Friday, May 27, 2005 

The lack of posting has been due to a very unnatural exhaustion that has overtaken me this week. As I write this, at 8:15 on a Friday night, I'm struggling to keep my eyes open. This is no good. I wanted to blog a few days ago and the title was going to be "Just because they look like pickles doesn't mean they won't taste like fish." The vast majority of the soups here are based on anchovy broth. And they eat LOTS and LOTS of fish. I've discovered what a picky eater I am. I still won't eat squid or octopus, though I did try sushi for the first time two weeks ago. Lots of things taste like fish. LOTS of things. I won't even get into the mass amounts of fish and other sea creatures in the grocery stores here. The first time I went it was a disturbing and stinky experience. (Still stinky, but less disturbing.) Another blog title was going to be "nosebleeds that nauseate." I'm not sure if Korean kids have a market on the nose-picking industry or if they're just less careful, or more prone to bleeding, or WHAT, but I for one, am somewhat sick to death of picking-induced nosebleeds. One of my students had one this week that can only be appropriately described as a gusher. It was very very gross. I realized at that point that human blood bothers me substantially more than animal blood. (Same goes for animal vomit - used to cleaning it up from the vet, but if a kid pukes, I become a sympathetic puker and join them.) I also think I made a substantial step towards adulthood today. I turned down a free puppy. This is HUGE for me. But reason won out over that supremely unreasonable and irrational voice in the back of my head going, "Awwww! A PUPPY!" Thank God. I can only barely keep up with Daive and myself.

I had the inspiration to write a little about Korean culture, because it was at first a huge stumbling block for me here, and now that I've been here longer, it's just interesting. But now is not the tired. But soon perhaps. Gonna go lay down and read (probably sleep). Night everyone.

Sunday, May 22, 2005 

Daive says, "what's up?" Posted by Hello


Just in case anyone forgot how cute my dog is Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 21, 2005 

I need another weekend to recover from this one

I had the test done this morning, and it was one of the less enjoyable moments of my life. I'm torn between wanting to share the story, which really is kind of funny, and wanting to be somewhat discreet and not disgusting. (throwing caution to the wind - beware) So I had a colonoscopy. That means that my colon had to be empty. THAT means I had to take medicine to empty my colon, and, as you can infer, that means I spent the majority of last night in the bathroom. This was unpleasant enough, but the medicine itself gave me a feeling like car-sickness, which is really not fun either. They seemed to not time everything right either. I had to take a dose of the medicine last night at 7:00, then the last dose at 5:00 this morning. When I had to leave for the doctor's office at 9:15 this morning, it seems that I was not as empty as I would have liked to be, seeing that I had to spend the next thirty minutes closed up in a cab. Ah well, I made it there. Then I changed into scrubs with a strategically placed hole on the backside for access purposes. The scrubs were too short, and not that I should have been feeling modest given what was about to was just awkward. They took me into the procedure room, June (yet another delightful, wonderful, and selflessly helpful Korean teacher from my school) following and translating the instructions for me. They had to give me the injection to make me go to sleep and couldn't find a vein, so they ended up giving it to be in one of my knuckles. I got dizzy, and June said that I'd fall asleep and they'd do the test, and I'd wake up in an hour. They sent June and Kylie (who came for the moral support) out to the waiting room. I was seriously toying with the idea of going to sleep when the doctor came in. I hope you can imagine my surprise when he began the procedure. There I was, wide-awake, not even dizzy in the slightest anymore, and he was just indifferent to this. I spent the entire time crying, and kept on saying (through my rather pathetic tears) "Why am I awake? I'm not supposed to be awake. Why am I awake??" which they, of course, could not understand. It was one of the longest 15 minutes of my life, let me just tell you. Aside from the obviously foreign and unwelcome presence of the scope in my colon, they have to put air in, so that the scope can see the walls of your colon. It was then I realized that I've never truly known what it means to be bloated. You know, I won't even say much more. But the whole experience was really rather wretched. And of course (thankfully) they found nothing wrong, the doctor diagnosed me with IBS (again), made a joke about how sensitive and nervous I was during the procedure (through June) and it was all I could do not to knock the fashionable and over-priced rimless glasses off his smug Korean face. I thought of many a witty and clever come-back, but didn't think June would actually translate them for me if I said them (she's a very kind person) and wanted nothing more than to be back in my bed at that moment. So I came home, ate some soup (graciously supplied from Kylie and Donovan's apartment), and went to bed, where I slept soundly for four or five hours. The rest of the day has been quite restful and enjoyable, but not in such a way that makes me forget about this morning. I have high hopes that tomorrow will be wonderful, and really I have every reason to know that there will be nothing inserted in my colon tomorrow, so for that reason alone, it will be a perfect day. Off to bed again...

