Tuesday, January 30, 2007

SeoulGlow #1 -- New Year's (no subs)

This is great. It really captures the Korean people.

Sex and the City

I wasn't feeling well on Sunday, so I decided that after covering a story on the local organization of Sea Cadets, that I would have a Sex and the City marathon. I cuddled with a fleece blanket and mug of hot chocolate on the sofa. I put "Sex" on the giant tv at 3 pm. I stupidly thought that I would be able to make it through half or more of the series by 1am. what a fool! 6 hours later (dinner in there and a couple of phone calls) I finished the first season and the first season is one of the shortest with only 2 disks! So much for my marathon. I guess that I would have to use two full days just for watching Sex. That would be fun though. Get some friends together, eat junk food and groan over all the women's mistakes in love. I thought that it would be intersting to keep track of all the women get involved with. There has to be "intimacy" or a the boyfriend moniker. I started keeping score with Season 2.

My favorite character is Carrie still. I like her because she is a writer and her relationships most closely represent mine and as does her relationship personality. I know that Paul still prefers Berger, but I love Aiden. She should have married him, but I know that she and Mr. Big were meant for each other. I understand what she sees in Mr. Big and I would probably be attracted to him as well, but I wouldn't have been such a big fool and thrown away Aiden.

Also I like Carrie's clothes the best. She wears some pretty cool and funky outfits, but there are some things that I would never dream of wearing because they are too revealing or are actually ugly. Probably the most consistently wearable is Charlotte, but her clothes tend to be too preppy and classic.

After watching all six seasons of Sex in order and out-of-order, I feel like Miranda, Charlotte, Samantha and Carrie are all my friends. I guess that means it really a well-made show. I love how strong their friendships are, how they can always discuss their problems and that no matter what, they are there for each other. Here's to friendship!


"Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads."

--Erica Jong

Monday, January 29, 2007

Life on this Monday morning

The snow keeps falling here. I love this kind of snowflake: large and in no hurry to get anywhere. We had snow Saturday night and when I awoke on Sunday morning, we had about an inch. As I crossed the street to get the newspaper, I marveled at how it looked like there were a million crystals shimmering in the snow. It was perfect. I haven't shoveled yet, but I haven't been feeling well again. I have to call the doctor later and make an appointment to go in. It seems that my pneumonia has come back. I am tired a lot and my chest is hurting again. I guess that it's good that I haven't gotten another part-time job yet. I am going to stop by the newspaper office today and ask for more writing. I really want to just be able to support myself right now with writing. My parents and I got another book contract for Schiffer Books. The book will be on vintage scarves. My mom and I already own A LOT, so it shouldn't be too hard. I am excited to research the designers. I have also started my book about life in Korea. I am hoping to work on it a lot today. Wish me luck with that! Well, I suppose that I should get back to my writing.

"When all is said and done, the weather and love are the two elements about which one can never be sure."
--Alice Hoffman

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I am currently sitting in my bed and feeling warm and cozy. Snoopy, my old furless stuffed animal, is sitting next to me. He has gone just about everywhere with me during my lifetime. As a child, I hauled him to Montreal, to Florida, to Cape Cod, to Grandma’s house and Devil’s Lake. He’s lived in Vermont with me for five years and he went all the way to Korea with me last year.

I wasn’t going to take him with me to Korea because I didn’t really need him anymore and I didn’t want to lose him. But in a last minute decision, I decided to take him with. I was happy that I did. He was a great comfort when I was lonely. I could hold him tight as I tried to sleep and I felt homesick or when I missed Aaron. He made it through the Korea experience in good shape.

But a funny thing happened on the way home. I was going through security at Incheon airport. My two carry-on bags were stuffed with books, a computer, my Ipod, cameras, ad Snoopy. The security people had me open my bags and they carefully started to pull things out and to lay them down. One of the first things to get pulled out was old, ratty Snoopy. He looked so sad and cold and he lay on the shiny metal table. I felt kind of bad for him and I also felt a little embarrassed that I would have such a silly-looking stuffed animal in my bag.

After a few minutes, a woman who was wearing white gloves, picked Snoopy back up and carefully placed him back in my backpack. I thought that it was kind of her to be gently, but I couldn’t help but think what did she think about me and Snoopy? Unfortunately, my backpack was so tightly packed that as I tried to help her zip it back up, Snoopy and everything in the bag got squished tightly together.

