7/20/2008

Makin' Mud Pies

Soooo much weekend craziness to recap. I'm back from The Boryeong Mud Festival! It's an annual event down at Daecheon Beach attended by foreigners and Koreans alike. The gals and I went through Adventure Korea so we stayed over Saturday night. The whole festival was basically like Spring Break with mud. Staying up late, drinking on the beach, and engaging in general foolishness. We met lots of interesting characters though. A truly unforgettable experience.

Alright, so Friday night, Kayla and I stayed over Margot's place. We had dinner and drinks at nice pub-style restaurant. Apparently I arrived just in time to see this crazy lady fall down in her seat while her equally-drunk husband just watched! Oh joy! Just wish I'd gotten video of it because it was truly hilarious. I thought maybe she was dead but no no...just WASTED!



So on Saturday, we woke up entirely too early and headed to Hongik Station in the pouring down rain. The raindrops actually came through my cheap ass umbrella! It only took a couple of hours to get to the mud beach and by then, the sun was out and burning a hole in my retinas. There were a lot of events going on like Army-style boot camps and a 5K race, all in the mud. But we didn't partake in those. I know, I know...what's the point of going to a mud festival if you're not gonna get dirty?! But I didn't think a few scampers in the mud for 10 mins would justify hours of trying to get that nonsense outta my braids later. So there you have it. But it was still a ton of fun!!!






Then we went to the regular beach about 30 mins away, Daecheon Beach. This felt very Spring-breakish with lots of drunkenness going on early. Here, they had a lot of events with imported mud from the original beach. They had mud wrestling (naturally), a mud prison, mudslides, and mud body painting. It was just madness. My cute canvas bag was quickly covered in pink, green, and blue mud. But we walked around and took pics of everything. Super cool.


**Bikini Man**


**cute dreaded guy and his "dirty" girlfriend**


**my name in Korean**



Later in the evening, we went to dinner at a great galbi restaurant. We drank lots of soju so I was already tipsy. We walked for awhile in the cool, night air then looked for more alcohol! And we found it at a cute bar/lounge called Orange. After TWO extra-strong Tequila Sunrises, Margot and I were preeeeeeeetttttyyyyy drunk.



**Susannah and Christina, our roommates for the weekend**

True to form, the rest of my evening was pretty much a blur of fireworks, idiocy, drunken groping, and trash talking. :) It felt like Spring Break Miami during senior trip but with all new people!


**This is a game where you try to knock the nail all the way down in 3 hits. Margot was OBVIOUSLY too drunk to do this so she got it in 30 tries...GOOD JOB!**


**Korean Fabio**


**Trying not to light myself and others on fire**


**Public drunkenness is not a crime in Korea and thank God for that!! Damn that mango soju...**

I was stumbling down the boardwalk around 230am, heading back to the beach, when I saw a guy who I suspected was Hispanic. So I did a U-turn and went back to him. I screamed (because that's the only way drunks can communicate) in Spanish, "Where are you from?!" And that started a whole conversation. His name is Jose and he's Mexican, visiting Seoul til October then returns home to Cali. My ex-boyfriend was Mexican and named Jose and they kinda favor each other, height-wise, looks-wise, everything! Amazingly, my foreign language skills only improve with alcohol...native ones? Not so much...hahahahaha! Oh, irony...


**One word - SAUCED!!!**



**Don't we look sober?!**

That's all for now. No resolution on the whole "Sambo" thing. I didn't have that kindergarten class this week and I'll be on vacation next week. But oh, I will NOT forget. I'm gonna ask Mary, trust and believe.

Upcoming posts include:

- Philippines/25th Bday celebration
- A new guy...WAHOO!
- News/pics from Robert!!

Until then,

J

7/16/2008

A "Sambo" in My Kindergarten...?!?

