Saturday, December 16, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
I have the mentality of a child.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Depsite being rather sceptical about a Blonde Bond, Wednesday night at the movies put paid to such thoughts. I loved Casino Royale. It has the usual gadgets, ( the worlds tiniest defibrillator), action scenes, chase scenes, ridiculous victories on Bond's part and the essential Bond girls. But, unlike previous renditions of the franchise, this 007 had a human dimension to him. He cried, he nearly died, he sweated, he bled and made countless mistakes. He wasn't robotic in his methods, preferring to show a vulnerable side while still giving an heroic aspect to the character.
The fact that Daniel Craig is as hot as a pancake and built like a brick outhouse does sway my opinion ever so slightly.
Monday, November 13, 2006
I have made a very depressing discovery. Elmo toys are a one off. Apparently, each year, the Elmo factory churns out the latest talking, dancing, laughing Elmo, example being Tickle Me Elmo from a few years ago. The Elmo factory people may never make Tickle Me Elmo again. Ever. So, right now every E-Bay seller is being kept awake each night dreaming about what they will do with the fortune they rake in from selling Tickle Me Elmo for outlandish sums to fools like me.
In the below clip, you can see the resident hound figures the hysterical Elmo is another reason to dig up the back garden. My cat (RIP), was not such a big fan of my Elmo. Ian bought me the Hawaiian one, which does the limbo, rolls around and sings a rather fetching little tune. Whenever I let Elmo do this 'thang', the cat would recoil in horror, attempt to kill him and when he showed no signs of going to the Pearly Gates, she would sit in disgust, turn her back to him and hiss.
Aaah yes, Elmo, a treat for all the family.
At this rate of going I could actually turn into a workaholic!
Saturday, November 11, 2006
This evening I went to see Borat with some friends and what a cinematic experience it proved to be. I had tried to avoid reading reviews prior to viewing, but curiosity killed me. I caved in and indulged in perusing the Times and was shocked that one of the primary, notoriously fickle critics, Cosmo Landesman, granted it an unheard of five stars. I was intrigued that it had received such rave reviews, considering that Borat himself has always been a rather controversial character, and so was keen to see what all the 'kerfuffle' was about.
To cut short what could be a really long personal opinion, all I have to say is, it must be seen. It is hilarious, offensive, shocking, eye opening , jaw dropping and everything that one would expect from a Sacha Baron Cohen creation. It is no holds barred. It is vulgar. It is horrifying, but above all, it is an entertaining, well made piece of cinema.
However if you are offended by those that mock or insult, Kazakhstan, homosexuality, Jews, gypsies, Americans, feminists, Evangelicals, politicans, black people, white people, fat people, right wing individuals, terrorism, Hitler, or Pamela Anderson, you might want to opt for something Disney made.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Dog- might as well get a child instead considering all the minding they require, what with extended walks, mountain sized bags of feed, poop walks, playtime, attention time, hug time, pat time, fetch time, bath time so on so forth
Cat- good to leave on their own, but bad when one returns from a day of work and is greeted with toilet roll shredded confetti style on the bathroom floor. One is forced to reconsider ones
thoughts. Also, cat litter stinks.
Budgie- the constant tweeting would drive me to feed it to the above cat
Turtle - would freeze to death here. Damned if I am buying all the fancy schmanzy equipment
to keep the thing alive. Enough of a struggle to keep myself warm.
Fish - Ian has fish. I forgot to feed them on many an occasion, or, to compensate, over fed
them, ( fussy little critters) and moaned when we had to clean the bowl. Plus they aren't any
fun. The dont do tricks, apart from the 'belly up' one.
Reptile things - vomit
Pony- always wanted one, but I think the Building Management ladies might have a negative comment or two about a little Sheltand 'mowing' the patch of grass some developer had the nerve to call a garden.
Hamsters- They die at an early age..........perhaps the constant running on a wheel is akin to the human stress test. Weeds out the weaklings. Mind you, I couldnt deal with the weekly grief.
The real thing does not appear to be a viable option.
However, this is!
It's genius. It even hisses if its tail is pulled. What a wonderful lesson to teach young and impressionable children
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Complete and utter insanity.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
I have become quite the wizard at job searching. I think I am BFF with a number of recruiters and on-line sites and I am quite the typist too. I had a meeting today with a recruitment agency for some work to help boost my experience in administration. After our meeting, the very nice lady suggested that I do a typing test. Initially I thought she was joking, that was until I found myself seated in front of a computer, typing for all I was worth. The computer software told me, "You are a great typist!". It may have been the highlight of my day. I should at this point thank msn and Ian for encouraging my typing skills. Quite the exercise for a modern day typist. However, while typing, scenes from "The Secretary" kept running through my mind. Not the kind of thoughts you want when trying to beat a computer.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Prior to Ian returning to university, he and I travelled to the cottage that his aunt and uncle own for a few days. For those that aren't in the know, it is quite common for Canadians to own a little cottage in the heart of the countryside, to escape that madness that is weekday downtown Toronto. Their cottage is not far from the small, unassuming... oh who am I kidding, from the redneck town of Dunville, far enough to ignore, near enough to get Tim Hortons.
