Archive for eating

Yesterday I had an earth shattering, reality bending, adrenaline flooding experience.

It all started when Sol-a (the art teacher) and I were hanging out by the office coffee machine after lunch. You might remember said machine from an earlier post – for a measly 100 won (roughly 10 cents) the machine will pump out a perfectly sweet cuppa. Unceremoniously, Sol-a pressed the button for sweet coffee, and out it came.

It was at that moment that my life changed.

“Sol-a! Did you put in money?! How did it give you coffee if you didn’t put in money?”

With a befuddled glance at my waygook face, she explained that we don’t need to put in money. Ever. The machine is free. “Oh Naomi! How did you not know?”

“FREE??? I’ve been paying 100 won for seven months for free coffee!??” The walls of Jericho fell down around me; Nothing could ever be the same again!

Laughing, Sol-a called over Mr. Kim, our faculty head. He opened up the machine, expecting to find my humble pile of 100 won coins – but the machine was empty! O Waily waily! Where could my money be!?

Serendipitously, the vice principle opened her drawer, and procured 16 one hundred won coins – one for each of the free cups of coffee that I bought. Giggles descended upon the office, as I sheepishly took the money from her hands.

Today I drink my coffee in the knowledge that it is abundant and ever ready, flowing like milk and honey in the Promised Land.


today it’s snowing

It’s been a long time since I posted videos – mainly cause of my computer meltdown. But today it’s snowing, and school’s out early.  So why not sit back, relax, and go on an adio/visual adventure…

Sports day was over a month ago, and class 3-3 won 2nd place in EVERYTHING – making them the highest scoring class in the school. Well done, 3-3!  Haha. I was, of course, amazed.  x_x

When I was art school, we had the life-saver: 55 cent coffee, hot fresh and strangely oily. It pumped your blood full of sweet caffeine on those late night crunches, and provided a change of scenery when class seemed just too pressing. For those days when paying upwards of 3 bucks for a cup just wasn’t happening, there was nothing more celebrated in my life than that cheap-coffee machine.

Well, it’s met its match in Seoul. Cause now, I have a 100 won (<10cents) coffee. That’s right. Same deliciously sweet, slightly oily, hot hot hot all ya can drink less than ten cent rainbows.

Yup. It’s Monday.

This video is from the first time I went drinking with my coworkers, and violated just about EVERY Korean drinking rule. It was major fail, and I felt like a giant water buffalo of cultural unawareness. But, the othe rnight I went out for a second time with the Hyewon crew, and it was amazing! We did Korean BBQ and NoriBong (karaoke) followed by the bars. Drinking culture is pretty serious here, and it’s been awesome to break through some of the lang barriers – a few drinks in everyone, and no ones so worried about how their english sounds – or, in my case, how my Korean plodddles along.  No shame, no worries, just a bunch of teachers getting trashed relaxing outside of school. Nothing better  🙂

some things you can’t make up

I’ve been sitting on these videos for about a week since I come off as a huge fool. But, that’s just who I am!

Seoul has a few dog cafes; regular coffee shops where you can bring your dogs or play with the owners dogs.  Bau Haus (House?) Cafe is one of these. Located in Hongdae, one of the university-artsy neighborhoods, Bau Haus did not disappoint. I absolutely love dogs! I  made friends with a girl waiting in line to get in with me, and we sat at a table together. With your coffee you can order doggie treats, a way to lure the dogs to you. The dogs are so fat~~~ I was in some kind of doggie bliss! It’s probably more than a little bit pathetic, but I had so much fun!  u_u Anyway, here’s a handful of the videos I recorded while there.  HAHAH please just watch the Beyori videos at the end. . .

And there you have it 🙂

jewing seoul

Tonight I head to Itaewon to celebrate Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year’s. Being Jewish in Seoul has been kind of like being Jewish in Mexico. To be “Yudain” is an abstract concept for most of my students, something they only heard about in history books. Some of the 9th graders seem to know about the Holocaust, and shouted “Anne Franku, Anne Franku!” when I told them I was Jewish. Close enough!

One of the first things my school asked me to do was take out my nose ring, since it is against the students’ uniform policy. Once I explained that it was culturally symbolic to me (and anyone who’s been involved in the social justice Jewish community will know what I mean), the school let me keep it in. That I’m Jewish is important to my school.

That sounds strangely worded, but I don’t know how else to describe it.

