Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

The Pog Formerly Known as Baji

10 Jul

When I first welcomed Baji into my humble abode (emphasis on humble) I promised the students that they would be given the opportunity to rename him. I considered this to be quite ingenious as it served me on multiple dimensions; first it allowed me to relinquished the responsibility of naming him myself (my previous two pets were named Angel and Star, so take from that what you will), second it provided me with a cost effective incentive for the children outside of the usual candy and stickers, and finally it justified any moral repercussions the name change would cause, such as his resulting identity crisis and a pile up of psychiatry bills(the little man doesn’t even realize he has a name, so said moral repercussions are a bit of an embellishment)

It took a while to decide how to orchestrate this as it had to be devised so each of my 60-odd  students were given a fair chance without ending up with 60-odd names. And so during the past month I held small contests where the winners would choose a name to placed on the short list. This is what they came up with:



Lioge (err I have no idea where they were going with this one) 

Coma (I didn’t have the heart to explain to a five year old what a coma was)


Bolton (Micheal Bolton….Bolton, Ontario ??)




Master Windu (as per suggested by Master Jedi)

Dochi (Hedgehog in Korean is goseumdochi 고슴도치 thus dochi for short)



So though there were some strange ones in there (like who/what/where/why/how on earth is a lioge??), I was pleasantly surprised by the wit of some,  like spike and cactus. Well done little ones, well done. (that sounded rather maniacal….)  This past week I had the students vote for their fave. The results are in and the winner is (drum roll, ect) ……

And so there it is. Baji is now Dochi and can add identity crisis to his growing list of stressors. And so I leave you with a photo montage of the endearingly mischievous living,breathing(huffing?) stress ball that is Baj..erm I mean Dochi. To give a bit of background, these were taken in the bowels of  torture chamber that was my apartment last weekend once my air con blew out. Hedgehogs are rather finicky about everything temperature – their environment should never be too hot or too cold(if Dochi ran things I’d be fashioning him a mini air purifier/dehumidifier to be put in his cage while I manually fan him). Leaving a hedgehog in too low of a temperature is actually quite serious; the cold can induce a state of hibernation that the domesticated animal is not accustomed to, which can be quite dangerous….and sometimes fatal. Too hot, however, simply leads to loads of laughs for me.

Woo freedom!

Coooooool a plastic thing for me to hide in

Whew… it’s rather toasty in here

This kinda heat is illegal….my giant is inhumane…..*SPLAT*

Nein! Must….take…advantage…..of……freedom……………..

Oh eff that! *melts to the floor*

I totally get you Ba…Dochi



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:


Jump off the roof Maggie jump off….

24 Mar

As I just received news of Elizabeth Taylor’s passing I have decided to post a clip of her in what may be one of the most stylish outfits of all time. The movie clip also happens to feature the love of my life, Paul Newman, being charming as ever. May they both rest in peace.

Too Cool!

23 Mar

I came to Korea with fantastical views of insanely low prices for just about everything.( during pre-trip research I read tall tales of teachers coming over with $60 and the clothes on their back so what was I to expect?)  To my dismay, nearly everything beyond eating out and riding in taxi cabs(which are my two fave toronto past times to be honest), is at par with or more expensive than Toronto. Due to overwhelming interest (not that any has been explicitly expressed, I just know my audience)  I will be releasing an in depth empirical study of the price disparity between my old and new home in the form of a super exciting blog post in weeks to come.

This certainly made me regret my decision to wait until I reached Korea to buy a new ipod, as it turns out that Apple products are far more overpriced here than they are in North America. Apple’s sad sad pricing left me in a deep dark depression once again when a friend forwarded me this awesome video about their newest product. (no I am not some Apple patriot…just watch the video and then try to convince me you aren’t dazzled by Steve Jobs)

Alas, it is for the best as this pauper has no need for such pricey toys (despite its obvious utility in realizing my dreams of kpop stardom).

Le Wah!

28 Feb

The old teacher moved out of my apartment this morning, which means I move in tonight riiiight? WRONG! My move has been postponed until the weekend as a moldapoloza has been discovered behind the headboard of my bed. Sigh. I suppose this means another week of being fed delicious home cooked meals and eating free Korean treats. Oh, and that picture, it’s the view from the bedroom window of their condo.

Le wah indeed!


26 Feb

A week has passed since a sleep deprived version of myself landed in Pohang, South Korea. Though I have yet to self-actualize or speak fluent Korean ,I feel that now is an appropriate time to write about my initial impressions of my new home.

Though I boarded an airplane that took me far far away to a foreign place where I look and speak like no one, the culture shock was certainly less than anticipated. The only shock is the overwhelming kindness and generosity that I have been shown. And unlike in egocentric western culture, having a strong value system is a virtue,  so if anything I find easier to relate. (yes I am claiming to have an ironclad value system…..arrogance is totally part of the Korean value system, no?)

What I have found most jarring is how handicapped my inability to speak Korean has left me to feel. Yes of course I should have anticipated something so obvious, but I’m not one to be realistic (though my expectation to speak fluent korean upon stepping onto Korean soil would not be an example of this) .  The inability to communicate has left me feeling like an infant. Once simple tasks like taking the bus and buying groceries now require the mental dexterity of taking the LSAT. I am continually surrounded by conversations that are clearly about me but have no idea what is being said.   But I know that this is all part of the process and I need to be patient and that the frustration will dissipate with time.  My absorption of the Korean language thus far has been limited to greetings and food(duh), and if we are honest it’s mostly me awkwardly bowing and mumbling “annyeong haseyo” at one decibel.  My only condolence is the fact that my Korean vocabulary seems to amaze locals (along with the fact that I can perfectly wield a pair of chopstick -again with the arrogance- and my ability to eat anything raw or spicier than Mc Donalds)

Up until now I have been staying with my new bosses as my place is still inhabited by the old teacher. Though to say that my stay has been comfortable would be an understatement, I feel it would be inappropriate to galavant about the city at whim, so consequently have not explored the city much. However I move out on Monday(woohoo) so that should change fast.

I will try to post pictures of my new villa within the next few days.