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so i'm pretty bored here at work today....

it's thursday and i haven't had any classes all week....nor have i been told if we're going to have classes. i kinda doubt it....

why i have to be here all this week and all next week is a complete mystery to me. nothing i'm doing here at school can't be done at home.

i think you're supposed to be preparing for the new school year but the preparations i have to make as the foreign english teacher can be done at home. i don't have to sit at this desk for 8 hours a day being subjected to people opening windows to the winter air and smoking in the same room as me!

seriously, smokers out there- it's really rude to pollute the air that non-smokers have to breathe. you have to be at least 30 feet away from someone outdoors in order for your smoke to not bother a non-smoker...but if there's a breeze, forget about it!

anyway, something happened sunday night that i wasn't prepared to write about til now. our next door neighbors had a horrible fight and i really wanted to call the police. first there was yelling and stomping around but jens and i didn't pay much attention to it because we hear that all the time in our building. korean people are very loud people.

well right as we were getting into bed we heard this EXTREMELY LOUD noise! for a split second i thought something had been dropped from above onto the balcony right outside our window (or bed is right below this window is it was really loud and really freaked me out). but a second later there was another noise and another! i thought someone was busting wine bottles on someone's door!

i slide open the window to yell at whoever it was and jens went to the door to look out. when he opened the door it was even louder. there was the sound of broken glass after each noise. i think the noise happened about 4-5 times but it seemed like an eternity when it was happening because we couldn't figure out what it was and it was a really scary sound. we almost thought it was a gun at one point! jens said when he opened the door he could feel the reverberations after each noise.

but no one was to be seen on our floor so we thought maybe it was happening above us. i wanted to call the police but jens discouraged me. people don't call the police here like we do in the states. plus i didn't know if they'd understand english or what. i thought- better to let a korean person call the police and i thought for sure someone would after an incident like that!! i heard people coming out in the walkway, walking around, some talking, etc. then i heard what sounded like a man on the phone. i thought, ok someone's calling the police.

then a little while later i hear yelling, the door opening and shutting and then the sound of the door handle jiggling. that's when we realized it was just next door! the woman had locked the man outside. he started beating on the door. there was yelling from both sides. and THEN the man started RIPPING the metal bars off the window!!! the fact that these metal bars can just be ripped off with bare hands is not very encouraging!

i said jens i'm calling my co-teacher RIGHT NOW! and i got about halfway through the number before he talked me out of it. he said your co-t won't want to call the police and the police won't want to come out because no one gets involved in domestc affairs here. and i'm like well who the heck cares what they do and do not do here?! this man has obviously gotten out of control, he's ripping metal bars off a window and the woman inside is screaming and crying! so jens went and opened the door and looked at the man (who was probably about a foot away) and he said that the korean guy just got really embarassed and stopped for a minute.

i was sick to my stomach and felt so stuck. i thought if I were her i'd want someone to call the police for me!! and i was livid that jens was acting like this was no big deal!  but then he said- she let him back in and there's not very much noise now so it sounds like they've calmed down. so i listened through the wall and didn't hear much so i tried to calm down myself and go to bed. every little noise i heard made my heart jump because i was worried it was starting again so i put ear plugs in, read a little and went to sleep.

but overall i'm not ok with what happened. as a foreigner i didn't know what i should and should not do! i didn't know if i could actually say something to the crazy man or if he would turn on me. i didn't know if anyone at the police station would understand me or make me feel stupid for calling. i just didn't know what to do. and i kept thinking, surely a korean person will call the police. this is the worst fight i've ever witnessed! but no police ever showed up!

i thought about telling my co-t the next day but i didn't feel like she'd really give me any good advice. from what i've seen and what jens has read korean people hate to get into other people's business. they don't want to shame them. but from my point of view that is just ridiculous! it's ridiculous that saving face is more important than safety!

so i emailed our contact person at the jeollanamdo office of educ. and asked her what we as foreigners should do in this situation. she said she's been in a few situations like that too and has tried to do something and is never backed up. the korean people always just act like they shouldn't get involved. and the people that are actually being victimized in the conflict act really embarrassed that anyone is paying any attention to them!

what the heck korea? what the HECK?

anyway, she did say that if i ever feel like I'M in danger or that the situation is crazy enough that i should just call the police (at 112) and that they would have a translator there. or that if anything they have some kind of tracking device on the phone and they can at least come to where the phone call was made. so that's a little relieving.

