Friday, December 17, 2010

Cultural Differences

There are a number of things that Koreans do differently than Americans. Which, duh Caroline. Anyone with a brain in their heads can tell you that different cultures do things differently. For the most part I like to think that I am a pretty easy going person. I'm not so set in my ways that I can't be a little flexible. Besides, it's kind of fun to do things the Korean way (I have the rest of my life to do things my way, amIright?).

Since I got here I have tried extra hard to be patient and to try new things. I have tasted foods I never would have otherwise (hello, kimchi!) and have had experiences that I would never have been open too a few years ago. But, there is always another side to each story. Along with the good that being here brings, there are still a few things though that I just can't deal with:
  • Constantly being asked to explain myself.
    • I have to explain my opinions (Do you like this? No? But why?). Or why I don't want to eat a particular food (You don't want it now? But why?). Or if I had breakfast that morning (No? BUT WHY? - also, this is always followed by a sad shake of the head. You always eat breakfast in Korea, apparently).
  • Fish.
    • For every meal. Sometimes with their heads still attached. And the bones. All the time forever and ever, ugh ... can we please just eat some chicken for lunch?
  • Leaving the windows wide open while the heat is blasting.
    • Or leaving the windows open without the heat on at all. Really, the whole idea that I have to wear a coat and scarf while I'm in the school building.
  • There are no sick days until you are actually dieing. For real.
  • There is no toilet paper in the bathroom stalls.
    • You have to get it from the community roll that is next to the sink. Not taking enough paper is a huge pain in the ass (also, gross).
  • Speaking of bathrooms, they aren't heated.
    • At all. In fact, the window to the bathroom on my floor was open up until last week.
  • There are still mosquitoes in this freaking country.
    • MOSQUITOES! Don't they know it's DECEMBER?!
But for all the little things that bug me (or make me really, really cold) I still am having a super awesome time here and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Baskets and Babies

It's that time of year again, folks. The time of year when you put all your pocket change into the little red kettles (because the ringing bells make you feel like they're calling you out if you don't). The time of year when you get phone calls asking you to give to a good cause. The time of year when just about everyone is trying to get their hand into your pocket.

And I'm here to toss my cause into the mix as well. I promise it's a good one. It involves babies. And you love babies, don't you?

Midwife Lilly and my god-daughter

When my friend Ashley found out she was pregnant, she decided that she wanted to give birth in the most natural way possible. So she went out and found the Women's Health and Birth Center in Santa Rosa. They provided her with pre-natal care as well as emotional support to make sure that she was ready, both physically and mentally, to have her baby.

Due to some complications during labor, however, Lilly (her midwife) made the call to have her transfered to the hospital. It was a call that ultimately saved the lives of Ashley and the baby. Lilly even was kind enough to stay with her during the rest of the birth to help out however she could.

But, because Ashley was transfered, the center will not be getting the delivery fees from the state for Sephie's birth. Belly Baskets for Babies is a way for us to give back to the Women's Health and Birth Center for everything they have given us.

My totally sweet flyer.

Please consider buying a Santa Belly Basket this Christmas to help the babies. And you can't help, please send the information along to someone who might be able too.

15% of every basket sold between now and December 20 will be given to the center. Plus, the Santa Belly Basket is adorable and will last you (seriously) forever. Adding assecories to the basket, like a lid and protector, will increase your total donation!

To order, just go to and type Santa Belly Basket in the search box. Or you can shoot me an email at cjepaul [at] gmail [dot] com and I will take care of you.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thoughts on a Thrusday

This is my actual journal entry from yesterday:

December 9, 2010
I hate this day.
- Caroline
Pretty much sums it up.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Korea is a silly place episode 1: Attack of the Recorders

In between the last two classes I teach at my main school, my co-teacher and I go and sit in the music room. It happens to be on the same floor as the 5th graders that we teach and at that point in the morning we are too tired to walk down all the stairs to our office.

The other day, however, instead of coming in and sitting to stare at the kids who are cleaning up her classroom during the 10 minute passing period (child labor builds character!) we walked in to find the music teacher seated on a piano bench while two students were taking turns smacking her back and shoulders. At first I was completely shocked, but the look on the music teachers face made it pretty clear that she was actually enjoying getting beat on by her students.

My co-teacher later explained to me that she was getting a massage. I guess she had had a rough morning and needed some TLC ...

After about 5 minutes of non-stop back slapping, the boys were clearly tired (smacking your teacher is hard work, yo). They grabbed their books and their recorders and started to head out the door.

But then their eyes locked and they slowly glanced down at the recorders they had in their hands and (I'm not even kidding) both their heads swiveled, horror movie style, back to their teacher, who was still sitting on the piano bench waiting for more of her "massage". They grinned at each other as one of the boys walked over and tapped the music teacher to see how she'd react. When she didn't say anything, both of the boys started to wail on her (and I mean wail) with their recorders.

And she was smiling. She actually looked relaxed.

