Saturday, January 29, 2011

Make Sure You Feel It Every Day.

I just want to say I love you. Make sure you feel it every day. 'Cause if today had been my last chance, there's just something I wanted to say:

Life is ridiculously short. Love with everything you got.


For Reals

Reality Check: You know you are in the Far East when you visit the doctor and he says, "your Yin and Yang are out of balance."
Clearly, this means one of two things:
1) It is time to hit the cluuuubs!
2) It is time to go to yoga.

*Please be sure to click cluuuubs! Good times to be had.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Cool Kids: We Don't Wanna (and WON'T) Grow up.

OKAY! I know I put a lot of music in my posts, but I listen to it a lot, and usually am inspired by particular songs to write about certain things. So~YOU MUST LISTEN TO THE SONGS WHILE ENJOYING THE PICTURES I'm going to share:

In one month, I will say good-bye to my lovely little Grapes. They will graduate, move on (unless they enroll in the elementary program -- fingers crossed!), and, hopefully, have lots of things to remember from my class. I aim to make them laugh ATLEAST 20 times a day, and have designated the first ten minutes of each class Hugs and Cheeky Time. (It sounds weird, but just go with it.) We hug each other, kiss (European style -- IT'S ADORABLE), and every so often one of them sneaks a bum grab. Today, while walking to school, Tom's song came on and it inspired me to make today a really memorable day for the little ones. Here's a glimpse into our day:

Alright, let's change songs here for these next few photos, yeah?


Those are most of my sweet kiddos. We had fun. Thanks for looking through all dem memories. If you ever want to skype with us, shoot me a message. They love showing off their English skillzzzz.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A few reasons I'm Seouled on Seoul: Part One

First of all: you should listen to this song while reading. The chorus reminds me of soulful Seoul nights. :)

Seoul is hot. It's crazy fun and offers endless possibilities for memory making. (I feel like I should end that sentence with a loves it! ye gawds.) It's the other city that doesn't sleep. A night out here is generally a solid commitment. Otherwise, you find yourself taking naps in Noraebong (karaoke) rooms OR crashing in a bath house...two images to describe bath houses: no clothes in designated areas; and, old ladies rubbing you down (pounding the lights out of you) with scrubs. Terrif. These days, said nights just don't work for me takes a lot out of me. See for yourself:
However, it's not all flashing lights and pounding hangover headaches. Here are some reasons I'm hooked on dis place...

1) I have amazing students. They are simply delightful. My words won't do them justice. I'll have to get some video footage soon. But, for now, some pictures will have to do.

Hey girl hey! (Our go-to phrase in Grapes class.) Getting down during Halloweeeen! We so cra-gee.

2) I'm able to create an environment where my students feel they can openly and comfortably explore the never-ending question: who am I? Eddy wasn't sure what he wanted to be for Halloween. Buzz or Butterfly? This is what we came up with. We called it the Flaming Buzz. Honest to goodness, he came up with the name.
Eddy enjoys the following: Buzz Lightyear; sparkly masks; pink nail polish; and hand-holding with his best bud, Joy. Needless to say, he is adorable.
This picture really needs no words. Seouled.
I've fallen particularly hard for this little one.

3) I laugh often. It's not uncommon to run into some hilarious interpretations of English, as well as some pretty awesome signage. Take this for example:
This comforting sign is located in the restrooms at the local HomePlus. It serves as a friendly reminder that, in case of emergency while visiting the loo, your trusty HomePlus employers are only the push-of-a-button away. For you, he will.

Hooookay~Sreepy time. South Korean hugs sent out to Chelsea tonight :) I hope you are well dear.

Love. Lots of it.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Here, There, and Everywhere: A Shout Out.

Missing one Jay Brock Riddle these days. Even though it's been a good (terribly sad) five years, the reality truly never. sets. in. With each new experience I have, my initial reaction is to reach for the phone to share it with this guy:

Luckily, I'll always have the following: his eyes, his smile, his athletic genes, his humor, The Beatles, John Lennon, my brother Hunter, who grows more and more to look eerily like him (Watch out ladies. And Bailey -- you're just as cool and attractive.), Eddie Murphy, Chevy Chase, and his love for music. Thanks J.B.

