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So much has happened in the past couple of days in Paris! I could write pages and pages (which I did, in my own private diary!) but here's a summary of it all:

Most of my meals have been either crepes or sandwiches - a very simple sandwich... just a baguette, cheese, and ham!

There's so much bread, cheese, wine, and chocolate here - it makes me happy, but sometimes when I see it it makes me feel sick. Too much of the same stuff.

My French skills are minimal. It's quite sad.

Most French people are actually very nice and helpful when I ask for help in directions. Most of the people I've asked for help were able to answer me in English. It's definitely not an easy thing to go around Paris without knowing any French though.

I noticed last night when we went clubbing that it's very open here - people are very sensual and expressive.

In Paris, you walk a LOT. No wonder all the French people are so skinny, eh? Actually, maybe it's more like - In Paris, you walk a LOT when you're lost and can't find the bus stop and catch the train going the wrong way.

The architecture is beautiful here. Nothing surprising, right? :o)

Thank goodness that smoking is forbidden in restaurants back home... because even though I believe the law for forbidding smoking in restaurants was put into law this year, it's not being enforced by 70% of restaurants naturally. It's not fun having smoke in your eyes and all around you while you're eating.

I witnesses some French people drinking at bars and everyone was drinking wine with their food at 2pm in the restaurant, amazing.

My second day of classes we had a wine and cheese tasting class. How come we don't do fun stuff like that at the UofC campus? :) We tried four different kinds of wine, and of course I turned super-red.

There are quite a lot of beautiful looking guys here. Maybe the fact that they dress so well everyday increases their hotness factor? I love how fashionable and dressed up Parisians are... quite different from what I'm accustomed to in the U.S. - or maybe it's just at UofC. :P

my 45 minutes of fame.

I had heard of and wanted to go see the musical "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" in Chicago, but never made the time to go... so when I found out it was being performed at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, I bought tickets for my mom and myself without hesitation. My mom and I went to see it tonight! As we walked into Segerstrom Hall, ushers were asking attendees if they wanted to participate in the spelling bee. I figured, why not, it'd be fun! So I lined up and filled out a form to volunteer. They had us come back at 7:20 (10 minutes before the show) to announce the four selected volunteers who would get to participate in the spelling bee contest, so in the meantime my mom and I sat down at our seats - which were pretty far back since it was in the second tier. At 7:20 I went to the place where I filled out the form, noticed the huge crowd, and since I hardly ever get selected for things, I was surprised to hear my name called first! I was the token asian volunteer, there was a young woman in her 20's-30's?, a young boy around 14?, and an elderly man around 60? They took us four volunteers backstage, told us we were selected due to our great personalities, gave us a pin with "Spelling Bee Finalist" on it, and told us we had to ask these two questions no matter what: "May I have the definition please?" and "Can you use that word in a sentence?" Simple enough. :) Since my mom and I had seats that were on an upper floor, they moved us up to the orchestra section so I would make it to the stage quickly when they called my name. So, we were able to score some pretty sweet seats. :) It was lots of fun being able to be on stage and participate... we were all seated on the bleachers and I was sandwiched amidst the performers. My first word was "atheist" - easy enough. Another volunteer got "jihad" but spelled it incorrectly and was taken off the stage. Myself and the other two volunteers made it past the first round - they got the word "cow" and "Mexicans". Of course a lot of singing and dancing happened after the first round - the performers would whisper to me what to do and how to act, so I just had to play along -- this meant linking arms with the performers and running around the stage and holding hands with the other volunteers and jumping up and down. Anyway, my next word was "zuuzuu" and I totally got that wrong, so I was ushered off the stage with my juice box... (if you see the show you'll know what the juice box is all about!) They needed to eliminate all the volunteers so the others got silly words and were eliminated as well. The fun part for me was how I felt like an instant star after the show as the people who sat all around me congratulated me for doing a great job, and the ushers told me I did a great job, and when I was in the bathroom, the women in line asked me what it was like up there, how I was selected, whether I knew the words ahead of time, etc... and the questions and congratulations continued during my entire walk back to the car, and even in the parking structure someone honked, rolled down his window, and yelled "Great spelling tonight!" That was fun and unexpected!

