Bringing the Casino(skillz) to Korea!

No, actually it’s illegal to gamble here. It’s for the best. LAWD knows I’d be in troubbbllleee.

I was hanging out at school this past Friday preparing for a testing day by… checking Facebook. On the group created for my town in Korea, someone put up a post asking if anyone wanted to play poker. I couldn’t get in on the action because 1. I’m broke 2. I haven’t played since I left pre-Thailand 3. I’m broke. But I watched as a few guys responded to the post saying they wanted to join. After about 5 people joined in, an official event was started.

*insert mischievous grin* “I may not be able to play,” the grinchess thought, “..but maybe I can make them pay!”

Old memories of my times at the casino flooded my brain. I messaged the game-starter and mentioned my services. He said ‘I guarantee you’ll leave with 40K tonight’ (((keep in mind.. 40K in won… not dollars))) So I told him i’d get there after school.

School ended, I ran outside to catch a bus. *Insert an hour of trying to figure out which bus to catch from where I was* The game had started at 9:30p… I got out of work at 10pm…I didn’t get there until 11pm. 😦

But the game was still on! I had lotion and stretched my hands. And since this isn’t the casino…. I had myself a lovely gin and tonic. *content smile*

I offered 10 minutes for 7Kwon. I did two 30 minutes sessions and a 10 min session. After a couple of drinks, a horrible game of darts,  and a basket of chicken strips ((omg chicken strips!!))  I left. .. with 40K (won). AND a couple of new clients. One who will hopefully be a regular, and since I know his wife, they’ll be a couple of regulars 🙂

HIGH FIVE FOR MASSAGE DURING POKER SKILLS!!

Happy One Month.

I believe it was one month ago today that I arrived in Ulsan. Since then, I feel I’ve settled in quite well. I live in a fantastic apartment. I have “inherited” and purchased some great stuff for said apartment. I have a tiny group of herbs and plants growing (although its been a week since they’ve sprouted and aren’t growing all that much it seems). I have come to be in possession of a little toaster oven, rice cooker, toaster, kettle, and (wait for it)… a pasta maker. Obviously the pasta maker is going to be a grand ol’ time… you can look for future recipes and posts on another food thing. I have a few good yoga mats to start practicing massage on for hopefully a few future clients. And I’m completing the first month teaching.

I have students from ages 10-15. The younger students are great. They’re excited to learn and bring out a fun side in me. They get excited about a pencil case, for goodness’ sake. The older ones are in that stage of learning what it means to be a douche assholism  puberty. I’m trying to take it with a grain of salt but some of them just sit there. Literally sit there. I ask a question: “What do you like to talk about?” Nothing. “What things do you like?” …..”What?” “I asked you what your interests are. So we can have a conversation about it next week?” “What?” (((BITCH PUHLEASE! You understand me))) “What do you like?” “Nothing, teacher.” Bullshit. “Nobody likes ‘nothing.’ What sport do you like?” “What?” “WHAT (((mother f********))) sport DO YOU LIKE?!” “Oh. Soccer.”

Geeeeeezuz what was so hard about that? Oh wait, he’s playing on his cell phone and copying answers off the Korean Clueless Cher behind him. That class isn’t the worst. Out of the 6 of them (formerly 7), 2 of them answer regularly, 2 of them will occasionally answer, and 2 will just sit there mumbling or saying nothing at all.

My devil class has 2 good students out of 9? Apparently they’re new so they don’t know to behave poorly like the others. But I reward them for being good. There are 2 boys that can be pretty bad. And a few girls that just giggle and talk in Korean and then cry when I tell them to leave for being rude and disruptive. Hey, if you don’t do your homework and come to class and talk in Korean during ‘English only time’ you’re going to get a frustrated teacher. And just when I thought I was lucky enough to get to show their parents how shitty they are by giving them the reports and monthly tests, I find out that they don’t have to take the tests because they’re in Middle School Exam Prep. AKA 2-3 weeks of students not showing up, not taking tests in my school, and falling dangerously behind in class. I care. I feel like maybe I shouldn’t but I hate that I feel that I shouldn’t care. But caring is what I do. I take my jobs seriously. Why shouldn’t I? But I get paid regardless. So maybe I should care less and stress less. But I don’t know how to do that. I am the hard-working outcome of two hardworking  (potentially) work addicts. We take our shit seriously.

