Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas in Daejeon

Its funny being in a country that has couple's holidays so frequently. Korea has a couple's holiday almost every month! Its odd that Christmas is even considered a couple's holiday instead of a family holiday. Its definitely interesting being single in a country such as this. I love that the singles go out and hang out together, and we all have a lot of fun. Unfortunately, some people had too much fun on Christmas Eve and so Christmas Day was quite boring for me. I just laid around doing nothing. It was a bit difficult especially since it was my first Christmas being without my family. I was kind of hopeful because I had made so many plans with people, but they were all too sick. I really wished that I had just gone home for Christmas even though $2,000 is a lot of money to spend for such a short time. Couple's holidays suck especially when you have to spend them alone! Right, right, I mentioned in my last blog that I had met a guy that I really enjoy being with, and the truth is he's still that guy that I really enjoy being with. But just like any other relationship I've ever been in, I have no idea what is going on. I am totally confused. Is it so hard to put your heart out on the line? Is it too much to ask to take a chance on me? Am I ever going to be that person that someone is willing to take the risk of being hurt? If my mom were here, she would hug me and assure me there was such a guy and I should be patient. She would say that if a guy can't see that I'm worth so much more than that; then he doesn't deserve me anyway. The truth is she's not here. The truth is there may never be that person for me. The reality is I may only have friends the rest of my life, and somehow I'm kind of okay with that. The friends that I have now are amazing! They are family. It doesn't matter to them that I am a foreigner. It doesn't matter to them that I can't speak Korean. It doesn't matter to them that my values, my views and my goals in life are a little bit different. It doesn't matter to them; they still love me, they still trust me, and they still would do anything for me. To know that there are people like that, it gives me hope that I will be happy the rest of my life no matter what the outcome is. For people like that, I am thankful. I am truly happy to have friends like that in my life. Because of people like that, I want to stay in Korea for a very long time.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Slacker

Yeah, I know. I haven't posted in forever! I'm such a slacker. Since it has turned really cold in Korea, I have become extremely lazy!!!! Seriously, I've even been slacking a bit in the gym department. I only went twice this week! I hate the cold weather!!!! But in my defense, I caught a cold from having to stand outside waiting for the bus. So you can't really expect me to want to go to the gym. However, it hasn't stopped me from hanging out with people!!! Hahaha. I always have energy for that! Have I mentioned lately how much I love Korea? So, here is whats new:

A few weeks ago, I met a really nice guy. We have so much in common its ridiculous! I didn't think I would find some one that shares so many of my likes and dislikes here in Korea, especially a Korean guy. We've gone out a few times, and I really had a great time each time. I am really looking forward to spending more time with him!

This past week was final exam week. When finals finished on Thursday, I went out with Alex and some of his students. I really enjoy hanging out with them! They are hilarious! We had so much fun! Alex always makes things fun! He has quickly become one of my favorite people to hang out with on the weekends!!!! Next to Douchi of course! But Douchi has been kind of boring lately since she's always studying! :.(
Although, last weekend she took a break from studying to go eat lunch with me and Ohma. I love Ohma! She owns a coffee shop in Hannam Dae called Nulbo's. They have the most amazing waffles, and of course delicious coffee. Douchi introduced me to her. She's such a lovely woman. She's the same height as my mom so when I stoop to hug her it reminds me of my mom. She's funny because she says I'm the exact opposite of her son so somehow that reminds her of him. Hahaha. I don't know! But back to Alex, hahaha, he called me on one of my breaks this week while Tommy, one of my students (he says he's my boyfriend ;D), was sitting in my lap. Of course, Tommy got jealous I was talking to someone else, and he started copying everything I said loudly! Finally, I asked Alex if he would talk to him, and of course, he said yes! It was too cute! Tommy said, "Hello, my name is Tommy". It was adorable. Then, he became shy! But Alex was a trooper! And it really made Tommy's day that he talked to Melanie Teacher's friend!

Of course there's Sun, my Korean sister. She's such a wonderful person for sharing her family with me! I really enjoy her nieces; especially, since my nieces and nephew are so far away! This past weekend, one of her nieces celebrated her first birthday. She was so adorable! Her cheeks were soooo chubby! It was ridiculously cute! Apparently, first birthdays here in Korea are a very big thing. It was a lot like Nicole Teacher's wedding reception. There was a buffet table with a lot of nice food. They played a slide show of professional pictures. They had a photographer taking pictures. They played a game where the baby picked up various toys that represented her career choice. She picked up a gavel which represented that she would become a Judge. She also picked up a 50,000 won representing prosperity. It was such a wonderful experience. I am so thankful to Sun for inviting me to such events!

I have met a lot of amazing people here in Korea, and I am truly blown away by their thoughtfulness. I am always meeting new people here, and I am always falling in love with them! I love everything about them and of course Korea! It has been quite a year, and I hope to spend many more here in Daejeon!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving in Korea

Ever since I can remember, I have spent Thanksgiving day just relaxing, watching television, and eating a huge Thanksgiving dinner. Last year was a little different, I was taking care of my grandmother; so I had to cook Thanksgiving dinner for her and my aunt and uncle. This year, Thanksgiving Day didn't feel like Thanksgiving at all. I had to wake up early and work on Thanksgiving. Hahaha. I don't even remember what I had for lunch. I didn't eat dinner; although Douchi and I went out for some pastries from Paris Baguette.

Although Thanksgiving Day was uneventful, we had Thanksgiving dinner at school on Friday. It was Activity Day, and this month's activity was Thanksgiving. We had a huge feast of gimchi, doekpoki, kimbop, pizza, chicken, fruit, cake, pie, and many other dishes. Nothing was traditional about it, but it was fun and delicious. The kids loved it, and they went back for seconds, thirds, fourths, and even fifths! Hahaha. They were walking around asking people to feel their bellies because they were so full. It was too cute! So I told them to do some stretches that would help them feel better! They loved it! They kept begging to do it again!

On Saturday, Douchi and I went to Michi's house in Daegu for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. It was absolutely amazing!!!! There was a turkey with actual stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, pumpkin pie and cake! Everything was so good!!!! We ate and ate because most of this stuff you cannot find in Korea. Its only once a year. After we ate, we decided to work it off by going dancing. It was so much fun! In Daejeon, there's only a couple of dance clubs, and the music isn't very good for dancing so we don't like to go to them. So we were excited that we were able to hit up some of the clubs in Daegu. I love dancing, and even though there was no one really there, it was fun just being with friends, listening to good music, and dancing!

This Thanksgiving, I did miss my family and my friends back home. I missed sitting at home in my pajamas watching the parade and football. However, I am very thankful for a wonderful life here in Daejeon. I have been blessed with amazing students that are so cute, joyful and full of life. I live in a beautiful and exciting city. I have a nice apartment. Best of all, I have many friends that I consider family. This year, I am thankful for destiny. I am thankful for courage. I am thankful that I had the courage to leave my entire life in America behind to have this amazing adventure in Korea. I have experienced so many new things. I have tasted so many new foods. No matter where life takes me, I know I will always remember Korea. There are things that I have learned in Korea that I will take with me the rest of my life. Like chopsticks, they are so useful!!! It makes it so much easier to eat noodles! Or using toilet paper to clean up everything instead of paper towels or napkins. Hahaha. I am pretty sure I could not live without Cham chi kim bop, and I will probably eat soup with every meal now. I am very thankful for the experiences I have had this year. I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving! Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Winding Down!

So at work this week, I had two open classes, and one additional meeting with parents. The past few weeks preparing for these open classes have been seriously stressful, but the hard work paid off. I think the classes went well. I believe my bosses are pleased...at least, I hope they are pleased. Anyways, so after all of that stress, I needed to wind down and have a little bit of fun with friends. This definitely was the weekend for that!

On Friday night, I met with Alex and Douchi and some of Alex's friends. It was a lot of fun! Of course, we went out to eat. Alex's friends are Korean, but they speak English very well. It was amazing. Two of the guys are the same age as me which is a good thing in Korea! Hahaha. I think we all hit it off pretty well so I definitely want to hang out with these guys again. After eating, we went noreabonging. Is that a shocker? Hahahaha. Most nights end at the noreabong. One of the guys and I had to go to a wedding on Saturday so we cut the night kind of short. Hopefully, we will be able to hang out again soon.

On Saturday, I went to one of the Korean teachers' wedding. The wedding was beautiful and she was such a gorgeous bride! The wedding was held at a wedding hall. When we arrived, Nicole was sitting in a room having her picture taken. We all walked in and took pictures with her. Apparently, all of the guests take pictures with the bride. It was interesting because the groom kept walking in and out. Koreans apparently don't have any superstitions about seeing the bride in her wedding dress. After Nicole had finished with the pictures, we moved into the ceremony hall. The wedding was amazing. They had a slide show of professional pictures of the bride and groom. They were really good pictures too! I couldn't believe how gorgeous these pictures were! The aisle the bride and groom walked down was more like a catwalk. It almost felt like we were at a fashion show and not at a wedding, but I kind of liked it! They had a fog machine so when the groom walked down the aisle, he walked through fog. When Nicole's Dad walked her down the aisle, they walked through fog. It was really interesting. After the wedding, we met in a reception hall with a buffet. The food was delicious. They had just about anything you could possibly want to eat! It was pretty sweet!

