Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Regina Open Door

The evening class that I teach is at a non profit organization helping immigrants or temporary workers with basic English skills. And I teach the beginning level, just like I do at the university. It's a great job. My boss is WONDERFUL! The students are so FUN! The only downfall is that because these students have jobs and lives outside of their studies it's difficult for them to commit to attending class regularly. I may get a new student one day and then they won't come back for 3 weeks. Some times I'll have 10 students in my class and some times I'll have 2. It makes for extra planning and a whole lot of 'back-up' activities. But hey, as long as I can have fun doing what I love then I don't really care.

Today I brought in some realia to my classroom and we took pictures of us doing action verbs. I will print the pictures out tonight and bring them into class tomorrow to have the students write sentences about them. Posing with the different props made for a fun night.

We took our laughs outside of our classroom so we could get a few group shots. Here's the gang tonight:

Hardly smiling for the picture ;(
Then we continued the fun into the break and battled it out with a couple of arm wrestling matches. I won this one by the way!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

GRAD class

Even though I am overwhelmed with the reading load (I hate reading btw.....) I still really enjoy my grad class. I just wish it was the only thing I had to concentrate on. Stupid work gets in the way.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A NEW perspective

I love Kendra's comment in the last post about losing weight (she's so insightful btw). Basically she is telling me to stop making excuses pertaining to weight loss/ healthy lifestyle.

It's exactly what I needed. And she's right. If I am to commit to a healthier lifestyle I will have to find ways to cope even when times are stressful. That means I cannot resort to food as a comfort when I'm stressed and feel I cannot accomplish all I have set out to do.

I like this new perspective because I have always allowed myself to 'cheat' or 'let things slip' when I feel overwhelmed by my duties. An example of this is on Friday I went for a 40 minute run with a co-worker after work and my mom commented that if I had so much to do maybe I should have skipped my run. And that is a reasonable way to think. If you need to accomplish something, but do not have enough time to get it done, then something needs to go. And if health is not a priority, which in my mom's case it isn't her first concern, then it only makes sense to get rid of it. That's 40 minutes of reading I could have done in that time.

But I've noticed a new found shift in the way I think. When my mom said that to me, I really could not believe it. Stop something that is healthy for me, in the name of trying to get something else done? Doesn't that seem counter-productive? In fact running is probably a good stress relief given my current situation. Anyways, I certainly wasn't mad about my mom's comment and do not want it to come across that way as I write about it, but rather it was a good reminder that health should come first. And that little life stresses should not interfere with living a healthier lifestyle.

I have no one to blame but myself for creating this situation. I was the one who decided to go to grad school. I was the one who chose to work an insane amount of hours this semester. I was the one who could not say 'no' when someone asked me to teach them English on the weekend. I was the one who decided to get another evening part-time job which would mean I wouldn't return home before 9:30 pm every night.

So now that I know I've created this situation I take comfort in know that I can change this situation if I need to. There is no sense trying to kill myself in the process but if I had to quit something I would be very disappointed in myself. Choosing the easy way out perhaps?

Does this make sense? Am I just trying to make an excuse for not being able to accomplish things I have set out to do this semester? Because when it comes to the fight or flight response.......I usually choose the flight!

Sunday weigh-in #18

Last night I went to a stagette slumber party. I ate my weight in junk food and got the worst stomachache. Also I'm super stressed with work/ grad studies and find myself snacking more then I should. I can't wait to get through these next 3 months.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

THAT guy!

When I first started blogging about Sung Hyun, back in the day when we were a NEW couple, my dad would often ask "who is this 'gym guy' that you keep writing about on your blog?" He acquired this name because I met him at the gym and 'Sung Hyun', his real name, was too difficult to pronounce.

So Sung Hyun became gym guy. When we first came to Canada for a visit he introduced himself by his first name. He soon discovered that it was too difficult for people to pronounce so started telling everyone his English name was 'Gym Guy', not realizing that guy meant man.

He's kept this nickname ever since (but he now realizes it's a nickname and NOT an English name). Even his co-workers call him this. So last week, as a surprise, I ordered some special plates for his NEW car. They arrived yesterday:
"hey Gym Guy, your wife's on the phone!" my dad says. "What does she want?", he replies!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Funny Story

Here is my lovely group of students. I teach the VERY beginners and even though it requires a lot of work I really adore them. Tomorrow will mark 2 weeks (13 total) of classes together everyday for 15 hours a week.

