Thursday, December 17, 2009

Almost Christmas

The good-lady-mother has requested an update, and so I oblige.  This one isn't going to be as comprehensive as I would like, but will hopefully be something quick to let you know that I'm thriving and jiving out here in South Korea. 

The Christmas season is upon us and I've put up my tiny little-shrub-with-lights-on from last year and strung fairy lights around my window.  Have been in the workship ("workshop" but I'm watching TNG) of late producing delightful holiday knicknacks that may appear a bit rudimentary, but keep me out of trouble, at least.  The season is a bit quieter out here in SoKo, no Santas on motorcycles or massive light displays, but I'm finding that really, I secretly miss it all.  I miss the Macy's windows and the tree at Rockafeller Center, I miss the tackiness and the over the top and the gosh-darn-it-why-not-it's Christmas kind of thing.  I miss people and places and home.        

But in spite of that missing, there is a kind of satisfaction and peace that rests on me now. Joseph Addison has said: "The grand essentials to happiness are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for." This morning, while I was brushing my teeth I realized that socks on the floor, felt "joy" stocking on my wardrobe, world maps and dream boards on the wall, I've never been happier.  The grace of God has brought me safe thus far and I trust that His grace will lead me home.  

If it's been awhile since I've seen you, I miss you.  Know that I think of you often and thoughts of coming home-- coming home well-- keep me going.  Until then, I will continue to work, live and love the Lord my God with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my strength.  I am hoping and praying that you will do the same.  

Merry Christmas!  

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Blog Slapped"

So when I was younger (like, er, two years ago...) I used to do this thing where I would totally write a blog with a certain person in mind, hope that they'd read it, and be appropriately emotionally afflicted.  I totally don't do that kind of thing (much) anymore, mostly because it's something a 2-year-old would do and I'm trying very hard to put childish things aside.  

This morning finds me about to engage in the (very grown up) act of visiting the dentist, which is actually quite cheap and effective here in SoKo.  I discovered this out of necessity (a that I got in the States fell out crown fell out and I needed it repaired) but once I struck up a friendship with the dentist, who works on our company's CEO and gives us all 10% discounts, I started not being opposed to the idea of making those regular (very grown up) visits to the dentist a habit. 

So here I am in my very grown up apartment, drinking coffee, about to go to my very grown up appointment, feeling very grown up.  It's exhausting, but really, this whole "pretending to be a grown-up" thing isn't all that bad. 


Thursday, September 24, 2009


TGIF (Thank God It's Fall)
Yesterday was the first official day of fall.  Hurray!

While the temperature isn't showing it, (still 80+ degrees out here) there's a definite shift in the air.  The nights are coming sooner (getting dark after my second class, as opposed to my third) and the air is crisping up.  The kids are going back to school with new uniforms, backpacks, and notebooks.    

I look forward to this new season partially because I'm eager to leave summer behind, but also because I just love fall.  In Korea, it has enormous hubcap-sized leaves and streets filled with roasting chestnuts and fresh-baked waffles.  It also brings a host of endings and new beginnings.   

The good-byes this year were the sweetest yet and happened peacefully with forethought and celebration.  I'm ridiculously proud of the awesome people (one young women in particular ;) ) that have come into my life and can't wait to see where we'll meet again.  I'm getting ready to watch out the window.    

Until then, it's nose to the grindstone season where I'll be sending myself back to school, as it were, and preparing for the next chapter in my life.  This is a coming hibernation with the promise of rebirth.  We're lucky the streetlights come on earlier so we can see clearly on the way back home.     

Friday, June 12, 2009

"Departure's a simple act..." or is it?

These next three months (July, August, September) find me saying good-bye to several very dear friends.  I know beyond a shadow that I will most certainly see them all again, but I'm concerned with their physical location in that it thwarts my ability to call them up for a coffee dates.  That's going to be a drag.  
Such is the life of an expat, but as my friend remarked, "It comes in waves."  This is just one of the swells, but I haven't decided if it's an upsurge or downturn.  I suppose it depends on your perspective.  The same wave that terrifies the novice swimmer produces sheer delight in the experienced surfer (thank you Oswald, for that one).

Either way, it's a season of change and I'm determined to face it deliberately, with my eyes open and senses ready to feel, whatever that may entail.  

(Only I might just put on sunglasses first ;)

At the K2 Airbase (top secret!) for a church picnic.

I'm the one in the middle wearing sunglasses.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Serious, Non-Life Threatening Conditions, Part 7

Dear Friends and Family in Michigan, Florida, Calicalifornia, and beyond:
(Mom, Mezza, Aunt Dianne &Uncle Art, Aunt Rosi &Uncle Ed, Aunt Merry & Uncle Brandt, Aunt Kathi & Uncle Jerry, coolest cousins in the world Eddie, Julie, Josh and Jess) 

I am absolutely fine. 
Kim Jong-Il and his various incarnations are beating the war drums, but I feel like that's really all they're bringing to the table right now.  

Nothing wrong over here except a serious (but non-life threatening) case of The Lazies.  
Prescription Cure: A good, swift kick in the backside.   
Prognosis: Good, as long as said cure is received.  

