Friday, October 23, 2009

The classic "should we or shouldn't we" confliction

Ah, the weekend.  Considering we'll be spending tomorrow morning cleaning the apartment, I'm not ready to jump up and down about it.  But, as always, I'm happy it's here.

I had to have the parent's of two students called today.  I hate having to do that, but they just wouldn't behave and they were dragging the class down with them.  It's a recurring problem with them, but today was the pinnacle.  When I turned my back to one side of the room, one of the boys raised his arm and made a joke out of "threatening" to hit me.  Unfortunately for him, I could see his reflection in the giant monitor in the room.  And, his comrade ratted on him ten seconds later.  Then only the two quietest students showed up for my last class.  These kids never talk. so keeping the class going was next to impossible.

In the middle of my second to last class today the principle came in and asked if I would like bimbimbap for dinner, I said that I would need to call and let Ian know.  She mumbled something that included the word "together" and closed the door.  I thought maybe they were going out to eat after work, but as soon as my class ended I saw a delivery man bring tons of food into her office.  Then during my last class (the impossibly quiet one), I watched through the window as every other staff member sat and had dinner together.  Sometimes it sucks being the only one who actually works at work.

So, we're putting some serious thought toward the idea of coming home for Christmas.  We want to.  Badly.  But, the cost is astronomical.  It would take nearly the entirety of both of our November paychecks to make it happen (roughly 75%, actually). We're talking roughly $2,800 on airfare.  Obviously, we're here to save money, but we're here to travel, too.  And the fact that vacation time is few and far between around here, makes us even more conflicted.  If we can't go home, there are other places we could go and still save money.  One place that has peaked our interest (for a longer break like Christmas or summer) is the Tokyo Disney Resort.  Thinking about the options and the decision we have to make soon makes my heart very heavy.  In a perfect world, we'd have it all: travel the world family in tow and it'd all be magically free.  But, this is not a perfect world.  If you'd like to weigh in on our conundrum, please do, but, family, be gentle.  We feel guilty about weighing the options as it is.

Speaking of families and traveling, I really hope that our family members who have expressed interest get the opportunity to make it out here.  Some of my hopes are for selfish reasons, I miss you guys like hell.  And, I'd love to show you our lives here and the tourist attractions, too (we'll have more of that under our belt down the road).  But, concrete reasons for overseas travel don't come often.  It's difficult for most people to justify the expense.  So, while we're here and can cheapen the trip by offering our tiny abode instead of a hotel, I hope you come.

I believe that's enough babbling for one evening.  If you're in the area, go check out my mom's booth at the Tacoma Dome Holiday Food and Gift Show.  She's got great stuff and the rest of it's pretty cool, too.  It goes until October 25th.  Don't feel peddled to, I was just saying!


  1. While I miss you both, DO NOT COME HOME AT CHRISTMAS. Save your money or, if you want to travel, spend your money traveling around Asia. Tokyo Disney would be great fun. Hong Kong at Christmas might be cool. A trip to China would be fascinating. How about India? Or Vietnam? There are so many cool places closer to you and much cheaper for you to get to. Places that you might not get the chance to visit again.

    We will miss you at Christmas but I would be far more excited for you to see wonderful new things and enjoy new adventures than having you spend the money to come home.

    Make your first Christmas as a married couple a magical, private experience for the two of you. There will be plenty of other years to spend Christmas together.

  2. Since you asked for us to weigh in, I will. Well, I probably would have even if you didn't ask. ;)

    We miss you like crazy too! I can't even tell you how often our conversations are about places we want to go out with you two when you get home or movies we think would be more fun with you guys by our side.

    That said, we hope you take the opportunity to do something adventurous and exciting this Christmas. I won't lie and say we won't miss you because we absolutely will. But we are all so excited for you guys and your year abroad. Take the opportunities as they come! You are at a great jumping off point to travel to places that you might not have imagined ever getting to experience. Take this year and see as much of the world as you possibly can. You are at an amazing point in your life when you can be spontaneous and not have to answer to a long term job, kids or a mortgage. Although I think you will always travel, opportunities like the one you have right now might not always be there.

    I really hope that we will be able to visit you before your year in Korea is over. That is all dependant on finances of course. Speaking of which, I worked today at the high school. Remember how Ian had a student bark at him? Well, we now have that in common. I guess barking in class is a cross-cultural phenomenon. :)

  3. Judy-

    Thank you for your advice. I know that there will be plenty of Christmases to spend with you all in the future. But, it's hard to think of one spent apart. That said, a ten day vacation to travel doesn't come along too often.


    Seriously, we talk about things that we'd like to do with you guys all the time. Like, we think you'd really like N. Seoul Tower (and more of Seoul when we see it) and I have an imaginary trip to Crystal (or anywhere) next winter for all of us to go boarding and tubing after Ian and I spend this winter becoming amazing at snowboarding. :)

    The decision around Christmas is a difficult one. We miss you guys terribly, but we know this opportunity is a rare one.

    I can't believe a kid barked at you? How old? I want all the bizarre details!

  4. The barking student caught me off guard today. I definitely don't have my "teacher presence" down quite yet. It's coming though.

    He was a junior. He kept barking to get the class to laugh. He would open the window and say "there he goes outside! I'll take care of it!" Then he would yell for the dog to stop barking and then bark some more. First just told him to leave the window alone and stop barking but I think he saw that it was getting to me. After another round of barking I said in my most nonchalant voice, said "my brother in law is going to love hearing about this." He asked why and I told him that Ian teaches English to 7 and 8 year olds in Korea and that one student in his class barked because he wasn't able to communicate how he felt using words. I think that made my point better than telling him to just knock it off because he looked a little embarrassed and stopped, haha!

    So thank you Ian for sharing that story. If it wasn't for your barking student I'm not sure that I would have known how to deal with mine!

  5. First, thanks for the shout out regarding the show.
    though we will miss you terribly this Christmas, I too think that you should not miss the opportunity that being in Korea gives you. By that I mean traveling to other Asian countries that you may not get a chance to later on. You have the chance to get more bang for you travel buck, because of your location. You could even go over to Australia or Thailand. Make this 1st Christmas one you guys will talk about for ever. The best gift for me will be hearing about your experiences. I know I say it a lot but I wish I would have had the opportunity, or taken it, when I was your age and traveled. We will have next Christmas together.

    And finally, I will definitely be out to see you two in March or April, I have not decided which one yet. I plan on a 3 week trip. And I expect to be shown the "non tourist" sites so don't disappoint. I want the "Anthony Bourdain" tour.

  6. Alright, Mama, food poisoning it is. Just kidding. I'll make a list of tourist and non tourist things for you when you tell me when you are coming. We don't eat fish, though, so I'll make sure to ask for advice on what you should eat. I WILL NOT fed you nearly alive octopus, however, which is a delicacy here. :S

    Danie- It's so hard not to be shaken by your students. I've been in front of them for almost two months and sometimes they still get to me. Attention hounding students are the worst because the more you correct them the more they like it and if you don't correct them they run the class. I think your solution was a creative way of putting him in his place without being petty. I'm impressed.