(permission granted by students to put this picture on the internet)

Yesterday we were talking about cooking food. My little Chinese student said he likes to cook so he offered to bring in some Chinese food for the class. Today he came with about 20 dumplings to share.

You can probably guess where this is going.

Since the dumplings were made from pork none of the students could eat them because of their religious beliefs. Unfortunately for one student it was too late. I was out of the classroom at this point. He had already eaten one dumpling when he realized his mistake. The Chinese student pushed up his nose and puffed his cheeks to show what animal it came from. "THE PIG!" the student shrieked! I only caught a glimpse of him running to the bathroom so he could 'get rid of' what he had eaten.

I felt so bad. The Chinese student felt so bad. The Saudi students felt so bad. That's when, despite the language barrier, we talked about cultural differences.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Just another day in my life!

My relationship with my husband is interesting and unique (one day I'll write a book). And as much as I gripe about the 'shitty times' there are also moments in life when you have to sit back and yourself!

We've had our fair share of misunderstanding which is why I find this video to be quite hilarious:

Busy -- the good, the bad!

My life as of late has been interesting. I have adjusted (kind of) to a new semester at the university doing what I do best, teaching! Teaching at Regina Open Door Society continues to keep me busy at night. Then I've got the 3 hour grad class every Monday night. On the weekend I'm trucking along with lesson planning and private tutoring. I work SEVEN days a week. My weekends are now busier than my week day. I look forward to only having to work for 4 hours, lesson plan for 2, and spend 3 hours in class studying. That's my lightest day.

EVERY morning I wake up and think 'I cannot possibly keep doing this, I'm going to kill myself trying too hard!' but then I get into the swing of things and I'm happy to be busy, to have a job (well, more like 5) and to be learning.

But I still admit that I do not have balance. My relationships with the people I love most are the first to sacrifice. And hanging out with friends is a non-existent!

There is some purpose to all this sanity. Sung Hyun and I are trying to save up for a 20% down payment for our first place. Since my job at the university is sessional work and he is not yet a part of the welding union none of our jobs are secure/ stable -- proving difficult to qualify for a mortgage.

But since I can NOT carry on with this insane schedule I've decided that at the end of the semester (December end) I have to decide what to focus my effort/ energy on, either grad school or work. Because there are not enough hours in the day to be teaching for 52.5 hours a week, lesson plan for 20 hours, attend night classes for 3, do grad homework for 10 hours, and blog, exercise/ have a life.

Any advice on how to NOT be a workaholic?

Teaching in Korea

When I tell people I taught in Korea for 5 years the most common question I get is:

North or South?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday weigh-in #17

Ba-hum bug!

Last week I was 148.8 and this week I'm 150.4.

Each week it's getting harder and harder and I suspect that I'm trying to push past a plateau. I will shake the 150s but it just may take some time.

This week I exercised 5 times. I went for 3 runs (total 17K) and to 2 Zumba classes. I busted my butt in the exercise department and did okay in the food department. I figured I would have lost so I'm disappointed that I gained. But last night I did go out for Indian food with my husband and perhaps had I not done that I would have seen different results this morning.

Either way, what's done is done so here's to moving forward.........

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ask US anything!

Here is the interview with my husband, as promised. I should have put in subtitles because you probably can't understand what we are saying. And it's super long (sorry about that) and really boring!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Grad school

Remember how I pre ordered a copy of my grad text book so I could get a head start with the reading? Well tonight was my first grad class and I hadn't even cracked open the book.

Each week I have to read about 100 pages in the book along with 3-4 other articles. And even though I knew this course would be quite heavy I still DID NOTHING to prepare. Oh procrastination is still one of my less attractive skills.

So the only time I'll have time to read/ do assignments will be from 9:30 pm - whenever Monday to Friday. I put in 1 hour of reading tonight and it's already 11:30. I got through 12 pages in that time. I'm a slow reader. A very very slow reader.

In case you were curious about why my chapter is about, let me explain:

I'm reading about the 3 conditions (changing demographics, global economy, information and technology) characteristic of current sociocultural context that are shaping the learners needs of adults in today's world (Merriam et al, 2007).

Interesting hey? Yah, I thought so......

This semester is going to KILL me!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sung Hyun's baby

Finally after ONE FULL year of living in Regina we have a second car. Public transportation in my city is basically non existent.

My parent's are exceptionally happy because they can stop being our taxi driver! But for now they are our loan's officer.

Thanks mom and dad, slowly but surely we'll pay you back......

Sunday weigh-in #16

Oh yah baby!!!

A victory after the gain last week!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Our Place!

