Debbie's Doings

When two people sing together, they're in love; when two people dance together, they make love.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving

I feel like I complain alot. I'm sure I really do. So I'm going to try not to at this point. Seeing as it is the Thanksgiving season (and turning into Christmas) I thought I'd do the traditional thing and list what I'm thankful for. So here goes...I know I'll feel better after this...

There's always the traditional: health, a job (well, I sortof have one), a roof over my head, friends and family. But this year I want to list what may be considered somewhat unusual things to be thankful for. These are things that make me happy and I am so thankful to have them in my life.

My passport- I'm so thankful to own this little blue book. It makes me happy to have the opportunity to travel outside the USA and experience different cultures. I'm so grateful to have traveled as much as I have and I look forward to more travelling.

My Nikon D40- It's a new hobby of mine but I love it. I almost don't know why I waited so long to get into photography. I'm so thankful that I was introduced to photography in a way that didn't scare me off!

Purple- Everyone knows that I love purple, but I'm still very thankful for this fun color that makes me smile when I see it. I am thankful that I overcame my fear of wearing my favorite color.

The Mighty Boosh- If you haven't watched this hilarious show, you should! I love the humor and the writing in this show. I'm thankful for british humor- what I find most hilarious.

Iron & Wine- This music group is fantastic. The slightly melancholy composure of the music and the beautiful lyrics take me back again and again to a happy time in South Korea. Being introduced to new music is something I'm thankful for, because I don't do a good job of finding it myself!

Korean food- I'm so thankful for korean food. Because of my time in Korea, I now eat so many more vegetables and I'm alot more open to trying new foods (I still won't eat dog-meat soup though!). I'm thankful for having my tastebuds opened to new flavors and seasonings.

Soy Milk- This is a new thing I'm thankful for. Since I've become lactose intolerant (and finally admitted it) I have had such a hard time dealing with this since I LOVE milk, cheese and anythign containing them. Well, I can't drink milk anymore, but soy milk isn't as bad as I thought. I'm thankful that I can at least have that and that I can take Lactaid to help me deal with eating cheese.

Christmas lights- For some reason, Christmas lights are my favorite part of the Christmas season. Seeing the multicolored lights blinking around a window or lighting up a tree (real or fake) makes me smile a little bit. I'm thankful for the little things in life that make me smile.

Love- I'm thankful for the love I have in my life. The unconditional love from my friends has helped me grow into who I am and I am so thankful for the support and love I get even from other continents now that we all have separated. Visiting friends across the world only reinforces the knowledge that I have so many people who love me.

So during this time when so many people fight each other (well, they are family after all!) I wanted to take a little time to remember what makes me happy in life and be thankful. I think you should do the same.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

back in Illinois


So I made it back to my parent's house in one piece. All my boxes even beat me here! Which was more surprising as I thought they wouldn't get here until christmas (at least, most of them!). Two boxes I still need to open and unpack, but more importantly, I was able to empty my suitcases and put them away! For the last week or so I've been going steadily crazy as the desire to unpack my suitcases once and for all grew. I really just wanted to do that. So yesterday when I got to my parent's house, I spent two hours unpacking. I didn't even do it nicely, I basically dumped them out on my bed and happily closed them up and set them off to the side. YAH!

So I have to start working next week. Substitute teaching seems a little intimidating after I went to see my youngest sister's drama production at the high school last night. I am appalled by what I saw, not only in the kids onstage, but also in the kids and people in the audience. Talk about a rude awakening! I'm back in hicksville, USA. Scary thought. I was overdressed, overcultured and stuck out like a sore thumb. Heck, I wasn't even dressed that nicely and I still stuck out! I should just get used to it though, huh? Probably. At least until I can leave again.

Here are a few pictures from my trip to the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. I have one last set of pictures to upload to picasa, but then all my Ireland pictures will be up for your enjoyment. So enjoy these and go find the rest of them.

PS- Lactaid is my new best friend...finally I can eat cheese without vomiting! YAH!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I hate driving...

This is a short one, and no pictures I'm afraid (public computer...). So this is what it comes down to-- I HATE driving...H-A-T-E it. I'd managed to forget how much I hate it seeing as I haven't properly driven in over two years. Oh sure, I drove some while I was home last Christmas...but that was a short time and not every day. It also wasn't in a city. Yeah, city driving has never been one of my favorite things in the world and I never worried about it since the times I've lived in a city (St. Louis and Ilsan/Seoul) I haven't had a car or driven really. So it just wasn't something I had to deal with. Until this week.

