Sunday, January 16, 2011

Enter the Rabbit: Gus

I got a rabbit today!

After taking the subway all the way to Seokchon station (a little over an hour away), I met Jennifer near the station exit. She'd brought the cage with her, covered in a towel to protect him against the bitter cold, and she gave me a couple bags of food. I finally learned his name: Gus. All I needed to do was find a cab and take him home.

Easier said than done! The first cab wouldn't go all the way back to Anyang, and the second cab driver didn't speak any English, so we had to figure things out using an interpreter service via cell phone. Once he understood where I wanted to go, we were off! Gus was very quiet, though he seemed fine when I peeked under the towel at him. I decided, at some point during the ride, that Gus must be short for something. So, his full name is Augustus St. John Carbuncle III. But he finds it a bit pretentious and too much of a mouthful besides, so we're sticking with "Gus", at least among friends.

The driver got us all the way to Anyang, but then there was some confusion about where my apartment building was. We drove around in circles until he finally drove past an area that was familiar to me, and I used my extremely limited Korean to direct him to the right neighborhood. Finally, home! Safe and sound.

I set his cage down in a cozy corner and took the towel off his cage so he could get used to the sounds and smells around him. I didn't let him out right away, not wanting to overwhelm the little guy. His water bottle was empty, so I filled it, and he chugged down the whole bottle so I filled it again. Instead of giving him more pellets, I gave him some celery and sprouts and a cardboard tube to gnaw. He seemed to enjoy playing with the tube, picking it up and banging it around the cage.

After awhile, I left his cage door open so he could explore. So far, he seems most comfortable staying near his cage. I spread the towel out in front of the cage so he has a warm, safe area that gives his little paws plenty of traction (my floor is apparently very slippery for bunnies). I set out a shallow cardboard box with more scraps of cardboard for him to play with, and he took to it quite happily.

Right now, he's alternating between cautious little exploratory ventures outside the cage, and just chilling out inside the cage itself. I can't tell if he's just resting or actually sleeping, as apparently rabbits can sleep with their eyes open (third eyelid and all). He's incredibly cute, very laid back, well-socialized and friendly. He doesn't seem to mind being petted, though he's still a bit nervous about sudden motion or sounds. I haven't tried to pick him up yet, not wanting to stress him out more than necessary. Overall, he seems pretty calm and content with his little bunny self.

What a nice way to start off the Year of the Rabbit. Maybe Gus will be my lucky charm! I'm already a little bit in love with the guy, I've got to admit. He's pretty sweet.

Okay, so here's the part you're all waiting for: PICTURES! Warning: Massive picspam below. Enjoy.

Bunny butt! Gus seems a bit camera shy.

Chillin' like a villain.

His little "safe" area.

Venturing out, finally.

What's over here?

Or here?


What's over there?

So, there you have it. I'm sure I'll spam you all with more of Gus' adorable antics as time goes on. Now pardon me, I need to prevent him from crawling behind the fridge...


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Plan for the Week

So, this week, I am going to 1) buy a bathroom scale, 2) take a sample hapkido class at the TMAS center in Itaewon, 3) start a diet, 4) save up for my birthday present to me, and 5) maybe... get a bunny? o_o

I get paid tomorrow afternoon. Once my local bills and debts are paid off, I'm going to send home my allotted amount of money to take care of US bills and debts (student loans, my old cell phone, money owed to boyfriend, etc).

I'm also going to send home a little extra so I can save up for my birthday present to myself. I'm not going to tell you what it is here, because it's entirely frivolous, but I think I earned ONE big frivolous purchase after 4 months of being pretty good about not doing that.

May send home even more so that I can shop online for a few things like multi-vitamins and such to help with this diet thing. has cheap flat-rate shipping to Korea, and very rarely gets tagged for customs fees, and they have stuff I want.

I've got a lovely person on Dave's ESL Cafe helping me make a meal plan. It's going to cut down on my carbohydrate intake a bit, but I'm not willing to give up ALL carbs. I like fruit and bread too much, though I suppose I can give up bread for a month or two just to kickstart this diet thing. SO not giving up fruit, though. I don't care. It keeps me from craving refined sugar. I need fruit.

