Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ladies Who Lunch

Ginseng Alcohol, just a little with lunch. Thank you 수영
Long lunches are possibly
one of the best parts of life.

Here side dishes were inspired.
Mid day is when we need to relax,
step back and assess our progress,
consider the direction of our path.

Hoping I can learn how to make this.  It's beyond delicious.
  I suspect this view of life
won't make me very successful,
but it sure has always made me happy.

My friends house is so cozy.  I want to move in.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Taste The Rainbow

Pyeongtaek Restaurants
We love

For over a decade 
beauty danced so close to me, 
but my heart was broken
turning everything 
to cool colors of grey.

Now, that I can see again
I want to taste every color.
Lick up each hue.

I salivate 
at the blues, reds and yellows
of my life 
and drink in each one.

What was grey is now saturated 
with all the flavors of the rainbow.

You will have to go around.

Prada Hotel
(Soho Cafe Is Across The Street)
389-25 Chilgok-ri, 

From Pyeongtaek.
The 8 will take you directly there.
It's located across from the 
Prada Hotel which is easy to see.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Soho Hobo

Stunning year round.
Pyeongtaek Coffee

Some places are a world
all of there own.
They swallow you up.

A view that puts you at rest.
This is one of those places.

Stunning interior.
A cup of joy.
Sibling chat
Sitting in Soho
listening to bosa nova,
sipping rich espresso,
watching light dance on the water,
laughing with my family -
I feel only happiness
for my abundant hobo life.

The Perfect Place for Love & Naps
I stay all day and into the night

Prada Hotel
(Soho Cafe Is Across The Street)
389-25 Chilgok-ri, 

From Pyeongtaek.
The 8 will take you directly there.
It's located across from the 
Prada Hotel which is easy to see.

Pyeongtaek coffee

Friday, February 22, 2013

But Wait There's More! Car Insurance Rocks

Notice the mapping detail. lol. We were in no mans land.
When it comes to life,
I'm not great with driving accessories. 
When it comes to my car
this means anything
that doesn't directly relate
to keeping my car
from running into/or being hit
by another car 
isn't a big priority.

So, things like:
keys, lights, door handles and locks
are all problem areas for me.

So, of course, the first thing I do
on my big day out with friends
was leave my car lights on.
There we were, on the outskirts of Suwon,
in an unlabeled parking lot with a dead battery.

Since folks here aren't the most handy
asking for a jump was out of the question.
So I did what every good foreign teacher does.  
I called my boss.
Who called my auto insurance.
Who called me.
Who I gave to the gate guard.
Who gave directions to the fix-it guy.
Who showed up 15 minutes later,
jumped my car,
checked my battery,
and did charge a dime
because this kind of service
is part of my normal car insurance.
 You heard right.
Your insurance includes Triple A
type coverage that is
prompt, courteous, and polite.

So how do you get this cool insurance?
 Contact this guy for that:
(PS 2015 and we are still using him.)
Sami was the easiest person ever to work with.
He just got things done without any silliness.
A few emails and a bank transfer and we were in business.
He can help with car and motorbike.

You can pay by the month, quarter or what not,
but paying a year at a time is cheapest.
 Just when I think I've reached
the end of the customer service rainbow that is Korea,
 I'm stunned by a new revelation. 
Turns out owning a car in Korea
is way less stressful than I thought.

 Most importantly though,
the company you most want is 
because they have 
English call and claim services.
You will get in an accident. 
Don't try to save money on insurance.

(For real, contact Sami for car insurance
Korean Drivers License

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Driving? Me Nuts.

All the teachers and kids came along.
 In my head, this was going to be an epic  
Blog Post of Adventure... adventure... adventure

There were going to be websites, pictures, bus routes.
I was going to explain negotiation tactics, 
offer advice on problem areas and suggest solutions.
There were dealers suggested and meetings arranged.  

You were going to know everything you needed to know about 
buying a car in Korea!

Then I mentioned to my boss 
I was going to buy a car.
That was the end of that.

Turns out her husband is a car dealer.
So, she asked,
"What kind of car do you want and what do you want to pay?"
Then she had her husband shopped for me.

Here she blows, the one that I like best.  No, I don't actually have a baby on board.
After about two weeks she sent photos 
of the two best options.
Then they dramatically dropped the price of the nicest car
 down to what I could pay.

