Archive for category Random Ramblings

Wrap-Up

This blog should have been written months ago, but maybe I’ve needed some time to process…

Traveling in South East Asia was amazing.  Words do not capture the beauty I have seen in Thailand and Cambodia.  I never imagined myself going to either of these countries, or even Korea for that matter, but I am very glad I got to experience them with Seth.  I am forever changed.

One year in Korea and it feels like a dream.  That’s the only way to describe my time there.  I have been home for several months now and when I speak of Korea, it feels like some wild amusement park ride.  That “thing” I did last year.  It doesn’t feel like real life to me for some reason.

Here in the States there are responsibilities and commitments.  I have to pay soo much money to have a phone, computer access and gas for my car.  The few responsibilities I had in Korea were minor and without serious consequences.  That was a major change from my life prior to moving to Korea.  I learned how to relax and chill out, finally.

I am happy to be able to shop for clothes and shoes again.  That part is nice.  I also enjoy having a full kitchen again with the ability to cook just about anything I want to eat.  Most of all, I’m happy that I get to see my nephew and the rest of my family.  It’s difficult to be away from the people I love.

People ask me if I would recommend moving to Korea and teaching for a year… I say, Go for it!  The money is great and you might get lucky to meet some fantastic people in the process.  Just keep an open mind and be willing to try new things.  Before Korea I had never eaten fish with the head and tail still attached, I had never eaten soo much cabbage in my life (and if I ever eat cabbage again, it’ll be too soon), and I had never seen soo many men wearing pink sparkle ties.

The world is a giant place and I think it’s wonderful to experience as much as possible.

Peace

I will be teaching Science at my Alma Mater!  Life goes on and I’m excited about my next adventure.  I’m also working on a food blog.  Since I won’t be traveling the globe eating exotic cuisine, I decided to write about my own culinary masterpieces.

Thanks for following along on my journey.  It’s been a wild and wonderful ride.

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Still Sweating in Cambodia

We spent a few days in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

Sihanoukville

Minimal waves, comfy umbrella chairs, yummy coconut drinks, lazy days…

Orange, peach, cream and periwinkle stripe the sky at sunset.  I can’t convey how amazing it is to see the night like this with only palm trees in the skyline.  It reminded me of something I’ve seen on a T-shirt.

Visited Kep, Cambodia today for a short visit.  It’s a quick tuk tuk ride away from Kampot, which is where we are staying right now.  Several people have told us that Kep serves the best crab around.  They were right!  The crab was scrumptious, veggies were perfection and dinner ended with free pineapple.  Two people, only $12!

You! I´m gonna eat you!

Travel time is winding down for me.  I’m thrilled to get home because I miss my family and friends, but sad because I love to travel.  Sometimes I wish the world wasn’t soo big and I could fit in quicker trips home.

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Cambodia

Never did I think I’d be traveling in Cambodia… but here I am sitting in a hot internet cafe on a dusty street in Siem Reap.

Sticky.  That’s how I describe this place.  It is not Rainy Season at the moment and so the weather remains hot and sticky.  My body is constantly covered in a layer of slimy sweat.

Why did I come here?

That’s easy.  I wanted to see Angkor Wat.

Angkor WatAngkor Wat Tree

The border crossing was awful, the relentless calls for ‘tuk tuk’ are annoying, the scorching sun burns my white pasty skin, and the sad little children playing in the dirt just break your heart, but none of this mattered once I caught a glimpse of these amazing temples.

Angkor means ‘Holy City’ and Wat means ‘temple’… so Angkor Wat is the City of Temples.  It is an ancient capital city that was populated between the 9th and 12th centuries AD.  More than a million people lived in and around this city.

Everyone can feel the abundance of power this place holds.

Watching the Earth trying to reclaim its land is my favorite site to see around these ancient temples.  Trees grow right through brick and stone, shoving dirt, moving walls, making way for their roots.  I saw temples like this in Mexico too.

