Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Glad I Didn't Prepare

You know, after eight semesters of college, I pretty much acquired a constant feeling of, "I wish I had prepared better" for that paper/exam/night of drinking. I felt pretty unprepared for a career in property management, and I definitely flat out wasn't prepared for a job in medical insurance.

Then today happened. I had a pretty busy day, actually. This morning I prepped both of my classes for the tests I administered after lunch. Then during my break, it took me forty of the sixty minutes to correct these tests, leaving me without a whole lot of time to prepare for my afternoon classes. Alex gave me the message that two of my three weren't coming to my last class, so I was pretty concerned about how I was going to entertain one child for forty minutes, but it got pushed to the back of my mind as I realized I had more tests and so forth.

With two of my afternoon classes finished, I hung around my classroom waiting for the one child. A quick ride down the elevator, and I found out my last class was canceled--no one was coming! And so, while this story is neither informative nor entertaining, I would like to make one of those statements that one rarely gets to make: I'm glad I didn't prepare. :)

Life Imitating Art

Well, maybe calling my teaching style "art" is a little exaggerated, but as I look around at my day-to-day life, I see myself beginning to take on certain traits, or develop certain traits further, that one may associate with a six-year-old. (On January 1, 2009, my beloved babies of Koala and Swan classes will turn eight years old, but western age they're still six since they were all born after 1/1/02.)

Most recently what I see is a tendency to play hard until I crash. Last night I went out to dinner with the guys (and Heather, hi, Heather!), and initially I went to the wrong one. I walked all the way there and back, then had to go to a place reeeally far away. I took a taxi there just so I could be on time to get some meat (mmmm galbi) and walked home very slowly, stretching out my calf muscle with each step. It was great, but a lot of movement. When I got home, though, I was on the high of having been out in the cold air and moving a lot, so there was a lot of bouncy and annoying chat about comic book characters (who is inherently good, Batman or Superman), and at exactly 12:47 a.m. crashed in a ball on my bed.

My poor Tuesday/Thursday kids are kind of the same way. They will come into my class after having been at kindergarten all day (Korean kinder), and after the initial excitement of coming in and getting ready for class passes, one or four of them all begin to do the nod, sometimes actually hitting their foreheads on the table. Poor little guys.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Lovebug

I resisted the Jonas Brothers until I saw they had a hit song called Lovebug. What with being a Katibug, I had to give it a listen, and I liked it.



I'm also obsessed with this song, Chicken Fried. I love country music!! The other day, someone asked me if I'm patriotic. You better believe it. The part of the song that gets to me is singing about letting freedom ring.

Blah.

I don't really have anything to report other than I am drinking milk soda pop. It's bizarre, but yummy.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Korean Plumber

So I finally get someone to come to my house, and he says the same thing Troy and Sunny said, "She doesn't know how to work it." Well I would like to go on the record as saying, "Sigh." At least he pushed more buttons and tried all of the sinks and stuff! He reduced the water pressure some, and all the while is talking to me in Korean. The only word I understood was water, so it was a very one-sided conversation.

This post won't be any longer because I am aching for a hot shower. Tschuess!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Walking

So there may be a few more of these posts that are just about celebrating walking, but I think it stands as testament to how much I formerly took for granted, but do so no longer!

Today I walked to the hospital, went through physical therapy (which passed much more quickly while playing solitaire on my purple Christmas present), checked in at ECC (thankfully Jin was there and I explained that while my water may be warm on the hand, it is cold to the naked body), did some shopping at a stationery store, and walked home.

I walked down the street singing full-force to the song Chicken Fried and received well-warranted odd looks. What a glorious evening. With friends pre-occupied with boyfriends and girlfriends, I haven't much to do, but whatever I do find will probably involve some walking.

Debbie's Night Out

Yesterday was a pretty great day. I woke up, called and harassed my family for a while, then went downtown for the first time since October. As my taxi driver wound along the now familiar path, I smiled at the places that held memories, glared at the driver (from behind sunglasses) for opening his window, and tapped my toes anxiously because of all the traffic. The traffic was much more like Christmas Eve day back home with everyone rushing around. There was no stillness, probably because everyone was either going to church or, well, shopping. Not much was closed.

I got to the Holy Grill just on time, actually, and had arrived on my own. The Holy Grill is located on the third floor, though, and the staircase is not one of our American staircases with even floors and perfectly spaced stairs; in my mind as I lay with my bones knitting, the stairs became more lopsided, uneven, and incredibly tall--I was almost so scared I didn't go. In the end, it wasn't until I distracted myself that I left without thinking. I think this is a tool I need to remember in the future, that when I'm scared I need to concentrate on something outside of myself to overcome that fear.