but that was quite the thing to go through the night before i had to go back to school! when i left for school the next day the metal bars and window screen were in the hallway. but when i came home from school someone had cleaned it up. i kept hoping i would see the guy from that apt. coming out or something so i could give him a dirty look! lol

another thing our contact person said you could do is just tell out the window or door- choyeong! (quiet!) and that the people might get embarrassed and calm down. it's as if they like the drama of a big fight but if anyone actually notices them they quiet down. so weird!

back to work!

so today is the first day of graduation week for me. it's the week we officially end the school year. don't ask me why. i've asked korean people and they themselves have no idea! lol

graduation week is also longer than one week. it's either a week and a half or two weeks. i don't know yet lol

i also don't know whether or not i'm going to have classes yet.

i got here early this morning for the 8:40am meeting and i was waiting around in the 5th grade staff room with some other teachers and we weren't leaving and we weren't leaving so i asked my co-t if we had a meeting and she said i think so! so i waited longer and at almost 9am she said oh we're going to have the meeting later. so i was like ok...and then a second later she said oh! we have to go now! and everyone flew out of the room before i even stood up lol we were all late to the meeting...i have no idea why....lol

i sat through the meeting in korean not having any idea what they were talking about. when the meeting was over my co-t started shuffling papers and stuff and didn't tell me what i needed to do so i left and went back to my desk lol

everyone came back at first, my co-t came back later. i asked her about some mail i had gotten (turns out we've been confused about our gas bill and haven't paid it since aug. lol they don't turn your stuff off in korea though so that's good lol) and then everyone left at one point leaving me totally alone...not telling me anything lol. i was here for about an hour alone and then they all came back and ate rice cakes! i had some and sat back at my desk.

a little while later i asked my co-t if she wanted my plane tickets in order for city hall to reimburse me and she just said oh how about in the afternoon.

she hasn't told me if we have classes this week and i don't bother asking because she herself probably doesn't know.

SO WEIRD! i will never get used to the way they do things in korea lol i just won't.

but i've got to be positive about it and laugh it off or else i'll turn into a bitter old expat that no one wants to hang out with lol

anyway, i'm just going to sit at my desk and try to find things to do until someone tells me to do something. i'm pretty bored already....i've done email, i've done facebook and now i'm listening to oprah and friends radio but i don't know what to do while listening to it! that's why i'm updating this but it's a little hard to do both things at once.

i wish i had brought my knitting. that's right i've started knitting!!!! i got a book, yarn and needles for xmas and tried it in dec. then i got stuck and stopped for a looong time and didn't start again til this past weekend. but i got it and i'm knitting! i don't know how to do a few things and was going to wait for one of my knitting friends here to show me but i just wanted to go ahead and jump right in and start knitting. i'm trying to make jens a scarf and i'm gonna have to ask a friend how to end it (and how to get rid of that piece of string hanging off at the beginning lol) but other than that it's going pretty well!

so i think i'll bring my knitting tomorrow so i'll have something to do.

also, i'm thinking of starting a new blog on blogspot because i like it more. i'll definitely let everyone know the new address if i get one. ok i'm gonna go focus on this radio show.

have a great day!
i originally wrote this as a note on facebook but am re-posting it here:

i'm reading this book i got in the states:
how to be an effective teacher: the first days of school by harry k. wong and rosemary t. wong

it's great! it has sooo much good advice! it's also a little overwhelming though because there are so many things you need to do in order to be an effective teacher.

the reason i'm reading it is because i've spent two years teaching in mokpo and being completely stressed out and depressed about how my classes always end up getting utterly out of hand by the end of each semester. i've tried a lot of things but nothing ever really seemed to work. i was just blindly searching for solutions and randomly trying things that were ineffective. my co-teachers were never of much help either.

they say in the states that your first year of teaching is always the hardest and that you really get the hang of it at the start of the second year. i've wondered why it's taken me two years to begin to figure things out but i realized it's because i'm in a foreign country. it takes twice as long because not only are you figuring out how to teach but you're also figuring out how to cope in this foreign culture. in the states everyone would be speaking my language, explaining everything to me and i would understand how things worked. but in korea a lot of things go unsaid because i don't speak korean and they don't speak english. so it takes longer to figure things out.

but i'm changing schools at the end of april and i'm going to be teaching high school. i want a fresh start so i got this book to help me figure out how to do things effectively right from the beginning. i have to adjust some of the advice to fit my situation here in korea but i'm hoping that this stuff works with korean students just as it would american students.

