Kitten Crisis

I have a cat back at home. His name is Mr. Mistofelees. Like from Cats (the musical). He hates me. I don’t blame him. I took him in when he was about to be abandoned while I was in college. My roommate and group of friends all had a kitten from the same litter and this cat was the only one not taken. The guy who was getting rid of the kittens never came back for him either. I felt obligated. I took him in and tried to give him the love he deserved. Unfortunately I was on a crazy schedule of working the graveyard for Jimmy John’s and barely had time for the kitten. Oh yea, and no pets allowed in our apartments. When I finally got caught, he went to my mother’s house for a couple of months. Then I moved to Gainesville and brought him with me. perhaps that’s when his hatred began. He was stuck in a house with dogs that he hated while I was in school. I would feed him at odd hours and throw him across the room because I didn’t know how to handle my anger back then.
He moved in with my mother officially when I moved to Hawai’i. I wanted to bring him with me but mother-dearest said it wasn’t a good idea. So she took him in. I had tried to get him back at one point by getting HER a cat so she wouldn’t feel lonely. That didn’t work out.. now she has two cats and they love each other (actually Bobo aka Mr. Mistofelees isn’t a fan of Zula, but whatevs).

 

So here I am in South Korea. I’ve matured a bit and have a better hang on how to care for animals. I joined a group called Animal Rescue Korea (ARK) in hopes of fostering a dog. I’m hoping fostering a dog would get me out of the house a bit and more exercised. Also, companionship yadda yadda.

Well, about a week or two before I was going to visit and start fostering a dog, a friend of mine said she needed help with a kitten. She found it on the streets and took it in. Then she was released from her contract and noticing allergic reactions to the cat hair. Without thinking, I said I would help. Honestly, I was thinking that I was going to watch it for a week or two while someone else came to adopt it.

maow

It’s been 3 weeks. Two people have showed interest in adoption but never actually go through with it. I’ve been recommended to two or three people who would foster her, but in the end they actually don’t want to foster her.

She’s a sweet kitten. I named her Maow since that’s what she does. It’s cute too. Her playing, her face, her stubbed tail, her maow, her sleeping – it’s all SO adorable. But I’m not wanting a cat right now. I don’t want her to get overly comfortable or me get too attached. I need to find her another foster home or a person to adopt her.

http://www.animalrescuekorea.org/cat/3086

So I made a video in hopes of getting her adopted. Please share it with friends. She is located in ulsan, south korea but can be couriered to another country. Please please help this sweet girl – else she goes to a shelter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27F3dk6Qxx4

Committed

For the first time in my life, I will be staying at a job for longer than 1 year.

… Reading that helps me realize that I may come across as an unreliable worker. In my defense, I move a lot. I like to see the world and sometimes that’s for a year at a time. Sometimes, the job just doesn’t work out. As a massage therapist, you have to choose your battles and workplaces wisely. Interestingly enough, the two jobs that I had more than a year experience with were part time: 1. Dancing for an entertainment company (noooo not the stripper kind – think ‘hype man’) 2. serving/bev cart at a local country club.

 

I have decided to stay in Korea for one more year. I am not staying to spite my family (although some family members may feel differently). I am not staying because I love Korea (I haven’t even tried to learn the language). I am not staying because there are not other jobs.

I am staying because I’m finally comfortable enough in a place to stay. I have a large studio apartment furnished with a nice 3D tv, a double/queen bed, a vanity, a hammock, and a kitchen most tenants wish they had.

I have a job teaching advanced students (age 12-16) and I’m the only foreign teacher on this level. I work with 10 other foreign teachers at my school and most of us get along REALLY well. My managers respect me and my opinion. They listen to me when I have a problem and work with me to solve it. They promoted me to ‘head teacher’… which wasn’t even a position that existed before. They want to revamp the AMS (advanced middle school) program and look for my advice on the curriculum. They haven’t fired me even after a few students quit (unofficially because of me… I assume. G-d forbid the students should do homework for a change).

I have a group of friends that I generally like. I have no clue if they like me that much.. and most of them are only staying until March 2015. But I have people to hang out with. And if that stops, well i have a 3D tv and some paint supplies to entertain me.

I have certain conveniences. I have a Costco nearby and a motorbike to get me around town. Yes I hate the winter, but tough. No, I can’t find pants or bras that fit me, but that’s more encouragement to lose weight.

I’ll be making money.. and I’ll be able to save it for once. Not only will I leave with a few Gs in my pocket, but I make a few bucks doing massage as well. I have a steady clientele building up here and at my SERIOUSLY DISCOUNTED rates, I can keep them around.

I’ll be contributing some of my food ideas to the monthly foreigner market. Maybe, just maybe, I can start a mini pickling business and sell the delicious food I make. I can start trying out my bestie’s recipes from http://www.anotherfoodthing.wordpress.com and wowing the people of this city.

I’ll get a two week vacation at some point and maybe my family will come visit me finally.

September 2015… it’s not THAT far off, right?IMG_3305

They like me! They ACTUALLY Like me!

I can’t believe how different it is teaching at Wharton now than it was when I first started. In the beginning I was questioning myself as a teacher: Was I too strict? Did I give unfair homework? Should I allow the students youtube time?
I was a nervous wreck. Students were quitting my class and complaining that I was too strict. But then, they started to come around. They did their homework, they tried harder to speak in English, and students were saying Hi to me outside of the classroom. When the semester was ending, my manager informed me that the majority of my students were requesting to have me teach them again.

A few of them got their wish, but with my promotion, I was brought upstairs to the Scholars (slightly more advanced) program. I saw some old faces (some of my favorites) and many new faces. Some had heard of me and some were unfortunate enough to have NEVER heard of me.

