plan the trip. Managed to even both pass out together in a hard bed (you can pay more for a soft bed, but we only booked two days before so no dice) and woke up with Beijing city in the distance and coming up fast.

China travels, more Korea, Langley, Vancouver, and the beautiful Sunshine Coast coming soon!

Peace, love and cheese,


Thursday, June 08, 2006

Thu, 8 Jun 2006

Hey, just got back to Harbin this morning. had a great trip....Beijing was awesome, didn’t make it to the summer palace as Sungku sleeps as much as me and i couldn't get her up at 8 when we wanted to go, and i said meh and went back to bed myself. But great wall, Tiinamen 3 times, silk street, drum tower, many other places too. Tianjin was a bit harder, hard to find a place, did finally after some help from a Chinese student who spoke some English, fairly pricy though. Im goanna write a big email with all the stories, would here more then.

As per Sungku/Nana, I managed to tell Nana on MSN about 2 or 3 weeks ago, she was pissed as she pretty much waited for a year for me and then 2 weeks before i came back I told her I got another gf..meh, i reminded her i told her not to wait for me, but i guess when i got to Korea in jan, i was a bit bastardly about saying ill see her son an miss her, yada yada. I know what will happen though, im heading back to Korea in 2 or 3 months to be with sungku still, nothin will happen between me and nana this summer and both girls know that too. i dont think nana would even want to as I’ve told her pretty much everything. Anyways, traveling showed alot about each other too me and Sungku and we had a few fights, but all is well and were as happy as ever. Headin out to the restaurant across from Nan Ma Lu E bi Woo Shi Hao tonight as it had a big room and a good place to have a good style Chinese dinner. Then who knows...i'd imagine some beer garden,but who knows.

Ill be sendin a big email of the stories in a couple a days. Hope all is well,, (note - i am still sending them now!!, what happned to me)


Monday, April 17, 2006

Mon, 17 Apr 2006

Hey, well, I didn’t get my chocolate fix, but maybe that is a good thing. First Easter I’ve had where I haven’t gained weight. I actually had a light and some tofu and healthy food all day. Weekend was good.Friday just chilled with the girl, had some food inside and a couple of drinks. Saturday went hiking to Bukhansan, a mountain in North Seoul. IT was really good. Crazy hike which u would never find in Canada, at times u have to use the chain that is provided to pull yourself up the rock side and since it was Saturday afternoon it was really busy so there was maybe 30 people goin both ways through a trail meant to walk in single file. Was good. Great view at the top, although we couldn't stay too long as we slept in too much in the morn. and I had to get home as I had a party planned that night.

Party was decent...less than half of the people who were gonna come showed up, I guess its a little hard to have most people traveling a solid hour to get here...wont get he turnout as I did at the people here have a little more in the way of plans than the peeps at home. Still played some Kings drinking games, had fun and went to the Noreabong (KTV) after. Hung over sunday, but eventually went back intop downtown Seoul and met with my GF's roommates that she lived with in the Philippines. Drank lots of dong dong ju (kind of dark white rice wine or somethin), and had a good night.

The Christians here out in full force yesterday trying to find some nice boiled Easter eggs, same cellophane style as back home from some girls on the street who were brave enough to approach me/....that was nice. But the foreigners in the station running from person to person trying to talk to them got a good, f. off when they came to talk to me.Thats about all...getting a new cell today as my last one stopped working (long story). Things are good. Weather is awesome, all the cherry blossoms and trees are out and its full on spring now. Classes are still long and I couldn’t imagine staying here for a year, but only a month left...I can manage that.

Worried about how im gonna leave though...I dont know if I will be able to tell them Im leaving. I dont know if they will let me. If they get another foreign teacher maybe, but thats just iffy right now. Plus I wanna figure the getting paid stuck most importantly, and the director is right and tweaked and I could see her witholding..might have to do it the bastardly way. Oh, take the money and run.We shall see. Things will work out I’m sure. Break times almost we go again. Talk to you soon,Miss ya,


Mon, 17 Apr 2006

Hey all, things are going as well as ever. Classes still drivin' me crazy with the youngins but they are at least manageable now. Gots me a korean GF so spendin' lots of time with her recently. Went on a crazy hike last weekend at Bukhansan (Bukhan mountain). Pretty gnarly hike it was, wouldn't see anything like that in Canada. At time you have to use the chain they provide to pull yourself up the side of the cliff, and if you let go...well, you dont let go. Only a single trail path, but it was a sat. afternoon so it was packed. Had to wait 5 mins till a group of 30 or 40 finished a step part until you could go up.

