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Turning My Shame Into My Pride
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Machina's LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, July 20th, 2016
1:59 pm
What the fuck am I doing????????

I love being an expat in so many ways....the challenges, the discovery, and let's face it...the sense of mild superiority ("My life is way cooler than yours") but I am just. not. feeling it right now. All the things that I find appealing right now are just not expat things, and the few that ARE i can find locally. I want to be in a new city, discovering things, and as I said before, Houston is pulling right now. Here's the perks:

1) MAJOR: several friends already there, one of whom is ACTIVELY pulling for me to come. It's so heady to be wanted.
2) wide range of ESL jobs (ok, even though none have contacted me yet for an interview) - I love teaching, and I'd really like to do it in a multicultural environment for once.
3) goth scene....dying everywhere, yet thriving here. Even the "classic Friday" at Numbers tends towards goth. Something about the south preserves the scene?!
4) kink scene. OVERWHELMING kink scene. 33,000 members in the area. (In contrast, all of Colombia has 5,000, and all of Ecuador has five HUNDRED.) Events, groups, munches, parties (WEEKLY parties!!!), opportunities galore to meet some fun players
5) one of the most international, multicultural cities in the US. Foooooooooood from EVERYWHERE.
5a) close to Mexico = lots of Spanish = continued progress in my learning. Conversation partners will be easy to find
6) a Trader Joe's that already expressed interest in hiring me (more good people!)
7) friendliness everywhere!
8) connections in the live music and social scenes....I'll have an in at all kinds of events. (Crystal Castles and Pet Shop Boys both coming soon!)
9) Roller Derby! Active league! I could volunteer! Go to matches! LEARN TO PLAY
10) mild winters. Ok I hate heat, but I think I hate cold more. I get SUPER depressed in the winter. And summers are easier to fuck off someplace else (like Xela or Medellin!) and work or study for a while
11) low cost of living, probably the lowest for a major US city. Cheap, cheap rent. Cheap groceries. Cheap gas.
(ok yes, I'll have to get a car. It might actually be nice. I think I can handle that change.)
12) insanely friendly people. So not used to that, after Korea.

Other things that are just American perks: wide access to foods of all kinds. To clothes that FIT ME. Effortless mailing service/online ordering. TRADER JOE'S. Close to family (3.5 hours to Philly is pretty sweet.) Easy banking, therapy, doctors, dentists. Easy to move my dog.

I WANT THINGS TO START TO HAPPEN. Please cross your fingers for me that I get a job there soon. And oh lord, if you want me to move there, send me a hearse. Amen.
Thursday, October 16th, 2014
11:49 am
Should I spend a month in India?
Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
9:21 am

If I ever start a travel blog that no one will read, this is one thing I should post:

When my cell phone battery gets low, a cute voice says "Baego-pa!" petulantly. It means "I'm hungry."

Friday, January 31st, 2014
10:41 am
Awesome quote of the day pertaining to exes and sex preferences:

"Most people are very capable of mixing, er, genres. There are some people who like only Cerebral Foreign Movies With Female Leads or Darkly Suspenseful British Crime Dramas but most of us can interrupt our marathon of the original Prime Suspect reruns with the occasional Buddy Cop Comedy With Impressive Torsos and Unrealistic Acts of Kicking Things."   --Captain Awkward
Thursday, March 21st, 2013
4:46 pm
I can think of few things more painful than finding someone amazing and knowing that you have to let them go.

Been doing that waaaayyyyyyy too much lately.

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
10:27 pm
"I didn't mean to" may be a good start, but it's not an apology, nor is it a change to the behavior being addressed.

I know the feeling...you want to make sure people don't think you did it DELIBERATELY. But a lack of intention does not mitigate the fact that some behavior of yours offended, bothered, troubled, hurt, or inconvenienced someone. "My blackface wasn't meant to be racist" does not address the fact that it WAS. "That rape joke wasn't meant to trigger memories of your sexual assault." Well god, I HOPE not. But if it did, you owe the person more than "but I didn't mean to!"

