Wednesday, January 31, 2007

beautiful eyes

I think so many Koreans have such beautiful eyes. For the most part, they are all very dark brown. When asked what color their eyes are, they always say black. I love my students' eyes. Their eyes always have such a shine to them.Gracie (She is my student at both the kindy and LCC... she's now 6/Korean 8)a girl in the roe deer class (now 4/Korean 6)a girl in the hippo class (now 4/Korean 6)Brian, one of my students at LCC

my classroom at LCC

the doorthe windowmy deskhall window, propane heater and storage corner

English educational posters

These are pics of a couple of the posters on the walls in at LCC.[a poster that is both in my classroom and in the hall][a poster in the hallway]

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


One of the things I hate the most about walking around here is trying to avoid the gobs of spit that are EVERYWHERE (not to mention the puke). It is disgusting. Apparently South Korea isn't the only place/country with a spitting problem:

Foreigners gobsmacked by Shanghai cab spittoons
Foreigners are spewing bile at China's latest plan to curb spitting in Shanghai, the country's financial capital, which is slated to host the 2010 World Expo.
Authorities here -- eager to put the city's best face forward while under the international spotlight -- plan to distribute 45,000 "spit sacks" to Shanghai cabbies, to curb the common habit of rolling down the cab window and expectorating onto the street.
But the proposal has foreigners spluttering with rage.
"This solution is a recipe for disaster," seethed one reader in an email printed in the Shanghai Daily on Saturday.
One of the many risks of the plan -- which involves fixing a sack to the metal grill which surrounds the driver's seat -- is that the bag may spill and unleash the "malodorous aroma of spit," the reader added.
Another respondent said he was afraid drivers might toss the bags out of their windows and be encouraged to hawk even more.
Local authorities are stunned by the livid reaction, the paper reported.
"We will persuade the drivers not to spit in the presence of passengers, and consider stabilizing the paper bags in unnoticeable corners near the driver's seat as improvements to our plan," health promotion campaign official Ni Yanhua was quoted as saying.
The "spit sack" follows an earlier innovation in Shanghai's public hygiene, after the city attached spittoons to garbage cans on sidewalks.
The spittoons were not seen as a success, since residents mistook them for ashtrays.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

like snakes?

Snakes help soothe the joints at spa
Hold the Dead Sea salts and tea-tree oil. An Israeli health and beauty spa has introduced a new treatment to its menu -- snake massage.
For 300 shekels ($70), clients at Ada Barak's spa in northern Israel can add a wild twist to their treatment by having six non-venomous but very lively serpents slither and hiss a path across their aching muscles and stiff joints.
"I'm actually afraid of snakes, but the therapeutic effects are really good," customer Liz Cohen told Reuters Television as Barak let the snakes loose on her body.
Barak uses California and Florida king snakes, corn snakes and milk snakes in her treatments, which she said were inspired by her belief that once people get over any initial misgivings, they find physical contact with the creatures to be soothing.

Huge python makes a meal of 11 guard dogs
Guard dogs protecting a fruit orchard in Malaysia have met their match -- a 7.1-metre-long (23-ft-long) python that swallowed at least 11 hounds before it was finally discovered by villagers.
"I was shocked to see such a huge python," orchard-keeper Ali Yusof told the New Straits Times in an article published beneath a picture of the captured snake, which was almost long enough to span the width of a tennis court and as thick as a tree trunk.
Villagers did not harm the snake, which was tied to a tree then handed to wildlife
officials, the paper said on Friday.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

makes me cringe...

This makes me very sad. I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like to go through anything like this.
Female Genital Mutilation Persists in Egypt


They are saying the SOUTH is violating basic rights??????? I'd say they have nothing to say about that issue unless they take a good look at their own country. Just a tad hypocritical, don't you think???

N.Korea says South's Web ban violates freedom
North Korea said on Friday the South Korean government was violating the public's basic right to information by blocking access to Web sites sympathetic to the North.
South Korea has denied access to more than 30 Web sites that it has designated "pro-North Korea" since 2004, including the North's official KCNA news agency's Web service and sites operated outside.
"This is a fascist action against democracy and human rights as it infringes upon the South Koreans' freedom of speech and deprives them of even their right to enjoy the civilization offered by the IT age," the North's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said.
"The above-said actions are as rude as blindfolding people's eyes and stopping their ears and mouths," Rodong Sinmun said in a commentary carried by KCNA news agency.
The ban showed South Korea was against reconciliation with the North, the newspaper said.
South Korea's unification ministry said earlier this month that it had no plans to lift the ban.
Most North Koreans have limited or no access to computers let alone the Internet, refugees from the North and human rights activists in Seoul have said.
South Korea is one of the world's most wired countries. Three-quarters of the population have access to the Internet.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


