Thursday, June 30, 2011

Another Korean experience

This will most likely be the last post regarding the GRE exam.  What more could I summate regarding this tedious test, you might ask?  Without giving too much away... let's just say, there is more of a tale to recount than simply," I sat down, took a test, felt discouraged, and went home."  In the United States, that rendition above, most likely would have been my prosaic tale, however, I did not take the GRE in the US. No, no no .  Indeed,I took the test in Korea, the land where nothing is what it seems, and nothing, not even what would normally be an insipid event, goes as expected.

It began with the location of the building.  I realize, that my credibility in finding places, even in my own country, where I am actually a literate and educated woman is tenuous at best. However, I'd looked up the location,and had two separate Koreans look up and draw out maps for me.  I even had a Korean translated sentence asking for help to locate my elusive building. I figured that 30 minutes leeway for finding the building within walking distance of the subway would give me plenty of time.  I wasn't late, but on that sticky, humid morning,  waves of sweat poured off my brow as I searched, running in zigzags, stopping a Korean every few blocks to redirect me. Asking Koreans directions however, can be slippery as a freshly caught fish. Koreans are a nation of face-savers.  They won't tell you, most of the time, "I don't know" if that's truly the case.  Rather they will tell you a lie rather than show weakness.  However, this practice is not so great when working within a strict time limit as one could be sent in every which direction.  As I looked around desperately, I was met with a white face who assured me we were on the correct path.
Once seated in my assigned seat, I breathed a sigh of relief, the journey was over, it was time to parry with this demon of a test, armed with my mettle, my newly practiced math skills, and vocabulary.  I never dreamt, however, that the test givers would augment upon the stress already yodeled across my slim shoulders.
The confusion began innocently enough. There were no spare pencils or erasers at this testing center.  At the writing center weeks ago, each tester was provided pencils and scrap paper.  However, at the test site testing well over two hundred anxious would-be-graduate students, there were but three spare number two pencils creating difficulties at the start. I for my part had brought several pencils, however most were mechanical, which, unbeknownst to me, were forbidden.  Luckily I'd brought one normal, and another test taker spared me his extra.
The test instructions were read precipitously by a Korean man who's English was questionable, who also spoke with a distracting speech impediment.  Our ears all strained, we listened intently only catching a few words here and there.
When it was time to start in fact, his words were so unclear, half the room, including myself, did not realize that we'd started.  We'd been asking the supervisors if we were to receive scrap paper for the math section.  We'd been told we were, although I don't believe they actually understood the question, for that much asked for scrap paper never materialized.  A New Zealander's voice boomed from the back of the room, "Have we started?" When the answer turned out to be yes, huffing and puffing undulated around the room.  The GRE is a strictly timed test.  It is not to be taken lightly and every second is valuable.  We'd lost at least a minute in figuring out we'd already started.

When the next section started, it was no different.  The start was once again unclear, and according to the instructions, we were supposed to be allowed at least a minute break between the thirty minute intense sections.  We were not allowed that break.  My back ached from stress. Aggravating the situation to its consummate the already bending frustration bar, was the fact that the two men, while we took our agonizing test -that might well determine our future - choose to walk around asking for our passports and documentations.  They didn't ask for this previous to our test taking, but rather in the midst of taking our timed test.  More obscenities were hurled in their direction, including one rather intense "Your horrible, this is horrible." The frenzied energy of the room blackened. Positive vibes are desirable while taking a test, and I couldn't help but wonder what our test scores might have looked like in a brighter and well organized environment.  Hopefully I'll never know, as I hope never to take the test again.  But Korea proved, once again to take a mundane task, and stir in unwanted spices.  Korea, Oh Korea, how you baffle me!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Quick Cinnamon rolls

Brunch has to be my favorite meal of all time.  I love it.  A mixture of breakfast and lunch and typically an insane session of gluttony. This rainy monsoon weekend, we had a lovely brunch with friends.  Some time ago, I made a cake that called for cream cheese icing, so I've said for months that I wanted to make cinnamon rolls.  But cinnamon rolls seemed a daunting task, one that I stared straight in the face this weekend after coming upon a quick and easy cinnamon roll recipe. Evidently, cinnamon rolls typically take forever and a day to make because of the rising thats involved.  However, I found a recipe, that calls for NO yeast which means NO WAITING.  I didn't exactly have all of the ingredients.  I was lacking heavy cream, so being my grandmother's daughter, I found a substitute; a mixture of sour cream and yogurt.  I'm not sure I'd recommend that substitution as it made the dough extra sticky, but the end result was delish!  

