Monday, December 31, 2012

Because you can't go an entire month without blogging

Oh goodness - it has been forever!  I keep taking pictures with the intent to blog and then it does not happen.  Sometimes, I miss all those desk-warming hours.  Oh wait, I just bumped the heat up to 68 degrees and our bathroom pipes aren't frozen....maybe I don't miss desk-warming after all :)

I do miss having time to blog.  Maybe that should be a New Year's Resolution.

Okay, here are random pictures from my life. Enjoy!

This is Michigan's first State Penitentiary Unit.  I ran past it (and thought it was a castle).  So I had to stop and check it out. (We were in Michigan for a wedding.)

Ian and I attended a wedding of some dear college friends AND we got to see a lot of the girls and guys I ran cross-country with in college.  AND I got to hang-out with Kristi and her two sweet kiddos.

We got to spend Christmas Eve with my parentals and one of my math ed. buddies from college.  We played Scrabble.  She won.  It was quite the game.  I did come up with the word, "wavey" it is a type of goose.

This is one of about 247 pictures my sister-in-law took for us.  This one did not make the cut for the Christmas card, but I still like it.   Speaking of which...

Here is our 2012 Christmas Letter.

And this is the back of the mini-van before we drove back to Colorado.  Thanks Mommabomma and Daddio for letting us ride with you and for hauling all of our stuff too. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thankfuls 2012

Every since I was like 10, I have written a list of 100 things I am thankful for on Thanksgiving. The tradition began one year when I was bored while riding in the car to Grandma and Grandpas. It is one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving now. (Thanks Phumi for joining the fun this year - you rock!)

You would think with 28 hours (24 hours of driving and 4 hours of gas/food/etc breaks) of traveling this past Thanksgiving season, we would have had more than enough time to write out our thankful list.  Alas, we did not.  But better late than never.

A thought I had several times this past Thanksgiving season: Whom are you thankful to?

For me, the answer is easy: Praise God from whom all blessings flow.  

But what if you do not believe in God?  Then whom?  I mean in saying, "Thank you" there is clearly a someone who do you reference?  Just my two cents.

As always, this is no particular order.

Here we go: (the ones in blue were stated by Ian - p.s. he was in the middle of something and I started with the "what are you thankful for?")
  1. God is good.
  2. and He is faithful.
  3. My Love (that would be me)
  4. Jesus
  5. family
  6. a big oven
  7. Emily P. Freeman
  8. Kakao Emoticons
  9. Christmas lights
  10. a good, patient, funny, husband that eats whatever I cook with only compliments
  11. a vacuum
  12. spell-check
  13. M, B, & C - the kiddos I nanny for
  14. G & K - the amazing parents of the kiddos I nanny for
  15. books
  16. computers
  17. Seminary
  18. warm blankets
  19. big closets
  20. gift cards
  21. towels from the dryer
  22. 908 lovely and fabulous days of marriage - and many more to come!
  23. pretty authentic Korean restaurants in America
  24. coffee
  25. coffee creamer
  26. Tsh
  27. starting AND finishing cross-stitch projects
  28. the ability to run
  29. American grocery stores
  30. God provided, God is providing, and God will provide
  31. cereal + milk
  32. warm (or cold) running water
  33. being able to own and read the Bible in my language
  34. Christmas music
  35. Grandpa + Kathryn
  36. treasured memories of my grandparents who have already finished the race set before them
  37. America
  38. cookbooks
  39. pizza
  40. making potato cakes
  41. sex
  42. Colorado weather
  43. running club
  44. friends (there is a lot here I could say, but I will keep it short - friends.are.vital.)
  45. hamburgers
  46. meatloaf
  47. meatballs
  48. our car
  49. being part of the Church
  50. the freedom to vote
  51. World Vision
  52. treadmills
  53. checking the mailbox to find it is not empty
  54. ice cream
  55. paper snowflakes
  56. grace
  57. Facebook
  58. the view out our window
  59. libraries
  60. those who have gone before me in high-altitude baking and left a record
  61. slippers
  62. smartphones
  63. GPS
  64. electricity
  65. ranch salad dressing
  66. lazy days
  67. our Korean adventure
  68. the Holy Spirit - our seal and guarantee
  69. being done with the "I am adjusting to the high altitude" phase of running
  70. candles
  71. Laura
  72. going on dates
  73. Skype
  74. touchscreens in the back of airplane seats
  75. the change of seasons
  76. the hubs making amazing, delicious food
  77. the space heater
  78. early birthday presents
  79. the Word became flesh and dwelt among us
  80. good health
  81. places to pass along items that we no longer need (Goodwill/Salvation Army)
  82. Google
  83. beer
  84. airplanes - getting us from point A to point B quickly
  85. jokes
  86. Therefore now, there is no condemnation for those of you who are in Christ Jesus...
  87. discount grocery stores
  88. online sermons
  89. things that make running more fun, mainly my Garmin and the Zune
  90. being able to get-up and go whenever we want, where ever we want (cough, we don't have kids yet, cough)
  91. time to reflect
  92. cheese
  93. board games
  94. staplers
  95. my memory
  96. alarms, timers, and watches
  97. music
  98. Ian giving me sips of his coffee or bites of his food
  99. Advent
  100. knowing and being set free by Truth

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Menu Plan :: Mid-November

Can you see how long this hill is!?! The bottom of it is way back by the river...wowzas, it was not all that steep, but llooonng
Here are some of the meals we have been enjoying/will enjoy in the near future:

