So this one could be a long one.... I have missed some weeks right after stating some goals about blogging weekly I believe?? Oopsie. I am sure my blogging audience understands that exploring a new country and meeting new people is slightly more important then writing about it :). I started this blog at exactly midnight Seoul time, and I will be happy if I can wrap this up within an hour so be warned, you could be in for a lot of words along with poorly constructed sentences.
Well I have had several kind of small epiphanies and cool things that have been going through my head and what I have read. I wanted to share two things I read from the late UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.
"Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of the self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming."
I also found he had a seven point creed he used in teaching players.
-Be true to yourself.
-Make each day your masterpiece.
-Drink deeply from good books. Especially the Bible.
-Make friendship a fine art.
-Build a shelter against a rainy day.
-Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings everyday.
So I really liked the quote. I have thought about it in several ways, I think that there is the obvious point of putting effort into what you do in order to get satisfaction. The deeper idea that I have been thinking about is the career path that I have studied for the best of what I am capable? Can I ever get satisfaction from a career path that I enjoy fully? I really enjoy working with kids, but it is not something that I will be able to do for the rest of my life the way I feel currently. There are some really cool things that happen from day to day but there are several days that can feel like a grind. Lately, I have felt that I really need to find work that feels as less of a grind as possible for me. Right now I am not so sure that it is in Finance. I actualy have been thinking a lot about becoming a veterinarian. Here is a small breakdown of what I am thinking. So I really love living things and thinking about how they work. I was pre-med before my mission and gave it up, largely thinking that it would not be conducive to raising a family. I think that a vet would offer many of the same things that I find very intriguing in science (anatomy, surgery, helping something that is hurt, and doing something that I feel helps the world) while still enabling enough family time. Either way, I really want to find something that I can feel satisfaction out of.
Now on to the pyramid (So at this point you can probably tell it is going to be long, since I haven't even breached what I have done the past few weeks)
So the pyramid seemed eerily doctrinal. I wanted to highlight a few things that stuck out.
Point 1 Be true to yourself. I think that I struggle with this at times in a few different ways. One of the things that I am becoming comfortable with is that it is ok to be alone and not have plans for a weekend. Sometimes it is just fine to hang out at home. I don't have to feel like I have to do something really noteworthy in order to feel cool or like I am having fun. I have spent a lot of time alone in Seoul, but feel like getting away from a lot of noise at home helps me think and plan my future better. This thinking time has led me to find out what I really want from life and what my goals for the near future and beyond will be. So here is a big one. You ready? I want to get married... crazy eh? I don't have any prospects, but I am ready to be able to committ myself to having a family and be codependent with someone. Now this isn't something I am rushing towards but for the first time it is definitely a goal that is something I want to work towards instead of something off in the horizon. So having a personal goal is something I am ready to set.
Make friendship a fine art-
I really try to do my absolute best to be a person that my friends can depend on. I love my friends and feel so grateful for them. I feel bad sometimes about keeping up with some friends. I just got in contact with a friend who I haven't seen who I lived with him. I had gone home for the summer after living with him for a school year, and he was a great friend when I was going through an especially sucky time. When I got back to school in September, this friend called me to invite me to his wedding. Now granted weddings at the time were the last thing I wanted to go to, but since I associated so much negative feelings from the past, I forgot my friend and didn't go to his special moment when he had been with me for so many of my crappy moments. This has happened more than once to lesser degrees for different reasons, and I am very sorry for it. Those instances cannot be something that I repeat. I need to be better to my friends, and having these experiences almost makes me want to keep friendships on a superficial level which is exactly not what I want. So to all my friends sorry if I have messed up, I love you and appreciate you!
Last point for this one I promise-
-Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
I really have done pretty well for myself here. I have been to the english bookstores a few different times already. I read Game of Shadows which was written by the reporters who broke the story of the Barry Bonds Grand Jury testimony regarding his steroid use and the story of BALCO, which was the health lab that Bonds got his drugs from as well as fueled several key American track athletes including multi-gold medal winner Marion Jones. For the sake of those who don't like sports I'll just stop there. I am also reading a book about Korean history, Che Guevarra, in addition to the usual amount of sports reading for me :). I have read more books this past year than any other year and look forward to continuing.
-One side note, the John Wooden quotes came from SLAM magazine of all places, which is an exclusive NBA magazine pretty cool eh? So those sports things payoff every once in awhile :).
