Junkmail

Twenty minutes cleaning junk from my inbox,

Daily reminders, ‘do it now,’ unheeded.

Delete, unsubscribe, delete, unsubscribe.

Good intentions amount to naught.

Too much time clicking today.

Click, double click, check, delete.

Collecting like negative thoughts,

Ignored because it’s easier.

But not really.

Posted in Poetry | 2 Comments

Bookends

What stories lie between two bookends?

Bronte, Hugo, Rowling, Keats?

You are what you read.

Sometimes, bookends can be used alone

If there is something else on the other side

Like a wall or a paperweight.

Like the metal blue bookend I used at my desk when teaching

Which held up children’s books, language dictionaries, and lesson plans.

Or a bookend could be a virus

Like MERS or COVID-19

Which bookened five years in the RoK.

Posted in Poetry | Leave a comment

Just a test

This is only a test

Posted in Poetry | 2 Comments

Taking a Pause.

So, I know that my updates have been consistently sporadic since I started this site five years ago. It was meant to be a way to update friends, family, and anyone else who might be interested, while I lived outside my own country.

The world has changed a lot since I returned home in February and even more since my last post one month ago. I’ve tried to write things a number of times but each attempt was really just a mind dump. Not to mention things in the US seem to be changing at breakneck speed on a daily basis these days.

I don’t know what’s next for theadventurous1 blog. I think I will take a purposeful pause until I can wrap my brain around the most appropriate thing to do with it. In the meanwhile:

Take care of yourself.

Take a breath. Pray. Meditate. Breathe.

Listen to each other.

Think before you speak.

Love your neighbor.

Good bye for now.

G

Posted in Korea | Leave a comment

Not the update I thought I’d be making

So, once again it’s high time I updated the blog.  Usually I try to include pictures, but I’m going to skip that this time, fyi.

I actually started to write something a month ago, but clearly that didn’t happen.  I’ve had a hard time deciding what I wanted to write.   I figured I’d be saying something about reverse culture shock and what repatriating is like. Maybe a few conversations about mask wearing culture, hahaha.

The world has changed a lot and these days life is any number of things; strange, new, the same, boring, stressful, you name it.  For me it’s been a time of recovering from major surgery, getting ready for and making an international move back to the U.S., repatriating to life in the U.S., still recovering from surgery, and trying to figure out what’s next.  I guess the whole world, literally, is doing that last one, now.

It’s been an interesting time because when I came back it wasn’t really known that the virus was a problem here in the States. I was low key worried about telling people that I had just moved back from Korea.  Jokes about how lucky I was to have “escaped” quickly turned to sarcasm about such “luck.”  I do think that if I were to get sick that I’d be better off where I was three short months ago. But it was time to come home, and if I had gone through this in Korea I’d be living alone and my mom would be alone. So…there you go. It’s nice to not be stuck at home alone during a worldwide pandemic and lock down. Shout out to all those who are!

Now I’ll do something that I don’t usually do here, and that’s put on my ‘therapist’ hat. Side note, if you didn’t know, although the past five years I’ve been teaching English in Korea I have a license to practice mental health counseling in FL, USA. What have you been doing to stay sane during these times? I encourage anyone reading this, if you aren’t already doing so, to find some hobby to give some of your time to as you are able. I love to binge watch shows on (insert your favorite streaming service here) as much as the next person, but it’s really not healthy.

Here are a few things I’ve been doing; for the fun of sharing, but also to encourage and maybe give you some ideas if you haven’t already explored them by now.

  • I know a lot of people have been baking, myself included. The online bread group I have been a part of for the past few years increased membership by about 20K people. My bread skills have leveled up by a lot!
  • I’ve been breaking out the watercolor paints and colored pencils more often. I haven’t done this since before my surgery in December.
  • Walking. This is a tough one. There have been a lot of days I just don’t want to and I don’t. But I need to. Not only b/c it is beneficial to my physical recovery post-surgery but it’s beneficial to my mental health. I’d be lying if I said I did it daily, but that’s the goal. Right now I manage about twice a week.
  • QiGong and Energy Medicine. I’ve been trying to be more intentional about practicing and using these tools that are both beneficial to my mental and physical health, and also free!
  • Reading. I’ve read about 13 books so far this year. If you want to you can find me on Goodreads for the list.
  • Writing. While I’ve been neglecting the blog a bit, I’ve been trying to take in as much as I can learn about becoming a better writer.  Right before the outbreak here I signed up for a MasterClass membership, and I love it. No they aren’t paying me.