i'm finding out about stuff that i never knew would make that big of a difference. they say you should show that you are in control right from the beginning by having your room ready (rules, procedures, assignments, etc. posted), greet students at the door as they come in, tell them where to sit, and have an assignment for them to do as soon as they come in the first day! like have them define a word and write a sentence using that word in their notebooks or something like that. show them that they're going to work in this classroom and not goof off. while they do the assignment, take roll (which i don't know if i'll be needing to do that or not) but it's a good time to do it so you don't waste class time calling out names.

it also says you should only post 5 rules at a time (easy to remember). so you pick the 5 most important rules to you that you think the students will need to be aware of and post those. other rules will also need to be followed but the ones that aren't posted are ones that you think the students should really already know or they're so specific that you don't want to post them- you just want to tell them as the situation arises. you can also replace old rules with new ones as they learn the old ones and need new ones.

i haven't gotten into the discipline procedures for breaking rules yet but i've looked over it a bit and i'm afraid they're not going to be conducive to my situation in korea. it gives the kids lots of warnings: writing their names on the board and giving checks. i have no idea how i'm going to know their names first of all. i've done name signs in the past and it just takes forever to set up each day. the actual discipline includes a lot of "detention time" so like come in 10 mins. at lunch or 30 mins. after school and i really don't think i'll be able to enforce that. i have no idea where the kids are when they're not in my class and i won't be able to find them at lunch, etc. if anything i could just keep them after their own english class, which will make them late for their next class.

i think alot of the discipline will really have to be backed up by my co-teachers. i'll have a different one for each class and each one will probably have his or her own idea of how we should discipline which will be quite a challenge!

i just don't want to let happen what has happened every semester for the past two years- i either try to follow the lead of the co-teacher and she does nothing or i try to take the lead myself and i'm not backed up by the co-teacher: both resulting in a chaotic class. i've realized you really need to be a team with your co-t and be on the same page as far as rules, procedures and discipline.

when i get to my new school i'm going to ask them if they have specific rules they tell the kids and what the discipline procedures are. from what i've seen korean teachers don't have a set system and they kind of just do whatever they can think up at the time of the problem. if this is the case at my new school i want to explain what i'd like to do in my classroom and hopefully the teachers will jump on board.

i'm pretty nervous about this. i've been told that high school is easy. the kids are more afraid of getting in trouble so they stay in line for the most part. i've also heard the teaching is easy. you can pretty much do lecture style with power point, etc. but i've never been to any of the high school classes so i don't know what the atmosphere is really like. do the kids like power point presentations or would they rather have more active activities? sometimes i have this dream of being this amazing teacher that inspires her students to learn and they love english and have tons of fun! lol a lofty dream i know.

anyway, we'll see what happens!

i also posted this:

i'm loving oprah's best life series and soul series of webcasts on her website. they've been so informative and inspiring. i recommend them to everyone!

here's a link to the best life series:

you can watch the videos or just listen in. (be sure to click watch now or listen now).

the soul series has even more videos to watch/listen to. she's been doing that since the beginning of 2007 and i had no idea! i watched one with eckhart tolle and one with rev. ed bacon today and loved both of them. you can watch all of those here:

http://www.oprah.com/oafhost/oss (this is on the oprah and friends page of the website)

if you go down to where it says past shows you can click browse the archives and watch/listen to any and all of them that you want. it's awesome! if you click on any video it shows one commercial and then begins. to the right you can choose a guest if you want to go straight to a certain person's interview with oprah.

this soul series is actually part of oprah's radio show called oprah and friends. on the oprah and friends page you can look to the left and see people's names there and click on them to see their portions of the radio show. so for example oprah's best friend gayle has done many of her own shows.

anyway, i just love what i've seen so far and wanted to share it! :o) pass it along!


hello everyone! i'm a bit happier this morning than i have been since we've been home.

i've been watching oprah's best life series of videos on her website and reading her magazine and it's all very inspiring and uplifting. oprah is one of my heroes! :o)

yesterday jens and i went to amanda and ian's to have lunch and then we took eoghan and the dogs to this park across the bridge. don't remember the name of the area. it was GREAT though! it was a HUGE park with only two other people in it and they also had two little dogs with them that were sooo adorable. the 4 dogs played together for a long time. sadie and bella absolutely LOVED running around off their leashes! so cute! :o) i defintely want to go out there again sometime.

