[This is another letter sent home...]
So, this is late October/November...

One nice thing about being in Seoul is not having to be badgered by Halloween.
I've never been much of a fan. I'm sure my distaste began courtesy of my fire-and-brimstone preschool/elementary school years but I can say with confidence it was sealed by face paint. I HATE face paint. I can't wear it. I remember inadvertently scratching through it as a kid and then the feeling of utter dismay specifically caused by ruining a $3 cat nose and whiskers that wouldn't be paid for twice... My face is hella sensitive. Cheap makeup and even some expensive makeup brushes cause my face to itch.

And the masks weren't any better. Do they still make those cheap masks with the eye slits that permit NO peripheral vision and have the extra thin elastic around the back? Oh, the 80's...Then there's the fact that I don't like candy. Not very much anyway. Do you know any other kids that still had Halloween candy left the next time Halloween came around? Probably not... And as a grown-up, the highlight of not feeling guilty about trick-or-treaters is definitely a plus. So yeah, not having to 'celebrate' Halloween was kinda cool.

Another thing I'm absolutely NOT missing is Daylight Savings Time. Who came up with that? There’s nothing nice about overriding the body’s naturally ability to prepare for winter!

In world news, I haven't met a Korean yet who was unhappy about Obama winning the election. It was weird being out of the country for such a historic election. I went down to little function thrown by Democrats Abroad and met a few other Americans who were really cool. On my way home election night I was stopped in the subway by a guy who looked about my age. He asked if I was American then told me, "Congratulations." And added something about Obama being "very good" for America then went on his merry way. It was quite cute. Little moments like that are always interesting. At the same time, if Obama sets limits on the Korean Free Trade Agreement I'll probably be fleeing the country. It's Korea's bread and butter and I have a feeling the reaction would a bit worse than the whole beef thing...

As far as film stuff, I finally got connected with my Act One mentor. He's a story analyst and he's done some stuff for Disney. I'm pretty psyched about having a pro look over my stuff, even if it does freak me out! I feel so...unworthy. lol. I'm sure it'll all be ok in the end but you know how sensitive we artists are. ;)

Also, in the building behind me, there's a girl who studied cinematography in the States. She moved out here a week after me and wants to shoot some stuff while she's here. We had dinner together a couple of weeks ago and I came up with a short film called, Chocolate Kimchi. I finished the first draft and am just waiting on notes from a few friends. Hopefully we'll shoot in Jan/Feb during our schools' winter breaks. I've met a few other artists out here. A girl at the Democrats thing is a documentarian from the States working on a project out here for a couple of months. One of the other guys there is a photographer working on a book. The leader of my Bible study at church worked in set design for 10 years in Toronto before moving to Seoul and another girl in our study was a production assistant back in LA before moving out here. I'm excited about putting some stuff together, especially being able to exploit some of the unique scenery and situations out here in Asia. Who knows what will come together...

Thanksgiving out here consisted of my usually-long workday, and a 1-hr train ride to have dinner with friends across town. A couple at my friend’s church definitely has the gift of hospitality. There were about 20 people at their apartment when I arrived! I really needed that fellowship time. I hadn’t been homesick until I did my lesson plan on Thanksgiving. I was in the middle of teaching one day when it hit, which sucked pretty hard. It’s also worth mentioning that Christmas is basically a supped-up Valentine’s Day out here. One of my student’s answer to, “Why is Christmas your favorite holiday?” was “Because I can go on a date with my boyfriend!” *sigh* We have Thursday off but have to go back into work on Friday. I’m still debating if I’ll be “sick.” lol.

A few of you might be interested to know I visited the EveryNation church in Seoul the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I’ll shamelessly admit it was at the invite of another teacher who mentioned they were hosting a Thanksgiving dinner. It was good that we went with someone who had already been there because I don’t know that I would have found it by myself. The service was in both Korean and English. I met a quite a few South Africans and a boy from Nashville (born and raised at that!). The SAs and I got into a rather convoluted discussion about what it means to be ‘colored’ as opposed to ‘black’. I quite prefer the American style of categorizing people by appearance. It’s shallow but quite a bit less confusing.

