Current posts

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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Under the [bamboo], out of the sun...we'll be having some fun.

Knives are beating out a rhythm that just makes you want to dance and vegetables are flying everywhere. As you watch, multiple stories are unfolding, winding and intertwining.  Laughter erupts as the principal cast of Nanta complete their outstanding acrobatics, dance and, just plain fun, performance. This was the highlight of a very wonderful holiday weekend.

A couple of weekends ago, for Buddha's birthday, I went to Seoul to visit my friend, CG, and, then, further south with some other friends to see a Bamboo forest. On arriving in Seoul, after a quick lunch at Misoya, we headed to a nearby temple (Bongeunsa Temple, line 2, Samseong station) that was decked out in lotus flowers and lanterns. A sombre reminder of the recent tragedy was evidenced by ribbons of yellow and white. The temple, though small, had lovely grounds that consisted of a little wood, a giant statue of Buddha and several small building. As we passed these, you could see shoes outside, a very real reminder that these temples are not just places to sightsee but also where people come to worship and pray.

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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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There was an old lady who swallowed her fly

Do you ever get in your head that you want a particular book for yourself or as a gift? Has it ever happened that because of that, despite the fact the bookshop has millions of books you feel as if there is nothing there? Welcome to my world!

 

I'll be honest, this usually doesn't happen to me. Mostly, if I don't find a particular book that I am looking for, I spend hours wandering around looking for a substitute.  Sometimes, I will even change the genre completely. I've gone from searching for a Wilkie Collins to buying a Tintin. So, this winter, when I was in my favourite Irish bookshop (Chapters, for those in the know), I was alarmed to find myself becoming increasingly irritable in a bookshop. I mean, how is that even possible? I've spent entire Saturday afternoons in bookshops, never bought anything and still went home happy! I went to my next favourite bookshop (Easons) and again was getting more and more annoyed. Icouldn't find a book that I was looking for or a substitute that I liked.

What was this infamous book? A first edition of a lost masterpiece? No. The newest Lee Child (Jack Reacher novels)? No.  50 Shades of Grey?  Not in a million years.  No, it was something much more elusive -  a book version of There was an old lady who swallowed a fly. We had a great copy when I was a kid and I wanted to share something with my nephew that was fun and catchy. My plan was that we would each have a copy of the book, so that when we have our Skype story time we both have a book to look at. I spent over an hour just looking by myself for the book in both the new and second hand sections. When this failed, I asked for help, and sadly that book hadn't been in stock for years. I didn't have time to order it as I was flying out that same week. So I began to comb the shelves to find a substitute. However, all the books that I looked at evaded my interest - the pictures were unattractive to me, the content either too wordy or barely any words and several stories uninspiring. In Easons, it was the same story and I was so frustrated with it that I decided to give up matching story books. I wanted these books because I don't own any children's books in Korea.When I have read to him in the past, I've had to bring books home from school and sometimes I didn't know I was going to get to talk to him that day so I didn't have a book. He wasn't impressed either with the stories I made up! 

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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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It's time to trust my instincts, close my eyes and leap!

Imagine standing at the top of a hill. Excitement fills the air. A cacophony of sounds fill your ears. Fear fills your tummy: "What on earth have I done?" There you are standing at the top of a hill that suddenly seems a lot steeper than it initially looked (ok, Irish readers, it was twice the size of the hill in Griffith park. It's scarier than it sounds!) and sledding seems like a very bad idea.

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When you walk through a storm.

No matter how well life is going for you, you are going to have "off" days. Today is one of those for me. I don't know what's wrong or what is causing the "off" feeling. I know that it's making me feel alone, tired, angry, weird and listless. I was sick last week so I know it could just be from that. Whatever is causing it, I do know though that it's hard to have an "off" day no matter what but it can be harder when you are away from home. And that's ok.

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So while I'm still healing

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I'm not a huge New Year's Eve person. I don't remember the last time I truly enjoyed it in years. Ok, I do. It was my first year back in Ireland after college. My sister's friend MK came up for a visit and we stayed up watching Surviving Christmas and, I think, a Take That performance. We were dragged outside to greet the new year and then rushed back in for sausages and egg-flip. We stayed up late and, eventually, one-by-one crawled our way up the stairs and into bed. My younger brother and sister remained downstairs as they decided that they'd clean up so our Mam wouldn't have a heart attack first thing in the new year (yes, we were that messy). The next thing I knew my dad was shouting for us all to get up and come downstairs as there was a grand surprise in the kitchen. I remember grumbling and complaining that it was probably just one of the neighbours. I was so annoyed that my sleep had been disturbed (it was 9.am!!!) and so I reluctantly pulled on a jumper, scrambled for socks and shoes and made my way down stairs. A screech of excitement poured out of me and the rest of my siblings: My aunt from America was in town! She hadn't told my mam that she was coming and only the two dotes who had stayed up cleaning knew about it. We spent the day chatting, eating and, at some point, in Cineworld watching Happy Feet while my aunt passed out next to us. It was a marvellous  new year as was the one following that (wow,  this is not going well for my post about not liking New Year's!) as another aunt and a cousin visited us from America. My Aunt stayed with us on New Year's eve and we spent the evening drinking, singing, playing games and just having a good time. I think we all stayed up, parents and aunt included, until at least 2 or 3 in the morning.

Most of my New Year's Eves, however, have felt like a let down. There is this huge build up to what amounts to not very much. Maybe I'm a cynic and maybe I've been alone too long but I feel that, much like Valentine's day, New Year's is a couple's holiday and there is a stench of desperation in the air when you are single. "Oh, you're single? What are you going to do for Valentine's/New Year's?" "Oh, who are you going to kiss when it's midnight?" Seriously, who cares? 

 

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