Where their cottage is located, there aren't any tarmac avenues or bright lights. Instead there are grass drives and bonfires. The cottage was deceivengly small, as once we entered I was quite amazed at how large the interior was and how beautifully decorated it was.
Subsuquent days went spent lounging on the deck or by the lake with drink in hand, or running like a woman possessed from the wasps that were , contrary to what others may say, trying to kill me. Evenings were spent watching 'Lost', which is a pile of poo or watching Ian cook food, which was not poo.
John and Claire joined us at the cottage for the weekend and over the course of the weekend we were treated to fresh trout, swedish games, rotti, Trivial Pursuit defeats, countless card games and the highlights of the weekend.......... Horse Racing and the most amazing fabulous wonderful fattening,who cares if it is fattening, tantalising, sensational dessert ever....
To explain. A friend of John and Claire, found or developed... I am a little unsure, a board/gambling game called horse racing. It is a little difficult to explain, but the 'ingredients' are a wooden board, cards, money, luck, money and a terribly positive outlook! I enjoyed the game immensely, Ian nearly had to be taken away in the Gambler's Anonymous ambulance.
The dessert. The most amazing dessert in the world was made by another friend of John and Claire. It sounds simple, but the taste is not........ possibly due to the volumes of sugar. To create one takes a little pretzel and a little mini rolo. Squish the rolo on top of the pretzel slap it in the oven until a little melted, remove. Atop the melted, squished rolo, place a nut... brazil, walnut, hazedl... not the village kind and demolish. Yum.
I am scared to recreate for fear I will inadvertently maim the treat, thereby terminating my relationships with the rolo, the nut and the pretzel.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
On Friday night, in the middle of a huge fork lightning storm, Ian and I started our journey to Watkins Glen racetrack in New York state. What an eventful journey we had, from Ian convincing himself we were lost to me seeing Amish people for the first time and getting far too excited over it, from the horrendously expensive cars, to seeing said horrendously expensive cars returned to their owners in a bucket after one spin out too many. Prior to going, I had asked Ian what I could expect to see over the weekend. I received a response, dripping with sarcasm, "Cars, Eileen, cars". Turns out we were attending the biggest vintage racing event in the United States. And we had HOT PASSES! I will admit that when I was handed the hot pass I was oblivious as the advantages it afforded Ian and I. We were allowed amble through all the garages, the pits, the pit stop areas and the technical areas. Of course the only thing that I wanted to see was a spectacular crash. There was only one, which I somehow missed, but I did catch sight of the remains. The area where the car shells were placed resembled a car morgue what with all the broken parts covered by white sheets.
Over the course of two days I saw a lot of cars and have decided that my favourite is the Ford GT 40 cos it looks nice. No technical reasoning at all, although I was assured that I had made a good choice.
The race was being held near the small town of Watkin's Glen, but Ian and I were staying in a little area called Painted Post. How amazing are Americans with placenames? Our hotel was a pretty swiffy place and was right next to Denny's, the American culinary experience. Everyone had told me Denny's was a nasty place, that the food was terrible and that I would probably die after a plate. Well those people obviously haven't tried the Extreme Grand Slam........... or a real Irish breakfast for that matter.
Travelling from Canada into the States was one of those "Please, not again" situations. Havnig stopped at the border, Ian and I were directed to 'Room 1' to await processing as I was not a citizen of either border country. As soon as I stepped into the holding room, I could feel the depression. The room looked as though it might have been a bathroom at some time in the past and was painted that disgusting public bathroom green. Sitting in the room were five men from Pakistan and India and a family of seven from an area of Africa. After sitting in the room for 4o minutes I was starting to get on the wrong side of grumpy, but felt even worse when me, the white girl, was allowed entry into the States before the Indians, Pakistanis or Africans, even though they had been waiting far longer than me. How just......................................................?
Returning to Canada took an entire 3o seconds. Anyone think America is overdoing it slightly?
I noticed at the race meet that the majority of the people there were middle aged if not older. Once explained to me it made a lot of sense seeing as some of the cars in show cost in excess of a million dollars and I do not know many twenty one year olds that can afford such wheels.
In happier news I have discovered Dairy Queen. Well, not just Dairy Queen, but the Blizzard. There are 11 toppings to choose from. Except me to be found, unconscious, in a pool of melted Blizzards with all 11 toppings in and around me.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Weekend plans are all set. I am going to New York state for vintage car racing with Ian and his Mom and Dad. I shall not be racing cars, although I am quite sure there are some of you that would be willing to pay to witness that debacle.
