Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Last Day of...

Well it is the last day of February AND it is the last day of desk warming.  Bittersweet.  I think I could be a professional desk warmer.  I rock at it.  So far in the few hours I have been here today I have sipped on my coffee, checked my email, listened to my Daddio-in-law's sermon, chatted with my college roommate, did a Sudoku, caught up what is really happening in the world (I wasted a bunch of time on Facebook) and checked out my sister-in-law's pics from her recent trip (with my brother of course!)  I feel so productive.  On the docket for this afternoon is 1.) look up the definition for docket 2.) cross stitch 3.) make a meal plan for the week 4.) make a grocery list (I love grocery shopping!  love.it.)  I do think I might cry whenever we get back to the States and I walk down the cereal aisle.  What a day of rejoicing that will be!

I read a book this weekend.  Honestly, I was a little disappointed.  It was too emotional draining for me.  I felt like I got run over by a semi when I got done and it was fictional.  All of that for emotion for fake people.  It talked a lot about Christmas in America too (Christmas in America = longing for an oven).  However, I still think that Lauraine Snelling is a great author.  She has written a book in my top 5 of all time favorite books.  Better luck next time?  I hope so.

Did you know that Koreans love karaoke?  true story.  They love it!  It is called the Noribang (nori = sing and bang = room however do not confuse bang with bbang.  bbang = bread so nori bbang = singing bread)  I "got" to go to the Noribang this weekend.  So this is how it works.  You pay for hour, then you get to go in a little room (over sized closet) and you get to karaoke to your hearts content.  awesome.  Nope - no singing from this girl (or my amazing husband).  One nice thing is to only have to sing in front of the people you came with instead of, well, everyone.

While I am rambling about my weekend, just thought I would tell you that my amazing husband made me pancakes this weekend.  We topped them with strawberries.  Delicious!  He also took me to Paris Baguette from some mocha cream bread.  He is such a good guy.  The end!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

*Imagine a really cool word here*

"You should blog about it"  Potentially the first time my amazing husband has uttered this sentence.

The scene: me standing in our apartment this morning trying his fleece on (just to see if it would magically fit somehow).  My amazing husband is large or maybe extra large (he is really tall).  I am a medium or a small.  I am sure you can figure out that the fleece was not fitting.

In college I would borrow friends' clothes quite often.  I had maximum access to cuteness.  Now, I am not in college AND I have been forced to downsize my wardrobe to two suitcases worth.  Let me rant for a moment: I had to bring professional clothes for summer and winter.  I had to bring running clothes for summer and winter (yes, it is a must).  Let me state that these two hads did not leave much room in the suitcase for comfy, lounging clothes for either season.  Thank you Amazing Husband for letting me take up space in one of your suitcases for my shoes.  To say the least, I feel like I wear the same clothes ALL the time.  Clothes shopping in Korea is a whole different story.  I should blog about that some day. Thus I decided to expand my wardrobe this morning by trying on some of my amazing hubby's clothes.   Hence his statement about me and my blog.

According to my amazing husband, my environment has changed yet my behavior has not.  There is a super cool word in psychology for this phenomena.  I am not sure what the super cool word is...but I am sure that is not boring and that it is super cool!

What do you do when you feel like you are always wearing the same clothes or the same outfit?

Monday, February 21, 2011

truth and Truth

truth: I like things to be clean

truth: This is day 20 of desk warming (20 days x 8 hours = 160 hours that I have "warmed" my desk)

truth: I like googling things

truth: Putting your (WET) kitchen sponge in the microwave for 2 minutes will sterilize it (ours gave off a weird odor, I am not sure if this is good or not...the smell of dying germs maybe?)

truth: dry kitchen sponge in microwave = potential fire

truth: white vinegar is my new favorite.  Add some to your laundry, clean your mirror with it, and maybe the floor too

truth: My international (they have lived in America and South Korea) running shoes are dead (i.e. they have 600+ miles on them)

truth: It took me 20 minutes (which is a long time) to find some vinegar at the store yesterday

Truth = Jesus

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Skiing

We had another fun-packed weekend!  Let me tell you all about it:
I attempted a pic. while going up the lift
On Saturday we slept in (!!!!!) and ate a hearty breakfasted and headed out to meet our friends (edit: I talked about what I was going to wear for twenty minutes and took forever to get dressed.  What do you wear to go skiing when all of your skiing clothes are in America?)  We went skiing with two Korean friends at Oak Valley near Wonju.  Side note: Koreans are really into giving adjectives to the cities in Korea  i.e. Colorful Daegu, Dynamic Busan, Beautiful Gyeonju, and Healthy Wonju.

