Friday, October 27, 2006

Halloween, but I Can't Stay on Topic.

Tomorrow is our big Halloween party at my school. I still haven't really settled on a costume, even though it's 2 am the night before! HA! Actually, I'm sure I'll either go as a cat or as nothing. Most likely cat.

I stayed an extra 2 and a half hours after work tonight preparing the crafts for our craft room. We're making bookmarks, which I thought was a simple and easy thing to do. As usual, though, nothing is simple here. I had to work around two different paper sizes, which required a time munching layout that had to be designed. I hand-drew our school's logo on the master copy ten times. I thought that was a nice touch, thankyouverymuch, and also drew all the funky Halloween art to be coloured in and jazzed up by our students. Then the photocopier broke. Then the laminator broke.

These machines fit right at my school, which is falling right the hell apart. All the doors handles are broken from the kids playing tug-o-war with them between classes. All the cassette players are broken, including the one in the office that used to pipe out the same "Let's Chant" during every break and before classes. Frankly, good riddance. If I had to listen to "What's Your Telephone Number?" one more time I was going to flip my lid. Most of the chairs are broken from the kids leaning back or forward or sideways on them. It's rare that a day goes by that I don't have a student have their chair slip out from under them and they go crashing to the floor. I swear, one of these days I fear a kid's going to catch his chin on the table on the way down from a "lean-forward" slip and bite their own tongue off.

The toilet seat on the one "Western style" toilet is broken. The sink's been broken forever, so there's always a standing pool of filthy water in the middle of the bathroom floor. Which we all track back into the school. It's so gross.

I've gone off-topic. I was talking about Halloween.

I think tomorrow will be pretty fun! I hope! I put together all the activities and went shopping for a lot of the materials. Last year I helped a lot in the planning, but this year everything's been largely left up to me. Jane's been pretty helpful, though. I really like the woman. I like how she greets me with a hug. I like her sense of humour and the way she came in like a lion, rather than a lamb. Thing is, she's got a strong personality, as have I, so I think in the future we could have some conflict. If we do, I predict it will have something to do with her abysmal listening skills. Or her constant repeating of the phrase "you know?"
("I watched that, you know, movie with that actor, you know, the one whose married to, you know, that, you know, blonde lady with the, you know?")
NO, WOMAN! I don't know!!!!

She's not popular with the Korean teachers, and today bothered Judy so badly that in all likelihood tomorrow will be Judy's last day of work.

The new teacher barely speaks to me. I'm fairly sure the students barely speak English in her class. She has a verrrrryyyy laid back approach to teaching. She decided, in the middle of one of her Phonics classes the other day, that it was time for a 10 minute break. Suddenly I had her little student's faces all in MY window, sticking their tongues out at my students, until I roared at them to get back to class- only to find out that Gloria had told them to go watch TV. If she feels like she has finished her "lesson" she just lets the students go, regardless that the bell isn't for another 8 minutes. I mean, the littlest kids can't write the alphabet, you'd think she might be able to come up with SOMETHING to occupy them! I would have expected a little more PEP for a new employee, but she comes to school 20 minutes before classes start and does ZERO prep work or planning for her classes. She's out the door 3 minutes after the last bell rings too. And she's getting away with it.

Yesterday, across the street from my school, a grandfather became irate with one of the video games they have peppered all over the streets here for the kids to gather around and play. He beat it with his cane repeatedly. The loud THWACKing noise drew me to the window to watch him. A grandmother came up and argued with him for awhile and he screamed at her between lunging at the video game. The grandmother went away, and the grandfather got tired and lay down on the sidewalk and took a nap. For an hour and a half. Finally, the police and an ambulance came along and they heaved him onto a stretcher and took him away.

I expect that after he dries out over the weekend in the hospital he'll be bright and ready to step in as Judy's replacement. The kids can play tug-o-war with him while he naps.

I'm working at a circus.

