Tuesday, January 27, 2009

7. Aussie Aussie Aussie!


Windy with patchy snowfall.

There’s only so much being lazy I can be.. So now I’m back and I’d like to thank all of my guest bloggers past, present, and future for their contributions! Well yesterday (as you all should know) was Australia Day! It just so happened to be the Lunar New Year too.. oh and India’s Republic Day! Lunar New Year means that Koreans make Mandu (dumplings) here and celebrate with a lot of drinking and partying. I was told by Linda that the Japanese took over Korea for about forty years and so they decided to keep the two New Year celebrations.

We woke in the morning feeling quiet happy about it being Australia Day, well I did.. I even went as far as doing an Aussie Day clean while the sisters were still asleep. See what I do for Australia! If you think that’s a lot.. wait there’s more! The girls woke at around 12 or 1pm and we decided that everything we did had to be Australian! So off we went doing our Aussie things. First we ate Vegemite on toast, and had some baked beans too. Then it was decided that we should build a snow kangaroo since it had been snowing over the last couple of days.

Now you have to understand, building a snow anything isn’t a simple task here. It’s cold. Very, very, cold! So we decided that if we were going to be out there in that weather for a long period of time that we’d need refreshments. I had just the thing..

They say an Eski cooled beer is the best, and after having tried most known methods I still hold to that..

Our plan of making a snowkanga sort of fizzled out once we started to think about it a little more. The effort involved, having it stand up, and looking like a Kanga was more than any of us were prepared to do. Sit us on a nice warm beach for 4hours though and we’d make one out of sand! So the next best thing was the Aussie Emblem! After about an hour of getting down and dirty, with a cold wind at our backs (and also getting some strange looks from the locals) we had completed our goal.

I present to you.. The Aussie Emblem!

We sang while we laboured too, we sang every Aussie song we knew! We toasted to Australia and then rushed back into the warmth of the apartment! Here we warmed up with some vegemite and polished off the beer..

The rest of the night was dedicated to watching “Aussie” movies (Two Hands), playing purely Australian songs and eating the closest thing we had to Australian food: Fried Chips!

..and so ended our Australia Day 2009.

Oh here are some pictures from the day before (25th Jan) when we decided to go to Taebaek City..

For the record.. No I wasn't posing.. I was watching Russel Peters!

Friday, January 23, 2009

6. Wednesday Night

By Varuna aka Shelly aka Shirley haha

So on Wednesday night we decided to go to Yeongwol to a) get some supplies from the grocery store there and b) meet some of Kraze’s friends here in Korea. So we had some burgers for dinner (YAY western food!) and headed off to the bar. I was positive that I wasn’t gonna drink that night because I’d just started on some antibiotics. But that resolution didn’t last too long…

After we had gotten settled and ordered a round of beer (which I didn’t partake in since beer ain’t my drink of choice!), Kurt arrived. Kurt hails from Byron Bay, but he used to study at QUT Gardens Point and live in the Valley back in the day! So as you can imagine, I had lots to talk about with him haha. So he had some beer and started telling us his tales of travel, such as his experiences of backpacking through Europe for 6 months.

Then Stevie arrived. Stevie hails from Manchester, UK and has the accent to go with it! He had beer and general conversation with us regarding his stay here in Korea. So now that there were 5 of us round the table, we decided that we should try some drinking games. We learned some VERY interesting drinking games that night! This is the point at which I started drinking shots of Soju.

