Yes, the title of today’s post is an actual song title: whether you want to believe it’s Backstreet Boys or SHINee it’s up to you. Both are different.But it doesn’t make one worth more than the other or one better than another.  And that’s kind of what the point of today’s post is all about.

With all the crazy going on in the world these past few days, I needed a place to sort it all out.

Where to even begin?

I guess we should start with Paris due to its high publicized coverage…but in a way it’s ties to into just about everything else going on. Which is also a point of this post.

This will probably turn into  jumbled mess but I need to get all the thoughts out of my head before I go crazy.

I woke up on Saturday afternoon KST to posts all over Facebook. “Pray for Paris” “We stand with Paris” but nowhere did it mention what had happened.  I had to google it to find that Paris had been attacked in multiple areas with mounting causalities

It blew my mind.  It seemed out of the blue.  And why Paris?

I think the shock of it wasn’t that it was PARIS that was attacked, but the fact a world class city that seems untouchable was a victim.

These are innocent people who were trying to enjoy a nice night out at a soccer game, concert and dinner.

It disrupts the veil that we live in a civilize and safe world where war and terror don’t happen to us.

But the more I read about who the blame would fall on, I first had to look up the Syrian War.  I knew nothing about it despite the fact that my taxes have been funding it.

I learned about Assad, the Kurds, the rebels…all of the power struggles, rebellions and how the USA and Russia put their support in where they saw fit.

It became clear to me that the USA and Russia didn’t care about what would happen to the people.  They didn’t care that civilians would be displaced or that the war would tear families and people apart.

Yes they might claim they want to stop the dictaroship of Assad.  But in the process of training rebels and supplying weapons, ISIS was born.

The same group that has taken over as the main threat of terror.  I grew up knowing Al Queada as the “it” terror group.  But now, this “ISIS” is what my students will grow up fearing.

I saw that people were quick to blame the Syrian refugees in France.  Did they not understand these were the type of people the refugee were fleeing from?

I saw people quick to damn all Muslims; people wanting to close boarders.

It’s interesting that people choose to reach for hate and exclusiveness first.  They say they are doing it to protect people.  They are in fact acting no better.

Children reach for hate and fear first.  They reach for revenge.  That’s why when one of my students hits another, his first reaction is to hit back. And hit back harder.

As an adult, my first reaction is to ask “why”?

I know we can’t sit down with ISIS and ask why, and even if we were able to, there would be no ability to reason.  You can’t reason with extremist.  Just like drunk people.

But the more I thought about Paris and the Syrian war, the more I became disturbed.  I had this thought running through my mind that I dare not put on Facebook.

“Why does it take an attack on a world class city to realize how horrible and terrible death and war is?”

Is it because they are innocent citizens in a far away country?  No one is untouched in war.  We all feel the pain whether directly or indirectly.

It shouldn’t take us feeling sorry for Paris to suddenly care about the bombings in Beirut two days prior that no one cared about.  The bombing that took the life of a true hero who sacrificed himself and his daughter to save a mosque full of people.

I stand with Paris. I stand with Beirut. I stand with the citizens of Syria who can do nothing but watch their country kill itself.

If this is truly  an attack on humanity as Obama states, then what about all the problems the rest of the world has? What about poorer states that receive less media coverage? What about states were it’s become second nature to accept death and murder?  What about racism in a country that claims it’s free of it? Is that any less of an attack on humanity?

Some people may claim that my opinion is taking away from France.  I say it’s not.  It’s supporting it.  It’s supporting all those future cities that might be attacked.  I want the world to wake the FUCK up ( and I use that world lightly as I hate using it).  This isn’t about one city in one country.  It’s about the entire world and us as humans.

If we can only can find it in ourselves to care about what others are feeling through out own pain, it might happen. If we pretend that we are blind and lack empathy, that how could bad things NOT happen to us?

Why does it take an attack on Paris to make the world leaders want to increase it’s manhunt and destruction of ISIS and put an end to the Syrian War?  Couldn’t the refugees and dead civilaians of Syria be enough to want to  help end the war? Couldn’t the killings and horrors we know of ISIS to be true BE enough cause to want to hunt down ISIS?

It blows my mind that it takes Paris being attacked to put this all in motion.

Which brings me to my next point. Islam.

I’m a Christian.  I’m Christian enough to the point where I will hate missing Christmas service this year.  I’m Christian enough to know all the important dates, prayers and saint.  I’m also Christian enough to realize that those people who “claim” to be doing things in God’s name are nothing but insecure people who are full of hate…and thus are actually filled with the devil himself if you will.

I don’t have any opinions on Islam good or bad.  I don’t know enough and don’t want to spout out false statements.

However, I do understand while these ISIS extremists are claiming to be of Muslim faith, this is a small percentage.

Muslim is a religion. Just like Judaism and Christianity. And just like any time you have a large amount of people in one large group, you get crazies.

I teach 270 students. You think they are all angels? You think there aren’t some crazies or students who act out among them?

You’d be OUTTA YO MIND if you can honestly say that all 5th graders an angels.  And I would commit you.

These ISIS supporters and members draw a negative spotlight to Islam.  But we shouldn’t allow that to skew out vision. We shouldn’t be so narrow minded and weak to want to find someone to blame.  As I mentioned above, our first instinct is to retaliate-direct our hate at who we think caused us harm.  That is an instinct of a 5th grader.

So before you want to “close our boarders” and bomb Muslims, please remember a few things.  Christians carried out the horrific crusades in the name of God. Are all Christians like this? Germans committed the inhumane Holocaust. Are all Germans like this?  Generalizing based on ANYTHING does nothing but make things worse.  And the world is already in a shitty way-do you honestly want to make it worse?

This brings me to my next point.  Korea.

Saturday.  I knew only about Paris.  Something that was happening far away.  I knew nothing of why  traffic was horrible in Seoul. Something that was happening an hour away.

A little while ago, the government here made its intentions known about changing the history text book by 2017.  In it, the Korean history is rewritten.

That is not to say that American history textbooks must be read carefully, or any history text book.  In Japan I’ve heard they barely mention the atrocities of the the Japanese during WWII.

In the USA textbooks, there is little mention of Japanese internment camps.  Usually a side blog meant to be a “fun fact”.  More interesting are the different teachings of the Civil War.

Demonstrators showed up to protest this, as well as a few other issue they have with the current president.  I’ve read that ever since her poor handling of the Ferry disaster last year, her popularity is falling.

But none of my friends or people knew about this.  It was only through international media did I even hear about it.  At first it was mentioned that only water cannons were fired at the protestors.  Then it came out these water cannons were filled with tear gas and chili powder.  The police came the peaceful demonstration changed when people brought steel pipes and sharp bamboo sticks.

I’m from a country where demonstrations or protests aren’t uncommon.  I walked through one a few years back in Philadelphia.  I’ve seen many.

In my past 9 months here I’ve never once felt truly unsafe except for the one North Korean threat.

I’ve felt unaffected by the outside world.  Not keeping up with international news or world issues.  I’ve been blind and ignorant. But with the violent protest in Seoul, and the Paris bombing, I realized I can’t be ignorant anymore.

It was nice to be free of others suffering and the mess that is world politics.  But with South Korea changing, and the world continuing to slide into chaos, I can’t stay like this forever.  This country made me feel like I could be free from the mess.  But as a human it’s my responsibility to understand what’s going on the in the world.

This brings me to my last point.  When 9/11 happened I was in 7th grade.  I will remember exactly where I sat at school, what period of the day it was, what day of the week it was.  I will also remember the lie I was told.  I understood that the school didn’t want us to panic.  We were after all so close to D.C. that there were students who had parents working in D.C.

But the fact they told us that the school was closed due to “road construction” made us cheer.  Then when my friend’s parents took me home, I was told “the stock market crashed”  It wasn’t until I got home, and I was sitting on the sofa that I saw on the TV what happened.  And I didn’t understand.  I had never heard of Afghanastan or Iraq.  I knew nothing about Extreme muslim terrorists.  I was in 7th grade.

I understand it was the schools duty not to panic us.  But instead of making up a lie, I wish they would have told us that something had occurred and we needed to go home.

I understand the need to protect children but who is protecting the children who have to live with bombings and killings on a daily basis?

I though about bringing up the bombings in Paris to my kids.  I want to be honest with them.  But at the same time I don’t want to scare them. And because it’s such a complex thing dealing with religion and terror, I don’t know how much they would understand.

But I think it’s something they need to be aware of.  And I’m not sure they will really talk about it or care about it other than passing by.

Korea has it’s race issues.  I’m not going to pretend otherwise.  But the idea of this kind of extreme terror is something that isn’t serious to them.  Yes North Korea is there, but as many people have told me, this year the threat of MERS was more lethal than that of North Korea’s nuclear strike.

