Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Lawrence Ladies

These 2 fine looking females are my sister and grandmother (father's side). They are very cool and both seem MUCH younger than their actual age. Jenn lives in New Orleans (mardi gras girl) and was lucky to have her house left untouched through the recent tragedy. Grandmom lives in Pennsylvania - still very sad about not getting the chance to visit her before I hopped the plane to come over here. I miss them both and can't wait to hang with them again next summer.
In the meantime, Korea's getting colder and grandmom just sent me a cozy sweatshirt that I'll prolly wear every day. Thanks grandmom!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

This is a beautiful photo my Korean-American friend sent me from up north. I absolutely love this shot and asked him if I could have it blown up for my wall. (thanks Ted). Well I went to the studio to pick it up today and they said the quality was distorted but they can make me a small size. I was terribly disappointed, but life goes on.

SO.... it's national "kill a turkey day" in my home country. Families are gathered around delicious food (and an innocent bird) to celebrate some white guy bumping into an already- discovered land and killing off the people who were happy there (and kind enough to help Chris, prolly felt bad for the doof who thought the world was flat.)

No, Korea doesn't celebrate this occasion; everyone keeps asking if I had to work today. I guess the POINT is to be "thankful" and what better way to spend the day than with 70 kids who love and appreciate you. I walked into work this morning to "Linda"; a 4yr old in a ruffled, pink, velvet dress who put her hands above her head (heart shape) and said, "I love you Nicooole Teacheeer!" Yeah, I'm thankful.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Nicole in not-so-rare form:

The "foreigners bars" in Korea FREAK ME OUT. I've gone to several & I get a really bad vibe every time............ from who? The foreigners. I've been out in Seoul, Busan, and Daejeon and always get uncomfortable. I turn from the wild party girl to a scared little girl in the corner; guess it's the large number of loser guys who come here for the Asian ladies - can't find a girlfriend in my own country, so I'll go where the women love Americans (or westerners). I've had plenty of guys come right out and SAY that's why. One Korean-American from Connecticut (who speaks no Korean) was a riot to hang out with up in Seoul. But when I asked him why he came to teach, he said, "To get laid." His friends had come over before him and told him "how easy it is." Wow. Poor kids. I look around at a lot of these foreign teachers and wonder what they're like in the class room. I've yet to meet one person who says they came for the experience of teaching the kids and helping them learn English. Usually it's for easy dating or b/c they couldn't find a better job in their own country. Hmmm.
Anyway, there was ONE "foreigners bar" in downtown Daejeon that I actually had a good time at. Vibe is there, but not AS BAD - owned by a guy who used to teach at my school. It's called J ROCK. So this saturday I went back there with my friend Danien. We had a really good time again, but sometimes I have to MAKE my own fun. (foreshadowing).
Ok, we enter and see a Korean teacher he works with and her friend. So we join the ladies and I buy Tequila shots. (THAT will make me more comfortable). There's a large crowd of white men standing by the bar, giving me the eye (gross) and I pretend not to see them. Then 4 korean guys come running in & head straight for the dance floor, jumping up & down, having a blast! They looked like so much fun. (really good dancers, turned out to be a band) Of course a song comes on I want to dance to and I join the boy band. They were SO FUN and NOT HITTING ON ME. I hung out with them the whole night; we even got Danien and the girls up on the dance floor for most of the songs. Justin the DJ is really good and he played "I like to move it move it" as soon as I requested it. So he's the best DJ ever. Danien went up to get a beer and heard the tall blond guy say, "I can't believe she's talking to a Korean guy!" ummm, buddy, you're IN KOREA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Of course I made a BIG spectacle then, giving all the guys HUGS and kisses on the cheek. Then the song "pretty fly for a white guy came on" and I sang it REALLY loudly, pointing to all the white guys at the bar. Then 2 of the korean guys started pointing, not realizing what I was doing, and I told them not to do that (while laughing hysterically).
And the best part, I finally found a curfew that beats New York. We left at 5:30 am and the place was still jumpin. Good times, great oldies.

