Saturday, January 27, 2007

mistakes & more oddities

Everyday is an adventure. What will I discover today? I never wake up thinking something like, "Today is the day I'm going to find a baby shaped vibrator," or "I think I'll go to the WellBing Mart." Yet, somehow, these things become part of my bizarre little reality.


This grocery store is in the Itaewon area. I love how they figured out that they had made a mistake and decided to try to fix it, but they didn't make a new sign, and they only fixed this one. I love Korea!

Condomania, in Hongdae is quite a place. I dig it for a bunch of reasons--most of all because I live in Korea, and people can't say "sex" without freaking out. Beyond that it's cool because they have my favoriteBLACK CONDOMS and they have other Japanese oddities, like these two vibrators. The first one is shaped like a baby, and if that doesn't turn you on, they have one shaped like a rubber duckie. Hilarious!



I've decided that I need a store. A place to put all these fun products I find and somewhere to sell all the things I make.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

the boobies

I found a lump in my breast, so I freaked out for 3 days and then I went to a breast specialist at the Seoul National University Hospital. I'm fine, actually I'm great. The radiologist, in perfect English, told me, "You have beautiful breasts." Coming from a woman who looks at them all day, I figure she knows what she's talking about, and so I took it as quite the compliment. After that comment, and finding out everything is okay, I left that office with a bit of a bounce in my step.

Overall the service was good, and it didn't take too long, but it wasn't like a day at the spa or anything. There were two parts of the experience I must comment on.

#1: MAMMOGRAMS ARE NOT FUN. Yes, they are necessary, but it's like getting your boob stuck in the elevator door or something. Who designed these machines? It's like during the design process they forgot that women have heads or arms attached to their bodies, or better yet, they forgot that women have feeling in their breasts. That thing was impossible and kinda painful. These days mammograms are an essential part of women's health, so does it really have to be so uncomfortable?

Here's a great photo. Love the frames lady. What they aren't showing here is that that arm comes down more and makes a pancake out of your breast. And then you have to hold your breath and your other breast until they finish fiddling with the computer across the room. Check this video if you're interested in serious info on mammograms. OR watch this one if you want to see Erin Daniels, Dana of the L Word, somewhat topless:

#2: It cost me 182,000 won. THAT SUCKS! These exams are NOT covered by the Korean national medical insurance. Women over 40 are supposed to get a mammogram annually. Pap smears aren't covered either. Women's health care is a mess over here.

That reminds me to remind you: go to the breast cancer site and help fund free mammograms. Or go donate some money to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, because, as they state, "More than 80 percent of all donations to the National Breast Cancer Foundation benefit free mammograms to needy women, educational programs and cancer research projects." OR buy one of my nipples!

**One last note on doctors in Korea. They always ask me if I'm married. I know, it's a cultural thing... but I just don't get it. When I went for an annual gynecological exam they told me that it's seen as being inappropriate for a medical professional to ask a woman if she is sexually active, so instead they ask you if you're married. I guess they assume that if you say that you're single that it means that you're still a virgin. Ridiculous. When the breast dude asked me if I'm married, I was confused and didn't see how being married or being sexually active had anything to do with my breast so I replied, "Why do you need to know? You wanna marry me? My mother would love that." He thought I was funny, and then said that what he meant by that was, do I have children. And here's where i got a little silly and I had to school the doc and remind him that there still is no correlation between marriage, children, and my left tit or my right butt cheek for that matter. I mean I didn't go to med school, but as far as I know the stork doesn't care whether you have a ring on your finger or not. Stereotypically Koreans are supposed to be very direct, but clearly this is not the case when it comes to a thorough medical exam. Oh Korea... you've come so far, and still some days I can't help to think that you've got such a long way to go.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

busy, happy, gone away and back to love

I live in Korea, "The Land of the Morning Calm." On most days the sun is just waking up when my alarm goes off. The floor is warm and I'm cozy in bed. I don't want to leave my dreams and the yummy cocoon of covers, but I'm excited that it's a new day. BECAUSE: Everyday I roll over, pick up the bottle on the nightstand, and dump out one of the small scrolls of colored paper. I unroll it, read it by the dim light of another chilly morning in Seoul, and smile. Today it's, "Because I don't know how anybody couldn't love you," and yesterday it was because I'm "willing to sleep with ear plugs," and the day before it was, "because you inspire me." Then I roll back over and snuggle with Judo until he starts snoring. I'm adored and loved, and while it's not all perfect, right now my world feels really good. Lately, my life has been filled with a lot of great moments, enough that I barely have time to reflect and document them before the next one happens. And this is why I don't post as much as I used to.

