The Arrival

My family arrived in Korea this evening.
They are exhausted. And my sister is currently using ALL the hot water in the apartment complex, I'm sure. 
Kenny and I packed up most of my apartment today in preparation for the big move-out next Tuesday, the day before we leave the country for 6 months. 
We are exhausted.

But we are all happy. 


On the Other Hand

...there are these lovely children who have not yet become enamored with their own bodily functions. 


What the Crap Wednesday: School Days Edition

Today Jesse simply couldn't help himself. His lanky limbs constantly set to electric shock mode cannot stay still. He stood up behind his desk, turned around and stuck his butt out as far as it would go. He then waved it back and forth hitting each butt cheek with the corresponding hand as it went in that directions. After doing this while yelling something incomprehensible he put the thumb and forefinger of his left hand behind him, made the motion of grabbing a small walnut from his behind, said "Fart" in Korean and then moved the invisible fart held so carefully between thumb and finger in slow motion across his body. As he moved the offensive gaseous mixture out in front of him he made small mechanical noises as if his imaginary fart were being maneuvered by a tiny invisible engine instead of his long, thin arm. Then, he slowly got closer and closer to James' face and finally made contact with James' left eye, making a small exploding sound with his mouth. James doubled over with laughter and Jesse turned back around showing me his butt and smacking it once more while wagging it from side to side.  
Andrew carefully observed this magical classroom moment. He then proceeded to squat in his chair and pretended to poop into his cupped hands held underneath his behind. He then made a motion as if he were shoving this recent production into his mouth. He swallowed loudly. And then, he drew many deep breaths as if he were the Big Bad Wolf. He proceeded to blow this breath over all of his classmates. 

What the crap. No question mark. No incredulity. Just, what the crap. Because I am resigned to it now. I just sat there and watched the whole thing go down, my head in my hands and elbows on the desk. They have reduced me to a shell of a teacher who mostly screams, sighs, and then watches in helpless surrender as they act out their latest gross-fest. Four days left...


Bridezilla? I Think Not

Korean weddings are different from Western weddings. 
My wedding is different from Korean weddings and Western weddings. 

When Kenny and I first started talking about what we wanted in terms of our wedding, we both agreed we wanted something small and intimate, something that would be meaningful for both of us and our families. We wanted to avoid all the "look and see" chaos that tends to be ever-present at Korean weddings (at least the ones I had attended.) We desired to celebrate our marriage with people who knew us and truly cared about us and wanted us to succeed at loving each other well. At the same time, it was also our desire to respect Kenny's parents and his Korean culture. And so, his dad being the pastor of a church and a respected leader in the community, we are expecting around 400 guests. I have made my peace with this. 

photo here
When Kenny and I first started talking about what we wanted in terms of our wedding, we agreed that we wanted something casual. Both of us are simple and our wish is to live humbly together, not acquiring things or money, but investing in each other and the communities we're a part of. We wanted to keep things easy and simple. We wanted to bypass the traditional buffet dinner for all the guests and have the ceremony in his church so that the people who attended did not come with empty bellies, but with full hearts. However, we also wanted to respect the church community that has supported Kenny and his family and not to disappoint them or to offend them by taking away something that was expected at every wedding, despite who it was being wed or how different the couple might be. Also, his parents would not hear of it. And so, we have rented the third floor of one of the tackiest buffet/wedding halls for the dinner after the ceremony. I have made my peace with this. 

When we began to discuss how we wanted the sanctuary to be decorated, we both wanted the focus to be on the lighting. We had a vision of clean, modest lines, and neither one of us cared much about flowers. Personally, I don't want flowers at my wedding. Because they cost money and sure they look nice, but I'm not a flowery person and it just doesn't concern me. I can barely even manage a shrug over it. So, we opted for no flowers. However, there was some opposition to this because "they" always have flowers. "Usually" there are flowers. And a very kind and generous member of the congregation desperately wanted us to have flowers and wanted to provide them. And so, I compromised and after a few deep breaths requested white and green flowers if I had to have them. I made my peace with the flowers. And then, seeing as it is a wedding, the kind and generous member of the congregation seemed to believe she could not produce any kind of "bridal" arrangement. And so, there will be no flowers. I have made my peace with this, again. 

