Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Walkin in a Winter Wonderland

Confession: I am horrible at savoring things.  I eat chocolate too fast, I drink coffee like there is no tomorrow, and I read books like my life depends on it.  I do not savor things.  I tell you this because I really want to be reading my new book right now (thank you amazing husband for a great Christmas gift).  but if I read a book a day, I am going to run out of books quite soon.  So I thought I would update you on life

We got more snow!  I was at school yesterday and I noticed that the sun was no longer shining.  I looked outside and saw one of the most beautiful snowfalls ever.  I tried to capture it on my camera.  The snowflakes were HUGE!  I have never seen snowflakes this big.  And it snowed like that for an hour probably.  We probably got about 2 or 3 inches.  But as soon as it stopped snowing, it started melting.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

Even though I am done with my Christmas Carol Countdown, the song title "Let it Snow" best describes this post. It finally snowed last night!  We were at Christmas party with some friends when it began.  I would guess that only about an inch or so accumulated.  That does not seem like very much to me, but some people (from South Africa) say that it never snows where they are from.  On our 10 minute walk to the subway station after the shindig, we watched two cars loose control (and hit the curb) and another actual collision.  I realized that Koreans are not used to driving in the snow AND there are no snowplows or salt spreading vehicles so the roads were slippery.  Sadly most of the snow is melting today.  I hope that it snows again this winter.  Another funny thing to me is that there are no snow shovels, so I saw many people sweeping the snow this morning.

So my mom mailed me some cross stitching kits for my birthday.  I brought them to desk warming with me because I have nothing else to do.  Anywho, one of my co-teachers stopped by to eat lunch with me (Koreans think it is sad if you have to eat by yourself - the whole group culture thing).  She wanted to see what I was working on, so I showed her.  She said, "what an exotic house!"  I chuckled to myself.  I  guess it does look different than most houses and buildings here.
The "exotic" house

Saturday, December 25, 2010

CHRISTMAS!

Merry Christmas!  As most of you are beginning your Christmas day, we are ending ours  (it is still weird to me the time difference between here and America).  Our Christmas Day and then to the countdown.
I set my alarm for this morning.  I had high hopes of getting my long run in this morning.  FAIL.  I think sleeping in was a better option.  I was really tired.   Anywho, after we got up, we ate some delicious cinnamon rolls for breakfast (Thank you Paris Baguette for making cinnamon rolls).  My amazing husband and I try to read the Bible for a little bit after breakfast each day and pray for our friends and family.  We do not do this everyday, but we try to.  Today my amazing  husband read the first two chapters of Luke while sipped on my coffee.  Then we opened presents!   I looked at my watch and started running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  I dipped the cookie dough and mocha truffles that I whipped up last night, organized everything for our Christmas potluck, went for a quick short COLD run (It was 1 degree farenheit this morning), took a shower, cleaned up the kitchen a bit, and packed our stuff for the potluck.  We went across town to eat and hang out with some friends.  We had a delicious lunch!  Chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, walnut-cranberry-salad, and too many desserts.  We even had hot chocolate to drink!  Everything was so good!  We spent the afternoon talking and playing Apples to Apples.
I thought that I would be super homesick today and really miss everyone a lot.  I was a little sad that I could not be home, but Christmas is not a big deal here.  It does not feel like Christmas.  No snow, no Christmas tree, no time off, no cookie trays, no commercialization (okay well a little, but not much), no stockings.  It just feels different. I can not really describe beyond that.  I am really looking forward to my first Christmas back in the States.  I think I might gain 20 lbs though :)

Onward:
Christmas Carol Countdown #1: Heirlooms
This is my absolute favorite Christmas song ever of all time!  I love this song by Amy Grant.  I used play this song on the piano during the Christmas season.  I think it is the key of F and I would always miss those b flats.  Essentially the song is about how Jesus is more than a precious antique to pass down through the generations.  As the song says, "time never changes the memory, the moment his loved first pierced through me, telling all the I come from, and all that I live for, and all that I am going to be.  My precious Savior is more than a heirloom to me."  Can you remember that first time that God became real to you?  I always think of that moment in my own life when I hear this song.   