After the wedding, I relaxed a bit. I really had stayed out too long on Friday night, and so I was pretty exhausted. But, Sun invited me to hang out with some of her friends so I couldn't refuse. It was a lot of fun even though her friends were kind of shy. They spoke a lot of Korean so it was kind of hard to keep up. I can understand a bit if they speak slowly and enunciate, but it was a group of guys. I think in Korea, guys speak quicker than girls. I did understand a little so it was ok. Its really funny because apparently being single in Korea is an invitation for your friends to set you up. Hahaha, so every time I go out with Sun or even one of my other Korean friends its always all guys at the table...hahaha. Sometimes I feel like I'm on one of those dating game shows. I've met a lot of nice people though, but I really think they are too shy to act on anything. But I do enjoy meeting new people so its ok!

Today, Sunday, I've just relaxed a bit and ran a few errands. I realized yesterday at the wedding that my memory card for my camera was messed up. So I decided to go pick one up. Also, my bike tire went flat again sometime last week. I was debating whether I should just get a new tire or just get a new bike. I've been thinking about getting a new bike for awhile because my other bike only has 6 gears. So, it can be kind of slow when I'm riding to the gym. Plus, my back tire has gone flat at least 10 times now. It's never the front tire; it's always the back tire. So it can't be something I'm doing wrong, but I have to pay to get it fixed every time so it sucks. I asked for a new tire, but the guy insists he can fix it. But every time, it goes flat again. So I decided to just go for it and get a new bike. I figured with the distance that I ride everyday and with the length of time I plan to stay in Korea; I needed to get a better bike. It's nice. I spent a good deal of time today just riding around. I wanted to purchase it from a shop either close to home or work, and I lucked out because I found a place kind of in between. This bike doesn't have a basket like my other one; so I might still get the tire fixed on my old one and keep it for riding around town. Plus, the bar between the seat and the handle bars is kind of high so it would be difficult to wear a skirt and ride it. My other bike folded up which made it easier to carry up the stairs, but this one doesn't fold so I hope I am able to carry it up the stairs at the gym. Maybe I will get a better work out right? Hahaha. Here it is Sunday night, and I'm not ready for the weekend to end. I love the weekends! I love my students too; so it's not too painful waiting for the weekend to come.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

No Rainbows and butterflies this week

After 8 months of being in Korea, it was bound to happen eventually. One of those weeks that nothing goes well. Let's start with Monday. Randomly after working until 5:15 on Monday/Wednesday/Friday since the beginning of school, my boss changes my schedule. Not a big deal, I don't mind, but no one told me and the fact that it changed with no discussion means someone complained. Whatever, I got over it. Then, on to Tuesday, one of my open classes got moved up to next week with my other open class. Leaving me only a week to prepare. Ok, I can deal right? On Wednesday, I find out that my boss is going to sit in on my classes on Thursday to observe my open class lessons. Wednesday at 6pm as everyone is leaving the office, I'm given a form that I am supposed to fill out for the open class observation. Thursday, the materials I had asked for a week ago were not purchased. I had to run across the street to purchase some myself which left me no time to fill out that form I was given at the end of the day on Wednesday. My boss didn't like that I didn't have it filled out, and he didn't like my lesson plans for either of my open classes. So, Thursday afternoon, I had to change both my lesson plans for my open classes so that the Assistant Director could observe my classes on Friday. Friday, she observed my classes and gave me some suggestions on what to do, but we both discovered one of my classes is no where near ready for the open class. So now, I have to do the open class lesson plan everyday until open class. This will put us behind in the books, and my partners are not going to be happy about that. Whatever, I'm doing the best I can, and they have to know that. Friday night, I found out that my Jiu Jitsu tournament was canceled because no other women wanted to compete. I was relieved about that at first because after this week at work I wanted to spend time with friends on Friday and Saturday nights which would put me a little behind on my sleep on Sunday. Friday night, I had promised kwanjangnim I would go out with them for a bit so I couldn't really go out with anyone else. Then, tonight, Saturday, everyone from the gym is resting for the tournament, and everyone else is out of town. I had plans with Yup, but he bailed at the last minute. I'm really kind of upset about that because I needed something to go right this week. Now, I kind of wish my tournament wasn't canceled. I was happy when 6pm came on Friday because I thought all of the bad stuff was over, but I guess not. Whatever, one bad week out of 8 months is not bad. I'm still in love with Korea; just not in love with certain people right now. Hahaha. Maybe this week will be better? Anyways, I'm going to the tournament tomorrow to support the guys. Hopefully it will be a good day!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chungyang

Alright, this weekend was another fun packed weekend in Daejeon. Friday night, we went out for a bit with the gym. It was Mike's last night in Korea for a while so we went out for a bit. We just sat around and talked for a bit. Nothing too big. I was exhausted so I went home early.

On Saturday, I was able to sleep in for a bit before Sun picked me up. It felt good. I definitely needed some sleep! Hahaha. Sun and Wan Hee picked me up and took me to Sun's parents house in Chungyang. It was very relaxing. We had samgipsal and home cooked Korean dishes. I was super excited! I had never had such delicious gimchi! Sun's parents also have persimmon trees! They picked some persimmons for me! They were so good! I'd never had sweet persimmons before. I've only had the sour ones. I'm in love! Sun's nieces came over for a visit too. They were super cute! One even prepared an English song for me! It was the cutest thing ever! The oldest one (she's probably about 3) calls me Miguk Amni which means American sister. It was super cute. Sun told me they consider me family; her parents asked me to call them Ohma and Appa (Korean for mom and dad). They asked me if they could be my Korean family. It was so sweet!!! And they invited me to help make the gimchi for the winter! Yay!!!! I'm going to learn to make gimchi!!!!! After we got back to Daejeon, we hung out for a bit at Sun and Wan Hee's house for a bit. Some of their friends came over for a bit, and we sat and talked. Then, we went out noreabonging! Hahaha. It was another amazing performance! The guys were all super sweet. When I mentioned that it was cold, they all fought over who was going to give me their jacket. Hahaha. It was the sweetest thing ever. I'm pretty sure they only did it because Sun and Wan Hee told them to, but it was still super sweet. It was definitely a good evening! I really enjoyed hanging out with them!

Next weekend is my jiu jitsu tournament so I can't guarantee a post, but I will definitely try to post a little something to tell the outcome.

October 24th Weekend


So I didn't get back until late on Sunday night from the Jiu Jitsu Tourney; so I didn't get to post before the craziness of the week started. So I'm going to try to write as much about the weekend as I can remember. On Thursday night, we went out with the gym because it was one of the Korean guys last night in Daejeon. He is moving to Seoul because he is a police officer in the Korean army. He is really a sweet guy that speaks English very well, but he would never talk to me because he's super shy. Of course, on his last night in Daejeon, he opens up and starts talking. Hahaha. We went to Musa's another place that all of the workers recognize Douchi and me. We get special service! Hahaha. Then, we went noreabonging. The guys have amazing voices! If you have never been noreabonging with a Korean, you have to!!!! Every song is a performance! It's amazing!!!! I love it! I wish we could have stayed longer but it was a Thursday and most of us had to be at work in the morning.

Friday, as expected, I was super tired! I really wanted to take a nap on my breaks, but instead of resting like your supposed to do on your breaks, they asked us to set up for Halloween. I hate decorating with a lot of people. Everyone has there own opinion and nothing gets done. I was tired and grumpy because I only got 3 hours of sleep. On top of that, people kept popping the balloons and scaring the crap out of me! I hate balloons popping. Its the worst! Oh well, I survived; I'm not sure how, but I did. Which brings us to Friday night. Douchi and I wanted to go out for a short evening because we were both tired and Douchi had to be up early the next day. We met up with Alex and some of his friends for a bit before Douchi had to go home. I stayed out for a bit longer. One of the guys we hang out with from Hannam joined us late. After everyone else left, we stayed out even longer and talked. He's really sweet. It was starting to get really cold so he kept buttoning up my sweater around my neck...hahaha. He even walked me to the taxi carrying my bags. It was the sweetest thing ever especially since my bags are pink! Hahaha.

Saturday, I just wanted to sleep all day, but I couldn't because I had made a 10am hair appointment to get my haircut (yeah, I got home at 6am; I'm an IDIOT!!! hahaha). After my haircut, I was awake so I figured I would go to Costco. It wasn't busy at all. I guess Saturday before noon is the perfect time to go. When I got home, I was exhausted and I had to be up early on Sunday to go to the jiu jitsu tourney so I had decided to sleep. Is that possible on a weekend in Korea? Apparently not, Sun called me and invited me for dinner to meet with some of her friends. Of course, I told her I would. I can sleep when I'm dead right? Hahaha, jk. Although, I'm pretty sure I wasn't a whole lot of fun because I was falling asleep at the table. Hahaha, but I did last for a few hours. I was proud of myself. Sun noticed I was tired and suggested I go home early. Hahaha. I think that is the earliest I've gone home since I got to Korea.