It is awe inspiring.

Nature Always Wins In The End

There are many temples in the Siem Reap area.  We rented bicycles one day and did a 27km loop that took us to 6 different ancient temple sites.  We also hired a tuk tuk driver one day to take us out to the Roluos Group of temples because they were too far away to bike in this heat.

People can buy 1, 3 or 7 day passes to the Angkor area.  It is a bit like getting a visa for a different country.  They take your picture and it is only good for a certain amount of time.  Once you have your pass, you are admitted into any of the temples as many times as  you want.

I recommend seeing the sunset while sitting in front of Angkor Wat.  This temple is the only temple, in this area, that faces West.  So if you’re sitting in front, you’ll be facing the beautiful orange, pink and purple sunset.  Watching the sun go down over a jungle, with only a few temple buildings and palm trees in the skyline, gave me the most serene sense of being I have had in a long time.

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Year of the Horse

The Horse

1906*1918*1930*1942*1954*1966*1978*1990*2002

I love the Chinese Zodiac.

Mostly, for me, it’s just a fun thing to read.  However, it’s taken more seriously by the Chinese than regular Astrology is in the rest of the world.  According to Chinese Zodiac, I am a Horse.  In the most random places, I have found statues of the Chinese Zodiac animals.  These are only 3 examples I have seen:

<– in Taiwan

According to Chinese Zodiac:

Horses love to be surrounded by people, that is why they are drawn to events like concerts, theaters, meetings, sporting occasions, and of course, parties. (oh how I do love a good concert…)

Charming and cheerful, the Horse is an extremely likable character. (If nothing else, I am charming and cheerful) Hard working, self-possessed and sharp, the Horse skillfully acquires power, wealth and respect. However, the Horse’s sometime-appreciated frankness can be blunt and tactless. An impatient pursuit of success or self indulgence may become extremely selfish and predatory. Horses can be obstinate. In truth, they are more cunning than intelligent, and they know it. So, despite the facade of assurance, the Horse lacks confidence in him or herself. (shhhh, don’t tell anyone about this one)

Like their symbol, Horse-born people are high-spirited and lively. Their vivacity and enthusiasm make them someone you want to be your friend.  Silly in their humor, Horses are masters of repartee. They love to be center of attention and amuse audiences everywhere. On a negative side, many times rash and willful, they can be prone to sudden mood swings (um, I do tend to be moody at times) and, although seldom. really explosive bursts of temper can occur.  When they do see red, it is not a pretty sight. Those who have suffered a Horse’s rage will never feel quite the same about him or her again, for the fits of temper are a bit dramatic and childish. (yeah, when I get mad… watch out) If he or she wants to succeed, they have to master their emotions.

zodiac zodiac

One thing I want to point out is that if you are born at the beginning of the year, you’ll need to check the exact dates.  The Chinese Zodiac years are based on when the Chinese New Year begins, not January 1st as you might expect.  For example:  Seth was born in 1981, but because he has an early birthday he is actually a Monkey and not a Rooster.

Hee hee, Seth’s a monkey.  :mrgreen:

Rat 1924 1936 1948 1960 1972 1984 1996 2008
Ox 1925 1937 1949 1961 1973 1985 1997 2009
Tiger 1926 1938 1950 1962 1974 1986 1998 2010
Rabbit 1927 1939 1951 1963 1975 1987 1999 2011
Dragon 1928 1940 1952 1964 1976 1988 2000 2012
Snake 1929 1941 1953 1965 1977 1989 2001 2013
Horse 1930 1942 1954 1966 1978 1990 2002 2014
Sheep 1931 1943 1955 1967 1979 1991 2003 2015
Monkey 1932 1944 1956 1968 1980 1992 2004 2016
Rooster 1933 1945 1957 1969 1981 1993 2005 2017
Dog 1934 1946 1958 1970 1982 1994 2006 2018
Pig 1935 1947 1959 1971 1983 1995 2007 2019

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Fun and Games

If you’re looking for good drinks, music upon request, darts, jenga and a fire show… I have the place for you.

