Saturday, December 3, 2011

Last Post

Well hello to anyone who has made it to the final post of my whirlwind Korea journey.  After saying goodbye to my friends, fiance (i'll get to that in a second) and everything that was familiar i'm finally back in my childhood home in Indiana.  While it is weird being back home (really weird) it's comforting at the same time.  I'm easing myself back into eating American food (hello huge portions), adjusting to the time zone change (that's a dozy) and trying not to think about everyone I care about back in Korea.

So as you saw above, there's been some big changes.  I'm engaged.  Yes.  I'm engaged.  As you've seen from the past posts, I met the man of my dreams while in Korea.  It was a whirlwind romance from the beginning and we met, fell in love and got engaged.  We're planning for a Christmas wedding (like I said, whirlwind) and moving to his next duty station sometime in March.

Korea was amazing but i'm finally ready to begin the next chapter of my life.  While I don't know where life will take me next, I know that with Dan by my side and the support of my family and friends only a phone call away I can do anything.  Thank you to everyone who went on this journey with me.  Hopefully you learned something about Korean culture and maybe even a little something about yourself along the way.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Almost Goodbye

As my title says, this post is entitled, "almost goodbye."  I'm just a few days away from leaving Korea...this time for good.  After almost two years in the amazing country of Korea, my time is almost over.  A few more days of teaching my adorable itty bitties, spending time with my phenomenal boyfriend and friends and eating as much Korean food as my body can handle.

It's hard to believe that just 21 months ago, I was writing on here about how I was ready to start my journey into Korea.  I was ready to start my journey in a place that was unknown to me.  A place that terrified me.   Here I am now, all those months later, and my entire outlook has changed.  The place that was unknown has been explored and adventures have been had in dozens of Korean cities and surrounding islands or countries.  The place that formerly terrified me now astounds me in its ever-changing beauty and culture.

In my time in Korea I have made amazing friends, met the love of my life and had adventures that people would only dream of.  I always say that pictures are worth a thousand words but in this case I think they can nicely sum up year two in Korea.  Year one was documented here for anyone who missed that one.  Thanks for the memories Korea.  Now i'm finally ready for the next chapter of my life to start.

At the "Pohang's Got Crabs" dinner

Making snowmen during a freak snowstorm

At game night/potluck at Frank's house

With two of my favorite girls, Anna and Yuna

With my Virginia

Rocking out at 80's night with two of my favorite girls, Alissa and Claire

At Tim's going away dinner with Schinsky, Nick Kelly and Tim

With my private students on my last night
Bosok, Nick, James, Kelly, Krystal and Blue Steel

Representing the green for St. Patrick's Day
Olya, Claire, Sarah and Amber

In Seoul for a girls weekend
Sarah Willey, Sarah King and Kristina

My birthday with some amazing women
Tanya, Phalan, Gayle, Heather, Larina, Jane and Lia

Our first cookout with the Marines
Dan, Alissa, Matt, Anna, Megan and O'Malley

Stuck in the elevator in Busan for Matt's last night in Korea
Leighton, Kennedy, Dan, Megan and Matt

On base for Disney pancake day

Out for a motorcycle ride with the boys and two of my best girls
Megan, Kennedy,  Matt, Dan and Alissa

At a waterfall at OK Mountain during a motorcycle ride
Anna, Claire, Megan, Alissa, Chris, Teagan, Mike, Kory, Nick and Schinsky

At the Steelers game
Teagan, Finity, Anna, Ryan, Claire, Tanya and Nick

Waiting at the airport for our flight to Jeju Island

At Hanlim Park

At Jeju Island's Loveland

At LiveStory with a bunch of friends to see Kevin again while he's in town
Ramella, Pat, Leigh, Kevin and Emily

At Sunrise Park for sunrise

At a cookout in Odo Beach with the whole crew

Our Busan vacation

In Seoul with Dan to see Tristen from high school

A summer night at Nick Kelly's
Claire, Alissa, Leigh, Josh and Emily

At LiveStory with my girls
Christy, Anna and Emily

At the Busan Lantern festival with my sweetie

At Haesan's Wedding

At our motorcycle photoshoot

Gyeongju World
Kennedy, Japan Dan, Sarah, Dan, Leighton and Alisa

With all my little monsters on a field trip

Princess Peach and Mario on Halloween

With all my little munchkins on Halloween

At our "engagement" photo shoot

My favorite one

At my first (of many) military balls

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

2011 Marine Corps Ball

On November 12th, I attended my very first Marine Corps Ball.  It was held in Seoul, South Korea and was a night I will never forget.

Before leaving for the big night
As many of you know, my wonderful boyfriend Dan is a Marine and I was so excited to be part of his night to celebrate such an amazing organization.  Since Dan and I have been dating I have learned so much about the military and exactly what the Marine Corps does to keep people safe.  This year marked the 236th anniversary of one of the most prestigious and proud military organizations in the world.  He has taught me about exactly what the Marine Corps does and how it is varies from the Navy, Army or Air Force.  After everything i've learned, i've become even prouder (if that's possible) to  be the girlfriend of a Marine.

