Friday, April 30, 2010

Ups and Downs....such is life!

Another week has flown by! It's amazing and scary how fast the weeks go here. Working a 9 to 5 job really makes the time fly! I gotta say...I like it.

I was feeling pretty crummy for a couple weeks. I was not feeling good, the change of weather brought on colds for many teachers and students, the weather was good then bad then bad again...I was just kinda blue. Would come home from school every day and go straight to bed...or just hang out and watch TV...then would be tired the next day from sleeping too much!! So finally, one day I woke up and said, okay, this is over Betsy! But then, I was still feeling crappy, so I said, arite, you can be a bum for the rest of today, but TOMORROW, it's over! And it was. I've been more energetic and active ever since, and am feeling better than ever. I joined a new gym that is just across the street from my house, and I am planning on going in the mornings before work. Also, there is a nice "lake park" that is a three minute walk from my house. It's a beautiful place, and every evening around sunset a large group of women gather and do aerobics. I've walked by several times, each time too shy to just go up and join, but after talking to some of my Korean co-workers I've discovered that it's a free thing and anyone is able to jump in! So today, I did! It was a good 45 minutes of aerobics, and it was fun. There was lots of booty shaking and hip thrusting, which was super fun and hilarious to watch the "ajumas" (basically a word for an older woman...but it's not a disrespectful thing to say!) getting into the moves. And let me tell you, these ladies can work it! After it was over, I walked up to the instructor and said "thanks, how much is it, is it free??" I didn't understand anything she was saying, except for "write your name down". So, I'm assuming it's free, and if it's not I guess the next time I go they'll let me know! Anyways, it will be a fun way to exercise in the evenings. I decided today that I'm going to get in the best shape of my life over the next 10 months! So by the time I come home next spring I'll be looking better than ever!!

Also, after my contract is over next year, (I'm thinking I'll stay until the end of Feb or March), I'm gonna reward myself for working so hard with, what else, a TRIP!! Today at work I was literally just standing near my desk, a million things going through my head, thinking about how I miss Europe. And I thought to myself, hey, I'm gonna go back. Next year I"ll have some money saved up, and I'm gonna go home for a couple weeks or a month, then backpack through Europe!! I'm thinking a month or so will be a sufficient amount of time. There are some places I didn't get to go while I was there two years ago (Germany, Belgium) and some places I want to go back to (Spain, France, Portugal!) and so many people all over that I"m sure will let me crash at their places for a few nights!! So, Europe 2011 is in the works for me! I'm super excited and already thinking about my itinerary. I'm gonna do it alone this time...I am after all my best travel buddy!

Speaking of trips...I was dead set on heading to Thailand this summer over my break when Elena was here. But, in light of some recent warnings advising tourists to stay away from Bangkok (and most of Thailand, actually) I've decided I should start thinking of back ups! So, I've been looking into the Philippines. I know several people from church that have given me some good tips. I know Elena and I kidna have the same desires in mind for the trip, beaches, good nighlife, good food! I'd love to do some nature-y things too. Snorkeling, hiking in forests, seeing volcanoes, etc. And there are some places in the Philippines that sound absolutely amazing! It's a little more expensive to get there...but I'll wait a bit to see if Thailand is a go or not...hoping either way to have that trip booked within the next few weeks.

What else is going on...classes are going better than ever. My kindergartners continue to amaze me every day!! So many are making full sentences now without my help, and are starting to be able to tell me if I make an incorrect translation of what they are saying! EX-Eddy the other day was telling me he was "sad" (the sweetest happiest little kid ever, comes in every day saying he is sad) I asked him why, and thought he was telling me that it was cause his mommy woke him up. me-"Eddy, say, 'I am sad because my mommy woke me up!" "no teacher, no!! I mommy wake!! I mommy wake!! I wake mommy!!!" me-"OH, you are sad because YOU woke MOMMY up??" Him-"yes yes!! I woke Mommy up!!" haha it was great. I dont know why he was the one doing the waking...but nontheless we got it figured out!! My older level classes are doing great as well. I teach the highest level of SR kids, SR meaning "semi returnee" Most of these are kids that went to kindergarten at SLP for at least one or two years. They are super smart...I push them a lot because I know how smart they are and I just want them to get better!! But we have fun sometimes too. They LOVEEE reading out loud and making sentences out of random vocab words. They're a blast.

On a sadder note, the local GS closed. Haha GS is a chain of convenient stores here, and there was one literally ten steps from my house. It was where I would go at any hours to get milk, crackers, beer before going out (or more beer after a long nite out!). It literally was open yesterday, then today I came home from school and they were taking down the neon GS sign from the top. I waved to the very solemn looking lady who worked inside...she bowed as I passed. I think we're both super sad! It was a meeting spot for all the teachers when we would go out and do things. I spose we can still meet there...but it just won't be the same!! (it was also the workplace of my biggest Korean crush, who my friends and I named Evan). sigh...guess I'll just have to go somewhere else to top off my bus card and buy milk!

Tomorrow is Saturday, woo hoo!!! Planning on hitting the gym semi-early...then possibly hiking up a nearby mountain in the early afternoon. In the later afternoon I am HOPING to get the courage to go to (wait for it....!!) SWING DANCE LESSONS!!! That's right..I said it. SWING DANCING HERE IN KOREA!! A co-teacher of mine has been taking lessons for two years and absolutely loves it!! It is super cheap (less than 30 bucks for two months) and a new beginners class starts tomorrow. I love dancing, and I'm thinking that even though I don't speak much Korean, I won't need it! I started taking Lindy Hop lessons last spring, but only went to one class because the man I was learning from got pretty sick. So, who knows, a year from now I could be a super awesome swing dancer here in Korea!! I'm thinking I will will be a little awkward just cause I'm pretty sure I will be the only foreigner there...and I HATE that I don't speak Korean, cause I don't like to assume that others do. My friend will have her lesson earlier,however, and then she will stay with me for the first class just incase I need some translating done.