You don’t even have to do all the things you might want to every day. Divide your time and be gentle with yourself. I’m speaking as much to me as I am to you.

Now, I don’t have children, and I understand that puts me in a different position than some of you.  I naturally have more time that I can give to myself, I get it.  I still want to encourage you to find time for yourself somewhere. It’s important. Give yourself ten minutes, at least.

Okay, therapist hat, off.

Focusing on letting my creative juices flow has been beneficial. I encourage you to do it!  If you aren’t sure where to start, do a YouTube search and find some tutorials in whatever area you want to practice. If I can do it, so can you!

 

Until next time, take care of yourselves!

Posted in Korea | 2 Comments

Wolaksan Mountain & Qi Gong

Last week, after spending a few days in Seoul for some appointments, lunches with friends, and a Qi Gong class, there was a rather spontaneous camping trip.  Some friends and I went to Wolaksan National Park and Mountain.  L has a car, a convenience I miss sometimes.  It was nice to just be able to decide to go and then go. So much easier than having to figure out buses and trains, “which is going to be faster and what can I carry with me?” J met us at the campsite.

I met both of these friends through choir in Seoul, maybe my second year in Korea. One of them turned out to be my neighbor in Gongju, which was strange because of the distance between the two cities, and also because he turned out to literally be my neighbor in my Korean hometown. I could walk to his family home in about 5 minutes.  But I digress…

 

We went on a Monday, that and it being November and the weather is getting colder add up to it being really quiet when we arrived.  We were the only campers in our section, I think there might have been one or two families in the “full option” camping area. Full Option apparently means the campsite provides anything you can think of.  We didn’t do that, but pitched our tent upon arrival.

 

While I wouldn’t call myself a nature enthusiast, I do enjoy being outside and for the most part I enjoy hiking and camping when I have a chance to go. I don’t do much hiking these days because I am slow and have foot issues.  That said, the weekend just before I had attended a Qi Gong class.  “What is Qi Gong?” you ask? – the short version and definition as found on the internet is that it’s “an ancient Chinese system of coordinated body-posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for the purposes of health, [and] spirituality…”  I’ll save more about that for a different blog post, but suffice it to say being outside, on a mountain, in the cool weather….I couldn’t help myself but to do my practice right there!

There was conversation, beer, fire, roasted marshmallows and chocolate (sans any kind of cracker),  and hot coals placed in metal bowls under our seats to warm up. Ahhhhh!

 

 

I’ve only been home a couple of days by I am already feeling the cabin fever!

See you next time.

Posted in Korea | 4 Comments

A Year in My Life.

Fair warning. This is long.

Once again, I have managed to let too much time go by before the promised next entry.  One of these days I will get more consistent.  Maybe by that time I will leave Korea and move back home. Haha.

As I mentioned in the last post, it has been a rough year; and so, I will try to give you a summary with some pictures along the way.  There is a lot

 

Feb – Jun/July

After four years in Gongju and working at one school, I decided it was time to move on.  As I wrote in a previous post,  in February, I moved to the city of Jinju.  I came here to work at a Kindergarten, and it was good. My students were bright and funny, I enjoyed teaching them so much!  I have mostly avoided putting pictures of my students faces online. If I can manage to figure out how to blur, cover, or not show their faces I may insert one or two here.

(From the top: Reading Zone, filed trip, Teachers’ Day, outside centers/sand play, and “walk like a crab as you turn this in.”)

Working at a kindergarten was a lot more work than public school teaching.  I had many more responsibilities, which was fine by me,  but it also left me exhausted. By the time I came home I didn’t want to do anything!  Weekends, I didn’t want to do anything either.

So, by the time things had gone so horribly wrong that many jobs were lost, I hadn’t really given much time to getting to know people locally.  I started attending a local Expat Book Chat, either just before or just after that. That’s been a godsend.

Side note, Korea has some serious defamation laws.  Even if what you say is true you can do jail time. Therefore, I greatly limit things I put out in the public sphere. Needless to say, it’s been a mostly sh!$ time.

 

July – Sept

While I’ve never taken art classes I always wished I had. Since coming to Korea I’ve invested quite a bit of time and money in adult coloring books, sketch books, Copic markers, Prisma Color pencils, and the like.  If that wasn’t enough, I heard about the “World of Watercolor” challenge towards the end of June. So, I decided to invest more money into a set of water color paints and some paper.  Mostly I did YouTube tutorials but I tried some freehand stuff.  I did one painting which I attempted to copy a photo I had actually taken.