Well, now that you know how I feel about the Marine Corps, let's talk about the actual ball.  After a somewhat stressful journey to get to our hotel (the buses to Seoul were sold out) we were dressed to impress and out the door on our way to meet up with the rest of Dan's unit.  We hopped on a bus with the rest of the Marines and headed to the hotel that held the big event.

We arrived at the hotel and saw hundreds of people dressed in their finest.  The men and women there representing the Marine Corps in their finest dress blues, their dates in their best attire and every other important person in attendance looking their best.  The decorations were beautiful, the food at dinner was delectable and the company incomparable.

The majority of the guys from the Mujuk Ordnance Unit

My favorites from that night:  Kennedy, Alisa, Dan and I

We had an amazing night.  After eating and drinking to excess we hit the dance floor.  Watching all of the high ranking officers do the electric slide or get their groove on with their dates was one of the most amusing parts of the night.  With (hopefully) many more Marine Corps Balls to come for me it's hard to know how any of them will top this one.  I was so lucky to be able to be part of Dan's special night and finally see face-to-face how proud the men and women of the Marine Corps are of their organization.  Congratulations Marines on 236 years of amazing service to our country.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why I Hate Dell and Love Apple

There is a reason to my lack of bloggy-blog-blogging lately.  My nearly 2 year old computer has bitten the dust.  I bought it back in February of 2010, ready to take it on the adventure I was undertaking in Korea.  In the short time i've had it, i've had to complete wipe it down (twice), bribe a friend to completely put it back to factory settings and install the software, again(Thanks Kyle) and spend more than an hour with a Dell Support guy who informed me that the motherboard (what the hell is that?!) is fried and the only thing he can do is to charge me $220 for an assessment once I get home.  That's right folks.  An ASSESSMENT.  He will charge me that much money just to tell me that the motherboard is fried.  He doesn't fix it.  He doesn't perform any Dell Support magic that will retrieve my files.  He just forces me to cough out $220 and then pay even more money to get a NEW motherboard for my computer which will end up costing the equivalent to a new computer once it is said and done.

If you can't tell...i'm fed up with Dell.  In the 5 years (yes folks, 5 years) that I had my old school Apple Laptop, I never had a SINGLE problem.  I didn't have viruses.  It didn't shut down on me.  The "motherboard" (i'm not convinced it's a real thing) didn't fry.  The only reason why I switched to a PC is because I knew my little apple girl wouldn't make the trek to Korea very well and Best Buy was running a special on PC laptops.  She (yes, it was a girl) was older, running slowly and I didn't want to mess with buying a new computer in Korea on the off chance that she would go kaput.

In the beginning, my little Apple girl cost about $1200.  I paid close to $750 for my Dell piece of shit.  The apple lasted me 5 years.  The Dell lasted me less than 2.  You do the math.

I guess it's true what they say.  In the end, quality beats quantity every day of the week.  You can be sure of one thing, my next computer will not be a Dell.  I am an all-the way Apple user from here on out.  Sure it may be a little expensive at first but as you can clearly see from the above's clearly worth it.

Here is my dream computer that will (hopefully) become a reality here in a few weeks once I return stateside.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween 2011: Pohang Edition

I hope you all had a very happy Halloween and that you are stuffed to the brim with candy and spooky treats galore.  As my last post explained, my spooky day at Kids College was a barrel of fun.  While it was a barrel of fun, it was with dozens of tiny children who were vying for my attention by screaming about their favorite candy, throwing tantrums about not getting the candy they wanted or not getting as much candy as the person next to them.  Obviously candy was a big factor in this years Halloween for my students.  Shockingly enough though it wasn't my littlest kids that were the biggest whiners.  The whines came from my oldest kids.

But, i'm getting away from the topic of conversation at hand.  This post is about a Halloween away from all the itty bitties and being in the company of people who have the ability to understand what i'm saying and be able to enjoy an adult beverage or two.  Or three.  Or four.

This year, I split my time between TILT (you know i'd be there) and LiveStory (a local bar that plays live music) with the boyfriend and all of my friends.  Dan and I went all out this year and got mail ordered costumes of Mario and Princess Peach.  Unbeknownst to us, Mario and Princess Peach are HUGE in Korea.     Everywhere we went, we were greeted with, "MARIO!  PEACH! Picture!  Picture!"  We felt like quite the celebrities and actually ended up being the winners in a contest!  Hooray for us!

Due to the fact that a picture is worth a thousand words, I think the pictures of that night can explain it better than I can.  

Princess Peach and her Mario

Mario getting embraced by the owner of LiveStory

A demon, zebra and a bunch of grapes

Vampire and Elphaba (from the musical Wicked)

The ever famous, Angry Bird

Wonder Woman and a very realistic skeleton

Some of my favorite ladies partying the night away