Wednesday, May 31, 2006


I'm still so shocked. I keep hoping that this is some kind of elaborate prank to kill Shawn's blog once and for all. A conspiracy. It's Marilyn. It's Elvis. It's Kurt. Is it real? It seems so. It seems so tragic. I'm so terribly sad for his friends and family.

Kevin's post resonates with me. It might not be very "PC," and maybe even seem insensitive toward the plight of the distressed, depressed, or mentally cuckoo'ed-nessed. (And yah, add that last one to the non-PC bag.)

Shawn's suicide socked me right in the heart. When I read about it, I felt my heart heave. We weren't buddies, and,...(oh, blah blah, I won't even bother with 'our' story because it's trite and doesn't relate.) I don't need any yarns to connect he to I. I'll tell you, though, I was a fan, regardless.

But I remain shocked.

In his blogs, he was sunshineilly optimistic, and I appreciated it. I never even gave much thought to a darker version of Shawn, even though I figured there was one. I'm not always Jenny-sunshine online, and I tend to shy away from too dark posts on those days I'm feeling particularly gloomy or not-so-fresh. Just in case you thought about I was all about the funny and/or cat related posts, I do get the blues. Don't we all? But I try not to post directly about that stuff because it seems whiny. Overall, life is good, and tomorrow the sun will shine again, whether or not there's cloud cover so we can't see it.


Kevin's post resonates.
I can't recall a time, in recent years, that I was as scared as I was standing outside my co-worker's door in February. As the locksmith worked on her door for what seemed like forever, I walked a few steps away and lit a cigarette. I almost never smoke in front of my boss, but if I didn't have something to DO I was going to have a giant panic attack. I kept imagining walking in on a site I was never going to be able to get out of my head forevermore. I was sure we'd find her hanging. And blue. And dead.

As it was, though, I did get a scene I can't wash out of my head: my usually overanimated co-worker de-animated. On the floor. Waxy. Greasy yellow. Unresponsive. A note. A flurry of activity. Ambulance lights, and me alone. With tourettes.

There's always another day. And tragically, sometimes, an aftermath. Even though I see her (fine?) at work every day, I flash back to when she wasn't at work more often than I want. Way too often. I want none, and what I get is often. And to tell you the truth, because she (or anyone else) was unwilling or unable to talk about it, (before or after) I have a hard time looking her in the eyes. Still.

Because I saw what I saw, and it changed me.

So Kevin's right. He's not kid-gloving the suicidal. Rightfully so. Bone up. LIVE.

In the beginning of August I will be barefoot on a lawn in front of a glassy lake. There will be a large stereo wheeled out and it will be blaring. I'll dance alone or with people. For a long time. (Long enough for people to start to wonder "Shit, is that woman going to stop dancing, or what?" Long enough for the cops to be called about the noise, like they always are.) But in the meantime, I swear, I'll be thinking of shit like this. I'll be blissful, peaceful, and thankful,...but I'll be thinking of Shawn, and wondering if he's sad he missed something like that?

Because I'm so fucking sad I miss someone like him.
Meanwhile, my head might fall off its axis. I can't stop shaking it in disbelief.
Is it really real? Really?



I came home tonight and was going to post something all light and fluffy. Things are well here. I felt good and happy, I had a great night last night and a pretty good day at work. I took my quarterly reports downtown so I wouldn't be distracted by the triumvirate of time suckage in my apartment (TV, computer, bed) and I got them all done so I could fully enjoy the holiday I have tomorrow.

But I came home and learned that Shawn Matthews, of Korea Life Blog and the now deleted China Life Blog, committed suicide last week in Beijing by jumping off his apartment building.

I am shocked, shocked, shocked.

For a the sad story, go here.

I've got nothing else to say right now, except to reiterate. I'm shocked.

Kevin has some thoughts, though.

Condolences. Sadness. Shock.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Hey Mom!

I had a conversation on the phone with my mother a couple weeks ago. She was all about dispensing advice. Her end of the conversation was like this:

"So, you grandmother and I went to the drugstore, don't get pregnant."
"And there was a sale on Vitamin E, don't get pregnant, which was good!"
"And after we went to get some, don't get pregnant, ice cream, and I got Rocky Road, don't get pregnant, which I haven't had in AGES, and it was SO, don't get pregnant, delicious!"

I kind of got the sense that she didn't want me to get pregnant.

This BUGS me. I'm not saying that I WANT TO get pregnant, but I'll tell you I WANT to have a family. It's what I've always wanted. Something about searching for a heart of gold and I'm getting old. Actually, I'm at the point where doctors are going to run all sorts of tests if I WERE pregnant, because of my age and it being considered a "higher risk" pregnancy.

I reminded my mom that I'm actually twice the age that SHE was when she got pregnant (with TWINS, no less) and got married to a jerk (aka dad) but she just can't see it. IF I were to come back to Canada preggers it seems like it would be the worst tragedy since (pick a tragedy) in her eyes. And this double bugs me.

