Some Favorite Things
One of my favorite things to do is listen to people talking about stuff that they love. A lot of people on the internet use these kinds of posts or videos to talk about products they love or are selling.
But for this month’s update post I decided to take a bit of time to talk about some of the random things that I’ve been loving recently but that didn’t made it into a blog post of their own. So here are just a random assortment of things I’ve been loving through the month of October that might be interesting! Enjoy!
I know I am not the first person to sing the praises of this thing, but Nintendo’s latest hybrid home/handheld console has been an unexpectedly lovely addition to my life recently. I bought the Switch over summer vacation and have LOVED playing through the games in my current collection.
I don’t watch TV, my apartment doesn’t even have cable, and as someone who can often get caught up thinking about things way too seriously, I have loved being able to jump into another world, like Zelda: Breath of the Wild, for example, and focus on something that is entirely separate from my daily life.
Plus the games are just incredible.
(I also like the Korean cases, that makes them a little more special somehow^^)
Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey are both now considered to be some of the greatest games ever and are worth buying a Switch just to play either one of them. And although almost all of my favorite games of the past have been Mario games (Mario 64, New Super Mario Bros, and Mario Galaxy) I was surprised to find that Breath of the Wild has been by far my favorite.
Maybe it’s because Mario games in the past were always fun but what was truly fun was playing them with my sister or huddled together on the couch with friends. And here, playing it alone, doesn’t have quite the same impact.
Breath of the Wild, however, is meant to be played alone. Exploring Hyrule as Link feels so uniquely personal and the story unfolds at exactly the pace you want it to. So if you’re like me, I spent probably my first 50 hours with the game entirely ignoring the main story line, and simply trying explore every corner of the map. As someone who hasn’t seriously played a lot of games throughout their life I was worried that tackling the four Divine Beasts would be a little out of my league.
But when I finally decided to try one of the boss fights out again, I found that the skills I’d gained just by exploring and existing in world had more than prepared me for the fight. And I blew through all 4 of them last weekend.
In short it’s a masterpiece of a game even for those of us who didn’t grow up playing Zelda games. I love it so much it’s making me buy stupidly unnecessary things like this awesome Link figure. Have I ever mentioned I’m a total nerd? Well I think it goes without saying now.
On the indie game side of things Celeste has also been a joy to play through. Not only is the story beautiful and the graphics equally enchanting, but the fact that they built this entire game around its one mid-air jump game play mechanic is absolutely incredible. Every stage get’s you to use the jump in a different way until it all culminates perfectly in the summit level.
In short, it’s a story about a girl trying to climb a mountain. But as you go through the game you learn that the story is actually about a girl confronting her inner demons, battling anxiety, and learning to accept herself. While anxiety as a video game story line might sound a little far-fetched, they managed to do it authentically, appropriately, and in a way that makes sense with the game itself. It’s beautiful.
Honorable mention to Stardew Valley, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, and Mario Kart 8 all equally amazing in their own right.
Harry Potter 해리포터와 마법사의 돌
Despite the TOPIK (test of proficiency in Korean) exam being less than two weeks away I’ve found myself using most of my Korean “study time” going through the first Harry Potter book in Korean. The problem is that I can convince myself that it is helping me for the test, because it’s good for vocabulary and grammar, but the reality is that I’m desperately unprepared for the writing and listening sections of the exam.
Either way, I decided recently that trying to just memorize lists of words wasn’t working, or ever going to work for that matter, so I needed a better more authentic way to improve my vocabulary. I wanted to read something that wouldn’t be too hard, a story that I was familiar with, and immediately my mind went to Harry Potter.
I’ve read the whole series in English at least 4 or 5 times and also read the first few books in Spanish, so at this point I am very intimately acquainted with the story. It’s definitely beyond my level but already I can see how good it is for learning new words simply on the basis of the fact that novels tend to use the same expressions over and over again.
It’s definitely not easy but I have been loving it! There is something about reading in a different language that is so interesting. Especially for a story that you already know. It’s like something familiar but in an entirely new world. And getting the grammar and vocabulary in a 100% authentic context is awesome practice!
Okay I know I’m a little early, we’ve barely just passed Halloween. But throughout October and I’ve been doing a lot of cooking in the evenings and there is just something about having a candle lit, listening to some music, and eating dinner cozily inside when you know the temperature outside is dropping and dropping.
My mom sent me a pack of Yankee Candle tea candles last year for Christmas and I’ve finally been getting through all of them.
If every single one of my other posts on this blog hasn’t made it abundantly clear already, I am a VERY sentimental person. And this is the point in the year that I usually start getting homesick, so the very familiar and nostalgic smell of the same Christmas candles that my mom always burns back home has been something really nice recently.
They make my tiny little apartment feel like a home.
If anyone else get’s the winter homesick blues I suggest trying this out as a way to combat them!
My Third Grade Students
I realize this is a little odd to put in a favorites post, but my third grade kids have been really out doing themselves lately.
Between speaking tests earlier in the month, my favorite time of the semester, and the building nostalgia and excitement of leaving middle school they have all gotten a lot more affectionate and willing to joke around and engage with lessons.
The day before Halloween some of my favorite third grade girls came over to my desk to talk and were saying how they wanted to have a Halloween party. Unfortunately it wasn’t going to work for us to do anything in class so I told them we could have a party at my desk tomorrow in the office.
So after lunch on Halloween day the little group of them appeared with this precious Halloween banner they had been working on throughout the morning and a bag of popcorn. They all said “trick or treat” (or as the banner says “tick or treat”) and we had fun chatting and eating popcorn and candy together.
One of my favorite boys classes just finished up their speaking test and as my co-teacher and I were standing at the front talking during the remaining few minutes of class we were talking about how even on the days they are noisy there is no way we can get mad at them. They’re just such genuinely sweet boys and both of us have loved getting to teach them the past two years.
She then turned to them and said, “Devon teacher doesn’t want you to go to high school next year! She said she’s going to miss you!”
All of them let out a collective “awww, teacher!!” promised to come visit me at school next year, and my little buddy group walked back to the office with me carrying my books and chatting away about whatever they were going to do this weekend.
Then, lterally as was writing this just now, two of them from that class came over to me and one of my favorite kids in the entire school goes, “Teacher I have a present for you!” And with a little “Ta-da!” pulls out a box of Peppero with a note on it. (11/11 in Korea is Peppero day because the number 11 looks like a peppero.)
I love them. I love them I love them I love them.
My Volleyball Team
This is of course nothing new, I’m always thankful for our team. But recently I’ve been able to play in a few tournaments with them, which foreigners are usually not allowed to join, and it’s been a lot of fun preparing together and having that kind of team bonding.
We had a tournament last weekend and it was a blast!
I’ve talked about how much this team means to me on here before so I won’t go on too much. But being a part of a team, doing something that is so familiar to me, something where I get to prove myself without needing to speak, and doing it with people who treat me just like any other person there not always as “the foreigner” is incredibly special to me.
For this tournament they even made me the captain which means basically nothing, just that you go up for the coin toss in the beginning and receive any awards at the end, but I was touched by the symbol.
And that’s it! Those are just some random things that I have been really loving recently! I don’t know if it’s the cooler weather or what but things have just been really good lately. This week all of my three hardest classes were really well behaved and this morning I’m pretty sure my “too cool” second graders accidentally had a little fun.
Anyway, things are good over here 🙂 Hope wherever you read this from things are good as well! Thanks for reading!