I have enjoyed sharing my favorite Christmas music with you!  Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

#2 Emmanuel

Happy Christmas Eve! It is late.  This will probably be short.  I once again hit the gym before school, spent 8 lovely hours at school, then ran errands (actually I walked).  My husband and I attended a Christmas Eve service with my one of my co-teachers.  It was all in Korean, but it was mainly children performing different things.  It was one of the cutest things I have ever seen.  I wished we would have brought our camera.  After we got home, I whipped up a batch of Mocha Truffles and Cookie Dough Truffles (they are actually chilling and waiting to be dipped in almond bark as I write this).  I can not wait to climb under the covers tonight!  Santa is comin'  :) 

Christmas Carol  Countdown #2: Emmanuel
I love this song!  There are quite a few songs with the title Emmanuel.  This one we sang in church when I was growing up.  It is a simple song:  Emmanuel, Emmanuel His name is called Emmanuel God with us, revealed in us His name is called Emmanuel.  I love this song.  No matter where we are, God is with us.  And not only is God present, he knows too!  He came, he dwelt among us, he knows.  God with us.  There have been days at school this Christmas season when I have listened to this song like 5 times in a row.  God with us.  What gets better than that?  God with us.

I was able to find this song on youtube, in case you are not familiar with it.  Click here to see the video. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

# 3 Carol of the Bells/What Child Is This?

Christmas Carol Countdown # 3: Carol of the Bells/ What Child Is This?
Point of Grace took these two great songs and put them into one.  They start out with Carol of the Bells and then transition to What Child is this?  I get goosebumps every time I hear this song.  So great.  One of my favorite memories of Carol of the Bells is my college town playing this song.  There were bells (in the courthouse on the town square I think?) that played every night at 7 pm.  During the year they would play You are my Sunshine or Somewhere over the Rainbow etc.  But during Christmas they would often play Carol of the Bells.  I could here it from my room last year - so fun!
I sadly left all my Christmas music in America and have been relying on youtube for all of my Christmas music (sadly, Pandora only works in America). I can not find this song on Youtube :(  But someday I will be back in the USofA, and I will be baking Christmas cookies and listenting to this song!

If you want to read about what I did today, back up one post :)  It is a long one.

Hint: Tomorrow's song is my favorite Christmas phrase for this year (which I have already told you!)

A bridge, a POW camp, and some sushi

Today has been a long one.  I started my day at 5:40 am with a trip to the gym.  Thank you Gym Lady for putting on some Mariah Carey Christmas music.  She only had two songs, but it was enough Christmas to get me going.  I spent my morning at school reading magazines and trying to catch up on the news in America.  After lunch, all the teachers boarded a large bus and we set off on our field trip (just teachers no students).  We drove to Busan and then drove on the newly opened Geoga Grand Bridge.  It was a pretty big deal.  It used to take like 3.5 hours to travel from Busan to Geoje Island, but we did it 50 minutes.  Part of the passage is a bridge and part is a tunnel that goes under the South Sea.  You can read more by clicking here.

Our first stop on the island was Geoje POW camp; I had no idea we were going to visit this place until we pulled up.  I think I could talk about this for quite a while, but I will try to contain myself.  

Welcome to the POW camp


We got off the bus and I was greeted with the sight of 16 flags of the countries that aided South Korea during the war.  Yup, there was Old Glory.   I have not seen an American flag for probably 4 months.  I, of course, got to hold the job of being the only American at the entire place.  I took a few moments just to stare at our flag.  There were quite a few older people there.  I wondered what their memories of the Korean War were.  The exhibits were really nicely done I thought.  Almost all the informative sign posts were translated in English.  I really appreciated not having to constantly be asking questions.  I am not really sure I can describe why I felt sad during our tour other than this was real.  This really was a POW camp; there were pictures of the spot I was standing in 1950s and now, same mountains, same layout.  The people walking by me could remember the major events of the war.  
What the camp looked like
One of my co-teachers stuck pretty close to me to explain about some things that were not translated.  As we strolled through the exhibits, we talked about our impressions of the war – she seemed surprised when I told her that I had learned about the Korean War in high school.  I also shared with her that my Grandpa had come to Korea during the war.  I think it was a bonding experience for us.  

I am hungry!
Overall, I am really thankful for the experience.  I learned some new things and I was reminded how blessed I am to be an American.  (click here to see good pictures and more info)

Then we went to a sushi restaurant.  As I was waiting for our food to come, I looked towards the kitchen area and saw a huge aquarium.  This was the real deal.  There were the fish that we were going to be eating.  Great.  Through a turn of events, I ended up sitting next to all office secretaries.  I was happy to meet new people, however none of them spoke English.  One of them had a translator on her phone, so she kept showing me what we were eating by typing in Korean and I would read it in English.  
You can see some fish and crawdad like animals
I ate sushi (I do not know if I will ever eat this again) a sea squirt, crawdads (I think it was a crawdad or a close relative), oysters (Also will not be eating these again in the near future) anchovies, and soup with a whole entire fish in it (This fish was cooked).  Here is the secret to eating Korean food: rice.  Koreans never go a meal without eating some rice.  So whatever you have to eat, try to mix with rice.  It makes life much better.  After dinner, we boarded the bus for our 3 hour trip home.  It was a good day.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

#4 Little Town

Hey ya’ll.  Well I am at school bored out of my mind.  My amazing husband says that he never gets bored.  I do.  I have things to do (facebook stalk, listen to sermons, catch up on email, read, cross stitch, freerice.com, and prepare for my English Camp in a few weeks); however I can only sit at my desk for so long.  I can also walk around the school only so many times.  Oh well.  I will stop complaining now.  I am listening to my christmas carol countdown via youtube right now.  I started at #15 and have listened to the songs on the countdown (some of them twice). I am getting close to today’s song.  Maybe it will be here by the time I finish.