If I had a chance to address this issue to my fifth graders I would say this:

“On Saturday, something very sad and bad happened. Paris, France was attacked.  A lot of people were hurt and many died.  This was because some people only hate.  They hate what is different.  They don’t want to try to talk.  They just want to hurt as many people as they can.  We can fight back by being kind.  If someone looks different, or doesn’t have as much money, you should still be kind to them.  We can fill the world with love.  And stand up to these world bullies. I’m telling you, because I don’t want to lie to you.  I want you to be people who fill this world with only good things.”

It’s not much, and it’s simple.  I don’t need to go into detail about Islam and terrorists.  I don’t need to scare them or tell them the true horrors of war.  I just need them to understand that some people in this world are full of hate and anger.  And we can fight back by being kind to each other.

I think that’s really it for today’s political rant.

It’s been hard keeping these thoughts in.

I’ve seen friend have major disagreements online about it.

I’ve seen people getting way too heated over it.

I don’t want to be like them.  I just want those who can’t find a peaceful life to know that I support them-all of them, whether it be grief stricken France, human trafficking victims in Mexico, animals who are abused and tortured-it doesn’t matter.

Because if we continue down this road, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the apocalypse.  God flooded this Earth once because it was beyond repair.  I wouldn’t be shocked if he did it again soon.

But for now, all I can do is continue to this life, do my best….and of course listen to KPOP.   Because sometimes all you need are 6 sexy man singing in suits and doing insane body rolls.

But hey, that’s just me.

Chained Up


Seriously. I’ve been chained up at work, trying to usher in my new (very nice) but very confused and lost co teacher. I’ve been chained up at the gym because I’ve been working extra hard trying to make up for those past two months of nothingness. And of course. I’ve been chained up by VIXX’s comeback: song, album, music video…. yep you guessed it, entitled “Chained Up”.

Having to actually work:

So I’m considered pretty lucky I would say. Even though most teachers I know have to work the full weekly hours, I get away with working 16-2 of those include me just babysitting in daycare.

But with the new co-teacher here things have fallen on me to plan and take charge more.  Our system is really strange.  I teach one 80 minute English class once a week to each 5h grade class. But my Korean co teacher will teach them one 40 minute class. But this could either come before or after my class. So the rotation on which lesson goes where becomes a nightmare.

For example, my 5-2 class had missed 2 weeks worth of classes with me and 1 week with the Korean co. so that put them way behind everyone else. But we can’t just skip ahead because then they would be lost and it would screw up the entire lesson.

So I had to take over one of her classes to get them back on track while my new co wants to do a make up class with them on her own for 80 minutes  with a lesson she’s seen me teach once or twice to a class she’s met only once.

It’s becoming schdueling and lesson planning hell. In no way am I blaming her at all. But to just throw someone new when we are almost finished the year makes no sense at all.

This is actually the third co teacher I’ve had.  I have my female co teacher who hasn’t changed. But then originally I had an older substitute female who had only taught third grade and wasn’t quite equipped to deal with rowdy fifth graders. Then I got my male co and that’s how it was for most of the year. Until now. My new female co has only taught middle and high school.

Now for the first time she is teaching 5th and 3rd graders. She said she’s not used to them talking so much, or acting out.  It’s a different kind of behavior problem-elementary vs older students. For example, my friend K has to deal with real physical fights, mouthing off, just overall middle school behavior issues.

Whereas I have to deal with crying, hurt feelings, bad words.  It’s the same kind of issues but the levels of how the kids are doing these bad things and how we have to respond are completely different.  The most physical my kids get are hitting each other without doing any real harm. I still tell them not to do it. Whereas my friend said she had to grab a kid by the back of the hood and pull him off another. I have to deal with kids crying because the class didn’t agree or like what they said or did. K has to deal with them refusing to listen to her and not responding to the kind of “threats” that would work with my kids.

So I think it’s a hard transition for my new co teacher and it’s not an easy one. it’s becoming a burden for me though because now I have to help out with not only my own class that I teach with her, but the ones she has on her own.

She tells me the kids tell her to plan more games and that class isn’t fun.

And a few of my classes are acting up.  I don’t know if they are testing me, her or the both of us.  Well it worked. They tested me and they reaped the outcome.

My favorite class 5-2 whom I hadn’t seen in 2 weeks became out of control. So we stopped the game. They copied lines for  a solid 12 minutes in absolute silence. Because their English is so good, I was able to get my point across to them.

I asked them if it was fun. Why not? Why did they have to copy lines (깜지) ? What will they not do next class.  And then because I didn’t want to deflate their confidence, I told them that next class would be a new slate.  We would start again.  I’ve never seen the class so quiet, or sad/scared/upset so I guess it worked.

Then for my previous horrible class turned great class 5-1, they were too rowdy during the game so we stopped. They sat down. I did my best (their English is so low but getting much better) to talk to them the same way as 5-2.

Why did we stop the game? Next week do you want to do 깜지? They also were shockingly silent.

I hated being mean teacher and I don’t want to carry any negativtiy over into the following class. Because these kids moods change day to day, and sometimes they are bad, sometimes they are good…you have to take it class by class. Most of my classes are consistent with having an off day or a really great day here or there, but this week has not been a good week for 5th grade.

I’ve also been starting to prep for winter camp. I realized that winter camp is only a little less than 2 months out. I really wanted to do an Avatar the last airbender theme but I just don’t have the time with this new co teacher, to really think about how to make it interesting enough. So I’ve gone with the classic standby harry potter english camp.  Luckily while it’s two weeks of camp, it’s only 5 days, unlike 7 days of planning. So in a way it’s almost better I think.

I’ve made up rough plans like Potions day will be about the to drink verb, to be thirsty, cup sizes, ordering, and then even how to make some drinks. I’m going to try to see if we can get the ingredients to make butterbeer. and then have a butterbeer taste testing afterwards.

I think the hardest will be getting the school to sign off on the budget. Even though I had 700,000 last summer I was really only allowed to use like 100,000 of it which included snacks and drinks for the final party day.

So we will see what I’m allowed to use this time.

As for making up gym time. Well I had a really good routine going that got thrown into chaos during my parents visit.  It feels like ever since my parents came to visit in August it’s been a game of catch up. Catch up at the gym. Catch up with cleaning. Catch up with money.

Money…will always be an issue. Cleaning…well it’s just me  and I’m not a really neat person anyway. But gym time. This past summer was difficult. The gym didn’t put on the Air Con until like mid July. But because Korea doesn’t have central air, it wasn’t enough to make the gym feel cool.  It became unbearable that I had to stop going.

Now that it’s cooler, I’ve been trying to go at least 4 times a week. It’s hard sometimes because the extra work I’ve been putting in at work is causing me to become tired and wanting to nap as soon as I get home.

Wednesday it was shoulder and chest day.  I was getting off the the bench after shoulder press when somehow I tweaked my IT band. No clue. It didn’t hurt but it was tight.  I figured it would go away and that would be the end of it. But it stayed tight the entire next day but since there was no pain I figured I could give leg day a go anyway. Bad idea. I got through my first set of inverted leg press and just about died. But I wanted to finish it which I did.  And that did me in. I wound up  not being able to do anything that required bending and putting weight on it so no squats at all. Only inner thigh and hamstrings which were both seated.  I couldn’t even really walk on the treadmill.  I praticed bending it last night and trying to stand up on it.  But any pressure is so painful.

My friend who is now a liscenced physical trainer said that it might  2 weeks before I can go back to running and weight training for legs. So…does that mean in the mean time I can only work on my upper body? If so…My arms, shoulders are going to be huge!

I have a love hate relationship with running and cardio. I never feel like I’ve had a good workout if I didn’t run.  But it really hate it. But I love it.  Running is like…well there is no other thing like running for me. Simultaneously hating something with a burning passion and loving it at the same time. (And I don’t mean, I love it so much I hate it for ruining my life.  I just flat out hate it)

But despite all of that crap (this all happened this week) VIXX had their comeback.

I didn’t want to review the MV or song or album but I feel that I have no choice.

I didn’t listen to the album or the song when it dropped on Tuesday at midnight because I really wanted to wait for the MV and I’m glad I did. I heard some people weren’t really feeling the song until the MV came out.

I think the MV enhances the song a lot.  But now I’m at the point where I’ve watched the MV enough that I can now groove to the song without it.

That being said, while it’s not my favorite VIXX song, I think it makes for a really dynamic comeback.

I know a lot of people don’t like the song, but a lot of non VIXX fans really do.

The song itself. It had to grow on me. But it grew faster than I thought. The MV helped a lot. The line distribution is much more reasonable this time.  I guess they felt bad for Hongbin in Love Equation (you know how he got like 1 and 1/2 lines?) and gave him three separate parts. Hyuk’s part while still not huge still seemed a little more than usual. Ravi’s raps were kind of here and there culminating in the final extended rap. I kind of felt they could have given some of that to Hyuk though. Or maybe had Hyuk sing the parts that Binnie sang in the beginning and switched Binnie over to some of Ravi’s raps since you know…he originally was labeled as a sub rapper.

