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so i recently updated but it was to post pictures from a little ways back, and i kind of hate having things out of order here.  soooo, i dated it 4.16, which is the day that mom and i went to the korean folk village, and there's a whole mess of pictures from that.  scroll down a bit and check them out.

also, i just this week got my tickets ready for my flight home, and I AM SO EXCITED.  i'm also SO SAD.  i'm pretty sure that i'm not quite ready to leave korea just yet, but at the same time i'm so stoked to be in florida for a little bit during the summer and do a bunch of floridian things (that is if that horrible oil spill hasn't completely destroyed all my beautiful beaches and swamps....yes the swamp can be nice). 

here's the itinerary:

july 3 leave korea, arrive in honolulu for 10 hours!!!
leave honolulu, arrive in la on july 4 at 6 am
spend july 4th in AMERICA! (slash la)
leave la july 5 at 8 am, arrive in tampa at 5 pm

i'm stoked about my mini hawaiian vacation, and my dad just gave me the brilliant idea to rent a car, so i'm going to look into that.  that also means that i'll be able to drive again which almost makes me happier than just going home to begin with.  driving around the island of oahu and seeing beautiful hawaii for the first time in my life is going to rock my face off.  of course if i drive that's going to have to limit my pina colada intake, but i think i can go virgin for the sake of being able to drive again.  it'll totally be worth it.

other than that, i've been a crazy person because my schedule has gotten out of control.  i'm a busy busy busy bee.  i've started using my little planner i bought 10 months ago, hard core style so i can keep all my appointments in check, and honestly i loooooooove being so busy again.  it's tiring but satisfying.  gotta make sure i see everyone before i leave and or they leave (a lot of my friends are leaving around the same time), as well as try and see my korean friends and family who will still be here long after i'm gone.  i'm also trying to finally fit in all the tourist things i haven't done or seen yet including everland, which is the korean disneyland here.  plus busy season at school has started which means more classes in the morning, which also means less time for appointments and sightseeing.

ahhh my life. 

but i kind of love it right now.

see you soon america,

kelly freaking clarkson in seoul

OK this is very overdue, but i had promised to post this and so here it is (to the best of my memory and my coffee stained notes).

this post is dedicated to my phil pants, who acknowledges  my spending twice as much and  going to see kelly in a foreign country as "bravado."  thank you, phil.


as usual she delivered a stellar performance, but from someone who still to this day remains the most successful american idol winner and breaker of awesomeness boundaries, that's not really very surprising.

i met up with my friend kim, who thankfully agreed to accompany me to the show, so i didn't have to be a solo flyer.

we got in, just in time to some side stage stadium seats, with a great view, but not quite accommodating enough  of the energy i was feeling.  the pit was crowded and full, with people who paid top price for the chance to stand in front of kelly and maybe touch her a little (front row only).  also, the crowd was full of glittering glow sticks and shiny star wands that lit up.  and interestingly enough, i saw very few teenagers.  the crowd was mostly composed of mid-20s koreans and a fair peppering of foreigners (a mixture of canadians, americans, and brits).

i forgot my camera (crap!) but it didn't really matter because photography was strictly prohibited (lame).

and the concert began.  the room went dark and a smokey voice filled the room with an acoustic start to her tour  and album song-namesake ("all i ever wanted").  the lights went up and she jumped right in.

next was "miss independent," which made most people really excited.  i was glad to be amongst fellow fans, and i was not the only one singing along to every song... when she asked and when she didn't.