Buying a bathroom scale and taking regular waistline measurements will help me keep track of my progress. I'm not going to do it every day, though. That way, as they say, lies madness. I'm going to do it once a week at a certain time and day every week, and mark the results down. I've got a small note pad all ready for this purpose. I may hang it on the wall over the scale. I'm also going to be using the note pad to keep track of my food intake and write down recipes, daily meal plan, etc.

I may also post my results here, with pictures. Here are my current "Now" pictures, courtesy of the bathroom mirror:

(At least I still look good in that black dress!)

I'm going to check out TMAS (Total Martial Arts System) in Itaewon and check out the taekwondo and hapkido lessons on Saturday. I'm pretty sure hapkido is more my speed, as it's closer to aikido, which is what I used to take back in MN before I became unemployed. For 60,000W/month (a little under $60), I can train for an hour every Saturday and use the open training time on Sundays. Not quite as good a deal as I was getting for aikido, but still very reasonable, and they have discounts if you pay in advance for 3 or 6 month packages.

Now, about this bunny. Someone on Dave's ESL Cafe, not too far from where I am, is giving away a rabbit. She's going to be finishing her contract soon, and needs to find a new home for this guy. He's pretty cute, extremely laid back (doesn't bite or scratch, not nervous or jumpy), appears to be in good health, and is at least litter trained as far as going in his cage instead of outside it. As there wasn't a lot of interest, I asked her a few questions about the rabbit, and finally agreed to take him. Of course, if I get there and it turns out the rabbit isn't as she said, or if he's sickly, I'll walk away. But I think this is legit. I've been reading up on the care and feeding of rabbits, and while I was iffy about getting a rabbit, getting one for free with a bunch of equipment to start seems a much less risky venture. Worse comes to worst, I have to find another home for him when I leave and I'm out a bit of cash for feeding him, or he winds up dying on me because I'm incompetent at keeping a pet (unlikely). I think I can manage.

Anyway, look at him. D'aww! And it's the Year of the Rabbit, too.

Okay, what else do I need to do this week... Ah. Sort through all the classroom handouts and materials from 1st semester and get them organized into files. *stares guiltily at the bag full of papers and file folders lying on the apartment floor* Since I didn't get that done THIS weekend... I also need to start up some lesson plans for at LEAST the first 4 weeks of next semester, as I don't want to be doing that over my vacation.

Also, I discovered that my digital camera is a decent replacement for a scanner. I can post artwork again! It takes some editing in Photoshop to clean it up, but I had to do that with a scanner anyway, so no big deal. I'm going to attempt to get through this stack of sketches and marker drawings this week sometime.

Okay, on to other news.

Korean baking soda/powder sucks. It made my pancakes smell like ammonia! Apparently, instead of sodium bicarbonate, they use ammonium carbonate. Works the same way, but is better for cookies because by the time cookies are done the ammonia smell has baked out of them. Not so with pancakes! Ugh. They were edible, as long as I didn't sniff them, but I'm going to be sticking to crepes from now on. Less flour, anyway, so I can probably get away with having them once in awhile even on a diet.

Did I mention before that some Korean couples do this thing where they dress alike? I'm pretty sure I did. Anyway, this time, it was my turn with Sam. We accidentally bought the same sweater vest at eMart (because I like to shop in the men's clothing section like that), and wound up wearing them on the same day. This got a lot of laughs from our coworkers and some of the students when they saw us together. Nathan was kind enough to take this photo on my iPod of Sam and me looking extra classy.

I had one more bout with this throat infection/cold thing this weekend, but I think chugging water and sleeping FOREVER helped me get over it. I also took extra vitamin C and D. Feeling much better now, and looking forward to the new week. Only two left before vacation time!

I'll come up with another post later about my plans for Lunar New Year break. So far, it's going to include a lot of cheap travel (buses and subways), exploring more of Seoul, and trying to find some good Lunar New Year festivals that are okay with foreigners poking around. :P

As for my other New Year resolutions, I'm working on them. I've written some stuff, drawn a few things (though not every day, because I'm TERRIBLE), and I'm starting to look around for Korean lessons. Signed up for a few websites already, but I'd like to learn from a native Korean speaker if I can.

I think that's it for now.

Over and out,