You know, I'm trying to pretend that "sambo" in Korean means something else, but this is quite hard to defend. I'm going to ask a Korean friend just to double-check. Anyway, I was sitting there on Tuesday, watching those same little boys from my previous post, ABC's Korean Style, learn their alphabet. Now, I can read Korean so I was mouthing along the words. They were learning a particular cluster of words using the Korean M-sound. So, they learned "Nam-ja" which means boy/man/men. They learned "Ram-bo"...yes, Sylvester Stallone's gun-wielding character. And lo and behold, the next word is "Sam-bo".

**head tilt**

I'm thinking, "Oh boy, now the real education begins!!"

So, ummmmm....yeah. Sorry, my mind is still reeling a little. The teacher starts explaining in Korean what this "sambo" means but since I don't understand Korean all that much, I had to rely on hand gestures and context clues. Her hands were flying wildly, but then she did a circular hand motion around her face, as if applying a whole bunch of make-up. Could this be a reference to White-face? Damn I wish I had been videotaping this week!! Then, the little boys did something interesting - they all turned around and looked AT ME!

BINGO!

I looked straight back at them wondering if I was their real-life example. I couldn't believe that she was teaching this in a kindergarten!!!! ARE YOU F**KING SERIOUS?! I sat there after the lesson a little dumbfounded and I really had the urge to ask her what in the HELL she was thinking teaching children period about such a demeaning portrayal of Blacks? Because I couldn't think of the Korean translation for "You're a f**cking @$$hole and what the hell is your problem!??!", I just sat there staring into the floor. I even looked this up in my Korean dictionary, but I couldn't find it. If my friend Mary had been there, who speaks Korean and English, I could have gotten my point across clearly.

I need more clarification, right?

I need a drink, maybe?

I need.....a BIG case of whoop ass....


Until then,

J

7/14/2008

My New Blog

Because I've gotten such an overwhelming response to my blog (thank you, all 10 of you...so kind), I have decided to continue the madness when I get home. :) I reserved the name today but there won't be ANY posts on it until mid October.

**drum roll please**

The new title is "The Soul of Broke Folks" hahaha...the address is:

http://joiasemptywallet.blogspot.com

And there you have it. This title is so appropriate because you can pretty much count on my travels to continue which means, I will probably be broke. But I'll be rich in experiences! I hope you will enjoy my broke musings just as well!

Until then,

J

7/13/2008

Can You Wear Curly Fries?


I can! That's what my hair looks like - a big ole bucket of Arby's curly fries. Ooooh, Arby's....*drool* So, my weekend was pretty decent. On Friday night, after a seemingly interminable day, I went out for a much-needed drink with one of my new girlfriends, Lee. She's a super sweet girl and she lives in my building. So, she introduced me to a cute cafe across the street from us that serves, quite possibly, the bombest sangria outside of Spain. I had a nice little buzz because I drank it like cold, red Kool-Aid on a hot, summer day. DEE-LISH! Then we went out to a nearby party area and had some more drinks. The bar was pretty dead, but these two Korean dinosaurs came over to her. It was really strange though. They were interested in speaking to me, but they proceeded to brag to her in Korean about where they went to school 8 million years ago. I guess they went to the Harvards of Korea. Whatever. So, one was really great at English and he was a physicist. And the other one was choking on his words so badly that in my semi-drunken state, I almost whacked him in the throat and blurted, "SPIT IT OUT!!!!" He was rather annoying. He later challenged me to a game of darts. I whupped his ass. I haven't played darts in ages and I'm actually quite atrocious at it, but alcohol gives me great focus. At least I wasn't as bad as this guy though....

**shakes head** Oh Korea...

**me and Lee**

Saturday was spent taking out my braids. I went to Korean class, too. I'm now the only person still left from the original class that started in April. So the classes have been combined with a higher level that meets 3 times a week which means that I am now the dumbest one in class. But I love it! Same teacher but I like the guys in my class. There are 2 Japanese guys, one older and one younger with a pregnant wife, and an older New Zealander. They're all really funny though so it makes the class go by faster. And I try to keep up. The only thing I'm quite pissy about is that I have to buy another new Korean book. I've yet to finish ONE book!!! So, Margot came over and we watched movies while handling the monumental task of braid removal. Then we went back to Sangria Heaven and drank 2 small pitchers. She passed out on the bus going home. HAHAHAHAHA!!



