Sunday, August 22, 2010

You know it's hot and humid when......

You know it's hot and humid when...... put on a wrinkled shirt in the morning and after walking outside for five minutes, your shirt is wrinkle-free. sweat so much you give up on the sunscreen altogether. matter how much deodorant you put on ..... it's never enough!
...your wardrobe now consists of shorts and sleeveless tops i.e. anything that keeps you cool and doesn't show how much you're really sweating. have a countdown mantra for each step going up to your apartment on the fourth floor.
...your refrigerator is empty because you just can't justify walking to the store. dream about the harsh and frigid winter you were cursing just a few months ago. have to promise yourself ice cream as a reward for doing anything outside without aircon. spend too much money on iced coffee just to be able to sit in the aircon. sleep with the aircon remote next to your head.
...all your sentences end up having the word "aircon" in them.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Do you like long lines, expensive hotdogs, and endless vendors selling churros? If your answer is "yes!", you should visit Korea's fabulous amusement park Everland and Caribbean Bay!

Only a three hour drive away from Gwangju, we set out on our journey at 6:30AM to get there before the lines got too long. We arrived around 10AM and spent most of the day at the water park, Caribbean Bay. Unfortunately CB only has about 6 cool rides and it's maximum capacity is 14,000 people at one time. Maximum wait time for us was 1.5hours...for a 20sec ride. But.....true to it's pirate theme, we were allowed to drink beers in line. CB does have a mediocre wave pool that you must wear a swimming cap and lifevest in. Good thing CB provides the lifevest for a small fee... Overall, the CB was kind of a disappointment, but we were in good company with our friends Soyeon and Steven.

After a short nap/rest time we took the shuttle from our hotel back to Everland, for a night experience of SK's 'Disneyland'. As much as a disappointment the CB was, Everland made up for it with it's rollercoaster and rad fireworks show. Everland's famous rollercoaster, the "T-EXPRESS", is ranked the steepest rollercoaster in the world (70 some degrees). A ranking I didn't take too seriously until we were seated in the cart beginning our ascent...big mistake. We waited about 40 minutes for the ride, and I can safely say the wait was worth it. I almost had a heartattack on the ride - it was so scary! If you are interested, check out this video of the ride and relive our rollercoaster adventure: I thought the fireworks show at Disneyland was impressive, but Everland's show is 10 times better.

We made it back to our hotel and managed to drink a few beers until we passed out from sheer exhaustion.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Jisan Music Festival... sweat, beer, and music

It was a full weekend of music, camping, drinking, and swimming.

The lineup for Friday night was: Belle and Sebastian, Vampire Weekend with Massive Attack headlining.

Belle and Sebastian were really great - played a few classics, a song from their new lp, and few really old songs. Best moments of the show include: "annyonghaseo" and "kamsahamnida" in a weird Scottish accents, dancing Korean fans, and "Step into my office" and "Stars of Track and Field"!!!! Really great show, and kind of the only band I was looking forward to.

Vampire Weekend was cute and entertaining. They were a real crowd pleaser with lots of dancing (the hopping around kind) and oooooooooh oooohing.

Massive Attack - boring with a weird number screen on stage that kept coming up with random numbers that has no significance to anyone....drank lots of beer to pass the time.

I got to the festival a few hours before V, so I was the designated tent assembler. I sweat like I’ve never sweat before but accomplished setting up the tent on a semi-inclined spot right over a root that I had to sleep on… The camping really dirty, almost no bathrooms or running water within a 400m radius, tons of bugs, hot as f @%$, and tons of fun.

Drinks at a Korean music festival are aplenty and relatively cheap, so naturally we drank a lot. Beer was limited to Miller beer, but cocktails ranged from rum and cokes to special buckets of alcohol (like the ones you can buy in Thailand).