    Cinnamon Sugar Filling:
    Biscuit Dough:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. For the Filling: In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. For the Dough: In a large bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups cream, and stir until the dough forms a ball, about 1 minute. With your hands, fold the dough over a few times in the bowl, until the dough is smooth
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Lightly flour your hands, and pat the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle, about 9 X 13 inches. Brush the surface of the dough with the remaining tablespoon of cream. Sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon sugar topping.
  5. Starting from the long side, roll the dough into a cylinder. Slice into 9 equal rounds. Place the rounds, cut side down, into an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish or a pie plate. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the biscuits are lightly browned.
  6. For the Icing: While the biscuits bake, mix together the confectioners’ sugar and milk or cream until smooth. When you remove the biscuits from the oven, immediately drizzle them with icing. Serve warm.

We'd already eat several before I forgot that we hadn't taken a picture of the final project

Saturday, June 25, 2011

An AWESOME and Manly weekend!

This past weekend, Vanessa, Lisa, Dierdre and I went on a MeetUp trip to Jindo on the South Coast. We were the last 4 of 80 some people who signed up and therefore had to arrange to sleep in a tent instead of the pension rooms that William had rented for the weekend. That was fine by us seeing as how the Village has some massive tents that we were welcome to use. The only issue there was that the tent itself weighs nearly 30 lbs. and while I like to think of myself as being in good shape, lugging that sucker around is a serious challenge. So we started our journey by trekking our way into Seoul and decided to stay at a Jimjilbong in Itaewon. Being the veteran Jimjilbongers that we are, we settled in nicely and got a relatively restful sleep. We got an early start the next morning and worked our way to the rendezvous spot where we loaded up on 2 huge charter buses and started our 6 hour journey south. 6 hours on a bus is quite long but we watched movies, chatted and read our books so the time went by pretty quick.
The tale of Jindo island is about an old woman saves her village by parting the sea.  She is pictured behind our friend Dee reenacting the tigers attacking the island.
Here are our friends, happy inspite of the lack of Moses's miracle.
The whole purpose of the trip was 1. to visit a famous beach where when the tide is low enough, the Sea "parts" and a road to one of the neighboring islands can be walked across, and 2. To go "fishing" at a special bay where nets were set up to allow people to run out with nets and bags and catch them with their hands. There was a bit of confusion about when exactly the Sea would be parting and so after about an hour of chilling it was determined that the sea would not be parting till much later. So plan B was for all of us to go to the fishing site and spend some time there, then split up again and meet back at the pension later.

Obviously, I was part of the fishing crew and was very excited to experience fishing with my bare hands, something I have never successfully done before. As we walked around, we realized that the Koreans knew what they were doing here and for them, this was serious business. They were all geared up as all Koreans must be to participate in any kind of sport or outdoor activity. Most had thigh high boots on and nets in their hands and all of them had bags tied to their waste to hold the fish they caught. One of our friends whom we have been on several MeetUp trips with, John, was there as well. John and I were determined to show these Koreans how this was really done. The two of us are quite like minded. Outdoorsy, Chaco wearing, Soju drinkin hippie types. We spent a good 10 minutes going over what we thought the best strategy would be once we got out there. Turns out, we should have just followed the lead of the Koreans. When the time actually came for us to "storm the beach" we quickly realized the purpose of the boots weren't just fashion. The muddy bottom of the bay had the consistency of wet cement. Making any kind of progress out into the water was like trudging through quicksand. On a dozen occasions, my well strapped Chacos were sucked off my feet and I thought for sure that I would loose them. Luckily, the clay like mud was thick enough that the holes where my feet had been didn't close up and I could simply reach down the 2 foot hole and retrieve my shoe. I seriously spent more time fishing my shoes out of holes that I did fishing fish out of the water.

the amazing boots Kyle opted not to buy but later regretted.
the very drunk, and yet hilarious adjushe (old man) in charge of the fishing party

