Productivity to Chase the Post-Trip Blues Away

I’m taking another mini-Facebook hiatus because I hate that it’s a habit to log on as soon as I open the internet or pick up my phone.  I don’t even think about it.  My fingers immediately do it…and that’s a habit I’d like to break.

Anyway, I think I’m approaching the end of this mountain of work to do, so that’s a relief.  I’ve also heard from friends that this feeling of…well…dread about coming back is normal.  That’s also nice to hear.  Apparently it’s called something like “post-trip blues” or something to that effect.  I’ve never felt it that intensely before–sort of like a giant weighted blanket that I can’t shake off–so news that it will wear off is nice to hear.

Yesterday I volunteered at a local dog shelter and got to take a dog for a mountain hike/walk with a group of other volunteers.  It was a really nice day for it and…I sort of fell in love with mine.  I think she was abused or something before coming to the shelter because she was really skittish around people and would immediately lay down with her body leaning away if you tried to pet her.  She would visibly flinch when you touched her too 😦  Poor baby 😦  Apparently some dogs never outgrow that, which is heartbreaking.  I’d like to see what she’s capable of with being in a loving home though.  Maybe I could help turn her around.  Plus, spring is coming and I’d love a reason to get out and go for a walk.  (She’s timid with those as well, though.  If she’s afraid, she’ll just lay down and completely refuse to go further.)
I learned more about fostering from some of the other volunteers and I’m starting to consider fostering her.  She was really sweet and I’d love to be able to give her a loving home and take her out of the shelter and give her some TLC.  I know it’s a big commitment, so I haven’t made any decisions yet.  I’m thinking of going back to the shelter this weekend to take her on another walk or see what I can do there.  There are some people that go up every weekend and it’s only a short cab ride from where I live…
I wonder what my hamster, Munch, would think about sharing me with a new friend.  haha

Let’s see…I’m at a coffee shop now finishing the last of these silly report cards. It’s a bit weird in my opinion to be writing up a bunch of report cards when a lot of the parents can’t read English, but ah well. It looks pretty anyway.  I guess it’s also normal for them to start sounding similar when you write out about 20+ of them.  It’s a bit like writing “x is a great student but _______” or ” ______ needs to work on…”.  I’m trying to make them sound different but I guess there’s only so many ways to write certain sentences.
I also work much better at coffee shops than I do in my own apartment, so I should have them finished within the next hour, which is super exciting.

I Skyped a bit last night with two friends I met in my early Korea days and it was awesome to catch up.  They’re both in roughly the same area (the UK), so it’d be awesome to meet up for a reunion post-Korea.  However, if I foster this dog, then that could make things interesting.  The future does change rather quickly though when you make big plans, so we shall see.

Anyway, that’s enough rambling for today.  Back to these report cards…

Edit:
1. Report cards are finisheeeddddd!  Wahoo!
2. I’m stoked because a friend of mine from England and I are putting together care packages for each other.  She has stuff from Korea that she misses and I miss England in general, so she’s going to put together a little box for me.  I think she mentioned putting curry mixes in for me because I’ve developed an insatiable love for Indian curry and naan.  🙂
3.  My gym membership starts back up tomorrow and I’m anxious to get back at it.  I delayed my membership til tomorrow because I didn’t want to overwhelm myself and make myself feel obligated to go while jetlagged and settling back in at work.  In hindsight, it would have been nice to be able to burn out some stress, but ah well, tomorrow it is and I’m ready.

Jetlag

Jetlag is no joke, seriously. It’s essentially being exhausted the entire day and then not being able to sleep at night because you’re still mentally in another time zone. And the cycle repeats and repeats.
Also, everyone around you seems to have boundless energy and I just want to put on my comfy pajamas, curl up in bed and watch movies all day.
Thankfully, there’s such a thing as NyQuil and also that it’s Thursday.  Weekend is coming.  Weekend is coming.

2

+: Continuing my research for post-Korea and the program at U. of Oregon looks really nice for my Masters
+: I’m wearing my favorite shirt today
+: I took down my Christmas tree, did the dishes and finally put away the laundry (con of having a laundry rack to hang things to dry is that it slowly turns into a storage unit)

-: still feeling bummy
-: lots to do for work before tomorrow (finish report cards and make book worksheets/comprehension questions for the inside of 10 books/weekly assignment for everyone)

I’ve been having a rough time re-adjusting to life here so I’ve decided to do a post series (until I forget) of two good things and one or two negatives to help me get back on my feet.

“Square peg, round hole” describes how I’m feeling of late.

+: My classroom looks better than ever.
+: I’ve missed my kiddos (especially class 2)
+: The girl at the noodle shop surprisingly spoke great English
-: Reaaaaaallly tired of being gawked at (not in a good way) by old men…about ready to punch someone in the throat

Life So Far in 2015 (and bits about my trip home)

I’m back in Korea and settling back into daily life here.  I’m actually pretty happy because I’m doing a nice job of kicking jet lag in the teeth.  Thankfully in most part due to work, heh.  The first night I slept about 4 hours even though I was exhausted…(1 car trip to the airport in LA, 3 flights, an overnight sleep in the airport, a 2.5 hour bus ride from the airport and a taxi ride to my house). Yeahhhh…that makes for a very sleepy me.
Work has also been keeping me busy, especially that first day.  The first day I not only was on 4 hours of sleep, but we started our new term (new students, updating the classroom, clearing out stuff from any old students) and catching myself up from what the sub did while I was away.  We also just got our student rosters on the first day of classes (typical hagwon-style).  Then my classes, which are back-to-back.  So, by the end, I was completely wiped out.  I finish now around 8:30, but I stayed til 9:30 entering grades from the tests they took while I was away and updating my classroom for the new classes/students.

