Saturday, December 30, 2006 

I really never do learn...

Edit: I started this post a few days ago, but have since lacked the time/energy/desire to finish it. So it'll have to be one of those installment there's giving you something to look forward to. And I find it be careful not to fall off the edge of your seats, okay?

I'm pretty sure I would have mentioned this at some point in the past, but just in case I haven't, allow me to share that Korea has some really strict rules as it relates to garbage. The majority of trash is recycled, then there is food trash, and then just regular garbage (scraps of paper, used paper towels, etc.). I think recycling is great. But food trash...I just can't handle it. This goes back to when I was a child, and was either told to clean out the fridge, or had a temporary lapse of sanity and decided I wanted to do so. Seriously...I just couldn't do it. I never could finish it, and usually I never got far enough into the process to make much of a difference. I couldn't ever even go in the kitchen when my dad was doing it though. When it comes to gross, rotten, moldy food, I have a super sensitive gag reflex. does this translate into my life now, as a supposedly mature adult? I'm flush-happy. I would MUCH rather flush food down the toilet than put it in a bag and try to not look, gag, or vomit as I dump it into the food trash bin. What is the result of my flush-happy-ness? Lots of clogged toilets.

Everytime I do it, I say to myself, "Well, that was embarrassing. I've learned my lesson. I won't do that again." But inevitably, I forget, and then I do it again. Today the culprit was a thing of cherry tomatoes. They were old enough that I wanted to get rid of them ASAP...and so I flushed them. Not only did I flush them, I flushed them in Lis' bathroom. Needless to say, the toilet is clogged. I tried my hand at the plunger, but the water in the toilet is so cold, that it makes the plunger all stiff, and very hard to...plunge (doesn't seem right to use that word as a verb). Then I went and got a wire coat hanger, undid it, and stuck it up in the pipes (didn't get very far). At one point I put my arm in a bag, then stuck my bag-cladden arm in the toilet and dug around to see if I could pull any of the tomatoes out. There was a hole in the bag, so it filled up with freezing cold toilet water, and I didn't even succeed in removing any tomatoes.

It was about at this point when I reverted to a mindset like that of someone much younger than 25, and decided that if I didn't say anything about it to Lis, it would go away. Needless to say, that didn't happen. So I tried more plunging...this time sticking the plunger under the scalding hot water of the faucet before plunging...still nothing. I then remembered the time that I had clogged the toilet by flushing cat litter (one of the three or four times I did that, to be specific), and Adam came down, used his muscle, and plunged the problem away. So I went next door and rang the bell. Our neighbors are a delightful Korean couple, they work at the same place as we do. They are so very kind. Well, they weren't home, but their son said he would tell his dad to come over when he returned. So Joshua (his English name) came over, tried to flush the toilet, and then asked me for the bathroom mat. Mystified (though that's not an usual feeling for me here in Korea), I gave it to him, and watched him carefully clean the rim of the toilet bowl. After he cleaned it, he took some toilet paper and wiped it down. Then he said he would be right back.

This would be where things get interesting...he came back with a plastic bag and tape.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006 

My New Glasses

Okay, so these are my new glasses. Really...purple and red, just like these. Trust me, they look better on. And we don't even need to get into how much money I spent on them. But glasses are an investment, and I for sure got them for less than I would have in the States. But I still have the sneaking suspicion that I spent way too much money on them. So now I have these cool and funky glasses, and don't have the hair to match. It's been awhile since I've had my hair cut. So tomorrow I'm going to go get that done. Cause right now, with my hair, the glasses look a bit silly - like I'm trying to mesh these two different kind of images - funky and frumpy. Ha! Alliteration makes me laugh.

In other news, I had lunch with my friend Cooper today. Cooper is like the big brother I'm glad I never had. He teases me, picks on me, and thoroughly enjoys grossing me out. But he's also painfully honest with me, and has a refreshing perspective on most things. We met for lunch, then walked around some, and he took me to a Cold Stone! was amazing! And the menu said that they had heath bars as a topping, but they were unfortunately lying. All the same, I got cheesecake ice cream (my absolute favorite) with coconut toping. Isn't that kind of a strange combination? It was excessively delicious though.