Adored and loved... in other big news, I went back to the states for vacation and got the chance to spend time with my favorite people on the planet. I've never felt so much gratitude. My family and friends are simply amazing individuals, and collectively--like when my family is all at home together, or when a bunch of my girls are all out on the town for a night--it feels like it's the best day ever. seeing them still makes me question why I live here, so far away from them, but it has gotten easier to swallow. Now, when I'm on my way to the airport I feel a small sense of relief to be returning, instead of that nasty overwhelming thing I used to get over the idea of leaving.

I saw San Fran, and Sophy, and a girl I went to grade school with in a yarn store. I met a guy named Jake who was the missing link in how I know a bunch of people in Seoul. I saw Dada, who put me to work painting the next day, and my mom, who squeezed my tush and immediately started feeding me cheese and matzoh ball soup. I saw my Uncle Mike play guitar in Delaware. I went with my grandmother, who ate rice pudding which I thought was gross but she thought was delish. I saw the Stone Family and their beautiful kids and their really good looking nephew. I saw Gia and J9 and we all went to Ashish's fabulous birthday party where I bumped into Phil, a guy I went to high school with. I brought Eric too, and gave him a nipple, which he named Samantha. Then we went for Pizza and met a really lonely drunk guy from New Jersey who said I didn't know anything about drag queens. I spent so much time with Kiersten and Eleni, and got to go to Eleni's house on New Year's Day for a big Greek family gathering--and felt so grateful, and realized that I love my friends because they are the family that I choose. They are the best! I saw Cindy and her cubicle at the Natural History Museum. I saw Phil and Tisha together, really together, and talked about relationships a little and math degrees a little too. I saw Robert and we played pinball. I saw Ian Love, because he came all the way from Indiana to see me, and that was awesome. I saw Debbie and her beau and we talked about taxes. I saw Andrew and TK, who now live together and are a really great couple. This still baffles me. I saw Kevin, who lives in Eleni's apartment, with Lily, Eleni's pussy(cat). I saw Grace for the first time in a long time. I saw Rose and Jenn and their lesbian posse. I saw Brooklyn, and the LES, Philly, and a bunch of hours go by far too fast.

Going back to NYC was a big head trip. You know, we have history. NYC was my first true love. We were really good together for like 6 years. Blissful. That's one word that would describe me and NYC. And then it got nasty and I started to feel like NYC didn't appreciate me the way it used to. Things got harder, and we grew distant. I moved to Brooklyn, and life with NYC became a daily struggle. So, I left.

Living in Seoul felt like I was cheating on NYC for a while. But, I knew I had to move on. Things weren't easy at first. I'd catch myself nostalgically daydreaming about Liquiteria on 2nd Ave. or the old Lucky's on Houston that had the best fresh juices and smoothies. And then I'd bad mouth Seoul for only having things like Smoothie King--the closest thing I could get to the fruity beverage I so deeply desired--and curse the Addidas that now stands where the smoothie King once lived, and pronouncing that Seoul, no all of Korea, must be insane for shutting down the one place that gave me such fruity pleasure. Id think, "If you were just a little more like NYC, then maybe I could truly love you, but I don't right now."

My heart was still with NYC, but that slowly faded, and I started to live a different life, and see a lot of new places, and discovered a lot of great things that exist outside of NYC. So, when I returned to NYC this time, it was like seeing and old lover, pleased to go to lunch with them and just being happy to see and hear that they are doing well. I remember old good times we had together, but now, I am just pleased to catch up, say hello, and then be on my way.

I happily returned to Seoul and to a smiling, excited, adorable Judo and these:
return to love...
I'm not a girl who is into roses, but this was nice. And it was nice to be picked up from the airport. And it was nice to be back in my city. It all feels very grown up. I'm moving away from some of my bad habits and enjoying how I feel settled in Korea, for now. While it will never be the city I first fell for, it's a good city, this place is good to me, and I like waking up to it everyday.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Year's Nipples

And for more nipple fun

2007, year of the golden pig

While in San Fran I met a woman who told me that 2007 is the Year of the Pussy. My friend Kevin dubbed it 200Kevin, but I think this Korean men's magazine said it best:

Happy new Black Year