I find myself writing this post for a couple of reasons:

1) I miss the stuffing out of this guy. I seriously wish that he was here. there. and everywhere.

2) Oddly, he is here, there, and everywhere. (This is about to get so cool -- in my opinion.) For those of you who knew my dad, he was a Lennon man all the way. He was really into Lennon's words in Let it be and Lennon's messages overall. He always encouraged/begged my brothers, awesome musicians (all bias aside, these dudes rock), to learn to play the song. At his funeral, at the age of sixteen, Bailey (sans his twin brother) played it. Perfectly. A few years prior to his unexpected death, I remember him printing out the lyrics to Let it be, telling me to read them, ponder their meaning. I never appreciated it at the time, however, now I truly appreciate it everyday as it is my go-to mantra when I find myself in times of trouble.

Korea is cool, but there have been and continue to be challenges along the way. There have been times when packing up and heading home seems like a really nice option. Anytime I have felt myself feeling sliiiightly sad (emo), I take a walk. I usually end up at a park, coffee shop or my favorite all-you-can-eat buffet (cue emotional eating) There, I sit. Chill. Read. Write. Just be. And...are you ready for this? Each time I am having one of these (emo) fits, EACH TIME, Let it be starts playing. No matter where I am, the park, a cafe, the buffet, this song (marvelous man) delivers.

*Let this video buffer and watch it. It's worth it.
**Okay, really, Yoko? Let a man breathe ;)

Thanks for reading. Now, go hug your dad. ;)


The weather outside is frightful. Maybe it's the Alaskan in me, but I've always had warm feelings associated with the frigid temps. Ahhh, Alaska. I'm kind of missing you. I've decided that my next move must include the following: mountains/lots of outdoor recreational activities; excellent local brews, and lots of music. Denver...maybe? I get excited just thinking about it. (Is it too early to start a count-down? A 365+ countdown?) Not that I'm regretting my decision to stay in Seoul for an additional year. Sometimes I'm like, damn...what have I done? But, having the goal of moving someplace totally awesome makes me excited. I can't believe I've already been here for close to a what a year it has been.

A lot has happened in my months here. A lot. Went on some neat hiking excursions. Went to a rad beach festival that included romping in mud all weekend, and dancing on the beach into the wee-hours of the morning. Visited Japan. Sweat my face off in a strictly Korean speaking hot yoga club for six months. Navigated my way around the majority of the grocery stores in Seoul in search of my diet staples...yada-yada-yada. But, I'd say the most memorable experiences I've had, so far, have been the concerts/festivals I've gone to.

Here's a little recap:

The Cool Kids: I really love these guys. I could dance to them all night. And I did. When I first got to Seoul, The Cool Kids were playing at an event called the Seed Festival at AX-Korea. Highlights: dancing on stage (whhhaaaaa?) and having my very own dance party at the end of the evening (morning). Anyone who knows me can imagine what this looked like. My friends describe it as Alice in Wonderland meets Penny Lane (minus the Band-Aides thing). I'll take it.

Caribou: Good beats. Good people. Weird opening act. Marriage proposal -- that I almost considered because he was from Pittsburg (not really) -- and a oh, hey, you're the girl from Jane's Groove last weekend? Dear gawd. I'm building street cred with my solo dance parties. I'll take it?

Summer Sonic: A music festival in Japan. A good selection of music -- HOLE WAS THERE?! WHAT? -- but the highlight for me was probably Band of Horses. It was interesting being a foreigner there because the scene ain't nothin' compared to what I've experienced back home or in Korea. A lot of the people in the audience at various shows were taking little cat naps. It was pretty funny. A Tribe Called Quest was there as well as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Caught a little Stevie Wonder, too. But, Band of Horses... I think they are beautiful.

GLOBAL GATHERING!!!: By far the funnest night at a show, so far. I only wish I had had my camera to document it all. The trek to get there was almost equally as fun...lots of traffic, lots of people. A long walk because the cab driver wouldn't take us any farther. An impromptu bathroom break on the docks. Sprinting the last stretch motivated by Justice's beats. Ahhhh. I want to go back. Here's the best video I could find.

I danced my face, legs,, I danced my whole body off, if that is possible. Luckily this time, I had joiners. The next morning, I could barely lift my arms. I think they were raised the. entire. night. I really hope the line up is good this year.

