Work in Progress

“In the best travel, disconnection is a necessity. Concentrate on where you are; do no back-home business; take no assignments; remain incommunicado; be scarce. It is a good thing that people don’t know where you are or how to find you. Keep in mind the country you are in. That’s the theory.”
–Paul Theroux

I'm just a girl who loves the world, finds beauty in the unknown, and can't keep her feet on the ground. I like finding unique (and cheap) ways of making my way around the globe. Interacting with people while living, learning, and loving the culture I'm surrounded by.

This is my attempt to keep my friends and family updated, to keep track of my experiences, and to serve as an inspirational resource for all those travel addicts like me out there.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

up up and away




I'm sitting on the plane, playing Tetris and listening to music. And then. It happened. I realized I am currently flying over somewhere I've never been before. Uncharted territory. My heart started racing, a feeling that I am all too familiar with. The prospect of things unknown. Places undiscovered. The plane understands, and shakes with my excitement. I think they call it turbulence. 

Who knew Asia was so big? I didn't. Cause I had never been here before. I could have easily looked at a map, but still it wouldn't have made sense like it does now. There are certain things that just can't be conceptualized until you are the one experiencing it for yourself.

In Europe I could shoot between countries with ease. A 45 minute plane ride here. Couple hours on a train there. Getting from Korea to Thailand is taking north of 6 hours. And there I was, going and being all clueless. Definitely thought a couple hours, at the most. 

That's one of my favorite things. Having my knowledge about this world challenged and reworked. 

It's interesting, the difference between arriving and departing. The feelings, especially. On the way, you're anxious and  filled with excitement and wonder. When you're leaving you foster feelings of  satisfaction, a high that can only come after living in a really awesome dream-like world that new places often seem like. These great feelings can be followed by a bit of sadness, longing, nostalgia. The adventure is over. Things that you have been looking forward to, that have been at the forefront of your mind for what seems like EVER, are now in the past.

I am one of the lucky ones. The less than desirable feelings never last too long. I always have something to look forward too. Not sure why, but it constantly seems like my adventure is never ending.  Coming home to Korea helps. My daily life always seems to have even a tad bit of mystery too it.

lucky lucky ducky. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Meow

One month of the year has already flown by. Time keeps speeding up, I swear. It's like, I blink my eyes and a full week has elapsed. I am completely settled into my routine, in love with all of my classes, and obsessed with my apartment.

This month I've been focusing on myself, a lot. I've been more active. I've made better diet choices, which is really difficult when you walk past countless bakeries and fried chicken joints day in and day out. I don't even like fried chicken that much. But the smell. I wish I could attach scents to blogs. You would understand the daily dilemmas I encounter based solely on my nose. 

It has been REALLY cold, per Vegas standards at least. I can't help but feel a little sting of jealousy as all my friends back home are sunbathing and eating brunch on patios in their tank tops.

I've been staying in my apartment, avoiding spending money, keeping warm. I've been reading (Harry Potter), writing more in my journal, and getting creative with crafts and watercolors and my home. Decorating and hanging up pictures and taking chairs off the side of the street. 















  My beautiful momma sent me a care package. Complete with swim suits (for Thailand), a Beatles magazine, and Phase 10 (the best card game known to man). I had a few friends over this past weekend, the first time I've "had people over". We made crock pot mac and cheese and played cards and drank honey magkeolli and wine and painted... basically all the things I liked to do back home. Hang out with good company, eat, and be creative. 




















Pretty soon it will be time to resign a contract with my school. I am really looking forward to staying here. With my job and my students and apartment. With all the friends I've made. That also means that I am going to be needing a trip back home to visit. I miss everyone far too much to not come back. Thinking about it makes me feel all sorts of feelings. Being home JUST to visit. Limited time to spend with the people I love is going to feel like such a tease. I'll have to leave again, and leaving is the worst part. But, I keep telling myself it will be worth it.







Friday, February 6, 2015

Footage

I've been doing pretty poorly keeping up with my blog. To be honest I had my previous post written out for a whole month but never got around to adding pictures to it. Took me a month! Psssh.

