Saturday, 29 October 2011

Of Adventures in Songtan

After my first afternoon in Korea, I was invited by my fellow teachers to a part of Pyeongtaek called Songtan. Miraculously, I had obtained a fair amount of sleep since arriving so I was all for joining in!

It took about twenty minutes by subway to get there, which let me know that Pyeongtaek is no tiny town! In Songtan there is a US military base and a large American presence. Further, as a result of said presence, there is a sort of black market for a lot of stuff not normally available in South Korea. D said it’s more like a grey market because it’s not like they’re selling hard drugs. It’s more like popular snack foods, candies, and certain kinds of alcohol. I may or may not giggle every time I think of black market Doritos. I haven’t actually purchased any of these contraband corn chips (yet), as I have discovered a Korean equivalent that I have dubbed “Koritos.” I am such a nerd.

Anyway, Songtan. It had so many shops and markets, caf├ęs and restaurants… I was reminded a bit of the P-Mall back in Markham in its setup and structure, only everything was outdoors. There were shops and booths everywhere selling all kinds of awesome and odd stuff. I saw swords, knives, ninja stars (no word of a lie), and these were right next to a shop with novelty writing tools—example, a pen that, erm, moans when you put it to paper. The clerk was amused by our amusement. There was a lot of cool stuff and I wanted to buy everything in sight, but everything was cash-only payment and I only had a few hundred thousand won to last me until November when I get my first pay. I know a few hundred thousand won sounds like a lot of money, but it ain’t. The 1000 won bill on my dress might get me a can of soda. Pop. I mean pop. Everyone calls it soda here.

Ooh, that reminds me. Cider. It’s like ginger ale and Sprite had a baby! A delicious fizzy baby.

….So. We wandered around some more so M, who I would be replacing, could buy some more souvenirs to take home, and then we met up with teacher L (a fellow Ontarian!) before popping into a coffee shop while we waited for another teacher, teacher I, one of our Korean coworkers, who would be joining us for dinner. I had an iced green tea, which was very tasty!

Once more, because I am made of all things brilliant, I do not recall the name of the place we went for dinner. I only recall that it was amazing. All you can eat Brazilian Barbecue. I really wish I hadn’t started feeling so nervous about starting work the next day, or I would have been able to eat so much more. Although upon reflection, I did eat a fair bit.

They bring various cuts of meat to you on a sword and then you tell them how thick or thin you’d like your meat to be, and then they slice it right onto your plate. The meat is also somehow cooked at various levels so on the same piece you might get a well-done or a rare piece. The buffet was filled with rolls, fresh vegetables, and a potato salad that was more like really buttery, cooled mashed potatoes.

They brought us sausages, beef wrapped in crispy pepper bacon, beef that was so tender it nearly melted in your mouth, garlic beef, sweet beef… amazing. 30 000 won per person, so about 30$, which is pretty pricey around here, but the quality of meat we had and in the quantities they served would have cost closer to sixty at home I bet. Canada, I love you, but you are expensive! Also, here, price tags are what they say! NO TAX. NONE. If the sign says 1400 won for a bottle of soda, you will pay 1400 won. No more, no less.

I digress. I may or may not be enjoying a wee taste of soju to help the ol’ thoughts flow (I might need to edit this later).

Anyway, Brazilian barbecue = AWESOME.

I was definitely starting to flag by the end of dinner, between yet more jet lag, a very busy and exciting afternoon in Songtan, and the sudden feeling of live eels crawling around in my gut. I remember thinking that it was good that I had eaten such a big meal because it would probably be awhile before I could stomach anything much again.

Do I know me or do I know me?

We returned to Pyeongtaek station, grabbed a cab back to Avalon, and the others walked me home with the assurance that that would come and pick me up for my first day of work!

Despite my utter exhaustion, I took two sleeping pills and it was still an age before I slept. It was nearly showtime, and as I had expected, I was fuckin’ terrified.