In my second week at Hyewon, I met the school’s director; an elderly gentleman who had studied banking abroad and opened up schools here because he believes in access to education. After looking over my resume and asking me some questions about my experience with youth and the arts, he said “You’re Jewish?”

Of course, he already knew I was.

“That’s very good,” he said. “Jewish people love education. Your parents must have worked very hard with you in school. They must have taught you a lot.”

Which, of course, they had.

That sort of thought has been echoed back to me by multiple co-workers, that because I’m Jewish, I’m better suited to this sort of life. Which is nothing more than a stereotype, of the model-minority mold, but… This is Korea. I will probably be the only Jew my students meet for years and years, and  if they just take away that Jews have nose rings, don’t eat meat and love school, well, that’s not too horrible.

So, today I gave each of my Korean co-teachers small candies, and wished them a happy new year. A sweet new year, like the candy. I have a mezuzah on my apartment door, I showed my students pictures of challa,  I have “Michigan” written in Hebrew letters decorating my cubical and my school gave me Yom Kippur off from work because I asked and they are curious and respectful about this whole package. Tonight as I bring in the New Year with however many other Jews living in Korea, I’ll be thinking of my students and how much I want them to travel, to see more than just Korea in their lives. I hope they see a lot more kinds of Jews than me… hahaha.

In the last week I’ve gone to a Korean wedding and to see the original Broadway cast do RENT. Both where amazing – if you managed to stay away through my Jewishness seeping through, here’s some videos of both events:

Some of my students sang at my co-worker Seol-A’s wedding. The music teacher is the lady sitting right under the projection. They where so nervous!

There must of been 2,000 people there. Seol-A is the art teacher at Hyewon

Turns out that one of my fav studnets is the one who sent me the mini-pear. She told me I was “Cute . Like banana milk.” Which may just be a way of telling me I’m fat. -_- but… yeah. And yay! My office!

I went to see RENT with Jin and Linda, two other SMOE teachers. It was fantastic! Before we saw the play, we had this crazy good bean sprout soup. It was alsmost 80% bean sprouts, haha – and veggie!

I wish I had gotten the nerve to film “One Song Glory” (prob. my fav RENT song). It had the best lighting, and I had chills the whole time it was being sung. So much RENT love.

I think this was my first “real” theater outing. I can’t wiat to see mor eplays in Seoul! The only issue was that the play ended at about 11pm, and the trains stop running at close to midnight. I was so nervous – but I totally got home just fine 🙂 Life is good.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!  Have a sweet 5770 everyone!!

About the Bahamas, what?

My little brother and I just got back from a 3.5 day cruise to the Bahamas. No big deal – we handled our first cruise with grace and dignity, as expected. Most of our time was spent chilling out on the ship, but we did  disembark in Nassau and Grand Stirrup, a tiny island the cruiseline owned for some beach-ing. In Nassau we went to an anti-racism museum and picked up some info about slave trade in the Bahamas (which wasn’t something the cruise talked about. ha.), saw Parliament and visited some of the port-side markets. It was pretty, but a lot like Miami. To get the full picture, I have some lovely videos…


¡On the first day, while still at the Port of Miami, we did this awesome Titanic-esque saftey training. Across from us is one of the causeways where sexual molesters are living, cause they can’t live in the city. Yeah. Go Miami. 

¡On the second night at sea, we decided to get swanked out for dinner, involving heels, a suit, and tamed hair. I’m not sure how the rest of the ship was able to control themselves.


¡There was also Karaoke. Now, normally I’m a HUGE karaoke fan, and I can’t wait to get up and sing in Seoul, but I just wasn’t feeling in with this crowd. (And they didn’t have anything I wanted to sing. What Karaoke place leaves out Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing? Super sad.)  Aaron though, was feeling it all the way! We share the same rhythmic sense. . . 


¡We both were kind of relived to get back to Miami, and it’s non-moving ground and lush tropical concrete, where food is closer to non-existent in our lives. We waited to the bus for about 45 min, in classic Miami style, transferred to a train, transferred from that to the metro-mover, and ended up waiting by a bus stop that was about a 30 min walk from the port where we started. (We didn’t think we were allowed t cross the port bridge on foot though… thus the adventure.)


¡On the bus, Aaron tore apart his luggage trying to find his iPod knock-off. He was victorious, don’t worry. And it’s a nice vid of downtown Miami. So cute!


### Ten days and 16 hours until I head to Seoul. So excited! ###