Wednesday, March 30, 2011

West Meets East: Surprising Finds in Chosen

I know I've commented on this matter before but I wanted to thoroughly examine the issue. Before hopping that plane to Korea, many a waygook is faced with the issue of what they cannot get in Korea. Will I be able to be deodorant? Will they have the snacks I like? Will they have peanut butter? These are normal concerns as everyone is used to their comforts (foods and otherwise). Koreans worry if other countries sell kimchi and chili paste.

I was told I wouldn't be able to find bread (so wrong) or coffee (even more wrong) in the Land of the Morning Calm. These are two basics that most Americans can't live without. However, I didn't really consider the availability of other Western options like cheese and dill pickles.This is my short list of things I was surprised to find in Korea, organized by store. (This is another generally informative post for those wanting to come to Korea or curious about what there is on offer in Chosen.)

·  Goldfish: This is by far my favorite chip/crack snack. I love the fishes cause they're so delicious! You can also find these at the store Olive Young which, on another note, is a fantastic store with tons of cosmetics AND scented candles. If you're into that kind of thing. (I've recently become a fan of the scented candle as my apartment tends to cling to that Eau du Daegu: a lovely mix of the rotting trash outside of my apartment and sewage gases.)
·  Peanut Butter: Skippy and the Lido brand. I'd never heard of Lido but it's American made, much cheaper than Skippy, comes in crunchy and smooth, and is delicious. You can also find PB at larger grocery stores. If you're really gung-ho on it, go to Costco and pick up a ginormous jar.
·  As mentioned in my Packing Guide, Tampax Pearl! I actually yelled to my friend down the aisle to show this find off.
·  Good wine: Homeplus has an excellent selection of wine from across the world and also offers a nice selection of decently priced wines ($7-9/bottle).

·  Costco is every foreigner's dream in Korea. It is truly a godsend for all of those Western cravings (although you can buy cases of kimchi, mandu, and soju but I'm not sure why you would want to). I'm going to just list these here, as they are all self-explanatory. Note: this is not exhaustive.
·  Cereal: Special K Red Berries, Honey Nut Cheerios, Kashi Go Lean Crunch, Quaker Instant Oatmeal
·  Snacks: Fruit Roll Ups, Nutri-Grain Bars, yogurt covered cherries, chocolate covered raisins/almonds, Veggie chips, tortilla chips, Snicker's ice cream bars, Western candy (alas, no Reese's)
·  Coffee: Starbucks Breakfast Blend, Starbucks Double Shot Espresso Drinks
·  Liquor: For some reason liquor is rather elusive in Korea. If you aren't in the market for rice wine/soju/beer then you should head to a department store or Costco. I bought a bottle of normally priced Tanqueray in Costco. They also sell Amarula, Baileys, Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Absolut, brandy, cognac, and lots and lots of wines and champagnes! And if you're lucky, maybe you will find a liquor tasting (I only encountered a beer tasting, MGD.)
·  Misc: sour cream, Eggos, tortillas, Costco cakes/muffins/croissants/soft cookies(!), spices (these are cheap, too), capers, canned veggies, nifty salad dressing
·  Toiletries: lots of vitamins, shaving cream, Neutrogena lotion, Aveeno lotion, tampons, various brands of facial cleanser (Clean & Clear, Neutrogena, etc)
·   Cleaning supplies: Tide sticks!, Clorox wipes (well they are Kirkland brand but still do the trick), Swiffer
The damage that 3 foreigners can do at Costco.
The moral of this post is that you can easily find many of your Western comforts right here in Korea. Korea is not some exotic nor under-developed land that produces only kimchi and soju; it is a very well-developed nation that embraces both the traditional Korean and the international. Stores like Homeplus, Costco, and Emart are there to ease the homesickness of many a foreigner in Korea. If you want it badly enough, I am sure you can find it somewhere in Korea. And if not in the Korean stores, if you can find a friend in the military, you may be able to get it on base, otherwise search in Itaewon on website such as GMarket. The only thing I've encountered serious issues in obtaining are limes. Perhaps this will change come summertime.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Washing Machine Story

"Our washing machine is part of our family.
My dirty clothes are in the washing machine.
I played soccer with friends from different countries.
'Hurray!' My team won. But my clothes were dirty.
I put the clothes in the washing machine.
It said, 'Good job!.'"

