Wednesday, December 20

Winter Break

Ahh, one of the perks of being a teacher is all the vacation time. The boy and I took our time traveling to SoCal. We took Highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) the whole way from San Francisco to Long Beach. What a gorgeous driving, winding ones way along the pacific ocean. Except for the mild car sickness that ensues between Carmel and roughly San Simeon (75 miles or so), it was the perfect way to go. We stayed one night in Carmel and window shopped at all the outrageously expensive boutiques. Then on our second night we stayed in Cambria, CA at the J. Patrick House B&B. We had a lovely big room with a fireplace, they set out menus to all the local restaurants for you to peruse over wine with your fellow guests in the evening and then when you get home from dinner you find ice cold milk and cookies waiting for you. And unlike our stay in Hawaii, this one did come with breakfast, a delicious 2 course breakfast at that! It was wonderful!

And now were down here in freezing, literally, Southern California. William assured me I wouldn't need my winter coat and of course they've had record breaking cold. His parents don't have central heat so we've moved on to his sister's. We're doing a lot of nothing: sitting around reading, I've been knitting up a storm and we've been on the verge of breakup after several games of Blokus. Yay, winter vacation!

Tuesday, December 5


When I'm working it's always so long between posts. Since last posting, I've been to three weddings, Ohio for Thanksgiving and have been working my ass off to have all but 4 students (out of 20) in my 6th/7th Algebra and support class failing. It's a frustrating year work wise. Enough to make me consider actually going back to Quorum where I was selling my soul as opposed to just working with little devils in disguise. Example today I had a mother tell me she's "raised her son to never appologize" and that "sometimes the only way to be heard is by talking back."

Housing situation has been rough too with an ongoing furniture saga, house getting broken into, etc. However, living with the boy is good, good, good.

And now here we are, 9 days until xmas break. 2 weeks off. One week with his family and then a week of spontaneous last minute travel deals, please let it be a cruise!

Thursday, August 24

Work and a Wedding

Dear Diary,

Today was my first official day back at work. I'm very excited to be returning to O'Connell and see all the returning teachers. My new math co-workers are all experienced teachers and we should make for a good team.

Ok, enough of the cheese, though that's how it felt this morning. It is good to be back, my room is mostly set up and I'm mostly ready for kids on Monday. That's largely due to the fact that we're running a freshman orientation week to really teacher our students what it means to be a freshman at O'Connell. We're really hoping for a strong academic push this year with 2 hours of homework a night per student. Toto, this isn't middle school anymore. The freshman test scores were the only ones at our school to go up last year and we'd like to make that consistent across the school.

However, that's the last work day for me this week. Tomorrow, William and I fly to Atlanta for my best friend, Karla's, wedding! I get to wear a big Barbie pink dress. Stay tuned for photos!

Monday, August 21

Sweden photos!

Go check out all my "Sweden - " sets on my flickr account.

Monday, August 7

Seoul - The 5 Star Way

Sunday was William's birthday and we had a day and a half off from teaching. So I checked around the various travel sites and found us a room in Seoul at the Sofitel Ambassador, a five star hotel, for $135. Mind you, our beds in Yeojoo, where we're teaching, are more box spring than matress, seriously uncomfortable, plus we can't sleep together as they're way too narrow. Also, Korean pillows are the antithesis of what I consider to be a comfortable pillow. Their pillows are densley packed and huge, laying on one, I feel as though my chin is being forced into my chest my head is so high.

So, we decided to go ahead and spend the money. I mean, after all, we do have full time jobs back home and we're getting paid to be here. Then, we get to the hotel and since it's low season they offer us an upgrade to the "premium" floor which includes free use of the sauna as well as breakfast and a 3 pm check out for only $44 more. We splurge. And boy was it worth it!!!

The first thing we notice is the attachment sticking out from the toilet with 15 different buttons. What the f%@&??? I, of course, took pictures, but you'll have to wait until I'm back home to down load them. Ok, so the different buttons, after sitting on the pot for many, many minutes playing around, I figured out 1) heat the seat 2-4) in 3 different temperatures 5) a bidet feature with 6) a front option for ladies (unfortunately this wasn't working), 7-9) the bidet feature came in three speeds 10) a drying feature 11-13) also in three speeds and 14-15) a delay shut off. Oh my god!

