Welcome to the Tea for Teal blog!

Thanks for reading! Here you'll find a random assortment of sewing projects, food, make-up reviews, the occasional book and movie review, my travels, and anything else that pops into my head!
If you like something please feel free to Follow Me on Pinterest

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Since it was my birthday yesterday I thought I would blog about the early birthday I had in February with Arika and Rose. If Maura had been with us it would have been perfect but she was there in spirit…the goat cheese represented her spirit. :D
Pictured: Maura's spirit

We went to my favorite restaurant in Portland, Slappy Cakes, all dressed up.
Arika, Teal, Rose

Our dress code was things that reminded us of Teal. ;) So Rose wore her Lolita outfit and Arika wore a combination of my favorite clothes that she owns: her purple teapot skirt, grey grandpa sweater (that I want to STEAL), and her little vintage brooch. You can read more about her take on the day here at Mega Geeks Inc
          I wore my favorite pieces too: my bird headband, pearl’s, comfy sweater dress with cool tights, and even borrowed Arika’s cute owl pin.

We thoroughly enjoyed our pancakes, as usual. We got a sweet potato batter with blueberry, goat cheese, apples, and bacon toppings completed with lemon curd topping. It was amazing. I, of course, had my traditional pot of tea.

Then it was gift time. Unfortunately, Rose had her birthday presents at home and Arika’s hadn’t arrived in the mail yet! Luckily, mine had come from Etsy a couple days previous. I got them both necklaces from Etsy shop, birdzNbeez.
They seemed to like them, which was a relief!

Rose’s was a sparrow locket that she could put a picture of James in ( I wanted to do it myself but didn’t have time) and Arika got a steam-punk owl. I adore the owl. I almost stole it! Here is the owl necklace but I can't find a picture of Roses.
I want you owl

Our deadly sin today was gluttony because after a huge breakfast we went food carting. This was fantastic because I love food carting and this was my last chance. I went to a French restaurant and got an amazing French dip sandwich with brie.

Then it was back to Rose’s for some hard core gaming and baby holding.  I also got my presents from Rose, CHEETOS, ROOT BEER, and an American express giftcard! Yay! America’s sweet nectar!

We rounded out the night with Orient Express, New York Chase, and Pictionary.

I'm the game master!

Jamil joined us at the end for Pictionary. Plus he gave me some delicious tea that helped me survive my first couple weeks in Korea until Arika’s tea arrived as back up.

It was a fantastic day with some great friends.
Happy Birthday!
Thanks for making it an awesome early birthday!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Korean “Adventure” – Part 4: Fun times! Gigglehugs! And Bunnynugging! (but only if my connection Raul comes through )*

Friday night (Feb 25th) was party time! We all went out to Underground, one of the local foreign bars (right next to the love motel district and thus close to my motel), before hitting the karaoke bar. At Underground a ton of the foreign teachers from various English schools were leaving and some of their replacements were with them. I think most of the people I met that night were going home, and seriously, I have never seen a happier crowd.

Toast time at Underground!

We all drank to their good health. Then drank some more, and more, and more. Spontaneous dancing broke out and finally some of us ended up singing badly in a karaoke room. I repeatedly tried to fall asleep on the sofa but wasn’t allowed. :D

       The next day was spent sleeping in and being lazy. Then Ansell, the teacher I replaced, picked me up and took me to Seoul. Specifically he took me to Itaewon. Seoul was nice enough but I think I enjoyed the company more. Ansell took me to a steak place with the most amazing cheese steak sandwiches. Then we basically wandered and talked politics, philosophy, you name it. Here are some photos of cool places in Itaewon, Seoul.
It's my new boyfriend!
             On Sunday Ansell took me out to breakfast at a pancake place. I got the most amazing walnut crisp Belgium waffle. It was heaven.
I want to eat you forever!

After breakfast we checked out some of the places around the apartment, such as a department store and others. Then it was back to the love motel for some take out Korean pizza. We got “hot potato” which meant steak fries stuck on a pizza with corn. It was delicious!

I’m sure the rest of my Sunday passed wonderfully but I can’t remember the specifics. :D

        Monday was my last day of “training” and we had a goodbye/hello work party. People made speeches and drank on company money.

Tuesday was a Korean holiday. Woot! Extra day off!
Tuesday I was supposed to move in, which was great because I got a whole day to unpack and get my apartment homey. However, the maid that was going to come clean the apartment never showed so I wasn’t able to unpack much. Instead, Ansell and I went out on his last day in Korea. I was pretty stressed with not being able to unpack or do much in my apartment so it was nice to get out and keep busy.

         Ansell took me to Café town, which is one of the only nice parts of Suji. It’s this little 3 block area full of cafes and cute shops. I wish more of Suji looked like this. We went to this nice café and got a big brunch. My brunch was called the “American Plate” and I swear they just loaded it with all the stuff they thought American’s ate. So my breakfast included mini hot dogs. I’ve got to say, it wasn’t bad. 
        While we were leaving I snapped this picture of a Korean family. The parents are reading the paper and the kid is reading on his I-pad. I thought it was hilarious.

