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We can share the myths, the dream, the prayer, The notion that we can do better

Cute calendar from my friend
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2015. Well, unlike a few years ago when I first started this blog, I'm way more passionate about resolutions. I've been reading a lot of blogs about minimalism, being healthy, getting your life in order, etc. As I tend to be a bit of a chaotic soul, I need some curtailment in my life! I want to improve my mind, my body, my soul this next year. These are my overall goals for the year. I will also add to this at different points in the year and I want to review this every month. For example, at the bottom of this page, I will list my goals in January. In February, I will review where I am on January's goals and revise as needed. My time in Korea is coming to an end and here are some of my goals and resolutions for the next year, in no particular order:

Goals

  1. Take a cooking class in Korea.
  2. Take a cooking class in Laos (I am going there for vacation in February).
  3. Take a cooking class in Ireland.
  4. Get some knife lessons. I could definitely use a brush up and lots of tips! 
  5. Try Speed Dating.
  6. Sign up and complete the CELTA.
  7. Get training to be an Adult Literacy Tutor.
  8. Organise a fundraiser for the House of Sharing.
  9. Do the Camino.
  10. Get my hair to a satisfactory healthy level.

Resolutions

  1. Read more. (I want to get to the healthy level of at least 2 books a week.)
  2. Write more on this blog.
  3. Cook more for my cooking blog and Sejong Dish.
  4. Waste less food.
  5. Spend less money in Homeplus (I have a severe weakness!)
  6. Walk more.
  7. Draw more.
  8. Go on more dates with myself.
  9. Wake up at 6.00 every day including weekends. At least once go outside to the roof to watch the sunrise. This one is hard but I'd like it to be achieved before I leave Korea. It will also help for the Camino in September. 
  10. Find a volunteer activity that I am passionate about. I have volunteered for different things over the years but I've never really found something I was 100% passionate about. I loved all the opportunities I have had but I never found the right fit for my time, energy and passion. Here's to some new opportunities.
  11. Drink more tea
  12. Take time to hangout more with my friends in Korea (and at home).
  13. Cook for my friends more often.
  14. Less TV/Computer/Phone time in the evenings. Try to turn it off at least 30 minutes before bed.
  15. Save money so that I'm not completely financially dependent on my family when I go home. 
  16. Keep in better contact with my friends in other countries (SKYPE dates!). 
  17. Go to bed earlier. Basically, get more sleep.
  18. Make my bed everyday. I hate this exercise but it's a good one to get into the habit of doing!

January 2015

  1. Organise two dates for when I am on vacation and complete them.
  2. Make bed everyday.
  3. Read more.

February 2015

  1. Make bed everyday.
  2. Read more.
  3. Get up at 6.00 every day.
  4. Go for 10-15 minute walk (this is dependent on what school I am in) as soon as I wake up.
  5. Take a Cooking Class in Laos ( I will be there for a week at the end of the month).

March 2015

  1. Get up at 6.00 everyday.
  2. Go for a 10-15 minute walk once I wake up.
  3. Less TV/Computer/Phone Time in the evenings. 
  4. Go to bed earlier.
  5. Complete something on my Bucket List for Korea 


PS Title from this post is taken from Tracy Chapman's "New Beginning"


And I'm a million different people from one day to the next

View from the hill in Sejong

On the weekend of the 14th and 15th November,  most of the Waygook population of Jochiwon had disappeared to visit the DMZ on a culture trip. I wasn't able to join them as my second school needed me there. And, while, I'd have loved to have visited the DMZ, this weekend was a great one in terms of personal growth for me.  How so, you might ask? Well, I went on a date! With myself. I guess I should clarify that asap, just in case!

I started as soon as I got off the bus. I went to Misoya,which is a Japanese chain restaurant downtown,and had some sushi and read "The Runaway Jury" by John Grisham. Eventually, I made my way home where I ignored the chaos of my home and plopped on the bed with a large glass of wine and some biscuits to watch "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug".  I should take this opportunity to announce I am a HUGE Tolkien fan. I have read "The Hobbit" probably  ten times and the LOTR at least as many times. I have also read "The Similarion", "The Children of Hurin" and  a very long time ago I also read "Unfinished Tales",  I think. It was a long time ago so I could be mistaken! I will also say that I did enjoy the LOTR movies. I felt Jackson, and the cast, captured how I viewed Middle-earth and, whilst there were flaws, overall it was a decent attempt. "The Hobbit" though, thoroughly frustrated me. I will still see the last movie but this is not "The Hobbit". I spent much of my time  seething at the changes and the total underuse of the the maginificent Martin Freeman and, indeed, the main character of the story: Bilbo Baggins. Further,  Beorn was the biggest feck up ever! He is nothing, visually like his literary counterpart, and his behaviour and character are incredibly different. He was one of the characters  I had been most looking forward to seeing realised on screen and I was incredibly disappointed. I really felt that I could handle the stupid love triangle they have going on but Beorn was an atrocity! 

