Sunday, December 23, 2007

yummy thai curry....

paul and i went out for lunch as usual, but walked to subway b/c it is close.  it was raining again and the rain drops were cold.  we had a late lunch so i did some laundry when we got back.  yes, i still know how to do it for those who are thinking some funny remarks about having an adjumonie.  :)  it was actually quite fun to do it.  i really like doing the laundry....nothing is better than warm, clean clothes out of the dryer.  :)  mmmmmmm..................

at dinner we took the tram to chapel st.  it is a fun street with lots of shops and restaurants that is about 15 minutes on the tram away.  we walked and walked and walked and walked.....did i mention we walked some more?  we finally found this really simple, plain thai place.  the waiter guy who also might be the owner was really friendly greeted us.  paul and i each had a thai curry which was yummy.  i thoroughly enjoyed mine.  it was pretty chilly yesterday so the warm, mild curry hit the spot.  

after dinner, we walked into a few stores.  one was jb hi-fi which is similar to best buy, kind of.  we looked at CDs, DVDs, and other electronic like things.  we are looking at photo printers to purchase so i can print out some of my pics i take and we also need a scanner.  so we looked and found a couple.  we will go back next week.........
then we went to cole's which is a grocery store.  we did not look that much b/c we were both kind of tired and cold.  we did get some candy treats from cadbury.  it was a mix box with lots of different kinds.  

we walked back to the video store to rent more DVDs of the west wing and then came home.  we ended up watching LOTS of west wing and finished season four which ended wonderfully with a lovely cliffhanger that makes you shout "ugh!" at the top of your lungs when the credits roll.  it was great.  we are going back to get season five.  :)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

rain, rain, and more rain...

it has been raining lots here in melbourne.  folks are saying that it has not rained like this in some five years.  lucky us i guess.  they do need the rain b/c there is a drought here.  so paul and i have spent more time at home these last few days b/c of the weather.  

yesterday we went out for lunch around the corner from the house at a little place called "iSushi".  i thought it was good although paul thought it was just ok.  he is the official foodie of the family, so his opinion is valid.  then we went across the street for coffee at gloria jean's which is a chain here.  we do have one in seoul and it is at the airport.  i usually get one when i go to pick up folks or drop them off.  i had a flat white latte again which was quite tasty.  paul went back to the house and i went down toorak road to the video store to rent more west wing.  it rained and i was quite wet on the walk home.  i did take the tram most of the way home, but got off and still had to walk to the house.  i was damp when i got home and chilly too.  we spent the afternoon watching episodes of west wing while paul worked and i laid on the couch.  i did take a short nap before dinner.  i think i am pretty rested at this point as i am not napping as often.  this is a good thing, but i hate that i have to wait until holiday to catch up.  i am a girl who loves to sleep though.  :)  for dinner we ventured out to a nearby neighborhood called carlton.  it is really quaint.  there is a a street there called lygon street which has many italian restaurants.  it was raining so the decision for dinner was made quickly rather than walking around a lot beforehand.  we ate at a place called TiAmo.  we had pasta and it was good.  my favorite part was the bread was "free flowing", good, and already buttered.  yum!  i had ravioli and paul had tortellini.  after dinner we went to a couple shops---one being the oldest grocery store in melbourne (per paul) and the other a book store.  the grocery shop had LOTS of wine and cheese and other little knick knacky foods.  the book store was cool, but expensive.  then we walked the street and got some gelato for dessert.  he had hazelnut and i had a flavor called christmas candy.  both were yummy.  when we got home we finished watching the two discs of west wing i rented yesterday which totals eight episodes.  we went to bed quite late.  we are at a point in the show though that things are really good and exciting so it makes it hard to stop watching.  

i have not taken that many pics yet since we have spent much time at home.  i have a few so far and do plan to take more.  i just want to upload a group at once.  please be patient.  i am sure you all don't want to see a pic of the couch i have been laying on a lot since arriving down under.  :)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

more clever title---R & R

Instead of saying that I ate and slept all day I am going to call it "Resting and Relaxing".  We ate lunch at a little Indian place that was a total dive down the road.  I was really leery at first, but the food was ok.  We had already walked past many places that I would and could have eaten at, but Paul was not satisfied with any of them.  :)  His lovely travel trait!  I really do love him lots.  He was really happy with the lunch choice.  We had a coffee at this little place on a side street which was really cool.  I had a Flat White which is a latte with less cream on top.  It was quite tasty.  It was called Zuccherro.  Nice place!  I took a long nap this afternoon while it rained like cats and dogs outside which is the perfect napping weather.  Wow it was great!  Dinner was at the little Asian place near the house called "@rice".  It was yummy and perfect.  The rainy afternoon brought cooler weather in the evening.  We made our trip to the local 7-11 for some treats and I got a good lemon drink I found earlier in the day called Solo.  We watched four episodes of West Wing and then I began research on what we should make sure to do while we are here.  We have two more weeks tomorrow and so I wanted to sort of come up with a plan.  The planning went well and we should be able to get everything in.  We have to work around Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year's Day which are all holidays here.  Most things will be closed on those days.  

Gosh I love being on holiday!!!  

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Eat and Sleep....

This pretty sums up my part of the day on Tuesday.  I slept in and then Paul and I walked down the road for some lunch at this little posh place called Bacash 175.  Crazy sophisticated.  I had some fried fish with potato croquettes or something.  Paul had a fancy filet with potatoes shaped like a pie.  It was nice and good, but a little fancy for me in the mid day.  Then we came back to the house so Paul could work.  I conveniently napped on the couch until Paul woke me for dinner.  We did watch some West Wing mid-afternoon, but not that much as I was napping for most of it.  We ate dinner on Toorak Road at a little place called Ecco---a little Italian place.  It was ok.  I had some seafood ravioli in lobster bisque and Paul had gnocchi.  It was tasty.  After dinner we rented some DVDs and got some treats at a convenient shop on the way home.  We did watch some more West Wing when we got home, but I fell asleep in the middle of the second episode.  Crazy me!  All I have to say is that I am on holiday no matter what country I am in.  Holiday does mean I can nap and rest as much as I want.  

Today was much more productive.  Again, Paul let me sleep in.  Gosh, I love him!  Then we headed into the city---aka Central Melbourne.  We found some lunch after walking about for a bit (Paul's signature traveling trait).  We ate at a place called Food Inc.  I had a panini sandwich that was quite good.  Yum!  I washed it down with a latte and piece of cheesecake before going shopping.  Paul stayed at the cafe to work while I advetured out.  I had to do some Christmas shopping as well as scope out a few places I really wanted to visit.  The first must was the Crumpler bag store.  OH MY....I was in heaven and did find my next bag purchase.  It is a lovely brown messenger bag with an orange stripe.  The folks working there were great too.  Crumpler bags rock!  Then I went looking for the Birkenstock Boutique shop that I had found online.  It was wonderful too.  I tried on a few and asked some questions.  I did find some wares I would like, but will most likely wait until we are back in America this summer to purchase.  It would most likely be cheaper there than here.  I love Birks!  My definite top choice for shoes.  Then I wandered about into many little shops here and there making purchases.  I met back up with Paul to go over to Queen Victoria Market which on Wednesdays in the summer there is a night market from 5:30-10pm.  WOW!  It was incredible.  Lots of shops and artsy things.  It was really fun and I loved much of the items there.  I did make some more purchases and I think Paul might say that I am "finished" in Melbourne with shopping.  It was really a great experience.  A bit muggy and warm, but the vibe of the place was wicked cool.  I would totally recommend it to anyone.  After the market we started "looking" for somewhere to eat for dinner....we walked for blocks and blocks and nothing quite suited Paul.  We decided to make our way back to the house via tram and go to a Thai place nearby.  When we finally arrived home Paul realized it was almost 10pm, so we went back to Cafe Rosco instead.  We had pizza and then walked home.  It was raining on our way home....just a light rain.  Once we got here it poured down like mad.  We have been watching a few more West Wing while Paul worked and I crocheted.  I finished my projects I have been working on.  

Hope all is well for each of you!!!  xo

Monday, December 17, 2007

G'day Mates!

Melbourne is great!  The weather is awesome, the food is good, and the people are nice.  We arrived yesterday about 9:40 in the morning and Michelle's dad picked us up at the airport to bring us to the house.  We took a nap and then ventured out to see the neighborhood.  We found some dinner at a little pizza cafe called Cafe Rosco.  We had an "Aussie" pizza which was really good.  After dinner we walked down a main street near the house called Toorak Road and there are lots of cute shops and eateries.  We came home and watched a few episodes of West Wing before turning in the for the night.  

Today we slept in, at least I did.  Gosh I love my husband!  Then we bought tram tickets to get to the city.  The area where we are staying is a suburb area called South Yarra (y-air-ra) and it takes about ten minutes or so by tram to get into the city.  It was super easy.  The lady at the convenient store figured out it was cheaper to buy weekly tickets.  On the tram we were able to see the sights a bit before getting off.  We got off the tram early to walk a bit and see what was in the area.  For those who have not traveled with Paul yet please note that he loves to walk around and see stuff.  We walked up and down the major streets in the area hunting for free wi-fi which we have not found yet.  We were also looking for our lunch destination--Wagamama.  It is a Japanese noodle place that I ate at in London five years ago while in Europe.  It took us a while to find, but did manage to locate it eventually.  My lunch was really yummy---a chicken curry dish.  Paul had some noodles.  After lunch Paul worked there since they did have free wi-fi and I walked around the area.  I went to Target and Big W (basically Wal-Mart) and to Myer which is a big department store.  I peeked in a few stores, but nothing of major interest to note.  They have many shopping arcades that are inside of breezeways in larger buildings.  I made my way back to Paul and we went for a fancy hot chocolate at a place called Max Brenner's Chocolate Bar.  I had dark hot chocolate and Paul had dark orange hot chocolate.  We shared a chocolate dip which was a small dish of pure melted chocolate with strawberries for dipping.  It was delicious.  We got back on the tram to head back to the house where we both napped before dinner.  Then we took the tram to  Chapel Street.  This street is a popular place for shopping and small restaurants.  After walking up and back on the street looking at menus and such (Paul factor again) we settled on a place called Cafe Greco.  It was ok.  It was Greek and we both had souvlakis.  We are back at home to relax for the evening and probably watch some West Wing.  I know that Paul has to do some more work and I will probably work on crochet projects.  

