Archive | April, 2011

Cuddly Cultural Experience

28 Apr

In the past few weeks cherry blossom season has come and gone (which I must say, albeit of momentous beauty, is overshadowed by its fickleness…..I would say that the flowers were in bloom for no more than 3 days prior to wilting away) , I have hiked mountains, seen temples, and have visited three different cities. Within these lie some of the most visually stimulating experiences of my life time thus far, so of course are all ones I forgot my camera at home for(ah! such is the burden of the dufus).

But alas do not fret for all is not lost, as I did manage to bring my camera to the most enriching of these experiences – the opening of the Teddy Bear Museum in Gyeongju (one of my students really wanted to go so that is how I ended up there… I swear it!)  All sarcasm aside the experience was certainly intriguing. The event’s demographic was equally comprised of children and women my age, with a small percentage of parents and disgruntled male chaperones(who doubled as personal photographers/purse racks).  When I was originally told of said  museum images of a child friendly, cozy and kitschy  environment came to mind, and yet it was nothing of the sort, as it seemingly attempted to imitate  modern art galleries with its sterile white walls and glass encased displays.  What was also interesting was the choice in themes for the displays, from ancient Korean history and the birth of baby  Jesus to ones inspired by popular Korean dramas, none of which seemed to be of much interest to what I anticipated to be the intended demographic.

An example of how ornate and detailed some of the displays were:

The famous Sermon on the Mount where Jesus made sure that no bears went without fish and honey

A re-enactment of my fave scene from House of Flying Daggers

Just giving ol’ pops a piggy back ride

Warming up for a scene in the upcoming Black Swan sequel. Industry insiders say  that it will have even more crotch grabs than its predecessor(hard to imagine, I know), including an intense psychedelic slo-mo montage of said grabs

Middle East Represent!

I have a penchant for all things neon, so I will admit that I enjoyed the “Under the Sea” exhibit

And then there was a series of displays paying homage to the classics (Fine, to be fair some could legitimately classify as classics, but I doubt this standard would apply to the general Korean public, especially not the adolescents) Really, of all the movies ever made is Step Up amongst the most deserving of a Teddy Bear homage?(I wonder which one is meant to be Channing Tatum)

To my disappointment, there wasn’t a display for Saturday Night Fever’s sequel, Staying Alive

Rudy Galindo gets a life sized bear (and rightfully so!)

Wow I just managed to write an entire post based on my visit, so really what’s more laughable :S



Hail to the Chief!

19 Apr

Today I went to lunch with my all Korean tennis club. We went for sushi, which is a far cry from what I would find at my regular sushi haunt back in Toronto. The main attraction was what I would describe as a bibimbap, sans the egg and with raw fishing in lieu of beef, and was absolutely delicious!  The side dish, raw sea squirt,  was mildly less appetizing. Though I ate it with ease during the meal, my opinion quickly soured after catching the live thing outside of the dining establishment. Looked something like this:

Honestly the ones hanging out smirking at me (fine they have no faces but I swear I caught a smirk!) in the foggy tank outside of the restaurant were even more revolting looking- kinda like they fell off this guy:

However, the most entertaining part of the meal was when I somehow got elected “Chief”(basically someone to relay information from the coach to the other members and to organize get-togethers) of our all Korean speaking tennis club . I of course understood this to be a hilarious joke and was rolling around on the floor with laughter, but quickly realized that after  several rounds of applause that they were being dead serious(that and the look of annoyance that came over my bosses face as she knew that she would obviously be doing the bulk of the work for me). Apparently this is all part of the coach’s master plan for me to learn Korean, I somehow feel his plan may backfire….

Anyways, it’s been nearly two months since my teaching premier, so I feel it appropriate to show you some of my students.

Cutest personality ever! Beyond those times when he swings from blouse collars…..

Is thinking of turning to Dr.Phil for help with her high-five addiction:

Couldn’t tell from this picture but the kid on the left is the sweetest ever

Just won a rock-paper-scissors! battle-the resolution to all classroom disputes

I know you’re not supposed to pick favourites, but if I would this may be him. I told my boss this and she replied, “Really, but he’s always dirty!” . Sounds like my kinda kid….

“Shauna Teacher I am happy and I am sad and I am so-so and I am great and I am okay and I am tired and I am ummmmmmmm” *confused face*

You can bet I had to confiscate that

Cutie. ‘Nough said

Getting the kindergardeners to work this intently is a Christmas miracle. And the kid on the right has THE BEST hair – the future star of a Korean drama

Popular Korean delicacy

Thats right, I work them to the bone

And I’ll leave off with this one(no wonder I’m always sick)



13 Apr

…and misdiagnosed.

Just came back from the doctor to replace a simple skin cream I mindlessly left back in Toronto. The convo unfolded like so:

Doctor: Why are you here?

Me: I need to replace a cream that I was using in Canada it was ca…

Dr: Okay! let’s seee(looks at me for a millisecond while blinking……) Ahh you have allergies!

Me: Oh no, I’m not allergic to anything..

Dr: Oh, right! (Types a code into the computer, Allergies pops up in bold capital letters)

Me: Oh no no I DON’T HAVE ALLERGIES. What am I allergic to exactly?