And that's when I almost fell out of my tiny, Korean desk chair crying from laughter.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bombs over Yeonpyeong Island or HOLY CRAP WE'RE GETTING BOMBED.

First I would like to take this opportunity to point out the obvious fact that I was not blown up by North Korea. Second, I would like to let you know that there was no kind of military activity of any kind going on in my city.

In fact, I didn't even know that mortars had been fired until a fellow expat teacher wrote about it on Facebook because her students had come to her class yelling about bombs and going to war. None of my co-workers have mentioned it to me or asked me if I will have to leave the country, so I'm guessing from their general lack of alarm interest there is nothing to worry about right now.

That didn't stop me from registering with the embassy though. And also after reading this, I think I am going to make myself a SHTF bag. But beyond that, I really haven't given this latest North Korean temper tantrum any thought.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Things I've Learned Thursday(ish)

I was sitting in my office today thinking about how I should write a blog post and couldn't really think of anything and then it hit me: Things I've Learned Thursday. Even though it's Friday afternoon as I am writing this, it's still technically Thrusday in the states and I am totally using that to my advantage.

International date line FTW!

Things I've Learned Thrusday(ish)
South Korea Edition
  1. When eating fish in Asian countries, it is in your best interest to chew very, very slowly.
    • Related: fish bones hurt when they stab you in the mouth.
  2. No matter how many times you eat lunch with your coworkers in the cafeteria, someone is going to comment on how well you eat with chopsticks.
  3. (This pains me to say ...) Mom was right when she told me to pack long johns.
  4. The reason that Koreans eat rice and soup for every meal is because for thousands of years the Asian peoples ate rice and as a result their stomachs became smaller and their intestines became longer. Because of this, they can only have meat as a side dish (as opposed to the main dish of the meal) because if they eat too much it will get stuck in the intestines and cause cancer.
    • That little tidbit is brought to you by my (totally wonderful and sweet) 6th grade co-teacher Sumi.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wholecusan Park ... Home of Bitch Mountain

Here is a bit of advice for you: If you ever go hiking in Korea (or really anywhere, I suppose) and you notice that the other people getting ready to hit the trail are dressed/equipped much differently than you are, you might want to consider re-thinking the hike you are about to go on.

1. Some beautiful colors from the start of the hike.
2. Our little group of adventurers making their way to the start of the tail.

Yes, the scenery is amazing and the misty morning really makes you feel like you can do anything. But mist and pretty leaves will not give you the ability to hike especially when you are out of shape. And carrying a pack on your back? Forgetaboutit.

I guess was making some version of this face all morning,
every picture taken before the hike looks like this!

When the Koreans are all walking around with teeny tiny packs and, not one, but TWO walking sticks ... that's when you know that your hike is probably not going to be the leisurely stroll that you may have been imagining it to be.

Although, to be fair, I probably should have realized it wasn't going to be a gentle slope when Ryan informed me that we were going on a 6 hour hike (someday I will learn ...).

However, despite almost collapsing on multiple occasions and laying down to take naps every time we stopped for more than 5 minutes (read: lunch time and when we got to the top of the first summit), I am really glad that I did it. Why?

One part insane views:

One part awesome hiking friends:

You know you have a solid group of friends when
1. they let you sleep on the hike and
2. still hang out with you after wards (I was pretty slow)

One part being able to say that yes, I did hike climb a mountain and yes it did take 6.5 hours (!!!) and yes I only fell down once thankyouverymuch.

And then also this totally sweet bridge:

Friday, November 5, 2010

I wrote this on Friday ...

Hi internet friends!

I am going to skip the part of this post where I go on and on about how I haven't posted one single thing in almost two months (which, ps, I've been living in South Korea for 3 months already. WHA-?) and just give you the quick and dirty of why.
  1. When I want to post something, I'm on a bus and no where near a computer.
  2. When I sit in front of a computer, I can't think of a single thing to write about that isn't whine-y and complain-y.
  3. I have been home sick for the last month and a half or so (see #2).
  4. Sometimes I just don't feel like posting.
That being said, I am in a fabulous mood today for a few reasons:
  1. It's Friday.
  2. I am in the process of packing up for a fun little weekend trip.
  3. I love to make lists that are not of the "to do" variety.
I also wanted to get some "housekeeping" out of the way. Armini has started blogging (you can find him here) and he is blogging under his real name and happens to use my real name as well. So there really isn't any reason to keep my name a secret anymore.

Ta da!
(That's what Seoul looks like, if you're wondering)

Other than that, I just really wanted to share this dumb little video of Ryan telling a joke to our new friends Becky and Zach (who are also bloggers! You can find them here) because it's Friday, I'm in a great mood and it makes me laugh every single time I watch it.

Here is the bit of the joke that I didn't get on video:
"So two whales are swimming in the ocean and one whale says to
the other whale ..."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Greetings from South Korea!

I know you've probably been wondering what happened to me since the last time I talked about moving out of the country.