Tomorrow will be fun, I hope. (Yah, I give up writing about Halloween.) It may very well not be, though. It's going to be the first time I've seen my boss since I had that little Monday chat with her. I think if she had her way - she'd never come back to school. I don't blame her. It feels like things are spinning out of control. But perhaps it's just me.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Jelly Team Pt. 2

I did end up putting the post that I took down back up. As you can see. It's beneath this one. When I woke up Tuesday morning after having written it the night before, I just felt really bad about it. There's no reason to, really. It's not particularly mean. It's not as if I'm grinding my axe big time. It is what it is, and it's the fact, Jack. But I do feel bad.

Partly I feel bad because I'm tired. In general. I don't want to have to fight - especially for something that should be given to me under the laws of the land. It's not like I went looking for a way to squeeze more money out of my boss. I happened to just stumble upon it.

But that in itself really bums me out. I feel like I have been so naive, and because I like self-blame, I've been kicking myself that I wasn't better informed. I guess that while I was teaching in Japan I got really complacent about things being on the up and up. When something was required from me by the government there, my employers were all over it. I trusted them completely, and that trust was well warranted. They treated me well.

When I first came to teach in Korea in 2002, I was very suspicious. Almost a little paranoid, really. Reading the boards over at Dave's had scared the hell out of me. I was expecting to come over here and be ripped off and taken advantage of. I wasn't, though. As time went by, I let go of most of my fears, and then after moving to Japan I totally relaxed. Over time, back here in Korea, I've developed a really good relationship with my current boss. Like my bosses back in Japan, I find her to be fair and reasonable.

So this current situation makes me nervous. And frankly, disappointed.

I did talk to her on Monday. I pulled her aside during one of my short breaks and we sat down and I started off by telling her I was sure I've been paying too much tax. I was really calm about it and told her I thought that this error could be cleared up pretty easily. All we have to do is fill out some forms, and the tax office will surely refund my over-payment. The thing is, I question whether or not she actually submitted my taxes to the government. If she did, I kind of doubt she gave them the full amount that I've paid over the years.
She said that she thinks all the franchises in our outfit charge their teachers the same amount of tax. I told her that very well may be, but the tax rate is what it is. You can't make up a new number that you're going to levy on your employees just "because." (Imagine if I were back home, and my boss decided to charge me 50% income tax! Puh-lease!) "So," I said, "No worries. I'll just need your help with the forms. We'll sort it out."

Then on to pension. Yes, I answered, it's in my contract. Yes, I replied, I get all of it back when I leave Korea. She told me, quite unconvincingly, that she'd never heard of it before. (*Bullshit,* I coughed.) (Just kidding.) She told me she was going to have to confer with other directors. I told her I expected that. Someone suggested that the conversation might go something like this:

BOSS 1: I have this one teacher. Ech! I just wanted her follow our school's systems.

BOSS 2: Yes, yes...

BOSS1: But she ask crazy questions... wanting to know how much tax she pay...

BOSS3: Oh, you get the bad teacha...

BOSS1: Yes, yes, very bad... I tell her: "You don't worry. We like family. I take care all."

BOSS2: Yeah, "We family..." That always working good for the good teacher relations.

BOSS1: But she no! She, "I have family. I want my tax!"

BOSS3: Oh, very bad. Bad, bad teacha...

BOSS1: I know! She not listen anything I insist. Now she makes trouble with the pension now and she not do anything I says.

BOSS2: You try, "It's Korean way,"? That usually stop the wrong thinking.

HA! Truthfully, though, I still don't want to believe that my boss is like those bosses. She said a couple of times she was embarrassed. I believed her. She looked it. She didn't want to have the internet addresses I had ready for the government sites detailing tax and pension. I told her to take her time and get back to me, and that I was sure we would be able to sort this all out.

But then she looked at me and asked, "What will you do if I refuse?"
I told her that for every day she doesn't make things right, I will kill one of our students. No students, no income.

I'm TOTALLY joking. I love my students.
No, I looked back at her and raised my eyebrows and shrugged.
She may have taken that as "I don't know," even though that's not what I meant.