There are things that can be said and done with the best of intentions, which still cause damage. It would have been better not to do it in the first place, than to apologize afterwards. Defending your intention makes it all about YOU, and disregards the pain that you (inadvertently, yes, we KNOW) caused. Acknowledge your fault, try to change your behavior, and for fuck's sake, don't try to tell the injured party "don't be mad at me, because I wasn't trying to hurt you." If you take your eyes off the road and run over someone's child who ran into the street, "I didn't mean to!" is a pretty pathetic and self-centered reaction.
Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
5:27 pm
Oh, Korea moment
Having a birthday party for October birthdays at 2 PM, on a day I finish at noon, and failing to mention it to me until 1:30 PM via text. The reason for no call? "I didn't want to bother you during your free time." Oh, Korea.
Sunday, July 31st, 2011
11:34 pm
conversation in the frozen aisle
 Him: "wow, we are really stocking this fish section. It's like turbot speed."
Me: "One more seafood joke like that and I'll fish-slap you!"
Him: "What, are you gonna take me to school?"
Me: "Seriously, stop. All these fish jokes are giving me a haddock."
Him: "Wow. That was a good one. Did you mean it, or are you just feeding me a line?"
Me: "NO! I'd never! That one came right from my sole!"

This is why I love my coworkers.

Friday, June 24th, 2011
8:59 am
 .....I haz one. Or I can, at least.

I'm currently qualified to teach at universities in Korea, which involves no rent, excellent money, good vacation time. After a year of doing that, I could go to a university in Chile, Oman, Abu Dhabi, Taiwan, Istanbul, for comparable pay, usually with free flights, no rent, a month or more of vacation. Or I could stay in Korea and visit anywhere else I want. 

I'm a *good* teacher. Perhaps in the US, there is a diminishing need for good grammar and spelling, but in TESOL, people still need to know those details. And they need to know *why*, too, and I'm good at understanding and explaining that. I'm good at language and figuring out new places, and I thrive off of change. I really think this is where my life needs to go.
I always thought I wanted domestic bliss; meeting my soulmate, buying a home, settling into a neighborhood where I felt known and comfortable, knowing all the fun little spots to go in my city, having children. I don't NOT want those things. But I want this more. I want adventure, and exploration, and job satisfaction, and to avoid stasis. And I realize that I  may ultimately be able to have both...but if relinquishing the domestic bliss fantasy is the price I pay for having an authentic, exciting life abroad, I'm ok with that.
But I'm NOT getting rid of my books.
Tuesday, April 19th, 2011
9:14 pm
Mystery solved!
 I love the internet. It has answers to all my questions.

So this is Shin-chan:

Scott and I used to watch the show together. Some episodes were funny, some were just strange. I never quite understood it. It seemed to be Japanese anime, but the voices were American and so were the humor and cultural references. It was definitely not for kids, although it was about a child. Lots of dirty humor, some crude cartoon nudity, etc. 

I got to Korea, and saw Shin-chan everywhere. The first time I saw it was on a cell phone dongle, which I excitedly bought for Scott (assuming we'd be friends again by the time I got home. Sigh). The clerk asked me "ohhhh! You know this character?"     "Yes!" I replied. "He's Shin-chan!"   "Ohhhhh, this Jjanggu! He popular children's show!"  the clerk informed me. Hmmm. Confused. Oh well, maybe I misunderstood, or the clerk was misinformed. Or maybe the character just resembled Shin-chan? Or maybe that was an English name for an originally Korean show, and people had totally revised the concept, and dubbed it to be dirty in the US?
Months went by. I saw this character EVERYWHERE in Korea. My students had him on their notebooks. He graced popular snack foods. His speech bubbles were clearly in Korean. He was clearly beloved by Korean children, and when I asked students about him, not one ever called him Shin-chan. I'd forgotten about this minor mystery until just now, when one of my friends on facebook "liked" Shin-chan.
Thank you, wikipedia, for illuminating the mystery. He's a dirty Japanese manga character who became a show, intended for adults but with definite culturally-specific jokes: "A typical gag involves Shin-chan confounding his parents by using the wrong phrase for the occasion; for example, saying "Welcome back!" ("おかえりなさい" "okaeri nasai") instead of "I'm home!" ("ただいま" "Tadaima") when he comes home."  He arrived in the US, was dubbed with American voices and with American gags to match, and still directed at an adult audience. Meanwhile, in Korea, Shin-chan received a thorough makeover and emerged squeaky-clean and directed at children, with a new name to match: Shin Jjanggu, which means "Shin Protruding Forehead." Commonly referred to as simply Jjanggu, since Shin is the family name (and, in fact, is a common family name in Korea!) The manga, however, is still packaged for Korean adults.

