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

Advertisements

Week 17, 2017

Monday was cool until my last class. There is a boy in that class that is known for touching himself, no, full on masturbating while in class. I made eye contact with him whilst he was rubbing away and said,  “uh what are you doing? Put both of your hands on the desk right now.” He complied but resumed as soon as I turned to write on the board. I felt so sorry for the boy sitting next to him 😳

Last week I received a formal invitation to my Korean coworker’s wedding in June. I was like cool! Then I realized I have the most casual closet in the universe and nothing appropriate to wear. I was voicing this concern out loud and one of my coworkers had the attitude of, “omg just get a dress…” Right, because I’ll fit into tiny Korean clothes. I don’t really understand how a person looking at me could think my butt could fit into Korean clothes. The top half, yes; but the bottom half…you’ve probably got to get your eyes checked.

Wednesday we had a campus dinner after work. We all went to eat Indian food. I was starving and decided to forgo the picking out of peas (a food I am allergic to) and eat the aloo samosa straight away. This was a very bad idea and I paid for it later on. The rest of the food was amazing and it brought back many memories that feel like a lifetime ago when I lived in Chicago.

Friday was chaos. My baby student who is four got hit in the face by another student… after he finished yelling at the offender, he looked at me with those “I’m going to start bawling” eyes, and raised his arms to be picked up. So of course I picked him up, inspected his face, and asked him if he’s okay. He cried maybe one tear and was okay.  Later another student in the same class was swinging between the tables, slipped, and hit his head on the floor after I told him twice to stop doing so. After that incident I made all the boys line up against the wall. 

After classes we decorated the campus for children’s day in a Pokémon theme. We were fed pizza. It was cool. 

Yesterday I went to Korean class… nothing special but I realized I’m exactly like my students that don’t really study English and show up to class. 

Lately I’ve been feeling a little more lost than usual, battling myself in my head, and being a bit sad. 

It’s pretty isolating living here. I have met some people staying at hostels, over the internet, at Korean class, and at work but those relationships don’t ever seem to be anything more than superficial. I’ve learned that when Koreans say, “next time” they are essentially saying, “fuck off, let’s not meet again.” So that’s been an interesting learning experience. 

I am not happy with my job environment but I like the main part of my job…do I stay in Korea and try to find a different job and hope it has better aspects than the one I currently have or do I go home and again become the miserable shell of a human I was when I lived there? Do I try to find a job in a different country? Fuuuuck if I know. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

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

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.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah

It’s been pretty mild here, weather wise. None of that crazy snow and subzero temperatures you all back home had. In fact, it’s been so nice that the trees have become confused and started to bud again.

Wednesday and Thursday it rained quite a bit. On Friday there was snow in the morning but the only evidence was on the windshields of parked cars.


At work this week we started phone speaking, where we call the kids at home and ask them questions one would generally be asked when meeting a new person and some questions from their lessons. We talk to each of our students for 5 minutes. It gets a bit tricky because we hand out a schedule about a week in advance but of course, some kids lose them, never show their parents, forget; you know normal kid things.

Thursday and Friday we had Christmas activities for the kids which were balloon volleyball and writing three wishes on a paper ornament. The staff also handed out lollipops which caused whining of all sorts because kids wanted a specific shape and a lot of kids disliked how they tasted and some of them turned the kids’ mouths black.

Back: JiYoung, Nick, Andrea, Kathy, Summer, Alicia, and Sean
Front: Olivia, JiEun, Chloe, Jessica, Jinny, and obviously me

This is Daniel, he’s an interesting fellow. He asked me what my last name was and without thinking about it, I told him. Now in class for answers in class and in his book it’s, “Britt Hokanson…”

Thursday I went to eat Korean Barbecue with three of my coworkers after work. One of them paid and told us to pay her back whenever (because she knows where we work…) So after this, I went to the ATM to withdrawal some monies and the @#$@^##$@ ATM shuts off as it’s counting my money!!!!   zoom-in-castle-gasp-gif


I’m panicking and continue to touch the ATM like it’s going to “wake up” and continue it’s job. Luckily, there was an ajusshi (an older Korean man) and his wife waiting in close proxmity to my broken down ATM and I approached them to ask if they knew English and to ask them for their help. The wife pushed the husband toward me and poked him, so that was a good sign. I told him what had happened and asked him how to fix it. He tried the service phone the ATM’s little cubicle, but it was out of order… He then located the number and called on his personal phone to the ATM service people. During this time, hid daughter had come from her academy and they seemed restless to get home. He seemed a bit put out that the ATM service man said it would take 15 minutes to get there and I reassured him I’d be okay waiting by myself. So the nice family left and I was waiting…waiting… waiting… until I saw someone walking extremely fast toward me out of the corner of my eye. The ATM service man! YAY! He was really attractive. He opened up the machine and retrieved my card and I was like, giphy
“Thank you!!!” with the dumbest look on my face probably, I don’t know because I can’t see my own face.

Friday, I was rudely awoken by my doorbell. Luckily it was for a good thing… I got a package from my friend Carly! It included a super cool Christmas card and some random goodies that made me smile. Carly, that Cadbury bar was bomb!