Well *spoiler* I moved out of the country! I am currently living in South Korea. In a town called Gwangju. It's in the southern part of the country. Also, I live down the street from the World Cup stadium. It's pretty sweet.

This is where I live now. GAH.

We haven't done anything worth mentioning since we've been here, which I cannot believe has already been a month. Teaching has its moments of awesomeness (like the other day when I student read a sentence and realized that yourself should have been yourselves. I wanted to kiss him) and it's moments of total despair (like when I'm teaching almost totally by myself and I ask the kids a question and get nothing but blank stares as an answer).

I also really want to learn how to speak Korean. Mostly so that I can tell taxi drivers where I want to go and then have them understand and take me to the place I want to go. Also, knowing what is going on around me would be nice.

I've already learned the lesson that when someone rings your doorbell and you aren't expecting people you shouldn't open it, or if you do don't let the people inside, because it will probably be crazy church people who will preach to you about God for an hour (in broken English) after you already started the conversation by telling them you were a Christian. Also, then you will have to lie to get them to leave. Sorry, God. It was the only way.

At this point in the post I would love you be all, "LOOK AT THESE PICTURES". But they are on my laptop, which is not at school with me today, and I forgot to bring the little thingy that lets me read the spanky new mini USB card I got for my camera before I left the country. So instead I will leave you with promises of pictures and this picture of the back of me taken in a pretty sweet cafe/bar thing in downtown called The Ethnic Cafe:

There are also lots of nooks and cranies for making out.
Armini and I are totally going back on date night. RWAR.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tagline Shmagline (and French techo-rap!)

With all the super fabulous posts I've been reading about BlogHer this year (which, OMG, I totally want to be there next year) I have found myself thinking a lot about things I don't normally spend my time thinking about. Like creating my brand and thinking about what sort of content (it sounds so smarmy in my head) I should be creating to get my target audience involved and engaged and what my tag line should be.

Especially my tag line. It's not that I don't like adventures of the world's oddest super hero, except that I have never claimed to be a super hero and nothing in any post I have ever written has referenced the fact that I may or may not be a superhero and therefor, it seems that it is a tag line that totally doesn't work.

I told you I've been thinking about it a lot.

But today I read something that really made me stop and think about why I'm blogging. Leah, over at A Girl and a Boy, wrote a post called My Brand that totally sums up why I started blogging. To share my feelings and to tell stories. A place to come and write words every day (or once a month) in the hopes that maybe something I say will make someone else laugh or resonate with them.

Some of my favorite blogs are the ones that are about nothing at all. I've noticed that the blogs I tend to skim are those that are about one thing only. Personal finance, cooking, photography. The blogs I check my reader for the most often are written by people my age who are dealing with the same things I am (sometimes almost exactly) and can tell their stories with humor and courage. Those are the blogs that I want to be like and I'm pretty sure they don't sit around wondering what people think of their tag line.

I hope that's not the case, anyway, because I really don't think I can dedicate any more time thinking this without people starting to worry about me.

Now for the French techno-rap. Hilda sent me the link to this and I literally cannot stop listening to it. I've already listed to it 4 times since I started writing this post. It's playing right now. It's like crack for my ears.

Anyway, it's awesome. Also, don't blame me when the next time you go out dancing all you want to do is shake your shoulders (I already know that I am doomed to this. Someday I will tell you the story of how I know that). Enjoy:

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Life has Completely Jumped the Shark

As of last night I am pretty sure that I have suddenly found myself in an alternate universe where nothing goes like I plan and I am the laziest human being in the world.

Well, I guess most of that sentence would be true no matter what dimension I'm living in (getting up before 10 should be a crime, people.) but the part about my plans going so far off track that they end up in another state is totally true.

In the interest of keeping my family issues family issues and not "SuperCareo likes to air the family laundry on the internet, she's out of the will" issues I am going to give you a bulleted list of how my effort to get my boyfriend and my parents in the same room backfired so spectacularly well that I don't know that they will ever be in the same room ever again:
  • Armini wants to go to dinner, I suggest a mexican place over by my parent's house and throw out the suggestion that he come over there after to hang out
  • We eat, have a lovely meal and come home to discover that my mother has flown the coop
  • We head to the basement to watch a movie, Dad comes down with beers (odd) and then pulls up a chair and asks us to stop the movie because "we need to talk" (cue the blood chilling panic)
  • Dad proceeds to inform Armini that my mother is more or less blaming him for me leaving, unfairly, and that both he and my mother agree that he is "unworthy of our daughter"
  • Dad leaves, Armini and I look at each other in silence (because there are no. words.)
  • Armini leaves I go and watch the movie on my laptop in bed. Alone. Thanks, Dad.
I mean, how does this happen? How do you react to that? I am so at a loss for what to do at this point that I'm thinking I'm just going to pretend that last night ever happened and hope that someday everyone will forget about it.

Except now that I wrote about it on the internet, I suppose that plan's already not going to work.

