Feb 25, 2010


So, for months people have been talking about going to a norebong...they are so much fun, you must come. But, the problem is, i have never been a fan of kareoke and to go with a bunch of friends seemed even worse to me.

Last night, after work, I really wanted a cheeseburger. So, a few of us, Fliss, Rupsha and I, went to Lotteria and had a Korean version of a cheeseburger. Then, everyone wanted to go to fish and grill for some fruit flavored soju and seeing as though I wasn't yet tired (very weird for me seeing as though it was close to 11 pm) I went along. We had Kiwi and Strawberry flavored soju. A few more friends met up with us, Holly, Molly, Romy, Park and three of his friends.

Then, off we went to a norebong 노럐방we went. At a norebong, each group of people get their own room (it was of a decent size), there are song books, disco lights, tamborines and a great sound system. You pay a small fee and then run to the corner store to pick up snacks, soju and beer. I really couldn't believe it, but right from the start I jumped up to the front and sang along with everyone.

I left around 3 am. There are more pictures under the "photos" beware that they are not the best...but man did I have fun! There are some videos and if I can round them up from Rupsha's camera, then I will post them too.

Feb 23, 2010

Tae Kwon Do

This weekend Adam and I stumbled upon a Taekwondo black belt testing. There were over 2,000 kids, of all ages, testing for their black belt certificate. The kids went through three different sets of tests:

they were divided into groups of 20 and then first did 2 different routines infront of the judges.

then, the students went and helped each other put on sparring gear. They then did synchronized kicks and the judges paired them up with kids of the same size and had them spar until the bell rang.

the kids then took off each others gear and went to the chopping area where they were given different pieces of plastic board depending on their size. the blue was less thick and the red was thicker. the kids broke them in half.

it was quite exciting to see and really unimaginable how many kids take part in taekwondo in Gwangju alone.

A little background on Taekwondo from wikipedia

Taekwondo (태권도; 跆拳道; Korean pronunciation: [tʰɛkwʌndo])[a] is a Korean martial art and the national sport of South Korea. In Korean, tae (태, ) means "to strike or break with foot"; kwon (권, ) means "to strike or break with fist"; and do (도, ) means "way," "method," or "art." Thus, taekwondo may be loosely translated as "the way of the foot and fist" or "the way of kicking and punching."

Taekwondo is the world's most popular martial art in terms of the number of practitioners.[1] Its popularity has resulted in the varied development of the martial art into several domains: as with many other arts, it combines combat techniques, self-defense, sport, exercise, meditation and philosophy. Taekwondo is also used by the South Korean military as part of its training.[2] Gyeorugi (pronounced [ɡjʌɾuɡi]), a type of sparring, has been an Olympic event since 2000.

Here are all of the pictures from our day.

Click here to view these pictures larger


For the last few weeks, I has promised Peter, one of my students that we would come to his family's restaurant for dinner. They own a very healthy Shabu Shabu restaurant. When we showed up Saturday night, the restaurant was packed...yet Peter's father and mother came over and sat with us, talked with us and catered to us. Peter sat with us the whole time..his English going wild and telling us everything...even making my wraps for me. Shabu is a meal where there is a pot of water on a burner in the middle of the table. You cook meat and veggies (sprouts, greens, cabbage) inside the water. Some restaurants use a red spicy broth and others use a clean broth. Then, once the meat is cooked, you soak a piece of rice paper in some water for 5 seconds or so and then place it on your plate. You put a piece of meat, some greens and then a ton of veggies, beets, pineapple, onion, mushrooms and your choice of peanut, pepper or fish sauce into the paper...wrap it up and as Peter instructed us, eat it all in one bite, so don't make your wraps too big. We had a fantastic dinner and at $10 a piece...it is one of our favorite meals in Korea.

