Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Lunar New Year

You see, a year ago I probably would have said "Happy Chinese New Year," but since I'm in Korea, it's not exactly Chinese, is it?? It's the year of the dragon, which I am also a dragon by the Chinese zodiac, so I'm thinking this year might be rather lucky for me!

I'm going to try to write more this year, and I know I said that last year...However, seeing as I'm interested in writing as my career, I figured I should write more!

I was just doing some light research on online dating, particularly when it comes to women (and women my age), and found some interesting stuff! It may not be as academic as I would have liked, but I was just thinking about it lately.

The people from have a blog where they gather data from their users (all of it is anonymized and randomized) to track various things. One post has lots of charts on sex, and the next correlates questions asked to different aspects of life. For example, if you ask "Do spelling and grammar mistakes annoy you?" then "the odds of him or her being at least moderately religious is slightly better than 2:1." ...wait, what? Why can't you just ask outright? i suppose with everything you find on the internet, you might have to take it with a grain of salt.

I also stumpled upon this graphic showing how men are more likely to visit personals sites than women, but I was more interested in the fact that women aged 25-34 were the most likely to visit these sites. I'm surprised that women so young are more likely to visit!

I may do some more in-depth research on this topic later, but I thought I'd just put it up here. There are lots of infographics about this topic, and here's a link to one that is pretty interesting!

Sorry if this seems sporadic, but just wanted to put something up here that was more focused than my normal life!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What's this? Another post? Impossible!

Wow, another post in only a few days?! What is this madness?!? (*snirk*)

Lately, I've been longing for a way out. I'm tired of all this loneliness, frustration, worry, and longing for home. Any kind of home. Right now, it's mainly my childhood home, since that's where I'm most familiar at the moment. It's just difficult knowing that a home is grown and made, it's not instantaneous... well, at least not for me. If it is instantaneous, you're the lucky one.

All these difficulties in being here have made me rewind my memories back to when I was "studying abroad" in Finland (being originally from Finland, "studying abroad" is a loose term). It was just as difficult, even though it is my "home country." (that's a whole 'nother story in and of itself) I just couldn't get the hang of things, and I'd never been so depressed in my life. However, as a disclaimer, I was in high school, when our developing brains are still largely based in the emotional part of our brain (the hypothalmus? I forget which part of the brain it was...), so our emotions feel amplified whereas the rational side of our brain doesn't kick in until later in life. [THANK YOU Life Sciences Communications 350 -- a class that was based on how the brain processes images and how you feel about them! One of the best classes I ever took in college!]

I digress.

So in high school, it feels like it was worse than now (I don't know if it's just because of my developmental stage at the time, or if it really was. *shrug* I don't know). I was just about getting over it when I had to leave at the end of the year. At that time, I was finally feeling comfortable with everything, and my friends, etc., that I almost was sad in leaving.

This is also the time I came to be a Christian.

Now, it seems, I'm in a similar predicament. However, now I have more resources (by way of support) and a more rational brain to work with. I no longer feel like the world is caving in because I'm just-so-emo! *sarcastically cries* (though, I admit, I still do feel that way from time to time)

So how do I take my experiences of the past and apply them to today?

Well, I'm a MUCH different person than I was back then (thank God!!). I long for that child-like faith I had back then, when I could feel so much. Now, it's more difficult.

Especially since I have been presented with the way out I've been longing for, but not actually expecting to get... Not sure if I should go for it...

I'm still not sure what to do. I'm trying to do little things- like doing things I like, creative things- which tend to fall behind when I'm like this, trying to be around other people when I have no desire to, etc. Baby steps, I think. Baby steps.

Because I'm tired of falling apart.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Creativity and Life in South Korea

I know I promised many months ago that I would update several times a week, every week. This has not happened, and I'm not sorry. I wish I could be sorry, but I don't feel like I owe anyone a mundane, sub-par, albeit "foreign" (literally and figuratively) blog entry. It's also the fear of reverting to my teenage, emo blog posts from my livejournal blog back in the day. I also am more careful what I post online, as I understand the repercussions of what I say.

In a nutshell, I'm not sorry I haven't posted, and yet afraid to post because of the fear of dullness.

Though I can hear my friends and family saying, "But you're living ABROAD, which many people don't get to do, and you're afraid of being DULL??" Yes. I am.

Today I watched a TED Talk, which I often like to do to feel enlightened, and managed to come across Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love, a book that thoroughly moved me) talking about creativity. Particularly about how creative genius works (in her opinion), as the Ancient Greeks and Romans envisioned it, as an otherworldly thing on loan to you from an "unknown source" to enjoy and use. It is a thing apart from yourself, which is often internalized by these artists/creative people that often leads to their ruin (Kurt Cobain, Mozart, Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, etc.). As a Christian, I see this from God's perspective, that this bit of talent/creativity/whatever you want to call it, as a gift from God, and to be cherished. (please forgive the awful grammar of that last sentence!)

