Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Now the time stamp on the non-Korea posts are messed up. Deal with it!

See Previous Post

Should have been timestamped 1:43 p.m. on Tuesday. That's right. I'm a day ahead. I know who wins the lottery, and I'm sorry, it isn't you.

Touch down! -- Of the Plane Variety

I'm not really sure how to recap without it coming across as terribly, terribly boring, so let's hit the highlights of the trip!

Apparently to leave early, you have to shower earlier. Missed that train. Got to airport (cried), security didn't find anything (bwuaha), and I safely boarded from DIA to LAX. Arrived in LAX to a million grumpy people (4 Starbucks should have eliminated the grump factor). Figured out getting new ticket, beat the crowd and got a window seat! YAY! Wandering around in meager attempt to find book resulted in being serenaded. Apparently I've lost that lovin' feelin'.

Flight to South Korea from Los Angeles = 12.5 hours long. Did well; only checked time 35 tries before we landed. Airplane boyfriend drools. Ditched upon arriving at Seoul.

Seoul. The word makes me cringe, now. I gathered my luggage to go through customs (translation: I have no commercial goods, thereby don't need attention. Woo hoo! The tampons and deodorant are still mine!). Got through customs, went to get my new ticket to Daegu. The ticketing machine was BROKEN. Ended up taking luggage over half a mile away--many bruises as a result. Lots of sweating. Ended up boarding just fine, and for first time in years fell asleep from exhaustion without ear plugs.

Arrive in Daegu to find someone not the person who was supposed to pick me up, and was taken to another English teacher's place--Jamie. Sweet, sweet girl from Alabama (hehe that was totally sung in my head), but I am afraid that I was a little too "me" and not enough "normal" for first meeting. Both of us had been up an inappropriate amount of time, so bed at 10. I woke up at 6:30. It was too hot to keep sleeping, so I read and tried to assuage my back muscles from their angry night on the tiny hard bed. For some reason this bed had wood sides to it, and I kept running into it like a kid on the top bunk. It make me giggle in the end, though. :)

After a healthy McDonald's breakfast (lol thanks, Jamie), we went to school! Met everyone here, and they're lovely people. I am not sure of how my first impression went over (I'm afraid I might be the odd duck), but I am really looking forward to my year here. Mel is nothing like I thought, yet everything for which I had hoped (energetic, funny, awesome accent).


Children yell, hit each other, take each other's scissors, and all other sorts of mischief. They're bright as hell, though. I have 4 classes of 6-7 year olds, and their grasp of the language is better than some of my former coworkers. (There, their, they're come to mind.) I can see how people could be taxed after doing this day in and day out, but that's what pantothenic acid is for! (Thanks ma!)

Yesterday I got the keys to my apartment. First off, it's adorable. Pictures will ensue once I figure out how to make the browsers work at home. I'm not sure how, but last night, stone sober, I misplaced my apartment. I walked up and down the same street for an hour with a very heavy bag of groceries. Finally walked up another block, though, and found the sucker. Have almost completed unpacking, but a girl has to have her priorities. 1) Internet sort of works, and 2) I think I found the button that controls the hot water. (You have to push a button before the shower. Learned that 2 cold showers later.)

Me and my still-swollen feet are going to go through orientation, now. I have to say, though, before I go, despite the fact that I have been hot and sweaty for close to 3 days, now, it's totally worth it. I look forward to someone (anyone!) coming.

God bless,
Kate Teacher

Saturday, July 26, 2008

You'll find your happiness in Rio!

"Why is she talking about Rio? Doesn't she know she's moving to Korea? Has she been hitting the vodka again?"

No, dear reader (aka Mom and Tamara). Last night as one last night out with the girls (girls = Amanda, Vanessa (hi Vanessa!), Tamara, and Angela) we went out to the Rio by Park Meadows for some of the most potent margaritas I've ever had. I only had one, but it kept me pretty happy for 2 hours. Pretty tasty stuff, too.

It was nice to be out with them. We all had good food (too much good food, as evidenced by Tamara's desire to run, throw up, then run some more). It has been probably 3 years since I hung out with the girls, giggling and chatting, and inevitably working the conversation from drinking to guys to sex to being underpaid/underappreciated at work. The last part reinforced how easy it was to leave my previous life in an effort to chase my heart's wildest desires.

