Thursday, May 28, 2009

Some highlights from the past few months.

Time has slipped through my fingers again and now I must update you all.

In March, I returned to little Korea after a month of travel and rest. My mission upon returning to Seoul: to find a decent paying job and to save as much money as possible for another amazing vacation and to return home indefinitely.
My job search was tiresome and fruitless, until the day I received a phone call from another "adoptee" who knew I needed some help.

At the beginning of April, I started teaching at BFE. Basic Facts: part-time hours paid by the hour, no benefits, 1 hr commute from my flat, kindergarten aged children that speak minimal English, and I speak minimal Korean. My thoughts at the time: I saw it as a challenge and accepted it. I would learn more Korean, be able to find more work and have a larger income, AND really see my efforts as a teacher, teaching English phonics to Korean children.

I find that my current challenges are blurring what I saw from the beginning. My students are very young, and because they are so young they don't care and don't put forth much effort into paying attention to me or the lesson (who can blame them, when I was their age, I too wanted to play and run around). It has taken over a month to finally get more hours of work a week(a meager 12 to 23 hours).

Despite my complaints, I have seen some great things come from this job. My Korean has improved slightly...even though I'm still at the beginner level, my ability has come a long way. Some days, I really see a breakthrough with some of my students and it REALLY makes my day. I also get to see their characters grow. I have one little boy who is absolutely precious. When all of the other boys throw the cards around and gather their bags to hurry out the door, he is always there helping me pick the cards up to put them back in place. It is such a small gesture, but it touches my heart and makes me think about what kind of people my students will be when they get older.

Although working with children can be difficult and tiresome I have received some clarity through writing this. The benefits definitely outweigh the negatives.

Are you wondering, is it all work and no play for Noel? Lately, I've been living for the weekends.

Cherry Blossoms at Kyunghee University

Girls at Hooters (Sun's first time!)

2nd day of my trip to Seoraksan

Since I have returned to Korea I have: hiked Seoraksan (a large mountain that is a few hours from Seoul), been to quite a few going away bashes (Korea is full of goodbyes), had a blast running a 10k race, got a view of Seoul from Namsan Tower, ate some delicious, yet difficult King Crab for the first time, made an olive tree with my roommates, saw my friend Kat perform in the Vagina Monologues, went to see Nanta (really fun show that involves cooking and drums), danced at various venues, was introduced to the artists Mirou and Matisse, wrote a review for a restaurant in Itaewon, lost at Texas Hold'em to an Irish woman named Deirdre, volunteered at a food kitchen and dog shelter, visited Myeongdong Cathedral and stayed for mass that was in Korean, went to the 63 Building aquarium, got spooked at the Seodaemun Prison, and went to see the Cherry Blossoms at Kyunghee University.

My roommate Julio enjoyin' the free food.

Myeongdong Cathedral

With Wolf at the animal shelter

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Continuation of Top 10

10 Things That Made Me Happy Today

1. Spring weather
2. Warm Chocolate-Chip Cookie/Cake
3. Lavender colored flowers
4. Getting the morning phone call from You.
5. Salmon steak that was seasoned just right.
6. Watching Sweeny Todd on the big screen TV, while running.
7. My students' smiles.
8. Being able to sleep in.
9. Seeing the goofy Korean boy in big, black framed glasses on the subway.
10. Listening to Kenny Chesney

10 Things on my mind

1. Jobs (short-term/long-term)
2. My W Days
3. Purpose
4. Grad school
5. You
6. Missed moments
7. Waiting/Patience/Respect
8. Study Korean
9. My next vacation
10. Completing unfinished letters

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Changes that came and that are coming.

So here's a quick and short update with the events in my life. Sorry there aren't many elaborate details...may return with some at another point in time.

End of January: Say goodbye to the people at Espirit Institute.

Beginning of February: Say hello to a new apartment. Conveniently located in the center of Itaewon, a very diverse area of Seoul. Have a short get-away girls' weekend to Chuncheon. Popular for it's DakKalbi and the Korean drama Winter Sonata.

February 10th - 17th: Visited the beautiful island, Boracay in the Philippines. I was introduced to some wonderful people and to some beautiful sunsets. Pictures are on facebook and will eventually be added to my Picassa albums online.

