Friday, June 30, 2006

A Stroll

I went out tonight after work for a walk around my neighbourhood. Though it was muggy, there was a good wind blowing and I thought it would be nice to breathe in the air whilst walking around making children scream looking at my devil eyes.

There are a couple women in the 'hood who won't look at my face, and they're not playing around either. They avert their eyes, and if I come to close to them they'll actually throw their hands up to shield me from them. One lady works in the restaurant where I've been eating soon doobu jjighae for lunch almost everyday. She's a very nice lady, and spends a lot of time at the very front of the shop making kimbap facing the window looking onto the street. I like to pop up suddenly, smiling, and spread my fingers out on the window. She screams every time, and it makes me laugh.

My doctor threatened today to stick a big needle in my forehead and suck out whatever's inside the big lump that's not going down. I balked and he agreed to another day of "observation" and "injection" (asshicular) with another twenty-two and a half pills. I'm absolutely rivaling, if not beating, my eighty-three year old grandmother in pill popping. She's got a handy little case with letters representing the days of the week on each of the seven compartments. Every Sunday night she divvies up her pills into their appropriate day. Luckily, I don't need one of those, as medicine here comes pre packaged in wax paper in their appropriate doses. Seven and a half pills, three times a day, in my case.

Tonight, on my walk, I strolled past Lotteria - a popular fast food joint that's kind of like "McDonalds." The shop was closed for the night but the door was still open. A man was outside kneeling beside a hole in the ground. A man-hole cover of sorts had been pried up, and he was spraying the contents of a long can into the hole. I stopped to have a look at what he was doing and peered down into the ground. It looked like maybe it was the drainage area for the restaurant, and it turns out the man was waging war against these giant cockroaches that were scurrying up in waves. For the giant bugs who made it past the spray, he stomped on them with his shoe and kicked them back down in the hole.

I still have the heebie jeebies, and therefore have no rational explanation as to why my mind imagined fashioning a skull-cap out of dead cockroaches and wearing it while walking around, smoking on a fat kimbap like it was a cigar, devil-eyes and all.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Fear Me

Another day, another visit to the dolphin sonar doctor, another ass injection, another opportunity to freak people out and make small children cry. You have to admit, I do look evil. I'm smiling in the picture, because when I don't smile it looks like a mug-shot. Besides, I think the smiling makes me look more sinister, in addition to being fugly.
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The swelling around my eyes has gone down a bit, but blood has seeped into BOTH my eyeballs now. Also, I didn't think it was possible, but the knot on my head has gotten bigger, and it itches like there's a nest of baby spiders inside. There's a lot of pressure in my head and looking at stuff is difficult.

Thank you for your kind comments and well wishes. They're making me feel better, even though I'm feeling pretty miserable.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Oh, oh, the Damage Done

I said I would post some pictures about how bad I look. I had a tumble and fall accident at my apartment late Saturday morning. It didn't seem too bad just after, but over the last couple days it got worse. And by worse, I mean pretty fucking brutal.

AS a foreigner here, I tend to attract too much attention. That can be tedious, but I have to say, any attention my eyes get makes me kind of happy. I like the colour of my eyes, and my eyelashes are pretty long and groovy too. Once, in Japan, a young girl stacked eleven plastic toothpicks on my eyelashes. There's not many Asians who can manage that (perhaps it's a Guiness Record thing!) I've always gotten some good compliments on my eyebrows as well, so overall I think my eyes are a-ok! Check them out:
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If you want to freak people out though, Korean or otherwise, punch yourself in the face 70 times, wait awhile for the beating to sink in, and then go out in public. (I didn't punch myself in the face, though I think a good self-punching is sometimes warranted.) Alternatively, trip over a 30lb. object and land on your temple. G'wan, do it! All the cool kids are doing it!

I went to the pharmacist today (after the doctor, who used his dolphin-sonar to deduce I hadn't broken my nose, and indeed need an ass-injection for at least the next three days) and I had an entourage of people I see most days on the street. They were dually horrified and curious about my new appearance. Check me out:
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Nice, eh?

Just to reiterate, BEFORE:
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And if you weren't grossed out enough, here's one more:
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It's a bit hard to discern from a frontal view, but over my right eye I've got a massive lump going on. Truly, I look like the love child of the three way triangle between KISS, a Klingon, and a panda.

I went to work today, and was embarrassed to be seen. The kids, though, were a mix of fascinated, scared, and horrified. It's hard to tell in the pictures, but the swelling in my forehead creates these grooves. I look like an angry (defeated) boxer. As well as the things I mentioned earlier that I look like. I look like a lot of things, (crap, horrible, beastly) - but least of all, like ME! *Sob!

Overall, though, I just look like a cat-tripping-over LOSER!

Monday, June 26, 2006

WCB 55

Kamikaze looks smug after trying to kill me.
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Be sure to visit Eat Stuff for more cat blogginess.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Hits Just Keep on Coming

Yesterday, with an arm full of laundry, I tripped over Kamikaze. He jumped up and I stumbled, trying not to fall on him as he was all tangled up with my feet. But I did fall (not ON him thankfully, but) on my forehead. I must've whacked my nose pretty good too, as I had quite a nosebleed. I may have broken it.

Within a few minutes I had a pretty good sized knot on my forehead and the start of a black eye. Since then, both my eyes have swollen up and are a deep dark purple colour. It looks AWFUL - like perhaps I was in a car accident. I forgot my camera downtown, but I'll take pictures tomorrow.

