Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What a Weekend! {Buddha's Birthday/Memorial Day}

Hi friends!  For the first time since moving to Korea, we had a three day weekend the same weekend as people in America did!  Of course, it was for different reasons.  We did not have school on Monday because of Buddha's birthday.  Ya'll in America had Memorial Day.  {here is a blast from the past aka my post from Buddha's birthday last year}.  Just to clarify:  Buddha's birthday is on the lunar calendar, just like Chuseok and Lunar New Year.  Therefore it is not on the same (what do we call our calendars?  Julian?) day every year.

There were a bunch of lanterns (holding Buddhists' prayers or something) hanging in a park near our apartment...enjoy!

Our weekend started with a wedding of one of Ian's co-teachers!  We are so happy for the couple.  And the wedding factory hall was right next to Daegu Stadium where the 2011 IAAF World Track and Field Championships were held.  Ian had not seen the stadium before, so I was excited that he got to see it (well the outside at least).

Cutting the Wedding Cake with a Sword

Best part of the wedding?  One of the guests sang a song to the couple during the wedding...norribang style (picture the whole audience clapping and swaying along while the lights turn techno colors and swirl around the room.)  Or maybe my favorite moment was the "medical test" for the groom.  He went over to his mom and picked her up (off the ground) on his back.  I am not sure how medical this is, or what they are testing, but it provided entertainment for me :)

The Happy Couple

The rest of Saturday and Sunday were not all that interesting, just same ol' same ol' for us.

Quick shoutout to our fam in America!  Congrats Donnie and Kinzie!  We are SO happy for ya'll and wish we could have been on there on Sunday to help celebrate!

Monday (Buddha's Birthday) was Date Day 2012.  Since we had the day off of school, we thought we should spend the whole day going on a series of dates.

More lantern pictures

Date #1: with the pavement...just kidding.  I did get up and run before we left though.  I attempted to do a 6 x 400 meter @ 5k race pace with 400 meter recovery workout...kicked.my.bum.

Real Date #1: Starbucks!  We stopped and got a white caramel mocha for the train ride to Busan.  If I had to pick one date to go on every week for the rest of my life, it would be coffee dates.  (Sad, but true).

I did not take pictures of date 1 or 2, so here are some more lanterns

Date #2: Mexican Restaurant in Busan!  Ohmigoodness!  I am trying to think of a word to use to describe the experience...and I can't think of one right now (does that make it indescribable?).  I had a beef steak burrito

with fresh cilantro


I thought I had died and gone to heaven (not for real).  I can not even begin to tell you how amazing fresh cilantro tastes.  Fresh cilantro may have just beat out feta cheese for #1 food item I miss now.  But it may be because feta cheese is turning into a figment of my imagination....I can't remember what it really tastes like anymore (Goodness, I can ramble on about nothing).

It was a gorgeous day!

Date #3: The Beach.  We headed to Gwangli Beach to stick our feet in the cold ocean water.  And let our food digest before heading to date #4 location.  We just happened to run into some pretty cool people there and decided to hang out with them.  It is so fun being friends with a couple! (I just proofread that sentence and thought, "hmmm strange sentence"  but meh, I am going to leave it).

So glad we got to spend part of the day with them!

Date #4: Double Date at Sharky's.  Ya'll.  Imagine with me: Hamburger bun, hamburger patty, slices of avocado, bacon, onion, and Lord knows what other types of goodness all together on a plate.  And

Wait for it...

They also had cranberry juice + o.j.+ peach schnapps + vodka all mixed together in a glass.  (I am trying to keep this rated PG, so if you know what the name of the drink, you can insert it there for yourself...)  Ian ordered a mojito and shared with me.

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA....best burger I have ever had in Korea.  Along with my two favorite drinks.

Date Day 2012!  p.s. it was windy at the beach, thus I have weird hair...

I think I will forever remember this day.  Best American food that I have had in Korea and even better company.

I love both of these pictures.  For different reasons, but they both crack me up every time I look at them - hahaha or kkkk (depending on what side of the globe you are on ^-^)

Thank you Buddha, for having a birthday and letting us get out of school for a day.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Date Night Questions

In case you don't know, I am a big fan of dating!  It is so fun!  One of my favorite parts of going on dates is taking a step out of life and talking about other stuff.  We try to not talk about work, plans for the rest of the week, things we need to get done, etc.etc.etc.  I am often asked, "What do you talk about on dates then?"

