Monday, September 12, 2011

Getting Happy

Ever have those times when it's really hard to focus on the good things, even when they outnumber the bad?

I went through the shock of my life last month. Within a week I had found out my roommate was unexpectedly moving back to the States, that I was losing my job of two years and because of that I would have to make an unexpected trip out of the country and most likely two, along with not knowing when I would get my next paycheck.

Since then, I got a new job and started the visa process. I won't start work until Oct. 3, but I have enough resources to last me until then. Also, I discovered there is a 30-day tourist extension that I applied for so that hopefully I only have to make one trip out of the country. And my ex contacted me and we had plans to meet up. The following week I found a replacement roommate and everything was looking great.

Then this week, the roommate backed out and I now have two weeks to find a new one before rent is due. Rent that I can't afford on my own. My current roommate still hasn't given me her half of last month's rent and because of that, I can't pay my US loans until she gives me the money.

Also, things kind of fell apart and I've yet to meet with my ex and haven't heard from him since last week. Things were going great and I thought maybe we would talk about giving things another try. But now I'm not so sure.

So, two bad things out of a whole bunch of good things and I'm stuck in a rut. I'm trying to focus on the good and trust that things will work themselves out. But honestly, it's kind of hard. I spent a good two weeks walking around in a dream-like state. Shooting 'thank you's up to heaven every five minutes because I couldn't believe how pretty much all my problems solved themselves within that time. And now I'm frantically praying that a new roommate will surface soon. And that, I don't know, something will happen with my ex. Either I finally learn my lesson and move on or that we get together and talk things over. I don't know.

Ugh... could use some good news right about now...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

80s Extravaganza




I'm beginning to feel like I go to Ireland in Itaewon a bit too much. But kind of hard not to when your friends are hosting parties there every weekend. And I feel like all the bartenders are my adorable little brothers (except Dio... funny big brother, maybe?)

Anywho, the latest in the round of parties was Jack's 30th birthday party. We all pitched in and helped plan it. Dio and I contributed the theme- the 80s. And he got all the bartenders to dress up while I tried to get all the guests to dress up. There were only a handful of us, so I guess I failed. But we still had a good time. And Jack was beyond thrilled with how everything turned out. We made a video for him and Dio came up with an ingenious way to do the cocktail show. I won't put it up here, because it was really gross...

On to the highlight pictures...
Our awesome outfits.

The birthday boy in the middle.

Hannah, the amazing girlfriend who planned the whole thing.




Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Club, A Bar, and Two Korean Celebrities

So, in the last week I have met not only one, but TWO Korean celebrities. Oh yea. And it only took me almost four years of living here to randomly bump into them.

On Friday night, I went out with the boys to Hongdae. I was originally going to stay home, but I figured, eh, why not? We headed over to our favorite club (because it's cheap) but were unpleasantly surprised to find out that it wasn't cheap that night. (25,000 won vs 10,000 won) But we go in anyway, and discover that it's because Supreme Team, a very popular Korean hip-hop duo, is performing. I had already gotten a picture with them last month at Greenplugged Festival, so I sat back at the bar with my friend Fahad, while everyone else crowded up to the stage to get a better look.

SSam D, Me, E-sens

Well, after their performance, I noticed that the guys, E-sens and SSamD, were in a VIP room behind us. So, Fahad and I spent a very entertaining 20 minutes watching all these girls trying to dance very sexy-like in front of the opening to the room (no door and it was kind of glassed in), in the hopes that they would get invited in to drink with the guys. Or, at least, we assume that's why a bunch of them were dancing there. But of course, none of them did.

After awhile, we go back to drinking and dancing and whatnot, when I look behind me and notice that E-sens is now standing right behind us talking to a big foreign guy and his Korean girlfriend. At that moment, I decide that I want another picture. I wait for a very long time, since it's E-sens, you know. Every time he would stop talking to one person, another would jump up and demand a picture or tell him he's wonderful. So I gave up. But then my friend Jee notices that he's talking to one of the rappers. So I hand him my camera and walk up to them to ask for a picture.

