Friday, February 26, 2010

Don't Be Fouled.

You know, it really is the small things that make me laugh. I found this little guy plastered to my door this afternoon. And well... it made me laugh.

Don't know how anyone could possibly create an advertisement with a bottle of oil, two mounding plates of fried chicken, one of them smothered in sauce, and two mugs of beers; title it "Health", and think... "YES! I believe we've nailed it!"

Nice try boys.

I mean the green is working in your favor. And the leaf. Oh, the leaf! It's convincing. It really is! Want to convince anyone of a product's eco-friendliness or health consciousness... change your font to a muted green and add a touch of leaf. It'll get 'em every time! And the the farm house. Touching! You'd make Paula Dean proud.
But even she, the butter queen, wouldn't claim that fried chicken is health. I mean healthy.

Tasty- yes. Healthy- i think not.

But nice try!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Hello there!

It's about time for another update, eh?

Today marks six weeks I've been in Korea. Crazy, yea? It's flying by! I'm sure not the same is true for some of you reading this, but in the mix of all the past month has held for me, it's been a small whirlwind! Just newness. All the time.

At this point I can say that I'm getting into the groove of my job, and I'm really enjoying it. Though there are times the events at school are just chaotic or comical in all senses of logic, I quickly remind myself that I am the lowly English teacher, and I'm not responsible. It's in my nature to be an overachiever. Most of the time to my error. But, sometimes I just want to help out! Do a little extra. Yada, yada, yada. Well when you have no clue what is going on, cannot understand when things are being spoken of, you can't exactly help out. Right? So, I don't. I just focus on my job. Which mostly consists of printing out worksheets, singing songs, and goofing around with kids.

I always have crazy funny conversations with my students. You can thank me later for the host of stickies accumulating to the funny stories! Just small reminders of things to pass along to you guys back home! There have been some really good ones. One of my favorites this week was with an 8 year old boy.

He came into my class as a new student. So I introduced myself. Most students don't have an English name when they come in, so we ask them to pick one. Great, right? Well, try explaining that to a kid! To any kid for that matter! But for one who doesn't speak much more than "teacher. bathroom?" or "teacher. game?", it's quite the task! So, in all efforts to welcome him warmly I said "Hello, my name is Sarah teacher." Pointing to another boy student I said, "This is Alex.", and to another, "This is Gerome. What is your name?"
Day one. Flop. Miserably. I gave up efforts quickly after his poor face screamed confusion and he told me that it was Monday. I resorted to the ambiguous "you" for the rest of the day. Though, a little while into my lesson I realized he had a pretty good grip on English. For an 8 year old, that is.
Day two i was determined.
Gesturing again to No-Name, I said, "Hello! My name is Sarah teacher. What is your name?" He looks back at me and with all certainty says, "No."
Not exactly the answer I was going for. Even Korean kids have mastered "no". To all parents reading this, it crosses cultural boundaries. Even linguistic barriers.
Then, being proactive I continued, "Ok! We shall call you.... Max!" With a big smile he said, "No! No."
My look of confusion must have translated well. The kid Alex sitting next to him starts to laugh. Pointing to his chest he says, "Yes!" and then pointing to No-Name he says "No!" Indicating that No-Name's name is No, and Alex is Yes. Smart kids! And so stinkin' funny. The class starts to laugh. I couldn't help myself either! So I point back at the N0-Name, "No?" i question. He looks back in all sincerity of heart and in perfect English says, "Yes!"
Gerome. Alex. Julie. Jenny. Hannah. Diana. Amy. Jessica and No.

Fun times! Let's see, on a more personal note, I have been learning a lot lately! Moments of being here have been really hard this past week. You see, being in Korea is starting to feel normal. I'm starting to feel like this is my life. At least for the next year! Which is awesome! I am loving it! But at the same time, I am missing and have missed terribly the people back home. Things change, and that is hard!

I tell you what though... I am craving some serious Mexican food! The lack of Mexican food in Korea is not appreciated! Holy toledo. I was reading my recent email of "Eat This and Not That" (which if you're not a follower you should be!) And the picture of a fish taco got me. Man, what I would do for some salsa right now! Or cheese for that matter. : )

Tis' my six week update! I have accompanied it with some recent pictures of my apartment. It's starting to finally feel like "home". I'm a fan of that! Another three day weekend this weekend... and we're headed to the East Sea with some new friends! Should be a great time of relaxation! Hopefully the weather will cooperate with us... : )

Until next time!!
sarah, potts, pottsie, capa

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

All I Wanted Was a Nap.