Anyway, I'm going to go lay down and read now. I'm having a delightful vacation, I have to say.

Sunday, December 24, 2006 

For Christmas I want a rubber suit...or a bubble...

Seriously...I've joked before about being clumsy, but here lately I've been a little disturbed at just how frequently I injure myself.

Last night at Beth and Adam's, I was in the process of trying to sit down on the floor. As I was sitting, I nudged/knocked into the (empty) baby swing that was folded up and leaning on the wall. And then it fell. I lifted my arm up to try and catch it, so as to hopefully not break it, remembering all the while how very expensive baby stuff is in Korea, and was (unsuccessfully) trying to interrupt the adult's conversation as little as possible. It bruised almost immediately, and my eyes started involuntarily watering. Seriously yall, it hurt. Anyway, it's fine, just really very bruised, and I woke up last night every time I moved my arm (and who knew I moved my arm so much at night? Now I know).

Then I slept wrong last night...and by "slept wrong," I mean that I either slept VERY VERY wrong, or I was doing some sleep-break dancing, and have most seriously impaired my neck. For real though, I can only barely move my head, as the head is attached to said impaired neck. Arg.

Saturday, December 23, 2006 

Christmas Play Pictures

These pictures are all out of order, and I don't care enough to fix it. These are pictures from the Christmas play on this past Thursday. They rented costumes for the kids, and they actually changed once during the half-hour production.

The picture below is of the kids during the English play. They were singing "Silent Night." They're super cute, aren't they? Even if the class of 5-year olds look slightly like power rangers.

This is the seven-year olds doing their special musical number. These are some of the smartest kids in the entire kindergarten. The poor girl in the middle is the tallest, and as you can tell, the place they rented these costumes from didn't have a tall size. Poor girl.
This is from the last number in the play, when they all came back onstage and sang together. It was overwhelmingly cute.

This is from the 5-year olds song. They were SO cute in their little costumes
and in their attempts at dancing. It was adorable.
This is Amy, the little girl who spent the day at my apartment last Saturday.
She's adorable.
This is Deborah, from the 5-year old class.
These are the older kids, the class of 6 and 7 year olds. This is pre-play, waiting to go onstage.
This is them all onstage just before the English play. They did such a good job,
remembering what they were supposed to say, singing loud, and doing
the actions really well. They did a really great job.

Thursday, December 14, 2006 

Annual Family Picture

Every year, usually around Christmas, I take a picture of me and Daive. It's kinda sad that the cat doesn't make the cut to get in the picture. The cat is really Daive's pet. Daive and I, we're a team. Anyway, here is this year's picture. The color version is actually a bit scary, so I'm only posting the sepia one. Enjoy!


More Christmas Pictures!

Check out the bowl full of jelly that is his belly hanging out of the Santa outfit. Too hilarious!! This picture was taken roughly .3 seconds before he fell over. Good times.
I have nothing to say other than I really enjoy this picture. I'm not sure why.
I think it is uber-cool.

Awwww. 'Nuff said


Christmas Pictures!

Daive in her reindeer suit, unhappy because I made her lay down beside the tree (which isn't so stable when it is on the couch). She's cute though, isn't she?
This is Claude in his Santa suit, planning all the bad things he's going to do to me to get back at me for putting him in the suit and taking this picture.
This is Claude unable to do much but glare at me and writhe about, because the Santa suit is a bit too short for him. When he tried to walk, he generally ended up like this.
This is Claude seriously thinking about eating my hand (that I was waving above them to try to get them to look at the camera) and Daive thinking that I was going to use that hand to hit her.
"Gosh mom, aren't you finished yet?!" At this angle, the reindeer horns look a bit like devil horns. Hmm...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006 

Welcome to Giant, where you can find a million-times bigger, not to mention plush, version of such pleasant things as: giardia, mono, rabies, malaria, typhoid fever, and mange...just to name a few (not to mention the venereal section...ick). Seriously...a bizarre website. But check it out. It's bizarre but seriously entertaining at the same time.


