Tag Archives: couchsurfing

CouchSurfing in Korea can get you FIRED

29 Jul

This is just a quick post on Couchsurfing in Korea that I wanted to share, just to warn others of the potential dangers of couchsurfing in Korea. Most people who put “couchsurfing” and “dangerous” in the same sentence are referring to the dangers of hosting a complete stranger in your home. The dangers of meeting complete strangers, on the internet, then meeting in a public place, and taking them home as if they were a friend and letting them sleep on your couch / spare bedroom / floor mat..whatever. Having hosted 100′s of couchsurfers and surfed on 5 continents, I can confidently say I have never had any truly negative experience, have never felt threatened, never had anything stolen and have also walked away from the experience with a smile on my face and amazing memories and new friends.

Until today I thought Couchsurfing could work anywhere but having been in Korea one week, I can see that in certain cultures, and in certain countries, it may be more of a hindrance than a help. Why?? Well, check out the letter, below, which my friend received from the principal of her school following a few weeks hosting people in her city South of Seoul…. I doubt she will be hosting anymore. :( Oh Korea.

fired-job-loss
Statement of Civil Complaint 

Last Friday (7/19) evening, I got a phone call from vice principle Kang. It was your civil complain *sic* from parents of our school students. That person told about your behavior that you are inviting many men to your house and they came out in the morning from your house. It cause *sic* neighbor inconvenience. And that person also said to the vice principle, they already asked you to stop that but you didn’t change. Your neighbors already know that YOU are BLANK Elementary School TEACHER and they think that your behavior is not appropriate for teacher’s attitude as well as not good for your young students who live around your house. At the end of the complain, *sic* that person told that BLANK Elementary school hired unsuitable person for teacher. 

I already told about your ‘Couchsurfing’ to principle and vice principles but they are disappointed with the fact, many men came out in the morning from the teacher’s house which is rented by budget of korean civil’s tax, and they want to change your attitude as a TEACHER IN KOREA. 

As American way of thought, you may think that is invasion of privacy. But you are employee of Korea national educational institution. And Koreans expect you to comply with Korean culture. In this country, if you give an impression behind on student’s parents *sic* that you look to be sexually promiscuous as teacher, *sic* then you can be a target of criticism whether actually happened or not. So your behavior that conflict with Korean culture caused your neighbor’s civil complaint. Furthermore, this complain *sic* is regarded as our school hired inappropriate person for teacher. Consequently, you caused the complain to school and violated a contract article 19-1. So we will issue warning letter. 

Article 19 (Codes of Conduct) 
1. The Employee shall not behave in any manner which may damage or tarnish the reputation of the teaching profession in general or of the GEPIK program and the undersigned Employee in particular during the Term of Employment. 
If you do not change your behavior and attitude with this complain, *sic* other complains will come to school and education office. That will make us issue another warning letter and finally we will reconsider about the contract with you.

The Cliffs of Moher

19 May

When the sun is shining and the grass is green…there is no place I would rather be than Ireland!

cliffs of moher

cliffs of moher

cliffs of moher

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DSC02488

cliffs of moher ireland

cliffs moher ireland

Flash Mob Cork: Dance into the weekend

11 Aug

Summer in Ireland this year fell on Friday 10th August, and what a beautiful summer it was. As luck would have it, some wise soul in Cork decided to organize a Flash Mob in Grand Parade so we could ‘dance into the weekend’ in style!

Normally flash mobs gather quickly, do something wacky, then quickly disperse. This one was different…and better! It lasted nearly an hour and everyone just danced their socks off, basking in the sunshine, and moving up and down and around the street to the beat, with not a car in the world! Here are a few pics I took before joining in the fun myself!

Happy Weekend Everyone!

 

Thongs, Spots and a New World Record!

28 Jul

Just before lunch time today, over 300 people painted themselves into the Guinness Book of Record here in Cork, setting the new Body-Painting World Record! The event, which was organized by Cork Body Painting set out to break the previous 5-year long record of ’264 bodies painted’ held by an American group.

People of all heights, all backgrounds, all shapes and all sizes showed up from 8am this morning to strip naked (Okay, we all had to wear a thong!), and just before lunch over 317 bodies has been painted from head to toe, fingers, ears, armpits…and sometimes even people’s hair!

By late morning, as the counter clicked 200 a mighty cheer erupted in the hall of the Camden Palace Hotel, gradually becoming louder as we approached the 264 mark. Confidence oozed out of participants as they pranced around half-naked, posing for photos, helping out others or just soaking up the general atmosphere.

However, it wasn’t all plain sailing, as panic spread through-out the city last night as every last shop in Cork sold out of Male thongs! Adult shop, Utopia, came to the rescue though and remained the only outlet with thongs still available yesterday evening, according to The Irish Examiner!

It was a bizarre feeling to be walking around the Camden Palace Hotel with all but a skimpy thong, sipping on hot tea and chatting to total stranger over a game of foosball. I never thought I would feel so at ease and comfortable surrounded by so many naked bodies!

I doubt I will ever forget the image of a 634 multi-colored arms, a spectrum of color, raised high above a sea of naked ambition as the last of the group photos were taken, with everyone smiling and cheering and in a state of utter bliss.

As Keira O Connell, the chief organizer and the lady behind the idea summed up the event, “I think it’s safe to say if I asked anyone that didn’t have an enjoyable experience today to raise their hand, we would be looking in the face of a liar!”

It truly was an unforgettable experience enjoyed by all and something I can now tick off my bucket list!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrast

10 Mar

Crazy clowns taking a break from face painting on International Children’s Day in Dublin.

