oh, blog.

i’ve never kept a diary.

i remember in middle school my friend gina had this notebook she wrote in every day. i tried it a couple different times but i either lacked discipline or something interesting to write about. probably both.

now that i’m older, i sometimes wish i maybe had kept with it. friends tell me about their experiences reading from old entries and how funny they were back then. how dramatic and silly. of course then i remember how hard middle school and high school were for me and i’m relieved i didn’t kept a record.

only now, for the first time, i really have something exciting to write about and i just… can’t. it’s not that i don’t want to, i simply lack the discipline to do so. which really is a shame because i’m having a crazy fantastic time over here.

so i’ve resolved: starting this week, i’m going to blog about one thing happening over here. lord knows i’ve got loads of material.

expect it. look forward to it.

it’s going to be ridiculous.

ya meets kdrama: cinder

it’s ya meets kdrama time again! my post is a little late because i’ve been traveling southeast asia for the last 2.5 weeks, and in the whirlwind of packing and prep, completely forgot to post before i left korea.

today’s book is one that i absolutely, whole-heartedly love and it’s with great pleasure that i share with you cinder by marissa meyer

marissa-meyer_final

honestly, i can’t remember the last time i enjoyed a book as much as i did this one (also, its sequel scarlet and i’m just starting the third, cress–SPOILERS AND DIE.) a good friend was talking about it at a writing conference and the premise sounded interesting, but i’ll just come out and say it–it’s awesome. i read it in a single sitting, compulsively turning the pages into the wee hours of morning. i think it’s such a clever reimagining of a fairy-tale and i appreciated how well the worldbuilding was done–enough to paint the picture, but no so much future tech jargon that you’re lost. also–and this is just a stylistic preference on my part–it was really nice to read a story in third pov. almost forgot what that felt like. for me, cinder is a great example that you don’t need that close, first-person narration to be completely sucked into the story and the character’s plight. i was 100% transported and loved every. single. second. of it.

about the casting

first, i think i take this casting thing too seriously. like, in my head i actually think this is going to happen and i then agonize over who should be casted. it’s ridiculous and i love it. anyway.

casting cinder was hard. i needed someone who could capture that isolation cinder feels as a cyborg, but also communicate her humanity even when everyone around her–with a few exceptions–treats her like anything but human. i’ve seen the actress i chose in several dramas and movies and while not a perfect match, i see her potential to grow with cinder as the series progresses (see, this is corey getting a little too carried away in her magical kdrama fantasy land). on the other hand, casting prince kai was so easy it’s almost laughable. if anyone has seen this actor’s performance in moon embracing the sun, then they know his capacity to be completely fun and swoon-worthy, yet also a serious, decisive (yet conflicted!) ruler. bonus points that he’s totally easy on the eyes.

everyone else was relatively easy. peony needed someone who could tap into that sweet, teenage charm but also tear at your heart with her fear and uncertainty over her sickness. iko (or the voice of iko) needed someone funny and endearing, who could get across that adorable droid’s seemingly (at times) complete obliviousness to her droid-state. queen levana needed someone who was on the surface, gorgeous and seemingly trustworthy, but who could also totally pull off the cold, calcuating witchery that she is constantly up to. last, doctor erland. can cinder trust him? i still don’t know! he’s a man of questionable morals and motives, for sure, and this actor has transversed both sides of the evil/good coin with finesse.

also, about the hanboks

i love hanboks. no one is surprised by this. i think korean traditional dress is gorgeous. i walk by hanbok stores on a daily basis and dream of walking inside and buying one because i just want to spin around in one. traditional dress is still worn in korea for holidays and events like weddings and funerals. it’s one of the things that i love most about this culture. and because this drama exists in corey’s fantasy dream land, and because cinder takes place in the future, i like to imagine that there’d be this super awesome fusion of high fashion and hanboks. hence, hanboks.

plus, did i mention they’re gorgeous? they’re gorgeous.

okay, okay. onto the casting. without further ado, i present thee with:

cinder_final

humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of new beijing. a deadly plague ravages the population. from space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. no one knows that earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. she’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. but when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome prince kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. [x]

han-hyo-joo_final

han hyo joo (한효주) as cinder

kim-soo-hyun_final

kim soo hyun (김수현) as prince kai

han-go-eun_final

han go eun (한고은) as queen levana

jin-ji-hee_final

jin ji hee (진지희) as peony

kim-seul-gi_final

kim seul gi (김슬기) as (the voice of) iko

jeong-song-hwan_final

jeong dong hwan (정동환) as doctor erland

cinder will air monday & tuesday nights at 10:00PM starting march 3rd on tvN.*

(because tvN is basically the best kdrama channel ever and my bbs deserve the best.)