So we'll see what happens. But I'm worried about it.
I'll let you know what's going on when I know. Keep your fingers crossed for a calm and fair resolution. Or else there's going to be a chaotic and riotous revolution.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Jelly Team Fighting

I took down that last post. Being stressed out makes me uncertain. I want to spend the day thinking about what good it is to blog about the mess I was talking about. Maybe there's no point, except to garner support - which I appreciate, thanks Nomad and Anon. Maybe I'll slap 'er back up there after some thought. Maybe not. Maybe I'll edit and be less detailed. Maybe I'll replace that post with a picture of a giraffe eating a fish. Who knows? For SURE, though, I'm over-thinking everything. All while intermitiently wringing my hands together, moaning, and cackling.

It's Back Up.

I learned something the weekend before last that's got me all in a tizzy.
That sounds so fluffy - it's more than a tizzy. I'm stressed out.
In short, I found out I'm being ripped off. I'm not sure if it's intentional or not, but it doesn't really matter. It started out innocently enough, as a conversation between myself and another English teacher. We were just talking shop, and she commented that after 3 years I'm going to get a nice fat bonus. "No," I replied.
"Not really, since I cashed out my 1st 2 year's bonuses before I went to Canada this past summer." (For those who don't know, foreign teachers in Korea recieve a bonus at the end of their contract equivalent to one month's salary. By Korean law, this doesn't have to be paid until the contract is completed, so it's a boss's right to delay if a contract is re-signed.) When my 1st year's contract was completed, my boss said she'd pay me my bonus in a couple days. I pointed out she didn't have to. I didn't need the money, and I'm honest like that. Or stupid. But she's a good woman, and I trust her.

Year Two came and went, and she was kind enough to pay me my full two years' worth of bonus when I asked for it. Cool. It came in handy for my 5,000$+ vacation. So I said to my friend- the other weekend, that I wouldn't get a massive bonus when I finish my contract next summer.

She said, "Well at least you'll get a great big pension payout!"
I said, "Huh?"

"Huh?" as in, "What'chu talkin' bout Willis?"
I had not ever heard about pension. Alas, it's in my contract I have never read since I signed it and sent it off over 2 years ago.

The deal is that 9% of my salary is supposed to be deposited toward a pension fund. It's a half and half deal, with me giving up 4.5% every month, and my boss contributing the other 4.5%. At the end of my stint in Korea, I collect it all. With 100% growth on my personal investment, it is not a bad deal! After 3 years, I'm walking away with 3,240,000won above the equal amount that I've contributed.

Problem is, I didn't contribute. And neither (of course) did my employer.
The kicker is that contributing to the pension scheme is required by law. Mandatory, like. For all foreign teachers here.

In my search for "what is pension?" I also came across an unfortunate truth. For foreign teachers with my rate of pay, the rate of income tax is a ridiculously low 1.5%. I apologize to my friends in Canada and the U.S. who are paying big fat income tax (I know, because I was at 30% before I came here) but I'm going to repeat it all blogger-emphasis-style. One. Point. Five. Percent.

Trouble is, I've been paying 5% for the past twenty-eight months. FIVE percent.
Five percent sounds like a bloody steal. I thought so too! But when it turns out you only need pay ONE POINT FIVE percent, five percent spread over time sounds nuts. And it is. So far I've over-paid almost 2 thousand dollars worth.

Everything about these facts depresses me. And I was already depressed. Like, not even in the "I'm feeling kinda depressed, I think I'll take a bath and have a hot cup of tea," kind of depressed. More like the,....

Oh, whatever. By all rights I should be popping zoloft and reviewing Rorschach images.

Jelly's got a fight on her hands. Jelly's up for the fight, Jelly thinks. Talking about myself in the third person is strange. Just one more, though.

Jelly's tired.

There's more to this story, and I'll tell you about it tomorrow. All I have is part two of the beginning of the story. The very beginning.
And so it begins.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

WCB 72 - Roundup!