I'm in my mid 30's and I've been living on my own since I was 19. I've been overseas for more than 4 years and managing to thrive. Yet, I still don't know how to fully convince my mother that I'm an adult.

I'm thinking about signing up for fertility treatments and showing up back home with a litter of quintuplets just to spite her! "Happy Birthday Mum, these are yours to take care of, I've gotta go teach more Englishee to people!"

WCB 51 Bubbles

I missed last weekend's WCB because Kamikaze used his laser eyes to zap my camera, and then my computer. Diets make him so cranky!

Anyhow, I like to blow bubbles off my balcony and then hide. I bought this jar of "Gazillion Bubbles," and it really does produce a mess of bubbles. People downstairs in the parking lot go a bit mental trying to avoid them. I hide upstairs and laugh, but Kamikaze tries to give me away, meowing loudly and angrily.

To him, bubbles are pure evil. It makes him especially irate when they dare to land on his precious fur.
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He turns on his laser eyes and zaps them, but ends up zapping me and everything around him in the process. I, and my apartment, are FULL of holes.
Yah! That's it! Get the bubble, Baby!
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Stupid bubbles!

For many more tails of kitties who may or may not hate bubbles, visit Eat Stuff for the Weekend Cat Blogging Update!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


I'm stupid and I like to give myself botulism!

Well, it wasn't really botulism. But it was nasty. See, what happened was I cooked a little stew of about 7 kinds of mushrooms, shrimp, and egg for breakfast on Monday morning. I ate it with rice and it was quite delicious. In my hurry to leave for work, I didn't stick it in the fridge. When I got home from work I did, but I plucked about 4 shrimp and a few shrooms out and ate them as I was pouring the concoction into tupperware. A couple hours later my stomach started feeling really strange. I fell asleep for about a half hour and then woke up and realized I was going to puke. So I did. A lot. For a few hours.

Doubled over and googling "food poisoning" on the internet, I noticed how many times seafood and mushrooms were mentioned as reasons to visit the hospital. So I did. For a few hours.

The doctor who was summoned to see me in the ER was half asleep, but at least he could speak English quite well. While they were sticking tubes in me and injecting needles in my ass and taking blood out of me, I was busy throwing up and moaning.

A couple hours after I arrived in the ER they brought another fellow in. It looked like he'd had some accident at work, as he was wearing a uniform and was carried in by other guys wearing the same uniform. His foot was all wrapped up and when the doctors removed the makeshift bandages the top part of the guy's big toe was missing and he had a huge deep gash down the center of it. Blood was leaking out. Because it seemed both necessary and appropriate, I threw up in a plastic bag the nurse had given me.

They worked on that guy for awhile before wrapping him up and wheeling him next to me. We immediately bonded and formed a band we named "MOAN" and hashed out what will be our 1st single, a little acapella ditty called "Good Christ Dis Shit Be Hurtin'!"

I got X-Rays done, and the doctors looked at them for quite awhile. My IV ran out and when I finally noticed it, my blood had seeped half way back up the line. A guy who I assumed was a surgeon came down to look at MOAN-member's toe, and they took him behind a curtain to the other side of the room for a long time and he got really quiet. I was worried they had killed him, but he finally emerged all asleep, so I guess they had just sedated him.

The staff changed all the peppermint candy sheets on the gurneys and mopped the floor, readying the ER for a new day of trauma. Every time I got off my bed to walk myself and my IV down the hall to violently dry heave awhile in the bathroom, though, I noticed spots of caked-on blood on the fresh-changed sheets on the bed beside mine.

My boss turned up and waited in the lobby while I waited for my blood work. Finally, it was time to go home, the tests were normal and x-rays ok and it was concluded that it was probably indeed the shrimp. At least the fine folks at the hospital actually did some tests to try to rule out more serious ailments than food poisoning. My regular doctor just uses his dolphin-sonar in his forehead to see what's wrong with me, and then orders up a good 'ole ass-injection.

Work Tuesday was floaty and surreal, and I rocked out a temperature over 102 all day long, which is aggravated by the mugginess at work. You know that flip out scene Shirley MacLaine has at the nurses station when her dying daughter isn't given her pain medication in a timely manner? That's the scene I'm about to re-enact if my boss doesn't get the fans up in the classrooms. The teacher's room is the worst, as there are no windows. By the end of the day it's filled with everyone's hot breath and it feels like a sauna.

"It's almost June and there's no FANS! I'm supposed to have AIR! Why isn't there any air? Give me the FANS. GIVE ME THE FAAANNNNNSSSS!"

I'm certainly out of the weeds now, but I'm still running super hot and chilly cold.

