Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I'm outta hereeeee

My adventures in the States is coming to end, folks. Yes, yes indeed.

For those of you that I have talked to, even if for a brief moment, know that I'm not the happiest person being back in Virginia. So, taking my own advice, I'm going to become un-unhappy! I started by looking into jobs in Japan and Korea (again). After realizing that working a full-time job and doing an online master's program would probably cause more harm than good, I've decided to move to Kuwait! Yes, my parents are there still. Yes, I'll be living with them. Yes, I'll be [hopefully] tutoring to make some money. Any more questions?

So, there you have it, guys: I'm moving. I'm getting outta here! My adventure in the States end around January 12th! Let the craziness of packing ensue...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Random Thought: Clubbing

As I was enjoying a nice leisurely drive today, I did a lot of thinking. Well, not TOO much thinking, but enough to keep me awake on the drive home. Anyways, one thing I thought about and stuck with me until I arrived home was clubbing. You know, going out dancing to a club with really really loud music, flashing lights, creepy guys, and scantily-clad women. I know, I know, not every guy that goes is creepy and not every girl is dressed in the most naughty outfit they dare not show up to their grandparents' house in, but whatever, that's besides the point.

Continuing on... The main thing is that I have only been clubbing, like, twice in America. Two times, both gay bars. It was a lot of fun, don't get me wrong, but I have never been to any other clubs except outside of America. I've been clubbing in England (London, Ambleside), Korea, Thailand, and even Cambodia... Anyways.

It was just a random thought. Nothing exciting, nothing exciting at all. Just something I thought about today and was like, "Hmm. Interesante."

Peace, love, & (yea, I found it!) kimchi!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Update and Small Story

  • Virginia
  • Three jobs
  • Two classes starting around my bday
  • Fall = awesome
  • Football = awesome

I worked at Huntington yesterday for 3.5 hours. For the last two hours I was there, I was one-on-one with a little girl named E (3rd grade). I had heard about her and seen her running around a bunch. All the teachers adored her and she was a cutie! Yesterday I learned she is not only a cutie, but a pistol, too. She was cracking jokes (albeit weird ones...) and having teachers laughing all over the place. It was sorta difficult to get her to focus, but when she did she was on point. Then she went to go get another book to work from. Two minutes later, she comes back and says, "I can't find it." "Okay," I say "Let's go look for it together." So we went out onto the floor and looked for it. Couldn't find it. So we decided to move on to the next book. Couldn't find it. Sooo we decided to move on to the NEXT book. Could not find it. What?! Three books missing?! Impossible! I asked a couple of the other teachers and they tried looking for the three missing books and nada. Then another teacher comes up to me while E is prancing around and tells me that whenever I have E I should get the books myself because the teachers are fairly certain she hides the books. Awesome.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Per usual, it's been a month since my last update. I'm not sure why it takes me so long to update this thing. I think it's partly because I'm lazy and partly because I don't feel like anything exciting is happening at the moment. Being back in the States is nice. I have missed it and I've missed my friends and driving and reading magazines in the grocery store line, but it just doesn't seem any fun. I know there are plenty of fun things to do, and once I've got more money in the bank I plan on doing a couple of these things, but until then it'll be as is.

I'm back in Virginia,. It's been awhile and the first two weeks of my being back were pretty tough ones, but I stuck it out and no longer blame the States (sorta) for my frustrations and sad times. Anyways, here are some things I have been doing since I've been back:

  • looking into grad schools so I can travel and teach!
  • starting work again!
  • peaking into teaching jobs in Japan, and
  • mapping out my next trip to SE Asia (I don't know when, but I'm hoping not too far in the future)
So, yea, nothing exciting. I hope your adventures are more exciting than mine at the moment.

Peace & love :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

move eat learn

These three videos by Rick Mereki on Vimeo are awesome. Check it.


Ups and Downs and Round-and-Rounds

My beautiful grandma, grandpa, madre, and I in Monte Carlo
In the past month, I've:

*been in San Francisco - exploring most of it on my own
*worked at a school teaching English
*went to Monterey Bay Aquarium
*fell in love with San Francisco & the Castro district
*flew to Alabama to be with family
*had too much down-time a.k.a. thought entirely too much about too many things

Basically, not much has happened this past month since I've been back in the States. The most pivotal experience since I've been back has been the death of my grandma. This was the grandma that I had just seen on the cruise, the happy, healthy, bubbly grandma. The innocent, wholesome, loving grandma. The grandma that wasn't supposed to leave us quite yet. No one expected this at all. She may have been sorta old (but not really), but she certainly wasn't in bad shape at all. It sounds like it was a freak accident of a sort that took her from us; we are still waiting for the autopsy results. Since it happened, last week, I've been in Alabama with my family. It was nice being with everyone, but, unfortunately, it was under tragic conditions. These sort of things make me realize just how important family is, and just how loving our family is. It's really too bad that something like this had to happen in order to jolt me out of my dream and straight into reality, without any kind of preparation, but so it goes... It hasn't been easy, as one can imagine, but we are all doing the best that we can. Days go by slowly filled with the occasional sob or three and more and more laughs by the day.

Since I've been here, with little to do, I've been doing much thinking. It all has to do with what's next for me. As I'm not entirely sure of this, I will not be posting it here, but will update this as soon as I know. So far, Sarah and I will be driving back to Oklahoma on Tuesday where I'll be until the 21st of August, when I will be flying to Virginia. I'm not sure (weird) how long I'll be there, but Sarah and I bought tickets to a Redskins game for the 18th of September, so til then at least.

Peace, love, & sunshine always.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dancing Around the World

Hey ohhh!

So it's been a whole month since I've updated. The last was about Vietnam while I was in Italy. This one, I'm just gonna skip Italy and the cruise for now and take you on a short (very very short) journey.

