I have a new cell phone

Having been without a completely working cell phone for about two months was an interesting experience. Although I used data only on my phone overseas I rarely used it because I was afraid of going over the limited amount. Which brought me to the realization almost anyone who owns a smartphone has a slight addiction to it. And when we are without it for a while we feel disconnected from the world.

I finally got a new cell phone about two weeks ago and it is the best thing ever. Having a new phone has been great! I can keep in touch with people back home and here in Korea via Kakaotalk. (An awesome app which is free texting/phone calls over wifi, or minimal data when on a data network.) I can call my friends here, meet up with them and not have to wait around for others because we have no way to communicate. Looking up the bus schedule on my phone has been rewarding as well.

As  most of you back home know, I loved the giant screen on my old phone. Some people thought it was too big. Anyways, I wanted a Galaxy Note but I decided not to get it because of the price and got another giant screen phone instead: LG Optimus. In a few words: I love it.

The best part about buying a phone in Korea especially an android based one is that he phone comes with a second battery and battery charger so there is no extra expense. Two,  you get a free case and screen protector as a service and you can come in anytime to the store and they will put a new screen protector on for you. That is what I call service. My phone plan is roughly 78,000 won ( ~$70) a month for a 30 month contract.  This includes 5 gb of data, the cost of the phone, and low calling minutes and messages. Almost everything is sent via a kakaotalk app so my data is what is really used.

So without further ado, here is my new phone :

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Banking 101

Living as an Expat there are a lot of Banks that are recommended to go with when you live in Korea. KEB and Citibank seem to be the two that most people recommend. With that being said if you live in a city your options are pretty limitless, however, living in a rural part of the country your options are normally limited to one. My only option is Nonghyup bank as that is what my school uses.

So a few weeks ago as you know I set up my bank account by myself, and once I was paid I have been trying to figure out how to send money home. My online banking would not let me do it. Although there is an option to do so it is a no-go. So I had to take the bus for a 40 minute ride into the city and head to the bigger branch of the bank. With my limited Korean we got the online banking working although they told me it was cheaper to send money online so go do it at home later.I was okay with this solution as I am always looking to save money. However, I went to school the next day to see if worked and it didn’t. At first I thought it was because the amount was too high but that wasn’t it either.  My co-teacher looked over and said you need to make ‘another’ bank account it seems at the main branch.

A different one?…. my words were less than wonderful as I said, “stupid fucking bank,” three students happened to be in the office and giggled after hearing me swear.  So my co-teacher said to try the bank next to my other school I teach at, however, I was weary of this option as the other school is much smaller. Yet, they have a ‘real’ Nonghyup bank. I am banking with Nonghyup bank but it is more for farmers? (Something along those lines..they are connected but I can’t do certain things because of it.)

So I went in and showed them my scribbled note of what I wanted to do and the guy told me, ” No, go to Gangnueng or the post office.” I have never walked out of a bank hating it so much. I’m just sending money home it isn’t some weird shit. So I trek back to the school and talk to my male co-teacher who I work with on Mondays. I showed him my note and he called the bank and then the post office and we walked over together. I had to send money via the post office and the limit is $1,000/ a day.  So I sent that and had to run over to the bank to withdraw the money. Now, I could have waited until another day to fix the mistake but at the time I wasn’t sure when I would make it to the real bank and the tax man is waiting to be paid back home.

So today came and I was lucky enough to get off early and receive a ride from another teacher who also had to go to Gangneung. My co-teacher fixed my note and I handed it to the lady at the counter who spoke a little English and shuffled me over to the side that wires money. The funny thing is I ended up with the same lady who helped me with the online banking last time and she said it should work in Korean and was really surprised. So she called again and double checked everything.

We then went over to another computer and she watched as I tried to do what I normally do and when it didn’t work she realized it was because of my bank account. So we made another one quickly and moved enough money over so I could transfer what I wanted. We ran back to the other computer and successfully put the transfer through on the third try. This was after I changed the amount I was sending and I finally remembered my password for transferring. Thankfully, I am not very original with passwords because I have moments where I blank out completely what they are so they are always simple enough for me to remember. After successfully finishing I thanked her very much.

