A year in photos – Day 202

Friday, September 14

Joni and I spent almost 24 hours en route to the US, but because of the time zone, I actually arrived in Texas on September 13th. My mom picked me up from the airport. It was such an exhausting journey. My brain never works right for the first few days after the trip back home. Jet lag kills me!

Aside from the 8 hour layover in Japan, the flight was pretty painless. We were on a night flight so it was nice and quiet and most people slept. I drifted in and out of sleep, but I have a difficulty sleeping in airplanes. We were really fortunate… we asked to be put on a wait list for closer seats and we ended up being bumped up into the first row of economy so we had ample leg room.

So you get a bonus picture because I technically took that picture on the 13th due to the international date line.

I had lunch with my mom and Nana on Friday and then my mom took me to pick up my rental car afterwards. The women working there weren’t overly friendly or helpful. They just gave me the keys to the car and said I could find it by pushing the lock button and listening for the horn. They didn’t inspect the car with me or anything. When I got to the car, the inside was dirty. There was grass all in the floorboards. I knew I could have complained then and there, but I really liked the car they gave me so I figured I could put up with the grass.

Back in Texas!

Over the past few weeks I’ve been so busy! I had about a week to unpack and get settled in my new place in Ulsan and then my dear friend Joni came to visit for 10 days.

I’ve been keeping a secret from Joni for a while now and she finally found out the morning Dave and I took her to the airport. We left the apartment at 5am and I brought a pillow with me in the car. When we got to Gimhae Airport to drop her off, I was still holding my pillow. She laughed and said, “You’re taking your pillow in?” I opened the trunk and said, “That’s not all I’m taking in!” and pulled out my giant fuchsia suitcase. Dave had secretly loaded it that morning before she woke up. She had no idea that I was flying back with her. She was so surprised and so happy!

We flew from Busan to Narita Airport (about 2 hours outside Tokyo) and then had an 8 hour layover. The flight from Narita to Dallas was over 13 hours. I got in Thursday around 4:30pm.

I know my blog is really behind and I intend to update it as soon as I shake this jet lag that has me feeling absolutely exhausted all day.

“Teacher! Your face! ……….Beautiful.”

I finally got to teach on Thursday and Friday (March 3rd & 4th). My co-teacher spent about 20 minutes introducing the class and the rules and I had the other 20 minutes to introduce myself and my country. It was so much fun! The kids’ reactions were amazing. I’ve noticed that gasping is pretty common in Korea and my presentation got quite a few gasps, like…

When I told them that Texas is so big that it takes me 4 hours to drive to my dad’s house.

When I showed them the picture of the World’s Largest Pecan in Seguin.

When they saw the picture of Dallas at night and again when I told them there’s a restaurant in Reunion Tower… And it turns around in a circle!

But the biggest gasp came when I showed them the picture of my family… And they counted all 20 of them.

The kids loved seeing pictures of my family members. I showed pictures of…

My dad

My mom

My brother & his girlfriend

My brother & his wife

My niece & nephew

Nana

They loved my dad’s grey hair, that I look like my mom and thought my brothers were handsome and their significant others were beautiful. They also really loved seeing my niece and nephew.

Here are some of my favorite comments…

From a boy: “Teacher! Your face! ……….Beautiful.”

From a girl: “You are….. very.” (I took it as a compliment)

Also, one student said the boy sitting next to him thought my niece was cute. The whole class giggled.

Overall, the first week was great and it made me feel a lot more confident about teaching.

Two Birthdays and a Going Away

Wow have I been busy lately!

Saturday was my nephew’s 4th birthday.

Tuesday was my Nana’s 75th birthday. You may remember her from a previous blog.

So on Saturday we surprised Nana with a 75th birthday party and invited her friends and family. We also celebrated Parker’s birthday and my Going Away. It was a great party. I got to talk to a lot of people and everyone was really excited about my upcoming adventure. I even got to meet family members that I never knew I had, and I’m so happy I did. They were amazing people.

Saturday after the party I spent some time with my cousin Bree. It was my last time to see her before I go to South Korea because she goes to Texas A&M. She and I have gotten pretty close in the past few years. I’m going to miss her a lot, especially at the holidays.

two birthdays and a going away

 

When I left Bree’s I went to my brother’s house for a late night game night with Josh (brother), Mendi (sister-in-law), JJ (brother) & Jen (JJ’s girlfriend). It was a fun night and I’m definitely going to miss game nights. I would have taken pictures of everything, but I ran off and left my camera at home that morning so I have to recycle pictures from the past.

two birthdays and a going away

two birthdays and a going away

 

On Sunday I shopped pretty much all day. I ended up buying a ton of stuff. I was able to transform my jeans and t-shirts college student wardrobe into something that works for a teacher. I also purchased a Magic Jack and a power converter. The Magic Jack is going to be amazing. I will have a local (US) phone number so that I can receive calls from home without it costing everyone a million won.

