~BACKLOGGED RECAP #9 December Things

View from my classroom on a December morning

Okay. December. What did I do?

I guess I ...
dyed my hair, then I went to Baeyoung HS in Jeongeup (Alex’s school last year, Eugene’s school this year). Alex came to Korea. I went to Seoul for Christmas and saw my mom’s friend, but I guess he’s my friend now. Then went to Seoul for NYE and had to explain what I am... again.

Let's start at the beginning though!

At the beginning of December I spent a lot of time reflecting on my past year and a half with my 3rd graders and doing some self-care (aka I ate more pho).

This marks the beginning of me messing with my hair. Previously when I dyed it I was going to my hair lady, but that meant spending 100usd+ on my hair each time. Instead I go out and buy a DIY hair manicure for ~5usd.

So my first DIY hair dye was pink/red. I was soooo not a fan of it. It was so bright!

But the ice cream was really good!

Then Alex was in Korea! We spent time together in Jeongeup and Gwangju. It was really great to see her and see her so happy with her students.

Then I went to Seoul for Christmas. It was sorta tricky planning because Anna and I made plans months ago to spend Christmas together, then a friend from home was visiting Korea, then Alex was coming too! I was a bit worried about making it all work, but everything went smoothly... Better than I expected!

I took a Friday night KTX to Seoul and met Anna, Annaliese, and Mike for drinks in Itaewon. We went to Southside Parlour and then to this place called Genie Pub? The only memorable part of Genie Pub is if you make a SNS post you get a free shot. So naturally, we all made SNS posts to get the free shot.

Annaliese and Mike posing for our free drinks at 지니펍 in Itaewon.
And then on Saturday Anna and I met up with a family friend of mine to get Christmas lattes (on Christmas) and explore Seoul.

As the school year was coming to an end, I wanted to capture as many moments with my kids as I could. I'd grown really close to these students so it was really hard to see them all go.

But it wasn't really the end... because I had to teach winter camp in January.

All that was left in the year was NYE... and... well, let's just jump into it!

New Year's Eve eve was good. Anna, Esther and I went to get tacos and drinks in Itaewon.

Actually, the day of NYE was good too! Anna and I went to Sky Park (하늘공원).

It wasn't until actual NYE festivities that I got into a really bad mood. If you've been reading my blog up to now you know that identity is something I think about a lot. I have spent many hours of my grant year wondering where I belong in the world and what space I can occupy when I look the way I look, but I feel the way I feel.

So here's the gist of what happened. A friend of mine invited their friends to our NYE thing. 100% fine with that. Nothing we had planned that night, or any night, requires exclusivity.

I wasn't fine with a white dude asking me where I'm from... Twice. Like this:

Anna and I enter a room. Some cordial things happen like introducing everyone.
white dude: So, where are you guys from?
Me: I'm from Minnesota.
white dude: Where are you *really* from?

At first I was mad. Like fire in my veins, hands shaking, pulse racing mad. That night I tried to talk myself out of my anger. Thankfully Anna talked me down and told me my anger is valid. A few days later I wrote this Instagram post about it.

I'm still... angry. Angry about a lot of things, but these days I'm trying to spend more time on good things. Like good friends, good food, and good lattes. Put time into relationships that I care about. Make smart and healthy life choices.

I guess I'm trying to care less about things I can't control (like how people perceive me).

UP NEXT: January Things: Winter Camp + Travel


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