Weeks 23 and 24¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Uhhh so I guess I forgot to write two weeks worth of life? I have a bad memory so this doesn’t surprise me. 

As mentioned previously, we started the new term on June 1st. Things seem to be going ok so far. I like the majority of my classes. The Korean teacher and I have had some issues with one of the girls in a higher level class being rude to us and not being a pleasant person. I scolded her in class and my coworker called her mom. Another one of my classes is probably the worst behaved class I’ve had my entire time here. There are four or five students in the class that are angels and the others…well they’re just not motivated to be there or think it’s social hour. 

I asked the director at my school if she would like me to stay an extra term and she seemed shocked that I suggested such a thing. But honestly, this came about after I had talked to a recruiter for a different job I was interested in and even though I would have about a month between the jobs, I wouldn’t be able to go home. I thought about this and decided it wasn’t ideal for many reasons and let him know I would wait a term and apply later. So, expect me stateside ~December and January at least. 🎄✌🏻

Everyone in my family is/was on baby watch. My brother’s wife, Hannah, was due to give birth to their second child any day and being 14 time zones away is a bit difficult to stay in the loop. On Monday June 12th, Astrid Jean joined the Hokanson clan. 

This year is going to be interesting because three of my cousins and a friend are also pregnant, all due one month after each other… it will certainly make coming home in December all the more exciting. 👶🏼👶🏼👶🏼👶🏼👶🏼

Friday I went out with four of my coworkers. The first bar we went to had ladies night with half priced drinks. Anything other than beer or soju is generally expensive in Korea so we took advantage of that. Then we went to a dance club. I somehow lost my apartment key while dancing. I went to the dj to ask if they had a lost and found, they didn’t but he was kind enough to announce to the whole club I’d lost my r2d2 Lego keychain 🤦🏼‍♀️ and maybe 30 minutes later the bartender comes up to me with my key! I hugged her so hard. I’m honestly really lucky in the fact that the unlucky things that happen to me turn out waaaaay worse than they could. After that debacle we danced for an eternity. I ate McDonald’s breakfast before staggering home around 5:45am. 


Saturday I was not hungover! Yay. I didn’t do much because, although I didn’t have a hangover my body hurt from all the drunk dancing I did. I did laundry and tidied up. I met Asia for pizza and went back to doing nothing at home. I watched Supergirl on Netflix.

Sunday slept in and met Asia and Sharon for 샤브샤브  for a late lunch. I did not eat 샤브샤브 because it’s hot soup and it was hot out. I had a super huge and equally delicious salad for lunch. After that we decided to go walk around a different part of Suwon. I walked over 11,000 steps so I’d say it was a productive day. 

Until next week,

B

Week 22, 2017

On Monday we got our schedules for the new term that starts on Thursday. There weren’t many surprises there for me… I also didn’t feel panicked this time; and frankly that’s concerning because there’s a lot to prep and I’m just over here like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ whatevs, man.

The new foreign teacher arrived at school and I was tasked with showing him how to prepare and organize the materials for one of the levels he’s going to be teaching which coincidentally I will be teaching too.

Tuesday was the last day of spring term for our two day classes. I bought kids that got a perfect score on every speech a snack. I have a lot of the same students next term especially from my lowest level, the cutie babies. 👶🏻💜 My desk was an absolute disaster and I took a lot of my materials home to get prepared for the upcoming units.

Wednesday was the last day for four coworkers 😧! Two of the Korean teachers, one native English teacher, and a support staff all are moving on to different chapters in their lives. It was very nice getting to know them and sad to see them go. I was very proud because I did not cry! This was the last day of thee day classes and again, I bought kids that got a perfect score on every speech a snack. This time, it caused hard feelings and made one student extremely upset.

Thursday, as you may have guessed, was the first day of summer term for our two day classes. Everything’s a mess and I feel a bit off because of the change in routine, but otherwise it went great. I have a lot of repeat students so that was nice. It was a bit weird in the teacher’s room because our three coworkers are now gone and new ones have joined us. I kept looking over expecting to see Summer and she wasn’t there. ☹️ I wore a maxi dress to work, the first time ever wearing a dress to work, and I got so many compliments. I got upset though, because my dress got stuck in the wheels of my chair and now has holes in the back. My coworker told me to just put holes all over the bottom to make it look like it’s on purpose. I might just do that 🤔 I got many of my previous students from Winter term back. Some of them have grown so much physically and mentally in our three months apart.

