Day 739 - School Farewell

I was originally supposed to give my farewell speech on Monday, but since it's been raining so hard it got pushed to Thursday. Last week I sat down in Nonsan's only Dunkin Donuts with a blank sheet of paper in front of me. Almost every day for the past two years, there's been at least one occassion where I wished I spoke Korean in front of the students. For the most part I don't because I was afraid of two things. One, that they would mock my pronunciation, which is notorious in all my classes for being terrible. Two, that they would stop trying to speak English because they knew I understood their Korean. At times, it was really funny to feign ignorance, like when they would chatter before class about how "Lindsay looks really pretty today. I think it's a new dress! She lost a lot of weight since last year." At times, it was incredibly frustrating, like when I would ask a student to answer a question and he would snort and say something like "F*ck I hate this class."

And now I had an opportunity to address all the students at once. A great opportunity to get everything off my chest, from praising the students that tried so hard to asking the misbehaving students if they could be kinder to the next ETA. Asking them not to judge their peers so harshly, set aside their hatred of English to just embrace my class as a "hangout" instead of a dreaded subject, encouraging them to do anything they like so long as they try to do it well. Explain that my class isn't designed to teach them English, but rather designed to teach them a new, creative way of thinking. That class on clothes wasn't really about clothes -- it was about accepting people based on who they are, not what they wear. That class on Yes/No questions wasn't about learning proper sentence structure, but rather it was sharing with each other in order to grow closer and build trust.

So many things I wish I could have told them, and I ended up settling on triangle kimbab and banana milk.

739. 739일 동안 한국에서 지냈어요. 739일 사이에 많은 것을 모험했어요. 언젠가는 마지막 열차를 탔고 논산에 가는 길에 잠이 들었다가 새벽 2시에 광주에서 깨어났어요. 부산 수족관에서 상어랑 스쿠버 다이빙을 했고 경주에서 템플스태이를 했어요. 타이완, 말레이시아, 일본, 태국과 필리핀 해외 여행도 했어요.

739. I have been in Korea for 739 days. In 739 days, Ive had many adventures. Coming to Nonsan on the last train, and waking up at 2AM in Qwangju. I went scuba diving in the Busan aquarium with sharks. I did a temple stay in Gyeongju. I even traveled abroad to Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, Thailand, and the Philippines.

그렇지만 한국에서 첫 번째의 행동은 삼각김밥바나나우유를 먹은 것이었어요. 대단하다고 생각했어요. 드디어 한국에 왔구나 라고 생각했으면서 먹는 방법을 몰랐었기 때문에 삼각김밥을 망가트려 버렸어요. 1989년엔 우리 가족은 서울에서 살았었는데 20년 동안 한국에 다시 오는 꿈을 꿨어요. 한미교육위원단의 Fulbright 장학금의 원서를 한 지 1년 됐고 대학교에서 한국어를 공부한 지도 1년 됐어요. 하지만 드디어! 열심히 준비한 결과 목표를 달성했어요! 삼각김밥과 바나나우유로요.

But the first thing I did in Korea was eat a triangle kimbab and a banana milk. I thought it was amazing. Im finally in Korea! I thought, destroying my triangle kimbab because I didnt know how to open it. I had dreamed of coming back for 20 years, ever since my family lived in Seoul in 1989. Applying for the Korean American Education Commissions Fulbright Scholarship took a year, then studying Korean for a year in college. Finally! My preparations came to fruition! a triangle kimbab and a banana milk.

, 얘들한테 삼각김밥과 바나나우유가 신기하지 않지만 외국인한테 한국은 정말 대단해요. 한국에서는, 집에서 있으면서 부대찌개를 배달시킬 수 있어요 가스 레인지까지! 한국에서는, 거물 입구에서 젖은 우산을 위해서 비닐봉지가 있어요! 한국에서는, 통장에 본인 직접 쓰지 않고 자동으로 인쇄해요! 가장 대단하게, 한국에서는, 호프집이 아침2시 말고 하루 종일 열려요!

Now, to you, a triangle kimbab and a banana milk arent very exciting, but to a foreigner, everything in Korea is amazing. In Korea, you can order budaejjigae to your house, complete with a gas burner! In Korea, theres plastic bags for your wet umbrella at building entrances! In Korea, you have an electronic bankbook that prints your transactions so you dont write them all down yourself! Most amazingly, in Korea, bars dont close at 2am, theyre open all night!

