Saturday, June 16, 2007

June 16

It's a beautiful day outside and I'm not looking forward to spending 4 hrs in the sun doing English Plaza. E.P for short is a weekend camp that I have to do every 2 Saturdays a month. I did it last semester before the weather got too cold and it just recently started up again. The good thing is that I get paid for it.
God knows I need the extra cash. I just sent a load of money home and after the purchase of my airplane tickets.

Having spent the morning hustling and bustling around to get a copy of my passport faxed to the tour agency, I settled down in front of my computer to talk to Engerla. She's planning to come here for a year and actually a few of my other friends are doing it as well and it's seriously making me consider coming back for 6 months or so. I really do miss home so I want to go back home for a bit but I would really consider coming here as well for another 3-6 months.

Looking back on my year here. It really has flown by and I feel that I've done and seen so many things. I wouldn't mind going to some other country as well to check things out but if I was doing another country I feel I should go for a year because 3-6 months isn't enough time to get to know a country.

I'll see once I get home. Need to spend some time at home with friends and family before I feel I can take off again.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

the last few weeks

My last few weeks have been both good and bad.
I've made a number of new friends and have felt incredibly busy. We've stopped taking belly dancing class and have enrolled in Yoga now which takes up 3 days a week because the other 2 days we go to Korean class. My Korean has improved because a good number of my new friends are Korean. I've also started to learn to type in Korean and have gotten quite proficient at texting Korean.

I've gotten annoyed a few times at some of my friends here and I've realized that maybe it has less to do with them and more to do with my culture shock here, as well as a number of bad days. I'm feeling a lot better but there are little things about this country that still irritate me here and there but I am slowly coming to an acceptance of it. I've also had my bike stolen and had a difficult time trying to report it to the police. I didn't end up reporting it in the end.

Looking back at the last few weeks there have been a few things I regret. I regret letting my emotions take over me and I regret fighting with friends. I've dealt with that already and would prefer not to remember it.

That aside I've had some awesome experience as well. I watched an incredible match of volleyball Hyundai vs. Korean Air. It was so tense and at one point the Hyundai team threatened to walk off after the Ref reversed his bad call against Korean Air. They were showing a replay that clearly showed the ref in the wrong, while the Ref was standing by his call and the entire gymnasium was screaming bloody murder. LOL I went with my friend Brad (Korean name Tae Song) and he had an incredible time. He was so happy that we got to sit next to my friend Gina who is Bob's (the Brazilian player) wife. He also got to meet Adilson Zambon (the Brazilian Asst coach for the Korean Air team) that I've also befriended.

LOL I managed to get on TV during the game several times and my students saw and then asked me for my autograph which cracked me up.

I went to a FIFA soccer match yesterday. It was a friendly game btwn South Korea and Uruguay. Quite frankly I was excited about the match but disappointed. We lost 2-0 but felt that the team was playing terribly.

That's just the quick summary of everything thats happened in the last few weeks. I will try to be more diligent with my posting, remembering also to post less.

its been a while since my last post

I've realized that i need to write less... more often. tons of shit has happened but i don't quite feel motivated cause I keep writing long ass stories. so I'm gonna try to blog more often even a line or two here and there.

I still need to finish my blog on Thailand. so I'm gonna do a quick run through.
In Ao Nang, we did elephant trekking and the 4 island tour. both of which was awesome. The three of us also got sick there. but we pushed ourselves to do all that we could. I managed to do some exploring on my own which I have discovered that I truly enjoy. The elephant trekking was a lot of fun. Elephants are gentle creatures but the sheer size of them can still be intimidating.

During the 4 island tour, we became the captain's object of affection which worked to our advantage. One of the helpers took a liking to me and swam alongside with me as we snorkeled. He pointed out a number of things that I would surely have missed just trying to swim by myself.

After Ao Nang we hit up Bangkok and I visited the Grand Palace by myself which was spectacular. We also went on a boat cruise. I myself missed out on a Muy thai boxing match because I was running short on cash and was leaving early the next day so needed to get my stuff packed. I had a brief emotional moment when we stopped off at chinatown. Standing in the midst of Chinatown there I remembered my father telling me that my grandmother back in the day would make a visit to Thailand every summer. She would make the trek from Vietnam. The very thought of her being there maybe even standing at the very spot I was at one point in time brought tears to my eyes. I can't imagine what a trip to Vietnam would do to me.

