i’ve had this post open and writing for about 3 weeks now. but in an honest-to-blog diary-esque sorta way, i’m all okpo factored out.

(side note: if this post does indeed turn into some sort of raging wordy rant, i’ve taken the necessary precautions and littered my words with pictures of kids, flowers, and baked goods. because these are the things that make everyone feel better. well, except maybe if you’re charlie sheen.)

(additional side note: i actually don’t really even understand my above reference to charlie sheen. i’m just attempting to convince you all that i still understand every single pop culture reference ever happening everywhere in the world. shit man, quit being so hard on me!)

i’ve heard of these bumps happening for any (and probably all) ESL teachers as it comes to the point in their contract where they are exhausted with the daily over-pronunciation of their own words and the consequential simplified downfall of their grasp of the English language (if you pay any attention to detail, notice that i capitalized the “e” in english. if only to stray away from my usual writing style to prove to myself that i still understand english. wait, i mean English. damn.)

i don’t feel like writing about okpo anymore, much less south korea in general. although the novelty of some korean nuances remain, the whole rhetoric of my day-to-day has left me certifiably, in the dumps.

in any event, it doesn’t help that this whole blog attempt has not exactly reached the intended readers.  the most popular search terms that lead people to this site include: “strips clubs in okpo,” “okpo massage parlour,” and “how to get a girl in okpo.” and now those leads are just going to spike exponentially since they are explicitly written in this post. fuck. i’m failing all over the place here.

now by no means is this some sort of indefinite hiatus.

we’re just on a break for now, okay? you can see other people (or read other blogs….whatever really makes this analogy sound wittier).

as for me?

i just really need to figure out why charlie sheen even matters.


i wrote about having a non-kitchen before. and as much as i complained about it, i kind of quite liked it. it was challenging, and frustrating, and produced laughably small electricity and gas bills.

and then tb did this…

do you see it?!

a ballin’ convection oven.

that’s right.

so in true younger sibling fashion, i promptly started scheming and creating ridiculous bake-offs that would deem one person the coveted label of best-person-to-create-something-out-of-a-23-by-25-heated-appliance.

to set the vivid battle (i mean, baking) scene, it was kind of like north and south korea traded their army gear for oven mitts, set aside their nuclear missiles for spatulas, and created a mass shortage of nutmeg and cinnamon in the baking aisles of their respective foreign food marts.

i’m not too sure who was north or south, but here’s what went down…

appealing to the non-diabetic sufferers of the world, i made a straight-up bowl of sugar.

i called them “chocolate chip cookies.” but really, all sugar.

(one point for ambiguous korea).

and in the other corner (you know, the less aggressive one), tb ventured for the classic oatmeal something cookie packed with nutritional facts and probably some sort of ingredient that lowers your chances of cancer, high cholesterol, death, and sunburn. ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

both batches produced a ton of unflattering “mmmmms,” grunts, and gasps for air because as any cookie-eater can attest, it was just too difficult to breathe AND scarf down delicious goodies simultaneously.

and in the end, we couldn’t decide a winner. wait, yes we did.

combining these two delicious goodies into one hybrid ball of sugar (and cancer-fight agents) was an absolute no-brainer. i’m actually pretty pissed at us for not thinking of it sooner. dear kim jong-il, please take notes.

so if you’re racking your brain as to why i wrote practically nothing in february and still have not really written about the phillipines (injuries aside) or even taiwan (i promise i’ll write soon, taipei!) then now you have your reason….

it’s because i’m currently trying to solve the situation between the two koreas.

and it may or may not include cupcakes.

sometimes people ask me (okay maybe like, once) “eh you! what’s the one single thing you miss most about home?”

it takes a lot for me to not quickly banshee out some gleeful response like “NOTHING! THIS PLACE IS DA BOMB DIGGITY. I’M NEVER GOING HOMEEEE!”

instead, i have to try (really hard) not to look like an asshat.

and in doing that, i also have to remind myself that my locational opinion and human being status fluctuates by the minute. (no, for real. forget that “i’m never going home” bullshit. get me on a plane outtaaaa here…. pronto!)