E-sens, Me, B-Free

What I get instead is E-sens putting his arm around me and saying,"This guy is the hottest rapper here!" To which his friend responds, "Don't listen to anything he says." I explain what was said to which I get, "He's E-sens! He's the hottest!" This goes back and forth for awhile. Then Jee comes up and waves the camera. We take the picture. And then, both just hang out and talk to us for a bit. Jee talked to E-sens for a long time and I tried to listen in, but it was loud. So I end up dancing for a bit. And then E-sens danced with us for a bit. And then I hear, "Wait! You work at Arirang!" Now, it was loud in this club. So you can imagine how loud he shouted to get my attention.

It's the first rapper friend. His name is B-Free. He really wants to get on Arirang. I told him I'm on the news team, I have nothing to do with any of the other programs, but I could ask around and see what I could do. We exchange numbers and Facebook info. And we're still texting. Planning to go to his show in July. And hopefully before that, we can all get together and hang out again. ^_^



So that was Friday night... Now, here's what happened last night...

I went to my friend's bar with a group of people in Itaewon. They all left before I did, but I had a bit of my drink left to finish, so I stayed a bit longer. A small group of army guys came in. I started talking to one. And he seemed nice. But then he got a little weird. And apparently his buddies were making a group of Korean girls uncomfortable. So Dio asked me to translate for him and tell these guys that the girls were uncomfortable. (I'm not sure why, his English is good enough...)

Anywho, then Dio leans over and tells me, "By the way, it's Yoon Eun-hye." As in Coffee Prince and Goong Yoon Eun-hye. As in these losers were hitting on an insanely popular actress and didn't even know it.

My eyes go wide and immediately Dio said, "No."

"But I just want to say hi!"

"No."

So for 20 minutes I sit on my stool and sneak glances over at her when she's not paying attention. Felt like a total creeper. I then come up with what I, in my slight inebriated state, thought was a perfect plan. I gather up my purse and say bye to the bartenders. Their table was right by the doorway. So, I go up to say good-bye to the bartender at their table, then turn and say, "Oh! You're Yoon Eun-hye? I really liked Coffee Prince!" in Korean. She shakes my hand. And then I hear, "Emma!!" from the entrance. Yea, Dio caught me. So I bowed very quickly and rushed out because I thought I was in trouble.

Turns out I wasn't. He was laughing at me and asked if I got a picture. I didn't. He said next time maybe. If I don't die from my extreme embarrassment from running away from Yoon Eun-hye first, that is.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

When Will You Go Back to USA?

I get asked this question a lot. And the honest answer is, I don't know. The longer I stay in Korea, more I want to keep staying here. It has nothing to do with not liking the US. It's my home and eventually I want to go back there, but right now, I just have no desire to make that move.

My life is in Korea. My friends are here. My job is here. My livelihood is here. Being here inspires me as a writer and I've had some awesome opportunities that I wouldn't have gotten in the States. If I left, it would feel like I'm leaving my family. And it would be hard.

Also, I don't have a whole lot in common with my friends from the US anymore. We're all at different points in our lives. Some are getting married. Some are having kids. Some are engaged or climbing up the career ladder. Or still somewhere around the bottom. I wouldn't know what to talk about with most of them. And I don't think a lot of them would understand me or my mindset now. I'm one of a few out of my friend groups from both high school and college that has spent a considerable amount of time living outside the US. It changes you as a person. It changes the way you think. The way you live life. The way you view certain things. And unless another person has gone through a similar experience, it's hard to relate on certain levels.

I'm not the same person I was when I left the US. I still have my values, but I've had new experiences that a lot of my friends haven't. Some don't talk to me anymore because they don't agree with some of the decisions I've made. But that's fine, I suppose. The life I live is not meant for everyone and I personally don't regret anything I've done, good or bad. And everything is something that I've needed to go through to become the person that I am today.

Though, sometimes I wonder if I stay here because it's easy. If I go back to the States, I have to start over at a new job (if I can find one) and basically with a whole new life. I'll have to find a new group of friends that are my age and single, because let's face, it's hard for us single girls to want to hang out with our married friends all the time. Because our interests are different and different things take priority in our lives.