"i do not hook up" was next, then a little chat where she said heeeey and made some jokes about her "beyonce" fan which was set up in the front of the stage cause she gets really hot running around.  without, she said, it would get way too attractive.

oh kelly.  the next song was "impossible," which she said she wrote in response to everyone around her who kept telling her some things are impossible.  you said it kelly.  that song is truth.

then! she started singing a "that i would be good"/"use somebody" medley, which are alanis morissette and kings of leon, respectively.  and let me tell you, her versions are better than the originals, no lie.  an incredibly strange pair, but she made it work.  it was her way of telling people what music she likes to listen to, which is apparently a question she gets a lot.  she mentions that she loves alanis because that was for her the girly angry boyfriend break up album, and "now you can just listen to mine! haha."  yep.

next was "if i can't have you" which was infiltrated by "can't get you outta my head" by kylie minogue (um hello, early nineties!).  she definitely picks some random songs to start singing, but that's part of her charm, and it kept things interesting (as if that were necessary).

then a very different sort of remixed version of "never again" which had a lot more rock and roll.

after a little more chatting, she started a dark acoustic song which she later revealed as "lies" by the black keys, and honestly this had to be my favorite.  it was dark and soulful and reminded me of new orleans for some reason.  it had sort of that swampy southern vibe.  i don't know, listen for yourself and tell me what you think:

(this is someone else's version, btw)

good, right?

next, she got all real and pulled out a stool to do a medley of her songs, because she had been getting a lot of twitter requests or complaints that she wasn't singing people's favorite songs.... annnnd my favorite kelly song was in fact included in this medley, so i appreciate it kelly.  they were "just missed the train," "low," and "addicted."

then she got rid of the stool and dove right back in, rocking "behind these hazel eyes" during which the crowd went wild.  afterwards things quieted down a bit and one of her guitarists pulled out a violin, and played several measures before she started "cry" (which really almost made me cry) it was really beautiful.

she talked about "cry," and called it her "celine dion" song, because it's a power ballad with lots of high octive power singing.  and she did not disappoint.  she then introduced her band, telling us a little bit about each person and embarrassing her bassist by making him do his "sexy" dance.  "come on, all of korea is waiting!"
i won't lie, it was a little sexy.

they went right into "i want you," which (and this is why i love her) she wrote because people were complaining that she had too many sad songs and not enough lovey dovey ones.  so this is her little sarcastic diddy (that is extremely catchy, i might add).  she also started some massive crowd participation by splitting the room and making us sing rounds.

next was "don't let me stop you" followed by "sober," which is i think, one of the most beautiful and raw songs she's ever written.  she then went with "because of you" which never disappoints.

she broke out of the serious rut by bringing out a super sparkly light up mic stand which complimented the sea of glow sticks in front of her, and sang "walk away" and a lovely faux finale of "since u been gone."

of course the show couldn't be over yet, so everyone hung tight and screamed their heads off for her to come back.  when she did, she had thrown on a spiffy leather jacket and started with "already gone."  then a dj appeared onstage (he was probably there the whole time, but no one noticed) and started mixing some of kelly's tunes with "supermassive black hole" by muse, while she danced around.  the tune suddenly changed, and before i knew it, kelly was singing "seven nation army" by the white stripes.  there was some kind of high tech filter on the mic she sang in for this song that gave a really profound effect to such a great song.  half way through the song though, she ditched the filter and just let loose on her voice.

and of course, the big finale was "my life would suck without you," which was an appropriate climax on all fronts.  we jammed, we sang, we danced, and i lost my already unsteady voice, leftovers of a cold i had been fighting off.

after the show, we headed home, tired but happy.  the same way kelly always leaves me: completely satisfied.



a quick update:

my cold has come into remission, since we got back from our family trip to geoje do (this is pronounced "guh-jeh doe").  during this trip, i more fully developed an annoyance for a common occurrence here in korea: in most cases the english or romanization of korean words is kind of screwed up.  i don't know who was in charge of turning korean into english, but for some reason "eo" is supposed represent the sound "uh," which i don't see at all.  also, they double words up for the names of things like mountains, rivers, and temples.  for example, the word for river is "gang" with a short a sound, not like a group of hoodlums.  so in korean the han river is the "han gang."  but for some reason, foreigners and signs in english (and english news articles i've read about korea) call the han river the hangang river.  so essentially, the han river river.  and they wonder why americans don't understand anything. 

