Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Bling Ring: Preparing me for Korea

At the beginning of summer, knowing I would be leaving for a year at the end of August, I kind of started to form a Madison bucket list in my mind.  It wasn't until August that I actually wrote it down, but I completed nearly all of the items (in no particular order):

1. Go to Picnic Point

2. Go to Spring Green

3. Go to Chad's cabin

4. Go to a movie! (Bling Ring)

5. Take brother T.J. to Mickie's Dairy Bar

6. Dinner with Jim and Kris

7. Dinner with the Fab Four

8. Visit the younger brother in La Crosse

9. Hang out with JJ and his cousin Sam

10. Do something with the sister in Milwaukee  (I say State Fair counts)

Ever since I'd read Soren's post with the Bling Ring trailer back in April (which led me to read an interview with Emma Watson about the film, which led me to wiki "bling ring", which resulted in me watching the whole series of Pretty Wild in 3 days), I wanted to see the film this summer.

The Bling Ring
The Bling Ring

Well, it never happened.  And on Wednesday, after having packed for my year away on Tuesday, I was off to Chicago for a 3:00 check-in at the hotel (the program puts us up for the night).  The orientation began at 3:30 that afternoon, and lasted for about two hours.  Then dinner was served in the same room.

It was great to finally meet the other UW grads that were also going to work in South Korea.  Many questions were answered, though I'm still surprised at what things aren't known / communicated to us beforehand.  I think bringing in a past TTG participant (who finished the previous year) sometime in May or June would be most beneficial.  You can't do much the day before you leave.  Also on my list of improvements: creating a more comprehensive guide/resource (like my WIPT Madrid Bible handbook) and creating a database of past TTG teachers containing their current contact info and Korean school address.  I will probably delve in and see what I can make myself, to benefit future TTG teachers.

So after dinner on Wednesday we were free to do whatever.  Some people went swimming; I stayed in my room with three other TTG participants and chatted.  On Thursday we were up by 7:30, and a shuttle (also paid for by UW) took us to O'Hare at 9:30.

Nice and cozy in the back of the hotel shuttle

After getting to the terminal, we all had two hours to kill.  This was going to be a long day.

When we finally boarded the plane, I discovered my seat was in the middle of two other TTGs, but since there were only 3 seats in that section of the row, I was only one person away from the aisle on both sides: not bad.  We all got pillows, nice blankets, mini water-bottles, slippers, toothbrushes, and toothpaste on our seats.  I sat down, shoving my white track jacket behind my back, and started looking through the in-flight movies.

The second movie in "New Releases" was Bling Ring.

Woo!  Watching this movie had been on my mind all summer, and now I would finally have the chance to finish that last item before I got to Korea.

I started it right away, and was pleasantly distracted for the next hour and a half.  Although I was just watching a movie, and silly as it sounds, the action really helped bring some closure to my time in Madison so I could start my new life in Korea without any lingering shoulda coulda wouldas.  I'm also a list freak, and having any sort of unfinished task really weighs down on me more than it should.

So having watched The Bling Ring, I was now ready for Korea.  I still didn't know all of the letters in Hangul (Korean alphabet), nor could I say more than "hello" and "thank you" in Korean, but I was ready.
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