The dinner was pretty tasty. I don't know where they got turkey from, but it was delicious, as was the ham. The food was a little cold, but I was still really grateful. The stuffing definitely wasn't like mom's. I discovered something kind of fun about going out on Christmas Day: not only do you not have to do dishes, but you can order milkshakes with Kahlua. Yum!

After dinner, Heather and I went back home laughing about the useless stuff that 20-something-year-old girls laugh about when on vacation and without many cares in the world. Parting ways, I was left to my own devices and discovered the joys of high speed internet mixed with popular music. Merry Christmas to me~ Merry Christmas to me~ This was all happening while I waited for Mel to sleep off her turkey coma, so when she woke up we headed off in search of Yes Man. (Yes, that's right, I saw it again, and after recommending it so highly I do have one note: there is a scene that if seen by both parents and older children simultaneously, it will cause great awkwardness. Just a head's up!)

When we got there, it was a little before 10, and the movie started at 11. An hour. Well, it wasn't too long, so we both kind of convinced each other to stay. After buying our tickets, we sat with some hot cocoa, but for some reason our conversation lulled while we waited. As I looked up past Mel's head, I saw two motorcycles for a racing game. Eyes lit up, hopeful like a child on Christmas, I asked if she wanted to race with me. I got turned down, but the Wack-A-Mole game intrigued her: Mel is from New Zealand, and she had only seen them in movies. After wandering around the game room, we both got a case of the giggles, and I ended up going up to a man with about 30 dimes and gave my best pathetic "Help me" look, because I couldn't actually ask him to exchange the coins for the fifty-cent pieces we need to play the games. Mel and I ended up racing cars (read: slammed into the sides a lot while laughing), and then the Wack-A-Mole. I'm pretty sure we're the worst players ever, but I think since it brought us so much glee, the man brought us prizes anyway!

I got home just in time to call Tracy up and wake her to wish her a Merry Christmas, then shared some of my bouncy Christmas joy with Tamara. For some reason I was just incredibly excitable, so I called home and mom was less than awake. So I got passed to dad, who was sitting near his label maker. I had a great time helping him come up with uses for the label maker: I think somewhere along the line the pie got "marked." This probably would have been less funny had I been at home and thus had the pie off-limits!

Overall, the day was going to come when I would not be able to return home for Christmas for whatever reason. Despite the disappointment, though, I was able to keep in touch with my family very well. I love them dearly and plan to spend the next Christmas with them, but being on my own (sort of) in South Korea proved to be a growing experience. I've always wished that I would seize the day more, and that I would create my own nice circumstances. This has been a successful step in that direction.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

It has officially been Christmas for 10 minutes, now. I have officially had all of my presents unwrapped for probably 8 hours, though. Turns out I can't be trusted! Yesterday really turned out to be a fun day. I got to work and already everything was set up on the fourth floor for the day's festivities. When I got into class, I had the options of 1) teaching a lesson, or 2) screwing off. I chose the latter and had a word find prepared ("Kate, did you prepare for your classes this morning?" "Sure did!"). Fortunately, by the time my boss walked by the classroom the kids were very adorably lined up and singing their two Christmas carols for the competition after lunch.



We had Market Day, where we spent the "talent" money they had been saving for the last month. My kids have extra classes after normal kindergarten, so they had over 100 talents each--we definitely ran out of prizes, but I think they all got things that were halfway interesting to them. After lunch, we had singing, then Santa (Chris) came and gave out presents. He did a really good job, and the kids totally thought the white guy in the red suit was really Santa. Now that I've had a day to reflect, I smile with slight wistfulness at the fact that my peers are now playing Santa instead of believing in him.

Santa and his reindeer left, leaving me with 6 kids, 6 unopened presents, and 35 minutes left of class. So we all headed downstairs to our class, sneaked by Yuria Teacher, and opened our presents one-by-one. My favorite picture of 2008 is the one I took of Max opening his present. His parents used super evil tape and super evil metal/plastic wrapping paper that was impenetrable to tearing. It required Kate Teacher to arrive to the rescue with her magic scissors. (I love that being old enough to use real scissors qualifies me as a hero!) Everyone got some pretty cool stuff, except for Nick. He got a pair of sheep mittens. While they were absolutely adorable (aka "steal-able"), they did kind of compare to Kevin's remote-controlled car. I guess Santa really did know who was good and who was naughty.

At the end of the day, I had a package to take home and a sudden urge to walk. Mel helped me home with a small surprise package from Sara (heart), and I kept pace pretty well. It was still a pretty long walk for someone who recently learned how to put on shoes again, so a few hours later we took a taxi to meet with the other foreigners at Fish and Grill.

