Sunday, July 28, 2013


Whew. It's been a whirlwind here of activity. So much so that I can hardly find time to eat and sleep sometimes. It's even taken me several days just to finish this post.

The show has opened. It's been open for a week now. But there are still things to be fixed and those things are completely consuming my time.

I also just started Insanity with one of the swimmers here. I enjoyed it so much the first go around that I'm doing it again and hoping for even better results!

Life is good. Last night after work and Insanity, I walked in the door to an impromptu dinner party with my roommate and neighbor, who is a fisherman. He had cooked up some fish he caught that day and we devoured it along with some freshly grown watermelon and makgeolli to wash it all down! It was delicious and a nice treat from the usual hit or miss dinner foods snagged between loads of laundry, practice, and show issues.

Everything here is good, even though it's keeping me super busy right now. Once I get some of the problems fixed and free up some valuable time I'll get into a better schedule, but for now I'm keeping my nose to the grindstone.


In all of my day to day activities I've noticed a few things I could really use and can't get here and/or they are double or triple the price and/or I'd have to pay exorbitant shipping costs to get them.

Anyone interested in sending a care package?? (Besides the one person who did the day I got here..thank you!)

Here are a few of the items I can't buy on the island or can't find anywhere to buy, or found, but refuse to pay the island price. Please let me know if you are feeling generous and I'll give you my address and a BIG thank you :)


These things are available many places but for the sake of convenience I have listed everything through Amazon. Most of the items are beauty related products that I just can't get anything like here or I can't read the ingredients so I have no idea if I'd be layering on chemicals everyday. Since I'm performing in a show 4 times I day I go through ridiculous amounts of makeup and makeup remover. Most of the supplies I have, but if you check the list, you'll see the ones I'm running out of fast!

There is also something I really really want that I haven't found here and that is a Korean grammar and workbook. I've been struggling trying to continue my study with my tourist phrase book.

All of the items on the list I need soon, whether I start ordering things online myself or call people to try and get things shipped cheaper, I will need everything on the list so anything you want to send my way will be super helpful!! I've taken great care with some of the brands so please ask me if you are interested in purchasing an item from a different manufacturer than the one listed on Amazon. Most likely I need the brand I listed.

Donations to Ronda's Success and Happiness

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today, yesterday, tomorrow, depending where you are in the world, was or is my birthday.

Last night the girls from the show threw me and our boss (who's birthday was a day before mine) a party. Now, I was just thinking a small get together to drink soju, but boy was a I wrong!

They had made our boss a cake and bought a very nice one for me. They had soju and pop and tea and coffee and we got chips and sweet breads to go along with everything. Candles and songs and heart shaped balloons too!

They gave me a beautiful present too! They had a picture taken in front of a dol hareubang and then etched into wood and framed! It is so beautiful and something I can keep to remember our time here forever :)

I love that it has the date and Happy Birthday etched into the wood as well! What a wonderful memory keepsake!!

The cake box and the framed picture. They look so elegant together :)


The frosting wasn't heavy or really sweet. It was almost a meringue. The cake wasn't to heavy or moist either and it wasn't dry. I don't know what flavor it is, but it wasn't too much of anything so it was good :)  And the fruit was tasty too. I would never have guessed that I would have liked a surprise birthday cake but I did!!  So grateful to the girls for getting this for me and lighting the candles and singing Happy Birthday in English!!!  

It's been so long since I had a birthday cake that I completely forgot to make a wish before I blew out the candles. Lol. Oh well, I'm sure there'll be a next time sometime but I couldn't have asked for a better party this time!



The birthday party continues...

This evening after shows and rehearsal I invited the girls over to my apartment and threw a dinner party with salad fixings, the rest of the birthday cake and some wild huckleberry pancakes thanks to some recent friends I made.

It was so much fun and I have a heart shaped balloon now hanging from my light and more fond memories. Although, we are all very tired now after a late night last night and a hard day today.

Here are some pictures!


The apartment is empty now, but I'm still happy...part of that is the soju :)

Thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday and made this day amazing and 

A day in Jeju-si.

Recently I took a day trip into the city and did some shopping in addition to visiting the doctor for a routine checkup.

Normally trips to the city aren't nearly worth the time and effort of writing about, but in a foreign country and for my first visit it is.

From out in Seongsan I caught the bus to the airport. It's only an hours drive and with the first bus leaving at 10:30 I didn't make it there much before noon. I didn't know what all I would run into that day and figured I'd better get some cash so I headed into the airport to find an atm. Turns out you don't have to go very far into the airport in order to find one. In fact, you barely actually make it into the airport.


