Monday, November 22, 2010


So, it's almost the end of November and the October round up never came.

I can make a few somewhat valid excuses like being too busy during school and too tired after school to keep up with this bad boy. Plus, the fact that I got the inevitable and most unwelcomed message from my MacBook's screen one morning. A gray, flashing question marked folder blinking blinking blinking then nothing. That was on a Friday morning a few weeks ago. My usual method of handling such technological snafus is to simply turn the device on and a off a few times (OK still nothing!) and then wait and hope that after a 5-6 hours respite from me frantically pushing the power button ever more forecfully that POOF! things will simply be fixed and everything back to normal.

Alas, my idiot-proof method didn't turn out to be such a genius move after all. I normally dip out of Songtan as soon as that 4:30 school bell sounds and head to Seoul or a friend's apartment for the weekend. The fact that I had a very, very sick computer waiting for me in Songtan was gone from my mind. It's Friday! Time for friends and soju and a good dinner and weekly story swaps. Ignorance is bliss, especially when you know just how daunting getting such a colossal problem fixed is going to be.

Then I got sick. Well, we all got sick. We gave all our runny noses and coughs to each other. On the weekends, we either crash at what has become our home in Seoul, good old Backpackers Space Hostel or we cram into someone's apartment covering every square inch of faux-wood floors or tile with our bodies. Weekends in Korea certainly do not lend themselves to rest and relaxation or the most comfortable of sleeping arrangements. But, I am not complaining. It's an accepted lifestyle choice I've made and I will sacrafice my back or neck for a spot on any of my friend's floors just so I can be surrounded by friends and general tomfoolery on weekends.

So, somewhere between being sandwiched between friends and sharing drinks I sounded like Krusty the Clown and I could barely breathe out of my nose on Sunday night. I decided to take a sick day on Monday, get caught up on some much needed sleep and then deal with that daggone flashing question marked folder that just wasn't going away.

I took my runny-nosed, hacking self up to Seoul to visit an Apple reseller and see if they had any suggestions besides just pressing on and off. The techie on staff gurgled out "Uh no. Done." Not what I wanted to hear and then very nicely recommened a computer repair store somewhere else in Seoul. Armed with a subway stop and the name Myung Jung Bo I set off to Yongsan in hopes of coming across this elusive computer repair shop.

After nearly 2.5 hours of searching and coming close to just throwing in the towel everytime I fruitlessly asked a passerbyer (doing my best to sound every bit Korean) if they had ever heard of a shop called Myung Jung Bo. Miraculously, I found Myung Jung Bo about 20 minutes before they closed and they had a quick look at my hard drive, told me it was toast, but that maybe, just maybe they could recover some of my music and files.

I'm still waiting to here the final verdict from Myung Jung Bo while I've been pricing out my next step. And it's going to be costly either way, shucks!

Phew. That was a very long winded apology for neglecting this blog so terribly over the past month or two and also cheap ploy for your sympathy (I'm computer/internet/music-less, ahhhhhhhhhhhhh).

Now to give this post a healthy does of sap, I have to say with Thanksgiving just a few days away that not having my face glued to a computer 24/7 has given me a chance to reflect on the other ways in which I am so blessed and grateful and for reminding me that a dead computer is not the end all be all. Just like they have you do in grade school, a list of few things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving...

First of all, this experience has been a dream. I have met nothing short of fabulous, inspiring, humbling people (Korean, American or otherwise) who have helped me when I didn't know which way on subway I was going, offered me their seat, shared their food or drink with me and exchanged polite niceties that reaffirm my faith in mankind (Did I take that too far?). And my co-teachers who have expressed nothing but extreme patience everytime I asked them which button to press to make copies or how I am supposed to pay my bills.

My family. I got an package about to explode it was stuffed with so many goodies from home. Thanks Mom and Dad, you da best!

I really have so much to be thankful for this year, so Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

I've rounded up a few pictures that I've stolen from my friends. With my current computer situation I won't be able to upload my own photos until I get that fixed, so until then you'll have to enjoy these morsles. I hurriedly uploaded these so they are all out of order and I'm far to too lazy to rearranging them so take them as they are.
Badgers WIN!!
Navagating over crowded subways is fun! Not.

Yatap where Julie and Quinn live.

Badgers are everywhere.

Everyone wanted a picture with an ajumma.

We attract a lot of unwanted attention.

Celebratory shots after we crushed Ohio State.

Global Gatherings

Neon Jo

Sparklers at Global Gatherings.

Quinn the Noraebong-ing pro.

My stick figured charicature of some of our group.

Sweet shoe bags at a bar.

Wearing traditional Korean hanboks.
Asia Song Fest as part of the G20 conference.
Wisconsin vs. Ohio State game.

Stealing posters to decorate our apartments.
We live out of the Subway station.

Neon and neon and neon.

Ajummania 2010.
Karaoke way way too much.

Global Gatherings. We are wearing the glowstick glasses and I'm wearing the silly hat because all night (8PM to 5AM) electronica music festival begs that you wear ridiculous flare.

We were in high demand.

We Noraebong (Karaoke) far too often.

New friends, new friends everywhere we go.

Poor Panda dog. His/her owners painted their dog up like a panda, pretty believable actually.

At Global Gatherings (all night techno/electronica music festival)

Our costume also doubled as technicolored Bishop/Pope hats.

Halloween in Korea. We are Korean grandmothers called Ajummas.

After hiking Mt. Bukhansan.

Hiking beautiful Mt. Bukhansan.

We are cause to stop and wonder.

I found a Taco Bell. Heaven really does exist!
Korean War Memorial.

Outside the Olympic Stadium waiting for Asia Song Fest to start.

Seoul Lantern Festival.


Seoul Lantern Festival

There are endless options of cool, hip, underground bars in Seoul.


Prague is everywhere we go.

Korean War Memorial and my head.

Diehards. Watching the Badgers demolish Ohio State in Itaewon.

Korean War Memorial.

Chris and I at Asia Song Fest. Neon glowstick check.

Kids selling Pokemon cards at a market in Hwajeong where my friend Olivia lives.

On a tank at the Korean War Memorial.
Fall is the best season.

Julie and Quinn after hiking Mt. Bukhansan.

Tongue searing spicy mussel and noodle soup. It's even better at 5:30 AM when we have to bide our time before the subway opens.

Korean War Memorial.

Our Ajumma (Korean grandmother) costumes garnered quite the audience.

Floods in Suwon.
Buddist Temples along the hiking route on Mt. Bukhansan.

Stomping around Bucheon where my friends Chris and Sam live.

The lantern festival in Seoul.

We are a pack of nomads.