How Many Ways Might I Procrastinate?

Many.  Many ways.

It’s final exam grading/narrative report writing/all the other grading you had to do time here at Chadwick International.  Also known as hell week.  Also known as the most wonderful time of the year.  Total sarcasm, people.  Maybe I do it to myself–my exam, by principle, is not multiple guess.  I maybe could have begun narratives sooner.  But here we are.  So in between bouts of productive work, how am I putting off the pain?

Face-Timing with my Dad who recently retired:  Steve’s Auto Service Changes Hands   Woohoo, Dad!  Living the dream!

Reading about strange Korean wonkiness:  Jawbones as Office Decor.   By the way, this is not a joke.  This happened/happens and only begins to scratch the surface of the bizarre Korean plastic surgery epidemic.  Yeah, I called it an epidemic.

Learning about the wonders of Bloglovin, a newish, not so new blog reader tool.  Follow me there!:  www.bloglovin.com

Looking at live cam pictures of Niseko, Japan, where we will be skiing in a mere few days:  Niseko Live Cam

Reading and watching the latest from North Korea:  Frontline/North Korea   This is a really incredible documentary that you should watch.  It always amazes me that we are so close.

Reading my daily trail and ultra-running info source.

Laughing out loud:  The Bloggess   Jenny Lawson is pure genius.

I am additionally wasting time on home decor and design blogs, beauty blogs, pictures of cats, and learning all about Esther the Wonder Pig.

Can you really blame me?  There is so much awesome stuff out there on the interwebs!  Not so much awesome stuff here in the home office, where this stack of grading glares maliciously in my general direction.  Maybe I’ll go for a run….

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Still There?

Yes!!  I still live in Songdo and still work for Chadwick International.  What’s with the year hiatus, you ask?  Actually, I’m not sure.  We were just so busy.  I won’t lie–working for CI is incredibly demanding.  At times it was not always rewarding, and so I didn’t feel like writing much.  But it’s a new school year, I’ve moved to high school, and so I’m feeling a bit more like writing these days.  So there you have it.

What happens in a year in a rapidly-filling brand new city raised from the mud?

–They began and are close to finishing building the Lotte Mart half of the Lotte Mall complex 2 blocks from our house.

–The new Green Climate Fund (GCF) secretariat to the UN chose Songdo as it’s homebase, promising an influx of 500 families of multinational background.  But in the wake of all that silly media circus about North Korea last spring, their arrival is delayed.  Songdo is still as Korean as the next city and remains “International” in name only.

–A bar owned and run by expats finally opened.  Cinder Bar is great.  They open at 5:30, officially making them the only bar anywhere nearby that opens when Westerners actually want to drink.

–As the city fills, but people still drive erratically, the number of bike wrecks is on the rise.  We constantly beg the kids to wear their helmets.  But they still won’t.  This is a constant source of anxiety for me.

–I’m coaching cross country and we actually have a real season this year, complete with multiple scored meets.  This has been awesome, yet exhausting.  Totally worth it, though.  The kids are incredible.

–Many more restaurants and bars are opening–we even got a second Starbucks.  There are also many new stores, but none of these things have me particularly excited.  Except of course for the addition of many Korean cosmetic stores.  I love that stuff.  Guilty secret, but I’m putting it out there now.  So there.  Now you know.  I love makeup shaped like cats and bunnies.  Truth.

–Tim and I bought a summer home in the mountains of Colorado.  I have a picture of it by my desk.  I look at it often.

Just a snippet of things to come.

I’m feeling much more at-home in Korea this year.  The food has really grown on me and I feel like I finally really understand the culture, which helps me let go of a lot of things that upset me about people here before.  I’m feeling quite satisfied with where I am in life at the moment.  Maybe that’s why I feel like writing again.

Kitty Love is the Best Love

I’m a huge fan of my cat. Seriously–she’s awesome and she adds so much happiness and comfort to our lives. If you are thinking you can’t take your pet overseas, guess again, and reconsider.

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Discoveries

After a crazy few weeks at work, we had our first holiday–ahhhhhhh!  We took a week-long break for the Korean Chusok holiday which is much like our Thanksgiving.  Our last Friday at school, I received my glorious, wonderful, stupendous, fantastic, beautiful, cool new iphone!  If you’ve owned one of these things for many years and are feeling rather ho-hum about the whole thing, just go down to the next paragraph.  I am in love with this little beauty.  I am only just beginning to discover what it can do!  I have gone from an ancient flip phone with no camera or anything, to the wave of the future!  And it even has an orange case!

So now that we’re normal, I’m able to capture some fun stuff as we happen upon it.  Again, wow!  I love this thing!  And so we began our week off with a weekend exploring Chinatown Incheon and Seoul.

First, to get there, we have to take the subway.  The subway here rocks.  It’s clean, efficient, and SUPER easy to use.  Even for gringos like us.  But what I really love about the subway is all the public service announcements everywhere.  They have the best videos of “poor use” of the escalator to try to teach people to stand on the right and pass on the left.  Mostly, they’re just funny.  And people are obviously NOT taking the lessons to heart.  Inside the subway are fun little diagrams for the do’s and don’ts.  Don’ts include things like pushing, talking loudly on your cellphone, taking up too much space, ignoring the elderly, and PDA.

The PDA one is hilarious.  If you look closely, it seems to suggest that you should not engage in PDA because it makes others sad, ill, and embarrassed.  I’m guessing the person on the left is embarrassed while the passenger on the right is crying and holding his stomach.  Thoughts?  Special note:  the PDA couple is even wearing couple shirts–a strange Korean phenomenon!

Another great discovery that weekend was the Kitty Cafe.  There are many in Seoul, but we had no idea where they were.  We stumbled out of the subway with a group of friends looking for a bar and instead we found a large mascot pointing the way to my own little slice of heaven.  Behold, the cat cafe, where you can play with about 8-12 gorgeous pure-breed cats, while you sip a latte.  I was in love.

If that wasn’t enough, they brought out a little pig named Spam.  He totally stole the show, but I love the kitties the most.

With this new-fangled contraption, the sky is truly the limit for what I might be able to capture in this crazy new world.  I wonder what I’ll stumble upon this week?

Busy Summer!

What a whirlwind!  5 weeks to see everyone you know is not enough time!

We’ve been soaking up the good times with friends and family in North Carolina and Colorado.  We’ve been hiking, trail running and climbing.  We’ve been eating the food we crave (BBQ, good Mexican, variety) and drinking up the good beers.  Since we’ve been gone, New Belgium of Fat Tire fame has developed a stunning IPA, named Ranger, that really makes me happy. I highly recommend it!

This week I return to NC and we have a mere 2 weekends left until we leave for Korea.  Tim bought a couple guidebooks for us so we’re already looking for places to go–like North Korea!  It’s true, you can take a guided tour of the mysterious north. I know my sister in law will want to join for that one!

While I’m not quite ready to get back to work, I am excited to get settled into our new place and establish some routines.  It is hard to live out of bags.  Bali has been enjoying staying with her grandparents and we’re working on her paperwork to get her into Korea with us.  No, there’s no quarantine period.

I’m off now to happy hour with more friends we’ve not seen in two years.  It is so good to be home….