(*this is fake. tragically.)

hit up the ya meets kdrama crew: laura | katie | rachel | christina

good-bye 2013

i’ve never written a old year/new year reflection post before, which really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise seeing as how i rarely write any kind of post (except for kdrama related ones because, c’mon.) but i think it’s important to document 2013 in some shape or form because i’m fairly certain it’s been the most important year of my life thus far, and here’s why:

i was selfish.

up until this year, i’d done much of what was expected of me: college, more college, and job. i spent time with family, invested in friends, my community, and my church. i loved every. single. second of it, yes, but i’d be lying if i said it was easy. with those expectations came this feeling that i was supposed to be somewhere in my 30th year that i wasn’t, and the fact that i wasn’t is still a hard pill to swallow even as i write this. but i kept doing what i thought was expected of me because i thought, “surely it’ll happen. all good things come to those who wait, right?”

maybe.

but i kinda got tired of waiting.

teaching abroad in south korea is something i’ve wanted to do for a few years now, but like many things that didn’t quite fit into what i thought was expected from my life, it remained on the outskirts. a dream. something i was destined to look back on in a few years and regret not doing.

i’m not sure at what point in early 2013 i decided, finally, fully, that i was going to do this. i think it was several things that’d been in the works slowly coming together the align themselves in this almost-perfect moment of clarity, but none of that really matters maybe: what matters is i did it.

i was selfish and i moved to the other side of the world to teach.

i left my sweet, sweet dog, my family, my friends, my community, and my church behind and i went. it was a hard decision to make and there were several moments where i almost didn’t, where i thought, maybe if i make this plan, all those other things i wanted will come, but then i realized: this is what i wanted.

i wanted to make a choice about my future, i wanted to take a risk, and i wanted to follow through.

i guess in the grand scheme of things, 2013 isn’t about south korea (though south korea is awesome), but more about my finally growing up. making hard decisions and taking a chance on something that might not work out. sacrificing the comfort of the familiar–coffee dates with friends, daily phone conversations with my parents, cuddling with kipling on the couch–to experience something new and different and exciting.

the real reason i’ve never really written a old year/new year reflection is because so often in my reflection, i only see my struggles. i see the things i regret doing or not doing, and i dwell on the ways i could’ve been, should’ve been better. i’m never excited for the new year, but instead anxious about the ways i struggle, fall, and struggle again.

but when i look back on 2013, my heart is so, so full. this year has taught me so much about life, about people, and about myself. for the first time i’m looking to the new year with an eagerness and thrist i’ve never felt before. i am excited about the people i’ll meet, the places i’ll go, and the things i’ll continue to learn.

so here’s to 2014–maybe it be just as wonderful.

ya meets kdrama: the disreputable history of frankie landau-banks

the kdrama + ya novels fun continues with ya meets drama! you can catch up on previous posts by checking out the lovely ladies linked at the bottom of this post. they’ve got some awesome casting action happening over at their blogs.

this week, i’m once again dipping into my ‘top 5 ya novels of all time ever’ to bring you the disreputable history of frankie landau-banks by e. lockhart.

elockhart

guys, this novel. i wish this novel existed when i was in high school because frankie is exactly the girl role-model i needed: a budding feminist, a social critic, and a prankster. she’s everything i wish teenage corey could’ve been. what i love most about frankie and her story is that it’s not a love story. sure, there are cute boys, but ultimately, it’s about this girl finding her way and finding herself and kicking ass and taking names while she does it. i can’t recommend this novel enough.

e. lockhart is kind of my favorite. you should read all her novels. all of them.

about the casting

naturally, when casting this drama, it was important to find an actress who could fully really embrace frankie, flaws, funnies, and all. i feel like my choice is pretty spot on, as this young actress continues to impress me in everything she does (she’s been evil, and broken, and good, and i just love her maybe i don’t know.) casting everyone else was a piece of cake: matthew, the full-of-swagger boyfriend; porter, the seemingly two-dimesional ex who’s got more backbone than we think; trish, the total opposite best friend who is always there for frankie when she needs her; zada, the older sister and voice of wisdom; and last, my favorite (duh), alpha.

