Such a happy happy birthday!

25 11 2007

(disclaimer for those who may not know: I am a HUGE birthday person)

Thursday was my 25th birthday. Going into it I was sad that I would have to spend the day so far away from my loved ones. It was a double bang because it was also Thanksgiving, so not only was I away from the fam, but they were all together (a rare and joyful occasion). That being said I truly hate the years that my birthday falls on Thanksgiving, so I was secretly happy that I was in Korea where Thanksgiving was randomly celebrated at our school two days earlier with an international buffet at lunch.

In the morning I woke up and got to open my special birthday package from Dan that had been waiting for me to turn old for a couple of days. He did well (a lot of pressure was on him!) and actually figured out a way to send so much love in such an average size box. I then got to Skype with him, and my WHOLE family out on the East coast visiting Martha.

Work was amazing. It was the first part of what made me realize that I wouldn’t be celebrating away from loved ones, I would be surrounded! My kids were just as excited as I was to be having a birthday. So many of them brought me extremely generous gifts (flowers, chocolates, scarfs, socks, a whole cake, handmade soaps, bath sets, designer shampoos, a wallet). The others made me extremely considerate gifts during their break time, drawing me pictures, writing me love notes, and folding me origami. My desk was covered in boxes and bags and cards, I couldn’t believe it. At lunch my boss ordered pizza for me and all of my coworkers. I felt great all day long.

That evening I went to a Baha’i Feast and when I came home I got to have another wonderful chat with my family as they woke up to start preparing Thanksgiving dinner, and with Dan too. I went to bed utterly content and with a huge grin on my face.

On Saturday I went out with my coworkers and a couple of friends to celebrate. It took a long time for me to warm up to my coworkers when I first got here, but last night I could feel the love! I was grateful to have them there with me and realized that I am learning to really appreciate them.

The night started with dinner at an Italian restaurant, after that we headed to Subzero, a bar made of ICE! Yes, everything was made of ice. Before you go in you are handed a parka and gloves. Even the glasses that the drinks come in are made of ice (except I ordered hot coco so not mine!) When we walked into the bar it was just like a walk in freezer door. Ha.

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After that we went to a ‘regular’ bar called Tinpan where we all got our dance on. And when I say ‘dance on’ I mean dancing on top of the bar on. I don’t have any good photos from that cause I was up there too.

The night was just getting started, though! From there my favorite part was still to come. The final stop on the birthday party agenda was a luxury norbong. Noribong’s are private karaoke rooms. I’ve been wanting to do this since I got here and was happy that I finally got my first experience. Since it was a ‘luxury’ room we had a really nice big room with a huge comfy couch. Once I got that mic in my hands I was unstoppable and I can’t wait to go again.

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We had so much fun we didn’t get to bed till 4 am.

For lots of picture from the evening click HERE for a link to my fb.

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First Snow

20 11 2007

Yesterday it snowed for the first time. It didn’t stick or anything, but it was coming down quickly in HUGE wet clumps. I was happy that I had my umbrella as I walked home in the mess. The strangest thing though was that it was thundering boisterously loud claps during the snow. I don’t recall ever hearing thunder before while it snowed. The whole thing was quite surreal.

I have been missing home quite a bit lately. I think that its because my birthday and Thanksgiving are coming up. Just knowing that the whole family is together visiting Martha in the DC area makes me feel a bit lonely. And knowing that Dan is off of school this week makes me wish that I had nothing to do too, so that we could do nothing together. Doing nothing with my sisters or Dan right now sounds really, really nice.





Temple Stay

19 11 2007

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This weekend I went on my very first Temple stay to the Lotus Lantern Temple. I had plans to go with a coworker and two friends from Uni. We were to head out on Saturday for Incheon, an island just off the west coast near Seoul. Renee, who I met when I first went to Luck, the community farm in Wisconsin that I hold so dear to my heart, lives just south of the city, so we met up on Friday night and she stayed at my place to cut down on travel the night before. We had plans to meet my coworker Val in our neighborhood and then Nathan, a friend who I met through Lizzie, a couple of train stops away where we would catch a bus to the Temple.

