The 12 Stages of a Korean Spin Class

29 Aug

There is nothing like taking a spin class in Korea.  Nothing.  It’s a cross between biking, disco dancing, and the 4th circle of hell.  Much like I imagine women do with childbirth, I keep forgetting how terribly painful it is, so I keep going back.  Mainly because I can’t think of a good excuse not to.

*It’s worth noting that much like every building in Korea, air conditioning and heating are used minimally.  It’s actually hotter inside the gym than in actual nature.  Gross.

The 12 Stages of a Korean Spin Class:  A Cautious Endorsement

Stage 1:  Tepid excitement: Regular lights off, spinning disco lights on, door to the tiny jam-packed spinning room closed, causing sweating to begin.  Sidenote: Today my spin instructor turned on the strobe lights, which was fun until I almost had a seizure and fell off the bike.

Stage 2: Smugness.  No matter how ridiculous you look, you will always be a better dancer than the moms and dads in this room. And if not better, then at least, you know, younger.  Also, you know the songs.

Stage 3:  Overheating.


Stage 4:  Overwhelming regret.  It’s been 15 minutes. TOTAL.

Stage 5: Bargaining silently with the instructor to: 1) go easy on you 2) unexpectedly stop the class after 5 minutes 3) actually kill you

Stage 6: Irrational anger. Thissucks, thissucks, thissucks, thissucks.  Bonus:  Most of my instructors make let us yell to keep up general enthusiasm and momentum.  What they don’t know is that I’m just screaming the name of whichever student pissed me off the most today. I would bet money that my coworkers could name the top 3.

Guess what bitches? Surprise spelling test tomorrow!

Stage 7:  Envy.  Why is my androgynous spin instructor in such bangin’ shape?  Do I have heat stroke or is she getting way hotter? Also, we have the same haircut. Also, her English name is Gun.  GUN.

Stage 8:  Daydreaming, which helps block out the excruciating pain in your thighs and ass.  I like to mentally run through my fall shopping wish-list. (polka-dot skinnies? Don’t mind if I do!) If I get really bored, I make lesson plans.

Stage 9: Evaporation.  My eyelashes are sweating.  It was a poor choice not to bring water – in that it could result in my actual death.

Stage 10: Party rock! Heat stroke be damned, I love K-pop and I love dancing.  And I look good.  This is also the point where I convince myself that I’ve lost at least 6 pounds so far.

Surprisingly, not that far off.

Stage 11:  Awkward stretching while on a bike. The main goal is not to slip off.

Stage 12:  Avoid the 40 naked old Korean women in the locker room.  Crawl home.  Attempt to drink Vitamin Water, but instead pour it all over your face.  Lie on floor and will your body to clean itself.  Weep.

*Tonight we full-on recreated the dance moves from Gangnam Style (recent internet sensation and the story of my life) Gun knew all the words.



28 Aug

The good news is that I had the day off work.

The bad other news is that it’s because of a typhoon.  Allegedly. 

…but it does explain yesterday’s 200% humidity increase.  On my face.


Yesterday, my boss called me when I was trying to get my visa for next month’s Beijing trip. NBD.  It was a sunny, cloudless afternoon when she told me not to come into work because of a typhoon.  To which I responded: “It would be really cruel if this was a joke, AND you’ll have to fire me because either way I’m not coming to work now.”

Then she told me to stock up on food and to stay inside all day.  Which is what I call Sunday.

I immediately realized that I had no idea WTF a typhoon actually was.  Being from the most landlocked of all the continental states, I’m good at waiting out tornadoes, and being really bored.  I’m not, however, knowledgeable about typhoons, monsoons, or tropical anythings.  (To be honest, it all just makes me think of some sad, new reporter in a huge yellow raincoat, getting pelted with rain and wind on some abandoned beach, while telling us “Conditions are bad on the southernmost tip of Florida.”  Totally.)


Just to clarify, your report is telling me NOT to go to the beach today?!

Three hours later, I asked the mom of the girl I tutor what a typhoon realistically meant for my Tuesday.  She got as far as “roofs can blow off” before I sprinted out her door and to the elevator, but NOT before I heard her laughing at me.  Rude.


24 hours later, it seems like we all overreacted.  From what I could scientifically gather between frequent naps, it has been rainy and windy all day.  Like every other miserable day in August.  That being said, thank you Typhoon Bolaven for giving me yet another reason to stay in and watch TV instead of actually doing anything like work or going to the gym.  (But in a misguided bout of energy, I did attempt to make polka dots on my nails using a bobby pin.  Results: Pending.)