This touching story is brought to you by my 6th grade Elementary School English textbook. For a bit of perspective, the chapter is entitled, "Where are you from?" with the key phrases "I'm from ____." and "It's on the ____ floor."

We are all still grappling with many important questions, such as: What does a washing machine have to do with ordinal numbers? Why is the washing machine talking? Can I claim my washing machine as a dependent on my taxes? Do I have to report my washing machine on my census form? Is my dryer also a part of my family? What about my George Foreman grill?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Suhvisuh Superlatives

I am a big fan of this Korean thing called Suhvisuh 서비스 (Service, for all of those not in Korea). This phenomenon involves copious amounts of free stuff with any size purchase. In the past, I've received service that ranges from the ok to the spectacular. Usually a service gift includes a free sample or two (you will quickly become accustomed to these in the myriad beauty shops across Korea), an extra apple tossed in, tissues, and maybe a small dish of pretzels (which, on another note, are called 쿠키 or cookies here). But then there are days when the little extra bit of service changes the mood of your entire day.

Best Service Ever
The service waffle. My friends and I decided we wanted wine one weekend evening and set out downtown to find this rarity hidden amongst the cheap beers and mixed drinks. Down the road from the foreign favorite watering hold Thursday party, we found Vin. Vin (meaning wine in French) is a cute spot that offers wine by the bottle (though the selection is very limited), sangria (yes!), and snacks. We ordered a pitched of red sangria. It was good, a bit too sweet but still enjoyable. We were having a lovely time just chatting and sipping our drinks. Then the unthinkable happened, one of the servers plopped down a giant waffle smothered in whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and nuts smack in the middle of our table.

"Suhvicuh," he said casually.

We were blown away. As three girls on a Friday night we immediately plowed into this free gargantuan treat. It tasted like cake. A waffle cake! A FREE waffle cake! We polished it off with no problem and vowed to return in hopes that more of these lay in our future. Thus ends the tale of the best service ever.
Most Useful Service
As hinted by the previous category, I really like wine. No. I LOVE wine. And it can be difficult to find good bottles at decent prices in Korea. Enter the saviour of all Westerns: Homeplus. On a routine trip to pick-up a jar of peanut butter and whatever else caught my eye, I stumbled into the wine section (this stumbling happens each time I go to Homeplus). There was a tasting. So I tasted. It was a Spanish red that was actually pretty good and on sale (!) so I tossed three bottles into my cart.

The young sales clerk then hands me two small boxes: a bottle stopper and a wine key. She read my mind! I currently lacked these necessary tools in my barren apartment (to be honest, I planned to use my Leatherman to open up the bottle). So I walked away not only with three bottles of good, well-priced wine but all the tools required to enjoy them.

Most Unexpected Service (a tie)
This story is a short one. I needed a garish color of nail polish to wear for my birthday party (it was Kpop themed). So I popped into a Beautiplex near my home to satisfy my cosmetic needs. After much consultation with the very sweet sales lady, I bought one bottle of nail polish and one color of eye shadow. I maybe spent 6,000\. At the checkout, the lady carefully placed my purchases into a bag. Then she proceeded to show me the other goodies I would walk away with: 2 boxes of cotton pads and a pair of ankle socks covered in pink hearts! It felt like an episode of Oprah's Favorite Things. Granted these gifts weren't of much consequence but I spent 5 bucks and left with socks. Cute socks!

The second unexpected service was yet another waffle. I decided to head downtown one afternoon to finish reading the horrible book Ender's Game at a local cafe. I'd read about one in particular called The Mount Coffee. I ordered a cappuccino and settled in to read the rest of this awful book. Just as I realized I was beginning to feel the initial pangs of hunger, BOOM! On my table, a quarter of a service waffle! With maple syrup even!

Cutest Service
I love coffee. So I was pretty excited to discover there is a small yet adorable coffee shop very close to my house. It is called Marshmallow. Now, the first time I visited the cafe I only ordered a take-out cappuccino (I just had x-rays from the hospital next door due to a sprained ankle - I wanted to get home ASAP). The woman who owns the shop is so sweet, she tried to give me cookies (read: pretzels) to go as a bit of service. I politely declined and took my cappuccino on the road.