Momma cat and her baby butterfly

My 2 girls, Jennifer & Violet Nicole Flanagan dressed up in Vegas for Halloween.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

This trip has made me realize a lot. Some things, it's just made me appreciate even more than I already did: like the wonderful people in my life. I have some of the most amazing friends and I'm thankful for it every day, but I just wanna take a minute to thank some of you individually.
To my family, my best friend Debbie, and Mario... thank you for EVERYTHING. The site isn't big enought to mention details, but you have been there through everything, from supporting me in this adventure to making me happy in general over the years. Love you long time.
These are a few people whose thoughtful gifts have helped so much in these first few months of Korea. (sorry if I leave anyone out, but the gold statue's getting heavy and the lights are bright up here):
Tina : Without the C.D. you made me, I couldn't mop my apt. while screaming "I like to move it move it" and drinking cheap champagne.
Phil : Thanks for opening so many doors for me. Not only did our voyage overseas make me realize that there's too much in this world to sit in one state (whether that "state" be a comfort pacified by mundan routine or NY.) That trip also created beautiful photos, beautiful memories, and a passport that's good til 2008. I wouldn't have been able to jump on this opportunity w/o a passport.
Wally: oh, American candy. What would I do w/o chocolate and real gum? I couldn't get the vitamins I need over here (B12 is unheard of b/c vegetarians are unheard of and it's a vitamin that comes from MEAT) Not to mention the other things I need and Wally's world was kind enought to send overseas. The funny emails and health tips are equally appreciated. Thanks for making me smile.
Barbara: The HEARO earplugs will be treasured forever. Swimming has always been my thing and I've had ear problems since I was a toddler (surgery & all). Thanks to you, I can swim like a normal person now and the koreans don't look at me funny for jumping up & down on one leg. Just for being blond. And thank you for all our great talks at the pool, I miss them. The pool club members were a great part of my life before I left NY and I can't wait to join the luncheons again!
Jenn & Rian: I keep calling this "an experience", but thank you for including me in your experience just before I left. It means the world to me. AND, thanks for looking up vital info on the computer the day before my flight. I might've ended up in NORTH KOREA otherwise.
Angela: Thanks for being the responsible one in the family. You taking care of my bills and whatnot is the biggest help. I would've said you were included in the opening statement (the "family" part) ... but you were adopted. Ha Ha Ha!
Mary & Theresa: What I miss most about America is the food. THANK YOU
Sue: Thanks for the Korean culture book, ( u 2 tina) I've avoided culture shock and not stepped on anyone's little toes. You and your family are great people.
Mike: thanks for the fuzzy red sox blanket and hat - they will keep me warm through this approaching winter. The Halloween cd for the kids was priceless too!
Helping me set up this site and charging my ipod. Jeez, you're a good guy!
And thanks to the many who keep offering to send me packages. "I'm fiiine, thank you." Thanks to the 2 people who offered to buy my ticket home if this didn't work out. Thanks to everyone for keeping in touch and being the kind of people you are.
ya know what, while I'm at it.... thanks mom. For teaching me to care about people, but not what people think. For raising me to be an ignorant child - ignorant of "differences" in society. For going with less food on your plate so I could have more on mine - and making me appreciate things in life only a "poor" child can appreciate. Thanks for filling our home with animals and love. Thanks for not babying me, but ALWAYS letting me know you were there for me 100%. Thanks for all the double stuffed orios and beating up my middle school principal.
You are all in my thoughts and I miss you.
(But this will be the ONLY sappy moment you witness for years.)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I usually do "sexy" for Halloween (which happens to be the SAME word in the Korean language). Last year I was "tough kitty" and the year before that, a playboy bunny. Didn't think either of those would be appropriate for the children, so I decided to scare the crap out of them instead. The school wants them to experience a true "American Halloween" anyway. So I dressed all in black, dyed the hair dark for a day, put in some plastic fangs a friend sent me, and pulled a peel-off face mask partially off so it looked like my skin was rotting. Of course there was LOTS of black eyeliner and a little "blood" on my chin. I greeted all the teachers by waiting on our floor and AS SOON as the elevator doors opened, I lunged at them and screamed. Made a few kids cry and accidentally got some strangers who were merely on their way down to the 1st floor. They don't celebrate Halloween in Korea, so they were like, "What the...?" and frantically pushed the buttons. WOOPS! The other foreign teachers had great costumes too - Taunia & Greer were witches ( so was Ruby, see above, she's a favorite of Greer's and mine) I'm sure you can guess which one is Dan. We did a haunted house: dark lights, jack-o-lanterns, scary music. We hid and jumped out at them once they entered and eventually handed out candy. During our lunch break, I went to the hardware store and bought some rope to HANG myself for the older kids. I must say, this was probably my funnest Halloween EVER!!!!

I don't know the little girl's name, but she's cute as a dickens and runs up to me EVERY morning to say hello. The teacher of this class if Piby. Isn't SHE adorable too? Unfortunately Friday (the Halloween Party) was her last day. Why?
She's getting married of course.