So with that in mind I shall dedicate myself to enjoying my time here in Canada. Not that I haven't been doing that already, what with the lakes, the zoo, the barbeques and the parfait I found at a local store, which may result in me paying for excess personal weight on my flight to Ireland. Of course I have managed to justify my consumption of said parfait by "jogging" to the store...... not that I can see any immediate results.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
However, I have been forced to beat myself up mentally as I never bothered to get a second airmiles card last year and so have waved goodbye to thousands of points. But, I have managed to turn that frown even more upside down as I am participating in the worst activity in the world....packing. I am incapabable of packing light, and must admit that when I see people at the baggage carousel in airports swinging the little bag over their shoulder that contains a toothbrush and a thong for their two week vacation, I get jealous. I feel obliged to pack for all four seasons,all weather conditions and so what if it is the middle of August, it could snow and I MIGHT need that goose down coat.
I decided to leave all my washing until today, which means I have a mountain of ironing to do. Of course, there aren't any guarantees that I will actually do any of it. Not like I signed a contract with the iron. I'll reason a way out of doing it. Of course getting one part of me to reason/negotiate with the other part of me might the symptomatic of something much deeper.....
Today I went into town to get my Canadian dollars and was forced to deal with a weed of an employee. Disaster. I stood at the teller and explained that I was here to collect Canadian dollars and US travellers cheques under the name of E. O'Brien. The weed stared blankly at me and allowed a rather prolonged pause. Eventually after much pausing and staring at each other, he let out a rather large sigh, stared back at me and said, ( wait for it), 'Well I cant do much if you don't tell me who you are'. The security camera was nearly driven through the pea that resides in place of his brain. He was promptly given the 'You had better stop acting the maggot or I will have such a loud complaint made you will regret the day you ever encountered me' look. I rather calmly retold him my name and watched as he forced his bottom from its chair and puffed his way over to the foreign exchange area. He then returned with Canadian dollars and American dollars. I took the opportunity to mimic his sigh and issued the 'look' again and informed him that I had requested US travellers cheques. I might as well have hurled a bucket of cow pats at him such was the look of disgust on his face. He turned from me to stare at the whole two yards he had to retrace back to the foreign exchange area. I was tempted to offer him my bottle of water for the journey, but decided any further aggravation to the weed would have catastrophic effects on my travellers cheques.
Long story short, I got the dollars and cheques and am keeping them under lock and key. The weed wanted to know where I was going in Canada. I lied and said 'Vancouver'. They can have him!
Sunday, July 30, 2006
I have finally mastered the art of tranferring pictures from a digital camera to a laptop without Ian's assistance.... and it only took me the better part of a month to learn. However, I have selected just a few pictures from the vacation that Maebh and I took to Hanoi in June of this year. During our stay in Hanoi we took a two day trip around the world heritage site of Halong Bay. The journey was magnificent as watching the enormous limestone islets shoot from water that ranged from blue to rather lagoon like green was awe inducing. The first picture was taken at 6am from the top deck of our junk boat. We slept over night on the junk, but due to intense heat in the cabins I got up early to get some air. The boats are those of local fishermen going to work, travelling through the inlets and bays of Halong Bay.
The second picture is one that I am particularly proud of and should I ever come across a photo competition for 'Those That Have Been To Vietnam And Have Great Pictures To Prove It', I have every intention of entering and winning. The area where I took this picture is the site of the our incident with the local armed forces. The dirt path was a long way off from achieving road status and barely wide enough for a honda 50, yet our tour bus and the army jeeps(we presume they were training in the area), decided they could of course make it down the path at the same time. It was not to be, resulting in the jeep and tour bus scraping sides. Not very enjoyable for the Danish guy sitting beside me (window side),as he was afforded an up close and personal view of the little lake due to the force from the army jeep, pushing our bus closer and closer to the edge of said lake. Of course, did the army jeeps stop after mangling the tour bus. NO. The result of that was seeing our bus driver give chase, disappear around the corner, leaving us alone, in the middle of nowhere with a bus. He eventually came back. Minus an apology from the army. At least my picture is nice.
Picture 3 speaks for itself really. It was taken at the Hanoi War Museum at the base of the Cot Co Flag Tower. What you can see in the picture is military waste. If I knew my war crafts I would list the names of those on display, but, I don't. I did read what they all were at the time, but I blame the heat for erasing all war related information from my head. ( I do believe there were MIG's there though............)
Maebh and I also visited the Temple of Literature which was a magnificent example of Vietnamese architecture. Picture 4 is taken from the interior of one of the buildings. I was quite favouring the inside to outside pictures instead of the outside to inside ones, as the intense afternoon heat was playing havoc with little fragile me. So, I sought refuge in the cool (ish) indoor environment.
