Saturday, March 29, 2008

thoughts from the airport (revisited)

so i'm cleaning out my draft box and i notice something that i had thought i had published but forgotten.

here are my thoughts (and extensions on those thoughts) from the ICN airport on my way home in february

so, i'm sitting in the airport, for 4ish hours waiting for my flight (i got there early just in case) and i'm considering the size of my carbon footprint. YES, my carbon footprint. and that's how i could tell that this was DEF not the same era that i grew up in. in this first decade of the 21st century, we've totally reached a new level of environmental awareness and started moving towards this whole new "trend" that will apparently eventually become just another way of living (lifestyle, if you will).

i'm thinking to myself, do i really need to go home? do i really NEED to leave/have(?) such a large carbon footprint? granted, my not being on this flight would not have kept it from flying. but regardless, now it's part of MY carbon footprint instead of someone else's that i could just shake my head, wag my finger, and tsktsk at.

it really is a whole new world. i was talking to a fellow ETA who babysat in the midwest and was telling me how the kids she babysat would compare their carbon footprints and see who was having a smaller footprint that week. was it the pope or the bishops who were talking about reducing their carbon footprints for lent? it's seriously a whole new ballgame.

and being carbon footprint conscious is the only acceptable way to be. if you're not, you're just considered a carbon polluting earth hating heathen. you might as well be all those industrial capitalists that upton sinclair and the muckrakers had a field day with.

i was googling images to pair with this entry. and i first searched "footprint" naively/foolishly thinking that carbon footprint was too narrow a search to provide any real hits. then on a whim i searched for "carbon footprint" and was SURPRISED (again, naively) by how many specific carbon footprint hits there were! this is no longer one of those weirdo niche issues. this is pretty much a mainstream latte liberal kinda thing and all of you out there in wisconsin and ohio with your coal mines and log cabins need to pay attention.

hybrids are in. reusable canvas grocery bags are in. bicycling is cool again. (now if only i knew how to ride a bike!). even the sustainability of fashion has been questioned. i read countless articles in the nytimes about different adjustments people are making to their lifestyles to reduce their carbon footprint. (in recent months - building a wind turbine or something in your yard to generate some sustainable energy, the appeal of laundry lines bc dryers are a waste, "green" developments/buildings in NYC, and even that "THIS IS NOT A PLASTIC BAG" craze). we're going to have to accept this or be steamrollered by the vegans out there for hating the earth.

but how futile (or not) is this if the US government still has yet to notice? until the fed govt makes a move on this, "green-ness" is not going to have the impact it needs to. altho some individual states are making progress (california and some new car thing?) it needs the fed govts push. or is it the LACK of federal support that's making this movement so powerful and the emotions so strong? because as long as the fed govt doesn't care, it's a REAL AUTHENTIC PERSONAL issue to champion. and once the fed govt starts mandating efficiency from our appliances and fuel regulation and decreased dependency on oil, it's no longer caring about the environment and being conscientious but more about following rules? which is so not what this is supposed to be about. it's supposed to be about feelings and passion and an emotional connection to the environment.

hmm, maybe the best thing for the feds really IS to ignore the whole thing and consumers alone will be able to drive manufacturers to produce more "green" products in environmentally safe ways all the while deceasing the size of their carbon footprints.

Friday, March 28, 2008


i have obsessions with weird somewhat outdated accessories

like cute umbrellas, also, HATS

few people, ok fine, more like, NO ONE understands my thing for hats. i'm not like those boys who has to buy EVERY single CAP or baseball head cover or like trucker hats (altho i miss my pink dickies one.. dunno where it went) or those other types of head covers (cough eric cough cough).

i'm into hats that no one really cares for or thinks are relevant to real life. for ejemplo: i love berets. i love pillbox hats. (don't own any yet, but wait til i graduate law school and have the bucks for it). i love FEDORAS.

and of course. who isn't familiar with my ridiculous obsession with straw hats? i seriously can NOT explain it. i KNOW straw hats are kindof a thing of the past. and yet there's something romantic and lovely and sophisticated about a straw hat that no one needs. and so i kindof collect them. i kindof have 3. which if you think about it, is really 3 more than one really needs minus a villa on the cote d'azur. (which i lack. so far).

so i totally gave up on not browsing online for pretty things because the news gets boring. and repetitive. so some finds from coach:

i love patent leather. you can pretty much spill anything on it. which is wont to happen with me. and just wipe it off.
wristlet clutch

ADORABLE hats, 50s style? i dunno but i wish i had the money to just buy hats for the fun of it.


and of course requisite ridiculous straw hat

HOT shoe

and in red

and a yellow clutch

i'm ruuuuuuined!!!

ok, so good news first: i have my appetite back.
the consequent bad news: my stomach will join it.

thats right, my huge floppy GUT. "oh don't be silly" you're thinking. "christine you don't have a big floppy gut. stop being so dramatic." i admit. i usually am a bit dramatic on how "fat" i currently am. reasons being: i'm 5'6" and usually a size 2-4, waist of 27-28". sometimes i make it all the way up to a size 6 and i have 2 pairs of 29" pants. those are my "fat clothes". luckily i haven't needed them in while. (yes im a total baby about gaining weight ... i dunno i have crazy fears of morbid obesity and diabetes and high blood pressure and the like).

and YET, you have NO idea of the havoc that my size 4 stomach can wreak on my silhouette. and so, i invite you, my friends (and creepy strangers), to please observe the following phenomenon of the wonders of the human digestive system/GI tract:

how does the following picture, exhibit A, turn into the next picture, exhibit B?

exhibit B: THIS is me. YUP. this is me. NO, not during the 2nd trimester of my secret pregnancy. tis only after a particularly wonderful dinner in january 07 (please note, i have that old man condition where my fat is too big for my pants so my pants slide down underneath the bulge)

WHY? you may ask. HOW? is such a feat possible. i couldn't have asked a better question myself. see this 3 tier steamer?

it worked DOUBLE, nay, TRIPLE duty (actually it might've taken 4x total) to produce this.... (timex 4 or 5. it was many more plates total-but we ate in shifts)

resulting in....

YUP. that's an empty box. we 4 (pretty much we 3 because mommy eats so little) ate the ENTIRE box of king crab legs (from russian waters!), a bottle of wine, and topped it off with some clementines.

and so, yes, i'm a LITTLE bit worried my appetite's back. ALSO, i FINALLY FINALLY entered the paris baguette that is RIGHT in between my bus stop and my apartment building this past tuesday. why did it take so long you may wonder? good question. PRECISELY because of all the reasons it should and should NOT happen. confused? don't be.

it SHOULD have happened because i LOVE pastries. i LOVE bread. i'm a carb fiend. i LOVE paris baguette. it is my favorite BAKERY in korea (not to be confused with favorite CAFE=angel in us). maybe because we have them in NY and NJ so there's a bit of familiarity? i don't know. maybe i like the soft blue and orange combination the best? who knows but it is my favorite korean bakery chain. for these reasons it should NOT have happened.

now that the curse of unfamiliarity has been lifted, i can enter and purchase freely. you see, BEFORE i entered, it was *technically* unknown territory. it was alien land. but NOW, now that the firgin (first + virgin) foray has been completed, i am free to enter again. and again. and again. temptation called to me and i answered. i was walking back from the post office today (3 ppl are going to be happy when they open their mailboxes in 10 days!) and i could NOT ignore the calling of the paris baguette.

so what do i do? i postpone my run (indefinitely) and buy 3 mini puffs of happiness. well, actually 2 puffs of happiness and 1 puff of disappointment. i bought a mini cheese roll expecting a sweet ricotta cheese danish-like delicacy and NO it was like stinky salty savory cheese. blegh. but the two mini mixed berry and blueberry rolls were DEEEEEE-LISH.