Anyways, at the top saw all of seoul and it wsa pretty kill. Had some spicy tofu and a glass of dong dong ju (like a think rice wine).Saturday night tried to have a big party. Only about 1/3 of the peeps i thought were comin showed up...but when most have to travel at least an hour to get here...i guess sits not like back home when you mention it to a few people and there's 30 at your house within 3 hours. Oh well...i got a new cell (crazy lookin' thing i'll put pics up on the site...eventually) and I'm gonna try again in a few weekends.Not alot in the way of new stories though. Lots of good food and drinks, lots of time with the lady. Shes pretty awesome, cute older gal, 27, and super chilled out and down to earth (only way I like'em)... Ill leave out the other details for your benefits
Hope all is well back home and wherever else in the world u may happen to be. Ill have pics up next week sometime.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Fri, 24 Mar

Well, weeks are passin' like days now as its busy busy every night. 'Can't stop addicted to the shindig!’ Checked out a professional Korean basketball game, was decent, might as well have been the Grizzlies...maybe more excitement at this game, possible due to the screaming Korean school girls. So they are handing out these noise makers like at most sports events these days....what a running from everywhere and like climbing over each other to get at them. Guys grabbing like 15 to take take to their friends...other people trying to grab and take them away ,at least 3 kids in tears, people falling over others as well as their seats. Gotta fight to get what u want here even though there were many just laying around 5 minutes after the smoke cleared. More of a spectacle than the game was. As per the game, the korean teams are allowed to have two foreigners per the game consists of the koreans passin' the pall around the perimeter and then dishing it down low to the big black guy who is covered by the other big black guy on the other team, a head fake, a jump hook and its like every team has a their very own Shaq.

On the way home I walk up a bit of his little hill to find a place to relieve myself (course you bring your own big bottles of beer into the sports games with you), see this funny lookin bone on the ground by my foot, give it a little kick over......right...its a pig/goats/something’s skull just off the side of the road (like the type u see in the movies around the Nevada dessert), just a little kick to remind me where I am again.

Lets see...week before that went up to Hongdei (big Uni. bar area) to see some live jazz with one of my korean friends and one of her girlfriends. had some great food, some good Brazilian influenced jazz, a la Sergio Mendez. Decent cept for the girl singing who ruined it a bit...the most uninspired version of blackbird i have ever heard, but of well, at least she didn’t introduce it as a song from the I am Sam soundtrack...wait, yes she did that too. Worth a head shaking for sure. Friend had to go home, but being a solid hour subway from my and her place we decided to make the night worthwhile, checked out another little bar, managed to be called a 'cracker' for the first time other than by myself, although I found it just hilarious, not offensive at all. Decide to call it a night, bout 1sh, but no subway open then, no problem. A little Asian invention called the Jil-Jil-Bong (aka bath house). Had a nice shower, sauna, hot tub to clear the mind for beers and up to the meeting room where we just chatted for a good while and passed out on the heated marble floor with wood blocks for a pillow. NOt too sore the next day either, and actually felt great all day while teaching.

