Every Ending Is A New Beginning

So, I think this is officially my last post as StaceyInKorea as I’m sitting at Incheon Airport waiting to board my first of three flights back home.

For good this time. The sadness has been replaced with a good portion of anxiety and I guess fear (of the unknown, most likely). It feels like I’m about to take a giant leap but I can’t see where I’m jumping or how far down it is or what lies at the bottom. Here’s to new adventures and as one of my favorite quotes states “Everything will be alright in the end and if it is not alright, then it is not yet the end.”

And with that, 안녕히계세요! Thanks for sticking with me on this whirlwind of a journey. Onto the next adventure and to whatever lies ahead!

*

“When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

(Saved post from February 29, 2016)

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]

 

Learning to Fly–Part 2

I’m probably going to be updating a lot more in the days leading up to the flight home.  I’ve got a lot of emotions swirling around inside me and it seems like they change every hour or so.  I mainly just want to try to document all the things I’m feeling now so I can preserve them for future years.

I’ve been asked a few times now how I’m feeling and it’s quite  difficult question to answer.  I’m excited (and nervous, but mostly excited) about whatever lies ahead, but also heartbroken over the friends and students that I’m leaving behind.  I love the friends I’ve met here, but I’m not feeling as sad about that because there’s always the possibility that we’ll cross paths in the future.  It does feel weird though that we can’t (won’t be able to) call each other up and go out for drinks or coffee.
I’m more upset about leaving my students.  Like, heartcrushingly upset.  I’ve had a handful of them for the whole two years that I’ve been at my school and it feels a bit like I’m their parent.  I’ve watched them grow up and change.  They’ve learned a lot and have developed into wonderful young people, and…the fact that it’s just going to end and that I won’t see them again just makes my heart ache.
In a regular elementary school or if I were staying and they were leaving the school, there’d still be that chance that I might run into them on the street or at the grocery store, and this just feels very final.  I also don’t really know how to tell them that I’m leaving without making a big announcement or whatever.  I do want to tell them though because I don’t want them to wonder where I am the following Monday.

I was thinking of giving them my American address and letting them know they can write to me if they want, but I also don’t know how to do go about doing that.  I had a classroom up until our new semester/term started in January and now I’m in our school library (easier for me to leave in the middle of the term, than if I had my own room) and now I see all of the students.  So, I haven’t had a chance to get as close to them as my own kids that I had in my classroom.  I don’t want to be playing favorites or anything.
I personally haven’t said anything to the kids yet (it’s also frowned upon if you do it too early because parents might pull their kids out( loss of business for the school) if you start mentioning it too early, but apparently one of the front desk ladies had mentioned it to one student’s mom and the girl is upset.  She’s one of my favorite kiddos…just a star.  She’s so smart and kind and just a great kid.  I’m thinking of having one of my Korean friends translate a sentence or two for me so I can tell her how proud I am of her.  She’s good with English but we haven’t gotten to words like “proud/proud of” yet, and I don’t want anything to get lost in translation.

Anyway, I’ve also been getting hit with waves of “this is the last time that I’ll be doing x”.  I haven’t cried yet, but I have moments where I get hit with nostalgia and just different memories.  The reality is starting to sink in and I just keep telling myself “You’re doing so great.  Everything is going to be fine.”
I’m also trying to keep myself in the present to try and…I guess cement the memories and emotions as best I can.  It’s pretty easy to get swept away with all the things that I have to do and to get caught up in future plans.  I’ve got a fairly good balance going and I think I’m right on track as far as getting things done.  I have to remind myself of that from time to time.  Thankfully I’ve trained that inner voice of mine and I’m usually pretty kind to myself.
As far as keeping in the present goes, I think I’m also mentally a week ahead because it feels like I’m leaving in a couple of days rather than just over a week.  Which, thankfully I still have that week because I still have stuff to do, but I’m trying to keep myself from getting too far ahead to where I start missing out on the present.

Tonight (it’s 10pm on Saturday here) I met up with one of my best Korean friends and her nephew.  (He’s visiting from another city and staying with her for a few days.)  I’ve met him a few times and apparently he talks about me a lot, ha.  So tonight we met up at Starbucks and he drew me a picture and wrote a little message (in Korean) and then we all went for dinner after.  It was a goodbye dinner of sorts as well.  I’m going to see that friend next weekend (my last weekend) as well, so that will be the official goodbye.
I think all these “last x” and goodbyes actually make it more difficult and painful to leave.  Part of me wishes I could just get on the next bus to the airport and just get it over with.

Anyway, 5 days til I move out of my apartment and 5 more days of work!
We’re in the home stretch now!

(Note: Moving out of my apartment early because I have to be out of my place when they do the inspection–moving in with a co-worker on Thursday, last day of work on Friday, flight on Monday.)

February: Let The Insanity Begin!

Well, we’re a day into February here and going by this first week, it’s going to be one heck of a hectic month.