When we decided to have our wedding in Korea instead of the States, we sacrificed many things. Number one, I myself sacrificed the right to stomp my foot and use sentences like, "It's my wedding." Because in Korea it's not your wedding. It's the community's wedding, it's your guests' wedding. I find that this idea goes against everything that has been planted inside of my head pertaining to weddings and a bride's wishes. But I also see the beauty in it. At Korean weddings, the guests all bring an envelope with cash in it. I've mentioned this before. And when they give this envelope to the right person, they receive a "meal ticket" that gets them into the free buffet provided after (sometimes during) the ceremony. And it's true that many guests bring their envelopes, hand them over, grab their meal tickets, skip the ceremony all together and go get their eat on. At first, I was horribly offended by this. Why come at all if you're not going to witness the marriage? And it was easy for me to chalk this up to just another way that Koreans preserve their proverbial "face." 

But when I began to consider this and talk it over with Kenny, I saw it in a different way. I saw that every time someone goes to a wedding, they are making an investment in their community. They are literally investing money in the future of this couple's family (usually the money goes to the parents). And in doing so, they are securing a bit of their own future because when their sons and daughters get married, all the family weddings they attended will pay off. Those families will bring their own envelopes. It's a big circle. And I think it's a nice way to support each other. And if there are people who simply drop their cash to be noticed and then go eat their dinner and leave, why would I want them to be at my ceremony anyway??? I have made my peace with the fact that some people will simply come to "see" what our wedding looks like, and some will come to support us and to invest in our future. 

I have given up the right to claim this wedding as mine. It is our wedding, in the biggest sense of the word. Actually, considering all the work and planning he's put into it, we should call it The HubbO's wedding. He's taken care of so many of the things that the bride would normally do, but because of the language barrier have been shoved off of my list onto his. He has also taken on the responsibility for things that we have decided to add to our ceremony to make it special not just for us but for everyone there, such as subtitling our vows, our video, making our invitations bilingual (not to mention designing the entire thing!), and so many more things that go on behind the scenes. 

However, there are two things that are still mine. They are the only two real responsibilities I have. One is my dress. Check. The other is my hair. And thanks to my good friend Angie, also Check! We did a trial run last night and it was perfect. Even better than I thought it would be. I was so pleasantly surprised and after I went home, I pranced around my apartment cleaning and packing things like I was a movie star with her very own soundtracked life. 

Perhaps the reason for the Wedding Hair Rage was that it was one of only two things I had any control over. And the stylist rendered me completely powerless as he imposed his own vision of what a wedding hairstyle should look like, instead of what I wanted. And let's be honest, how many days out of the year do I care what I look like? I have not washed my hair since Monday, people. (I really have no shame. Sorry, Mom.) I wasn't lying about the 7 minute max morning bathroom time. But I do care what I look like on this day. Because it is going to be a good day. A great day, even. And I want to look and feel great. 

I am not Bridezilla, anyway. I imagine Bridezilla to be the bride who does not compromise on anything, who does not care to respect the wishes of her husband or his culture, but only wants to create that fairy tale day she's been nursing since she was 7. Bridezilla, instead of thanking the stylist for making her hair "too pretty," freaks out in the salon, yells like a crazy foreigner and makes him take it all out and do it again. Bridezilla does not make peace with this. 

I have come to the conclusion that I am not Bridezilla. 
Oh no. I am Bridechilla, baby. (Somebody call Websters. For real this time.) I have made peace that my wedding is not everything I wanted it to be, but that it will still be meaningful to me and my husband. It might not be the exact style we wished for, but it will please his parents who are so gracious and kind to this girl who struggles to understand this culture. Now, I'm not saying that I haven't cried, railed, and pitched many a fit. Oh, I have done this. But I have done this in private, behind my doors, perhaps in the presence of my husband. And I have gotten over it. And now, I am totally chill. I am a Bride and I am chill. Bridechilla. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go freak out because we still have not confirmed a photographer and our wedding is like... 11 days away. 


