Currently in Seoul it is..

Atlanta Time

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Learn to Fly

It's the little things that make me feel like I'm becoming more at home here. I realized this during my solo venture after work today. I went out to Insadong to meet a bilingual Korean guy and his non-English speaking friend for dinner/drinks. After work, I came home to chill for a few minutes then went back outside and caught the green 2233 bus to the subway station. Just the fact that I got on a bus and knew where I was going is a small miracle for me in my book. I swiped my new T-money key fob/cell phone charm thing to get through the gate and walked down to the train..just like a Korean would. After getting on the train I sat down and got out my ipod..just like a Korean would. And for a brief second I almost felt like I fit in. For the tiniest of moments I forgot all about being a foreigner and saw myself as just another person on the subway.
Dinner was interesting. I forget the name of what we ate but it's all stuff I've had before. There were so many questions throughout the course of the evening..mostly about me and how I'm adjusting to Korea. This was probably not a great idea but I decided not to do a finger stick test or administer an insulin bolus because I wasn't up for explaining diabetes tonight. It says a lot about a disease when it becomes more daunting to educate people about it than to manage it. The concept of health/wellness/illness is on such a different plane here that I can't even engage it..trying to do so has only frustrated me. I imagine that diabetes is a difficult concept though in any language/ do you tell people "yes I have a serious disease" and "no, I'm not sick" at the same time?
We walked around a little after we ate then decided to call it a night. I waved goodbye while descending the stairs of exit 15, bought some 1,000 KRW earrings in the station, and headed for home..the JHP.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I'm hungry

I guess I'm still in stage 1 of the 12 month expat. I still feel very much in a foreign place even though I can find my way around the neighborhood. I like Korea. Lots of things are still new to me here but I haven't been taking near as many pictures as I was during the first two weeks. I miss home but I'm not homesick. My job is also much more enjoyable here. There is no traffic to sit in here; I walk almost everywhere. The food is still interesting and new as well.

Oh yeah..the food
I'm not sure if I can explain it very well but I've been having excessive hunger in the evenings. My blood sugar was 298 this morning! I had a full serving of rice & curry for dinner last night along with a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, a bowl of ramen and countless creme filled cookies. I just keep on eating with no control. Tonight I've had rice & curry, a pbj sandwich, and a few cookies. I am going to check my blood sugar before bed and make sure my levels are under control. I really want to eat more right now but I've forced myself to stop. Tomorrow morning is kiwi yogurt for's kinda yummy.
I'm trying to focus on something other than eating. I need to study for my Korean lesson tomorrow. If only I could convince myself that there are no more cookies..

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Snow day in Seoul

Here are some pictures of the neighborhood covered in snow!

Friday, March 5, 2010

the Hangeul spelling for carbohydrate

Sniffing markers in class (as an educational activity)

I have to keep reminding myself at times here that no matter what insanity is happening in my classroom, learning is always taking place. This is especially true with my older students in the afternoons. I will let them get away with a lot of things as long as they are learning something somewhat relevant to the course material. We were doing a unit on the five senses: seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling, and seeing. One of the sentences was "My sister's shampoo _____ like strawberries." They had to fill in the blank with, feels like, sounds like, or smells like. I gave them a hint by making a smelling gesture towards the random object I was holding. That object just happened to be a dry-erase marker. I turned my head quickly and said "yuck!" That was all it took to get their curiosities going. Before I knew what was going on..they were passing around a marker and sniffing it one by one right in front of me. I don't think they understand the concept of getting high off markers yet. They couldn't figure out the shocked and worried look on my face. I just told them that some people in America have problems with smelling markers too much. They still didn't get it; they just think Americans are that much stranger.

So..when I get back home I've decided I'm going to Chick-fil-A and getting a #1 with a diet Dr. Pepper. God I miss carbs! Tomorrow will mark two weeks in Korea.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

a white woman, a blue plunger, and cafe bene I am in Seoul, many miles away from Atlanta. Almost nobody here speaks English and I speak no Korean. You would think that's awkward enough by itself but somehow the quirkiness of everyday living follows you over here and occasionally you will have one of "those days." I went out drinking last night for the first time since I've been here. It was me and the four other American teachers at the academy. We had such a good time at dinner that we continued the party back at our apartment. Alcohol over here is the same as alcohol over there, or anywhere for that matter. The raspberry wine (bokbunjajoo) raised my blood sugar a bit but that wasn't the main problem. I got pretty drunk.

Needless to say, I had an award-winning hangover when I woke up this morning. I started feeling sick to my stomach after I got in the shower. I leaned over the toilet (Korean bathrooms are just one room with no separate toilet/shower) and puked up what was left of the galbi (Korean pork dinner) I ate last night. I went to flush the toilet but something went wrong..I had somehow managed to clog our toilet with my pork vomit! What makes this story even better is the fact that we had no plunger. Here I am hungover, running late, and desperately trying to remedy the clogged toilet situation. I ended up leaving a note for my roommates and going to work.

The school day was uneventful except for having a low BG and realizing that I left my glucose tablets at home this morning. There's a bakery next to the school so everything turned out ok. I asked one of the Korean teachers where the store was so that I could stop and buy a plunger on my way home from work. Luckily, there is a store not far from the school so I went in there. They only had one plunger left and it was bright blue. I paid for my plunger and walked back outside. I got a little lost trying to walk home from the store because it wasn't directly on the path between school and my apartment. I stood near an intersection looking around with a puzzled expression on my face. All I know is that Cafe Bene (coffee shop kinda like Starbucks) is probably the best known landmark near my apartment so when some teenagers came up to the intersection I said to them "Cafe Bene?" while shrugging my shoulders. They pointed down the street and I was on my way.

Overall it was a somewhat good ending to a somewhat bad day. I just keep thinking about what those kids must have been wondering..

Who is this white woman and why is she taking a plunger to Cafe Bene?