Siobhan had to work Saturday night so that meant I had to take things into my own hands in order to make my way to Dublin. I decided to rent a car and drive my way through Ireland and be able to stop where I wanted and see whatever strikes my fancy as I'm going along. In opposition I'd be stuck on a bus for immesurable amounts of time with no possibility of stopping off to see something weird I saw a sign for three kilometers back. To top it off I'd have unwieldy luggage that is overpacked to deal with as well...not looking desirable. So I rented a little car from Hertz. Those smarmy bastards suck you in with low rates of 7 Euro per day...haha. I spent much more than I had anticipated...but I'm jumping ahead now. I left Cork Saturday afternoon after Siobhan dropped me off at the airport to pick up my car. I had a faint idea of where I was going, determination to drive on the Left side of the road and learn to shift gears with my left hand...weird. Well, for awhile it was ok. I managed to drive on the correct side and shift without difficulty---and learned how to do this all in the gale I was driving through on leaving Cork! The only thing I hadn't learned until a long line of honking cars alerted me to the fact that the slow lane on the interstate was NOT the right hand lane...nope. Of course it would be the opposite. What was I thinking?!?!

I drove through the countryside to Cahir Castle- it was pretty. I stopped in Limerick for the night...struggled to find parking in downtown after finding the first B&B I could...down by the train station. Now train stations, in my experience, are all located in basically the same neighborhoods, no matter what country you are in or what kind of city you're in; they're all going to be in bad neighborhoods. When walking to the train station in Cork one day I discovered no less than three cars with busted out windows...St. Louis is worse in the scary factor...and I was parked across the street from the train station in Limerick...great idea. So I was concerned all night that I was either A-going to discover my car missing a windshield and my luggage gone (only clothes, but still) or B- that the kindly old lady in the B&B was wrong and my car would be clamped in the morning for parking in a loading zone. Morning came and both I and the car survived.

I decided not to stay Sunday night in Galway...I don't like cities and had a bit of trouble in Limerick that Saturday night that I just really didn't want to do cities again. So I found a country B&B in the middle of nowhere to stay...where I watched a special on TV about No Gun Ri in the Korean War...it was nice hearing Korean again (didn't think I'd say that) and seeing Korean faces. lol. No really, it was. I think my homesickness has sunk in and I miss Korea like crazy now. It started with having korean food while Laura and Luke were visiting and has only gotten worse. Moving on.

Today I drove from just outside Galway to Dublin, with a minor detour to Clonmacnoise, the oldest monastic settlement in Ireland. It was nice, I think I'll get some good pictures from that set. I also visited the Cliffs of Moher on Sunday's drive and the rain cleared while I was climbing around and started when I was going into the gift shop, good timing. Anyway, onto Dublin. Oh Dublin...you're a city and I'm driving in a car...two things that I know I shouldn't do at the same time. Well, needless to say, I was stressed out. I'm sure I had managed to raise my blood pressure when nothing else will make it go up, and screamed at my car and cried because I was hopelessly lost and gave up finally just to park it illegally and walk in search of the rental shop. I was trying to take my car back!

I had managed to make it downtown and find my hostel with no trouble (Lord only knows how I did that one...) and then when I left in search of the car rental office downtown all the bad things about driving in a city came roaring back.

One way roads, construction delays, alternate routes, mean drivers, no navigator, no street signs big enough to read from 10 feet away (seriously...make BIG street signs...it'd help). The list could possibly go on and on.

I spent 2.5 hours driving around a 3 mile radius trying to find an elusive shop. Finally after getting assistance from a nice man at a hospital I got on the right road. Still can't find the place. Finally I park it and decide to walk from there. Six blocks later (behind me) I find it. I go pick up the car, drive it there and then they have the suggestion that I go fill up the tank. I said, nope, you can do it and charge me for it. I'm not driving that car again as long as I live. Even if it's only for two blocks and back. No freaking way. So things should be better tomorrow. No car, only my own two feet and my hopeless sense of direction to screw me up (and hey, at least I won't get into traffic congestion), so things should be much better. Until next time.

Friday, November 7, 2008

It's rainy and I'm sick...


Well, just a few things today. I finally succumbed to the rainy cold weather and now have a cold. It's one of those fun ones where I feel like my head is twice as big as normal and my breathing is severely inhibited. Yep, it's fun! Even with that, I took a 16 kilometer bike ride while I was in Killarney. Haha. No really, I did. I liked my time in Killarney, by the way. I stayed at the oldest hostel in town, the Sugan Hostel. The proprietor is quite a friendly guy who talks too much for my taste. Actually everyone talks too much for my taste.

