Zen.

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After feeling slightly, lovingly chastised from my Nana last week as she told me how she checks for my blog every Sunday and I hadn’t posted, I’m back with a post about finding some tai chi or whatever, early on the posting schedule because I gots stuff to do tomorrow!

Myself and Marty, a newer teacher from BC, Canada, and I decided we were going to go and see Thor 2 last night. It would have been the second time for me and the first for him, but hey. Why pass up an opportunity to see Chris Hemsworth’s muscles and Tom Hiddleston’s pained looks?

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So off we went, and met up with Roy-Gene at HomePlus (Korean Walmart) after we discovered that Thor 2 didn’t play until 8:30, was 2 hours long and our shuttle left at 9:40 and neither of us wanted to pay $20 for a cab because we’d miss the shuttle just to see said muscles and faces. So we decided to go shop for irrelevant things (and yes, I can hear some of you saying, “but you’re a person with iThings! Why didn’t you just download an app or consult with the great and powerful Cupertino and know what time the movie played before you got there?! Well, little sassmouths, I tried and the CGV app is all in Hangul [Korean] and there is no option to switch it to English. Also my link with the mothership terminated on my last day. I can no longer predict iPhone releases or what size iPad is the best fit for you either, so there).

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After Marty and I had each bough a frivolous, excellent hat (mine makes me look like Amelia Earhart, I’ll selfie it soon) and rung out, the three of us decided to head back to the Donga/Daiso/Chilgok IC4 “aka our pickup by the shuttle” area. Having an inordinate amount of time and being relatively fit (read: have 2 legs, will walk), we all decided to walk along the river back rather than take a $3, 3 minute cab. You know, I would have been fine with the cab but heck, why not walk.

IMMEDIATELY these two take off at bat-out-of-hell-speed. I had just bought a donut and was totally fine with hanging back and eating it alone slowly, lovingly as the brisk November wind whipped through my greasy hair and the river babbled away on my left and older Koreans walked by me swinging their arms dangerously.

This past 2 weeks we’ve had some staffers from the University of Colorado: Colorado Springs (UCCS is the partner school with Yeungjin College for DGEV) visit, which they usually do about every 5-6 months. This time they brought a therapist, Dr. Field, with them to talk about resiliency in education for students and educators, which was a great topic and opened my eyes more to what motivates students and also how we can not all go crazy being here. I kid, I kid. Kind of.

I put off wanting to talk with her one-on-one for a week and then had a slight panic attack on Tuesday that she was leaving Thursday morning and I wouldn’t get to run my current dilemmas past someone who is a professional and might actually talk me out of my tree (which is a tall, knotty, difficult oak). She graciously agreed to meet with me and hear me out about life.

Guys. Therapy is such a weird word. Such a loaded word. Really all it is is just talking. Talking to someone who can help you untangle the rats nest you’ve made of your thoughts and memories and hopes and dreams and fears. I’ve gone in a couple times to talk with someone in Arkansas and it was truly one of the best decisions of my life. It was put best to me as “if there’s something up with your foot, you would see a doctor. No question, right? So if you’re worried or there’s something you need to talk out why wouldn’t you see a doctor?”

There is something wonderfully, gloriously freeing about telling a stranger who has no reason to root for you, no obligation to be in your corner all your life and having them look in your eyes and say “that’s a lot. You are allowed to feel overwhelmed. Your feelings are valid.” It’s like opening the doors at the end of Legally Blonde and walking into the whiteout.

It doesn’t solve everything (or sometimes anything) other than your own anxiety about being anxious about your feels. I want to just dump all the pieces of my life and push them across the table and then look up, hopefully, and say, “how do I put it together? What should I do?” But a therapist is neither a genie nor a toothless gypsy soothsayer. Unfortunately. That would be kind of awesome. But really, I don’t know how legit advice would be from someone who lives in a lamp or who is lacking in good oral hygiene.

Regardless, it was the 110% right decision. She even said “I think you’ve already decided what you want to do. Trust yourself.” I’m almost 6 months here, guys. 6 months of looking back to missing all of you in Arkansas and Washington and Oklahoma and 6 months of looking forward nervously trying to figure out “what am I gonna do?” And I’ve realized that with so much past and future that I’m missing the present.