Hilarity ensued (keeping pace with the soju, I reckon), and I do feel lucky to work with such great people.


Today had its equally up points. Like, seeing my family in front of the tree at night via webcam. It wasn't as wonderful as we had hoped it would be, but it was still great to see everyone together. My mom is currently taking care of my sister's guinea pig and my American hamster; I think dad got jealous, because he seems to be growing a rodent on his chin. My sister is rocking a darker hair color, now, and my mom's hair is all short and cute-uh. I even got to see my 10-year-old puppy.

That led to a small amount of homesickness. When I signed up for Korea, I had hoped that something would work out--my family might come here, I might get time off to go home--but in the end I spent Christmas Eve alone. To me, though, Christmas Eve IS Christmas. Christmas Day is a lot like a repeat of Thanksgiving, just with new pajamas and slippers at breakfast. Christmas Eve, though, has driving around to see how people decorated, and candle light service at church, and appetizers for dinner at home, followed by presents--equal excitement for giving as receiving.

Once I decided to pull myself out of the hole I created, I tied up my sneakers (yay!) and headed to Home Plus. I did some random shopping there, hoping that any electronic would jump out at me and provide some sort of entertainment, but to no avail. I did stand in the rice cooker aisle for about five minutes, faking out the clerk. It's impossible to shop without someone being more than five feet away for assistance (theft-prevention) purposes. I really need a picture of the entire aisle of rice cookers, though, it's unfathomable back home. After buying more crap to send home to my sister (when did I start shopping for my sister all the time?), I walked over to Outback. (You have no idea the joy I take in typing the words, I walked.) It was hard being seated alone in the midst of so many families, but after a few seconds I was good and enjoyed my pasta and Coke. I was even served by the manager! Tipping is verrrry uncustomary in Korea, but it's Christmas, so I left a full 25% and felt quite pleased.

After dinner, I paused and looked up where I knew the movie theater to be. I said to myself, Self, do you want to go home all depressed just to eat the rest of Sara's cookies? Or are you going to try something fun even though you're a little bummed out? I gave it a shot, and I got there with ten minutes to spare before Yes Man started to play. The movie was really good, and kind of reinforced my decision to be here in Korea.

Something kind of cute about the movie is, Jim Carrey's character decided to learn Korean, and everyone in the audience perked up the same way my family perks up when Montana is mentioned in a movie. They really liked part of the movie being in Korean (probably 90 seconds worth), and I liked that it was in English subtitles when necessary.

Afterward I walked all the way home. I stumbled once, and it didn't hurt! I cried out in fear that it would 1) hurt, or 2) break, but it did neither to my pleasant surprise. And when I got home, my mom was already up and ready to talk to her first born, which really brought the day to a soothing close.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sara is Wonderful

I had a busy day that was wonderful and took many awesome photos, but it's 3:22 a.m. and I need some sleep. Before I sleep, I need to inform the world of what a sweet girl Sara is. She sent me a care package of Christmas cookies. She has mastered the art of toaster ovening and sent me sugar cookies and a bunch of other stuff (but those are the ones that matter--and are already gone). I feel quite speechless over her thoughtfulness, and I don't really have a mountain from which I can thank her (not that I could climb it, even if I did) but I have this here blog that at least four people read regularly so... Thanks, Sara. You're a doll! (And the cookies were frosted very well, Mrs. F!)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Two Shoes

For the last two months, I have worn one shoe, the right shoe, and it has taken its toll on my white sneaker. It's been the one to step through puddles and forced out into the cold each morning. Soon this should be remedied. Yesterday I went to the doctor's again, and after the usual X-rays, the doctor was pleased with how the break is healed. He looked at me quizzically, saying, "I'll take the splint today. Where is your shoe?" Haha, I knew if I had brought it he wouldn't take the splint, so I didn't bring it!

I got home to take off the splint and to put the shoe on, but considering my ankle was the size of my knee, I wasn't able to get my foot into my shoe. This was a little disappointing, but having the clearance to wear the shoe when it fits, that's exciting. After another cold shower (sigh), I got ready to go to a Christmas party at ECC. Unfortunately, finding a taxi on my street can be a challenge; 45 minutes after the party already started, the taxi I did find deposited me safely in the neighborhood. I was late, but I was there!

There was all sorts of fun to be had. Anne cooked chicken soup (it had rice and other delicious things) and bulgogi and prepared the stuff to make your own gimbap. I stuck to the chicken soup, which was wonderful, and sat on a chair like a princess while watching people try to learn a type of Korean poker.

