Jiu Jiu has not perished, nor her glory, nor her freedom… oh wait – that’s the Ukrainian national anthem.

I’m very excited to be back in Seoul. I just returned from a wonderful trip home to Seattle, which included a mini trip to Colorado, and now I’m back. I just signed a contract at a new school and will be officially staying in Korea another year.

While I was in America for 4 weeks I went ahead and regained the entire 15 lbs that I’d lost in the prior 20 weeks. Now I’m trying to reclaim my body but it’s soooo haaaard! (wail cry sob) I need to get back into my routine. This song will help – it’s incredibly motivating.

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRfuAukYTKg]

And – I was published! That’s right! I wrote a humor piece for Jiu Jitsu Style magazine, issue 12/2013! It’s called “How to Roll with a Woman.” It contains 10 of the worst pieces of advice a man could EVER take when rolling with a woman, such as “Apologize as much as possible. Seriously. Women are physically more sensitive and should know how bad you feel for putting too much pressure on them.” And of course come to class smelling LIKE A MAN – women don’t need you to wear deodorant or shave or shower – good grief this is a man’s sport, not a night club! Of course, this also comes with a warning that this advice may lead to a loss of women at your club – so follow at your own discretion. ^_^ Yeah! The cool thing is that my teammate read the article and mentioned it! Woo hoo!

YAY! It's my name!!

YAY! It’s my name!!

What’s in store for the new year?

This next year I will be a kindergarten teacher! Whoa whoa whoa – Jiu Jiu, I thought you were a TESOL trainer! Well, yes, I am. However, I’ve been doing teacher training for the past five years, and that experience outweighs my English classroom hours by more than 2:1. I’m eager to get into the classroom to put into practice the things I’ve been teaching.

Plus, the schedule rocks. I’m done by 6:30 pm Monday through Friday. This means I’ll be able to have a consistent schedule, something I’ve been craving. No more split shifts or working on Saturdays, no more revolving schedules. A boring, 9:30-6:30 job.

It also means I’ll have more consistent training. I’ve never done well with a chaotic schedule. I much prefer to have a standard schedule, so when my work would change it would affect my training. My goal will be training 3 days per week.

You will never be last in line, you will always succeed. So sayeth the Fortune Cookie.

You will never be last in line, you will always succeed. So sayeth the Fortune Cookie.

I’m also trying out a few new things in my life. I discovered a really great book called NonViolent Communication. Honestly, it’s changed a lot of how I view people. My sister and I have had a very damaged relationship – something I thought was broken beyond repair. I reached out using a lot of the principles I’d learned by reading the book, and I am so profoundly grateful that it enabled the healing process. I’m really happy that my sister and I were able to create some wonderful new memories together. I’m glad she’s in my life.

I also have decided to start making my own kombucha. My friend at Vibrance Nutrition had me over at her house for a Sunday Brunch and Cards Against Humanity. While I was there she had me try her kombucha. I sincerely fell in love. It’s like vinegary low sugar soda. Okay that sounds terrible. Ummm – do you like vinegar? No – choose another drink. Yes – maybe kombucha is for you. Do you enjoy lightly carbonated drinks? No – choose another. Yes – maybe kombucha. Are you going low/no sugar but miss soda? No – maybe kombucha anyways. Yes – possibly kombucha. Do you love the idea of probiotics? No – definitely pick another. Yes – okies – try kombucha! I reached out to one of the fermentation groups here in Seoul and picked up my very first SCOBY tonight from a great place called SPACE! The tea is brewing!

My very first SCOBY, tea in background

My very first SCOBY, tea in background

My goal is to focus on the present. I’ve so far meditated twice. I hope to work this into my routine. I know that science has shown that meditation is entirely beneficial to one’s brain. Lately I’ve been into brain science stuff. Games that are supposed to help with brain plasticity, the neurons, memory, etc. I’ve been trying to focus on keeping my brain and body sharp. I try to put down my phone and not be leashed to technology.

I finally went through 95% of my belongings, and about 90% was either shipped to myself or gotten rid of. It was liberating. Now I need to find a home for my things in my tiny apartment. I realize that I tend toward clutter, but I want a clutter free home – it’s a nice idea. The amount of things I had was overwhelming. I am trying to make decisions like: have I used or thought about this in the past 6 months? Nope? Find a new home for it.

And finally – clarity in my jiu jitsu. I really loved going into class with a mental game plan – a way to use my time efficiently. Thankfully the Operation Tattered Belt will work more successfully with my new schedule, for when I would go to the 11 am classes, rarely would anyone stay later to drill. Conversely, in the evening classes, people regularly stay late. I’m looking forward to going back on the mats. Every time I take a break from jiu jitsu, I go back with deeper insight – a larger awareness of what I’m doing or what someone else is doing. It’s helpful in my learning.

I’ll be reviewing and commenting on comments that were left on the blog while I was on vacation. Everything should be up to speed within the next 4 days. Upcoming posts to include: gi discussions, operation tattered belt, some thoughts on the rape incident that happened, the Giva Santana seminar I visited, and pictures pictures pictures from my trip!

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO MY FRIENDS?? How were your holidays?