Tuesday, July 12, 2011


So it seemed about time I take a breather and check in. We've been keeping real busy these past two weeks and it hasn't left much time for blogging. I'm actually not sure how long it typically takes most people to put an entry together but I've always been slow about it. I like to mull over what I'm writing and I take awhile picking out pictures to post and I'm easily distracted so more often than not my blogging sessions are interrupted with side trips to Oh No They Didn't! and Facebook. And when I sit down to write I want to get it all out in one go, none of that saving-to-finish-later business. That means usually I'm sitting at the computer for let's say about 3-5 hours when I'm assembling a typical entry. Also I like to write at night.

Since we've been doing a lot of early days to get the most out of a trip into the city and since my new schedule means I'm not home until 11 o'clock every night I really haven't had a chance to sit down and work on anything. Work has been a bit stressful and I have a lot weighing on my mind in regards to what my plans will be when I'm back home in the US. On the plus side though we've been up to some great stuff lately so eventually (I promise!) there will be lots of new pictures and stories. Plus that full Vietnam recap! I know those entries will pretty much take me twice as long as usual so I'm waiting for a long, do-nothing-day to get going on those.

In the meantime, here is a random list of goings-on on my end recently:

- Rain. Torrential rain. Drizzly rain. Plain rain. Just-enough-drops-to-warrant-opening-that-umbrella-rain (the most annoying kind, to be honest). My introduction to the Monsoon season began in Vietnam and is continuing in Korea. It is an extremely damp experience, I have to say.

- My Friday afternoon class (my five girls who I absolutely love) met my boyfriend when he came in to see the school and they went crazy. One of them started bringing in her friends who are in other classes so she could point at him and say "Boyfriend!" before they all started screeching. They were discussing us in the hallway and I heard both "handsome" and "beautiful couple". Also when we came back from Vietnam a few of them asked "How was your vacation?" but one of them asked "How was your date?" haha.

- I have not gone grocery shopping in three weeks. A few needed items have been scooped up at the downstairs convenience store but mostly this is just a testament to how much we have been eating out/grabbing breakfast on the way out the door. Oh well, Lotte Mart and I needed a serious break from each other. $13 for a box of strawberries? Girl, please.

- In September I'm going with four of the girls from work to Shanghai for Chuseok! Chuseok is roughly the equivalent of Thanksgiving and we'll have at least a four-day weekend. Our flights are booked and now we're working on getting visas. I'm thrilled about all the traveling I've been able to squeeze in during my time here and this trip falls nicely in between my summer vacation and possible departure in December. I know when I go home it will most likely be some time before I can plan any more big trips so I'm happy to be getting my fill now.

- A new pizza place just opened downstairs so we tried it out on Sunday night. It wasn't bad and the wheat crust was pretty good, albeit a legit shade of purple. They even gave us a few freebies to assure we'll come back and I was excited because next to the bottle of Coke in the bag looked like three of those mini containers of Parmesan cheese but of course it was actually three containers of sweet pickles. Ugh, I'm always fooled by the sweet pickles here.

- I recently walked past a girl wearing a shirt with Karl Lagerfeld's face on it and it was the best shirt ever. I know she bought it here because the markets are overrun with weird clothing designs and celebrity faces (hello, there was one featuring a collage of Sponge-Bob, Michael and Janet Jackson and someone who may have been Taylor Swift) and I have made it my mission to track it down. Don't fail me now, Korea.

- Tomorrow night Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 debuts here and so ends my childhood (actually I will never let this happen, who wants to grow up and admit they're never getting that letter from Hogwarts? Life's more fun this way). I'm especially excited because the past few HP movies came out later in Korea than the US and it would be a bummer to have to wait when so many people have already seen it. So after work we're going to catch one of the late shows and I already know it will be amazing. I haven't missed an opening night since Goblet of Fire (or maybe it was Prisoner of Azkaban, though these days opening night means "midnight") and I'm so so excited to have one last Harry Potter premiere to watch with awesome people :)

Also, I am assigning "Go see the new Harry Potter movie" as homework for all my classes this week. If only our school took field trips...

Trivia of the Day: Dokkaebi (도깨비) is a common word for a type of spirit in Korean folklore or fairy tales. Although usually frightening, it could also represent a humorous, grotesque-looking sprite or goblin. These creatures loved mischief and playing mean tricks on bad people and they rewarded good people with wealth and blessings. Dokkaebi are described as the transformed spirits of inanimate objects. The most common objects said to become Dokkaebi are usually useful everyday implements that have been abandoned by their owners or left in perpetual disuse, and include such wide-ranging objects as brooms, fireplace pokers, pestles, flails, and sometimes even trees smeared with maiden's blood. They are different from ghosts (귀신) in that they are not formed by the death of a human being, but rather by the transformation of an inanimate object.

Most Korean legends have Dokkaebi in the stories. They are about Dokkaebi pranking on mortals or punishing them because of their evil deeds. One of them goes like this:
An old man lived alone in a mountain when a Dokkaebi visited his house. With surprise, the kind old man gave the Dokkaebi an alcoholic beverage and they become friends. The Dokkaebi visited the old man often and they had long conversations together, but one day, the man took a walk by himself in the woods near the river and discovered that his reflection looked like the Dokkaebi. With fear, he realized that he was gradually becoming that creature. The man made a plan to prevent himself from becoming a Dokkaebi and invited the creature to his house. He asked, "What are you most afraid of?" and the Dokkaebi answered, "I'm afraid of blood. What are you afraid of?". The man pretended to be frightened and said, "I'm afraid of money. That's why I live in the mountains by myself." The next day, the old man killed a cow and poured its blood all over his house. The Dokkaebi, with shock and great anger, ran away and said, "I'll be back with your greatest fear!" The next day, the Dokkaebi brought bags of money and threw it to the old man. After that, Dokkaebi never came back and the old man became the richest person in the town.

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