I wouldn't mind staying here long-term. As long as I can get back to visit my family at least once a year. And I'm open to the idea of potentially getting married here, if that's how it's meant to be. Though, I do believe that my one condition is that whoever I marry is open to the idea of moving back to the States when we have children. But again, this is all hypothetical at this point.

So, in short, when will I go back to the US? I don't know...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Home

I love my family and I love my state (Oklahoma) but sometimes, I'm a little embarrassed to say I grew up there. Mostly when I see something ignorant or idiotic written on Facebook or somewhere else on the internet without any facts to back it up. Most of this time it's political statements or racist statements or sexist statements. I wrote something on Tumblr not too long ago about how not all southerners were rednecks... well, some of them do fine the profile.

I was sifting through the "Yay Osama is dead!" and "Praise the Lords" in my Facebook newsfeed the other day when I came across this:

Is it at all ironic that oSama is one letter off from oBama? I’m not slammin’ our pres. b/c I don’t believe that’s right and I pray for the guy to make Godly decisions. But I’m just sayin………coincidence?

It was written by a girl I went to high school with. We're the same age, but she's a stay-at-home mom with two kids, one of which is just a couple months old. I don't think she finished college but I'm not even sure if she went. I do know that she still lives in the little town where we're from and she's prone to make a lot of status messages with "God" in them.

None of these things should matter. But when you're from Oklahoma, they create the stereotype. Uneducated, lives in the country, barefoot and pregnant, conservative, overtly religious. They are the traits of the group where I'm from that ends up being the loudest voice. And they drown out all the reasonable, rational, educated folks. Like my parents. Who never take cheap shots at Obama, even though they don't like him. They may badmouth his corporate bailouts and healthcare reforms, but they do their research and know their stuff. They, for one, do not want to be labelled "hicks" or "rednecks" during a debate or discussion, so they make sure they can back up all their arguments.

Why can't the people like that be what Oklahoma is known for? Not the high teen pregnancy rate (still haven't learned that ONLY teaching abstinence doesn't work), or the high drop out rate, or the low test scores or the trailer parks? Or the white trash? Or the birthers? Or the Christian extremists?

Don't get me wrong, I am Oklahoman... but I'm not that kind of Oklahoman.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Confessions of a Lazy English Teacher

Before I came to Korea to teach English three years ago, I was a very hard worker. My parents always taught me that if I want something, I have to work for it, so I did. In college, I never worked less than two jobs and at one point I think I had about four so I could pay for all my bills and have money left over to eat and do fun stuff on the weekend (when I wasn't working). Also, some of the work was scholarship based. My parents cut me off at age 18 (though they did chip in for college by taking out a loan) so I had to pay for my car loan, gas, phone bill, etc. Fortunately, I lived on campus, so at least I didn't have to worry about rent or utilities for awhile. But even during the summer, I would work a part-time job and do internships so I could go out and do things plus save up. (Mom and Dad said I should always have a savings account.)

Right after I graduated, I worked as a daily newspaper reporter. Again, I worked hard and would often end up being the last reporter to leave the office. It was my first "real" job out of college and I wanted to do it right (meaning, I was terrified of screwing up and getting fired).

Then, I decided to come to Korea for a year to teach English.

I mostly did it so I would have the experience of living in a foreign country. And because I've always wanted to live abroad and learn about other cultures and languages. Just traveling there would never do it for me. I had to live there. But I didn't see many opportunities to do that as a reporter.

At first, I worked very hard. I taught adults, so there was no BS-ing my way through a lesson. But, my institute provided us with teaching manuals that outlined every lesson for us. So, after a few months of teaching, I no longer needed to prep before my classes. I could basically walk into the office about five minutes before my first class started in the morning and be able to successfully teach a two to three unit class. (1 unit = 45 minutes)

And then I would teach one on one classes, and all they would want to do is talk to me. Not to mention, for the first time in my short life, one job was enough. There were a couple months when I would work long hours (teaching about 13 hours a day) but to me, the work was easy and didn't require a whole lot of effort on my part. So I quit putting in tons of effort. And then I got bored. Because it wasn't what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, just for a short period. It was the first time I had a job that I didn't really care about and could get away with not trying my hardest. That said, I was professional. I showed up on time, dress professionally. I wasn't one of those teachers that would go out every night until 3 am (couldn't when I started work at 6:45 am) or come in drunk or hungover. But I didn't try as hard as I could have. I basically just coasted by.

