Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Many of you are dealing with weighty issues right now; I am as well. Even those of you who aren't, still face hurdles and frustrations now and again.

These verses are of great comfort to me:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.   ~2 Cor. 4:16-18 

As I reflect on today, I see a series of stark contrasts:
  • waking up with a lingering cough and headache, then remembering how healthy the rest of me is
  • hearing heart-breaking news from one friend, then receiving an apologetic note of reconciliation from another
  • learning that two parents complained I was neglecting their [horribly behaved] sons, then having two former students ask if they could come to my house this weekend
  • overhearing one student talk about how mean I am, then being surprised by another who gleefully snuck up behind me in the grocery store
Most of those examples seem trite, but you can probably guess where I'm going. Once again there's an opportunity to see things as half-full or half-empty. Each day undoubtedly offers dozens of opportunities; it's our choice how to view them and what to focus on.

Given that we're in the middle of Holy Week, it doesn't surprise me that my mind yearns to dwell on the negative stuff -namely on things other than the true Focus of this significant period. I was convicted and inspired by the following passage and am sharing it with you; hope it encourages you, too: 
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.    ~2 Cor. 4:8-10

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Reese's and Grades

Just a quick post. I'm in the middle of inputting students' grades while still battling this cold. At least I've got some American treats to keep me energized, compliments of my godmother whose nifty care package arrived today (thanks, Aunt Nan!).

Reese's peanut butter cups are probably a terrible thing for my cough, but I just can't help myself... they are impossible to find here, although I've heard rumors of some tiny shops carrying them, black-market style.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Fever, Cough, and Aches -Oh, My

Not much else to say, really. Well, actually, on the one hand there is because so much happens in a single day here... but I'm too weak to chronicle the highlights and challenges.  

In short, I took a cab home from work, then used the energy I had to whip up some pasta. Not much of an appetite, but the penne sure tasted good.

It's 36 degrees outside, but my head feels like it's on fire. Hope you're faring better.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Rest, Refresh, Reset

I really enjoy my Sundays here, more so than I have at other times in my life. On Sundays I attend an English-speaking service in Myeongdong. It's a great opportunity to see people with whom I have some significant things in common. While I'm there, I feel like I'm able to reset my thoughts, goals, and attitude -which goes a long way for preparing me for the upcoming week.

After church, a group of us went to dinner. Very authentic experience! We sat on the floor, and I ordered bulgogi. It'd been awhile since I'd had it, and it was a good batch. It'd also been awhile since I sat on the floor for an extended period of time, and I'd forgotten how limited my flexibility was. It's hard to sit cross-legged at a low table while managing chopsticks and a pot of boiling broth!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

In a Pit With a Lion...

A friend gave me a book today, and I'm already 40 pages into it. The book is In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson. It's a simple though thought-provoking read with very relevant insights. A sampling:
  • Spiritual maturity is seeing and seizing God-ordained opportunities.
  • Maybe God wants to stack the odds against us so we can experience a miracle of divine proportions.
  • Maybe our impossible situations are opportunities to experience a new dimension of God's glory.
  • Goodness is not the absence of badness. You can do nothing wrong and still do nothing right... Our calling is much higher than simply running away from what's wrong. We're called to chase lions.
  • Our greatest regrets in life will be missed opportunities.
Even though I'm only in Chapter Two, I highly recommend this book, especially for those of you who are dreaming big and need some extra-motivation to take that first calculated risk. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Behavioral Observations

I'm continually fascinated by students' behavior. Countless observations; here are a few:
  • it seems like whenever I ask younger students (grades 1-3) to draw a picture, the boys inevitably draw people fighting with guns while the girls draw flowers, hearts, and butterflies.
  • each day in my basic class, there are two students (a boy and a girl) who give me a sticker from their personal collections. They both have such kind dispositions, and their sweet generosity tugs at my heart every time!
  • in the same basic class, there are two other students (boys) who consistently find reasons to writhe around on the floor, even though we've yet to have a lesson on snakes and worms or an exercise on imitating them.
  • whenever I give out stickers or candy as a reward, about 30% of students will say thank you; the others say nothing or else ask for a different [one].
  • tattling is completely acceptable, at least through elementary school; examples:  Peter is speaking Korean! Sally is hacking [cheating]!  
  • students announcing their perfect test scores is also acceptable and is usually stated like this:  Yea! Ten-ten (as in 10/10).
  • asking about other students' scores seems to be socially acceptable, although I try to discourage it by saying that if students want their grades known, it's their news to tell.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Real Debate

