Monday, April 12, 2010

I've been here to long! (but still enjoying it!)

Here's a list of things you know you've been in Korea too long!
  1. Craving rice, I need to eat rice every day.
  2. When I go to make meat into smaller pieces, I look for a pair of long handled scissors.
  3. All of my rock climbing clothing is a shade of pink.
  4. When most of the people you knew 9 months ago, are now in a different country.
  5. You know what time the subways open after being out all night long.
  6. You now carry an umbrella if its cloudy, in the rain and snow.
  7. You buy a huge DSLR camera to fit in.
  8. Your acutely aware of your grammar, and now read every sentence to make sure it's correct. (Even then, my grammar isn't 100% correct!)
  9. You try to study for the GRE and find yourself thinking, "I've heard my parents use that word recently. But can't think of what it means."
  10. When your parents still have a larger vocabulary.
  11. You study for the TESOL.
  12. You laugh now while running and get stared at by the old Koreans.
  13. You can pick out the teachers who've been here longer.
I've been in Korea, now, 14 months. 9 months till I'm off and traveling. Ahh have to save up some more money!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ice Climbing

Yesterday I had one of the best experiences of my life, certainly the most challenging. I found myself hanging off a 24m cliff, with two ice picks and metal clamps on my feet. With my friend Sven yelling at me, "1 more meter, get up there now". I looked down, at all of the ropes and people. My arms shaking with fatigue, knees already beginning to swell from being knocked into ice during my first climb up, 6 hours before. I stood up from my crouch position, swung the right ice pick then the left one into the ice. My arms vibrate from the impact of metal and ice. My feet lift up and into the next foot position. And finally I'm there! The challenging last climb is finished, now all I have to do is belay down with ice picks in my hands and a two older men right below me. Ah fun!

I've always wanted to be a sport's person. But growing up my hand ice coordination wasn't strong, nor my team spirit. Team sports were a true success for me. My dad was an avid skier/hiker/fisher so I was half dragged/carried since the time I was two to the Colorado mountains. Its in my blood! I would go to REI and see all of the adults buying their gear, talking of their hike/climb of the day, laughing with tanned faces. I wanted to be apart of that group, but alas, I was only in elementary school.

Finally, I woke up to the realization that I'm becoming one of those adults talking of their climb of the day. Yesterday was only the first time I had gone ice climbing. I'm finally in a place where I can take advantage of beautiful mountains, enough money/time, and access to a instructor who can teach me great/safe climbing methods. The guide of the trip has a 6week clinic starting in three weeks to learn how to properly climb and be prepared to go climbing with small groups of people.

Soo: 2010 is the year of I am: I am a good teacher, runner, climber, and over all person.

Friday, February 5, 2010

woow its been to long!

Wow, so its been about six months since I've written in my blog. A lot has happened in six months. The highlights:
  • Going to Thailand, riding on an elephant, being on a Muslim beach
  • Becoming an aunt again with Zana and Ryan's to lovely sons :)
  • Dating a Korean guy, seeing a traditional Chuseok at his grandpa's house.
  • Going home for Christmas and seeing Karen in San Fransisco
  • Studying for the GRE, thankful my coworker, Jason, is going to be my study buddy for the next 4 months till the big test.
  • Becoming an active Couchsurfer ( :)
  • My career choice is now: getting an Au.d in Audiology :) Hello grad school for 4 years.
  • Signing on for year 2 at SLP hagwon. But teaching older kids :) Much better for mental health. Hopefully I'll stop dreaming about stickers and bloody noses.
  • I'm starting Couch 2 5k for the third time in as many years. But this time I'm fully prepared with two knee braces. :) I wont let two bad joints stop me from the endorphin rush.
Next weekend, Feb 13-15 will be Lunar New Year (Solnal). I'm going to be going to a Buddist temple to experience a traditional New Year celebration with couch surfers and monks. What I have to look forward to: a bus ride that is normally 3 hours will turn into 8 hours due to Korean horrific traffic.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

53 heads of Garlic!

I went shopping at a local market, and got a ton of fresh veggies for cheap! And then came the garlic lady who my friend told me I could get five head of garlic for around $0.75. I ask for five, but the lady said no. And proceeded to grab a wrapped bunch, and cut off all the head of garlic and put them in a bag. My jaw dropped as I counted 53 heads of garlic go into the bag! It was only $7, but there is only me in my house!

So, besides give them away (which I will do soon) what do I do with 53 heads of garlic? How long does fresh garlic last?

