Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I was walking home from galbi tonight, and a thought occurred to me, a new facet to the sadness of leaving Korea. The entire journey has been like setting a flame to my candle--I feel like I've been shaken up and sent out to discover who I am and what I'm made of. I don't know if it's because the surroundings are entirely new, so all of the memories are fresh, but even though I've walked certain pathways literally hundreds of times, I have so many unique memories of many of these walks that I'm afraid of losing them when the surroundings change.

For instance, the walk back from galbi entailed walking to the corner where Heather and I took my first post-cast taxi ride. I want to remember the feeling of accomplishment I got from hobbling those two blocks in the cold winter air. And the feeling I got the next night when I walked two different blocks on my own without having to stop and rest.

In Parker, there's no familiar corner with the wooden-planked second story restaurant, from which some man leaned out of the window to yell how pretty Jamie and I looked. There's no chicken galbi restaurant where the Queen of Awesome Heather told me that she admired me because I seem to know what I want.

There's no familiar taekwondo room where I can recall the first time I blocked a soccer ball, much to everyone's astonishment--including mine. There's no fourth floor multi-purpose room where I saw 60 kids hold candles without burning anything down and where I helped to host a bi-lingual kindergarten graduation. There's no first walk to Home Plus with Tere, our arms bumping together and me being pleased that the skinny girl was sweating like a pig, too.

So, as tempted as I am to let this post trail off and end on a sorrowful note, I make this an open invitation to all of my beloveds. I'll be back within four weeks, and I'm looking forward to making new memories to carry with me on my next adventure. It can be as simple as a last meal at Hacienda (thanks mom and dad), a ride to the Bagel Stop (Sid, Tab), a spin in the short bus (you know who you are), or yet another beer/mojito/margarita/tequila sunrise/Jaeger bomb wherever we may happen to be at the time (did someone say Mackenzie River Pizza Company?).

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Testing, 1-2-3 Testing...

Yesterday was my test in taekwondo. There is a test every month, and it just so happened this month I was actually learning stuff so I could advance to yellow belt. The test did not go very smoothly, but something pretty amazing happened: I cut myself some slack. I've only been practicing the moves for two weeks, and they were busy two weeks. I did practice at home, I stayed after to practice... I literally did the best I could.

So I plan to keep at it, if nothing just continuing to practice the same moves over and over, improving them as much as I can. It's interesting to me how much more aware of my body taekwondo requires me to be. To move all four of my limbs intentionally and simultaneously takes quite a bit of effort.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Yes Man, Part 5000

Every day I've been trying to say yes to small things, like changing the place where I order the same food. As a result, I discovered a kimbap shop that doesn't put mushrooms in its kimchi soup, so I was pretty stoked about that.

Today, I went to taekwondo early just to see what happens before I get there, and because it was recreation day, not very many people came to class. As a result, it was me and just this one other guy for a while. For the first few minutes, he kicked around a ball while I sat in the office enjoying the air conditioning. Then it occurred to me, maybe he'd like someone to play with.

Since there weren't any other options, I guessed that meant I was the option. I thought more about whether I would fail, if my ankle would give out, or if I'd somehow accidentally rip my pants, but in the end I decided to say yes. And it felt great. I blocked most of the balls, taking a few to the neck at a speed I'd estimate at three hundred kilometers per hour (roughly six million miles per hour, I think, for those who aren't good at conversion math).

Speaking of exaggerating, it's hot. And the running dialog in my head (Scrubs, anyone? I'm so JD) says it's consistently either six thousand degrees, or a million degrees. Either way, it doesn't matter if it's Celsius or Fahrenheit, I'm going to 1) die, and 2) be hot, and 3) whine.

The end of the story is, I'm glad I did it. I wasn't as old as I thought, and I had fun.

Pleased to Report

I am please to report that as I develop a crush in real life, my emotional attachment to the fictional do-gooder vampire has diminished.

"What do you have, a hot date?"

