How long have we been here?!

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Hello, hello!

Well as many of you know, fall is Soccer time! So Ajenai has joined the soccer team at school. She has never been on a soccer team before so she has been really excited to learn about the game.

She played a total of 4 soccer jamboree's...and she played 3 to 4 teams at each jamboree; so she had her fair share of running down field!

Time for a break!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Hello, hello!

Well, a jimjjilbang is s sort of spa that Koreans frequent. They are AWESOME! You pay about 5 bucks or less and you get access to all the facilities. They are coed but they have separate areas for men and women're naked. That's right, you have to be NAKED inside!

Ok, let me explain the process. So I LOVE spas and have been dying for the Korean experience so one night Ajenai and I decide to check one out.

We went to Dragon Hill Spa. Just walking into the place you feel relaxed! So I pay 9 grand (about $10) for both of us. The lady at the counter hands me 3 things...4 towels a little bit bigger than a wash cloth, a locker key, and lite green gym shorts with a matching top. Yes, you have to wear a uniform inside. At least it's not pink for girls and blue for boys like most places here ! (I kid you not!).

So we take off our shoes and go into an open area that is packed with lockers. This is where you take your street shoes off and place them in the locker. Then we go around the corner to the "Womens" elevator. The "Mens" elevator is down the way a little bit. In the elevator I casually mention to Ajenai, "oh you have to be naked once we're inside." The look on her face...priceless. She very nearly banged into the wall in a full scale panic! But I told her everyone will be naked so it won't be a big thing! yeah, right.

On the "womens" floor, there is a dressing area and a locker area and a counter selling everything from bra's to snickers bars. There are also size 2 naked Asian women as far as the eye could see! Shocker! Even though I expected it...still a shocker! We must have looked a little confused because this little old lady dressed in a french maid outfit (for real) came from behind the counter to help us.

She told us that the bathing areas are downstairs. And massage was down the hall, common areas (shared with men and women) were down a different staircase. So, Ajenai and I went to the dressing area and proceeded to disrobe. Women were walking all around, some had those itty bitty towels we got at the front counter draped over their breasts, as if it could help!

Ajenai surprised me. She was trying to hide herself while taking her clothes off but then she was fine. While I, on the other hand, wore a towel I brought with me, so it covered all the naughty bits! Our first step was the bathing area. So we went down stairs and they had several huge pools all at various temperatures. Started at ahhhhh, cold, then lukewarm and went to boiling. Ajenai couldn't handle the middle temp but I dove in. She got into a lukewarm pool with other kids. They had shallow and deep pools so you could soak just your legs or swim if you wanted to. Of course, everyone stared at us, I'm used to it by now. And they weren't unfriendly so, (shrug) what can you do? I also saw a mud relaxation room but I wasn't brave enough to try that one out, yet. There was an awesome outdoor pool too. Actually, 3 pools, one cool, warm, and hot. Set in this beautiful garden, really pretty.

In the back of the bathing area were these stone tables called the scrubbing area. And they were covered with naked women and these old ladies in black bras and panties (lace too. straight outta victoria's *wrinkled* secret!) were doing body scrubs. They had wet salt and sand and these huge rough looking mits. They were picking women up by the legs and tossing them around and scrubbing and scrubbing. Scared me way too much for me to even think of trying that! But the women looked nice and shiny pink afterwards!

I decided I absolutely had to get a massage. So I go back upstairs and ask the french maid how I arrange one. She took me down this hall and this tiny old woman, (like maybe 4 feet and 60 lbs!) was sitting cross legged on the floor. So I ask for a 10 minute foot massage. And I say many many times, feet and calf only, 10 minutes. And I point to the area and mimic massage motions. Both old ladies say ,yea, yea. Which is what Koreans ALWAYS say. And then the old lady holds up 4 fingers. Everything is so cheap here I'm like cool, I can afford 4 bucks! So I lay down on the sheet. And she starts squawking at me. So I get up. She puts another sheet down, then she puts a blanket on top of that, then she puts another sheet down and a pillow. Then she grabs me with her bony fingers and pushes me down too. I'm like, uh oh, don't know how good those nubs are gonna feel on my body!

So,now she makes sure I'm comfortable, and she covers me with the top sheet and uncovers my feet. Then she starts the most amazing massage ever! I'm totally loving it! She has the oil and everything is working wonderfully. I close my eyes and just relax. Then she tells me to turn over, so I think, maybe she's gonna do the back of the leg? So I turn over. She does do the back of my leg and also my back and shoulders. Then I turn over again and she does my arms and shoulders, head, stomach. By now, I realize that it is way past 10 minutes, but it feels too good to stop. I decided to pay the extra 4 bucks if that's what it amounts too.