I had a great time this past weekend (long 5 day weekend due to Chuseok – Korean Thanksgiving) with my galpal Chelsea. We’ve been friends for 20 years thanks to our mothers being besties. We went to the neighboring city, Busan, and explored and partied til all hours of the night. We spent money that I didn’t have and every second was worth it. I even enjoyed burning the roof of my mouth on a stuffed crust Pizza Hut pizza… sorta. I enjoyed the pizza..not the mouth burning. Freakin’ cheese gets me every time.

 

I’ve met some great people and have had some fun evenings. Some were as simple as a bottle (or 3) of wine or sangria and having good conversation. Some involved getting quite drunk and dancing at Beat Bar (where the night goes to die, apparently). Others involved singing my brains out at a noribong with complete strangers. Then there are my nights alone, where I watch whatever show I’ve downloaded, and cook. I’ve also watched the Korean-dubbed movies like Legends of the Fall and Puss in Boots. I never realized how similar to Puss in Boots, my handsome Boboboy is. Miss that lil punk.

I’ve stayed in touch with my family. I’ve Skyped and Facetimed and iMessaged and WhatsApped and Vibered.

The time flies here. I just CAN’T wait til I see the first paycheck. And then a better second paycheck.

PS – I still don’t speak a lick of Korean. I can barely say ‘Hello’ politely.

A Tender Age to Consider

Last year I taught primary level students in Thailand. I had an hour of kids 4-6yo; a few hours of 7-9 yo; and the occasional 10-12 yo.

 

This year the age (and the bar) has been raised. My youngest students are 10-11 and the oldest are 15 going on 30. The younger students are dreams. They do their work, they are excited to be there, they laugh at all the cheesy jokes I make… ❤ them.

 

But the older students can be a bit… what’s a good word for it? SHITHEADY. Some of them are quiet and do their thing. They do the homework, never participate in class, but write nice essays. Others don’t do their homework, talk sporadically in class, and write bad-to-average essays. But with this age group I realized there’s more to these kids’ lives than their speaking or writing ability. They’re growing up in front of my eyes…..

I prefer my students to leave their bags on the floor so I know they’re not playing with their phones or cards or doing other homework or whatever. One day I noticed a kid (14-15 years old?) with his bag in his lap. For some reason, I didn’t bother asking him to remove it. I was regularly distracted by his bag on his lap though. And then something popped into my head.

This is a boy. He’s hitting puberty. He’s in a class with a bunch of girls. Oh snap. Noooo way. Was I really about to experience an adolescent having an awkward moment in class?!! I had to check without being gross. So I asked him to bring me his test paper. He stood up with the bag on his lap and his hand over his bag over his crotch.

Yup. There was nothing to see, I wasn’t looking for anything specific. I just needed to confirm that this was the likely scenario. How horrible of a teacher would I have been to ask him to put his bag on the floor or off his lap in general? How much more awkward could I make being a teenager be for this kid? I had a good pondering about it after school on my way home. This was something I didn’t have to deal with before. Hopefully I won’t have to deal with it ever. But I’m really glad that I stopped for once and considered the situation.

I hadn’t thought about it when I accepted the job to teach middle school students. I mean, who WOULD think about that, right?? Well, this is definitely a lesson. I’ll have to be a bit more observant without observing anything in regards to my older students. :/

My First REAL Korea Massage

This was an actual massage I gave! Not just a 5 minute backrub.

One of my neighbors was moving out last weekend and had a bunch of stuff to sell. But since moving here is expensive and payday is another month away, we bartered a little bit. I got a bunch of her stuff for an hour massage. I won’t tell you what I got, but let’s say my kitchen is happy.

Other than Thai massage, I have not done massage on the floor. I prefer not to because it’s not good for my body or the client’s. There is typically no facerest causing the person to have to crane their neck to one side and the other constantly. I feel it defeats the purpose of the massage.

 

Anyway, I have several yoga mats. One average one, one thick one, and a random eggshell type. I put the regular down first, followed by the eggshell, and then the thick one. I put a blanket down over it and the client was able to lay on a cushioned mat. At the time I didn’t have a facerest still so we used a mini pillow but she still had to keep her head turned to the side. Since then, I have purchased a nice thick ‘neck pillow’ (think of what you use on a plane) and its use as a face rest is perfect.

The massage was smooth I think. Not my best since I wasn’t accustomed to being on the floor, but i was able to give good pressure and flow.

I’m hoping to offer my service to other foreign teachers/workers in my area and earn an extra won or two.

