Monday, April 25, 2005

Tales from a Twenty something

Well my birthday came and went. I have to admit it kind of scared me to think I was turning 26, but now that I have had a few days (and too many hangovers) I have gained some perspective. I realize that I still have a long time before I will feel old.
My kids at school celebrated by making me cards and giving me too many gifts to count. They are so cute! I got everything from candy and origami paper flowers to a wonderful daytimer that 4 of my students purchased together. My coworkers had a lunch for me on Thursday and we ate cake and too much food.
Friday night I went out to meet Jo. As usual we ended up going to Tombstone ...where to my surprise..Jeff and Andy (the bar owners) got the entire bar to serenade me.
Needless to say my plans for a pedicure and haircut on Saturday were cancelled due to the shortage of sleep on Friday night.
Saturday I met up with my group of Korean teacher friends. They took me for a Chinese dinner, cake and soju (mmmm peach soju this time...yummy!). After dinner, we went to a German bar for some pints of beer and some good conversation.
Later on my friend Matt met me and I joined him and some friends for more drinks down the street, where again the restaurant sang happy birthday to myself and Anne (who was also celebrating her birthday). By this time everyone was feeling like we migrated across town to the Royal Anchor to see my friend Gino's band play. A great end to a great night! I don't hear enough live music in this town.
Thanks to my friends and coworkers for making this past week a fabulous one! It is definitely one of the best birthdays and I will never forget it!
Cheers to being young forever!

Celebrating the big 2-6! Posted by Hello

Me and the girls out for dinner Posted by Hello

The third bar of the night (it was also Anne's birthday) Posted by Hello

The birthday girl puts on a little 'groove' Posted by Hello

Jo and Evan at the Royal Anchor Posted by Hello

Gino and his band rock'n at the Royal Anchor Posted by Hello

Monday, April 11, 2005

Rainy weekend

Although Saturday was another rainy day (seems that most days lately are unusually wet for this time of year), I joined one of my adult students, William and his son for a day trip along the East coast.
We drove along the coastal road past Jinha Beach (there is a windsurfing competition here in a few weeks ) and by Cape Ganjeol, where the first sunrise of the newyear can be seen each January 1st. Unfortunately, it was raining too hard for me to take any photographs. Let's just say, it wasn't the best day for sightseeing.
We continued along the coastal road, savoring the magnificent cherry blossoms that have seemed to bloom overnight all over Korea. We stopped after a few hours for lunch at a seaside restaurant. It was a western style restaurant ..looking much like a mountain chalet. I think William felt I would prefer a taste of home. William's son, who is 6 years old was exceptionally shy. I am only the second foreigner that he has ever met and he doesn't speak English. However, during lunch he never hesitated to entertain me by playing with his food and basically 'showing off'. I have to admit that William is a very patient father, especially when his son began to pour water from his glass on his father's plate of food.
After lunch (which was close to 4pm) the rain had slowed and we decided to continue on to a Temple that is located by the sea. The temple is called Yonggungsa and is one of the most magnificent temples I have seen so far in Korea. Although, I must admit, each new temple I see seems to elicit the same response.
As we walked down the many steps to the temple, we came across a Buddha statue that appeared to have had it's big belly rubbed many times. The smooth round belly looked warn and welcoming. I reached out to rub the belly and just as I began rubbing it (I thought maybe for good luck), William remarked that most woman rub the belly to wish for a baby...Oops...I quickly took my hand away. We laughed together that it was 'a close one'. However, I am sure Buddha would differentiate a wish for good luck from a wish for a baby..But better safe then sorry.
We walked through the Temple grounds, enjoying the magnificent views of the East sea. Although it was a cool rainy day, the temple was still very busy.
As it was getting late, we decided to leave and William drove me back home.
The rest of the weekend (still rainy) was quite low key. I did some spring cleaning and relaxed in my apartment.
Hopefully the weather will improve and I can get some more sightseeing done next weekend.

Yonggungsa - Temple by the sea Posted by Hello

Yonggung Temple Posted by Hello

The East sea (looking rough on this rainy day) with shrines in the background at Yonggungsa Posted by Hello

Buddha statue and shrine at Yonggungsa Posted by Hello

Shrine at Yonggung Temple Posted by Hello

Buddha statue at Yonggungsa Posted by Hello

Statue at Yonggungsa Posted by Hello

Willam (one of my students) and his son at Yonggungsa  Posted by Hello

Saturday, April 02, 2005

The good news is that it was April Fools...well almost

So...lets just say I am a huge sucker. Hope showed up at Benchwarmers bar at 12:45am this everyone's surprise (well almost..Mandy and Nicole were in on the joke). I am still trying to find the humor.
Additionally, the whole story about Jeff and his wife moving back to Canada was a joke..I feel really dumb. Especially since I wrote a whole blog about it...oh silly me!
unfortunately, Mackenzie's bar is closing for good and apparently the rumors of it becoming a French restaurant are true, as is the fact that my co-worker Julie quit last week.
I have to admit I am more then a little embarrassed but relieved that the face of Ulsan won't be as changed as I thought 24 hours ago.
Anyways, had a good night last night. Went for a huge walk today with my friend Matt along the Taewha River..sunny and warm always makes for a pleasant walk.
Out tonight again...thought I would celebrate the fact that things are almost like they used to be (any excuse eh?)
Chat with you all later.
Love Colleen
(aka: Ulsan's biggest fool)

Friday, April 01, 2005

When it rains it pours

This week has been full of changes and Ulsan won't be the same.
On Tuesday my coworker, Julie announced she is quitting. I am terribly upset, since she has been such a good friend to me this last five months. However, she has decided to move onto something better and so I understand. Unfortunately, it will mean my Korean lessons will be obsolete, but I am sure I can find new lessons here in town.
This afternoon I also received an email from my friend Jeff, who is one of the owners of Tombstone bar. He and his wife have decided to move to Canada and are leaving next week. Apparently, he too has decided to move onto bigger and better things. Sigh.
I thought this might be the end of the bad news, but I just found out that another friend has also suddenly left Korea. She pulled what we foreign teachers call "a runner" and left without telling a soul. Word has it that Hope has moved back to Canada, although details are sketchy as to her whereabouts. It truly won't be the same without her.
Then, I found out that Mackenzie's bar has officially closed. According to reliable sources it has been bought out and is being turned into a French restaurant...Whaaat the F$@& ??????? Good bye was a good time!
Needless to say, I am feeling a little shaken by all the changes. Wishing it was all an April Fools joke.
I was planning on staying in tonight, but feel that a beer may be in know, to take the edge off.
Perhaps feeling sad won't make things easier, but for tonight I will welcome the sadness. Sniff sniff.