Wednesday, March 30, 2005 

A few more things to share

I forgot to mention a few things of importance:

  1. The package from my dad and sister arrived yesterday - with THE best huggy pillow ever that perfectly matches one I already have, THREE (count 'em!) bottles of Victoria Secret lotion (my sister is AMAZING), a tape of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade which she so thoughtfully taped for me after reading on my Israel blog about how much I was going to miss it, some clothes, and some drink mix. SO amazing!!! I was hugging the huggy pillow last night (cause that's what you do with them) and I was about to fall asleep when I caught a whif of something...the huggy pillow smelled just like my sister's house. So I did what any normal, rational person would do. I broke down and cried, then called her to tell her all about it, LOL.
  2. I said I would put the link up when my sister's picture was posted on the Florida hiking site, and it has been. (It actually was last week, but I kept on forgetting.) Here it is! Check it out!
  3. I had a reasonably long (in a quaint and enjoyable way, not a cumbersome way - "long" can have so many meanings) conversation with Jeff Watkins the other day, and it was thoroughly delightful. We got into one of the most ridiculous arguments ever (not serious argument), and discussed passing notes in Dr. Burns psych 402 class to pass the time/SURVIVE, and also good old English 152, where Jeff maintains he got a "B" in the class just to comfort me (I thought that class was going to be my first B), and then I ended up getting an A. What a friend, LOL.
  4. I talked to Jared today! Jared is amazing! I hadn't talked to him in forever. If I had to think of two adjectives to describe him it would be witty and tall. He really is both.

Okay, I'm going to bed now. Do you think I can take 3 Tylenol PM? I have three left from the handful Melissa gave me, and if I only take two, I'll have one leftover which might not be so useful or helpful later on. Did I ever tell you about the time I forgot the human dosage for Benedryl? The dog dosage is one MG per pound...and I was all freaked out "I'm gonna have to take the WHOLE bottle!" So I compromised and took only FIVE. Holy crap...I slept like 18 hours. I didn't even realize how stupid that was until a day or so later when I was talking to Haley, and mentioned off hand how groggy I had been. She asked why and I told her about the Benedryl, and she asked me how much I had taken. I felt really stupid. And sleepy, the day after. Ehh...I'm not sure about the Tylenol PMs...I'll let you know how it goes. Night (for real this time)!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005 

I filed my taxes

For those of you who would even consider raining on my parade...just don't. I don't care how grown up you are because you've done your own taxes before. Really...I don't care. I have never filed my own taxes before. Of course I've only had to file taxes twice before anyway, and my Dad did them for me both times - and he maintains it was simply so it wouldn't screw up HIS taxes, seeing as how I was his dependent, but he can't fool me. He's actually just a really nice guy. Nonetheless, he sent me my W-2 (pushing me out of the nest). I've been panicking slightly about it...but I just sat down and filed my taxes online. It's funny, because I claimed the $31 of interest paid on my student loans (ironically paid by my father, not me) because I didn't want to be dishonest or get in trouble if I was audited, but I lied repeatedly about my address (you can't e-file if you live overseas). I'm such a hypocrite. And state income taxes are just plain evil. The residency rules are just retarded. I got confused and just made up a date for my residency in Alabama....I'm sure I screwed them up, but I'll bask in the joy of simply having completed them (whether right or wrong) until I get an email telling me just how severely I screwed them up. I am getting sick yet again (not cramps, another cold, or perhaps just some freaky mutation of the same one I've had since I got here). My throat is all scratchy and sore all the time, especially at night. It's just no fun. Tonight though, I watched Stuck on You with Kylie and Donovan. I must say that I found it far funnier than I ever thought I would. I think I'm becoming less of a snob towards stupid humor. (Stupid as in the genre, not making a value judgment or anything) Nonetheless, it was quite humorous, and it put me in a much better mood. Today was a busy day, and not entirely pleasant, truth be told. On that note, I'm (hopefully) off to bed. Night!

Monday, March 28, 2005 

I have found the love of my life

I am in love and his name is Neal. Sadly,'s not meant to be. See, he's 7 years old. He's also Korean, and I don't know is my love for him would overcome our cultural issues - oh yeah, and he's 7. - it's sad how funny I think I am. (still laughing...trying to stop...a little embarrassed at my ability to make myself laugh.....)

Seriously, I was so sick all weekend, and was really quite dizzy and lightheaded when I got to work this morning. Consequently, I was filled with dread about how the day would go. My first class of the day is my kindergarten class. They weren't exactly good, per se, but they were all SO sweet! We sing songs at the beginning of class, and one of the little boys, Neal (see above - still laughing at my own joke, by the way) always tries to tickle me when he's being a bird. Anyway, today I was very nearly tackled by all the little boys in my class (six of them there today). And it wasn't "tackle the teacher and disable her so she can't make our lives miserable anymore." It was more of a "this is fun and we don't hate our teacher at this moment - yay!" Later on, we were playing a game on the floor with flashcards, and a few little boys got in an argument about who was going to sit next to me. Neal was sitting next to me, being cute, adorable, helpful, and smart. It was just a delightful day. At the end of class, I make them read a sentence and then I give them candy. Neal started giving me hugs at the end of class, and it's that really sweet monkey hug, where the child wraps himself around you and lays their head on your shoulder....oh...lordy...SO sweet! It has truly been a delightful day so far - and I know that's subject to change at any moment...but I'm up for it. Bring it on. I can take it.

Still laughing....whew...that was a good one.

Sunday, March 27, 2005 

Blogging - convenient or avoidance?

I got out of bed and took a shower finally. Then I started some laundry and washed a few dishes, took my garbage downstairs, and let Daive pee. Sadly, that is ALL I did today. And that was all in the past two hours. However, I feel rested, am not cramping as badly as I was earlier, and my mind feels a lot closer to sane on the spectrum than it did before.

