One Class a Day...

The fact that I'm writing this from work just tells you how much free time I really have on my hands. Today, I taught ONE class. Why you ask? Because my Tuesday schedule only has 3 classes anyway, 2 of which are middle school. Middle schoolers are preparing for some type of midterm test which means that I'm only "monitoring" them...i.e. I sit there and read my book while they study, drool, sleep, convulse, etc all over their desks. I know I should wake them up when they fall asleep, but I don't have the heart. They look so peaceful...like death...as if they have actually died from studying too much. But today has been PAINFULLY slow. You would think I'd be excited about having so much extra time but I am miserable!! I've been here since 2pm and I'm not leaving til 10. And that blows.

My Directors pulled some straight up nonsense on me the other day. You know how they gave me off for Election Day??? Well, it turns out they didn't! They told me I didn't have to come in then decided to deduct it from MY vacation days!!! I wish they'd tell me exactly what concoction they are smoking because I need some. Apparently, it makes you hallucinate and fabricate bull-ish. Not that I have a ton of vacation days left anyway, but that really irritated me. This is another obvious cultural conflict...and I like how they didn't bother to even TELL me about it until now. I guess I am on a need-to-know basis with my own damn vacation time huh?? Luckily, I don't think I'll be using anymore after May. It really puts a strain on the school when I'm away since I am the only foreign English teacher so I try not to be a prick about it. I only take days when I absolutely need them. And forget about a sick day. They are totally unphased by the fact that I've been coughing and wheezing for the past week and a half. I've singlehandedly used up all their tissues, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer. Sick days are nonexistent and you get no sympathy. They just shove you some green tea and keep it moving.

Sorry this post is lame. I'm really only writing to keep from passing out at my desk right now. :) I've still got an hour and some change.......but it may as well be Forever. *gun to head*


.....and Sour

I am 1 for 2! I went out with Jason today and I tell you one thing - that date couldn't have gotten a spark with jumper cables. I don't know if I've ever had a worse date in my life. *thinking* Hmmmm...nope. Sure haven't! He was a nice guy but there wasn't any chemistry. His English was mediocre but aside from that, there was no personality on his part and no interest on mine. In fact, I pretty much wanted the date to be over the moment I got there. Dinner felt like my last meal before succumbing to lethal injection - you're trying to enjoy it and savor it but you just know what the final course is going to be. Death looming over your meal will always diminish its flavor. Then we went to the movies to see "Street Kings". It wasn't a bad movie, but I always cringe when I see movies like this in Korea. I hate that these images keep getting spewed over here (and the world). Black and Latino gangbangers terrorize the city (those poor Korean shop owners!!) but magically, the ONE honest person in the entire precinct (who happens to be White) comes in and saves the day!!!! Such a tired, tired storyline...and it rubbed me the wrong way. Things were only made more awkward when Jason tried to hold my hand...*blink*stare*blink*

He wasn't a bad guy. I can't emphasize that enough. I just would've rather gone out with Kermit the Frog or some other inanimate object. Is that so wrong? You know what's interesting though? God sent me a little sign that this date was going to be a disaster. Five minutes before I arrived at Gangnam Station, the bus I was on got into a minor accident with a crazy cabbie. As they were turning a corner, the cabbie turned too sharp and the bus sideswiped him. As if I needed any more of a premonition for what was to come, right? After we parted, he called me about 5 minutes later. He asked, "Why do you want to go home? It's very early. Do you not like me or something?" *crickets* Aww, he just broke my heart. All I could muster was, "No...I mean...you're nice. I just...wanna go home." And delete your number....

Oh, I forgot to mention the biggest thing that freaked me out about him. We'd talked a couple of times before our date and he would say things like, "Yeah, I'm looking for a girlfriend. I'm headed back to LA in October and you'll be in...where? New York? New Jersey? You should move to LA! You can live with me..." Ummmmmmm. I could only stare into the phone and pretend like I was deaf. That kind of talk on our second phone call will DEFINITELY get you dismissed. So, I realized then that he was sorta clingy, an all-around unattractive characteristic. Oh well. *shoulder shrug* On a much happier note, FOUR DAYS til Meeka gets here!! WOO HOO!!!!!!!! :) Until then, J



Well, I would just like to shove my big ole size 9.5 foot up the hoo-ha of anyone who doubts that Black women can land hot Korean men!!! TAKE THAT!!! Sorry, that wasn't directed at anyone in particular. OK, I have to be honest...I was one of those naysayers, too. I thought, "My God, Korea is where a Black woman's libido comes to shrivel up and die a slow, painful death..." But I actually had a really nice date tonight with a Korean guy named Bryan (his English name, of course). Bryan had emailed me to say hi on this website. He's 30, works as a civil engineer ("the people who build bridges and ports" as he described it...good thing because I was ready to Google it), and has a nice smile! I see lots of dentists in Korea and yet, some folks, even those living in very nice areas like Bucheon, don't seem to have adequate dental care. I don't get it, but that's not my business.

