Tag Archives: lifestyle

PC Bang: The Continuation

This is in continuation of my previous post on PC bangs.
You can say it’s a basic how-to/instruction post (with pictures) on how to register for an MMORPG game at a PC bang, focusing on Aion because that’s what I decided to play since after 4 years, I apparently forgot my log in information for WoW. >.>;

Since the first time I went to a PC bang, I went an additional two more times. I was so obsessed (I don’t want to admit it but that’s the truth) with playing a MMORPG that the second time I went, I spent a good hour trying to figure out how to register on a MMORPG to be able to play at a PC bang. it appeared to be a bit more complicated because I was foreign on top of how I didn’t know that much Korean. When I finally figured it out, I was in heaven. I had spent some time the night before registering on the Korean site for Aion because I was sure that I would end up playing on a Korean server. Before long, I got to the screen to download the game onto my laptop. Following my previous experience with WoW, I decided this was not a good idea for either my laptop or me. I decided to wait until my next trip to the PC bang.

I clicked on the MMORPG game icon on the main screen at the bang, and signed in on the pop up of Aion’s official page. Then, I saw this other button I could click. You’re supposed to register on another step with your registration number. No matter what, it wouldn’t accept my registration number, so I decided to do some googling. After all, there had to be other foreigners out there who encountered the amazing PC bang and needed to get their online gaming fix, right? Right. πŸ™‚

I finally came across a post on waygook.org – a site/forum dedicated to foreign English teachers in Korea. (“Waygook” means “foreign” in Korean; “waygookin” means foreigner.) This helped me out a lot. I would tell you exactly how I finally got my Korean Aion account completely set up, but you can pretty much just click on that link if you want. All you need to know is that you need to (1) make an account on the Aion site (2) make another account on the I-pin site (3) have your phone handy because they’ll either call you or send you a text with the password/code that you have 2 minutes to enter [yes, they really do count down] and (4) you enter your I-pin log-in information into the Aion site under your account and you’re ready to go!

My third time going to the PC bang (which is, interestingly enough, the next day after my second trip because I kept on thinking about Aion), I decided to bring my camera and take some pictures of my computer station. I didn’t want to appear so obvious so I didn’t take shots of the entire establishment, but who knows? πŸ™‚ Perhaps one day in the future… As it is, this is a good enough preview of what to expect.

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PC Bangs

I heard about these so-called PC bangs, or PC rooms/internet cafes, long before I set foot in Korea. I used to love playing PC games, see. Perhaps this was to make up for the fact that my parents never let me play video games so when I got my first laptop, I played the heck out of it. ^^ Not the point. Anyway, I also took a Korean popular culture class my last semester in college just for fun. ^^; Anyway, I guess I still love playing them but I have no time… but mainly because I get really obsessive over it. (I suppose I would have time if I could play for merely an hour or two.) Same with dramas – I have to finish it as fast as I can. I don’t know why because it’s not like there’s a life-or-death situation looming over my head if I don’t finish the 16+ episode drama before a certain day (usually the third), but if I don’t finish it, I literally can’t do anything else. Well, I can, but I’ll be rather distracted. Hence, once I got that full time job at the restaurant and now that I’m over here teaching, I haven’t truly played any games, whether they be MMORPG’s or strategy games.

Once upon a time, I was an avid WoW player (Yes. WoW.) and I even dabbled in Starcraft for a while. This was back in 2007, the second semester of my first year in college. Or was it the end of my first semester in college? Either way, it was back then. I only played for a month and a half, after which I stopped because I didn’t want to pay the $15 per month, but it still nagged at me. Also: it consumed my life. My laptop’s video card couldn’t take the graphics of WoW, but that didn’t stop me. My roommate would let me borrow her laptop to play (she had gotten me into it) into the early hours of the morning and then even a mutual friend would let me borrow his on campus to play. If I wasn’t in class, I would head straight back to my dorm to continue. At the end of my 6-week stint, I had 3 characters under my account with the maximum level of around 23 for all three of them. It could have been worse, but it was bad enough.

