February 27, 2010

A Life on Pause

SO.. i really wonder how many people actually realize i'm gone.. now that i'm two weeks in... i mean i have gone without seeing some people for years (rightly or wrongly).. for others two weeks could be a very long time.. well let me tell you this.. 14 days...... i could really count down the hours and minutes if ya wanted.. but i think that would be a bit much.. i am trying to make a point.. alas NOT that one.. although i am a good timekeeper!!.. anywho..

tomorrow my adventure really begins.. i get to spread my wings in my new abode.. i finally get to crash in a room i can call my own.. the 'happy' tissues beside the bed will be mine.. i will have put them there.. and not accidently realized their true purpose... in the two weeks i've been here i've already scarred myself (quite literally).. i've already realized my own trip's importance and mortality..finally i've said honest goodbyes.. i think two weeks in i can honestly say i'm curious as to what's next..

a friend here told me that "korea is the place for procrastinators.. it's the place you go to delay your life from starting..".. my life on pause...i like that... but take that with a grain of salt i suppose.. it is not something for everyone.. it is not something i would suggest for some.. my best friend is getting married, and that drive forward in his life is more than admirable.. that same friend was also the only person to honestly come forward and speak out against my trip.. and i respect him more than most for that..

I am grateful for the opportunities i have had.. i had a couple moments where things didn't look good.. and here i sit.. in a 'love' motel in korea.. on the eve before i move to my new place... and for the first time i hear people fucking above me...

to my friend whom i've known for two weeks.. well less than.. like one week... anywho.. you're leaving..and i hope you get your wolf... because one day i want to read an article about a brit who attempted to trap a wolf as a pet.. please put that into the stack of shit i can never say again...

On a Train?

February 25

I can't wait to start teaching.. i can't wait to find out if i have what it takes, if the spark for teaching really exists.. i've lived around the aura of teaching for so long... i can't wait to move out of the 'love' motel, i'm tired of wading through my ocean clothes in an attempt to find something clean.. i'm tired of this tiny cell.. Within the next week both will be realized, but in order for that to happen i lose things i've grown to like.. some people i like are done teaching , making room for me to jump in, just like their vacated apartments..Next week is a brand new start.. the reboot of my rebooted existence.. this is all very similar to the feeling i got when i sped from city to city in europe..

This week has been a sad one on very many levels.. Alex-gate shines overhead like the stars in the milky way, seemingly creating a haze of static.. i never felt that my mortality on this continent would become so evident so early.. i say this on many levels.. Alex has her role to play in that, however watching others prepare to leave strikes a heavier cord.. my hopes and aspirations seem distant and insignificant. i've come to a conclusion though, one that i have found solace in.. don't say goodbye unless you actually wish to see them again..

A Lesson Learned

February 22 (Part 2)

This is a very strange country, i swear there is no crime. Basically every corner store has chips and fruit lining the street in front, and i have yet to see a person watching this product. I have also walked past several speakers with IPod's just laying around them.. completely unguarded.. Cell phone stores have their demo phones sitting in the streets.. I find this really strange. i mean i had to hide the change in my jeep for fear of people smashing the window to get in. Yet here they leave valuable's just.. well just out there..

let's take a second to flash back to the staff part on friday night. Alex and Cate are two girls who came out from ontario (They were the girls that i partied with my first two nights in this country, and with whom i'd visited my first noreabang).. The Director of SLP had put bottles of Jack Daniels, Tequilla, and Vodka on the table at the bar we went to.. Alex took full advantage of the offering, as did we all!!.. although Alex probably more than most couldn't stop gorging.. she was loser drunk early in the night.. Kate had to take her home sometime around midnight..

Well apparently, Alex decided to take advantage of the food hanging out and about in front of a store.. The rumour mill pegs it that she took a bag of chips.. although it doesn't really matter what it was. because Alex decided to test the 'no crime' mentality and well.. the koreans put the food out front of their stores, along with CCTV cameras.. so much for 'no crime' in korea! The store owner caught Alex on camera taking the chips (a purchase around $1)...

