Lunar New Year: How I Spent My Stay-cation…

So I feel really boring.  This whole city life/30 degrees as-a-day-time-high thing is turning me into an indoor girl (as much as i’m fighting it with walks, hikes, etc whenever i can fit it in).

2.5 weeks to home.  So excited to get back to California and the beach.

Korea just celebrated Lunar New Year.

I had 5 days in a row off of “stay-cation”.  I made a list of all the Korean festivities I wanted to attend, museums to possibly visit, shopping to do…then…

I didn’t even leave my neighborhood.  

after nearly a year of the commute from hell, I stayed away from any buses and subways, and didn’t leave my ‘hood.  I watched hours of Grey’s Anatomy, a few movies, (and even a few episodes of Oprah), went on four hikes around Namsan Mountain (short walk from my place), made a few meals with friends, taught a yoga class at the local muay thai gym (AKA my saving grace during this final month!), and just plain rested.  There was even one day I didn’t leave my apartment.

I’ve been too apathetic to upload pictures.  (Sorry.  Basically it’s cold, some snow on the ground, I look the same (maybe a slight whiter shade of pale), and the sun is out most days which is cool.)

Loving teaching yoga.

Over the whole watching 4 year olds all day thing.  my patience is wearing pretty thin with that whole deal, 
(ask me again tomorrow, maybe you’ll hear a different story.  sometimes I love the preschool job.  and of course I’ll miss the kiddos, but man, 20 of them all day long…exhausting…)

ready to go home…

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the little things. like night hikes and laser shows.

“take one small action daily instead of indulging in the big questions” 
is some advice I’ve gleaned recently in my foray into the Artist’s Way book…  
 
This whole week I’ve had a feelin’ in my bones that a lil change up in the routine was vitally necessary.  
 
In accord with the feeling, tonight I did something fun, yet small enough to accomplish on a random weeknight, that revived my spirit.  
 
In lieu of my desire to do dishes and straighten up and return emails and facebook and journal, and practice ukulele, and do yoga and yadda yadda right when i got home, I forced myself to actually relax with an hour “horizontal meditation” AKA a nap (i find i need lots of those these days).  Then after little fuel up on leftover Spiced Kabocha Pumpkin-Seaweed-Silken Tofu soup (surpisingly good), I took the 1/2 hour hike up Namsan to Seoul Tower, just in time to catch the 8pm laser show (happens on the hour from 7pm-11pm every night).  
I love the hike up to the tower–it’s the only silence I hear all day long.  So peaceful.  I don’t even want to use the iPod.  It recharges you, just getting away from the ongoing street noise, the street smells, the crazy vibe of Seoul.  Then the views from the tower are awesome–really puts things in perspective–360 views of the whole city–good people watching (lots of dates go on here! hee hee), a Coldstone Ice cream shop if you are in the mood, and other foods and vendors.  It’s busy, but a good energy, not crazy energy like down below on the streets of Seoul.
 
I feel so lucky to live closeby Namsan Mountain and am stoked to have another few months to really discover all the trails. Even when it gets cold, I plan to bundle up and do winter hikes.  I love that the trails are lit up at night, people seem to always be around,walking their dogs (a lot of them off leash, following their masters:). it feels really safe.  I wish I could have Rio, my pup, transported here just for these evening hikes, he’d love it.  
 
I’ve said this before, but I tend to have a hard time staying put anywhere after about month 7.  To be honest, college and sorority life got old by Spring quarter of freshman year.   Even the dream life and semi-succeeding in the crazy modeling/commercials world in Santa Monica became rote after 7 months.  Working at my dream job surrounded with like-minded people, tons of people to learn from in my dream profession, 10 minutes drive from home became hard to stick with day after day, too.  Keeping me from hopping on a plane from Seoul’s Incheon Airport to LAX’s Tom Bradley International Terminal is my 12 month contract complete with severance and pension paid back to me.  Oh and the $3,000 “key money” deposit I put down on my apartment (I get it back after 12 months).  Not that money is what is the most important to me, but all together, I think that large of a chunk of change, which equals my little nest egg which will help a bit towards the grad school, and wanderlust fund, is definitely enough to force anyone sane enough to stay put.  My heart also worries about leaving my school and the kiddies high and dry, especially my amazingly sweet coteacher, but to be even more honest, and quite logical, it seems there are more than enough English teachers and recruiters eager and willing to fill the void within an hour of someone pulling a runner.  Anyways, it just isn’t me to run.  And I know I’d really, really regret it if I did.
 
So being forced to stick it out, for once in my life, is teaching me a huge, enormous, big fat blessing of a lesson, synchronous with the quote i began this entry with.  
 
Do little things everyday instead of changing the big picture…real changes happen slowly.  
If you see a child everyday, do you notice they are growing?  Not really.  But take a pic of that kid now, and then take another pic next year, and you’ll see they’ve grown a lotttt!
 
It’s the little things that fuel a life worth living.  Not big things.  Like taking a night hike to see a laser show and the city lights.  it changed my whole perspective on Seoul today.
 
I didn’t need to move to f’ing Korea to make my life more interesting…it’s a big case of “wherever you go, there you are”.
 
Different latitude and longitude, same person.  
Same “7 month itch”.  
 
Now I realize I could’ve taken a dance class, taken up a new sport,  taken a trip to the islands, taken a one week vacay to Hawaii, changed up my dog park routine on the weekends.  I was thinking big instead of little.  
 
But I guess sometimes making the big change that ends up being the hardest time is the life lesson you need–THE swift kick in the rear end that knocks some sense into your head.  and thank god it’s learned at 20 instead of 40 (i’d way rather have a quarter life crisis than a midlife crisis, whattya think?).  And tonight I’m pretty darn happy.  
Korea is not a mistake.  It’s a big, fat, juicy, blessing.  And I think I’ll quite enjoy the next few months left here.  ❤

Sunset Hiking to N Seoul Tower

After hanging with these rugrats all day…


if i conserve my energy enough…fuel up on the right snacks…time the subway ride home perfectly…

I can do this!

hike up to Seoul tower~a 30 minute hike up Mt. Namsan from my lil apartment.

people leave locks up at seoul tower.  i had fun peeking at the ones i could read.  isn’t this sweet? i hope miko and her  partner are having an amazing life together ❤

walk up…through nature…the sounds of the city go away…

“when the lights go down in the city, and the mooooon shines on the Hannnnnnn”  

pretttttty.  needed.  sunsets fill the spirit.

how thoughtful of the city of Seoul to light up the path back to the ‘hood.