Saturday, January 9, 2010

Once Upon A Time In China


Rob and I have successfully conquered the Kingdom of fact, they even made Rob their temporary Emperor for about 10 minutes as you'll see.

Mr. Koontz did an amazing job putting together an epic video blog that he has posted on his page which you can find here:

It turned about to be just over 30 minutes long so we had to break it up into 4 parts to be able to post. So, sit back, dig into some Panda Express, light some incense and just let it happen...

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

Above, you'll see a picture of an immigration card that we got on our flight to China. You'll notice under the options for "Purpose for Visit," we have "Settle Down." So, you're saying that if I'm really excited about something, like the new season of LOST, and I need to settle down, I can make that happen in China? Awesome. Good to know.

Also, you'll see that the Chinese feel exactly the same about beer as our domestic rednecks.

Enjoy the video blog please! It's not too much to ask, I think.

T-minus 8 weeks until you know what.

Stay tuned...


Sunday, November 22, 2009

George Clooney Shoulders


Since "cold" has returned to Busan, I've been able to wear my suit jacket to school again. I've always thought that wearing it adds an element of "sophistication" and "success" to my appearance that is glaringly absent most other days. Little did I know that the jacket also throws a little "Hollywood" into the mix. Before class one day, a 6th grade girl complimented me on my jacket, especially my shoulders. I said, "Really? Thanks!" She said, "Yeah, like George Clooney." "Wow!" I said, "You think I look like George Clooney?" "No," she said, "just the shoulders." I got a real kick out of that so now I introduce myself as Mr. Clooney everytime I see her to which she always replies, "Only the shoulders!" Heck, a compliment is a compliment and if ANY part of my body resembles George Clooney, well that's alright with me.

The photo above is from a recent dinner I had with some teachers. About 6 weeks ago, I started an informal conversation class with 5 or 6 teachers at my school. For an hour on Wednesdays, we get together, eat some snacks and do some good old talking. I usually have a theme for the "lesson" like restaurant dialogs or phone dialogs and we use that as a starting point. Well, "teaching" this class is outside my contract and I told them from the beginning that I didn't want any money for it. They agreed and compromised with presents (socks) and taking me out to dinner. For our first outing, we went to VIPS which is probably the best Korean/Non-Korean restaurant we've discovered here. Imagine Souplantation (which is already awesome) but better--a buffet with the ability to order some serious steaks. The male teacher you can see next to me is a kick in the pants. He's hilarious and he makes every class pretty entertaining. He was fascinated to learn the word "poop" and he immediately turned it into an onomatopoeia. So, he goes around saying "POOP!" while making suggestive hand gestures that resemble defecation.

One really funny side note about that picture of us at dinner: A waitress took this picture for us and gave it to us in a little VIPS photo mount. So, I had to take a picture of the picture to put it up here. One great "feature" of my camera is that it reads people's faces and if someone blinks, it throws up a little question, "Did someone blink?" It's meant to prevent you taking pictures of people with their eyes closed but it also has another tragic result. It's happened before and it happened this time as well: my camera thinks Koreans are blinking when they're not. Is my camera racist or did they just forget about Asians when they designed this feature. It's even more confusing when you realize that my camera is made by Nikon, a Japanese company. You'd think they'd be a little more sensitive about their own facial structures.

If you haven't already watched it, the video above is from a recent field trip I took with the 6th graders. Some months ago, they went on another field trip but I wasn't able to go--my theory is that Mrs. Lee didn't want to go, therefore I "couldn't" go. I was bummed because I love field trips and it would allow me to hang out with these kids in an even more casual setting. This time, I put up more of a fight so I could go and I won. So, the day before Halloween, I woke up at 4:30 in order to be at school by 6. The entire 6th grade took two buses approx. 2.5 hours to the West of Busan to visit two locations: a GIGANTIC steel plant and an aerospace museum. When I heard that the kids would be split by gender for the bus ride, I immediately hoped I would end up on the girl bus. Overall, I get along much better with the female students, especially the 6th grade girls. Most boys in all the grades I teach are much less interested in me as a person and the 6th grade boys, a high majority of them at least, barely give me the time of day--a few down right loathe me as our relationship is based on their complete lack of interest in learning English and my constant struggle to make them interested. Long story short, I got on the girl bus and I was more than relieved.

