Last day of work! I’m desk warming right now, since I finished my tasks for the day…

I’m tired of reading Korea blogs; I want to GO. NOW.

49 more days!


52 and a bucket list

52. I have 52 days until I leave for Korea. In that time, I have trips to Texas and Florida planned (to see family), I need to go through my clothes again (moving 4 times in a year helped cut down on what I own, but I still have a long ways to go to get to the 50 lb/2 suitcase limit), I have to sell my car (anyone want a 2002 Nissan Maxima? I’m serious on this), sell one of my bikes (the other is staying in storage at my parent’s house), and hopefully buy a new camera lens, if I have the money for it. I also need to get vaccines (Hep. A and B, a flu shot, maybe typhoid, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria, plus a prescription for Cipro), get my visa, and make sure I have all my other documents together before I take off.

In addition to all the things I need to do, there are a few things I would like to do before I leave. They include…

  • Go to the Blue Nile (Ethiopian food)
  • Celebrate NY in STYLE; glitter glitter everywhere
  • Head to UMMA
  • Go sledding!
  • One more night of karaoke in town (before all the norebangs!)
  • Bake as much as possible; it seems like I probably won’t have an oven in Korea.
  • Spend as much time as I can with family and friends- my sister and I will both be unemployed and in town for January! I can’t explain how excited I am for this…
  • ???

I don’t know what I’m going to miss. I’m trying to think of all the things I take for granted here, but I keep drawing a blank. I think, in many ways, I’m ready to go (mentally, clearly not packed, etc.). Of course I will get homesick, and of course I will miss my family and friends, but I can’t think of the activities I’m going to miss. Maybe part of the problem is that I don’t do a lot here. I work, I cook, and I try to not fall asleep before 9 every night. It’s not much, and I really do like my life here, but I’m ready for a change.

Anyone else have “home” bucket lists? Things that you’ve always been meaning to do in your hometown but, for one reason or another, just haven’t?

Weather questions

So, if you haven’t guessed, I live in Michigan. I love it here. It snows, it gets hot, the leaves change, new things grow…I love the seasons. In reading up on Korea, I’ve found that people really tend to complain about the hot and the cold. I imagine that it is quite a bit more humid in some places, being that it is a peninsula surrounded by ocean (rather than fresh water? I don’t know, it just seems like ocean winds would be stronger than lake ones?), but it can’t be that extreme, right? I guess I’m just a little worried that I’m going to freeze to death (despite long underwear, flannel lined jeans, fuzzy socks, and down coats).

I mean it, EVERY SINGLE BLOG says the same thing “OMG! KOREA IS SO COLD!” Are all the native teachers from southern climates? Does the humidity make that much of a difference? When I lived in Spain, I laughed at my host mother who told me that the cold would “get into [my] bones.” While it was chilly (January-May) with the near constant rain, it was certainly nothing like back home.

There isn’t much I can do about the weather in Korea, except experience it for myself and hope I’ve packed enough to be prepared for almost anything. In the mean time, I’m going to enjoy the free hot chocolate I got today (care of JSTOR!), the snow coming down outside my building, and the ability to multitask.

Pure Michigan

Pure Michigan

Oh, also, I made gingerbred cookie dough last night and I’m going to bake them today (HORRAY!). We’ll see how they turn out and I might post the recipe if they come out well!

Lists are easier, sometimes.

Oil spill on the ground outside my house. Gross, but beautiful.

Oil spill on the ground outside my house. Gross, but beautiful.

Things that are good right now:

  • Coffee! I brought in single serve cups (yeah yeah, I know – so horrible for the environment, but so much better on my wallet!) and used the building next door’s Keurig. It’s not the best, but it’s better than the coffee made in my building and waaaay cheaper than going across the street for a cup.
  • I walked to work today! I love that endorphin rush…
  • Snow, yo. It’s so pretty! From the lovely, snow-capped buildings across the way to the cute pumas outside of the Natural History Museum, it’s all so WHITE and pretty (and we haven’t had months on end of the stuff…so I’m still enamored).

    A puma outside the Natural History Museum.

    A puma outside the Natural History Museum.

  • My slow cooker. I made split pea soup yesterday, which Adam and I devoured alongside grilled cheese sandwiches (UM, DID YOU KNOW THAT COSTCO CARRIES GLUTEN FREE BREAD NOW?!), and when I get home tonight there will be a big pot of chicken and tomatoes just waiting to be added to some pasta. I love not having to think too hard when I get home from work!
  • Korea! Duh. I’ve been in a “this is a REALLY AWESOME THING” mood, recently. I’m looking at places I want to go, adding to my bucket list (which I will post, at some point), and thinking of all the great food I’m going to eat in the next year. This is, honestly, how I feel about this whole adventure, but sometimes I just get in a mood about it, ya know?
  • I’m almost done with work! While I feel very appreciative to have kept my job during the last month and a half, I’m really really looking forward to some time off. I need to go through all my stuff ever, pack, and maybe create a “USA” bucket list for before I leave.
  • Weekends! This one was a ton of fun. Friday, Adam and I went out with some of our friends to celebrate our birthdays (last Tuesday and Thursday, respectively) and then we went over to his coworker’s house on Saturday night and ate an AMAZING hotpot meal. This was my first experience (I think? Does shabu shabu count as hotpot?) and Zong Rong did an excellent job. Beef, chicken, lamb, tofu, and tons of veggies in flavorful broth – what could be bad? We were a little confused at first, having never eaten this way, but it was SO good. I think I’ll be dreaming of that broth for a while.

Hotpot food, all ready to go. Not pictured: the hungry and confused dinner guests.

Zong Rong cooking us an amazing hotpot meal on Sautrday.

Zong Rong cooking us an amazing hotpot meal on Sautrday.




Fear of the great adventure

Some mornings I wake up and am nearly paralyzed with fear of what’s to come. My life in Korea will be so different. No boyfriend to  talk to about my day, no daily chats on the phone with my mom, no family dinners on Sunday, no lunch with my dad, no sister time. I won’t speak the language, I won’t be able to always know what foods I am eating. Directions will be a problem

And then, days like today, all I want to do is GO and it’s hard to concentrate on the here and now.

I started this post nearly two months ago. I was waiting and waiting and waiting to hear from the agency about where I’m headed. Yesterday, after a godawful night of no sleep, having my bus card stolen, spilling my oatmeal and coffee everywhere, and leaving my wallet at work for the day, I got my answer. Beginning February 11th of 2014, I’m headed to Daegu, South Korea to teach English.

I still get the fits of fear. I got that email yesterday and started crying. I KNOW I am excited, and that this is a GREAT adventure, but this is big and scary as hell.  I was talking with my friend, Alice, about it and I told her about how this is possibly the most selfish thing I’ve done and how it seems silly to throw away a perfectly great relationship for a job (possibly unrelated to my life goals). She, in her infinite wisdom, said “the last time you threw away an adventure for a perfectly good relationship it turned out not great.” And she’s right. I am doing this for me; to feed my wanderlust, to learn new things, and to meet new people. This is MY adventure and I can’t wait, but, damn, sometimes I get scared.