Case in point. The atm machines (4 in total) were in between the two sets of customary doors leading in to the airport. There's nothing like trying to make a transaction with people trying to get past you with luggage carts and push wagons because you are literally standing in the doorway and therefore, blocking their way. But on the upside, apparently identity theft from atm machines is not an issue here....

After a couple failed attempts I finally figured the machine out and withdrew my cash and headed out into town. Jeju-si is split up into neighborhoods very similar to someplace like Chicago only on a much smaller scale. And there is no subway system; only taxis and buses. I chose the even cheaper route and opted for walking. I had previously written down the street names I needed to be on the lookout for and headed off down what I hoped was the right street. Turns out I was right when a helpful lady sweeping the sidewalk pointed in the direction I was heading when I asked where the name of the neighborhood I was going was located.

While I walked I enjoyed looking at all the various foliage and signage. Boy was this entertaining.

I'll take you on a little journey with some of the pictures I took.


The streets were quite nice and the plants were beautiful. What you can't see in the picture above is the extremely, and I mean extremely loud cicadas. Wow! I wished I had earplugs!


This lovely dragon greeted me along the walk. I'm not sure what I'm being greeted to but hopefully something good :)

I was always on the lookout for street signs in order to not miss the ones I wanted when I spotted this sign below. I sure wish I'd had time for a detour because the name of the street is certainly intriguing!

As I got further away from the airport and more into town the signs started becoming cause for stopping, chuckling, and picture taking. Here are a few I saw that you might also get a laugh from.

I'm not sure what to think of the name of this restaurant. Do you get a fresh start at life? Is all life here fresh? What does that mean? It's also only for VIPs apparently. Not just anyone can eat a fresh life???

I saw this sign from a ways off and couldn't quite read it for the trees, but as I got closer and I figured it out it definitely made me laugh. If I go here is a bodyfriend available for purchase? Do I learn how to be a bodyfriend? Is the guy on the window the bodyfriend and I get to meet him and he becomes my bodyfriend if I go buy whatever it is I'm buying there? Awesome :)

Ah yes, and as I walk through a market for a drink I spy a label that makes me backtrack and pull out my camera. No, I didn't get a chance to talk with the black soybeans so I don't know why they're frustrated but maybe it's because they're stuck in a sealed bag, or maybe because they are all squished together, or maybe because no one has bought them, or maybe because they wish they were another kind of bean. Who knows!?!?!

Oh, and I also noticed that the ever popular makeup up brand Mary Kay hasn't failed to find its way into the Korean market...


No, I did not go shopping there.

I did go shopping though and found this fascinating label.


I have no idea how they can claim this but apparently this juicer is silent. Not quiet, but silent. Oh really????

After shopping much of the early afternoon I wanted some peace and quite, or as much as I could get in the middle of Nohyung-dong, Jeju-si. So I headed to a shaded park bench and shot this self video.

I also laid down for a short respite from the heat and sunshine and constant walking.


Then off I trotted to the docs office (if you want more details on that they are in the previous post) for a checkup. Afterwards I decided I was hungry and wanted some fruit so I chose a local chain called the Coffee Bene. 


Free wifi and a blueberry smoothie later I continued my shopping spree and headed to some new stores. One of them, unbeknownst to me, contained on the 5th floor, a ToysRUs. When I learned this I was already there so I decided to walk around and I found the Lego section!

Here are pictures of the very cool Lego display they had!




Pretty amazing huh?!

After all the shopping and walking and doctors and more shopping and more walking I was exhausted and ready to head back home. 

On the way in you'll remember I was greeted with a welcoming dragon; well on the way back...


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Jeju-si OBGYN visit

This is not the most exciting nor interesting post, but it's one I feel I should share so that others in my situation have an updated review they can read. That being said, this entry is about my recent trip to the gynecologist in Jeju-si.

I did my research online looking through old blog entries and expat websites and travel articles and found an English speaking OBGYN in Jeju-si that had good reviews. her name is Dr. Young Mi Lee. Actually, she was the only one I could find so good reviews or not I walked into her office yesterday.

Hanna Women's Clinic
1296-12 Nohyeong -Dong

It's located on the northeast side of the large roundabout in Nohyeong-dong. I don't live in Jeju-si so I took a shuttle to the airport and then just walked. It was only about 45 minutes and very easy. I didn't get lost and the street signs are very clear.