last night for dinner i made chickpea curry. it was pretty good. i wish i could make it like they do at tandoor in arlington though :o/

jens had to go back to work today (yeah it's friday...no it doesn't make sense....it's korea). so he's sitting up there doing nothing until they say he can come home. he just told me that a girl from his school one the english speech contest last semester and got to go to new zealand (i was one of the judges for this contest but i judged middle and high school kids). anyway, the girl got jens a giant chocolate caramel bar! woohoo! :o)

while jens is at work today i'm just going to relax a little and then clean house a bit. things are pretty well organized but i haven't dusted or cleaned the microwave in a while. i wish i had a box so i could finally take the xmas tree and decor down but we keep forgetting to get one! lol

don't know what our plans are for the rest of the month. i start work monday and i don't know what that will entail. i may have a meeting and may or may not have classes.

pretty much all our friends except amanda and ian are out of the country on vacation right now. so it's gonna be pretty quiet. i think we're having amanda and ian over for dinner sometime soon- this weekend or next week.

oh i wanted to say that jens did yoga with me the other day! i've been trying to get him to do it with me for the 6 years we've been together and he finally agreed :oD [It was actually my idea! - Jens] i just did a sun salutations routine with him and he liked it! he said he wants to do it on a regular basis for the whole year! i'm excited because i've never been able to motivate myself to do it on my own so having jens do it with me will hopefully motivate me to do it on a regular basis now. yay!

i've been pretty irritable and depressed lately being back in korea and all. i wasn't looking forward to dealing with everything that comes along with living and working here. i'm slooooowly becoming more positive about it but it's going to take some work. i know i've got to live here for AT LEAST another year so ive got to find a way to handle it and actually have a good time while i'm here. i think once everyone is back from vacation and we've got a bunch of social stuff planned that will help. and i just need to think about the fact that i only have to teach at my current school for about 2.5 more months and then i'll get to move into a big apt. and start at a new job. i hope a fresh start will uplift me enough to get through the rest of the year positively.

then i'll just have to figure out how to get through a 4th year! lol

this year is about saving money, jens selling his first novel and writing two more. he wants to stay a 4th year in order to get certified online to be a firefighter! that's right- jens wants to be a firefighter when we move back home! and yes- you can study paramedics and fire academy online and then you just have to go in person to take the tests. [Well, more than that - there's rotations and so forth as well. It's not exactly speedy, but speedier. - Jens] so it makes sense for us to stay here a fourth year and work while jens is getting all that certification stuff out of the way and then move back when he can just take the test and be a firefighter.

only thing is we were kind of thinking about doing a year in europe because it'll be easier and cheaper to see the continent while living there than to take several short trips from the u.s. to see diff. euro. countries at different times. BUT! jens doesn't want to do firefighter certification from a euro. country because the jobs aren't as easy and therefore he wouldn't have as much free time to do it. so it might mean that we do 2 more years here and THEN a year in europe. but at this point i'm ready to move back to the states asap so i'm leaning more towards 2 years in korea, go home, jens = firefighter and we take many short trips to europe over time. i'm ready to be settled down in texas and have a house and travel on holidays. which will be easier to do as a firefighter than alot of other jobs. you can get quite a bit of time off being a firefighter.

as for me i either want to start having kids when we get back home and be a stay at home mom and/or work in the eco-friendly/wellness realm. it's a broad realm i know. but that's what i'm interested in and i want to look into jobs related to that. possibly something with/related to central market or whole foods, yoga, nutrition, ayurveda, organic farming. there are loads of possiblities!

alright i'm gonna go now! have a great week! live*love*laugh!

lazy days

a friend of mine blogs really often and it's inspired me to do the same. so here ya go! another entry!

being back in korea the past few days has been pretty nice. we've gotten everything unpacked and now all we have to do is take down our christmas decorations lol we left for texas in the middle of dec. so we have yet to do that. i just need to get a box to put all the stuff in.

other than unpacking we've mostly just been hanging out at the apt. - eating, watching tv, surfing the net, reading, playing with the puppy, doing laundry, etc.

we had dinner at lisa and barry's the other night and that was really nice :o) they made chicken and broccoli alfredo- yum! they'll be going to bali soon so we gave them lost of info about that.