Sunday, Kwanjangnim had told me to be at the gym at 6:30am, but every time we go somewhere we never leave until at least 30 minutes after he says we will leave. So I decided to get a little more sleep. I was getting ready when the guys started calling me at 6:15 when I wasn't at the gym. Say what? I told them I'd be there in a bit, but of course, there wasn't a taxi in Munnyeon Dong at that time. So I had to walk. I ended up meeting them at the bus station. Oh well, I got to the bus station in time, and we weren't late getting to the gym in Bucheon. The fights went really well. Of course the high schoolers started the tourney off. Song Won and Kim Won were in the same weight class and belt rank. There were several other boys in the same category. I think they sparred two players each before they had to spar each other for the gold and silver. Kim Won got the gold and Song Won took silver. It was the same way in the no-gi competition. Next, the older guys had their tourneys. Ki Jin took silver again (he wasn't happy about that, but he did well). Seung Young took one gold and one bronze. Seung Young busted his head open on one of his opponents teeth, he completed his matches with a bandage on his head, and that's possibly why he only took bronze in that competition. Mike took home a silver in gi, and he took home a gold in no-gi. Overall, our gym won four golds, four silvers, and one bronze. We won the entire tourney and took home the crystal trophy. Kwanjangnim was very happy, and we probably would have done some serious celebrating except we didn't get back to Daejeon until midnight. We were all exhausted from such a long day! But it was good! I was very proud of the guys!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fighting Weekend


On Friday, Yun Ho and Song Wan both competed in the K-One Max fight in Gochang, South Korea. I was able to go to support them because our school had the day off. I was really excited that I was able to go because the whole gym has been looking forward to this fight for forever! I didn't know that Song Wan was competing as well until they started checking his blood pressure. I think both of the guys were dieting for this match. Yun Ho dieted for 12 days and lost 8 kg for this fight. I was shocked because he's already really skinny! When we got to Gochang, the guys went into a room to register. I decided to wait outside because they had to weigh in, and even though they are comfortable enough for me to be in the same room, I'm not comfortable. After weighing in, we were able to go for lunch. The guys didn't eat all day because of weigh in. We ate eel for lunch because it is the Korean power food. It looked absolutely disgusting, but it was really pretty good. After lunch, we walked around Gochang for a bit. They were having some sort of festival so we checked it out. We were trying to figure out what we were going to do all day because the fight didn't start until 6pm. The guys asked me if I wanted to go to a sauna room. I told them that they could go, but I would read a book outside. Then, they asked me if I wanted to go to a PC room. However, the way they said PC it sounded like they were saying fish. So I thought that they were talking about the place where they have the fish take off the callouses on your feet. I was like sure I don't care. I was a little surprised when we ended up in a PC room...hahaha. Here I thought that I was going to get a Korean pedicure and instead I spent the day on the internet. Oh well! Hahaha. After a couple hours though, I was seriously bored and tired of sitting so I told the guys I was going to walk around the city for a bit. One of the guys didn't like me going out on my own so he walked with me. It was a little awkward because his English isn't that good, and my Korean absolutely sucks! In a group, it doesn't really matter because I know someone else will do the talking, but one on one sometimes I feel like I have to choose simple phrases to use to make people feel more comfortable. It was ok though. We grabbed some coffee and looked in a few shops before meeting up again with the other guys. When we met up with the guys, it was time to go back to the gym for their medical check up. The paramedics checked their blood pressure to make sure they were in a good condition to fight. Yun Ho's blood pressure was super high so they kept checking it. We were the only ones left in the gym when they finally gave him the ok to fight. After the medical check up, Kwanjangnim, the coaches and I went for dinner while the guys were warming up for their fight. I asked one of the coaches to order for me because I wasn't familiar with the food, and they wanted me to choose quickly. Kwanjangnim thought I was being slow about choosing what food I wanted and told the other coaches. When I gave him a dirty look, he was surprised that I understood what was going on. Hahaha. Then, they started talking about how they went noreabonging the night before. So to confuse him even further, I asked him a question in Korean about the story they were telling. It was hilarious! However, I think I might have gotten myself in a bit of trouble because now Kwanjangnim thinks I understand more Korean than I actually do...so now he doesn't speak to me in English. Hahaha. After dinner, we went back to the gym because the fights were starting. This tournament actually had a good many women fighters. The coaches kept telling me that next year I was going to compete in the tourney. I told them they were going to have to train me more than they do in kickboxing in order for me to compete. From our gym, Song Wan competed first. He did really well, but as usual his opponent was bigger and stronger than he was. Kwanjangnim had to throw in the towel the first round. I hate seeing Song Wan lose because he is such an amazing kid. He improves so much between fights, but I think he gets put up against harder opponents each fight. Yun Ho's fight went better than Song Wan's. It was the hardest fight I've seen him fight. He had to go all three rounds with his opponent. At the end of the third round, they were tied so he had to go a fourth round. His opponent did a few illegal moves and was docked for it. However, one of those illegal moves left Yun Ho hurt badly. He finished the fight and won. But he was hurt too badly to compete in his final match. It really sucked to see him in so much pain. I couldn't do anything about it. Everything I tried to do he pushed me away (I think he didn't want me to baby him). It was so hard for me to just sit and watch him hurting.

We got back to Daejeon about midnight; so I called Douchi to see what she was up to. She was out with Elicus and the guys from the soccer team. So I met up with them for another epic evening! Hahaha. It was a lot of fun! Even if we didn't end up at the noreabong. Hahaha. The guys are hilarious, and they make every night out amazing! We only stayed out until 4am before we headed back to Douchi's. My keys got locked in the gym so I had to spend the night with Douchi.

On Saturday, I had to call Shiiki to see what time Kwanjangnim was going to be at the gym so I could get back into my house. The gym was supposed to be closed because of the fight and some renovations, but Kwanjangnim was going to be there for a bit. I was finally able to get my keys and go back to my place to clean for a bit before the girls arrived for the Daejeon Rock Festival. Some of Douchi's friends stayed at my apartment for the festival. They were really sweet girls, and we had so much fun with them. The festival turned out to be more foreigners than fun. So Douchi, Michi and I decided to go back to Hannam. The girls decided to stay for a bit. They called us later because the police shut the festival down because of noise complaints. It was really weird. They met up with us at Musa's in Hannam, and we definitely showed them a good time. I talked to some Korean guys they thought were hot, and I introduced them. It was fun! Musa was playing some really good music so we had to get up and dance which got the whole bar joining in the fun. It was hilarious! The girls were just excited that Musa served french fries, cheese sticks, and tater tots! Hahaha. Afterwards, we got a group of guys from Musa's to go noreabonging with us. However, the girls were not used to staying out as late as we normally do, so we went home pretty early at 3:00. By the time we got everything figured out and got home, it was 4am. One of the girls decided that she would prefer to be closer to the train station in the morning so she wanted to stay in a hotel. So, I had to help her find a taxi at 4am. The entire time we were looking for a taxi, she kept complaining about how the other girls were trying to tell her what to do. She certainly was not very appreciative of our hospitality. Oh well, the other girls were really sweet, and I would love for them to come back any weekend.

All in all, it was a good weekend. Next weekend, I'm supposed to go to Seoul for a concert with Douchi. It should be fun! Stay tuned!

Shrimp and Partying with soccer players!

Alright, as expected I didn't get around to a post last weekend, but it definitely needed a post. On Friday, Kwanjangnim gave me a new ghi. It was really cool! I was super shocked! Apparently, I'm the first person he has done this for so it was really special. After I got my second stripe for Jiu Jitsu, he had asked me if I wanted to get a new ghi. I told him that I would wait until after my third stripe because I went to Taiwan and everything. I had no idea that he would buy me a ghi! He gave it to me in front of everyone. One of the girls, Hyu Jin, told me that everyone was jealous of me. It is a really nice ghi. It is white, and it says Jiu Jitsu on the sleeves. It is much thicker than my blue one so it should last a while. I was super excited! I had actually planned to skip my kickboxing class that night to go out with Douchi, but after that I had to stay. After kickboxing, Douchi and I went to see one of our friend's band play at a bar in Hannam. They were really good, and we had a lot of fun. We met some new people. They are art students at Hannam University. They all play soccer together too. They were a good group of guys. Two of them were born in the same year as me which is very special in Korea because of the social formalities. In Korea, it is hard for people to be friends if they are not in the same birth year because you have to show respect to people that are even a year older than you. So everyone gets a little excited when they find someone that is the same age. If a person is older or younger, they are your brother or sister. One of the guys name is Nam, he is my first peer friend in Korea. This is Nam:

So we were both kind of excited about him being my first Korean peer friend. After the concert, we went to Musa's to hang out for a bit longer and talk a bit. We ended up going noreabonging until 6am. It was crazy! We had so much fun though!