After a good 20 minutes of painfully tiresome trudging I had captured 5 fish, a few shrimp and 1 octopus that was given to me by a Korean. I was very proud of myself and I'm pretty sure I had the most of everyone at that point. Then, the water began recessing even more quickly and it became apparent that the veterans of this event had simply been biding their time. After 90% of the water had pulled away, thousands of fish remained trapped in the mud were they could quickly be snatched up by the Koreans who, unlike me hadn't worked themselves out 100 yards into the sticky field of knee high sludge. By the time I had made my way back to the shore, I had massed a catch of 23 fish, 5 of which were foot and a half long Mullet, the rest were 6inch to 1 foot long Perch like fish that turned out to be quite tasty. All in all, we filled 2 ice chests with nearly 300 fish, 2 octopi, and a whole lotta mud. It was a fantastic experience!
a boat, in the mud. There were lots of boats sitting on the mud.

The other group watched us get stuck in the mud a bit, then they headed back to see the Sea never parted :(

When we arrived at the pensions, the place was fantastic. The houses were lined up on a cliff side over looking a bay that stretched on forever. There was plenty of hot water and 2 bbq grills and some nice grassy lawns for us to pitch our tents on. We had a few issues with the food situation but nothing major. Later in the evening we were informed that we would have to gather our own firewood so a group of about a dozen of us went scrounging in the woods. It's quite an experience to be in what seems like an endless forest in the pitch black of night. Even when there are plenty of people around you, the sense of it being too much like the beginning of a slasher film is inescapable. In the end, we amassed enough to get a decent fire going and a good Smore party started. It was a lovely evening!

In the morning, we had a quick muffin breakfast, then I offered to give a quick tutorial on cleaning fish. I had a pretty good crowd of about 20 people, girls mostly somewhat surprisingly. After the lesson, 3 of them stuck around to help clean our catch from yesterday. It went pretty quickly with 3 of us working at it and the fish turned out to be quite good! I had always assumed that Mullet were edible but not very tasty as no one back home seems to eat them ever. Turns out, with a little lemon and season salt, it's not half bad! I imagine it would make very good fried fish and might just have to give it a try when we get back home.

The last leg of our journey was to take a trip out to a Jindo dog training facility. Jindo dogs are considered a national treasure here in Korea and with good reason in my opinion. They are beautiful and intelligent. The place we visited had a large play area in the front with 6 ADORABLE puppies that all 80 of us snuggled with and played with. Most of us don't get much puppy time here in Korea and a good puppy fix is impossible to pass up. Then, the trainer brought out one of the adult Jindos to show us some of his tricks. We were mighty impressed with how much he had learned in only 4 months of training. It was quite hot that day though so we had to cut the session short so the poor guy didn't overheat.

All in all, the trip was a blast and it was just the kind of break we had been needing. Just wish we lived a bit closer to town so we could do more of them!

the amazing jindo dog

the adorable jindo puppy cuddling in Kyle's neck

catching crabs

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Discovering New Music

Because we live in an international community, we're not only learning and picking up many new phrases, but we're also being introduced to new movies and music.  I haven't always had a love of music.  My family, because of how they were raised, actually many times prefer silence to song.  My mom, even in the car, drives in complete silence.  I think there is something to silence.  It allows your mind to wander, and frees your mind from the girdle and constraints of noise.  Being able to sit with yourself in complete silence commodiously is a skill in itself, something that I continue to struggle with, even to this day, as do most people in industrialized nations. So because I was raised in a family without much music, I was never up to date with the latest musicians.  My music education came in the form of my next door neighbor, who introduced me to the sounds of the radio.  She was appalled when I informed her, I'd only ever heard soft rock.  Today, I mostly listen to music while cooking, eating dinner or cleaning, and occasionally working out, although I've almost completely switched to podcasts.  One evening, as our international gang lounged on our couch, we began discussing musicians.  The lethargic mood lifted to an elevated one, as each of us shared music that the others had likely not heard.  Many European musicians do not make it to America because of the competitiveness of the industry, so it was exciting discovering new candy for our ears.  Below, I have listed a few of the bands we've recently discovered:

The frames are an Irish band.  If you've seen the movie, "Once" you've heard this song.  And although I'd downloaded the album from this movie, I did not discover that THE FRAMES were a band before and after the movie. I LOVE THIS SONG!

