Day 266 - Tree(?) Museum, Not-Happy Homestay Developments

DY did, indeed, redeem himself. He said he thought a lot about what it meant to be a foreigner living in the middle of nowhere (i.e. Nonsan) and decided that sometimes things must be kind of rough. Progress! When I got back from teaching the NK refugees this weekend, we went to the tree museum in Gongju. I think that translation is not quite right because it was more of a botanical garden. With animals. It was a good time though. There are some pictures, but I'm writing this through a proxy so I can't use Flash.

In less ideal news, Friday night I came home to hdad screaming at hmom. Immediately uncomfortable, I went straight to my room and shut the door. He kept screaming louder and louder until I heard a loud *thud*, followed by the crash of a door bursting open. Then crying. The host sisters wailing and saying "don't, don't! dad, don't!"

I left earlier than necessary the next morning for Seoul with some clothes stuffed in a backpack. I stayed at friends' places over the weekend, too uncomfortable and scared to go back. I informed my liaison and things are in the process of changing my homestay. Until then, I packed an emergency bag this morning with my important paperwork and clothes and over the next few days I plan on moving my things out bag-by-bag and keeping it at friends' apartments.


Day 260 - Boyfriend Fight :[

Doyup has, lately, been less than impressive. He has family, friends, old classmates, baseball, badminton, work buddies -- a lot going on. I don't think I'm a particularly needy girlfriend, but if my boyfriend tells me we're going to have a date day, I make sure I'm free at the specified time. Instead, lately, I've been spending hours waiting for DY to get back from last-minute social engagements or errands, and then the date ends up being canceled and I've wasted my day waiting instead of meeting my own friends, traveling, or taking care of errands.

Things finally came to an argument last night. I told him about how I was excited to be seriously weight lifting again. He was upset, however, because the reason I'm seriously weight lifting again is because the new trainer took an interest in me after watching me break a massive, nasty sweat during my 5km run. This prompted him to ask me if I like running (oh helllllls no) and we talked about the differences between Korean and American perceptions of beauty. IN KOREAN! OH YES.

So I told him how I was interested in weight lifting and I did weight lifting in America, but was too shy to do it here in Korea because that is NOT how girls here work out. Girls here walk on a treadmill for 90 minutes at a leisurely pace without breaking a sweat and call it a day. Seeing me DRENCHED in sweat and eyeing the weights must've been hilarious to him.

DY, however, was not amused. He got upset with me, which made the frustration I had boil over, and then my frustrations made him even madder, which triggered my 9-month-homesickness episode. (Foreigners typically experience homesickness every 3rd month of living in a country, i.e. 3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th, etc)

It was not a good night and I hate sleeping on an argument, but we'll see if he's gotten the message and really will make an effort to manage his time more effectively. Big test will be tomorrow for my birthday, but no worries, I have contingency plans in case he doesn't do so well.

On a happier note: yayyyy, part 1 of 2 completed as far as my workout goals!
(1) Work out hard with the buff dudes
(2) Get down to 59kg (1kg away!)


Day 258 - Pre-Birthday Celebrations

This weekend I pre-celebrated my birthday with Hallie, whose birthday was on Saturday. Friday night we went out to dinner (samgyeopsal, obviously) with Rosa and Stephanie, then got together at our other foreign friend, Michelle's, apartment for drinks and company and pizza and cupcakes. We had a chill time playing cards and chatting, then headed out to Watermelon Sugar for dancing yeaaaaah

Saturday, I went to Daejeon with Hallie, where we consumed entirely too much TGIFriday's western-food then met up with her friend to go to an awesome Western bar. I had forgotten how much I loved rum-and-cokes. At least 320492x more tasty than soju. Roughly.

And I baked.

It's sad that I made my own birthday cake, but Korea does not have chocolate-cake-with-cream-cheese-frosting.

Happy birthday to... me.