So Saturday night, I went out dancing with the girls and met a guy named Sam. He's from Sri Lanka, and I spent the first five minutes dancing trying to remember where Sri Lanka is. (I was wrong.) He kept holding my hands while we danced, and unusual for Korea--he knew how to dance well. It was a treat! He asked for my phone number (I was feeling particularly crotchety and refused to ask for his), and he told me I was beautiful--and not in a "I want in your pants" sort of way.

Within 10 hours, he texted me. Awww. He wanted to meet, and I was going to, but I was too lazy to shower. (So pathetic!) So we met up tonight, and it was really nice. We sat at a cafe for a while, but then moved on to a convenience store. Now, I realize that this may come across as being shallow, but... He speaks with an accent close to an Indian's, and we were sitting in front of a 7-Eleven. I couldn't help but wish he'd ask if I wanted a Slurpee.

It was a really good night, talking about how obscenely long his name is (49 characters, and he had to pause to remember how to spell it all), how we both regularly butcher 5 languages (he speaks Sinhalese, Korean, English, Spanish, and Tamil), and how beautiful my gray (what the heck?) eyes are. Oh, and for those who never put 2 and 2 together (like me), Ceylon Tea comes from Ceylon... now renamed Sri Lanka. The more you know~

This post is kind of just fluffy; mostly it's to remind myself that someone saw past all of this weight I've been using as a defense and saw a beautiful girl worth dancing with, and then pursuing. I feel deeply touched and grateful for tonight.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Left Behind

When I leave Korea in a few weeks, I will be leaving many things behind.

Some of these things will be small, and rather insignificant, such as my leftover conditioner and shampoo, or some of my dignity at WA-Bar. Some of these will be big and insignificant, such as all of the clothes I've shrunk out of. (As of today, I'm down 3 kilos in a week! June 30th, here I come!)

Others will have meant much more to my overall life journey. I will be losing coworkers with whom I've bonded dearly, children whom I love almost as much as myself, and a fresh, daily supply of kimchi whenever I want.

But the part that makes me a little sad today is saying goodbye to my hairbrush. Samantha Liptac gave me a hairbrush for my 12th birthday. It's a lovely shade of sea foam green, and it has followed me from Montana to Colorado to University to well, now, Korea. The other day the bristles started to break off, leaving little pieces of plastic on my floor that look a little bit like the people pieces from the Game of Life.

And so to honor this 14-year relationship, I leave with a song.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Test on Friday!

I'm excited! On Friday, I'm going to test for my yellow belt. Here are the moves I'm supposed to know. There are 18 movements, and I get about 6 of them right. Let the cramming begin!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


In my life, I've played my share of MMORPGs--role playing games online that involve lots of people generally grouping together with the common goal of destroying each other and being crowned king nerd of the fantasy world. In these games, there are generally 2 ways to gain experience: kill stuff, and do quests. I was always a fan of the killing stuff approach; quests generally required a lot of reading and time, while killing stuff has the obvious instant gratification. That and, well, you get to kill stuff. One of my favorites was killing the giant spiders just out of spite...

But that's not really the direction I was intending to take this post. On Thursday, I had two very real realizations. 1, I'd lost 3 1/2 pounds in 4 days by being conscientious about what I was eating and exercising to the fullest of my ability. 2, while I've come a long way, I still have a long way to go. I asked Ji-Yeon (Ji-Yun? not sure about the phonics) what I could eat, and I was told carbs are only allowed in the morning, and the rest of the day is tofu and vegetables.

You thought Atkins was hard in America? Welcome to the land of rice and ramen. Rice is involved in everything--dessert, wine, snacks, every single meal. Getting soup? You know what'd make that soup even better? Rice! And my favorite "rough day" food is a bowl of cheesy ramen with rice. Since the thought of Atkins still conjures mental images of dry beef jerky and bunless hamburgers, my thoughts turned to other diets, rolling over what I thought I could live with for a while.