Some other information...There aren't that many hogwan schools around this area... that is code for ' NOT MANY WHITIES ' we are easy to track down.. and the store owner took the film to the director of the school, she confirmed it was Alex... she showed the film to Alex, and promptly fired her on the spot.. Had Alex taken the chips in any other community.. itaewon for example (see previous post about itaewan if you're confused)... this would not be the end result. it would just be a stupid drunk action...

This occurred about two hours after we returned from our health check..Right about the time i was starting to feel good again.. i couldn't believe the news.. seriously.. ALL that planning.. ALL those months of work. GONE.. over a bag of chips.. i sat in my tiny desk, in my tiny chair with this huge cloud looming over.. i couldn't believe it.. i silently wished my hangover back.. in fact i would have given anything to have gone back to sunday non-funday.. it felt like a changing moment, it didn't directly involve me, i barely knew this girl. yet i had ban privy to the stories of hope and excitement those first nights... it leaves me terrified about the results of my health check...for the rest of the day i was left with an uneasy feeling.. i tried to go out that night but ended up getting lost, frustrated i returned to the 'love' motel and slept..

Making Gestures

February 22 (Part 1)

Monday marked the start of my second full week here in Korea.. and what a better way to celebrate than to go and have a health check!! (cue treacherous and domineering music)

an electrocardiogram, chest x-ray, blood and urine sample are great ways to start off any week.. i highly recommend them!.. my favourite was the electrocardiogram.. apparently hardcore cocaine users have a irregular heartbeat or something that this little test can pick up.. i'd say that hardcore cocaine might have the energy to keep up with some of the students.. but what do i know.. the urine sample is also to test for drugs... and the blood sample to test for HIV.. if the tests alone were not enough for you, imagine having them performed by people who spoke no english.. it was one of the most awkward experiences i've ever encountered..i can finally empathise with dogs in training school... people are yelling shit at you, and when you follow the hand gestures you succeed, dogs usually get a treat though...

I gave blood like the champion i am, although a couple of the girls really freaked out the Korean doctors... i've never seen a person crying make the woman taking blood cry..

i walked out of the health check extremely reserved and really out of it.. i don't know if it was the experience.. or that i saw Canada was losing 4-2 to the Americans.. either or, i left with an uneasy i had yet to experience in korea..

Day & Night

February 21

i got to see both sides of the foreigner area of Seoul on Saturday night (itaewan).. i originally went for a walk there in the afternoon.. it is about a 40 minute subway ride from where i live in Gusan, but at least it's on the same subway line.

once i arrived in Itaewan it almost a game of spot the Korean (instead of the usual spot the whitey).. there were so many foreigners in that part of the city.. i quite literally felt like i was back in some random north American city.. although the Korean flags flying from every street light provided me with a constant reminder to where i really was.. i have to honestly say that i wasn't that impressed with the area.. i mean seriously i didn't really come to Korea just to find places that remind me of home.. while it is nice that i know where the spot is.. but i currently love the forced change i have imposed on my life. so i loosely explored the area, only half heartedly admiring my surroundings.. i quickly and quietly escaped back to my Asian adventure within a couple of hours..

I did return to Itaewan that night however, while i was sitting in McDonalds jacking free wifi, two of the SLP teachers saw me in the window and came upstairs. It didn't take them much to convince me to come out with them, kind of like offering a fat kid a donut.. i graciously accepted...

the night was good.. the night was long.. the night had many highlights and lowlights....including being pantsed in a gay bar... some random slipped his hands in my belt loops and tugged.. NOT my idea of a good time.. mostly the bars reminded me of Lethbridge, packed with twenty somethings, and a university vibe... although far too many crew cuts...stupid military....

