Currently in Seoul it is..

Atlanta Time

Friday, April 23, 2010

a breath of fresh air

A breif thundershower this afternoon helped clear up the air a little. I like the freshness of the air in Seoul after it rains. I try to breathe as much in as possible because I know that it is only a matter of time before it becomes stuffy again. I am still going through a record number of tissues and nursing a raw nose as I continue to manufacture copius amounts of mucus. I've come to the conculsion that there really is no such thing as fresh air in Seoul. With a population density of 70,000 people per square mile I don't know why I would expect the air to be clean.
It's Friday..I'm going to find something to do with fellow English teacher J. It should be a fun evening. She's really low-key. I keep thinking that I need to hang out with her more.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

2 months in

Ah..Spring! Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, the weather is getting warmer, and yellow sand is in the air (and my lungs.) I've had a pack-a-day smoker's cough, sore throat, and runny nose for about two weeks now. My sinuses are killing me, my head hurts, and I'm not sleeping very well. I think the first wave of homesickness has officially hit. I'm cranky and all I want to do is bitch about everything. I'm trying to keep to myself because it's not really anybody's fault that I'm in a foul mood..I would rather not make the mistake of going off on someone for something stupid.
Oh well..tomorrow is a long day. Evaluations are due, I need to get stuff for cooking & arts/crafts, I've got rehearsal, I need to find an Earth Day project for the kids, and..I can't remember what else right now. much snot can a person blow out their nose in a day?! This is ridiculous. I'm going to try and get some sleep now. Hopefully I will feel better when I wake up.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Time to Kill

The steam from my ramen noodles is fogging up my glasses as I sit here pouring over the EFL Phonics workbook unit 8. Two pages..two lousy pages are all that is left in unit 8. That ought to take them about 10 minutes to finish. Great..right? Not really, the class period is 35 minutes. I figure that it will take me about 5 minutes to get them in their seats, pass out the books, calm them down, and get them all onto the right page. Oh wait..add another minute or so for "teacher, tissue please," "teacher, eraser please," "teacher, what we doing," "teacher, pencil please," "teacher, lunch time?" "teacher, pencil sharpener please," "teacher, Annie speak Korean," "teacher, bathroom please," and other things that should have been taken care of before classtime. So we'll say about 7 minutes to start class and 10 minutes to do the workbook pages. Let's see..35 minus 17 equals 18. 18 minutes left until the next five minute break preceeding the next 35 minute block of classtime in which the same thing will happen again. Is it just me or does this happen to other people too?

I am sick of losing control of my classroom due to the fact that I am not able to keep them focused and/or busy for a 35 minute class. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that kindergarteners have a 12 minute attention span and the energy of a hummingbird on Red Bull. Or maybe it's because I am not prepared for them. You don't march into battle without a battle plan after all. I'm going to try and put together some activities at home to take in. I still haven't come up with much but I'll give it another go when I'm done blogging. This clock-watching stuff is for the birds.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

a place called home

It's 12:00 am here. I just got up to go to the bathroom and came back to my bed only to realize that I was about to climb in while still wearing my bathroom shoes. I can feel the homesickness coming on already. There are so many stupid nagging questions about this place that are starting to bug me. How am I really supposed to take out the trash? How do I mail a simple letter? Am I supposed to swipe my T-money card both when I get on and off the bus? How do I read this I buying dish soap or laundry detergent? What is morning care, does it work, where can I find some? Why do I have to scream like a mad woman to get my kids to pay attention? What am I doing wrong?
I keep thinking that I want to go home. I really want some things right ferret, my cat, my friends, my family, my car, my clothes, bacon & eggs, meals with forks, milkshakes, weekends on the couch, having everything in English, and blending in. I could get lost in a world of pleasant familiar things. It almost makes me forget how unpleasant things were getting before I left. The daily endless, exhausting job searches. Sitting online filling out application after application for jobs I didn't even want but knew I would need when the time came. Dragging myself through an hour of traffic in the mornings after sleepless nights day after day to get to a job I couldn't stand.
How easily I begin to forget that one evening in early January coming home from work, walking through the back door, and bursting into tears crying and praying to a God I haven't spoken to in a long time. Something had to change. That's the night EC called with the job offer. Now I am in Korea.
I may think that I am homesick and I might say that I am but in truth I am longing for an idea of home that wasn't there. So I can run if I have to but where am I running to? Back to the desperation? No..I don't think so. Instead of "I want to go home" maybe I should be saying "thank you."

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Learn to Fly

It's the little things that make me feel like I'm becoming more at home here. I realized this during my solo venture after work today. I went out to Insadong to meet a bilingual Korean guy and his non-English speaking friend for dinner/drinks. After work, I came home to chill for a few minutes then went back outside and caught the green 2233 bus to the subway station. Just the fact that I got on a bus and knew where I was going is a small miracle for me in my book. I swiped my new T-money key fob/cell phone charm thing to get through the gate and walked down to the train..just like a Korean would. After getting on the train I sat down and got out my ipod..just like a Korean would. And for a brief second I almost felt like I fit in. For the tiniest of moments I forgot all about being a foreigner and saw myself as just another person on the subway.
Dinner was interesting. I forget the name of what we ate but it's all stuff I've had before. There were so many questions throughout the course of the evening..mostly about me and how I'm adjusting to Korea. This was probably not a great idea but I decided not to do a finger stick test or administer an insulin bolus because I wasn't up for explaining diabetes tonight. It says a lot about a disease when it becomes more daunting to educate people about it than to manage it. The concept of health/wellness/illness is on such a different plane here that I can't even engage it..trying to do so has only frustrated me. I imagine that diabetes is a difficult concept though in any language/ do you tell people "yes I have a serious disease" and "no, I'm not sick" at the same time?
We walked around a little after we ate then decided to call it a night. I waved goodbye while descending the stairs of exit 15, bought some 1,000 KRW earrings in the station, and headed for home..the JHP.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I'm hungry

I guess I'm still in stage 1 of the 12 month expat. I still feel very much in a foreign place even though I can find my way around the neighborhood. I like Korea. Lots of things are still new to me here but I haven't been taking near as many pictures as I was during the first two weeks. I miss home but I'm not homesick. My job is also much more enjoyable here. There is no traffic to sit in here; I walk almost everywhere. The food is still interesting and new as well.

Oh yeah..the food
I'm not sure if I can explain it very well but I've been having excessive hunger in the evenings. My blood sugar was 298 this morning! I had a full serving of rice & curry for dinner last night along with a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, a bowl of ramen and countless creme filled cookies. I just keep on eating with no control. Tonight I've had rice & curry, a pbj sandwich, and a few cookies. I am going to check my blood sugar before bed and make sure my levels are under control. I really want to eat more right now but I've forced myself to stop. Tomorrow morning is kiwi yogurt for's kinda yummy.
I'm trying to focus on something other than eating. I need to study for my Korean lesson tomorrow. If only I could convince myself that there are no more cookies..

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Snow day in Seoul

Here are some pictures of the neighborhood covered in snow!