Monday, May 6, 2013

Birthday Week (plus)

The past week has been a whirlwind to say the least.  I've finally (almost) gotten over a cold-turned-burgeoning-sinus-infection this week; I'll finish my antibiotics tonight.  I've still got a bit of a sore throat, but I think that's allergies taking over at this point.  I've been keeping my window open, because the weather's finally nice enough for that (meaning that my apartment is starting to take on over-like qualities), but the cool breeze brings pollen with it.  What's a girl to do?  I cracked open the Claritin D that Mom sent this morning, and that seems to be helping.

In spite of being sick and voiceless (even literally for a day), I still went about life as usual, because it hit hardest during BIRTHDAY WEEK.  What is it with me and getting sick on my birthday??? (Last year, although I didn't blog about it, I ended up in the ER, unable to breathe on my birthday night.  They ended up giving me some medicine to which I'm allergic... so the whole thing was a pretty big ordeal.)  This year, I planned a bunch of birthday week activities, and had an absolute BLAST.  Even though there are still some ongoing festivities (things I didn't plan, but people wanting to do more for me - I love my birthday and apparently others do, too!!), I'm going to post about what all's been happening!

Monday, April 22, 2013

For sure during Birthday Week, I wanted to go to Mt. Fishtail, my favorite restaurant here in Cheonan.  It's a bit of a trek for me, involving planning my schedule around that of the subway.  Many people go there for birthdays, so it's become a bit cliché to do that.  I don't really like doing the same things as everyone, and people have been starting to complain about that, so I asked two of my friends, Ashley and Heidi, if they'd go with me after our Korean class (which ended up involving a surprise TWO cakes and drinks!).  They happily agreed, making everyone winners.  The two ladies were super nice and even treated me!  

The picture you are seeing actually has nothing to do with Birthday Week, but I wanted to point out that the first time I hung out with Heidi was also the first time I went to Mt. Fishtail.  I conveniently had this photo, therefore, to show me, Heidi, and the restaurant, so I could have just let you think that it was from Birthday Week.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - Birthday!

On Tuesdays, I normally spend time with a young lady I'm tutoring/mentoring.  If you follow my Facebook,
you'll often see me writing about "my student;" that's her - Kristin.  Kristin's family wanted to take me out for my birthday and offered to do it any night, but I thought it was be sweet to see her on my birthday itself.  That afternoon, she and her mom actually met me at my school to walk me over to the restaurant.  Sadly, it was raining that day, and I had worn the wrong shoes, so I got soaked (probably contributing to how sick I got), but it was sweet nonetheless.  Kristin's mom decided just to let the two of us eat, so she paid and left us there.  This restaurant was also a first for me: My first teacher dinner had been there.

The place is rather expensive, but they give you enough food to feed an army.  Just when you think, "Okay, I'm stuffed; I can't eat anymore," they bring another course.  Then, you think, "Surely, that's it," but then, they bring another course.  And I'm not meaning, just a main dish and maybe a side... We actually had to move things off the table to fit all the food on it.

My co-teacher Sam (The CT, again, for Facebook followers), had given me a small cake in the morning to eat at the restaurant.  Often, cakes here come complete with a knife, candles, matches, and poppers for the the occasion, so we had a good time making a lot of noise in the restaurant.

Kristin was pretty nervous about the poppers at first.  I think maybe she doesn't like the noise... Or perhaps she thought she was going to burn her hand?  I'm not really sure, but once the confetti and streamers came out, she was one happy camper.

We both left too stuffed to move properly.  I waddled her home and vowed not to eat another large meal that week... until I realized I'd already planned a couple more.  Oops.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wednesday was pretty low-key.  I went out for coffee with Kris and Cora, which was so fitting, considering Kris' new coffee website that he's about to launch.  We tried a coffee shop that just opened behind Korea Nazarene University called La Noche.  The Spanish in the name caught my eye, and, as it turns out, the owner spent some time in Spain and speaks Spanish.  That's not something to run into every day here.  (I'm not even sure they have a word for Spanish... every time I hear people talking about it in Korean, I'm pretty  sure they're saying "Spain's speaking.")  The place was cute, and the coffee was good (although too sugary for my liking... it tasted sweeter than I'm used to having), but by 8 it was HOPPING, and we, being all of the introversion persuasion, opted to leave.  It was awesome to get some time to talk with them, though, and hear about Kris' new business venture.  We even got a chance to chat a little about copyright law!  (It's begun to cross my mind to do a bit of online copyright law consulting once I'm done in Korea...)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I had intended Thursday to be a pseudo-rest-day to prep for the insanity of the weekend to come, but I ended up scheduling a non-birthday-related meeting instead.  Sitting still is apparently not my forte.

Friday, April 26, 2013

I planned my big dinner for Friday night at a buffet called Applebee (no relation at all to Applebee's in America).  I hadn't been there in a while, so I did realize they'd removed all the reasons that had made it worth the price of eating there, which was a bit of a bummer, but we still had fun.  I'd seen an interesting game on a Korean reality TV show, and I wanted to give it a try.  For lack of a better name, I dubbed it "Food Bingo."  Basically, you fill a 5x5 Bingo card with different foods.  Each player takes a turn choosing a food.  If you eat the whole of that food that you placed on your card, you get the space cleared.  If you don't eat all of it, or you didn't select that food, you can't clear the space.  You must have 3 Bingos to win.

My filled BINGO card

To make things more interesting, we required players to include a lychee (Although, at the time, we didn't realize that's what they were... we just saw the spiky fruit.), something dipped in the chocolate fountain, some wasabi, and one of the whole shrimp (gross).

We confused a lot of people while we were playing, and ended up scaring the employees to death: They saw Ashley and me walking around with a notebook, writing down foods, and they assumed we were conducting an inspection of some kind.  Luckily, our Korean friend had come and he explained what was happening to them.  BUT it was a blast, and I'd highly recommend playing it, although, perhaps you should play it at home...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saturday morning, all of the KNU program teachers went to Seoul for a culture trip (temple and a show).  IT was pretty fun, but I was mostly jazzed about what was waiting for me afterward.  Seoul has this cool trend that's, sadly, on its way out of fashion, but I'm going to take advantage of it until it dies entirely.  Popular these days are board game cafes.  You go in, buy a drink, pay hourly after the first hour, and have access to basically every board game every created.  Here's a smattering of them from my first trip to Board School:

Situated directly over one of the two Taco Bells in Korea, Board School was Heaven for my inner geeky child.  We stayed for three hours and played our way through Ticket to Ride (I won), some odd pirate game (see the video below) (I think Ashley won), Hulli Gulli (a Korean favorite that is basically Egyptian Ratskcew, plus math) (Ashley also won), Apples to Apples (Nick), and Uno (I don't remember who won this, but Nick introduced us to Killer Uno, which has about 20 extra rules, but is so much fun).  It was definitely the highlight of my week, and I'm already anxious to go back for more!


More birthday activities keep popping up.  This weekend, Kershea took me to my now undisputed favorite buffet, All That BBQ.  I should be going out with Jolie for coffee tonight.  Maybe I'll also hang out with Joshua on a similar adventure.  This weekend I'll be staying with Samuel and Ashley... it just keeps going, and I love it all!  I don't know how I'm going to top all this next year for the big 2-5, but I'm sure I'll come up with something. :)

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