Thursday, March 31, 2011

Never Say Never...

1.) Let's get one thing straight: I never, in a hundred million bajillion years, ever thought I would live somewhere else besides America.  Never.  I am not one of those people "who likes to travel".  I am one of those people who like to stay home.  Furthermore, if I lived somewhere besides the good ol' USofA, I thought it would be in an orphanage in Africa.  But here I am, living 7000 miles from home.  Thank you amazing husband for suggesting that we live somewhere else.  Thank you that it is not Russia.  Thank you God for bringing me here and teaching me things that I could never have learned anywhere else.

2.) I tuck my shirt in.  I tuck my shirt into my pants.  I never thought I would do this.  Never.  I hate tucking my shirt in.  I think it looks horrible. (I wear several layers so that you can not see the tucked in layers.) But. I do not have a dryer.  My pants do not fit anymore.  Well, they fit for about 2 minutes after they come back from the dry cleaner.  sigh.  So in order to keep my pants where they are supposed to be, I now tuck in my shirts.

3.) I never thought I would actually run a marathon.  I thought it would be something that I always talked about but never did.  I neverever thought I would run a marathon in Asia (see #1 on this list).  I better get a good T-shirt out this race.  I need to proclaim my accomplishment to the general public whenever I get back to the USofA.

4.) I never thought I would actually learn how to use chopsticks well.  I can now fillet a fish with my chopsticks and spoon (they do NOT take the bones out of fish here....I got a lot of extra calcium the first few weeks we lived here).  I can use chopsticks well.  I am quite happy about this accomplishment.

5.) I now listen to instrumental music (insert me making gagging noises).  Yuck.  I like music with words all the way.  I am not a classical/baroque music type of person.  But.  I like to listen to music at work.  My office is a loud place, so if I listen to music with words, I can't hear the words.  I refuse to turn up the volume as I plan on still having my hearing when my grandchildren come to visit me (which will be in, like 60 years, right?)  So I have started listening to music without words.  I can still have the calming presence of music in my life without getting frustrated with missing the lyrics.  What is this world coming to?

6.) I never thought I would start thinking, "subject, subject marker, object, verb" before speaking a sentence. Learning Korean is one of the more interesting endeavors of my life.  I never thought I would learn Korean.  (see #1).  The more Korean I learn, the sorrier I feel for my precious kiddos who are trying to learn English.

7.) I added this in later because I forgot about it at the time.  I never thought we would drink tap water while in Korea.  We do (now).  After boiling countless pots of water for 7 months, we have begun drinking tap water.  No one has died or gotten sick.  I guess we could have started after just one month, but I was too scared.  I seriously thought we would boil water the whole time we were in Korea.  Koreans do not drink tap water, so I thought it was not safe.  It is.  end of story.

For the time being, those are the top 7  items on my "things I never thought I would do" list.  For the record, I never want to get a dog or cat inside our home.  I never want to home-school my children.  I never want my family to doubt my love for them.  I never want to tuck in my shirts again once I have a dryer.  I never want to have more kids than a mini-van can hold.  I never want to listen to instrumental music in my mini-van.  I never want to loose contact with my girls from college.  I never want to become a golfer.  I never want to stop growing closer to my sweet Lord Jesus.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Random Update

This is a random update on my life.  There will be 0 transitions.  I have been working on it since Tuesday morning.  Here we go:

1.) My amazing husband accompanied me to a concert last, er, Monday night.  It was a concert.  It was in English.  It was great.  Did I tell you that it was a concert in English?  Yes!  Bonus: They said "all ya'll"   Double Bonus: I got to worship God.  I was so happy.  Here is Lori Morrison's website.  And her babysitter, Frankie Barranco.  They came to Korea together.  They were amazing.  Great way to spend Monday night.

2.) Taper week has begun!  I am so happy to not be running 45-50 miles this week!  1 week 5 3 days until the marathon!  Yikes!  I am praying for good weather, I really hope that the wind is not blowing somethin' crazy.
Spring has sprung!
3.) It is spring!  Yeah!  I took some pictures while running yesterday.  It was on my phone, so it might not be the best and I had been running for over an hour at this point, not the best time to snap a photo, but it was so pretty!

