Since the last time I've posted, I've been a busy girl! I had visits from my mom, as well as my dear friend Katie, made a trip to Hong Kong, and made another trip to philly to surprise another dear friend, Chelsea, by showing up for her wedding. An added bonus of that particular voyage was the chance to see my aging Grandfather in what unexpectedly became the last few weeks of his life. What a gift it was to have that time with him. It's been a few months of a lot of ups and downs, to be sure.
I've also settled more and more into this relationship with this boy, Hoopie. I haven't said a lot about our relationship here, but I will say that he is loving, generous, kind hearted, and more than I could have imagined. I'm really amazed that we have come across each other through language barriers (his English is better than mine), cultural differences, and thousands of miles. The universe is crazy in it's complexity and possibility! The relationship is really positive, and it's bringing about some major growth and transitions in my life and his.
At this point, I only have 6 weeks left on my contract with my school, and I am making ready my plans for the future! My contract finishes on July 29th at midnight! At that time, I have a whole slew of travel plans that I look forward to with eager anticipation. From July 31 to August 12th, Hoopie and I are headed to Japan. I'm thrilled! I have not yet been to Japan, and I have been hearing so much about it since I have been living just across the sea from it. I actually had plans to travel there several months ago, but the tsunami changed that. I have been keeping tabs with a friend who is very connected to Japan, and she says I should come--Japan actually is promoting tourism a lot since the tsunami, and their struggle with recovery. She says they are really in need of the economic stimulation.
At any rate, Hoopie and I are still working on details of that trip, but we have ferry cruise tickets reserved--we are going! We will likely stay in Kyoto and Osaka for the bulk of the trip. I figure, I would rather have a relaxing vacation in a few majorly awesome foreign cities than a hectic (but probably still awesome) one, jumping around all over the country. That, and I really think I will be returning to Japan again in the next year because... I am coming back to Korea! Crazy. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
After our trip to Japan, I will be flying to JFK, and spending the next month on the east coast. I'll be seeing friends and family in NYC, Philly, DE, all over Virginia, and in D.C. It will be quite the trip. I've never been old enough to get a rental car, and I plan to do that there. I'm really excited about the freedom and flexibility that affords. Being an adult can totally rock sometimes. One of the major highlights of this trip will surely be meeting my new nephew, Aidan Cormac Meehan. He was just born on the 14th of July! He is beautiful. My sister is certainly looking forward to seeing me, but also to having the extra help. :)
At the end of this trip, I will be finally heading back to Oregon. By that time, it will be near the end of September. At that point, as I refresh by seeing family and friends and getting a good dose of home, I plan to live with Katie and her roommate while I search for sublets. I'll really take anything cheap and month-to-month located in NE Portland. (Portlanders, keep your ear to the ground for me!) I will be staying in Portland from the end of September until the end of end of January, most likely. Why? Well!
Let me say, that I miss the place. I miss my friends and family, I miss the food, I miss the blues dancing, I miss the bridges, the parks, the river. I miss the zines, the arty DIY of it, the microbreweries and fine wine. I miss Mississippi, Belmont, tabor, NW 23rd. I miss forest park and the bluffs, karaoke at the alibi tiki bar, riding my bike through the streets and the smell of basil, pine trees, and delicious food wafting from windows in the summer. I need my Portland fix. And during this time, I am delighted to welcome my boyfriend for a visit as well. He has never left Korea! I have so much of the great Northwest--my home--to share with him.
Don't get me wrong--Korea is great! But it's not home. I'm loving so many things about being here--the culture, the kindness and generosity of the people, the food, the beautiful mountains, my Korean boyfriend (haha), but I am so tied to Oregon, I just can't do without it for another year without a good dose to keep me going. During the time when I'm home, I plan to live it up. I will get part time work if I can, but mostly, I will hang out with my parents, my brother, and my friends, take short trips around the west coast, do volunteer work, eat delicious food, cook, dance, play my guitar, and make zines. I have saved a good amount of money this year, and though I don't want to squander it, I want to take advantage of the fact that I can afford to take it a little easy while I'm home. If I can break even on income and rent with a part time job, that would be ideal.
After this stint, I will return to Korea. The plan as of now is to come back to my company, but not at my current branch. I will instead be a "floater" or substitute teacher, based in Taegu, the third largest city in Korea. I will travel to all of the branches (20 are in Taegu, 5 in other cities), week to week, filling in for teachers on vacation and sick leave. I think it's the perfect fit for me. I love the idea that I get to travel around Korea a bit, and having different students and co-teachers every week. I love meeting new people! My company also has a lot of benefits that I really appreciate and value. Being based in Taegu is a huge perk as well, for many reasons. One being that since most of the branches are there, there is quite a community built from the foreign teachers at my school. They have a book club, a soccer team and a frisbee team, regular get togethers, Korean classes, even a gym offered free of charge to Moon Kkang teachers! I think it's going to be awesome.
There is so much that I am looking forward to. Life is so dynamic and exiting! And in my remaining time for this year in Korea, I have so many cool things going on each weekend. Traveling and opened mics, some band performances and salsa lessons, meeting more of Hoopie's family and maybe having one more blow out apartment party before I ship out. So much to do, so little time!