**yes, you can see what's nesting up under that cap!!**

Sunday morning, I got my curly fries put in. Now, these aren't curly extensions, people. This hair was straight and then hot curled to drag queen height and proportions. But for public viewing purposes, it has been tamed with massive bobby pins. Today's adventure with David took me around an ancient palace in Seoul. Perhaps the oldest? It's called Changdeokgung Palace. We missed the last English tour so it was in Korean which meant I was wandering off exploring and not paying attention. But David tried his best to translate for me.






Hmmm, let's see if I remember any interesting facts about this place...? Ummm, well back then as was customary, kings had several wives. His first wife was chosen for him by the people and his parents. But he really loved this side chick so he built a house for her, but then he died a year or so later. At age 23. Shame. Oh, and there are these weird insects that look like ladybugs on steroids. They're all over the place, including my curly fries. Yes, one thought it was at home and decided to set up shop. We can thank China for these creatures. As a result of global warming and other man-made problems, they have migrated to Korea and are wreaking havoc on weaves and braids everywhere. THANKS, CHINA!!!

After the palace tour, we went to dinner at my favorite Mexican place, On the Border. I bumped into Aeja and other black folks making merriment!! My heart sings....There's also a cute waiter there named Gadget (no, I'm not kidding...) and I kept trying to send him telepathic messages that I was NOT on a date and he was NOT my man. However, Gadget didn't get it. And the fact that David wanted to carry my handbag only made us appear all the more together. Lots of Korean guys like to carry their own murses in addition to their lady's bags. Since my bag had a whole bunch of heavy crap in it, I didn't object. But I realize this gesture, while generous, appears to place us into a category that I'm not trying to be in. So, girlfriend will be carrying her own bag from now on... :) David is growing on me. Not in the "I'm-attracted-to-him" sorta way. But he's been downgraded from crazy to nice. He's a pretty alright guy in my book.

I'm offering up 500 won (that's 50 whole cents!) for anyone who can accurately decipher this crazy ass email I got from a random Korean admirer, specifically "the woman who is dead water" and "house of birth grudge"...GOOD LUCK!!!!

Until then,

J

"Goodbye is. Is made to know you and is glad very. I am living in Kyonggi-Do Ilsan. I self-employed from Ilsan. I seek the truth one woman. I forever together want the woman who is the dead water. You this as the good woman is the house of birth grudge. If is thought the if your woman I go meet you. Knows your truth and the answer which you is positive and knows. I wait the reply where your truth is put in. "

7/08/2008

ABC's - Korean Style

I know you all probably don't believe I actually teach kids out here. Seems like I'm always having fun, but ohhhh, I work HARD for that money! Yes, I do. And I T-H-O-R-O-U-G-H-L-Y enjoy my weekends. So, I just wanted to show my kindy kids learning their Korean ABC's. They're super cute. But why am I sitting there mouthing the sounds too? I tell you, it's probably the best way to improve my Korean! Speaking to Scott doesn't work so hey, maybe I'll do better talking to 5-year olds!




Then these are some of my beginner kids just goofing off in the teachers' lounge. They're between 9-11 I think and definitely some of my favorites. I've been working on these different phrases and it feels good that they can actually respond now. At the beginning of each class, we practice real conversation for 10 mins. They ask each other a series of questions like, "Hi, how are you? What's your name? How old are you? Where do you live? What's this?" Every week, I add in a new question so they can review the old stuff and practice the new stuff. Appropriate responses get a smile from me and wrong ones get a frown. You wouldn't believe how much work it takes to get them to say "It's a pen" vs. "It's pen" and "They're books" vs. "It's books". You don't realize until you begin teaching English just how difficult this language is. It's not always logical and there are rules out the ass. And not to mention stupid idioms. I'm pretty thankful that I was born into this language and don't have to learn it as my second one. I've taught such a wide range of English since I've been here - grammar, conversation, listening, math and even science!! It's like re-learning all this stuff but then having to simplify it so that English learners can understand. My job is not necessarily hard, but it has definitely improved my creativity and ability to think on my feet. Last week, I totally blanked on a kindergarten game. Could not think of a game to do while thirty 6-year olds are screaming my name and the Korean teacher is staring at me like, "Well, what the hell do you wanna do??" I started to panic and sweat and then suddenly I thought of an awesome game that worked like a charm for that class and all my other ones. So is the life of an ESL teacher...



