Friday, September 28, 2007


This is one of my favorite Korean foods. It is called Galbi and is beef cooked on a grill that sits on your table.
You cut the meat into tiny peices and wrap them in lettuce along with kimchi, radish, hot sauce, and chunks of garlic.

Sooooo goood!

Don't go chasing waterfalls...

Dr. Fish

These creepy little fish have a medical degree.
Or at least the closest thing a fish can get in Korea.

They live at spa's and eat dead skin cells off your body.

They have been used to treat leprosy and other various skin diseases.
Plus, they can easily take care of dirty cuticals and thick heels.

This was, quite possibly, the strangest thing I have ever felt.
There is nothing that compares to the feeling of tiny gilled carnivores eating your flesh.

I like big butts

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Still a beach.

Hello all!
I am still in Jeju. It is an island paradice. There are palm trees and beaches and far too much Soju.

Today I was swimming in the Sea of Japan.
Or possibly the Yellow Sea. I am not entirely sure.

There were waves.
There were squid*.
There were ice cream stands with strange and unusual types of ice cream
(with weird chunks of green stuff on top).

I have a few days left here before I have to go back to work and the daily grind.
Wish me pina coladas.
And a completye lack of sharks.

* Still alive, in tanks. ready to be pulled out and eaten in creepy ways.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Where am I now?

I had this plan.
It was a good plan.

I was going to write. It was a lengthy story, and is currently sitting half written on in a word document.
There are pictures and everything.

The problem is, that I am far far away from that word document.
And my computer.
And my little english village.

This week is Chesuk. It is basically the Korean Thanksgiving. Where they eat lots of food, visit their families, and most important of all have a few days off work.

With a week off of work I could not stay in my little corner of the world. Two South Africans, a guy from Tennesse, and myself hit the runway and touched down on Jeju island off the southern tip of South Korea.

There have, so far, been many things that are reportable*, but they all need the pictures I have taken to really make sense.

So you must once again wait for my stories.
And pictures.

And in the mean time you should think thoughts about me lounging on a beach.

* One of the stories includes and indoor amusment park with several kick-ass roller coasters. Another is about turning a family resturant into a dance club, keeping the place open several hours past closing, and singing "Living On a Prayer" with 6 Koreans who kept buying us more soju and beer.**

**I am never drinking again.***


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Party on Garth

This weekend.

This weekend was a bit long and kinda crazy.

Plus, I drank.
A lot.
Of freaking Soju.


It all began Friday afternoon when I was invited out for Shabu Shabu.*
Some of my friends frequent the restaurant so often that instead of calling a taxi, they simply called the cook. He picked us up in his van.

By the time we finished dinner we had each had several shots of SoJu, several glasses of beer, and far too much food.
And we had been chastised by the other restaurant patrons for being too loud.

Saturday my group of blondes wandered out to Seoul for a little shopping.
I bought a new backpack, an umbrella, and some bright red nail polish.
I also had a homeless man poke my in the boob.
On the train back we sang and laughed.
And were chastised by the train riders for being too loud

The end of the night found me in a bar near campus where they serve a special kind of Soju lemonade.
Many of the bar patrons stared at the group of blondes in the corner. At one point we were hit on by a hand-full of Korean military men who barely spoke English.

Hours later, when we were paying our check and setting out for the night, a man came up to us, struggling with his words. He invited us to join his party.
A bachelor party.

They wanted the weagooks!

We partied down with the wedding party. The priest was in company.
We even ended up with a wedding invite.
Plus, we were chastised by other bar patrons for being too loud.

I think foreigners have a very different idea of what is loud than most of Korea.

*Shabu Shabu is a Korean meal that consists of three courses all of which are served in the same pot.
The first course comes as a pot filled with vegetables and a spicy broth boiling on a burner in the middle of your table. You are given a plate of thinly sliced raw beef to dip in the pot. Your beef cooks quickly and you eat it with the vegetables.
The second course has the same pot full of vegetables. This time they add raw noodles to be cooked and eaten like a soup.
For the third course they empty the pot and fill it with fried vegetable rice.
It is all served with quite a bit of beer and Soju.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The front gate

And the monkey says...

I live in a zoo.

My school is something of a weekly camp, children come for one week to practice their English with a bunch of foreigners. They are here, staying in dorms, for just one week.
Monday morning to Friday afternoon.

They are taught English through a variety of subjects ranging from Drama to Cooking.
Robotics to Movie making.

Some of us only teach those kids. We only have our hands in the weekly programs.
But there are other things in the mix on campus. Other teachers.
Other programs.

