Resolutions

I’m not really a New Year’s resolutions girl, but I’ve also heard that it helps to visualize where you’d like to be to help you get there.  So, I’m going to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and get out some solid goals to help make my 2016 as productive as possible.

1. Do my first pull-up

2. Do a handstand (Bonus: a handstand push-up)

3. Get $15,000 in savings by the year’s end–a lofty goal, but if I keep at this saving thing, it could happen.  Plus, if I want to move abroad again, money in the bank is a requirement.  A bit nervous as buying a car will suck up a lot of my savings, but let’s put those excuses aside and see what kind of magic I can work this year.

4. Get back to England to visit friends before year-end–this works against #3, but it’s important to me, and where there’s a will, there’s a way.

5. Read 20 books. (I have a Kindle!  Send recommendations if you’ve got them!  Ideally a series that I can get into.)

I wanted to have something career-related, but I have a lot of things up in the air, so I’ll work on solidifying that goal after I get back state-side.  Right now, I don’t have something solid in mind that I can make into a resolution.

Steps

I just wanted to do a follow-up on that last post.

I’m feeling better than I was when I wrote it, and I’m pretty sure it had to do with the vent-session, but you never can tell.

The problems themselves haven’t gone away obviously, but I feel lighter now than I did before.  I’m a bit of a worrier and I often over-analyze things, and I think I work myself up.  The things I get frustrated and upset about are valid, it’s just that I pick and pick at them and then make a big mess.  (It sounds like a toddler picking at a scab, haha.)

Anyway, worrying less is something that I’m working on.  I just saw a quote which is actually the reason I logged back on.  It hit home with me and I wanted to share it before I forgot.

“I never thought things could change so much in only a year.  I wonder what next December will be like.”

And, goodnight.

Kayak.com is Dangerous Past Midnight

Or rather, I need an automatic disconnect from the internet feature when I browse travel sites past midnight.

Or maybe not…?

So, I was poking around with different flight combinations…just to see…and honestly $500 to go to a country that I really want to visit again before returning home isn’t that bad.  In the grand scheme of things.  (Or maybe all those Asia->North America flights have warped my brain,ha.)

Anyhoo, I have a few friends to see, yummy food to eat then I’d be on my way.

And…might be able to use some miles to discount the flight.  I have to do a bit more research on that but it would be great.

ALSO!…I just found out that with IcelandAir you can get a FREE stopover in Iceland!  Granted you pay for any activities, but you don’t need to buy any extra flights!  How cool is that?!  You can stay up to 7 days thn carry on.

It really is late, so I really need to get to sleep, but I was laying here bursting with excitement that potential detour and had to tell someone.  Lucky you 😀

On Returning Home…

It’s been ages since my last post, which has been becoming more of an occurrence.  I guess no news is good news.

A handful of updates:
*I’ve begun studying for the GRE exam, which I plan to take in January
*I’m leaving Korea and US-bound in March–after FOUR years (contract ends at the end of February)
*Classroom stuff is going swimmingly and I’ve been able to try my hand at video editing, which is pretty fun.

GRE Exam
In case you weren’t aware, the GRE is a graduate school entrance exam.  It’s not required by all schools, but as I want to keep my options open and I have some free time, I figured it couldn’t hurt to have it under my belt.  I bought a big (and I mean BIG) book with lots of practice questions and it’s really helpful.  I’m feeling dumber than a bucket of rocks as a lot of it has leaked out of my head, but I have a nice frosty winter to re-learn a thing or two.  ha

USA-Bound
It’s true, it’s happening.  I’ve mentioned it on and off for awhile now, but it’s really happening.  I’ve been reading a lot about reverse culture shock and repatriating online as I’ve been experiencing a wide range of emotions.  At first it was relief and excitement, and everything around me seemed to be brighter, warmer, crisper and more cheerful.  Now, I’m feeling so…lost and I guess anxious would be the right word.  I keep going back and forth (with feelings, not on the decision itself) about whether I’m making the right decision, or whether I should just keep traveling for a bit.
Leaving feels right and it frees up a lot more possibilities, but the money is so addicting.  The other part that really gets me is that I’ll have a good amount saved up by the time that February gets here, more than I’ve ever had in my bank account at one time.  Ever.  Then I go home and buy a car and it’s all but gone.  Not even an expensive car…just a general used car.  It’s so depressing.  I was thinking about how far that money would go if I were to keep traveling after Korea, and I could go for about 8 months.  Maybe longer if I stayed in SE Asia.  It hurts me knowing that cars are essential in the midwestern parts of the US.  :-/

I feel like I’m on an emotional roller-coaster.