The other day, I was a bit worried all day. In the morning, I got a text message from M in Egypt, saying:
"Sabah el asel habibi im now in police ofice i stil i dont know what can i do? Dont wory i will be okay"
It would have been 2 AM in Egypt, and he should have been at work, still (he normally works from 3 PM until sometimes 6 AM!!!). I tried phoning him then, but his phone was turned off. He had just sent the message!!! I phoning him several times during the day. He was then supposed to meet me on the Net that evening at 9:00 (2 PM in Egypt, an hour before he had to be at work). He didn't show up on the Net, and I could do nothing but wait...
A couple of days before, a man entered the cafe and started a bit of an arguement over prices. He said that he was Egyptian, so he didn't have to pay full price. M said no, everything was the same price, no matter where the customer was from. The man then said he was a police officer, and he didn't have to pay full price. After arguing a bit, the man demanded to talk to the manager, and then said he would be back.
I've been reading a lot of Egyptian blogs and such, and so I have been hearing a lot of bad things about the way that the police in Egypt work. Of course, I know that they aren't all bad (M's father was a police officer, as are two of his brothers), but the stories I am reading/hearing are VERY bad, and are increasing in number.
I got a text message from him a couple of hours after he was supposed to start working and phoned him right away. He had just gotten to work. Apparently, the man returned and I'm not exactly sure what happened, but M had to go to the police office. When he got there, they just told him to sit down. He sat down and sent me the text message. Then they saw he was using his phone and demanded that he give it to them. He said he had to phone his manager, as he was supposed to be at work. They told him that if he didn't give him the phone, they would break it. So there went his phone. That is why it was turned off so suddenly. After working for almost 12 hours, he sat in the police office for over 12 hours. They kept asking him all sorts of questions to do with why he was in Sharm, what he was doing, when he got his passport, etc... Then they let him go, an hour after he was supposed to start work. So he got no sleep, and then had to go back to work. He was able to go home to get a few hours of sleep, though.

life expectancy

It is very interesting to see the correlation between GNP and life expectancy. You can see how it it has changed since 1975. You can also see how each individual country has changed, by clicking on the country name to the right.
[saw this on Rantings of a Sandmonkey, a great blog to check out if you haven't already]

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bird flu...

Maybe they should start feeding kimchi to the chickens. :P
(it has been said that kimchi is the reason that SARS didn't come to Korea)

South Korea Raises Alarm Over Bird Flu
[All Headline News]
The South Korean government on Tuesday initiated emergency measures by releasing funds to help areas afflicted with the deadly bird flu virus.
The release of an additional $530,500 by the South Korean Home Affairs Ministry was aimed at preventing the resurgence of the bird flu virus after several provinces have reported a return of the avian flu.
In a statement, the ministry said the money would be spent to buy disinfectants and other quarantine-related equipment to be used in eradicating the spread of the virus.
An estimated 100,000 poultry have been culled by quarantine officials since the latest H5N1 outbreak was reported last Saturday, which was the fifth of its kind since November of last year, in a chicken farm in Cheonan, about 74 miles south of
Seoul. Another 565,000 poultry in the area were scheduled for killing, quarantine officers said.
South Korea's agriculture ministry said the culling is necessary because an outbreak of the virulent H5N1 form of bird flu was discovered at a chicken farm last week.
South Korea killed over five million birds during 2003, the last known outbreak. The H5N1 virus has killed at least 153 people worldwide.


Don't you just love it when you are sitting there typing away on the computer and you feel an ant crawling up your arm?


I came home today to find my living room crawling with ants. They are EVERYWHERE!!!!! on the wall, all over the floor, on my desk... They were all over Tokki's cage. :( That is only the second time that they have been near her cage. I HATE ANTS!!!
Last week, one of the school's drivers came here during the day to paint an insecticide around the edges of the room. It obviously does not work. I have moved Tokki to the hall for the night and will spray the living room before I go to bed. I only sprayed it a couple of weeks ago. I HATE ANTS!!! I HATE ANTS!!!! They just won't leave me alone.
I had job interview after work today. The school is an English kindergarten (NOT a English hagwon kindy) in Dongbu-Ichon-Dong (Ichon station). It is a very rich area with a lot of returnee families (families that have lived overseas). Many of the parents in the area speak English very well, as do many of the kids. I worked in a hagwon in that area for around 6 months the last time I was in Korea. One of my Korean friends that I made while working there lives almost right across the street from the kindy school.
If I take the job, I will work from 9 to 5. The kindy students are there from 9:50 until 2:30. Then I would have about an hour of teaching elementary kids, or something like that. The kindy has a very set schedule. The school seems to be very organized. There are 5 teachers (of which I would be one) and around 100 students. I would be the only foreign teacher. 2 of the teachers are Kyopos (Koreans that grew up overseas) and the other 2 are English speaking Koreans. I would like to work with other foreigners, but since I have friends in the area, and it is a smaller scale school, it might be okay. Where I am now, I sort of feel like an outsider, and I don't know anyone in the area.
The school doesn't have housing for a teacher right now, as all of the teachers they have had before had been army wives or such, that just took a housing allowance instead. So they would have to find me a home. It would not be in the area, though, as for the most part, it is all very expensive, big apartments. It would probably be near Samgakji Station, which is 2 stops away. They said I would be able to help choose my home (it would be a one room, most likely... which is standard for foreign teachers living here) and such. The thing I care the most about is that it is ANT FREE!!!!! They would also have to get all new furniture and such.
They are offering the same salary as what I am making now. They really seem to want me to work there.
I think I might take it. I would like an easy job, like the one I have now (in a different location), but it does get to me sometimes. Sometimes I wish that I could be more involved in what is going on in the school, rather than just some "celebrity" (the Korean kindy teachers have said I am sort of like a celebrity in the way that the kids look up to me, react to me, etc) that pops into the class once a day for a few minutes.

