Saturday, November 23, 2013


I know, I know -- this is not one of the blog posts I've promised to publish. My apologies. The end of term has been busy, as usual, this time more so because two dear friends just left to make their way back home, meaning a lot of evenings were spent hanging out.

However, I just feel like this is important. Maybe it's old news, but I was just informed of this and I just need to tell everyone.

I have gotten Netflix and Hulu to work in Korea. 

I've tried various other ways to block my IP address, but none of the free services worked as well as I wanted. I got annoyed with the buffering and poor quality, and I really didn't want to pay for a better VPN service. Since the free ones sucked, I just gave up. Until earlier this week!

The tip came from one of Corey's former coworkers, and it's super, super simple.

1. Download Google Chrome.
2. Download/install the Chrome extension called "Media Hint."
3. Never leave your apartment again because you're watching ALL the movies and TV shows on Netflix and Hulu.

Mega easy. Really, this will work for anyone outside of Netflix-designated countries. You're welcome.

And with that, I'm going to go back to marathoning "Supernatural," so, byeeeeeeeeeee.

ps. Netflix and "Supernatural" may or may not be a contributing reason to my lack of posting lately. I'm kind of sorry... ish.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Monthly Photo Recap: October 2013

This past week has been spent fighting off a nasty head cold, so I'm a little late (again) with getting this recap up. And with posting half a dozen other entries... I think I'm going to start using my weekly planner (yes, I obsessively still use one of those... Carver Middle School and those "Time Management" binders did some serious conditioning on me) for blogging stuff. Between this blog and working for the Aclipse blog, I just don't seem to make the time for all of it.

Anyway, I've been excited about this recap, you guys. A lot of things happened this past month, including my mom being in town and two friends from home also coming for a visit. And! It was Halloween, which is my absolute favorite holiday.

Choosing photos was really hard because it was a seriously photo-heavy month. So, that's basically your heads up that this entry is loaded with pictures. :)

A true stroke of inspired genius: doing a purikura-style photobooth with my mom. We were endlessly entertained by the photo decorating process as well as our final results. Definitely a hilarious memory of her visit here. 

All of these notes were drawn by six of my elementary students, who were horribly affronted when another teacher, Angus, teased them about how he was the best teacher at CDI. He'd received a sweet card from a student stating this, and my (suddenly very loyal) students were furious. Only one of them has ever even been in his class, but she rallied her friends and they went to town. In their minds, in order to trump this one card saying he was the best teacher, they needed to produce x number of papers saying that I was actually the best. It's hard to see in the photo, but these girls were actually signing the notes with fake names and even trying to disguise their handwriting. It became quite the production, especially when they delivered all of these notes to Angus at break time, only for him to look at them one by one and dismiss them for various reasons. "This one doesn't actually mention me, so it doesn't count." "Oh, you have a spelling mistake, doesn't count." "This is written in pencil. So, no." They were howling at him by the end, a crowd had formed of other teachers and students, and I couldn't stop laughing. These girls have brought this incident up almost weekly since, still finding it hilarious.

We spent one weekend afternoon walking around Changdeok Palace in Seoul and even took a tour of the "Secret Garden," which was nice, but the having-to-be-on-a-guided-tour part kinda sucked. It would've been much nicer to just wander aimlessly, like we had on the rest of the palace grounds. But oh well. It was still awfully pretty. (Though I do still think Gyeongbokgung is my favorite of the palaces.)

Crazy hat hair! This picture just makes me laugh, and I think it's also an accurate representation of how Corey felt after doing souvenir shopping with my mom and I all around Insadong. 
It's also just occurred to me that it's a bit "Eraserhead," actually.

Mom's last weekend in Korea was a busy one, including the most crowded subway car I have EVER been on. We were trying to make our way to the Seoul International Fireworks Festival, which ended up being a mess of people and overall not really worth the hassle. At least not this late in the day... We'd gotten sidetracked with the aforementioned souvenir shopping in Insadong and should've headed down to the Han River much, much earlier. Instead, my mom got quite the subway experience. 

On Mom's last night, we headed back for another round of purikura. This particular machine is one that enlarges your eyes and makes you look generally creepy and doll-like. I have a series of photos from this set, but as they're a gift for Emma, who's now in France, I don't want to ruin the surprise of the other creepy ass pictures. After I've (finally) mailed them to her, I promise to post the rest -- they're hilarious and terrifying and they make me so happy.

For all of you that miss In-N-Out, Korea has your back: Crycheese Burger in Bucheon basically IS In-N-Out. The dude who owns the place used to work at In-N-Out in California and brought the recipes back to Korea with him. Seriously, it looks, smells, and tastes like In-N-Out. I'll definitely be going back.