Yup, good bye svelte figure. HELLOOOOOOO and welcome back, cornelius!!!
(FYI: cornelius is what i named my bubble of stomach fat way back in HS)

Thursday, March 27, 2008


my BIRTHDAY celebrations have begun!!! 12 more days!!!

and i got the bestest invite today. it was gloriously funny. it even included a reference to disliking me.

ANNNNNND i got my first present!!! winty- your package arrived today and was such a marvelous little surprise. the card kills me and the earrings are looooovely. =) my mom said they were sexy. haha.

yes, i couldn't help but open it. i LOVE LOVE LOOOOOVES presents.

i can't wait. i heart birthdays. especially mine.

eyes closing. dinner tonight turned out like a million times better than i expected. so yayy for new friends.

plus 2 awesome emails that made my day. equals i have like 5 emails that i need to reply to.

sending out some mail tomorrow after school. my last done at noon friday for 2 monthsish.

so disjointed. promise better prose later. when more coherent and awake.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

past weekend and randoms (exhaustion high)

otay. so i finally crawled out of my cheongju shell and went up to seoul this weekend. it was meant to be a day trip but blood is thicker than water and so it ended up being an overnighter.

yesterday was the 2 week mark till my bday. YESS!!! i think. is 23 such a great age to be? i'm not sure. seeing how i was only 22 for 2 months before being brutally shoved onto 23 for half a year... it was ok. i guess i won't mind. it's gotta be better than 24 right? because 24 is just... well, let's face it, old.

i'm ALMOST finally finished with my columbia housing app. i'm TOTALLY psyched. sooooo excited for my NYC apt. hehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehe. yep. try that times 10. or more. i'm TOOOOOOTALLY giddy!!! altho after living in a 3 person apt that cost $1000/month in a gated community with a pool and gym that was new and huuuuge and full of light in durham, i DO consider $1000/month for MY SHARE of a 3 person apt in nyc a BIT much. AND that's the subsidized price. guess that's another place i'll be donating after i graduate. (add to list: donate TONS to duke university-so my kids will get in and donate to CLS housing-so future poor prelawyers like me can live in ny).

p.s. the housing app is actually super short. it's the 500 character comments box i've been editing for a week.

seoul was a good bit of "fresh air" after staying in cheongju for 3 weeks. it wasn't that i love cheongju that much, admittedly it gets boring. it's just that i've been so busy prepping for school. even today i have a million and seven things that i brought home to finish for school. i dunno, i feel like my school somehow got more demanding yet also more fun. maybe i'm enjoying myself more in class. i don't know. but it's not as bad as last semester, i'm just somehow a million times busier and tireder. i have a standing list of ppl i'm supposed to be meeting and eating with and so far i've not gotten to more than 1 of them. how horrible is that!?!?!

i think def one of my favorite things about college was the food. no, not the duke GFH food. but all the lovely restaurants we had around that we frequented. i looooooved just heading offcampus with wint, ty, mosley, ashley, etc in tow. i miss it!!! eek! i can't believe they're less than 2 weeks from graduating! that's nuts!

on the other hand, i can't freaking wait for law school. i've just been psyching myself up and i'm sooooo excited for it. to be a student again, yippeee!!! NOT to mention my new suit that's just hanging in my closet until next summer. i can't WAIT to wear it to my freaking first internship. i LOVE LOVE LOOOOOOVE suits!!! i can't resist.

ok, this went totally off on a tangent. back to um, well another topic. you know how you can tell 4th and 5th grade classes apart from the others? the girls look giantly huge and clearly on the verge of puberty whereas the boys look like they're 7. or younger. it's like moms and sons. i totally forgot that puberty happens like that. which reminds me, is it like evolutionarily that way on purpose? so girls are SUPPOSED to be with older guys in the "mating" world? i think i would totally love sociobiology type stuff.

p.s. i'm making progress in my korean HP6. altho i wish i had started with HP1. which is only 2 volumes compared to the 4 volumes of HP6. i'll probably just read the 1 volume and be done with it. time to start my 1L pre-reading. sometimes even i am amazed by what a freaking dorkus/nerd i am. i hope i am not 100% nerd. bc i want to have social skills, too.

ok, well, i have to get back to work. i came home at 4pm and now that i've been lollygaggin it's 5:10 and i have to get back to schoolwork. when will i foster my own hobbies and interests? =) eek!

just kidding. i think i will do yoga before dinner and work on school stuff after. or else i might just go nuts. hehe.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


the only word to describe today's lunch. which has left me and my clothing also quite pungent.


순대볶음??? COME ON!!!

edit: in case wint wasn't the only curious one: here's a wordier description of yesterday's lunch:

blood intestine sausage sauteed with onions. kimchi stew with canned tuna in it. plus some other stuff. those were the main offenders.

Citizen of the world

so i got bored and read "me talk pretty one day" by david sedaris. the last of his books (out of 4 that i know of) that i hadn't read. i read his other 3 books 2 summers ago while living with heather bc she had them. that was totally random but yea ok (sedaris is the author who is singlemostedly responsible for my realizing that i wanted to write for a living).

in reading some sedaris these past few days, i found a passage that really struck me:

I’d begun to imagine my life in a foreign country... Life might be difficult for a year or two, but I would tough it out because living in a foreign country is one of those things that everyone should try at least once. My understanding was that it completed a person, sanding down the rough provincial edges and transforming you into a citizen of the world.

So yea, life in a foreign country is difficult but you have to tough it out bc it'll transform you. or you're supposed to let it. that's the goal anyway. and i agree. that's one of the reasons i've always been drawn to living abroad. ykno, life as an ex-pat. sounds kinda cool. like i was too liberal and smart for life in america and settled on living in another country, one that suited my tastes and lifestyle more. i had always imagined returning to switzerland or settling in france or italy. korea wasn't exactly my first choice for the ex-pat lifestyle i had imagined.

in any case, here i am, about 3 months plus a few days away from returning home and what have i learned? will this year in a foreign country "complete" me? did it sand down my "rough provincial edges" and transform me into a "citizen of the world"? well, not quite yet. the transformation, if indeed it will ever take place, is not quite complete.

example: today a bus driver made me cry. of the many many times i've taken the bus in cheongju, 3 times i've ended up at a bus depot. however, the last two times were yesterday and today. i don't quite understand the system other than the fact that it doesn't quite work (in my opinion). the bus has a list of places it is supposed to stop in the window and it's side.