Weekend Wedding Update

Hello all. This is a little video for you, just detailing a bit of my preparations for the upcoming wedding ceremony. I didn't edit it at all, number one because I'm freaking tired and number two because I pretty much crack myself up at the end. I have created enough videos with iMovie that I should remember how to do it, but every time is like the first time. Eh, what can you do? I wish you all a beautiful weekend, wherever in the world you are. 

Wedding Hair Rage from danielle buckley on Vimeo.


The Trot Must Be Stopped

As I get ready to leave Korea for 6 months on a honeymoon that is bound to change my life, I am gathering a growing number of things that I will definitely miss while I'm gone.

One thing I will not miss, however, at all, in any capacity, is the trotters. The trotters are the women in high heels who trot on the sidewalks to get in front of you in order to trot up the stairs before you do, so they can clunk down the escalator before you do, shimmy through the turnstyle before you do, and trot across the platform and push themselves into the last inches of space left on a full subway car, all before you do.
The constant little click-click-click-click-click-click-CLICK-CLICK-CLICK that follows me down the sidewalk has been eating away at my commuting soul and I can no longer handle it. Every time they slam their little spiky shoe onto the concrete chips away at some happy place within me, the happy buffer I have wrapped around my heart of Rage is diminishing.
And why don't you just leave your house like, oh, I don't know, 10 seconds earlier? Because it's not a constant trot that propels these women in front of me (which is actually not what bothers me. As many people who want to may walk in front of me, get on the train before me, whatev. I'm over that. I leave my house at the right time so that no matter what happens, I don't have to hurry. Or trot.) it's 7 trots and then regular walking for a few seconds and then like 4 more trots and then regular walking. And seriously, it's the stupid little noise that kills me.
Oh, and don't even get me started about the people who are transferring and run with abandon up the stairs onto the platform like hungry dogs just to stand in a line.
I mean, I get it that it's important to be on time for work. But geez! If you have to be to work at the same time everyday, get your shit together and stop showering before work, duh. Because that's how I make it to work on time. I don't ramble out of the bed with an hour to get ready, fry me up some eggs and pancakes, check my email, and leisurely shave my legs and then take my time pulling on my ridiculous stilettos only to trot it to work. Heck no. I am sleeping until the latest possible moment, giving myself a maximum of 7 minutes bathroom time which includes morning pee, washing face, brushing teeth, applying extra coats of deodorant, making sure I don't have boogers in my nose, and possibly doing something to my hair. Also, mourning the fact that yet again, I will walk out into the world with only one eyebrow because I didn't remember to pluck those suckers. Add about 2 minutes to sniff my clothes to figure out if I can wear them again before pulling them on and heading out the door.
That is how you avoid trotting. Or, you could just not wear high heels. If you wore awesome silent-soled shoes that didn't do the clicking noise and feel like the equivalent of a paper cut filled with lemon juice on my ear drum every time your child-size foot slammed into the ground with trot-force, you could run, sashay, tap dance your way to the subway and cram yourself onto that car every day if you wanted to and I wouldn't say a word. Okay, maybe like one or two words, but it would not warrant letting The Rage out to play in the sun. Negative.

Although I am still not totally on board for hiking through the Himalayas for two weeks (this is the husband's dream and I'm just following him and praying that perhaps I can take some strong drugs to make the time and pain pass more quickly), I am ready to be there. Because there are no high heels in the Himalayas. And I'm definitely ready to be in India for a few months. And there may be high heels there, somewhere, but not where I'm going. And being in the States, where there are plenty of high heels, many of them on my friends and family, will not bother me because we do not find ourselves trotting to the subway on sidewalks in the South. Praise God.