Participating in the spelling bee reminded me of my spelling bee experiences from elementary school. One things for sure, you learn from your mistakes. I'll never again misspell "chrysanthemum." :)

My favorite character was definitely "Marcy Park": A recent transfer from Virginia, Marcy placed 9th in last year’s nationals. She speaks six languages, is a member of all-American hockey, a championship rugby player, plays Chopin and Mozart on multiple instruments, sleeps only three hours a night, hides in the bathroom cabinet, and is getting very tired of always winning.

Of course the token Korean girl freaks out about how perfect and amazing she is and always has to be and then intentionally spells her word incorrectly. Silly Asians.

Here's some more information about the musical "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee":
In the Tony Award-winning new musical THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, six young people in the throes of puberty, overseen by grown-ups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves, learn that winning isn’t everything and that losing doesn’t necessarily make you a loser. "SPELLING BEE is riotously funny and remarkably ingenious. Gold stars all around," says The New York Times. The Wall Street Journal called SPELLING BEE, "perfect in every possible way" that rarity of rarities, a super-smart musical that is also a bona fide crowd-pleaser. An ingenious blend of simplicity and sophistication, it’s not merely funny, it's wise.

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It was in the 20's today with a "feels like" temperature of 15 (according to weather.com) and yet I saw about a hundred students outside the admissions office protesting today. It was fun to watch... kids were yelling
"What are we?"
"Who are we not?"
"Who are we not?"
That seemed to be the theme for today "Uncommon." Kids painted UNCOMMON on their chests and ran around the top floor of the dining hall yelling and kids cheered from below. "We are uncommon" shirts were sold in various places and people weren't depressed from studying for finals. Honestly, I love the fact that our school is "uncommon" and they make you write a couple of unique essays to apply here. I still remember my essay topic for this school, and the other essay topic options, but for all the other places I applied to I just sent in the same common essay and a "Why I want to go to *insert name of school*" which varied somewhat. The school doesn't just ask you about "a significant experience in your life," but rather quirky questions that gets your creative juices flowing like "If you could balance on a tightrope, over what landscape would you walk?" That's what attracted me, as well as many other students, to this school. It's not the typical 500 word essay that you send to every school using your common application. But... I wouldn't mind the school rankings going up.. because I think that's one of the reasons why UChicago's placed 9th in the college ranking instead of perhaps a few spots up?

Here are some more examples of our past and present "uncommon" essay questions:

(no subject)

에세이티를 봤는데요 :) 성적은 별로 안좋았지만 :(
수학 750점(98%) 받았어요 ㅋㅋ 이점수를 dedicate to anne~
마지막년 끝까지 잘하세요~ㅎ

yay, that makes me happy. :)

(no subject)

So there's this program where underprivileged children at local schools write to Santa about what they want for Christmas and then sponsors play the role of Santa and buy the kid what he or she asked for. A lot of University of Chicago students are participating in it, and kids are told to ask for small things that'll only cost around $10. Like one girl asked for an easy-bake oven, and others asked for dolls or toy trucks, etc. One letter made me crack up though:

"Dear Santa,
I want a fucking motorcycle. A real one, bitch.

Mind you, he's 8. :)

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This year is proving itself to be quite an unpredictable year with a lot of sudden decisions, and yet everything continues to fall into place on its own.

First of all, this quarter has been HECTIC. (You know it's true when you realize I haven't been on AIM at all and haven't had any updated journal entries, etc!) Something I can't live without now is my Google Calendar - it lets me know how crazy my Wednesdays are and how fun weekends are! It's pretty intense taking four rigorous classes, working 10 hours a week, playing intramural sports, being on board for COUP, having a lab for Astrophysics, being on House Council, etc. This quarter's flying by since I don't have a lot of free time... but it's bringing a lot of fantabulous opportunities as well~

Just last week I submitted my application (on the very last date!) to study abroad in Paris for Winter Quarter... I didn't give it much thought, as I just received an email informing me that there were a few slots open, so the deadline to turn in applications was extended. Just yesterday I got the email informing me that I was accepted, and so now I'm hurrying to submit the rest of my forms and such to make sure that I study abroad from January 2nd-March 11th (possibly hanging around Europe for another week though to explore).