I have so much to's been awhile since I last posted.

Last Friday we made kimchi at the kindergarten. With the class of 5 year olds, I got to/had to help them some, and found the actual act of making kimchi rather enjoyable. I did not enjoy smelling like kimchi for the rest of the day, but at least I had fun getting that way.

The kindergarten kids are putting on a little skit in English for their parents before Christmas. It's a bit hectic and stressful, since this will all go down next Thursday (21), and we will only barely have enough time to get everything ready by then.

We got out assignments for the March issue of the devotional magazine I write for here, and I was assigned Matthew 23 and 24. Matthew 23 isn't so difficult, but seriously, Matthew 24? Thanks to Dr. Freeman and that OT Theology class where we studied that passage rather intensely, I am having a difficult time with these articles. There are three in Matthew 24, and I'm on the second. I know what I want to say for the last one, I'm just currently a little stuck on the whole "abomination of desolation" thing.

Okay...all of the above was actually written yesterday. I have since fnished all of the devotional articles and the movie review. Now I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to eat for lunch. (Aren't you thrilled to know all these insignificent details about my day?)

I do have some exciting news. I just reserved a ONE-WAY ticket to the US for February 28. Perhaps even MORE exciting, is that it will cost less than $1,000. Not a whole lot less, but every little bit counts, you know? What is probably MOST exciting is that the ticket will be one-way. One-way. Ahh...those words are like music to my ears.

And my roommate rocks. I just called her, and asked how she was. She said fine, then she said, "How are you? Hungry?" She's so telepathic! I was calling to get her to pick something up for me on her way back to the office. We watched the movie "Flushed Away" together on Sunday night, and then part of it last night...that movie is so funny. It's even funnier when the person you're watching with thinks it's funny. Those, they make me laugh out loud every time I see them. Funny stuff.

Anyway, I suppose that's enough for now. I need to go pester my boss. He told me I can go ahead and reserve a ticket, but not to pay for it yet, until he makes sure it's okay for me to leave on February 28. I'm off to pester.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006 

Edit: I started this post yesterday, as you'll read in just a moment.

I've reached an all-time low. I'm actually blogging in class. That might not be so bad, if it weren't for the rather insignificant fact that I am the teacher. This is the conversation class, and I have them playing a speaking game. It's running like a well-oiled machine.


Of my seven students, four started playing a game entirely independent of me and my directions, and are currently ignoring me most thoroughly. I could make them pay attention, but there's not much point.

This is as far as I got in my class. See? I wasn't being SO bad.

I know that what I typed above sounds indifferent...the thing is, that's pretty much how I feel. I hate to admit it, both out loud and to myself, but it's the truth. I'm weary of this job. I'm weary of the unrealistic expectations peculiar to this job. I'm a bit tired of being a human jungle gym, but it would take more energy to get the children to STOP climbing all over me than it does to just sit there and silently remind myself that I have less than 3 months remaining.

Even though so many aspects of moving back to the States are quite scary to me (99.9% of them relating to money), I know I'm ready. It's time. It's SO time. It's the whole senior-itis thing. When the end is in sight, seems like sometimes there is less motivation.

I could spew forth a fair amount of negativity right now, but I'll try to contain myself. It's not that I hate it here, it's just that there are quite a few recurring things/issues/problems that are particularly irritating today, it seems.

Anyway, going to go do some work.

Sunday, December 03, 2006 

Grief and Death

Grief is a funny thing. Obviously not funny in the "ha ha" sense, but funny in the sense of being different and strange. When you lose a loved one, initially the pain is just too much to bear. It's shocking, and leaves you numb. During the numbness, there may be occasional moments of comprehension, but they (in my experience) were blessedly brief. When the death is so recent, actual comprehension is probably too much for us.

