Learning to Fly–Part 2

I’m probably going to be updating a lot more in the days leading up to the flight home.  I’ve got a lot of emotions swirling around inside me and it seems like they change every hour or so.  I mainly just want to try to document all the things I’m feeling now so I can preserve them for future years.

I’ve been asked a few times now how I’m feeling and it’s quite  difficult question to answer.  I’m excited (and nervous, but mostly excited) about whatever lies ahead, but also heartbroken over the friends and students that I’m leaving behind.  I love the friends I’ve met here, but I’m not feeling as sad about that because there’s always the possibility that we’ll cross paths in the future.  It does feel weird though that we can’t (won’t be able to) call each other up and go out for drinks or coffee.
I’m more upset about leaving my students.  Like, heartcrushingly upset.  I’ve had a handful of them for the whole two years that I’ve been at my school and it feels a bit like I’m their parent.  I’ve watched them grow up and change.  They’ve learned a lot and have developed into wonderful young people, and…the fact that it’s just going to end and that I won’t see them again just makes my heart ache.
In a regular elementary school or if I were staying and they were leaving the school, there’d still be that chance that I might run into them on the street or at the grocery store, and this just feels very final.  I also don’t really know how to tell them that I’m leaving without making a big announcement or whatever.  I do want to tell them though because I don’t want them to wonder where I am the following Monday.

I was thinking of giving them my American address and letting them know they can write to me if they want, but I also don’t know how to do go about doing that.  I had a classroom up until our new semester/term started in January and now I’m in our school library (easier for me to leave in the middle of the term, than if I had my own room) and now I see all of the students.  So, I haven’t had a chance to get as close to them as my own kids that I had in my classroom.  I don’t want to be playing favorites or anything.
I personally haven’t said anything to the kids yet (it’s also frowned upon if you do it too early because parents might pull their kids out( loss of business for the school) if you start mentioning it too early, but apparently one of the front desk ladies had mentioned it to one student’s mom and the girl is upset.  She’s one of my favorite kiddos…just a star.  She’s so smart and kind and just a great kid.  I’m thinking of having one of my Korean friends translate a sentence or two for me so I can tell her how proud I am of her.  She’s good with English but we haven’t gotten to words like “proud/proud of” yet, and I don’t want anything to get lost in translation.

Anyway, I’ve also been getting hit with waves of “this is the last time that I’ll be doing x”.  I haven’t cried yet, but I have moments where I get hit with nostalgia and just different memories.  The reality is starting to sink in and I just keep telling myself “You’re doing so great.  Everything is going to be fine.”
I’m also trying to keep myself in the present to try and…I guess cement the memories and emotions as best I can.  It’s pretty easy to get swept away with all the things that I have to do and to get caught up in future plans.  I’ve got a fairly good balance going and I think I’m right on track as far as getting things done.  I have to remind myself of that from time to time.  Thankfully I’ve trained that inner voice of mine and I’m usually pretty kind to myself.
As far as keeping in the present goes, I think I’m also mentally a week ahead because it feels like I’m leaving in a couple of days rather than just over a week.  Which, thankfully I still have that week because I still have stuff to do, but I’m trying to keep myself from getting too far ahead to where I start missing out on the present.

Tonight (it’s 10pm on Saturday here) I met up with one of my best Korean friends and her nephew.  (He’s visiting from another city and staying with her for a few days.)  I’ve met him a few times and apparently he talks about me a lot, ha.  So tonight we met up at Starbucks and he drew me a picture and wrote a little message (in Korean) and then we all went for dinner after.  It was a goodbye dinner of sorts as well.  I’m going to see that friend next weekend (my last weekend) as well, so that will be the official goodbye.
I think all these “last x” and goodbyes actually make it more difficult and painful to leave.  Part of me wishes I could just get on the next bus to the airport and just get it over with.

Anyway, 5 days til I move out of my apartment and 5 more days of work!
We’re in the home stretch now!

(Note: Moving out of my apartment early because I have to be out of my place when they do the inspection–moving in with a co-worker on Thursday, last day of work on Friday, flight on Monday.)

Facebook Hiatus and other ramblings

As I’ve mentioned, I’m working on spending less time online and I feel like I have an addiction of sorts to Facebook.

I think it’s just that I like having something to do when I’m bored or if there’s idle time, but I think I spend too much time online so I’m trying to fix it.

The fact that it’s been two days and it’s already difficult doesn’t make me super happy.  Although, I think I’ve been pretty productive without it though.

I’ve deleted it from my phone so I don’t get updates and took it off my “favorites” tab from my browser so I don’t have access to it.  It just feels like when you accidentally leave your phone at home…my hand knd of twitches and wants to check the happenings online.

I’ve also been making more of an effort to go to bed around midnight instead of the wee hours of the morning.  I don’t work til the afternoon and I’m a night owl so I can usually stay up late without an issue, but I want to be more productive.

