Friday, January 19, 2007

word o' the day.....


this word was found by one of the my kiddos in the book titled The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke. i went to to find out what it meant:

here is what we learned:
sur·rep·ti·tious /ˌsɜrəpˈtɪʃəs/ [sur-uhp-tish-uhs] IPA –adjective
1. obtained, done, made, etc., by stealth; secret or unauthorized; clandestine: a surreptitious glance.
2. acting in a stealthy way.
3. obtained by subreption; subreptitious.

sur·rep·ti·tious·ly, adverb
sur·rep·ti·tious·ness, noun

Saturday, January 13, 2007


here i sit on a saturday morning long before the time gets to the double digits soaking up the quietness of my apartment. it's cold out.....19 degrees....and there is snow still on the ground. i went to bed at 9:30 last night. big, exciting friday night in korea for me! i got a good 10 and a half hours sleep. crazy! i have fed the four-legged friends and now just sit on my couch looking out into the trees across from my apartment from the dining room window. india is laying on the end of the dining table near the window and sam has cozied up on the wool blanket on my bed. the second hand of the clock in the kitchen ticks without fail. i am hungry, but have yet to decide what i will eat for breakfast this morning. i brew over the choices at hand......cereal, french toast, or an omelette with tomoatoes, feta, and cheddar. i could always choose something in the non-traditional arena--sandwich, pizza, etc. the idea that sounds best is to curl up on couch with sam and india reading a great book and get in a nap. :)

i have been reading a lot this week. in fact thursday night that is all i did. i read from the time i got home until the time i went to bed. it was great! i finished messy spirituality by michael yaconelli thursday night and then started here's to hindsight by tara leigh cobble. i recommend both........GREAT READS! last night i began a book i want to read aloud to my kids this coming week which is missing may by cynthia rylant. on january 23rd my kids and i will begin reading the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe by c. s. lewis. i have never actually read the book so i am also reading that. i am thrilled about being able to teach such an incredible story that parallels with the Bible. i hope it will be a great adventure for my kids and myself.

i began swimming this past week in an effort to get in shape. although the sound of the alarm clock buzzing at 5:30am does not excite me in the least, i am excited about it. on the mornings i swim i have found that i am more awake and have more energy. that part alone makes it worth while. i am trying to eat healthy and manage my portions, but that is where it is difficult here in korea. this is the one area that is the most challenging even more so than the exercise. prayer in this struggle is much needed.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

it's wednesday.....

the week is half over and it feels as though i have been back at this school stuff for weeks now. the weekend by way too fast for me. i have been feeling pretty tired early in the evening all week. i have been fighting to stay awake until at least 9pm. hee hee. i never thought that would happen to me. i am trying to get myself on a normal sleep schedule though. so that has been the goal all this week.

monday i woke up at 5:30am and joined my neighbor, buffie, at the pool for an early morning swim. i realized that i need to be proactive about getting into shape. i swam for about 30 minutes or so but only swam 400 meters. back in the day that would have just been a warm up not an entire workout. :) times have changed and so has my body. i did it though and that was what really mattered. it was great to see my kids on monday and i had fun getting to catch up with all of them and hear what they had done over the break. some went skiiing, others went to different countries, and some just had a simple holiday at home. they all seemed to enjoy whatever they did. upon telling them my news they were quite excited. :)

tuesday the entire 4th grade took a field trip to the GM Daewoom plant that is located about an hour from school towards the airport. it was an interesting day and i had a great time. i learned many new things that i did not know before the trip. we leraned a lot about the company, got to sit in new cars and tour the assembly line plant where they put the cars together. some of the facts that i learned on the trip are:
  • there are 30,000 parts that have to be on the car in the assembly line
  • it takes about 17 hours for a car to be completed on the line
  • there are four different parts of the car building process----press shop, body shop, paint shop, assembly line
  • the safety standards vary from country to country
  • GM Daewoo sells cars in 190 countries around the globe
  • the new Saturn Vue is acutally a GM Daewoo Winstorm in Korea

it was an interesting trip and i think the kids had fun!