This was a thoroughly insignificant mystery, but I always did wonder. And now I know, and knowledge is power!!
Tuesday, December 7th, 2010
11:29 am
 I LOVE Always Sunny.

Sweet Dee: "I wanna bash you, bunny. I wanna give you one good bash and eat your sweet delicious meat."
Frank: "You can't eat the rabbit, Deandra, it's got my soul!"
Sweet Dee: "Maybe i'll suffocate you. i'll suffocate your rabbit face and i'll just suck all the life out of it, and then twist your neck, and..."

On a more serious note, in less than 24 hours I will be airborne back to Philadelphia. I'm feeling ambivalent. Not really wanting to leave, but looking forward to a lot of stuff at home. 

Also a little nervous about being unemployed. I've worked since I was 17, except for freshman year of college. It may have been foolish to assume I'd find something easily at home. I guess we'll see.
Wednesday, November 24th, 2010
10:48 am
in case you're worried
 Hey guys, still alive in South Korea. No one is freaking out too much, except the principal of the students we had here this week...he decided to send them home. So no more teaching for me! My last week is ending with lesson development and general relaxation (because I won't need to attend all the trainings for the upcoming lessons, since I'm leaving and won't be teaching them!), which is a nice little benefit.

Anyway, I am fine, although I do have an emergency bag ready to go, just in case. I leave for Thailand this Saturday, and if something awful happens and I can't get back into Korea for my bags, your only present will be me, home in one piece. But I'm optimistic.
Monday, November 15th, 2010
8:10 am
 Ok. I have 3 days on Ko Chang in Thailand, a small-ish island with not a lot to do but relax and explore. Should i try to cram in my PADI open water certification course, and see if I can shorten it in any way through online prep and/or using my previous dives, for about $500 USD? Or should I relax, do maybe ONE discovery dive with an instructor for $100, and enjoy my vacation while I'm there?

Cons for PADI: I've seen it cheaper elsewhere, I shouldn't really spend a lot of money right now since I have no job at home, and I don't want to be rushed on my vacation.

Pros: Getting certified in THAILAND!, I may be bored otherwise, I DO want to dive (and one dive is still pretty pricey), and I have a credit card I can use in a pinch.

Saturday, November 13th, 2010
12:16 am
HOW many bottles did we drink?!
 Giggling helplessly at retarded facebook updates. I love wine drunk.

Current Mood: giddy
Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010
6:01 pm
 I just showed a picture of Lucy, Daughter of the Devil to my friend Steve, for the basis of costume comparison. He let loose a resounding "OH MY GOD" that shook the computer lab, followed with "But that's YOU! That's EXACTLY you! If you'd told me that a friend of yours drew a cartoon of you and this was it, I wouldn't be surprised at all! OH MY GOD."

This pleases me greatly. 
Friday, October 22nd, 2010
5:15 pm
 Five weeks of work left in Korea. How the hell did that happen?

Of COURSE, now that the time is approaching, I'm getting really sad to leave. Having finally started making some real bonds here (was free weekends all it took?) I have to let them go. But I don't WANT to do this easy life thing forever...it's not real. And teaching the regular program this week, since our adult program got cancelled, reminds me that I REALLY don't want to do this unless I'm teaching adults. So even if I return to Korea, I need to look for other programs besides EV. Adult students are never a guarantee. 

I DO miss my friends and family, and there IS a lot of sadness here for me now (let's not even talk about my fear of going to Gangnam...), but suddenly I feel like I have so little time left. And life back home is going to be uncertain.
Thursday, October 21st, 2010
12:33 pm
 I met some Spanish speakers this morning!  I passed them on my way to clock in, heard some comments about "trabajo" and my ears perked up, so I asked "De donde eres?" They both grinned in delight and responded in kind, and after a VERY brief Spanish exchange we switched to English. They're at EV for a film shoot, something that's been happening a lot here lately. We talked about teaching, life abroad, and acting for a few minutes until I had to run to work. I was also gratified to learn that my accent is very good.