The bed was everything I dream of and more. King sized, a feather top with 4 fluffy feather pillows. Of course, we had to crank the A/C down low to sleep under the feathers, but it was heavenly. Rather than heading out the the Dongdaemun night market, we were asleep by 9:30 :-o

Breakfast was Western with a few Korean options. Rye bread! Museli! Yummy!

I had to check out the sauna and while it was newer and more shiny than the one in Yeojoo, the dry saunas in Yeojoo are nicer. But I still enjoyed my soak and steam.

We then had a great Sunday afternoon roaming around various markets and malls. I'm on the hunt for crazy t-shirts and have only found one worth buying. It reads "Bunny is pet name for a rabbit." And better yet, it was only $2!

Now we're back in Yeojoo and I'm sure this last week will just fly by. I no longer want to strangle my demon child, though he is still a struggle every day. Today we did "Christmas" with the kids. And tomorrow it's outdoor Olympics. My class is going to be Sweden! Heja Sveirge!

Friday, August 4

Korean Sauna Experience

We just passed hump day. It's getting to that high frustration level where everyone wants to kill someone. For me it's one student in my class, I want to tear off his head and play soccer with it. However, all my frustrations were alliviated last night by a trip to the sauna. Matthew and I had discussed doing this last year, but it never manifested.

So, a Korean sauna has many areas and features; thankfully, I had a seasoned sauna veteran with me though who could help with the translating and just general "this is what you do now." At this one in Yeoju, first you enter the lobby and a man hands you a key to a locker where you put your shoes. Then you pay him 9000 won (~$9) and enter into the ladies (or mens, respectively) changing room. However, this is more than just a changing room, there's a tv, several mats, lots of floor space where if you wanted you could spend the night. Also, in this room was a people sized oven, seriously, it looked like something I'd bake bread in on a Wonderbread scale. Anyway, once safely nestled in the changing room you proceed to get buck naked. And, as we all know, that's when the fun begins. You enter the shower room where they have "western" wall showers and also the hoses with nostle attachments. There is a large hot tub as well as a large cold plunge. There were also two wet saunas each with a different theme, one being charcoal for it's purifying characteristics. Next to the tubs there were three massage tables, except these tables are covered in vinyl. You can pay an agima (an older Korean woman) 15,000 won (~$15) to scrub you while you lay upon one of these tables.

Ok, so if I'm going to a Korean sauna, I'm going all out so, of course, I got the scrub. The agima is naked save for a pair sheer leapord skin grandma panties (she is old enough to be a grandma after all). You lay on the table and she puts on a pair of gloves, which are essentially socks, that feel like brillo pads. She rubs you ~all~ over for a rough 15 minutes. There were rolls of dead skin sheeting off of me. It looked like I was surrounded by all these grey little bugs. Yes, that part was disgusting. The scrubbing was almost painful at first, but then I got used to it. I won't really say that part was pleasurable, but it was in that really gross "I just popped a big zit and look at all this stuff that came out of it" sort of way.

Anyway, after the scrubbing has ended (at that point you've laid on your back, your sides and your stomach, as well as sat up to have your back and neck properly scoured), the skin scraps get washed away by several nice bucket-fulls of warm water. Then, back on your back, you get soaped up. She then gets you to flip over and I felt like I was on a slip and slide while your back gets soaped. More warm water. Then a very brief oil massage with clapping hits along your buttocks, shoulders and calves. It was so cool!

After all that, I showered off the oil in order to enjoy the tubs a bit more. Oh, one glorious thing is that the tubs aren't chlorinated! Ok, so you've been scrubbed, showered and now you put on some sauna-provided lounging clothes to head up to the co-ed area. In the co-ed room, there's another large wooden floor with mats for sleeping, if you choose, a few coin operated massage chairs, and three more dry saunas, again with different themes. These were really cool with different mossaics. Well, of course after being in the sauna I needed one more cold plunge, but this time opted for the cold shower. Aaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!

It was awesome!

Sunday, July 30

Egg Drop

Well, I'm in Korea and at the moment all my blogger links are in Korean script. Very strange. I'm here teaching English for three weeks to a class of 12 adorable (mostly) students. I teach for 3 hours in the morning, eat an awful lunch and then for 3 more hours in the afternoon before another awful meal.

They've changed things around this year though, so that my 3 hours in the afternoon are the same lesson but with different kids. Much less planning required. And my afternoon lessons are fun! I'm teaching them about the post office and we write letters home and then after a 30 minute break in which they go out and buy such delicious snacks as "Fried Chicken Snack" which looks like minature KFC drum legs completely with a piece of dried chicken inside or "Squid Covered Peanuts" we do a science project. And it's fun as they we are doing an egg drop.