N’s part seemed smaller than usual as did Ken’s. The only thing I can think of is the fact these two have been the busiest out of all the VIXX members. N had: radio show, drama, weekly idol guest host, VIXX festivals, laws of the jungle…he had so much that on the V APP as my friend W said, we got used to seeing VIXX more as 5 – it was to the point where I got used to hearing Leo say “Real V” instead of N.

I’m glad that some of his stuff has ended but I hope that isn’t a signal that it means his empty scheduele needs to be filled with more stuff. He has been looking tired and is even acting less like…Mom “N”.  I hope despite the insanity that comebacks can be, he might actually get some rest and become the N that I adore/fear.

Next is my man Ken. Oh Ken. When there was the article that was released about him coughing up blood…

Ken has been looking really thin ever since he started his musical Chess. If you look at pictures of him now compared to Love Equation, he looks kind of sickly.  Still looks perfect but I’m seriously worried about his health. He’s had back to back musicals with Chess and Cinderella.  And now Cinderella is being extended.  I know he won’t be performing for a few weeks – I guess to do VIXX promotions.

But his voice…their showcase he didn’t sound like himself.  He didn’t sound bad but his voice sounds tired, and strained.  I feel on the album as well he isn’t singing as much, or as strong as he usually does.

It’s not the voice that I completely fell head over heels for.  And I don’t know if it’s because his voice can’t handle it because of the musicals and his health, or something else.

I hope he gets some rest and takes care of his health. I would rather wait another year for a VIXX comeback than hear about Ken coughing up blood.

As for Leo, well there’s not much to say other than he’s blonde.  Typical Leo. Handsome, Even if Leo with black hair is like the God of all religions.

And Ravi. At least his hair is normal! No Error mess. No On and ON coloring..he looks normal and good.  And I saw he has like 70% credits for writing this time.  It’s cool to see him take charge more.

The MV.  Well …unlike typical VIXX there wasn’t too much of a storyline.  Which is actually not a bad thing.  It wasn’t even noticeable until I saw someone point it out. You’re too focused on the song, the dance, the no shirt under blazers type of thing.

While visually impressive, it’s less…out of of control like some of VIXX stuff.  It’s less …huge.  Error felt like a blockbuster hit. voodoo doll was a horror movie. Hyde was like halloween meets an episode of buffy the vampire slayer. Even Love Equation which wasn’t dark or epic, had a storyline you could follow.

But it fit the song.  If the dance had been too fast paced it  wouldn’t have made sense.  It’s a classy meets sexy concept-classy sexy love slaves????

Either way, it worked for VIXX and probably only VIXX. I somehow can’t see EXO doing this concept nor would I want to.  (I mean DO as a love slave is one thing but having to watch Chanyeol and Chen try to do the body rolls would kill me from second hand embarssement)

And the album.  I really like the songs. MAZE is really cool sounding and Spider as well. I’ve really only had a few listen through which happened at the gym and working at school so I haven’t really had time to sit down a listen listen.

I don’t think I dislike any song which is typical of VIXX albums for me-hence probably why they are my favorite group amongst other reasons.  I really like how they made a Korean version of Can’t Say-However I’ve gotten so used to the Japanese one that the Korean one sounds weird and I’m not sure I like it as much.  I’m sure if it was the other way around, I would feel the same.  It’s more about what came first LOL (Ok not true because I really like EXO’s Love me Right Japanese version…but not the Chinese one).

I don’t understand why Error and Eternity are on the album though. I know that Voodoo Doll had other title tracks on it as well, but Chained Up 1. isn’t as long of a track list  as Voodoo Doll first full length album 2. i don’t think it had 2 songs on it and if they did they weren’t as old as say Eterenity to Chained up is  3. they don’t really fit the album that well.

It’s not that Eternity and Error are immature songs AT ALL but they feel out of place and somehow younger than the rest of the album.  I don’t have a problem with one or two older title tracks but not at the expense of the album and new songs.  It almost feels like this full length album is a mini album once you take away Eternity and Error.

Eternity I think fits a little more than Error (just because I’m one of those freaks who isn’t a huge fan of Error) but still…it’s out of place.

I hope VIXX doesn’t wait as long for their next comeback. I know they’ve been super busy with personal projects, sub unit-and as much as I love them individually and have my bias (which is actually kind of in a state of flux now ) I always prefer VIXX together.

The comeback time between Love Equation in Feb (or was it March?) and now is a long time. Yes they have been playing festivals (I’ve gone to see most of them) but I really wanted new stuff from them. Don’t get me wrong-Beautiful Liar the song and the album tied me over well. But I kind of felt like i was slowly losing a little bit of Love for VIXX because I exhausted all their music.  So that’s kind of how EXO wormed it’s way in-even though they had had stuff out forever I didn’t really know about it so it was kind of like discovering new music.

But now VIXX is back and promotions are now underway!!! EXO is killing it in Japan so I won’t have to worry about that, though Lightsaber came out-not too sure. DO sounds like chocolate honey heaven as usual but the MV is just kind of Kai, Sehun and Baekhyun walking around.  I’ve not had much time to pay attention to them because well…VIXX has once again proven why they are my favorite KPOP group.

So that was one long post that went from teaching to exercise to KPOP.

Next post I will tell you about my first “night party” at Lotte World. Its Friday night from 10 pm – Sat morning at 530 am. So I guess it’s like the same hours as prom except that I’m  10 years older and 10 years older…meaning energy levels will be…very very different.

I know JJCC and The Legend will be there but other than that? It will be fun I think because I haven’t had an event in a while and won’t be having one unless BTOB or VIXX decides to have a concert soon!

VIXX, Red (non solo) Cup, my one hundred and eleventy birthday


I know I mentioned that I would be doing a countdown of TV shows, but with my new co teacher knowing next to nothing about how our classes work (it’s a strange system and it’s not her fault at all) I have been pulling over time working on activities and games. So I spent most of yesterday writing up new lesson plans. Thankfully I finished it.

I will try to do the TV Shows next week. This week well…you knew it was coming. I don’t HYDE (points if you get it) my VIXX obsession.

IT’S HERE! The day I’ve been waiting for since I left VIXX’s Utopia concert back in March.

VIXX’s comeback is here! So much about this comeback.

  1. It’s my first in country comeback. Which means I get to experience all the in country promotions!
  2. First VIXX poster!
  3. Full comeback-LOVED VIXX LR but …. VIXX is better together.
  4. Full Length album. Yes it has Error and Eternity but Voodoo Doll did the same thing adding older songs.
  5. It’s Leo’s birthday.

Even though the album dropped online last night, I wanted to wait to watch the MV with it…which drops in 55 minutes. Sadly I don’t have my favorite class to distract me today and I have to sit in anguish waiting for 1200 KST to hit.

Between my friends, and my Starlight student, I’ve been so hyped up for this comeback!

The teaser pictures, the choreography, accepting Leo’s blonde hair.

After breaking the Ravi curse of 4 albums (every photocard, every stand up, every promotion was Ravi) with getting Ken’s stand up in the concert DVD, here’s to hoping the good luck with biases continue.  If not..I have two friends who would be more than willing to trade for Ravi. The only benefit to getting Ravi.

The album usually isn’t in stores until two days after, despite it dropping today, so I will be picking it up on Thursday probably.

I probably won’t review the MV or the song …just because I think watching reactions are funnier so I suggest you go online and watch reactions because…well they get me through the day sometimes. JREKML specifically is an all time favorite of mine.

Now moving on to…the big political/messy/WTF debate in America.

Starbucks is ditching their Christmas themed cups this year in favor of red ombre cups.

Big Whoop. It’s still red, it’s still festive.

But it seems that people are upset that it isn’t Christmassy enough.

Every one on facebook is putting in their two cents. Well last time I tried that , I got blasted. Apparently my gay liberel friend who was so set on “live and let live” got offended when I tried to quote his own motto back to him. I cried. Got sad. Then realized this isn’t the person who I was.  1 year ago, if that had happened “Goodbye!” You are cut out of my life. You can grovel for my apology and maybe you’ll get it. So I  had to regrow my backbone essentially. But that’s for another time. I digress.

Back to the non solo Red Cup. People are upset that Starbucks decided to go for seasonal cups this year. Starbucks’statement -they basically wanted everyone to feel included. They will still sell advent calanders and Christmas blend.

When I was little, if I didn’t like what my mom made for dinner, the rule was “if you don’t like what I’m serving, go make your own dinner.” That wound up being a lot of Ramen nights for me as a picky eater. But the idea is still the same. If you are so offended by the lack of a snowman or presents on a DISPOSABLE coffee cup you have 1 of 2 choices in my mind: 1 buy a REUSEABLE christmas coffee mug, get a small discount, save the planet, and have your Christmas starbucks coffee or 2 be like me and “go make your own.” then you can put it in whatever container you like, call it whatever blend you want.

