Thursday, August 18, 2011

40 Days: In sickness and health (Day 14)

I spent three weeks in a Korean hospital. I had acute pneumonia and was admitted very suddenly.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

When you leap...

Cape Town has always been the city of my dreams. We lived here for 6 months when I was just a little girl and I loved it. When I started going to university, I came to the Western Cape at least once a year and I always said that this would be the place I settled down in.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

40 Days: DVD-dates (Day 15)

A few of my friends and I used to have this ritual on Friday nights: Wed go to The Frypan for some fried chicken followed by Sun Mart for some wine, market-O brownies and popcorn, and then on to Take 5 DVD-bang.

40 Days: For you, for free! (Day 16)

We were out having a drink at our friends bar (Jazz bar at the time), when one of the staff gave us a fried egg on a plate and said: Suh-bis-uh.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

40 Days: Gwangalli Beach (Day 17)

2010 was one of my worst years ever. At the end of January 2011, some of my closest friends left Korea. I was heartbroken and in need of some peace, quiet and serious soul searching. Luckily there was a long weekend (Lunar New Year) at the beginning of February, so I set about trying to find a quiet and inexpensive place to go.

Friday, June 3, 2011

40 Days: My so-called friend (Day 18)

We've all had that friend. The sweetest, nicest person around and then, one day, she just turns on you... I've had a few of those, but by far the worst of the lot was a Korean looker named...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

40 Days: Around a cup (Day 19)

For the past 25 years, I have been starting my mornings with a cup of coffee. I'm pretty much addicted to my first cup in the morning and a few more during the day. I also like the socialness that comes with it. Many a new friendship / relationship has started with the words: "Let's have coffee sometime".

40 Days: Addiction (Day 20)

I have a confession: I am an addict. I didn't know that I was an addict until I came to Korea.

40 Days: Twinkle-twinkle (Day 21)

Bling is everything in Korea. Little girls walk around with bright, sparkling headbands. Old women wear bows and shiny pins and even the poodles get their nails painted and their ears dyed pink.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

40 Days: To be free... (Day 22)

"The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret to freedom is courage."


In a way leaving Korea means leaving behind a lot of my freedom.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

40 Days: The sauna-issue (Day 23)

Going to a spa at home is pretty expensive, but you get massages, face masks and mud baths. And that is only a few of the fabulous treatments available. Going to a spa in Korea is a whole different story.

Monday, May 30, 2011

40 Days: The Oranges (Day 24)

Out of all five the classes I teach here at Wonderland, I have had the most trouble with Orange Tree, the 7-year olds. From their discipline (or rather lack of) to their mothers who are never satisfied with anything. They are by far the most difficult class that I've ever had to teach.

40 Days: When life gives you Lemons (Day 25)

On a fieldtrip with Lemon tree. All pictures on this page
are courtesy of Roy Cruz
I am the homeroom teacher to the Lemon Tree class. They are the 6-year olds. At least in name. This means I eat lunch with them. That's all. I'm not going to bore you (again) with a description of every single child in that class, but a few should be mentioned.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

40 Days: My cherries (Day 26)

Teachers aren't supposed to have favourites. They aren't. But, as all all teachers know, that is easier said than done. Some children have the ability to steal your heart from day one. (And some make you want to punch them from day one, but that is a post for another day.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

40 Days: It's all Peachy. (Day 27)

The 5-year olds are my favourites to teach. They are not babies anymore, but they are still cute and playful. There are 2 classes for the 5-year olds at Wonderland: Peach Tree and Cherry Tree.

Monday, May 23, 2011

(Sm)All-things Sundays: I didn't feel like it.

By now it is pretty obvious that I like running. What is less obvious is that, even though I love it, I suffer every time I do it.

40 Days: The Apples (Day 28)

At Wonderland, we have 5 classes. Talking about all of them in one blog post would be unfair and an info overload. So I will post about them separately. Our baby class is called Apple Tree. Their Korean age is 4, but their Western ages are either 2 or 3. They are small! There are 5 babies in that class: Garnet, Alex, Dana, Olivia and Boa.

Friday, May 20, 2011

40 Days: No man is an island. (Day 29)

"No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee." - John Donne

Thursday, May 19, 2011

40 Days: One pot, many dishes. (Day 30)

Sunday was my friend, Terisha's birthday, so the Saturday night we went out for dinner. I have been trying to introduce her to new Korean meals every now and again.

On Saturday night, we had Shabu-shabu and that was when I realize that I can't appreciate Korea, without appreciating the food. And I can't appreciate the food if I try and lump all of my favourite meals into one blog post. Thus, this will be the first in a series about my favourite Korean dishes.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

40 Days: Anything but empty (Day 31)

In Episode 10, Season 1 of "How I met your Mother", Ted loses his memory spectacularly. In one of the flashbacks of the disastrous night, we see him asking a girl if she knew that "Karaoke was not invented by someone named Kerry Okie, but is Japanese for Empty Orchestra". In Korea, we have a Norebangs and norebanging is anything but an empty experience.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

40 Days: Cake is for eating. (Day 32)

I haven't met many people who don't like cake..and the Koreans are no exception! In fact, they love cake so much that they give each other cake for birthdays, moving house, when they travel, when they come back, when they are sick, when they get promoted, etc. I don't blame them. Korea does great cake! They decorate it with chocolate and rich (but not sweet) cream. And the cake is always nice and moist.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

