Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years

Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years: Version 2.0!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Minerals!

On the weekend the girls and I found many stones containing rich veins of some as yet unidentified minerals.

We had some fun breaking them apart and picking out substantial flecks.

To appease June for carrying a 1~2 kgs of rock in the car, I said it might be silver or platinum.

Really I have no idea.  But it certainly wouldn't be valuable sitting in Korea all these years and having some serious worth.

Nor should it.  To mess with that stream would be more than scandalous. 

It does make a pretty picture.

It brought me back to this:

Monday, May 30, 2011

Harassment Seminar!

This afternoon all employees had to attend a sexual harassment seminar.

Every year we have to attend.  Last year I was less than impressed since a majority of the examples discussed were foreign ones.  If harassment is a serious enough issue in Korea that we need to discuss it, why not bring in some Korean examples?

This year was much better: many examples were Korean.

The gist of her presentation was: if there is a power discrepancy, advances should not be made.  If advances are made between equals and this causes discomfort in the recipient, an immediate apology should be made and the behavior should be ceased.  Politically correct and civil language should always be used in the work place.

I am far from the pinnacle of politically correct, and should probably ease up on swearing like a sailor when projects are behind schedule.  But, what if a nurse wants to jump the doctor?  Or vice versa?  It shouldn't happen?  Tread lightly, don't abuse your position, and if both parties are aware and ok with it, consenting informed adults should be able to do what they feel.

It ultimately is all about ensuring a comfortable and respectful work environment.  It was surprising to hear the presenter say that if you do feel attraction towards a coworker, expressing it in a proper way isn't necessarily inappropriate, but if it isn't mutual be prepared to suck it up and act like an adult.

This made me think the presentation wasn't that bad, considering that in many respects the feminist movement is still addressing issues associated with second wave feminism.  

Pretty standard stuff generally.  Back in my undergrad days I read and summarized over 80 sexual harassment policies from different schools when I worked as a research assistant, so I know more than the average bear and consider most of it common sense.  I've seen how ugly it can get when the hysteria kicks in, creating an environment that is so tense productivity is negativity affected.  I kept waiting for the shoe to drop and the accusing diatribe to begin, but everyone behaved themselves.

For this kudos to Mr. Jeon.  He's an older adjosshi, and the presenter seemed to call on him a lot when asking questions.

His responses were generally: 'if I knew the answer to your question, I wouldn't be here', and 'could you tell me please'.

Wise and said with just the right amount of cheek, which wasn't lost on many.  This helped keep the overall mood light.  I did have to stop myself from smiling, since the presenter had gone on at length about her own experiences dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace, and how terrible it had made her feel.  It was after all very, very serious.

I wondered as I usually do during this thing how much she was getting paid.

Sexual Harassment: how to make a career of it.

I'm going to preface a lot of what I say for the next few days with: 'I don't want to make you uncomfortable, so I shouldn't say this.'  Let's see how that flies.  I haven't had any corn in a while.

BBQ!

Today at lunch I had a BBQ with several coworkers and interns.

I stupidly left my torch at home, but luckily my boy scout training kicked in and I had that bad boy burning high in no time.

One of the guys complimented me on my cooking skills.  I was asked if I had ever cooked professionally.

I admitted that back in high school, I worked part time weekends as a line cook before moving into serving tables.  Waiting tables is much cleaner and you get tipped.  But the skills I learned in the back served me well.

One thing I realized young is that a great way to impress a nice gal is to cook her a great meal.  Not only can you bring home the bacon, but you can dress it as well.  You wear some nice clothes, make your place spotless, a couple of bottles of wine, an excellent meal, throw in some great conversation sprinkled with humor and wit, and you've got the start to a very nice evening.

He seemed bemused: so you like to serve women??  You like to serve women ??! Hoot!

I'm assuming he was making an off color comment as opposed to a sexist one, so I nudged and winked: oh yes indeed, I like to service women.

He walked away.  I'm not sure he got it.  A woman who had lived in the UK for several years visibly blanched.  Sorry bout that.

Now its time to go to the sexual harassment seminar.  More later.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fishing!

At lunch we packed up our campsite and went to a small clear stream about 20 kms away.

Since they wanted to catch fish so badly, I bought the girls what amounts to a small version of a lave net. The small stream would be safer for them then the river we camped close to the night before.

