So, I’ve been feeling kind of blah recently, and I think it’s because I haven’t really had anything going on (and I’ve got the winter blues) because I’ve been trying to save more money…which leaves me with less here to play around with.  It’s fine and I’m not starving or anything, I’ve just found how much I can actually live on here and been trying to cut out expenses.

With that being said, I was looking at gyms and dance studios but ended up deciding on Ultimate Frisbee.  Totally out of left field, and I’ve never played before, but I’m pretty excited. That doesn’t start til spring though, and I’ve still been working on my Korean when I have free time.  I’m teaching myself and going at a relatively slow pace, so I still feel pretty beginner, but I love when things start to click.

I ALSO decided that I want to get back into learning Spanish.
I have a lot of free time because I don’t really go out to bars and that sort of thing anymore, AND I’ve had a long-standing goal of being fluent in 5 languages before I die, so…why not start while I have some time on my hands.
I was looking at Spanish course books online and they’re only like $15-20 AND I still remember A LOT from when I took it in school…so that makes me pretty happy.

Anyway, that’s pretty much what’s happening around here.

4 day weekend next weekend for the Lunar New Year!  Wahooo!!!  (Next holiday isn’t til like March or April, so yeah…bah.)

//Also looking into grad school programs and teaching certifications…a weeee bit overwhelming to look at.

Funny Business

^I actually burst out laughing while reading that, so I figured I’d share 😀

Two for two with good days this week.
We finally got a real office-style printer/copier at work today…rather than 2 normal household printers.  PRAISE THE LORD.  My gosh.  The old ones broke down all the time because of the heavy volume printing that we have going on…never thought it would happen, but so so grateful.

I also started focusing more on making sentences at my language exchange.  I wanted to work more on actually writing them (I can speak and read…mildly ok…lol), but I think writing will help me make sure I’m saying things correctly.  And it helps to make sure I understand the grammar.
It’s rough, but I think it’ll be good.  Maybe it’ll help with my speaking confidence too.

Anyway, finishing up a bit of Christmas present stuff then off to bed.
Happy Wednesday!  😀

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.

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

Oh hi! :) Cruises, Summer Vacation and Korean 101

Whoops!  Sorry for the lack of posts!  I got lost in the sea of productivity, haha.

I was just wondering what I should write about and I realized I completely forgot to write about my summer vacation trip to BALI!!

Before I dive into that, a few smaller updates:

*My mom and brother left for their cruise on Monday morning (US time) and from what I heard from my grandma (they sent her a message just before the ship left the pier)–they were already having a great time.  Apparently there was a flashmob planned amongst a few other things.  I’m so excited to hear about their trip and see all the pics when they get back stateside.
They definitely deserve to have something to be excited about.  Well, everyone should have something like that, but for them, it’s been an especially long while, and I was finally able to help tip their luck.

*I joined a language exchange group that meets on Sundays as a way to meet more Koreans and to actually make a better effort with learning Korean.
I tried joining a class when I first got here, but I was doing my TEFL class and adjusting to life here and working…and just felt overwhelmed by it.
I’m at the point now where I know enough to get by (my area is a pretty affluent, well-populated area so I can get by with less)—but I’m nearing my 6 month mark and actually feel now that I’m ready to get back into it.
I think it’ll be better this time because I actually want to learn (and not just because I feel that I should) and because the setup is pretty cool with the language exchange.
The exchange is at a coffee house and is really laid back. They have “Korean time” and “English time” in 30-minute intervals for 2 hours, and during both of those times, you’re only supposed to speak the designated language.  I really like this because at first I was hesitant about joining an exchange because I didn’t want it to end up as a free English lesson because my Korean is so minimal.  But, this format works and the Koreans there are super friendly and eager to help.  Definitely planning on making this part of my weekly routine.

I was also thinking about finding some of the notorious KPOP dance classes around here.  They’re supposed to be really fun, and I’ve recently gotten into the KPOP music here…sounds like a fun time.

I also went to a wine social party this past weekend and met a bunch of cool foreigners and Koreans.  25,000won for endless wine at a cute little restaurant.  It was really fun and that’s actually how I decided I wanted to try out the language exchange thing–a bunch of the people from that also went to the exchange each week.

I’ll post on my trip to Bali later–I want to get back to my Korean studies, and I have a thing with not letting my posts get too long.  😀

Testing My Knowledge

Not sure how this post is going to work out, but I wanted to make a bit of a list of all the Korean that I know.  Month 4 hits on Friday and it’d be kind of cool to see where I am in a few months from now.
In no particular order:
annyeong-haseyo –Hello!  (Formal)  (remove haseyo) for informal)
kamsa hamnida–Thank you (Formal) (remove hamnida for informal)
chuseyo-give me please–Basically just the way to ask for things.
ex: hamburger chuseyo.
ca chuseyo–“take me there please”–used when getting into a taxi  (name of place + ca chuseyo)

hana, dul, set, net (numbers 1-4, used for counting items)–definitely need to work on this.

isseyo–I like/I have/There is/There are
upsseoyo–I don’t like/I don’t have/There aren’t/There isn’t any
oppa (or OPPPAAAAAAAAAA!!!! lol.)–Older brother (only used by girls), which I’ve also heard/seen that girls use this term affectionately for boyfriends

noona–older sister (only used by boys)
appa–dad (ah-pa)
amma-mom (ah-ma)

ne–yes (informal)

bang–room (b and p sound together for the “b”)
bbang–bread (stronger sound ^)
samgyupsal–grilled pork  (Korean BBQ, you are calling my name)
Soju.–enough said.
bulgogi–“thinly sliced beef sirloin or tenderloin” (Thanks wiki for providing a wonderful explanation)
galbi–marinated beef short ribs  (this portion is making me so hungry.  gahhh).
hangul–Korean (language, country, etc)

jimjilbang— Korean-style sauna/spa
noraebang–Karaoke room (:-D)
DVDbang–DVD room  (private room where you and your friends can go watch movies-haven’t been to this yet)
PC-bang–computer room.  lots of dudes will sit here and just play those role-playing game on one of the many, many computers in these places.  I used them when I first got to Korea and hadn’t gotten my internet set up yet.–you can spot them by just looking for a giant “PC” on the side of a building.
These, I can recognize them if written or in context, but they’re pretty recent to my vocabulary so I don’t want to include them in the top half just yet.

hyung–older brother
ye–yes (formal–to people older than you/bosses/etc)
mwuh?–what?–I saw this on on a Korean drama series that I’m watching.  haha.  Seems to be the informal version…
sunbae–someone more experienced in “x” than you.
ex: music industry–someone with more hits/awards than you.

Goodbye (when leaving): annyonghikyeseyo
Goodbye (when staying): annyonghikaseyo

^Those all sound really similar (and hello) when heard in context, so pretty sure I’ve just been saying hello to people all the time.  lol.  I just learned that there was a difference like 2 weeks ago.  ha 🙂

*NUMBERS!–There are two sets and I’m making it my goal to get them memorized. Urgh.  It annoys me.  That and my alphabet.  Now that my TEFL (teaching english as a foreign language–certificate) course is officially complete, I have no excuse.
My alphabet is like 65-70% there.  Too many darn vowels.  Blargh.

I feel like I know more than that…I’ll probably end up coming back to edit it as I think of things.  This was mostly off the top of my head.