Bliss + Resolutions Follow-Up

Just wanted to toot my own horn a bit in this post.

So, I had mentioned before that I’m not really a resolutions kind of girl.  I like to see what opportunities arise and then go after whatever come up.

However, my NY Resolutions for this year have been something that I had been aiming to achieve for awhile now.  I also knew that to make resolutions happen, they’re supposed to be short and very specific.  Not: “lose weight” or “spend less money”, but rather something you can track and actually make progress toward.  Anyway, that’s what I did with mine and so far so good!

Updates: I’m London-bound in March.  It’s a very short trip and one that I knew I really wanted to do before I got back home and essentially got tied down again.  I’ll be staying with friends the whole time so I’ll be saving massively on accommodation and I’ve already done the touristy stuff, so it’ll just be seeing friends mostly.  AND I found a great deal on a flight.  (It helps when you watch flight prices for months…)  SOOOOO yeah, pretty pumped.
Then back to the work life afterward and I’m 100% okay with that.

Also, this really isn’t anything to write home about, I guess, but one of my resolutions was to be able to do a handstand by the end of the year.  I’m not sure how realistic that is, but it seems do-able.  I actually need to edit that and make it “freestanding” handstand–that is, away from the wall. (Eeeee!!)
I tested it out last week at some point and it’s pretty difficult.  I’ve been using the wall for support, and have been practicing both yesterday and today.  So 2 for 2 then.  😀
I’m doing 3 sets of 30 seconds per day.  My hands are…about a foot and a half from the wall, but I’m able to support myself, so that’s pretty exciting.  Just gotta keep at it.

The reading 20 books resolution is…going…but at a turtle pace.  I’ve recently finished A Christmas Carol and have started on Throne of Glass, which is book 1 of a series.  Maybe I can knock out some more books on this book challenge on these international flights.

AND…I’ve registered and began part 1 of 3 of my Pediatric CPR/First-Aid course (the title is longer, but that’s all I can remember off-hand).  It’s a requirement for most pre-school or teaching jobs back home, plus a nifty life skill, so I’m excited to get that finished.
I’m doing part 1 online and then parts 2 and 3 have to be done with an instructor.  Those are the practical/exam portions.

Let’s see…I’ve got my resume updated and ready and have started selling off possessions.  I still have a lot of furniture though, so it hasn’t really hit yet.  It sort of comes in waves that I’m leaving.  It’s very bittersweet though.  I’m sad to leave the people I’ve met and my students (not looking forward to the last day with them…going to be a waterworks…), but I’m feeling very ready (or, as ready as I’ll ever be) and excited for this next chapter in my life to begin.

It also looks like I have an interview with a preschool back home as well.  I’ve been on their website and I’m so in love with what they’re doing at the school.  It looks like such a fun place for the kiddos, and I’m sure the adults too, ha.

Anyway, I’m just trying to take it a day at a time and to keep focused.  I’ve got all my to-do lists going in full-force and I feel like I’m keeping on schedule with everything, so yeah.  *exhale*

I just feel so…happy and content with where my life is going at the moment.  I was so worried for the longest time about adding in that trip to London honestly.  I kept second-guessing myself and wondering if I should be traveling so soon after returning home (two weeks after, actually), but now that it’s done, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I’m going to be able to see some friends I’ve met while in Korea but during my early years.  So, it’s been about 3 years since I’ve seen some of them, but we’ve kept in contact the whole time.
I was just so nervous that I’d return home, get my car and my job and not be able to save or break out of the routine and make the trip anytime soon.  Now, I just feel relief and excitement.
I’ll be home for Easter and the Fourth of July and just…bliss.

I’ve found peace among the madness that is going on around me.

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Why, Hello there!

I’ve gotten really bad about updating this.  Whoops!  Sorry!

First, here are some of my favorite songs currently so you can jam and read at the same time.  😀

Jessie J’s ‘Sexy Lady’
and
Plumb’s ‘In My Arms’
a
nd
Jessie J’s ‘Wild’
a
nd
Gabrielle Aplin’s ‘Salvation’

Ok.  Good.  😀

Anyway, let’s see…Thailand was frikin amazing and I definitely need to go back.  I had an issue with pickpocketing on one of the overnight buses which left me doing a lot of sitting, movie watching and reading at the end of my trip…but thankfully, I was able to experience a lot of stuff at the beginning.
I went to a Muay Thai class and had a 3-hour class..which was awesome.  If I had more lifetimes, I could see myself going back there for a bit longer and doing a bit more with that.  There were Thai people there obviously, and then other foreigners who went to Thailand specifically to train Muay Thai.  The gym was called Santai Muay Thai in case you’re curious or interested for yourself.  Super friendly staff and good overall environment.