Feb 20, 2010

Our next big adventure...BOOKED

As you may know, our contract here in Korea is quickly approaching an end... Basically at the end of June we will be done and have 6 months until our wedding....what to do.
This morning we booked tickets with STATravel.com to travel the world... a lot of it anyway. What else could there possibly be better than that?
This is our ticketed itinerary ...
July 8 - Seoul to Bangkok - leave 9:35 am - land 1:25 pm Thai Airways (travel through Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam)
Sept. 16 - Bangkok to Singapore - leave 11:15 am - land 2:30 pm Thai Airways (singapore and a small bit of Malyasia..if time permits)
Sept. 21 - Singapore to Doha - leave 2:25 am - land 5:15 am Qatar Airways (long layover)
Sept. 22 - Doha to Berlin - leave 1:40 am - land 7:05 am Qatar Airways (travel through Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Italy, France, Belgium, Netherlands and England)
Nov. 2 - London to Reykjavik - leave 1:00 pm - land 4:00 pm Islandair
Nov. 16 - Reykjavik to Sanford - leave 5:20 pm - land 8:20 pm Islandair

So, we will land at Orlando Sanford Airport on Nov. 16th at 8:20

we have no idea where we will focus on our travels or what we will see. But, now that the tickets are purchased, we will quickly finish up the wedding bookings and plans and begin to map out our 5 month adventure!

Feb 19, 2010

Big Hearts

I have spent the last week hacking deep within my chest, been to the dr. twice, and taken more meds than I have ever taken in my life. Today I was having a very emotional day and coming to work was the last thing I wanted to do with myself. I more wanted a ride in my old convertible out to the beach with my book, sweat pants and blanket for a day of reflection and solitude..instead I got a cold walk to work in the snow. Tina, (above - who is now about 6 years older than this picture) at the end of class, came up and brought me two homemade chocolate hearts. She said she made them for me. These kids NEVER give us anything more than stickers. I was so emotional that my eyes filled up and I hugged the heck out of her. She didn't hug back, just stood their weird, so I hugged her again. Then, at the end of the day, as I was sitting at my desk recapping my day, Lina, (below, who has a great smile) walked up to me and placed a metal thermos on my desk. She said, teacher, for your throat. She made Ouija tea for me and had it in her backpack all day at academy. Ouija (Ooojah) is made from sliced lemons douced in sugar and sitting for weeks in a jar until it is almost candied. Then, you add it to hot water and let it sit...then pull the lemon rhinds out. Once again, my eyes filled up and I was so touched that she thought of me. Thank you guys.

Feb 18, 2010

Commercial Fun

Adam and I think it is very unfair that all of you in America do not have the opportunity to watch the fun commercials we see here....so here are a few for you.

Feb 17, 2010

Paris Hilton - In a Hanbok

I am not sure what takes place on Infinite Challenge even though I have seen it a billion times...in Korean. It is a bunch of people running around doing silly things with neon Korean words flashing up on the screen...I guess the latest guest was none other than "the Paris Hilton." Perfect for the New Year, Paris wore her hanbok and ate the traditional Korean foods. I hope they show the actual taping on TV. I would be very interested in her reaction to the qwirky tv show and nice spicy Korean delicacies. article

Naked News

at first, what begins to look like a photo shoot or a catwalk...turns into Koreas own "naked news"

Just thought Id share, figured it would get your attention

Feb 15, 2010

Valentine Hermits on Drugs.....

...if there is one thing I really can't stand, other than runny scrambled eggs, its being sick. I feel very defeated when i become sick and mostly because I am disappointed that some micro-sicky germ that I can't even see has crippled Nicole and I to the point of uselessness during a three day weekend. But, it happens, and so we deal, watch movies, moan, and take lots of drugs.

We've done pretty well with our health as this was really the first weekend we were both feeling yucky since we got here 8 months ago...

Our weekend started with our trek to the doctor which was interesting. The doctors don't seem quite as thorough here which is somewhat concerning but they are always super nice which is obviously more important than their knowledge of medicine ;) After a quick look at Nicole and I, our doc decided that Nicole needed some intreveinous goodness, while i would only need some pills to rid us of this flu-like bug. By some pills I mean a massive roll of pre-packaged assorted pills.....strangely, this picture was before we ingested anything.

2 hours later we headed home to relax and watch some of the winter olympics opening ceremonies which we both agreed were imaginative and unique as far as opening ceremonies go.