Thank you, S.A. C for letting me work on you and experiment for a bit!! And thanks for helping my house get cozy! Good luck on your new adventures, your engagement, and travels! xoxo

Virtual Gameday – College Gameday experience

My brother has been working is arse off the past couple of years trying to perfect this website. And finally it is complete. It’s brilliant! For those of you in the States, Virtual Gameday offers you a social network as alumni. You can follow your team’s games and join fellow fans “going to the game” or “Watching the game.” Based on where you are, you can share with friends your plans or start new ones! If you’re visiting another city and feel the urge to watch the game with your alumni, look up plans in that city and you’ll see different viewing parties (from official to not as official).

Although it’s not available for viewing parties out of the country (yet) I still get to keep track of my friends going to the game or watching it in my hometown. Check it out! All you have to do is visit www.virtualgameday.com and sign up via facebook. Then… happy gameday. Go ‘Noles!

Link

The Arrival

My plane landed at a tiny airport. There may have been 2 gates. I’m not unused to that. Suratthani was practically a dirt runway. But who cares?! I’m in Korea, Bitches!!

Quick history: Ben and I have known each other since Kindergarten. We have had countless classes together from Kindie through high school. We live minutes away from each other (on bicycles). I made sure to keep in touch with him through the years.

Naturally, my excitement was building. I sipped on the only 5 hour energy drink I brought with me. I knew this was going to be a long night because 1. in order to avoid jet lag, one should stay awake late to adjust 2. it was ben’s last weekend with everyone

I got my luggage and as I was about to sit down outside waiting for my familiar friend, I saw a skinny white guy walking

into the airport. I called out and he turned. We half heartedly ran to each other (neither of us like to run) and embraced as old friends do. He brought his Scottish friend Tom with him. And both were drinking a beer. And I’m pretty sure that was not the first. Or second of the night. They helped me with the luggage and we laughed and drank to Mugeodong. They helped me get to my ‘Sheraton.’ The motel sheraton. The “love” motel as many would call it. I took a quick rinse and freshened up my makeup. Ben took me to his apartment where about 15 people were eating and drinking. They were quite far ahead of me. I met a few south africans (!!!!), some scots, some canadiens, some americans. It was a lovely mix of people. Of course, starving, I grabbed a quick bite from the potluck sitting in front of me and then was shuffled out. We were on our way to my first noribong experience. ((noribong – music room – karaoke sort of))

We stopped by a bar called Purple Haze and drank. We took pictures and chatted. I met new friends.

Old Friends(Ben and I at Purple haze).. we got ‘photo-BOB-bed’ until we realized that it was jimmy hendrix behind us. not bob marley. but

there is a bit of bob marley behind me.

After some festivities there, we moved on to a place that I hav

e no idea what its called. We got a private room and started singing.

Singing

We started around midnight. We sang our brains out.

Ben and Tasha

We sang til our throats were sore. I watched these ridiculous Korean music videos that had nothing to do with the song that was being sung.

Terrible video

We drank beers bigger than a microphone. I was introduced to Soju.

Max beerWe sang. We danced. We laughed. I got tired for a minute. Natasha took me to get a quick bite. I grabbed a couple of bottles vitamin waters. We sang more. And then we finally wore down. I watched as Ben and his friends embraced and felt the heaviness of his departure. I felt a little sad because that was nothing like the departure I had from Thailand. I dont know if I even got a hug from anyone. But that is past. And now I hope to build new friendships with people here.

Anyway, we finally left. It was past 5am. We walked back to the apartments and motels. I said my goodbyes. I saw pictures of Korean girls on the floor near the elevators. A ‘love’ motel indeed. I went upstairs and wrote an email. I went to sleep at 6am.

Now that’s the way to start a journey over seas.

 

Pre-departure

Rather than start an entirely new blog, I have decided to add my thoughts and experiences from South Korea onto WittyLMT.

The Pre-Departure:

In April/May ish, my friend Ben mentioned to me that if I was interested, I could take his teaching position in South Korea. He had been there for two years and was ready to see his family again. He sent me the necessary steps for receiving a visa and I followed it. I got my fingerprints taken and sent them off for an apostilled copy of my FBI background check. I got my degree notarized and apostilled also. The degree took about a week. The FBI check took a few months. I interviewed with Wharton Masters via phone in mid-June and was officially offered the position. They asked if I could be in Korea by August 26th and I said ‘Yes!’

