Tuesday, August 31, 2010

around like a merry-go-round

After testing the free fitness equipment, Autumn took me to a jimjilbang. A jimjilbang is a public bath. They're very popular in Korea. There were gender-segregated naked areas with pools of various temperatures, some with herbs in them. There were saunas, wet and dry, up to 80 Celsius. And in the jammy-wearing everybody area there were saunas with beautiful colored stones in the walls, a sleep area, and a karaoke room. Yes.

After getting all cleaned up, we came back to Gwangalli beach and walked up to the North end, where there is an amusement park. First, we rode the mechanical bull and each won a funny heart-shaped pillow.

Then we rode the Viking Ship!

And the ferris wheel, which is 103m high and takes fifteen minutes to go all the way around. Here's Autumn's look of terror at the top:

Then there was a shiny Merry-Go-Round ride.

Afterward, we went to restaurant and had awesome Gorgonzola and walnut pizza, with pink pickles and espresso salad and wine. We each took a bite of the pizza when it arrived and just looked at each other with expressions of “I am so lucky to be tasting this amazing food right now.” And we are.

Monday, August 30, 2010

let's get physical

A great thing about my apartment is that I can walk two blocks and then catch a 30-minute, 1800-won ($1.50?) bus to Busan. I did this on Friday night, and met up with Autumn (who is another 30 minutes on a subway, but still.) It had been, like, over a month since we'd seen each other.

A great thing about Autumn's apartment is that it's a short walk from this:

Autumn showed me around her corner of Busan. There were chrome grapes.

And down at the south end of Gwangalli beach, there is a fitness area with the usual fitness area things.


And last of all and best of all, there was a selection of the giantest, awesomest hula hoops ever. They HURT.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

In my room

Wanna see where I live?

I live in Jangyu, which is a bedroom community of Gimhae, which is a suburb of Busan.

First, I don't have a key. Instead I have this. I don't want to think about the implications in case of disaster.

This is the take-off-your-shoes area. Please try to find an empty spot in those cupboards among my vast collection.

And this... this is my room!

There is plenty of room to hula hoop.

This is the kitchen, complete with a bag of moving-in waste. There is a microwave and a rice cooker under the table. I chose the pink rug myself. That door goes to the bathroom.

This is the bathroom. The shower head is behind the door.

This is my laundry room, which seems like a very inefficient use of space.

Monday, August 23, 2010

what good things mother makes

Gosh, I'm sorry about this lapse. I'm going to lectures and eating kimchi a lot. I also had some European Luxury Waffles, which were tasty.



Additionally, corn. There was a bag for the cobs, but it went away. In Korea, we recycle!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

all my bags are packed and I'm ready to go

The computers at the airport weren't working, so the ticketing procedure involved the Asiana staff running back and forth with peoples' passports to a back room somewhere and hand writing boarding passes. Understandably, this delayed the flight since folks had to wait so long to check in.

Mistakes are bound to happen with handwritten boarding passes. I had the same seat number as another girl, but Asiana sorted it out. When we exited the plane she grabbed my TEFL International backpack for me, since I had stowed it a few rows back on account of the seating weirdness. She recognized the logo as she is also a TEFL alumni who has been working in Spain for the last two years. With a US passport, mmm hmm. Of *course* she's here for EPIK too, but she'll be teaching in Seoul.

The flight was painless. I watched some movies that I would not otherwise have watched, and some that I wanted to see (Date Night, with Steve Carell and Tina Fey, which was not as funny as it could have been; Valentine's Day, which I enjoyed but will later claim to have watched only because of the pitiful selection of movies available; Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, which varied from the book but I dug it, and The Back-Up Plan with... um... J-Lo playing a baby-crazy woman who um... God it was awful. I knew it would be awful and I watched it anyway and it just was.)

I took a bus to Jeonju University where I will stay for ten days of orientation, and on day nine I will learn where I will spend the next year. I've been living out of backpacks and suitcases for the last four months, so I'm excited to get a whole apartment to myself.

Monday, August 16, 2010

every weekend at the Renaissance Faire

I went to the Ren Faire.

The best fun to be had at Ren Faire isn't sweating in the hot, sunny faire in ridiculous garb or purchasing expensive silly things. It's lounging in Paisley Glen, complaining about the heat!

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I'm not quite acclimated to Washington yet, so the heat didn't bother me much. Shortly after arriving at the Faire on Saturday afternoon, I got to ride in Tyler's fancy red convertible to buy water... and another thing.

