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Archive for October, 2010

The Definition of Anxiety

…would be packing for a solid year. This is not my idea of fun.

Got my Visa this morning! Whoopwhoop! There was a time when I didn’t ever think I’d see that bad boy. But now I’ve got it and everything is becoming much more real. I am actually moving to Korea. It’s just a year I remind myself. A drop in the bucket. A blip on the radar screen of your life. Then I re-study my flight itinerary for the millionth time and see that while I leave Chicago for a 14 hour flight (don’t ask how I calculated 20 hours as I claimed in my last post. That’s MonicaMathematics for ya) at 1:00 a.m. on Saturday, I arrive to Korea at 5:00 a.m. Sunday. I skip a day. Korea is one day ahead of us. I’LL BE LIVING IN THE FUTURE. Intense, huh? If you’re lucky, maybe I’ll call you and let you know how your day will go. Or how my day went which could help you determine how your day may go? I just bottled my own mind.

Below are some quick updates I’m sure all you readers (I mean Dad, and now (its been officially confirmed) Grayson!) have been just dying for…

1. Interview with a Korean Vampire went fiiiine. Nothing to get worked up about. Almost silly to drive 4 hours for a 10 minute interview. Korean dude comes in. Korean dude asks if I have a criminal record. And that was basically it. I’ve had sneezing fits that have lasted longer than this super important appointment with the consulate.

2. The chicken and waffle experience was everything I imagined and more. Again, I would post pics (and I will) as soon as I figure out how to wordpress them into this thingy. We had fried green tomatoes and collard green spring rolls (fancy, right?) as apps and the sweetest tea of all time. Like call the dentist sweet. Dad, mom and I each had the main dish on the menu, “The Midnight Train.” You can imagine my excitement when ordering. Mom and I did opt to split an order as it came with an extra-large waffle and 4 pieces of fried chicken. Gladys don’t play! Dad got one of his own, but wasn’t able to finish it. First time for everything I guess, right Pops? During dinner, the three of us discerned that there is no way chicken and waffles were a popular item in the Deep South as my dad claims to not have even known what a waffle was until sometime after he moved away from home at the age of 18. Sound crazy? Dad has also got some great stories of not wearing shoes until his age was in the double digits and driving a mule pulled tobacco sled as work on the farm in the summer time. He’s old school for realz.

3. After much debating on what to read for both read-a-thons, I decided on David Sedaris’s newest book, “When You Are Engulfed in Flames.” I think its his newest book? I had my bookie (a long haired beauty of Brooklyn, NY) suggest a few good reads. Every book she suggested was strangely not available at the downtown Savannah bookstore. It’s a small shop that’s been around for a hundred years and I would prefer to buy from them then say, Narnes and Bobles. Helping out the little man, you know? But they are alllways sold out of the best sellers! Gah! So I went with Sedaris as it was close to the cash register and they were closing soon. I’ve read “Me Talk Pretty One Day” and it was an all around laugh fest, so I’m looking forward to “Flames.” My aggravation with the bookstore prompted my Dad to offer to buy a Kindle for me. I kind of didn’t want to go the Kindle route, but I buy music from iTunes all the times, so… you know. I was also told by a family member living in Vietnam (yeah, you’re family at this point) that a Kindle was a smart thing to have living overseas, so I guess that worked out! I’ll let y’all know how I like it! Maybe I’ll write a long winded, overly descriptive narrative of a review, featuring too many juvenile pop culture references, quick hops from past to present tense, waaay more parentheses than necessary, that is written exactly how I speak, making it totally confusing and difficult to read! How’s that sound?

Ok, I gotta quit. This blogging thing has been a great way to put off doing other things. Didn’t see that coming

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Today is my dad’s birthday. My most favorite man on the planet. He and I are extremely close and when I was living in New York, we spoke at least once, sometimes twice, a day. I will miss him oh so much this year. He and mom are already planning their trip to Korea to see me. They will be visiting ONCE. Just ONCE. They claim. I’m gunning for one trip to stay with me in Korea and another trip for me to meet them in Vietnam. They seem to really want to stick to their JUST ONCE plan. We’ll see if I can break them.

