Friday, July 30, 2010

A rough one..

Sitting in my bed ready to fall asleep and make an end on this day. I guess I have to realize there will be good days and of course there will be the really rough days as well! Today was a really rough day, IDK what was different about it, but I think I just simply missed home and realized that when I was talking to Keith. I really miss him, but I think we both just have to try and stand strong and know that if we can make it through this year apart then everything else in life that we have to go through will be ten times easier then this and that we truly are meant to be!
Found myself today just constantly thinking negatively about being here, which didn't help the situation, and nothing I did seemed to shake it. I finally got out for a walk at about 2 pm today, tried finding an organic store in hope for some soy milk. Finally found the store, but no soy milk that I could see.. of course its hard to when I cant read the korean but everything looked to be regular milk, nothing with different writing liek the soy drink I found at the Family Mart.
Also found today that I was craving meat, something I rarely ate in the states to begin with. Couldnt seem to find nething appetizing at teh store, so I went with a boring salad and topped it with some wii, a workout, and then a pistachio ice cream cone- ugh it was a 40 cent frozen one and it sucked!!
Did find a nature area accross the street from my apartment, I took my journal and went and wrote a bit, trying not to let any tears fall out. Journaling seemed to help a bit, but also knowing bedtime was coming helped. I hoep tomorrow is a better day, it relaly should be! I am going to the beach to meet a bunch of foreigners, going with 3 girls nice enough to invite me along! Then, I am meeting another new teacher from Missouri for dinner, I think we are going to go try and take some homesickness out and chow down on some pizza!
Well, sry, nothing to exciting to say today, but look forward to tomorrow, I should have a lot of pictures to share, and hopefully some great news of a better day!
I miss everyone back home in the states!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Taking a look at the blessings around me...

So I have found that between Facebook, Skype, blogging, and my journal it is sometimes hard to fit it all in everyday. My brother Chad gave me a journal before I left so that I could keep track of memories, feelings, and ideas that popped into my head during my year abroad, and have truly found that when I am homesick and have those uncontrollable tears it is sometimes nice to pull out the book and just write.

Yesterday I woke up feeling a bit homesick, hit me towards the end of my conversation with my big brother when he told me I needed to make myself get outta the apartment and do something for the day. It's hard when I am new in a foreign place, I don't speak much of their language (hardly any at all), and on top of it my director made me come a week before I have my first day when everyone at my school is on break. Of course maybe she thought I would have time to meet people and try to navigate around the island some, but the two foreign teachers at my hogwon (private school) decided to use the vacation time to go to Taiwan, leaving me really lost and lonely.

Yesterday I was proud of myself, I left the apartment and went searching for a used bike shop, about an hour and a half walking and not finding a single shop I decided to go down a road full of American shops and then turn back around towards my apartment. I strolled through E-mart to see what I could find that I may need and then headed back to the apartment before heading in my first cab ride alone to Si-Chung (City Hall) to meet up with Kelly who got here July 1st and came thru the same recruiter as I did.

Waking up today though, I just didn't want to be alone, but after skyping Chad and Keith and both of them insisting I get out, I did just that. I put on my comfy shorts and tshirt and began in a different direction from my apartment then the day before, realizing I was headed back to City Hall.

I got about 45 minutes down the road when it started to sprinkle. Decided to head back before I got soaked and went to the store to get some needed groceries. I stumbled upon some instant iced coffee mix too which was dirt cheap, of course I had to have that!!

Amazing how the beauty of the nature around you can totally change your mood in an instant, and how interested I soon became of finding things to take pictures of. Here are just a few that I decided to share from my walk yesterday, the rest are in a photo album on my facebook account! :)

(Pretty flower on the side of the road... sorry its turned..)

(The sewer says it all... JEJU CITY!)

(At one point only this little boy ahead and I were on the sidewalk, so cute, just strolling along to school!)

Monday, July 26, 2010

No, her name is Amanda, she is from America!!

haha, so today was the first day of classes at 3B Junior English Academy. I mainly just observed today but also got to watch how the kids reacted to a new foreign teacher, one from America and not Canada. Some of them were excited and weren't scared to come up to me, while others were a lil shy and not sure what to think of an American teacher. Today we didn't have kindergartners as they are already enjoying their holiday summer break, but we had the afternoon classes which are pretty much a range of kindergarten to first grade level in the US. I found that despite the language barrier the kids do understand and there are always ways to act out, or if desperate go to the handy pocket book to translate an english word to korean.
God really must work in wonderful ways since I was so homesick in the airport, yet walking into the school and simply seeing how it was set up like a small family of teachers working together, as well as how cute the Korean kids were really seemed to calm me down. Today has flown by so fast with the cuteness of them and the excitment of this new adventure that I really wasn't sad by any means. Yes I dearly miss my family, friends, and most handsome boyfriend, but I was able to just take a breath to know that my year from what I saw today should be fun, interesting, a great learning experience, and nothing to dread every single day.
Those of you who know of my last job know that I wasn't really that happy being in the retail world that I was in, a place where I felt I didn't fit in because I was different and somewhat felt unaccepted. However, I may look different here and not be able to speak the language, but feel higher than accepted, yet almost looked up to simply because I am different and I am from America.
I hope that this feeling continues and this experience will eventually lead to a job that I enjoy back home, a teaching job!