Hey! Kamikaze! Come here!
What do you want? I'm busy.
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We're hosting this week's WCB! I want you to come over here and help me pick out some pictures of you to post.
Oh. Okay. How about that picture from Oktoberfest? That was some tasty beer. And the sausages and schnitzel! Mmmmmm!
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That WAS some tasty beer! And you, my handsome little man, take a mighty fine picture!
Why, thank you! Hold me closer tiny daaaannncer. Count the headlights on the higgghhwaayyy.
Kamikaze, quit singing and come help me.
Lay me down in sheets of liiinen.
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You had a busy day todaaaayyyy!
Alright, alright. You have a lovely voice.
Tell me I'm a Rock N' Roll Superstar.
Say it!
No! Quit fooling around and come over here.
Not until you say it!
Fine. You're a Rock N' Roll Superstar.
I AM, you know.
Sure. Whatever you say. Listen, hurry up! I have to get this done! People are waiting to send in their submissions for WCB!
No, YOU listen Missy! I'm the sheriff round these here parts. I say what gets done and when. Now you git along little doggy.Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I think you mean little kitty?
Whatever. I don't like your tone.
Well I don't like your attitude. You're not being very co-operative today.
I don't have to listen to this.
Where are you going? Come back here!
Oh, that's it. I'm going to put up that secret picture of you.
Which one?
That one I took when I came home early and caught you "experimenting."
Well come back over here!
Fine, then.
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You're mean!
Ha ha ha! I know! But you're SO cute! I love you, my big boy.

Ah well, I've got to go kiss-up to Kamikaze who's not speaking to me. I'm sure he'll some around with a little Pounce and some brushing!

So here's the roundup for this weekend's WCB - Number 72!

*Check out Kai (who looks a little Kamikaze-ish, with a beautiful tail) escaping the tribbles below. Oh, that last picture! So sweet!
*Miss Ellie has a whole baseball team just waiting to be adopted! It's World Series time! Go Team!
*Over at Jelly Pizza, the little furry one finds a safe place to hide! Looks cozy!
*Tiggy has her own BLOG! Ah, Tiggy's just a tiny tiger, but she's growing up so fast. Don't make fun of her and her blankey, though!
*Oh! Make sure to visit Music and Cats and see the handsome Sasha smiling! Fresh blanket + warm radiator = Happy Cat!
*The lovely Upsie over at "What Did You Eat?" is looking fierce and gorgeous as always. She's overseeing the winter garden planting, now that her tomato-worm smashing duty is over.
*Glinda is looking perky and so alert over at "Anne's Food." Hopefully sometime soon she'll be making some cute faced kittens!
*Over at "A Cat in the Kitchen" there are all sorts of animals in the cat tree! It's like an aPETment complex!
*A couple weeks ago, WCB's theme was cats in boxes. Well, check out Madame Dutchess and Mr. Mao ON the boxes. Many, many boxes! Queen and King of the castle indeed!
*Bustopher and Harmon, at "Kate in the Kitchen" are all ready to play, work, and eat! Hey Bustopher, Kamikaze would call you if he had your number!
*Razzberries! Colin and Trixie have been feeling a little neglected over at "The Westering Hills." Welcome back to WCB, kitties! And Shannon, welcome back from your honeymoon in Japan! Fantastic! (And congratulations!)
*Oh! Close Encounters of the Furry Kind! Luna has a handsome visitor! Check out her sweet little voice, as she talks about this Peeping Tom(cat.)
*From "The House of Mostly Black Cats," we have Sanjee, the former feral but now furrily fantastic feline! Good to see you, pretty lady!
*When good cats go bad: it seems Noosh needs some time at a Finishing School. Miss Manners would not be happy with the paws on the table and the gobbling of the olives! Such big FEET you have, Mister Babaganoosh!
*Get a load of Fridolin and Maruschka over at Rosy's Yummy Yums! What a life! Spending your days in a basket all snuggled up and cozy. It makes me jealous, too!
* Awww! A sleepy kitty on a slipper! Aggie looks all tuckered out over at KAYAKSOUP! Linda is our gracious hostess for next weekend's WCB!
*Oh BABY! Lucky's sporting some fancy looking diapers at "These Days in French Life." Ha! Too funny!