Forget which nation is most powerful or who will dominate during March Madness; the real debate lives on:

A few weeks ago I told my middle school students that Pepsi is better than Coke, and then I teasingly added that they couldn't bring Coke into my classroom. They frequently see me down Pepsi during class and are amused by my anti-Coke feelings. So, it was a fun surprise to walk into class after our break tonight and find the above arrangement. I got a kick out of their efforts to humor me and appreciated their remembering the advice I offered on the first day of class:  it's usually a good idea to make your teacher laugh whenever possible. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Can You Help Me?

How do you feel when someone asks:  Can you help me?

I suppose it depends on the situation, and maybe even on the person asking, but today I was asked for help by two people I really like, and their requests made me feel good. 

It's nice to feel needed, significant, and valuable. Especially on days when you're inclined to feel exploited and expendable. 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Springtime Wonderland

With Spring officially here, you can appreciate my mild confusion when I glanced out my classroom windows this afternoon and saw giant snowflakes falling in rapid succession. The flakes looked on average to be the size of a 50 cent piece, no kidding. It was hard enough for me to stay focused, so imagine the effect on a room full of 5 year olds. Snow trumps teacher, every time.

Walking home was fun, though chilly. In hindsight, perhaps I should've been playing "Winter Wonderland" on my iPod, but I recently downloaded songs from Passion's new album, Awakening, and can't stop listening to "A Mighty Fortress" and "Healing Is In Your Hands." Highly recommend!

Scenes from the walk home:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Little Levity

There's no hidden subtext with this post -really! Just wanted to share a little levity. This poster was hanging outside of a shop in one of the subway stations I was passing through last week, and it made me laugh.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

In-N-Out, Not

I snapped this photo the other day when I was walking home from work. Knowing full well that my beloved In-N-Out doesn't have locations in Seoul, I still did a double-take. Not sure where this cup is from, but whenever I find the place, I'll have my camera ready and will provide an update.

In the meantime, I've just returned from a very American dinner -chicken burrito from On the Border and Baskin Robbins for dessert. Sometimes you gotta give in and give "When in [Seoul]" the night off.

Friday, March 19, 2010

What Do You Think?

When someone asks for your opinion, are you inclined to give it straightaway or do you hesitate while trying to understand why they're asking?

Today, two people approached me with questions that caught me off-guard. Both began with What do you think...? And funny enough, or not so funny, I gave my candid opinion in each instance without much hesitation. One question was on a very controversial issue, and the other was posed by a very senior individual. Given the contexts of both cases, there wasn't a lot of time for dialogue, and rather than respond along the lines of Let me get back to you, I shot from the hip. So, stay tuned to see if there's any fallout.

Unusual Welcome

Had to make the previous post brief to hit my midnight deadline (which I need to do in order to get the appropriate date stamp). However, I wanted to share this anecdote:

I may have mentioned before that generally no one talks on the subway, especially during the morning commute. On Thursday morning, en route to BSF, I crammed into a subway car and was about to put in my headphones when I heard:  Hello? Hello. Since I was the only non-Korean in the vicinity, I assumed someone was addressing me, so I glanced around to see who it was. Turned out it was a man standing near me, and when I made eye-contact with him, he continued:  Welcome to Korea. How long have you been here? I smiled and replied that in fact it had been exactly 6 months since I arrived. He asked a few other questions, and then when I mentioned I was from California, he seemed to trail off on a tangent about oranges, as in:  California's oranges are sweet and thick, but Korean oranges are thin and small. I politely listened, and since I was transferring in one stop, it didn't seem like a big deal. 

