Resolutions: 2017

I was lazy last year. I don’t think I ever posted the resolutions. My first resolution this year is to publish this before Feb 1, 2017. 🙂 (I’ve drafted it a few times and we’re more than a week into 2017).

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My actual RESOLUTION 1: As always — travel!
As with previous years, I once again would like to visit 2 countries again this year, hopefully new ones. Once again, Taiwan in on my list. I think this is the year I will finally get to go. I will definitely be in the US again this year. I hope to make it a good long trip this time, seeing my brother get married in October and a very good family friend in November. However, I wouldn’t protest to visiting a different part of the US other than DC or Florida this year. I will be in New Jersey for the wedding, but perhaps can go to California for a week or so to visit my multitude of friends living there. I wouldn’t protest going to Philippines, Thailand, or Vietnam again – – but different places that I hadn’t been to before. Or perhaps Cambodia. I guess only time will tell!

RESOLUTION 2: Weight Loss-ish

Another repeat resolution, but this time I’d like to get down to 130-135lbs (~60kg). I currently weigh in around 65kg on a bad day (~143lbs). If I can tone up and strengthen my body a little, then I think this should be an easy accomplishment. I may need to start eating my own food that I cook for others as well. To help me obtain this goal, I’m doing a very ‘new years ish’ thing: I joined a gym. However, it’s not a typical weights and cardio gym: I’m joining Body & Seoul – – a martial arts gym. I have up to 4 classes per week for the next 6 months. My goals are to take 3-4 each week (2 minimum).

RESOLUTION 3: Physical/Hygiene Care

I have never been very good at daily rituals: taking vitamins or pills, using facial products, brushing my hair, making my bed, etc. And although I do brush my teeth every day and clean my linens once a week (more or less), I am making a solid effort this year to get to a dentist. I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know the last time I went to one! Oral hygiene is very important and I have been seriously slacking. I also am going to make a solid effort to take vitamins each day and go through the skin care rituals each day (washing, toner, moisturizer, etc). I am now 30 and this is when things start to really go south, “they” say. I will do a better job of taking care of myself.

RESOLUTION 4: Organization.

It’s no big secret that I am not the most organized person on the planet. I’m not at a ‘slob’ or ‘horder’ level, by any means, but I definitely could stand to ‘adult’ a bit — as my friend says. On January 15th I’m moving into a new apartment and I am hoping it will bring a new sense of organization to my life. My living quarters will be organized and cleaner. I’m not a minimalist and probably never will be, so I won’t pledge to get rid of a bunch of crap. I like my crap. Also, ,my business will be better organized and recorded. Paperwork will be done every night (ugh. homework.). I want to try and organize my daily routine. New year, new me, blah blah blah. It will take a lot of work, and in about 10 weeks I’m going to recap here and laugh about what very likely will not change. Some things are meant to be.

RESOLUTION 5: De-hulk-ify

You don’t want to make me angry. You won’t like me when I’m angry. But it’s not someone wanting me to be angry or trying to make me angry. It’s my reaction. It’s shameful and I am more embarrassed than the poor person who is on the receiving end of my anger. Sometimes, I just lose my shit. And the fuckin’ tidal wave caused by Hurricane Shannon will bring tornado friends. Maybe that’s extreme. Maybe it’s not. A few people have seen me upset, but it is VERY VERY rare for someone to see the dark side. The TRUE dark side. I don’t want to have to hide that anymore.. and not because it needs to be hidden.. but because it doesn’t need to exist at all. I would like to be more accepting of situations and better handling of the BS that life throws at me.

 

Five is a good number to leave on. Let’s see how we do.

 

Oh wait, no there’s one more.

RESOLUTION 6: Watch more movies

That’s not a big one really. But I guess I hadn’t realized there were cult-classics that I just have not seen! Tonight, for example, I watched When Harry Met Sally. Yeah, I had NEVER seen it. I’m not really a romantic comedy person (aside from the occasional period pieces, but still not really comedy), so perhaps that explains it. But it was sweet. And every other scene was either great or awful. So I want to make a list of all the new movies I see this year. Whether I watched it at home, a friend’s, or in the theater.. I will hopefully keep track of all I watch.