PS - you can learn about the whole jumping the shark thing here. Don't worry, I had to look it up the first time I heard someone say it, too.

PPS - all of my suitcases are, for the most part, packed and ready to go. 5 days before I leave. I am starting to get pretty excited ...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Orphaned Post: My Inner Demon is a Hippie

NOTE: I am what you might call a chronic post starter. I get an idea for a blog post and I start writing it and then when I get out the main part of what I want to say I lose my ability to string words together in a decent sentence or I just can't find the place where the post is supposed to end (which totally drives me bananas insane). Since the posting around here has been a little broken record-ish (OMG I'M LEAVING THE COUNTRY IN 8 DAYS), and I don't feel like coming up with something totally unique, I decided that I would take one of these orphaned posts, polish it and publish it. TA DA.


People often like to identify their vices as "inner demons". You can read about them on any number of blogs ... there are tons of self help books or life coaches to help you deal with said demons.

I think it's safe to say that everyone has one or two of them. I know I do (he's my Sad Little Ghost) but in addition to my Sad Little Ghost, I have another little someone following me around. Except that she isn't really a demon. She's more of a ... hippie.

I know what you're thinking, but SuperCareo, wouldn't some people consider hippies demons? And to that I would say, yes there are. But I am not one of them. That being said, however, doesn't mean that I love my Inner Hippie all the time. Or even half the time.

The issue I have with Inner Hippie is pretty simple: she's a talker. As in, she talks a lot. All the time. And she's very hard to shut up. Especially because she's in my head.

When I look outside she tells me about how beautiful the sky is and how I should get a bike so that I won't pollute it with my car. When I'm cooking or cleaning she yells at me when I reach for a paper towel rather than a towel I can toss in the wash and reuse. She even talked me into washing out a plastic baggie the other day - but it's still sitting in the dish strainer, so take that Inner Hippie! Super Careo: 1 Inner Hippie: 0 (but still trying).

Now don't get me wrong, I love the Earth. I want it to be happy and clean. I want to live upon it lightly so that my kids will be able to know what trees are. BUT - there comes a point in the never ending tirade of Inner Hippie that makes me want to throw all of the contents of my recycling bins into the dumpster, or drive around just because and waste a tank of gas or use the paper towels instead of the washable towel and they're Seventh Generation towels doesn't that count for something??

In an effort to bring some harmony into my life (and to get Inner Hippie to shut her freaking mouth already) I am going to start try to incorporate one of my other blogs, Neon Green, into The Flip Side. What this means for you is that you will get to read more about how I am slowly turning into a hippie become more mindful of my behaviors and how they affect the world.

I also want you to know that I (obviously) don't feel like everyone should start turning into hippies. They are generally dirty and smell funny and before you get mad at me I can tell you that I know several hippies in real life and if you asked them they would agree that they should probably take a shower and stop burning the patchouli incense as much as they do.

So please, don't think that I'm turning into some sort of self righteous, "go green or die" sort of crazy nut-job. Mostly I am going to talk about baking (the connection to being a hippie is that I bake from scratch) and the other odd ball things that most people probably would never associate with hippies.

And on that note, I will leave you with this mosaic of cakes that I have made in past month. Yes, that's right, two cakes in a month (hello stress eating!). Don't you wish you lived near me now? (I wish you did too).

1. apt 311, 2. apt 377, 3. apt 315, 4. apt 297, 5. apt 306, 6. apt 380


END NOTE: I actually am going to try and incorporate Neon Green into the Flip Side (same with Master of my Money) because clearly I have issues blogging anywhere but here. Also, I think I might need to bake a cake tomorrow after work.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I'm Moving.

Well, the cat is out of the bag. Yesterday morning I marched into work and told my boss that, hey, I’m moving out of the country in two weeks.

Then I may have had a small panic attack because, OMG … two weeks. Two weeks. From today. (!!!).

Anyway. Since my last post I have been doing a lot of things. Mostly moving (which is an event because I have more stuff than anyone should be allowed to have) and trying to sell my car and being OVERWHELMED and fighting with my apartment complex about the tiny flood that happened in my kitchen on Memorial Day, which I just remembered I didn’t tell you about.

THE QUICK AND DIRTY VERSION: There was a clog in the laundry room pipes that caused the laundry water to come out of my sink. They didn’t believe me when I told them that the laundry room was probably responsible, and as a result my apartment was flooded on at least one other occasion later on in the week. Then I had to fight with them to pro-rate my rent for the week I didn’t live there because the carpet was all ripped up, and then I had to prove to them that having my AC turned down to 65 degrees for a week would have a more dramatic impact on my bill than the “pennies a day” the office assured me it would be. And then there was the nonsense about how the cleaning service they hired to come in and clean my kitchen did pretty much the worst cleaning job ever in the history of cleaning jobs.

And the cherry on top is that my brand new hand mixer and my grandmother’s aprons sat in water for a week and got moldy and gross. But not beyond repair, thank goodness.