1. Gday Scott. This game is very simple- everyone around the table is named Scott. The first person turns to the person on his left and says: Gday Scott, to which that person must reply: Gday Scott. The first person replies: Say Gday to Scott, Scott. Now the second person must turn to his left and repeat this cycle. Now of you screw up, you take a shot of Soju and your name turns to Glenn. And if further mistakes are made then ones name turns into Bruce. So at the beginning of the game it sounded like this: “Gday Scott (Gday Scott) Say Gday to Scott, Scott!” By the end of the game, with some of us named Glenn and some of us named Bruce, it sounded more like this: “Gday Scott (Gday Glenn) Say Gday to Bruce, Scott!” So it gets more difficult as the game progresses, especially for people with eloquence problems when drinking.
2. Word Association. The first person will start by saying a word (eg. Green) and the next person on their right must say an associated word (eg. Grass). If one takes too long to think of a word, one is penalized and must take a shot. If one says a word (eg. Keyboard) and someone else round the table challenges it: (Eg. Wait a minute, how is Green related to Keyboard?!) One must explain the association between the words or take a shot. If the explanation is valid then the challenger must take a shot! This largely depends on the rest of the table who vote on whether the explanation was valid or not.
3. Celebrity Think-and-Drink. The first person says a celebrity (Eg. John Lennon) and the person on their left must say a celebrity starting with the first letter of the previous celebrity’s last name – so in this case if John Lennon was said, the next person must say a celeb starting with L (Eg. Leonardo DiCaprio). Therefore the next person’s celeb must start with D. The catch with this game is that if double letters are used, the direction of play reverses. If the third person says Doris Day, the direction reverses and the person who said Leonardo DiCaprio must play again, this time with a celeb starting with D and play continues to the right. The aspect in which drinking comes into it is when thinking of which celeb to say, one must be simultaneously drinking their beer (I decided on coke instead, for myself), therefore if one does not know many celebs, then one will be more drunk. If one takes too long (as voted by those round the table) then one takes a shot of Soju. If one says a celeb no one else round the table has heard of, then one takes a shot. (Shiv was particularly inept at this game and by the end had started making up people to try and BS the rest of us, with fairly hilarious results!)
4. Slack-Jaw. A very good game on which to end the night. Slack-Jaw is basically a staring competition between two people, where both parties keep a blank expression on their face and have a slack jaw. The first person to laugh loses and takes a shot. The winner can challenge whoever they want on the next round and they can choose whenever they want that round to start. So conversation will continue as usual and then suddenly 2 people will be slack-jawing. The rest of the table joins in by sabotaging someone’s slack-jaw effort. This is mostly done by cruelly using one’s knowledge of the other person to make them laugh OR by inciting funny visual imagery about Australia’s previous prime minister and other such things.

By the end of the night, we were all hammered but I, being a voice of reason (drunk or not), decided that instead of continuing our night of drinking into the late hours (and imposing upon our drinking buddies to lend us some floor to sleep on for the night), that we should go catch the last bus back home. Rounding these two out the door of the bar was harder than it may sound. Then finally, after quickly purchasing some bread and milk (and other useless items that looked pretty/ tasty in our state of mind) from the supermarket, we caught our bus. As the bus was winding through the mountains, we all got sentimental and began the DnMing.

Then Clarry called and the night fizzled out…..

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

5. A slice of home

Written by 2.35am 20th of January

Tonight I decided to come online and read a certain blog that’s kept me riveted for some time now. Though I’m living it I’m still curious to see what has been said about the events of the last two days. What do I find? It sounds like our author is all alone here with nothing but a new mattress and noodles to entertain him! Well, I thought, time for some outside input so here I sit writing to you all.

Our story begins at Incheon airport on the 17th of January. Shelly and I walked out of customs at 9:30pm to find Sharad/Sanu/Sandal/Shiv there waiting for us! First thing he says “What took you so long?! I’ve been here since 6pm!”. Ok I exaggerate. There was hugging first hehe. We talked so much he could hardly get a word in edgewise! The reason we’d been late out of customs was that one of our bags was marked for a ‘random’ inspection. In actuality they may have scanned the bag and found something they didn’t like inside. Luckily for me I had declared the item in question so if it had indeed been random, it wouldn’t have been a problem. Our trip around India took us to many amazing places. In one such place I happened upon a silversmith. As I walked into his shop I caught sight of him inlaying gold wire into the sheath of a blade. I knew I had found a gem of a place! So you see, as I prepared to enter Korea with an item from that place of art, I was excited at the prospect of the giftee’s face! Unfortunately, even though I made no attempt to hide it, Korean officials confiscated the item on the grounds that it was pointy…. So are my knitting needles buddyyyy!! Thankfully, it will be returned to me on my departure and one day when Sharad returns to his room, it shall be there waiting for him (Australia will allow it into the country! Ah our wonderful land).