Meanwhile C. came over last night. (When he arrived I only had one black eye, but after watching 2 DVDs the left one was well on its way to post-Apollo Creed Rocky-Eye as well.)
"Hey Jenny, you know a panda?"
"You are panda."
"Shut up, man."
"Ha ha ha."
"Yah, you are China Bear."

Friday, June 23, 2006


It seems like because I'm at an impasse in regard to where I'm going and what I'm doing, the universe may be helpfully coordinating itself to help my decision along. It's manifesting in people. (Why not?) My boss is heading the cheering section for me staying, and while her motives might be pretty self involved, I still appreciate it. Coming in second is my pharmacist friend, and I adore him, so that makes me happy as well.

Otherwise, most people seem not to give a shit, or are unwittingly managing to "push me out the door," as it were. I continue to be on the outs with the other two co-workers. It doesn't make for the best work environment, and I was hoping things would improve this week, but they haven't so much. Really, the current situation just makes me realize how much the cohesion at work was solely due to MY efforts. Now that I've withdrawn that, the camaraderie has flatlined. What a load of bullshit.

And in other areas, I'm not so impressed with C. We'd made plans to hang out tonight, but once again plans changed because something else came up. (A meeting with all his old friends that happens about once a month.) That's cool, and I want to be flexible and understanding, but at the suggestion of me joining them, he nixed that, saying his friends "are bored" (by me) because they can't speak English. My status on the totem pole has been sliding, and it's not making me feel good. This all might be another post in itself, but probably not. Rants are so ranty, aren't they?

Meanwhile I'm thinking about going out tonight, for a bit, on my own. That's something I haven't done in a long time. But time is whizzing by and I'm not helping matters by hanging out here by myself feeling like a loser. I might as well share the fact I'm an idiot with the rest of Korea, right? I'm all buzzy because there's a World Cup game between Korea and the Swiss in about five hours. Might as well go soak up some hype while I can, eh?

Strange and Beautiful

Look at this silly toenail. It's the one beside my baby toe on my left foot, and it's decided it wants to start growing in a circle.
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Stupid toe.

Look at these silly dogs! They were barking up a storm at the pet hospital where I went to get Kamikaze's unsuitable carrier the other night. The vet told me it was a mom and her two daughters.
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Nice hair-do's ladies!

On my way to work:
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And on my way home:
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not so "Ahhhhhhh!"
This frog is not sleeping. He's dead.
What's strange is that he is lying dead just a few inches away from where another frog lay dead last summer. He's lying at the bottom of three uneven concrete steps that lead up to a little garden on the side of a large hill. (My apartment's at the top of the hill, so I pass this garden twice daily.) I often see an old couple caring for the garden on my way to work. Is it some sort of tradition in Korea to place a large dead frog at the entrance to your garden at the beginning of summer? Is it an offering to the gods? Last year, I wasn't able to photo-document its decomposing because I didn't have a camera, but this year, mwaaaah-ha-ha-ha. Should I share my daily gross-out's with you?

*By the way, speaking of gross, my toenail's not all gnarly and yellow like it appears in the picture. It's actually painted gold (or at least it was last Sunday, now it's peacock blue.)


No, this isn't a food post. It's about me, and what I'm starting to do.

My boss is kind of begging me to stay. Not outright "arms around my knees a-pleadin' and a-cryin' - but nonetheless in her own Korean way she's made it clear she doesn't want me to go. I think that's nice. It's probably not that she thinks I'm a FANTASTIC teacher, but more so the kids like me and everyone's used to me and getting a new teacher looks like it's going to be difficult. Another of our franchised schools has been without a teacher for three weeks now, and the director there isn't sure when they're going to be able to secure one. She told my boss, "Don't let her (me) go!!"

So I'm a-waverin' and a-wafflin'.

I did get a bigger carrier for Kamikaze. It's big. I brought it home and left it open in the hopes he wouldn't feel threatened and would explore it. The first night he stayed as far away from it as possible, but last night he ventured while I was watching. I think he'd been in earlier in the day, as when I came home he was lying with his two front paws inside. However, watching him go in I realized it's not big enough. The depth and height are okay, but he needs more width. The carrier is 16 inches across, and after measuring him and calculating according to this site I see that I need about another 6 inches. He can't turn around in the one I've got, and he must be able to in order to fly. There ARE carriers that are suitable, but whether I'll be able to find one in Korea, I don't know! I have people looking now. Basically, I need a carrier for a bulldog. He's built like a bulldog. I should've taken care of this ages ago. I'm an idiot for waiting to sort it out for as long as I have.

Anyways. I'm thinking about all sort of possibilities. All the regular schools have holidays in August, so maybe there's a teacher somewhere that has no real plans, but is interested in making some money and wants to come down here and sub for me while I make the trip home. It's a thought, and I might do some fishing around to see if that's feasible. Alternately, I MIGHT be able to get an okay on a two week holiday, but I don't know. If my boss finds herself with no other alternatives she may okay it. Otherwise I could just wash my hands of everything, buy a snuggly and smush Kamikaze into it and try to pass him off as a very fat hairy baby.

It might help push me into action if I got some persuasive "Hey man, get your ass home PRONTO, it's been two and a half years and we MISS you, dammit!" kind of e-mails or phone calls. But there's only been silence on my end.