I also rode on and bathed an elephant in a river.  Oh, and rode bareback, not in one of those harness things.  😀  I was excited for the elephant, but it ended up even better than I expected.  My elephant was really gentle and sweet.  🙂
On that same tour, I also went to Tiger Temple and got to pet some of the tigers there 😀
Tigers are my absolute favorite animal so that was HUGE for me.  That whole day was a blur of awesomeness…thank God for cameras.  I was able to get a lot of pictures to help me remember everything.

Also, I went to a few night markets and got to bargain/haggle and went to a floating market (same tour as elephants and tigers), saw a lot of temples (mostly all in Bangkok).  I also got in some lovely beach time and relaxation over on Koh Tao island.  😀

Bringing things back to Korea, I’m about a month and a half into my new job at the new school and it’s loads better than the previous school.  The administration are honest with me about my performance and we have weekly meetings.  We have TWO office printers (instead of the two personal-sized printers at my last place)–makes it a bit congested in the office with 8 teachers and two tiny printers.  Each teacher also has a heater in their classroom…ah!  And I have my OWN classroom!  😀 😀  It’s so lovely, and I’m free to decorate it as I wish. Our library is nicely stocked and the curriculum seems effective.  There’s also a system put in place if we need to discipline students.  The work load is heavier, but I don’t mind it because of all the other positives.  Plus, I also don’t mind working more if I see the results of my efforts…which I do, since I have my own students and it feels like a real school.

Also, as is customary in Korea for ESL teachers, with a new job comes a new apartment.  Each school provides an apartment (or housing allowance) for their foreign teachers, so if you change schools, then you change apartments…not sure if I’ve mentioned that or not.
Anyway, I’m loving my new place.  I’m slowly getting back on my feet after not having a paycheck for awhile. We get paid monthly here, which is a bit annoying, but the pay is good enough that normally it doesn’t matter.  It’s just that when you stop working and start back up again…it’ll be awhile before you see any money.  I got paid this past month, but my check for December will bring me back to feeling comfortable again.  VERY anxious for that.  A huge thanks to my momma who has helped me get through this rough patch.

I feel like I should have pictures along with this post, but they’ll have to wait til the next one.  It’s late again here and I’m ready for bed.

Happy Friday! 😀

Holiday Plans/Upcoming Vacation

Ooh, look at me posting 2 days in a row! 😛  haha

The holidays are coming and I’m very excited.  (Mainly excited for some days off…and to be able to finally clear off my desk at work of all of the holiday play materials, lol).

Let’s see, we’re doing holiday skits and presentations next week at school (well–the kids are…not me, lol), and we’ve been very busy with that alongside regular classwork.
Skits are next Thursday and Friday (vacation starts that Friday evening/Saturday), and report cards are supposed to be finished, or nearly finished by then too.  (Almost finished!  yay!  I should finish them by this Friday).  We’re also having Christmas parties next week.  Also off on Tuesday for Christmas.  Busy busy!

In my life outside school:
I was planning on going to another orphanage to visit (with a group) and bring holiday cheer this weekend, but not sure now.  I went last week and it was really nice.  I loved feeling like I was part of something important, and it was nice to bring some joy to those kids’ lives.  I wanted to go to the second orphanage this weekend, but I’m also working on getting proper tango shoes.
My class is on Monday, and I found a place in Seoul that has shoes, but I can’t make it up there during the week…and they’re closed on Sundays.
I sent them an email getting more information, so I might end up doing that instead since I don’t have any other time to get it done.

Also, I’m attending a Christmas party on Saturday, which is hosted by the language cafe where I participate in language exchange.
Then I was planning on going to Seoul (ugh…again..two days in a row…so much wasted money on travel) on Sunday with a friend.

Monday:  work and tango and Christmas party at my friend’s apartment
Tuesday: CHRISTMAS!  and going to a Yiruma concert with a friend 😀 😀  So excited for this.  I’ve loved him even while I was back in America.
Yiruma & Kim Bum Soo–‘Grown Up Christmas List’
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5Yt_ozC_G0
Yiruma–‘River Flows in You’
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-4wUfZD6oc
Yiruma–‘Kiss the Rain’
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIbUNfg_wmM

Yiruma is actually from South Korea, so I think it’ll be fun to see him live in his home country. And it’s a holiday show.  🙂

then Wednesday-Friday we have classes again (with the Christmas parties and skits)
then….Saturday I leave for

THE PHILIPPINES!

So excited!  I’m going to the island of Cebu for 5 days!  yay!!

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

SENSATION 2012: An Ocean of White, Care Packages and Beachy Destinations

Now THIS was an amazing experience that I won’t soon forget.  So happy that I took lots of pictures and video footage.
SENSATION is basically a touring rave party.  They hit hot spots in South America and Europe and have one stop in the US (NYC, of course) and its first-ever stop in Asia happened to be in Seoul this past weekend.