Monday, January 22, 2007

asbestos in the subway

Not good!!!

Subway Passengers Exposed to Asbestos
By Bae Ji-sookStaff Reporter
Passengers are exposed to asbestos, a material that can cause cancer, when subway surfaces deteriorate and the material used for bonding them is released in the air.
This is the first time the material has been found in passenger sections of subway stations.
Seoul Metro conducted inspections on 30 subway stations from last November and found that 17 had asbestos in the ceilings and platforms.
Among those 17, 14 stations were on subway line 2 _ City hall, Euljiro Ipgu, Sangwangshimni, Hanyang University, Samsung, Sollung, Seoul National University of Education, Socho, Pangbae, Naksongdae, Pongchon, Mullae and Youngdungpogu office. The material was also found in the air at Chungmuro of line three and Sungshin Women’s University and Sookmyung Women’s University stations.
Asbestos is said to absorb noise, and stations used it on facilities to lessen the noise and vibration from trains.
It said that a particle of asbestos, as small as 0.02 micrometers, can lodge in human lung tissue and cause deadly diseases including cancer or malignant mesothelioma. Also, drinking fluid containing particles of asbestos is 20 times more dangerous than being exposed to radioactivity.
"The health of subway workers and passengers is actually in danger. But people are not as aware of the danger as they are for radioactivity," said Prof. Lim Sang-hyuk of Wonjin Green Hospital.
Seoul Metro said that asbestos used in construction is usually solid and safe at most times, but the aging of facilities might have caused the problem. "We will conduct monthly air quality audit from this year, and also gradually get rid of the asbestos," a company spokesman said.
In the United States or European countries, asbestos is banned from use and in Korea the use will be banned from industrial sites from 2009.
[The Korea Times]


I'm not quite sure what I think of this:

Twisted Fairy Tales Titillate Teens
"While wandering through the woods, Snow White came upon a beautiful little house. She loved the little house and wanted to make it hers, so when she discovered that the house was home to seven dwarfs, Snow White chopped them to pieces with an axe."
" 'I pulled a hatchet from my jacket and whacked off my brother Hansel's legs, and then I went after my mother who tried to prevent me from running away,' said Gretel. 'My mother got killed because she treated me badly and my brother didn't respect me.' "
Do these sound like the sweet and innocent fairy tales that once entertained us in our youth? No way. But these are what today's teenagers are reading -- and writing -- online, circulating twisted tales in cyberspace in a genre known as horror fairy tales.
Combining violence and sexual perversion, formerly wholesome fairy tales are being distorted into cruel, graphic and provocative thrillers. In these stories, once lovable characters are now depraved maniacs and the happy ending is a blood-soaked, horrible demise.
[Chosun Ilbo]

a natural???

Sorry... I'm rather amused by a lot of these online quizzes.

Your Seduction Style:
The Natural

You don't really try to seduce people... it just seems to happen.
Fun loving and free spirited, you bring out the inner child in people.
You are spontaneous, sincere, and unpretentious - a hard combo to find!
People drop their guard around you, and find themselves falling fast.

What Is Your Seduction Style?


Your Seduction Style:
Au Natural

You rank up there with your seduction skills, though you might not know it.
That's because you're a natural at seduction. You don't realize your power!
The root of your natural seduction power: your innocence and optimism.
You're the type of person who happily plays around and creates a unique little world.
Little do you know that your personal paradise is so appealing that it sucks people in.
You find joy in everything - so is it any surprise that people find joy in you?
You bring back the inner child in everyone you meet with your sincere and spontaneous ways.
Your childlike (but not childish) behavior also inspires others to care for you.
As a result, those who you befriend and date tend to be incredibly loyal to you.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

a little less wise

Well, I now have only one wisdom tooth left.
I got my upper right one removed this morning. I went in, they took my information, took an x-ray, sat me down in the chair and gave me the freezing needle. A few minutes later, my tooth was out and I was on my way home, with 1 tooth and 7000won (USD 7.45/CAD 8.75) less than when I got up this morning.
I had my upper left tooth removed a couple of years ago. That cost me 8000won. Then I had my bottom right tooth pulled. THAT was not fun. The root was in a hook shape around the nerve, so it was a bit more than just having a tooth pulled, and I had to have a few stitches in my mouth. Even so, I was basically in and out. That one cost me a whole 28000won.
Anyway. I now have a hole in my mouth. My face isn't obviously swollen. It hurts a bit, of course... but being me, I'm still going out. I'm going to meet my Egyptians that I met last weekend. I just won't be drinking, and I might actually come home earlier than tomorrow morning.

Friday, January 19, 2007


Many Koreans wear face masks in the winter (and sometimes at other times of year). They look like surgical masks. I have heard different reasons for them: the pollution, the cold air, viruses and such, etc. Many of the kids wear masks with cartoon characters or fancy pictures on them on them.