But now it’s two weeks later and I’m still standing. I’m figuring out with students really like to learn and which ones I would happily punt through a wall—er, none of course, HAHAHAHA! (you saw nothing. NOTHING.)

While I’m still pretty homesick for familiar places and people, Pyeongtaek’s slowly growing similar as well. It doesn’t feel like home yet and maybe it never will, but it’s gotten less scary. My phrasebook was a wise purchase and soon I will teach myself to read. I do not care for being illiterate.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Oct 22, 2011

I never really got around to writing about my first weekend here, did I? Not during my first week anyway. I’ve been attempting to chronicle it bit by bit in my paper journal so it doesn’t get lost to the passage of time, and eventually you might even get some photos of the places I mention here. I still haven’t even photographed my apartment yet and I’m here all the time.

I will now share the After Airplane Adventures with you. Heh. AAA. Don’t they specialize in travel?

October 17, 2011

Holy shit, you guys, I’m still alive.

Last week was the most epic, exhaustion-inducing week of my life. I think half of the reason I got so dehydrated was because I was crying and sweating so much. And stressing. Shirts that once hugged me are much more casual with their affection now. It’s like they don’t even know me at all anymore.

Today was a million times better. Still fairly stressy and nuts, mind, but less… hm… what’s the best word to describe last week? “AAUUGHRGHLBLEGH?”

Sounds about right.

It occurs to me that so far this has been a journal filled mostly with a lot of whining on my part, and I do apologize for that. I shall try to recall my first and second days in this very cool country, rather than rehash my scary scary first week at work.

When the plane was approaching Seoul, part of me wanted to whip out my journal and write everything down—but then I would have missed so much!

The sea (yes, SEA) was dotted with what looked like tiny little boats, that were in actual fact pretty large, considering how high up we still were. Every ounce of tiredness I was feeling toward the end of the flight—POOF—gone. Instead, I was damn near bouncing around in my seat with thoughts along the lines of “Ohmygod, that is KOREA, we’re landing in KOREA, ohmygod,” and other such eloquent turns of phrase running through my head.

Once I left the place (after thanking the captain and stewardesses with a ‘kamsa hamnida’), suddenly I was paranoid about my luggage having gotten mislaid. When my cousin went to Oz for school, some of her stuff was nearly a week getting back into her hands, but Australia and Canada share a mutual national language. Korea and Canada, not so much. I was lucky though! Everything arrived safely! And because I am a giant dork, while I was waiting on said luggage, I whipped out my laptop and made a Facebook update to let everyone know I was in one piece. It was a very thought-out, detailed update. Something like: “So, um, I’m in Korea. Like this second.” I’m nothing if not articulate.

From there, it was just a short trip through customs, and then I went in search of a sign—a sign with my name on it, to be precise. The gentleman meeting me didn’t speak much English, so the drive from Seoul to Pyeongtaek was pretty quiet. I probably would have dozed off except there was so much to look at!

First, there was all the water. The daylight was shimmering on its surface, the boats were indeed enormous, and I nearly blurted out “KOREAN SEAGULLS!!” when I spotted some winged seabirds that resembled the Great Canadian Shithawk. I didn’t get a close look since, but I think it was a bit darker in colour and maybe a bit smaller. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve seen many birds since getting to Pyeongtaek. Maybe even none at all. Mental note.

The roads to Pyeongtaek were fairly busy, it being mid-Saturday afternoon and all. The skyline of Seoul reminded me a bit of Toronto’s with its big gleaming towers and company logos, but at the same time, it was completely different. They make the towers into different shapes here, not just big tall rectangles (no offence, Toronto). I don’t even know how to describe them, but they were just plain cool. Another feature that differed between Seoul and home was the expanse of mountains looming in the distance. Mountains. I’ve never seen mountains like these, big and dark and covered in forest from bottom to top. All evergreen, I think because I saw zero trace of autumn colours, but then it might just be too early in the season. South Korea’s a bit further south than Southern Ontario. (Truthfact: one of my students said she wants to visit Canada because it has better snow than Korea. It is of pretty excellent calibre, I will admit.)

