Wednesday, September 28, 2005

oriental medicine (cont.)

I returned to the Oriental Family clinic to resume treatment. I had a brief meeting with the acupuncturist and she was glad to see me again. We went through the regular routine. She pushed on different muscles like she was looking for something, then made a few notes. I had cupping done (see pins, and needles, and cups... oh my from the may archives) and electrotherapy with heat lamps. After placing some super hot heat pad under me she stuck pins in me at my elbow, one at my wrist, and one on the side of my hand between my wrist and my pinky. All of this is typical, the usual deal... THEN, I had some new thing done--a form of MOXIBUSTION.

Yeah... sounds like the craziest thing I've ever heard of too. First they laid a few sheets of toilet paper on my skin above my belly button right at the bottom of my rib cage and then another few sheets directly below my navel. On the two piles of tp she put wooden tubes that were smoking out of the top and bottom. Lastly, she put a sheet of tp on the top of each tube, but the smoke still rose from the top. I would say that it was like incense, if it smelled nice, but it didn't. It smelled kinda funky.

I laid there just breathing in this stuff and trying to relax. This is where it got a bit trippy. Five minutes into it I wandered into some other zone. I wasn't sleeping, just deeply relaxed and calm, somewhat like being in a meditative state or possibly a trance. When the assistant/nurse (or whatever you might call her) came over later to take out the pins I was in a completely different universe. I had no idea how much time had passed and I was shocked to discover 30 minutes had gone by.

I gladly paid 5,000W and went off to work feeling fabulous. I had a wonderful day. I felt great, but if you look at me you'd wonder what in world happened to me. My collection of perfectly circular purple bruises on my back will probably last through the week, I had two red circles on my stomach, and my clothes reek of stinky oriental clinic.

Whatever, I'm going back. I can't get enough.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

pink bunny

How insane is this?? A big ass pink bunny from the art group gelitin. Why didn't I think of that?

Press Information in English:
The things one finds wandering in a landscape: familiar things and utterly unknown, like a flower one has never seen before, or, as Columbus discovered, an inexplicable continent;
and then, behind a hill, as if knitted by giant grandmothers, lies this vast rabbit, to make you feel as small as a daisy.
The toilet-paper-pink creature lies on its back: a rabbit-mountain like Gulliver in Lilliput. Happy you feel as you climb up along its ears, almost falling into its cavernous mouth, to the belly-summit and look out over the pink woolen landscape of the rabbit? body, a country dropped from the sky;
ears and limbs sneaking into the distance; from its side flowing heart, liver and
Happily in love you step down the decaying corpse, through the wound, now small like a maggot, over woolen kidney and bowel.
Happy you leave like the larva that gets its wings from an innocent carcass at the roadside.
Such is the happiness which made this rabbit.
i love the rabbit the rabbit loves me.

more about the rabbit "knitted by dozens of grannies out of pink wool" here and here.


I would just like to take a moment to profess my unending adoration and love for this absolutely fabulous creature. This girl has so much style. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to present, my baby sister:
DJ Giavonna.

dj giavonna

Saturday, September 17, 2005

word of the day

xenophobia \ZEN-uh-FOE-bee-uh\, noun:
Fear or hatred of strangers, people from other countries, or
of anything that is strange or foreign.

After calling for peace in 61 languages and beseeching the
world to end racism and xenophobia, the pope made a
surprise announcement.
--"Will the Next Pope Be Catholic?" [1]SF Weekly, April 26,

In Europe today, it is xenophobia and the political
manipulation of fear of foreigners that pose the greatest
threat to democracy, or at least to the quality of
--Kofi Annan, "Democracy: An international issue," UN
Chronicle, June-August, 2001

The news, the incidents and accidents of everyday life, can
be loaded with political or ethnic significance liable to
unleash strong, often negative feelings, such as racism,
chauvinism, the fear-hatred of the foreigner or,
--Pierre Bourdieu, [2]On Television

In the embattled atmosphere of wartime France,
[3]Apollinaire's quenchless appetite for the new was not
widely shared. Xenophobia reigned.
--Ruth Brandon, [4]Surreal Lives: The Surrealists 1917-1945

The word xenophobia was formed from the Greek elements xenos
"guest, stranger, foreigner" + phobos "fear."

Thursday, September 15, 2005

mr. love and goodies

you came into my world and I wondered where you came from
you told me from earth, from the trees
though I didn't quite believe you

maybe it's not you Mr. Love (and the goodness that comes with you), but it's definitely you, Love, that I want share myself with.

still I wonder, where have you gone?
did you even really exist?
maybe I just created you because I wanted to believe (even just a little) that there were people from the trees somewhere in my universe

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

taxi driver

Some of the best conversations and Korean lessons I've had in Korea, half in Korean half in English, have been with cab drivers. Usually I'm running late for work, I'm slightly frazzled, and really happy to just be able to sit and look out the window when I'm in a hurry. I get in and blurt out a hello and where I want to go. From there I always seem to have the same basic exchange--where I'm from, what I do, then we review some basic cab driver English with the Korean translations. We work on pronunciation and then (time permitting) we move into either current events or sports (which I never know anything about). We always end up laughing, I get to work with a smile, and bid the driver goodbye. They totally set me in the right mood. I'm starting to really get the whole routine down and I actually feel motivated to learn more Korean just for these fun brief encounters.