They had a blast bringing in several dozen minnows.  Or at least that's what I think they are.  

I was reminded of a very important thing about camping this weekend: the type of time you have is heavily influenced by the type of neighbors.

Luckily I was able to mostly ignore them, or more to the point their kids.   Most of the kids were around 7-9.  It was difficult to consistently ignore them, as they kept traipsing through our campsite, hit my car twice with a ball when they decided to play baseball in an area where there were many tents and little kids wandering around, hit our table once with the same ball after I had asked them to go play in the nice open space less than 400 meters away, expressed surprise and astonishment when June spoke Korean to them, sang the ABC song twenty times. . . the list goes on.

After the ball hit the table, I expected some kid to come over and apologize.  They did not. 

What I really liked was how two of the moms ran around the entire camp site yelling out their kids' names.  They had no idea where they were and spent twenty minutes yelling for them.  This reminded me just how safe Korea is for kids, in that at least some parents don't feel they have to watch over their children so closely.

I generally avoid the heavy traffic full service camping areas.  Fewer people and more peace is worth the lack of some amenities.  I also don't like feeling as if I'm still in my apartment when camping, with 40 people living within 30 meters of me.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Marshmallow madness!


As usual, we roasted marshmallows over the campfire.

I offered a couple to some curious kid onlookers.

This prompted the great marshmallow cookoff of 2011.

Not far from us is a group who is obviously upper mid level management.

Their boss showed up with enough wood to cook a dozen meals.

One of the dudes came over with his five year old. I offered a marshmallow and just as it was finishing he began to walk away.

June chased after him to give him his kid's marshmallow goodnesss.

They were delicious tonight. Sadly, I'm all out. I had to tell a couple of kids sorry. That's the way the cookie crumbles: you snooze, you lose.

Camping 1.2

This is nice:


These are ok:


This weekend and next I'm out of the Wonj camping.

I'm just another booger yellow tent among the multitudes.

I've been wandering around looking at the campsites.

It's mostly a Kovea fest. Same table, chairs, hammock, rain cover, tent, stove, pots and pans. It seems Cass is a favorite as well.

I have seen a few with the same campfire stove, but that bad boy is a Coleman. Coleman gear in general isn't a too far second.

Only mixed couple though, and definitely only mixed couple with cat.

Time for some Max.

Friday, May 27, 2011

So Many Kinds of Wrong

Here's some more:

So Many Kinds of Wrong:



Somebody shoot this girl's parents:



If you do this, you are too drunk to drive:



Thursday, May 26, 2011

Parochial!

Today I was reminded of just how insular some of my coworkers and interns can be.

Joking around at the water cooler, I asked which song would best suit a new product.  They know that the product will be marketed primarily in the United States.

By the time lunch was done, I had received 15 email suggestions.  85% of the suggestions were for K-pop tunes.

I sent out an email to the department in response with a list of songs I thought might work.  I included two Korean songs.

This generated an increased return of 21 replies with 65% favoring one of the two Korean songs.  3 of the emails admitted knowing none of the non Korean songs on the list so they couldn't make a judgement.

All the songs I had chosen were common, pretty well known back home.  Beastie Boys, White Stripes, PJ Harvey, Nirvana. . . they had heard of the last, but didn't know the top 40 song.

Wow.  Many of the respondents studied or lived in the US (or want to), and were hired since they are supposed to have insight into the culture.

In a way, it brought to mind when LG did their XI (Xian / Chai) Apartment commercial, and used the Magnetic Fields song 100000 Fireflies to try and sell a lifestyle.

Sadly, the commercial disappeared when one of my adult students at the time sent a rather detailed email outlining why it was an inappropriate song to sell an apartment in Korea.  The song talks about suicide, a couple fighting, and how most of their friends live far away in New York.  Non of my waeg friends admits to being on the team in charge of those commercials.

Sadly, I can't find it now.  It was a good example of inappropriate English use, as those in charge may have chosen it because it is in English and sounds 'nice'.

Huge Kudos to anyone who can provide a link to that commercial.

Kitten!

Imagine my surprise when June let the girls bring a kitten home.  She hates cats.

One of the cats at the youngest's kindergarten had a litter about a month ago.

It seems one of the dogs has taken to killing them off through the grab and shake method.  The kittens are being brought to homes until they are able to fend for themselves.