Kk. I’m done now.

Wish me luck.

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2016: A not-so-quick review

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As it turns out, I did not make any resolutions for 2016. I was apparently so pleased with doing well in 2015, that I completely forgot about 2016. This year has been wonderful and horrible for a lot of people. For me, it’s just …been.



The Downs of 2016:
Loss:  In January, my family put down our family dog, Laci. I was crushed. I couldn’t talk to anyone in my family for a few days. I think I’m still a bit upset actually. As all dogs are for their human companions, she was more than a pet. She was my friend and playmate. She was my emotional (and sometimes physical) rock. We cuddled and walked and swam together. We would take long naps on the couch or in the sun. It was a painful time, but she’s in a better place. In February, my great (wonderful and amazing)-aunt Shirley left us. She had been going through a lot physically, emotionally, and mentally. She was surrounded by family, and then when everyone went home, she passed on. Like Laci, she was more than just my great-aunt. She was my friend. She always was there for me when I needed her – just an email away. During my own petulant pre-teen and teenage years, she was the person I could and did stay up all night talking to. She was a beautiful person with a unique way of living. That’s how we connected and bonded. We were both a little different from everyone else in the family, but we managed just fine. I was not fortunate enough to see her before she passed. I was, however, fortunate enough to see her husband, Uncle Charlie, while I was home in April. I surprised him in the care center he stayed at. Then he and I had a wonderful chat out on the gazebo. We just talked, I told him about my doings abroad and he talked about his current state and how he was proud of me. Not too long after, he also passed. He joined his love in the great beyond. I really feel for my cousin Stephanie for losing her parents the way she did. It’s not something I can imagine dealing with, and hope I won’t have to for a long time.

Love: I had a person I was interested in back in 2015, but he quickly changed his mind with no explanation. We had an amazing connection right off, and I was a little hung up on him for a portion of 2016. I found myself subconsciously gazing toward the street he lived on when I passed. I sent a message now and then to inquire his health. He never responded, so I finally somehow let him go. Toward the middle of the year, I found another person who more than captured my interest. Again, we had a lovely connection straight off and I found myself constantly wanting to be in his company. I thought the feelings were mutual, but once again after a few weeks, my affections were rebuffed. However, we continued to hang out. This was probably not the healthiest move on my part. It seriously delayed the process of me ‘getting over’ him. But still, his unique way of thinking and the situations we found ourselves in were so enjoyable. I knew I was in the friendzone (after hooking up?! which is bullshit, but whatever), but I still felt like we were more. I did all I could to get out of that mindset, including sending him home with another girl one night. And that crushed me. I didn’t eat for days and I fell into a sort of depression. I couldn’t understand why I was so upset about this, when I knew it would happen and I even encouraged it. I had no right to feel the way I did when I knew that he saw me only in this certain light. He was a temporary best friend. I was playing the role of Eponine, as I had done before, but I somehow made it worse for myself. Sure, I didn’t get shot for it, but I alienated myself from my friends and I only wanted to hang out with him. And then, he left. With a mere few days notice, he came and went. And again it crushed me. But I realized how unhealthy I was to have him around me. We stay in contact, sort of. And I would like to have a true friendship with him, but I realized that he was not healthy for me in my current space and place. If our friendship does maintain, I will absolutely be happy for that. If it does not, then I wish him the best of luck with whatever he chooses in life. He’s the type of person who will succeed and bring wonders to the world when he finds his passion.