Needless to say, I switched. I left English teaching after about a year and moved on to what I thought would be the challenging world of Korean PR. It was and wasn't. Trying to fit into the office culture was challenging. But the work they gave me was easy, further encouraging my lackluster motivation. And no one seemed to care about actually using me for the things they hired me to do. I spent more time on Facebook than I did actually working. Which for some, getting paid 3 million won a month to spend most of your time on Facebook would seem like heaven. But for me, it was horrible because I wasn't getting any valuable work experience. And the company eventually laid me off because they couldn't justify paying me that much when there wasn't a lot of work for me to do.

After that, I looked at who I was as a worker and I felt ashamed. I knew I should have applied myself more. But I didn't and I couldn't go back and change things with my magic time machine. So, in my next job, the one I currently still have, I forced myself to go back to being that thorough, hard-worker. I'm not 100% there yet, but each day is progress.

And I'm not going to lie, there are days when I'm bored with my work. But then, there are days when I am really focused and getting things done. And there are days that are so hectic, that five hours goes by without my noticing (I like those days). Fortunately, getting a job at a company that I enjoy working at and in my career field helped my motivation. Also, a good talk with my boss after six months also helped kick my butt into shape. And I have the opportunity to make myself more valuable by giving suggestions to the anchors and reporters. Officially, I don't have a lot of power, but I am in a position to influence others, should I choose to do so.

So, the moral of the story... I shouldn't teach English. I would love to teach writing or journalism. But yea, me and teaching English, eh, we don't get along so well. Though, I'm sure it would have been a completely different story if I had taught children or had to come up with my own lesson plans...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It's Spring!

And I'm quite happy about that, though incredibly busy...

- Got an article about a new band called "The Finnn" coming out in the May issue of "Groove" magazine. It's not my absolute best work, but I'm still happy with the outcome. They are a fun band and I wish them the best as they navigate the uncertain waters known as the Korean rock industry.

- Still need to meet up with Han Dae-soo for a follow-up interview. I've just been way too busy to do this, but I'm going to try and get it done in the next week or so.

- Should have an interview with Phonebooth for the rock article soon.

- Waiting to hear about Boohwal... still...

- Costco!! I've decided I want to try some Greek recipes during my week off, so I'm planning a trip to Costco tomorrow to pick up the ingredients I can't get at my local market. I also need to suck it up and get an external hard drive. After that and paying the bills this week... It's turning into an expensive week...

- I seriously need to spend some time cleaning the apartment in the next couple of days. The trash needs to be taken out and the kitchen and fridge are an absolute mess (and kind of smelly) since dishes need to be done and food needs to be thrown out. But when you take two very busy girls and put them in the same apartment... these things do happen...

- Work, work and more work. I've been working the last seven days straight. My co-worker's Mom is in town, so I took on two extra days so he could have the whole time off to spend with her. I don't mind, since it means I'll have the next seven days off.

- Radio is different. They moved my day to Tuesday, making that morning very busy, and there is a new host. It was a little awkward this morning when I went it, partially because we didn't know each other and partially because she was sick, but we soldiered on and I think it's going to be a good arrangement.

And I think that's about that. I'm sure there is more to be done. Or at least things I would like to do, such as shopping and getting a new notebook, but I think they'll have to wait until next month...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Really Bad Timing

So, I get into work today after seven days off (five of which were spent oblivious to world news in Thailand), and discover that our first headline for the newscast is none other than textbooks in Japan. Apparently, 12 middle school textbooks have been approved with all of them saying Dokdo belongs to Japan and four of them going as far to say that Korea is illegally occupying the islands.