Please refrigerate your food after cooking it so as to avoid bacterial contamination. This has been a public service announcement brought to you by the duo "MOAN." Check out their debut album "Owwwwww," in stores soon!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I Got Three Things Last Night

Food Poisoning.
A six hour hospital stay.
20 minutes sleep.

And I got to teach today.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Gone to the Chapel

So, this past Saturday my co-worker got married.

By Western standards, Korean weddings are strange. I explained to my other co-worker and boss that a wedding in Canada is oftentimes an all day affair. You know how it goes, ceremony, maybe some time for photos, a reception, drinks, dinner, more drinks and speeches and then dancing. Or variations. Well here, not so much!

Here, oftentimes, weddings are held in these wedding hall places or hotels where they will have a whole slew of weddings one after the other. The meal is the same deal, with the waiters turning over the tables quickly for the guests of the next wedding. And the next. And so on. We were so late getting to the wedding in Suwon a few weeks back, (we completely missed the ceremony) and ended up eating with the guests from the following wedding!

So anyhow, here's a little run down of how it went down early Saturday afternoon. We got to the hall about 25 minutes ahead of time or so and stood around in the big lobby of the wedding place with the guests from another wedding that was taking place at the same time in another room. Eventually the bride showed up, surrounded by people, and was ushered into a small room to the side. There, a photographer took pictures of she and her groom. We snuck into the room and said hello, and I told Judy she looked beautiful. My co-workers wanted to take a picture with the bride, but I ran away. (The photographer was busy concentrating on the bride and groom and I thought it was a little presumptuous to just jump in the shot. No one else was doing that!) The co-workers didn't get their photo taken as they wanted as the photographer wasn't interested in doing it, and took off right after me!

So then people went into the wedding room at about 1:27 and things started. An Emcee stood to the side at a podium with a microphone and an old guy stood at the front of the room on an "altar" like thing. The groom appeared and then the bride and I think the Emcee said some shit and then the old guy said a lot of shit and then they were married. Actually the bride and groom said nothing. The whole thing took about 15 minutes, maybe, and I got some totally awesome photographs...
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of the huge-headed adjummas in front of me.

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Seriously, is she wearing a bloody football helmet under her hair?

The pics are super dark, and I don't remember it being that dark at the ceremony - but maybe it was. Maybe my flash didn't go off. There were intermittent strobe lights, maybe I caught a dark phase. You can kind of see the bride and groom at the altar over Big-Head-Lady.
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Throughout the short ceremony, people chatted away amongst themselves and on their cellphones. A lot of people didn't even sit through the event, even though there were quite a few empty chairs, the back of the room was filled with people standing (and talking.) My boss explained those standing wanted to be the first at the buffet table.

After the ceremony, the bride and groom came down off the altar, bowed to the bride's parents and then to the guests, at which point the Emcee said a bunch of stuff, including suggesting that the groom tell his new wife he loved her. So he screamed at the top of his lungs, "SARANG-HEYO EUN KYUNG!!" a couple of times. Then the Emcee suggested the groom show his bride how strong he is, so the groom picked his bride up and did a few deep knee bends, saying (in Korean, of course) "Hey, look how strong I am! Isn't your husband so strong?"

Ummmm. Yah.

Then the made their way back down the aisle where people were waiting to spray them in the face with fake snow.
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Note that which ever way I pointed my camera in the wedding hall, there was a giant adjumma head in the foreground.

And that, as we say, was that!
Everyone hurried across the street to the buffet restaurant and scarfed down some "ok" food. My co-worker visited the buffet table and got herself three plates of food all at once. (And then went up for a salad and later some coffee.)

I was surprised that we weren't going to see the bride again. They were not going to make an appearance at lunch, as they were busy doing some traditional Korean wedding ceremony things with their families, and taking more pictures. It only occurred to me today that I think I screwed up, as Judy specifically asked me to be in her photograph with all her friends, and said to me at that time "I don't think (the other co-workers) want."
"Why?" I asked.
"Because they're older," she explained.

Which kind of makes sense as to why they wanted to jump in on their own for a photo, and why we rushed right the hell out of there after the ceremony. Now I feel a bit bad, for not getting the details about what Judy wanted to happen. I also feel bad because she told me she was going to throw her bouquet RIGHT AT me, when she tossed it. I saw that bouquet on the table of some late-comers to lunch (as we were leaving.) Arrrrgh!

Also, the ceremony had dry-ice, confetti cannons, fake snow, lasers, strobe lights, super loud night-club music, and explosions of ribbons,....but no bubbles. *Sniff. Judy said there was going to be bubbles! Ah, maybe there was and I missed it. I suspect there was a lot more going on on the other side of those giant adjumma heads.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Can I Get an Amen?

On days like today, when it's muggy and has been raining non-stop for the past 15 hours, we should all stay home in bed. Agreed?