A few days after my mom left Korea, round two of my October visitors arrived: Dinah and Marley! For the weekend they were here, we headed off to Korea's east coast to hang out in Samcheok. As you can see in the picture, we are standing next to a giant penis. Samcheok is actually home to an entire park full of phallic statues and sculptures, known as Haesindang Park, or Penis Park. It was an odd thing, walking through this beautifully landscaped park with its ocean views, rocky beaches, and carefully manicured flowerbeds. Every now and then you'd forget what park you were in, only to turn around and notice that the bench behind you is shaped like a penis and that giggling you hear is coming from the middle-aged Korean women currently posing for a picture while straddling a giant dick-shaped cannon. (I will forever regret not snapping a picture of these women -- they were having the best time posing for pictures with all the penises.) My only photo with any of the phalluses is the one above, where Dinah and I are standing with our Zodiac penis, the Year of the Ox. 

Wandering away from all the penises, we were able to get down to the beach, which was just gorgeous. I definitely need to spend more time exploring Korea's coasts. 

Our second day in Samcheok was spent in one of the huge caves in the nearby mountains. This cave, Hwanseongul, is the biggest limestone cave in Korea, with over 6 kilometers of known passages. We spent quite a while wandering through this place, marveling at the huge caverns and the strange/obsessive use of rope lights. Definitely cool, and definitely something I would recommend should you find yourself in Samcheok.

The subway shopping in Korea is the best shopping. Seriously. Where else would you find a random Heisenberg sweatshirt? And for less than $10?! I had to buy it. No question. Bupyeong, I <3 p="" you.="">
(ALSO, I'm only in season three -- no spoilers!)

"I want pizza for dinner." 
"I kind of want chicken."
"Why don't we get both?"
"I'll bring the fries."
This is how we de-stress in the middle of the week. With a disgusting(ly delicious) food party. Sidenote: There were five of us eating this and we weren't able to finish, just so you're not completely judging us right now... 

While Dinah and Marley were here, we did a DMZ tour, some of which I'd seen before. During the planning and booking process, it dawned on me that we would have to take a photo with this sign. DeMilitarized Zone? More like Dinah Marley Zannah! 

One thing that was different about this DMZ tour was this one actually took us to the Joint Security Area, and with that, North Korea. The blue buildings in the foreground are under South Korean control, straddling the actually demarcation line between the two countires, but the big building farther back is North Korea. If you look closely, you'll see the North Korean soldier that was watching us through his binoculars. 

In this photo, I am technically standing *in* North Korea. That soldier is South Korean, and his job is to guard the door behind him, which opens up into the North. He doesn't move, he doesn't speak, he just stands there, like a creepy breathing robot-statue, and watches. He also apparently knows two kinds of martial arts and could probably kill me with, like, two fingers. Standing this close to him made me very, very nervous. Stay tuned for a full write-up on my visit to the JSA... It was interesting.

A little while back, Corey finally figured out how to get onto the roof of our apartment building. I'm not entirely sure we're allowed to go up there, as we have to walk through a maintenance room full of breaker boxes and other noisy, large things, but we also have to tap our building key cards, and they work... so... maybe it's okay? Anyway, this is the gorgeous view of Incheon from my building's roof, about 27 floors up. Pretty spectacular, eh? 

GPOY. Because I just love fall fashion and I'm really enjoying layering skirts and blouses and sweaters and stuff. Unfortunately, it's getting cold fast, so I better enjoy this while I can. I'm also just obsessed with this skirt because it's covered in dalmatians. 

A student was using colored mechanical pencil lead the other day, and upon seeing my fascination, he awkwardly gave me one stick of each color after class. (Pretty sure he thinks I'm a weirdo for being so excited about pencil lead.) This was the result of my first experiment.

A picturesque view of Seoul, from the 60th floor of the 63 Building. Blog entry coming very soon, as I've written one for the Aclipse blog that will go up later this week. :) 

We have new neighbors! And they brought us a present of sweet potatoes, persimmons, and choco-pies. They seem to be a nice family, with a high school aged son that the mom is already pushing to practice English with Corey. I'm curious to see if anything comes of that, but even if it doesn't, it's nice to know our neighbors! Plus these new neighbors have a dog... So while they're angling for English lessons, I might start angling for puppy playtime. 

This year's Halloween makeup/costume! I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out -- I swiped ideas from several different versions of deer makeup that I'd seen on Pinterest. Halloween, lately, has started to become all about the makeup for me, rather than planning an elaborate/really awesome costume. And I kinda like that my Halloweens have been headed in this direction -- gives me a chance to play with makeup and test my ~art skillz.~ I've already started trying to think of what I want to do for next year...

The gang out in Seoul! We headed to Hongdae for this year's celebration, bouncing between a retro dance party and drinking in the park from cocktails-in-bags. As you can see from this picture, the park was where the real party was at. Much longer post about Halloween, with lots of pictures, coming soon. 

Day one of this term's level-up exam proctoring, this time playing with some new gel pens while my classes tested for hour upon mind-numbing hour. 

On actual Halloween day, my classes were taking level-up tests. My master class, because they're awesome, all brought in candy for each other (and me!) to eat while they took their test. Since they're at the top of the levels at CDI, they can't level up or down -- taking these tests is just extra practice. So we had some fun and quietly celebrated Halloween on our own. Definitely a nice way to end the month. :)