Yeah. That was kind of cheesy. You may slap me 1 time the next opportunity you have. 1 freebie. But truly. I’m trying to think of things I’ve done here in 6 months and there’s so much more I wanted do want to do. And now it’s about to get cold as Jötunheimr up in this place and the opportunities for traveling and hiking are getting slimmer.

As I walked behind Roy-Gene and Marty, I realized that I didn’t need to speed up. If they wanted to walk fast, go for it. I’m walking along a river in Korea. IN KOREA. There’s maybe 3 of you reading this blog who will ever be able to do that. And here I am worrying about job opportunities when I get back in June, 6-7 months away. There’s a mammoth, gently-curving monorail being built along the river that makes all of the neon behind it look like the world Blade Runner was supposed to be. My donut was nothing like the Lynden Dutch Bakery nor Shipley’s (long may they prosper), but it was a donut. I’m healthy. I have legs that work. A threadbare NorthFace. Jeans without holes in the thighs (for now). Sturdy fake Converse that carry me. A comfortable bank account where I can buy faux-Amelia Earhart fur hats and peanut M&Ms and a random pomegranate. An iPhone that I can take pictures and capture my sights.

How unbelievably stupid and selfish to not breathe deep the crisp November smells of crackly, decomposing leaves; bow and whisper “anyong hashimnikka” to the Koreans getting their brisk walks on at 8:26pm; and just rest in the moment. This moment. This moment to remember and treasure and just be in. I don’t need to look forward nor back and miss out on being here. Just walk and tear off pieces of donut and breathe and take another step and be in Korea in this time and place and hop on stones across the river and swing my plastic bag and just smile. I’m happy. My heart is pulled in a lot of directions but it’s resting here. And here is blessedly, beautifully happy.

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40 Days and 40 Nights.

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This is why I don’t do journals. I skip a day, or a week or a month and now I’m all THERE’S TOO MUCH TO SAY WE MIGHT AS WELL CURL UP IN A BALL AND JUST EAT CHEEZITS AND WATCH DR. WHO, Y’ALL. I realized today on my countdown that there’s only 40 days and 40 nights (still not over you, Josh Hartnett) until I land in Seattle for Christmas. Apple pies, Diet Coke and family times!

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Ok. So its been almost a month since you heard these thought-to-word patterns (hold on I just remembered I have to message someone congrats on Facebook) and I’m back. 

This is what’s gone down:

  • Zombie play is complete! While it was a great ol’ time, I am exhausted and was ever so glad to rest up this weekend. I also fulfilled a lifelong dream of losing part of my voice as well as hanging out with some super-cool people. Next week is the 24-hour play festival and though I’m terrified as heck, I think I might try to write something. 
  • I got a phone. Well, to be honest, I took my unlocked iPhone 4 with me, but finally got a SIM and some service to call the friends I’ve made (you and I both know I made them all up, honestly). 
  • Celebrated 5 months in Korea on Friday–Steven and I both wore jean jackets to commemorate the fact that I viciously tweeted the following on the first day I met him: Image
  • Saw Thor 2 and fell madly in love with Tom Hiddleston all over again. Have barely restrained self from googling “tom hiddleston girlfriend” for now. FOR NOW, I SAY. Image
  • Dressed up all last week–thank you DGEV!–as zombie, Spider-Man, Ursula from The Little Mermaid (which confused the Koreans a LOT) and a vulcan from Star Trek (which REALLY confused them as they though my vulcan ears were “hobbits.”) Image
  • Visited an American military base, Camp Carroll, in Waegwan, about 20 minutes away. Is it possible to get anxiety attacks there? I was the only foreigner with 10 Korean adults on a field trip–and we’re all eating amongst a sea of American camo at Pizza Hut, Subway and Popeye’s Chicken. It’s really weird to see no Hangul (Korean) writing and to only hear so. much. English in one place. I felt like I wanted to say hello to the military people but didn’t because A) what would I say? and B) I don’t want them to think like 10 Koreans kidnapped me and are keeping me for themselves or something. 
  • I have had the most wonderful, sassy adult students this month and it gives me hope. The Ulsan City Officials group of 7 that were so high that we could have moralistic conversations in fluent English, the Daegu City Officials that all hugged me and tried to set me up with their sons–they’re so lovely and I miss them already. Image
  • Drank booze out of a ziploc bag at Bunny’s–it was magical and I can’t wait to do it again. 
  • Missed Apple peeps immensely as new iPad launched, Mavericks released and WHAT IS THIS iPHOTO AND iMOVIE UPDATE YOU GUYS?! 
  • Watched the amazing, breathtaking Colorful Daegu Festival 2013 parade and even made a video about it here! (sorry, no can embed) https://vimeo.com/78453759
  • Took a shameful amount of selfies that I can only 64% attribute to my Halloween costumes… Image

And now I’m heading off to bed to sleep and prepare for the next week of whatever. Maybe I’ll even shave my legs if I’m feeling adventurous, you know, for TOM’s sake (yes, I already googled it I have no self-restraint). See you in a week!

