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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