Dr: Ah yes! Hmm I know what it is, allergies!

Me: But I’m not allergic to anything..

Dr: I understand now. You are telling me that you have allergies.

Me: No no (motioning X with arms)

Dr: Oh okay lets see (types into computer …. what pops up?? duh! allergies in bold letters extra large font………………….ok so maybe the font size was normal)

Me: But I dont hav….uh never mind….. it’s ok please don’t perscribe me anything to be taken oraly.

Dr: Ah ok ok! (types up prescription) So you do this (motions taking oral medication with hands) for three days and then come back and see me. Okay bye thank you!

*My boss beckons for me to leave the office*

Me: I think he gave me the wrong medication I don’t have allergies.

Boss: Oh but sometimes you can have allergies.

Me: Yesssssss …..

Boss: Some times skins allergic to something and then it needs medicine.

*Cue to me boxing myself in the face*

I was too disgruntled at this point to argue further so I simply paid for my doctors bill and prescription and left (not like either were pricey, the grand total was equivalent to about $6.00 CAD). I feel bad being bothered as my boss went out of her way to drive me (which is way beyond her call of duty), but I now am in possession of 9 baggies of pills and a tube of cream all meant for someone with allergies, which incase you didn’t quite understand from the conversation with the doctor, I don’t have.



Ps Totally unrelated, but whilst searching for a picture of Conory in his role of Medicine Man to feature in this post, I came across many photos from what must have been his Bond days-what a dreamboat! (this is likely news to no one, and though dreamboat may exagerated, its rather hard for me to picture him looking anything but comical….alas I was mistaken)

All Quiet on the Frenemy Front

8 Apr

After 2 weeks of intense behavioral therapy Baji is comfortable enough for me to hold him and pose for a photo shoot. Work it!

Baji or Popples?

Fave hangout: Old cardboard tunnel…

Chowing down! Was meant for his dinner…..snuck it while I was prepping his cage.

Although he has come leaps and bounds since his first days hyperventilating under my wardrobe, he’s not completely comfortable with his new giant owner and the slum he calls home, proven to be true when he rolls into a ball while jutting his spikes out at me (how rude, has he never hear the saying don’t prick the hand that feeds you??). Apparently it takes a few months for hedgies to warm up to new owners, but if they become cozy enough you can pet them (and if you’re really lucky a few have been known to roll around with glee whilst allowing you to rub their belly…..I’m thinking that Baji’s a bit far from that).

For now if he’s not lounging around in his Gana cake box (Gana cakes are Korea’s delicious/disgusting answer to  Jos Louis) he curiously scurrying his chubby self around my room.  I still have yet to rename him as I am pretty useless when it comes to naming anything(naming this blog for instance took ages and even when I finally decided i had to rip the name from the Neutral Milk Hotel song). The best I’ve come up with so far is Chubby Wubby, Sir Poopsalot ( to be fair he does his business quite a bit for such a tiny chubby thang), Sonic…..yup pretty useless. Since I cannot be trusted with the task I think I’m going to make it into a competition of sort amongst my students. The results could be interesting….

The next hurdle to cross is bathing him and giving him is monthly pedicure…….. wonder if they’d let him join the fun at the nearby Jjimjilbang (“spas”…..a Korean’s dream form of relaxation, my nightmare ….read more here)

I’ll end this one the victim of my theft:


Shauna Teacher Gets Schooled

5 Apr

Having meaning to master tennis for the better part of the past ten years, I was very excited to learn that my boss had kindly signed me up for free beginner lessons being offered by the city.  Despite the fact that I was to be the only foreigner in the class, I felt my Swedish heritage, the same that led the great Björn Borg to Wimbleton victory, would provide me with natural talent that would overcome any language barriers.

Alas, much to my surprise(and yours especially), my genetic theorem has proven to be flawed, as my first lesson quickly turned into waygookin (essentially korean for foreigner) comedy hour.  If my swings were not followed by the resounding laughter of my peers(I feel it was less of a snicker and more and more out of endearment “oh look at that foreign giant go… resilient!” ), they were  followed by corrections being shouted at me in Korean by my coach who was clearly getting increasingly exasperated as the lesson progressed. I feel that the Korean language has an innate gentle sternness, thus being on the receiving end of any harsh words spoken in this tongue is less than relaxing, especially coming from an older male; it almost has the same effect as gravely disappointing a parent.  My only saving grace was during stretches where I out stretched the lot of them.(what, so your racket can actually make contact with the ball? Ha! Well I can touch my toes…BAM)

Nonetheless, despite my first lesson being filled with embarrassment(which is par for the course really), I purchased new tennis shoes after work today and will be attending lessons every weekday for the next year. And who knows, once my Korean improves perhaps I will find that what was once believed to be angry criticisims are infact words of encouragement and gratitude such as, “Ooooo! Great height on that swing! The ball flew beautifully over that fence” , “How do get your shots to always to veer left? I admire your consistency.” or, “Wow, thank you so much- your wild wide shots have gotten me into the best shape of my life”.