Thursday, May 19, 2005 


I'm so anal that I usually have to change the times so they're accurate when I post pictures, but I'm too lazy and tired to do that tonight. And a brief note about Kimchi - just to reiterate an old point and share some new information. The name of the blog is due to my initial unpleasant experience with kimchi, which is a fermented cabbage dish. There are loads of types of kimchi, with the most popular/regular being the red variety that is extremely spicy (at least to this mouth it usually is). Aaron made a good point this weekend, saying that the taste of kimchi runs on a scale from spicy to rancid. And it's true. Sometimes the kimchi just tastes like it has passed the point of being yummy and fermented, and it just tastes gross. I really detested it. Now, however, it's not so bad. I prefer radish kimchi to cabbage kimchi, and I don't eat it very frequently, but still. In some bizarre (and possibly imagined) way, my journey from "I hate kimchi" to "It's not so bad," to "This kimchi is really good!" seems to correlate to my getting comfortable and somewhat established here. I've now officially been here for as long as I was in Israel - a little longer, even, and have every intention of staying. There's a lot about Korea that I don't get and that sometimes drives me crazy, but there's a lot more good stuff. (And just on an aside here, Seoul is beautiful in the spring. I've never lived somewhere that has four seasons before, and I'm loving it! After the cherry blossoms, the whole city just turned green and lush and there are flowers everywhere. It's very pretty.)

I am going to the doctor in the morning and, if all goes as expected, will have the test done on my stomach Saturday. I may or may not have a Korean-speaking person going with me, which makes me worried enough to cry, but I need to get it done, and the sooner the better. I'll let you all know how it goes, but please pray for me if you think about it. I'm nearly certain they won't find anything, that's not what I'm concerned about. I just don't want to do it. I have to meet Jenny early in the morning though, so I'm off to bed. Night!


Group picture...the JM family (most of it, anyway) Posted by Hello


This is the end of the bobsled ride, with Mr. Moon coming down.  Posted by Hello


Jenny and I on our way up to the bobsled ride. Jenny is the one that has ordered food for me, went with me to the skin doctor to see about getting my tattoo removed, and is going with me to the doctor in the morning about the test I'm having done Saturday. She's my hero.  Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 

June, Joan, me, Kylie, and Donovan. That's a fountain and a ride behind us.  Posted by Hello


These things are quite clever. You put in 1,000 won (a dollar) and then it does this super-slow walking thing, and you can steer it. They had all kinds of animals (see the Panda in the background?), and they were all over the park. Obviously, they're meant more for children. I can't remember if someone dared her to or if she was bored.  Posted by Hello


Kylie and Donovan do NOT ride rides, EVER. Somehow Lucy convinced them to take on this roller coaster that was horribly short, but had two loops and a corkscrew back-to-back. This is pre-ride...and I'm proud to say there was no vomiting. Good job guys! Posted by Hello


This is the bear blowing bubbles in the water - it's a little fuzzy because of the window, but still quite cute. Posted by Hello


There was a shot before this one, before the bus had come around part of the corner, and it looked like the Tiger was going potty in the water. I found that one more amusing, given my willingness to discuss nearly all things bathroom, but picked this one because it was a better shot overall. Posted by Hello


No zoom here, just so you know. I mean, there was a very reassuring window pane between this joker and myself, but he was very close. Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 14, 2005 