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SpiderPig.

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In which I spend the best $10 of my life but first talk about my feelings. I really like to make you work for it–believe me when I say this title is going to pay off by the end. You are welcome to savor it. (Above photo top left (TL): flying saucers and my toes, TR: just that everyday Korean life, BR: FaceTiming with the Dad for his birthday, BL: New less-than-$3 scarf that I never want to take off.)

Sometimes it takes a concerted effort to relax. I’ll notice that I’m walking really fast, but there’s no destination. I’m carrying a ton of stuff in a backpack, but I don’t even use half of it. I’m frantically searching for something to buy, but I don’t need anything. It’s interesting how the subconscious can work like that. I didn’t think “walk faster,” but I was. I didn’t need a new hoodie,” but I wanted and felt like I needed it. I’m no psychologist, but I find it interesting to shrink my own brain. I have to stop, say “slow,” and make myself see things. A new coffee shop. A sweater that, gasp, looks like it will actually fit me. A 40-minute sit alone on my laptop at the shuttle pickup, relaxing in the perfect weather at 8:22pm on a Sunday night.

Dang. I feel so good right now. I still miss all of you. I’m fracturing a little, into my horcruxes. There’s the me that misses all of you and still sometimes cries at the 2 months until family time and unknown amount for the rest of you. That’s harder, the not knowing. I learned that after college. Once I started working for Apple, there was no guaranteed Fall Break, Christmas, Spring Break, etc. Every time you said goodbye you didn’t know when the next hello would be. It’s easy to ‘x’ off days, but when there’s no finite number, it is overwhelming. As millennials (that sounded even more pretentious then I thought it would), we often make our friends into family. I think that’s especially true for those of us that move far from our family–while they are irreplaceable, someone must hold that position of accountability and unconditional love in your life that you can see everyday, so we create new siblings and forge new bonds that feel almost as strong as blood.

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And there’s also new me. Who is old me, who all of you know, but who is Korea me. I can get somewhere and the language barrier is a scalable thing. I can take buses, subways, transfers, cabs, trains–and still get home, safe and by myself. I can buy new things without hating the cost (as much). I mean, I’m not throwing it out there, but it’s nice to flex for a $20 pair of shoes. Which I just did. I’m not afraid to ask for help from a kid, an adult, another foreigner, the internet. Apple taught me that. There’s always going to be specs and products and adapters and How To’s sort of things I don’t know–Google is my best friend. And if not, a big “I’m stuck” smile and a polite “mien hanmida? (excuse/pardon me?)” is gold.

I don’t hug as much, which is really weird since I definitely consider myself a hugger. You can always ask for hugs, but that feels unusual. I can also offer hugs, which is fine. But I miss Mom cuddles and Dad hugs and Lisa squeezes and Everett long hugs. Those ones where I know you’re coming out of your love at me and I don’t have any choice or social reason where I get to refuse. I’m just getting loved out of your overflow and swimming in happy.

Sometimes I don’t miss you guys. And that’s a strange feeling. I’m just sitting here on my laptop feeling very “I am a 25-year old, self-sufficient American woman living in Korea and today, I’m doing ok. I’m doing the damn thing and I’m not failing at it and my heart isn’t shattering anymore.” There are times when I think about staying another year. And there’s times where I think DEAR GOD JUST PLEASE LET ME GET TO THURSDAY, I CAN COAST TO FRIDAY FROM THERE IS IT THURSDAY YET WHY IS IT ONLY TUESDAYYYY?!?! It’s not a decision I have to make soon. I’ll be home for 2 weeks in December, and I don’t have to make the great renewal decision until I think around January 1st. Start preparing your arguments, “yedera (you guys).”