When we arrived at the ski resort, we got to discover our Korean shoe size (doesn't 250 sound huge!?!?).  After we got all our equipment rented, we headed towards the slopes.  The lines for the lifts were packed!  We waited for 20 to 30 minutes to get to the top.  I learned to ski as a child.  I enjoy skiing, not as much as brother, but it is a nice winter time activity.  After trying out the (only) beginner's hill, I decided that we needed to try the intermediate hill.  The main reason for this decision is that the line was much shorter and there were almost no children in line.
My amazing husband + my not amazing photo skills

Confession: I fell down while we were going down the intermediate hill.  I thought I was going to die or break a bone for about 3 seconds, but I did not thankfully.  When you are an American, you get stared at.  When you are an American who falls down, you get stared at and people point.  Awesome.  I am quite grateful that my amazing husband was there when I fell down.  He did not stare or point at me.  He helped me put my ski back on.  He's a good guy.
I tried to take a picture while skiing...
At 5 pm, everyone had to take a break and the Zamboni of ski slopes did something. (Potentially not the clearest sentence I have ever written.)  Basically some interesting looking machines redistributed and packed the snow.  While this was happening, we ate dinner.  For about an hour after dinner the lines were much shorter and the slopes were less crowded.  We tried a different intermediate hill and it was much more successful.  Eventually I got cold so we ended the day with some hot chocolate while we waited for our Korean friends to finish up on the slopes.  Overall it was a fun day!

I had approximately 5 layers of clothes on

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Brace yourself

Can I share a quote with you?  I have been chuckling to myself all week over this, "Doing speedwork on a treadmill is like experiencing firsthand what would happen if Jane Fonda, a drill sergeant, and a hamster ever broke into a Bowflex factory after a night of particularly raucous revelry with the mission of fashioning a cardiovascular torture device."  Check out this amazing blog for more running fun.


If you are an animal rights person, you are probably not going to want to read this.

Brace yourself.

I should start this off my by saying that I can be dramatic.  On Wednesday the entire staff at my school went to a restaurant for lunch.  We had duck.  Boiled duck (tasted similar to turkey) Grilled duck (my favorite of the varieties).  Duck in a red sauce stuff.  What is the perfect thing to go with duck?  If crickets are chirping in your brain it is okay.  I did not know what the side dish would be either.  Let me tell you: seafood soup.

They put a big pot down on the burner in the middle of the table and cranked the burner's heat up.  Then I saw it.  Something in the pot moved.  Something in the pot moved.  Something in the pot moved.  I asked my co-teacher (who was conveniently sitting next to me) if something in the pot moved.  She said yes like it was an everyday occurrence.

And then

The waitress returned to our table with a plastic container.  She pulled out a small squirming octopus (who legs were sticking to the container) and thrusted it in the pot.  I think my face was registering some alarm by this point in time.  Talk about "fresh".  I started asking Jesus to come rapture me pronto.

My co-teachers, shall we say, emphatically encouraged me to try some of the delightful fresh seafood soup.  It's not good, it's not bad, it's just different (useful mantra for experiencing a different culture)   I tried to take my time getting the spoon from my bowl to my mouth (giving Jesus a few extra seconds to rapture us, you know?) For the record, I did not think about it. I just chewed, swallowed, and tried to smile the whole time.  Let's just say this is not a recipe that I will be eagerly awaiting to share with my friends and family in America.  Repeat with me: It's not good, it's not bad, it's just different.

Let's end on a positive note shall we? This is a song that I know in English and some other language (Swahili or Zulu?).  It is a really fun song and I have been humming it to myself all week.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Book Review # 2


It has been an epic day at school (not really).  The 6th graders graduated today.  Koreans really get into graduations.  Flower bouquets appear, speeches are given, photo videos are made etc.  My favorite flower bouquet was the one with fiber optics coming out of the flowers.  It was quite special.