Saturday I went with Sean to his friend Tim’s in Jamsil for a Christmas lunch/movie get together. There were lots of people there and everyone brought amazingly delicious things to share. We watched Elf, Bad Santa, and a good portion of Die Hard. Video games were played. Alcohol was consumed. It was good. I left with Nick, my coworker, around 7 or 8 I don’t remember, and we caught the train and bus back to Suwon.

Nick and me 

Me and Lizzie
Today I did nothing special; laundry mostly. I, of course, had the most traditional of Christmas meals today… grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch and McDonald’s for dinner. McDonald’s was poppin’ too. I got there right before a rush of people came through.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah,
Britt

It doesn’t feel like it’s 13 days until Christmas…

It doesn’t seem like Christmas is as close as it is. There is no snow, I killed a mosquito on Friday, and no one is really talking about it.

The week started off as any week would, there was a Monday… it was tiresome. Tuesday was a test on my patience. I have a class this term with three boys who have very high English comprehension and vocabularies. Two of them thought it would be hilarious to comment about how I have such a big butt, big stomach, and am equative to that of an Elephant. While I don’t deny that I am larger than the majority of Koreans (and even Americans), these boys did not stop commenting about this after I asked them to stop. After class I went to vent to my coworker and the director, as we all share a room. The director said she will talk to them on Thursday about it. And boy did she ever!

Wednesday made up for Tuesday because my cute class of all girls wanted to play “teacher draw…” where they shout out things from the story we read and they laugh at my horrible whiteboard drawings. Well, my bat wasn’t up to par with their expectations so they decided they wanted to try to draw it better. This turned into them drawing me on the board. Super cute.


Thursday came around and the director took the two boys into a private room and scolded them. I have no idea what she said because I had to look after the other student but when the two came back to class they looked so depressed and offered me a very insincere apology. Later that day, I had a class of learners who are lower level English learners and two boys from that class were not very behaved either. I had to write a list on the board of things they were not permitted to do in class (photo below). After warnings, I sent one kid to the desk team twice for disrupting the class. He clearly doesn’t care that it’s somewhat shameful to be sent to the desk to be scolded. Another kid from the same class was sent to the desk once and was on the verge of another trip.


All the native English speakers and a few of the Korean teachers went to trivia on Thursday. It was pretty fun but after round 3/5 for trivia and adding more and more alcohol to the mix, people lose their attention spans or it becomes boring. The bar has this really good ginger beer, Crabby’s, so I imbibed. On the way home, I stopped at McDonald’s and either said the wrong thing ordering or was misunderstood. I got a double quarter pounder – one quarter pound of beef on a burger is perfectly enough for me. When I paid I thought, “dang that seems really expensive…” but clearly didn’t care that much. I didn’t eat it until I walked home five minutes later and my fries were cold to discover why it was so spendy.

Friday night after work I got some jjajangmyeon, a Korean Chinese noodle dish topped with a thick sauce made of chunjang (a salty black soybean paste when unheated), diced pork and vegetables, and had a Netflix party with my bad self. I also decided at 3:45 am, that it was a good as time as any to start cleaning my apartment; I swept, Swiffered, washed the dishes, and took out my recycling.

Yesterday I went to HomePlus with my coworker Nick. I bought a lot of random things, but I found fajita mix in the foreigner food aisle! I bought a toaster oven, toaster, and groceries. I also found some raspberry sparkletini and bought two because it’s delicious and it reminds me of good times had with friends back home. After taking a taxi home with Nick I realized he took one of my bags of loot home with him. Thankfully he did because I started to look for my phone to message him as the taxi drove away. WHERES MY PHONE?! In the taxi! I swear to you, I have never ran that fast in my life!!! I got him to stop, retrieved my phone off the floor, and thanked him for stopping. That’s enough excitement for one day. 😑


Today I went to Myeongdong, Seoul to buy some gifts for Christmas. After some shopping I saw a hair place that was recommended to me. I went in, said I wanted a hair cut and was on my way to what would work out to be a two hour adventure. This place was far fancier than any other I’d ever been to. They take your bags and coat and put them in a locked locker. After that they give you a robe to put on and escort you to the shampooing room where it’s dim and relaxing. They put a thin tissue over your eyes so you don’t get splashed and cover you with a blanket. Then after the wash, they take you to the stylist’s chair and you get a cape and proceed with the cutting of hair. My intention was to just get a trim but while cutting my hair the stylist said, “why not get a straight perm?” Since I had been thinking about it, I went for it. After the initial cut, I was moved to what looked like a dining room table. There I got my perm chemicals applied by not one but two people and was put under a heater twice for five minutes to bake the chemicals into my hair. Then I was back in the shampoo room, taken back to the chair for blow drying and flat ironing, got some more chemicals put on my head, and had my hair washed for a third time and blown dry a second.

After all that, I did some more shopping and decided to go home. I got lost…again. I successfully got off at the correct subway station to catch my bus but I got on the wrong bus at the bus stop. I got on and things were going okay until I realized this bus was super old and didn’t have the tv that tells you which stop is next and I started to panic. I got off at some random stop when I looked at google maps and realized I was not where I should have been. My friend Sunny was able to help me figure out how to at least get to some place familiar and get home from there.

Now I’m home with my soft straightened hair and get to start it all over again tomorrow.