Ricky :)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I just had a drunk crazy man attack me on the subway... very scary............
I've had drunk Korean men make eyes at me, follow me, etc. I've even had one grab my ass at one point (he thought I was Russian). But THIS was different. He wasn't just a drunk Korean... he really was crazy. He was drunk and dirty and smelly. His clothes were too big, and very dirty. He had shoes but no socks.
He was making a scene... making all sorts of noise, stumbling around... All of the Koreans were avoiding him... One got up from where he was sitting to sit somewhere else, and walked past me, at which point the drunk crazy man noticed me...
It was before my transfer stop so I was standing in line at the door... At first I thought he was following the guy that went past me... but then he stopped. He got in front of me and stood there looking at me... I went to move around him, at which point he grabbed my shoulders and pushed me back...
I said "don't touch me" and he repeated "touch me??"
He started to move towards me again, and wouldn't let me pass him, so I quickly went to the next door... where there was a large group waiting....
I went through the group but he grabbed the back of my jacket and started pulling me with him.... Then the Korean guys around me stepped in to help me. They had to literally rip him off of me... I'm not sure what happened. I think one pulled my jacket and the other pulled him... He ended up sprawled on the floor on the other side...
I was in such a hurry to get out of there when the doors opened (right then) that I didn't even say thank you... I was so frazzled that I didn't know which way I was going and kept having to turn around... I went the wrong way twice (trying to transfer). I am still shaking.

Monday, January 15, 2007

the moon

Okay... now I'm laughing... I just mentioned in the last post that Egyptian men always seem to end up referring to me as the moon... and then.... just now I took a quiz and:
You Are From the Moon

You can vibe with the steady rhythms of the Moon.
You're in touch with your emotions and intuition. You possess a great, unmatched imagination - and an infinite memory.
Ultra-sensitive, you feel at home anywhere (or with anyone).
A total healer, you light the way in the dark for many.

I'm a gummy bear! :P

Gummy Bears

You may be smooshie and taste unnatural, but you're so darn cute.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


I saw this on Shannon's blog and thought I'd share it.

Smart man + smart woman = romance
Smart man + dumb woman = affair
Dumb man + smart woman = marriage
Dumb man + dumb woman = pregnancy
A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.
A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.
A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.
A successful woman is one who can find such a man.
To be happy with a man, you must understand him a lot and love him a little.
To be happy with a woman, you must love her a lot and not try to understand her at all.
A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't.
A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change, and she does.
A woman has the last word in any argument.
Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

a late night snack

I went out for dinner, etc. with some friends Saturday night.Amy and April
Between pubs, at around midnight, we had to stop for something to eat. We decided to stop at a little pojangmacha/street vendor for some pajeon (Korean pancakes). The pancake is cut up and you dip the pieces in a soy sauce mixture.We had a kimchi pancake, a seafood pancake (my friends like seafood), and some ddeok-bokki. (Sorry, we were hungry and couldn't wait for me to take pictures before eating some of it.)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Baduk is more commonly known as Go. It is a board game that is considered to be the most complex game in the world (more challenging than chess). It originated in China but is very popular in China, Korea, and Japan, as well as around the world. The game is played by two players (black and white) on a 19 by 19 board (grid). The players take turns placing their stones on vacant points/intersections (there are 361 intersections!).
You can find online games of baduk, downloadable games, and there are even tv channels here that are strictly baduk (showing games and strategies and such).
Anyway, I found this article and found it very interesting. It is sort of related to my last post about hagwons (private schools/academies that the kids go to after school). I'm posting the whole article because I think it is worth reading.
I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before or not, but when Koreans do things, they go all out. They always play the part/dress the part/live the part/etc. (I'll save explaining that for another post.)

Becoming a Professional Player in Korea
During 60 years of professional baduk history in Korea, there have only been about 210 professional players. Only 35 of them were female. As in other sports, becoming a professional baduk player means taking a long and difficult road.
In Korea, a certified student who studies baduk at Hankuk Kiwon (Korea baduk Association) seeking to become a professional player is called a yongusaeng. At any time in the yongusaeng league, there are 120 boys divided into 10 classes and 48 girls divided into four classes, class 1 being the strongest (for both the boys and girls) and 10 the weakest (4 for girls).
A tournament among the yongusaeng takes place every month, and classes are reorganized each time according to the results. The top four players of each class will move up to the next class, while the worst four will be demoted to a lower class. When a new yongusaeng joins the league, he or she will get the lowest position in the weakest class to start with, regardless of his/her strength.
A qualification tournament to select new yongusaeng takes place every four months. To be selected, an applicant must be under the age of 18 and be in the top 12 of the hundreds of players participating in the qualification tournament.
Every month, four of these newcomers have the honor of joining the weakest yongusaeng class in place of the students cut in the monthly yongusaeng tournament. All 12 new students are incorporated into the yongusaeng classes, four at a time, over three months.
The competition among all the yongusaeng _ including the lowest ranked newcomers _ to join a higher class and not to be kicked out of the league, is incredibly intense. During week, when there are no league games, the yongusaeng spend most of their time studying baduk. They replay the professional games, review their own games from the yongusaeng league, study new joseki variations, solve life and death problems and play other yongusaeng.
Some of the yongusaeng, whose ages range from eight to 18, even give up regular education to have more time to study the game. They study baduk from morning to night, except for a little exercise during the day to keep their health.
There are about 15 private baduk academies in Korea (otherwise known as baduk tojang), with between 10 to 20 yongusaeng. Most of the teachers at these private academies are professional players, and they play teaching games and review them with their students.
Each academy also has other students who aspire to join their ranks of the yongusaeng. Their number ranges from 50 to 150. That means there are more than 1,000 students at any given time who want to become yongusaeng.
However, the number of players who are able to go professional is very small. The number of newly made professional players differs each year according to the situation of the Korean baduk scene, but it is always less than ten.
In recent years, new professional players were born in the following manner.
The three players with the highest scores in the yongusaeng tournament, and five who qualified in the annual professional qualification tournament become professional players. Since a student older than 18 cannot stay a yongusaeng, a player over that age is technically barred from becoming a professional player.
The fiercer the competition, the more miserable the students who do not succeed by the time they turn 18. Most of them develop future careers that have something to do with baduk because they love the game so much.
However, even for those few students who are able to go professional, there is still a long and difficult way to go, for the competition becomes even more cutthroat once they enter the professional baduk world.
The writer is a baduk professor at Myongji University and a professional player of the game.
[The Korea Times]

