Ooh! For me?! And it’s NOT a bill in Korean?! :)

Ladies and Gentlemen…it has happened!  I received my first “care package” from home..ah..Thursday?
It actually wasn’t really a care package, but I ordered from running shorts and new shoes from Nike.com, and since they don’t ship to Korea, I had them shipped to my mom’s house and she sent them over to me. (Thanks again, Mom! :))
Even though I knew it was coming, I was still really excited (ie: dancing around in the elevator, haha) when I got to pick it up from the security guy at the front desk.  🙂
Annnnnd…it only took 5 days!  Not too shabby!

My grandma’s friend Kay (practically family) also apparently sent me one recently too!  I feel so spoiled 😀  A real one this time…wahoo!  😀

Anyway, I still haven’t finished my TEFL course (yeah…remember that?  from months ago? ha.), so I’m trying to work on that and get it knocked out.  The online course has a 6 month limit and I have til May 16th or something like that.
I just got so busy with the car thing and then moving here…and then getting settled.
Now, I just need to make myself crank it out and get it done.  Ugh.

These are AWESOME!!!
Learn Korean

KWOW (Korean Word of the Week)

Sidenote 2:
I have almost 700 views to my blog!

Sidenote 3:
I think I’ve *inspired* my second person to come teach in Korea.  😀 😀


This is another personal piece, but what’s a blog about being on the other side of the planet without telling the whole truth.
The fact is, life goes on whether I’m here in Korea or not, and well…you’re supposed to deal with it the best you can either way.
I found out yesterday morning (for me) that I lost my grandpa.  It’s sort of been a long time coming because he’s been suffering from various ailments for the past few years. Thankfully, I have all the rest of my grandparents around…and even though I/we knew this was coming…it still hit like a ton of bricks.  I’m doing alright, but it’s still sort of come as a shock, and I was honestly in denial when I first heard from my mom.  That part of my brain assumed that my mom had been mistaken or that I had misheard or even made up that whole conversation in my head.

I wish more than anything that I could be there with my family through this and to help support my grandma.  However, I know that my place is here and that I’d be a fool to leave.
The great thing about being an expat is the community of other expats that you find yourself surrounded by.  These new friends become sort of like an extended family.  They know what you’re going through (whether it’s good or bad).
In this case, since I can’t be near my family, I’ve already had some friends checking up on me to make sure I’m alright and that I’m handling it ok.  And…you really need that while you’re “on your own” in another country.  It helps you, or me, feel less isolated.  And it’s wonderful.

I also think it’s going to be really strange to return back home in a year from now.

I wish I could be there to support my grandma (and other members of my family too, but especially her.)  We’ve been through a lot these past few years, as I also lost my dad to brain cancer in 2007   (5 years this December), but I know a lot of good things have happened too.  It’s just a rough few years.  (Partially why I’m doing this.)

Anyway, I’m dedicating this song to my grandma.  Well, and the rest of my family too.  ❤  Love you and miss you guys.  I’m there right with you, just in spirit.


Sorry, had to 😀

Wait…Wait!!  Here comes the chorus!!  VACATION…ALL I EVER WANTED!! VACATION..HAVE TO GET AWAY!!!!!

*ahem*  🙂

So, being in a hagwon (private school), I kinda get pretty minimal vacation days…in exchange for smaller class sizes.   I get 10 days off + all public holidays.  (Um..Korea, you need to add more holidays to your list…and stop making them on the weekends! grrr!  You’re a bunch of crazies!)

Anyway, here are my current vacationing plans:

Bali, Indonesia: late July (I have the dates in front of me, but I feel weird putting them online)
Here and Here for info.  Oh, and here.

Thailand:  Late December/Early January
Here and Here
(beaches, tigers and elephants, oh my!)

Japan: during Korea’s harvest festival in Sept/October
I have a friend teaching in Japan and I want to come visit her 🙂  And we can go to Tokyo Disney! 😀

Beijing, China: 3 day weekend (Thanks Buddha!)–this will be a back-to-back non-stop weekend of sight-seeing.  I’ve heard that it can be done, and that yes, it’s basically a crash-course for Beijing, but you can easily see all the main stuff in 3 days.
(Thanks to excellent public transportation!  Gr…we need this in America.  Get with it.  Gosh…we’re so sad.)

Here.  And here.

I have so much more on my list (while I’m on this side of the globe) and just not enough time to see it all:
Australia (I know it’s far…I want to go so bad.  Perhaps after my contract is up…)


Anyway, that’s two updates in one night…probably going to go read and then head to bed.

Edit:  Well, honestly, those places and general travel around Korea will be enough to keep me very happy 🙂

Are you sure you don’t want to come teach in Korea??  It’s pretty nice once you start to get settled in 🙂

Hold Onto Your Shorts…It’s a Doozy!