Anyway, he picked me up around 7pm. We just hung out around my town because there's plenty to do. We went to Pizza Hut for dinner, which is pretty expensive here actually so it wasn't a cheap date! I know what you're thinking..."Oh hell no he did NOT take her to Pizza Hut!!" But it's like $30 for a pizza and some pasta. Ridiculous. So after that, we went to a bar/lounge on my street. This just shows how LAME I've been for the past 6 months because there are some REALLY, REALLY cute, swanky bars right next door to me and I had NO idea. Loser. So we decided on one called People Bar. Good music and practically empty! AND, my favorite, no one was smoking! That never happens. So we really just talked...and it was nice to just TALK to someone. He seems really cool and he even helped me with my Korean. I told him I had all this homework from Korean class today and he went all through my bag to pull it out. He said, "Ok, I will help you. Let's study!" Yup, he's bold...but very helpful and I was appreciative. Lately, I've been feeling stuck with my Korean because I still don't know what people are saying to me! Written and spoken Korean are just totally different and it's irritating. I guess I felt the same way when I was learning Spanish, like an idiot. But now, I can understand most accents. Well, except Dominicans. Haha...anyway...

Going out on a real "date" with a Korean guy didn't feel as strange as I thought it would. I was so certain that I'd feel like a freak show with people just staring and pointing. Four years ago when I was living and studying in Mexico, I dated a Mexican guy. We had a great time together, but we attracted A LOT of aggression when we went out together. Mostly from old people who openly frowned and shouted at our presence. So, you can't be surprised when I thought Bryan and I would be denied service or something, Civil Rights style. But it didn't happen. And I am normally level-headed but I kept trying (stupidly) to pry something "prejudiced" out of him. Setting a racial mousetrap and taunting him as if to say, "Come on, you know you want to call me a monkey or something!!!" I grilled him, asking questions like, "So, why did you REALLY email me? Did it bother you that I was Black? I mean, did you think I was easy or something???!"


He just laughed and said, "Umm, well I emailed you because you looked nice. I liked your smile and your face. No, it didn't bother me that you were Black. Why would it? Easy? What does this mean?" And by that point, I just let it go. That conversation could have gone from 0 to "WOW YOU'RE CRAZY" had I explained what "easy" meant. So I realized that I was searching for something that wasn't there and that probably wasn't going to materialize (at least not at Pizza Hut). Even though some folks may be prejudiced, I can't paint all Koreans with the same brush here. Bryan was genuinely interested in me and I don't know why my brain didn't want to acknowledge it. My mind just couldn't grasp this concept that an attractive Korean guy would willingly go out with me, a Black woman, when there are plenty of attractive Korean women for the taking. You know, one of his own. Call it what you'd like but that's how I was feeling. Sort of a stunned shock when he actually DID show up. I was kinda expecting him to back out at the last minute or for the cameras to jump out and say, "GOTCHA!!!" I think I'm pretty but being out here for only 6 months has a way of making one (a Black one, I should say) feel............hmmmm. Feel.....unappreciated. Yes, that's it.

But I'm working on it...this "appreciation" thing. I think there are plenty of Korean guys interested in brown women. They just don't always speak up! But there'll be lots more talking because I have another date tomorrow. With Jason.