R & C West

Tucked down a side street in Sanbon, on the second floor we find the most amazing bar.   It is not considered a Western Bar (meaning foreigners, not country western).  I enjoy hanging out in this place.

<– he’s really good

There is a fire show nightly.  This guy spits fire, twirls flaming bottles in the air and creates a cascade of fire on the bar.  Music blares and lights flash.

For bar patrons, there are also a bunch of silly little games.  My favorite is the Pirate in a barrel.  You punch in swords, one at a time, and eventually the pirate will jump out of the barrel.  Simple but soo fun.  Jenga, cards and some sort of dog biting game can also be found.  The dog game is similar to the pirate game in that you punch down teeth and eventually the dog bites you.

Cheap drinks are a bonus here.

It’s fun to let loose after a greuling week of teaching English.

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Commence Countdown

55 days left in Korea.  Oh how time flies when you live in a strange land.  :razz:

It took me at least six months to really settle into this Asian environment, and now time is running out.  With less than two months left, I am trying to make the most of my weekends and free-time.

Most days, however, are just normal days spent with Seth.

That’s me laying on the bed listening to Seth play guitar.  Stacey took this picture.  It defintiely captures what I love about living here.  It’s wonderful to be able to spend time together.

We have plans of going to Beijing for New Year!  I get to see the Great Wall of China… how cool is that?!

Other than that, we’re making plans to travel for a few weeks after our contract is complete.  :mrgreen:

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Thanksgiving in SK

Celebrating the holidays away from home is difficult.  Finding the perfect location to spend these home-away-from-home holidays is the key to happiness.

My friends decided to all head to the mountains for Thanksgiving.  There is an online group called ‘Meet Up’ and it organizes various outings for foreigners like me.  Around 50 people of various Western backgrounds, mostly American, spent an evening in a cabin eating turkey and singing songs.

It was a music filled adventure.

The cabin had a piano that one of the visitors played beautifully.  Seth brought his guitar and not only played solo but with piano accompaniment.  The owner of the cabin was an actual jazz musician and he played a few songs for us.  It was such an amazing surprise to listen to saxophone while chilling out after dinner.  Also, hidden away in the back of the cabin was an norebang!  Complete song list and videos.  Certainly didn’t see that one coming.

Thanksgiving in Korea… success.


Thanksgiving Dinner Menu:
Turkey *
Ham*
Gravy
Stuffing – 2 kinds*
Green bean casserole
Apple Crisp
Sweet potato casserole
Mashed potatoes
Macaroni and Cheese*
Pumpkin soup
7-Layer salad
Cranberry jelly*
Rolls*
Pumpkin pie*
Smores (by a bonfire)
* = from the Army Base

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Norebangs are Too Much Fun

Picture this:  tiny room, comfy couch, 2 microphones, giant flat screen TV, swirling colored lights, tambourine, fun wigs and your friends.  Oh, and it’s BYOB!  That’s right, you can bring your own food and drink to these places.  It’s great.

My dear friend Stacey came to visit me in crazy Korea!  Of all the fabulous things we did together, I want to share our Norebang experience first.

If you’ve never been to Korea or maybe Los Angeles, then you probably don’t know what I’m talking about when I say ‘Norebang’.  And it’s pronounced more like Nory bahng.  Well, it’s very much like karaoke in the fact that you sing along to music with words on a tv screen.  However, Norebang is soo much more fun than plain old karaoke.

norebangTiff

There is a Norebang just about in every building, sometimes even two.  It is a place that people of all ages go to sing and have fun.  All of my students, whether they’re 5 or 17, tell me they go to Norebangs with their family and friends.  I really wish there was one back home.