Christmas Carol Countdown #4: Little Town
This is a song by Amy Grant based on the traditional, “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”.  At least I think it is by Amy Grant.  She is the first person I know to sing it.  I think it is a great song, mainly because it completely takes me back to childhood.  I think I danced to this song in the living room near the Christmas tree (only when no one was around).  As a little girl, I also thought that this was the perfect song to use if I ever became a professional ice skater (I ice skated for the first time in my life when I was like 20).   I like the sleigh bells in this song.  What is Christmasier than sleigh bells?  (Note: I wrote “more Christmasy” in the previous sentence and Microsoft Word changed it to Christmasier).  My absolute favorite phrase this Christmas is “Emmanuel, God with us.”  And this song has that phrase in it. 

One nice thing about desk warming is that I can be on Facebook during the morning here which is evening hours in USofA.  I got to chat with a good college friend this morning.  We were both math ed majors, bakers, and runners (check out her Christmas Cookie blog by clicking here).  I love talking to friends in America. 

Well time to get back to my book :)  Hint: the next song is a two for one!  Can you guess what two songs they are?


P.S.  Here is an updated pic of my with the curly hair.  It has been less curly as time goes on, but it still fun!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

#5 Joseph's Lullaby

If you want to read about the Christmas Carol Countdown you will have to scroll down :)

First things first!  I GOT MORE BIRTHDAY CARDS TODAY!!!  WOOHOO!!!  These were from my Grandpa and his wife (with a picture!)  my uncle, aunt, and cousins, one from my friend's parents, and one from my brother and sister-in-law (also with a picture!)  Our fridge is going to be overflowing with love (in the form of cards)  I am running out of magnets!  Maybe Santa will bring me more!  I was really excited and thankful! 

I thought I might share my evening meal.  I went out to eat with my co-workers.  Going out to eat in Korea is drastically different than it is in America (unless you go to McDonalds - which we have NOT in the 4 months we have been here AND I walk past one everyday on the way to school)  Anywho, Koreans are really into group culture (another topic for another day).  When you go out to eat there is no, "what do you want to eat?"  "I think I will have the blah blah blah".  You get tons of little dishes and a main dish (I am always thankful that I do not have to wash the dishes).  Then everyone just starts grabbing for whatever he or she wants.  Sometimes you do not even have your own plate, you usually get your own bowl of rice though.  Tonight I had my own bowl of rice and my own bowl of soup.   Oh yes, you also take your shoes off at the door and sit on a cushion on the floor (with your legs crossed) and the table is pretty close the ground.  Some restaurants have tables and chairs, but some do not.  Some restaurants have a gas grill in the middle of the table that you cook your own pork on.  The pork restaurants are my amazing husband's favorite in Korea.

This is from a mixed rice restaurant (Not a pork restaurant) but you get the general idea



Speaking of my amazing guy, when I got home from dinner I was greeted with a very sleepy husband.  He got to school today and was sent back home (Koreans NEVER take sick days).  He did not have any classes today with the weird end of the year schedule, I was really surprised that they let him come home, but thankful too.  So he slept from 9am - 5pm today and is sleeping again.  (Note: if you are my mom or his mom, please do not freak out - he is okay I promise).  We have both been sick A LOT since coming to Korea.  I have had a sniffling nose or a cough for the past 2 months.  And I had a full out cold before that.  Okay I will stop boring you with the details of our health.

Finally the Christmas Carol Countdown # 5: Joseph's Lullaby
This song is from MercyMe.  It is Joseph singing a lullaby to Jesus.  I think I like this song so much because my college roommate liked it a lot (she is a great girl, click here to read her blog).  It is a calming song I think.  The song does not make Joseph a saint, just a dad.  He is like any other father who wants his son to rest and not worry about the future.  I think it is nice that there is a song about Joseph, Mary gets a lot of the spotlight during this season, but I think Joseph was a really great guy.  How did Mary make it without some support?  Traveling is hard, being in a new and different place is hard.  She needed someone to be strong and to lean on.  I think that person was Joseph.  I could be wrong, but I hope I am not.  Here are the lyrics to the song:

Go to sleep my Son
This manger for your bed
You have a long road before You
Rest Your little head

Can You feel the weight of Your glory?
Do You understand the price?
Does the Father guard Your heart for now
So You can sleep tonight?