4.) I'm getting really excited for biggest loser!  Hahaha, I love that show so much.  There are days that I lift weights solely because of that show.  I can't wait until tonight to watch it!

5.) So maybe there will be one transition in this post speaking of tonight, it is Date Night!  Woohoo!  I know that this may not sound romantic to those of you in America, but if you live in Korea you will definitely understand.  My amazing husband is taking me to Costco.  I am so excited!  I will try to remember to take a picture of the chicken bake.

6.) Here is my current desktop for my computer at school:
Hello spring flowers and blue sky!
I love it.  It says spring to me!  You can get it here if you want it  (click on the link and scroll down)

7.) Do you know what a serving size of almonds is?  23.  23 almonds has become my mid-morning snack at school.  Or if I am not hungry, then I save them for after lunch (kinda like dessert).  I am addicted.  I think almonds + mini chocolate chips + dried cranberries + pecans would be an awesome combo...Whenever I live somewhere where the aforementioned items are not expensive, I will let you know how it tastes.

8.) There was a staff meeting at school yesterday, er, Monday.  The teachers were told to have more children.  I say this to remind myself (someday when I old and retired and do not live in Korea) of what life is like here.  The government sends a note to encourage the teachers to have more kids.  random.  I will not be taking the suggestion.  Well maybe in 5 years.

9.) More pictures captured on the run:

My new favorite color...
Remember the whole I had been running for 60+ minutes
10.) Next blog post title: Never say Never.  It will be riveting, I can tell already.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

This one is for the kiddos!

Korean children are cute.
Korean children are adorable.
Korean children are precious.
Korean children are cute.

Now you know what I think to myself all day every day.  I thought at first I was just not used the cuteness of Korean children, but after 7 months of being here, I am still infatuated with the cuteness!  They are so cute!  So, so, so cute!  They do not always act cute, but they look cute.  Korean children eating with chopsticks warms my heart everyday - it is so cute!

Seriously, ya'll need to get on a plane and fly here, because I could never fully describe the complete cuteness of Korean babies to you.  If Korean children are cute, then Korean babies are....cute x 100!  I LOVE seeing Korean mamas carrying the baby packs.  (They look like a backpack but have a baby and no zipper, like a modern day papoose - sorry if I just offended someone) Korean babies do not like me.  They usually cry upon seeing me.  Korean babies are cute x 200 when they cry big fat crocodile tears.

One of my favorite parts about my amazing husband is that he is the only other person that I have met in South Korea that is equally infatuated with Korean children/babies.  We are always telling each other stories of our cute students or pointing out cute babies to each other in public.  No one else will abruptly stop a conversation to stare at Korean children with me.  I love my amazing husband.  He is the best!
My all time favorite Korean baby, Hyuk...isn't he cute?
Korean children are cute.  Korean children are so cute!  End of story

Monday, March 21, 2011

Blood, sweat, & tears

I am at work.  I should be typing lesson plans, but I have to be here for two more hours.  Will I get my lesson plans typed?  Most definitely.  So I am going to tell you about my long run this weekend.
Things to know: I ran 21.5 miles. 21 of them with my American running buddy.  It was pretty good weather. I experienced some blood, sweat, and tears while running those lovely 21.5 miles.

Blood: I ran too close to a thorn bush.  I scratched my elbow.  It was bloody.  It is scarred now.  I took a picture of it, but I do not think you really want to see it.

Sweat: I sweat a lot. Do you know the phrase, "I am sweating like a pig"?  Well my friends in high school would say, "I am sweating like Alissa."  One of my friends in college told me that she wishes she could sweat like me.  I did not believe her, but she said it quite often.  Anywho, I ran in shorts (!) for the first time this spring, but I was still really, really sweaty.  It is considered immodest to wear sleeveless clothes in Korea.  So I have to wear a T-shirt.  It adds to the sweating.

Tears:  Due to the sweat, I got some in my eyes so I was tearing up.  It really stings when you get sweat in your eyes.  Lately, it has been happening to me a lot when I run.  unfortunate.