Once on the way to Hongdae for a night on the town the cab driver called up his friend on the phone and had me talk to him for a bit. I was feeling friendly that evening and even starting waving to other taxi drivers when we were stopped at red lights. The cabby had some salsa music on so I started dancing too. It was the party cab. Besides we were in the cab for an hour or so due to traffic so we had to amuse ourselves somehow.

Today my cab driver was a real professional. He had a medal for 20 years of service with no accidents. He told me it was because he was smarter than all the other drivers, like a driving genius. He was a nice guy, funny too, but he couldn't get the "f" sound in phone. He just wasn't willing to let go of the idea that it doesn't sound like the way it's spelled or the Konglish version of cell phone (handuh-pone). "PONE? POHN? POOONUH..."

Ok, that's it. I'm starting an English academy for cab drivers (adorable ones only, slimy ones need not apply).

Monday, September 12, 2005

the weekend was made for eating good food

I went to Gangchon over the weekend. I stayed at this awesome place where the Flow Festival was held earlier this year. We had dalkalbi, the spicy chicken dish, and some amazing food Matty cooked up. Marinated shrimp, green curry chicken, potatoes, a beautiful salad with homemade dressing, and some chicken to top it off. Minus the unending Ali G routines, I was in heaven.

*photo credits go to Mr. Giles

Friday, September 09, 2005

a rare moment

In a land full of "me first," where old ladies will run right into you and keep going, rather than yellow cabs, a miracle occurred.

I am willing to accept that in a big city it is common that people will mistakenly bump into you. I'm willing to accept that each culture has it's own sense of how much personal space a person requires to feel comfortable. However, I'm not so pleased, and neither are many Koreans, that here people push you or completely body check you in the street.

The real kicker is that they keep going without the slightest pause or moment of polite remorse. There's no "excuse me," no "pardon me," and unfortunately, no "I'm sorry" that follows these unpleasant experiences. There's not even a glance to acknowledge the presence of another human being. Though I won't go as far to say that I'm now used to this, but I've become somewhat more accustomed to it. I've stopped giving dirty looks, because they are wasted, and I've stopped cursing under my breath, because starting a fight with an old Korean lady is silly, unwise, probably not safe and besides it's rare that you'll find one that can truly grasp the meaning of "bitchass cuntrag" anyway.

As I walked out of the subway station yesterday I was swiped by some lady. Between my headphones I silently made the typical nasty comments. Then the whole situation started to play in slow motion. She turned around and showed me her palms making the international sign for I-hold-no-weapons-I-come-in-peace. I'm listening to Air (le soliel est pres de moi) and I watched as her mouth formed the words, which I'm 90% positive were choesong hamnida (I'm sorry; I apologize; excuse me), and then she shot me an angelic friendly smile. One that will glow in my collection of memories of this place.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

the questions

There are too many things to think about. My brain is bombarded with all these things to worry about and be conscious of. I can't focus. I'm all over place. Inside it sounds like: New Orleans, international politics (damn, that makes my brain hurt), past and present loves, my class of 7 over achieving 11 year old boys that torment me (the pee pee poo poo fart jokes are getting old really quickly), their future, my future, factory farming (maybe I should be a vegetarian), is that cellulite on my butt? is this just PMS? completely biochemical? is it the moon? I'm getting old. That's cool though, right? why won't those cats outside SHUT UP? focus. quiet your mind. QUIET! experiment with spirituality, explore identity, mess with sexuality and concepts of love. Why do I simultaneously enjoy and detest when my life plays like a bad Korean drama? stupid things I've said (I'm sorry, Mehdi not Medhi), simple things I should have said, silly things I shouldn't have done, things I should have read, things I shouldn't have forgotten...
and then I find myself pondering the really important questions:


I sat in front of the rice cooker, for probably forty minutes in total. I felt like a centenarian trying to program the clock on a VCR. First off it's all in Korean, so I pull out my dictionary trying to translate it all--which failed miserably. Then I figure I'd just try it. There are two settings one has a green light, the other has a red light. Fill the thingie with rice and water. Green means go, right? OK... why isn't it doing anything? Alright, nevermind. Plan B, eat cereal. Fast forward two days to attempt number two. I timidly call up Mr. Giles and ask for assistance. I'm feeling like a total moron. I don't know how to use a rice cooker. I'm doing really well, and it seems to be working, now I'm sitting there-- oh wait, by the way, I only have two outlets in my apartment so I end up plugging in the rice cooker in the bathroom, which is like a big shower that came with a toilet and a sink, to avoid having to move my refrigerator-- and then as the steam starts to rise I'm wondering how it knows to turn off.

