Okay, okay. I know I promised I’d blog regularly about my experiences in Korea, and here I am a month and a half into my time here and only writing my first one. I promise I will try to change my lazy ways and blog more frequently from here on out.
Right now, I’m sitting in the English classroom at my main school. This is the view from my desk.
I’m an English Teacher at 2 different elementary schools. One in Chungju, a city in the middle of South Korea, with a population of about 200,000 people (and where I currently live) and the other is in a rural school about a 40 minute drive away. I’m lucky in that my classes at the main school average about 22 students per class. We were told it’s not uncommon to have 30-40 kids in a public school class, so 22 is awesome! In my main school, I teach grades 3 and 5. At my rural school there’s a total of 30 kids from grades 1-6, and I teach all grades. My largest class there is 8 kids (my grade sixes, whom I love – they’re seriously some of the most awesome and fun kids I’ve ever met) and my smallest classes have 4 kids.
I’m really happy with both of my schools. I know some people who have some really tough classes, but most of my kids are pretty good. Sometimes I want to throttle a few of the students in my 3-3 class, but even the naughty ones usually settle down when the threat of not being able to play the planned game or losing a class sticker is looming.
As for my living situation here in Chungju, it’s actually pretty cool. My apartment is nothing special, it’s basically a bachelor unit. I’ll try to do a video tour at some point soon and post it. But what is cool is that I live in a building with a bunch of other EPIK teachers, so I’m now neighbours with some of the people I met at Orientation. Plus there’s a bunch of other teachers who were already here (both EPIK and hagwon (private school) teachers) and they’ve even got a Facebook group, so when you have questions like ‘Um, how do I work the washing machine, everything is in Korean?’ There’s a place to turn to for help. It also means that when I want to go out for dinner, I can usually find someone to go out with. Overall, I’m liking my current situation. Now if I could only find a weekend where I don’t have plans in another city so I can actually explore my own city, that would be nice… 😉
[NOTE: This post is of a personal nature and has nothing to do with Kpop whatsoever. Please feel free to scroll right on by…]
Thirteen years feels both like a lifetime and a moment…
I spent most of my day today being busy. My sister, BiL, nephew and I joined my mom at church. (Me in church and lighting didn’t strike!!! Miracles do happen.) After church, we all went for breakfast and then went back to my sis’ place for a while. When I drove my mom home, I went in for a bit and played tech guru with her iPhone and iTunes, and then we watched Princess Diaries on TV (silly show, but I get sucked in every time). But now, I’m home and the sadness I was ignoring all day has hit me like a tonne of bricks.
It was around this time of the evening on March 3, 2000 that my dad passed away. (Note: I started writing this shortly after 10pm.) He had been in the hospital all day, after we rushed him there in the morning when he had taken yet another turn for the worse. Just two days before, he was okay. I mean, not healthy by any means, he was in pain and weak and sleeping a lot, but he was alert and speaking with everyone. Then on March 2, he took a turn for the worse, and spent the day going back and forth from being lucid and present to re-living the past in his head. That night, instead of going home, I was going over to my sister’s place, since she lived around the corner, and we planned to return to my parent’s place first thing in the morning. When I went in to say goodbye to my dad, I didn’t expect much of a response, since he had been in his own world most of the evening, but he grabbed my hand and asked how I was getting home at that hour. I said I was going with my sister to her place, and he said that was okay.
My mom ended up calling us early in the morning on March 3, to let us know that Dad had taken another turn for the worse and was not at all lucid, so she had called an ambulance. A couple of my cousins were there with my parents, so my sister and I literally splashed water on our faces, threw on the same clothes we had on the day before and rushed to my mom’s to pick up the others and follow the ambulance to the hospital.
