Saturday, April 29, 2006
Thursday, April 20, 2006
This is the first family I'll be visiting when I go back to the states this summer. I love them.
Jenn has been my friend since my first year at SUNY ALBANY. A great mix of people was randomly thrown together on the 3rd floor of the Alden Hall dorms. Such varied personalities, that clicked very well. Jenn is definitely one of a kind. To sum her up, I'd say she's an extremely intelligent, philosophical, funny, strong, and beautiful NUT JOB. Hope her daughter, Violet, takes right after her.
The other "nut job" in the picture is Rian. Her husband. I'd like to say I set them up. I had invited Jenn to go out with my boyfriend's friends and said, "Wait til you meet Rian. You're gonna HATE him." Well he told her some stupid story about how he went to the store to buy and apple and she was hooked. That was it, he bought an apple. Love at first sight. Next thing you know I'm in the delivery room with them, listening to a debate over the difference between "a dork", "a geek", and "a nerd". They're perfect for eachother. ha ha.
Shortly after I left for Korea, Jenn and Rian moved out to Vegas. Rian's parents live there, but I think it had more to do with the casinos. I'll be flying out to visit them August 1st. Our good friend Nicole and her boyfriend, Frank, are flying out from New York the same week. Nicole also lived in Alden Hall, and the 3 of us shared a house together with another friend after the dorms. My brother Terry and his wife Kim are flying out too. I love bringing great people together.
I've officially busted out the flip-flops.... and once they're out, there's no turning back!
The moment I wait for all winter long is that day I can say, "Yep, it's FLIP FLOP time!!!"
The boots and thick socks go deep deep into my closet. That one little piece of plastic slides b/t my big toe and my patrician toe (longer than big toe) and I walk out into the sunshine.
Ahhhhhhh. I once moved to San Diego for the weather... and still thought it was chilly. Well now I'm in Korea, where people are way too proud of their 4 seasons. I try telling them we have the same 4 seasons back in NY, but I think they believe they are the ONLY country with this geological side effect. I must admit I'd miss snow if I couldn't ever see it again, but to trade it in for 80 degrees (fahrenheit) weather every day of the year... OKAY!
When packing for my year in S.Korea, I asked my sister if her housemate had any advice for me, being a young female who travels to South Korea every year to visit her family. She told me the word for "squid" and told me not to wear tank tops. I LOVE tank tops, but out of respect, I decided not to show my shoulders and donated them with loads of other clothes I was giving away. I wish I hadn't. Summers get hot here, and the younger generation is starting to show a lot more skin than I do. I'll buy new ones, besides... I've put on some weight that may require a new summer wardrobe anyway. Hey, as long as my flip-flops still fit!
So I've got lots of friends planning trips to Thailand and Je-ju Island (off south-western tip of S.Korea) in the near future. And a few who've gone recently. I was going to visit Thailand this summer with Jenny, but it's the rainy season and we decided to put it off til next winter. Besides, I want to spend as much time w/my family and friends as possible in the states this summer. I've decided to renew my contract with the school I teach at. I love it here. Tossed the idea over and over and seemed like it was the ONLY thing to do. I had no doubt. Now that I've told everyone I'll only be home for a couple months, I'm having sappy home-sick feelings. But if I think about leaving my kids or this life FOR GOOD in 3 months, I freak out. Can't do it. Wish I could have the best of both worlds.... but we can't have everything we want. One step at a time.
Well seeing I'm talking about warm weather and traveling, I might as well introduce my cousin Michelle. She's a free-spirited soul that loves traveling and meeting new people. She's been a dancer her whole life and appreciates the arts as well as "natural health". She keeps a raw food diet and prefers organic products and holistic medicine. All this in spite of her ultra-conservative parents. She's from my father's side, the Lawrences, and less than a year younger than I. We have great talks and I miss her. Last I heard, she was back in Costa Rica, but these photos were from a few months ago. She travels a lot. Usually with her love, an Akita named Kaya.
Monday, April 17, 2006
We all celebrate holidays in different ways. I'm guessing Easter has become more about chocolate candies, colored eggs, and bunny rabbits than the resurrection of Jesus for most. I spent the day at the park with my puppies, co-worker, and her daughter. Then went to dinner with 4 good friends and 3 Jehovah's witnesses I recently met, who have never even HEARD of Easter. They didn't speak English very well, but they're very sweet and got along quite nicely with my other friends. We went to Berkeley, an elegant restaurant nearby. I made my own White Russians because they can't grasp the concept of adding milk to a black Russian.
Well my sister Jennifer emailed me some great photos of her Easter, which consisted of motorcycles and a gay parade in the French quarter of New Orleans. As she put it, "Not the typical ham around the formal dining table after church but that is the way we like it." They always seem to have a blast.