I wonder where Snoopy will go with me next?
What one loes in childhood stays in the heart forever.
--Mary Jo Putney

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

New Mission

My friend Kit told me about a great way to get your creative juices flowing each day. First thing in the morning, she sits down and writes three full pages by hand. She just writes about memories and anything that comes to mind. She says that this causes her to be much more aware of her day and her surroundings. It also helps her to approach everything more creatively. I was so inspired by her that I decided to do the same, but with a few alterations. I don't have to write right when I get up, but I should write in the morning and instead of 3 handwritten pages, I will do 1.5 single-spaced typed pages on my computer. I want to have my writing saved in my computer so I cut and paste it into any future stories or pieces that I write. Here is what I wrote today. It may be quite rough because you are not allowed to edit.

I still miss Korea so much when I think about it. I miss my friends and having so many people to do things with. I miss that each day was a little adventure. Things are so stagnant here in Ocon and I just want to get out of here. At least yesterday I took some pictures. I had Mom drop me off at the post office in the morning on her way to work and I walked home. I took about 100 pictures and that felt great.

I loved walking in Korea from station to a couple of stations down and taking lots of pictures of all of the surprising things. I wish that I would have taken even more pictures now of the things that I took for granted. I should have taken more pictures of the food and of the people. I realized at the time that I wasn’t taking enough pictures of people, but I have a difficult time with that most of the time. I am just too shy.

It’s interesting how an exotic life can feel normal after only a short time. I tell people stories here of things that happened to me in Korea, that to me don’t seem surprising, and they are amused by them. For example,

After spending a few hours sleeping and waiting in the emergency room at the hospital in Korea, my boss came back to check on me. It was about 9:30am. The group of four doctors and one nurse came over to my bed and one gave me my diagnosis. He said something to the effect that I had atypical pneumonia and a gastro viral infection, so I should take this medicine three times a day. No other directions or recommendations. I was tired and out-of-it, so I just accepted it. Then the doctor told Mrs. Cho in Korean what was wrong with me. As he began to talk, the room full of patients went quiet. The patients and their families, leaned forward and had a look of curiosity on their faces. They all wanted to know what was wrong with the Western white girl. I didn’t notice what their reaction was, but it didn’t surprise me at all that they would take such a concern in my diagnosis. For me, it was just life in as an expat in Korea.

Another story that I told my mom was about a day that I was waiting to meet Paddy by Bucheon station. A mentally retarded young man came up to me and asked where I was from. I told him that I was from the United States. He then began to sing the National anthem. I was taken aback that this man would have the whole song memorized and could sing it so well when most Americans can’t even sing it. Paddy arrived just as he was finishing up his song. The young man asked Paddy where he was from and Paddy said England, so the man started to sing the British national anthem and then he went straight into the Canadian national anthem. I guess that this guy had sung frequently for Paddy and he would sing again for me one day in November while I walked around Bucheon shopping center with Aaron. While surprising at first, I started to take experiences like this for granted.

I am trying to think of other things that I took for granted while living in Korea. One may be all the color everywhere. I was aware of the noise, crowds and energy but I took the colors for granted. I didn’t think that it was so much more colorful than the USA, but now that I am back here, things seem kind of lackluster. It is winter, so most things are in shades of white, gray, black and brown. In summer, we will have bright blue skies and lush green grasses and plants. But right now, things seem kind of dull in more ways than just the colors.

"You take your material where you find it, which is in your life, at the intersection of past and present. THe memory-traffic feeds into a rotary up on your heard, where it goes in circles for a while, then pretty sooni magination flows in and the traffic merges and shoots off down a thousand different streets. As a writer, all you can do is pick a street and go for the ride, putting down things as they come to you."
--Tim O'Brien, "The Things They Carried"

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Winter Wonderland

In the meadow we can build a snowman and pretend that he's Pastor Brown and when he asks if we're married, we'll say no man, but you can do the job when you're in town. Walking in a winter wonderland....

We got so much snow today. It looks like a winter wonderland outside. I want to go for a walk in it tomorrow and I will post some pictures. It's pretty to look at but it sure isn't fun to drive in. I drove home this morning from my Grandma's house, where I had spent the weekend. I was slipping and sliding, but made the 45 mile ride home safely.

