Pumpkin Pie!

Mmmm, nothing is more yummy and more representative of Thanksgiving to me than pumpkin pie. So on Saturday afternoon we went to Daegu to Costco to see if they had pumpkin pie. They did. And it was delicious! Oh sweet pumpkin delight! And we decided to have some friends over to share in our delights.It was good, we haven't had people over to our place yet. It's not common in Korea to do social events at ones house, probably because most people live in apartments. Eating out is common, going somewhere, etc... And especially with foreign teachers, most have small small places (with many a horror story of closet sized digs). But we were blessed with a large apartment so we had people over for games and pie. It was nice, we like having people over. And the pie was so big we have leftovers!Oh man, I am going to ENJOY having that again. Amazing what being away from home can make you appreciate.

Also at Costco I became the brand new owner of a 30g iPod. I am mobile again! I have been wanting one for so long and now I can take my beloved tunes with me wherever I go. Long train ride in Vietnam, studying, etc... Thanks wifey for letting me get it!

We also found out that Korea is one of the cheapest places in the world to get glasses. So at Costco Nolana got a new prescription and new lenses for $20. With frame it's like 50-80$ for top of the line ones, less for not name brand ones. So I am contemplating vanity glasses.... might make me look smart. What do you think?

School this week was... long. Just crappy stuff between the Korean teachers and us with them not really communicating and changing stuff on us and overriding us in front of the kids. And we're still preparing for this festival which is a total gong show. This is me playing guitar for a song... except I'm not playing. The guitar can't keep a tune but they want me to pretend to play it so they can have their white teacher up there for all the parents to see. I'm contemplating making a shirt that says "Please don't feed or touch the foreigner" or "I bite". Sometimes feel like a trained monkey at school.But we are just hanging with the kids as we practice which is kinda fun.

And my kids love me so that's what makes it all okay and makes me willing to go back to school for another week.


Meanderings, Ramblings and Miscellaneous What-not

I have been sick... (that is my excuse for not posting sooner).

My wife-extroadinaire has attempted more Korean fare and it turned out wonderful! A pumpkin pancake type dish.... this is her making it with our Korean friend Bora.I just sat there and they made me dinner. THAT is great! Although it made me feel kinda lazy. Which is not great. Ah well, I am sure that will pass.

My Calgary Flames are on a 6 game win streak which including knocking out the 2 top teams in the West. They are BACK.

Welcome to MY NHL!!!!

At school we are busy preparing for a "festival" which includes singing and dancing in ridiculous costumes that parents wouldn't let their kid get caught dead in. Serious gong show but it's like the most important thing to our head teacher.

We finally figured out how to get money home. Wooo Hooooo! (Or I think we did....)

We've been watching past episodes of Grey's Anatomy and Prison Break. A show for me, a show for her. (But on the low down, she likes Prison Break)... (And I guess I don't mind Grey's Anatomy)

This is me opening a care package from my mom... It's like Christmas!

On the topic of Christmas, this will be my first Christmas with no family and we'll be somewhere in Vietnam doing, probably, nothing holiday-ish. Weird.

I cut Nolana's hair today. Whoah, that was.... not as easy as it looks.

But she was smiling throughout it and was even happy afterwards.

(And yes I purposefully picked a picture that didn't show her hair!)

A Korean co-teacher has been bugging me to try ordering my own food over the phone. That's scary! But I want to try before I leave. It would be a useful tool to have (knowing how to order food) so maybe I will get on that sooner than later. And I feel slightly proud that she thinks I can do it. My Korean is slowly coming along...

I am in the midst of doing some reading so I feel ready to apply for my Masters. And I have decided where I am going to apply. And I am prepping stuff I need. I'm actually gonna do this. Who would have thought this likely a couple years ago. Not me.

Songs that I am currently loving: Bob Dylan "Gotta Serve Somebody", Guster "Two Points For Honesty", Sufjan Stevens "John Wayne Gacy, Jr."

Lots going on here. Just not much that seems blog worthy, I'll try and be better about posting.


Camping Korean Style

This last weekend we spent some time on a camping retreat put on by the church we are going to. We went up to the mountains, about 35 min. from town to a hotel type place where we chilled.

We got there and a bunch of us collected wood for a later campfire. No firewood here so we went and ripped dead trees down and dragged them into a pile for a later fire. Nolana went off hiking with some people and I stayed back and played some basketball. She got to see some great fall colors courtesy of the Korean mountains..

But after seeing how sore she has been the past couple days I am pretty sure my option was the better of the two! We had BBQ for dinner and as the temperatures dropped we all congregated inside to chill and do some get to know each other type of things. Here's some of our group (there were about 30-35 of us or so.)This me and my homes/ghetto superstar who is about as ghetto as, well, about as ghetto as I am. Which is pretty 'burbs. Great guy. Later in the evening we got the fire roaring and pretty much sat there and laughed at the Koreans who were with us. They don't do campfires here so it was quite a novelty. We also did a marshmallow roast which was also quite the novelty. They tried roasting them on a huge blaze, only to have them burst into flame... to which their solution was to drag the marshmallow in the dirt to stop the burning. Needless to say, not many marshmallows were eaten. One bright lad even dreamed up this contraption:Which consists of a plastic coated paper cup on a stick, with a marshmallow inside. His little contraption ended up looking like this:It was good laughs. Us marshmallow pros waited until the embers could roast our 'mallows to perfection and we made s'mores! Oh man, they were good. It was good to just chill around a fire even though it was not like back home.