Adele is an English singer that has made it in America.  She is actually a grammy award winner so I'm most likely just behind the times in my music knowledge.  Her voice is amazing.

Paolo Nutini is a Scotish musician.  I love his sound.

Save the World is a song by Swedish House Mafia which is as far as I can tell an electronica band, but this new song, which I discovered from a friend on facebook has such a great sound, and the video is HILARIOUS!

RubberbanditsThe Rubberbandits are the award winning comedy hip hop duo from Ireland.  They've won awards for both their music and COMEDY.  They disguise their faces with plastic bags because part of their act is to remain anonymous.
 **WARNING*** DO NOT watch this song if you dislike CURSE WORDS.  DO NOT, because it has A LOT of curse words.  However, if they don't bother you- this song is HILARIOUS.  There is a clean version they played on the radio, but I couldn't find it in video form.

This song is about "knackers"- basically an Irish word for "white trash" but refers to a group of people who travel in caravans (which is why he says he has a horse outside) around Ireland. These people actually even have their own language, but are poor, and have reputations for drinking and poor societal behavior.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dog Soup

In the land of China, to our (Westerners) horror, they eat cats.  Really, so I've been told, they eat anything with four legs, except for a table.  However in Korea, they are more civilized, or so they claim.  "Cat's" they exclaim ostentatiously with their noses touching the sky, "how base!" as they sit and slurping their dog soup carelessly.  Alright, so, I've never actually met a snobby Korean, but go along with it, for the story's sake.  Dogs in this country are pitiful.  They're pitifully unappreciated, except of course for their National treasure, the JINDO dog, but that's a whole other story.  Dogs are generally kept on leashes, at least in the country measuring no longer than two yards at most.  Canines, at least the domesticated ones, fill me with joy, except for when I see them in Korea, even the pets. My heart cries out to their caged and unfulfilled lives. All of this to say, Koreans eat dog, rather than uncivilized China who eats cat, in the form of dog soup, something I'd never seen or had desired to try, that is to say, until the other night.

This soup is much meatier than the one I saw.  In fact, I saw no meat at all.
The night began innocently enough. Kyle was teaching a business English course to adult students, engineers at Samsung.  The school had recruited extra teachers for the week program. These teachers, wanted to experience Yongmun, and what it had to offer, so we took them to our little samgipsal (bbq pork belly) restaurant down the hill located on the river.  We had a lovely time eating, and drinking Makali- Korean rice wine, a beverage that the government is aggressively advertising as "healthy."  I plan to look in on this topic further.  On our way out of the restaurant, while the bill was being settled, I began to look around at our little countryside restaurant.  A dried two foot fish hung above the door frame, with a 10,000 won (about $10) bill rolled into its mouth.  We discovered it was to ward off bad luck, something having to do with karma and balancing the ying and yang.  However, before we tramped off, I noticed one last thing; two red-faced men eating a milky white soup.  It looked and smelled delicious.  It reminded me of my grandmother's chicken noodle soup, except with some extra green leafs floating around and no noodles.  I'd never seen this restaurant serve this soup before.  We had our Korean friend ask what this mouthwatering soup was.  The adjuma (old lady) waitress cleaning towards the back of the small restaurant had evidently been watching this scene with increasing interest, possibly because foreigners are intriguing to stare at, but probably because she was waiting for some type of reaction.  When we were told what we were eyeing, she threw her head back cackling with pure joy at our shock, and absolutely no qualms with laughing directly and loudly at us. "Dog soup" the soju happy Korean man had reported.  My mouth tumbled from my jaw and my screech resembled the noise I often make in horror films.  I'm sure I gasped as my mother does, the gasp I often lovingly chide her for.  I covered my mouth and loked away. I had coveted dog soup.  I don't know that I could ever look Aurora and Isis (our dogs back at home) in the eyes again. Of course they would never make the soup from Maltese, there is only one kind of dog Koreans eat, but they are of the same nation of animals.  I walked away ashamed, and a little shaken.  What had I done?  What kind of dog loving human was I? At the very least, the Korean woman added an extra year onto her life from that wholesome, gut shaking laugh.  The moral of the story here is, "Never judge a book by its cover, or a soup by it's smell, you might just eat man's best friend!"

