Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I think I want to be single forever...

…or at least until I move to Hong Kong to open a mermaid-themed steakhouse.

The date with Hoon last night was a stark reminder that I’m not ready for another relationship, even if it isn’t serious. And that I have to tell this to Hoon, because in his young, naivete, he’s progressing much faster than I would like.

We went to see a movie, which was in French so I understood none of it, and then had an awkward late dinner because we really couldn’t talk without Stella. He’s a sweet guy, but I just can’t bring myself to get excited about going on more dates with him. Especially if we can’t talk to each other. So, I’m going to have to explain (through Stella) that we’re just friends. And that I really don’t want to go to church with him on Sunday…

Communication is a HUGE part of relationships and one that I value most because I love those little moments when I can just talk with someone forever about anything and everything, no matter how serious or stupid it is. I can’t have that with Hoon.

And I’m starting to see parts of his age come out. I didn’t think it mattered that he was 2 years younger than me, but again, in Korea, that can be a big difference. Stella has noticed it and while she really likes Hoon, she agrees that I’m not really ready. Plus…I kind want to be able to bring my guy friends to The Bar, but the whole staff thinks I’m dating Hoon, so that makes things a little tricky…Ugh…this is why everyone should follow the “Platinum Rule”.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Drama Drama Drama

So here is the latest on the ever-evolving drama known as my life…

My boss wants me to leave the company by this Friday. This decision sprung up from a miscommunication from my manager (who thought I was starting a new job first of May, even though my email specifically said that I didn’t get a job offer and if I did get it, it wouldn’t start until June). Anyway, so my manager feels horrible, especially since he now knows the full extent of how serious it is when you lay off a foreign worker and how much harder it is for them to find work and get visas.

He is going to meet with my boss and try to talk him into letting work part-time editing. That way I could use the free time either teaching privately or find another part-time job. Though, hopefully I’ll find out something from the Korea Times soon and the part-time won’t be for long. Apparently, my boss still would like me to do the editing work. (Apparently that’s all I’m good for to him…forget that I generated all his financial statements for his new company…)

Either way, it’s going into effect on Monday. If I’m going part-time, I would much rather start as soon as possible. Heck, whatever the decision is, a few days most likely isn’t going to make much of a difference. I might as well quit tomorrow or Wednesday if they want me gone after Friday. It’s a small victory in the scope of the big war, but they’ve already stolen the thunder out of my quitting by informing my co-worker without telling me and taking away all my responsibilities. (I HATE when people do that…James did and Young too, why won’t life let me have my little victories…I was sooo looking forward to telling Ji Won that I was quitting…)

And in a completely different realm of my life that is not quite as full of drama, Hoon and I are going on a second date this week. We’re going to see a movie so that it’s not too big a deal if Stella can’t come. I have to really study up on my Korean…

And this weekend he gave me his ring to wear. He handed it to me to watch for him while he did a flair show and then told me to keep it at the end of the night when I tried to give it back. It’s about five times too big and I’ve wrapped two post-it notes and about three layers of tape to get it to fit. It was a cute gesture, but I’m fairly sure that it doesn’t mean that we’re serious. Stella asked him if he liked me last night and he didn’t answer. He just said that he thinks there is a connection, but it’s going to be hard with communication.
So, we’re taking it slow and seeing where this goes. If anything, I’ll at least gain a good friend out of it. ^_^

Another cute thing…

Hoon went to the sea on Sunday morning after work with his co-workers and sent me this picture. It was a cute thing to wake up to on Sunday morning.

So, that’s my crazy, stressful life as of now. I’ll find out about my “status” at work soon (today or tomorrow) and that will hopefully releive some of the stress. I plan to get up early and start running tomorrow, so that will help some too. Though I’m wondering how I’m going to carry my iPod, phone and keys…might leave the phone at home…and get an iPod armband thing…

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Found my Silver Lining

So, I just realized that a lot has happened in the last few day and I haven’t shared through my blogs…

On Wednesday, I heard from The Korea Times. They are definitely interested in hiring me. There is one, maybe two positions opening in June and I’m listed as a potential hire. (Granted I don’t how many they have, though I assume I’m at the top of the list…) Anyway, they are going to give me more information the first of May (yay one week!). I assume that means the usual interview and editing test, and then hopefully, a job offer. With luck, I could be out of Apple Tree by early to mid- May since we’ll have to get the visa stuff started. Which means I’m throwing a large party at my favorite bar around then to celebrate.

Also on Wednesday, Stella and I went to Ireland (it was only the first time this week, I promise!) and hung out with the guys. Hoon, one of the younger bartenders, asked me out on a date. I was a little surprised, seeing as his English is quite minimal and my Korean is barely there. But he recruited Stella to come as translator. I said yes.

