Wednesday, September 28, 2011

pimp gangstah!!

yeah, monkey here is rocking the bling. :)
what is this Compton in the 90s? or maybe just goseong, south korea? 

sports day!!!!!

so sports day at dong gwang elementary schools goes a little something like this:

1. fish relay (this is a link, click to watch my video)
2. dance performance
3. no classes, sports all day long.
4. yellow vs. blue
5. parents come and they play games with the kids and then watch their kids compete.
6. shameless opportunity for me to take the photos i have been dying to take.

oh, jin-ho. side note: right in the middle of the sports day, this lil gem, sneaks away from the group, unzips his pants and pees. not sure if this is normal or not. 

this girl has got the kimchi squat-mean mug-peace sign look DOWN.

jin-he has a soft spot in my heart. she is so sweet. 

could not resist.

aba killed it every single race.

so sneaky. she had these on before i even realized they were gone.

yuna, ET, and bada.

this girl is going to grow up to be a kpop superstar. she loved the camera and was constantly photo bombing. 

i have a serious problem.

                           me and my ladies ji-eun and emma.


other highlights of the night: principal stands up during dinner and asks me to sing the roly poly song. in front of everyone.
first off, i hate singing. second, what the haaale is the roly poly song? he clearly states that it is an american song and his favorite. i say that i have never heard of that song. is he sure that it is an american song? second grade teacher speaks up and says that it is actually called the holy holy song. they argue. then the principal decides the best way to fix the situation is to sing the song himself. he mumbles words that are definitely not english and i get an idea. I'm thinking that he is meaning glory glory, hallelujah. not roly poly or holy holy. just somewhere in between. i say, oh it's called glory glory!! excited that i understood what he meant. bad idea. he makes me stand up in front of everyone and sing. it would be horribly rude of me to say no, so i sing what i know. i can feel myself blushing when all the other teachers start clapping and hooraying. so embarrassing.

principal: korean blah blah blah
han teacher (translating): he wants to know how you are so pretty.
kylie: cam sam ni dah. (thank you)
principal: korean blah blah blah
han teacher: he wants to know why you are so pretty.
kylie: smile.
principal: exact wording: i want you to my children love with passion. tomorrow i watch class
kylie: aww, he is just trying to butter me up before, BAM! principal observation. sneaky old man.


that's right. puppies. this blog post is going to be about puppies. 

so i went to a staff dinner at the restaurant across the street from school tonight. i was sitting on the floor enjoying the delicious potato slices deep fried in pancake batter when this steaming bowl of stew was brought out and placed right in front of me. looks okay. i have gotten used to eating  A LOT of soup here, so i figured, nothing new. until i noticed the giant, hard, pointy black things that looks like burnt wood floating in the stew. i asked han teacher if the wood was added maybe for flavor? han teacher nonchalantly replies, "no that's in there so you can't smell the dog meat." say what??? number one: there is wood in my dinner. number two: why would i want to eat something that smells so bad that you have to add wood to absorb the smell?  and number three: didju just say DOG?

i asked han teacher twice. 
k: dog?
ht: yes. dog.
k: dawwguh, not duck??
ht: yes. dog.
k: like d-o-g, dog?
ht: yes. dog. woof woof.
k: (holy shit, holy shit. the day has finally come.) 

first i took a picture.
then i sat there and thought about the concept.
i nibbled on a potato cooked in dog juice.
tasted delicious.
i miss jamba.......
screw it, I'm going to try it.
slow motion for me: chop sticks reaching across the table, slowly dipping into the steaming, blubbly broth, digging for some meat and then, BAM, chop stick meats meat. 
quickly popped in mouth.
chewed with only 50% senses working (just in case it was horrible).
first thought: this tastes like chicken...another bite.... hmmm.....this is way better than i expected!
next 30 minutes: gobbling down as much dog meat as i could get my grubby little hands on.

i would probably never order dog from the menu myself.
but now know for future reference if i am stranded on a mountain pass with no food at the end of the world with my mom and my dog, i will eat my dog first.