Apartment living is always entertaining. I almost wrote fun, but that would have been a lie. I will spare the graphic details, but let's just say I've partaken of my fair share of Korean sounds in the past month. The paper-thin walls don't exactly help that problem, and well, people are just loud. Though I'm sure at times they don't exactly appreciate my finer tastes in music. : )

Well, today I was feeling rather tired. So i decided to take a nap. The moment i laid my little, tired head down, the little yapper upstairs started making noise. No, not a child. Though at night i am "blessed" with the serenade of "Hot Cross Buns" as a young-something- year-old practices ruthlessly on his new recorder in the apartment upstairs. He'll master it one day. And hopefully take up painting. This morning's musical headache was that of a bloody dog. A barking dog. One of those tiny dogs you have to give a hooded-coat and boots because he's so tiny, unnaturally so. And his little dog voice matches his little rat body? Got a picture in your head? Well that little beast barked for an hour straight as i tried to nap. Boo to that. I think i shall buy him a matching scarf, you know to make sure he's real warm.

So while i still have not mustered up the courage to bang on the ceiling, i can say i have officially confirmed one thing. My detest of dogs is international.
Just in case anyone was wondering.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Etch-a-Sketch Remix

You remember the Etch-a-Sketch right? That blasted red box? Well I never really got the groove for sketching pictures; it never really captured my attention long enough. However, i do remember one bus ride up to Hume Lake when I dominated that little guy. No pictures folks. Rather, I just wanted to see how long it would take me to clear the entire screen of that mystical dust to reveal the magic, inner workings. Success. It can be done friends. Provided you are trapped in a bus for 6 hours. Sadly, it wasn't as exciting as i thought. (That might be the same bus ride Heather colored my birthmark blue... but that's besides the point.)

Anyway, it snowed again last night. How many days is this? I'm really going to appreciate spring when it comes! Again. Besides the point. You're probably wondering how i'm going to tie an Etch-a-Sketch and another snow dumping together, but don't you worry my friends... it's coming.

The little men of Korea fascinate me. If it snows so much, why has no one invested in more efficient snow clearing tools and methods. I am no snow plow, but i do know that a broom is hardly adequate to "shovel" snow. Just saying! Anyway, like i think i've noted before, from my window i can see the park; including the running track and basketball courts. To my sheer delight and little chuckle, i saw the little men of Korea in another frantic attempt to clear the snow... this time in what i like to call the "Etch-A-Sketch Remix". I mean, with all this snow they've got to mix it up... keep things lively!

Eight or so men with driveway appropriate shovels attempting to clear four basketball courts and four volleyball courts of a few inches of snow. I looked at them and couldn't help but laugh... and snap a picture of course. It reminded me of my Etch-a-Sketch shenanigans and how, there really MUST be a better way. But for now, i will look on and keep smiling!

Slowly by surely.

"Keep it comin' boys!"

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lunar New Year at Lotus Lantern

I spent 24 hours this past weekend following the life of Buddhist monk, or more properly... a Buddhist nun. (How's that for a Valentine's Day celebration?)
Gangwha Lotus Lantern International Meditation Center was created in 1997 to be a place where foreigners could come learn about and experience Buddhism.

This is just what I did. Fear not folks, I'm not converting, but I am curious. Buddhism, among many other religions interest me. I just don't know much about them. Hence the temple stay. While I sadly cannot say I learned much about the Buddhist religion, in particular, I did learn a lot. Before I continue on this point... let me tell you a little bit out our agenda.

We arrived Saturday afternoon, changed into our hot monk-wear, settled into our rooms, and enjoyed ceremonial tea with one of the nuns. Can i please tell you enjoying tea as she prepared it was wonderful. Not an ordinary cup of tea bag tea. There was something rich about the ritual of brewing a pot of tea of fresh leaf tea. Preparing the cups and enjoying it over conversation. I loved it!

Anyway, our host nun was great! Super funny and very open. We learned a little bit about her life and her journey to become a nun. As you can imagine it was very interesting. It started with her first temple stay. After feeling the "peace" at the temple, she left her life as a successful advertising and public relations professional and hagwan (english academy) owner, and traded it for that of a nun. She told us a lot. One thing that rings loud in my ears and weighs heavy on me heart is when she said " I felt a deep emptiness. Being here helped... but i'm still trying to find the answers."

That night we experienced evening chanting and meditation sessions. Entering the temple of an idol is powerful. Not in the sense of this god having any true power, but in the intensity of being in the presence of people worshiping an idol. I could not look up at the alter for a few minutes. I was taken back by the reality of this false worship and it struck me hard. Everything in me wanted to yell, "Open your eyes!! Look and see!!! The Creator of the freakin' universe created the beauty outside of this place, is giving you the breath you need to mouth this chant. And you're bowing down to a golden man." What Moses must have felt!