Go to sleep my Son
Go and chase Your dreams
This world can wait for one more moment
Go and sleep in peace

I believe the glory of Heaven
Is lying in my arms tonight
Lord, I ask that He for just this moment
Simply be my child

Go to sleep my Son
Baby, close Your eyes
Soon enough You'll save the day
But for now, dear Child of mine
Oh my Jesus, Sleep tight

Monday, December 20, 2010

Drum Roll please

Song of the day is (drum roll please)

Christmas Carol Countdown #6: The Little Drummer Boy
This is a great song!  It the favorite of one of my college Sunday school teachers.  He likes the fact that the little drummer boy brings all he has to Jesus and then Jesus smiles at him.  My favorite version is the one by Jars of Clay.  They do a great job.  I also think there is a movie about something that has to do with this song.  Speaking of Christmas movies...I love them!  I think I could watch a Christmas movie every night of the Christmas season - there are so many good ones out there! Maybe I will have to blog about Christmas movies next year hmmmm

So it is actually Tuesday morning here.  Luckily for me it is still Monday in America.  I thought since it is morning, I would share my morning routine with ya’ll.  (I know you are on the edge of your seat with excitement right now!)  So every morning I try to accomplish 10 things before leaving our apartment.  Here they are:
  1. Eat breakfast (usually oatmeal)
  2. Boil a pot of water (we boil all of our water before we drink it)
  3. Wash the dishes
  4. Sweep the apartment (there are advantages to living in a tiny place)
  5. Clean the table off (we have a glass table top so I windex it)
  6. Pour the pot o water into the Brita pitcher
  7. Get dressed
  8. Brush my teeth
  9. Fill up my water bottle for the day
  10. Kiss my amazing husband good-bye
I would say that I have to make the bed as well, but my amazing husband does that one for me!  I love my morning routine.  

Off to make some paper snowflakes with 3rd graders (after we learn the sentences: May I come in?  May I go now?  May I try?  May I sit down?  May I stand up?)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Reflections on a Sunday Afternoon

I thought I would start this blog with the song :)

Christmas Carol Countdown #6 1/2: O Come, O Come Emmanuel
I think what I like about this song is the lyrics.  The tune is nice.  I guess it was written in the 12th century.  But it is these words, "O come o come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel, who mourns in lonely exile  here until the Son of God appears.  Rejoice, rejoice Emmanuel.  Shall come to thee, O Israel".  What gets better than this?

I read the following today on the way to church.  It really struck me.
The following is from C.S. Lewis's essay, "Is Christianity Hard or Easy?"  (it is okay to read several times because I did)

"The almost impossibly hard thing is to hand over your whole self to Christ.  But it is far easier than what we are trying to do instead.  For what we are trying to do is remain what we call "ourselves" - our personal happiness centered on money or pleasure or ambition - and hoping, despite this, to behave honestly and chastely and humbly.  And that is what Christ warned us you cannot do.  If I am a grass field - all the cutting will keep the grass less but won't produce wheat.  If I want wheat....I must be plowed up and re-sown."

The question that I had to ask myself is this: Am I cutting the grass or am I allowing myself to be plowed up and re-sown?  Why should we ask Emmanuel to come if we are satisfied with cutting the grass?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I'm 23 Hallelujah

Today was the first time that I celebrated my birthday in not-America. I think it was also was one of the first years (in recent years) that I was not taking a final on my birthday!  woohoo for being graduated! I started my day out with a really fun 8 mile run.  It was pretty cold out because it was early, but my favorite time in Korea is morning.  It is calm in the morning and less crowded.  When I got home my amazing husband had made me some French toast for breakfast!   It was delicious.  Then I talked to my parents on Skype!  Skype is the best invention ever.  My parents got me a cross stitch kit for my birthday!  I have already started in on it!  I will have to post a picture when I get it finished.  My amazing husband got me several gifts, my favorite of which was a pair of mittens!
Aren't they cute???

we were aiming for this
They have a string attaching them together so I will not lose them! I like them alot!  We spent some time at church as well trying to help out with a Christmas party for the orphanage kiddos.  I was trying to help 15 year old boys make a snowflake creation.  It did not quite turn out how we first anticipated.  I think we had a good time doing it.  Well, I had a good time doing it and the boys went along with it.  We also ate some food and handed out presents for the kiddos.  It was a fun time.  We ended the day going out for coffee and chatting about our day.