So now I can send money home when I want. I need to transfer my money from the account where my wages are deposited to the ‘official nonghyup account’ and then I can send money overseas. However, I can only send roughly $800 at a time.  The exchange rate also sucks for me. Coming here from the USA it was great. Sending money home not so much. So I think I’m going to skip a month at a time and send a bit one month and then make a larger transfer every two months.  I wanted to send another $500 home but I didn’t have enough moved over as it was 576,000 won, and  I only  put 519,000 won in the new account. So the exchange rate is definitely in favor of the dollar.

Finally this banking debacle is sorted the only thing left to do is get a check card so I can use it at stores instead of just the ATM.

My lovely note in Korean. As you can see I have writing everywhere and definitions for words I didn’t know. My grammar isn’t perfect but it was my attempt to jot down my ideas before I walked in and forgot everything I wanted to do.

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My co-teachers note, much shorter and straight to the point.

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Shampoo surprise

Shampoo surprise

I was in need of Shampoo and Conditioner which is called ‘rinse’ in Korean. I saw this deal for what I thought was two shampoos and two conditioners, at first I was going to end up with one smaller size bottle. But the kind lady at the store switched it to 4 full size bottles, and threw in a small free shampoo and sample body lotion. Apparently this is an expensive brand, which I suppose is good. However, upon opening it I have found it is all shampoo. I might need to go back and see if they make a ‘rinse’ lol

3 Schools and Nina Teacher

3 Schools and Nina Teacher

I’m currently teaching at 3 different schools. When I first arrived in Okgye (옥계)  I was told that I would be teaching at the middle school 3 days a week and the elementary school 2 days a week. That sounded like a good schedule to me.  I’m in the door at 8:30 A.M. and I’m out the door at 4:30 P.M. To me, this was heaven. No weekends, no overtime, no fixing problems, I was able to be free as a bird once the clock struck 4:30 P.M.

For those who don’t know, the schooling system in Korea is set up differently than in the states. It is on a 6-3-3-4 track. 6 years of elementary school, first through sixth grade. Middle school is seventh through ninth. High school is tenth through twelfth grade.  And college is four years the same as back home.

After teaching for about a week and many phones call that went back and forth between schools it was finally decided that I was going to also be teaching at another middle school on Mondays in Wangsan (왕산). Wangsan school is a 40 minute bus ride into Gangnueng (강릉) and from there by co-teacher drives me by car to the school which is 20 minutes away.

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This is Wangsan middle school, it is the smallest school in the city of Gangneung. There are 19 students in the whole school. They are truly a lovely bunch, each class is really intimate and it is easy to rally their attention. Lots of hello’s when I arrive and good-bye see you next weeks when I leave. Although the school is really far out the children are truly a joy. I also am finding at this school, I spend more of my focus during pair work helping the special education students.  I find it rewarding as they repeat each word after me or they try and speak in front of the class, the other classmates are not rude either. Which I appreciate and I feel they have an understanding as to why I may not circle their way as much. I may start to insert a reward system for the stronger students. Not sure how to implement it without hurting the other students feelings if I have a stronger student help them out.

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The Okgye elementary school complete with the English classroom. I have a smartboard that isn’t seen in this photo. I still don’t know how to use it properly and sometimes I hit a button and it goes to the wrong page and I make a fool of myself in the process but it is okay. There are roughly 120 students between first and sixth grade and I only teach third to sixth grade. The kids are cute and their attention spans are quite varied. Some students are pretty good at English and others struggle much more. But there is always a kid or two in class who are able to relay the message on to classmates in Korean.

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And last but not least my home base. This is Okgye middle school that I work at during the rest of the week and where my main co-teacher resides. The school only has 85 students and they all approach me differently. Some say, “hello” and shuffle away quickly after I answer back. Others come charging and say hello quickly as they run through the halls. The class dynamics are all different, sometimes I have the blank stares. The I’m listening and still not going to stay on task or do the assignment. The omg teacher I need your help, “What is this word in English?” “What about this?” It’s a wide array of personalities and really fun.