I give each group supplies:
1 1.5 liter soda bottle with the top cut off
1 piece of bubblewrap (which we learn to say, so funny!)
1 piece of cotton
4 rubber bands
2 pieces of tape
1 egg

And the object of course, is to save your egg from death when it is dropped from knee level, hip level, shoulder level and above the head level.

Well, the first day I did this I built up the suspense, delayed the introduction of the egg until the end and then spent the time explaining that they wanted their egg to live. I turned around to begin handing out supplies and my elbow bumped the eggs knocking them all to the floor. All eggs are now dead. The kids and I stand their shocked.

New plan:
You build your egg shelters, I go find new eggs, then we drop. So I run downstairs to our resource room where the counselors tell me there are no more eggs.

Next New Plan:
You build your egg shelters, we all go to the store, then we drop. But they got so into the building that I just ran off to the store myself where, to my delight, I find that they sell eggs in cute packs of 3, which is exactly how many groups I have! I return, the proud successful teacher and the students then spend 5 minutes explaining to me that I have bought cooked eggs :-o

It doesn't matter! Cooked eggs still crack, I say. And we continue with much hilarity.

Since then, I haven't dropped any more eggs :)

Saturday, July 29

More about Sweden

I see that I never posted again about my time in Sweden though I meant too. I really, really, really love Sweden in the summer time. Swedish people are really friendly, it's super easy to get around as everyone (young and old) speaks English and it's BEAUTIFUL!

I did mostly follow my itinerary and added a trip to the ski town of Are (put a circle above the "a" and pronounce it Oh-rah) which was my favorite part. I hiked up a beautiful mountain stayed and a very comfortable, friendly ski lodge and just had a blast.

Once reunited with Magnus and Linus we immediately set off for a 3 day, 65 km (40 mi) canoe trip that Linus had ambitiously planned. We ended up having to paddle for 8 hours a day to complete it, but it was so fun. Emilie, Linus's girlfriend, is awesome and super friendly and laid back. She was a great hostess all the times that Linus had other things to do. Not to say Linus is a bad host, he let me into his apartment, dye his clothes pink, fed me incredibly well. I just had so much fun.

I hope I remember to come back here and write about the crazy things in Sweden. But now I'm in Korea, surrounded by a whole new style of craziness.

Thursday, June 29


Is beautiful! After a 7 hour delay at Newark, I finally arrived and wandered my way to my hostel. It's on one of the smaller islands and half of the rooms are on an anchored ship! I'm staying on land though (as I prefer it). Yesterday was rainy and a bit chilly, but today the sun has appeared making everything and everyone glow.

I've wandered around all morning and am now in a 7 Eleven using the internet (much cheaper here than the hostel). I'm on my way to a food hall, woo hoo! Tomorrow I head off to Möra and the country, which I'm really looking forward to, for while Stockholm is a lovely, lovely city, it's definitely city and I had enough of that in NYC.

Tuesday, June 27

A Swedish Itinerary, of sorts

I sat down (literally in an aisle in Barnes and Noble) with a few Swedish travel books yesterday and here are my thoughts of what I might do before heading to Goteborg where I'll meet up with my friends.

Wed-Thu June 28 - 29 in Stockholm. I arrive Wednesday at 7 a.m. I'll head to the hostel, drop off my bag and probably seek out some caffine. Then, given the forcasted rain, I'll probably spend most of the next two days in museums.

Fri June 30 depart for Mora, try to stay here at this hostel. Mora is at the north end of Siljan lake where I want to hike, swim, etc.

Sun Jul 2 - take the Inslandsbanan up to Ostersund. This is a train that only runs in the summer time and makes all sorts of unconventional stops. It's apparently a lovely way to see Sweden.

Mon Jul 3 - tour Ostersund

Tue Jul 4 - take the train to Goteborg.

Sunday, June 25

NYC in the summer time

Is hot, really, really hot. And humid. And very few folks have air-conditioning. Why, would I choose to come here in the summer you may ask? Well, my best friend since the 1st grade, Karla, is getting married and moving from NYC back to Atlanta. So this is her last hurrah in NYC. We did the bachelorette thing Friday night, much drinking and (too) many mostly naked men later, we can check that off this list. Today, Sunday, is the bridal shower (number 1). We're going for a tea party! I'm really excited about that part. More so than the bachelorette festiivites. Although, I managed to stay out until 4 a.m., yes, Miss I'm-Tired at 9:30, was out until 4 a.m. I even stopped drinking around 10.