All day long, he lay there on his emergency room stretcher, clearly in pain, having trouble breathing, and not really present at all. The doctor said he would be like that for a while, and then some time within the next 48 hours, he would slip into a coma, from there, at some point, he would pass away. He was working on getting a bed for my dad in the palliative care ward, which finally happened in the late afternoon. After my dad was safely ensconced in his room, and some of my brothers had arrived at the hospital, I left with my best friend to go home to shower, change, and bring some clothes and toiletries with me. My mom and sister did the same, since, based on what the doctor said, we were going to be spending time in the hospital around the clock. We got back in the early evening. My dad’s sisters were all there, as were all of my brothers except one, who went home to pick up his wife and kids. (He lived out of town, and in the end, he didn’t get back in time.)
As the evening grew later, my dad’s breathing grew more laboured. We each took turns standing around his hospital bed, holding his hand and speaking softly to him. He was having more lucid moments that evening than he had earlier in the day, which was comforting. One of those moments occurred during the last time I was standing by the bed speaking to him. I don’t remember what I was saying to him, but I started crying, and he said to me, “Don’t cry.” So I replied, “You know I’ve never been good to listen, Dad,” and he nodded in agreement. I told him I loved him and he said, “I love you too.” Then, because he has 8 sisters who all wanted to spend some time with him, I moved away and sat in a chair against the wall, at the foot of the bed. He didn’t say anything else.
I know this sounds weird, but I knew he was gone the moment it happened, even though I was in that chair and a bunch of people were around the bed, blocking my view. The reason I knew, is because, out of the blue, I heard my dad singing to me, clear as day. He used to sing this George Jones song called “She’s Mine” which was about a father expressing his love for his little girl who had lost her mom:
I loved him singing that song when I was little, but I hadn’t heard it in years, and there it was, in my head as loud and clear as if he was sitting next to me with the guitar singing away. A moment later, someone standing by his bed said, “He’s not responding, call a nurse,” and not even a minute later, a nurse walked in the room to check on my dad, and she told us he was gone.
So, no 48 hours, no coma, just gone. That was probably for the best, rather than having him continue to suffer, but that really didn’t make things any easier. The last words my dad spoke in this world were to me. We fought like cats and dogs, my dad and I, but despite it all, I was Daddy’s little girl. No matter how angry we got with each other, and what words were said in that anger (and we both said some real doosies), I always knew my dad loved me. I was his baby, and nobody on the planet ever loved me as much as he did. I doubt anyone ever will.
Anyway, it’s been thirteen years and I still think of him every single day, and I still miss him to the point that my heart physically aches. I’ve never written an account of that day, and I don’t know why I am doing it here and now, but apparently I needed to. Luckily I don’t have many followers, so I’m not torturing too many people with my emo.
I want to start off this post by saying I love, love, LOVE MTVK for airing an interview with Kim Jaejoong. It is so rare for us JYJ fangirls to see our boys on any sort of broadcast outside their own YouTube channel, so it makes me over-the-top giddy when I do.
(Sorry, WordPress doesn’t like MTVK’s embed code, so the best I can do is insert an image and link it to the MTVK page…)
Jaejoong released his first solo mini-album, entitled “I” on January 17th. He also released a video for “Mine” the album’s lead single. I wasn’t sure what I thought of it at first, but I was also sick and cranky at the time, but after a couple of views, I started to like it. Now, I love it. It’s a solid track and the MV supports the lyrics well. Here, check it out for yourself:
So different than what he’s done in the past, but at the same time, so completely and utterly Jaejoong. I think his voice suits the rock genre, and I get the feeling that he enjoyed the change of pace. I also love that he was brave enough to step outside the pop idol box and do something unexpected and different. He didn’t stay within his performance comfort zone, and I respect him for that.
I love the entire album and strongly recommend that if you like this song, you should absolutely buy the album. I got my copy from Kpopmart.com, who are super fast at shipping stuff out, and they even send you pictures of your order packed in the shipment box, when they send out your confirmation. YesAsia.com is also a great, reliable source for any Kpop purchases, but not quite as quick with delivery as Kpopmart. Or, if you prefer to do it digitally, it’s also available on iTunes.