I went to school this morning with eyelids that looked like fat pink leeches. My co-workers noticed it as soon as they looked at my face. That's what you get for watching a Korean tear-jerker DVD at 4 in the morning. I was bawling, and not entirely because of the film, but just,...because. After three or four hours of being awake my eyes finally settled down, but I had a tension headache all day. Nevertheless, I rented another so sad movie tonight - Kid With Cancer (not the real title, but it might as well be) but (thankfully?) it quit playing about half way through. Otherwise I'd be crying into my t-shirt again right about now.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I'm Working Myself into a Lather

I asked my boss to make a few phone calls today to the animal hospital I took Kamikaze to over a year ago. I needed to know if they had a larger cat carrier (for a medium sized dog at least,) or if they knew where to get one. I also needed to know about rabies shots.

Super! Turns out they had a medium sized dog carrier in stock, and vaccinations would be ok too! They actually remembered Kamikaze from his last (and only) visit! So I got my boss to call down there and say I'd be coming, please don't close early, and so forth. I was quite relieved.

Well, I needn't have been. One look at the "medium sized" dog carrier and I shook my head. Nope, that's too small. In fact, it was the same as the carrier I have here in my apartment collecting dust. It was fine when I brought Kamikaze over here 2 years ago and he weighed 7 and a half kilograms. He's about double that now! The carrier they had in stock was the smallest version of that model (the 520.) They're having a 620 sent over tomorrow, but if that's not suitable, I've been told I'm SOL as far as getting a larger model in my city. In Seoul, they're available, but not here.
"Why would we have carriers for big dogs? They're too delicious to carry around!" the Vet joked.
-I'm totally kidding.
"Sure, we have carriers for big dogs! They're called Stew Pots!"
-Ok, I'm finished now.

C. came and met me downtown and we headed back up to my place. I fixed dinner for us- a very Western meal of soup and sandwiches, which was delish. (Well, we ate it with 3 kinds of kimchi, so, you know - it wasn't SO Canadian.) As I started doing the dishes, C. crawled into bed, took off his glasses and was snoring in about 3 minutes. That was a couple hours ago. I guess the DVD I rented isn't going to get watched tonight.

Oh, and I brought up the possibility of Kamikaze staying with him, and he looked sheepish when he told me his mother hates cats. Many Koreans do. As I said before, I was surprised he said yes so readily when I asked him before. He suggested Kamikaze could stay at an office- he's been working part-time with his friend at an "events planning" company. I told him that wouldn't work at all. My cat, I'm sure, would feel safest in an environment with very few people. Ideally, one person. Super ideally, me.

Another option I explored today was a "kennel" at the animal hospital. It was one smelly room with 6 plexi-glass encasements. Not even suitable for a kitten, in my opinion, let alone a beast like Sumo-K. One small miserable dog lay curled up in the bottom corner "booth." It reeked of "VET." I think I'd rather set Kamikaze free in the forest than board him there for even a day. With the amount of time I'd have to board him whilst in Canada, it would cost about $1,500 Cdn.
What we need here is some of these.

I asked my boss if she was looking for a new teacher and she said she's been talking to other directors and people (recruiters?) She joked, "If I can't find someone, you have to stay!" I told her I HAD to go back to Canada for at least a couple weeks. I'm so worried about everything I've been working out so many scenarios in my mind. What if we got someone to come in for the month of August? What if they gave me 2 weeks? Would I agree to stay longer? Another six months? I've got to talk to her again, probably tomorrow, about booking me a ticket home. I need a non-stop flight. From the tiny bit of investigation I did today, it looks like maybe only Korea Air flies direct from Seoul to Toronto.

I really wish I had a firm grasp on what is the best option for all concerned. Any ideas? Does anyone in Korea want to spend some time with a nice, albeit a little neurotic, cat for a few weeks this summer?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Korea vs France

I'm watching the World Cup match between Korea and France right now, and unfortunately France just scored. Boooooo!

I don't know what the ratio of spectators attending the event is. I would assume that there may be more France supporters than Koreans, given the proximity of France compared with Korea in relation to Germany. Watching this match on TV, though, I realize something I couldn't the other night*. Damn, Korean soccer fans are LOUD! All I can hear are "Tae-haminguk's" and "Oh Pilsung Korea's" and "Oh Wa Ahmma Champion's." Don't France fans have chants**? Maybe their mouths are full of coq au vin.

Ha. Loud Koreans. Can you imagine it?!

*I wasn't able to hear the loud Koreans actually attending the game, because I was surrounded by loud Koreans watching from Korea.

**"Don't France fans have chants?" Say that 10 times fast.

Sunday Dinner

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Tonight Chez Jellifer is serving shrimp fried rice, spicy soft tofu soup, sliced avocado with wasabi and soya sauce, cubed tofu and sprouts with a sesame miso dressing, ubiquitous kimchi, and eggplant sauteed in wine and oyster sauce with sesame.

Everything was pretty good and I've got lots of leftovers for breakfast and dinner tomorrow! I wish, though, that I could make fried rice like they do at the Chinese restaurants here (or anywhere, for that matter.) Mine is always either more mushy than I want - or cooked too long and "crunchy" which hurts me teeth, argh! How do the restaurants make it so yummy? Do they use a lot of oil? MSG? What's the secret?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Turn Turn Turn

Actually, last Sunday was my anniversary. Two years at my school. Two years in this sleepy little town. It was uneventful. Last year I at least got a cake, but this year, nothing. Hmph!! Actually, my boss didn't even realize the anniversary had passed; I mentioned it the day after.

