Thursday, September 28, 2006

Meine broder ist komink fur Korea!

For the past few weeks, we've been recieving various 'constructive criticisms' concerning our lack of recent bloggish updates:

"I thought you guys did stuff, but according to your blog, that's just a lie"
"I'm seriously going to sabotage your blog soon"
"You better update or heads will roll!"
"Post or somebody DIES!!!"

Things like that. So before our blood is shed, we thought we should just make the time and do it, if for no other reason than our life insurance policy doesn't cover us here in Korea. And so we give you:

Firstly, or lastly depending on how you think about it, my brother Sebastian meandered out our Asian way and found himself in Seoul for a week! We had SUCH a blast hanging out and seeing each other again -t'was marvellous. He arrived, um, a while back and after seeing our work and our apartment, promptly crashed on our floor and had a merry time in unconsciousness. The next day we decided to go hiking. We had originally intended on going to Soraksan National Park, but rain had also intended on making an appearance and so we decided on Dobongsan instead. It's a hop, skip and a jump away from our place on line 1, so after getting a little lost, we finally trekked our way up the hill.
It was a beautiful hike and the view was spectacular and boy I wish our internet was working a bit better because it's impossible to LOAD PICTURES and the views are stunning. I'll do my best later though. We were pooped at the top and you actually had to scale the rocks to get to the peak but it was amazing up there and you could actually see the Yellow Sea from the peak..... SO COOL!
[insert visual imagery of mountainous beauty here]
Next we felt it was necessary to let Sebastian taste a little palacial (is that a word?) magic, so we brought him to an expansive coolio place called "Changdeokgung" [say that 3 times fast] that supposedly had a secret garden but we either didn't recognize it when we saw it, or it was actually just too secret for us.
Regardless, t'was very enjoyable. We had to join the Japanese tour group, and that was completely useless so Sebas tried his hand at it instead.
You go boy!
We followed everyone around for a bit, and then thought it was pretty lame cuz they're all like "Ichiban watashiwa hentai, arigatougozaimas!" and we weren't quite picking all that up, if you know what I mean.

So when they weren't looking, we booked it up a side trail and walked through the beautiful grounds. We weren't supposed to do that, but we stuck to the trails and saw some quaint little tucked-away pavillions and ponds. A very nice forest trip indeed! Then, we headed back in time to tag on to the Korean group ["Yogiyo, kamsahamnida!"] and found our way back out. We highly recommend the place to any still in Korea... especially if you sneak out past the prince's place.
And so, Sebas continued in Seoul, shopping at Dongdaemun, getting creeped out by various Korean men, relaxing in the sauna and eating with us at various Korean places. [imagine, if you will, interesting pictures of such events. Yes, it was as good as it looks.]

And then, on the last night of Sebastianism, we decided to send him out the traditional way: with a Noraybong. So we sang and danced away to our hearts' content.Very lastly, Sebastian took off for Germany to visit 6 countries in two weeks. He's a trooper that one. But it was so great to see him again and spend time with family!! With 9 months behind us now, it's always great to be reminded of home.

That evening, Hilary and I took a nice walk up our mountain and when we came down we were greeted by a gorgeous sunset.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Race of wonder

Last Sunday marked the first time in ever that Hilary and I raced together. Except technically we didn't race together cuz Hilary was doing the 10km race and I opted for the 5km 'My-Appendix-is-Missing' race. We bussed up to some town near the DMZ (De-Militarlized Zone) and stretched away until the beginning of the coolio raceness time. Voila 'les filles' who trained hard and ran harder: Sara, Hilary, Jennifer, Arthur (he's a boy) and Jackie. Pretty impressive with their cheery dispositions and arm-ically attached ipods! Super-Wow Team! Way to go!

So we ran, and so did many other Koreans. T'was a beautiful day to run and we both hit our personal bests! Hil did her 10k in 57:30ish and I did my 5k in 20:15. We were so pleased, we decided to take this picture.

Our good friend Sara also did a wonderful job and happened to place 3rd overall for the women in the half marathon (21km)!!! We were VERY proud of our dudette. She was awarded some loot and a glass trophy, although she did miss out on the bag of rice, awarded solely to the ever-coveted 5th, 6th and 7th places. We also missed out on the rice but we did win a 7L thermos great for those days we REALLY want soup.

So yes! It was a great foray into the world of Korean races and we were well pleased with our efforts and the course! It's beautiful and mostly untouched up there (mostly because people shy away from the minefield off in the background) and hopefully we'll get ourselves ready for our own half marathon in November. We shall see indeed!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Birthday Hair

One fine day in September (two days ago in fact), Hilary came to a point of deep contemplation:

Hilary: Adrian?
Adrian: Yes?
Hilary: I'm going to get my hair cut.
Adrian: Mmmm. Ok.
Hilary: My birthday's coming up, and...
Adrian: Riiiiight...
Hilary: I just thought...
Adrian: Yup.
Hilary: ...a haircut would be nice.
Adrian: Probably.