(okay no no. for real this time, i really do like it here. maybe one day i will devise some sort of witty top-ten list on why this place is the bee’s knees. and in doing so, i’ll try not to use phrases like “da bomb diggity.” you’d forgive me, right?)


in all seriousness, the thing that i miss most about home is not really a thing at all. you see, the thing that i miss the most (and am currently missing big-time) are the shows.



i know, i know. single me out for being the lamest girl on the planet.



of course i miss my pals, and the brunches, and the choice of more than two beers on tap. but i know that those things will remain constant. they are still there and will continue to be there. (i mean really, if aunties and uncles ever decided to change up their dill roasted potatoes, they would have to deal with a serious angry mob of starch-driven hipsters).

but those darn shows. the idea of them, the environment of them, the aftermath of them (which inevitably involved more than two kinds of draft beer). all of it. miss. it.



and not only do i miss going to shows, but i feel like i am missing a lot of bands that are touring my favourite haunts and a lot of bands showing up on the same bill together and a lot of things at shows that will probably never happen again ever and a lot of moments that will go underappreciated by the sweaty kids at shows and……no, i have to stop there.


yeah, those things are not exactly constant. and probably as i type this, i am missing some (if not all) of them.



perhaps it was the recent summer festival announcements that got me all nostalgic or austin’s own sxsw (and my lack of attendance) that had me reflecting on those “things” i miss the most. whatever the case may be, i’m restraining myself from reading recent reviews of shows or even searching out the next new pornographers hometown show.



and it’s probably for the best…

i just wouldn’t want to know what i’ve been missing.



(in an attempt to combat this ridiculous influx of self-pity, i recently scoured through pictures of the shows that i was lucky enough to be a part of, just in the last year. these were some of my favourite moments. favourite aftermaths. and favourite underappreciated moments.)


with the awful nautical disasters happening in japan, all of my mundane musings seem wildly insignificant (and that much more mundane).

normally a st. patrick’s day would leave me giddingly bouncing around and counting down the hours until consumption starts.

but those words can wait for now.

instead, let’s send a little luck across to japan. i think they could use it.


by celestial standards, the first day of spring is march 21st.

but i don’t care what any solar calendar has to say. i’m declaring it officially spring here in okpo. (what? you don’t think i’m a qualified weather forecaster? well the hoards of kiddies that know the difference between “rainy” and “sunny” because of ME would likely disagree with you. plus it was something ridiculous like 17 degrees. ya, try and argue with THAT.)

it’s a good thing too. i was running out of ways to avoid the strangely unexpected bitterness of a south korean winter.

(i mean come on, there’s only so many times you can go tobogganing on the local golf course with children’s life perservers acting as a stand-in for your krazy carpet or GT racer.)

and so it was…gingerbread pancakes, fireworks in the middle of the afternoon, and countless soju bottles littering the beachfront.  

today just kind of punched bad-times winter right in the face.

korean students have a tendency to be incredibly observant…. and wildly judgemental.

a stain on my shirt or a hole in my leggings is pretty much grounds for an entire class worth of distractions. if i slip up and don’t quickly divert their attention to some cleverly inventive game of hangman, the class has the tendency to become more like a vh1 roasting special than an english immersion lesson on the differences between “to take” and “to give.”

on a number of occasions, students will crowd around me like one of those french-canadian quintuplets and gawk at me as they start to create a lengthy list of my imperfections.

“teachaaa. face dot.” 

“teachaaaa. hair. why?”

“teachaaaa. teachaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. funny hands.”

they tell me that my pupils are too small, my nose is too big, or that my hair is the colour of poo. (freud would probably hypothesize that koreans identify with the anal phase of dong-shaped pastries and etiquette bells in all roadside washrooms… because apparently, when you are in rural countryside korea and using a squatting toilet to do your business while you dodge an overflowing trashbin of used toilet paper, the LAST  thing you would want is for someone to hear you doing your business in a squatting toilet in rural countryside korea while you dodge an overflowing trashbin of used toilet paper.)

ANYWAYS, these kids are relentless.

the only thing that i should be an expert in, my english skills, are even the subject of constant mockery.  

