Update: Year 2 in Korea

To literally no one’s surprise, I’ve decided to renew my teaching contract and begin a second year in Korea. I say literally no one’s surprise because after years of watching me flit around the globe, none of my friends and family are even remotely surprised when I decide to continue doing the “Ex-pat Thing.”

To kick off my second year, I’m going to start writing here again. I know, I know, no excuse whatsoever. I mean, I’ve been living and working in a foreign country all year and I’ve barely had anything to write about?! Not freaking likely.

So. Stay tuned for more Jeannette adventures, stories about life in Korea, and general snark and profanity (sorry not sorry, you’ve been warned).

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In Remembrance

For my grandmother, Mary Mansour Durel.

She wrote poetry and read voraciously. In 2013, she self-published her poetry; it filled an entire book. That book sits by my bed and I trace her life through the poems, following her across the country from West Virginia, through Mexico, Georgia and everywhere in between.

She was an English teacher, got a Master’s and then married and had 4 kids. She told me stories about students begging her to not make them speak in front of the class–seems like I got my teaching style from her.

As long as I knew her, she always had a couple wriggly dachshunds running around. She’d sing to them and grumbled about the tunnels they dug in her yard. And then write poetry about the dog burrows.

She smoked cigarettes on her back porch and crocheted elaborate lacey things. When my mom first divorced, they would smoke and crochet together, bonding by talking crap about men.

She was tiny, under 5 feet, but had a way of staring down her nose at you just the same. Last year, a stranger called her an “adorable old lady.” She pratically snarled at the memory when she told us the story.

She would email me. We’d exchange book recommendations, discuss her dogs, the weather, and why my getting lost in Madrid at 2 a.m. was a terrible idea. She’d lecture me about my copious use of F-bombs on Facebook. She encouraged me to keep writing and to keep traveling the world.

She was an incredible woman.

I miss her.

When You Can’t Get Home In Time

Alert: this will not be happy and upbeat. If you need optimistic Jeannette-ness, please click on a different link. You have been warned.

I’ve lived abroad for the majority of my adult life–well the post-college adult life. It’s been awesome  and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But it isn’t all visiting ancient ruins or drinking exotic booze with new people. One of the hardest parts of living abroad is being so far from the people I love. And I just had that brought home to me in the worst way.

Last month, I found out that my grandmother was dying.  Continue reading

5 Little Differences between America and Europe

I’m officially back in the States. And it’s been a year since I last set foot  in the US. This means that I am obligated to annoy everybody around me with pretentious outbursts of: “Well in EUROPE we did…”

I have been trying to limit my annoying proclamations, but I can only do so much. I don’t go off over big things like cultural differences. More like the little things that you would never think about, but leap out to me as completely weird. Except, yeah, duh, of course that’s how they are in the US.
So I made a list of my top “what the hell” moments. Hopefully blogging will stop me from annoying my friends and family with my “In Europe” outbursts and prevent them from killing me. We’ll see!