Seeking caffeination one day afterschool, I decided to pay my nearby cafe a visit. I ordered another cappuccino and took a seat near the window. In a few moments, the woman brought me a tray laden with a bright red cup full of delicious cappuccino and small dish of miniature marshmallows. Ah, the name made sense now! I thought they were a very sweet gesture of service and a nice change from the usual pretzels. But this was no ordinary dish of marshmallows.

The owner then leaned over my table to light a small tea candle on my table. Then she handed me a small pick with a plastic cake topper and instructed me to roast the marshmallows on the tea candle. I was taken aback in a very good way. This was by far the most adorable thing I'd seen in Korea (and mind you, this is the land where even the cows you're about to eat are smiling down at you from a signboard and even the socks depiciting poop (똥) sport a sh*t-eating grin - see what I did there?).

Honorable Mentions
When my Mom visited Korea, I told her about service. At first she was confused but soon embraced it as many a waygookin has. She experienced some serious service when picking up a treat at Paris Baguette. Upon checkout, the clerk handed her an entire loaf of bread! A whole loaf!

This one doesn't really count as service, which is why it is an honorable mention. Shannon and I popped into the newly opened Olive Young store after our Pancake Adventure to pick up a few cosmetic necessities. I didn't need anything so I purused while she did some actual shopping. After paying, however, she discovered a big green box in her bag along with purchases. The box contained a purse size tube of delicious smelling peach lotion, a face mask, a sample of something, and an entire pack of wet wipes. It was a pretty well-sized gift box of things I could actually use. So of course I had to shop some more to get my very own green box of goodies and 30,000\ later, I had one in tow (along with Aveeno lotion, eyelash curler pads, eyemakeup remover, and Werther's originals). Not really service because it was expected but nice and still free!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fear the Bathroom!

As a kid, I was a cookie-peddling, patch-earning, sash-sporting Girl Scout. Made it through a few years as a Brownie and a year (I think) as a Junior Girl Scout. The other girls always outsold me, mainly because I didn't care if I got that crappy stuffed lion in the Girl Scout uniform for selling 500 boxes of Thin Mints. However, I did attend the occasional troop "camping trip" at Camp Shawano. I call it "camping" because we always stayed in cabins. Not all cabins were alike, though. Bird's Nest was very nice with indoor bathrooms and a cute web layout. The big cabin was fully equipped with all modern amenities including bunk beds and giant kitchens. However, my first camping excursion as a young Brownie was to the Jack Frost cabin - the most bare-bones facility available. I remember 3 distinct things from that trip: 1) We stayed in the heatless cabin on the coldest night of the year. The building is appropriately dubbed. 2) My troop leader thought it was super clever to have us use our outdoor girl scout "skills" to find breakfast. This entailed a bunch of short 3rd graders jumping to snatch mini cereal boxes off of tree branches. Yeah, she tied them up there and made us hunt for Fruit Loops. 3) Latrines. I hate latrines. They smell like Porta-Potties except worse because they never move. They smell of stale urine and feces-ridden dirt. It was awful. That smell is so distinct and so horrid I've done my best to avoid it. I've been successful in this attempt, until Korea.

Fresh, hand-picked Corn Pops

Koreans don't drink water in the quantity that Westerners do. At home, I drink a lot of water and I'm used to having my super-sized water glass refilled about 7 times when I eat out. In Korea, however, we are given cups that belong in a Play-Skool kitchen that are hardly ever refilled and requests for such refills are looked at as somewhat strange. Anyhow, I keep a 2 liter water bottle on my desk at school. I also enjoy a few cups of coffee in the morning to get me started. Both of these habits force me to do the one thing I dread most in the day: use the school bathroom.

The first time I stepped into the bathroom nearest my classroom my nose twitched and my brain sent messages to me saying "ABORT! ABORT! ABORT!" Why was the message so urgent? So dire? Then I remembered. I harkoned back to that day at Camp Shawano. That cold, cold day on the outskirts of Lexington after I had hunted down my tiny box of sugary cereal. And then breakfast ended and I had to do the unthinkable: go to the latrine.

I returned to the present gagging, and reluctantly opened the stall door, praying that I could just hold it until I got home. But home was six hours away. Too long. Far too long. So I sucked it up and choked through the ordeal, hoping I could make the one last fresh breath I took outside last longer. It couldn't and was forced to breathe in the stale, putrid air emanating from the pink-tiled room. It seemed like an eternity but once it was over, I bolted out the door and washed my hands in the sink outside of my classroom. Thank the gods for that extra sink.

