Who is she?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lost in Translation

At the persistance of my NUMBER ONE reader, Emma, it was decided that a new post should be written. I was just out living the dream so I could put it into beautiful words.

There are many things that I have learned in the last 12 days.... About myself and about Korea. Sometimes you have to be your own cheerleader because if you're feeling down, the only one who can really shake you up and say "SNAP OUT OF IT! THIS IS YOUR LIFE!", is you. And snap out of it I did. It is amazing how when you are living your dream, sometimes that dream takes on a life of its own. I was so busy being SUPER TEACHER, that I forgot to take a deep breath.

I am so happy to be here, I love my job and have made some great friends. However, you're no good to anyone if you're run down. I didn't realize how hard it would be to adjust to certain things, but also underestimated how easily things fall into place all the same. I wanted everything NOW NOW NOW...but the most amazing part of the journey is the journey itself. I have learned so much about my teaching style, about my speaking style and how I relate to others. I have learned also about the kindness of Koreans and the oddities I've encountered.

Today while I was in the subway station waiting for my train, a young man poked me on the shoulder. A little startled, as I was grooving to Mumford and Sons, was curious as to what he wanted... thinking," Ok. Here we go. Someone who wants to practice English again or show me the ways of Jesus." Instead he said," Your bag is open a little bit, would you like me to zip it up for you?" Wow. Just a simple thing like that can totally change your day.

I'm a firm believer in PAY IT FORWARD. Maybe it was my payment from the universe for letting a woman who had less things in the line at the store go in front of me. Anyways...pass it on....people appreciate it and you make the world smile back with you.

On that same subway journey, an old Korean woman was giving me the eye.... I was about the give her the hairy eyeball when she spoke to me - I looked like I was carrying too much and should go take a seat. HAHAHA! I told her I was trying to get some exercise but thanked her. A few stops away the car emptied out so took a spot right beside her and had a chat. She was lovely and her son had lived in California. Two highlights of the day!

This post took a turn from what I intended to write about...but the main thing is - beauty is all around you...sometimes you just have to take the IPOD earbuds out and take a look and listen.

Until the next time. xo

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Weekend Fun

I am going to have no clothes left. I think they will all be sacrificed to this machine...due to my poor poor Korean skills... HAHA

Not to be one to stay at home and wait for fun to come to me, I asked some of the people from work if they minded if I tagged along out on the town. Out I went on Friday night after work (around 10:30)with six South Africans (three I work with). We went out for beers at Woodstock in Gangnam and to Castle Praha in Gangnam also. No pictures from that night but it wasn't messy, just a really great time out! Woodstock was more my type of thing, as you could request what was played and the place only held about fifty people. By the way...draught here is W 3,000...approximately $3. I had a full meal, some beers and transportation to and from Gangnam for under $50... UNHEARD OF!

I ended up sleeping in on Saturday morning. It was bliss! After not having much sleep during the week and considering I was up until 3:30 am, I took advantage of my morning off. At around 12pm, with no plans in sight I decided I wasn't going to mope! I took a look at my guide book and checked out the internet for some information on where I could get housewares. I decided I was going to go to Lotte World! It has atleast 5 floors and is basically like an extremely upscale "Bay". Lotte World is also a theme park, and has an indoor skating rink! I made my way to Jamsil (after a few hitches of getting on the wrong subway line...) and scoped out Lotte. This place was WAAAAY too rich for my blood so I only bought some food at the grocery store. There was a Krispy Kreme, so believe me I splurged! My god they were delicious!

I love walking in the rain so I took to the streets and decided to get lost in the city. I didn't go very far as I was getting soaking wet, but I love just walking around places I don't know. There was apartment block after apartment block after apartment block...a seemingly endless urban wasteland...but then I would see some beautiful fencing and came upon this canopy of vines and benches. It was breathtaking. No one else was walking around because of the rain so I will keep that memory all to myself.

I came home after a long journey and then got a call from Kate asking if I wanted to go for a drink....3 am I return home...HAHAHA Can't seem to stay home for very long! We went to the "Rocky Mountain Tavern" the Canadian bar in Itaewon and met lots of Americans....and Kate's boyfriend Danny's brother co-owns a bar in Itaewon called "Bless U".... NO JOKE! That was the original name and they haven't changed it yet. Talk about lost in translation... Anyways we went there for a beer and then decided to call it a night! Lots of American G.I.s to be found there. You could throw a stone and find 20 Foreigners...I think I'll go there again when I miss home!

Today was HECTIC! Kate and I went to Costco, E-Mart and Daiso (really cheap housewares and beauty). I ended up outfitting my apartment with hangers, bins, plates, cups, cooking utensils, storage containers and two lavender plants which I've just planted. My little apartment is starting to look like home. I've gone with a pink and green theme and it is starting to feel like mine. It isn't done as I need some more storage containers for clothes (I only have a closet), and odds and ends...but its getting there. I promise to post pictures once I have everything the way I want it.

