A Request

I’ve thought a bit about whether or not to say something, but I decided it was best that I should.

I really would like people to stop asking when I’m moving back to America. 
I think it’s really affecting my decision-making process and making it more difficult.  Yes, I know x person misses me and so does x person.  I MISS YOU TOO.  I am enjoying my life right now and I am trying to better my own future.
I think it looks like I’m off having party time and people seem to be waiting for me to come back and get a “real job”.  Maybe that’s not the case, but just know that I will come back when I can.  I’m happy here and I’m enjoying my life…and I’m not broke anymore.  For the first time in my life, I am not broke.  I have money and I don’t have to eat peanut butter sandwiches or spaghetti for days in a row.
Again, I am working toward creating a better future for myself…and getting to travel and do things that I love in the process…I don’t know why I should be running home so quickly after I’ve achieved this.
I deal almost on a daily basis with guilt or other similar feelings because everyone I know seems to be getting married or engaged or graduating or hitting some other life milestone and I’m on the other side of the planet and I’m missing it.  But, I also know that it’s a choice that I’ve made.  I’m trying my best to stay connected to people while I’m here, but it’s a bit difficult to fly home for every occasion because I have 8-10 days vacation for the year and they are pre-determined dates.  Also, if I fly home (and it isn’t for good…just for a trip back), it comes out of my pocket.  All $1300-1500 of that plane ticket.

Anyway, I’m sure I sound mean, but I’m just trying to express my situation and hopefully put an end to that question.

My current plans:
My newest contract with my current school ends in September/October.  I hope to continue on with this school for an additional year which would put my finish date to be September/October 2015.  I do not get a free flight home this year if I decide to re-sign. The free flights are only the first flight coming to Korea and the last one sending you home for good.  I do however plan on coming home for Christmas (!) this year.  Christmas is my favorite holiday and I want to be home for this one.  And I’ll have enough money this time for the flight.  I have one week’s vacation around Christmas (which is why I can come back–the other week of vacation is at the end of July.  Again, it is predetermined and inflexible.)  

Anyway, time for work!
~

Exhale

I can’t even begin to explain how nice it feels to finally NOT have to worry about sending money home/putting my paycheck directly into my bank account as quickly as possible.  Finally have some cushion and it feels fan-frikin-tastic.

//Sidenote:
I wanted to get this bit written down as well so in 5 or whatever years, I can look back and still be proud of myself for this.
I thought when I came to Korea that I’d be able to save so much money and be able to leave with loans nearly paid off and a giant wad of cash in my wallet.
However, it’ll still be nice when it’s time to go, but I’m not nearly where I thought I would be because:
*Keeping two bank accounts above water (Korean and American) is tough work
*Paying around $400 to my student loans each month
*Having pre-existing debt (and also paying that down)
*Oh, and you want to travel, that will cost money too.  So will getting yourself set up in a new country and you can’t escape buying groceries.

Saving money is A LOT easier than in the US, but not as easy to hold onto it as I was expecting.  Anyway, I just wanted to make sure I had that written down so I didn’t forget and later wonder why the heck I didn’t roll out of here debt-free.  (Which IS possible, but it would take longer than I’m expecting to stay.–Probably could be debt-free after 5-6 total years here)…tempting, but I think I’ll be ready to move on well before that.

Go team,ME!  Hoorah! Hoorah!

Stuff

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what I want to do post-Korea and when I’ll leave and all that.  I’ve also talked with a lot of my female friends here, and we got into the issue of women travelers.  Not about solo-travel, but about the woman that wants a career, a family and to travel.  We talked about how difficult it can be and how different it is for men and women.
Ok, before you dismiss the topic and think I’m about to go on a feminist rant (which may happen in another post, but not today), just hear me out.
We talked about how women (in general, and maybe men as well…I’m not a man, so I can’t speak for them)–women typically have a general idea of when they want to be married and start having kids and all that.
If you asked my teenage self when that would have been, I would have been married already with a kid either under my belt or on the way.  Instead, I went down a completely different road than even I couldn’t have predicted for myself…and I’m happy with it.  But, what we talked about is that how men are able to continue on as a traveler or a nomad for longer without having to also worry about wanting to start and plan for a family (or not as early as women, anyway).
As a woman, they say that you should be about finished having kids by age 35 to reduce risks of disorders and health complications.  Ok, great…I’m 27, so I have PLENTY of time (as people remind me).  “Carpe Diem” , they say.  “You’re living the dream!”
Yeah, I know, but I also want a family.  And factoring in time to actually date and try to find/meet this future husband (seriously though, where are you?), and get married and make sure I have my career situated before I start popping out kids….annnnd that window seems a whole lot smaller.

