Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas in Korea

"Jeolgeoun kurissamassa"

This Christmas was the first spent away from my family, and well, i am thankful for two things.
1. That it went by rather quick, and
2. For the people here who made it awesome!

It's hard being away from loved ones during the holidays! Familiarity. Tradition. Mom's home cooking! You know, the little things that warm your heart! When you live across the globe, it is a little hard. But, even though a few tears were shed sharing Christmas with my family over skype... "i had a lovely holiday" (said in a Brittish accent)!

Christmas Eve was spent at work where i watched the first 40 minutes of Elf five or six times. And not just any Elf-- Elf with Korean subtitles. My kids loved it. I found myself mid-evening sitting at Kimbap Heaven on my Christmas Eve dinner break enjoying a less than delicious bowl of bibimguksu (mixed vegetable/chile paste cold noodle dish). My meal was quickly redeemed by the Christmas Eve program on a TV overhead featuring Korean pop stars and their renditions of English Christmas carols. Epic i tell you. I sat there, next to a taxi driver scarfing bowls of rice, chuckling again to myself... "Where the heck am i?" Later that night some friends gathered at my place and we welcomed Christmas Day in with a cup of cider, a potato pizza, some Sacha Baron Cohen Youtube clips, and the company of some good friends!

We celebrated Christmas morning how all Christmas mornings should-- brunch. No rice here folks. Only breakfast food. Only Christmas appropriate American-ly delicious breakfast food. Pancakes. Bacon. Eggs. Potatoes and coffee. It was delightful! A wonderful meal with some wonderful friends... followed by an afternoon of napping, skyping and movies.

i love breakfast! i really love Christmas breakfasts!

My dear friend and our lovely host... thanks Becks!

There you have it... a Merry little Christmas indeed!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010



Sorry. That is not a Korean Wienerschnitzel. It is, however, a Korean dog soup restaurant.

Hot and domesticated. Awesome! : )

(Thanks to my friend Zeke!)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

To: You

Jesus has come!! Our King is here! For that we celebrate.
May God reveal himself and the beauty of his Son to you this Christmas! This beautiful baby grew to become a mighty servant to all--humbling himself to earth, he died in the place of those he loved, and rose from the dead as a beautiful victor! In that we walk confidently, for that is our HOPE, and JOY and PEACE for today.
Fix your eyes heavenward... because he is coming again!
He has promised to make all things beautiful again!

Merry Christmas indeed!

yours truly

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Traffic in Korea

Scenario #1

Bad A is trying to make a left hand turn. Clunker B is attempting the same corner making a right. I am approaching said corner of conflict at about the same time. I stop abruptly to avoid a bodily collision while Bad A keeps turning and stopping inches from Clunkers fender. He, obviously holier and more experienced proceeds to yell from his car window. Clunker B neither finishes his turn nor lets me or Bad A continue and responds to Bad A's hostility. The go at it for a while. Meanwhile i am still stopped, watching, hesitant to run across in the midst of the obviously horrendous offense, motioning for them both to just turn already. Traffic has also stopped- unable to pass both cars now blocking the intersection. Let's go people. And cool your jets... i think i had the right of way anyway!

Scenario #2

I am stopped at a crosswalk. In from of me are two cars fresh in a fender bender. Dumb and Dumber have decided to stop in the middle of the street- blocking both lanes and conjesting traffic through the busy intersection. Whilst an open curb lies maybe 20 feet in front of them to the right. It gets better. An impatient bus- making a left hand turn on a red- weaves its way through now halted traffic and attempts to shimmy itself between said stopped cars and the curb. Meanwhile, the crosswalk signal has given me and other amused watchers a green light. All i could do was laugh and shake my head. First... D&D...pull the heck over yo! Did you happen to look around? Second, bus. Seriously? Seriously. Hate to give you a complex-- but, if a car cannot fit in that space- neither can you. You have a bloody red light. Calm the heck down. LET ME RUN!

