Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Bender and I have been playing card games the last few weekends. Basically we play War and then whenever someone loses a war, that person takes a shot of soju. It's a dangerous game (see that weekend Bender went home after I passed out at 6pm), but it saves us a hell of a lot of money. You can't find a bottle of beer in this country for less than 4 bucks, a mixed drink is 7 or 8 so if you happen to have a drinking problem, you can easily drop $100 on a night out. Drink a few bottles of soju and head out and bingo, you just cut your bar tab by 80 percent. I think we spent more money playing darts at the bar Saturday than on beer. I'm pretty sure the bartenders hate that. But I don't care because they are Korean. Oh, last weekend we tried to play slapjack, but that ended quickly after Bender slammed the table so hard that it knocked over any sort of liquid on the table.

We finally found the decent club downtown on Friday night for Club Night. I won't get into the gay details, you can see Bender's blog for that, but let me just say that every white girl in this country is absolutely hideous. It was 3am and we had been drinking all night, but this one white girl who was dancing with us looked like her face had been ran over by a train. One Korean girl, who I think was on ecstasy, kept stroking my face and then a half hour later, she told me she didn't like me because I didn't speak Korean. I punched her in the face. It's amazing how packed these clubs get, when we left at 530am, the entire dance floor was still covered with people.

I've been making my students write a lot lately, as that is the only punishment that I ever feel like using. Every day in this one class, these two twins don't have a pencil. It pisses me off so much. I mean, really, who the hell comes to class without a writing utensil? So I end up giving them one and then they write 100 times, "I will bring a pencil to class." They'll be quiet doing that, but they still find other ways to annoy me. Instead of writing the "l" in pencil 100 times, the one kid just drew a giant line all the way down his paper. At the end of the class, before returning my pencil, he used it to scrape dirt off the bottom of his shoe. In another class, I made a girl write that she wouldn't cheat in class after she stole the teacher's manual during the break time. I told her to write and then get the paper signed by her parents, but at the end of the class she crumbled up the paper and threw it at me. I told her I was going to have a Korean teacher call her parents, and then she said, "If you do that, I will quit Topia." Now I'm her little bitch because I never actually get their parents on the phone, because, well, that would require extra effort that I'm not really into.

We do these tongue twisters with every student at the school once a week. Something gay like "A proper cup of coffee from a proper copper coffee pot." Well this week one of the words in it is the name Willie. I explained to the kids in one class that this was just a name so there was no need to look it up in their electronic dictionaries. But they did so the next question was: "Teacher, what's a penis?" I told them it was a magic spaceship. Actually I just laughed and we moved on very, very quickly.

We booked a 6-person mixed dorm room at a hostel in Tokyo. That should be interested as I've already decided that any girl that willingly signs up to stay in a mixed dorm when an all-female dorm is available, is the dirtiest and sketchiest girl I've ever met. So basically, I will probably fall in love in Japan.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I just got back from getting my second haircut since I got here. I was gonna wait and go with Bender, because, well I feel weird doing anything without him, but I couldn't take it anymore. When I have to convince every class that I didn't get a perm, something must be done. The place I went is right next to my apartment and I'd been scouting it out for a few weeks. You know, making sure there weren't any white people in there. I can't be competing with other foreigners for attention at the barber. I showed the guy a few photos so he didn't screw up my hair too much, but of course I'm an idiot and in each photo my hair is at a different length. Didn't turn out half bad though. It was kind of weird that three other people who work at the place were standing around my chair for the duration of the cut. And then of course, you have to get your hair washed here after the cut, and of course, I got the guy. That was fine until he started playing with my ears a bit too much. Not even just playing with them, but putting his fingers in them. I'll just assume that's normal in Korea and thank god I wasn't too turned on by the whole ordeal.

I'll give Elliot props for this one: Yesterday, I made my middle school writing class watch the State of the Union address. It was a great idea. I didn't have to teach them anything about writing and they were all quiet for 45 minutes. Well, except to tell me every 30 seconds that they couldn't understand anything Bush was saying. Sorry, kids, not my problem. One boy in the class did say "Bushie, very handsome". He was joking, I hope. Apparently the Korean president has had a ton of plastic surgery. It just seems weird when the leader of your country is so into plastic surgery. I read something that said 50 percent of Korean females and 30 percent of guys get plastic surgery at some point. It also said that nose jobs go for about $1,500 but you can get big discounts, so Bender and I are gonna do that soon. I want my nose to look a lot more Asian.