Today is important, if for no other reason than my bathroom light was finally replaced. For the first two weeks or so, I was bathroom lightless because I hadn't bought one. Then I was bathroom lightless because the light fixture cover thingy wouldn't come off. So all bathroom activities (including showering, and there's no stall for that, it's just a shower head in one of the corners) had to be done with the door open. (No window in the bathroom.) That was a major contributor to the embarrassing incident last Sunday when Cooper was at my house. Even awkward moments aside, it's been remarkably inconvenient. I had one of the amazing Korean teachers at work write a note for me in Korean explaining the situation and the Super came down and fixed it for me tonight. He couldn't get it off at first either, and he looked at me and said "Man?" My confusion was evident, so he pointed at himself and said "man," pointed at me and said "woman," and then said again "Man?" I couldn't really believe that he was saying I couldn't help him and he wanted a man, until he said "Two, zero, three" which is actually Melissa's apartment number, but the two previous tenants had been guys. So Kylie (who kindly agreed to stay in my apartment until the ordeal was over to try to alleviate the awkwardness) called Donovan who came up and helped. Together they got the light fixture off and replaced the light bulb. I'm excited about being able to close the door and not be in utter darkness.

Everland today was interesting. We were supposed to meet at 9 sharp, but didn't end up leaving until sometime after 10:15, at which point I was in that "so-mad-and-frustrated-I-could-cry" mood, due to that and a few other small things. When we finally got there, we rode a roller coaster right away, and it was delightful. There was one other coaster I wanted to ride, but didn't get the chance. We ended up splitting up and the group I was with went to the Safari thing, which isn't exactly a ride. It's a fenced in area (complete with the Jurrasic Park-esque two gates to ensure none of the animals get out) with two areas. Strangely, there were a whole load of lions and tigers in the same area - and not such a huge area, either. I'm not sure how that works with being territorial, but it was interesting. One of the lions was laying on a rock that was the same height as the bus windows, and just as we were going by, he yawned. I've never seen the grooves on a lion's tongue before. That's how close we were. We went to another section, separate from the lions and tigers where there were (that's right, you guessed it) bears (oh my!). These bears looked miserably hot, and it made me sad and a little upset for them. They knew tricks though. They would all sit back on their large bear butts and do various cute tricks to earn them treats from the bus drivers. One of them looked like he was praying, one clapped, one could wave (after the bus driver said "hello" in Korean), and my favorite was the bear that made the kissy lips. VERY cute. We also went past a bear in one of the swimming/water hole things, and he kept on sticking his nose under the water and blowing these huge bubbles. It was cute. Anyway, so we did the first roller coaster, the safari, and this bobsled (with stainless steel track thingy) ride. We did a lot of wandering, a lot of trying to make decisions, and stood around a lot doing nothing. All in all I had a great time though. There were some funny moments and some freaky moments - the performers were all white (and Russian, actually). We watched an acrobatic-type show (and I realized I shouldn't watch such things - I turn into a nervous wreck) with Russian performers, and then the parade (the theme for Spring is Versailles Party or Ball or something) was extremely European. It was a little surreal, actually. My face is fried though, especially my poor abused forehead. Pictures to follow, I promise. For now though, going to put some cucumber on my face (no aloe) and lay down.

Friday, May 13, 2005 

The week has gone amazingly well, considering all things. My meeting with my pastor went exceptionally well, and he introduced me to some possible ministries I was either unaware of, or too afraid to venture into on my own. He was very easy to talk to, and I actually forgot about the point of the meeting (the recommendation) and was more real and genuine than I probably would have been if the recommendation had stayed in the front of my mind the whole time. I was excited about the church, and about the possible ministry opportunities there even before I got to meet with the pastor, now it's even more so.