The cold as we walked out was hardly noticed in the excitement of our reunion. All of us being cold weather enthusiasts might have been another reason. None of us found ourselves feeling particularly tired so after our shuttle bus ride and checking in our baggage at a cheap hotel we headed back out. Oh and when we say it was a cheap hotel, don’t let the words fool you into misconception. It was great! Warm, clean and comfy. Well we wandered out of our hotel and decided to see what Saturday night in Incheon had to show us. If I had no idea what day of the week it was, I would have guessed it was sometime during the week. A time when everyone decided that it was too much trouble to go out and pay for it the next day at work. We wandered from bar to restaurant, from cold to too warm trying as many new places as possible. The only constant during this steadily blurrier time, was Soju. You think English is harder to speak the more Soju you drink? That’s nothing to trying to speak Korean. As the night progressed we learned a few words here and there (some of which I must admit I don’t remember anymore). There’s nothing like a foreigner attempting to speak your language to you to break the ice. We said hello in Korean to everyone who looked our way (a hint from our benevolent host) and thank you to those who helped us on our way. We found ourselves in an American bar, having to make sure they knew we were from Hoju (Australia) not America. As we weren’t hungry, we were happy to discover that despite this we were provided with snacks to eat to accompany the drinks which would have dissolved our stomach lining otherwise. I was told during and afterwards that the beer was ghastly but I quite enjoyed it. After the jetlag of flying and 2 months of being dry in India, I must have sadly forgotten the taste of good beer. Well I’ll know better when I come back home (hint hint my friends). As we walked from place to place we stopped to have snow fights here and there. We’re still awaiting our first sight of snowfall though. Apparently just before we came there was some, which is why it’s as warm as 7 degrees here.

It was a night filled with new experience and reminiscence! Home though a melancholy topic was interjected with laughter! It was almost like we were at home with him and you all during his surprise visit. We found ourselves in a singing room later that night! And what creates memories better than good company and good music. We screamed, shouted and cleared out the joint with our versions of such classics as Piano Man, Bohemian Rhapsody and Livin on a Prayer. We played pool, learnt a bit about a Korean version of the game and burnt our tongues with scalding but delicious coffee.
Outside the pool place:
Stumbling, we returned to our hotel at 6am and prepared to sleep til 9am at which point we were to go to our home for the next 3 weeks. Our trusty alarm (a mobile with low battery) failed us and we found ourselves emerging from the hotel at 12pm ready to tackle the 5 hour journey home. We had 4 bus rides ahead but in between each we stopped to take in the steadily less busy surroundings! From Incheon->airport, airport->Seoul, Seoul->Yeongwol and Yeongwol->Gurae! We ‘accidentally’ found our way to a Gloria, seeing reminders of home nearly everywhere. When you are away from those you love most, it doesn’t matter where in the world you may be, whether in the middle of the desert or in a busy city, your mind has a way of finding traps. Traps that shatter barriers and resurface memories you’ve pushed to the back of your mind in an attempt to live in the now and not be crippled by longing and loneliness. Being here must have taught my friend just how dangerous that can be. In my two days here, I’ve discovered just how much more proud I am of him! It was always wonderful that he had the strength to go out and live his dream. But coming here to actually discover the reality of what it is to live here, I am blown away with admiration. Before I embarrass him further though, I shall continue the story.

With all our stops in the middle, we arrived back to his place at around 11pm, were shown around, helped him set up that riveting mattress from his previous entry and sipped on some Dilmah. After settling in, we fell to our respective beds and floated to dreamland.


