Friday, December 20, 2013

My Re-Kindled Romance

Grades are all in for my TEFL course. I got an A, in case you were wondering. :)

So, now I wait for my certificate to be mailed. I should be expecting it around the same time as the documents sent from EPIK for my new position.

And so I wait. I've done a lot of waiting, some of it with more patience than other times. I have been distracting myself with books, and it is AMAZING. Books, books and more books!

I've had my attention pulled this way and that way for the past few months. With my online course, work, practicum hours, volunteer stuff and such, I haven't had much time to think, let alone comprehend what I'm reading in my free time.

I would get books at the library, start reading them, and then set them down to go finish a project. Those poor books would barely get any attention before the library due date arrived. I just didn't feel like thinking very much, and I was feeling a little impatient with the plots. I don't have any time for you to build up the tension for 20 pages! I want to know [insert plot twist, climax, relationship development, etc.]!

So, maybe having less on my plate -- or less plates to balance at once -- has re-kindled my desire to lounge with a book. Any book. I like reading the good ones and the bad ones, though I sometimes can't persuade myself to finish the bad ones. And, surprisingly, I'm picking up more romance novels (not the bodice-ripping ones *shivers*). I don't really like straight-up romance, but I've been introduced to some I actually like.

Right now, I am reading Charming by Elliot James. I saw it in the new section of the library and, okay, I like to judge books by their covers... or their spines. Initially. I liked the pretty font, okay?

Then I judged it on its cover, which almost had me putting it back on the shelf. There, staring intensely back at me was your typical hot bad boy. Tall, dark hair, stubble on his chiseled jaw, wearing a leather jacket and holding a sword... sword optional. I saw that guy and thought, this is going to be filled with cheesy romance and pseudo-independent women who fall for pseudo-bad boys with mysterious pasts, isn't it?

So chiseled...

This is why I decided to read the back cover. The back, while shrewdly crafted to intrigue, is a better representation of the contents than the front cover. You can find that easily online, so instead I'm going to share an excerpt close to the beginning that made me decide that I might actually like this book:

"The vampire didn’t walk into the bar so much as flow. Like water. Like night. He was wearing a tight black T-shirt and dark jeans over muscles that seemed to have been sculpted from ivory. His hair was black and tousled, framing piercing green eyes that burned with blanked passion in spite of the cold smile on his cruel slash of a mouth.

OK, just kidding. Sorry. The whole thing about vampires being ubersexy Euro-trash? It’s a myth..."

And little further down...

"Popular young adult novels notwithstanding, vampires only sparkle when they burn."
So, there might be a possibility of romance and the male protagonist will probably have some bad boy moments, but I think it's going to be worth it if there are more excerpts like these. Has anyone else read this, or have any suggestions for what to read next?

Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Check, Check and Check

I have lots of good news this week.

1. I've been notified that I'm going to my city of choice in Korea to teach!

2. I finished my final project and turned it in.

3. I finished my practicum hours and turned the packet in.

This week is officially the week where things end. My time as ANWA newsletter editor is pretty much ending this week. Not really good news, since I enjoyed it (despite the occasional stress situation...), but I'm looking forward to focusing on other things in its place.

So, what am I looking forward to now? Let's see...

- Receive TEFL certificate.
- Receive documents.
- Apply for E-2 visa.
- Buy plane ticket.
- Pre-orientation.
- Fly to Korea.
- Orientation.
- Move into apartment.
- Teach.

It's all moving so much faster now. I'm so excited, but nervous at the same time. Still raising and saving up money, but I'm getting there. Some stuff was more expensive than I thought it would be (like the IRS form for tax exemption, which I will write about later) and some things were a lot easier than I thought.

Thank you for reading. 'Til next time.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What I'll Miss: Part 2

1. Turkey dinners with stuffing, mashed potatoes, stuffing, those yams with marshmallows on top...

These things combined, I may or may not see them while in Korea. I've heard there is turkey. Probably pricey. Thanksgiving is going to be interesting, that's all I'm going to say.

2. Mexican food

Living in Arizona means there are aisles at the supermarket dedicated to Mexican food ingredients alone. While I don't feel the urge to eat Mexican food every day or even every other day, it's kind of a staple in Arizonan homes. You don't have to go far to find a Mexican food restaurant - both Americanized and authentic - but in Korea, I'm told, they are scarce. I have no idea how close the few restaurants are to real Mexican food, but it's going to be a hunt. I may not often crave Mexican food here, but I have a feeling I'm going to miss it while I'm away.

3. Eggnog

I'm reminded of the things I'm going to be saying goodbye to for a while by the holiday season. Try to describe this delicious drink to a Korean and they may look at you in disgust. It has the consistency of drinking yogurt, a slight custard taste with nutmeg and creamy goodness. Something like that. I'm going to have to MAKE this stuff if I want to drink it in Korea. There's no grabbing a carton or bottle from the market.

4. Root beer

Koreans aren't familiar with the flavor and, from what I've heard, think it's disgusting. I personally like it. I think cola and coke taste like medicine personally, which is popular in Korea, but to each their own. You CAN find root beer in some foreign food markets, but it's scarce and usually not a brand familiar to Americans. I will miss Barq's, A&W and Mug root beer very much.

5. Harkins movie theatre popcorn


It's salty, buttery goodness and I could probably overdose on it along with some root beer. Maybe it's a good thing that I will be away from this stuff for a while. Obviously they have movies in Korea and popcorn to munch on, but whether or not their snacks will trump Harkins popcorn is up in the air.

6. Spices in general

They don't have the same range of spices there, which is why I will be packing some just in case. I don't really know what Korea has to offer spice-wise, but most teachers going there suggest packing some of the spices you'd rather not part with during your time there. I love rosemary (some don't, but I do) and I will definitely be bringing some spices to make eggnog and hot apple cider. I've heard they don't have cinnamon, but there is a dessert in Korea that uses cinnamon so maybe it's just not easy to find. Or expensive. Who knows if I'll see cinnamon sticks anywhere though. I definitely won't be seeing any Mexican spices unless I pay a lot for it.

7. Cheese

I'm not a cheese connoisseur or anything, but I like cheese. I've heard people grieve over the lack of cheese variety in Korea. They have the processed yellow stuff, mozzarella and Parmesan from what I have gleaned from others. I really like provolone (apple-wood smoked!), swiss, feta, brie and others, but I'm not sure if those are also sold in Korea. I'll let you know what kind of cheese I do manage to find, though I'm probably not going to trek the entire country just for cheese.    


And that concludes part 2 of the things I'll miss. I should probably write a post on things to pack (since I've already brought up some things here), but I will wait until I've actually packed everything.

Meanwhile, I'm still waiting to find out where I'm going exactly and the exact date I should be there. I've been going through blog posts and videos about orientation, which I should probably stop because it makes me anxious to get my paperwork.

Next blog post... I have no idea what I'll write. It will be witty and/or informative though. If there is anything you are dying to know, let me know. If you just want to let me know that you are reading my blog, feel free to comment about that too. If you just want to talk about how much you like cheese, that's a good reason to leave a comment as well.

Thanks for reading!