Simple right? I’m pretty sure my Korean 5th graders could a solution out. Yet fully grown adults feel the need to rename themselves “merry christmas” which is actually offensive for those who are true Christians (like myself)

Red is still a Christmas color. Hanukkah and other seasonal holidays don’t use red. It’s still festive. So stop complaining.

Now I do think they could have kept the winter theme. That is in fact I would say more inclusive. Everyone has winter. Well everyone but Hawaii.

Snowmen and snowflakes are universal in my opinion. More so than the color red.

Also, if you are getting so worked up over a simple thing as a paper cup not having your favorite Christmas thing on it, then maybe you need to re-evaluate your priorities. I bet these are the same people that stress the importance of giving thanks for what they have and then go shopping at midnight, not thinking of those who are having to work on Thanksgiving night.

When I was working in the customer service industry at PETCO and dealt with customers face to face, though I was raised Christian for 25 years, went to Catholic school for 13 years, it was not a big deal for me to say “Happy Holidays.” It wasn’t hurting me, it was wishing someone else a happy….whatever. It was for them. And when they gave me gifts, sometimes they were Christmas themed. No big deal. I’m not going to lose my shit because I got a piece of Rudolph candy.

People have good intentions, and sometimes people feel they need something else to be mad about.  I feel it’s less about what they are actually mad about and more about their personality. If you can’t be happy that everyone is included this year because Starbucks wants an all inclusive cup theme, then it’s probably your own issue. No one is attacking you. You just need a reason to hate something else. And that in and of itself is sad. It’s not a happy place to be and you will never be happy because of it.

To quote VIXX, say to yourself slowly “I need therapy.”

Now don’t think I’m some crazy liberal.  Don’t think I’m one sided. I did have medium opinions towards the whiny lady who didn’t want to sign marriage lisences for gay couples. Yes I understood it was her job and she had a right to say no based on her beliefs. Sadly it was her JOB and against the federal LAW, so naturally I believe she should have accepted the fact she was unable to perform her job and quit. Or accepted the consequences of denying someone their basic rights.

But I don’t believing shoving this down people’s throats or becoming belligerent towards them makes it okay. It’s all about education and patience. Sadly a friend couldn’t see it this way.  He became so obsessed with defending his own ability to speak his mind and do what he wanted, that he was unable to even realize he was doing what he was complaining about to me.

Now that my Starbucks rant is over, moving on to my birthday!

It was a chill day. Literally, it rained, it was chilly. But also I got to just relax. I’m not comfortable in the center of attention which is why I get embarssed really easily.

So birthday parties are not really my style.

This birthday I got to watch Home Alone, The Propsal, and eat cake. Oh and play with puppies!

Literally that was my weekend It was a perfect weekend. Puppy love, crab dip, hot milk cake…the best. Then I went downtown to buy the new FX album, and some things from nature republic.

Turns our Nature Republic is having some sort of EXO promotion so I got a free Kyungsoo stand up doll.  I was a happy camper.

All in all a nice quiet birthday. And though I don’t have too much in the way of concerts coming up, I am looking forward to my Thanksgiving meal at Emily’s house and Christmas! They are big Christmas people like me. It will be hard not to be with family this year, or go to Church on Christmas eve, or even feel the typical Christmas season I’m used to-holiday theme stuff everywhere.

But for now I’m making due with listening to my students practice Jingle Bells, and other Christmas carols.

Yes that’s right. My Korean school where most children tend to be Buddhist or Agnostic are playing Christmas Carols.

Remember when I said I was not a full on crazy liberal?

I can understand how some Children might feel sad or left out when having to play Christmas music or sing religious songs.

But there is so much Christmas music out there. Other than the Dradle song and 8 crazy nights, I know no other Jewish holiday songs.  If there are in fact other religious Holiday songs, than I think they should also be featured.

But music has a history of being deeply rooted in Christianity. Maybe once upon a time it was all about the religious purposes, but nowadays these concerts, these historical requiems, are not performed with the intention of spreading religion. They are performed because they are amazing and beautiful to listen to. How many people really understand the Latin being sung anyway?

I once knew a man at my church who was Jewish. Yes you heard right. He was a Jewish man who attended my Episcopal church. Why? Because it was the best damn music program around. He looked beyond religion, and belief and didn’t care that what he was singing or playing was talking about Jesus- a person who in his faith wasn’t the Messiah.  If he is able to something like that, then I think it’s easy for children to do the same. And if the child is that offended or the parents are that offended by it, then the child should have the right to sit out and not be punished or scrutinized

With all the problems America is facing right now, both large scale like gay marriage, or simple like a red paper cup, it makes me thankful for being in Korea.

I will end this post here. I have more to say on the issues people face in Korea but it doesn’t really fit this post well. So I will move it over to the next post.

Anyway there you have it. VIXX comeback, Starbucks rants and my birthday. Now , I will go and watch the new VIXX MV and get back to you later!!!

Day 1~Happy Early Birthday to Meeee!!!


It’s the last day of my favorite song Birthday countdown!

It also happens to be 4 days until VIXX’s comeback…but must…control…the feels.

Luckily this morning I had no 1st period class so I could watch the latest VIXX trailer for Chained Up…..10 times…in a row.

The beat is the same one as was in the (nosebleed causing) choreography trailer. It sounded so “unVIXX” like but with it being in both trailers I guess that’s it. It has a slower beat which isn’t typically not VIXX style but…at the same time this is VIXX…so not only will they pull this style off flawlessly but they will kill every Starlight in the process…myself included.

Yesterday I mentioned that I did want to give 3 songs Honorable mentions because while I felt they weren’t quite up to par with the others, they still are very important,

1 Circle of Life- One of my favorite movies of all time is The Lion King.  And while I do love the soundtrack and the music, I don’t think I would say one song in particuarly is my favorite.  I love the movie as a whole: the music, the story, the characters. The music is just a small part of it.  But it adds so much to the story.  Circle of Life is my favorite song not only because it really is the theme of the entire movie but because it’s such a full and rich sound.  All Disney movies have amazing soundtracks.  That’s probably why I own so many.

2 Golden Oldies-This is such a large  broad group and the reason why it couldn’t be included. I don’t have a particular song, but songs from 1940’s to the 1970’s I love it all. I love crooners, mo-town-the whole mix.  I grew up listening to my parents music because well…I had no other choice. But then I really grew to appreciate it in a way that  I never did as a child. I have Frank Sinatra on CD as well as Big Band Hits (Yes I totally initially wrote big bang and wondered why it looked funny). I have Mo-town hits and the temptations. It’s a whole mess of music.  That’s why when people say what music do you like to listen to and I reply with “just about anything” I really do mean it. I have such a wide range of interests as probably visible from these posts. It’s not a bragging thing because I know what it’s like to get a look when you say you love jamming out in the car to Vivaldi.

Though I’m not as openly vocal about liking different types of music as I am with KPOP it doesn’t mean that it’s not there.

3. EXO Don’t Go- As of right now, this is one of the songs that i have on repeat on my ipod.  There isn’t much of significance to the song other than that it was the song that made me realize that yeah…EXO actually can sing and yeah…D.O.’s voice is like warm honey sliding down hot toast.

Even though “Angel” was their first song I liked and listened to without wanting to kill myself, “Don’t Go” was the song that not got me into their music as a whole, but also made me want to learn more about them.

And as much as I really really really like EXO (now) I’m still really new to them, Thus honorable mention.

(This is the Korean Version from their XOXO album- I really like this version a lot better because In live versions with the addition of EXO M Chen and Lay take over a lot of D.O. and Baekhyun’s lines which…I’m not such a fan of because their voices don’t fit the song as well in my opinion )

And let’s get to the final two songs on the Birthday Song Countdown list thing.

#2 is – G.R.8.U. 대.다.나.다.너. – VIXX

This song….this group actually. I will always equate VIXX with first arriving in Korea.  And I will always remember this as the song that I knew I could make it here.

Even though I went to their concert, enjoyed the show and the music, it wasn’t until I was riding a 4 hour to Busan that I realized that this song and that band had come into my life at that point in time for a reason.

It’s a little hard to explain but let me try. It was a frigid March. I had like 2 friends in all of Korea. I was in an apartment that had no bed frame (and still doesn’t). My Korean (while still not great) was even worse back then. I was at a job I had never done before with children. I felt like I had made the biggest mistake of my life.

And then, I went to the VIXX concert. And it gave me something to focus on. The band gave me something to be interested in. It took my negative attention of what I didn’t have, and gave me positive thinking towards all the new things I was going to learn. VIXX through their music and just the timing they came into my life really helped me get through the first few months I was here.

It distracted me from thinking of what I was missing.