today, in front of my apt was one of those places. well, no. the stupid bus pulls into the bus depot and the driver is nice enough to ask me where i'm going. i tell him and he answers that i got on the "wrong" bus and to transfer there to another one. i ask him which to switch to and he says ask someone in the front of the area. i find 3 bus drivers standing around, ask how to get to "bunpyeongdong" and am answered by "iiiiiii donnnnn't knoooowwwww, why don't you wait over there?" in a totally teasing jeering singsong. WHICH I DID NOT APPRECIATE. idiot man.

so i walked over to where he indicated, and then pondered over how NONhelpful his words were. wait over here for WHAT? HE clearly didn't have the info to help me, none of the others offered up what i needed, i assumed none of them were going to prove helpful. after a few minutes of contemplative tears i couldn't stop, i remembered the reason i had gotten on a 405 anyway was bc there was a 20 min wait for the 822-2. well, if i walked a mile back to the main road i might just make the 822-2.

so i wiped my tears and started walking. damn those stupid men, if they couldn't do their ONE job right, that was my problem? what a stupid system. i walked and walked. despite there being NO sidewalk and being sprayed by car tires on the rainy shigol road. about 15 minutes and 3/4 of a mile later i hit the main road. i panned the intersection, decided that there was prob a bus stop to my right and walked a bit. about 50 feet down was the hi-mart where i distinctly rmember the 822-2 making a stop. i got there and there was a little sign for the 822-2. i waited about 2 minutes and it appeared.

that's right. it was ALMOST korea 1 christine 0 but i was too crafty. PUUUUUHAHAHAHA. christine 4 korea 0 (i dunno, i think 4 is an appropriate number for my response).

maybe becoming a citizen of the world, losing my "rough provincial edges" means learning to see the world through a broader lens. in some countries, following the order of the locations listed on the side of a bus is NOT what a bus normally does. far be it from me to figure out why that is so. if the bus driver wants to do what he wants, far be it from me to think HE is the stupid one.

hoom. so much prep. for school/classes. and i didn't even get to talk about how much fun i had up until my mile's walk in the rain in the road (NO SIDEWALK? WHY KOREA WHY?)

Friday, March 21, 2008

zippity doo dahh~

okie. so. i'm still incredibly happy despite the resolutely exhausted physical state of my body.

this week has been fab. i went out to dinner last night with the 1st grade teachers to "get to know" each other and it was really fun. it's always good to see familiar faces and it was in fact nice to meet the ones who switched in.

the 1-1 teacher and i were joking about how many students there are suddenly and how to deal with it. so there were only 5 classes apportioned to 1st grade because the enrollment was low and then on starting day a bunch of new ones showed up and then were split up into existing classes so now there're enough students for 6 classes but still only 5 teachers and so each class has 40 kids. which is a problem because my classroom only has 36 desks. so apparently the teachers will find desks to bring to my classroom and arrange, but 40 kids is gonna be hard to handle. but oh, well, there's a few weeks more.

dinner was yummy and i was stuffed by my teachers' overthoughtfulness. i brought schoolwork home again as usual. and i just finished up a bit now and will do the rest on sunday and take monday as my day of rest. (p.s. happy easter). 2 more of my after-school classes will pick up next week.

here are pics of my spring "Our English is BLOOMING" bulletin board for my 2nd graders. there's a random bald spot in the front of 2-1's flower line. i dunno what happened, i think i had a brain fart. i'll fix it on tuesday.

i've started a new "thing." it's not procrastinating and making excuses for things that i think/want to do. for example, since freshman year of high school i always wanted to start a personal photo project where i would just take a picture of my outfit every day. it started with when i really started getting REEEEEEALLY REEEEEEEALLY into coordination and was sometimes impressed with what i did and wanted a tangible record of my outfits. clearly, i've let over 8 years pass and have done nothing about it but wistful thinking. so YESTERDAY i started photo-recording my daily outfits. i took one today, too. i'm really excited. altho i wish i had started earlier, at least i'm not waiting any longer. =)

i always wanted to wait for a super spectacular outfit to have as my *first* opening outfit. but i've realized that WAITING for the "perfect" moment is something that i always choose instead of just DOing something NOW that isn't maybe that perfect. i guess that's one of the drawbacks to my uber-perfectionism. i don't want to do anything unless i'm convinced i am able/ready to do it "perfectly/right".

hmm, yesterday with my english teachers we read a story about this couple in italy who waited out a 40 year engagement because the woman wanted to wait until they could afford the perfect marriage. i just saw the connection bw that story and my resolution now. hmm, interesting. maybe that story subconsciously touched a nerve. (the unit was titled "it's about time!")

today was super hot, like sweaty 70 degree hot. so i did more spring cleaning and put away more (read: all) of my winter clothes. and i just checked the weather and next week is gonna be like 50s. hmm... maybe i should've waited a bit longer. i don't have to do EVERYTHING quite right now...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

thirsty thursday

today's title has nothing to do with my post.

i had loads to say but now am so tired i'm blanking.

anyway, i did the stupid thing and took down all my kids' crafts only to put them up again a different way. but it looks sooooo much better. pics tomorrow. plus secondhand pics of some of my students. (will make sense when you see it)

today was a good day, and i'm still infinitely happy despite my swollen and irritated throat, droopy eyes, and well, no voice. i might not even sing in the shower tomorrow morning. now THAT's some indication of how bad my throat is. and don't worry, i'm the only one at home by the time i'm in the shower after morning yoga.

ok eyes dying. night. (i've lost that youthful vitality that keeps you up till 4am for no reason other than you're young and your blood is pumping).

this is kim, who reads my blog but never comments. HAH. calling you out, stalker. ESPECIALLY since you SAID you'd start commenting.

(i dunno, i wanted to add a picture, some visual stimulus and couldn't think of anything else... but kim....weird...)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"daily" bulletin board

heeeeeeeere it isssss...

my very first foray:

and the finished WONDERFUL version:

p.s. i made all those individual pieces: months, days, questions, weather cards, etc etc etc. the light blue is velcro board cloth and the yellow and orange is sticky felt (you just peel off a backing and stick it on!). the bottom flowers we bought, they're made from foam. but i cut, glued, laminated, and recut all those other pieces. =) the other english teachers helped out (rather than decorating their own classrooms haha). i think it was totally worth it.

and you don't even WANT to see it before i tried to transform the original space. it was yuck green with just laminated weirdo looking alphabet letters.

sooooo tired. am i nuts? i put up 5/6 of my students flower crafts and now i've decided that i want to change the order that i've put them up in. as in just take everything down and put it back up. i don't like the order. right now the title "Our English is BLOOMING" is on top and the classes start with 2-6 at the bottom and i've been stapled up to 2-2 up. but NOW i want to put "Our English is BLOOMING" at the bottom and put the classes with 2-1 at the bottom and 2-6 at the top. mostly b/c the bottom is much closer to the students' eye level and THAT's where the big letters should be? and my hallway is narrow so it's not like they would be able to see the letters on top from far away? or is that just stupid? i have 36ish students in each class. so i have to take down 5x36 and then put 6x36 back up. what should i do?