Friday, October 20, 2006

WCB 72

Hey there! It's just about time for Weekend Cat Blogging! The roundup will go up sometime tomorrow (Saturday my time, but maybe still Friday wherever you are!) Please feel free to either leave comments here, or you can e-mail me at jennvaliquet at hotmail dot com!
I'm happy to be hosting, and am looking forward to hearing from you all!
**Blogger's giving me a hard time tonight. I hope it smartens up by tomorrow!

Thursday, October 19, 2006


I know I've been sporadic with posting. I haven't been feeling great this week. I've been battling some kind of stomach bug since Sunday, and I'm not winning so far. Today it felt like I was losing cabin pressure in my cranium, and I know it makes me sound crazy, but lately I've been a little worried that the colour is draining out of my eyes.
Yep. Cuckoo!
Must be the malaria talkin'.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

English Survey - 5 O'Clock Class

Teaching English here can be an uphill battle, for sure. This country is riddled with BAD Engrish English. Check out this site for some examples of Korean English.

Today, in my five o'clock class, which is comprised of five ten and eleven year old girls, one of their T-shirts caught my eye. So I had a look around at their garb and their goods. If it were a crime to wear or possess bad English, these little ladies would be in lock-down tonight.

Here's a pencil case:
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I'm a part-time job girl.
Something about this declaration just sounds shady!

More sage-like pencil case wisdom:
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COFFEE TIMES TASTES GOOD! Continue charming smile on your face. drem is before start to new life.
I do agree with this one. Coffees times does tastes awesomes!

On to T-shirts:
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When I read this aloud and laughed, the girls had a good giggle as well. In Korea, underwear is "pentys." Everyone wears pentys. Even the men wear pentys, which freaks out the foreigner guys. "I do NOT wear "pentys."
Oh yes you do!
And I bet you love wearing your love pentys.

But here's the strangest of the bunch, worn by an 11 year old little girl.
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The best over the table Molst at your slz Benins it's artivel deep doon and ay aobt havern. aut no with a passion miay mo gril
Say what?! It almost sounds Scottish. And old. Perhaps something by Robert Burns?

Ummmm, maybe not:
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Dounting harder deeoer .harder .More I shoat tmin I can contorol. my orgasm any longer as. I atery best fashion cisn

But wait, there's more:
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I want to teel the molshere erplode out of my body. And my tkelton rsltle with you anigry thrusts. your haroing
Uhhhhh, maybe it's best this T-shirt isn't in proper English.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

WCB 71 - Cat in a Box, Cat in a Bag

Just last weekend, WCB's theme was "Cat in a Box." I posted Kamikaze in a bed, because I didn't have a box. About 5 minutes after posting, Kamikaze climbed into his cat carrier for a little nap. Ahhhhh, I DO have a box - of sorts.
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This is a giant carrier for my giant cat. I had a hell of a time tracking down something he would be able to stand up and turn around in, but this works. I love how he just sits in there when he feels like it. It makes me think he's not going to freak out when the time comes for me to put him in there so we can go somewhere. Kamikaze doesn't travel well.

But he seems to want to go somewhere. Here he is in my big black bag.
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Really, he's just after the plastic bag in the big black bag. He loves to chew on the handles. I think it's like dental floss for him!

For more cats, visit Rosa's Yummy Yums! Next week it's MY turn to host WCB! I'm really looking forward to it!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Things That Make You Go Hmmm SUCK!

The Scissor Sisters. I downloaded a couple of their songs today. I'd heard of this band, though never listened to any of their music before. I wondered, after listening to them, if they took themselves seriously, and apparently they do. I worry my MP3 player might have broken because they suck so completely. It's a crime what they've done to "Comfortably Numb."