Last night I had dinner with some Rice friends. We went to a Chinese/Peruvian place in the upper west side. Huge menu, no fusion. We all ordered Peruvian and it was ~delicious~!! It was also great fun to see them; we're hanging out again tonight while Karla goes to a going-away party.

What else? I also was able to get my Korean visa - it was so easy! And now I'll legally be working in Korea (July 20th - August 13th). But first, SWEDEN! I head off for Stockholm on Tuesday, land Wednesday. I'm really excited! I haven't been to Sweden since March of 2002. March is not a good time to be in Sweden, it's cold, rainy and grey. While summer has 18 hours of day light! Some of you may remember I saw Magnus in Thailand and I'll be seeing him again somewhere in Western Sweden. Linus came to visit me 2 years ago to the day almost and now it's my turn, Sweden here I come :)

Rereading this I see it's very jumbled. I've been surrounded by people for 5 days now, something the introvert in me doesn't handle well. Hopefully after a few days on my own in Scandinavia, I'll be more lucid...

Monday, June 19

Decisions, Decisions

So before I became a teacher, I was a pastry chef and before that I was a technical consultant for Quorum Business Solutions. Well, school ended on Wednesday for me (hallelujah!) and I flew to Vegas for my cousin's graduation. Thursday night a manager from Quorum called me and offered me my old job back (the one I left 3 years ago!) and offered me two times what I'm making now! I would be working in Denver commuting from SF.

There was much agonizing. A long talk with my principal. Several nights worth of long talks with Wil. Everyone (including the massage therapist) telling me to go with the Quorum offer. But in the end, I'm going back to O'Connell for at least another year. Quorum told me they'd still have work for me then. I love my job. Next year, I think I'll love it even more, but will then have much more college debt, so then I'll go for the money. But for now, I'm still an algebra teacher.

Tuesday, May 30

Check Yes or No

I got a note on Friday that read:
Hi Emily,
I think you're really fun and interesting. I think we'd have a really great time going to prom together. If you want we can go just as friends, but I'd really like to get to know you better.

The me being, of course, Wil. I checked yes as prom was Sunday (yes, the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, we got a cheaper rate). We got all dressed up, I had my makeup done at the MAC counter Carnival style

We had dinner first and then stayed at a fancy hotel. It was the prom you see in the movies. It was great.

See the whole set of photos here

Wednesday, May 24

I need a vacation

I've been really mean to my students these past two days. I'm frustrated because most of them just bombed a test on material I thought they understood. Even my honors class, I gave them an open book, take home quiz and no one did better than a low B.

There are 3 more teaching weeks before finals. Just 3 more weeks before the term ends. A huge percentage of my worst class is failing. And they seem resigned to it - to either being in summer school or back in the same class next year. Dear god, I would have rather been shot in the foot than repeated a class. How boring?! I need to find a way to get them to buy into the fact that they can change their grades. But right now, their behavior (poor) and lack of task accomplishment just makes me angry.

However, this weekend is Memorial Day, a three day weekend! X-Men 3 opens Friday night and I've already got my tickets. I'm baking a cake Saturday and he's volunteered to help. Prom is Sunday night. The boy and I are getting all dressed up and going out. And I think he's got something special planned for after. Maybe we'll go cherry picking Sunday afternoon. And then game day on Monday with grilling. Vacation, here I come!

Is an update in order?

I feel like somehow I should post an update to my last post. But really, my life is still where it was a few days ago. I have valued the input of my friends. Words given to the suspicions I had about their feelings towards my relationship. In the end though, as has been stated, I'm the only one who knows what it's like when it's just him and me, I know what it's like being with him and his family, with him and my family and all those parts are amazing and wonderful. With more exposure, hopefully it will get to be just as wonderful with my friends or at least more palatable for them. All I can say to you, dear friends, is that don't give up on him yet. He just takes a l...o...n...g time to get comfortable around people.

Monday, May 22

I don't get it

My dear lovely housemate Joy and I shared dinner tonight at our house, just the two of us. It was nice, it's been a while since this has happened, but looking back to last April-June, it was this way a lot as we hunted for a new housemate. But now Amy's leaving for the summer and so am I and so Joy and I got to discussing where I'm at as far as living in our house goes. Back in October, I signed a lease agreeing to be here until the end of this coming September ('06).