Dancing. I love it. I do it everywhere: in cars, in streets, in the classroom, etc. Most of the time I don't even notice what I'm doing, it just comesssss. I, like most people around the world, use it as a form of expression. Now, I'm not talking ballet dancing, I'm talking "be a whack" dancing (at least in my case).

Back to the reason for this post. There have been a couple places in the past 6 years or so that I've had the great opportunity to travel to and, while there, dance! Woo! But not "Sophia dance," culture dance! It's not very many places, but that's okay for now because I plan on adding to this measly number of 4. Here we go.

In 2006, a group of students from RC traveled to England and Scotland to study art from the Romantic period. On one of our first nights on this trip we were in Scotland. I can't remember the name of the town, but it was a small and cozy place that gave me a warm feeling. Our hotel was holding a wedding reception, if I recall correctly, and we were invited to join in on the festivities. So, we saw bagpipers and dancers! AND we were encouraged to join in! So, there, #1: Scottish dancing.
#2. Most of you know that I studied abroad in Thailand. Traditional Thai dancing is sort of like a tourist attraction because of how different it is. It is classic, slow, beautiful, and entrancing. For dinner one night, a couple friends and myself found a popular and sweet dinner location that included entertainment. Part of the entertainment was aerial stuff and Thai dancing! And, once again, the audience was encouraged to participate! Hey ohhh:
#3. In June of this year, I went a cruise with my parents and grandparents around the Mediterranean. It was awesome. I'll write another post on that later. On the cruise they offer different things to keep people busy and stuff. One day, the rents and I were just sitting around with about 2 hours to spare before dinner. I grabbed the calendar of events for the day and started skimming through it and found dance lessons! 5:15pm rolled around and Mommy and I went down and learned how to Cha Cha. I have no pictures of this, but we did it, I promise!

#4. My fourth dance journey around the world also happened during this summer. One of the stops on the cruise included a tiny place in Greece. If any of you have seen any type of movie that includes dancing, you sort of know what we got ourselves into. During our yummy traditional Greek lunch, there were Greek dancers and when everyone was finished they had people join them! We were all standing in a circle and they tried to teach us how to do a dance. It was quite simple, but I'm afraid some people might've had too much ouzo. Oh well. Blogger is being silly about uploading videos and pictures now, so no pictures or videos for now. Hmp.

So that's that! My teeny tiny adventures of dancing around the world! I hope to include more destinations and dances soon!

Peace & love

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ha Long Bay

I was in northern Vietnam so, duh, of course I had to go to Ha Long Bay! They are currently trying to make it one of the Wonders of the World. It totally should be! I, personally, don't understand why there should only be seven. Rude.

Anyways, Cinthia and I decided that doing a three day/two night tour would be better than a two day/one night tour. We signed up for the Asia Cruise via our amazeballs hostel, Hanoi Hostel. We were picked up for our tour on Saturday morning and we went around Hanoi picking up the others that joined this tour. I was super nervous at first because of the endless number of couples that kept coming onto the bus. By the time we started on the road towards the Bay, there was Cinthia, Chris (Australia), three English girls, Jack (England), and I - as the only "singles." So that left five couples with us for a total of 17 people. Our tour guide informed us that, because so many of us signed up for this cruise, they were going to have to break us apart. Oh man, this was when I was pleading (in my mind, of course) that I wasn't going to be stuck with a bunch of couples.

The trip to the Bay took about 4 hours with a 20 minute stop in between. We got to the dock and they divided us up and, thankfully, I wasn't stuck with JUST couples. On our boat it ended up being Cinthia, Chris, and myself with three couples (Tim and Emilia, Mark and Ines, Paul and Debi) who ended up being BY FAR the COOLEST couples anyone could ever get stuck with! Tim and Emi live in England, but Emi is from Spain. Mark and Ines are both from Spain; Mark couldn't speak any English, so Ines did a lot of translating, but I got to practice my Spanish! And Paul and Debi are from England. I spent most of my time with Paul and Debi. They are so sweet and awesome. I had a blasty blast with them!

[official] Day One: we got onto the boat and had lunch, yum! And then we went and visited this huge cave... I forget the name of it in Vietnamese, but I think it translated to "Amazing" in English. It was pretty cool. I mean, I've been to caves before, so it wasn't really anything special, but it was neat I guess. After the "Amazing" cave we went to the floating villages and got to kayak around for 30 minutes! Not nearly enough time, but I love kayaking, so it was a ball! When we finished up kayaking, we got back onto our baller boat and got to go swimming in the Bay! Oh man, was that cool!? The water was a green color and such a lovely warm temperature: not too hot, but not too cold... Goldilocks would've loved it. We were allowed to jump off the boat, too! All of the guys and Ines were jumping off the third story! I wanted to, but it was really high! So I started at the bottom and worked my way up... to the second floor. When I jumped off the second floor, it felt like I was falling through the air for eternity (echo: eternity eternityy eeeternittyyyyyy), but it was fun. It was nice being able to swim around after sweating so much. The water was super salty and bit gasoline-y, too. That wasn't really nice, but whatevs. When everyone had finished swimming around, we all got back onto the boat and went and met up with the other boat that the other half of our tour people were on. They anchored our boat RIGHT next to the other boat (RIGHT next to it being that we could literally step right onto the other boat easy!). We ate dinner and then sat around under the stars. It was glorious.