Anyway, this post is not supposed to be a review of the movies but a story about my date so I will, with much reluctance, move on. In the morning I repaired to Plan B for Minty-Hot Chocolate loaded with cream and some honey bread. Similar to my first date, I dressed up in a nice dress, made my hair all pretty, slapped on some mascara and a pair of pretty earrings that I picked up in Vietnam. I continued reading Runaway Jury and I took the obligatory selfie at least five times. 

 Down by the river, a moment of calm

Down by the river, a moment of calm

 The bridge my bus crosses Tue and Fri

The bridge my bus crosses Tue and Fri

 Pathway and resting spot

Pathway and resting spot

 Excavation site

Excavation site

 This rooftop you could go on. Nice views!

This rooftop you could go on. Nice views!

 Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng

Around 1pm, I made my way to Sejong City as I decided on an exploration day. I've been putting it off for more than a year and I really wanted to see what my city had on offer. I mostly kept out doors, spending time at the river and walking on the hills behind the apartments and schools. On top of one hill was a small excavation site. You could also go and sit on the roof of building that the hill was adjacent to. That was really nice and quite relaxing. Around 4pm, I decided I was getting hungry as no lunch made for a starving Maggie. I pulled my coats, scarves and bags together and proceeded to make my way to Mekong Thai for Nasi Goreng, some Vietnamese Cha Gio and the "scary" goal of this date - to have a meal without my phone or book to assist me. 

Man, that was hard. I was trying to plan a discussion I was having with some friends the next day but my brain couldn't concentrate. It kept flicking about as the waiters, chefs and staff were at the table next to mine and kept staring over at me. Instead of concentrating on what I wanted to discuss, my brain kept saying things like "Oh, poor girl! No boyfriend" or "Does she have any friends?" I honestly have no idea how I survived and when I finally got my brain to concentrate it wanted to concentrate on NEXT year. Well, at least it helped me to come to a decision. A tough one but one that I had been debating for a while. As readers of this blog already know, I am leaving Korea at the end of this contract. Instead I will move home to Ireland to further my studies (hoping to do the CELTA) and prepare to go to Spain to complete the Camino. I also am going to do the Trans-Siberian Railway for two weeks. Well, at least that was the plan. My brain, once it calmed down, informed me that I would be jobless and I really couldn't condone going on that journey when I probably wouldn't be able to buy myself a cup of tea without borrowing money from my Mam. It was a really bitter truth pill for me to swallow. I really like gallivanting off and experiencing new and exciting things. And I love trains. My heart felt like it was broken but I realised, upon further reflection, it's not. I will get to do that amazing journey and I will be able to have that amazing adventure once I have another job and the Trans-Siberian Railway is going to be my first stop. 

When I left and made my way home to Jochiwon, an overwhelming sense of pride overcame me - I rarely feel like an adult. I tend to feel like an 18 year old trapped in the body of a 30+ year old trying to make adult decisions and being expected to make adult decisions that I don't really know are the right decisions. But on that day, I felt like an adult. I felt mature, responsible and incredibly proud of choosing to follow my brain and not my heart. Growing up is hard to do but knowing that I made a smart decision to postpone a dream until I am financially stable is as a huge achievement for me. 

