Day 202 -- Boyfriend's 28th/29th Birthday Weekend

It was a very Korean weekend. Even for living in Korea, it was a very Korean weekend. There are no pictures, but maybe that's for the best?

I started out on Friday by meeting up with the foreigner gang after dinner. We had drinks at a bar in celebration (?) of one of our numbers saying goodbye to the peninsula. He's headed back home to South Africa, so it seemed like a good reason to drink. ...any reason is a good reason. We headed out to our signature "dance club" afterwards, where we took the place over and turned it into Nonsan's only foreigner bar simply with our presence. We are that powerful.

Saturday was DY's birthday--he turned 28 in American years. 29 in Korean, so he's all freaked out about the whole being-30-next-year and constantly comments that he's "old" now. "ah, I can't remember... I'm too old." "ahh, I'm tired... because I'm old now." We met two of his soldier friends--Min Oo (yes, I realize this is also my host sister's name, but apparently it's unisex) and Sung Kwan(?)--and we went out for dinner. DY is basically as Korean as they come so obviously we had to have the most stereotypical of Korean dinners.

Oh yes, we had dog.

You may recall that I have already tried dog. Actually, it was at the very same restaurant. So this was my second time and his friends were so impressed that I, as a foreigner, was eating it. "Amazing!" and "Miraculous!" were some of the comments made in Korean. We clearly had to end the night with a bar tour and drinking, so DY got good and plastered. As it should be on your birthday, right?

Today was a lazy day. I went with DY and watched his baseball practice. I'm surprised he didn't hurl everywhere because he was soooo hung over. When I saw him this morning I had to try not to laugh because he looked so bad. Like death. Props to him for even waking up before noon for PRACTICE. We made mandu ramen for dinner because he's a bachelor in every sense of the word and not only can't cook but he doesn't have any food in his apartment even if he knew how to cook with it.

Tomorrow we're going to try to go snowboarding, but it involves waking up at like 4am, and since he's SOOO OLLLLD now, it may not happen. (note: I will probably be the one to cancel in order to get 6-7 more hours of sleep instead.)


Day 199 -- Rice Weight, Sibling Rivalry

I feel kind of bad. With Min Oo and Sae Yeob gone, I've kind of become the de facto older sibling for Min Kyeong. I've tried to be a good role model, especially since I've only recently gotten close to my own biological sister. Min Kyeong is left alone at home a lot, cooking for herself and watching TV. Considering how often the family just throws money at her to order delivery (read, fried fast food) for her meals, it's really not surprising at all that she's a chubby kid. GRANTED, she is still a kid, so a lot of it is just baby fat, she's starting with some really bad habits.

That said, the family has noticed that I've lost a considerable amount of weight over the last month or so since I've gone on a "diet". Now, I'm not doing anything crazy, I'm just not eating the MASSIVE amounts of white rice. I'm not eating a pound of greasy, fatty samgyeobsal. I'm not eating the skin-included fried chicken. I'm not eating the ice cream they try to give me for breakfast (oh yes), the cheeseburgers they bring home, blah blah you get the picture. It's frustrating though because they'll still buy things or cook things and insist that they're diet foods. Host mom used to be appaled that I would sweat when I worked out. Now, she keeps insisting that I weigh myself because she wants to know what number I am. I've lost about 15lbs since the last time I weighed myself, but I don't go crazy over numbers. I'm more of a how-I-look-in-the-mirror and a how-my-clothes-fit judge of weight loss. It's a bit annoying to have her all over my routine.

Anyway, that got a bit off topic, but the point is that Min Kyeong decided to join the health club and go workout with me. I think this is great--if she starts forming good diet and exercise habits now, she won't have to deal with the terrible body-image problems that plague teenage girls. I mean, her own FAMILY calls her "pig". That can't be good for a young girl's self esteem.

So we go to the gym together now, and I try to encourage her to eat healthier things--yogurt instead of ice cream, eggs and vegetables instead of ramyeon/ramen. I've pushed her to try to run even just short distances instead of doing the typical Korean female lazy walk when she's on the treadmill. We take the stairs to our apartment instead of the elevator. She seems to really like working out together, so I like to think I'm having a positive effect on her.

That said, she's just like a real sister. Today I got ticked with her because she likes to go to the gym at 7, where my usual routine is 8:30pm. 8:30 is when all my dude friends go to the gym, and it's late enough that there's not a lot of people clogging up the treadmills like there are at 7pm. She came into my room just now, saying "6:50, health?" and for some reason I kind of lost it and said, "No. 8:30. 7pm there are many people. I cannot use the treadmill. I must wait. 8:30pm." "okay," she says.

I feel bad :[


Day 195 -- Still Alive

Sorry for the hiatus. Here is an insultingly brief summary of the past 3 weeks. my bad.


Holiday-wise, uneventful. People just don't really celebrate here. Spent the holiday doing dinner-and-a-movie with the boyfriend. Then had a fainting spell and totally freaked out the boyfriend. (I'm okay now, I think.)

New Year's

see above, sans passing out

English Winter Camp

I had to teach for two weeks, which was pretty brutal because usually I teach 2-3 classes a day, the same lesson plan all week. For camp, however, I had 4 classes a day and a new lesson plan every day. Yeah yeah, it's not TERRIBLE, but it's definitely a lot more work than I'm used to. Besides, I don't even know how to teach English, and that makes it harder to figure out what I'm going to teach.

Strep Throat

I've got it. I was supposed to teach an English class in Seoul at the North Korean refugee school that another guy in my program formed a relationship with, but I ended up being so weak from pre existing hormone issues and vasovagal syncope that I was sent away to the hospital. There, I astounded the doctors with how terrible I looked and the severity of strep I had. hurray? I'm on antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and a harsh dose of traditional Korean herbal drinks and porridge so I'm feeling nauseous but better.

Host Siblings Gone

Sae Yeob and Min Oo, the two oldest, have left for America. I talk to Sae Yeob about twice a week, but he's since started classes so I haven't been able to check up on that. His roommate is a pot-smoker though, so uh, good luck to him and his good-boy-ways with that.


We are pretty good. We try to spend a lot of time together when we have the chance, because between his job (he does weird night-shifts about once a week--night guard? idk) and my social commitments, our schedules don't mesh very well. DY ended up joining the gym I go to, both as a New Year's "oh crap I have a PT test in a few months" resolution and as a way to make sure the cute gym boys don't talk to me too excessively. In other news, he's been talking big about deploying to Afghanistan for 6 months but it's not official and I disapprove anyway. Here we are in Seoul at Children's Grand Park, which is a zoo + amusement park. Yes, those are the couple scarves he got about a month ago.


This week marks the start of my brief vacation before going to Daegu University for an intensive Korean language class. This break will probably be filled with a lot of Korean studying, lesson planning for the new semester, and hanging out with DY. Next weekend is his birthday, so he took a long weekend off from work so that we could go on a trip together, but he's probably going to have to stay in Nonsan for Friday or Saturday. He, um, was not kind to his fellow soldier friends on their birthday and apparently made them some pretty foul concoctions to drink, so they have sworn revenge. DY is frightened of what they will do to him, but his friends are hilarious so I kind of want to see what happens.

Oh, and I will, ah, try to update more than once every three weeks. Starting... now?