Okay on to the countdown.  You may have guessed what the song is for today by the title.
Christmas Carol Countdown # 7: the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah
I love this song!  My mom loves to listen to Handel's Messiah.  I have tried to get into it, but this is the only song that I like from it.  I LOVE that all of it is straight out of Scripture!  When I was in high school, my band played the song and the choir sang the song (it was a bit tricky for the people that were in both band and choir.)   Whenever I hear this song, I listen for the third trombone part :)  I can still hum you the 3rd trombone part from the song hahahaha.  Some people have shared fun versions of this song.  Click here to see people in the mall singing this song seemingly randomly.  And then we can not forget about the silent monks!  I cracked up the first time I saw this!  Click here to see silent monks "sing" this song (you can actually find several of the silent monks on youtube, but this is the one I like best).  And He shall reign forever!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Night Tradition and #8

Another moment of honesty: I did not even like this song at the beginning of this Christmas season! I think I have some repressed memories of practicing this song waaay tooo many times for a piano recital at some point in time in my early childhood. I have the same emotion towards Up on the Rooftop and Jingle Bells. I am not particularly fond of these songs.

Christmas Carol Countdown #8: Joy to the World
So you may be asking yourself what changed my opinion of Joy to the World. One name: Naomi LaViolette! I downloaded some of her music from Noisetrade (for free!) this Christmas season. I love this violin piano rendition of Joy to the World. It is beautiful! I love to listen to this song as I wash dishes or sweeping our apartment. I can listen to this song over and over and over again.

Last semester when I was student teaching I began a Friday night tradition. I go to school, come home, go run, and then come back home, put on my sweats or jammies, eat a bowl of cereal for supper (I usually eat oatmeal for breakfast so eating cereal is a treat!) and watching an episode of the Biggest Loser on-line, then go to bed early. I look forward to this tradition each week. I love it. This Friday is no different than any other Friday. Work out done, sweats on, and cereal eaten. I am going to watch episode 7 of the Biggest Loser season 10 as soon as I get done writing this.

Today at school was special. Tomorrow is my birthday so my co-workers bought me a cake and some lotion. One of my co-teachers called the radio this morning and they announced my birthday on the radio :) how precious is this? I think I will always remember them singing Happy Birthday to me. It was really sweet. It was so thoughtful of them. So it was a good birthday eve. I can not wait for tomorrow. I already know that my amazing husband is going to make me French toast. I think I will be starting my day with an 8 miler. We’ll see how that goes hahahahaha

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wedding Song!

Moment of Honesty: I am not sure if this next song is actually a Christmas song or not. BUT it is on Amy Grant’s Christmas Album so that makes it Christmasy right?



Christmas Carol Countdown #8 1/2: Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

This song was originally written by Bach, but as you might guess my favorite version is the one from Amy Grant. It is awesome. You should check it out. This song will forever have sentimental value to me. This is the song that was playing when I walked down the aisle to get married! (I actually do not remember much about walking down the aisle other than the seeing my hubby’s face hahahhaha) I found out in the weeks leading up to my wedding that my parents and my in-laws also had this song as part of their wedding ceremony. It was my little secret that I got to walk down the aisle to Christmas music.



Funny story: during rehearsal, my dad and I got to the end of the aisle waaaayyyy to early! We just stood their and waited FOREVER! So I guess the next day, he kept telling me to slow down, but I do not remember that part.



Today was a really fun day at school. I got to teach my kiddos about Christmas and make Christmas cards. I also gave them some chocolate because we have way TOO many Hershey’s kisses in our house right now. I still have a whole bag left after giving my 120 kiddos two pieces each. Some of my students thought that Rudolph was Bambi – that gave me a good laugh!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Monumental Day

Today was one of the most exciting days of my life potentially! I had a normal day at school, but when I got home, what greeted me? MAIL! Usually we get two pieces of mail each month: our electric bill and our gas bill. Every so often we get junk mail, but not often. I got FOUR birthday cards in the mail!!!!!! I was so excited! I did not think that I would get any mail at all for my birthday, I was so happy. Not only did we get letters, we got a package in the mail!!!! I think you can only fully appreciate this if you live in a foreign land. But just think back to care packages in college and you get the general idea. The package had mostly soup mixes and books in it! And American CHOCOLATE! I have a tummyache because I had like 10 Hershey dark chocolate kisses and my stomach is not used to real chocolate. Hahahaha. But they are soo good. But I think I am supposed to be blogging about Christmas music….So

Christmas Carol Countdown #9: God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman
I think this song is best sung at an upbeat tempo. This is one of those songs that tons of artists have made their own version. One of my favorite versions of this song is by Manheim Steamroller. They do a great job of making it Jazzy. I also like the way MercyMe recorded this song. I did not really ever think about the title. From what I gather from the reliable source of the internet, the title means, God make you strong and valient gentleman. Interesting how words have different meanings over time.