I have lots of fun with them. In Korea, even the bad kids are still pretty good...another post is coming about my weekend, don't worry! :)

Until then,

J

7/06/2008

Me and My Hanbok...





It was only a matter of time before I ended up wearing a hanbok and I must say it doesn't look so bad on me. They're so gorgeous and comfortable. That little hat reminded me of a decorated jelly donut that I wanted to eat though. It kept sliding down into my eyes. So yeah, David and I went to a traditional Korean village in Namsan. For $1, we could play dress up like ancient Korean royalty. I know the different outfits mean different things, but I couldn't tell you what this means. Sorry. I have a Korean friend here who just got married and she was wearing this one in a particular Korean ceremony so perhaps this means newlywed. Which is funny....ha. Cuz I'm not.

**this old man was about ready to get off work I think**



We walked around there, played some old Korean games, and watched drum performances. I thoroughly enjoyed it. After that, we went to La Cantina, supposedly the first Italian restaurant in Seoul. And let me say that they must have little old Italian ladies in the back of that kitchen. I've had some "Italian" food here before and it was an embarrassment to all of Italy. Fettucine Alfredo that looked and tasted like old mop water. SHAMEFUL! But this place...a gal could get chubby hanging out there. Great calamari, Caesar salad prepared at the table, good wine, pasta and tiramisu. I thought this tab would easily have topped $100 but the prices were actually reasonable. So, if you're in Seoul, go there. Yes.

Then we went around Myeong-dong for shopping. It's a nice area that I rarely go to though because the crowds are just outta control. But let's talk about my JACKED UP priorities. I'm supposed to be looking for summer clothes and beachy stuff for this trip. Did I buy summer clothes, you ask? HELL NO!! I bought 4 more bags...because I'm a junkie. And this is what addicts do. You can't even go near the stuff really. So when I come home and have to pay $200 because my suitcase is overweight, I won't have anyone to blame but myself...and of course, Korea.

I hung out with Bryan on Friday night which was fun. It's funny because I didn't realize he permed his hair so when he showed up with some tendrils, I was like, "Oh wait a minute..." His stuff was extra bouncy and fluffy. Kinda threw me but anyway, we saw "Wanted". And because I have a slight obsession with Angelina Jolie (and her boo), I loved it. BUT, I was quite pissy that all previews failed to mention this DELICIOUSNESS!!! This man's swexy factor is OFF THE RADAR...and whoever was responsible for advertising and promotion of this film needs to be kicked in the back of the head and thrown from a speeding train. HOW DARE YOU!!!!! I know he's linked to Serena Williams at present, but just know that his love for ME runs very deep. :)

**swoon**
**Thank you, Lord**

This weekend I will have to go see my other husband, Mr. Smith, in Hancock. Smooth shaven? Check. Tight, leather suit? Check. Bulging biceps? Check. Swexiness? CHECK, CHECK, CHECK!!!!!!!!!!!! There's a reason why I am not in Hollywood because I would lose...my...damn...mind...

Until then,

J

7/01/2008

Summer Blazing...