Being sick provides you the unique opportunity to not feel so bad about playing video gave so i endulged in some Wii time while Nicole stayed busy reading and searching for wedding stuff. We're always on the go so its actually not so bad having a reason not to be for once and in fact, even though we felt like doody, we enjoyed the weekend as much as any other. Plus, extra sleep is never a bad call.....

Watched a few movies...V for Vendetta, The Gamer, really weird and Benjamin Button.

I guess the one part of the weekend that I felt bad about was that we kinda missed out on Valentines Day but i guess you don't really miss out when you spend it with loved ones right? My heart-shaped chocolate chip pancake breakfast for Nicole was the best i could do, but she loved it just as much as flowers....but not Chocolate, she would have appreciated that more.

So yes, its a new lunar new year and we rang it in as hermits, but we rather enjoyed it and proved to ourselves once again that we can have fun anywhere, anytime, and even sick as dogs as long as we do it together ;)

Hope you all had a fantastic Valentines Day and got to share some time with those who you love most.

thanks for readin,

Feb 13, 2010

South Korea's Winter Olympic Athletes Ready to Bring It in Vancouver!

Today marked the kickoff to the 2010 games and being in South Korea we feel a certain sense of pride rooting for the "home" team. While I certainly do want to see the states do well as always, its exciting to follow some of the South Korean athletes on their quest for gold in these Olympics as well.

I did a blog recently on the bobsled team which will be competing in their first games ever this year but the South Korean team has a few more names that are worth a watch as you tune in this year.

You've probably heard of Yu-Na Kim (Kim Yu-na), the figure skater. She's been pegged as the overall favorite for gold in these games with her massive world title victory last year. The South Korean's boast the strongest short track team in the world which was proven yet again in the last winter olympics where they cleaned up taking 6 of 8 golds in the sport. Lee Ho-Suk and Kwak Yoon-Gy will are the ones to watch in theshort track events.

On the women's side SoKo, check out Kim Min-Jung who won medals at the World Championships in 2009. She's a medal favorite in the relay events this year as well.

Lee Kang-Seok and Lee Kyu-Yulk are considered favorites to medal in the man's long track speed skating events. Both finished 1 and 2 respectively at the 2009 worlds.

This years South Korean team is the largest team ever sent by the country and its gonna be exciting to see how it all goes down.
as they say with fists raised high.....FIGHTING!!!!!!

...and thanks for reading,

Exclusive Winter Olympics news & widgets at NBC Olympics.com!

Feb 11, 2010

Attention Lost Fans!

Does this man look familiar? I know this the last season of Lost. The last few years, so many friends of mine have jumped on the bandwagon and watched this confusing, yet somehow amazing show develop. Did you know that the handsome Jin is Korean/American actor Daniel Dae Kim. He was born in Busan which is a mere 2 1/2 hours from us here in Gwangju. After looking him up on Wikipedia, I am in awe at all that he has filmed! And now…the best part, just because Lost is ending doesn’t mean Kim is done with American TV. CBS has just hired him to star in the remake series of Hawaii five-O. So, I am sure there will be countless more episodes of this stud muffin shirtless and running along the beautiful scenery in Hawaii!

Feb 10, 2010

Cocpop - only 2,000 Won

Yesterday at work my whole class was treated to a cocpop. (Coke, Popcorn Chicken) by Bona's mother. BHC Chicken, which they swore to me stood for nothing...I was hoping Boss House Chicken or something cool like that, has a snack pack type meal. It comes in a togo cup, not any bigger than a medium size coke at mcD's the bottom half has fanta or cola inside and the top has a small cup that fits just perfect above the liquid and holds mini chicken nuggets that taste a lot like cafeteria playdoh nuggets. There is a perfect hole through the nugget plastic part into the soda for a straw. For less than $2.00 KFC popcorn chicken may never win in the Gwangju snack pack race.

I'm down to 6

Please vote again, this time you can choose up to 2. Remember, I am 5 ft. tall and quite curvy. This shows their backs too

Feb 9, 2010

Help Me Choose My Dress

I decided to have a little fun. I have narrowed down my dress choices to these 15. What's your vote? You can pick up to 5, these are my top 10 for you to choose from.