Day Two: woke up at 8 am and had breakfast. After breakfast, we got onto our tiny boat with all of our stuff and said good-bye to our baller boat: we were heading to Cat Ba Island. On Cat Ba, we had the choice of either going hiking up a mountain or going biking. I really wanted to go biking, but NO ONE else wanted to go biking, so all 17 of us ended up going hiking. The lady who took us up the mountain said it was a 2 hour hike total, so I thought it was gonna be easy. It wasn't really that easy, but it wasn't, like, super difficult. What made it super difficult was the HEAT. Oh man. I stepped out and every part of my body was soaked in sweat. Lovely. The most difficult part of the hike up was these metal ladder/step things they had on the mountain. They were rusty and had sharp edges, which I promptly cut myself on (excellent) and they were slippery from all the mud that was caked on them, which I promptly slipped on and had a huge knot on my leg from (super!). At the end of the hike up we were literally rock climbing! I have wanted to rock climb, but not in this extreme heat, but hey, whatevs! At the top, it was a pretty view. Just mountains and mountains that looked like it went on forever and ever. Then started the climb down. Not as bad, thank goodness. We also went a different way to avoid the metal ladder/step things. Instead, I basically sat on my butt and slide down a bunch of rocks. I slipped a couple times (weird), but it was nice cos I was in the front and far enough ahead of people that I didn't get laughed at too much :).

We loaded back into the van and drove to a different side of Cat Ba Island where we caught a ferry to Monkey Island for the night. It was about 1ish when we arrived, and we ate lunch and then we had free time to swim in the ocean! HOLLA! That was awesome. I really enjoyed that. The water was so perfect again! That afternoon, we all just hung out. Some people walked to the other side of the island to see the monkeys, but after my last experience with monkeys in Lop Buri, Thailand, I decided I didn't really want to see any monkeys and I was perfectly okay with that. We had a lovely bbq meal that was provided, once again, by our resort. That night, we just hung out and played Uno with a couple people (English couple, Spanish couple, Swedish couple and me). It was funfunfun!! I forgot how much I liked Uno! Went back to Cinthia and my bungalow and fell fast asleep.

Day Three: This day was just traveling back to Hanoi, basically. From Monkey Island, ferried to Cat Ba, drove to the other side of Cat Ba, ferried to our big boat in the bay, boated back to port, ate lunch and hung out til we disembarked and got onto our van to head back to Hanoi.

I had a great time in Ha Long Bay. I am SO happy that I decided to do the three day one instead of the two day one. I feel like I would've felt rushed doing the two day tour, plus we got to see more on the three day one, baller! I met so many lovely people, as usual. I feel lucky.

Peace, love, & granita!

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Hello all!

I'm currently in Rome, but this post will be about Sapa... hence the title. I landed in Rome last night and am staying one night in a hostel then moving over near the Colosseum to a room that I found on AirBnB with a girl named Alice! Should be cool!

Anyways, Sapa. Oh my goodness. What a beautiful, serene place. I wish I had stayed more days there, but I had booked a three day Halong Bay trip and did not really have time to stay longer. I probably could end up staying a week in Sapa. I loved it.

First, it was in the mountains, so a TEENY bit cooler than the busy, crazy streets of Hanoi. Second, it wasn't as crazy or busy as the streets of Hanoi. Thirdly, I met the nicest (nicestnicestnicest!) people there.

Georgia, Cinthia, and I took a day train (never.again.) to Sapa on Tuesday. It was ten hours. It wasn't that bad, but I definitely will not be doing it again. We were the only foreigners in our car, which was pretty cool actually. We got to witness the interactions between the Vietnamese families first hand. I'm pretty sure most of the families were not traveling together, but whenever a family had some sort of food, be it cookies or fruit, they shared it with everyone. It was quite an experience.

So we got to Lao Cai and had to take a bus up into the hills. It was really windy, but I didn't get sick, whew! Once we got to Sapa, I knew I was going to love it. Cinthia and I went to our hostel which was a bit of a walk from the main part of the town, but it was great because it wasn't too nosy or anything. We met up with Georgia after showers for dinner and walked around a bit. It was definitely great.

Our first full day, Cinthia and I went to a place that we read really great reviews about called Baguette and Chocolat, or something to that effect. (Because Vietnam was settled by the French, you can find a bunch of French stuff, like architecture and food there, pretty swell) Anyways we got there and ran into Georgia! Neat-o! We spent a good amount of time there and decided that we'd walk the 3 km to a H'mong village by the name of Cat Cat in the valley. It was mainly all downhill but we saw the most spectacular sites. Rice paddies and waterfalls and streams and just green green green, EVERYWHERE!

That night we went to the night market and ran into two H'mong women, Tu and Lily. This happens quite often, as they are roaming the streets selling their crafts, but even if you don't want to buy anything, they just want to sit there and chat with you! SO NICE! I love it! Anyways, that's what happened with Tu and Lily, we just sat around and talked for a while. We found out that they were taking some people on a trek the next day and we asked if we could join up! They said yes! YAY!

So, on Thursday, we set off in search of Tu and Lily. We found them. Oh man, the cutest cutest women! I love 'em. So we set off towards Tu's home. She walks 3 hours to Sapa almost everyday and three hours home the next morning. She has 7 kids at 32 years old. She's so nice. We asked a lot of questions and got all the answers, it was so neat!! On our way, we saw many many rice paddies! I asked Tu if it would be okay if I planted some rice and she said totes (but not really). So, when we ran into some people planting rice, she asked. I promptly took off my shoes and socks and walked into the rice paddy. It was super squishy and muddy. They handed me a handful of rice plants and I got to work! I was smiling and giggling the ENTIRE time because I was so giddy. I kept saying "This is awesome!" over and over. They were so nice to me. When I finished with my first handful, they gave me another! Great times. Afterwards, I sort of washed myself with more dirty water and put my shoes back on and went off again.