THE MORAL: Do not ever rent from Price Brothers. They are cheap assholes who will take you for all you’re worth, even if the whole reason there was a problem in the first place is because they were too lazy to take the months of phone calls from the other residents in building complaining about how the washer wasn’t draining properly seriously. THANKS PRICE BROTHERS.

There. Now you are up to speed.

But this past weekend I moved out of my apartment (of doom) and I am back with my parents for the next two weeks. Then I'm moving to South Korea for a year.

Now I am going to go have a small panic attack in the bathroom so that I can get back to work. Excuse me.

Friday, June 25, 2010

FO is knitting "geek speak" for finished object

And now that you are all up to speed on that, I want to show you this:

Yes, yes. It's awesome. Also, it only took me about 11 months to finish. WIN!

I used organic cotton handspun yarn from the fabulous Tara over at The Blonde Chicken (she's @blondechicken on twitter) and I got it from her so long ago that I don't remember what the colorway is called anymore. Which is sad, because it's super cute. I bought myself a membership to her Yarn Adventure Club as my Armini is going to China without me present (aka - the grief knitting).

The reason that this took me forever is that I have this crazy ability to unravel handspun yarn pretty much by looking at the wrong way. So I would be knitting along, happy as a clam, and then the yarn would just fall apart in my hands. Needless to say, I got tired of it pretty quickly and went on to knit other things. But last week I was digging around for something to knit on and found this and thought I would give it another go. And I finished it!

It's huge though. Like, way too big. And I'm terrified to wash it because I love it and I don't want it to do anything crazy, like burst into flames, if I try to block it. So I'm thinking that I'm just going to leave it like it is. I'm already referring to it lovingly as my Thinking Cap. Why is that do you ask?

Because it's big enough for all my dreams to fit inside.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A{n odorless} Funk.

Lately I have found myself in a bit of a funk. I have about 4 blog posts started, waiting their turn to be finished. I have had to ask for a lot of help from my parents (the last people that I want to ask for help right now. I find that it sort of takes away from that whole "grown up" feeling I've been trying to cultivate). I have been fighting with my apartment complex for the last month to get them to take responsibility for flooding my apartment and paying for damages (that is one of the posts waiting to get written, BTW).

And each little thing takes a bit of wind out of my sails. Until I'm left floating, feeling alone (even though I'm not), and very unsure about what to do next.

Last night was the worst. I was really upset for no reason at all (oh the joys of being a girl) and then I watched Homeward Bound, which was a bad idea all around because it just made me cry more, and then I wallowed. Oh, there was wallowing and wailing.

Ok, actually, there was not a lot of wallowing or wailing, I just wanted to say them in the same sentence. It's fun.

But I was sad. And so I gave myself 5 minutes to be sad. And then I sat down and made some lists. Because lists are totally awesome.

I wrote down 10 reasons I suck at life. Then I re-read them and was sad. But then I said to myself, "Self, this is silly. You do not suck at life." So then I made a list of 10 reasons why my 10 reasons I suck at life are untrue or completely absurd. And then I re-read that and I laughed a little because really, some of my I suck at life things really were totally crazy pants.

And then, as an exercise in being nice to myself, I wrote down a list of 10 reasons why I am awesome sauce. And that one was a little harder. I think it's mostly because I have always used my ability to put myself down and make fun of myself as a defense mechanism (oh middle school ... you sucked. Alot.) and so saying nice things about myself is ... not normal. But I really did feel better about everything.

The Moral of the Story: Sometimes you just have to get out your crazy so that you can move on with your life in a sane(er-ish) manner than you could have if you just kept the crazy locked up inside you. Just ... don't let anyone read your journal. Then you probably won't have any friends.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The most brilliant idea I thik I have ever had (maybe. I hope.)

I have been thinking a lot about finding my magic job. I know that it's out there, I can feel it. And yesterday, I think I may have figured out what it is.

I think (maybe, possibly) that I want to own a bed and breakfast.

It's pretty much the perfect idea. I would get to cook and bake for the people who come to stay with me. I would get to have the house of my dreams (hopefully - eventually) and I would get to make a million new friends. The best part being, of course, that the new friends come to me. And there would be a garden. A garden with tons of huge flowering bushes, and tons of vegetables and a line for laundry and a compost pile.

And the more I think about it, the more excited I get. Which is, like, the first sign that this is a good idea, right? I mean, I would get to own my own business, be my own boss, never have to leave the house and I would be making money by doing what I love to do: entertain and cook and make everything warm and cozy and wonderful.

I begin research tomorrow on bed and breakfasts in general. Hilda suggested buying a house in California somewhere close to wine country (she said I word that I couldn't understand, and she won at scrabble with it) but I'm curious ... what are your thoughts on locations?