I have two after school English conversation classes that I have yet to set a curriculum too. I feel input from students is always a good starting point. As I teach and interact with each student I feel myself growing. I remember what I was like in school, what I hated about teachers, what I liked. What I refuse to be in the classroom. How I want to shape my classroom and how I want to inspire my kids. You are never too young to think outside the box and have an opinion. And I think I’m going to make it a goal by the end of the year for them to tell me how they feel about certain things. Why not? We are supposed to be conversing in English, not “Hello, nice to meet you.” six months later, maybe you might say, “Teacher, what did you do this weekend?” That would be a reward within itself.

Saltwater and fresh air…a day of healing

I headed home after work with the gym-teacher’s wife, who is filling in for another teacher on absence, and she asked what I was doing this weekend. I said nothing as I only have 2,000 won to my name. (less than $2.00)  So she hands me money and I tell her no I’m okay, after about 3 times of this she gives me about 30,000 won and asks me to pay her back later. My co-teacher also offered me money but I declined. I don’t like owing people or feeling in debt to them.

So I started my Saturday trying to tackle my taxes, which I failed so, I am going to pay turbo tax this year to file my state taxes since I got a totally different refund amount than them. They are giving me more money so they can keep $30.00 of mine.  After that wasn’t going well, I decided to do laundry and tidy up my apartment. I cleaned all the dishes I have been ignoring. Not the ones in the sink, I clean those daily. But all the dishes through the apartment. I probably should have mopped and did some dusting but I’m a bit lazy so that will have to wait. I walked around the track several times last night and I came back and I had a lot of thoughts in my head.

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A fellow EPIK teacher on facebook posted this quote and it resonated with me. I am starting all over again. It isn’t easy, most days I can handle my thoughts. But then there are days when you are by yourself the thoughts rear their ugly heads and wage war in my mind.  Part of my journey while I am here in South Korea will be to learn to grow as a person and love myself. Starting over, fresh, some place new where no one knows me is the perfect place to do that. I can be who I want, I can learn to love myself without being reminded of the past.  Unfortunately webmd or any other online site that talks about health can do a bit of damage although it can also be eye-opening. I looked up body image and came across BDD (Body dysmorphic disorder).  I’m not the classic extreme example of this, as I am not on the thin side and imagine that I am heavy, or I hate myself so much I can’t walk out of the house. But I do suffer from a degree of it. I’m hyper paranoid about my skin and hair. And If I can see it I fear others can and they might make fun of me if I am not perfect looking in that way. I also tend to compare myself to people who are much heavier than me. A lot of the time I find women who are probably on average (50~100lbs ) more than me, prettier or more attractive. Or I feel we are the same size.  I don’t have that inner degree of confidence that I accept my body the way it is.  I always wonder why my skin isn’t as nice, or I have darker hair or more body hair than other women. Why they always look better than me, and yet I never feel pretty enough. I don’t like wearing makeup but when I put it on, I want to take it off because I can’t tell if the makeup looks better or worse on me.  So Saturday, I struggled a bit with myself and my inner demons. And I told myself to go to bed and not think about it.

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Some words of advice I found as I continue to work on myself.

With that being said, my favorite place to go when I feel upset or just like to be alone is the beach. So I knew that was where I would be headed on Sunday. I packed up my backpack and headed out around 10 A.M. It took about 45 mins or so to get to the beginning of the beach which was all rocks but still really beautiful. The smell of salt water just instantly melts away whatever is brewing inside the mind and it dissipates into silence. The ocean is vast, beautiful and always takes my breath away.  It was a perfect time to reflect on myself and realize I am okay just the way I am and it is okay to struggle with that. I am learning to love myself one day at a time. It isn’t an easy road.