Today is also my eldest niece’s birthday. My dad got his first grandchild as a birthday gift on his 56th year. Lucky granddaddy. She is one super cool 9 year-old. With pierced ears, I’ll have you know. I feel very lucky to have both of them in my life and today we celebrate their day of birth!

Anywhoodle…

Got my flight itinerary this morning. Now leaving Friday afternoon instead of Saturday. Luckily, I am really freakin’ good at dealing with changed plans at this point. No biggie. I’m flying out of Savannah at 5:56 pm to arrive in Kanye’s Chi-town at 7:22 p.m. Then begins major read-a-thon nemero uno, because I don’t board the flight to Korea until 1:00 a.m. Six hours in the Chicago airport? Why yes, that does sound like a lovely way to spend a Friday evening.

I arrive to the Seoul Incheon Int’l airport at 5:00 a.m. Sunday. Jelly? Read-a-thon part two, the in-flight sequel, might not be as satisfying. I will then be collected by a driver and taken to my school to meet the school’s director in a wave of bed-head and un brushed teeth I am sure. Grrreat.

Secretly I am kind of excited about the flight. All 20 hours of it. I know it will probably be hell and I’ll be eating my words later, but there is something about flying that I’ve always loved. I think it may be because when you are in an airport or on a plane, you really have no responsibilities except to wait and keep yourself occupied until you either board your plane or arrive at your destination. It’s like a get out of jail free card on things that you were supposed to do. The ultimate excuse. Sorry! I was flying from here to there! And a 20 hour plane ride is the extreme of that. I can read and nap and daydream and have snacks and be really unproductive. Sounds pretty good to me. And I’m sure I should take advantage of it because I have a feeling I’m going to be beyond busy for the next few months. Getting settled with a new job and new apartment and new people and new places will probably wear me out. Shhhew! Someone is going to have to FedEx me a whole palate of 5 hour energy shots!

So the packing, or re-packing really, begins tonight! Mom and Dad and I are headed to ATL in the a.m. for my final interview with the Korean consulate. Kind of intimidating. I mean, I’m interviewing to be allowed into a country. It just seems extreme/ intense/ over the top to me. Whatevs. It’s a reason to go to Atlanta. I usually don’t look forward to going to Atlanta because I say it’s a big city with big city problems but no big city fun. Personal opinion of course. This time is different due to the fact that Mom and I were recently informed of a little restaurant owned by a singer, maybe you know her?, Gladys Knight? The lady responsible for my number one karaoke song of all time that I CANNOT WAIT to debut in S.K.  IMMA MIDNIGHT TRAIN TO GEORGIA THE SHIZZ OUTTA ALL YOU KOREAN PEEPS. JUST YOU WAIT!!!!! Apparently Gladys is a huge fan of the perfectly paired chicken and waffles. I too am a fan. Mom… not so much. Maybe not a fan, but totally interested because she claims to have never heard of the chicken and waffle phenomenon. Whaaaaaaaa? I don’t ever remember not knowing (or constantly wishing for) chicken and waffles. She also claims that this is something that I discovered in New York. I dunno. I am almost sure I came out of the womb crying for chicken and waffles. The jury is still out on this one. Anyway- we will be going out of our way to get to Gladys and Ron Chicken and Waffles. I’d add in the link to their website if I knew how. (Workin’ on it, people!) So we’ll let you know how that goes. Till then- fried chicken wishes and syrupy waffle dreams to you all.

 

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Hey OH! It’s my last American Sunday for quite some time. Last Sunday to watch NFL football. Last Sunday to eat fried chicken in the park. Last Sunday to take part in my local Southern Gospel choir. And since I will be doing none of these things, I think I may go get fish tacos with my mama and join my sister to take my Soaring Eagle of a 9 year-old niece to get her ears pierced!!! Hey OH!