So Saturday morning, after noreabonging, I rode my bike home. Hahaha. I slept most of the day. It was kind of depressing because it was such a beautiful day outside, and I slept through it! Needless to say, I did not make it to the Baekje Festival as I had planned. However, I did wake up when Sun called me to invite me to dinner. It was amazing. We ate on the roof of the Dunsan MMA gym. We were able to watch the sunset which kind of made up for missing the rest of the day. It was gorgeous!!!! The Dunsan Kwanjangnim brought his wife. She was really nice. The Judo coach from the gym came as well! It was a really nice dinner party. However, everyone was tired so it ended way to early! Sun and her boyfriend, Wan Hee, dropped me off at my apartment. After they dropped me off, I called Douchi to see what she was doing. We decided to hang out for a bit in Hannam. I called my new friend Nam to see if he wanted to come out with us, and of course, he was immediately on his way! Once again, an amazing evening began to unfold. Nam brought several of his soccer buddies with him that we didn't meet on Friday. They were hilarious. Two of them were older so they are Douchi and my Oppas, big brothers, but we just call them by their names. One of them, Kim, is the same age as Douchi (but he doesn't know this...hahahaha). He calls me Noona (big sister). It's really funny! He's the coolest kid ever. I was laughing the entire time! This is Kim:

We decided to go noreabonging again. Douchi and I performed an amazing "Barbie Girl" which Lee, one of the big brothers, said was stuck in his head all day on Sunday. This is Lee:

The guys performed SHINee's "Ring Ding Dong". It was awesome! When it got to the chorus, they all broke out in the dance. I had never seen anything like that at the noreabong. Douchi and I were shocked and couldn't stop laughing.

We stayed at the noreabong until 5 on Sunday morning...which kind of sucked for me since I had to be at work by 10. Hahaha. It was all good though, I made it to work on time. It was Sports Day so I had to cheer on the kids and run a race. It wasn't too bad, and I don't think it showed too much that I didn't go to sleep the night before. It was a lot of fun. The parents seemed to really enjoy the day with their kids, and they appreciated us coming out on a Sunday to play games with their kids. We had a wonderful time.

After Sports Day, the guys had a soccer game. So, Douchi and I went to cheer them on. Their offense was really good, but their defense sucks. Nam scored 4 goals. I was so proud! It was a fun game though because we were able to hang out with the guys a bit. Some of the players on the team have to share jerseys (I guess maybe they came late or something). But Kim let one of the guys were his jersey, and the guy got hurt so Kim had to borrow a jersey from one of the other guys. It was hilarious because when you translate what he said into English he was saying, "Give me your clothes". So, I teased him the rest of the game in English about it. The other players started in on it, too. It was really funny because normally Korean guys are a little more shy about stuff like that. We also found Lee and sang "Barbie Girl" to him to make sure it stayed in his head awhile longer. Which the other players also enjoyed and even joined in on the chorus. Anyways, it was definitely a fun game even though they lost. It was truly an amazing weekend!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Quick Post

So I'm going to make this a quick post because not much went on this past week/weekend, but next weekend I may not have time to post because it's going to be pretty busy!

This week at school we went to the Chestnut Farm to pick some chestnuts. It was pretty sweet because I've never seen a chestnut before. They're spikey! I nicknamed them Spikey Mikey and came up with a little rhyme for the kids to remember the words to describe them. The kids loved it! Also this week at school one of my kids had a really high fever while he was at school and his mom couldn't come pick him up. So he had to lay on the couch at school for 4 hours before she could pick him up. I was so upset! It was so sick...I almost cried just watching him.

This past weekend, I got invited to a few different things but I decided to be responsible and get things done around the house. On Saturday, I went to Costco to do some grocery shopping, and I went to Galleria to spend my $100 gift certificate. I found a nice backpack from North Face for exactly $100 so I knew it was meant to be. Hahaha.

On Sunday, I went out with the Muay Thai coach from Dunsan MMA and his girlfriend, Sun. They are such amazing people! I had so much fun. I really enjoyed talking with them! They invited me to a jumbo shrimp barbecue next weekend! I'm super excited! I can't wait. I'm supposed to go to the Baekje Festival on Saturday, but hopefully I will be home early enough to go with them! We talked about Sunday, but on Sunday, we have Sports Day for school. Ugh! I hate that everything is piled onto one weekend! I'm not complaining about Sports Day because in theory it sounds like fun, but I hate that its on the weekend which means I have to go to bed early on Saturday night (and by early I mean before 2am), and I can't do anything on Sunday because its all day. Oh well, good times! I can't wait! Maybe I'll get around to a post next weekend, maybe not. Who knows!!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

SHOPPING, THE BEACH, AND DANCING

So far since arriving in Taipei, we've done a ton of shopping! Seriously, the markets are amazing, and I love the jewelry. I cannot believe that I have bought so many bracelets. I swear, I must have bought 50 bracelets this week. I love it!!!

However, shopping is not the only thing we've done this week. We went to the beach yesterday. It was nice. The water was gorgeous, but the sand was disgusting. We got in some serious tanning, but I think we got a bit of our tans walking around the markets.

Last night, we went dancing at this club called Luxy. There was a group of girls that started crowding around us and asking us to dance. Asian girls are like that though. They'd rather dance with foreign girls than guys. How do I know this? I tried to get one of them to dance with a guy instead of me, but she kind of got a little mad. Hahaha. Whatever. Luxy had some really good performances. The bar tenders did a fire show that was pretty sweet! They had a group of girls that danced a few times throughout the night. Then, they also had a dance crew do a performance. The club was fun until they started playing all techno in the hip hop room. Who does that???

Today, we went to Taipei 101. It's the tallest building in Taipei. We did some shopping in the mall there. They had a pretty sweet bookstore there where we were able to find some post cards and stuff. After, we went to the largest street market in Taipei. It was nice. We found a lot of gifts for friends and family. I am excited about giving gifts!!!

So far, we have had a very relaxing week. It has been perfect!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Special Posts for Taiwan

Now, I can't promise I will update everyday that I am here in Taiwan, but today I have a little time, so...

Yesterday, we landed in Taipei. I didn't check the weather or anything (probably stupid on my part but hey whatever right?) Apparently, a typhoon hit Asia this past weekend. We actually flew out of Korea at the tail end of it. However, when we landed in Taipei, it was beautiful, sunny, and 85 degrees!!! Sweet! We have been told that the typhoon ripped through the island, and that there has been a lot of damage mostly to the southern part of the island. They also told us that we roads to the south are closed. So, Douchi and I are going to one of the northern beaches today.

Last night, we went to this really cool restaurant called Modern Toilet. The entire restaurant was decorated as a bathroom. The tables were bathtubs with a sheet of glass over it. The seats were toilet seats. The cups were shaped like miniature urinals. The dishes were toilets. Even some of the food was shaped like poop! Oddly enough, the only place that didn't have a toilet seat was the bathroom...it was a squat pot. The food was very yummy! It was an all around fun experience!!!!

After, we walked around in a few of the night markets. I got some really cute sandals for $6!!! I also got most of my Christmas/birthday presents for family and friends!!!! The stuff here is amazing! I love the jewelry and stuff! I'm super excited about the rest of this week!!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

This week and weekend

This past week at school has been pretty exciting because we are off for Chuseok most of this coming week. Chuseok is the Korean Thanksgiving. It is celebrated on September 22. What I've been told is that older people give younger people allowances and presents on Chuseok for showing respect. The kids dressed in their Hanbok (Korean traditional dress) a couple of days this week for their Korean classes. They looked so cute!!! A lot of the parents sent in food for all of the teachers as well. Parents also sent in gifts. One of my students gave me some bath gel and body butter from the Body Shop. Another one of my students gave me a 100,000 won gift certificate to one of the department stores. I was shocked!!!! I just thought Chuseok was celebrated the same way we celebrate Thanksgiving with food and family. I did not expect any presents! Crazy! It was definitely a good week!

As good as the week was, the weekend was even better!!!! Friday night, Douchi and I went to Mr. Chicken and Beer (of course), and then we hung out for a bit at our endcap. We called it an early night at about 2 since I had Jiu Jitsu testing on Saturday.

Saturday morning, I woke up early and made a high protein breakfast. Then, I took some cold medicine and went back to bed. I've had a cold this past week, and I wanted to feel well and be well rested for my test. When I woke up, I made a high carbohydrate lunch so that I would have energy for my test. I don't think my body is used to consuming so many carbohydrates because along with the energy boost it made me really nervous and shaky. Hahaha. Really, there was no reason for me to be nervous because Kwangjungnim already told the entire gym that it was 99% chance that I was going to pass because I always come to class, but I was so nervous I was emotional. I kept looking at everyone walking into the gym so calm, and I started wondering how they were so calm. Then, I realized that they had probably spent the morning with their family which would make me calm as well. So of course, I started missing my family and thinking that this is my first birthday away from my family which made me cry a little before I even started testing. Then, we started the test, and of course everything was in Korean, and everyone kept forgetting to translate for me. Normally, it's not that big of a deal, but I was super nervous. We started with technique, and San Ha and I did well with that. I still had no idea how many techniques I was supposed to show him. So, I just did as many as I could remember at the time. After technique, we had to spar for about 45 minutes straight one after another. It wouldn't have been too bad except our lineup consisted of Tae Su, Seung Young, and Seun Gil. These guys are huge, not too mention really good at Jiu Jitsu. Seung Young and Seun Gil were pretty nice with their spars, but Tae Su was MEAN!!!! I think he just got caught up in the fight, but he kept choking me really hard. One time, I said tap three times before he finally heard me and let go. I think it really scared him, but it served him right!!!! Then, another time he sat on my ribs really hard. He is REALLY heavy!!!! Hahaha. I wanted to tap just so he would get off of me, but it was my test so I couldn't. Kwangjungnim finally told him to get off me, and slow down. After my second spar with Tae Su, we were finished, but no one told me so I was so confused! Everyone saw me sitting there and they started laughing because I was confused which made me start wailing!!!! I ran to the bathroom. San Ha came in and helped me calm down. Then, Kwangjungnim came in to tell me not to cry because I passed the test. I wasn't crying because I thought I had failed...really, I love Jiu Jitsu and everything, but failing one test isn't worth crying over. I mean I'd probably be angry, but I don't think I would cry. I was just emotional from missing my family. After I calmed down, I walked back out and watched the end of the testing (Ki Jin had to test for his fourth stripe). While we were watching, Seun Gil noticed that I scraped my toes on the mat so he went to the office and got some bandaids and ointment. It was so sweet. He doctored me up. But seriously, I have no skin left on my big toes and the toes next to them. Not to mention, I probably have close to 100 bruises all over my body including one across my nose, one above my eye, and another on my chin. It was rough, but it was still fun. It was totally worth it! San Ha and I both got our stripes! So did Ki Jin and most everyone else.