There's four more workdays before I'm back on the 2-10 schedule. I'm still getting killed in the morning under the current schedule because my body physically can not fall asleep before 1am unless I pour a more than suggested dosage of Nyquil down my throat. Overall though, it does seem a lot more healthy to be working 9-5, to come out of work into the daylight is nice and it means I can actually do things. I mean, I still never do anything after work during the week, but it is possible.

I think I have bronchitis. I assumed coughing up green crap was just some nasty kind of cold, but then the Internet pointed out once again that I'm a moron. I'm probably fine though, it's just that the air in Seoul is like smoking a dozen packs of cigarettes a day. A girl in class today was coughing and out of the corner of my eye I see something come flying out of her mouth. It landed on top of her book. She then turned the book over, told nobody to look and asked if she could go to the bathroom and get a tissue. Sorry, that was gross. But it highlights my point, which is it's impossible to be healthy here. And also Korean kids are nasty.

Tokyo is booked for next month. Now we just have to figure out what part of the city is the best to stay at. So if anyone has been there and has any ideas, your comments would be appreciated. I'm listening to Dashboard Confessional right now? Is that gay? Don't answer that.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I went to bed at 9pm last night. That was awesome, until about 9:30 when someone from the gas company kept ringing my door bell. I was in a half stupor so I was about to just open the door in my underwear, so I did that. Of course, it was a woman at the door. I think she was checking for a gas leak, but I was being a total bitch to her. I was pretending I didn't understand any of the Korean she kept speaking to me.

On Friday, we saw Korea at its worst. It was probably around 4am and we just hanging out at a restaurant, basically waiting for the subway to reopen. A couple minutes after we sat down, this couple starts screaming, the guy takes off, leaves the girl at the table. Alright, the end of that. No so much. Now what happened next, I don't care what your culture is, but this behavior isn't acceptable anywhere. Period. The guy came back a few minutes later, yanks the girl out of the booth, she slams her head onto the side of the wall. I remember yelling "f--- you" at the guy over and over again as he was walking out the front door. I've never been in a fight before, but if that guy had turned around, it was on. There was something so repulsive about seeing something like that and more so, the muted reactions from the other Koreans in the place. One huge Korean guy nodded at me and smiled after it all ended. It was small consolation. I'm sorry, something like that would never happen in America. That guy wouldn't have made it out that front door.

I spoke to the school director yesterday and told her I wasn't pleased with the current work schedule, namely me teaching a lot more than John Mark Karr. She made the strong point that my contract states that I teach 30 classes a week and I'm currently at 29. But it's not about the contract, it's about the blatant unfairness of the current situation. And she understood this, apologized profusely and assured me that she is "considering doing something" about John Mark. The point obviously being that old man perv monster may be shipping out of Korea in the near future.

Haven't done much lately, but I'm content with that through the winter. Every time I think maybe I should go outside and do something, the natural human instinct to want to remain warm and in front of the TV takes hold of me. Next month I should get to Japan, followed by a trip to North Korea in March, that should be enough to hold me over until the spring arrives. Until then, I have sooo many old TV shows to watch online.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Here's another video of Korean children. During this class, we basically sing songs all class because it means I have to do less work. Of course the kids insist on banging on things while singing, but that doesn't really bother me. Actually, usually I'm banging on my desk, too. Around the 30 second mark of the video, a piece of a kid's pen goes flying across the room. Sometimes the people who work at the front desk come take a look in my class, I guess just to make sure the kids aren't involved in a riot.

I got screwed over a bit at work yesterday. Since all of the kids hate John Mark Karr II, of course their parents call all the time and complain about him. Whatever, doesn't matter to me, but then I got hit with it yesterday. One class that I taught last semester complained so much, I think the director was afraid some of them would quit. So they gave me that class. Not a big deal, I thought. But then I realized there was no switch, I now just have two more classes to teach each week. It comes down to this, John Mark is a terrible teacher so now he gets to teach fewer classes. He has 23 a week now. I'm at 29. In a sense, I can't complain because my contract is for 30 hours a week and I'm glad the kids liked me enough to request me to be their teacher, but I'd rather be rewarded for being a good teacher instead of being nailed in the balls. I told David that I'm going to take my pants off in every class, except for two, so that I'll only be left with two classes and old douche will have 50. I guess I just have to pray John Mark gets fired soon, and that does seem to be a strong possibility.