Feb 8, 2010

Photography Contest

Adam's photography
This is a copy of the February Gwangju News. It is a local magazine here for the English Speaking Population. Adam has published his second photograph in the magazine (pg. 25, it says my name, but he really took it) For the March issue, he is writing an article about Suncheon where we traveled back in November. I will upload that one when we get it for you too.

Dress Shopping

I know that dress shopping and pictures are supposed to be underraps until the wedding day...but I think our circumstances are way different so...
Yesterday some very fantastic friends of mine met me downtown and we attempted dress shopping. I think I explained earlier that Koreans don't buy their dresses, they just rent them and they rent them from a company that does "the whole package" So, thank goodness two of my special Korean friends showed up too. We went into a boutique and after about 15 minutes of negotiation, $70.00 later, we were able to go in. All the girls sat on huge couches and I went behind the closed magic door with Giana. They had me put on these balloon silk pants that the women wear under the hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) and Fredrick's of Hollywood type chunky white high healed shoes. I would put on a dress behind the doors, the woman would hit the open button and bam I would wait for everyone's reactions...sometimes completely silent, other times ahh. I think I tried on about 8 dresses. Most were incredibly over the top with a floor length veil and huge tiara...but it definitely was fun. I do have more of an idea now of what I want for the wedding, but with our time frame who knows if we can pull it off.

Regardless, these wonderful friends of mine here, have no idea how much it meant to me for them to come with me yesterday. There are some moments that you truly wish you could share with your family here, this was one of them...but with them there, it felt almost perfect.

(the rest of the pictures are under photos at the top...beware of some nutty dresses)

Feb 7, 2010

DUI in Korea

Lately, we have seen a lot of this going on. Almost every night, set up in different places around our home are DUI check points. It is not voluntary like in the US. Everyone who isn't a cab driver is stopped by the PD and given an electronic breathalyzer test. I am told that you can be fined (not nearly as much as in the states, maybe $100 US) or you can have your lisence taken away for awhile. I saw this happening as I was walking home from work one night and asked some boys on the side what was going on, they mimicked drinking a bottle of something and then said "monkey house"

A cute little tea house

Lase weekend, we were taken to a cute little tea house a little walk outside of downtown. Minnie, a friend from Yoga took us there. All of the decor (and really cool chopsticks) are handmade by the owner, this is her second shop. The menu was filled with green tea items, tea remedies, beautiful rice cakes and coffees. It was a great little find, but I am not sure if I will ever be able ti find my way there again without her help.

Feb 6, 2010

Dr. Skin Mandatory Facial +Olive = Attack of the killer 4 lb. dog

My treatment with Dr. Skin is done and now I am going for mandatory 2 hour facials every 2 weeks...shucks. Anyway, there must be something in all of the goodies they put on my face because last night, I was loved like never before.I was lying on the couch reading a book like I do most every night to wind down for bed and all of a sudden Olive came to give me a kiss, which isn't unusual. But, when she began at my chin and worked her way up my nose and into my eye sockets, I knew something was wrong. I know there is something gross, yet wonderful about your dog showing you that kind of affection. The video shows it all, and a little too much of my leg, sorry. But, I would pull her off of me and like a bullet she would be right back. It was hysterical, I can't remember laughing like that, you can kind of hear it in the video. I really have no idea what came over her. Enjoy and don't be too grossed out.

Feb 4, 2010

hey thanks!

Just a quick shout out to all that have read the blog over the past 10 months! We just checked our counter and saw that we just surpassed a phenomenal 10,000 visitor count! We really appreciate all the people who hopefully have enjoyed reading about our life here in Korea and the randomness that we occasionally write about. Its been very exciting to share it all and we will continue to do so as the adventure goes on. As always...thanks for reading,

Ram this Dodge

I know this doesn't have anything to do with Korea, but I just got off Skype with my grandparents and my Papa was filling me in on some major drama back in Lake Mary.
Lake Mary High School, the high school I went to is about to be sued by Dodge. We are and always have been Lake Mary Rams. All over the school there are statues, posters, plaques, paintings dedicated to the all powerful Ram. Well, I guess that Dodge believes that we have used their ram and all of a sudden are court ordering us to change it...or else lawsuit.

