Sunday, November 13, 2011

Excuses and Cavities

Okay, okay. I know, I know, I know... it's been a month since I've blogged. But I have a creative and original excuse: we've been busy. You will find my sub-excuses organized below.

Excuse #1
Our school officially opened. The ceremony was grand. They cut a ribbon and there was balloons. Success. And accomplishment.

Excuse #2
Our badass friend Kim came to visit from Seoul. We toured Jeju. Success. And good times.

Excuse #3
We climbed Mt. Halla. Success. And pain.

4) Halloween happened. The kids put on a carnival and we ate way too much chocolate. Success. And cavities.

5) Pepero Day happened. More chocolate, this time in the form of sticks. Success. And more cavities.

6) We've been exploring our new island. Success. And cuddles.

7) We've been hanging out with the cutest baby in the world. Baby also doubles as a dentist. Great for all those cavities. Success. And free dental care.

Til next time.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Things That Are Awesome

Yes, I realize it has been over a month since I have posted. And yes, you guessed it, it's because life has been a big, happy, dizzy, chaotic blur. But, that blur has subsided slightly, and the clear is promising. I sense a list-style blog post coming on...

Things That Are Awesome:

Jeju island is beautiful. For reals. Check it.

Our school is bomb. For reals. Check it.

My grade 5 students all have MacBooks. For reals. Check it!

We bought an SUV. For reals. CHECK IT!

We're happy and healthy. What more do you need, am I right?

Love from Jeju!

Selina & Bry

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Big Arrival

So, we made it. We've survived the first 2 weeks on this luscious sub-tropical island. What have we been up to, you ask? Oh, if only the walls of T.H.E Hotel could talk... they would say, so many love-ins!

We have been staying at a beautiful hotel in Shin Jeju, the newer part of the city. Eighth floor with a view of Halla (the volcano in the middle of the island) and a living room suite... sweet! It's walking distance from lots of bars and restaurants, meals which are paid for by our bad-ass employers - shwing!

Since we arrived, we've had 2 full weeks of orientation. I must say, our staff members are ace, we all get along so well, our director might be the coolest, most laid-back guy I've ever met... it's going to make for a fun-filled 2 years. We have a boat-load of Americans, a mini group of Canadians, a Brit, an Aussie, and one Czech rep. Fun crowd to say the least.

This week we are waiting on a few things:

1) To move into our apartment. Fingers have been quite cramped since I began crossing them in December, only a few more days to go.
2) For our school to be finished. Slight construction site. Update to follow.
3) For all the sweet little kiddies to get here. Aw, it's all about the kiddies.

So far we've made some great friends, been serious beach bums, ate at far too many delicious restaurants, and had the quintessential noraebong night. Korea, my sweet, sweet Korea, it's like we've never left you. So happy to be back in your arms again, this time in the beach edition.

Lots of love from SK,

Selina & Bryan (the engaged version!)

Monday, August 8, 2011

We're back!

Hello again, loyal followers! After 6 months of absence, we're back! Bryan and I are about to start up our next overseas adventure, and, as appropriate, I'm dusting off the old blog. (What's life if you can't share it with the people you love. Am I right?)

So, where will be our next home, you ask? Your two favorite nomads are heading to Jeju, a sub-tropical island off the south coast of South Korea. We signed a two-year teaching contract at Korea International School, a fairly decent step-up from the hagwon world (hakeem!).

Like I said above, it's been 6 months since our last adventure in Seoul, and lots has happened in that half-year gap. So to fill you in while simultaneously avoiding a pet peeve of mine (long-winded people.. zZzZz..), I'll give you the Coles Notes version instead. Ahem:

- Bryan and I spent the month of March traveling through Thailand. It was beautiful and delicious. So very delicious.

- We spent the month of April living in Bryan's hometown of Ottawa, Ontario. We spent time with the fam and got back to reality.

- At the end of April, I reunited with my bests, a fantastic groups of girls from my university days. The Ottawa reunion was filled with laughs, love, and lots of celebrations!

- In May, Bryan and I parted ways (sniff). We spent the months of May and June working in our respective home cities. However, during this time, mama bear and I went on a kick-ass vacation to Cuba. Dos cervezas, amigo! Arriba!

- In July, Bryan came to my hometown on the east coast to spend summer in Cape Breton. Bring on the lobster, surfing, and good times at the bungalow. Barrouu!

- On July 19th, my whole life was made... Bryan proposed! Ahhh! More details on this later, of course. (It surely deserves more attention than a bullet in a Coles Notes list.)

- At the end of July, the whole fam dam got together. Bryan's parents drove down to the east coast and my parents, Bry's parents, Bryan and myself got in a van and road-tripped to NFLD. This included drinking festivals, seasick ferry rides, and the heavy dropping of F bombs.