Fewf after an exhausting weekend its off to bed. I can't wait for work tomorrow... wait?!.... Did I just say that? Things are starting to fall into place. I really like it here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Smog in the Sky and Happiness in my Heart

The Hailey has landed.

After a long flight, and four movies, I arrive in Seoul. Everyone I've met so far has been great! I was picked up from the airport by a man named Pep. His English was impecable, and we chatted the whole way into the city. He had lived in California for 3 years so that would explain it. The city has a haze floating over the buildings, and I've finally seen it lift this afternoon. On arrival, the captain informed us that the current temperature in Seoul was 39 degrees celcius. How balmy!

The ride into Gangnam took about an hour and a half, but I had my eyes glued to the window the whole ride so it felt like ten minutes. I was then taken to DYB for a quick introduction to the office, and a hello to the HR team. Apparently I look younger than my picture. I'm going to file that under compliment? After meeting with the team, I was then taken to my apartment which became very apparent that it was going to take MUCH longer than ten minutes to walk. I won't describe my apartment this post, but it was nice and clean. Roach free! I even had internet and cable set up right away. SO HAPPY! Anything that this apartment is missing I don't really care. Its bare bones but its clean and non-smelly so I'm ecstatic!

I had a quick chat with Mom and Dad, then called Kate. I'm blessed to have her around because she's going to be my tour guide until I get acquainted with this new world.

After I let everyone know I was alive, I had to go in search of food and water. I just got lost around my neighbourhood, until I found a GS25, and stocked up on a few things. It is like a 7-11 so I only got water, popsicles, bathroom cleaner, and some not very delicious rice things... oh and Kimchi! HAHA I may be living off my supply of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups until I can find a real grocery store. I managed to get quite a bit for W 20,000 exactly. I was even approached by two lovely women who were happy to meet a "foreigner" such as myself and help me found God. I told them that actually I'm quite familiar with God and unfortunately for them I don't really need saving. I then booted it out of the elevator.

Today I start work. I'm really really excited! I will be teaching Elementary I think, which I'm sooo stoked about.

Alright off to get ready and see if my toilet seat is dry from the shower I had this morning. Its going to be great for when I have to clean.

Post again soon.
xo Hails

Monday, July 12, 2010

Losing and Leaving

The National Anthem at the Ti-Cat Game in Hamilton July 10th.
Dad and I at Webster's Falls

Mom, Liv and I at the Ti-Cat Game

Liv, Sime, Dad and I hiking

Liv and I outside the Appleby GO Stn

Liv and Uncle Paul at Korean BBQ

It becomes quite apparent how strong love is when I leave. I say when I leave, because I've done this before. The packing, the planning and the effort behind such a change, is always the same. The parting, however, is never easy. There is never a guarantee those I leave behind will still be here when I get back. Life in general is never a guarantee. Since these are facts, I always try to tell those that I love, I love them. The greatest gift you can give someone is your time.

As I began packing my suitcases I've tried to spend time saying goodbye to those that I can, even if it is just a phone call. I am going to miss my family so much. I am going to be strong at the airport...maybe? However, I am so happy that we have had these three months together. My Marilus family is always greeting me with open arms, and helping to fill my wallet! All of my girls that I've been through so much with from drinks to tears to weddings. I am so grateful that they have made me a part of their special days. <3 To those who were friends but then ended up slowly over the years as family. Thank you for everything.

However, one special person I carry with me everywhere I go... I will always feel blessed that I have been able to call you my home. I'm going to miss you Canada.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Scared Shitless? Understatement of the Year.

I've tackled living away from home before, but this one takes the cake. I am unbelievably excited to begin my journey as an English Teacher. I love kids and have wanted to be a teacher my whole life...its just taken me a while.

I am beginning my journey on Monday. I fly from Toronto to Chicago, then on to Seoul. I have packed enough into my two suitcases and carry-on that they are both bulging and I will be very lucky that they don't burst. Did I really need to stock up on Jello and Pudding dry-mix packages? Probably not. They've been ditched. Did I need to pack an entire year's supply of hair gel? Probably not. They also were ditched. I have packed and repacked, weighing my bags after shifting things around. Perhaps shifting some of my anxiety, keeping my mind off of this huge change.

I keep telling myself that this is old hat. I've done this before. However, I haven't. This is a HUGE deal. I have gone the safe route before. Never reaching out of the commonwealth to live. How is my Korean might you wonder? Well if "Hello", "Goodbye", "Sorry" and "Thank You" are the only components needed in a conversation, then I'm fluent. Luckily I am an expert at Pictionary. World Class even. BUT, World, I'm ready for you. The best thing about being adventurous is I don't think you ever really fail. I mean, sure, things may not always work out the way you intend them to, but thats always another adventure in itself.

Look forward to pictures and adventures because they're coming soon!
Welcome to my Korean Adventure.

Annyong-hi Kyeseyo x