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Sidebar: You know what’s great about Korea? There is (knock on wood) like no crime. I’m sitting outside a building–a car dealer, I think–in a city the size and density of New York, eating a banana and typing on a $2500 Mac. And no one is bothering me. They walk or ride their bikes on by, savoring the last few hours of the weekend and the glorious, just-enough-wind weather. Couples holding hands and walking slowly, groups of adolescent boys in tracksuits and blindingly bright running shoes shoving each other and laughing, pairs of girls with one earbud in each giggling and all of them fantastically themselves. I’m pretty content in this moment…except the part about sitting on a granite step. That is starting to get a wee bit concerning.

Let’s see, my day, my weekend, my week: I’ve been participating in the Night of the Living Dead production with the Daegu Theatre Troupe and it’s been pretty fun. I’ve met some great people who have opened my eyes to thrift store shopping in Daegu–just you wait until the reveal at the end of this, where I spent the best $10 EVER–and took me around to find where ladies of the night buy their hair extensions, for you know, *science.* We had play rehearsal both Saturday and Sunday, which was a little draining to get out from the village and stay out until the 9pm shuttle both days since it’s an hour-long trip each way and you’re dependent on a bus that only comes back at 3 and 9pm. But I got to get some great food–even Indian!–and hang out with Jill, who I met at DTT auditions and is one of my favoritest people here, as well as a shopping buddy now!

I’m at the bus so early because I fast walked/trotted over to the “saucers,” which are apartments with what I can only assume as helipads on them that are brightly lit at night–They’re actually apartments called Centro Palace and are a pretty well-known downtown icon at night (see top left in the above photo), but I prefer alien saucers, don’t you?–to meet up with a lady seller (that didn’t quite come out right…) to buy a romper. At night. In the dark. But don’t worry, “Korea Me” is super confident and kind of intimidating since I’m bigger than 89% of the population, so it’s all good. We found each other and I bought a romper! Don’t worry, Trace, it’s not all bad. It’s quite cute, although it’s sleeveless and might need a cardigan A) because the weather is getting cooler and B) it is scandalous as hell to have bare upper arms/shoulders in this country (and if I’m being honest, C) because I don’t really like my upper arm/shoulder area…).

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Now I’ve slowed my roll on over here to sit, eat a banana and enjoy the rest of my night here, which should last another 14 minutes. I keep forgetting to download this time lapse app that Carp showed me to record with; I want to just set it in the window of the bus and show you the night colors. Some things about Asia are exactly what you’d think: lots and lots of neon and bright night lights, cutesy animal icons and strange logos.

Guys, I kind of want to try on the romper. I’m in leggings, red Toms shoes, black slouchy hat, glasses and red Star Wars tshirt (which another guy in the theater troupe was wearing today. Of all the shirts in all the world from all the Target men’s sections, it had to be on both of us. On the same day.). Oh the bus just arrived and saved me from the shame. ON THE BUS and there are only Koreans. I think every possible village guide and Korean YJC-Chilgok student is on here. There are no teachers–which is weird, considering how many of us got off downtown at 3, but this is the only bus back since then. Either someone with more experience is teaching them one of about 3 ways back or they are about to spend a lotlotlot of money on a cab home (about $30-40).

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Ugh. Bus typing is not nearly as much fun. 1, there is no beautiful weather enclosed in the bus and 2, the jostling makes typing a little difficult. However, I will say my butt is at least marginally happier off the granite.

This is so rambly. But of course, if you know me and you’re reading this, it doesn’t surprise you. I just jump around, jump around, jump up jump up and get doooown (insert music break). Speaking of music, I’m really into Lorde’s entire “Pure Heroine” album right now. She looks kind of odd and watching her perform is kind of spooky but I could (and have) listened to that album on loop. I previewed the whole thing, put it on my iTunes wish list and yet only held out for about 26 hours before I just went ahead and bought it for $10. (Don’t worry, this is not the aforementioned “best $10 ever” that was promised, that is coming later. Although I would say the album is also worth $10 if you have it to spend. It is much more than just “Royal,” though that track is excellent.)

Do do do do do how have I written almost 3 pages of mostly single-spaced typing? And why was it so difficult to do in college? This is so easy peasy to record my brain chirps. Merpity merpity merp. Happy song. Happy chirps. Happy me.

