The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Baby it’s cold outside! Well, we had snow! {and not just the flurries I showed a video on FB!} Full.On.Snow. It was sooooo gorgeous outside! It happened to be on a Monday morning that I walked out of my apartment and walked to school but felt like I was in a Winter Wonderland! Lemme tell you-Monday was that much better 🙂

I have consumed more hot chocolate (hot choco in Korea) here in the last few months than I prob have in the last 5 years at home!

I really can relate with Olaf right now (yes, that is a Frozen reference peeps!) I miss warm hugs-it is so interesting to have been over here in this culture for 10 months and the lack of ‘touch’ is just crazy. I was telling a friend that one of my 3rd graders did the cutest thing the other day that I wanted to hug her BUT it is just not the norm here. {be prepared friends-I will be a hugging machine when I return!}

Fleece leggings have saved my life. End of story. I mean, HOW have I not had these before (yes, I am aware that the extent of ‘cold’ living in my life has been heading to the family cabin…or skiing for a few days!)

I don’t leave home without earmuffs and my beanie. They are always in my purse. It is like when I lived in Costa Rica-I didn’t leave home without an umbrella and bug spray. Or, when I lived in San Francisco-I pretty much always had a scarf/pashmina/layers b/c we all know that SF can get a bit chilly at the drop of a dime (esp in the summer!). Being prepared makes ALL the difference in the world though! My, the girl that is ‘anti-cold’ is actually doing okay over here 🙂 **I also have on like 5 layers so feel like a snowman!

I have noticed that Korean fashion  (not ALL-but the majority) makes me think they are either going to a club, or hiking Mt. Everest. And, neither of those answers are probably where they are truly going! {although they are VERY serious about their hiking clothes here!}

Have I mentioned the couple matching outfits? Because that is something that I feel I need to-and maybe again if I have already! They wear matching shoes, shirts, jackets, you name it!

First semester I got to do my first ‘voice recording’ LOL for the students listening test. We just did it again for 2nd semester. It was so funny b/c at lunch Mrs. Na said she was walking the hallway during 4th period, when the English test was going on for grades 3-6, and all she heard was my voice in every classroom! LOLOL Then, after my students were cleaning in the classroom and were mocking me (in a loving way though) and repeating some of the sentences to me-it was hilarious! (they also like to mock my morning announcement I do every Weds/Fri…that is pretty comical too! They are like little parrots…or as they say in Korea ‘talking birds’)

Eating Korean food weekly: Dolsot Bibimbap and the noodle place near my house 🙂 Now that I don’t eat it for lunch daily I actually do enjoy eating the good Korean dishes!

Hibernate like a bear-it is cold outside! I didn’t leave my apartment for months (on the weekends) or after I got home from school b/c it is just too cold out! I have come out of hibernation the last few weeks and it really put me in the holiday spirit! 

12 Pubs of Christmas-the event of the season!!! It was a blast-cannot wait to make this a tradition (and yes I made it to all 12 bars!). 

Dream Tree-student activity (survey of what jobs-their dreams-are) we put them all as ornaments on the ‘Dream (Christmas) Tree’ and I would say the funniest job I heard was an Iguana Trainer…I didn’t know there was such a thing! I guess we learn something new every day!

Costco trips-took a new route from downtown (yay-small victory!) & the wine lady recognized me-it was hilarious! *and why don’t we have wine tasting stations at Costco in the US?! Point for Korea!

Decorated for Christmas-my tree! & chain countdown (and advent calendar!)