Others: “I don’t speak politics” is something I often say. I don’t get involved politically and I prefer not to. However, I have to just say as a person observing through media outlets abroad, WTF, America. Donald Trump? Like… what? Is Kim Kardashian going to be VP? Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kris Jenner found her way into a government position with this kind of ridiculousness. I guess we shall see what happens with that. Oh yea, and Britain decided to secede from the EU. That’s something I know minimal about and won’t try to pretend that I do. It’s just a weird thing to have happened that I wanted to mention.
I also had a bit of an issue at one point with casinos. It was my own private matter and I’m happy to say I’m doing a whole load better. I spent a lot of time at the casino. A lot of time. I was up and down and will never disclose to anyone what actually was made or lost. I will say that meeting a guy in the casino who had been betting money that was my monthly income on a good month, and watching him lose it all, was a wake up call for me. I get an urge now and then to go back, but I haven’t, and hopefully will one day- – but in a better and healthier mindset. I think winter will help me stay away for a while.. it’s too cold to leave my apartment if I have to.



The Ups of 2016:
Family
: While I experienced loss early on in the year, my family has had a couple of additions, more or less. On Memorial Day 2016, my older brother finally popped the question to his girlfriend Katie. This had been a day I had been looking forward to for an absurd amount of time. I knew a few years ago that she would one day be my lawful sister and I am thrilled to say she will be officially taking on wife-hood in October 2017. Later on in the year – December to be specific, my younger cousin Danielle and her wonderful hubs Denny welcomed their first child together, Nancy Faye. She is a healthy and lovely child with a doting and proud older sister, Fiona. I am so happy for them and their families, and for my grandparents to be able to hold and interact with their first great-grandchild. As it happens, Nancy Faye was born on my grandmother’s birthday. I couldn’t imagine a more wonderful gift.

Travel: I did get to travel a bit this year also. I celebrated New Years 2016 in Dubai with my friend Kendra. I visited D.C. (in what was supposed to be THE proposal weekend) with my family and also spent another week in Florida with everyone there. In September, I did a last minute trip to Vietnam for a week. I enjoyed a great holiday on my own and met some very interesting people. I had some gorgeous clothes made and I now have a 1 year multi-entry visa.. let’s see if I use it again (ha!). In November, I booked a ticket back to Orlando at 2am on a Tuesday and was on the plane by 6pm that same day. It certainly was an unanticipated trip and the surprise was wonderful for my family. I got to cook for and enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with my family (sans my very angry older brother). I want to say I traveled more, but I really don’t think I did… I can’t remember (which is a bit disturbing).

Business: I spent the majority of 2016 on a D-10 visa (looking for work) while trying to build up Shannon from Scratch. I did voiceovers and was making okay money with that. I got to dub a few characters in a K-drama that was being shown in Ghana or somewhere random. I also participated as an extra in a movie featuring Kim SooHyun. No idea what movie or anything about it except it had to do with casinos.
Shannon from Scratch, I am happy to say, is doing well at the moment and I am curious to see if it will have the opportunity to expand in this next year. I went from only 2 clients per week with ~20 meals between them to having at least 5 clients each week with on average ~50 meals per week. The most I cooked in one week was 75 meals with about 9 clients during the week. Some clients are less consistent, getting only 10 meals every month or two, or changing from 2 meals to 5 meals each week depending on their situation. New clients are coming in still and I am looking forward to organizing my venture a bit more and seeing where it will take me. I also took on a very part time teaching gig for 1.0million won/month + and E2 visa for 9 hours per week. While the timing of it is really inconvenient, the students are actually really great and the staff is really chill. I actually do enjoy teaching there for the most part, and I appreciate the extra bit of income there also.

Others: I also am proud to say that for the first time EVER, I have lived in one place for longer than a year. I will be moving out in 2 weeks, but it will have been 1.5 years of me living in my apartment. The new one will be very nice also.. a good location close to where I am now, but less of a hill, and on a second floor with better ventilation and kitchen space (hopefully). I also have to follow up the ‘Downs-Love’ section by saying that “when one door closes, another opens.” To avoid possibly jinxing myself, I will leave it at that.
Also, one of my best friends was able to visit in March and that was a great week, as we celebrated her 30th here. Then after my 30th, another friend from Orlando came in for a couple of weeks and we had a blast as well. In September after my Vietnam trip, my mother was able to join me out here for a second round of Korea. This time I could spend more time with her and have more experiences than the previous visit.