Tu's little compound type of thing has a bunch of animals: ducks, chickens, pigs, and she said they even have a water buffalo, but I didn't see it. She started making lunch for us and we played around (sorta) with her seven kids. It was pretty neat. I was so happy. She and Lily fixed a magnificent meal! It was so delicious, but I couldn't finish it. I tried my hardest, because I didn't want them to think I didn't like it, but I failed miserably. After lunch, we bought a couple of their crafts and they shoved free stuff into our hands.

So, smiling big, we started off back towards Sapa. We got a bridge and ordered mototaxis to take us back to the town. My mototaxi decided to break down halfway there, but I got another one easy. Super.

Once back in town, we said our goodbyes to Tu and Georgia, and Cinthia and I went back to our hostel to wait for them to take us to the bus station. That night Cinthia and I returned to Hanoi. It was about an 11 hour drive, but the bus was a sleeper bus! Literally! They had seats, but they were laid down allllllll the way, so they were practically beds. Excellent.

I loved Sapa. Really. What a wonderful place filled with the nicest people. I would totally go back in a heartbeat.

Peace, love & (oh how I miss it!) KIMCHI!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hanoi, day 2

Hola from Hanoi!

I don't feel like typing a lot, so I'm gonna bullet point this post. Holla.

1. Woke up in time for a free breakfast. Always a good thing.
2. Cinthia and I went to the train station to book my ticket to Sapa for Tuesday with her and Georgia.
3. Walked to St. Joseph's Cathedral. Super pretty from the outside. Couldn't go in. Oh well.
4. Had my first iced coffee in Vietnam (coffee is supposed to be baller here). It was, indeed, baller.
5. Walked around the Old Quarter a bunch. Found a supermarket, went in, bought stuff.
6. Walked around more. Nothing too exciting.
7. Walked around even more. Found a really pretty ring, bought it. It broke less than an hour later in a cafe where I had my second iced coffee. Not nearly as great as the first one. Fail. Also had spring rolls.
8. It started monsooning while in this cafe.
9. Left the cafe and went to 69 Restaurant. Relatively good food.
10. Went back to ring place and they fixed it... with melted wax. Awesome. Where's super glue (slash KATIEDALE) when you need it/her?!
11. Went to yet another cafe where I just had lemonade this time. Got to talk to the padres, grents, and KATIEDALE while there :)
12. Went to the Water Puppet Show. It was cool. It was funny. I laughed a bit.
13. Came back to the hostel.

That's it. Not a too exciting day. The city is still noisy and busy. I'm a bit excited about Sapa. We'll probably go trekking a bit. Should be nice to get out of the city. Anyways. That's it. Goodnight.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Hanoi, Vietnam

I'm in Vietnam. It was quite a travel day for me yesterday. Probably the toughest travel day I've ever had, which is a bummer, but I guess it was needed as I have learned from mistakes and whatnots. I will not go into detail because it exhausted me enough yesterday!

Anyways, got to the hostel last night around 10pm ish. There were two other girls here, so we talked for a bit and I got on Skype to check in with the rents. And then I had the most amazing shower I've ever had in my life. I don't think it was the shower at the hostel, so much as being sweaty and emotionally/physically/mentally exhausted from the day.

I slept in pretty late today, which was nice and needed considering I had been going on 4 hours of sleep in 39 hours. Rough life. Woke up and Cinthia (a girl in the hostel with me) and I went off into Hanoi! We went to the Ho Chi Minh mauseleum, which closes at 11am, so we missed that, but weren't too worried. We got to see the One-Pillar Pagoda. I didn't really think it was going to be just one pillar, but it definitely was. It was super cute and small and one pillar. Pretty neat. Supposedly it was built as some sort of replica of another Buddhist pagoda.

The Ho Chi Minh museum was closed for lunch, so we decided to go find something to eat as well. I had delicious steamed rice with chicken and lemongrass. Oh man. Delicious. And we sat around looking at her Vietnam book and map and figuring out what all we wanted to do while in Vietnam since we both came super unprepared, in terms of planning.

After lunch, we went back to the museum. It is very interesting seeing the differences of the museums from home and the museums abroad. The museums from home give you the history and a story, but the Ho Chi Minh museum we went to today, just had pictures and letters that were briefly labeled. This was when we both realized we didn't know much about Ho Chi Minh at all. From the labels that we read, we came up with what we think is who is was and whatnot. I should probably look into that; make me smarter and stuff.

Considering it was about 100 degrees fahreinheit here, we were both completely worn out after this (around 230pm) so we came back to the hostel and unwound a bit. After we got our thoughts together and stuff, we went back out into Hanoi towards Hoan Kiem Lake in the Old Quarter, which is where our hostel is. We bought tickets for a water puppet show for tomorrow (Monday) night, so that should be interesting. I'm not exactly sure what it is, but I've been told that I must see one, so I will! We walked around the lake a bit and then started coming back. We were looking for food to eat when a huge rain started. It came out of nowhere! Really! It was crazy. So we were kinda stuck, but found a pretty good hole in the wall pho place.

Finally, we got back to the hostel and showered and have been relaxing a bit. I think that we are going to go to the train station tomorrow so I can book a ticket to go to Sapa Valley with Cinthia and Georgia (a girl from Australia).

All in all, my first day in Vietnam has been... crazy. It is hot and loud and super busy. I feel like I have to constantly watch where I am going because there are crazy motorbikes flying around in all directions. I'm hoping I don't get hurt! The Old Quarter is pretty nice, but I think I'm excited to get out of the city for a bit. I'm not entirely sure where I'll be going, but this is sorta what I have in mind: Sapa Valley for, ehh, two days? Halong Bay junk boat cruise for two/three days. Then either Ninh Binh or I'll buck up and take a long bus ride down to Hoi An. :) We shall see.