The girls have named ours Nabi, or butterfly.  This is apparently a traditional Korean cat name.  Her mom is called pul got, or grass flower.  I think meadow flower might be a better translation.

I ran around town after work picking up organic cat food, cat litter, tray, dish. . . I ended up blowing over 6 manners.

The idea is that once she gets big enough she'll end up back at the kindergarten, which would be a much better place for her to be, with space to run around and do cat stuff.  We also wouldn't have to get her fixed.

We'll see how that plays out.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Serf!

Ever since June quit her day job, I've had to take on a few extra side jobs to pay off the loan we took to start up her business.

I really didn't want to because I have more than a full plate as it is.  But just at the time a number of offers came in unsolicited, June opted out of her day job and the extra has to come from somewhere.

The kicker is that she has been using that extra to start up a 'savings account' for 'retirement', instead of paying off the loan.

I hate not having much in my own account.  It's always nice to have something there just in case, so I could see us through until everything were sorted.

But!  Trouble in paradise!

I recently dumped a fairly high profile client because they were complete dicks: demanding discounts, wanting too much stuff for free, canceling jobs at the last minute, despite how I reserved right to turn shit down due to my more than full time employment.

This is the bane of Korean service: you start up, and everyone expects the moon for free.

Guess what:  fuck them.  I'm doing them a favor by giving a low price for what I do, such as copy editing for 5 chonners a page, because they are friends with my old friend Kim.

When I told them I couldn't continue due to current demands at work, they threatened not only to get me fired at my current job, but they called up June and instigated a huge fight.

June then berated me for not sucking ass harder.  She said I should learn to take more shit.

The woman I've signed / invested 7500 manners into for a business, who quit her day job because 'it was too much', is reproaching me.

Welcome to my world.

UPDATE: last night I kicked her out of bed and told her to go sleep with the kids, which she usually does anyway, since she felt she could reproach me after I signed the loan, was willing to take on extra work to pay off said loan when she quit her job, and she wasn't even using the money to pay off the loan. 

Things were frosty this morning and she threatened to move out.

When I got to work, she sent me a text saying to just quit all my extra since I don't want to work hard.  Nice.

Tunes!

Yeah.











Monday, May 23, 2011

Smuggler!

From a newspaper article lamenting ubiquitous drug use by waegs
Looks like the presentation for the England trip has been put off for a week.  What with the COO's father dying and Mr. Baek just getting back from Singapore, folks need some more time to get things organized.

This will give me opportunity to work in jokes about Mr. Jeon's views on smuggling anything into Korea.  He expounded on these ideas at length the last couple days we were there.

At first I laughed along with him.  He was carrying a big bag and had been asked by a couple of people to carry stuff, mostly papers and what not.  I gave him a few small things.  He kept saying to me: "Hey waeg, don't bring any drugs haha." "No drugs in here, right? hahaha."

It stopped being funny after the 3rd go.  Given the frequency of his pontifications on the subject, it grew tiresome, then irritating.

Instead of making an issue about it, I reassured him several times that he needn't worry, I wasn't smuggling any drugs.  To his great relief, I took back the stuff I had asked him to carry and crammed them into my small carry on.  I noticed that all the bags and boxes had been opened and rummaged.

At customs, he was stopped and thoroughly searched.  I breezed through, no questions asked.  I have a few ideas what might have gone through his mind during that search.

I won't hold it against him.  I figure his imagination got his better when he thought of what I could be doing when I went walkabout without him.

Nothing too sordid, Mr. Jeon.  Just healthy adult fun.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Post Rapture Party!

Yesterday I waited diligently for the rapture to begin.

Some weirdo sect in the states had predicted it for Saturday.

I knew I wouldn't be taken, I was just waiting to see who would so I could take their stuff.

If you are a seriously devout or literal Christian, you know only 144 000 would be taken.  That makes it easy to say that we are indeed in Tribulation, since 144 000 is nothing really.

So, all you reading this, yes you, the damned: let's party like it's 1999!  I'm going to call all my friends and acquaintances.  I'll let you know if any of them have been taken, but I doubt it.

It is pretty funny how the rapture recently populated the imaginations of so many folks back home.  Usually it was met with mockery, derision, or bemusement, but it seemed so many people had posts about the rapture on their Facebook status' or blogs.  The rapture has spawned some rather interesting businesses

Guess I'm just another one of the sheep for doing the same here.  I was just really excited about maybe getting my hands on some cool stuff or being able to squat in a cool apartment.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Frog Trap!