Something funny to point out is that even though we were singing ‘Under the Boardwalk’ the video was a random Korean video.  It’s a video loop and it rarely ever matches up with the song type.   It’s funny when you’re singing a happy song and the video is of a girl that died and some dude is crying over her dead body, or singing a cheesy love song and some Korean guys are bouncing around dressed like The Beastie Boys.

All of the Norebangs have various themes.  My favorite one is called UFO and oddly it’s not space-themed.

<– hallway in UFO

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10-25-09

Today I lost my grandmother.

Mary Lucille Nelson

I’m very sad, not only because I lost someone close to me, but because I cannot be there for my family.
She was a strong woman and she lived a long happy life. How many people do you know still playing golf at 82 years of age? She was playing Bridge and going to a Stitch group… even this year.

Her given name was Mary, but everyone called her Lucille.  She had a twin sister named Louise.  More than anything, she loved to sing and dance.

She taught me many things. Mostly how to be a lady. “A lady never cusses.” She showed me how to sew and how to cook. I made my first quilt with her at age 9 and from since I can remember I was in the kitchen helping in some way or another.  Whenever I try a new recipe, she’d be the first person I called.  Or when I’d forget how to make her famous Cracker Fudge she’d be thrilled to tell me how to make some again.

My grandmother tried to teach me how to dress like a lady too, but that one never stuck. I’d be wearing pantyhose and dresses everyday if it were up to her. She hated my worn out jeans and heaven forbid she ever saw me in a tie dye. But if anyone ever complimented me on an outfit or some accessory, chances are she picked it out for me. That woman had great taste.

Not to mention her amazing jewelry collection.  Her bling could be seen from a block away.  I’ll never forget how she showed off her newly acquired sparkle:

“Did you see my cow go down the road?” She’d ask this as she pointed with her ring finger and waved her wrist so the person she asked couldn’t help but notice the shine.  It always made us laugh, and that’s even how I showed off my engagement ring to a bunch of people.  It may not make alot of sense without a proper demonstration, but it really is something that puts a smile on my face even now.

She was very proud of me. I do know that. My grandmother was one of the few people that didn’t think I was crazy for coming to Korea. She said that it was one of those lifetime opportunities that I needed to experience. “See the world Tiffany, see everything you can.”  If anything she believed in it was education and travel.

My Grandma and Mom at a Marshall Green & White Game (2 seasons ago) I wish I had an upclose picture without glasses, but I am limited on what pictures I have access to here.  She definitely didn’t look her age.  My grandmother always told me the trick to being young was to hang out with people that made you feel young.  Most of her friends were younger than her by at least 15 years.  She ran circles around even them.

tea party

This picture was taken in her basement.  She loved to throw parties and when my friend Stacey was getting married, she opened her home to us and let us have a Bridal Shower- Tea Party there.  It was a lavish affair, a day to remember.  Really, any excuse to dress up and have a good time.

As I cannot be there with my family right now, please keep them in your thoughts.  :cry:

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My Dreams Were Invaded By Korean

Last night I had a whirlwind variety of dreams.  Everything from seeing my nephew Gavin standing in a sandpit at a park to eating caramel ice cream by a pond.  The weirdest dream of them all was conducted only in Korean that featured family and friends from the States.

Most of the dream was gibberish, but I understood it all.  There were actual Korean words that popped up throughout the dream, but otherwise it was my own twisted version of the Korean language.  Soo strange.

It was funny to see my friends from back home speaking Korean, or at least my own version of Korean.

I woke up laughing.

Oct 18th was the new moon.  Not New Moon as in the new Twilight movie, but new moon as in the lunar cycle.   When the new moon occurs it is a time of new beginnings, things to start fresh, rebirth or growing energy.  Maybe I had the dream with all my family and friends speaking Korean because I’m thinking about going back home.  It was my subconscious merging the two worlds together.  Since I can’t be home now, I just brought them all to Korea.

Who knows….  I wonder if anyone else had weird dreams.

wall paper Lost In Translation 25 Hours After New

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