It finally hit me that I don't want to talk to people here. Really I don't. I don't want people talking to me and asking me questions about who I am and where I'm from. I know they're just being friendly, but I'm more quiet by nature and especially after living in Korea for two years, I'm used to being able to be invisible and go about my business without prying questions into my personal life. Seriously. It's weird to have people want to talk to me and ask my opinion on lots of stuff. Staying at a hostel probably wasn't the best choice for me when I want to be left alone. But people in hostels are too friendly and talkative. I'm sure they thought I was a bit odd and when I was shocked into existence when I was addressed directly. It's weird having to talk to strangers.

I took a jaunting car ride while I was in Killarney. A jaunting car is basically a horse and buggy. I'm not sure why it's called a car, but it was cool. The driver was really funny and told me lots of stories about the area and we held a lively discussion about american politics and the military (this was before the election results). Speaking of the election...

I am SOOOOO happy with the results. And being outside the US, everyone else here is happy with the results as well. Since the election (and even before) whenever someone would find out I was american, they would inevitably ask me about the election and what my thoughts were, who I was voting for, etc. I think I was asked two or three dozen times since I've been here as to who I wanted to win and what I think about it. Even happened today twice. But I am happy about it, I think Obama can bring some real change to the US and I know the rest of the world is happy with his win as well. There is hope that change can happen and that it'll be for the better. As one irish bloke told me yesterday at a bike shop in Killarney, the world is affected by decisions made in the US, "When the US gets a cold, the rest of the world gets the flu." So let's hope the US can kick this proverbial cold's arse and start becoming a country Americans living abroad will be happy to claim as the nation of their birth (instead of vetting other countries to change nationalities to...the UK is really high on my list, France is a possibility too....ok, maybe any of the EU nations). Here's a few more photos from Skibbereen. I still have to edit all the photos from Killarney. It never ends. Keep looking on my picasa page to see the rest of the pictures because Lord knows there's alot of them.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Little break night...

Today I said goodbye to Laura, Luke and Nony again. It was so nice seeing them in Ireland! I really enjoyed our time together and look forward to the next time I see my nephew...though that will probably be after he really starts talking and is two or three years old...oh crazy!

I'm sticking around Cork tonight un-stressing and un-packing (only to repack again) and editing photos (going on hour 5 now....) if only to have to repeat it all in a couple of days. Awesome.

After checking out of the cabin in Skibbereen today, Siobhan and I took a long car ride through the Irish countryside back to Cork. We stopped at ruins, at a stream, looked for a museum and other ruins unsuccessfully, had a picnic at the beach and had an interesting run-in with a local farmer who looked way too happy to see me sitting in the car (imagine being leered at from 12 inches away!). The last couple of days will go down as the time I fell in love with Ireland. Until yesterday I didn't really care one way or the other about Ireland. I mean, I like the people, the food, cider, architecture and everything, but I hadn't really seen anything to make me fall in love with the country itself. Driving through the countryside to Mizen Head yesterday allowed me to see much more of the countryside and the more I saw, the more I loved. I still believe though that the UK has my heart. I haven't yet found a place that makes my heart skip a beat like the UK does, but I do love the quirky way Ireland does things. I'm really enjoying my vacation here and not looking forward to leaving anytime soon.

I had a dream last night about Korea. This was the first one since I left Korea I've had. I was at the restaurant in Hwajeong that serves Kal guk-su and there was an american gal waitressing and she wouldn't serve me jaeyuk dokbap...my favorite dish from the kimbap shop. I was really sad about this fact. So when I got up this morning, this is what I was craving. Great. I'm wanting my favorite korean dish and I'm in Ireland...that's not going to happen. I am hoping to figure out how to make that dish because if I can do that, I'll be happier in the US. I think I know why I had that dream last night- we made korean food last night and it was delicious! Well, sortof. I did manage to make japchae though, with Siobhan's cutting skills we cut the time down alot in making it. To end this break before I return to picture editing (it seems that is my life now every couple of days [chris- how do you do this all the time and NOT lose your mind?]) I'll post a few of my favorites from the end of last week with Halloween and time in Cork and Skibbereen with Laura, Luke, Elijah, Siobhan and Drew. Until next time. Check out the rest at picasa, ok? Thanks!