The first of many
Every year this mostly unused stairwell serves as a frog trap. 

Usually there will be at least five or six at a time trapped at the bottom.  Then one morning I'll glance down and notice their absence, save for perhaps a few gnawed remains. 

The cats get at em.  I can well imagine how the feast plays out, with the frogs desperately trying to get away, making it up a stair or two, hitting a wall, missing a step, tumbling back into the killing pit.  A few days will pass before it begins again.

One of my more sensitive coworkers tries to save the frogs.  Seeing as there are so many behind work I don't bother.  Cats need to eat, and they are way cooler.

Friday, May 20, 2011

So Many Kinds of Wrong

No comment.

So many kinds of wrong:







Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Powerless Myth!

An Asian Man's 2011 wet dream
One thing that is important to understanding  the Korean psyche is how many would choose to identify themselves among the powerless.

In my experience, many Koreans will blame the lack of development in Korea to the historical tug of war between great powers, and how Koreans have always been the victims.  Rarely do I hear Koreans acknowledge that given the right circumstances, they would and have executed the worst forms of cruelty upon each other, despite the evidence from history and found in songs and stories.

These days, the bad white man is the source of all the evil in Korea, and has been the flavor of the last five decades. [link has been edited since this post]

I love the irony of listening to these retreads pretending they are so pure, combined with knowing that most waegs coming to the ROK have to submit to a criminal background check due to their ascribed proclivity to corruption, or that they face many barriers to success that are non existent for Koreans who emigrate.  It just reminds me of the serious failings of the Korean education system, and gives insight into the fourth rate immigrants who refuse to gain perspective and create hate sights like Korean Sentry.  I'm sure none of those writers of angst have ever cracked a history book, or seriously considered their own as subjects of worthy analysis.

But I digress.

All these reflections went through my little mind while watching the film The Warrior's Way.  Made by a Korean director and starring Jang Dong Gun, the film contains the narrative of the strong leader who protects the powerless and stands up to those who perpetuate cruelty for its own sake, in the film portrayed mostly by white men.  There is one black character, a diminutive freak show who stands up for the Asian dude, but fails in the end.  The noble Asian warrior gentleman teaches the beautiful and broken white woman how to protect herself from the vileness of the white dude before he rides off into the sunset, assumingly never to be heard from again.

I found myself hoping for them to shack up and have a pile of kids, but this wouldn't fit the narrative of the true Asian leader warrior.

The message seemed to be that the powerless need the guidance of the fearless and righteous Asian moral fighter, a Kim Jong Il type to show them how it needs to be done.

The movie was mostly a steaming pile of shit, but interesting to see all that played out.

London!

Monday I have to make a presentation on our business trip to London.

I've got a ton of notes to bring together, but sadly I won't be able to talk about how I couldn't sleep and walked about 10 kms every night.

It was my first time to London.  I found some rather interesting places.  I will say that the night life in London seems as seedy as Seoul yet more vibrant, but ends generally much earlier.  Unless you've got cash, which of course I do not.

Soho is not for the innocent or easily duped.  Large chunks of it are seething beds of corruption and filth.  I had a couple of good nights there.

Paddington is pretty laid back; I also found Kensington / Hammersmith fun.

Sadly, I won't be able to mention much of what happened those nights in my report.  I also pissed off Mr. Jeon; he tried to tag along one night when I went to Soho and I bluntly told him I needed to be alone.  There was no way I was walking that area with someone that green.  I like him and all, but it would have been too weird.

So: all business.  Get on with it waeg.

Time for coffee.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

ATEK!

Browsing through my messages on facebook today, a bud drew my attention to a heated discussion on the Wonju English Teachers page.

It seems someone from ATEK attempted to hijack the page and turn it into some sort of regional provincial hub for all things ATEK.

This made the regulars at the page lose their collective minds.  While entertaining to read, I can completely empathize.

If someone tried to take over a page I had joined serving to inform a specific community about events etc, and turn it into something driving a political agenda, I'd be pissed. 