When we got to the station, I said goodbye and sped off to catch the transfer train. As I waited for it on the platform, I happened to notice the man's reflection in a glass panel I was facing; he was in line behind me, which I thought was rather odd. When the train arrived I scurried to land a seat, aware that the man was nearby. Without looking up, I pulled out a stack of papers to grade and noticed that his pant leg was just a few inches away. It was a creepy feeling. Although I wasn't worried, once he finally moved away from me, I definitely felt relieved. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Six months today since I've been in Korea, flown by in a blink of an eye.

Also:  My parents are celebrating 38 years of marriage -congrats! 


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March Melange

It's snowing! 

What a long, strange day it's been. Neither bad, nor especially remarkable... just an interesting melange of activity. I clocked into work at 10:45 this morning to assist my manager with a marketing task -namely, passing out fliers and candy to elementary school students in an effort to entice them to our academy. We visited two schools, and it was fun to see students of mine at both. One student is particularly endearing. He is so young, so sweet, and just so darn earnest. Definitely one of the gems in my teacher's jewel box.

We wrapped up the marketing event just in time:  the snow flurries began right as we ran out of fliers. Thank goodness. It was unbelievably cold, and my shoes weren't really weather-appropriate.

Back at school I had a surprise awaiting me:  baked goods from home! My mom had made the most perfect macaroons and lovingly sent some my way. They were sublime, and I've already consumed four.

Classes were crazy-hectic this afternoon, and the kids were unusually rambunctious. Good thing my mom included ibuprofen in her care package as my supply's been running low...

Walking home from work was a lovely way to cap off the day. The falling snow kept me company, and everything looked so pretty and sugar-coated.   

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Future Past Present

Sometimes when I sit down to chronicle an anecdote or idea, I have something specific in mind. Then there are times, like now, where my thoughts are all over the place, and I struggle to zero in on a topic. Admittedly, I feel an obligation to say something meaningful, substantial, and/or significant, and I get frustrated with myself when I miss the mark.  

I've noticed that during the last couple weeks, I've experienced difficulty in getting motivated to write. Lately, it feels like more of a discipline than a creative outlet. Coinciding with this phase are new variables in my routine that may actually be causing this effect (causation or correlation, TBD). For instance, in the last two weeks I've started teaching Ancient History (which requires me to ponder civilizations like Mesopotamia and Egypt) while beginning work on an extra-curricular project that is very 21st century. Consider this morning:  I was at a meeting talking about digital downloads and new media, and then within an hour I was at school preparing to lead a discussion on Early China and the Indus River people. It's almost like the subway ride I took from the meeting to school is a time machine transporting me into various millennia. Okay, so that may be a stretch, but at least that's how it feels.

Anyway, all this to say that if you've noticed a slump, you're not alone -I'm aware of it, too, and the above is my attempt at an explanation. Thanks for sticking with me; I'm aiming to improve.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Roll With It

Before going into work, I resolved that no matter what the day might bring, I'd roll with it and even laugh along, when applicable. Also, and this is significant, I prayed specifically that I'd decrease and God would increase.

Would you believe that today went better than the previous several days?

Sure, there were hiccups and student issues, but since I'd elected beforehand to not get worked up over things, I found that I really didn't get too frustrated or flustered. The goal now is to implement this strategy daily... care to join?   

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Happy White Day


Except, I don't think I'm actually supposed to be declaring that sentiment to the general public. From what I've gathered, White Day is the counterpart to Valentine's Day in Korea and Japan. I didn't realize this back in February, but apparently girls buy guys gifts for V-Day. Then the guy returns the courtesy on March 14th, and funny enough, the tradition calls for him to spend three times the amount she spent on his gift. 

I'm often struck by the amount of couples I see when I'm out and about, and today was no exception. Even in the heavy afternoon rain, I counted dozens of couples strolling arm in arm, united in love under a shared umbrella. In this regard, Seoul could give Paris a run for its money (side note:  it's customary for the guy to carry the girl's handbag, which is sweet, I think).  

Speaking of rain... I got caught in a downpour without an umbrella. I generally don't mind being without one, and even today it didn't bother me, although I did get several strange looks. Finally, I looked in a mirror and saw what anyone around me could see:  drenched girl, with hair amiss and mascara-raccoon eyes. I was laughing inside imagining that the couples who saw me were saying to each other:  No wonder she's all alone on White Day.