One student that I’ve had every term since my arrival, Olivia, was “very sad” that I’m not her teacher this term.

Friday I had an awesomely terrible sinus headache so that made the day fun. It felt like my eyeballs were going to shrivel up and pop out of my head. It was the first day of summer term for three day classes and it went rather smoothly, I think. I was previously invited to go out after work but I felt so gross that I just wanted to go home and sleep. So I did.

I slept so long I slept through my alarm for Korean class and missed the final exam and party. I felt extremely refreshed when I woke up because I had taken an extra anti-histamine pill before bed. I did absolutely nothing on Saturday except walk down the street to buy milk so I could eat cereal.

Sunday I woke up with a headache again and pain in my ears ☹️ and did laundry. I also seem to have acquired four mosquito bites during my slumber. I will, no doubt be going back to the doctor on Monday morning.

Week 20, 2017

I don’t really remember much from this past week. I forgot to write it down as it was happening…

Thursday one of my classes told me they were hungry and that I should buy them pizza… I told them no I shouldn’t and they should buy me pizza (jokingly of course). They asked why they should buy me food and I said because it will be my birthday on Friday. One of the students, Ann, was so excited at the idea that teachers have birthdays too. She told me she’d give a present to her little sister, Lisa, who is also one of my students on Friday. After we finished our lesson, she called her mom to tell her it was my birthday the following day. These kids are so precious sometimes.

Friday I turned 31.  As promised Ann’s little sister, Lisa, delivered the goods before classes started for the day. A cute treat bag full of candies. When class started, Lisa announced to the class that it was my birthday and asked them to sing Happy Birthday for me. I was in awe. Our former coworker came back from a three month excursion around Asia. Some of the kids were so confused at first. Others seemed to go crazy at the sight of her. The day went by relatively quickly. After work I went for a steak dinner and walked around the park. The school got me a super delicious cake for my birthday. 😎


Saturday I met the majority of my coworkers at Suwon Station. We were traveling to Jeonju by train. I’d never been on an intended long train ride in Korea. It was interesting but not that much different than a bus. The ride to Jeonju seemed to be going by really fast. We set out to find our lodging – a hanok. These traditional style buildings are so beautiful and interesting. The hanok we stayed at was very simple and cute. We went to wonder around and look at things around the area. Everyone, even the two dudes, got hair ornaments. Everyone except me got hearts. I got this sick hair pinwheel which was helping me make energy and brain power.


I took a photo of a random couple looking a tree that had surrounded a granite boulder while dressed in Hanbok. I took quite a few random photos.

We went to the night market. It was dirty and gross, like how I envision urban markets to be but haven’t really experienced. There was a giant pedestrian traffic jam and it was making me so anxious because the people were not moving. Later we went to a noraebang.

On Sunday, we woke up and went to get outfitted in Hanbok. The lady in the shop told me they wouldn’t have a jacket in my size and I could dress as a man. I anticipated this and was against dressing as a man. I either wanted to look like a pretty princess or look like my normal self. So I said no thank you and waited on the stairs while everyone else in the group found costumes. I was getting ready to go to a different shop and see if they had fat people sizes when the lady came out with a jacket and asked me to come try it. So I was outfitted in a navy blue Hanbok and ready to party. Except, it was exceptionally hot in that thing! We went to eat and explore more. I feel like I have never taken nor had that many photos taken of me in an hour and a half before. There was this super cute man who owned a coffee shop we stopped at that insisted on taking our photos with his own phone and offered to take photos of us on our phones as well. At first it was really creepy but it got more endearing as he suggested poses for us. Soon, it was time to return the hanbok and make our way to the train station to come back home.

Until next week,

B

Week 11, 2017

Last Monday was the Monday-iest Monday ever. I got bit by a child twice in the span of ten minutes because I wouldn’t let him open the door.