To conclude, I suppose, I will once again say.. 2016 has just.. been. It had its ups and downs and it all equaled out in my eyes. It will be a distant memory soon, and I’ll be writing about 2017 in no time..ish.

Oriental Medicine

Is it even politically correct to say that anymore? Eastern medicine. Korean medicine.. but it’s not just in Korea. Acupuncture is an Asia-thing.

My history: I have back problems, like an old man would have. But.. i’m barely 30. Many moons ago, I was sick from whatever cold or flu was plaguing me. I had just moved back from Hawai’i to Florida and was miserable. Plus always sick. My dad suggested I try acupuncture. He had a hippy-dippy friend who was about to graduate acupuncture school. I thought, “Sure. Why not?” And it hurt. I was miserable. I had one of my biggest fears sticking out of my body in plain sight. There was one point that the pressure built up so bad that I thought my knee would explode. I cried like I was dying. Needless to say (and yet we do anyway), not a good experience.

I have not condoned it and encourage everyone to try their own thing. I had not looked back once. However, since May 2016 (that’s nearly 4 months) I have been experiencing low back pain. It doesn’t radiate anywhere else. But I can’t bend forward, I can’t comfortably bend to the side. Standing, sitting, slouching, and even laying down is uncomfortable. AKA always in pain. Chiropractor isn’t helping. Massage was barely helping. Finally, I gave in and am currently seeing an acupuncturist.

Dr. Yoon (in Kyungridan/Noksapyeong) is really nice. He’s straight to the point. Today was my third session. I have had needles sticking out of me, electro-magnetic waves pulsing through me, and even cups suctioning the life out of me. When your friends say you barely feel it, they lie. It does not feel good. Maybe my trigger points are so bad that the struggle is real. Maybe it’s in my head. I don’t know. I don’t love it. But I’m trying to stick it out. Ha. Needles. Stick. Ouch, it hurts to laugh.

Today the Dr came in and said ‘Today we try venom of bee, okay? Small allergy test… and okay.” My back hurts. I’m exhausted. So far, so meh.
I’ll keep the world posted on my situation.

Foreign Hospitals

(Originally posted in Tickets To: 2014)

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Sometimes, when we move to a new country, we have to get a medical check. Hopefully it’s before. But typically your employer wants to know from a doctor who is native to their country.

So far, I have come to realize. You don’t go to the doctor. You go the hospital. Always the hospital. This makes it sound a lot worse than it is.

In Thailand, we had to go and get some blood work done to make sure we didn’t have some kind of ridiculous disease that I think they made up. I’m that person that passes out from a shot. I need to lay down when getting blood drawn or else the unfortunate person taking my blood (or giving the shot) will have to deal with my unconscious body falling face first onto the floor. So, I’m in a Thai hospital. After filling out paperwork incorrectly twice and waiting for about 30 minutes next to all the people hacking up a lung, I was called back. I explained that I faint. They smiled, nodded and told me to take a seat. I hesitated and had to mime to them that I pass out. They spoke in Thai and laughed at me, but eventually escorted me to a room shared by a guy who had broken limbs. You know that nervous feeling that you may throw up? It’s similar to the feeling of seeing someone with broken limbs and wanting to throw up. They saw my green face and closed the curtain and lay me down. The English speaking doctor (where was she this whole time?!) explained they needed at least two vials of blood. So naturally I covered my eyes and tried not to panic. They did what they had to do, I cried and got dizzy. I sat up and laid back down before almost falling off the gurney. So I stared at the wall while regaining my dignity. And there it was. Blood. On the wall. Blood on the wall. Let me make myself clear: THERE WAS FREAKIN’ BLOOD ON THE WALL. After a few months, I got over it. Because I needed to go to the hospital to get some stuff checked out. And it wasn’t as bad because it didn’t require blood. And interestingly enough, my doctor was my private tutoring student. That was awkward.