So these mountains. We were driving THROUGH some of them. The highway actually tunnels through them, which I thought was kind of awesome. Of course in Ontario we’ve blown through the odd rocky hillside in the name of transportation… anyway. Couldn’t have slept even if I’d tried.

After a lot of scenery and car-watching (I honestly had not expected to spot three Chevys, but I did), I started to feel a bit drowsy and might have dozed off but for my driver’s talking GPS, and these stations along the highway that we kept having to slow down for. They might have been toll booths except we didn’t have to pay for anything that I could see. In fairness, I was a little tired, and I couldn’t read what the signs said to see what these places actually were. I really need to learn more than k-o-k-a k-o-r-u-r-a (if you know me at all, you will be utterly unsurprised by what that word is)

A lot of the other highway signs had English too though, so I kept my eyes peeled for the ones that said Pyeongtaek, and after nearly two hours of driving, we were pulling off of the highway and into the middle of a city.

The main streets of Pyeongtaek are broad and busy, and the intersections would be like to make even the hardiest driving instructor say “whoa.” I have since spent a lot of time watching the lights and the actions of the drivers and I really can’t figure it all out. Needless to say, I obey my pedestrian signals! By comparison, the side streets are very narrow and filled with parked cars, thus making them narrower. I have since walked several of these narrow streets and to not watch your surroundings it to potentially get nailed.

At one point during the drive into Pyeongtaek we were actually face to face with another car down one of these streets. The other vehicle simply reversed back onto the street it had previously been on, let us pass through, and then it resumed its turn. Not a single car horn was sounded. I think that’s about when I clued in that I was definitely not in Ontario anymore.

We drove down a few more side streets and stopped so my driver could make a call up to one of my new bosses to let her know I had arrived. Only minutes later we were moving again, off to what I would quickly learn was to be my home for the next twelve months.

I’m glad that I knew to expect a small place, or I probably would have fallen over in shock when we first opened my apartment door. It’s a very nice place though, bigger than my bedroom in Oshawa, and I don’t require much more space than this, but lord help me, I would kill for a soak in a bathtub. You see, in most Korean apartments, the bathroom is also the shower. Not ‘has a shower’. It IS the shower. There’s a drain in the floor next to the toilet, and you turn a handle on the sink to switch the water flow from sink more to shower mode. A member of my family might have since commented on the brilliance of this setup, as it allows for the ultimate in multitasking in the morning: Shower, shave, shi—aaaaanyway. Ahem. My god, I miss them.

Right. Story times.

My fellow foreign teachers were called to come to my place to meet me and to help me get settled in. I was praised for my Canadian outfit (Olympic hoodies, woo!), and then informed that I was being taken to the grocery store to pick up some basic needs like, y’know, food. Afterwards, there would be dinner. My hungry gut approved of these plans immensely, so off we went to Lotte Super, a local grocery establishment.

Lotte, I would soon learn is one of many companies that owns a metric ton of everything in South Korea, including restaurants, a baseball team, and (dadaaaah!) grocery stores. I picked up some basics. Rice, fish, veggies, eggs, and some drinks. Lotte Super is pretty much a corner store in that it’s literally around the corner from my place, so I figured I could buy more things later. I could only carry so much too, even with the others to help me, which was nice.

I don’t actually know the name of the place where we had dinner, only that it was close, that it specialized in beef Korean barbecue and it was AMAZING. Two words: Beef. Bacon.

I think I have mentioned this experience in another entry, but I left out just how much FUN Korean BBQ is!

First of all, you cook it yourself. They bring you spices, sauces, spoons, chopsticks, a bowl of rice each, and water. The water is an especially important part because some of these spices and sauces are hot enough to peel paint from the roof of your mouth or something. Then they bring you your chosen cuts of meat and a pair of scissors to chop it into smaller pieces for cooking.

