Musings from Blue Class

I want to work today. I really do.  But seeing as how Boss Lady (in a stroke of frugal geniosity) outfitted the school with Samsung notebooks sans Microsoft Office, I have nothing better to do than blog the afternoon away. 

*In reality, I have a shit ton of work to complete, but access to the network is blocked. And also, Blue Class is driving me abso-fucking-lutely bonkers today.

That is all.


Hana, Dul, Set... Thanksgiving

Once again, I'm 'bout a week and change late on my annual Thanksgiving post. Maybe it's because in the past week I've become all introspective and contemplative and I soft.  Where did the snark go, you ask?  I ate it.  Along with about two pounds of turkey (we had three this year), Grandpa's homemade stuffing, Justin's hobak juc, Jon's green salad, and a myriad other offerings at this year's Thanksgiving.

This was my third T-Day with Jamie and Jonathan and Jinhee (last year Justin was there in spirit, as he was living it up in Palm Springs.) And for that, I am thankful.

A Very Norae Thanksgiving 2010, the one with the epic game of Trivial Pursuit

Thanksgiving 2009, the one with the most Canadians and an epic game of Dirty Scrabble

Chef and Sous Chef.

Who's gonna drink all this wine?

Jon and Jin Hee.  Walrus Spoons.
Thanksgiving 2008, the one with the Jewish turkey and a bacon yarmulke

I am thankful for my circle of supportive, interesting friends, both in SoKo and at home.

I am thankful for My Weekday Mistress, who, when I first met her, took me to coffee, then promptly told me she wasn't really looking for new friends. She better be thankful that I give second chances.  But honestly, just thinking of going home and not laughing with her everyday is already making me sad beyond belief.

I am thankful for Grandpa, who, in the past three years has gone from being my boss to my best SoKo friendo.  He is quite possibly the most open-minded, non-judgemental person I have ever had the pleasure of befriending. And he can cook like a mofo.

I am thankful for Blue Class.  They may have single-handedly (is that possible since there are ten of them) turned on my biological clock.  Everyday they amaze me with their ability to absorb and retain and apply all the retarded things I teach them.

I am thankful for Stephanie, my BFFAE. She is an amazing listener, a constructive critic, a supportive friend and an epic ass-shaker.  I miss her everyday.

I am thankful for Justin's humor, talent and thoughtfulness.  He wrote this piece for themorningnews.org (which I love and think is fantastic, BTW) and even gave 'ol Idaho a shout out. And he can cook like a mofo.

But most of all I am thankful for my family.  I know I have been an epic pain in the ass this year, and they have always been supportive of my choices.  It's always easier to be the one who leaves, rather than the one left behind, and sometimes I forget that.  As hard as it is for me to miss out on their lives, I know it is just as hard for them to not be an everyday part of mine.  This year especially, I needed them more than ever.  I am glad to know they are always just a skype call away. (You didn't really think I would finish this post without mentioning skype, did you?!)

*Interesting sidenote: I must be all grown up because I was not thankful for one material, tangible thang this year.  AHA! American Materialism, I have finally BEAT you!

The Freak Out, Part One

Ladies and gentlemen, it has finally happened. After two+ years of using and abusing the free (read: I just bought my 15th toffee nut latte this month and I DESERVE it) wireless, Starbucks has finally cut me off.  KT is now sponsoring all ‘Bucks wi-fi and is asking me to pay for the service. Please. As if I wasn’t already paying...

So I’m composing this post on Appleworks (yes, I know).  Hopefully it gets posted in a timely manner.

Alright, about that freak out. A mere six months ago, my blathering and bitching and moaning came to a head when I emailed my stepfather, asking him to get me the fuck out of dodge.  Yes.  I did that. I am not proud of it.  I was in a bad place.  Exhausted, miserable, lonely and full of spite, I was ready to pull the plug on this bitch and start fresh at home.  Besides, he offered to foot the bill after reading this.  Apparently my parents were all sorts of worried about my winter time carousing and thought I was seriously fucked up.  I don’t blame them.  

But then a whole slew of thangs happened that turned my frown upside down, and it started with three little words: Stop being stupid.  Wise words, Grandpa.  Guess he didn’t earn that nickname for nothing.  After a week of playing the “should I stay or should I go now” game, I called up Grandpa from classroom 405 and dumped all my frustration on him .  His response? Stop being stupid. So I extended my contract one more time, and vowed to make peace with Seoul.  I broke the news to the family, assuring them I would do my best to be home for Christmas, and all but promising I would indeed be home at the end of this contract.

In protest, my mother used up all her skymiles and bought a ticket to come visit.  If I was willing to tough it out, I guess she figured it was time to see what all the fuss was about.  To say I was ecstatic is a gross understatement.  I was fucking beside myself!  Suddenly the world was filled with rainbows and unicorns and chubby-cheeked babies all singing We Are the World.  Immediately I started a countdown.
There were so many things to see and do and buy and discover.



In my cloud of excitement, a funny thing happened: my sadness all but disappeared.  With a newfound focus and fresh eyes for Seoul,  I called a truce with the city. Seoul is a bitch, but I decided I could rough it out with this frenemy, as long as she promised to keep it together for moms.