Then I wasn't sure what I was going to do about housing... I'm in the dorms right now, but once I leave for Winter Quarter I can't get guaranteed housing for Spring Quarter. On marketplace I found a girl who's subletting for Spring Quarter, and she lives in Regents! The room is on the 24th floor of Regents, and it's a great price for rent! So now I'm considering subletting her room for the Spring and then I'll get the full college experience - studying abroad AND living in an apartment - two things I didn't think I'd do up until now... all in three years too!

I'm going to miss my dear roommate and my closest friends, but I'm glad my friends encouraged me to apply to Study Abroad when I had my doubts. It's sad to imagine having to part with things I'm accustomed to - like these days Heithaus and Jon Simon drop by my room all the time... and Ned, Jon, and I do our stats homework together on a table out in the middle of the hallway as we pretend to have "office hours"... and Bill Chaney runs into my room an hour before every intramural sports game to pump me up and we'll run around the hallway gathering people... and getting all the girls together to use eye-liner to draw lines under our eyes like professional football players... and Pat's always in his room right across the hall chilling... and all the second years will do the fob pose and go "AHNYOUNG" in pictures with me... and my roommate and I will have our dance sessions and singing to Disney and de-stressing together... and Heithaus and me and Ned will meet up with other friends to eat at Edwardo's on "Family Nights"... and walking downstairs to Brian's room and seeing all the asians there playing DDR and hanging out... and making study breaks with my roomie... and eating yummy study breaks others make... Ahhh, I'll miss it all-- But I'll cherish those memories and make a lot of amazing new memories in Paris! Whoo hooo!

I'm really excited. I can't even focus on my school-work for this quarter since I keep thinking about the fact that I'll be in Paris in about 10 weeks! Life's full of surprises, and right now I'm really enjoying life's surprises.

I also finally got around to emailing my students from over the summer, and many of them replied to my email, and it's so good to hear back from them! They're all so sweet and funny, and each of their responses made my day. It's amazing how much I miss them and feel a bond with them when I've only spend one summer with them. One of the kids told me that he was actually thinking of me the other day and laughing as he remembered some of the jokes and stuff I had said over the summer~ I was also surprised to realize how my students are scattered around the world... students replied from China, Canada, Germany, Pennsylvania, New York, California, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Texas, New Jersey... mighty impressive.

Okay. Enough procrastination.

I've always loved this song, and these days the lyrics seem to apply to everyday! :)

On this perfect day,
Nothing's standing in my way

On this perfect day,
When nothing can go wrong

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Threw pizza parties for all my classes on my last day as a teacher at the Academy. Had dinner with Cathy, Brian, and Sue at Nolita (a nice Italian wine bistro in Kangnam) and went to Itaewon (it's pretty sketchy at night when the streets are flooded with foreigners!)

Took a cable car up to the mountains, then went up Seoul Tower at night. The view of Seoul was beautiful at night with all the pretty lights and lit up bridges by the rivers.

Re-visited TechnoMart, Itaewon, and Apgujeong with John. A lot of people stared at him as if they'd never seen a white man before, it was rather entertaining.

Rode the KTX (Korea Train eXpress)which was very smooth and with speeds of up to 301 km/h down to Busan, the second largest city in Korea! Went up Busan Tower for a lovely view of Busan, took a picture with a famous korean actress whom we ran into at the restaurant, walked around the "Rodeo" streets of Busan, saw the Jalgalchi Market (the largest fish market I've ever seen!), ate very fresh (and yummy!) seafood, walked up and down the populated, but beautiful beaches (the water was strangely warm!), got a tour of a huge food company (saw some of the huge machines and stepped into a huge, and freezing, freezer to cool off), my dad's friend drove us in his car to see every single beach along busan/the south-eastern tip of south korea, checked out the place that hosted APEC...ahh, Haeundae Beach was my favorite.

Went to Lotte World again, this time with John and Hiro. Lotte World is the largest indoor amusement park in the world, and ranked seventh worldwide in attendance, not bad? The log ride was definitely the most fun part... the heaviest person sat in the front, the second heaviest person sat right behind him, and I sat in the back seat by myself... so we got soaked, whereas everybody else who was on the ride got off looking completely dry.

Lasty, had lunch with my cousins and aunts and uncles...What a lovely 2.5 months in Korea!