Lemon Cream Sauce Pasta

A few months past, I got invited to be a writer on a blog forum.  I have no idea how they found me or what the criteria is for being invited as a writer, and to be perfectly honest, I'm pretty sure one could invite themselves, but nevertheless, I felt honored.  It's about the little things in life.  However, with everything going on in my life at the time, I didn't really have time to contribute to a second blog especially considering how I had allowed my blog to plummet into the land of dearth, the land of blog posts desperately wanting to be written, and never coming to pass.  It was a sad time for the blog. She felt abandoned, unloved, unappreciated and I couldn't just add insult to injury by contributing on another blog while leaving her smelling of desertion.  She sulked in the corner, always watching from the corner of her eye, waiting for me once again to notice and revive her to life by performing necromancy (a word I learned my dorky video gaming husband- a word that I'll have you know was not on the GRE).  I was sent several emails about starting in the world of blogcritics. These emails urged it's neophytes to begin writing emails quickly, within 24 hours if possible.  I heeded their advice (as well as my mom thinks I obey her advice) by posting mine about three months later.  Better late than never right- as my family always says on their 6 month late birthday cards.  Promptness does not run in the family.

Here is a link to the post up on blogcritics, but I have to warn you, the post was not so incredible.  On a spectrum with the lowest being poopy, the middle being palatable, and the best being absurdly marvelous, it's closer to palatable, just like the not so great white wine I have to flavor with a bit of orange juice- but is cheap so I continue to buy it.  I didn't give it a lot of thought- mostly because I could never find the time, or never made the time.  But the recipe is worth trying. 

Recently, we've discovered a fantastic and simple recipe that is incredibly versatile and amazingly delicious .

The genesis of this recipe came about because of the asparagus screaming to be eaten in our fridge. Recently, Kyle, my husband found asparagus at Costco. Because we live in South Korea, we tend to get overly excited over the simple things- like asparagus and pears.
Korea's variety of vegetables are limited, and what they do have are so expensive I feel like I have to submit my entire paycheck just to eat nutritiously. I am astounded daily, when instead of my pre-school students being told to finish their vegetables, like I was, they are told to eat all of their rice. Some rice is very nutritious, but plain white Korean rice is nothing but filler. They're equally astounded when I don't touch my rice, and worry about my lack of rice intake.
However, lets get back to the asparagus. Because meat is also very expensive, we don't eat it often, and at home (Texas), we had almost always cooked asparagus as a side dish, mostly to something meat-related. But we couldn't figure out what would be the main dish with our asparagus, until I found this recipe at . It claimed to be a quick, tangy, and a delightful recipe, and it wasn't lying. We made a few changes as normal, but because this recipe is so versatile, you can change it up to suite your tastes.
YIELD: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups)
COURSE: Main Dishes
8 ounces uncooked long fusilli (twisted spaghetti)
1 3/4 cups (1 1/2-inch) slices asparagus (about 1/2 pound).
a splash of white wine
1 cup mushrooms.
1 medium onion
1/4 cup imitation crab (or real crab)
1 tablespoon butter
2 garlic clove, minced
1 cup organic vegetable broth
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/3 Sour Cream.
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash of ground red pepper
Coarsely ground black pepper (optional)
Lemon slices (optional)
We added Sauted sliced onions with a splash of white wine.
Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add asparagus during last minute of cooking time. Drain pasta mixture.
Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and splash of white wine. Cook 3 minutes. Add garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add mushroom and crab, cooking 2 more minutes. Combine broth and cornstarch in a small bowl; stir until well blended. Add broth mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream, juice, salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and red pepper. Add pasta mixture to broth mixture; toss gently to coat. Garnish with coarsely ground black pepper and lemon slices, if desired. Serve immediately.
Note: If long fusilli is not available in your market, linguine works just as well. Garnish with chopped parsley or chives, if desired and ENJOY!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Horror flicks

We've really been getting into scary movies recently.  I'm not sure why or how it happened, but the thriller roller coaster has been let out of it's gate, and we've been holding on for dear life since. I've always liked scary movies. Not the slasher kinds, but the ones that get under the skin.  It is tenebrous as to why I even like thrillers since they really frighten me- to the point where I spend a good majority of my time hiding under a blanket. Why would I subject my self to such torture? The answer is nebulous at best.  But I continue to watch them voluntarily without coercion or force from others.  I've listed some of the ones we've been watching below.