The consensus seems to be that the ATEK folks wanted to use the numbers of people who had joined the page to beef up their membership numbers.  If they commandeered the page, they could add that number to their overall membership numbers.  Even if a bunch of folks left the group, many would not as most people don't bother leaving a group once they join.

If indeed the case, pretty underhanded.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Memorial


Today after work about 40 of us went to pay our respects to the father and family of one of the COOs.

I saw the COO on Friday. He obviously hadn't heard yet. The text came in Sunday morning.

It was a bit of a drive, but the day was nice.

When at a funeral, you should drink some. But go slowly and do not clink your glasses. Bow deeply twice to the deceased and once to the family. Women generally don't do the deep bow.

On the way back now. We should get in around one.

Beware the Hornets!

Once again this year, there are several Asian giant hornet nests scattered around work.

One of my coworkers joked of all the small things in Korea, this is one you'd want to be small, but instead you get these huge monsters.

I found a nest behind the outer storage shed.  Last year we had a couple in the bushes in front of one of the main buildings.

The maintenance guys got all covered up and ripped those bad boys out of there after spraying them with some kind of poison.

Apparently, these can kill you, so if you see a bunch of them probably best to walk the other way.  Busan Mike has a good post on the subject.

I usually just wave my cigarette at the more intrepid that come around the smoking corner and off they go.  Still, not something you want camped on your front porch.

Time for coffee.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Some Nice Camping Spots!

































Here's a map of some great camping spots in the Shillim / Yongwol / Anheung area.

This isn't comprehensive, just spots I've stayed at over the years.

Double Xs are full facility with some ok to decent fishing.

X periods are some facility, but will require some lifting and deprivation.

Solo X are beautiful but you better bring everything you need and be prepared to shit by a tree and wash in the stream.

It is a nice drive from Anheung to Shillim, with some nice side roads to explore.

I haven't listed the best fishing spots, apologies.  You know why.

Be sure to stop at Hwangdun-ri to eat authentic Vietnamese food.  It's near the crossroads.

They only accept cash.

Fresh Mountain Stream!

stream

What with the wind and the fishermen, we decided to pack up and head someplace quieter.

When I showed the fam this place I had sussed out earlier, they immediately demanded we stop.

It's been a nice afternion of clean water and grilled pig. I'm studiously ignoring the beer in the cooler, having just gotten over the soju breakfast.

Back to the water.

Morning Soju!


Last night was colder than expected. Everyone survived. I asked the youngest:

Did you sleep well last night?

Yes I had a great dream. I found a lightsaber.

Rock on darling.

This morning I wandered up to the little minbak not too far from our camping area to see if I could score some coffee. The adjusshis were cooking up the catfish they had netted yesterday.

I was enticed to drink about a bottle of soju in about 20 minutes and eat catfish. It was 9 am.

They shared some rather ribald stories of going into wonju back in the day. They all got rich as coal miners.

Feeling pretty good now. Let's see how the afternoon progresses.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Camping!


Today is camping day with the fam. We found what seemed like a nice quiet place to pitch our tent, cook, and fish.


I was excited about breaking in my new camp fire contraption. It has a nice roaring blaze going in it now.

We didn't have too much peace however, as around 7 or so hordes showed up to fish. We had old adjusshis running around in their underwear, guys throwing huge nets, all of them looking at us glaringly as we cooked up the fish I had caught earlier.



Oh well. Still having a blast. I didn't bother setting up everything as we're here for a night and it won't rain.

So Many Kinds of Wrong

Blogger shat the bed, so this is late.

I lost a couple of posts, I guess it must be cosmic.

So many kinds of wrong, extended edition:



As a response to this:










Thursday, May 12, 2011

Birthday Girl!


Today is the eldest's birthday.

Happy birthday sweetheart.

Last night we worked together on decorations for her party.  We made a bunch of signs saying happy birthday in English and Korean, drew some balloons, birthday cakes, flowers.

I think she had more fun doing that than she will at the party.  Cake and ice cream and games with friends are never as fun as playing with construction paper with your dad, right?

Still, I had a blast.  Sadly I won't be able to make the afternoon party.  I already gave her some of her presents from my trip.  I'll hit my favorite stationary store on the way home tonight and grab a few more things, mostly free form toys that she'll need to put together or figure out.

I promised we'd make more pet rocks on the weekend, as they were such a hit a few months back.

Time for coffee

Cookie Cutter!