today started with another trip to the pool for 25 minutes of swimming. i could not believe that i really got up to go again. i managed to make the workout 500 meters this time which was nice. i was proud. the day was just wednesday. i have felt really out of the groove this week since i was away for so long. i am hoping that this will go away soon.

i am currently sitting in starbucks in sinchon with suzy "working". i think she really is doing work when i am just updating my blog and looking at wedding stuff. i tried to pull out some school work, but could not bring myself to do anything with it. i sit here in a place that is familiar but am surrounded by sounds of a language that i don't understand. it is so weird to me. although at times i find it socially liberating as i don't feel obligated to say hi or make small talk. the culture here lends itself to not being as friendly as texans are. no one really says hi to each other, excuse me does not translate, and people tend to keep to themself. odd at first, but i am also finding comfort in just "zoning out" and thinking about whatever i feel like. the only downfall to the starbucks in korea is the absence of decaf coffee. it is a bummer. i love the taste of coffee but have to sleep too. ugh! that is one thing i miss about starbucks from home.....the decaf option. :) instead i sip on a caramel cream frappuccino that has enough calories to claim meal status. the things we indulge for comfort!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

fun times....

suzy and me.....reuniting :)

me in the snow outside my much of it!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

more pics.......

i have just finished uploading all the pics to on the link at right and have a look! hope you enjoy them as much as i do :)

happy hope bear family....

holy snow batman!!!

saturday morning.....

i sit in my apartment basking in its quietness. so different from being at home in Houston where things seem to always be on the go. i went to bed last night around 10:30 after arriving home to korea. i awoke this morning at 5:20ish and thought there is no way i am getting up this early. dragging myself out of the bed shortly thereafter i realized how different life is here. i stirred around wondering what to do as no one is awake yet. i finally decided i would read my book even though that did not seem that exciting. i made some coffee and got comfortable on the couch. i read and read. excited that taking the time to read was abundant here. i looked outside and realized it was snowing……..everything is covered in a soft white. so beautiful! i am hungry but not sure what to eat as in Houston we just go and get something. i really appreciate the slowness of life here at my apartment in seoul. i finally thawed out a bagel and created my very own “simple breakfast” like the one at brazil that i love. a bagel with butter and jam, orange juice and coffee. i glance outside to see the snow and am reminded of God’s amazing glory. it is such a great feeling. the tree’s branches all covered in a blanket of white. sam is asleep on the couch next to me and the only noise i hear is the second hand ticking on the clock in the kitchen and sam’s occasional snore or whimper. life here is slow and simple and something until now that i did not realize how much i loved.

the story of paul's proposal

the story begins when paul asks me to mark three dates on the calendar for dates with him when i am home for the holiday--dec. 19th, 21st, and 23rd. all i know that the first date is all day and casual, the second in the evening and dressy, and date three is casual and most of the day. this is all the information he would share with me.

upon arrival in houston, he picked me up at the airport and it felt so wondeful to see him and be able to give him a hug. it had been 4 months and 14 days since we were last together in person as he left korea on august 6th. it was a great moment as i stood at baggage claim waiting for my bags wondering where he was and then to sopt him in the crowd, exchange smiles, and walk quickly toward me.