It really is an interesting idea. I have aspirations to possibly be a science writer. I had planned on updating this blog on a regular basis to maintain my writing skills (which my mother says are quite good...but being my mother, I don't know if she's just saying that or if it's true.). But yet that hasn't happened.

I think it could be that this transition into my own life, apart from my family and the place I consider "home," has been more difficult than I anticipated. I thought that I could be this adventurous, fabulous woman, traversing the globe in search of amazing things to do and see.

This has not happened, and it's a little troubling. I feel like I haven't lived up to my friends' and family's expectations of me being that globe-trotter.

I also have been finding my health to be not as robust as it has been in the USA. I've gotten several colds, a sinus and ear infection, pink eye, and now I have skin problems on my hands (and face...partly due to a mosquito problem). I have a feeling that my skin problems could be a physical effect of my current feeling of apathy (to put it lightly), but I have no way of knowing.

I need help to get by. I'm currently seeking it out, so no worries, but I reflect onto what Elizabeth Gilbert said. That my creativity (which I've been craving) is not to be internalized, but to be recognized as a gift from God, and to use it for what I need it for.

So, in that, I'm hoping to update this blog more (I'm pretty sure I said that last time too). If not to update my friends and family about the goings on in my head, but also to have some sort of a creative outlet, which may be just the thing I need to survive here in Korea.

In conclusion, here's the Elizabeth Gilbert talk. I highly recommend you watch it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

South Korea-- The First 3.5 Months

Hello there!

It seems that I have fallen off of the bandwagon of updating that I had hoped to be on before. Life got a little crazy but I will explain in full. I'm hoping that this post won't be a super long one, but I'll try my best to wrap up my first few months here!

When I first got here, I wrote a post about my first day at school. It was alright, but at first I wasn't really "teaching" anything. My co-teachers would teach most of it and I would just stand there and pipe in every once in a while. I thought that was how it would always be. A few weeks of this go by, and my main co-teacher tells me that now I will be doing most of the teaching, starting on the next Monday (I think it was Thursday when she told me). I was a bit surprised at the sudden change (which seems to be a common habit here), and I asked why I wasn't teaching before. She told me that she wanted me to "take it easy" at first. Alright, I'll give her that much, but a heads-up would have been nice! So I taught mainly for a few weeks, but then me and my main co-teacher had a bit of a falling out. It's mainly just a personal conflict of interests, but we're working on it. It turns out that the way to a Korean woman's heart, is through her stomach. I started getting her her favorite doughnut once a week for a few weeks and now she's more friendly with me now! Who knew??

Overall, I'm starting to like my school. To be honest, I wasn't a huge fan of kids when I got here, but now they're growing on me. My kids make me laugh and they like me a lot. Every day I hear at least one "Laura Teacher, I love you!!" and a hug to go along with it! I do have my favorite students, and my favorite class, but I try not to let it affect how I teach. I want the students to learn English, and have fun with it. Which leads me to my next big project at work, summer camp.

I have to teach three weeks of summer camp this summer. I have to come up with the curriculum and lesson plans by the 30th of this month. I'm currently working on getting the themes of my camps down, and then lesson plans. I think that I'll do my first week as: "Travel the (English speaking) World!" -- this is to introduce the students to different styles of English, as there are many teachers from many countries who are often "criticized" for not speaking "American" English. The next week will be a "Pirates" themed week. This is just a fun way to teach them pirate words! The last week will be a "Week at the Movies" kind of thing. I'm still working out the details of this one, but I think I'll show snippets of a movie (probably something from Disney), and teach them movie-theater vocabulary. I'm mainly doing this movie-week because it's my last week before vacation, so I want to make it as relaxing as possible, heh. I'm hoping that this summer camp will be a chance for me to prove that I CAN indeed teach, without a co-teacher, and have fun while doing it! A chance to spread my wings a little bit, figuratively speaking.

After summer camp, I'll be going home to the States for 2 weeks. I'm really looking forward to it, seeing as during these past 3.5 months here I've been getting homesick a lot. I think it's partly because of the culture shock factor. There are different phases, and I think I hit the second phase (disillusionment- where you hate everything about the culture) pretty hard. I think I'm over it now, seeing as I'm getting out and doing new things and meeting new people. For instance, I started taking a Korean class about a month and a half ago, and I've met some cool people through that class. **I'll post some pictures later, as soon as they download off of my camera...** I've also started a hot yoga class, which is interesting since my Korean isn't nearly that good that I can follow the teacher's instructions. I usually just watch what everyone else is doing and they correct my posture occasionally. It works out! Hopefully I can burn off some of the weight I've put on since I've gotten here, heh heh!

I think that's a good start to catching up on posting! Maybe I'll post again tomorrow between work and Korean class, but we'll see! Hopefully it won't be another three months before I post again!