That's when I realized, Koreans essentially live off of the cabbage soup diet! This is the secret to their skinny! The #1 food of Korea is kimchi. Hands down. Who doesn't love a bowl of fermented, spicy-as-hell cabbage? (I know I do!)

So, after taekwondo last night, I headed to get a bowl of kimchi jjigae (yum!), and the evil woman brought the soup (yay!) and a bowl of rice. And the rice was glistening and perfect. It didn't look like any of the pieces were crunchy. It looked fresh and fluffy and delicious and they didn't even bring the lid. They left a perfect bowl of rice just... next to the soup, and the soup beckoned to the rice, and the rice taunted the soup. I didn't even touch the bowl. I pushed it away with the back of my spoon and ate the kimchi instead.


While I was home, I was thinking about what is going to happen next. I love learning languages. It also turns out that I like exercising, now. Back about nine years, I sat through a guest presentation during my German class about joining the military and going on to study at the Defense Language Institute. Every so often my mind wanders back to this, and I think to myself how much I would love to do that, but doubted my ability because of my weight and hatred of exercise. And now, I feel like that might be a possibility. I read an article about a woman getting in shape to join the army, and I just feel hopeful. Like, when people ask me what I'm going to do after, maybe I won't just answer "go home and exist." Maybe I'll actually have a goal.

And fortunately for everyone involved, this quest probably won't involve me killing stuff.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Impractically awesome

Currently I am sitting outside my local convenience store while typing atrociously on my newest toy. I'm seriously in love with apple and their intuitive spell check. After Mel Arthur Abby and I gushed Chris went and bought one too. This greatly amuses me as we race to see who can do the coolest stuff first. I've already read Eclipse and Breaking Dawn on mine and while it zaps the battery it was awesome. I'm glad to have an ereader option for the plane.

In other nerdy news I made a deal with my taekwondo instructor to lose five kilos in twelve days. Smart? No. But since I'm down 1.5 in three days I don't see the harm in trying. She has a lot of faith in me--and her teaching abilities. Truth be told I trust her, too. Which is a pretty winning combination. Despite staying up until an ungodly hour finishing Breaking Dawn, I was glad to exercise and I was the most motivated and hyper one today. It felt like Debbie had the reigns again. I think this had something to do with a fervent prayer at five this morning that God would help me get through the day despite my own stupidity. He really came through for me. As always.

As cool as this is it's a bit annoying--although I'm impressed the soreness begins to set in. I hope your Thursday kicks as much ass as mine did!

It Makes Me Smile

Generally on Facebook I send flair, burn up my energy points on Mafia Wars, check out a few people's statuses, and get off because despite being an eavesdropper, I'm not really addicted.

I'm always a little pleased, though, when my friend Tabitha's daughter sends me a message. She's 17, now, and talks to me like I'm normal. We talk about David Cook and Twilight, how her aunt is living with their family again, their new dog.. I just think it's really cool that it occurs to her to message me.

So thanks, Sid, for starting my morning off with a feeling of being well-thought of.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

40 days and 40 nights

Today was a pretty awesome day. After a healthy breakfast of bananas (squee!), I taught some kick butt lessons that involved a lot more talking and a lot less writing--I think everyone was happier. Lunch was dolsot bibimbap (deeeelicious) with my homegirls, when I brought up that I have 40 days left. "Forty days and forty nights," Kayleigh chuckled. "What're you giving up?"

Well, it isn't Lent, but I'm thinking maybe I should give up my countdown. I find myself living less day-to-day and more for a certain day. There's still six weeks of fun to be had, as evidenced by my beloved kindergarten students. We just had the best time today. We sang. We learned. We made up motions to the songs we sang and learned.

Then, during taekwondo, we did walking-while-kicking drills. My instructors, I think, are as obligated to tell me a good job as I am to tell my kids they're doing well, hoping that encouragement will produce a better product. But when a 12-year-old compliments you (a twelve-year-old double dan black belt), you know you're doing something right.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Don't worry--they're tears of happiness

A month or so into my Korean experience, I got my first kindergarten beginner class. These students come Tuesday and Thursday, for two classes each day, one with a foreigner, and one with a Korean. A week after it started, I started teaching Aidan (named thus after watching an episode of Sex and the City--sue me). From the very start, English has been a challenge for him, but he always smiles and always tries hard. I know he isn't at home studying every night, going over and over the material, but his in-class effort is unmatched.

