New Home Sweet *much bigger* Apartment :-D + Tango

Hey hey!
I moved into my new apartment last week (stressful week…bah.  3 people moving in/out at the same time is no fun).
Anyway, I’m all settled and unpacked and LOVE my new place.  It’s much bigger (not massive, but I have a bigger closet and space for a couch and working out, etc.)  Really cool.  (Video is coming…)
It’s also warmer in this apartment than my last place.

Sheesh.  I just realized how much has happened since the last post.  I’m going to do an outline first so I can keep my thoughts straight and make sure I don’t miss anything.

*Christmas at the orphanage  (separate post)
*1 more year!  :-O (separate post)
*Today’s productivity
*Holiday plans (separate post)
*Vacation (separate post)


Ok, so first, as I mentioned a few months back, I got a bit of extra money (got my severance pay a bit early because we’re changing owners…should talk about that too…sigh.)–and now I have a bit of extra money (after sending money home) to do some fun stuff.
The classes are super reasonable and I’m loving it.

50,000 Won (Around $50, give or take a bit) for 6 classes. (1 lesson a week for about an hour and a half, plus an extra hour of practice time after class—and a discounted rate to the milonga practice session on Thursdays)
Anyway, the classes are all in Korean, which shocks some of the Korean people that I’ve met (that I’d be able/want to take classes–actually shocks some foreigners too–at home mostly).  But honestly, once you’ve been here for a certain amount of time, you sort of get over the fact that you can’t understand what’s going on around you.  You sort of tune everything out (also part of the reverse culture shock that happens when you get home and CAN understand EVERYTHING around you).
Anyway, it’s a dance class, and I just watch what the instructors are doing, and since it’s a visual thing, I haven’t had any issues really.
The only problem that I have had is that the instructors talk for about 20 minutes at the beginning of class (in Korean obviously)–about various topics–dress code, history of tango, feeling the music, types of music, beats, etc etc.
I would miss out on THAT aspect, but otherwise it’s ok.
HOWEVER, Korean generosity shines through here too–On my first week, a middle-aged lady was sitting next to me, discovered that I had no idea what the instructors were talking about (during the beginning speaking part), and would mutter/whisper the general idea of what they were discussing.  IE: “dress code”, “introductions”, “tango music”

Very sweet.

BUT…it gets better.
Yesterday, I went to class (class 2), and someone (not sure if he was asked to do it or not) with really good/decent English had typed up an English translation of the syllabus for me (student, not an instructor).  THREE pages worth!  He also sat next to me and translated the speaking part of the class for me.  (I think he was asked to, or something…), but either way, I was blown away by their kindness.
I’m the only foreigner in the class and everyone has been so friendly–friendly but also with a hint of curiosity about me.
I also kind of assumed that they wouldn’t want to dance with me because I’m a foreigner, but I had no shortage of dance requests.  🙂  I definitely got in a lot of practice.
We just started partner work yesterday and basic “walking” steps.  Interesting walking backwards and having to let someone else lead.  haha.  Trying my best, but having a good time either way.

I have a list of things to talk about, but I don’t have a lot of pictures or anything to help break up the white space, so I’m going to split up some of the things into different posts.

Anyway, today I was super productive (yesterday actually too), and I’m feeling really good.
*Work (10-7–hour and a half lunch break)
*Language Exchange (7:30-9)  (went til about 9:15)
*Then, at home:
-moved all the clothes from the couch to their respective places
-made the bed
-hung up a lot of stuff
-hung up Christmas lights in the windows
-cleaned off my desk
-bought plane tickets (2nd set for island hopping) for my winter vacation–all settled now
-wrote out a few Christmas cards
-updated my to-do lists
-cleaned off my kitchen/breakfast table (I only have a table–[I have a table!!!!] and a couch [I have a couch!!!!!] because my friend that I got the apartment from asked if she could keep the furniture here (uh. yes.  saves me from getting furniture in the near future) until she gets back to Korea in a few months.

It’s 1:30am here, so I’m off to bed.
No Kindergarten tomorrow morning (Korean Election Day)!  Planning on sleeping in and making myself some french toast and eggs in the morning before heading to work.
I think all of us foreign teachers are headed into work around the normal time anyway so we can get some work/planning done.
Then I’ll still have elementary classes as usual tomorrow too.

Good night! (Good morning and good afternoon too!)

A Good Read

My friend Bethany sent me that link this morning and I wanted to share it.  She’s also teaching English abroad, but in Japan, and is currently on her second year…and loving it.
Anyway, she sent it over and said she thought of me when she read it…and it really is perfect.  Especially since today is departure day, and my brain is practically racing.  It goes back and forth between the possibility of failure/being horrible/hating it, etc. to the prospect of this really being awesome.

This is kind of a crappy post, but I’m in the middle of some last minute stuff before heading to the airport later today.  I’ll post again when I get settled in at an airport…probably LAX (last US stop before Korea) when I have a 4 hour layover.
Anyway, just wanted to share the link 🙂


Final Days and Storing Away My Possessions…

Wow.  What a long day.  Actually, that’s an understatement.

At the end of my last entry, I went to bed around 3:30 or 4 am…woke up at 8 to finish a bit more packing.  Got the rental truck picked up at home around 10:45 and packed more.  My brother and his friend got to my apartment around 12:45 (and my mom around 11:30–she helped me clean a bit until they got there).  Started loading the truck around 1…finished just before 2.
Then drove to the storage unit and unloaded everything.  Finished around 4:30.
I filled the truck up and dropped it back off..thennnn went back to my apartment with my mom and grabbed the remaining things that I didn’t have in boxes and brought them to her place/storage unit.

