Bye bye baby



alien baby


I’m pretty sure it started in 2003. During the LBHS fall production of “The Crucible.” I was both set running manager and playing the part of a ‘possessed’ extra at the beginning of the show. Between these two roles, I had to push and pull large and heavy set pieces in a timely fashion and, also, scream my head off. These actions gave birth to my ‘alien baby.’

It’s actually an epigastric hernia. I call it an alien baby because when I put strain on my stomach muscles, a smallish (but noticeable) bump appears above my belly button. 

What’s a hernia exactly? Well, when the stomach muscles are weak, your intestine can start to push the fat and muscle through. It forms a small bump. This isn’t detrimental. But when the intestine starts to really push through, it can get trapped and cause serious pain and also screw with your digestion. Mine didn’t get THAT far.. just the first stage or two. 

Why didn’t I get this fixed before? Well, I tried. A few times, I went to a doctor and inquired and their responses were ‘It’s too small. It’ll go away by itself.” or “Tape a dime in your belly button and then work out” – le sigh.

So I came to Korea and happened to be at the hospital for various reasons. I brought it up to my surgeon and he said “Sure, let’s operate on it. How’s next week?” ZOMG!!! Really?

So tomorrow I will go into the hospital to stitch it all back up. I will say farewell to this alien baby.. for the whopping price of 800,000won (Aka less than $800). Screw you American healthcare.


Wish me luck!


Korean Kulture: Women in Society

I am not ignorant enough to think that what one person says represents all of their culture’s thinking. However, I have to say that this one took me by surprise when it probably shouldn’t have.


For a monthly speaking test topic, I asked my students this:\

The World Cup and the Olympics are international sports competitions that are played only every 4 years. Do you think that other types of world competitions should be held? Which ones and how often? When you thought about this, did you consider all of the countries that could participate? Would it be fair? 


Most of the students brought up other sports like ‘Jump Roping’ or ‘Padminton’ (apparently this is a combo of ping pong and badminton?!). One boy said there shouldn’t be any more competitions because most countries can’t find one common way to compete, and ‘also, it is very expensive.’ 


What shocked me was when one of my more outspoken girl students said

“There should be a beauty competition held every 2 years.” She supported this by saying that the sports competitions are for men. Women are not strong enough to play in these sports. They should be focusing on beauty. Men do not have to work on being beautiful like women. It would be fair for all countries to participate in this competition because there are beautiful women from every country. 

—That last statement was the only one I could agree with. —

After she finished her speech, I asked her if she had ever heard of the Miss Universe contest. She hadn’t. So I explained it to her and she used her most common phrase: “Ohhh. Deally, teachah!?” (oh really, teacher?)

In American society, women have fought and struggled to be recognized in work places and sports competitions as an equal to our male counterparts. We are constantly being pulled by media about what is beautiful and what is not. We have come to accept that large is beautiful in its own right. We have come from appreciating stick figures to curves. But we still alter our images to achieve what our ‘inner’ beauty. Maybe it’s not as exaggerated as an airbrush or fake tan or ‘sparkling’ the eye.. but we use filters still to get the right lighting. That’s innocent enough. Yet somehow, we have come to figure out the secret to photoshopping real life. We angle the phone cameras down so nobody will notice our double chin. We do a side view to avoid getting heat about that pimple on our cheek. Suddenly our eyes are wide and innocent looking. There’s this full body pose that every girl is trying to perfect:

You stand slightly angled inward (to avoid having your muffin top showing), one knee (typically the one closest to the camera) is bent just enough that your heel is off the ground (to accentuate your leg and make your thigh and butt look slimmer), your outer hand lays on your waist (again to hide any unsightly flab), then your upper body is twisted to face the camera (to show off your slim waistline and padded bust), your head is also angled in or out (depending on where you stand) and the smile is wide with those unnaturally pearly whites gleaming against that bright pink shiny lipgloss. 

These angles and self conscious alterations are so simple and small that you may not realize you’re doing it. Or maybe you do but choose to pretend that this pose is completely natural. 