He and I have both cried because we were so frustrated with each other, and his inability to say "bathing suit" (baby suit?) still cracks us all up.

Today, however, is a monumental day that deserves its own blog entry. Today my very special little boy read. Alex had five sentences for their phonics lesson written on the board, and she had me come into the class on break time to listen to Aidan read. (The man has an apple. The boy has a hat.) Even just thinking about it, my eyes are starting to well up again. The relief, pride, and joy have filled my heart to bursting; I'm really glad I got to see it before I go. Praise the Lord!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

iPod Mania

I have a new toy. I remember the days when the original iPod Mini brought me glee. I was working hard to get by each month, but managed the funds for the last pink one in Missoula--I was so elated. I know there are advocates out there of buying anything that isn't the mainstream, and that there are good alternatives to the iPod, but for now I remain dedicated to the toy that amuses, and the program (iTunes) that bewilders.

Saturday, Mel and I went out shopping. I ended up with the 8 GB iPod Touch, and we both got matching pink cases. It's a pretty awesome little toy. I figured out how to do an ad hoc wireless network using my laptop, so then I could upload my e-books to the little treasure. (Yes, these e-books are Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. So?) I'm looking forward to adding more obsessions to it in the future as vampires begin to lose their stronghold on me.

Last night was a difficult night as I tried to reconcile where I've been in the far past to who I've been in Korea, and to where I'm going and want to be going. The only things I really know about the future is that a guy (who isn't fictional) and children are in it. I have no other details than this, but a bad experience in a previous relationship sent me into a tailspin. I had been judged by this "Christian," and while I know that it had more to do with his own problems than me, it made me take a look at what I do here. I can see now that the drinking, the dancing, the staying up until 8 a.m., are part of a very real, very human (okay, at least girly) need to socialize in a country where the options for friends can feel limited. I just hope Mr. Right is more understanding.

That said, I spent the day considering my options, although I really only considered the one career path: teaching English. There's Italy (maybe, Tracy, I'm still looking--will send information if I come upon it), Dubai, Argentina... lots of countries (continents) to see. I gave up on this, though, as my heart wasn't into it, and I started watching an absurd amount of That 70's Show. I've noticed I'm significantly older than the main characters, now, so I started paying more attention to the grown ups--namely Red and Kitty. I have been under the impression that one has to live one's life in one's 20s in order to accomplish and see everything one wants to see before one dies. As silly as it is, I looked at them and saw that isn't true. Sure they're actors, but they're 50-ish, working, and pursuing dreams that matter to them. I don't necessarily care about getting a motorcycle, but it's the gist--following what's in your heart. So I don't get to all of the continents before I'm 30; so I end up going back to school and not graduating until I'm 35; so I don't get married before I'm 40. Life doesn't end just because I've aged. It ends when I give up. And from that perspective, it's possible I'm the youngest I've ever been. Hiiii-yah!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Open Class.. Burn!

Thursday and Friday we had open classes. This is where the parents come in to see what exactly it is we do in class. Except this is bogus because the presence of 8-12 (20 in Heather's case, ew!) parents throws off the teacher, throws off the kids, and really--well, for me at least--makes the entire room a boring ball of nerves. The first day, my co-teacher and the vice director basically told me my class was an epic fail, but after talking to the one person in the school who possesses an ounce of tact, I guess I'm just suited for older students. Friday, I followed her suggestions, and while it wasn't exactly lively (they were so quiet!), it was more successful, proving that I can in fact learn, at least.