The steel plant was AMAZING! The company is called POSCO and this "plant" was more like an entire city. They had housing for employees, their own soccer stadium, movie theatre, etc. We drove around most of the property (which took forever) and finally got to get out and see some cool stuff. We weren't allowed to take any photos or video which is why there aren't any in the video above. They ushered us into a small theatre and they showed us a "history of the company" type video which was all in Korean. Then we drove to our one and only sight-seeing part of the tour. We walked up about 3 flights of stairs and walked along this incredible steel making assembly line. This super long building was at least 2 or 3 football fields in length and was filled enormous machines, loud noises, heat and molten steel! I felt like I was in Attack of the Clones when Anakin was dodging swinging machinery and fighting aliens. These long, 10-inch thick slabs of orange-hot steel were sliding along this system of rollers, getting sprayed with water and steaming all over the place. Then they'd shoot down the rollers to the next station and do it all over again. When the water hit these slabs, it skated along the surface because the metal was so hot, it was almost like the water wasn't even making contact with the steel.

Then we turned around and headed back to Busan, stopping along the way for lunch and a tour of an Aerospace Museum. As you saw in the video, they had lots of tanks, planes and various military vehicles lined up. They had one kinda small building with displays and artifacts, a lot from the Korean War. It was obvious that the kids, and I, had a lot less fun here than we did at the steel plant. All in all, it was a great day and I'm really glad I went.

As you saw at the end of the video, it snowed! I was awake for over an hour before I looked outside and saw the slight dusting we got overnight. I was shocked because every time I asked a Korean about snow in the Winter, they always said, "It's rare." That's one thing we've come to learn about a lot of Koreans--you can never trust their knowledge, experience or ability to explain things. One person couldn't remember the last time it snowed, another thought it was 7 years and a third person was positive it was only 3 years since the last snow. See what I mean? Now apply this situation to EVERY other question you might have about Busan, or Korea in general, and this what you run into. I made an analogy to Rob a while back about Korea and its citizens: I likened Korea to a large company and its citizens to employees--the problem with the company is it's EVERYONE's first day on the job so no one knows anything but they will go out of their way to make you think they do to save face. When you're essentially helpless against this wave of ignorance, it can be very frustrating and it's an absolute miracle that this society functions at all! Sorry, getting a little angry. Is it time to come home? Yes, yes and yes!

It's all good. We're going to spend a week in China during Christmas, we've got 3 weeks of English Camp (like we did in the Summer) and then we're basically home! And you can take that to the bank!

Stay tuned...

-Brent "Not Quite George Clooney" Dunham

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bread Teacher

2-My 15 Minutes in Korea
3-A very cool fancy towel (belated b-day gift from Lisa)


Yesterday, the students from my first semester after school class FINALLY got to see themselves on the big screen. During lunch, we gathered them into our private screening room (a.k.a. classroom), dropped the shades and turned off the lights. I was instructed to police the 3 doors in and out of the classroom against any outsider who tried to get a peek. Let's just say I was busy. There was a strict "for our own eyes policy" that was agreed upon even before we started filming this thing.

They got a real kick out of watching themselves and I received applause at the end but I gave it right back to them because they did such a good job. So, after we had a few minutes of laughing, excited discussion and general merriment, the brown stuff hit the fan. One student, So Eun (starring as one of the parents), is definitely a leader of the group and she simply stuck out her hand and demanded a copy of the movie. You see, she is in charge of our school's broadcasting room in which daily announcements, principal's messages, etc. are delivered through video to all the classrooms. On Wednesdays, they play a short English cartoon or instructional video as part of Korea's desperate plot to squeeze as much English education into their minds as possible. So Eun wanted to play our movie instead and the other students lost their minds. "Protest" might be an understatement--I was expecting molotov cocktails and riot gear any second. The screaming Korean children rivaled any concert I've been to and when the verbal dust settled, I tried to reason with them. In my opinion, none of the actors did anything embarrassing at all but when you're a 12 year old girl, "embarrassment" is a very fine line.

They left the class pretty rattled and two girls in particular seemed genuinely steamed about it. I felt bad because I understand their position--not many kids can get up in front of the entire school and perform at a talent show and that's basically what would be done if we broadcasted it. My conscience was sufficiently busy for the next few hours until walking home, I ran into Ju Eun (Steamed Girl #2). She basically asked for her parts to be "audio only" when I rejected her first idea to simply re-edit her out of the entire video. I told her I would try to do that which was a little white lie because I didn't think it was possible. Plus she seemed in a better mood about it anyways so I knew the aftermath wouldn't be as disastrous as I previously had thought.

