Latest Goings-on…

Last Saturday was my 28th birthday and I went out to dinner with some friends.   The Daejeon International Wine Festival was that weekend as well, so we hit that up before going to dinner.  It was a pretty nice day–nice and relaxed as I was hoping for.

This past weekend I participated in the 2nd Daejombie Charity 5K Run (Daejeon + Zombie).  It raises money for a local animal shelter that is run solely by one older Korean woman (and a lot of volunteers).  The charity is called Daejeon Paws.

Last year I helped organize the race and this year I wanted to be a participant.  Specifically, a zombie 😀

zombie

😀

It was pretty fun.  They had professional/student make-up artists there to help us out if we wanted it (yes) and then groups of zombies were sent to various parts (or “infected zones”) on the course.  The runners would come through and we’d try to get one of their three life belts (think flag football).

It’s weird because I’m not usually that big on Halloween, but I think being a teacher has gotten me more into it.  I like decorating my classroom and sharing the holiday with my students because it’s not really a thing here (maybe in the future though because the kids get really excited about it).
I’m bringing in some caramel and apples today so they can dip them and have that experience too.  I was snacking on some peanut butter and apples yesterday and they were all so shocked at the combination.  It was kinda funny actually 🙂  So, I’m going to bring in some extra apples and have them test both (caramel and PB) out.

Oh, and I decorated my door at home too, haha.

This is what I was going for:

This is mine:

CAM03640

Maybe more paper? I dunno.  My neighbors probably think I’m nuts.
I’m actually torn a bit on whether or not decorating was a good idea.  I know they don’t celebrate it here and it’s fun for me…but I’m in a different country.  Anyway, I dunno.
That’s what I’ve been up to 🙂

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 😀

Oh hey! 10 months!

Possibly a pointless post…but hey!  I like a reason to celebrate…

Today (even though it’s just after midnight) marks my 10-monthiversary in Korea
😀

That’s pretty much it  😀  haha


What I’m up to:
Today/Friday:
Work, dinner with a friend and beginning some cookie baking
(planning on giving cookies to co-workers, the lovely Korean lady (and her family) that run the 7-11 below my work, and bringing some to a holiday party on Saturday night)

Saturday:
Was debating going to Seoul to hunt down tango shoes, but thankfully I was able to find some and order them online (massive thanks to my language exchange partner…who should also get cookies, lol.  Says he really likes them).
Anyway, no need to go to Seoul now, and instead I’ll be spending the day baking and putting together Christmas gifts for friends.
Then a Christmas party that night.

Sunday:
Going to Seoul with a friend

Monday:
Work
Tango  (ahhh!  I forgot…I was going to bring cookies here too!  My new buddies.  And chances are high that most of them have never had homemade holiday cookies…ever.)
then Christmas eve/Christmas slumber party/brunch at a friend’s place

Tuesday:
Christmas!!
evening: Yiruma Concert

Wednesday-Friday: work (holiday parties and a language exchange thrown in there too)

Saturday:  vacation  (much-needed.  Ahhhh)

I’ve been making fabulous progress on my to-do list though, so it’ll be nice to have that finished up just in time for vacation  😀

*whew*

Anyway, good night! 🙂

…My tango shoes are from a company here (international shoes but the warehouse or whatever is here)…but hoping they get here by Monday… :-/
I’m not too thrilled about the prospect of walking backwards in regular pumps…

Holiday Plans/Upcoming Vacation

Ooh, look at me posting 2 days in a row! 😛  haha

The holidays are coming and I’m very excited.  (Mainly excited for some days off…and to be able to finally clear off my desk at work of all of the holiday play materials, lol).

Let’s see, we’re doing holiday skits and presentations next week at school (well–the kids are…not me, lol), and we’ve been very busy with that alongside regular classwork.
Skits are next Thursday and Friday (vacation starts that Friday evening/Saturday), and report cards are supposed to be finished, or nearly finished by then too.  (Almost finished!  yay!  I should finish them by this Friday).  We’re also having Christmas parties next week.  Also off on Tuesday for Christmas.  Busy busy!