It's had me mulling over this whole "take a native speaker and plop them in front of kids and expect good to follow" theory of learning English. On the one hand, there's some value to having someone who understands the grammar and nuances, but we're not educators. We're out-going people (usually) who have adventure on our minds. In my case, I'm lucky that I have a big heart and a severe dedication to avoiding failure; for others, though... well. It's fortunate our contracts only last one year.

As I sit here at the end of my contract, doing the expected (mulling over what's next) I ponder being a teacher in the States. All I can come up with is a "hell no." Eight kids in a class drives me nuts. I have one class of five in the afternoon, it's all I can do not to throw one of them in the trash can. (Thank you, Mr. Klunder, for your shining example in seventh grade!) A class of 35 would pretty much bring me to my demise, I think. I don't think it would matter a brass farthing that I spoke the same language; it might help if I was from another country.

So I return to not thinking about it, and instead focusing on my newest obsession (to help fuel previous obsessions): the iPod Touch. It plays music. It plays video. AND it connects to the Internet! Holy crap! Abby has had one for a month, now, and has Skype on it; as a result, with a headset, she can use it like a phone. Mel got one on Wednesday, and there have been a lot of "green with envy" thoughts floating in my head. Having had it pointed out to me that my income is fairly disposable by my ever-encouraging mother, I looked into it further, and I can use the thing as an e-reader, too. This means I can take Twilight, the movie and books, with me wherever I go.

As I mention this, I consider what it would be like to read my blog from beginning to end. First, there's the discovering Korea. "Oh, wow, this is so cool!" Then there's the broken leg. "Oh, wow, this sucks big time!" Then there's Albert. "Blahlblahboringblah." Then there's Twilight. "Oh man, she's another vampire freak, too."

So let me redeem myself by concluding with news from the taekwondo class. On Thursday, I started to learn my first poomse. Poomses (Poom-says) take basic taekwondo movements and choreograph them into a certain number of movements, and knowing these are how one progresses through the belts (or so my understanding goes). In order to obtain black belt, one must know seven. Now, for poomses I've been sentenced to either watching or practicing the basic movements (though still watching in the mirrors). They never once looked easy. I never thought to myself, "Oh, I can do that." And so Thursday, it came my turn.

I will say this much, I didn't fall over. And for the most part I was pointing in the right direction. (Really, with expectations this low, it's amazing I ever think I fail at something.) We went through the 19 movements, and the instructor was actually pleased with what I had managed to do, which gave me some confidence as we did it again. Enough progress was made for the day, and I got to go back to sitting. Now that I had tried, I knew more of what to watch for, and it was educational and helpful.

Friday, yesterday although it feels like it was much much longer ago than that, was "you've been a smart-mouth, so now you're going to pay" time. I don't think Hannah and I fell into that category, but we were still lumped in for the ten minutes of running around the room. It was just running and counting, but I felt pretty proud as I kept up with the really fast boys for the first five minutes. Then the cramping and the panting started, but I still made it. The best part came after. They pulled out the basket of rainbow-colored, foam-padded... nunchucks. Now, let me remind you, I walk into stuff all of the time. Just in taekwondo I've given myself six bumps on the head by walking into the kicking practice equipment. I broke my leg going down *one* stair. I fall down and trip over literally nothing. And here they are giving me nunchucks; regardless of being padded, this is going to be worth watching.

Within minutes I'd clocked my ear, yelped from the pain of hitting my shoulder, and smacked the back of my head several times. Half of the time I was doubled over in pain. The other half of the time I was doubled over laughing. The instructors did their fair share, too. They had to have known, right? It was lots of fun, though, and now I'm really excited for Phil's birthday present. He had given me a set of wood nunchucks with a Jesus emblem on them. I think they were a gag, but now... "HI-YAH!"

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"You're scare!"

Today we all headed back to school, some of us a little tired because we were up until 3 a.m. thinking about all of the awesome things God is doing in our lives. For instance, my jobs have been pretty varied--hospital volunteer, garbage emptier, reverse telemarketer (I took orders via the phone for 50+ catalogs), deli clerk, law office receptionist, seafood clerk (a step up!), night watchman, parking lot nazi, property manager, assistant to medical insurance salesmen, and now ESL kindergarten teacher. My friends have dubbed me the queen of random, and I think this is evident in my employment decisions--I can't wait to see what happens next!