So now I'm going to delve into an issue I was just mentioning in an email to one of my friends. I have an account at another blog-like website because one of my friends has a journal there, and I had to sign up to be able to read hers. Anyway, I had the fleeting thought of posting more personal stuff there, for a select few to read. Then I realized, anything too personal to put here, I would only want a handful of people to read it. And at first I was ascribing the entire thought to laziness - it's easier to post it and let others read it at their convenience than to email people. But then I had another thought - I'm going through some struggles right now with internal issues being brought to the surface and addressed (or trying to address them). It's really quite difficult, but how that relates to here is that one of the hardest things for me to do sometimes is to admit my neediness. And it's so stupid, because all the people closest to me are aware of how I'm needy and when I'm needy. It's only me that's in denial about the whole thing. I think that the internet in general can be helpful in avoiding that. Could it be the death of all face-to-face meaningful relationships? I doubt that, and I'm sure older generations would be amazed at the thought of different levels of intimacy in such a seemingly indifferent mode of communication, but I think there is. I also think I'm tired and stopping just short of making good sense at this point, so I'm going to end it, and perhaps elaborate later (if my thoughts ever are organized or become coherent). Night!


Not feeling so great

I've spent almost the entire weekend in bed due to cramps. It's not fun. But this usually happens once a year or so. I'm thankful it's not more often, but once a year is also more than enough. The only pain medicine I have in my apartment is a few Tylenonl PMs that Melissa gave me. So I took two earlier and am loopy loopy now because of it. It's pathetic because I didn't get to go to church this morning - I couldn't even take Daive down, it hurt so bad. I had a shopping date with Melissa and Joan that I also had to break. My apartment is a disaster area, but am currently unable to clean it. Ah'll all work out at some point. Realistically, in the very near future I will be FORCED to do dishes and take down my recycling. But not now. I'm thirsty, and have considered ordering food in just to get something to drink - again, not due to laziness, but due to the intense pain I experience when I am vertical. I'm sure I'll be better by tomorrow - I have no option but to be better by tomorrow, actually. I'll be sure to keep you updated.

Saturday, March 26, 2005 

Freedom in an unexpected way

Have you ever done something you knew you needed to do, done it spectacularly BADLY, hated yourself immediately afterwards (because of how poorly you did it), but then were relieved to find that the self-hatred left to make way for feelings of freedom and relief? Such times are nice, and certainly appreciated.

Not a whole lot is going on around here. Though the other day I did manage to accidentally pepper-spray myself...kind of. I was having a homesick moment, and grabbed the towel by my bed to wipe my eyes. BUT OF was the towel from the kitchen I had dropped by my bed when I answered the phone - the towel I wiped my hands on after cutting up onions and hot peppers. I managed to wipe my eyes with that same spot. Oh...boy, how it burned! But I was too cold to get out of bed and rinse my eye, so I just dealt with it. Sad, is it not?

I find it exciting that March is almost over. I'm enjoying myself here - please don't misunderstand and think I'm miserable because I'm not. But I am also REALLY enjoying the fact that time goes so quickly here. It's definitely a good thing. And I'm definitely homesick - but it's not this overwhelming I-can't-function homesickness. It's just this internal "Wow, I really miss _______." (Many things go in the preceding blank.)

Oh, a funny moment from this week at work. In my first grade class on Thursday, we were playing a game on the floor with some flashcards. I only have four students in that class, and they're all very smart and very good. For some reason, all four of them decided that they wanted me to be their mommy, and all climbed on top of me and were hugging on me and saying, "Teresa - mommy!" It was quite of those times that I do a double-take and I'm like, "Wow, I really DO like kids a LOT!" Funny how something like that can just sneak up on you without you realizing it.

Today Melissa and I are going out to lunch with one of our bosses. Should be an interesting time. There's also a chance a package from home might have arrived today (have to send it to me at work rather than me at home in case there are problems with customs). That would make my weekend....well, it would make it even better. I must rush off - need to start some laundry and do some dishes (I won't embarrass myself by telling how long it's been since I last did dishes) before I have to meet my boss. Sorry for the lack of posting lately! :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2005 

This picture of my nephew and my brother-in-law, taken by my oldest sister, won first prize in a photo contest at the Florida Trail conference. It's an amazing picture, isn't it? It's also going to go in their calendar! I'll post a link to their site as soon as the picture is there, so you can go see it in all it's glory. Great job Jen! :) Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 22, 2005 

Joan rocking out and singing to Melissa. Joan is one of the teachers at school and is a thoroughly delightful friend, and very funny. She was singing a song in a foreign language at this moment, but it was beautiful. Later on she sang "Don't Speak" by No Doubt and did an amazing job. She's a punk rocker all the way. Posted by Hello


Classic, part 1

Kylie and Donovan singing something (don't remember what). You can see Mr. Moon in the left corner banging the tambourine. This is also a good shot of the room, so you all can get a feel of the atmosphere of the place. Posted by Hello


Classic, part 2

This is Kylie showing how she prefers to be a backup dancer rather than a singer. A classic shot of her, for sure. Posted by Hello


Mr. Moon and Mr. Lee showing their appreciation for Melissa's Jewel song. Posted by Hello


Melissa took things down a notch (her words, not mine) and sung a song from Jewel. She sang beautifully, of course. Posted by Hello


Jason singing "You are so beautiful to me" to his (delightful but slightly embarrassed) girlfriend Posted by Hello


Jason and Donovan singing - I don't remember what. But it was obviously exciting and meaningful. Posted by Hello


Classic, part 2 (or 3?)

Wait...they were singing "Boot Scootin Boogie!" This shot of Kylie and Donovan dancing is probably my favorite picture from the night. Turns out they're from the redneck part of Canada (who knew there was such a thing?) so they know how to country dance (and I learned that "country dance" does NOT mean line dancing - I've learned so much from them!). Posted by Hello!