When Sharad returned from work at 5pm, he told us we had been invited out to dinner with a married couple who both teach at his school! We accepted, eager to meet new people. He warned us that a dinner invitation extended by two people might evolve into the town of Gurae choosing that night in particular to eat out at that particular restaurant (ok so it is the only restaurant in town but still). We had a lovely dinner which was a spicy chicken and potato stew, with the delicious side dishes that came with (mmmm spicy natli, for those who don’t know or spell/say it differently, it’s small dried fried fish! Indeeed mmmmm – somehow not as good as in Fiji though hehe)! The couple, Yongmin and Linda were very funny and we all laughed easily with our tickling (Linda’s word for kidding til Sharad told her otherwise). I have a feeling she will be teaching us Korean during the next couple of weeks. During the meal, the school bus driver wandered in and out and the school’s principal was somewhere about. When we finished dinner we all headed home for a cup of tea! We sat around chatting and laughing and giving an educational lesson about those of you at home. Ah the wonders of facebook show n tell!
Guess the inspiration for this shot :D :
We were invited to teach at the school tomorrow. Probably the no-no-no mouthing and hand motioning Sharad was doing behind us made Linda change her mind. Later she said, as there will only be 2 students per teacher there, she feels we’ll have much too many teachers. But we may head there to see the school when the students have left and meet any teachers left behind. Now here I sit while all others sleep. When I find out how to post despite all programs and words being in Korean, I shall post this.

Ok I’m off to bed! Hope you are all well :). Take care, byeeee! *waves*

Ps. If any rumours are heard about us cleaning and cooking, I say it’s more to do with cleaning up after oneself and being independent than anything someone might say about knowing one’s place.

By Guest Blogger: Pavich.

Monday, January 19, 2009

4. Ichy!

Created on 17th January, 2009.

Yes, you’re right, another remote entry. Believe it or not, it’s from the exact same place as I made the last one: Fresh Bar. This place has become somewhat depressing now. Firstly, because of Pix who I met here ever so briefly, and then because the last time I was here I was jet-setting off to Oz. Ahh, sitting here thinking, it seems like that was only yesterday.. this past month has passed in the blink of an eye!

So what has changed? Everything.

Before I left it was as though I was facing an uphill climb.. 14 more months of it.. but for some reason, now, it’s as though I’ve braved the peak and the grass is defiantly greener here! (ok, I’ll stop). My outlook has shifted so drastically that I cant help but think how little time I have here. I should be out there making the most of it, I mean it’s only 13 months!! That’s only 52 weekends, 52opportunities or discover Korea; 104 days and that’s not including traveling time!!!

Here are the list of attendees on KrazedKalendar 2009/2010:

~ Pav and Shelly have pledged two weeks;
~ Taji has promised to visit, indefinitely (how I love this word! :D);
~ Shai and Nik have contributed a week;
~ Brandon and Collie have thought about a stopover;
~ Momma is attending in October;
~ MousMous and Mousa have also considered a couple of days;
~ Rahu has Korea on the mind; and finally,
~ Chook has (forcibly) pledged coming in December to share my holidays, also for an indefinite period. :D

So eight visitors in 13 months (given, they’ll probably all be clumped up at the end of the year.. but still), that’s not including all those I haven’t coerced into coming yet. I truly am a lucky person, though come 2010 my liver probably won’t share my sentiments.

Great! That’s so far wasted a grand total of 22 minutes! Oh I didn’t tell you why I’m here yet! No I’m not planning another trip.. I’m here to pick up Pav and Shelly who will land in just under three hours! They’ll get out around 2115 and then we’ll go to this cheap hotel that I’ve arranged, before making the five-hour journey back home tomorrow.

I’m assuming that they haven’t brought any warm clothes, so I’ve got my backpack full of supplies. Two beanies, Tul scarves, Two windbreakers and my toilet bag, it’s an effort getting to anything in there now! Ahhh that’s what I was going to say! I bought a floor-bed for myself (from GMarket.co.kr). I ordered and made the online payment on Thursday at 10am, and it arrived in my little valley village on 10am, Friday!! So for those of you who are worried about where you’ll sleep when you come over.. don’t be! You’ll get a King-size bed so come on over!!

Since I have 2hrs, 25mins to kill, I’m gonna go and have some dinner and beer.

Ok bye for now!