Can you see how we're family?
Jenn and I are a lot alike in many ways. Crazy girls with our father's temper. But know how to have a good time! Jennifer and her "live-in" Tim (inside joke, it's her boyfriend)
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Well her stay here in Korea has sadly come to an end. My best friend is now on a plane back to New York. I'd like to say I was an amazing host, but as much as I tried to expose her to the cultural differences and beautiful sights of this foreign country, we spent most of our time sleeping in after long nights of giggling and consuming MEK-JU (beer). That's our thing. hee hee!
I must say, I'm extremely proud of my lil Debbie. She learned more Korean words in 10 days than I learned my first few months here. She tried SO-JU (Korean "spirits") and even dabbled in Korean Food, which is the last thing I thought she'd ever do. She suffered a day with my students, despite her Jet-Lag. "Debbie" is on Debbie's lap.
Of course everyone loved her, except a few strangers who didn't appreciate our boisterous laughter. We laugh most of the time we're together. So our stomach muscles got a good work out, as well as our leg muscles from all the walking we did. We went to Gyeong-ju, the original Capital of Korea and visited Bulguksa Temple. It was a beautiful day, we fed huge fish with the crackers I brought for Debbie. We bowed to buddhists and made wishes on small rock piles we built. Debbie's favorite part of the trip were the beautiful trees with light pink flowers we kept seeing everywhere, just started blooming all over Korea, she came at the perfect time of year. We were supposed to go to a Cherry Blossom Festival this weekend, but everyone in Korea was there. So we avoided the crowds & went to a park instead.
The man who owned the love motel we stayed at was incredibly nice and offered to keep our luggage while we walked around our 2nd day in Gyeong-Ju. The cab driver who had dropped us off at the place, ran in to check the price before letting us out of the cab. And the housekeeper had a long conversation with us in Korean (and hysterical body language) telling us all about her "3 babies". One is 22 & in the army, the middle one (girl) is 25 & a nurse, and oldest son's 28 & a bus driver because he finished his army term. We met the kindest people, not in NY I tell ya.
We went out a couple nights in Daejeon (my city). The first night we went to SANTA CLAUS (b/c the owner is Mr. Ho). My co-workers and a few others joined. Good time, until I hurt my knee trying to jump on the pool table b/c Debbie told me to "be a monkey"!!!!! I have a thing about Monkeys.... especially when it's a shy little Korean girl in a costume at the train station. This sweater was one of many presents Debbie's mom sent over with her. Lorraine treats me so good! Like a daughter-in-law.
We also went out to J-Rock, of course. Jenny made special shots for us and we danced til wee hours of the morning. Sasha and Insu (my friends, the bartenders) were there too, despite Sasha having worked long hours covering my shifts at school. She loved teaching the kids English, and I'm SO happy she was able to cover for me.
Then we headed down to Busan .... caught the end of a roof BBQ, got mistaken for Russian prostitutes, experienced the subway a little, then hit the foreigner bars with Liz, Zach, and a bunch of their friends. What an experience. Turns out I have a real fetish for slow dancing in the streets and green bags.
Our last night together in Korea, we went up to Seoul with Jenny. First, we went to her friend's restaurant and had some Kimchi Pajeon. He's a real sweetheart and drove us around to historical sights, as well as the train station early this morning. We saw the gate of what used to be a castle and a tower from afar. We saw a famous bell in a huge traditional building, and walked along a long, beautifully-lit "river" or canal with 26 amazing bridges passing over it. At one point, Jenny decided to cross over the rocks on her heels and joke with Debbie.... she fell in. Said she did it for Debbie to have an experience to remember. Hopefully, this was an experience she'll remember. Love ya Debbie... yes, long time.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
St. Patrick's Day
Bringing a little Irish tradition to Korea.... not just American "culture". I had the little ones color pictures of Leprechauns and 4-leaf clovers. Told my older kids to research the holiday for homework. And told the kids for every piece of green they wore, they'd get a piece of candy.
Everyone had a blast, I did some face painting. I think it took a while to convince everyone that the whole idea of St. Patty's was to wear green and drink beer. But I think it'll be a big hit here. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Don't think I ever wrote about my weekend in Busan. Got together with Zach and Liz, cool people from the China trip. We had a good time.... sportin wheels shown in photo. We rode the tricycle around the pool table all night and Zach busted out some pretty impressive moves off the stage. He's a dare devil I tell ya! Debbie will be arriving in Korea in approximately 24 hrs and next weekend we'll be heading down to Busan to hang out with Liz and Zach again.