GR8U while not a groundbreaking song by any means, sound wise or lyrically, for some reason was the song I latched onto.  It’s a pretty upbeat song, and one of their less “dark” concepts. But I think the idea that it felt like it could make any day better was what really got to me. To this day, if I feel sad, or distracted, or I just need something happy I put the song on. And it takes me back to rememebing that everything would be ok.

You know how people say smell is the strongest form of memory? Well in my case, songs come right after that. It takes me back to whenever I first heart it/fell in love with it. And it’s a happy time.

GR8U isn’t meant to be a sad song at all but for some reason I get a mildly bittersweet feel.  Maybe because I know that it’s the calm before the storm-the “prequel” to Hyde (which…came out before hand but they rewound…it’s hard to explain just google it).

Not to mention that the MV itself is SUPER white and colorful and bright…and backwards. They had to memorize the song backwards. There are clips of them learning how to sing it backwards..it’s impressive.

Not to mention they all look great! Even N’s RED hair.

It’s not hard to wonder why VIXX closed out their Utopia tour with this song. It’s the one song from that night that I knew I really liked and I spent the entire week searching for it.

GR8U is most likely the only song where I don’t want to change a single thing about it. It’s perfect in every aspect for me.

So without further ado, my favorite KPOP song…

……. and #1 : Waltz  Of  the Flowers -Nutcracker (I don’t want to bother spelling Pytor T’s last name)

Shocking right? LOL If you know me maybe not too much. Before musicals, before KPOP, before anything else I listened to classical music. It was everywhere.

Because I sang a lot in church it was usually classical music. And as I got older, singing in choirs in catholic schools and college choirs usually equates to classical songs.

One of the first movies I remember is Fantasia-a compilation of classical songs put to animation.  A lot of people I know don’t like it but I love it.

I didn’t mind one bit. I was trained as a classical soprano and it’s where my voice is more comfortable.

Classical music is timeless. You have your originals like Beethoven or Mozart (my personal favorite-seriously, I have a 4 disc set of his). You have your vocal chorales like Rutter. You have modern composers like Morten Lauridsen (Check out his O magnum mysterium).  There were will always be strings and woodwinds and horns and percussion. And there will always be people playing them. And there will always be people singing.

What I love about a piece like Waltz of the Flowers is that it has no vocals/words and it still can make you feel something. It can move you without having to be told why. Like Fantasia it paints any picture you want. You get to feel however you want to it. You can imagine it however you want to.  It’s listening freedom.

It also is only enhanced when listening to it while watching the beautiful Nutcracker Ballet.

Classical music is something deeply rooted in my own musical history, so when people look at me like I’m crazy for loving hundreds of years old music written by dead white guys, I don’t bother to explain. So I wasn’t brought up on rap or funk or disco. Classical music is “my style” And it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

And that’s the end of this birthday song countdown.

Next week, I will be moving on to my favorite TV series. Although I will say that November 10th, there might be a slight detour due to the fact that VIXX’s comeback is that day. Like…even though I was in the country for Love Equation comeback, I had no clue and didn’t bother picking up a copy until the promotions were over.

This time-all signed up for Starlight, VIXX Lightstick, all physical albums..ready for this comeback.

Day 2 : “Shut up!” and musicals


So it took me 4 days but I realized that I have been writing the days in reverse order….basically I’ve messed up and gone backwards.

But since tomorrow is the last day, too bad.

Today was my first class without my favorite co and with my new co.  It was also the first class that I basically taught on my own. SCARY.  Actually the kids were pretty good today, obviously testing out the new teacher, and I managed to get through it and on time.

However, I was exhausted after teaching 80 minutes straight on my own with kids whose English is the lowest level I have.  But somehow they were very good.

I made them write nametags for her benefit and mine, as well as played an introduction game with candies.

But my second class….it’s a weird class.

Techincally speaking, they are not a bad class. BUT. Half of them act like zombies while the other half won’t stop talking. Then they get into too many fights.

It should be an easy class and at the start of the year it was one of my favorite classes. But slowly, they have begun to descend into madness. Three students have been sent to the Vice Principal’s office-something that DOES NOT happen in Korea.

Several students have had to stay after class and were yelled at by my co teacher/ forced to write lines/forced to kneel on the ground.

I was then told by my co that their homeroom teacher-who teaches them almost all subjects-can’t control them.  She doesn’t give them the attention they need I guess and they don’t like her.  So they act out in my class at times.

One student I know suffers from extreme ADHD. Shockingly enough he is pretty well behaved in my class but he must disrupt his other classes because he was late to class today due to a meeting with the VP.

A problem I see with a lot of my students and co teachers is that unlike what I experienced with my own schooling, is that the teachers here seem to think their duty stops once the children step out of their classroom. Korea already has an issue with the lack of awareness-WALKING (subways from hell at times) driving, etc. And I think because the children aren’t taught any of this at home or at school, it carries on into adulthood.

Even though my students are no longer in my care, they are always my responsibility. I look out for them in the hallway, I scold them.  I help them.  I give them the attention the need that I think other teachers don’t.

Anyway going back to my post-80 min solo session and dealing with my problem class, I had had enough of talking and almost fully said out loud “Shut up.”
In all fairness it was more of a “shut u-” But still they heard. They knew. They used.  I didn’t want to tell them it was a bad word because it’s not. But I couldn’t let them think it was ok to use. So I told them it was a rude word and it hurts people’s feelings.

And then I pretend it never happened.

My new co is really nice. She’s friendly and polite and I think we will do well together. But the whole time I thought to myself…when are we getting back to normal. And then I realized..this is the new normal.

I didn’t realize how much I was attached until the reality hit that I had to deal with a new co teacher.  Last night I couldn’t get to sleep, my heart was beating out of my chest….I was nervous.

Even now, despite knowing my new co is nice and we will be fine, I still really miss my old co. I went to bring him tea and our old fifth grade class escorted me/followed me to his room and proceeded to stay there until he told them to leave.

I will have to get used to it and I’m sure it will be fine. I’m not someone who hates change. As someone who does suffer from ADHD (cleaning my bedroom oh look there’s a missing CD, I should go find the CD but then I have to look through the messy desk, maybe i should clean the desk, but I don’t want to clean the desk if I don’t “clean clean” the desk, but I should clean clean the aparment but if I do that then I need to pick things up off the floor like my bedroom…) I deal with change everyday.

Furniture, clothes are one thing. But when it comes to people…that’s where I hate change. i hate when people leave and or new people come in. I’ve been told I’m unapproachable because I look unfriendly. I’m not going to be the first one to talk to you most of the time and if you are friends with my other friends, sometimes I might seem like I’m excluding you. Truth  is I just hate meeting new people. But this is a job, and for the job I must suck it up, and be friendly.  I did it with the old co, I can do it here.

Moving on to today’s song choices…. #4 and # 3.

At #4 on my birthday countdown list….

One Day More: Les Miserables.

Much like how yesterday “Into the West” was a representation of all of Lord Of the Rings soundtracks…I chose this song to represent all of Broadway musicals.

Why? Because it’s an epic song that kicks song. It’s like the song to end all end songs.

Now before any of you get excited about Hugh Jackman and Amanda Seyfriend and the disgusting choice of Russel Crow…this is not that version.

This is my favorite version minus the fact that Nick Jonas is apart of it.

I of course love the original, love the 10th Anniversary, but it was the 25th anniversary that I not only discovered who Ramin Karimloo was (and his heavenly voice) but also by then I was old enough to really understand the story and appreciate the music.

I was always engrossed in classical music and musicals growing up.  I guess it was the best music to play for a child? I have no clue. But I grew up on Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, Les Mis, Aaron Copeland etc.

It’s not surprising when you know my mom who has always been musical. But when people find out that my dad (he claims he’s macho/manly and used to be homophobic though in recent years he has become more open and understanding) loves musicals…they are really confused.  And now that I know the relationship between musicals and the gay community…well it all makes sense why their is shock and confusion.

Although “Phantom Of the Opera” is acutally my favorite musical followed by Wicked and then…I don’t even know , this song in particular really represents all the great things about the power of musicals. The emotions, the vocal power, the orchestration….

I’m really glad to have been able to see 3 musicals here in Korea so far : In the Heights, Cinderella, Chess (I totally almost typed Ken) and yes while the main pull for most people is the idols (it’s like a 55% pull for me) I love going to see musicals. I always have. And I was super jealous that I missed Wicked in March-my parents went without me. How Rude.

But I fell in love with Chess. Was blown away by the In The Heights. And Enjoyed Cinderella. Even though there was a language barrier, and at times I didn’t know what was going on, the music and the staging …it all made for a real positive experience. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy seeing Ken from VIxx (twice) and Chen from Exo.  That would be a straight up lie

Rounding out my top 3 songs….. #3 is Slide by the Goo Goo Dolls.