I talked my American running friend into playing a running game with me!  I love playing running games!  We played the 'Or' game.  We started with Broccoli or Cauliflower. Then Cauliflower or Carrots (are you getting how the game works?)  Before I knew it, we were in dangerous territory: Panera Bread or Olive Garden.  Yup, we just started listing things we missed from America.  I think Target ended up being untoppable (is that a word?).   It was therapeutic.  So often I try not to think about things in America that we do not have here.  It was nice just to talk about things in America.  And that is about it.  The highlights of my last long run before the marathon.  I still have a couple of double digit runs to do (as in I will run 10 miles today) but no more runs that are longer than 2 hours!  Woohoo!  Less than 3 weeks to go.

Now I must get back to those lesson plans.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Today is my amazing husband’s birthday!  Happy Birthday to the best husband ever!  And it is my college track coach's birthday (also the man that introduced me to my amazing husband!)  Happy Birthday Coach P!  
So, I usually bake up some delicious sweets for my amazing husband's birthday, but baking is not happening so much these days.  We have to settle for store bought.  As I type this, I realize that you might not know how amazing my husband really is…so don’t take my word for it.  Here we go:
Attitude my husband has a great attitude about life!
Brother  Did you know that Amazing husband has a twin brother?  (btw Happy Birthday brother-in-law!).  Amazing husband is a great brother!
Content - He is the most content person I have met.  See attitude.
Discernment – Did I even know what discernment was before I met him?
Encouraging – my poor husband always has to listen to me (sometimes I complain).  He is so great about finding ways and words to encourage me.  He also is a great encourager to his students.

Hiking in Colorado
Forever Faithful – He is faithful to God and me forever.  He promised.
Generous – He is so generous.  He is generous with money, time, and mercy.  And if you are his wife, he is generous with mocha cream bread 
Height - I always prayed that my husband would be taller than me.  God answers prayers 
Ice cream buyer – He always know what flavor I am craving!
Just – I feel like my amazing husband grasps justice like few others I have met.  And for one so young…

At my brother's rehersal dinner
Kicker – uh, I had to fit soccer in here somewhere… he likes to kick soccer balls and likes to watch soccer.  Note to self: the next time we go on our honeymoon, do not schedule it during the World Cup Soccer tournament (if he is reading this, he is thinking, “but she was running on the treadmill”…long story)
Leader – I am so glad that I am not the leader.  I am even gladder that he is the leader.
Monopoly typhoon - Do not play monopoly against him. Unless you want to loose
Nerd – his goal is to read 25 books this year.  They are NOT fun, easy to read books
Optimistic – (See attitude) He not only sees the glass half full, he has an important lesson to learn from how full the glass is (figuratively speaking that is)
Engagement photo
Patient – one of the first words that I think of when I think of my amazing husband is patient.  I love him!
Quick-witted: My amazing husband is quite funny, he always has me (and others) chuckling.
Respect – he has all of mine.  He shows respect to others too.
Security- He structures his life around that which is eternal and cannot be taken away
Teacher – I had a hard time picking the a word for letter T (there are too many true ones..thoughtful, Truth seeker, get the idea).  He teaches me about the Cross, grace, and love like none other has.  Oh yeah, he also teaches cute children English.
I love this picture.  I love my hubby!
Unselfish – He always gives me the last bite.  Always.  Even it if his favorite dried mangos
Valiant – he is my knight in shining armor – he kills the bugs and goes in the dark scary places first.
Wise – sometimes he is so wise that my jaw drops.  He knows the difference between wisdom and knowledge
Xtra ordinary – have I told you that I am married to an amazing man?  I am!
Yummy - well he makes yuumy food!  Amazing husband is an aahhmmaazzing cook!
In Korea - the best adventure ever!

Zany – he is so fun!  My amazing husband can make any activity fun.  even riding on an airplane for 14 hours.  I am pretty sure with anyone else it would have been boring, but not with him.  It was fun true.story.  

So there you have it!  My husband is amazing!  And he is a year older now too!