Present Day

Scattered clouds, somewhat foggy/smoggy, warm

Well it’s my first day back at work.. teaching. We have “winter camp” this week, which means that I’ll be teaching grade 3&4 in the mornings from 10-12, and then grades 5&6 in the afternoons from 1-3pm, after which I sit around doing nothing until 5 when I get to go home. It’s in that period that I’m at the moment. Man I’m bored! See I cant post blog entries from work anymore, I don’t know why but a few weeks before the holidays the website was suddenly blocked. So now I’m writing this in Word to send home to post tonight.

FYI, the bed I bought absolutely rocks!! Its sooo damn comfortable and since the mattress is on the floor that means that I get the heat straight up through the floor! I really, really didn’t want to wake up this morning though. I’ll try and get a picture of it tonight and post it up.

Ok that’s all for one post I think. You’ll be glad to hear that the water is back. Taj I have no idea how those Poms do it.. I don’t shower for a day and I feel all dirty! I’m still in the process of getting my shower converted to gas though.. I hope it happens soon.


PS: Since I'm having guests over, I've gone all out and ordered a 40pack of MiGoreng goodness! I've always thought about the "The Lord Is My Shepherd; There Is Nothing I Shall Want" thing.. and I've come to the conclusion that MiGoreng is the exception!! :D

Thursday, January 15, 2009

3. Level 9 Water Restrictions..


Sunny, bright blue skies.

I remember just before I left Queensland in August, we were in a severe drought and water restrictions had hit an all time high of Level Six. Which meant No hoses, no washing the car, 4-minute showers, and a whole heaps of other things too various to mention. When I came to Korea I became a little freer with the whole conserve water thing.. I figured there’s plenty to go around here so what’s the point. How wrong I was.

See this morning I got into school and was shocked to find that the school had run out of water. In fact all of Gurae had run out of water. How could this be? Well simply put, the mountain we tap our water from froze up and stopped giving. This was ok for me since just that morning I had had a warm shower and brushed my teeth properly. We went to dinner tonight, I offered my shower for W5,000 per 5minutes, but it didn’t fly. Just my luck that I come home and find that my water is all used up too. I have no idea how I’m going to do anything tomorrow. I can just imagine myself digging a hole in the snow upon the nearest mountain and putting a Lavatory sign next to it – M*A*S*H Style! But not to fear, we've been told that the government is onto it..

So whatever shall I do? I think I have no option but to take the following precautions:
~ Don’t walk anywhere just in case I work up a sweat (oh well there goes that New Years resolution).
~ Buy all the bottled water from our little supermarket.. ok that’s a little selfish, maybe I’ll leave a bottle or two for the rest of the village. Actually they’re probably gone already.
~ Urinate in the snow.. I’ve already thought of how much fun I can have doing this (see attached picture)! Number Two.. well that’s a little more complicated.
~ Eat out every meal (oh darn) since I can’t wash anything up.. oh and you all know how I just can’t stand a dirty house.

The best part is that I got home and the first thing I did was fill my kettle to the brim, so I have 2-3 cups of tea left before that runs out too. After that runs out I’ll have no other choice but to drink beer and hope its nutritional goodness supplements me.

Anyway, moving along. Pavich and Shelly are supposed to be coming this weekend. As in, two days from now!! I haven’t heard a thing from them though! Hopefully I hear from them soon and so I can get outta here and have a proper shower in Seoul or Incheon somewhere!

Nothing much else to report, so I’ll leave you here for now.


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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2. A New Beginning!

Bright blue skies and sunny!
Thanks for that account Shai.. it almost brought tears to my eyes just reading it. Now for how it all went down.

It went pretty much as planned really.. they didn’t have a clue about me coming and as Shai said, when I knocked on that door they all freaked! It was the best Christmas I’ve ever had and one of the most memorable! Here are some pictures of the night..

In one of the lessons I had the children make Christmas Cards, one of which they wrote to my family. So here we are cracking open the christmas cards..

For Chook I bought a "Stop-hitting-yourself Stick", here I am showing him the basic usage directions..

And here he is trying it out for himself..

Saaayyyy KIMCHI!!


The next day I went and surprised Taji at his new place. Chook and I went over there and I just walked in. He couldn’t believe I was there.. he was really worried that I wasn’t answering my emails or anything for the last week, that when I did show up he was lost for words.