Tuesday was White Day – some sort of extra Valentine’s Day that some Asian countries celebrate. I still don’t know what it’s all about. Our director gave us a Beauty and the Beast chocolate rose lolly though, so that’s cool. Some of the kids in my classes also gave me candy; like this pirate’s gold!

Wednesday the child that bit me was a bit more calm because the Korean teacher scolded him. Nothing else of substance to report.

Thursday two of my classes had to write a report. Since the example was about Korean symbols, one class decided to pick American symbols.  They wrote about the American flag and what the components meant and the national anthem. I thought that was pretty cool.

I lost my pencil while grading book reports and when I looked in the mirror this is what I saw. I’ve officially lost my damn mind.

I saw this cool clown car.


Friday wasn’t that great.

Saturday I went to Korean class. I have to wear a face mask because the yellow dust and pollution are irritating my respiratory system. I think I look like a thief.


Our class was only one hour long instead of the normal two because we had orientation. I was trying to take a selfie and my classmates photobombed me.


We sat there for an hour on plastic stools that made my butt go numb. Then, my class went for lunch.

My classmate that can be seen in the center of the photobombing, Tien, sat next to me at lunch. We were chatting with other classmates. Tien made us guess how old he is…because, you know, that game always works out… I guessed that he was the same age as me. He confirmed that I was born in 1986 and was like, “so you’re 31?” My response was, “no! Not yet!” So he asked me when I’ll be 31. I said May. His eyes got big. “Me too! What day!?” “The 19th,” and his eyes got really big and he hit me on the shoulder. “Me too!” And come to find out he has the ~EXACT~ same birthday as me. He asked me what time! I told him I’d look at my birth certificate when I got home to let him know. We even whipped out our alien registration cards to prove it. So the class was making jokes about how we’re twins separated at birth and how we’ll have to have a joint birthday party. I’ve met people with the same birthday as me before, but not the whole month, day, year same! It’s pretty cool.

After all that, I went to Suwon Station to get a hair cut. The man who cut my hair caught me off guard by offering me money to help him with his English. I would, but my contract specifically forbids this and I don’t think it’s worth the risk of being fired/deported. Next I went to scope out one of my favorite stores and it was closed! I don’t know if it merged with the men’s store that was down the street but it definitely packed up and left its building. So I wondered over to LOHB which is an equivalent to CVS and I found the mother load of imported foods. I was especially impressed enough with their selection of Campbell’s soups that I took a picture. I got off the bus early and walked along the stream back to my house.

 


Sunday I didn’t do much. I did some loads of laundry and went to a Korean barbecue meat buffet with Asia.

I forgot to post this before… it’s official.

 

Until next week,

B

Week 10, 2017

Monday… since I don’t remember what happened it must not be important.

Tuesday: On the way to work I saw the egg man. Legit. I laughed about it. The day was going well until my last class of the day and I somehow got confused about when break was. I ended up taking my break when it is on M-W-F, when I’m supposed to be in class on T-Th. So I was at least 15 minutes late to my class. The kids were cool about it and asked me if I was late because I was pooping. So that was nice of them. Immediately after class I went to apologize to the director because I felt really bad. She told me that it was okay, only because I finished the pages for that day.

Wednesday was tiring because of the two “baby” classes back to back. I am still trying to work out how to wrangle them and keep them all on track even though we don’t understand each other.

Thursday I went to break at the correct time and I will forever be paranoid about that now. After class, all the foreign teachers went to trivia at The Big Chill, a foreigner’s bar in Suwon. I got a bottle of soju and talked to the people one of my coworkers invited.  My team ended up winning trivia! I was so jazzed. I never win anything! yaaaaay me! Two random Korean guys came over to talk to the table and we had some pretty good conversation.

Friday, the second of the “baby” level classes made me so annoyed. There is a boy in this class that is, I think, 5 years old. He doesn’t know how to write in Korean let alone in English. He thinks this class is play time; it is not. He clutched on to the back of my shirt and wouldn’t let go for what felt like an eternity, but was probably ten minutes. When I said something to the class he mocked my tone of voice and thought it was the funniest thing ever and laughed until his face was almost purple. He hid under the table a couple times and I just started to ignore him. There is another child in this class that likes to instigate things with the aforementioned 5 year old. I do not enjoy that class because of those two children. I went and got a pepperoni pizza and went home.