Because I do expect you to come and stay with me. Magic does best when it is shared.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Letting the dream catch me for once

Since I got back from China in February, I feel like I have been chasing a dream. A dream that consists mostly of me not having to work (ever) and being able to eat as many pancakes and M&M's as I want without ever having to worry about getting fat. We all have to have a dream, right?

Hilda has been telling me over and over again that I need to "find contentment in what I have". I read blog after blog that talks about how being in the moment is so important. I even have started doing Shiva Nata as a way to try and tap into some of that contentment. Although, to be fair I have wanted to start practicing Shiva Nata for a while now (because Havi is pretty much my hero and I want to be her when I grow up) and this whole "why does my life suck all the time?" thing felt like the perfect time to finally step up and buy the starter kit.

I was trying so hard to be content with what I had, but it seemed like no matter what I did there was always something nagging at the back of my mind. Like, I would be wishing for cable (a post is coming on that, I promise) or dreading going to Macy's for job #2 of the day, or thinking about the eleventy billion other things that I needed to do over the weekend instead of being locked up in a department store.

But then the other day I was standing in my kitchen, wearing my pink polka-dot apron, kneading some bread (yes I am aware that statement makes me sound like Suzy Homemaker) and it occurred to me that I was genuinely happy. I have started listening to some of the CD's that I love, like the Godzilla soundtrack (because I am just that cool), and I finally got my apartment clean over mother's day weekend and I am happy. The quiet of not having the TV on all the time took some getting used too. Once I let go of trying to be happy - I was.

It's so cliche, I know. But I'm so happy that it found me. I am so content in my little space. I'm just sorry that I might be leaving it in a few months. Even though I am also really excited about the adventure that I will be going on (provided, of course, that the Korea's can get along without dropping bombs on each other).

The good thing is, however, that I know that I can do it. The happiness is there to be had. You just have to relax enough to let it get you.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

If only I had a moon ladder, my life would be complete

I want so much that sometimes it hurts almost. Almost. Ok, maybe a little more than almost. It's the pull of desire for something (even if you have absolutely no idea what it is that you want) that starts in the center of your chest and radiates outward. Out toward the thing, whatever it is: physical, emotional, a specific event, an accomplishment of some sort.

I have decided that I am living a life that is mostly devoid of magic. And I am not like other grown ups who can go around without magic and be perfectly content. I need magic. I crave it. It is what I am radiating towards.

The only thing is I don't know where to start my search for this magic. It makes me feel very small. Like someone is telling me that I can totally make it to the moon, only they don't tell you that you should probably get a spaceship beforehand (ladders that tall just don't exist, I checked).

Sometimes I think that finding the magic will have to do with where I live and how I choose to live there. I imagine a huge back yard with huge, old trees and giant flowering bushes and so much color (green and blue and pink and purple and white and and and) that you might think that your eyes will melt out of your head. And a house that smells like cooking and baking. Warm bread, fabulous meals, cookbooks with broken spines and stained pages from years of being used and loved.

But in order to find the magic house, I have to have money. And in order to have money, I have to have a job. And that, my friends, is where I get lost.

A job that is magical. Something that I am good at and that I love to do all the time. A job that, if I did have to work more than 40 hours at it during the week, wouldn't make me want to find a mountain and throw myself off the very top of it because I am so tired and so stressed I can't stand it.

I have friends who are doing what they love. Writing or designing or what-have-you-ing. They have always known what it was, and even if they didn't know it exactly at the time, they were pretty damn close. I am good at a lot of things. I have jobs that I enjoy (to a degree) but I still manage to have about 1 day a week where my brain literally turns into jello because of the stress in my life and oozes out of my ear holes. And it's draining my will to live.

On the phone with my mother the other day, she told me that "if this was the way [I] choose to life my life then [I] should probably just stop bitching about it and be content that [I] have a job at all." And yes, I agree. I should stop bitching. I should spend more time looking for a job where I can put my college degree to good use (or any use, for that matter), be happy and make some money so that I can find the magic house where I will be able to cook and bake forever and ever, Amen.

But I think about looking for a job and all I want to do is run back into the arms of my 3 (yes, 3) jobs and the 1 day a week of brain flavored stress-jello and hold on as tight as I can and never let go. Resumes make me turn into a blabbering idiot. Looking at Monster or Career Builder makes me wonder if I will ever find anything that makes me want to dance out of bed and into the office.

And yes, I realize that I might be romanticizing this job thing. Maybe there really is not one person in the world who actually dances into their office everyday. Maybe "magical jobs" are like "unicorns" and "dragons" and while they are fun to talk about or star in movies or read about, they don't really exist.

But the thing is, I don't know that I want to live in a world where being a grown up means that you have to wait until 5:00 on the weekdays to feel the magic. In fact, I take that back. I know I don't want to live in that world. In that world, the world where everyone waits until 5:00 to be happy, I will wither and die like a flower that doesn't get enough sunshine.