Monday, September 26, 2011

secret underground fish market

okay, so it's not exactly a secret underground fish market, because it was swarming with people, but i didn't know about it and i have no idea what it's called, so I'm taking the liberty to call it whatever i want. :) here's how you do it. first you stand on the walkway and eyeball the fish. peruse the variety and listen to the saleslady tell you how delicious and fresh her fish are. then you pick a couple of the fish you want, and then go in back. you sit on little tables behind the counter and eat the fish that you just picked and that the nice old ladies just cooked fresh for you. dinner straight from nature to your plate. 

this secret underground market is nuts! it sits right on a river that leads to the ocean and is the busiest, most colorful, most compact area i have seen so far. you hear the water pumping to keep the fish fresh, smell the salt water and cooking fish. definitely not something you can find in boise, idaho. 

also, this secret underground fish market is ruled by women. 

Seoraksan National Park

i have fallen in love with this national park. it is oh so so beautiful. i see the peaks from my house and have had a wanderlust for them since i arrived in goseong. I'm not going to lie, sometimes i wish my balcony faced the other direction, just so i could see them even more. :)

my first trip: equally horrible and beautiful. 
confusing right? well the 4 hour hike turned into a 7 hour hike which turned into a 12 hour hike. um, yeah. and the last two hours were a steep downhill in pitch-black nighttime. definitely not ideal. i must admit though, it was an incredibly rewarding hardest hike of my life. so stinkin beautiful.
this giant buddha sits right at the entrance of the park. so much bigger than i expected.

there was so much elevation gain and a crazy steep climb that they had to add a ton of stairs. sometimes they felt like they were never-ending.

i saw at least 20 different men at all stages of the hike doing this EXACT pose. had to do one myself. 
if the koreans weren't looking at the trail, they were looking at my feet. the ones that knew english would say, "sandals!! dangerous!!! crazy!!" this happened so often that i got bored of just smiling and started dancing on the trail to prove that my feet were in fact doing great, thank you very much. i probably stood out like a sore thumb because the koreans were so decked out. i would get kicked off the mountain at home if i dressed like some of the people here. (if not physically by someone else, then by myself outa embarrassment.)
this was an incredibly tame group of korean dressers, but please note the fantastic colors. i kept wishing all day long that i had shorts and shoes that matched my fleece.
this is me at the very, very, very top of the mountain! (tallest peak in inland south korea!) 1708 km. 
i definitely took more photos of random koreans than people in my group. they looked so good!
ima a creep, i know.
we ended up walking about half of the entire park. haha, slightly dramatic, but still somewhat true.
while i was in the park, it was amazing, because i totally forgot that i was in korea. i was outside in the mountains and trees and it felt like home.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

bus adventure cont.

so i read about the "unification observatory" in my south korea guidebook. and it sounded pretty awesome. 50 cent binoculars that you could see north korea with! lots of statues, monuments, etc. pretty stellar if you ask me. i looked at the distance from sokcho, which was written in kilometers, and figured that it couldn't take more than a 45 minute bus ride to get there. i hustle home from work, grab my camera and make the next bus paying 1,500 won. it's about 4:30PM. pretty soon the houses and convenience stores get scarce. i see the signs that say "north ^ unification observatory" so i know I'm going the right way. 5:15PM rolls around. the bus is pretty empty. I'm in the back with maybe three people in the front. but, ah, no biggie, it's probably coming up real soon right? 5:30PM. I'm the only person on the bus. i feel it, it's just around the corner. no way i'm turning around now, I'm so close!! 5:45PM. nothing. 5:50PM it starts getting darker outside. 5:53PM i start getting nervous. the bus driver keeps looking back at me in the mirror. 6:00PM the bus driver pulls the bus over on the side of the road. my heart drops. we are deep in the forest on a two lane road, next to a little red concrete building. 6:02PM the bus driver gets up and starts asking me questions in korean (imagine law and order's ice t.) his tone is not the nicest, and i start getting nervous. is he mad because i didn't pay enough money? i know this has taken longer than i expected and i probably owe him money, but I'm sorry i didn't know!! oh no, oh no. he keeps asking me mean questions and i try to show in my best gestures that i am a dumbie, i don't know what i'm doing. while thinking, "aw hale, this man is gonna kill me. or worse, I'm gonna get arrested and stuck for decades in korean prison just like that lady gaga music video!" my broken korean trying to explain that i don't speak korean isn't working. he gets riled up and storms off the bus, swearing. i am left by myself at the back. waiting. for what, I'm not sure. another empty bus pulls up behind us. i pee my pants. the new bus driver gets off his bus and they both talk for a bit and then go into the red building. (aka: this red building.)