Amazing Neighbors-BLESSED! So, growing up my family was very lucky to have amazing neighbors-those neighbors are like family to me. We have all grown up together and still are a part of each other’s lives (Isbell’s & Tokheims!). That ‘good’ neighbor luck/feeling followed me after I left Austin Road…I had amazing roommates in the dorms in college-still friends with a lot of them (Jackie & Katie & Leo-you all were next to, or across the hall, from my room-good ole 819!) AND then, I moved to Texas and met Shelley & Annie-who I still keep in touch with today. Then, the San Francisco days-and the good ole Presidio crew (Allison!). In Fresno I was lucky to meet Jess AND she lived in my complex! And finally, the move to Korea, and I was LUCKY to  have expats in my neighborhood-but not only expats-people I LIKE. I have had such a great time and am lucky to have these people in my life here with this experience. Marie-she was my calm during some crazy times here and also loved to cook/bake. Chris-well he fixed my heater the FIRST night I moved here…and recently let me borrow his freezer for all my carbs (haha) and also helped me store some other stuff-just very generous and always there for  ya! And Sonya, the neighbor who gets me out of hibernation in the winter! Or is down to watch some SATC. Also, she is a full believer in wine:thirty 🙂 The other day I got to hang out with all 3 of them in a 24 hour period-and it was great-I realized that though they are all different they have touched my life and time here in Korea. I am not sure where I will head next…but am hoping that good neighbors, who turn into friends, will be there as well! I think the odds are ever in my favor 😉

Prepping for Winter Camp! I had a camp before vacay and have one after vacay-I decided to make it fun for the students and did stuff around winter & Frozen. So far it was a hit at camp 1 🙂

‘Guest’ Teacher…it makes you think. I mean, sure their government pays us to come and teach English BUT at the end of the day we ARE a guest in their country. We are representing whatever ‘western’ country we have left. A very wise man reminded me of this, thanks Zach 😉

The BEST Christmas card I have ever received…so on Thursday December 18th I had a LONG day ahead of me. BUT, I also saw the light at the end of the tunnel so wasn’t trippin’ 😉 In between my 3rd & 4th period my 4-4 class came in with their homeroom teacher (one of my friends here in Korea!) and they had made a Christmas card for me. I almost cried-no joke. It was so sweet. And one of those things you just need, not that I had a bad day or anything at all, but almost what you need to keep going. To keep that Christmas cheer going for 3 more classes. To keep smiling when you haven’t felt your nose all morning b/c it is so cold out (not exaggerating peeps!). I was so happy-and it feels good to know that this class of 4th graders really does enjoy coming to my English class. Their little faces lit up when I said ‘let’s take a picture’ and they ran to the back of the class to our ‘picture spot’ haha {I mean they know the drill-I have taken a bazillion pics this year!}

The lack of heat in the schools. Okay so I can sound like a princess by saying this (esp to those of my friends who live where it is negative ALL the time!) BUT when it is 18 degrees out (Fahrenheit people!) the heater SHOULD be on in the classroom/school. I mean WTF. So, I couldn’t feel my nose one day til after lunch (you laugh but my friends that are here in South Korea know what I mean) and then the next day they said the heater was turned up to make it warmer in our class BUT it was blowing cold air. I was trying to explain that the cold air meant that they prob need to FIX it but it wasn’t being understood. Also, the window draft is crazy-these are def not double pane windows! I put a bulletin board in between my window and the window covering to try to prevent the coldness. It is kinda working. I think the BIGGEST difference when dealing with the cold here compared to, I dunno Minnesota, is that in Minnesota the heat is ON. No questions. Here-nope! I was just laughing with my friend b/c I said that if the classrooms in the states were this cold school would prob be canceled and/or the parents would make the biggest ordeal out of it (and yes, I know I am NOT in the states). Which I guess brings me to my point-in being here for 10 months I have experienced so many things. Some awesome cultural differences and others that you seriously question BUT I really have come to appreciate the ‘comforts’ of living in the USA. Now, can someone please turn on the HEAT 🙂

Working Christmas Eve & the 26th was slight torture!

Christmas with new friends hosted by South Africans! It was such a great holiday-I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas especially being so far away from family and friends! A day full of fun, new traditions, food, friends, wine & laughter 🙂

2014 was a great year! I have gotten to travel, live in a new country, learn a lot about myself and make some great new friends! Next up-a New Year & a new adventure! I am off for vacation-wishing everyone all the best in 2015!!!

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