Stay tuned for Black Day. No joke, it's coming up on April 14th. To my single friends in Seoul:  let's make it a good one.

Saturday Highlights

Saturday was busy, and I'm feeling quite tired. However, not wanting to lose momentum in writing (one day off can easily lead to another, and another...), I'll share a few highlights:
  • productive meeting with an on-fire team in an unfamiliar part of town (and my bonehead move of taking the least efficient way to get there:  4 subway transfers instead of 2)
  • focused thinking on marketing strategies and business models
  • lovely dinner with a girlfriend at Praha in Itaewon
  • spontaneous meeting with another friend for late night Cold Stone
  • WiFi working on my iPhone at random times --my buddy's back!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Act Two

Did you realize you'd been reading Act One all this time...?

Today (actually- Friday, since it's now after midnight) seemed to symbolize the start of a new act in this grand Korean adventure. I'm nearly halfway through my teaching contract, and fittingly enough, because of one teacher's imminent departure, I was given a new, larger classroom. As with housing changes, it appears that switching rooms holds the promise of great things to come. 

Since I never shared pictures of my original classroom, I'm posting some now. This ought to buy me time to get the new room in shape and ready for its closeup:
It can't be seen in these images, but my favorite part about this room is that outside the window is a church with a large cross that's lit up in red in the evening. On many nights I'd be in the middle of a lesson and glance over at the cross to get a renewed sense of purpose and/or joy. I'll miss seeing it every night. There are, however, literally hundreds of these neon crosses in Seoul, so I'm hoping that at least one will pop into my line of sight now that I'm in my new classroom.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Lot Like January

As you may know, January was an intensely busy month with crazy-long days of teaching. This last week has felt quite similar as I've been adjusting to a work schedule fuller than I had in February (add to that the time invested in outside projects, and it really seems hectic); the recent snowfall only adds to the January likeness. Frankly, I'm grateful for another opportunity to wear my snow boots and hope there's a few more occasions on the horizon...
If you've recently (or not-so-recently) sent me an email, or a note on Facebook, and have been wondering when I'd get around to responding:  please print out today's posting (in lieu of an IOU), and know that a reply is on its way. Oh! and I'm thinking of you all the while.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

How Did I Get Here?

Today was one of those rare days where if you'd told me things would play out they way they did, I'd have a seriously hard time believing you. To paraphrase the Talking Heads:
You may find yourself in another part of the world... you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?
I went to bed last night thinking I'd be attending a morning meeting with two others to discuss the Project; when I awoke, there was an email mentioning a change in plans. Boy, was there ever! I can't say too much, but for posterity want to record that it was a very special meeting indeed. There were actually 13 of us in attendance; I was the only Caucasian and the only one who didn't speak Korean. Yet, the Common Denominator that we shared was, and is, the most awesome and powerful one.
While initially perhaps I felt kinda out of place, I got past it, especially as I reflected on things. I am now in a situation where the following elements (and surely some that I'm forgetting) are all coming together:  
  • my love for Jesus and a desire to share that Love with others
  • interest in CCM, cultivated over the last 9 years (thanks, largely, to a friend who introduced me to standout artists + Passion/268)
  • MBA studies
  • experience launching an e-commerce site in the hip hop space
  • residence in Korea 
When I break it down like that, then put myself back in the place where I was earlier today, it's hard not to think that it's all part of a bigger plan. This goes back to what I mentioned earlier this week:  I do not think these events are random at all.

Very, very excited to see what happens.  

Monday, March 8, 2010

New Schedule, Revisited

It's not the change in routine that's bothersome, it's the actual routine. I am literally wearing myself down:
  • my throat feels raw and my voice is shot from overuse
  • my Advil supply is running down from frequent use
  • the heels on my shoes need regular repair 
I am writing from my bed where I hope to collapse into a deep slumber soon. However, since I've only been home for 20 minutes, my mind is still racing from the day's chaos, and it may take awhile before I can fall asleep. Forgive me for expressing discomfort, but I'm trying to paint an accurate picture of the circumstances while still holding back a lot.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Random or Not?