I went to the doctor also, and seriously, this was his name: "Inho Kwak." Kwak. I was distracted and spent half the appointment trying to make sure I was reading his white coat correctly. And I was. His last name was Kwak. Anyway, he prescribed me some medicine, and I'm going to have to have a test done. I've had stomach problems since high school, so it's probably slightly overdue. The clinic is located inside this huge medical center though, and the earliest they could schedule the test for was August 1. I was perfectly fine with that, as it's going to be incredibly invasive and absolutely NO fun. However, when I told one of the Korean teachers at work (because depending on when our vacation is, I might have to take the day off) she said that it was too far away and said she could schedule it for sooner. I agreed, thinking sooner might be early June. Yeah, how about next Saturday. And speaking of Saturdays, tomorrow is the day of our staff picnic. The staff picnic somehow morphed from an actual picnic to a day of fun-filled adventure at Everland, an amusement park about an hour away from Seoul. Theoretically this could be much fun, and truthfully it is on my list of places to go and things to do while in Korea. However, it's mandatory fun with people I spent too much time with during the week. I'm not dreading it, and my attitude isn't as bad as it sounds (through that last sentence), but part of me would much rather prefer to sleep in.

Today was Teacher's Day (anyone notice that Korea has oodles of holidays?) and I got a few cute little presents. Of course the cute first grader that gave me a present also called me "mama" and pretended like he was NURSING when we were doing flashcard games on the floor. Creepy. I don't care if he's eight and he's kidding. Still creepy. And just because I feel like what I just shared might have been inappropriate, I'll tell you something exciting and good about work. My kindergarten class is learning to read. They've been working on phonics and such for some time now, and the all-important connection of the sounds of letters is being learned right now. And it really is so exciting, because a month ago, these kids couldn't read. And now, though they can only read certain words (three letter words ending in either "-at," "-ap," "-am," or "-an") they are getting it. And this is their second language! It boggles my mind! But my kindergarten class is rapidly moving into the "favorite class" category just due to the overwhelming cuteness contained therein. Seriously. And I, an admitted not-enthusiastic-lover-of-elementary-aged-children, realize more everyday how much I really like what I'm doing - in a way. Teaching kids English as a second language...I have varied feelings about THAT, because it's catering to a very elite (ahem, usually spoiled and bratty) crowd. Anyway, the moments when they are all so excited that they know what the flashcard says, and jump into my lap/on top of me/tackle me so that I too will know that they's usually a very cute time.

I finished Brothers Karamazov, finally, and bought another book by Dostoyevsky tonight. We'll see how that works out. I think I might have a thing for Russian writers. Anyway, I need to go take more of the freaky-dream-inducing Korean nyquil and get to bed so I can be at least semi awake in the morning. Hopefully I'll have some pictures to share with you after tomorrow. Night!

Monday, May 09, 2005 

This is definitely the first time I've had green beans of any sort since I've been in Korea. I can't think if I had any in Israel or not. Who knew green beans could be so exciting though? And they're from a can too. When I was growing up, canned green beans were like a food group in my house, and I've avoided them as long as I've been able to do so. But it's one of the most exciting moments of my day, actually. A vital part of the story of my day is that I got said green beans at Costco, when I went after work. And before work, I went to the bank to wire money back to my Dad. I am now officially out of credit card debt, though I owe Dad money (he let me send him the majority of the money, and pay the rest next month so I don't run out of money at the end of the month like I've been doing). But it's a very exciting thing - out of (credit card) debt. (Feel like I'll never be out of student loan debt....sigh.)

Speaking of school (in an indirect way), I have an appointment to meet with my pastor tomorrow morning. I have to have a pastoral reference in my admissions stuff for Biola, and tomorrow will be the first in-depth conversation I've had with him. I'm actually rather nervous. He's really funny and easy-going, so I'm fairly certain he'll be easy to talk to - but what pressure! Okay, and then Wednesday morning I have a doctor's appointment. I've been having severe-insofar-as-they-are-annoying-me-beyond-belief-and-interrupting-my-life stomach issues. None of the stuff like last time either - I'm going to an International Clinic sorta near my apartment. I had some medicine from the States, but the prescription bottle took a turn in Pablo's mouth (Pablo being my friend in Israel's dog) where the label was ruined, then the bottle was lost, so all I know is what was written on the pill. And I don't have any pills left...I just wrote down what was on it. We'll see how that works out for me. Anyway, just took some night-time cold medicine (at least that's what it's supposed to be) and I'm hoping to fall asleep very soon, so I'm going to stop typing now. Good night all.

