Location: Korea (South)
I have a day off today! Today's show was canceled a few weeks ago... So I'm just relaxing at home... uploaded some more photos of my adventure yesterday... filled the fish tank up... ate pancakes... browsed myspace for far too long... read a little... now my legs are kinda cramped up from sitting at the computer for too long. I'm going to see Chesuk at 3pm for an english chat, which means I'll eat dinner there tonight... but I have a good three and a half hours before then so I could do something exciting if I applied myself... i.e. leave the apartment and do something. But, I'm not sure I will - might just have a little nap, read some more, clean a bit. As you can see, life here is sometimes action packed and exotic, but sometimes just normal and lazy. It's all about balance.
Yesterday's walk along the wall that surrounds Suwon's palace was really special. It was great to escape the hustle of Seoul and have some time on a quiet mountaintop. After that we had lunch in a busy, noisy, department store food court so they probably canceled each other out or something. There's photos up. Zoe and I repeated the Wednesday-end-of-week drinks again last night - back to "beer factory" for the best fish and chips in Seoul and the tallest glasses of beer I've seen.
Tomorrow and Saturday we have shows, then it's Easter... Then next Tuesday I'll head away from Seoul and tour all week. I'm really looking forward to that - staying in motels and trying new local foods. Also, sitting in cars/trains and buses listening to music, reading and watching the scenery pass by. Apartment tower, apartment tower, apartment tower, wasteland, town, town, town, park, mountain, gardens, flowers, cherry blossoms, blossoms, blossoms, tower, market, ocean, rice fields, skyscrapers, dump, apartment tower...
I've been reading a bit lately - realised that I haven't really read anything except uni texts for the last few years, so I've started on the collection of books that were left in the apartment. It's not a bad collection, made by foreigners in Seoul who come and go, bringing or buying books and leaving them here when they leave since they're too heavy to take home. Finished "To Kill A Mockingbird" last week and am now half way through "Fox Girl" - a story about Korean girls/women living in Pusan after the war and surviving by servicing the American GIs.
I hope everything is well in Brisbane... I guess the tidal wave didn't come?
All my love,
Location: Korea (South)
Everyday seems like a holiday. Everyday, everything is still so different. Like a holiday, there are always new tastes, smells, sights, sounds and sensations
Friday night I drank. Saturday I slept. Sunday how about a trip to the National museum, Italian food in a fashion cosmopolitan district, a movie then some frozen coffee yogurt with chocolate sauce and fresh fruit?
Holidays are exhausting though
sometimes HOME would be the perfect HOLIDAY.
Location: Korea (South)
Today I moved into a new apartment. Still in Yeoksam, but this place is bigger and more homely. It's Rachel's old place and it comes with a pet fish named Yoi (that's Ukrainian for oops... "oops" because it's the fish they didn't want and Ukrainian because... I have no idea) We're right next door to Roger, so there's likely to be many roof-top fireworks parties with him in the next few months!
I feel pretty settled back in Korea. After a week of fairly warm and sunny weather, we're experiencing a period of cold, windy and rainy weather... According to Koreans, Winter is jealous of Spring and that's what's causing the change. It's called *(insert here when I remember)* which roughly translates (by Zoe) to mean "flower jealousy".
Last night was the cast and crew's Five Fools end of season party at Chesuk and Minkyoung's restaurant. It was also Rachel's last night in Korea and a farewell for Mikyoung who's returning to Sadari Theatre. I was pretty tired after Sunday night, so I had a quiet night and went home to bed after the roof-top fireworks...
I like how this entry is progressing backwards.
"Early one morning when Henry was out walking backwards, trying very hard to walk forwards, he bumped into Amy"
Sunday night after the final Five Fools show, Mikyong took us to Haewa for some very famous Kalbijim (casserole style beef... kinda). As this was Leah's last night in the country for a while, Rach lead us through the pouring rain to Britz bar. A truly beautiful venue with a tree in the centre of the room that's surrounded by lanterns, couches, paintings and lengths of cloth. We drank citron absolute vodka and played Mikyoung's Korean Style "game"... To play, someone says what they like about someone else, then that person says what they like about someone else... That's it. You wouldn't find too many people playing that in Australia... Some do I guess (i.e. after Korea last year). But in conclusion, once again, Koreans are so beautiful, honest, loving and generous - even (possibly especially) in their second language.