This was thoroughly confusing, so we moved on to a game that involved throwing four sticks and counting points based on how they landed. This one was enjoyable--possibly because I was (fortun-ately) on the winning team both times. The second game involved getting your back beat in case you lost--which the boys did, and the beatings were pretty funny--I can't imagine a game ending back home with everyone getting slapped on the back.


All in all I had a great time, got home (Troy took me home; the irony was not lost), unwound, and have spent the day relaxing (a.k.a. trying to get my ankle's swelling to go down, I want to wear shoes!) Here's to lazy Saturdays spent with Mythbusters.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dear Reader

Dear Reader,

I made an eCard for you.
You can pick it up at:
http://bunwaycards.com/L9lVFv1

Hope you like it! Merry Christmas!
Love,
She who updates her blog too often instead of going to bed

Huh.


Today I was going through pictures and organizing and uploading and blah blah blah. (By the way, I use "blah blah blah" so often in class that my kids now use it. Appropriately, too.) I found the first picture of me in Korea. I'm gross from being sweaty and hot and holding a stupid box of cookies ("Collon Cream" hahaha), and I couldn't believe how... big I was. Confused, I flipped back to a recent photo I took of myself in a mirror, and went back and forth a few times.

By George, I think I've dropped forty pounds!

To be honest, I don't know what to say. Broken leg sucked, but maybe that's what I get for pleading with God to help me lose weight. :) With this realization, another one follows: I weigh what my driver's license says! Haha. How many people out there can say that?

It's been an 18-month process, but all-in-all I'm down about sixty-five pounds. It's not the fast results I've always wanted, but a slow walk towards losing myself--and then finding myself. I feel quite optimistic about how things will go when I can walk again.

Bankrupt America?

Who Will Bail Out Uncle Sam?

By EXAMINER EDITORIAL HOT ZONE
- 12/16/08
The United States of America is bankrupt. Don’t believe it? Consider this: Federal obligations now exceed the collective net worth of all Americans, according to the New York-based Peter G. Peterson Foundation. Washington politicians and bureaucrats have essentially mortgaged everything We the People own so they can keep spending our tax dollars like there’s no tomorrow.

The foundation’s grim calculations are based on Sept. 30 consolidated federal statements, which showed that Americans’ total household net worth, diminished by falling stock prices and home equity, is $56.5 trillion. But rising costs for unfunded social programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security increased to $56.4 trillion – and that was before the more recent stock market crash, $700 billion bank bailout, and monster federal deficits chalked up in October and November.

“Given more recent developments, it’s clear that America now owes more than its citizens are worth,” said Foundation president David M. Walker, the former Comptroller-General of the United States who has been trying to warn Americans of the coming financial tsunami for years, to no avail. So, after Uncle Sam bails out bankers, Wall Street gamblers, carmakers and over-their-head homeowners, who’ll bail out Uncle Sam?


I found this disturbing. To be honest, I don't really know what to say, other than to urge people to write their congressmen asking them to pull their heads out of their asses.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Zen

Just a quick note before I resume my previously-scheduled TV watching. (It's been six weeks--there are silly Korean game shows to be watched! And surely Mythbusters has a new episode out?)

1) I could get used to the applause every time I walk. :)
2) If my kids can applaud me walking, maybe I could throw them a bone whenever they scream, "FEENEESHED!" (Finished, for those who missed the post on Konglish.)
3) I am sitting in my house (haha, my house) with a technically still-broken leg, have to take a taxi everywhere ($5 a day just to get to and from work), can only stand about forty minutes of grocery shopping before needing to call it quits, and still I feel zen. I am mellow. I am happy. I am peaceful. It's amazing what a difference not hating your job makes in one's life. It's amazing what a difference loving your job makes in one's life.
4) My kindergartners are as sad to graduate and leave me as I am. Fortunately, they remembered they're going to enroll in afternoon classes, and we were all a lot happier at that discovery.
5) Today, my demon child was the one applauding me, and the one most upset about me not being his teacher anymore. I sit here quite touched.
6) Aidan, the little sneak, was counting in English during playtime.

Just when you have the world figured out.

Kate Teacher's Halloween

Last night I made a very important discovery: my ladybug hat. Four days before Halloween, I discovered this truly amazing and perfect hat at a costume shop. I had announced I was going as the Grouchy Ladybug (a character from a children's book), and low and behold--there was the perfect hat! I bought a red mask to go with it, and had my outfit prepared. In addition to the perfect hat, I had hundreds of little toys to give out to my kids (thanks, mom). And then, in case you are new, I broke my leg. What the heck!

Well. Today, there was much ladybug hat wearing. I put it on before I left the house, and I didn't take it off until I was back home--much to Heather and Mel's amusement. My kindergarten kids went bananas when they saw it! "Kate teacher, Kate teacher, LADYBUG!!" It's like I was Santa Claus... well, except not.