The best part for me was when the sunset started and I sat with Angie waiting for Jason to come pick her up. We set the silliness aside (although I do love me some silliness!) and talked about the adventure and what God is going to do in my life. When God told her to go, she moved from Michigan to Colorado, and despite some set backs (why do they ALWAYS involve guys?) she has grown immensely by walking with Him daily and trusting Him minute-by-minute. I felt as though I had one more thing to look back on when I go through a hard time to realize that I'm going to get through it. I have quite an arsenal, as it turns out; I'm set.


Today has been a calmer day. I took bagels to Peliton (final bagel Friday), and actually said good bye to everyone. Per usual, the only people there from Benefits were Warren, Jon, and me--and I don't even work there anymore. Valerie's cube was a disaster zone. Shelley's hair looked lovely. Tabitha looked awesome in her heels and leopard print shirt. Angie had a very, very thoughtful card to give me that I'll be sure to take along. Amanda continued to be her bright, cheerful self. Tamara still walked the halls taller and straighter-backed than the majority of the men. And Linda--my dear, beloved Linda--gave me a big hug and promised to write.

I left the building for the last time feeling good about myself and what I am about to do. It was the tallest and straightest I've ever walked out of there, and I felt as though I had a purpose again.

Unfortunately, 3 hours later that purpose was to return the pretty, shiny, red laptop because the keyboard and mousepad ceased functioning. We shall call this one Take 2. This is probably going to be my last post from Denver, Colorado. Signing off with love--and just a few stray tears.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Loose Ends

The last 24 hours can best be described as epic. I think it's possible I've done more in the last 24 hours than in the last month. It all started at about 10 a.m. yesterday, and kicked off a battle with the consulate out of San Francisco. My first phone call came 2 days after my scheduled interview and 17 hours after my re-scheduled interview--I was going to get my visa stamped that day if it took an act of God. (And I'm pretty sure it did. Thanks, God.) After being told it was my fault for scheduling my plane trip too soon (he said he needed 2 weeks, I gave him 2 weeks), I pointed out the nasty little details of 1) having original appointment canceled, 2) having re-scheduled appointment canceled, 3) not receiving a call after 5 as I was promised, and within 20 minutes I had my interview and a confirmation that my visa/passport were in fact dropped in the mail and were on their way to Colorado. Deep sigh of relief! It set the tone for the rest of the day.

Come lunch time, I test drove mom's car with a very nice young man who wanted a car for driving back to the Naval Academy in Maryland. He brought his mom and younger brother, and as we test drove the card, he blew through a stop sign at a 4-way stop (partly nerves, partly wind blowing a tree to cover the sign.) He had a good sense of humor about it as his mom and I teased him while showing very little mercy, and no sign of ever letting him forget it. To be honest, mom's car was the absolutely best buy on Craigslist, but it was a relief to have someone so interested. He and his parents returned later that evening to test drive, and actually purchase the vehicle. I have one little note for anyone who reads this: Ask the buyer if the price is firm before asking who to make the cashier's check payable to. ;) A point of irony, the young man's father works for a belt company that 1) may be able to help my dad trick his drag bike even further, and 2) has a factory IN DAEGU. It's a small world after all...

To celebrate, mom and I went to Cheesecake Factory, where I was sure to take a picture and text it to Tamara. Tamara, if it makes you feel any better, my chicken sandwich had a bit too much pink in it. And to make up for making you feel better, the Godiva chocolate cheesecake was fabulous. I was really glad to get to go there again with my mom to share our favorite place before heading off into the Abyss. After making a cheesecake deposit into our fridge, we braved the rain (yes, rain) to paw laptops at Staples.

Around dinner time, then mom's car was gone. We had a cashier's check, some thorough teasing of the 20-year-old, and four fewer strange faces in our 2 million face city. Thereafter came the final test drive of the day. 7:20 p.m., perfectly 20 minutes late, a man and his girlfriend show up to test drive my baby. We talk about it, and they talked about their finances and their situation with Wells Fargo, and they fretted over getting the money to me. I felt a little uncomfortable when they said they didn't have a copy of their insurance cards on them. I had it drilled into me that one card is always, always in the car, and the other card is always, always on your person. The girl had been with her company for over 5 years, though, and had plenty of other cards to show me, so I consented and we went for a test drive.

I personally wonder if the population of America has begun to increase since the dawn of the Honda Element. Have you ever been in the back seat? Not only does it fold into a bed, but there's a romantic scape of the stars.