So I grew up in the late 90’s early 2000’s. When I was younger post grunge rock was really popular. And I remember listening to these songs on the radio. But it wasn’t until I was much older that I really fell in love with the Goo Goo Dolls.

The Goo Goo Dolls changed my perspective on a lot of things music wise, appearence wise, emotionally…..

At the time that I “rediscovered” the Goo Goo Dolls, I was very much into music that featured a strong powerful belter who had soul and could perform these amazing vocal runs.  I was more focused on music that didn’t really have super meaningful lyrics. (not that this is a bad thing at all)

But the Goo Goo Dolls and John Rzeznick’s music really taught me that sometimes a powerful amazing voice is always necessary and that lyrics do matter.

The Goo Goo Dolls came into my life at a very important time. I was floundering. I didn’t graduate college when I was supposed to. I started smoking briefly. All of my friends had moved on and I was still stuck at college. But worst of all, my 20th month old dalmatian boxer got Cancer in august, and had to be put down on my birthday.  It really sent me into a tail spin. I felt that I had no one to rely on. But I found comfort and solace in listening to the words that came on my iTunes.

“Dizzy Up the Girl”, “Gutterflower”, “Let Love In” takes you on an emotional rollercoaster.  You feel the pain, anger and despair in Gutterflower. You feel the contentment, the acceptance in Let Love In.  And for me, Dizzy up the Girl took me back to a simpler time of being a kid, waiting for my mom to pick me up from school to go home, change out of my school uniform and do my homework (or not do because I hated homework).

It was what I needed and thankfully it really kept me out of going into a complete dark place in life. Slide connected with me on a level which I think would be a surprise to most people. The song is about an abortion. The boyfriend is telling the girl whatever you want to do, make your choice and I will support you and love you.

Now, clearly I wasn’t dealing with having an abortion. But I was at a place where I felt abanonded by everything and everyone. I felt alone and I couldn’t keep my head above water. But this song, hearing someone say “whatever choice you make I will support you” is something that I was longing to hear. I wanted someone to tell me it was going to be fine, I was going to be okay and they supported me through this time when I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it to the next day. It gave me hope and whenever I heard Slide, or think of the Goo Goo Dolls, I think of how dark of a place I was, what I did to come out of it and where I am now.  I never in a million years would have thought I would be teaching in Korea.

I hope it’s a beacon of hope for those who are going through a time where they aren’t sure if they will make it to the next day. I understand.

*Side note strangely enough this was around the same time that I also discovered the show Avatar the Last Airbender so now I naturally think of them in one package deal. I know…it’s really really strange to combine them.

So that is all for today! Tomorrow is our last day! Can you believe it? I think i will continue on with these lists -maybe a new one every week unless it’s a special event or something.

I think I’ve settled on favorite TV Series for next week. And I will probably stick with 5-one for each day.

I started to neglect my blog but it feels like it’s a real place where I can talk about the day. It’s not meant to be a journal but something where I can record what my days were like my first year in Korea.

I don’t mind sharing my insanity and embarssment with my readers because..it means I actually have readers.

But at the same time, my friend W (if you are reading this now sorry) found my blog, read it and then told me about it. It embarssed the hell out of me. While it is not meant to be a journal, its more that this is for people I don’t know and will never meet.

You know it’s easier to talk in front of a group of people you don’t know.

Well it’s the same thing here. So if you are my friend and have found my blog, please just don’t tell me about it 🙂

So tomorrow is the last day to the Favorite Song Birthday countdown challenge! I think tomorrow might 1 part be surprising and 1 part not be surprising. Also I think I will add in 3 honorable mentions -songs that either 1. i really like but haven’t liked long enough to count them as favorites or 2 that just didn’t quite make the cut.

**VIXX put out a dance preview…..and I’m pretty sure Leo just gave me a nosebleed with his uh…”dancing”.  4 more days…can’t wait!

Day 3: Nosebleeds, the irish and Hobbits


Day 3!  It’s day 3 and what a day it has been.

Not only was today my last class with my favorite co teacher, but we also had open class.  It’s when parents can come and observe to make sure serial killers aren’t teaching their children.  However, if I was one the parents and I saw my kids acting up in class…oh boy.

The open class went really well…until the final 5 minutes or so.  One of my smartest kids nicknamed Ohio is the second tallest kid in the class. However, during the activity today, he labeled himself as medium height.  This didn’t not go over well with my other students because they could not guess him. So there was a small fight that broke out between him, his groupmate and another team.  In the end we had two crying students, one crying so hard she got a nosebleed.  So it was also my first time playing”teacher nurse”.

It was almost so bad at the end I laughed about it.  But the parent seemed unphased.  I guess that’s what happens when you let your children run around like crazy people *cough korean parents cough*

My co teacher as I have said before is now the homeroom teacher for 4-4 up a floor and will no longer be teaching with me or his 3rd English classes.  I’m doing my best to stay happy and positive but I have no real interest in getting to know the new co teacher.  It’s sounds stupid and petty but I’m too annoyed right now to care.

Anyway moving on, today’s first video of the countdown to Jessica turning closer to 30 than 20 is….

#6: World of Our Own-Westlife

I love love love this song.  For a long time it was my absolute favorite song.

Westlife for those of you who don’t know was an Irish boyband formed during the same time in the 90’s when boybands were huge.  They had 5 members but when one of them left they continued on as a 4 member band (one direction much?) and now have officially disbanded after 10+ years together.  They are doing their own thing.

I think what makes them work for me is the fact they all really fit together well. Shane and Mark kill lead vocals (and Brian when he was with the group) and Nicky and Kian do great with harmonizing.

One thing that annoys me about KPOP sometimes is that groups rarely sing together.  I feel that EXO (of those I listen to) does the most but it’s not as much as old 90’s bands.

I found Westlife while looking up “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel and found their cover version.  From there it blew up and I found all of their MV and songs and bought up all the music etc.

But this one quickly became my favorite.  Per usual I like more “happier” sounding songs.  Not necesarily the cutest most lighthearted songs, but it leaves you with a good feeling, a hint of sadness maybe..

I learned about what kind of voice I prefer when listening to singers.  Before I didn’t really have much of a preference mostly because I wasn’t too interested.  But when I heard Mark Feehily singing for the first time… it changed my views on a lot of things.

His voice was powerful with some soul in it…it was one of those voices where the first time I heard it I knew that I loved it.  It’s happened a few times since then but I would say that Mark’s voice really was the start of really appreciating certain vocal tones and abilities that I had never bothered with before.

I’m sad that Westlife has broken up but at the same time they had a long career, survived the boyband break up, survived losing a member, survived a hiatus, survived just about everything…and chose to break up together so it wasn’t even that sad.

And on the plus side…Westlife is for some reason really popular in Korea.

#5 Into the West- Lord of the Rings Soundtrack/Annie Lennox

Gotcha with this one huh? Ok so let me preface with saying I’m using this slot as the Lord of the Rings Soundtracks (all 3) .

Lord of the Rings became such a huge part of my life and to this day is one of the conversation starters with strangers.  People love Lord of the Rings.

Not only did it really introduce me to my first real celebrity crush (orlando bloom anyone?!) but the whole world of fantasy, action, and shockingly classical music in the soundtrack genre.

Lord of the Rings came out in 2001 when I was 11/12 years old.  My aunt and her friend took my grandpa and me to the movies to watch this movie.  I wanted to watch Snow Dogs. But we watched the Fellowship of the Ring.

I was so confused. Intrigued. Then mad. I had no clue what was really going on so the ending ….I assumed it was over.  Turns out there was a sequel… and then another one after that. Start Lord of the Rings obsession that has never formally ended.

But I fell in love with the music.  To this day when I listen to the Fellowship soundtrack I can picture every single scene in my head that goes with the music.  That’s how sad it is.

Sadly, i didn’t find the same pull with the Hobbit soundtrack.  The themes weren’t established as well and weren’t carried through the movies heavily enough.

Lord of the Rings will always have a super special place in my heart.  It’s something I will never get over or grow out of.

So that’s it for today.  Tomorrow will be numbers 3 and 4 and probably a review on my first teaching class solo/with the new co…so we will see how it goes….yay! Oh and uh…VIXX has a Pre-teaser.  Who has a teaser for a teaser as my friend W says??? Apparently VIXX.  I’ve also heard rumors that this is something that has never been done before which with it being VIXX I can understand. But W also said something about Love Slaves chained up…so I don’t know if I should be intrigued or slightly terrified.  I mean this is VIXX after all..the same guys that put out Voodoo Doll….

Day 4 Birthday Countdown and New Co Teachers


Happy Tuesday!

So Daylight’s Savings Time has officially hit USA which means that now I am 14 hours ahead of USA Eastern Standard Time.


Anyway first let’s tackle the issue that….I was suddenly told yesterday that my favorite co teacher is now becoming the new 4th grade homeroom teacher thus leaving me with a new English co teacher.