I have been revamping the Guru (library) program and helping the school director develop a new literature class. In Korea, middle school students may miss up to a month of class due to exams (similar to SATs… it helps them get into HIGH SCHOOL!? whoa). This past week, two of my students (favorites, ahem ahem) came in. I jokingly said ‘Oh I missed you boys!’ and they responded ‘We are so happy to be back, Teacher!’ ‘Yea! We missed you too! There’s much to talk about!’ I was shocked. ‘Really?’ I asked. ‘You actually missed me?’ They nodded and responded ‘Of course!’  — Wow. I was floored. So we sat and caught up a bit on the few weeks they missed. And since only two (of 5) showed up, we started to plan our monthly essay topic. This particular class offers incredible insight to controversial topics (see Alex’s essay). After a few minutes of topic ideas, we decided to write about a major event that occurred recently in Korea: the sinking of the Sewol ship. If you’re unsure of this news story, please consider moving out from your rock… google it – it’s a seriously horrible tragedy. —Topic: Following the tragic sinking of the Sewol ship, many Korean festivals and activities were cancelled out of respect for those who lost their lives. Do you think, two weeks later, plans should still be cancelled or postponed (out of respect)? Support your opinion with reasons, details, and examples. ***Example, a Korean government worker was asked to cancel his family vacation two days before his departure (and two weeks after the sinking) to show the people of Korea that the government is paying respect to those lost*** — This is a serious topic and I only trust this class to handle the seriousness of it. I’m excited to read what they have to say.

Anyway – this week, my manager informed me that I would be taking over another middle school Scholars class. When I asked why, she replied that several students wanted to transfer into my class but couldn’t due to scheduling. Therefore, I get the entire class. Students are actually ASKING to be in my class? This is still flooring me.

And to boot – tomorrow is Teacher’s Day and one of my students just walked in and handed me a gift. 😀 I suspect this year ‘Teacher’s Day’ in Korea will be nothing like Wai Kru day (Teacher Respect day) in Thailand – where the students crawl on their hands and knees to present me with flowers.

I guess they like me here.

5 months for a beach

Born in Florida (The Sunshine State)

Lived in Hawai’i (The Aloha/Rainbow State)

Worked in Thailand (hot a fuuuuuuuuu**)

Currently working in Korea (what’s that white stuff falling from the sky and freezing my skin off?)

– – – – Sad fact: I have been to the beach twice since I have come to Korea—–

The first time on the beach was in Busan back in September during Chuseok. Unfortunately it was so windy that I ended up getting a microdermabrasion treatment courtesy of Mother Nature.

The second time was this past weekend during the frigid month of February. This month has seen more snow in Ulsan than in the last 20 years (allegedly).

Sunday was a beautiful day and my PIA (partner in adventures), Ashley, and I headed to Ilsan Beach. It’s pretty much ‘the’ beach of Ulsan. It’s an hour bus ride away but probably only 30-40 min in a car/on a motorbike. The sun was shining, the temperature was cool, and there was a slight breeze blowing my stray strands into my mouth. Then we got off the bus and suddenly it was a double jacket kind of wind. 

We grabbed a coffee and headed onto the beach. It was a nice, small bay-ish inlet. Upon arrival we were greeted by a Korean totem-pole who seemed to mock our double-jacket response to the weather:

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There was thick and coarse sand-colored sand with multi-shaded rocks littering the beach. Along with the litter. But it wasn’t as bad as some beaches I have seen. Children were playing, dogs wearing sweaters and bunny-outfits were frolicking in the sand. It was cold, but it was refreshing. If Superman gets recharged by the Sun, Floridians get recharged by the beach (and sun and summer and margaritas and flipflops).

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We walked along the beach and I collected a beautiful shell. Then we headed to the end of the beach and Ash subtly throws in, “Get ready to walk some stairs.” Um what? There was no mention of stairs. . .

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So we walked the stairs, stopping now and then to cater to our slightly pathetic asthmatic issues. Halfway up we found a nice rest stop with a beautiful view OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And we kept going. and going. and (think energizer bunny). Then we finally reached the top and a beautiful park was overlooking the bay! There were multiple walking paths and a children’s play area. The trees up here were magnificent!

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And then the first totem pole’s cousins made fun of us for taking so long to get up there:

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And we walked. And we sang about what we saw. To christmas songs… because we are weird. And that’s what makes us awesome! fa la la la la     la la la laaaaa

then we walked to the viewpoint area. More stairs, up high, really cold, really really windy. But beautiful. We looked at the ocean and were serenaded by some sweet Korean Kenny G sounding guy from the other side of the other beach. We took a lot of pictures, and saw cats that live on the rocks like crazy mountain lion descendants:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACrazy people were climbing the rocks. And by crazy people… i really only am displaying my jealousy and not being mentally able to handle doing things that they did… i could barely climb the rock I took the picture from… thanks mom for that fear of heights crap!!

 

Anyway, it was beautiful and cold and windy and finally the music got to us.

We walked along a rocky beach, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

slowly climbing stairs … enchanted by this serenading saxophone… it was like karaoke being sung by a reed instrument… I was lured up the stairs onto a cliff like Christine Daae being lured by the Phantom. .. and I literally walked like it (Ashley can confirm this).

We watched the krazy Korean playing the saxophone for a song or two. Then we walked along a mysterious road to what we only hoped would be the entrance… and then we came upon the greatest child’s playground toy ever…It was

 

a see saw. But it was a 6 person see saw!! WHATS!!!! Amaze-balls.

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We had found the children’s play area… which meant we were back at the beginning. Then we ate some dope Indian food after walking through a 3-story Daiso and went home and passed the F out.

 

Overall, for having gone to a beach without requiring a bathing suit and leaving paler than when I arrived, it was a pretty good time.

 

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. :/

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