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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.

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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!

Am I the only one…

17 May

…not watching Downtown Abbey?

…staying up at night trying to figure out who the hell is January Jones’ baby daddy? GIVE IT UP ALREADY

…who attempted to drink a bottle of Hello Kitty wine this week? (spoiler alert, it tastes like hangover)

…who may or may not have cried during the season finales of Parks&Rec and Criminal Minds?

…wrestling with cowlicks every morning? I’m considering placing an emergency call to my little brother to discuss hostile-takeover strategies.

…sludging through The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald? If I wanted to know about the drama that ensues when rich, white people get drunk, I would just watch Gossip Girl.  Which I already do.

…who had the most surprisingly fun time at a Korean professional baseball game last weekend? (more on this later. It was FAB.  And I spent 5 minutes on Skype convincing my parents that I wasn’t being sarcastic.)

…who forgot to blog this week? Let’s blame this on the Hello Kitty wine.

…completely disgusted with Kanye West for dating Kim Kardashian? The only way I could respect him less is if this wasn’t a publicity stunt.

…who thinks bralets are hilarious?  Before wearing a bralet, ask yourself: Am I going to Coachella?  If the answer is yes, then have fun, stay hydrated, and don’t take the red pill.  If the answer is no, then you need to put a shirt on.  And reevaluate.

…who got some awesome swag for Teacher’s Day?! $200 gift certificate to a department store, beautiful bouquets, and hilariously worded cards from my students, makes Claire a happy teacher.

…mildly horrified by Beyonce’s non-dress at the Met Costume Gala last week?  Like…you’re a mother now(shudders)

Image

Once again y’all, the number one rule of fashion is: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Glad we’re all on the same page now guys.

Today’s quote:

Believe me, I wish you weren’t such a Houston foreclosure of a human being, but I need to tear you down and turn you into someone that can actually win this thing!

-Jenna, 30 Rock

…..

Today I’m thankful for Teacher’s Day! Teaching kindergarten totally trumps elementary school in terms of student to gift ratio.

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.

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.

That one time we tested fate

23 May

Ok, so this whole Rapture business got me thinking:  I’m pretty sure we all know I’m not going to be a “chosen” one, so I better blog the hell out of my last days/months/decades on earth.  It’s the only way I’m going to successfully get myself on a reality show and make my D-list mark on the world before my time is up.

So, without further ado, here’s the story I hinted at last month, the weekend that left me with PTSD.  But also a really good story, so it’s a wash.

. . . . .

In March, a few gal pals of mine and I signed up for a weekend excursion, about 6ish hours south of Seoul.  The plan was to spend Saturday hiking around an island called Jagged Ridge, and then spend Sunday at the Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival.

The Facebook message about the trip said the hike would be fine for anyone who “exercises regularly.”  Having just finished my 30 day shred, I overconfidently persuaded my friends that this would be cake.

So our trip began Friday night, where we all boarded a charter bus in Seoul.  After an awkward say-your-name-in-a-microphone-to-break-the-ice-game, we all settled in to try and sleep.  Which is impossible on a Korean charter bus.  So we mainly all just shifted around a lot until sunrise.

A few minutes after 6 am we got off the bus at Yi Soon Shin Admiral Park in Tong Young to watch the sunrise.  While this was really pretty, it’s going to take a lot more than the sun to get me all jazzed at 6am after spending the night on a charter bus.

Please note: all pics stolen from Megan's blog, which she stole from Andrea's camera. Just try and sue me bitches.

Our bus then made its windy way to the ferry station, where we then traveled the 40 minutes to Sa Ryang Do Island, where we would hike.  We were given maps, and told there were 4 peaks, and if all goes well, we should be finished in about 4ish hours.

Lies.

The hike started pretty well.  Mainly because we were hiking around a beautiful island, so every rocky peak had amazing 360-views of the ocean.  We also met some cool people.  And we also met some people who were fun to laugh at.  But that’s another story.

About an hour or so into the hike, we were feeling fab – it was challenging, but certainly not impossible, the weather was perfect, we still had plenty of water, etc.

Much like Jurassic Park, we had no idea the horrors that awaited us on this island.

2 hours later, we start to get weary.  Mainly because Jagged Ridge is ridiculously unsafe.  Korean hiking is much like a Japanese game show: dangerous, fast, and best left to the Asians.

