Sunday, March 25, 2007

Korea is making me sick!

If there's one thing that I have become an expert at during my last few years in Korea - it's getting a cold. This year alone, I have caught 3 colds ...which is some sort of record....3 colds in 3 months.
I have become well rehearsed in giving my excuses : it's cold and flu season, or half my kids at school are sick, or someone sneezed/coughed and or wiped their nose on me while I was on the subway last week...all very logical and perhaps valid reasons as to why I am perpetually sick.
It seems is easy to blame my colds on the very country where the general population can be seen daily hacking their guts out freely, without so much as an attempt to raise their hand to cover their mouth.
Besides the enormous amount of dirty germs floating around, this country is just plain dirty: the air, the water, the air...oops said that one already - but it's anyone who lives in Korea will attest to - the air quality here is very bad. On a good day you see people wearing white or blue masks, on a bad day people just don't go outside.

But regardless of all the excuses, I need to be honest, it's my body and I need to focus more on keeping it healthy.
And although I do enjoy the warm fuzzy feeling I get from the handfuls of extra strength, nameless blue pills generously handed out by doctors and pharmacists, I am tired of being sick and it's time to do something about it.
Needless to say, I have spent the last few fever-ridden hours lying in bed thinking of ways to better my health.
this is what I have come up with so far:
* eliminate dairy from my diet (which, since I don't drink dairy it means goodbye cheese)
* eating more fruits and veggies (and no...kimbap - although healthy- is not a vegetable)
* Try to eat only organic
* take a multi vitamin everyday (as oppose to a few times a week when I remember)
* get enough exercise , which I haven't been doing in weeks
* get sufficient sleep (at least 7 hours every night)
* practice daily meditation (which I haven't done regularly in months)

All of these seem to be the basic obvious points, I know.
So the time as come for the new and improved Colleen. I am going to stop moping and whining about how Korea makes me sick and start making some changes.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Celebrating again

I figured since it's been a while since my last post, that I might as well get you up-to-date on a few things that are going on in my sit back .. and enjoy yourself.
(for those of you a little busier - feel free to scan the photos below...most of them include me with a pint of Korea's finest).
I am now into my third month of teaching and although I am trying hard to enjoy my return to Korea, my mind (and heart) seem to be elsewhere most of the time.
Jon is coming back to Korea in just over 2 weeks and we are both excited to see each other again after such a long time apart.
It's still a little crazy, I know - but I honestly can't ever remember being this happy.
Most of it has to do with the fact that I have found someone incredible to share myself with, while the rest can likely be chalked up to letting go of the past and really getting to know myself for the first time in my life. It's a wonderful place to be right now....sigh!

Also, before I write too much else: today is Jon's birthday.
Happy Birthday!!

Ok, ok, ok...I know you are likely probably fighting the urge to vomit , so I'll hold off the 'lovey-dovey stuff' for a while.

Even though I have been more then a little distracted lately, work continues to be great. My students are cute as ever and each day make me smile. I know it would be hard to find a job that makes me laugh and smile more then working with kids – they are fantastic and I am very lucky. Hopefully I will get some photos of my new class in the next week or two so you can see what all the fuss is about.

On a not-so-work related note: this past weekend I bused down to my old stomping grounds of Ulsan to 'ring' in St Patrick's Day in style with many old and some new friends.
I arrived after midnight on Friday and joined some friends at one of my favorite foreigner hangouts 'Tombstone" for a few too many pints of beer and plenty of catching up with old friends.
We ended up sleeping at Helen's friend Peader's apartment : Thanks Peader for letting us crash on your floor - I mean pile of stuff in your living room - hee hee.
The next morning, Helen and I made our way to the Jinjilbang for a much needed scrub (since Peader's place didn't have hot water) and a poor attempt to ward off our first hangover of the weekend.
Having showered, soaked and steamed, we made it back to Tombstone around noon for the start of their First Annual Shamrock Sprint.
The events began with a traditional Irish fry breakfast, complete with lots of eggs, potatoes, meat (for the non-veggies), Bailey's and coffee and a few pints of beer.
After breakfast the teams were assembled to begin what I can only describe as an 'Amazing race-type' afternoon.
There were teams of 2 and each were given clues (one leading to the next) requiring participants to run around the city doing everything from singing karaoke on rooftops, to batting baseballs, to playing Pilipino bar games and even downing pints of Guinness which contained shots of whiskey (aka: Irish car bombs).
Helen and I started out in the lead and 3 hours later finished in third place....which wasn't bad considering neither of us have lived in Ulsan in almost 2 years.
After the race, we found a hotel to spend our second night (we opted for a comfy bed and hot water over another night on Peader's cold floor) and prepared for the continuation of the celebrations.....which basically consisted of more drinking at the pub until I stumbled home.
It was a great weekend and I was so excited to see so many old friends and meet many new ones.
Hats off to the gang at Tombstone for pulling off the events and for making this ex-Ulsanite more then a little nostalgic.

I am still recovering (can't drink like I used to...but I certainly tried) I am cutting this entry a little short. I know I keep saying it, but I am going to try to be more regular with my posts.
So keep checking for updates!!


Monday, March 05, 2007

So the last week has been incredibly busy at school - preparing for the new students, saying goodbye to the old ones.
But it's all over. The new semester has officially begun and everything is going smoothly (and by smoothly, I mean to say - we haven't received all our textbooks from the supplier and I found out I have another student starting tomorrow -just as I was about to go home tonight...but other then that - things are going smoothly).

Today was our entrance ceremony which means that I got to meet all of my Kindi students and their parents for a few hours, sing some songs and eat some food. Everyone is excited to start class tomorrow (although we have no books , so it looks like more games and perhaps some coloring...the new classroom can always use more decorations).

Besides school , I am now over my 3 week-long cold and feeling better then ever. Even despite an unexpected snowfall today, my spirits are high. Hopefully the good times keep rolling on.
Stay tuned.