A pretty cool part of my day was walking into my first class, and having the nine kids applaud me as I walked in. These kids are just great, and it breaks my heart to know they'll grow into teenagers who won't love me anymore, haha. The whole afternoon was great, passing out the Halloween toys (spider rings, fake tattoos, and puzzle books), and learning our lessons for the day. (Christmas is ON December 25th, bacon bagel hash brown potatoes muffin oatmeal omelet scrambled eggs yogurt, there AREN'T ANY geese in the barn.)

I got applauded for walking. Haha.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Removal of Cast May Have Unintended Side Effects

At first when the cast came off, I had crashing disappointment that I wasn't miraculously cured of broken leg. Today, I experienced the other side. As I sat in the back of the taxi, I watched the blue sign with the octopus come into focus, and get brighter and clearer as we got closer, and my heart began to beat a little faster. It wasn't another panic attack, I wasn't light-headed from not having eaten, and praise God I wasn't sick again.

I was going home.

"Yeogiyo," I said as the corner came up. I paid my fare and hurried out of the next passenger's way, hobbling into my building's entryway. Checking for mail (read: bills) incredibly briefly (there might actually be something in my box), my feet continued up the stairs. It wasn't until I was halfway up that I realized I was using the stairs like a normal person, alternating feet instead of putting both feet on one stair before taking the next. With a genuine smile, I stood in front of my door, keys jingling as my hand shook with anticipation, sliding the oddly-shaped piece of metal into the lock, twisting it one way before remembering it's supposed to go the other.

As I swung the door open and saw all of my possessions in my small apartment, the relief washed over me, and yes, for the 47th consecutive day my eyes welled up. It wasn't out of pain, or an intense desire that my mom was with me, or an intense desire to flee Korea altogether, or out of heartache to leave my house... It was the knowledge that I was out of the woods that streamed down my cheeks. We made it, dear reader! We made it!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hi, Mom!

For those who are wondering, I'm the white one and my very patient mother is the darker one...

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Galbijjim

Those who have been following my blog for a while (aka since before I broke my leg and could go out to eat) know the joys of galbi. Tonight I ventured out into the world and embraced the galbijjim, a stew made from the same meat and using the same flavors as galbi.

Can you say heaven? Just look at that perfectly stolen image. (Thanks Wikipedia!) In addition to the meat, they have the rice cakes (sticky fat noodle-like things), slices of sweet potatoes, shiitake mushrooms (promptly set aside), and some red and green pepper slices. The broth makes for some excellent rice-dipping. There were probably twelve side dishes, but I'm just not used to eating the side dishes with my meal, unless it's kimchi. Yum. It's one of the more expensive dishes (the giant bowl plus six sodas thoroughly fed three of us for $44), but it's something that reminds us all of home and really sticks to your ribs. (Get it? They use rib meat in the stew. Oh nevermind.)

More exciting was afterward! The guys got me to a corner close to my (borrowed) apartment, and I walked from there. I definitely had my crutches with me to keep me from falling over, but I didn't need to use them. I walked slowly, took in the sights, paused to make sure I was okay--and I was. I walked! Hallelujah.

Kate's Night Out


Heather and Kate
Originally uploaded by oneglassslipper
Heather and I headed out to Fish and Grill for dinner last night. A RESTAURANT! YUMM!!!!!!! We ate spicy cashew chicken before meeting up with the rest of the crew at the Braeu Haus. There really isn't much to report other than the fact that I left the house, and it was good.

Mom joked that she was the little piggie who had to go to market. Gleefully I shot back, I am no longer the little piggie who stayed home!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Castmas!

Today has been the long-awaited day. Five weeks and five days ago, I sat at my desk for the first time with my broken leg and I wrote a 6 on today's date, marking the exact forty-second day when the green machine could be removed. I am relieved. While it came four hours later than I had hoped (okay--two weeks and four hours), that only added to the pleasure of being summoned to the back room, having the saw prepared again, and the doctor making faces as he tries to speak English.

My leg has healed very well, and after a week or two in a splint while the muscles grow re-accustomed to walking I won't need the crutches anymore. In about six weeks, I can expect the muscles to have repaired themselves and the bone will be 80% reconstructed bone. I anticipate this six weeks will go more quickly than the last six, and probably with fewer death-like experiences.

I find it mildly amusing that I was able to walk around my apartment better when I had the cast on compared to now, but that will change.

