Category Archives: South Korea

Korean Reunion in London town!

So when I was over across that big ol’ pond Jon and I went up to London for a day to meet up with our friends Dave and Ha Young.

here they are!

Dave only just came back from his teaching stint in Korea in November, and Ha Young had just gotten off a plane a few days before our reunion, so it was really great to see the two of them! The weather was freezing….seriously, so cold. But we did some lovely wandering. First, we went to “Winter Wonderland” in Hyde Park. Very much a wonderland-rides and food and toys and friendly squirrels and coffee with rum in it and ice skating that no one wanted to do…

After the Wonderland we wanted to get to somewhere a little more dense and therefore less chilly, so we went to a great open market under (near?) London Bridge. I love markets, and this one did not disappoint. In fact, I bought 3 pound (money not weight) of garlic stuffed olives and they were amazing.

By then we were hungry, even though we sampled everything that could possibly be sampled! Apparently it only whet our appetites, so we found  an adorable and oh-so-tiny Italian restaurant not too far away. Service was questionable, but the food was delicious, particularly a baked brie appetizer that we shared.

we’re not good at being still and smiling at the same time

Dinner finished, it was time to head back to Victoria Station. Trains/buses to catch and all that. It was a long day, but such a nice one and I can’t wait to see our friends again-who knows where it will be next time:)

gorgeous, isn’t it?

Remember that time I was in a food magazine in Korea?

I sure do. I don’t think I ever showed you guys.

 

Photo Credit: Mr. Jon Norris

So yeah, there was that time that I was living in Korea and they found my blog and decided to interview me for a segment on foreigners in South Korea. Mostly about my favorite foods and whatnot (and they definitely did some editing with my words, I sound super Korean in the interview!) Good times. Go ahead and read, have a laugh at my expense:)

Asian karaoke in Ohio~

Of course, it’s different than regular karaoke in Ohio-no waiting in line at a crowded bar to embarrass yourself in front of strangers, only getting to sing one song anyway while the drunk regulars croon old country songs. Asian-style is better! We went to Momo2, which caters to the Asian crowd in Cbus with private karaoke rooms, bubble tea and a hello kitty themed gift shop. There were 6 of us, none except me had done karaoke before, and it was fantastic! The room was so, so, so tiny (not all of us could sit down at one time) but it was worth it. And damn if it wasn’t super hot in that closet of a room!

seriously, such a tiny room...

Then it was time for a quick trip home before going out for some more drinks. That few minutes at home turned into a little photo sesh…

Someone goes for the America's Next Top Model pose, and it doesn't go well.

that's better!

And finally, my version of an editorial in a magazine….feel free to pass on my work to the big wigs.

 

The rest of the night was spent at one of my favorite spots in Columbus, and ended when I forced our dd to drive me through the Taco Bell drive through…yuck. Regret. Anywayyy. I love my birthday. Good friends and maybe a few drinks, throw in a song or two…I’m set for another year. Cheers!

Home Sweet America

So I’m back! My flight and the whole adventure of leaving was incredibly sad.  Jon, Marisa and I got a hotel near the airport in order to be a bit closer for my 6 am check-in time (we live two hours from the airport), so to spend the evening we bought some wine and watched hotel tv. In the morning, the wine in my stomach combined with the ball of sadness to overall make me feel like throwing up. I was pretty miserable-trying to go through the gate to actually start the real check-in, which meant leaving the two of them, mostly involved me running back and forth a few times, while crying and squeezing them far too much. Eventually I did say my farewells and checked in-I’d had to check my one carry-on because it was too heavy, and in true Asian fashion, they apologized for my inconvenience and upgraded me to business class for my flight! I thought that was just swell of them, although I felt too sad to really enjoy it, plus the upgrade was only the first leg of my journey-a two hour flight to Japan to make the connection on to Chicago. Business clas would have been fabulous for the transcontinental journey…but I digress.

The Tokyo-Chicago 11 hour leg of the trip was not a good one. There was an impossibly adorable infant, maybe 2 weeks old, sitting in the next row over. Cried the ENTIRE TIME. I wasn’t angry or anything, although I’m sure many were, but that baby was unhappy, to say the least, so that made sleeping/sitting overall a bit more uncomfortable than anyone really wants on a flight over the ocean. Anyway, from Chicago to Columbus was quick and painless, though by this point I couldn’t keep my eyes open even for the short 40 minute flight. When my Dad saw me strolling somewhat druggedly through the airport, he laughed. Then we got my bags (they all made it! although my large blue piece of luggage is now missing a zipper, wtf?) and we went to Chipotle. AMERICAAAAAAA!!

Last night some of the bff’s fo life came over, which was at once wonderful and hilarious due to my extreme jet lag and the fact that I’d only had the chance to nap for a little over 2 hours before one Mr. Joe jumped on me while screaming about how he was happy I was back.  The evening was laid back and now my jet lag has gotten me up before 8 am to get a big start on a busy, rainy Monday in Ohio. It’s good to be back, although my heart hurts for my favorites I’ve left in Korea. Marisa, Jon…I love you both so much. Thank God for Skype.