Sunday would not live up to its hype of 'Sunday Funday' i was completely out of it.. i sat and watched/fell asleep to a couple hours of the Olympics and like 5 episodes of NCIS7.. i eventually made my way home to fall asleep to Transformers.. although sunday was still 'fabulous' for exactly those reasons...up to that point i had yet to watch korean TV..

February 24, 2010

Dawn 808

February 20

i swear this is not a paid advertisement.. but it seriously should be...

after the entire staff of Eunpyeung SLP was treated to dinner at a korean BBQ.. one of the new afternoon korean teachers, ine, asked me if i was going to continue drinking.. i said yes.. and she suggested i try this hangover prevention drink called Dawn 808.. although i was extremely hesitant i agreed (the cost of the drink was 5000wan.. about 5 bucks.. and here, thats a lot of money).. my natural response is to call bullshit when presented with such an asinine proposition..but i was tempted.. SO there i was buying a can of Dawn 808. the can was roughly half the size of a red bull.. accompanying the korean symbols were two phrases in english 'Dawn 808' and 'hangover solution'.. i was instructed that you are supposed to drink the stuff before or while you drink...

the taste?... Dawn 808 doesn't taste good, or just tastes weird.. my thought.. like drinking liquid raisons... after i finished the drink i returned to the annihilated.. (i fell between two parked cars on my walk home)... basically, i feared the morning..

however, the next morning.. wait!..who am i kidding.. it was two o'clock the next afternoon, before i rolled over.. haha..anywho.. i slowly raised my head.. you know the cautious raise while you are waiting for your head to throb and remind you that you are a dumbass.. well guess what.. Dawn 808 worked!!!.. i had no hangover.. NOTHING.. no headache.. no 'fog'.. my body hurt a little.. but i was out till 6am and danced for most of the night.. nothing unexpected as far as aches and pains go.. but there was no mental anguish.. seriously!! Dawn 808 works..

worry not people!!.. i've been told that you can pick it up in North America.. try some asian supermarkets and let me know..

Sean Teacher

February 19

Sean Teacher
an update on the teaching situation..
i found out that i will be teaching in the afternoon, my shift is from 1-9pm.. i will be teaching school age kids... ages ranging from grade one to grade 9.. their english levels also vary.. some of my kids will pretty darn fluent, others won't know their ABC's... i hope i remember which is which!.. and names, oh god i suck at names...

i was actually kind of elated that i won't be teaching the pre-school kids.. i think i am more suited for the older kids.. one thing that sucks about the situation is that i am the only new afternoon teacher.. the five other people starting right now are all teaching preschool... which runs on a morning shift.. so being split from the other newbie's kind of sucks.. but oh well..

i will be teaching around 6 classes a day, each class is 40 minutes long.. i will have a lot of prep time.. even though i start at 1pm, i my first classes start at 3pm..

more to follow....

Beer On

February 19th

.. Beer-On.. a little bar cleverly tucked away on the second floor of a building in yaen chi nae.. the bar boasts several couches, an electronic dart board, and a pool table...the pool table is the exact replica of the one i desire to own.. leather drop pockets, classic green felt, and a simple wood design with ornately carved legs.. wait.. did i just fantasize about a pool table??.. fuck.. um.. yeah.. let's just say the place is great, and that i drank a tad.. finally the true reason for the entry can be revealed.. and no, it wasn't the pool table..

the next morning i woke up to the joyful sound of my alarm.. my head was pleasantly throbbing along to the shriek of the alarm.. as i lifted my head off the pillow, i realized the pillow tried to follow me.. my first thought?.. wtf is on this pillow? i quickly felt my face to feel for the residue...that residue turned out to be the blood from a tiny gash on my right cheek.. the blood had dried to the pillow over the course of the night.. while i was raking my mind as to why i was cut.. i rolled over into a pile of french fries left on my bed.. two questions arise?

