This is the New Year

Two weeks into 2016, I don’t have any resolutions. I don’t have anything particularly exciting to report, either.

The newness of Korea has finally worn off and I go about my days here. In the mornings, I might go to the supermarket. Or do my laundry. Or clean my little apartment. Then, I go to work from about 2:30 until 10. I love being in the classroom. I love my students. It might sound cliché, but seeing their smiling faces really brightens up my day. I get hugs and candy while I teach them new words and songs and tongue twisters. They like to ask me questions and I like to answer them.

Sometimes, kids are gross. Like the kid who sat in class licking his knuckles and then rubbed them all over his face. Sometimes, kids are mean. Like the kid who said a bad word to one of my favorite little girls, but then the rest of the class stood up to him. Which was awesome.

Some days, Steve and I will get dinner after work. On the weekends, we might do some exploring. Last weekend, we finally got around to seeing a movie here. We saw Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch (which was only released in theatres in Asia). It was good, but we were pretty confused because neither of us had ever seen the TV series. Other days, we’ll just stay in and eat snacks and watch old BBC shows on Netflix.

I can’t wait to go to Tokyo to visit my friend Eri. She wants to take me to the Ghibli Museum, Asakusa, the Tokyo Skytree, and Tsukiji Market. I’d also love to visit some other temples and museums, see Shinjuku and Harajuku, and eat copious amounts of sushi. It’s so easy to travel here!

There are so many things left on my Korean bucket list, as well. Steve and I are constantly talking about traveling. We may or may not a wanderlust problem. Our ideas and and plans seem to change regularly. Should we go to the Philippines? Or Taiwan? (I really wanted to do Thailand and Vietnam, but by the time my contract ends it will be wet season there.) The possibilities are endless!

I still have plenty of time left in Korea, despite the fact that it seems to be going by rather quickly. I’m really looking forward to seeing what this year has to offer.

Also, I just want to say thank you to my mom and all my friends at home for always being here for me even though we’re so far away from each other physically. I appreciate the e-mails and the Skype sessions and the cards and the gifts. I miss everyone so much, but I am so grateful for the Internet because it makes everything a whole lot easier. You’re all freakin’ amazing.

How is everyone else’s 2016 going so far?

 

Winter Break Part 1

My winter break kicked off on Wednesday and Hannah (from Paint Me a Smile) came to visit! She arrived in Ulsan at about 7 PM and we went for dinner at Tang Tang Chicken, one of my favorite fried chicken places. We got super crispy boneless chicken and pan-fried tteokbokki. It was so good!

After dinner, Hannah and I went back to my apartment to leave her things and we headed to Samsan. We found a 24-hour Angel-in-us coffee shop and sat for a good couple of hours catching up. Then, we walked around downtown and I showed Hannah some of the local restaurants and bars. It was pretty cold, so we didn’t stay out terribly long.

On Thursday, we got up and I insisted that we head to Flapjack Pantry for English breakfast. The city where Hannah is living is much smaller than Ulsan and doesn’t have as many Western restaurant options as I have here. When the waitress came to take our order, Hannah ordered two English breakfasts and I interjected with a “No! It’s huge!” and flailed my arms wildly. One was way more than enough for both of us: baked beans, sausages, eggs, hash browns, grilled pineapple, grilled tomatoes, and pancakes.

After breakfast, we went to Taehwa Park and the bamboo forest. Then, we walked to Seongnamdong for some shopping. In Seongnamdong, we also made a stop at a cat cafe. The kitties were so cute! Until they started howling wildly and tried to steal our complimentary pancake.

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In the evening, we had barbecue for dinner with Steve: pork belly with rice and fried egg. So good! Then, we headed over to Sticky’s to ring in the New Year. There was a good crowd of people out and I indulged in some sangria. Hannah and I didn’t stay out too late. On the way home, though, we may or may not have stopped at the 24 hour Krispy Kreme for some celebratory donuts…

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Happy 2016, everyone!