Thats about all, should be a good night tonight, friend Ariel who taught with me is coming up from the south and we are gonna have another night a partying in Seoul. Work...whats that....kindys (kindergardeners) are driving me a bit crazy as without my control i get uptight and sometimes upset, co-workers are the bomb, director is a crazy korean lady running around like a chicken with her head cut off all the time (even though ive never seen her do anything but mingle with the parents and on the phone). Life is good, only gettin better. Missing the Chinese friendliness when I'm out sometimes, but it won't be long, it wont be long . (Ahh i miss my ipod). Anyways, hope everyone is well,Peace, love and cheese


Sunday, March 05, 2006

Sun, 05 Mar 2006

Well, its been not a week since I left my old city, and not missing it one bit. Got a mountain here to climb and there’s much more happening here. So...first night here head to a nearby city (im about a 2'50$ cab to a city in either direction) and I knew it was a better places for me. Many many a pitcher, few foreigners, Koreans liking their drinks and dancing. school seems very Asian, Not organized at all, a director who is not whatsoever a business women. Its gonna be interesting, but I bet I will have a good reason to leave within a few months. Me, new Korean teacher, and new Korean manager are all in a daze as its the first week of the new semester,,,hoping to get a coupe of more foreigners to cut our schedules back.

Back into the real working world, 10 in the morn (still nice and late) till about 6 or 7. Kids seem good and I think Ill enjoy it. As per a good story. Went out with my co-teacher Joe who has been here for 1.5 years and is engaged to a Korean women. He’s been to a couple of diff. school so he knows the deal and has a bunch of good friends. So, we went to Appujong (the high class area of town) for one of his friends engagement party for buffalo wings (i knew the girl had to be cool if she was allowing her guy to go to a buffalo wing place for dinns). Anyways, 15,000 won, aka 15bucks US, and all you can eat wings!!! Scrumptious, had a good 50, as well the 15 of us probably polished off a solid keg of beer. Joe went home early (he getting old) as well as some of the others who were feeling the beer more. So me and another (although sketchy cdn. guy) went out with the newly engaged fiancée and her 3 friends.

Piled into a mini car that one drove, luckily i was thebiggest and got shotty. Maybe not good though, freaking scary, the usual asian women driver being very unconfident and going in outta lanes randomly and not choosing an exit till the end. Pretty much the most scared I’ve been in a car since Harbin. Anyways, went to a club called M2. Was pretty good...pricey, but a good techno bar. You may think, good techno bar? But yah I started enjoying them in Harbin and there is just too much hop hop here. Too much hip hop? Yah, I did say that, but as in Canada where we have wiggers, here it is kiggers (name I made up). You go to teh club and hear American beats an chorus (sometimes) with Korean verses they just sing over. All wear full on g'd up Celtics outfits or some kinda gangsta shit. Got their choreographed dances they learned from the music vids. They see the real North Americans come in and, boom, WTF, your not wearing your hat sideways (with original sticker on the brim) and walkin with a limp! So...ive gotten sick of that scene pretty quick.. Feels alot like Chiggity Biggity with people thinking they are gods gift. Anyways, the bar was decent as Iwent there with some girls. Course 2 of them were married with kids and the other would have taken even more beer to get to that point.

Quite an odd scene though, they all stand facing the the Dj (forward) and dance like that. The odd couple will have one person turned around and dancing with each other. But yah, for the life of me you ant get the girls to dance with you. Seconded by a random guy who comes up an says WTF. Course he looks 100% korean to me so i et taken back..hes acutally an american so he doesn’t get the front facing and shy girls either. So, you cant get them to turn arond and actually dance with you, so what i saw most koreans doing was just dancing right behind the girls and imagining they are dancing with them. I saw it work a couple of times (both koreans, any we-guks 'foreigners' tryin it got a dirty look) but saw it mostly end the same, girl moving away. But it seemed like the norm., I felt like a creep even though i wasn’t tryin to do it. Everyone isjust facing front, and you are dancing and there is a girl right in front of you gettin down like WTF, I feel like a creep.

Anyways, the girl driving just happened to live 2 minutes from my house so i got a ride home at 3 in tha morn. I was tempted to ask her in, but since she said the animations in the car were for her daughter I thought it wise not too..she might say yes!!! So, slept all day today, got my shopping done (my lord shopping in a big dept. store in Korea on a sunday) . Twas freakin outta control, you thought the driving was can only imagine!!!
Hope all is well,

