Monday, September 27, 2010


Does anyone remember the 12 steps of intimacy? My own memory of it is hazy, except that it was a lesson from high school religion class and probably counted as our entire sex-ed requirement for sophomore year. Step one was eye contact and step 12 was baby making. We were ordered by our teachers and the Church to not go past step 7 until well after marriage, and I swear hugging was step 8. We even got little handouts that would fit in our wallet in case we needed a reference while out and about. "Can I hold hands without going to hell? Let me check and see...." We all thought the 12 steps of intimacy was a joke and a great source of entertainment.

Last night, Chin-Hwa and I reached step 13.

Before you start to let your head run wild (and before Mom gets any crazy ideas), get your mind out of the gutter!

He let me buzz his hair. Here is the before picture:

Doesn't he look so excited and trusting? The cape came with the buzzer set and I couldn't resist.

I was thrilled, and practically shaking with the sheer magnitude of power that I held in my ill-prepared hands. One mis-step and Chin-Hwa's crew cut could become Chin-Hwa's worst hairstyle ever. (and he has had some bad ones, so that would be quite a feat)

The military hairsyle is one of the ugliest and is very easy to maintain, so my only job was to clean up the neckline. It would have taken a normal person about five minutes, but I took about an hour due to bouts of trepidation and timidity. Here is the after pick:

I can predict your comments: "Subtle, yet artistic." "Breathtakingly simple in style, yet fashion-forward."

Stop, I'm blushing.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Is this too matchy matchy?

Chin-Hwa and I spent last Saturday at an amusement park called "Lotte World." (Lotte is a giant, possibly evil, corporation that has begun to take over large parts of South Korea. Not only do they have this amusement park, they also have multiple shopping malls, hundreds of stores, a food brand, and even a baseball team. Despite my personal hesitations regarding corporations, i.e. Walmart, Lotte is just so darn entertaining! Perhaps I would forgive Walmart if they just started a few amusements parks...)

The rides were amazing. Some of the roller coasters were so fun that I wondered if there were safety regulations in Korea...anyhoo, I lived to tell this tale so that's neither here nor there. The park was crowded, much like everything in Korea, and we spent a large chunk of time waiting in lines. Luckily, I was easily entertained and I spent the time staring at couples wearing matching outfits.

Ever since I got here last year, I noticed this common trend. For some reason, many couples on outings decide that it would be a great idea to wear matching outfits. Maybe this is so they could be easily identifiable if they should become separated, or maybe it's just because its so freaking adorable. The underwear stores even sell matching underwear sets, although it is harder to tell how many couples have decided to match in this way. It was difficult to try to capture all of these matching couples in pictures (they were suspicious of the white woman who was pretending to take pictures of her husband while secretly aiming the camera at them) but here is a sampling for you to enjoy.

Chin-Hwa has promised me that he would indeed wear a matching outfit if I did all of the footwork and found the clothes. He has no idea what's in store for him...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dentist time!

You know what's fun? Having healthy teeth. You know what's not fun at all? Having to go to the dentist to get said healthy teeth.

When I was younger, going to the dentist meant being told I had cavities. No matter how well I brushed my teeth, they functioned as veritable sugar sponges and filled with holes. I followed all of the dentist's advice and brushed religiously, singing a song as I brushed to ensure that I was cleaning long enough, but nothing helped. My teeth looked at fluoride and its supposed effectiveness and laughed.

Now that I'm older (just slightly though) I do not have cavities each time I visit the dentist. However, stop your celebration because this does not mean that my pain is over. Don't make me laugh a crooked, numbed mouth awkward laugh. Here's what happened...

This August, I was lucky enough to finally get dental insurance through the Army. (Wow, aren't they so nice? I almost forgot that they were war mongers!) I went to the local dentist, meaning a dentist in Korea, and I was told that I could have all sorts of work done at no cost to me. It was a jackpot of sorts, and I felt lucky. This feeling soon dissipated.

The dentist informed me that many of my silver fillings from my youth had mutated into broken trouble spots. He said he would have to redo them in gold, thereby making me look awesome, as well as redo some smaller white fillings. I smiled and nodded. Then he pulled out the mask.

I am used to a dentist wearing a mask during my visits. In fact, it would be strange if the dentist was not wearing one. I might think, "Um, hello! What do you think this is? Some sort of disease party?" I like the dentist's mask. It makes me feel comforted. I am NOT used to wearing a mask myself. And this was no normal mask. What it looked like was an opaque green cloth with a large hole for my mouth. I'm going to draw a picture:

The mask was meant to protect my face from spraying water, but what it actually did was make me feel claustrophobic and like I couldn't breathe. Not a good feeling, especially when water is running down your mouth and the dentist keeps telling you to "relax". Yeah, buddy, I'm going to relax when I can't see and feel like I'm suffocating. Good advice.

I suffered through four visits to the dentist to redo fillings. Three of the visits hurt immensely, and the fourth one just hurt a little bit. Today was my last visit to the dentist for a while (hooray!) and I was delighted to be well numbed for the fillings. Chin-Hwa was delighted to see that I couldn't smile right due to the after effects of the shot. Here's a picture for you to enjoy:

The moral of the story is brush well and often, unless you're me and then you just have to go to the dentist frequently.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Used Cars

Although I pride myself on my independence and on breaking down gender barriers whenever possible, there is one area of life that I seem to have no power in . . . automobiles. (I also have no interest in cars, but they just keep popping up.)

Cars make all of my ideals come crashing down. I've had two cars in my life and they were both Honda Accords. Dad helped Nickie and I find the first one and Mom helped me find the second. What I remember about them includes: their color and year, as well as the tragic ending of the first Honda. I knew they had engines but I knew nothing of the specifics. I also knew that the second one had a bad battery and an oil leak. When I had a problem with said vehicles, my ideals went straight out the door. I worked the pity angle. I stood aside and looked as helpless as possible. I thought of a stray kitten and tried to channel that emotion until someone came to help me. So I was none to excited to start looking for a used car in Korea.

Think of it. Not only are cars already confusing, but everything is in a different language. And in kilometers. Are you kidding me? Do you have any 92 Hondas I can just drive away right now?

Chin-Hwa and I began our day at a small lot that was owned by a family friend. The first salesperson I saw was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and had slightly thinning hair. I suddenly felt more at ease, knowing that at least car salesperson fashion can transcend continents. He tried to talk us into a smoky smelling Hyundai and we had good enough sense to back away slowly. The rest of our searching led us to assorted Hyundais, Kias, and Daewoos, none of which seemed right.

In the end, we gave one last ditch effort and rode the subway down to the Army base in Seoul. We figured at least those used car ads would be in English. We hit the veritable jackpot and were soon test driving a 96 Hyundai Accent through a parking lot. One hour later, we were putting down our deposit. She ain't a beauty, but hey, she's alright. We are now car owners.

Now I have to begin mentally preparing for the countless harrowing moments behind the wheel among these crazy Korean drivers...oh, and I have to go find a Hello Kitty themed carseat cover. And a GPS.