Saturday, December 31, 2005

F.F. Update: I Wave My White Flag

All my bags are packed and I'm ready to go.
Except I'm not going.

I coughed ALL night, and I don't even want to call it coughing, when it's more like barking. I'm exhausted. Everything is set up for me to go. I arranged a ride right to the Port, and cleaned my house in spurts last night. But, once the alarm clock rang and I squeaked out a good morning to the cat, I stood up and realized what I think I figured all along. I'm not going.

I can't really hear out of one ear. Well, I can hear, but it sounds like the ocean in a seashell. With my hacking and sniffling and moaning and falling asleep all over the place, just to wake up hacking a few minutes later, I'm no bloody fun. I think even being back amongst friends in lovely Japan isn't going to make me as genki as I'd like, and I'd hate to come back here being disappointed. Or even worse, still sick or even sicker. So I give up.

Happy Frickin New Years.

One of the sealer of the deals is the fact that I haven't been able to taste or smell anything in 3 days. I always REALLY look forward to eating some excellent Japanese cuisine, but what's the point if it all tastes like nothing? My appetite's gone as well, and I've just had a bowl of soup and toast the last couple days. Plus with the massive amount of pills I'm taking I shouldn't enjoy all the Kirin beer and Chu-Hi I want to drink. New Years Eve, sick and sober? Blah.

So I am totally bummed. I think this whole holiday season will go down as the absolute crappiest in Jelly-history.

The good news is I called my boss and arranged to go back to work if I'm feeling up to it after the weekend. Thereby I retain my holidays to use at another time, which will be at the Lunar New Year at the end of the month. I already reserved my ticket. So I'll get to have "New Years" in Japan and we'll do it up right. Meanwhile, my boss knows for sure now that when I say I'm sick, I'm not playing around. She knew how excited I was about my vacation. She was very kind when I talked to her, and asked if she could visit me this weekend. I said "sure," so maybe she'll stop by with some fruit or something.

Now for me, it's tea and bed.
Seriously, Happy New Years folks. Let's hope 2006 brings us all more health and more happiness.

Friday, December 30, 2005


I went to the doctor and guess what he told me, guess what he told me? He said "girl you better try to have fun no matter what you'll do."

Actually he said "Injection and medicine one day. Please come tomorrow again." I told him I was hoping to go to Japan tomorrow, and explained I was supposed to go Thursday and then Friday but was too apayo. He laughed, and said "vacation."

So I got my usual ass-injection, and 5 days worth of medicine totaling 90 pills in all! I took the first dose as soon as I got home and am already feeling a little better, able to breathe out of one nostril and the sharp ache in my ear is dulling a bit. A cat-nap with the cat is on deck before I finally get to packing.

Update: Final Flu (of 2005)

Those waiting to burgle me should hold off another day. Still too sick to do much of anything. I'm going to go to the doctor to see if he can patch me up enough so I can get across the sea for New Years Eve. It looks like my friend I'm going to see in Japan is all messed up with the flu as well.

Anyone who reads this, take a big deep breath through your nostrils if you can, and be thankful.

I've gotta change my t-shirt. It's soaked.

OH! But I feel honoured to have won Captain Howdy Girl's "Serial Killer Coloring Contest!" Check out the link on my sidebar!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

38.4C (101.12F)

Yep that's me. Fever Lady.

I started feeling strange Monday, and it's progressed to full on sick. Again.

I think with the New Year, I'm going to implement some new guidelines in class. No borrowing my pencils or erasers. No touching anything of mine. If a kid who's hacking and sneezing it up is sitting beside me, he or she will switch spots with a healthy child at the other end of the room. The Korean teachers seem to almost NEVER get sick. I'm wondering if it's down to accumulated antibodies ( or, rather, my lack thereof.)

Today was tough because my nose dripped like a faucet, I sneezed 187 times, and alternated boiling hot and shaking cold. With it being the last day before winter break, and me feeling like I was, today was all about the games. I even broke out the verbotten UNO for the last class. They played, while I considered plucking my left eye out and digging around in my head with a toothbrush. I've got that "going to sneeze" feeling in my forehead. It's maddening.

I bought a bar of handsoap for the washroom, as the last bar wore out a month or so ago, and I was told I've been washing my hands with laundry soap. I have to say though, after visiting the non-heated open-window see-your-breath-bathroom, plunging your hands into the ice cold tap water is VERY unpleasant. Also there are no towels to dry or warm your hands on. It's no wonder I've never seen anyone wash their hands after a visit to the loo. No wonder I'm sick. Everyone's all germy.

Today was pretty much crap. Mamadog's in heat, and I felt bad for Barky Boyfriend trying (and failing) to defend her honour against 3 other whining growling dogs who have shown up to have their way with her. Poor little dog.

As I was leaving my apartment, carrying garbage bags down to the parking lot, a woman cleaning the stairs got all excited, pointing to the bags. I figured she was scolding my for using blue bags when yellow ones are somehow more preferable. An old man (stair-lady's husband?) lectured me for a long time last week as I was going to throw out my trash. I asked my boss to call the management office and see what the deal was, but she didn't. I apologized to stair-lady and said I couldn't understand her. Once I got downstairs I realized the bag had ripped and was leaking a trail of cat litter. It was clean, and lemon scented litter, but I still felt like crap, and didn't have enough time to get back upstairs with a broom without being late for work.

I was praying that my mom's package, with cold remedies and underwear, would arrive today. I could really use it, and even though she mailed it airmail for about 50 bucks 3 weeks ago, it's opseyo.

I noticed the students have mangled and destroyed many of the ornaments I bought for the Christmas tree in the lobby. When I showed the other teachers, I scolded them too, "Don't laugh! It's not funny!"

I've never complained about this before, but since I'm on a roll....Koreans are LOUD! Especially down in my neck of the woods. I've been told even by the residents'' own admission, that the local dialect is very strong, and very loud. (Seoulites sometimes have a hard time understanding folks down here! I suppose it's like Newfoundlanders to the rest of Canada.) Hangul here is peppered with that 'kkhhhaaaaa,' kind of sound (like you're clearing your throat or Arabic) when people want to emphasize what they're complaining about. I say complaining, because it sounds like everyone is. All. The. Time. Something about the up and down prolonging of the last syllable in many sentences. If you didn't know better, you might assume that all the people here are arguing with each other much of the time. Usually it's tolerable, and I've gotten pretty used to it. Today it was torturing me, though, and only my inner-voice pleading "shitupshutupshutupshutup," helped to drown it out. There was no respite leaving the classroom for the staffroom. Everyone was excited about the days off.

My trip to Japan has been re-scheduled for Friday. I have so much to do, cleaning and packing and wrapping some gifts, and I can't muster the energy to get it all done tonight. With a big-ass sleep tonight, and a couple short naps tomorrow in-between chores, I hope I'll feel much better by Friday.

So, like, for those of you planning to stop by and burgle me, hold off 'til Friday.

Because I like the yin and the yang, let me end off telling you I carted home over 60 lbs. of kitty litter, dumped out the lemon scented stuff, washed, dried and refilled the box, and Kamikaze's been happily visiting it since. I'm relieved. Also, I actually found BOLOGNA yesterday when I exchanged my boss's kid's Christmas gift!

Finally, my video store finally got "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" in, and reserved it for me. I watched it while eating a toasted bologna, cheese, mustard and lettuce sandwich last night. Love love loved it. Just for kicks, I might do the same thing tonight (I forgot the video in the VCR, so I still have it!)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Peeing on the Rug

I'm worried about Kamikaze's eliminating on the rug before his litter box, as I mentioned in the previous post. This morning I wasn't paying attention when he peed all over it, but I caught on just in time to shove him into his box before he started to poo. I googled "cat peeing outside litter box" and got some scary information about "Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease." This causes painful urination which the cat can associate with the litter box, so he avoids it. I don't want to take him to the vet. If I have to, it's probably going to mean canceling my trip to Japan on Thursday, and I'm going to have to sort out a new cat carrier (see: dog carrier) as he's outgrown his, and last time I had to put him in it was like stuffing a sausage into its casing.