Many people overseas create blogs as a means to connect them to loved ones back home. I think that's great. However, I created mine just as a way to write. I tend to be in my head A LOT. This here blog is a good way to expel my demons, and I don't even use it as effectively as I could. If I did, I would fucking swear a hell of a lot more than I do in my posts. Just so you know. My internal dialogue is filled with expletives. I may or may not have tourettes.

Point being, I haven't given out my blog addy to many people I know. Actually - I can count them on one hand, and I might as well call them out here. My blog's a year old, and it's had over 10,000 hits. So I call upon my asshole friends who check in infrequently if at all. (Don't worry about the name calling, they know I love them, and they also know what I say is TRUE.) So, Goldie in Egypt, Laura in Japan, Jacob in Toronto, Stacey in St. Catharines,...bring it in the comments section. (Watch,....there will be zero comments to this post.)

I haven't given my address out because when I have given it, it has produced minimal response. My bitterness may or not be expanded upon in a near future post. (In the meantime, "SCREW YOU IGNORERS!") It doesn't matter, because they won't read this.

But my friend who MIGHT read this (we'll see) is a guy who should get his blogging ass online pronto, because there's deals to be had, and he's a very talented dude. I've pimped his site beforehand, but I will do again. He's a talented writer/director/actor/producer/dancer/clown-mime/fellow/what not, and if he doesn't leave a comment, he's also an ass.

But buy his movies anyways.
They're good.
(And I'm going to write a screenplay he's going to make, only he doesn't know it right now. Yet, I swear, he's going to be compelled.)

My New PC Cafe

I spoke before of how quickly businesses change here in Korea. And just a few minutes ago, I talked of the origin of our species.

In a strange schmelming of those two concepts, let me tell you that I noticed tonight that the space my former favourite PC Bang (internet cafe) was has indeed sprung to life in the form and shape of a NEW PC Bang!
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It's the Primitive Man PC Bang!
This, my friends, is our great great great great great (etc) grandpa, Korean-style!

Thursday, May 18, 2006


I was reading a couple of interesting articles on the origins of our species this morning. The first proposes that perhaps our human ancestors and chimps interbred to form a hybrid species that dies out a looooong time ago. Thankfully, I guess. Though I must say, I wondered where my extreme fondness of bananas came from. Did it really die out? The second article examines our past lineage and makes some predictions toward what the future possibly holds for our species. Really interesting stuff. And it seems to me that scientists have determined it to be a fairly clear fact that us humans all came from the same stuff in the same place.

Actually, I just linked to another article about a recent court ruling regarding science and religion in American schools in regard to the debate over the origin of humankind. I haven't read it all yet. Let's read it together. If you want to work your brain out further, have a read about intelligent design.

The debate is heated and ongoing.
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I got to work and brought up what I'd read about things with my super-Catholic co-worker and she gave me the same response she always does when she doesn't understand me or doesn't agree with me. She stared at me like she was looking through me. And finally she smiled and said "I don't theenk so."

What? You don't think humans came from primates? You don't think the scientists theories and tests hold water? You don't think DNA means a thing? OJ? You don't think I like bananas with unexplained zealousness? I picked up a ruler and poked her in one of her staring eyes, "What don't you think?"
She smiled again.

An aside: it's a Korean thing to smile and not expand. Not explain. Not engage.
It bugs me.
I know what it means; that we're supposed to change the subject and move on to other things, and oft times I do. But sometimes, I play my "foreigner card" and trump their smile with my curiosity and stubbornness and I push my envelope a little.

"But it seems like it isn't even an "if" anymore. It seems like a "when and how" (our species evolved) these days."

She smiled again, and said "only God knows."

She's a biblical literalist. World: 7 days. Women: made of man's rib. Everything on Earth: saved in Noah's Ark. Red Sea: parted. Loaves and fish: magically many. Water: walked on.

I've got loads to read about loads of things, and I'm going to start on "biblical literalists." I need to read up on it, because I sincerely DON'T GET IT. I know the crux of belief in these matters relies on faith, but I don't get that either. And is it wrong of me to wonder about the intelligence of biblical literalists?

But I do. I question blind faith. I question those who don't question things. People who know me will attest to the fact that I question pretty much everything. "Why" is a wonderful world, as is "how" and "really?"

In a synchronistic kind of way, the Big Ho (Kevin) posts a bit about Sir Ian McKellan, one of the stars of the DaVinci Code movie, stating that the Bible should have a disclaimer in the front of it about it being fiction.

Kevin goes on to talk about, well, things. Good things. Go give him a read and have a think.

I surely don't think the Bible is fiction. As a child, I loved the stories. Noah and his Ark was fantastic. Lazarus was great! I had a deep appreciation for these tales, but then again I thought Santa and the Easter Bunny rocked. As I grew older, I was almost relieved to learn what a parable was. Suddenly, Jesus being the Son of God related to me specifically inasmuch as I was a child of God too. Suddenly, the seemingly fictitious tales of Noah and Moses and Mary and whomever started to make more sense in a not-so-literal way.