Tomorrow I think we might take it easy and hang out near the house.  I am going to do some research and planning on what we will do while we are here other than eat and walk.  :)  

Did I mention the weather is gorgeous???  My birks and I are loving getting to know one another again.  :)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

the holiday has arrived....

yeah the holidays are officially here and we are headed down under for the break. melbourne bound! we leave today and will be there until january 4th. i hope it will a fun time as well as relaxing and restful.

school was rough the last few weeks b/c the kids are hyped up and ready for the holiday as much as the teachers are. lots of interruptions in the schedule and lots of holiday parties and such. crazy. i made it and that is all that matters. we had our class party on wednesday which was lots of fun and then had a polar express day on friday. the kids in my class wore their pajamas to school just like the kids in the book. it was good fun! i love that book.

paul and i are ready for our trip and it is not even time to leave yet which is great. :) we usually wait until the last minute. i plan to blog often while in melbourne so stay tuned for updates. :)

merry christmas and a happy new year to all of you!!! (in case we don't get to chat before)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving in Shanghai

Shanghai is awesome! We had a great time and really look forward to going back. The city is busy and bustling although in many ways Paul and I agreed that is reminded us both of Houston in some ways. We arrived in Shanghai about 8:15 local time and had an hour taxi ride to the hotel in the city. The best part of the taxi ride was when the driver started the meter a little "ding, ding, ding" came on followed by a lady with a British accent saying, "Welcome to take my taxi." Too funny! The taxi drivers in Shanghai all sit behind a plexiglass wall deal. Not sure why as there does not seem to be a major need for it, but it did make paying, showing the map, and comunicating more difficult. The hotel where we stayed was really great too. It was located right in town and made walking places quite easy. It was like an little apartment with a living area, small kitchen space, and a bedroom with a bath. It was really cool. So here we were in a great hotel, in a bustling city that is located in communist China.....it was hard to believe. Our room was on the top floor of the hotel which made the view really nice. JoAnn and I rested while Paul and Tim went on an adventure to find food. Imagine that!

All four mornings we had breakfast at the hotel. It was good, but not great. This first day we just walked around most of the day looking around and taking in the city. Paul and I bought tickets to see the Chinese acrobats later that evening, but until then we just wandered. We walked through People's Square and then through a park. Here is where Paul got chatted up by some Chinese Nationals. It was wild. Then we found a Chinese restaurant for lunch. We ordered all sorts of dumplings. We had BBQ steamed pork buns, shrimp dumplings, shrimp and veg, sesame ones, some chicken spring rolls, and Paul and Tim tried some chicken feet. The dumplings were good. My favorite were the BBQ steamed pork buns. Tim and JoAnn were headed to a cooking class and Paul and I had lots of time before we had to make our way to the theater. We got an hour long foot massage at a little shop we found. It was awesome and ONLY cost $4 for each of us. Yes, that is correct $4 US for an hour foot massage. It was so great! After the massage Paul and I had dinner at a little Italian place we found that made home made pasta. YUM! It was the best Italian. Paul and I ordered carpaccio, gnocchi with spinach and ricotta, and some cheese ravioli. It was delicious! We wanted to order dessert too, but ran out of time. Off to the acrobats! The show was good. They are quite talented although I feel as if my standard has been set quite high after seeing two Cirque du Soleil shows. It was fun though and cultural too. Paul and I opted to walk the 16 blocks home to the hotel after the show. The weather was gorgeous there. Cool and comfortable.

Friday morning after breakfast we made our way to the Science and Technology Museum. We took the subway there and then went shopping. One of the parents in my classroom had told us about this market that is underneath the museum. We went for it and it was quite the experience to say the least. Loads of people saying, "Hello. Watch, Bag?" and pushing into you. Not much fun after a while. It got to the point that JoAnn was saying, "Watch, Bag?" right back at them which made us all laugh. We did make some purchases, but in China you must bargain. The initial price they offer is WAY too much to pay. You usually counter-offer with at least half or 75% less than the price they give you. If they say no you attempt to walk out of the store and they will beg and plead and then take your offer. It is quite the experience. Paul decided that he loved it, so I would let him do all the wheeling and dealing. I got a cashmere scarf, we each got North Face jackets and some video games. Wild stuff I tell you. If you go to China you must go shopping at least once if not more. It is fun and quite the ordeal. We took a break for coffee and steamed pork buns. Then we walked to the Bund area for afternoon tea. That was fun too. Free Flow tea and all the little snackey like food you can eat. I had many little bowls, plates, adn cups of little bits. After tea we hiked back to the hotel for a rest before dinner. JoAnn and Paul played video games while I rested with a little nap. Tim watched TV. We took Tim and JoAnn to the Italian restaurant from the night before. Yum Yum Yum! Paul and I ordered tiramisu for dessert this time. It was delicious.

Saturday we had a light snack for breakfast and made our way to the City Diner for breakfast. It was really cool. A 24 hour diner and the food is great and they also had free wifi. We came to the conclusion that if we lived in Shanghai this place would be one of Paul's regular hang outs for work. :) Paul and I meandered through a English book store after breakfast and then we all went to the City Shop grocery store. We all walked up and down each aisle checking out what they had, what we might need or want, and what we would want to bring back with us. Paul and I did not get much--Splenda and an Izzi for me. No Izzi in Korea. It was really great. We took a taxi back to the hotel and rested again. We all sat around and I even took another nap. After resting we headed for the Old Town and Yuyuan Garden. That was really interesting. This area is what I had expected to see in China---lots of people, small spaces, very old looking and traditionally Chinese stuff. Old Town is lots of shops and pushy people selling their goods that still say, "Hello. Watch, Bags, DVDs?" It is really interesting. We made our way through to the garden where Paul and I took tons of pictures. The place is beautiful and peaceful. After leaving the garden, Paul and I got a silk, embroidered picture of summer. It is traditionally Chinese but really cool. After that we got in a taxi to go back to the hotel. We had pork steamed buns at this little hole-in-the-wall kind of place called "Happy Together". It was really good and SUPER cheap. For all four of us, it was only $10 US. We went back to the hotel to hang out again before going to dinner at a Szechuan restaurant that Tim read about it. That was incredible! We had dumplings and three different dishes of food. I stayed with the dumplings, but Paul, Tim and JoAnn ate duck, scallops and beef. The restaurant was all white with blue lights. They had a big reflection like pool that had small fish bowls on the surface. The best part for me was dessert. Deep fried bananas in caramel sauce. When the lady brought them to the table they were hot and gooey then she would take small bits with chopsticks and dip the piece into cold water where the caramel would harden. It was yummy good.

Sunday we got up, had breakfast, and then packed up our stuff. The last event of the trip was to take the Magnetic Elevated Train to the airport. We took a taxi to the MagLev station and then boarded the train when it arrived. It works on magnets and at top speed travels at 431 km/h. It was crazy. It took only 7 minutes and 21 seconds to get from the station to the airport. It was not as smooth of a ride as I thought it would be, but I have been in a train that travels REALLY fast so that is what matters.

Check out all our pics from the trip to in the My Photos section. :)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

sunday, sunday....

it is sunday...i have been sickly with sinuses for the last three days or so. i am feeling better, but still not 100%. life has been really busy here.

school is good. we had report cards due, then the 4th grade classes moved into new classrooms where we will stay for good, then parent conferences and overseas ordering. top that all off with the fact i have been battling allergy/sinus yuck and it makes a great combination for productivity. :) school is going well for the most part. just that time of year when you are still climbing up hill. with all the uncertainty of moving and such i have had to reteach some beginning of the year type lessons about behavior so that has been redundant but necessary. i am glad that we are done moving and can finally settle into a home. once this week is over things should move much more quickly as there will only be three weeks until the christmas break. my kids are great and i really enjoy going to work. we have our thanksgiving feast on wednesday and i am excited about that. this will be the only turkey and such that i get this year.

paul and i are enjoying being married and living in korea. just yesterday we were sitting in a coffee shop and thinking that life is pretty good. we both like living here and are in the process of making our apartment more homey feeling. just last night we were moving furniture around and making decisions about where stuff should go. we are thinking that we are going to have some wallpaper put up. it looks like raw concrete which is cool and artsy. i am hoping it helps make the place feel less institutional and more like ours. the office is better too. we moved the desk again and made some organizational changes which is helpful. at the moment our apartment looks like wreck, but this evening we are going to work on it some more.

the cats are happy as ever. they love their leopard print beds especially since the weather has cooled off significantly this week. today the high is 36 but currently is only 31. paul and i love the chilly weather. sam and india are definitely not at their skinniest but they seem to be happy which is important.

this week we have only a three day week for the thanksgiving holiday on thursday and friday. paul and i with another couple are headed to Shanghai, China Wednesday night for the long weekend. it should be fun and exciting. i have not been to the mainland of china yet, so i hope to take lots of pics while we are there. paul and i are both packing light so we can get some goodies when we are there. then three weeks after that we are headed down under for the christmas holiday. we are going to Melbourne, Australia for three weeks. we are doing a house swap with a couple that two adopted children from korea. they like to come back every 12-18 months for a visit, but find the most expensive part is the accomodations. so they have connections with the school and had the offer posted on the our community web site. so here we are..............having christmas in the summer! it should be loads of fun!

i am off to rest some more. i would love to hear from you all and hear what is going on with you in your life.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

my hubby is on the web ....

and famous........check out this link on the site for the work of the people....so crazy!

http://www.theworkofthepeople.com/index.php?ct=store.details&pid=V00455

it's paul!