tuesday was date #1. the plan was to hang out and do lots of nothing really. we started the day at rice village just walking around and peering through windows. we did drop my much violated birks off for repair at the village shoe shop. :) we did a little shopping and a lot of walking. it was nice to be able to meander with no real schedule holding hands with one another. after rice, we headed for the galleria. another place to do little shopping and lots of walking! we had fun just walking around and people watching. we just really enjoyed our time together and being able to hold hands and talk. all he would tell me is that we had dinner plans and had to be there around 7:00ish and it was near the galleria. we left the galleria and i had a pounding headache. upon sharing this with paul, he immediately asked what he could do to "fix it" which made me smile. i said that aleve should do the trick so we found the nearest CVS. he just kept driving around and around in no one direction so i had no idea where we were headed. at this point his only comment became "maybe" to all my interrogation. :) finally we were headed west on westheimer and i said we are so going to la vista and he said.........yep, you guessed it "maybe". then finally he turned on fountain view to which i quickly remarked we are going to la vista, but they don't take reservations. hmmmm..........he parked and then we walked to la vista. i was so excited! i was smilng ear to ear. my favorite restaurant with my favorite guy what more could i ask for. we were walking up to la vista when i spotted allen moody from our home group and thought why he is here. then i noticed more people i knew----our entire small group was there. when i walked up to the table they all stood up and were holding mini hope bears. each of them gave their bear to me which had a little sentiment written to me on a tag attached to the ribbon around its neck. so sweet! 8 bears total and an entire small group of people including katie. CRAZY! paul had arranged for everyone to meet us there for dinner. the most amazing part is that NO ONE spilled the beans AT ALL the night before at small group. it was an awesome night and i was so glad to be able to fellowship with each of them and share a meal together. paul is such a blessing. even though i did not realize it at the time, the word of the night was "hope".

date #2 on thursday was a dressy date and somehow i had managed to squeeze the place that were eating out of paul prior to coming home. we were going to the melting pot. another place that paul took me while dating that i had never been before he took me. i was thrilled and i knew i would be stuffed by the end of the night. i had found the coolest shirt at new york and company the day before to wear. i wore the black and white flowey like shirt with black wide leg pants and black sandals. i felt great and paul said i looked hot! he looked awesome too. he work nice jeans with his green long sleeved shirt and his black jacket. such a hottie! all i knew is that we were going to dinner at 5:30 and then had plans to be somewhere else at 7ish. we went to eat and ate so much food. we had a yummy cheese dip that was wonderful followed by a large selection of meats---beef, chicken, shrimp and lobster. it was really good, but we both agreed less is better. we had a hazelnut chocolate dip for dessert which is paul and i's favorite part. :) after dinner we headed down westheimer again and i got this weird feeling we were going to grace, our church. not sure why although i though paul might have arranged to play for me in the chapel, but that was from what happened. we did end up at grace in the chapel, but for a different reason. paul had arranged with bryan, one of the pastors, to meet us at the chapel so that we could share communion together. it was amazing and yes, i cried. the lighting in the chapel was just right, the candles were lit, and bryan had the kneeler out too. bryan played a derek webb song on the CD player and then we read Hebrews 11 together which speaks all about faith. then we prayed and shared communion. it was so special as paul and i got to serve communion to each other. then bryan prayed for us again. it was a really special night for me and i was pretty much in awe to what lengths paul would go to make the night extra special. i still cannot believe it. wow! again, not knowing it at the time the word of this date was "Faith". he had planned each date with a theme.