Okay...look right above the song titled "mOBSCENE." UNBELIEVABLE! Ever since my clever kimbop post title I've had that blasted Hanson song stuck in my head, and we were joking at lunch on Friday about singing that at the nurraebong, and LO AND BEHOLD, there it was. I took a picture because I was afraid no one would believe me otherwise. Posted by Hello

Monday, March 21, 2005 

This is one of my fourth grade classes, and easily my favorite class that I teach. The little boy looking scared and generally disturbed on the left side of the picture (white sweatsuit and blue vest-jacket) is actually THE loudest and most rambunctious student in the class. When I first saw this picture I said out loud, "Oh, you've GOT to be kidding me!" It would be way more accurate if he was hanging down from the ceiling or something. They're all delightful though, and incredibly smart.  Posted by Hello


This is a gift I got on White Day (March 14 version of Valentine's Day kinda) from one of my students. The fact that the chocolate was wrapped up like beer caps struck me as incredibly humorous. The fact that it tasted like wax and was a huge chunk of plastic in it probably struck someone else somewhere as incredibly humorous. Posted by Hello

Saturday, March 19, 2005 

Karaoke in Korea

I hate when I somehow republish something, and the silly Napoleon Dynamite thing ended up being on my site like EIGHT times. I was absolutely mortified when I just came in from the karaoke bar. I fixed it, but I was all worried, "Who all say it when there was eighteen of them?!" So, if you did...just don't tell me.

So the Karaoke's actually misleading and not entirely appropriate. The best way to pronounce the word is: nurraebong. It's not just one big bar with a karaoke set-up. It's a place with many rooms, each with their own karaoke set-up. You rent the room for however long, and do your karaoke thing. There's a couch around the back wall, the karaoke machine where you punch in the numbers, I think 9 TV sets all together (though the lyrics only show up on one, which makes me wonder as to exactly what purpose the others serve), and even a little disco-light-ball thingy. It's a much more conducive environment to make a complete fool of yourself. And speaking of semi-public humiliation, I managed to avoid it. Though I will be so bold (critical?) as to say that I might be one of the few who did. Allow me to share a few details about my evening.

We were all supposed to meet at the school at 9 PM. For me, that's a little late to be out, but okay. It's almost all of the teachers from the elementary school section (translation: Ms. Lee didn't go, which was probably for the best knowing her opinion of drinking). I was under the impression that we were going to go directly to the nurraebong. I was entirely wrong though. I think it's the Korean thing to go get a little relaxed (sloshed) first so the karaoke will be most thoroughly enjoyable (humiliating). How weird is this, that our boss takes all of us to a bar, and buys us all drinks (note the use of plural there)? It was just very surprising to me. I had one drink - wouldn't you know it...a sex on the beach. I don't even like alcohol, but I knew I wasn't going to sing at the nurraebong, so I thought it would be wise to go with the flow on something. (I know it sounds like a cop out, if you're interested in my opinion on drinking, email me, and I'll give you the whole long thing - but not here.) And of course, after I took a sip and someone asked me how I liked it, I said the first word that came into my head, which was, quite possibly, THE worst possible word to use when describing a beverage named "sex on the beach." Because I'm embarrassed though, I refuse to share the actual word.

So we sit around, everybody else has a couple drinks or beers, and then we head down to the nurraebong. We had a very good time. My throat is sore from yelling and laughing. I was the camera-woman, and got some great pictures of the evening, which I hope to be able to post sometime this weekend. I actually ducked out a bit early. It was all wearing on my nerves a little there towards the end. So I came home, and in the three-ish blocks it took me to get home, passed a guy carrying his passed-out girlfriend, two men fighting, and a couple yelling at each other - alcohol was almost tangible in the was no good - simply reinforced my current opinions on drinking. Anyway, I've done a poor job of explaining, but you'll understand better when I post the pictures. I'm off to attempt to go to bed now. I have a lot to do this weekend, but I'm excited, because it's all towards the end of establishing my life here as opposed to a virtual life or a long-distance life. Make sense? Hope so. Good night!

Oh wait...I didn't mention this, but ever since my clever "MMMbop" reference a few days ago, the song has been stuck in my head. You will NEVER guess what Kylie and Donovan sang tonight.... THAT'S RIGHT, "Mmmbop" was a song choice at a karaoke bar in Seoul, Korea. That strike anyone else as utterly bizarre? Oh yeah, also my boss sang "My Way" by Frank Sinatra...and they were punching in the numbers for the song, and I looked down and saw that they also have "My Way" by Limp Bizkit, and the thought that my boss could sing that song - oh...made me laugh SO SO SO hard! (Remember when that song was the theme for some Wrestlemania or something? That was during the brief window when I liked/was obsessed with the former WWF.) Night for real now!

Friday, March 18, 2005 

You are Pedro Sanchez and love holy chips.

Which Napoleon Dynamite character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thursday, March 17, 2005 

My hair, my day, my weekend

First of all, did I ever have curly hair before? It's been a super long time since my hair was long enough to flips out perfectly now...but it's generally straight - though I just now realized that's because I blow-dry it. Tonight it was raining, and I to run some errands, and the humidity made me hair curl up a LOT...not just wavy, but curly. Weird.

Second, one of my kids FREAKED out in class today. He pinched me while I was trying to tell him to stop talking. And seeing as how Koreans don't celebrate St. Patrick's day, I figure it wasn't because I wasn't wearing green. So I asked him to stand up and walk with me to the office. He stood up, walked like two steps and then went a bit berserk. He started crying, half-shouting, went limp, I tried to catch him, he started grabbing me anywhere he could, punching me, pinching me, grabbing was NOT pretty. I won't even explain the rest because it's beyond ridiculous and I get angry just thinking about it. I went and got the Korean teacher to help me, but he's sitting down crying, and all the rest of the students are freaked out (as am I!) and everyone starts talking in Korean, and I suddenly become hyper aware of the fact that I'm probably going to get fired over this. They take student and parent complaints super seriously here...and even though I was entirely confident that I had done NOTHING wrong, it was one of those times where the language barrier works against you. The Korean teachers basically coddled said evil and rebellious child (major pet peeve: lack of discipline in Korea - these kids whine EVERYTHING - and I'm not exaggerating at all). Whatever, Ms. Lee (my boss) stayed in my class pretty much the rest of the time, and everyone was profoundly uncomfortable. I was so mad, upset, and freaked out that I was shaking. After class I gave Jason (thank God he was at work today), Jenny (a Korean teacher), and Kylie and Donovan a run-down of what happened, and they were able to run interference for me and explain what happened.

