Five topics. Five responses. Twenty-five things about me. Who is weird enough to want to know that much about me? Why, museditions is. What she’s thinking, I don’t know. Anyhow, she tagged me for a meme, so here it is.

As usual, the tagged are not obligated to participate. It’s not like I’m going to hunt you down and make you reveal your innermost secrets.

5 Things Found In Your Bag (this would be the bag I carry to work)

  • Two student textbooks (Smart Phonics 1 and English Land 1)
  • A journal (for those times when I just need to get my frustrations out)
  • A box of blank CDs (gotta have songs for work)
  • Hard copies of various docments that got wiped from the computer when they reinstalled Windows (gee, thanks for mentioning to us they weren’t even going to back up the big folder labeled “teachers”)
  • A Fedora 7 Live CD for when I really need to get work done at work and don’t want to use their virus infested computers (yes, 2 weeks after reinstalling Windows the computers are infested again)

5 Favorite Things In Your Room

  • My laptop
  • My guinea pig, Sparker
  • My brand new bed
  • My toaster oven
  • My books

5 Things You Have Always Wanted To Do

  • Write a real computer program (5 line shell scripts do not count)
  • Go to Europe
  • Play the guitar
  • Write music
  • Publish my poetry

5 Things You Are Currently Into

  • Computers
  • Almost any program on TV that is in English
  • Trying just to be myself
  • Cheese (no seriously, I went to Costco and bought a ginourmous block of cheese, it’s awesome)
  • Harry Potter

5 People You Want To Tag


Jealousy – Update

I posted a few weeks ago about a fit of jealousy I had.  After talking it over with a friend, I decided to email Eric about it.  I was absolutely terrified waiting for a response.  And when I saw it had come, I was even more scared.  I didn’t know if I really wanted to read what he had to say.  I think I knew deep down that he wouldn’t be angry or hate me, but those were the fears I had.  The thing that helped me the most was him saying “If you can’t tell, I don’t think less of you for the thoughts, and I do think more of you for the actions.”

It was definitely a relief.  And in the end, I’m glad I told him how I was feeling.  Talking about it with him helped a lot.  And knowing that he understood where I was coming from made me feel less like a freak.


Green Eyed MonsterJealousy. The Green Eyed Monster. Envy. Whatever you want to call it. I’ve been experiencing it.

I recently found out that my Linux tutor and his wife are looking to adopt. I should be happy for this baby (when they do finally adopt). He/she will grow up in a loving home, with loving parents rather than possibly being abused and/or neglected and/or unwanted and/or unloved. But I’m not happy for him/her. I’m insanely jealous. These are some of the strongest emotions I’ve felt in a very long time. And as much as I want to, I’m not having a whole lot of luck stuffing them back down. I know stuffing them isn’t a good thing. But I feel like such a crappy person being jealous of a baby who will grow up with good parents.

What does that say about me as a person?

I have all the confidence in the world that Eric will make a great father. He’s been nothing but patient, kind and encouraging when interacting with me. He seems genuinely happy when I succeed at doing something that I couldn’t do before. He’s concerned if he doesn’t hear from me in a while. They’re all traits that I imagine a good father would have.

The more jealous I feel the angrier I get with myself. The angrier I get with myself the more depressed and anxious I get. I’m writing this as a way to try to start working through the jealousy.

It scares me to think about what a horrible person this must make me. This goes against everything every single Sunday School and PSR teacher taught me growing up.

Something to keep in mind



It know it’s hard for many survivors to keep hope.  And it’s been especially hard for me lately.  But today’s Ziggy is a great reminder that we need to identify our problems and issues before they’ll go away.  There’s no magic bullet.  There’s only lots of hard work.  I wish you all the best as you move through your recovery.

Twixy Revamped

Austin sent me some digital art work that she did using the photo of Twixy. All I can say is WOW! What amazing talent that chick has.

It’s been really rough for me lately. That’s a big part of the reason I haven’t been posting. Knowing that there are people out there who would do something like helps to restore some of my faith in humanity.




I just think these are the coolest things.

Listening to other people’s opinions

One thing I continue to struggle with is reconciling how I see myself with how others see me. I’m making progress in not seeing myself as a steaming pile of crap. I still fall into the old patterns fairly easily, but I’m trying to look for counter examples that show I’m not an idiot.