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Absolutely incredible.

The theme was “An Ocean of White” and the dress code was for everyone to wear white…hence the white clothes, and it was a really cool thing to see all those people (apparently sold out show at 50,000 people) in the same color.
It also helped the hype when you were on your way to the venue and you’d randomly see someone else all dressed in white and wondering if they were on their way to the same place that you were headed.  🙂
The rave (my first) started at 10pm and went to 6am.  I went with a friend of mine and we stayed til about 5:15am and headed back to try and beat some of the crowds for the subways and the trains back home.
It was busier than I’m sure it normally was at 6am on the subway, but not anything too crazy.

The event has a really good energy and lots of people were up and dancing around, and they had a few fun photo-op type things set up around the arena for before or during the event when you wanted to take a breather.
You paid for food and drinks with these little tokens that you bought (everything was obviously overpriced, but that’s to be expected).

I started to write out descriptions of what all happened, but it’s just one of those things that you’d have to experience it to fully understand.
However: giant inflatable, color-changing, glowing balls in the crowd; lasers; great dance music; fireballs; fountains; wristbands that turned on and glowed green on cue; dancers.

There you go.  Perhaps your own imagination can do better justice to the show than my writing can.  🙂

I also managed to lose my bank card while I was at the rave and tried hard not to let it spoil my evening.  I’m normally very organized and good with money, and that’s never happened to me before so I wasn’t too thrilled.
I told the information desk and gave them my number and they said they’d call if it showed up (made me feel a bit better that they had a stack of about 8 other cards at the desk).
I later found out that someone had charged 60,000 won (about $58) to my card while at the event…most likely on tokens since there wasn’t much else to purchase there.

On Monday morning (banks are closed on Sundays here too), a Korean co-worker went to the bank with me and talked to the teller about the situation.  We cancelled the old card (and thankfully, the person only used that card for that one 60,000won purchase and that’s it) and she issued me a new one on the spot.
My co-worker also filled out a form explaining what had happened (in Korean) and they’re going to see about getting me the money back.  It’ll take 1-2 weeks to find out whether or not I get anything back.  I might or might not…or I could get a portion of it.  Either way, I’m not expecting to get anything back, so if I do, it’ll just be a nice surprise.
Thankfully, I get paid this week and I’m not in a huge need for money right now (sure, the 60,000 would be nice), but payday is coming and I’ll take this as a lesson learned to be extra careful next time, because if there is a next time, I probably won’t be so lucky.  They could have easily drained the whole account or kept making additional purchases.

Anyway, I also got another care package…this time from my mom! 😀
It had a bunch of food and magazines in it.  And MAC AND CHEESE!  And Angel Food Cake mix!  haha.  Apparently sending the cake mix was an accident, but I’m happy it was sent along.  🙂
Oh!  And I got more lotion from Bath and Body Works!!  Hurrah!!

Annnnd last but definitely not least….

BALI IN THREE DAYS!!!!!

Count’em!  3! Days!! 😀
Summer vacation is almost here!!

I can definitely use it because I already teach a lot of classes and Summer Intensive classes start up tomorrow (ie: adding more classes into our schedule.  1 more for me…making 10-11 classes a day).
Friday can’t come soon enough.

Budgeting for July-madness!

I basically assumed that with all of the stuff I have going on in July that it would be the one month where I wouldn’t be able to send money home.  However, I’m pleasantly surprised, after a bit of budgeting and planning, that I will be able to send money home (and the usual amount, at that) after all.  Yay!

I’m completely broke right now because I went to the hospital here (nothing serious.  don’t worry.)  And what we call “the doctor” they say ‘the hospital” here because they have universal healthcare and you just go up to the hospital to get checked out.  There are also little clinics that you can go to also, but I went to the hospital–greater chance of them speaking English.
Anyway, my school apparently had forgotten (accident, I suppose) to sign me up for health insurance, and I had to pay the hospital fees out of pocket.  I got the refund taken care of on Friday, but the money still hasn’t shown up yet.  😦 😦  Assuming that it should be here tomorrow (Monday) at the latest because of bank processing delays and such.
I absolutely cannot wait until that money gets back into my account.  In more ways than one.  Ugh.  Being broke (especially when it’s due to circumstances out of your control) is no fun.  😦

Anyway, JULY!
Weekend of July 6-8–Nothing special planned.  Probably living as cheaply as possible.
Weekend of July 13-15–MUDFEST!!  A huge annual beach party (mostly attended by foreigners, from what I’ve heard).
Weekend of July 20-22–Sensation–Korea (Sponsored by Heineken)–Rave just outside Seoul.  Other Sensation tour spots have been in South America and throughout Europe this year.  First year for Asia and it just so happens to be in Korea.
Weekend of July 28-Aug 1–BALI!!!!  (Summer vacation)

A wee bit excited 😀