Monday, March 17, 2008

springtime cheer (21 days)

is contaaaaaaaaaagious!!!

hehe you could probably kick me in the face and i'd go away smiling!!! hehe

we're making origami flowers w/the students faces in the middle today for my hallway bulletin board (YES! for child labor!) and they're going so well and are so adorable!!! (PICTURES of my new bulletin board by the end of the week!)

the nametag thing i've implemented is AWESOME with many more benefits than i had first imagined (will explain later).

classes are going well. i'm so busy but in a good way!!!

i have LOADS to do for school but not in that way that means i'm unhappy (which was normally the case last semester). so yayy. i have class in 8 so i will explicate on my happiness later.

and mental note: tell the story about the kid at lunch. and the life lessons.

and jungjin.

OK, editing:

PICTURES of my new hallway bulletin board and my new "dailies" board v.3.0b SOON. also pics of the nametags in action. i was soooo busy today. got to school around 9:30 and classes ended at 1pm. teacher class ended at 2pm. and i didn't get to leave school until 5 because of work and i still didn't finish everything i wanted to! AND i brought work home! it's never-ending! YIKES!!!

yet, i'm in a totally uncomplainatory mood today. isn't that odd? as i was leaving school today, i was ridiculously at peace. i'm kinda confused. am i on drugs? secretly? how am i so untense and so UNunhappy?

probably.... BECAUSE IT'S SPRRRRRING!!!! =)

seriously... i FRRRRREAKING love spring. both my bulletin boards are TOTALLY spring themed and i HEART it. I MIIIIIGHT get from friday to wednesday off for jeju conference!!! becaaaaaause i have no classes on monday and we have that wednesday off so i'm going to ask if i can take that tuesday off ALSO because it's my BIRTHDAY!!!!! and if they say, "NO" that's ok because we'll just do my birthday all day in lieu of a lesson. or it'll be a BIRTHDAY-themed lesson with cake!!! (except i don't like cake) so i probably meant balloons and ice cream!!!

they're renovating/remodeling/improving my classroom!!! so far the discussion includes a new overhead projector, new pretty curtains, a redesign of the whole front board, new sliding feltboards, and some more stuff i didn't understand. all because i complained that i need shades of some sort because the sun shines straight into my classroom in the morning thus rendering all my PPT lessons unviewable. so it sounds like we have a budget of like $7000 which is apparently HUUUUGE for my school to give to ONE classroom. so YAYY!! ALSO it means 1-2 weeks of NO work ... or less work. hopefully. they were discussing making me do the rounds ... but blech. i guess it makes no sense for me to NOT teach for half a month and still get paid. haha.

ok, 3 stories. (keep reading there's a prize possibility at the end!)

1. at lunch i overheard the students behind me and here is the convo (translated to english):
boy 1: why do you have so many leftovers?
boy 2: i can't finish. it doesn't taste good.
boy 1: farmer ajussi worked so hard to make this food. you don't even know. FINISH IT!!!
someone's parents are doing a good job with the LNFB (Leave No Food Behind) indoctrination

2. so there is this student jungjin, i think i might've written about him in december. anyway, so LAST semester he was a 1st grader and he NEVER spoke in my classes. i didn't think he knew any korean. then TOOOOOTALLY out of the blue, on my last day as i'm giving my "this is our last class for the semester. i will not see you until march when you are in the 2nd grade" speech and NO ONE is understanding so he stands up on his chair and translates pretty much VERBATIM my whole spiel. and i'm just AGOG at his english ability. he seriously understood the whole thing word for word, not just sloppily. so i've been wrapping my mind around this all during break. and today's our 2nd class this semester and he's SERIOUSLY just blowing me away with the english. he either was in the BEST english hagwon for last semester or had this weird shyness thing or SOMEthing where he wasn't talking and now he's fine speaking his perfectish english in class. weird.

3. one of my main goals has been teaching my kids "practical" usable English as a bonus during our regular textbook lessons. one of my favorite phrases i've been trying to teach is "Can I borrow the ...[scissors/pen/book/etc.]?" (alternatively "can i borrow some ...?") the boys in my 2-3 class today came up with "개나리 발로 ...glue?" or "개나리 발냄새...glue? which are korean words that "sound similar" i guess. literally it turns into [forsythia with the/from the foot glue?] and [forsythia smell-of-foot glue?]. they are ridiculous.

ok. if you've made it this far, congrats. prize if you know what the (21 days) in the title refers to.

so, it's spring!

and that means little girls prancing across the street willy-nilly...

and getting hit by oncoming hakwon vans...

i kid you not. i was just walking home from running a few errands and i hear these girls laughing and then *THUD* and i turned around and see her jolt forward onto the road in front of a hakwon van.

FIRST of all, the driver doesn't even get out for a WHILE. the car is idling a woman from across the street comes over, a hakwon van going the other direction stops and the guy gets out to check it out, and FINALLY the car that HIT the girl is put into park, turned off and the guy comes out. it sounded like the woman and first guy were going to make sure everything panned out alright so at that point i turned around and kept walking home. (not speaking supergreat korean, i didn't want to get involved and make things worse). was that the responsible thing to do? i don't know. i hope so. i really don't know what else i would've done. i didn't even have my cell phone (lately i keep forgetting it at home. i never used to be like this but i'm so forgetful nowadays).

i'm hungry. it's PB&J time. (pam beesly & jim-funny joke by kevin =) ok for real tho, sandwich time. 2,700 won, so like almost $3 for a 10 slice loaf of whole grain. is that expensive?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

*news flash*

i'm quitting shopping. until AT least my birthday.

no online shopping. no browsing. (i decided now as i opened several tabs:,,

only necessities (qtips, tissues, listerine, etc.)

no mo' clothes. no mo' shoes. etc.

this will be hard. but whatever, i've done it for longer before.

same rationale as always. trying to break a bad compulsive habit.

be supportive. (of me). haha

Friday, March 14, 2008


so, yesterday was a fundiferous day.

ok that was superlame. i apologize. but yesterday somehow i was ELATED and NOTHING could go wrong. except both my classes but still. i was somehow super happy. tired, but happy.

i dunno. yesterday made me happy.

my first two classes were cancelled. but i didn't find out about the 2nd cancelled one until after i was already at school. but i got a LOT of work done in that period for english camp. nexxxxt, i really wanted these schedule planner books the teachers all get from their union or something apparently and somehow my head english teacher was able to procure one for me and so yayy!!! i told her she was my santa+fair godmother and that made her really happy.

i just had a pretty good day. i miss my old students so much. at least i get to see them around. and i love having my 1st graders again. i got some white day candy from some girl students. we (all the elective teachers) went to the 문구 for supplies for out classrooms together in the afternoon when the weather was perrrrrrfect so that was fun. i bought these cool self-stick memo boards for my desk area in my room (not classroom) and they're so fun. i LOVE self-stick and post-its and whatnot.

i dunno. yesterday just had me in high spirits. i read a little (i've been neglecting that lately). i've just been so tired that i don't have the energy to weird. which is totally weird. so i've been watching a lot of TV on my computer. isn't that odd? i never used to watch TV. altho i do have a somewhat obsessive personality so when i get hooked on something i have to do it RIGHT all at once. sometimes i wish i weren't so OCD.

i was so productive despite my tiredness (which is i guess one reason i was in such a good mood). i did SOME winter cleaning. i moved out my SUPER winter clothes from my closet and sorted them into two categories: winter clothes to take home AND winter/spring clothes to donate/leave in korea.

