Thursday, June 28, 2007

Parlay voo France?

I have been a little busy, and definitely slacking on the blogging, I'm sorry to anyone who is listening. Between teaching a few hours a day, eating, and sleeping I haven't been able to fit it in.
I know what you are thinking "my life is a constant trial". We should all be so lucky.
Either way, tomorrow I'm off to France. If you didn't know it, my older brother Kevin is tying the knot, and I will be in France for about 1 week enjoying all of the wedding festivities. Let me get the obvious questions out of the way:
1. No my family is not French
2. No we do not have any family in France
3. Because Kevin and Susie love to travel, and a friend offered a beautiful house in the French countryside as a venue for the wedding, as a wedding gift. So they took it. Who else has the option to get married in France? Wouldn't you?

If you don't know that much about France let me catch you up. I'm some sort of an expert on the subject because I've been eating French toast since the age of 3. Yup, that's right, my parents trained me to be cultured starting from a very young age. Muchos Grachas, Mamaia and Fadre.
The french eat a lot of fries. I think McDonald's might even be French for really, really, ridiculously good French fries. yup, that's right. The French are also very sexual beings. They are always singing love songs, and when they aren't singing they smoke, and blow heart rings out of there mouths (some of the talented smokers, or as I kindly like to refer to them as "Le Smokairs", shoot arrows through the rings). They also invented kissing. Well, that's not entirely true, just a new twist on something that was getting a bit "old hat". But being that a child could read this, I will not go into details on that. Well, that's the long and short of it I think. I'm sure I will go to France, drink lots of wine, kiss many women, and eat lots of fries and toast. It will be a trip to remember, and I'll make sure to blog about it when I return, even though I think I've already covered everything pretty clearlyjust now.
Oh, and I have a stop-over in Moscow too, but I'll tell you more about the bitter cold drunks of Russia another day. Wee wee.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Even while I made this blog so that people I know can keep up to date with what I'm doing in Korea, I've started to hope that maybe anyone might check out my blog when they have some spare time. Obviously, that is wishful thinking, but after almost 3 full months of blogging, you have to lie to yourself and tell yourself that people ARE READING what you write. Otherwise, I'd be writing for nothing, or no one, and that wouldn't last long.

So if you do come to this blog because you know me, or like what I write or whatever, maybe you will like similar things that I do. I came across three video's recently that I thought were good enough to share on my blog. If you have some time to kill, which I know a lot of you do, I'm suggesting that you check them out.

Video #1:
Out of all of these videos, I think this one is the MUST SEE of the bunch. For all of you native English speakers out there, who don't realize the rest of the world is dying to learn our language, this should open your eyes a little. It opened my eyes, and made my jaw hit the floor. I can't even believe it was made on this planet. But either way TAKE A LOOK! It's an English lesson / Exercise video for Japanese speakers.
If you laughed as hard as I did at that video, please check out a related one that comes up after the video finishes (YouTube is getting pretty high tech). It's called "Learn English Korean Style".

Video #2:
If you know me, you know I'm kind of a softy sometimes. This is just a heartwarming clip. I don't really watch shows like American Idol, but I came across this clip and it blew me away. It starts of slow, but I thought there was a good enough pay off in the end to put it on my blog.

Video #3:
If you're not in the serious mood, skip this one for now. It is a one man rant on global warming, but an educated rant. When I first watched this video, as the video starts I wanted to hate the guy speaking. Then he started to get pretty interesting, but I still didn't want to like him. Thennnn, he won me over, and I liked him. But in the end he was really lame, and I just thought he was a loser. However, he did bring up some good points, and this topic is somthing we all need to think about, dispite his lack of charisma. If you're up to it, and got 10 minutes, give it a look.

If after all that you are still bored, and still have more time to kill, try finding your house on my map at the bottom of the page. It sounds lame but when you zoom it as far as it goes, for some reason it's intersting. I found my school in Korea, my home in New Jersey, my high school, Giant Stadium, and I can't explain it but it's fun. Take my word for it and give it a try. If you don't like it you just burned some more boring time anyway.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Travel Quotes

I love quotes...I think they are great. The other day I think I spent about 3 hours just reading quotes. Here are some of the ones that I liked, (mainly) about traveling:

"Travel is the frivolous part of serious lives, and the serious part of frivolous ones." -- Anne Sophie Swetchine

"Two of the greatest gifts we can give our children are roots and wings." –- Hodding Carter

"Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen." –- Benjamin Disraeli

"A man travels the world in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.”-- George Moore

"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends." -- Maya Angelou

"All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”-- Martin Buber

"Americans who travel abroad for the first time are often shocked to discover that, despite all the progress that has been made in the last 30 years, many foreign people still speak in foreign languages" -- Dave Barry

"I see my path, but I don't know where it leads. Not knowing where I'm going is what inspires me to travel it." -- Rosalia de Castro

"Traveling is like flirting with life. It's like saying, 'I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.'" -- Lisa St. Aubin de Teran

"Once in a while it really hits people that they don't have to experience the world in the way they have been told to." -- Alan Keightley

"It may be that the satisfaction I need depends on my going away, so that when I've gone and come back, I'll find it at home." -- Rumi

"Travel has no longer any charm for me. I have seen all the foreign countries I want to except heaven & hell & I have only a vague curiosity about one of those."
- Mark Twain