The only thing that marred an otherwise lovely date was a guy that I met while waiting for the bus on the way to Mekong Thai. I wasn't sure of the time for the 620 and what the name of the stop would be to get for Mekong Thai so I was looking at the route for the bus when one of my fellow waiting passengers interrupted me to ask me where I was going. I told him the Lake Park and he didn't know where it was. I told him that was okay because I get this bus everyday, I just wasn't sure of the stop (I usually fall asleep the minute I get on the bus only waking when I reach my destination!). We got to talking and at first I thought he was a nice guy as he told me he was a student, living in Sejong and that his English was so good because he had lived in America as a child (disclaimer: he said that, not me...it wasn't as excellent as many other Koreans I've met) and that he was a pianist. I told him I love hearing the piano and then he abruptly changed topics to ask me if I'd ever been to America. I told him that I had and so he asked me if I was ever in Las Vegas. I told him no, only for him to inform me that Las Vegas is a very dangerous place. I told him I'd never heard that but assumed he was basing this on CSI (seriously, that show is on TV here all the time, it's a legitimate leap). He then informed me Las Vegas is dangerous because all the black people have guns. I couldn't believe my ears. My bus was pulling up as he made this outrageous sentiment and I quickly informed him as I got in line to board that I have many friends who are black and don't have guns. Of those friends, many frown on the overuse of guns in society as it is. He seemed taken aback and I would have liked to continue the discussion only he didn't get on the bus with me. I hope that I made someone realise that making idiotic statements that are not backed up by actual fact is a dumb thing to do especially when you do it to someone who knows more than you. Secondly, I really hope that I gave him pause and that he realises that make blanket assumptions that all black people are criminals is a stupid lie. I also hope that maybe he gets to meet some really great people of different races and backgrounds that challenge him to see the world through new perspectives and that someday he will challenge someone else's dangerous assumption.

So you might think I'm mad to have given up a bit of a dream in favour of financial stability but honestly, I really want to go for a cup of tea with my friends when I get home. I want to reconnect and be able to pay my own way to do so. I really miss them so putting off the Trans Siberian Railway, while difficult, is manageable on reflection. I feel like in one day I travelled so far that I a million times different than I was when I set out to Sejong. And that's a great feeling. 

*Sorry this is so late I have been sick since the 23 of November - cold after cold after cold so I've  been spending very little time doing anything but sleeping. I obviously never reached my date quota but that's okay there is always next year! I am planning one for the middle of January as I type! Until next time and a very Happy New Year to you all. 

PS The title of this post is taken from The Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony".

Pick the seams out, take what you like

Sometimes life has a way of throwing tidbits at you to make you laugh, to make you realise that you aren't invincible and to make you realise that being so serious all the time isn't actually a good thing.

Recently, I've had a few random incidents happening here in Korea that have made me smile or made me look at myself and how I accept the things life throws at me.  I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have recounting them: 

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First off, about  weeks ago, there was a huge open day in my school and as a result everyone was cleaning madly and they were clearing out the cupboards, sweeping the halls and generally making the school look super pretty. Well, I stayed behind about ten minutes to give a good whack at my room. I sweep it at the end of everyday but somehow it's always filthy - and the kids wear slippers! Well, I walked downstairs, pulling on my jacket and rearranging my bags to more convenient locations than hanging off my arm. I went to the cupboard where my shoes have sat for 2.5 years. They weren't there. I checked all cupboards. Two different teachers checked all the cupboards. I'm not going to lie. I was getting really frustrated and I just wanted to cry. I only own one pair of runners and I was going to Everland on the Saturday. I just knew I'd need them for the weekend.

Twenty minutes later we found them: in the trash room. The person who cleared out the cupboard thought that they were abandoned children's shoes. And yes, my feet are that small. What did this random moment teach me: Remind my feet to grow? No, not really! Instead I switched the place I keep my shoes and so far they've been safe. Although that idea definitely has it's merits!

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I went to Homeplus recently and ran into 4 different students from my two different schools. The boys were too shy to say much more than "hello" but the girls came up giggling and giving me high-fives and calling their parents over to say hi. This reminded me just how cute my kids are and how just because someone is very good at English in the classroom they might not have the confidence to use it outside that "safe" environment. It's kind of like me and the Korean language.  However, the boy who is excellent at English in class was really chuffed when I told his Mom. He kept looking at me and grinning.

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I stayed late two Fridays ago at my far away school. Just ten minutes as we were picking out games to buy for our students.  I should have been just in time for the bus but I wasn't and I waited over 20 minutes for the next bus. When I got to Daepyeongri it was 5.15 and I thought to myself "perfect! I'll be able to get the 5.20 bus". But I was wrong. The 5.20 bus no longer exists. And I was meeting my friend at 6.00 in Jochiwon. I was sadly delayed until 6.40 - 1 hour and ten minutes to get home. I was so annoyed the whole bus journey but when I got out and met my friend everything turned around for me. I learnt two lessons: staying late at my second school is not ideal So leave on time. Number two, even when you are having a bad day a great friend can make all the difference just by being there. So thanks, M. 