As the summer wore on, My Weekday Mistress and I became closer.  Thursday Night Taco Bell Bitch Sessions turned into weekend rendevous.  Before I knew it, our weekday affair had bled into the weekend and I got to meet her wife. Basking in our newfound love for all things TB and Glee, we planned a trip to Taiwan for Chuseok.  Again, my focus shifted from bitching to planning.  Sadness was staved off once again.

Before I knew it, Halloween was around the corner, along with a two week vacation, and mom’s impending Korean Takeover.  Nothing could stop me; I was on cloud nine.  With the spring’s bitterness all but forgotten, I boarded the airport limo to Incheon to retrieve moms.

For seven fun-filled days we shopped, explored, laughed, and cried.  She was adventurous and outgoing and seemed to really enjoy herself here.  I had an excellent time playing tour guide and wowing her with my shamefully limited Korean speaking abilities (I think I fooled her, though.) The visit allowed her to see my life in a way she never had.  As a thirty-year-old college grad, she was aware (in the abstract, at least), that I am independent.  However, I’m not sure she (or I, for that matter) really understood what that meant before she got here.  For seven days she relied upon me for everything.  I will admit this was an intense burden and by the time the week was up, I was ready to have my life back.  

After a particularly raucous evening of cooking and drinking with Grandpa, Eurohot and Jonhee, we piled into a cab and headed for Gangnam.  We had all consumed copious amounts of wine and beer and were fairly lit when she asked, “So, have you thought about staying?”

The question caught me off guard and I was truly unsure how to answer.  Of course I had thought about staying.  My job is going well, I have an awesome circle of friends who regularly amaze me with their wit, talent, and resourcefulness, and I have affordable health insurance.  At this point, America’s only batting .33 on this front -- Korea 1, America 0.  But I don’t think I had admitted this to myself, let alone actually said it out loud.  Besides, admitting that yes, a part of me wanted to stay, was akin to slapping my mother in the face (at least in my mind.)  

So I said no, not really.  To say she planted the seed is unfair, however, since her visit I have been more and more unsure as to my next move.  To make matters worse, my boss *just* asked me to re-sign for another year.

*Parenthetically: OMFG YOU GUYS, I cannot believe she asked me to stay!!  I have worked my ass off to make her life a living hell this year.  Just goes to show that the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t...  Also, I told her no.

Anyway, I feel like I just puked up three months worth of neurosis into one epically long and boring post.  I’ll finish this bitch tomorrow...


And back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Top Ten Things I Did Instead of Blogging: November Edition

10. Sat on my ass in Starbucks for six hours a day, five straight days, and wrote the mother of all essays. Those crazies in the School of Social Work better recognize.

9. Moms came to Ko-ree-yah and brought me a shiny new Nikon. Hilarity ensued.


8. Casey, my Weekday Mistress, is now old, just like me. To celebrate, she subjected all her peeps to a two-week-long game of ASSASSIN! My assassin better pray to god we never meet in a drunken soju haze, because I will cut a bitch. Andrew Haglin, you are officially on notice.

7. To better meet my "laying around on my ass in my pajamas" needs, I bought a couch. Yeah, two and a half years in with four months to go, I finally bit the bullet.  The boys call it the Norae Couch.

6. I read this book. Do not read this book. I actually think I am stupider because of it... See?!

5. It's Christmas Drama time again, and this year Blue Class is doing a rousing rendition of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas".  The Know-It-All is the Grinch, Bueller, Bueller is Cindy-Lou Who and the rest of my hooligans play Whos 1-7. Yeah, I got SUPER creative this year...

4. After watching my washing machine fill up with water, then shut itself off for the THIRD time in one night, I hauled my ass up to the Building Ajumma's.  Maybe she could Koreason with it.  Please.  She took one look at the ancient machine, sighed, and started pulling my clothes from the icy water.  I tried my best to stop her, I really did, but when she insisted on doing my laundry, how could I possibly resist?! Twenty minutes later she returned with my jeans and tees neatly folded, along with a few photos of her summer vacation to "Harbar-duh".  So sweet!

3. Flickr finagled me into another year's subscription. I have uploaded nearly five year's worth of vacation pics, from Central America to Asia. If you enjoy perusing the vacations of others (and really, who DOES?), have a look. But don't say I didn't warn you: I am boring. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mindywindy/

2. The Chef (but he'll always be Grandpa to me!) hosted another epic Thanksgiving. More on that later.

These were the die hard stragglers hell-bent on grazing for as long as possible.

1. And the number one thing I've been doing for the past month?

Freaking the Fuck Out.  

In less than three months, my *final* contract in Korea ends and I am set to return to the Land of the Living.  I am literally scared shitless, because after nearly three years of living in this Kimchi Paradise, I'm not sure how I'll fit back into my life in I-dee-ho.

I think these last two deserve entire blog posts of their own. so for now, I'll leave you with this:

*Thanks mom! See, I'm totally putting the new Nikon and two years of high school photog classes to good use.