Monday, March 14, 2011

March 14: White Day

Today was White Day here in South Korea.  There are a series of "days"

Feb 14: Valentine's Day: the girl buys the guy chocolate.
March 14: White Day - the guy buys the girl candy  (who came up with the idea that women want candy more than chocolate?  NOT this girl, that is fo' sure)
April 14: Black Day - the single people eat jajangmyeon

My Amazing Husband was not fooled by the adorable candy jars everywhere.  He bought me some Tolberone Chocolate.  Way to go Amazing Husband.  Sadly Pi Day is not celebrated here :(  Pi Day is March 14th too.  I miss pi and pie.  Oh well.  I celebrated White Day by running on the dreadmill for awhile.  I have composed a blog post titled "what to do when you are running on a Korean dreadmill and you get bored" about 200 times in my head.  But I have never written it.  Maybe some day I will.  Instead today I am going to tell you about is a very special day for runners

The day after laundry day!

Honestly, I rarely wear all clean good-smelling running clothes.  There is usually at least one piece of clothing that is on the second or third time of being worn.  I get really excited about wearing a complete outfit of freshly laundered running clothes.
Herbie when I found him

In other excitement in my life, we have added a few new friends to our apartment.  Let me tell you the whole story.  So the other day I was cleaning Zappy (our microwave) and he whispered to me, "I am lonely.  I wish I had a friend."  I said, "How did you get so dirty?"  (Conclusion: the people that previous had Zappy never cleaned him ever). (Addition: I think it makes cleaning much more fun if you talk to the appliances while you are cleaning them.  Especially when the appliance are grateful for all you do for them.)

Herbie's new happy pot
Zappy's wish came true.  Please meet Herbie.  I am not sure why his name is Herbie.  It just is.  Herbie came to us in a little black pot.  So I transplanted him to a bigger happier pot.  It is blue.  Now Zappy is not lonely and Herbie has a new home.  I hope that Herbie can flourish and Zappy will someday be clean.   Do you like my story?  Do I spend too much time with children?

I will leave you with my favorite Pi Day joke...What do you call March 15th?  The aftermath (you smiled didn't you?)

Herbie, Zappy, and another plant that my Amazing Husband purchased and transplanted

Book Review #4

I had some quality time to read this weekend.  While running 19 miles this Saturday, I developed a nice blood blister.  I never get blood blisters EVER.  This is the second one I have gotten in the last few days.  yuck-o!  Anywho, I finished reading Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (long title I know!) by Tim Keller.  Go find the book and read it.  It is really good.   I will give you a summary: We all have idols in our lives.  We might not see them, they may be buried deep, but they are there.  Idols enslave.  Idols are not necessarily bad things.  They may be good things that we make the ultimate thing.

I think my favorite part of the book is the chapter that talks about Jonah.  Do you know how the story of Jonah ends?  If you do not, go read it.  Somehow, I always just think about Jonah and the whale and that is about all.  It is important to know the ending of the story as well.

Here is a quote from the book that really challenged me, "Idols cannot simply be removed. They must be replaced. If you only try to uproot them, they grow back; but they can be supplanted. By what? By God himself, of course. But by God we do not mean a general belief in his existence. Most people have that, yet their souls are riddled with idols. What we need is a living encounter with God."

Do you know what holiday is celebrated on March 14 in Korea?  It is not pi day (sadly).  Tune in next time to see what it is!

Friday, March 11, 2011

This is the stuff...

Have you heard this new song (titled This is the Stuff) by Francesca Battistelli? I love it. Check it out: So break me of impatience, Conquer my frustrations, I've got a new appreciation It's not the end of the world!

Ya'll, I had a great moment last night.  I got to go out to eat with my Amazing Husband, the new Native English Teacher from Amazing Husband's school (he is from Ireland and has a delightful accent!), and one of my Amazing Husband's co-teachers.  Guess where we went.  Did you guess a sushi restaurant?  I was not overly excited as I was remembering my last sushi experience.   BUT, it was a wonderful meal.  I did not have to eat the sushi straight up.  We dipped the sushi in a red sauce and then wrapped it in sesame leaves.  We also had some clams.  They were delicious.

