Sunday, June 07, 2009

Just in Case You Were Curious:

Last week I had to take a double look at the calendar. Was it really June already, and if so; how did that happen? After asking my co-worker if it were really June, I sighed and went back to planning for my day. Either way, after a nice weekend, I am out of my funk and ready to update.

Some Updates

I. Life:  Overall, life is good. The weather has been nice and I've been getting out and about more than normal. Nothing makes me happier than the smell of flowers in the air, sunshine, and being able to wear shorts and sandals outside. 

This past weekend I went to a small GLBT film festival here in Seoul. I saw the movie "Ciao" which was a really great film about loss, bonding, and love. I don't want to give away the movie, but more or less a man dies unexpectedly and leaves behind two men: One being his best friend Jeff and the other Andrea, an Italian man that he fell in love with over the Internet. It's worth watching if you can get your hands on it. 

Other than enjoying the scenes in and around Seoul, I have been catching up on some reading and downloading some new music. 

II. Work: Work is work. I still work over 50+ hours a week, and it never gets easier. Even though I go to work Monday with a positive attitude, it's usually down hill from there. I don't know what is more difficult- working with 15 other North Americans who butt heads on a constant basis, or teaching six years old! However, at the end of the day I love the kids I teach- I love teaching, I love being in the classroom, I love challenging myself through challenging the kids. I think most days I am good at what I do, and perhaps I've found my calling. However, other days I doubt myself and my abilities, but then again, who doesn't!? 

Last March I re-signed my contract for an extra semester. Right now I am contracted to stay through the end of the semester in August. Recently, my boss asked me to stay throughout the remainder of the school year (so until the end of August). At first I really didn't think I wanted to stay. Part of me knows that I can find a job making more money and working less hours a week, but part of me is already attached to my students and the school I am working at. After talking it over with my best friend here in Seoul, Ivania, and my mom, I think I've decided to stay. It was a tough decision to make, but maybe it's the best one for me right now. Hopefully, with some upcoming changes that are going to happen soon at work; I will feel better, relaxed, and ready for the rest of the year! 

III. Love: As some of you know, JH and I broke up in the beginning of April. I'm sure many of you saw it coming, as did I. I wasn't sure how long it would take me to get over him and us, but today I feel very good about it. Breaking up was the best thing for us, and I am sure we are both happier in our lives now. After spending a year and a half with someone, it's tough to just not talk to them any more. While we haven't seen each other since the breakup, we have talked on the phone a few times. At one point we had something truly special, and I will never forget that. 

Recently I started dating again. I wasn't sure if I was ready, but I am now convinced that I am. I met someone recently who I really enjoy spending time with. We've gone to a few movies together, out to eat a few times, and have spent a few romantic nights just at home watching TV or movies. I like that "feeling" you get on the inside when you meet someone new, and the silly grin left on your face after the first kiss. *sigh* I'm a hopeless romantic, I can't help it :) 

IV: Travel: In May, I spent a weekend in Taiwan. We only had enough time to check out the capital city, Taipei. Taipei is interesting in the fact that it housed many temples that were different from others I've seen in Asia. They were colorful and detailed- each temple told it's own story. We went to a Confucius temple, and it was by far my favorite. However, I wasn't too impressed with the smell at times and the lack of community. One thing I really like about Seoul is that each neighborhood has its own "vibe".  I definitely couldn't see myself living in Taipei, and it made me glad that I live in Seoul. 

I'm spending June in Korea. I am hoping to hit up the beach in Busan for some reading and relaxing, but I have no expectations for this month. 

In July I'm heading to Cambodia. I am getting quite excited for this trip. I leave on July 25th and have a direct flight from Seoul to Phnom Penh. I'll spend Saturday, Sunday, and Monday in Phnom Penh seeing the sites and hopefully doing some volunteer work. I'm staying at this really cute boutique hotel in the center of the city. Check out the link here: 

Anyways, on Tuesday the 28th I'm taking a quick flight from PP to Siem Reap where I'll be the rest of my trip. Aside from hanging out at my hotel, I plan to check out Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples. Also, I am going to take a cooking class or two. I have zero expectations for this trip, and I am going to just go with the flow. I'm going to write in my leather bound journal each day, take as many pictures as possible, and do some much needed reading and reflecting. I'm hoping the rain storms stay away and I'll get to see the sun rise over Angkor Wat at least once. 

In addition, I'll be making a VISIT to Chicago on August 26th. I can't wait to catch up with family and friends. More to come on this in a later post. 

V: The Future: Sometimes I still do not know what the future holds for me. However, I am starting to have a clearer vision of what I want to do with my life, where I want to live, and what I want to be when I finally "grow up". I know that I can't stay in Korea forever, but each day I remind myself that I am still young and I still have a long life ahead of me. I know that I want to settle down soon, I know that I want a family, and I know that I want to go back to school to be a teacher in the US. Each day I have to remind myself of my goals, and I am working toward making them a reality in the very near future. 

VI: Odds and Ends:   Yesterday, while I was having some coffee at Coffee Bean with Jin, a lady approached me and asked if she could interview me. Her name was Julia Kim and she works for TBS eFM, a radio station here in Seoul. At first I wanted to say no, however, after giggling to myself I decided to go ahead with it. Each week Julia has to interview four foreigners for a segment of a radio show that is aired on Thursday mornings at 10 am (Seoul time). Her interview took about 5 minutes and it was quite pain-less. I had to say hello, who I was, and I had to ask a question and put in a song request. My question was: "Where can I take a traditional Korean cooking class that is in English?" but today after thinking about it I wish I had asked about volunteer opportunities here in Seoul for foreigners. Ah well, I'll have to put my googling skills to good use. Oh yeah, my song quest was "Happiness" by The Fray. 

In other recent news: I was accepted to both programs I applied to in the states for a second Master's degree in Education. I was accepted into St. Xavier's Elementary Education program as well as the University of Illinois' Master's of Teaching History program. I decided early last week though that I will decline St. Xavier and defer U of I until Fall 2010, if possible. 

Lately, I've really wanted to do some volunteer work. I was hoping there would be a program like Big Brother's Big Sister's here in Seoul, but I've yet to find one. Maybe this is a sign that I should start one here?!?! I wonder if I could. I should get looking into logistics for this. 

And with ALL that said, until next time......


aurora b said...

Love the blurb about the radio show... so random and fun! Must chat about why UofI on hold but St. X is a no-go... thanks for the updates!

Em said...

Ray! I've been trying to keep up with reading your blog as well. I love all the comments that you leave for me! A few posts back you were talking about struggling with lonliness and I totally identify! I spend all my nights alone in my rondeval (no where to go out at night in the village!) and struggle with that sometimes. How do you be alone, but not lonely (especially when you don't have the choice)? Its a tough one!