Smart little gadget, you made me think of one little thing for just a brief amount of time instead of all the thousands of other thoughts all at once.

Monday, September 05, 2005

thailand pics



On Friday night Victoria and I went to a houseparty with Mehdi. It was great. His friends were tons of fun (like Alicia talked me and several others into playing Twister), the apartment was great (rooftop included), the drinks were flowing (two girls showed me their bare nipples all Girls Gone Wild style), and we had like a 7 to 3 ratio of hot to not hot. As Mehdi's departure date gets closer, I am thinking more about temporality.

By temporality I don't mean items that might belong in a temple or belong to a priest, though Mehdi is quite divine, but that I've noticed just how temporary everything is. The expat community rotates is somewhat like the gyro swing at Lotte World--round and round and up and down. People are here for a limited amount of time, and then they go off to another world, their previous world, or disappear all together. Their existence is removed quickly, their apartments are filled with new tenants, their classes are replaced with a new foreign face, and their pictures are removed from the wall. Within a week all is changed like they were never really here at all. You wish them well and move on to new friends. Everyone is walking around with an expiration date passing their junk from one person to the next in line. Strange... so temporary.

It sounds kind of depressing think of it all like this. However, on the brighter side, when life hurts I can remind myself that this is just temporary, and when it's great I can remind myself that it's just temporary and I better just enjoy it now, instead of later.

Anyway, I digress a bit. The point of this post was to talk about how much pain I am in right now, but I had to back up a bit before I got to it. Physical pain. I-can-hardly-walk-up-the-stairs pain. Alicia is a dancer. FABULOUS! I haven't danced in years, but it used to be my world. I've missed it so much too. So when she invited me to go to a class on Sunday with her of course I accepted.

I prepared myself mentally, telling myself that it was going to be difficult and my body wasn't going to do what it was once able to do when I was like 17. At 17 every movement was full of grace. Simple actions, like drinking a cup of tea or putting on a pair of pants, were filled with choreography worth admiration. Everything was a dance. At 18, I herniated a disk in my back and was told I had scoliosis. So, I took it easy, but figured maybe I could get back into it later when I wasn't so busy with school. At 26, in a dance class in Apujung, I thought it was time to get back into it... instead, I was stumbling over myself, a total fumbling, struggling mess. And now, at this moment, I'm an old old old woman. I feel every muscle in my body.

Mid-class I changed in the dressing room, my entire body shaking uncontrollably, and I bursted into tears. This was a marker of change. An indication that time had rolled past me. This was no longer the self I knew. I WAS A DANCER.

Stretching through the aches on the floor of my apartment I remind myself... that luckily this too is temporary.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

3 bags full

I didn't think anywhere could be more decadent and lead me to indulge in the most opulent things than Vegas... till I went to Thailand. My vacation looked a bit like this:

Hua Hin
the floating market
6 nights
7 days
many massages...
3 foot massages
3 full body massages
1 Thai medicinal massage (slightly painful)
2 hair cuts
1 pedicure
2 manicures
1 facial
eyebrows plucked (by a transvestite)
lots of shopping...

12 pairs of wrap pants (2 tailor made from irradescent silk)
2 long sleeve shirts
3 funky teeshirts
1 gorgeous strapless dress
3 tubes of lip gloss
1 mascara

2 woman stickers (in Thai)
1 sheet of Thai alphabet stickers

2 bags of coconut sugar
4 bags of salt
1 bottle of coconut oil
1 bag of bael fruit
3 packages of green curry
3 journals

2 fabulous bags (one orange, one green. 60 baht each = $1.50 each = FABULOUS!)
1 ball silk yarn
3 silk coin purses
2 silk scarves
1 silk bedspread
3 little plastic containers (for future nipples)
2 tubes Colgate Freshstripe (with a service toothbrush)
1 bottle Opirex eye lotion
2 herbal inhalers
1 bag of funny little anti-cough pills
2 bottles of herbal throat drops (plum and lemon)
Boton herbal mouth freshener
golden cup balm (for "Mascular Rheumatism, Stalns, Insect bites or Stings, Burns and Sprain, Ezema.")
1 wooden frog
2 sets wooden chopsticks
a strand of smokey quartz beads
a bag of silver dodads
1 tiny Buddha scuplture
1 tiny Ganesh
1 box Nag Champa

(including this little street food treat. A waifer of some sort, filled with like a meringue and topped with chives and toasted coconut. Strange but yummy.)
huge hoop earrings
a huge bag with elephants

AND an even larger purple duffle to put all the other stuff I bought, which amounted to 3 BAGS FULL OF THAILAND! And I always loved how objects carry stories. Though most of the time I'm too lazy to write them all. Soon all the important tales will float to the surface. I'll scoop them up and keep them in a safe place.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

I'm back...

I have lots of stories, soon to come.

On the beach in Hua Hin.

No Mom, I didn't get a tattoo--it's just henna some cute lady talked me into...

But I did cut off all my hair.