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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.


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!

This and That and Sweet Jesus was it a long day

10 May

Things that make sense today:

It’s a metaphor. And a really funny picture.

I’d rather be doing this. In Thailand. Immediately.

I am personally offended by the mediocrity of this Thursday.

Sittin’, waitin’, wishin’ at a field trip to the Trick Eye Museum two weeks ago.

Today’s quote:  “You backslid all the way down the hill and into the parking lot. Take off your skis and wait for your family in the lodge, Jessica Day.”      -Schmidt, The New Girl


Today I’m thankful for social media…because this week I’ve received a lot of lovely messages and a lot of encouragement.  And I get to look at pictures of my nephew…and I enjoy looking through friends ‘ acquaintances’ random people’s wedding albums and embarrassingly personal status updates from the comfort of my apartment.

Rehash, Rewrite, Refresh

1 Jul

As my sister-in-law says, “When you’re not writing, I know something’s wrong.”

So I decided to stop being lazy and catch you all up.  In my defense, I haven’t written this month because my mind has been elsewhere.  About 6 weeks ago, my personal life literally imploded.  I’m talking my love life, my relationship with my friends, everything.  And I feel like I’ve spent the weeks following working through all that.  And I don’t write about that stuff, or at least I try not to.  So I’ve been avoiding y’all, while slowly moving things back on track.

Without further ado, Awesome Things I’ve Done While Not Writing:

1) EVERLAND!!!!  To celebrate Teacher’s Day, which was anticlimactic to say the least, some of the ladies and I finally ventured out to Everland, which is basically Korea’s own Disneyland.  Everland is an amusement park, zoo/safari, and full-on entertainment venue, with performers, parades, singing, dancing, and of course, lots of merchandising.  It was beautiful, and SO FUN!  And unlike Disney, it didn’t cost a million dollars:  we got in for $19, and all the food was about $5.  Please for a minute imagine if Disney or anything theme park in the US was like that.  You can’t, because it will never happen.  But don’t worry, we’ll always have Everland. And I finally rode the famous T-Express roller coaster – a huge wooden monstrosity, that has the scariest vertical drop EVER.  And it.was.awesome.  Honestly worth the nearly 2 hours we waited in line for it.  Oh, and it also gave me infinite street cred with my students – most of whom are too scared to ride it.

Bad things don't happen here. That's a fact.

T-Express: Please note the pee-in-your-pants drop at the beginning

2) Buddha’s Birthday/Lantern Festival

Earlier in May, we headed out to Seoul for the annual Lantern Festival and parade.  It was really pretty, colorful, and tame – meaning we sat in chairs and no one got into a fistfight because this is Korea, not the US.  Happy Birthday Buddha, you look great!

Not Buddha


3) The sweet escape:  Earlier this month we had a 3-day weekend for Korean Independence Day (or something like that, my students weren’t exactly clear, or helpful).  We decided to take advantage of the time off and head down to Busan, a huge city on the southern coast.  And while the city is broken up into many different parts, we really only explored Haeundae Beach, which kept us more than entertained.  We spent our days relaxing on the beach, which was hosting all kinds of contests and activities because this was a huge weekend for travel.  And we spent our nights partying.  Please note, I saw more foreigners this weekend than I have in the last 10 months.  White People Spring Break 2011 was a great success.

The ratio of Koreans to umbrellas is approximately 1:1

4) FINALLY going out in Hongdae, the university party area in Seoul.  (Also home to Korea’s 2nd Taco Bell, but that’s another story) Hongdae is just a huge, winding maze of club and bar-filled alleyways.  It’s full of foreign teachers, military guys from the US, and more drunk Koreans than you can count.  While Koreans are the epitome of prim and proper during the day, they have no shame in their drinking game.  It is absolutely normal and acceptable to get black-out drunk, stumble around while balancing on a friend’s arm, or just straight up pass out in the street.  No one will look twice, or rob you.  My favorite of the night  was a guy driving a Vespa, with his comatose friend sleeping on him on the back.  That is love people. And that is Hongdae.

5) Getting my early morning meditation on: the ballet studio changed owners, and so we are now taking yoga class 3x/week.  While this is not “hot yoga” it is a veritable sweat lodge in there, due to my sadist teacher’s aversion to air conditioning.  Oh, and did I mention it’s now at approximately 300% humidity here?  So despite losing at least a pound in water weight every morning, I’m loving the class.  They’ve finally hired a replacement ballet teacher so next week we start ballet on Tues/Thurs., meaning I will be working out before work every day.  I will pause for my parents to express their surprise, pride, and utter delight.