There are no rails, and few signs.  Everything is steep and rocky. If you fall, you die.  And why you’re contemplating that, 60-year-old Koreans in neon hiking gear are passing you left and right, usually while muttering about your slowness under their breath.  Note:  They also like to stop mid-hike for lunch and alcohol.  Seriously.

One of my fave pics of all time. Please note my 1 arm muscle - COUNT IT!

Time marched on, and so did we.  Slowly.  Complaining.  Mocking the lying Facebook message that got us into this perilous mess in the first place.  We got sunburned.  We were also cold.  We walked down vertical metal stairs.  We walked on the edge of cliffs.  And two times, we seriously had to use a rope to climb up the side of the mountain.

Why would that be a good idea?

I realize this sounds fun, which it is – in theory.  In reality, it’s really f-ing scary.  This is the one time during the hike I just straight up panicked.  Like halfway up, while death-gripping the rope, I looked down and thought “if i lose this rope, I’m going to fall. And die.”  And then I full on couldn’t breathe.  And may have cried a bit.  But thank god for my lady friends who got all motivational-speaker on my ass, and helped me through.  I still don’t know if it’s scarier to use the rope going up the mountain or going down.

Andrea going down the ropes. This was like Survivor with no money at the end.

Of course, the rope was easy for the Koreans.  As Megan so aptly described it: “Jesus, they all look like Spiderman.”

6 hours later, we made our way down.  Only to find that we were among the first 20 or so people finished with the 4-hour-hike.  Hello, validation.  By then my whole body was shaking, and my ankle was throbbing something terrible. . . so we ate ice cream and waited for the bus.  And had a bitchin’ nap on the floor of the ferry.

We then made our way to the pension – a Korean-style hostel, where you sleep on the heated floors, which is much more comfortable than it sounds.  After showering and thanking god for not killing us on the mountain, the whole group had a Korean style BBQ, which was of course delicious.  From what I remember.  I decided the best way to celebrate our triumphant hike was to drink copious amounts of soju.  Hence why I went to bed at 9pm.

But of course, not even bedtime was uneventful.  We found out that sometimes Betsy sleep-screams, where she subconsciously yells at people with her eyes open.  Which is scary.  We also awoke to the sound of 2 men yelling at each other in Arabic, around 4am.  Still thick with soju, I awoke and legitimately thought I was in a dream for about 5 minutes.  Until I saw Megan army crawl her way over to me to discuss our room’s “situation.”

As we learned the next day, the 2 men, who were far too old and unattractive to be pulling these stunts, were completely drunk from the bottle of rum they consumed the night before.  And because they are cavemen, this turned into a half-conscious middle of the night screaming match.  Just for added context: These two life rejects also peed in bottles on the charter bus on our way home.

Sunday was rainy, and we were oh-so sore.  We made a quick trip to see a Turtle Ship – a type of famous ancient ship created to fight the Japanese.  They are called Turtle ships because the round outside of the ship is covered in metal, like a shell.  Get it?!

Turtle Ship > Japanese

We then drove 2 hours to Jinhae, to see the sub par cherry blossoms.  At least we weren’t hiking.  The festival was similar to any street festival in the US: it’s packed with stalls for food and shopping.  That’s about it.  So for a few hours we wandered around, eating awesomely bad street food, and taking pics.  Fact:  I ate a corn dog WITH FRENCH FRIES ON IT.  Koreans are so far ahead of Americans, it’s not even funny.

Lots of tents + pretty cherry blossom trees = festival.

We then spent another 7 hours on the bus, cranky and uncomfortable, before finally arriving home.   Where I collapsed into fetal position. For the next 12 hours.

Much like Pearl Harbor y’all, we will never forget what happened that weekend on Jagged Ridge.

Cast-away. Alternate title: Plast-ered

21 Jan

So exactly one week ago, I found myself back in the hospital for a check-up.  As per the doctor’s original plans, my splint was removed (revealing my still gnarly, bruised, and swollen foot and ankle*).

I then watched in amused horror as the nurse applied a very green plaster cast to my leg. Because this made it official: I have a cast. And not to be a diva or anything, but he didn’t even ask what color I wanted (cough PINK cough). But I sort of dig it; for one thing, it makes my ankle feel much better, and a little less like I’m going to hurt myself again, since all the bones are being held in place and not jangling around like I’m sure they were in that ghetto splint.

