Girls Just wanna have fun…

23/05/2015

For the last two weekends I have been going out Friday night and coming back home well into Saturday.

Not the kind of lifestyle that I would have chosen for myself but it is a great stress relief.

The only worry now is my financial situation.

I have also broken the promise that I had made to my dad about drinking alcohol here in Seoul City, South Korea.

I do feel an immense amount of disappointment in myself for not sticking to the original plan.

But at the same time I have had two incredible weeks where I have been much happier in my job.

And if a teacher is a happy one, I have realised, it exudes through you and hits your children.

My students have been notedly much more happy in the past week.

I absolutely love my students and it has taken me the best part of the last three to four months to finally wake up and acknowledge that first of all.

First of all I need to work on my self.

What makes me happy? What kind of activities and things do I enjoy doing? How can I incorporate these things into my classes so that my students might experiences a more interactive classroom?

The hagwon life as many a foreigner here in Apgujeong-Itaewon-Gangnam etc areas have identified is one where you have your balls stapled to your desk until you complete your textbooks.

But who said that teaching a textbook had to remain the incredibly boring hell pit never ending repetitive cycle of mental abuse?

Why not use the content in your text book to plan your classes in a more activities based framework?

After having my first amazing weekend I realised that my creative juices were actually flowing. Like legitimately.

I found myself happy and wanting to try out new ideas. Having my mind refreshed instead of carrying the burden of each week into the next one and just basically snowing myself under and killing myself, physically, mentally and emotionally.

I became a much angrier person. A bitter person.

The kind of person that I absolutely did not ever want to become… What was happening to me.

After actually relaxing in the weekend I felt loads better!!!! 🙂

Lighter. Freer. Beautiful inside exuding outwards…

I feel like the me that I want to be.

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Lead us not into temptation…

As someone who believes in Christ’s sacrifice and in the power of Gods grace. There was a huge part of my relocating here to South Korea that depended on Gods favor.

You see, before I even set foot on the plane from Wellington New Zealand to Incheon, Seoul, South Korea, God was already a part of my journey.

I spent many nights deep in prayer and in tears as I questioned my decisions and whether my decisions were for myself or in accordance with Gods will.

And a few months later here I am in my apartment in Gangnam, living the life of a pre-school and elementary teacher.

With a new world comes new experiences…

And not all of them are positive. I came here as a virgin. Pretty much saving myself for marriage. But last night I almost gave it all up for someone who spoke beautiful, drunken words.

And that was when it hit me… My religion is changing. Christianity isn’t changing for me, but the physical make-up of my Christianity has changed with my coming here.

Away from my family and my friends I am now making decisions on my own. Is this right or wrong? What are my values? Should I do this or do that?

In the safety of familiarity and unspoken codes between family and friends and friends of family and friends I never had to worry about whether someone wanted to try and get into my pants or not. They knew not to, they knew who my brothers were, they knew my cousins.

Everybody back home knows my connections.

But here the only person that knows my connections, where I come from, and what I came to set out to do. Is me.

And last night was a huge scare because it had me drifting away from my principles, from my sense of self.

Thankfully, I mustered enough common sense and strength to turn and walk away.

But what motivated me to come here and write about it is the fact that. I had to muster that strength.

I almost gave in.

And that scared me.

May our good Lord strengthen us all and awaken with us these small realisations.

Worrier Queen

Today marks a whole month since setting foot in Seoul, South Korea.

This is my very first blog post since touching down on the 25th of February 2015.

For a while I still had absolutely no concept of what was going on. It seemed as if I was saying goodbye to my dear and loved ones. I was shopping or things to bring. I was completing a TESOL class in a different city. I was on a plane.

Then suddenly POW!

I was in a new country.

From The Hutt, Welly in New Zealand to Gangnam, Seoul, South Korea.

In hindsight the rush was probably for the best because of my tendency to be completely and utterly INDECISIVE. Anyone who knows me will be shouting amen to that.