My time here is coming to a close. I have to light the fire under my boss's ass to make sure she books me a flight home and is looking for a new teacher in earnest. She has a real tendency to do things last minute. The thing is, I'm not really looking forward to reminding her to help make sure I get all wrapped up here. As a matter of fact, I'm starting to totally freak out! Looking around my apartment at the 4 and a half years worth of stuff I've managed to accumulate and which will all need to be sorted and packed up is completely daunting. I don't even know what I'm going to DO with all of it!

I'd been thinking for quite some time that I was going to pack up a lot of my things - winter clothes and books and such, and ship them off via surface mail back to Canada. Then just last week I realized that I might be back here before the stuff arrives back overseas! So now I'm thinking about checking out the possibility of storage. But will I be back? I'll be back. When will I be back? What the hell am I doing?

Speaking of huge daunting tasks, the thought of what I'm going to do with Kamikaze has been on my mind for forever, it seems. He's not very well socialized, and he doesn't travel well. The last time he left the apartment, over a year ago, he yowled all the way downtown to the vet's, and then peed all over me. If I'm taking him back to Canada with me, I have to get his rabies shots sorted out pronto. It bugs me to have to do this, he hasn't been out of the apartment for two years, with the exception of that one vet visit. There's no way he has rabies. Unless he got it from Gary the Grass Pig. The flight back to Canada is a long one, probably with more than one stop-over. He'll have to fly in the cargo hold, because he weighs 200 pounds. I don't mind not having him under the seat in front of me either, if he ended up freaking out for the duration of the flight, so would I.

Back in Canada, I am effectively homeless and will probably be flitting about the province for a good month and a half. Kamikaze would probably stay at my mother's place, but there's another cat there. I don't know how well he'd handle that. In general, I don't know how he's going to cope with all the change, and it worries me.

For anyone who feels like pointing out, like my sister-in-law did, that "he's just a cat," I know! But he's MY cat. He is, to me, what Wilson the Volleyball was to Tom Hanks in Castaway.

Anyhow, C. actually said he would take care of him while I'm gone. When I asked him, I wasn't actually serious, and I didn't expect he'd say yes. Besides my friend Goldie, who eats about 17 cans of tuna a day, (Kamikaze followed him around like G was a rock star and K, a middle-school girl with a crush) C. is actually the only other person Kamikaze likes. Which is great. So I'm considering leaving my cat in his care. I'm not even positive C. was serious when he said yes, and I'm not sure he will still want the responsibility once I give him all the details of how to care for Kamikaze. ("He likes these songs before bedtime, and these other ones in the morning, and jeeze, I told you, you have to sing them in falsetto! Otherwise Kamikaze will get upset and have diarrhea all over your shoe!) Either way, I'm worried.

Worry, worry, I'm turning into my mother.

Time keeps whizzing by. I feel like I've got my arms outstretched in front of me, trying in vain to slow it down - "whoa, whoa, easy there, now!" I'm excited about seeing my pals and family back in Canada, but I'm also really quite sad at the thought of this chapter, these last two years, coming to a close. I've really gotten quite used to my life here. I'm actually very fond of it. It's bumpy at times, and I do get frustrated, but generally I'm quite content. I invite the prospect of new happy times, but I worry, like I often do, that things will never be the same. More so that I might never feel the same.

I know, though, that fearing change is just a silly waste of time. It's the one thing that is constant. Everything changes. My head knows that, but yet still, my heart's flipping out a bit. Now dentists, though, there's something to really be scared of.


It's 32 degrees inside my apartment. Hotter than it is outside even! We've been lucky so far, the days are quite warm, kind of like a proper summer day should be in Canada, but the nights are nice and cool. Meanwhile, I've heard they're roasting back home. Global warming SUCKS!

We Have a Winner!

I'm not a total SiteMeter slut, but I do check it. None of the information means much to me, but I must admit I'm a little happy when I find a surge of visits. Mostly it stems from linkage from the force-to-be-reckoned-with Kevin, who's going to be publishing a book in short order. Visit him, check it out and buy dat dere book!

I must say, though, checking my stats today was a bit of a surprise. I had a visitor checking out my blog for 6h 3min and 55sec. 75 page views. He or she wins a prize. I'm not shitting you, get a prize, or multitude of prizes. Use the comments section to declare yourself, and I'm hooking you up. It reminds me of when I spent a weekend with Shawn's blog or another blog. Both took me a couple days, but I read them entirely. And loved them.

Meanwhile, I'm on the verge of giving my blog addy to my closest friends and family. You think I should? I spent some time yesterday having a look around here, making sure I hadn't been bitchy about this or that. I love them - my friends and family, but you know how it goes,...sometimes not so smooth. And I can be fairly vocal. I'd like to think anything I've written on here is something I would have no problem saying to so-and-so (whoever.) Unfortunately, with distance and time being what it is, I may very well not have said what I said here to those I should have said what I could have said things to, instead of what's been said instead. (I'm screwing with you, just wanted to use the word "said" over and over.)

But, really. I've said over a year's worth of shit here, and much of it I haven't said to the people who know me.

Could be interesting.
(If they take the time that reader in Seoul did yesterday to actually READ what I wrote. As I said before, those who I HAVE given the address to, haven't really bothered at all, at least as far as I know. They don't comment or e-mail.) Maybe the same will go with the rest. I know even if they wrote about wart remedies and cookie recipes, though, I'd be checking them out all the time. Actually, I wish more of my friends and family had blogs. I'd be more up-to-date with what's going on in their lives, and frankly, they're all funny as hell!

