Friday, November 30, 2012


If my childhood was a cup of coffee,
It would look like this.

Let's Play: Computer - Student - Tester

You could hear a pin drop in here.
 There are more people 
then I had realized 
wrapped up in the drama 
of getting their 
Korean Drivers License From Scratch.
It's been exciting
to hear about their experiences,
talk about our individual fears,
and reflect on our different adventures.

For me, this is what living abroad is about.
It's about doing the scarying things.
The terrifying and normal things.
Then having a laugh about it.

As it turns out these conversations 
also brought to light additional critical information
that needs added to the original episode of
First of all, many cities
 - such as Daejeon-
now have computerized "Road Tests".
but be a good hitch hiker and
Don't Panic
This is good news!
Unlike my test with a real person, 
the computer is in clear, easy to follow English!
 That's right, it's easier then with a person.

That said, 
a person is still in the car with you,
and if the computer fails you but you still did a good job,
they will just pass you anyway. 
No joke, it happened.  
For realz.

Which brings us to the game segment of this variety show.
Something I like to call
Computer, Tester, Student
How to Play:
Computer beats student.
Student beats Tester.
Tester beats Computer.

Now for the BIG HINT
The biggest thing to remember on this test is 
you MUST
put the car in neutral when are waiting at a stop light,
or waiting around for anything what-so-ever.
It's no joke.
They will fail your ass if you don't.
Unless, you drive well in general.
Then you pass anyway...
but it's still important...

Check out this video
It walks you through the Driving Exam From Scratch Process.
Also read the original post:
 For additional advice and critical video links.

On the road again...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Socrates Fan Girl

We found him all alone at an open mike many years ago.
He stood up there and he played his guitar 
and he sang his songs with an impressive intensity,
but when he walked off stage shyness enveloped him.

It was a gauntlet thrown at our feat.
Shoes, Rebeqa and I just couldn't resist him.
He was like a shiny new toy.
So, adorable, so talented, so shy.
We.... had... to... press... the... button....
So later, as we sat across the room 
from him and his friends at a pizza joint.
We screamed and swooned,
"Oh, it's Ahren."  
"Can you believe it?" 
"Is it really him!"
"Oh, I think he looked at me!"
We did it with commitment. 
 We did it relentlessly.
We were horrifyingly annoying.

A few months later,
Shoes tricked him into coming to Thanksgiving dinner.
 We must have done something right, though,
because he didn't run away screaming
when he was greeted in a similar fashion at our home,
"Ahhhh, it's Ahren!!!!" 
"He's at our house!!!"

For reasons we don't really understand,
he chose to keep hanging around,
and we feel so privilaged and lucky.

Now he has his very own awesome band
And they have released their first music video.

Although Shoes, Rebeqa and I were Ahren's first 
screaming, swooning fans.
I know we wont be his last.

You can read Ahren's life blog here:


First of all, you won't give a crap about this blog 
if you don't live in Korea.

However, if you do live in Korea,
Want to see something awesome? 
This is what I look like when I browse the website.
That's right!
A brother and sister team 
have been working hard 
to make all kinds of awesome 
cheeses easily available in Korea.  

Here is the website: 
Although it is a pretty penny,
it's also cheese lovers dream come true.

Cheat Sheet For Types of Cheese
Once again, visit


Sadly, there was no cheese eaten in the making of this blog.

UPDATE: Cheese is now everywhere in Korea,
however the blog remains in remembrance of the old days.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Weight, Weight Don't Tell Me

This is UFC fighter Rashad Evans
Height: 5'11
Weight: 205 lbs

This is UFC fighter Phil Davis
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 205 lbs
This is average Lanae
Height: 5'9"
Weight: 220 lbs

Yes, that's right. 
I seriously outweigh 
Light Heavyweight UFC fighters
who are 2" to 5" taller than I am.
You know what else?
That's ok.

Want to know something else?
Folks around me are fine with it as well.
Yah, even here in Korea.
In fact, many take me aside to let me know that -
even though I don't fit into the normal "stereotype"-
there's nothing wrong with it, 
I am still pretty,
and I don't need to go on a diet.
(To be honest this does make me giggle.)