Good god, how many high schools across America are Mustangs, Rams, Chargers etc.

How dumb is Chrysler, right now their financial situation isnt necessarily the best. Now, they are going to alienate all of central florida due to their ridiculousness. This is their time to embrace their inner Ram and go after the market of teenagers and their parents investing in cars right now...AND they actually are sponsors of the schools athletics department.

Here are some links to the articles. and another

Good news is that maybe I can sell my old tshirts on ebay for a profit, they will be antiques. just kidding, my old high school shirts are the best.

SHINee - Ring Ding Dong

Thanks Kristi. Here is another one. Listen for the English Words here and there. I think that they sound so much like the boy band era we had in America ten years ago. I actually really like this song. The beat is really fun. There seems to always be one member of the group though that has to have his blonde hair!

Feb 3, 2010

kpop at it's finest

as Ad and I were running on the treadmill this morning, this video came on and Ad and I did our best to stay balanced without falling off laughing. Just check out the makeup...and enjoy (ps. they are all men)

Feb 2, 2010

I'm off limits boys

I’m taken means something a bit more drastic here in Korea. I just thought I would let you know that ever since people have begun to find out I am engaged, less and less of the guys, Korean, are even speaking to me. At work, Jason found out I was engaged and wouldn’t give me a hug on his last day here because I am engaged. He wiggled off like a lizard without his tail. At the gym, these two young Koreans spoke with me just yesterday. Today, the owner told them Adam and I were engaged. One of the boys looked at me and said, Husband? I said soon. He said oh and walked off. It is like I am now completely off limits, even to talk too. I am a poison or a death sentence to them. It shows just how much they respect relationships, or other men’s women here.

so fresh and so cheap cheap...

For me, one of the best parts about our Korean experience has been the food. Living a day without my Kimchi is gonna be rough when we are outta here which is ironically, is completely the opposite of what i expected based on the advice I got from others before we arrived.

Anyways, i just had a thought yesterday after i hit the veggie market that we never really blogged about how amazingly affordable produce is here if you do it right!

As an example from my short trip after the gym yesterday is this hefty assortment of 30 eggs, 14 bananas and 20 clementines that I picked up for a whopping 10,000 won ($8.60)!!

Here's the rate on some other stuff we've picked up in the past....

-cucumbers: 6 for 2000won($1.70)
-cherry tomatoes (lil ones): about 40-50 for 3000won ($2.58)
-onions: 6 for 2000won
-lettuce: usually free (service) if we buy something else
-sweet potatoes: 6 for 2000won

i'm sure there is more and usually, the cool lil ajumas(old ladies) will throw something else in our bag for free if we smile nice ;)

Also, if we shop at the larger supermarkets (E-mart, Home Plus), the prices are significantly higher and we miss out on the chance to buy directly from the people who work their tails off to bring it fresh to us everyday. i love it.

thanks for readin,

Feb 1, 2010

Fitness in Korea

Korea has been really good for me. I have pretty much stayed on a fitness regimen since I arrived and in all honesty am almost back to my 24 year old shape...holy moly! But the thing is, here in Korea, fitness comes easy. We now have the full on hiking gear, and it is even somewhat matching just like a couple in Korea should.

When I ask my students what sports they know, first they stare at me blankly, then, out comes taekwando in which Korea is its origin. Then they say ice skating (yuna kim) badminton is another sport that the kids play often, or even attend academy for. I have heard squash, sward fighting, boxing, baseball (the kia tigers being huge), hiking, yoga, biking...its all here.
The easy part about it is, is that our daily routines not only encourage exercise but almost demand it. On the weekends we head out on a hike, either close by on the ride or the mountain...the Koreans pass us everytime, high tailing it up the mountain decked out in their professional gear. We ride our bikes down the river...it seems to go on forever.

I'd never really even heard of badminton until we got here, but here, it is a professional sport, on the tv all the time and the kids are all into it. In PE at their public school they are even taught and tested on the rules of badminton, which I find hysterical...for some reason that little racket just looks like a silly toy to me.
Everytime we are in Emart, Adam picks up the swords and swears he wants to take a class.

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