February 18th - until: I arrived in Mississippi early in the morning. The tentative plan is to stay until the beginning of March and then return to Korea, where I will be working for an undecided amount of time.

Continuing with my Lists of Ten:

Top 10 Things to do in 2009

1. Go Skydiving.
2. Visit a place in MS that I've never been to and never thought about going to.
3. Continue to eat healthy and be healthy.
4. Go to New York and New Jersey to see family.
5. Go on a picnic and fly a kite.
6. Learn how to cook a new dish and perfect it.
7. Take lessons/classes of some kind (salsa dancing, gymnastics, hapkido or taekwondo).
8. Shoot a gun.
9. Perform on stage.
10. Watch a sunrise (this has been difficult, especially since I'm not a morning person).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Feeling Compassion--Inspired by the Bushisms on

Okay. The United States has a new President. There is no doubt we should welcome in the new and hope for the better, a change so many Americans are wishing for. Change can be good, who can deny that?

I can't help but feel sympathy and sadness for President Bush. Gasp!...Sorry, you guys! Some people may say he's uneducated, that he's inarticulate, or look at what he has done to our country over the last eight years!

He's a fallen man. A man who made mistakes. Some big. Some small. Whatever the error, he is still human. As humans, we are imperfect. We make mistakes.

Oh wait a minute, as President, shouldn't he (or she--one day) be held at a different standard? Yes, but should a man be belittled and ridiculed for every mistake? No.

If you said yes, then think about all of the mistakes you have made in the past. Then imagine what it would feel like to have each one replayed for the entire world to see and relive it for every single day that you have breath in your lungs.


Ouch, right? OKAY, so yeah, some of it IS funny (not the point)... Hopefully, he can find it humorous...but if he's like you or me, it's going to be more painful before he finds it comical (Oh before I forget, I don't like one-sided journalism. I don't like how the media attacks.)

Sure, man should recognize their mistakes, see their imperfections. Accept it, try to change what they can, and move on. Bush can't change anything he has done over the last eight years, neither can you or I.

I'm sure he is wondering what he could have done better for America. Yet, he has millions of people who hate him, who blame him for the state our country is in. Who, possibly, for quite a long time, will not be able to walk outside the comfort of his home without feeling the weight of regret, judgment, and ridicule. Do you think society will let him just forget? Do you think society will let bygones be bygones?

I don't.
It's not right.

We get to move on with our lives. We get to stash our mistakes away in a secret file in our minds. Maybe Bush can too. Maybe he's really strong and the public voice won't bother him. Who knows?

I wonder what Bush is feeling this very moment and what he's thinking. Also, I wonder the same about Obama.

Obama has a big burden on his shoulders. He has to try and repair a country that is in disarray economically, etc. My hope, is that he lives true to his promises of change. My hope is that he doesn't reach the bottom like Bush did. I hope our nation will get stronger and our leader will make the right choices, just as I hope the people of my country will too.

***SIDE NOTE: Please forgive any spelling, grammar, punctuation errors. It is really early in the morning and I'm a little loopy.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcoming the new, accepting the old, and hoping for a better "something."

2008 came as quickly as it disappeared. For the majority of this past year I spent it in a new country, or rather, my "motherland." I'm thankful for the people I have met, the places I have seen, and the experiences I was blessed with. If I had stayed within the confines of the Mississippi state line I would never have gone to Thailand, not have been as self-sufficient as I am right now, and possibly be stuck in a rut that I couldn't get out of. Living in South Korea has definitely been a good experience for me, even though I have felt lonely at times.

Hope. That is what I have for the new year. I hope to overcome my weaknesses and turn them into strengths. I hope for forgiveness and for answers.

I don't really have resolutions, but I have goals.

On New Year's Eve, I went to the center of Seoul to "hear the bell" ring. The massive amount of people was overwhelming. We were all squeezed and squished together making it very difficult to breathe. There was a semi-threatening wall of police men as well...the number of them was threatening, not that they had any sort of weapon. I didn't manage to get back to my drafty apartment until five and then slept till sunset.

Happy New Year...Make it the best.