Tuesday, December 18, 2012

An Assortment

I don't have one central topic for tonight's blog, so it will be an assortment of things that have been going on in my life. Not even sure where to start! I guess I'll go back to the weekend.

I actually had a really great weekend! On Saturday I had a follow-up doctor's appointment, which was at times frustrating since they were not nearly as communicative this time around. I was seen 45 minutes late after I asked for the third time where I was supposed to go. No one seemed sure what to tell me or where I should be. Otherwise, it was unremarkable.

After that, I went to Wangsimni and treated myself to see The Hobbit! A lot of my friends and coworkers also wanted to see it, but I decided to go alone so that I wouldn't have to try and fit our schedules together, which probably would end up in postponing it. It was actually kind of nice to do something by myself, but still out and about. I usually don't venture out too much unless I am with someone or meeting someone. It's very intimidating for me to just go!

I saw the movie in HFR (which is 48 fps. I didn't know what it was either until my cinephile of a boyfriend explained it to me. Traditionally movies have been shot in 24 frames per second, and The Hobbit is the first major movie production to use a higher frame rate, which is 48 frames per second. It's groundbreaking) (ps - cinephile: person who loves movies/film/cinema). I went to the 3D version, since I figured it was a treat anyway. I got popcorn and a Coke (of course). The popcorn was cool because they had like 5 varieties and you could split your bucket into two sides to have multiple flavors. I got cheesy and butter, but they also had carmel corn and kettle corn and maybe cinnamon? I can't remember.

When I got to the ticket-taker, I asked for my glasses. You know, for 3D. She looked totally confused and looked around. I thought, maybe they give them out at the door? So, she said "8" and I headed to theater 8. I arrived about 15 minutes before the movie was supposed to start and the theater was very empty. I settled in my preselected seat (you have to choose a seat when you buy the ticket, since movies sell out so commonly. I think it's pretty smart...) and looked around. No one else had glasses on. I started to consider that perhaps, since Korea is so technologically advanced, they had devised a way to do 3D without glasses!

I texted Michael and he was stunned and couldn't believe it. I was growing more confident the more people I saw who were not donning glasses. I started to google it, and found an article about SOUTH KOREA developing the technology to do away with the need for 3D glasses in 3D movies. I was so gleeful that Michael had something to be jealous of ME about (generally, anything he tells me about - food, entertainment, etc - I am jealous of HIM)! But, as the very first opening began, everyone around me suddenly had glasses on. Immediately I jumped out of my seat, uttering a word I shan't repeat here, and dashed outside. Thankfully, a worker was just outside the theater. I showed her my ticket and said "No glasses!!" She literally ran down the hall and around the corner, and ran back about 20 seconds later. I was impressed! I got back inside in under a minute, I'd say. I admit I was a little disappointed; my thought that I'd stumbled upon this awesome new way to watch movies proved to be false.

The movie was excellent, in my opinion. Some reviewers have said it was not as good as the trilogy. But, I just reread the book and I think the movie did an excellent job bringing it to life and making it epic. The book, to me, was more juvenile than the following trilogy, so this movie definitely gave it more depth and development, lending to a broader audience than maybe sticking strictly to the book. They developed more plot lines that I believe are covered in, maybe, Silmarillion? I'm not sure since I didn't read that book. Anyway, I enjoyed it!

After the movie, I popped into E-Mart, which is in the same complex, and picked up some new bedding for Rosie. I also got some intense body lotion since the dry air has been wreaking havoc on my skin. I was pleased also to get some heat packs (you know the kind that you shake up and they keep your hands warm?) for Rosie's cage. I have been leaving my heater on day/night to make sure the room is warm enough for her, but of course I am terrified of my electric bill. So, these are supposed to stay warm for 12 hours, which is perfect for when I go to work.

When I got home, I had just enough time to clean Rosie's cage and get ready for dinner. One of my coworkers had suggested we all have dinner, and since I usually skip out, I decided to be a team player and join in. I was actually looking forward to it by the time came to meet up. There were eight of us, since a few couldn't make it, and we took taxis to the restaurant. The food ended up being pajeon, which I've tried before and didn't care for. I abstained from eating but I partook quite liberally in the drinking of the makgeolli (rice wine). It was particularly delicious, and I had about 3 cup-fulls before I decided to venture out onto the street and grab something quick to snack on before continuing to enjoy the beverages.

I got a potato tornado and returned to the restaurant, where we ordered 4 more bottles of makgeolli and played Cards Against Humanity, which was like Apples to Apples but definitely adult style. It was a lot of fun and I bonded a lot with some of my coworkers whom I had not talked to much prior. As I was digging around my purse for some cash to pay for the drinks, one of those said coworkers started to say something to the group. I only heard the first part, "Guys, I've been putting off telling you... (something I can't understand/hear) ... tomorrow." Since I was currently thinking about money, I thought for some reason she had said she didn't have cash until tomorrow and was asking if someone could cover her.

Everyone was really quiet, and I was just about to be like, "Damn guys, way to help her out. I'll pay if you need!" when it dawned on me that was probably not what she had actually said. About 5 seconds later, I realized she had said "I am leaving tomorrow".

I probably had the most predictable and animated, albeit delayed, reaction to this news. I was shocked! This girl, who shall remain nameless, was the same teacher I mentioned a few weeks ago who had been going through a really difficult time with the school. She had found out she was about to be fired for something extremely trivial and there was a TON of stress related to this, for the entire office, but for her as well. I completely understood and was actually a little jealous! I was simultaneously sad to see her go, since we had just recently bonded, and also excited for her to be going home (not to see her leave, but vicarious excitement to be going home). I definitely think she did the right thing; if she had stayed and waited for the inevitable, she may have been kicked out of her apartment with no notice, and left homeless. Of course, we would have taken her in, but that would have been a terrible situation. She had not been here a full year, so she wouldn't have been given a flight home or any of the benefits. Her decision to leave was just what she had to do to make sure she would be in a good position. She lost out on a lot of money, but if she would have lost it anyway, at least she wouldn't have to deal with the chaos of showing up to work and being fired and kicked out on the spur of the moment. I don't think there's such a thing as two weeks notice in South Korea, especially if they were going to fire her anyway! What she did is what we in the business call a midnight run. I wasn't sure I'd actually see one, but looks like I can check that off the bucket list!

After that announcement, we paid and headed back to the neighborhood. Erin, Sean, Jamie and I went to the neighborhood bar we frequent, then I headed back to the apartments to say goodbye to the leaving teacher before falling into bed.

Sunday I woke up at 11:30am, which is a rare and thoroughly enjoyable occurrence! I watched Love Actually as I made pancakes (another little treat). Heather called me around 1:00 and asked if I wanted to come to the base later to have dinner and hang out. I agreed and made it over there around 4:00. I really love seeing some friendly faces and just being around a family, even if it's not my own. They also invited me to see The Hobbit next weekend at the base theater, which I of course accepted! I got home around 8pm and relaxed the rest of the evening.

In other news, Rosie is doing great! She is adjusting to her new home and I think she is doing well. I hold her every other day, usually. Mostly she sleeps when I am home and awake. She eats fairly well and uses her wheel at night. I have been putting the heating pad in her little house (which I put back in her cage since the bedding kept getting stuck in the hand-towels and t-shirts she used to burrow in before). She kind of snuffles/sneezes a lot when she is sniffing around. I wonder if she is allergic to something in the air? I can't find much about hedgehogs having allergies... if it continues I may take her back to the vet. She really needs a bath, but I need to get a little tub to use first. I am also scared to stress her out too much! I took her out a few days ago to handle her, and she pooped and peed both on me and my bed. I actually wasn't mad or even annoyed. I had probably not given her enough time after waking up to take care of business before I took her out. She still hasn't bitten me or been aggressive. I am so thankful for that! She even lets me pet her in her cage! This morning, I cut a toilet paper roll in half and also cut it up the side so that it had an opening, and she had a ball with that new "toy" this morning. She drinks like a fish, and it has woken me up a few times. I think it's her wheel til I realize (in my groggy state) that her wheel is wooden and doesn't sound metallic. Then I realize it's her water bottle and the little ball in the tip that prevents the water from gushing out clicking. She drank half her water bottle in one night! I guess being a hedgehog works up a sweat.

This week is already a super long week. It's right before my long-awaited and much-anticipated winter vacation, and everyone is ready to get out! I am having problems with one of the boys in my classes (a different one now) and every class is a struggle to get him to behave. It's so hard because he is not a bad kid, but doesn't understand that his disruptions distract the other boys, and we can't get any work done. He also complains sooooo much. I literally fight him every class to do his work. So, that's wearing me down somewhat.

Today, my brain just shut off entirely I think. For my 3SAP class, I forgot to make copies of their Word Quiz, forgot to copy the answer sheet (which included the sentences that I am supposed to read and they are supposed to write), AND forgot to print off their test review sheet! I was able to dash to the workroom for copies at the beginning of class, but couldn't make a second trip to print the reviews. The kids ended up having to write a lot from the board. I felt bad, but writing is good for them... When I was doing things on the board, I kept mis-spelling words and not remembering simple things. This happened again a few times in my last class. During our planning hour after classes, I couldn't remember if there was a card called a Jack in a deck of cards. I mean, seriously?! At that point, I had to admit, my brain was mush. I called it quits shortly after.

One thing that is exciting is that I am starting a pen-pal project with some of my kids. I got in contact with a teacher at my old school district's intermediate school and we are going to have our kids be pen-pals! I only chose some of my more advanced and dedicated students, since it would all be outside work. It is very exciting, and they can't wait to get letters back from their pen-pals. My only problem is that there are 19 American kids and I do NOT have 19 students that can do this. So, I have recruited Sean to get his students to participate. Hopefully we can be able to get at least 12 or 13. Some kids might have doubles, but so be it. I just want my kids to practice their conversational skills and their writing. Plus, make a friend! And, the American kids can maybe learn a little about Korea and it's crazy culture! Then they can be thankful for their educational system (and how they do NOT go to 4 different academies on top of regular school!)

It is getting colder here and Christmas is approaching. I am SO READY for vacation! I have been planning some things I want to do with Erin since we will both be here for break. Mostly I want to visit museums and go to spas. Haha! An interesting combination, I know. I feel like I don't really appreciate Korea very much. I compare how I feel about Seoul to how I feel about London, and it's just worlds apart (literally and figuratively). I think I love London SO MUCH in part because I know a lot about its history and find it very interesting. I don't know much about Korea's history, beyond the basics that I learn in my students' textbooks. I'd like to learn more; hopefully when I am more knowledgable I can appreciate my city better!

I told you this is really an assortment of topics, and here's another one from left field. Since my mom visited, I have begun eating out more. For the first 3 months, I was very good about cooking and saving money, etc. But now, I find cooking and cleaning up after myself so exhausting and time consuming. I still make breakfast, but I don't cook dinner very much anymore. I should probably curb that habit, but for the moment, it is what it is. Tonight, Sean and I split a pizza from a new place we decided to try out. Compared to the other pizza I've had here, this pizza was heavenly! It is the closest thing to pizza in the states that I've had since I arrived. I ate my entire half. Oops! It was a little more expensive than the other places I've tried, but for the better quality, I'll pay more! Plus, I don't eat pizza nearly as much as I did in the States. Like, once or twice a month at most.

In general, I am feeling better; more upbeat. There are still things that make me homesick, but I am feeling more positive and in control of the situation. I think vacation will be really good for me, and once January/February hits (the halfway point is end of Feb), I think it will feel like it's all downhill. Of course, there will still be a long ways to go, but I have some visitors expected in the spring, so that will make the time go by faster!

I think maybe I've rambled long enough. I want to make sure I am keeping up with my posts, and I know there will be more to come once vacation hits and I actually do interesting things with my days! Looking forward to that! One more week...

Me and Santa this year. I guess no Asians want to dress up and take photos with children? Bummer :(

1 comment:

  1. Great post Chelsea! Thanks for all the information - you will love Seoul once you discover more about it. It will be cool, but it won't be London! Your little hedgie is sooo cute!! You are a good mom to her. Love the pictures! That's interesting too, about the Faux Santa there. Also, I found it hilarious Koreans didn't need 3D glasses - such technology!! :-) Enjoy your vacation.


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