saturday brought date #3 which started out by running last minute errands for christmas. we had stopped at starbucks to get some gift cards as well as izze beverages for us to enjoy. we were sitting there enjoying our drinks, talking about things, and he asked me if i had figured out the clues yet about the dates. i immediately said no and then without a moment's hesitation realized what the theme was. i smiled ear to ear and was wow-ed by his thoughtful planning. that meant that this date was about "love" but there was not any plans until "around dinner time". after figuring it out i was really anxious to get the date started. i kept pestering him...."can we start now???" we headed in the direction of his apartment and he pulled into the central market parking lot. i was a bit confused as central market was not on the list of places we needed to go. i asked what we were doing and he said we were starting the date. to be honest, i felt not sure of what he was doing. he then told me how he loves to do nothing with me. one of his favorite times we share is getting bread and cheese and then renting movies to watch at his apartment. "is that ok?" he asked. i was like of course. he knew that my trip home would be really busy and he thought the best way to hang out was to plan a night of nothing. yeah! we meandered through central market getting the items we needed for our picnic----fresh french bread, brie, gouda, mustard, fresh genoa salami, and some jam. yum! then we went to hollywood video to rent some movies. we wanted to watch scrubs episodes but they did not have the season we needed. so instead we rented little miss sunshine and click. we went back to his apartment and i took the groceries upstairs. i was unpacking the bag when he walks into the kitchen with his guitar on. i asked him what he was doing and he told me he wanted to play my favorite song for me that he wrote. earlier in the day i had mentioned that i wanted him to play this song for me while i was home. it is the first song he played for me at my apartment right after we started dating. yeah! he led me over to the couch and he played the song for me. i started crying about half way through. i could not stop the tears. after he finished he asked if i was ok and my response was "i don't want to go back to korea". he then started talking about hope, faith and love. he knew that these three words had become really important in my faith journey over the past 2 years but he said that they were important to our relationship as well especially since i had moved to korea. he then stood up and took off his guitar and said....."mandy....." then he pulled something out of his pocket and got down on one knee in front of me on the couch, opened a little box........."will you marry me?" then i started crying more and said yes!!! we spent the next hours on the phone calling our families and friends. it was the best night ever!!!! we did get to our picnic and watched the movie--little miss sunshine.

we are getting married on july 14th, 2007 at 2:00pm at grace presbyterian. the reception will in the fellowship hall there at the church. we are both really excited and appreciate all the words of support and encouragement!

home for the holidays......

yeah i arrived home safely and was able to get great rest on the trip home. paul picked me up at the airport and it was so wonderful to see him. :) we went to dinner at el gallo with my mom and katie which was fun. that night i actually slept pretty well. sunday morning was early as i wanted to see paul play at church. the normal sunday morning routine was kept just as usual----starbucks on the way to church!!! it was awesome to see everyone and i even started crying during the morning band practice. gosh, i miss my community in houston! church was great and i got to see paul sing the worship song sing to the king which was rocking! after church we went to the black lab for lunch. fun fun fun!

monday i had breakfast at brasil with my mom and then we hung out all day. it was nice! tuesday i had my first date with paul. (more details on that in next blog)
wednesday was girls nite out at the mad potter which was lots of fun! i had a blast hanging out with the ladies and catching up. thursday was the day o' the doctor's visits----ugh! i made all the rounds to get all the check ups and such i needed. later that night i had the dressy date with paul which was awesome! friday katie and i got to hang out and i went to get my hair done....yeah! i love the people who do my hair.....sufi and sufi are the best! saturday was another all day date with paul which was the most amazing day i have ever had in my life! yeah! paul rocks!

sunday was christmas eve and paul and i had a marathon of family visiting to do for christmas. we started at his aunt's in clear lake for lunch and the early afternoon. i got to meet the rest of the family which was really great. they are a lot of fun! we exchanged white elephant gifts which was really funny! then we opened the real gifts. it was great getting to meet his family and spend more time with them. i cannot wait to be able to see them more.

after his aunt's we trekked back to sugar land with dinner and the evening time with my family. it was really nice too. i got to hang out with josh for the first time since i had been home which was awesome! we had a nice time together. we ate dinner and then opened presents. i had lots of fun watching my family open the presents i brought them from korea. then we went to the late service at my brother and sandra's church. it was nice to be together and celebrate the season.

after church we headed to paul's parents for the night. christmas morning started at about 9:30 and we unloaded stockings, had breakfast, and then opened gifts. it was great to spend that time with them. the rest of the day we just hung out and rested. later in the afternoon we went to christina's mom's house to have dinner. the whole maiorana crew was there and we were able to announce our engagement which was fun! we had a great time.