So tomorrow night all the office is going out to a norebang (Karaoke bar). Call me pessimistic, but I'm expecting it to be a total disaster bordering on utter humiliation. All I know is that the only way I'm singing is if my job is threatened, and I doubt they would go to those lengths. I'll let you know how it goes though. I do know this much though - there will be drinking, and there will be music. Does that strike anyone else as THE perfect recipie for an awkward Monday morning?

PS - Decided against cutting my hair, for all of you who are so kind as to pretend to care. I get small glimpses here and there of how conservative this culture is, and I think it would only hurt me more. Frankly, I need everything going for me possible.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005 

Kimbop (NOT the Hanson song)

I haven't had much to share except that time is flying by, school is going well, and if life keeps on like this, my year here will be over before I even realize. But then tonight, the native/foreign* teachers all went out for dinner at this Koren restaurant. Kylie and Donovan took a menu when they were there once and got one of the Korean teachers to translate it for them. So we went in and actually knew what we were ordering. We got some kimbop** to share, and I got some clear noodles with veggies. SO good! Amazing, even! And I found out that I LOVE LOVE LOVE tuna kimbop. This is very good news for a few reasons: it's quite healthy, Korean food , and SUPER cheap. You buy it in rolls, and they slice it (the slices are what look like sushi) and each roll of it is 2,000 won (2 bucks). You can actually get plain kimbop (only veggies, no meat) for 1,000 won a roll. So I think I might have providentially stumbled upon the thing that will sustain me while in this country. So exciting!

*Foreign/native teachers: We're considered "foreign" in that we're white and NOT from Korea, but considered "native" in that we're all native speakers of English. I use both terms somewhat interchangably to refer to all of us white people.
**Kimbop: looks like sushi, but not. Rice, meat , a few small veggies, rolled up in this seaweed stuff (the dried version I like, I think I might have mentioned it fairly recently). The seaweed stuff is damp though, to stick together and, perhaps more importantly, not break, and it has a less-than-pleasant-but-not-quite-nauseating aroma when it's damp.

Sunday, March 13, 2005 

Better than the tin cans

Last night Melissa and I followed through with a plan we came up with a week or two ago. I had some bells leftover from when I was attempting to decorate for Christmas in Israel. So I made a bundle of bells, then attached it to fishing line (from when I took the bead class) and then lowered it down to her apartment (two floors down). Then I attached the other bead bundle to my end of the fishing line. It's like a really primitive doorbell or telephone. And hopefully the neighbor that lives in the apartment between hers and mine won't be able to see the fishing line when they look out their window. Though that could lead to a very interesting and comical situation. Anyway, it was an insanely creative (lazy?) idea. Let you know how it goes.


Up and down the mini-mountain

We were leaving church, and I didn't know how to ask the bus driver if his bus was going to the subway station, so we set out on foot for the closest mecca of public transportation here in Seoul. Partly because we were walking behind some slow people, and partly because we're incredibly spontaneous girls , we decided to take the mountain trail to the subway station. Anyway, when she took this picture I was entirely out of breath and remarkably phlegmy. Being the incredibly encouraging and helpful friend that she is, she took a picture. Nice. Even nicer...this is the second picture she took. Just as she was snapping the first one, I decided I had to spit. (Incidentally, I NEVER spit, I promise. It's this crazy country!) Posted by Hello


No title needed

Notice the shoes. I was struggling in my sneakers - the trail was muddy and squishy. I made her pose for this, and I think it's an amazing picture. I think she deserves some kind of award for making it down the mini-mountain without falling on her butt. Posted by Hello


Straight, narrow, and squishy

We had to walk along this narrow (not to mention squishy) pathway to find a safe way to get down to the main sidewalk. As Melissa said while we were walking here, "As if we don't get stared at enough already!" It's already feel like some kind of freak show walking around the city just because you're white - this probably didn't help, but we did have a delightful mini-hike. Posted by Hello


tolerance (ACCEPTANCE), noun; willingness to accept behaviour and beliefs which are different from your own, although you might not agree with or approve of them
intolerant (DISAPPROVING), adjective; disapproving of or refusing to accept ideas or ways of behaving that are different from your own

I was unaware of the possible anger my last post might have inspired until this morning. When I became aware of it, I realized that there were a few things I need to say in regards to it. So here goes.

I have heard a lot about how it is wrong to be intolerant, but I find it interesting that such instructions/commands are, in themselves, intolerant of the person holding the original offending intolerant viewpoint. Let's just discuss homosexuality, because that is the beginning of what my friend's post was about. A Christian says, based on specific passages in the Bible, that homosexuality is wrong. This statement, in and of itself, is considered intolerant, simply because it expresses disapproval. How much intolerance, then, do Christians and Christianity receive (in the form of criticism and disapproval)? Christians also get a lot of heat because they belive in absolute truth (and I think this issue is very much related to the idea of tolerance). Word on the street is that there's no such thing as absolute truth - yet again, contradictory, because the statement "There is no such thing as absolute truth," is a statement expressing some kind of absolute. So either one must say "The only absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth" which would make the speaker look like a moron, as they are attempting to affirm and deny the same thing at the same time, or simply say (which could, in some situations, in some times, for some people be more accurate and closer to the heart of the matter), "I disagree with you and what you say offends me."