While I'm laying there on my back, I hear the woman talking. I know she's not talking to me cause, of course, I don't speak Korean. So I pop open one eye and there is another naked lady standing there talking to her. I assume she is signing up for a massage next or something. The lady has a baby strapped to her back, which looked pretty funny naked but anyway. I close my eyes and they keep talking...and keep talking...and keep talking! I open my eyes again and the woman is STARING at me. Both eyes, wide open, taking me alllll in. The funny thing is, the baby on her back is STARING at me too!!! Her little head is listing to the side to see around her mom so she can stare! I was like, yeah, this is what a naked black lady looks like! Look while the lookings good!

After the massage, we got dressed in our "womans" outfit, and followed the signs to the common areas. In these areas, men and women are walking around in the little green shorts and tops; dark green for boys and lite green for girls. There were also a ton of kids running around in yellow. There were many many common rooms and they had the different saunas in them. My favorite was the kiln room. There were 3 different kilns, mild, medium, and hot. These are wooden ovens and the entrance to each was a tiny round door. They were really like pizza ovens or an actual kiln where you fire clay. Inside the floor was wooden slats and they had a red heat lamp as the only light. They also had desert rooms where you go inside and lay on some hot rocks (not fun!).

Ajenai's favorite room was the ice room. Yes there was an actual snowman inside the room. Even the floor was ice cold tiles. I could only stay a short time and I had to go back to the kiln! But Ajenai and this little boy were trying to see how long they could stay in without leaving. If I hadn't come to get her, I think she would still be in there!

Anyway, we stayed there several hours and all in all had a wonderful time! I'll do it again real soon!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

White Water Rafting!

Hello, hello!

A couple weeks ago we went white water rafting. It was great! The rapids were kinda tame but it was still fun. I couldn't bring my camera in the boat (thank God they stopped us cause it would have been a diaster!) but I have a few pics of the before and after.

My friend Rob arranged it through the USO, but I think they have trips every so often anyway. It was fun. We went over several rapids and then stopped where there was an overhanging cliff and I sandbar in the middle of the river. The guides helped us climb the cliff and Ajenai and I jumped off. Most of the group didn't jump (chickens!) but it was fun. It wasn't really that high, but getting to the spot was a pain in the butt. There was almost a sheer incline you had to climb to reach the short cliff. Our guide almost single handedly pulled me up! (strong guy, I know!:))

The sandbar in the middle of the lake was a nice spot to sit but it had a strong undercurrent surrounding it. We almost got swept away trying to swim back to shore!

Afterwards, we went to lunch in this Korean resturant. I know they were happy to see us coming cause the place was almost empty when we got there! There were 3 little old ladies cooking and serving. So you can imagine how long it took us to get our food! Some people got there food sooner than others, Ajenai and I being ones who were served first. So I offered my food to some folks, cause we all ordered the same thing anyway. My friend Rob said, "cool" but then he made the mistake of actually dipping his chopsticks into Ajenai's bowl! Big mistake. She gave him this look (see picture below!)

and said, "she offered HER food, not mine!" He said, "this is Korea man. Everybody shares!" And Ajenai said, "I'm American." Hey, I don't teach her this stuff!

Anyway, the trip was a blast and I'm sure I'll do it again soon. But I'll be sure that Ajenai brings her own food!

bye! a:*

Ajenai's School

Hello, hello!

Finally! Ajenai attends the same school I work at! Being a teacher, it was bound to happen. And I'm so happy it did here in Korea. Of course, it's a little bit of an adjustment...for both of us. She is actually fine with the 24/7 thing. I'm a little tired though! Sometimes it's enough already! But, as a mom, I'm not supposed to admit that, right! LOL

Anyway, apparently, I work at a pretty expensive institution. Lots of students have their "drivers" drop and pick them up from school. And the majority of the students are Korean. Maybe 5, (including Ajenai) are not Korean.

So it's a bit of a cultural adjustment for her since she it hasn't been a month since she returned from America.

She's doing very well though. The teachers are keeping an eye out for her and they said that she is not shy. She has no problem going up to the other students and asking them to do something with her or talking to her. Their is also an Indian girl in the 6th grade who she has become fast friends with.

The school work is taking her sometime to get used, to because these kids don't play. The majority of their parents have purchased all the school books for them during the summer! So the kids come to school already having read a lot of their assignments! Not at all like America. Plus, most of them attend Academy after school. Similar to where I worked last year. These are special schools that teach all kinds of things, like, Korean, math, science, english, etc. So I am really trying to keep on top of Ajenai and her study skills, etc. Reminding her to write down every assignment and to speak to her teachers if she is confused on anything. Going over all of her homework before she turns it in, etc. It's hard being a teacher and a parent! As I'm sure other parents can testify too!