And in answer to all of your questions, no, I still haven't learned Korean. (sorry dad!) I tried, I really did, for the first two months I was here. But then I get home from school and am sooo exhausted to try to study. So I quit my lessons and thought I would just practice on my own...but nope, that didn't happen either. I'm a little disappointed in myself, but honestly, I'm sooo busy here and it is so easy to get around with the little Korean I do know. It does suck when I am trying to speak to someone who doesn't know English at all though...(like the cute boy I met at a bar, who approached me, and our entire conversation consisted of "whats you're name?" and "you're beautiful" (that was me, saying that to him, with the use of my dictionary on my phone!) Of course I have times where I am so frusturated with myself and my lack of Korean, but it is a super hard language!!! Who knows, maybe one of these days...but for now I'll stick with my Spanish, Portuguese, and English.

Arite, sorry for such a long post!! I'm off to bed. Next Wednesday we are off of school for Children's Day!! Which, ironically enough, is the day that Joe and Gail will hopefully find out the sex of their baby!! AND, cinco de mayo. Who could ask for a better day, really?? I'll have a margarita and toast to the healthy arrival of my very first niece or nephew!!!

Hope everyones life is happy!!! Besos, beijos, y kisses!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

St Patty's, Temple stays, Dylan in Seoul and visits from home!

So, much to fill in on. In my last post I listed several things that were coming up, and I'll recap those.

The poop musical was pretty crappy (hehe). It was literally a bunch of people dancing and singing about in various poop costumes. There was good poop (a nice brown color) and the bad poop (various other shades...use your imaginations. Apparently, the moral of the story was that there are three things you need in life to have good poop. Exercise, healthy food, and your parents' love. The kids absolutely loved it. It was fun for me too just to watch them enjoying and laughing!

St. Patrick's day in Seoul was pretty exciting. We started at an Irish pub for lunch and green beer of course...then went to watch a parade (which we actually missed) but got to see some Irish dancing and get our faces painted and drink Guiness in the street. (okay, I didn't drink Guiness...but I could have if I wanted to. yuck!) We left around 5pm to make it back for a co-workers pot luck dinner. I brought fried chicken...there were a few salads, cous cous, homemade mac and cheese, strawberries, a fried rice dish...and a few other things. Sooo delicous!

Two weekends ago we stayed at a Buddhist temple for a nite. We arrived in the afternoon, changed into our monk wear (kinda scrub looking things), took a tour of the temple (lots of buildings, many filled with Buddah's of varying sizes) then ate dinner. The monks eat pretty much the same thing everyday...a vegan version of bibimbap, which is rice with vegetables, a red pepper paste, and an egg on top, then it is cooked so it is a fried rice dish. But no egg at the temple. We had that for dinner...then breakfast (at 6am)...then again for lunch but there was also some tempura and different rice cakes and curry for lunch too. After dinner the first nite we did some bowing (they bow a ridiculous amount each day) and had some silent meditations. Then we made lotus lanterns (which is now hanging proudly over my bed) and it was off to sleep at 10 pm!! We woke at 3 for a prayer service, took a one hour nap before breakfast at 6 am (we did...I'm pretty sure the monks dont!), after we ate we took another nap, (two naps before 9 am...who does that??!!!) then did some work around the temple. Basically some people chopped wood and others swept the grounds to make them look nice for the visitors that would arrive that day. We had some free time, and then took a nice walk up into the mountains where we meditated for about 20 minutes overlooking the forest with the sound of the creek in the was so serene and relaxing! After that we went back and made Buddhist Beads (108 on a string). Some people bowed after each bead, other strung 10 then bowed, I just strung mine on all in a row, no bowing. Then it was time to head back to was a great experience, very relaxing. I'm going to look into Buddhism more, just because I think it is so interesting. The master monk was the guy leading us around the whole time...was the cutest man with the best smile. It was worth it overall (even considering that I was grumpy the entire next week and had to take naps every day after school!)

On the 31st we saw Bob Dylan...we were all the way in the back, but the show was good. I think all of us were kinda expecting (and hoping) that he would play a lot of his older stuff....but considering he has been making music for a while, he of course played a lot of "newer" stuff. (New to me...cause of course I know classic Bob Dylan!). But we did hear Blowin in the Wind, Rolling stone...Some others that I recognized but couldnt tell you the names of! Ha my brothers would be ashamed of my lack of Bob Dylan knowledge...but it was still a fun time.

So, now here it is, another Thursday night before my last day of work for the week! Another FAST week here...some pass quicker than others. I like working everyday , I don't ever dread going there. I have one class that frusturates the heck outta me. They just graduated from kindergarten in February, so they are still young and they come to SLP every day after elementary school in the morning. So they are wiped by the time they get to me and sometimes it is like talking to brick walls!! Plus we dont have the most interesting of books...grr. But...I'm hoping once they get used to being in school ALLLLL day everyday, they will get better. Poor kids.

K sorry for such a long post...had to fill everything in. Oh yes!! Elena and my cousin DJ are coming to visit in July!!! We will sight see in Seoul for a few days, and then Elena will be going to Thailand with me for my summer vacation!!! I'm starting to plan that trip's gonna be a blast.

Anyone else is welcome to visit as well!!!