Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve

"My favorite movie is Home Alone. I really enjoyed it. I'm alone on Christmas, but that movie is my girlfriend." - HG

A first-year student's quip during a conversation class a few weeks ago. You all know by now that Korea is all about the couples on Christmas. How about on New Year's Eve? I couldn't tell you, actually. But my company tonight is a big bowl of ramen and the last of my personal statements and sample research proposals for my graduate school applications. I'm trying to see if I can finish them before the end of the year... Oh, who am I kidding. I'm trying to see if I can finish them before the end of the day on January first, as they are due on the second.

I've never held much appreciation for the festivities that surround the New Year. For me, it's supposed to be another excuse to spend time with my family. Without them, I see no reason to treat tonight differently from any other night. Work, then a TV break, followed by more work, and when the clock strikes midnight I'll go to sleep.

Goodbye, 2013! See you soon, 2014! And please be warmer.

[edit] Awww, heck, why not. This year-end survey is from Sam Morrow.

1: what did you do this year that you've never done before?
Ice fishing, night skiing, and silkworm eating, to name a few. I began seriously training in martial arts and won a medal, touched a human brain, celebrated a Jewish passover Seder,  went to a Korean baseball game, visited Jeju Island (and many other new places in Korea), marched in a pride parade, saw South Dakota, moved into my own apartmentran a 5k, and spent Christmas away from home.
2: did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't make any resolutions. Next year, I resolve to obtain my black belt in taekgyeon, read my Bible regularly, and be the best teacher I can be for one more semester.
3: did anyone close to you give birth?
Hm... maybe? Not that I recall, though my memory about these things is very poor.
4: did anyone close to you die?
My Ga-jiu A-kong; he was 92. Also, one of my students.
5: what countries did you visit?
Lived in Korea, visited Taiwan twice and the US twice.
6: what would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
A graduate school acceptance letter.
7: what dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I don't remember dates.
8: what was your biggest achievement of the year?
One-year milestone of teaching in Korea!
9: what was your biggest failure?
Tough question... I have not yet hiked up any of Korea's famous mountains, even though I kept saying I would.
10: did you suffer illness or injury?
I got the flu and food poisoning a few times this year. Also, crazy tonsilloliths.
11: what was the best thing you bought?
Fuzzy slippers and a space heater for my apartment.
12: whose behaviour merited celebration?
Everyone who made a stranger's life better!
13: whose behaviour made you appalled?
Who am I to judge?
14: where did most of your money go?
Travel and transportation. Plane tickets... seriously.
15: what did you get really, really, really excited about?
Irene and Dan's wedding! Wes and Hana's wedding! (Side note: Facebook's "photos I have liked" search function is making me really happy right now.) Hm... also, Pokemon X & Y, educational theory, baking, books, and AcousticHolic!
16: what song will always remind you of 2013?
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, "Can't Hold Us". Or anything by Pentatonix!
17: compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?
Happier, always. Thinner a bit. And... I've been saving up for this winter break, so richer, but not for long.
18: what do you wish you’d done more of?
Exercise, study Korean, go to church, travel and see friends, read, blog, photograph beautiful things.
19: what do you wish you’d done less of?
20: how did you spend christmas?
21: did you fall in love in 2013?
With all of my wonderful students!
22: what was your favourite tv program?
Parks and Recreation! No -- ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT SEASON 4
23: do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
24: what was the best book you read?
World War Z by Max Brooks or Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.
25: what was your greatest musical discovery?
Sungha Jung! Roy Kim! No -- ACOUSTICHOLIC!
26: what did you want and get?
Direction in life.
27: what did you want and not get?
My admissions letter to Hogwarts.
28: what was your favourite film of this year?
Cloud Atlas (I watched it in January in Korea) and, unfortunately, This Is the End. Ooh, also The Great Gatsby.
29: what one thing made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
30: how would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Teacher clothes.
31: what kept you sane?
See #29.
32: which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I don't know, and also this survey is getting long and boring.
33: what political issue stirred you the most?
Marriage equality!
34: whom did you miss?
See #29.
35: tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
Don't judge others for being different, leading a different life, having different skills, seeking different goals. Our differences should make us appreciate each other more.
36: quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"If we hold on, and though we carry scars, God is with us marching through the dark." - "Fools Marching" by Tim Be Told

Happy New Year!

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