hagwons and school in general in Korea

Most of the English schools that foreigners teach at in Korea are actually hagwons (private academies). Many have an English kindergarten in the mornings and then have other students in the afternoons. It seems to be a rule that Korean kids have to spend their afternoons and evenings studying either at a hagwon or at home studying with a teacher/instructor.
All of my students go to at least one other hagwon, and most also have teachers or instructors going to their homes for other things. There are hagwons for almost anything here. The most common are the English hagwons, but you can find hagwons for everything from math, to piano, to Tae-Kwon-Do to ping pong/table tennis (yes, they even have hagwons for that). After the students finish their regular school, their entire evening is filled with hagwons and private lessons. I know that some hagwons are open quite late. Some English hagwons are open until after 10 pm. A math etc. hagwon across the street from where I used to live was open until 1 AM. I think it was mostly middle school students going there. They all then get up very early to be at school at around 7:30 or so. I cannot imagine.
One of my students is going to hagwons for English, Math and Baduk (Korean chess), and has an English teacher and a piano teacher going to her home to give lessons.
Another student, Lia, is my student at both the kindy (Korean kindy, not English hagwon kindy) and at LCC (English hagwon). She is 6 years old and carries 2 bags that combined weigh more than my university backpack weighed (I carried several text books with me). She has English books, piano books, and I'm not even sure what else, but she carries them all every day. She is such a sweet girl and one of the smartest in the class (and she is at least a year younger than the others in the class).
In addition to their school homework, many students also get homework from their hagwons. For the younger kids it isn't so bad, as they aren't loaded with homework yet, but every year, their load gets bigger. When they get to middle school is when the pressure really starts to build. Then they reach high school. I have been told by many Koreans that high school is harder than university. High school is where you have to have the top marks in order to get into the top universities. Which university you go to is VERY important. Those that graduated from the better universities are the ones that get the jobs. And, or some reason, a doctor graduating from a lower university is not as important (makes less? or ... or I'm not really sure exactly what it is) as a nurse graduating from one of the best universities (or so I've been told).
One student told me that some high schools have mandatory study hall after school, sometimes until quite late. Then they have to go to hagwons to study some more. High school is all study, sometimes eat and sometimes sleep.
Oh, and they also go to school on Saturdays (starting in elementary). I am starting to hear now that some schools only require them to go every other Saturday, and some don't have Saturday classes. I think they are starting to get out of the Saturday classes. I hope so.
I always make a point to tell my students that I've never gone to school on a Saturday in my life... and I didn't take any lessons after regular school. Usually I just went home and watched TV. I love seeing their eyes pop out and their jaws hit the floor. :P
Poor kids.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

a Mother to wed her holiday toyboy

I find this very interesting. He is exactly half her age, and she has a daughter. I wonder how old her daughter is. I would imagine she is around the age of the Egyptian man her mother will marry, or a few years younger. I'm not against the older woman/younger man thing (or the other way around)... I just can't imagine how it would feel to have my mother (or father) marrying someone my own age.

Mother to wed holiday toyboy
A 44-year-old Staffordshire mum has today told of her plans to marry an Egyptian man half her age who she met while taking a holiday abroad last year.
Kim Greathead, who is from Cherry Tree Road, based in Norton Canes, said that she believes that the relationship with 22-year-old bar waiter Ali Abdl Alaal will last.
The lovestruck couple met over a cocktail while Kim was on a two-week break with her mother, who was recuperating from a hip operation, to Egyptian resort Sharm el-Sheikh.
Throughout the holiday Kim and Ali remained close but it was not until she returned home to Norton Canes that the relationship really got off the ground.
Kim said: “We fell in love by text really. When my trip ended and Ali promised to text I didn’t think he would. It was only when he started texting me that it took off.”
Despite the sceptics Kim agreed to marry Ali when he asked to tie the knot by text and visited him in October for two weeks on her own.
She said: “That was lovely to see him and we spent a lot of time together and got to know each other. I suppose we do have a lot of things in common and being there with him made me fall even more in love I think.
“I know it is going to be difficult, there is a lot of prejudice going on about the relationship because he has got to come out here to live.
“He wanted me to go there at first but I can’t do that because I have responsibilities here. I have a daughter so that was it,” she said.
“He is really worried about coming to live out here, he isn’t doing this just for a visa otherwise why would he want me to go out there to him,” she added.
Describing her 22-year-old fiancee as very romantic, Kim said that their wedding has since been put on hold after Ali’s father was seriously hurt in an accident but they had been hoping to marry in January.
She added: “Ali is a Muslim but that isn’t causing us any trouble, he doesn’t expect me to follow Muslim rules.”
Now Kim and Ali talk regularly via a webcam over the internet and are waiting for when she can travel to Egypt for their wedding.

