Friday, July 09, 2010

transportation games

so since moving here just over a week ago, paul and i have created a game we play when we are out and about. does anyone remember the game "slug bug"? when someone spotted a VW bug that person would punch their friend on the arm and yell slug bug. i have no idea how the game started or anything, but we used to do it for a bit.

well, our game is called "monk on a moto". all the monks here wear bright orange robes that can vary in hue depending on their status, but they stand out. every now and again we spot them on the back of a moto. when one of us spots one, we say "monk on a moto" and point it out. so far, i have proven to be quite good at this game where paul is less observant when we are out. but tonight.....not only did i spot a monk on a moto, but i got a DOUBLE monk on a moto.....two monks on the back with their driver. it was awesome! i know it is silly, but we are enjoying our silly little game. hopefully paul can begin to polish his spotting skills...

for those of you unfamiliar with motos---it is a scooter with a long seat that extra people can ride on the back of. it is a cheap way to get around and can just jump on, tell the driver where you want to go, and then he takes you there. neither of us have been crave enough to try one yet, but i am sure at some point we will. most folks recommend you bring a helmet if you go on a moto, so we would need to get helmets.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

we have moved

new country, new culture, new people, new way of life, new schedule, new places, new eating spots (come on, you know us---what is travel without food???)...

we have been here a week and it has been so busy with settling in, finding the things we need, managing to work out learning that things don't always happen fast, and sweating a whole lot.

we officially moved into our place on sunday, july 4th. we stayed in a hotel for the first few nights while we got things organized and cleaned up some. now, we have water delivery, some groceries in the fridge, internet set up, and working on getting some furniture & decor. our shipment is scheduled for delivery saturday, but that can change. it has already changed twice, i think.

we have been just hanging out, running errands, checking out our neighborhood, and figuring out what life here is like. the one change we have noticed is that our schedule has shifted....we are in bed usually by 9 or 10 pm and awake by 9 or 9:30am. yes, for those of you in doubt...tis true. there is not much to do after 7 or 8pm in the evening and the sun is bright and cheery through the bedroom windows, so we are up and at it before the alarm even rings. it has been quite strange considering usually we are late night owls and sleep until the sun is in mid-sky. :)

there have been bumps and bruises along the way--paul has now bought two different power strips for our tv/computer set up with no avail that they are not the right ones, not safe, or they don't accept all the sizes of plugs. it is frustrating, but what can we do? take a deep breath and try again. the cat set up was crazy expensive---who knew??? we bought a litter box, litter, a scoop and a mat and spent an obscene amount of money. it was embarrassing, but again...what do we do? we tried to find another pet shop to check prices but had no luck in that search at all. since, we have found cheaper cat litter at one of the grocery stores, thank goodness. we were quite worried that our four-leggeds would be quite the pricey pets.

there have been laughs too--paul told me the story of the tv cable installation. they ran the cord in the house, but had to run the cable across the street to hook up to the "main" or something. the guy stood in the street and threw it over about four/five different already existing lines that were perpendicular. he said it was quite the show and when i got home he pointed to our cable tv line running across the street. wow! the internet cable also goes across the street, but in a different direction, but as well being draped over other lines along the way.

there have been animal sightings--we have had two rat sightings so far. mine was alive and in the computer store. it ran from under one set of shelves to the other. i jumped a little and let out a quiet, "oh!". paul saw the second one, but it was dead and at the bottom of our 61 stairs. he texted me that he almost stepped on it. next time he came by, it was gone.

there has been lots and lots of sweating--we have 61 upward steps from the ground up to our apartment front door on what i think is considered the fourth floor. there are eight more from the front door to the ground level of our apartment (living room, kitchen and baths). then we have some more going up the bedrooms, but i have not counted those yet. we are hoping that all the regular daily upward steps will help us lose some weight.

i have been to the market a few times so far. ming, our amazing housekeeper, went to get cleaning stuff the first trip to the one near our house (four blocks) and i went along. it is crazy. there is a lot of stuff in a small space. they are open air, but covered. it is hot and again, sweaty. today we went to the russian market (further away) to get baskets, bath stuff, and other odds and ends. i was worried about getting lost so i stayed close to ming at all times. she lead the way, managed the bargaining, taught me some tricks, and always wore a smile even though we were sweating like maniacs. i love it.

