January 23, 2010

Twenty-six. Ew.

Filed under: Uncategorized — irenejk @ 8:02 pm

Yes, many of you are twenty-six, and many of you are older than 26, but you know what, this is a whole new combo of numbers for me so let me just have this post.  I woke up one morning in a cold sweat realizing it was now socially acceptable and maybe even expected for me to (gulp) date THIRTY-YEAR-OLDS.  Now listen, I’m not saying 30 is old, and I’m not saying you’re old.  That’s not the point.  It’s the paradyme shift: before, 30-year-olds were the creepies who didn’t care about a 10-year age difference. Even if they had a stable job, savings, and a CTR ring, it didn’t make up for the creepiness.  Now that I’m 26, TWENTY-SIX, I have to accept that a 30-year-old asking me out (don’t worry, this isn’t actually happening) is not to be immediately labeled as gross.

Weird.  I’m just saying, the sudden mental switch is a hard one.

ANYWAY.  It was my birthday last week!  And I celebrated as much as I could.  Took some friends to a Korean restaurant and bought a tiny bowl kimchi chigae for 15 euros.  (RIDICULOUS considering my mom can make ten times the amount ten times better,  and at one-tenth of the price.)  But it was delicious anyway because why wouldn’t kimchi in soup-form be good??

Then Tuesday was my actual birthday where nothing that exciting happened UNTIL I got a blog posted video from the greatest friends ever across the world!  I knew all these people when they were single and now they’re ALL (the ones in Utah anyway) married… to each other.  It’s disgusting, I know.  But congratulations to Elastian who tied the knot this weekend!! So sad I couldn’t come back for it.

Back to my birthday celebration week.

So Wednesday, I SAW DEPECHE MODE.  It was the perfect place for me to feel young right after a birthday.  Everyone was older than me!  It was fantastic.  The crowd was great, not only for the general age-group, but because they were dancing and singing and happy.  (The last show I went to, Tegan and Sara, was a little disappointing because all the butchy teens just stood there taking video. No one moved. It was really annoying.)  Seriously though, DM was AMAZING.  Ten thousand times more intense than any album listened to on CD and I got to be in the pit and dance and sing and it was SO GOOD.

Then Friday we had a family party at the house.  Earlier that day we went to the 13th arrondissement, which means Asia, and I ate Thai food for the first time in about 2 years.  It was so good. Then we bought this weird Thai fruit which I had never eaten/seen/heard of.  The Mangosteen.

Have you tried these??? THEY’RE AMAZING.  You eat the inside and everything is perfect. It’s juicy, soft, sweet, refreshing, a little tangy.  If you see any, pay the ridiculous amounts of money for them. It’s worth it.

We ate a great meal, made some melty chocolate cake, lit a candle and took some pictures. It was perfect.

Thanks to all for the birthday wishes.  See you soon.


January 15, 2010

Caribbean Island Hopping on a catamaran: how sailing is like camping but worse, how lobster is no longer gourmet, and how American football created real human emotion.

Filed under: Uncategorized — irenejk @ 7:35 pm

I AM SO LUCKY.  I get to work for a family that takes me on their amazing vacations.  The day after Christmas, we went here:

We flew into Martinique and then took a tiny 9-seater plane from Martinique to St. Vincent. This is the inside of it:

This flight was really frightening.  It was only 40 minutes long, but being able to see what the pilot sees and watching him frantically push a bunch of buttons while going through a rough spot of rain and wind, I really thought crashing was near.  Every article about plane crashes came back to me and it seemed like every one had occurred in a similar plane to the one I was in.  It was horrible.  Then the 4 minutes of turbulence was over and it was okay again.  Once we arrived in St. Vincent, my slight air-sickness was multiplied by 200 when I realized I was going to have to sleep on a boat that night… and for 5 more nights after that.

So the map below shows approximately the route we took.  Every day we hopped to a new island.

Here is the boat we rode on:

Itinerary is as follows:

St. Vincent

to Bequia.


to Mustique.

Mustique is a private island.  Apparently Mick Jagger has a house there.  This may have been the prettiest beach I’ve ever seen in my life.  This is also where I got stung by a jelly fish for the first time ever!  I was glad to have the experience; now I’m not so afraid of their sly tactics.  It stung for a bit, no one had to pee on me, and I still have a mark from it which I think is a pretty good souvenir.


to Canouan.


to a bunch of little islands

(the only thing occupying the island below is a restaurant)

to Tobago Cays.

On the night spent in the Tobago Cays we had a barbecue on the beach.  After this many days on a boat, you would think my body would have gotten used to it.  Alas, no, Marie and I were still downing MerCalme (like Dramamine) every 4-6 hours.  This made for the lobster barbecue on the beach (lobster for the second time that day.. blegh) to be repulsive, and the next night’s stay at a hotel in St. Vincent a treasured gift.  After 5 days on a boat with sand all over the floor from the days spent at the beach, the showering outside, the limited space, the pumping of toilets, the tiny windows, I was ready to get off.

