Sunday, December 23, 2007

I saw Mama kissing Santa Claus

In the spirit of Christmas, my friend Emily and I shared some green tea spaghetti and regular spaghetti today (a lovely pairing of green and red sauces). Unfortunately I did not think to photograph until the dishes were mostly consumed. What, might you ask, is green tea spaghetti?
Honestly, I'm not exactly sure... tasted mostly like clam chowder to me. All I know is that it was green, smelled like fish, and there were crab legs coming out of my dish. Welcome to an "italian" resteraunt in Daejeon. Now, some Christmas joy in the O-Jung Dong area (I leave for Seoul in the morning)...

Christmas present to myself: a massive kimchee tub to be used as a bathtub. I took my first bath tonight. Awesome :)

A group of us at the Nutcracker ballet:

(Em and I at the nutcracker)

Cookie party:

Nothing says Christmas like some fake igloos outside our local mall (Kira and I):

I'm sure I'll post again in Seoul before I leave for Bali. But wanted to wish everyone a very merry christmas! Missing yall lots in this holiday season. Much love!

the final word.

I survived my first semester here (including narrative comments for every single student after I graded all their finals!). I thought a few more pictures from finals time would be appropriate...

My writing 2 students did cultural research projects for the second part of the quarter and presented their findings through a series of penpal letters and creative museum pieces. Here are some pics of them showing off their projects during our final exam/museum:

Friday, December 14, 2007

Something's fishy around here...

So Korea's latest fad... fish that eat all the dead skin cells off your feet. Basically you pay to put your feet in pools with carniverous fish. WHy would anyone pay to do that? I'm not sure. But I did.

Immediately the little fishies attack your toes and your heels. Wierdest feeling ever.

Annette was not so sure about this experience...

I on the other hand at least pretended to enjoy it :)

Oh, Korea. How strange you are sometimes.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

Welcome to my winter wonderland of an apartment :) White lights everywhere did the trick :)

I got a beautiful fake tree from a coworker:

Lights all around the bedroom:

Happy ornaments mailed from Mom:

No winter wonderland is complete without a wonderfully cheesy fake deer. Haha

And the highlight of it all... my lights making a huge star in my living room:

And now, just because it is funny...
I have no drier. So when my clothes are washed, I simply sweep my floors well and let my clothes dry on the heated floors (I crank the heat up real high and open the windows). Here's what my apartment looks like when this happens :)

Merry Christmas everyone. Back to giving/grading finals.

Friday, December 7, 2007


I can't help but laugh when I think about my afternoon. I believe I have talked about jimjilbangs before... basically massive spas/saunas that are a craze here in Korea. For 6,000 won (about $6) you have free access to a full sauna, hot/cold rooms, these things that are sort of like giant kilns, smooth stones, etc. The hot/cold rooms, stone parts, kilns, etc are all coed (you put on these pajama things) and the saunas are single sex and naked. If you want to, you can spend the night on the floor of the coed area. Well, welcome to a Friday afternoon in Daejeon...

This was an insanely long week (finals are starting next week) and it has been cold (today we got our first snow), so I looked forward to a nice day at the sauna. Almost immediately after school, I met with 7 of my coworkers and headed to a jimbilbang. Note that some of these coworkers were good friends and others were people I rarely spend time outside of work with. I should also note that two of the women who went along were also parents of my students. And we all spent hours naked together. Awesome.

Well first we put on our bright orange pajama-like outfits and hung out in the hot/cold rooms. We basically got ourselves as sweaty as possible. We stayed in these rooms for hours (literally) before we took a break and got Korean rice drinks. We also took about 30 minutes for a norebang break (there was a karaoke area inside the sauna... these places have everything!). After belting some oldies, we spent some time in these charcoal heated kiln things. I think the best description I heard was a reverse igloo (they were shaped the same way but were insanely warm instead of cold). Then finally about 7 pm we made it down to the saunas.

There we spent over an hour of naked time: we moved between different temperature pools, scrubbed each other's backs, waded in cool water steam rooms, and relaxed in showers. The brave people (I was not included in this category) paid a little extra and got full body scrub downs by some aggressive workers. These scrubber ladies were also naked and attacked people's dead skin cells on tables in the main room. Older woman laid in heat caves clad only in face masks. Small children floated in the pools beside their moms or grandmas. It was quite a scene.

After I finished my sauna time I had about a half hour to wait until everyone else was done. I waited in the locker room which was a scene in itself. Most women hung out naked after they finished and watched TV or lotioned themselves. Some were partially dressed. For some reason there were many children around tonight. The scene that captured my attention the most was a naked grandmother and her toddler-aged pajama-clad grandson. It was so fascinating to see the two of them interact. She seemed to have no qualms jumping around the room with her grandson on her back. She literally bounced around in circles with him on her back and her stomach flapping for about 20 minutes trying to get him to fall asleep. She was completely unfazed when he batted her nipples. She had no problem letting him fall asleep on her bare lap. It was so strange. And yet there was something so freeing and natural about the scene. The grandma had no shame and seemed secure in her own body.

Finally we left the jimjilbang about 9 pm to go get dinner... 9 pm!!! Almost 5 hours after we arrived!!! The longest I had ever been before was about an hour and a half. So, moral of my evening: 5 hours naked with all the people I work with= hysterical adventures! Haha. What a great night.

Oh how far away from home I am.