One of my favorite views ever from across the river in Kentucky.  Aunt Sandy and Uncle Roy sent me this framed photo and I have it hanging over my bed.  I recall countless times seeing this same view at the end of long road trips.  Ritz, remember how long it took for us to drive back from Florida this past summer?  We looked for every, or any, excuse to stop and linger closer to Sarasota.  I also remember seeing the skyline during the daytime upon arriving back from Manchester, Tennessee and returning numerous times from Erlanger, to visit family.

Love it!

Advertisements

Photographic Goings-On

Zooey, as depicted by Haeni, from my Intensive Reading class, the class that lasted only four weeks. She was always very interested in him…. though she has NO idea how vicious he is. He hardly ever lets me spend my own money; the purse strings are tied very tightly in our house.

Very artistic. She practically drew one each class.

Staying at Rest

You know, a body in motion will stay in motion.  It’s altogether way too easy to get wrapped up in insignificant agendas.

So, here I am, working less hours and actually able to enjoy my first entire day off in more than four weeks!

So how did I spend my day?  Well, I would love to tell you…

Last night one of my managers, Julie, hosted an incredible dinner at an Indian-Nepalese restaurant called Mt. Everest.  Earlier this week, instead of having a workshop or a meeting, she created a video that she sent all of the Report and Essay Writing instructors.  In the video, she outlined her future plans for the program AND extended a formal invitation to last night’s dinner.  The only way to know about it was to watch the video and R.S.V.P. by e-mail.  So lucky me!  I e-mailed and ended up being one of four people treated to a great feast.  It was disappointing to realize that more of my REW buddies didn’t get the memo, but the video was a test for our attention to detail and I do feel lucky to have been paying attention.  So after work last night, I met my friend Martha at Dongdaemun Station, near Dongdaemun Stadium.  There are all kinds of places to shop and browse and I ended up buying a gorgeous blue scarf for $5 – I’ve put down knitting for now, but I hope to resume the art of the Stitch ‘N Bitch soon.

It was pretty cool to kick back and chill with the ladies last night.  None of the REW males replied to the video, so it was just us girls.  With the Soju flowing and the curry spicy, we gnoshed and gossiped pretty late until the night.  Before the excursion ended at Seven Luck Casino, me and Martha bailed out around 2 A.M.  We had plans to wake up at 6:30 to meet some guy friends to drink.

I can already sense that my family is gasping at this thought: “Why on Earth would Meg be waking up so early…. to drink?!”  Well, last night, probably under the influence of free Soju, I believed that the Super Bowl was this past Sunday. So, me and Martha thought that if we made it to Itaewon to the Canadian pubs early enough Monday morning, we would be able to watch the game, even though it was so horribly early.  Yeah, we didn’t quite figure it out until much later, but when we realized that NO bars were open at that time, we grabbed some McDonalds breakfast and later, coffee at The Coffee Bean.  It was actually pretty cool to just hang out, though it was so early.  I probably would have slept in pretty late, since it was my day off, but we chatted about a lot of different things.

So yeah, I’ve been taking the time to let out some steam and catch up on sleep.  This week is CDI’s Achievement Test, which is their standardized testing for moving up in the program levels.  Though the students will be frazzled and stressed, I’m going to try my best to stay chill and reassuring, as the caring educator that I am.  I went out last Friday with Martha and Kendra and I had a lot of fun.  I know my last post was somewhat dismal, but this Winter season has really made me moody.  I guess that I’ve just been recently reminded of why I chose to come here in the first place.  I’ve talked to many people back at home and though I do miss being back in the States, I can’t imagine leaving South Korea, just yet.

I’m staying at rest for the moment, but I promise more exciting updates in the near future.

Bleh.

At that moment I was sure.  That I belonged in my skin.  That my organs were mine and my eyes were mine and my ears, which could only hear the silence of this night and my faint breathing, were mine, and I loved them and what they could do. 

Dave Eggers, You Shall Know Our Velocity!

There have been so many times in Seoul when I have contemplated this thought, almost exactly.  I used to be unable to shake the feeling that being here was in the cards, or a at least a pitstop on a map of some underlying fate that was already laid out for me.

Unfortunately, with the good comes the bad.  Most days I practically skip to work, my legs walking in rhythm with the music in my ears.  But then there are the bad days.  I have had a few days when leaving on a jet plane out of Seoul was a seemingly feasible idea.  Working at CDI has been the best job that I have ever had and though I have a fear that I won’t find another one better, I miss people that I know.  I would like to think that I have met some actual friends here, but lately I’ve felt that those strings of friendship are tied very loosely, ready to unravel at a moment’s notice.  It sucks to feel this way, just when I’ve gotten my place pulled together to resemble a home of sorts, but I can’t resist it.