Saturday was the first day of Korean class. I woke up at 8:00 and was upset I couldn’t sleep in.  The weather was super nice so that kind of made me less of a grump. I am just not a morning person. My class is pretty diverse; there are two Americans, one Irish lady, a Polish lady, a Mexican lady, three Indonesian ladies, two Vietnamese men, an Indian lady and a Pakistani man. I’m a bit nervous about how it’s going to go as it progresses because the stuff we went over was stuff I was already familiar with and it still seemed like it was a bit too fast paced.


After class I went to Suwon Station to meet up with one of the guys I met on Thursday at trivia. I told him I wanted to eat Original Pancake House in Itaewon so we hopped on a train and got to Itaewon but his app gave us a really unnecessary, illogical mountain climbing “long-cut” to get there. At one point we were walking up the mountain at a 45 degree angle. It was awful. I do not like mountains. We finally reached our destination and it was magical. After I inhaled my food, we left and of course we could have been there on level ground by just going around the corner. TL;DR don’t trust your phone when it tells you to hike up 45 degree angle mountain faces when you know you could be there in 5 seconds around the corner.

Today I did laundry and pretended to watch Netflix. I fell asleep multiple times but the show’s episodes I was watching are repetitive enough that it didn’t really matter.

Week 7, 2017

Can you believe we’ve already made it through seven weeks of 2017!? Me either.

So… after I posted my blog last Sunday my computer decided it’d had enough of the abuse I put it through, being an over glorified Netflix player, and die. Like full on dead. I tried a lot of different things and ended up having to do a full system restore so I lost everything that was saved to my computer. Luckily, I’ve learned from my horrible electronics karma in the past and had important documents saved on Google Drive and an external hard drive. Strangely enough, doing a system restore fixed whatever was wrong with my webcam and Bluetooth. So now, I essentially have a new computer.

Last Monday, I still didn’t know if my computer would be fixed for sure or not by the time I left for school and I was pretty bummed. When I got to school I found out I had two parent meetings straight away at 12:30. I was not in the greatest mood. Buuuuuuut, the day got astronomically better when I received a giant box from my BFF Valerie!!!! That honestly made my day. I opened it up right away because I can’t stand surprises. I knew I was at least getting a shirt because I asked her to include one; I opened the box and there were EIGHT shirts. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to see eight shirts from Target ever in my life. This was a welcome surprise as a majority of my short sleeve shirts are totes gross from wearing them for six months.

Tuesday, after I realized my computer no longer had Microsoft Office I panicked a bit and left a frenzied voicemail for my parents… sorry about that Mom and Dad. They were able to provide me with a product key and got that squared away so now I can play around with and edit my documents and stuff.

One of my classes hates having their pictures taken so of course if they’re bad I threaten them with taking pictures.

For dinner on Tuesday, I went to Tony Burger; a weird cowboy-esque themed burger restaurant. I ordered a burger and when it came I was not disappointed but confused on how I was going to manage to eat it. I was, however, disappointed with the lack of napkins provided as this burger was exceptionally messy.

On the way home I saw a crane fishing in the stream with the moon/lamplight rippling across the water. It was super pretty so I took a video.

I have enjoyed Kraft Macaroni & Cheese so much this past week thanks to Valerie. Also, blueberry soju. Aaaah so delicious!

Thursday after work we went to trivia at The Big Chill and I got grapefruit soju. That was really delicious as well. Because I don’t imbibe often some people seemed shocked that I was. We got our trivia on and Sean and I stayed later and danced to S Club 7 and other random requests we could think of. Oddly enough, I still got home before I normally go to bed so I was able to shower and still get in almost nine hours of sleep.

Saturday Fitbit informed me that I’ve lost 17.9 pounds since coming to Korea! Fuck yessss!