And now to get reassimilated to that good ol American life…(now with health care, new and improved)!

My Last Day!

I’m currently sitting on the couch at 8:30 a.m. It’s Friday, I’m streaming the new She & Him album from NPR, and it’s my last day at Reading Town! Woo hoo! I can barely contain my excitement. At this point I’m not too sad yet-the day is going to be a blur of showing the new girl around (more on that in a moment), teaching all my classes(Fridays are super busy) and crying my eyes out as I say goodbye to the kids and friends that I have come to love dearly. But let’s talk about stuff!

So-new girl! Last night, Jon, Dave, Marisa and I ventured to Jamsil under Dave’s guidance to eat a delicious kimchi jijae dinner(it’s one of my favorite Korean dishes). After rushing home via taxi we found new girl-Lisa from Georgia-asleep on the couch. See, Reading Town did another fab job, and didn’t ask any of the foreign teachers their plans for this week and while they assumed that the new teacher would be sleeping at Emily/Caitlin’s 3 bedroom place for the 3 days she is here until I get on a plane, they never actually ASKED Emily and Caitlin if their spare room was available. And Emily’s family is currently here for the week, leaving their house as crowded as our own (we’ve also got the 3 bedroom thing going on, with Marisa and 2 Ashley’s taking up all the available sleeping space). So that meant that last night our director brought Lisa to our house, bags and all, and she passed out surrounded by her possessions on our couch. The four of us returned home around 10:30 and snuck quietly into Marisa’s room to watch YouTube videos while sitting on her bed like a bunch of teenagers.

Now it’s Friday, we’ve got a full house, and I’m pumped. I know that today will be an emotional day, but it’s also going to be super hectic and chaotic, so that should keep the weeping to a minimum. Tonight we are going out for shabu shabu, another one of my favorite foods, as my chosen “goodbye dinner”. Marisa has already cried on me this morning and made me tear up. Ugh. I wish I could pack her and the bf up with me and make them come to Ohio…that’d be perfect.

This time next week I’ll be getting ready for a road trip to Pittsburgh for my lady friend’s bachelorette party, after having spent the week visiting with my best friends and my dad, lazing about my dad’s house, eating the foods I’ve missed and watching the tv that I didn’t really miss but want to watch anyway (hello Food Network, how I’ve missed thee…). It’s going to be a strange transition, but I think I’m ready. At least I feel that way this morning, with my bags still un-packed and my favorites waiting to have dinner with me tonight. Ask me again on Sunday morning at the airport.

Goodbye Party Follow-Up

The dance-a-thon Friday night that was my goodbye party was a smashing success. Post-work I hurried home to try on nearly everything in my closet, decided on the skinny jeans, black top and fabulous booties, and we were on our way! The rainy day and busy week had left everyone in not such a party mood, but as the Pyeongnae/Hopyeong contingent of the group met at our house for a few cocktails before leaving, our spirits lifted. By the time we got on the bus we were rarin to go shake off the dreary, long work week.

Hongdae was rocking as usual for a Friday night-despite the rain, it was slightly warmer than it has been, and the 7 inches of snow from earlier in the week had mostly melted, so it felt slightly spring-ier. Our group expanded and moved to Gogo’s, which really has impressed me the last few times we’ve gone-great tunes, a dance floor upstairs, and real drinks for good prices (no shit Cass or Hite for me!) We were also given tickets for two free drinks at the door (well, not really free after 10 dollar cover, but you know what I mean) AND we got free Smirnoff  t-shirts squished into the shape of a bottle. Exciting! After dancing for a few hours to kitschy hip-hop/pop tunes (and maybe having a dance-off or two with this awesome Korean dude that loved Marisa) we moved on to Jane’s Groove. There was a drunken toast by the bf that made me cry, some group hugs, more dancing, and eventually Jon and I caught a cab home at 4. Bed by 5:30!

I woke up Saturday morning feeling a little worse for wear, but not too bad overall. That is, until I discovered that I’d idiotically lost my foreigner id card AND my bank card. Which is pretty rough considering that 1) I leave a week from today and have to turn in my foreigner card at the airport, and will be forced to pay 100,000 won ($100) if I don’t, and 2) I didn’t pay for a single drink all night, so how did I lose my bank card?? Oh, and 3) I officially have no cash, and no way to get the cash out since I am sans card.  Also, this may be a problem for getting back my pension from the school. I am worried. and really just hoping for the best. As it is, I will be going to the bank tomorrow morning with my passport in hopes of getting a new bank card asap, and also asking my director to help me get a new id card. Keep your fingers crossed for me! And ladies, here’s my PSA for the day-never put chunky mittens in a small clutch purse. When you pull the mittens out, your things will fall out. Especially if you’ve had a few cocktails and you aren’t paying attention. I believe this may have been my downfall. Damn you cute yellow clutch! You looked so cute with my ensemble, and this is how you repay me??