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Monday, May 2, 2011

2 Months... I refuse to say goodbye!!!!

Due to rain, our Easter egg hunt was a little delayed. What a process... these are real eggs hollowed out, painted white then then painted with color/patterns, stuffed with hand cut confetti. To close, we sealed the tops with newspaper and glue. Once the kids found the eggs we smashed them on each other's heads. It was a lot of fun!

Ahh.. so sorry for the delay. I had a friend visiting from Seoul this weekend and she didn't leave till late Sunday evening. It was so wonderful to hang with an old college buddy. Tonya and I went to East Carolina together and really bonded around junior year. It was like being home hanging out with her again. She got to meet all my wonderful friends, including my boyfriend. Despite the rain, we went out for dinner and drinks and had a very memorable evening. Okay okay… i'll back things up a little bit. Boyfriend….?? WHAT!? yes ;) I get butterflies just thinking about him! I know I'm only here for a few more months but we just adore each other and wanted to be together, officially. Maybe it's silly but I don't care, I'm very happy. Who knows where life will lead us… even though he's coming home 8 months after me, we could find each other again! Did I mention, he's from Raleigh! :)

So.. that long 8 months was only 6 but I'm coming home early. Like every week, Monday was crazy! After work, I had a meeting with my managers. All four of them sat me down and told me that the business is going under. To keep it going they will need to let four teachers go. They asked me if I wouldn't mind breaking my contract and leaving early. Hell NO I don't mind as long as I get prorated pension, my prorated year end bonus, severance and my plane ticket home! Throughout the week I practically had to beg my mangers to give me all this information in writing. I wanted to be able to sign something because ya never know what will happen around here. I mean hell.. they could tell the pension board I quit and I would never see a won of my pension money. I Finally got an official letter on Friday. The Koreans thought it was so strange that I wanted it all in writing… WHY? It seems perfectly reasonable. They thought it was even more crazy when I asked for a copy of the letter. Whatever, it's just culture differences.

So, not only did I get my letter on Friday but my place ticket home was bought. I will be leaving Gwangju early, early July 3rd (2 months from today.. WOW). Listen to what I have to do to get home… ugh, it gives me a headache. 4 hour bus ride from Gwangju into Incheon (Seoul, airport area). Fly out of Seoul around 1 pm and get to Tokyo around 4 pm. 19 hour layover in Tokyo, Japan. 19 hours, you heard it. Since I'm stopping in another country and my layover is so long, they don't transfer bags. I am hoping I can find a locker or something to put my years supply of luggage in, then, venture out into the city. Maybe I can even find a hotel to sleep in and take a shower. It will be another adventure fore sure! I will fly out of Tokyo and into Chicago, going back in time.. I love it! I have an hour and a half layover in Chicago on the 4th and I arrive at 1ish pm on July 4th. What a fitting day to come back to my home, my country! I am so excited to see my friends and family I can't believe it's only 2 months away.

With teachers leaving, classes changing and students dropping, the work load is going to be horrendous. I got a taste of it today… Mondays are always bad but I got so stressed out today with all the things I have to do, I think I gave myself a fever. I tried so hard to be strong but dammit… my roommate and lead teacher Alicia knows me oh too well. She could see my frustration. Even though she is my friend, I hate to show my weak side in the professional atmosphere. My troubles all faded away when I went into the classroom and taught. Thank god I love those kids. They really are the little ray of light on a cloudy Monday!

Other than the work shenanigans, I've got many other things to look forward to. Thursday is a holiday (Children's Day.. read below if you want to know a little more about this day). Thursday is also Cinco de Mayo and since Alicia is a fantastic Mexican chef… we are making a variety of Mexican food, margaritas and having a few friends over to share the love. I just ordered a tent that came in the mail today. A big group of friends and I are going camping at the beach this coming weekend!! My scuba trip in the Philippines is only weeks away. Work is never that bad when I think about all the good things I've got! :)

I'm currently on a search for a job with Wake County public schools. I would love to teach in Wake but things are not looking good right now. Keep your fingers crossed that the hiring freeze is lifted soon and that someone will hire me!


Korean Facts/ Randomness:

-Children's Day: Children's Day (Eorini nal) is a South Korean national holiday celebrated on May 5. It was founded by the Korean children's writer and storyteller Bang Jung-hwan in 1923 as a way to instill in the children a sense of independence and national pride. Children's Day highlights the dignity of children and their need for love, care, and respect. It is also a day to honor adults that have contributed to improving the lives of children. 
This day is celebrated with various programs for children, who enjoy themselves to the full with their parents. Amusements parks, zoos, and national parks become crowded with families enjoying the holiday in the Spring weather.
-Do you remember me telling you that people pee on the street anywhere they are, at any time? Well, I thought it was only men since it's easier for them. I was wrong… my roommate saw a woman and her child leave their hogwan (private school) and walk a few feet around the side of the building (keep in mind its broad daylight) to use the bathroom. Both mom and child pulled down their pants together and pooped…. EWW! Korea.. really?!!???
- If you own a pet… usually anything other than a dog, you often don't name it.
-During the Korean war, food was very scarce. Instead of asking someone, "how are you?", people would ask, "have you eaten?". This stuck and so Koreans will often ask you if you've eaten instead of asking how you're doing. One of my friends said her co-workers ask her this all the time. For a while she thought they were trying to tell her something… like, you eat too much.
-My friend Tonya just got a new camera. One of the effects it has is, it tells you when someone is blinking. Now, I know it's kind of mean that I think this is funny but I'm sorry…every time she takes a picture of a Korean the camera detects blinking because of their squinted eyes.
-It's a good thing I am obsessed with eating seaweed cause it extremely good for you and it's very, very low in calories. Seaweed (obviously) grows in the ocean, where it picks up a range of minerals and other nutrients. It is also a fairly simple food, making it easy for the body to break down and release the healthful substances inside, providing a variety of vitamins and minerals. Seaweed also has no fat or other unhealthy component, and it is usually prepared without any oils or other naughty additives. The way I see it, the optimal diet focuses on a variety of fruits and vegetables. Since seaweed grows in the ocean, it contains certain vitamins and minerals that aren't as available in land-grown vegetables. This extra variety makes seaweed a good food to mix into your diet.
-The azaleas are finally in bloom.. between the cherry blossoms and the azaleas, spring in Korea is just fantastic!

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