It was an interesting sort of date with the three of us. Though, surprisingly, conversation flowed smoothly. Stella made sure to go back and forth between English and Korean a lot so that no one was left out. Hoon brought his dog, which was an odd twist, but worked in the end. We had to take her to my apartment since no restaurant would let her in and Hoon now had bragging rights to all the other bartenders that he knew where my apartment was. (Oh joy...) We went to a fun restaurant that served only shellfish (clams, conchs, mussels, etc.) It was really yummy and they cook the meat in the shells on a grill at the table. Then we ended up at Ireland because Stella (and I guess Hoon) wanted to go. Hoon and I were able to have a conversation of sorts, with occasional help from Stella.

Then Hoon and I had to go get his puppy from my apartment because his mom kept calling and said she couldn’t hear the dog with him. We got back and got some good-natured teasing from the guys. And basically just hung out and talked, and made fun of the bartenders, who then made of me right back. Ah, a sweet little thing that happened. I have a burn on the back of my hand that I kept scratching at (I hate the itching stage…). When we went to the bar, Hoon disappeared for a bit and then came back with a band-aid so I wouldn’t scratch it anymore. It was cute and sweet of him.

All in all, a lot of fun. I’m still not sure if anything serious will become of it. I’m still a little turned off from guys, especially since it’s only been about 2 weeks since Young broke up with me. AND the language barrier is kind of a major factor. AND he works at our favorite bar, and if there is ever a lesson to be learned from Barney Stinson, it’s that you shouldn’t break “The Platinum Rule.” Don’t want to kill the bar…

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It's On

So, the passed few weeks have been a little hard, but every time I hear this song by Superchick I start feeling like I can do anything...

It's On
It all comes down to this
You take your best shot, might miss
You take it anyway
You're gonna make your move today
Got the will, you'll find the way
To change the world someday
Grab this moment before it's gone
Today's your day

It's on (and on) it's on (and on) it's on (and on) today's your day so come on, bring it on(and on) it's on (and on) it's on (and on) today's your day so come on, bring it on

And the view will never change
Unless you decide to change it
Don't feel like it today
Just show up anyways
And though life will take you down
It only matters if you let it
Get up, go through, press on
Today's your day

It's on (and on) it's on (and on) it's on (and on) today's your day so come on, bring it on(and on) it's on (and on) it's on (and on) today's your day so come on, bring it on

And though you wanna quit
Don't think you can get through it
You've come too far to walk away
It's not gonna be today
And no matter how you feel
It's what you do that matters
This is your moment to be strong
Today's your day

It's on (and on) it's on (and on) it's on (and on) today's your day so come on bring it on(and on) it's on (and on) it's on (and on) today's your day so come on, bring it on(no matter how you feel, it's what you do that matters it's your moment to be strong)It's on (and on) it's on (and on) it's on (and on) today's your day so come on bring it on(and on) it's on (and on) it's on (and on) today's your day so come on, bring it on

Looking for a Silver Lining

Ever get that feeling that after a bunch of crap has rained down on you that something good is about to happen?

I don’t know what it is, but at lunch today I was sitting in Coffee Bean reading a book and I suddenly felt the full weight of everything that is happening to me. I had been trying so hard to stay positive and not worry about finding a job or get stressed out, but I slipped this afternoon. It was quite depressing, and one look out the window at the cold, rainy day didn’t make me feel any better. Everything seems to be going wrong. No one is calling me about resumes, my love life is in shambles, and work is barely tolerable. I feel like an anvil was sitting on my chest.

I couldn’t even bring myself to eat lunch. I’ve been walking around like a zombie today.

When I got back to the office, I decided that I was going to try to ease a bit of the pressure, and finally got the courage to call The Korea Times about their editing position. It was a really confusing call and I got no information from it whatsoever, but for some reason it lifted my spirits a little. At least I did something. I decided then that I would email the copy editor again and then send my resume to the managing editor as well. I sent an email to my contact there and she suggested that I do just that and wished me luck.

So, I didn’t receive any positive word yet, but for some reason I feel like something great is about to happen. It has to, right? Of course this now means that I’m going to be refreshing my email inbox every two seconds. But it’s worth it. At least now I’ve reminded them that I’m here. And at least I got word that the position is actually open. (The one thing that I gleaned from the girl on the phone…)

I’ll know something about my job soon. I’m just ready to get something settled. You all know me and know that patience is not my forte. This has been a true test of that. Hopefully, something will happen soon…I just want some answers…

Sunday, April 19, 2009

April 19th: A Day I'll Never Forget

Most people can’t really remember what they were doing on April 19, 1995. For most people, it’s just another spring day. Nothing special.

