Archive for May 2007


Big suprise! Another busy weekend!!

Saturday was our bachelorette day. It was a ton of fun but a ton of work as well. We were organized enough to have a planning committee with jobs assigned so by 9:30am saturday morning, we were all on our way to various destinations – grocery store, liquour store, flower market, toy store (nudge,nudge,wink,wink), paper store.

I voted to do the toy store run since it also involved buying gift certificates for certain stores downtown. And of course, I can’t buy a voucher for a pedicure at a salon unless I’ve tried it can I? So, with very pretty feet we continued our shopping finally getting home around 2:30pm. The committee were meeting at 3 so it wasn’t even worth relaxing for such a short time. We managed to get the back patio area scrubbed clean , decorated, games organized and food laid out all by 4:30. It was a really nice set up actually. We started the bachelorettes (Lindy, Abby and Jasmine) at one apartment with champagne, red roses, chocolate fondue and Sex and the City. This gave us a little extra time to get everyone there and a little ‘happy’ before the games began. We had ‘pin the **** on George Clooney’, how well do you and your partner know each other, and ‘which men on staff had these things to say about love’. It was fun and very cute. We then got it all cleaned up and taxis organized to head into the fun bars. Each bachelorette had a menu of deeds (get a piece of clothing from a guy, get a phone number, dance on a bar etc.) and random pick up lines that they had to use. It was hilarious! All the guys in the bar were good sports about it and nothing got out of hand (unlike the boys bachelor party that same night).  After such a busy day getting things organized, I was tired pretty early and was in bed by 1am but I was woken up at 8am by some people arriving home!

Sunday became a great day to lay in the hammock and read my book. It was about 80 and beautiful out. I’m also reading a funny book about all the scandals that went on in the various royal families of Europe. It’s kind of like reading a trashy, gossip magazine only it’s history! My only big job that day was looking after Marshall – he, Aaron and Jesse completed a mountain bike marathon that day. It started at 7am and it took them 8 hours and 10 minutes to complete the 70k mountain route. You can imagine they were a little tired. So, I did my good girlfriend duties and cooked dinner, put on a good movie and generally waited on him. Oh, I’m so sweet eh?


1 comment May 28, 2007


It was a tough weekend! I didn’t get to sleep in at all. Ay! Poor me.

Saturday we had testing for new students hoping to enter our school next year so it was a fun filled morning of reading, writing, listening, speaking and math tests. Luckily the weather was awful so I was not missing out on much. Marshall and I went to TGIFridays for dinner (using up coupons from parents) to commiserate the fact that we had spent our Saturday at school. While there, I had the funniest toilet eperience ever. It started out pretty normal but then when I sat down I realized the toilet seat was hot. In itself not too unusual since a lot of toilets here have seat warmers but something was broken because it just got hotter and hotter to the point where I couldn’t really sit down anymore. I desperately looked on the wall to find a button to turn it off. I was confronted with a bank of buttons all in Korea. So, with a deep breath, I picked one. The wrong one. I got a jet of water up my ass. It definitely shocked me for a second but then I started giggling. This made me think how ridiculous I sound sitting in the toilet and giggling and so I laughed even harder. At this point though I realized that the water jet had not abated at all. I was pretty wet and ready to leave but it wouldn’t turn off. I pushed the button again but this only made it harder. So I waited, and waited, and waited. It still wasn’t stopping. I was trapped! I couldn’t get off the toilet because the spray was going straight up and would soak the stall and my clothes. In a last ditch attempt I pushed one more button. The spray stopped and I leapt out of the stall with my trousers round my ankles before anything else could start happening. Luckily there was no one else around. But it was certainly the most interesting toilet experience I have ever had. Be warned – Korea toilets are tough!

Anyway, back to the original story of my weekend and why I titled this posting “Winners”. On Sunday we had the SIS triathlon. I was part of team Pride with Marshall and Jason Coleman. I was swimming, Marshall biked and Coleman ran. It was fun. We won the team competition with a time of 1 hour and 8 minutes. Each of us won our heat and we got a cute little trophy and some bowls. Next year I  think I may try it by myself. …….I should probably start training soon!

sis-swim-bike-run-2007-020.jpgsis-swim-bike-run-2007-048.jpgsis-swim-bike-run-2007-093.jpgGo Team Pride!!!! Our T shirts for the day; Marshall, Coleman and I; us three again accepting our trophy from Helen, one of the organizers.

sis-swim-bike-run-2007-110.jpgSam and Robyn, the power couple who each won the individual titles.

sis-swim-bike-run-2007-064.jpgThe start of the BBQ that went all day and led to a LOT of headaches Monday morning!

(Oh, and by the way, Marshall is my MJ)

1 comment May 15, 2007


I know, I know, lots of climbing pictures but it’s a fun sport and now that we have hot, sunny weather, it’s perfect for being outdoors. Who knows, I may even get a tan! (ha, ha, ha)

lizzies-pictures-033.jpg(okay, not a real move but it looks good!)


lizzies-pictures-034.jpglizzies-pictures-031.jpgObviously the climb was too hard for Marshall.

lizzies-pictures-036.jpgColeman came too, got all ready and pumped up for his climb……..

lizzies-pictures-037.jpgand ripped the hold off the wall.


1 comment May 10, 2007

It’s already summer!

I know I wrote that spring had finally arrived but it’s already gone and summer has hit. Each day is now high 70’s or low 80’s and the mosquitoes have just started to buzz (we’ll see if the blood stain on the wall from the one that bit me last night will be a deterrent). Each day it’s harder to go to school – only 19 teaching days left, and each afternoon it’s harder to exercise – hanging out on the roof in the hammock is so much more fun! Plus, I’m getting my summer plans finalized. As you all know, I would love to have visitors whenever you get a chance and having just been through spring here (albeit a very short one), I would say that fall is a much nicer time of year. Yes cherry blossoms are nice but high levels of yellow dust (full of pollutants and animal feces) which means not being allowed outdoors, and changeable weather do not make me want to stay here very long. Fall, especially late October, is a beautiful time of year with warm days, cool nights and lots of great colours on the mountains.