This morning, I arrived at school a few minutes early to meet So Eun and help her get the file from my USB card. I also wanted to watch this process so I went to the broadcasting room to see how it all worked. I was actually very impressed--here are 5 6th grade girls running a very tiny TV studio (mixing board, cameras on tripods, monitors for switching back and forth) and they made it seem like "ho hum, just creating live TV again." So Eun did a little on-camera intro and away we went. When she announced that we'd be showing the film, cries of either excitement or terror (I couldn't tell) came from other parts of the school.

This was before school actually began and so after it was done, I walked back up to the classroom. We had 4th grade and 3rd grade today and as soon as that first 4th grade class came in, it was like my first month all over again (Rockstar!). They all mobbed me, calling me "Killer!" or "Killer Teacher!" and re-enacting their favorite death scenes. It was great. They demanded a second viewing and I didn't think Mrs. Lee was going to allow it but she did. So we watched it again--in fact, we had to watch it 4 more times for every class today.

In other words, today was pretty cool. Mrs. Lee is going to upload the film to the school's homepage. Hopefully, this will satisfy the students so we don't have to keep watching it before class with the other grades.

A couple weeks ago, I was dubbed "Bread Teacher" by some 6th grade girls during my after school class. I'm sure you're wondering how they came up with this charming pet name and here it goes. Not only does my name rhyme with "bread" but my body shape apparently resembles the topography of a loaf of know, lots of bulges and curves, peaks and valleys. Great. I've needed a thick skin my entire life (Hey, Dad, remember your classic "Belly Bra" idea?) but living in the land of rice and kimchi has proved to be a brand new challenge.

In case you were wondering, here's my latest favorite k-pop song: click (gotta love the finger-wag)

I forgot to mention this but better late than never. As you can see from the picture above, I've successfully infiltrated Korean History. I will live on forever in archives and microfilm in a Korean newspaper. Some college student 50 years from now will be doing research on English Education in Korea and come across that article and think, "Wow, I didn't know they hired such attractive foreign teachers." If you recall from a post some months ago, I volunteered at this one-day English camp. I remember photographers being there but I had no idea they actually got me in one. A couple days after volunteering, I was leaving school when the school's handyman stopped me kind of urgently. He made me wait while he brought out this newspaper and there I was. It was such a funny moment. I cut the article out and it's now hanging proudly on my fridge.

It's much cooler these days and I have been thoroughly enjoying sweaters outside and an open window instead of AC.


Stay tuned...

-Bread Teacher

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Death List: The List of Death


The video I made with my after school has finally emerged from post-production to make its debut for all to see.

It turned out better than I expected but I also spent HOURS on this thing making it so. I used black and white to help disguise all the random continuity errors; I re-recorded almost all of the dialogue because what we recorded during filming was a complete mess; I added some music effects which really help.

So, enjoy it for what it is!

A proper blog will soon follow.

Stay tuned...


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Scutigera coleoptrata


S. coleoptrata is 25 mm (0.98 in) to 50 mm (2.0 in) in length and has up to 15 pairs of remarkably long legs. These delicate legs are attached to a rigid body. This enables it to reach surprising speeds of up to 406 mm (16.0 in) per second (0.9 mph/1.46 kph)[1] running across floors, up walls and along ceilings. Its body is yellowish-grey and has three dark-colored dorsal stripes running down its length; the legs also have dark stripes. (Wikipedia)

I'd like to take this opportunity to amend the Wikipedia page regarding the Scutigera coleoptrata, more commonly known as the 'house centipede.' Specifically, the section dedicated to its whereabouts in the world. You see, it does mention that the Scutigera coleoptrata originated in the Mediterranean and has since spread to Europe, Asia and North America but it fails to report that the Scutigera coleoptrata can also be found...IN MY APARTMENT!!! Yikes!!!

I woke up the other day, did my morning necessary in the bathroom, made a bowl of cereal and finished it and then, 30 minutes after waking, I headed for the shower. That's when I saw it. Clung to the wall near the door like a secret agent from Hell. I stopped mid-step and just stared at it for at least 30 seconds, my mind was like Bambi slipping on the ice trying to grasp the reality of the situation: that hideous alien monster bug was in my room while I was sleeping!! Often, when I see even a tiny insect somewhere near my sleeping area, I'll have nightmares that night, trying to escape 1,000 ants or battling killer spiders thirsty for my blood. It does not help one bit that this time it's a bug that I've never seen before in my life!