today we finally went for a walk. we had been wanting to go on one the past couple days because the weather was actually pretty nice. almost too warm for my feather down coat i got this xmas. the thing is we wouldn't think about going out until the sun was almost down lol so we resolved today to go before 4pm. unfortunately it was rainy most of the day but we went out anyway! sadie LOVED it! we could barely hold on to the leash! lol on the way back home we stopped at "kwil-tuh shyawp" to buy some yarn because jens wants me to make him a scarf. i just got a knitting for dummies book for xmas and i found out two of my friends know how to knit here so i'm gonna give it a try! :o) sadie's feet and most of her underside got muddy on the walk (remember it rained?) so we had to give her a bath when we got home. after that she ran around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get dry and it was hilarious! lol

oh guess what- there are no longer any episodes of oprah or dr. phil on youtube! their companies somehow found out the name they were posted under (ows and drph) and disabled all the videos!!! i'm so upset :o( i watched project runway on there today for the first time though and it was pretty good so it may be my new youtube'd show to watch ;o)

jens is playing video games now and in a little while we're gonna go out for samgyeopsal! that's pork with 3 layers of fat that you grill at your table. i like the thin kind- it's reeeeally thinly sliced so the fat is barely noticable and i LOVE IT! can't wait!!!

we haven't been out since we've been back. we've been cooking. so far we've made a lentil dish that didn't turn out too well (first time to make lentils) and our black bean soup (which we've made before). also jens made bread and i made whole wheat cranberry pecan scones (so good! if i do say so myself and jens's bread was awesome as usual! we rock! ;o)

later this week we have a doggy play date/lunch with the heaslips (you know, the ones with the baby ;o) so that'll be fun. they said they found a park that would be good to let our dogs run around in.

then friday jens has to go to work- maybe just half a day. and monday we both go back for stupid graduation week- ugh it makes no sense and i hate it! sorry it's true! lol i may or may not have any classes to teach but i'll have to go to school for 2 weeks.

then we're off for about another week and then it's the start of the new school year.

we'll probably continue to just take it easy. i'll try to finish that scarf...and i may paint. i have all the materials....

i'm not looking forward to teaching again. i'm sick of elementary school and i'll have to do it for 2 months before i change to high school. plus i know my school didn't give me a positive renew so i'm a little ticked at them. i don't realy want to interact with them, ya know?

hopefully i'll like high school better and i'll like the teachers and the students.

i'm a little worried because this online tutoring thing was started in jeollanamdo and they're making it mandatory for 200 out of 300 teachers in the province and i REEEALLY don't want to do it. it's for elem. kids in rural areas and the program sounds completely ridiculous. not only do i not want to deal with elem. kids anymore but i don't want to deal with the actually online program...it sounds completely ineffective :oP i hope i'm not picked to do it. the only good thing about it is the money- 40,000won for 40 mins. twice a week.

anyway, so things are going alright right now since i'm not working but we'll see how things go when i have to return to school lol

We're back in Korea!

and what a journey it was getting here!!!

first of all i'll give you a brief summary of what we did in texas:

saw tons of family and friends
had christmas with family and friends
went to the annual rushing's xmas party and performed in the talent show
went to a few other xmas parties
went to a new year's rock band party at alex and hope's
went to jens's grandparents' ranch out in ringgold, tx twice with friends
went to ft. worth and dallas
ate lots of good food
went to the movies twice
went to a cooking class at central market- that was awesome!
jens and his old band had a reunion show at a coffee shop
went shopping
ate as many blueberries as we could!
enjoyed the mostly 70 degree F weather!
played with dogs of all sizes
went on lots of walks
bought lots of english books

then the night before we were supposed to leave for korea jens went to get our passports together and his was nowhere to be found! we looked all over and i kept saying that the last time i saw it was in the night stand drawer. then i remembered- jens's sister, jill, had stuff in that night stand too and she had moved to colorado a couple weeks before! i thought, she probably grabbed it by accident! so we called her and sure enough she had it....it colorado! we scrambled to figure out what to do. after calling different airlines, fedex, etc. we found out since 9/11 you can't send cargo on a plane unless you're on it too (so jill couldn't send the passport on a plane to san francisco where we had s stopover). also fedex and ups were closed. so the only option was for jill to fly to san fran and meet us at the airport for our stopover. we got it all scheduled just right in order for us to meet her there.

but then! it iced for the first time since we'd been home and our flight to san fran was canceled! they put us on a later flight that day but it meant we would miss the only flight from san fran to korea that day! we talked to korean air and they said we could leave the next day for korea. this was a little nerve wracking because before i left for korea my co-t made me sign this paper that said if i wasn't back in korea on this specific day i would have to pay 10% of my salary! so i emailed her and told her the situation and she got back to me a few hours later and said she would need proof from the airline that the flight was canceled. we asked for it that the airline employee said she had never heard of that but gave us a phone number my co-t could call to confirm the cancelation. i hope that the the newspaper we grabbed that morning talking about the ice and canceled flights will be sufficient proof!