Other information I found on Google, though, was that cats don't like change. Not too much around here has changed, but I have been using a different brand of cat litter the pet store delivered. It's Japanese. It's called "Super Joyful." It's lemon scented. I found this on google:

"Citrus: Cats don't like citrus smells. Scatter some orange or lemon peels to create no-go zones. Citronella oil is considered to be a good cat repellent but generally it does not appear to have an effect on dogs."

Truthfully, I already knew this, but hadn't clued in on the big lemon on the bag, or the lemon scent as I poured it into the box. Duuuuh.

Way to go, Japanese Einstein Pet-Product Developers! Why don't you create a litter made of hungry snarling rottweilers next?

So I'm going to get a couple bags of new litter downtown and throw out the contents of his box and start over. Hopefully we'll see him return to his box. He's eating and drinking regularly now, and seems in decent spirits. I'll keep a close eye on him.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Stupid Ants

I woke up this morning and noticed a line of red bumps from my left eye to my jaw. "What's that about?" I thought. I showed my cheek to the little kids in my first class and they told me it was ants. Grrrr!

It stands to reason, though. The ants are angry that ever since drinking about 20 of them that had gone swimming in my water jug beside my bed, I've been keeping a closed bottle of water to drink throughout the night instead. I've closed their swimming pool. They're angry. We've been living in relative peace, thus far. In the summer, when there are many more of them, they eat the cat's leftovers. It grosses me out, but I kind of like drowning them when I get home and put Kamikaze's dish in the sink.

But now that they're starting to attack, it's ON. ME vs. ANTS.

Speaking of Kamikaze, he's doing this new thing where he leaves his litter box before he's completed his business. Then he lies on the floor and poos. I don't know why he's doing that. The other day I caught him preparing the rug by scratching it into a ball to receive his poo before he even made it to the box. Is he not feeling well? Are the ants biting him too? Are all the creatures in my apartment rebelling?

The cool remote control car I bought the boss's kid isn't working. He went cuckoo opening the box, and the antennae that was supposed to screw into the remote control went missing. Or it was never in the box to begin with. So the car wasn't working properly that night, but I thought maybe it just needed some time to re-charge the batteries. I asked my boss today if it was working, and she said no, but she asked her kid if he wanted to exchange it and he said no, he was "satisfied with it as it is."


I said "Oh, please let me return it! The fun of the car is to be able to DRIVE it into walls so it can repair itself, (the toy's gimmick - pretty cool to watch though!) It's a remote controlled car, if the remote control doesn't work, it's just a car." (And frankly I don't want to have spent the money I did on just 'a car!')

Honestly, the kid should be allowed to actually see the car work as it's intended to before he goes ahead and breaks it, eh? But in a way, I think it shows some small insight as to why the kid is the little King that he is. I imagine his mom knows the kind of fit the kid's going to throw about having to do without his new toy for a night when I take it downtown to exchange it.

I don't know how I'd manage it if I had a child who threw screaming tantrums as easily, or managed to turn my name (mom) into the whiniest drawn out word in the universe as this kid can. I might want to jam forks into my eyes and ears.

I'm mean, eh? It's the ants. They make-a me cah-ray-zee!

From Kamikaze Kamakiri Kitty and Me

Image hosted by

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Eve

Lunch at Paprika with Elizabeth. It was busy, and the diners scooped up the shrimp tempura faster than you can say, I enjoyed a taco (though I wish they wouldn't put corn in the watery meat mixture) with delicious jalepenos and guacamole. I ate many artichoke hearts in their new salad. I had capers and lemon on many slices of their smoked salmon. Two bowls of cream of broccoli soup. I had about ten cubes of bread speared on sticks and dipped in their cheese fondue. I could eat that fondue with a spoon, I tell ya. Their salad of matchstick pieces of apple with cheese was deelish. Curried rice with shrimp, deelish, but I had to pick around the peas. Hate the peas.

When I was young I hated peas, but I was ordered to eat them. So I did, by the spoonful. Un-chewed and swallowed with a gulpful of milk, which I also hated but was made to drink, I swallowed them like pills. I've grown to love loads of things I disliked as a child, spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower, for example. I used to hate them but I LOVE them now. Peas, though, I can't bite into them to this day. Milk I can drink, but it tastes like blech.

After lunch, shopping. Fun, but I sort of flashed on shopping back home, man it was busy! Here, though, there's less of a sense of personal space, so it's really not unusual to get bumped or jostled or have someone stand ON you, pretty much, when you're browsing the goods. It's a little troublesome for someone like me who's a bit claustrophobic. No bother, though, I picked up a couple gifts for my friend's kids and a vat of The Body Shop's "Passion Fruit Body Butter" I'm going to slather on tomorrow before I don my fuzzy green socks and have myself a Christmas nap.

Then back to Elizabeth's house where we drank a little beer and ate a little nuts. It was really great, and I got to know her even better. She likes me a lot, and I like how easy it is to make her laugh. She's already worrying about what life will be like after I'm gone, even though I'm not leaving for months. I told her we'll find a funny teacher to replace me. She's such a nice lady.

So I'm back here and it's officially Christmas, and I officially couldn't care less. I've NEVER felt so un-Christmassy. It's cool. I feel ok, just sans Xmas spirit.

Regardless, to anyone who reads this, MERRY CHRISTMAS ad HAPPY HOLIDAYS. I mean that! Safe and happy times for all!!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Brrrrranimals Pt. ii, DAMN it's COLD

And I'm not referring entirely to the weather.

I wasn't planning on going shopping tonight, as I wasn't planning on giving my co-workers anything for Christmas this year. I'm going to go to Japan next week for a short vacation, and I figured I'd buy them all something decent there and call it a "holiday gift." Christmas Schmistmas, no one cares about it over here. If they did, I'd get a lieu day off. I'm also still a little bummed when I think about my invisible Chuseok gift.

Anyhow, today when I arrived at work, Judy handed me a gift. She had ones for the other teachers as well - we all got pretty scarves. I LOVE mine (all 3 were identical, but I got the best colour.) So I decided I would take a ride downtown and pick up just a couple of small things for the ladies. I already bought the boss's son a very cool remote controlled car. Christmas is for kids, after all. I didn't want to feel weird when I pulled out a gift for the kid at tomorrow night's dinner and had nothing for my co-workers. I knew what I wanted to get for the ladies anyhow, as I had gotten them for myself last week, a pair of super fuzzy great coloured socks, an excellent smelling Glade candle, some vanilla toothpaste (it's like brushing your teeth with cake!) and a couple packs of delicious Andes chocolates. It's all comfort goodies: don the socks, light the candle, eat the chocolate, brush your teeth. Mmmmm,...good night!

Living in a foreign country is interesting. There always seems to be something lurking around the next corner that's bound to amaze and excite you, or shock and horrify you.

On the way to the department store I always pass this fairly large pet store, with lots of fish and aquariums inside, though I've never actually gone inside. On the outside of the store along the windows are a series of bird cages. Each one has a pair or a few different kinds of birds. I always stop to have a look at them, and get a bit disgusted by their filthy water and cages. Today was no different, except I was feeling especially bad for them because it's been so cold here the last couple days. Once I got to the last cage, I saw that 3 budgies were all acting frantic inside their hanging water dish. These normally shy birds didn't even seem to care when I stuck my finger in a touched their backs. The problem was that their water had frozen. They had pecked a hole through the ice and were fighting each other to try to get their little beaks in deep enough to get some of the slush at the bottom that hadn't yet frozen solid. When I saw the fourth bird that usually shares the cage lying face down dead just under the water dish I kind of had a little panic attack.