  • Banana, Blackberry, Spinach, Yogurt Smoothies (sounds gross, tastes awesome).
  • French Toast Casserole
  • Mexican Goodness (I used less meat and added black beans, onions, green pepper, and my own taco seasoing.)
  • Chessy Casserole
  • Egg Bake
  • Mac, Cheese, and Hotdogs  (Mom, if you are reading this, it was NOT my idea to eat this meal)
  • Chicken and Stir-fry Veggies (we may or may not get free chicken and free stir-fry veggies we eat it a lot)
  • Chocolate-Chip Pancakes (what is better than getting back from a FREEZING run Sunday morning and being greeted with some hot pancakes?  Further proves that I have the best.husband.ever)
  •  Homemade Pizza (which I still say "pee-ja" in my brain)
  • Two-tone Fudge Brownies (only make these if 5 men are coming to your house for a game night, and make them about 5 minutes before people start arriving - otherwise the pan maybe empty.)
  • Leftovers  (I seem to be really good at making enough food to feed 4 or 5 people, not just 2, so we eat a lot of leftovers...I am trying to get better about scaling back recipes.)
  • Coffee, creamer, and stevia (It seems "that time" of the semester has hit.  Pray for the amazing hubs.)
And now for more pictures that I have taken recently, but not shared:

These are my running shoes that are DEAD but comfy so I am still wearing them at 550 miles.  And my new running capris...that we are calling a {very} "early" birthday present.  And it snowed {again}.  And I slipped on the snow/ice about 3 seconds after taking this...nice, Alissa, nice.

This is what you get to see after running the long, not-so-steep hill...gorgeous!  {I am secretly trying to convince everyone I know to move to CO,}
It seems I only take picture when I run.  Weird. 

What are you eating and/or enjoying about your week? 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Running Tip Tuesday :: Gym Checklist

So the amazing hubs and I joined a gym this weekend.  I did not think it would really be in the budget, BUT we found a suh-weet deal at Costco!  God is SO good.

About 8:47pm last night, I realized that I needed a gym bag checklist.  It is too overwhelming to try to remember everything that I need for the gym, work, and shower.  And there is no way that I am going to "throw in whatever I forgot the night before" at 5:08 in the morning...I would end up taking something out of my bag and not putting it back in. 

Obviously, this is personalized for me.  I am sure some of you would subtract some items and add others.  Luckily for me, my fingerprint is my way into the gym, so I do not need to remember a membership card.  I found the background for the checklist here.  I might as well jump on the chevron background bandwagon while I can.

I am planning on using this checklist for a few days.  If I need to add anything, I will.  If you desperately want a copy of it, let me know and I can e-mail you the publisher file or snail mail you a copy.  I usually like to laminate these types of things, then I can use a dry erase marker on them over and over again.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November Desktop Background

Do you know G. K. Chesterton?  love.him.  Even though he is dead and I have never met him in person, he has some of the best quotes!  (One of my favorite quotes is this one, it was my mantra in Korea.)

So you can imagine my glee when I found this desktop background for my laptop.  Beauty + G. K. Chesterton Quote = Amazingness.

You can find it here...(you have to scroll down a bit)

Happy November!  Bring on the giving thanks!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Not exactly a plan...

The littlest one that I nanny for wanted to draw with chalk recently.  I tried to teach her different geometric shapes.  If you look closely, you can see three purple spots towards the top.  I asked her what she was drawing.  Without missing a beat she replied, "Your coffee".  Haha - she cracks me up!  (For the record, I do not drink purple coffee.)

It is Tuesday night and I do not have an exact plan for the coming week...we did not make as many meals as I planned last week.  (I think I plan for 4 much better than just Ian and me).  So we are eating up whatever is in the fridge before I go grocery shopping.  Here are a few meals that come to mind:

  • Stir fry veggies + Chicken + Brown Rice
  • Egg Bake
  • French Toast Casserole
  • Meatloaf
  • Pizza, Puppy Chow, and Spinach Cheesy Dip (Friday night is our turn to host Game Night for my amazing husband and his friends)
  • Homemade Granola + Milk
  • Tomato Soup + Grilled Cheese
The wee one and I are pretty much the dream team when it comes to chalk: I drew the flower, she drew the stem. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012


I had full intentions to get this done right away, but alas, six weeks have passed and I am just getting to it.  Better late than pregnant, right?  (Let's pretend I did just think that in my mind and then write it on my blog...)

Pretending that I am still in Korea...what to do with your hands during a picture?!?

Anywho, this weekend (six weekends ago), Ian and I headed up to Estes Park to check out the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway.  We took our camera and a picnic supper and hit the trail.  We were a bit early to see all of the fall colors, but we did catch some glimpses.  The Rocky Mountains are gorgeous - no matter the season.

I did laugh at myself while we were driving.  Within the last month (at the time) we had traveled from S. Korea to America (like 50 hours of travel or something crazy like that with all the layovers etc.) then we drove 16ish hours out to Colorado...I thought I would be ready for a break from driving.   Ha! Nope! I was one that suggested the 2+ hour drive to Estes Park and back.  I think the drive home took longer because we did not go a direct route.

Pretty Yellow Aspen Trees Contrasted by the Green Pine Trees - Gorgeous!

I do remember it being super-windy (and chilly) up in the mountains.  We have some pretty awesome pictures of my crazy hair blowing in the wind...but wind-blown is the new classy look, right?

All in all, it was a fun afternoon!

What is your favorite part of fall?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thursday, a photo essay

We woke up to some snow Thursday morning.  Note: I saw more snow plows on the running trail than the road.  #weird
After (I took this on the la celphona...with weird lighting..but you get the general idea)
After: the back.  I cut off 7 inches and LOVE it. 
Alexz, if you are reading this, know that 3 people told me I look like Julia Stiles yesterday (after I got my haircut).  It made me think of you!

How was your Thursday (or Friday)?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The plan for 10.23.2012 - 10.31.2012

Wednesday :: Company Casserole
Thursday :: Barley Soup  (it is supposed to snow, I thought this sounded yummy!)
Friday :: Mac & Cheese & Whatever else I find in the fridge that sounds good
Saturday :: Chicken and Green Beans
Sunday :: Spinach Pesto Pasta w/ Chicken (I am going to try to make spinach pesto this week...we'll see how that turns out)
Monday :: Leftovers
Tuesday :: Egg Bake (I am not exactly sure which recipe I will do this one, or this one, or I just had a friend email me a new one...)
Wednesday :: Stir fry veggies + brown rice + chicken

Meal Planning and Running Schedule Planning

Friday, October 19, 2012

Interview with {no other than} Alissa!