Finished up around 6pm.

So close to being finished.  So so close.

I need to get back to the apartment tomorrow to clean and drop off my keys.  And that’ll be that.

Last things on the to-do list:
*Clean apartment
*Call AT&T on Monday morning to shut off internet at apartment
*Call Ameren on Monday to continue utilities through end of the month (per apartment contract)
*Double-check all bags–make sure I’ve got everything..cut anything that is un-needed.
*Return rental car

Cant believe this all is actually happening.  I’m going to be on my way to Korea in just over 48 hours.

Goodbyes and Packing Up

Packing is actually going surprisingly well.  I think I have a system (which I’ve noticed this in the past too) that I’ll pack once and then re-pack and adjust that first round by taking stuff out and tweaking it.  Might sound like a waste of time, but it works for me.
I currently have one large suitcase and one smaller one (carry-on size), and I’m checking online to verify how many I’m allowed.  Double-checking anyway.  The suitcases are both pretty full currently, and I honestly wouldn’t mind paying the extra for an extra checked bag so I can make sure I have enough room to bring stuff back.  I just started with my tweaking round of packing, so maybe I’ll be able to trim enough stuff out that I don’t have a need for a second bag..
I also feel the need to bring my rainboots. ha.  I’m sure I’m being stubborn, but I’ve heard it rains a ton there, and my feet are a bit bigger than the average female’s, so I’m assuming I’d be hard pressed to find them there.
ALLLLSOOO…not too thrilled to be leaving our lovely 60 degree (WOW!! :-D) temps for the more realistic 20-degree (and snowy) temps of Daejeon.  😛

Anyway, I’m also moving tomorrow.  It’s pretty late here and I’ve been doing stuff pretty much since 9am yesterday morning…so I’m exhausted, but I really do want to knock out as much of this as I can before morning hits.  That way I can move, clean and just be done with it all.  Then I can sleep.

Also tonight, I went to a friend’s house and we had chocolate fondue night–yum!  Which also happened to be my last time seeing a bunch of my friends for the next year.  That’s basically what this whole last week has been.  Cramming in visits with everyone I possibly can all while trying to wrap things up around here.  (And deal with car dude…)  It’s really weird to think that I won’t see these people for a year.  I’m just trying not to think about it though.  I know the year will fly by, and I just make myself sad by thinking about how long it’ll be.
I’m so incredibly grateful that I live in a time (and country) that allows me to even do what I’m going to be doing.  And thankfully, I’m surrounded by different forms of social media and things like Skype, which all help bring the edges of the Earth a little bit closer together.
I’m also incredibly blessed to have the family and friends that I do.  Always there.  100%.  Supporting and cheering me on.

And of course, to have the opportunity to do something like this is really incredible.
But the thing is, the opportunities are there for most people.  You just have to have your eyes open and be ready to jump when it appears.  And work your frikin ass off for it.

But it’s worth it.  Oh so worth it.

Edit: I was driving home from the fondue thing tonight and it’s really interesting how differently you see things when  you know you’re about to leave.  It’s kind of hard to describe, but it feels like everything has a glaze over it.
I feel…I can’t think of the best word choice right now, but as I’m driving down the road, I see things in a different light.  Or when I’m spending time with friends, I cherish it more.
I guess I could (unwillingly) compare it to how someone might feel about life once they’ve been told they only have a limited amount of time left to live.
I feel weird describing it like that, but if you’ve never moved away before, I feel like that would be the most similar sort of feeling.

Also, I’d like to note that I’m feeling more excited about going now.  It seriously depends on the day (or hour) on how I feel on the subject, but I’ve felt more positive about it recently.  I’m assuming that’s because car guy is letting up (kinda..only got 2 emails today) and that allows me to focus on the here and now. And allows me to actually get excited about this.  I’m making a promise to myself now not to let that guy get to me.  He can’t rob these last few days from me.
Anyway, back to packing.  Hopefully to bed soon.  It’s been a long (and productive) day.
My Friday (2/17)–Snapshot
*Up at 9am–baked brownies (brownie bites) for fondue night
*Go to Mom’s house: drop off stuff to be shredded and extra shampoos/lotions/etc.  Stuff that probably won’t do well in a storage unit for a year and do laundry
*Get more boxes from grocery store (free apple boxes :-D)
*Go to Mom’s work–complete a Power of Attorney and copy important documents
*Fondue night with the ladies at 9pm! 😀
*Pack!!!!!  (Where this entry originally starts off)

Er…I Get How Many Suitcases??

I’m starting the packing process…and this is mildly overwhelming, ha.
I wish I could just transport my whole apartment with me…

I’m also a bit confused because the airline that I’m using to get through the US says that I get two bags.  Two checked bags?  One checked and one carry-on?
I was originally planning on trying to do one checked and one carry-on, but I think I’m going to do:
one larger carry-on, my backpack that I used for backpacking Europe and a smaller suitcase.

I think that sounds manageable since one is on my back.  Gah.
I’m also working on packing up my apartment too.  Sheesh.  Needs to all be done by tomorrow night so I can be ready to move on Saturday morning…
(If you’re reading this and you’re near me…and free Saturday around noon, I can still use a few helpers if you want to help me move 😀  I’ll provide food!)

Packing Lists:

I have my own packing list written out, but these were pretty helpful.  I also used info over on the Footprints Recruiting website too.  Tons of good info over there.

I know posts with pictures are more exciting, but my apartment is a bit of a disaster-zone right now.  I’ll post when I’m all done. 🙂