While sailing around Halong Bay we stopped at one of the caves that are quite common around the area. The cave that we visited was illuminated with a broad spectrum of colours, some so blinding it was rather difficult to see the rock facing. However, I have my doubts as to whether or not the interior of the caves are genuine, seeing as some of the rock formations looked rather unnatural and did not have the texture one associates with caves. Nevertheless, the interiors were certainly interesting to view. The final picture shows the orange illumination in contrast to the natural light stealing in from an opening.
Friday, July 14, 2006
It just does not cease to amaze how free and willing these men are to strip to their birthday suits and frolic in the surf.
Of course I cannot talk , seeing as I went out in high waves again, this time with a bodyboard and successfully lost the bottom half of my bikini twice....yes that was fun...diving under incoming waves praying to all the gods that it hadn´t been washed to shore.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
And so I have been thrown from Korean mayhem into Spanish mayhem, but at least the Spanish don´t care. Today I went swimming in a red flag area because the waves were enormous and I wanted in on the action and did anyone stop me...........? No. Also in stark contrast to Korea are the number of penises (penii?) on display. The Spanish and German men just love to let it ALL hang out and take great pleasure in stripping to their birth state and let the wind flap it around.......
Joyfully it is hot, but not nasty Korea or Vietnam hot so I have taken to sitting out in the sun n the vague hope that i might oneday resemble a somewhat ripened tomato.
I also bought a little black dress here and was most upset when the idiot working the counter just dumped my dress into a bag and dropped my change on the counter. I created a little scene. Got the dress folded into a bag. The change was still thrown at me though............
I also keep asking how much things cost in Korean etc.... and I am most outraged that the Spanish have not embraced the Korean culture and perfected the basic words.
Still though, they seem to have accepted the Irish as there is a Super Value up the street. How I snorted when I saw that...............
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Tonight I went to a tapas bar in Cork with Aaron and his wonderful boyfriend, John. We enjoyed an outstanding series of tapas, although I must say my plate was particulary perfect what with the local cheese and smoked ham. I had forgotten how entertaining Aaron and his friends are and just how enjoyable it could be to sit with them in a cosy bar enjoying good food and wine, with no one bothered or upset by their flamboyant tendencies. We certainly are not in Korea any more, Toto.
I also blew a fortune on clothes this weekend, but that's another matter, although I am quite in love with my red, ridiculously high heeled shoes..........now to find the right occassion and the right surface to walk on, ensuring minimum damage to ankles.
Monday, July 03, 2006
My Korean experience, which was to last twelve months and not three years, is complete. I leave tomorrow for Hong Kong, then to London and then Dublin. I will stay in Ireland for a brief time and then onto Canada to be with Ian.
It feels so very strange to think that I may never see Daegu, my school or people I have met here again. I can't even put into words the feelings I have about leaving here. I presume that I will be a little emotional when the plane takes off from Seoul, but I do hope one day I will be able to return to the place that gave me so much.
O f course once I get to Limerick I will have been travelling non stop for 36 hours, if not more, so the only emotion that will be going around my head will be the love for my bed.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
We are staying in an adorable hotel with a really nice room, complete with ants and lizards and fabulously strong Vietnamese coffee.
However if one more person trys to sell me postcards I may be deported for commiting a nasty crime. It has gotten to the stage where Maebh and I are pretending we don't speak any English, but we really haven't perfected our art, as when we asked where we are from we are never too sure of what continent, never mind what country, we are from.
Today we are going to view Ho Chi Minh's resting spot... we are going there by motorbike. I hope to make it back in one piece, although the huge sign in the centre of Hanoi saying that there were 539 traffic deaths last year does not fill me with any hope.
Friday, June 16, 2006
Some of you may be aware of a minor sporting even taking place in a little known area, I believe referred to as, Germany. Some call this sporting event, the “Beautiful Game”, others consider is a rather large bore and then there are the few die-hard Korean fans who eat, sleep and poop the game. Korea played Togo on Tuesday night, so a 4-way intersection with 12 lanes was closed down in Daegu, 4 super duper screens were erected and the odd enthusiastic fan ventured to the intersection to cheer on the national treasure. I have an enormous stash of pictures from the night, but my camera is missing the cable that magics shots from it to a computer. So, once again I have had to borrow some pictures from Maryanne. In case you are wondering, red is the favoured colour for the national team and the little red horns are not representing what you think they are representing. The Korean team players have been nicknamed the, ‘Red Devils’. Silly me thought the title belonged to Manchester United. I have some videos from the night, but it will be a few weeks before I gather my technological know-how and various essential wires and cables
Estimated numbers for those in attendance at the above intersection alone was 50,000. Yet, despite the volume of people, it was oddly organised. There weren't any visible police or riot staff, yet everyone behaved with great dignity. The most surprising aspect was that everyone sat on the street. The only people standing were those at the rear of each street. Standing was only permitted when a goal was scored and in case you weren't aware of the goal, fireworks were shot up into the air from the centre of the crowd! Organising officials were certainly optimistic, as at the end of the game we were treated to a 5 minute fireworks display. Pretty!