Hope all is well in the states, I'm going to go now and eat some supper.. for some reason I have a huge taste for some spaghetti!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

a new experience and some homesickness too!

Just able to use the internet long enough to update my blog. The internet in the apt. is only one cord and I am sharing the apt. with the girl I am replacing until her contract is done next week and she leaves in a week or two. It's sure tiny but its not bad to share, kind of nice to not be dropped off into an empty apartment, however, time doesn't pass quite as fast because I cant really unpack and organize everything and make it home-y yet. That would at least allow me to pass time quickly.

Now that I am here on the island and a full day down I am not doing quite as bad as the plane ride and my first day here. I caught the plane at O'hare at 1 am Thursday morning. While I was standing in line with mom, chad, gma, and keith to check-in it started to sink in that I was really doing it, it was completely real now. I went to stand in the security line and decided to wait a little and get to visit for a few last moments. I said by to Chad first and immediately the tears came shooting out. I love my big brother, he's been there for me so much during my move to chicago and I don't know what I would've done without him at times up there. I told him he better come visit me (and he said he's already looking at tix for october!!) Next was grandma, and then mom.. I know I am a daddy's girl but my mom and I do a lot together when I'm home. My move to Chicago kind of sugar coated this a little bit, but tears still flew down my face as I knew it wasn't going to be quite as easy to just pick up the phone for her to calm me down. What killed me was saying by to the man who I have fallen in love with in the past 3 1/2 years and who has done soo much for me.

The 14 hour plane ride to Seoul wasn't bad at all as I slept for pretty much the whole trip since I could kind of lay all the way down and put my feet up, a empty seat helps with that!! However, when getting into Seoul the 6 hour layover turned me into a frustrated homesick mess as I seemed to be the only foreigner there and couldn't get in contact with my family or Keith (somehow the two phone cards i had wouldn't work). I found an internet lounge and began typing messages on facebook and AIM so they would at least know I was there and then prayed that I would somehow find the strength to not just sit down and bawl in the middle of the waiting area. Someone must have been praying too because a girl came over to me in the gate waiting area and said I looked lost, sad, and miserable and that once i arrived and got into the groove of things everything would be okay. With a two hour delay on the plane to jeju I ended up arrive around 3 and Jimmy (my recruiters korean co-worker) picked me up and safely drove me to say to the people at my hogwan (private school) and then to my apartment.

I will be sharing my apartment with the girl I am replacing from Canada until she leaves in a few weeks and its a small studio apartment, but it's okay, better than having to stay in a hotel room by myself until then.

Although some jetlag still remains I have been able to already enjoy laying on two different beaches, korean chicken soup, amazing meat, wonderful fresh bread and pb!!, the creamiest original yogurt I've ever had, and of course the feeling of not knowing how to communicate at all..

Promise from now on everything won't be at once, but until I get internet on my own computer its limited. I wanted to put beautiful pics up from todays beach trip but for some reason the cord my mom bought before I left isn't right and I will have to go on a hunt for a new cord!

**Decided to come back into this post and add beach pics now that I found a USB that fits my memory cards!***

(haha a great laugh for everyone i'm sure! Lovely beach outfits!)

(Gettin' my feet dirty in the sand @ Hamdeok Beach (sp?)

(So beautiful and peaceful)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

It's real now...

So I told you I'd keep you up to date and I seem to be doing okay at it. Just this week I finally had my interview at the Korean Consulate downtown. I'm not going to lie, walking up to the door and seeing that I would be the only minority in there kinda freaked me out a little since I didn't have a clue as to what the interview would be like. However, I ended up meeting 5 other Americans in the consulate waiting room all waiting to do the exact same thing as me. As my time came and went I realized the interview was nothing to worry about and the man doing the interview told me I was the lucky American of the day because I was the only one getting to go to the island of Jeju. He said I will absolutely be an amazing esl teacher and knows I will love and enjoy the island very much. So, as I went outside for Keith to pick me up it was a little bittersweet. Nice to know I had my visa and then again a little more nervous and sad as I know this begins our adventure apart for a year.. however I know we have to be strong and think positive and as much as I tell him this I will admit it is pretty hard to do! A year for me however should fly by, its more him and my family I feel bad for because they aren't getting to go on this adventure!

My plane leaves 1 AM July 22nd and I will be in the air for 14 hours before I have a little layover and back on an hour ride to the island. I will be arriving there about noon on the 23rd and will be picked up by my recruiters co-worker Jimmy who will take me to get groceries and money from the ATM and then my sleepy self is going to school to meet everyone on their last day before a week vacation. I will keep you posted more when time comes but as for now I'm just enjoying every moment here, and getting all the stuff on my to do list checked off one-by-one.