A couple Korean Kids Say Silly Things: In writing class, the topic was to write a paragraph about your best friend. One girl goes, "My best friend is Michael Jackson." I didn't touch that one. In another class, a boy wrote something in Korea on his desk and asked a girl what it meant in English, she yells out "Sex!" Thankfully, I'm pretty sure they have no idea what it means.

The weather has been pretty decent lately. The high has been in the 30s the last couple weeks. Besides a few days where it was too cold to physically move, it hasn't been nearly as bad as I expected. It's also only snowed a couple times, and that is huge. Just two more months of cold, I can already taste Spring.

I went this eye doctor center yesterday, mainly because I can't really open my eyes in the morning. I waited a solid hour in the waiting room, but apparently you aren't allowed to make an appointment. I could tell all the doctors were looking at me thinking, "God, I hope I don't have to speak English to that guy." When I was finally called in, the first thing the doctor does is ask me if I can speak Korean, in Korean, of course. He was obviously slightly retarded. On the bright side, the doctor and two prescriptions cost me $4.50. My eyes also feel better, but I think I'm pouring steroids into them now. For some reason, I doubt this medication is approved by the FDA.

Apparently it was my birthday on New Years Day. As well as for everyone else on this peninsula. I am now 26, Korean age. I knew that when people are born here they are already 1, but then they turn 2 on New Years Day. So Koreans have two birthdays, really. Their real birthday on whatever date and also on January 1st when they actually add a year to their age, along with the rest of the country. That could explain why some of the girls in my elementary school classes claim they are 14, when they look about 10. It doesn't really make any sense.

On a side note, what the hell is with Jack Bauer? He's such a racist. There's no way he needed to shoot Curtis! And then he runs off and starts crying by a tree?!?! If I wanted to watch that kind of crap, I'd watch Home Makeovers or some other gay show my parents watch. I just hope the rest of the season finds its way onto the Internet and it involves a lot more of Jack Bauer chopping through peoples' necks and less of Jack Bauer being a giant pussy.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Here's another video. This one having absolutely nothing to do with Korea. It's just something that needs to be posted. (That's not true at all. This is gross.)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

So I made a short video in class last week. It's nothing special, but it does capture a bit of what I deal with everyday. Namely children yelling things in Korean and then me telling them to speak English. It's a vicious cycle. Hopefully I can get some higher quality videos posted on here soon. I am kind of excited about it. It could be a real spark plug for my blog, which is already an international phenomenon.

I met with this Korean guy Wilson last Tuesday and he's definitely a shady character. Among the things he told me: his parents won $250,000 on a slot machine in Atlantic City. His friend's dad is the boss of Korean Air so he can get Mike and I free tickets to Japan. His parents think he is in Japan going to grad school right now so they send him $5,000 each month. He spent his 5G for January in two weeks, mainly on bottles of expensive liquor. I was kind of intrigued by it all but some things just don't add up. Mainly he says he lived on Long Island for eight years, but when I asked what other towns were near Syosset, he couldn't name one. He borrowed $25 from me to buy drinks that night. He then said he'd pay me back by buying bottles of liquor at a booking bar this weekend. He never called. All in all though, I think it was a fair gamble. He'll probably call me to hangout tomorrow night after which I'll tell him for the hundredth time that I don't get drunk on Monday nights. Really, I just want the free plane tickets. Oh, he also told me he would come with me to Thailand, in September.

I made the mistake of letting the students get a hold of my cell phone. So now they all call me. Or send me text messages that say something like "Happy Birthday!" or "You Crazy Lion." One girl sent me a text at 11pm last week as I was getting ready to fall asleep, it said ""RYAN IM SALLY CALL ME WHAT ARE YOU DOING CALL ME SORRY". I was actually really impressed this girl could even write that much in English, she's a pretty terrible student, but despite her commendable efforts, I didn't call her. I think all the Korean teachers think I'm retarded now because students call me while they are in the school, about 20 feet away from me. Despite this, I still answer my phone. The kids then always hang up immediately.