The smell is the worst part. I thought. The school bathroom and I became acquainted back in August, when the air was still humid and suffocatingly hot. The situation got even worse as winter descended upon Chosen. Then the time came when I was forced to used the bathroom in winter. And then, the days of Jack Frost revisited me, not just that wretched smell but the cold. Oh the cold! Once again, I shot back in time to that long-haired girl nestled in a thin Ariel sleeping bag on the cold, hard floor of that damned cabin. One juice box too many forced her from the little warmth she gleaned from her Disney burrow, out into the freezing cold air to the wooden outhouse, that stupid latrine.

And I was back in the Daesung restroom, trying in vain to not breath in the toxic-smelling air. I could see my breath as I exhaled. How could a room inside be so cold? Now this dreaded experience not only required jumping into the dreaded odor but entering into a meat locker. These tribulations now make me watch my water with Arrakeen precision, as every sip pushes me closer and closer to that dreaded, freezing cold latrine. Unfortunately today was a day when I didn't watch the water closely enough (I'd be a terrible Fremen) and had to venture into the arctic realm that is the Korean school bathroom.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lunchtime is Saved!

As indicated by a few previous posts, I really loathe lunchtime at Daesung Elementary. Not that I oppose lunch or Korean food but that the food was just usually really bad. The boiled octopus and more-bones-than-meat dishes outnumbered the curry and mandu days by way too many.

Yesterday we had the much-adored salad and bulgogi. Which was fine - it was good. Today, however, we had japchae noodles with a 찜닭 type chicken dish, finished off with mandarin oranges. It was fantastic! My coteacher then told me we would be paying more for our lunches this year, as the quality of food is going up. This was the second best news I've had all day!!! (The first best was that we now have an espresso machine in the English classroom. WIN!)

So I am happy to report that I will no longer have to dread slogging down the stairs to the cafeteria to consistently meet disappointment upon disappointment served up as my lunch. Though the prison trays are the same, the food no longer tastes like it's from a penitentiary (or at least what I imagine jail food to taste like). The small victories are the best, sometimes.

The Dreaded Sink Shower

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There is nothing like waking up in the morning, groggy-eyed and irritable, stumble to the shower and let the hot water soothe your tired eyes and slowly wake you up. I love a nice shower. However, there is a slight complication to this matter in Korea: my bathroom is my shower.

My very own sink showa!
In order to take a shower, I must turn on the sink, wait for the water to heat up, then turn a knob on the side of the sink to divert the water to the shower head on the wall. Then the water sprays all over the floor. I, and many others, must wear shower shoes in my own bathroom to avoid slipping and busting my butt. The worst is when I go into the bathroom with socks on, forgetting that I recently took a shower. Wet socks is a very unpleasant feeling! I also wear the shower shoes to avoid the horrendous cold of the tile floor. In Korea, the heat is radiant, it comes from the floor. This heating system is not extended to the bathroom so, needless to say, the bathroom gets really, really cold.

I'm quite used to the whole sink shower routine now. It works fine. It does its job. I am just not looking forward to one of those days when I forget to turn off the divert knob and I get a surprise shower that ruins your freshly done hair and makeup (just like my Mom did when she came to visit). It happens to the best of us. The fateful moment is lurking out there somewhere. A real shower is something I am eager for when I return to the US - a curtain and a dry bathroom floor is all this waygook desires. And maybe a burrito. Oh sink shower, how you torture me!

Pedicures in Daegu: Biggest Disappointment Ever

Note: this post contains lots of girly details so if you're male and weak skip this post. :)

Rainy days and months of winter boots make this girl eager for a pedicure. Despite my utter fear of feet, I actually enjoy pedicures because of the whole shiatsu chair/leg and foot massage/exfoliation that goes into it. In Lexington, I pay about $25-30 for a pedicure. They are always great and I consistently leave feeling thoroughly pampered. There's nothing like sticking your hooves into a warm bath of water after a long week or just for the heck of it. So, after a pretty nasty winter we felt we deserved to treat ourself. So we set out to find a pedicure place in Daegu and relax a bit.

There's not exactly a dearth of nail shops in the city and there's one street downtown (one alley over from Lazy Diner, away from Cell Phone Street) that hosts about 10 such shops. We peered through the windows hoping to spot a shop with nice pedicure chairs while we froze in the Daegu winter temps. We looked into a few places and all of the prices seemed roughly the same. So we chose a particular shop that seemed decently trafficked and sat down in the 2 chairs in the rear of the shop.