The Year of the Pig

This is the 12th of the zodiac animals. The zodiac animals, in order, are: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.

Year of Pig Ushers in Hopeful Year
A pig ironically has a dual image _ both positive and negative.
Since it began living as a domestic animal in Korea some 2,000 years ago, pigs have brought a lot of myths and superstitions closely associated with wealth, good luck and sometimes a mythical supernatural power in sacrificial rituals.
However, pigs are also synonymous with greed, laziness, stupidity and dirtiness.
Pigs found in Korean history carry these mixed blessings long grafted onto folk culture and handed down to current times.
This year will find many people fussing a lot more than usual over all kinds of myths and rumors as the year of 2007 ushers in the year of a pig, hopefully an abundant year.
Year of the Golden Pig?
The belief about pigs is expected to be exaggerated more than ever this year.
The lunar calendar designates each year as one of the 12 zodiac animals; the pig is the 12th zodiac animal.
The lunar year follows the sequence of the 12 zodiac animals _ rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and lastly, pig.
But this pig year, called the year of "chonghae," which means a red pig, returns every 60 years. Among other pig years circling in a lunar cyclic numeral system, the red pig year is believed to be the most auspicious pig year, according to a research of the National Folk Museum of Korea. The red pig year is considered a year of booming businesses and family.
More interestingly, this year is strongly believed to be the "Year of the Golden Pig," which only comes around every 600 years, according to fortunetellers, a rumor that emerged in Korea and China.
People believe children born this year will be blessed with good luck and financial wealth. As wedding halls were crowded in 2006, maternity hospitals are expected to be in 2007.
Regardless of whether it's just superstition or not, the impact on society has been quite enormous. The nation predicts that birthrate is expected to rise 10 percent from the previous average because of the myths of the Year of the Golden Pig, helping maternity and baby related industries enjoy a boom much like the effects of the millennium baby boom in 2000.
However, many say that this will be debunked just as 2006, which was dubbed the year of ``two springs’’ (lunar calendar) and also a lucky year for couples to get married, was just feeding wedding-related businesses.
Folklorists say that the year of the golden pig is groundless as it is hardly mentioned in Korean history, except for the mythical story about Choi Chi-won, a literati during the Silla Kingdom (57 B.C.-A.D. 935).
According to the museum’s research, the myth says that Choi was the son of a golden pig with magical powers that kidnapped a county magistrate’s wife. The magistrate rescued his wife from the pig by using leather from a deer, which the pig feared, based on the mythical belief. Later, the wife gave birth to Choi, who was believed to be the pig’s baby.
A Mythical Animal with Supernatural Power
Although Korean historical records do not buttress the myths about the year of the golden pig, some attribute mythical meanings to pigs such as in the "Samguksagi," a history of the Three Kingdoms _ Paekje (18 B.C.-A.D. 660), Koguryo (37 B.C.-A.D. 668) and Silla (57 B.C.-A.D. 935) _ written during the Koryo Kingdom by Kim Bu-sik and "Koryosa," a history of the Koryo Kingdom (918-1392).
According to the museum, the two history annals include a story where a pig helped the kingdoms designate the capitals of Koguryo and Koryo in Kungnaesong and Songak respectively.
In Samguksagi, one day, King Sansang, who had no son, was given a supernatural instruction from a god to have a baby. During a ritual, a pig that was to be sacrificed ran away and a woman helped to catch the pig. The king had sexual relations with her and she bore him a son.
Like this, pigs played prophetic roles for many rulers and sometimes as a messenger connecting them to god.
Sacrificial Animal in Rituals
From ancient times to the present day, it is easy to see heads of pigs on tables as sacrificial offerings during shamanistic rituals, and sold in traditional markets due to consistent demand.
The folk custom to use a pig’s head as an object of worship and symbol of abundance dates back to the Koguryo Kingdom. Pigs were sacrificed in Samguksagi, when people prayed to the gods of heaven and earth.
People pray for success to the heads of pigs when they start on a venture such as opening a business or even before filming of a movie.
Symbols of Wealth, Good Luck
Pigs are omnivorous animals that survive well under any climate and circumstances.
They also are fertile giving birth to 6 to 12 piglets on average, and grow faster than any other animal. For that reason, a shop owner hangs a picture on his wall of a pig feeding a lot of piglets, symbolizing fertility and abundance.
Also, dreams about pigs are thought of as auspicious, foretelling the gain of wealth. When people dream of a pig at night, they often buy lottery tickets or make an investment.
Also, the dream considered as a sign of conception as a pig symbolizes fertility.