Cupcakes for Hallie's birthday :D

Wednesday is my birthday and I have dropped MORE than enough hints to DY so that he can redeem himself after the pile of fail that was White Day. Will he reconcile his less-than-impressive past, or out-do his previous disappointment? Find out Wednesday* on BRBKorea.
(*may not actually be on Wednesday)


Day 255 - New Semester Started

**A few more posts were backdated under this one. Sorry. I'm kind of anal about doing things like that, even though I clearly didn't write on those days.**

I've really been sucking at this blog lately. Don't worry, it's not you, it's me. I've been all kinds of crazy lately. Since it's the start of a new school year here, I've been trying to tie up all my loose ends. Some things on my plate:

--School: curriculum and lesson planning
--Finances: transferring money to the States, making a debit card
--Relationships: reestablishing my Konyang contacts, mailing packages to friends in America
--Personal: printing photos for a Korea scrapbook, working out, studying Korean

The new semester started on March 2nd. I was excited to have a fresh new opportunity with my students. Last year I really had no idea what I was doing and on top of that, I wildly over-estimated the English abilities of my kids. This made for difficult lessons, a really disjointed semester, and frustrations for both me and them. This year, though, I sat down with a text book (Side-By-Side, a conversation-based text) and mapped out what I thought the kids needed to learn and/or practice, as far as conversational English went.

So far, so good, although it's frustrating with the Monday classes. They're low level, large classes, and young, so it makes for a very difficult teaching environment. It's especially frustrating because these Korean students study English for 8, 10 years before they get to me, yet they can't introduce themselves or follow a simple conversation. Hell, some classes don't even understand when I say "Okay, class is finished! Time is finished! I will see you next week! Bye!"

It's bad.

Financially, things are just frustrating because my Korean isn't good enough to carry conversations at the bank. I know some basic words, but if there's a problem or if the teller asks me a question, there is a 50% chance I will have NO IDEA what she's talking about. Since it's money issues, it is pretty important to know what is going on. Same with the post office. I have three packages sitting on my floor right now, but I have to plan for 1-2 hours of free time so I can go to the post office and figure out what to do.

vis-a-vis Relationships: I'm currently trying to reestablish the contacts I had with Konyang students last semester. Things died during vacation while they all went home and enjoyed their break, and I went to Daegu for a month, so I'm trying to get back in touch with all of them.

IN TERRIBLE NEWS: Cute Trainer no longer works at the gym!!! He left and has been replaced with another cute trainer who is also younger but still not Cute Trainer. He is... um... New Trainer? Additionally, Other Guy will be leaving for his mandatory 2-year Army service on Tuesday, so it is sad times at the gym.

Ummm that's about it.


Day 251 - White Day

White Day occurs one month after Valentine's Day, i.e. March 14th. It's the day when boys give gifts (candy, chocolate, flowers, etc) to their girlfriends because on Valentine's Day here in Korea, the girls give stuff to the boys.

I didn't have high expectations, but I was kind of assuming that DY and I would, you know, go on some kind of date. I guess we did go on a date, if watching him play an amateur baseball game in the freezing cold, rainy weather then going to a chinese restaurant with the entire baseball team could be counted as a date.

I was less than impressed. He was doing so well with the whole random-acts-of-affection thing, little dates and gifts and notes for no reason. (I especially love getting notes because he spends hours writing notes to me in English, so I think it means a lot when I get one from him because I know he must've been thinking about me a lot if he gives me a note.) Maybe I did have high expectations for White Day?

Anyway, I'll be making sure to drop painfully, blatant "hints" about what I'm envisioning for my birthday this upcoming Wednesday. To make things twice as "You'd-Better-Plan-Something-Awesome", my birthday is also our 백일 (100th Day).

He did get me candy, so I guess he gets points for that. And a topiary. White Day is not complete without a topiary.


Day 237 - Hiking Mt. Noseong

Carrying my bag in typical Korean boyfriend style.
At the top

I told him his track outfit was ridiculous and that he looked like a frog. So he posed like this -- I think he was aiming for "frog" but my friends note that this is also the Korean-Squatter-Toilet pose. So, yeah.