But every once in a while, something that someone says will send me back over that edge. I start thinking “How can he/she say something like that” and “Don’t they really know what kind of a person I am?” repeatedly.

Case and point. About a month ago, I sent an email to someone reflecting on the last two years. I also included a personal message thanking this person for the emails we had exchanged. This person has helped me start learning that not everyone in the world is as untrustworthy as my parent. But the response I got from this person…

Getting back to you: you are REALLY SMART, and I’m not just saying that to be nice.
You’re starting to become aware of your potential, right?
Don’t stop there; keep going, set some goals, go for it.

I just don’t know.  I think I know this person well enough to believe the part about not saying things to be nice.

I know that I should listen to what this person writes.  I know that I should file it away and pull it out when I start to feel bad about myself.

Austin Interviews Kathryn

Interview with Kathryn

Thursday, August 30, 2007-7:44 PM EST

1. You live in a country where you don’t speak the language. Communication is difficult, how do you manage to travel, to buy food, to socialize when you don’t speak the language?

The nice thing about South Korea is that they take learning English seriously. So more often than not, you’ll run into someone who does speak English. Many of the signs for businesses and labels on things like food either have a picture or the name in English.

I’ve also managed to learn what I call “Survival Korean”. I know how to ask for simple things. I can count to five or so. I know how to say “please” and “thank you” and “hello” and “goodbye”. So I can at least be polite.

The Korean teachers are also really good about writing down messages to give to cab drivers, etc. Jeanie wrote down the name of the hospital so I could get there by cab and a message for the information desk worker so I could get to the right place in the hospital.

2. What do you miss most about the United States and what do you like most about South Korea?

I think I miss books the most. We have an ESL bookstore here, but you can’t get things like mystery novels or technical books (I’m a sucker for reading most anything about science). It’s great for buying kid stuff or textbooks to teach with, but not so much for casual reading.

I really like the people here. They are some of the kindest folks I’ve had the pleasure to meet. Last Friday I came home from the store with four big bags (that tends to happen when you don’t do any shopping for 2 weeks) and a guy outside the building took all of them and carried them up to my apartment on the third floor. There’s also the Korean concept of “service”. It’s people doing little things for you just because. When I lived in Yangsan, the lady at the convenient store (where I bought milk and water and juice) was always throwing little things in my bag. Sometimes it was an egg. Sometimes a little candy bar. Around Chusok (the Korean Thanksgiving) she put in some traditional rice cakes that she had made.

I also like the food. I never thought I’d like kimchi, but I do. When I moved home the last time, everything seemed so bland. I had gotten used to eating spicy food. And I can get most western foods when I’m having a craving. I went to Pizza Hut for dinner last night. And there’s a TGI Friday’s in LotteMart. The selection of western type foods is better here in Ulsan than it was in Yangsan. That’s true of both restaurants and groceries. I actually found chocolate pancake mix at LotteMart, and it’s fabulous. I make a very small batch on Saturday or Sunday for my breakfast.

3. When I first found out you were moving to S.K. I was worried but you were rearing to go. I thought you’d be living in a hut eating minnows and barely scarping by. What other common misconceptions have you heard about your new home?

I think a lot of people watch M*A*S*H and think Korea is still a war torn country. But it’s not. There are people who assume that people from the Far East have no interest in Western culture and language. There are people who assume that all you can get to eat is rice and kimchi

4. Are you treated with a cold shoulder because you’re an American? Do the people of South Korea expect you to be full of yourself, opinionated, rude and haughty the way Americans are rightly thought of in other countries?

I don’t think I’ve met anyone who has that opinion of Americans. But the bulk of the people I interact with have known and worked with Americans for a while. But you are right in that the stereotypical American is rude and haughty. I try very hard to be polite and do things that are appropriate to Korean culture.

5. As I understand it, this is the second time you’ve lived in Korea. Was there a time when you considered working in a country other than Korea or is there an attraction to that country for some reason?

I actually was offered a job in Venezuela but I turned it down because various things in the contract looked fishy. I would like to teach in Europe, specifically Germany and Italy. But those jobs are much harder to find. You generally need a TEFL certificate or an education degree, which I have neither. The nice thing about teaching in South Korea is that all you need is a bachelors degree from an accredited college or university.

Feel free to participate in this interview meme by following these rules:
I’d like to add an extra rule. In addition to leaving the invitation open for requests I’d like to ask others if I can interview them. My comments and additions are in red.