Sure, many of my students call me Hulk Teacher 
and express surprise that a woman can be strong,
but they get used to it and they accept it.
Even better, we get to talk about it.

I'm thankful I don't fit into the norm.
I'm thankful I'm strong.
I'm thankful my kids bring it up.
Most of all, I'm thankful we get to talk
about all the ways women can be beautiful.

So, the next time someone comments on your looks.
Accept the challenge and talk about it.
Be confident in who you are and open to discussion.

What they think doesn't decide your choices,
but talking about it does give you a chance
to share a new perspective 
 that they might not have considered.

Feeling Super Phat

Monday, November 26, 2012

What's the matter? Chicken?

A gift from a parent that would never fit in my fridge.
 For folks who love to cook but have small fridges,
there is a secret you need to know.
Are you ready for this?
Hold your breath, it's a big one.
If you buy your eggs from the market
you don't need to refrigerate them!

nobody outside of North America
gives a rats ass about refrigerating their eggs
because they buy delicious ones 
laid by real chickens on real farms.

So unclench thee buttocks,
get thee to the local market,
and leave those eggs out with wild abandon,
(for up to two weeks)
you aren't going to die.

Don't believe me?
Feeling like a pansy?
Well, just google it why don't ya?
Read all the arguments,
and make an informed choice.

I find that I need the space in my fridge
more than I need to be freaked out
by rules created for industrial farmers
for their frankeneggs.

If it helps you feel more confident,
it's easy to tell if your eggs have gone bad.
Just drop them in water, 
a fresh egg don't float.

For that matter,
if it floats it's also a witch.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

How To Justify An Addiction

A few ways your 
can make your life better beyond the plate.
Here are three ways 
I recycle 
my shipping supplies
and add storage to my apartment.

End Table With Storage

Always looking for new ways to hoard delicious food stuffs.
Toss a scarf over it and it's a beautiful, hand little table.

Coffee Nook

The perfect home for my coconut sugar and Alaskan roasted beans.
The cubes allow me to add and take away from my kitchen storage as needed.

 Never Enough Tubs
There are never enough tubs in the house.
There is always something I need to store.

Since Kit just hand delivered 
new dry ingredients from the states 
I'm going to need more kitchen storage.  

Looks like I'll just have to order some burritos.  
Darn, my luck.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Speling Mistaques

No errors were staged in the writing of this article.
Without a doubt,
I can't spell.
Nor can I proof
my own work.
Dyslexia and computer screens 
show me what I want to see,
not what truly exists.

When I was younger this made me a captive,
terrified of communicating in written words.
Whenever I had to write I had gut wrenching anxiety,
because I knew my heartfelt words would not be read, only judged.

 Thankfully, though, people mocked me.
They ridiculed me and they berated me.
They did it endlessly, tirelessly, bitterly
until I just didn't care anymore.

One day, their judgment set me free.
I realized that, 
even if I spelled everything perfectly,it wouldn't really matter.
The people that were the hardest on me
weren't trying to help,
they weren't going to hear my voice,
they just wanted to be right.

That was when I realized
I didn't want to be perfect.
I wanted to be flawed.
I wanted to be mistaken.
I wanted to be happy.

Now that I teach English I remember this battle,
and although I hold my students
to an exceptionally high standard in class,
when they open up their hearts
I put away my red pen.
For me,
there are no errors
when the heart is on the line.
It's only their thoughts that counts.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Noshing On Love

The key to my happiness:
a family that goes above and beyond.
They don't just send a few emails,
they make me a part of daily life.

For example,
this morning I awoke to a grand feast 
and a seat at the Thanksgiving table.
They scooped me a big plate,
we told family stories,
played practical jokes
- in short -
we were a family.

It didn't matter that all I actually consumed was my morning coffee.
The time with my family was the nourishment I need.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Heart of Seoul

A warm welcome on a cold November night.

What do you do when you have a friend in from Seattle?
You find the nerdiest, 
place to stay in Seoul possible.

Hands down, that means 
a homestay in a hanook in Bukchon.
But if your guest is from Seattle,
that's just not enough.