Really, Japan? You're going through your worst disaster ever, and you decide to come out with this zinger? I know that this has been a huge issue for years, and it seems like it's going to be one of those issues that will probably never get solved, but I would have thought they would have at least pushed things off for a little bit before starting in on something controversial. Especially with Korea sending a bunch of rescue teams and money to help rebuild the affected area. Of course, I'm not naive enough to think this would settle the deal and all the problems between Korea and Japan would magically be solved. But I had hoped that the peace would last a bit longer and possibly lead to some sort of improvement.

But instead, Japan says the books are approved and now Koreans are pissed off and saying they won't donate to relief aid anymore. Some are calling on the Red Cross to go in and make sure the funds that have already been sent are being used appropriately because they don't trust the Japanese government.

And now, the media is focused on the bickering and name-calling when it should be focused on the victims and getting Japan back on its feet. Oi, I'm definitely rolling my eyes at this one. Mostly because I don't understand the logic behind it. Why bring this up now? Wouldn't it have been better to just keep receiving the aid and let the peace last until things were mostly settled, then go back to being at each other's throats?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

AWOL

I apologize for not being around as of late. Ever since the disaster in Japan, work has been a bit overwhelming. Not to mention my new PT work is consuming a lot of my free time.

I've noticed a lot of posts on Facebook, Twitter and on the blogs about Japan. For the time being, I've refrained from commenting or re-tweeting or re-blogging. (I did, however, do up-to-date news clips on my Tumblr while I was working through the first few days of the disaster.) I don't like to sit and talk about what's going on outside of work. Some of my friends have questioned me a bit over my lack of response to the disaster.

I work in the news industry. Every day I go into work, I spend a good 8 hours looking at pictures, watching video footage, editing stories and keeping up with updates. I probably know much more about what's going on over there than most, mainly because it's my job to keep up with it. This weekend, I spent 22 hours doing this on Saturday and Sunday. My office watched in horror as the tsunami hit live on Friday.

I spend all day surrounded by what is happening in Japan, so forgive me if I don't want to talk about it when I get off work. It doesn't mean that I don't care. I do. But when you spend all day living, eating, breathing and dreaming something, you kind of don't want to spend your free time talking about it. Or posting about it on Facebook. You just want to relax and forget about the chaos going on in the world, just for a few hours.

So please don't interpret my lack of noise about Japan, both in person and online, as a lack of caring. I'd just rather spend my personal time talking about happier subjects...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

May Have Bitten Off Too Much

I am about to embark on a huge journalistic journey... an article on the history of rock music in Korea.

It sounded cool when I first starting thinking about it. But now that I'm getting into the pre-planning stage, it's looking like I may have bitten off more than I can chew. I didn't realize that there were so many different genres of rock music in Korea that each have their own unique history. Or that the history of the music itself is long and complicated...

Nevertheless, I will soldier on and hopefully get to a point where I can get everything together in a coherent plan. Right now I'm just researching what's available on the web, and hopefully soon my friend will help me out with some interviews. One will be with a guy who works in the industry and knows everything there is to know, and the other with one of the oldest rock bands in the country. I'm hoping my personal contacts will come through with an interview with another rock band that's been around awhile. I've also got someone in mind to talk to for a fan's perspective on rock music here, how it started and how it's changed over the years. I'm determined to find out if there really is a glass ceiling for rockers and why. Plus a bunch of other stuff along the way...

I just hope I don't end up overwhelmed... I really need to get my plan focused and less all over the place...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Work Bleh

My job never ceases to amaze me.

A year and a half of working here and I still have to have the plagiarism talk? I don't care if it's one sentence. It's bad. Period. People get fired for that crap. And kicked out of school. Sheesh...

That talk is almost as annoying as the 'no editorializing' conversation. Some days I feel like I really need to host a Journalism 101 class for some people. The evening anchors know how things are done. The TJ does too. As do most of the senior reporters. I knew this stuff fresh out of college on my first reporting job at 22. Oi... What the hell is Korea teaching its journalists? And why would a global news department hire people with no experience and/or journalism degrees?