In my life outside school:
I was planning on going to another orphanage to visit (with a group) and bring holiday cheer this weekend, but not sure now.  I went last week and it was really nice.  I loved feeling like I was part of something important, and it was nice to bring some joy to those kids’ lives.  I wanted to go to the second orphanage this weekend, but I’m also working on getting proper tango shoes.
My class is on Monday, and I found a place in Seoul that has shoes, but I can’t make it up there during the week…and they’re closed on Sundays.
I sent them an email getting more information, so I might end up doing that instead since I don’t have any other time to get it done.

Also, I’m attending a Christmas party on Saturday, which is hosted by the language cafe where I participate in language exchange.
Then I was planning on going to Seoul (ugh…again..two days in a row…so much wasted money on travel) on Sunday with a friend.

Monday:  work and tango and Christmas party at my friend’s apartment
Tuesday: CHRISTMAS!  and going to a Yiruma concert with a friend 😀 😀  So excited for this.  I’ve loved him even while I was back in America.
Yiruma & Kim Bum Soo–‘Grown Up Christmas List’
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5Yt_ozC_G0
Yiruma–‘River Flows in You’
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-4wUfZD6oc
Yiruma–‘Kiss the Rain’
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIbUNfg_wmM

Yiruma is actually from South Korea, so I think it’ll be fun to see him live in his home country. And it’s a holiday show.  🙂

then Wednesday-Friday we have classes again (with the Christmas parties and skits)
then….Saturday I leave for

THE PHILIPPINES!

So excited!  I’m going to the island of Cebu for 5 days!  yay!!

Happy December!

Ah!  It’s December already…and already the 4th at that!  Sheesh.  Time flies.

Anyway, I had a pretty good day today–kids seemed well behaved and things ran smoothly, so that was nice.
It’s just now 11pm on Monday here and I spent my evening watching Christmas movies (Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas), baking apple/banana muffins and planning for my classes.
Note: I don’t really need to do much planning as my classes are pretty much set for me since I work at a private school.  But, I do have free-reign (with a lot of gentle nudging and convincing) of the kindergarten art classes, so I was planning the next month for those.  And by the next month, I just finished planning for the month of February, lol.  I really enjoy it 🙂
I get the majority of my ideas from Pinterest…

^My Pinterest page for art class

Plans for the next few art classes:

http://www.deepspacesparkle.com/2010/12/17/winter-snowman-collage-art-lesson/

Sparkly snowmen–assuming our glitter comes in by tomorrow…

http://www.deepspacesparkle.com/2009/12/16/kinder-christmas-ornament-craft/

Christmas Ornaments

http://www.kinderbykim.com/december.htm

Gingerbread men 🙂

Santa #1 (for the younger kids)

Santa #1 (for the younger kids–age 4-6)

http://megduerksen.typepad.com/whatever/2011/12/two-craftsone-post.html

Santa project–older kinder kids (age 6-7)

That’s our plan for December art 🙂
(SO HARD to choose the holiday crafts–there are so many good ones out there!)

I can post the January crafts too, but I didn’t want the post to be too image-heavy.
January art is more winter-focused (lots of snowmen and snow-scenes)
I planned February with a friendship “quilt”, 2 Valentine’s projects and then the last week is going to be a self-portrait using some of the scraps from our (overflowing) scrap box
March (not planned–but I have a bunch of ideas “pinned” on Pinterest), but it’s going to be recycling themed.  (Old TP rolls, plastic bottles, metal cans, etc. etc.)

I really can’t take credit for much of this because I just get ideas from Pinterest 🙂
It makes me happy though.  It’s fun watching the projects come to life (trying to work on keeping my stress levels at bay–working on their listening/following directions skills at the same time), but yeah, it’s fun 🙂

We’ve been decorating the school a bit for winter too–paper snowflakes are making their appearances (most kids hadn’t done this before (SO SAD. AHH!), so it was cool to introduce it to them).  I also want to find a way to stick in a few paperchains too, haha.
I also love seeing our head-teacher’s reaction to any and everything creative.  She’s so impressed and amazed by any project that we do.  Creativity doesn’t seem to be as common or as fostered as it is back home (hence why it took so long for them to let us do more “normal” art projects with the kids.
Granted, we’ve been doing them for months now (since maybe May?), but it still took a lot of effort to get them to leave behind the super-advanced workbooks and let the kids do more crafty/age-appropriate projects.