But still, years later, I question those who take these things literally.
Belief. Faith. Laziness?
I don't know.
But, I want a banana.

Man Won

Awwwww. I was planning to pay attention to my stat counter, but then I forgot. Sometime in the past week I passed the 10,000 hit mark! I was going to send out cash and prizes to the ten thousandth visitor, but I snooze, they lose.

Sorry about that.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


When I was about 12 or 13 I was a bridesmaid in my cousin's wedding. It was so exciting, and the only time I've ever been a participant in anyone's wedding. Though I have quite a few married friends and relatives, I've actually only been to a handful of weddings. Jeeze, I just counted. SIX!

Anyhow, the first wedding that I can recall ever attending was said cousin's wedding, and it was a blast. She was a young bride, I'd say in her early twenties, and she'd been dating her fiance for about a year and a half. It was a really traditional wedding, with the young couple's friends in attendance, and all the usual pre-parties, including a rehearsal dinner at some restaurant which ended up in someone's basement "rec room." I don't remember TOO much about the details, but I remember the shag orange carpeting and wood panel walls.

My cousin was excited about being married. Her soon-to-be-husband was an awesome guy. I secretly had a bit of a crush on him. He was an auxiliary policeman for the city, and one of the gifts bestowed on him by his ushers was one of those giant club-like police flashlights. Arnie opened it up and thanked the guy who gave it to him. I was standing nearby when a few moments later Mary sneaked over and leaned in toward her fella, taking hold of the flashlight while she enquired coyly, "Is it THIS big?"

I was shocked! Not because I had overheard such a private exchange, but because,...."WHAT?! You're going to marry this guy tomorrow and you haven't seen it yet?!?"

"What if it's tiny?" I wondered. "What if it IS that big?" (I mean, even I knew that flashlight was TOO big.) Had I been a bit older and a lot more tipsy I probably would have actually SAID those things aloud, and suggest those two sneak off for a preview. And a test drive. You know, just to be sure.

Actually, a few weeks earlier when I'd come into town for a dress fitting, I recall the bride confiding to her maid-of-honour that she'd done the math, and was going to be "period free" for the honeymoon ("thank God, because Arnie would kill me!") I wasn't used to being privy to such frank adult exchanges, and my mind reeled a bit. What would happen if she'd been on her period during the honeymoon? No sex? Really?


This weekend, I'll attend my seventh wedding. I'm all excited about it. More than the bride seems to be. (She even said as much to me today!) Without actually saying anything specific, let me tell you it feels like I'm back in the early eighties once again, if ya know what I mean. Oh, and like, this bride's math equation isn't as fortunate as my cousins!

And did you know that sometimes women in Korea go to the pharmacy to get some medicine to delay their Aunt's visit for a couple weeks? "I did take it before so I could go swimming." I was told by another woman today. (Turns out I think she was referring to swimming on holiday, which makes more sense. Everyone has the same holiday here, and it's not like you'd re-schedule because you can't swim.)

But,...can't one swim or have sex on their period? It's never stopped me. Maybe I need to be shunned. Maybe I need to spend a few days in the Menses Tent for being unclean. Maybe I'm out of the loop. I've never let the shedding of my uterine stop me, even momentarily, from doing anything. Ever.

I went out tonight and bought the bride a totally see through tiny little white spaghetti strapped baby doll nightie. I'll give it to her tomorrow with my best wishes and a wink.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Birthday!!

My BLOG is one year old today!!
Hurry and help me blow out the candle and eat the cake before "Ol Grapefoot and his brother hog it all for themselves!
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To the bazillions of people who've stopped by over the past year, I thank you. It's been fun so far!!

WCB 49 Flowers and Lasers

Oh Look! Kamikaze and his rainbow eyes are checking out my flowers. I love love love the smell of lilies!
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He's figured out I'm looking at him and has turned on his anti-diet laser eyes!
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Friday, May 12, 2006

Say My Name

I don't know why, but I'm exhausted. The past few nights I come home, crawl into bed and sleep for about 2 or 3 hours, crawl out for a little bit and maybe eat something, and then crawl back in for another 8 hours or so. I'm too lazy to even wrap the packages I should have sent out weeks ago, or finish the bloody letter I started writing just after New Years. Over 5 months to finish a letter. How lame is that?

Joel has a day off on Monday. I don't know why he does, but it makes me want to go to my boss and say, "Look, man,...this other guy I know of has a day off. He "teaches" English, and I "teach" English, so why does he have a day off and I don't? GIMME A DAY OFF!!"