It was a short and gratifying reminder about how it's time to go home, or at least go somewhere else. In my current circumstances, I don't get to encounter many random interesting people. If I were in Seoul I'm sure it would be different, but there's still a weird taboo about talking to other foreigners here. Some people get offended by the assumption of "we're both white so let's be friends" which is TOTALLY not the point. I just enjoy striking up conversations with strangers who seem interesting. Soon enough I'll be home again, though!
Sunday, October 10th, 2010
1:41 pm
like a shotgun full of mascara
 Definitely an appropriate image for last night. Twas my birthday weekend! A bunch of friends and I went to see Rocky Horror (the live stage version) in Seoul. There was eye makeup in abundance! It was so weird having to be silent at a Rocky Horror show, but I didn't want to ruin it for the live actors or the Korean audience. It was interesting to see how they did some of the scenes; the 'Transylvanians' sort of operated as a visible stage crew/pack of ghouls/greek chorus throughout the whole thing, pushing the car through the 'woods' and making the appropriate noise when Brad rolled down his window. And the bedroom scene was actually really steamy for Korea! My favorite parts, though, were at the end...Frank got an audience member to kiss him on the cheek for a flower, then tricked him and went for the lips....and then the whole cast led the whole audience in doing the Time Warp! SO worth the experience alone to see a bunch of Koreans doing the Pelvic Thrust (that really drives you insay-ay-ay-ay-ane!).

After it was over, we jetted over to Itaewon to see a friend's band play. We were worried we'd missed them, with all the Seoul weekend traffic, but we actually got there early enough to catch a final round of PUB QUIZ!!!!! I had no idea there was pub quiz in Korea! I may need to go back, even though National Mechanics is only a few months away! The band went on around 11:30. They're called Shotgun Mascara, and they do hair metal and 80's covers. Nothing groundbreaking, but lots of fun! We all danced and sang along and waved lighters in the air. A total stranger bought me and Abby shots for our birthdays, and the band did a shoutout for us too. I got checked out more than once, which was nice; the occasional appreciative glance mitigates all the Korean weirded-out staring I usually get. After the band played, we bar-hopped a bit and actually ended up in a country-western bar called the Grand Ol Opry. Totally not my usual style, but there are no regular goth nights here! C. and I danced together to a few songs, which was really sweet and fun, and which will totally stand out alone in an otherwise-blurry pool of many drunken birthday nights. I can't believe I'm 30.

Today I am feeling the post-shotgun effect. I slept till 12:30 PM and plan to be lazy alllllll day, including a nice bath, and MAYBE going out to see fireworks in Seoul this evening. We got home well after 4 AM, so I'm calling it a successful weekend no matter WHAT I do with my actual birthday. 

ALSO! I got some nifty gifties, including an external hard drive, a very Korean stuffed animal which may also be a hand-pillow (???), some Lush nummies, and an amazon gift certificate. And there are still packages from home heading my way! The month will wrap up with a goth party on Halloween, which I will shamelessly take a half day off work in order to attend. And there will be belated partying when I get home, because turning 30 on 10/10/10 is one of those occasions that must be epically celebrated!
Monday, September 28th, 2009
11:04 am
lots to catch up on!
X-posted from travelogue. 

falling behind on my updates...Collapse )

Current Mood: cheerful
Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009
10:53 pm
zero hour, 9 AM...
I leave tomorrow morning. I have been remarkably calm about this whole thing. Nay, FREAKILY calm. I got spazzed out for about an hour on Tuesday, and that's about it (save the misunderstanding that jolted me into serious action back in July when I had a full out panic attack...) I'm not sure why i'm so zen about all this, but i'm glad to know i can be a calm person when i need to be. I've just figured out what needed to be done, and then done it. Was it always this easy? It seems surreal. Have i actually not accepted yet the fact that i'll be gone to a totally new place, alone? Or have i just had ample time to mentally prep? I DID decide to do this back in April....

Goodbyes have been said, and i am very reassured that my friends will all be here when i get back, and won't forget about me. I got to do lots of cool stuff before i left, and i'm looking forward to doing a lot more when i get back. I will of course miss everyone, and i hope the same movies are released over there as in the US, because it would suck to have to wait a year to see 9 and Alice in Wonderland....but otherwise, what's a year? It's no time at all once you're dead...and what a relief, too, to be able to do something worth talking about.

Time to put away the computer for tomorrow, and to try and get some sleep. It's going to be insane. And amazing. And totally different from anything else I've done. Kick. Ass.

Current Mood: peaceful
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