I can't believe that we have been in America for over 2 months!  I also can't believe how sweet my friends (dare I say, 'community'... a word I never thought I would use post-Greenville) have been with checking in on how transition to America is going.

Instead of emailing everyone individually, I thought I would interview myself (I am pretty sure that all the cool kids are doing it).

Here are some of the most popular questions that we have gotten over the last few weeks/months.

Q: How do you like Colorado?
A: We LOVE it.  The low humidity is amazing.  And it is sunny a lot.  One thing that we are still adjusting to is suburb living.  It is a whole different beast.  I can do city living (like Daegu) and I can definitely do small town or rural, but suburbs are...interesting.

Q: What do you miss from Korea?
A: the.people. No doubt about that.  We do miss some of the food, the simplicity of non-American living, and I miss the financial stability/security of having two incomes (but God IS good and He DOES provide, so we are okay, I just like to feel security in earthly things like a paycheck.)

Q: What do you do?
A: Currently, I am a nanny.  I get paid to hang out with three pretty cool kids (ages 8, 5, and 2.5).  Most days are pretty fun, some days are not so much (those days I come home saying, "we are NEVER having children"  When  you have kids, they live with you ALL the time, like, the parents never come home and you get to leave...yikes!  I think it is a huge blessing that all humans are born as cute, helpless infants.   So glad that no one accidentally pops out a teenager....or a two and a half year old.)  Anywho, it is a pretty good part time job.  I will get a full time teaching job (eventually).

Ian goes to class.  He learns cool stuff and tells me about it.  He seems to like classes and is doing well! 

Q: What do you like about living in America again?
A: the.people.  It is SO great to be near family again.  We love having a car again and being able to communicate easily with people around us.  Our grocery bill is considerably lower as well :-)  There are a lot of little things that are nice too: not needing a proxy to watch Hulu or listen to Pandora, being in similar time zones to most of my friends, knowing that we will have Thanksgiving and Christmas off (YES!), seeing other women out running etc, etc, etc.

Q: How do you like your apartment?
A: We love it!  Usually we do a video tour of the place we are living, it is coming...eventually.

Q: Are you still running?  How is running in Colorado?
A: Yes, I am still running.  I thought I was going to move to Colorado and have about 23,489,302,948 insta-running buddies...not so much.  Running has taught me endurance, so I am trying to endure until I can find someone to run with.  I do go to a running club on Wednesday nights.  They write really hard workouts - which is fun, but the demographic is a bit different than what I am looking for.

I think that is about it...anymore questions?  Ask away and I will be more than happy to answer :-)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Menu Plan 10.16.2012 and the rest of the story...

FYI: We get free bread some times.  It is a perk of being in seminary.  Just thought you should know before you read about all the sandwiches we will be eating this week!  And if you want to see what actually happened with last week's meal plan, scroll down to the bottom.

Wednesday: Chili (we never ate chili last week)
Thursday: Pizza (we have some leftover pepperoni from last week) I think this is what we my amazing husband uses for the crust.
Friday: The Best Chicken Salad Sandwich Evah
Saturday: Chicken Quesadillas
Sunday: Leftover Chili and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Monday: French Toast
Tuesday: Pulled Chicken Sandwiches (basically shredded chicken with bbq sauce)

This has nothing to do with Menu Planning...just a lovely pic from my 10 mile (16km) long run on Saturday

And now for the rest of the story...

Wednesday: Pizza, Salad, and Bread sticks (The amazing hubs is going to whip out the pizza, the bread sticks are coming from the freezer section).   We are having guests and I thought we needed something bread stick.   Long story short: DO NOT try out a brand new pizza stone 45 minutes before guests show up...especially if the internet tells you to put a lot of oil on said stone and pop it into a 500 degree oven.  THE INTERNET IS WRONG...there will be smoke... a lot of it.  We took our guests out to eat while our apartment aired out. 
Thursday: Meatloaf, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, and Green Beans (This actually happened = Success!  Thanks from coming Alexz!)
Friday: Thai Chicken Pasta (I babysat, Ian had leftovers)
Saturday: Crockpot Chili (I will only use half a pound of beef in this recipe)  I found out around noon that we were having someone over for dinner, so we had the Cheesy Beef and Rice Casserole instead. 
Sunday: Cheesy Beef and Rice Casserole, (and the other half pound of beef in this recipe) and Broccoli & Cauliflower  We attended Unpacking Atheism. (We were able to attend the Live event!) Of course, an Atheist sat at our discussion table.  We ended up getting home much later than planned - it was a bowl of cereal kind of night.
Monday: French Toast  (This actually happened went as planned...what is better than getting back from a run to find French Toast waiting in the Penguin?)
Tuesday: Leftovers/Clean out the Fridge We had the Thai Chicken Pasta that we were supposed to have on Friday.

What was the best meal that you ate last week?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I can't think of a fun title for this one

My parents came to visit this past weekend.

See?  They came!  And we took them out for some Korean food (YUM-O!)

At some point during the weekend, my mom mentioned that I should email her my weekly menu plans to give her ideas and hold her accountable on menu planning (not that I ever lecture my mom on the importance of making and sticking to a meal plan).

And since I have not blogged in a long time, I thought you might want to read what we will be eating this coming week.  I grocery shop on Wednesdays (hence I start there with my meal plan).