         On the way back Ansell and I got some celebratory alcohol, which came in this oh so romantic packaging. Ha!
I really thought this said "Romantic days with urine." It did not.

              It was a nice send off for Ansell and a good welcome for me.

Ansell and I

       The next day it was goodbye to Ansell. He was off to bigger and better things.  Overall, it was a fantastic weekend and holiday with a sad ending.
Goodbye Ansell -sniff-

*Cracked.com – the best videos ever!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fire Coming Out of a Monkey's Head

By Gorillaz
Narrated by Dennis Hopper

Once upon a time, at the foot of a great mountain
There was a town where the people known as Happy Folk lived
Their very existence, a mystery to the rest of the world
Obscured as it was by great clouds

Here they played out their peaceful lives
Innocent of the litany of excess and violence
That was growing in the world below
To live in harmony with the spirit
Of the mountain called Monkey was enough

Then one day, strange folk arrived in the town
They came in camouflage, hidden behind dark glasses
But no one noticed them
They only saw shadows, you see
Without the truth of the eyes, the Happy Folk were blind

Falling out of aeroplanes and hiding out in holes
Waiting for the sunset to come, people going home
Jump out from behind them and shoot them in the head
Now everybody dancing the dance of the dead
The dance of the dead, the dance of the dead

In time, the strange folk found their way
Into the higher reaches of the mountain
And it was there that they found
The caves of unimaginable sincerity and giving

By chance, they stumbled upon the place
Where all good souls come to rest
The strange folk, they coveted the jewels
In these caves above all things

And soon they began to mine the mountain
It’s rich seam fueling the chaos of their own world
Meanwhile, down in the town, the Happy Folk slept restlessly
Their dreams invaded by shadowy figures digging away at their souls

Every day, people would wake and stare at the mountain
Why was it bringing darkness into their lives?
And as the strange folk mined deeper and deeper into the mountain
Holes began to appear, bringing with them a cold and bitter wind
That chilled the very soul of the Monkey

For the first time, the happy folk felt fearful
For they knew that soon the Monkey would stir from its deep sleep
Then there came a sound, distant first, it grew into castrophany
So immense that it could be heard far away in space

There were no screams, there was no time
The mountain called Monkey had spoken
It was only fire and then, nothing

Oh, little town in USA, the time has come to see
There’s nothing you believe you want
But where were you when it all came down on me?
Did you call me? No.

  I can't get this song/story out of my head; it's quite an eerie piece. There has been a lot of discussion about the meaning. Some believe the Happy Folk were too ignorant and brought their downfall upon themselves, others believe it’s the old story of greed and power corrupting. There is also a lot of debate about what events the song is actually alluding too; 9/11, genocide of Zimbabwe, the stolen land from Native Americans. Everyone has applied their own meaning to the words, which, I think, is where the real beauty of it lies.
  One thing we know is that “Fire Coming Out of the Monkey’s Head” is the first part of a trilogy of songs on the album Demon Days. The second part is “Don’t Get Lost in Heaven” the third “Demon Days”.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Korean “Adventure” – Part 3: WORK!

 *names shortened to protect the innocent!

My first impression of my school is that it is fairly cheerful in color and design. I met the teacher I was replacing, A, as well the other foreign teachers, Rn, Am, Rd, and Hi. Including myself there are 5 foreign teachers (FTs) here. The large number of FTs were a big part of what attracted me to the company in the first place. At my old job we only had two FTs which put a lot of pressure on us. Plus, if you hate your coworker you’re screwed; no one else is there to rely on. Luckily for me it seems like all the FTs here are cool. Part of that is because all but one (and me I guess) are guys so it’s a more drama free environment. They also seem to care about their job and were super friendly and caring about my arrival. They seemed to have a team attitude and the head FT, Rn, took particular pains to be there for me on my first day.
After a quick meeting with the Head Teacher I watched powerpoint videos about the workings of the company and its textbooks. Then I observed for the rest of the day. I have come at a bad time though. It’s the last class of the semester this week which means it’s a filler class, a time where kids can relax and reflect on the hard work of the previous semester. Unfortunately that means I’m not watching real lessons that would help me with my model lessons or real life lessons. The other FTs have tried to fill that gap by giving me as much info as they could in break periods and helping me with prepare with my model lessons.
To skim through the rest of the week I mostly prepared for model lessons, absorbed as much info as possible, and observed. The FT I am replacing has been an amazing source of knowledge and without his help my understanding of the teaching style and model lessons would not have been as good.
The other FT staff have proved both useful and supportive. They had no problem walking me home, taking me out, giving me teaching advice and excellent constructive criticism. I never felt torn down or demoralized by them and anytime I had a question it was greeted with patience and practical advice. While I wouldn’t say I feel prepared to teach I am certainly ready to.
I also get my own desk and computer which is GREAT! I am store my books, etc there and use the internet. Thank god.