i started talking about sending my stuff home options with imo. it's all happening so quickly. =) also today's weather looks amaaaaaazing from inside. i really want to go out. but don't really have a reason to and hwangsa makes it difficult to justify going outside and poisoning myself for no reason. also, i TOTALLY miss the quads and all the lawns and grass at duke that was pretty much free to anyone to claim as their own. all this concrete and bricks makes it so much harder to enjoy the spring.

i guess it always boils down to the same thing: i miss duke. i miss being a student. i miss america. hehe.

lol. i was just thinking. how when the day was particularly beautiful, it was ripe for a nice long drive (windows down sunroof open) to the MALL where we would enjoy the natural daylight filtering through the glass ceilings. haha.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

stress relief.

so. stressful as going back to work is (only a bit-mostly just physically tiring it's mentally invigorating), a lot of the joy in my life in korea has been returned to me this week in the form of interaction with my students.

new examples of konglish:

me: what is an example of a salty food?
student: 바다 물! (SEA WATER)

me: what is an example of a crunchy food?
student: 동치미!!! (a type of white radish kimchi that is, indeed, very crunchy)

me: what is bitter? what does a bitter food taste like?
student: bitter? THAT'S MY ENGLISH HAKWON NAME!!!
me: ... PETER??? your english name is PETER!??!?!
student: ... yes... bitter
me: laughing hahaha bitter and PEter are 2 different words

p.s. those were all the same student, he was hilarious

PPT slide: TOPIC: classroom manners

me: what is "excuse me"?
students: 겨드랑이. 겨드랑이 털. (armpit. armpit hair.)

no idea why those were their first choices...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

more korean idiocy and nytimes greatness

ok whatever, call me a colonizer or a minion of evil american liberalism. i don't care.

this nytime article about the new korean president's proposed canal uses probably some of the best words i've seen in a long time:

and THIS quote from a KOREAN dude:
“Until now, we saw no future, no way to turn around our economy,” said Baek Young-ja, 43, a restaurateur here. “Talk about possible environmental damage the canal might cause doesn’t mean that much to me. I think more about all the engineers who will come in and eat at my place once construction starts.”

categorically personifies the typical korean mantra. "i don't care what happens to anything/anyone else, as long as i'm better off". WHATA FREAKING IDIOT. i don't even know what to say. america's hicks and koreans in general have about the same usefulness as a bike to a fish (a nod to my idioms lesson coming up).

p.s. my favorite bloggers haven't updated lately, so i don't get to wallow in others' misery as well. sadness.

a quick reminder

i had almost forgotten. i had almost forgotten how and why i hated korea SO MUCH sometimes and of course. korea never fails to disappoint. it reminds me once again, WHY i can NOT wait to be out of here come July.

after a great weekend (lydia visited), after a pretty successful first 2 days of classes, after a fun past 2 days with other ETAs, Korea reminds me why i hate it so much.

granted, let me preface this by saying, i know that smart, polite, nice, good, normal koreans that i can connect with exist. i just haven't met any yet. but,


after a fun afternoon with ETAs, i'm on the bus home. it's evening rush hour time so the roads and the bus are both crowded. i'm on one of the older buses, it has TWO rows of two seats each (so 4 seats in each row) making for a VERY narrow and crowded aisle. i'm standing in the aisle (because i'm young and there happen to be a LOT of old folks on this route) and slowly making my way back to the middle exit doors every time ppl exit.

i feel some pushing at one stop and i try to lean into the two seats in front of me but i'm carrying a paper bag and i'm trying not to smash the halmunni's face with it. ALL OF A SUDDEN, THIS OLD MAN STARTS YELLING AT ME AND SHOVES ME OUT OF THE WAY SAYING, "IF YOU'RE NOT GETTING OFF AT LEAST GET OUT OF THE WAY!!!" THEN an older woman, probably 40 or 50 something ALSO SHOVES ME (even tho i'm already out of her way) and basically repeats the same sentiment. i'm STARING in awe, the halmunni in front of me is looking at me apologetically and the bus driver's already closed the exit door's altho he hasn't yet left. the old dude SCREAMS/SHOUTS/YELLS at the bus driver "OPEN THE DAMN DOORS OPEN THE DAMN DOORS" while simultaneously banging on them. it was one of the MOST unnecessary thing i've ever witnessed in my life!

after him and the woman get off, the old woman in front of me apologizes to me and says "there was no need to yell and carry on like that" and i smiled at her weakly. at first it didn't bother me, but more and more it's making me so angry and indignant.

i seriously don't understand what allows people to think they can ACT like that. and seriously, sometimes i wouldn't MIND NOT being the "bigger" person and wish i was not brought up well so i could KICK him in the buttcrack as he falls out and ELBOW the woman in the back of the neck on her way out. GRRRRR. i sometimes SO wish that i could do these things that it scares me. it's proving hardER to be zen now that i'm in contact with the outside world again (outside my school and hostfam - both pretty wonderful).

seriously, what makes ppl think they can act all barbarian like that? i mean, yea, the best response is "wow what an uncouth barbarian" and pretty much those people's actions bring more shame to themselves than i could inflict upon them, i wish i had the constitution to shove an old dude and ajumma for being the imbeciles/morons/idiots/heathens/animals they are.

this is coming at the end of a streak of me being very happy with korea. well, i guess it's a blight in the middle of a streak of me being happy with korea. some are just so well-mannered and polite and sociable and friendly and warm. ugh. korea can be so gross. i just feel DIRTY after that encounter. (shiver).

Monday, March 10, 2008

birthday and stomach.

that's 2 separate topics, not one. well, kindof. both.

ok first, somehow i dropped the ball this year. SATURDAY was the one month countdown beginning to my birthday and somehow i let that slip by unnoticed. this is completely unprecedented. does this mean i'm growing up? normally, i've begun posting my want list by like 3 months before my birthday. but somehow in the drudgery misery that was winter break in the cold, i lost sight of the shining goodness that is my birthday =) i'll start posting my wish list soon. i hope you all enjoy it as much as i do.

2ndvely, ive been hearing that i've become pretty zen about my last few months here. i mostly find myself agreeing. i'm dealing with and reacting to bad news, annoying news, annoying last-minute changes pretty well. maybe part or most of that really is due to a change in attitude, now i'm only counting down, the hardest battles have already been fought and won kind of mentality. in any case, all the things that annoyed me last semester and should be annoying me this semester somehow for whatever reason, aren't. not only that but i dont feel like it's a big deal (last semester, EVERYTHING was a big deal, and i felt defeated, and like the whole country was ganging up on me but no more). laura's blog entry on how she feels like a vet now. yea i feel that way, new teachers ask me how to do stuff all the time.

ok, so spring, weather, i dunno, i'm just in a good place. i'm in a good mood. excepppppppppt for ..... FOOD. somehow going home has rejuvenated me in all ways but also ruined my taste for korea. not that it was so good before. the cafeteria ladies know i don't take any banchan but the protein and potatoes sometimes. everyone in general knows i rarely enjoy korean food, but now it's turned into i can barely TOLERATE korean fare.