On another note… I worked a wedding for my mama last night. Mama the Wonderful has had a tour/ travel business since I was just a young buck and a few years ago, expanded that business to host weddings and parties of all shapes and sizes. Last night was a big one. I was bar backing, or as I call it, bar bitching (not because I bitched, but because my work was for one). While the liquor was a-flowin’ and the music was a-bumpin’ I started to reminisce on the last wedding I attended. Attended- being the operative word. My hetro-sexual life partner walked down the aisle last month and I was the Maid of Honor. That’s a whole other story. I digress… anywho- I was reminiscing on the wedding I went to in June with a great friend, who we’ll call Sean Claude Van Bunger. Van Bunger grew up in the great Amish state of Pennsylvania and I was still in NYC. His bestie was getting married in Lancaster, so I took the train down to meet him and party away the wedding weekend. I hurried through Penn Station to make the rehearsal dinner just in time. We ate and drank and I was totally into my buffalo chicken pizza. In my perifial, I could see some girls at the end of the table looking really focused and hyped about whatever the woman at the head of the table was saying. I aimed my supa dupa powerful ears in their direction and realized she was reading their tarot cards! Again… Hey OH! I wanted in on that action immediately.

I discreetly slid my chair closer and closer until I could seamlessly integrate myself into their conversation (aka eaves drop and butt in). I asked the woman, step- mom of the bride who grew up with a Native American Medicine Man for a grandfather, if she would mind reading my tarot cards. Next thing I know, I’m sitting in front of her, buffalo chicken pizza totally abandoned, shuffling cards. She did a year long look into my future. Now remember readers (I mean, Dad), I have just made one of the craziest, over the top, out on a limb, by a wing and a prayer decisions I’ve ever made in my life. I’ve decided to leave New York City (tear) which I love, my friends (tear) which I love and move to the other side of the PLANET. Should I tell the tarot mistress? Should I hint to her that something may-jah is going on with me currently? No. Keep it to yourself, my rational side tells me. Let’s see what kind of black magic this lady is made of.

I start pulling cards, as she requested, and she’s giving me “WOW”, “No really. WOW.” And, let me tell you… I am getting UBER SIKED. I’m bouncing in my chair like Peter Rabbit, literally foaming at the mouth for some info. She explains to me that I’ve pulled multiple “power” cards. Uh, duh lady. I could have told you that. JK. (Not really). I am then having a major Teen Witch/ The Craft moment, as the cards are sprawled around the table in a circle and my tarot mistress is looking at me, looking at the cards. Turn one over. Turn another over. Look at me. Look at the cards. It was all very dramatic and I was eating up every bit.

So, long tale of sorcery short, she decides the cards are showing her that I will have a very big decision to make in the fall that seems work related. Cut to me on the edge of my chair, biting my nails about to burst wide open with excitement. Whatever that decision is, will greatly affect my year. In the spring, it will be shown to myself and my employer that I am beyond awesome at whatever it is I am doing. Like soooooo awesome that I will be given more responsibility than I ever imagined. Cut to me out of my chair, jumping up and down with steam coming out of my ears. I can’t stand it anymore. I spill the beans.

Me: OHMYGOD. Actually it’s funny you say that because I’ve just made the decision to move to Korea to teach school for the next year. I know. Crazy, right? So I guess I’m gonna be pretty good at it? I mean, I know I’ll be good at it. Who isn’t good at speaking their native language to adorable children. Do you think this is what the cards are talking about? Not talking. Cards don’t talk. Do you think this is what the cards are referring to? Me moving to Korea? I’m supposed to leave this fall. But you said a decision would be made in the fall? I’ve already made the decision and it’s early summer. And why won’t I be recognized as great until the spring? In your opinion, how accurate are these tarot readings? Like 93%? What type of medicine man was your grandfather? Did he go to tarot school on the reservation? Did you go to tarot school? Did you grow up on a reservation? I’m just so nervous. Anyone would be I guess. Hehe. So yeah. How accurate did you say?