얘들한테 이건 낯익지만 외국인한텐 대단해요. 그리고 이거 알아요? 너희들 모두 이것처럼 대단해요. 얼마나 평범한지 모른다고 생각하는데, 너희들은 나한테 대단해요. 너희가 영어를 좋아할지 싫어할지, 대한을 갈지 직업을 가질지, 가족을 갖을 것인지 미국여행을 할지 나는 여러분들에 대해 정말 소중한 기억을 가지고 있어요.

This is all familiar to you. But to a foreigner, theyre amazing. And you know what? Each of you are like that. No matter how ordinary and normal you think your story is, you are amazing to me. Whether you love English or you hate it, whether youre going to college or going to work, whether you dream of starting a family or traveling to America, I have amazing memories of you.

Speed Quiz 때문에 얘들이 열광 것을 보는 걸 좋아했어요... 설사 body language를 사용했더라도. 딴 수업을 가르쳤을 때 얘들은 영어실 문으로 엿봤을 때 기분 많이 좋았어요. 가장 부끄럼 타고 조용한 학생들은 영어 말하기 시험 완벽하게 합격했을 때 얼마나 행복했는지 몰라요. 학교축제에서 같이 놀았고 남자, 여자친구, 알바나 주말에 한 일에 대해서 이야기 했을 때 많이 즐거웠어요. 한가지 아쉬운 점은 학생들 모두를 알지 못 하고 반밖에 모르는 것이에요.

I loved seeing you flip out over speed quiz, even though you cheated with body language. I loved seeing you looking through the English room door while I taught other classes. I loved watching even the shyest, quietest student ace the speaking test. I enjoyed hanging out with you at the school festival, talking about boyfriends/girlfriends, your part time jobs, what you did on the weekend. My only regret is that I dont know half of you as well as I want to.

같이 나눈 이야기는 너무 대단했어요, 얘들에겐 그 이야기가 재미없다고 생각해도. 그 이야기들은 나한텐 한국인들은 그냥 사람이라고 가르쳤어요. 스트레스와 걱정, 희망과 꿈이 있는 사람. 꼭 나 같아요.

Free-talking with you was so amazing, even if you think your stories are boring. It taught me that Koreans are people, just like me, with stress and worry and hope and dreams.

2주 후에 미국으로 가요. 아마도 제약 회사에서 일 할 거에요. 생화학과 분자 생물학 같은 직업을 구해야 되기 때문에 스트레스를 많이 받았어요. 그 전에, 내 한국 생활을 다 정리해야 돼요. 친구와 학생한테 작별해야 돼요.

In two weeks, Im leaving for America. I must find a job in biochemistry and molecular biology, probably at a pharmaceutical company, so Im stressed. Meanwhile, I have to pack up my life in Korea. I have to say goodbye to friends and students.

한국에 왔을 때, 1년 동안만 즐겁게 여행하고 미국 신생활을 시작하기로 했어요.하지만 지금은 언제 한국에서 진정한 생활 하게 될 지가 궁금해요. 한국 제약 회사에서 취직하기로 했지만 먼저 한국말을 유창하게 해야 하기 때문에 한국어능력시험을 합격하도록 미국에서 한국어를 계속 공부해야 돼요.

I came to Korea thinking I would just travel for a year and then start my real life in America. Now I wonder when I can return to my real real life in Korea. I want to get a job at a Korean pharmaceutical company. However, I must be fluent in Korean, so I have to keep studying Korean in America for the Test of Proficiency in Korean.

한국에 다시 돌아올 수 있을지 없을지 어떻게 될지 모르겠지만 아무튼 우리의 기억을 항상 간직하고 있을 거에요. 영어실 문으로 엿보거나, 수업 중에서 얘들 다시 잤으니까 답답했거나 I want *to* travel *to*…” 기억했기 때문에 만족스러웠어요.

I dont know whats going to happen, if I can return or not, but Ill always have my memories of you. Seeing you peek in the English room door, rolling me eyes because youre sleeping in class *again*, or feeling proud because you remembered I want *to* travel *to*…”

새로운 원어 민 교사는 한국에 왔고 지금 한국에 적응을 위해 한국어를 공부하고 가르치는 연습하고 있어요. 미국인이라는 것 밖에 몰라요. 남자, 여자, 흑인, 백인, 교포 인지는 몰라요. 하지만 나처럼 외국인이기 때문에 얘들은 신기하다고 생각할 거에요. 왜냐하면 이건 사실이기 때문에요. 얘들의 이야기를 새 교사랑 나눠 보세요. 사긴 남자, 여자친구나 택배 알바나 얘들의 생활에 대해서 이야기 해보세요. 너희들한테는 재미없을지 몰라도 외국인한테는 신기하고 재미있어요.