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The blue-green water, the crashing waves and the smell of salt water just made me feel at peace. It was warm but breezy and the perfect day to hunt for shells. If you know my family at all we have an obsession about collecting shells every time we go to the beach. Even if it is the same beach we always go to. We always need more jingle shells. Or maybe we will get a cool shell that is finally complete. Because the cool shells are always the  ones that you find bits and pieces of and think, “Oh! I wonder if I can find a whole one?” Yes you probably will say that out loud as you are searching.

The first part of the beach was really rocky but the rocks had this beautiful mineral sheen to them. They were so pretty I actually picked up a few of them along the way since I haven’t seen rocks like that before. Next on the list, sea glass. Lots of sea glass. Which makes sense as we are on the ocean so more sea glass should wash ashore. Blue, green and brown sea glass collected? Check.  Every beach has its own “typical shells.” The shells you always collect and are like these are the cool shells of the beach, the majority of the population. They very in shape, size, and color, but normally the shells you collect the most of are these. What we are after are the prized possessions.  The truly unique shells of the beach. One of the first bits I found was a sand dollar. A SAND DOLLAR?! Could it be…I could find one? Granted it was only a piece but it gave me hope that maybe I would find this elusive sand dollar whole somewhere on the beach.

And when we do find said elusive shell…we say out loud, “oooo waaaahhhhah!!!!!! A SAND DOLLAR!!!!” like a five year old child receiving candy, we have found the ultimate prize on the beach.

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I was so excited it got separated from the rest of the shells as I didn’t want it to break. Collecting sea shells is soothing, because you only focus on the shells. The details of the shells, the curves, lines, designs, colors, is it partial or whole? These are the questions we ask ourselves. If we find a piece of sea glass on the beach we ask ourselves does this constitute being sea glass? Is it smooth enough?  There is something about nature, whether it is an ocean, a forest, a mountain or a field…it soothes the soul. It erases the worries of the mind and gives us a fresh start for the day.

It does not matter where you live, everyone should have a place to go that relieves their mind and soothes their soul. For me that has always been the smell of salt water. The ocean. If there was no ocean in sight or I was in a land locked area it was the nearest body of water. Be it a river, a lake or a stream. I always knew where the closest body of water is, because when I am sad, when my mind is cluttered, when I want to be alone, to clear my head of all thoughts, I go and sit by water. And I stare at the ocean, or that body of water and let whatever is bothering me wash away. I always walk away feeling better.

I have turned my life upside down and am starting new. It isn’t easy and each day is a new adventure. Every day I am challenging the old me and creating the new me. The me, I have always seen inside my head. The pretty woman who radiates confidence and is full of life, charging straight ahead after her dreams. I’m building her day by day. So there are days I fall back and those inner demons chase me, but I acknowledge it. I embrace it, if I feel like crying…I do. If I feel like laying in bed all day…I do. If I need to find water, I will. As I get older I realize no matter where we are in the world, whether you transplant yourself to another state or country, you should always know what keeps you calm. What keeps you centered.  For me that is salt water and no matter where I go in life, I know that is always the place I will go when I need to think things through or free my mind of worries.

Where do you go to clear your mind? And if it isn’t a place, what soothes your soul?

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I was looking at the shells I collected today and the ones that struck me the most were the sea glass. It’s like every piece is a shard of ourselves. And no matter how long we collect it or how many pieces we have in our collection it will never be complete, it will never completely be a testament to who we are. Why? Because we are individuals and no matter how we try to define ourselves it takes many pieces to make a whole and we don’t necessarily make a uniform shape, but maybe we are forever expanding…? Forever continuing to grow and shape ourselves as our lives continue…as life shapes us one day at a time. Some food for thought.

A favor, an opinion for those fighting to overturn Prop 8 and DOMA

A friend of mine on facebook, who is also an English teacher in South Korea, was asking for any info or thoughts about same-sex marriage. She is teaching at a high school and wanted to compare views.  I said I would write something up if she would like, and I sent it to her. She said I should publish it, though I have nowhere to publish it but on my blog. And what I wrote may not be 100% correct, please advise me on that. ( You know who you are.) So I wrote from my memory, what I remember seeing and hearing, and putting the pieces together. Read More

Musings of an overloaded mind

“Did you know…..?”