(The beach scene was freestyle, I think you can tell which one was from the photo. Everything else was along with tutorials.)

 

Other things that happened this year you can file under “what now?”

  • My boyfriend (is that even the right word when you are both 40 and over?) and I decided to part ways. It was mutual and for the best, but still can be put in this category.
  • Had my class given to another teacher and was told to take over the youngest class when we lost a teacher due to all the garbage. That was the point at which I felt the rug just pulled out from under me. I had a hard time recovering from that one, emotionally.
  • I cancelled my summer vacation and lost money on the first ‘group tour’ I’d ever signed up for. But, I was able to get my money back on the plane tickets, so there is that.
  • I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, among other things.
  • I stopped taking care of myself properly and my anemia came raging back, it’s no joke. If you find yourself always tired, ladies especially, make sure you get your hemoglobin and iron levels checked out.

 

The good news is I was able to change my visa and stay in the country.  I was able to find a decent place to stay while I look for a job and decide “stay or go?”  I have had the time to try and take care of some health needs. Making doctors appointments without having to worry about taking time off work has been a bonus.

All while still looking for a new job, updating and submitting my resume here and there. I’ve decided to allow myself to be more picky in this.

 

Which brings us to October.

In Gongju I was lucky to live in a city that held an annual festival, which I tried to enjoy as much as possible every year.  In Jinju I am again, lucky to live in a city with an annual festival.  Actually, there were several official festivals happening at the same time. Korean Drama Festival and the Lantern Festival to name two.

 

I’ve been putting a more focused effort into trying to make bread, sourdough and non. It’s a work in process. I have made some really inedible loaves and some barely edible loaves.  Each loaf gets better, though; and just this morning I bit the bullet and ordered a baking stone.  I hope this will help with the sourdough, in particular. I get really good flavor, but my oven (which I am lucky and grateful to have) doesn’t hold steam well. So, it’s probably not the best for sourdough, but I’m determined to make it work.

 

 

I’ve done some small amounts of travel within Korea.  Here are some promised photos of my two days in Yeosu.

 

 

So, to sum up.

I’ve been using my bike more and taken some nice rides in my area. That has been fun, and good for me.

I’ve been trying not to allow myself to get so stuck in my head and trapped in indecision.

And that, my friends, brings you pretty much up to speed.

Ever as always, debating the merits of putting my life in writing in a public forum.

Until next time, fingers crossed I will make the time to be more consistent.

 

 

Posted in Korea | 4 Comments

A Rough Year

Well, once again it’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog update. There have been many things happening since my last post in March.  I think I’ll make two entries today. One short one to update those of you might not be aware of what has happened.

As you might remember, I moved in March to start working at a new school. Heads up, I am not going to be all that specific because Korea has some very strict laws about these things.  I have no interest in going to jail for saying something true. So…you might find things a bit vague.

The short version is that the school closed on short notice and I had to move, again, and also change my visa.  Many people lost their jobs.  I am in the process of deciding what’s next. Needless to say, it’s been very stressful.

I’ve also been dealing with some health issues. Overall I am fine, but really it has just felt like one thing after another. I am trying to stay positive, as always. But that isn’t easy.

Anyway, I will leave that there and move on to my next entry and share something more fun.   🙂

Posted in Korea | 1 Comment

Where did the time go?

How has almost a year past by since I updated this site?  I could say “I’m not sure how I let that happen.” However, to be honest I’ve often considered if I want to keep it or not.  It’s nice to have to keep people updated, but I’m not entirely convinced about the public aspect of almost anyone being able to access it and read about my life.  Anyway, it’s now March of 2019 and we are well into the year.  A new school year in Korea has started, yes, I have decided to stay one more year.  Let me give you my update.

First, among other things, last year I decided I wanted to “put myself out there” and get back into the dating game. Or just into it period, depending on how you look at it. I can’t recall how long it had been before May of 2018 since I’d been on a real date.  Anyway, long story short, I did meet somebody and we’ve been “official” I guess for several months, as of this writing, and it’s been about 8 or 9 months that we’ve known each other.  So, there is that. Sorry, no pictures or anything further to say other than I’m happy.