  • Wednesday: Pizza, Salad, and Bread sticks (The amazing hubs is going to whip out the pizza, the bread sticks are coming from the freezer section).   We are having guests and I thought we needed something bread stick.  
  • Thursday: Meatloaf, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, and Green Beans
  • Friday: Thai Chicken Pasta
  • Saturday: Crockpot Chili (I will only use half a pound of beef in this recipe)
  • Sunday: Cheesy Beef and Rice Casserole, (and the other half pound of beef in this recipe) and Broccoli & Cauliflower
  • Monday: French Toast
  • Tuesday: Leftovers/Clean out the Fridge
Extra Ideas (in case the menu plan flops OR I don't feel like cooking what is on the list OR we need something to eat for lunch and don't feel like leftovers).
PB and J, Egg Sandwich, Pancakes, Grilled Cheese, Quesadilla, PB crackers...

Be inspired!  Go forth and menu plan!

Friday, September 28, 2012

He is there. He is good.

I have quite a few drafts of blog posts waiting for pictures, editing, and for me to push the publish button.  They are coming.  I promise.

I thought I would share what I listened to today and post part of it.  If you head over to the Veritas Forum, look up Os Guinness as a presenter, and find his presentation at California Polytechnic State University titled The Journey: A Thinking Person's Quest for Meaning.  (Sorry if that is confusing, but I could not figure out how to link you there.)

One of my favorite, favorite parts of this presentation happens in the Question and Answer session (if you don't have time, you can skip to the 1:12:30 mark).  If you have time, listen to the whole thing and take notes.  (I listened to it like 4 Saturdays in a row during my long runs this past spring).

Os Guinness brings up the parable of the resistance fighter.

In time of war in an occupied country, a member of the resistance meets one night a stranger. They spend the evening in conversation. The stranger tells the partisan that he himself is a member of the resistance, indeed that he is in command of it; and urges the partisan to have faith in him no matter what happens. The partisan is utterly convinced of the stranger's sincerity and constancy and undertakes to trust him.

They never meet in conditions of intimacy again. But sometimes the stranger is seen helping members of the resistance, and the partisan is grateful and says to his friends "He is on our side." Sometimes he is seen in the uniform of the enemy handing over patriots to the occupying power. On these occasions his friends murmur against him; but the partisan still says, "He is on our side." He still believes that, in spite of appearances, the stranger did not deceive him. Sometimes he asks the stranger for help and receives it. He is then thankful. Sometimes he asks and does not receive it. Then he says, "The stranger knows best."

-- Basil Mitchell

In case you had a rough day or your flesh wants you to believe otherwise, remember that He is there and He is good.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Things I am Lovin' {and not so much}

Waaaa!  I have not blogged in awhile.  Sorry about that.  We are doing great!  Ian is rocking out his classes. I have learned about 10 Greek words from him so far.  And by learn I mean I can say the words, I can't read Greek.

Moving on...

Here is a list of things I am loving these days:
1.) Coffee Creamer - In Korea, I drank about one cup of black coffee a day.  Now we live in America and we have access to liquid coffee creamer.  It is addicting!  I easily drink three cups (American-sized) cups of coffee a day now.

2.) Speaking of which - DECAF COFFEE - waaaaaaaaaaaa!  It is so nice to be able to go out to coffee after 8am :-)  I know some of ya'll think decaf is gross.  I feel deep sorrow in my heart for you.

This is a picture taken out of our bedroom window on Ian's phone (and I did not edit it).  Ya'll should come visit us so you can see it in person!

4.) Thrift stores!  Yay!  I am so happy to be able to shop at thrift stores again!  And clothes in America fit me!  Double Yay!  We have donated quite a bit to the local Goodwill (for some reason, we had 5 potato peelers and 4 ice cream scoops...).  And we have done some shopping. Ian got a pair of shoes for $3.50 US Dollars (that is like 4,000 won!)  And they are nice.  I got a pair of jeans for 5 dollars!  I love thrift shopping!

5.) Speaking of which, if I can't find clothes that I want at thrift stores, I can order clothes on-line.  And they come to our apartment.  In less than a week.  And if they don't fit, I can return them to a store. (happy sigh) Life is so convenient in America.

6.) If you are in Korea, you may want to skip to number 7.  You have been warned.  FOOD!!!!!!!!!  I love American grocery stores.  We have made meatballs (twice), meatloaf, lasagna, Mexican Chicken something in the crockpot (with BROWN rice - Hallelujah), homemade salsa, homemade granola.  I have not really cried too much with our transition from Korea to America, but when I get in American grocery stores, I tend to get emotional - I am not really sure why, but God is good.  If you live in America, you are blessed.  American grocery stores are overwhelming.

7.) Kakao Talk!  I have a smart phone now!  And I have Kakao Talk!  Kakao allows me to text (and potentially call) my friends in Korea for FREE.  Granted, my friends in Korea are texting me in the middle of the night and I am replying in the middle of their night, but we can talk to each other and share pictures.  AND they have about a bajillon emoticon- that are so Korean.  (Friends in Korea: my Kakao ID is ianda0605).

And the {short} list of things I am not lovin' so much:
What is the deal with the weird code thing on the top of my blog?  Can you see it?  I am not sure how it go there or how to get rid of it.

Life is expensive, especially in America!  It makes me feel like a grown-up when Ian and I discuss money in thousands of dollars (that is millions of won).  But at the same time, God is so faithful and He provides for our every need, every day....and our wants too. (Thanks God!  You rock!)

God is good.  Life is good.  What are you lovin' in life right now?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A new place, a new month, and a new look

Whew!  August 2012 is over.  It was a pretty big month for us.  We started it in Korea teaching and we ended here, in Colorado, on a new adventure.

Since we have so many changes going on, I thought it would be fun to update my blog a bit.  I did all the design myself.  So if something is funky, please tell me :-).  I will try to mess with more computer code and online tutorials to fix it.

I had two different color inspirations for the new look: a flower and a rooster.

From Design Seeds (Becuase I love you, I included the hex and RGB values for you.)

Also from Design Seeds

I am saying this as your friend.  Do not go check out Design Seeds for color inspiration unless you have a lot of spare time on your hands.  It can totally suck you in.