So I went inside and was met with a disinterested looking dude who called a woman from the back to come out and deal with me. I smiled and tried to be polite as I motioned for her to follow me outside, but my blood was boiling. I pointed at the budgies' cage, and the cage beside it and said "mool opseyo" and then to the dead bird and said "bird opseyo." She was polite back and said she understood, and got to work taking the water dishes out. I bowed and apologized (man, I'm so Canadian) and told her in English "Nobody's going to buy your birds if they're dead." She said she understood (but there's no way she did) and bowed back to me.

Here's another vision I didn't need to see: after checking my goods out, I walked past a mom who was changing her baby's shitty diaper on one of the check-out conveyor belts that was closed. She even had her used diaper and baby wipes (shit side up, thanks mom) sitting directly on the surface people put their purchases on. There were plenty of clerks and even one officious looking dude standing around, so I guess register counters as changing tables is copacetic here.

I saw another white dude shopping tonight. My smile was met with his cold eyes. On our second encounter, me going down, him coming up, he actually turned himself around to ride the escalator backwards to avoid having to nod or smile or (God forbid) wish a "Merry Christmas" at me. I wish I could say that this was unusual, but it's not, really. I know in the far more metropolitan city of Seoul it might be stupid to acknowledge every waygook you might come across, but here, seeing another foreigner always surprises me a little. We don't have to stop and exchange bios or anything, but a little smile or nod would be cool. I know things were a lot different in Japan, when I'd meet another geijen and almost ALWAYS share a little conspirital smile, like "check US out! We're in Japan!"

Yo, Mister Blue Eyed, Blond Hair, Brown Corduroy Coat, if you happen by this blog I just want to say one thing to you:
Merry Christmas.
Just because you're an asshole, doesn't mean I'll be one too.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Brrrrr. It's quite cold here! Folks up in the north part of South Korea are really getting dumped on, snow-wise. Here, we had a wee 5 minute snowstorm this afternoon, and that's been about the extent of it. I like that the laundry out on my balcony, waiting to dry in the morning sun, is frozen stiff. I wish it would snow, though. It might make me feel more festive.

I don't think I've mentioned Christmas at all, so far, and that's surely because I'm half-trying to pretend it's not happening. I am just NOT feeling it this year. I'm fairly sure Sunday will just pass by just like any other Sunday here, with me doing nothing, pretty much. Then Monday I'll go back to work like I do every other Monday. Whoop-dee-frickin-doo. Truthfully, I feel like I'm really fighting to avoid an all out Christmas-blues-fest. Christmas - denial (river, Egypt, blah blah blah)

So let's talk about dogs instead. Tonight a big, but too-skinny white dog hung around the trucks selling rotisserie chickens and blood-noodle-sausage on the street outside my school. When the dog approached me a bit shyly and nudged his head against my furry red mitten, I gave him a pet and then reached in my bag and fed him a whole bag of dog treats which he seemed so happy to gobble up. Then he followed me across the street and started getting nippy with my hand and arm, so I tried to convey "calm assertive" vibes (like I saw Cesar Millan, the "dog whisperer" do on Oprah awhile back) while I kind of ignored him, trying not to picture myself being mauled. That would have been a story for the grandmas selling vegetables on the street beside the trucks:

"Hey, remember when that white dog ate that foreigner?"
"Heh heh, yah, that was COOL!"

The reason I have dog treats in my bag is for the dog family I've mentioned before. Playing with Barky Boyfriend and his baby on my way to school really makes my day. Look at how cute they are!
Image hosted by
The colours are fading off the puppy, who really did look exactly like his mom before. Mamadog is always fairly reserved, but has come close enough to take food from my hand. On this day, though, I learned she is super camera shy, as this is as close as she'd come:
Image hosted by

Here are the bunnies I've mentioned before, with their water-bottle I gave them.
Image hosted by
On this day, the water bottle is attached to the cage, but it's been on the ground, again, for the last two days. I've figured out what the deal is, the rabbits' owners tie it to the cage with that blue nylon string and the rabbits, being "chewers," gnaw through the string and the bottle falls down. I've caught the big white bunny standing on his hind legs drinking from the bottle (which pleased me so much!) and I've seen him chewing the blue rope too. I've been thinking of finding some wire or something and sneaking in there at night to affix the bottle more permanently.

No matter today though. The water is surely frozen into a solid block of ice. Brrrrr.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Cheese and Collagen. Mmmmmm.

Shopping in Korea is often interesting, and one thing they do here is attach one product to another product in the hopes of attracting you to buy said product. Sometimes, they're the same product; buy 4 rolls of paper towels, and get another 2 taped-on bonuses. Sometimes they're complimentary products, like buy a block of tofu and get a pack of denjang paste attached. Sometimes the dual products make no sense. I am wearing the bonus I got for buying a container of Philly Cream Cheese on my face right now, a collagen face mask. I don't know how the two are supposed to react with one another, but whatever. Perhaps I should be eating a bagel with cheese now while improving my skin's elasticity and moisture level.

The little girls told me I was a "halmoni" (grandmother) today in class because my shin is flaking with all the cold weather we've been having. I've been neglecting my skincare regime anyhow, so deserved to be called out on it.

Then the Pakistani dudes called me "adjumma" (middle aged or younger married woman)which is funny.

Now that I've sported this silly looking mask for 20 minutes, perhaps someone will recognize my youthful glow and bouncy skin tomorrow and call me "highschool girl."

One can always hope.

Hi! Where Are You From?

Three guys from somewhere other than here approached me as I left school tonight. If I were to guess, I would say Pakistan? Next time I see them I'll ask.

I think I've mentioned before that I am only one of a tiny handful (read: about three) of waygook sarams in my neighbourhood. The other two are just mythical legends as I've never actually seen them. They're unicorny. Actually, to be honest, I am only one of three white-style waygook sarams. In the buildings surrounding my schools, there are lots of other waygooks. They work at the many factories around the area, and some hail from places like the Philippines, Indonesia, parts of India, and Sri Lanka. By and large, they're men. I always smile and say hello, but haven't really talked to any of them at length. Groups of them are waiting for the shuttle bus which ferries them to and from their jobs as I'm headed home for the day. We're kind of like those sheepdogs passing each other in the Wile E. Coyote cartoons.

The conversation with the three fellows tonight started on strange footing, as they approached me and called me "adjumma," which made me laugh. Then they proceeded to talk to me as if I was Korean, which is odd, because I think they can speak fairly decent English. Anyhow, what I gather is that one of their friends wants to speak with me for a few minutes about Canada. I said "sure!" and gave them my e-mail address.

I never know, really, what to do when I'm approached by someone who's interested in me just because I'm sporting my goofy white face. I like it better than, say, high school kids who scream "hello," and "I love you," and (*ugh) "puckin' USA," or whatever English phrases they've learned watching music videos or wrestling.

But when an adult comes up to me to chat and invite me to join them for a meal or drinks at a future date, I never know how I should respond. I'm not interested in accepting private students, and I'm not really looking for people wanting to take advantage of me as a free conversation practice tool. On the other hand, I'm always interested in meeting new people, and some of the most rewarding friendships I've had here have started by chance encounters, much like the three fellow on the street today. I don't want to slam the door shut on what could be something fun, even though I sometimes can't make out the intentions of someone who's gathered enough courage to come up and speak to me.