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I rarely wear earrings to work so when I do my students usually make comments about them and tell me how "beautiful" I am. It's a great ego boost but recently when I wore them to school they felt a little heavy on my ears so I took them off and left them on my desk. Two of my little third grade girls came to see me as usual after lunch and noticed the earrings. They wanted me to put them on, so I did. It was hilarious. Everytime I poked my ear to get the spoke of the earring through they would squeal and cover their eyes. I was laughing so much at their reaction it took a good 2-3 minutes to even put them on.

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So the same little girls from the above story always visit me and they also take "remedial English" for lack of a better term with me. They struggle at English and have a hard time with phonics so we have class once a week to work on that. They usually come early and stay late after class and they even taken to visiting me on the other days I am at that school. They've decided that we are best friends. They made this for me yesterday:

 Margaret <3 Yerim <3 Yeonju <3 Yeju <3 Sunga

Margaret <3 Yerim <3 Yeonju <3 Yeju <3 Sunga

 

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Also, yesterday, one of the same little girls, Yeonju is just the sweetest. She is also full of fun. She came in chanting all the things that I say to them everyday when we have English. It made me giggle as I heard her little voice take on the cadence of my own:

Good morning, hello, what’s your name, how are you, how’s the weather today. We are going to do Song and Chant, Shark and Fish, turn the page please. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (clap, clap) DRIIIIIIIIIIIIIINGGGGGGGGGGGGGG.

The counting and the clapping along with the drrrinnng of the bell is how I get their attention when they are too loud or when we are changing activities. Shark and Fish is one of the 3rd Graders favourite games.

So you might think I'm mad to enjoy these moments as much as I do and that I use them for reflection but they are a great part of my life. They are what keeps me going on a daily basis and they are what makes it hard to stick to my decision to NOT renew next year.

The title of this song was taken from Mumford and Son's "Lover of the light"

But I would walk (not) 500 miles

Since deciding to do the Camino, I've been trying to make some small changes in my life that will make life on the road for 6-8 weeks so much easier!

Firstly, I have started the walking, duh! And secondly, I've been trying to go to bed at 10.30 latest and get up at 6.00 every morning, Monday to Friday. The 6.00am wake up has been surprising successful. My key to success - arrange a skype call! Seriously! On Monday, I was supposed to call my sister - it didn't happen as she ended up not being free but I got up at 5.40, showered and was ready for her call at 6.00 on the dot! On Thursday, I did the same thing and got to have a lovely chat with Katetastic who is back in America. I miss her a lot. So if there is anyone out there who wants a Skype call in the afternoon/evening - let's do it!

I've also started eating porridge, ugh! (Shivers with disgust and fear). I still think it the mankiest food but it's heart-healthy and a good option for additional fuel to wake me up in the mornings.  What else have I done? Oh yea, I've read, made a cake,  did dishes and laundry, and generally cleaned my house. So, while my brain is still objecting to the earlier bed time, the earlier mornings are working out just fine! 

Lastly, a small update on this last weekend - I went to Chuncheon for the Dakgalbi festival. While the Dakgalbi was delicious and the company outstanding, I wasn't much impressed with the festival itself. My friends and I then had Uno's pizza at Yongsan station and while they made their way back to Jochi-land, I got ready for a great night out. I met up with my friends Conor and Oisin from Ireland and we went to this amazing bar in Jogno tower. It's definitely a place to go AFTER you've been paid as it was quite expensive. However, the atmosphere was lovely, the live music excellent and the views beautiful, particularly from the bathroom. I went in just to take photos. We then repaired to Hongdae where we went out dancing at FF's. A great night to be sure!