This movie is a Swedish psychological thriller.  It has an unusual vampire in it, and isn't really SCARY, it's more strange, intriguing and disturbing. Let the Right One In.  There is also an American version "Let me in." which is VERY similar to the Swedish version.
The Decent and The Decent 2 are British movies to which our British friends have recently introduced us.  Basically the story is that a group of women descend into a cave get lost, and come upon "a surprise." This movie is frightening and very well done.  It's frightening without the surprise. And the sequel is not bad. I rather liked it.

Eden Lake is another British horror flick which has an unusual foe, a gang of children.  It's kinda like "Lord of the Flies" with a British accent and probably a bit crueler.

Paranormal Activity 1 We saw last year with a group of Koreans and foreigners in our apartment. Afterwards, no one wanted to leave. They were too frightened to go back to their own apartments.  Let's just say that it did the job of frightening the bageeseeis out of me.  Paranormal 2 was not as good, but decent. I wasn't quite as scared, but that kind of made it a more enjoyable watching experience.

Misery (1999) is an older movie my Irish friend recommended. A man is trapped in a snowstorm, and is discovered and rescued by a woman who happens also to be a nurse.  He's thankful to her for her treatment, until he realizes that she's his biggest fan (he's a famous writer) and she doesn't want to let him go.

Troll 2 is NOT a scary movie, although that was it's intention. If you look on IMDB, it has a 2.2/10 rating. There's a documentary made about this movie called, "the best worst movie."  Basically, it's so terribly made, its hilarious.  We watched it, not for the scare factor, but for the comedy. The title is Troll 2, but there aren't any Trolls, only goblins. All of the lead actors were applying for extra positions, and the Italian directors didn't speak English so all directions was done with sign language.  The makings for a "FANTASTIC film."

The Orphanage   is a Spanish film.  Once again, this one is less scary, and more of just a psychological thriller.  VERY good. I really enjoyed this film and highly recommend it.  There are ghosts involved, but they aren't so frightening.

So there you have our recent Scary movie season.  What good thrillers and or scary movies have you watched lately. What do you recommend?

Monday, June 13, 2011

The GRE wasn't spanked, but at least its over.

I've taken the test.  The dreaded GRE is no longer a part of my daily existence. My goal was to spank that test into Timbuktu, punch it in the face, beat it into a bloody unrecognizable pulp, but I'm afraid I didn't really give it the apposite flouting I'd imagined in my morbid head. In all, I think I studied nearly 100 hours for that test. That's right, for ONE test, and after all of that studying, my hopes, my aspirations of the day were not exactly realized.  I was hoping for ebullience following the test at my triumph from impugning and conquering the noxious GRE once and for all.  However, this wasn't the case.  The GRE is not a tortuous, highly involved probe into students minds.  In fact, its pretty straight forward, so where was the rub? Firstly there were 60 math questions in 60 minutes.  One math question in one minute. I was always good at math in school.  I almost always received A's in my courses.  On the SAT, I scored almost evenly on the verbal and math. But it's been nearly 7 years since I've taken a math class, and although I re-studied the material, I just don't work that fast.  I enjoy math, but the math section of my brain is phlegmatic and moves at inchworm pace rather than superhuman lightening speed as is required for the GRE.  The verbal section of the test however, I felt extremely confident about.  I've crammed probably 600 new words into this aging brain, as you might have noticed by the increased usage of large words in my posts.  I wish I could say that I even feel tenuously confident , but its just not true. I'm afraid to get the scores.  I'm sure my overzealous studying ameliorated my scores, however, my recalcitrant brain refused to corporate and didn't produce the results I desired I'm ashamed to admit.  At least that's my feeling and maybe my expectations were too high, too unattainable.  I didn't fail- if there is such a thing as failing the GRE, but my expectations have been lowered.  Mid July, we shall find out once and for all the truth. Until then, I wait with bated breath, and enjoy my unbridled freedom from studying for a while.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