Until then,


Sick in Seoul

So, I thought I'd have more goodies after the weekend, but I sure didn't. You know why? Because I was so damn sick I didn't go anywhere!! Actually, that's a lie...you know, if you've ever asked yourself, "SELF, should I go wandering around Seoul when I have a flaming sinus infection/head cold???", let me be clear - the resounding answer should ALWAYS be HELL NO!!!!! But common sense eludes me these days so I went anyway. And I was dizzy and light-headed and winded. I felt like an 80-year old emphysema patient who wants to get in that one last puff before she keels over. It wasn't pretty. I went to Apgujeong to have lunch with a friend. STOOPID!! I barely made it out there and then I barely made it back home. Fell asleep in a semi-fetal position on the WRONG bus. Wasted an entire hour and ended up in Northern Seoul at the farthest possible point from my home. Then I had to hop on another bus back to Gangnam Station, a place that is still a good hour from me. But oh, it gets better!! THEN, in my semi-comatose state on that bus, I missed my dang stop! So, here I am, dropped off a good 3 miles from home in the middle of the night, nose running a 5K all over my face and I'm beyond irritated. Lucky for me I had a big, clunky roll of toilet paper to save the day. But let me tell you something - hailing a cab in the middle of the night in a poorly -lit area when you're wearing black and when your skin is brown is quite difficult. It only took me...*counting*.....ohhhhh 20 mins!!!!! I was pissy by the time I finally got home at 10pm. A trip that should have taken about an hour took me FOUR HOURS!!!!!!!! FOUR HOURS!!! With a sinus infection and a snotty nose!

But my condition only got worse. For most of the week, my voice was unrecognizable. Most people who called me probably thought they'd stumbled upon a dirty old man's phone sex line. I would say that being a teacher is probably the absolute worst profession to have when you've lost your voice. Except maybe a phone sex operator. Oh, and Tuesday I had the pleasure of screaming over a bunch of rowdy 6-year olds. Just my cup of tea! Because, truly, nothing makes me happier than making my already scratchy voice feel and sound like death on wheels. My older kids were like, "Ewww, teacha...you sick???? Berry sick??? Here, eat candy!!!" Thanks, kids. Cuz I'm sure sucking on a lollipop is BOUND to make it all go away. I even had Justin saying nightly prayers for me to get better. Only today am I feeling and sounding more like myself. I still have a runny nose. My nose is rare shade of red because I've been rubbing it like a crackhead that needs a fix. I know it's almost over though. I'm just thankful I don't have to breathe out of my mouth all the damn time. I'm still getting crazy emails from random guys though. I will have to post them in an upcoming entry. Nobody butchers the English language quite like Koreans...and I love them for it. So maybe this weekend I will have actual interesting things to discuss.....and not just my boogers. Until then, J


Friday Goodies

I don't have much to report actually, but I took some pictures of my kids and gym friends. I had a revelation this week though. I am OLD! It took two godawful tennis practices for it to dawn on me. I am NOT in high school. I am SLOW and I am OLD. Period. And nothing is worse than being told just how bad you are in another language, with someone having to translate all the horribleness. But everyone at the court was really nice and friendly, mostly rich ajummas. They want me to come back. For some more laughs I'm sure. I am an embarrassment. Really. But I haven't picked up a tennis racket in about 2 years so I guess I'm not terrible considering the circumstances. I had a couple "Wow, I'm in Korea" moments. After getting my ass whupped by a smoking, 40-year old man (yes, my tennis instructor SMOKES!), I sat there in the afterglow, eating a popsicle with the breeze blowing and sweat drying and I thought, "Holy crap, I'm in Korea...playing tennis! And I don't have work for another 2.5 hours!!" That's another thing - I LOVE my schedule. I really don't know if I'll adjust so well to waking up at 7am again. Noonish seems to work just perfectly for me. Oh yeah, so my brother IS coming to visit me after all. I think I see Tokyo in my future. :)

Ok, enough rambling. Here are my pics. I'll have more goodies after the weekend. Until then, J

Little people! Startin' em young with the Tiger Woods/Michelle Wie stuff...

Brandy, moi, David (right) and my absolute favorite student, Arigato (center). He is SUCH a smart ass but he keeps me laughing. If he ever quits, I may have trouble keeping it together!!

(L to R) Tom, Eric, Juno, John, and Jack (in front). Tom is, without a doubt, the brightest kid in the whole school. I love him!!

Ray (L) and Justin (aka Justine!!) I could just pinch Justin's cheeks I swear. So adorable.

My post-workout "glow"...HA!!! Yeah right...I sweat like a mule...

Sean....he swears he is Mr. Hollywood. With his "Gucci" necklace and "Dior" bracelet...stop playin, Sean. With that extra smedium suit...that's my buddy though!

Jay...and yes those are shiny silver pants but he is cute so it's okay!


Attacked!! ...in a good way

I've been attacked 3 times in 3 days. But it's all in a good way. Maybe with the weather change, people are also becoming bold.