Friday, February 24, 2006

Fri, 24 Feb 2006

It is 5:55 in tha morn...My last weekend here and I hope to do some sightseeing around the area I’m at before I go. Went to the only bar i know tonight...where two weeks ago I met a bartentender girl who seems really nice, talked to her for most of the night, but when when i guy screamed...Yellow Submarine..beatles...i started to talk to him. Ended up goin out to a noreabong (karaoke if ya dont know) for a bit..bit odd that me and 1 other guy was at a noreabong, but worse when he was tryin to dance with me...eeeeek, definetly not feeling it, don’t think he was gay, but just a little too close for my liking....holding hands on the street is one thing, whatevea...but when he starts to dance close with me in a room by ourselves..a little creepish is an understatement.All in good fun, im home safe (although he tried to run across the road behind me after hesitating and almost got hit !!!! crazy mofo).....movin in 2 days..more stories im sure.

ADios. Colin

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sun, 29 Jan 2006

Well. Its been awhile since the last tales. Won’t even try to say it all. But a few notable paragraphs are a must.> Lets start last Saturday (21st,i think it was). Out to Anyang where my mom is teaching. Big sam kyup sal dinner (korean bbq pork). Very tasty. Met her fellow teachers...nice girls...some f/t teachers there...creepy/crazy/conceded characters. Her Korean TA's show up so we go to a diff. cheaper restaurant...same food though. Lots of beers and soju, as expected. Then off to a hiphop nightclub. Very few people, but when you show up with 10 or so it doesn’t really matter,. Good to hear some good ol rap and hip hop since I don’t have my Ipod with me. A little Dr.Dre, snoop, dmx, the regular new clubbin rubbish.

All in all good times...met this girly Sunny there...cute little thang, hopefully more stories bout here will be comin in the future. End the night off headin to a Jim Gil Bong...aka bathhouse. Very diff. than China though. Go go the shoes and on go the sandals...headin into the change area and there are little Korean boys passed out all over the ground. Little odd I thought. Into the hottubs, saunas, showers...they were nice...similar to the rest of the world, ‘cept they also had a couple different kind of tea hot tubs. Smelled nice...whether it helped my health, that was doubtful after the beer and JD from prior in the night. Toweled off, on go the PJs they provide (very much like China) and down to the meeting room. I was with a very nice Korean guy my mom intro'd me too and the creepiest of the other two f/t teachers from her school. Down the stairs to a huge room of people passed out everywhere there is room on the floor. NO beds, just passed out anywhere they happen to fall on the wood floor...course they do provide wood blocks foryour head as a pillow to increase your comfort.

Had more saunas of all sorts down there and a TV room with more passed out Koreans filing it. As it was 5 in the morn after a long night I had no problem goin right to bed.

Lynne and two others weren’t as sleep for them. Since I was teaching at 930 back 2 hours away in Seoul and Lynne and her teachers were heading to the DMZ, after a solid hour of sleep, wake up and time back to teaching. Maybe its cause everything is new and exciting but i has no problem teaching that day and that evening was still wanting to go out again. My college mentality is still holdin on strong. But yah, at home no way I could handle that...I would be passin’ out by mid afternoon and having a bad next few days. Didn’t even faze me here.

Next. This is getting longer than expected.> Head back out to anyang to say bye to mom again and grab some teaching materials. Dint make it out...but headed to another bathhouse right by the train station 9as once again I had wok in tha morn). Course it jut happens to be closed and I don’t wanna harass my mom at 3 in tha morn this time. Headed to a PC room and decided it would be safer to pass out her than on the corner of the street. So, after a couple of hours of msn and emails for more work...i have a little nap in the computer chair. Up again at 5 in the morn and back to Soul for work. Good style red, good style. Great food all week...good Korean foods as well as, spaghetti, curry and they have all kinds of fried chicken places here. Mediocre first night of after the run around by a cabbie that called himself Strong Dick. Funny guy but knew everything about the nightlife in Korea.

We said we wanted to go see the place called 'happy hill' which consists of girls in the window trying to lure you into their place and take your money. Against my religion to buy...but not to look. Cabbie took us to a diff. place...send us right into this place...couple girls come down with beers...aiiai time to get the hell out quick before my mind loses the decision making power. Meandered around...took it east for the rest of he night. Last night. To another Korean bbq with fellow teachers. Beef this time that tasted like steak...yummies. Off to Iteawon which is the foreigner capital of Korea. More foreigners than Koreans. Canadians, Americans, Europeans, Africans. Indians...pretty much everyone.