Scenario #3
I approach a crosswalk to find two cars who have just kissed. Hardly an accident. Crazy Face gets out of his car, ice cream sandwich in hand (and on face), and makes his way over to Poor Guy. He proceeds to start yelling at this guy who hardly hit his rear, and gets so heated at moments that he starts screeching. Poor Guy suggest that he pull around the corner to get out of traffic (smart guy!)... and Crazy Face follows him-- leaving his car parked in traffic. Idiot. Both men are now standing on the corner. Crazy Face is still munching his ice cream between spurts of profanity and jumbled Korean as milky spit is now flying everywhere. Poor Guy is apologizing and looking to make sure there wasn't any real damage. His car obviously the more valuable of the two. I cross the crosswalk and can still hear Crazy Face screaming from across the street. At this time, Poor Guys has gotten back in his car and Crazy Face is now at his window throwing what remains of his fatty sweets at the guy's car. I get on my bus with only one word: 진짜?!?
(really!!! in Korean.)

Monday, December 13, 2010


Well I've done it folks... i've crossed over into the final month of my time in Korea. And I just realized i've been mistaken on my time left. All weekend i've been telling folks that i have 6 weeks left- i don't! I ONLY HAVE 4 WEEKS!! That is crazy.

But before i go on ranting about my time left, let me recap this last month.

If you didn't know i got to travel home a few weeks ago to visit my family and friends, and most of my November was spent counting down the days! As much as i tried to stay present in Korea, the longing to be home and the closeness of that actually happening was a little much some days. You can ask my coworkers. I'm sure my ridiculous countdowns got a little tedious. Home came and went and it was delightful! I got to spend some time with my family, catch up with dear friends and celebrate the marriage of a dear sister. It was amazing. Just the reboot and refill i needed to return and finish strong.

I've actually been told that i look better now than i did before i left. (I must have really needed a vacation!)

Tensions have been pretty high in Korea the past few weeks. The associated press reports as if war is imminent, yet things on the Korean front are rather commonplace-- with the exception of a few people that is. A few Korean friends and coworkers talk more heatedly about the most recent attack, however no one really considers the idea of an all out war. Being home didn't help. I sat on a balancing act of media hype, social passivism and reality. Needlesstosay, I returned to Korea after my short vacation and well, as expected, life continues as normal here. Admittedly, I was checking CNN daily for almost two weeks straight, but deep down i didn't really expect anything to happen. I still don't.

For the first time ever, i worked on Thanksgiving! For the most part it felt like any other day. Which was a little sad- and something i hope not to repeat again. But we celebrated in full steam the weekend before and rocked a traditional Thanksgiving meal like only expats can do in Korea! No cranberry sauce, or turkey, but it was rounded out nicely with some stuffing, mashed potatoes/gravy, pumpkin pie, and some good wine! I also roasted my first chicken, and that was an adventure. I gutted, cleaned, rubbed down and roasted the little guy. Yes, i am a vegetarian. And yes, that is a neck bone. It was SICK. But i guess it came out pretty tasty.

The lovely clan in my little apartment.


I spent the last part of November in the states! And it was, again, amazing! Too much to detail right now. Awesome will have to suffice.

I left the California sun and arrived back in Korea to a week of snow! It dumped for two days last week... and stuck! I walked into one class one afternoon with all my little ones up on the window sill. I had to grab my phone to take a picture! I love this class!

Alice. Lisa. Suzie. Hannah. Jinny. Sam

Snow from my office window.

Now i find myself halfway through December with only 12 days till Christmas! Time is flying by! Christmas will be undeniably different, but i am excited to spend Christmas with my friends here! I am convinced that if my expectations are for something new- i will not be disappointed. I will most definitely be missing my family... but celebrating Jesus and his coming to be with us can happen in any and every corner of the world!

Even in my apartment! : )

So now i'm looking forward. Christmas Eve is next. I'll be "working". But, I plan to read the Christmas Story to my kids! Christmas day will be spent with friends! A new teacher shall be joining us the following week. And we plan to rock New Years Eve like only one can do in Seoul! As my dear friend D would say-- it's best! And then we'll break into 2011. Can you believe it? Me either.

There you have it friends! Month 11 was great and the next few weeks promise good things as well! I'll leave the "end times" for another post!

Korea you're awesome. We shall live it up this month!

More to come soon!