Back to the issue of homosexuality, if I say that homosexuality is wrong, does that mean I hate/despise/want to limit the civil rights of all those persons living a homosexual lifestyle? No, it doesn't. Morally, I think homosexuality is wrong. Yes, I do. However, I do not know exactly how I feel about the role of the State in making it legal or illegal. The issue with gay marriage for me though, is not whether or not it's right. Obviously, I don't think it's right. My issue is with the State - is it their responsibility/right? (And by "State" I mean the national government...confusing, but I'm too lazy to go back and change it now.) Is it the responsibility of the national government or state governments? It also has very much to do with the whole idea of legislating morality, and that just brings us to yet another difficult fight-producing issue! Some could argue that most all laws, to some degree, legislate morality - but I'll stop there. That's a topic for another day, I think.

The purpose of this post is to say that yes, I am aware that I hold some very unpopular beliefs. I am aware that I have, in all liklihood, offended quite a few people that I love dearly. However, intolerance comes in a variety of packages. And even more to the point, I'm getting a new perspective on the whole fight. The point of my friend's post (as I understand it) can be summed up in one of the sentences from the last paragraph...he says, "If any of the above seems far-fetched or absurd, just remember that previous generations would have viewed the advancement of homosexuality just as offensive and morally degenerative. The truth, as I see it, is that the fabric of this nation's morality is torn." He is concerned about the moral direction the nation is taking.

I have much to say - about how entertainment-focused (obsessed?) the States seems to me, and how it scares me, and how there are horrid things going on in the world, and how it seems ridiculous for so much time to be spent debating issues that, while important, would quickly fade to the background in the face of such larger issues of...oh, genocide - famine - (Sudan and North Korea were the first countries I thought of). I don't want to be one of those people that minimizes issues by comparing them with tragedies...that's not the point. I'm just saying I think it's easy (at least it was/has been for me) to live a very sheltered life, and feel very passionately about things that, in the big scheme of things, don't matter a whole lot. See, I'm saying a lot - but I don't want to. I haven't thought it out enough to really make sense yet. We'll see. So, please forgive me if I came across as angry, condescending, or arrogant. I assure you it is an error of word choice, and not indicative of the attitude of my heart. So...tell me what you think?

Ah - someone said the comment system wasn't working...I'm going to try to fiddle around with it and see if I can figure anything out. But if the comment thingy isn't working, just email me ( That's all - good evening!

Saturday, March 12, 2005 

I can say, "I knew him when..."

You have to read this. It's a post from my friend Rickie Wilson's blog. He's an amazing friend, an obviously superior thinker, and he has a way with words that, were it not for their ability to mesmerize, would make me envious down in my bones. He's in the Apologetics program at Biola that I desperately would like to take - ah, I could go on and on about how impressive he is - as a thinker, a friend, and a brother in Christ, but it would detract from the point - go read the post. It's worthwhile, I promise.


My sister makes me laugh. All three of us have remarkably (or disturbingly, depending on how you look at it) sense of humor (senses? eh...) - so we're chatting online and she says this, which makes me laugh:

L: there's a jellyfish off the coast of Australia that is so toxic that lifeguards there wear pantyhose all over their bodies to prevent stings
L: and that makes me giggle uncontrollably

Me too!


Graduation Picture

Just found this - the picture is horrible - it was MAY, and I had driven down from Dothan in my car that had no air-conditioning. I spent ten minutes at Alex's apartment with my head stuck in his freezer for part of the time, and still look gross, sweaty, and almost hairless here. Nonetheless, I just found the picture, and it shows that I DID, in fact, graduate, and that my hair HAS, in fact, grown. A very worthwhile picture, if only for those two reasons. Posted by Hello

Friday, March 11, 2005 

True friend

Can I tell you why I love my friend Melissa? Allow me to...because she understands that I have this issue about food and textures. Something can taste delicious beyond belief, but if it's got a wonky texture, the taste doesn't even matter. I can't even get to the taste, because I can't get past the texture. One of the Korean teachers in the office was passing around these rice cakes - and they aren't what you and I would think of when I say the words "rice cake." It's this squishy-yet-solid shape, she had white, pink, and green ones, and it's this very chewy, rubbery-even, ball, with liquid-honey-type stuff inside. I took one, and took a bite, and chewed it (and even swallowed it), but the smell and texture made me wait a second before taking another bite. Melissa ate hers, said to the Korean teacher, "It's so good!" and was then encouraged to take another one, which she did. After the Korean teacher walked away, she looked at me, and said, "Yeah, don't eat that. With your texture thing, you won't be able to handle it." And so she took mine and shoved it in her mouth (and she hadn't completely finished the first one yet) and was holding a third one. THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is a show of true friendship. At the work party last week, she asked to share my noodles because she knew I wouldn't eat them or like them, which helped some in making me look less rude, but sadly not a whole lot. True friends....gotta love 'em, especially when they eat disgusting crap for you.


Congratulations Jessica!

My dear friend Jessica, my first friend at BCF (then FBTC) safely delivered her two twin girls on March 8 at 1:47 and 2:00 AM respectively. (This is the funny pregnant girl from earlier, in case anyone could've missed that.) The babies are in baby-ICU for a few little concerns, but Sonny said that they've been taken off the oxygen and will be taken off the medications they're on if they continue to improve. I hope he won't mind if I quote from his email, it was truly darling (and that's a term I didn't think I'd ever use in reference to Sonny Faircloth). Here's what he said:

"Tonight when I went over there to hold them the first time I was able to feed them with a bottle and even change a diaper. I am sooooooooooooooo stinking tickled it ain't funny. I laughed and giggled the whole time I was driving home."

See what I mean? I can't remember the exact names (first and middle, and which goes with which) she told me, and he didn't give the weights or lengths, so that's about all the info I have. But it's a tremendous answer to prayer that both Jessica and the girls were kept safe. Please keep them in your prayers!