On an unrelated note, you might notice that Bible Reading is missing from the tabs to choose from. Why you may ask...(ask for my sake) BECAUSE, I FINISHED reading through the whole entire Bible.  Booya!  I am done.  I now everything about God and Christianity (just kidding).  My new favorite chapter of the Bible is Ezekiel 16.  It explains, grace, salvation, idolatry, and God's enduring patience all in one chapter, albeit a bit graphically.

I just realized that I have not posted a picture of what we wake up to each and every morning.  So I will end this post with our gorgeous view.  Running trail, golf course, and mountains. (sigh of perfection)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Craggee 10 Days!

Whew, it has been a crazy (Koreans say crazy, "cra-gee" and now I say it like that) 10 days.
  • 10 days ago we were in Korea.
  • 7 days ago we were loading the U-haul.
  • We have seen so many precious people in the last week!
  • We are finally over jet-lag (for the most part).
  • We have about 20 more wooden stirring spoons than we need.
Okay, so the last one is not that interesting, but it has been fun/interesting to unpack all of our stuff and see what we have.  We have a lot of stuff (to say the least).  My stuff from college + Ian's stuff from before we got married + Stuff we got from the wedding + Stuff from Korea = lots, and lots, and lots of stuff.

Before we left Korea, some of my fellow waygooks asked me to blog about reverse culture shock.  Here are the things I have noticed since coming back into Western culture:
  • I feel an overwhelming sense to say, "You speak English so well!", especially if I am talking to someone who looks Korean.
  • I feel guilty if I take something from someone with only one hand.  I still do two hands or the-hand-on-arm if I hand people stuff.
    • the people are huge (vertically and horizontally), 
    • the cars are huge, 
    • the parking lots are ginormous, 
    • our kitchen is huge, 
    • and Target is about 3 times bigger than I remember it being.
  • Along with hugeness, there are a lot of big open spaces where you can see forever.
  • American shopping carts are annoying to push. The wheels only go forward or backwards.
  • I almost cried when we stood in front of the cheese aisle.  I seriously was getting emotional in the cereal aisle.  Groceries are SO cheap :)
  • I still feel like we are going to go back to Korea next week.  I feel like we are on vacation or something.
  • Americans do not know what Gangnam Style don't start doing the dance that goes along with music video.
  •  I say Assah! (awesome) and Jinja? (for real?  or really?) more often than I thought I did.
  •  Ian says that my voice is more gravely since we moved back (don't ask me).  I think it is the dry Colorado air.  I am thirsty all.the.time.
  • The food is nooky-hada (greasy) and ma-chee-sigh-yo (delicious).
  • I miss public transportation.
  • Lots of Americans/Coloradans run. 
    •  No one points, whispers, or stares when I run past them.  
    • No one covers their children eyes' either.  
    • I was super excited about running in a sports bra, but it is cold here.
  • Speaking of which, I had to carry a sweatshirt everywhere we went for the first week, because it was freezing inside all of the restaurants/stores/homes.  It is August and I have jeans on -craggeee!
  • Everything is huge! (Maybe I said that already).
  • I stare at people. 
  • Ian and I got used to people having no idea what we were saying in public.  It has been hard to remember that other people can understand what we are saying - hahahahaha.  
  • Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow  - not necessarily culture shock but a good truth to remember when you are feeling culture shock.  God knows Korean culture and American culture.  Jesus was the ultimate waygook (foreigner) and we are foreigners too - no matter what country we are in.  Heaven in our real home. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Thank You Chingos

Dear Waygookin Chingos,
First I must say I always want to call you chingas, but that is because my brain mixes Korean and Spanish together.  If you get nothing else out of this post, please get this:

Thank you for journeying over the last two years with me.  I know that some of you may have only been here for the first year, or I may have only met in the last few month (or somewhere in between).  Regardless, you have been a blessing in my life.

You have made my world a bigger place.  I know understand so much more of the world from meeting all of you.  You have made me want to travel to places I never even knew existed before we moved to Korea.  I want to eat your food, meet your family, and see your hometown.
And by making my world bigger,  you have made my heart bigger as well.
My heart has grown to love countries and people I never knew.  And my love for people has not only grown wider but deeper, too.  I am so grateful that I met each one of you and we have touched each others' lives.  You understand my life in Korea because it is your life too.  You have left your home, become a foreigner, and understand the fun/crazy/weird/lovely Korean culture that we find ourselves in.  I seriously (seriously) can not imagine my life without ya'll.  I really can not believe that we will be leaving soon :(  but we will go with our hearts full of love and our minds full of memories.  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A day in the life... {Summer English Camp}

I love day in the life posts!  LOVE THEM.  I did one last year (part 1 and part 2) and I thought it would be fun to do another one this year before we leave Korea.  Some of my friends (this one and this one) have done them recently and I decided to jump on the bandwagon...I love jumping on bandwagons :)  (I apparently love to use the word, "love" as well).

Without further ado: Thursday, August 2, 2012

5:15 A.M. - wake up
5:30 A.M. - go for a run (Tempo Run Thursday!)