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Road Not Taken

by: Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the tother, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy ans wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

11 weeks

Emotions flow as the ocean tide pulls them toward another west coast
Cultural views are accepted, hoping they are different but equal
Elders are to be respected; the young have to prove their worth
Life revolves around age, school at 5, college till 27, marriage before 30
Creating new bonds, pushing at the strings of fate and travel that bring us together
Finding hope in the love and trust of 7 year olds
Seeing distrust in 80 year olds
The distance between the long hairs and short hairs

I’m finally settling into life in Seoul, the normal routine is down pat (but got to get my butt out of bed these mornings to go the gym!), have to study more Korean. The past couple weeks have been great.
Two weeks ago I joined a church called Onuri English Ministry, it’s the biggest church I’ve ever gone to. It has three ministries in Korean, English, and Chinese. The service is powerful, hearing more than 300 whispering voices gathering in prayer and worship. The small group I’m now apart of is made up of about 15 people, mostly Korean women and American men who are teachers and graduate students. A couple of the Koreans I can relate to and hopefully build lasting friendships with. I was invited via text to go ‘hiking’ Namsam and out to dinner afterwards on Tuesday. I was excited because I’ve gotten able to go hiking a lot over the past couple weeks and was glad to do more. But the hike turned out to be a 30 minute stair climb to the top of a lookout mountain, swarming with people taking in the view of the city. So much for a second climb this week, but it was great to talk with new people and find out who they are. An American, Jason, and I tossed around a football in the middle of MyeongDong, the busiest shopping area of Seoul, at peak shopping time. It was great! All of the curios/glaring looks we got from Koreans. I got ask, “Why” by three Korean high school guys, my response was, “Why Not.” They walked away, not really satisfied with the answer. We played catch with a old man and a clown on silts, one of the guys got pictures of the ‘game’ so hopefully I can post them later.

This weekend three of my friends came up from Deagu to celebrate my birthday and take in the sites of Seoul. It was a crazy 30 hours filled with Palace visits, Baseball game, an underground aquarium, and getting kicked out of a jimjabang at 3 am because two people wouldn’t be quite. So we call came back to my dorm size apartment and squeezed all 4 of us on to sleeping pats and my twin size bed. Classic!
On Saturday, Brian, Sarah and I hiked the tallest mountain near Seoul, Mt. Book Han. It was a tough hike, taking 6 hours to go up and down. The problem I have with hiking in korea is there is no switchbacks up the mountain, were the path is a Z, making it easier to climb. In Korea, you walk straight up the mountain and at really hard parts your aided by metal stairs which are brutal on the knees! Ahh and lots of rock face, which is sweet. The views are some of the most beautiful I’ve seen, and defiantly better than what I imagined from seeing pictures of korea.

My pour digital camera has finally told me its on its last legs, so I’m going to get a nice SLR camera. I can’t wait, but I’m not excited about going to Techno Mart (4 huge floors of every electronic devise you could want) and looking at cameras. Definitely going to do my research at home, before I go out and by a camera in Korean. They don’t do returns here.

Away you go to the… Philippians
A couple weeks ago, my best 8-year-old student, Metis, came to class ecstatic and beaming. She said her older sister was coming home from the Philippians that day, where she had been for the past two years. I asked why she was there, to study English she said. The next day Metis was absent, which was a rare occurrence. My co-korean teacher told me, her mother had pulled her from the school. Both of us were bewildered, wondering why our best student had dropped. Her mother told us a couple days later that she had decided to send Metis and her sister back to the Philippians to study. Metis will leave fifteen days after her mom told her she was leaving the country! Amazing the lengths Koreans will go to insure their children know English and insure their place in global society in later years. My heart aches for Metis’s mother who sent her two young daughters to live with their aunt for the sole reason of a second language.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Grad School?!

As I've been thinking of going to graduate school for a long time, but didn't know which program/career I wanted to pursue. As of now, I'm going for a Speech Pathologist, which will a 2-3 year Masters program, depending on the school. And about a years worth of prerequisites classes I have to take. My Plan A, is to start taking online prereq classes in Fall 2009, be done with them in Spring 2010 and enter graduate school in 2011/12. And be in Korea through July 2011 (2.5 yr), so that I can pay off my school loans and pay for the prereq classes out of pocket.

I'm really comfortable with this plan, I'm still going to research more about Speech Pathology, so I know what its really like. But I think I'll go for it!