One more monumental part of my day: my amazing husband took me to a movie tonight! It was The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 3-D! I was so excited. I love the Chronicles of Narnia, I think I read them when I was in 6th grade maybe. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is my favorite of all the books. I was so excited that we got to see this movie! It was like we were in America (aka we did not have to read the subtitles – sorry to the Koreans that did). It was an amazing movie.

Monday, December 13, 2010

9 and 1/2

Did you figure out what the perfect Christmas mall music is?

Christmas Carol Countdown #9½: Kenny G playing Walking in a Winter Wonderland of course! What is better? Kenny G was really close to making it to the top 5 Christmas CD list. I remember the first Christmas that my brother and I did our own Christmas shopping we went to Target and got my mom his newest CD (at the time). We were so proud of ourselves! Kenny G is great background music when reading or catching up on email.

There is not much news in my life other than Christmas Carol Countdown. I am embarking on Marathon Training week 4 today. I am also reading Tim Keller’s A Reason for God. You should check it out. I did not want to read it because I thought it would be too deep, but it is really understandable. I seriously think you should read it, if you have not!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Top Ten!

Ahh the beginning of the top ten countdown! Currently I am listening to a Mark Driscoll Sermon. I like him A LOT. He is a great preacher. He has great sermons. You should check him out. Listen to a sermon. He is funny too :)

Christmas Carol Countdown #10: When Love Came Down
This a song by Point of Grace. I think that this is the perfect song to play while decorating the Christmas tree. It basically talks about Love (Jesus) coming down (from heaven) at Christmas time. What could be a better song? It is also a pretty song.

In life outside of Christmas music, my amazing husband and I are really close to finishing up our Christmas shopping! Living 7,000 miles away from home means no Christmas Eve shopping hahahaha.

Also, my grandma passed away yesterday. I wanted to share a happy memory that I have with her. She had an Oldsmobile and a tape cassette that came with the car(It said Oldsmobile on it AND it was in the glove compartment, what is more official than that?) So one day when we were driving we (I think it was my brother) put it in to listen. It had a song, "Africa" on it. A song from the 80's by Toto. I had never heard the song before. For whatever reason, it struck me as REALLY funny. I laughed really hard for a long time. If you know me, just imagine me laughing as hard as I can :) Even as I was retelling the story to my husband right now, I could not finish the story because I started laughing so much. Every time I hear the Africa song (which admittedly is not that often) I remember that time that I laughed so hard in Grandma's Oldsmobile!

Hint for number 9 1/2: It is perfect Christmas mall music!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sorry!

Hey all! Sorry that there has been a lacking of postings on the Christmas Carol Countdown! South Korea has decided to block access to blogs (oh how I love thee, South Korea) but I have done some internet searching and found that proxy servers are a gift from smart people. So here we go.

Christmas Carol Countdown #10 1/2: White Christmas
I asked my students last week what they wanted for Christmas and one student said, "I want a white Christmas, teacher." How precious is that? I asked them if they knew what it meant and they all nodded their heads. I have to agree, I would like a white Christmas as well. I would also like to watch the movie, White Christmas. It is one of my favorites. I love hearing Bing Crosby singing! It is so great!

That is all for now. I will have to be blogging quite a bit this week to get back on track :)

Because I am working with this proxy server, I am having a hard time with pictures, but hopefully I can figure that out for next time.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The top 5 AND number 11

Hey ya'll.  It is time to talk about number 11 AND the top 5 Christmas CDs in my opinion.  Yeah, I am old-school and I like CDs still.

Christmas Carol Countdown #11: Christmastime
This is a song by Michael W. Smith.  I love it.  It has a choir singing.  It has pretty music playing in the background.  It has Michael W. Smith singing.  It is a great mix of all things Christmas.  I am actually listening to right now.  It is not the Christmas season until I hear this song!

My 5 favorite Christmas CDs
1.) Amy Grant A Christmas Album: This is my childhood right here!  I LOVE this collection of Christmas songs. I could go on and on about this, but I will refrain.  All I am going to say is that I potentially listen to this before Thanksgiving every year :)

2.) Point of Grace A Christmas Story: I got this CD for my birthday when I was in jr high or high school (in my old age my memory is fading) I am sooo sad that I left this one in the USofA.  They never play all the songs on the radio from this CD.  So sad.

3.) Avalon Joy: I think I got this CD around the same time as I got the Point of Grace CD.  I think there was one December that it was the only CD that I listened to in my truck on the way to and from school.

