Friday, November 25, 2011

Bits and Bobs

My brain is a little loose in my skull right now. I think I can hear it sloshing around in my cerebral fluids. A combination of lack of sleep, nonstop working, random drinks with co-workers, and quick trips to China tend to take a toll. Whew.

The movie is almost done. Not quite yet, but I'm hoping that late tonight or early tomorrow will see this thing through. I'm ready to stick a fork in it, that's for sure.


I leave for LA next week, on Friday. Goodbye, Korea.

More news!

I come back to Korea in January. Goodbye, LA.

Because my mother is in Korea, I requested that I get to leave the country when she does. This means that I have a very whirlwind week ahead of me. I need to find a new place, move in, pack for LA, buy presents for people (or maybe just do that at duty-free), return my (stupid) Korean phone, see some people to say goodbye (or see you later, I guess), and try to catch up on sleep before getting on a very long plane ride. I'm tired just thinking about it ... though I was tired anyway, so that can't be helping.

Who knows how blog posting will go? Probably scarce until I get back to Korea in January, though I may have a bout of inspiration in LA (I'm betting not, as I will probably be dashing around seeing people and Christmas shopping in the short month that I have). I also need to buy winter clothes, because I don't know if you know this, but Korea? It has real winter. Sub-zero temperatures, freezing cold wind, and snow. I am not at all prepared for it. It's already too cold for me, and I'm told that it's only going to get colder. I was tempted to stay in LA until March, but that just seems excessive.

Also, I totally missed Thanksgiving because nobody in Korea cares. I want turkey and mashed potatoes! Happy belated Thanksgiving. And happy early Christmas!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bits and Bobs

I cannot even really begin to describe the hellishness of the last few weeks, in that I've gotten so little sleep that I've become delirious. Stark, raving mad. It's a constant struggle to remain upright, and an even bigger struggle to remember what day of the week it is. (Today's Saturday, I checked four times.)

Sleep, for me, is the single most important item while I am working. If I get enough sleep, I am generally okay. I may be cranky that I don't have a life, I may hate everyone, but I won't go ballistic. If I don't get enough sleep for a couple days and then make up for that lack of sleep, I'll be a little bleary-eyed, but not too bad. The past several weeks have been consistent. Consistently sleepless. I'm beat.

It's Christmas at Western Dom. Kind of. They just put up these decorations this week (I'm pretty sure it was this week ... but my brain isn't functioning all that well, so it may have been last week), which seems ridiculously early to me. Then again, Koreans think nothing of having Christmas decorations up all year round (Angel-in-us Coffee, I'm looking at you and your glittery gold ornaments).
My first taste of 족발 (usually spelled "jokbal" but pronounced more like johk-bahl), which are pigs' feet (or ham hocks, I suppose), cooked with spices and sliced thin. I was always wary of this dish, because DUDE. PIGS. FEET. Sounds gross.

Not surprisingly, I love jokbal. It's really good- it's just pork, eaten with varying accompaniments (seen in the photo). It can be dipped in one of the sauces, wrapped in lettuce with garlic or other vegetables, eaten plain, whatever floats your boat.

We had jokbal with 막걸리 (usually spelled "makgeolli" but pronounced mahk-gull-ee), which is pretty traditional. That white bottle is the makgeolli, which is sweet and only very slightly alcoholic. It's generally referred to as "rice wine," which I think is a little deceptive, because it's much weaker than wine. I think it's pretty much like soda (7Up or Sprite) with a little bit of booze mixed in.

No, I don't have much free time. We had jokbal and makgeolli for dinner one night, because the place we wanted to go to was full. There is a strange (to me) Korean tradition of eating green onion pancakes (파전, pajeon) with makgeolli on days when it rains. It was raining, so for dinner, three of us trekked over to a jeon (Korean savory pancake) restaurant. The place was totally full and not looking like it was going to clear out anytime soon, so we went to the jokbal place a few doors down.