Gary and Kamikaze WCB54

Meet Gary!
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He's a Grass Pig and he came to visit last week. He likes to drink water, and when he does, his hair grows long.

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Here he is hanging out on my dusty table top. He says I should get out a rag and clean already!

Gary Grass Pig and Carey Cacti became fast friends. Carey used to sport flowers growing out of his head, but now he's growing some bulbous tumor thing. He hates me because I don't know when to water him. Gary's easy though, he likes water every day. He also loves to roam around my apartment. Whenever Kamikaze sees him, though, he gets very irate and yells at him.
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Yesterday Gary got too close to Kamikaze's carrots.
RUN, Gary!!!
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Uh-oh. Too late. Kamikaze, (who reminds me of a walrus) descended upon him.

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"Yah," says Kamikaze. "I ate his hair, so WHAT?!"
"You wanna make something of it?"
"I ate his hair, and I'll eat it again. Tell him to stay away from my carrots!"

For more kitties, you should go visit Eat Stuff, and see the angry Kiri!

Saturday, June 17, 2006


When I was about five or six, I stepped on a nail. It was rusty, and it went right through the sole of my shoe into my foot. I hobbled back home and showed my mother. She decided, rightfully so, that I needed to go to the clinic. So she decided to take me.

She didn't have a license and she didn't drive a car, so she decided to put me on the back seat of a bike and double-ride me. I instantly considered it a bad idea; I was still scared from my last experience on a bike. We had been riding around my neighbourhood and decided to head down into the park via a massive hill behind the Ontario Science Centre. About half way down either I froze up, or my brakes failed and I was careening, free-fall, down the side of the hill. My mother stood astride her bike at the bottom, fairly sure I would die. I didn't die. (I veered off into the brush.) But, it set me up for a lifetime of bike-paranoia.

While we're on the subject, let me say that my first time on a motorcycle, at 14, also resulted in an accident which shredded half my face and my hands and feet, and pulled the arm out of the driver, as well as breaking her collar bone. We flipped the bike, and I face-planted on the road. Charming. Truly, I hate motorcycles. Especially in Korea, watching all the riders and passengers whirring around without helmets even, it scares the crap out of me.

But that's now, and I was talking about another time, wasn't I? My mom lifted me up onto the seat of her bike and set off to double-ride me to the clinic. Within about five minutes, my injured foot had become entwined in the back spokes and we crashed: me upside-down with my one foot a nail-pierced bloody twisted mess. I sarcastically and tearfully praised her, "Way to go Mom, good idea!"
And she laughed.
Which made me want to die right there.
(She wasn't intentionally being mean, and looking back - it was kind of funny.)

Truthfully, I started off writing this post as a lesson of "how to not make things worse when they start out badly."

It relates to my week I've just had at school. Things were kind of bad, and I made them worse. I pretty much just stopped speaking to my co-workers mid week. I had reason to. And I'm fed up with them. But next week is another week and hopefully things will improve.

View, if you will, what I've written here as a "root." It might branch out in a few ways: protection, intention, and relations. What alotta "tions!" Stay tuned.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Me: As a Mom

I mentioned a dream I had a little while ago, and the comments reminded me of another dream I had a few months ago. It was very vivid and I woke up shaken afterward. In the dream I had a baby. He was a beautiful little baby, all chubby cheeked and with strawberry blonde ringlets. He was a very happy baby and laughed and cooed as I bounced him around in my arms.

So I took my baby to a house party. Typical house-party people were in attendance, smokers and dancers and a large conglomerate of frat-boy types in the corner building a beer-can-pyramid. Maybe I took my baby back to the 80's.

Anyhow, I went to the refrigerator to get a beer, but my hands were full with the baby. So I reached up and put him on top of the fridge and grabbed me a cold one. Then I saw someone interesting I knew across the room and went over to talk to them. I was having a great time at the party, but every once in awhile I'd remember I had a baby and would panic and rush back toward the fridge, but I kept getting distracted on the way there. Then I'd remember again, and panic and rush and forget. And repeat.

Finally, I made it back to get my baby, who *phew* was still on top of the refrigerator, but whom had morphed into five tiny kittens wrapped in a blanket. Which made sense. I was all relieved, "Ahhhh, my baay,...kittens!!" So I picked them up and snuggled them in my arms and made my way toward the front door.

And then I tripped.
And flattened them.

I cried while the frat boys helped to peel them off my shirt.

Po Toes

I actually went down to the stadium only because C. had a photo assignment. He's not a photographer, by any means - but he has a digital camera and he had the time, so was roped into taking some pictures for a pamphlet that someone's going to make for some reason.

Ha! Of the over 100 pictures he snapped, TWO were deemed to be "okay!"
I have to say, I didn't fare much better.
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Even though I've had my camera for some time now, I'm still fiddling with the menu settings. I just figured out last week how to stop the camera from taking MEGA sized pictures. I also keep forgetting to change the options for varying times of day or settings.

Here's another crappy picture, but I felt compelled to take it. As I was walking around the stadium headed to the gate where C. was waiting for me I was overwhelmed by the roar of the people inside. The game was just about to start, and I'll be damned if the moon rising wasn't coming up red. I took it as an auspicious coincidence.
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Awwww. And here's a nice "Ah Lobbu U Kolea Team Pietingu" shrine set up outside the stadium. Teenagers took turns jumping around inside, and then hassled me to buy chicken from them "po a dollah."
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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Back Up

Hey there!
I'm back online at my apartment. A guy came over the other morning and fixed my computer. I let him in and then went back to bed, which is strange, because my bed is about 10 feet away from the computer.
"Hi, come in! Here's the computer! Zzzzzzzzz."