4.) MercyMe The Christmas Sessions: My roommate in college had this CD.  I loved listening to it.  It is really great.  I think I would ask her to play it sometimes.  Good Memories, Good CD


5.) Michael W. Smith Christmastime: amazing collection. what else can I say?


Moving on to other excitement in my life:  IT SNOWED LAST NIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It did not accumulate.  But I did walk to HomePlus while it was snowing.  I feel like most of the Koreans were freaking out.  They were in disbelief.  It was cute.  Anywho, when I got to HomePlus what greeted my eyes?  Women with shopping carts full of  (go ahead make a guess).....cabbage.  Yes, the carts were FULL.  If I could have taken a picture without being awkward, I would have.  Koreans love their cabbage.  I was at HomePlus to do some Christmas shopping.  I got to a buy a pencil bag for our Orphanage Kiddo.  (Our church helps out an orphanage once a month - the boys LOVE my amazing husband because he can play soccer with them).  Now pencil bags are a whole another thing in Korea. I got the pinball pencil case.  It holds pencils on the inside but the outside is a mini pinball machine.  There are all sorts of gizmos like this.  It was so fun to do some Christmas shopping.  I am HORRIBLE at thinking of gifts, but once I think of something, then I love to go shopping for it.  So if I know you and you ever would like to give me hints as to what you want for Christmas, I would very much appreciate it!  


Hint for the next song: I asked my classes what they wanted for Christmas and one my students shocked me by answering with this song title :)  good luck!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Number 12!

Well, we are at school again and today there is a teacher training happening.  One of the advantages of not knowing Korean is that I never have to go staff meetings or professional development.  (Reminder this also means that I also can not ask for help in the grocery store or when I am lost).  Anywho while my co-workers are learning how to answer the phone politely, (yes that is really the professional development for the day) I thought I would share the next song on the list. 

Christmas Carol Countdown #12: We are the Reason
If my mom is reading this, she would say that it is not a Christmas song. I agree, it is not a Christmas song, but the only time of the year I hear it on the radio is Christmas time.  My absolutely favorite memory associated with this song is sitting next to my mom while she would play the piano and sing.  She has a really beautiful arrangement of this song.  One time I tried for like a week to learn how to play it.  Epic fail on my part (when it comes to running I have perseverance, when it comes to practicing the piano, I like instant gratification).  I believe that David Meece was the one to write this song, he is a good guy.  Avalon did an arrangement of this song on their Christmas CD: Joy.  Secret: I am a huge fan of Christmas music, but I am also very picky about the Christmas music I like.  If I had to listen to Frosty the Snowman or Jingle Bells the whole month of December, I would not listen to Christmas music.  Don't get me wrong, they are fun songs, but I like Christmas music that makes me really think about how awesome Christmas is.  I mean Jesus left heaven, left his Father and came here.  Who would do that?!?!?  Just traveling 1/2 way around the world seems like too much to me some days; I can not imagine how Jesus felt at times.  But he did it. Amazing.  Anywho, here are some lyrics from the song that get me every time, 
“We are the reason that He gave His life We are the reason that He suffered and died To a world that was lost He gave all He could give To show us the reason to live”

Back to planning the best winter camp ever in the history of Native English Teachers at my school! I have no clue what I am doing, but that makes it all the more fun. And whenever I am done, I can add adapting and creating curriculum to my list of skills.

Next post will be extraordinary as I will tell you the 5 Christmas CDs I would take with me on a deserted island and song number 11 too What Christmas CDs make Christmas for you?

Monday, December 6, 2010

A day of firsts and #13

Did you guess?  Were you able to figure out my hubby's fav Christmas song?  Considering that my amazing husband is NOT a fan of Christmas music, it would be hard to correctly guess.  It is Mary's Boy Child.  If you are not familiar with it, then I suggest you go visit my in-laws and find the Baptist Church in their town.  Every year, there is a community Christmas concert and every year I have attended, there has been these really awesome singers from the Baptist Church that sing Mary's Boy Child.  I think you have to tap your foot or bob your head when you hear the song.  It has a fun beat to it.  We were playing it in our apartment this morning while we were getting ready for school - great start to our day!

So today I had a couple of firsts.  I encounter my first Korean food that I could not eat...I could not even try it.  Most food I can at least try, but not today!  The food was: fish eggs.  We had fish egg soup.  They were in huge clumps and it just looked so yucky.  I have been a trooper when it comes to Korean food.  I eat kimchi five or six times a week, I eat seaweed often (in all its form) I eat fish heads, fish skin, fish eyes (when they are part of the fish).  I even ate fish bones before I learned how to fillet a fish using my chopsticks and spoon.  I ate makchan (cow intestine) and octopus.  I feel like I have really embraced the culture when it comes to food, but fish eggs is where I stop.  I told myself that it was all mental.  I have resolved the next time we have fish egg soup, I am going to try it :)  But I am going to break it up into little pieces instead chunks o' fish eggs.