Long gone are my crutch days, thank-you-sweet-jesus-my armpits-are-rejoicing, but das boot remains. This means, every day I cover up my green cast with a fluffy, totally age-inappropriate “sleep sock” and a “boot” so that I can walk around . . . while getting hypothermia.

Cast: Teal. Sleep sock: Pink and white. Boot: Black. Outfit: Ruined. Pride: Shattered.

The good news, for both Eddie and I, is that the cast has increased my mobility by about 50%; Eddie no longer drives me around, and I do most of my own, albeit limited, errands now. I take a bus to and from work, and while everything still takes FOREVER, at least I’m doing it on my own.

What continues to bother me like none other, however, is that almost all of the sidewalks continue to be covered in sheets-upon-snowy sheets of ICE. I’ve decided to start the revolution by carrying a huge bag of salt with me so I can gently fling it from side to side while walking – reminiscent of a town crier, except I’m all “Here ye, here ye, you’re the smartest, cleanest, and most efficient people on the planet, yet you continue to surf to work on ice?! Not. Up. In. Here.”

As I’m writing this, I have reached my T minus 6 days until the great Plast-Off, Cast-Off 2011 Extravaganza. Next Thursday I will be free of this constant wardrobe-killer (note: still can’t wear skinny jeans. Note: that means I own like 2 pairs of pants, and you know I don’t do much laundry.)

But I am grateful to be off the crutches, and grateful that my friends are patient enough to hold my arm and walk with me, even though I add about 20 minutes extra to any simple task.

Also noteworthy and totally gross: the cast is starting to smell. Like  . . . it’s gone bad. And I don’t know how to fix this. I can’t wash it. I thought about giving it the ‘ole Mexican shower and dousing it in perfume – until I remembered that I didn’t bring any perfume to Korea because I have a history of bottles exploding on planes and making all my clothes smell. I am the type of person that puts on deodorant obsessively – like 5 times a day, at least – so this is effectively, killing me. I live in constant fear of someone realizing my cast smells, and also constant shame – because my cast smells.

And while I began telling my students I had a robotic, go-go-gadget steel leg as a joke, I’m starting to have phantom limb syndrome, and I’m not entirely convinced that the doctor didn’t put something in there like a dead animal or moldy cheese.

Oh and I have to cover it up in the shower. So, in addition to showering over the toilet and all, I now must:

-cover the entire cast in a grocery store bag

-keep said bag in place using an intricate network of headbands, hairties and stolen Scotch tape from work

-acknowledge the fact that any pride I once had washed down my closed toilet seat and into the shower drain

Shameful fact: One night after a shower, I was removing the headbands/hairties/tape/plastic bag from my cast . . . and I realized that there had been a plastic fork in the bag the entire shower. Because I bought a salad from the store earlier. And I didn’t even realize it.

Fact: There could be a fork, or an entire salad, in that bag.

 

But I promise, I’m trying to stay positive. I get a huge daily boost out of screaming “Handi-CAPABLE person coming through!” in the faculty room. And last weekend, I even went out. It was 8 degrees, but I put on a dress and my fancy sleep sock  and I went out, not only to a bar, but to a dance club. Because I’m a masochist trooper. No really, I am – my friends kept telling me that whenever my resolve faltered. However, all that walking did kind of hurt. And today, I slipped on some water some jerk-off student spilled, sending me on my ass and my cast in a very uncomfortable angle. And like a professional, I proceeded to cry, because it freakin’ hurt. A lot. And because I’m just fed up with this constant interruption of my day-to-day life, sleep, body temperature, and overall smell. And because dance clubs aren’t as fun in a cast.

This entire ordeal has been a lesson in patience, humility, positive thinking, learning to accept help, and why I should have sued the city and their icy streets in the first place – even though that would have been like, totally American of me.

The good news is that you are all invited to Plast-Off, Cast-Off 2011, and feel free to bring your friends and some booze. First the nurse will remove the cast. Then while Dr. KorEnglish explains some physical therapy exercises to me, I’ll be furiously trying to: 1) mask any stench the cast may have left behind, 2) shave my leg, and 3) find the nearest place to get a pedicure – because things are getting primal down there.

In celebration of the big day, I’ll be allowing my kids to cover their noses forgo a sticker or two and instead, sign my cast next Tuesday and Wednesday. You know, since there’s no chance anyone will see it on those days except my coworkers.

I pray that this last week is quick and accident-free – let the countdown begin.

*The bird on my foot looks like it just flew through Afghanistan, shit is that deformed