Monday, October 06, 2008

Little things...

Being that I was apparently incredibly inactive for a good two months during the summer, combined with copious amounts of Canadian food and beer, Anne's Belly grew a fair amount. Not a huge deal since my clothing still fits, albeit a little snugly. And it gives good impetus to get back into the gym or whatever. What isn't delightful is when the combination of added flesh and lost muscle tone results in a sore left foot, which leads to a sore left back. My left side has always been a bit wonky, but through all my hard work at various physical activities had the situation in check. Until one lazy summer!!! ARGHHH!

But, I've gotten over weird aches and bodily anomalies before - I shall succeed again! And already this term I've been making good in the gym. Today I had a personal victory in that I ran for twenty whole minutes in under thirty minutes!!! What that means is I had a few minutes warm up, followed by 6, 10 and 4 minute running spurts with a few minutes rest between. All you athletic people might scoff at this, but you should know that I am not a fast moving land creature. Since a very young age I have hated running as I've never been fast and always gotten easily winded. Running was my nemesis for years and years. Well everyone needs a new challenge once in a while and running has been mine. What I did today was in fact an extraordinary accomplishment - I may get up to twenty or even thirty minutes of unbroken running one of these days!!

That being said I do also need to get back in the pool as it really is the overall best exercise for my weirdy back. If only the damn weather here would properly cool down (it was still around 25 today with ample humidity) maybe the pool would actually thin out a bit during free swim hours and I could feel a little less annoyed and well, swamped, when I want to go for a swim...

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Boo Butterfly!!!

No, I don't mean the delicate winged creatures that flap about spastically in the sky, I mean the butterfly stroke. I've been meaning to post for ages on swimming culture here in Busan and, well, here it is.

I love swimming. Lap swimming is great exercise and gives me a chance to think about nothing in particular. But sometimes I love swimming a little less in the pools near my house. I used to go to a really nice pool that was new and had big windows to let in natural light. The free swim hours for that pool are in the afternoons and haven't matched my schedule in a few years. Enter Century 21. That's the name of the building where my new pool is. It's quite a bit smaller and grungier than the first pool, but the free swim hours are much better - open till 11pm weeknights and 10pm on weekends. If I don't have to wake up too early, the best time to go is around 9:30 - 10:00 pm when the lessons are all done and the pool pretty much empties out.

Until tonight. I got to the pool at 10:00pm, only to find at least three people per lane. In one lane, a guy insisted on practicing his diving (not a great idea in a pool with no deep end), in another lane were some slower folks who also liked to stand around at the end of the lane gabbing at high volume, and in another, the bane of my existence - a heavyset fellow chugging away doing the butterfly stroke.

I have long suspected and was eventually told my another swimmer that here the butterfly stroke is a prestige stroke; it's trendy if you will. Now in principle I don't give a crap how people want to propel themselves through water. In practice however, the butterfly creates waves, lots of 'em, and even more so if the person doing the fly is large and slow. Garrrrrrr. I guess if I ever find myself afloat in the ocean during a typhoon I'll be able to swim through it no problem.

For the most part, tonight I was just a little disappointed at how many people there were so late in the day. Not sure if it was because it's still hot here and people want to cool off, or if the Olympics are to be blamed for inspiring people into the water.

Other slight differences in pool culture: none of the pools in my 'hood have deep ends, kids may run on the deck, and lifeguarding is optional. In my pool there is a little room at one end where who I presume are lifeguards hang out, but who I've only ever seen watching TV or sleeping.

Other fun incidents at my new pool/gym: here people shower and then put on their swimsuit, which is actually hard to do. Dry swimsuits and wet bodies don't mix. As I struggled to get into mine one time, I was startled by a lady next to me deciding to help me into mine.

I finally got a full membership to the gym with the 'new' pool (I'd been subsisting on discount coupons before) just yesterday. Tonight when I went the Staff Lady who signed me up started talking to me, in Korean, a lot. I sort of got the gist that she was asking me a favour, something about a foreigner (that's all white people in Korea). So I followed her over to the other desk where she dialed a number and handed me the phone. Suddenly I figured out what I was supposed to do. This other Foreigner with a membership hadn't been to the gym since mid-August and the Staff Lady was concerned. So I told this to the Foreigner on the phone, who was understandably a little perplexed at the nature of the call, but told me I should tell the Staff Lady that she'd simply been busy and not to worry. The Staff Lady seemed satisfied with this explanation.