Anywho…

The experience.

At the moment I am a teacher at a Hagwon or private school that caters to pre-school and elementary children. And overall I am loving it because I am learning. There’s just one problem.

It has become my life. I start at ten in the morning and finish at ten past six in the evening. Most nights however you can find me staying in until 8.30 or so to catch up.

Don’t get me wrong it’s not a complaint. Surprisingly. Despite the fact that this job is keeping me up at night. I still love it. That’s the crazy and most interesting part.

I stay up at times worried about whether what I have planned to teach the next day will be adequate enough in accordance with the students’ learning levels.

Is my teaching differentiated enough?

Will my students be at the stage of learning that they need to be at in order to adequately complete this test?

Will this project stir their interest?

I am constantly worrying about whether the work that I set my students is really helping them learn.

Etcetera x3

I think it’s very healthy for a teacher to have these kinds of questions in their teaching. However, when it becomes an enveloping kind of thing where you are constantly second guessing yourself I think that there is some potential for a problem.

Which is why I am now blogging about this…

This is my question…

Will there be a time where this constant worry will turn to solidified confidence in ones ability to… well… teach their students?

Of course there are many different factors contributing to a teachers mindset as an educator.

Fresh out of Grad school with a secondary/high school degree.

One month into teaching in a completely different country.

Private school teaching with experience in public high-schools.

Behaviour management issues and a lack of regard (on the part of the students) for consequences etc.

Hmmmmmmmm…

Very nice to get these thoughts out there…

It will now be much easier to get and analytical perspective of these thoughts.

Hmmmmmmmmmmm… teaching in reflection…

🙂

Soifua ma ia manuia,

Chocolate Sasalapa

Gangnam, Seoul, South Korea

The journey of self discovery…

It is the year 2015 (05/01/2015)

There are so many things that this new year has brought with it. This stuff… comes in waves. This stuff is called stuff because at this stage this speck in my minds eye hasn’t got a title yet.

First of all I have finally completed my studies.

Three years of my life I dedicated to among other things the study of English literature and Samoan studies is now done and dusted (technically completed in 2013…). This past year I finally completed my teaching degree. And so… naturally the next step would be for me to become a teacher in a New Zealand secondary school planning texts, films, research topics, plays, poems, characters, cross cultural encounters etc… for the study of English. Or as I prefer to call it  “Communication Studies”.

“To teach or not to teach? That is the question!”

Very “Insert over used and grimace worthy cliche quote here”… I know, but it fits! And fitting works, fitting is good. Like clothes that hug you without the intention of cutting off your oxygen supply.

And back to teaching.

Teaching as the next logical step after my studies isn’t making ample sense to me on a spiritually, mentally, physically attuned type level. Mind and Soul, body and Spirit. There’s some thing that doesn’t seem to fit.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love teaching. It is an opportunity for me to give back to my community, to MY community. Like an ode to the English nerd and the quest to make English more relevant to a generation that from experience are 75% concerned with everything but their school work (many for very legitimate reasons) and 25% are interested in the art of communication yet don’t want to be seen as the nerd and so feign otherwise. I love the spark, when students light up about a subject even when they are trying their best not to. That moment of an ignited passion or the realisation of a strength or until now undiscovered ability.

This vision that the past four years of study has been leading my entire life towards. Seems absolutely ludicrous to me.

Is this a fantasy? Did I have misconceptions about teaching?

Teaching has been called one of the hardest jobs that a person could ever have. Especially if you want to be the best at what you do.

And that is exactly what I do. I always want to be the best or do my best and I know how exhausting it will be. But a very WORTHWHILE exhaustion. Because I would be in a position to make an actual difference in individuals lives.

And then come the expectations.

As a self proclaimed perfectionist, my expectations of myself can scare even myself at the best of times. And this only in hindsight. (Now there’s a specific land you wouldn’t have to count on returning from).