Two such women came up to me not too long ago at a shopping mall. I'm always polite, and gave them my e-mail address when they asked for it. Then I got this e-mail from them:
Hello, Jenny.
I'm the girl you met at the Lotte mart. ^^
Simplely spreaking, me and my friends need some foreing friend to help us.
we study on every wednesdays and fridays. I think if you come to us on Friday,
we can have some beer or something sometimes. ^^
It is true we need some kind of tutor but we also need to 'FRIEND' who meet easily and have a great time. we meet tomorrow at the lotteria at 8:40 PM. join us, just come over. ^^ I hope we can meet you soon Thank you and bye.

Sounds like some volunteer work to me, so I think I'll pass.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Gimme a Break

I just now found out Nell Carter died. Did you know that?
Image hosted by
It's almost 3 years after the fact, but no one tells me anything. I was wondering why Nell hasn't been replying to my fan mail. Sheesh, she had some pipes, eh?
I found out about Mz. Carter's death in a round about way because John Spencer, of one of my favourite shows, The West Wing, died suddenly yesterday. He had a heart attack. What a drag. At least it didn't take 3 years for me to find out.

I haven't watched The West Wing since I left Canada, and I'm seriously looking forward to getting through multiple seasons on DVD in a week long West-Wing-a-Thon. It'll be interesting to see how they handle his death on the show.

R.I.P John Spencer.
Image hosted by

Saturday, December 17, 2005


On Wednesday I was eating my breakfast, and I was sad. I was eating a bowl of kick-ass leek, potato and ham soup I'd made the night before. I prepared a HUGE pot and divided it up into large containers to give to my co-workers. It was seriously delicious. I was also eating a bit of garlic bread I'd made and some orange cheese with sun-dried tomatoes I'd lucked out into finding at Wal-Mart. Everything was yummy, and you'd think I was happy, right? But I was not. I was finishing the last of my reindeer salami my Blogging By Mail partner, Eva, had sent me from Belgium. It was so good I had streeeeeetched out savouring the portion I brought home and hadn't shared with my co-worker (the only one who would try it) or the students, (who were happy to sample Rudolph.) The students declared it "salty," and it was - but in a good smoky way. I loved it. And so, upon popping the last slice in my mouth, I mourned it's non-existence.

So, I slunked off to work. I was just walking to my first class of the day from the water cooler at the front door, when Karen intercepted a package the nice mail lady brought. Karen said "Oh! It's for you!"
"Reallllllly?!?" I exclaimed!
I looked at the label and realized it was from Belgium! Eva strikes again!!
Karen asked me "What it is?" I tried to use my x-ray eyes, but failed. I guess it was too early in the afternoon. "I don't know!" I replied, but I thought maybe it was icing sugar she'd offered to send and some candy to decorate the ginger bread house she'd sent me in the previous package.
I went off to class, willing time to speed up, so I could go open the box Karen had put on my desk.

When the bell finally rang, I rushed back to the Teacher's Room and got to it. Just like last time, the teachers gathered around shouting "Open It! Open It!" One of them made a move to assist me, when I couldn't get through the tape securing the box fast enough. I growled at her, like a dog with a bone, and she backed off.

It wasn't icing sugar. It was much better than that:
Image hosted by
Oh. My. God!!!!!

I thought maybe Eva had some sort of short term memory loss malady, and had forgotten she already sent me a wonderful box full of goodies. I read her note, ignoring my co-workers cries of "Let's EAT it, let's EAT it!" In it, Eva explained she still had a few items left over that she didn't fit into the first package, so sent them, along with some treats for the students.

There was a wonderful assortment of candy: lollipos, sugar covered red jellies, long shoelace style "karamel/kola" licorice, fluffy pink and white little Santa marshmallows, and 3 little boxes of sweet chewy gummies! Ohhh the kids were going to be so excited!

For the adults, meaning ME, there were two more bars of gorgeous Dolfin chocolate. Check out their products via that link. Last time, I got dark chocolate with pink peppercorns, which I've been nibbling my way through. It's SO rich, with the pepper providing little bits of spicy crunch as the chocolate melts on your tongue. Like the reindeer salami, I've been savouring it, so eat only a bit at a time. This time I got a milk chocolate with hot masala, and a dark chocolate with green anise seed. Also, there's a bar of chocolate with hot pepper. Decadent.

There was a pack of delicious crispy biscuits which Eva wrote are the most popular in either Sweden or Belgium. (I forgot her note at school) She also noted that there's a saying that "eating one makes you ______ but eating too many makes you stubborn." (I'll update this on Monday when I can consult Eva's note again.) There was a jar of pesto -- but made with 'rocket' (arugula) which I can't wait to try! And the best,.....more salami!!! This time, another reindeer, and a larger one made from ELK! I said it before, but it bears repeating: Oh. My. God!

Seriously, I pirouetted to my next class. How generous! How fantastic! I was overwhelmed.

My next class is small, only 2 girls and a boy, learning Phonics. I was surprised, entering the classroom to fund 3 little girls sitting there! My boss confirmed I had a new student and asked me what she always asks me, "Would you give her an English name?" Sure!
I grabbed the list of girls' names I consult and headed back to the classroom. What I usually do is offer the kid a few choices that they can say yes or no to, so they essentially pick a name that sounds good to their ears. I offered up a couple names, "Helen? Maggie?" before turning away from the list and saying, "Eva."

"Yes, Eva." I decided. "Your name is Eva."
"Eba?" One of the little girls asked.

Ohhhh yah. Koreans have a really hard time with V's. My last name has been "B" instead of "V" since I arrived in Asia. If I named this little girl "Eva," she would forever be "Eba."

"Hmmmmm," I thought, as I showed them candy from Belgium. And then it dawned on me.
Image hosted by
See the little girl on the left? Meet "Lucia!"
It was, afterall, still the Feast Day of Saint Lucia in Sweden, what with the time difference. Eva's in Belgium, but she's Swedish. And so, it's good!

Eva, thank you for your generosity. It is too much! I have spent the week being overwhelmed by it. Honestly, I truly lucked out by getting the BEST Blogging By Mail Partner. I thank you on behalf of the staff and kids at my school, too. We're all so HAPPY!

Here's some other little kids holding things I'm NOT sharing, bwaaaaa ha ha ha.
Image hosted by
Actually, I did share some of it, the hot masala bar and the biscuits with my co-workers, and some reindeer salami with my middle school kids in my last class Friday who were so curious. They thought it was good! So do I! "Very very thank you Eba!" they told me to tell you, Eva.

By the way,....Blogging By Mail 4 has been announced. It's a music theme this time around, which excites me! I'm going to join up, and I understand Eva will as well. YOU (reading this) should join too! If you're super lucky, you'll get Eva as a partner!


I was thrilled, last night, to experience my first snowfall of the season. I sat talking to Elizabeth with big fat snowflakes falling all around us. Then I taxied back to my place and found not one flake had fell. If I hadn't gone into the city I would have missed it all. Hooray for Friday shopping excursions to buy stuff I don't really need. (And stuff, like laundry detergent and cat food, that I do.)
*Plus, WalMart's seafood and cheese fried rice with a bag of convenience store bought kimchi was delicious!


I woke up this morning with a half-asleep dread that I was in trouble. I guess it had followed me from my dream, when the Evil Tripods from Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds had finally showed up in my sleepy little Korean town to get me.
Image hosted by
As I started to come to, I was filled with horror, realizing I wasn't dreaming. I could hear them right outside. I was about to be captured and have my insides sucked out. What a drag!
Suddenly I was filled with rage and a burst of survival instinct. It was Friday morning. There's no way I was going to be taken out before a blessed weekend without a fight. I clamored out of bed and whipped open my balcony door to step outside clad only in my bright red nightshirt. "BRING IT, ASSHOLE TRIPODS," I postured.