Despite already having written a post about hibernation and avoiding people, here’s a quick list of any typhoon-day-in must haves:

-Enough Dr. Pepper to last a week.  It’s better to overestimate than find yourself in a dire situation.  (If you think I won’t be highly caffeinated up until the minute I die, then you’re sorely mistaken)

-Gummy Bears, Goldfish, Subway sandwiches, and On The Border take-out.  While I always believe cooking to be a waste of time, that goes double for freebie no-work days.

-Nail polish. Der.  Bobby pins optional but recommended.

-Internet, as this is the perfect time to catch up on any Facebook stalking you may have neglected.  Also, if the internet goes out, just assume the typhoon is for real, and your life is over.

-A smartphone to: 1) Text friends about the lack of typhoon action and all the TV you’re watching 2) play Angry Birds Space 3) check Facebook from the bed since you’re ghetto and must use an ethernet cable for your laptop.

-Books!  I’m currently on sabbatical from all things high-brow and am switching back and forth between Chelsea Handler and David Sedaris. 

-As many illegally-downloaded TV shows and movies as possible.  I took today as a sign that it’s finally time to start watching Breaking Bad.  Verdict: I’m into it. Also, meth is scary.

-A bed. Naps are key.

Enjoy your slightly above average windy day!

Vignettes on a Break-Up

27 Aug

A year ago to the day*, we went on our first date. I use the term date loosely;  Your friends were there.  You had too much sangria.  We had met the week before at 4 a.m. at a club.  The traditionalist in my head was screaming “THIS IS NOT HOW GREAT LOVE STORIES BEGIN!”  But I brushed that aside, and I was charming, and so were you, and that’s how it all started.

I will also look back at this moment as the first of many in which I brushed something aside, convincing myself that real relationships are messy, and this isn’t some fairytale, and for fuck’s sake stop being so prissy.


It’s weird because normally I’m so special.  In the first place, this is not a special situation.  When you’re falling in love, it feels like the first time anyone in the whole world has felt this good.  This special.  When you’re breaking up, it’s the first time in history that anyone has ever felt this shitty.  Ever.  And then the sad, albeit humanizing, part of the whole ordeal is how mundane, how utterly ordinary, it all is.  It is not by coincidence that you already know the words to 243 songs about this exact situation.  But it’s convenient.

This betch totally gets me.

…but so does she.

You’re so vain, you probably think this post is about you.  I’m deleting a lot of sentences, over-editing, overly sensitive.  The fact is, you’re already a raging narcissus.  It wouldn’t surprise me if you had been trolling this blog in the last month, looking for some mention of yourself.  And while I’m cringing at the idea of inflating your ego, at least these words are out of my head and safely put somewhere else.

Taking Back Brunch.  A friend and I were talking about how after a breakup, you (consciously or not) avoid your former “couple” places.  The bars.  The restaurants.  Entire sections of town.  Then it occurred to me that you should be avoiding this entire city those places, not me.  So today, I took back brunch.

Question: What WON’T I do for salmon eggs benedict? Answer: Nothing.

WTF did you just say?!  If one more person sympathetically tells me that “everything happens for a reason” or “it wasn’t meant to be” I’m going to go Christian Bale Batshit Crazy.  For real.  In reality, everything happens because it happens.  Some of it is fantastic, some of it sucks, and some of it is blasé.  And some of it feels like it requires a blog post, but it doesn’t, but you’ve already started writing, so you might as well just finish it.

Punitive damages.  I am striving not to be bitter. What I keep coming back to is the intense frustration that comes from knowing that I wasted my own time.  That I spent a year thinking about, supporting, and loving a screwed up person who couldn’t reciprocate any of that.  I’m pretty sure it’s these thoughts that eventually lead to the whole “everything happens for a reason” bit.  But I’m still not into it.

This is what we call “being in the bad place.”

Somebody that I used to know.  That’s not just the name of a song I’m still obsessed with or that I heard in concert last week.  It’s how I felt the other day when I stumbled upon a picture of us, taken last year, the day before my birthday.  I didn’t feel like I was looking at myself, and not just because it was before I got my bitchin’ pixie cut.  I had the urge to reach through that picture and shake the naive but stunningly beautiful blonde girl, and scream at her to RUN BITCH.  Instead, I just deleted it.

If you leave, the terrorist wins.  Like everything else, break-ups are a good excuse to focus on my favorite topic – myself.  The day after Cheater Gate 2.0, I had a long convo with my mom about leaving Korea.  A week later, that seemed far too extreme.  It has become very clear to me that when the going gets tough, I move.  To another university, another state, another country.  Which has actually led to a lot of great experiences.  But this time, I need to stick it out, for more reasons than just getting my year-end bonus and severance.  But, mostly for the money. That coveted leather pencil skirt isn’t going to buy itself.

