Sunday, January 30, 2011

An-nyong-ha-say- WHAT?

I’m failing out of Korean class.  I’m trying, but it’s just not working out.  I would also like to say that today, out of 25 students, I was one of only three that had done my homework. That should count for something.  I’m one of the newest foreigners in the class so I accept that as part of my struggle, but still.  When I am doing something within a group, I need to be the best.  It’s the youngest child syndrome in me.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Eat, Pray, And Move On

“A true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. Their purpose is to shake you up, drive you out of [a situation] that you needed to leave, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light could get in, and make you so desperate and out of control that you had to transform your life.” EPL


Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Message From Our President

State of the Union 2011 - Tuesday, January 25

Let's also remember that after parents, the biggest impact on a child's success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom. In South Korea, teachers are known as "nation builders." Here in America, it's time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect. We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones. And over the next 10 years, with so many baby boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science and technology and engineering and math.

In fact, to every young person listening tonight who's contemplating their career choice: If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child -- become a teacher. Your country needs you.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Little Valentine

My Lovely (intentionally capitalized) friend Liz sent Charles and I a super fun care package this week. Her very handsome dog, d’Artagnan, and my very handsome dog, Charles, are now pen pals.  D’Artagnan sent Charles some Valentine’s Day sweets, including a pretty fabulous little t-shirt.  He’s been rockin’ it all over Daejeon.  Well, our three block walking radius anyway.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Wa Ba Pu

Each time I go to the store the sweet ladies working there like to help me find what I need.  And by “help”, I mean that they actually take whatever I am holding out of my hands and give me something different.  The first time this happened I had only been here a few weeks and was looking at olive oil. I had just decided on my selection and was turning to walk away with my choice in hand. Without missing a beat, the little retail helper snuck up from behind and took it away from me. She handed me an obviously lower priced olive oil with two bottles saran wrapped together. 

“1+1”, she tells me and smiles, while lightly bowing.  At this point I had no idea what “1+1” meant or why she was suggesting I buy the cheap olive oil but I didn’t want to be rude so I gladly took her recommendation, smiled back, nodded, and went about my business.  I know she was being helpful and I appreciated the gesture, but for her to just grab something out of my hands I thought was quite ballsy. And eventually I learned that “1+1” is the Korean way of saying Buy One, Get One.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Why You Should Come Teach In Korea

Or at least someone you know should.

I know everyone has their own thoughts or concerns about the stability of Korea and our lovely neighbor to the North, and while I will completely respect that…  it’s just plain silly. This is a wonderful country that is incredibly safe and filled with kind and sincere people.  You will often see small children walking alone and bicycles resting unlocked on the side of the street. Mail is delivered in unlocked boxes and store owners will often leave their store unattended. And nothing bad ever happens.  Why?  Because here people have respect for themselves and respect for everyone else.  The crime rate is unbelievably low here. It’s a wonderful breath of fresh air from America where you always have to ensure that your doors are locked, credit card bills are shredded and make sure children know to never talk to strangers.

Friday, January 14, 2011

My Astrological Universe Just Did A Belly Flop

I’m one of those people that completely believes in astrology. Well, almost completely.  I don’t believe in the horoscopes so much but the personality traits that accompany each sign are almost always spot on.  I have always been the loyal, emotional and nurturing, though very unforgiving Cancer that the zodiac says I should be. Even before I knew the zodiac said that. Being a Cancer has always been a lot of how I identify myself. I also have a long running track record to prove that I have a love affair for Leo men. While our compatibility isn’t exactly written in the stars, my profound (and often times detrimental) love for that specific personality type is written in stone. It’s hard for anyone to argue with me the inexactness of the zodiac when I have a lifetime of experience proving otherwise.  I’m a believer.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I’m A Whiz At Excel

I know this because today one of our new Korean teachers asked me to help him with excel so he could reformat some documents.  We took about an hour and I showed him how to change all the formatting, margins, page breaks, and just overall how to make it look pretty and printer-friendly. He picked it up really well so I was happy. My internship at the Disney Learning Center teaching century old cast members how to use a computer wasn’t in vain after all.  Oh yeah, and the program was in Korean.  Absolutely no English.  I dare you to try it.

In unrelated news, I’m protesting winter. I think I’ve been quite cooperative the last month and a half and frankly, I don’t want to do it anymore. I have decided that I am officially quitting winter. I left most of my summer clothes in Lakeland, but I have been wearing the few cute warm weather tops I did bring.  Under a jacket.  Under a coat.  With a scarf.  It makes me feel better.  It’s like when you wear a cute new bra.  No one else knows about it, but just wearing it will make you smile a little more that day.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Comforts of Home

You know you are truly at home in a foreign country when you can navigate your way around the grocery store without much difficulty.  I’m not there yet. However, this evening after work, on probably my 5th trip to Home Plus (think Wal-Mart with 5 floors) I am feeling much more comfortable than I did the first time.  I now can easily find dog food (3rd floor in the back next to the toys), shampoo (2nd floor all the way on the right) and tonight I mastered the meat department.  US imported cow is probably 4 times the cost of back home so I purchased Australian cow meat instead.  And some chicken.  (And yes, I know that I probably shouldn’t have told you that I’ve only been to the grocery store 5 times in almost 3 months. But that really shouldn’t surprise most of you either.)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year Meme

Ok, I have no idea what a “meme” is (and I’m not completely sure it’s a real word) but apparently this is it.  It’s “borrowed” from my friend Matthew, who got it from someone else and blahblahblah.  I actually really like these and miss them since no one’s on MySpace anymore. 

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

Let’s focus on the positive, shall we?

I got my passport.  I moved to the other side of the planet.  I started a blog.  I actually have kept up with my blog. (I am most surprised of that one.)  I got a teaching job.  I have taught little Korean children to speak English.  I took a taxi, bus, subway and a train. Sometimes all in the same day. I have climbed a mountain, well, part of it. I sold almost everything I own. And I have no stress.

I have plans for many more “firsts” next year.

New Year’s Resolution

I’m not a believer in New Year’s.  I don’t even think it’s a real holiday and everyone knows that resolutions are made only to be broken. However, I looked forward to the end of 2010, and more importantly, the beginning to 2011 with more enthusiasm and heart than I have ever wanted anything in my life.  It’s the start of a new year- 2011, the year I turn 30, the year that I spend in South Korea rewriting my life story.  Maybe this is just the year to make a resolution and make sure that I do everything in my power to never break it.  I have no idea what the next 10 months will hold for me, but I was inspired by the restaurant where Marisol and I had lunch today.  

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Lessons Learned 2010

2010 - Good riddance. I will not miss you. Everyone has their own rock bottom and the first four months of this year were exactly that. The following five months can only be described as Purgatory,  and the final three most wonderfully feel like Recovery.  Unlike last year, these are almost all rooted in my life somewhere. It was less educational than 2009 (which I am more than happy with) but with any luck this will be the hardest year I will ever live through…


#1 South Korea rocks.