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)

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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)

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 😀

Update

This is just a quick update about my thoughts from yesterday’s post.

1. The project that I do with my students is called “20 Things I like About Myself”
http://artclassworks.blogspot.kr/2012/05/self-esteem-portraits.html
It worked really well last year and created a great visual. And although I only have elementary school kids, I like that it gets them thinking positively about themselves. It was easier for some students than others.
Some students couldn’t even get up to 10 (even with my assistance and giving them word the vocabulary as needed…

2. I wrote out my own “20 Things” (It’s a private post)–I’ve heard of people doing things like this in therapy and such, and honestly it was fantastic. I felt so much better afterward. I should try and find a way to display it. Maybe.
Either way, I highly recommend doing it.

3. This was just a random idea that I had, but I wanted to write it down so I could come back to it sometime and so I wouldn’t forget.
The whole beauty thing really strikes a cord (chord?) with me because it breaks my heart that these kids (and people) go through this. The whole culture is centered around your appearance (and what you can achieve, or how many activities you say you’re involved with). And it crushes them.
And hurts me too because children should be happy and be able to think positively about themselves.

I thought it would be really cool to be able to have some sort of event or workshop focused on building self-esteem.

I like doing projects and stuff and have done a few things back home, but this would really be challenging.
1. It would take a long while to organize.
2. I don’t speak Korean.
3. I’d probably have to change my visa status because I’m doing something other than teaching
a. Unless I got a Korean to assist me
b. Unless I made it more of an event..then I think it would be ok
4. Publicity would be super hard because of the language barrier.
5. Creativity is sort of a new thing here. Usually they go by the book and are very much like study machines
6. They don’t take well to criticism (which, this isn’t, but they might take it as such…because saying something on them needs improvement…or something)…
7. Foreigners are pretty low on the totem pole…so…yeah.

But…it would be REALLY, REALLY cool if it got off the ground. Like…amazing.
Hmm…things to think about.
Bring some positive thoughts into this place.


Anyway, off to work!

Yay! Some Happy News!

1.  My ARC (Alien Resident Card) card is now updated and ready to go for my second year.
I don’t need a visa as an American citizen, but I’m all set with my documents for year 2.  🙂

2.  After much asking/pleading, my school finally decided to add in an “English Prep” class for our new elementary school kids that are just starting English.
We have been having issues with kids leaving because the classes were too hard and boring for the younger kids.  
The younger kids also don’t have a lot of speaking time built into their classes, so most of them don’t have any speaking confidence (compared to our kindergarten kids and their schedule).
They added the new class to help get the kids excited about learning English, and I’m teaching both English Prep classes (MWF and T/Th).
I can’t even explain how big of news this is.  As a general rule, schools don’t listen to the foreigners ideas…we’re generally ignored and just expected to teach, not contribute.

Anyway, these classes don’t have books, because we want it to be a bit more relaxed in terms of structure….just more fun.  (Our idea, they just put it in the schedule.)  Heh.  
Just so excited to get started.  A bit overwhelmed because there isn’t a book, and I want to do a good job, but really happy because I think we’re moving in the right direction.
They said I could incorporate science, art and anything else I wanted in the class.  Pretty much complete freedom, which is unheard of in the private schools.

I’m thinking of doing art and general speaking (maybe some science experiments too, when their English picks up) one week, and then speaking practice/speeches (that I write) the second week.  Then alternating.
The speeches really helped the kindergartners with speaking practice and get more comfortable speaking in front of others, while using correct grammar.

😀  Lots of excitement and ready to get started…maybe a nice little project I can work on during my break.  

Oh…and 3 days!!!!!!  AHHHH!!!  😀  😀

*dance dance*

She Bangs! She Bangs!

With any luck, I got that Ricky Martin song stuck in your head.  😛

In this entry I’m going to focus on the bangs ( 방) or rooms, in Korea.
Bang (not pronounced like it is in English–the b is a slight mix of the b and p sounds and the a is pronounced like “ah”)
Anyway, there are a few different varieties here:
PC bangs: (computer rooms–basically where all the gamers go–but a giant computer lounge where you pay for internet access by the hour–really nice computers too.  I used these when I first got here and didn’t have my internet set up yet.

Noraebang:  (Pronounced “Nor-a-bang”)–Karaoke rooms!  I’m completely dumbfounded as to why these aren’t in the US yet.
It’s a private room that you can pay for and you can have a karaoke party with your friends.  (Mostly done after you finish up at the bars, but can definitely be done at other times too).  Comes with two microphones, a giant flat screen tv, 2 giant song books (English and Korean song choices), wrap-around couches…and you can bring alcohol into the rooms.  (Alcohol is a very big part of the culture here so it’d be really strange for it not to be allowed…but that’s beside the point.)
You walk into a noraebang, pay at the counter and escorts you to your private karaoke room.
Personally, I don’t really do karaoke in bars or in that sort of scene because I don’t want to sing in front of all those people, but this is really cool. Sing until your heart’s content…judgement free!  (hopefully :-P)

Jimjilbang:  a Korean public sauna/bathhouse.  They’re really popular over here (uh…planning on trying it out for the first time later this week)…just the one catch:  you’re naked.  Ya.  Naked.
There are a bunch of them all over, but I haven’t gotten the courage to go yet…I just want to try it at least once before I leave.
There are mixed parts of the bathhouse where (you’re fully clothed here) you can relax or get a massage (apparently these are not the same as the ones you’d expect back home.  a bit rougher, I believe.)
But in the actual saunas, there are a bunch of different rooms to choose from, varying in heat and types of saunas themselves.
I’ll be able to update more on this after I go.
It’s supposed to be a really relaxing thing (aside from the Koreans staring at you because of your foreigner body (ha) and a great way to detox your body).  Plus, it’s not something you can find in most places.

Also, you’re able to spend the night there too!  It’s a cheap option (cheaper than a hostel) and I’ve heard of people doing it at the airport (I think there’s one in the Seoul-Incheon airport) if they have an early flight the next morning.
The whole thing can range from $4-10!!  Closer to 10 if you stay the night!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jjimjilbang

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1KJfTwj2lU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvJWdK6DOn0&feature=plcp

There are a few other types of 방 here (as it means “room”), but I think those are the most common.

Ok, headed to bed!
Happy Thursday!
MUDFEST this weekend!!