When life hands you lemons, just say fuck the lemons and bail.  -Paul Rudd, Forgetting Sarah Marshall

That one time I went all Angela Bassett in Waiting to Exhale.  About 4 days post breakup, I was going through my closet and I came across a really nice dress shirt he-which-we-do-not-speak-of, had left there.  Then I went into a blind rage, only to wake up 5 minutes later, with a bunch of fabric scraps.  And then I just went to sleep because it was Wednesday night, and obvs I had to work the next day.

Sadly I couldn’t recreate this because I don’t own a car, and am not allowed to have an open flame in my studio apartment.

If a name could waterboard you. I am being terrorized by your stupid, common name.  It’s a student in my class, it’s my new coworker, it’s the main character in a movie I just watched, and it has its own joke on 30 Rock.  FML.

On second thought, let’s not. Sidenote: This movie will make you want to kill yourself.

Final lessons learned:  Losing 200+ pounds of cheating deadbeat is called Winning. (And I look great!)  Your friends and your instincts are usually right.  Just like Miley, I can’t be tamed.  But unlike Miley, I look amazing with short hair.  I am still related to and surrounded by the greatest people ever to own Skype.  Becoming addicted to Curb Your Enthusiasm was a really good choice.

Bad choice.

Good choice.


*I generally don’t remember dates, but this was my little brother’s birthday. FTR.

Obviously. Part Two.

18 Jun

Obviously, this post is about Father’s Day.  And obviously it’s a good thing it’s a holiday, because my post ideas have been slim to none.  (also, it’s really hot, so I prefer to spend my free time complaining about the heat while lying down in front of the air conditioner.)

No surprise here, my dad is super awesome, and not just because he majored in philosophy for his first year of college. Father E. spends his time actually helping people, because he wants to.  He’s not into things of the material variety.  His attention span is either 5 minutes or 5 hours, and subject to change on a whim.  He enjoys pacing.  And it only took me 24 years to realize admit that we are very similar, in that we both enjoy being temperamental and forcing our family members to deal with it.  We also enjoy arguing about abstract ideas, while drinking coffee and quoting Joni Mitchell and Joseph Conrad, until one of us calls the other pretentious – because we are pretentious.

And writes some pretty poetic e-mails – I’m not even kidding.  I also once got a text waxing poetic on the Kansas sunset, to which I replied “Exactly how high are you?” 

“But if he were a song
He’d be a complicated melody

-India Arie

He’s a good person, and he’s supportive of me.  If I bring up a new country I want to live in, or a career I’ve been toying with, his response is usually, “Good. When?” 

And he’s such a tightwad, that I can only assume I won’t have to take care of him in his old age, financially speaking. (because I’m going to guilt my older brother into doing it)

I also have yet to date a convict or take off my clothes for money, so I’m fairly certain I wasn’t gifted any daddy issues.  Thank you father.

And no post about him would be complete without this video, which sums up everything I can’t.  It’s also hilarious.

You can also revisit this fabulous post, which is also an homage to my dad.

Arlington National Cemetery, 2009 (aka the summer of my bitchin’ tan)

Celebrating my college graduation at Hotel Congress in Tucson, 2010

College Graduation, or That Time the Handouts Stopped: A Tragedy in 3 Parts

And of course, my favorite pic:

On a ferry in Thailand, 2011


And of course, I’d also like to wish a Happy Father’s Day to Tator Tot’s dad, Mr. Potato Head.  He surprised no one by being a wonderful father.

Contented sigh.


So today I’m thankful for my dad.  I realized I must be pretty lucky if my chief complaint is that he sneezes offensively loud. But in my defense, it’s so loud.

Write This Down

8 Jun

“I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe that loving is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.”    -Audrey Hepburn


…I also believe in Instagram, electric blue lace, and shameless hipster pics.

Today I’m thankful for …coffee.  And the delightful ladies at the Starbucks across from my school that know my order, notice my haircuts and accessories, and make sad faces when I have a cold.  It’s the happiest place on earth.

Parent Trap

7 Jun

Pardon my absence.  I become completely worthless when stressed – I’m not one of those proactive, solve-the-problem type people…instead I have reoccurring anxiety nightmares (where all my ex boyfriends and high school nemeses try to ruin my prom night – as if, bitches!), and I watch a lot of the Real Housewives of Orange County, which always soothes me.