She does take lunch from noon or 1 till 2 so be sure not to expect to come during those hours. You don't need an appointment though. Just walk in and wait. The wait was not very long for me. I think it was less the a half hour but I wasn't paying close attention. It was much shorter than waiting in an American doctors office for sure!

Dr. Lee is very nice and speaks great English! She even visits NYC every year she said. I had a previous problem that I was coming to get checked and she looked at all my paperwork very thoroughly and asked me lots of questions and to describe what I had had done in America.

I should also mention that there was not a plethora of paperwork to fill out :) In fact, there was none!

Once she had all the information she wanted I went into the next room, the examination room. It's directly attached to her office. There I changed into a skirt (not scratchy hospital gown) and sat on a quite comfortable chair with knee holds instead of metal stirrups. All in all the setup was much more pleasant than I'm used to. The nurse put a curtain between me and the doctor too so there was some semblance of privacy.

During the examination Dr. Lee took lots of pictures and had a video camera running at the end of a tool so I could watch on a screen what was happening. That was a first for me! It was very helpful though! She explained things and asked me questions to make sure I was watching so I knew what she was doing. She was very pleasant and very helpful and the experience was a breeze.

Without insurance in South Korea I paid $140,000 won for a pap smear, ultrasound, and colposcopy. For me, that was a deal.

They also have birth control at the clinic and I will return in a month to get a new Mirena. The price I was quoted was $300 USD approximately. Without insurance in the States I'd be lucky to get it under $600 and most places are closer to $700 and up so I'm thrilled to say the least.

The office was clean, aesthetically comforting and they had soft classical music playing. It didn't feel rushed but calm and relaxed. I'm happy to have found Dr. Lee and highly recommend her should you be in need of an OBGYN, English speaking or not, in Jeju-si!

Saturday, July 13, 2013


Downstairs near the office where I spend all my time in between shows is a parrot cage that houses three parrots.

I say hi to them when I walk back and forth and they look at me funny and beg for sunflower seeds.

I've witnessed their loving caretakers take them out and play with them and train them and have been wanting to take photos and videos.

Well, today I finally did and I'm so excited to get to share them with you all. These are delightful and will make you smile and laugh!

Enjoy the feather fotos!!

Feed me please!

What would you do for a sunflower seed?!?


oh, the lovin''s soooo good :)

Seriously? I can hardly handle it!



Don't ever stop!

In heaven


I think I'm in love.

It just doesn't work the same when I try to scratch myself.

Hi Hi!! I want attention too!

What you lookin at?

You're just as funny lookin as me and you obviously don't speak Korean!

Finally, oh, yes yes! I love you too!

Now you can see why I just had to take some pictures and videos. These guys are too much! I love watching them interact with their trainers and with each other. It's a nice touch of life and color in a wet and gray world.

The beauty in nature and people at play.

Jeju Island is a beautiful place and there are abundant pictures of the spectacular scenery here.

As I walk around the small town where I live, I have enjoyed capturing some of the local essence of life that is not so often found in the search for Jeju's famous scenery portfolio in addition to the ever popular pictures.

At the end of the pictures is a little Jeju history and information for you as well.

Here are a few of my favorites. I'm sure there will be many more as the months continue.

I love the multi colored rooftops!!

Cliffs edge of Ilchulbong with the sun trying to shine through the cloud.

You can rent a horse on the beach so you can ride through the sand.
All roads lead to Aqua Planet!

Kite surfing, sand castle building, swimming, sun tanning, having fun
all under the sun and the shadow of Hallasan Mountain.
Seongsan Ilchulbong "Sunrise Peak" as the sun peaks through the start of a hazy morning.

Giant spiderweb caught in the evening sun's rays.

A panorama of Seongsan Ilchulbong "Sunrise Peak". 

Hallasan is a shield volcano and is the highest mountain in South Korea at 6500 feet and has it's own national park. 

Ilchulbong is named as such because it looks like an ancient castle and Ilchulbong literally means "fortress mountain" 
or "the mountain the sun rises". The most amazing thing about Ilchulbong is that it was named one of the new 
7 Wonders of Nature!

Jeju Island measures approximately 45 miles across and 25 miles from north to south. It has two cities, Jeju and Seogwipo
and hundreds of villages that belong to either of the two provinces.

One of the neat things about this island are the haenyeo or sea women. These women free dive year round to collect 
abalone, conches and other prized sea life. Their ability to collect these fish creates a hierarchy with the women at the 
head of the household, because they are the breadwinners. This is a fascinating thing in the world of men to witness a 
small island community where the women make the money and are top of the chain!