With the reading that I’ve done though, it’s really reassuring that I’m not alone in this.  I’ve also talked with friends who have already returned and they’ve given me advice as well, mainly: have a plan and keep busy.

I’m half-tempted to make a pit-stop in England before returning to the States because (1) I love it there (2) I have friends from Korea there who I haven’t seen in about 2-3 years.  (3) The Harry Potter Studio Tour in London
I do have a free return flight from Korea, which would get me there…I would just need to pay the return from London to Chicago.  Which takes away from the car fund.

I also really wanted to fill up my passport pages before it expires (in 2019, I believe).  I know going home isn’t permanent, but it feels like it.  I think that’s where part of my anxiety is coming from.

Anyway, this blog in particular was really helpful in fighting back the current anxiety that I’m feeling, especially in the comments.
*Have a plan B
*Make time to travel in your own country–which I’m actually working on as well!  I want to drive the PCH next summer.  It’s been on my bucket list for a very long time, and it would be great to see the west coast during the summer.  PLUS, I could stop in Cali and visit a friend from Korea who lives over there 😀

This is from the above-mentioned blog:
it seems that in life doors are always opening to us that we didn’t even see when we were all the way down at the other end of the corridor, so be brave, take one step at a time, and remember that even in going back, you can still be moving forward!”
(Steph 5/24/2013)

Anyway, that’s enough for now as it’s late (as usual).

I just found this and it.is.perfection.
boundaries

Anyway, goodnight! 😀

Books worth reading, as recommended by Bill Gates, Susan Cain and more…

ideas.ted.com

Find repose by exciting the mind. Some of the world’s leading thinkers offer the books that inspired them and their work. Skim the list for your favorite speakers, or get nerdy on a topic you’ve always wanted to know more about. Below find 52 books, recommended by TED speakers.

Creativity

Creative Confidence, by Tom Kelley and David Kelley
Crown Business, 2013
Recommended by: Tim Brown (TED Talk: Designers — think big!)
“‘Creative confidence’ is the creative mindset that goes along with design thinking’s creative skill set.”
See more of Tim Brown’s favorite books.

Creating Minds, by Howard Gardner
Basic Books, 2011
Recommended by: Roselinde Torres (TED Talk: What it takes to be a great leader)
“Gardner’s book was first published more than twenty years ago, but its insights into the creative process — told through the stories of seven remarkable individuals from different fields —…

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2

+: Continuing my research for post-Korea and the program at U. of Oregon looks really nice for my Masters
+: I’m wearing my favorite shirt today
+: I took down my Christmas tree, did the dishes and finally put away the laundry (con of having a laundry rack to hang things to dry is that it slowly turns into a storage unit)

-: still feeling bummy
-: lots to do for work before tomorrow (finish report cards and make book worksheets/comprehension questions for the inside of 10 books/weekly assignment for everyone)

I’ve been having a rough time re-adjusting to life here so I’ve decided to do a post series (until I forget) of two good things and one or two negatives to help me get back on my feet.

“Square peg, round hole” describes how I’m feeling of late.

+: My classroom looks better than ever.
+: I’ve missed my kiddos (especially class 2)
+: The girl at the noodle shop surprisingly spoke great English
-: Reaaaaaallly tired of being gawked at (not in a good way) by old men…about ready to punch someone in the throat

Amanda Bynes, Robin Williams, and the Spectacle of Mental Illness

This was an excellent read.

Let's Queer Things Up!

Internet, we need to have a talk.

I’ve had a number of readers ask why I’ve neglected to write about Amanda Bynes this last year. It’s simple, really. I don’t believe that celebrities are “fair game,” and that, when they have very human and very difficult struggles, I should capitalize on those things by writing an article, however well-intentioned. I believe they are deserving of privacy and respect, by virtue of their being people.

However, I’m making an exception here, because in the midst of the negative and callous press that Bynes has received, I think it’s time we had a chat about it from a different perspective. And then, after we’re done, I think it’s time we stop speculating about it altogether. Deal?

First and foremost, there is no way for us to know what, if anything, Bynes has been diagnosed with. The family has denied schizophrenia and bipolar…

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In Remembrance

In honor of my Dad’s (would-be) birthday on September 6, I’ve compiled a list of things that make me think of him.