Thursday, March 10, 2005 

Korean Chocolate

This is the fish-shaped box of fish-shaped chocolates I received last Friday. If you look close you can see the ones shaped like...lobster/crabs/some kind of sea creature I do not know the name of - they're the pink and chocolate ones (Haley! I thought of you!). Neat, huh? Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 09, 2005 

My Bank Account

I got paid on Monday. After insurance, taxes (Korean equivalent), and such were taken out, I received 1,867,680 won (1,863 US dollars). And today, at this exact moment, my bank account has 356,868 won in it (356 US dollars). It pains me greatly. However, it's for a very good reason. I am now 1/3 of the way towards being free of credit card debt. I wired a rather substantial amount of money to my Dad today (which he will be sending along), and then I paid my bills - one of which was a 178,000 won phone bill. In January, after my phone was (finally) hooked up, I went a little crazy with the international phone calls. So do you think I can survive on 350 for a month? All my bills are paid, and all I have to do is buy groceries. Food is...ehh...around the same prices as in the states - some things are cheaper some are more expensive. It's sad though...while I obviously will make it just fine, I've never eaten in my own home enough to know exactly how much money is needed for groceries. Oh wait...also take out about 40,000 won for transportation (buses and subways) and another 30-ish,000 won for my internet bill (it's taken out automatically and I don't remember when)...but that's still a more-than-decent amount of money - for just food and living. And even though I know I'll be still stresses me out. When I was working in the States and got paid every two weeks, I'd be a complete idiot with my money, but could easily last out until the next week when I got paid. Now that I only get paid once a month, it's a bit scary! It just shows how irresponsible I am used to being. So this will be very good for me. And it comes amid a whole lot of other internal changes, so it's really just part of a bigger scheme, a more important change going on. That's all. I'm at work now and should probably go at least attempt to be productive.


A wake-up call

I was just surfing around on Piper's website, and read this sermon. It's amazing. It's what he preached at OneDay in 2003. It's awesome - it talks about the holiness of God and what that is, what it means, and why it is important - no, vital. You should read it.

I tell ya, I woke up in a foul mood this morning. I had nightmares last night, woke up feeling very sick, and didn't get enough sleep. I went to work with a bad attitude, and by the grace of God, it didn't stay so bad all day. Melissa and I went out for American food tonight, and it was thoroughly enjoyable. Now I'm about to go to bed. I need sleep desperately. I also need my perspective changed, but I'm not going to elaborate now because I'd end up typing and typing and never get to bed. That's a start of it though - doing smart things like going to bed at a reasonable hour even if it means I can't ramble on in a post. I'm learning...slowly but surely.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005 

My sister said this when we were talking in an IM (her IM name starts with L, rather obviously), and evidently the problem is genetic:

L: brain debris
L: sort of floats around and comes out my fingers from time to time
L: I usually say "out my mouth" but it's not as appropriate here

Genetic...obviously. I am suffering from brain all times, I guess, which would be kinda a sad thing to think about, and an even sadder thing to admit. Ah well.

Here's a tip: listening to Josh Groban, or almost any kind of country music while you're already sad, while talking to your sister who you miss, and thinking about the Costco cinnamon rolls you can't eat because you've eaten pizza for dinner, and having day-dream-nightmares about your job - NOT a good way to deal with being homesick or culture shock. Just so ya case it's ever helpful.

Monday, March 07, 2005 

A different kind

So today I experienced a new kind of feeling. I called my Dad and caught him in the middle of a big dinner with the family. My family from Pennsylvania is down and they're having a big birthday celebration for my Grandma. It made me super-sad when I got off the phone - I actually started crying. :( It's just begun to hit me that I'm missing an awful lot being here - and I don't mean homesickness, though that's true too. I am just now aware of what I'm going to be absent for over this year - a big family dinner, one of my best friends from high school is getting married this's just hard. I don't want to sound like I'm one of those people bent on being unhappy - I think it's just part of adjusting here, and I'm up for it, but it's still tough. It's hard.

Tonight we had dinner at my apartment. Jason went to Costco and got some pizza from there for us all (and some cinnamon rolls for me - yes!), and we had a good time, but it's just kinda bittersweet for a few different reasons not getting into at this point. It's tough. Anyway, I'm quite certain I had something else to say but it has completely left my brain. I hate when that happens! Ah well though, I'm going to go get ready for bed. Night all!

Sunday, March 06, 2005 

This should explain my blog title to anyone still confused...

Kimchi. Need I say more? Posted by Hello



Daive says hello! This is for all of you going through Daive-withdrawals. It's not such a great picture...I'll try and get a better one sometime. Posted by Hello


Work Party

This is from the work party Thursday night. I don't know why I look tan - I assure you, I'm not. If you'll notice, two people are flashing what we know as the peace sign (remember the kids from my kindergarten class did the same thing?) - I'm still not sure why that's so popular here. Posted by Hello


Cake, the Korean way (part 1)

That's right, ladies and gentlemen, he's cutting the birthday cake (an ice cream cake, I'm not sure if that makes it more or less impressive) with CHOPSTICKS! Posted by Hello


Cake, the Korean way (part 2)

This is me eating my birthday cake with chopsticks. The picture is a bit posed, but does capture the essence of the atmosphere of my birthday this year quite well. Posted by Hello


Snow Picture #1

This is me in the snow. My dear friend insisted on taking my picture. I was more than a little afraid of slipping and coming to an untimely demise right then and there, as I'm sure is evident by the all-too-fake smile on my face. And Bethany, the head tilt - some things never change. :) Posted by Hello


Snow picture #2

I returned the favor...ha! Only she actually looks cute as opposed to just cold and afraid of falling down while sporting THE fakest smile ever. Ah well. Posted by Hello

Saturday, March 05, 2005 

Busy BearShare Day

I got a box of chocolates yesterday from a teacher at work. The box was shaped like a fish. And, certainly enough, the chocolates inside were as well. I took a picture, so I'm going to try to post it relatively soon - but it was quite funny to me. The chocolates were yummy too. I have to say, I'm not sure if it's just my office, the culture, or what, but I'm getting better at sharing now than I've ever been in my life.