No we haven't moved out on our own but we did have a basement remodel when it got flooded from all the winter snow. Don't remember? GO HERE to see the work in progress pictures. Basically it was gutted and rebuilt. My parents spent A LOT (to the sum of more than 20K) to get this basement stabilized and ready for the Asian Invasion. We were scrambling to get the work done before our Korean family arrived since they were planning on sleeping with us in the basement. On a side note, is this weird? After 6 months of sleeping RIGHT NEXT TO MY MOTHER-IN-LAW I totally do not mind sharing my space.
But since the family was not able to come because we got screwed over by a jack*ss travel agent who stole all our money (sorry this still upsets me at times) we did not get to share our space.

So instead I thought I'd share our new suite which we both LOVE and are happy to call our home.

It isn't the load that breaks you. It is how you carry it.

A very fitting birthday present from a good friend. It sits on my night table because I thought it was a good way to start and end my day!

Thank you Annie!

Today I got a thank you card in the mail. It was from my friend Anne-Marie. We met in Korea but then we realized we were closely connected in Canada. A long time ago her family used to attend the same church as my grandparents. In fact, her older brother was my grandparents 'adopted grandson'.

And to think we met in Korea.

We have been best buddies ever since and have shared a lot of wonderful times together. We've been there for each other and although we are back in our home country we live even further apart.

Here's a picture of us in Vancouver reunited again after we flew back home to start our new life in Canada one year ago:
And here's the nice surprise:

It reads - You are one of the awesomest people I know. Every time I talk to you, you make me smile. I just want you to know how much I appreciate our friendship and I wish we could get together more often.

I love you friend ;)


Me too friend, me too.....

Thursday, September 08, 2011

The ask US anything post!

Remember the early days in Korea when Sung Hyun was all I talked about? Well I realize I don't include him enough in this blog so I asked him if we could do a question and answer video. AND he agreed........which is strange because he hates when I record him doing anything.

So if you're curious to see how life is in Canada for Sung Hyun, want to know random things about us as a couple or just want to hear how he speaks English then fire away.

All things that I talk about on this blog are open for discussion* as well as any other questions you may have. Submit your questions in the comments section of this post by Saturday so Sung Hyun has time to 'think' about the answers (that's his only request).

We'll record the video on Sunday then have it up on the site Monday or Tuesday.


* just remember our parents read this.

Eating and exercise!

Eating healthy these past couple of weeks has been tough. It's a struggle (I mean challenge) to consciously choose healthy options. Some days it's harder than others. Since starting my weight loss weekly weigh-in I've noticed that my taste buds have changed a lot. I have also appreciated how good I feel when I exercise (hello endorphins I'm talking to you) and eat healthy. Whey aren't more people doing this?

But then there are other days when I crave sweets and salty foods and cave into eating junk food. And my body is the first to tell me.

Someone commented on my post last week about how dieting/ lifestyle changes don't address the underlying reasons of WHY people overeat or are emotional eaters. Following rules and counting calories doesn't really help get to the root cause of the reason why people do this is the first place.

And I agree with the comment.

And so my fellow over eaters, emotional eaters, I love food eaters and all of you out there who can identify with this, what are we to do to address the problem?*

I'm finally starting to appreciate my body and I'm happy with what/ how I'm doing. I'm not setting myself up for failure. If I eat unhealthy I am not ashamed of writing about my experience on my blog. I don't have any real guilty feelings if I don't eat healthy all the time. I don't try to sabotage my efforts.

So Jen, if you seem to have it all together why can't you get your act together and lose weight every week? And why did you reach out and ask for help last week?

Good question! Well, weight loss, just like life, will be full of ups and downs. I'm prepared for that. That's why I'm so damn happy with my new found attitude about this whole process. And there are times when I'm down that I need an extra push or some motivation.

I am not afraid to say "HELP ME PLEASE"


So stop, get off your high horse, look around and ask someone you know for help. It's easy. And that person feels special if you reach out to them. I know I would!!!!!

oatmeal with egg whites, banana, blueberries and almond butter.....yummm!

Chickpea salad with feta and Italian dressing!

* we all know I can't afford therapy, nor do I feel I need it at this point in my life.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Life plans.....all aboard?

Sung Hyun and I sat down this weekend and we managed to hash out some life goals. Now that I've got a plan I'm feeling good. We even wrote the plan out on paper and have started a budget book to make sure we are able to track our success. The biggest problem with adjusting to life in Canada was a result of not detailing any immediate or long term goals. We worked so hard to get to Canada that when we came back it was 'ummm okay, what next?'