Monday, November 12, 2007

every morning at 6:00am....

so katie sent us this video which is totally our life.....good thing we don't own any sports gear. enjoy! we loved watching it and laughed the whole time. gosh we love our cats, sam and india!

video

Sunday, October 28, 2007

dinner adventure...

on the way back to the coffee shop from the art market paul and i wandered up and down many little streets and looked at all sorts of shops, restaurants, and such as we went. paul found an italian restaurant that he had seen online while during his research. we ended up working most of the afternoon and early evening at the same coffee shop. i had another iced peppermint tea and a super duper yummy ceasar salad. it began to rain while we were there along with thunder and lightning too. at about 6pm when there was a break in the weather we decided to pack up and get some dinner. we went back to the little italian place that we had found. it is a really cute little place. it is almost like a house and reminded me a lot of the star pizza on shepherd. paul got pasta and i got margarita pizza. both were yummy and had great prices. today was a great day! paul and i had fun exploring the hongdae area and just hanging out. now we are at home and paul is watching "sunday night football" on the TV. we think it was last week's game, but who knows. the part that i like is that john madden is commentating which reminds me of home. silly, i know. the little things you don't realize that can remind you of home. hee hee!

the weekend....

it's sunday afternoon and paul and i have thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. yesterday we were homebodies all day. i don't think paul liked it as much as i did, but he obliged. we slept in and then just hung out at the apartment in our PJ's all day. it was fabulous! we watched many episodes of west wing and also stayed up late. it was a nice day.

this morning we slept in again, but decided to venture out for brunch and a working spot. paul did some online research for places to eat in hongdae. hongdae is the area in front of hongik university which is the cool art school in seoul that is near us. we took the subway here although it does not take that long to walk. paul found a neat little waffle/pancake place that was way cool to have brunch at. it is tucked away in an alley and we would have never found it had paul not done research. it was yummy though. i had a d'avant waffle that came with fresh fruit and syrup. paul had a waffle with egg, tomato, and bacon on it. both were really yummy and the atmosphere was cool too. i really love this part of town b/c it is ecclectic and artsy. reminds me of the montrose/museum area that we used to live in when in houston. after brunch we went to the hongdae art open air market in the park. it is small, but i am sure most of the folks there are students or just local artists. i love going. i can always find something nifty and the prices are good since they are students or "little people" (my tag name is local artists that are not the big time). i got some cool photo cards from this one girl who i loved her work and idea. all the cards i bought are photos from the bamboo forest i have been to in the southern part of korea. i want to frame the cards and use them to decorate with. i also got a card for a friend too. she has some great work! paul got a painted hat like i have from there, but his hat is grey with a red fish like design on it. very cool. i also did some christmas shopping there too.

now we are in this cool little coffe shop/cafe in hongdae working. i am updating blog, responding to emails, and doing other odds and ends. i also need to watch the most recent episode of private practice and grey's anatomy. paul is drinking a caffe latte and i am having an iced peppermint tea. so fun! the life we have in seoul............

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

turning over a new leaf.....

as of yesterday (monday) i am being more aware of how i treat my body........

i started journaling everything i eat and also started walking in the mornings. the alarm clock goes off at 5:45 am and i am on the field walking laps at 6:04ish. i started this week just walking 20 minutes. the hardest part is not the walking, but getting out of bed. ugh! it has been good though. the weather has cooled off too which can be a reason to stay under the warm covers, but i have not caved in yet even though paul is lying there all snuggly warm when i get up. that is so hard. the best part is even though the alarm goes off paul usually sleeps through hitting the snooze button. he really can sleep through almost anything. this morning he asked me if he had turned off the alarm, and i told him he had. too funny.

so far i have been mindful of the food intake. on sunday to help the cause i made the first loaf of whole wheat bread in our breadmaker. oh my it is absolutely yummy! i do think everyone should get one and make bread all the time. it is so easy----dump in the ingredients and hit the start button. approximately 4 hours or so later you have a yummy loaf of bread. gosh it is sooo good. i was really thrilled about eating my lunch today b/c of the bread.

i would ask for prayers to stay with the new leaf. i know it is hard and i get discouraged easily. paul has been a great support so far. he made fun of me today for eating my lovely sandwich while he ate thai at a restaurant. :)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

highlights....

so this past week was an up and down. for the most part things were good. i was really tired most of the week which made everything else a little more sensitive. we did not do much during the week. we had pizza this week which is my favorite.....YUM! thursday evening joann and i played a mean game of scrabble. it was a lot of fun and i royally kicked her bum. my highest score ever--303! it was so fun! my great play got me 51 points....thank goodness for being able to add an "s" to the end and play off that word too. woo hoo! paul went out to dinner with the guys on thursday night and tried a mandu place in yonhi-dong. he loved it and had fun. friday night paul and i went on a date to itaewon for italian. that was nice. we felt like all our time lately had been busy and no QT with each other. we had fun even though the restaurant was just ok.

on saturday, leslie, jen, paul, and i went on the USO tour of the DMZ. this was really interesting. we had to wake up REALLY early since we had to be at the USO for 7am. ugh! we left our apartment at 6am. it was crazy early. it took about an hour to get to the area near the DMZ and then we went to the joint security area where the UN security command is. this is where the north and south meet face to face and share a space. we went to the "freedom house" and then into the MAC building which is where the "talks" are held. the building is half on the south side and half on the north side. the MDL (military demarcation line) runs through the middle of the building. the MDL is the actual line divinding the north and south. the DMZ is the area on both sides. it is wild. we only saw one north korean soldier who was standing outside their building on the other side. the tour here at the JSA was led by a US Army Sargeant. i will share more details in a blog just for the trip. i took loads of pics so i will upload those soon too.

in the afternoon paul and i rested after the long day of touring and history. today we slept late and went to lunch with friends for indian and then the boys went for coffee and the girls went to the store and home. when i got home i made a dessert---chocolate pecan pie bars---to take to buffie's for dinner. she was making a turkey dinner with all the fixings. it was sooo good. i brought the bars to make up for the pecan pie factor. :) i also made my first loaf of whoel wheat bread in the breadmaker. it smells really good, but i have yet to cut into it. i am waiting until tomorrow.

i have been watching grey's anatomy and private practice! it is such a great highlight of my week. paul and i are also watching episodes of west wing. west wing has joined my list of favorite TV shows. we are almost finished with season one. such great TV!

school is going well. the 4th grade is waiting to move into the newest part of the elemntary building. it is moving right along, but we are not sure of the final moving date. the last date we were told was oct. 20th, but i am not sure if that is still the case. last week was korea week so the week was pretty hectic and from the teacher's point of view not very productive. we did get things done just had many interruptions throughout due to activities planned. the kids saw traditional korean dance, made korean pottery, saw a tae kwon do demonstration, listened to story telling, dressed up in their hanboks, and enjoyed korean games and snacks. it was fun.

i think the highlight of the week was on tuesday when we had a visit from a blackhawk helicopter pilot, captain mcray. his wife is interning with the counselor in the ES and he had come up to school to visit with their daughter. i had mentioned before how cool it would be for him to come talk to the class. i mean how often do you get to meet a helicopter pilot? so tuesday he dropped by and he even brought a video from their mission to pakistan to help with the earthquake in 2005. it was incredible. after the video, he spent at least thirty minutes talking to my kids and answering their questions. it was awesome! he also signed autographs too. the kids were thrilled. i am not sure who was more excited the kids or me.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

the update....

since my last blog on sept. 11th a lot has happened.....

paul came back from his two week trip to san francisco for work, we saw the movie bourne ultimatum, celebrated my 30th birthday out with friends for dinner at the wood and brick, had a week off for chu-sok break (korean thanksgiving), went to lotte world, ate a picnic lunch at gyeongbuk palace, watched the seasons premiere of grey's anatomy with friends and a celebratory brownie cake, watched the new private practice premiere, attended some really great techonology inservices at school, had an evaluation observation from my principal, ate indian food 4 times, ate dinner with friends, slept in, and spent the day with paul at seven monkeys coffee shop in edae reading my book while he worked.

i know that i have been out of touch, but i am trying to find a solution. please be patient with me and i am going to be better about posting blogs more regularly too.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

me so happy......

i came home from school today and downloaded the new grey's anatomy soundtrack from season 3. OMG! it was released on sept. 11th. i have had it marked on the calendar and just have been waiting to download from itunes. woo hoo! grey's is the best and i am totally addicted. as i type i am listening to all three seasons of music in my grey's playlist on shuffle....life is good. on volume 2 there is an acoustic live version of the sno patrol song--chasing cars! so amazing!

just a plug in case you are not up on the grey's---season 4 begins on sept. 27th and then private practice (the spin off) begins sept. 26th. i am counting that down too. woo hoo......whole weekend of my favorite characters!

Monday, September 10, 2007

the morning routine....

each morning i get up around 6:30ish and the first i do is feed the kitties. otherwise they would get very upset with me. :) then i make breakfast for myself and come back to the desk to sit down in front of my computer. i check emails, read blogs, sometimes get in a phone call on skype, eat, and "check in" for the morning. usually about 7ish i get up to take a shower and get ready for school. i sometimes make a lunch, but it doesn't look it will happen today. then i am out the door for another day at school. my long 5 minute commute to my classroom is killer (just kidding!). another day at school commences.........