One of the women at work completely astonished me today by repeatedly stating how unattractive she is.

I think she's smoking hot.  She's bright, vivacious, fiercely intelligent, outspoken.  She isn't rail thin, has curves in all the right places, isn't pale as a ghost from excessive cosmetic use, taller than average, a wonderful smile.

Her main thing was how she could never be a Wonder Girl or Girl's Generation member since she doesn't have the right look, and how most guys are intimidated by her.  This is Korea; the need to be just like everybody else does slap you in the face every fifteen minutes or so.  She talked about how the guys she liked weren't into her, since she isn't quite thin or demure enough.

I had to intervene, seeing as she was having a bad day and could use some cheering up: if I wasn't married or 15 years your senior I'd totally be all over you.  I like quirky, confident women who can express themselves.  You shouldn't undervalue yourself seeing as you have a lot going for you; don't worry about not being a cookie cutter beauty, since that equals boring.

She didn't seem that convinced, which is too bad. 

I thought a bit more about what would make her and other Korean women think that way, and got depressed.  More so when I thought about my own girls, and some of the issues they are going to face growing up. So I stopped thinking about it.

Instead I thought about being 15 years younger.  That was far more entertaining.

Back to work.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Birthday Buddha!

Yesterday was Buddha's birthday.  The fam and I enjoyed a quiet day at home reading, hanging out, chatting.

I've always had an interest in Buddhism.

Recognizing how chasing desire can total mess up your shit seems good common sense to me.

Mind, the guy who espoused this as the basis for a life philosophy only got to that realization after he'd thoroughly indulged every whim, pleasure, and probably a fetish or three.

It's easy to turn your back on pleasure after you've eaten, drank, smoked, snorted and fucked to the point of utter desensitization.

Too much of anything makes you bored of it, and going to the other extreme and refusing to indulge yourself seems a logical conclusion.

When I first came to Korea and visited temples, I thought it odd that every gift shop sold bare bottomed baby Buddha figurines.  At the time I thought that would make a great ironic band name, but I got over it.

Apparently, the baby Buddha is supposed to in some respects embody the ideal of a return to innocence, where the monk has stripped away illusions and complications and once again become pure.

I've nowhere near lived the life of a prince or king who has been sheltered from suffering and whose every pleasure has been sated, so I think I'll enjoy my time in the muck a bit longer.

Interesting how that kind of idea seems present in North Korean ideology, in that Koreans are too pure and innocent to fully integrate into the big scary world that only aims to exploit and denigrate their essence.

Time for coffee.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Turn!


While abroad, I did miss the rice wine.

Whenever traveling, it should always be about getting a taste of the local flavour.

How else can you gain an in during question period?

But I digress.

If you've been out of country a whole two days, you shouldn't be thinking about visiting an overpriced restaurant that serves your ethnic cuisine unless it is owned by your family.

It's all about properly decompressing.

But I suppose there ain't no rest for the wicked.

Gone fishing!


This afternoon I scooted out of work a bit early.

My excuse: I needed to scout out areas for the upcoming work camping trip.

Anyone from work who wants can join. Usually about a dozen show up with their families.

I went to visit a great spot that I found last summer. I fished for a bit after chatting and reserving six sites for the end of June.

Should be a blast.

Sandwich Day!

Tomorrow is Buddha's birthday and a holiday here in the ROK. 

For many, today is also an off day, or a sandwich day between the weekend and an official holiday.  A nice long weekend for most.  June and the girls are enjoying their day at home.

Not this waeg.  I came in this morning, made a list, organized the expense account from the trip, thought about writing the initial report on the trip, gave briefings to various and sundry.

Instead of grinding hard, after finishing the expense account shit and short briefings, I updated my facebook and read some news and blogs.  It was nice to catch up on all that.

I'm still out of whack, with only two hours sleep last night.  Didn't help that just as I was about to slip into REM, the youngest woke up and lost it because the bandage covering the stitches on her finger had come off.

It did look pretty nasty.  I calmed her down, rooted out some fresh gauze, and taped up a new one for her.  She was greatly soothed and immediately went back to sleep.

I stared at the ceiling and watched a cockroach climb the wall.  When I got tired of listening to its scuttling, I smashed it good with a magazine.

I fucking hate cockroaches. 

