Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I Own Things

It is time to pack up my apartment to move two streets over to another apartment. As exciting as this move is, right now I am swimming in a sea of items that need to be packed. As usual, I’m surprised by the amount of stuff I have collected. I am also amazed by the amount of dirt and garbage I’ve allowed to accumulate. I feel like a chipmunk scurrying around its burrow gathering items to hibernate with. Only I have a computer and I am wasting my precious time on it. I also have to go to work in an hour.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Classroom Full of Little Mirrors

On the weekend I got two inches cut off my hair. A little girl in one of my classes said, "Teacher, did you get your hair cut?" Then she continued with, "last week you were sexy and now you are cute." Want to know what you really look like? Talk to a child.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I was sorting through my bookshelf when I came across this picture. The young 'artist' is a student I call, "Billy Bob Princess Monkey." As you can see, he's a funny little kid.

A little christmas conclusion:

The most important part of the holidays are the people you love. Although I was sad to be without mine this christmas, I had a great opportunity to learn something new about my family. It turns out, that love is far more powerful than the constraints of time or distance. Love is a durable band that can stretch across the world and touch even the most distant of hearts. This christmas, I learned just how strong my dearest connections are. I suppose no gift could be greater than this.

"And what happened then? Well, in Whoville they say that the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day."

Saturday, December 19, 2009


The Last Supper:

Silk worm snacks:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Success! I am now a yellow belt and my toes are not broken. This also means I am one step closer to kicking your butt.

Check out the kids' smooth moves:

Something new and useful:

Cold medicine please- 감기약주세요

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dear Prometheus..

I have my first test in taekwondo tomorrow! Consequently, I have been stressing over the idea of incorrectly kicking a board and breaking my toes. In order to prevent this tragedy, I have been trying to improve my technique by hitting books. My feet are now bruised and tomorrow's test will probably hurt more than it would have if I hadn't practiced.

A lesson: Apprehension usually hurts more than the actual thing you are fearing. However, I doubt I will remember this one.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A christmas without rain boots

It is a rainy day in Korea and I have been sulking. The days of December are quickly passing and discussions of christmas can no longer be avoided. I’ve never been overly fond of the holidays but this one seems especially daunting. This will be my first christmas away from my home and I’m feeling alone. To add to my yuletide anxiety, my mother and sister will be in Costa Rica, my step father is in Afghanistan, and my closest friends are leaving Korea.

To summarize things for you- My loved ones will be scattered around the world, and my only communication with them will be through emails.

It isn't hard to point out that it was my choice to leave home and that I am choosing to be sad. I'm a particular person that doesn't settle easily; thus, If the company is not right, I usually prefer to be alone. I know I am responsible for my own isolation.

Time will tell how this christmas will pan out. Perhaps something good will happen or I’ll learn to enjoy my solitude. Until then, lets all hope that the days ahead are a little sunnier than today.

A picture of someone special at home:

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Last week I started Taekwondo. Here are some of the reasons I decided to join:

  1. I practiced as a child but quit to pursue other interests.
  2. I now have enough time to do whatever I want during the day.
  3. It is a great way to stay in shape and become more flexible.
  4. Taekwondo was developed in Korea and is part of the Korean culture.
  5. The first month of training and my uniform are free.
  6. There are only three people in my class, so we should be able to ‘level up’ quickly.
  7. It is possible to get my black belt while being here.
  8. I will surely learn some Korean words.
  9. It is fun and makes me laugh.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A barrel of monkeys!

The greatest difficulty of living in Korea is the language barrier. I repeatedly find myself in a predicament where I cannot tell someone what I am thinking or what I need. In such cases, my friends and I rely on actions and sound effects. Even though our grunts are an effective way to communicate, they have also become an ongoing joke between Cordia, Mitch and me. We often ask one another, “how would you achieve this goal using caveman?” Then we make up a series of noises and movements that make us giggle like children.

