Wednesday, December 1

Aging Gracefully in Korea! :) Hello 2-5!

Surprise Birthday Cake :) Anyong Haseyo (hello in Korean) Quarter of a Century!

Let me start off my saying I'm not a birthday person.  Please don't misinterpret that, I don't mind getting a year older, I just don't enjoy the "all eyes on me" part.  I mean in all honesty - shouldn't it be my parents celebrating? I didn't really do anything special that day. To give a little background on where I think this phobia started, here's a birthday nightmare - I vividly remember being at a restaurant in my hometown probably around my 9th or 10th birthday - I was out for dinner with my family at Toot's (for you Murfreesboro-ans). I'm enjoying my intimate birthday setting, and before I know it, I hear the waiters and waitresses marching towards our table clapping and singing "Happy Birthday." My stomach dropped and I immediately burst into tears. Since then, I've made my friends and family vow to NEVER - and I mean ever - have the waitstaff come to our table on my birthday.  I was lucky from years 21 to 24 because I had my birthdays in exotic destinations thanks to working really hard in the summer selling books. I turned 21 in Jamaica, 22 in Cancun, and 23 in the Dominican Republic.

Point being, I've had birthdays in fun places with great people! :) But this year might take the prize (minus not seeing family or my sweet puppy!!) It was a weekend and a birthday I'll never forget - thanks to all those who I saw in Pohang and all the sweet bday wishes I got from across the big pond - it really meant a lot! The weekend in review:

Friday was low key because I had to be awake early on Saturday for teaching training in Gumi,  a city about an hour and a half away.  They bussed about 40 foreign teachers at 7:30am to a "How to Teach in Korea" seminar.  Waking up early on a Saturday wasn't fun, but the seminar wasn't that bad. 

Then, Saturday afternoon there was a scavenger hunt from 4:30-9:00.  It was a blast!! It was a fundraiser for the soccer team in town.  There were about 20-25 English teachers that played.  Leigh and I were on a team and it was a picture scavenger hunt, so we'd have to do things like "help a stranger carry their groceries to their car" or "have a teammate do a handstand in front of the post office" and then take a picture of it.  There were about 60 things - we only got about 40 of them, but we laughed until we cried. At midnight I was surprised with a birthday cake and the entire bar singing Happy Birthday Korean style.  :) memorable and fun!
Scavenger Hunt Task: Picture of Teammates on Tandem Bike

Task: Picture with Clothed Dogs

Task: Pillow Fight :)

Task: Teammate Pyramid with Korean on Top!

Task: Takeover Street Vendors duties! (Korean pancake "hota")

Task: Tango with stranger!
Task: Have Korean do Heisman pose while holding head of lettuce

Task: Kiss stranger's hand

Task: Help stranger carry groceries to their car

Then on Sunday a group of us got together at our friend Kevin's house for a foreign Thanksgiving.  Koreans celebrate their version of Thanksgiving (Chuseok) in September.  Also, as you can imagine, the food here is VERY different from food from America - so I had macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, and deviled eggs for the first time in almost 4 months!! yum! We played games and spent hours laughing until we cried.  I got a 2nd birthday cake there - thanks to one of the sweetest people I've met since I've been here, Tonic!
Honestly, I think this was one of my best birthdays yet!

I have a feeling 25 is gonna be my year! :)
xoxo Em!

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