Thursday Sept 18

I went for a walk (distance) and then hopped over to my friend Becky's once I made the topping for my Vegan Apple Chia Pudding. After a lovely time hanging out and chatting about what we were going to cook on Sunday, I hastened over to meet my friend, Adam, for a cup of tea and to discuss the logo for my cooking blog. Exciting stuff, mates! Success

Friday Sept 19th

Today was quite easy - after I got home I read some of Deeds of the Disturber  and then got ready to join some of the newbies for a dinner in a great local restaurant that I haven't been to in over a year. Afterwards, I joined everyone in the park for a drink before heading home to bed as I was up early on Saturday to meet some friends for lunch at Braai Republic followed by dessert and drinkies for my friend Luke 2.0's birthday. Success

Monday Sept 22nd. No time for walking today! Instead when I got home I started cooking for a dinner to celebrate Frodo and Bilbo's birthday. Only one friend was able to come in the end but we'd mushrooms and pork, vegan apple chia pudding (again!) and I made roast potatoes. Nommers! Afterwards, I joined some friends in the park for a chat and made plans for the upcoming weekend. Success

Tuesday Sept 23rd 

Immediately after work, my friend Nari and I went for a walk around Sejong Lake Park. We then went to dinner at Mekong Thai. When I got home I was shattered but I'd games to prepare for my 5th and 6th graders so I'd to stay up! Success

Wednesday Sept 24th

After dinner, my friend Stacy and I went for a long walk, then it Dr Who time until bed and I also coloured in a little of my super secret art project. Success

Thursday September 25th

Great day altogether. My last class of the day was cancelled for a performance in the gym - there was traditional singing, drums and dancing.  In the afternoon we finished school early and went to see a play about a boy whose parents have died and he goes to live with his grandad. It was quite funny and although I couldn't understand everything that was said, I still was able to follow along.

We then went to a military base (Korean) to have dinner which was fabulous! When I got home it was time for Wine and Crafts and I continued working on my engraving. I don't have a picture yet but will take on soon so you can see it! It's slow going though!  Success

So, I think overall this week was a bit more productive than last but work still needs to be done! 

PS This post was inspired by The Proclaimers "I'm gonna be (500 miles)

 

Another one gone, and another one gone, Another one bites the dust

Another week of ups and downs! However, the main difference, as I am sure you will notice, is how often I am getting out for a walk the last few weeks as opposed to before.  Beyond the obvious health benefits that walking has, the main reason I am doing this is as follows: On Monday we received a letter from the Education Office asking if I'd be staying another year. The answer was no as I've decided to go off on new adventures. I am walking more frequently as my big adventure when I finish here will be to do the Camino. I am hoping to do it for around 6 weeks so I am preparing myself at the moment. The goal until the end of September is to walk around 2-miles at least 3 times a week and hopefully by the end of October that will be every day. 

Getting out for the walk has curtailed some other elements of my free "hour". I've been doing some experimentation with cooking and I really need to finish my art project. But if you are interested, read on!

Thursday, September 11th

Immediately after work I ran to Daiso and got some messages - a candle and a mop as I've lost the bottom to my other one. When I got home, after a quick chamchi gimbap (chamchi means tuna), I proceeded out on my two-mile walk. On returning home, I made dinner, watched some Dr Who (I think), paid my bills and met Liz for a hot chocolate at Rosetta. I also ran over my lesson plans before going to bed Thursday = Success

Friday, September 12th

After work, I met up with Liz for dinner - we had Shabu Shabu and then we repaired to her house to watch our friends (and me, too!) claim different items. We ended up going for deep-fried ice-cream with our friend Simone before heading home. Friday = Success

Monday, September 15th 

When I got home, I stopped for Chamchi gimbap again, did my walk (I walked a little further than 2 miles). I'd rooted through my freezer on Sunday so I used up my leftovers to make a chickpea and spinach pasta dish. When I was finished I worked on this blog and my cooking blog, reviewed my notes for my classes on Tuesday and my open class on Wednesday, read The last camel died at noon, did the dishes and picked up some of the floor and went to bed later than I wanted. Gah! Monday = Success

Tuesday, September 16th

I really wanted this day to be an art day but I had dishes, clothes sorting and general tidying to do. In case you're wondering why it takes me so long to clean such a small space - I get distracted - TV, books, my phone, the shadows on the walls. Basically, anything. I did progress much further than I had to this point! So yay. However, I also got completely distracted by "Words with Friends" and looking at recipes. So Tuesday = Success (and some failure due to the aforementioned game!)