That said, I do like my job. Some days are just harder than others...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy News and Sad News

So, we've gotten official word that Mom doesn't have tumors. When the doctors opened her head up, they discovered that the spots were actually damaged brain tissue. They took some samples and the first test came back as bacteria, meaning she has some sort of bacterial brain infection. They were supposed to get a full diagnosis and treatment on Tuesday their time, so hopefully tonight when I call, I can get some definite answers. One doctor thought it could be a type of E.Coli infection from bad sushi, but that theory was refuted by another doctor since Mom didn't really have any of the other symptoms. Plus, the last time she ate sushi was the Saturday after Thanksgiving with my sister and I. We all shared and ate from the same plate and neither my sister nor I got sick. (Unless colds about two to three weeks later count...)

For now, Mom's on two IV antibiotics to speed up the killing of the bacteria. She'll be on this treatment for about 5-6 weeks, but the doctors think she might be able to go home on Friday and continue the treatments from there. So, happy news! Mom is okay and nothing is life threatening. She did have some light brain damage (her left hand is slower than usual) but the doctors said it shouldn't get any worse now that she's on the antibiotics.

And now for the bad news...

Someone stole my iPhone in Hongdae Friday night. It was mostly my fault for leaving it unattended, but it still sucks. I went in Monday and got a temporary phone until my new iPhone comes in and left in tears after shelling out a ton of money to pay off the old phone and hearing how much it would be to get a new one and a new contract. Especially since I normally get paid at the end of the month, but Accounting is still tying up end-of-the-year stuff for the freelancers and we're not getting paid until the second week of February.

However, I've somehow managed to get everything covered without zeroing out my accounts. My friend is being super nice and letting me pay for half of the new phone now and half of it when I get paid. And I'll be able to eat for the next two weeks and go to my friend's going away party in Hongdae on Saturday. I'll be stuck at home for Lunar New Year (meaning: no crazy nights out or shopping trips or traveling) but I can handle that. It'll be a good chance to get the apartment spic and span. And maybe have some friends over for a cheap night in. Or get creative and figure out some fun things to do that don't cost anything. Not to mention I still have my emergencies only credit card, though I've got what I owe on it sitting low, and I'd rather not push it any higher.

And, I'm upgrading to an iPhone 4, getting a cheaper plan than I had before with unlimited internet, and I'm fully insured, so God forbid if something should happen to this phone, I'll only have to pay half of what I owe. And this one is costing me a little less than my 3GS a year ago.

So, everything is working out okay (as long as I get paid on time) and I can pick up my new phone tomorrow morning. I'm just hoping it doesn't take long and I'll have time to run home and upload everything onto it before I have to be at work...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Positivity

I'm learning an amazing lesson in positive thinking and prayer.

My mom has, literally, thousands of people all over the world praying for her now, and we're seeing results. The doctors are completely baffled. Normally, when a person has multiple tumors in their brain, it's caused by cancer from another part of the body spreading up. They've done just about every type of scan and test possible, and they can't find any cancer or other tumors anywhere. Mom said today that one of her doctors admitted he hasn't seen anything like this before.

There is a slight chance that one of the scans missed something, but the doctors don't think so. They pumped her up with enough of whatever it is that makes cancer/tumors light up like a Christmas tree, and nothing. Everything is clean and normal.

They said it is possible for someone to have multiple benign tumors in their brain, they are just shocked to see it, since more times than not, multiple tumors turn out to be cancer from somewhere else.

So, we're staying positive and keeping up with our prayers. They've gotten us this far. The biopsy is on Friday, and Mom said since none of the tumors are close to the surface, they'll have to cut her open to do the procedure. Her doctor tried to find a way to not have to do it, but there wasn't an option. And he's being very careful. They did a procedure today where they lit up the tumors and vessels in her brain so that he would know where to cut and not cut. She's feeling lucky that when all is said and done, she'll most likely only lose a small square of hair on the lower left side of her hair, and not the whole thing.