As I study harder for the test as the date crawls its jittery, self-important panjandrum self closer and closer, my throat and heart begins to constrict. There are moments, during my studying in which I feel confident with the knowledge and ability to counteract the machination of the test makers.  Armed with only a pencil, my mettle and brains, I'm inspirited to take on any monster, whether it be windmill or standardized test.  However, there are other moments in my studying, that are more frequently occurring than the conquering the world moments, and those are the belittling moments.  The moments in which I disparage myself; the virulent stream of insults coming from my own mind, stabs at my prowess, and enfeebles my strength. I laugh at myself in mockery, that I could have ever done well on this test, even with a thousand years to study.  I realize that this beleaguering is far from a good strategy in doing well, but its difficult to stop the critic within. I take practice tests, often feeling confident while in the process of answering the questions, but once I begin the checking the answers process, all that impudence dissipates into the humid air, or melts into a slushy on the carpeted floor.  You see, if it were a math test, I would score plenty of points for my work, because in general, I figure out how to answer the question, however, I make many stupid mistakes and end up with the wrong answer choice. And on this test, your work isn't important. Whats important is the answer.  And I can't seem to pick the correct answer to save my life.  And what makes matters worse is that I haven't been timing myself.  Instead I've been giving myself plenty to think and answer questions.  However, on the real test, I will have less than two minutes on average to answer each question.  Sometimes it takes me just two minutes to analyze the question.  Needless to say, my nerves are starting to get the better of me, and keeping them from strangling my will, is going to be a battle. I'm lucky to have Kyle and my English Village friends as support during this battle of wits. Through it all, I'm trying to stay hopeful.  Wish me luck this Saturday :)

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Its coming

The GRE test is in less than a week at this point, and I am in study mode.  I have so many words, and math equations rattling around in my head, I'm afraid that one of two things might happen.  Either my head will explode from a massive influx of knowledge, or words and equations will begin to slowly leak out of my ears.  In the morning, as I'm pushing myself to a sitting position, I have begun the habit of looking around for any stray words that might have landed on the pillow in the night.  Garrulous was one of the first escapees.  It was hiding under my pillow. I've also recently recaptured nascent and avarice, who had made it all the way to the foot of the bed even, but who knows how many others have run to safer ground.  It can't be a very hospitable environment in my brain. (Must be said with a drawl accent and a doltish look) I mean its been years since I've tried to learn my brain some good learning skills.
I haven't been in school since 2005.  I'm sure there's been some brain shrinkage within those years, and the cramming that has preceded the test has been difficult for my brain to handle. If the words and equations don't all fall out before the test, there is also the option that my head will explode.  I can imagine it now.  do dodo do do--- entering the dream world-
My feet are propped up in my studying position against the wall, comfortably lounging in an upright position on our ratty couch.  I'm adorned in my studying clothing- sweatpants, and fuzzy socks. I'm reviewing the root words once again.  I close my eyes because a caustic pain behind my eyes is poignantly throbbing. I rub my eyes and continue, but the pain refuses to abate.  The room begins to blur and now the pain has evolved into a noxious ringing in my ears. Its pitch is so remarkably high, the dogs around the village begin to bark.  I place my hands on my head, and find that my skull is pulsating.  I meekly call out to Kyle.  Thankfully he hears me, and turns around to look at me sparing a second from his video game.  His face melts from one of a perfunctory smile to sheer horror.  "She's going to blow!" he bellows from his vocals, and he runs from the room.  When the explosion actually occurs, I am impervious to the pain.  My conscious has left my body and is floating above the room.  It might have even had popcorn to enjoy the fireworks. The explosion is similar to that of a volcano eruption except instead of flaming, treacherous lava, words, numbers and symbols are flooding out of my head in a wild water fountain of sparkling glitter.  Circumference of a circle=2(pie)r has been splattered on the window. Hyperbole is squeaking down the white wall.  The room is littered in a mush of words and math equations.  They were too much for my brain to handle.
do dod ddooo doo - exiting dream world

I hope neither of these occurrences actually come to be, and that somehow I take the GRE test over my knee and give it a good whopping, dominating every last question, but only time will tell.  For now, however, you will most likely see a paucity of posts, and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.