It has almost been five years since my mother died. It's so strange because the first year is a mix of vivid memories and absolute numbeness. I am able to so clearly recall being absolute numb, an absolute zombie. Then I can also remember frequent breakdowns. I remember dreading the one-year mark as it rolled around, because I felt like I should have been "better" than I was. Time has passed, and time truly does make it easier. No...that's not right.

Time makes it routine. Nothing makes it easier. As days, weeks, months, and even years pass, you become used to the absence of the person. But truly, nothing makes it easier. Perhaps the whole acceptance stage of grief is not so much acceptance of the loss, as it is acceptance of the change in routine. Because I find that even now, almost 5 years later, the reality of the loss can hit me like a ton of bricks, and all of a sudden, I'm devastated.

It's in those moments that it becomes obvious to me that animals truly do take on the personalities of their owners. My poor little dog goes codependent on me...curled up as close to me as possible (she'd prefer actually being ON me), trying to lick my face if I'm crying, and absolutely not letting me out of her sight. I just left my bedroom where I'd cried for a bit (the thing that brought all this one was a sad movie about Christmastime, family, and the mother of the family dying), and Daive followed me in here and literally was at my feet, staring up at me with the concerned look peculiar to the dog who somehow seemed to grasp early on that a major way she earned her keep was in being my therapy dog.

I guess the moral of the story is that grief hurts...still. It's worse on the holidays, near the anniversary of her death, and somehow even worse with me being so far from home. Perhaps it's just that I have less to distract me? Well, less to distract me that is intelligible.

And I have all kinds of useless questions. Would it be better or worse if our family were less dysfunctional (and more like the close-knit family in the movie)? Would it be better knowing before-hand like the family in the movie? If we had known, what would have been different? Even though it came as a surprise, I count myself fortunate that I was able to speak with her before she died...even though she was unconscious. They said that hearing is the last thing to go, but I wonder how anyone could know that. I think it's just something they tell the family members, to help them or make them feel better. I have the comfort of knowing that the last words I spoke to my mother were "I love you," and "I'm sorry." (But in reverse order.) How would I feel if the last words I had spoken to her were, "Don't forget to pick up mayo at the store," or "Yes, I let the dog out?"

But the questions are useless...partially because it's over and done with, and there's no changing it now, and partly because I think it's something I think about to either distract or punish myself. If only I had done this...or NOT done that...if only I had annoyed everyone into clearing their schedules for a family picture before Christmas...if only I hadn't snapped at her on Christmas Eve when I was filling the stockings and she wanted to know what everything was... if only I hadn't been so annoyed with her one of those last Sundays at church when she was telling someone (who was a stranger to me) about my piercings, even the ones I no longer had...

But I can't change those things. And even if I could, I don't think they would have mattered much. My relationship with my mother was pretty rocky at times. But I know that deep down she loved me a lot, and she knew that I loved her. We drove each other nuts at times, mostly due to the fact that our personalities were quite similar, but I know it's okay. And I wonder if that's an accurate realization, or if it's like what C.S. Lewis talks about in "A Grief Observed," about how the mental image of your lost loved one changes gradually until they have taken on this near-angelic status. It's hard when you can't even trust your own memories, the few you have.

You know, I'm not even sure why I'm blogging about this. It's easily the most intensely personal thing I've ever blogged about. Perhaps it's because I don't think I could really verbalize these thoughts. At least this way they're out of my head.

Saturday, December 02, 2006 

So I'm for sure leaving February/March. I'm going back to the States. Default destination? Florida. Orlando, to be exact.

However, if I decide to do the vet tech thing, I may not go to Florida. At this point I have no definite plans, or even concrete ideas. But there are other possibilities. Pray for me, please. There are so many different areas of my life that I am utterly confused about. I need discernment and wisdom in a severe way.

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