I don’t know of any other schools that do art like we do (and have that kind of flexibility), so, another reason why I’m re-signing with them.

Alllllsooo…I need to find/make some sort of Christmas speeches for some of my writing/reading-focused classes.  They have their speech contests this month, and we (the foreign teachers) convinced the head-Korean teacher that it would be more fun/less-stress/more creative/more-exciting to do Christmas role-plays/plays than having the usual speeches where kids get up and talk about their vacation.
Imagine: each student talking for 2-10 minutes (10 being this one girl that takes ages because she’s one of the many that has parents that write it for her)…each about their vacation.
OR…Christmas themed speeches/plays.

Ok, Christmas wins.  haha.  As usual 😀

Anyway, I need to clean up my apartment and get some things done before bed.
Until next time!

What If Money Didn’t Matter…?/Life Updates/Thanksgiving

Love this video. Beautiful, and so, so true.

Writing this on the night of my ninth month in Korea.  It’s strange to think that I’ve been here for nine months–I feel sort of split.  First off, I’ve officially decided that I’m staying another year here (not sure if I mentioned this before), because I think that this has been a fabulous opportunity for me, and I’d love for this little part of my life to continue for a bit longer.  I’m starting to feel very comfortable here….well, have been for awhile and I’m getting more involved in activities and I don’t want to jump back into the whole daily grind thing that awaits back home….not just yet.

I’m also eager to get home too.  It’s a weird split feeling.  Happy to be here, but anxious to get home to see everyone.  I’m not super homesick or anything, just a bit nostalgic, especially because the holidays are here and I think of being home with everyone and years past.  But, I’m still happy to be here.

I haven’t updated in awhile, partially because I’m lazy/busy etc, but also, I think because I have settled in more so the things that I would normally (or used to) update about…now seem part of the daily routine.  I don’t even know what I’m supposed to update about. haha 🙂
Anyway, I’m doing a language exchange twice a week with my own partner–We meet for an hour and a half and split it half Korean/half English, and it’s been really cool.  The English part is just conversation practice with the occasional grammar questions and the Korean part is pretty much anything I want to do.  I usually have questions, but I also have a workbook that a friend gave me, or he’ll quiz me on things, or we’ll work on translating a book of Aesop’s Fables from Korean to English.  It’s interesting for me because it’s fun, and yet, I also get to see more of how the sentence structure works AND learn words in the process.
He’s also incredibly patient and will help me in any way that I ask, whether it’s repeating a word 5-6 times so I can try and pronounce something right or translating a children’s story, haha.  He says it’s fun for him too and he gets to learn some new English words while we work on it, so it’s nice 🙂

Um, also, I’m thinking about taking piano lessons (!!!) once a week (which I’ve wanted to learn for ages but never had the money for)  AND….Tango lessons.  Also been wanting to learn this, but again…never had the money.
I met a girl maybe two weeks ago who does Swing and the Lindy Hop, and those both look fun too.  I’ve heard of both, but haven’t really considered myself a person that would give it a shot..until now.
Too bad I have to work, haha.  Not enough time in the week (or money in the bank) to do everything I want, haha.  😀

ALSO…I recently booked my trip for my winter vacation…to the Philippines!!!!  I’m so excited for this.  I was going to go to Thailand, but I found a great deal on a flight  and just changed my mind.  Thailand will have to wait til next year.  🙂
Still working on my itinerary, but either way, it should be a great time!  I’m 100% okay with warm, tropical weather in the middle of December and January! haha.

———-
Annnnnd HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!
Still a few hours from the official day (in Korea time), but I’m headed to bed soon and wanted to include it.