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Eyes in Korea

Along with the stereotype of how Asians are good at studying – I’m beginning to see why and how this came about, living and teaching here – Asians also tend to need visual correction. I, myself, needed the aid of glasses to see perfectly in the third grade. I got my first pair of contacts in the sixth grade because I got tired of my glasses slipping down or needing to take them off or put them on while changing for gym. Approximately 87% of my coworkers that I share a room with need glasses as well, but most opt for the visually-pleasing contacts.

With Halloween coming up, I wanted to dress up but since I’m the school’s first foreign teacher from North America, I’m the first one to bring up what they plan on doing for Halloween. It seems like they never had this happen before as their previous native teachers were from New Zealand and South Africa, respectively. Apparently, Halloween isn’t very big in either of those countries. Either way, I’m American and I like Halloween. The fact that I get some fun out of this doesn’t hurt, either. πŸ˜‰ However, since this is somewhat of a new concept – though the after school department at my school’s also trying to do a little Halloween celebration – I decided to tone down my dress a little and so I wanted a little something extra to spice up my lack of festive clothing: colored contacts.

Today, I took a trip to the local optometrist to get my first pair of colored contacts. This was what I got (just guess how much Β I paid for it):

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Through the Mirror

Do you have a boyfriend?
No.
What? Why? You’re so pretty!

That dialog occurred earlier today between me and one of my fifth grade students. Sadly, it’s not the first time. In fact, it’s the latest in a long string of similar occurrences with both strangers, friends, and colleagues alike. In addition to this strange notion that things aren’t right if you aren’t in a romantic relationship with someone, Β there’s this great need to be beautiful in Korea.

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S-I-C-K:There’s No Such Thing

The title is a bit of a lie. Obviously, everyone gets sick at one point in their lives. It doesn’t matter when or if you only get sick once – you will get sick. This applies to Koreans, as well. However, it’s their attitude towards it that’s strikingly different and it’s something that really gets in the way between the Native teacher and the Korean teacher. On the surface, it’s fairly simple though with slight differences.

A day's dosage.

When you get sick, you can go to several places. There’s the pharmacy where you go to the counter, tell the pharmacist your symptoms, and they prescribe whatever they see fit. As you can see, this can be a problem if you don’t know much Korean. Luckily, when you’re sick, the symptoms tend to be obvious. These “over-the-counter” medications are usually in packets or in boxes, looking somewhat similar to the over-the-counter boxes of Tylenol, Advil, and other medications you can find in the States. They’re good for a beginning onslaught of some ailment.

Then, if you’re up to it or feeling a bit worse, you can visit a doctor at a clinic. Usually, the clinics tends to be grouped in the same building or area with a pharmacy located somewhere at the bottom. This requires a little more talking and they also ask for your ARC (Alien Registration Card) or ID for insurance in addition to other things like birth date and phone number. Then you see the doctor for a one-on-one consultation and here’s the catch – some may know a little bit of English, but they usually don’t. However, if you feel like you’re sick enough to merit a trip to the doctor, he might be able to tell. There’s the usual looking at the back of the throat and even a nice nostril cleaning that I had when I went to a clinic specialising in Nose, Ears, and Throat last semester. The end of this meeting results in a prescription which you will, once again, bring to the pharmacy. This time, they give you a series of individual, wax paper packets, each filled with pills and tablets of all shapes, colors, and sizes. It’s usually only enough for a couple of days (up to around five from what I’ve seen). They tell you when to take it, how, and anything else they’d like you to know, but I have no clue with the bright yellow and red pill does and that interesting triangular one boggles the mind.

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Moving Up the Food Chain

No pain, no gain... or so they say.

Yet another taekwondo post, but a short one. ^^

This one is to be a quick report on my progress through all the aches, pains, two strained ankles, multiple bruises, and even that one… injured foot in China when I attempted to practice but I never got past jumping rope. haha… Funny thing is that I still enjoy every minute of it, although it does take a chunk out of my evenings. I mean – I leave my apartment at around 8pm in order to get there at around 8:20 in order to do the jump roping warm-up/exercise and then we move onto whatever else is on the agenda until the class officially ends at 9:45 and I get home by around 10pm. On top of how I can barely hang out with my friends without leaving early on weekday evenings, or even attend that Korean class, and it’s somewhat of a hefty 90,000 won a month.