Enter Date Night Questions!

I think I should admit that I am an aficionado (aficionada?) of date night questions and Ian goes along with them.  But he does ask some pretty good ones.  Usually it just takes one or two questions to get the conversation going.  Then before we know it, we are dreaming, thinking, and sharing our hearts.  We are no longer stuck in the surface-y everyday life stuff.

I thought I would help you out.  Here are some date night questions (No, I did not come up all of them by myself...I got them from here and some of my friends.  I'll let you guess which ones I made up).  I am AR, so I have categories of date night questions.  My personal favorite is: Hypothetical Questions!

Hypothetical Date Night Questions: 
  • If you had a seven story house, what room would be on the fourth floor, second room on the left?
    • Follow-up: Hmmm, where would you put the {insert some hobby your spouse loves i.e. soccer field} then? 
  • If you could choose any language to instantly know for the rest of your life, which language would you pick?  
  • If you could be any kitchen utensil, which would you be and why? 
  • If you could invent a new ice cream flavor, what would it be?  
    • I have about 100 variations of this one: If you could perfect an already existing ice cream flavor, what would you change?  Or in the case of my husband: if you could create the perfect pizza (or cinnamon roll or drink) what would it be? etc etc so forth and so on...)
  •  If you were a hobbit, what would your favorite meal of the day be?
  • If you could have any superpower (or superhero or if you could only pick one of the Avengers), what would it be? Why?  
  • Would you rather be deaf or blind?
  • If you could name the street your live on, what would it be?  
  • If you invented a new word that must rhyme with purple, what word would it be and what is the definition?  
  • If you could go back to college and study a different major, which one would it be?  
  • What day of your life would you relive with your date that your date had not previously experienced with you?  i.e. I could not say our wedding day because Ian was there with me.  I would have to pick a day that I experienced without Ian.
  • Just for fun :) If you could ask any hypothetical question right now, what would you ask?
Oh yeah, I guess I should point out that you do not have to be on a date to ask these questions!  Sometimes I ask my friends these questions too.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Weekend in Busan {Craft Day & Baby Shower}

We headed to Busan this past weekend!  It was a blast!  I have been so ridiculously blessed with the friendships formed here in Korea.

On Saturday I got to hangout with friends, cross-stitch, and eat American chocolate.  Does life get better than this?  I, of course, did not remember to take pictures.  (So insert a mental image.)

Sunday we headed to church and then to a baby shower!  Someone is having a baby boy!  Actually, it was a double baby shower (two moms, two baby boys on the way.)  Honestly, I love holding babies right now in my life, but I am a-okay that we are not the ones about to be parents.  The thought is too overwhelming.  BUT I am SO excited to be in the position to spoil the wee ones around us.

Yeah!  Who knew babies needed so much fun stuff?  Showers are so educational!

The guys did not cross-stitch or eat American chocolate (well maybe they ate some, but not as much as I did! ha.) but they did enjoy playing video games and throwing a Frisbee around during the baby shower.  Win-win.

I think I am getting a bit side-tracked.  Anywho, before said baby-shower, the expectant mothers got to make and frost a black-forest cake.  Wa!  Decorating cakes in Korea are way more complicated than I thought.  They rocked it.  The cake ended up beautiful and delicious.

The mommas-to-be and their cake!

The baby shower was so fun ya'll.  I met someone from Mississippi and Georgia this weekend.  Ya'll, they say, "ya'll".  ohmygoodness.  people saying ya'll = happy heart!  I dd not win any of the baby shower games, but I did learn what a diaper is called in South Africa (a nappy) and that we are born with 300 bones. 
After the baby shower we were headed back to Daegu!  It was a busy weekend, but so fun.  Won't trade it for the world :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Yellow Dust

Let me just say this now: everything you are about to read comes from my brain.  I did no research for this blog post.  So everything I am about to write I have learned through my own observation or heard it from other people.

Another disclaimer: All the photos you are about to see are from my phone.  (Also good to know that my phone was free, so that tells you about the level of camera on my phone.)  And most of the pictures you are about to see were taken while I was running and thought, "ooo, look at that yellow dust"...pause, take picture, keep running.

Every spring the sand from some desert in China gets caught up in the wind and blown over Korea.  And the sand is yellow, hence the name yellow dust.  When we moved to Korea, I heard bits and pieces about this, but I did not really get it until I experienced it.