In October, the three of us went to a mask festival in Hahoe. Half way through the performance, the foreigners in the audience were summoned to dance on stage. With little time to think, we independently decided it was a good idea to dance like cavemen. We flailed our arms, hunched our backs and paraded around while the audience clapped. It took me hours to stop laughing.

What kind of impression have we been giving Koreans about English people? Have we been damaging our reputation with our ape-like behavior? It’s possible, but I am sure they also notice how much fun we are having. It turns out, sometimes saying less is more.

Here are some pictures of our dance moves in Hahoe:

Discussing our skills

Reliving the moment

A walk around

Things I have learned:

How to make Texan style hot sauce with Korean ingredients!!

I am hungry ~ 배 고파요

Friday, November 27, 2009


Today is Good Sounding day and I feel lucky. Nothing exciting ever happens on the 27th of November but it is something I have always looked forward to. Good Sounding day is my own personal holiday to celebrate me.

Of course, most people feel this way about their birthdays but birthdays come with baggage. Unlike my aniversário, I do not expect anyone to remember that today is special. I do not feel any older and I will not receive a hallmark card.

What l plan on doing is snuggling under some warm blankets and then taking an extra long shower. I will also drink a lot of coffee and eat a particularly large portion of cheese. I will moisturize my feet and then put on clean socks...if I can find clean socks. I will do regular things with care.

I've posted some pictures of good things for you on my good day. Hope you have a good weekend. Goodbye.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Breaking Rules

I have a class every wednesdays that mostly consists of little girls. A couple of months ago, one of these girls asked me to draw a puppy in her notebook. I didn’t see the harm in it, so I made her a puppy. The little girl carefully colored it in and then put it away. The following wednesday, the same little girl and two other girls asked me to draw them kittens. I am not really suppose to draw in class but I did it anyways. In order to redeem myself as a teacher, I told them they had to participate in class to receive any more pictures. I felt pretty good about my compromise with the kids.

I am beginning to see that there are problems with this deal. The number of little girls wanting pictures has multiplied and now some of the little boys are wanting pictures too. During my class, I am probably popping out a new picture every two minutes. In addition, I have noticed that these children are bringing markers and crayons to class in order to tailor their critters. I have turned english class into art class.

Even though I am aware that I am doing something wrong, a part of me enjoys it anyways. When I was a little girl, I always wanted someone to draw me a picture. I took great pride in cutting those pictures out and laminating them into toys. Now I am the adult drawing critters for little girls.

Eventually my ‘art’ class will come to an end. These children will level up and new ones will level in. So for now I think I will continue to humor these children with dogs, kittens and birds while they try to speak english. That isn't so bad is it?

Things I learned today:

Rabbit ~ 토끼

Hop~ 깡충


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Today's lesson

Someone once told me that I would learn something new everyday. I used to dedicate a couple of minutes every night to acknowledge these daily finding but eventually I quit. Somewhere in between being too busy and not caring, I stopped recognizing my baby steps. Instead, I started noticing the big steps everyone else seemed to be taking. All of my peers were getting their masters, getting married or 'getting' pregnant. I was saddened by my lack of direction. So, in an effort to change and to pay off my loans, I moved to Korea.

Korea is different than Canada in almost every way. While living abroad, I've learned that you cannot expect the ordinary to be anything but unordinary. Consequently, I have found myself immersed in daily lessons and my life has turned into a succession of foreigner baby steps. Culture shock forced me to take one day at a time and I have gratefully (not gracefully) accepted this challenge. In an effort to be humble and to trust that things will work out in time, I've temporarily slowed down. Perhaps this year I will learn how to properly use a semicolon or maybe I will become flexible enough to touch my toes! Or maybe, just maybe, I will stop trying to control everything and I will learn to be content with the way things are.

This blog has been designed to share with those I love, the lessons I am learning on my great adventure. I hope you enjoy my medley of thoughts and that some of you find comfort in my awkward journey to understand myself. What did you learn today?