After the test, we went out to eat. We were all starving! Douchi met up with us at the restaurant which was definitely good because I was still kind of emotional. Song Sok met up with us too. I had my two best friends!!!! I started cheering up a bit then. It was definitely a good day and a good night...even if I did cry my eyes out! Hahaha. I'm such a baby! I used to never cry. Now, I cry during music videos! What has Korea done to me? Hahaha, just kidding. No matter how emotional I get, I still love this country, and I wouldn't trade these experiences for anything. I miss my family and friends back home, but I don't want to go home...I want them here with me.

Today, I went to get my haircut. I went to the same hairdresser as I did last time, but this time she did not cut it as well as she did the last time. I came home and fixed it, but I spent too much time (it took 5 hours) and money for me to have to fix what she messed up. I will not go back to the same hairdresser, and I probably will not go back to the same salon.

After the salon, I came home and started packing for Taiwan. I am leaving in two days on Tuesday (my birthday). I am celebrating my birthday this year in Taiwan with Douchi!!! I am super excited! If I have to spend my birthday away from my family, this is the best way to do it! So, that's all I have for now. Happy Chuseok Everyone!!!! Hopefully, next week I'll have some fun stories to tell from Taiwan!!!!

First of the last two weekends

Alright, as I said a few weeks ago, last weekend was super busy, and I didn't get a chance to make a post. Sorry!!!! This weekend has been pretty busy, too, but I'm going to try to make this post worth reading! It would be a super long post if I did both weekends together so I am breaking them up.

I'll start with last weekend. Friday night, I went out for a bit with some of the guys from the gym. It was pretty calm because Kwangjungnim and one of the older guys at the gym went out with us too. It was still fun though! I really enjoy hanging out with the people at the gym. They are such amazing people!

Saturday was fairly chill. I went to Costco for a few things in the morning. Korean class was canceled so I didn't have to go to class. So I did a few things around the house. Then, I met with the people from church to practice even though I didn't sing with them on Sunday; they wanted me to come and practice anyway. After, I did a little bit of shopping in Dunsan before coming home. I decided to have a movie night since I had to be up early on Sunday morning for the Kickboxing Tournament.

Sunday morning, we met at the gym to catch a bus to the tournament. The tournament was in Sintanjin, about 30 minutes from the gym by bus. We got to the tournament early so we went for some lunch. We had bone soup. It was very yummy!!! We still had a bit of time before the tournament after we finished lunch. So I talked a bit with the guys from Daegu MMA. "Sex Machine" was there. Hahaha. For some reason, he wanted to take a picture with me...which was fine, but he wanted me to stand in front so that his head wouldn't look too big standing next to me. Hahaha. My face was bright red for the picture because they kept talking about how small my head was. I'm sure it was a horrible picture. Oh well, I don't have to look at it! Hahaha. After the picture, he introduced me to his brother, "Sex Machine 2". I'm not making this up. I was dying laughing until...he asked me to tell him who's head was bigger. Who does that? I'm in trouble no matter who's head I say is bigger. I tried to tell them that they were the same size, but they wouldn't let me slide. So I asked my English speaking buddy who I should choose, and of course, he would not help me!!!! I decided to go with the truth. The original Sex Machine's head was slightly smaller so I chose him. I hate answering awkward questions like that. Hahaha. Anyways, shortly after the tourney started, and Song Won was up first. I really wanted him to win mostly because he's the coolest kid ever, but also because he lost his first kickboxing tourney. He fought the same kid as last time, and he lost again. But, he did a lot better this time. I was very proud of him, but he was still pretty bummed. Next up for our team was the guy we call "The Driver". We don't know his real name so that's what we named him because he drove us home from the last kickboxing tournament. He was awesome! He won his fight. After "The Driver", San Won was up. She's one of the high school girls at our gym. It was her first fight, and she went up against a girl that's been training since she was 12. San Won didn't do well in the first round, but after some advice from Tae Su, Yu Noh, and one of the coaches from Daegu MMA she did better in the last two rounds. She still lost, but she put up a good fight. The last fight of the tournament was the best. Mostly because it was Song Sok's fight. He's the sweetest guy ever!!!! Plus, he is an awesome kickboxer. So, of course, he won his fight! After Song Sok's fight, Douchi and I took pictures with some of the guys from Daegu. I wanted a picture with my English buddy. He told me I had to stand in front...hahaha. So, I did...

Hahaha...he was embarrassed so he closed his eyes! Hahaha. But Sex Machine called me a play girl for posing like that. I told him it was only a picture. I have no idea why I felt it necessary to defend myself against a guy that calls himself Sex Machine. Hahaha. Actually, he's one of the Kwangjungnims at Daegu MMA so what he thinks kind of does matter since when I test for some of my belts I have to test through them. Hahaha. Anyways, next we took pictures with one of the top amateur fighters in all of Korea. He's such a sweetheart...with Douchi:

But of course with me...

Hahaha...he was goofing off! Really, he didn't want me to stand next to him (the whole big head thing), and he didn't want me to do the same thing to him that I did to my English buddy. It didn't matter to me. I think its a good thing that they feel comfortable enough with me to goof off like that. It means I making progress. Korean guys are so shy around girls! It took me a few weeks to break in the guys at Daejeon MMA, but I think the Daegu boys see how I act with our guys so they feel more comfortable with me. That being said...our next pictures were with our boys Song Sok and Tae Su. Of course once again, they were nice with Douchi's picture (it's on her camera, I don't have it), but for my picture...

I asked Tae Su to turn around for the picture like 10 times before I made lemonade. Hahaha...he didn't like it. He kept saying, "delete, delete". Hahaha. Oh well, maybe next time he will listen.

After the tourney, we went back to Hannam and ate dinner together. It was so much fun because the Kwangjungnim and one of the coaches from Dunsan MMA came out with us. The coach's girlfriend and the Kwangjungnim both spoke fluent English. We had an awesome conversation. We are definitely going to hang out again. I'm excited!!!!
Sweet!!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Too Long Apart!!!

So finally, Douchi and I were able to go out again. Her mother and brothers were in town for three weeks, and so she needed to spend as much time with them as possible. So we didn't go out at all while they were here.

Douchi's friend Michi was in town this weekend. So of course, we had to take her to Mr. Chicken and Beer for the deliciousness that is the Cajun Chicken Salad. I swear its the best salad ever made. I am never disappointed at Mr. Chicken. It's funny because one of the guys at the gym said that I was famous at Hannam because Douchi and I are always at Mr. Chicken, and apparently everyone knows me because of it. Hahaha. We are rather friendly I guess. Anyways, it was so much fun!

After, we were going to go to Kwang Min's bar, but it was closed. The Eagles didn't have a game last night so maybe they had a family night or something. Oh well, so we hit up another restaurant that was next to it. Douchi had gone there before with some coworkers, but I hadn't been yet. It was a Korean restaurant, and we ordered the Korean pancake. It had octopus and shrimp inside. It was delicious. It's weird because I like octopus but I don't like squid, and Douchi likes squid but not octopus. Hahaha. We are such opposites! Alex met us at the restaurant a bit later. He is a professor at Hannam University. It was a lot of fun, but Douchi and Michi were tired so they went home early. Alex and I hung out a bit longer. We tried to pick up some people on the street to go noraebonging with us (and by we, I really mean Alex). Hahaha. It was awesome. I think we kind of scared people because no one wanted to go with us! We ended up just going to another Korean restaurant and sitting and talking till about 4am. It was one of the restaurants that we usually go to after a tournament.

Speaking of tournaments, there is another kickboxing tournament a week from today (Sunday). I'm super excited because...Song Won, Yeu Noh, and Song Sok are fighting in it. Song Sok has been in Seoul for military training for the past month...so I haven't seen him in forever! He's one of my favorites at the gym! He is the sweetest guy ever, and he is a really good fighter. This is Song Won's second kickboxing tournament. His first tournament he lost so I hope he wins in this one. I really want him to win. He's a good kid! Of course, I like watching Yeu Noh fight because he's really good (Kwangjungnim's Ace).