Sunday, September 09, 2007

it's already sunday???

just where does the time go? i feel like the weekends keep getting shorter and shorter. i vote for three day weekends from now on....anyone with me?

saturday i took the day to rest. i slept in and proceeded to sleep intermittenly through out the entire day. i fed the cats at 6:45 am, went back to bed, ate breakfast at 10:30 am, then read my book and took a nap, 2:15ish i had leftover curry for lunch, then read some more and napped again, then was up at 4:30ish to make butterscotch bars and take a shower. what a day! it was good to rest. jen came over at 5:30ish to hang out and stay the night. we had frozen pizza for dinner and then went to a wine gathering at joann's at 7:30ish. came home at 10ish to play wizard (a card game) with buffie, leslie, jen, joann, and myself. then jen and i attempted to play scrabble which was not going well at all. we finally quit and went to bed about midnight. what a great day!

today jen and i got up at 10:15ish and had breakfast. we then watched some really silly TV and took showers. out and about we headed to go to seodaemun prison and independance park. it was good. a low key touristy kind of day with out lots of people or crowds. i have uploaded more pics from today and other randomness.

now i am resting at home trying to rehydrate myself. i feel like no matter how much water i drink it is never enough. gosh you gotta love the heat and humidity. :)

Friday, September 07, 2007

it's Friday....

this week has really moved slow. i am glad it's friday. it also means that i get to have indian tonight with friends. we have nicknamed ourselves the "curry crew". we go every friday to a great little place in hongdae (near the art school--hongik univ.). after dinner i get to visit the golden retriever dog that i love which has not been at the shop the last two times i have dropped by. i hope she is there tonight. :)

YEAH FOR INDIAN!!! :)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

only......

169 more hours until i can hug my hubby............woo hoo!!!!

PHOTOS, PICS, PICTURES, SNAPSHOTS.....

whatever you call them I have posted some more......click on the link "My Photos" at right.......

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Korean Marketing at its best.....

Leslie and I went on a mini-adventure today after school to the local grocery store, Sahruga. We had a coffee at a shop near there first, then made our way to the store for some groceries. The main purchase I had to make was cat food and litter. The cats were yelping from starvation when I got home from school. So pathetic they are sometimes. Anyhow, we were walking up and down each aisle as usual when we came upon this coffee that had this neat tall glass coffee mug attached. Leslie and I both were intrigued. We picked it up and checked it out. The mug even has measurements on the side and a cool plastic lid. What a deal. So yes, we bought it and got some coffee too. It's instant coffee so who knows if it will be good or not, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that we both now have cool glass coffee mugs to drink refreshing java from. :) I love the way they market to folks here.....so smart. Here is a photo of my purchase.....

Sunday, September 02, 2007

sans hubby

on wednesday of this past week paul learned that he had to go to san francisco for work. thankfully it was a day that i had many specials and a long break time in the morning. i came home around 9:15 and at 10 it was verified that he was going. 10:15 a flight was booked and at 11:15 he walked down the hill to catch the bus to the airport to get on a 2:30 flight to san francisco. the highlight for him was that he got to fly business class at the company's expense....so fun! he thought it was great.....good food and seats. what more can i guy ask for??? although it was sad to learn that he was going to be gone for 2 weeks, it is also a good time for him to be away. the beginning of the year is always absolute chaos. while he is gone i am going to work like mad to get to a manageable point so that when he returns there will be less staying at work late. although disappointing at first, it is also a blessing. i do miss him terribly and found this weekend at the faculty retreat to be kind of lonely. i did have leslie to keep me company though which was fun! it rained all weekend though so the beach wasn't that much fun. i did some reading and resting which is always needed. so i have 11 more days of soloness before paul returns. a day which i am looking forward to..........

small joys.....

so last monday i was getting ready for school and preparing breakfast for myself. my default breakfast is a bowl of cereal with dried cherries sprinkled on top. each monday morning paul and i receive a milk delivery. we get 1.8 liters each monday morning. it is so fun to open the door and see new milk sitting on the porch waiting to come in. such a nice morning to get fresh milk for the week. one of the loves i have for korea.........milk delivery.

photos...

i just uploaded lots of pics from last year, this summer, and since returning to korea....check them out by clicking on the link to the right---"my photos"



hope you enjoy...........new post coming soon!

Friday, August 17, 2007

two weeks later.....

hi friends! i know it has been what seems like ages since i last made a post to my blog. things have been absolute madness since i last updated things in the blog world. the first week since has been a blur and looking back at the calendar cound not really recall anything super duper exciting to report. sad i know. week #2 brought me back to work as the full faculty orientation began on august 13th. pretty much since then it has been full on school. paul has been such great husband putting up with my overly tired, whiney self. he has made dinner on more than one occasion. he is really into experimenting in the kitchen. :) he makes me so proud.

i made it through the first two days of school which is a good sign. i do have to say that this year feels MUCH better than the beginning of last. what a difference a year can make. this time it did not feel like the blind leading the blind. i actually felt quite on top of things which was refreshing although even when you feel that way there is still a to do list a million miles long floating in the back of the mind. the life of a teacher. my class seems really sweet so far, but i am sure i have to yet to see their "true colors". i definitely have some unique personalities, but i think it will make for a good mix. we have spent the first two days getting to know each other and creating our community constitution. i am excited about this year and have many mini goals set for myself about how i would like to do things, handle things, and teach.

the nicest surprise on day one was the amount of my formerr students that really did come by to see me. many offered hugs, others offered smiles. it really warmed my heart and made my day. they all have seemed to grow a bit over the summer and look more like 5th graders than my sweeties from the 4th grade. so fun! i even had two of them come by after school to hang out for a little while. it was nice to see them. even today i have to make several stops in the hallway for hugs and conversation. gosh, i love kids!

miss foster, mrs. f, mrs. falgout----the many names that i hear all day long. i know that technically my name has changed, but i do think it may take a bit longer for the kids to adjust. i still hear miss foster in the hall often. then my new kids call me mrs. f or mrs. falgout......which is really unusual still. it was weird feeling at new students orientation to introduce myself as mandy falgout. i did hear that there was quite the buzz in the lobby because they wanted to know where miss foster had gone. many kids were confused and thought mrs. falgout was a new teacher. it all came clear when they saw me. so fun to be the talk of the halls!

i am glad it is friday and hope to get some rest. it has been a hard week and i am sure next week will be killer since it is the first full week with kiddos. pray that i can manage to not worry too much, not be anxious, and to relieve my frustrations and burdens to God. it definitely has been a time of blessing to be back at school. i have realized how blessed that paul and i are to have each other and to continue to share our lives together. i am thankful each morning that i am alive and healthy.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

full gospel church...

this morning the new folks were going to the largest church in the world---Yoido Full Gospel Church. it claims that they have 750,000 members. paul and i decided to go see what all the fuss is about and were interested in what it is like. it was interesting. the whole service is in korean so the foreigners have headsets that translates the service into english. i was not a fan of the headset as i was a bit warm and they were foamy and made me feel hotter. the place is huge! there are masses of people and lots of hoopla. koreans traditionally when asked to pray all pray outloud at the same time which was quite the experience considering there were sooooo many people. paul and i have been, so that is that. i am pretty sure we won't go back. it was an experience and we visited.

this afternoon i took some new folks to grand mart grocery in sinchon subway. this is where i do most of my shopping so i wanted to share the love. it was fun and i think everyone enjoyed the trip. i actually quite enjoy grocery shopping here as the store is quite lively with people and things going on. lots of sales folks ready to help and have you try their samples. :) the produce ladies are really friendly and always smiling. much more exciting than grocery stores in america. grand mart rules!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

muggy...

the best description for the weather in seoul these days! it has been raining on and off and it constantly sticky feeling. i am sure most of you reading are thinking i should be used to this type of weather being from texas, but in texas we don't spend a lot of time walking from place to place. regardless it has become routine for a morning shower and an evening one to rinse down all the grossness. the morning one is mainly for my hair so i don't look like a crazy lady when i leave the apartment. :)

leslie is here and feeling a bit tired and overloaded which is completely normal for only day #2 in seoul. i was there just a year ago and keep reminding her she will make it through this.

today i took a group on a tour of yonhi-dong and we ended at the sahruga (the grocery store). i bought more items at the black market including whole pecans that cost me 15,000 won. crazy that i paid it but i need them for a dessert i am making next weekend--chocolate pecan pie bars. yum!

i am still not sleeping great. i thought i was making progress in the sleep department until last night. i went to bed around 10pm and i felt like i was just lying there with my eyes closed all night without really sleeping. it pretty much stunk big time. i went to breakfast with leslie at orientation and then came home for a morning nap which did help. i guess i am going to have keep taking some ambien until my body adjusts. i might also drink some sleepytime tea tonight. gosh.....the joy of traveling half way around the world. if anyone has other suggestions i am open to trying them out. i want to sleep....i love sleeping and i cannot seem to manage it. argh!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

making purchases

today paul and i went down to edae to have some coffee and use free wifi at the seven monkeys coffee shop. we tried an iced maple macchiato...yummy! paul did some work and i walked down to the "ikea" store. let me explain that this is not an official store, but more like someone bought some ikea items, opened up a shop, and then sells them. they also can order items for you which usually come from china or japan. i moved some furniture around in the extra room where our closets are to make room for a desk. so today i shopped for one at the ikea store. we wanted something plain like a table top with legs. no drawers or keyboard shelves. we were successful! it is white with gray legs. she had to order the desk so we won't get it until next week. the other bonus is that they deliver for free! we also got some dishes, coffee cups, and drinking glasses. all in all it was a good day at ikea for us!

we came home and had pizza for dinner. we are getting it out of the system now in hopes to begin smarted food choices in the next week or two. :) i also made some brownies! i am so domesticated now that i am married....hee hee! i got the mix at the black market at saruga grocery. life is good!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

BEST find of the day...

as i walked through the costco produde department today scoping what they had i took notice of the most amazing item ever........RAINIER CHERRIES!!! i could not believe it. my favorite cherries in korea! i am super excited. each 2lb containeris 14,000 won, but i don't care. i bought two containers---yes, i paid 28,000 won for 4 lbs of cherries. they are worth every bit of won! paul and i have already eaten at least half of one the containers and it is has not even been 24 hours. WOO HOO......Rainier Cherries make me SOOOO happy!