1. Leave me a comment (or email) saying “Interview Me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions. (But you can tell me not to ask certain things.)
3. You will update your blog with a post containing your answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation (with or without my additions) and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

A Heartfelt Thank You

This was written for my own selfish reasons. I needed some way to express the thanks I feel for all that Eric has done for me. It’s not something that I can ever send because it reveals too much about me. However, I did send a very short note that I hope captured the spirit of this letter.

Dear Eric,

I don’t even know how to thank you for the kindness you’ve showed me the past few weeks. You don’t know it, but by just teaching me and talking to me, you have helped me face one of my biggest fears. No, not that my computer will turn into a black hole if I mistype a command. But rather than all men will hurt me in some way if I let them get close to me.

I can’t even begin to describe to you how badly people have hurt me in the past. And I can’t tell you how difficult it is for me not to carry those past hurts into the present. By you just being patient and kind, it’s getting easier for me to see that not all men are like my father, grandfather and uncle. And that not all men are like my ex.

Logically, I knew that you were thousands of miles away. You weren’t going to march over to my apartment and starting beating me. But being hurt isn’t limited to physical assault. Words can be just as, if not more, damaging. Some of my ex’s most effective tactics were verbal. But you never called me names. You never told me to go away. You never lost your patience with me.

You have never made me feel stupid or inferior in any way. And when I called myself an idiot, you corrected me, pointing out that being inexperienced isn’t the same as being an idiot. You always continued to explain things that I didn’t understand in a way I could understand. And you continued to challenge me (gently of course) to try new things even though I was afraid of what might happen.

And as much as my inexperience (and confusion) annoyed me, you saw it as a valuable asset to you. My “fresh eyes” can help you make the documentation you have better. And in my struggles to try to learn something new, I’m making things better for the entire community.

I’m continually amazed that someone would care enough to take the time to answer the many questions I have and help me get started without expecting anything in return. You gave of your time and knowledge freely. So many people in my life have taken so much from me. And then there are those who needed me do do x, y and z, yet never would give back when I needed something.

It’s sometimes hard for me to accept that you are kind and giving. I get upset because I think you’re just “being nice” when you say positive things about me. I get scared because I expect to be hurt. In some ways, I’d rather you call me stupid and tell me to give up this foolish idea of learning to use Linux. It fits in better with the way I think about myself and what I expect from other people. In some ways, I’d rather you were a jerk. That way I could go on thinking all men are the same.

I once had a psychologist tell me that cognitive dissonance is one of the hardest things for an abuse survivor to overcome. We look for every example that we can find that fits into our mental schemas and try to ignore the counter examples because challenging our beliefs hurts too much. It makes us see just how terrible our abusers actually were to us. It’s sometimes easier to cope with the abuse if we simply say “It wasn’t that bad”.

I believe many people come into our lives for a reason. I believe we start certain things for a reason. We may not always know what those reasons are when we start or we meet that person. And the reasons we think there are may be true, but there are often other reasons that become apparent at a later time.

I’m starting to let the huge walls I’ve erected come down. I know there will be times when I find myself frightened enough to want to rebuild them. And even if that doesn’t happen with you, I can think back on the kindness and gentleness you’ve shown me and try to resist the urge to wall myself off from humanity.

With many thanks,


The small things

First please let me post a very huge, very public thank you for all the support everyone has shown me both on the comments here and through email.

I’ve had two side projects going on for the last few weeks. One is learning to use Ubuntu as an operating system. The other was getting BOINC to compile using Visual Studio under Windows. Both projects were interesting. The Ubuntu one is still on going and will be for quite some time. The VS studio project is officially done. I didn’t manage to make it work. And I spent a good part of Sunday beating myself up over it. But then I had an email conversation with one of the developers and he told me that he too finds it difficult to troubleshoot VS issues. So I’m now willing to entertain the thought that my inability to get this to work isn’t 100% my fault (maybe 99.5%).

The Ubuntu project is going somewhat better. I have an intense fear of the Terminal (or any command line interface for that matter) but I’m working on tackling it. The weekend I started this whole adventure, I ran into issues getting my music library to play. Either I couldn’t play m4a files in one program or the other program refused to see the partition my music is on. I posted for help on the BOINC boards I moderate (so many smart people hang out there) and got some. I have to say an especially huge thank you to Eric. He walked me through building mpg123 from source. Even with the snags I hit and the questions I asked, he remained helpful and patient. And we all know that I’m not always the easiest person to help.