Wednesday, September  17th

Normally on Wednesdays I should be going to Yoga since it has started back up but I'd open class today so I was in need of a break! When I got home I bought a caprese sandwich from Paris Baguette and ate it as soon as I got home. I then followed it up with some more freezer raiding leftovers! I watched TV while I cleaned and my friend Ashley came over for tea and a chat. We then met up with another friend and went for a nice walk - it was over an hour and I think a little less than 4km. Wednesday = Semi Success

So you might think I'm mad but I have to admit part of me wanted to lie and describe some amazingly exciting things for you...or even just to say I finally got to that art project as well a special project I am working on for school. I obviously didn't lie but as I look over my week it's been walk/read/eat/walk/read/eat ..blah di blah di blah. I will really and truly try and be more productive next week, so bear with me! 

PS this post's title was inspired by Queen's "Another one bites the dust."

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike

And here we go again.

First up, a warning - I was sick - again! I really can't seem to get a break, healthwise. I wasn't very productive for part of the week and also, it was goodbye time as a few friends were leaving. Anyway, here is my rundown:

Friday, August 29th

Becky and I had dinner together around 7.30. Before that when I got home I did some cleaning. Tried to call my family on Skype with no success and watched Dr. Who. After dinner though, I headed out to one of the local bars around 8 or 9 for drinks with friends and rolled home a little after one. Tipple of choice? Kahlua and milk. Friday = Success and Failure

Monday, September 1st

Ok, I am ashamed of this day. I was off but I didn't do anything except meet Katetastic for lunch and hang out as it was her last day. I did some dishes and cleaned a little but I mostly watched Dr Who and coughed. Yep, still sick. So, yes, basically had Katetastic not been around I would have been a complete loser. Monday = Failure

Tuesday, September 2nd 

A good day! I was meeting my friend, Liz, at 6.30 so when I got in there wasn't much more time then to run out and eat. After dinner we had delicious tea at Plan B and when I got home I did the dishes and cleaned. I think I watched 10 to 20 minutes of Bones, finished some games for lessons the next day and went to bed. Tuesday = Success. 

Wednesday, September 3rd

Oh, so proud of this day! When I got home I had about an hour and a half until I would meet my friend, Swaglu to go to dinner. I went for a 2 mile walk, and shaved off around a minute of my time!! I then, got home, changed clothes and walked downtown to eat with an old co-teacher. We then went to Rosetta and chatted until 9.30. When I got home the only English program on that I was interested in watching was Dr. Who (Bates Motel, ugh!) so I had that on in the background while I got some serious cleaning and laundry done. Yes, I was actually productive! I went to bed nearer 11 than I wanted so I was too tired on Thursday to get up and go on a cycle. Fingers crossed for Friday or Saturday. Wednesday = Success

Thursday, September 4th

Another day to be proud of! When I got home I went on a 2 mile walk, started making an ice-cream cake (recipe here) and then met my friend, Lindsey for Shabu-Shabu. It was in a different restaurant than we usually go to but it was still good. I continued making the ice-cream cake until way past my bedtime and it still wasn't done! In between I did some lesson planning and watching Dr Who. Thursday = Success

Well, I may not have gotten up to do a bike ride but I was fairly productive this week! So you might think I'm mad, considering I'm not a morning person, but I am going to persevere and try and get up early next week at least one day for a bike ride! I'm off to Japan for Chuseok so this will probably be published late but it will be published!

PS - the post is inspired by my new bike and the fact that I've yet to take it out, and Queen's "Bicycle Race". 

I search for something to occupy my mind

After my last post, I promise I didn't forget about you, dear blog (and readers!)! I was in camp that week at my second school and after camp, I went home early meaning I was usually at home by around 1 or a little later. Well, despite whether I was home at 1 or 3pm, each day mostly had one thing in common: I passed out for about 3 hours each day when I got home. When I'd wake up, I'd either make dinner or go out to eat, and watch TV for about an hour and then go back to bed. Hence why nothing was written - it wasn't the most exciting of 2 weeks!

However, there are a few things to note: 

On the 25th July, I got out of school early and so I was walking home around 3.45pm. I had been constantly vigilant until my bus had passed the last stop where another foreigner teachers would get on the bus. By the time the bus arrived in Jochiwon, I decided that my constant looking over of my shoulder could be abandoned as no one else would be off so early. I, ever so slowly, lifted my feet and began a gruellingly slow march home. Up the steps and over the bridge. Half way across the bridge, I heard feet running but I couldn't muster up the energy to look around, and besides, it wouldn't be anyone that I knew. And then, someone touched my back. I stopped appalled as one of my fellow assassins thundered past. I was dead. With my dying breath, I passed on the name of my target and lamented the fact that I had ignored my own advice! However, that evening was an epic one in terms of assassin deaths - I think 4 of us were killed in that one evening. 