so we flew to san fran, met up with jill, switched passports and then spent the evening exploring the city. it was fun! we rode trolley carts, saw alcatraz and the golden gate bridge, went to union square and the wharf, ate some amazing crab chowder, went through chinatown and little italy, visited a famous bookstore called city lights and ate pear gelato- yum! that night we stayed in a cool hostel called fort mason. unfortunately i didn't sleep well at all but we got up on time to get to the airport and catch our flight to korea!

the flight was alright. since we left around 1pm or so i didn't really need to sleep on the plane. when we got to korea we took a bus to the train station (upon which i slept) and then i slept all the way to mokpo on the train. we got home about 1am and i was in bed by 2am. i slept til 8am so that was good. it was a good headstart to getting over jet lag.

overall i'm kind of glad jill accidentally took jens's passport and that our first flight was rescheduled because that meant we got to spend the night in san fran, which is a city i've always wanted to see and our trip to korea was broken up a bit so it didn't seem so long.

san fran was awesome! i kept saying i wanted to live there but texas will always be my home so i'll probably just settle for visits :o)

since we've been back we've just unpacked, gotten some groceries, gotten the dog and the scooter, made bread, a lentil dish and whole wheat cranberry pecan scones, and watched tv :o) it's been nice to be in our own place again with our puppy. she's so sweet! her hair's all fluffy now! we'll probably have to get her groomed fairly soon. she's loving all the american dog toys we've brought her- especially the wham a ham! lol it's a frisbee type thing with a pig's face on it.

we've got a few days til graduation week so that's nice. i'm really not excited about going back to work :oP i wish i was starting at my new school a the beginning of march (the beginning of the school year) as opposed to the end of april. it's just gonna be awkward to come into a new school in the middle of a semester. oh well!

anyway, here's to another year in korea! wish us luck!

What I love about Texas!

...a lot of these things apply to the U.S. in general...

1. carpet
2. gloriously cushy beds
3. houses
4. yards
5. big friendly dogs that aren't chained up
6. gas is $1.45 right now (i know that's temporary but it's something i'm loving for the time being)
7. it will be around 60 degrees on christmas!
8. the parks mall
9. the endless variety of material goods
10. pretty much everyone speaks english
11. i can drive my car
12. you can find anything for cheap (wal-mart!)
13. christmas decor and music being everywhere
14. not having to turn the hot water heater on when i want hot water
15. big bathtubs
16. comfy couches and chairs
17. sooooo many english channels on tv! lol
18. sooooo many english books!
19. people going out of their way to be extra nice and friendly. so far i've been called hun and sweetheart by total strangers.
20. lambic framboise (raspberry beer! delish!)
21. tandoor indian restaurant
22. REAL tex-mex food!!!
23. big ovens and stoves
24. big dishwashers
25. clothes dryers!!! omg best invention ever!
26. suburban neighborhoods
27. the area kevin lives in in ft. worth- love your house, man! i want to live there! lol
28. the dallas museum of art
29. whole foods
30. central market
31. austin
33. the bass hall
34. of course seeing all my family and friends
35. the general feeling of content belonging :o)

The main things I don't like:
1. no public transportation in arlington
2. people driving HUMONGOUS vehicles
3. no recycling in public establishments and barely any in people's homes
4. people don't walk much because things are far apart
5. no ondol :o( (radiant floor heating)
6. americans who have never been out of the country taking everything for granted and not truly appreciating what they have / being ignorant of other cultures.

But the good far outweighs the bad and some of the bad things may take a turn for the better in the coming years (see first 4 items).