(no subject)

i wrote a long entry on the desktop computer... but the power went out and everything got deleted. so, here's a much shortened and simplified version of my update:
a quick re-cap of the week:

met up with calvin and julia and finally went to a board-game cafe. naturally the girls won, so we got to hit the boys on the head with a squeaky hammer.

made some kimbap at brian's place where i hung out with brian, cathy, hana, rebecca, jiwon, and jeff.

pigged out at the teacher's outing and received the "most effective teacher" award (along with like a dozen other teachers who received awards).

went to moran shi jang with my mom and brother - it's like a huge swap meet. we walked around in the extreme heat and humidity and i saw a part of the korean culture that i hadn't been exposed to before - let's just leave it at that! spent the rest of the day/night at the biggest jjim jil bang in seoul~ sweated profusely in the 77 degree celsius rooms and cooled off in the 4 degree celsius ice rooms. got massaged in between, which was just heavenly. ate and drank lots of shik-hye (yummyyyy!)

as days go i by i'm falling more and more in love with my baby cousin... i wanna put him in my pocket and take him home!

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Went to the 찜질방 with my mom and cousin. It was definitely a most excellent cultural experience. Taking showers and stuff with dozens of other naked women and then sleeping in a room filled with at least 50 other men and women. Bizarre, I know. But we were all spaced out, thank goodness.

Some of my students improved 250 points on their SAT Writing section alone in the past 5 weeks, I'm so excited and happy for them! Whoo hooo! It's going to be really lonely and boring without my students after 2 and a half weeks... What a great experience this is... being responsible for teaching 70 students, meeting new people, getting myself to wake up at 6am every morning without any complaints.

My mother's currently mesmerized by the RoboMaster AutoVacuum, hehe.

My baby cousin loves playing peek-a-boo with me, riding an "airplane" (ie, me), peeing on the floor when his parents are in the process of changing his diapers, falling and hitting his head everywhere but laughing about it, "bbo-bbo"ing people, eating, and messing around with my phone/laptop/camera (and other technology). I realized he played with my phone when I noticed some pictures on my camera-phone that I didn't take... and he took three pictures! One was of my bag, one was just of the room, and one was of his tiny feet! hehe, so cute.

My brother's coming in two days!

Pictures of the different rooms in the 찜질방. There was an ice room, a cool air room, a silver room, a charcoal room (65 degrees Celsius), a mud room, a salt room, an aerobics room, a gym, and lots of other rooms... ranging from obviously cold temperatures (ie. the ice room) to rooms that were up to 69 degrees Celsius. (That's why I'm so red and sweaty in the pictures!)


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The week in a nutshell!

Thursday -> Went out for lunch/dinner with Thomas... I love being able to order a couple of things (like KimBab, Dduk Bbokk Ee, and ManDoo) and splitting it between friends. That's exactly what we did! Spent my time between classes hanging out with him even though it was pouring that day~ That day was probably the rainiest day...

Friday -> Got my haircut at CHOP Hair Salon along with Cathy and Rong Rong in between classes. It's slightly layered, nothing conspicuous. Jay took me and Glory out for dinner at Jade Garden for "American Chinese Food." It was pretty good and had a great view of the main street in Kangnam.

Saturday -> Played with my cousins during the day and went to the girls' night at Harumi's apartment. RongRong, Julie, Glory, Harumi, Tamami, and I spent the whole night talking about Hoyah and random occupations and grad school and playing games! hehe. Shared a cab home with Julie at around 2am.
HOYAH Teachers: Glory. RongRong. Me. Harumi. Julie.

Sunday -> My mom flew in this morning! The whole family spent time talking after church and my mom and I went with my little cousin to meet my mom's high school friend and her little daughter. The little girls ran around outside the restaurant and played so much... I miss my youth ;)

I eat ice cream with almost every meal... reminds me of my few days at Cincinnati, Ohio last summer where ice cream was a part of every meal. :P
32 cm soft ice cream for only a buck!

I used to eat really spicy food well, and I still thought I could eat spicy food well until I ate here... After two years at the UofC eating bland dorm food, my taste buds have gotten more sensitive and can't seem to handle spicy food as well. That doesn't really prevent me from eating spicy foods around here since spicy food is favored in Seoul.

A delicious meal with so many different kinds of food... for only $38/person!

The two girls playing

My adorable little cousin... he looks like he's going to be a heart-breaker huh?