i think what i love most about this book is the relationship between alpha and frankie. while it’s not a romantic relationship (though i’ve got theories upon theories about the potential, let me tell you), it’s clear that frankie gets to alpha in ways very few do. alpha underestimates frankie, thinks she’s just some little girl, but little does he know… well, i won’t spoil it for you (but it’s fantastic.) so alpha was important, and i was delighted when one of my all-time favorites came to mind. i’ve seen real range with him, and i think he could really bring alpha and all his alpha-ness to life.

so, without further ado, i present thee with:

frankie_title

frankie landau-banks at age 14: debate club. her father’s “bunny rabbit.” a mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.

frankie landau-banks at age 15: a knockout figure. a sharp tongue. a chip on her shoulder. and a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed matthew livingston.

frankie landau-banks. no longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer. especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society. not when her ex boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places. not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them. when she knows matthew’s lying to her. and when there are so many, many pranks to be done.

frankie landau-banks, at age 16: possibly a criminal mastermind. this is the story of how she got that way. [x]

frankie_kimsohyun

kim so hyun (김소현) as frankie

matthew_yeojingu

yeo jin goo (여진구) as matthew

alpha_bangsungjoon

sung joon (성준) as alpha

trish_nambora

nam bo ra (남보라) as trish

porter_baeksunghyun

baek sung hyun (백성현) as porter

zelda_leejueun

lim ju eun (임주은) as zada

don’t miss out on the drama + hijinks! the disreputable history of frankie landau-banks will air monday & tuesday nights at 11:00PM on tvN*

(this is fake. also, i’m totally bias on tvN. if i wrote kdramas, they’d get all of them. watch one of their shows and you’ll understand.)

hit up the ya meets kdrama crew:    laura | katie | rachel | christina

writing in south korea

i wanted to post on this topic sooner, but found i wasn’t really able to because, well, i hadn’t done much writing since my arrival in south korea.

actually, if i’m honest, i hadn’t done much writing since last spring. most of my summer was spent working, visiting friends, and preparing to leave.

needless to say, getting back into some kind of a routine was difficult. add onto that a new country, new job, new language, and this overwhelming need to see all the things, and well, it’s easy to put it off for another day.

but i’m happy to report that i’ve finally managed to strike a balance between work/travel/writing/and fun that doesn’t have me sacrificing one for the other.

that was one of my biggest struggles when i was making the decision to come to korea. i worried if i came, i’d never write. or i’d spend all my time indoors writing and not exploring the country. or, if i stayed in austin to write, i’d miss out on this grand adventure abroad.

i’m grateful i’ve found a way to have both.

old project vs. new project

originally, my plan was to continue with the complete rewrite of what comes after. i’d started it prior to leaving for korea, but after two months away from it, i found it really hard to dive back in. i thought free writing might help, and while it totally got me writing again, it got me writing something completely new.

you know how when you start something new, anything new, it’s full of so much promise and rainbows and pixiedust? this project is oozing pixiedust right now.

i’m always afraid to say i love a project because i’m afraid my other projects will hear (not literally, of course, but more like my internal critic will take note and will feel compelled to remind me when the time comes), but i truly do love this project. it’s funny and heartbreaking, and it’s really challenging me as a writer. it’s also allowing me to tap into my other academic love, communication (specifically interpersonal and nonverbal.) also, there’s a roller coaster.

and roller coasters are awesome.

i started this new project last month, and i honestly thought it was only a matter of time before i hit that wall. only i haven’t. there’s been a few bumps, yup, but i’m a little in awe of how the story is keeping itself together (and quite terrified, too, haha.)

my goal is to have the first draft done by the end of november so i can spend december making it suck less. i’ve heard it gets crazy cold in korea during the winter (thanks, russian tundra!), so i plan to capitalize on days spent inside with some delicious coffee, baked goods, and my pixiedust project.

ya meets kdrama: graceling by kristin cashore

the kdrama + ya novels fun continues with ya meets kdrama! for those of you new to this series, a group of lovely gals & i are casting our favorite ya books as kdramas (because we love both)(a lot)(like a lot a lot.)

to catch you up to speed, here are the projects that’ve already been casted: so close to you by rachel carter, delirium by lauren oliver, lola and the boy next door by stephanie perkins, jellicoe road by melina marchetta, the distance between us by kasie west, if i stay by gayle forman, paper towns by john green, and white cat by holly black.

whew. this series is really growing! and this week i’m adding to it with another one of my favorite novels, graceling by kristin cashore.

graceling_title

i chose graceling for two reasons. one, it’s a fantastic, beautiful novel. it’s one of the first ya novels i can remember reading and just really loving. the entire series is fantastic. the second reason i chose this novel is because i really wanted to cast a sageuk, or a korean historical drama.