It's silly, too, considering I only taught 2 days out of 5 last week. But, (and I say this with my best impersonation of my over-the-top whiny students) I'm tiiiiiiired. I need a remote control for my students. Volume down juseyo. Why must they scream everything? Why can't they just say my name? Actually, in Canada a total of ZERO people call me "Jenny." I'm so GLAD for it too, because I think after these past 2 years of having been called that, I'd rather not hear it ever again. It is almost always screamed, whined, sing-songed, or repeated over and over and over at me. It makes me crazy. I've actually told my students, "Listen, kids. My name is 'Jenny.' It's not JEEENNNNNNY, it's not JEnny, JEnny, JEnny, JEnny, it's not JEH-NEEEEE, and jeeze, it's certainly not "TEA-CHA!!!!"

I'm going back home soon to the land where my name is Jenn. Say it, Canada. Say my name. Yah, baby. Say it like you love me.

If/when I come back to Korea, or go somewhere else for another teaching gig, I will introduce myself as Monica, and then ignore everyone trying to get Monica's attention.

I've always wanted to meet and fall in love with a man with the family name "Vader." We will have twins, Darth and Ella.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


The other night C. and I were hungry, and he asked what I wanted and I said "I don't care, what do YOU want?" He suggested spicy chicken. I happily agreed, and was thinking of this great chicken dish with loads of vegetables and glass noodles and sliced rice cake in this spicy sauce. I've had it before, but not for a long time, and I LOVE it! When C. pulled up in front of a chicken joint kind of like "KFC" (meaning, with lots of varieties of deep fried chicken I let out a bit of a disappointed "ohhhhhh - THAT kind of chicken!"
"You don't want?"
"Uhhhh, no!"
So we drove around for a bit more and C. pulled over and pointed out a small barely noticeable restaurant. "How about pig?"
"Yah, pig's ok." I said as I opened the door and stuck one foot out. "Wait a minute, what kind of pig?"
"Huh?" he asked.
"What part of the pig?"
He didn't know the English word, but swirled his fingers around in front of the lower part of his belly.
"Intestines?!?! Awwwww, C.!!!"
He laughed. He's such a good sport, and I realize that my idea of "normal" food doesn't exactly mesh with his.

We got out and walked across the street.
To an eel restaurant.
Eel is not bad at all, but the pathetic looking things languishing in the tanks outside turned me off. "They don't look so happy," I said, pointing to the eels. "And those ones look dead." (And decomposing.) Nix that.

A little more way up the road he pointed to a nice looking restaurant and said "Let's go there."
"OK!" I said. It was a BBQ kind of place, and they'd have a variety of choices. BBQ's smoky and yummy. The waitress came over and C. ordered and she came back with a big trolley and unloaded out side dishes and meat. Mmmmm! Good choice, C.! Ribs!
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Here's some of the side dishes. Kimchi. Garlic. Hot Peppers. Seaweed in Sticky Sauce. Car Keys. Cigarettes.

There was also the standard shredded cabbage with mayonnaise and ketchup. Pervasive and strange. And there was seasoned bean sprouts (C.'s fave) and big slices of mushrooms and zucchini and onions (mine!)

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"Mool" kimchi (delicious) and a bowl of sliced onions with wasabi in a vinegary sauce.

The waitress cut the ribs apart with scissors and loaded up the grill.
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The meat has already been seasoned and cooked somewhat by some means. On the grill they're just getting that smoky crispy heated through finishing touch, really.

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What's that white thing in the foreground?

Ahhhhh! We are Michael Jackson Impersonators! They give you a white mesh glove inside a clear plastic glove to pick up the meat! Good idea! I always thought all the finger licking that goes along with rib-eating was kind of ick-o. Actually, I'm pretty sure finger licking is fairly taboo at the table in Korea.
So anyhow, you pick the rib off the grill with your chopsticks and stick it in a little bowl with some kind of clear sauce, or in the onion and wasabi dish. When you're sure it's not going to burn your lips, you pick it up and eat it!
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I am The Gloved One Eating My Rib.

These were delicious, but a lot of work for little yield. They weren't very meaty at all, and thankfully not fatty either. But they tasted great, and with all the side dishes and a shared order of "mool neng myun" (chewy noodles with a bit of sliced pork, fruit, and vegetables in an icy spicy vinegared broth) we were so full, so came home to watch a video and chill out.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Ask Ro

Rosie O'Donnell has a blog where she has this feature called "Ask Ro." Here, you can ask her a question and she may answer it. Lots of people complain that they have asked loads of questions and she seems to be ignoring them. I asked one last night, for the first time, and she answered me! Pretty cool!

She's been mentioning the children's book "Love You Forever," by Robert Munsch. I can't recall ever seeing the book, but I know the story. Rosie O' says the book creeps her out (something about the illustrations, where a mother goes across town with a ladder to spy on her son? Stalker mom?) Anyhow, it made me think of how the book was mentioned in a movie I'd seen recently - and then I realized it was actually another book with the same kind of "no matter where you go, I'm gonna find you" theme.