Hitchhiking to Detroit

5 Mar

“You’re hitchhiking to DETROIT?!” friends asked of me incredulously. “Are you mad?” they would enquire, ever before a mentioned I would also be couchsurfing there, i.e. staying on an absolute stranger’s couch for the weekend!

I never planned to go to Detroit; it all just seemed to fall into place. I was invited to attend the Detroit Couch Crash, a meeting organized by all the wonderful couchsurfers in Michigan to unite people from all over for the US Memorial Day weekend. It also happened to take place during DEMF (Detroit Electronic Music Festival), an annual event attracting thousands of hard core music fans.

After standing awkwardly, on the main highway out of Toronto, with my thumb stuck out and a strained smile on my face, I waited patiently for a kind stranger to pick me up. Many people pulled in, slowed down or stopped, before performing rude hand gestures or shouting obscenities in my direction and subsequently speeding off…Charming.

Eventually I secured a ride with what seemed to be a very decent man travelling all the way to Windsor, a border town with Detroit. However, his greeting was anything but conventional.

‘I hitchhiked myself once, from LA to Montreal fifteen years ago. Yup, got picked up by a mass murderer and all. You just ‘know’ when you have sat into a car with a mass murderer…’.

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What is “Happiness”?

5 Mar

To me, it is uncontrollable, belly aching laughter with a friend. Pure happiness.

What does “happiness” mean to you?

Seconds before falling into the cold, Irish river!

Flash Mob Amsterdam

27 Feb

Here is a short video I made of the singing “Flash Mob” at Central Station in Amsterdam that took place on Sunday. About 50 people turned up to sing “Give peace a chance”, by John Lennon.

Such great people and such great fun!

I love flash mobs!!

Photo of the Heart shaped flash Mob by David Cenzer

Versatile Blogger Award – Better late than never!

17 Feb

So a few weeks ago I got nominated for a “Versatile Blogger Award” by “The Boy” over at Short and Fun blog…go check it out!! I feel pretty bad about not doing what I was supposed to straight away so I’m going to try to make up for it now! So first off let me say thanks for nominating me and if anyone is looking for  some cool, short and fun posts go check out Short and Fun Blog, it’s highly entertaining!

So what now? Oh yes I have to nominate 15 bloggers (but I’m breaking the rules again and I;m only nominating 10!) who I think are equally awesome and deserve a bit of praise. This is going to be tricky as I follow so many great blogs…but here goes…

1. LRNT Blog Go check out this absolutely beautiful photography blog by the wonderful Lauren. Her photos are so colorful and alive…she really makes me want to visit all the places she had captured, a blog in need of much praise! She has the ability to make us appreciate the tiniest things in life and make them beautiful- an inspiration.

2.Ecstatic Eclectica Go check out Russels beautiful photographs where, in his own words, “Beauty is everywhere just waiting to be captured”. So true and he illustrates this brilliantly by taking daily photos of what some might see as mundane and makes you see the interesting side of everything.

3. 50 Year Challenge How can you not love a blog about visiting 192 countries, reading 1,001 books, and watching the top 100 movies over 50 years! Go check out her post about encountering a Lion in the wild..scary stuff!

4. Carl Dagostino Carl’s tagline on his blog is, “I know I made you smile”, and no truer words could be said of this hilarious cartoonist…go check out his blog, it will put a smile on your face too! :D

5. Heifer 12×12 Go check out the wonderful Betty’s mission to go to 12 countries in 12 months and REALLY get to know the places she goes and the people she meets. Interesting stories, beautiful photographs and a charming lady!! :)

6. Rasta Photographer I’m having great fun following this blog about Ethiopian adventures and using it to re-live my own adventures on magical continent that is Africa.

7.Wells For Zoe A blog about a project of the same name set up to provide clean and safe water for rural communities in Malawi. I think these guys are really inspirational plus they’re Irish so that’s a major bonus!!

8.Studio Michael James From photos of Mickey Mouse to tropical beaches, wild safari plains and waterfalls to mouth watering bottles of wine…his pictures are all fantastic and I love checking in on this blog daily to see what’s new!

9. Chiquero These guys are mesmerizing! If you want bright, jump-off-the-page, colorful, cheerful, interesting, unbelievable, unusual and every other adjective available to describe unique photographs and art projects…go check out this blog!

10. The Unperceived Heidi over at The Unperceived is an artist specializing in Photography…but you don’t need to be a genius to figure that out. Go check out her blog, this girl has real talent!

Lastly I believe I’m suppose to tell you all 7 random facts about myself. Here goes…

 

1. My favourite song in the whole wide world is “Galway Girl”, by Mundy.

2. I have been a member of couchsurfing for nearly 5 years now and still love it as much as my first ever couchsurfing experience.

3. I’m 5 foot 10 inches tall (or 176 cm!) and have big feet (size 7-8) for a  girl but I still LOVE wearing high heels! :P

4. I celebrated the millenium twice.

5. Naweza kusema swahili kidogo! (That’s swahili, can you guess what it says?!)

6. I love making up new cheesy chat up lines! “Are you from Jamaica? Cause Jamaking me craaaaazzzzy!”

7. My middle name is Katrina, so my initials are “J.k Newenham”..oh so similar to “J.k Rowling”. She’s a little older than me though! :P

Happy blogging everyone! :D

Temple Bar Trad Festival

30 Jan

I went out to meet a Spanish friend for lunch yesterday and ended up staying out til past midnight, thanks to all the free TradFest events in Temple Bar. I met up with a load of awesome couchsurfers and spent hours walking around from pub to pub listening to all the great traditional Irish music and even had a free Irish dancing lesson in The Arlington Hotel!

We drank, we danced on the street, we danced in the rain, we laughed, and I guess we all made some new friends!

 

Here is a little video I made of our Sunday Session! Yeehaaaaw!

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