Something tells me I won't get much done this afternoon, so I think it best to sneak off someplace quiet to clear my head.  Hopefully the rain will keep away in the early afternoon.

Camp!

Today we went to an 'autocamping' site that one of the families from the kindergarten has set themselves up at for the next few days.

It's a nice place not too far from Sillim.  Too many people for my taste, as I prefer camping in less congested surroundings.
Camping is supposedly super trendy these days.  I will say that when Koreans go camping, they go full out: pretty much every site was sitting on about 300-500 manners worth of gear.  

Kinda misses the point of camping I think.  Getting out of your comfort zone is hard to do when you've got your entire camp site wired with electricity, a laptop running a movie through a projector, and music blaring through a stereo.  

Still, it was a nice day.  We ended shortly after dinner at a famous Vietnamese rice noodle restaurant; it's run by a Vietnamese woman with her Korean husband, and is quite delicious.  Managed to grab a bag of nice Vietnamese coffee in the process.

While there, we ran into a buddy of mine and his family who had driven all the way from Wonju just to do that restaurant.  It was nice to catch up with him, it had been a while.

Time for sleep.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sleep!

Instead of writing up stoopid reports, I couldn't stop myself from taking a well deserved nap.

It was a somewhat fitful sleep, interrupted by giggling children and the shrill voice of a mother's scolding.

I was happy that it was a weekend and I didn't have to cook.  The pass was nice.

I received an email from the next in the management food chain praising my awesomeness.

It can abide.

Now I'm finishing off the Balvenie 14 year Golden Cask.  I can't sleep.  I watched the latest episode of Game of Thrones and Source Code.  Both were enjoyable, although I do find it interesting to think about just how many people waegs are currently involved in the military, and what effect that could have on their respective future societies, while making connections to historical antecedents.

This could take a while.

I'll be back to normal in about a week.

Maybe.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Day with the Fam!

Today was mostly quality time with the fam.  I did spend about three hours running off thank you notes to key people that we met, or who helped out in terms of organization and making us feel welcome. 

Then it was all about the girls and June.

We talked about their week, looked over their awards and projects, went out for lunch and pie, wandered around a couple of parks.

While I was away, the youngest had ended up getting her finger stuck under a table and needing stitches.  That's twice in about a month she's been sewn up.  Man.

They're out playing on the swings and teeter totter now.
 
June and I spent some time becoming reacquainted.  That was nice.

Now I need to start writing my initial report that will need to be in Monday.  I'm not going to think of the pile of other stuff that will need to be chawn through.

After I make some coffee of course.

Friday, May 6, 2011

So Many Kinds of Wrong

Reader submitted edition!

If you have a video that you think is so many kinds of wrong, the email is in profile!

Thanks to the one person who suggested a link, which generated the rest.


So many kinds of Wrong:





Random Reflections

Taking the piss is an important skill to learn.  If you get easily offended, and will show that offense visibly, and be unprepared to listen, engage and follow through thoroughly, you will lose face since you limit the ins to a higher form of discourse.

Most cosmopolitan city.

Silk Cuts go well with the declasse Balvenie 14 year Golden Cask I bought duty free on my way in.

When jetlagged and discombobulated, I'm drunk 3 thick doubles in.

I slept at best 3-4 hours a night, and walked 5-8 miles per day.  I prefer kilometres, since in my mind it allows me to walk and live without thought as to ultimate distance.

Korean companies have boat loads to learn.  I should demand massive concessions if I'm to continue playing this game.

Kimchi Stew!

On the bus ride back to the Wonj, Mr. Kim and I talked about what we would do first upon arriving home.

I want to see my children, then spend an hour in the bath.

I want to eat some kimchi stew, a nice hot soup.

I didn't think much about it until I got home and was offered kimchi mackerel stew with rice as my first meal back.

At least it had mackerel in it.

Home!


The business trip was an unmitigated success. My objectives were largely achieved: insight and perspective into the workings of a foreign division, contacts made that once followed up will bear fruit, and enough material to fill months of TPS reports.

I also looked brilliant in front of the head honchos, but that was pretty much a given. The awesomeness abides.

I'm on the bus back to the Wonj. I've got a ton of presents for the girls and some smelly shit for June. I also managed to bring back 3 bottles of rare single malt and 400 silk cut, not to mention the cheese and baking supplies.

Now I just want to see my girls and take a nice hot bath.