PP is awesome so far. we are loving it here and enjoying taking it all in. believe us that there is a LOT to take in, daily. it's raw and real. there is no doubt we are living in a developing country, but it's an adventure that we are quite loving. we know that God brought us here and we cannot wait to see our adventure unfold...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

red velvet art camp

i am taking an e-course for six weeks on all things crafty. i don't have all my stuff here since it is en route to cambodia, but i have managed to make one project---an embroidery. i love it and have so many more ideas for projects involving embroidery running around in my head. cannot wait to start more...might even make one trip to dongdaemun for some more stuff before we leave.

here is a pic of my finished piece...

hope you like it as much as i do...

RAW(e) Pets & Animals

I am back to submitting photos for Sami's weekly RAW(e) photo post. It is fun and gives me an outlet for my photography.

Here is this week's pic of Sam, our lovely 17 year old cat, hanging out in the sun which is one of his favorite places to be.

Monday, May 31, 2010

{seoul eats} cafe source--hongdae

wow, we tried another cafe tonight and were just amazed at how good the food was. it is a japanese cafe and they have all kinds of great food to try.

we began our meal with the prosciutto plate. i had hojyo white wine to drink and paul had an oolong tea. so far so good. the prosciutto plate was small, but quite tasty. the wine smelled really sweet, but was sour to taste. interesting, but i don't think i will have it again. paul said the oolong tea was nice, but not as good as the kind in the usual brown can.

for mains, we had pasta. paul ordered the shrimp and avocado genovese and i got the chicken and spinach with cream sauce. both were delicious. a nice size portion and great flavor. we will have them both again.

for dessert, we just couldn't resist, paul got the salt caramel mopple set with a cafe au lait (i drank it). i ordered the tiramisu with a cappuccino. yum, yum, yum! tiramisu is my favorite and it was good, but not better than at jenny's. the mopple was to die for, in my opinion.

all in all, we will go back. most likely many times in the next month before we leave for cambodia. in fact, we are taking good friends there tomorrow night. mmmmm....what to try next??? i am dying to try the citrus fruit ginger ale.

click here for their site and menu.

click here for map.

click here for street view. this pic is not the most recent, but this is the building where the cafe is located, just behind starbucks coffee.

Friday, May 28, 2010

simplifying our lives--the first steps

we are moving. the moving process always brings on the idea of cleaning, simplifying, and taking stock of what one owns and what one accumulates over time.

when we began the process of preparing to move back in march, i realized just how much stuff we had. the first task on the list was to go through our clothes. wow! it was shocking, a little embarrassing and most of all heartbreaking. we gave away eleven big bags of clothes. i was inspired by other blog readers at the time to simplify and used their wisdom to help me do just that.

the guidelines:
1. does it fit and make you feel beautiful?
2. do you wear it often?
3. is it required for work?

if the answer to any of these questions is no, then out it went. it was such a liberation to get rid of all the clothes, but also amazing to see how much i was not wearing and it was just taking up space. nuts. the thought that one human can accumulate that much is kind of scary.

since this initial clean out, i have been more aware of what i own, wear often, and like the best from my clothes. i also have taken note of what i feel like in certain clothes asking myself, "do i love this? do i feel great with it on? do i have some thing else similar?" it has been a great start to the process.

even this week, when having to scale down again for the next month while still in seoul and transitioning to phnom penh, i realized i still have more than i think i really need when it comes to clothes. i have two more weeks of school and then two weeks here in seoul before we move. i had to figure out what i would need to have between now and then both for work and home. i got it to a small, sufficient collection. the rest went in the shipment today. reflecting, i wonder why i can't live with this small amount all the time and not just for the next month.

i am hoping to go through my clothes again when we unpack in pp. i am going to ask the same questions and consider the fact that cambodia is hot and humid much of the year. cannot wait to purge some more...

simplifying our lives--the next step coming soon... stay tuned!

movers came and went...

what a day! today the movers came, packed up all our stuff, and went on their way. we had estimated three cubic meters, but ended up with about five. it is okay...i am not sure how they expect one to know how many cubic meters one has?!?! they arrived on time, evaluated what they would be packing and started at it. paul and i sat and watched. we had be warned, advised, and told by friends that we should watch them like hawks to make sure that they packed only what we wanted to be packed. friends shared stories of unpacking their stuff at their destination only to find there was garbage that had been shipped, nasty grease dripping cans, and all sorts of other random things. one friend shared that a nasty, old chair got shipped and it did not even belong to them, but the home's owner where they were living at the time. oops! so we heeded to advice and watched our movers pack up. we (read paul) worked hard to make it pretty clear what was to be shipped and what should stay. paul had moved all the "to be shipped" items into the living room and kitchen area. then he made sure all the stuff to stay was in the bathroom, office, and bedroom and we closed the door to the areas accordingly. after two hours, they completed their task. no crazy stories to tell from the origin point. it went well and smooth. we will see if there are any surprises at the destination when we unpack in july. :)

another major task off the to do list...feeling a bit lighter now and definitely a bit more spacious in our apartment.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

it's only wednesday?!?!