I need to start writing more creative things again but when I try to squeeze this into my time, I don't feel very creative. I talked with my friend Kit tonight and she has this wonderful thing that she is doing every day. Right after she wakes up, she hand writes three pages of ideas and stories that she has in her head. It helps her to reflect on her day as it happens and it also makes her more creative with all areas of her life. I really like this idea and starting tomorrow, I will start my own writing efforts. I have a bunch of book ideas in my head right now and I need to start getting them onto paper or into my computer. I also want to start exercising more. Hence, my walk in winter wonderland tomorrow. I am going to have my mom drop me off at the post office in the morning so I can mail some letters and bills and then I will walk about 2 miles home. I want to take a lot of pictures. I am excited.

I promise to be more exciting in future blog entries...but at least I'm writing!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Why is it so hard to get a decent hair cut?

I went to this woman today whom my mom loves. She's about my age, so I thought that she would do a cool, hip haircut. I told her that I just wanted a trim and to manage my layers. Well, the back looks like I want it, but she put a lot of layers in the front and she cut too much off in the front. I am not too pleased. I want my hair long and kind of straight. I want to get that 1960s sex kitten look, a la Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren. A sort of bed head, tossled, sexy look. I kind of wish that I never got my hair cut or that I would have gotten a friend to trim for me. It just seems like I never get exactly what I want. In Korea, my bangs were cut way too short so that I looked like a kid who's mom messed up his haircut. I guess that I will have to start going to those $100 per haircut salons to get what I really want.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Need story

I was just given an assignment for the Oconomowoc Enterprise. I need to write a story for Valentine's Day but it can't be any of the same old things like a couple who has been married for a long time, a couple that got married on Feb.14, best/worst gifts, etc. Does any one have any suggestions for a possible topic? I would appreciate any input.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Technology inept

Well, you probably expect me to say that I am the one who is techonlogy inept, but after spending about 8 hours on the phone with Dell Computers this weekend, I feel smarter than some of their techies. Actually, it's my dad and my boyfriend, Aaron who are the computer savvy as it turns out. After spending many long house (my whole Friday night) on the phone with the techie guys from India, I was still unable to fix my computer which had been refusing to connect to the internet and to burn file CDs. I went out and bought an expensive external hard drive to back all of my stuff up in preparation to
lose everything while reloading systems. I talked to Aaron, who first thing suggested to reset systems to a previous day. I did, to Dec. 24, but it failed to work. We tried some other things but without luck. Later in the afternoon, my dad and I tried to do what Dell told me to do, but it was too difficult and it simply wasn't working. We ended up setting the computer back to Oct. 31-and low and behold-my computer was able to access the internet once again and burn file CDs!!! I was so psyched! And since I am addicted to the internet. It brings me so much comfort to know that it is on and ready to go, I am so happy to have it hooked up in my room. Communicating with the world just got a lot easier again.

Not much else new. I am still trying to find my way back here in the States. I miss Korea and all of my friends there and my way of life. Things are fine here, but I am kind of bored and lonely. The weather is much nicer here and it is nice being able to talk to everyone. And for dinner tonight we had mashed potatoes and roast beef!! So yummy. Can't get food like that in Korea.
"The secret to a rich life is to have more beginnings than endings."
--Dave Weinbaum

Friday, January 12, 2007

Dreary day=Dreary mood

Well, the weather is very dreary today. Gray skies, wet earth, cool temperatures. All this has made me feel a bit down. I've got some Charles Mingus on the steroe (thanks Paul) and am trying to feel more upbeat. It's just one of those days where all the little things bug you a lot more than they should. And the things that are bugging me are with my computer (anything technical or gadgety always stress me out!!) I am trying to appreciate my free time and enjoy the small things like getting to watch new episodes of My Name is Earl and seeing birds on the bird feeder. I do hope that it snows this weekend and that the weatherman isn't lying.

there isn't too much to report here. I need something to spark some creative thinking in my brain. This weather just makes me want to be lazy. To curl up with a book, a mug of caramel hot chocolate, a bag of M&Ms and never leave the house.....

If you don't think that everyday is a good day, just try missing one.
--Cavett Robert

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


What makes us remember certain things and forget others? What makes some memories never fade? or do they all eventaully fade to subdued colors and shadows of what really happened?