I was a little relieved, but far more annoyed to realize it was the start of some construction project underneath my window. It was 7:46 a.m. It wasn't tripods waiting to eat me, it was the 2nd worst thing, men with heavy machinery and other men with clipboards.
Image hosted by
The big yellow thing smashed holes in the pavement. The man pushed a thing specifically designed to make smoke and wake me up. I think it's technical name is "Smoky-Jenn-Waker-Upper."
I came back inside long enough to visit the loo, grab the camera, and head back outside for a snapshot. Nemesis documentation. Then I sat on the edge of my bed and shredded cotton make-up-remover pads to shove in my ears. I need to sleep in the mornings. I'd only GONE to bed about 3 and a half hours before, after all.

Lying back down, I considered ways I could make the men and machines below me stop what they were doing. I had conversation with myself:
Me1: "You could shoot them!"
Me2: "No, you don't have a gun, and besides, after the fact they'd do some fancy trajectory calculations and realize the fatal shots came from your balcony. That's damning evidence."
Me1: "I could scale down the side to the building to another balcony and shoot them,..."
Me2: "You don't have a gun."
Me1: "Oh yah. Well, I could file an injunction in court" (trying to be rational.)
Me2: "You don't speak Korean, and I'm pretty sure they're not breaking any laws."

With my irrational attempt at rational being trumped by real-tional, I resorted to whining.

Me1 and 2: "I'm tiiiiiiired. It's loooooouuuuud!"

Me1: "You could boil some water and heave it at them"
Me2: "You don't have a pot big enough to make it worthwhile, and they're not directly under you, but across the parkinlo..."
Me1: "Oil would be better."
Me2: "Again, you don't have a big enough po,....."

Then I fell asleep.
And I woke up (thankfully) before the alarm, which I probably wouldn't have heard, what with my ears being full o'cotton.
Meanwhile, they'd progressed downstairs to this:
Image hosted by
They were installing huge concrete cylinders below ground for some reason. Probably nuclear waste storage.

I've learned that when the tripods DO attack my defense is going to be fairly weak: a plugging of the ears and a making of the list of things I can't do.

Meanwhile, returning home tonight, equipment lurks still in the dug up parkinglot, which makes me think attack #2 is coming up at first dawn tomorrow. Saturday.
Me1 and 2: "@*#$&^@*!!!!"

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Dinner Out

**I posted this yesterday, but it didn't take for some reason!

Tonight I went out to dinner with the boss, her husband, and my co-workers. We ate samgyupsal. Did you know that I've been spelling that wrong in previous posts? If you google "sangyepsal," the way I had been spelling it, you get ME times two! That's kind of cool.

Anyhow, we ate samgyupsal off of this giant dome. The pork was all laid out at the top of the dome, and then, along the sides, piles of seasoned bean sprouts, sour kimchi, and fresh slices of garlic were placed. The fat from the cooking pork trickled down the dome to mix with the vegetables and help them get all soft and crisp. It's certainly not the healthiest meal, but mmmmmm, it was delicious. I could have got pictures, because I have my co-worker's digital camera with me, but the batteries ran out, dammit. Side dishes were spinach, a mashed potato thing, konyakku noodles, grated cabbage and carrots with thousand island dressing (unfortunately, a standard side dish) and round wedges of tofu with a dollop of spicy miso on top. I always have to fight my bosses little 6 year old for the tofu, he loves it as much as I do. When we'd eaten the portion at my end of the table, we asked the waitress for another, which she brought, and Kevin scooped it up and ate it in one gulp. His mom told him to go and order another one (for me) and he returned with another silver bowl of it, which he squirreled to his end of the table and ate. Tofu hog!

The were baskets of all kinds of leafy greens, all of which I love except the sesame leaves. You grab a leaf, pick a piece of meat off the dome with chopsticks and dip it in a little dish of sesame oil laced with rock salt. Put the meat on the leaf, add some of the kimchi, a slice of garlic, some bean sprouts, and a little red miso. Bundle it up and shove it in your mouth. I know many people (anyone in Korea) knows how to eat this meal. I'm just describing it for all my friends and family in Canada who never read my blog.

We had some beer. That was good. I hate, though, how the serving of the beer at these soirees always seems to fall on Elizabeth's shoulders. She doesn't really drink, and she's not very attentive. My glass kept becoming empty and I hated having to interrupt her conversation to fill up my glass. I'd just as soon help myself, but that's not cool here. You're supposed to double hand your glass and accept the pour of someone else. You switch duties to fill up the other person's glass too. I love that set up when we're drinking soju (which I haven't done in AGES) but beer seems less somehow less formal, and instead of the frosty pint glasses one would expect in Canada, you drink beer in small drinking glasses, so you have to get filled up every couple minutes, like.

The reason I have to interrupt her conversation is that 95% of the time we're out to dinner, my companions are speaking Korean. This is understandable, and I do try to join in or initiate conversation, but what starts in English inevitably quickly reverts to Korean. Fair enough. While everyone else chats it up, I can concentrate on maneuvering my meat to the hottest part of the grill, and hovering around it with my chopsticks. This is because I like my meat cooked quite a bit longer than my Korean pals do. They'll pick it off once the meat has turned white, but the fat is still very fatty. I like it golden and sizzlng.

If you're interested in checking out the website for the restaurant we visited, check it out: HoneyPig. Funny name, eh?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

What'cha Got?

Cold or Flu?
Do you know the difference?


I think the subsiding of adrenaline in the body makes one really tired.

Last night, after throwing some too icy frozen shrimp into a pan, I had a fairly good sized fire on my hands. I threw the pan into the sink and turned on the tap, but the cupboards caught fire. I managed to extinguish them, and it was all pretty superficial; some scrubbing cleaned the dark smoky licks off everything. But an hour later, I was still shaking.

And then I was exhausted.

My sleep last night was deep when it was happening, and filled with wild dreams. I rode, for a time, in a car with my grandmother driving. She has never had a driver's license, but that didn't occur to me in the dream. It was very foggy and she was speeding like a Korean taxi driver, changing lanes wildly. It had me mildly concerned until she exited onto another highway, missed the road completely, and we sped alongside on bumpy grass at full speed. I kept saying "You missed the road, you missed the road," but she only replied with high pitched mechanical noise she is surely unable to actually make in real life. By the time we arrived at some subway station, she had morphed into my grandfather, who appeared the same stature and body type as Herve Villechaize, only he was Korean. He was definitely my grandfather, though. I was a little embarrassed because I was only wearing a nightshirt, big fuzzy Scooby-doo slippers and a furry Christmas blanket. I kept having to adjust it so my ass wasn't hanging out, which was difficult when my little grandfather got into a brawl with a Korean boy on the subway platform and I had to lift him off the kid.

The dream ended quickly with a black screen and a voice telling me I had used up all my sleep credits. I woke up to sunlight in my eyes, and a numb leg from where my beast of a cat had been sleeping on me for who knows how long.

Even though I didn't have to wake up for another hour or so, I couldn't doze off again, so finally reached for the jug of water I keep beside my bed and gulped thirstily. I then noticed a line of tiny brown ants crawling up the outside of the jug. I looked inside to see about 20 of their pals swimming in the water I'd just drank. Mmmm, protein for breakfast.

All of this was just foreshadowing for the day I was about to have.

Midway through my day, one of my problem boys had exhausted all his warnings in class and refused to take his "time out" in the lobby, even after I'd told him 4 or 5 times to get out. I walked back around the table and grabbed the back of his chair. I gave him warning I was about to pull, but instead of standing up, he fell to the floor, only to jump back up, whip his book to the ground (very hockey gloves onto the ice kind of move) swear at me, and take a swing!