But in an indescribable switch in emotion i soon felt empty of the emotion of it. I no longer was intrigued at the intricacy of the temple, or the eeriness of sitting before an alter dedicated to Buddha, but rather overcome with the assurance of its emptiness. People, falling prostrate before a created figurine in sincere hope. Jaded. There is no hope in a dead god.

One of my favorite parts of our trip was Sunday morning on a meditation walk through the countryside. I was just walking, looking at the beautiful scenery around me... thanking Jesus for being beautiful! We were trekking the property of what still looked like temple grounds. At one point I backed off from the group to take some pictures and looked to my right to see a cross in the snow. Of what you ask?! A power line pole had fallen in the snow so perfectly that it was perched up on a hill over all of this Buddhist land. Illuminated so beautifully by the white snowy background. I was reminded that Jesus is present. He's always present.

It was a good weekend. A once in a lifetime experience that's for sure!

Here are some pictures!

Monk Hotpants

The Darma Hall


The sunset was beautiful.

Hey. Thanks Jesus!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

It's Been Snowing for 2 Days!

Yup. That's a lot of snow.

But the funniest thing about that has to do with ice cream.

You see, I walk past a Baskin Robbins every day to and from work. It's usually empty. Understandably so! It's winter. And cold. And well for the past two days it's been snowing. Not exactly prime ice cream cone consuming conditions.

But yesterday was different. As I was walking to school i passed more than a few folks rockin' the ice cream cones. Umbrella in one hand, shielding themselves from the snow, and an ice cream cone in the other. Huh? How is that even enjoyable? Oh, it got better. I soon passed the BR and it was packed! What the?!? Why, in the dead of winter, in the middle of a snow dumping, would you want to get ice cream? It kind of baffles my mind. When it snows, my first though is coffee and fireplace. Cozy blanket and hoodie. Not an ice cream cone.

But, i cannot yet judge. So, in full participation of the Korean culture, i commit to buy an ice cream cone when it snows again. The downpour has taken a bit of a hiatus; but, tonight, if it starts again, i will make the purchase. Rock the umbrella. And conclude whether or not there is something magical about enjoying ice cream in the snow.

This is Pottsie reporting from South Korea. More to come on that soon. Back to you in California.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Hello friends!

While I have posted a few interesting stories the past few days, i don't think i've written an official "greeting" in a while, so here goes nothing! : )

Today is day three of gloomy rainy weather suckiness. There is rumor, more like weather channel predictions, that it might snow tonight. I would be a whole lot happier if i woke up to the sun beaming in my window! As majestic as it is to wake up to a sweet snow covering of the Emart parking lot (the view from my window), i'd much rather wake up to the sun beaming in. Just saying. I'm bracing myself for the bitter cold that is bound to come after it stops raining. Bring on the beanie!

Let's see... this week is my one month mark in Korea! It seems to have FLOWN by! I really feel like i just got here! And i mean, i kind of did. But a month went by super quick! One down. Eleven to go. Whoot!

In light of the gloomy weather I have likened myself to a small hermit, and have stayed pretty much cooped up in my apartment. Besides my trek to and from work. Kind of lame, but for those who know me know i hate the rain. Especially walking in it. So until it passes i'll stay inside (Or else. Take that as threat, you rain!). Hopefully it will end soon... i'm going a little stir crazy. One good thing all this stirring has cooked up is a little creative juice. I have successfully plastered a massive tree in my kitchen, and one on the wall by my window. And have started a piece of art called "Fruit". And i've also mastered up some pretty massive ideas... too big and awesome to share in this brief blog. More to come on that soon.

Superbowl Monday was awesome. Well, mostly awesome because i got to see/talk to my family! But it lacked serious snackage and I settled for a sad attempt to watch the game via live score updates. Fr those of us who lack any comprehension of football lingo, following the game is sickly lame when you have to read about it. And i mean, with no commercials call i even call it the Superbowl? Philosophical... i know, but a valid question i think. I was hoping to land myself an Internet showing, but no such luck. Next year!

Tomorrow a new foreign teacher will come, her name is Rachel and she is a complete mystery to us. But we shall meet her soon! (She better be awesome. Or else!) This weekend is also Lunar New Year... so THREE DAY WEEKEND! whoot! I think in my last greeting i said we were headed to Jeoungju. Change o' plans. We learned that tradition calls the city folk into the countryside to pay homage to their elders. Most will head towards Jeoungju. We'll go another weekend when we won't have to dodge traffic and people and crowd madness.

We are now headed to the Lotus Lantern Temple to experience a temple stay. I will be learning about Buddhism and it's influence in Korean culture and living a monk life for 24 hours. Pretty awesome. Pray that I would be equipped to engage in fruitful conversation with the people there. That i would have an open mind to learn and engage... but also point people to Jesus. Because he ALONE is sufficient!

: ) Getting all fired up inside! More to come on that for sure! Check it out!