It was a regular family outing when we went to see the car choices.
So, there you have it.  
How to buy a car in Korea.
Tell your Korean friends/boss/co-workers you need one.
A few weeks later, 
a car you could never afford 
magically appears at a price you can pay.
Oh, and then you go out to eat and celebrate.

My wonderful boss :)
My new keys.
My "new to me" car delivered to my office by the end of the day.
Of course, if you don't have a boss/friend/co-worker
I can recommend you buy near Anjung-ri Army Base.
They have a large selection of cars under $2,000.

There is a dealer there by the name of:
Mr. Kim
his phone number is 

I've known a number of people who are very happy with him.  He was also very polite when I had to cancel our appointment and didn't harass me like I'm used to having happen in the states.  Finally, his English is great so you should feel comfortable communicating.

Of course you still need 
car insurance.
Korean Drivers License

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Wonderful Land of Oz!

Norma Jean joined the ensemble
not so long ago in a land called Anjung-Eup.
However, she ran away to star in her own drama
and give law school the old college try...
only to be side tracked by music and Bali.

We now join Norma Jean,
whose life is already in progress:
(This drama is filmed in front of a live studio audience)
Hello Australia!
 After being abroad for 3 years 
(and not having been home/ to a western country for 2) 
I decided to head off to Australia.

I lived in Bali for almost a year making my album, and came to Australia a few weeks ago to check out the music scene, play some open mics and connect with other musicians (hopefully to get a band together - but that's a whole other post!).  Hours before I boarded the plane,  I also lost my bank card, so this was a pivotal moment for me.  Realizing that I could stay in Bali and sort it out, or get on the plane, I chose the latter.  With grace, hope, $4 and infinite possibility I arrived in Australia!

The adventures have continued in Boomtown, also known as Perth, and they have been nothing but extraordinary!  I have experienced INCREDIBLE generosity, predictable selfishness and everything in between, have pet and eaten kangaroos (not the same ones ;), ridden a Harley, hiked in the outback, sang at few open mics (with a bunch more coming up), connected with the local music community and made friends that I will have for a lifetime!

It went a little something like this:
Kangaroos (the ones we pet!)
My new friend Stu and I 
playing at an Open Mic

Aboriginal Cave Art
They have NICE coffee (in the cutest cafes!)
The biggest lesson learned so far has been this:

The deciding factor in any experience is YOU.  If you decide things will work out, they will.  Choose your people discerningly, know that you are ALWAYS enough and that you carry the magic in you!

With LOVE from the Wonderful Land of OZ!

Norma Jean

Over the top - Nothing but BLUE SKIES :)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

I Know You, You Know Me...

 I hear people complain all the time that
"In Korea it's all about who you know"
as if it's a bad thing.

What, you would rather live in a place 
where the people you know don't help you?
Is that really the better, fairer option?

Honestly, is it such a bad thing 
that they trust the person they have met 
over a piece of white paper out of nowhere?

It just makes more sense,
to choose what you know.

And honestly, 
if you don't have the skills 
to get the connections,
are you really the right person for the job?

And what makes you more qualified?
Why should you be picked 
over a person who has put in some time 
and to build the relationships?

It doesn't bother me that this country
helps people they know. 
The truth is, 
it's like this the world over. 

You think it isn't?  
Well then kiddo, 
you don't know the right people.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

No Retreat, Full Surrender

The warm glow of home.
 As I stand at the door of my third year in Korea,
it feels like the world is peeling back
and opening up around me.
So, of course, I stop to consider my choices.

On paper, I would never have chosen this life.
There are so many other "ideal" situations.
A plethora of smarter choices.
Yet, there is something inexplicably joyful
about making the best of what I've had,
even when it didn't look like my dream at first glance,
I soon discovered
I hadn't dreamed big enough.

So, here I am.
 Living the happiest version of myself
that I've met yet.

It's one of the best parts about being older.
Sitting still doesn't scare me much anymore.
I'm not interested in chasing new horizons,
although I still want to do new things.

When I look in the mirror I'm fine.
When I see my life I'm content.
When I see my to do list,
I know it will get done.
And even if it doesn't,
that's just fine.

And when people ask,
"When are you going back?"
All I can say is,
"I don't known when I will return to live in the US,
but there is one thing I know for sure,
I'm never 
'going back'".

Year 1:
Two years ago this was brand new:

Year 2:
Then a year passed and I was brand new: