Monday, July 22, 2013

"A wrap up," "an ahem," and a "why in the world did it take her 3 months to write this?" SERIOUS FACE

My last "Korean" post involved humor(or what I deem to be acceptable as) and "lessons"  but it wasn't really what I wanted to say upon leaving Korea. It just seemed the most comfortable, and well frankly the safest way to avoid a crap storm of opinions.

I have this tape that plays in my head, I call it "the maybe" tape. "Maybe people will be offended, maybe people will see the real me, maybe I'll reveal too much." so maybe I should just censor myself until my words are no longer a reflection of my opinions but skelelotian thought(yeah I made that word up). Vague and apathetic. My reaction: GROSS.

In these last three months I have tried with failing ability to understand what my time in Korea meant. I find myself starting sentences "In korea..." and watch people's eyes glaze over. And slowly my thoughts are changing and my stories are shifting stateside(to the relief of those around me).

But/however/even though/yet I am COMPELLED to try and sum it up. Ok. Korea in a word. "HARD" ok some more words: "BLOODY HARD." Hard does not always EQUAL bad. Though in Korea's case....just kidding....but seriously.

My first year in Korea was stressful but filled with laughter and fun. I had an awesome best friend to giggle with, I had plans, students I loved and even though I was stressed I could at the end of the day laugh it off.

My second year in Korea was unlike the first. I STRUGGLED.  I spent the first 3 months sinking down into my own rabbit hole. I buried myself in it. I pretended to be okay. I pulled a mask over my face and tried to be "me," but truthfully I didn't know who that was. If you didn't know this, don't be offended. I'm a great pretender. But let me tell you pretending happy is worse then feeling sad because admitting struggle takes away "aloneness." I smiled, I laughed, and acted what would be seen as normal...I found something to love and obsess over because it removed me from my own situation. Inside, I felt like I was in a tunnel without a flashlight.

I don't say this to manipulate sympathy. HEAVEN FORBID, but because I've realized something. Living in this small community of foreigners something happens(this happens in colleges, in youth groups, on missions trips, you are not immune). We become concerned with "surviving" and figuring out how to get the bus to Kwangjoo, that selfishness is the norm. We snap at others, have pointless arguments, and grip onto the things we believed that will keep us in control. We forget that the person next to us might be in the same dark tunnel. We forget to pray. We forget to serve. We forget to love. WE FORGET TO LOVE. How dare we? How dare I?

Maybe you don't like my use of the pronoun "we." Tough rocks.

Maybe you're in this place now. Maybe you right now are faking happy, or you're so concerned with your self preservation that other's thoughts and feelings become natural causalities. I implore you. Whether you are in Korea or in your own living room watching TV. Remove your head from the dirt. Look around. Tare down what keeps you from loving others. Seek God so that any callousness may soften.

Throughout all of this I learned: GOD IS FAITHFUL.  He was faithful to a girl who didn't always act in kindness, who didn't always love him like she should. He gave her gift after gift, and handed her a flashlight for that tunnel. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Lessons Learned in K-town: a reflection over the events of the past 2 years.

I have given this such a formal title and have been working on it starting 2 months before my actual departure. I want to make sure it is actually funny. Not sure I achieved that.

So ahem....
K-TOWN lessons

1. Brown and black do in fact match
2. sweeping canines and allowing them to climb into a box of hedgehogs is normal.
3. Grown men will giggle when you smile at them in a restaurant.

4. That is not a purse it is a murse. Get it right.
5. Two males riding on a motorcycle is perfectly acceptable.
6. There is no such thing as personal space, silly you.
7. High water pants are stylish. Hyun bin approves and if he does...
well it must be true..

8. That drunk man WILL sit next to you and leer at you on the subway. Don't presume differently.
9. Fast food signs are glorious.
10. "Small face" is a compliment "big face" is a put down.
11. There is literally a coffee shop on EVERY CORNER, sometimes 2.
12. Stop playing hide-in-seek with that trash can. It WILL WIN.
13. The Apocalypse is happening every Saturday...or someone is selling oranges.
14. Korea is the best. Japan is not.
15. You will always look better when you are thinner.
16. Everyday you do in fact look tired.
17. Subway doors may catch you. be careful. (that goes for you Izette.)
18. Even if there is room around you, that old woman still reserves the right to hit you. sorry.

19. Bra + top does equal "Bratop." Thanks uniclo clothing

20. Psy is the BEST PERFORMER IN THE WORLD. don't doubt it....
21. The answer to "Thank you." is NOT  "You're welcome" it is "YES."
22. Jeonpo station has 132 stairs.
23. Despite thinking differently their is only one answer to "How are you?" and it happens to be "Fine thanks and you."
24. Everyday I am shuffling. 
25. If you are stuck in your bathroom and know how to say "help me" in Korean (TWAJuesayo) you will be forever known to your school administrator as "TWAJUSEAYO."

AND that's all She wrote...for now. unless I think of some more.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Ktown sisters.

This is a post about my Ktown Sisters. Meet Hwa Jung and So Young. They are both beautiful  intelligent, sassy Korean women who I spent the previous year working alongside. Not English teachers mind you. Ethics and Math are what they teach the kiddies.

Recently I found myself once again staring across a coffee table listening to my two Unnies(sister in korea) tell a story in Korean. I don't understand a whole lot but I didn't mind. There is something wonderful about sitting there, hearing them laugh and catch up.

And while I sat there I thought back on the previous years Shinangians. Yes that is what I called it.
So Young, is notoriously sassy. Whenever lunch time would begin everyone was leaning in to hear her words. Hwa Jung was the counter balance. And together they decided to adopt me.

Our conversations would take strange patterns. For example:

So Young feigns a whisper: Hwa Jung is Miss Korea.
'Who the heck is 'Miss Korea?' I wonder but play along: Oh?
So Young: Very skinny. VERY skinny. (So Young gestures to all of her friend. drawing a straight line up and down...Thank you Vanna very flattering)
 ohhhhhhhhhhhhh. yes. (I nod vehemently)
So Young: But she never wear dress.
(This is curious information indeed): Why not?
So Young leans towards me and whispers intensely: DRAGON TATTOO
Still clueless.: She has one?
So Young motions across her throat with a pretend knife: Gangsta Gangsta.
I narrow my eyes and size up the potential danger: Oh....Hwa Jung are you a gangsta?
Hwa Jung comes far too close and grabs my arm: Follow me.
I stretch back on my heels and arch an eyebrow: where?
Hwa Jung laughs darkly: To the bathroom....
I  let my head wobble my answer: errr...No....thank you.

So Young has done more for me than many in Korea. Her kindness and willingness to help me has made it easier to be so far from home.  She invited me with no questions into her friends, told me schedule changes, and found me rides to work events. So Young is NOT fluent. but as she has told me before gestures can fill in the gasps...and of course an English-korean dictionary.

So Young told me over dinner that "We are not friends, we are family."
My lovely sister is getting married on Sunday. What a wonderful way to spend my last weekend in K-town. She has made me promise to tell her when my "mister Big (she is obsessed with Sex and the City)" comes along. She is determined to see me off and wedded. To the right man of course.

Many times my "sister" has explained that she will only allow such a thing once she has examined him thoroughly.  So Young  expressed this idea by placing a cup on a counter and searching it's surface for imperfections.  I tell you....poor guy. He might have a hard time earning her approval, and that's ok by me.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

solid...merrh loch-ness monster.

If you a doctor and you see the loch ness monster you are CRAZY. Apparently. Even though you have a degree and years of study to make your sighting reputable, the instant "I saw a dinosaur carrying a sheep across the road," comes out of your mouth you are a wack-a moley-job.(and by this I mean insane)

Why am I talking about Lochness monsters? Other than the fact I am a believer in Nessie-pooh, I was reminded of something a friend said to me recently.

But lets go back to the idea of being "solid."  (it's in the title! read it) says "Solid" means: "reliable or sensible; upstanding"

Korea is transitional. It can be a prefect place to run away, or hide. To be whoever you want to be, or to find out that you were in fact confused on who that person was to begin with. You change, you change friends, you change and you change friends again. Every week it seems like someone is boarding a plane, getting on a boat, or jumping ship.

Then are the phone calls, the emails from home, the facebook statues, and the blog updates. All shouting the same thing to you: SOMETHING HAPPENED without you. Whatever it was, something bad, or good or just plain different has happened WITHOUT you. THE POINT IS You weren't there. The experience is not a shared one.

Living away does something, making being "solid" impossible. There are times when I feel I am in a bowl of moving jelly, and not the tasty kind. Where emotions move like waves and I'm literally that girl who cannot decide if she's happy or sad.  Glad that I'm here or disappointed that I missed something at home.

So what does this have to do with loch-ness? My friend said, "no one's 'solid' we're all grasping with claws saying 'merrrrhhhh(HELP ME!)'" (and then she gestured like she was a soupy version of a swimming dinosaur)

And you know what? That's me. I am a soupy loch ness monster. Korea's a struggle and the "me" here is not the normal "me." I haven't done everything I could normally do but I've done what I can. And you what? THAT IS OK. Sometimes you can't be everything, you can't go everywhere, and you can't please everyone.
and that's okay too! Being 'Solid' sounds good, but sometimes you realize that you're broken and that you're mushy. yeah. mushy. And you need time.

Wow. This post has gotten entirely away from me. A product of letting my mind run straight through my fingertips and onto the keyboard.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


I always have these deep thoughts but when it comes time to write them down, I draw a complete blank. It's like someone has pushed the pause button on my brain and I can't un-press it. a rather unfortunate condition.

I have recently felt validated tho. One of the many people I normally come in contact with has praised me for the first time ever. I feel like a champion and that the whole world should stop to hear her words! That's right STOP spinning world! just stop. I'm about to quote.

"I've realized how happy I was to work with you."

Now for get the condescending and slightly offensive use of "realize" and take that in for a moment. That is nearly a prefect compliment.

After having my apartment compared to a dog kennel, this makes me feel much better. (I mean seriously Dog kennel? what does that make me?) woof. (as long as I am this dog...)

When I reach the states their will inevitably be an outpouring of stories and events that I had forgotten about, and remembered. be ready for a crap storm of emotion.

Monday, January 28, 2013

that is not a twixt bar...and other equally unfortunate tales.

I have several Amazing and utterly alternate reality stories to share with you. But due to laziness I will share only one. THE title has deceived you! what else is new? When I have I ever accurately described an event???? don't answer that.

I blame the following event entirely on Izette. Yes I have named her. and for further identification look at the photo below.

Don't let the prettieness fool you....she is a havoc maker. The best kind of havoc maker....the deceivingly nice kind. BEWARE.

What happen you ask?

EAR Plugs in my mouth happened. Let's review.

I was dreaming innocently, when in my dream a very angry and irate Iz, refused to take my twixt candy bar, that I probably had shed blood and tears to earn. I remember the rejection and the self esteem blow as Izette took the bar and angrily placed it on the ground. (yeah... angrily placed. wow. she is vicious). I looked sadly at the discarded gooey goodness and crossed my arms at Izette's determined steps away from me. I felt like I was abandoned in a vast desert, only tumble weeds and howling wind to console my crushed ego.

So I naturally did the only thing I could think of that would make IZ feel my acute pain. I snatched up the candy bar and ate it. 

What happened next can only be described as both disgusting and mind-boggling. 

Upon putting the candy bar in my mouth I noted that my dream twixt was very un-twixt like. No gooey chocolate but a squishy texture that make sucking noises in my teeth. No caramel filling but a distinct taste of...what was that...oh ear wax.
these are not candy...

This is the moment I awoke to the horrifying truth. What I was chewing on was not a delightful twixt bar....but a runaway ear plug that had fallen out sometime during the course of my flailing about. AN EARPLUG and not a clean one!

I had grabbed the ear plug and put it in my mouth and was "NOMMING" on it. I instantly spit out the offending plug and ran to the bathroom where I gagged and brushed my teeth until the ear wax taste wasn't as offensive....

YES I could have died! the headline reading: SLEEPWALKER CHOKES ON AN EARPLUG

Again I blame IZ...had she only eaten my twixt I wouldn't have found my mouth full of ear unfortunate. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

IT'S 2013...And me the Mope---er

in other news my favorite actor  performed "GUNDAM STYLE" ON LIVE TV....UNACCEPTABLE.

Yeah so...While everyone was updating their facebooks and blogs with end of the year madness, meanwhile I preferred to think I was still in 2012. or actually in a continuous space where the year just spreads out like a long road. sounds...a bit like groundhogs day?

again for you uncultured souls....tsk tsk.

Why you ask? oh the laundry list is exhaustive. not really. I'm personally and profoundly in hate with New Years. I have never once cared about that ball and the droppage and the whole hoopla.  This has to do with the fact that I find it a nostalgic time which makes me wander around, arms dragging on the floor as a complete and utter MOPE ----R. Which is a word...apparently...there is no red underline..

I have given into the cat apocalypse....

To be honest. 2012 was a very difficult year for me.  One of the hardest I have ever experienced. Thankfully, God has been present or I might have jumped off a bridge. (you may take that literally, figuratively, with pb and j....whatever...hmmmmm peanut butter and jelly....peanut butter jelly....peanut butter jelly and baseball bat...)

But what am I truly THANKFUL for? God. A God who cares about my wakings and sleepings(yes that is not a word), and my sleepwalkings...etc.  Talking about faith may not appeal to the masses. but God is present.  I don't have a new years resolution....I have a prayer though. That all my friends, and family (and yes even my jpop celebs) would know God's love this year. 

I realize too as of the time it took me to write this and now that while I had a hard year so many other lovelies in my life have too, or are entering a hard situation. I  cannot say it enough. but the only thing we can do is rest in God's faithfulness. He is faithful. Even when we spin wildly out of control he has it in control. What a good thing to know.

To commemorate and feel the hopelessness of humanity's taste in dance I have made the following gif.