In an effort to enjoy the westside of town where I live, some friends and I went out to a little club in our area to see Crown J perform. (Why yes, he is the aforementioned face of FUBU Korea.) The show was entertaining. He only did five songs but it was interesting being in such a Korean club. Usually, where we go out there are lots of other non-Koreans. This time, I only saw one other ‘foreigner’. All the DJs were dancers. It was quite fascinating. They would put on a song, hype it up on the mic, and then bust a move! No joke they were doing total pop-star choreography. I hope they got paid extra for that…

I’ve been working on a little list of Korea pros and cons:
Things that are awesome:
- Korean fried chicken
I don’t know how they do it, but it’s ALWAYS crispy!
- street food!
I love to eat while I walk. (Classy, I know.) Multitasking makes me feel good. In Seoul, somebody’s selling something in every nook and cranny. In fact, I suppose it’s possible to eat constantly while walking from one location to another…
- cheap restaurants
I’ll get off food in a second…eating Korean food is fairly cheap here. I can get a fresh cooked meal for $5 or $6 bucks…downstairs. There’s restaurants on the first floor of my building. Why should I cook in my tiny excuse for a bedroom when I can feed myself “for less than $10 a day…”
- living in a major metro
Many of the people I meet here are well-traveled through one means or another. I’ve also been meeting quite a few polyglots <----word for the week. Also, I like the randomness of the really big open markets like Namdaemun. It has a feel somewhere between China and New York. People are always rolling up carts and unloading stuff for sale. (Including the Louis Vuitton bag I plan to buy before I leave.) Come back in a few hours and they’re gone. Lol. - public transportation
As much as driving is cool, having the option of not driving is even cooler.
- being mistaken for ‘important’
I know, I know. Those of you who truly love me are thinking, but you are important! Thank you. I appreciate your concern for my self-esteem... In another update I mentioned being mistakenly ushered into the VIP line at Fashion Week. At the Crown J show, the DJ stopped to ask me and only me, “Where are you from?” Hilarious! Does it really matter? Carry on please... I’ve been personally congratulated for Obama’s win, interviewed by college students and photographed for some girl’s ‘street fashion’ project, none of which would happen in the States.

Things I miss:
- sweet potato pie
Dream on dreamer, dream on. You can’t get one north of the Mason-Dixon or west of the Mississippi either…
- cotton balls
I assure you, you won't miss them until you can't get them. Anywhere.
- my hair dryer
How am I supposed to do a deep conditioning or roller set, huh? Huh? I’ve only seen two salons in three months that even have dome style driers.
- Paul Mitchell
If you were unawares, Mr. Mitchell makes some of the best hair products ever…
- Mexican & Thai food!
Dear God, I traveled 45 minutes across town for a $19 enchilada combo plate. Tip not included. I never realized how food-spoiled I am until now…
- having a car
It’s not that I want to drive in Seoul (it’s absolute madness out here) but it’d be nice to have the option on weekends when I’m high-tailing it to the last train at 1230pm to get back to the boondocks where I live…
- products with cocoa butter
And all the brown people said, “Amen.”

And of course, I miss you guys!

I’m not looking forward to Seoul’s harsh winter but hopefully, I’ll be getting some good snowboarding in!

Love and hugs,


Anonymous said...

There is a restaurant called Thai Orchid that is, well, it is a bit expensive but has amazing food. There's one in Iteawon.
For Mexican I suggest Hongdea - I had a chicken burrito for 10 000 won the other day... obviously it won't be authentic but it is still pretty tasty.
Or, you could try Dos Tacos, also one in Hongdea and one in Gangnam.
I'm a total foodie and I too love to eat and walk!
Nice blog by the way. Welcome Welcome!!