40 Days: NETworking (Day 33)

Prior to coming to Korea I had a Facebook profile, but rarely used it more than once a week. I knew about blogging, but I couldn't be bothered to read someone else's or write my own and any information, inspiration or interaction I needed, could be achieved by phoning a friend (or doing some guesswork.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

40 Days: The gift of GRUB (Day 34)

Korea by day looks just like home. It has high-rise buildings, cars driving, people walking. Korea at night transforms into a neon-lit hornets nest of activity. One of my favourite elements of this busyness is the street-food vendors.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

40 Days: I love it when you talk foreign (Day 35)

There are lots of theories about the signs / t-shirts / stationary that are so readily available all over Korea. One theory is that the bad English (or Konglish as it is fondly known) is the result of an individual with bad handwriting copying words or phrases. Another theory is that Korean phrases are directly translated into English and slapped onto merchandise. One more theory suggests that these words were thought up by foreigners, who know exactly the amount of entertainment value that Konglish has to offer.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

40 Days: Under the kimchi coloured sky (Day 36)

Last night I went running at 10:30. Not only did I need to train for my 5km race this upcoming Saturday, I also had a lot on my mind. I was busy all evening and by the time I realized I needed to run, it was well after 10pm. Unfortunately, the gym I go to closes at 10, but luckily I live in Korea. Korea is known for being "well-being" obsessed  and there are tracks and outdoor fitness equipment all over the place. So, when the desire hit, I got on my Soju Sookie, drove to the tartan track behind the Duksan apartments, put in my earphones and ran my little heart out.

Monday, April 25, 2011

40 Days: Substituting Santa. (Day 37)

Christmas is one of my favourite holidays. Apart from the religious meaning it holds, I also get to give and receive presents. Presents make me happy. Unfortunately for me, Christmas only comes once a year. Luckily for me, Korea has G-market.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

40 Days: For the love of Chicken. (Day 38)

I like chicken. I like it in stews and on bread and in pasta. I especially like it fried, with chips and some sauce to dip it in. For the first 18 months of my time in Geoje I had to be satisfied with spicy fried chicken in sticky sweet sauce. No chips or side dishes. You could call it typical Korean fried chicken. If I wanted "western style" fried chicken, I had to travel to Busan (up until 5 months ago, 3 hours away by bus) for the nearest KFC and then the chicken (even the plain chicken) would be a little bit spicy. At least we'd have chips.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

40 Days: Mart, Marter, Martest. (Day 39)

The view from my apartment building's entrance.

What do you see when you walk out of your front door? Houses? A nice garden perhaps? Maybe a concrete wall? When I climb down two flights of stairs and I walk through the glass doors of Dream Ville Apartments, I see a 7-eleven convenience store. This in itself is not a strange thing, but when I turn left, walk the rest of the block, turn left 2 more times, I find a GS Mart right on the corner. Still not strange? Should I walk straight down that same street, for two more blocks, I'll find a Family Mart. How convenient...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

40 Days: Korea's four seasons (Day 40)

The last time I cruised around the island, I was on the back of a big, black, bad-ass motorcycle. A REAL bike. Holding on to a cute boy at 5 am in the morning, chasing an elusive sunrise. Every high school girl's dream. There is, however, something very uninspiring about going up a hill at 20km/hour on a maroon scooter, half clutching the gas, half walking it out, while guys on bicycles pedal past you, smiling as if the uphill road takes no effort at all. Tonight's trip around Geoje island would have been a waste if it hadn't been for the inspiration that went along with my sudden realization that I have only 40 days left in Korea.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Treadmill Tuesday: Impossible is nothing!

"Impossible is Nothing." The bright yellow letters screamed at me from the shiny black jacket of the girl in front of me.I was 15 minutes into my first ever 5km race and I still hadn't seen the 1km marker. I wanted to cry. Usually I'm well past 1km after 10 minutes of running on the treadmill. I knew outside running would be different from treadmill running, but this was ridiculous!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Monday Musings: All in a year's work.

It was my birthday on Wednesday. I love birthdays! To me it is a celebration of a year that has passed, adventures that have been lived, new things learned, old things forgotten. I am getting to an age where people are expecting you to have reached certain milestones: Get married? Have a stable job in a good company and climb the corporate ladder? Have a house? Have a car? I have none of those. But here is a list of things I did in the past year. Some of them are average. Some of them are huge. All of them make me thankful that I have lived another year.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

(Sm)All-things Sundays: Meet Molly

Meet Molly. She is an orphan, a street cat, a nocturnal party animal, a kisser, a scratcher and a princess. She has separation anxiety, daddy issues, an obsession with toilet paper and a very irritating obsession with objects standing on my desk / dresser/ bedside table. Molly has been my roommate for the past 7 months and since Sundays are about being thankful for (sm)ALL things, today's post is dedicated to her.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday Travels: Leaving Home

Exactly 2 years and 8 months ago, I sold my car, put all of my stuff (read: fridge, bed and desk) into storage (read: Mom & Dad's garage), packed 25kg into a suitcase, hopped on a plane and came to South Korea. Back then I had a whole list of reasons that I used to justify my decision: Study debt, heartbreak, boredom, wanderlust.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

To run...

5 kilometres. 5000 metres. 500 000 centimetres. 5 000 000 millimetres.

It's not that far, right? I've walked that distance lots of times on the island to get from one area to another. But I've never had the urge to run it and THAT is exactly what I plan to do on May 8th, 2011 in Daegu. Call it my first triumph. Call it my last hurrah, before I leave Korea permanently.