After this, it's waiting. We won't know if the tumors are cancer for about three to five days. And then after that, it's treatment. Regardless of whether or not they're cancer, they have to come out since they are applying pressure to her brain. Mom thinks they might be able to get rid of them with radiation lasers and not have to cut back into her head.

My sister and I have told her that we're so positive this thing is benign that we're not planning on coming, because it won't be serious enough that we need to be there. Mom is going to beat this. I know it. I finally have that 100% conviction.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Day at a Time

I still can't believe it was just yesterday that my Dad called and told me the news. Nothing will stop your heart like the words "They found some tumors in your mom's brain."

We've all seen the soaps and movies and TV shows where someone has a brain tumor and they die tragically young. You always hear about your friend's friend or your parents' friends' mom, or whoever that had a tumor or cancer. You never think that it will happen to you. That sort of thing only happens on TV or to someone else that you don't really know.

But right now, it's happening to us. My family. My mom. Four tumors. In her brain. She's only 44.

And the worst part is I'm halfway across the world. I can't be there by her side while she's going through the tests and the scans and the biopsy. I asked her if she wanted me to come. She said not yet. She wanted me to wait until we found out what we are dealing with. She says not to worry. She'll be fine and we'll get through this. And then she says that she keeps going from sad to angry to guilty that my dad, brother, sister and I have to go through this. And then she's defiant. Determined that nothing will get her down.

I wish I could be that strong. I wish I could say, with 100 percent conviction, everything is going to be okay. Those tumors are not cancer. They'll just remove them and everything will be okay.

I do say that everything will be okay, but I worry and I doubt. I sit in my room and cry because for the first time in my young life, I'm facing the possibility that I could lose my Mom. We all know that at some point in our lives, we will come to this moment. But normally it comes when we're all old and gray. Not now.

But all I can do is just pray and think positive. Maybe if I act like I believe everything will be okay, I really will start believing it. I have to be strong for my family. For my Mom. We've been praying non-stop since we found out and we have gotten good news. There are no other tumors in her body, which makes it seem more like the ones in her brain are benign. We're still waiting on more tests and results, but we're taking it one day at a time and one victory at a time.

We'll get through this. And Mom will be fine. It's just the journey is a little scary along the way.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Weight Issue

I remember thinking before I moved to Korea that if I could just fit into a size 9 again, I would be happy.

At that time, I was a size 12 and weighed 150 pounds. I hadn't been anything under a size 10 for a good five or so years. I had a couple months when I was down to 140 pounds, which I thought was great, but I was soon right back up to 150, since I can't ever seem to keep weight off.

So, you can imagine my surprise and happiness when I dropped 30 pounds over my first two years in Korea. I'll be the first to admit that a lot of that weight came off in some unhealthy ways. Stress and a mild case of depression were not my best friends. But I was elated to fit in a size 9, and then 8 and then 5, and 4 and then 2, and even when I went back up to 4. I'm at a healthy 130 pounds now.

But I can tell that living in Korea is wearing on me. I'm constantly surrounded by tiny little girls who are a size that I will never be. I should be happy with where I am right now. I haven't been this size since high school. But instead, all I think about is how if I just dropped five more pounds I would be under 130 and my favorite wool mini skirt would fit a little better. And that I would look a little bit better. Doesn't help that some of my Korean girlfriends point out that I've put on a little weight. Or that I'm dating an incredibly good-looking guy that I want to look good next to.

I know it's ridiculous. I know that I should be happy with where I am. In the US, I'm slender. When I went home, my old friends and my family said I looked great. But now that I'm back here, I keep chasing those elusive five pounds. It's exhausting. I try not to snack or drink soda or eat hamburgers, but when I slip up, I punish myself by staring at the scale and berating myself. Even today, I swore that I wasn't going to snack when I got home from work since you aren't supposed to eat after 10 pm and what did I do? I made a caesar salad. And I still want to snack.

