Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Summer of Stress

Remember that Honda I told you about last post? Well the Honda's dead baby. The Honda is dead.

Because moving home from Korea, deciding to go back to school at the last possible minute, and getting a job weren't stressful enough the Universe decided to heap a little more on my plate.

I was driving home from work, stopped at a red light, the light turned green, I went, and wham. Next thing I know my seat belts locked, and I'm facing the wrong way in the middle of an intersection while the contents of my purse settled into strange new homes all over my car.

The woman who hit me said I ran the red light. I said she did. The cops sent us both home and told us to let the insurance sort it out. The "sorting out" as been one huge headache from the moment I called the insurance the next morning.

The Honda, being 24 years old and what you might call "a piece of crap" was immediately pronounced dead. After a week of car sales men, I bought an '07 Ford Focus. The Focus has power steering and air conditioning! I feel so spoiled now.

While this is all going on, I wrapped up my teaching job and have been trying to find a new apartment. Our current lease ends... oh...this weekend.

Don't get me wrong, we looked for apartments. But there are three of us, and we have different priorities, and terrible luck. So it took us until last week to finally find two places that would work for us.

The apartment that we preferred is owned my an old, incompetent, sexist man. He didn't run our credit checks and then said he couldn't give us an answer until next week. We need to be out Sunday. You can see how this posses a problem. When I called him and told him we really wanted to live there, and was there anything we could work out, he told me no and hung up on me. I feel bad for whoever ends up renting that place.

Now we get to live in Dormont, I have a new car, school is lined up, and the only thing left on my stress check list is to find an apprenticeship...
and buy books...
and move...
and pay bills...
and reduce my ecological footprint...
and contribute more to society....
and be more diligent about reading the newspaper :)

Being an adult is so much fun.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I suck

I pretty much suck. I came home from Korea, ohhhhh about four months ago and I've just now got around to a blog entry. I suck.

I have been doing other stuff while I wasn't writing my blog. I came home from Korea and that was fourteen hours of trying not to fall asleep so that I could trick my body into not having jet lag. It mostly worked. Hurray for me. Shortly after arriving home I moved to Oakland with the boy and a couple of friends. Aside from standing at the sink once a week and cursing my roommates as I search for the bottom of the sink, it's going pretty well.

I spent the first two months or so after getting home looking for a "real" job. After no one, and I mean zero of the hundred or so places I applied to, called me back I started to get pretty discouraged. Then I watch a silly movie about a cook and I thought, "Self, you've always ALWAYS wanted to be a pastry chef. You love to bake. You love to read. You already got a degree in one of those things. Screw it, let's get a degree in the other." The lack of response from jobs, and the chef who had a seizure outside my house and promised me a place in his kitchen, kind of convinced me that the universe kinda-sorta was telling me that a kitchen was were it wanted me to go. Who am I to argue with the universe when it sends me a seizing chef?

So I got a job waiting tables, and I started looking at culinary schools. Holy crap, culinary school can be expensive. After the second program jumped the going rate for a two year degree from $32,000 to $52,000, I decided I would start looking into community college. WAY better idea.

Let's see. I bought an '86 Honda Civic for a big 'ol $500 bucks. Yep, my first car is the epitome of crappy first car, but I love it. It gets great gas mileage and if I floor it it'll accelerate up a hill....kinda.

I'm also back to teaching Koreans English. I'm teaching three adults this time though, and I'm enjoying the lack of crying, sticky hands, and classroom bullies.

I have a lot of stories and reflections on America VS Korea, but right now I think I'm going to go and enjoy the nice night on my porch.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Let us see. When last I wrote I was sleep deprived and full of medication. Since that lovely stay in the hospital many, many thing have happened.

Let's start with New Years Day. Somewhere in the wee hours of the morning I was enjoying a great evening dancing. We had started dancing at the stroke of midnight to a university band in traditional Korean dress. Surrounded by hundreds of riot cops, my friends and I found ourselves hugging Koreans and caught up in a traditional drum band dance circle. After we had our fill of dancing in the cold, we hugged a few riot cops, got a couple of pictures, and grabbed a cab.

We stopped to grab a quick kabob, the best kabob in Seoul in our opinion, and headed to one of our favorite bars to continue our dance fest. We found that the New Years celebration was in full swing and quickly made friends with some American G.I.'s on leave. Aside from one very drunk, very aggressive young man we found ourselves in good company. Having our own personal escort to part the crowds whenever we had to pee was a bit odd, but it did cut bathroom trips from a twenty minute torture into a five minute breeze. We were all agreed that this was the best New Year's any of us had ever had. And then it came on. We should have known then we were in for trouble.

What is it, you may ask. Well, there is a certain song all about how it's going to be a good night. Whenever my co-workers and I sing this song things go badly. I'm not being silly. This song has been the precursor to things like hospital trips. Our charmed New Year's was no exception. I went to get some Won out of my purse after a bathroom trip, only to find that the G.I.'s were gone and so was my purse.

Don't get the wrong idea here. Most of the guys had decided to move on to another bar and some Koreans had moved into their table. In the people shuffle a leather jacket, which belonged to one of the G.I.'s, and my purse were lost. The remaining G.I's and my wonderful friends turned the bar upside down looking for both. Both were gone.

Once it became evident that my purse was no longer, we headed home. The next day my friend Sara came over to enjoy a traditional New Year's meal. While opening a package of sausage I managed to slice open the top of my left pointer finger and the front of my middle finger. Much blood later, we realized I probably should have stitches, but having no money, ID, or phone I wrapped some band-aids around the whole mess and didn't leave my bed for the rest of the night.

When I went to get my surgery bandage changed the doctor doing the changing flipped out and insisted I get stitches on my finger. So I got my very first awake stitches. Putting a needle into a very large wound is not fun, and it gets less fun each of the three times they do it.

What followed this was two weeks of frustration over trying to get all of my purse crap replaced. Things, eventually, settled down, stitches were removed, and showers were taken without duct tape or plastic bags.

Then my boss has a meeting. Our school is shutting down at the end of February. Us foreign teachers could relocate, but they wanted us to sign a new one year contract. After a swift internal conversation I tell my boss that isn't going to happen. After a stress filled evening and morning I tell my boss I'd rather just go home. Wonder of all wonders, she says that is totally fine. I have my first contract negotiation, and it's a done deal.

So, I get all of my purse stuff replaced, look for flights, start looking for jobs, phone plans, cars, all the crap that I thought I had six more months to do. February is going to be a crazy month, but I'm ready.

OH! OH! OH! And a bar I've never been to calls my friend and tells her they have my purse and all of the stuff inside. Universe, you are such an ass sometimes.