dec. 26th was paul and i's one year anniversary. we celebrated by doing the same thing we did one year earlier on our first date. we ate lunch at pei wei on heights and then went to see a holiday movie. this year we saw "the holiday" at the angelika. even though we were a bit late, it was a good movie. after the movie we had dinner at nicole's house with her family. yeah for friends! paul and i had a great time visiting and seeing the kids. :)

wednesday i got to hang out with josh all day! it was awesome! we went to lunch at earl of sandwich and then saw the movie "night at the museum"----great flick! paul's parents had invited my family over for dinner to celebrate our engagement which was good. it was nice to see our families come together and share a meal together. cream taco is yummy!!!

thursday-saturday i stayed at my brother's house to animal sit while they drove to tennessee to watch the cougars play in the liberty bowl. friday night we went to dinner with the guy paul works with and his wife. we got treated to dinner at the capitol grille. it was good!

saturday i went dress shopping at david's bridal and had fun. it is really exhausting trying on those heavy dresses. finally after about 2 hours, i found the one. we made the purchase and then headed to lunch at central market. yum! one more thing to check off the list of planning.....

sunday paul and i went to church at grace even though he was not playing. it was different to sit next to him the entire service. :) we went to brunch at the black lab and had matt's mom take some engagement photos of us there too. later that night we went to tricia and allen's new year's eve party at their house. we got to kiss at midnight!!! it was fun and kelly documented the moment for us. :)

monday was a lazy day! nothing major....just hanging out. tuesday we met with t. doug, our pastor, to talk about getting married and the dates and such. God was really watching over us because the morning went soooo smoothly. we met with the wedding coordinator at the church and the facilities lady as well. we are getting married at grace pres. on july 14th, 2007 at 2pm with reception to follow in the fellowship hall. yeah!!!! huge stress out of the way!!!

that night we went to dinner with my family at seoul garden, it was good, but not as good as the korean food in korea. go figure. i had a great time sharing new food with them and getting to speak a little korean.

wednesday i finally got rid of my car at carmax! yeah i am officially sans car!!! :) oh what a glorious feeling! i ran last minute errands and then did some laundry. we had dinner at lupe tortilla's which was awesome as always! we ate with katie and my mom which was good too. i had to stay up late packing as i left on thursday. again, i waited to the last minute to pack all my junk. poor paul!

he had to get me to airport for 5:30am, but we did not get there until 6:15ish. it was ok although the line was sooooo long. it all worked out though. i slept most of the flights here which was nice. i think sleeping makes the time go by faster. :) in san francisco there were 9 other SFSers coming back to Seoul so that was fun seeing people at the airport. we were all on the same flight. i rode the airport bus to the school and then another SFS teacher who was already home came down the hill to get us and our luggage. it was great!!

it is good to be here although i do miss home a lot. i got to love on sam and india and hang out. i went to bed around 10:30 and woke up at 5:30am to snow.....lots of snow.


so i am trying to catch up on my blog and it long overdue. i seem to say that every time that i update after a long hiatus. :)

the month of december seems to be full of christmas shopping as i look back over the notes i jotted down. i ate with tim and joann at this amazing italian place that i LOVE called namaste. it is awesome! i bought my first piece of Korean furniture too. an old rice chest made into a coffee table. jen and i went to a gayageum concert at the sejong arts center after a long day of shopping in namdaemun. the gayageum is an old traditional Korean instrument. the group of women we saw play contemporary works on it---like the beatles and simon & garfunkel. it was really great to see. my kids had their christmas party and i received a gift certificate to get a massage and pedicure....yeah! the memorable moment from the party was when each one of my students came up to tell me why they were thankful i was their teacher. they all had great things to share from their hearts, but the last little girl, hanna, pulled the tears. she said, "miss foster i am thankful that you left all your friends behind to come teach us." i started crying instantly. wow! how amazing God is to have this one little girl share her heart with me.

i stayed up most of the night packing for my trip home the night before i left. this is so me to wait to the last minute. i got it done and made it home safely to spend time with family and friends.