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Ian and I indulged in one of my favourite dishes here. It is called shabu shabu and has its origins in Japan. The basic method is to place slivers of cold meat in a pot of boiling broth and cook them for a few seconds before placing the cooked strip on a lettuce leaf with some kimchi, rice and gotchujang. Fabulous!
Below is a board that was in the downtown area of Daegu. On each red ribbon are good luck wishes for the Korean soccer team. Koreans are a patriotic bunch so all hopes are being pinned on their soccer stars.
The lady at the bottom was doing face painting in Daegu during one of their street festivals. I liked her look. Felt she brought the ancient Orient into the modern environment with great success.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
There are certain aspects of the Korean people and their culture that baffle me. I have been here since 2003 and still I am perplexed and antagonised by some of their actions
1. The incessant giggling- whenever Koreans are embarrassed or unsure of what to say or do to a foreigner they turn to their nearest and dearest and giggle. Infuriating. Stop giggling and try to work with me!
2. The rubbish- there aren't any rubbish bins, wheelie bins or large French style communal bins. Instead, the street is considered a suitable dumping ground. A few yards from Ian's apartment building door is a pile of rubbish so vile and nauseating that it is becoming somewhat of a chore to walk past it. Of course you can't just throw your rubbish anywhere. There are designated spots. This basically means that the street cats and rats are guaranteed three square meals plus snacks a day.
3. The complete and utter lack of communication between employers, employees and office workers- 99.9% of the time I never know what is happening at my school. I have lost count of the number of times I have walked into one of my classes to find a new student that hasn't got a lick of English and is terrified of the foreign face. It seems unimportant to keep teachers informed of students. I am also amused at the demands often made to have lesson plans, exams, agendas and corrections completed by 6pm when you have been notified of said requests at 4pm.
4.The World Cup- you can't move here for "Go Korea" shirts, jumpers, cups, hats, toys, blah blah... The kids are excited, the adults are excited, EVERYONE is excited for Korea's games. But ask any of them when the matches are being played, who Korea's opponents are and who the members of the team are and you will be met with very perplexed faces.
5. The attitude concerning the education of a child- dear lord in heaven someone needs to sponsor these kids a holiday. From the day of conception until the day they break free from the maternal hold (roughly aged 30), Korean kids are expected to be studying and absorbing as much information as they can so they can get high powered, respectable jobs and never have a childhood. Most kids here don't understand the concept of being bored, simply because their carefully planned educational schedules don’t permit it, most kids here don't understand playing for the hell of it, because again, playtime is to be done in accordance with the schedule and if they don't get any homework THEY REMIND YOU TO GIVE THEM HOMEWORK. I have encountered boys aged 6 that have had hysterical meltdowns because they saw a worm and children that can't play "catch”, because...well...they can't 'catch'.
6. The failure to "Think outside the Box"- Korean culture dictates that people operate as a group resulting in individualism being low on the ground. The Family Unit is very important, as is the notion of cohesive teamwork and uncritical acceptance of absurd office actions. In offices here, the boss is the be all and the end all. What he says goes and cannot be questioned or opposed due to the Confucianism system. Therefore, what the matriarch, patriarch or employer suggests or requests must be done without question. This makes life infuriating for the liberal Westerner who is accustomed to having the rules bent from time to time to accommodate their needs.
7. Working- Koreans are expected to devote their lives to their job, or if they have children, then they become the basis of their mother's actions. For the professional worker, their hours are ludicrous. Some start at 8am and can still be in their offices at 9pm that night. The hard-working westerner will point out that they too are sometimes subjected to these hours, but there is a difference. Work is not consistent here. Work is constantly being interrupted by naps, trips around the office, meal times, phone calls, meal times, texting, trips to the store, texting, moaning about exhaustion, texting and daydreaming. (I should point out that my school is a glaring exception to this as everyone puts in hard work while present). Koreans are all about 'showing face’ so even giving the impression of work is considered acceptable. Maebh and I cracked the rational behind this last year while touring the War Museum in Seoul. It appears that the North Koreans broke through the border into the South while half the Southern border forces were on their day off, so you can understand the fear.......... sort of. In fact vacation days are thin on the ground here. Ask anyone if they have been to a different country and most will reply in the positive. Push them further and you will hear that they "did" Europe in 5 days flat or they travelled from LA to San Francisco to Chicago and back again in the same time. They do not receive our lengthy holidays and are rather envious when informed of opposing actions in other countries.
8. Queue skipping- I can't even type about it. It is the best way to drive my blood pressure through the roof.
9. Xenophobia- very high here and unlikely to change for some time. Koreans are very very proud of their pure blood and do not want it tarnished.