Flash forward to August 2013: Korea. The first week here, I needed to get a medical check. When I asked what it consisted of, the manager said ‘Oh normal things.’ So, I went and had my teeth looked at. Even though I had just eaten and hadn’t brushed my teeth, they said I have great teeth. Then I had my hearing tested (3 high pitched notes), an eye test (look at numbers after having a thing pressed against your eye and making vision blurry), a height/weight check (not your business), a urine test (haha! I passed that one!), and the blood test. SCREEECH. What? A blood test. Please stick out your arm. Um.. no I can’t do that. Yes, you have to, Teacher. You didn’t tell me about this! Oh sorry. You will be fine! I pass out. What? I faint. What? I need to lie down. Oh Teacher don’t be silly. No seriously, I need to lie down. Okay. (Insert crying and dizziness). Now please bare your chest so we can awkwardly test your heart beat. Now go upstairs for chest x-ray. Wait patiently while the nurses are distracted by their KakaoStories on their phones. Cough to get their attention. Then straight up say “Hey” and then put your chest against the x-ray machine. Relax. Now push so your shoulders are against the flat board even though you have huge knockers and can’t really be flat against anything. Okay thank you Teacher. You can get dressed now.

Well at least it was over and done with, right? Nope. My manager failed to pick up the documents by the deadline and guess who got to do it ALL OVER AGAIN?! Me.

Then, I got a promotion 6 months later. And last week I got a text message, “Teacher, I will take you to hospital tomorrow.” “Why?” “New contract. New hospital tests.” Le sigh. At least there wasn’t any blood on the wall.

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Obviously there have been some updates since February 2014. I have been in the hospitals for various surgeries as well.. Feel free to read those articles. 

Champagne Birthdays

(reposted from my original blog entry on Tickets To: originally April 2014)

Golden Birthday. Champagne Birthday. You have my attention

The day when you turn the age of the date of your birth. It’s supposed to be awesome. Of course I didn’t know what that was until about a year ago… but that’s cool. I love champagne so it’s a great excuse for a theme. It’s also a great excuse to drink champagne every day for the week leading up to my birthday.

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On Friday, my coworkers on my floor (there are three floors to my school) surprised me with a classic Korean cake and some streamers.

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On Friday night we had Korean BBQ (beef) and drank soju with pineapple Fanta. Then we went to our local bar and drank a bit. On Saturday I woke up early-ish, pre-cooked some food for my Sunday picnic (visit www.anotherfoodthing.wordpress.com for great recipes!), and made my way to Busan. I met some friends from Seoul and Ulsan there and we drank a bit. The day wasn’t sunny enough for the beach, but it was warm enough to appreciate. We had an amazing BBQ dinner, went to another bar, went ‘clubbing,’ and then, my favorite part, we went to the noraebong and sang our hearts and voices away! Seriously… how much soju and singing can a girl handle? It was fantastic.

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I looked hot in my little black dress with my teal dream shoes (see wittylmt.com for more info on that), I was with great company, I ate and drank well.

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I got back to the motel at 5 am and was sleeping by 6am. I left at 10:30am and was back in Ulsan by 12:30pm. I had a party starting at 2pm I had to get ready for. Because the weather was questionable my outdoor picnic became an indoor picnic: blankets on the floor, drawn park on my whiteboard, paper plates, etc. The good people showed up and brought many bottles of bubbly. We drank mimosas and sangria for a few hours and chatted merrily. A few gal pals stayed after everyone left and we chatted and watched Bad Teacher (excellent sitcom. Get on it). Today, I came to work and the teachers on the 6th floor bought me a Larva cake.  I will go home and drink more champagne since I now have 5 more bottles and chillax on my patio smoking hookah. All in all…it was a great birthday.