i have several theories, the forefrontest of them is that the stomach virus/illness that was my reason for going home in the first place also plays a mental role. so i was violently stomachly ill (leave the rest to your imagination) which led to like 4 days of eating nothing but jook before going home. at home i had such amazing food and almost nothing i eat in korea. which is to say i ate "korean" food like kalbi and seolleongtang but only because i never eat them here. i had NO jjigae, thank god and barely any rice.

anyways, upon my return to korea the mere SMELL of korean food made my stomach turn. the merest whiff of koreany food smells excited my gag reflex and so i've been eating almost only rice at home and school. i was going to make sandwiches to take to school for lunch but we're in a period right now where it's best for me to lay low and not do anything to catch the VP's eye. it's been that kind of week last week.

anyway, i have no appetite for korean food and i've literally been wasting away. i haven't been this skinny since like, high school. or something like that. i eat PB&J every day, which would explain why i'm starrrrrving. UNTIL korean food is placed in front of me, and my hunger instinct gets cut off like THAT *snaps fingers*.

i just sit in my room and daydream about goldfish, potato chips, pringles, baked lays, greasy french fries w/mayo, pasta covered in oil, pizza, and the like. i'm starving but not hungry. this must be what hell is like. i'm so glad the weather is soooooo lovely. or else i'd just be inconsolable.

yes, i am a child of the sun. flower child. spring child. despite my food problems i couldn't be happier and i'm sure half the reason is the spring i feel in the air. perhaps i'll go up to seoul next week to get a fill of some greasy american food. p.s. i'm a fool for leaving my perfect spring shoes at home. they were a bday present from my sister soph year:
basically THIS shoe

in THIS material.

Friday, March 7, 2008

The New Yorker (nerd)

at the risk of sounding a nerd, a risk i'm willing to take, because, if i recall correctly, i've already sounded a nerd plenty before, (isn't that the longest introduction to a sentence/thought, EVER?), i'm going to admit that i rather super really enjoy listening to free podcasts from The New Yorker.

when i was in AP english language junior year of high school, our english teacher repeatedly told us to read the new yorker because it provided such great examples of fine english language use. i never acted on his advice because after perusing through a new yorker at the bookstore once, i found it quite boring. there weren't nearly enough pictures or giant easy to read/understand headlines to catch my eye.

but after receiving a gift subscription to a magazine of my choice (xmas senior year) i decided to go with the new yorker (a friend suggested it also). after other subscriptions to marie claire, cosmo, and vanity fair earlier in college, this was an interesting and welcome change. (except vanity fair actually produces some good political and other journalistic pieces).

it took me a few issues before i actually picked one up and read it. and i found that i quite loved it!!! the topics were always so random and the stories were so varied, i enjoyed the random bits of knowledge so much.

in korea i've taken to downloading two different portions of the new yorker. the "comment" piece and the "fiction" piece. i enjoy both. but i'm not going to lie, i LOVE LOVE LOVE the fiction pieces. they only come out with about one a month as opposed to the comment once a week so i save them. i actually ration out when i can listen to a NEW fiction piece. i like to save them for bus rides, but i'll also make sure the bus ride is WORTH a fiction piece.

i've only learned to really appreciate short stories in the past few years. before that i thought novels were the only literary formats worth my time and trouble. but short stories are SO amazing. they pack SO MUCH punch into such a little package. they're so concise, and yet convey SO much. there's so MUCH in the language, each WORD tells a story. it's AMAZING what a well-written short story can do. (it's replaced poems as my most admired literary format). (and that's a LOT because i LOVE how beautiful and well-crafted poems are/have to be). (i will probably dedicate a future entry SOLELY to short stories and the magic they weave).

also, does it mean that i don't watch AC360 for the news, if i get really disappointed when someone else fills in for him and makes me want to turn it off and stop watching at that point? the only exception is erica hill who is so cute and spunky and witty/smart, that i actually look forward to her news and business bulletin on AC360, the only news i watch in addition to the daily show.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


i'm ROYALLY pissed off right now. and it's all my stupid new principal's fault. we THOUGHT he was going to be a harmless new addition, aloof and unconcerned with the small details. but, NO.

i can't even type right now i'm seething so much. (you can't tell but i took a 10 minute break after the first paragraph to pace around my classroom and consider crying). he's one of those people where appearance is THE indicator or quality. so he's all like trying to take all the 1st/2nd grade teachers on a field trip to some brand new school in ochang so we can learn to decorate our classrooms better.

HOW STUPID IS THAT?!!?!? if ANYTHING we need to take them on a business trip to watch coteaching in action, we ALL (minus the principal) agree that THAT would be exponentially more helpful to us and in the quality of our teaching.

TODAY, he ALSO insinuated that i am a CRAP teacher because i didn't graduate from a teacher's college or major in education. he was saying how the coteachers have to step it up and take charge of my classroom because i am just a "thing/machine" that speaks english but NOT an actual "teacher."

that's only the LATEST of his offenses. there are so many more, they're all just little. so i didn't take notice of them individually, but now in retrospect, they all add up to saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay: HE'S A JERK. A WORLDCLASS JERK.

AND the old 2-7 teacher who is now the 2-6 teacher is ALSO trying to tell me how to do things and push me (and the other 2nd grade teachers) around. today in our workshop (about next week's lesson) she was trying to run the show and tell me all my ideas are pretty sloppy. she kept contradicting everything i was saying, and finally the head english teacher had to jump in and defend me and tell her, "NO, i think that christine 선생님's idea could be more helpful to the students, christine선생님, why don't you explain to them like you told me?" so that 2-6 couldn't interrupt me.

URGH. i thought the lesson plan fiasco from last semester would've played itself out by now but the same dynamics are at play. i'm just reminding myself that i'm leaving soon and out of this system where the newcomers/youngns are always doing the gruntwork and the superiors/elders take all the credit. i'm also counting my blessings and thinking that i won't be stuck in this system (korea) for my whole career and i'm outta here back into the free world in 4 months.

Viva America.

i'll elucidate later. too much on my mind right now.

quick quote from ny times article :
WORK, in its most traditional sense, is the antithesis of fun. As my grandmother used to say, when I complained about a boss or a deadline, “There’s a reason they call it work.”

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

quickly doth the springtime come




a RESOUNDING yes yes yes!!!

i can SMELL the spring in the air. the air is pregnant with spring. the bone-chilling, well, chill has lost it's teeth and you can tell the sunlight is no longer a winter sunlight but a spring/summer WARM sunlight. JOY TO THE WORLD. I LOVE SPRING!!! so i'll start with some quotes. since i love quotes almost as much as i love spring.

Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush. ~Doug Larson

this is what the weather is like in cheongju right now. i hear of snow in other places in korea but here the sun is warm while the wind is still cold.
It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. ~Charles Dickens

Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!" ~Robin Williams

and this just might explain a lot about me, if we assume the person born in the month also has certain characteristics attributed to that month:
April comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers. ~EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY

my walks to and from school have been lovely. the air is starting to warm up and just the anticipation of spring gets me all giddy and full of happiness. i love nothing (that i can think of right now) as much as i love spring. spring is the time of my patchwork coach ballet flats, yellow rose antiquey purse, my birthday, pretty flowers, green green grass, and preppy pastel colors. i LOVE spring!

on a sadder note, i miss my old house and my old backyard. the backyard was sooo pretty and had the BEST spring flowers: crocuses, daffodils, and tulips. also, a huge bush of forsythia. annnnnd under my window was a hedgerow of lavender and that just smelled divine. but that was later on, in the thick of summer.