Your new teacher has arrived in Korea and is at orientation studying Korean and practicing teaching. All I know is that theyre American. Man, woman, white, black, Korean-American, I dont know. But theyre a foreigner and theyll be like me. Theyll find you all amazing. Because you are. Share with them, tell them about your new boyfriend/girlfriend, your box-slinging part time job, your life. Its amazing and interesting to us, even if it seems stupid to you.

삼각김밥과 바나나우유가 같아요.

Like triangle kimbab and banana milk.


Day 736 - Global Korea

I didn't realize Koreans hated Americans that much, but apparently they do. Movie marketers have chosen to drop the "Captain America" title from the movie "Captain America: The First Avenger", calling it instead just "The First Avenger". I haven't seen the movie, so I don't know if they change the translation of the characters name to something other than "Captain America".

Three countries changed the title: Russia, Ukraine, and South Korea. Russia I can understand, but then again, if you have a gripe with America, why would you even show the movie? The entire movie is basically just America bro-fisting itself.

So why would Korea change the title? Is there that much anti-American sentiment that including "CAPTAIN AMERICA" in the title is going to turn off movie-goers? If they dislike America that much, then they're probably going to have to storm out of the theater.

I guess it just really riles me up because Korea is pretty nationalistic. For example, the figure skater Yeona Kim is treated like a princess, they STILL show reruns of the Korean national baseball team's winning games, and everyone's still in a frenzy about winning the 2018 winter Olympic bid. Those are all great things. Wonderful even. But they're taken to the point of fanaticism.

Then America makes a movie about an American propaganda character and they can't even use the title? It's not faaaaaiiiiirrrr (must read in the most whiny voice possible, because that's how it was in my head.)


Day 729 - Then and Now

22 years ago, my parents took me to some place they called "The Walled City" (incorrectly identified as the walled city of Incheon in the picture below). I spent the past two years wondering where exactly this city was, and finally happened upon Suwon's Hwaseong Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It included a huge wall encompassing part of the city, and when DY and I went there we found *this* guard post!

2009-2011 F*lbright Grant Year in Summary...


Day 718 - Bingsu Problem

True story of my week thus far. I never said I was proud of it, but admission is the first step towards solving your addiction.

Day 718 - Students Studying for Speaking Tests

Boys of every culture: why are you so obsessed with your junk!?

Day 718 - Where I've Been In Korea Updated

Really need to get to the north-east... time's running out!!


Day 716 - Back on the Wagon?

  • Sorry for failing at updates.

  • General Update: My (unofficially offical) return ticket to the States is for August 1st. I'm looking forward to getting a car, a new apartment, and a smart phone. I'm not looking forward to applying for jobs in order to pay the ginormous bills for said car, apartment, and smart phone.

  • TOPIK Update: Vocab/Grammar 56, Writing 36, Listening 64, Reading 78; Overall 58.5. Good news: compared to last time, that's Vocab/Grammar +21, Listening +7, Reading +37, Overall +16. Bad news: Writing -1, and I missed passing by just 4 points on the writing section. I registered to take the test again in July. I must be the biggest sap in the world for this stupid test. I'm studying, clearly focusing on writing, but unfortunately, my co-teacher has diagnosed my problem as "not thinking like a natural-born Korean speaker". In other words, my responses make sense and are grammatically correct, but they are not the exact, *natural* response a Korean would make. Womp wompppp.

  • School Update: This week I started administering the final speaking test. 8 questions for the first and second years, 4 questions plus a roleplay for the third years. Speaking tests are nice because it means I get to reward the good students with lots of praise and good scores, and I get to show the bad students, numerically, how much their "too cool for your class" attitude is worth. After this week, there's not much left, teaching-wise. Next week there's finals, then a week and a half where I'll just show movies and take pictures of the students for the next ETA assigned to this school, and maybe buy some treats for the classes that DIDN'T make me cry this semester.

  • Social Life Update: Went on a double-date with my friend Rachael and her Korean boyfriend last weekend. We saw a baseball game in Daejeon, which was fun but incredibly hot. Baseball in Korea is crazy -- like college football in the States, complete with team chants, and a little song for each player. As each player comes up to bat, the fans sing his personal little cheer song. For example,

  • Coming Soon: DY took some leave for next week so that he could take me to see some of the things I've wanted to see around Korea. For example, the fortress from the picture in my banner. I've wanted to revisit that fortress and re-take that picture since before I got off the plane two years ago, but I just haven't done it. Also, the ETA Final Dinner is Sunday, which will be fun. I guess. Meanwhile, there's about 150 speaking tests standing in teh way of me and the freedom of pressing "play" for every class hereafter.