Signs of Yellow Dust Season:

If you look at cars, they all look like they have been driving down gravel roads (a layer of dirt is on them).  And the layer has a yellowish tint to it.

This is a picture of a car's window (sorry about the reflection).  People were definitely staring at me when I took this!

If you look at the sky above you (straight up), the sky looks blue.  If you look out towards the mountains, the sky looks hazy.  (This is the main way I can tell how much yellow dust is blowing over Daegu at the moment.)

This was a puddle, but it dried up, leaving some yellow dust residue.

When it rains, all the puddles have "yellow chalk dust" in them.

This actually is a little gross to me.  When it rains, the oil from the road washes into puddles along  the yellow dust.

Some years, you can really tell it is Yellow Dust Season.  And other years it is barely noticeable.  I think this spring was in the middle, maybe more towards the heavier side.  I think Yellow Dust is more noticeable in China near whatever desert the sand comes from.

I think Yellow Dust season lasts about 4 weeks or so (confession: I have no idea how long Yellow Dust blows over Korea for, but it seems like I noticed it for 4 weeks this year).

Sometimes people get sick from yellow dust.  To help prevent said sickness, a lot of Koreans wear face masks to protect themselves from breathing in the yellow dust.  (Another observation, Koreans always have a reason for wearing a face mask.  In the winter, "It is so cold."  In the spring, "It is the yellow dust!"  In the summer, "It is to protect myself from the sun."  I am not sure what they say in the fall.  But so far, I have not observed a "face-mask-less" season in Korea.  Not judging, just observing!)

My last observation of Yellow Dust is it makes my apartment more dusty.

And to end on a high note (that has nothing to do with Yellow Dust), I ran into (not literally) some of my students from last year!  They were all about taking a picture of me, but when I suggested that we take a group picture, this is what we got.

This was our first try.  They did not want to attempt another one.  
So cute.  These guys were 5th graders when we moved to Korea, and now they are in first grade in middle school (in America that is 7th grade).  They have school uniforms now and look so grown-up.  Yet, still cute.  And they still say, "ARISSA-teacher!  Hi!"

What will I do in America without my own personal fan club?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


The last four weeks have been interesting for me.  I don't want to go into details (my goal is to reflect not to offend people.)  I did not realize how reformed I have become.   I did not realize how complicated evangelism was.  I did not realize how fun evangelism can be...when you are tag-teaming with your amazing husband (who amazes me).  I did not realize how much sweeter grace could be than it was already was to me.

Let me clarify, grace is sweet.  More than I could ever describe to you.  Grace is radical.  If you don't understand grace, go read the New Testament.  Write down every verse about grace.  Then read the Old Testament, see where we were before God Incarnate came to Earth.

Or better yet, go chat with someone who does not understand grace and thinks that we can earn our own salvation through doing good things (yikes!).

And as I told someone last night, "We are not put on earth to do.  We are put on earth to glorify God."  (That was the light bulb moment was I was like, "Self, you have now entered the territory know as 'reformed'. ")

My heart needed to read this today.  I knew it.  But I needed to be reminded.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

For my Mommas

Happy Mother's Day!

I have been blessed with some great mothers in my life!  My mom, Binks, was (and still is!) a great Mom.

She taught me the important things in life :)
Binks has been there for me through the ups and downs of life.  She encouraged me to be a good student.  My parents were great about supporting my athletic endeavors and I could always tell when my mom cheered for me (she may or may not have brought a cowbell to cross country meets when I was high school - best.idea.ever.).  We have been on quite a few adventures and made fun memories over the years. 

And then I have been so blessed with my mother-in-law, Mommabomma!  I always wondered what my mother-in-law would be like...and now I know :) I love Ian's mom!  She is so great.  I asked Ian what his favorite thing about his Mom is.  He talked about how he has seen her (throughout his life) grow closer to Jesus and mature in her faith.

I can't wait to see my Mommas come August!  

Friday, May 11, 2012

Revisiting New Year's Resolutions

I am a big fan of making New Year's Resolutions.  So I thought I would check-in and see how I am doing.  (aka I can not even remember all the resolutions I made this year).  The pictures in this post do not have anything to do with my New Year's Resolutions, I just thought you might like to see some of my favorite Korean pictures :)

  • Physical: Run a marathon.  
    • Preferably in 3 hours and 59 minutes or less.
  • Update :: I attempted to run a marathon.  It was not even close to being under 4 hours.  I did not meet this goal in 2012, but this is a life goal of mine, so I still have time to accomplish it (assuming that I live a long life.)
I love spring!