customer service on a new level

today i went to the bank with barry, the HR guy at the school, before we made a run to costco for the new teachers. in the bank i took notice of the funniest thing that also takes customer service to an all new level for me.

when we walked in there was a gentleman dressed in a suit using what looked like a ruler to smooth out a mouond of red goo on the counter where the deposit and withdrawal slips might be. he was meticulously smoothing and patting. when we entered he greeted us then went back to his smoothing and pattinig. i wondered what the heck he was doing considering it looked pretty weird and was not sure what the red stuff was for. as i sat and waited, i noticed an older man attending to his banking slips. the first thing i noticed was that the glasses he was wearing had a long golden color chain from one side of the frame stretched out towards the center of the counter. i then realized that the glasses belonged to the bank. they were there for the customers to use just like the pens that are attached to the counter. there were three different pairs to choose from. too funny! what a genius idea i thought. i decided that the bank is really trying to meet the needs of their customers. i also discovered the meaning of the red goo. the same man when attending to his bank slips took a small change size zippered pouch out of his pocket. he carefully unzipped the pouch and he took out his chop (the wooden name stamp). he tapped his chop into the red goo and then stamped his slips with it. in korea and i would think most asian cultures the chop stamp is as good as a signature if not better. i found this to be really interesting as i had not realized before that folks used their chops at the bank just for everyday business. i thought chops were used more for official business such as major transactions. i learned something new today.

this is definitely one aspect of living abroad that i enjoy....the people watching. it is quite interesting to just sit and observe and often i learn a lot. reminds me that sometimes i am such a rush that i don't take time to stop and look around me at the world. i am sure there are many lessons to be learned through observation.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

back in seoul....

after a whirlwind of a summer vacation of 5 weeks in the states i am back in seoul with my new hubby, paul. i am still adjusting to saying that. it is still kind of strange to say i have a husband. we love being married though. it has been great so far.

our wedding was awesome although in hindsight the day seems like a blur to me. everything turned out perfect. i could not have asked for it to go any differently. the week before was great too. i was able to spend time with friends and also be productive.

paul and i stayed at the hotel icon downtown on saturday night. it was really cool. the room was huge and we got to order room service for dinner. we also ate the amazingly wonderful wedding cake for dessert. we finished the rest off for breakfast the next morning. it was the best cake i have ever had. thanks nicole! we flew to canada on sunday for our honeymoon. we flew to toronto and then flew to quebec city. our hotel there was AWESOME! there was confetti on the floor outside our room and also on the bed. so fun! we also received a note from the hotel congratulating us on our marriage. for the next few days we were complete bums. we did not leave our hotel room until around noon each day. we ate wonderful food and saw amazing sights. paul and i were extremely pleased with quebec city and recommend everyone go there. we have a favorite cafe that serves crepes and also fell in love with bowls of cafe au lait. yum! later in the week we had hour long massages in our room, went whale watching about 3 hours north, and also went to the cirque du soleil. whale watching was really fun and i got some great shots with my camera of tails. it was quite chilly that day, but worth it completely. cirque was phenomenal. paul got us tapis rouge tickets which are like VIP. we got to have snacks in a separate tent with its own boutique. the snacks were really cool and different. we also got fun tapis rouge passes to wear around our necks. the show was wonderful just as i expected and we both had a great time.

once we arrived back in houston we had 4 full days to sort ourselves out and pack before leaving for korea. i have to say it was long, tiring, and stressful. we made it though which was a feat in itself. we could not have done it without all the help from family and friends.

the flight here was good. nothing exciting to report. we got back friday evening about 9ish and went straight to bed. we were both awake at 2am so we sorted through the luggage and unpacked. around 3:30am we went back to bed and finished organizing and putting things away when we woke up later that morning around 9ish. so we are all settled in which is a nice feeling.

seoul is hot as we both expected. hot and sticky. the highs have been in the upper 80's but the humidity is full on and since we walk everywhere it makes it gross. we both have taken many showers in the last few days. :) saturday we hung out with jen and went to dinner at my favorite cafe, the flying pan blue, in itaewon. it was great to see her and hang out. i laughed the entire time and it felt great.

yesterday we went to hongdae area so i could get some art supplies and then went to the music market in insadong for paul to check out guitars. paul made dinner--grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup. YUM! we ate while we watched the first movie of the lord of the rings.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

necessity vs.excess

i have been thinking about these two words a lot lately. i recently read my friend sherry's travel blog about her trip to uganda, africa. i read about the places she went, the kids she met, and the organizations she learned about. in reading these i was struck by the kids generosity even in the lack of having very much at all. i marveled at the idea that these kids are more than willing to share themselves and what they have with someone who is a stranger and so generously. this made me think about my life. i know that i cannot compare my life to the folks in africa. my circumstances are different in many ways, but it makes me think about what i own and what things i think that i need.

where do we draw the line between necessity and excess? is it different for everyone? what makes it different? how do we determine what is excess and necessity? is there a way to determine? how do i manage to draw this line in my own life? these are some of the questions i have been struggling with. i have had conversations with a few folks about them and thrown ideas around. then i asked....what would God want me to do? what does God say about this? still to no avail there is no clear answer in black and white. there is no where in the Bible that specifically says this is excessive and this is necessity. my friend jen pointed out that many times God tells us to be humble.

so then i ask am i humble about my belongings? do i really need more than one pair of jeans to be happy? why and what is the reasoning for all my stuff? i don't really think that i NEED all the junk i call mine which in all honesty is just on loan from God (that is a whole different blog). what do i need to survive? i thought about the basic needs of humans---food, shelter, water, clothing (i might be missing some here but feel free to add to this). i have all those things. i have a shelter, i have clean water which many people do not have, and i have clothes. do i really need to have all the clothes i have? all the shoes? why do i covet these things? why do i think i need all of this stuff? why do i struggle with cleaning out my junk? why is it hard to let go? do i not trust God with my life? he says that he will provide all my needs. am i of little faith?

a few weeks ago at church the pastor gave a message on fear. he talked about how where there is fear there is no faith and vice versa. he also mentioned that when we fear that is related to sin. he referenced stories in the Bible---adam and eve feared God after they sinned and clothed themselves because of shame, then peter had fear when he tried to walk on the water, and all the guys in the boat during the storm which God says to them....."you of little faith"

my question then iswhat am i afraid of? where is my line of necessity and excess? how do i make the decision of what i need and what i don't need? i know that God is having me struggle with all of this for a reason and he has spoken to my heart.

if i stop and reflect on the things i need to make me happy these are the things that come to my mind--community, Christ, unconditional love.

im in mourning...........

yes, grey's anatomy is over for this season and it is a time of mourning. i miss them already. i hvae tried watching the other episodes but it is not the same. i long to know what the fall will bring.....

will mcdreamy and meredith still be dating? is burke coming back? what is george going to do? will he and callie have a baby? how is cristina going to manage? will izze get over george? what is the chief going to do? is addison going back to LA where her friends are? is the new show going to make? will alex find his jane doe again? what is bailey going to do now that is not the chief resident? is mcsteamy going to stay at seattle grace?

all of the questions to think about ALL summer..........man, life is tough. have i mentioned that grey's is my favorite show?!?!?! :)

thoughts and ponderings........

the year is almost over and i am praying that i can make it to the finish line......it has beena hard couple of weeks. the only major task to do is write report card comments which i know to the non teaching folk that may seem like a simple task, but it is not. i basically have to give a 900 word dissertation on this past semester for each child and be specific as to what the child needs and such. after about #5 everything seems to sound similiar and there are only so many ways to state "_________ is a pleasure to have in class." they are due next thursday so i am hoping to become inspired long before then. :) i have started so that hump is over.

my kids have been very testy and difficult recently too which does not add to the fun of the end of the year festivities. it makes me irritable and them crazy. we all have summer-itis so bad it hurts. if i can just make it through next week to 4:30ish on june 8th the challenging part will be over. the last week my mom will be here and i plan to do lots of fun activities to finish up. it will be "help miss foster organize the room" and games and such. woo hoo! thank goodness that my kids still like to help.

i miss home more than ever these days and i am sure it is because the end is near and i am dying to be spend quality time with family and friends that i live across the pacific from. :) i just want to be able to run errands and not have to hand gesture to death to get my point across. i want to go to target and eat the places i look forward to. yum! i miss catching up with folks. i miss being out of the loop. i miss you all.

things have been pretty crazy busy, but at the same time a bit overwhelming. i know that i have a million things to do just have the hardest time getting motivated to get them done. i have to figure out the care of my kitties over the summer, finish up the end of the year, think about the beginning of next year and what i might need to bring back with me from america, get in shape, lose 50 pounds to be considered at a point of low health risk, think about the things i need from america for my life in korea, and so on and so on. yes, i have made lists.......but they too are crazy. i also have to think about this summer.......what to wear, bring home to wear, what fits, what looks cute, what makes me look frumpy b.c that is not going with me, etc. then there is always the list of things i have to get done while in america----hair at least twice if not three times, eat at my favs, run errands for the wedding, take photos, hang out with peeps, fine down time for me, hang out with God, have decaf starbucks, a mayan mocha or two from diedrich's, hang out with fam, see everyone...........the list goes on.

ok, enough ranting and venting about crazy my life is. i am sure all of you are thinking the same about your own.