But more importantly than getting my music to play or using the Terminal to do stuff, I had a focused conversation with someone of the male gender. I didn’t run away. I didn’t completely and totally flip out. I had my fears. And as intense as those fears were, I stuck with it. Logically, I knew I know Eric well enough to know that he probably wouldn’t do anything to hurt me. But the fear is always there.

It’s my hope that by continuing to interact via email with people like Eric, I can desensitize myself. The only way I’m going to move on with my life is to confront the fears and push through them.

Angry at myself

For once, I know exactly what I’m feeling. I’m pissed as hell at myself. My own personal issues are getting in the way of moving forward in a totally unrelated area of my life.

Hmmmmm… what’s the best way to make a long story short… Or as least as short as I can…

Two weekends ago, I decided to install Linux (Ubuntu Feisty Fawn to be exact) on an empty partition. I had been planning on this for a couple months now, but just got around to it. Not much on TV here, so I always have music playing. All of my music is encoded as either mp3 or m4a. I managed to get Rhythm Box to play the mp3 files (and of course all my good music is encoded as m4a) only. VLC didn’t seem to be able to find the partition that my music lives on but it would play both the mp3 and m4a files. So I made due and just listening to the music encoded as mp3.

I posted in a forum where I moderate asking for help finding a player that would a) play both formats and b) recognize my FAT32 partition. In that thread, another guy posted saying he was searching for the same thing, but his requirements were a bit different than mine (he wanted something he could use from the command line).

After a bit of his own searching he found something that fit his criteria and posted directions for me to get it up and running. Understand, that I’m absolutely terrified of anything to do with the command line. My anxiety skyrockets when I open it up. I’m convinced that the entire computer will self destruct and cause Ulsan to disappear off the map if I mistype just one character. And yes, I know it isn’t rational.

The only thing I was able to do while reading his directions was laugh. He had so seriously overestimated my knowledge of Linux, it was comical. In my fits of hysterical laughter, I forgot to thank Eric for taking the time to write out those directions for me.

I sent him an email this morning thanking him and also explaining that I understood the concept of what he described on his message board posts. It was just that I had no idea how to put it into practice. It’s amazing what a few hours of sleep can do for rationality.

A few hours later, he emailed me back. I didn’t see it until later in the afternoon when I was on break (and supposed to be entering next week’s lessons plans in the computer). I immediately got sick to my stomach. My own personal issues jumped to the forefront. And it pisses me off.

Eric had asked two things. If I wanted to try and tackle this irrational fear of mine. And if I thought a structured “class” would help. In the past, he taught a college introductory level class to science students on programming (in Fortran no less) and the use of the Unix command line. If I was interested, he was willing to use it as an opportunity to revise his lesson plans and notes.

Note that there isn’t anything inherently frightening about either of those questions. And I can answer the first one with a resounding yes. If I move over to Linux (as I really would like to do) then I need to get comfortable with the command line. It was the second one that got me. It would involve a more one-on-one interaction with him. And he was unfortunately born male. I’m terrified. And it’s so irrational it pisses me off. There’s a large ocean and the better part of a continent separating me from him. And from the brief encounters I’ve had with him, I’m pretty confident that he wouldn’t do anything to hurt me. In fact, he’s been nothing but supportive of me when issues have popped up in the past (doesn’t directly talk about Eric, but it was on his boards where that issue started).

I emailed him back with an apology for taking so long to get back to him (almost 14 hours – I try to answer my email within 6 hours tops). And I told him that I do want to tackle this stupid command line phobia. And I told him that yes, I would be interested in working through his course materials. I also told him that his email scared me to death on a personal level, but didn’t go into any details as to why.

So now I sit here writing this. I’m fighting back the tears. I don’t want to cry. I’m pissed at myself for a few reasons. I’m pissed because I’m letting my past get in the way of making my future better/more interesting. I’m pissed because I should just get over all this stuff already. I’m pissed because I feel like such an idiot. And I’m pissed at myself for being pissed off.

And I sit here with my anxiety sky rocketing every time I hear my nifty little gmail notifier chime (I so love Firefox). I keep thinking it’s going to be a message from Eric telling me what an ass I am. Why oh why do I keep putting thoughts in other people’s heads? But that’s a post for another day.