  • Emotional:  Set healthy boundaries, mainly in the time management area of my life.  
    • This means one free "night" a week.  One night that has nothing on the schedule.
  • Update :: Ian and I do try to schedule one "free night" each week and it is heaven.  I love knowing that I can come home and do whatever.  I am also trying to limit how much time I spend on Facebook.  I am trying to only get once a day.

  • Mental: Read books and Blog
    • I will read my fair share of novels this year for fun, but I want to read 2 "deep" books.  Right now I am thinking one of them will be Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.
    • I want to post on my blog twice a week.  I also want to devote January to updating my blog and finishing up the posts that were scheduled for 2011, but I did not get completely done.
  • Update :: I started Mere Christianity, but I have not finished it.  I have read Practical Theology for Women and On the Incarnation.  I am hoping to finish Mere Christianity and maybe read one more book of depth this year.  Also, you can tell be glancing through the blog, that I have not been posting twice a week.  I really want to record life in here in Korea.  So hopefully I can spend some time planning out blog posts and capturing memories here.

  • Spiritual: I want to delve deeper into the Spiritual Disciplines.
    • Ian and I have purposed to read the entire Bible in 52 weeks (as of right now, I am not sure if this is going to happen or not, but we will at least give it a try!)
    • My verses for 2012 are from Ezekiel 36:25-27, "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart with new and right desires, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony heart of sin and give you a new, obedient heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so you will obey my laws and do whatever I command."  I added the bold part.  I love these verses.  God has been convicting me of how hard my heart can be in some areas of my life.  I want a soft heart. 
Update :: As you can see, I am rockin' the Bible reading.  I want to see how close to the end I can get by the time we leave Korea.  I did not foresee being this far ahead.  Praise God.  God is still working on my heart (as he will be for the rest of my life.)

  • Marriage: I want to pray for Ian more.
    • I am going to try to use my 30 minute walk to and from school to pray for my amazing husband.  
  • Update :: Fail.  I do not pray while I am walking to or from school.  I think about 9283423094 other things, but prayer never seems to be one of them.  And when I ride my bike, I mainly think about getting to school in one piece.  I would say that Ian and I are praying together more consistently.  I need to find some time in my day to pray for Ian.  So if you have any good ideas, let me know :)
Hopefully my update at the end of the year will be full of triumph (insert me humming Victory Through Jesus). 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Welp, I have not blogged in forever!  But here are some pictures of life in the last week or so.

Last Tuesday was sports day at my school.  It was my third time experiencing this fun day.  I did not take too many pictures.  But here are some of the 3rd grade kiddos doing a dance together.

This little girl in the front is Yumi or Yuri or something close to that :)

And here are some students playing the O X game.  A teacher would read a sentence and the students would walk to the O side if they agreed with the statement and walk to the X side if they thought the stament was wrong.  Then the teacher would say if the answer was O or X.  If you were on the incorrect side, you were out and had to go sit down. 

On Friday night, Ian and I went out to eat with some of his co-workers.  We had galbi and it was delicious!  The guys came over to our place for coffee afterwards.

(From L to R) Mark, Bob, Ian, Mr. Kim, 6th grade homeroom teacher (with THEE CUTEST baby I have ever seen in my life...yeah, I know I say that about all babies), and Mr. Han.

And here is proof that I cooked dinner.  Pretty much since moving to Korea, my amazing husband holds down the cooking department.  (Yes, I am well aware of how spoiled I am!)  But it REALLY nice to come home to a nice cooked meal after running.  And all during marathon training season, Ian was SO great about waiting for me to get home.  So I thought I should give him the night off and cook for him.

I always feel so accomplished after making my own ricotta to mix with the other cheese.

Granted we did not eat until after 7.  But you win some and you loose some.

Win!  I can't wait for leftovers!
We had asparagus for the "bangchan" (that is Korean for side dish.  Koreans are really into their bangchan.)  Can I just say it ROCKS to have connections to the US Military Base's grocery store.  Yeah for asparagus!  We ate all of it for dinner last night.  It was so. good.  Yum-o.

Happy Monday!  What was the best part of your weekend?

I think Mark and Bob are blowing kisses.  Don't ask me why though.  ^^