My energy is totally depleted. The humidity just kicked it up a notch. That meant I was slumped over at my desk most of the day, vapid and foaming at the mouth. I have no idea what's going on. But I know what really pisses me off when I'm already running low on fuel - BAD BREATH. You ever just get irritated knowing you have to converse with someone who has halitosis? That's how I feel every time the secretary says my name. Little electrons and neurons start firing off in my brain, giving me flashbacks of how her breath burned out all my nostril hairs last time. Well, tonight it was especially horrideous. And she kinda has a lisp which is like the atomic bomb of halitosis right? I used to have a wicked lisp so I can sympathize, but I also find some people's speaking patterns interesting. My brother noticed it when he was here and I never really did before. But some Koreans (or perhaps it's just an Asian thing in general) like to add random "th's" on the end of words. Like, my name should never have a "TH" at the end. But she likes to tack it on there which means every time she does, I get sprayed by the gingivitis and periodontal disease running rampant in her mouth. Do you ever talk to someone with bad breath in real short answers, in hopes that maybe they, too, will answer briefly? She got all yes/no answers outta me tonight. Anyway, I wasn't going anywhere in particular with that story...just wanted you to feel my pain. :)

I had another cool weekend. My new amiga had an 80s-themed birthday party. And no, I wasn't decked out in my throwback garb. I didn't have anything, but I wish I could've resurrected a few items for the occasion. I never knew Parrot Bay and Coke was so good, but I think it's my new drink of choice. After mojitos of course. Here are some pics! WOO!!!





**long sigh** Welp, I had a looooooooong talk with David last weekend. I had to get to the bottom of all this. In the past week, he emailed me about 5 times, texted me nearly 15 times each day with randomness ("how was it today? a day flies fast, isnt it? will our life fly like that?") and then called me at night. I'm exhausted from this non-relationship. I think he's a nice guy (who I am totally NOT attracted to) but there are some things that concern me. For example, I told him some of my favorite singers - Lauryn Hill, Lizz Wright, and Janet Jackson. Well, he went and downloaded some of their music and emailed it to ME. Why in the hell are you emailing me songs that I already have?! He also asked a question about where I grew up so I told him. Thirty minutes later, I got a text saying how he looked it up on Google Earth...nice town, he said! WHAT?! Who is doing that?? Ok, ok, I admit I use Google Earth for randomness sometimes but who is actually admitting to it?! That's the real question.

So, on Sunday, we met up near the Han River and did the cruise thing. It was nice weather and offered great views of Seoul. Moments were interrupted when someone's bastard child shoved his hand up my ass. You know, that's just never okay and I nearly got "extra black" on that boat. But I started to enjoy myself towards the end of it when he was asking me questions about what I see myself doing in the future. I can talk to a corpse til it dies a second death about that topic. So, afterwards, he took me to a really cute Spanish restaurant. And I mean real Spanish food - sangria, paella, and chorizo! But I hadn't eaten much that day so the sangria hit me hard. And amazingly, he did not become more attractive with more alcohol.


**don't I look uncomfortable??**


**tipsaaaaaaaay!!!**

Then after that, we went to a Moroccan style cafe which I think will be the place for my birthday dinner. I loved the hot, barefoot, and possibly gay waiters. But more importantly, there are little water canals running through the place! It's how the tables are separated. So you can be out in the open lounging on the floor or inside one of the enclosed seating areas. Dope doesn't even BEGIN to describe it. If there were even an ounce of attraction here, this would've gone down as the most well-executed date I'd ever been on. I mean, this man had hand-drawn maps showing all the different options of places we could go. I was impressed. So, here's a synopsis of the talk...

ME: Sooooo, this is nice and all...but what do you want from me?

HIM: Nothing. I'm just really interested in you. If you wanna be friends, I'll be that. If you wanna be more, I'll be that too.

ME: Uh huh. Well, I just want to be friends. That's all.

HIM: Ok...

ME: Really?

HIM: Yeah, really. I'd be okay only being your friend. I just like you.

ME: Uh huh...*skepticism abounds*

Of course, this conversation lasted about 30 minutes, but that's basically what happened. Now things are out in the open and there are no expectations, which is a huge relief to me. And if he gets all weird, he'll be gone faster than you can say kimchi.

I'd just like to thank everyone for their prayers, crossed fingers, and crossed toes...CUZ I'M GOIN TO BORACAY, BITCHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) 25 never looked so good....

Until then,

J