My interaction with random strangers pretty much just includes angry ajummas and drunk old guys. But this past weekend, I was reminded of a time when I was studying abroad in Mexico. An entire Mexican family rolled up on me snapping pictures and handing me their children. It was so surreal, both frightening and exciting. Margot and I returned to Samcheong-dong because I just had to see more! But I wasn't prepared for the swarm of university students who stopped us dead in our tracks shouting to take a picture with us. I actually did a double-take to see who they were yelling at. It was pandemonium and we interrupted the flow of traffic for a minute. Cars couldn't really barrel down the road since our new posse was blocking half of it. They were such cool kids though and I tried to find out why they wanted pictures with US in particular. One girl just showed me the back of her sweatshirt with the name of her school on it - some artistic college. I mused that maybe it was a special kind of "Where's Waldo?" assignment. Or even more specific, "Find a Negro". Which leads me to another interesting phenomenon that is happening to me out here....

When I see Black folks, I stare. In much the same way that Koreans stare at me. What's that all about? It really, really annoys me that I feel this way. And I don't have a rational explanation for it. It's just so RARE to see a person of color outside of Itaewon that it's as if I momentarily go into shock, mouth open and wide-eyed. I look at my fellow brothers and sisters like aliens and I can barely muster up a hello when passing. Like the cat stole my tongue, ran off with it, chopped it up, and buried it under some obscure rock in the middle of Eternity. If they don't speak to me first, I feel awkward saying anything at all. And then I kick myself for being a complete moron. Back home, there'd be no question. It's what WE do. It's an innate bond, the head nod, the dap, the whatever-it-is-we-do-to-acknowledge-each-other greeting. So then, in theory, out here where Blacks are few and far between, I should be 1000 times more vocal about speaking up and saying hello, right? But I'm suddenly shy...and feel that I would somehow be burdening them by assuming they'd even want to talk to me. This could be the same punkass gene that permits me to stalk hot guys in bookstores. When I'm with my group of friends, I feel okay talking to people, but for some inexplicable reason, I can't do that when I'm by myself.

So, I can partly understand why Koreans may stare at me because it is like seeing a ghost. A black one. And it's a genuine curiosity on their part. But I am not "curious" about Black people for Christ's sake. That's not the right word. I am...pleasantly intrigued when I spot one of my own. Truthfully, I don't really speak to foreigners at all anymore- Black, White, whatever. Unless I'm at a bar or something (which is NEVER), I don't feel the need to. I'm very friendly, believe me. If someone starts chatting me up, I'm always going to respond and be super nice. But I just don't initiate contact. When I do make eye contact, the message is simple and always understood - "Hey...look at that, another foreigner...yup I'm here teaching English...no we don't have to make a big thing out of it" And I keep it moving. I love gathering friends wherever I go, but it really pisses me off that I only have 3 Korean friends after being here for 6.5 months and 2 of them are my co-workers!! Anywho...

I also got "attacked" at the gym on Friday night. I was doing my reverse crunches and I was ipod-less (a rarity indeed). The guy who helped me open my membership, Sean, was the ringleader. Sean has a godawful cough which is annoying after 30 seconds but I deal with it. So, he strolled over to me with his trainer friend, Justin (whose name tag really says Justine but I don't have the heart to tell him he's got a chick name), and just started yapping away. Their English was very minimal, but we still managed to yuck it up for 45 mins!! Workout shot to hell. Then they called over another guy, Jay, who works in membership as well. We talked and laughed about everything from movies to music to sports. Mostly sports since I'm still a tomboy to my core. I will admit that this was quite an attractive group of guys so I assumed they were all married or had girlfriends. But when I asked, they almost went apoplectic on me, insisting they were as free as could be. I told them I was too but they didn't believe it. They're all in their mid-20's although Justin looks about 16. I'll need to see some ID from him. We even chatted with the girl who works the front desk, Jiny. She was embarrassed beyond recognition though, covering her mouth and laughing coyly. Oh, and she's gorgeous. Here I am in my dirty hat, smelly breath, and sweat-stained clothes standing next to the Korean version of Heidi Klum. Yeah, talk about inadequacy. But they're all really cool. I think my Korean friend tally is now at 7 thankyouverymuch!! *pats self on back*