Yesterday was much better. I don’t mind staying late if it’s going to help make things run more smoothly for the following days.  Also, I bought two maps off Amazon while I was in the US–one world map and one map of the US.  They’re actually pretty big, which I was expecting to an extent, but I was still a bit shocked at the size when I opened them up.  I’m really happy with them now that they have a place in the room though.  I also took down our Christmas decorations yesterday.
Combined with doing laundry, unpacking, making meals and meeting a friend for brunch…my past two days have been crazy.  It’s also rough with new students because you begin again with everything, so I realized I took for granted how much my kids had learned and I’m working on teaching our routine to my newest bunch in my beginner class.  It’s a good opportunity to tweak things, but also exhausting when you need to explain everything again. My last bunch were (are–just in my next level class) fairly self-sufficient and now I’m going to be working on those skills with the new kiddos.

I’ve heard that jet lag goes away more quickly when you travel in one direction rather than the other, and it looks like it might be east–>west.  🙂  I was kept pretty busy at home too and I didn’t adjust any faster, I was just exhausted.  I know you’re supposed to ease yourself back into the time change–keep active and adjust your lifestyle to the new one–but go slowly at first…but life doesn’t always allow for that.  I’m just keeping an eye out for signs of illness now.

Anyway, so home was great…maybe a bit *too* great because coming back was a bit rough.  My mom took off work for most of my time at home and she helped me a ton by taking me to and from various places and treating me to meals at my favorite places.  I ate tons of great food, went shopping (and spent too much money…oops…), reunited with friends and got to spend my first Christmas at home since my last in 2011.
I bought my second cousin (we need a better term for that–this one sounds awkward) Jordan a personalized book from iseeme.com.  They have so many cute books there and the prices are reasonable.  Since I’ve ordered two (another for my friend’s nephew here in Korea) I get all sorts of discount codes in my email too.  My Korean friend said that she could tell it was a “Western-style” book because it encouraged kids to be whatever they wanted, and not only a doctor or scientist.

This one here.
The books are super cute and great quality.  If you’re poking around the site and debating ordering, I’m 100% satisfied with the books and will use them again if the need arises.  🙂

Next I went to Los Angeles to visit some friends and be a tourist 🙂  I’ve never been to the west coast, so that was pretty cool too.  I had a day flight, so I got to see some of the scenery from down below and the deserts were pretty awesome…Nevada, I’m guessing.  Maybe I’ll have to look at that giant map in my classroom, heh.
I spent 5 days there and saw most of the main touristy things there…and maybe fell a bit in love with California…
  
Walk of Fame                                                       Hollywood Sign!

Cool shopping center in Hollywood–This is one of the best locations to view the Hollywood sign (at least from where I saw anyway).  They have a hiking trail sort of by it, but you can’t get to the actual sign itself (saves it from vandalism etc.)

Venice Beach–It was a rainy and oddly chilly day in December, so there weren’t many people out.  The beach has a bike trail which I thought was awesome.  It’d be nice to be able to run/bike etc on the beach without having the sand flying in your face (and minus all the extra effort of running on sand).

Introduced to the gloriousness of deep-fried Oreos…


Venice Beach

Santa Monica Pier

I also went to In-and-Out, which everyone recommended I do while on the West Coast.  Overall another great (and delicious) trip.  For New Years, I went to my host-friend’s friend’s place and we had a party there.  It was basically a big bbq.  Anyway, that was cool too.

I thiiiink I’m all updated…I still need to upload those journal pics from my Japan trip, but my journal is at the gym and I don’t start up again there until Monday (wanted to get re-acclimated here and not need to worry about missing gym time on top of everything else).
I’ll take updated classroom pics when I get there today now that everything is all caught up.

Random Junk on My Mind:
**I got a new laptop battery and my laptop now lasts hours instead of 30 minutes when unplugged from the wall (hurrah!)
**Wishing my brain would stop with the decorating ideas for my apartment–trying to save for post-Korea (and maybe Budapest…)
**Signed up for ultimate frisbee again in the spring
**Munch-a-Saurus is back in my life (my hamster)
**PENPAL LETTERS made it to the US…finally…after like a month, sheesh.  That’s longer than a care package.  Such a huge relief though.  I think I’m still waiting on one more envelope (1 of 4), but all the letters are pretty much finished by the sounds of it and headed back this way.  We just changed classes around, so it could get interesting, but still relieved that they’ve made it over.

**Also must finish report cards by Friday…already ready for the weekend, but thankfully it’s Wednesday…
**I brought back a ton of stuff for my students too–Pixie Stix, Warheads (sour candy), maps, Mr. Sketch scented markers (which they’re amazed by… 🙂 ), Crayola crayons and colored pencils (Crayola wax crayons are about $10/box here) and a Magnetic Poetry kit.  I got my kit when it was on sale for Christmas though 🙂  We just put it out yesterday and it might be a bit hard, but better than the ABC letters that were up previously.  I’ll give them a few months and report back 🙂

*BREAKFAST IDEAS?–Any chefs out there?  We have like 4 kinds of cereal here and I’m getting burnt out with my oatmeal.  Help 😦  I’ve been doing combinations of fruit, yogurt and oatmeal, but looking for something else.  I was thinking of doing more eggs but they’re always too brown and dry and that puts me off making them.  (Plus, more mess to clean up.)  Fruit is expensive here btw.
Thinking about these breakfast cups...easy, healthy, quick and minimal mess.

Another doozy of a post.