My local video store. For having one new copy of Hotel Rwanda which won and was nominated for a slew of awards. It's highly doubtful that this film sucked. Yet, beside the solitary video of H.R., there were FIVE copies of the straight-to-video movie The Defender. Starring Dolph Lundgren, this movie also features Jerry Springer as the President of the United States. 'Nuff said. Except to say that Lundgren's character is named "Lance Rockford." Haaaaaaaa!

My local video store staff. For giggling their silly asses off while watching White Chicks the whole time I was in the shop. For about half the time I was in there, one of the Wayans brothers dressed as, well, a white chick, sat on the toilet having explosive diarrhea. Comedy at its finest. (And wasn't that already done in Dumb and Dumber?)

The grocery store lady. Who jams so much heavy stuff into one bag I'm sure she hopes the bag handles will slice through my hand, relieving me of four of my fingers, before the bag breaks open and all the contents roll down the big-ass hill I've just climbed up to get home. Ha ha. So funny.

The lady who jumped the line. At the grocery store. And stood so close to me I mistook her for my long lost Siamese twin. The evil grocery store lady ignored her to finish dealing with me, and when I went to pay, I slid my arm up along the side of butt-in-lady until my elbow was level with her ear. (She was short.) And jabbed her in the head. She either didn't notice, or didn't mind.

Mr. Kim HeeBum. For sending me the exact same e-mail he sent
this blogger last April. Surely all of that "Twenty Four millions Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars" have been snatched up by now!

My boss. For responding to me saying, "The new teacher doesn't speak English very well at all," with "I know." What I was really hoping for was a *gasp* and a "Really?!? Well that will just not do!" (Today, the new teacher said two things to me: "Hello," and (pointing to a little boy) "she heb two pencil case."

Me. For losing one of my favourite earrings. Somewhere. When drunk. About two weeks ago. (But I just discovered it yesterday.)

Me. For calling my ex when I was drunk about two weeks ago. And meeting him last week. (It went well, but set me into a funk that's still smothering me.) I miss him.

Me. For being so bloody grumpy.

But then again, it's Friday.
The 13th.
Go figure.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Yesterday when I arrived to work, I asked how we were doing about finding a new teacher. I was told that actually there had been an interview conducted that very morning! Lo and behold, today when I arrived at work - presto, new teacher issoyo. Well hello there!

She seems nice - though I didn't talk to her very much at all today. She was busy getting acquainted with the school and some of her classes and what not. In the short bit that I did speak to her though, it became fairly apparent that the woman can't speak English. I find this odd, but not very surprising. I really had hoped that they'd opt to find someone who could speak the language they're supposed to be teaching, but I guess that's just too much to ask.

I suspect they'd have seriously considered hiring an empty pumpkin-shell propped up on a broomstick if it could manage to hop itself into the school for an interview.

The new teacher lives in the neighbourhood, in one of the complexes of tall ugly apartments behind our short ugly building. I suppose that's cool, for her anyway. She can make it home in 5 minutes. When I said, "Wow! That's really convenient for you!" she smiled and said, "I's heppy." My first tip-off to the non-English speaking thing was that she started off answering my "yes/no" questions with "okay." That, and she wasn't registering what Jane was saying to her when she switched from Korean to English. At all.

Anyhow, we had to sort her out an English name. I don't know why, but she immediately suggested "Lucia," which is a lovely name. I told her that was cool, but that she actually had a student named that in her 1st class. She argued that she "don't," and I say - "Yes, you do, at 3:00," and she said she "not," and finally Judy explained what I was trying to say. Once she understood, she decided she wanted an original name, so we perused a site on the internet with loads of girls names, and she settled on one before I could persuade her not to.

So now I'm going to start everyday shrieking at her, "Your name is GEE...ELL....OH.....ARGH....EYE-EYE-YAI-YAI-YAI-EH....gee-ell-oh-argh-eye-eh Glooooooooria!"

She's be belly heppy, I's sure.

Now we're still looking for another teacher to replace Judy who wants out asap. Maybe the pumpkin-on-a-stick still has a chance.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sunday, October 08, 2006

WCB 70 - Cat in a Bed

This weekend, WCB is being hosted by Boots, Tess, and D over at The Hidden Paw! Please stop by and have a look at the cats in boxes.

