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.

Lots of Love :)

I just wanted to share some of the things my kiddos have made for me in the past few weeks 🙂

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The first one was just the front and back of a sheet of paper.  I was making something for a display before class and they took the scrap and wrote on it in “secret” and then gave it to me when they were finished.  🙂  They did it in pencil so it’s pretty light; you might have to click on them to view them properly.
Another girl gave me a bracelet too 😀  It’s made out of those plastic beads that link together.  Cute cute cute!

The last two are from a student that had his last day on Friday.  He’s moving to a new city and gave me the present at the end of class.  I wasn’t expecting anything and it was so sweet.  I loved the letter and I have it hanging on my refrigerator.  🙂

Anyway, I’ve been keeping busy over here.  The penpal letters are finished (minus one student that left his at home and keeps forgetting it…which is delaying me sending the package..oi.) and I’m going to send them off on Monday.
I have 3 envelopes going out.  One for the younger students to a group of kids in Illinois and one to my second cousin (I think that’s the proper name for her) who is the same age as my students.  She’s going to be paired up with one of my kiddos.  Then I’ll mail out the second one on Tuesday I guess because of that last kid.  If he doesn’t bring his letter on Monday, then I’ll have him write a new one.  Can’t have 50 other students waiting for one kid to get organized.

Also, I’m going to a Thanksgiving party in just a bit.  It’s a bit delayed, but as Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday here, our group moved it to the weekend so we all have time and can meet up properly for it instead of having it super late at night.

Annnd lastly, I put up my Christmas decorations yesterday 😀

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Love.

“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes.’

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.”


Not related to Korea, but a friend posted it on Facebook and I love it.

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

Happy Teacher’s Day!!

Today was Teacher’s Day in Korea (pretty much the same as Teacher Appreciation Day/Week back home).  I got to school and saw that some of my kindergarteners had brought in gifts with them for myself and some of the other kindergarten teachers.  Two of us (including me) got most of the haul because we have them more often and one of the other teachers just got here like a week ago so she hasn’t had a chance to make much of an impression yet.
It’s also completely optional for the kids to bring stuff (otherwise I would have had over 100 presents, lol).  I wasn’t really expecting much..maybe a card here or there or maybe flowers or something.  Or nothing, ha.  I know back home, most kids usually give lotion or a card or something.  Or the stereotypical apple.  haha.

This is what I received this year:

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I.KNOW.
WOW!!!!
I was completely blown away.
Most of it is from the kindergarten parents because we have their kids for the longest.  (hours at a time compared to a 35 minute class here and there throughout the week).
Again, this doesn’t happen with every student either.  Our school is also located in a wealthier area (and is a private school) so our presents would be different from other schools.

The details:
*Chanel foaming facewash–first time with Chanel…anything.
*TWO flower arrangements. (which, as a single lady, getting flowers is a very rare thing)
*Handmade paper flowers (origami-style)
*bracelet (was actually eyeing these the other day and talked myself out of it) 🙂
*30,000Won giftcard (just under $30) to Galleria Timeworld
*Burt’s Bees Boxed Set (even just one lip gloss from them is normally over $10).
*2 handwritten (in their best English) letters from two parents.
***Not pictured (because I completely forgot! ah!) –two free movie ticket vouchers!!  I got those yesterday and completely forgot to put them in the pic.  oops!

The whole day was a “I’m smiling so much that my face hurts” kind of thing.
Well, not the whole day, heh.  But, it was a fun day.
Also, a mom of one of my girls bought the teachers pizza for lunch.  DELICIOUS.
We also had a party during their normal snacktime (cake included).
Tuesday is also Art day for the kindergarteners (elementary school went on as usual) and myself and another teacher (we normally teach the art classes) had them make handmade cards for the two girls that work at the front desk (and work their butts off)…that would likely not receive anything because they aren’t technically teachers.
At the end of the day, we ended classes early (kindergarten) and had them all come into the library so they could each hand-deliver their cards to the girls that work at the front desk.

😀  Very fun day.
In case I haven’t mentioned it, I have kindergarten from 9:45-2:25 (with lunch from 12:25-1:45) then elementary from 2:50 to 6:45.
A really long day, and isn’t standard across all hagwons, but yeah…it’s what I do.  And hey, it gets me flowers and Chanel.  haha 🙂

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Currently listening to:
Gotye–Somebody That I Used to Know
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NhkK-1epUA
(love when it picks up at 1:33, but addicted to this song)

Taylor Swift–Eyes Open (Hunger Games Soundtrack)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vShCqrZiK_0

Drake feat. Rihanna–Take Care
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zzP29emgpg&feature=related

Rihanna–Where Have You Been
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBxt_v0WF6Y&feature=related

Annnnnnnd…I’m so in love with this commercial, haha.  🙂 🙂
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=instream&v=35KX4OHQfMc
It’s one that I actually stick around to watch when it comes up on Youtube 🙂 haha.