Sung Hyun's goal was to get a welding job. Now that he's got that, he's satisfied. He could probably continue doing that for the rest of his life and he would feel happy and fulfilled.

I'm a different story. I need to be challenged daily. I work best under stress and I love pushing myself to the limit. That's when I receive the most satisfaction. So working a 9-5 job Monday to Friday just isn't going to cut it for me. I thought that's what I wanted. It seems to be the thing that everyone strives for. And I keep thinking, what's wrong with me? Why don't I want the same thing as those around me? But then I realize I've always been like this. I love change and get bored so easily (I was a little worried about marriage for this reason).

So I feel better now knowing that I've carved out some goals with my husband. Included in the mix are 6 month, 1 year, 3 year, and 5 year goals revolving around money, career, health, home, school, travel and babies, but not in that order!

And we're both on board! (well I'm still working on my husband to smooth over ONE BIG goal, so when I've got him convinced I'll let you all know!)

Monday, September 05, 2011

The Importance of Positive Thinking!

An update on the travel scam

Good-bye money!

We did not receive the money from the travel agent at the end of August like promised to us. It's frustrating. And it meant that I didn't get to see my Korean family this year. Lots of tears have been shed and fights had. As stubborn as I am, I know that there is no sense holding onto this hope because it just brings about frustration. And then in the end I'm only hurting myself.

So I'm making a conscious effort to let this go. Life is unfair, things don't always go as planned and there will be set backs. Two steps forward, one step back. It's hard to see your hard earned money just disappear so Sung Hyun and will just have to put our nose to the grind and push just a little bit more. If this experience has taught me anything it's that money isn't everything. And this is a lesson I needed to learn (it's just too bad it was the hard way)!

Here's the message I left my coworkers:

Hello lovely office ladies!

I just wanted to give you an update about our travel scam because I said I'd keep you informed on the movement of this situation. After realizing that our family was not going to visit us in Canada, we decided that it would be best if my husband went to Korea to see his family. He went for 17 days. While he was there he managed to get the travel agent to sign a document in front of a lawyer stating that he would pay the sum of the airline tickets (about $9000) to our brother-in-law's Korean bank account at the end of August. Then we played the waiting game. The end of August came and went. We did not get our money. We have been attempting to make contact with the travel agent but have had no success.

Since we are in Canada there is not much we can do. Because of the language barrier, lack of funds and time commitment we have decided not to pursue this situation in civil court. We may decide to charge him criminally but since it's difficult to do this and we don't know the steps that are involved we have handed this case over to my husband's oldest brother-in-law.

It's an unfortunate circumstance but these are just bumps in life. I'm not going to let this one get me down. Thanks again for all the extra support everyone has given me in the past month. I work with an excellent team of colleagues and I'm proud to be a part of this organization.

So here's to positive thinking....

Enjoy your long weekend,


I was delighted to get this back in response:

It is too bad about the travel scam, but you're an encouragement to me because of the way you have reacted. You are so right that becoming wrapped up in stress and anger over these kinds of things is just not worth it. Seeing your attitude to this major life event helps me realize how foolish it is to stress over minors like traffic and schedule. Thank you.

The PILE vs. FILE system

Sung Hyun is a VERY neat and orderly person. He gets a paper, files it away. I remember making fun of him in Korea because every night he'd dump out his man bag and organize it. And me? I am NOT an organized person whatsoever!

This is something I NEED to work on considering my upcoming (intense teaching load/ first grad class) semester.

My system of organization is called the PILE system:

As you can see, I like to pile things in random places.

Sung Hyun's system of organization is called the FILE system:
In 5 seconds he can show me his first pay cheque, work contract, bank account information and the phone number of his English teacher.

DAMN HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Sunday weigh-in #15

If I turn my scale sideways then maybe you won't see.....

Ahhhhhhh! I knew this was going to happen. I had an awful week of eating shitty food. I bought junk from vending machines which is something I never do. And I don't really care about the number on the scale but I know that I didn't make the right choices. I'm disappointed in myself for that.

Okay blog readers, I'm counting on you this week to pick me up. I'm in a slump and need some words of wisdom.


Saturday, September 03, 2011

This song

I don't remember the names of famous well-know artists. Nor have I ever felt affected/ influenced by their music. I don't own an ipod or an mp3. And music played in the background at coffee shops just distracts me.

But this song, it's different.

The raw emotion in Someone Like You by Adele moves me beyond words.