나리나리 개나리~~~

i guess you can say i've been in a chipper mood lately, since coming back from home. my head english teacher picked up on that today. she said my face is a lot happier and more relaxed seeming after my trip home. part of it is in knowing how quickly these next few months will fly by.

march: not teaching this week, with only 3 weeks and special classes and no afterschool camp it'll fly by mostly from the novelty and the rush of diving back into things

april: starts with jeju conference, followed by my bday triduum, election day off-no classes, and SPRING weather!!!

may: 2 long weekends (that i don't really feel the effects of since i have no class on mondays anyway), ashley's visit!!!

june: a super long 4 day weekend and preparations to return home!!!

july 1st: my official last day of teaching due to how early columbia law starts

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

US tour part 2

(one of those schedule/list posts)
DC. this was an amazing opportunity to see some (but not all) of the faces that i've missed most dearly since taking leave of Duke in May.

I was actually lucky in that 2 of my favorite friends came up to the NJ/NY area in that time between graduation and my leaving for korea. but since then and more importantly since before graduation, i'd been missing face time with some of my nearest and dearest from college.

i rode a train in AMERICA for the first time ever. i've been on trains in europe and asia but never at home. i guess i just always drove short distances and flew longer ones. but anyway, i took the amtrak and it went to philadelphia! i've never been there! maybe i should've visited and given penn law a chance, but the chance to be in NYC closer to home was too tempting.

anyways, i pull in at union station and meet up with wint. might i mention, that union station is one of the prettiest train stations i have ever been to. it's so nice and i can so see it being in old romantic movie scenes. anyways, wint picks me up thursday and we head to her house and it's like i've never been gone. we spend the day eating and chatting and shopping. ooh, it was a DAY of firsts.

firsts list: train ride in the US, seeing philadelphia, chipotle meal, buying a one-piece athletic bathing suit.

our fun day was followed by dinner with calen!!! the witty repartee was as enjoyable as ever, as was the yummy bertuccis. i was so in the mood for italian. he lives in an adooooorable part of arlington. we met his roommate and enjoyed the beautiful view of metro DC from his apartment as we chatted and caught up on the latest duke gossip. hehe. it's so hard to imagine being away from these people!!!

it was suppsoed to snow/ice storm overnight so wint and i headed home and off to bed. friday we woke up and drove to pick up ashley and then headed for yummy waffles and chicken/apple sausage. i LOVE that stuff. haha. i missed those ladies so much!!! not to mention absent friends. but seriously, i felt whole again. haha. anyway, we dropped wint off at swim coaching and shopped a bit before heading back to wint's house (sans wint) to get ready for my bday dinner (so what if it's 6 weeks early?).

drive into g-town area and our restaurant is soooo adorable and yummy!!! there was a scary waiter who we avoided and we snapped up the round jovial one. we get ID-ed (still??) and yummy i missed wine so much! i ordered onion soup and scallops and a trio of sorbet for dessert and was NOT disappointed. i was soooo full and soooo happy.

next we went to d.hsu's (aka dewek's) apt in dc's chinatown where we were met by a bevy of unexpected duke boys!!! i missed my friends!!! yippeee for seeing them!!! i'm a bit jealous that there's such a nexus of them within proximity of DC that could meet like that pretty much at the drop of a hat and i'm all isolated and in the middle of nowhere, but i guess it teaches me to appreciate my friends and also convenience. i've also realized the lengths i'm willing to go to for the people who matter most to me and that's always good to know.

i'm also jealous of how much their lives are more of a transition from college to the real world. they're all surrounded by other 20somethings and in jobs full of 20somethings and they admit that if 1 is college and 2 is real world then they're all in 1.5 right now surrounded by other recent grads and living up the independent solo nontethered life. i wish i could say the same, but my workplace is all ajummas (kindly, but boring) and i'm dealing with the double-pronged fork of adjusting to BOTH a real job AND life in another country. i'm learning a lot, but yep it's surely a challenge.

girly sleepover at wint's sleeping with ashley, more girl talk, and waking up with my favorite faces. wint dropped me and ashley off at a metro stop and we took the metro into DC (another first!). lunch at union station, then train ride home. getting home was a fiasco for another entry. but it was good to be home again.

funny episodes of the weekend: wint and my search for the bathing suit store, protecting calen in DC, derek's bleeding lip, and my ridiculous journey home.

short version of the train ride from DC to Newark gone bad: i miss the newark penn station stop due to miscommunication with seasoned rider next to me. get off at NEW YORK penn station. nobody is particularly helpful. buy njtransit ticket. no indication of platform# or time. no idea how to read train table (plus my stop not listed). finally run to indicated platform. get on. told i'm on wrong train. get off newark penn station. take cab home for $60. dinner with extended fam. reminded how old i am.

m: i get so annoyed when my teachers don't update their websites, i try to do the homework and it's not even up there
h: yea i know, i had a teacher who kept saying she posted stuff but it was never up there
me: when i was in middle school, if you HAD internet you were really nerdy and techy and avant garde

m: remember that time we fell asleep with the ipod video between us and woke up in the same position?
h: haha yea
m: sometimes i get scared that the headphone cord will get tangled around my neck
me: when i was younger i used to sleep with a discman and i was always so nervous about choking on the cord
h&m: discman?
me: a cd player...
h&m: ohhhh yea i know what that is

Monday, March 3, 2008

Reasons why school is not so bad

Seeing my students today for the first time after winter break, in the cafeteria for lunch, I can't believe I ever considered not coming back to Korea. I can't believe I was dreading my next 4 months, and now I also can't believe that I wanted to pack my own bag lunch every day and eat alone in my classroom.

Since my 2nd graders have moved up to 3rd, I'll no longer be teaching them and the only time I can really see them is in the cafeteria at lunchtime. Granted, the 1st graders (NOW 2nd graders) were always my favorite grade. Partly because the students were cuter and sweeter but also because their teachers made for better co-teaching.

I didn't think I'd mind the moving up and on of grades because I never really took to my 2nd graders as much. But seeing them today and especially my favorites, they were all just so wonderful. They were so happy to see me and I was so happy to see them. I can't believe I won't be seeing them every week.

I guess I'm one of the lucky ones though, at least I still get to see them around. It's not like they graduated and are all now at different schools. I'm also really enjoying spending time with the other English teachers again. ESPECIALLY now that my pregnant coteacher is back for the semester. She's the best at English and the closest to my age. I think she's 30 (in Korean years) this year and I'm 24 in Korean years so she's by far the youngest of the 3 teachers.

Also, last semester since the head English teacher is so busy (also she teaches Art/Sculpture at a neary university) and the other one I was never close with, we stopped hanging out and spending time together. Which was sad, because they are SOOOO funny. Well, especially my head English teacher. She's the worst at English of the 3 (position due to seniority) and she's knows it and she's HYSTERICAL.