I have only been gone from Korea for about 10 days and Korea seems like a dream. I feel like I went to sleep one night and woke with feelings and impressions of a faraway place. What has made Korea fade into a dream feeling so quickly?

I suspect that it is not so much me, but the atmosphere that I find my self in presently. This place has affected my memories of Korea. When I returned to the USA, I felt different. I was more self-relient, independent, free-thinking and I expected Oconomowoc and Wisconsin to have changed more. But, I found it pretty much the same as when I left it. True, the Starbucks is open, there is a St.Vincent De Paul and a Stein's gifts, but the town feels pretty much the same; there are the same people at church and in the stores. I have fallen back into my old routine with my parents, which has also made my life in Korea feel like a routine.

Another factor is that I can't talk with anyone here who has shared the same experiences in Korea with me. I feel disconnected to the people there and to those here. I feel inbetween worlds almost.

I really hate this feeling. I feel like I lost my new identity and was forced to take my old identity. I am afraid that I will lose what I gained in Korea: both my memories and my improved personality.

What peaceful hours I once enjoy'd! How sweet their memory still! But they have left an aching void The world can never fill. --William Cowper

Friday, January 5, 2007

Sunset, Starbucks and Same Same

It's been nearly a week since I arrived back in the USA. It's hard to believe that it's been that long already. In some ways, Korea almost feels like a dream. I have gone to some stores and restaurants and the same people are working there. There are some new stores, but for the most part, Oconomowoc looks the same. I feel different though. It's kind of a surreal experience. I feel kind of trapped between two places.

There are defintely some plusses to being home. I had an excellent pizza for lunch and Starbucks is about two dollars cheaper here than in Korea. Also, I was able to enjoy the most beautiful sunset tonight. Red, pink and magenta. Absolutely brilliant. I was able to appreciate only one sunset in Bucheon because the buildings blocked the sky.

It's still rough transitioning, but I hope that I feel calmer soon.

The only person stopping you from doing something is yourself, and looking for excuses all the time just gets in the way of obtaining your own goals. It's like the writer who keeps getting up and straightening the pictures in the room. ...Chrissie Hynde

Monday, January 1, 2007


Here I am back in the States! It's not easy making the transition. I am not experiencing reverse culture shock yet, because since arriving in Milwaukee, I have only gone to Culver's for a butterburger, home, to church and out for a New Year's Eve dinner. My flight was alright for an 18 hour flight; it was pretty uneventful. I felt pretty good on the plane considering my pneumonia and I am not suffering from jet lag. I am suffering from insomnia though, hence why I am writing on my blog at 4:50 in the morning. I think that my medicine is causing insomnia and hyperness. When I do wake up, I am overwhelmed by my bedroom. I have gone from a small, but tidy and uncluttered one-room apartment, to a very messy, small and cluttered bedroom. It is packed to the limit right now with suitcases, souvenirs, and many things from my past: books, knick-knacks and trinkets that I forgot about and that my parents found somewhere while I was gone and placed in my room. My room also has a heavy odor from my luggage. Apparently, Ipicked up an odor while in Korea that both of my parents smelled on me right when I disembarked the plane. It must be from the pollution and dirtiness of Korea. So now I must wash all of my clothes when the New Year is over (I am not looking forward to this task).

It is strange being back here. I definitely have mixed emotions. I am, of course, so happy to see family and friends and to eat my old favorite foods and to breathe fresh air. But, I feel like a visitor in my old home (my parents are not making me feel like a visitor, but after being gone for a year, I feel like such). It is also hard to give up my independence and I feel sort of like a kid again. There are no rules here, but I have given up my autonomy. I feel like I went from having my routine and my own life to sharing. It's a bit of a rough transition. I really need to get my room into working order so that I can write in there and feel comfortable. Right now, it is sucking energy and just giving off negative vibes. St. Vincent De Paul thrift store: expect lots of stuff!

One especially wonderful thing has been getting to see my dog again. He is 14, deaf and arthritic, but oh so lovable. It is so nice to have a dog to pet and to hug.

So wish me luck with sleeping, transitioning and getting well. I still feel a bit sick. I will feel great for a few hours but then will crash with fatigue. I know that will happen now with only 4 hours of sleep.

I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year in which your goals are achievable, your pockets full and most of all, your hearts light and joyful.