I've come to the conclusion that a solid 90 percent of the white people in this country are douchebags. I'm sure they all view me in the same light, but they all have this nasty attitude about them. In Itaewon Friday night, some guy was lecturing me about how he knew five languages or something. Earlier that night, in Sinchon, we hung out at the same whitey joint we spent New Year's Eve out. I'd been drinking soju (so anything that follows here is completely acceptable) so I decided to attempt to hand the bartender a piece of paper that said "2 8===D's, Please." Bender didn't allow that so I slipped the paper underneath a few music requests in front of the DJ. We didn't stay long enough to find out if they ever played my song. Anyway white people, I asked this white girl where she was from and she said Canada. Then since I'm terribly lame, I probably said something like "Oh, it's really cold then." So then we got into a fight, with her claiming wherever it was she lived in Canada was actually warm and me refusing to believe anything she said. She was a bitch, I think. Then last night as a white guy is leaving DragonBar, a bartender looks over and waves to him. The white guy gives him the finger. Maybe that was just an inside joke or something, but sometimes it's easy to understand the anti-westerner sentiment over here.

I stole a stapler from McDonalds on Friday night. I'm not really sure why. I have no real use for a stapler over here. We also went to McDonalds last night. And when I finish this blog, I'll probably go to KFC because apparently I have little desire to ever be even remotely healthy. KFC is amazing though. Yeah, I'm hungry now. This blog isn't nearly as good as the spicy chicken sandwich.

Photo- This one is looking down the street my apartment is located on. It's absolutely gorgeous.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I'll post this right before I head out on what may be a huge mistake. I'm meeting this Korean guy Wilson at DragonBar. His parents lived in America. Got kicked out of NYU when cops found weed in his room. He calls me all the time and since I'm not working til 2 tomorrow, I agreed to grab a few drinks. Here's the issue, he asked me to pay for his drinks tonight. Apparently his monthly allowance from his parents hasn't arrived here yet. Now usually if this was a guy I met once in a bar, I'd tell him to screw off, but I actually do believe this guy has a ton of cash. He says he hasn't had a job for six months and he went on a two week vacation to New Zealand last month. So yeah I'm buying this guy drinks tonight. I'm just gonna bring 40,000 won to the bar, though, so he isn't tempting to order a bottle of Jack Daniels, which it seems all the Koreans do in that bar. He also told me he wants to bring me to a "booking club" some time. I think I need to experience this to be able to explain it, but apparently you pay a ton of money for a bottle of booze and it's the waiters' jobs to get girls and literally push them over to your table. The more you drink, the more you pay, the more attractive the girls become. Just a bit sleazy, but hey, if Wilson wants to pay for it all and I get a written guarantee that I won't be raped, I could be enticed.

Oh, obviously I got another white guy's phone number this weekend. That was after Bender ditched me when I passed out from taking 10 shots of soju at 6pm. That was lame. At Woodstock, I got a few free drinks, including one called a MonkeyBrain. I was really scared at first because all the bartenders were surrounding me and when I asked what was in it, one of them said, "Have you ever tried Ecstasy?" But I drank it and I didn't start feeling up the white guy, so I think it was just alcohol.

Work is a breeze right now, mainly because of the whole working 32 hours a week this month. It's nice to get off work at 5pm too and actually has some of the day to work with. I thought it would be awesome not having to work until 2pm but that means by the time I get off at 10, eat dinner and get home, it's already midnight and there's no chance I'm leaving the apartment again.

I asked one of my classes what the word "graceful" meant today and they said it was a "sexy dancer". Not exactly. One girl told me she didn't do her homework because she was in the bathroom. In the bathroom for an entire week apparently. She should probably see a doctor about that. Sometimes I really would like to know how to speak Korean, if only to understand what the hell the kids are saying all class. I confiscated a huge piece of paper from one class and told the kids to read it. They read it as everyone else cracked up. It was basically just a big list of curse words written in Korean. I took it away and threw it in the trash. I could have shown the head Korean teacher, but she would have maimed the kids and plus, I'm the cool teacher. No one gets in trouble.

I think I've given up ham and cheese sandwiches for good. Instead I'm going to Dunkin Donuts every morning. Yeah. It's so bad though, cause I order a blueberry bagel with cream cheese. Somehow it takes them a good 10 minutes to make this so naturally I am always 10 minutes late to work. Most days I also get a chocolate donut, but I try to hide that when I get to school so the healthy Korean teachers don't yell at me. I usually have a Korean call and order me lunch, which is always a great deal. It's like $3.50 to get a huge dish delivered in about 10 minutes. And of course, there's no tipping. Sorry, deliveryman, it's your culture. I always go to the pasta place around the block from my apartment at least once a week. The owner loves me and gives me a free cup of hot chocolate after my meal. But I always feel obligated to finish the drink, which leads to me feeling terrible when I finally leave the place. Whatever, it's still my favorite place to eat. I guess I'm also not eating much. I weighed myself for the first time since I got here when we were in China. I've lost 15 pounds. I thought maybe the scale was broken but the nurse at the doctors office confirmed it last week. I'm 66 kg or for normal people, 145 lbs. The smart money is on me gaining everything back within a week of returning home and returning to my old meal plan of three meals of Taco Bell a day. Alright, I have to go hangout with a sketchball Korean. Annyeong kyeseyo.