Over the last six weeks, as readers know, I have learned many things.
-My mantra lately has been, take life one day at a time.
-Also recommended is staying up late or getting up early, whatever it takes, to stay in contact with friends and family, regardless of how far away they are--even if they just live upstairs.
-Always walk conscientiously. You never know where there will be a misstep.
-It's okay to use the kindness of strangers--and friends--from time to time.
-Skittles are a really good placebo.
-One should never order the same pizza five times in a week. That's just sick and wrong.
-Even when I am desperately bored, I would rather surf Facebook for the tenth time that day than study Korean, start my novel, or look into learning anything about medicine.

I'm not sure what to make of the last one exactly, but I think it says something about what motivates me. I love people, and I love the idea of being one of those noteworthy minds--but I don't what it takes to follow through right now. Fortunately, that's far off into the future. Tonight, I have a taxi to find and a steak to consume. God bless.

Five Minutes of Self-Pity

Starting two minutes and thirteen seconds ago, I gave myself five minutes of self pity. I got my cast off, and they put me right back into a splint. Apparently when you don't use an important joint like an ankle and the muscles around it for six weeks, it's not just ready for you to use it again. No, it's wobbly and incapable of supporting your body weight, no matter how much you've lost thanks to the "I have a broken leg and can't grocery shop" diet.

So I'm disappointed that I didn't get to wear the shoe that I had been looking forward to bringing with me to this fated medical appointment. And I'm disappointed that I may or may not actually have the muscle to make it up two flights of stairs to the Christmas dinner. And I'm disappointed that I'm still on crutches. And I'm disappointed that my boss is tired of taking care of me, and I have to make my own arrangements now.

And now my five minutes are up.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Final Countdown

27 hours to go. :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Leg Teacher

After my last class, I coerce some students I don't even know to carry my stuff down to the fourth floor for me. Today, two new guys carried the baskets, and upon arriving at the teacher's lounge, they explained, "Leg Teacher, Leg Teacher!" while patting their lower left leg.

I think that it is important to note that even if one cannot say something perfectly in another language, you get credit for trying, being creative, and having people understand what you're trying to say.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown



"And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid ... And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings o great joy, which shall be to all my people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord.

'And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men.'

That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

GRUMPY!

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

I have an ITCH on my left ANKLE and the CAST doesn't come OFF until FRIDAY.

"Kate, for the love of God, stop whining!"

But... but... okay.

But I am missing the Thursday field trip to see what a traditional Korean green tea ceremony is like. There are positives to missing a trip like that the day after the cast comes off (e.g. chasing kids = bad, big step into bus = bad, probability of floor sitting = high), but I wanted to see something Koreany.

Grumping concluded.

In other news, my sister's started a sort of "finding herself" blog, having recently ended a long-term relationship. For those interested, she can be found here.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Gingerbread Haka

Earlier I posted a video about gingerbread men doing the Haka. Now, I didn't know that the Haka is something that is relatively common knowledge, so imagine my surprise when Sara floods my Facebook chat with links and consequently gets booted for spamming (haha). I know what you're thinking, "Kate! Don't derail! Go back to what the haka is!" And I shall.

Thanks to Wikipedia, I have learned, "A haka is a traditional dance form of the Māori of New Zealand. It is a posture dance with shouted accompaniment, performed by a group." The rugby team (All Blacks) has taken this and formed a ritual of screaming a chant and dancing in a most intimidating way before their opponents, who are basically lined up American Revolution style (in a line, easy to maul/maim/kill). Here is a video of the real thing. Sara and I have spent an hour pouring over videos, and we both agree this is the best, er, specimen. :)



So, now the gingerbread men are cute and make sense! The more you know~ Here is a Wikipedia article if you're interested in further reading.

Today's blond moment: Troy was wheeling me to school, and I was shocked to see a Kia. Then I remembered I was in Korea. (In my defense, the model looked like a Subaru, and I thought, weird, there's a Subaru here!)

I like kimchi.

It only took four and a half months, but I can say it loud and proud: I like kimchi. I love it when it is homemade in small batches and the bites are small enough so that I can maneuver it into my mouth with chopsticks without getting the red stuff on my face. For those who are unaware, kimchi is cabbage fermented with spices--spicy spices. I've had kimchi so hot that I was left gasping. It was a way the Koreans preserved cabbage so that they had a vitamin-C source all winter long.

In general it is served cold as one of many side dishes. You can also have kimchi soup (kimchi jiggae) which is spicy and delicious. It really clears up any head cold or chest cold or wild hair you may be suffering from.

To recover from this new found love of kimchi, Heather and I split a pizza. Huzzah!

A note: I was not just eating kimchi. I was eating kimchi, ramen, and rice. I took a bite of rice, dipped it in the broth, ate the bite, used my chopsticks to get noodles onto the spoon, take the bite, eat a little kimchi. The lunch lady said some stuff to Megan, and it involved my name, so I asked what, and she said that I eat very prettily. Makin' my dad proud, even on the other side of the ocean.