All in all, I loved Thailand. I want to do another trip there in the nearby future, tho my next place would be Chiang Mai and Phuket. I would also like to go to Koh Samui. I would prefer to be able to spend a month there at least and backpack around.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Graduation Day - Feb 14 2007

I almost forgot to blog about this day! It's the last day of school for the 6th graders. I have a favorite class that I sure will miss once they're gone. They are the loudest class but they are so much fun. It is as well Valentine's day as we know it. Korean's celebrate it differently. Here the girls are supposed to give guys chocolates. On White day which is March 14 boys give girls candy. One of the perks about being a teacher is that u get Chocolates anyway...yummy! lol.. I also got a beautiful surprise. Nem managed to get flowers delivered to my house, but the delivery guy came after I'd left so he called me and ended up delivering it to my school.
The ceremony was boring. During the ceremony, awards are given out. The kids get their certificate of achievement when they return to their homerooms where their parents are there waiting. My teachers tried to warn me about how boring the ceremony was but I wanted to at least experience it. I find the ceremonies here very interesting. Whether it be a wedding, graduation, or opening of a library, it's like people don't realize that they should be quiet. Everybody was talking while the principal was making his speech. Mind you his speech was very long and drawn out. It got so boring that I decided to stand up and take pictures. But the moment I stood up he said in the middle of his sentence Mimi blah blah blah (in Korean). I sat down immediately and everybody around me sort of giggled. Apparently he had just mentioned how I was the new Native English teacher. Very embarrassing.

When it was finally over I made my way back to the English room and tried to enjoy my time there while the halls were crowded with ppl. Some of the parents came in and asked to take a picture of me, which strikes me as funny because I look like them. I had to take pictures with the kids holding their flowers, without their flowers, in the games room, sitting on the teachers desk. LOL.. felt like a model. After the inital awkwardness it got kind of fun. I felt very well received as parents came up to me to tell me how their kids really enjoyed my classes. I had to write my email on the board because several students asked for it so that they could keep in touch with me. I admit my eyes got a bit moist...

Thank god I had chocolates to make me feel better.

Some of my friends here

I was going to write about my Lunar New year but then I ended up writing about some of the friends I've met out here that are not a part of the Canadian Connection group, which I feel has sort of been my family out here.

I believe I mentioned that I've become friends with some guys that are part of the Men's volleyball team.
One of which is Xupa (to be pronounced Shupa. Xupa's real name is Adilson Zambom, he's the assistant coach of the Korean Air (Jumbos) Men's volleyball team. We've became friends and now that he's moved out of Bob's place (Bob plays on that team) and lives in the Inha University dormitory where hes got this sick place. He's got maid service so his place is spotless and he never has to do dishes. He's got a huge kitchen which is what I would love.. or at least just some counter space. He also doesn't have to pay for this place. The company pays for all his shit including his groceries! He also lives very close to me now. He lives with his translator Alex. Alex, Xupa, and Bob (and Gina his wife) are from Brazil. They've been contracted out here to play volleyball with the exception of Alex, hes a translator. Alex is Korean but speaks Portuguese fluently and is trying to learn english so that he can become a pilot, apparently pilots in Korea need to be fluent in 3 languages.

I've been going over to their house fairly often, just to have dinner and relax in front of the tv. I hate the smoke but... I enjoy their company. It's interesting because Xupa's english isn't that great (alex is a little better) but we still manage to communicate. I think I would love to visit Brazil some day soon. I hear that its a very multicultural country and that's one of the main things I miss about Toronto since being here. I miss the diversity. The variety of meals and all the colors of the rainbow. I don't quite how old they are, I'm sure they've told me but I've forgotten because it feels like we're all young at heart. I think that's one of the biggest perks about travelling abroad here. You get to meet ppl from other places in the world. If I could have any job in the world I think I would love to do what Xupa does. He's got one of the most amazing jobs I think. He gets to travel around as a coach and he gets a lot of perks as well. One of the best perks he's gotten so far is 25 round trip tickets to ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!! How cool is that?! and not to mention all the other perks such as free HUGE apartment with a maid service!!!
I love going over cause Xupa makes brazilian food.. YUMMY..and Alex makes good Korean food double yummy!! I have to make a meal for them one day.. lol.. I'm not sure what I want to make. I've been thinking about some variation of Pho. Wish me Luck!!

Sean Law

hey I have a few more blogs saved up on my laptop about thailand but since I'm at work, I'm going to just write about a good friend of mine. Sean Law is an incredible dude! He's saved my ass a number of times and as soon as I post up the blogs about thailand I'm going to post some pictures up as well... I gotta say that if it wasn't for him I'd have lost all my pictures from Thailand. As I was importing the pictures from my camera onto Picasa, picasa froze just as I had clicked safe delete and import. so... all the pictures were lost from the camera and weren't saved onto picasa. Sean being the hero that he is, found a software for me to recover my images... thank god! I was close to tears.. we're talking about 540 pictures and since I was the one that had the camera most of the time someone would've had to pay. Thanks to Sean everybody gets to live and I have my memories safe and intact. This wasn't the only time Sean has helped. He's definitely an admirable kid.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thailand -Koh Phi Phi

I apologize for not blogging for the longest time. I've just been incredibly lazy. I've been back from my trip to Thailand for 2 weeks now. All in all the trip was awesome.