Blah blah blah. Here's my question and the answer:
Jenn writes:

I was thinking "Love You Forever" was in the movie "Wit" with Emma Thompson, but it was "The Runaway Bunny." Have you seen that movie? I think Emma Thompson is a fantastic actress. Have you met?

runaway bunny i love

Ha! Cool, eh?


Often, when you go out for a few pints here, you are required to order something to eat, otherwise known as "anjou." I like nibbles, but sometimes feel bad about HAVING to order something, especially after I've just had dinner. When my friends were here from Japan awhile back we had a hard time finding a place to have some drinks where we didn't have to order food. We were so stuffed from dinner we couldn't eat any more, and didn't want to pay for food that was just going to sit there.

But, you know, nibbles are good if you're not ram-jam full of a delicious meal! The other night we went out and had a small bit of spicy grilled meat with some soju. Next we visited a cool "hof" (bar) and this is what we got in the way of anjou:
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It's a torn up squid, some fleshy slices of chewy fish, and some peanuts!
Mmmmmm! You know you've been in Korea awhile if you think squid dipped in spicy red sauce pairs very well with a frosty pint!

The bar we were at had a funky ceiling going on as well.
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Saturday, May 06, 2006

WCB 48 - Revenge of the Kitty

It's been POURING all day here, and Kamikaze and I have enjoyed an assortment of naps together. Some were all cuddled up. I love it when he lets me "spoon" him. Others were more separate, but it usually ends up one part of either of us is touching another. Sometimes I hold his paw. Other times he presses his cat butt up against me. Most often his tail is slapping me on the shoulder or the nose. He makes a good sleeping partner.

In this pic. I told him we were both going on diets.
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He looks shocked, eh?

Later, in rebellion, he turned on his laser beam eyes and zapped a giant hole in my stomach.
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Now dieting will be easy, I'll eat the food and it'll travel down my esophogas and just fall out the space where my mid-section used to be!

For more cats and kittens and fun, why not visit Eat Stuff?!?! Also, make sure you visit the Carnival of the Cats!

Friday, May 05, 2006

These Eyes

Here's some things I've seen this past few days!
Earlier in the week while I was pretty much bed ridden, I lay there looking out at the sky and the clouds passing by. I can't recall what I was thinking but it was probably along the lines of "boo-hoo, poor immobile me!" As I lay there though, there was a commotion of sound in the forest and two pheasants took flight. I've never seen one before. They didn't look the same, and I'd bet the more flamboyant and jazzy looking of the two was the male. (Also he was chasing the female, which is how it often goes eh?)
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(Borrowed from The Nomad.)

Last night, as I sat on a bench downtown waiting to meet up with C. for a quick coffee, I listened to tunes on my MP3 player and gazed up into the heavens, wishing that there wasn't so much city light blocking the view of the stars. Just then, an orange fireball streaked right across the sky. In reading up on fireballs last night, it seems seeing one is pretty rare, so I'm lucky to have been looking up just then. In looking things up on the web last night, I learned that the stuff that creates a fireball can range in size from mere inches to a few feet.

Earlier in the day on Thursday, I heard a bit of commotion on the street below my school. I was standing near the open window, and so had a look outside to see what was happening. A crowd of people (mostly kids) stood looking and pointing at something which looked like a length of that snakey pipe stuff, but which turned out to be (when I went down later to have a look) an actual dead snake. It was pretty big too!

Today, girls from my 3rd class entered all frazzled, telling me about a byuntae who was exposing himself and grabbing at little boys (!) crotches who would walk by him. They pointed him out to me, as he was still sitting at the bus stop across the street, It didn't take much to realize he was, what's the PC term these days,...developmentally disabled? Still, I called the boss in to listen to the girls, wondering if she was going to call someone to report the guy. She didn't. When I was in elementary school, we came across a flasher at recess once. We told the teacher who told the principal who called the cops who came and snapped the guy up pronto.

I guess things are a bit different here. (No shit, Sherlock!)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Yellow Dust

A short while ago I posted some pics about Hwang-sa, and what a mess it leaves on everything over here. Actually, it's messiest when it's combined with rain, which happens often. It's dirty rain! Other times, though, it blows in on clear days like it did on Tuesday when the day started out blue and breezy and sunny, and just seemed to get progressively more smoggy throughout the day. Otherwise known as yellow dust, this stuff blows in from the Gobi Desert, in northern China and southern Mongolia.

Apparently, global warming is causing an increase in the amount of yellow dust being dumped in other places, as noted in this article from the Daily Yomiuri Online. It also notes that the dust was blown all the way over to North America in 2001, which I didn't think was possible! Actually, one of my students asked me if we had Hwang-sa in Canada and I chuckled at him, "Canada is a loooong way away! No, we don't have yellow dust! Turns out I don't know what the hell I'm talking about! (Which is neither news, nor surprising!)