"Travel is the most private of pleasures. There is no greater bore than the travel bore. We do not in the least want to hear what he has seen in Hong-Kong." -- Vita Sackville-West

Got any good ones to add?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Fun Fact #2

Interestingly enough, I thought this fun fact, while partly inappropriate, needed to be shared with the rest of the world. It deals with Korean body odor. They don't have any. Their food can smell like a month old corpse, their streets can (and commonly do) smell like sewers, but their bodies don't seem to smell at all. I don't know how it's done, but from my experience it seems to be true. Mindy swears to me that some people on the subway stink like feces, well that's how I described the people who smelt on New York subways, and she concurred with my assessment. But that only goes to show you that you cannot make broad sweeping comments about a group of people, but that's exactly what I'm doing. Heck, they don't even sell deodorant at supermarkets, but they really don't need to. It's not a problem.

I believe it is due to the healthiness of the Korean diet. But what scares me is how bad Americans can smell when we go for a 10 minute jog. How gross must our diets be for us, when even after putting on plenty of deodorant, we still stink when we're done. As much as a good diet is important in America, who ever thinks about a diet that might make you smell better? No one, but apparently it's out there.

With all that being said, you can see the western foods creeping in on Korean society. McDonald's is always filled with young children and I fear that in the years to come, the good smelling Korean will become a thing of the past. But if that is true, we will always have it down in writing here, that at one point, this was the way it was.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Going Away Party in Gumi

Today my new friend Amanda is comfortable back home in America. She's talking about how much she enjoys sleeping in her own bed, and eating American food, but it was just a short time ago when we visited her down in Gumi for her going away party. I guess now that she's back home, and I don't know if I'll ever see her again, she might be an old friend now, huh? Crazy how that works out. We met through an extremely odd connection of friends, but when we got together we hit it off. My friends liked her friends, her friends liked my friends, and we liked each other. After a bunch of emailing, and then one meeting in Seoul, she invited me three and a half hours south of Seoul, to Gumi, for her going away party. She has finished her year of teaching here in Korea, a good 10 months ahead of me.

I didn't think I was up for a long trip like that alone, so I asked Rachel if she wanted to come. She was equally uncertain about the long trip with just me, so she invited her friends Mindy and Jim. Mindy and Jim have become our token "married couple" friends. Haha. Really they are very cool old friends of Rachel's who are also out here teaching English in Korea. Well, not Jim, he's a different story, but I'm glad he's out here. They are no longer just Rachel's friends, but my friends too. Okay, back to the trip down to Gumi.

Since I'm friends with Amanda, I needed to attend to all the travel plans. Anyone who knows me well knows that is not a good situation for anyone. I was initially going to take the bus to Gumi, but Jim gets car sick on long trips like a little child, so we had to take the train. I had a teacher at school help me reserve the tickets online for the train. Everything seemed great until we tried to get our tickets at the ticket window of the train station. Apparently our tickets had disappeared. Even though I had a print out of the reservation in my hand, our tickets were no longer available. It was a lot like that Seinfeld episode, but I couldn't even make witty jokes because they didn't speak my language. After finding someone that could speak English we ended up catching the next train to Gumi.

The train was really pretty fun. Partially because we weren't standing. We could have gotten "standing" tickets on the earlier train, but we just barely decided against it. Well, about 5 minutes into the 210 minute trip we were all rejoicing for our great decision. People were standing everywhere, there wasn't an open spot anywhere. I couldn't imagine standing on a train for 3 and a half hours. What poured salt in the wounds of the people who were standing was that after about an hour into the ride, we started standing to stretch our legs. As if that wasn't enough, we were speaking English like no one could understand us. That was until we almost got off at the wrong stop and the two guys standing above us told us in perfect English "Gumi is the next station, do not exit the train yet". After that embarrassment we all were happy to finally exit the train...At Gumi.

We got to the party at around 12:30 AM and Amanda, and all of her friends, were already a few drinks ahead of us. We caught up, then the natives argued over what bar to go to next. But Gumi is a small town, it was either 1 bar or the other. We didn't know that at the time, but lets just say we are all a little more grateful for the bars in Seoul now. Around 5 in the morning the party ended and the craziness began.

None of us had ever slept at a Jim-Jil-Bong, hell I was the only one of us that had ever been to one. It's a community sauna, pool, shower, truck stop, bath house, all rolled into one, but you can sleep there too, and for really cheap. Luckily for us, Amanda lived right across the street from one. For just a few bucks, we all got wonderfully thin pads, and ridiculously hard pillows. The night included sleeping in a room with about 50 other Koreans, a few hard snorers, and an oblivious guy who didn't wake up for what seemed like eternity when his cell phone alarm went off. The icing on the cake was the devil Korean voice blaring a wake up call over the loudspeaker at around 7AM. But to be completely honest that's just what Jim told me. If you know me I sleep like a rock, and this night was no exception. However, I was the only one of my friends who got any sleep.

The rest of the day consisted of breakfast at Amanda's, which included pancakes with ice cream, strawberries, home fries, toast, and orange juice...all things I have never had in Korea, and were wonderful. Then some temple visiting, and hiking, followed by the train ride home.

The trip to Gumi was a complete success. I became much closer friends with Mindy and Jim, and now all of us have new friends down in Gumi who we can't wait to come visit Seoul.