So onto the greatest purchase of 2013, maybe all time. We had descended to an underground thrift store (I mean this not in a hipster-y “it was so underground and exclusive” way, but rather in a “we descended into a dimly lit batcave so ‘underground’ that it was LITERALLY underground” way) to see this huge yellow Southern Belle costume for a theme party one of the girls, Kita, was going to tonight. As she got it off the wall the rest of us wandered off, picking up leather Hard Rock Cafe jackets and 80’s electric teal snow pants (which looked eerily familiar to me) when I saw it on a wall. The most gloriously, fleecy red and blue object that is treasured by millions, dare I say billions of people the world over: a Spiderman fleece onesie.

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I picked it up, carefully cradling the precious in my hands as the wrinkly ajumma wandered over and held up 10 fingers. Only $10?! WAS SHE ON CRACK?! (1. No, because pretty much all drugs here are zero tolerance and they will send your ass straight to jail with like no chance for parole for even smelling like weed, regardless of your citizenship and/or good looks and 2. If anything this lady was clearly smoking mothballs.) Now, I’d tried on a few things during the day’s thrifting, almost all either not fitting my voluptuousness or just looking daft (I’ve been reading a lot of Bear Grylls and hence I like this word) as heck–I had pretty much zero chance of this one working out. But I held it up and thought, “maybe.” I slipped the right leg over my jeans, thinking “okay, not terrible.” Left leg, “acceptable.” Now the scary bit: hips, “mmmmkay.” Shoulders–am I too tall for this? “Nope, it’s working.” I’m starting to feel the first dangerous inklings of “could it actually be?!” Breathing heavily, I did up the buttons. With every one, my “ohmygoditisworkingitisworkingitisworking” grew until the last button was fastened. I looked in the mirror and threw the hood over my face and turned to face the huge (3 person) crowd that had assembled. MerryDeath (who I *think* is named Meredith but chooses for obvious awesomeness reasons to go by the former name) said, “If you don’t buy that, we can’t be friends.”

And now I own a Spiderman onesie and at least one new friend.

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In which I actually get to be a professional Zombie.

GUYS! I MADE NEW FRIENDS! I’m so excited! Not that my co-workers aren’t great, but it’s good to make connections outside of work (which I was turrrrrible at doing in Arkansas [although there were a few of you]) but they were all friends of work people. And if work people were busy, I was pretty much just chilling with my best best frannnn: Netflix.Image

So a couple months ago the Daegu Compass, a magazine for foreigners in Daegu, posted that there was a theater troupe about to put on a production of “The Princess Bride.” I put the date in my calendar, creeped all their Facebook/website posts, and thought how cool it would be to be a part of it, and promptly put it out of my mind. 

Two weeks ago, DB and I attended said production of “The Princess Bride.” The story was word-for-word the cherished favorite it is everywhere, and I again revisited the stalkery of FB/website of The Daegu Theatre Troupe. I asked a few co-workers what they thought. I remembered being TERRIFIED by the DTF (Drama, Television, Film) majors in school. Then I saw that they were going to put on a production of “Night of the Living Dead” and that auditions were September 7th. I put it in my calendar and fretted about it for 2 weeks. 

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But now that DB has moved off campus and Roy-Gene is probably going to go and do the same, I’m stuck either getting to know new co-workers (bahahahahahaha except for like the 6 of you I already like) or branching out. So yesterday I went out, got brunch with Leslie and Colleen, then headed to the YMCA to be brave. I got a coffee for the nerves, and frankly, as a hand prop. You know when you can’t figure out what to do with your hands and you need to look productive? COFFEE CUP. Doesn’t matter that it was empty by the time I walked in and I couldn’t find a trash can for 4 hours, I *looked* like I was a coffee-drinking, put-together person in bright orange shoes. 

Theater/theatre, drama, acting people kind of scare me. Sometimes, they can be jerks. They have such a small club and they all like, crew together and it’s sometimes hard to break in. Sometimes they are amazing and welcoming and take you under their beautiful, lavender, feathered wings. I already had a back-up of “If they’re crazy, you can leave. You don’t have to stay. We’ll buy a fish and that can be our friend.” I resigned myself to “this may not go well and it’s ok we can survive.”