Anyways, I put together a video of some of the things I was able to capture during my first 6 months in Korea. I love my gopro and am thrilled it has been put to good use. Next on the agenda: Scuba diving in Thailand - I will get to cross something of my life list! (check the experiences page if you haven't yet! )

I am exciting to have these memories for when I am a little old lady and want to relive and share all the amazing experiences I've had in life.  Or even in 5-10 years, when this all seems like a distant memory. I am so lucky to have these memories embedded onto YouTube, hopefully forever.

6 month Koreanversary


It's difficult to think about the past 6 months of my life. I can't conceptualize how fast - and slow - time has gone. When I really sit back and think about it... I've accomplished and experienced so damn much.


The pace of life here is so... different. It was incredibly easy to settle into. After being thrown into a new country with a new language and new food and new people and new everything, I had to just get on with it. Things that are NOT normal (as per American standards), seem extremely normal. Like, squid air drying on the sides of houses and fish being sold out of trucks that make their rounds in my neighborhood advertising through loudspeakers.
























It's hard for me to not walk down the street without being in complete amazement of how lucky I am. Whether it's the sweet ajummas feeding me hotteoks or ajusshis exclaiming their love to me, someone or something is always providing me with an extremely Korean experience






Aside from these lovely every day occurrences, I've also been working full time. Adjusting to the life of an English teacher in Korea has been, interesting. I'll say one thing, it is nothing that my degree in Education could have prepared me for. Compared to the way the system works in the states, educational philosophy is just plain different here. I have finally realized the most crucial thing I can do for these kids is TALK TO THEM. And holy crap, it is so much fun. Boyfriends and girlfriends and pizza are my favorite things to talk about. And studying, unfortunately, is a hot topic. It's pretty much the only thing these kids do.What are you doing this weekend? Studying. What are you doing on Christmas? Studying. What do you do when you get home? Study.


There was a day when I had only one student in a higher level middle school class. My director made it clear to me how excited Kelly was to talk to me. I thought that meant she was excited there were no other students. I brought in a few holiday crafts for us to do, since it was the day before Christmas. She immediately started asking me QUESTIONS. Really damn good questions. We spent the whole time talking, about everything.

We talked about how, in Korean high schools, kids study until 10pm and THEN go to after school programs. I asked her is she was afraid of high school for this reason, dreading having to do so much work. She seemed so nonchalant about it, replying that "...everyone has to do it, so it doesn't seem like that big of a deal." When I told her high school students in America get out of school at 2pm, she didn't understand what I was saying. I had to repeat it several times. She was baffled.

She asked my about my favorite place in Las Vegas, and I was so excited to tell her about Red Rock. Whenever I tell kids where I am from, they always exclaim "Casinoooo, teacher! Blackjack!" I  told her how annoying this is and how beautiful the mountains are surrounding Vegas.





Aside from getting a better understanding of the ins and outs of my student's lives, I've been learning how to speak English. Or, really, I've been learning how to explain why things are the way they are, grammatically speaking. One thing that I will always love about being a teacher is the opportunity to not only teach others, but to expand on my wealth of knowledge (or lack thereof) in the process.


Speaking of speaking English... speaking Korean is much more difficult that I would like to admit. I have been trying, really. I know some key phrases and some not so key phrases (which are the ones I use the most). The group of little ones that I teach, the ones who are just beginning to learn English, absolutely love when I use any Korean. Ah, Chincha (아진짜) is used the most, hands down. And, of course, Baegopa (배고파) - I'm hungry.



There are so many positive things that I've accomplished so far, and even more to look forward to. I've made so many great friends, and I have a friend from home who makes me feel sane in this crazy Korean world. I am fulfilling my desire to discover things about this world, travel, and explore - all while working and adding experience to my career repertoire. I'm getting a lot of bang for my buck.

It's wild to think about what this next year has in store for me. For the past few years, I've been lucky enough to keep topping the "best year of my life." Not that one year is necessarily better than another - but I continue building different aspects of my life up and in turn, life just keeps presenting itself as more and more amazing. 

I have a feeling this year will be no different. As long as I continue to accept challenges, open my mind, change my perspective, explore, and inspire - all with a great big smile - my resolution to be the best person I can be will prevail! 

Here's to 2015!