This is my problem-child, my illness, my pirouetting dark demon that has in the past governed many of my decisions.

And back to teaching take two…:

And it takes me four years of my life to suddenly decide that the passion that has been the focus of my being for far longer than my memories can think to go.

The questions that revolve around my mind are many. My brain seems always immediate. Seeking to categorise and explain this change in the confident emotional draw power that teaching once had over my heart.

  1. Have I had a complete change of mind when it comes to my career path?
  2. Am I unhappy with my current position in life?
  3. Am I trying to run away from my own destiny (teaching)?
  4. Is teaching really what I wanted to do with my life?
  5. Am I going through a mid-twenties life crisis?
  6. Am I being challenged by God in order to discover a truth about myself?
  7. Am I afraid of settling?
  8. Do I believe that teaching is too difficult?
  9. Am I being distracted by the easy path?

And the list goes on.

Obviously there are some pretty serious trains of thought going on right now, most of which, now that I have read them can probably be simplified to actually look like this:

  1. Need to get a grip
  2. Need to be more realistic and less mysterious
  3. Need to live and therefore need money for life necessitie
  4. Need a JOB!

This is the reality. Despite having a teaching degree from graduate school and an undergrad degree that backs this qualification up I still have this huge anticipation of something… More.

This feeling of “more” is of course far from an ungrateful scowl. I just feel a beautiful change in the opportunities, this thing that has no name.

Something big, something amazing, something that cannot be explained.

I am embarking on a brand new chapter in my life. And despite the New Zealand secondary schools showing signs that they already possess enough new fish (i.e not biting when I cast my “teaching line” in their waters).

Whichever way the good lord decides to send me I am glad and I am excited, mind and soul, body and spirit.

Teaching or no teaching.

🙂

Distraction: A Force working for good or for…eville?

So it’s the seventh day of December and Christmas is literally just around the corner. It’s the season of celebration, or reunion with loved ones from near and far. A time when shopping takes on a completely new meaning (if your blessed with money to spend at this time) in that you purchase for others. Whether the thoughts are negative or positive are facts that we can bypass. Christmas.

This early I am starting to feel the Christmas spirit, I am playing old Christmas songs on youtube as I cook, as I bake, as I read, as I live and as I endeavour to both convincingly start and finish my assignment that is due tomorrow by 4 pm.

1500 words.

3 pages of 12 pt Times New Roman typing stands in the way of my current state of anxious.

And now it’s the 8 February 2015. (I am happy to update on the fact that said paper was completed, and I am now a graduate school… graduate? Is that how it’s meant to be said? I digress…)

AND THIS IS THE LESSON, a perfect example of my dilemma. Procrastination at its finest and realist. A lot of things that I have been attempting to complete in my life ESPECIALLY when it comes to writing often gets left on the back burner.

On the bottom right hand corner of my page it says that the last draft of this writing was saved at 10:57:33 am on December 7 2014 at 6.34 am.

And it has only taken about… 2 months (O.O) to get back on track.

DISTRACTIONS!

They are an evil that finds its way into the murkier corners of our minds and indeed lives.

Are you one of those people whose greatest executed plan comes under METHOD: on your average cooking website?
Or maybe you are extremely well prepared and can create an immaculate plan BUT lack the expertise in delivering the goods?

Have you ever felt extremely passionate about something like writing or reading or viewing something? And then taken steps to ensure that you have planned and gathered your resources, positioned yourself into focus mode when suddenly BOOM! ****

…You find that something more important comes up and your passion fuelled, planned and resourced activity is spear tackled onto the back burner?

Boy, are you in for a treat because have no fear, a chronic sufferer of distractions is here!

This is always the way isn’t it? It really happens like this. You may have planned to finally write that 100 page novel when BOOM! Your family members from overseas just arrived at your front door. OR you are just about to bake that amazing birthday cake when BANG! A friend is in need of your advice or something? And so on and so forth… etc… etc…

We often find ourselves postponing what we consider less important for things that might require our attention in a more immediate way.