Overall I'm SO HAPPY to be home...makes me think I may only do one more year in Korea and that's it.



we flew out saturday morning in korea around 10am i think. the flight wasn't bad. they've upgraded the tv screens that are in the back of all the seats so they're bigger and they have WAY more options! something like 50 movies, some tv shows, tons of music, a skymap and even google earth capabilities and a skyshop which i didn't look at. anyway, there was so much on there i didn't even have to read! lol i like reading but not so much on the plane for some reason. i had a window seat so i got to see seoul taking off and dallas before landing! pretty cool! i slept a little but not much because i wasn't that tired. we arrived in texas around 10pm korea time and 6am texas time!

jens's parents greeted us as we came out and my parents showed up about a minute later. it was great to see them! we came back to the rushings' house and jill made everyone homemade waffles, ham and fruit. it was so WONDERFUL!!!!

after breakfast jens and i went on a long walk over to ben and vivienne's house (ben was jens's best man and they've known each other almost their WHOLE lives!) it was great to see them, their house and their new puppy! they have a little yorky and he is so freaking adorable!!!!

after that we walked to kerry's house. another one of jens's old friends and i was dead on my feet when we got there. i was soooo jetlagged. at that point it was probably the wee hours of the morning korea time. so we just came in, said hello, and asked him to drive us home lol

we took a nap, got up and had homemade pizza for dinner- so good!!!

yesterday- our second day- we got up at a normal hour and had glorious steel cut oats with raisins, cinnamon and applesauce for breakfast! then jens and i went our separate ways for the day. he hung out with kerry and his cousin cindi and i went to my parents house.

i took a little tour of the house just to see it again, ya know? my mom had changed up the dining room a bit which was cool. and i got to see my brother there too! then i went out and visited my grammie (mom's mom who lives in a little apt. attached to the garage). and it was nice hanging out with her. it's always interesting because she likes talking about the olden days :o)

then i got to drive my car for the first time in a year!!! it was great! i love the freedom :o) i drove down cooper which is the main strip of our town. it's got EVERYTHING on it! i passed the super walmart which they've repainted brown... :oP kind of ugly. i passed the mall and went alll the way down to whole foods- my mecca! i love it! i want to live there! i spent about 4-5 hours there looking at everything. it was so wonderful! i had their salad bar for lunch and it was great! i took a picture of course! ;o) i'm amazed at the variety of goods you can get there! (and the u.s. in general). it's truly amazing!

i finally left there around 4:30pm and went by panera bread to pick up a gift card for my grandaddy for xmas (he LOVES that place!) and i headed back to jens's parents' house. we wrapped some presents and had veggie fritatta for dinner- DELICIOUS!

jens and his good friend joel wrote and practiced a christmas song they're going to play during the talent show at the annual rushings' christmas party which we're having today!

we got up today and had another big bowl of steel cut oats each and then started cleaning and cooking, etc.

we're making a kransekage! which is a traditional danish cookie-type cake. it's soooo good!

other than that i might head over to the mall today. i wanna see it while it's all decked out in it's christmas glory! and i may pick up a couple things. it'll be hard to choose though! SO MANY THINGS TO BUY!

alright joel and katie just arrived to practice music and hang out so i must go!

to all my friends in korea- i miss you! but i'm loving texas right now! hopefully it won't be too hard for me to come back! ;o)


40 minutes

til i get out of work, go home, get a taxi, go to the train station and hop a train to SEOUL! yaaaaaaaaaay! we're staying one night. we get up really early tomorrow morning and take a bus to the airport!!!! i don't know what time our first leaves...sometime tomorrow morning.

but we arrive in TEXAS around 7:05am on sat. so we'll arrive BEFORE we left! we'll either be coming from the future or traveling to the future? i'm not sure which...whatever the case it's pretty awesome!

first things first we'll see our family and sit down to a nice texan breakfast :oD can't wait!!!!!

i'm hoping i can stay up all day and then go to bed at 9pm at the earliest so i can get a head start on adjusting to the time difference. i'm gonna set my watch to texas time as soon as we get on the plane so i'm not as confused.

after that first meal i'm not sure what we'll do! there are so many things i'll want to do! see my parents' house, their dog, my grammie, my old room, maybe go ahead and see some friends that first day...i dunno! and pretty soon i'll wanna go to the mall to see it in all it's christmas glory! ah the parks, a staple of my upbringing. i'll HAVE to get a cinnabon! but i'll also need to pick up some last minute gifts. either from there or other stores. i really hope i'm awake enough to get my last bit of shopping done before christmas! lol

then the christmas parties start! so many! and so many people! and most likely- so much food! i hope my stomach can hold out! it's been on a strict diet of rice and kimchi for the past year lol i'll just have to be careful...lol

it's gonna be quite the whirlwind christmas! i'll be adjusting to the time change and culture shock and seeing so many people i haven't seen in a year. craziness! if i zone out a few times, you'll know why. i'm just overwhelmed lol

can't wait to see you all in TEXAS! it won't be long now!

merry christmas!