I hadn’t realized how close or attached I had gotten to my male co teacher.  99% of the time we are on the same page. We work really well together and are around the same age. We have a great dynamic and I rely on him for almost everything.  He helps me with phone calls, packages, bus times….just literally about everything.

I will do my best to go in with a positive attitude but I hate meeting new people and it takes me a long time to warm up to new people do being blindsided mid week did not make me a happy person yesterday.

Also I spoke with my other teacher about the possibility of teaching 6th grade next year but I would be teaching only 5th grade again (the current 4th grade).

It had been a point of interest for me staying here but the fact that my co teacher won’t be with me next year and I won’t teach my currents kids again…now I’m leaning more to leaving.

It’s still a lot to think about.

Anyway moving on….Today #8 and #7 on my countdown to 26th birthday songs!

#8….. One Thing- One Direction

So I really got into One Direction right after they “debuted” with their single “What Makes you Beautiful”.  I had heard the song on the radio and thought it made a fun summer song. So I bought the single, and then wound up watching them again because they were on SNL the same time as Sofia Vegara (who I love!) and wound up really enjoying their performance.

So  I learned more about them, watched all the M/V,  bought the physical album….and of course because there is no fun in doing it alone, got my best friend involved.  One Direction was kind of my reintroduction back in pop music.  After listening to a lot of backstreet boys/ britney spears typical 90’s pop music, I kind of took a break and got more into rock groups-Goo Goo Dolls (my favorite group), Lifehouse, Matchbox 20 , Alanis…..

And of course like any good pop group, we picked our favorites.  Louis was my favorite followed by Liam whereas my best friend loved Harry and Zayn.  Poor Nial.

We were able to see them in Hershey Park for their 2nd tour-when they were promoting the “Take Me Home” album.  It was amazing! We had a great time.  It was almost a perfect day where we did the park and then went to the show afterwards.

When their third album came out, I really enjoyed it but their music was making a slight change towards 80’s is pop/rock sound that I wasn’t loving.  Also sadly around that time I had discovered KPOP which kind of just…ruined…everything.

Nevertheless my bestie and I went to see their third tour. But it in many ways it was a lot different than the first time.  i didn’t know all the songs or the word to all the songs.  It just felt very obvious that we weren’t quite the fans we used to be.  We had a lot of fun and as weird as it sounds it was almost like a goodbye to our insane “directioner” days.  It ended on a great note.

Their fourth album I have two or three tracks but I never bought the full album and have yet to hear any songs from their fifth album.  I know they are going on a hiatus which I think they needed a long time ago.  They’ve worked hard and deserve a nice long rest.  I hope they do come back and by that time maybe I will be more excited for them.

“One Thing” was the one song that really made me fall in love with One Direction despite the fact that there are too many of their songs for me to name that I love.  I love the song itself and the MV reminded me so much of The Beatles Hard Days Night so duh…loved it.

#7 Block B -Tell Them

Even though BigBang was my very first KPOP group and song ….my first KPOP everything….it wasn’t until I heard “Tell Them” by Block B that I really really fell in love with a KPOP song.

I loved “Love Song” by BigBang…but for some reason this song became my favorite and held that spot for a very long time.

Block B was the first group that was my second group…if that makes sense.

So basically when you get into KPOP you have your first group.  You obsess over it, you say there will never be any other group in the world.  This will always be your favorite group and your favorite bias.

Then you somehow find another group you like…

…and you think to yourself…am I betraying my first group if I get into this other group?

That’s what Block B was for me.  They were different (YOUNGER) than Bigbang and had a totally different vibe.

When i discovered their older stuff (I found them a little after Very Good had just come out) I stumbled across this song.  It was the beginning of summer and it just felt like the perfect summer song.  The song was divided up pretty well as far as parts go (sadly that is no longer true) and though the fashion as horrendous, it’s a great song.  At times it does sound a little disjointed.  You go from a cute beginning to rapping verses, to a singing happy bridge to an even happier chorus…and back to the rap.  So while it shouldn’t really work (Jackpot, ice Cream cake) somehow at least for me it does.

Everytime I hear this song I think of a fun summer when I got to see my first kpop concert, had a great time with my friends and got back on course with finishing my degree.

I like how the songs lyrics aren’t your typical love story or dissing anyone….it’s just a nice song all around.

The song kind of reminds me of the end of the summer for some reason -maybe the fact it kind of looks like it in the MV-but I always like to celebrate the opening and ending of summer with posting this MV on facebook. Cheesy I know.

So there we have it.  Tomorrow will be #6 and #5 as well as talking about future plans for teaching,living (studying??) in Korea….until then….GO CHECK OUT THE NEW PROMO PHOTOS FOR VIXX FREEDOM VERSION!!! (yes…they have two versions with two sets of photocards and two poster…..)

Birthday Countdown! Day 5


NOVEMBER IS HERE!!! Which means….no not Christmas everywhere! I admit, it will be much harder to keep the Thanksgiving spirit alive due to the fact I’m in a country that doesn’t celebrate it for obvious reasons (Korea has thanksgiving in September called Chuseok.

And when I went to Myeongdong yesterday I already saw one store with twinkle lights and presents …..

So my goal this month is to not get too absorbed into the Xmas spirit and hold out until after I celebrate Thanksgiving….on the following Sunday after Thanksgiving Thursday because we don’t get time off and I won’t be able to go to Emily’s until then.

Now, I’ve decided to do a few more of these so called “challenges” that I will get to right after I bore you to death with my weekend news.

*I will be adding in pictures from this weekend later but I forgot to upload them to my computer earlier.

So a typical Halloween night includes me making the living room spooky, watching Van Helsing and Harry Potter, and waiting for children to come trick or treat while eating candy and drinking hot apple cider.

This year it consisted of me throwing snickers at children and getting dragged out to Suwon.  Unlike back home where a costume may get you a look, here ….it gets you stares.  Although I only had a nose and whiskers thanks to my brown eyeshadow…it was more than enough.  I felt like a real foreigner.  At the end of the night my new friend said to me “I really envy you. You don’t have people staring at you at all times…except for now.” But my “costume” was no where near as obvious as my “vampire” friend and my “witch-i have a big ass hat and cobweb face” friend…clearly they got the “wtf ” looks more than me…so all in all a usual thing

We went to some bar in Suwon called Sam Ryan’s.  It’s extremely Western-the most I’ve seen since I’ve been here-all the employees speak perfect English.  There’s apparenly a British bartender and an Australian manager so it makes sense.

Because it was my first time going, I’m not exactly sure where it is but if you exit out of Suwon station exit 8 and keep walking straight you will eventually find it.  It’s down the main strip with shops on either side and i think it’s like a 10 minute walk or so ….you can look it up online there are a lot of reivews about it.

But I was old and tired and I had planned on meeting a friend the next day in Seoul so I was boring, headed home early and wound up continuing my “Greek” marathon I started last week.

Sunday I had planned to meet a friend in Seoul but she wanted to go to the JJCC concert with our other friend.  There was no way I was going to make it and I didn’t want to sit in the cold so I decided to give myself a little solo trip and visit Bukchon Hanok Village.  Even though I’ve been to Gyeongbukgong Palace twice, I’ve never been to the nearby Hanok village.

It was really easy.  After getting off at Seoul station from the train, you take Line 1 (dark blue line) towards Soyosan (end of the line) / City Hall (next stop). You get off at Jongno 3 (sam) ga and transfer over to Line 3 (orange line) towards Daehwa ( end of line) / Anguk ( next stop).  You will be getting off at Anguk which is just 1 stop.

Follow the signs for exit 2.  Once you reach the street you will walk for a few minutes until you see a small information booth.  They have a guide map in English for you.  If you follow the map, continue walking straight until you see the pharmacy on the left side of the street. (약  this is pharmacy in korean). Cross the street and head up the road. You can go in many different directions but usually the main crowd will head to the “11” street which has the best picture spots.  If you choose to hike up on the street you can get some great pictures.If you’re a K drama fan, 43 hanok is the exterior for “Personal taste” with Lee Min Ho (you know, the one where he pretends to be gay”.

I had a great time wandering alone.  It reminded me that I can and do enjoy doing these types of things on my own.  Ever since my first trip to Seoul alone back in March, I haven’t done too much on my own.  But I really do enjoy having the quiet alone time, at my own pace.

I went a little later in the day so the lightning wasn’t the best (due to the earlier sunset now thank you impending winter) but I did get some pretty great shots and enjoyed walking through the village.

Now people do live here so it’s really important to keep quiet and make sure you pay attention to the no photo signs.  I think it must be difficult to live in one of the houses.  You could never really go outside, there would always be foot traffic…you’re living in a tourist spot. You would always feel watched.  I expect it would be similar to living in a house in Williamsburg where people can just walk up and down you street (except in closer proximity) and take pictures.  It would be a hard life I think.