Photos- an old one from Lotte World (yeah, the sign says "With Lovers", perfect) and one of those things that are all over Korea.

Friday, January 05, 2007

I went to Itaewon this week to get my eyes checked out. They've been all red and itchy for months now so I finally gave in and went to see Dr. Wang. Waste of time though. The douchebag didn't even look at my eyes. He just gave me a prescription for eye drops to use. Pretty much the same drops I used before I came to Korea, and they didn't work. The one good thing from the 45 minute subway ride there was I convinced him to give me some more xanax, which means I can travel some more without wetting myself on the plane. I think I'll go to a real eye doctor next week. With my health insurance, that should cost about 50 cents. I might just go to every doctor in this country before I go home and get every part of my body checked out. I don't plan on getting my dad's personal favorite though: the colonoscopy.

As I was walking back to the subway from the doctor's office, a couple of Korean girls ambushed me. They said they were university students and they just needed five minutes of my time. Since I was then on pace to get to work an hour early, I let them abuse me for a few minutes. I thought it was just going to be some survey or something, but instead, they were religious freaks and not from some normal church. One girl kept reading me verses from the Bible and she would ask me over and over"Gotta Mother?" I think she was trying to tell me that there were two Gods, a male one and a female one. I just agreed with everything she said, failing to mention I haven't been in a church in about five years. About 15 minutes, I lied and said I was late to work. I think they were going to come to work with me if it was close by, but thankfully, they gave me just enough room to escape from the alley they had cornered me in.

I'm on the early morning work schedule now, so that's been kind of rough. When I had to work at 2, I was getting a solid 9 hours of sleep a night. Now it's closer to 4 or 5. The kids are suffering because of this, as I am not nearly as nice in class when all I want to be doing is sleeping. A kid forgot to bring his book to class yesterday so I made him write 100 times "I will bring my book to class." Whatever, I have that kind of power. They shall obey.

You know how you always see people selling stuff on subways anywhere you go? And nobody every buys stuff cause it's all crap. Well, Koreans love crap. They buy everything. Usually the douche selling stuff with walk up and down the subway car yelling things for a few minutes and no one will move. He always starts the price at around 4,000 won ($4) no matter what he is selling. Then after five minutes of everyone ignoring him, he drops the price to 1,000 won and every damn Korean on the subway buys whatever it is. It could be a bag of dog shit, they would buy it for 1,000 won. They were selling a lot of crap in China too, but I almost bought their stuff. A few people had these blinking light wheels that you attach to your sneakers, essentially making your sneakers into roller blades. I definitely should have bought them. They were probably 3 bucks. Bender wouldn't let me though. He ruins everything.

I feel the need to take something back from a recent post, the one in which I said if you combine the looks of Shanghai with the friendliness of Koreans, you'd have the perfect country. While yes, most Koreans are friendly and they will go out of their way to help you out, the fact is Korea is about anti-foreign as it comes when you're talking about countries. It's just a certain feel you get walking around the streets. I read in the paper the other day about a new group in Seoul, whose only mission is to rid Korea of all forgeiners or what they call "low-grade Westerners". It's such a huge contradiction. The collective self-esteem of Korea is the same as that of a 14-year-old boy with a face covered in pimples and hair growing out of his ears. They try so hard to shed their own image, to become white in any way possible, whether it be by hanging out in Western bars or only listening to Justin Timberlake. And then at the same time, you have this anti-white attitude that pervades the country. This whole "We, the Koreans, are the superior race" type deal. Sure, I know it's the same in Europe where they suck up American culture but yet despise our country. But it's the different here because Koreans don't just want to listen to American music and watch English movies, they want to actually be white. Someone please explain to me how any of that makes sense.