I had an appointment at 1pm to get my eyebrows microbladed. ( see What is microblading) I was getting a bit nervous because the technician drew my eyebrows on super dark and I looked really weird. Numbing gel was applied to my eyebrow area and after 15 minutes, she started blading away at my face. It was super weird because I could hear her scraping my skin but I couldn’t feel it. After an hour she sat me up and made some finishing touches. Then I was released back into the wild with my brand new eyebrows. Since I don’t really know much Korean and the technician didn’t know much English I paid her the incorrect amount. After I ate lunch I went back to give her what I owed her. I then went and walked around a bunch. I bought some acrylic paints and plan on painting something dope as soon as I figure out what I want to paint.

My eyebrows before microblading

The scary during photo.

After microblading! Yay! I have eyebrows now!


Yesterday, I went out to eat and sent this to all my Snapchat friends. lol.

Until next week,

B

Weeks 5 & 6, 2017

Uhh… *scratches head* not a whole lot happened in the past two weeks. We went back to “normal” work hours.

My student, Daniel, likes to make jokes about me in class. He wrote this in his book:

My student, Cathy, drew me after she finished a test. See Mom, I wear the shirt you got me… I kind of have proof.

Suwon is hosting the U20 Soccer World Cup this May and they are pretty proud of it.

Last Saturday, I met up with a stranger from the internet to go to noraebang (karaoke) from an app called meetup. I’m a horrible singer and can only sing Disney songs so that’s what I stuck to. The dude stranger though… was an excellent singer. He also turned out to be exceptionally creepy/needy/annoying and kept alluding to coming over to my house. Thanks, but no thanks. *shudders*


If you know me, you know I’m not really a planner. I’m more of a last minute kind of gal. I bought this book to help with that. I don’t really have anywhere in this hemisphere I really feel like I need to go –  so maybe if I educate myself, that will change.

Friday my coworker helped me get a ticket to a concert the following day. There was some stipulation, to buy a foreigner ticket I had to have an international credit card… well, I don’t have one of those and only use Korean cards. So she helped me and after what felt like forever I got a ticket confirmation! I was so excited I felt like I was high.


So yesterday I went to the concert. I swear it took years to get there. I made friends with a little girl on the train who was sitting next to me. She kept tapping my arm and smiling at me. She pointed to my hair and I tilted my head so she could touch it. I finally get to the stop I need and I take the exit that was listed… but I have no idea what direction to go in. The concert was held in Olympic Park where the 1988 Olympics were held. Because I had no clue where I was supposed to be going and had time to kill, I wandered around a bit. I finally got worried and stopped a kind looking man to ask where I should be going and he didn’t know either. Haha! So I just kept walking and saw a bike rental place and asked the lady that was running it. She was very helpful.

I got to where I needed to be but there was an hour before the ticket booth opened for me to pick up my ticket. I looked around and bought some extremely overpriced merchandise. I assume they were doing a final soundcheck/test before the concert because the ground was shaking when I got there and you could hear the glass on the building rumbling from all the bass. I was convinced I was going to go deaf before I even got inside the building.


The ticket hut finally opened and then it was time to queue up in accordance to your section and ticket number. I was very impressed with the orderly queuing. I was also equally impressed with the women who were wearing mini skirts because I was wearing jeans and a down coat and I felt like I was going to die. We finally were allowed inside and I was super close to the stage! Aaah!

Technically, you weren’t supposed to take pictures but who follows rules like that? The security dudes were going their best to stop people but, pffft, that obviously didn’t work. We stood there for about an hour before the show started. Ohmaigawd it was so good.


And then after three hours it was over. ☹️😭 so I made my way out and found a taxi to take me home because I didn’t really want to take the bus and it’s a good thing I hadn’t eaten for nine hours or I would have probably thrown up, he was such a crazy driver. Unless you count magic, there is no way I should have gotten home as fast as I did… and that’s after he dropped off the two other girls I was sharing the taxi with.

 

Later, Hannah messaged me to ask me how the concert was… this is our conversation… lol

Today I didn’t really do anything special. Woke up. Cleaned entire micro apartment. Took out the recycling. Went to Suwon Station to eat and walk around. Came home.

Week 4, 2017

This week was the last week of Winter Intensive classes so we go back to our 12:30 start time tomorrow. Woohoo!