Today’s Monday and I’m already booked with stuff to do through Saturday, starting with as soon as I wake up in the morning.  Most of it is meeting with people who want to buy my stuff, which is good, but also exhausting.  I met with 5 people yesterday–every few hours.

I’m also about 2/3 finished with part 1 of my online CPR course, which I’m hoping to finish tonight if possible.  I’ll review a bit closer to when I get home then take the practical portion of the exam when I get back home.
Other stuff: meeting with my landlord to make sure I’m not forgetting anything for my move-out date, a birthday party, and misc. errands.
I also have to break down my closet organizer thing and find some boxes for it.  Hoping to do that tomorrow…which also means I’ll begin living out of suitcases…hoorah!  haha
Then tomorrow, a co-worker and some people from her church are taking my oven and a ton of my baking stuff, so now my kitchen is nearly bare.  I’ve got like 5 bags of stuff for her, haha.  Adding in some Tupperware and all the flour and sugar I’ve got since she’s buying so much already.

I think the hardest part of selling stuff is actually getting all the pictures taken and uploaded.  I have to take all my stuff off, clean up the surrounding area and then put everything on again.  It’s like having a toddler.  Making a mess then cleaning it up again.  On repeat.

Oh, and I’ve organized my farewell party, which is surreal in itself.  I’ve been to so many of them myself and now it’s my turn.

I’m also not going to have time for the gym at all this week which kind of sucks.

Ah well, anyway…off to work on that CPR course.  I’m already looking forward to that 12-hour flight.  Actual time to rest.  Oh, and we have a 5 day weekend this weekend–hoorah for Lunar New Year! 😀 Blessss you!!!

Songs for the month:

‘The Final Countdown’–Europe

‘Take Me Home’–Cash Cash (Chainsmokers Remix)

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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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. 😀

Preparations and Stuff…and Titles Are No Fun

First off, I got all but one of the “My Hero” papers finished on Friday…wahoo!  Feeling prettty fantastic.
Second, tomorrow should be pretty interesting as well.  I usually have 3 different spelling lists for the 3 different classes that I teach, but this week I’m going to give them out based on their grade level (and corresponding reading books) that they’re working on.
On Mondays we talk about our new spelling words, so some kids will be having different lists.  I think I’ll just group them up though, so shouldn’t be too bad…just a bit crazy at first.

Third, I bought some plane/travel clothes for my flight-a-palooza coming up.  I have a fleece jacket that is basically a white soft, fuzzy blanket made into a jacket.  (Good work designers, I approve.)  I also got this skirt/leggings combo that’s super popular over here…which is also lined with soft fabric (not fleece…but warm) inside.  Great for layers.  Paired with some fuzzy wool socks and UGG-esque boots.  I’m going to be one comfy lady. 🙂
It’s also hard not to be in a good mood when your jacket feels like your bed on a Saturday morning.  haha 🙂

I also have Christmas gifts either bought or at least planned for for 98% of everyone on my list.  So…feeling good.

Oh and T-13 days.

Hurrah! Hurrah!

These last two weeks have been killer.  Last week dragged on like none other but this one went quickly but I’m feeling worn for whatever reason.  Either way, that brings me closer to the holidays, so it’s alright 🙂

Speaking of holidays, my friend’s friend owns a bar here and for Thanksgiving he’s closing down the bar and having a private get together.  So I’m going with my friend and some others and we’ll have our own Thanksgiving, complete with all or mostly-all of the “fixins'” as they say.  Pumpkin pie, turkey and anything else people can whip up.

The actual reason I came on here to post was that, well even with all my trips and things, I’ve become fairly good at saving money.  I wasn’t able to do it before I came here so it’s nice to finally be able to put money away.
I remember being at home while working my last job 40+ hours a week and barely able to make ends meet, with my $400/month student loan payments, car payments, insurance, rent, basic phone bill, gas…etc. etc.
Anyway, I have my bank account and then I’ve also been pulling extra money from my Korean account and my own wallet at times to throw at my savings and I’ve just passed the $1000 mark.  This has been going for awhile and I’m planning on using it during my trip back home.  $1000 from just odds and ends.  Heck yes.  I feel…liberated.
I want to use it as my spending money while I’m back and to deposit anything I don’t spend.  I’m assuming the bank tellers won’t freak out if I make a larger deposit in cash?  Is that weird?  I’ve never had enough money to have to worry about it before.

Also, my grandma recently just had open-heart surgery (last week) and she just left the hospital, so there’s good news there as well.  I’ve got a small little gift box headed her way…hopefully I can make it to the post office tomorrow…

Anyway, Happy Friday! (to those on this side of the globe) and Happy Friday Eve to those elsewhere 🙂

Ramblings

Thanks for all the comments 🙂

I’m not sure if this makes me “old” or not, but I generally really enjoy solitude.  I enjoy my own company and could spend a day or a whole weekend just reading or doing random things like baking or going for a walk around my neighborhood/area.
Living in Korea is in a way like a second college experience, or it can be if that’s what you choose for it to be.  Anyway, I keep busy with Ultimate Frisbee, traveling, brunch, classroom decorating, sightseeing and a bunch of other stuff, but going out drinking seems to be a major way to socialize and…it seems to be more and more often that I’d rather just watch a movie in my pajamas or try out a new recipe than participate like that.
I must have an 80-year-old soul or something, ha.  Or maybe it’s with the cooler temperatures, but I just don’t really like going out drinking anymore.  Now that I have a Kindle (did I mention this?!) and my gym membership, I feel pretty at peace with the world.  I have a few fitness goals that I’m trying to achieve and drinking definitely doesn’t help.

