Wednesday, October 22, 2014

{The Traveling Teacher} In Transit

My "Roll With It" Idea...
Goodness, getting from the Philadelphia Airport to my apartment in Namwon was a little bit crazy to say the least. I think if I didn't drill myself with, "Just roll with it," before leaving, I'd be one worked up mess. While getting abandoned by my driver in Madrid without any form of communication was a little traumatizing, it was so bad, I think every other new country experience I have will seem like a cake walk in comparison.

Alright, so actually physically getting yourself from your hometown to Namwon deserves a whole post in itself. You've gone through the headache of paperwork. You've gotten your contract, your passport, your visa, and any other necessary confirmations. You've booked your flight one way or another, and your bags have been packed four times. You're waking up at 2 a.m. from a quick nap because it's finally time. Months of preparations, changes, and a thousand goodbyes or see you for nows have happened. You're getting your behind over to the Land of the Morning Calm (or insert nickname for your respect country here). What happens?

Well, I can't really speak for everyone, but here is the following account of my story. There are no times associated with anything because I just lost track between the trillion time changes I went through.

Monday, October 20, 2014

On the Lilly Pulitzer Agenda


When it comes to picking out an agenda, I am by far the pickiest person in the entire world. I don't think I even get this picky about my clothes or food or shoes... Everything from the size to the number of lines per day to the paperweight of each page. I kid you not, I'm pretty much a brat. I know what you're thinking, "You're only saying this to talk up the LP Agenda, which is seriously so overrated and in the hands of every sorority girl ever, Plus all those Lilly Pulitzer fans who can't actually afford their absurdly expensive clothes." Wrong. And how judgmental! I'm talking to you about the LP Agenda because I appreciate the sheer work they put into it each year, and it is so far the best agenda I've owned.

Let's take it way back to seventh grade when I started really using the agenda my school gave us. It was the size of a normal piece of paper, so it fit perfectly stacked in with all my other books. Each day was laid out neatly with the top half for homework assignments and the bottom half with times (if my memory serves me correctly). I loved that it shrunk to a smaller size in high school, and I used to write out my assignments and To-Do's with a little box to check off in the corner. My day was pretty much ruined if someone decided to be obnoxious and write their birthday or something and take up the whole freaking space, and I absolutely refused to color all over my agenda in attempt to cover the pretty boring picture on the front. In high school I eventually transitioned to other agendas (though I can't remember which), and this led to college where we no longer received free ones anymore. I can't remember what I used freshman year, but I know I made up my own in a blank journal the summer beforehand. I do remember seeing the LP Agenda and toying around with the idea for a while. I may not like prints in my clothes, but I do love a pretty journal.


Finally, I was shopping at the mall and decided to roam about in the LP store just for kicks when I decided to get the LP Agenda for Aug 2012-Dec 2013. It was pink and green (my favorite combination), and I had yet to find the perfect agenda. Plus it had cute little stickers! I used and abused it until December 2013 when, in the midst of applications, my job schedule, theses, homework, internships, and job searches, I needed more space. Much, much, much more space. So I bought a huge one from Target for 2014, back to the size of my middle school ones. And that was honestly beautiful and laid out so nicely. Until about April or May when most of this work was finished, and I had way too much space for my agenda. Plus, I had stopped carrying my tote and started carrying my purse again, so it no longer fit.

Then came the LP Agenda once more as July rolled around. And returning never felt so good. They revamped the prints inside, and it's even more gorgeous than the first one I got. There's more than enough lines day to day, plus all the extras are perfect. I don't think it's very pricey ($28) considering you can use it for 1 1/2 years, and it's a nice agenda.

xoxo,

Samantha Elisabeth

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Jeonju Hanok Village

This is going to be 3/5 of my weekend getaways! It was technically a training trip with other Namwon English teachers and our Korean counterparts, but it felt more like a field trip! I was lucky that the training happened to fall two days after I started working, so I got a little bit more of an "orientation" than just being totally thrown into the mix. We left our respective schools after lunch and met at the educational building to board a bus for the hour ride into the Hanok village. After we arrived, we went straight to our seminar room where we got an example lesson that involved vocabulary for tastes and a quick orientation on living in Korea. It was actually pretty fun, and our taste lesson involved blind tasting. FYI Ginseng is a rough, rough thing to taste blindly.