Anyhoo, just some random thoughts that would have likely made their way onto Facebook:

“Why the heck is it SO WINDY?!?!”
In summer, most people say that “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity” well, in the winter, I’d have to say that it’s not the cold, it’s the wind.
My poor face.
However, they do have these little hot packs here that you can crunch up (think glow sticks) and put them in your pockets.  A friend of mine lent me some of hers one night and they were A-MAZING.  Need to add them to my Costco list.


something along the lines of “Why the heck are they building ANOTHER coffee shop?”
I really need to get a video camera out so I can show you this.  As an example, I’ll use my last apartment…I had 4 coffee shops within 2 minutes walk of my building…all less than a block away.
I went over there the other day and there were two more. So…6 coffee shops all on the same block.  And this is normal.
It makes me crazy.
I think it’s either because of my business major or a logical mind…but why would you build more of what you already have too many of?

There are SO MANY convenience stores, makeup shops and coffee shops…I can’t even begin to tell you.
I did ask about this to a Korean friend and they said that people here think of it as “Well, this business is doing well, so I’ll build one of my own close so I can do well too.”
Instead of…”what else could we use?”
Speaking of the convenience stores and my old apartment…we had 3 convenience stores within a block of eachother. Need a bottle of water or some gum?  Look left, look right and look straight….walk about a minute and you’ll find one on all sides.
The thing is, that this is why people who own those stores have to work nearly 12+ hour days.  They can’t afford to hire more workers to cover shifts because of the expense, so they work more hours themselves to break even or make a profit.

I’d also really like for more buildings to have store hours posted outside of their buildings.  Not all businesses seem to be open during the day…I found two dance studios and I’ve been to both of them 3 times and at different times on different days of the week and they never seem to be open.  I just want to get a schedule and idea on cost to see if I can even join, but I can’t even find out when they’re open to ask.  (They have phone numbers posted, but I can’t speak enough Korean to call.)
I’m thinking that I might just join a regular gym because even if the dance studios do open up, they don’t seem to be open at the times when I’m available anyway.

Asia has a really big drinking culture and if you don’t like to drink there aren’t THAT many options for you.  I’d really like to see some other sort of things to do around here aside from going out to bars.
They have gyms, but they’re pretty expensive (probably because the rent is expensive too)–but…it would be great to see:
*rock climbing gyms (again…they have them, but you have to provide your own ropes…which in the US is unheard of. Ropes are about $300.)
*dance studios
*go-kart tracks (or something like The Infield at home, where they have the batting cages, mini golf, bumper boats and go-karts all at one place)
*wine and painting studios (I keep seeing people doing these at home and I really want to do one too)…It looks so fun, but they’re super competitive here, so I dunno if something like that would be a hit or not because they’d be so focused on it being perfect…and not doing something just for the fun of it
*a coffee shop…that’s different.  Maybe different seating (hammocks, beanbags)…more lounge-y
*a western-style bakery (garlic bread without SUGAR!…etc)
*something like Panera/St. Louis Bread Co…I miss going to a place and getting sandwiches and soup.  (They do have sandwich shops, but it’s not the same concept)
*a place to get home goods, etc for CHEAPER (ie: like a Target…goodness…I think I would die.  haha)
*a Western sizes shoe store…I would LOVE to be able to go shoe shopping in a shoe store again.   If you’re a woman with a shoe size above about a 7.5/8, you will not find shoes here.  It just astounds me (again) that they wouldn’t take the opportunity (with all the foreigners here) to open a shoe store for people with”western” sized feet.  So much money could be made.  Instead, we all just shop online and have it sent home and then have family send the shoes here.  But…instead of doing that, they could just extend the sizes and pocket the money instead of laughing (yes.) about how big our feet are.
You wanna be tall…you’re going to have bigger feet.  That’s just how it goes.

So many business opportunities…and yet, there’s more of the same being built.  Makes me crazy.

I’d also like to have more diversity and other types of restaurants aside from Korean, Italian (fusion), Indian and Mexican, but I can get that in Seoul. Seoul is just super crowded, so I save those special meals for weekends in Seoul and then pop back down here to relax.
So that part, I can get…but yeah, just some random thoughts on things that I would like to see.  It’s just a lot of the same here, so I miss the unique-ness that can be found in the West and the creativity of a lot of the places that pop up.

I don’t mean this post to come off as whining or complaining.  They’re just observations that I’ve made and things that I personally think could make life here better.  I understand why a lot of these things that I miss and want will not come to be, but again, these are just some things that I personally (as it’s my blog) would like to see.
I don’t want to drink all the time and am honestly trying to break away from that area of life anyway, because I would rather meet people when they’re sober instead of shouting at them across a table in a loud bar, talking about the same old things.  I’d like to invest my time in actual hobbies and activities, and these are just some of the things that I think would be nice to see here.  🙂

Oh, and speaking of 5,000 coffee shops…I have a new favorite drink.  Caramel Cafe Mocha.  😀 😀 😀  YUMMMMMM! 😀
Ok, off to work!  Have a lovely day 🙂