I attempted to braid my hair but my arms got tired and I couldn’t see what I was doing so I gave up after only braiding a quarter of my hair. I didn’t take it out and wore it to school the following day. Did I look like a dumb ass? Probably, but I don’t really care. The same day, I was attempting to eat pineapple when I dumped the package all over my desk and self. That was fun. Spill was one of the vocabulary words that day, so it worked out. And my boss tried to make me feel better by telling me, “at least you smell delicious!”


Hangman is a really popular game with my students… I’m not sure why. Maybe because they are in control of the class for that time? Whatever, I’m not complaining, they participate and speak English; that’s all I really ask.


Tuesday I came home and I could hear a cat crying. I was confused if it was in one of my neighbors’ houses, outside, or if I finally went completely nuts and it was in my head. I opened the door and the crying was louder. Okay, the cat’s totally in my building. I call out, “kitty” a couple times and peek down the stairs. No cat. So I go up the stairs… four flights in all and there’s a small cat sitting in the doorway to the roof. Um, okay? I hold out my hand and it comes and nudges me. Obviously a friendly thing. I scratch its ears and pet it. Its so dirty and cold. I attempt to pick it up and it runs away. After I gained its trust, I picked it up and started carrying it downstairs. I was going to put it outside and shut the building door, but no, I wanted to feed it first. So I took it in my house. Turns out kitty was  a boy, so I gave him some tuna and I felt really bad. I gave him a wet wipe bath which he seemed to really enjoy. I kept thinking, “omg what are you doing? You can’t keep this cat!” So after playing and snuggling, I put him back outside. Before I could close the building door, he ran up the stairs again. Fine, whatever. I started to feel itchy so I decided that it was good that I put him back outside, but I felt pretty guilty about it. If I knew what I was doing with my life I maybe would have kept him, but I don’t and I like not sneezing every two seconds.


Wednesday I apparently put the incorrect actor in a flashcard for the word “handsome” and it caused one of my classes to have a meltdown. “Teacher, ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww!” “Teacher, he’s NOT handsome!” and “Yuck!” were said multiple times. I asked them who they preferred and got some interesting answers. Later that day, in the same level, a different class had the opposite reaction. It was so funny. It told them their peers didn’t like the man in the photo and they were AGHAST.

Thursday wasn’t really all that special. I went to Suwon Station after work and found more shirts. I ate at Banes Taco and it was delicious but I almost pooed when I saw how much the fajitas were. It seems that this is the normal price for fajitas around here. *sobs* After that, I met up with Sunny and we had coffee and talked for quiet a long time.


Friday we didn’t have work because it’s Seollal or Lunar New Year. So… I go on the bus and went to Suwon Station again. I was determined to spend the 60,000 KRW gift certificates I had to Shinsegae. I remember seeing one of these stores last weekend when we went to Jukjeon for the work conference. And, since that is the location that seemed to be closest to home, I went there. The train was so empty is was unreal. Well, that store was closed. I had already spent an hour and half in transit time to get there, I didn’t want to turn around and go home… even though I thought about it. So I looked up the main branch of this store and it happened to be in Myeongdong – cool I know where that is. So I looked up on my handy subway app how to get there. On this journey, I forget where exactly, there was a man harassing people to buy his Josh Groban/Opera/Classical music CDs. Well, three line transfers and almost two more hours later I arrived at my destination. All while relaying my adventure with CeeCee. I got there, it was pretty busy. Walked around, inquired about the largest size shoes the vendors sold, was disappointed and went on my way. I used my gift certificates to buy a new Coach wristlet because my collection isn’t big enough already. I got home at 7pm so it was a pretty busy day of sitting on trains and spending money.

 


Saturday I wasn’t sure what would be open so I didn’t plan on anything. I decided to go for a walk because it was warm-ish outside. A new supermarket had opened on a main street by my house and it was open so I went there. They had tanks with live octopi in them and I wanted to buy one…I didn’t because I’m not going to eat it and it would die. They had a pretty loaded beverage section – I was impressed.

 


Yesterday, Sunday, I didn’t really do anything but do some laundry, watch movies, and consume food.