As for me, parts of April 19 I remember quite vividly, while other parts have since become murky. But I remember the shock. And I remember the fear. You don’t forget that kind of fear, especially when it takes over your childish, 10-year-old mind.

I remember exactly what I was doing at 9:02 that morning. I was in the fourth grade. All the fourth graders from Wiley Post Elementary were loading the bright yellow school busses to head to downtown Oklahoma City. We were going to listen to the Philharmonic Orchestra. I remember being mad at my mother for making me wear a dress. I hated wearing dresses to school, but our teachers had sent home a note telling our parents that we needed to dress nice for our special field trip.

It was almost my turn to get on the bus. I can’t remember who I was going to sit by, but I do remember this causing me a bit of anxiety. I was still the new kid, and I always had a fear that no one would want me to sit next to them. Suddenly, I heard a loud “boom!” and suddenly the teachers were pushing all of us back up the stairs into the school. I remember wondering what had caused the boom. Originally, I thought that someone had thrown something against the bus and as punishment we now couldn’t go on our field trip. This irritated me. I was at times too practical when I was younger, and I hated children who would act out and do such childish things.

It wasn’t until we were inside and the teachers turned on a television that my small, 10-year-old mind began to realize that this was much bigger than someone throwing something at a bus. I remember watching from the point-of-view of the news helicopter flying over the debris. Smoke was billowing up and the interior of the building was exposed as beams hung out. I still didn’t understand what had happened, but I knew this was bad.

One child near me began to cry, because it looked like his father’s office building. A teacher reached over to comfort him, saying that she was sure it wasn’t where his father worked. Even then, I could tell that what she was saying didn’t match the look she was giving another teacher nearby, who quietly left the classroom. Probably to go make a phone call. The rest of the children sat in awed silence, most of them probably not realizing that the horrible splendor they were looking at had caused people to die. I remember hearing exclamations of “Ooo, look at the smoke!” and “Wow, look at that hole in the building! It’s huge!” Of course, how could they know they were looking at an act of evil? Their biggest concern was what we were doing for lunch that day since we were no longer going on our field trip.

Even I stared at the scene unfolding, not quite realizing what I was looking at. But still knowing that people were going to be hurt. And that the nation would be talking about this for years to come.

I don’t remember much of what happened the rest of the day, other than worrying about my mom and sister. I knew my dad was okay, because his office was located in the suburbs, not downtown. But I knew my mom didn’t work and would sometimes go downtown to run errands. I found out later that at 9:02 a.m., my mother was about to get in her car with my sister to go to the post office downtown. The post office was located next door to the Murrah Building. They were running late that day. When the explosion went off, she said that it rattled all the windows in our house.

The next few days were mass confusion. The television in our house was always on and tuned into New Channel 9. My parents called all their friends that worked in the downtown area to make sure they were okay. Not everyone knew someone in the building or lost a love one, but the bombing affected us all.

My parents took my sister and I to see the building before they imploded it. My grandparents had come from Missouri to visit, and like everyone at that time, we wanted to see the building with our own eyes. We needed to know that it really happened and it wasn’t some sort of bad dream. I remember staring at the building and not being able to think from the horror of seeing the exposed beams and the shattered walls in person. I was terrified that if I looked too close, I would see a lifeless arm or leg.

And now, 14 years later, I sit in a crowded office in downtown Seoul. Around me all my co-workers bustle about, focused and intent on their work. It’s just another normal day to them. But I, the only foreigner, sit at my desk caught in memories from that day. A few of my co-workers have heard of the bombing, but they treat it like a far away, vague memory. Something that happened half-way around the world that doesn’t demand much of their attention. Much like Americans view the bombings in Mumbai or natural disasters in Southeast Asia.

But I remember. And it doesn’t matter that I’m the only one taking time to think about the 168 people who died. Koreans have their own disasters to think about and their own bloody history to remember and memorialize.

All that matters is that I take the time to think about it. That I remember. And that I never forget.

Adventures in the Country

So, I just got back from a three-day weekend at my friend's country home in Kangwon do. It took about 3 hours, 2 buses and a 30-minute hike to get to the house, but it was totally worth it. Here's the run down of what we did.

Day One:

After arriving at the house, we quickly discovered that we needed to run into town to go to a grocery store. We brought some steaks and various food to cook, but we had no snacks, nothing for dinner the next day and were low on drinks. So we called the taxi to come get us and ran into town.