But before they did all that, they brought a pan of hot coals to heat the metal grill pan with, and they would periodically change both so we always had a hot, clean grill to cook our meat with!

Once the meat was ready, we took our chopsticks to it and dunked it into the sauces and spices, and put it onto a big lettuce leaf with kimchi, other spiced and pickled vegetables. Then we rolled the lettuce and its contents into a dumpling shape—or in my case, burrito—and consumed. The trick is to manage this without wearing a lot of it. It’s super delicious and definitely something I will miss having easy access to when I get back to Canada. Toronto has a Korea Town though, I hear. And who knows, I might yet decide to stay. But right now I’m still very homesick, even after two weeks. Every day I wear my Inukshuk necklace that I got at the Toronto Zoo last winter, a fake maple leaf tattoo, and I keep a single Loonie in my wallet, like they’re protective talismans or something.

Feeling more settled, but still vaguely unsettled.

Next, my adventures in Songtan!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Someday you’re gonna look back at this week and cringe.

I was basically a basketcase for my first week here. I was tired and jet-lagged, dehydrated, starved, but too much of a nervous wreck to put anything with more flavour than an egg in my system. The idea of eating anything at all made me feel nauseous, but meanwhile I was so hungry that I felt sick. Stupid body. Really I needed a week to just recover before I started working, and had I gotten my papers in order a bit faster, I suppose I could have wrangled it. However, it is entirely too late for that now, and despite spending a week feeling like a weepy wreck and feeling ashamed for how poorly I felt I was handling things, I’m still here. I’m in Korea.

I still miss Canada like crazy though. I still keep half-expecting to wake up.

Anyway, have some stuff I wrote during my first week when I was bordering on certifiable.

October 9, 2011

So, awesome news. Turns out I’m gonna get two whole hours of training before I start teaching tomorrow. I’m somehow oddly calm and terrified at once. Just have to remind myself that I did voluntarily sign up for this. I have brought tonight’s inevitable lack of sleep on myself.

October 10

Not entirely over my jet lag yet it seems, and I still have one more class to teach tonight.

First class went okay (with help), second went pretty well, my third was bordering on chaos, and my fourth was rather quiet because it had three girls who all looked as sleepy as I felt.

My last class tonight is a writing one and I remember nothing from my instructions at all.

New friend D is my hero. She gave me a hug when I was basically freaking out before my first class. Information overload combined with no chances to observe or anything or practice, ack. Furthermore, my head is beginning to ache and after work we’re apparently all supposed to go out to say farewell to M, who I am replacing, and to say welcome to me.

Supposedly I am expected to drink. It’s a thing. And it’s rude to not. And I’m already fried so it’s gonna knock me flat after like, a sip.

I highly doubt my next group will be a lively bunch, but it’s a writing class so I’m kind of looking forward to it. According to one of my fellow teachers, it’s a writing class for essays, but according to another it can be creative too. Try and see if I can get them writing stories, or at least about something that interests them. Describe a place, an emotion…

At least the classes are only 50 minutes. None of this hour and fifteen stuff I did in high school.

Better get ready. Nearly showtime.

[edit: here’s where I get really nice and basket casey…]

October 12

I really, really, REALLY need to stop crying. It’s stupid how on edge I am today. I was still teaching new classes and my brain kept deciding to abandon me when I needed it most.

I’m so drained that it doesn’t even begin to resemble funny. I had better sleep like the dead tonight or I’ll be joining them tomorrow. Technically I’m teaching seven classes tomorrow because we’re doing some monthly practice evaluation before my boss and other teachers tomorrow, plus a full, full, FULL (six classes back to back to back etc) day. Friday looks comparatively calm but still full of stuff I haven’t taught yet.

In other words, tomorrow I’m gonna be just as bagged but at least I’m no longer dehydrated. I think I consumed about four litres of water today and none of it made a bid for a escape, if you catch my meaning.