The thing is that Renee woke up early morning Saturday too sick to go along. She was tremendously ill, unable to even keep water down. She couldn’t make it home, so I left her at my house miserably tucked into my bed with tea and broth and ramen and gatoraid and bread nearby for when she felt better. I shouldn’t have left her poor soul. It was a decision which I probably should have thought through a bit harder. She had to end up calling her boss to drive 2 hours to pick her up from my house she was so sick.

Since I had invited two other friends I felt the obligation to go on with the plans. So I met up with the other two and we headed towards the Temple.

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When we arrived we were handed grey outfits to wear and shown to our rooms. We were told to meet outside about twenty minutes later for tea. I had heard all sorts of horror stories about people’s experience with Temple stays. Things like if you fall asleep during meditation you will get hit with a stick, or if you are late to chant prayers you have to do 100 extra prostration’s, or if you talk during dinner you are not allowed to finish your meal. Well, I think that we visited a reform Temple, because things were quite laid back. Don’t get me wrong, we still had to wake up at 3:30  in the morning (which I surprisingly woke up naturally for) and chant and meditate, and the meals were mostly silent, but there seemed to be more of an emphasis on the foreigner feeling comfortable than there was on adhering to a strict disciplined regiment.

It was a wonderfully relaxing weekend. It felt so good to get out of the city and into the country side. It was my first time doing so since I moved here two months ago. There were certain subtleties that made me miss the farm in Luck a lot.  One of the only major drawbacks was that it was freezing cold. The weather certainly took a turn this past weekend as the last leaves fell from the trees and the first frost came. We were bundled up tight in all of our layers as we ran from the temple to the meditation hall to the dinning area and whatnot. Luckily it was not cold while we slept because in Korea the heat comes up through the floors and since all we had between us and the headed floor was a thin mat, I was nice and warm! The trip home was a bit epic as we had to wait in the cold for an hour and a half for our bus in the nearby village, only to find that the bus was packed and we had to stand for the 1 and a half hour trip back to Seoul.

All in all the trip was really good. I defiantly want to try another one. Oh, for a complete look at all the photos that I took click HERE for a link to my facebook page.

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Dr. Fish

10 11 2007

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Today my dear friend Hyejin and I met up to hang out. We went to a part of Seoul that I was more familiar with than her. I was fun to get to be her tour guide and show her around my new favorite part of Seoul. We ate Sushi, which although easy to find around here I hadn’t had until tonight. After that we went to a cafe that some of my coworkers had told me about and I’ve been very interested to check out. Its called Dr. Fish and the experience involves ordering your beverage of choice (coffee, juice, tea, beer…) and drinking it while you wait for your turn to stick your feet in a tank filled with little fish that nibble at your toes and eat away the bacteria.

It was fun but very very ticklish.

The video commentary is kinda annoying, but it gives you a feel for the experience.





more than florescent light bulbs

4 11 2007

On Saturday I went into work to get some stuff done. It was nice and quite and I was super productive. My boss, Mrs. Lee, bought myself and my supervisor, Michelle, lunch. We ordered Chinese delivery and I was really surprised when it came on plastic reusable dishes. Seoul is a super duper environmentally conscious mega city. Not only is recycling mandatory, composting is too! There are large bins on every street and you will be fined if caught not recycling or composting. So I asked Michelle how it all worked out with the plates and she said that someone comes back an hour or so after they bring the food and collect them. I was even more surprised when we didn’t even have to wash them and just set them out in the hall to be picked up. Much different system for sure!

I am excited that the theme for Character Education this month is Responsibility because I’m going to teach my kids all about recycling.

In other exciting new I went to my second Baha’i Feast on Saturday. It was wonderful on so many different levels, but on particularly reason was that their was PUMPKIN PIE. Oh my goodness!