“hahaha. teachaaa said ‘clock.’ hahaha teachaaaa. so crazy!”

it’s no wonder i am extremely self-conscious and try to advert all eye contact or any interaction at all during classtime. i even find myself getting slightly anxious as i walk the hallways to class. knowing full well that a grueling judges panel of third graders awaits me on the other side. they don’t know the difference between ‘twelve’ and ‘twenty’ but they are practically experts on why my choice of t-shirt just doesn’t make the cut.

and in the end, i am only perpetuating these tyra banks-like criticisms. because as it goes, there is a direct positive correlation between their judgemental observations and their ever-improving english level.

as their english skills advance… the insults get worse.

last week, some kid in one of those gifted accelerated program, wrote a letter to thank the teachers for doing such a bang-up job of cramming a year’s worth of english vocab into the span of three days. as we all crowded around the letter to anticipate another ego-stroke, it was clear ms. banks (the prepubescent korean version, of course) felt the need to uphold her duties as unyielding critic. 

after complimenting the pretty korean teachers and the entertaining foreigners, she ended the letter by explaining that she was so shocked and “surprise to hear that even the canadian teachers had good accents.”


unlike other posts, i don’t have a witty summarizing line to end this rant.

i feel phonetically deflated.

often when people travel, they forget to budget for souvenirs.

and that’s okay. because for most of us, it is increasingly difficult to justify any piece of plastic tangible memory when you equate the purchase into the local currency of, “this could buy me ____ beers tonight.”  

and while we’re at it, we might as well just state the obvious… no one really NEEDS  souvenirs. (please don’t tell me that you HAD to have those massive foam pens with the personalized key chain attached to the beer mug holder lined with the a knock-off pair of ray bans.)

as for me,  i refused to buy any sort of keepsake, souvenir, or memorabilia. well, except for a pair of grizzly bear flip-flops (because really, nothing is screams “third world beachside” more than rocky mountain wildlife),  yes, i even passed on the massive foam pen with the personalized key chain attached to the mug holder lined with the knock-off pair of ray bans. why? because it equated to about 40 bottles of the local brew.

either way, i figured out a much cheaper way to remember my time in boracay, phillipines…. and the best part? i didn’t even have to open my wallet!

it was a simple ‘aha’ moment when i realized that the most budget-friendly forever-lasting keepings, are simply those which you permanently place on your body…in a non ink & needle sort-of-way.

for example, i wanted to remember the remote ariel’s point and my ambitious claims that i could swim out to a smaller beach, a very misleading kilometer away. instead of a picture or two, i opted to gash myself up on rusted rope or sea urchin as i frontcrawled my way to the small sandfront. if the open-wound and salt water wasn’t painful enough, i volunteered to pour vodka all over the wound when i got back to land. you know, just to make those etched memories that much more vivid. yes, my one-of-a-kind two-inch scars could not be purchased for any amount of pesos.

and at the same time, i never wanted to forget the 10 ft. cliff-diving escapades into the sulu sea. to make those memories really permanent, my only option was to hit the water in a seated position. it was like i was hastily diving into a bed of bean bag chairs….instead of a reef of coral.  the massive blood-clot bruises that line my thighs and bum are surely more budget-friendly then the henna tattoos or braided weaves that are offered across the island.

but as time (and an indestructible immune system) fades the bruises and sea urchin battle wounds, i knew that i needed something more. something i could hold onto forever. something that would definitely scar…regardless of the icing time post-injury.

to make my boracay memories last, i simply had to rent a scooter and travel inland to the more rural rocky-road side of boracay. a steep hill here, a scooter tumble there, and the suctioning of my calve on the exhaust pipe, has left me with a burn the size of a nfl regulation-sized football. with my three-times-a-week visits to the emergency room to change the dressings, i am continued to be reminded of the beautiful yet scooter-unfriendly landscape of the phillipines. 

i’ve taken a couple peeks at the scar that is forming… and i can with certainty that i will always remember my time in the phillipines.

and i didn’t even have to barter over a glass bottled filled with white beach sand.

(sidenote: i wanted to call this post “budgeting for memories” but that title teetered on suggesting to the reader that this would be an informative and well-thought out post. wouldn’t want to mislead the masses here now would i?)