A Bit of Randomness and Some Updates

First off, I need to get better about updating, sheesh.
We’re in the middle of Winter Intensives though, so I just feel like collapsing by the time I get home..bah.  They’re over Tuesday though….finally!
And also, I partially feel like I have to have something exciting to say when I come on here, because who wants to read about me doing laundry or sitting around in my pajamas til 2pm on a Saturday.  haha

Anyway, the random bit.
I was thinking just now how weird my shopping cart is going to look when I go home (more on that in a bit) and re-stock on some lovely American goodies.
A shopping cart filled with a year-supply of toothpaste (it tastes extra pasty and less minty here), deodorant (not readily available…and when it is, it’s expensive!), 10 boxes of spiral Mac and Cheese and other easy-to-cook, overly processed, but homey-comfort foods.
Cake mixes and icings.  Food coloring (um…we have terrible powdered stuff here)
The checker lady is going to be so confused.  haha.

Image

Anyway, I got the school stuff sorted out and resigned my contract!  I’m coming home in 2 weeks…and it’s honestly a bit surreal.  It doesn’t really feel like it’s here.  Just sort of going about my business as usual.  It felt more exciting on the actual day that I booked my ticket.
Planning on visiting family in Chicago and visiting family and friends back home too.  I was going to go to LA to see a bunch of friends, but the flights are a bit (um…a lot…) expensive, so I don’t think it’s a wise choice to go this time around since I’ll be on a limited budget and won’t really be working for a month.  I think it would make things difficult when I got back and had to make it through the month with even less.  Still have bills to pay and everything, so…yeah.  Next time.

Let’s see, what else is new…
Oh, I found a jazz dance studio near me (and the owner?) speaks English!!! AHHHH!!!!  Classes aren’t too expensive and it’s really close to my apartment, so I’m thinking of doing that and continuing my tango classes when I get back.
It’s hard because I like tango, and everyone is super nice, but I feel somewhat like a burden at times though.  I think because I don’t understand what they’re saying and maybe they feel bad.  I don’t know.  I could also be making that up in my head completely, but it still feels that way nonetheless.  I’m going to keep at it though, mainly because I got shoes, but I also don’t want to be a coward and miss out on this just because of things that people might or might not be thinking.
I also have to keep in mind that it’s going to be the same with jazz too.  Or any extracurricular that I participate in here.  They’re all friendly, but I think it’s just something I need to get over.

I’ve been a bit lounge-y this weekend, which has been much-needed.
I saw Life of Pi yesterday (Saturday)–first movie I’ve seen by myself, and loved it.  Definitely recommend it.  I also need to read the book too.  Went for Indian food afterwards (who would have thought that I would become a massive fan of Indian food (chicken curry and butter naan) while I was living in Korea…
Today was just an errands and laundry day.  Nothing super exciting.
I did buy a new hamster ball for the class hamster that I’m babysitting on weekends.  I’m keeping him after intensives end…he’s super sweet and cute, and it’s nice having a little (low-maintenance too!) pet to come home to. 🙂  The school threw the first one away (“accident”…not sure how you accidentally throw out a hamster ball..but whatever), so now he has a new one to zoom around in.

Hm, can’t think of anything else at the moment…

Now…
Reading: nothing currently.  Recently finished Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl and enjoyed that, but as mentioned before…just a bit tired from intensives.  Planning on starting The Night Circus in the near future.

Watching: had a few hour-long watching sessions to finish the third season of Downton Abbey (!!), recently started An Idiot Abroad, which is an English show about a guy that hates traveling is sent on trips across the world and gives his opinion on things.  I think it’s pretty funny–can be a bit slow at times, but still humorous.  Not a fan of how his “friends” treat him–the guys who organize each trip for him though…but yeah.
Probably going to start Once Upon a Time after that.

I was never really big into TV series when I was home, but I think that’s because my work schedule was always so crazy that I couldn’t really have time to get into one.  Tuesdays at 7?  Ok, well that might work 1 time of the month, but not the rest.  And I didn’t know how to download shows then, or have much interest in sitting around watching it.
It’s a nice break from life now though.  And especially since I don’t have a regular tv here, it’s nice to be able to pick and choose my series, and de-stress a bit.

On my mind: going home/being home/what it’s going to be like/not forgetting stuff/etc., my brother, excitement for the end of intensives, happy that I finally have a cleaned and organized apartment  (I also bought a ginormous piggy bank today), needing to take my Christmas tree down…but mostly content.  A lot of the weights have been taken off my shoulders with only a few major things on the ol’ to-do list before I head back.

Also, as the first year is coming to a close, I thought this could be interesting.
Best things about Korea:
1. BBQ (grill meat yourself at the table)
2. overall friendliness
3. PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION!!!!!  (cheap, readily available, punctual, reliable…etc etc.)
4. The Cute-sey stuff.  This could easily go either way.  But I’m feeling positive today, so it’s going here.  Animal shaped winter hats and clever scissors brighten my day.

Not-So-Favorite Things:
1. The naivety of the people who haven’t been abroad (I know this is mostly due to the fact that the country only recently opened up, but it’s staying on my list)
2. Fashion-sense/buying clothes/shoes in general
3. Not being able to communicate properly (Me, as a foreigner.  Just a frustration, nothing against the Korean people)
4. The “For-Show” aspect of the culture

*Note:  This is just from my own personal experience and shouldn’t be taken personally.  I must like living her enough, since I’m staying a second year.  😉

Ok, bedtime 🙂
Goodnight/Good Afternoon/Good Morning!

Oh hey! 10 months!

Possibly a pointless post…but hey!  I like a reason to celebrate…

Today (even though it’s just after midnight) marks my 10-monthiversary in Korea
😀

That’s pretty much it  😀  haha


What I’m up to:
Today/Friday:
Work, dinner with a friend and beginning some cookie baking
(planning on giving cookies to co-workers, the lovely Korean lady (and her family) that run the 7-11 below my work, and bringing some to a holiday party on Saturday night)

Saturday:
Was debating going to Seoul to hunt down tango shoes, but thankfully I was able to find some and order them online (massive thanks to my language exchange partner…who should also get cookies, lol.  Says he really likes them).
Anyway, no need to go to Seoul now, and instead I’ll be spending the day baking and putting together Christmas gifts for friends.
Then a Christmas party that night.

Sunday:
Going to Seoul with a friend

Monday:
Work
Tango  (ahhh!  I forgot…I was going to bring cookies here too!  My new buddies.  And chances are high that most of them have never had homemade holiday cookies…ever.)
then Christmas eve/Christmas slumber party/brunch at a friend’s place

Tuesday:
Christmas!!
evening: Yiruma Concert

Wednesday-Friday: work (holiday parties and a language exchange thrown in there too)

Saturday:  vacation  (much-needed.  Ahhhh)

I’ve been making fabulous progress on my to-do list though, so it’ll be nice to have that finished up just in time for vacation  😀

*whew*

Anyway, good night! 🙂

…My tango shoes are from a company here (international shoes but the warehouse or whatever is here)…but hoping they get here by Monday… :-/
I’m not too thrilled about the prospect of walking backwards in regular pumps…

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.

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

*whew*

Tango!
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:
-dishes
-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!)