And here, in this beloved hotel, I had a bed and a room, a bathroom, and heaven bless it, American Television.  News broadcast from Florida.  MTV, VH1, The Weather Channel.  I was there on New Years Day and there at least 3 football games on at once and I almost shed a tear to see that American emblem right in front of my eyes.  (This might have to do with the fact that I love Friday Night Lights and cry in almost every episode, so now my brain is connecting drama to a brutish sport, but whatever.)  The fact is is that as ridiculous as it sounds, American tv totally made me realize how much I miss America.  I miss stuff that I don’t even like (I think a KFC commercial made me whine audibly about being far from home, and I hate KFC… and they even have one in Paris, so I’m not sure how to make sense of that).

Anyway, I watched tv for maybe 25 minutes the whole time, but those 25 minutes really got me excited to come home for 2 weeks at the end of February. And by home I mean one week in Florida and one week in Utah.

Seriously though, can you believe I got to go island hopping? in the Caribbean? on a Catamaran?? It’s something I’m sure would have NEVER crossed my mind to do even if I had the means to do it, so I feel really lucky that my job is the best thing ever.

January 5, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — irenejk @ 10:45 am

2009 was seriously an awesome year.  I venture to say that it’s maybe the best year I’ve ever had.


Inhabited a crappy studio in a city I’d never before been to.  Relearned how to make friends.  Got used to living in a place with about 3 YSA.  Traveled a lot.  Went to London, Manchester, Brussels, Bruges, Prague.  Visited our nation’s capital.  Went to the temple.  Spent time with family.  Camped in the Adirondacks.  Moved to Paris.  Spent a summer on the French Riviera.  Saw Nice, Cannes, Monte Carlo, Ventimilia.  Got out of credit card debt. Reconnected with old friends. Bought a DSLR. Spent a weekend in Rome.  Became a Primary Teacher.  Enjoyed both sets of French Soldes.  Experienced Fall in Paris.  Survived train strikes. Took the GRE.  Read excellent books.  Discovered promising bands.  Learned how to make Foie Gras. Hopped the Caribbean Islands in a Catamaran.

Great things read this year:

Junot DiazThe Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.  One of the best novels I had read in awhile.  One of the few novels about the Dominican Republic under dictator Trujillo.  You may remember that book In the Time of the Butterflies which is also based in the same era, but is in my opinion horrrribbly executed.  The writing was so unpleasant that I couldn’t get through it.  Diaz, however, is an awesome writer.  Hilarious, yet profound.  Doesn’t try too hard, yet cuts deep.  Great characters, great organization.  Not at all written like a textbook, yet much is learned about the DR.  Read it.

I finally read an Oscar Wilde book.  And no, I didn’t read A Picture of Dorian Gray because it was in 500 Days of Summer.  (Digression: While there are redeeming qualities about that film, I HATE that now everything has to be prefaced with, “No, I didn’t learn about that from 500 Days of Summer.” ex: The Smiths, Oscar Wilde, Carla Bruni (although I actually HATE her voice and her album and that song that’s in that movie, I knew about her well before), Pixies, among others.)  I felt I was pretty well-rounded in terms of literature, but I really feel like a corner has been smoothed after having read some OW.  This novel is a must-read.  One to be read over and over.  And I can understand more why there are lipstick marks all over his grave, although I am far from being one to lay mine on it.

Great things heard this year:

I had some music breakthroughs this year.  A couple discoveries, but more importantly, bands that have been around forever, or awhile, that I had never before been able to really grasp onto.  Always been more like background music.  So on a road trip back from NYC to DC, after years, several albums, and even seeing them live, I FINALLY really really got into Belle and Sebastian.  I KNOW.  It’s about time.  I never really loved them before, and I never necessarily felt pressure to either.  It was always just kind of blah, floppy, not making much sense kind of music.  But something about being alone on the Balitmore Washington Parkway concocted the perfect venue for a good listen to “If You’re Feeling Sinister”.  And no, once again, this had nothing to do with 500 Days of Summer.

I also finally really started to appreciate Vampire Weekend.  I was very hesitant. And skeptical.  But just like that I really really loved them one day while walking home from the metro station.

A lot of times we are introduced to new music through friends and through the songs played in between bands at the local music gallery.  I am far away from those things.  And my own gusto for finding music is not as strong as it used to be.  So excuse the following if it’s old news, or if you and your friends have already decided it’s bad.  Here are some mentionable discoveries this year:  Harlem Shakes – Technicolor Health (mentionable track: Niagara Falls); The Jealous Girlfriends – Self Titled Album (Great sound, great female vocals, great band in general); The Maccabees – Wall of Arms (kind of hit or miss, but Track 1 is great); The Do – A Mouthful (Franco-Finland duo.  Album from last year.  Simple yet clever sounds.  Not all are stellar tracks, but the good ones are hard to reject.)

Thank you 2009.  Thank you family.  Thank you God.

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