Despite tiredness and a caffeine withdrawal headache, I had a great day with my kids--except for when Brian realized his grandmother forgot to wash his lunch tray. It didn't occur to me to wash it, I went to the kitchen and got a borrowed tray. He was so upset he cried for an hour, stopping only when I bribed him with candy. Thank God for leftovers from our lesson on "lollipops."

After, Hannah and I had some yummy tuna jjigae before heading in for taekwondo. Today we warmed up with a lot of kicking (which involves a lot of sweating and pant-tugging for me), and then we got to spar. The goal was to kick our opponent's butt--literally. I almost died laughing because the first time I "won," I reached between my opponent's legs and got his butt that way. I think the best part of the night was when I got to kick the butt of the most annoying kid in class. He kept running away from me, but I still got him. And after, the instructor corrected my kicking, so I started making even more contact. It was awesome!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Kate's Day Off

We had today off (for no particular reason, but I'm grateful nonetheless). The stress of the last two weeks had really brought me down, as had the remarkable lack of sleep. After waking up at 1 today, I fixed that little problem. I went to work, fixed the last of the few problems I had, then went and read (New Moon, haha) in front of my convenience store for a few hours before taekwondo.

Today's class was really good, and I'm really glad I went. I was granted mastery of the front kick! I kicked so high my instructor had tears of joy. It is now as I type that sentence that I realize, I am the Aidan of taekwondo. I'm glad I could give someone the same frustrated joy. When I demanded a sticker for my achievement, they just laughed at me. Tomorrow, I shall buy the largest sticker available and wear it proudly!

It turns out that they won't change the time schedule until after I leave, so I'll be able to continue until I leave. I'll definitely have my yellow belt before I come home!

Sunday, June 7, 2009


1) I love watching He's Just Not That Into You. I feel enlightened and empowered to wait for something fantastic instead of settling for the unromantic and ordinary. (e.g. Edward Cullen, but that's just a continuation of my delusions)

2) The spicier the curry, the better.

3) When choosing a country for teaching English as a second language, I am one of the few people who needs to consider the quality of emergency care before consenting to move.

4) I miss the washing machines (and dryers!) of home. They work better.

5) Today is my sister's birthday! Happy Birthday, Molly!

The Slow Down

Well, there just hasn't been much to report. The week ended on an upturned note, and although plans for Seoul got postponed, I still took Friday night off from taekwondo to celebrate my first free Friday night since I started Korean lessons. (What with them requiring me to wake up at the same time I wake up for work, I couldn't exactly be hungover. Except for that one time...) The girls and I got dolled up and headed out for some dancing good times.

Yesterday was an excellent lazy day, topped off with Night at the Museum 2 (it went a little slowly for me, things didn't flow smoothly), dinner at an Italian place, and some good old fashioned pool/bowling fun. More dancing ensued, which pretty much brings us to the present time. No falling down drunk, and for the first time I went to Frog without almost getting into a fight. It was either a slow weekend for everyone, or maybe I've taken steps towards being 26 instead of 22.

For a long time I felt trapped at age 22, so I was really confused when it was my sister's 22nd birthday, what with her being three years younger and all. When I turned 25, I was in panic mode about my life. Now, a year later, after having lived my life, I feel like I'm coming into my own. And let's face it, Cinderella ends just after the wedding because the big growth spurt was over. (Well, it should have ended. Cinderella 2? Cinderella 3? What the heck?)

Something about life, though, is that unlike a 90-minute movie, we have plenty of time for many adventures. I'm off to try my 3rd Indian restaurant since coming to Korea. I'm going to have to find one in Denver and drag people along; it's way better than Ben Stiller in Along Came Polly makes it look. ;)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Lazy Wednesday Morning

So, after a Monday hypochondriac episode of "My eyes aren't getting any better!" and the ophthalmologist declaring, "Yes they are! Don't come back!", I've finally finished my week long punishment of wearing glasses and got to put my contacts in this morning. So far, so good.

