Sunday, December 28, 2008

5 days

Down to 5 days. Funny, I found the 2-week mark kind of shocking. Five days is less so. I just feel like this is going to go on forever...

It's a lazy weekend. I didn't do much yesterday except wash up the last of the baby clothes and sterilize the baby items and put them in the cupboard. Today, Sejin and I have just watched a documentary (Who Killed the Electric Car) and we'll probably watch some more TV soon. I'm not a big TV person, but it doesn't take much energy, which I like these days. I may finally photograph the mittens I made and start a new knitting project. It would be nice to squeeze in one or two more projets before baby arrives and I have no time to knit anymore.

As of my last appointment (39 weeks), the doctor was disappointed to see no progress and hinted at getting out and doing some walking. Not going to happen today. I may venture out this week though since I've had an itch to go shopping.

Christmas was so uneventful I didn't even notice it. Some friends, J and S, came over and we went out to VIPs buffet for early dinner. S is also pregnant and just a few weeks behind me, so it was nice to talk about baby stuff and preparations. They brought over a DVD called The Happiest Baby on the Block, which is all about baby soothing. The narrator claims to have all the answers to calming crying babies. I'm skeptical though. If it's as easy as he says and makes it look in the video, why doesn't eveyone know these secrets? Oh well, I'm willing to take any help I can get, so I took mental notes of the techniques in the video.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Single digits

Now we're in the single digits. Even the hours are flying by.

It's a very gray day here in Seoul. I actually didn't even realize it was Christmas Eve until sometime this afternoon. That's the way it is here, though. Not a lot of hype. But my good friend, Y, came over to visit, and then A dropped by with a gift for the baby. It's nice that friends have been coming around to see me. Yesterday, R and I spent the afternoon together shopping at Homeplus. I bought snacks for my hospital bag. Tomorrow, J and S are coming over. I sure have a lot of good friends around.

I finished the mittens I've been working on, but have been too tired to post pictures. Now I'm trying to think of what to make with the remainder of my Noro Silk Garden yarn.

Well, I'm going to watch Rudolf or something because I keep forgetting it's even Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Waiting Game

Since baby is now full term, it's just a matter of waiting. Waiting can be good or bad. On one hand, I'd like the baby to hurry up and get here so we can start getting used to each other and I can stop going to the bathroom every 30 minutes, but on the other hand, I've been getting some good knitting done. I finished Braidy for Sejin, which I'm really in love with. I made it in record time for a scarf. Scarves usually take me a long time because I get bored with them being so repetitive. I think I'm going to make an identical one of these for myself.Also, I crocheted up some cute snowflakes to put on my tree. They were really quick and I think they make my sad little tree look better. I used a mixture of glue and water to stiffen them.
Now I'm working on a pair of mittens that may or may not work out. The pattern is written for working in the round on double pointed needles, but I don't have the right size needles. So, I'm trying to work them flat and then seam them up. This is my first time doing this and I'm nervous about the result. They may get scrapped. Trouble is, I can't find another mitten pattern I like for bulky yarn.

So that's (aside from some work I'm finishing up) how I've been playing the waiting game.
Oh yes. Toto's boyfriend, Moxie, stopped by yesterday for a visit. She was excited to see him at first, but was then a little put off by how quickly he made himself at home. He stole her throne by the window and went for a nap. She couldn't believe it!
Toto - cautious:
Toto - ticked off ... "Who does he think he is?"

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

NOW I understand...

It's always been a mystery to me why 90% of the Korean English teachers I've worked with in the past have been such poor English speakers. I thought it was amusing how they were entrusted with teaching people how to speak English, when they weren't even sure how to themselves. How did they get hired? Now it's all clear.

My husband has been looking for work in the ESL field. Since we're having a baby soon, he wants something stable, with less hours. His English skills are top notch and he enjoys teaching, so why not?

So far, he's gone for around seven or eight interviews at hakwons (private institutes or academies). The conditions of these jobs are insulting to say the least. Most require a 6 day work week (full eight hour days) and offer laughable salaries.

His most recent interview was the funniest yet. It was at Jung Chul English, one of the biggest hakwon chains in Korea (I worked there around 6 years ago actually). They told him to prepare a teaching demonstration: a listening lesson based on a CNN video clip. So, husband spent this afternoon prepping for the interview. He arrived to find out there was no Internet available, so he could not use the clip or his lesson. He was told, "Ah, just forget about it." Instead, he was handed "The Frog Prince" and told to teach. Sure, CNN news clip on the economic recession in America and "The Frog Prince" -- can totally see the connection...