And so the waiting game started. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting for my paperwork to come back. At mid-July all the paperwork returned. I sent it off to the school in South Korea. They sent it off with my signed copy of the contract to apply for a visa issuance number. ((You need the visa issuance number to apply for an E2 visa.)) Round 2 of waiting game. I checked my email every 30 minutes for about 2-3 weeks. In the second week of August I checked my email and saw the words “VISA ISSUANCE NUMBER!!” Holy macaroons. It’s starting… I sent off my application and paperwork to the Consulate of the Republic of South Korea in Atlanta, GA and started packing up my room. Ben told me that once the visa arrived, they would book my ticket and I would be showing up in Korea.

Another 4 days of constantly checking the tracking number of my visa. Then it was there. Arrival date expected. And before I knew it, the USPS delivery lady handed me the envelope. And within it: my visa issued passport. Amazing. Then I went into an even faster and more desperate packing mode. Packing my room so it wasn’t a mess for my mom. Packing my suitcases for seasons I have never experienced (winter? fall? i dont understand). My poor mother was on a cruise but knew that there was a possibility that I wouldn’t be there when she returned. I barely slept that night. But when I finally woke up, I saw the email with ‘Flight information’. It was Thursday morning and my flight wasn’t until Monday. MONDAY!? I wouldn’t get to Korea until Wednesday. Only 2 days of ‘prep’ and settling in before I start teaching? I was a littttttle bit disappointed. I sent the flight info to my family members. They rejoiced that I had a few extra days. I sulked a little.
Ruh-roh. I received an email from the company that booked the flight asking for the credit card and license to be uploaded with a signature. Hmm sounds sketchy. I notified Ben and he said ‘screw that! cancel that sh*t!’ So I did. And I told him he could always book a little bit earlier. So Ben and I sat on Skype for a few hours scouring over flights. We found a few for departure on Sat, arrival sunday night. But they wouldn’t book through for some reason. So we tried again for departure Friday and arrival Sat night. And it went through. WHat!?! It’s thursday late morning/afternoon and my new departure time was 8am from Orlando on Friday morning. Holy shit. This REALLY was happening. I notified the family and they all scattered around frantically trying to wrap their heads around this less than 24 hour notice of leaving. But I was ready. My younger brother and dad came up from Sarasota that night. I visited my uncle who I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. My dad, brother, and I had sushi for dinner. But there was one little problem. I didn’t have the flight information yet. Yes, it was confirmed, but Ben hadn’t sent me the information. If my flight is at 8:00am… I need to be awake by 5:00am. So I waited for Ben to wake up. And waited. Around midnight, Ben sent me the email. I had my confirmation number and I checked in. My dad cried a bit, my younger brother smiled. My older brother barely realized I was leaving. I made sure I had what I needed and called my dog to sleep with me in the bed (oh was she excited). I slept.

I woke up. I snuggled with my dog and shed a tear because I was leaving my best friend. And she wasn’t as aware as she was last time. When we woke up, she barely knew what was happening. I gave her my hug and kiss. I gave my cat a hug and kiss (although he didn’t really care). I grabbed my bags and was in the car. My dad took the longest way to the airport possible. Even taking a toll road when he didn’t have the epass. I got to the airport around 6:30am. Said bye to my family. Security. Snacks. Plane. I’m on my way.

As I nodded off with the comfort of knowing I had everythi-. Shit. Shit. Shit. SHIT. I forgot a lot of shit!! I forgot my headphones! I forgot my cardigan. I forgot my international driving permit. I forgot my spices. I forgot my stock of 5hour energy drinks! I forgot my birth control!! ($400 worth!))  Smack my head. Landed in Dallas with an email from lil bro telling me what I forgot. Yea I know…. but guess who is getting a very early care package? I ate a pizza for breakfast. Half of it was buffalo chicken with bleu cheese, the other half tri-mushroom truffle with goat cheese. DAMN good. With a glass of wine. At 11am. Why not? I had a 15 hour flight ahead of me.

I got on the plane. With a row alll to my self! For about 4 minutes. Then a guy moved from the middle aisle to my row. Bastard. I slept a bit. I watched a few movies. I slept a bit more. I ate a bit. I farted a lot. (not the stinky kind.) I slept some more. I climbed over a passenger several times to walk around and use the toilet. Korean air.

And then I was in Seoul. I hit up the immigration line and watched the other lines going so fast. I counted 17 people going ahead of me. And there was only one person in front of me. It took 5 minutes for him to understand that the customs lady asked him to remove his glasses. Another 5 to find his visa information. Another 10 of the lady checking his stuff. It was torture. But I was in Korea. I had one more flight to catch. I made it to an express bus and sat next to an American guy headed to the other airport also. We had a few laughs and story exchanges. He showed me his family pictures. I showed him my Vine videos. We parted. I was on my last flight to Ulsan.

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