When I told this story to our latest Korean friend, Amy, she immediately knew what I was talking about. She used to her cellphone to find the English word for it and that's how we came up with 'house centipede.' Tonight, I actually found it on those first few, heart-pounding seconds, I was positive I had discovered an entirely new species. Oh, and did you catch that little fact above that they can reach speeds up to 16 inches/second?! No way!!

I captured the beast using a cup and, once trapped, I was able to document its existence with my camera (above). Its capture was surprisingly uneventful, if that thing had eluded my first strike, I would have dropped my cup and run away, flailing my arms and screaming like a woman. I sentenced it death by drowning and my only hope is that it left no unhatched offspring incubating in some dark corner. Ugh.

In other news, I grew my beard during the summer break and the students have had somewhat mixed but totally emphatic reactions to "The New Brent." Perhaps 85% of the students begged me to cut it off within 5 seconds of seeing me. I took a poll in a few classrooms: many boys thought it was "thumbs up" but a high majority agreed that it was simply a bad idea. I said, "Do you want me to cut it off?" and, in unison, they came back with, "Yes!" So, I held out my hand and asked for 500 won (about 40 cents) from each student. So far, no takers. Some adjectives I've received: ugly, dirty, handsome, old, grandpa, good and Santa Claus. Perhaps the best reaction I got so far was when a 6th grader called me "Abraham Lincoln." I was too busy being impressed with her knowledge of American history to be offended.

The swine flu problem has reached a new high here in Korea. Cases of infected have steadily risen in the past few weeks and the government is taking action. For one, every single student, teacher and visitor to every school in Busan (perhaps all of Korea) gets their temperature taken before entering. We also get a shot of hand sanitizer. I'm all for preventative measures like this but Korea is also not an ideal place to be during this "crisis." It's the combination of faulty logic and heightened paranoia that makes the situation kind of annoying. For example, they go the extreme of testing everyone (I'm just waiting for them to start wearing those spaceman suits they wore in "Outbreak") but they fail to change the disposable covers on their ear thermometers between kids! Um...hello?...anyone home? They make people spend 7 days at home in quarantine but they also don't cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze. Again, the ship's in motion but no one's at the wheel.

That's all for now.

Stay tuned...

-Abe Lincoln

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ju Eun Saves the Day


Well, I'm just over halfway through my summer vacation. I've got another week to go. I've enjoyed my time off quite a bit. Even though I didn't "do" much, it was nice sleeping in and being thoroughly relaxed 24 hours a day. The Woody Allen retrospective was a lot of fun. I only missed one of the films but I also saw "Annie Hall" and "Manhattan" twice. It was a slight pain because it's a 30-40 subway ride from my place and the heat has been plain nasty. One might think that the air down in the subway tunnels would be cool (being underground and all) but you'd be wrong. It's stale and muggy. The subway cars are always air conditioned but they really make you earn it by waiting.

English camp was a lot of fun. The 3 weeks went by nice and quick and it was more enjoyable than regular class. The most interesting experience was my week with the 1st and 2nd graders. We don't teach 1st and 2nd grade during the school year, so it was almost like the first day of school all over again. My "rockstar" status has been steadily fading the past couple months so it was fun to be the center of attention again. I was concerned that we'd have trouble communicating--their abilities are even lower AND I didn't have Mrs. Lee or Lucy there to help translate. Luckily, I kept the activities and lessons simple enough that it wasn't a problem.

One time, with the 3rd/4th graders, we were doing a little "picture dictation." I'd say, "Draw Mickey Mouse" and they'd draw Mr. Mouse on their own mini dry erase boards. After drawing a few other Disney characters, I said, "Draw me." So they did. After a couple minutes, they start raising their boards for me to see. All of them were classic depictions but this one kid won the grand prize. He was a typically quiet boy, kind of a loner with a splash of rebellion. He said, "Teacher, teacher!" and when I looked over at him, he held up his board. Apparently, he doesn't think too highly of me or he's got quite a sense of humor because he held up a picture of a steaming pile of excrement with a fly buzzing around it. It was such an awesome moment that I couldn't help but laugh.