Speaking of Yeu Noh, his girlfriend came to the gym this week. She is really pretty and really sweet. She speaks English very well. She told Yeu Noh that she wanted to talk to Douchi and me again. I was teasing Yeu Noh that he was a lucky guy to get such an awesome girlfriend. He said, "No, she's lucky. I am handsome guy." Hahahaha. It was pretty funny! I love it. It is true; he is a handsome guy, and they make the perfect couple. It was just fun to tease him. I asked his girlfriend if she ever went to his tournaments, and she said no because she gets scared that he is going to get hurt. So, I don't think we'll be seeing her at the tournament. I guess its a good thing because he might get distracted if she was there. He likes to focus before the fights. He is always very quiet, but after...he is hilarious!!! I'm so excited for the tournament...but tournament on Sunday means no church.

Church...I made it to church again this week. This time I sang with the band. It was a lot of fun. We met yesterday (Saturday) to practice. It was pretty sweet. Although, it made for a super stacked Saturday. I wanted to go to Costco again this week but I didn't get a chance because I woke up too late. I had just enough time to get ready for Korean lessons. Korean lessons ended at 3pm which made me a little late for band practice at 3:30 because lessons are at Daejeon Station (about a 20 minute subway ride from Government Complex which is about a ten minute bike ride from the church). If I don't have to wait for the subway, I can get there on time. It wasn't a big deal because they were still setting up the sound equipment. I think they were ok with it. We practiced again this morning (Sunday) which kind of sucked because I was that idiot once again that stayed out until 4 when I had to wake up at 8. I was so scared that I was going to oversleep that I woke up at 6 and couldn't go back to sleep. I was so tired during the service!!! Not to mention that my throat was scratchy from not resting my voice! Agh! Oh well, I think it went well. Everyone seemed to like hearing female voices on stage. Apparently for the past year, it's been a boy band. We broke the streak! Hahaha.

Alright so that's about it for this week, I will try to post again next weekend but I can't promise anything. It gets kind of crazy on tournament weekends.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Last Weekend

Sorry, I missed my post last weekend. I was super busy, and I didn't have time to write about it.
Saturday, we had Korean lessons, and after I went to get my hair cut. It looks super cute. See:

I was kind of hesitant about going back to the same salon because last time I asked for the same haircut and the girl said that she couldn't do it (which was fine because most stylist can't do it) and so I got a different style instead. I had also asked for a "Magic Straight Perm" but she suggested a different perm instead. My hair was still wavy and a little bit frizzy as well. So I figured I should go back to the same salon and have them fix it rather than explain the problem to a different salon. I got a different stylist this time and she did an amazing job. She "Magic Straight" permed my hair and cut it perfectly!!! I was super pleased because....

Saturday night was Trevor's last Saturday night in Daejeon. He was one of the foreigners at the gym. He is moving back to Canada. So, we sent him off Daejeon MMA style. A bunch of the people from the gym went out. We started out by Hannam. We had a ton of food. Some was American and some was Korean. I tried everything including...

Oh yeah, I can say that I have eaten sea snails. Something to add to my resume...jk. Seriously, they weren't too bad...they were just very salty. It was so much fun because some of the guys that don't normally come out with us came. It was really cool. It's really funny because Korean guys can be really shy about things. So, us girls, well at least I do, like to tease them and get them to blush. One of the Korean guys did a fake kiss on one of the other guys as a joke...so I thought it'd be funny to do the same thing...

...and it was very funny! (My hand is covering his mouth in case you can't see it). I did it to Simpson, and he's always a good sport about those things. He's the one that went out with Douchi and me several times. He is super sweet and funny too! Anyways, it was a lot of fun. After, we went to Yellow Taxi in Dunsan Dong to hear a friend of Trev's and a friend of Mell's play in a band(two different people, same band). It was cool because they played a lot of the rock songs that you don't normally hear in Korea. The night was a lot of fun, but I went home early (and by early I mean 2am) because...

Sunday morning, I woke up really early because I wanted to go to the MMA Tournament that Song Won and Yu Noh were competing in. I had to be at the gym at 7am. When I got there, Tae Su and Simpson were there to wish the guys luck. They didn't go to the tournament because they stayed out all night with Trevor. This is normally the kind of thing that Tae Su would compete in except there isn't an MMA fighter in Korea that wants to compete against Tae Su. So, it was just Song Won and Yu Noh competing. One of the guys, Chin Tek, went to watch. His English is really good, and he helped me study my Korean.

The competition was in Gumi which is his hometown so he went to the tournament and after the tournament he went to his parents' house. Anyways, so we took the train to Gumi. When we got there, the boys weighed in. In case you're not familiar with these kinds of tournaments, the guys diet for a week ahead of the tournament and don't eat anything the day of the tournament until after they weigh in. So, the guys weighed in, and then we went to eat. We ate soup...I hate soup...but it wasn't for me it was for the guys so I sucked it up and ate it...well, some of it. We went with some of the fighters from our "family" gym. It's funny because when I go out with a bunch of Koreans...they always watch me eat. Here, it was no different. At first, I was self-conscious about it, but I'm used to it now. They just want to make sure that I like the food. After we ate, the guys sat and talked for a while about fighting. Koreans love Mike Tyson...so of course, Mike Tyson came up a bit in the conversation. Personally, I'm more of an Evander Holyfield fan myself so I can't say that I like Mike Tyson very much. I'm not that passionate about it anyways so it doesn't really matter. I did talk to a few of the guys from the other gym for a bit about other things. One of the guys spoke English extremely well. Guess where he learned it??? American Movies. Hahaha...it cracks me up. The best Korean English speakers learn their English from the TV or movies. Another one of the guys is a top fighter in Korea. He is really nice, and he helped out with our boys giving them advice. It's crazy because the top fighters are always the sweetest guys ever. Anyways, after a while we went back to the gym to get settled in for the competition. Song Won was up first in the tournament. He only weighs 55 kg so he's usually in the smallest weight class, and they normally have the smallest weight class go first. I was really nervous for him because I think this was his first MMA Tournament. Earlier this year, he had his first Kickboxing Tournament, and he lost. So, I really wanted him to do well in this tournament. He didn't let me down. He was awesome!!!! He won his fight.

I was so proud because his opponent was at least 5 kg bigger than he was. I don't even think the score was close (I can't tell you what it was; mostly because I don't understand Korean). Next up, some of the guys from Daegu MMA (our "family") competed. The guy that spoke English lost his fight because his opponent got a lucky choke hold on him. He had some serious points up until the hold. He was so upset. I felt bad because he really is a nice guy. In fighting, even the best fighters lose sometimes because the other fighter gets a lucky position. You just have to be content with doing your best every time. I struggle with it too though. I hate losing. The other fighter from Daegu won. Their top fighter competed the day before and won. After a few fighters, it was Yu Noh's turn. Yu Noh is Kwangjungnim's "Ace". He is very good in his weight class. He's a really nice guy as well (like I said the top fighters are always the nicest, except for Tae Su...I don't know what happened there...hahaha...jk...Tae Su's a nice enough guy...he pretends to be mean). I really wanted Yu Noh to win too, but I wasn't as concerned because he competes all the time and wins all the time. Plus, in the kickboxing tourney he won his match in 5 seconds. It was crazy. So it came as a surprise that he lost this tournament. Jk, Jk, he WON this tournament. He was awesome!!!!

After the tourney, Chin Tek went to visit his parents and the rest of us loaded onto the train to go home. When we got back to Daejeon, we went out for some celebratory samgipsal. It was delicious as always. It was interesting because Yu Noh never goes out with us. He's a very quiet guy. Even during dinner, he was still quiet, but Kwangjungnim told the guys that the last piece of meat was for me (weird but whatever). So, Yu Noh helps me put the meat on the lettuce and add the extra stuff to make "the perfect bite"...that's what he called it. Is that not super sweet??? It's definitely a Korean thing...American guys would never do this! Oh and you know what else Korean guys do? They count the number of days they have been dating their girlfriends. Yeah...they know the exact number of days they have been dating! How crazy is that? On the 100th day they have to get them a special present. Wow, it's unheard of for a guy to remember such things in America. Hahaha.

So that was pretty much my weekend, last weekend. It was definitely a good, fun-filled weekend but I was exhausted all week. So this weekend, I decided to take it easy and rest a bit. I just went to Costco for a few things and then to Korean lessons. However, on my way home I got stopped by two women who wanted to share their faith with me, and by share I mean, they chased me down the street until I would stop and listen. Seriously??? How many are there here in Korea? This was almost as weird as the last time. This time they claimed that God was really a man and a woman...there's God the Father and God the Mother, and if you don't believe in God the Mother you're going to Hell. I asked them if they believed that Jesus Christ was the only way to get to heaven why would not believing in God the Mother put me in Hell? They couldn't give me an answer. Geez oh Pete! If Korea wasn't challenging and confusing enough, you throw in all of these new beliefs that I've never heard of! Hahaha. CRAZYNESS! But, that is why I came to Korea to experience new things!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

"Camping" and by "Camping" I mean "Retreat"


So this weekend, I went "camping" with the gym. Camping was a lot of fun! We didn't really camp though. Hahaha. We stayed in a large cabin that had a few different apartments. They call them pensions. We stayed in one of the pensions. The last of the rain from the typhoon made it a bit rainy and muddy but that kind of made it better. I think it might have been too hot if it wasn't rainy. We also had fun playing around in the mud. The pension came to the gym to pick us up in a van. There were 15 of us and we all had to cram in this van. It was so funny.