Yes, the theme this week is cats in boxes. Kamikaze loves a good box as much as any cat. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of him in one, and there hasn't been a box brought home in a long time that he could fit himself into.

He does have a bed though, along with his carrot. Actually, carrots. Yes, he has two. He's spoiled.

He's avoided his bed for a long time, and it was just sitting on the floor looking all dusty. So earlier this week I took it apart and washed it all, and fabreezed the inside foam pieces. One it was reassembled Kamikaze was so pleased. He hopped on inside and has spent much of the last few days getting reacquainted with his bed.
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Thanks for washing my bed!

It's the perfect place to relax and gaze at my food dishes.
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That last picture is strange. Where's Kamikaze's face?

Blasted ATMs, Indeed!

Kevin, in his most recent post, blasts the ATMs in Korea. He mentions me posting about the same trouble, but it was actually in a volley of Friday night e-mails that I was complaining.

Tell me,...please, what is UP with all the ATMs not functioning during Chuseok? Do the computers need to go visit their ancestors graves and drink some soju with their ATM-university pals that have also headed home for the holidays? Do the people who work inside the cash machines, slipping money through the little slot when I press my series of numbers need a holiday too? They need a sandwich and some juice? I don't understand it.

As Kevin notes, the bank has MY money. It's mine, I bloody well worked hard for it, and I don't see why I should have to wait to get my grubby little hands on it whenever I want! Kevin informs the that the ATMs are STILL down, so now it's been, what? FOUR DAYS of me being broke? (Actually that's not true, I had cash in my wallet up until Friday - and didn't try the ATM until then. I'll assume, though, since the holiday officially started on Thursday, the ATMs have been closed just as long.

What if I had an emergency? What if I had been arrested and needed to send my chauffeur to the ATM to get my bail money? What if my invisible car had broken down in the middle of the road and I had to have it towed? What if I needed a life saving kidney transplant and the hospital wouldn't operate without cash up front? That donated kidney on ice would go BAD, that's what would happen! And I'd be SOL.

Which is what I have been for the last three days.

I've never noticed this ATM thing before, because I've always been out of the country in previous years during the holidays. Seriously, though, it makes NO SENSE to me.

I intend to write a strongly worded letter to my bank. I'll threaten to yank my bank account to "Woori," which Kevin says has functioning ATMs. My bank will have job cuts, lay-offs, perhaps they'll have to close branches of their stupid bank, all because they will lose the interest they've been earning off my trillions and bazillions of won that's been sitting in their bank that I CAN'T HAVE!

That'll show them.

Friday, October 06, 2006

It was a long day today. (That's sort of stupid, as all days are the same amount of time, but you know what I mean.) I've neglected you, sweet blog. But I've missed you, if that counts for anything.

I bought myself a new pillow with a funky purple pillow case on Monday. I threw out the flat and surely germ filled plush pink rabbit I've been sleeping on for almost two and a half years. My new pillow is puffy and lavender scented, and I imagined it would provide me with deep restful sleeps I've been lacking.

Ummmm, not so much.

I woke myself up shouting sometime early this morning. In my dream, a spider with big hairy legs had grabbed the sides of my face and pulled me close to kiss me, only to bury his fangs deep into my lips. I woke up screaming "I WANT TO GO! LET'S GO! I WANNA GO!" to whomever was accompanying me in the dream. I don't remember who it was, but I remember they had told me that spider was alllllright, and not to worrrrryyy, and that my fear was killing their buzzzzzz. I woke up with the words I'd yelled still hanging in the air, and Kamikaze sitting upright beside my head with his eyes in those bug-eye "I'm scared" mode.

Sometime on Tuesday, during my first encounter with my new pillow, I woke up to see those big yellow "I'm scared" eyes looking at me again. A sound had woken me. High pitched and continuous, it was coming from me. Just before my face relaxed into it's normal position, I realized I was weeping. Tears had run out of the outer corners of my eyes and there were two pretty large wet spots on my pillow, on either side of where my head had been. I don't remember the dream much, but I remember I had been begging someone to spare someone (something?) else, and I had failed. And I was devastated.