Also, this morning when I went shopping I spent three dollars on a single apple. It was the single most delicious thing I’ve eaten since arriving here. I actually started bawling when I took the first bite.

It tasted like home.

October 13, 2011

This has been the longest damn week of my life. And it’s only Thursday. Today also gets to be the longest day of my life.

I teach six classes, plus a practice class in front of my bosses today, and I get a 15 minute break today in which I can wolf down a Clementine and some chips because they’re all I can stomach right now.

…Um, so yeah, that was basically my first week. There was a lot of crying, being a homesick wreck, and leaning almost too heavily on my new coworkers. They were super about keeping me reassured and reminding me that I had only been in the country for a few days and things would soon improve.

I spent most of my first full weekend here wrapped up on my bed with my laptop, talking to friends and family, doing some lesson planning, and sleeping like a fox. I was very nervous about the impending Week the Second, but suddenly it’s Saturday again, and here I am. Killing some time before going out with coworkers for some dinner and drinks, and then tomorrow I will do some lesson planning, buy some more things I need for my place, and begin the countdown to week three.

Fifty weeks to go.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Saturday, you are made of win.

If I hadn't had the sense to keep my journal at hand this week, I think it would be lost to the ages. Of course I've hardly even begun to properly chronicle everything (ask me when I have had the time and necessary energy), but everything seems to be etching itself indelibly onto my brain right now. This might be why I purchased a bottle of Essence of Fermented Grapes while at the grocery store today--everything's keeping me awake when I am still so so tired. It's about 625 in the evening on Saturday and I am seriously contemplating bed.
First, have some more of my airplane ramblies.

It's just about 1am in Toronto and 2pm in Seoul. I made a halfhearted attempt to sleep at what was 10pm. Think I managed a wink? Noooo! And now, when we are but a half hour from landing (ohmygodohmygodohmygod) I am starting to feel bagged.
Also, it feels a bit like I've been turned inside out. I'm honestly beginning to fear that instead of my ritual head explodey ear pin, IIIII mayaccidentallycrackoneoff.'re welcome.
Of course, knowing my wonderful luck, I will get both.
Why the hell am I whining?? I am less than an hour away (barring any delays while landing) from KOREA.

...please don't let my ears explode with pain. I have zero control over my tear ducts and my whimpers.

Maybe I'll consult with my phrasebook, see if there's anything to tell me how to say 'OH GOD MY EARS!!' But hopefully I won't need that. (pleasepleasepleaseplease)

230pm KST, October 8

Yeah. So, um. I'm in Korea right now.

110am KST, Oct 9
Am most definitely glad I got to leave a day earlier. Gives me a better chance to explore and recover from the trip. I still feel a lot like I've been turned inside out, or maybe that's the delicious Korean bbq talking (DECLICIOUS, by the way).
I think I experience a brief panic attack the first time I woke up around 9pm. My anxiety was just off the wall and there was no way sleep was coming without a little help. Then of course the sleeping pill I took got stuck in my throat and I honestly thought I was going to be sick because it was sitting right on that spot that makes you gag--you know the spot I mean. Luckily I had some water handy and so didn't fill my sink with slightly used food. ...anyway.
I had forgotten that prior to last night I actually HAVE tried kimchi before! I had it at a Korean place at the P-Mall and didn't know that's what it was. It came with some other things that I suppose I might encounter in the next few days. I rather like it too, which is good since it apparently comes with everything.

Things I need to remember -

-greet people if they greet you, or maybe even greet them first
-remember to say thanks (kamsa hamnida) and say it often
-response to a thank you is the word for yes, which, funnily enough, sounds like the Scottish term for 'no' (ne = nay, but ne means yes)
- when eating in a group you aren't supposed to pour your own drink
-because I am female and foreign I can get away with more slipups
- _____ juseyo = please give me ______

A friend of my brother's who is teaching in another city nearby says he knows people who have lived here for years and they don't speak a word of Korean. HOW DO THEY FUNCTION?? I was buying groceries and when I paid with my credit card I couldn't figure out that I was supposed to sign the little panel in front of me until the girl told me to in English. I need to learn, and fast.
But for now, I think I will read a bit more and hope that sleep graces me with its presence.