So you see, the signals were clear: Hilary would get a haircut, maybe two, and I would stay home. A nice, comfortable arrangement. Little did I know, Hilary meant SO much more than what I heard.

What she MEANT TO SAY, was -and correct me if I'm wrong here:

Had our communication been a little clearer, I would have been ready for the "NEW HIL". Lo and behold, brace ye, tis Hilary!!!

A brand new look for the wonderful lass! It's funky, fun and we'll save a bundle on shampoo. What could be better?

Biking on the Han

In the beginnings of news, we got a new camera!!!!!!!!!! It's a cute little ditty that you can check out here: And so cool that it's PINK! That's right, fuzzy kitty, cute lil' lollipop, my little pony, cotton candy PINK. Cuz really, why the heck not? We got a stellar deal on it at Yongsan (a huge market for all things electronic) and decided that we should test it out the very next day. Our friends Colin (the Han) and Anne (put em together and they're the 'Hanne') suggested a nice little 28 km bike jaunt along the dirty river from Youido Park to Olympic Park (where the 1988 Olympics were held -like I knew that). And for $3/hr we were utterly set. We kicked our camera into widescreen mode, and we were off.

Our butts were sore pretty soon, but the air felt great and so did the gently cooling climate in Seoul. A perfect Sunday bike ride.

The 63 Tower was highly reflective, and just begging us to be included in our new-fangled widescreen pictogrophage. We obliged.

And 45 minutes later, presto! we arrived. There were lots of stadiums that appeared mostly empty, except for one wherein lay a Taekwondo tournament!!! We partook of the super-"Hi YA!" hitting fest for a wee bit, cheering for the guy who looked like he could do us the most harm [should we, by some remote chance, be somehow caught unawares and unable to tap our own amazing reflexes and mad hitting skills]. Then it was a loverly treck back for delicious ice cream before subwaying it to our pad. A wonderful day!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Life Lessons

Below is an exerpt of a typical day in the life of a foreign teacher in Korea, for those who are interested in seeing what it's like.
T: Well Kids, I thought that for today's lesson, instead of studying the alphabet, we could discuss kites! - and, the meaning of life. [Loud cheering.] Yes, I thought you'd agree. As you can see, I have drawn some simple diagrams to show the process one undergoes in the making of a kite. So, looking at my diagrams, how would you say they relate to the true meaning of life? Hmmm? Yes? Anyone?

T: Christina! Do you have something smart to say?
Christina: Of course I do, Teacher! I never have something NOT to say smart, don't I?
T: Well-put. Well, out with it then!

C: Well, Teacher, I think I is die when no string. But string no die!

T: So, what you mean is, the string died? Whose string? Your string?

C: Ohhh Teacher no! I is mean that you is mean that string is kite is die is no life and meaning life is wind.

T: Ah,... so the string and the wind work in conjunction with each other to support the kite, or your "life", per se... hmmm... a lofty thought! And from one so young.

C: [Silence.] Yes.Stacy: Ohmygot! Teacher! The kite no life is. Is paper.

T: Oh, and why?

S: Ohmygot. Is? Ohmygot. Paper. Is cut? Is cut. Teacher?

T: Yes?

S: Is there word test tomorrow?

T: Stay on task, folks. So. Paper is cut. Does anyone else have anything to add?

Judy: [Hmmmm... I think crazy...]

T: Judy, what are you holding? And what does that shape make you think of?

J: Is straw.

T: And??

J: Is T-straw.

T: And???

J: [Stare.] Teacher! You crazy!

S: You oily!

C: Teacher, are you tired? Red under circle eyes!

T: No. I'm beautiful and you know it. Yepuda, ok? Yepuda. Back to work.Peter: Oohh, Teacher!

T: Yes Peter?

P: I think you no think that kite cut out life.

T: What do you mean?

P: Mean kite is uuhhh...... kite is string, and... uhh... crazy person is take kite and make circle on roof and -

T: On THE roof, Peter. THE roof.

P. Yes, Teacher. Kite circle the roof and crazy person with wind make life! And fly!

S: Kite is paper! Is cut!!! Aahhhh, Teacher! Peter you crazy!

T: Enough. Many theories is good theories. Oops, are good theories. Who is right?

C: Me.

J: Me.

S: Me.

P. Me.James: I no believe what Teacher say! It make sense now!!! Teacher is right! Teacher genius! Teacher best teacher in earth!
T: Good point, James. Futhermore, if you look at the board, you will see that kite + wind + life + string + cut + crazy are all symbolically tied! Hence -

All Students: Kite is life!

T: Yes!!!! Yes!

T: Well, I think my work here is done. Who wants to play Hangman?!