Okay, that’s my ‘visit Korea’ speech done so start saving up!


Add comment May 10, 2007

Camping a la Korea




That’s really all I can say about the Korean camping experience. Last weekend Marshall and I took a day off school and headed down south to the largest National Park in Korea called Jirisan. Three days of hiking, camping and relaxing sounded perfect but little did we know what was about to happen………

We got to the park lat Friday night and decided that setting up camp in the dark was just no fun so instead we found a great little place that had log cabins for rent. It was just like in the states – a little cabin with a deck, proper bed, kitchen, nice bathroom. It was a cute little place and we just hung out and relaxed, getting ready for our big hike the next day. Our plan was to head up the second highest peak in Korea, Chonwangbong which stands at 1,915m. It was about 5.5km up to the peak and we figured we would take our time and camp somewhere off the trail once we got near the top. Ah! the best laid plans of mice and men……

This was my first experience backpacking – we had all our gear, food, sleeping bags, tent etc. so it added up to about 30 pounds on my back and 40 pounds on Marshall’s. The trail was all rocks

lizzies-pictures-013.jpgMarshall had warned me about going too fast and burning out quickly so we took a nice, steady, slow pace. As you can see the trail was pretty tough and it took us about one hour per km. Luckily we had all day to do it so we took plenty of good breaks along the way (note: hammocks are lifesavers on such trips!)

We found some beautiful places to stop and relax. The Koreans all thought we were insane – they are not naturally relaxing people.


lizzies-pictures-020.jpgSetting up this prime position did get a little risky.lizzies-pictures-015.jpg

Eventually we made it to the top. It was windy and cold by this time (about 5pm) and we had not seen a single place to camp. Most of the trail was too steep to put up a tent and at the peak it was too exposed so we were left with no choice but to try the ‘shelter’ at the top. We checked in and were told that they weren’t sure if they had room for the night so we would have to wait for an hour. Where exactly were we going to go? So we waited. Right in front of the park rangers desk. And sure enough, right at 6pm he called us on the cell phone to tell us there was room – we were a whole 5 feet away during the phone conversation. It was only about $7 for the night but it was separate male and female quarters. Hmmm. We decided to take our stuff to our assigned beds and then meet back for dinner.  Unfortunately, there was never a time to get a photo of our accomodation because it just made me laugh. The sleeping area was, like most of Korea, a large flat wooden floor. Each person was assigned a number which corresponded to a marked space on the floor. The size of your area was the equivalent of sharing a double bed with three people. I was literally a foot away from my neighbour. So, we laid out our stuff and met for dinner. Unfortunately, the only place to cook and eat was one room under the building which had a dirty cement floor and one long shelf running around the wall. The idea here is that you fight your way to a space on the counter and then cook and eat standing up. I was exhausted and starving from the hike so the last thing I wanted to do was stand but there was no way I was going to sit on that disgusting floor. For the Koreans, we were now the local entertainment. They came over to stare at our weird western food (pasta with sauce), comment on it, smell it and generally get in our way. Obviously we ate quickly and got out of there. But, there was nowhere to go. Apparently male and female Koreans do not go hiking together because there is no communal area to hang out in unless you go outside where it was now just below freezing due to the wind chill. So, we went to the corridor that links the two sleeping areas. We had just finished our first game of cards when the ranger came out and announced that it was ‘lights out’ time and that the ajummas (ladies) should go to bed. It was 8pm. Seriously? Yes, off to bed I went at 8pm. It is at this point that Marshall and I started to have very different experiences. In the womens area, everyone was silent and went immediately to sleep. I tried to read with my headlamp but the other ladies yelled at me so I tried to do it under my sleeping bag but they turned on the heat and it was too hot to lay in the bag. Instead, I laid there for about two hours trying to ‘think’. Most of my thoughts were just about how amazing the Koreans are.

Marshall on the other hand was kept awake until 1am by the men drinking soju and yelling. A few of the younger guys spoke English and wanted to tell him the story of their lives – overworked, hate their jobs, demanding girlfriends.

However both of us were woken at 4:30 am when everyone got up to hike the last few metres to the top to watch the sunrise. I know it sounds like a beautiful idea but I was too cold to get up and I admit that I was rebelling a little against the Koreans at that point. Luckily Marshall had the same idea. Eventually I got up around 7am and went out to take some pictures – it really was a very cool view.

lizzies-pictures-011.jpglizzies-pictures-012.jpg Since we were the only two white people on the mountain, everyone knew we were together and being the female, they assumed I needed taking care of. So anytime they saw me alone, one of them would run off and get Marshall. So at about 7:15, Marshall was also up. We couldn’t face the crush for breakfast again so we leisurely made some coffee out in the cold, packed up and decided we would eat breakfast further down.

The hike down was faster but still just as hard – I used muscles I didn’t know existed! Luckily the weather was beautiful each day – mid 70’s with a light breeze.

lizzies-pictures-002.jpgLittle offering shrines along the way.

lizzies-pictures-008.jpgPlenty of waterfalls to take a break at.

lizzies-pictures-014.jpg Still a tricky trail!

Eventually we made it back down and decided that our experience had been difficult enough so we treated ourselves to another night in the log cabins! We made it there about 3pm, strung up our hammocks and truly relaxed – books, beer, good chats. It was a great weekend overall but I knew parts of it would be much more enjoyable on the retelling than during it!


1 comment May 10, 2007

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