” Have you heard….?”

No. And no. I did not know. I have not heard.

The moment you walk away from everything you know…it comes back at you. Moving half way across the world there are days I am thankful I am in a new place. I can meet new people. I can be myself. I can hide in a cave if I want and never leave. Or I can be highly sociable and tolerate others.

One thing I was thankful for was not hearing the updates from home. About this person and that person. The ‘did you know’s…’ and ‘have you heard’s…’ I’m cold.

Am I a bad person? No.

Am I a loving person?  Yes.

Because I do not care, does it make me a bad person? Most people will answer that with a yes. You are a cold hearted person. You should care about others.

Should I? That seems like a loaded question.  Most people who feel “I” or anyone else should feel a certain way are the one’s who are bothered by me not caring. And why should it bother you? Because I do not care about every detail in your life? Because I do not need to hear the news about every person I left back home?

So  in the eyes of many I seem like a cold bitch. Fine. That is all right with me. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. And here is mine:

I don’t care. I never have. Why should I care about people who make minimal effort to be a part of my life? Why should I care about those who are never there for me when I may need them? Caring about others is a task. It isn’t easy. It isn’t easy to always keep the door open for anyone to walk through. Come inside and take a seat and drink some coffee while we talk about our worries and dreams and the future. Yet, I am a person who leaves that door open.  It isn’t a physical door. So if you look for it you will not find it.

No, no. It is the door inside my mind that leads to a set of chairs deep inside my heart. I have always left the door open. For anyone who has crossed paths with me. For friends old and new. For those who have walked out of my life and who have gone separate ways. That door is always open for them. Because that is the type of person I am.

The sad part about always leaving the door open for others is…no one has that door open for you. So when you go knocking…no one answers. When you reach out silently, when you leave clues that you need that extra hand, you are often overlooked. That is the kind of caring I receive. Should I care?

Outwardly no. Do I care? If it is important of course I do. My reaction might not be what others expect. It never is. People don’t understand how I think or how I feel. I often feel that I have always been less than everyone else in my life. I have always had to struggle longer and harder than others. That all the things I want in my life I do not have. When I look at those closest to me who have everything I want in life, they all shake their heads and say, “What is your problem?”

The sad thing is…a friend knows that isn’t the answer. Do you know my heart? Do you know my mind? Do you know what I think about at night? The long conversations I hold with myself?  I want to ask someone, “Have you ever flipped your life upside down?” ” Have you gone after one thing in life to realize everything else has slipped out of your hands?” ” Do you know what it is like to age and look around at your friends and realize you are jealous?” Jealous of all they have. And yet those friends have no idea you are jealous. Why? Because it is hidden beneath a faint smile and a lump in your throat.

My life isn’t planned. It never has been. It never will be. I live day to day. And day to day I wonder will I find happiness? Will the things I want in life come true? Will I find love? Will I have children? Will I finally love myself? Will I stand before all of the people I know with confidence in myself? A feeling of self-worth radiating from my being?

Never leaving. Never changing. Always settling…does not lead to happiness. Making things work just because of how you want to be perceived in life doesn’t bring happiness. That is a lesson I know. That is also a lesson that drives me forward. I am not perfect. Somedays I believe I might just end up by myself.

So when someone gives me news of others…should I care?

I choose not to. If I am close to that person I would hope they could tell me whatever news about themselves first. Why do I need to hear it from others?

Escaping from what bothers you is not the right thing to do. However, if listening to it hurts you and makes you sad. Then don’t listen. You have heard it once, time to move on.

So, I leave these words I have kept in my mind here.  Why should I care? Why do I need to feign interest in others? I don’t. Like it or not, it isn’t my problem how you feel.