Tarot Mistress: South Korea, eh? Hmmmmmm. That is interesting. Listen honey, you’ll be good at it. Trust me. You may never come back.

And then I pooped my pants.

Just kidding. Really this time. Sorry Mom. (Mama the Wonderful does NOT like the word poop. Or pee. Or fart or butt. Or probably pants for that matter. I’m guessing she would prefer “pantaloons” or “britches”). The point is, I was blown away. Completely. Never come back? ARE YOU INSANE?

So readers (again, Dad), I guess only time will tell. In the spirit of the Halloween season (do they have Halloween in Korea?) I’ll leave you with this…

Did the young, smart, super fun and totally awesome southern girl make it in Korea? Was she forced to down play all of her attributes to make the big unveiling of her awesome in the spring that more intense? Was she tricked into eating “chicken” that turned out to be poisonous puppy and die an untimely death? Did she… EVER COME BACK? Muuuhahahahahahahah!

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While I was hearding 114 8th graders down the beach in the dark this evening (working for da man… my mom), I got a call from my #1 best recruiter to tell me that my school wants me on the 23rd!! Nine days people! NINE DAYS. I’m getting excited/ nervous. More excited than nervous this go around. This go around? Yes, this would be the second time in the past 3 months that I’ve been given a confirmation on what day my new Korean employer wants me to zip up my multiple 1 trillion pound bags and leave the country. For those readers who don’t know my previous issues/ drama/ Spanish soap opera of a time trying to get myself over to the SK, let me take you back…

Back a long, long time ago when I was but a bitter New Yorker, aged just a mere 24 years…

It was the dead of Spring. No tulips and sundresses for this girl. All New York City could offer me were rain boots,cramped spaces, shallow pockets, and a crappy attitude (actually, I had awesome friends and roommates, a ton of fun, and, as always, super supportive parents.) My skin was pale and my outlook on things to come, was even paler. I was in a rut. A nice, ol’ fashioned rut. All I needed was a black cone-shaped hat and a moldy cupcake for my pity party. I wasn’t happy with anything. It’s hard to be super pumped about life when you feel bored, homesick and unfulfilled. I wanted to break out and do something different. I was smack in the middle of John Mayers’ quarter life crisis, as embarrassing as that is to admit.

I had been in New York City for almost 3 years. I loved my time in the city, but I was falling victim to the 3-5 years itch that so many NYC transplants report to having experienced. I decided I wanted to live overseas. I had traveled overseas as a teen with my parents, but I had always felt like I wanted to LIVE overseas. Like leave the country and go somewhere else. For a long while. So I skipped work one day, went to the library and started to research what it actually takes to move to another country. I immediately became overwhelmed. Visas and apartments and jobs and, on top of all that, foreign languages?!? Ummm- check please! So I left the library that day feeling even more defeated. This went on for about a week… me feeling bad for myself and overwhelmed and yada yada yada. Fast forward to me pouting to the sunniest girl I know (currently of Austin, Texas) and her giving me the piece of advice that got me to where I am today. She told me of a high school friend of hers who was getting a gig to teach school in South Korea and maybe I could look into it? Light blub! Teach? Well, I haven’t exactly ever taught schoool. I did teach dance and I was a pretty fantastic camp counselor… I like kids! Kids like me! They pay your rent? DONE.

So, when people ask me how long it took for me to decide to move to Korea, I lie. I say, oh- I dunno. Like 6 hours? It was actually more like 6 minutes.