Am loving the new location and job.  Co-workers are smashing good fun and church is faith incarnate.  
Hoping you all are well!


Sunday, February 15, 2009

SoKo Survival Tip #117- Kiddie Pool as a Bathtub

I admit it: I'm a bath-er.  Hardcore, as in, first thing in the morning.   I find that it eases the transition from sleep to the world awake and it's one of the things I miss the most being over here.  I was bemoaning my tub-lessness to Ghengis last summer.
"Sheesh, I don't think I'd be able to do it." she said.  "I mean, I'll send you a kiddie pool or something... "

*lightbulb goes on*

"We have kiddie pools over here!"

So I bought one last August (AUGUST!) and am just getting around to blowing it up and using it now.  And I can't believe it took me this long.  Greatest idea ever.  It doesn't fit completely in my bathroom, but I turn it on it's side, crease in the middle, and sit in the bottom part.  

Fill with water and enjoy.  

Monday, February 2, 2009

Passing the Torch

I bought a new backpack today.  This is news-worthy, I promise.  

I'd needed a new one for ages now, ever since the lining ripped in Old Faithful.  The pockets in the front aren't pockets anymore, so all my stuff just kind of puddles into the middle making it near impossible to locate key items (like bus passes, which is not a good way to make friends with the people behind you in line, let me say.)  The fabric is so thin that things like pens and pencils poke out and incapacitate me at key moments (like when I'm already 5 minutes late for work) but despite all this, I was still reluctant to let it go.    

It was purchased from the GAP in 2002 for 9 bucks.  It's been on 3 continents and through two major life changes and I feel like it carries a little part of me with it.  It was one of those items that snuck up on me in its usefulness; I hadn't planned for it to become such a bit part of my life.  I feel like it kind of became like a trusted friend that I could turn to for extra support and room and letting it go has been so much harder than I expected.  

Today, I finally took the plunge and bought a North Face Sure Shot (32 L/2100 cu. in.)  I had done endless research on the different styles available, etc. and had agonized over the purchase for months.  Even in the store, I waffled endlessly between two options when this one finally won out.  (Thanks Tabs, Janice, and Xtina for being part of my "panel of advisors" ;))  I'm confident in this new decision, but I feel the need to mark the passage of Old Faithful.  It's not just a bag, it's a friend.            

My motto for 2009 is "Fewer, Better" and I hope that I'll be able to carry this out in all aspects of my life.  Learn the lessons, release the past, embrace the future.   

Old Faithful, you will be missed.  Sure Shot, welcome home.  


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Christmas: Set Down

Christmas Eve at my place.  I made salmon, mashed potatoes, spinach salad, carrots, and broccoli with cheese.  My sister remarked "that's not Christmas"  No, but I had to stick with narrow foods that would fit in my toaster oven. 


Felt the need to decorate for the occasion and spent a few evenings making (poor man paper) ornaments.  

Photobucket Photobucket  

Baby Christmas Tree


Got the bright idea for a fireplace at the last minute (as inspired by Tabbie)  

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Good shot of the decorations (and people too, I guess ;) ) 
(from left: Tabatha, Chrissey, Jenny B, Julia, Jenny Y, Adina) 

There were ten people total: 9 were other English instructors from our International church and 1 was a cool friend of one of one of the church girls.  9 girls, one amazing guy, and a visit from one Mr. Santa Clause brought us all full on full-sized presents.  Santa brought me a copy of O. Henry short stories and a Corningware casserole dish (bearing a large "MADE IN AMERICA" logo) 

(clockwise from left: Heather, Chrissey, Andrew, Adina, Jenny B, Me, Julia, Jenny Y, Joanna) 

We also did a stocking stuffer activity where everyone brought ten small gifts and put them in everyone else's stocking so that at the end of the evening, everyone had ten different small gifts in their stocking.   

Dessert was cake (Duncan Heins with frosting!) and cookies.

After opening stockings/presents, everyone left 5:30am on the 25th, at which time I snatched a few hours of sleep before getting up and cooking again for our annual Moonkkang Christmas dinner at the lovely Hof n Joy.  It was actually a super affair, with delicious turkey roasted by Michelle, and a "Bad Santa" gift exchange emceed by Jammie and Lynn.  Everyone brought a gift and had their name put in a hat.  One at a time, a name was pulled and the person would go up to the stage to choose and unwrap a gift.  The next person had the choice of either choosing another wrapped gift, or stealing a gift from the person that came before them, and so on.  It worked in your favor to be called toward the end, as you had a better selection of gifts to choose from, although a gift could only be stolen three times before it found its permanent home.

Brick, christmas tree, great friends, and a cozy atmosphere.  Not bad for being away from home.  Actually, I would consider it almost better than home because it was an unexpected departure from the same old holiday routine.  Being far away from family and people I've known and loved for years has made me that much more thankful for the new friends and traditions this year.  

I made my Christmas cards because I couldn't find any that said what I wanted to say.  

"May peace prevail on earth" in seven languages...  and as many more as we can learn and tell. 

May the peace of Christmas stay with you all year long.  

Thursday, January 1, 2009


*To be better about distilling my thoughts into posts.

Happy New Year!

Best wishes for a smashing 2009!