Of course, it has been pointed out to me that actions such as those above, are not unique to Korea. Perhaps, being a foreigner, in a not so foreigner friendly country, has prompted such thoughts, but my observations are not isolated as a hefty number of people concur and have their own grievances. However, Korea is determined to be a power to contend with, both politically and economically in the near future, but its xenophobic attitude and unwillingness to change is curbing such actions. But then again, if Ireland was able to give itself an image overhaul noticed on the world stage, then there is hope for Korea.
Saturday, May 13, 2006
I gave her full marks for being ridiculous.
Give myself another five months before I break this one.
Monday, May 08, 2006
This is my first contact with a horse since coming to Korea. I am ashamed to have indulged in the excitement around the poor animal, seeing as this picture is taken outside the main door of a department store on a footpath in the middle of a city. Friday was "Children's Day", and so horses were brought to my part of town with little kids placed atop them and paraded up and down the footpath. How cruel. How entertaining for children who have never seen, let alone touched a horse. Koreans are unaware of how to act around horses as their contact with them is minimal so it was understandable that they were unaware of the correct way to approach the animals. People were shocked to see me amble up to this little fellow and give him a carrot, without droopping it to the ground and running away like a woman possessed. The crowning moment was when I turned away from the pony and noticed that others who had touched him were greasing their hands up with hand sanitiser........
And before you ask, yes, I did sleep like a baby that night......
Below we see one of my preschoolers...look at him..all worn out. I should point out that this picture was taken we when we ARRIVED at the park. The walk from the bus to the mat apparently wore him out.
Another one of my little tots was more or less glued to the swing. My arms and back are still in tremendous pain from all the pushing.
And some are a little camera shy
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Gosh darn it.
Monday, May 01, 2006
Twenty five blasted degrees celsius today.
I am so unhappy. It's only the start of May and already I fear for those around me that will be subjected to my incessant twitterings about the heat.
In other news, I nearly crossed over to the medical side today. During one of my classes this afternoon, I felt a tap on my arm and looked up to see one of my little kids with his hands to his nose, with blood running down his wrists. I initially thought he had stuck his finger or a scissors up his nose. It turns out that he is prone to nosebleeds from time to time and this was one of those times. We went through an entire toilet roll trying to quell the bleeding. The kid and I were completely unfazed by the levels of blood, but some of the Korean teachers were in hysterics. So, to avoid nosebleeds on their parts, I took the kid to the bathroom and set about stopping the bleed. It was near impossible. Each time I took a wad of paper from his nose, the blood literally gushed from his nostril. His face and clothes were a pretty shade of scarlet and the bathroom sink and floor no longer appeared virginal white. Eventually someone suggested making little wads to block his nostril...this proved futile when the wads started to soak up blood faster than a sponge. I had never seen such a nosebleed before. It took a full twenty minutes for it to curb somewhat.
I am a responsible adult, so as he was leaving for home, I suggested he enjoy some red meat and broccoli for a health boosting meal.
I would imagine he is still getting his head around that one.
I am not sure what to expect when I set foot on Irish soil and I am not sure how I will react to understanding everyone around me, not being pushed, not being yelled at in Korean and not undergoing a major struggle just to complete the simplest of activities.
Maybe it will be fun to be back.....
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
One of my dreams was realised on Wednesday morning.
I got to stand on the extendable ladder of a fire engine.
I know. How exciting things get here............
We took the preschoolers to the local fire station so they could learn about fire safety blah blah. I was really quite bored there, what with the whole talk being given in Korean, until I spied the fire engine and the extendable ladder. Kids or no kids, I was determined to get a spin on it. So I escorted my little tots ( all aged 3-5) onto the buckety shaped thing on the end of the ladder and got myself a decent viewing spot. What a larf. I almost contemplated becoming a fire lady, but then my unshakable fear of fire stepped in and flattened such notions.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Thursday, April 06, 2006
You know how there are certain things that you should and should not do?
Well, on Wednesday I indulged in an activity that I should not have done, putting the lives of little children at risk, and, as ashamed as I am to say this, I loved every second of it.
My school took the foreign teachers and the preschoolers to a karting track to teach them about road safety. When we arrived at the track, the foreign teachers were directed to fully-operating karts, told to sit in, drive around twice and get a feel for the karts, with NO sign of helmets or seat belts. So, off we took, getting to know the car and getting to know that the brakes really were quite useless, that the steering was rather lacklustre and that these little karts were capable of some impressive speeds. After a few spins round the track we came to a stop.....and that was when the morning took an interesting turn. While we were sitting in our karts, each teacher was handed a little kid, said kid was placed in the flabbergasted teacher's lap and the teacher was instructed to drive around the track three times. With the kid. Without a helmet. Without a seat belt. The only thing keeping this kid alive was the very careful driving of their teacher.