 I keep remembering how I initially felt when I first got here, how gleeful I felt.  I can feel remnants of that happiness every once in a while, but I am unconvinced that it is real.

I apologize for the ranting or depressing thoughts, but I figure it’s better than the “Hey, How are ya?  Good, busy, but good.”

 I’m still not to the point of counting down months yet.

Time Keeps On Slippin’

So yes, I have been busy.  But someone has got to make that Won, you know? Won doesn’t grow on trees.

 I’ve been teaching an Intensive class for two weeks now and though I have grown to love the students (I only have 4!), I do miss my days off…. terribly.  I’ve also agreed to help develop a Masters Literature class for next term.  Note, I said “agreed” and not “volunteered” – two guys from the program need some serious help and they pretty much told me that my background in literature and writing would really shine through the lesson plans.  So, after some ego-massaging, I agreed to design lesson plans for four novels, 3 months worth of lessons. 

So, aside from reading one novel for my Masters Lit class already and A Farewell to Arms for my Intensive class, I have to skim through four books in four weeks, so that I may have enough material to gleen lesson plans for the next term…. argh.

Sometimes I worry about burning myself out on work, but perhaps that occupies my time enough to that I don’t think about insignificant things, i.e. relationships.  Besides, the money would be good to have as well, since I am evidently paying far too much for my place each month.

Until that much-needed vacation, I will have to daydream and enjoy the caffeine that my body craves so much, all day every day.

Happy New Year!

Yes, since I am 14 hours ahead of most of you, I am already enjoying the New Year.  But before I begin my enthralling tale about that holiday, I should catch you up on my birthday, which was on the 29th.

I didn’t want to write about my birthday until now because I didn’t want to jinx my New Years Eve plans.  Well, most of my family knows that celebrating my birthday has always been hit or miss; people are busy, etc.  But this year was a lot of fun, and I have many people here to thank for that.  Last Friday was our work get-together at an instructor’s house.  We all felt pretty fly because there aren’t many houses in Seoul, really only apartment buildings and such.  So we were able to drink, eat good food, play video games, and exchange gifts.  We had a “White Elephant” gift exchange, which meant that everyone was supposed to bring a $10 gift, making it as silly as possible.  I ended up taking an umbrella… well, hey, it’s practical too!  In the end, I was able to pick a Batman notebook, arguably one of the tamer gift choices.  Anyways, there were grandiose plans for after the party, but everyone dispersed very quickly!  It was probably the Soju consumption that caused everyone to blackout, but I ended up going out with just a couple of friends to one of my favorite bars, Crazy W.C.  It was there that I got a pizza cake with candles and some free drinks (I was hurting the next day in class).  I had so much fun Friday night that I was almost too tired for my actual birthday, which was on Saturday.  I had two classes so I rolled out of bed, no hair product, hardly any make-up, and my glasses.  It just so happened that after work, some of my friends were planning to take me out AGAIN, but the thought of alcohol repulsed me and I felt like a bum for being so dressed-down.  So we went to dinner, where they surprised me with a strawberry cake and we went to Foxwood, my ideal place to go to.  I was given a free shot there, but my stomach was still doing somersaults from the night before.  In the end, I was very glad to get some sleep on Saturday night because I was also still sick and very tired.

I had very high expectations for New Years Eve.  I had heard of no plans near where I live, so I sought them out.  I contacted a guy named Tomasz who just started teaching at Chungdahm.  I met him a couple of weeks ago and he had been at the house party on Friday.  He had talked about the nightlife in Itaewon so I decided that Itaewon would be the best venue for New Years because the residents were almost all foreigners from the U.S. or Canada.  So alas, it was my day off yesterday, but I spent the afternoon prepping my classes for this week and taking a long nap so that I might actually party hard before 2008 began.  I stayed in contact with Tomasz most of the day through e-mail and text messaging because he had to teach and we planned on meeting in Itaewon around 11.  So when I was able to get on the subway around 10 or so, that is when the calls began: “What are you doing for New Years?” “Come over!”  I couldn’t believe that my co-workers and friends had waited until the last moment to make plans, but I was happy that I hadn’t waited around.  My night ended up being pretty fun: no cover charges, discounted drinks, good people, etc.  One place even gave everyone a free glass of champagne.  I was also relieved to be around people who just wanted to have a good time, instead of getting drunk and hitting on random strangers.

You know, I have been in Seoul for almost 5 months and I am still pretty much figuring out how to make the best out of this experience.  I really think that I needed a new year, so that I can start again in many ways.  There is a lot about 2007 that has bummed me out, but I am going to try to facilitate some positive changes for 2008.