Sunday, May 08, 2005 

Motorcycles on the Mind

I've been preoccupied this week. I've had a few things on my mind that just would not leave or even decrease in the amount of time they plagued my mind. Today is better. I have had such a wonderful day. I had lunch with one of the interns from my church, Pamela, who is thoroughly delightful, very real, and extremely funny. We sat and talked for an hour and a half at least. Talking to her actually made me realize a few things about what God has done in my life since I've been in Korea that hadn't occurred to me before. It was very nice. After that, I came home and picked up a few groceries. Then I called Cooper. Anyone remember Cooper? Cooper is going through a lot of transition right now in his life. He's no longer engaged, he just started a new job, and he's finishing up his internship at church. Lots of change. We talked last Sunday, and as it turns out, his new job is two subway stops, or about a fifteen minute walk away from where I live. So we're going to hang out more (as in more than not, so hang out some?). Anyway, the point is that he's going through a tough time. So we met up over near where he works this afternoon and talked for awhile. Much like Pamela, Cooper is also very real, very funny, and very refreshing to be around. He brought me back to my apartment on his motorcycle, and came up to get his books back from me (from when I borrowed them ages ago), and met Daive. It was actually a rather embarrassing moment because he needed to use my bathroom, but my bathroom light is out. I have a light bulb, but the light fixture won't come off for me to replace the light. So he had to use the bathroom with the door open. (I was considerate enough to turn the music up though.) And there wasn't any toilet paper. It was just bad. Take my word for it. But we had a rather enjoyable time. One of the highlights for me was that he offerred to teach me how to drive a motorcycle, and said that he'd even help me look for one if I wanted to get one. That's exciting. I want to learn to drive one even if I don't get one. Now I must go clean up my apartment. It was dreadfully messy when he came up - just proves your mom right, that you should always clean your room and make your bed because you don't know who might stop by. That's all. Night everyone. And Happy Mother's Day to you mothers and mother-figures!

Thursday, May 05, 2005 

I celebrated Children's Day by avoiding them altogether. Very nice. I stayed up way too late looking for Bichon Frise puppies online for one of the teachers at school (who probably won't get one anyway) so I slept in. After waking up, I spent the majority of the day reading. Another few days of reading here-and-there as time allows, and I will finish The Brothers Karamazov. Anybody read this and have any thoughts? All I know is that the thing is 720 pages and I have taken my time getting through it. Nearly a month - and my usual reading habits consist of buying a book, reading it in a night or two, and moving on. This book wouldn't allow that. So far, I still think it's worth reading, if only for the issues he addresses - lots about faith and disbelief. I've underlined a few quotes today that struck me as being extraordinarily quote-worthy, I might find them and share them later (light is already off now and I'm too tired and sick to fool with it right now). Tired, and sick (again, which is getting a bit old). Going to try to sleep now.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005 

Student Loan Madness

I've been getting these things in the mail (via my Dad) regarding my student loan. They look quite official, and this latest one had "final notice" stamped in red on the front. I figured that something had gone wrong with my loans or there was some kind of confusion. But the times to call were from 3 PM to 11 PM Eastern time, so I'd only be able to call in the morning. Between wanting to sleep in and not really wanting to know about the problem (because that would require fixing it or something - I'm sometimes slightly avoidant), I hadn't called until this morning. All night I slept horribly. I finally decided to stop the madness around 7:45 this morning, and figured while I was up, that I should call. I sat down, found the piece of mail, and was dialing, when I read the fine print at the bottom. "You were selected to receive this offer because your sonsumer report met initial criteria. As long as you are in your loan grace period or have entered repayment on each chosen for consolidation..." It was about consolidating my loans! Grr! This is what the piece of mail actually says (it's not even a letter, it's the kind you rip the perforated sides off of and open, and that kind of mail usually means business in my experience): "Please call us at your earliest convenience concerning your student loans." That totally struck me as a "you're in such trouble" message rather than a "consolidate now and SAVE" message. Oy. But then I dug out my citibank statement and called them, seeing as how I was up anyway, and it ended up that the deferrment I sent in before I went to Israel (an in-school deferrment) wasn't applied to all of my loan, so it looked like I was severly past due. The guy I talked to was funny and beyond helpful, which really added something to this morning. He changed my address and fixed the problem of the deferrment not covering all of the loan, and fixed everything else too. Very nice.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 