8 days!!!

that's 8 days until i'm HOME! i'm SO excited! i can't wait!

so far jens hasn't had to have that meeting with his principal so...we still don't know what it's about lol hopefully she will either forget about the meeting or if they have it it'll be no big deal and we can still go home as planned.

what's been going on with us? let's see.....

last weekend it snowed A LOT! i went to a birthday party which was really fun and then i pretty much just relaxed the rest of the weekend. it was much needed!

this past week has seemed to go by at a snail's pace lol i think it's just because i'm getting more and more impatient with all the annoying things that happen at my school and in korea in general. it takes everything i've got not to whack my co-teacher up-side the head during most classes. i won't go into it now but she has developed an unbearably frustrating way of teaching/helping me teach. but TGIF! i'm done with classes for the day...at least i'm most likely done with classes for the day. i'm supposed to have a teachers' class on fridays but we haven't had it in weeks. i usually just practice dialogs and phrases and learn a song in english with whatever teachers want to come. it's easy but i of course have no problem sitting at my desk with my personal heater instead :o)

we have a busy weekend lined up! first jens has to have a meeting with the owner of laura's cafe because we're supposed to have the christmas open mic there tomorrow night. we don't know why he wants to meet and we're hoping he doesn't want to cancel or something! :o( then it's ian's birthday dinner! sat. we've got to do some stuff around the house and then our friends abby and jason are having a christmas open house. after that we'll go to laura's (hopefully) and set up for the open mic which starts at 8pm. all the performers are going to play xmas songs and we've printed out lyrics for caroling :o) should be a good time! then sunday our friends virginia and ty are having an apt. sale because they're moving to the UAE soon. we're gonna try to show up early and get lots of good stuff like books, food and an exercise ball! woohoo! :o) that night jens, sadie and i are going to open our christmas presents :o) i know it's really early but we wanted to do our gifts before we left and we're going to be really busy next week.

at some point we want to go see our friends emanual and maria in the hospital because they just welcomed a new baby girl into their lives!  can't wait to see her :o)

next week will be our last week before vacation! yay! a bunch of us are going to see the nutcracker ballet on wed. night so that'll be really nice. i love seeing that at christmas time and it's been a few years.

then we're just gonna pack, PACK, PACK! i'm hoping we don't have to bring a TON of stuff with us. although, i'm not as worried about that as i am about how much we'll be bringing BACK! lol i told myself i didn't want to bring as much back this time and we did last year. last year it was our first time home and so we were really missing A LOT of stuff. but this year we're older and wiser...and we have a lot of stuff lol so we don't really need to bring back that much. but i think once i'm in the states and i see all the goodies i won't be able to resisit! lol the U.S. just has trillions of more things than korea does. i just love the variety! even candians say the U.S. has way more stuff than they do. so i think we have more stuff than any other country in the world! makes sense i guess but i never knew it first hand until i lived in korea.

i also love how the U.S. has organized it's merchandise to make it really easy to find. like wal-mart for example- it's an everything store so you can get EVERYTHING THERE! you need any kind of craft? go to hobby lobby! if they don't have what you need then you must need something really weird lol how about hardware? go to home depot!

whereas here it's like- oh you need whipping cream? look in the juice section. you need yarn? go to this random quilting place in this back alley....ugh....

and the stuff in the stores here is much more expensive than online. i think most korean people buy their stuff online. for example, all the baby stuff you can find in actual stores is OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive! about $50 for a sweater! for a BABY! and every single item at every store is like that! and i'm like where to korean people get their baby stuff? online my friend. online! why they wouldn't carry any affordable stuff in actual stores in beyond me.

anyway, don't want to turn this entry into a rant about what i dislike about korea. maybe i should post little things here and there that i dislike. just to get it off my chest and not have it all build up lol

in conclusion, i'm definitely ready for 40 days at home!  but  ugh i'm not looking forward to the flight! it's so long and it's gonna be so uncomfortable. our schools should pay for us to fly business class lol at least we won't have the dog with us though. we found two different people to watch her while we're gone do that's good.  we'll be arriving on the 20th in the morning so we'll have the whole first day to see our immediately families, relax, and adjust to being in texas again. i just hope i don't fall asleep as soon as i get there and totally screw up my sleep schedule. it's gonna be hard but i'll try to stay awake and go to bed at a normal hour that night.

ok i'm gonna go now! 3 hours til the weekend! and one week til vacation! see y'all soon! happy holidays!