6) Preparing for the apocalypse: and by that, I mean the rainy season.  As I said, the humidity is stifling, and it’s been raining for the last week.  Every day.  All complaining aside, I really do prefer this to the cold.  And since everyone has been warning me about this for months in advance, I knew what was coming.  This weekend I bought my first pair of real rain boots (in eye-assaulting teal), and my 3rd umbrella in Korea (while buying rain boots, I LOST my umbrella in the store. . .only to have to buy another one in the same store.  Both ironic and cruel) Either way, I’m now fully outfitted for this season, which is best described by Forrest Gump:

“One day it started raining, and it didn’t quit for four months. We been through every kind of rain there is. Little bitty stingin’ rain… and big ol’ fat rain. Rain that flew in sideways. And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath. Shoot, it even rained at night… “

This is basically how I look and feel everyday.

At least it’s given me a plausible excuse to wear my hair in a ponytail every day, and whittle my makeup routine down to eyeliner and chapstick.  What can I say, I’m a sweaty kid.

7) Reading like a mad woman.  I’ve been geeking out, and devouring books left and right lately.  Currently finishing up the 19th Wife, and just finished an engrossing non-fiction book called Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, written by an amazing journalist.  Like I said, geeking out.

8) Contemplating how the hell an entire year has gone by since I graduated.

9) Crying over pictures of my nephew (no really) and getting really excited to see my parents and younger brother in LESS THAN A MONTH!  I might literally pull a Scarlet O’Hara and faint with heatstroke emotion.

10) Freaking out that I am the next teacher to leave.  Granted, that’s not for 3 more months, but it’s still pretty weird.  There is absolutely no other word to describe it than bittersweet.

11) Bungee jumping!  Some of the teachers and I peed our pants had our first bungee jumping experience at Yuldong Park in Bundang.  It is insane how long the free fall feels (say that 3x fast).  It’s just like falling. And falling. Forever.  Then you bounce up, and do it again. And again.  And finally, we were lowered into a  row boat, with a less than enthused teenage driver, that would take us to shore.  Nothing makes you feel more like cattle than being lowered via crane, into an awaiting boat.  I also used this prepaid harness time to work on my Circ du Soleil moves, but like I said, the boat guy was less than impressed.

Peer pressure: If all your friends jump off a bridge-type building, are you going to jump too? Why yes, yes I am.

And lastly, I’ve just been trying to figure out what the hell happened the last 6 weeks.  Not that it has been terrible, or in any way unbearable, just confusing and at times sad.  And like I always try to explain, everything is magnified when you’re in another country.  As my very wise friend Betsy said, “You just feel so vulnerable here.”

So, onward and upward.




Annoying People on the Group Trips

26 May

Alternative Titles:

A Sociological Study on God’s C-listers

Mein Kampf

People Who Came to Korea Because They Were Exiled From Their Home Country

1. The Stage-5 Clingers

The S5Cs are people who immediately coupled up upon moving to Korea, mainly for fear of spending any time with themselves.  Immediately upon meeting and engaging with a S5C, you will be introduced to their significant other, so that you do not confuse them with one of The Singles.  You will also be  forced to listen to the “totally crazy/random/fateful” way in which they met at a foreigners’ bar, which isn’t random in all.  Much like a high school field trip, these couples treat every moment as an opportunity to hold hands/cuddle/giggle/kiss/make everyone else uncomfortable and annoyed.  According to S5Cs, the above mentioned behaviors are acceptable: on a charter bus, during a group tour, while praying/eating/sleeping, in front of a monk, and while hiking.  Do not befriend the S5Cs if you are A Single, because they will mistake your friendliness for overt flirting with their non-attractive partner.  S5Cs prefer only to befriend other Couples.

2. The Aging Fratter

These gray-haired bros are under the misguided impression that Korea is their answer to that fraternity formal weekend they never had.  Mainly because they were never chosen to pledge.  They see their time here as an opportunity to drink all the time, do incredibly stupid and annoying things, and fail at picking up girls.  While most their age would find this behavior embarrassing, the AF sees these behaviors as Totally Awesome Stories to loudly brag about in group settings.  While the AF does help in proving Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, they are to be avoided at all costs for fear of encountering a bad pick-up line, a drunk fight, and/or projectile vomit.

3.  Bernadette Peters

4.  The Itchin’-To-Get-Offended People

This particularly fun group loves to party be overly politically correct.  Despite being immersed in another country and culture, they cannot discuss it for fear of Offending the Koreans.  They cannot discuss their job with any humor because All God’s Children Are Sacred. (trust me, they aren’t.  I teach a whole roster of future B-teams.  I also find all of them hysterically funny.)  Despite being in a temple, they cannot discuss religion because their parents would get mad at them That’s Private.  They also do not appreciate cursing, drinking, or laughing.  If the town from Footloose was a person, it would be like this and it would try to ruin my trip.  Luckily, much like Kevin Bacon, I’m here to party and start the revolution.  And dance.