Here we go..finally a good, solid update…and it includes my snowboarding trip 😀

A few quick updates:
*apartment is feeling a bit more homey—I have some pics put up from home and just a few other touches
*I joined a book club.  I normally really enjoy reading and through college, I just never had the rime to actually read for the fun of it…and I’ve finally started getting back to it.
On the journey over here (and through the first few days), I read My Sister’s Keeper, and I’m currently reading Eat.Pray.Love., which I really enjoy so far.  (My Sister’s Keeper was also really really good, but I suppose a bit dark because the book deals with cancer and death.  Either way, I loved it.  Sad, but good.)  Eat. Pray. Love. Is also really good so far ( she just got to India)—and yes, I know it’s a movie.  I probably won’t end up seeing the movie.  The book has a lot of internal monologue and is more of a tale of a woman that discovers/finds herself, and I don’t think something that’s so personal could really translate that well to the big screen.
The book we’re reading now is by an Irish author, called Skippy Dies.  It has great reviews, so I’m excited to start up with that one too.
*I went to 3 jiu jitsu classes, but haven’t been back.  I liked it…but I want to get a bit more comfortable with my job first.  It’s just a pain because the class I want to go to starts at 7, and I’m finished with my last class at 6:45.  And I still need to wrap things up with them and enter homework assignments into the computer…and then I can leave.  Plus, that along with book club (which doesn’t honestly meet that often…but I feel overwhelmed if I try and juggle it all.  Overwhelmed and exhausted.
*I signed up for a 10K on April 7th (6.2 miles)—it’s during our Cherry Blossom festival.  The Cherry Blossom trees are supposed to be beautiful and I’m sure the weather will be nice too.  I just need to get running.  REALLY BAD.  AHH!  It’s coming up so quick!  Haha

Ski/Snowboarding Trip
Ah…finally.  Now, let’s hope I remember everything J
First off, there are quite a few organizations in Korea that offer weekend excursion trips around here and it’s pretty nice.  (Adventure Korea, Waegook Travel, When In Korea-WiNK)  They’re pretty much trips just for foreigners…  Also, since the trips are aimed at foreigners, they’re just weekend trips because we all work during the week.
Anyway, I’ve wanted to learn to snowboard for the longest time, so I got really excited when I saw they had an end of season trip planned.  The trip was based out of Seoul (about 3 hours by bus for me, 2 by train and 1 hour by KTX high speed train)—I had purchased a ticket for the KTX train but for whatever reason, I managed to get on the wrong train…which also happened to be one of the slower ones (still better than Amtrak :-P)…thankfully, the train I boarded was also headed to Seoul.  The ticket checker man helped me find a new seat and everyone was  really friendly and helpful.
I got out of school around 7, left my apartment for the train station around 8, and boarded my train around 9:10pm.  I got to Seoul just before 11pm.  I found a hostel online (but didn’t book, because I wanted to pay in won…) and got there around midnight.  Checked into a room and met some people from California that were studying in Korea and were currently headed for a night out in Seoul.
Went to bed around 12:30…woke up at 6:30 and went to my group’s meeting spot (54 of us!) at 7:30.  (It was super close, but I wanted to make sure I had enough time to get ready and find the meeting spot.)

We rode one of those fancy buses to the next pick-up stop (to get others from the group in another part of Seoul)…drove for about 2.5-3 hours (with a rest stop in there) and then rented ski suits and goggles from a shop about a few miles before the ski resort.  Checked into the hostel at the ski resort together, dropped off our stuff and then went to the connecting resort to rent skis or snowboards.

I was able to get lessons from an English guy who was also teaching his girlfriend.  (The coordinator was supposed to hold lessons…but I wasn’t able to find him…)  Anyway, it went really well and I’m now hooked on snowboarding J
We started snowboarding around 11:30/noon and went til around 5 (with beers and snacks in between—thanks to the cafeteria in the ski lodge).  A few of us went to dinner (Korean BBQ)  at a place across the street.  I had a pass for the night ski as well (7:30-11:30) and went out for that (hoping to try out my new skills)…but the snow had apparently frozen and was practically a sheet of ice.
I went down about halfway…falling more times than I had fallen probably combined when I was out 3 times earlier in the day.  I ended up taking off my snowboard and walking the rest of the way…sore and pissed off.
I went back to the room and everyone in our room lounged around and played drinking games.
I originally planned to do the regular day ski (the main event) and then the morning ski the next day—but I was able to get a refund for that from the director.  (I bought the extra evening pass while we were driving to the resort because it was pretty cheap and figured I’d like it).  I got the refund mainly because I had torn off skin on my ankles (short socks + snowboarding boots = BAD.  I honestly didn’t even think about it when I was packing…) and my right ankle was really sore.  I wasn’t sure if I’d be up for using the pass in the morning because of that and he gave me my refund.
I ended up sleeping in the next day and some of us from my room went for lunch at the top of one of the mountains.  Really fun and relaxing morning.  (and cold!!)

The whole trip was really fun and I absolutely want to do it again this coming winter  😀

Tiger Temple and Elephant Ride!


YES!!! A thousand times…YES!!!  😀

Sorry, another short entry–I’ll type more later tonight, but I just wanted to share.

I will do this before my time is over here in Korea.  This would be a side trip to Thailand, but so help me Lord, I will do this before I leave.  Both of these have been on my Bucket List for a good few years.  😀

Just a Side-Note…

WAHOO!  Just did laundry for the first time in Korea!

I have a bit of a headache so I’m going to go relax in bed, watch some Downton Abbey (Episode 5) and tend to my blistered (yay…) ankles.
Note: If you go snowboarding, wear thick socks that go up past your ankles.  Definitely didn’t even think of that when I was packing…and now I’m paying for it.