Anyway, just rambling and hoping that I’m not alone, ha.  I’m playing in a Halloween Hat Tournament this weekend and we played 3 games today.  Not sure if it was the three games or the uncharacteristically warm weather this time of year or the combination of the two, but after a shower at home I was wiped out.
I’m at a coffee shop now getting some work done mainly because I had to drag myself out of my house otherwise I’d have been asleep by 8pm (and likely lively and awake at 3am, haha).

Back to the Kindle…I’m so happy I got this thing.  I still have a thing for new books and bookstores, but this is so nice.  I can get books at a tap of a button (er…mildly dangerous…), adjust the lighting, no cramped wrists from holding big books open for hours at a time AND I love the dictionary feature.  I just press the screen over the new word and it gives me a definition right then and there for it.  It also stores the new words and you can quiz yourself later if you so choose.

Also, I joined a gym about…3? weeks ago and it feels so great to be back at it.  I thought I might have some trouble getting into a routine again because it’s getting chilly outside, but so far, so good.  My gym is just the right size and the guys that work there are all really friendly.  They sometimes walk around and give advice or help on form if needed.  I also got a free, spontaneous cardio/bootcamp workout with another lady from one of the trainers. They don’t offer any sort of classes, so that was pretty fun.  One guy speaks some English, or at least tries really hard and I try out some of my broken Korean too.  (Where is the chapter on muscle groups and gym lingo in my Korean book?).  Anyway, it’s a great environment there and will help me through the winter months.  I’m also already in a routine and my body craves exercise if I go without it for a day or two.
My current fitness goals are to:
*tone up my arms/legs and in general get a bit more muscle definition
*do a pull-up (still working on it–I had a bit of a hiatus after I got back from Japan, and I’m back at it now)

I also want to try this out at some point:

It looks intense, but we all know what incredible shape gymnasts are in…
It also makes me tired just watching it, so that must be a good sign that it’s a good workout, haha.
I keep telling myself that it’s only 4 minutes.  You can do almost anything for four minutes.

Hm…ok, I think that’s all for tonight 😀

I have some papers I want to grade before tomorrow’s full day of Ultimate games 😀

*2 months til Christmas and 56 days til I’m back in America–first time in nearly two years…!!!
Also, last bit of randomness, but this coffee shop has some saxophone music playing and it reminds me of Christmas 🙂

Ok, bye!

Done and done.

So, I went to immigration today and got myself sorted for the next year in Korea.  I’m thinking this will be my last year teaching in Korea.  I love teaching, but I’d like to further my education and I hope to teach in a more stable setting.

The after-school academies (or hagwons) tend to be a bit more unstable as they can be opened up with anyone with enough money (really) and they’re everywhere.  I really enjoy my classes and the school that I’m at so I’m hoping for another year like this one.  This past year seemed to breeze by pretty quickly.  There’s a bit of negativity though, and that can be a bit rough, but trying to keep my head down and do my own best with my classes and sort of just do what I’m doing.

I already have quite a few things in store for the coming year, so hopefully things go smoothly.

Here’s a teaser for the year to come–obviously things change and put this is what I’m looking at as of now:
*Hoping I get the OK to carve pumpkins with my kiddos at school.  Our classes are smaller and I’d LOVE to give them this experience.  Halloween isn’t really that big here yet (slowly…) so I’d like to let them experience making a jack-o-lantern.
I’m thinking that letting them draw and scoop out the mess would be best and I’ll do the cutting.
(Plus decorating my room a bit for Halloween!  Yay!  I love having my own classroom!)

* Christmas at home (first time in almost 3 years!! Squeeeee!)

*New Years in LA (first time!)

*back with ultimate frisbee in the spring 🙂  (Too many things going on in the fall right now to dedicate the time and money to it)

*Toying with the idea of Budapest in February (Yes, winter)

*Working on another surprise of sorts for my summer vacation— I sent my mom and brother on an all-expenses paid cruise two years ago (to the Bahamas, I believe).  Expensive, yes, but it makes me happy and I think that’s what life is about.  This won’t be quite that extravagant, but it still puts an extra spring in my step and makes my heart feel lighter when I think about it. My mom is a single mom and she works her butt off (and has) for years and years and never gets a vacation, so I had wanted to change that.

*Finish contract in September

*Thailand for a bit of muay thai fighting training

Anyway, this would be the dream scenario, but I like making my dreams happen.  So, we shall see 😀