Stands to reason I was so tired. Tuesday night I went down to the big stadium to cheer on Korea's team in their 1st World Cup Soccer match. It was a lot of fun. Because they won, we ended up going out for some dinner and some soju.
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Mmmmm! That's some delicious fiery chicken surrounded by cheese. It was served with this:
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That's some very spicy rice cake and a bland gruel made up of water and rice, pretty much. It was not very exciting, the sludge, but it helped to deal with the fire-in-the-mouth created by the other two dishes. So we washed the meal down with soju and I came home and tripped going up the stairs and did a nice one point landing on my tooth. Chipped it a little. Mahvelous.

Then I drank a couple more beers and drunk dialed a couple friends and a couple family members. I know they looooove it when I do that. So when the computer guy showed up the next morning it was no wonder I was feeling pretty rough. I have a massive bruise on my thigh that will probably last until the next World Cup game for Korea (Monday morning at 4am.) Regardless of who wins, I will forgo the soju.

Tae-Haminguk, brothers and sisters!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

More Down

Still down at home. Which means I've played 1029 games of minesweeper in the last 3 days. If I'm not sitting in front of a PC at my apartment, it seems I don't know what to do with myself!

(But in the meantime I've watched three movies, 2 episodes of West Wing, finished reading a book and had 2 nights out with C., including tonight which was World Cup-i-licious.) Stay tuned, and I apologize for the inconvenience!

Monday, June 12, 2006


At home, my connection is screwed. We had a wicked thunderstorm Saturday night and my connection has been down ever since. Hopefully, we'll get it fixed pronto. In the meantime I'm at a PC Bang with C. He's sitting beside me, crossed legged, being cool (without even being aware of it.) Soon, I might take a bite out of his face because he's so, I can barely stop myself.
Cannibalism,...a problem?

Saturday, June 10, 2006


I was inspired by my co-worker's nuptials.

And so, in a moment of spontaneity, I asked ME to marry myself. And I said YES!!!
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Check out my gorgeous engagement ring I got for myself!
After Judy's wedding I had to wait a week to propose to myself, because I had to get the ring sized to fit my finger. But still, it really was a surprise when me asked me to marry myself. I cried.

Since then, everytime I see my ring I'm enthralled. It's so shiny.
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It makes me happy to look at it, and really,...I need all the happy I can get. This last week was trying.

Regardless, I think me and myself will be very happy! Wish us luck!
Oh, and my ring was purchased at this shop, with this unfortunate name:
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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Serenity Now!

I like kids. I do. Actually, it seems to me that the younger they are, the more I like them. I think I like kids who can speak English the best, simply because it's easier! My students get frustrated because they can't tell me what they want to tell me, and it doesn't matter if they say things to me in Korean quickly, or in other Korean terms, or slowly and loudly like I'm "slow." Unless their sentence contains any of the smattering of words I know, or it's in some sort of context, I'm just not going to be able to get it.

I know the same goes for them in English. The younger ones aren't going to be able to understand me if I ask them, "Would it be possible, fine chap, for you to place your writing instrument atop the desk and listen up, tally ho, like?" I do have more success with "Yo, put your pencil down and look at me." At the very least I have my amazing powers of mime for explanation, or drawing a little picture on the board. I really think that the better of a doodler you are, the better you'll be able to make yourself understood here.*

I was speaking a few weeks ago with someone I hadn't talked to in a long time. He is a former co-worker of mine and a good friend I'd managed to lose touch with. I always thought he was so fabulously matched with his position of "Volunteer Coordinator" at the non-profit organization where we worked because he has a wonderful way with people, and is really good at reading them and developing a fair sense of their strengths and weaknesses. Some things he's pointed out to me about my own characteristics have stayed with me forever, and he had another point on the phone that gave me pause for thought.

I was telling him what it's like to be living in a country where you don't speak the language and some of the habits of the people are a bit hard to get used to. And what it's like to teach here. (He had asked.)
My friend shares the same school of thought that I do: that every person is exactly where they should be in order for them to develop their greatest potential and have their most meaningful learning experiences. It's the reason that I try to stop myself when my mind wanders off to the "if only I was (insert something or some place or someone other than what/where/who I am now,) I would be (better.)
If only I was rich, I would be happy.
If only I were thinner, I would be happier.
If only I could speak the language, I would be more comfortable.
If only I were in a chaise lounge on the French Riviera sipping a mojito and smoking a cigarette in a Gucci holder with my Manolo Blahniks and pink puffy poodle I would feel more deserving and accomplished.**

I'm more interested, however, in using the means I have to be better here and now. I'm more curious about the lessons to be learnt today, and how to better use my strengths while strengthening my weaknesses. So a bell went off in my mind when Richard suggested, "Maybe you're there to learn patience, because, y'know, ya never did really have any!"

At first, I was like "HUH? Me? No patience?!? Explain what the hell you mean by that, and be quick about it, or I'm going to hang up on your sagely ass!"
Not really.
Actually, I said "Hmmmmm," and I knew instantly he was right.

I tend to do things pretty quickly. I talk fast, I think fast, and I get things done fast. My patience has always been tested by those who can't keep up. However, daily, over the past four and a half years I've had to slow down. Speak more clearly. Listen more earnestly. Shut up more longly. I've had to out of necessity, but I've been paying more attention to what's going on in my mind in the meantime, and I'm quite sure I haven't managed to calm the stormy interior to match my calmer appearance. So I've still got lots of work to do on that.