I have a few friends here that are closer to that 30 mark (or past it) than I am, and they’re definitely feeling the pressure.  They’re also “living the dream” and really enjoying life…but also wanting a family. It gets even more difficult if you want to find someone that doesn’t have children already and hasn’t been divorced, as you get older.  “But you’re so young!  You’re only 27!  Enjoy your life before you have kids!”…you might be thinking.  And that’s true…I want to travel and I have dreams of climbing mountains and going to all seven continents…but I also really, really want to get married and have kids of my own.  And that also takes time.
Trying to find a balance between the two seems to be the difficult part.

I came to Korea to get my life in order, and by the time that I do, I’ll feel very good about leaving and being ready to start the next stage in my life…but I think in the back of my mind, I had hoped that I could find a like-minded traveler over here.  But…alas, that hasn’t happened.  Oh well.
Anyway, I just needed to get that out.

Note: I would still love to travel when I find my person/fiance… (a honeymoon trip to the Himalayas (!!!) or Fiji or the MALDIVES!!!…*sigh*…the list is endless), but…as I said, I really want to be a mom.  :(

Other updates: 
*My goal is to be home for Christmas this year
*Making good progress on paying off my credit card (Yay!  Go me!)
*I’m on Chapter 11 in my Korean book (last update about that was from 12/29 and I was on chapter 6)–A New Year’s Resolution was to finish my Korean book (30 chapters…)
*My planned time to leave Korea is Fall 2015.  (next fall)  I’ll have enough money saved so I won’t be broke as soon as I try and get started back in the US and I’ll have a good chunk of my debt paid off.  (And a DSLR camera in hand.)  Happy Lady.  :D

Re-Grouping

So, I’ve been feeling kind of blah recently, and I think it’s because I haven’t really had anything going on (and I’ve got the winter blues) because I’ve been trying to save more money…which leaves me with less here to play around with.  It’s fine and I’m not starving or anything, I’ve just found how much I can actually live on here and been trying to cut out expenses.

With that being said, I was looking at gyms and dance studios but ended up deciding on Ultimate Frisbee.  Totally out of left field, and I’ve never played before, but I’m pretty excited. That doesn’t start til spring though, and I’ve still been working on my Korean when I have free time.  I’m teaching myself and going at a relatively slow pace, so I still feel pretty beginner, but I love when things start to click.

I ALSO decided that I want to get back into learning Spanish.
I have a lot of free time because I don’t really go out to bars and that sort of thing anymore, AND I’ve had a long-standing goal of being fluent in 5 languages before I die, so…why not start while I have some time on my hands.
I was looking at Spanish course books online and they’re only like $15-20 AND I still remember A LOT from when I took it in school…so that makes me pretty happy.

Anyway, that’s pretty much what’s happening around here.

4 day weekend next weekend for the Lunar New Year!  Wahooo!!!  (Next holiday isn’t til like March or April, so yeah…bah.)

//Also looking into grad school programs and teaching certifications…a weeee bit overwhelming to look at.

Just Stuff

So, I think I’ve finally settled on a DSLR camera…the Nikon 3200.  It seems to be what I’m looking for…nice quality photos, good for a beginner but not too beginner where I might get bored easily with it.  Video features and the ability to make the whole portrait black and white except for certain colors.  Not horribly expensive either.  Expensive, but I’ve been wanting one of these for a few years now…hoping to have it around March-ish…  :D  Perfect timing as Spring will be here and the Cherry Blossoms :)

Also, I’m in love with the movie ‘Frozen’…love love love.

There’s a song on the soundtrack called ‘Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”, and I kinda want to introduce it to one of my classes.  I have an intro class that I teach songs to once a week.  We’ve done “Wheels on the Bus”, “5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider”.
The snowman song might be a bit difficult, but I think it might be kind of cool because it’s from a movie soundtrack.  //impressive\\  (And because I like the movie.  haha :D)

Anyway…I think that’s all for now.  Have a good week!  :D

//Edit:  Oh, and I also signed up to play Ultimate Frisbee in the Spring…first time for that, haha.  I’m excited to go play another team sport and to meet some new people :)   I’ve never played before, so this should be exciting.  :D

In the Market for a New Camera

This is a simple post really.  I’m in the market for a new camera (point and shoot) and/or something that has good video-taking capabilities.  I’d really like to be able to make a few videos about life here…just walking around here and there and then learn to edit them myself.  
I’ve had a few people recommend programs like Windows Movie Maker, etc, which I’d like to look into.  Definitely nothing serious, but videos are a bit more fun than photos and they help capture the actual atmosphere…

If anyone out there has any ideas as far as good cameras or camcorders, etc, feel free to send them my way.
I might just try and use my phone or my current camera (it’s my same camera from high school though and not sure how the quality will end up…)

Anyway…I think more photos and videos are my next project.  Get excited :-D
It just might take awhile to get everything sorted as I’m still trying to save as much money as I can.