It will never be this neat again.
Lastly, unlike my previous job which was the last word in controlling this job gives a lot more freedom. It’s less formulaic and when you have breaks or are not teaching classes you can leave the building, actually leave the building! So I can go for a tea run or get lunch whenever I feel like it! They seem to trust (or not care) that as long as the job is done you don’t have to be handcuffed to your desk. On the flip side they still expect unpaid overtime. They don’t seem to get that if you tell a teacher that they will be working from 2:30pm to 10:30pm and said teacher flies half way around the world to get to their job, they expect their working hours to be from f-ing 2:30pm to 10:30pm! While it may not be all sunshine and roses here the mere fact that I can get tea anytime I want is a plus. I have also decided to set a precedent with myself and I haven't taken any work home with me. I leave it at work where it belongs.

Even Suji can be pretty with the right amount of sun!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Korean “Adventure” – Part 2: The next morning and first impressions

I had been assured by a phone call the previous night that I would be picked up at 2pm and taken to my workplace. I, of course, woke early (thank you jetlag!) and enacted the first phase of my Korea plan.
Phase 1: Role over dramatically, curse your jetlag and lay around with your computer for the next 3 hours. Needless to say Phase 1 was successfully accomplished.
After that I felt obligated to do something vaguely resembling walking on two legs and perhaps looking at stuff. Drunk from the success of Phase 1 I was able to go out, find a Family Mart half a block away from my motel, buy some food, go back to the motel, and eat said food. While I was out on my mission I had considered doing some real looking around. Here’s the truth, in a year’s time I may have a lot of fond memories of Korea and a bag full of cool places I’ve visited but that morning I was only struck by how absolutely, indiscriminately ugly Korea is. It’s ugly. Just look.

This could just be Suii, maybe it’s the Suji charm, but it doesn’t really matter. I’m not sightseeing this stuff so I simply headed back for my room and recommenced relaxing. One might think I would be disappointed but I firmly believe in making judgments after at least a month of living someplace. I’m not counting Korea out yet, and neither should you.
Around noon (thankfully I had showered and dressed at this point) I received a knock on my door. It was Raymond!

 Raymond and I had been emailing for at least a month and he was a fantastic source of information and enthusiasm. He had come to check on me and we had a great conversation about my new school. I really owe Raymond a lot; between him, and all the questions I fired at my recruiter, I felt fairly prepared for my first week in Korea, something the company itself had not done at all. In fact, I knew a lot more than the other teachers that were picked up last night did.
Eventually 2pm rolled around and it was go time. A Korean teacher picked me up and I finally got to see my work.  

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Korean “Adventure” – Part 1

Why is adventure in quotation marks? Probably because nothing very adventurous has happened, most of it has been pretty mundane/ tortuous. Let’s start where every chronologically inclined narrative starts, at the beginning.
                     I set out early Sunday morning for good ole’ PDX. My first flight was to Seattle which means taking a puddle jumper.

After getting personal with the turbines…
…it was time to wait for four hours for my next flight. This flight lasted 12 hours. Need I say more? I will! I officially hate international flights. It’s just a practice in patience, nursing muscle cramps, and not killing your fellow passengers (however, detailed fantasies about killing your fellow travelers are accepted and expected). To give credit where it is due, it could have been worse; I could have been flying United or anyone of the American based airlines. Luckily I was with Asiana airlines where the hostesses don’t ignore you/ have physical features that might turn a normal human into stone.
Upon landing I was “picked up” at the airport by a nice Korean man. He swept me and two other new Avalon teachers (going to different campuses from mine) into a bus bound for Suiji. I say swept but in reality we had to wait two hours for the bus, then the bus ride itself took an hour. Next it was into a car where I was finally, gratefully, deposited into my love motel. Sadly this was a normal love motel and despite its romantic lighting and large bathtub it gave no other indications of being very love-y. So, no whips or mirror ceilings. Shame.

What is my first impression of Suiji Korea? It’s the ghetto. Ok ok a clean ghetto, but a ghetto none the less. I don’t know if the Koreans just haven’t mastered the idea of aesthetics or if ridiculously huge cookie cutter skyscrapers made of grey cement is the new “in” thing. It seems the only decoration is in the huge advertisement/billboards that hang on these ugly buildings.

Anyway, by the time I got to the motel I had logged in an impressive 22 hours of traveling time. I crawled into my bed, fumbling with the button things that controlled the three different types of lighting and fans my room was apparently equipped with, and dropped off into blissful sleep. I would have to go to work the next day and needed all the rest I could get.

PS. Kudos to the man who picked me up for giving me, free of charge, an American-Korean adapter, without it I would not be blogging right now.

PPS. One the way to Korea we flew over Japan. On the inflight progress screen I saw the two places in Japan I lived: Toyama and my love, Kanazawa.