Hey. Guess What? We Made That Train!

September 30th

9:05 p.m.: leave Jangyu in a cab with my friend Liz. 9:25: Arrive KTX station in Changwon 9:26: Buy ticket for Seoul 9:27-9:29 Run to Make That Train. (picture a movie scene cuz that’s what it was!) 9:30 Sit down in right seats just as train starts to move. And that’s how we roll…We made that train! In Dongdaegu Station I found a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (I thought of you Miss Mia!) and had a Chai Tea Latte. Loved it. Arrived in Seoul around midnight- right on time around 1:00 a.m. and then…proceeded to wait in the line for a cab for an hour and 45 minutes in the cold and dark…but we had made that train! 🙂 We arrived at our hostel Kim’s Myungdong Hostel with the help of Mr. Kim and the cab driver. Finally crashed out around 3 am.

Seoul Skyline…

October 1st:

We didn’t wake til 11:30 a.m. and then headed out to explore. First stop: coffee and Starbuck’s was  just around our first corner. It was like walking into a corner of familiarity. You really could drop Seoul in NYC or L.A. or really any other major city in the world and besides all the signs being in Korean it could be any of the mentioned. Next stop: Insadong, the artisan’s nook of the city. Saw some really cool paintings and knick-knacky shops, wandered down a few back streets and found some beautiful pieces of work.
Once we paved the road up and down we headed to our next stop: The Dragon Hill Spa; internationally known and ranked one of the world’s best..it was time to strip down. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jjimjilbang) The best $25 ever spent. On a full body scrub. Naked. I think the absolute worst part of the experience was seeing my dead skin come off in clumps. The best part- I’ve never been so clean in my life! Ahhmazing and I would totally do it again! (My sister’s reaction: You. Are. Ridicules.) Maybe you should try it…I bet I’m cleaner than you right now! 🙂 After spending 4 hours at the spa relaxing, we ate dinner then went back to the hostel to find the other two beds occupied. Then two men wandered in (we were in a mixed dorm), one from Louisiana and the other (with his brother in the next room) from Mexico. They were…interesting and drunkenly talked to us til 3 am. again. (Ack I am starting to get sick!)

October 2nd:

Eyes didn’t open til 11 am. again…coffee and then heading to Itaewon so Liz could say that she had been there…and ate at the Taco Bell. Check. check. Time to head back home. It was a great getaway weekend. It didn’t quite stop in Seoul…once getting off the bus in Jangyu, we caught the right bus on the wrong side of the street and continued about 20 minutes or so to Gimhae…we decided to make the most of my mistake and go eat at a fabulous Moroccan restaurant…neither of us had found it without an experienced guide, but I was paying attention the first time and actually majorly assisted in getting us there…Now for having Monday and Tuesday off…
October 3rd:
I began my morning alone…it was a lovely fall day and so I took a walk, packed a book, and headed for the trail by the river. It runs along many shops, restaurants, and coffee roasteries. I needed coffee beans for my french press so I bought some. Usually I have someone come with me, but today it was nice being in the comfort of my own company without relying on someone else’s assistance. Even though I don’t speak Korean I still know universal languages of tone and smiles. After an hour or so of reading and journal-ling I headed to catch the bus (also the first time riding the bus by myself after getting to my apartment alone last night) to Koasanga (an area of Jangyu) to study some Korean at Caffe Bene. They offered me a membership card. You know will be living in a place for awhile when places start offering you membership cards. I can read a few more signs now and am getting the hang of direction and location of my city. It’s a very freeing feeling to rely on myself to put puzzle pieces together of following everyone around for the first few weeks. I’m still not a pro by any means, but baby steps in finding my way around are progressing… 🙂
Thoughts of the day:
My mind is jet-lagged, delirious with new sites and horizons. A language I am familiar with, but don’t want to  admit my insecurities in a new place. My wanting to be awake and alive is overshadowed by cloudy thoughts of questions of when I’m coming home or what will I do when my teaching contract expires?  Thoughts go elsewhere other than the  minute in time and I begin to question another year here, or Malaysia, or Thailand, or Turkey; what should it matter if I’m home or overseas- communication is done via technology with all friends and family no matter where I am at in the world…the only difference is being 13-14-15-16 hours apart and the inability to be home within a 4 hour time frame. I don’t know when I’ll be in a year, so much to experience and feel. Even though thoughts of marriage flood my mind and I would love to find someone to share my travels with and the thought of living near to familiar faces brings a happy smile to my face… Maybe it will be time to come home and go back to school in a year’s time or maybe it will be teaching abroad…who knows.
I read today we aren’t called to a life of leisure, we are called to a life of service….but I ponder why my life seems so leisurely? Is it because I’m obeying? Or because I’m doing what I love? Is it because this is His plan and I’ve finally submitted to Him without a struggle? Finally listened instead of doing things my way? Or is there something more that I’m completely missing and am oblivious to the call? 
I just spoke with the girl that I replaced in my program and my role of teaching has been clarified. I will always have a co-teacher in the room to help me…which is absolutely amazing! However, I still feel like I need to be doing something else… 
October 4th
Today my friend and I found a yoga place. 70,000 won for one month- what a deal! 🙂 5 days a week. The lady invited us in to the studio and sat us down for tea while we grabbed our phrase books and phone dictionaries to communicate the times and payments. It was sweet. Sometimes when I’m reflecting, moments like this don’t seem real. I had the day off again today for my school’s anniversary…I was quite paranoid, as who else has their school’s anniversary off? Took it easy, ran some errands, went for a walk, talked to friends, and listened to a Redemption Church sermon (from Phoenix) (Amazing! I am in another country approx 16 hours apart and I get their podcasts!)