Day 649 - Language Study Methods

I love reading Ask a Korean! because it's really easy for me to fall into the "Korea is wrong! My way is right!" mentality and The Korean does a good job of reminding me to be less emotional/culturally sensitive about things. Sure, sometimes American/Western society has some good points, but many times Korea has equally good -- if different -- ways and attitudes.

Anyway, I was reading through his blog, procrastinating my Korean language studies and generally pitying myself because it's so haaaaard to learn Korean and why does everyone make fun of my pronunciation and why can't they just see that I work so hard to learn their language and other very shameful selfish thoughts. In one article, The Korean describes how he learned English after his family moved to America. I figured I would share because I think it goes in reverse, too.

"It seemed obvious to me that without knowing words, my English would go nowhere. I decided that I should memorize every single word in my sight that I did not know. I bought many boxes of empty flashcards and wrote the words I did not know on one side, and the definition on the other side."
Suddenly my plastic shopping bag full of index cards doesn't seem so anal!

Working on one diagnostic SAT took weeks, because I was so terrible in the verbal section to the degree that it was comical.
The go-to study method for TOPIK that I took was to just print out all the past tests and take them. I would underline all the words I didn't know and circle all the grammar points I didn't understand. I guess that was a good choice, too!

To develop speaking and listening, I watched at least 3 hours of television every day.
I guess I need to watch more Korean dramas... it's hard for me to get interested in most of them and I'm not a TV person in general, unfortunately.

Then came reading and writing. I started by reading my favorite books that were originally in English -- started with Les Miserables, then Brothers Karamazov. Even after I built a decent-sized mental storage of vocabularies, I still had trouble reading a long sentence with a complex structure. Well then – you can guess what’s coming. Whenever I had trouble deciphering a sentence, I wrote it down and memorized it whole. Whenever I had a chance to write, I tried to incorporate the new sentence structure I learned, plugging in different vocabularies that I memorized.
I've been meaning to pick up some kind of young adult novel translated into Korean, but honestly it sounds so hard that I keep putting it off. Apparently, I should just suck it up and do it.

In other words, I went from basic English skills to college-level English proficiency in two years.
And with that, suddenly I feel like a lazy b*tch that should stop complaining and get back to studying, because I've been in Korea for two years now and I don't think I'm going to get a level 4 (college-level Korean) on the TOPIK.
(cue womp-womp trombones)

The Korean continues in his article with a really interesting summary of why his method of rote memorization worked best, rather than "immersive" language learning methods. However, I'm going to go study so I don't have time to pull the most interesting quotes and then uselessly apply them to myself in a way that most of you find completely disinteresting anyway. To the books!


Day 646 - Imminent TOPIK. Army English Class, Korean Weddings

Just five more days until the TOPIK. I took a practice test the other day and scored a 71% so now I feel even more pressured to cram because there's the sssllliiiggghht possibility that I might be able to pull of the level 4. Maybe?

Today is also the first day that I'll teach a volunteer English conversation class at DY's Army base. I met with a handful of the soldiers last week for a dinner meeting, and they all seemed extremely excited about the class. Honestly, their commander wanted to pay me a good sum of money for the classes, but contractually and morally I couldn't accept the money. Instead we compromised that while I won't be paid, they'll cover all my costs to get to and from the base and every now and then take me out to dinner. Deal!

When I first came to Korea, I wondered how Amy*, ( whose blog I followed before I came to Korea, managed to get so many offers for private tutoring and little daycare/church group classes. She got so many that recently she quit her "regular" teaching job and now makes BANK teaching little "informal" style classes. (*Note, I think she's able to do so, visa-wise, because she's married to a Korean guy now and has whatever visa a spouse gets?)