Once the decision was made, the real work started. I got hooked up with my #1 best recruiter of the Canadian territory and he walked me through what had to be done. Resumes and criminal record checks and visas, oy vey. I dove in head first and thought, hey- this cannot be thaaaat bad. What an IDIOT. Bad? I mean it wasn’t like getting shot in the heart. More like getting shot in the leg and then being asked to check the mail at the end of a really really long driveway. It was a pain in the asssparagus. From beginning to end. And the funny thing is- I am a pretty patient person. Like I know that the line at the post office is going to be a bee-otch no matter the situation so I go to the post office with the outlook of, okay… this will suck. But who cares. People have dealt with worse things than standing in line at the post office. Play on your phone, pick your fingernail polish off, day dream about re-doing the basement of your non-exsistant house and then you’ll be to the front of the line! Before you even realize it!  And I kept that outlook. Outlooks and attitudes can make or break this type of thing. But, in my case it did not matter not one little bit. I did my best to happily skip from government building to government building, with flowers in my hair, yes ma’am and no siring my way to perfect, bureaucratic karma. Again. What an IDIOT. I would love to know what I did in a past life to get me such a sucky luck pattern with all this. Here’s how it went-

I’d go to one 27 story government building and they’d be closed. I’d go to another building and wait in line. The wrong line. Find the correct line. Wait again. Realize I don’t have any cash. Leave said line and find cash machine. Get cash and go back to line. Get the STAMP STAMP on the official document dijour and leave. Send my STAMP STAMPED document to Korean bullies who sit around and change rules. Get a call from #1 best recruiter. He tells me (in the nicest way possible. I really do want to track him down and hug him) rules changed. Look back on the day of happy skipping and line standing and want to scream. Schedule time to do all this again. Wash, rinse, repeat.

It did become comical after some time. I mean, it was a classic comedy of errors. Funnier now than then obvs. It got so bad that I had to actually pull out of my first gig that was in Seoul because the school’s directors were pissed at me due to my documents taking forever and I was pissed at them for changing my plans one million times. Not cool. I got to be the schizo girl at the bar on a Wednesday making a huge spectical of myself dramatically hugging people good bye and reciting my flight schedule for Thursday to my super duper adventure in Korea and then dragging my tail between my legs back into the same bar on Friday rosey cheeked saying, uhhh j/k err-e-body. I mean, I wasn’t lieing or anything. I am going to Korea. I’m just… well- it’s a long story and umm. My flight got changed? I mean I lost my job. Haha. Not LOST my job really… my criminial record check was bad. Nononono, not baaaaad. It’s just? OH FORGET IT!!!!!

So, now that I do have all my documented ducks in a row and I actually may be going to Korea some time this century- I’m getting really excited/ nervous. More excited than nervous this go around. This go around? Yes, this would be the second time… Haha. Just kidding.

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“Hello World!” my hiney! More like “Hello Dad!” Or “Hello Couple of Friends Who I Eventually Guilt Into Reading My Blog!”

My name is Monica. Also know as MoniKorea, as a friend of a friend so cleverly suggested. I have hesitantly decided to start a blog, for a few reasons that I have listed below…

1. I am moving to South Korea to teach school for the next year and thought this would be a way to keep up with my fam and friends, as well as a road around re-telling the same stories over and over

2. I would like to be able to share pics of whats going on with me with my internet/ computer/facebook challenged parents

C. A public forum to remind peeps how creative and awesome I am seems necessary and delightful

4. I feel with the absence of cable television, and me not being able to speak the native tongue of the country I’m moving to… I may need a “hobby” of sorts to keep me busy

5. I should really practice spelling

Reason enough, eh? So here goes nothing. As a general rule of the life that is MoniKorea thus far, I seem to thrive best when schedules, routines, commitments, etc. are part of my day to day. Free time is not something I deal well with. Idol hands… you know? So, in addition to the 5 reasons above, I have decided to blog to test my own readiness to commit. Commit to what exactly, you ask? Just to commit. Commit to writing, commit to taking photos, commit to keeping up with my year abroad for the sake of well kept memories for later. Committing to turning my computer on and off.  Committing to commit.

If this doesn’t work out, I may need to have myself committed.

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Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

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