I was going to begin by mentioning how much I love the randomness of events that can occur on any given day in Seoul. Then I remembered one of my favorite expressions:  Everything happens for a reason. So perhaps it's not at all surprising that my plans for a post-church dinner with one person metamorphosed into sharing a meal with a small, eclectic group of very interesting individuals. We dined on galbi in Sinsadong, and it was definitely one of the tastiest meals I've had since arriving. If only I could remember how to get back there...!

When I think about how things have been lining up in my life lately, I have to smile. Events that occurred both recently and long ago are gaining significance as I draw from those experiences while taking on new initiatives. Can't elaborate now, but I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The North Side

I spent most of today on the north side of the river, and it was a good change of scenery. Granted, I'm there twice a week anyway for church and BSF, but it was nice to visit on a Saturday and experience a different pace. A brunch meeting (for the still-to-be-announced special project) brought me to Itaewon, and so that's where my day began. Lots of people were out, and even though I've been there a few times, it still throws me off to see so many Westerners in one place, especially since my neighborhood seems to have so few. Incidentally, the meeting was terrific -inspiring, invigorating, and something I'm excited to share once I get the green light...

From Itaewon I ventured to Myeongdong where I did something very NYC which amused me greatly:  I stood in line to get into H&M. It's the first one in Seoul, and the hype has been brewing since I arrived in September. The last time I waited in line to get into an H&M (or any store for that matter) was at the shop on 59th and Lex, back in 2006 when the Viktor & Rolf collection debuted. The new store was packed, the salespeople were friendly, and the shoppers looked euphoric. Even though the prices were definitely higher than in the States, I was happy, too.
While in Myeongdong, I also did something very Korean. I'd read about a restaurant that's been operating there for 40 years, serving the country's tastiest mandoo. Always ready for dumplings, I decided to find the place (no small feat). I waited in line there as well and was thrilled to be the only Westerner; it made the whole experience feel more authentic. Since I already knew what I wanted (kalguksu, knife-cut noodle soup with a few token dumplings), I ordered when I was seated, and 60 seconds later it appeared. The food was excellent, and the portions enormous; can't wait to go back with some friends.  

One noteworthy aspect of being on the north side of town is that it's more compact, so I was able to cover a lot of ground in minimal time. I even made a return visit to Namdaemun, which was fun. It seemed livelier and more interesting during twilight. 

I definitely appreciate a day like today. On top of the aforementioned highlights, the weather was cooperating, and I got through all the outside activity wearing a jean jacket and pashmina -no gloves or heavy coat! 

Friday, March 5, 2010

One of Those Days

Today was one of those days at work where if you itemized all the challenging (read:  annoying) things that occurred, you'd look like a nitpicking jerk. However on this side of things, the day seems almost comical. Funny enough, there were several sweet things that happened, but based on the sheer volume of frustrations, they were negated, at least at the time when everything else was happening. Now, writing from the realm of domesticity, I can smile as I think about any of the following:
  • The darling students I began teaching for Basic English (where we play tapes with songs about saying hi and goodbye); the kids are so little and cute, they actually look like dolls that have come to life.
  • A boy from Basic who insisted on spontaneously getting up from his chair and shaking his booty during our lesson.
  • The lone girl in Basic with the tiny lisp, raspy voice, and huge eyes. Anything she says is precious.
  • Three former students who rushed to my classroom and enveloped me in hugs. So impressed they actually took me up on the offer to stop by...
  • Dining on a breakfast burrito with salsa verde, compliments of a NorCal aunt and SoCal uncle (thanks again -marvelous way to start any day!).
We always have the choice -half full or half empty. Can you tell which one I'm trying to focus on?!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Scary Eyes, Nice Handwriting

So much for switching up all the classes. Looks like I'll be hanging onto some students longer than originally planned (both good and uh-oh news). On top of keeping a few stars longer, another advantage is the whole better-the-devil-you-know thing; at least with the non-stars (challenging students), it's like we've reached an understanding in how we operate with one another. They know what to expect in terms of me, and vice versa.