Today was a bit disorienting because I thought I had to go to work. I didn’t… so I didn’t really do much today either. I did make Sesame Chicken from scratch and that was pretty good but created a disaster in the kitchen. Cooking here, in this house is a pain because there is zero counter space.

Until next week,

B

Weeks 2 and 3, 2017

I had a cold last week and didn’t open my computer at all. I didn’t feel as miserable as the last time I was sick but I just didn’t feel like updating. Nothing of substance really happened anyway.

It’s snowed a couple times in the past two weeks though none of it sticks much.


I had to bring home a stack of book reports to grade last Thursday and I had a pretty good assembly line set up while I was watching documentaries on Netflix.

I had some issues with the delivery person not wanting to leave my packages at my door; I wanted them left there because they were big and bulky and I didn’t want to carry junk over the pedestrian bridge. My school’s director, Chloe, was very kind and talked to the delivery people for me to have the items left even though I wasn’t home.

I walked to HomePlus last Saturday; the weather was windy and cold. I went up to another level I had never been to before. It was like finding the entrance to a secret club or something. There was a bookstore, pet store, music/guitar store, cafe, and random clothes shops up there. I, of course was drawn to the pet store. I looked at all the fish and small pets. Then I saw it. The cat room. There was a mama cat and three babies in a small plexi-glass room. One of the babies had a cone on his head. I wanted to take them all home. I did not. See, I do have some self control!

After HomePlus, I visited Etude House for some skin care products and got a pretty good haul. Then I walked back home because all my purchases from the day could fit in my backpack. When I got home I rested on the floor to warm my body. That in floor heating is good for something!  I then put together one of the big, bulking things I had ordered. A five drawer metal cabinet. It was pretty easy to figure out how to put together and I only hurt myself once to draw blood.

Sunday I didn’t feel right but thought I was just hungry. I took the bus to Suwon Station and then walked to Lotte Mall. This mall is laid out like a western style mall with a central path to get to stores and the stores actually being separated and sectioned off into actual stores. I went to eat at the Mexican restaurant. Though it doesn’t compare to the delicious Mexican food back home, it was pretty delicious. I decided to humor myself and go into one of the clothing shops, Uniqlo, to see if I could find any tops. I went to try on four tops and three of them fit! I was so shocked. So that made me happy. My last stop at the mall was the big grocery store. There are some products that I can’t find closer to my house so I scoped it out and everything I was looking for was there. I took a cab home because I feeling kind of shitty and I didn’t want to be on a crammed bus.

Monday, I woke up with a cold. How nice.

On Tuesday I felt the worst but I had time to rest so it wasn’t so bad. When I got home I realized I needed to wash some socks because I was out. I put a load of laundry in the washer and fell asleep. I woke up about an hour later and was confused. I went to check the wash and it was stopped but the water hadn’t drained out. I was panicking. I went upstairs to the landlord’s apartment and typed in my issue to Google translate. He came down and looked around my apartment before scoping out the washing machine. Then he called his wife to go get the neighbor that speaks English to be our translator. So there’s three extra people in my apartment trying to figure out what’s wrong with my washing machine. They determined the drain hose was frozen and that I needed to wait for it to thaw. That’s not so serious of a problem… I can deal with that. Around 11 pm I finally heard the water draining and made sure to spin the remaining water out of my clothes.

I could fully breath out my nose on Friday so I was happy about that.

Yesterday most everyone in the company I work for had to attend a conference at Dankook University in Seoul from 1 pm to 5 pm. I left my apartment at 10:20 am to grab some McDonald’s before the other foreign teachers and I met to catch the bus for our journey. It was lightly snowing as I sat and ate my breakfast. We got on the bus and transferred to the subway. We we got off the train we ran into one of the Korean teachers from our campus, Kathy. When we got towards the exit for the station, we saw the Korean head teacher, Jessica. We took two taxis to the University then we had to split up as there were separate lectures for Koreans and foreigners. We had to walk up a pretty steep hill, I was so tired after that. It wasn’t as boring as it could have been, so that’s good. Though for the last speaker, talking about games that we were told about at the last seminar, it was really hard to focus. While all this was going on, the snow continued to fall and had accumulated. Big, fluffy flakes were falling and it made me happy.