My third "attack" happened as I was leaving the hair shop place in Itaewon. Two university girls stopped Margot and me again, wanting to take our pictures. But it was a little different because we weren't allowed to smile. That's like telling me I can't travel. Why would you tell me that?! And honestly, when I'm not smiling, I look kinda mean. But I went with it. Of course they were from some art university. So, be on the lookout yall...I may turn up on the cover of some Korean fashion magazine!! Or I could just be one of those foreigners with a "HOT ASS MESS" caption under it. Either way, I'M GONNA BE FAMOUS!!! *evil laughter* My fashion has semi-morphed into the Korean style though - sweatshirt, military jacket, black pants, and Chucks. It's really mindless dressing. As Jeff told me the other day, I look like a Korean girl from the neck down. Hahaha...and it's true. I've been mistaken for a Korean before when some guy started yapping to me about the bus. Then when I turned around, he nearly had a heart attack. Love doing that.....

Ok, here are more random pics from my travels around Samcheong...ENJOY!!!!! :)

** me and my Sprite can, cherry blossom park, and YAY TENNIS COURTS!!!!**


I Roam Alone

My Directors threw me a bone yesterday and gave me the day off for Election Day. It is considered a national holiday however, most hagwons here don't know what that means. So, never one to squander an opportunity, I took to the streets. Alone. Yup, I did some research and chose a few areas around Seoul that I'd heard about. As much as I love being in the presence of my wonderful friends and family, I have to confess that I really, really love my own company. I know a lot of people struggle with the concept of being comfortable in their aloneness. I do not. And I've never felt guilty about taking that time for myself. My friends can remember growing up with me, a self-proclaimed nerd and bookworm, when I spent entire summers cooped up in the library or in my room reading. Is there such a thing as an introverted extrovert?? Well, if there is, that's what I am. Oh, and I took some random pictures but don't expect any Annie Leibovitz-ish spin on my pictures. I actually really suck at photography. I mean, had my roommate not bought me a digital camera 2 years ago, I'd still be using disposables.

My first stop was Ewha Women's University. This place has some of the best shopping in Seoul. I think I really only scratched the surface, but I liked what I saw. They had a lot of vintage shops, which I love. The one thing I haven't seen much of are summer dresses. I only wear jeans and dresses in the summer. I stopped wearing short shorts years ago because they're really the most unflattering piece of clothing in my opinion. Too much bunching in the crotch! But around Ewha, I did find a very cute, hole-in-the-wall Indian vendor who sells handmade saris and dresses! Talk about jackpot! The clothes and fabrics were just gorgeous. I also stopped in a store called Kosney. This is a popular chain here that sells stationery, clothes, home furnishings, etc. It's one of my favorite stores because of the stationery though. *nerd alert* When I used to write letters, I'd go a little nuts buying fancy matching paper. I love Korea because of their paper....which actually sounds crazy. This is a country so obsessed with the English language that they really don't give a crap if it's right or not. They will slap it on anything and everything. I try to buy grammatically correct stuff, but it's like trying to find a needle in a haystack. But the errors, surprisingly, give it character. So, I bought a passport case (which has Australia spelled like "Austrailra" and "Take a pictures!!"), a card holder, and a really cool planner that is a photo album of Tokyo. I plan to use it as a diary though.

My next stop was an area called Samcheong-dong. It is a place where old Korea and new Korea seem to converge. Young couples and old couples just walking around. To get here, you have to walk along a gate with narrow, winding streets. I was nearly turned into roadkill because cars here don't really care if it's a pedestrian area. They will still drive full speed. The architecture is beautiful with the mountainous landscape setting off the background. It is living heritage and I love that. But in recent years, it has spawned an uber-hip and trendy crowd. There are museums galore, including a Museum of Chicken Art, which I can only envision as chickens holding paintbrushes and wearing berets. There are a lot of art galleries and kitschy boutiques. The upscale restaurants and eateries give an exclusive albeit snobbish vibe. I stopped in a cafe and had a cappuccino, watching the rain wash away my worries. I thought about home and how I could be 15,000 miles away from everything and still feel connected. It reminded me of New York. I don't know if I'll ever love another city the way I love New York and so I've stopped trying to top it. Instead I'm just looking for uniqueness. And this spot is unique for sure. It is really a hidden treasure in Seoul. It's not bustling like Gangnam or bursting at the seams with foreigners like Itaewon. It is quiet and peaceful, befitting my mood and the weather.