So apart from hanging out with Zoe everyday, that's about all I've been up to...
Never did get around to writing about Japan - but I did upload a stack of photos, and pictures say a thousand words right? I also uploaded the pics of my time in Brisbane, so enjoy!
For those playing at home, I'm in Malaysia waiting for my plane to Brisbane. Decided to pass through immigration and catch a train into the city tonight to check out KL... Better than waiting in the airport all night. Took a monorail from KL Central to a district called Bukit Bintang (the guy on the plane today recommended it). It was another western firendly city with giant shopping malls, starbucks, mcdonalds etc etc. If your blur your eyes you could think your in Seoul or Tokyo (except for the heat!). I managed to find and enjoy some Malaysian food so that was a delicious dinner. The Chinese new year is a big event here so red lanterns lined the streets... Also, being valentines day, there were many make-shift flower stalls. I caught a glimpse of the twin tower building and also the cities tower, so, not abad little sight-seeing adventure.
Its hot! And humid. What's that about? I hope it's still raining in Brisbane.
I have a lot to enter in here, i.e. 2 weeks in Japan, and alot of photos to upload but I'll do that another day.
My plan is to stay up all night looking in duty free shops and eating random things so that I can sleep easily on the plane tomorrow. But those airport seats are looking pretty tempting... and it IS 1.41am...
So it has been a month since my last entry? I don't know how this happens.
I'm not sure what to write - Christmas and New Years seem like such a long time ago, and I have been so busy since then... I'll attempt a quick catch-up entry...
CHRISTMAS: Zoe, Derik, Jez and I ate at seven springs for Christmas lunch so we enjoyed a very western selection of breads, salads, cold meats and pasta... just like home! We spent a while travelling between movie cinemas attempting to see a film, but it seems that that's exactly what everyone else in Korea was also doing as all the sessions were sold out for hours. It was my first Christmas away from home so a little strange... I missed bon bons and the smell of the Christmas tree, but I got to speak to the family so that was nice!
NEW YEARS EVE: Thom and Fi had arrived in the country so we went and ate and drank at Zoe's apartment. We were far too healthy and therefore very disappointed in ourselves for how sober we remained for the entire evening. CASS beer is delicious but not appropriate for such occasions.
Then some things happened or something... and days went by... or something... the first week of January is a bit of a blur... Fi and Thom were here - we shopped and ate and... did stuff... ummmm... Oh yeah: went to the DMZ.
The De-Militarised Zone can only be experienced in a tour - this has its pros and cons. It was very interesting visiting the sites and hearing about the hopes and fears of Koreans in the past and the present. I've come to accept that the whole situation between the North and South is very complicated, riddled with propaganda and at the same time strangely glorified for its uniqueness and it's apparent (false?) "Hope". It's hard to communicate the surreal sense I experienced during the tour... As part of the tour we viewed a documentary on the DMZ, which claimed the zone is "not a symbol of separation, but a symbol of hope" and "the only place for peace in the 20th century." The 7 minute film attempted to stimulate every human emotion possible and overwhelmed us with cliché re-enactments and insensitive statements... The film gave the impression that at any point now, the fences would be broken down and a peaceful reunification would occur... I couldn't grasp this same viewpoint as I stood on the observation platform looking at the North Korean city on the other side of the nature strip. I feel sorry for the families that are separated and for those who cannot return to their hometowns. Without knowing much about the situation, I don't know if a peaceful reunification is possible, or when - or if this would be a positive move... It sounds like the south is getting their hopes up - preparing railways and highways to the border... I just don't know.
CAMP: These camps are hard work. The have great highs and deep, dark, depressive lows! For 2 weeks you think about nothing else except the kids, the performance and teaching... You go go go from the moment you wake up, until the moment the kids are in bed... and you eat hideous food and have terrible sleeps. Sounds delightful hey? It REALLY is the PEOPLE that make them worthwhile.