really? this week seems to be flying by which is not really what i want at the moment. we have about 37 hours until the movers arrive and still have a lot of things to do.

today was nuts. my kids had junior olympics (read all day field day/sports day). it was awesome. the weather was nice, warm and sunny, but not blasting hot. we were representing the country of greece. my kids were pretty frustrated as we are not the most athletic bunch of fourth graders. they rallied though. i think my favorite part of the day was the swimming events. maybe because i was a swimmer and it brought back memories. not sure, but it was fun. even got to hug one of my kiddos when she was wet...too fun! took lots of photos which i have yet to browse through on my laptop. maybe i can do that this weekend. at the end of the day, i lost it. i fell apart. i broke down and had a "moment". i read a routine email from my principal asking about summer plans while my kiddos packed up and started in on their popsicles. the email triggered my river of tears. i realized, "wait. i don't have to give my summer plans because i am not returning in the fall." that is all it took before the great dam broke open. my kids were sitting around our gathering place just hanging out, eating their popsicles loudly, and waiting for the dismissal bell to ring. i walked over to be near them and just sat there. soon enough, the noticed my tears and asked if i was okay. i told them i was, but i was sad. it is becoming more and more real that we are leaving seoul and this was my last junior olympics. one of my small friends said, "if you are this sad mrs. f, you should not go." really? if life were only that easy. she made me smile and laugh a little which was nice. it was a nice heart sharing moment of my teaching and i think my kids appreciate moments when i am real and act human (as if i don't everyday, but i do think they think i am super hero like or something). the bell rang and the moment was over. i wished them all well as per our usual routine of high fives, handshakes, or hugs and off they went. a light homework load on their backs and smiles on their small faces. they are great kids, really.

off to a meeting i went and then back to my room to go through more of my teaching stuff. would it be appropriate to call it paraphernalia? i am not sure. spent the next few hours going through it all. hubby and friend joined me to help and then home for dinner. our usual order in--pizza. it was nice. we watched some tv and ate. then back at it. a few errands around campus and then working at home going through more stuff. i realize that i may have to work later tomorrow evening too to get it all sorted for the movers arrival on friday at noon thirty. we will see.

i do hope that saturday feels as good as i hope it will with one huge thing marked off the to do list--shipping our stuff to cambodia.

Monday, May 24, 2010

three weeks to go.....

there are only three more weeks of school and there is sooooo much to do, both at home and at school. i just cannot wrap my head around all of it, so i have been managing it by days. what do i need to do today? tomorrow? the rest can wait until it's in the mind rotation. so far this has been working.

today was our first day back in the classroom and back to "normal", whatever that means. it was hard. the kids were out of sync and a bit wound up. i tried my best to be patient and loving. i prayed a lot today for God to give me more patience and love than i thought i had and could give. thankfully, we had some cleaning up and class meetings too which made the ease back into "school" better. we did do our end of the year writing assessment. i have no idea how they will do. i prayed that God would help them remember all the good things we have learned about writing this year and get it in their narratives. tomorrow is day #2 and i am hopeful. at the end of the day the kids presented their home inquiry projects which are fun even though a bit chaotic. i had three give their presentations today. as a class, we learned about rabbits, insects and tiger woods. all in all, i am super proud of them and want to give them wiggle room, but have to stay in the boundaries for the next three weeks.

at home, we have been busy preparing for the shipping company that comes on this friday at noon. yes, this friday. it is nuts. we have been going through all our stuff and making two piles---stay or ship. the items we ship now will go to phnom penh and arrive shortly after we arrive. the items that stay will either go with us when we go on july 1st or stay here in korea with a new owner or in the free pile for new teachers. it is quite a task, honestly. we worked for quite a while yesterday evening and i was mentally drained at the end. thankfully, we had a few friends come over, visit, and sort some things out as we worked. that is the biggie on the list for at home this week.

the other brain drain lately is getting "india" to our new home in phnom penh. she is too heavy to go with us on the plane and she cannot ride cargo either as the planes between here and pp are small and don't accommodate animals in cargo. so, for the last few months i have been trying to chase up information on shipping her to pp. i have rang, phoned and emailed the two recommended ladies multiple times with no real progress in making india's trip to pp happen. i am tackling this task head on this week and hope to have some sort of arrangements by friday.

who knew moving countries could be so much fun?!?!?