1. & gas bill

    It literally couldn’t be any higher. And I’m screaming at the top of my lungs. And it isn’t getting any lower? WEIRD. 

    WELCOME TO ADULTHOOD, CARLY ALYSSA KOENIG.

     

  2. & I love Korea, but…

    "I’ve sucked way too much cement for this year. Bad juju rising off them city sidewalks. I need to babble with a brook or two, inhale starlight, make friends with some trees.” 
    ― Tom Robbins

    Korean cities are essentially cement jungles with little pieces of Las Vegas dangling about. Especially with the recent winter snow, all the twinkly neons of my tiny suburb seem so exaggerated and newly irritating. I love my life here, and I’m not quite ready to leave yet, but I’ve recently been aching for the world of green I knew so well at home. I miss unpolluted air. I miss giant trees that aren’t littered with trash around their roots. I miss the smell of redwood forests. I miss seeing and hearing wild animals. All I want for Christmas is a baby deer sighting. Will you arrange this for me?

    I suppose I’ll settle for a vacation to the Philippines with a group of close friends. But I better see a wild creature, and put my toes in crystal clear ocean water, or I might implode.

    Leslie and I went to Point Reyes one time. It was nice and damp and green. 

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  3. & when I went to Jeju-do.

    Just so I don’t forget the details, because this vacation feels like 2 years ago, when it’s only a month and a half past.

    Over my four day vacation on the island of Jeju, I happily: gorged on Indian food for my first and last meal of the trip, did cartwheels across five different beaches, visited an erotic statue park and photographed my friends defiling said statues (not to be displayed), cursed loudly when I thought I broke my camera, hiked up a volcanic crater (behind a woman in 4 inch stilettos), took a ferry to udo (meaning “cow island”) - no cows sighted, went lava tubing, hiked Hallasan (the tallest mountain in Korea) and enjoyed a 13 hour ferry ride home, snuggled between my friends and a Korean women on the floor. And some other stuff too.

    Happy Chuseok (two months ago)

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  4. & hot pants.

    1. Upon walking into my Advanced Placement class this afternoon:
    2. Joo Eun: "Teacher, Hyun Gun is wearing the hot pants today"
    3. Teacher: "Oh really? Hyun Gun, let's see them"
    4. Hyun Gun: 11 year old Korean boy silently stands - teal hot pants riding 2 inches below his speedo line, and 6 inches above his tan line
    5. Teacher: "Oh."
    6. 30 minutes later while choral reading:
    7. Teacher: "Hyun Gun, can you please enunciate each word?"
    8. Joo Eun: "Teacher, the Hyun Gun is still nervous about his hot pants"
    9. Hyun Gun: bows head in shame
    10. Maybe a "you had to be there" moment? I just felt like over sharing ^.^
     

  5. & danyang

    Some images from our sunday day-trip a few weekends back. We woke up at 4am to catch our bus for 4 hour ride to this excursion, but it was well work the trek. We had a chance to see Chungjuho Lake (the largest in Korea) via ferry ride, Gosu Cave and Guinsa temple, built directly into the narrow mountain valley. 

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  6. & baby seeds.

    I’ve been terrible about keeping this public diary, ughhhh. I guess I should step it up? I gotta make sure my six readers stay informed!

    Anyways, I was perusing my phone photos today and found this little gem too good to keep to myself. Back story: Mina (my co teacher) and I spend a week teaching our students about families. This included family trees, ancestors and differences between Korean and American families, etc. But the more entertaining topics included basic human anatomy and duh-da-na-nuh! HOW BABIES ARE MADE (ooooo!) Mina created an analogy for them that was simple to understand and fun! Here we go:

    After a man and a woman get married, they usually decide to have babies because life would be oh-so-boring without them. All men have “special water” inside their body, which has teeny-tiny baby seeds that look like tadpoles. Women have a flower pot inside their belly with one tasty egg inside. When a man gives his special water to a woman, the tadpoles all swim to find the tasty egg inside the flower pot. But only one tadpole can be the winner! The fastest tadpole gets to eat its way inside of the tasty egg where it takes a nap for 10 months. When it wakes up from its nap, it’s a baby, and it’s time to be born. 

    I like Kim Bo Min’s version, particularly the esophagus/umbilical cord confusion. And Mina’s edits are fun too. 

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  7. if this is the calm before the storm, i don’t want the storm, no thanks you can keep it. 

    also, school was cancelled. my very first typhoon day! 

     
     

  8. & the big one.

    The biggest typhoon in decades, Bolaven, will hit Korea at 2am tomorrow morning. Most flights in and around Japan and Korea have been cancelled, a majority of sea ferries have been halted, and all public schools (and most private schools) have been closed for the day tomorrow. But don’t worry about me! My school has miraculously generated it’s very own protective atmosphere around the building, so, we will be open for the day! My 7 year old students and I will be bunkered down inside, learning about: silent “k” consonants (knife, knee, knight, etc.), the anatomy of snails and their movement patterns, culture and traditions of different European countries, and practicing our current play, Peter Pan, while Incheon is assaulted by 20 inches of rain. 