The last two months have been full of many IMMEDIATE “side projects”.

* in random selection: *

One:
I had gone to visit a friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in about a month and we had planned to hangout and go to bible study.

BANG! I arrived at her house to find that she had a guest who was a Muso. Lyrical collaborations and creative juice flowing took place and the much needed catch up was again systematically curtained.

Two:

I have been putting off writing a portfolio for entry into my Masters in creative writing (YES IT DOES EXIST! :P) and now in all of my job applications to different high-schools across the land of the Long White Cloud.
Boom! I have now landed myself a job teaching English in South Korea. (Which means yes, I will have to throw that Masters in creative writing on the back burner for what seems like the millionth time, BUT undoubtedly I will have a very interesting time and possible a lot more material after this new experience… God willing of course).

Three:

I have been meaning to lose weight for my cousins wedding later this year. (Another goal that has constantly suffered being clothes-lined to the back seat in my life).

And BOOMBANG: I am still on the fat side. This has been going on for the best part of my entire existence. Weight Loss and muscle toning is something that I am pretty well versed in. VERSED IN. Unfortunately I haven’t really gotten around to the physical part of that goal.

Instead of listing the different “interruptions” in our plans that life constantly throws at us (which could go on and on…and on).

In my experience all of the little “distractions” that have come my way have helped build the me that I have become.

All of our decisions obviously have an effect on what our futures may hold but even deeper than that a distraction (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH the over familiarity with TIME WASTERS THAT lead to PROCRASTINATION which is of course actually evil) when seen with the mind and soul has to have sprouted from AH-ttraction.

It is our reflection through our thoughts, through our experiences, what we love, what we are passionate about.

These things I believe have a power over us, there is a little bit of serendipity in what we are “distracted” by.

At this point at the beginning of a new chapter I sincerely believe that the things that have distracted me (to do with mind and soul at least) have had destiny whispered into them. Breathed into them.

I was meant to have a lyrical collaboration with that muso I met at my friends (one song that he sent me is a current project that I still need to touch up on). I was given an opportunity to go to South Korea (God willing I leave at the end of this month I will update about this of course). And about the weight-loss thing… the need to diet still comes and goes in waves, I do need to lose weight. And I am pretty sure that like all the distractions that have taken a hold of me this one in due time will have its chance.

It is very important that we do not overlook our distractions.

With your mind and soul in the right place think deeply and clearly about what has been distracting you.

Peace in the middle east.

Emmanuel!

Soifua ma ia manuia.

Hootie

Love is a battle field (intercepting thoughts)

At the moment I have a strange impulse to tell everybody that I am pregnant. Like what is this supposed to mean? I don’t even have a boyfriend with which to procreate. Man this is making me sound like a crazy science loving mom with Asperger syndrome.

Okay you know what else is hugely weird? I have never really been in love . To be fair I love my family, my friends, my God and everything else that comes with this beautiful life.

But there has always been this feeling, this hope, this strange purple void.

I always fantasize about it, being in love and I feel like everything will magically fall into place once I happen upon that one guy who loves me for who I am.

>>>>>>>Please excuse the thick layers of cheese that lather the preceding and following sentences.<<<<<<<<

I have never been asked out.

I have never been romantically involved with anyone.

I am a BIG woman, which is something that I want to work on for me personally. BIG and beautifull

I am comfortably fat (and I am scared of being so comfortably fat that I might disappear off the face of the earth without fulfilling my purpose or without filling my life with different opportunities).

I currently have someone (or two) that I am kind of interested in or have associated with the concept of potential love interest(s).

(note how I refer to these guys, these people as if I am auditioning them for a role in a film… the film of my life…ha!)