The Flaming Lips: Tried and true these beauties deliver. Although I've seen them a few times, this time was exceptional. A little late arriving, but caught what I needed to see. College days relived with some beer shot guns. Marriage proposal -- this time by a girl -- and confetti in my purse that I refuse to trash. Stealing posters. Over-priced t-shirts. I'll take it.

What's next? What's next?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

From All The Junks The One I Need More is Music

*Heads up: this post might as well start out with Dear Diary...

This year is off to a pretty radtastic start. Things feel good here...I'm really enjoying where I am. Today, I had one of those moments where I was like: "Oh, hellllo, you live in Seoul, South Korea...that's kind of cool." I've been thinking a lot about what I want this year to look like...a rough draft if you will. But, I've also got that giddy, butterflies in your stomach feeling because you don't know what's going to happen thing going on, too. Not creepy butterflies. Good ones. I'm excited for this year :) (cheeeeeese -- soy-based. Obviously.)

I was running today and listening to the jam, and, without getting all Cansei de Ser Sexy up in here, suffice it to say that music is my best friend. It always gets me thinking, you know. (Don't worry -- not in an emo self-destructive I hate my life kind of way.) Somehow, by miracle of the Musical Gods -- Kurt, Lennon, Brock (just to name a few) -- songs always come on that set really awesome thought wheels into motion. (Dear Diary Post. I warned you.) The beats inspire me to put positive perspectives on any challenges I'm lookin' at, and ultimately, just lead to a peppier, positive me. Mix music with endorphins and you might wonder what I been poppin'.

Interesting Fact: For the past, oh, seven months, I've been sans television in my little ole apartment. This may not surprise you, but it really surprises me -- I could ask for a television and have one tomorrow, but would rather not. When I think about all the time I spent lying around watching the tube, it kind of bothers me. I think I might have missed out on a lot during college...but, that's irrelevant. Not being engrossed in all that the media world has to offer has inspired a much more creative daily routine, if I do say so myself. Like, now I can sit, ponder, and answer questions like: Who Am I? and What Am I Doing With My Life? (I don't really do that...a lot.)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Purely for Pleasure

I may or may not have just walked 30 minutes in the 20 degree temps for some of these (ridiculously over-priced) bad boys:


(*I have no idea how to put these two next to each other. I'm still new to blogging. And, yes, I'm having a bowl of each.)

It's been fuh-reezing here the past few weeks. A few days of nice snow, but mainly just ice and muddy sludge. It's ok though. I love snowy-ish, white-ish/brownish/grayish scenery. (Oh my gawd, this ice cream is so good.)

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2011? Where does the time go? (I'm having a really hard time writing right now, as I cannot concentrate on much aside from this bowl of ice cream...the Cherry Nirvana flavor...)

Ok, bowl(s) is/are finished. But, seriously. 2011...a year of good schtuff. I'm going to run a marathon. There, I said it. I've been avoiding it -- something about resolutions accompanied with zero follow-through. But, seriously, I think I'm going to run a marathon. I've been running my butt off lately -- not actually, it's still there, thankfully). I can't get enough. I run in the mornings. I run in the evenings. My students and I even take little jogs around the classroom to get our brains going. (Their request, not mine -- we call them brain breaks.) Running might be my favorite part of the day. (Picture me cheesily grinning the whole time on the treadmill, surrounded by Koreans who look at me like I'm a sweaty baboon...not that my butt is red...or showing for that matter.) Listening to these gems only adds to the good time:

(Come on, it kind of makes you want to move, yeah? It's ok.)

(To redeem myself.)

I've actually been surprising myself and running 5kms in the morning and 5kms at night. Sixty-ish miles a week. (Thank you Dad and Tunde...if I add him in the labels do you think he would stumble upon this post and contact me?) I want to do some 5k races for fun while I'm still in Seoul. Then, move up to 10k to add a little personal challenge into the mix. Ultimately, a marathon before I leave Korea would be an amazing ending to this chapter in my life. I actually think I can do it (she said so hesitantly). So today, I took my first step in training for some races: I filled out an application for the Seoul Flyers Running Club. Yeaaaa. I'll keep you posted.

Okay, I'm going to reward myself for taking the time to post with some more ice cream...maybe ;)

Big hugs.