that wasn't much of an update, just a rant. 

here's the update:

i've been on vacation since last wednesday, and it's been awesome.  running around seoul and actually doing things in the city is so much better than being here and teaching and staying in my room watching movies on my computer all day.  i love seoul.  and i wish i had more time to actually go around and see it all and do all the fun things it wants me to do.  i'll get around to it.  i'm planning on finally seeing a lot more art real soon.  i really want to go to the zoo.  i haven't been back to everland yet.  my goodness i've got a lot on my plate if i'm going to fit it all in before i leave in july.  i just need some more time....  but i don't have any.  things are going to be suuuper tight when i get back.

also, mom is leaving really soon, and we together have also not done all the things i had been planning.  but we have been doing a lot, so i guess i can't really complain.  i will miss her though when she's gone, especially since i've gotten much too used to having her around as my own personal translator.

my vacation is coming to a close, and i really really don't want to go back to work yet.  i just want to be in korea and not teach.  that'd be nice.

tonight - kelly clarkson has been so kind as to bring her show to me, so i'm going to see her tonight in seoul.

oh i love her.

tomorrow: is children's day and i don't really have any plans, but i at least plan on being outside because it's beautiful outside, AND there's going to be babies EVERYWHERE.

expect a lot of pictures of those soon.  in addition to the hundreds of others i have yet to upload and post.

ok, gotta go get ready for kelly.


mystery road trip

march 1, was a monday, and korean independence day... which means... day off!

and my mother, who was freshly arrived, got together with my aunt and they all decided to take a mini vacay... where to?  i'm sure they told me but i have absolutely no idea where it was and so promptly forgot.  the problem was that i had a private tutoring i had to do, and so i could not leave with the rest of the family on sunday morning... i had to teach at 4.  but my younger cousin, being the dashing young man that he is, offered to stay behind with me, and then we'd hop a train and meet the rest of the family... well, wherever they were.

so as soon as my tutoring was over, my cousin met me at the subway station, and we went together to the train station in order to catch a train to .... where the rest of the family was.

we stayed at a jimjil bong for the night, which, for those of you who don't know, is a public sauna and relaxing hang out place.  the sauna part is probably the most uncomfortable part, because (gender segregated) everyone walks around naked and bathing.  but there are delightfully vari-temperatured mineral pools that are good for your skin, and hot and dry saunas.  after you're sufficiently clean, you put on a little scrub-like uniform and go to the common area, where everyone hangs out and watches one of a variety of tvs, or gets some food, or hangs out in yet one of many more clothing-required saunas that are element specific.  like there is an ice room, a salt room, a clay room, a wood room, a charcoal room... etc.  i've seen gold, silver, and jade rooms as well.  there are also various massage chairs and spa rooms where you can get a variety of other services like facials done.

so basically these places are pretty awesome.  and really cheap (like $5-10, plus any supplimental services).  so people stay the night in these places (they're 24hrs), and sleep on mats in the common areas.  it would have been fine, had there not been 500 other people there, all snoring loudly.

annnnyway, in the morning we all hopped into the car and proceeded to take the long/scenic way home.  my mom wanted to see snow, so my uncle drove us to somewhere where there was snow, then we hit the beach, and drove along the coast for awhile.  really, an excellent time, especially given the fact that i had absolutely no idea what was happening at any given moment.


the requested snow.

mom insisted we jump out of the car and take a picture in the snow.

everyone else had to come too.

there was a scenic overlook somewhere.

the beach!


after you ate the crab part, they took the left overs and made you a delicious fried rice.

no hard feelings, guys.  you were delicious.

more beach.


we stopped and ate some more sea critters.  not these guys, there were only photo ops.

not these guys either.  but you get the idea.

looks like dr. seuss.  tuffula trees.... where oh where is the lorax?

