New Years and Winter Break

새해 복 많이 받으세요!


2015 (or the year of the sheep) is finally upon us. I spent New Years Day lounging around with my host family and drawing this. We did have plans to see them ring the city bell at midnight…but it was cold and got cancelled anyway. Because of diseased pigs. This was one time our translation apps didn’t make anything clearer.

I spent Christmas recovering from the stomach flu. Although unpleasant, at least I didn’t crave any holiday festivities – I was content with being able to eat again, even if it was only rice.

As depressing as all of this sounds, I’m feeling pretty great. That’s because winter break has begun, and I have over a month completely free! Although I’d heard that this school would work me hard (maybe in reference to the occasional Saturday classes), winter break is wonderfully lax. I don’t have a winter camp, which is common for many ETAs, and our contract (this year) only requires that we get 18 days of vacation. So I’m counting my blessings rather than feeling blue over not being able to celebrate on the exact holiday dates.


Lights outside of Gupo station, Busan

Rather than writing about every single thing, I’ll be scattering pictures from the end of 2014 throughout this post.


Gifts I wrapped for our Fulbright secret Santa and a church white elephant exchange


Early Christmas party at church with Mimi (Peniel International Christian Community)

Since break began, I’ve been restless, but also spent time with friends in Busan, finished reading Walden (which a coteacher lent to me) and visited Gimhae’s library for the first time. My host mom and I went together. It was also her first time, as she told me she hadn’t used her library card once since she made it. But once we were there, she checked out a book too. As I was practicing violin today, my host sisters suddenly felt like playing their recorders, and pulled out an old music book. It’s funny to see my influence in this home, and I wonder how they’ve influenced me.

A delicious fish dinner - made more delicious by only having eaten rice, mild soup and water the past couple days

A delicious fish dinner – made more delicious by only having eaten rice, mild soup and water the past couple days

Tomorrow, most of my host dad’s extended family will come over to celebrate his father’s birthday (which was on New Years). Every year the family gathers here for this birthday; we do live in a pretty nice apartment. As one of my students so eloquently put it, “rich apartment!” Many of them will spend the night – I’m wondering how that will go, but I’m trying to ease myself out of my comfort zone more often.

Students campaigning for office

Students campaigning for office

Sunday I will leave for Suncheon to stay my second aunt’s family for a week! I’ve met one of my cousins, 보람, who is the same age as me, but it will be my first time meeting everyone else in this family! I’m a little nervous again.

The following Sunday I’ll go back to Busan…for my cousin 예림’s wedding!

My beautiful cousin! I wonder if I should have permission to post this

My beautiful cousin! I wholeheartedly approve of this timing…^^

Finally, at the end of January, I’ll spend a week in Japan with my amazing friend Katrina, who is also – guess what? – teaching English. I procrastinated for so long that I only bought tickets a couple week in advance, but now the trip is finally set.

I’m so excited about this month – after all this, how will I go back to teaching? Amidst worries about the future and what I truly want to do, it’s nice to be drawn back into enjoying the present and starting off the year with relaxation and enjoyment.


Famous Christmas tree in Nampo


A Kpop band signing that just happened to be in the bookstore that day


Sneaking in a photo with the lovely, hilarious Brittany

Goodbye 2014!


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