PS - there's a 7-11 across the street from my view. Awesome.

Next on the reading agenda, my panicked scrawlings that I managed to produce during the insanity that was my first week of work.
...maybe you'll get photos next week. For now, I'ma have some of that fermented grape essence and bid today adieu.

Canada, I miss you.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Opposite of Mexico

Drink the water in Korea.
Or just drink water, period.
Buy it by the crate.
My apartment is the Calahari and my work is the Sahara.
I have consumed three litres of water today and I am on my way to a fourth.
Bathroom trips today are close to the same number.
No further airplane chronicles today.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Further Airplane Adventures!

I survived my first day of teaching. There will be more stories there too, I assure you, as I somehow found the time to do some writing on my break--my journal has not left my side since I arrived--but for the moment, have some more of the writing I did on the airplane.

Ontario time - 650 pm

Apparently my brain is attempting to adjust to the time change already without any of my help. I was just looking at my watch to check the time and I swear it took me a solid minute to figure out what number I was looking at. Madness.
Highlights from the flight include spending time mastering multiple video games, watching Pixar's latest (it was cute but I'm glad I kept my ten bucks because it wasn't as amazing as say, UP), and impressing the stewardess by thanking her in Korean when she brought around some snacks.
I'm already nearly halfway through my new Rick Riordan book and there are still six (so probably seven) hours until we land.
And I am still too awake and pumped to even consider sleeping.
There's a surprising number of people getting up to stretch their legs and such. I'm not too bad for the moment, though I have to shift around every now and then because apparently one does indeed possess butt muscles and therefore one's butt can go pretty damn numb. Guh.
My shoulders are a mite stiff too. I'm debating watching another movie. They've an excellent selection and of course, me being me, I plan to watch all the animated ones. And even if I watch them both, standard kids' movie times combined, that'll put us at 10pm.
According to the map we're someplace above Siberia. Our route took us way north first, over the arctic circle even, and hey! We've crossed the international date line so I am officially in the future! airplane's kind of a flying car.

I think I'm going to have to fly Korean Air forever now. It's AWESOME.

Eventually we'll catch up. For now I have to summon the energy for another day of work. ...I think I have a bottle of it in the fridge. It's called cola.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Well, this was unexpected.

Apparently the blogger website automatically detects what country you happen to be in and has changed all the usual login stuff to Korean.
Needless to say, it took me about five minutes to get logged in instead of five seconds.

First off, Korea is amazing. Somehow I am functioning despite only having eight Korean phrases to my name. I'm close to everything, and I managed to not get lost while walking today. I think I found the stadium where I can go for a run, which is good because I really don't think running in the streets is wise. They're quite narrow and filled with numerous cars.

I know I have more stories, but for now I'm a bit edgy about beginning my new job today, so for now, have the stuff I wrote by hand on the plane.

Oct 7, 2011

I can hardly believe the size of this airplane. When I was looking at it through the terminal window I thought "well, that's not as huge as I'd expected..." (go ahead, Tina), but then we boarded. This plane is the size of Hampton, I swear. Or maybe even the Hamptons. I've never been. Can't say for certain.
For the moment my excitement is all excitement. I'm not worrying about the job and how I will do. I am just plain PUMPED.
We're approaching the runway now, gearing for takeoff. For some reason I first wrote 'takeout'. I am hungry and I smell food. Maybe that's why.
This plane. This PLANE!
I got to my seat and there was a pillow, a blanket, headphones, and a bottle of water waiting for me. Last time I flew, for five bucks I could rent some earbuds for the flight.
I have tons of legroom, I'm on the aisle and I don't have to walk 100 metres to the can.