- We're now back in Ottawa, with 10 days to pack up our lives (I feel like I've done this before...), run all of our final Canadian errands (including an intense over-consumption of avocado), say our goodbyes (sniff... sniff... just come with us, guys), and take off yet again. (Someone get Chantal ready to sing us away.)

With an obvious sadness to leave our family and friends, it is nonetheless with a decent dose of stoke that we take off again. More travel, career challenges, new friends... Can't wait to find out where it will take us this time.

"There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars."
— Jack Kerouac

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Last Post

Current state:

Last week of work, post "Going Away Staff Party". Our goodbye fiesta was quite the time, filled with far too many celebratory shots of soju and mekju, and a very blurry noraebong session (You know it was a good night when you don't recall the last half of the pics on your digital camera. Which didn't happen. Ahem.). Our final graduation is tomorrow. How bittersweet it all is as we countdown our final days in Dongtan, South Korea. Bittersweet, bittersweet indeed.

Sweet for the end of 55-hour work weeks from hell. Sweet for reuniting with my old friend, Energy. Sweet for the potential of new adventures.

Bitter for leaving our adorable students. Bitter for leaving Seoul, one of my favorite cities on Earth. Bitter for leaving the best staff I've ever had, and saying goodbye to the good times. The drunk noraebong nights. The bbq fests. The parties. The memories.

But alas, life on the road comes with hellos as well as goodbyes, and unfortunately one does need to utter some goodbyes so new hellos can present themselves. But not to be forgotten will be the amazing friends we made here, who all deserve a personal shout-out, so here I go: Lizzie, Brent, Robin, and Greg, believe me when I say we'll miss you. And we love you. And leaving sucks. However, we did have a hell of a time. And I'm going to assume that the universe is going to bring us together again. So instead of goodbye, I'll say so long, and say it one more time: we love you.

Mine and Bryan's next adventure is a month of backpacking around Thailand. We'll hook up with his cousin Jenny in Bangkok, tour the northern villages, and partake in some necessary R&R on the beautiful beaches. And to provide you with the biggest understatement of the year, I'm excited.

Next up on the career front is a 2 year contract with KIS, Korea International School. It's currently being built on Jeju, a small volcanic island off the southern tip of Korea. (Google, if you so desire.) We'll head home after Thailand, spend the spring/summer with our much missed families and friends, and head back to the beloved ROK in August. I'm going to switch blog sites and start fresh with overseas adventure blog #2, so this is it, my friends: the last post.

So, 16 Korean months, 3,145 logged working hours, 12 four-year-olds, 5 countries traveled, a handful of good friends, and one boyfriend to share in the madness, and what have I learned? Planet Earth is just awesome.

So long, folks!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Philippines

This holiday season, once the bell rang 7:25pm and we were free, free at last, Bryan and I took off for a tropical Christmasing in the Philippines. We stayed in Boracay, just off the main center (my main traveling tip) in a little private cove called Balinghai. Six bungalows built into the side of a cliff made for a romantic setting, with some beach markets, restaurants, and bars an ideal 15 minutes away.

I learned a lot in the Philippines. I learned that bat cave adventures should be handled with caution, if ventured upon at all. I learned to always, always mind the live wires. I learned that 3 on a moped driving through the roadless Filipino jungles should include careful thought and a finger-numbing grip. I learned that Zorbing should be immediately googled and then partaken in. And I learned that Bryan's bartering skills are that of a wet dishcloth.

I also learned that Swedish people can quickly become excellent friends. I learned that white russians on the beach with said Swedish friends can be a badass way to ring in the new year. And I also learned that when in Rome, eat the seafood. Definitely, definitely, definitely eat the seafood.

And although pictures never say it all, here is my attempt at bringing the Philippines to you, one digital snapshot at a time.

The Happiest of New Years to You

2011: A new year. Ever-so-exciting 2010 is now a thing of the past. But instead of being nostalgic of time gone by, I'm going to be thankful for the past year, and extremely hopeful for the year to come. I still can't quite believe the year I had, and although I in no way want to depreciate the other years of my life, I have to say 2010 has perhaps stolen the trophy.

And even though mine and Bryan's year was filled with some obvious good times (traveling, meeting great friends, and experiencing new culture), and although this is far too cliche coming from a teacher (and for this I apologize), what I enjoyed most this year were the countless little things learned along the way. Like, for example, in Asia, to never be the first nor last person to cross the street. Also, important Korean vocabulary, like 'mekju' and 'doogae'. And most importantly, when in doubt, shoot 'em a ten. Then flex.

This nomadic life we find ourselves in seems to be agreeing with us, and we're both equally stoked to keep on truckin' in the overseas teaching market. So athough we love home, we seem to be settling ourselves into a home away for home (for now, at least.)

And because Jack Kerouac says it better than me, I'll leave you with this:

"Our battered suitcases lay on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life."

A happy and healthy new years to you, from our home to yours.