First a club where their buddy was dj'ing. Decent, I was beat so next thing I knew I was being woken up on the bar. Meh...outside for my second wind...we head to happy (hooker) hill' few guys try and get me into a place...we made it inside, but in my drunken red state of gibberish I managed to get across that the girl was ugly and I was the f#$# outta there. TO another bar....good tunes..closed that down at 4. To another bar...mediocre guy picked yup a girl from always the one girly that was a possibility there I didn’t manage to go talkto (some thing never change). Finally left at about 9 in tha morn and took the train back towards home. Not home i managed to pass out on the way home and miss my stop by about 4 or 5 stations. Woops...jump heading back..same thing again..but his time only missed by 3 stations...figured I should really stand up and wait so I don’t do it again,. Walked in the door bout noonish. Woke up 3 hours later about 3. What to do tonight??? Korean new years but the guys from last night are chilin and the guy I live beside here doesn’t like to go out much...just study Koraen? Hellz no, I figure if nothing else ill take a train to the school district by some exploring. No rest for the wicked,. Now that the important things are known...ive got work fro the month of feb. starting in 3 a place to live. All is well. Time to go exploring.

Peace love and cheese,


Pictures from the JilJilBang - Jan. 29th 2006.

Look at the sweet head towel. Very princess Leigh'ish.

Me and mom having a laugh.

Me and mom in black and white.

Me, mom and Sunny at dinner.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Wed, 18 Jan 2006

Well...the teaching is great...the food is better than expected (after i heard my moms emails and stories about a lot of fish and kimchi), the people match the kindness and helpfulness of he Chinese and speak much more and better English.

So last night after our dinner (which we go out with our 4 foreign teachers and 4 TA's who all have been overseas for at least a couple of years and speak pretty much perfect English… as well as some Spanish), I went out with 2 TA's and a New Yorker to find his bro who has been living here in Seoul for 3 months now. Got a hold of him, met him at the train station (maybe one of he biggest systems next to Tokyo in the world...the New Yorker was blown away by it and said it is maybe 4 or 5 times bigger than his)...was very fun too see their faces when they saw each other and how they could not believe they were ion Seoul together...which reminded me alot of my experiences in Harbin.

So..we saw their school, his some new words and websites to check...then of in a cab to another uni. area. Hammered kids everywhere, busy...we g around this corner and boom. Nothing remotely comparable to high as you can see lights, streamers and shit hangin from the middle of the yada’ve seen the movies.

So had the first shots of Soju (like rice wine, but not too bad....i wont even compare it to bei-jiu) and some brews o go with our friend rice, cabbage and pork. Very laid back and fun compared to the food I’ve had so far with the Korean Ta's. The waiters joke with us and have fun and talk about shit they would never dare when other Koreans would be with us. home at 1. Woke up at 7 to start teaching...the New Yorker wasn’t used to that (I told him I had ALOT of practice in harbin) so he is just beat and slowed down today. But I’m ready to keep goin. A little about my fellow Yorker, Mike...has his teaching cert. from NY and taught for 9 months in the ghetto of the bronx. Obviously u can imagine why he is here. Also fluent in Hindi and has traveled most of the middle east.

Eddie from Australia. Well...from Australia but spent the last 10 years teaching and traveling the world. 3 years in Dubai...a couple in the emerates...some in Indonesia...fluent in Spanish and able to grasp at least half a dozen others.

Shon-tyon from southern Louisiana. Spent last 3 years in southern China...6 years before in Guatemala...fluent in Spanish, mandarin, Cantonese, and semi fluent in at least half a dozen others. religious guy...but cares so much for all people pretty much...but not unwilling to listen even though he spends 3 hours in the morning very other day in devotion. All in all...amazing times been had, cant even imagine the future. Id imagine as planned...3 or 4 months here, then over to Harbin for the summer.

Keep me updated...u know ill do the same.

Redderick M.