...and now...staring out the window, watching Toronto disappear... it's finally hit me.
'Scuse me, I've something in my eyes.

1220pm EST

Dear Ian, thank you to you and your parents for the candy. It is excellent.


Lunch was GOOOOOD. Bibimbap I think it was called. Served with some kind of pickles, fresh fruit and seaweed soup. Once I figure out where to buy that hot pepper paste and sesame oil, I can totally make it myself, I bet!
Filled with some kinda meat, beef I think, zucchini, pickled something or other, mushrooms (which I actually ATE), and something that might have been spinach. Deeeelish.
Also also ALSO! COCA COLA! It comes in cans that are about the size of a can of Red Bull and it's not as syrupy as I'm used to, but that's probably a good thing. And a cup of really nice green tea after.
So by my math there're still ten more hours. But according to the flight screen it is precisely ten hours and twenty minutes. It also says it is 335 am in Korea, and we are traveling at a speed of 519mph or 835kmh at an altitude of 32000 feet.
There are still over 5153 miles to go, or 8287 km.
I'm gonna play around with this tv some more and then I think it's book time!

More airplane chronicles to come! But for now, I have to go and make some lunch to eat now and some to bring to work! Eventually, I will get to my adventures since arriving! They will take some time to reach you, as I am writing from the future, remember.

Annyonghi kyeseyo!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Am I existing on an alternate plane of existence or what?

Um, that totally wasn't pun intended.

I'm sitting on a comfy comfy chair at my boarding gate, enjoying the legroom and the chance to walk around while I still can. There is a giant blue and white airplane right in front of me, getting itself aligned with the... uh... that tunnel dealie that you go through to board (how nice, my vocabulary is deciding to desert me when I'm about to start teaching people English), and I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that by this time tomorrow I will be living in South Korea. Reality still hasn't set in.

Said goodbye to my parents about an hour ago. Managed to only get misty-eyed instead of openly sobbing in front of airport security. Miraculously I managed to get some sleep, so right now I am very much doubting that I will sleep on the flight. Adrenaline is going to be my special friend for the next, oh, month. Or two. While I have no idea whether Coca Cola is crazy expensive in SK, or if I can even find it there, I imagine I can get green tea. Or something caffeinated. My heart shall be like that of the tiniest mouse, wherein it hammers so quickly that it will be like a hum. When going to the doctor for checkups, the doctor listening with a stethoscope will inexplicably have a tune stuck in his or her head, because of course my heart will be singing its favourite song.

I spent my last night in Canada watching the hockey game. I find that oddly appropriate. I think I'm actually going to miss hockey. Which is kind of nuts.

Welp. Still nearly two hours until boarding o'clock. I may be back with more random observations. Further, I plan to do what I have just now dubbed analog tweets, in which I will use the ancient writing tools of our forefathers, the pen and paper, to record thoughts as they come to me during the flight.
...when I'm not reading my new Rick Riordan book anyway.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Damn you, Tiny Man!

He's back and he's kicking me between the eyes again. And he brought friends.

Tomorrow is my last day at home. We're having an impromptu-ish Thanksgiving dinner and I have rediscovered my ability to make pie crust. (note: I make a damn good pie crust.)

I swear I'm trying to be more articulate and say interesting things, but I just suddenly feel like I've run into a wall and I need sleep in the worst way.

...I'm moving to Korea on Friday.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011


Potentially leaving as early as the day after tomorrow now.


Saturday, 1 October 2011

So it's official.

I leave on October the 8th. I'm strangely calm about that fact. One week. And I will be in Korea.

It still doesn't feel completely real, any of this. I foresee that sometime after landing, perhaps immediately, perhaps days later, I will sit up suddenly, as if alerted by something. My eyes will widen with realization, and I will make a most eloquent utterance, something along these lines. Ahem:

"Holy shit, I'm in Korea!"

And yes. They've hired me to teach English.