Afterwards we went to this restaurant for some stew and meet, our supervisor treated us to coffee, and then we had free time. Some went out to some bars, but I'm still a little jet-lagged, so I opted to walk around with a few people to explore the village at night. Jeonju's Hanok village is absolutely beautiful! It has a bunch of traditional style houses with different souvenir shops, restaurants, and other places. We also climbed up to Omokdae, a temple created to commemorate the place where the first king of the Joseon dynasty rested after his war victory.
The next day we had an official tour around the village where we learned about the different structures and the reasoning behind their designs after breakfast of beansprout stew. We also stopped by the Jeonju Catholic Church, which is considered the most beautiful Catholic Church in Korea. It was crazy because weddings were going on, and tours/the public was going in and out as though there weren't! My friends explained that Korean weddings are very...factory. You're in and out, people are usually talking throughout the ceremony, and it's all very quick. How unromantic! 
I'm not sure where exactly we went next, but we had a traditional food experience where we learned to make three temple food-- Ginseng Salad, a sort of rice paper roll, and a nut bar. Our head chef explained to us that what is important is that all these foods did not have any ingredients that were thought to create anger (like meat or onions). I loved the nut bar. The rice paper roll was okay (however its accompanying spicy mustard sauce was enough to make me cry!), and I was not a fan of the Ginseng salad (I'm still scarred from my blind testing...).

We then boarded up our bus and went home to Namwon where one of the girls was nice to enough to help me buy a toilet seat and show me where the local Innisfree is (more on that whole thing later when I finally do an apartment tour!)

xoxo,

Samantha Elisabeth  

Thursday, October 16, 2014

18 Types...


Happy Friday! This video had me cracking up while I was eating breakfast this morning.

xoxo,

Samantha Elisabeth

{The Traveling Teacher} Packing

Boy, oh, boy was packing difficult. I packed and repacked four times, and I still wound up paying a $60 fee for one of my bags being overweight. As someone who is a total clothes horse (I'm working on it!), I found it incredibly difficult to part with my wardrobe for a year. Also, if my plans of weight loss go accordingly, I may be saying goodbye to these clothes forever or be faced with a hefty tailoring bill. It was a bit cathartic, I will say, and if I had had to bring anymore suitcases or add anymore weight, I don't know that I would have survived the whole travel process. However, that post is for next time, so for now I'll leave you with some quick tips for packing up your life for a year!
  1. Don't buy that big suitcase. Seriously that thing is heavy. If you go to the store and see the bigger size, get the one that would be considered medium. It's almost impossible to get the bigger suitcase under 50 lb. 
  2. Check what you're allowed. I said this before on my old travel blog, but seriously check everything out. My flight to Spain? One checked, one carry-on, one personal bag. The carry-on didn't have weight restrictions. My flight to Korea? Two checked, one carry-on that had to be a certain size, and one personal item. Honestly, you don't need anymore than that. It might be nice to pack a lot and pay $150 for the third suitcase, but think about how difficult that's going to be to navigate in the airport and beyond!
  3. Really, really shed away the clothes. Keep your wardrobe neutral, and prepare to mix and match. My wardrobe is honestly a lot of black, gray, navy, and white with a few items in colors like hunter green or pink. I brought a lot of different jewelry to "spice" up the outfits, but otherwise it's the definition of minimalist. Only bring what you find comfortable and what fits!
  4. Don't overdue the shoes either! Oh man, did I shed my shoes. Over all, I bought two pairs of boots (brown and black), a pair of cognac heels, a pair of black flats, two pairs of sandals (cognac and black), a pair of leopard loafers that I love, a pair of brown booties, and a pair of Chucks. I shed some heels and extra flats in the name of keeping it simple and sticking to the shoes I know I'll wear a ton. I also know that buying shoes here isn't as difficult for me since I'm a 6-6.5!
  5. Bring a lot of... Anything you're picky about and don't think you'll find easily here. For me that's deodorant (I only like Secret Gel), shampoo (I get dandruff easily, so I packed 2 things of Head & Shoulders), and toothpaste (I heard it's not that good here). 
More to come as I get into the groove of things here!

xoxo,

Samantha Elisabeth