Alright!!! You made it past the thought section of my blog!!! So it is 1:38 a.m. and I still have three weeks to catch up on yikes. Alrighty. So school is so fun! I really just love all of the kids, they are fun to joke with, and I see progress with them every week (definitely not every day). As I alluded earlier, they all think that I am Harry Potter. I have used Avada Kedavra once or twice. It may seem extreme, but that's the price you pay when you walk into my class. Treat this as your warning if you stumble into Seoul blog followers. The only kids that confuse me are the preschoolers I have first thing in the morning. Monday through Friday I have different groups of preschool age students right after they have lunchtime and playtime. I am suppose to settle them down enough to teach them some sort of nonsense. So my classes are either drama (where we read a story and listen to awful songs), arts and crafts (where I try to switch ten minutes worth of coloring into fifty minutes, or build ten different crafts since none of the kids can do it on their own), or science reading class, where the kids hate it. Yup. This is the worst part of my day obviously lol. But hey life could be worse! Hmm let me think of some highlights. Well if you have ever met an asian, there is a good chance they have an english name, since there asian name is impossible for a westerner to pronounce. Some of the names are just flat out weird. For instance I have a Dragon in one of my classes. Yup, just like the mythical creature, and that kid sucks. It is a good thing he doesn't have a normal name because it definitely would be crossed off the list immediately since I don't want to be reminded of him ever again. I have a Pee Bee. Not Phoebe. No the two words pee and bee... There is someone named Harry Potter. Passable? Well a girl chose this as her english name. There is Lion. And there is Jenis. This one boggles me the most. It is like the easiest name to make a hurtful rhyme out of. The kids parents really dropped the ball on that one. Not only is it not a name, it rhymes with genitalia. There is a 30% chance that the parents picked one of the "words" from when you try to log in or make a new account on a website and it spits out words like cargyme or totterflame. Either of these not words are a superior name to Jenis. Other than that though the kids are just hilarious. Today I gave my first grade aged kids an American baseball card each for their sparkling performances on their spelling tests. I told one of the little girls that one of the cards was the best since it had a dodger on it. Immediately, all of the kids tried to trade for it, but they quickly lost interest when one of the boys looked over at the card and said, "ah yes very fat, I don't want him." I had to explain that Americans are fatter and that baseball players can be fat and still be good, which clearly made no sense to this 6 year old. God bless you Elliot. You and your shrewd bargaining skills based on dietary efficiency. Needless to say the kids are a lot of fun.
So last week I went to the Horse races! LOL! Nothing can compare to korean jockeys riding on top of silly named horses while native Koreans enjoy there only legal form of gambling. I am going to translate the korean currency into dollars and cents to give you the proper perspective. So it cost about 65 cents to get in. Your minimum be could be about eight cents. Can we say cheap entertainment? Let me give you some of there awesome names. Machine Gun, Geumbit (who I read as Gambit first who I like the X-men character, needless to say I laid about sixteen cents on Geumbit/Gambit and he did not dissapoint.) Happy Birthday, Headline News, Glorious Winning, Beautiful Money, Winning Machine, Battle Bingo, Energetic, Summa Cum Laude, Jingle Bella, Dr. Two Billion, and the list goes on. There were twelve races and I stayed for about 8 I think and lost about a dollar betting. Lord help me if I would have stayed for the last race where I would have had to choose between the likes of Nice Play, Oh My Creek, Happy Birthday, Gounjit, Wink, Brown Girl, Babble Rose, Winner Choice, Fear Hunter, Explicit Image, Yahoo Event, Proud Mary, and Blue Band Carmen. Horse Racing was a whole new experience. Obviously my basis for choosing horses was solely on there names appeal, but it is hard to describe the feeling you get when they show your horse you bet a dime on delaying the race a couple of minutes due to the fact he refuses to go into his assigned gate. Such was the fate of Ecton Q who I could have sworn was related to Ghostbusters some how, but it turned out he really didn't to be in that gate, which was a strong indicator that he didn't want to run even mildly fast. They also let you watch the horse kind of walk around a really small track for show, so you can see what your horse looks like. I tried to get as many horses that either fought there owners or pooped during this little walkabout display. Quite the experince indeed something I am really happy I did.
I have done some sweet hiking! There is a national park about a fifteen minute walk from where I live, which continuallly blows my mind as I am still in an area with high rises and the like in Seoul. I decided to brave a hike even though it is about ninety with significant humidity. The hike was about 5 km either way and I have never sweated or drank so much water in my life. I drank four liters of water on the hike. That's right over a gallon. You can picture me once I got to the top. The hike was very hard but had an incredible view of Seoul, with untouched mountains in the opposite direction. It really gave an understanding of just how huge Seoul is. It has more people than LA but in a much tinier area. At one point I thought I was looking at all of Seoul and could see hundreds of Hi rise buildings. Then I walked around to a different part of the mountain I was on and saw that what I was looking at earlier was about half of Seoul. But still I could see all of Seoul, I don't know of a place where I can see all of Los Angeles, so the population density within Seoul is just massive. It is a great city and has so many places to explore.
I am going to skip ahead to the food review section and maybe I will come back to this again. So as I just said, Seoul has sooooo many restaurants to choose from. They are just packed in on every block and on top of each other. Mcdonalds is really cheap here, (about $2.50 for a big mac fries and drink), so the easy thing to do is to go there. But hit me that I really could eat at a different restaurant every day I am here! So I tried a place last night and I will give you the review.
Well this is it. It is called Sun-Dae, and it is not to be confused with Icecream ever. I am pretty adventurous when it comes to food here, so I went to a restaurant near my home and just pointed at something on the menu. They came back with this little number. Korean Blood Sausage. It was sick. The texture about the same as eating a snail. It tasted like a band-aid. I ate about two thirds of the plate only because I didn't know what it was until today when I described it to some Korean teachers who broke the news. I try to stay positive about new things but NEVER AGAIN! If I were dying and hadn't eaten food in a week, and was on an island with only blood sausage, I would take one bite about every three days and that would be just long enough for me to balance dying with eating blood sausage. On the Adam scale of eating it gets a 1. Good game Korea. Blog completed at 2:57 a.m. I hope you appreciate this!