Going to town proved to be interesting. It's a small town out in the boonies of Korea (which is sooo much cooler than the boonies of Oklahoma...they have mountains!) and most people have never seen a foreigner. We got a lot of stares walking down the street and some school kids shouted "Hello!" at us. The trip didn't take long, and soon we called the taxi to take us back so we could start cooking.

It took us two hours to grill the steaks. We were working with natural charcoal which had to be blowtorched five times to get good and burning. However, the steaks were worth and melt-in-your-mouth good. Of course, but this time, it was getting quite chilly and we decided that we wanted to start a fire in the outside furnace so we could sit outside, drink and watch the stars.

This exploit took another hour or so. We kept throwing wood and paper in the fire and setting the blow torch on it, but the wood wasn't catching fire. And we couldn't figure out why. Finally, after talking to Jung Min's mom on the phone, we discovered that we needed to put a fan on the fire to keep it going. After about 20 minutes, Jung Min had a good fire going, and we were so proud that we sent text message pictures to all our friends. And got a few accidental calls. ^_^

The fire Jung Min being proud of her work

Day Two
The next day we got up early and went to do some sightseeing. We went to the tomb of King Danjong. He was a king in the 1500s during the Joseon Dynasty. He has a very sad story. Danjong became king when he was 12 and his uncle, the brother of the previous king, was placed as his regent. Unfortunately, his uncle wanted power so he forced him to abdicate his throne at age 15. He was then sent into exile on an island in Kangwon do, while his wife stayed in Seoul.

Two years later, he was killed at the age of 17.

After visiting the tomb, we went to visit the island where he was exiled. It was beautiful but we understood how he could get depressed there. We saw the stone tower he built because he missed his wife and the pine tree where he use to sit and think. They call it the Pine Tree that Saw and Heard.

After that, we went to a cliff where we got the most amazing view of the countryside. It was fabulous... Though, to get to the bus stop afterwards, we had to walk about 200 m down the highway. It was a little scary with the cars. And we were afraid that the bus wouldn't come. But eventually it came and we rejoiced.

Later that night, we cooked samgybsal out on the grill. This time went a lot quicker than the steak. Even making the fire went a lot faster. We spent the evening sitting outside by the fire talking and having fun. I decided that I looked like a tomato wrapped up in a giant red blanket. Oh, good times...

Day Three:
Our last day in the countryside. I got up and looked at the view. It made me miss living in the country a little. We went on a hike to a brook and played in the water. Then we sat around and painted our toenails. It was a good end to a relaxing weekend. But unfortunately, it passed too soon and we had to catch the bus back to the city.

All in all, a fun weekend. We plan to go back when it gets a bit warmer and go see some caves. There is so much to do in that area of Korea... Ah, I don't want to go to work tomorrow!!! Check out my Facebook for all the pictures. ^_^

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Issie the Wonder Cat

Okay, so I know that I totally stole that line from Mr. Warner and changed it to cat, but it still applies.

My kitten is the most rambunctious, wild kitten I think I’ve ever met. As soon as I walk into the apartment at night, she immediately does a somersault across the floor and attacks my feet and lower legs. During the winter I didn’t mind this, but now that it’s spring and I’m not wearing socks or long pants as much, it ends up being quite painful.

Her favorite game is “Let’s Pretend We're in a Jungle and Eat Emma or Anyone Who Happens to be in the Apartment.” She will hide under the couch or in the bedroom and when someone settles on the couch or isn’t paying attention, she leaps out from her hiding spot and latches on to said person’s leg (mostly mine).

Or she pretends that my clothes on the drying rack are actually wild animals that must be killed. I walk in to new carnage spread across my living everyday. A shirt. Hose. Panties. Socks Anything that is light enough, or dangling low enough that she can get a good grip on it and pull it off. This often means I have to re-wash whatever it is she attacks. Or throw it out if it’s hose. The hose and tights seller about a 5 minute walk from my apartment must love me since I’m buying new hose every other day.

My adorable little kitten is also a little deceiver too. Sometimes, when I’m lying on my couch watching TV, she hops up on my tummy and acts like she wants to cuddle. So, I start petting her and thinking how cute and adorable she is. Then she’ll start trying to lick my fingers. I personally find this annoying, but it’s better than gnawing. And as soon as I think that thought, Issie decides to bite down on my thumb and the gnawing begins. If you take one look at my hands, you can definitely tell that I’m a cat owner from all the scratches and bite marks that decorate them.

I am constantly surprised by my kitten, whether it’s because she jumps out of a hiding place and sinks her teeth into my leg or I’m trying to sleep at night and she starts attacking my hair. At times, she annoys the hell out of me. But then I take one look at her and my heart melts a little…

I’m going to make a horrible mother…