Thanksgiving obviously isn’t celebrated here, but all the expats have been great with organizing events here and there to help everyone feel at home away from home.
I went to a Thanksgiving event last weekend on the island of Muuido (off the coast of Incheon) and had a mini-Thanksgiving meal…and if that weren’t enough, a friend of mine is having a Thanksgiving potluck party this Friday too.
We had turkey and all the fixings at the first party, but as the second one is at my friend’s apartment and our apartments don’t come standard with an oven…we’ll be having chicken instead.  😛 haha.
It’s not the food that matters anyway 🙂

Pictures from Muuido Island, KR–Thanksgiving Event with Seoul Hiking Group
November 2012
AND (because I don’t know how to separate them…)
some of the Kindergarten art projects we’ve done during the month of November 🙂

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I’m thankful for all the incredible people in my life.  I have an amazing group of friends and family that stands behind me no matter what kind of ideas I get or plans I make.  They’re there 150%, and I know that I’m so incredibly fortunate to have that.
I’m also thankful for the opportunities that have presented themselves in my life.  At age 26, I feel like I’ve lived several lifetimes and had the chance to do things that many people don’t get to do in 100 years.  I hope to be able to continue on this path and see and experience as much as I can while I’m able.
Hardships aside, I feel incredibly blessed.


Not related to the Thanksgiving theme, but I also REALLY like this video about teachers.  It helps inspire me or pick up my spirits after a long day.

‘What Teachers Make’ by Taylor Mali, teacher and poet

Ankle Update

Just a heads up–This is kind of a whiny/vent-y post.

If you aren’t aware, I messed up my ankle a bit ago while ziplining (go read the original post for more info), and I’ve had my leg wrapped up in a splint for not-even a week. A week on Thursday.  (And I’m pretty much counting down the hours til it is removed this Thursday.  Uh.  I hope.  More on that in a bit.)

This is what is basically going on:
http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00341
and I think a bit of this too:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hematoma

Fun times.
It doesn’t really hurt or anything…just swollen and purple.  And a bit tender if you push on my calf or ankle region too much.
Aside from that, I feel (with my overwhelming amount of knowledge on the subject, haha) that it’s healing well.  Aside from the massive bruising and swelling, my ankle feels a lot stronger than last week.
Last week, I couldn’t put much pressure on my right leg, and had a pretty nice limp.
However, now I can put full standing pressure on my leg.  I don’t overdo it or anything, it’s just something I’ve noticed.
I can also use my toes and wriggle my foot to the point where if the splint were loose enough that I could pull my foot out (with no hands).  Again, if it were loose enough.  That was definitely not the case last week.

I’ve been trying to elevate it as much as I can, and pretty much have been lounging around for hours at a time after work, just watching movies with my foot propped up on a bunch of pillows.  Also applying ice for 20 minutes at a time every few hours (as able).

I’m honestly just really nervous (too much reading stuff online) that I’ve messed up my ankle for good.  I’ve read a lot from people who have permanently swollen ankles (or sore) because their foot didn’t heal right after something similar to what I have, or sprained ankles, etc.
I’m a runner, dancer and a generally fairly active person…and the thought of messing up an ankle at age 25, which would keep me from doing a lot of those things…is beyond horrifying.
Especially because this injury was just a split-second decision.  Granted, I had a fun time while I was ziplining, and would have gone again, definitely….but after this mess, now I feel like I’m scarred from the experience.

Anyway, I just needed to get a lot of that off my chest.  I feel like I talk a lot about it with people and I don’t want it to wear on them.  It’s just on my mind a lot.
I really, really hope I didn’t mess up my ankle for good.  😦 😦

I also really hope I get cleared to have this darn thing off my foot on Thursday.  My leg feels dirty with it on.  A wrapped foot..from the ball of the foot to about 3 inches below my knee…during summertime is really sucky.
AND Mudfest is coming!  😦

I’ll continue to be really careful with my foot after it’s out of the splint…I just feel like it’s gotten a lot stronger and is ready to move around on its own now.
And because I want to shave my leg.  And not have my foot feel all sweaty and gross.  haha 😀

//end whine-fest.
Goodnight!

Ooohh!!! and….

No current plans for tomorrow or anything.  I know of some BBQs happening this weekend though.  Probably be attending something like that assuming the leg thing pans out accordingly.  😀

Happy 4th of July!!
Thank you to all of our past and present servicemen and women for all of your sacrifices that you’ve made toward ensuring our freedom.  It’s appreciated more than words can say.