Before I went running...notice the smile
6:25 A.M. - get back from running, do circuit: squats, lounges, push-ups, arm circles, abs, burpees, etc (read: it usually ends up that I am just laying on the floor trying to stop sweating from running)

After I went running...I was focusing on holding the camera and not letting it slip out of my sweaty glistening  hand
6:50 A.M. - eat breakfast, shower, check email and FB, make lunch, wash dishes, have a *dance party (having a dance party while washing dishes, makes the task way more fun), get ready for school, read the Bible, tidy up
8:10 A.M. - leave for school
8:38 A.M. - get to school, find out about the schedule for today and last minute changes etc. (I am doing
 summer camp at a different school this week.  There are 5 other foreigners there besides me.)
9:00 A.M. - camp starts!  Today I am teaching a 45 minute lesson on rhyming (that goes well), 45 minutes 55 minutes spent teaching the kiddos how to make god's eyes, impromptu *dance party, and 90 minutes doing "study-sports" (don't ask me what study-sports are...I did a spelling game with the kids in a different teams)

Some of the kiddos with their craft projects

12:30 P.M. - Lunch!  PB&J, dried plums, and water (yum, yum, yum)
1:30 P.M. - Spend an hour with the kiddos practicing for the talent show tomorrow.  I realize that they do not know the song without the lyrics and try to decide how I am going to fix that.
2:30 P.M. - clean the classroom with the kiddos
2:48 P.M. - FREEDOM! Run errands: add money to my transportation card, stop at HomePlus (the Korean form of Wal-mart) to pick up posterboard, go to Bank #1 to close out one of my accounts before we leave for America, go to Bank #2 and try to figure out how to get money from our Korean accounts to our American accounts after we leave the country

I told them that I would take their they hung their god's eyes from random body parts 

4:00 P.M. - Get home, talk to Ian, start working on writing out the lyrics to the song for the talent show tomorrow on poster board
5:00 P.M. - meet my co-teacher from last year (Meyong-Joo Teacher) to get a ride to dinner.
5:30 P.M. - Arrive at Ashley's (western style buffet).  Tonight is the last time I get to see most of my co-teachers - so sad!  Thankfully Myeong-Joo Teacher's daughters were with us.  They definitely kept us laughing all evening.

From left to right, Na Kyeong, Ji Young, Ian, me, Myeong Joo, Ji Yeon, and Myeong Joo's kids: Dana and Olivia
7:30 P.M. Take pictures with co-teachers, say good-bye see you later, and head back towards home with Meyoung-Joo Teacher.  So glad she lives near us and is willing to drive us around.  Her kids are sooo cute!
8:00 P.M. - Get home, finish writing out lyrics for tomorrow.
8:34 P.M. - Tape a box together and start packing it, so it will be ready to mail tomorrow, talk to Ian, tidy up
9:00 P.M. - try to find {American-centric} Olympics on TV...I ended up watching Judo for the 853rd time and falling asleep.
11:49 P.M. - hear Ian come to bed, so I get up to brush my teeth, gulp some water, put on my pjs, make sure my alarm is set, kiss the hubs, and go back to sleep.

*Just in case you were wondering, here are the songs currently on my dance party mix:  Call Me Maybe, Americano, Walkin' On Sunshine, Share it Maybe, The Invasion (Hero), Hot Summer, What Time Is It?...

Friday, August 3, 2012

Happy Birthday Grandpa!

Yay!  Today is my Grandpa's birthday.   He is currently recovery from knee replacement surgery, so I am not sure if he will see this or not.  But if you are reading it, can you say a prayer that he will continue to recover well?  Thank you :-)


Do you know what they say about birthdays?  The more you have, the longer you live.  (I think my Grandpa writes in my birthday card every year)

And to sign-off, I will leave you with his wise words (that he ends emails with): Don't do anything you wouldn't do on a bicycle!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Running Tip Tuesday {My Confession of Going No 'poo}

This is not so much about running as it is my hair :)  But still useful to crunchy runners.

Things that you need to know before reading this: Shampoo is expensive in Korea.  There is no one-dollar bottles of Sauve.  A bottle of shampoo here is 9 US dollars (or more).  And I am frugal.  So I was convinced that we could buy one bottle of shampoo and have it last us an entire year. 

I realized that the shampoo was not going to make it an entire year, so around November (when I was taking some time off after running a half marathon) I decided to try going "no 'poo".  Basically you wash your hair with baking soda instead of shampoo.  (Baking soda is way cheaper than shampoo! Oh yeah, we fly out in 14 days and we (by we I mean Ian) is/are still using the same bottle of shampoo that we started with last August!  Success!)

This is the thing about washing your hair with baking soda.  You are only supposed to do it once every 3 days.  Let me repeat: once.every. three. days.

Ya'll!  I run 6 days a week!  I get hot and sweaty when I run (including my scalp/hair!).

So this is my awesome/amazing solution to how to run on a daily basis and not wash your hair every single time:
Day 1: Run.  Shower.  Wash Hair.  Wear hair down.
Day 2: Run.  Shower.  Rinse Hair with only water.  Wear hair half up/half down (unless it is Saturday, then wear it in a messy bun)
Day 3: Run. Shower.  Rinse Hair with Water.  Wear hair in a ponytail.  
Day 4 = Day 1

Ta-dah!  I don't know if this will work for ya'll, but it works for me and my hair.  I have been doing it for 9 or 10 months pretty successfully. Yes, I am a low maintenance person.  Yes, my hair is probably a different texture, length, thickness, etc than yours...but if you want to run (or exercise) and give no 'poo a try, you can do it.

So do some reading, think about it, if it seems good to you, go for it.

For my sake, does anyone else have any hippie/crunchy confessions to make? :-)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

School is Out for the Summer {finally. sigh}

Today was the last day of the official semester.  Praise the Lord!  (btw, I am attempting to type this blog post in under two minutes.)

I think this is from last year during open class.

Tomorrow is the first day of Summer English Camp, which means that I will still be teaching.  So not a huge difference, but we are getting closer to the end!  

Running Tip Tuesday {July Edition}

I am going to guess that even if you are not a runner, you can identify with some part of this post.

So we have to start with a story: I run quite a bit (maybe 6 days a week).  And I don't run just for fun.  I time my runs.  I measure my runs.  I do math in my brain while I am running about how far I have run and how my mile (1600 meters) splits are.
A few weeks ago, I realized that some of my runs were a bit sluggish - not a big deal.  I am all about letting my body run slow if it wants to.  But then it was becoming that all of my runs were slower than they should be (for the sake of this post, let's not delve into "slower" and "should be"... roll with me folks).  I was getting really frustrated with myself.  I was starting to feel shame about how slow some of my runs were.