Miss and love!

The End

I finished out Korea, guys. I made it. The whole year. As happy and excited I was to leave Korea, I was great amounts of sad, too. I made friends there that made leaving very difficult. I'm going to miss them. They each had an impact on me that, I doubt, none of them know about.

Anyways, finished up the time on my futon! The new girl, Beth, came in on Tuesday night and we went out with Peter and Katie for some Green Galbi. She followed me Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, so she is fully prepared for my babies! On Thursday night, we went to a favorite restaurant for dinner and to say goodbyes. It was hard. I cried. Weird. And on Friday we went out for same same, but different place. That was also hard. Katie and I stayed up all night Friday night cos I had to catch the airport shuttle at 4:30am on Saturday. So we just stayed up. Katie walked me to the bus and put me on it. That was sad. I love you, Katie Dale.

The End.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Korea vs High School: Socializing

I like to think that I'm a nice person, a relatively happy person, and an approachable person. In the past couple days, though, I'm starting to believe that maybe this "bubbliness" is too much for some people. That, or people are just downright RUDE. Not just any "people" but other foreigners here in Korea.

The reason I bring this up is because, yea, in the past couple days I've noticed some pretttttyyyyy rude foreigners. Example numero uno: I was walking home from the grocery store on Sunday... I was walking on the sidewalk (totally normal) and saw this foreign chick walking towards me. We were the only ones on the sidewalk and so, naturally, I smiled as in saying "hello" without actually speaking. Girl did not EVEN respond. She just kept walking! What?! I saw her later in our apartment/villa complex and I wasn't going to say anything that time, but she said "hi" so I responded, albeit begrudgingly because she ignored me earlier on in the day.

Example numero dos: on Monday evening, as the three of us were walking home from work, we saw a foreign guy walking towards us. It was daylight and it was a small street, so I said "hello!" nice and loud and clear-like as he was walking past us. This guy did NOTHING. Absolutely nothing! He just kept walking. I watched him pass and he didn't even BLINK, guys. RUDE!

I've heard a couple stories from people who have been here for longer than a year and they have said that when they first got here, everyone was super friendly and wanted to get to know everyone, but now foreigners try their hardest to straight up ignore other foreigners that they do not know. This reminds me of high school where you had your own little click and did not want to talk to anyone else. Kind of like the group of friends you already have is good enough and taking on anymore friends might be bad or something. There could be a bunch of different groups crowding the hallway that would never interact with a different clique. The only time people from different cliques crossed paths were if they happened to be in the same after school club or sport, but even there, they would try to stick with just their friends.

That's sort of how it is here. Like I said, I think I'm an approachable, nice person, so I'm guessing it's just other foreigners don't want anymore friends or they just refuse to socialize with people who are not in their group of friends. So rude.

Here's a picture to brighten the mood:

David and Kevin of Elephant class being elephants!

Oh, and here's another:

'Baller' and 'holler' on a spelling test. :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mixtape of Sorts

The following blog post will include a couple different things. I'll head them so you can pick and choose what you'd like to read :) I know, I'm nice.

Learning the language, or ... not.
I have a friend that is in France and keeps a blog as well. It's a really good read. The last couple posts have been about the language and how many foreigners there don't even try with the language and how she gets compliments on being well-versed in French. I think that's awesome, that she is learning her third language and doing freakin' spectacularly! These posts always get me thinking, of course. I've been here for 11 months now and I barely know any Korean. I know a few phrases and words and I can read Korean, but it's definitely not something worth writing home about. I do feel bad about not learning Korean like I said I was going to, but it's too late now... Anyways, yea. That's really all I wanted to say about that: I feel bad that I don't know more Korean, but, hey! I can read it! That's pretty cool, eh?! And I can say "I love you." Always important. :)

One more.
Guys, I have one more month here. I can't believe it. A sorority sister emailed me asking what I was doing in Korea and I told her and then I said that I had been here for such-and-such amount of time and that in five weeks it would be a year. Then I stopped and had a minor freak out. In FIVE weeks I would have been in KOREA for a whole YEAR. HOLY SHIT! Part of me can't believe it, then a different part of me is like, "Well, duh, it's about damn time this year was up." I'm so so soooo mixed about how I feel about it, it's ridiculous. I'm happy that I came here because I got to myself better and a different culture and new foods and new friends, but then I'm like a year! A year in Korea! I had heard that I might not be able to do more than a year, then I came here and met many people who had been here for 2-6 years and I was confused. Then I had the chance to experience it for myself and I've figured out that, yes, Korea is a good country, it's a great place to teach and the people are nice and the food is delicious and you aren't alone, but it's definitely not my [kind of] country, if you get what I'm saying. I've had a great time in this year, but I'm ready to move on... I'm pretty sure. I'm gonna miss my friends, that's fo' sho'.
Side note: I admire anyone and everyone that has stayed here for more than the first year. You guys are amazing and I am so glad that you love it lots!

Packing, ick.
I have decided that the last week that I'm here, I just want it to me, the turtles, my backpack, and the stuff that was here before me in this apartment. With that said, I have four weeks to get everything out of here/thrown away. Now that I've officially said four weeks to do that, my stomach is slightly knotted. My parents have reminded me over and over and over again that I'm lazy. I agree with them, I am! I hate packing! I hate getting ready for stuff, it's time consuming and boringgggg. I'm secretly (or not so much so) hoping that I'll be able to throw away most of the stuff that is here! I hope hope hope!

Since I'll be leaving in five weeks, I should probably start thinking about where in northern Vietnam I'm going to go and where I'm going to stay in Vietnam and Rome. Have I even looked into it? Ehhh, not really. Surprise? No. I did ask a friend of a friend about her stay in Vietnam and she had some excellent tips, but I have yet to look into it on my own. Fail. I really should probably get on that. If any of you guys have any tips or suggestions, holler at me. PLEASEEEEEEEE!! I beg!

