The Tide is Turning

Woooow!  What a week.

*Moved out and in with a co-worker
*Closed my bank account
*Had my last days (MWF and T/TH) at work
*Had a pizza and wine night last night with my co-workers
*Caught a cold (not surprising–stress, being super busy and lots of sick kids…)

And here we are…my last weekend in Korea.

I’m actually not doing anything major to mark the occasion or anything.  I’m just exhausted from this week so just mostly hanging out around my friend’s place and grabbing coffee with a few peeps.

I broke down on Thursday when I was working 1-1 with one of my favorite girls.  We were working together on her homework and I ended up having to excuse myself because I couldn’t stop crying.  Er..
I’m not sure how I feel about crying in front of kids…I just felt like I shouldn’t at the time because I didn’t want her to feel worse or whatever, but then it also shows how much I care about her.  I mentioned that I would write to her if she wanted, and she came in the next day (Friday) and reminded me about it.  I didn’t want her to feel forced to when I mentioned it on Thursday during our 1-1, so I’m happy that she came up and said something yesterday.

Also, I just wanted to give a shout-out to myself.  I am sort of amazed at how much I’ve gotten accomplished this week.  Granted, I’ve worn myself into the ground and am physically and emotionally drained..but I got everything on my to-do list done.  Woo!  It was hard because I basically worked right up until the day of my flight and only had a few hours each morning to make sure that I got to each of the various government offices and sold everything that I needed to sell.  Just a few small things this weekend and…the flight on Monday morning (morning starting at 4am to catch the airport bus…hoo.rah.)

Anyway, this post is a grammatical mess and is as disorganized as my own brain, so here are some pictures.

 

And another favorite song:

All Of Me (Cover)–Max and Zendaya [John Legend]

 

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February: Let the Insanity Begin–Part 2

So, I’ve sold off about 90% of my baking stuff and…I didn’t realize how much I had in my kitchen.  Nearly all the cupboards are empty.  Feeling a wee bit strange.

And while we’re talking about selling things, what is it with how weird people get when I try to sell stuff.  I’ve gotten so many messages essentially demanding that I meet these people at x time.  Yeahhhhhhno.  Actually, meeting should be a negotiation.
Taken directly from the chat:
Girl: i wanna by yur pancakes
Me: Hi! Ok great.  When are you available?
Girl: tonight
Me: Friday morning?
Girl: Ok, friday morning

Lawddddd.

Also, this other chick messaged me saying she wanted x items from a for sale photo album from six months ago.  The only one I had posted was my newest one.
I re-sent the link to her in the message and she asked me to send her pictures of each of the items that she had written that she wanted…which were already in the photo album.
Later asking for me to tally up the cost for her for the four items.  Also listed in the album under each picture.

Ugh.

Setting it all on fire would just be so much easier.

Bliss + Resolutions Follow-Up

Just wanted to toot my own horn a bit in this post.

So, I had mentioned before that I’m not really a resolutions kind of girl.  I like to see what opportunities arise and then go after whatever come up.

However, my NY Resolutions for this year have been something that I had been aiming to achieve for awhile now.  I also knew that to make resolutions happen, they’re supposed to be short and very specific.  Not: “lose weight” or “spend less money”, but rather something you can track and actually make progress toward.  Anyway, that’s what I did with mine and so far so good!

Updates: I’m London-bound in March.  It’s a very short trip and one that I knew I really wanted to do before I got back home and essentially got tied down again.  I’ll be staying with friends the whole time so I’ll be saving massively on accommodation and I’ve already done the touristy stuff, so it’ll just be seeing friends mostly.  AND I found a great deal on a flight.  (It helps when you watch flight prices for months…)  SOOOOO yeah, pretty pumped.
Then back to the work life afterward and I’m 100% okay with that.

Also, this really isn’t anything to write home about, I guess, but one of my resolutions was to be able to do a handstand by the end of the year.  I’m not sure how realistic that is, but it seems do-able.  I actually need to edit that and make it “freestanding” handstand–that is, away from the wall. (Eeeee!!)
I tested it out last week at some point and it’s pretty difficult.  I’ve been using the wall for support, and have been practicing both yesterday and today.  So 2 for 2 then.  😀
I’m doing 3 sets of 30 seconds per day.  My hands are…about a foot and a half from the wall, but I’m able to support myself, so that’s pretty exciting.  Just gotta keep at it.

The reading 20 books resolution is…going…but at a turtle pace.  I’ve recently finished A Christmas Carol and have started on Throne of Glass, which is book 1 of a series.  Maybe I can knock out some more books on this book challenge on these international flights.

AND…I’ve registered and began part 1 of 3 of my Pediatric CPR/First-Aid course (the title is longer, but that’s all I can remember off-hand).  It’s a requirement for most pre-school or teaching jobs back home, plus a nifty life skill, so I’m excited to get that finished.
I’m doing part 1 online and then parts 2 and 3 have to be done with an instructor.  Those are the practical/exam portions.

Let’s see…I’ve got my resume updated and ready and have started selling off possessions.  I still have a lot of furniture though, so it hasn’t really hit yet.  It sort of comes in waves that I’m leaving.  It’s very bittersweet though.  I’m sad to leave the people I’ve met and my students (not looking forward to the last day with them…going to be a waterworks…), but I’m feeling very ready (or, as ready as I’ll ever be) and excited for this next chapter in my life to begin.