Friday, May 18, 2007

17 and a half more days.....

i am really excited about school being out but i am also sad. after the 10 months of teaching the same kids you get attached to them even when they behave in less than desirable manners. this will be the fourth time i have said good bye to students and it never fails that i cry. i wonder if this year will be the same. i often where they all will be ten years from now and whether or not they will remember me as their teacher. i remember my grade school teachers.......1st grade--Miss Vargo, 2nd grade--Mrs. Jackson, 3rd grade--Mrs. Lake, 4th grade--Miss Cooksey & 5th grade--Mrs. Illg. wow.......of course i had teachers that i preferred over others as i am sure we all do. so i wonder if many years from now when these guys are in college or working at a professional job that they will reflect on their teachers as i do. sometimes the only reason i think of mine is because i am a teacher myself. who knows? i just hope and pray that they remember how hard we all worked to get through the year and that no matter what i cared dearly for them. making a difference is a goal of mine but often as a teacher i never really get to see the difference i make because it may not happen while they are with me, but much later. i just pray each morning for God to help me love them just as He loves me-----unconditionally.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

lately.....

things here in my life have been pretty non-eventful lately. since i last blogged i got a manicure, pedicure and eyebrows waxed, i taught a reading assessment training, stuffed all the invites and got them in the mail, decided on the favors for the reception, discussed music with paul, had lots of coffee, went to a new church, bought an easel and paint supplies at a proper art shop in hongdae, tried a new indian restaurant, hung out with some new friends, and also with some old ones, watched grey's anatomy, read some pretty thought provoking stuff, and now i am sitting on my couch listening to the "noise" coming from yonsei university. :) all week they have had some sort of function every night and the music travels to sfs and since the weather has been nice i have had my windows open i can hear it. fun fun fun!

today was a tough day. i was really ready to come home after school and just be able to veg out. i had a headache and the day was really trying. how do you teach kids how to be appreciative and respectful without some form of physical coersion? this has been a really hard issue for me the last few weeks. the kids that i teach do come from homes where they are priviledged. the thing is sometimes it overflows in their attitudes at school, their lack of care. ugh! i want so badly to make an impression that all of life is not handed to them on a silver platter. i just feel by adopting this silver platter theory i am doing a disservice to the kids. i want to hold them accountable for their actions (or lack there of), have high expectations, and teach them how to be compassionate to others. i want them to want to treat others the way they want to be treated. is that too much to ask? i feel as if i have hit a wall. my ideas and bag of tricks are depleted. i think i a also depleted and deflated. how do you manage to get this idea to kids without going crazy? my only solution so far is to pray, and pray hard. so far i just feel like i am thinking and talking to myself. i know God is listening, but i wonder if there is more reflection for me before i sort all this out. what does God want me to learn? patience? gentleness? tough love? i am not sure but still trying to wade my way through. at this point i feel as if i am just limping to the finish line. i am praying that i can at least make it that far.

for now, the weekend cannot get here fast enough.........

Thursday, April 26, 2007

only......

34 more days of school before summer break!!! the official countdown with my kiddos has started. so this week is crazy with stuff to do. i am currently working on completing yearbook pages which is actually a lot of fun for me. i love taking pics, cropping, and then putting them into publication. it has been a good week with my kids. they have been working hard and earning lots of rewards. i am already beginning to think about next year and what i will do and change. :) the life of a teacher........

on other news i have been going to water aerobics this week. buffie and i are holding each other accountable about going which is good for me. now i just have to eat sensible and less. hoping that i will notice some change.

i cannot believe that i have lived in seoul about 9 months now! it just seems like the other day that i packed up my apartment and my life and moved 7,047 miles around the globe. crazy how time flies. it is really unbelievable. i was thinking on my commute (4 minutes) to school this morning about how surreal it sometimes still feels that i REALLY do live in seoul, south korea which is a foreign place from where i grew up. i guess it has reached a point of normality to me. it is not as foriegn to me anymore. i know how to get around and can most of the time get what i need.

Friday, April 20, 2007

countdown....

33 days until the next school holiday.
51 days until my mom arrives in korea.
55 days until the last day of school.
58 days until mom and i leave korea for the states and i get to see paul.
61 days until i am back in houston.
86 days until paul and i get married.

laughter....

makes my job easier to take on in times of distress. i subscribe to this newsletter for educational humor from Education World, one of my favorite teaching websites. each week i get a newsletter with all sorts of humor related to education. well, this week i cannot resist sharing part of it. i had to laugh out loud. :)

REAL HEADLINES, FAKE COMMENTS

REAL HEADLINE--Bush: NCLB Meant to Help, Not Punish Schools--President Bush, acknowledging public frustration over the No Child Left Behind Act, said the point of the law is not to punish struggling schools, but to help them.
FAKE COMMENT--Let’s establish No Corporation Left Behind with the same logic, then. All of a corporation’s employees must make Adequate Yearly Progress toward the same salary (score) that their top employees – their CEOs – achieve. Any corporation whose employees fail to make such progress for three years in a row would be taken over by the government.

REAL HEADLINE--Portables Face Test Under Noise Law Portable classrooms in the Colchester, Connecticut, school district are the first to face scrutiny under the state's new noise standards for classrooms.
FAKE COMMENT--Appropriately, portable boom-boxes are being used to administer the test.

REAL HEADLINE--Students Sue Antiplagiarism Web Site
FAKE COMMENT--Unfortunately, the lawyers representing the students were found to have copied several whole passages in the complaint from other lawyers.

REAL HEADLINE--Principals' Salaries Fall Behind Cost of Living
FAKE COMMENT--Kids being called to the principal’s office being shaken down for lunch money.

REAL HEADLINE--Study: Software No Help for Reading, Math Scores
FAKE COMMENT--Software being tested was “Spore.”

REAL HEADLINE--Students Get Laptops Instead of Books
FAKE COMMENT--Have to be reminded for first three weeks not to write on screen.

REAL HEADLINE--NCLB Taxing Testing Companies
FAKE COMMENT--But only at the extremely low capital gains rate.

taken from:
Education World®
http://www.educationworld.com/
newsletter-humor@educationworld.com

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

quote to make you think.....

loving it.....

"You can't understand light unless you understand darkness, because that's where life is most often lived…somewhere between the two. It's messy and it's beautiful all at the same time." - Bebo Norman

currently reading....

traveling mercies by anne lamott

i know it has been a while since i last posted....

not much has been going on since i got back from san fran. lots of school.....it has been busy. we had reports due last week and so that consumed time. i was trying to "get ahead" in the classroom stuff, but i have decided that is an oxymoronic phrase.

oooooohhhhhhh.......i did get to go to an experience that was phenomenal. i went with friends from school to see cirque du soleil. i saw the show called "quidam". it was amazing! i sat at the edge of my seat and up straight the entire show waiting to see what was next. the costumes, the music, the acts, the story line.......every aspect is thought out and performed seamlessly. my friend sarah described it well when she said she is in awe like a child when she is there. i completely agree.....you just cannot get enough. i recommend seeing one of the shows if you can. it is live art.....just incredible!

only 87 more days until i get married.......crazy! i am excited and ready for it to be here. at the same time i am nervous which i am sure is normal. we registered at bed, bath & beyond and crate and barrel. every now and then i go to look at the list, shop, and add things. it is fun! what was even more exciting was that when i was goofing around one day shopping i realized that more stuff had been purchased which is fun! it is really happening. i am currently in "invite" mode. i recruited a friend to help me with the design of the invite because it was causing stress for me. my goal is to post them to the U.S. on may 1 or close. :) pray that i can make it happen!

i have been sick for 8 days now with sinus yuck. it all started with a sore throat that continued into nasal congestion and then the drainage went to my chest. i thought for sure it would be over and done with by now, but no. i was out of school thursday and friday last week and monday this week. i went to the doctor on friday afternoon and got some meds, but they made me feel bad so i have been taking them as needed. i rested and rested and thought i could go back on tuesday. not....by lunch time i was horrible. so dr. sarah (my friend) insisted that i stay home today too to rest since we have parent conferences thursday and friday this week. ugh! it comes in waves....i will feel better and then all of a sudden i am feeling yuck. then i just feel really tired and run down on top of dealing with the congestion and coughing. please pray that i get better soon. i am tired of resting, bored of being at home, and just want to go back to school to be with my kids.

since i have been at home so much lately i have been cuddling with sam and india much more. i think they really love it too. they are soo cute! i have discovered a few things mention worthy----without fail every morning at 6ish they want to eat. i think they have a conspiracy going because sam meows and paws at my face and india attacks my feet. it is quite an effort to wake me up. sam also likes to eat toilet paper now?!?! i discovered this when i had a roll on the night stand to use as needed to blow my nose. i woke up one night to him tearing it apart and eating it. so i stuffed it in one of the drawers on my night stand. then he also started attacking the "used" tissues too. silly cat! so now i have to hid the tissues....both new and used. :) india has discovered that she can get on top of the refridgerator. then she entertains herself by trying to get the magnets off with her paws until they fall to the floor and she can play with them. there are moments i feel like i live with two small toddlers. :) they are crazy. india loves going to bed. she knows when i am headed that way and runs ahead of me to get in the bed. once there she meows and walks in circles insisting that i get into the bed. she lets me get situated and then snuggles up for some love to go to sleep. they are soo precious!

papa john's delivers, thank goodness, and dinner has just arrived. :) yum yum! saturday morning i begin "eating sensible". :)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

hanging out at home......

this week has been pretty good so far. school has gone better than expected. today after school i had no meetings or other things going on so i got some things done and then came home to hang out. i was starving so i had some chili. i watched the pilot episode of west wing by paul's recommendation. good times! now i am watching one of my favorite movies, you've got mail. i love this movie! i would love to own a small, independent children's bookstore. that would be awesome! i have already come up with a few names for the shop. i could totally see that happening in one of the little towns in california that i visited over my spring break. :) someday maybe i can actually make it happen.

i love just hanging out! my apartment is so warm and cozy. i have been tempted to take a nap since i have been home, but i am resisting so that i can sleep well tonight. :)

i rearranged the furniture in my living room before the holiday. i did it to possibly accomodate a TV at some point, but the verdict is still out on that one. i really do like it though as when i sit on my couch i look out into the tree area out my dining room window. it is peaceful!

