Friday, March 6, 2009

The New Arrival…

Okay, by the headline, you might think that we are expecting a baby.  The answer is no.  We are however eager to get our new puppy.  She is an absolute mutt and I am very happy to say that we are adopting and not purchasing from a pet store.


We found her, which according to Charity we will name her Mia, on ARK.  I hope you can agree with me that she is a pretty cute little thing:


If you would like to read the story about them check out their direct link on the ARK website:

The Three Amigos!


Well, we will have to be up at a reasonable time so we can make the trip to Pyeongtaek.  That is only…28 stops away…about two hours by subway.  *sigh* 


This should be interesting…


More to come (I am sure including the new “addition”)…

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Stats for this page...

Well, this is not going to be the normal post as I am writing this from my email…more or less testing the abilities of the blog.

However, I hope this is not without interest. In a recent post I informed all that read the blog that I have signed up with Google Analytics. Basically it allows me to track non-private information such as the city and country of origin of hits to my blog as well as tracking the number of hits and how visitors stay on the page. Lots of fun for my nerdy side…

So for the countries with the most hits? Well, I would figure that would be a no-brainer but the USA of course! Here is the breakdown:

United States

103 Visits

South Korea

50 Visits


4 Visits


1 Visit


1 Visit


1 Visit


1 Visit

While the top three don’t surprise me at all, I thought it was interesting to see Malaysia, Netherlands and Germany on the list.

Also, there are 15 states in the Union reporting in and I am also not surprised to see Missouri and Pennsylvania topping that list.

While I do love to play with the numbers, I am more appreciative of the people that have taken a few moments once or twice a week to “check in” on us and see how we are doing. We also really like to have feedback on the blog! Please leave us a comment (takes moments) and you don’t need an account, simply comment under the “Anonymous” account and then sign it with your name. Or don’t, it really matters little, I simply like hearing the thoughts of those that read this minor accounting.

More later…

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Little of this…a bit of that…

With very little of interest to write about, I thought I would give a a couple of things that I think Korea does better than the US and a bit of the activities of the past week and weekend. 


While I could describe more colorful events of the week—especially Thursday, I am much more interested in giving you a glimpse of living in Korea. 


For instance a simple thing like a toilet paper holders all over Korea look like this: TP Anyone

While it looks minor, I can’t tell you how handy the metal flap is to tear off your next needed section of tp…  Come now, who hasn’t gone to get a few sections one-handed and had most of the roll spin off to the floor?  Now these are used all over Seoul and I am guessing Korea.  Maybe a small thing, so let me see if I can find something better.


Next for your consideration, the shower:

Wide open range...Ok, ok, I might be new to the whole apartment living and this may seem like a terrible inconvenience-to have the shower in middle of the bathroom-but it is wonderful for the actual taking of a shower.  I am 6’2'' (186 cm for those on the metric) and weigh upwards of 235lbs (again, 106.6 kilos) getting into smaller showers are…inconvenient.  Needless to say, I love it!  It does leave the floor wet for most of the morning, but I consider it a small thing for the luxury of space!


As we move from the bathroom lets look at a much more complex item:

Does Korea do it better 003 Now, I know the US has these, but lets face it, most people are used to a man-sized tank.  This here is a tank-less hot-water heater.  When you turn on the hot water there is a little click and in second there is super-hot water.  I will not lie, there are several drawbacks, but it is nice to have hot water almost instantly.


And directly in front of that item is:

Does Korea do it better 002It may appear to be a new HE washer that almost every woman in America has been wanting (my mother included…although she actually got one!).  In fact it is a single unit that does both the washing and drying of our laundry.  It does seem to take a long time to actually finish the entire cycle of washing and drying the clothes, but it is kind of nice to through things in and not have to do the switching…


Ok, again, I might not be able to definitely say that this is a Korean invention or that America does not have these, but the next item is still very convenient:

Does Korea do it better 001

Due to the lack of a dishwasher—or am I the dishwasher…—and the lack of counter space, this rack comes in really handy.  Basically it is hung underneath the cabinet and we can put all of our dishes on it with no problems whatsoever.  With a two foot by two foot counter top this makes so much extra space.


Having momentarily run out of items to talk about, I thought I would discuss our last trip to Costco.  First though, you should check out our wheels:

Does Korea do it better 009

This is the school’s “bus” for all purpose transportation.  I know what you are thinking, ‘What do they call it?’ and ‘Where can I get me one?’ Sorry, you can’t because I don’t think anyone else in Korea has a van this vintage and totally awesome!  Yes, it is on the old side, but it is really fun to drive.  You might remember me telling you from a previous post that I drove this the last time to Costco, well this time I let Linda drive as I will be taking the second half of the group of teachers at SCS back to Costco on Tuesday.  What is the best about this vehicle is that it was made for a Korean and as such, I have to cram the stick (it is a manual transmission) deep into my patella just to get it into 1st gear.  Then I have to grind it against my femur to get it locked into 2nd before being able to find the relief gear of 3rd.  Not as much fun as you would think.


The Costco run again proved the single-mindedness of the culture here.  Cars cutting each other off all over the place.  Others driving on the shoulders (even on the freeway!!!) simply to go a car or two further up in line at the next stop.  I think what is most frustrating about it is the sheer lack of understanding.  Most people simply do not gain that much from their erratic driving nor do they foster goodwill.  Before coming, my assumption about the spirit here is that people would be more generous.  While that seems to be true for some things, the ego-centric attitude is what creates a problem.  BTW, they treat lines at Costco like traffic lanes and carts like cars.  Chaos to say the least.


After Costco, some of the teachers gathered at Linda and Jessica’s apartment (they have the biggest and nicest apartment ergo they often will host when more than 6 people are involved).  On the way there I found this:

Does Korea do it better 016


On the way back we also found this:

Does Korea do it better 017 Both were found at the “curb” and both were great finds.  After a little cleaning we now have a nice computer chair and a small “coffee table” (it is actually a dinner style table…even though it is on the small side).  This brings me to my musing.


While most American’s look at items like these and see salvageability, most Koreans would look upon minor defects as too overwhelming to accept.  Please notice that this is all being filtered through an American’s eyes and therefore tinted in shades of red, white and blue.  Bongcheon, where we are living, is not known for its extreme wealth.  In fact I would be surprised if the majority of people living here are much above what American’s would consider the poverty level.  The truth is that disposability is a way of showing status.  if I can throw it away, then I must be rich. 


Americans may be wrong on many things.  Believe me, when you get a little change in perspective, it is easy to see some flaws.  Please don’t get me wrong, I love the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave’ but it isn’t perfect.  Still, it saddens me that there is so much needless waste here.  If these people would take the time to see how ‘one mans trash is another mans treasure’ then perhaps Korean national debt would be on the decrease unlike its current state.  Just a few thoughts, really nothing more.


According to the program I use to post, I am now almost to 1,200 words and climbing so I think that I will stop for now.  After all, who wants to read this book of a post?


More to come…