Meanwhile, this morning I woke up with a horribly stiff neck and dull ache in the middle of my shoulder blades. Throughout the day, the pain creeped up into my head and formed a rebellious mutiny in my brain.

Nice work, stupid pillow!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Oh, I love presents! I love getting mail. If anyone wants to send me presents in the mail, feel free! Ha!
I got a lovely little box from The Maven over at Thought Nuggets. AWESOME!
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Here are my goodies sitting with Bert, who lives on my desk. (I don't know where Ernie's gotten to!)

Mmmmmm! Crystal Light. I love love love Crystal Light, and Maven was kind enough to send three flavours, Peach Iced Tea, Rasberry Lemonade, and Fruit Punch! They're all excellent. Mmmmmm! Sugar-free Grape Kool-Aid! Kool-Aid Kool-Aid tastes great! Love it! And Mmmmmm! Definitely NOT sugar-free chocolate. I love dark chocolate. Maven sent me a bar of Hershey's Extra Dark, and a bar of Hershey's Extra Dark with Cranberries, Blueberries, and Almonds. Outstanding!

I offered some of my bounty to my co-workers. (I didn't WANT to, but they insisted I open the package the moment it arrived) Jane, who had already told me how much she loves dark chocolate walked over to the bar I had unwrapped and was holding out to her, and snapped off exactly HALF of it! Grrrr! I shared some of the drink with the kids, they loved it. I had given Judy a little container of the Crystal Light Pink Lemonade I'd gotten from my BBM partner Lindsey, and instead of putting that good stuff in some water, she's been distributing it in small amounts into the students' hands and then laughing at how they screw up their faces in reaction to the sour taste.

Anyhow, thank you SO MUCH Maven! A hundred thank yous. I love surprises. I love presents. I love mail. I love how thoughtful you are. Thank you.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Friday Night

Another Market Day has come and gone at my school. Usually, the teachers all head out for some food after Market Day, but for the first time we opted not to. Everyone munches on stuff all day long (the kids kept coming around and putting mandu in my mouth) so no one was really hungry. Ah well, I hope we go out together soon!

So I stood on the street for awhile, deciding what to do.
What to do? What to do? It's Friday night.
I decided to go home, but on the way changed my mind and decided to stop in at a little Japanese style restaurant (that really doesn't do Japanese food very well at all) for a pint and a chance to read my book in peace.

The place was empty, but just a couple of minutes after I sat down, a couple from my apartment building came in and seemed happy to see me! He's Korean and his wife is Vietnamese. It's interesting trying to communicate with them. We can all speak our own languages very well, but aren't so good at each other's! I was glad the nice lady said I could call her "Hang," instead of her full name, which I found impossible to pronounce. The guy was a big "hand-talker" and accidentally poked his wife in the face about 3 times. I was glad he was across the table from me!
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As we were leaving, I ran into a guy I knew who invited me to sit down and have a beer and some food with him. Ok! What'cha eating?
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Mmmmm, chicken feet on sticks!

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Mmmmm, dried chewy squid!

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Mmmm, seaweed, more squid, and bugs!

Ummmm, I'm not so hungry, but sure, beer, ok!
My pal called another couple of friends (actually I was with these guys last Friday night as well) and suddenly it was a party. We decided to go to the noraebang (karaoke) which I'm always up for! We took a cab there, and my pal accidentally slammed the car's door on my hand. He looked positively ill about it. I got a nice gash in the last knuckle of my middle finger, and bruises on my two longest fingers, but it's alright. I still managed to rock out, though I can't remember what songs I sang.

I was supposed to go out tonight with another group of friends, but they never called, and I didn't care because I was enjoying a nice nap. It was an interesting excuse, though. Their guest, a friend from Japan, is Blood Type A, so she's shy about hanging out with a foreigner! Ha!