The first guy is someone that I actually only started to develop an interest in once I had gotten to know him. We were in the same Samoan class at Victoria University and apparently he is around the same age as me which for some superficial reason is really important. I liked him because he was funny, and at the heart of it was actually just really lovable and not too serious (well he did fight for what he believed in, he defended himself until the end if he thought that he was being offended etcetera).

He was a funny, flirtatious and sexy man, he also had a boyish kind of charm about him, like he still kept in touch with his inner child which I believe is a MUST. Once I realised that this was the case I moved from crushing on him to actually appreciating his presence and his strength in his individuality.

It’s funny how I wish I could tell him these things to his face because they are true to me. At the same time and perhaps regrettably I know that there may not be another chance for me to tell him anything. Then again, what happens after the love is professed? Would the love have then ended? (Do you see how my education in the teaching of the English language, how different texts have somehow catapulted themselves and have formed themselves into physical experiences? How these texts and my actual life and spiritual and psychological experiences have become one in their power to impact upon me?
Over read, under-experienced in life and scared out of my wits by the future… what happens when I become a teacher?)

And these are the insecurities that I need someone to calm, not claim but calm.

Wow…

Well yes, I guess there are other things that I should probably look at like maybe other aspects of his personality and his looks. But in all honesty I don’t really like guys until I have gotten to know them a bit. Tested the waters.

Getting to know guys however is also a huge problem. I have major trust issues (there, I said it…typical weakness of the modern female) and have built these really high walls around myself so that I feel safe enough that I can hold everyone at a comfortable distance.

Moving on… this guy, this person who is a little bit shorter than me and is quite good looking. Okay maybe he is intensely good looking if I do say so myself (I imagine that he would be pretty pleased with himself if he ever read this and knew that this was about him) has been one of the first that I have let my hair down for. I don't know how or why.

Long winding story cut short (being long winded is my forte, the perfectionist’s curse) about two months ago one of my best friends told me that the said guy, lets call him Nathan, had similar feelings for me and did not have the guts to tell me to my face. To be fair, neither did I and so we are equally to blame nevertheless it makes my brain wrack with frustration to think that we could have been a couple, that I could have gotten to know him a lot more than I know him now, that we could have been great friends. Nathan and I against the… wth??

But this indicates a further problem.

This is my imagination.

This is how I would fantasize our love to have been, I could have supported him in his dreams and he could also support me as I aspire to be a teacher.

There is so much more that my naturally creative juices could add. So many ways that I could mould this situation to suit my worldview. To fulfil my own desires and my own one sided imagined fantastical tale of a developing love…

But this would be meaningless. This love story could not even be half as beautiful as it would have been had I been able to share the writing of this story with someone else. With the funny, strong and strangely vulnerable guy that I was interested in during my undergraduate study.

Wow, this is what it’s like. I actually really admired that dude.

May you never read this heartfelt outpouring…

Chocolate Sasalapa…

Meanwhile at Lockwood…

This marks the very first blog post.

What am I even doing here?

I have always needed a blog to off-load, you know things like study stress, family stress, church stress, friend stress, pretty much every single thing that you can attach to the word stress-type-stress. It’s all better out than in and what better way is there to apply this theory than catapulting ‘it” on to the internet?

This is my venting mechanism…

My cast every care of what people think, any identity that I have ever had to the wind, safe place. Where I will gladly cast ceramic dishes into the walls.

I love chocolate, chocolate is just so beautiful, it’s exotic, it’s flavoursome, it’s a gift, it’s made from cocoa, it’s brown, it’s yummy, it has had connections with so many different cultures in it’s development into what it’s known as today(Originally from the Mesoamerican region …) it’s a beautiful relationship… in moderation.

Sasalapa! The Samoan translation of a fruit more commonly known as the Custard Apple. I tasted this fruit for the first time on the island of Upolu (Western Samoa) in 2005 and haven’t been able to find a fruit that matches it’s level of deliciousness since.

Together these amazing contributions to the food family make my title…

Faafetai lava!

Soifua ma ia manuia