These are good examples of the wackiness that really keep me enjoying this fair land~!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunset Li

Sunset Li
Originally uploaded by anninator

Sunset Live Here I am at a music festival amidst a sweet potato field a ways outside Busan. The current band is playing a Velvet Underground and later will be some ska acts. All in all a pretty decent little festival though there is some concern about hiking out to civilisation in the dark!

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Originally uploaded by anninator

SKA!!! Hard to see but that's a super awesome ska band from Seoul - Kingston Rudieska

Friday, July 04, 2008

3 showers a day

Well it finally happened yesterday - the heat and humidity besieged us. We'd done surprisingly well this year compared to last; June was coolish and considering it was supposed to be the rainy season we had little in the way of rain aside from a few days of downpour. The last downpour was Wednesday, and the moisture just didn't want to leave this time. This means no matter how slowly I walk, I sweat. And it means I really really wish there was such a thing as dimensionless clothing, 'cause aside from parading through my day naked, nothing will feel comfortable or dry until the fall. Joy!

Regular classes ended mid-June. Since June 25 I've had a most interesting gig at Samsung Electro-Mechanics. It is interesting on several fronts. Firstly, the plant is located a good hour from my house on the south-western outskirts of Busan. The longer I've been at my job at Pukyong, the less frequently I leave the surrounding neighbourhood. I mean, why should I? I've got my shops, my gyms, my restos, my friends, my movie theater, my hiking trails and my bar. I leave so rarely though I'm convinced there may be some sort of force field in place around Daeyeon3dong!

But Samsung gets me out, waaay out. The first day I took public transit and it was a disaster. The bus was hot and super crowded so I had to stand, and the way bus drivers attack the road here standing on a bus is strenuous business and requires extreme focus. Thankfully
shortly after I learned that Samsung runs buses all over the city for its employees, and there was a stop conveniently located near my house. It is great - the bus is a comfortable air-conditioned coach and I get a seat every time. The downside is it gets me there an hour early but hey beats the alternative.

The Samsung plant is interesting as well. It's of course huge, and in a recently developed industrial park. Nearby is another Samsung plant, Samsung-Renault Cars, as well as various other types of industrial stuff - lumber processing, tubes and pipes etc. At our plant all sorts of weird stuff is made, I guess mainly chips and bits that go into all kinds of electronics. It seems they have extra potent electricity or something too cause check out this sign on the first floor of our building:
I actually teach on behalf of Pukyong, as our university has a kind of relationship with the company whereby employees can take a bunch of classes over a period of a few years and earn some sort of diploma. I really love my students 'cause they are 'real people'. They have to come to class everyday after a full day of work, and despite being so tired participate very well and are very attentive. The class I teach is an intensive 15 day program where they get about 2.5 hours of conversational English every evening from about 8pm till 10:30pm.

Even though the teaching time per day isn't too long, with travel time and sitting around time it still manages to eat up about 6 hours each day. The students with cars are very good about driving myself and my coworker into town each night. Usually I get back to my hood around 11:30pm and drop by 'the bar' for a pint or two on my way home. The other day Canadians were awarded one free beer for Canada Day which was nice. Maybe 'cause it was Tuesday there weren't so many of us Canucks out that night:

Monday, June 02, 2008

Anne's whereabouts

Hello my 2 loyal readers! No posts in ages due to extreme business. In fact I sort of forgot I had a blog for a while there. My job is great but preparing for three classes instead of one takes time. Also one of those three is Advanced Composition, which unlike Conversation that I can teach in my sleep, I really need to know my stuff. The semester is coming to an end though, with only one week of class remaining and exams finishing by mid-June. Then I'll have giant stacks of papers to mark and grades to compute. I have an interesting summer gig starting round the end of June where I'll be teaching Samsung factory employees a few hours a day. That'll finish up mid-July and after that I hope to be Canada bound for a month or so. Sadly, even though I thought I'd booked well enough in advance, I'm still on wait lists for certain legs of my flight. I'm sure I'll eventually get something to match my desired itinerary but I cringe at the possible cost. July and August are vacation months here and a peak travel period to the point of ridiculousness. Other than that I'm in severe avoidance mode on my dissertation. I have lots of ideas but am having trouble formulating them into anything coherent. I'm hoping this state will improve shortly - I've got to get something done!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Me and Ed

Me and Ed
Originally uploaded by anninator

Me and Ed eating awesome quantities of awesome grilled duck.Yum!