School Update
As I reported in the last update, things with the kids have been going pretty well. Zebra class and I are get along great, when we both get our way without fighting! Yay! Elephant class is still my favorite because they just LOVE to learn. They want to be at school and they want to be with me, I love it... well, except for one kid who has been giving me the HARDEST time. When I talked to her mom, who I know personally, she told me things were rough at home, so I get it. I get that L's life sucks right now, but do you have to make mine suck, too?! I mean, come on! After I talked to the rents about my issues, they suggested I ignore her, which I did all day Friday and it worked out for me. The other kids and I just pretended she wasn't there when she decided that 12:08 would be a perfect time to throw a fit. That's gonna be my new angle... I'ma straight up ignore the dickens out of that child and shower the other kids with my love and attention! Evil? Maybe (*shrugsies*). Worth it? Most certainly (HOORAY!).
This week we have Thursday off of school for Children's Day. Not sure what that is, but I'll take a day off since we haven't had one off since the very beginning of March, and that was barely a day off. Then we go back to school for Friday, have the weekend off, go to school Monday, and have a day off on Tuesday for another national holiday. I have asked multiple times if we could have either Friday or Monday off, for a four day weekend, but boss lady has told me that the parents complain and then gets a super sad face on and says "I WISH I WISH!!" Ugh. That's all I have to say to that: ugh.

I think that's about it, folks. I feel like I wanted to write about something else, but I have forgotten about it in the four hours it has taken me to jot this post down.

Peace, love, & chicken noodle soup (which I'm currently nom-ing)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Just Call Me "Indie"

"Indie" for "Indecisive"

Yes, folks, me... I couldn't even figure out what to update my blog about! And my nickname, given by Nate, pretty much sums up the past month (aka since my last update).

Anyways, I've been trying to figure out my next step after Korea. Yes, I have booked tickets to at least DC, but that's as far as I've mapped out my next quest. I had a job interview in Kuwait that was looking like it would be heading in the right direction, but due to my indecisiveness and my lack of knowing what I want to do right this minute, I decided to stop with the interview. It was for a nursery teacher position, which would mean doing this same thing I'm doing right now, again. I love babies, but not enough to "teach" them anything. So that was one decision I was able to make after much consideration and stress. Exciting.

My next indecisiveness came with "Well if I'm not going to teach in Kuwait, what am I gonna do?" Easy, I'm gonna go to Kuwait and live with my parents. Uh... what?! Live with my parents again!? *SWOOSH* Here comes Indie to the rescu- uhh, wait... nevermind. More stress. Why would I want to live with my parents again, other than it being a free place to be? The other reason is because if I stick my head out far enough and try, I might be able to find good tutoring gigs that will bring in some money flow without being on a (EEPS!) contract of any sort! Okay... Then I thought "Well, shit, man, I can't live with them and save up money forever! I need something else!"
I sat back and talked with Katie and the rentals and came to the conclusion that I want to teach. I do. I want to. However, I do not want to teach the English language, and I do not want to teach babies which is sort of (I say sort of because that's not necessarily true, but I really just do not want to teach anyone how to speak English... I'M horrible at it, why would someone want to learn how to speak from me?!) the only avenue I have with just my bachelor's. SO I think I'm going back to school, guys (think = pretty sure)! I want to teach and I want to travel and a really great way of being able to teach what I want, who I want, and where I want is being a certified teacher! :) Excellent.

our walk home from work

That being somewhat "down pat." I had to figure out summer plans, which are still in the process of being organized.

MOOOOOOOOOVING right along... I've gotten used to the kids in the past month (thank goodness, right). And I'd like to think they have gotten used to me and sort of being in a classroom. Since I see the same kids everyday, all day I try to break up the monotony of studying English for the babies, and we do fun things, too, but they are also learning to recognize when to be "serious" and when to have fun so it's a great time! That was a long sentence.
We had a field trip today to a Transportation Museum. It was relatively boring and uninformative for the babies, but we had a great time at lunch time and after lunch time! It was such a beautiful day, in fact there have been lots of beautiful days as of late, and so we played around outside. It was mostly havoc, but it was nice seeing the little kids being little kids and not being told to sit properly for five hours out of a day, ya know?

That's pretty much it, though. Here are some pictures to lessen the boring-ness of this post. :)

Jason super excited on the bus


Reppin' license plates from the States

After-thought: I guess it doesn't seem too indecisive, but trust me guys, this is an issue for me. Even trying to figure out if I'm going to go out to dinner with friends is a pain in the a$$. Oh yea, dollar signs. What?!

Peace, love, & Polo mints

Oh, and also, I have a month and a half left. Weird.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

In the past two weeks... Warning: it's a semi-long one

With my departure date slowly coming into view, I've been doing a bunch of thinking. Mainly, it's "Man, I'm gonna miss Katie Dale." This is a very true statement, but I'm also going to miss our other friends, too. We have cool friends, we like them. Then I find myself thinking that I'm going to miss Korea, which is also true. Korea is a pretty cool place, I guess. I was talking to a friend and he mentioned that to be here, you need to be positive. So true! You've got to be super positive, which can be super hard at times because you find yourself faking that positivity and that gets tiring. Other than being tired of always trying to be upbeat, Korea is a pretty okay place. It's a good place to start off living on your own and they have an endless need of English teachers, so there are always jobs.
Anyways, *shakes head to get back into groove*, I'm going to miss it here and whenever I start feeling like I'm going to miss something, I sometimes start to doubt my leaving. But it's okay! I was unsure of my leaving for a bit, but then I remembered that I'm ready for the next step. I'm excited to move to Kuwait and make some more monies to fund my 'round-the-world extravaganza (that had best happen)! The next 11 weeks or so are going to fly by, so I'm going to try my best to take advantage of the time I have left to experience more of Korea, so when I do leave here, I won't regret that decision. That was a lot of USELESS RAMBLING, per usual.