    Happy Tuesday, y’all.

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  9. & kimchi.

    I went to the kimchi museum today, so obviously now I’m an absolute expert. 

    Fun factz!

    It’s served with every meal. I eat it at least once a day.

    There are 187 different kinds of kimchi, but popular ingredients include napa cabbage, garlic, ginger, chili peppers, green onions and radish. It’s delicious, but only if you like vegetables and things that are fermented. 

    Super food! It’s high in nutrients, low in calories, fiber dense, and the lactobacillus and lactic acid from fermentation benefit your intestines and colon. 

    It is being called the “Food of the Future” by Dieticians and was rated one of the top five healthiest foods in the world.

    EAT YOUR KIMCHI.

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  10. & i took a month long hiatus from documenting my life. I spent too many evenings watching this video on repeat to have time for photo posting. Oh and also, my boyfriend came to visit me for three weeks, so I was slightly distracted. Details to follow.

     
     

  11. & being a big kid.

    I spent last Saturday and Sunday at the Seoul Zoo, Caribbean Bay (basically the best waterpark ever - minimal pee in the wave pool, weeee) and at Everland! - which is Korea’s answer to Disneyland. 

    I only have a few snapshots (waterparks are tricky to bring an SLR into, so none there).

    Graham and Stacy at our new subway station.

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    Chairlift to the Zoo. I rode with my friend Morgan, who is petrified of heights. 

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    Super causal. 

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    Hatching. 

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    Feeding the hungrys. 

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    Illegally feeding the beavers. 

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    Everland, post waterpark. 

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    Everland night parade.

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    Little boy, peeing in a cup on the subway ride home. 

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  12. A little example of why I’ve had a chronic raspy voice/cough drop over-indulgence for the last four months. Teacher in the back seat is NOT conducive to a tame bus trip to the zoo.

     
     

  13. & bukhansan national park.

    "Hiking is numba one past time Korea!" - any Korean who ever lived

    They just love it, and for obvious reasons. Koreans love nature - especially when forced to live in an urban-sprawl like Seoul, it’s nice to hear the birds chirp on the weekends. Also, about 70% of the country in mountainous. And most imortantly, Koreans love fashion. I promise there is no better way to channel your inner-goddess than through a color-coordinated hiking ensemble, or a head-to-toe matching outfit with your spouse/child/purse dog. Really, it’s quite a sight to see literally THOUSANDS of people swarming a single trail head to start their ascent. And more amazing that usually a majority of these people are over the age of 65. Ajummas rock. 

    My friend Stacy and I have done a decent amount of hiking since I arrived, but I’ve been itchin to get at something real. So we took our first of (what I hope) to be many visits to a Korean national park. BUKHANSAN. Over the day we were approached by countless friendly Korean hikers - showered with affection, offered cold water, food, advice on life and directed to the best trails. As we parted from one group of food-pushing friends, we were offered the largest apple I’ve ever seen. The old man sweetly told me “When you ready to eat my fruit, you must find large knife and divorce fruit into three pieces. Because there three of you people. You must share.” Yes, sir…?

    I wish I had better photos with me, but of course i brought the wrong lense. It’s also too bad it was such a hazy polluted day, because we couldn’t see much of Seoul from the peak.  (Korean whine inserted here).

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  14. & chinatown.

    The only Chinatown in Korea actually, which I thought was pretty surprising? I mean I could practically raft myself over to Qingdao if I needed to. But then I remind myself - Oh! yup. Koreans don’t really like foreigners. Especially those from Japan…and China, and anywhere else in Asia - Which is an insane overgeneralization, I’m aware. But they are extremely protective of their culture, especially after the lingering Korean war fear/hysteria. So Chinatown actually ended up being more of a Korean-culture-super-imposed-over-Chinese-culture-town, but a nice Sunday all the same. We made some nice 75 year old Korean friends, who serenaded us with sweet Korean tunes, feed us pajang and peer pressured us into drinking maggoli and soju. Weekend success. 

    Waiting for my steaming cup of Bungdigie (Silk Worm Larvae)

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    Dried squid - staple food. 

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    Because I don’t get enough of Korean babes Monday through Friday.

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    Tsingtao out of a Cass glass whattttt?

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    Making friends.

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    Pouring drinks for our elders. 

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    Playing the maggoli flute. 

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    I didn’t actually eat the Bungdigie. It smells like…silk worm larvae. 

     
  15. & Shit Korean girls say (aka 20 examples of the “Korean whine”)

    Must be watched on Youtube for English subtitles & a complete understanding of my suffering