And then I went running and had a spiritual crisis (kinda, I can be dramatic).

This is what I realized.

Running at a certain pace (9 minute miles on recovery days) had become an idol in my life.

Auto-kay (in case you don't live in Korea that translates as "What to do?")

Do you know Pete Wilson?  He is a pastor in America and he wrote a book about idolatry.  He views an idol as anything we seek to get something from that we should only get from God.  (I don't know if those are his exact words, but it is his overall idea).

So working with this definition of an idol, I asked myself what I was seeking from running (9 minute miles on easy days) that I should be getting from God.  Let's fast-forward through the superficial stuff and get to the point: acceptance.  I wanted running to tell me that I am good enough.  I wanted to try hard and get rewarded because of my efforts.  I wanted to place my identity in running.  I wanted running to tell me who I am.

But that is not the Gospel!  So let's remind ourselves what the Gospel is: God saves (saving) sinners.  I do not try hard enough and eventually save myself.  There is nothing for me to show God that would be good enough to save me.  What I have done (sinned) has made me enemies with God.  My good works (my trying hard) are like filthy rags.  I am not good enough.

Thanks be to God, who delivers us through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:25)

God has provided a way!  Yay!  When I trust Jesus to be my Savior, I get a new identity.  My identity is found in Christ.

How does this relate back to me and my running?
I redeem lies with truth:

  • Out of the heart the mouth speaks, that means the Words of God comes from His Heart.
    • He says that I am I am good enough.  Not because of anything I can or can not do.  But because of what He has done for me.  I am enough.  I am accepted and not condemned.
  • God is passionate about his glory.  I want running to bring God glory.  There is no reason for running to bring me shame, regardless of my pace.
  • I am saved by grace through faith; and that not of myself, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • Psalm 115:8 says that those who make idols will be like them and so will all who trust in them. I would much rather trust in God and be conformed to his likeness.  (I think the end of Romans 1 also goes along with this idea.)
I do believe that my theology applies to my everyday life.  It is important for me to step back and examine the thoughts/beliefs that motivate my actions.  What else in my life is an idol (anything we seek to get something from that we should only get from God)?  How can the gospel redeem me?

So to end my story: I am still running sluggish some days.  On those days I preach the Gospel to myself while I run.  I end my runs thankful for God's goodness and faithfulness, instead of berating myself for my slowness.  God is love.  He is not going to run out.  I am confident that He is well stocked in grace, patience, and compassion as well.

So, what idols are in your heart?  (that is rhetorical)

p.s.  Thank you, Ian, for listening to my 28354235 minutes of whining and complaining working through this.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

3rd Grade {for those of you without Facebook}

If you have facebook, this is probably going to be a boring post.  But I want those of you without facebook to experience my pictures as well.

Here are my 3rd Grade Classes from this semester:

Class 3.1  They are better than a cup of black coffee on Monday mornings :-)
I teach 3rd grade on Monday mornings.
Class 3.3  One of thee CUTEST students I have taught is in this class.  His parting words to me on Monday were, "Arissa-teacher, remember me..."  I almost gave him a hug.  Also little girl in the front with the pink glasses prays during game time sometimes.  Beyond cute.

The third graders think I am a rock star.  Or a celebrity.  Or someone famous.  Whenever they see me, they go crazy.  "HELLO ARISSA TEACHER!"  I try to soak up being famous while I can.  The rest of the kiddos (4th, 5th, and 6th graders) think I am old news.

Class 3.2 :  When given the opportunity to ask Alissa-teacher anything on Monday, the first question asked by this class was, "If you are American, why aren't your eyes blue?" (that was not the exact question, but that was what they meant).  Gotta love kids!
I think third graders are rock stars.  They will gladly participate in role-plays.  And they are really dramatic.  

Class 3.4  This class definitely wins "Best Behaved".  And the girls in the class help me with my style (Arissa-teacher {a bunch of stuff in Korean} - look at my coteacher expectantly and she explains that they are saying they like me better when my hair is NOT pulled back)  Thanks girls.  I will take all the help I can get.
So here's to you 3rd grade!  May you always be full of energy and ready to participate in class!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The countdown is on!

My friend, Jen, from high school usually does a countdown for when she is leaving Kenya and heading to the USofA.  I thought it would be fun to do the same thing.  (Thanks Jen for the great idea!)

10 days until the last day of school
11 days until the first day of summer english camp
17 days until my on-line class is done! (and God-willing, I will not teach an on-line class in English to 8 year olds for a very long time.)
27 days until the last day of camp
30 days until the last day of work
31 days until we fly out (that is one month from today!)
32 days until we land in St. Louis.  Hug Mommabomma.  Say hi to Daddio.  Run in a sports bra.  Go to
     an American grocery store.  Have some major jet-lag.
33 days until we start loading the Uhaul
35 days until we hug my parents and brother and sister-in-law
37 days until we see my Grandpa and his wife and other relatives
38 days until we get to Colorado (and get to see Ian's twin and his sweet wifey!)
39 days until we move into our new apartment and go for a run in Colorado!
41 days until Ian starts orientation
44 days until Ian starts classes

oh p.s.  Do ya'll read the nester?  You should.  She talks about the killers.  If you are a killer, please do not try to stalk us and kill us in the next 45 days.  K? thanksbye!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Only in Korea...

Homeplus (it is similiar to Wal-mart) recently got some new shopping carts.  Shopping in carts in Korea are four-wheel drive (meaning all the wheels go any which way they can pull your cart down the aisle sideways).

Now to add to the 4-wheel-driveness...

...calorie counting!  Each shopping cart is equipped with a panel that tells you how far you have walked and how many calories you have burned.

I walked all of 460 meters (that is about once around a track) and burned a whooping 21 calories on my shopping trip last week.

The carts can also hold a drink (Korean-sized drink) and your smart phone.