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I have never been so happy to be wrong. We meet on the 4th floor of the YMCA building and I sit down next to this girl playing a game on her iPhone. Apple products make me feel SAFE, don’t judge me! I FEEL YOUR JUDGEMENT. I sat like right next to her. I didn’t know if this was going to be ok because there were a lot of empty seats. It’s kind of like taking the stall next to the already occupied stall when there’s like 20 stalls in a bathroom. Luckily Jill was awesome and my trust of someone else with an iPhone proved correct as she was also a n00b there and had just moved to Daegu from Seoul about a week and a half earlier. The theater people started to arrive and the in-jokes and clear demonstration of love between them began with the gift-giving of food. And not like, cookies. Tupperwares full of of pasta and peppers began to float around and I recognized many of the actors from the recent production of “The Princess Bride.” 

The 2pm meeting of “here’s us, here’s what we do, here’s what’s new” was great and surprisingly really open to us newcomers considering what a tight-knit group this clearly was. At 3pm scripts and sign-up sheets were passed out and Jill and I started running lines together. We actually ended up auditioning together and switching roles to read with Gareth, an awesome New Zealander who says “girl” with venom and better than anyone I’ve ever heard. Jill and I ended up leaving about 5:30 after exchanging info with some people and decided to grab a burger and beer (and a double gin and tonic and a Georgia Peach Iced Tea) at Traveler’s and just hang out and talk for 3 more hours and be friends. 

Needless to say: everyone was great and made us feel like we were welcome and part of a team and invited us out and to be friends. I made several new contacts and I got cast as a zombie. LIFELONG DREAM ACHIEVED. There’s going to be so much makeup and groaning and eating of brains and just plain FUN, GUISE! I’m so glad I did this.

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IT MAKES ME WANT TO DO A DANCE! A BEAUTIFUL DANCE LIKE TH–but no. I’ll contain myself. 

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In da club.

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Last night I went out to a club, only my second ever and the first time in 4 years–my first was my now-sister-in-law’s bachelorette party at a club in Vancouver, B.C. This time, however, I didn’t make a phone call to the Dean of Men (my boss at ORU at the time) from the bathroom saying “I hope it’s ok, but I’m going to have a drink since it’s summer and, well, someone bought me one!” Had there not likely been long distance charges, maybe I would have…

I worked some OT yesterday, and after my 6th day in a row, I was ready to curl up in a ball and relax the rest of the night, maybe prep a little for this upcoming week. Of course I’d just started my period, and all I wanted to do was get in sweats and do this:

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But that wasn’t gonna happen because that would be boring and this post wouldn’t be entitled “In da club.” Annie came in around 4 and convinced me that nothing would be better than going out with people, getting dressed up and dancing. Cue the montage! I had no idea what to wear, it was still 85 degrees out, and what the heck does one wear to a club?! I Project Runway’d my American Apparel circle scarf into a top with some black leggings and flat sandals, threw on some false lashes and headed out.

After grabbing some food downtown, we (Annie, Carrie, Melissa and I) met up with Carrie’s Korean friend Gabriel. And then we proceeded to eat and drink more. Koreans are known for Soju, their drink of choice. According to Roy-Gene, it tastes like soapy alcohol water, and I kind of agree. At 18% alcohol, it’s not like the booze back in ‘Merica. Anyways, the Koreans like to do lots and lots of shots of this, coupled with cheap beer in small glasses. We played some drinking games and went out to DANCE DANCE DANCE.

Sidebar: I know my mom (and some other people) really aren’t fans of hearing about drinking and clubs and dancing and things. That’s okay! I don’t mind! Here’s your warning that a lot more of that is about to happen and a disclaimer: We were in a big group with English and Korean speakers, no one drove (thank you big cities and taxis!) and no one got drunk–aka this story ends well. Sorry for the spoilers, everyone else. No deaths. Also, I’m 97% sure that my mom had a fake ID at some time in her life…so… now that I’ve revealed that I probably won’t get any care packages.

We go to the first club–nope, too expensive. We hit a second club, and a 30-minute debate in 2 languages ensues about money and covers and who cares? it got resolved eventually and we went in. We descended 3 flights of stairs into the lighting scheme from Jay-Z & Kanye’s video for “N—s in Paris” (sans panther/tiger/leopard/liger), where there was a central catwalk splitting the middle of the dance floor, and it had 4-5 metal poles going ceiling to floor. There was an equal amount of people on the floor to the catwalk, all of them Koreans, and a healthy mix of guys and girls. After purse planting at a table, we all jumped up on the catwalk and had us some fun.