After getting my zen on in Samcheong-dong, I went back to the madness of Sinchon for dinner with Margot. We had Mexican food. Expensive Mexican food, which is obviously an oxymoron and difficult for my brain to process. But my tastebuds did not argue with the empanadas and tequila. After dinner, we ended up going to Gangnam to meet a new friend of mine. He's a Korean guy named Jeff who needs help with his English....and I need help with my Korean so we're going to do a language exchange! Let the fun times begin!! So, every Sunday we're going to hang out for a couple of hours and learn together. I was nervous about meeting him alone so Margot went with me and she gave him the stamp of approval. He's no Daniel Henney, but it's a start! :)

OH!! The Ne-yo concert was a lot of fun!! He sounds really good live, too. During intermission, the DJ played some down south, crunk music. Old school Crime Mob (yes, Knuck If You Buck....classic) and umm, I got really, REALLY excited. So much so that I cracked my tooth! Oh Lord...only me! I made it through 4 years of college dancing to this song and I get to Seoul and chip my damn tooth. Insane. Luckily, it was on the backside and it was very tiny. But nothing quite prepares you for the feeling of fresh enamel grinding between your teeth. *cringe* I've learned my lesson. :) The cherry blossoms have bloomed and the drunk businessmen have started drinking outside again.

Spring is here....bliss is near :)

Until then, J


Happier Days...

So, yeah, my last post was a bit depressing...I know. :)

But it's amazing what can happen in just a week's time. For one, I'm done brooding. You live, you love, you learn, you move the hell on. I love that all of Korea seems to be in agreement with my sentiments because the weather has been outstanding the past week. It makes me want to play hooky and just go roaming around the city. But I have to ummmm...teach. Right. But I have lots of great news to report.

1) They found Brandon's murderers!!!!! YES!!! Or rather, they turned themselves in. My good friend and fellow blogger wrote a post about it. It's unfortunate that two more young Blacks will have to waste away in the prison system. I think my friend is right that someone along the way failed them, too. But it's more unfortunate, in my opinion, that Brandon's life was cut short because of one person's unthoughtful actions.

2) MY BEST FRIEND IS COMING TO KOREA!!! My BFF...well let's be honest, we're really just sisters with different parents. We've had our share of ups and downs. A rocky relationship to say the least but the last 7 years or so have been bump-free. To show her love and devotion to me, she is hopping on 2 or 3 planes, taking a 24-hour flight just to spend 6 measly days with yours truly. Perhaps she will be a guest blogger for me and write all about the madness. I can hardly sit still I'm so excited. I'm interested to see her perspective on being in a foreign land as a person of color. Mind you, she has never gone farther than the Bahamas so coming to Korea is a HUGE deal. And I'm thankful. *bowing down* Gamsahamnida...

3) I'm going to the Ne-Yo/Sean Kingston concert this weekend. I forked over $90 to stand in front with my crazy friends. I can only imagine the nonsense that's about to take place on Sunday. Maybe I can get a cool picture with them or something. What else does Sean Kingston sing besides that "Beautiful Girls" song though????? Hmmmm....the last concert I went to, embarrassingly, was Alicia Keys I think. Her FIRST album. WOW....many moons ago...

4) I'm moving to Spain!!!! Alright, not now obviously because I'm in Korea. But I've started planning for next summer to live in Spain. Just a few months to brush up on my Spanish and travel more before taking on graduate school. I know I won't have many opportunities to just live and chill out once I get the ball rolling so I'm gonna take it when I can get it. Since the euro is killing the dollar, I really have to plan well in advance for this endeavor. I thought I'd try Barcelona but it's very pricey so I've set my sights on Alicante, a lazy beach town which is only a short plane ride to Ibiza and Morocco. I've set my mind to it so now it's about working through the details. This is going to be fun...and it's a reason for any and all of my friends to get off their lazy butts and come see me!! :)

I'm always thinking about the next 15 steps, which can be both good and bad. I'm learning to live more in the present, but I'm also always planning for the future. What's next? What else is there to see and do? How can I fill up my life even more? When everything is said and done, I want to be sure that I've seen everything and done everything I wanted to do. If you're hating what you're doing and it's keeping you up at night, it's a sign. If you wake up everyday absolutely dreading what's ahead, then it's up to you to change it. No one's going to ask you everyday if you're happy. No one's going to say, "Hey, what can I do to fulfill YOUR dreams!?" It's okay if you're wandering down a path and you want to completely change direction.

That's probably the biggest lesson I've learned living in Korea so far. The reality is rarely as scary as our minds think it will be. The other side of fear is really happiness...

Until then, J