Sunflower :)

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

"When your friends think smile, they think of you. There is not a day that goes by that you can't find something good about the world and your fellow human."

I have always loved (been obsessed with?) sunflowers.

makes me laugh

I've seen this a few times on different blogs and websites. Just thought I'd share it.
(and yes, that is Justin Timberlake)
Update: A friend sent me this:

Friday, January 05, 2007

Keyword analysis... ummm...

These are some of the things that people are searching for... and end up at my blog:

club oi hongdae
dwenjang chigae recipe
blood type o korean
densest cities in the world
harisu as a male
somewhere in the world
ktf office in hongdae
mu gung hwa lyrics
sheeshas and germany
hookers prostitutes guam
hanbok - my boyfriend type b
arrived at dhl facility
dubai,russian prostitutes,nightclubs,photos
dong poo character korea
jamsil love motels photos
korean game: rock scissors paper
somewhere in the world today music
doenjang recipes
messenger id of hookers
what does pleia mean in ballet
club malibu edmonton
why do egyptian men sleep with foreign women

Thursday, January 04, 2007


I love pictures :D (incase you hadn't noticed)
more pics from New Year's Eve:Amy: the youngest of the group, sweet, great fun,
hadn't really talked to her before New Year's Eve.Chris: expert event/outing organizer, great cook,
too short to get on some amusement park rides :PStacey: a Kiwi, loves to party, always great fun

New Year's Eve... funky glow-in-the-dark glasses

Somehow, Stacey managed to find these fantastic glow in the dark frames.What a great look!! :P

New Year's Eve part IV

Some more pics from Club OI's New Year's party.Chris dancing with an alien.hiding from aliensummmmm...some vegetationdoors to...?the bar is on the left.
Notice what the guy is sitting on...
what you see is actually one of the supports of a bridge-like structure.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


This morning I was back at the local hospital (Asan Hospital) for more blood tests and a another doctor's appointment. The doctor is tapering one of my meds: a steroidal anti-inflammatory (solondo: prednisolone). I started out in July with 4 pills a day. Now I am down to 1 a day. I am still taking several other pills, though: calcium supplement (Health Cal)(2/day), stomach protector (Gaster: famotidine)(2/day), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (Mobic)(2/day), and a muscle relaxant (Exoperin)(3/day). Today he added ANOTHER kind of med; a painkiller. So now I am taking Ultracet three times a day, which is a combination of acetaminophen and tramadol. Now... tramadol is a narcotic-like painkiller. So... I am going off of steroids and onto narcotic-like drugs. Yay for me. I started taking it this afternoon. It made me feel a bit strange, actually. Nausea is one of the common side effects (there is quite a list of them, really). The doctor said that if I get really bad nausea, to taper the drug, or stop taking it. Well, I felt a bit sick a while after taking it, but that went away. I still felt a bit odd, though. After the second dose, the nausea was less than after the first. I guess I shall see how it goes; and see if it makes a difference.
The lab tests and visit with the doctor cost me 31,000 won (C$39/US$33.38). A month's worth meds cost me 55,240 won (C$69.51/US$59.48).
And then it's back to the doctor in another month.
For some reason, many Koreans think it strange that I know what meds I am taking, and what they do. Koreans don't seem to care. They just do what the doctor orders.


When I am home for lunch, I sometimes make myself sandwiches. My favorite bread here is from Paris Baguette. I am not sure exactly what it is made with; maybe the purple rice that I like, or black beans? I usually have two half sandwiches (once slice folded in half). Todays were:peanut butter and apple jam (an odd texture... slightly grainy, but good taste)
and...peanut butter and pickles. YUMMY!!!

The World's Densest Cities

World's Densest Cities

1. Manila, Philippines
population: 1,581,000;
density: 41,014 persons per square kilometer ...

2. Cairo, Egypt
Population: 15.2 million (official) / 25 million (unofficial)
Density: 36,618 persons per square kilometer
Egypt's capital also happens to be the cultural capital of the Arab world and the largest city in Africa. Its traffic is overwhelming. It has to be seen to be believed. Compounding the ever more horrendous noise is the variety of vehicles: autos, buses, bikes, vans and trucks on narrow streets with the use of the sidewalk almost a must. The traffic rarely stays in lanes, instead weaving its own tapestry. It is an elemental force.
[Not to mention the horses pulling carts and donkeys pulling carts that I kept seeing in the mix of vehicles.]

3. Lagos, Nigeria
Population: 10 million to 15 million
Density: 20,000-plus per square kilometer ...

4. Macau
Population: 508,500
Density: 16,521 persons per square kilometer ...

5. Seoul, South Korea
Population: 10,297,000 (20 million-plus metro area)
Density: 16,391 persons per square kilometer
South Korea's capital has great transportation facilities, but it also has 3 million vehicles plying its streets. The huge subway system moves 8 million a day. But rush hour in the evening is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Seoul is also South Korea's business center with company headquarters for Samsung, LG Group and Hyundai. It uses on its streets a full range of vehicle fleets: buses and taxis. Driving can be arduous, and citizens have to learn to be Seoul survivors.