All through the test drive, "moneymoneymoneymoneymoney," and "after you're gone." They left and I felt very uneasy about waiting until after I was gone for a year to receive $19k. After a sleep of ill rest, I woke up and realized, mom does actually want my car. I can tell them to piss off! And so, mom is now the proud owner of a 2008 Honda Element in Kiwi Green with Pretty Vomit Mitten license plates, and I own a veeeeery pretty ruby red Dell laptop that does not overheat in the middle of updating my blog.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Weather Update

Denver, CO: 94 degrees, 16% humidity
Daegu, CO: 76 degrees, 100% humidity (of course it's like... 5:45 a.m. there)

My elbows soften just thinking about it.

"We are calling to reschedule..."

Well, Friday was my last day as an employee in the USA. It was kind of a strange day, spending last moments of commradery with the people I had grown to know and care for the last year. Poor Linda gave me a dirty look each time she saw me all day. 3:30 came along, and with Ken's final words of advice ("Don't get any overtime") ringing in my ears, I clocked out and shut down my boat anchor for the last time.

Yes I was a chicken, and yes I snuck out without saying good bye to anyone. It was more for self preservation than anything--I didn't think any more tears needed to be shed at work.

It is now day 2 of "I should be at work, but I woke up at 8:30 so it's all good." Final preparations are being made, such as, "Do I want the frog luggage tags, or the monkeys?" (Monkeys won.) Molly (baby sister) came home to see me one last time, and I have already received the agonizing call from my grandmother, fearful that she'll never see her (former) favorite granddaughter. Apparently moving to another continent gets you booted from the favorite slot.

The "need to sell my car NOW" adventure continues! So far, I have 3 people somewhat interested in my car (one of them is my mom! woot!). Before mom would purchase my car, though, I would need to sell hers. I have someone coming to look at/drive her car this afternoon, actually, so this will end positively, regardless of the lingering anxiety that has my stomach still in knots. Say it with me, "God will get me through this."

A weird note of irony. Yesterday morning, the Holy Spirit woke me up to spend some time with God. I turned open my devotional (Blackaby's Experiencing God), and July 20th's verse was Genesis 12:1,
The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you." How ... cool is that? I am so looking forward to my adventure.

Because we grow through trial, I was presented with a trial yesterday. My visa interview was supposed to be at 12:15. Around 11:45, I went to make sure my phone was on and etc. As I checked my voice mail, my favorite consulate worker informed me that my interview has been postponed. Postponed? As it was, I was going to get my passport Thursday in order to leave Saturday. For an unknown reason (I feared asking why), my interview is postponed until today (Tuesday!!) until 4:15!!! THEIR TIME!!! I pointed out how I state in my visa application that my plane leaves Saturday morning and that I need my passport back ASAP, and I got a grudging admission that that was cutting things close. (YOU THINK?!) But in an effort to keep in mind, "God's got my back," I'm just trusting that all will work out. I won't be stranded at LAX.

It turns out the first night in Korea will be spent with another teacher as my apartment will be in the process of being vacated. At first I was like, augh, it's already starting, but it dawned on me that it might be nice to spend the night with someone who is accustomed to not knowing the language. :)

Eventful, yes. But just a few steps closer to embarking on epic.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Point A to Point B (and C and D and E...)

Hi. My name is Kate. I am 25 years old, and in desperate need of an adventure.

After a trip to Germany in high school (an agonizing eight years ago), I've had a yearning desire to return--without the confidence that if I did something like that, the world would not actually end. A year of working a desk job (cubicle job) has given me that nudge I needed to find something newer, different, and hopefully better fitting.

Back in June, I applied for a job with a Korean hagwon (private English school) through longbridgepacific.com--a website that honestly brought intrigue to the entire possibility. Fast forward through anxiety attacks, 2-$60 letters/packages (thanks FedEx!), 1 passport application (lost in some move long ago..), and a verrry uncomfortable 2-week notice, and here we are. July 16th, fresh from lunch with 3 of my favorite people in the world (Thanks, Tabitha, Tosha, and Tamara!) and a desire to keep them updated.

It is now T-9 days, 19 hours, 23 minutes until I take off for L.A., and I am waiting on my visa to be stamped into my passport. Here's a prime example of laying everything down at God's feet for Him to take care of, then going on to do some thoroughly procrastinated filing.

Now for what can only be described as a preview for things yet to come....