The other night at a grocery store, when I came across the 10th cart blocking my passage while the cart's driver stood obliviously perusing the canned goods, I resisted my urge to smash into her cart with mine, and keep smashing it over and over and over until it had been smashed through the wall at the other end of the store.
Is that normal? Maybe,...but what the hell? I wasn't in a hurry. This woman didn't place her cart directly across the aisle thinking "this'll really piss that impatient foreigner off!" In fact, she probably was only thinking "ohhhh, corn!" when she abandoned her cart. Actually, thinking about it now, if I was Korean, smashing her cart with mine might be perfectly acceptable, Granted, not through the entire length of the supermarket and through the wall while screaming, but it's ok to physically remove things or people that are blocking your path here, and no one cares. But because I'm Canadian I've been accustomed to the "Excuse me, oh sorry!" format.

Anyhow, getting back to the kids.
I like kids. I do!
Every day, every class, just about every moment I spend teaching is another opportunity for me to improve upon my patience. In fact, the last class that I had tonight, which I teach a couple times a week is a perfect opportunity. It's a frickin madhouse. Today I picked up my pencil case and used it as a pretend telephone to act out me taking a call from a friend in Canada,
"Hello?" (my voice)
"Hi Jenny it's Bob in Canada!" (in my friend Bob's deeper voice)
"Oh hi Bob! I'm in South Korea!"
"Oh! What are you doing in South Korea?"
"Oh! I'm a ZOOKEEPER Bob! I work at the monkey cage!"

The kids thought that was funny, and their laughter made me smile. The steam which was just about to cause me to blow my lid receded. I like kids, but there's a couple I want to throttle every time I teach them.
Ahhh patience. (Ha ha - I feel like George Costanza's dad: "SERENITY NOW!") If I wanted to, I could consider myself a failure every day. Even if I don't outwardly lose my shit, I'm flipping out noticeably on the inside, and it almost always boils down to frustration and impatience. On the other hand, at least my being acutely aware of it now means that I'll have another opportunity soon enough to do better.
And so, it's worth it.

In summation, "Life: Worth It."

*By the way, I really do recommend for anyone who's new here and can't speak Korean to carry a notepad and little pen with you. As a last resort you can draw what you need. I once went to the little grocer's underneath my building the first month I was here wanting bread. I pantomimed a rectangle sliced into, well, slices, and the old lady at the till nodded and brought me over to the maxi pads. Also, if you go out to a bar with Koreans whose English isn't so great, you'll find yourself with some hilarious doodles (souvenirs) the next morning.

**If you ever do see me wearing Manolos and a chaise lounge, you have my permission to shove me in the pool and tell me to stop being such a fucking poser.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


I had a dream last night that I was dead. Way up above, I was standing at this big panel of switches and knobs in front of this huge video screen. There was a giant map of the world with all these lights all over it. I asked what it was I was seeing, and was told it was a thought projection screen. All the lights represented people thinking about Shawn Matthews. There were a lot of lights, and it didn't surprise me, considering how often he's been in my thoughts these last few days.

I was interested, and asked them to show me my thought projection screen. A few buttons were punched and there was one single light. In Japan. I know you might be thinking I'm making this up, but it's true.

I looked puzzled. I had, after all, died. Why weren't people thinking about me? They changed the screen to explain why - my corpse lay in my apartment. Kamikaze cat was eating my arm. I understood no one knew I was dead yet. Then they punched in a few more buttons and showed the person thinking about me was a little spider monkey in a cage in Japan. He'd once tried to steal my bracelet off my wrist, and was sitting there wishing I would bring him some peanuts.


Dance, in the Meantime

Ronny Bruno sat on the stairs in my apartment building wearing my dress. His cheeks were streaked with mascara, whereas mine were covered with salty rivulets which had washed the white paint off them. It was Halloween, and he was breaking up with me. He had come back into my life after a two year absence.

I had sat there, two years prior, with my head propped up on my chin, gazing at the side of his head. I was staring at him two rows over in class with, I'm sure, stars, hearts, and bluebirds swirling around my head. He was dreamy. His accent made me melt. I wanted him, even more than I wanted to make the girl's floor hockey team. I wanted him more than I wanted those rad purple satin roller-skate covers. And I didn't even really know what I wanted from him except to be near him and hear him talk to me and maybe lay his rosy Italian lips on mine.

It had only been a couple years earlier that I'd convinced Chad Nichole to lift up his shirt and press his nipples against mine in a ceremony that meant we were going to be 2gether4ever. So, what the hell did I know? But, looking at the mole on Ronny's neck, I had an urge to lick it. Or mash my nipple up against it.

Then he was gone. Transferred to another school with his younger sister when his parents moved. I was so sad, and spent weeks in a funk.

Two years later, and suddenly there he was again. Still shorter than I, but taller than he had been, my stomach lurched realizing he probably thought I was a maxed out dweeb with my mouth hanging open and my eyes popping out. I couldn't help myself; there he was!

And then he was my brother's bud, and soon he was my bud and soon enough he asked me to "go around with him," and of course I said yes, and then there we were, Jenn and Ronny. Lying in the grass and kissing the gum out of each other's mouths and passing notes in class and making each other laugh looking up at the stars. We were a couple. Happy!

