Tag Archives: Daegu

Daegu Story Slam | once a storyteller, always a storyteller…

Last weekend, I went out on a limb and stopped into a monthly Story Slam meet-up in Daegu. I vaguely recall seeing past events shared to various local Facebook groups I was in over the years, but I always turned up my nose and just assumed it was something I had no interest in.

Oh, how wrong I was.

I don’t remember if I took the time to research what an actual Story Slam is the last time my interest was piqued, but this time I made the effort. And I was immediately enraptured by what I saw.

I was born to be a storyteller…

In short (if you don’t want to do the research), a Story Slam is like an open mic for people to (obviously) share their stories. A theme is chosen for the night/event and your story should somehow relate to it. You’re given a certain time limit to tell your story and it does have to be a story – not a poem or something you’ve written or a performance: it’s a real-life story that happened to you. You don’t make notes, you don’t over-prepare, you just get up and tell your story to (most likely) a room full of strangers.

Now, I love telling stories… If you’ve read any part of this blog, my guess is that’s pretty apparent.

I’m constantly recounting epic tales to my friends about my ridiculous experiences, family interactions, and crazy Tinder-related sexual escapades over the years – I love hearing and telling a good story. I love flexing my funny muscle and hearing my pals laugh at the stupid situations I’ve found myself in.

To get a feel for what exactly a Story Slam is, I watched several YouTube videos of other storytellers doing their thing at various events across the US and I knew immediately I wanted to see it in action. Many speakers told funny stories and had the audience laughing, others told heart-wrenchingly honest stories that plucked at listeners’ heartstrings – on both sides of the spectrum, these were my people.

The problem was that these one-off videos didn’t really give me a completely clear idea of what a live event would be like, so I needed to see it for myself. I decided that I would attend the next Daegu Story Slam.

And here’s the kicker: I decided to be brave and went alone.

(I might also add that the event in Daegu is held every month in a bar… and I’m doing Whole30 this month so I’m not drinking… So I resolved to buy someone else a drink to earn my spot at a table.)

a lone storyteller…

I didn’t know anyone in town that would be willing and able to accompany me to the latest Story Slam, so I decided to go on my own and just sit and observe. As it turned out, I did know a few people who ended up being there throughout the night, but I sat on my own at a full table of strangers most of the night.

The theme of the evening was “Confessions” and the event hosts were collecting “anonymous confessions” from the audience. I dropped a couple of my own in – participation is key, right?!

As the night wore on, the hosts kept encouraging attendees to be a storyteller because just a few people had signed up, so there were several spots available.

I hadn’t planned on telling a story but there were openings, I was being given an opportunity to observe before jumping in to see how it “worked,” and my friend, William, encouraged me.

My conversation with William went a little like this:

“You should tell a story,” said he.

“Well, I’m just not sure what story I should tell… I have plenty of things I can confess to and few things I’m overly embarrassed about, so I guess I could,” I replied.

“You can totally do this. ‘A little bit brave’? How about ‘a lot brave.’ You can totally tell a great story,” he gently pressed.

“Yeah, okay. I’ve got a story,” I said.

So, I signed up and it was like I had been doing it forever…

I put my name in the hat and when I was called up, I told a fantastic tale about how I have always loved to laugh but it has caused me trouble in the past… because I used to have a terrible time trying to hold my bladder. (Translation: I used to pee in my pants from laughing too hard all. The. Time.)

I was invited to the mic and introduced and it was made clear to the audience that it was my first time. Everyone cheered their encouragement and I hit the ground running with my story.

 

daegu story slam

 

And you know what? I was nowhere near as nervous as I thought I would be. In fact, I was completely energized and just a tinge nervous – I was barely aware of my heart beating a little faster and my face wasn’t getting too overheated.

It was like I had been telling stories to an audience for years.

I’m no stranger to public speaking, but I’ve always been nervous about being in front of people. I just don’t know what happened that night…

I’m glad I took the leap…

What I haven’t admitted to you, Reader, is that I almost didn’t go… I had been out shopping for a few things and had some cumbersome bags; I didn’t have a buddy to join me in a bar and I wasn’t drinking alcohol. But I dragged myself to the gathering anyway and saw just a single face I recognized.

Since returning to Korea in September (surprise!), my friend pool has dwindled and changed. Folks have moved, had babies, or left the country altogether. That initial decision of bravery on Saturday night introduced me to something new that I know I’m going to love being part of and opened a new door for meeting people.

It was a fantastic decision.

 

I haven’t taken many brave steps over the last 12 months – something I’m a little ashamed to admit – but this one was a good one. I’m so glad I went, even with my shopping bags and no tag-along pal. Sometimes, being brave doesn’t mean stepping far outside of our comfort zones – even small steps matter.

Thanks, Daegu Story Slam community, for offering me a seat at the table and an opportunity to be part of the human connection in that room. It was a blast.

 

As we close out 2018, what brave steps have you taken this year? What do you want to do before the year is over? There’s still time! Share with me in the comments.

 

What Are You Doing with Your “Korean” Life?

I wrote this post with the intention of having it published by the Daegu city blog, but after careful consideration, I decided to publish it on my own. 