October 6th
Happy Birthday to my lovely mother today! Thanks to the internet I was able to skype the flower shop back home and send her flowers. 🙂 yay!
I went for a walk in a different direction today and found a street that lead to another street that I was actually familiar with and I knew exactly where I was! Everything is starting to connect. Walking on the opposite side of the usual side of the street puts things in a better perspective too…discovering that new routes and views orient my mind and shape a place to be more like home.
Well today I found what I was missing. Flashcards. and more games…when I asked at the beginning if I needed to do anything…maybe they didn’t understand me or I misunderstood them or didn’t realize what exactly I was supposed to make flashcards of. So now it’s flashcard time…and find activity time. And I made a clock for the “time” unit. It’s cute. I’m kinda excited about it, not gonna lie. I’m never this creative. Except when I showed my friend the picture of the “mole” (long vowel O sounds) and said badger…I know I’m a terrible drawer and fingers crossed my kids will remember the vocabulary word associated with my awkward picture. Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday!!! Longest shortest week…

October 7th

Well today my co-teachers busted out laughing at my flashcards…but they really liked them. I think now that I’ve been here a month I will start to do more and they will give me more lea-way with the class. My director changed my hours to come in at 12:30 instead of 1:00 to plan lessons. I had asked about all this in the beginning, so I’m not sure why it’s all changing now…it’s beyond me their thought process, I guess I just do what I’m told. I just hope that they don’t think I wasn’t trying in the beginning and now they’re putting more work on me…I distinctly recall asking about my hours and what I was supposed to be teaching and they kept saying 1:00 and we teach from the book.

Tonight some friends and I made grilled cheese, applesauce, and pico de gallo. yummy! 🙂

October 8th

Today I’m going to Busan with a my friend and her 2 friends that she knew a few years ago that just randomly moved to this area.

Back from the beach. I love it. AND it’s so convenient to get to- just a couple buses and a subway ride. for less than $10 round trip and only about 45 minutes for each way. 🙂 Fabulous. The view was amazing and…there were many coffee shops and restaurants along the shore. Including Starbucks and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Ahh…watching the waves and sipping coffee on an outside patio. Perfection. I can’t wait to do this more often.

I even made my way back to Jangyu by myself. I ordered my bus ticket in Korean and sat by the nicest girl who didn’t speak English, but we showed each other pictures of what we did that day- I had pictures of the beach and she had a brochure of pictures from a parade and festival she had gone to. She was really sweet and showed me what bus stop to get off at in Jangyu. Once back I was waiting for the bus and decided it was taking too long; it was kinda late and they don’t have as many running at this time so I got in a cab and told the bus driver exactly where to go in Korean and he understood me! (yay!) Home safe.

Even though I still have to ask people how to get somewhere or assist me with directions to a place I haven’t been before, my sense of direction and memory once I’m shown or told once or twice has definitely been enhanced. I feel more independent not having to rely on other people to go with me from point A to B…I like knowing where I’m at and feel very accomplished when I know exactly where I’m at during the night or day time. 🙂

October 10th will mark my one month in Korea…Crazy!

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