Here's the real scoop:

We've got new kids. I am in Zebra class now. I bounce back and forth between Zebra (6 years old) and Elephant (5 years old) everyday. Tuesday and Friday, I have Apple class and Day Care for one period of the day and, on Wednesday, I have a break (much needed break). The kids are somewhat cute. Mostly, though, they just wear me out. Zebra class are all best friends now and it can be difficult teaching them anything at all.
Last year (3 weeks ago) when I was in King class, I was convinced that teaching English was somewhat tedious and easy. Now, with kids that don't speak any English at all, I find that teaching English is, in fact, quite difficult. They don't understand me and I don't understand them. It's frustrating, but when they can finally read "can" and "cat" I feel accomplished and proud.
Here is my Zebra class:




StephanieMore on their personalities and my interactions with them on some other post.

In Elephant class, there is a total of 8 kids I think. One kid, James, just cries all the time because he hates English and doesn't want to learn. Fair. Another kid, Jason, is one of the teacher's kids and he just... oh man. He cries, too; when he sees his mom, when he doesn't feel like sitting down, when he can't ask for the bathroom or water in English, when Jessica teacher leaves the third floor at the end of the day, every morning, etc. One word: headaches. Even with those two, Elephant class is my favorite so far. They are so cute and squishy and they listen to me. When I ask and motion them to stand up and push in their chairs they don't turn to each other and just start talking, they do what I ask them to. They love to sing along with the songs and they do their work. They're beautiful and I love them. Here are my favorites:

Kevin - he is super smart and quiet
Ricky - also smart. He loves to talk and calls the crying kids "babies." And he smiles at me.
David - He's cute. When he sings, he belts it out. And he's super ticklish.

Those are my classes.

Two weekends ago, Katie and I decided that we should do some sightseeing of sorts, so we found out where we had to go to find the Seoul Tower and go up up up! We found it pretty easily, after a hike up a small hill, we got into a cable car and went up the mountain. It was so cool! On Namsan, they also have this thing called "Locks of Love," nooo not the hair thing. It's for lovers. Lovers take locks up there and write messages on them (lovey dovey) and then lock it up. It was really cool and sweet, but I'm a sap for those kinds of things. After looking around the locks, we went up into the Tower. It was pretty cool, really high. It had a good view of the city. We felt accomplished after our day trip to Seoul. This whole paragraph was crappily written, I apologize; I think I'm getting sick and my head is not all in one piece because of this.

in the cable car

locks and the Tower

Peace, love, & kimchi.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


With a lot of help from the padres (thank goodness), I was able to book flights! Needless to say, I'm super pumped now. :)

Seoul - Hanoi on June 4th
Hanoi - Rome on June 15th
Milan - DC on July 8th

Still figuring out: flight to CA? flight to Kuwait - one way.

Super stoked.

Peace, love, & kimchi

PS. I'll be keeping this blog for my other travels.

Friday, March 4, 2011


First two days back at school with a new classroom and new kids has been crazy hectic. Crying babies, fake smiles, pants soaked in pee, and crying babies EVERYWHERE. So I thought I'd write a bit about some positives going on.

1. The babies always smile after a bit, which happen to be cute smiles!
2. I have really cool coworkers. I super like them a lot.
3. My friends are pretty awesome. Near and far.
4. Snurtle and Hank are doing spectacularly (I think; they don't talk much)
5. 65 weekdays.
6. Korean food is amazeballs.
7. My boss saw the purple in my hair and did NOT freak out. YAY!
8. Seester sent me Reeses cups!
9. I found money in my pocket today.
10. It was cold today, but it was a pleasant cold. AKA it was a nice day.

There's tons more, but I think this is good for now.

Peace, love, & kimchi

Monday, February 28, 2011

9 Months

Oh hey! A whole month went by without a blog post from Sophia? Weird.

Not a whole lot has been happening around these parts lately. I told the boss lady I wouldn't be coming back for another 6/9/12 months, so my official leave date is something like June 2nd. My plans are sort of in place, but not really because I haven't booked anything yet :/. Anyways...

We had our big finale show thing-a-doodle on the 15th. It wasn't so bad, guys! I feel like it went a lot better than we all thought it would. Although, having all the Korean teachers leave us three in a tiny room without television and/or some sort of entertainment with 5 classes for about 2 hours was not the highlight of the evening. I was so proud of the kids! They did such a great job. I scored a DVD from it, too! Woot! So now I can watch it allllll. We started at the school to practice and I took some videos of that, and once I actually upload them, I'll post them here! After lunch, we made our way to an art museum where we did the performance. The two classes I was "in charge of," Elephant and King, were great! Elephant class did the drama The Three Billy Goats. Everyone remembered their lines and movement and songs! And King class did their speeches! Super proud of those rascals.

Since the 15th, we were wrapping all the books and stuff up, hurrying the kids to finish them so we could mark them up and send them home last Thursday with all the kids. Yep, last Thursday was the last day of the school year! So sad. I'm gonna miss King and Robot class a tremendous amount! But, no worries, because 7 of the students from King class will be back for elementary classes this new school year!