I just spent some quality time on BearShare, and here are the highlights of my evening

  • Rainbow Connection - five different versions of it - Dixie Chicks, Willie Nelson, Carpenters, Sarah McLaughlan (however you spell her name), and a short skit with Justin Timberlake fron SNL
  • Muppet Theme Song in HEBREW - made me laugh so hard I was only barely able to stay on my chair
  • Random muppet songs - primary ones I was looking for was "the lime in da coconut" and, of course, copacabana (thanks Jen! - incidentally all my family would be proud of me for spontaneously reciting most of the lyrics to above song at work the other day when someone mentioned the name "Lola")
  • Some incredibly calming music - duet with Ray Charles and Norah Jones (who is in concert in Seoul TODAY...and I'm not there - a travesty, I tell you), a song by Ben Harper from the Sweet Home Alabama soundtrack (most of Ben Harper's music has been ruined by association with a former friend, but this one somehow managed to survive)

I was looking at Haley's journal, and realized that her music taste is impeccable (in my opinion). If she likes a song, I will almost certainly love it also. Her journal was the inspiration for my music-downloading frenzy. Thanks! I'm not really in a writing mood tonight, so I'm leaving now. Night everyone.

Friday, March 04, 2005 

Your daily (and most necessary) dose of Henry Scougal for the day

Love is the greatest and most excellent thing we are masters of; and therefore it is folly and baseness to bestow it unworthily; it is, indeed, the only thing we can call our own, other things may be taken from us by violence; but none can ravish our love: if anything else be counted ours, by giving our love, we give all, so far as we make over our hearts and wills, by which we possess our other enjoyments: it is not possible to refuse him anything to whom, by love, we have given ourselves

By the way, I really wasn't unhappy when I ended the post below about the open house. I just got frustrated for myself for (yet again) failing to get to the point. That's all. I've been thinking about love lately...I like this quote - and I like perhaps even more what he goes on to say - but that's for another day. But what do you think about it? Please share.


The Horrid Open House Ceremony

Melissa is sitting here beside me as I type this. We were talking about the open house earlier and she asked if I had blogged yet. At the time I had not, but I did admit that after the most horrible parts, I was sitting on the church pew, mentally shaking my head at myself and thinking of the most appropriate adjectives to use to describe the whole experience.

I changed out of my pants at the last minute and into a skirt (with pants underneath) and put on my New Balance shoes...thinking - well, thinking that they were the only closed-toed shoes I own here, and mistakenly thought we'd be at the school and I'd be wearing the school-slippers. Then I put on my huge ugly (but warm) fleece, thinking I'd have time to change into my light pink jacket. Well...the open house was at the church beside the school (therefore I was wearing the New Balance shoes) and got there just at 10:10 (which means I didn't have time to get my light pink jacket). So there I was, skirt (with pants, but that was SO not the worst part), these clunky huge, rather hideous at this point (they've taken quite a beating) shoes, and a fleece that makes me look like one of those people so fat they have to be lifted out of their houses with a crane. It just went from bad to worse - we thought we were only going to have to stand up in our respective pews and bow, but we actually had to walk up in front of everyone. And the Korean Kindergarten teachers got to walk up in a big continuous line, but we (lucky native-English speaking dogs) walked up one at a time. I nearly tripped (but recovered), was overly aware of the fact that I had on the equivalent of clown shoes and looked like I was the size of a house. Add insult to injury: as I was walking up, Jason (the native-speaker that is my boss in some way) was smiling at me, glanced down at my shoes, changed his smile to a smirk, and shook his head at me. Then Melissa walked up, and stood on the other side of Jason rather than beside me - for the very good reason of not wanting to block the teachers behind her - but it irrationally made me feel more like a big fat loser. Then I missed our cue to bow (not sure if we even had one...the entire service was in Korean, except for when Ms. Lee called our names for us to walk up there), so I bowed late (and poorly - it's a skill that's not easy to acquire). Then I wasn't paying good enough attention and had to be tapped by one of the Kindergarten teachers to tell me to follow Mr. Moon back to our seats. And Korea is quite an appearances-driven culture - I'd say more so than the States. Or perhaps it would be more appropriate to say that they are a the-right-image-driven culture. So all of this is far more humiliating and worthy of inducing something akin to self-hatred than it may sound.

After we sat down, and I finished internally cussing myself out, I just repeated the verse in 1 Corinthians about how God chose the foolish things in this world to shame the wise. I don't think it was meant like this, but I've come to terms with the reality that smooth, suave, graceful, and eloquent are all traits I lack - but God's grace has turned me around and cleaned me up substantially - which does relate to the point I'm trying to make, but I fear I'm doing a poor job of explaining it. Whatever.

Thursday, March 03, 2005 

And what a wonderful day it has been....

I'd like to think that this post will be quick...but I know me too well. However, I will endeavor to present a quick (ha) run through of my first birthday in a foreign country:

7:15-ish AM - Dad called to wish me a happy birthday. I was definitely half-asleep for most of the conversation, but it meant an awful lot to me that he called. What a nice guy!

10:30 AM - Got out of bed (ahhh...very nice). Knew I would be staying at work until 8:00, so I decided to go in at noon, because I only have to be there eight hours. Therefore, I could sleep later.

11:25 AM - Phone rings. It's Melissa at school asking where I was. I told her I wasn't coming in until noon. Then she said, "Oh, you have to come eat lunch with me!" I picked up on the possibly subtle hint that I was ruining some sort of birthday plan she had made for me. (I have a knack at doing that unintentionally.) So I hurried - severely. I half dried my hair, got dressed in a hurry, and headed out. As I was nearing the school, I walked - no, rammed into the side mirror of a car. It was the most random and stupid thing - and I hit the mirror HARD. I thought I actually heard glass shattering, but I didn't (it was just my bones) - but it startled me so bad! Which is ridiculous because it was a big BLACK car...I also yelled a less-than-pleasant word, but hopefully no one around spoke or understood English. Anyway, as I was taking off my shoes, I saw Melissa and Kylie run up the stairs with bags in their hands. They were obviously trying to not be seen - anyway, Melissa bought me a birthday cake last night when we went to Baskin Robbins together (she passed off the cake box as saying she bought lots of ice cream for later - which could have been believable perhaps, but wasn't). Anyway, when I went upstairs for lunch, she and Kylie popped out of the bathroom with my cake and presents for me. It was amazing. Lunch today at school was also seriously delicious, which is always nice. Melissa gave me a thing of lotion and body wash she got me here - it's Cacao (which she says is the old saying for "cocoa" and I believe her because she's smarter than me) and it smells heavenly....ah, it is SO nice. But there is more of the much-loved random English writing on the jar...and this makes more sense than most of the random English over's what it says:

"It is like a virus of happiness spreading happiness and luck..."