Some other highlights of those two weeks include cooking experiments with Katetastic on the 1st of August and going to see Guardians of the Galaxy with my friend Ashley. After that I was on vacation until last the 21st August so I am going to update from then until this past Thursday:

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Are you sleeping?

And on to week three! Wow time flies!  I can't believe this is my third week on this exercise. As you will read below things weren't plain sailing this week:

Friday, July 11th: This was a fantastic evening! Katetastic and I finally had our mushroom and wine night. We ended up out at the local Ministop (which is a convenience store) with some other friends drinking more drinks. Then into the pub for even more in an evening that culminated in Tequila shots. All in all, a great evening. Friday = Success 

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Learning how to dance the rain

A little late, but firstly: Happy 4th July to everyone! My Mam's American so we have sporadically celebrated over the years. I don't remember celebrating as much when we were younger but in recent years we'd at least have some cake! Since coming to Korea, my first 4th of July was negligible - I don't remember doing anything special. Last year my friend, Swaglu, hosted a lovely party with hot dogs, soju drinking games and plenty of chat! This year a few of us shared pizzas, fried chicken and pasta salad on the rooftop of Swaglu's building. It was low key but we did sing the national anthem and some crazy people said the Pledge of Allegiance to a flag cake.  

So how did I do this week on having no TV during the first hour home? Well, I got lucky the first two days and the others, well judge for yourself:

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You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow, this opportunity comes once in a lifetime

So, I've been bad lately! I've let other projects take over my personal writing. This would have been okay had it only lasted a couple of weeks but it's been much longer as you, dear readers, know. 

So what is it that I've been up to that caused me to slack off on something I really love? Well, I started a new blog - a cooking one back in April. I actually started working on it in January but I wasn't really happy with it for a long while, hence the launch date of April! It's taken up a lot of my time - testing, re-testing, writing, editing, publishing. I really love it though as it balances two of my favourite things - cooking and writing. I've also been busy with the Sejong Dish where I write another cooking blog as well as restaurant reviews and answering FAQs. Between these two writing projects my personal blog has taken a backseat. However, this post is to tell you that I am changing that. 

Even though I have a few posts in the making (the long promised part 2 of my Wand'rin' Star trilogy of photo posts, to name one), I haven't been able to finish them yet. They are mostly photo posts and, even though some of my photos are pure awful, it's really hard to pick the best ones to showcase my town and the different areas I've visited in Korea. I will get them done at some stage - but I hope I'm not still saying that this time next year! 

Anyway, I digress, the reason for this post is to share with you some changes I am making in my life. I am overweight, I am lazy and I sometimes fail miserably at eating healthily. This laziness has taken over my life and despite the other projects detailed above, the main reason I haven't written is due to this actual and very real problem. So how am I trying to tackle that problem, well read on:

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Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole!

As you can probably tell by the title of the post, this one is about the World Cup. Sadly, Ireland aren't in the running at all (boo!). Due to the time differences, I haven't been able to watch any matches until today as they are on at 1 am, 4am and 7am, Korea time. Ok, in fairness, I could watch SOME 7am matches but getting up in time is unlikely!

Today, however, Korea were playing against Russia and my co-teacher informed me that the students and teachers would meet at 7 in the gym to watch the game. I arrived for 7.30 and I could hear chants and drums reverberating the whole way through the school - from the entryway to my classroom. When I walked into the auditorium a few of my students rushed over to ask if I was going to watch with them and they were delighted when I said that I was. 

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So come on, see the light on your face

When I lived in Nebraska, one of my favourite activities was to sit outside on my aunt's porch in the morning, having breakfast, reading and soaking in the rays. I've spent entire days on that porch chatting, drinking and eating. It's wonderful and relaxing. When I moved home, I decided (weather permitting) to use the curb in the cul-de-sac beside my parents' house as my  "porch," for the occasional breakfast under the sun. The apartment I lived in, out in Swords, had a balcony and the house on Dorset Street a concrete garden, which were slightly more adequate substitutes for that porch. Living in Korea, however, has meant letting that slide. My apartment doesn't have a balcony and the curb is far too dangerous. Luckily, I live around the corner from a wee park with a playground and some benches. On one quiet Thursday it provided me with an opportunity to have a mini date with myself.