I dodged it, and after stifling my surprising sudden compulsion to smack him in the head, went to fetch the Korean teacher. It eventually got sorted, with my boss making a call to the Korean mum (I learned after work from my co-worker) to explain how her son had a misunderstanding with the waygook.

Misunderstanding, my ass.

None of the students are stupid. They know what kind of behaviour is going to get them "yellow carded," most of it being hurting the other students, or disrupting my attempts to teach them. There's a difference in talking to your neighbour while I'm helping another student compared with turning your back to me to tell your buddy about last night's WWE match-ups while I'm at the board. I actually had my one and a half year anniversary pass me by yesterday, so it's not like the students should be surprised about what sort of behaviour I'll tolerate (getting loud will get them a couple warnings before an actual check against them) compared to what I won't. Likewise, after this amount of time, I'd think my boss would realize I'm not a schlepp, and she shouldn't have to ask why the kid got the yellow cards. The point is he did, and what he needs to do is then get up and get out when I open the door and invite him.

And as for a kid taking a swing at me, if he didn't feel his 3 checks were warranted before,...

About a third of the way through my next class (one of the loudest in the school) I was calm and collected, adrenaline once again receded.

But good lord, I'm exhausted.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Yesterday Yesterday Yesterday

All my troubles seemed so far away.

Appropriate, that line, considering it was a song recorded by the Beatles. I thought it was a Lennon/McCartney collaboration, but apparently not.

Just some thoughts. I meant to post this Friday, but fell asleep at the keyboard. Pretend it was posted on Friday.

Regardless, yesterday was the day John Lennon was murdered. I was thinking about it, but I didn't post about it. I thought about the Annie Leibovitz poster of a naked John curled fetal around Yoko which was taken in the morning before his death. I loved John, and so, had that poster hanging eye level in my dorm room beside my bed at university. It took a couple years (because I'm slow) to match up the date on my poster's corner with the date of John Lennon's death.

Joe, in New York, over at Joe.My.God speaks about how he heard the news. I know how I heard it.

It was in the same realm as how I heard Elvis had died. We returned to our apartment to find the day's newspaper still sitting at the door. "The King Is Dead," read the headline. I asked my mom who the king was, totally expecting it to be the King of Some Far Away Land. Nope. It was the "King of Rock and Roll." Oh. My mother seemed not to really care, so I didn't either.

When John Lennon died, I was 3 years older. I was worldly. I was conscious. Or not.

I woke up that morning before the sun came up. I went to the door to retrieve the Globe & Mail from the doorstep and walked into the livingroom where I remember my mother was leaning over to plug in the Christmas tree's lights. I asked her "Hey mom, do you know who John Lennon is?" (I didn't)

She said, "Yeah why?" I told her the newspaper I was holding said he had died. She was surprised and looked shocked, coming over to take the newspaper from my hands, asking "Why? How?"

I don't think she cried, but over my bowl of Golden Grahams I asked her what the deal was. Who was he? When she said he was a part of the Beatles I said "Oh! I know them! Yellow Submarine!" She told me a bit about him and his life. We listened, in the months to come, to Double Fantasy, over and over. John's part, anyhow.

In googling Annie Leibovitz's portrait of John and Yoko, I came across this:

Mick Jagger in 1975.

It kind of reminds me of the scary guy in bed in that room full of those little green smelly pine trees in the movie "Se7en." The Sloth-Man.

That's all I have to say about that.

Chirp Chirp Chirp

Jeeze, I promise to try and blog about something other that my boring daily routine, and I got nothing.

Can you hear the crickets chirping?

I'm trying to get my Christmas cards written so I can send them out either tomorrow or more likely, Tuesday. Does anyone want a Christmas card? Send me your snail mail address and I'll hook you up! Maybe you'll even win the bonus draw and get a little something special!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Thousand Hand Bodhisattva Dance

Performed by 21 deaf girls and boys from China's Disabled Peoples Performing Art Troupe,this is so cool! I watched it last night, and thought about it periodically throughout my day today. What do you think?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Prison Guard

I didn't get my samgyetang. When I hadn't heard from my dinner mates this morning, I was thinking perhaps they forgot, even though we just made plans for tonight's dinner 2 days ago. I was right, and got a call at school a couple hours before we were supposed to meet. They had forgotten. Oh, well. I said we'd do it sometime next week. I mentioned wanting samgyetang, and they mentioned kalbitang, so we're going to have to wrestle it out. I will win.

Just as the 2nd to last class was starting today, something unusual happened. All the power went out. It wasn't a blackout, as lights in every other part of the building and out on the street and in neighbouring stores were functioning. We had blown a fuse.

No wonder, too, as the heat was on all day, as well as 5 portable radiators in each classroom, the staffroom, and the lobby. I kept asking my co-workers if they were trying to kill me. Everywhere I went all day I was turning off heaters and shutting vents blowing hot air from the ceiling. It wasn't even that COLD outside today, and still, even with the heat swirling around the school, the Korean teachers wore their woolen shawls and winter coats. If I didn't know better, I'd think I was working with 3 versions of my grandmother.

So, with the lights out, the kids whooped it up, and the teachers had to run around gathering them back into the fold of the classroom and the safety of their seats every time they'd escape. Jailbreak. Just for interests sake, I might count the number of times I say "sit down, please" in one day. I think we'd all be amazed. In the dark, I was all about the "SIIIDDOWN!!"

Finally, after about 20 minutes, the kids got to go home. My boss, 2 folks who own the Music School, and the Taekwondo Master couldn't figure out how to restore power. A handful of students stayed behind to wait for our school's bus to shuttle them across town and meanwhile the boss's husband showed up and sorted out the lights in about 2 minutes flat. He is quite the handy man, and has fixed quite a few things over the 4 days he's been in town. It's good to have him back, though I understand he'll be setting off again sometime next week until well into the new year. Finally, the last class of the day started, though I didn't have to stay. Thursday is the one day I get off a little early. I headed downtown to do a little shopping and came home to make up a nice curry (korma) for dinner.

I'm going to try to brainstorm for something other than a boring daily run-down over the weekend. Weekends ROCK.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Poke The Bunnny.


(For Lala. Where ARE you?)


I made it through the day, and my voice is back, albeit raspy and gravelly. I was glad to see the day end, I was really tired. I felt especially affectionate toward my little students, who were glad to see me back at work. Some of them even asked, as soon as they saw me, "Teacha, are you ok?" Sweet little monkeys.

I think my "outside cat" Valerie is gone. I haven't seen her in a couple months. I'll assume that some nice person took her in and she's safe and warm. I really like the dog family who gets up to greet me on my way to work every day. Barky Boyfriend is such a devoted dog who lets me pet him now. Mamadog has loosened up too, and lets me play with her adorable little clone-puppy, who I've named "Minimamapuppy." I give them treats everyday.

So, quarterly reports are all finished up. Soon, probably next week, we'll put up the Christmas tree in the lobby at work, and I'll get to decorate it. That'll be good. I wish I could find candy canes here.

Tomorrow night I'll go out for dinner with the nice Korean-American couple from my neighbourhood. Even though I picked the restaurant last time, I'm going to try to do so again, and suggest samgyetang. It's one of my favourite dishes, and will be good for my cold. It's baby chicken and ginseng soup. Yummilicous.
image hosted by

Now I'm going to try to track down the source of the strange noise that's been going on for about an hour. It sounds like a tiny ghost gasping for breath. Then I shall sleep. I'm aiming for 8 and a half hours.