So I suppose I am putting this out there to see what comes to me. I would love to have words of comfort or maybe a career idea that is something super-fun that you heard of one time because your ex-boyfriend's, step mom's brother-in-law from Texas heard about from a friend one time (maybe). The list of magical jobs that I came up with is sort of small:
  • Start my own preschool
  • Flight attendant
  • Character actor at Disneyland (I would like to be Ariel please. Or Belle. Well ... really any princess, really)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The deed is done

Well, the time for voting has come and gone. ET VIOLA!

Long-ish hair was the winner by a vote of 3 to 1. Now I am beautiful, and I don't feel gross about my hair. In fact, I have worn it down every day since I got it cut! I even have long-ish bangs. See them? On the right?

What is it about haircuts that are just so darn magical? I swear, it's like Brooke switched out my old head of hair for a new one. I am never going so long without a haircut again.

The End.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I can now add "fog" to my list of things I'm scared of

I drove home from my parent's house at 1:30 last night (after watching a bad Lifetime movie with my mom and part of Dinosaur Train before we both got a really bad case of the giggles) and managed to scare the crap out of myself because I am just that talented.

It was super misty out and I don't think that anyone can blame me for getting creeped out when you are in the middle of the country (my parents live about 20 minutes from the nearest highway, in a neighborhood surrounded by farmland) and I just can't help it that there was corn growing next to the neighborhood and it was dark and super misty on the night that I saw Signs and that this movie ruined my life.

Yes ruined. I slept with the lights on for three months after I saw that movie. And - spoiler alert - I only felt really safe in the shower because I knew that the aliens would get melted. Yes, I know I'm the biggest wimp you know. Yes, I am ok with that, I came to terms with it years ago.

At one point I had scared myself so badly that I almost turned around and spent the night at Mom and Dad's but I said to myself, "Self, you are being very silly. There is not one alien that is going to try and get you. But just to be sure you should probably turn on the light to check the backseat and then lock the doors. But after that, we are going back to the apartment."

So then I'm driving on the highway and this little silver Neon pulls up next to me and it has a giant spider decal on the side of it that literally made my skin crawl.

Then I was struck by the irony of how I have mentioned freaky movies about mist (and the large and terrifying bugs that dwell within) and spiders on this blog in the last few months. But then there was a rather large bank of mist on the highway and I went back to being scared of aliens - because that totally makes sense, right?

So, up to this point, my 30 minute drive home has somehow managed to morph into the 30 minute drive home of terror. I get off the highway, turn onto the road that takes me to my apartment, and think to myself, "Self, you made it. I'm proud of us." But as I'm sure you may have guessed, the weirdness of this drive is not done.

All of a sudden there are cones all over the road and lots (and lots) of flashing lights. I slow down, like you do, totally expecting to see some hideous car wreck. But instead I am guided into the library parking lot where there were at the very least 100 police officers (and support personnel) doing DUI checks. Since I was obviously not drunk (just a little freaked out looking and tired), they gave me a little pamphlet and let me go. Although, to be fair, the terrifying tiny, barking dogs could have been the reason they didn't ask me to get out of the car. They are pretty vicious.

Pulling into the apartment parking lot, I wasn't freaked out at all. Which was fabulous because I was totally prepared to sprint to the door to avoid any would-be attacker aliens because I like to think that sprinting away from them means that they cannot take me to their spaceship or shoot me up with the poison gas that comes out of their wrists ... and now I'm going to have the sleep with the lights on.

Instead, I walked calmly and slowly because I have a really loud scream and there was an army of police officers one parking lot down from me. And aliens are totally scared of the police. Right?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Summertime Manifesto

One of my good friends posted a to do list for this summer and (borrowing the name from Tara over at the Blonde Chicken) I thought I would be a copy cat and do the same thing.

Summertime Manifesto
- of Great Times and Awesomeness -
  1. Camping with good friends
  2. Having lots of adult beverages with good friends while camping
  3. Making the 'reunion' float trip in my head go from a thought in my head to actually a thing with dates and people who are coming
  4. Spending more time with my dogs at the dog park
  5. Enjoying more evenings on my patio (hopefully in my hammock)
  6. Working on my sewing; specifically learning how to make summer dresses (with pockets! Who doesn't love dresses with pockets!)
  7. Finding joy where I am, where I am going, and the process that is the journey to where I am going
  8. Dance parties - to have them and to dance until I can't move anymore
What are you going to do this summer?

OH, and before I forget: If you still haven't told me what you think I should do with my hair, you probably should. Hilda and Armini are both in favor of long-ish hair; which means that shorty-short hair only has one vote. This is serious business people - VOTE TODAY.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I need your help!

Because I have suddenly become a person who cannot make a decision on my own, I have decided (progress!) to leave my next hair style up to you my readers (regression!). SO, tell me, what do you think?

Short hair ... or ... long-ish hair?

It's been almost a year since my last hair cut (I know some of you may have gagged at that statement, I'm sorry) and I need one desperately. But I can't decide if I want to just get a trim or cut off what I have and go back to having shorty-short hair.