The next few days MousMous and I went around surprising others. It was great to see all their different reactions. I said Ram Ram to Anukar Mama and he said it back, but it wasn’t until he saw Mous that he realized I wasn’t supposed to be there! It was hilarious! The only one I didn’t surprise was Twistie! I couldn’t believe it.. I wrote up that entry titled “Trickery” and the day it went up Chook got a call from Twist asking if I was home! I didn’t think she’d read it before I saw her though!
Who could forget the valuable time spent at Gloria!

It was a whirlwind tour and I didn’t get to spend enough time with anyone while other’s I couldn’t even see once. It was sad that it was so short, but I hope everyone understands and forgives me. I’d like to thank everyone for rescheduling their lives to accommodate me. It was a great trip and the memories I have will definitely keep me sane until we meet again (which will be either October 2009, or February 2010). I’ll leave you with the only pictures I took with my own camera.. Rainbow Beach and surrounding areas..
Our weapon of choice:
This sand just kept on cascading down.. never-ending.
This is what happens if you don't make it across the pass before the tide comes in. They say it was here for only about 2days..
60Kilometers of beach! It was so fun driving over the sand!!

And then I was back:

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

1. And So It Ends…

Hi everyone, guest blogger Shai here. Kraze asked me to write a few lines as he was home for a few weeks – so here goes.

I guess it all started in a bit of a mess. I spent the day cooking a huge meal for the family, first time we’d had them over for a Christmas Dinner. By the afternoon the day of cooking had me raggered so I took a cold shower and waiting for everyone to arrive. I had received SingStar for Christmas earlier so I played around with that.

The night was going well, we were having fun, laughing, eating and drinking when all-of-a-sudden a knock at the door. There was my cousin from Sydney, Coles enviro bag in toe! What a surprise! Though it was a little concerning that her husband wasn’t with her, but after a little bit of grilling we let it go. Meanwhile she was acting very strangely.

More laughing.
More eating.
More drinking.
Another knock!
I had heard this one before, it was a knock that I received 3 times on my 23rd birthday when Kraze and the rest of my family decided they would follow me down to Sydney in a covert mission to scare the bejesus out of me (god that ’81 cab sauv was good!).

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing as I opened the door! Even bigger surprise! So THAT’S why he wasn’t returning calls, emails or blogging for the last few days – all the pieces started to fall into place, as mum decided she’d just plan fall apart! So offcourse the evening ended something like this:

Lots more laughing.
Lots more eating.
Lots more drinking.
Lots of “OMG I still can’t believe you’re here!”

Anyways, the following two-and-a-half weeks were pretty special. While things were back to normal, it was also very different. Now, the day of his departure, I sit here thinking of the fun we have had. Not only of the last 20 odd days, but over the last 20 odd years.

I’d love to be able to tell you all the little things that Kraze did through the years that defined him, but alas I have only a few lines – so I’ll tell you what I miss most about him.

He’s a man of few words – and when spoken, spoken very gently. Don’t be attentive enough and you’ll miss his whole sentence – usually a statement that is rather profound – unless we slip something in his drink. I miss that about him. Donna (doner?) just likes to talk – lots. Sorry Don!
Kraze is a rock. Anyone who knows him knows that he’s withstand anything. He’ even withstand anything, for you. Which makes him a very very good person to have around at times of crises. He’s helped me through a whole bunch of bad times, but I still wont let him forget the night he made me sleep at the bus shelter!
The boy can cook (see Nov 27, 30)! While it was great to have what he had made, it was even more fun sharing ideas or coming up with unique flavour combinations. Needless to say with the amount of times he asked for soju/anju (see Dec 22) while he was here, I reckon he’s pretty much lost the plot.

While I do miss him, I can’t think of a better thing that he could be doing. He’s wanted to explore the world for a long time now and it’s finally happening. In fact, I very envious – I must have missed out on the adventure gene.

Thanks heaps for the surprise Kraze, it was truly awesome having you back here for a few days. You’re probably still sitting in the plane now – miss you heaps mate.

Be good.