And just so you know, the reason it's called yellow dust? It's YELLOW! My apartment building was covered in the stuff earlier this week.
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Here's an orderly line of the stuff on one of the stairs.
Let's have a closer look:
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Now THAT'S some yellow!
It's also super fine, like slightly grainy baby powder. Like, well, DUST!
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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

It Rains, It Pours

This has definitely not been a good week at my school. I've been off for two days which puts a lot of pressure on the Korean teachers and the kids all complain, and probably go home and complain to their mothers who maybe call up and complain to the boss.

Anyhow, I'm still sore - but at least I can stand and walk and sit without wanting to cry. So, I decided to go into work and do my best at toughing it out. I called my boss to tell her so, and she said she had some bad news; Elizabeth's mom died last night.

So Elizabeth will be out for the next couple days. So rough.
Don't people say bad things come in threes? I wonder what's on deck next.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I Writhe

Another trip to the doctor, another ass injection, another day spent almost wholly horizontal. Pain makes me very sleepy.

I wonder if my unhappiness at not being able to function properly is seeping out into the vicinity. This morning I was awakened by some violent noises coming from the apartment next door. Loud crashing on that scale couldn't be good, and I finally stuck my head out to have a look at what was going on. I'm unsure what was taking place but I think it was some kind of eviction. Either that, or it is the worst moving company around. About 5 men were tossing things over the back balcony - sending everything smashing to the parking lot below. Most were heavy canvas bags, but there was also quite a bit of furniture: desk, wooden bedframe, computer chair, mattress. Most of it smashed into smithereens upon impact with he asphalt below. Then guys down in the parking lot were tossing everything into the back of a pickup truck.

I came across a similar scene just yesterday, where it looked like the entire contents of an apartment had exploded into a vacant lot behind the building. There was a pathetic looking wooden sign plunged into the dirt with a message in Korean and a telephone number. A crowd of people and a couple of policemen stood around looking at the mess.

It is the beginning of the month. Is this how people get evicted here? I don't know.

Otherwise, I was just awoken again by what sounds like a very very drunk man in the apartment below - and now in the parking lot out front, freaking out. I think he's screaming into his cellphone, but I can't tell. Maybe he's just screaming at the voices in his head.

I hope I feel better tomorrow. It concerns me that the 18 pills a day I'm taking are only minimally reducing the pain in my back and legs. I totally freaked myself out this morning reading about herniated discs online. My doctor dissuaded me from going to a BIG hospital, saying I would be ok after awhile. He didn't even look at my back. For all he knows, I could be carrying the remains of a malformed triplet back there, all small bones and teeth, impinging on my spinal column.

Monday, May 01, 2006


Sometime last week I was thinking how great it was that I haven't been sick in SO long! Sure - I've had a little tummy trouble here and there, and I burned my finger and had a bit of a cough, but it was nothing, really. I was skipping to work every day feeling pretty GOOD! Even little Jesse sneezing right in my face a couple weeks ago didn't even make me sick!

But then Friday before work, just as I was almost out the door, I bent over to pick something up and there was a pop in my back. Or maybe it was a snap. Definitely not a crackle though. Something had happened in my lower back, and walking to school made me feel all crooked, like I was simultaneously sticking my butt out while tilting my pelvis inward. I don't even think that's possible, but that's how it felt. By the end of the day, the pain had wrapped down and around so that it gripped both my thighs in a strong "charley horse."

I laid pretty low all weekend. I did go downtown to meet C. and his friend on Saturday night, but I'd had a few "wobbly pops" so wasn't feeling too bad at all. We had some soju and then some beer and then a bit more beer at a noraebang, and I was ooooookkkkaaaayyy. When C. went to get the car, though (he had stopped drinking after a couple shots of soju way early in the night) I asked if it was ok if I waited for him and he came to get me. Even through the haze, I could feel my back protesting.

Sunday I really took it easy, spending most of the day lying down. I was still sore, and moving made me go "Aaaaarrrrggghhh" so I took it easy. This morning I initially felt quite a bit better, but the walk to work killed me. I had no idea my back was so bad! My legs were like jell-o, and I was shaking and dripping with sweat by the time I got there. I looked up "spasm" in the English-Korean dictionary and had my boss write a note I gave to the doctor after my 1st class. (I had a 40 minute break then.)

The doctor said "I think you'd better bed rest."
"Amen to that, doc!" I replied.
"Why do you cry?" he asked me.
"Because it hurts!" I explained.

I wasn't really crying as much as I was leaking. Water was just spilling out of my eyes a bit because my brain was ordering me to lie down, and repeating a mantra of "Ow, Ow, Ow, Ow!"

I scuttled back to work and sat down for a couple minutes before I told my boss I thought I had to go home. She let me. And here I am.

I hate taking a sick day. It's hard on the other teachers, and the kids whose classes I'm supposed to teach get all upset. I lingered a bit, wondering if I could hack it, but after looking at my pink pained eyes in the mirror I gave in.

I've gotta lie still now.