Another, more pathetic story. This is about a little 1st grade girl named Hyang Mi who I dubbed Hannah. Picture this: a tiny little girl, 2 sizes smaller than the rest of her class, all smiles and happily sitting in the front row of the class. I knew from the first 5 minutes that I was going to enjoy teaching her. One day, she had a really rough day. We were up in the auditorium playing Color Tag and, as predicted, all hell broke loose. What started as one game of tag with me being "IT" and the rest of the class running turned into a dozen separate games with 12 "ITS" and no one had a clue. Somewhere in the melee, Hannah apparently got hurt because another student brought her over to me, weeping. She looked like a week-old kitten lost on the sidewalk, wide-eyed and shaking. I sat her off to the side to recover and we eventually called it quits and went back to the classroom.

Later, we had ourselves snack time and cartoons. During the breaks and snack times, I would show them old Disney cartoons. With the cartoon running and the kids quietly smacking away on their goodies, some commotion began around Hannah's desk. She had that "sidewalk kitten" look again and a couple kids were surrounding her, laughing. She couldn't open the wrapper on the Choco Pie...if that's not the most heartbreaking thing I've seen in a while, I don't know what is. Here's this kid: weak, quiet and sweet and all she wants in the whole wide world is have this delicious treat while watching cartoons and she can't. I swat the laughing kids away like pesky crows and open the wrapper. You would have thought it was Christmas morning the way she grinned and chomped down on the Choco Pie. I sit back down at my desk and a couple minutes later, there's more commotion. This time, she's got chocolate and crumbs from ear to ear--she looked like Heath Ledger in "The Dark Knight." I swear, I think only about 10% of that Choco Pie actually made it into her mouth. The rest was decimated and scattered on her face, her dress and her desk. Not only was she unable to open it, she didn't even know how to eat it! You know, all kids go through that stage when they eat sandwiches and keep biting in the same place over and over until it's all over their face but this girl is 6 or 7 years old! The worst part of it was the look on her face looking at the kids laughing at her. She knew why they were laughing and she knew it was pure embarrassment. So, for the 2nd time that day, Hannah broke my heart. I cleaned off her desk and took her to a sink just outside the class room. I washed her face and dress where she had gotten chocolate on it. Man, oh man.

The short film I made with my after school class is actually getting done. We finished filming quite a bit ago and I've just been lazy about it. Actually, I felt like it was a disappointment and was just too depressed about it to finish. Of course, I was too optimistic about how it would turn out and about how efficient it would be working with screaming kids who don't speak my language. I was very close to telling Mrs. Lee and the students that my hard drive crashed and I lost all the footage. But, one day, I got a text message from one of my students, Ju Eun, (remember how they stole my phone to get my number a while back?) asking about the project. She wanted to know when they'd get to see the finished product. I officially felt guilty at this point and found myself going over the footage on my computer. I came across a clip of Ju Eun--it was a botched take, she just started laughing, but that was all the convincing I needed to see it through. I'm plugging away at it and it's turning out better than I thought. I'm glad I didn't give up.

I also recently passed the halfway point of my time here in Korea. 6 months to go and, as Rob predicts, I think this 2nd semester will go by in a flash. Now we'll be counting down to the end instead of counting up and I'm hoping to ride that momentum like body boarder riding a wave all the way in.

Stay tuned...


p.s. Here's the clip of Ju Eun that brought the project back to life.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


1-Playin' pocketball--not pocketpool.
2-Apparently, this 6th grader thinks I'm completely bald. Not yet, little Miss.
3-Me in action during an after school class.
4-Me, Rob and Lisa at my birthday dinner...if you squint, she looks like Leah.
5-Our friends Ji-won and Young (left to right)


Today was the last day of school for the first semester of 2009. We had a half day at school and all the teachers drove almost an hour to this restaurant for lunch. The school rented a luxury van for us but I'm not exactly sure what was so luxurious about it. It had a TV screen folded up into the ceiling with some intense speakers right behind the driver so I'm just about positive that this van could "Optimus Prime" into a mobile noribong (karaoke) if we desired. Luckily for me, we didn't desire.

The location of this restaurant was pretty cool. It was nestled into this wooded area with a waterfall, a babbling brook and their very own catfish pond out front. We spotted a couple of man-made beehives buzzing with activity, some chickens and even a couple geese. I even made friends with this really cute white puppy who was chained up--there's something about a chained up dog who is completely grateful to see you and falls madly in love with you if start petting it. Now, a few days ago, I was given the choice of which dish I wanted for this lunch. My options were "Catfish Soup" or "Duck" which is the culinary equivalent of "Do you want a punch in the face or a punch in the groin?" I hesitated because I really couldn't decipher the lesser of the two evils but ended up voting for duck. Like Rob's first encounter with his co-teacher talking about duck, I too thought Lucy was saying "dog." I'm telling you Korea, sharpen up those "K's" at the end of your words to avoid these situations in the future.