*Country music, but specifically: Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney and Garth Brooks
*Christmastime
*Nascar or when anyone says “I was watching that” when you change the channel when they’re obviously sleeping.
*The Lake of the Ozarks
*Learning to drive in the snow in a massive parking lot
*My eye color–My eyes tend to change colors but their go-to color is almost the exact shade that my dad’s were
*Rottweilers
*Classic Rock–specifically Styx
*My stubbornness
*Trans-Siberian Orchestra
*work-a-holics
*Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying”
*Jeff Foxworthy/Bill Engvall/Ron White
*My future wedding
*St. Louis sports (Cardinals/Blues/Rams)–He took me to my first hockey game however many years ago.
*Importance of education
*using good handwriting and good spacing when writing and doing long math problems–“We can go to the store and buy you another notebook if you need more paper. Write neatly.”  I still remember him telling me this throughout elementary and middle school.  My mom was the go-to person for reading, writing and grammar help and my dad was the math go-to person.

Words I’d use to describe him:
hard-working, innovative, ambitious, driven, quick-tempered, but curious and passionate about learning and about life

I’m happy to say that I believe I’m like him in many ways.  I think I’m brave, ambitious and a very hard worker. I’m also curious, passionate and excited about the things that life has to offer.  We both constantly strived to make our lives better and to try to achieve and do more.
I do remember him being fairly quick-tempered though and I can’t gloss over that fact.  I knew I was loved but I also felt that I had to prove myself to him and only toward the end did I realize that he was proud of me.  Unfortunate, but I’m glad I was able to hear it.
However, I appreciate many of the things that he taught me whether it’s having nice handwriting or opening up my music world when I was younger.  I remember him (both parents, but this is an entry about one) teaching me how to drive in a big snowy parking lot.  I remember learning in his big Ford F-150 and his love of having different cars.  I also am (secretly) eternally grateful that my eyes seem to be settling on the color that his were because I have a piece of him that can’t be taken.  All I have to do is look in the mirror and I’m able to bring him back to me.


I wrote this the week before my Japan trip and edited a few things just now.  It’s a fairly personal piece but I like having a place where I can write down my thoughts and feelings about such things.  So…here you have it.

Japan and Wizarding World of Harry Potter

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Osaka Castle, Osaka, Japan

I have a bit of a headache, so this might be a fairly short post, but I wanted to make a post about my trip to Japan (Osaka, specifically) and THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER at Universal Studios Japan (USJ).

DSC08561

Hogwarts Castle, Universal Studios , Osaka, Japan

The theme park was everything I was hoping for it to be and I’m happy that I bit the bullet and bought the plane tickets.  (Which is how it usually works out…just buy the tickets.)  Also, I loved Osaka, so that was another perk.
The only downside about the theme park was that is was CRAZY crowded.  Which, it’s only been open for two months, and we knew it expect it, but it was a bit nuts.
The morning wasn’t too bad, but it got more and more crowded as the afternoon went on.

Also, coming back to a three-day week is pretty awesome.  🙂

So, I wrote TWELVE pages (front and back) in my travel diary, and I was thinking of posting it here as I really don’t feel like re-hashing all of what I already wrote…would anyone even read that?  I dunno.  Anyway, I’ll leave a space for it and come back and add it later.

^^Hogwarts castle in Osaka 🙂

I’m also working on decking out my classroom for fall, so I’ll have another post up soon with the finished product.  Just give me a few more days 🙂  I’m working on making a big tree for my door with a bunch of colored leaves…time consuming, but should be pretty.  My boss also loves my classroom, so yay!  I like decorating it though…it helps if I also enjoy my workspace…and it helps the kids, so it’s a win-win.

I have Speaking Parties occasionally with my classes (I try for once a month), where I create a list of speaking topics and they sit around and pretend they are in a cafe and just chat about topics off the list.  I bring in snacks and drinks to create a sort of “coffee shop” vibe and they still end up reading off the sheet instead of talking naturally…but, that’s ok, right?  I guess they have to read before they learn to create the questions themselves.
Anyway, it’s pretty fun and the kids generally seem to like it.  Also, Costco is the main source of imported/foreign goodies around here and they recently got pumpkin pie in stock for the holidays, so I’m thinking of picking one up for tomorrow’s speaking day…for…cultural purposes.  So they can…ya know…learn what pumpkin pie tastes like (and because I tried it last year for the first time…I know! *shock* Say whattt? *gasp!*) and I think it’s delicious.
But mostly because that is something they’d never normally have and it would be a fun and different fall treat.

Mmmmm! Pumpkin pie on a Friday!  Oh happy day!

Also, 22 days til my birthday! 😀

//New Favorite Song:
One–Ed Sheeran

Still loving this one too:
Richard and Jasmin–“All of Me”
The Voice Kids–Germany