first.. the cheek.. as i got home from the bar i must have headed directly for the bathroom.. then proceeded to ditch my clothes there (all my clothes were scattered on the floor there when i woke up)i don't remember that, but i do remember my attempted exit.. i didn't realize the door was not fully open.. and WHACK, SLAM, BANG (or any other 1960's batman shout out you fancy).. the edge of the door struck my face.. i went ass over tea-kettle and joined my clothes on the floor.. i didn't know at that time the door had cut me during the process.. i think i crawled from the bathroom to my bed..

second.. the french fries...the french fries were actually a pretty easy one to figure out.. i quickly remembered that jill and i had picked up the fries after Beer On... they make amazing drunk food!... i think my uneaten fries were remnants of the blow to the head.. i mean i could make an extravagant back story.. something along the lines of alice in wonderland, but i think the blow to the head coupled with the booze knocked my ass out.. now i'm not saying i got my ass kicked by the door.. but there are these moments where you are vulnerable, and the right move at the right second creates a perfect storm.. like the perfect time to start a tickle war.. that moment when you know you've got the upper hand, when you're prey is lulled into a false sense of security.. random analogy?? not really...

although i have no idea how the fries got to my bed...

February 17, 2010



written..february 15th..sorry for the delay..

usually i write something with a little more of a narrative flare to it... although today i just kind of feel like throwing facts at you. i guess that is what jet-lagged people do.. we don't like to pussy foot around.. because at this point i'd simply like to spew out facts like a bulimic would food in a bathroom....

1. no sleep on the airplane really pissed me off.. i could not get comfortable.. i watched 4 movies, countless tv shows, and sat in envy of guy in front of me sprawled across two seats.. lucky bastard..

2. Minivan's can reach speeds in excess of 170km/hr.. i wore my seatbelt and wondered if i should cheer on the driver, or scream out directions in case i was actually in a rally car race..

3. i was teased with the thought of sleeping when i reached my motel, instead i was whisked away to dinner with michelle kim (my new boss) kate, and alex (two new co-workers). after dinner i ensured a good proper sleep by getting drunk with my new co-workers (my boss went home after dinner).

4. booze is cheap in asia.. a fact i forgot.. a giant pitcher of beer for eleven bucks... also a bottle of soju (a korean equivalent to vodka) for three bucks.. although one should not confuse these with premium drinks on any accord.. they are simply a means to an end..

5. completed my first ever solo first song.. goodbye yellow brick road.. for some of you, you will know the significance of that choice.. for others, you can just know it's just a great song.. we asked the waitress if we were any good.. with a stone cold expression on her face she replied "no".... i appreciated the honesty..

6. two of my three nights in korea.. i have succesfully gotten drunk...

7. for every meal except for one, i have had no fucking clue what i was ordering.. all have been delicious, all menu's entirely in korean...except for one.. mcdonalds.

February 13, 2010


First post..

technically first day..

i'd call it zero hour, although that has some tricky connotations to it, DDay and all.. Although it does feel quite similar. I am surrounded by televisions blaring a countdown, the invasion of canada??.. kinda feels like it.. this could possibly be the worse day to leave the country, the day every single canadian is flamboyantly proud to be one, and we are even being invaded by the germans (don't mention the war).. the two previous occasions i've left the country i have been able to sneak out the back door unnoticed, quietly cheering my escape. instead it appears the country is focused on its invasion. i even hear vancouver is hoarding explosives!

as my future year in korea looms over me, i am more or less focused on the next two weeks. and NO, not the short training period i look forward to...i am left trying to figure out how to keep up to date with the olympics and not find out the hockey scores.. a tricky tightrope indeed..

anywho.. i await my 12 hour flight to Korea, and i've watched over two hours of the torch relay.. i should really be sleeping, i should really have been put to sleep by watching it.. instead i stare at the countdown on tv. watching the timer slowly struggle to reach zero, when the indeffinite invasion of canada begins, but before that happens i shall quietly attempt to slip out the side door.