I had the small boys - around 26 each week. Our job was to set up the circus tent as part of the performance, sing a song and do some juggling. We did have a lot of fun and the children really enjoyed themselves. Thom had the older boys and Fiona had the younger girls... The little girls were the stars of the show - they are MADE for such camps - they always listen, try hard and most importantly WANT TO IMPRESS - therefore their performance is stunning (wands with lights on the end, human pyramids, loud singing voices
. THE LOT). My boys on the other hand, are naughty, ratty, smelly, don't care about singing or dancing and don't mind if their part of the show is hideous. (Ok, slight exaggeration - but in comparison to the little girls its kinda true). Anyway, I worked the boys hard and their show was fine - I was proud of them. I made some good friends and my students loved me.
Koreans think I am a woman. I have learnt to take off my beanie to reveal my short hair when meeting people for the first time to avoid embarrassment for all involved.
It was great to see my friends the Korean teachers again - they are truly beautiful, caring, loving, affectionate, fun, peaceful, respectful, open minded, humorous, intelligent and sexy people! I am meeting Mj and Hong on Monday for dinner yay!
I was sick on the last Saturday, but talked myself out of it and stayed up partying until 5am with KyoungHee, Hong and MJ (plus Yori and Lindsay at times). Kerry shared her absinth but I didnt see a green fairy. Hong was so sick the next morning he couldnt make it through the closing ceremony poor fella cant take it like an Aussie!
So, I was pretty tired after 2 weeks of hard work and a little self-inflicted alcohol abuse, but I couldnt rest yet because Sophie and I had 3 Australia Day gigs to get ready for: 1 at the GRAND HYATT in front of at least 1000 guests, and 2 at a couple of English villages. The Australian embassy flew over some other artists to perform with us and we had a good time I got paid more for those 3 gigs than I did for 2 weeks of deathly camps
how does that work?
So now, I have a break! I leave for Japan next week so Im just going to relax and spend time with the other Aussies who are in Seoul at the moment. After Japan Ill be heading home for a new VISA then back here to WORK but Ill post about my new job another time!
Looking at my feet on this Invasion day,
It's been an exciting few days!
On Sunday night the cast of FIVE FOOLS and I went out for Sundubu (amazing tofo soup).
On Monday we had Indian for lunch with Zoe and visited the Kyobo Book Centre. I bought a great diary for next year. We then got lost on the subway for a bit, but managed to back-track and meet Mikyong for the Korean Arts Awards Of The Year. Her previous show "The Day The Clock Stopped" at SADARI children's theatre won the best Children's show of the year. I watched the performance on DVD and it was beautiful. There was no speaking and the story was told through masks, music and movement. It commented on the absurdity of war and the effects it has on families. ALL men must do military training here when they're about 20, so the performance was linked to this... A very inspiring show. The awards ceremony was very grand and had great performances too.
After celebrating with Hanuk (Theatre owner) and the SADARI team, we stumbled across Chong (Theatre Design Student who helped with costumes for 5 Fools) and his friend at MBAR. Christine lead us to a nightclub which was practically empty but had all you can drink whiskey for 10000 won. We all danced the night away :) Mikyong then lead us to her friend's bar: Yeabar. I made friends with the bar staff and hope to go back there to see them again soon.
Taxi home. To bed at 5.30am.
The next day we went to LOTTE WORLD - probably not the best choice after a big night, but we had a great time. It is the biggest indoor theme park in the world, and has an Island of rides outside too! It was extremely busy - we had to line up for the good rides for an hour and a half... We ate typical theme park junk food and felt very exhausted afterwards, so we went to the chim chil bung to relax in the saunas and spas.
Quick kimchi chigae and dwenjung chigae for dinner, then bed.
Wednesday was the day of rest. Apart from tutoring Chesuk at 3pm, I just lazed around all day.
This week is the last week FIVE FOOLS is in the Seoul theatre, their tour of Korea starts on the 4th of January.
Kate arrives on the 28th and Fi and Thom arrive on the 29th! YAY!
Thinking of everyone back home... Enjoy the festive season!