**UPDATE: I got about 8 hours of solid drooly sleep and woke up with a sore throat, but maybe I was breathing out of my mouth all night. I could use about 2 more hours of sleep, but that was pretty good. The "tiny ghost" was actually my MP3 player in my bag which turned itself on. I'm glad it wasn't a real ghost, because it sounded like it was ailing.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Sweet Heartfelt Christmas Gifts?

I'm not going to stop you from sending them!! Here's a wish-list.

Neo-Citrine, or Theraflu: a hot lemony cold and flu remedy. Especially sugar free. That's hot~!

Fisherman's Friend Apple Cinnamon Sugar Free Lozenges. Just saw them on the web tonight! YUM! Never tried then, but YUM!

Immodium. Because I'm to embarrassed to ask for it here from my handsome friendly Pharmacist man-friend.

Image hosted by
Indian snack food, "Chevdo" or "Bhusu" as detailed at Surati Sweet Mart. I tried to order stuff from there because I'm irrationally craving it, but they must think I'm joking, because they REFUSE to reply. The fact that I like to pick the components (lentils, rice, beans) up one by one, with chopsticks or tweezers, while watching TV, proves I'm neurotic, but I DON'T CARE, it's really all I want for Christmas. (I've got my two front teeth.)

Any kind of little heartburn pills. Because as much as I love it, kimchi proves too much on occasion.

Merry Christmas, Season's Greetings, Happy Chanukah, Joyous Holidays to ALL. I believe in the spirit of giving. If you want to try something from here, let me know, and I'll try my best to hook you up.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Today's Newly Learned Thing

I did not know that if I deleted pics from Photobucket, that they would disappear in archived posts. That makes sense, but I only figured it out in taking a walk down memory lane in search for the last time I called in sick. 2 times in almost 5 and a half months, that's not TOO bad. I mean, it's not the NEVER that my co-workers have called in sick, but,...

Anyhow, when I have some time and am feeling better, I'll try to replace those pics on Photobucket. I might have to create a new account, or get some photo hosting from another site. The reason I deleted the pics was it was proving impossible to upload any more, and even though Photobucket didn't tell me I had too many in my account, once I deleted some it seemed to un-jam the jammage.

I don't even know if it matters, not having pics in the posts, but rather a big red X, but it bugs me, knowing they're lopsided and kind of incomplete.


Well. I seemed to have coughed myself into a "no voice" situation! I vowed to myself that I wouldn't miss work unless I was actually physically unable to teach. I think "no voice" is a valid reason. Being able to speak (or often shout) at the students is how I can initiate some learnin' in them. Expecting me to teach without the pipes is like asking a concert pianist to work with broken hands. Or a baseball pitcher to throw with a broken arm. Or a blind referee to make good calls. (You get the picture)

I knew something was up when I woke up early this morning (coughing) and spoke to my cat and it came out only as a whisper. I tested it out, clearing my raw throat, gargling with salt water (my mom's remedy) "*ahem," and still, no sound. So I went back to sleep and woke up a couple hours later with the same result. I called my boss.

"Hi," I squeaked. "I lost my voice"
"Yes, hi. I lost my voice. I don't think I can teach today."

You can imagine more conversation that went pretty much like that. My boss suggested "I think you'd better go to the doctor." (I was just there yesterday, but,..)
"Ok, I can." (Silence) "I can." (More Silence.) "Karen? I can."
"Why can't you?"
"No, I CAN"
"Why not?"
"I CAN! I CAN!" I whispered. (Silence that seemed annoyed.)
(Changing tactics) "I WILL!"

So I did. The doc listened to my chest and looked in my throat, and told me "I think you better not speaking."
"Amen, brother," I rasped.

I got another ass-injection AND a big injection in the big vein on the top of my HAND! So you know it's got to be serious. I actually don't feel TOO bad, just silly-tired.

So after my tea, I'm putting myself down for a nap.

Sing With Me!

I've got a cough that never ends,
It just goes on and on, my friend.
One day I started coughing, and not knowing what it was (It's Bird Flu?)
and I'll continue coughing now forever just because,...

This is the cough that never ends,
It just goes on and on, my friend.
One day I started coughing, and not knowing what it was (Ebola?)
and I'll continue coughing now forever just because,...

This is the cough that never ends,
It just goes on and on, my friend.
One say I started coughing, and not knowing what it was,...

Ring around the rosu,
A pocket full of soju
Kimchi Kimchi
We all fall down

and I'll continue coughing now forever just because,...

This is the cough that never ends,
It just goes on and on, my friend.
One day I started coughing, and not knowing what it was (My throat hurts!)
and I'll continue coughing now forever just because,...

I've got a cough that never ends,
It just goes on and on,....(continue ad infinitum)

Monday, December 05, 2005

More Cookin' With Jelly

I spent the day napping pretty much. This illness has really tired me out. I feel really lethargic, but I think the medicine is working because my chest doesn't ache AS much, even though I'm more phlegmy. Flemmy. I'm flemilicious.

Speaking of 'icious,' after finally finishing up the quarterly reports I brought home with me (I'll have more to do either tomorrow night or Tuesday) I made some deeeeelicious dinner. Just because I was curious about the existence of thick pork chops, I got the butchers at Wal-Mart to hook me up on Friday. I gestured with my thumb and index finger as to how thick I wanted them, and they brought me back 4 little chops that were thicker than I meant, but it turned out fine, as I cooked them perfectly tonight. So if you want an easy recipe for pork chops or even chicken breasts, try this!

Brown your chops on a high heat. Season them with salt, pepper, powdered garlic, nutmeg if you like. Anything is ok. Once they're all nice and golden, toss in a generous splash of white wine. Let that bubble awhile to boil the alcohol off. You could even try this with soju of you're in Korea and feeling adventurous. Then throw in a half can of chicken broth. Bring it back to a boil, then lower the flame right down, cover the pan, and let it simmer for, say, 10 or 15 minutes (depending on how thick your chop is. I like mine just a little pink in the centre.) Remove the chops on to a plate, and add to the liquid in the pan about a cup or so of cream mixed with some cornstarch, maybe a couple teaspoons worth. Fire up the heat and the sauce will thicken all beige coloured. Add the chops back to the pan once the sauce is thick enough and voila!

I ate mine on a plate with some rice and barley, and some steamed spinach. I also had a nice big chilled bowl of tomatoes, onions, basil, and garlic soaked in balsamic vinegar, a splash of anchovy sauce, and a little bit of olive oil.

Sunday dinners are good.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Eyes So Nice I Post It Twice

My sweet fur-baby, Kamikaze Kamakiri Kitty.
Make your own eyes at

Enya Schmenya

I know Enya's music is supposed to make me all calm and serene, but the commercial they've been playing on OnStyle here makes me feel a little homicidal. I think she's singing "mother and child, mother and child, MOTHER and child, blah blah blah blah blah." Maybe it's because they play the commercial TWICE during every commercial break, or more likely because the song is suckage extraordinnaire.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I Learn Something New

Everyday. Pretty much!

Today I learned that bean sprouts have been recalled in Ontario. Wow! From the Toronto Star:
"Most of the 506 cases the province is examining are in the Toronto area, but the people who may have consumed contaminated mung bean sprouts — and experienced the severe stomach cramping, diarrhea, fever and nausea that result from contracting Salmonella enteritidis bacteria — are spread across the province. Although not normally lethal, the bacteria can kill the very young, elderly and those with weak immune systems."

This article notes that bean sprouts are not being offered on menus around town. Did you know "sprouts pose a special challenge because of the way they are grown?" (taken from the first article I liked to.) "You take the seeds and you sprout them under conditions of high moisture and high temperature. Those conditions are ideal for microorganisms to grow as well."