So, spending time with the English teachers is fun. ALSO, the other womenfolk around here have been buzzing since yesterday about the new science teacher. He wasn't at our morning meeting and they were all telling me how young, tall, and handsome he is. So it's all been hearsay and then he walked into the cafeteria today and I KNEW he was the one they were talking about. He sat at our lunch table diagonally across from me and he IS really tall and good-looking. ESPECIALLY for a Korean. AND he's funny/got a good sense of humor. So, yea, my plan to bring my own sandwich and eat alone in my classroom is looking kinda sad and lonely since I'm totally planning on eating in the cafeteria. Y'know, to see my old students ...

More on the school situation: new principal, 15 new staff members (including 2 young men and 1 young woman-YAY for friends!), and pretty similar schedule to last year but a little better. This time around, no Monday classes. The new principal seems really sweet and like he really cares about the students. Which is good. He really seems to care for their well-being and education rather than JUST furthering his own career (which, let's be honest, was the priority of my previous principal). He seems really genuinely interested in improving the students' learning situations and he was very concerned about my classrooms' isolatedness and how cold I am. See how thoughtful? I think this will be a good semester and I know it'll be so hard to leave.

Also, I realized this morning that I spend a LOT of time complaining and making excuses for my misery in Korea, and I've decided that detracts a lot of time from my learning how to make the best of my situation and from counting my blessings. So, I'm trying to change that. I know I was all negative for the past few months but I think it was because I was so bored and had nothing better to do that list things in Korea that annoy me (it was long but sad). Going home was a great rejuvenator (haha, great word) and really has reenergized me (ok, maybe just for now) for the rest of my time here. Only 4 more months, and I'm OUTTA HERE!!!

Ok, I'm going home now. Work's over for today.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

US tour part 1

So, despite cutting Duke out of my 2 weeks in America, I still get the feeling I did a college tour. In my 2 weeks, I ran through 9 states, 4 big city/metro areas, and visited 4 college campuses/towns.

States: NJ, NY, Massachusetts, RI, CT, DC, MD, VA, Delaware
Cities/Metropolitan areas: NJ, NYC, Boston, DC
Colleges: Boston College, Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown

Ok, first off, I land on Vday night in NY and spend it smothered in my parents' love. Yayy for being spoiled and loved!

We went up to Boston to visit my sister at school that weekend and pretty much I gorged all day. After meeting her 8 suitemates we had a delish kalbi lunch, walked around Harvard Square, had some delish cake, then walked over and had dinner at Upstairs on the Square (i think that's what it was called). I should've taken more pictures. But I was distracted by trying to make up for 7 months of not being with my family.

Ok, so coincidentally, the Monday following my arrival was a special Admitted Students' Day at Columbia Law. More deets HERE . Soooooo, I decided to go and RSVP uberlate but they were great and said I could come. I had some difficulties getting into the city (forgot about President's Day and holiday bus schedule) but managed to find my way there on the subway and everything! I was like 5 minutes late but that was ok bc I got a personal/individualized tour from a 3L and that was good bc I'd been on the tour last year when I first got in and visited. He answered a lot of my more specific questions and since I had deferred and was definitely coming, he answered all my questions of the cons of Columbia, too.

We then had a grrrrrreat brunch with more current students and administrators followed by a special lecture on Puerto Rico and then we had some free time. Okay, here it comes. I went to sit in on a class (one of the 1L spring electives) and I was SOOOOOOO PSYCHED!!! I had no/little idea what they were talking about but I was sooooo excited by being back in a classroom at a top-notch university!

In case you ever missed it, I HATE WORKING. ABSOLUTELY despise it. Studying and academia have been and are my true loves. I can NOT wait to rejoin SCHOOL!!! (as a student not a teacher!) It's TOTALLY nerdy but all day at Columbia I was filled with an air of happiness and anticipation and excitement for being a STUDENT again! GAHHHHH I was so excited. I also mostly went to look at various housing options and have mostly decided that I'll probably live in an apartment share for less than $1000/month. I am so glad CLS subsidizes AND guarantees our housing.

Of course, the weather was amaaaaaaazing. It was like 50-60 and balmy all day. But of course as soon as I verbalize that, it starts POURING haha. Anyways, it was such a great day and i can NOT wait for 1L to start. (from the sound of things, this will probably change once i DO start).

I.E. last night i woke up at 4am (like i did today) and i online-browsed furniture for my apartment next year ... or should i just go with a furnished apt? i've seen it and it's just standard issue college furniture .. but it WOULD be nice to have some of my own stuff .. i want to live in a pretty room! i've also already started thinking of next summer's internship. since it's pretty much impossible to get a NYC firm internship as a 1L most students do some public interest work or go back to their homestates. I'm thinking maybe going international to intern my 1L summer. Hong Kong? or maybe Korea again? (this time in seoul duh) or after my DC visit i'm seriously considering interning in DC. i actually REALLY liked the city and metro area, and it's a bit cheaper than NYC. so maybe i could look into internships (a clerkship?) there to try on for size.

p.s. that one year of hell known as 1L is so gonna be worth it. pretty much after 1L, i'm set for the next like 20 years barring i don't like hold up a bank or kidnap babies or something stupid like that. (i've already explained this to the favs so i won't reiterate on grounds of sounding like a total snob).

Anyways, the next week I spent shopping and reading and spending time with my fam. and THEN on THURSDAY i headed to DC. but that's for the next entry. ^^

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Welcome back to Korea!

Please stay indoors due to the "Asian dust" alternately known as 황사, Yellow wind, Yellow sand, Yellow dust, and the like.

To welcome me back, Korea's pulled out ALL the stops and trapped me indoors with the advent of the "Yellow wind." Wiki article here. In short, this is a phenomena due to the increased desertification of China PLUS all of its super-pollutants from rapid industrialization BLOWING all into the KOREAN air that I breathe!!! The nerve! The gall!

Ok, so it's more of China's fault (apologies to my Chinese friends) than Korea's fault. But COME ON!!! If America is going to build a HUGE wall/fence to keep out the undocumented immigrants (aka "illegals" but i think that's un-PC now) the LEAST korea can do is build its OWN wall/fence to keep out tiny microsize particulate that clogs/attacks my lungs/nasal passages/eyes and tries to give me cancer. You would THINK if you could keep out PEOPLE, it would be easier to stop wind particulate.

Good news for me.

So, since I teach elementary maybe I'll get a few random days off this month. Apparently March is traditionally the best spring month in Korea but this Yellow Dust stuff has stolen March from Korea.

Oh, and i almost forgot to say WHY this annoys me so much. I have a MILLION things to do now that I'm back And nearly all of them involve errands that require going outdoors. I have to go pick up my contact lens order, go to my 2 banks, mail stuff, pay my overdue phone bill (oops i forgot!), etc. etc. etc. GARRRRR!!!

and this has NOTHING to do with the post above, but in my random research/wiki-ing i found that Ugly Betty's necklace is a replica of Anne Boleyn's ...

P.S. In case you hadn't noticed, I'm BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!!! (I said that with a Chicago-an "a"-accent for effect).
P.P.S. Columbia visit, US tour, and various other thoughts coming soon.