Just one catch:  Iguana Eyes lives on. The students who coined the name brought it up again -and this time they elaborated. Apparently my eyes are scary because:  1. they're so big; and 2. they change color -sometimes green, sometimes brown, and sometimes iguana-eye color (hazel?). After a brief discussion about the pros and cons of iguana eyes, one girl wrapped up things with:  We've grown accustomed to them, so they're less scary. I'm tempted to buy green-colored contacts to really give them a scare.

At least my handwriting appeals to them... that came up, too. I was writing dozens of words on the board (nouns, if you must know), and the way I wrote a few of them caught the girls' attention. They asked me to show them how to write in that way and also if I could write out their names. I happily obliged (anything to break up a long grammar lesson), and then things got funnier when they asked if I would write out my signature on each of their papers. Kinda touching and sweet to be asked for my autograph. One girl even said:  this will make a nice memory. Aww... now that (almost?) makes up for scaring them with my enormous, reptilian eyes.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Tale of Two Sketches

Today was the wrap-up session for my MWF classes. So fascinating to observe how differently students react to switching to a new teacher. Some are sad, some excited, and others ambivalent. I've taught one of the groups since I started at the school and the other since December; have grown attached to several of the students and others... not so much.

The unpredictability that each day brings never bores. Sure, it can amuse, frustrate, challenge, and/or inspire, but it never gets dull. Take tonight. During this particular class, one student drew a picture of a monkey and then announced that it was supposed to be me. I was annoyed because she's usually well-mannered, and it seemed rude for her to interrupt our class discussion to share her sketch (am I crazy or is it still disrespectful to refer to your teacher as a monkey?). I called her out on it and urged her to apologize, which she did. Usually when students are rude, I address it and then move on as if the event never happened, so that's what I did (even though inside I felt a little ruffled; not gonna pretend otherwise!). At the end of class, another student handed me a note. Initially I thought it was one he'd found on the ground, but then he told me to open it. Turns out he'd written it -a thank you note for being a good teacher. He also drew a cartoon which, upon first glance, appeared to be a teenage boy with bushy eyebrows, flexing his arms. However, I realize now the sketch is of me given that the character is wearing an ensemble identical to what I had on.

Moral? I'd take thank you notes with androgynous cartoons any day over monkey sketches.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Today was my last class with a small group of middle school girls whom I've taught for the past five months. It's amazing to reflect on how our dynamic has blossomed during this time. When I first inherited them, they were sulky, moody, and very reluctant to talk about anything, including the lesson material. Now, they'll happily share details about their likes and dislikes, and so we spent a large part of tonight's class discussing their respective love lives. They each have secret boyfriends that their parents don't know about, so I felt privileged to be brought into the loop. As class drew to a close, one girl said she loved me, and both of them expressed sadness over moving into new classes. I was sad, too, but they promised to stop by my classroom to check in now and again. Now that's progress.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sleet and Laundry

My day off wasn't exactly the productivity extravaganza I was hoping for, but when you wake up to sleet at noon, what can one expect? (Side note:  not sure what's compelling me to sleep in such strange intervals and erratic patterns, but I'd like to sort this out sooner rather than later. Lately, I cannot predict when I'll fall asleep or for how long I'll be down.)

Laundry is my favorite domestic chore, and so I used the cold weather conditions as an excuse to wash multiple loads, primarily the colorful pashminas I picked up in Hong Kong. They're even softer now! I also compulsively cleaned my bathroom drain, taking it completely apart this time (that whole process is utterly revolting and yet strangely gratifying). After dousing my bathroom in bleach, it was time to get out of the apartment for awhile, and so I took a three hour walk. I headed to Olympic Park and walked around there for a bit. I got sidetracked though because on my way over, I saw a delivery guy for Papa John's which reignited my interest in figuring out where the restaurant is. After searching around the area, I still haven't found it.

On my way back home, taking a different and more scenic route, I spotted a TESCO. Checking it out was quite an experience as the store is eight floors and full of everything a home could need -from food and toiletries to dishes, linens, clothing, appliances, electronics, etc. I was hoping for more international brands but didn't see too many. Still, once again I'm reminded of the endless shopping opportunities there are in this city.