There are oppourtinites to do a guest stay at one of these hanoks that I would like to try some weekend. It was amazing how walking out of exit 2 the city noise is gone.  The area around the hanok village is really cool too.  You almost feel like you’re in a small town, not a big city.  And there are some great mountains in the background too.

After Bukchon, I wanted to head to Kyobo bookstore which is exit 3 of the Gwanghamun station (purple line) .  I followed the paper map and it was an easy 10 minute walk. There were a ton of police men all over …I wasn’t sure what was going on but it was too many to be a simple guard.

Kyobo was insane.  I don’t know if it was the fact it was cold outside or it was a Sunday or what…but it was so busy.  I picked up the new IU album and EXO second box (and Ailee, but I had forgotten and had to get it later in Myeongdong) and debated whether or not I wanted the new FX album.  I decided to listen to it first (which is what I’m doing now) before.

After Kyobo I met the friends that went to the JJCC concert in Myeongdong for a bit before heading home.

While it wasn’t a packed weekend like previous weekends, it was decently busy and kept me from sitting on my couch at home.

I also managed to buy myself a birthday gift-a 100,000 Won winter parka.  My friend H told me that there really is no such thing as fall here.  It’s a short period of time.  And she wasn’t kidding.  Despite having a random week of 70 degreees a few weeks ago, it’s been high 60’s…

This past week it dropped to 60’s…sometimes 50’s during the day and 30’s/40’s at night.  It became so cold so awkwardly fast, that I’m still trying to understand what the hell happened.

When I got here in March, it was cold. And now that it’s only November 2 and it’s cold…I can’ only assume what November – Februrary will be like.

So birthdays.

I don’t like to make a big fuss out of them for a few reason.  Actually let me rephrase…I don’t like to make a big fuss out of MY birthday.  I love celebrating my friends and family’s birthdays.

  1. I had to put down the best dog in the world -Calvin- on my 22nd birthday
  2. I really don’t like having a lot of attention put on me…it’s uncomfortable and awkward.
  3. I’ve had friends in the past who have been birthday crazies to the point where it becomes a little obnoxious “IT”S MY BIRTHDAY SO…..”

I loved to do it as a kid but as I grew up, I’ve found that an ice  cream cake, a few gifts and then dinner is really all I need. No parties.

This year is the first time I will be away from home and for the first time since 1989, I will be celebrating it in the country I was born in.  It’s kind of cool.

But to celebrate with all of you sad souls who have nothing better to do than to read my sad little (often uninteresting) blog, I’ve decided to do a countdown of my favorite songs.  I debated back and forth with this between just KPOP and songs in general.  And I’ve decided this blog could use some flair…so we are going to songs in general which my choices may seem shocking to you.

Since I’ve decided to only a weekday countdown, and I couldn’t bear to limit it to 5, I’ve decided to do 10 songs with 2 each day.

Note, unlike Halloween which didn’t really have any order until we got to #1, this is a legit countdown where I list my top 10 songs of all the songs of all the genres…I repeat….all the genres.

So today…..

# 10: Hey Jude (The Beatles)

As someone who was known for disliking the Beatles for a long time, it might be shocking that this would be on my top 10 songs list.  It wasn’t my fault that in the third grade my music teacher showed the class The Yellow Submarine animation….so for 10 + years I associated The Beatles with the repetitive “we all live in a yellow submarine” chorus.  It wasn’t until I was in my senior year of college, taking a music history course, that I learned that the Beatles were more than that.  After watching “Hard Day’s Night”, my perspective on everything Beatles changed.  Not to mention my two best friends got on board too (we were all in the same class).  I got the entire restored Beatles collection for Christmas, the three of us made a spontaneous mid week trip to Strawberry Fields in NYC on John Lennon’s death anniversary, S bought a poster and hung it in our apartment.

It was the first time that I learned to like something I had been so set against (if you’ve ever sat through the Yellow Submarine animation you understand why-it wasn’t blind hate…it was legit) and it defiantly wouldn’t be the last time. Liking old music was never an issue growing up with the idea “I own the car, I control the radio” (which everyone knows that’s BS because our parents still tried to control the radio even in our own cars) so I listended to  golden oldies a lot.  But it allowed my dad and I to bond a little as well.  He was kind enough to never make me listen to the beatles growing up.

But this allowed us to have one more thing other than sports to talk about which was really nice. My dad isn’t a real big music person ( I think it’s because he’s tone deaf…..) so having the oppourtinity to share a music interest was really fun.

Hey Jude was the first song by the Beatles that I really fell in love with. I don’t know why exactly but to this day it’s my favorite song of theirs and was my favorite song for a long time.  It’s a pretty simple song that pokes fun at pop’s “fade out” instead of using an actual ending to a song. But the build of up instruments eventually ends up with this wall of sound that is so powerful you forget that the song started off so simple and soft.

Paul McCartney’s voice fits the song so well.  And though the lyrics aren’t anything spectacular, the sentiment that it was written for Lennon’s son during the divorce is really touching.

Not to mention if you listen really closely before the chorus of “nananana hey jude start” you can hear somebody ( I think it was Lenon) say “fucking hell” which is just….hysterical that it wasn’t edited.”

So while it might not be the most innovative or creative song in the world, it’s a really special song for me.

#9:Live Like We’re Dying (Kris Allen)

A lot of people probably won’t know this name, or if they do, it’s “the dude who won against the other better dude on American Idol”.

While yes, Kris Allen probably should have lost, he won and this was the song he put out (after that No Boundries mess) as his first single.

Yes Adam Lambert is probably a better singer.  In all facets of the aspect.  And by logic, he would my favorite.  But I fell in love with Kris Allen’s smooth vocal tone.  I learned that sometimes it’s not always about power and strength and throwing out every single trick in the book.  It’s not doing insane vocal runs.  But having a nice smooth tone and doing the best you can do with it sometimes makes it better than any powerful belter ( I say this as someone who prefers strong full voices ironically)

This song not only has Kris Allen’s smooth vocal tone all over it, a catchy tune but also the message behind the song isn’t just some silly love song.

Although he didn’t write it, I do think he carries out the message and the emotion of the song amazingly.  It’s all about the fact that we only have so much time to live and our life could end at any moment.  What would you regret? What would you wish you would have done?  There’s no point in putting off something until later because later might never happen.

So that concludes today’s long post.  I will hopefully remember to add in pictures later.  Tomorrow will continue with the #8 and # 7 countdown as well as dealing with the fact I was just told that my favorite co teacher (whom I rely on for so much) is going to fill the 4th grade home room position, leaving me to have to work with a brand new co teacher…..hate it

KPOP Halloween : Day 13: Final!! GD vs VIXX


Ok I’m very aware this is super late but due to the fact it was a weekend and my friends dragged me out of my apartment to go to a bar in Suwon….be glad it’s here at all.

Our honorable mention was…..G Dragon Coup D’etat. While not “scary” in the sense of halloween…the creepy factor is a 10. It’s weird, its strange…it’s 50 shades of freaky in a post apocalyptic world. The song itself is a little creepy sounding as well with the continuous mantra “this is my coup d’etat”.  However, for me it was deemed less creepy when my friend Brian decided to add his own soundtrack “this is my coup d’etat….ew” so now I just always think of that.

And our official number 1 Halloween song….VIXX Voodoo Doll.  I had been saving this since the day I decided to do this challenge.  There isn’t really any need as to why this is number one.  It’s gorey, it’s violent, it’s creepy, it sounds evil….there’s math.

It was extremely hard to keep the VIXX MV to two…easily the visually disturbing Error could have made it or the vampire on the mood On and On….but I didn’t think anyone would appreciate a list covered in VIXX…unless you’re a super fan…..like myself.

Heads up, this is the UNEDITED version, so if you can’t deal with soft horror…than you might want to youtube the clean version.  I mean I’m a scardey cat when it comes to even the slightest horror movie, but I got through this…..but at the same time I can’t watch previews for the walking dead so….watch at your own discretion.

From the beginning where Ken is flung through the air, to the awesome “controlled” dancing and the amazing vocals as usual, this has everything of an amazing VIXX song.

Which brings me to a small minor point-VIXX comeback! Promo’s are out and despite being very upset at Leo’s blond hair (it washes him out badly) I’m ready for this comeback…

Anyway, that concludes our Halloween KPOP challenge….it was fun..I got to watch some MV’s and listen to songs I never would have otherwise.

As for what’s coming next on the blog…I’ve decided to keep doing this once a day video thing.  It keeps me motivated to update everyday.. While it might not always be the focus of the entry or even a “challenge”, I think it will keep my and hopefully any of you sad suckers reading this, entertained.

With my birthday coming up, I’ve decided to do a countdown of my favorite KPOP songs starting today and running through Friday (because I’m not sure if I will remember to update during the weekend). This will be in the following post as well as my weekend visit to Bukchon village.