Christmas Gifts… to myself.

I went to the store and randomly decided to assemble this rolling cart-thing…. actually proves to be quite useful, although I had a lot of spare washers and pieces left over, due to Korean instructions.

My Jimmy Choo bag that I bought at Dongdaemun… is it real if it only cost 46,000 won (fifty bucks)?

We had gumbo at Melanie’s house on Christmas Eve.  It had shrimp, turkey, squash, mushrooms, (everything).  Also tons of drinks and desserts!

Then, ah yes, Kahlua, milk, and Soju: The White Korean….

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Christmas Eve

Ah yes, the holidays are upon us in Seoul and around the world.  I know that there are many who are curious – most being from my family – but Christmas is widely celebrated here.  Almost half of the Korean population claims to be Christian, yet the holidays are very different here than in the States.  For instance, there doesn’t seem to be as much “holiday cheer.”  It could be the language barrier that is obstructing my view on this, but I am certain that Christmas definitely has more to do with consumerism than the jolly guy in the red suit… or Jesus Christ.  Well, it LOOKS like Christmas here, at least.

My plans for Christmas? Well, first off, I do work on Christmas Day.  No, no, don’t gasp or feel too sorry for me.  I’m not sure who is to blame: Chungdahm or the masochistic parents who insist on sending their children to the English academy on the most-celebrated holiday in the world.  Besides, I only have one class anyway and it’s not even until 7:00.  My only plans are really tonight – a friend named Melanie is having a slew of people over for gumbo, treats, and what not.  There are going to be instructors from a few branches, so I am excited to see everyone and just sit around and eat.  I did get to enjoy a day off of work today, for Christmas Eve.  Sure, I had to be at the school earlier today for a workshop.  I’m teaching a new class for only 4 weeks: each winter and summer CDI has “Intensives,” which are electives for students who are on winter or summer break from their regular schools.  I’m teaching a novel-reading course and we are covering A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway.  I’m pretty amped because it will be fun and I will have some extra cash in my pocket, fo’ sho.

Oh yeah, also celebrating my birthday on this Friday… but more about that later. 🙂 God bless us, every one.

Sooo…

did I mention that the CDI Christmas Bash was a wash?  Yeah, it was last Sunday and it wasn’t as cool as I thought it would be- there was free beer too!  But I have high hopes for our winter Hwe-shik, which is a company-sponsored  event, i.e. free booze and free food!  It’s the 28th, so I’m going to tell everyone to fill up on free stuff so that we can go out afterwards for my birthday celebration!

I’ve always hated my birthday being December 29th, being so close to Christmas and New Years.  I think that this year may work out though.  Since everyone will already be enticed by free drinks and free dinner, there will be no motivating from me to go out.  Though I do have to work the next day, Saturday should be a pretty laid back day anyways, since it is my Eagle and Literature class.

I ‘m already feeling much better.  I made a wise decision by going to to pharmacy yesterday because even though I didn’t feel 100% in my classes today, it would have been much worse if I had felt as bad as I did yesterday today.  I heard my package already arrived in Ohio today… family, be ready for some treats and such!

Meg is Sick.

The girl who never gets sick is sick. I felt it coming on Tuesday night, but then I awoke yesterday with a runny nose and missing voice.

I HATE being sick. I have to wonder sometimes, is it worth teaching children, even though the younger ones are crawling with bacteria and disease? Short answer, “Yes.”

Though yesterday was my day off (Wednesday) I would have much rather spent it doing something fun, rather than laying in bed hating life. I swear Kleenex must make a killing during this time of the year. The only adventurous excursion that I did take was dragging my butt out of bed to locate the nearest pharmacy. Fortunately, there were English-speaking pharmacists, though, if you think about it, sickness is universal. I’m sure all I had to do was stumble into the pharmacy, in my ragged Miami sweatshirt and winter hat, runny nose and pink face – and not say anything. I’m sure that the pharmacist already had her hand on the cold medicine.

So here I am, swigging hot tea and hoping to God that my nose continues to stay plugged up during my two full classes today.

As far as being sick, not a whole lot is new on the Eastern side of the world.  My classes are practicing for the TOEFL exam (again) so I get to relax a bit, but I have to be motivating as well.  Let’s see how motivating I can be with a weak voice and runny nose.

Staying Classy

I have completed the first week of my new classes and the first word that I could use to describe it would be exhausted.

My second week, however, is already looking pretty relaxed because many classes are being postponed at CDI. The middle school students have their school exam period for their daytime academies, so their parents keep them home in order to study.

Though I still have two full days off of work and two half-days, I already miss my old schedule, when I had Fridays and Saturdays off. I guess this is just something that I will have to get used to. Fortunately, in lieu of new classes and new stress in our lives, a saving grace has arrived at the best of timing… Guitar Hero III.

Friends, family – I have never really been a video game kind of person. Indeed, I once stayed up an entire night trying to beat “Super Mario Bros.” when I was younger, but today’s games don’t intrigue me. I even recall playing Guitar Hero once at Mike, Joe, and Luke’s house last year; I remember being unimpressed but probably only because I was tricked into it and me and Joe may have had plans that night anyway. But alas, Greg asked his parents if they would send him his guitars for the game and now we are all hooked.

The controllers for the game are actual guitars but without strings and so forth. There are tabs where the strings would be and a whammy bar to complete the sound. I think the reason why I love the game so much is because I love rock music so much: Guitar Hero III has the Strokes, Rage Against the Machine, Smashing Pumpkins, etc. There have been more than a few nights when I have gone over to wait my turn with the with the rest of the instructors, itching to play – sometimes our group preps their lesson plans as they wait.

But I digress. My first week’s classes went better than expected. I went from being super nervous to calm as a cucumber. The two classes that I was really sweating was Report and Essay Writing (REW) and my Masters Literature class. Both of these classes have structures that are entirely new to me and the latter, well, doesn’t really have a structure. So it is up to the individual teaching to lay out how the class schedule should go. So my Masters class was on Saturday and I was expecting to walk into a room filled with a dozen or so brilliant, young minds who were probably going to either question to debate everything that I said. I waited in the classroom before 6:00, when the class was slated to begin. At 6:05 P.M., I got a phone call. It was another instructor who is also teaching the same literature class (we are the only two teaching it). She had some questions about preparing and I didn’t have any students yet! As I paced up and down the hall on my cell phone, I wondered where the dozen or so students would be and I saw one young man walking towards me. “Hey, I gotta go. I think this one is one of my students.”

John ended up being the only student in my literature class. The rest of my class was home studying for their exams, but John was eager to read and chat. My anxiety dissipated instantly after realizing that for three hours, me and John would be hanging out reading Woman Warrior. Even better, he is a fan of literature so he’s taken many Masters classes at CDI already. So I didn’t have to really run through the rules of the class or explain the homework; he already knew the ropes.

On the home front, Dad sent me a goody package!  Though I miss family and friends very dearly, I’ve also craved a lot of food from home: Skyline chili, Mexican food, Italian food, etc.  So Dad’s package was bursting with goodies:

More updates later!