The last book I have finished reading is: Teaching in a Distant Classroom: Crossing Borders for Global Transformation by Michael Romanowski and Teri McCarthy.  I got this book for a wedding gift, but had put off reading it for a few months.  I regret that choice.  It is so helpful in understanding living/teaching overseas!  Since I was an education major in college some of the book was a review for me, but some information provided was incredibly helpful (Did you know that people who teach overseas usually require 1 to 3 more hours of sleep per night?  Is that why I have been so tired?)  The authors also included personal stories of incidents that happened while they were teaching overseas.  I appreciated the chapters on culture shock and how to deal with seemingly odd parts of different cultures.  If you are headed overseas to teach, this is a definite must read!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Window cling from my Mom
Happy Valentine's Day!  I like celebrating holidays when we are 14-16 hours ahead of America, it makes the festivities last that much longer!  We had a great Valentine's day.  Did you guess what my amazing husband made me for breakfast?  Heart shaped peanut butter pancakes!  They were delicious!  He also gave me some chocolate, gummy worms (for those long runs!), a chocolate cake to take to school (it was divine), and mocha cream bread.  I am OBSESSED with mocha cream bread. The best mocha cream bread is from Paris Baguette.  It is the most American tasting pastry I have eaten while  in Korea.  It is sliced with (I think) mocha flavored butter slathered in between the slices.  It is delicious.  I love it...

I really did try
Moving on, I walked to school and thanked God for sending us snow!  I was so happy that it was snowing.  I do not  have any classes this week, so I am just chilling at school.  Therefore I made a beautiful card for my amazing husband.  I tried to make this card, it did not turn out exactly as I thought it would, but that is my life story with arts and crafts.  After school, my amazing husband took me on a date!  We ventured downtown to Gorilla Burger (we had not been yet).  It was amazing. (Mom, if you are reading this...skip to the end)  My amazing husband had a "bomb burger".  It was burger with cheese and bacon covered in chocolate,and served between a krispykreme doughnut bun.  I had a burger with BBQ sauce (oh how I miss BBQ sauce!!!).  Although the burger tasted excellent, I do not think my stomach was as ready for American food as my taste buds were.  It was well worth the tummy-ache.

Fun Fact: Valentine's Day in Korea is a little bit different.  Only the woman is suppose to give gifts on Valentine's Day.  The man gives gifts on White Day (yes, it is really called white day).  White Day is March 14th.  I tried to explain to my teachers what Valentine's Day was like in America, but I am not sure if they really understood or not.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Greeeaaaat Weekend!

Hi friends!  I had a great weekend.  I am going to tell you all about it!  The motto for the weekend (and life in general) is: "An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered" ~G.K. Chesterton


gotta love some chesterton

Saturday: Got up and ran in some ridiculous wind and coldness, then I headed for Busan.  I got to train station early.  I tried to purchase my ticket. The train I wanted was full (this has never happened to me EVER).  So I frantically searched and found a different train that would get me there.  I found my platform.  9:30 came...no train.  Newsflash: my train was delayed for 50 minutes.  At this point in time I was freaking out.  I was thinking, "I am going to be late.  I will be late.  I am going to be late."  I hate (despise, loathe) being late.  But after I realized that I was going to be late, I also realized that there was nothing I could do about it.  So instead of standing outside and freezing, I went back into the station, bought a cup of coffee and thought of everything I could be thankful for in the situation.  Long story short: I made it to Busan (I was like 2 hours late, but I made it and the world did not come to an end!)
The KTX train
I got to hang out with this lovely lady (click here) and here amazing friends!  She hosted a Ladies Craft day.  It was wonderful to meet some new people and feel crafty (even though I have no art ability!)  So after my wonderful day in Busan, I headed back to Daegu by train.  I got to sit next to Jung Lee Hon (or something like that).  He was an old drunk smoker guy (part of the adventure?)  He tried to teach me the entire Korean language in 45 minutes.  He showed me his passport.  He told me all the words he knew in English.  He would not be quiet.  I finally gave him my train ticket and a pen.  He was quite happy to write sentences in English (hence him being quiet for spans of 2 or 3 minutes).  Next time that there is only one open seat in the entire train I am going to sit down, pull out my book, and pretend that I only speak Spanish.
Sign we saw while running

Sunday: I ran 16 miles with my American running buddy.  I thought I was going to die.  Okay, maybe that was a little dramatic, but it was a tough run!  We saw some interesting signs while running.  I think one was telling people to honk their horn while going around a steep curve?
The horn sign
 Sunday afternoon we headed to church and then to Subway (eat fresh!).  I was SO happy that I had finally found a Subway restaurant in our city.  I was not aware of this, but Subway is closed on Sunday.  I do not remember this being the case in America, but it just added to the adventure of the weekend.  At least I know where it is now.  And I will return someday.

Quick story: I was walking to school today.  IT WAS SNOWING!!!!!!!!!!  (the second time this winter!)  I have no problem at all walking in the snow.  However a Korean mom who was walking her kids to school saw me and decided to share her umbrella with me (how precious is that).  When I got to school, she tried to dust all the snow off of me (I think the last time this happened was when I was like 10 years old).  It was so sweet.  I love Koreans.  They look out for each other!