So let me set the record straight: there are good sushi restaurants in Korea.  Sushi does not have to be straight up.  You can overcome the squishy taste.  You can do it!  It's not the end of the world.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Delicious Story

No, I am not dead.  I am sure if you have emailed me recently, you may think that I have died.  I have not.  I am burned out on email.  Each time I hit that “Reply” or “Compose Mail” button (with the best of intentions in mind) all energy is sapped from my body.  Sorry friends and fam. I will reply to your emails, just give me a few days.

Trying to look candid :)
Yes, I have run 38 miles since Saturday.  Yes today is Tuesday.  Of course, I had a delicious dessert to regain some of those burnt calories.  Hello, warm delight + ice cream.

Yes, I did come up with a lovely idea for supper.  Check out this recipe.  It is called Bowtie Lasagna (not as good as the real lasagna)  It is so quick to pull together (Hint: when you buy ground beef, brown all of it at once, then drain the grease and divide into zippy bags for the freezer...that way you can just pull one bag out and you will have speedy dinner prep.  Thanks Binks for that lovely idea).  We substituted plain yogurt for the sour cream (I did not have time to go to a Western store to get the sour cream).  I left out the salt (who needs added sodium?) I may have added a bit more cheese than it called for (extra protein right?) EDIT: I remembered as I was brushing my teeth this morning (the morning after I posted this) we used spirally pasta because bow-tie pasta is not popular here.    Overall, it tasted great!

Yes, this blog post does have an exciting story:  Okay, so on Saturday my amazing husband and I were walking around downtown.  I thought to myself, "Self, I could really go for a cup of coffee".  A few seconds later, my amazing husband looked at me and said, "Would you like a hot dog?"  I wanted to say No and tell him about the coffee, but I wanted to compromise I asked him how a cup of coffee sounded.  He wanted a hot dog.  This is were the rubber meets the road.  Die to self.  Let's start looking for a hot dog stand (not the hardest to find in South Korea.)  And then a miracle happened!  

Yes, Mr. Wow does exist

We rounded a corner to find (sound effect) Mr. Wow!  Full title: Mr. Wow since 1999 The Delicious Story Hot Dog & Coffee.  I am not joking.  Dreams do come true.  I got my coffee, Amazing Husband got his hot dog.  Have I told you that my husband is amazing?  Well, he is.  He let me have a few bites of his hot dog.  It had mustard on it.  Sometimes I forget how good America tastes. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Christmas in March

I know that  none of you get Christmas music stuck in your head in March, but I never said that I was normal.  I am SO SAD that I forgot about this song until this past weekend.  It would have totally made the countdown.  The song is titled "Come Let Us Worship the King".  I think my church's choir may have sang it when I was growing up.   I tried to find a good version of it.  I really like this version I found of it, because you can hear the piano a lot.

Aw SNAP!  (If you want Koreans to stare at you more than usual utter this phrase.)  I just looked up the lyrics to this song.  I think Sandi Patty may have written this song.  This totally makes my day.  I love Sandi Patty.  She goes in the Amy Grant, Keith Green collection (known as music from my childhood).

Random story: the church I went to growing up had a fabulous pastor, his daughter had the exact.same.voice. as Sandi Patty.  I am not joking.  It was amazing!  Gives you goosebumps when you listen.

Happy listening!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

One of those days

Yesterday while walking home from school, I made a mental list of all the reasons that I wanted to run (this means that I did not feel like running).  Then I opened the door to our apartment.

The box from America was sitting on the table.

Ya'll, there was goodness from home in a box on the table (I think my first thought was: Thank you Jesus that rapture did not happen today!).  NEW RUNNING SHOES that I immediately took out of the box and kissed.  Real Granola cereal!  Magazines written in English!  Warm Delights in three different flavors!  A Christmas card!  A Reese's microwave cake! An extension to my wardrobe in the form of a sweater from America!  And my amazing husband got his soccer cleats.  Thank you Mama-Boma-in-law and Daddio-in-law (for the record, not only do I have an amazing husband, I also have amazing in-laws!)
Women's ProGrid Hurricane 12
Hello 500 miles of happiness!!!
Motivation for running = 0.  Motivation for sitting down and gaining 20 lbs by eating everything in the box = 100

And my amazing husband was watching TV.  And it was cold outside.  And I was going to run by myself.  And it was windy.  And it was 5:00pm by this time. (In my world you can start making supper at 5pm and not be considered to be 70 years old) And well just start making up ridiculous things {insert here: what if zombie shaped polar bears attack me while I am running?  What will I do?}  I can be really good at making up excuses not to run!

