Thursday, July 24, 2014

In the company of Old Men

Yesterday after work, I went downtown to check on the schedule at the bus terminal. After leaving the terminal, I notice small crowds of old men in the park at the edge of the round-a-bout traffic circle. There were more than fifty men all over the age of 70 seated on the ground and benches playing cards. I strolled over and tried to discreetly look over the shoulders of the old men to see what card games they were playing. I got the usual stares and whispers.

Finally one of the old men offered me a cup of coffee which I took and drank slowly. The cards were small and red and the games were played with passion. There was even a scorekeeper, with a notebook, recording the stats. Eventually after the stares and whispers, an old man with a straw hat invited me to sit with them. They asked me a bunch of questions in Korean and flirted with me endlessly. I stayed for an hour and a half. Enjoying the breeze and the company of a bunch of old men who were happy to have a young woman they could flirt and smile with for a little while.  I think I was more grateful for their company than they were of mine.

As I left, one shouted "I love you". I smiled and thought "I love you too". 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Black and Blue

Not sure why, but I have been pretty blue for the past few days. I do not know if it is because of the moving fiasco or if I am just in the middle of culture shock. I am depending more and more on Bob Marley and the Wailers to get me through each day. Tired of being surrounded by "foreigners" lol.
Miss my family.
Miss being loved instead of being tolerated.
Enjoyed instead of disrespected.
Miss the sincerity and realness of being around family. Strangers cannot offer that. I recognize that the space I am in is REAL and am trying to understand that it is just a phase and it, too, shall pass.

I have the HEART OF A LION.

I must remember that.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Flower power

Korea is a beautiful country with gorgeous landscape.

This is just a sample of some beautiful flowers of "the country of the morning calm".

Mama said KNOCK YOU OUT, I'm gonna KNOCK YOU OUT

I have to move because my building has been sold and will be turned into a nursing home. I mentioned this in my previous post. Well, I asked my co-teacher can I buy some of the furniture that is in my current apartment. She called the landlady on Monday. I asked her again on Thursday and she said she forgot to follow up with her. Then she texts me a couple of hours later and says that the woman would let me have the table, dresser and chairs for $175.

Now, between the time I asked her to follow up with the teacher last week and Monday, another "newbie" teacher reminded me that the school is responsible for providing our furniture, NOT US. So I wanted to see how far my co-teacher was going to take it. Well, she took it to the end. Even though she knows what is in my contract, she was still trying to get over on me. When she told  me the price, I reminded her of the requirements of my contract. She then says she will check with the admin office. She comes back and texts me that the admin office says they do not have room in their budget for my furniture.
Then how did you expect MY budget to handle it?

Grimy people are all over this world.

So I am moving at 8:30 on a Friday morning in the rain so I do not miss teaching any classes and because my teacher does not want to do anything for me on her own time.

There is a high level of resentment towards the foreign teachers here. There is little respect for us or our jobs. Today I was reminded of both the resentment and the lack of respect. 

Am I pissed off right now?

Will I get over it?
Heck yes, lol.

I will vent and then adjust my expectations to the realistic environment I find myself in.
Every job has bs and shadiness involved.  There are just different levels depending on the job.
Feel the anger and then let it go.
(My right hand is still itching to smack somebody right now, lol!)

4 male staffers came to move me at exactly 8:30 this Friday morning. The school must have recognized that they had to go by the contract because they bought the table, two chairs and a desk. There was also a bed and microwave waiting in the apartment. I was very happy and thanked my co teacher for pushing to get those things for me. I told her that I knew she had to push to get them and I appreciated her effort. I also bought "suba" (watermelon) for the 4 male staffers and an ice cream cone for my co teacher to show my thanks.  (I know it was extra but I wanted to squash it and squash it well, lol) I paid my last bill there for a total of $170 (final bill for gas, electricity and three months of management fees) and that is all she wrote. Of course I made sure I got a signed, detailed receipt.
"Homey don't play that".
I am in school now and will unpack after work this afternoon.