Which is why him breaking up with me, dressed like a gypsy with lopsided balloon boobs caught me totally off guard. He was staging a preemptive strike. His mom had told him a couple days earlier he'd be moving back to Italy. "But," I sputtered, "That's not for a couple more months!" My clown makeup was running off my face.
"I know," he said, "But by then, it's going to hurt so much."
And I knew he was right. Regardless, I smoothed it over, "It's ok. In the meantime, let's have fun?"

I had another preemptive strike this past weekend, and I didn't know what else to say than what I'd suggested so many years ago. He's right, in many ways, why prolong the almost impossible? But on the other hand, I say while we can still hear the music, why not bloody well dance? Life goes by so quickly. It seems like Ronny and I were just a couple years ago instead of over twenty. Crazy, that. But our goodbye was bittersweet and the stuff that quality chick flicks are made of.

He had to leave school early to catch his flight. The teacher prompted us all to stand up and wish Ronny well, and we did. I couldn't hold his gaze, but about three minutes after he'd left I asked to be excused to go to the washroom, and I raced outside, up the hill to the hydrofield where I could see Ronny retreating. I called across the field and he came running back. Hugs, tears, promises. Oscars and Emmys, except it was real.

I worried about him when his city had a huge earthquake some time later. His younger sister told me he was okay, and then turned and snottily informed me, "Oh, and he's forgotten how to speak English too."

I haven't figured out how to insulate a heart from the trauma that inevitably ensues when you open it up to other people. There's no way to do one once you've done the other. I'd say, though, that as long as you can hear the music, why not dance? It's worthwhile in the meantime.

Don't you think?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Starting Something

I opened this window to create a new post, and then I sat here picking at my cuticles for 15 minutes.
Everything is ok.

My mother called me tonight and told me she had called the Humane Society about a neighbour's dog earlier in the week. He's a big beautiful German Shepherd who is kept in a large cage in the neighbour's driveway. They had a heat wave over the weekend with temperatures over 30, I guess, and my mom said after two days of seeing that dog panting in the sun with no shade and no water, she couldn't take it anymore.
I told her if she lived here, she might never get off the phone to the Humane Society.
Actually, the white bunny who lived in a cage on my way to work went missing last week. Perhaps his owners got hungry. All that's left is his disgustingly dirty cage. In a way, I'm kind of glad he's gone, because passing his cage with no water (but with the water bottle I bought secretly for him sitting empty on the ground a couple feet away) would have driven me crazy as we start to head into the summer heat.

My mom is now taking along a baggie with scissors and a cat brush on her neighbourhood walks because she keeps coming across this friendly little cat with terribly matted fur. She's going to barber and style the little cat the next time she sees it.

I guess I'm a lot like her, maybe even more so.

There's something more to be said here, but I haven't been able to organize my thoughts all weekend.
Everything's ok, but maybe not so much.

It's something about love and care. Concern.
I haven't had a Sunday blues-fest in awhile, and truth be told, this doesn't even count as one because really, as I said,...
Everything's ok.

Besides, it's Monday technically.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Happy Bday WCB!

In honour of WCB's birthday, Kamikaze got out his favourite toy he likes to ignore, uhm, I mean play with!
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Mama Mouse and her babies don't like being ignored. So they crawled up on his back. It was a long climb. He's like a mountain. They needed to rest awhile.
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To wish Clare and Kiri a Happy WCBirthday, visit Eat Stuff! Now Kamikaze and the mice and I are going to zzzzzz.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

I Can Feel It Coming in the Air Tonight

I'm wondering, considering the not too happy conversation I had tonight, if I'm about to get dumped.

Hold On.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Strange Day

Today didn't start off so good. I was feeling a little out of sorts, so I decided I would wear a little makeup. I don't usually bother for work, but the kids like it, especially the little girls, who point at my eyes and say "Ohhhh, teacha! Mascala!" (And then sometimes they tell me I'm beautiful which always cheers me up!)

Anyhow, I realized that I got carried away and I had put too much makeup on. I didn't want to be looking like a clown after all!
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So I went to take it off and start again. I decided I would use the new makeup remover product I had gotten at "The Face Shop," it is made of herbs and it supposed to be gentle for my sensitive skin.
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Oh, wait a minute?!? Does that say "LIP and EYE REMOVER?" I should have read the bottle better!!!

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I couldn't very well go to school with no lips and eyes, that would TOTALLY freak the students out. So I repainted on some new lips and eyes with my liquid eyeliner. Just then, though, some man passed by playing a flute and a couple holes opened up in my head and two large long snakes started coming out. They made their way down my arm and leg and then slithered away, following Flute-Man. I tried to call them back to me, but they just turned around momentarily and hissed at me before disappearing around a corner.
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So, even though I felt really lightheaded and, somehow, lonely, I set off for work. No way I was going to let losing my eyes and lips and the contents of my head stop me from teaching! On the way to work I pointed my camera in various directions and snapped away.

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A pretty flower.

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A hard-hat plant. I think this plant is specific to Korea. I can't recall seeing one before.

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Barky Dog wants a treat.

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His girlfriend, Mamasita, is more stand-offish. She'd never admit it, but she wants a treat too!

I always have treats in bag for when I meet up with these two. They know it, and Barky comes running toward me when I approach. He's such a nice dog, but today he rolled over and showed me his gnarly underside. I wonder if he's got a dog-version of "the clap." Something's not right there. I was thankful I had drawn-on eyes so I couldn't actually SEE it though.

Finally, I didn't see a van full of multi-coloured pigs.
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I miss my snakes.