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Sockstuff

(from my blog participation at Tickets To:)

Cute socks are a thing. I don’t remember them being a ‘thing’ in the States, but I do remember seeing what I considered to be cute socks and buying them. Even if I don’t wear them because I lived in Florida and we don’t believe in socks for 10 months out of the year.

In Korea, however… cute socks are a BIG thing. And I LOVE IT! I have pretty much gotten rid of any pair of boring sock I brought with me and have happily replaced them with awesome socks. They have socks here that are a ‘pair’… where the picture is in half and you can put them together and make a face or something.

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Another fantastic one tend to be some kind of animal or superhero on the heel which is the mouth. Like this Batman one:

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And of course this is my favorite. Just look and laugh. They have it in weird Asian faces or ‘yellow hair’ people. If you’re lucky you’ll get Frankenstein or a Mummy. Ha!

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This is a perfect gift for friends and family back home. They’re cheap at only 1,000-2,000won (less than $1) each. Until you buy 20 and then it adds up.

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Mirena, 1+ year in

**Disclosure: FAMILY – THIS CONTAINS INFORMATION YOU MAY NOT WANT TO READ>>> CLOSE THIS NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT T.M.I. ON MY PERSONAL LIFE!**

 

Last year, I made the decision to say, “Screw you!” to pills, Nuvaring (although I mostly loved it), and any other birth control method short of spaying myself.

I chose to drop a few $$ and insert Mirena. (You can read about the entry here).
It was a painful process. I spent nearly 40 days with spotting and dull cramps. Then one magical day… it stopped. The bleeding, the cramps, the discomfort, and then my life began.
I have been blessed with some good sex in my life. Apparently, this good sex was dulled by previous birth controls. Sex has never been so good. Like.. holy shit. Guys who were maybe average at best, were doing a pretty damn good job. Before Mirena, I was using mostly Nuvaring, occasionally a pill; and I was dull. Sex was just an act. If I got off, it was less often than Halley’s comet. But my sex drive didn’t exist. I seriously pondered my sexuality. Boyfriends and lovers knew I was lying and some thought I had been cheating on them.
Then Mirena happened.
.. as it turns out, I’m very straight. And I’m so much happier with Mirena. Sex. is. awesome. Like– wet, hot summer awesome.

Oh yea! And I lost a bunch of weight! When I had Mirena inserted, I was weighing in at ~73kg (about 160lbs). While I’m sure other factors were involved (leaving an unhappy job, moving up a hill, running to subways and buses for new jobs, etc), I am now at ~63 kg (138-140lb) today.

Menstrual cycles suck. Period. (hah. a favorite of mine) From 6th grade through recent years, my period has been a giant cluster-fuck. They were unpredictable. As Cher would say from Clueless “I was surfing the crimson wave!”… more like Crimson tidal wave. It was hell. I had special clothes to wear because I needed to change and clean them so often. My cramps had me in bed, crying like a child. Sometimes they would last longer than a week.. then reappear about 2 weeks later. Then other times they wouldn’t show for weeks (pregnancy scares what???). I got onto birth control and it helped a bit. But I still had shit strong periods.
Now a year after Mirena insertion, my periods are mostly non-existent. I might get ‘ghost cramps’ once a month and the occasional spotting every other month or less.

Overall, everything is awesome.
But let’s sum a few things up real quick:

Pros: 
1. 5 years of baby-free sexcapades
2. Little to no periods/minimal cramping
3. Higher sex drive
4. Weight lost (subjective)
5. Overall happier life.

Cons:
**denotes possible Pro rather than Con
1. 350,000won (KRW = USD ~275) ((((in the states they said it’d be ~600$USD without insurance)))**
2. PAINFUL AS FUCK DURING INSERTION!!!!! FFFUUUUCCCCCCCK.
3. Bodies may react differently
4. Gotta stock up on condoms for all that sex!**
5. I got nothin.. I can’t think of anything else.

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