Monday, January 17, 2011

The reoccurring theme here is "cold"

Why are my Five Things Friday posts never on Friday?
  • Last weekend, I went to COEX for a haircut and dinner with Audrey and Caroline. There was a thirty minute wait for dinner, so we settled down to knit in a coffee shop until our buzzer rang. I shrugged off my coat, a novel experience during a Korean winter,* and in the rush to gather our bags and get to the restaurant when the buzzer went off, I left my coat (which, incidentally, had my T-money card and iPod in the pocket) at our table. I didn't realize my mistake until an hour later, when I was sitting in the salon after dinner, waiting for my appointment to start. I rushed back to the coffee shop in a panic, only to find my coat still hanging off the back of my chair where I left it, everything still in the pocket. Some days, I really love Korea.

  • Speaking of the new hair cut, I like it. It's short, although not as short as the last time I cut it (and man, the stinkeye I got from the stylist when I admitted that I had last had a haircut in July), but short enough that styling it mostly becomes an attempt to corral the curls. It does mean I need to blowdry it in the morning, which is usually not a problem, but I've spent the last week deskwarming and decided I couldn't be bothered to wake up in time to fix my hair when all I'm going to do is sit alone in my office, which has led to some epically bad hair days.

  • Actually, I haven't been bothered to wake up in time to do anything, not even get to school on time. I keep leaving my apartment after I'm already suppose to be at school. I would feel guilty, except a) deskwarming is stupid and b) on Friday I ran into one of the second grade teachers who was also walking to school half an hour late.

    "I'm late," she told me as she ran past.

    "Me too!" I said.

    "But my students are waiting for me," she explained.

    Lady, you win at being late. At least I was on time when I had kids.

  • So, deskwarming. People who have to do it hate it and people who don't have to do it tell us to stop whining. And I guess it's better than having to actually work, but it's punitive and a waste of time. I'm not suppose to be doing anything while I'm here, but I have to be here for eight hours (well, more like seven) a day. I know all jobs have their annoyances, but in this case, I'm the only teacher who has to deskwarm. The Korean teachers only have to come to school during the breaks when they're teaching. I don't complain when I have to come in and sit during exams or other days when I don't teach because the Korean teachers also have to come it. It's only during the school breaks that it feels like a punishment. Also, my office is really really cold. At least at home I have some control over the temperature or, in worse case scenarios, blankets.

  • Tomorrow is my last day of deskwarming! One more day and then I have nineteen days of vacation. I thought of fleeing somewhere warm over my break, but I've (probably) opted to stay in Korea and save money (fiscal responsibility for the win). Pru is coming to visit (two days until she arrives!) for a week and I'm going to spend the rest of my break savoring my remaining 42 days in Korea.
*The public schools aren't well heated. On the good days, my classroom/office are tolerable so long as I'm wearing a heavy coat and leggings under my pants and boots and maybe a hat. On the bad days, well, I have a reoccurring problem of liquids freezing in my office. Suffice to say, I've not taken my coat off much for the past few months.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010 Year End Meme

That end of the year meme that's been going around, although you'll notice I waited until 2010 was good and over to finish it.

1. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?
Applied to the Peace Corps! Took an overnight train across China.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My 2010 goals were 1) lose weight (nope) 2) travel more (yep) 3) save money (not as much as I would have liked, but yep) and 4) organize my computer (that would be a no). Next year I want to 1) lose weight/be healthier 2) Travel more 3) Be more fiscally responsible and 4) Blog/write more.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My co-teacher Yeong Eun had a little boy.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
China (for a second time), Korea (not sure if it counts as visiting since I'm living here)

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
More definite plans for the future.

7. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Eh, none? It wasn't really a momentous year. A good year, but not momentous.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I applied to the Peace Corps. I became a better teacher.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I didn't get my Peace Corp medical paperwork finished.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Thankfully no, although I do now have an extensive amount of paperwork documenting exactly how healthy I am.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Kindle and plane tickets to China

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Congress for repealing DADT.  My broadcasting club kids worked really hard and I'm super proud of them.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Look, I pretty studiously didn't pay attention to the US elections for a reason.  That much rage isn't healthy.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Travel, books, Indian food, 문구점....

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Traveling. The Peace Corp. Life in general.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
OK Go - Here It Goes Again; My Chemical Romance - Na Na Na; Lady GaGa - Alejandro; The Sounds - 4 Songs & A Fight; 이효리 - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? happier
ii. thinner or fatter? same same
iii. richer or poorer? richer

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Cleaning my apartment, exercising, studying Korean, keeping in touch with people

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Wasting time (especially my afternoons at work), following celebrity gossip.

20. How will you be spending Christmas/New Year's Eve?
I spent Christmas with friends (lots of friends) and I spent New Years at home. I think I technically rang in the new year by reading about the Black Plague.  I never want to do anything on New Years and I always feel slightly guilty about it.

21. What was the most embarrassing thing that happened to you in 2010?
My sister got locked in my bathroom which was more embarrassing for her, but I was a bit red faced when I had to beg the adjoshi to break down my bathroom door so she could get out.

22. Did you fall in love in 2010?

23. How many one-night stands?

24. What were your favorite TV programs?
Doctor Who, White Collar, Leverage, Castle

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
No.  I don't really hate anyone.  Sustaining the anger to hate someone is too much energy.

26. What was the best book you read?
I read 60 books this year: 12 re-reads, 11 non-fiction, 18 Agatha Christie. My favorites were:

Leviathan and Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory by Peter Hessler
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford
Whose Body by Dorothy L. Sayers

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Oh hell, probably my continuing love affair with K-pop. Basically, my year sounded a lot like this and it was ~awesome!

28. What did you want and get?
To come back to Korea for a second year, see the Terracotta Soldiers, my family to visit me in Korea

29. What did you want and not get?
I really wanted to be finished with the Peace Corps medical testing by the end of 2010.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Inception or Deathly Hallows

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 25. On my actually birthday Sarah and I went shopping and out to dinner, and then that weekend a bunch of friends from college came to Brevard and we spend the weekend having Wii tournaments and touring the yarn shops of the greater Asheville area.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
To have finished my Peace Corps medical paperwork.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
Most days I made it out of the house looking vaguely presentable? I sometimes matched my glasses to my knee socks? Actually, socks in general. I own so many cheep Korean socks now.  Knee socks, plush socks, ridiculous ankle socks.  If they're sold from the back of a truck on the side of the road in Korea, I probably own them.

34. What kept you sane?
iPod and Kindle

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Kim Yuna, Johnny Weir, Alex O'Loughlin, Simon Baker

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Relations between North and South Korea, the DADT repeal

37. Who did you miss?
Family and friends back home.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Audrey, Caroline and Riah

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.
If you want something and work hard enough, you can get it.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
There are jobs and chores and questions
And plates I need to twirl,
But tonight I'll take my chances,
On the far side of the world.

-- Far Side of the World, Jimmy Buffett