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We [are] sharin' all we've got!

In my second school, my 2nd graders' home room teacher is an older man, nearing retirement. He doesn't have much of a "get up and go" attitude and so when the students come to my class they tend to be a wee bit hyperactive and silly. Thankfully, despite the silliness they are really well behaved and really like to have a chat and participate in class. Granted, much of the chat is held in Korean with a dash of English, and I have to guess what they are trying to say...but we get there!

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[I got] this party started on a [Friday] night

Back in January after my first date with myself, I wrote down a series of days I could set aside for myself up until July. However, life has a way of interrupting the best laid plans of mice and Maggie. I had wanted to do something for Valentine's weekend but when that weekend rolled up, I'd several dates with friends. Valentines was spent at Hongdae Park and Exit Bar near Hongik University in Seoul. A friend was DJ-ing so we danced the night away. The following day I met up with some other friends in Hongdae for a falafel dinner, cake and coffee (and in my case a glass of wine!). Needless to say, when you are having so much fun with friends, a date with yourself is the last thing on your mind. However, I was up in Seoul again two weekends later to say goodbye to some very dear friends, E and D, and a huge welcome to a friend, CG, who is newly arrived from Ireland. I decided that I'd go up Friday and get plenty of sleep so that I could party the night away on Saturday.

On that Wednesday, my co-teacher told me that the principal had decided that I could have Thursday and Friday off to spend how I wanted. I already had plans for Thursday evening with the same co-teacher so I decided I'd head up around noon on Friday afternoon, check-in and then head on my date to an art museum or a palace for the day. Sadly, I wasn't prepared to leave by noon but eventually, I made my way to Seoul. At this point, I'd decided to not bother with the date and to just while away the time reading my book, eating dinner and sleeping. However, I realised that the department store I was eating in had a cinema. One of my aims with "dating myself" is to do things that I am nervous to do alone or at all. Going to the cinema by myself ranked high on that list!

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Chip the glasses and crack the plates...that's what [Maggie] hates.

For the last few months the ice in my freezer has been building up and I have been steadfastly ignoring it because I really hate defrosting fridges. I know, technically, it's not hard work but it is time-consuming.
Anyway, after months of pretending the problem didn't exist, things came to a head last week when I realised that the inside of my fridge was starting to freeze too. So, with much reluctance I set aside Saturday morning for defrosting the freezer.

To be honest, it went great. I followed the steps on WikiHow and by 1.30 things were looking good. That is until, I was mopping up the floor where the water had run out the side of my fridge! Seriously! I still had a crap load of things on top of my fridge (you can see where this is going, can't you?) and as I shoved around the fridge to tackle the water, everything stayed in place. I was done and dusted and ready to plug in the fridge. So, I adjusted it to shove back into place when THUMP, SPLOT, CRACK. My jar of chickpeas smashed to the ground. It broke everywhere. Glass and chickpeas were mixed together and had flung themselves under my bed, across the kitchen and all around the fridge. I was so annoyed that I cried. I had to leave for a good-bye dinner with my friend at 2.45 and it was 2.15. I had planned to do the dishes, put out the laundry - and get dressed, in  those 30 minutes. Instead, I spent the time cleaning up my mess.

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Tell me why, I don't like [desk-warming]?

It's that time of the year, the dreaded desk-warming time of the year. School is out, camps are over but your job is not done. What seems like a pointless exercise is indeed upon us. You sit at your desk for around 1-2 weeks and try to find a way took busy. One of my friends, Chasing Glitter, posted a good amount of suggestions about what to do with this time for Reach to Teach. It got me thinking about why we have this time, what are supposed to do with it and how it is usually spent.

Firstly, this is not a blog post criticising anyone on how they spend their desk-warming. Goodness knows I haven't utilised my time very well in the past. This post is only to give you an insight into how I best believe I can make a difference in my time during desk-warming. You can choose to follow my new example or you can do whatever you want including what I used to do which was to spend a lot of time on Facebook, Imgur and Pottermore and watching  How I Met Your Mother

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