But you really do start networking after a year or two in the country, especially if people like the way you teach. I gave a presentation at the F*bright spring conference in Jeju two weekends ago about teaching conversational English. My main point was that lessons should encourage confidence, first and foremost. I think as teachers, we tend to look at all the things the students CAN'T do, and try to make lesson plans about THAT. However, most of the native-speaker teachers in Korea only see the students once a week, so that's a grand total of 20 hours a semester. And THAT's assuming none of those classes get canceled due to testing/school trips/testing/random holiday/testing. So realistically, you're probably only going to see them for 15 hours a semester. Trying to "fill in" the holes in their conversational English is, most likely, fighting a losing battle. It's more productive for both you and the students to work with their strengths and give them the tools they could use in other aspects of their life, too. Problem solving, creative thinking, confidence -- these are things you can exercise in the classroom but also help them with English. (For example, circumlocution -- describing a word without actually saying the word -- is a skill that I've found many Koreans struggle with. How important and useful is that, though? And it doesn't depend on the English level at all. With my low level students, we did this lesson and used easy words like "mother", "cat", and "coffee".)


Went to Seoul last weekend with DY for his friends' wedding. Korean weddings are very different from Western weddings, and I don't mean the "traditional" Korean wedding. Western style weddings are really popular here, but they do it very... differently. I'm used to the "planning weddings involves many decisions and lots of planning and stress and lots of anticipation and excitement". But in Korea, you just pop down to the local "wedding hall" (웨딩홀) and pick out a package deal that includes everything from a buffet meal to the photography to the dress rental. All you do is point to the package you want (cheap - midrange - expensive, basically), pay the wedding hall, and show up on your wedding day.

I think that's why there's not as much pomp and circumstance attached to the ceremony. During the 15 minute ceremony, people walk in and out of the venue, talk on cellphones at a conversational volume, carry out discussions with each other, leave early to hit the buffet, or skip the ceremony all together and just head upstairs for the food. You also don't bring gifts for the newlyweds. They have envelopes at a desk in front of the venue where you're expected to drop money. If you don't drop some money (amount you give is written next to your name), you don't get a buffet ticket. There's no guest list or anything, anybody can show up and as long as you drop enough money at the desk, you get a ticket for the buffet. Very different from a Western wedding.


Day 477 - Catching Up with the Ex Homestay Brother

[오후 12:40:44] Lindsay: you should make a website like "" but for living in America
[오후 12:40:55] David: so...
[오후 12:40:57] David: I have to make
[오후 12:41:19] David:


Day 625 - Jindo Sea Parting Festival, TOPIK Studying

Maybe it's because I spent a few years living next to an ocean in Florida, or because my family goes to the beach regularly up in New England, or maybe I was just assuming it would be more awesome than it was, but the sea-parting festival was kind of a let-down. First of all, it took about 5 hours just to get there. Second, the water level didn't even expose a completely unbroken "sea road" -- there were parts still covered with about a foot of water. To me, it just kind of looked like low tide. meh.

As for as TOPIK studying, I'm behind my (extremely aggressive) self-designed study plan. However, if you go over to, download the "iFlash Free" app, and search for "brbkorea", you can find the TOPIK study cards I've put up there. I don't put all my vocab on that website because I study better with physical flashcards, but I do update sometimes with "extra" vocab words that I encounter a lot on the test.


Day 619 - UCLA's Alexandra Wallace

I'm not Asian, but I'm offended to be white like this epiphany-having poli sci major.

The Asian American community responded more with snarkiness than with outrage.


Day 612 - Spring Curriculum

Spring Curriculum Before (translated as directly as possible):

1. Self Introductions
--name, alma mater, hometown, family, hobby, etc
2. Aggressive Self-Appeals (internal characteristics)
--strengths/weaknesses, personality traits, interests, view on life
3. Making excuses, refusals
4. Appointments, invitations, schedules
--Travel expressions
5. Airport, travel destinations

Activities for Before Curriculum:
-->Dialog (content appropriate)
-->Expressions (practice, group-made examples)
-->Exercises (with Lindsay: bring students to subject actualization)

I expressed concerns that the students would not be able to study this kind of English. Although it's extremely useful and very important conversational English, my students simply lack the motivation or need to learn things like this. I said that it would probably result in a lot of frustration over a subject they already dread.

They had also recommended speaking tests that would count for 10% of the students' English grade and which would be comprised solely of what I taught in my class. My students only see me once a week, so it's really not often enough for them to practice their speaking enough to expect a 10% final speaking test from them.

The teachers gave their curriculum a try this week and, after one lesson, realized that the students really are struggling with that kind of English. The new curriculum, directly from the handout I was given:

1. World map - find the country
2. House - house work
3. Fruit - grocery store
4. Cook - recipe
5. Clothing - describing clothes
6. Symptom and injury
7. Jobs
8. Taking a trip
9. Nature - animal, plant name
10. Holiday
11. English composition

Beside English composition, this is muuuuch more in line with the students' average level. These kids, for the most part, dread English enough as it is. The last thing I want them to do is not look forward to seeing their native speaker. The more they look forward to class, the more energy they bring, and the harder they try to use their English facilities in the lesson.