Speaking of food, I concede.  I openly admitted today (for the first time) that I am addicted to Korean corn dogs.  Think of an American corn dog, now add two layers of breading, roll it in sugar, and add some ketchup.  There is a stand right outside our gym, directly on the way back to our apartment. (sigh)  I am addicted!  My amazing husband has gotten me hooked on them. If you ever come to South Korea, try the vendor food - all of it is amazing!

Oh yeah, I also chatted on-line for the first time today with my amazing husband.  We talked on the phone ALL the time when we were dating, we wrote letters and emails, but we never chatted.  It was really fun because he types just like he talks.   I know, you are amazed at the details of my exciting life.  hahahaha

One more first.  Today was the first time I took home-made food to school with me.  I take store bought food quite often, but I never have taken food that I made.  I was really nervous, but I needed to get the mocha truffles out of our apartment before I consumed them all.  (Did I tell you that I made mocha truffles?  They turned out wonderfully - way prettier than the cookie dough OR oreo truffles)  Anywho, my teachers loved them!  I was so relieved.  Now I know whenever I feel like trying out any other recipes, I have guinea pigs.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

27/2 or 13.5

First things first, today (Dec. 5th) marks the 6th month anniversary for my amazing husband and me!  Yeah for us!  Right now I am eating my delicious cinnamon roll oatmeal for breakfast.  We have church at 11 this morning.  I am listening to music from a radio station at home (it is family friendly and positive and encouraging…I will let you guess which one it is).  Anywho, O Holy Night is being played right now and that is the next song on the countdown.  I have decided to add some songs to the countdown, which makes my list longer.  Therefore there might be some interesting numbering from here out.

Christmas Carol Countdown #13½: O Holy Night
One of things I like about Christmas music is all the variation.  One song has so many different versions.  There are traditional, jazzy, country, you name it.  Well, maybe not rap.  I tried to find a rap version of O Holy Night…I did.  Let’s not go there.  I like the version by Third Day of this song, but my favorite version of O Holy Night is traditional, complete with an organ and a choir.  It is beautiful.  Not only is it beautiful, it is true.  Check out some of the lyrics from the last verse, “Truly He taught us to love one another…Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother…With all our hearts we praise His holy name. Christ is the Lord!”  What sin have you been chained to?  How did God break those chains?  How do you praise Him with all of your heart?  Like I said, it is beautiful and true. 

In life outside of Christmas music, we have been having a great weekend!  I attempted to make some Cookie Dough Truffles and Oreo truffles, I was going to take pictures throughout the process, however, I forgot!  Here is the finished product!  I took them to Small Group on Saturday night and everyone raved about them (potentially because they had nothing to compare them to!)  We also bought some $5.00 Christmas lights.  They are special.  We will have to do a video post so you can see all five settings of the psycho lights.
On the plan for the rest of the day…we will be heading to church, then eat lunch, then going downtown to Starbucks to see if they peppermint mochas!  (Addition: they did and they were delicious).  Maybe do a bit of Christmas shopping.  And I am going to watch Elf tonight (it is the only Christmas DVD that made the cut to come with us).

This is from Starbuck's website, as you can imagine delicious!
The next song on the list is my amazing husband’s favorite Christmas song.  See if you can guess what it is :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pondering #14 while Desk Warming

Well, I am currently at school desk warming (one of the joys of Korean schools.  I come to school all day, but do not teach any students.)  Desk warming is super fun for several reasons.  One of the reasons is that I get to wear jeans (!).  Korean schools do not have casual Fridays, so today is the third time I have worn jeans to school in the three and half months we have been here. Another reason is that I get to catch up on email, blogging, facebook, reading etc. So I thought that it is time to reveal song number 14 on the countdown list!

Christmas Carol Countdown #14: Breath of Heaven (also known as Mary’s Song)
I really like this song.  I always think of Amy Grant singing this song.  There are other versions of this song sung by Point of Grace, Sara Groves, and Jessica Simpson (and others).  This song is about Mary’s journey and thoughts leading up to Christ’s birth.  I did a little bit of research (on http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=14730 ) and I think Amy Grant was not the actual writer of this song.  She heard the song and adapted a little to the version that most of us know.  I think it was interesting to note that she was pregnant at the time she modified the song.  My favorite lyrics from this song are, “Breath of heaven, lighten my darkness, pour over me your holiness, for you are holy.”  That is my prayer this Christmas, I can become more holy.

On the docket for this weekend: CHRISTMAS SHOPPING and I am going to try some Christmas BAKING!!  I am going to find Christmas lights if it is the last thing that I do