Aggravation level HIGH
Pissitivity              HIGH
Free Housing      PRICELESS  (LMAO)


My school played me. The so called "final bill" was BS. I was the one that paid for my furniture in my new apartment, even though by law they are required to provide it for me. It just confirms what I had already heard that Koreans use a contract as a framework and NOT as a legally binding contract. They also know they can take advantage of the foreigners because Korean law does not favor us.
Like I said yesterday morning, It is ALL GOOD.
I am here for a reason and when it is time to leave, I will enjoy the good memories and forget the bad.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Park Place should NOT be for sale

My apartment building has been sold and will be converted into a nursing home. I have to move in two days and I am NOT happy about it. Tried to keep a stiff upper lip and stay positive but still can't shake the WTF feeling, lol.

There are always positives. My commute to work will only increase by two minutes. My new apartment building also has an elevator (it does not talk like this one but sometimes silence is golden). I will now have two rooms instead of just a one room studio (same size though). The new place has four windows in a corner apartment which will be great for air flow during the humid summer months.  I will put up pictures of the old and new apartments as soon as I settle in this weekend.

Sigh. Every time I get pissed about it, I remember that my housing is included in my contract and I GET OVER IT REAL QUICK!! LMAO.

Can I wash kimchi?

One of my Korean friends took me to a restaurant last night. It was a Korean style restaurant. The main dish was a (boiling) hot pot of chicken and rice with several sides. Of course, kimchi was included. I had duck legs for the first time. Poor Daffy. Sorry, Daffy Duck, but the duck legs were delicious.

Grace encouraged me to rinse off my kimchi to remove most of the spice as it aggravates my stomach. She suggested I do it in school but I told her the students would laugh me out of the cafeteria if they saw me "washing" my kimchi, lol.

Deviled eggs - Which came first?

Because I was the one who suggested making deviled eggs for our summer camp, I felt obligated to learn how to make them. Period.
So this past Sunday, without the two main ingredients (mayo and mustard), I decided to practice my egg skills. Well...I will need a lot more practice before I can teach the students in summer camp. I found a picture of a chick deviled egg and am attempting to create that.
Persistence is the key in this instance. 

Disclaimer: do NOT judge my first attempt. Everyone has their own "deviled egg mountain" to climb, lol.

No, I did NOT stab the eggs.

Looks delicious huh? LOL.

World Cup - my cup runneth over

I tried my best to follow this year's World Cup in Brazil. But I was only able to get excited when I was somehow connected to the team. I did, however, catch the last game between Argentina and Germany.
What is there to say? It was a good game. Everything in "futbal" is defense.
Germany won and the celebration was amazing!!
See the pics below.
Oh, why the heck do they give a "best player award" to the guy from the losing team.
LOL, not cool at all.

Nothing in life is "free"

I had heard about a few "free" text apps.
The most popular one here is Kakao Talk. You can text and talk to people domestically and internationally for "free". When I was downloading it into my new (new to me) samsung phone, there was a long list of personal items that I had to give Kakao Talk access to and ACCEPT before I could have "free" access to the app's wonderful features.

We all know that "free" apps are not free, but I have NEVER seen it laid out so blatantly. After I read the list, I felt a clunk on my head. Ouch. "What was it?" you ask. It was a rock being thrown at my head from 1984. The note on the rock said "WAKE UP PEOPLE".

Take a look.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Run run as fast as you can

I went running this morning at 5:30am. There were still people out there! LOL!
It felt good to feel the track beneath my feet and feeling my breathing increase as I turned the bend.
A runner's pleasure is when the track curves into the next bend.

It feels like flying.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Action Packed

Hung out with Tom Cruise last night. POSCO, a big steel plant company here, hosts a free movie every other week at their cultural arts center.  We got there just as the movie was about to start. Spoiler alert, it was an action thriller combined with Final Destination.

Cruise ALWAYS brings the ACTION!