Monday, April 02, 2007

it's monday morning.....

i slept well last night considering i slept most of the flight. the flight just stunk. i was uncomfortable the whole time and there was also lots of turbulence. yuk. i was very ready to get off the plane when i got to seoul.

i am awake, had breakfast, sitting and being quiet while i sip a cup of java before getting ready for school. the last few days have been tough emotionally. it could be hormones making me more sensitive, but i also have just struggled be postitive.

i was really glad to get home and see my kitties last night. i love them so! they are so precious and have been really loving since i arrived home. :) i also gave them their presents last night and the rattle one is a hit! :)

i pray that today will not be torturous and will go well.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

friday....

i am sitting in the bacio cafe again today. i have been here for 3 hours thus far. they have yummy sandwiches, good coffee, and free wifi. the interior is nice and comfy. i have been blogging and taking care of issues i had to tackle before leaving for korea.

i ate lunch already and i am currently sipping on some hot tea. thinking about what i might need to do and/or what i could do.

our friends, rebecca & jason, should be here in a few hours. they are moving here as jason got a job working with paul. i am excited for them and a little jealous. i love cali and the bay area and hope they like it too. we are going to hang out later and i look forward to seeing them as i have not seen them since the summer.

later today i have to pack and get ready for my trip. paul also has to pack too. he is moving in with jason and rebecca for the next three months. then we will help jason and rebecca with all their stuff too. the evening is going to be busy! i do need to assess my junk situation so i can decide whether or not to purchase another bag to take with me. ugh!

i might make my way back to burlingame to begin the packing and assessing process. :)

word o'f the day

i saw these words on a sign for a shop yesterday on my mini-adventure to office max---"organic hydroponic". what is that? what does it mean? at first thought it sounds very scientific and technical. i know that it must have something to do with plants b/c it was a plant shop.

research on wikipedia and dictionary.com brought me this:
  • hydroponics---Hydroponics is crop production with mineral nutrient solutions instead of soil containing silt and clay. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite, gravel or rockwool. A variety of techniques exist. (wikipedia)
  • hydroponics--the cultivation of plants by placing the roots in liquid nutrient solutions rather than in soil; soilless growth of plants. (dictionary.com)
  • organic--noting or pertaining to a class of chemical compounds that formerly comprised only those existing in or derived from plants or animals, but that now includes all other compounds of carbon. (dictionary.com)

Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroponics for more really insightful information that you might find interesting.

less than 24 hours.......

until i board a plane back to the far east. upon returning i will only have 11 weeks left of school and 11 and a half until i get back to houston.

all i can say is that i am amazed at how quickly it all has gone. it seems not too long ago that school was ending for the year and technically i was without employment, but enjoying the first day of summer holiday with katie. then, i accepted the job in korea and --bam-- i am living there. now i think, "gosh i have lived in korea for 8 months already." crazy stuff!

i leave at 1:10pm tomorrow afternoon to embark on the journey back home. when talking it seems like forever, but when you are "in it" doing the trip it is not that bad. this one might be even better because i do not have any transfers or anything. straight from SF to seoul. my flight is just at 12 and a half hours. i am hoping to sleep a lot of that. i won't arrive in seoul until 5:30pm on sunday. i know, i know.......monday is going to be horrific.

Friday, March 30, 2007

the little things that make my heart pitter patter....

my fiance, paul, is the most amazing guy in the universe. he is so attentive to the little things i love and makes an effort to make me happy. just this week he has made me smile on many occasions because of the little things.....
  • he chose the first hotel we stayed in because the pillows on the bed were orange, my favorite color
  • when we were walking around fisherman's wharf and stopped for a treat at ghirardelli square my lower back really hurt and he rubbed it and made sure i was ok
  • tuesday night he surprised me by taking me to a hockey game (my favorite sport to watch)---san jose sharks vs. los angeles kings

i am in constant awe of how he makes sure to notice the little things i love. when he does the little things i know that i am important in his life and that he loves me. it really makes my heart pitter patter and i fall more in love with him each day. God is truly amazing in answering prayers............He brought me paul when i was ready to be loved by someone who was ready to love me. i am the luckiest girl in the world!

thursday.....

today was a laid back day for the most part. paul took me to his work so i could meet the folks he works with. they were nice and the office is fun. i took the car and went to a nearby mall to pick up some things----origins restock and aveda hai products for my friend amy. :) then i spent the afternoon at barnes & noble across the way. i was going to read some books that i selected from the shelf but spent most of the time there playing with facebook and IMing paul and others until my battery died. :( i decided to make my way to office max for markers!!! i could not wait to get some new markers for my classroom. i know this may seem strange to some as you probably think they have markers in korea. yes they do, but they are horrible. i am becoming a marker snob. i got 2 packs of mr. sketch's chisel tips and 2 sets of crayola wide tip washables. yeah!!! i also picked up some of my favorite pencils---mirado black warriors. there are the best pencils on the planet. in addition i picked up a pack of the mirado classics too. the little things in life that make me smile.

i also made a stop at safeway for the things i had planned to get there. i had a few requests to fill as well as my own "must get" list for my trip to america. woo hoo! the bonus was that i found paul's favorite brand of root beer too---henry wienhard's. so yummy!

upon leaving safeway i realized that i was not able to locate the cell phone?!?!?!? aaaahhhhh....where is it? i dig around as i tried to drive and then pulled over to check the trunk where the groceries were. no phone. beginning to freak out a bit i rounded the block to go back into safeway and check the parking spot too. still no phone. more anxiousness rises and freak out just a tad more. decide to drive back to paul's work and hope he understands. i made it to the business park area, got a bit lost, and finally find his building. realizing that i am not exactly sure what floor he is on. i guess only to find there is no way to get through the door. need special magnetic tag gadget.....no luck. get back into elevator upon which i AM freaking out.....tears begin to roll, i am now flipping. i get to the bottom floor to discover no pay phone. why on earth do people get rid of all pay phones? not everyone has a cell you know. luckily i am able to ask this woman if she has seen a pay phone.......uhm, no. i cry and she realizes i might need to use hers. she obliges and i call paul to manage get out through tears, "i need you to come get me....i am in the lobby of your building i think.....please come get me." i hand back the phone thanking her and then walk over to a corner to cry more. lost the cell phone, kind of get turned around, no pay phone, no paul......more tears. then paul arrives and i tell him. he gives me a hug and tells me its ok. i cry more b/c i feel like an idiot. he goes upstairs to get his stuff and then we are off. he calls my phone a few times to see if it is in the car............viola....in the office max bag on the floorboard. i am neurotic. :) thank God he is so calm and patient.

men's wearhouse here we come.................or not. we went in, stood looking at suits, staring at each other wondering......"now what". i called my personal help line in texas----1-800-nicole. thank God for her! we walk out still not knowing what to do and come to the conclusion that renting a black casual tux is the way for us to go. done for now.

then we headed back to burlingame for dinner...........italian. yummy!

now we are at paul's house where he is/was living to use wireless internet. he is working and again i am playing, blogging, and not doing my taxes.

i am a dork, i know

so i am sitting in the barnes and noble near the hillsdale shopping center and have just created a facebook account. you should too!

here is the link:
www.facebook.com

check it out!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

customer comments....

i am not alone in my love of my kitties. i am still in starbucks and currently reading the customer comments on the SmartyKat web site. they crack me up, make me giggle, and bring smiles to my face. i love it!

here is one............in reference to the sweet greens cat grass......
"My two indoor cats go crazy for that grass. One even sits with her head resting on the pot, right in the grass. It lasts a longer time than other grass products. Thank you."

if you need a good smile, check it out!

notice....plants poisonous to cats

this web site lists all the plants that are dangerous or poisonous to our feline friends........thank goodness that bamboo is not on the list. :)

http://www.cfainc.org/articles/plants.html

SmartyKat

i have become quite the cat spoiling momma. on the trip to hong kong i got a package of cat treats for sam and india. so today while at target i could not resist the cat aisle. i look it all over and originally had chosen an Eeks cat toy which are great. sam and india both got a squirrel for their crate on the trip to korea. they love them. after looking further down the aisle and trying to decide i found this whole line of products called SmartyKat. i have added the web site link under the Links section.

here is the intro of information on the site:

"SmartyKat, a unique breed of cat toys, beds and accessories known for their quality, safety, effectiveness and fun introduces CompleteNeeds™, a patent-pending new system that identifies 12 distinct physical, instinctual and emotional feline needs."

i was so excited and felt like such an education oriented pet owner. after looking at it all and reading the labels i decided that Eeks was not going to measure up. I bought some things from all three sections on the diagram wheel--emotional, instinctual, and physical. it was awesome and i could not wait to show paul the presents for the kitties. they are going to love me. i bought all the treats they had including the grass seed which i am hoping they will love more than the bamboo plant. i just have to get some dirt and a planter when i get back to korea. then i got some toys for independent play as well as interaction and topped it off with a toy that was for hunting. i have already made the summer wish list for sam and india when i am back in the states. :)

yes, i have become the lady with the cats! i love it though and they are truly my babies! :)

here is the link to the site too:
http://www.worldwise.com/smartykat1.html
check it out!

can't

this word is only four letters, but seems to be much more powerful than it is given credit. i think that this word can hinder thoughts and actions. the night of the green scene coffeehouse i was reminded about this word and how i continually use this word.

i can't do this.....i can't do that.....

i think that this word has convinced me that i am not able when in reality that is not the case. the night at the green scene was night of realization for me. i realized how much i focus on the "can't" in my life. i think of myself as a positive person and really have been that way much of my life. often though as i reflect on when i am positive it is when other people are dealing with their lives. i struggle with finding the positive in my "stuff" that i struggle and deal with. that night i had a real eye opening moment in that i am always in awe of the musical talent that i am surrounded by.....paul, cameron, matt and the many others. i have often thought of them as having an edge up on me when it comes to worshipping and being with God. for me music is a major way i connect with God and am able to work through tough times. i would watch each of them as they sang or just "piddled" around and just be envious. i want to be more creative.....share my gifts and story. then it would creep up....."i can'tplay any instrument". that singe phrase would set me back and put me in my place.