Afer a few laps, my confidence was up and kid or no kid I was going to see just how fast the kart could go on the long straight. The kids loved it, ( if their yells of "faster teacher!!!" were anything to go by), and there weren't any injuries or crashes. While this may seem completely absurd to lawsuit happy nations, it appears that here, if you crash it's your own fault and if you sustain a head injury..... well you should have known better
And that is how road safety is taught in Korea. Brilliant!
The first picture is of the most adorable kid I teach. His name is Dino, (because he loves dinosaurs), he is only four and is my little angel who gets away with murder in my class.
The second picture is of me with some kid. I don't teach him, but he was thrust at me by the school manager. I don't think he enjoyed his spin with me as I went far too fast on the last lap and the little tyke almost drove his fingernails through my hands
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Monday, April 03, 2006
The kid is screwed.
Sunday, April 02, 2006
What rubbish are these children fed? What eight year old should be getting themself in a state because they have a minor scrap on their face and so will never be marriage material?
Thursday, March 30, 2006
The man has himself convinced that a carrot is going to save him from early death and nothing I said could sway him.
However there does appear to be a grain of truth in what he says!
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
The baseball game was being recorded for TV and what better attraction than a row full of foreigners. Maryanne captured this shot of the camera man filming us. He actually climbed up over the seats to stand in front of us and run the camera from one person to the next.
I lamented my lack of wardrobe and makeup for my Asian TV debut.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
So, as we can see, there was quite the crowd at the game
However,nothing was stopping the resident cheer team
What with the hectic on field play and the roaring, heckling crowd, it was impressive that Ian and I were able to fit in this inpromptu photo session...with our sunglasses.
We never really worked out why the entire team was sent out for "circular movements" 20 minutes before the game ended.
AND LOOK!!! NO BASEBALL. This is a few of us at a local brewery bar after the game. It is called the Ariana Broi and is famous for its "All you can eat buffet and all you can drink brew". It even has a dodgy Eastern European band..complete with Eastern European inspired hair and Eastern European inspired clothing and non Eastern European inspired Abba numbers.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Or so they tell the tourists.
I had heard that there was a little known section where I could see caged animals waiting to be sliced, diced and minced. Little Miss Innocent here though that there would just be the usual hens, etc., sqwaking about, trying to aviod the axe of death. I had tried to find this area before, but had been unsuccessful in my hunt.
Perhaps I am more of a Little Miss Wierd, seeing as I actually wanted to see such a place.
So with Ian leading, we started to meander through the mazes of stalls and finally came across a little alleyway that was lined with stall workers selling a mixture of fish, dried fish and an assortment of veg. Further ambling, revealed more stalls displaying the Korean delicacy of chicken feet. Yum, I hear you say.
It was the stench that got me first. Then the sight of the caged animals, then the listless uncaged rabbits, thrown on boxes, making no attempt to escape. The caged, dirty puppies, whining for attention almost broke my heart. The tear jerker was seeing the kittens thrown into cages with dogs and rabbits. The little balls of dirty, bloodied fur were clawing at their little metal cells and clambouring over the apathetic puppies, mewing with desperation.
I think any future I had in an abbatoir has come an abrupt end.
Also, it wasn't until I had left the Kitty Killer area did I wonder who on earth would purchase the clothes that were hanging directly opposite animal blood, faeces and entrails. Ick.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
How do I interpret that?
For all the ex- Ding Ding Dangers, (hee hee, sounds hilarious), you will be delighted to know that the Susung premises has been extended to the third floor. I know! I passed by today and was astonished by the sight of exposed wiring and piping on the second floor, whereas the third floor is painted in reds, yellows and purples, showing more vibrant hues compared to the original yellow and dirt.
Now the tense, unpleasant atmosphere has been upgraded to techicolour!
Anyway,you know when a cat is trying to cough up a hairball? Yes? Well that is the sound old men and women make here when they are spitting on the street. Their whole body seems to suck the contents of their lungs into their mouths and nasal passages and with one great "hwwaawhhhcccckkkkghhttth", the nasty produce is ejected onto the street for all and sundry to step on.
Monday, March 13, 2006
However, I don't fancy spending the day with a bunch of people who are drinking to the memory of their Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Aunt Peggy who survived the famine, rowed from the Old Country to the New in one of those cute Irish boats, set up an Irish souvenir stand in Manhattan, made her fortune, married a German, moved to Wyoming to run a ranch and spawned a series of generations of offspring that are CONVINCED they are Irish for a whole 24 hours and are terribly disappointed that I won't drink myself stupid, jig and reel myself to death and end the night with my personal rendition of Danny Boy to make the hearts of the masses melt and see Great Aunt Peggy turn in her grave
If you don't have an Irish passport, don't go flaunting your Irishness.