The other big news is that, although I am still in Korea, I have moved to a new city and started working at a new school. Instead of being a “native teacher” with the EPiK program, and placed in a public school, I am teaching for the Kindergarten department associated with an international school.  The city where I am now is Jinju and it’s about two hours south of Gongju. I live in a newer area of the city,  but there is still quite a bit more things directly around me than in the side of Gongju where I lived. I can walk to school in about ten minutes, which is a little bit farther away than my old school. Next step, get my bike fixed and ride to school a couple of times a week. Also, learn the city. Specifically, how to get around by bus.

I am still living in a studio apartment, called a “One-Room” here. Quite a few things are provided by the Office Tel (type of apt building), for instance; a table and two chairs, TV and coffee table, and also a bed. I declined the bed, though. I have ordered a sofa bed. I think it will make the space a bit more homey looking. I always kind of hated the sight of my bed in my main living space. In the meanwhile I bought a floor mat, made for sleeping. It’s called a “yo.” It’s actually more comfortable than I expected. I was asked “why don’t you cancel the sofa bed order, then?”  That would give me more space, but I just want it. lol. I want something comfortable to sit on and relax and read, etc. Next step, wait for it to arrive and put it together. Hope the assembly instructions come in both Korean and English, not just Korean. Maybe I should call them.  Sleep on the floor until it comes in about two weeks.

Lastly, I’ll share my new goal for this year.  I’ve decided to try to embrace my wavy hair. Last week I purchased the book “The curly girl method” on kindle and read through it on Sunday.  So, I’ve stashed my hair dryer and flat iron, along with my brush and comb, in a shoe box in the back of my closet. So far, I can see the curls trying to come through and I am already learning which tips are good and not good for my hair.  i.e., I can’t do the “leave in your conditioner” thing. I did the other day and it just feels heavy and gross. I need to rinse it out.  The hair on top has been through the most, so it is looking the most scraggly and stringy. I see more curls on the bottom, but that has always been the case.  Next step, since it’s been pushing a year since I’ve had my hair touched with scissors I need a couple of inches cut of. Time for a trim!

I think that’s about it, really.  I will post this and try to add in some photos later.

And try not to leave it so long before the next time.

As they say here, “see you next time!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Korea | 1 Comment

Quitting Sugar

Earlier this year a friend in town asked me if I would be interested in going on a sugar quitting journey with her.  After sleeping on it for about a minute, I told her I was in. It’s been 8 weeks, and while I haven’t done it perfectly I am down by 4kgs/9lbs and about 4 inches around the middle.

While it hasn’t been easy, it hasn’t been awfully difficult either. Probably the hardest thing has been dealing with being watched when I eat my lunch every day.  Everyone at school eats school lunch, teachers included. I’ve been eating school lunch for 3 years.  I suppose I could eat elsewhere, but I want to remain social and talk to other teachers.  There are a few that are always interested in what I’m eating.

One of my students comes over every day to inspect my lunch. Every single day. She’ll peer into my tupperwear/not tupperwear and declare one of two things. “Teacher, delicious?” or “Teacher, yucky!”  It’s kind of cute. I try to just simply answer her and tell her what I’m eating. That usually satisfies her curiosity.  At least once a week some student will notice I’m not eating school lunch and come and ask  “Teacher, why?”  I don’t really care for having to use the word diet to explain, but usually the response is “ah” or “okay” and that’s that.

Part of the adventure of quitting sugar has included trying to learn how to read food lables in Korean, so I can identify different kinds of sugar. Additionally, the 8 week program I was doing recommended eating sourdough bread (if you eat bread at all). Which got me on the kick of trying to make it myself. I’ve attempted two loaves so far, and just began my 3rd attempt at a starter.  Third time’s the charm on both counts? Fingers crossed.

In reflecting on these past 8 weeks I’ve also been thinking about my surgeries from last year After two I still don’t feel like things are as better as they should be. Maybe I should have gotten more serious about it before, but I know how ensuring a good dietary intake can really help with your overall health. I’m hoping that maybe cutting out sugar and getting back on a more focused and intentional way of eating will not only help me to loose the extra fat, but maybe it will help all those other problems that came along with the fibroids.

No pictures on this one for now, maybe in the weeks or months to come I’ll put up some before and after shots. (I’ve gained quite a few since moving here. ugh)

Here’s to new health adventures that will only serve to help me keep having more good and positive experiences in this life.

Posted in Korea | 1 Comment