However, I'll be traveling from June 15 - Aug 15th, so I don't really want to pay rent, so I'm half-heartedly looking for a subletter, which is hard to find. Also, Amy's definitely going to have a subletter as she needs help paying the rent, where as I could pay it if I need to. Anyway, and then as I've posted, the boy and I are discussing moving in together in the fall. So really, I"m looking for my replacement, which is sad as I love our house.

And then in talking to Joy telling her that I was going to live with the boy she asked, "Don't you think it's a little soon?" Well, by the time we'd actually move in together it'll be a month shy of a year. Not that I care particularly whether it's been a year, we're already spending 3+ nights a week together. Also she told me, "I just don't get it. You don't seem like a subdued version of the old Emily with him. When was the last time you wore fake eyelashes?" And then she tells me it's not just her amongst our friends who "don't get it."

And now here I am, having a "Sex and the City" running monologue with myself. Questioning. I admire her and thanked her for having the guts to say it to me. It's a good friend who will tell you that she doesn't understand (approve of) your relationship. But in the end, I am the one living in it and loving being in it.

I am in love with a full on introvert who doesn't do well in groups and claims to hate hippies. (Yet, here he is in love with one.) However, this does mean that he comes into conflict with my group of hippy friends. I'm fairly confident that my group of peninsula friends don't hate him, though maybe they don't get it either??

And nope, I haven't worn fake eyelashes since October. Is that because of the boy or is it because I am way too tired to consider going out dancing if the event is after 9 pm? Going out dancing and partying all night never really were who I was, though I spent about a year out here living that lifestyle. Don't get me wrong, I love it, I love dancing when the music is great. But no one would ever call me an audiophile and I'm just as happy being in bed at 9. Is the real Emily really gone? I'm still traveling as much, if not more and managing to actually work a full time job doing something I love. I'm not cooking as much, true, again because of the job not the boy.

So if any of the three of you who used to read my blog are still out there, I'd love a response.


Sunday, May 14

What is going on?

Do I even want to keep this farce up? I mean I now post, what?, once every 4 months? Should I try to start again? Not really, any time I spend creating internet materials should probably be spent on my also sorely neglected class website.

But here I am. I'm in a funk. My alergies have been ~horrible~ these past few days. I'm back to the days of loading up on antihistamines, which I hate. Also, the boy is away in Seattle, location of our 2nd date except now he's there without me. Sad.

But of course I'm me, which means I've already had a compltely full weekend. Last night I hung out with Beth, who's the daughter of my parents best friends. We grew up together and it was nice to connect with someone who's known you for so long, knows your parents and the exact situation you grew up in. It was nice to talk about life here, how much more we like it, but also how different it is.

This morning was my dear friend Adam's 30th birthday brunch. I got to meet his family, who I've heard so much about. It was great, but then it was crowded and I don't handle crowds well, even of very friendly warm open people.

So I came home and I was going to nap because of the aforementioned allergies have made me weary. But instead I poked around craigslist looking at apartments for rent as the boy and I are discussing moving in together next fall. So yes, it is too soon to be looking at places, but it's still nice to know our options. And as much as I hate the commute, I don't think I can leave the East Bay. I love it over here. It's sunny and has yards with fruit trees. SF is crowded, cloudy and concrete-y, except in the Mission where it's sunny. But that's too close to work. I don't want to run into my students on weekends.

Anyway, that's where I'm at. Oh, our high school's baseball team (the O'Connell Boilermakers) made it to the playoffs. We're the smallest school in our district going up against the biggest on Monday, wish us luck!

Sunday, April 30

Kauai Photos

We've returned from Kauai, school's back in session, though only 7 weeks to go until summer! Kauai was amazing of course. It rained every day (expected) and was windy (unexpected). We hiked, kayaked, snorkeled, slept and ate tons of fruit. Fantastic!


Sunday, April 9

Do I still exist?

Does anyone out there even check this out anymore? How insane is my life?

Being a teacher is hard fucking work. Everyone knows it, everyone tells you that, it's not until you're actually doing it full time that you truly understand why teachers need a summer off. If we didn't get one there would be no more teachers. Today is the first day of spring break and I'm so excited I could cry.

In a little over 24 hours I will be on a plane headed to Hawaii where my love and I will spend 6 nights relishing the fact that we are not working. Of course, we probably will do some work, but hopefully only on the plane ride over and back.

There is so much to teach and so little time to do so. I love my job, but man is it hard.