The main source of my recent stress-induced worry lines, has been the parents at my job.  What began as a small thing, went around and around and around, and circled into a big thing.  And I felt attacked.  And I panicked.

And then it all sort of ended up as nothing, something brushed under the rug as a “misunderstanding,” one in which I think I’m the only one still thinking about it, and still feeling hurt.

The thing about, well everything, and especially teachers here is that there are two groups:  the ones that care, and the ones that don’t.  In all honesty, it’s not the most difficult job to coast through – many of the people here just want to travel, or didn’t study to be teachers (both me)But in January, in the midst of feeling like I couldn’t do this job, or simply didn’t want to, I made the decision to care – to really go all-in, and see what happened. 

And it only took until April to see results. (hence the wrinkles and stress-shopping)

And I’m really happy I did it.  And I’m proud of myself.

But the thing about caring is…you care about everything.  So when a “parent complaint/ misunderstanding/personal attack happens – it really feels like shit, and it really feels personal. 

As Monica and I discussed (and baby bro was there too, but he just pretended to text the whole time – hi Eric, get a haircut!) I will never be the kind of person who is indifferent…about anything except Carrie Underwood, who is so damn boring.  That’s just not my personality, and I can’t spend my time that way – I’m just not that cool, despite my new hipster haircut.  And so…stuff like this is going to happen, and I’m not going to be able to laugh it off.

…so thank god there’s bad TV to download, and an endless supply of cropped blazers to buy.

Crisis: averted.  Blogging: resumed.

Today’s quote:

Sometimes when we were in Dublin, Dad would just wander off and get lost, and I would just stop and scream ‘ THIS IS MY NIGHTMARE.’

This is what my little brother said when I asked him how his recent Ireland trip with the parents went.  And then I laughed for days.


Today I”m thankful for perspective, which I admittedly don’t have much of. A lot of friends tried to put this mess into perspective for me…and I realized that did nothing for me.  I then reasoned that my only source of perspective is Tator Tot – if that baby is healthy and happy, then things are good, and most of the other stuff doesn’t matter.  And ironically Tator had to have little baby surgery this week, but happily wheeled his tiny suitcase outta there today.  While wearing Elmo pants.

Because he’s baller.

Losing My Religion

18 May

So I was all set to finally write my baseball post, but then I went shopping after work, to spend those gift certificates I mentioned earlier.  So I apologize to the 3 male readers of this blog, because it’s basically another fashion rant but sweet jesus you guys I have looked into the face of evil tonight, and it was made of polyester.(as most evil things are)

Here are my thoughts, so that I can unburden my mind, watch some Community, and put my pretty little self to bed.  Because I work on Saturdays, which is almost as upsetting as the other things I’m about to tell you.

-Shopping for jeans, or any pants, in Korea is the 7th circle of hell.  Living in a world where all pants stop at size 6 (sometimes they have 8’s, for the pregnant Korean women) is the slowest form of torture.  This is why foreigners shop at foreign stores – Zara, Mango (my new jam), H&M, Forever 21, etc.  Korean stores can kindly kiss my larger-than-size-6 sized ass.

-I saw something more disturbing than, well, the last time I saw this.  Skorts(skirt and shorts)  Few things disgust me more than skorts (Crocs, social conservatives, aggressive Southern accents, airports without free WiFi, etc).  I mean where the F are you going that requires you to dress up (skirt) but still need the flexibility of shorts?  Possible answers: A fancy playground, 1995, a pep rally where you will be cheering, a wedding at an amusement park, or Wimbledon where you will be playing.  I refused to buy anything in this store out of principle – if I don’t stand up for the sovereignty of shorts and skirts, who will?

On principle, roller derby scares the shit out of me, but here’s another example of a skort.

-Jeggings, jeggings everywhere.  Real talk (no spin zone style) – if you wear jeggings you’re telling the world that you’ve given up.  It’s a  cry for help.  End of story.

-Non-airconditioned stores + fluorescent lighting + teeny tiny dressing rooms have forced me to reconsider pregaming my shopping trips.

Sorry to be so real just then.  Don’t worry, I found what I desired at Mango and Uniqlo, and hauled it out of there.  Thanks for sticking with me while I worked through some stuff.


Now, feel free to laugh at this exchange between 2 of my students yesterday:

Girl 1: “What’s your bear’s name?”

Girl 2: “Bear Bear.”

Girl 1: “That sounds Chinese.”


Today I’m thankful that I live alone.  Because I only like to sleep during the day, and my domestic skills leave much to be desired.  I would take a picture of the pile of laundry I have to do, if I wasn’t already bored from talking about doing laundry.

Have a good weekend!