The swimming pool at the Jisan Resort was like the best thing ever!!! But first let me tell you a little bit about the weather at the festival: hot, hotter, the hottest and humid, humider, the most humid ever with NO BREEZE at all. So, the pool was a resource for cooling down in between shows, sobering up between shows, and the only form of shower we took all weekend. We had to pay something like 12,000won (10USD) for the day, but I can safely say I would’ve paid twice that much to swim in that pool. It was that awesome. (aaaaaaand the swimming pool had the best bathrooms at the festival)

Extra facts:
-Buying a shuttle ticket to and from Gwangju was the way to go (unless you’re V and the bus to the festival leaves early without you L). It shuttles you directly from the middle of Gwangju to the festival entrance for only 41,000won round trip, and can be purchase online at the festival website.

- The festival had "coupons" that we exchanged real money for. The coupons looked like monopoly money - we used the paper money for beer, food, and more beer (all the vendors only accepted coupon money)
- Really clean festival. The ratio of garbage picker-uppers to the actual festival goers was like 1:5.

So much fun!!!!

The sweaty aftermath of setting up the tent.

Belle and Sebastian

Crazy for Crash, Apollo18. Loud, Korean, punk band.

All four wristbands - entrance, camping, above 19, water park

*see here for a pool picture :

Summer Camp

Summer camp has been just as fun as winter camp! It really is fun to sit around, eat snacks, make ice-cream, and break pinatas. We try to squeeze some actual learning into all that fun, but summer English camp is just like any camp that you went to when you were ten, except all of it is conducted in a foreign language. We had lots of acitivities, role-playing, and reading, with the camp culminating in a speech presentation and breaking of pinatas.

I will really miss my students, even though they seemed pretty apathetic to my announcement that I was leaving...."Oh, okay teacher. Can we go home now?" Typical middle school students anywhere in the world.

Team "Blackhole" (best name ever!)

Team "LIC" (Who knows what it stands for...)

Team "Monster" (Silly girls, as far from monster students as possible)

Thursday, July 15, 2010


The first day of desk warming was pretty great... no classes to teach, no crazy students to control, no lesson planning. The second day, the novelty was beginning to wear off around 9:10am. I am now rounding the third straight week of no classes to teach and I have yet to find a solution to my boredom... I have however managed to waste hours and hours on the following websites:
- facebook (duh, I seriously hate/love this thing. Why do my news feeds consist of the same 15 people, and why are they all boring?)
- lamebook (terrible and terribly funny at the same time)
- google reader (the ten blogs that I subscribe to... these people cannot post fast enough to keep me entertained)
- various news sites (the guardian, the new york times, sometimes the onion)
- pitchfork (kinda lame since apple bought out lala and you can't listen to things for free)
- Maangchi's youtube videos (Korean cooking with a wacky Korean lady - with bad music in the background)
- facebook (again, yah.......)
- craigslist Seattle (rents really haven't gone down have they?)

Despite what you might think, it has occured to me to do something productive. I do sometimes take an occasional break from my computer staring, sigh-enducing stupor. Sometimes I play badminton with my elementary school students, or clean up my desk, or walk to the cafeteria to eat lunch. And luckily I am still doing yoga three times a week, otherwise I would really feel like a fat slob.

So, if you have any entertainment suggestions for the rest of my summer of desk warming, I owe you a facebook "like".

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


"Hey what's the first thing you'll do when you get back?" Number one question people ask me when I tell them I'm going back to the land of whole foods, real coffee, and expensive cab rides.

Number one answer:
"Eat me some Taco Bell!"
It sounds a little understated, since it's not really "Mexican" food, but nothing beats a perfectly-crisp-subsititue-the-beans-for-meat- Crunchwrap-Supreme-plus-a-large-baja-blast. I'm pretty sure I dream about this delish snack.
I love you, Taco Bell!

Friday, July 2, 2010


I'm not sure of the exact analogy I would use to describe the affect of Korean monsoon humidity on me. But if I had to choose, I feel like a used-leftover-towelette-left-in-a-hot-car-parked-in-the-walmart-supercenter-parking-lot.

There's something really special about the weather here that manages to make me feel like I'm sweating ALL day. My walk to work leaves me dabbing a sweat-soaked kleenex to my already melted face and wishing there was a shower in my school.

Despite the humidity, we have had some epic thundershowers that put the rainy city of Seattle to shame. 6 straight hours of thunder, lightening, rain, and car alarms being set off by the storm - impressive.