6. Dhaka, Bangladesh
Population: 6,724,976 (11 million-plus metro area)
Density: 14,688 persons per square kilometer ...

7. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Population: 2,776,138 (12 million-plus metro area)
Density: 13,680 persons per square kilometer ...

8. Jakarta, Indonesia
Population: 8,792,000
Density: 11,360 persons per square kilometer ...

9. Kaohsiung/Taipei, Taiwan
Population: of 1,510,577
Density: 9,835 persons per square kilometer ...

10. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Population: 2,530,000
Density: 9,516 persons per square kilometer ...


New Year's Eve part III

Club OI is: "OI: LIVING SCULPTURE LOUNGE CLUB. WATER, ART AND DECOR FOR YOUR IMAGINATION". It was a VERY interesting place to walk into. First of all, when you enter, you have to take off your shoes. They give you a little baggie at the door to put them in so that you can keep them with your things. Going up the stairs, I almost bumped my head, the ceiling was so low. It got better at the top, though. The place is STRANGE, to say the least. It is very hard to explain. Even the bathrooms were odd.You turn on the water on once side (on the left) and the water comes down a half-pipe type thingy from the opposite side. I'm not sure how it happened, but I ended up with a chunk out of my knuckle when I was washing my hands. I slid my knuckle against the bottom of the waterfall/pipe and then there was blood everywhere. I'll live.They weren't very prepared for the number of people that showed up, I think, as they ran out of cups, then they ran out of gin and tonic, then they ran out of rum. When they ran out of cups, they were saying they would only serve beer (bottles) to those that didn't have cups.When I was at the bar, they managed to find a baby cup with little bears on it. :P
The dance floor was lowered a bit... what I assume would be a bit of a water hole.Around the rest of the place were little stream like ruts. Not the best place to be navigating while drunk.Above the dance floor is a huge shower type thingy. The DJ booth beyond that is a bit of an odd looking cage-like thing.Where people sit there are little tables and very comfortable throw pillows around (two levels).
The only thing bad about having no shoes on is when someone drops a bottle... it is not a good thing. They had plastic cups for other drinks, but not for the bottled beer. A bottle was dropped right beside me and a piece of it flew and hit my foot. It didn't cut me or anything... but it did feel sharp. And then, of course, the broken glass had to be cleaned up before dancing could resume.
April and her beau disappeared (went home?) at some point while we were there. The rest of us stayed there for quite a while and then decided we needed a change of scenery... somewhere not so... well... weird. We went to TinPan, a popular dance club in the area. (There is also a TinPanII across the street). It was sooooo crowded. We had a drink there and did a little bit of dancing before a couple of people started getting tired. Time to head home. At least this time I had people to share a cab with!!!!! That NEVER happens! I think I got home around 4 AM or so.Today I found out that one of the groups that was supposed to go skiing cancelled and stayed home. At least one of them fell asleep on the sofa by 10pm.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year's Eve part II

Once it was 2007, we toasted the new year with our sparkling wine and we all had a New Year's Kiss, or two, or three...I think Chris got the most kisses. One from each girl... he even had an offer from some random guy that was nearby. :OI'm not sure who's decision it was... but Stacey was giving Amy a New Year's Kiss. They both ran to the nearest bar to get another shot a few minutes before. (Just an innocent kiss on the lips, of course.)Then we passed out the sparklers. Some of the group went home at this point: Ally (Korean) and her husband (Canadian?). Ally is VERY pregnant... due in only 2 weeks!!! We were then ready to move on. We weren't sure where to go at first.We thought we'd check out a nearby hof to see if anything was going on there, but it was dead (very boring... not many people, no dancing). So, we went to Club OI, which had posters up on the street.They were having a New Year's party: "ATTACK OF THE LITTLE GREEN WOMEN". Basically, they had 5 female djs providing the entertainment, as well as a few other shows (2 drum pieces and one live painting). Some people were in costume as aliens or anything space related. One girl (one of the drummers) was Princess Pleia.

New Year's Eve part I

I was having a hard time figuring out what to do for New Year's Eve. The two groups that I would normally go out with were both going skiing (to different locations). I didn't feel like skiing, but didn't want to sit at home. Then, some of one of the groups decided not to go skiing and so we decided to spend the evening in Hongdae.
We started out at an Italian restaurant called Alla Torre. It would be a great place to go in the summer, as they have a huge outdoor area. The food was great, as was the wine. :D

April and her guy
When we finally had our fill, we went out in search of another place to drink. We went to a bar beside the Ice Bar (sorry... I don't remember the name of the place... but they had "Long Ireland Iced Tea" instead of Long Island Iced Tea on the menu). This was also where the urinal planter can be found (see previous post).

A bit of tequila (NOT for me)
We had a few drinks there and waited until it was closer to midnight before heading out to a little park to open up the champagne (actually French sparkling wine bought at the 7-eleven down the street) and count down to the new year.

Clockwise: Ally and her husband, April and her guy, Anthony, a couple of guys that joined the group when we arrived at the park, Amy, Stacey, Chris

A few people around the park were lighting up fireworks and sparklers and flares and such. We were following Chris' I-Pod for time, as it had seconds on it. I think it was a few seconds fast, though, as a group of Koreans nearby looked at us strange when we were counting down, and then cheered a few seconds later. Not a huge deal. Maybe their clock was late!!!