Day 611 - Back to School

The GANADA classes have finished up. I learned soooo much, but it was kind of a kick in the butt to go from 6 hours of class a day to teaching within a 24 hour time period. Especially with the changes they've made at my school.

Remember, this is a vocational school filled mostly with students that don't want or don't need to learn English. But the English department has decided that my class (which is understood to be mostly just a babysitting hour) should be business English from now on. The curriculum they've drawn up is mostly very useful English that these students should already know, being high school students and all. However, everything they've put on the curriculum is something that, at one point or another in my 3 semesters at this school, I have tried to teach the students. With complete disaster.

The curriculum was mostly drawn up by a teacher that's been here for 5 days, so I'm trying not to get too worked up about it. It'll most likely fall to pieces as soon as she realizes the level these students are at. Good intentions, but misguided for the majority of these students.

In the meantime, when I'm not pulling out my hair over this new schedule, I've been heading up to Daejeon a lot. It was SLo's birthday last Thursday and a Nonsanite is leaving Korea, so I double-booked both parties. Luckily they were both held on Friday in the Galleria TimeWorld area (the youth hot-spot in Daejeon). Saturday, Doyup and I went on a date to the SAME area, where we did some shopping, read elementary school Korean lit books, saw a movie, and went out to eat at VIPS, a Western style buffet.

I wavered for a while on whether I'd take Korean classes in Daejeon again. It's just too much transit time for a two hour class that I'm not sure I'll get a lot out of. Then I thought about taking a TOPIK prep course with GANADA in Seoul, but I would most likely have to go up on Friday, stay the night, just to take the class on Saturday. maaaaybe not worth it.


Day 592 - CLEA Midterm, Daeborum

I took the GANADA/CLEA class midterm today. It wasn't too bad, but then again I haven't seen the score yet, so I shouldn't say any more about it.

Today also was Daeborum. What's that, you've never heard of Daeborum? Me either. Apparently, it is the 15th of January by the lunar calendar. Which happens to be today. Koreans, in the olden days, would celebrate by (1) biting nuts with hard shells, (2) eating cold rice, and (3) putting fire in cans and swinging it in circles. They believed that, by doing this, they would (1) prevent boils and have strong teeth, (2) not get hot in the summer time, and (3) drive away field rats.

The more you know.


Day 585 - Critical Language Enhancement Award for Korean and Thailand Recap

I "won" a critical language enhancement award, so I'm in the middle of the Korean countryside for three weeks to study intensively. By "intensively", there's class for 6 hours a day, 6 days a week. That's about 4 grammar points a day, and maybe 30~50 vocab words.

The first week is going pretty well. All the days start blurring together into a jumbled soup of Korean and disappointing cafeteria food. Even if I had the free time to do something other than study, there's nothing in this little town for entertainment unless you count going to the gym. The daily routine has become taking breaks from studying by working out.

The teachers are all really good though. F*bright has employed instructors from Ganada, a Korean hagwon for foreigners based in Seoul. The books aren't organized very well and the design/layout is kind of sucky, but the content is amazing. I really feel like I'm improving and the TOPIK doesn't feel quite as impossible anymore. I'm even thinking I have a chance at level 4! ...but chickens and counting and all that.

Speaking of the TOPIK, registration for the April 17 test closes on Monday, so y'all out there studying Korean should get on that. The next test is in July, so for F*brighters, it might be past our visa end date.

Thailand was amazing. Phuket was by far my favorite. The beaches and atmosphere were better than Hua Hin and the range of things to do was more interesting than Bangkok, in my opinion. I got my open water diver's license and I can't wait to start filling up my logbook!! I dove a handful of reefs with lots of reef fish, hard coral formations, and even saw 4 reef sharks, a hawk's bill turtle, and a moray eel -- definitely awesome for a first time diver and totally beats learning only in a pool!
Yayyyy turtle!


Still Here

Here being Korea.

But after about a week back in country, I'm packed up to head out again.

Back in February.



In Korea, I eat about 1,250kcal a day, and I usually burn about 300 at the gym from running. I also walk everywhere since I don't have a car. The red line represents that.

In America, I have a limited time to eat all the foods I've been dreaming about while being abroad. The green bars represent how much I eat in America. How much delicious, wonderful food I eat in America.

In completely unrelated news, I have no idea why I've gained 7+ pounds (~3.5kg) in 11 days.