While teaching cooking class* this week, one of the teachers looked down and noticed that the place-mats were a little inappropriate and hilarious. I had to take a picture, of course. I’m not sure how “Let’s get naked for this party” ended up on place-mats for kids. What were they attempting to say? Or were they really made for adults?
*Cooking class isn’t as exciting as it sounds. We usually make some kind of sandwich. There is no real cooking involved ever and I haven’t wanted to eat our finished products yet. Also, we only get to do it once a month.
I have naturally curly hair and I am very proud of it. It suits me. I am of the belief that people who have naturally curly hair were meant to have it. I always assumed that everyone who looked at me knew that my locks were natural. It never occurred to me that people might think I have a perm, which is exactly what happens in Korea.
Perms (aka perm-uh) are extremely popular here. Toddlers get perms. Yes, I said toddlers. I would never even think of taking a child with straight hair and giving him or her a perm. I didn’t even know kids could get perms. In fact, I didn’t think adults really even got perms anymore because I thought that was a trend that went out of style twenty years ago. I stand corrected. Read more
Hoddeok is one of the tastiest things I’ve had in Korea. This stuffed pancake is a great street-food to eat on a cold winter’s day. The dough can be sweet or savory and the filling is made from brown sugar and nuts. Beware fellow girls with long out-of-control hair: ONLY EAT HODDEOK IF YOUR HAIR IS UP! The filling tends to ooze out and before you know it, you will have hardened sugar clumps in your hair if you don’t pull it back. It happened to me on multiple occasions; don’t let it happen to you!
While Dave and I were grocery shopping a couple weeks ago, we came across a hoddeok mix. I was ecstatic because we love hoddeok and thought it would be nice to make it whenever we get a craving. Read more
One of the highlights of teaching English to kids is the awesomely funny stuff that comes out of their mouths or is found in their homework. When we are checking homework in the teachers’ room, we usually share the gems we find out-loud and I’ve taken to writing them down. The following quotes are from some of my students and a few come from some other teachers’ students. Read more
Learning how to rock climb has been on my to-do list for a few years now. My goal finally seemed attainable when I started dating Dave because in my eyes he is an incredible rock climber. I’m pretty sure he was a spider monkey in a previous life.
This past summer I finally committed to learning to climb, and invested in a pair of climbing shoes. Unfortunately, the shoes are just as painful to break in as ice skates, so i wasn’t very motivated to climb because my feet hurt so much. I also have never had short nails and was distraught when I discovered I needed to cut my nails short.
We only climbed three times outdoors with ropes and three times in a gym before we left for Korea, so I didn’t have too much experience before we got here. Dave and I alternated being sick for our first two months in Seoul, so it wasn’t until about a month ago that we finally went to a climbing gym. I discovered this awesome website called Korea On the Rocks that has reviews, directions, and pictures of climbing gyms and areas all over South Korea. Turns out climbing is a popular pastime here.
How’s that for a Valentine? One of the kids in my kindergarten class wrote this to one of her classmates. Chubby James didn’t seem to be too bothered by it, but I did catch him reading and re-reading it a few times.
In other Valentine’s related news, did you know that in Korea, women are expected to give men gifts on Valentine’s Day, not the other way around?! Women get gifts from men on White Day, a month later, on March 14th. And they made a holiday for all the single folk a month after that, called Black Day, where single people get to eat noodles with a black bean sauce and celebrate being single. Bet you won’t find Hallmark making White Day and Black Day cards anytime soon.
A week and a half ago, Korea celebrated the Lunar New Year, so we had a five day weekend. Yay! Dave’s supervisor asked me what we were planning on doing and I replied that we weren’t sure since we had been told that most things would be closed for the holiday. After asking me what Dave and I liked to do in our spare time, to which I replied, rock climbing, yoga, reading, writing, art, and cooking, she came up with an ingenious idea. Why don’t we go to a couples spa?!
I immediately said YES! because I didn’t even know couples spas existed. It probably shouldn’t have surprised me as much as it did because Korea is filled with goods and services directed solely at couples. For example, if you are in need of showing the world, (while you are sitting on the subway playing games on your cell phone), that the man sitting next to you playing games on his phone is your boyfriend, then pick up some his and her cell phone charms. If you want to make an even louder statement, wear matching outfits or his and her t-shirts. Yes, it’s true, couples have been known to walk around in matching outfits in Korea. On a side note, Korean boyfriends also carry their girlfriends’ purses around for them! A fabulous trend that I really wish would take off in the US.