If you don’t live in Korea, that’s okay. Instead of reading it like you’re in Korea, insert your own life circumstance. It could be your physical geographical location, your job, or whatever you want it to be. But no matter “where” you “are” in your life right now, take a good look at your surroundings and consider what you’re doing with your opportunities. If you’re not happy, where can you make a change?

As we exit the first month of our new year, to me, it always seems as though people (myself included) lose sight of the goals and aspirations we had when we broke into our new calendars. This year, reignite that flame you had. Chase after those dreams you dreamt. Pursue the things that matter most to you.

Make this your year, Reader.

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If you’re like me, you love living in Korea. The day I arrived in Seoul, I was scared out of my wits, but I knew I had made the right decision – literally the best decision I’ve ever made in my life.

I decided to come to Korea to teach because I was tired of being in dead-end jobs that I loathed. I have an undergraduate degree in psychology and like so many others of our generation, I realized too late that I didn’t want to work and retire in my chosen industry. So, what did I do instead?

I worked in sales. And I was really good at it. But I effing hated it.

There is nothing in life quite like doing a job you hate. I was always stressed, always sick to my stomach, and I watched as the companies I worked for turned me into someone I wasn’t. I was tired of standing on the sidelines of my life and whispering to myself that there had to be “more out there.” I decided to do something about it.

I came to Korea to teach for a year. And lo and behold, a year has turned into nearly 3.

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I’ve been to the winner’s circle…

Today, I met a friend of mine for what she has always called “gaming.” This term has scared me in the past because in my mind, I equated it with super-nerds gathering to play things like Dungeons and Dragons (the original board game) or others like it.

While there’s definitely some of that going on at said weekly “gaming” gathering, there is also a lot of playing not-so-intense-and-insanely-serious games, too. Caitlin and I began playing a game she had with another “gaming” friend called Splendor. The premise is to gain 15 points by collecting “gems.” This, I totally understood and enjoyed playing. Turns out I’m not the best strategist, though.

After a couple games of Splendor, we moved on to something more intense that Caitlin’s friend, Marc, brought a mammoth game that takes literally hours to play. (There were a couple of other games present that took hours, too, but we didn’t play those.)

The game: Eclipse.

Marc told us it would take a minimum of 2 hours to complete. It was way too much for me to (want to) handle on my own, so I asked if Caitlin and I could play as a “team.” (This basically meant that I had no clue what was going on most of the time, but helped make decisions here and there for our “team.”)

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Start of the game. I was already feeling lost, but things got clearer as we went along.

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the life of a Korean student…

Every month at school, we do what we call “Writing Event,” where the two native English-speaking teachers choose some random-ish topic for all the classes to write about. In months past, my students have written about their dream jobs; if they could build a house out of candy; what they would do if they could go to space; and what their super power would be if they were a super hero.

Of course, every year at Christmas, everyone writes to Santa whether they’re a believer or not. (Most of them aren’t, but I demand that they pretend to be for the 40 minutes I have them in class.)

The other native teacher and I read through our respective students’ responses and choose the best from the bunch; then together, choose the top 3 for every level. Some submissions are hilarious. Once, a kid wrote that he was thankful for his family because they take him to buffets. (That kid won that month. Because that’s stinkin’ funny.)

Most are less creative than I would hope… Korean kids don’t seem to have the same kind of creativity that Western kids have. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s due to this: they’re not really allowed to be kids.

I’ll come back to that thought in a moment. For now, let me tell you about the most recent “Writing Event.”

In October, we decided to keep with the Halloween theme and ask students to write about their “biggest fear.” Not surprisingly, we got many “ghosts,” “the dark,” and various animal-related fear responses. Some said they feared my KBFF, which I reinforce because someone at school has to be scary. And then, in what seemed to be funny, some of them said they feared their parents.

We laughed in class with the students who offered these suggestions. Some of them were very lively and silly when explaining why they feared their parent(s). One of my more odd and good-for-a-laugh students was quite animated explaining how his mom is “scary.”

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it’s finally here… hashtag NaBloPoMo…

It’s no surprise: I’ve been absent a lot this year (and intermittently every year since starting this blog in 2013). I promise you, I’ve been legit busy.

I completed a writing course taught by my writing guru, Karen Marston of Untamed Writing.

I’ve been working as the editor and occasional writer at Charm House, which has kept me busy since June.

I ran another 10K in Gyeongju, South Korea in October – a city I previously visited in February. It was beautiful and fall-y this time, though.

I went to the DMZ and actually looked into North Korea. I also watched North Korean soldiers at a countryside post go about their daily business via a live video feed from some fancy, long-distance camera. It was, without a doubt, one of the most surreal experiences I’ve ever had.

For months, I’ve planned to “get back to business” in November. I’ve let months slide by without giving my goals a second glance, which I feel totally guilty about… I had such big plans for this year – my year – and then I ignored them.

So this is it, Reader. I’m getting back to business and you get to read about it (if you so choose) every day this month. Prepare for stories from recent months, strange encounters, sites seen, and a new list of goals for the year’s end and 2016.

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