Interior view of the shop from the chairs in the back. The guy on the bench kept saying he had to "go pee" every time we asked him a question. We are certain he was making out with his girlfriend (pictured next to him) in the back of the shop. I know this due to the unusual amount of sparkles around his mouth. After I inquired about this he promptly got up, declared his need to urinate, and walked out of the shop.
The baths underneath the chairs looked less-than-clean (I know, Mom, onycomycosis) but we had already committed. The price they quoted was 23,000 won. 20 bucks for a pedicure isn't bad but isn't exactly cheap, as everything else seems to be in Korea. I handed over the nail polish I brought (so I can do my own touch-ups and come on, it's so much more sanitary). Then they kind of rinsed my feet off then proceeded to remove my old nail polish. No soaking in a lovely warm bath. Then the nail girl did some trimming and jumped right into painting. My friend and I were both shocked and disappointed. NO massage!? NO scraping off all the dry skin!? This isn't a pedicure! I could've done it at home for free!

This highly unflattering but appropriate picture is my "I don't wanna pay 23,000 won for this crap!" face.
The girls at the shop then insisted we purchase 3,000 won flip flops (we were sporting Ugg-esque boots that night) as to not ruin the polish. We reluctantly acquiesced as we didn't want to ruin the most expensive color change we'd ever had. We kind of overstayed our welcome in the shop waiting for our polish to dry and, frankly, because we didn't want to enter the frigid air in flip flops. After about 30 or so minutes of drying we sighed and gathered our things to head out into the cold. All night we bitched about the unfortunate 26,000 won we seemingly wasted on what was supposed to be a relaxing and wonderful experience.

Shannon before we headed out into the frightful weather. Note the flip flops!
If anyone can tell me where one can get a real pedicure in Daegu please, please, please let me know! Otherwise, I would generally steer clear of pedicures here for fear of supreme disappointment.

The Quest for Waffles

Korea is very different from the United States. Before embarking on my year-long stint abroad, I considered what things from home I would miss the most. Many of the things I knew would be missed were food. The item that stood out the most was brunch.

I am a brunch person to the core. This is a well-known fact. I confessed to my friend that, "I don't consider myself a girly girl but I freaking love brunch." Brunch is the meal of champions, the saviour of hangover sufferers across the world, and a brilliant excuse to commence day drinking. Whether your plate of choice be the ever-heavy but oh-so-satisfying Eggs Benedict or the classic, refined standard of French toast, brunch is the by far the best meal of the day.

My delicious pancakes!

We sipped our coffees and chatted away until a server emerged from the kitchen with our meal. They looked fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. We both had a moment. The first bite was pure heaven. I mean, of course I've had better pancakes before but these were pretty darn good and they were beautiful, too. They were fluffy and warm and buttery and delicious. The fresh-cut strawberries and bananas on top added the perfect fruity sweetness to the mix and the ricotta, well, it's ricotta, you can't go wrong. There were also blueberries, but they were fresh out of the freezer. They were nice on their own but the extreme cold didn't mix so well with the rest of the entree. All together, I was extremely happy.

Shannon's grilled cheese french toast.
Then it was Shannon's turn to sample her brunch selection. Her plate also looked beautiful, with almonds and walnuts scattered across the artistically stacked french toast pieces. It looked as if this was also a stuffed french toast. "Oh is that cream cheese?!" we wondered. As Shannon took her first bite she confirmed that it was not, in fact, cream cheese but real cheese. Cheese cheese. It seems her french toast was more of a monte cristo than a the sweet dish to which we Americans are so accustomed. However, it was still delicious.

A pretty fine cappuccino.
As we polished off the last morsels on our plates, we gave each other that look of supreme satisfaction. "We are coming back here. Soon." Thank you, daily bread, for allowing me to sate my appetite for brunching, a luxury every girl requires. I also noticed the menu offered Eggs Benedict, some delicious looking waffles, dongkatsu (pork cutlet), and a few other non-breakfast items. All entrees ran between 7,000-10,000, I believe. Their coffee is also excellent - decently priced (my cappuccino was 3,500 won), nicely sized, and well-made. daily bread, I will return. And I am bringing friends.