Despite all that, the fact of the matter is that I love it. I can’t put my finger on it, though. I’m not the best – after all, a majority of them are already black belts and they’re my students – and having additional homework aside from the work I bring from school isn’t very nice. I can’t go to sleep early (at around 10) because I get back when I would like to sleep and I still have a shower to take and then I need time to let my hair dry. My Korean isn’t all that good, though it’s adequate enough to get the essentials, but not everything so I know I miss things here and there.

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Battling Emotions

I’m currently consuming my post-taekwondo workout snack: a cup of plain yoghurt and a tall, refreshing class of vinegar water (it tastes better than it sounds). I also indulged a bit tonight and ate a miniature yak-gwa, a kind of traditional Korean honey cookie. Anyway, back to the topic: taekwondo.

I started it in mid-April; April 11th, to be exact. I still remember the hesitation in going up those three flights up stairs, as the taekwondo place was on the third floor, because, well, it was completely new and I was delving into territory where there would not be anyone who would speak English. This isn’t all that surprising, since I live in Korea now, but I was planning on learning from them and I wanted them to understand me – so I learned a phrase from my coteachers: μ„±μΈλ°˜ μžˆλ‚˜μš”? It translates to, “Are there adult classes?”

My sister, fellow English teacher, both instructors, and I the last day of TKD before vacation.

I finally got up there and spoke with the head instructor who owns the place – I later learned he was to be addressed as gwanjang-nim – my second attempt and there were adult classes. I found out the essentials and I was to start the following Monday. I was psyched. I remember this was when That Guy #1 was pursuing me and I proudly told him what I had done. He wasn’t all too happy about it since it meant that I had less free time to myself and for him.

Then, approximately a month ago, I was informed that my instructors expected me to take the 1st dan black belt test in late September. That would make it roughly three months after I began. That is utterly ridiculous, even when I had the time to practice. The funny thing is that it seems like I’ve been taking taekwondo for ages, but when you count the months, it really hasn’t been. Even now, I’ve only taken it for 4.5 months and I was absent for approximately a month out of that because at around the time they told me of their expectations was when school camp planning started for me. When school camp began, it was no better… then my vacation when I was out of the country for two weeks.

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China: The Second Impression

China.

I have a history with this place – you know, other than being ethnically Chinese.
At one point, I considered it home whilst studying abroad and when it was time to go back to the States, I did it reluctantly. No. It was more than reluctance and if I had more money and didn’t have a round trip ticket back to the States with my name on it, I probably wouldn’t have come back. I had the time of my life there during those four short months and to have it taken away without my say-so tore at me. Needless to say, I was in a state of depression for the following months. Yes, I pluralised ‘month’. I suppose I’ve still been under this withdrawal but the thing was I got used to it so the aching wasn’t at for the forefront of my mind… following the first five months of my return.

Therefore, it makes sense that on my first return back to Asia since then, I decided that China would definitely be one of my stops during my vacation. And so, here I am, posting about the China Part of my 2011 Vacation Tour through East Asia. πŸ™‚

On the way!

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Liquid Life: Milk

Okay, so that may not make much sense, but to me, milk is life. I feel sad when I run out of milk. Almost even lost. It keeps my body temperature down, it’s cool (cold), and it’s just refreshing and delicious. Just to let you know, I love it in the winter too. When I was living alone, I drank a gallon of milk within a week and it was great. When I travel, nothing changes, though I probably drink less than a gallon of milk per week, haha. Even so, milk is still a routine item on my grocery list, along with a host of other dairy products, hence the reason why I decided to do a post on milk and show you how much I love it.

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Things That Make You Smile

I’m beginning to think that all the nitpicking was due to open class season. No, I know that’s not all of it as their comments do come from somewhere, but they were elevated with the things that were going on. Most of the non-homeroom teachers are done with it and though there’s always more work to do, most of the pressure is off. In order to celebrate, this post is about the good things… the things that make me think that teaching in a country where you don’t know much about anything was really a superb idea.

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