Feb 28, 2013

It's not like I'm not eating...

To clarify: I have been trying SOME of the food.

Things you learn when traveling alone

Oh hey, guys. Remember me? Sorry for the rather extended leave of absence. As I said before, I had a Very Special Visitor for about a week and a half, and now I'm wrapping up my vacation with a little sojourn to Hong Kong. This is my first time traveling alone, and I've learned a few things about myself. One is that I don't care about food. I just don't. Before I left, several different people squealed at the mention of my plans, admonishing me to "try ALL the food." Have I? Nope. I haven't even tried a little bit of the food. It's not that I don't think I'll like it, it's just that when I'm experiencing a new place, food isn't very high on my list of priorities. Also, I get nervous at the thought of eating in a restaurant alone.

This brings me to my next realization: I don't like traveling alone. This surprised me because I really like BEING alone. Like... A lot. Anyone who has spent more than a day with me can attest to this. Poor VSV got the full effect during the aforementioned visit. The reason I don't like traveling alone may sound paradoxical, but it's true: traveling alone means talking to a lot of strangers. When you travel alone, everyone you talk to is a stranger. They talk to you in the hostel common area. They talk to you while you're waiting for your flight. You even room with them if you don't have a private room. Call me a mean little hermit, but I really do not like talking to strangers. I don't know why, it just makes me uncomfortable.

Conclusion: I'd much rather have a trusted travel buddy to talk to and who can interact with strangers on my behalf.

To make up for this boring and ultimately uninformative post, please enjoy these pictures from my last few days in Hong Kong.

Feb 12, 2013

Oh, hey there

Greetings, internet. First of all, thank you all for saying such nice things about me and my blog! I got a lot of positive feedback following my recent video post. You guys are great.

I really don't have anything exciting to report today, just wanted to sort of check in and apologize for not being particularly loquacious lately. I think I'm dealing with a touch of the winter blues. Don't worry, I'm not sad, I mostly just sleep a lot. It still gets dark really early and I have a hard time bringing myself to leave the house when it's dark out, even if it's only 6:30. I think it's a carry-over from my old life in Boston, when I would get home at midnight every night and be unable to leave the house again because, well, Boston at midnight.

 Another thing that's been contributing to my lack of chattiness is the fact that I've been reading a lot. Like... A lot. I've read 4.5 books in the last two weeks (I'm rereading the Anne of Green Gables series for the first time since my mom read them to me as a little girl). When I'm engrossed in a book (or series), I get sort of wrapped up in that world and have a hard time bringing my brain back to reality.

So, apologies for the rather lackluster postings of late. I promise they'll pick up as soon as winter starts to go away and it starts being lighter for longer. I'm pretty sure I'm solar powered. Like Wall-e.

One final note: I won't be posting much of anything for the next week and a half or so. I have a Very Special Visitor coming Thursday, so I will be otherwise occupied. After VSV leaves, I'm going to Hong Kong for a few days! I promise I'll post more about that than I did about Bali (which, admittedly, was next to nothing). I'll only be in Hong Kong for a few days, so it'll be less overwhelming to write about. Also, I'll be traveling alone so I'll probably have time in the evenings to write while I'm there.

In the meantime, please enjoy this video of a Slow Loris eating a rice ball. Because hey, why not?

Feb 8, 2013


Internet, Assemble!

People of the internet, I need your assistance.

I have been invited to spend Lunar New Year in Gwangju with Coworker and her family, and need suggestions for a new show to watch on my 5-6 hour bus ride.

Feel free to consult my previously-mentioned list of favorite TV shows.

And yes, I've seen Arrested Development. And most of Breaking Bad.

Ready... go!

Feb 6, 2013

Update: K-Fail: The *Other* Hot Water Problem--Explained Correctly

I have new information in my quest to solve the mystery of my hot water.

Apparently,  I was pretty close in my last assessment-- when I asserted that a limited volume of hot water could flow through my pipes to my shower. However, it has come to my attention (read: been helpfully explained to me by commenters at koreabridge.net) that my conclusion was not entirely accurate.

Here's how I understand it now:

Korean plumbing differs from American plumbing in one key way: Korean plumbing lacks a hot water tank.  I was operating under the assumption that I had one somewhere, which was the source of my hot water. But it turns out that Koreans heat up their water by running cold water on/over/through some sort of heating contraption. This means that you can't really "run out" of hot water. You can, however, have too much water running through the heater, which lowers its effectiveness.

So my idea (and pretty graphs) about ideal water pressure vs maximum water pressure for any given shower temperature  was in the ballpark of correctness, but I was wrong about pipe diameter being the cause of the problem.

The moral of the story: you CAN have a hot shower. Just turn down the pressure.

October 19th

I'm pretty out of touch with a lot of things  happening in America, but I have been keeping up with  my favorite TV shows.

That being said, my very favorite show comes back today (Well, tomorrow...damn you, 14 hour time difference).

October 16th: now on February 7th.

If you don't already, start watching Community. Now. Go. I'll wait.

Update: in case you were wondering, here's the full list of TV shows I've been keeping up with:
The Office 
Parks and Recreation
30 Rock (moment of silence...)
Homeland (omg)
The Mindy Project
Grey's Anatomy
Modern Family
How I Met Your Mother

and now, of course, Community.

Feb 4, 2013

A Musical Interlude

Korea has many.. ahem.. unique features. Some might call them quirks. Whatever you call them, they're little details that sometimes have a big(ish) effect on your day.

My personal favorite is the bathroom music. At my school, there's a speaker in the bathroom. It's motion-activated so when someone walks in, it starts playing a selection of classical music. I have no idea where it gets the music (radio? endless tape loop in the main office?), but it's always something classical. 

Occasionally this has a very strange effect on me. My years of playing in various symphony orchestras have gifted me with an intimate familiarity of a significant number of popular classical pieces. So when I go to the bathroom and a piece of music comes on that I've played, it immediately triggers memories that I generally haven't accessed in years. All of a sudden, I'm not standing in the girls' bathroom of a Korean elementary school. I'm practicing the tricky rhythms of  "Hoedown" from Rodeo by Aaron Copland with my high school symphony, blasting through Beethoven's 5th during my apprenticeship with my hometown professional symphony, or agonizing over my tiny solo in Dvorak's New World Symphony with the community orchestra I played with in Boston. The effect is immediate and sometimes leaves me shocked that I can even remember those days.

So far, I haven't recognized any of the music I've heard in the ladies' room today, but it's only 9:30am. The day is young and ripe for a flashback.