So I changed out of my school clothes into my running clothes.  I told myself the whole time that I was only going to run for 10 minutes.  (I knew that I was not going to run for 10 minutes, but if it gets me out the door...)  I, of course, was quite dramatic throughout the is whole process.  Poor amazing husband.  He just kept watching TV.  Yup, it was one of those days.   A day when running motivation = 0


So I started on my 10 minute run.

Recently God has been trying to work on my heart.  I (like a mature person) has been metaphorically burying my head under the blankets and pillows, saying, "just 5 more minutes, then I will get up!"  By "get up", I really mean stop being stubborn.

Newsflash: there are no metaphorically pillows or blankets when are you running.  About 5 minutes into my run God went to town on my heart.  I prayed, I confessed my sin, and I praised Jesus for all that he has done.  I can be content. I know that this might be hard for you to believe, but I complain a lot.  Every evening, I do my little, "5 thankfuls for the day" but I do it with the wrong attitude.  I am going to start trying to be content in every situation, not when I feel like it.

Really only 370 calories?
Fast forward: 7.5 miles ran, hot showered taken, supper eaten, and I am diving into one of the warm delights (I told myself while running I had to burn 800 calories so I would not feel guilty eating the one, um yeah, definitely only 370 calories for the whole entire thing).

 Am I glad that I ran?  Yes.  Will another day come when I do not feel like running?  Yes.  Will I tell myself that I only have to run for 10 minutes, then 10 more minutes? Yes.  Is God good? Most definitely!

So, what do you do on days when you have 0 motivation for exercising?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The first day of school!

A new school year has begun!  So far my most challenging moment of the day (besides not knowing when I will be teaching) was trying to explain roasting, frying, sautéing, grilling, steaming, and boiling to my co-teacher.  It is one of those times that I am so happy that I grew up as English as my first language.  Have you ever thought about it: you fry an egg in a pan, but you saute vegetables in a pan too (and you fry chicken in a fryer).  A fryer is different than a friar.  We have a roaster for roasting, but you can also roast in an oven.  And you can eat a roast.  On top of all of this, Koreans are not well acquainted with how to use ovens or how ovens work.  So I also got to teach about cooking spray and different styles of cooking in an oven.  In times like these, I am incredibly happy for google images!  A picture is sometimes worth a thousand words (sometimes not, showing my co-teachers roasted vegetables and trying to describe the flavor are two different things).
Thank you Subway for letting me borrow your logo here...

Speaking of food, we went to SUBWAY yesterday!!!!!!  It was ah-maz-ing! (picture me jumping up and down for happiness right now)  We had tried to eat at Subway once before, but it was closed.  Yesterday, we were conquers!  It was open and they had subway cookies!  Praise.the. Lord.  Mmmm Subway cookies!  mmmm Subway bread!  Ya'll, I have been eating white bread (and rice bread) for the last 6.5 months.  I do not eat either types of these breads in America, I am a whole-wheat girl all the way.  One funny thing to me: subway in Korea is totally 1990s.  I think Subways in America must have shipped all of their old decorations and such to our Subway, because our Subway looked like the Subways from my childhood.  They had a pretty short menu and not all the veggies I had been dreaming of, but that is okay.  I still got tuna, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, yummy bread, and a cookie!  My amazing husband was looking forward to his pizza sub, but they did not have that on their menu (he was a good sport about it).

Speaking of yesterday, I got to talk to my sister-in-law.  It was so great.  She is so fun!  I had a chance to Skype with her because it was Independence Movement Day (or something like that) so we had the day off of school!  In honor of this day, there were South Korean flags being flown everywhere.  My amazing husband made some Soon-doo-boo Chigae (a spicy tofu soup that has lots of veggies in it).

I stink at conclusions, just ask Binks.  She always used to proofread my papers for me in high school.  She always had some constructive criticism for the conclusion of my papers.  So think of a conclusion for me.  I will be explaining the difference between roasting and baking to my co-teachers...