Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Things change

I've had a lot go on in the past few weeks. Here's what stands out the most.

* I don't work for JM English School anymore. :) I won't go into the details, but they let me go with positive recommendations and we parted amicably. I'm glad I don't work there anymore and have consequently lined up a new place of employment, Wall Street Institute.
I'll be teaching adults come May, which I think I'll enjoy quite a bit more.

* Last week, Anja and Sasha visited me for about a week. We did a lot of touristy stuff, doing a city bus tour, memorials, museums, quirky neighborhoods, etc. I was very happy to see them and spend some time with my siblings. I think they also did. Before Seoul, they spent a few days in Tokyo, which sounded amazing and sounded like Sasha really got a kick out of. I think I've now come to terms that my little brother is a grown person, which took a little getting used to. He also got into all the universities he applied to and I have no doubt he will do well in whichever one he chooses to go to.

* In light of the fact that I don't have a job for the month of April, I'm taking a backpacking adventure through the beautiful countries of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and maybe a stop in Vietnam. The itinerary includes Angkor Wat, the largest religious site in the world and where Tomb Raider was filmed, the wild jungles of Laos, and Ko Tao, arguably the mecca of scuba diving in the world. I leave tomorrow morning with my Canadian friend Jon. We will be meeting up with some other friends along the way and I can't wait to see what South East Asia has to offer.

For some reason, won't allow me to upload pictures. Hopefully my sister will soon. Otherwise, I'll have to do it in May.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Koreans have a hard time pronouncing some of our sounds, like the letter z. Instead of Jesus, it's more like "Jejush". Pizza is more like "pija". My name comes out "Bitari" instead of Vitaliy. I understand though. For the longest time, I couldn't get it why my parents couldn't say things in English the way my siblings and I could. It was so easy for us! Now, when I try to say things in Korean, Koreans often have to ask a few times because I, apparently, can't say it properly and the way they say it. Making sure you're going to the right part of the city is especially crucial when in a cab because there are so many neighborhoods that can be mispronounced.

Another thing I understand now is that learning a language was sooooo much easier when I was younger. It just came to me. Learning to speak Korean is going to be harder than I thought.

I loved pizza the moment I bit into a slice and the same remains true today. Fortunately, Papa Johns expanded to Korea and they taste pretty much the same here. Koreans do make a few weird tweaks to their pizza that are just wrong. For example, there is a pizza franchise here called Pizza School that is really cheap, starting at 5000 won for a pizza, which is roughly $4.50USD. They have something called a Deousche pizza with sausages (there are lots of spelling mistakes here, it's supposed to be Deutsche guys), sweet potato, pizza with chicken wings on it as the topping, and another one with I don't even know what as the topping but mayonnaise as the sauce. Almost every pizza has corn on it too. Fortunately, there are some pizzas at Pizza School that taste pretty good. My favorite is bulgogi, which is Korean for beef.

This picture is of a Papa Johns delivery man with a portable credit card reader.

A delivery bike for Sta Sera, an Italian restaurant in Gangnam.

Below we have Mandoo. It's kind of like Ukrainian pelmeni, stuffed with a mix of beef and seafood or kimchi. Really cheap too at only 3000 won. Which reminds me of something else the rest of America should really pick up on. When paying for things, the tax is included in the advertised price. No one likes messing around with change, so Koreans keep it simple. If something says 3000 won, you pay 3000 won. Not 3000 plus tax. Makes life a little less complicated.