5. People Who Make You Feel Bad About Yourself

These people already have a Master’s/Ph.D/ functioning adult relationship.  They awake at dawn to exercise vigorously for an hour because if they don’t, they “just don’t feel right, you know?”  They ask insightful questions on the group tour, in both English and Korean, which they have mastered during their time here due to intense study.  They make friends with everyone.  They read approximately 5 newspapers a day, including both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, to stay balanced.  They are members of various after-work activities, including sports clubs, dance groups, and other things you didn’t know were available to you here.  They volunteer. At 6am on Saturdays.  They go to church, but aren’t preachy or easily offended.  They Skype with all their parents and friends at least 3 times per week.  They have a great social life because they are great dancers, know all about music, and can hold their liquor.  They will never be hungover. Ever.  They have visited every country on your wish list, and speak all of those languages.  They plan to return to their home countries and better it. These people will simultaneously exhaust you and shame you.  Avoidance at all costs is key.

Please print this out and use it as a field guide for any future group tours.  You’ll thank me.

Because I Find Myself Infinitely Interesting

25 Apr

This is a list of currents – just so we can continue to get reacquainted after my shameful absence.  Please note that I stole it from a delightful blog called Lauren From Texas.

Current Book(s): I just finished up Joan Didion’s Play It As It Lays and Betsy Israel’s Bachelor Girl: 100 Years of Breaking the Rules–a Social History of Living Single, which despite being one of the very rare non-fiction books that I’ve ever read, was really interesting and conversational.  And as of yesterday,  I finished reading Mini Shopaholic.  Because my copy of War and Peace wouldn’t fit in my suitcase.

Current Playlist: “Turning Tables” by Adele and “Power” by Kanye West.  Literally only those 2 songs, on repeat. Let’s just chalk this up to hormones and move on.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Um, I could sit here and list every TV show I watch, because they are all uber-shameful.  But the number one guilty pleasure this week? Carmen Sandiego on Facebook.  Where in the world is my grip on reality?

Current Color:  Purple. Delish.

Current Drink: Dr. Pepper and Tom n Tom’s Americanos.  They are the only way I get through the “challenging” (re: punks) classes.

Current Food: Bibimbap!  Not only is this meal about $3, it’s really filling and actually very healthy.  It’s rice, assorted Korean vegetables, and chili pepper paste. I get mine meat-free with a fried egg on top.  This is my dinner about 4 times a week.

Current Favorite Show: Dexter. I love dark humor.  And he’s not bad to look at either.  And The Office, because Steve Carell is about to leave (RIP Michael Scott), Will Ferrell is guest-starring and the writing has finally picked up.

Current Wishlist: A dryer.  Some new cute flats in bright colors.  A spa pedicure.  And some spring scarves and dresses.  Oh, and world peace – obvs.

Current Needs: A better sleep routine, so I’m not always tired from lack of sleep or groggy from too much sleep. Perhaps I can Ferberize myself.

Current Triumphs: Just put a decent amount of money into my US bank account. . . which almost makes all the saving and scrounging every week feel worth it.  And I just completed a weekend temple stay, that was really really cool. (more on this later. . .with less vague adjectives)

Current Bane(s) of my Existence: Any class involving children under the age of 8.  I’m not your babysitter.  I’m not your mother.  Stay in that seat or so help me God I will tie you to it.

Current Celebrity Crush:Anna Paquin and Alexander Skarsgård – every weeknight at midnight, the Korean TV station plays True Blood, which is a nice break from America’s Funniest Home Videos. (called USA Funny Video here, but still just as stupid)

Current Indulgence: Carmen Sandiego.  There’s just no getting around this.

Current #1 Blessing: My health.  For a number of different reasons, I feel good these days, and I know that won’t always be the case.  So I’m trying to remind myself to be thankful for how good this feels.

Current Slang or Saying: “What am I, a wizard?!”  I can’t even get into this right now. But I’ve been saying it a lot since I moved to Korea.

Current Outfit: Distressed jeans. Patent-leather blue Sperry’s.  Flowered button down shirt, with a black tank/makeshift sweater vest over it.  Swarovski bracelet.  Leopard headband.  Oh, and 2 huge bags under my eyes.

Current Excitement: Starting my new book Juliet Naked by Nick Hornby. Watching all new episodes of the Real Housewives of Orange County and New York City this week.  A work get-away this weekend (for free!).  And a day off work next Thursday.

Current Mood: Resolved.  That I will get through Monday.  Because I have to.  And because relaxing after this workday is going to feel so good.

Anyways. . . how are you?!