i sit on the bus for 10 more minutes, working up the guts to get off the bus and follow them. i finally go and quietly knock on the door. they say something in korean which i assume is "come in pretty lady!" and i open the door to the two bus drivers eating ramen and watching korean soaps. dah hale right? i have given up on the unification observatory and decide my best bet is to just get back home. "Sokcho!!! Sokcho!!!" i plead like my life depended on it. somehow, everything works out and i am passed off to bus driver number two who is headed south. (aka: this is him)

bus driver number two is handsome and funny and knows a bit of english. we sit alone together on the bus for about 20 minutes. he tells me that he has four girlfriends and he is 41 years old. i take his picture for this blog post and he gives me his email address so i can email them to him. we become friends. pretty soon, a couple of women get on the bus, and then get off a couple of stops later. he tells me that they are all his girlfriends. lady killer. he takes me all the way home and i safely make it to 809 Eujin.

epilogue: i saw lady killer bus driver number two TODAY and he totally remembered me. :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

my life = so embarrassing

 i love looking for pretty things and i needed some way to express it with korean ladies who were selling me things or little girls with adorable bows in their hair. so it makes sense that epo (or epohnayoh) was one of the first words that i learned in korean. i have been using it ALL THE TIME. literally like 10 times a day. when i would say it to adults, they would just smile back at me, a perfect mix of pity and humor. but recently, when i use it at school with the little 1st grade girls, they just laugh and laugh and laugh. okay, it was funny the first time, i get it, american girl speaking korean, but seriously? something else had to be going on... i finally double checked with han teacher today about the meaning of epo. apparently i have the right pronunciation, but the wrong intonation. instead of saying "epo!!"(in a low voice) meaning 'that's so pretty!!', i was saying "epo!!!"(in a high pitch) and actually asking people (am i pretty?).

horrifying. that's what that is. trying to give compliments but in reality, i have been blatantly demanding them from people i don't even know.

first time meeting:
kylie: hello!!
korean lady: hello!
(kylie walking around and looking at hand made crafts, but too cheap to buy any)
kylie: am i pretty?
korean lady: no response
(kylie then immediately leaves store after lack of appropriate reassurance of beauty.)


apparently this is what I'm missing every other time i sleep in past 6am. 
so cheesily cliché, i know right? sunrise over the ocean, gah!!! 
but it's no wonder it's so cliché, because it is so. so. beautiful. 
regardless, not quite incentive enough for me to wake up this early every morning. :) 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


so monkey is in my 3/4th grade class.
we take the same bus home from school.
he lives in my building.
and now he is stalking me in grocery stores. 
(also, i had to stop video-taping because be was punching me in the belly and trying to dong shim me. AGAIN!)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

brunette kicks blonde butt


APPARENTLY, when buying boxed hair dye, you always look at the top of the box for the intended color choice. this is news to me. also, now that i look at it, "bubble hair coloring" does look pretty cheap. but in my own defense, everything in korea is cutesy and adorable!!! how was i supposed to know??

well regardless, i searched the city for some loreal. and am now back in brown.

how old am i??

22 years old and still playing with my food!! :)

korean food: some of it is delicious. some of it freaks me out. but everything is spicy. I'm doing surprisingly well with the temperature, considering some friends are going though the ringer (either diahreaa all the time or constipation for a week.) who knew this post would turn into bathroom talk? I guess it's somewhat logical, what goes in must come out... but anyways, most restaurants are group or community/family style. you sit on the floor in front of a table that usually have grills. they cook huge portions of food right in front of you and you share it with your group or family. there are some restaurants that I'm dying to try... which means i may need to pull a 'Lars and The Real Girl' and buy myself a human sized doll to try them all out with me. now the real question is, would i rather have a bossum buddy or a boyfriend?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

some NEWS!!!!!

i've turned blonde.....

but don't get your panties in a bunch. it only lasted a good 24 hours. i am currently back in brown. extended story to come soon...