So, they bring out the tray of duck meat topped with potatoes and onions and I think, "Well, this doesn't look too bad." And it wasn't. Before our food's done cooking on our little portable, gas stove, they bring out another tray for the table of teachers behind us. It was obviously another bird meat of some variety and I asked Mrs. Lee if it was a different duck dish or something and she said, "No, that's chicken" I find it hard to believe that Mrs. Lee, in that moment, didn't know what I was thinking. "No, it's okay, instead of eating a totally acceptable and delicious meal, I'd rather struggle through this inferior poultry quietly." The duck wasn't horrible and I did eventually get my hands on some of that leftover chicken but THAT'S NOT THE POINT! Korea is so weird sometimes!! And this is just the latest evidence of such.

This past Thursday, meteorologically speaking, was very interesting. We're currently in "the rainy season" here in Busan. Up until last week, it rained a good deal but I still wanted more. Well, someone was listening, and we got it. I woke up Thursday morning and outside was WET! Little did I know exactly how wet it was because I left house expecting a slight dousing until I could get into a cab and ride in style the rest of the way to school. As I descended the last half flight of stairs, I saw the street...or where the street should have been. Instead of a street, it was a river. No joke. I saw NO asphalt. This was serious business. I stepped outside and looked down towards the main street and it too was completely flooded. As I stood, staring in disbelief, some random neighbor walked by, sloshing through the river/street like it was completely normal. "Well," I thought, "it looks like I'm gettin' wet today." I managed to shimmy along the 8-inch sidewalk towards the main road where cars were completely stuck in the direction I needed a cab to take me. I stood there, on the edge of lots and lots of water, running all the options in my head. I couldn't call Mrs. Lee because I was positive she was dealing with her own mess and traffic was so intense that it'd take forever for her to get to me and for us to get to school. Taking a taxi was out of the question because there weren't any and if I did find one, it'd cost me $50 to get to school with all the traffic. Yes, the only thing to do was to take the first step. I was wearing my "soon to be not so nice" suit pants and the high tops I got from Dad. After a good 2 minutes of debate, I stepped in and instantly soaked myself up to my calves. It got even worse when I crossed the street. UP TO MY KNEES!! I sloshed across the road, honestly worried that I'd lose a shoe in the current and couldn't help but laugh at how ridiculous and fun this was. Truthfully, as soon as the damage was done, I really enjoyed this little adventure. I walked all the way to school and got completely soaked. Even my umbrella had fun by actually leaking down on me from above! There are no holes in the fabric but apparently it was raining hard enough that the water could not be stopped.

As an apology for almost drowning me, the Universe has provided me with an amazing gift: a month long Woody Allen Film Festival showing 18 of his films!! It is safe to say that my cinematic itch will be blissfully scratched over the next 4 weeks. Rob and I went down the theatre by the beach where it'll take place so I could get an actual schedule. For those of you blog-readers who were reading from the beginning, this was the same theatre we tried to find on one of our first adventures down to Haeundae Beach where we got lost. Thankfully, we were able to find it a little easier this time. Of course, the schedule was all in Korean but I was able to spend a couple hours on Saturday morning creating my own English calendar and plotting my attack. I plan on seeing all 18 films, either in double or triple feature mini-marathons and I will love every minute of it.

I am a moron. Most of you are convinced of this already but for those of you on the fence, let me prove it to you. After our return from Seoul: The Sequel, I did a load of laundry. As I took the clothes out to dry, I discovered that anything left in your pockets will ALSO get washed. In this case, my passport. It flopped on the floor like a dead fish as I pulled the clothes out and my jaw fell as well. I picked it up and surveyed the damage. The outer cover, what used to be stiff fabric, was now frayed, faded and curled up in the opposite direction. It reminded me of a butterfly emerging from the cocoon (washing machine). The travel stamps were completely washed away but my visa sticker was amazingly intact. I set it in front of my air conditioner hoping to dry it. When it 90% dry, I stuck it underneath some really heavy bottled water to flatten it out again. Today, it doesn't look that bad but I plan on making sure it's still usable with the Embassy before I get arrested at the airport for tampering with government identification.

And, on that note, I will call it a night. I start summer camp in two days and I'm pretty excited.

I'll leave you with a video: this is a magic trick performed by my vote for the cutest Korean kid ever.

Stay tuned...