Next came the details.

Interviewer: We have positions at the Gangnam, Yangjae, and Jongno campuses.

SJ: Jongno would be best for me.

Interviewer: Well, that's out of our control. There are two shifts - morning and evening. That's out of our control, too.

SJ: What are the hours and salary?

Interviewer: Eight hours, five days a week. 1.5 million won per month. But if you bring in more students, you'll get bonuses.

SJ: (...)

SJ: My wife and I are expecting a baby very soon. If she has the baby during working hours, will it be OK if I leave work to go to her?

Interviewer: No, you have to stay.

Sounds like a great position, huh?

About the leaving work for baby thing: I recently heard that it's law in Korea for men to get three days off to be with their wives if they have a baby (not much, but at least it's something). I have to look into that and see if it's official. But if a huge chain like Jung Chul isn't honoring that rule, I can't imagine too many others are.

So anyway, I have finally solved the mystery! Koreans who actually speak English well don't accept these positions! They move on to something better or do their own thing.

We have a lot of thinking to do.


That darn baby countdown widget on the right there seemed like a good idea at the time, but it's starting to freak me out now -- 23 days!?!? That can't be right....

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Nice weekend

An unusually social weekend for me. Saturday I had a bunch of girlfriends over for a little crafting. We mostly chatted, but I managed to teach Amy the purl stitch and it was just nice to catch up with everyone. We also enjoyed some tasty treats: Lindsay brought Tim Horton's chai tea and Toblerone, Hayan brought a walnut cake, and Amy brought some Korean cookies. It was a nice relaxing day.

Sunday, today, was the moms' lunch. We met in Myeong-dong and had late lunch at Seven Springs. We had a great turn out -- I think there were 12 adults and 2 babies. It was really nice to exchange information, stories, and support...and eat of course! It's nice to know that there's a number of other expat moms out there who I can call up if I need to later on. And later later on, we'll probably be able to have playdates with our babies.
The lunch was great, but it was also really great and refreshing to get out of the house. Myeong-dong was busy, but today I was totally able to deal with it. I went to Kosney and bought a baby book and a few baby scrapbooking stickers I found, and bought a few makeup products at Innisfree. I can't believe how long it's been since I've been out shopping! Being cooped up indoors sucks, but I think I've saved a bundle of money as a result...I used to love strolling around Myeong-dong making a purchase here and a purchase there. Anyway, today I spent some money on myself for a change and it felt good.

So another quiet evening tonight. I'm pretty tired from today's outing, actually. I'll probably work on my newest project tonight, Braidy. I'm making Sejin a scarf because I realized that I've never actually finished anything for him and it'll be good to take a break from baby projects. The braid in the scarf, though, is pretty intense...more intense than I thought it would be. Luckily the pattern only calls for two braids, one at each end. I'll probably throw a few extra in for kicks, because it looks cool.
I recently finished Baby It's Cold Outside. Not so sure about crocheting anymore. Great for doilies, not so great for garments. We'll see next year how useful the cardigan is.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Some knitted cuteness

I like projects that knit up quickly! These little guys will hopefully be useful and cute. The hat took me just two evenings of leisurely knitting. The socks took three days, and were a little more involved. Kind of reminded me why I'm not a fan of sock knitting. I think it's cool the way you can knit them all in one piece, but the turning of the heel is not always that magical, at least for me.
Newborn hat:
Infant socks:
That's all for tonight. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow, so hopefully I'll have an ultrasound pic to upload!

Monday, December 1, 2008

A good Monday

Today I was really sleepy, but it was a good day nonetheless. My friend Karen came over with her son, Ian, and we had a nice chat over some deopbap and manduguk. She brought me a tonne of Thanksgiving leftovers, which I really appreciated. It's been a while since I've had turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie! I just finished eating a few minutes ago and I'm even more sleepy now, of course! Thank goodness for good friends!

I've been a little slow with knitting. I finally finished my baby bell bottoms. They turned out cute enough...but we'll see how practical they actually are. Far more practical is the baby beanie I made for Karen's baby. It turned out really cute, so I think I'll make one for my baby as well. The yarn I used for this was nice and soft.
Other than that, not much is new. I'm staying very close to home and spending less and less time at the computer. It's just becoming too uncomfortable for me to sit here for very long. Whenever I get up from sitting a long time I have a sore back for the rest of the day. It's hard to believe I'll have my 36 week appointment on Friday. Time is definitely flying, but I usually tackle a small project every day and I'm beginning to feel a little prepared for this baby.
Toto, on the other hand, has no idea what is to come.