Can you guess what my amazing husband made me for breakfast today? (hint: it is Valentines day!)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Reflections

Sometimes, we get too busy in life.  We do not take any time to slow down and reflect on where life has brought us and where we are headed.  I think February 10th is a day I will always remember.  The same is true for February 11th.  My maternal grandma passed away on 02.10.2009.  One of my best friends in college lost her mother on 02.11.2007.  Both events taught me about grief and mourning.  The following are thoughts and memories of my Grandma

We called her Grandma Owl (I think it was something about my grandparents living in Iowa, but our inability to say Iowa at a young age, so it came out Owl?  I do not know?).  One interesting fact about my grandma is that she was 100% Norwegian.  She could make some delicious Norwegian food!  I always enjoyed spending time with her in the kitchen.  My freshman year of college she mailed me a whole shoe box of Kringla cookies!  Each cookie was singly wrapped in plastic cling wrap.  I remember sharing the cookies with ALL the girls on my dorm floor!

One special memory I have with my Grandma is going to visit her and Grandpa for a week one summer when I was in high school.  As a high schooler, I was super busy all the time.  That week I went to visit Grandma and Grandpa, I relaxed!  It was so nice to hang out and do nothing.  It was also the week that my Grandma taught me how to cross stitch.  We got a kit, and I sat in one of their recliners and cross stitched all day.  What a fun week with my maternal grandparents!

One more fun fact: my Grandma taught me about miracles.  For real.  She was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) my freshman year of high school.  They gave her 3 to 6 months to live.  She lived for 6 more years!  Praise God!

And even though I still sometimes grieve the loss of my Grandma here on earth, I do not like grieve like those who have no hope!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy Lunar New Year!

Today is the first day of the new year in the lunar calendar.  My Korean friends call it Solar (they say it like this: Sole-are).  This is the biggest holiday in Korea (I think).  We had the day off school.  So my amazing husband and I went all out to celebrate (just kidding).  We did not leave the apartment all day.  It was so nice.  We slept in.  Then I decided to do laundry (good decision).  I washed 2 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of sweat pants, and 2 pairs of running tights (bad decision).  I realized after I started the washer that I had no pants to wear (well I have dress pants, but who wants to wear that on a day off?).  I did the only rational thing.  I put on a pair of shorts, grabbed one of our blankets and wrapped it around me.  One of my friends during college taught me this trick.  You might be saying to yourself right now, "why did you not put on your robe?"  Answer: it is in America with all my other pairs of jeans and sweat pants.  Sidenote: in case you have not heard me rant about it before, we do not have a dryer, just a washer.  It is not too bad, except we end up with a lot more lint :)

Thank you Ovenless Chef for letting me borrow your picture!

My amazing husband did some "baking" today (Korean style).  I had a tried this ginger cookie recipe last week with some success.  My amazing husband decided to give it another go today.  He added an extra egg to the recipe and instead of cooking them in the skillet, he zapped them in the microwave for about a minute.  They were delicious!  We sadly, both got sugar highs from them.  He had a headache and I had a stomachache.  We do eat sugar - in our coffee, we have cake sometimes - but for whatever reason, they cookies were too much for us (go figure).  I can only imagine the sugar high I will have when I get back to the USA and have some real dessert!  Thankfully the sugar high passed and I was able to gobble up some more cookies. 

About this time, I realized that I should probably go for a run (help combat all that cookie-ness).  My amazing husband turned on the TV to flip through channels.  Sometimes there are really funny Korean TV shows, every so often we find something in English that we like.  Cha-ching!  Without Reservations was on!  Woohoo!  I promptly decided to cuddle up in bed for an hour and watch the movie.  I could run afterwards, right?  Wrong.  As Without Reservations started rolling its credits, the next movie came on.  Would you like to know what it was?  Pride and Prejudice (the newer, not BBC one) I LOVE this movie!  I LOVE IT! And I have not seen the entire movie in quite sometime....so there was no running for me today.  It happens every so often (by every so often I mean one day a week) 
Hanbok



I say ALL of that to say...I have no idea what happened outside our apartment today.  I have no idea how Koreans celebrate Lunar New Year.  I do know that some Koreans get dressed up in hanbok (traditional and beautiful Korean clothes).  We were also told that kids bow to their parents or grandparents today.  I think there is a big meal involved as well. 2011 is the year of the Rabbit.  I was born in the year of the Rabbit (a few lunar years ago).  Happy Solar!
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