this summer before moving to korea i had a goal to learn how to play the cello. i was inspired by the musician zoe keating who opened for imogen heap. "wow.....i would love to play like her!" i would think. i chose the cello partly because of her but also because none of the three previous people played it. it was something different. i would be musical but in my own way.

then moving to korea i realized that it may not be for me. the night at the green scene .......... i began to think about my poem and thinking back to the night at the well 2 years ago when i shared part of my journal. i thought about how i use the four letter word to work against me. then it hit me...........i CAN write, i CAN be creative with words, i CAN draw, i CAN use my photos and images to tell a story. i had been enouraged through emails that some folks loved reading my blog and had commented on the way i wrote so candidly and openly. there it was........God was showing that amidst my "can't" party i was being shown the i "can" path. it was a great night and since then i have been more inspired. i admire paul, cameron, matt and others, but now i know that it is not where God gave me gifts. He gave me the gift of words, being real, and being more visual. i love it and now i am trying to embrace it and feed that part of my life. it is amazing how God does his work amongst the day to day grind and when one least expects it.

i miss target

the afternoon was spent hanging out at the bacio cafe in san mateo. i blogged, snacked, made phone calls, and watched the newest episode of grey's anatomy. it was a great day! i also took the train to millbrae where i transferred to BART (bay area rapid transit). it is kind of subwayesque but more like an airport tram feel. i took BART to san bruno where the station is attached to a small mall. woo hoo! a mall that has target and a barnes and noble! i shopped target......walking down almost every aisle. the obvious ones i knew i would not need anything i did not bother with. i got some major treats and toys for the kitties. they are going to love their mommy! i am so excited about giving them their presents. when i went to hong kong i brought them some cat treats too. i also got some other goodies for my little friends in korea. :) not to mention goodies for me such as a bix of hot tamales, travel size toothpaste as i am low, some shout wipes, and some cute little hair clippies for my oh so short hair. :) then i went to victoria's secret.....need to restock. paul met me at the mall and we had dinner at this place called fresh choice which is similiar to sweet tomatoes. i ate lots of salad and had some yummy bread. :) paul and i went back to target for some last minute purchases and then made our way to one of my favorite kinds of stores.....yes, barnes & noble. i checked out the kids section kind of since i was in a hurry. i looked in the christianity section too, but no luck for what i was looking for. i did buy a teacher book.........strategies that work: teaching comprehension to enhance understanding. one of my five must have books as a teacher....incredible book on teaching kids how to understand what they read.

now paul and i are sitting in the 24 hour starbucks in san bruno. he is working and i am playing. i have checked out many friend's blogs today and also checked out other sites i wanted to. fun times! :)

only 2 and a half more days in cali before returning to korea..............................

wedding update....

there are only 107 more days to go until the big day! i cannot believe that it is so close to being double digits. i was just telling paul's mom the other day how kind of surreal it still feels. i think that is mostly related to the whole situation that is uniquely ours. paul lives in callifornia, i live in south korea, and we are getting married in houston where family and friends are. so crazy! i am sure that things will get more hectic. although i have been quite surprised at how easy and simple things have been for me to get done or achieve from 7,047 miles away. thank God for amazing family and friends!

the dress is bought, flips flops to match purchased and things are moving well. i have the stationary for the invites at my apartment in korea that when i get back from my holiday in california i am going to seriously work on. that is the next big project to attack. my due date is may 1 so i can mail them all to the states and have someone get them in the US mail. initially i thought i would be fun to have them postmarked from seoul, but i have heard many horror stories about things getting lost in the korean mail. while i am in cali, i have to get paul's ring size as i am having it made in korea. then we also have to go to men's wearhouse to decide what paul and the other guys will wear to the event.

in april, i should decide about the cake so nicole, the domestic diva, can begin planning. she is soooo talented in the kitchen! the flowers have been discussed and the music folk, cameron and matt, have been arranged. my artistically talented friend, michelle, is going to make my headpiece. leslie and nicole are working out the veil details. katie is keeping me grounded and guarding my dress. :) she is a great MOH! the photographer is secured.....yeah! church and reception site are also taken care of. friends are discussing showers and stuff of that manner. the moms have made their attire purchases and are now on the look out for great accesories to go with. hotel arrangements are being made for the guests by the ever most gifted event planner, kelly. the knot.com is keeping me organized and on time with everything although i do have 17 over due items at the moment according to their timing. :) paul and i are slowly making our way through the books we received at christmas about marriage. so far, so good.

at the end of the day, i know that the event will happen no matter if all these things get taken care of it or not. ultimately, it is about paul and i joining our lives together in the presence of God. that's it. quite simple when all the extras are peeled away. worst case in the wedding planning, we are still going to get married no matter what we are wearing or what the flowers look likewhich to me is not worst case, but the best possible scenario!!! :) i am the luckiest girl in the world.......hands down!

beginning of the week recap....

the beginning of the week has been fabulous as the rest of the trip! i am loving california! this place rocks!

sunday night upon searching the web i discovered that one of my favorite bag makers, timbuk2, are from san fran. woo hoo! so i found out where the store was located which is in hayes valley in san fran near the "painted ladies" (aka the full house houses). since we are now staying south of the city i had to manage my way back via public transit solo. it was really easy and fun! monday morning came and it was raining....yuck! paul and i came to burlingame first thing to meet the guy at our new hotel/home for the week. more on the hotel later..... :) then we had lunch at this great place called crepevine. savory crepes were delicous! then i made my way to the city on the train (caltrain) and paul went to work further south. it is really easy to get around and the bus website has a trip planner that is great. i had an index card with all the info i needed with me. :) i love index cards.....thanks to katie for introducing me to this phenomenon! :) anyhow, first bus was fine then i got off to transfer and the rain was coming down. i proceeded to get quite wet even with an umbrella........it was not fun. i got off at the final stop and had to walk about 4 or so blocks to the timbuk2 store. so fun! it is their customs shop so all they do here is make the custom bags. some really cool stuff tho. i did make purchases......a small square zipper bag that is orange and a small three card holder, also orange. :) it was awesome! i walked to the bus stop and took the bus to union square. funny enough it let me off right at old navy so i went in for a browse. fun times. i tried on many things, but was not successful. i ended up with some new PJ pants, a few tanks, and an orange shirt. :) yeah for normal sized clothing. then i made my way back to the train station. arriving back in burlingame it was windy, cold, and rainy so i ducked into the nearest starbucks for some warm coffee and an apple fritter. i read some of the book i am reading, praise habit by david crowder. it is a great book thus far! it is picking my brain and i love it. i love books that make me think. it is great! i warmed up and waited for the rain to let up. then i made my way down burlingame avenue popping in and out of different shops. the major stop was at the GAP where i made a purchase of restocking on the stretch T's (my closet staple) and some long sleeve favortie T's in the basic colors (another closet staple). also found a great pair of darker khaki pants. woo hoo! i love america! i also went to this cool independent book store called books inc. it is great and reminds in some ways of the book store in the movie, you've got mail (another favorite). i love little book shops! i love books. paul met me and we drove to san mateo for dinner. we had sushi at this little place he frequents......wow it was yummy and they have all the things i like. good japanese is great and i always feel healthy after eating. then we saw a movie---reign over me. it is the new adam sandler movie with don cheadle. i recommend it! it is a great flick! before the movie we had coffee in this little cafe near the theater called bacio. it rocks!

tuesday i slept in until 1:54pm. late i know but much needed. i love sleeping. i got up, took a shower and had a sweet crepe at the crepevine while waiting for paul to meet me. then we came to sam mateo---he worked at the bacio cafe (free wifi) and i shopped in the cool shoe stores here. i got a pair of black birkenstocks....the floridas which has three thin straps. i love them and cannot wait to break them in when it gets warmer. i also got some new smartwool socks. i discovered these at christmas at whole earth in houston. they are great........cute, warm, comfortable, and made with wool to keep feet dry. i am now a huge fan! paul told me i had to meet him at the cafe at 5:30 because he had made evening plans for us. he would not tell me where or what, but all i knew we were taking the train. we rode the train south and ended up in san jose. i still had no idea although he told me we were going to this big building and there were lots of people going in the same direction. i noticed that they all had on jerseys of some sort. then i realized..........paul was taking me to a hockey game! i love this guy!!!! he had gotten tickets earlier in the day to the san jose sharks vs. los angeles kings game. wow! i was so stoked! i love watching hockey and this was a NHL game. the sharks coach, ron wilson, also got an award for coaching 1,000 NHL games. he is only the 13th coach to achieve this. it was cool. the game was good and san jose won.....3-1. no official fights broke out although there were a few "almost" fights where they would begin then get broken up almost immediately. it was so fun! paul and i had junk food for dinner at the game. :) i am constantly amazed how much paul cares for the things i love and wants to share those things with me. he is AWESOME!

today i woke up at noon.........gosh i love being on holiday. i took the train to san mateo to hang out at bacio, the cafe that has free wifi. that is where i am as i type this. the weather today is gorgeous! it is 62 and sunny with a breeze. it is amazing! i keep telling paul that i could totally live here in cali on the peninsula (the area south of san fran where we are....this is what people call it). i had a wonderful sandwich for lunch here and a vanilla latte too. the people here are friendly and love to chat while helping you. no one is in a hurry. i love it. also most of the place is granola-ey.....you know like me.....all about organic and natural. lots of stores that have all the things i love. shoe stores that only carry comfortable shoes such as dansko, keen, birks, mephisto, etc. all that earthy kind of stuff i totally dig!

later i am headed the other direction to go to san bruno where target is. i have to start getting the things "on the list" that i want from america! :)