When you read this and think there is something wrong with this girl. Or is there? Maybe you will question your own beliefs. Maybe you will reflect on those closest to you. Or the ones you believe to be the closest to you. Being a good friend, a true friend, is not an easy thing to do. It means being there through thick and thin. It means painting a smile on your face when sometimes you don’t want to. It means giving advice you know will hurt but at the same time you know needs to be said. And hoping that your own friends will give that same advice back to you. Will listen to your worries and hopes as you listen to theirs. That they will give you a hug if you need it. That no matter what you think you can tell them and they won’t judge you. They will understand you.

Very few friendships are 50/50. There is always one friend who gives more of themselves to others. The only bad thing about that is they are the ones who never get that same amount of love and affection from friends poured back on them.

I care about my friends. I love them dearly. But, I don’t need updates all the time. If they want to tell me they will. If they want to come and sit down for coffee or tea they will. And we will converse as the closest of friends always do. And they can look me in the eye and smile, “I understand you.” That one sentence…means a lot. Your heart, your mind, your belief…I understand. I’m here for you.

The words I say to others, just once in a blue moon it would be nice to hear back. To go and knock on that door only to realize it is already open. And my friend is sitting there asking, “Do you want coffee or tea? It has been a long time my friend…what have I missed? How have you been?”

{This post became full of rambling thoughts. It might not be easy to follow, but it flows from the heart. Sometimes we just have to express how we feel, even if others have no idea why or what is the matter. All is good. The mind and heart are now lighter.}

Update!

What the hell have I been up to?

Good question. Not  so great an answer awaits you.

I have a lot to catch up on and now it is almost time for bed so I figure during my desk -warming time I will update my blog. My laptop isn’t reading my pics which is pissing me off and that is also delaying me from posting.

One reflective point I felt is necessary to say: I am thankful for my co-teacher.

Others ask me, “Why doesn’t your co-teacher go with you?” or ” Why isn’t she helping you?” If I were illiterate in Korean or I did not know how to speak the language a little I might be upset. Yet, at the same time knowing myself I would have sucked it up and figured it out myself. Having another person help you out is wonderful, especially if you do not know the language. But after having gone to the bank the other day to open up an account by myself I am really thankful. Thankful for my co-teacher giving me the opportunity to go alone and use my knowledge to do a much more difficult task on my own. I do not know banking terminology at all. I walked in and said I wanted to open a bank account. The words is “계좌” I said, “좌계” and realized my mistake when the lady stared at me. As I realized I switched the word because I was a little nervous I fixed it and she understood me. I wrote  and drew pictures of what I wanted to do with my money. I declined a credit card, which I am thankful I did. I recognized the word for credit card in Korean but I wasn’t 100% sure I was right so I just said I don’t know and ended up with just an ATM card. I am fine with that. The whole experience taught me that no matter how broken my Korean is and how short my sentences are I can manage to do basic tasks on my own. Patience and persistence are key.

 

That being said, my co-teacher is coming with me to get a cell phone after payday. I asked if she would come as I do not want to get a bad price or plan. She agreed and I told her I would buy her a treat. Independence in a foreign country is a very refreshing feeling. Even if it is the smallest of victories.

Off to Gangneung

Today I met up with a few other English teachers who are placed in Gangneung.  I am about 25 minutes away by bus. So this morning I set out early to leave and I asked to make sure I got on the right bus even though I knew it was the right bus. I like to double check these things. A middle-aged man befriended me and talked to me a bit on the bus and then before I knew it, I was at my stop, luckily I saw Home plus out of the corner of my eye. I arrived around 9:30 a.m. and I wasn’t supposed to meet up with anyone until 11:45 , so I grabbed a coffee and enjoyed the wifi. I decided to take an aimless walk and found a historical place in the center of the city and then I went to Daiso (A cheap store similar to the dollar tree kind of), and then off to Home plus I went.

After eating lunch with everyone I remembered the directions from the cafe we went to early that I wanted to go to a bookstore. The cafe shop owner told me to go straight. So that’s what I did by myself and I walked and thought that maybe I had walked too far. So I asked an older gentleman where the nearest bookstore was and he pointed behind me. He turned his bicycle around and walked back with me and then I saw the sign with flashing lights in english “bookstore”. {Insert dumbass moment here.} I laughed and said thank you. I was looking for a vocabulary book but I couldn’t find one. The lady in the store at first avoided me and muttered something. I don’t think she wanted to help, so after looking around a little confused I asked her where the TOPIK books were. She led me to the right section and I was able to pick up a grammar book and a test book. I can now start studying and figure out when I will be ready to take the test. I am thinking maybe July or October.