It also looks like I have an interview with a preschool back home as well.  I’ve been on their website and I’m so in love with what they’re doing at the school.  It looks like such a fun place for the kiddos, and I’m sure the adults too, ha.

Anyway, I’m just trying to take it a day at a time and to keep focused.  I’ve got all my to-do lists going in full-force and I feel like I’m keeping on schedule with everything, so yeah.  *exhale*

I just feel so…happy and content with where my life is going at the moment.  I was so worried for the longest time about adding in that trip to London honestly.  I kept second-guessing myself and wondering if I should be traveling so soon after returning home (two weeks after, actually), but now that it’s done, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I’m going to be able to see some friends I’ve met while in Korea but during my early years.  So, it’s been about 3 years since I’ve seen some of them, but we’ve kept in contact the whole time.
I was just so nervous that I’d return home, get my car and my job and not be able to save or break out of the routine and make the trip anytime soon.  Now, I just feel relief and excitement.
I’ll be home for Easter and the Fourth of July and just…bliss.

I’ve found peace among the madness that is going on around me.

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Progress?

After about 4 hours and feeling like I didn’t accomplish much, I wanted to write down what I did so I feel better about the time I spent researching.  I think the thing with research is that because it doesn’t produce any sort of tangible results, it’s harder to feel like you got anything done.  If you’re reading or doing practice  tests for an exam, you can see physical work, but just gathering information, not so much.

*Found basic info on 5 different schools
*Looked into classes for this summer to boost my GPA, then found out that you can’t boost your GPA after you graduate.  It just creates a new GPA.  Gah.
*Found a school in England that I’m really interested in (also half the cost of those I’ve seen in the US)–10 month program–The only issue so far is that my undergrad grades aren’t high enough for their prereqs.  I sent them an email asking what I can do to still have a shot at acceptance given my less than stellar grades (from 5 years ago…), so hopefully I hear something positive back
*Found out how to convert my GPA to the UK equivalent
*I’m thinking I’ll end up going to school in the UK, which helps me narrow things down a lot.  I still like the University of Oregon, but with $40k in tuition…and there are other places that will get me what I want for half the cost…I’m happy that the UK is making this decision easier for me.  🙂

I’m probably going to keep looking around tomorrow and see if there are other schools, just in case.  I also need to see if the PGCE is internationally accepted.  I’m assuming so?

Anyway, off to the gym to burn off some stress.

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.

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.

When Stressed: Make Lists

…no really, that’s my go-to.  Lists, lots of lists.

This is also a perfect description of my life right now.  All those kids that never normally take a sick day when they’re hacking up a lung everywhere have now decided (when we have A LOT to get finished) that now they’ll be absent.  My favorite is when I hear from the front desk that “x has a stomachache and won’t be here today.  He probably won’t be here tomorrow either.”
Ain’t no big thing.  Not like we’ve got a zillion things to finish before Friday.
Anyway, I also have a few super-fast workers that are finished with everything (as of Tuesday…good work!) and now the job is to keep them occupied while the stragglers finish up.  I’ve been pushing them and reminding them for two weeks about what we’re doing and when it needs to be finished by, and now they’re acting all surprised that we need to be finished by/before Friday.
I have a fun day planned, so they need to be finished to participate.

I also noticed that I bring a lot of this stress onto myself.
Brain: “Hey!  You know what would be fun and a great treat for the kids after two weeks of hard work?  Cookies!  They could make Christmas cookies!” “Yeah, yeah, what a great idea!”

Brain Today: “Wtf.  This is still a fun idea, but why do I get myself in these situations.  Yes, cookies will be fun…but is there a less…messy and exhausting activity?  Maybe coloring for the two hours and I can nap in the corner?”

haha 😛  I still love doing things for the kids, though and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I just wish my brain would pace itself a bit or something.

I also made a To-Do list for the next few days as preparation for leaving the country for two weeks/sub-prep etc…and it’s 4 pages.  FOUR PAGGGGGGESSSSS.  Yes.  Really.  Four.
Granted, it’s in a smaller notebook and it’s double-spaced and such, but…FOUUUUURRRR PAGGGGESSS.

I also wrote a few things that I’ve already accomplished so I can cross them out and feel better when I look at it.
Also, my Christmas shopping is 99% finished.
And I have 10+ hours on the plane to write out Christmas cards and read on my Kindle, so that’ll be nice.  I hope my brain will finally be able to quiet down during that time.  It’s like a circus in there right now, heh.  Thankfully…lists.  They help me keep my sanity.

Anyway, bedtime.
Here’s to knocking out a page or two on the ol’ list and another productive day tomorrow.

//Oh!  And I made a bunch of Christmas cookies on the weekend and I gave them out today.  I felt a bit like Santa 🙂  I gave little baggies to the cashiers at E-Mart (a chain grocery store/super giant) and two tins of cookies to my hairdresser ( who doesn’t really speak English, but she’s always super nice) and her team and two to the people at my favorite coffee shop.  😀
I still have few bags leftover from the Emart group, so I think I’m going to give them to my neighbors…I’ve already had quite a few “samples”.  Good thing it’s winter though. 😀