When we got there, it was really cool because the guys did all of the work. They said that in Korea, a woman never does the work when they are on vacation. One of the guys, Tae Su, was the "head chef" and the meals were better than any of the restaurants we have eaten at here in Korea! All of the younger boys had to help him in the kitchen. I told him that he was going to make his future wife very happy. The food was amazing! We had samgipsal and bulgogi.

We got to the pension early. Check in wasn't until 2pm and we arrived at about 11ish. It was up in the mountains with several waterfalls. It was beautiful! We did some hiking. Although no one told us that we could leave our bags in the van so we hiked up this mountain with our bags. They got kind of heavy. It wasn't really too bad. I wasn't miserable, and I was still able to enjoy the hike and take pictures. Although, every time I stopped to take pictures Tae Su kept telling me to hurry up in Korean. I got so mad at him. I made San Ha translate to Kwangjungnim why I was so angry. I told her that they have lived their entire lives here in Korea, and they can see this anytime. I just got here and I don't know how long I'm going to stay or if I will be able to come back to this place. I want to see and experience everything. I think Kwangjungnim talked to him about it.

It was funny because Tae Su is younger than me but the entire trip he kept telling me he was just worried about me. Everything I did he would tell me to stop because its too dangerous. Hahaha. I was just climbing a tree and he started freaking out! I am such a kid because I still love to climb trees and this tree was the perfect climbing tree. I wanted to climb over the fence to go down to the river, and he made me crawl under because going over is too dangerous. I was teasing him that he didn't really speak Korean because he only said two words in Korean "Palli wa" (hurry up), and the only English word he knew was "dangerous".

Anyways, the trail we went up had these cool stairs its called the 300 stairs or something but there's 300 stairs to lead the last bit of the way to the top of the mountain. Some of them were really steep and it was a really good workout. Once again, Tae Su was right behind me telling me to "Palli wa". My calves are seriously sore today from the palli wa up the stairs.

There was a really cool bridge up there too leading to another mountain, I wanted to walk across it but guess what? Tae Su said it was too dangerous and to palli wa. Grrrr. So I took a picture in front of it instead. Hahaha.

After our hike, we had a few minutes before check in so we just sat around for a bit. After we checked in, Tae Su and the guys started lunch. While the guys were cooking lunch the girls took showers! Hahaha. At lunch, we sat outside under a shelter at some picnic tables. They cooked the samgipsal on a grill in front of us. It was so good because it had the charcoal flavor to it.

After lunch, we cleaned up and changed clothes to go swimming in the river. They told us that we weren't going swimming on this trip so Douchi and I didn't bring our swimsuits. I went in with just a tshirt and shorts. Mell brought her suit, and Douchi didn't go in. She took pictures. They were good pictures too! We had so much fun swimming in the river! We brought a soccer ball. While Tae Su was figuring out where would be "safe enough" for us to swim, some of us started kicking the ball around. I kicked the ball too hard and it bounced off one of the guy's legs and landed in the middle of a rice field! Hahaha. It was so funny! Have you ever seen a rice field before? It has tall grass in a flooded field. So it was very muddy and we couldn't see the ball. One of the guys went in and almost lost his flip flops so he had to go barefoot through the mud to find it. Another guy was sitting on Tae Su's shoulders to see if he could see the ball. It was so funny! He finally found the ball, and we walked down to the river. It was so much fun! The water was super cold but we splashed and dunked each other. We also played volleyball with the soccer ball. It was so much fun! We were trying to play water polo but Tae Su decided it was too dangerous with the rocks. Hahaha. So we decided to head back to the pension where we took our second shower of the day. Hahaha.

Then, we decided to play basketball on a "dirt court" which was more of a weed and mud court instead. We played with a volleyball (go figure, volleyball with a soccerball and then basketball with the volleyball). Nothing makes sense. We slipped and slid all over the court and we couldn't bounce the ball because of the weeds. It was hilarious! We were all covered in mud. So we all took our third shower of the day. We hung our clothes up on the balcony to dry so we wouldn't track the mud into the pension, but the wind started blowing later during the night and the clothes ended up everywhere! This morning, I found my shorts and tshirt along with two guys boxer shorts in a tree under the balcony. It was so funny because I grabbed them and brought them up. One of the guys was like hey that's my underwear and grabbed them from me. It was hilarious. He kept thanking me for finding them for him.

But after basketball, we took showers and Tae Su and the boys started on dinner. After dinner, we played games, talked, listened to music, and danced. It was a lot of fun. We stayed up all night. Well, I tried to anyways, but apparently I was sleeping in my chair and Tae Su made me go to bed. Hahaha. Poor Tae Su, I gave him a hard time all weekend!

This afternoon, the pension drove us back to the gym. Once again we crammed in the van. But, one of the guys got a little car sick and started vomiting in the back seat. The back seat was the most crowded because there were six guys in a four person seat. All of the other guys were really sweet about it and held a plastic bag while he was vomiting. They were tapping his back and everything. No one made him feel bad about it either. They had to have been miserable but they were trying to be light about it. Luckily, we were only ten minutes from the gym, but the back smelled like ramen from the bag of vomit. I had a window seat and Mell and I stuck our heads right by the window. Her and I were both about to vomit too from the smell. I don't know how the guys in the back did it. Those guys are quite possibly the nicest people I have ever met in my entire life.

It was an amazing weekend! I cannot wait for the next trip!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Korean Food


I realized that all this time I have been talking about my experiences in Korea I haven't taken much time to talk about the food I eat. I know I have mentioned several times that Koreans eat a lot, but I haven't talked about what. I'll start with my favorites.

The Seven Elevens here in Daejeon have an extremely delicious tuna kimbop that I absolutely love! Kimbop is stuffed with rice and various veggies and sometimes a meat or cheese (it comes in different meats including ham and beef, as I said my favorite is tuna) all wrapped up in seaweed. It is very yummy!!!!

There are many restaurants throughout the city that serve samgipsal. It is the Korean barbeque that I mentioned after I first got here. It is served with many delicious sides. The restaurants have a burner in the middle of the table where they put a small grill to cook the samgipsal. There is different types of samgipsal from thinly sliced bacon to a thicker beef. They place the meat on the grill, and you can add whatever sides to the flavor the meat. I like to put the gimchi and garlic on the grill. They also have a few different sauces that you can dip your cooked meat into before eating it. One is a red pepper paste sauce, one is more of an oily sauce, and then there's a vinegar based sauce. My favorite is the vinegar based sauce. Most Koreans like to eat the samgipsal with just a sauce. I prefer to put it in the lettuce leaves that they serve with the samgipsal. I stuff the leaf with the samgipsal, gimchi, garlic, and the vinegar sauce. It is very delicious this way. However, most Koreans don't like salad so they avoid lettuce...hahaha.

Another popular food here in Korea are "pancakes". These pancakes are made with a bisquick type mix with veggies and various meats added to it. The most popular I believe are the seafood ones. I have not eaten a lot of them, but I do like the octopus ones. They are really good, but I do think that it depends on the restaurant that makes them. I think that some of the pancakes I've tried didn't taste good not because of the type of pancake but because of the restaurant.

One of the most popular dishes and one of my favorites is galbi. There is different types of galbi. My favorite is tok galbi which is chicken. Once again, the restaurants have a burner in the middle of the table, but this time they put a large skillet type bowl with handles on the burner to cook the food. They bring the food uncooked on dishes and dump it all in the big bowl with some sauces. They come by the table to stir it. It is very delicious.

Another popular dish is dopoki. I didn't like it at first, but its growing on me. Dopoki is a really doughy noodle. It's served in dishes like galbi. It is also served by itself.

One of the most traditional dishes is bimibop. The best bimibop I had was at the Buddhist temple I went to on Buddha's Birthday. It was so yummy!!!! Bimibop is rice with sprouts and turnips and I think gimchi too. It's all mixed in together with a red pepper paste. Very yummy!

Perhaps the most popular dish here in Korea is ice cream! Koreans love their ice cream (and doughnuts but we won't talk about that). Every convenient store has a variety of ice creams for less than 1,000 won (which is $1). They even have milkshakes in a pack...its crazy! The most popular ice cream dish I would say is the pabingsu. It's shaved iced with little candy jellies and red beans. It is really good. It sounds disgusting, but its delicious.

There are many other Korean dishes that I haven't mentioned, and I'm not promising that I got every ingredient correct in the dishes that I mentioned. It is very difficult to know for sure exactly what I am eating since it is all in Korean. Most Korean meals are served with rice, gimchi, and soup. Every meal that I have eaten at school has been served with rice, gimchi, and soup. They served spaghetti one time with rice, gimchi, and soup (weird).

Alright, so now that everyone's mouths are watering with the deliciousness that I have shared with you...I will start with the details of my week! This week was very hot and most people are on vacation so the gym was pretty dead all week. However, we did have a visitor. A spider decided to join the class during jiu jitsu and even though I was screaming, no man in the room offered to kill it, and no one would let me kill it. I asked San Ha why no one was killing the spider, and she said that you cannot kill a spider at night time. If you kill a spider at night, you will have bad luck. Seriously?!?!

On Friday, I went out with Kwangjungnim, Song Won, and Mike for some samgipsal after my workout. It was pretty good. Song Won is quite possibly the coolest kid in Korea. He is always at the gym training, but he takes the time to goof off with me to make gym a little more fun. He's hilarious! He helps me with my Korean, and I try to help him with his English, but I think he's the better teacher.