There's more, but that was my favorite part. Beyond that, the day went well. My classes were good, and we all went out tonight for dinner. Oh..wait.

7:45 PM - Dinner with people from work. It was, as expected, an interesting experience. The food was great. But I somehow (and by "somehow," I mean that I ordered them instead of rice - and learned that rice is SAFE, and nothing else is) ended up with some cold noodles that reminded me WAY too much of the hearworms that were in jars at the vet office in Dothan. You couldn't really chew them either...just try and separate them enough to get them in your mouth and swallow them - this mass of cold, slimy (at the least), - shudder - (and I really did shudder too, with goosebumps!). And this is when Melissa shows herself to be the amazing friend she is. She said, "Teresa, can you share those with me? I'd really like some." So she took some of the noodles so I looked less rude...but I still couldn't finish them.

Tomorrow is an open house, where the kindergarten students come with parents/grandparents to meet their English teachers. It should be an interesting experience. I don't think many of the parents speak English, so it could be one awkward situation after another. But Ms. Lee said that she thinks the students will all be happy and excited to show off their teachers to their parents. Hopefully. I'll be sure to let you know. All I know is that I have to be at school earlier than normal and I have to dress up.

Ah yes, one last thing. I did wear pants with my skirt today, and I think it's for the best. One of my first graders came up, and before I could realize what was going on, had pulled my skirt up and over his head so that he was now in my skirt with me. Thank God for the virginal nerd look (which didn't really work out all that well with what I was wearing, but I'm going to try again tomorrow)...because otherwise I'm not sure if I could really teach that class and ever be relaxed again. Skirts, as a rule, are not made for two. Definitely not.
So, I'm going to bed now. Thank you all for the delightful emails, ecards, and Jen, thanks for your post! I love all of you! Thanks for making this a bearable experience for me - it wasn't at all sad or depressing! Thank you!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005 

Haley's so amazing! I got this in my inbox today - it did MUCH to make my day! Really, today has been a great day. May I share?

First off, I figured out a foolproof way to predict the weather here. When I think or say to myself, "It's getting warm. I bet it won't be long before it's decent and nice outside," you can bet your bottom dollar that it will snow the next day. So far it's happened twice. But it was more snow (and more resilient snow) than I've seen since being here. Melissa took a picture of me standing in front of some snow-laden trees on our way to work this morning. I'll work on uploading those at some point.

Second, it was really just a good day. Lunch at work was not so appetizing, and though I am sick to death of being criticized for not liking Korean food, I'm not so sick of it that I'm willing to eat the food. I'm not actually sure if it is possible for me to get so sick of hearing about it that I eat the food. Anyway - one of my fourth graders ran into the teacher's room before our class time and was just standing there grinning at me. I wasn't paying much attention, and the little thought I did give to it, I just assumed that she had either just done something wrong or was about to do something wrong. When I walked into class a few minutes later, she nearly tackled me and half-yelled, "IS TOMORROW YOUR BIRTHDAY?!?!" (With that much enthusiasm exactly, I promies.) I answered yes, and asked her how she knew. It's a long random story (her brother saw a sign on a board in the teacher's room, and so on and so forth) and she said, "I have a gift for you!" She brought me a diet coke with a letter attached to it and a very cool pen. She pulled out the pen first, and I thought it was cool (I have a pen thing), but then one of the other students showed me that it has something similar to a scroll inside of it that can be pulled out and has some of the most random words and phrases translated from English to Korean. Random, but VERY cool (speaking as a person with a pen thing). But when she pulled out the Diet Coke bottle I just laughed - it was very sweet, and it was one of those small things that just makes your day.

Third, Melissa and I went to Baskin Robbins tonight. I nearly bit it on the ice more than once (to betray exactly how many times my life was in danger due to the combination of ice and my clumsiness would be far too embarrasing), but we finally made it there. I had the amazing experience of a cup of mint chocolate chip ice cream (which they didn't have in Israel, if I need to remind you). It was thoroughly delightful.

Did I ever mention that I made a sweater for Daive out of a hat I bought? It's one of the things I typed twice when blogger hated me. Okay, I just checked and didn't see any mention of the hat/sweater. It's one of those hats with the eat flaps and a flap above the forehead - it's quite cute. I don't know what I was thinking when I bought it though because, as we all know, my's enormous. I was hoping the forehead flap would distract from the plain that is my forehead, but it just called more attention to it. So I wore the hat once or twice. Then I was struck with the inspiration that it might look perfect on Daive. I cut a hole on part of it, and it looks remarkable. It only looks like a a dog wearing a hat if you know beforehand that it's a hat. She had some problems with it today (she walked with us to Baskin Robbins). She kept on getting one of her front legs stuck up in it, so she was hobbling around on the ice - not safe for her. She bit it on the pedestrain-stair-crosswalk thingy a few times. I'll try to take a picture of it and post it here soon.

All in all, a great and memorable day. Ah yes, my virginal nerd pants-with-skirt plan was delayed by a day due to the snow. I'm going to attempt it tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes. I might lose my nerve.

Tomorrow I'm going to post about the education I received today about Korean gangsters. Very's amazing the things sixth graders can teach you. That's all for tonight though. Night all! Posted by Hello

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