Work was very busy on Monday because it was the first time anyone had been to work for an entire week because of the ice and snow, and any time there’s severe weather we get a lot of work orders. I was going to try to post this blog at work, but I just didn’t have the time. I was even going to show everyone the family pictures we took on Saturday, but I left the disc in my computer at work so now you’ll have to wait.

two birthdays and a going away

I drove to Waxahachie after work to go visit my friends Kimberly, Matt and Kevin. I had a great time with them. They are such great people. I stayed the night there and I just want to state that they have the most comfortable guest bed in the entire world.

two birthdays and a going away

I spent most of my day Tuesday in the car. I left Waxahachie around 9am and headed east toward Nacogdoches to go pick up Joni, one of my very best friends, and bring her (and her dogs) back to Dallas for the week. I used to go to school in Nacogdoches and I haven’t been back in awhile. It was weird being back there. I did get to go eat at my old favorite Tex-Mex place there, La Carreta. I also bought some super cute flats for $10. The trip was a success.

two birthdays and a going away two birthdays and a going away

 

I dropped Joni off in DeSoto to spend some time with her friend Veronica. Joni will be back here on Thursday and she’ll spend the weekend with me. After all of the driving, I got home around 7pm and my friend Amanda came over and we put a straightener on my hair. It takes 4 hours! It was a late night, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I have the best friends a girl could ask for.

So I’m all caught up. Today is Wednesday and my work is closed again due to ice/snow. I’ve only worked one day so far in February because of the weather (and my trip to Nacogdoches yesterday). Oh well. The weather can do whatever it wants as long as it’s nice next Tuesday when I leave.


I think I finally figured out the subscription problem. If you put your email address in on the right side of the page, WordPress will send you an email to confirm your subscription. You have to click on the link in the email to activate your subscription. If you have already tried to subscribe, you can either search your email for the confirmation or submit your email again for a new confirmation email. Just make sure to open the email and click on the activation link. Then you’ll be all set.


Life In Texas & Questions Answered

snow in texas

First of all, Texas… Where am I?! This weather is a little crazy for us. According to my Nana, “It’s just pouring snow!” which is an expression I’ve never heard before. This is day 4 of being stuck at home. A friend of mine posted some pictures and a video of herself ice skating on her driveway… no, serioulsy…

snow in texas

But now all of that ice is covered up with snow, and Nana and I took advantage of that today. We set out to make a snowman, but the snow was too powdery for that.

snow in texassnow in texassnow in texas snow in texas

Here’s our snowman attempt. Pretty pathetic. It’s just a snow blob, really.

snow in texas

This is what snow boots look like in Texas. haha

snow in texas

And after all of the fun outside, we came inside and Nana made us some hot chocolate. I’m going to miss her.

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korean won

A few of you asked about the won so I thought I would go into a little more depth about the benefits of working in South Korea. EPIK Program salary and benefits consist of the following:

  • Roundtrip airfare reimbursement (must complete contract)
  • 300,000 won settlement allowance
  • Monthly salary
  • Severance pay equal to one month’s salary per year worked
  • Free furnished housing
  • 2 years tax exemption
  • 50% of mandatory medical insurance premiums
  • 50% of compulsory pension plan contribution
  • 10-day EPIK Orientation

Click on the chart below to see a larger image of the EPIK Pay Scale.

So now I guess you all really want to know how much 2 million won is worth in US Dollars… right? I’ll be making about $1,800 a month. I know that’s not a lot, but I won’t have to pay rent and since I don’t have a car in South Korea I won’t have to pay for gas or car insurance. I have been told that I can easily set aside half of my income every month. If I had taught somewhere in Europe I wouldn’t have even made half of what I will make in Korea and I would have to pay for airfare and rent.


Thank you all so much for the comments and subscriptions yesterday! Keep them coming! Some of you had problems with the subscription feature. If you didn’t get a confirmation email then it probably didn’t work, and you’ll need to sign up again. Check back tomorrow. I’ll be posting that blog about Busan that I promised I was going to post today. haha