10 years ago, I graduated high school. We used disposable cameras for prom. We used 35mm cameras where the film would take anywhere from 1 hour – 48 hours to be developed. If you didn’t like the picture, you could choose not to keep it. But even those awkward angles and embarrassing faces we made were kept. Maybe they weren’t put in the album or scrapbook, but they were put into the envelope that you got your pictures in..and eventually put into a box. Cameras were meant to capture that natural beauty of people. What happened to those candid moments?

John Mayer’s “Comfortable” has a line that always hits me: “She poses for pictures that aren’t being taken.”

It’s true: I have found myself posing for pictures that aren’t being taken. But more than not, I find that I have to pose for the pictures being taken. I’m not happy with my body image at the moment, and I’m working on improving it.. but I don’t think people would be so obsessed with their image if they didn’t have to look at it so often. 


To come back to the original point, if you’ve never been to South Korea..they will put your selfie to shame. Girls walk around with hand mirrors and mirrors on their phones. They pose for those pictures that aren’t being taken. They strive to live up to the ‘cute’ look. 



Kitten Crisis Part 2: Adopted

She has been adopted! A couple from an area north of Seoul saw the video and agreed to adopt her. I met with them on July 4th in Seoul and gave her to them along with everything that belonged to her.

It turns out this couple is also from Orlando! They’re way younger than I am and from a different part of the city.. but hey – small world!

So she’s gone but her hair still haunts my apartment. Every day I lint roll and vacuum. Hopefully her hair will be gone within another week. Most of it is at this point, but my fresh laundry seems to disagree. Especially that black shirt. Yesterday someone asked if I had a pet. When I asked why, they pointed at my black pants … covered in cat hair. #smh.

Kitten for Adoption

Maow is a sweet angel of a kitten. She likes to play, eat, eat, eat, sleep, eat, play, and cuddle. She gives endless kisses in the morning. She is soft and sweet and small. She needs to be adopted or put into foster care. Please help if you can.


Kitten Crisis

I have a cat back at home. His name is Mr. Mistofelees. Like from Cats (the musical). He hates me. I don’t blame him. I took him in when he was about to be abandoned while I was in college. My roommate and group of friends all had a kitten from the same litter and this cat was the only one not taken. The guy who was getting rid of the kittens never came back for him either. I felt obligated. I took him in and tried to give him the love he deserved. Unfortunately I was on a crazy schedule of working the graveyard for Jimmy John’s and barely had time for the kitten. Oh yea, and no pets allowed in our apartments. When I finally got caught, he went to my mother’s house for a couple of months. Then I moved to Gainesville and brought him with me. perhaps that’s when his hatred began. He was stuck in a house with dogs that he hated while I was in school. I would feed him at odd hours and throw him across the room because I didn’t know how to handle my anger back then.
He moved in with my mother officially when I moved to Hawai’i. I wanted to bring him with me but mother-dearest said it wasn’t a good idea. So she took him in. I had tried to get him back at one point by getting HER a cat so she wouldn’t feel lonely. That didn’t work out.. now she has two cats and they love each other (actually Bobo aka Mr. Mistofelees isn’t a fan of Zula, but whatevs).


So here I am in South Korea. I’ve matured a bit and have a better hang on how to care for animals. I joined a group called Animal Rescue Korea (ARK) in hopes of fostering a dog. I’m hoping fostering a dog would get me out of the house a bit and more exercised. Also, companionship yadda yadda.

Well, about a week or two before I was going to visit and start fostering a dog, a friend of mine said she needed help with a kitten. She found it on the streets and took it in. Then she was released from her contract and noticing allergic reactions to the cat hair. Without thinking, I said I would help. Honestly, I was thinking that I was going to watch it for a week or two while someone else came to adopt it.


It’s been 3 weeks. Two people have showed interest in adoption but never actually go through with it. I’ve been recommended to two or three people who would foster her, but in the end they actually don’t want to foster her.

She’s a sweet kitten. I named her Maow since that’s what she does. It’s cute too. Her playing, her face, her stubbed tail, her maow, her sleeping – it’s all SO adorable. But I’m not wanting a cat right now. I don’t want her to get overly comfortable or me get too attached. I need to find her another foster home or a person to adopt her.

So I made a video in hopes of getting her adopted. Please share it with friends. She is located in ulsan, south korea but can be couriered to another country. Please please help this sweet girl – else she goes to a shelter.

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