Well, I did not know that!

Image hosted by
Evil bean sprouts.

I don't know why, but I actually really hated bean sprouts in Canada. I'd go out of my way to ask they not be in any dish I ordered at a restaurant. In Korea, though, I LOVE them, and eat them all the time. They don't taste the same as back home. I never thought there could be a risk of contracting salmonella from bean sprouts. Now I do. Hmm.

I went to the doctor yesterday and was told I have bronchitis. This makes sense, as I didn't think a common cold could make my lungs hurt as bad as they have for a week. I wouldn't go to the docs for just a cold, even though people around me here kept telling me I should. Anyhow, I got some cough syrup (first time ever in Korea!) and 18 pills to take per day for the next 3 days. They seem to be working. Bravo doctor.

And yes, I gotz me an ass-injection. No visit to the doctor would be complete here without one.

Friday, December 02, 2005

I Cough

I coughed almost non-stop last night while trying unsuccessfully to sleep. I finally got up and drank one of my last two remaining precious Neo-Citrines. That did the trick, and I was able to get in about 3 and a half hours of "zzzz's." I'm going to stop by the clinic on the way to work and get me some medicine and, most probably, an ass injection. If it doesn't stop the coughing I'm going to drink loads of soju before I try to sleep tonight.

Did you know when Koreans are sick, they eat spicy soup and soju? It's not chicken soup, but 'when in Rome,...'


My computer started protesting loudly while I was watching Mr. and Mrs. Smith. It sounds unhappy, and I'm wondering if it's getting ready to blow up. Every time it craps out, it does so on the weekends, just to bug me, I think. Being the computer savvy tech that I am, as soon as I heard the noise I got right on the problem.

I cleaned the computer and the monitor AND the mouse. With an environmentally friendly spray cleaner and paper towels no less! (No spit and the corner of my t-shirt for my baby.) Still, though, it rattles and hums. Unappreciative hunk 'o junk!

I started my Christmas shopping by buying myself a gift. I don't anticipate getting any presents actually. I got a tip off when my family told me "we're not sending you any gifts this Christmas." They're retaliating because I told them last spring I'd be home for Christmas, but it turns out I am a liar. With NO days off, I could maybe get a flight out Friday night on the 23rd, but I'd have to get right back on a plane after a quick Christmas coffee at the airport in Toronto. That's just silly.

Anyhow, my Christmas gift to myself is actually my first ever purchase from eBay. My favourite perfume:
Image hosted by
and what a bargoon it was! It retails for $105 and I got it for $36! Sweet! I just hope it makes it here intact. Have you ever smelt it? Mmmmm. From the Montreal Gazette:
"We're launching 200 to 300 new brands in the marketplace in a year," said Heather Josey, buyer of prestige fragrances at Hudson Bay Co. That's about 10 times the number of perfumes launched annually 20 years ago. North America's top-selling perfume is Thierry Mugler's Angel, a caramel-chocolate concoction whose customers become part of an Angel "circle." When you're part of Angel, you're part of a world of luxury," Josey said.

I love being a part of a circle, especially a circle of luxury.

At some point I'd like to be part of a rhombus of revenge, but seeing as we're entering the time for holiday spirit, I guess a luxurious circle is good for now!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Teaching the Teachers

I've said it before, but all 3 of the Korean teachers could benefit from more study and more practice. My boss is very gung-ho, and has her lesson with me once a week, completes all the homework I give her, and asks about grammar points she wants more information about. She's a good student, in that she challenges me to find out things I don't know so I can pass it on to her. I worry, though, that this:
A participial phrase is a group of words consisting of a participle and the modifier(s) and/or (pro)noun(s) or noun phrase(s) that function as the direct object(s), indirect object(s), or complement(s) of the action or state expressed in the participle.
is over her head. She sometimes wants to go deep into the grammar, and I don't know how practical or functional is for her.

My other co-worker is also keen to improve her English, and it does need improving. Since I've known her, she has come up with a handful of ideas on how to study. She joined a cheap-o English class run through one of the churches here, but quit, citing disappointment in her housewife-classmates who always wanted to argue that their 'broken English' was better than hers. She told me yesterday she had told them "a cemetery is where men go in order to become priests," and her classmates looked in their dictionaries to find another word listed. I laughed so hard, and said "do you mean seminary?" She said, "what?" I explained, "a seminary is where men go to become priests, a cemetery is where people go once they've died!"

She assures me she used the proper word in her class, but you never know. Her latest idea is to track down a foreigner for a private lesson. It's the same pattern that happened with my boss, and I know that really, she wants to ask me. I've been avoiding recognizing that fact, and have done well skirting around the idea of me being her teacher, because I don't WANNNNNNNA! She wants to have an hour long weekly conversation class with a foreigner, and maybe bump that up to 2 or 3 times a week. As it is, she has a free 3 hour long one with me most Fridays when we go out for a little dinner and some shopping. I told her that I thought that lessons that were solely conversational in nature were most helpful for a high-level speaker to maintain their skills. For a low intermediate level (I didn't use that term - but rather, "for you, I think,...) it might be more beneficial for a combination of text and conversation. The cost is also a concern to her, so I suggested she might think about a self study program. Private lessons with foreigners are pretty expensive. While having dinner with a nice Korean-American woman who lives in my neighbourhood this past week, I learned that I'm earning less than half the going rate in my lesson with the boss. My co-worker balked at my suggestion of self study, saying she hates studying and it is "very painful and stressful for her." HA! That might be a problem then eh?

I told her what she needed was the English Fairy, who would visit her as she slept and magically implant the language into her brain. She'd wake up all refreshed and British.

My other co-worker has the most experience being overseas, she spent 8 months in Australia not too long ago. I don't know how much English she picked up though, as most times I can't understand what she's saying to me. My usual reply is "what?"

I really do like all the women I work with. They want me to help them out by correcting their English, but I don't really want to, because I'd be correcting them, well, all the time. They also have a bit of a competition going as to whose English is the best. One of them actually asked me the other week, "I know this is silly, but please, is my English the best at school?" I wriggled out from really answering by complementing each of their strengths. The previous 2 foreign teachers at my school, according to my co-worker, never said anything to the Korean teachers about their English. I might have an easier time if I hadn't either, but sometimes gentle corrections pop out of my mouth without my even thinking about it.

Makes me think I might make a good "mom" someday, "I want to go to the store to get some ice cream, please."

Anyhow, one thing that seems to really bug the teachers is when we come across a grammar rule that they were taught in high school or university that is, in fact, erroneous. The pronunciation of "wo" as "oo," for example. I don't know who thought up that one, but the kids were all saying "Ood you like a ooden spoon?"

The teachers seem proud to have learned and maintained the lessons that were (probably) beaten into them by their English teachers, and ood lather plove me long dan admeet dey were learn-ed some faulty eenformayshun.

An ongoing bone of contention has been me teaching the kids "eraser," and them teaching the kids "erazure." When I corrected my boss's pronunciation of that word in our lesson the other day, she told me looked it up, and "both ok." She schooled me very matter-of-factly that "s" when sandwiched between vowels, is always pronounced as "z." I thought a moment, and said "treasure." She said "yes, a Z!" I pointed out it wasn't really a z, more along the lines of a soft g with e, as in "je me souviens."

"Still," she said, "not an 's' sound." I thought another moment and said "mason!" (A word she might not know, except I named one of our new boy students that name just a few weeks ago.) She screwed up her face while I had another lightbulb, "baseball!" And more, "basin" and "awesome." She grabbed her dictionary and said "I'm going to check." I laughed, and said, "Check what? That 'bazeball' is ok too?" She laughed back and said "yes!" At least they have a sense of humour about it!