Let’s talk about Koreans dancing. They have no rhythm and I love it because I have no rhythm. It’s all from the waist up, a shoulders-bouncing, head-banging thing with no hips or feet. Interestingly, there’s very little touching. Almost none. It wasn’t until…well. You’ll see. Here’s an example of Korean dancing:

ImageWe danced to Macklemore, Annie Lennox (Sweet Dreams, timeless), Daft Punk and I’ll say, the DJ did a great job. Seamless transitions. We danced and hopped and swung around the poles and tried really hard not to fall off the 2 foot catwalk. Photographers kept coming over to take pictures of the 4 foreign girls laughing and having fun in the club, great PR–I’m positive I’ll look like an idiot in those–but I really was having a blast. Around 1:30, Carrie and I decided to step down from our pedestal and take a breather by dancing on the floor.

Creepers, enter stage left. The old guy who had been standing and smiling at us all night (not dancing, by the way, just standing and smiling) moseyed over, as did a guy with an honest-to-God green glowstick who decided that he was the raptor and Carrie was a–what do raptors eat? Geese? extras from Jurassic Park?–rabbit. Carrie was a rabbit. I DON’T KNOW I’M NOT A PALEONTOLOGIST. I laughed and high-fived Carrie for attracting such a stud, and then a guy in a white button up arrives, puts his arm up to signal to the bros and decides that this white girl (me) is going to be gifted with getting all of his business. Read: ALL. HIS. BUSINESS. There are no secrets when it comes to Korean boys and their skinny jeans. What a gentleman this guy was: just walks up and grinds himself on me, not even a hello. At least dogs who hump your leg lick your hand first. You want to just walk up and molest me? You think because I’m dancing with my friends that I want that? You want a power play? I will emasculate you with no words, sir. I didn’t need to speak Korean to pull “the bro” down a few rungs. I actually look up at his friends, who are hooting and hollering and shoving each other at his success, roll my eyes and yawn, yes, yawn up at the wolf pack as this guy is grinding up on me. I had hearing loss from the bass and yet I could clearly hear the audible “oooooooooo!” of the bros sensing my diss. It was tangible. That dude is never, never going to live that down.  It’s 2am and the foreign girl is done with you and your stupidity. Good luck finding someone with your attitude, asshole.

Gabriel got us a taxi home and we were safe and sound and in bed by 2:35, smelling of cigarettes and peeling off my eyelashes. I gotta say, I think it’ll take another 4 years before I feel like clubbing again. I had a blast dancing with friends, and I appreciate that it took 2 hours before I got half-groped (which would have taken 20 seconds in the states), but I think I’m ok to stay in bars or my bed, thanks.

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It’s now September 1st here in Korea, which means that I’m now 3 months into my contract here at DGEV, aka a quarter complete. It has flown and it has crawled. I’m having a lot of fun playing volleyball and teaching adult students, dancing with friends; and some nights I miss people so much that I just think “fall asleep, fall asleep” as the only escape from sadness.

In everything I’ve done, I’ve surprised myself that I can not only survive, but thrive. I can get a good job. I can move across state lines. I can do an apartment. I can’t really do a dog alone in said apartment, but I can find the dog a better home with amazing people. I can pay all of my bills: phone, car, insurance, student loan, etc. by myself. I can live in a foreign country. I can create lesson plans. I can say words in at least 8 languages, and tell a taxi driver how to take me home in Korean. I can occasionally cook things that won’t poison myself or others. I can do this. I am doing this.

Sometimes when I’m struggling, I strangely enough like to write words on myself. I know, it’s odd duck, but hey. You’ve read this far. You should not be surprised. Last night I came across an Arabic proverb: .الجيات أحسن من الرايحات: “What is coming is better than what has gone.” Immediately I grabbed a sharpie and wrote it in Arabic on my left forearm–I wanted to see those words, to remind myself that great things and people and times are coming. I won’t always be lonely. Tomorrow is a new day, June 1 will come again, and I’ll hug the people I miss most. I’ve always told myself that someday I’d find something worth tattooing, and last night I decided to go ahead and just OH MY GOSH, MOM, PLEASE BREATHE. BREATHE. IN, OUT, IN OUT. I DIDN’T DO IT, I SWEAR. I had you going, though, right? RIGHT?! Don’t lie. I’ll ask Dad.

As an apology, here’s a look at how I attracted Sir Grinds-a-Lot in the club. Obviously I could teach a class–applications will be available for interested parties TBA. Image

Until the next time, my babies.