so... when we actually started headed straight for home, it took 3 hrs longer than it should have because we hit a snow storm, and traffic literally crawled.  but it was all good.  much fun.

that's it.  now i have some real work to do  @_@  (that's a face with crazy eyes, if you can imagine it)


lunar new year... three months ago

yeah, lunar new year.  was three months ago.  and here are some pics.

actually these pics have nothing to do with lunar new year.  but on lunar new year, kim came to visit, and then we met my friend katie went to namsan tower.  these are pictures from namsan tower.

that's the tower.

just a few locks of a few lovers

oh wait... there's more.  infinitely more.

yep. that's only ONE of the walls covered in locks.

i'm bigger than the tower.

view from the top

that's only part of the city

seoul, the most romantic place in the world.

we're not as romantic, but we're cheery... and the ceiling was really shiny

kim and katie.  looking towards the us.

so yeah.  namsan was cool.  it was cold too.  (ha. ha.)

soon to come:  mom in the park, mystery road trip, busan, and cherry blossoms.



some news

i just got the word that i'll get to leave as early as i had wanted to that i could catch my friend frank's wedding.


now i'm going to study some korean, maybe work out, maybe mess around with some pictures.


here's a little something to look forward to:

mom and i went to busan last weekend, which is the big city on the south end of korea.  beach city.  if seoul were the korean new york, busan would be the korean la.

lots of pics from that, but for now:

it says: "in korea, haeundae... usa!! 4evs"

haeundae is the name of a famous beach there, which is where we took the picture.

that's it for now.


korean folk village

so in the town where i live there is a very famous park or attraction or i don't know what.  but it's called korean folk village, and it's a recreation of a traditional, typical village in old times korea.  mom had been wanting to come visit this place for ages.  it's one of the things she told me to go see as soon as i got here, and i just never got around to doing it.  so we finally went together. ... and it was so much better than i expected.

let's see and learn:

these are supposed to ward off evil demons from the village.

mom in front  of a traditional house/hut.

various functional and decorative bunches of things

kimchi pots

spring is springing

mom thinks she's a basket maker


some hand-crafted wood work for sale like in a typical village

chili fish are good luck

she was making something out of silk

this is the gate to the governor's house.  fancy i know.

these are children beating an imaginary criminal with sticks

this guy is really making baskets

mom enjoying some spring

a bridge

these were supposed to be good luck or something... i don't remember, but they're important

i'm (not) a bride

she couldn't lift it, so she just pretended.

an equestrian show

yeah, they were pretty good

view from the river

yeah, she's enjoying herself


this is a wish rock... you write a wish and tie it to the ropes.  that one in the center is mine.  i forgot what i wished for.

ok.  that's what the village was about.

afterwards i made it back just in time for work.  all in all a great day out with mom.


lots of fish

i've been sick this past week.  crazy korean weather apparently means that one minute it's warm and lovely outside and the next it's freezing and snowing.  cause that makes total sense.

thank you global warming.  p.s. i really don't understand people who don't believe in climate change.  i mean really...?  i don't even understand how that can be something you "don't believe in"... like it's magic or unicorns or something.  leprechauns.  the yeti.  climate change.  what will people come up with next, right?

seriously, i don't get it.

anyways, (almost two months ago), i went to the coex aquarium.

it was awwwwwesome.  but then i also love aquariums, so that's not surprising.  i'd post more, but it takes sooo long to post pictures here that i just included the highlights.  if you want to see more, they're on facebook.  or at least they will be when i'm done here.

ok, so coex aquarium:

i went on february 7, with my friend robert, who used to be in my korean class with me.  then we both dropped out. 

this is a lion fish.  he's real happy to see me.

lots of fishes.

that's me and robert.  there were horseshoe crabs in that tank, i think... with an african-american jazz band.  it made total sense.  as did most of the other displays....

yep, that's a toilet.  and there is definitely a fish inside.