Night Lights

A picture Melissa took of the night lights - I absolutely love it. Posted by Hello


This is my nephew in the pajamas I sent him. Charming, eh? By the way, not that Korea is a place known for any kind of souvenier in particular, but if anyone is really desiring any kind of uniquely Korean item, let me know. I can hook you up. I'd like to be able to show the pink dress I sent to my niece but my sister has yet to take a picture (I don't even know if it fits her or not though)...hint, hint. Posted by Hello


Remember the silly pictures Melissa and I took a few weeks ago? Well, this is one of them. I look ridiculous (which was the beauty of the whole evening) but Daive looks really rather cute. (BTW, I don't have bangs. Melissa fixed my hair so it would look like I do - but I don't. Faux bangs, if you will.) I also thought I'd show that my dog really is cute AND bad - that there's more to her than just her misbehavior.Posted by Hello



So I'm trying to "reprogram" my dog. She has severe separation anxiety. She's always had separation anxiety, but it's mushroomed into something rather ugly and unbearable. She barks a LOT when I'm gone. This is unfortunate because I'm gone eight hours a day, at least, during the week. On Sunday Kylie and Donovan (who live a floor below me) said that she barked non-stop for an hour, and then off and on for another hour and a half. It's a miracle I haven't been evicted or gotten in some other kind of severe trouble yet. And having worked at a vet, I knew where to start. There is also a book I read about dogs (The Latchkey Dog, that's the title) about people who treat dogs like humans and then get upset when they want them to act like dogs. It sounds ridiculous, but it's profound and not like a lot of dog training books which tend to go either to the extreme of "beat 'em till they obey," or "give them snacks to get them to do whatever you want," both of which aren't all that helpful in the long run. apartment is a studio - just one room, and she still follows me around, if I walk into the kitchen, or over to where my clothes are, or to the bathroom. She's always slept in the bed with me (sorry for all of you who are now grossed out). Well, the "reprogramming" consists of her sleeping in her crate/kennel at night. (Last night was the first night of this, and she did really well. She didn't whine or cry at all, which surprised me. I also slept much better.) She is also not allowed to be on a surface equal to me or higher than me without being instructed/commanded to be there. (There was also a lot in the book above about dogs being pack animals, and pack dynamics and such.) The fact of the matter is that when my dog is so severely dependent on me, it's reflecting the fact that I'm dependent on her too - too dependent, in this case. I also have to give her a lot less attention over the next few weeks - part of behavior modification for dogs with severe separation anxiety, and I think that'll be tough - cause it's just second nature for me to pet my dog. And I took her for a long walk this morning before work in the hopes that she'd be tired and sleep most of the day. Day one seems to have been a success. I didn't hear her barking when I left for work or when I came home - and that's been the norm here lately (for her to be barking at both times). We'll see how it goes.

I have Thursday off from work - Children's Day. All I know about the holiday is that I'm off, and for that reason, I think it should be called Teacher's day. I'm looking forward to the holiday, but am sad that it's delaying payday by a day. Holidays are always more fun if you have money. The week is going well though, and quickly (which is also a plus). I'm definitely looking forward to the weekend though. I'll be sure to keep you updated on the reprogramming.

Sunday, May 01, 2005 

Today has been an interesting day. Church this morning was delightful, for a few different reasons. I am not going to say much today, which I know, is quite a new thing for me. I've experienced very nearly the entire spectrum of emotions today, however brief some of them may have been. But please pray for me. I'm struggling with decisions - about grad school, what to do once my contract here is up, and about a few more personal issues. I tell you though, God works things out in downright hilarious ways sometimes. More on that later though, I promise!

Kimchi, not for me is powered by Blogspot and Gecko & Fly.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.
First Aid and Health Information at Medical Health