I haven't eaten a meal at home in forever, so one of the few good things that have come about from my endless work hours is that I've become closer to my co-workers. A couple of them in particular. I've also realized that a few people that I work with are completely asinine and should be avoided. Good things to know, in any case.

I have written this blog post in about ten minutes, waiting for a review to start (that will probably last for at least two hours). I think they're about ready, so I'm off!

Also off to China tomorrow ... the upside is that I get to sleep in the plane...


Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Pepero Day!

It's November 11, or 11/11 today, which means it's Pepero Day.

There are giant displays all over the place with Pepero. It's really very much like Valentine's Day displays in the States, except there's only one type of snack being used.
I guess it's extra Pepero-y because this year is 2011? Two more 1's to add to the mix. Honestly, it's a silly day that just gives people an excuse to eat chocolate covered biscuits and give each other a little present.

I think it's kind of nice- an excuse to buy a gift for someone for a dollar, and an excuse to receive a cheap present. Sure, a buck isn't much money, but it's fun and seems to make people happy (at least for a few minutes).

Work is so incredibly busy that I haven't had time to sleep, much less blog. Back to China next week. This should be my last sleepless week before I get to pass out to my little heart's content. Just ... keep ... swimming...


Thursday, November 03, 2011

Bits and Bobs

I've been working very long hours lately, generally getting home around 3:00 in the morning. This means that I've been heavily abusing caffeine (Red Bull, thank you for FINALLY coming to Korea!) and sleeping lightly. I'm a little high from fatigue, which is not the fun kind of high. It's sort of like a weird, sluggish dream state.

Two more weeks and then this movie should (crossing my fingers) be over. Two more weekends of non-stop work, a few more meetings with the director, eleven or twelve more sleepless nights, and then I can pass out and sleep for 15 hours! Can't. Wait.

Random photos from my phones:

Beef sashimi (육사시미), which is literally sliced raw beef. Those little dishes off to the upper left side? Delicious, delicious dipping sauce that was a little spicy and quite garlicky. Yum. (Sorry, I didn't take any other pictures from this dinner, which was last night. Everything else was standard Korean beef grilling, nothing out of the ordinary.)
It's autumn, y'all. I took this photo in my building this morning, waiting for the elevator. That little hill is Jeongbal Mountain (정발산), which is what the subway station next to my place is called. The surrounding neighborhood is all called Jeongbalsan. I need to try to escape during some daylight hours to go up the mountain and snap some pictures before the leaves all fall off the trees ... hoping that winter doesn't come in the next two weeks.
Another photo from this morning, as I was waiting for the elevator. I absolutely love that shade of red that some trees transition to. It's so beautiful, and a color that I never saw on trees while I was growing up. Remember what this little garden looked like in the summer? It was nice and lush and green then, but I love the yellows and reds in this autumn photo.
Snapped on the way back to the office from lunch today. Those plastic chairs are common in front of almost all convenience stores in Korea. Generally, older men sit in them, reading newspapers during the day and drinking at night. I find it hilarious that these three chairs are grouped around this tree- what were they doing, communing with nature while smoking their cigarettes?

The trees have already started shedding their fall foliage, which makes me sad. I want autumn to last longer!

Geeky side note- the first and last photos were taken with my Samsung Galaxy SII. The middle two photos were taken with my iPhone 4. I have to say, the iPhone has a much better camera. Nothing really wrong with the Galaxy's camera, of course, I just think the iPhone's produces nicer photos. I've heard that the iPhone 4S's camera is even better ... but I'm not getting a new phone anytime soon. I'm already on my third (!) Galaxy S2, I don't need to blow all my money on getting new phones all the time. Sigh.

There is some drama (oh, drama, I have not missed you) at work, because politics are always present in any workplace, but coupled with Korean passive-aggressiveness, the politics are staggering. I've been quite blunt about it, and using my Americanness as an excuse to be aggressive and circumvent or just plain crush the drama that comes along and tries to bite me. No, thanks.

Still no change on my employment status. No idea where I will be working next month. Tick, tick, tick, tick...