Everyone says the glasses are cute, but for me they are a bitter reminder of a geeky youth where nothing seemed right until the magical day we had a garage sale and I had enough money to buy my own contacts. (Well, almost enough. Fortunately for me, my parents are either 1) easily annoyed, or 2) indulgent.) So to be forced into wearing them because of an angry case of pink eye (which, Abby informed me, only happens when someone gets poo in their eye, EW) left me feeling rather unglamorous--partly because my movie star sunglasses don't fit over them.

For the last week I've had a headache, which I like to blame on my glasses, and last night it intensified, leaving me unmoving on my bed--yes, skipping taekwondo. After a few hours with the Cullens (the ones in my head, not the movie), I lay in the darkness staring up and thinking about my students. Because Anna left on Friday, there have only been 15--but I still forget and make 16 copies. I thought about how each of them represent 32 parents and 64 grandparents, all who had hopes and dreams for their futures--futures that I'm a part of. I started wondering what they were going to be when they grew up, and what their new teacher is going to be like. I hope she understands how special Aidan is, despite certain lacking abilities (i.e. understanding number sequence, oops).

I stepped into unknown territory, examining each of the kids and trying to think of what I hope for for my kids. I have two little girls who are perfect angels. They're the smartest, and will probably be leveled up into the second year class. I think they're probably what I would have wanted for my children before I realized how un-challenging and un-fun perfection is. For all of the times Aidan and I have made each other cry, I am going to miss him desperately. I feel as though this difficult four-year-old has taught me a lot about losing my selfishness and loving not because of what someone can do for me, but because he is good and deserving of good things.

It strikes kind of a theme that goes along with Twilight. Yeah yeah Bella's extraordinary, but how would the first book have gone if Edward could have read her thoughts? I pose the suggestion that his initial interest in her comes from the mystery and the challenge of getting to know her. Part of Aidan's appeal is the challenge he poses for my teaching abilities, and how the reward is greater when he does learn. I hope there's another one of him in my future.

Monday, June 1, 2009

보배 and 부휘 do 나아

So Saturday after I got my certificate for finishing my Korean class (and with a "see you later" from he who will never call, and thus never be seen again), I packed up to visit Abby in her little town of Naa. Technically the invitation and party was Arthur's, but I find something about Abby just draws me in--she has the gift of hospitality that always bewilders me. Like my cousin Pam, she has an amazing ability to make a home comfortable (and clean, for that matter), and thinks of things for guests that don't really occur to me.

After a few mishaps (i.e. going to the wrong bus station, getting rammed into by an impatient driver) we met up and drove from Ulsan to her town 20 or so minutes away. As I drove around Ulsan in the bus and on the way out in Abby's car, I really admired the town. It has 1/3 the people of Daegu, has more of a retro feel, and from what I could tell was way cleaner.

The night progressed into a barbecue that was fun. Arthur had a lot of friends come in, all of them having exotic (aka not North American) accents, so it was fun to listen to them. One of my favorites was a Korean named Dinny who learned English working in a pub in Ireland. He had the foulest mouth of anyone I've met outside of college--it was hilarious. As the food disappeared (including Abby's fantastical kimchi jjigae, whose recipe I need to remember for home--anchovy powder, red pepper paste, and garlic are the base), the group headed out to the beach for a bonfire, s'mores, and fireworks. It was awesome being right on the sea and hanging out. I really wished Tracy had been there; it would have made it all perfect. Well. Aside from the broken glass in my foot, but that's what taekwondo calluses are for.

As you can see, the next day was beautiful. Probably 75 and sunny with a light breeze, Abby and I did some shopping, visited the beach again, and spent the day being 20-something girls. I came home spent, sore, and full, and looking forward to next weekend when Kate (보배) and Abby (부휘) do Seoul! (서울)