What will they think of next?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Grilling Out {Korean Style}

One of things that I really miss about America is walking barefoot through the grass, pulling up lawn chairs, and grilling out.

But Ian and I have found a good substitute - grilling galbi outdoors at a restaurant.  It is quite common to go to samgupsal or galbi resturants and grill your own meat.  (I think it always happens this way.)

On this particular day, the weather was perfect for grilling, so we requested to sit outside.  The tables at galbi/samgupsal resturants have the grill built into the table, along with the hook-up to the gas.  At this restaurant, you grill over burning charcoal, but sometimes, it is over a gas burner.

Anywho, we got our meat, started cooking and snacking on the banchan (side dishes) while we waited for the meat to grill.

We got got a good amount of meat (we both left full), maybe 5 or 6 side dishes, and a bottle of soju for less than $20 US dollars.

We visit this particular restaurant at least once a month (if not every week).

What is your favorite food to grill?  (Or is everyone's answer hamburgers?)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Galbi Pizza {and my list of top 5 favorite pizzas}

Ya'll.  I have finally discovered the pizza that will complete my top 5 favorite pizza list.

I would not say that I have a favorite pizza.  My cravings depends on the weather, my mood, and what part of the world/country I am in.

In alphabetical order, here are the first four pizzas on my list:
On a random side note, I think this pizza and this pizza are also really good, but I don't remember what they actually taste like, I just remember Ian wanting to make them like once a week in America.

Moving on.

So the other night we made *galbi and it was so.good.  While I was eating the galbi, I was like, "this would make an awesome pizza".  We are on a pizza kick in our apartment right now.

When you eat galbi, it is usually served with **ssamjang and ***ggaennip.  Here is the basic idea behind my new favorite pizza.

1.) Marinate the meat.  We use a soy sauce, sesame oil, water, sesame seeds, garlic marinate.  I did not measure any of it, I just poured stuff in. I used quite a bit of soy sauce.  We marinated the meat for overnight and during the school day (less than 24 hours though).  

2.) Cook the meat.  We cook ours in the pan on the stove, but if you have a grill, I would use that instead.

This is from a galbi restaurant a few weeks ago...not the galbi that went on our pizza, but you get the idea
3.) Eat the meat.  Make a fun little wrap with ggaennip, galbi, and ssamjang.  Yum-o!

4.) Put the leftovers in the fridge. :-)

5.) Prepare a pizza crust.  We (by we, I mean Ian who is the pizza crust genius) like to stick our crust in the oven for a bit.

6.) Spread pizza sauce over crust.  Spread some ssamjang on the pizza as well.  I don't know how much we used, but I would say some goes a long way.  

7.) Chop up the leftover ggaenip and galbi and spread that on.  Top with cheese.

8.)  Finish baking.

It is so good.  There are hints of garlic from the ssamjang, saltiness from the marinate on the galbi, and gooey yumminess with the cheese.  This is definitely the best pizza that I have eaten in Korea.

What is your favorite type of pizza?


I learned a lot about galbi while writing this post, so I will share my new found knowledge with you.  *Galbi are short-ribs that have been marinated in soy-sauce and then grilled.  I think galbi is usually beef, but there is also dwaegi galbi (pork) and dok galbi (chicken).  Samgupsal is a similar cut of meat except it is not marinated.  {still delicious}

**Ssamjang is AMAZING I am going to bring some of it to America with us. Ssamjang is a paste made of bean paste, pepper paste, sesame oil, onion, green onion, and garlic. I, personally, think that garlic is one of the main flavors of ssamjang.

***GGaennip are sesame seed leaves. I think they may be known as perilla. They have a hint of minty flavor to them. I love them as well.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Week o' Lunches :: Day 5

And last but not least, last Friday's lunch:
picture from my school's website

A. kimchi
B. sauteed veggies (mushrooms, bok chey, and maybe some spinach)
C. chicken curry
D. rice
E. udon noodles soup (the squares are odang)


Have I ever  blogged about odang before?  It is a popular food in Korea.  Basically (as I understand it) they take all of the parts of the fish you don't want to eat and grind it up very fine powder.  Then they make a paste out of it and cook it.  Thus odang.  (I found this and this about odang).  I find it quite funny that Koreans call odeng, "o-dang".  Whenever I see that we are eating odang for lunch I think to myself, "Oh dang". Really ya'll, I have no idea what all is in odang, but all I can think when I am eating it is, "fish eyes, fish brains, fish intestines, fish skin....".  It is fascinating to me how much Koreans like odang.  It is sold from the street venders here and it goes like hotcakes (or should I say fishcakes?).

Thanks for following along with my week of lunches!  Next up, my newly invented pizza!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Week o' Lunches :: Day 4 {the one when I was convinced that I was eating a tree}

Last Thursday's lunch:

picture is from my school's website

A. radish kimchi
B. boiled burdock (ya'll, I have never eaten burdock before, but it looks, tastes, and smells like tree bark.  I am serious.  I really thought I was eating sauteed wood.  But you can google burdock.  Once I learned the role of burdock in velcro, I forgave it for tasting like wood.)
C. octopus + rice cake + vegetables (it may sound exotic to eat octopus for lunch, but it is's quite chewy)
D. black rice
E. tofu + vegetables + beef soup

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Week o' Lunches :: Day 3

Wednesdays are my favorite school-lunch day.  For some reason, the school lunch ladies out-do themselves on Wednesdays.  On Wednesdays, we have curry and rice, or fried rice, and even sometimes bimimbap!

Last Wednesday's Lunch:

picture from my school's website

A. cucumber kimchi
B. watermelon (the Koreans I eat with, swallow their watermelon seeds)
C. chicken wings in some type of sauce (have you tried to take on chicken wings with chopsticks?)
D. kimchi fried rice
E. I am not exactly sure on this soup, Google Translate called it Oil Rich Smile, which I am pretty sure I am is wrong.  I call it tofu, mushroom, and other vegetables soup in my brain.