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There were cows and a mountain!
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And when we got back to Paisley Glen it was time for fancy time, so everyone fancified and went for a promenade.
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(Paisley Glen isn't quite Renaissance reenactment so much as it's Victorian Renaissance reenactor reenactment, and more than that just silliness.)

And then it was dark and the other thing I bought was an inexpensive LED hula hoop.
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Hunger happened but was quickly slain by the fabulous ramen cart (and ramen) that Stuart made.
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And that was Ren Faire. Today I'll cross the Pacific again, back to Korea.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

a cup of the brown stuff, the shade of an acorn

Ma, Nathan and I went to the Butchart Gardens. That's the sunken garden, which used to be a quarry, behind Nay and I.
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Then we had afternoon tea. With trifle.
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And then with a great deal of other good things.
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Cucumber sandwiches were not under-represented.

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Then we took the ferry back. That's the Empress Hotel, all covered in ivy behind me.
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Friday, August 13, 2010

mighty...British Columbia!

Nathan, mom and I took a ferry to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia.
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We arrived in the morning and went to the Royal BC Museum right away. There were stampeding mammoths!
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And other horrifying sights.

And Parliament!
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(There was a street magician down below us who drew quite a crowd and inspired my theory that the real mark of a Capable Human Being is that the subject owns a vest. I do not own a vest. Yet. I do have grand plans for vest-ownership, though.)

The next day it rained for a bit, and that happened to be a bit while we were outside, so we sought shelter in a shopping mall with a vast, steampunky clock which says "Westward the Course of Empire Goes Forth" round the bottom and shows how the sun never did set on the British Empire, back in the day.
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Then there was a wardrobe change, or possibly the sun set and rose again, and here we were in the rotunda of the parliament building.
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Thursday, August 12, 2010

it's twilight time

I have not been to the Olympic Peninsula since Twilight happened. Since we planned to spend one night in Port Angeles, I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to dine at Bella Italia, where Bella had her first date with Edward.

I don't know if I look sufficiently pale in this picture.
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I shared an order of mushroom raviolis with my mom. That's the same thing Bella ordered, don't ya know? It's very good. They use various native Olympic Forest mushrooms. Or something.
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After dinner, we went to see the latest Twilight movie at the Port Angeles Theater. It has five rows of seating!
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Finally, here's my brother looking like a sarcastic 15-year-old.
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

he lifts his big foot up

Nathan and I went to Pike Place Market one day. I bought a mustache. It was the best thing ever. It's difficult to wear in the wind, but when it's still it's my favorite accessory.

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A few days later Nathan, my mom and I went on a trip. First we visited the Olympic Game Farm in Sequim, Washington. It's not a happy place

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but there are zebras
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and a number of sad-looking bears who still find the drive to reach under their electric fences to take pieces of bread to eat.
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And sometimes I'm kind of immature and want to take my picture next to the intersection of Kitchen Dick and Woodcock. Mother's the one who pulled over for it.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Back in the US...

In Seattle, people don't ride motorbikes. They pay for things with credit cards and they all speak English. There are no mangy dogs on the street. People wear shoes. It's confusing and strange!

My ma and brother picked me up at the airport on a Wednesday (my second go at Wednesday; the first one took place mostly in Seoul.) My body didn't remember how to sleep, so for awhile I was staying up for 24 hours at a time and waking up randomly at 2:00 am. It got better.

I got my Korean visa the day after I arrived. This task involved shivering on the Seattle sidewalks at 8 in the morning, with fake shoes (I only had flip-flops) and no coat (I didn't own one.) It was only like 70 degrees.

In the following days, I cherished the vast selection of English songs they have at karaoke bars here. I wore shoes. I went tromping around in the woods, confident that I would not be attacked by a viper or a cobra. There was a possible bear.

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Tyler was brave and athletic, until the wood became "vibrating and spongy."

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My mother left an assignment on the answering machine to make a terrarium. It was pleasantly specific about the location of the plastic geese. Nathan (my brother,) Tyler and I made a terrarium. And there was a frog who wanted to play.

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The frog didn't want to play anymore so we evicted him from the terrarium.

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Poor frog.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

leaving home ain't easy

I left Ban Phe at the end of July.

I spent a few days toward the end with Autumn in Bangkok while she got her Korean visa, and we spent much time at this sanctuary, in an alley off of Khao San Road.

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It's an old house, with fabulous paintings on the inside. Perfect for a fabulous party.

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When I did leave, I had a stopover in Seoul for a few hours before crossing the pacific. I saw some things in Seoul.

Gyeongbokgung Palace!

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Another Starbucks!

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And then I went back to the airport and flew over the ocean.