After my purchase I headed back to homeplus and found the others. I left and realized I had just missed my bus, that comes every hour and a half in the evening. So I waited for a bit at a coffee shop and came out again when it was time to get on. I feel exhausted today. However, I managed to muster through it all. Carrying shit with me all day was kind of annoying. It is times like this I wish I had a car and at the same time I realize maybe I will lose weight just from walking. Hah~!

I suppose I should give an update about my life too in the process of today’s adventure. So, my apartment is cute. I live above the gym teacher and his family on the second floor apartment. My gas range stove isn’t hooked up yet, need to ask about that.  I have a washer in my apartment, however, it isn’t hooked up and I don’t see the hookup hardware. My shower I have figured out how to turn on the boiler and get in, however, I think I can’t run the water for the whole shower. So it has to be a rinse, soap up, rinse, and get the fuck out shower. I have had two cold showers in less than 6-7 minutes. Starts out nice and warm and suddenly its cold. A little much for the winter. I have a heated floor, but I barely turn it on. I don’t know how long it takes to warm up but it is too long for me. I heard it is expensive as well. So, I have been using the heat fan that my neighbor gave me. I have had a debate with myself for the past 3 days on whether to get  a heavy comforter or not. They are expensive and I am cheap. So the combination is not in my favor. So I have resorted to the tactic of layering, fuzzy socks, two pairs of pajama pants and two sweatshirts. I sleep in that too. Call me crazy but my mother used to keep the heat in our house very low it was always  cold. Her solution but on some layers. So, since winter will be ending soon, I will just suck it up and layer.

On another note, I am also the type of person who does not like to bother others. With that being said I have been needing to do laundry. But my washer isn’t hooked up. So today I just decided  that fuck it, I would wash my clothes by hand in cold water.  And the solution seems to have worked rather well. Half of the clothing is drying and I still need to do the other half once the other clothes have dried. I will get around to the washer later it really isn’t really a priority on my list.

I met my co-teacher and she seems very nice, she is two years older than me and it is her first year teaching too. When we met for the first time she told me her English wasn’t very good, so I told her in Korean that I can speak a little Korean. Well that made her sigh with relief and then we went to meet the principal. Who she told that I can speak Korean. I did mention that I only understand probably half of what she was saying. Needless to say the whole meeting was in Korean and I was a bit lost. I will have to ask about details later as my co-teacher left on Thursday to go to Incheon and will be back at some point before school starts. I report to work on Monday at 8:30 a.m. Not sure what I will be doing, but it should be interesting to say the least. So in my co-teacher’s absence the special education teacher took me out to dinner on Thursday night and I ended up eating Cow-head soup. (Basically all the meat from the cow’s head.) The soup was good and I decided not to question the types of meat I saw in the soup. Sometimes it is better not to know. I did identify a piece of tongue though.  We went to my neighbor’s house and had a beer and ate fried chicken. The gym teacher’s wife told me to treat her like an older sister. Which was very nice of her. I went with the gym teacher’s family to E-mart on Friday to get some supplies that I needed. And fast-forward back to today and I went on my adventure.

I have realized a bicycle might be a worthy investment. I don’t mind walking but I am lazy. I want to go to the beach but I don’t know if I would make it there and back walking. I think it was a 10 minute ride by car so that would translate into maybe a little under a 2 hour walk.  Living in a rural area makes me think of how nice owning a car is. Yet, at the same time I am surprised that even small towns like this have public transportation.

2013-03-02 13.18.42 ( A lovely cow head at the market in Gangneung. Never have I seen so many shops selling Cow Head Soup (소머리국밥) I’m thinking it may be a regional thing.

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