Woohoo! MTVK will be airing an exclusive interview with Jaejoong. They posted a teaser today and my oh my is Jaejoong ever sexy when speaking English. The image below links to the video on MTVK because WordPress doesn’t seem to like MTVK’s embed code…
Some people quote the Bible, or lines from their favourite books, or lyrics from a song. I quote Silence of the Lambs. I mean, just the sight of sunblock has me screaming “it rubs the lotion on its skin and puts it in the basket!” I’ve followed Jodie’s career most of my life, and along with cheering all her amazing accomplishments, in roles like my beloved Silence, Taxi Driver, The Hotel New Hampshire, and the Accused to name a few, I’ve forgiven her for the seemingly unforgiveable, like continuing to hire Mel Gibson when no one else would touch his racist, homophobic, misogynistic ass, and for Panic Room, a movie I actually liked but one that will forever be marred for inflicting the wooden depths of Kristen Stewart’s “acting chops” upon an unsuspecting world. So as I watched her rather mesmerizing speech at the Golden Globe…
Kim Jaejoong will release ‘ONE KISS’ as a preview track on Jan 8, prior to the release of his first solo mini-album called ‘MINE’
C-jes entertainment official said, “MINE, which is the title song and album title of Kim Jaejoong’s first mini solo-album, was produced together with Kim Bada. A large scale music video for the heavy rock song was also produced.’ONE KISS’ will be released online on Jan 8 around 12 noon. It is a song which features Kim Jaejoong’s charming, husky yet sweet voice and is suited for the cold winter weather.”
Also,”We will release an MV behind the scence cut and MV teaser for ‘MINE’ on Jan 8″, he added.
Pre-orders (both online and offline) for Kim Jaejoong’s mini solo-album will begin on Jan 7. It will be available on offline stores like Kyobo Bookstore and Synarra record store, as well as online sites such as Kyobo…
If you’ve read my about page or scanned through earlier posts, you’ve probably figured out that I’m a bit of a JYJ fan. And within JYJ, Junsu is my favourite of the trio. He is the perfect combination of ridiculously adorable, dorky and sexy as all getout. His voice is unequalled, not only within the Korean music industry but worldwide. Seriously, the boy gives me goosebumps when he belts out a tune. He’s also a phenomenal dancer and the ultimate showman. I was fortunate enough to catch his show in New York City on August 30 of this year and he rocked my world from the moment he stepped onto the stage. I still get a fluttery feeling in my tummy when I think about that show. I’m not gonna lie; I was so overwhelmed by the experience, that I found myself unable to contain my tears by the time he sang his final encore song, Fallen Leaves, which he wrote, composed and arranged himself.
Junsu, Jaejoong and Yoochun are all incredibly talented and passionate performers who deserve to be in the spotlight, yet because of an ongoing dispute with their former management company, they are banned from all broadcast stations and have a hard time finding venues in which to hold events. This article in the Asia Sentinel does an excellent job of explaining the situation, so please take a few moments to read it. Perhaps if enough people know about the situation, some sort of solution will be found.
Junsu performed at the 32nd National Para Games opening ceremony, but somehow it didn’t appear on TV as expected. This is such a frustrating thing for his fans and for him, but I have to say that I’m super proud of Junsu, because he handled it with class, grace and dignity.
After working with Junsu on Uncommitted, Bruce “Automatic” Vanderveer tweeted some highly complimentary things about him Bruce “Automatic” Vanderveer has also previously worked with singers such as Christina Aguilera, The Wanted, Leona Lewis and more.
Kim Junsu’s upcoming concert tour dates and venues in the Americas have been confirmed!
Kim Junsu will kick off his world tour on August 30 at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom where JYJ also held its showcase in back in 2010. The venue has also been used in the past by famous musicians such as P.Diddy, Nicki Minaj, Nas and others.
Kim Junsu will then hold a concert at L.A.’s Hollywood Palladium on September 2 before moving on to Mexico City’s Blackberry Auditorium on September 6, Brazil’s Sao Paolo’s Espacio Victory on September 8 and capping things off at Chile’s Santiago’s Teatro Caupolica on September 10.
A staff on the South American concert preparations shared, “Kim Junsu’s world tour news is already causing a fervor among fans here. Though we know economically or profit-wise the South America tour is not as appealing, we believe after the concerts, a positive effect will…