The most bizarre 47 seconds of your day

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My dad writes German warning labels?

As my adventures in boredomland continue, a friend directed me to thefunniest.info, a website dedicated to finding the funniest picture on the internet. Below is one of the candidates. It reminds me of my father's attempts at German. Miss you, pops.

Christmas Shopping

I have spent the whole day on Target.com, amused by basically every item I pull up. I am left with one quick question: why does "book light" scream "best Christmas gift ever?" I just paged through probably 20 of them. Twenty different and unique book light gift ideas.

Christmas Feast!

19 days until Christmas! WOOO HOOO! With the approximate... millimeter of snow we got yesterday, Daegu looked a lot more festive. Actually, there's this building on the way to work that kind of reminds me of downtown Billings, so that probably helps, too.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to use my cousin Pam's careful Christmas trip research: two weeks isn't enough time to build up muscle, and I guess holiday travel would probably be a pain in the butt anyway. As a result, I am going to be joining my coworkers and probably a few other foreigners at a popular place called Holy Grill. It's run and owned by three Canadian men who have dedicated the menu to the Western palate--this is where the mystical chimichanga can be obtained. I just discovered what's on the menu, and aside from the mushrooms, looks good!

Starter...
Hickory maple bacon & wild mushroom pumpkin soup

Main course...
Slow roasted turkey
Apple glazed pork tenderloin
Rosemary & garlic mashed potatoes
Buttered carrots with cheese sauce
Traditional stuffing
Cranberry sauce
Mushroom gravy

Dessert...
Caramel pumpkin pie
Coffee & Bailey's

So it's no company potatoes, but there's also no guilt over not doing the dishes. (Hi, mom!)

Friday, December 5, 2008

"Light Standing" Clearance

Chief Getter of the Shoe has been too busy for me to go to PT, so today I kind of ... snuck there. Or rather, while he was out being someone else's errand boy, I told the front desk I was going to go to PT, and I'd call when I was done.

So I go, and I'm quite proud of myself for almost making it on my own. (Swinging doors are still tricky!) I get settled in, go through the knee spa, and just as I'm nodding off Dr. Stoic pops his head in. I've been found! "You, x-ray after here. First floor." Damnit. And then in case I was deaf, Dr. Tickles pops his head in. "You, x-ray after here on the first floor." Well, at least he used another preposition.

Hobble hobble hobble, slight wondering over radiation exposure and poison limits, new x-ray tech who HITS MY LEG WITH THE X-RAY (good thing it's healed, eh), more hobbling, waiting, toddler staring, and it's my turn to be seen. The x-ray has officially looked the same to me for two weeks (really emphasizing to me that my career choice in coloring over med school was probably appropriate), but apparently there's new bone growth.

The real bummer part was, I had thought, "Well there's technically five days left but MAYBE he'll take it off," which snowballed into all sorts of plans of packing and moving back to my apartment and getting to go out this weekend to celebrate Heather's birthday and getting a real dinner and so forth. ... WRONG! But after further x-rays on Wednesday (total: 60+ x-rays in Korea, only been here four months!), he'll take the cast off. And if he doesn't, he's going to be admitting a crazy person back to the third floor, because I agreed to 4 to 6 weeks. (Actually, in my heart, I agreed to four weeks, and that's kind of been shot to hell. And let's face it, I thought I was the mob boss of New Jersey--I really am starting to lose my marbles.)

Apparently after I get the cast off I'm going to have to exercise a lot. Considering one of my favorite daydreams is about using the cross trainer at the gym, I just don't see that as being a problem. What? Walking a distance further than one hundred feet? Well duh, I have a dinner ticket for Christmas and two flights of stairs to get up! Gotta start getting in shape!

Just as I was leaving the office, he told me I could stand a little on my leg. Which is good, considering I have been anyway. I think I'm seeing why it may have taken six weeks instead of four.

In other news, I am no longer dying of tonsillitis, and I ate real food today. (Real food = ramen. It's like college 2.0!) One quick observation, and I'm off for a rough evening of "bumming." I've never been one for great excitement before an event; getting this cast off, though, has instilled in me greater hope, excitement, and anticipation than I can recall, and while those feelings exist because of something negative, in and of themselves they are really good things to feel.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Nerd Alert

I was catching up on Hollywood gossip, and I found this about a possible X-men prequel: Get ready for 'X-Men,' 'Gossip Girl'-style. According to The Hollywood Reporter, 'Gossip Girl' and 'O.C.' creator Josh Schwartz has been tapped to pen the screenplay for 'X-Men: First Class,' a prequel to the popular 'X-Men' trilogy that would likely follow mutants such as Iceman, Kitty Pride and Cyclops in their teens.