while i love me some korean romantic comedies and melodramatic family antics, nothing, in my opinion, beats a saguek. the hanboks! the sweeping historical settings! the political intrigue and martial arts! so many of my most favorite dramas are historical. and it just so happens that a number of historical dramas flirt with the element of magic and fantasy. ergo, graceling as a korean historical drama.

you have no idea how ridiculously excited i am about this. and casting it? so much fun. just like with jellicoe, i took great care in choosing my central actors, ones i know are strong or that show great potential (just check out my choice for po in this music video and tell me his facial expressions don’t just cut straight to your heart)(i’m looking at you 3:59 mark)(but i digress.)

so, without further ado, i present thee with:

GRACE_BANNER

katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. as niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug. when she first meets prince po, graced with combat skills, katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. she never expects to become po’s friend. she never expects to learn a new truth about her own grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away… a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone. [x]

katsa_shinminah2

shin min ah (신민아) as katsa

po_songjaerim

song jae rim (송재림) as prince po

bitterblue_kimyoojung

kim yoo jung (김유정) as bitterblue

leck_lee byung hun

lee byung hun (이병헌) as king leck

graceling will air saturday & sunday nights at 10:00PM on tvN*

(this is fake. also, i’m totally bias on tvN. if i wrote kdramas, they’d get all of them. watch one of their shows and you’ll understand.)

hit up the ya meets kdrama crew:    laura | katie | rachel | christina

stop and smell the flowers

IMG_4143

how about an update, yeah?

october has been crazy busy. students had midterms and while i should have had plenty of time to craft a post or two, i came down with my first heinous cold of the season and spent the two days with my head on my desk. sinus pressure is a beast, man.

the next two weeks will also be crazy busy. my third graders (us equivalent of ninth grade) are preparing for their speaking tests, which they have with me. i gave them their topics last week, with three choices based off material and target language we’ve covered since i started back in august. but honestly, they can talk about whatever. i just want them to talk.

life at school is also super great. i’m getting to know my co-teachers more and more and i really like them. one of them–we’ll call her mrs. p–gives me a ride to school every day. she’s wicked sweet. i also have a dinner date with miss j, another one of my co-teachers, this week. when she asked, it was literally like being asked to sit with the cool kids. i maybe did a dance once she left my classroom. speaking of quality time with my co-teachers, this past week the yeosu office of education (or whatever they call it here) hosted a cultural bonding day wherein native teachers (that’s me!) and their main co-teacher (that’s mr. g!) went on a field trip to the suncheon garden expo.

now, this expo has been going on since may. it’s a huge tourist pull in korea. it features gardens from all over the world (or, rather, themed gardens from countries all over the world as korea sees them)(which wasn’t bad, just amusing)(i’ll explain later.) it was the perfect day for walking around a giant park. it’s fall here in korea, which means gorgeous colors and nice, cool weather. funny how years of living in texas could make me completely forget what fall looks and feels like. not too sure i can live without it again.

but back to the expo. going on a weekday was perfect because there weren’t a lot of people there. it was mostly student field trips (so many kids saying hello to me, too–so precious!) there was a guided tour, but mr. g encouraged me to go explore and spend time with my friends and, well, he didn’t have to tell me twice. and it’s for the best, too, because if he hadn’t, i wouldn’t have had the guts to take all the ridiculously goofy pictures that i did take.

the country gardens we visited were france, italy, holland, spain (which was just a fountain and some lounge chairs), and america. of course, i didn’t even realize we’d been in the american garden until someone told us afterward. i later joked, how could i have known? there was no sign saying the place was closed! (government shut down joke!)(cue rimshot!) anyway, the american garden was very funny. it consisted of a giant suspension bridge, a flower tunnel with heart-shaped windows, and a kiddie train that played “she’ll be coming around the mountain.” i know, i really should’ve known.

my favorite part of the garden were the spiral hills. it’s hard to get the effect in just a picture, but there were two narrow, single-file paths wrapping each hill–one going up and the other going down. it was fun watching everyone go up and down, but even more fun going up it myself. and from the top, you could almost see all of the park (the west side, anyway)(the place was huge!)

i’ll stop blabbing about all the stuff and just get to the rest of the pictures. i took so many, but i couldn’t help it! there was so much pretty that needed to be captured.

the suncheon garden expo had it’s last weekend this weekend, so i’m glad i got a chance to visit. i would’ve been real bummed to have missed out on this awesome experience.