I hit the three-month mark in Korea this weekend. The next two months are going to be brutal, only because cold weather kills my desire to do anything whatsoever. I enjoy walking around the city and exploring new places, but that's just not going to happen until spring. Until then, I'm going to drink soju on street corners, wander into the nearest bar, and offend Korean girls.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year and welcome to the 2007 edition of the worst blog in the world (although it still gets a million more hits than Bender's). Since cold sucks and we feared getting trampled, we stayed away from the hot spots on Sunday night. I think they ring a giant bell or something. Not really that cool. We celebrated the New Year with about 50 white people at this bar in Sinchon. The bar didn't even have a sign outside, but it was swarming with whities. A couple of Russian girls were going nuts on the dance and sadly, I got too many views of their underwear. They gave out a free shot to everyone at midnight, but somehow, mainly because I'm an idiot, I forgot to go up to the bar to get it. Since it was a big night, we then went to Itaewon, where you just go when you want to feel filthy. And we did.

We met up with my coworker David and a few of his buddies. One of those buddies almost managed to get into a brawl with a Korean bar owner. The owner was pulling down the metal cage as he was closing up the place and this guy runs up to it and jumps into the cage. The owner went nuts. It took him a good five minutes to realize he was outnumbered. I'm not counting myself. I ran away. Once we made it a bar, it was actually pretty chill there. Some guy from Idaho came up to me and said a Korean girl wanted to talk to me. So I did that. As is my life though, her English skills were quite sad. This girl's sister, who is married to said Idaho guy, was acting as a translator for a few minutes before I realized how sad the situation had become. So I gave up on that one. Got home at 6am and then woke up at 2pm Monday to catch the Times Square festivities on the tube. Pretty solid night, although New Years Eve Eve was probably more entertaining.

We went to Dragon Bar mainly so Bender could kick my ass in darts 10 more times, but then some sort of Korean tornado of drunkeness smashed into us. This guy and who we think was his girlfriend started talking to us. When Mike introduced himself, the guy went nuts. "Mike!! My English name is Mike, too!! Same name! Same name!" Then in some kind of weird Korean Groundhog Day, that same exchange happened about a hundred more times. The guy kept forgetting our names so whenever Mike re-introduced himself, he went crazy. He also gave us a bunch of shots of Jack from the bottle he bought, which I think pissed off the bartenders cause we got drunk and only bought one beer. The girlfriend, who the guy kept pointing to and saying "Very very very very very very no English," apparently only knew two words in English. Me Pretty? Over and over again. And we told her how amazing she looked for a good hour.

And in easily the gayest thing that's happened here, the guy started to feed me tomatoes and cantaloupe. First he told me he wasn't gay and then he cupped my chin with one hand and fed me. I let him do it because it's Korea and that's normal, maybe. And I'm gay. He then tried to feed Bender, who thank God did not witness him feeding me, and Bender refused to play along. Damn hetero. After this, I don't think the guy liked Bender anymore, although I think they might play basketball together sometime. I'm supposed to meet the girl at Dragon on Wednesday night for a language exchange. I'll probably go just to make sure she isn't there. And there's just no way she's showing up. It was an absolutely hilarious night. At one point, the guy went across the bar for a minute to talk to KC, a white guy we met last month who had just walked in, and suddenly he turns and shouts towards us "Mike Mike! Same name!" Before he left, he hugged each of us about 40 times, wished us a Happy New Year and he may have licked my ear. He is my favorite Korean of all time.

Made it to Club Night on Friday but no before a rocking party at work! One truly annoying thing about Koreans is that they have no conception of giving people notice of anything. As I'm putting on my jacket to leave work Friday, one of the Korean teachers goes "hey wait, we're having a party." It's almost as if they assume you already know everything. Party was actually decent though. A ton of food, even more alcohol. Only awkward thing was I was sitting next to John Mark Karr II and we didn't say a word to each other the entire time. I could tell some of the Korean teachers were a bit confused. The owners made everyone at the table stand up and say something, I really have no idea what it was about. It could have been about New Year's or chemistry, no clue. John Mark got all douchy and said something about cherishing every moment. Everyone was creeped out. I got up and said, "Annyeong Haseyo, Gamsahamnida." or "Hello, Thank you." Everyone loved that. I'm awesome.

I was thinking before just how much happier I am at the start of this year than the last. And really, it's a huge difference. Last year, I was rarely leaving my apartment, I was coming home from work early everyday and blazing. Now sure there are definitely times here when I crave that kind of lifestyle again, but those are very fleeting moments. Halfway through the year, I spent two days in the ER after forgetting my entire life, but really, I wasn't forgetting much because I wasn't doing anything with my life. That's changed now. And it's a great feeling.

Photos- Bender and one of his many Korean girlfriends, and a couple more Shanghai photos, the bottom one is from inside the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel, basically just a glorified way of getting across the river.