Maybe the author should watch the original 3 X-men. Where Iceman and Kitty Pryde (that's spelled correctly, by the way), are already teenagers.

Announcement

A kid was fidgeting in my class today. A lot. He asked to get a drink of water, and I said he could go after we finished with the lesson. It was only five minutes, and he was asking for a drink of water. I figured it was no big deal.

Two minutes later, he asked if he could go to the bathroom. I let him go, confused because of his previous request. He came back and was still fidgeting. By this point in time I was tiring of his interrupting class and told him to go talk to Yuria, because he wasn't telling me what was wrong.

As he got up, he moved around and I saw the telltale dark markings on his backside: the poor guy wet his pants. Sigh.

So today he's running around in lime green golf-style pants, and I'm really kind of amused (bad Kate Teacher!). Note to the public: don't ask to get a drink of water if you're going to pee your pants.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

IV Dinner

Today I went back to the doctor for the third day to get more antibiotics for the tonsillitis. Instead of the shot in the butt, there's a more potent and direct option: IV! Yesterday they hooked me up, and 15 minutes later sent me home with already less-painful tonsils.

Less painful did not necessarily mean less gaggy.

So, today I go back having not eaten anything for 48 hours, and the doctor basically looks at me like I'm retarded. "That will slow healing." So, with my antibiotic cocktail, they added some nutritional supplement in a bag.

It was $12!

I realize that's nothing to complain over. But in the land where lunch usually costs me $3, and a doctor's visit on its own is about $3, why would a bag of nutrients be $12? (I really am amused by it, not complaining.)

This morning I was being hard on myself for giving into the frustration and losing my sunny disposition. As I came home today, though, I realized I made it through a day of no sleep and no food, great illness and a (still) broken leg. It'll all be okay if I'd just let it, eh.

I always wanted to be in the mob.

When I was eleven or so, my grandmother brought over this movie, Oscar. It had some big names in it (i.e. Sylvester Stallone), but for as far as I can tell is a lesser-known gangster movie set in the 1920s. For whatever reason, Sylvester Stallone decides to go "legit," and the movie is about the day he tries to do so. It involves tangled webs of Italian suit makers, an accountant (sweet but stupid), a speech therapist (to sound less mob-like), a domineering well-kept housewife, and your usual thugs and police and media characters. (Sometimes the media being the thugs, but that is neither here nor there.)

The movie drew me in. First off, the 1920s are probably the coolest ten years in the history of America. (One of my favorite books is The Great Gatsby for a similar reason.) Everything from the foreign aspect (Italia, romantico!), the intrigue, comedy, and general bad-assness that comes with being in the mob amused me the full hundred minutes each time I watched it.

Now, I wasn't a dummy. I know that Germans don't really participate in the mob, nor do women, but I figured that if I continued on my career path (guided by Nancy Drew) to become an attorney, I could be an attorney (consigliere) for the mob! With my newly-focused career path, I began to research the Saint Valentine's Day massacre as though it actually had anything to do with anything, and my interest in Al Capone was a little stupid for a pre-teen girl.

I tell this long story partly to assuage my guilt over my love of The Sopranos, an HBO hit show about a man and his family's lives as he heads the New Jersey mob. I also tell it to segue into a ridiculous night.

For the last few days I have had tonsillitis in a very bad way. The details are disgusting, so let me finish by saying the doctor specifically told me to go home and rest--in a country that celebrates working 70 hours a week. So yesterday I do the resting thing, which really just involves staring at the ceiling moaning over how miserable it is. After 5 weeks of bed rest for my leg, I really don't care what the internet has to offer, and all of the things I've downloaded are stale. I still give it the college try, watching a few episodes of the Sopranos and really getting into the plot lines, but what with being sick and all, I decided it would be best to turn everything off and try to sleep.

At that exact moment in time, the fever actually settles in. I'm sweating, fanning myself with blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, anything. And somehow I was magically transformed into Tony Soprano, writhing on my bed, trying to figure out why none of my crew is bringing me Talking Rain sparkling water! DAMNIT! I needed the pink one ASAP! Yesterday! Sure I'd take lime, but NO ONE IS BRINGING ME THE WATER.

I think it's pretty funny now that I have something to drink. I can't remember the last time I pretended I was a 45-year-old father of two heading the Jersey family, but I'm glad to know my imagination is still there.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Yum.

And on the third day of Castmas, God created the salmon dinner complete with mashed potatoes and corn with excessive amounts of a butter-like substance. As his two mortal daughters partook and sighed with happiness, he smiled and knew it was good.

Thanks, Mel, for feeding me.