I hate that Korea has done this to me. Made me so obsessed with my weight and how I look. I've never been like this before, even when I was larger. But I've decided to make the best of it. Maybe this time, if I really want to lose weight, I can take the opportunity to actually do it the healthy way and try to get myself into better shape. I've decided on Monday I'm starting a new healthy eating routine. And starting today, I got up 30 minutes early and did some pilates. I've decided it's high time I started taking better care of myself. And hopefully I'll stick to it. We'll see.

But man, I wish I could go back to the days when I was thrilled to be a size 9... And not freaking out if I reach 135...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Busy, Busy

Back at work for the week and I'm feeling much better, albeit, a tad bit drowsy from the meds. I only had a couple flubs, so I consider it an okay start. But what I'm really looking forward to is this weekend. I got my first assignment from an expat magazine for the February issue and I'm thrilled to get started on it. Apparently they needed more music writers and a couple co-workers of mine that did some work for the magazine passed on my info to the music editor, and viola! My big magazine debut.

I pitched the idea of doing a feature on a little live music spot called ๋นต for the music issue in March, but the editor asked if I could get it done for the February issue instead. This is fine with me, however, the deadline is next Saturday (Jan.15) which means I have to do all the work this weekend. Thank goodness it fell on my weekend off, otherwise I don't think I could get it done. Especially since the show starts early, around 7 pm, which is normally right in the middle of my work shift.

So, Friday night, I'm heading over to take pictures and hopefully interview the manager and a couple of spectators. The only thing is, I'll be missing my roommate's birthday party. I feel bad about this, but at the same time, she only mentioned it was her birthday after I had said I was planning to go to Hongdae Friday night. Plus, she said she had no plans yet. And this is a work thing, even though I don't get paid for writing the article.

I haven't told her yet, since everything just worked itself out in the last three or four hours while I was at the office, but I'll have to tonight. Or whenever she finally tells me what her plans are. I could possibly start out in Hongdae and then go wherever her party is after the show ends around 10pm, but I kind of want to stay in Hongdae and check out whatever bands are playing at the clubs that night since I've been out of indie loop for a bit and need to get back in if I'm going to be covering the scene.

We'll see what happens. I'm also on a kick to try and watch my spending this month since I'm 100% I'll get paid on time. It always happens at the beginning of the year with all the year-end freelancer tax stuff getting in the way...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sickness... How I Hate it...

So, been stuck in bed for two days. I woke up yesterday with a sore throat. I was hoping it would just go away and not turn into an upper respiratory infection (of which a sore throat the day before is always a precursor). Fortunately, it didn't turn into an infection, but according to the doctor, it is a cold. I think I was knocked out today mostly because of the meds and less because of the cold. He gave me heavy duty cough meds, since that's what is causing my sore throat (even though the cough came later) so I could sleep through the night. And heavy duty decongestants. Put them both together, and I'm more or less a zombie. Luckily, during the day I only take one cough pill twice a day instead of the two at night, and he said I could skip the decongestant if I need to drive or do any other activity that requires staying alert. (Does editing fall in this category?)

Hopefully, I'll be in good shape in three days or so. I'll probably sound like a frog on tomorrow's radio show, but oh well. I have tea at work to help my throat and I'll probably bring a giant mug-ful with me to get through the show. I suppose it's a good thing I got sick while my boyfriend is out of town. He's got a big show opening up later this month and him catching my cold would not be good for his rehearsal schedule...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

Okay, so I've decided that I'm going to get 2011 started off right. Lots of potential for this year. I'm in a new relationship with a really sweet guy. And I've got a great idea for a novel/screenplay. And a wonderful group of new and old friends to keep things interesting. So there is no excuse for this year to not be exciting.

Some of my goals that I've decided on:
1. Complete writing on my new manuscript that I've been talking about for AGES.
2. Try to get my room organized. (Trust me, this is a MAMMOTH undertaking...)
3. Make healthier decisions and try to get back into shape (which I probably haven't been in since high school...).
4. Make this relationship work. I see huge potential. ^_^
5. Travel more.
6. Enjoy more of Seoul than just the nightlife.

So, I'm hoping that I can keep up with these things. I tend to not make resolutions since nine times out of ten I end up breaking them, but I think these are manageable. So, here's to a wonderful 2011!!