We even had some Korean-style action when this unlucky ride crashed into this unlucky pole just down the road. Some liquer was involved, as was alot of screaming and taking off before the police arrived. Oh, Korea....

We played some Uno, munched on some late night chicken and then crashed on the floor (not so comfortable). We awoke bright and early (and exhausted), ate some breaky, chilled in the sun and then headed back to the city.

Not much like Canadian camping but it was a great escape and a decent attempt at recreating a Canadian institution. We're really enjoying hanging with some of the people here and now with winter fast approaching are glad for the company during the frigid months. Good times in Ulsan!


One Year

One year today this crazy couple tied the knot. What a year. 12 months, 5000+ miles of open road (or sky) behind us, 6 countries, thousands of memories, the odd tear, 0 kids, dozens of new friends, and a whole lot of smiles.... and we're still going strong. I love you baby!


November 11

In Canada and the U.S. Novemeber 11th is a sombre holiday where we remember the men and women who gave their lives in global conflicts. We remember the price that was paid for our peace.

In Korea, Novemeber 11th has a slightly different celebration. Novemeber 11th is Pepero Day! Some say that is is the equivalent of Valentine's Day back home but I must say that it is far more ingenious. Valentine's Day back home is a consumer holiday shrouded by the pretense of love. Buy your sweetheart candy because this will show her you love her. Candy makers wanted to sell more candy so they gave us a reason to buy mass quantities once a year. Same thing for Halloween.

Koreans are further along in their understanding of consumerism. Why bother making some pretense about love to sell your product? In Korea they have realized that people will buy your product for no other reason than because you tell them to. So on November 11th people buy these Pepero sticks and give them to each other. Why Novemeber 11th? Because the date, 11/11 resembles four Pepero sticks. For no other reason. Ingenious I say. The power of consumerism is truly astounding.

So at school today, because it is Pepero Day tomorrow we were bombarded with chocolate covered sticks... and I am pretty sure it was quite muted because today wasn't actually Pepero Day. Not that I'm complaining, kids giving adults candy is quite the novelty to me! So we now have snacks for a couple months... including a monster Pepero stick that I got from one of my students. Here are Nolana and I with our stash.

So on this fine holiday I wish you all a happy.... Pepero Day! May all your dreams come true as you buy candy and support mega corporations! Oh yeah, and remember those who died.


Times are a changing

This week the lunar calender officially declared it "winter" and I am pretty sure whoever designed that thing knew what he was doing. Instantly the temperature plummetted. 2 weeks ago we were hitting highs of 25 with lows of 15 or so and even last week was reasonable with day time temps of 20 or so.... and then winter hit. Instantly we dropped to highs of 10-12 and lows around 0. It's cold! This might be no big deal to you Saskatchewanites that have had snow for weeks now but we have been existing in high temps that all of a sudden changed. The bottom just dropped out. And those Siberian winds... they sound scary!

But to warm our insides while the outsides freeze, our school decided on winter holidays and we get 11 days at the end of December! Woo hoo! So we are going to spend both Christmas and New Years in.... Vietnam. We've been wanting to go there for some time so now that we have an extended break we're off. Finalizing flights now. Dreaming of that should keep me warm and get me through the next month and a half.


Weekend Redemption

First off, sorry for the delay. You know it's getting bad when your wife starts slagging you in the comment section. That's bad.

Our week... well, it sucked. Seriously. A couple of seriously crappy days where you could cut the tension at school with a knife. A serious lack of communication coupled with a culture barrier and their desire to rip us off of holidays didn't put us in a great mood. Guess work can't always be roses. Friday we took off with our oldest kindegarten kids (7 korean age, 5-6 real age) for an overnight trip in Gyeongju (yeah, they take 150 6 year olds overnight - who does that???). We had declined the option of staying overnight with them because we had plans to do Costco this weekend... and they we weren't going to do it for kicks and giggles. So we went for the afternoon with them and had a bunch of fun with them. A bit of education....

And a bit of play!Fall was there in all her glory and we enjoyed getting outdoors... and we always love the history that is just lying around Gyeongju, waiting for you to stumble across it.The 2nd picture is of Nolana with one of the kindegarten teachers, Bora. She is doing English lessons with us (mostly Nolana) once a week which is kinda cool. Getting to know her alot better, not just our school selves.

Saturday was our much anticipated trip to Costco. About 15 of us took the church bus up to Daegu and indulged ourselves in the visual sight of a store chalk full of Western goodies. By the way Nolana took pictures you would think Costco was a tourist attraction. We ate much cheap pizza and then spread out, each one looking for the precious items on their list. We met back a couple hours later, pleased as punch.

Carts full we got it all into the bus somehow...And then we got all of us back in for the ride back.We found many of our goodies that we wanted plus some. Here's our haul.The highlights include cheap cheese, granola, granola bars, soft tortilla shells and cinnamon buns which were so good that they are now half gone!

That evening a bunch of us went out to a coffee house (a real one like back home!) where we chilled and I learned how to play Korean chess.

It's simliar to the chess we all know but more complex, different pieces with different moves and harder to recognize pieces (they are all just Chinese characters) but it was great fun to just chill and pllay games.

So the weekend redeemed the rest of the week. Sunday we went to church and then just chilled around the house, catching up on stuff that needed to be done and watching TV. It left us ready to meet another week. Can't complain about that.