End Rage.


What the Crap Wednesday: Because it's Wednesday and I feel like crap

Yesterday one of my oldest students, Andrew, sat in my lap and gave me a hug. It was rare because he's not really the huggy one. That's Jesse. Jesse thinks that everytime I get frustrated with him, a genuine squeeze and sometimes even a little peck on the cheek will make it all better. He's also gotten into the habit of bowing before my anger, his small forehead pressed to the ground, elbows out at right angles like he's going to do a push-up. I am not moved by this. It is only a child's ploy to distract me from the reason I am upset in the first place: oh, yeah, NO ONE LISTENS TO ME AND IF YOU DON'T SIT IN YOUR SEAT RIGHT NOW DANIELLETEACHERWILLGOCRAZYSOSTOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP. IT. NOW.

However, yesterday it was Andrew who hugged me as I was sitting in the floor. Then, he leaned back, still in my lap, and with his hand rubbed my left cheek. He crinkled his nose a tiny bit and made a sound kind of like when you accidentally get something just a tiny bit gross on your fingers. Like, "ehhh-eeewww-uuuhhh." He looked surprised and his eyebrows attempted to leave his forehead. He rubbed my cheek again.

"Teacher! Look!" He grabbed my hand and made me rub my own face. Then he took my hand and made me rub his face, which is of course beautifully soft and smooth. "See?"

"Okay, yes, thank you Andrew. I see that your skin is perfect." And of course, I am also aware that mine, compared to a child or most people on the street, is rough and scarred and a little bumpy in places.

I was relaying this story to Kenny and he said, "Andrew is so mean!" And I told him, no, he wasn't being mean. Sometimes, Andrew is mean and he knows it. But he wasn't being mean. He was just discovering something and honestly sharing it with me. And I started to think about that. How children honestly observe the world and then tell people about it without that inherent meanness that seems to lurk in every adult criticism, even the constructive ones. I was lying in bed thinking, perhaps if we were all honest with each other, but honest with kindness or just with observation things would be different.

For example, there would be none of the first however many weeks of American Idol airing awful auditions. Some kind and loving friend or family member would have encouraged the contestant to pursue something else. "Dear friend, your singing makes me really happy because I love you. Not because you are the next Mariah Carey. But the way you fix my computer/braid my hair/support me/write stories/tell jokes/give good massages/etc.- now that's your talent!"

Because whenever these people are auditioning and we are shamelessly exploiting that beautiful confidence they have in themselves as a person and in their passion, I am thinking, "Who encouraged you to do this? Who are those people who stand outside that door waiting for you to come out of that room? And why didn't they honestly tell you that you couldn't sing if your life depended on it? Whyyyyyyy?

photo from here

Also, someone would have gotten through to Amy Winehouse- albeit a fight through the jungle of drugs and that hair- to let her know that her eye makeup is doing her face a disservice. Her face is perfectly lovely and despite the fact that she will probably continue to decay before the public's view, her friends coudl at least summon up enough guts to inform her of her beautiful face and let her know the liner is NOT HELPING.

I mean, I understand that appearance is rarely worth anything in the long run- we all get old, saggy, and senile. But I'm not necessarily talking about honesty only in regards to appearance, which seems to be something that we can no longer muster, even with our family and friends. But an honesty not designed to hurt each other, but to do a kindness, even if it is honest in a negative way. Being honest in love with each other about our individual gifts, our abilities.

Yes, you are able to do anything you'd like, to pursue any dream you choose. But should you?


You're Invited!

Kenny made these. He's really proud of them. I waited to put this up until all my friends had received the ones I mailed so that they could still be a surprise. But everyone got theirs, so now it's your turn!

If you want to attend, but don't know how to get there and the directions are too small, send me an email or leave a comment with your email address and I'll send you the directions in English or in Korean, if that's how you roll! Also, if you click on the image, a larger one should open up for you.
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