A Visit to Ye Dental Clinic: I'm Cavity Free!

I love the dentist. Anytime I tell people this they gasp and call me a freak. I am comfortable with that assessment. Why would anyone like the dentist? All those horrible sounds of drilling, the taste of latex gloves in your mouth, being asked questions you obviously cannot answer, being unable to hide from the fact that you don't floss as often as you should, and the suspense of whether or not you'll have to return for a more invasive procedure. But I enjoy the feeling of leaving the dentist with super clean teeth and the knowledge that little sugar bugs (as my lifelong hygienist, Pam, always called them) weren't feasting on my enamel. Plus, I always get a free toothbrush (and in the hey-days, a free McDonald's french fry coupon)!

As the 6-month marked edged closer and closer, I knew it was time I find a good dentist in Korea for my bi-annual cleaning and polishing. Finding doctors in Korea can be rough, as the language is different and I honestly don't have a clue how insurance works here. However, I consulted a friend who had quite a bit of dental work done in Korea as to where she went. She suggested the Ye Dental Clinic in Bangwoldang. Right downtown, very close to me. Their website also boasts that they offer "perfect English, ask for Betty when you call." So I called and I asked for Betty. She is a very sweet girl who helped me make an appointment. Very easy process. Then I eagerly awaited my dentist appointment.

The day finally came for me to get my teeth checked out. So after a brilliant meal at daily bread (brunch from heaven!) I made my way over to Bangwoldang exit 12. The map on the website is a bit confusing but when I called the clinic (and after a bit of confusion because it was Betty's day off) they communicated that the office is located in the Citibank building. That made everything much easier (this is also because I was standing in front of the Citibank building). I hopped on the elevator to the 6th floor and when the doors opened I thought I had entered a spa. The reception area hosts a small pond with rocks and the area feels very calming - excellent for those with dental jitters.

Check-in was quite fast, as well. I filled out a single sheet of paper (this is totally unheard of as a new patient anywhere - I was pleasantly surprised) and asked to wait for the hygienist. After about 10 minutes, my name was called and I went back for x-rays. This was a painless process that only required me to bite down on a small plastic piece as the machine swiveled around my head - omnixray! I was then led into the exam room and sat down in the very modern dental chair, fully equipped with its very own TV (set to CNN for the waygook) and automatic water fountain. They took my picture with a fancy Nikon and proceeded to take more shots of my teeth. I then waited a few minutes for the dentist to see me.

Dr. Phillip Joo entered the room with a smile on his face and was shocked by my "annyong haseyo." I'm used to that by now. We chatted for a bit about my teeth - he pulled up pictures of my mouth on the computer and used an interactive program to draw lines on my teeth indicating where fillings are and the picture orientation. He then asked, "Do you ever think your teeth are whiter than others?" I responded, "Well, sometimes." I think this means my teeth are in excellent shape and a good shade of white to boot. I am very vigilant about my dental hygiene so they absolutely should be. Anyhow, he then confirmed my state of excellent dental health and yielded the floor to the hygienist.

The cleaning, or scaling as they call it in Korea, costs 70,000 won. Which is fine for me, but may be high for some. But this price also included all of my x-rays and a dental exam. The session began with a cup of liquid I was asked to swish around in my mouth. After a few seconds, my mouth started to tingle then went entirely numb. It was anesthetic. This is a great relief for many with dentist phobias, as you really can't feel much while they scale your teeth. After my mouth was thoroughly numbed, the hygienist leaned back the chair and draped a strange towel with a circular hole in it over my head. I couldn't see what was going on - another relief for those with fears of seeing all of those crazy metal instruments. After about 20 minutes, the process was over. I rinsed and spat a few times and took my still numbed mouth out into the reception area to settle up. As a "souvenir," they gave me an adorable little folio with the pictures of my mouth. I can now see exactly how weird the inside of my mouth looks at all times (but at least its straight and sparkly)!

With my lovely booklet of teeth photos! I spared the actual teeth photos. Apologies for the terrible quality - PhotoBooth!
Overall, this was an excellent experience. The staff is extremely friendly and can communicate in enough English to understand what is going on. The office looks brand new and they have top-of-line equipment. I definitely recommend the clinic to anyone - waygook or Korean - but the office is especially helpful for those of us English speakers out there. The only downside is that I didn't get that free toothbrush I always look forward to. Oh well, maybe next time.