some major home appliances with fishies in them.  you know, regular stuff.

oh yeah, and it was baby-city.  these two matched.

sweet, sweet starfish


nice, right?  i need one of these in my house.

found nemo... and friend

sharks are really scary.

touching the shark.

sweet/scary tunnel place where sharks swam over your face.

jelly fishies.


these guys swam upside down.  awesomeness.

party with the penguins!


they're cute, right?  even if kind of dirty.

so, that's it for the aquarium.  and i'm almost caught up!! yay!

at least being sick gives you the time to get some things done.  that's right, right?


as promised

things have been a little rough lately so i haven't updated in awhile.

last sunday, on easter sunday, my american grandmother passed away.  ironically (?) enough, my father called to tell me she had passed, as my korean family was celebrating the anniversary of korean grandma's death.  same day, both grandmas, three years apart.  life is crazy.

but things are ok otherwise.  just working a lot.  i purchased an actual cd...the first in years.  it's 2ne1, and i couldn't be more happy with my terrible kpop.  it's fantastic. 

mom's still here, which is bittersweet sometimes.  mostly just because she's actually around allllll the time.  but for the most part, that's a good thing.  i get coffee handed to me when i wake up, and a 24/7 teacher and translator.  she cooks too.  very handy, mothers are.

i got my fancy camera fixed finally, and spring is in the air, so i don't want to make any promises, but i see some very excellent pictures in the future.  perhaps they'll make it this far, perhaps they won't.  but i'm excited about that either way.

for now, let's take one promise at a time:

pictures from my cousin's wedding on february 21, 2010

the bride before the wedding


i don't know what it is about brides and mothers-to-be or why we're programmed to look all glowy at times like this... but it works.


they're really cute.  i can't wait til they have babies.

the entrance.  it was literally a runway.

future mothers-in-law bow to each other

future spouses bow to each other

my mom's sister's family

the traditional photo shoot.  this is what a wedding used to look like.

bowing to the bride's parents

then the parents throw chestnuts, and however many the newly weds catch in that scarf, they're supposed to have.  they caught all the chestnuts from both sets of parents....(yessssss)

yay! they're married!  and so cute!

ok, so a brief description of a korean wedding:
nowadays the weddings are hybrids of east meets west, with all the tradition of the east and all the efficiency of the west.  you go to a specified wedding hall and purchase some predetermined "package" of marital goodness, and then the hall provides EVERYTHING.  they do the ceremony, loan all outfits western and eastern, hire photographers, helpers, they cater in a giant hall, and provide the traditional setting for all the rituals.  the only thing is that they churn out several weddings in a day so you get about 20 min for the western ceremony, all guests go into the hall, sit at tables around the runway, and then afterwards brief family photos on the stage.  then everyone is shuffled upstairs-- guests to the reception hall for food, along with alllll the other guests from the rest of the weddings sort of mingling about--- and the bride and groom and immediate family to the traditional hall for the traditional clothes, rituals, photos, and whatnot.  then the bride and groom go to the reception hall and walk around and say "hey" to anyone they can find that they know who hasn't left. 

it was kind of weird that they didn't do any of the normal reception party time stuff, but it was definitely an experience... just a lot less personal.  but it's all the rage here, so.... to each their own i guess.  it probably makes wedding planning so much easier, for sure.


that's about it. 

still to come: the aquarium, namsan tower, and more from mom's visit.


a random day out with mom.

mom helped me take my camera into the cannon store and get it fixed for more than half the price america tried to charge me.  thank you mom.  after we picked it up we went for a stroll and i took some pics:

mom being all serious.

mom being all important.

mom trying not to drown.

mom being all model-y.

these girls were really interested in that duck.

then mom and i met up with her cousin and his family.  they were A-DOR-A-BLE.

i forget their names, but they're pretty fancy.  there was a boy too, but he was older and completely uninterested in anything that was going on.

good night america.