Saturday, January 30, 2010

January is now over, which means we have been in Dongtan for over 3 months. It's amazing how comfortable we are here, and how much it already feels like home.

January was a less eventful month, but still had some pretty solid highlights, including a Warhol exhibit, a pretty rad shisha bar, the discovery of Costco, a school field trip, and a sick snowboarding extravaganza.

First up was our school's field trip, which sounds lame, but was actually a ridiculous amount of fun. We took the whole school to a massive indoor playground, and for once, got to go crazy with the kids. Ahh, the perks of being an elementary school teacher.

Next up is our friend Chelsea's b-day. About 15 of us headed into Gangnam for some Mexican food, a shisha bar, and an American classic rock bar. The shisha bar was what I imagine being in Thailand on acid would be like, in a positive way of course. Solid times were had indeed.

We also discovered Costco, which was an event in itself. We ended up leaving with an unmentionable amount of cheese and ground beef, which are rarities in this neck of the Asian woods. Koreans love Costco too, so you gotta be fierce in order to survive it. Bryan's mild temperament landed him in the situation below. Ah, he has so much still to learn.

We booked in January with a snowboarding extravaganza, Korean style. Bryan, our co-teacher Brent, and our 2 desk guys (Ruy-Oh and Frank) took off Friday night after work. It was definitely Korean style, which included night snowboarding from midnight til 4:30am. Afterwards, we went home, pounding some beers and crashed by 6:30. The next morning we woke up, had some Ramyen for breakfast and headed to a jimjilbong, which is a Korean bathhouse. The hot springs and jets were incredible after a whole night of snowboarding. Bathhouses are negatory on the clothes-atory, but I'm oddly comfortable being naked around others. When in Rome, baby.

That's it for now. Still loving it, still happy, still game to see what's coming next.

LotsofLove from SK,


Friday, January 1, 2010

A Korean Koristmas

This Christmas proved to be a merry one indeed. We celebrated in our apartment, along with my brother, 3 boxes of fried chicken, endless amounts of beer, wine, egg nog, and khalua. We drank and ate all night long, watching old Christmas movies around the Christmas tree. Come midnight, we started opening all of our gifts. It really felt like Christmas with the surprisingly huge loot under the tree. Cheryl Parnell came through with a box full of wrapped presents for us, and our kids at school gave us some pretty amazing goodies as well. All of that, accompanied with Bryan, Khalil and I doing our own exchange, turned our floor into the warm-hearted Christmas wrapping paper mess that I have come to love.

Another gift Bryan and I gave ourselves was a trip to Japan. We had been thinking about it a couple weeks prior, but clicked confirm at 3am Christmas Eve. The morning of the 26th we flew off to Osaka for 5 days of sushi, sashimi, and Satomi, Bryan's brother's fiancee.

Selina and I in front of a beautiful waterfall in Monkey Park. Located in the midst of a mountain range just outside of Osaka, there are hiking trails seethed in packs of monkeys ready to surround and attack unsuspecting Osakians for their snacks. In Nara, Selina fed wild deer cookies. The deer are trained to approach tourists and politely bow for their food.

Thanks to Satomi, we truly had an amazing trip. She took us everywhere: temples, deer parks, Buddhist shrines, 20 story high ferris wheels, and amazing mountain top views of Osaka. We stayed right downtown Namba, shopped in some of the coolest neighborhoods, and indulged in some of the most delicious food I've ever consumed. It was Bryan's second time in Japan, but my first, and it feels good to have another country to add to the archive.

Us in front of the Golden Palace, made from real gold.

We made it back to the 'dong the morning of New Year's Eve, and geared up our engines for what turned out to be the best New Years Eve celebration of our lives. DJ Steve Aoki blew the roof of the party, while pouring champagne and vodka into the crowd for an added treat. At one point during the night, we found ourselves operating a heavy lift machine that took us to the sound booth at the back of the party, with the best view in the house. Then I look over, and Bryan and Ian are triple fisting inside the BMW that was on display. Needless to say, 2009 was rung in in style. 2010, if you can beat this year, as well as that blowout of a party, I will be both pleased and ridiculously impressed.

That's all for now, let's see what 2010 brings.

Lots of love from South Korea. ♥

World Cup Weekend

You can imagine I was easily convinced when Selina suggested we spend our one year anniversary at the 2009 Snowboard Big Air World Cup finals. We spent Saturday night in a hotel downtown taking advantage of the spa and club lounge facilities, then headed across town to the comp the next afternoon. Upon arrival it seemed all of Korea came out to watch the finals live as the closest we could get was near a huge TV screen. Something I didn't expect was the demographic of the crowd being between 50 and 80 years of age. Determined to get closer Selina and I battled our way through the congested and aggressive crowd of senior snowboard fans. Eventually we did make it the very front for the end of the semis. Highlights included the one Korean competitor preparing himself at the launch pad atop a sea of people shouting "KOREA! KOREA!" only to drop into a full double back-flip. Another unbelievable weekend in the Republic.