We also have day guests, people who pay to visit our little piece of the west for the afternoon. They come to see shows in English, visit western style restaurants, and of course, see a handful of waegooks.

I walk through the campus, going to the gym or the store. On my off time, wandering around the village, I am stared at by tiny children and grown adults.

The little ones wave and smile and ask, “How are you?” repeatedly though they don’t know the meaning of my answer.

Today I was stopped by three older women. They just wanted to talk for a few minutes in English. They asked the typical questions.
Like, “What’s your name?”
“Where are you from?”
“What’s your favorite Korean food?”
“Are you married?”

The usual.

They wanted to practice their English and talk to a blonde chick. It was odd, I was on my way to lunch, and then came the impromtu English lesson.
Followed by posing for pictures with each of them.

It was like being a movie star
Or the prize monkey at the county zoo.

Everywhere I look, at nearly all hours of the day I walk the village with eyes on my back, waving at the children, saying “hello” to lines of preschoolers, and attempting to hide from those wielding cameras on bad hair days.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My shit don't stink

My toilet paper is scented.

Flowery smelling paper use to wipe my arse.

How weird is that?

Monday, September 10, 2007


Lately, I have been rather remiss in my posting duties.
There has been many interesting and shiny things in my new home, so many things that I have had little time to sit and write.

Things like Soju. (A Korean drink similar to Vodka, but without the good flavor.)

Things like random trips to the grocery store. (Where a simple shopping trip requires a phrase book at minimum, a translator if you are going for more advanced menu.)

Things like spending too much time at the local pub. (Where we drink Korean beer and play drinking games from a variety of different countries and cultures.)

Things like hitting the gym. (As often as possible due to the increased consumption of beer related calories.)

Things like scampering through the near-by towns, staring starry-eyed at the bright lights. (Neon is very popular here.)

Things like attempting to learn a bit of Korean. (Hard, hard, double hard.)

Things like teaching. (I do have a job here, you know!)

I have been in Korea for 2 weeks as of today. I am actually starting to feel comfortable in my job, knowing the how’s and why’s, what’s and who’s. Knowing what I am to be teaching. Knowing where I am to be from one moment to the next.
Actually knowing how to cook the required lessons.

I have many stories to tell and as soon as I have the time I will delve into every little detail. But I will leave you with one final thought.

Rumor has it that soju has formaldehyde as one of its many enjoyable ingredients. Slowly, weekend by weekend, I am preserving my liver. At this rate, my liver will survive a nuclear holocaust!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

We like you because you're different.

In the different places I have recently lived, non-natives always seem to have a title.
Something fun and flashy.
Something that can be used as a simple descriptive noun, or a bitingly derogatory interjection.

Something to pull everyone together.

In Kasigluk I was called a kussik,
In Barrow, non-Inupiats were referred to as Tuniks.
Now in Korea I have donned a new and exciting label.

Outsiders are called Waegooks.

There are just so many ways to say, “Damn foreigner!”

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Cheers to orphans!

Tonight some of the teachers organized a benefit “concert.”
The purpose of which was to accomplish two very important things.

1. Raise money for a local orphanage.
2. Give us all yet another excuse to drink quite a bit of beer.

My personal favorite performance of the night was,

“Sweet Home South Korea”

Grating on my skills

I teach cooking.

I can barely make toast without losing a finger of two.

But the recipes that I am to teach seem easy enough.
Pizza toast.
Poutine (A crazy Canadian dish made with French fries, cheese, and gravy. Silly Canadians)

But with any new culture and different activities problems can arise.

Koreans don’t have cheese graters.
Really, they hardly have cheese. There are bits of overprized Western-ized cheese products here and there. But for the most part there is a real lack of cheese and cheese related accessories.

This comes as a bit of a problem in a cooking classroom. Particularly since we teach not only how to read the recipes in English, but how to cook Western type foods.
Two out of three of them require grated cheese.

And the children have to do the grating.

Have you ever had to teach a group of 30 children how to grate cheese?
Beyond that, could you do it while using very little actual English?

The kids take the graters with looks of apprehension and confusion.

They juggle the cheese and metal tools. They put them together in a variety of ways, unsure of what the result should be. They rub the cheese the wrong way and look shocked that nothing really happens.
They rub it the right way and seem surprised that grooves suddenly appear in the block.

They lift up the grater and are amazed by the created tiny shreds of cheese. They are far too excited by the result.

One group held the grater over the sink, unsure of what kind of mess they might make (thereby losing much of the cheese to the drain).

Each day when I get out of bed and head off to work I find it hard to believe that I am on the other side of the globe. Then a child holds a cheese grater upside down with an inquisitive look and it all becomes a little easier to accept.

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