Sunday, March 12, 2006
I am teaching a young class phonics, as they are new to the language and are incapable of identifying letters in the alphabet and so it is essential that we focus on this area. However, this week a number of the parents have phoned the school, complaining that the teaching of phonics is unnecessary and irrelevant and that they expect their children to be able to read a basic level reading book by the end of the month.
The Korean teacher has tried to explain the importance of first learning the alphabet and associated sounds before beginning the reading process, but the parents are refusing to change their stance on this matter.
Therefore, we have to change the entire course to suit the whims of these parents. Schools here should rid themselves of the "school" title and instead employ " Institutes of we will acknowledge all idiotic demands made by parents".
Friday, March 10, 2006
Gatbawi is placed atop one of the many peaks of the local mountain range and is a worship site for local Buddhists. It was rather tiring climbing to the top, but the eventual view was magnificent and we met so many kind people on the ascent. One family gave us oranges, others showed us how to trick the little birds to sit on our hands and we met a clinically insane old man who proved to be quite friendly. Perhaps we caught him on a non maniac day.
Anyway, below is the Buddhist image in acid rain polka dots
Here is a description of the above Buddhist image
And here is me with a view.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Although, perhaps even more pathetic was the idiotic grin I sprouted when I actually got to bring the bagels home with me.
I have been having some pretty bad reactions to the local cusine here, again. I thought I had built up some sort of an immunity to the burning red spice of death, but apparently not. I do not want to go through the pain I had last year, so I have decided to abolish certain Korean foods from my diet.
I give myself two days. Tops.
Still though the kids can have their good days............... and is that a pig I see soaring overhead?
Monday, February 27, 2006
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
"I'd lie for you" with the rising tones of "Toto" to get me going at a pace not shy of a steady trot. Of course I also like to join in with the power choruses, so it is taking everything in me to not let out a few chords or indulge in some air drums.
Also the oldies who hurl themselves around the lake area each night are starting to recognise me so I am getting lots of cheery waves and "Hello!"s from those aged 60 and over who can still run past me. I think I might join them for tea and gossip mongering by the lakeside when the weather gets a little better. Should they prove themselves to be unhip and not with it, then I'll get just get accquainted with the team of guys who practice their breakdancing in a park near the lake. One of them is going to be spending some time in spine rehab at the rate they are going. They aren't very talented, yet think they are, so attempt all sorts of head for feet
poses that will result in neck braces for all.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
I also saw a rat on the street. That experience is an entire blog in itself.
Really. It is.
It is a place where the people are not happy with beer cans available in two sizes. They want a third option and hell if it looks like something you might offer to a minor, what the heck.
It is also a place where the oddest looking cars are the coolest cars. Evidently, they are very easy to park in congested spots like Tokyo so I agree that their compact size is indeed genius for city travelling, but what numbskull was appointed Head of Design?
Demonstrating the size of the hotel room in itty bitty Japan is Ian.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Mid life crisis no more. Crisis mode is hitting in your twenties.
Friday, January 27, 2006
Today in one of my kindergarten classes, the students and I were discussing the differences between weddings in Korea to those in the West. Throughout the discussion I noticed that the ususal noise machine, Andy, was oddly silent. When I asked him why he wasn't participating, he informed me that weddings were "yucky", kissing was "yucky", girls were "yucky" and that he would only kiss boys. The little sucker wiped the knowing "ah, but wait until you are older" grin off my face, when he grabbed one of the boys in his class and made lip to lip contact with him.
But Korea is a gay free environment...............
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Friday, January 06, 2006
I am so irate. I have bought hair straighteners here twice and each time they have proved to be useless. It would be more effective if I put my hair between two pieces of hot toast. I decided that the only thing I could do was convert my hair straighteners from home, which are the be all and the end all of hair straightening. I brought my three pronged plug to work yesterday and I might as well have brought the lost treasures of the Sierra Estrella, such was the fascination shown. Everyone wanted to know what the third prong was for and by casting my mind back to Junior Certificate physics, I mumbled something about it preventing a person being turned to fried bacon of fried human and then claimed stupidity when asked to explain. Afer much inspecting and internet referencing, it was determined that my hair straightners would not be straightening anything. I was not deterred. The school manager got the things thrust at him and was told to work some magic on them. So, he brought them to some electrical store ( I am convinced he brought it to the guy who hides behind the paint shelves when foreigners enter his store), returned an hour later and said it couldn't be done. Now seeing as this is the country that claims there is no such thing as homosexuality I am refusing to give up on this one. If you hear nothing from me in the next few days, it means I bought an adaptor, plugged it on and promptly got hospitalised from the incompability of the three prong with the two prong.
Everyone keeps moaning that the worls is getting too small, globalisation is taking us over and cultures are being wiped away by the need for uniform living. NOT HERE. Why oh why do countries have different voltages and plugs and other electrical oddities. I have the appliance, I have many sockets, all I am missing is a negotiator