So even though Thursday was their last day, we had to go in on Friday. And Saturday. Friday, we were taking down our classrooms and doing a general cleaning of the floors. Saturday morning we had to look "presentable" for the parents during orientation. We literally stood up there for 5 minutes. All we had to say was who we were and what classes we will be teaching this year. Katie will be in charge of Robot (which is Puppy class moving on up) and the newest Puppy class. Peter will be in charge of King (which is Zebra and Elephant moving up). And I will be in charge of Zebra, Elephant, and Apple (Zebra = new, Elephant = last year's Apple class, Apple = day care??). So yea.

My new schedule consists of me moving around the third floor a lot! I'll mostly be teaching Zebra (6 years) and Elephant (5 years) Language Arts, Learn to Read, English Village, and Science. And I'll be making weekly visits to Day Care and Apple class. Should be fun! I'm a bit nervous just because I don't know these kids and the kids I do know speak no English! It should be interesting, that's for sure.

Anyways, we went in today, Monday, to set up our new classrooms. We spent most of the day coloring, cutting, laminating, and cutting. Needless to say, my hand is officially sore. We have tomorrow off because it's some sort of holiday and we have to go in Wednesday to finish our rooms, lesson plans, etc and we start teaching Thursday. Yikes! I'm super nervous. I hope it goes well!

So that's pretty much it. All the new, boring news that is happening here! :)

Peace & Love!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Five Things

1. It's a beautiful 40 degrees here.
2. It makes me miss warmth.
3. I think the world is going to shit. There are some things that make me doubt this, which is why I am not 100% sure about it.
4. I sorta miss my friends in the States, but they have made it easy for me to not miss them.
5. I love my turtles. And my friends here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Evil Laugh

You say you want a gift from Korea?

You got it!

Monday, January 31, 2011

RR: Random Ramblings

1. Peter teacher has been here for a week and one day! It has been the greatest week and one day ever! The kids love him, the staff loves him, and it's just been great! Love it.

2. King class Peter left :( sad day for me. Loved that kid. His family moved too far away to make the commute everyday to school. Le sigh.

3. Our end of the year performance has been pushed back a week to February 15th, which is great! The whole entire school has been working uber hard on this the past week and one day! Every free moment has been dedicated to rehearsing dramas, speeches, and songs. Today the boss lady sat in with me for Elephant's drama and King's speeches. It didn't go too bad. I was impressed. The kids impressed me. They have come so far in the time that I've been here. :)

4. Boss asked me to stay on another year, I said "no" cos of the Italy cruise, then she said she'd give me 3 weeks off if I stayed for a year, then I said "ah shit, guess I'll think about it." Needless to say, I was obsessing over it for about a day. I've decided another year ain't gonna happen. I'm gonna cross my fingers and see if she'll let me stay til at least October/November. I doubt she will let me stay and still give me time off for the cruise, but we'll see.

5. Katie's dad came today! And this Wednesday-Friday we have no school because of the Lunar New Year! Exciting. Then we come back and have three weeks left with King and Robot then they move on to elementary school and then everyone moves up a floor. Scary/exciting. I'm gonna miss King and Robot a tremendous amount; I've become very attached to those kids.

6. Pretty sure that's it. Peace, love, and cookies.
Sarah, Cindy, and I on picture day!

Peter and I! <3

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

7.5 Months Down

It's been a month since my last post. Not a whole bunch of new stuff going on, I suppose.

The family visited for Christmas/New Years. The parents came on the 18th. We hung out for the weekend and waited for Sarah to get in. Unfortunately Sarah had some plane mishaps (surprise surprise, right?) and arrived, like, a day late. Not too bad. Parents and Sarah stayed up in Seoul for the later part of my last week before Winter Vacation. They got to go to the DMZ and did the Seoul City Tour and a bunch of other neat-o things while I got to work work work. Yay.

Mommy, Daddy, and Sarah at the DMZ

It was a pretty good week, the week before vacation, especially Christmas Eve! We had a party after lunch and didn't have to teach! That was exciting. And for our elementary classes, we watched Christmas movies and then had another party. I ate soooo much food. Ridiculous. It was a lot of fun though. I like the kids. They can be cool.

King and Robot partying it up on the Eve of Christmas

Elementary boys digging into our salsa we made.

I went up to Seoul on Christmas Eve and we spent Christmas Day wandering around this Korean village thing in Seoul. It was pretty cool. They had huge ice sculptures! After making our way back to the hotel to grab their belongings, we hopped on the subway for an 1.5 hour trip back to Ori. Once we arrived, we had our Christmas. We made chicken, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, stuffing, and bread from the best, Paris Baguette. It wasn't too shabby. Christmas was weird. It was our first Christmas not in the States or with the whole family. We weren't completely prepared, so I think it was a bit disappointing, but it was still very nice to be with family for the holidays.

Ice sculptures!

Famjam on Christmas

Christmas dinner.

We hung out and didn't do much on Sunday and Monday I went up to base to visit Nate. Then on Tuesday we rented a car and drove down to Busan. I didn't think it would take as long as it did, but I totally forgot to factor in the drivers here... But we got there safely and got to our nice love motel! It was like a castle! Pretty cool.

The ceiling of one of our rooms

Ow! Ow! Love Motels!

While we were in Busan we visited two temples and the famous Jagalchi Fish Market. We also spent a lot of time in Nampodong Market. Also visited Haeundae beach and market and ate at Fuzzy Navel Tacos (YUM!). It was a nice getaway from lil' ol' Bundang.

At Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

At Beomeosa Temple

Rents left on New Years and seester and I got to hang out for a week. We didn't do much because I am lame and was exhausted after work, but we got to watch a bunch of movies and play catch up. Love you, seester and sorry for being lame.

Other than that, there really isn't a lot going on here. Still waiting for Peter to get here. Still rustling around getting things done. Still trying to figure out my next step. I have about 4.5 months left here. Just enough time, I think. I'm going to miss KatieDale, for sure though. She's been a great friend to me.