I won't make an appointment until someone tells me what to do. Which means that if not having a hair cut for (almost) a full calendar year makes you throw up in your mouth a little, you should probably leave a comment to end the cruel and unusually torture I have inflicted upon my hair.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Title Unkown

I have a confession to make.

Well, it's not so much a confession as it is me finally acknowledging this thing to myself. And also, to the world.

I am miserable.

It sounds dramatic, doesn't it? It's like I've been transported back in time to when I was 16 and running around saying things like "I hate my life" or "you just don't understand me" or "why doesn't that [hot boy] think I'm pretty?"

So maybe not that last one (or least not anymore, I totally know I'm pretty thankyouverymuch).

But those other two pretty much hit the mark. I'm feeling very lost, misunderstood, scared and picked on. The long and the short of it is, I hate my life as it is right now. And so I did something that most of the people I know think is a really stupid idea.

I applied, along with Armini, to teach English in South Korea.

Yes, it is a drastic change. But the most I think about it, the more I like the idea of taking a year off from my life and getting away from here so that I can clear my head and really think about what I want to do with my life.

I told my parents last night and I have to say that in some ways it went better than I thought it would, and in others it was worse. My dad took it pretty well. My mom did the total opposite of what I thought she would. Rather than totally loose it, she internalized it. Gave me a long list of things I could do here, in the country, that would me more money/get me away from Kansas/let me get started on a career.

And that ... the "c" word ... is what it really comes down too.

I haven't made it a secret that my mom has really been pushing me to go to grad school, and I think there is a lot of complicated family drama fueling it. I know that I am getting older. I know that going to grad school is going to become harder as I get older and try to start a family of my own.

And yet, despite all of this, I am still willing to push it back.

Am I avoiding it? It's possible, probable even. My motivation is 1 part getting far enough away from my parents that I can make a decision on my own, 1 part making a decision and actually following through with it, 1 part being with Amrini (lets just be honest) and 1 part I am a little sad that I didn't go to China and I want to do it now.

I don't know what's going to happen. It's possible that I am going to be one of those people who does a million different things over the course of their lifetime because I can't freaking figure out what to do with myself.

Or maybe this is just the start of me doing some epic shit. Epicly.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spider Epiphanies

One of the worst things about living alone is the living alone part.

Which, duh SuperCareo, didn't you know that before you decided to move out?

But it's not so much that as that one time I lived with a boy and he was around to do the icky stuff like plunge the toilet or kill the crazy big spiders I find in my dresser - which happened the other night, BTW. Which is what brought this whole thing on.

So I opened my dresser drawer and there is a spider looking up at me - clearly ready to jump up and eat me if given the chance. So what do I do? I text my friend Ashley in call caps stating that I NEED A BOY!!!!!!! (and yes, there were that many exclamation points involved).

But the good news is that I did kill the spider with minimal squealing and I was not eaten (thank the lord). But the moment made me pause and think about my independence and being a woman hear me roar and blah, blah, blah. Did wanting a boy (Armini specifically) to kill the spider make me less of a woman? Have I somehow lost that bit of myself (without realizing it) that makes me brave enough to kill the spider?

I know ... killing a spider with a shoe isn't usually a moment for epiphanies.

But, all things considered, I think it's ok. It's not the first time I have wanted made boys to kill bugs for me. All I think it means is that living back here (I am living in the same complex where Armini and I lived before he left for China) makes me miss him and in that moment I just missed him more than normal.

GAH. He hasn't decided if he's coming home to stay when the school year ends, so please keep your fingers crossed for me. I am so tired of this game. Also, I am tired of killing my own bugs.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I'm Back ...

And I'm sorry for not posting before now. I've been back in the states for about a month now and I haven't written one post about anything that happened during my month in China (and yes, I spent it with Armini. And yes, it was everything I had hoped it would be), or the fact that I've moved (kind of - it's day 4 and I still haven't spent the night there) or the fact that I think I may have to go into rehab because of my new found addiction to M&M's.

Also, I'm not kidding about the M&M's thing. I literally begged my brother to bring me some last night because I hadn't had any in about 3 days and was on the verge of losing it.

So anyway ... I went to Southeast Asia! It was great. Plus I got to see this guy:

We think he may have a career as a bike cop.

We went to 3 countries - China, Laos and Thailand. Laos was my favorite. The food was fabulous, so fabulous in fact that I ate pretty much all the time and so much that I made myself
sick on more than one occasion (because I am a 5 year old who has no self control what-so-ever). Plus it's where I turned 25 (UGH) and we got to go tubing in Vang Vieng (hooray!).

Since I've been back I've started working all the time because the trip completely cleaned me out, something I wasn't as prepared for as I thought I was. Also, adjusting to this stupid-cold-winter-weather-that-never-ends has been hard. Kiss my little bity tan goodbye!

I promise that I have more posts lined up (I've already started a few of them!), I just wanted to get this out there just in case anyone was wondering if I died.