Nope, you go the extra mile 
and you make sure it's organic.

The beds were extremely comfortable with big down comforters.


In the morning, you have free range of the kitchen and it's free-range eggs.
The fig jam, fresh bread and eggs was perfect way to ease the sadness of goodbye.

For those of you choosing a homestay,
these are not a hotels.
There aren't TVs, closets, etc.
These are traditional Korean houses.
You are also generally unsupervised.

These places are a home away from home.
They look like homes,
they feel like homes,
they have imperfections like homes.

So just relax and love them
because they are magic
in the heart of the second largest city
in the world.

PS In my humble opinion,
these are the ONLY places to stay in Seoul
outside the jimjilbong.

Thankful For Friends In Distant Places

Thank you Lisa and Steph. The hostesses with the most-esses.
I returned to the old set of my drama
to celebrate a little holiday cheer.
It was wonderful to see the old faces,
and re-tell the stories of old Anjung

There is nothing that makes me feel happier
then great food,
old friends,
and having a laugh 
at my own expense.


Made with love.
Ready - Set - Go
The old characters were up to their old antics.
It was a truly multicultural event.
Dinner had all the fix'ns
Everyone was filled with smiles.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Different Track, Different Directions

Very often in life, like - you know- everyday, I feel that I got on the wrong train going in the right direction.  Whenever I bother to glance out the window, although we bought the same tickets, it feels like I'm watching my compatriots flowing by on a different track.

Living in Korea has been no exception.  When living here first became my future I hadn't actually given a lot of thought to the expat community, I was moving to Korea to live in Korea and play by their rules.  Learning the language and acquiescing to prevailing cultural expectations was my priority.  It was my opinion that to live in Korea successfully I would need to live by their rules to find peace and happiness.

This mentality has lead me down paths I know most foreigners would not have appreciated.  Twice I have been sent, with little notice, to different schools so I would "be more comfortable".  Without a doubt, accepting these changes without conflict was terrifying.  Especially because they happened before I could more easily understand and express myself in Korean.

However, each time they were the right decisions.  My employers did know what was best for me and they did place me in schools for which my life was better suited.  Now, only a year and a half into my time here, I find myself in my dream job.  The school is stable, my boss kind and smart, my students are wildly fun, my apartment is beautiful and new, the community is friendly and everything else I could really want is in my life.

Without a doubt, I've felt respected and cared for by my community here in Korea.  One employer was kind enough to express that "I'm a Korean Teacher and a Foreigner Teacher at the same time", my current boss said she felt "we were of the same mind" and many kind students have expressed that I am, in fact, Korean now.  These things warm my heart and encourage me when I struggle to learn the new language and cultural expectations.

However, I know that my experience is not that of many foreigners teaching here.  I read their blogs, or talk to them in passing and I hear about a Korea I don't know and have not met.  It is distant to me, one of those trains passing in a different direction.

For better or worse, I draw the curtain on these ghost cars and focus the smiles in the world around me.  It seems unfair to cast judgment on my community based on the experiences of others.  Until my train jumps tracks or crashes into the sea, I'm going to keep feeling loved, appreciated, respected and accepted no matter what the last blog or bitter ex-pat says.

I'm quite certain many folk who catch my train as it trundles by think, "My god, that woman is so naive, that train isn't headed where she thinks it is!" but that's ok.

I'm not looking to be cool or right.

I'm just looking to be left alone to endlessly enjoy the magical journey and not worry to much about where it might be taking me.

Kit, No Caboodle

Stopping to smell the fall pumpkins.

My drama has a surprise guest from a former season.

 Kit is here!
without her Caboodle.
(Missed you Roy and Tawny)

I'm terribly excited to have her guest star for a week.
We first met when she hired me ages ago,
and made me part of her drama.

Even after I set out on my own, 
our mutual love of pocket-sized adventures
has brought us together over and over again.
These cross-over shows 
allow for a lovely continuity
to complex and ever changing dramas.
It's a partner ship that seems to continue effortlessly 
no matter what new channel our dramas have moved to.

Sokcho Shenanigans