On Saturday, I went to Korean class with Mell. After, we stopped by Jungangno Station for some shopping and some food. We had some dopoki and kimbop. After, I made a trip to Costco to pick up some yogurt and vitamins. Later, I met Mell again for a little snack and some talking. It was pretty relaxed.

Today, I made it to church again! Yay! I was so proud of myself; three weeks in a row! I've really been slacking lately! I met some of the new girls from SLP, and I saw one of the foreign guys that had checked out the gym. He works at Poly which is a very demanding school so he doesn't really have the time and energy to make it to Daejeon MMA. So he joined a gym closer to Munnyeon dong. We talked for a bit, and I talked for a bit with the girls from SLP. They are all pretty sweet! It was a really good Sunday. I even stayed for Bible study. I was kind of hesitant because the last time I went to Bible study, it was mostly men, and I didn't quite feel welcomed to the conversation. But I heard that more women were going to Bible study now so I decided to check it out. It was really good, and I was finally able to ask my question about "seeing God" like physically. They confirmed my original suspicion that it was in fact a cult. For those of you new to reading my ramblings, when I first arrived in Daejeon, I was greeted by a sweet woman who asked me if I was a Christian. When I told her I was, she asked me to go to dinner with her. I said sure thinking it would just be us two. However, a few other women joined and started talking about seeing God physically and asked me why I couldn't see God, and if I wanted to. I was really freaked out. I told them that I had to leave and rushed out. They had said that Koreans were deeply spiritual and that's why they could see God, but the pastor of the church I am attending told me that it was not true. After Bible study, the worship team asked me again to sing with them. I really want to, but I hate saying that I will do something when I cannot truly commit to it. Maybe that is what I need to do though so that I will be more motivated to wake up on Sunday mornings. I told them that I would think about it and let them know in a few weeks after I get back from camping because I am going to miss church again next Sunday to go camping with the gym.

This weekend was pretty chilled because I am trying to rest up for next weekend! I am super excited about going camping! I cannot wait! I am not sure who all is going, but I know that Douchi, San Ha, and Mell are going and that's good enough for me!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ah! Refreshing Summer Vacation


So this past week was summer vacation. I don't think I realized how much I needed a vacation. I was kind of scared for this vacation because Douchi still had to work and Mell, Janet, and Mariana went out of town. The guys from the gym were still around and San Ha, but I was afraid that I would miss my family too much if I spent too much time alone. I'm crazy I know, but whatever! Hahaha. I'm me and I'm ok with that! This week was definitely refreshing though! I slept in late every day!!!! Hahaha. I did some grocery shopping (I hadn't gone in about a month...there was nothing in my refrigerator). I also cleaned my apartment really well!!!! I hadn't taken the time to really clean in a few months so I know my apartment needed it! I also went to the gym earlier than I normally do; so I got in a better workout! It was very nice. I did better with my Jiu Jitsu because I wasn't completely exhausted from working all day. A couple of days, I met Douchi for "dinner" before my workout. I enjoyed the time with Douchi, but eating before a workout is never a good idea! Hahaha...especially when its super hot outside. Oh well, you live and learn right?

Friday, Douchi and I skipped the gym to go to Seoul for the afternoon. We met up with one of my friends. He met us at Seoul Station, and we went shopping. It was interesting because he was super patient while Douchi and I looked at clothing. Also, I've never met a guy volunteer to go shopping. I told him we could meet up later, but he wanted to go shopping with us. He thought we were crazy though because we split up when we got inside the store! Hahaha. We always do that and don't even think about it, but he was so confused...he wasn't sure what he should do. He didn't know if he should go with me or her. Of course, Douchi and I always meet back up in the dressing room and help each other decide what we want. One of his friends met up with us while we were shopping. So we had not only one but two guys voluntarily shop with us!!! Wow! Hahaha. We only went to one store because we found everything we needed, but we also didn't want to subject them to any more torture. Although, they never would have said anything! Hahaha. They were surprised that we didn't shop more than we did. After, we decided to go to Holly's Coffee to sit and talk for a bit. It was nice. Then, of course, we had to go eat...I mean this is still Korea...you have to eat every time you go out with someone its the law! We got a Korean pancake which has octopus and veggies inside it. It's not too bad. I kind of like it!

After, we headed back to Daejeon. We met up with Song Sok (one of the guys from the gym) at Mr. Chicken and Beer. It's his last weekend in Daejeon for about a month. He is going to training for the army. He's definitely one of my favorite people at the gym. I hate that I won't see him for a month. It's going to suck even more when he leaves for the army next year. I won't see him much at all :(
It was a relaxing evening. We just hung out at Mr. Chicken all night and talked.

It was definitely a good week! I am glad I stayed here. I think if I had gone away on vacation, I may not have relaxed like I needed to!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Summer Vacation Kickoff

Summer vacation officially started at 5:15 Friday afternoon! Of course like the dedicated gym member that I am...I went to the gym for a few hours before heading home. Thursday was Mell's birthday so Friday night we celebrated with a b-day dinner in Dunsan. We were only going to be out for a few hours because I had to go to Korean lessons, and Mell and Janet had to catch their flight for China in the morning. As always, a few hours is never a few hours. I totally slept through my Korean lesson, but somehow Mell and Janet managed to catch their flight. It was a really fun night, and I am glad that I went out. I am not happy that I skipped my Korean lesson, but this is summer vacation and I'm the only one actually spending my summer vacation in Daejeon...so I'll forgive myself this one time.

After waking up late for my Korean lesson, I still had time to catch my Jiu jitsu lesson on Saturday afternoon. I was still exhausted, but I had promised I'd be there so I dragged my lazy bum to the gym. Turns out, one of the girls bailed on the lesson and the other one was running late. Kwangjungnim was really mad that one of the girls had bailed and the other one was late. He kept telling me that I was a good person for keeping my promise even though I was tired. Koreans are really big on promises and commitments. I am so glad that I made it to the gym. After the gym, we went out for some Korean barbecue, I think its called sumgipsal or something like it. I had not had any Korean barbecue since the first week I was here. It was delicious!!!! After barbecue, we went noraebonging. It was fun, but there were only three of us so it was not as fun as it usually is. Then, of course, we ate again. Koreans are constantly eating!!!!!!! I have no idea how they stay so thin; they are always, always, always eating! It's crazy!

Today, Sunday, I woke up in time to go to church for the first time in a few weeks. I've felt so badly about missing church. It has been one thing after another, and I never seem to be able to make it. So I went and I met a few new girls, and I talked to a few familiar faces. One of the girls is studying in America, and she came home for summer vacation. The other girl lives in Daejeon with her family.

I am a little nervous about this week. Everyone is either working or going away for the vacation; so I am probably going to have quite a bit of alone time. It will be good for studying Korean and cleaning my apartment, but I'm not sure how much of that I can stand! Hahaha. This may be a test for strength of character. Hahaha.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Relaxed Weekend?

I had a fairly relaxed weekend this weekend. By relaxed, I mean that I went to bed before the sun came up. Hahahaha. So, Friday night Douchi and I just chilled at our regular spots. At our "End Cap", we heard some guys at another table practicing their English on each other. I kept waiting for them to come over and start talking, but they didn't. It wasn't until we walked past their table to leave before they said something to us. It was cute! Korean guys are so shy! Hahahaha. Douchi and I went home fairly early because I had Korean lessons at 1 on Saturday.

Mell and I went to Korean lessons, and we got our textbooks!!! I think that it is going to help a lot. We've already started practicing reading. I practice with San Ha because she is really good about telling me what I'm pronouncing wrong. I've also started practicing with some of the guys' names at the gym. It's pretty cool.

After lessons, I had my one stripe Jiu Jitsu test. It was so hard! I only had an hour to eat, get to the gym, change, practice and stretch before the test. It was definitely not enough time for my food to settle. Hahahaha. I almost vomited! San said she felt like vomiting too, and she didn't even eat. Maybe it was just because we were exerting so much energy for a long time. The first part of the test was the techniques. I was so nervous about the technique because he is watching to make sure you do it perfectly. It's hard for me because I miss some things because he is speaking in Korean, and I can't always see everything. But I did okay on that part of the test. The next part of the test was the sparring. We had to spar with so many people!!! I lost count! It was one after another with no breaks. It was hard! But I think we did well. All of the one stripe testers passed. Only two out of the four two stripe testers passed, the three stripe tester and the four stripe tester failed. After the test, everyone went out to eat. It was a lot of fun! I love hanging out with the guys after events. It's always fun getting to know them.

After dinner, I met up with Douchi to celebrate her birthday. We went dancing at Cocoon. The music sucked this weekend. I am not sure if it was because we got there too early or what, but it was all techno junk which is okay for a song or two but not the entire night. I was tired anyways after testing so I headed out early.

Then today, Sunday, San Ha came over, and we went to get my haircut. I got the magic straight perm, but they had to put some sort of clinic treatment on my hair to strengthen it. It looks pretty good; it's not as straight as I would like it, but we'll see how it is after I wash it. I can always straighten it with an iron. I really just wanted something I could wash and go with. Also, I have to go back next weekend to receive another treatment, and the girl said that if I was unhappy with anything she would fix it then. We'll see!