Week 4, one day shy... CHECK!

Have a great weekend!

sarah, potts, pottsie, capa

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Third and Biggest Earthquake in 32 Years

We had an earthquake in Korea today.
I thought it was someone banging around in the classroom beside mine... however it was a little earthquake. They're not common in Korea! My students were excited to tell me all about it!

Here's the news report.

Monday, February 8, 2010

"Chicken Class"

I think it is safe to say that when your class brings you fried chicken, they probably like you.

And that makes my little heart happy!

Let me explain.

You see, i don't eat much meat and i really don't prefer to eat things that are fried. But that didn't matter tonight. Let me tell you a little story.

I teach a range of class levels and grades. My favorites are my older elementary and middle school classes. I enjoy interacting with kiddos who can generally communicate with me and who i can goof around with. Well one of those classes is a class of 3 higher level, middle school students. Violet, Andy and Turtle. Don't be alarmed. It's a nickname. Not to be confused with a horrible attempt at an English name. Anyway, last week we had a conversation about chicken. I cannot remember the entire conversation but i do remember saying something a kin to, "If you ever brought chicken to class you'd make my night!"

These students took that and stuck it in their back pockets. They not only understood my joke, but took my comment literally... and they brought chicken to class. Yes. A bucket of fried, sauce smothered chicken awesomeness. And yes. It did make my night! Maybe my week! So i canceled my lesson. And we sat there and ate fried chicken. I enjoyed every second of it!

The bell rang and i was filling out my lesson log. I started to write "We ate chicken." when Turtle piped up, "Just write 'chicken class." And i laughed. Real hard!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Seoul Launches Floating Island

Kind of interesting...
check it out!

Viva: First of 3 manmade islands in the Han River.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Greetings from Sanbon!

Today was a nippy 19 degrees, and i'll tell you what, i will be really happy when I can rock a scarf simply for kicks and not to shield from piercing coldness!

I cannot complain. Though horribly cold, it is beautiful here! Maybe it's because it's all new at this point, but i'm still loving it! I am anticipating the spring, when things will turn green and the cherry blossom trees bloom! Ah... joy to my little soul.

The past two weeks have been a blur! I've been adjusting to teaching, preparing classes, and settling into my new role. Teaching English really is as simple as people say. It's transitioning into the job without really any guidance that is the hard part. Training really is a foreign word.

I'm two days into my new schedule and my new classes and aside from a host of blank stares and "huhs" i think it is going pretty good. At one point tonight a young man was talking about me in Korean. I scared the pee out of him when i told him i could understand Korean and that i understood everything he was saying. His eyes got real big, he kept swallowing real hard, and persistently asked me if i really knew what he was saying. HA! That was a fun little game! I'm really enjoying working with my older kids... they're fun, and take me back to junior high group days!

Anyway... before class today i had a few errands to run and decided to take a little walk around town. Part that i had yet to explore. As i was walking back, i passed a group of young girls. One of them was my student and she introduced me to her friends... and we chatted for a bit. It just warmed my heart. One of the reasons i was looking forward to coming here was the opportunity to poor into some young women. And i think it's happening! I am hopeful that they will see me as a safe and fun-loving person who genuinely cares for them! And in that, my prayer is that they would see Jesus. Step one: street recognition and small take... i'll take it! Just need to get caught up on my KPop (Korean Pop music) then i can really connect!

One topic heavy on my mind is the topic of beauty. It is interesting how the definition and standard of beauty changes in a culture exchange. I have not fully fleshed out this idea in my mind, but when i do i will share. In short, i am just amazed and taken back when people find my green eyes, blonde hair, and height especially beautiful. I have never received so many compliments as i have in Korea-- from complete strangers. It is just interesting.... and often times horribly awkward. ha!

I've started to attend a small international church called Life Church. It's only two subways, one bus and 1.5 hours away... but I am loving it! The congregation is full of people who love Jesus and love his kingdom work! Just sitting in the midst is powerful. My prayer is that i will find a place to plug in and in that find community and an outlet to serve.

Lunar New Year is coming up! Which means a new year for the moon and we get a three day weekend! Whoot! Three off us foreign teachers are planning a little get-away. We are planning to go to Jeonju for a weekend of Korean culture, bibimbap, hanok, and rest! Should be a great weekend! I' looking forward to it!

A little update for you! I am doing well. My apartment is starting to feel like home. And my heart is starting to miss home! But i am still LOVING Korea and being here! I came wanting to see Jesus and his beauty is abundant in Korea! For that... i am thankful! As i say often, i am convinced that seeing Jesus changes everything! Whoot to that! Though i cannot express at times just how much i miss my loved ones. Thank you Jesus for skype! Distance reminds you just how awesome people are in your life!

More to come soon! Love you all!