She asked me the other day if the all the students at the school were rich. I said most of them are. She said," no wonder they all have the best cell phones!" You know what kind, with flip screens and internet and you can watch t.v. and movies on them and stuff. I wish I had one like that! And poor Ajenai has her $49.99 english phone, with half the silver coating scrubbed off and complete with monster stickers attached to it! Hey, at least she has a cell phone!

This week the extra-curricular activities started so she is excited. She is in the soccer club, tennis club, and drama club. Hopefully, she keeps her grades together and can continue.

OK, that's it for now! I'll take pictures of my class and post them here soon!

a :*

Monday, September 8, 2008

Rooftop BBQ


My (military) friend had a bbq at his place a couple weeks ago. It was AWESOME. I put "military" friend because you can see (and taste) the difference between how the military live and us English teachers! He had ribs, (real bbq ribs y'all!), potato salad, a veggie platter (with olives!), LAYS potato chips (!!!!), and the piece de resistance...cheesecake! Real, live NEW YORK STYLE cheesecake! With strawberries on top!!! OMG that cake was gone in seconds, literally, seconds! The military folks were like, "what's wrong with y'all?" I said, "we LIVE in KOREA!" Not faux korea (which is what I call the base!) Anyway, there was more there than just the food but food is ALWAYS my focus!

We had fun and his roof is amazing. He can see almost all of downtown. We invited ourselves back for a night party to see the city lights!

I'm planning a trip to Busan, which is about 4 hours away from Seoul, this weekend (if I don't get deported first! Loooong story, maybe I'll share it next time!). I'll be sure and take lots of pictures to share!

a :*(kiss)

Friday, September 5, 2008

New Digs

all of us!me & LuJoia & KaylaFontaLu & Leslie
Hello everyone! I know it's been ages and a lot has happened!

First off, I moved! To a new "smaller" apartment. But I say it has more "character" and "charm" than the bigger place I had before! I had a little housewarming and I will attach the few pics we took. Doesn't really show you my place but you can see the size of it!

You know how you don't know how good something is until it's gone? My first apartment I didn't buy anything. Literally nothing. (ok, maybe a fork or two). But this one was completely empty. I mean EMPTY. I had to buy EVERYTHING. A fridge, washer, furniture, pots, sucked. And I dropped a bit of money on it as you can imagine. But luckily I got good deals on stuff. And right on the corner near my place is this great plant store. I went in and bought a bunch of stuff. The plan is to live in a jungle! So I'm buying plants often! When we went in, there was a little girl in there and I asked if she spoke english and she just started smiling and laughing and saying no. I said she should go to the park with Ajenai and the girls mother was agreeing (her english was very little, but we were working it out). Both girls were just standing there staring at each other! But eventually, Ajenai went to the park with the girl and she was like, "her english is fine!" So they hang out at the park down the street.

I really like this new neighborhood, even though it's all Korean all the time!I got kinda used to seeing other brown faces living in Itaewon (which is foreign town). But it's a cute neighborhood. We have our corner store, where the high school son speaks perfect english and his parents speak none! He is always playing games on the computer and I tell him to go outside with Ajenai! His parents and the local drunks who sit outside say hello every, single time we pass by! Cute so far, but I anticipate that getting old fast!

Ok, more later!

bye for now!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Nigerian Males...Smooth Operators

Hello, hello!

I think it is wonderful and interesting that Africans can be found living in every country around the world (in my experience anyway). A testament to African fortitude and determination and resourcefulness I believe, that we can survive anywhere!

Anyway, today I feel the need to speak about my experiences with the Nigerians here in Seoul.

I live in Itaewon, which is considered the international area of Seoul. Most foreigners are located here (the US military base is here) and there is a large African community here, mostly Nigerians.

And it is impossible for a girl to walk down the street without getting accosted! Sometimes it is funny, but (lots of times) not!

"Hello, my name is _ _ _ _ _, can I have your number?" is usually how the convo goes. From zero to phone number in 30 seconds flat! They shake your hand with one hand and have their cell phone in the other! And if you say no, (which, invariably I say!) "Oh sister, why,why? Do you not want to get to know me. I am just a man. Can I not get to know you. I just want to be your friend. Oh, please, would you like a friend. I want to get to know you. How am I to get to know you, sister, please, please. Why, are you afraid of me? Come on sister." And on, and on, and on! I can be standing in the street, turning down a guy for literally 20 minutes! What the hell! And while this prattle is going on, they are holding your hand and trying to pull you in their direction!

They also try to walk me home! I have to stop in the street so they don't accompany me to my door! I mean, a little attention is a nice thing but, come on! As beautiful as I am (insert your favorite picture of me in your mind here!), there is no way I am so hot you want to follow me home! Sheesh!

I'm gonna have to start taking taxi's home so I can arrive in one piece!

Well, the adventure continues!

see you!