After the conference was over, we met back up with Jessica and Kathy. We tried to get a taxi but because of the snow there were none to be found. So, we took a packed bus back to the train station. We decided we would eat some Indian food after we got back to Suwon. We met a nice lady, Jen, on the platform for the train from the campus in Busan. We chatted the whole way back to Suwon. After a very delicious meal of Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Samosas Jessica, Olivia, and I went shopping. We went to the cellphone place and got Olivia a prepaid SIM for her phone. Then we went to a clothing store Jessica suggested. I found more shirts! Then we just kind of walked around. We ate ice cream and then came home.

Week 1, 2017

This week we started “Winter Intensive” classes because the students are on winter break from their public schools. This means we start earlier at 10:30 am and end at 6:30. This also means that aside from normal classes, “fun,” extra classes are added. Normally, we arrive at work by 12:30 and start classes at 2:50 which gives us prep time; now we arrive by 10:30 and start classes at 11:05. Depending upon when your break is or if you have multiple breaks can make for a rather exhausting day.

Monday, I forgot we didn’t have the usual preparation time and failed to bring myself lunch. I think I had a bagel in my desk which was the only thing I ate until 7 pm. I made my way for some dinner and gorged myself on mandu. Afterwards making up a song about taking Courtney to the mandu shop to the tune of 50 Cent’s Candy Shop. Later that evening I went to the convenience store to get some snacks for the next day and I considered buying the Spam fried rice but it I don’t even recall if I’ve ever even eaten Spam before so I passed on that.


I don’t really recall anything of significance happening Tuesday and Wednesday… just the usual; wake up, go to work, eat, come home, repeat.

Thursday morning I was sorting my trash so I wouldn’t be the subject of the passive aggressive notes about the trash and recycling that are left in the common area of my building, and I found an important looking letter from the internet company in the bin. Checked my internet connection and wouldn’t you know, it’d been disconnected. So I went to try to pay it at the machine in the bank and that machine is turned off. Just my luck.


Friday I left early so I could pay the bill and/or express concern about the machine still being off. It was back on and the man at the bank essentially paid the bills for me save punching in my PIN and my phone number… I still don’t know how to do this myself. Get home from work after grocery shopping and my internet is still off. If I were smart, I would have gone to the store where I got my cell phone and asked them about it, but I’m clearly not. So my internet is still off and I’ve been using my phone as a hotspot.

Saturday, Nick and I went to Gangnam because I wanted to go to the Kakao Friends store. We left around 12:30 and were in transit for just under a hour and a half. We got a bit lost in the subway station because, as I’ve told you before, I’m directionally dumb. We got it sorted out and emerged from underground. Nick expressed excitement to see a Taco Bell so we ate there. Then we went to the Kakao Friends store. It was so packed in there I was being pushed about so much. I bought some junk and he did too, then we walked around looking for something else interesting. If you know me I’m not really a planner. I just like to go places and see one specific thing then see what’s up. There wasn’t a whole lot else besides the Taco Bell and Kakao Friends store that we can’t see closer to home so after I got some Jamba Juice, we headed back home… and it was still daylight out!


Later that night I went out to get food before the shop closed. As I was walking back I saw a former student of mine, Peter, walking with his parents. I waved and he seemed really shocked to see me. I said hi and bowed to his parents and went on my way. As I was getting ready to cross to the other side of the street I heard someone running behind me. It was Peter and he gave me some sweet potato snacks. Interactions like this make me smile. I bowed again and continued my walk home.


Today I decided to get on a random bus and go for a ride and get off at a place that looked interesting. I walked around in a park and looked at the shops in a hilly part of town. I came back to my point of origin and walked around more in my immediate area. I found the post office so I longer have that excuse and a hospital that I never would have known was in the area. I watched some dudes play soccer for awhile and came back home. I did four loads of laundry this weekend and had to bring my drying rack inside my actual apartment because the “chilly” 50 F wind wasn’t drying my clothes fast enough.

Over the past week I read two books – over 700 pages. Since I got a new Kindle for Christmas I decided I might as well make good use of it. I’ve set my reading goal for 50 books this year and I definitely have well over that number of books I’d like to read, the only problem is, as always, motivation.