So after we finally got from Bangkok to Krabi. We were in a bit of a jam. The last boat that leaves for Phi Phi Island had already left. We were late for the boat because of the 2 hr long delay. Air Asia our chartered flight that was supposed to leave from Bangkok at 1 ended up leaving at 3pm.. which was when the last boat left the dock at Krabi. The cab driver took us to this nice tour agency and so our option was to take a longtail boat to Phi phi island or the speedboat.. the difference in price was astounding.. altho the price was moderate in comparison to back home, it was way out of our budget. We opted for the longtail boat which meant that it was going to take us an hour. That hour felt LIKE FOREVER. Both Linds and I managed to doze while sitting on planks of wood freezing our asses off. Despite the warm weather in Thailand, when you're on the waters, and going pretty fast without any wind shelter, you freeze. I was tired enough to sleep sitting up. I'm pretty impressed with myself.
When we got to the dock at Phi Phi, we found out that our resort was AT THE VERY END OF THE BEACH! We lugged our suitcases all the way there and finally managed to crash.
I got my second wind of the night right about then. After we all showered we went into town to grab a bite and found this wicked place. It was called carpe diem. With the outdoorsie feel and Bob Marley in the background, this place made you feel like you were sitting atop a tree with absolutely no worries in the world.

After dinner we toured a bit of the stands outside. The merchandise (especially clothing wise) was so diverse in comparison to what's sold in Korea. The stores unfortunately closed around 10 and we headed back to our place feeling completely re-energized with nothing to do. LOL.. Always a bad combo with the us ladies. We ended up taking a dozen silly pictures that I cannot post. The night ended with numerous giggling fits.

Our next day was supposed to be our only FULL day on the island and unfortunately the weather was not the greatest. It was raining and ruined our plans of a day out on the beach oxidizing our melanin. Instead we settled for a daylight tour of the village and submitted ourselves to the mercy of the local Thai masseuse. Sigh... just the thought of it now is enough to make my knees weak. It was soo good. and the women there were soo friendly.

That evenning, we spent another night at Carpe Diem, soaking in the mellow ambience. This time we allowed ourselves a cocktail while watching firedancers do their magic. It seemed as if all the locals knew how to play with fire. I left the ladies to their flirting with the guys atop (one of whom had given Tash a rose made of a drinking straw) and headed closer to the fire dancers. I don't know if it was the alcohol or just the setting, but I felt so mesmerized by the fire and the music. Soon after Linds and Tash joined me Tash had to use the bathroom. She came back almost immediately and wanted to use the bathroom back in the hotel instead. As I was feeling quite drunk and tired (I was still sick) I opted to head back with them. Once there however, I was too relaxed to head back out.

The day we were supposed to leave the island was of course.. GORGEOUS.. the sun was out and it was INCREDIBLE. Our check out time was noon so after we had breakfast then packed. We left our luggage with the concierge and headed straight for the water. It was INCREDIBLE.. I love swimming in the ocean and had never swam in the calm waters of the ocean. There weren't many waves like Costa Rica and as I swam I could feel the sun coloring in my skin. I love the feel of salt water because the salt increases the buoyancy and so it feels like you have to do very little work to stay afloat. After a period of time out there just drifting away, I started to notice sporadic pinches here and there. We had by this time, chatted up a few lawyers from England. The dude was so cute cause he had lathered on the sunblock but probably didn't wait for it to settle into his skin before hitting the water. At first we couldn't figure out what the pinches were and where they were coming from. I figured that they were jelly fish stings, though I couldn't be certain at the time.

At around 1 we headed out of the water and gathered our stuff. We went for thai pancake for lunch which is ABSOLUTELY DELICOUS and CHEAP! As we waited for our pancakes we met up with the dudes from Carpe diem that Linds and Tash had partied it up with the night before. They were still as stoned as they were the night before and we sat down with them while eating our brunch. They really were a cute bunch (tho not physically). There was one dude that had his heart set on Tash. Their boat was leaving the island earlier than ours. So after lunch we headed back to pick up our luggage and it was there that we discovered that we didn't have to trek back all the way thru the village to get to the Pier. The hotel had a longtail boat shuttle service that took us there. We arrived to find the Local boy that was in love with Tash. He treated us to water at some cafe near the pier and even helped us with our luggage as we boarded the ship. As I left the Island I promised myself that I had to return again.