Saturday, March 31, 2007
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. :)
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.
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
- 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!
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.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
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!
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:
check it out!
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.
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..............................
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!
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! :)
Monday, March 26, 2007
after lunch we went on a hunt for a stop for bus #76 that drives over the golden gate bridge. we found the stop and i peeped in a great show store that had tons of "my kind" of shoes---all kind of granola and comfortable---dansko, birk, ecco, etc. paul was on watch out for the bus. the bus came so we crossed the street to catch it. we rode the bus for the next hour and 15 minutes. it took us through parts of town we had not been to and then over the golden gate bridge. i took a few pics, but the fog was pretty heavy today so we could not really see the top parts of the bridge. it was nice ride and a great way to see the bridge. after the bus trip we got a cup of coffee at peet's, this place is all over san francisco.
more shopping after coffee as i wanted to try on these cute clarks brown dress shoes i liked at christmas. i have been thinking about them since. we walked down to the store, i walked in tried them on, and decided that they were cute, but not "got to have them" $75 cute. i couldn't believe that i am really not being so impulsive with shopping. it feels weird sometimes, but i like the new shopping thinking i am having.
we made our way back to the hotel to pick up the car and head further south to the area where paul lives, works, and hangs out. we started in san mateo. paul took me by his house and showed me his room. he then took me by his office building where he works. then we drove into the downtown san mateo area which is really fun. we ate lunch at subway and then walked around. my first impression was "this is kind of like rice village". it was awesome! we walked in a couple of stores and paul showed me all the sushi places he has tried and then pointed out the ones he still has to try. we went into a grovery store called draeger's which is a mix between a whole foods, central market, and regular store. it was fun and i tortured paul by walking up and down each aisle. :) then we walked around san mateo some more checking out this and that. then paul took me through burlingame which is totally awesome! paul is so cute......he was asking me every few minutes if i liked the area and if i could live there. it was fun! we ended up in the next town called millbrae and this is where he will be living with jason and rebecca. san bruno was next and this is where we are staying for tonight and moving into burlingame tomorrow.
i am having a blast so far! california is really great and spending time with paul is the best! tomorrow he goes to work and i get to play in burlingame......shopping and exploring!
then we went to the movie. it was actually quite good. i recommend it. it is paul's favorite at the moment. it is intense, but in a good way. we walked back to the hotel and then went to get some pizza for a late, late dinner. all the walking makes you hungry! i was exhausted by the time we got back to the hotel. it was a long day......but it was a really good day! again i just love hanging out with paul! spending time with him is the highlight of the trip for sure. :)
another day of exploring for us............
Sunday, March 25, 2007
the flight to LA was fine. the food was ok. i slept most of the way. it was really great that i was able to sleep. i arrived in LA to go through immigration, customs and then find my gate. once at the gate i learned that my plane would be delayed almost 2 hours...........yuck! at this point all i wanted was to be there and off planes. i got some mcdonald's and sat down to log into the internet while i patiently waited for the plane. we boarded around 6:45ish and did not depart until 7:30. originally the flight was supposed to take off at 5pm. ugh! i was able to get in some more sleeping though on the short 1.5 hour flight from LA to san fran which was ok with me. i walked to the baggage claim and paul met me. YEAH.....so good to see him! we went to wait for my bag which was one the last bags to come out on the wrong carousel. too funny, but understandable since there were 3 flights to san fran all about the same time. at that point i did not care i just wanted my luggage. we drove to the hotel and then went to get some dinner. we are staying in san francisco city which is really fun! we had dinner at this little diner not from where we are staying. it was called "grubstake" and the food was yummy. they have all the american fare and then a small section of portugese food. it was lively and fun. i had a philly cheese steak sandwich with french fries and it was delicious! paul had an omelet for dinner.
all in all, i am glad to be here. today after much rest we are going out to explore the city! :)
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
we are also studying poetry and writing it too at the moment. i love writing with my kids. it is lots of fun and they seem to be enjoying it as well. today i also incorporated some of the movement activities that i learned about in hong kong.
this evening i came over to my friends the mills' to watch their children---arthur, isaac, and florence. they are such a joy to play with and watch. they are always happy to see me and we have lots of fun when i am with them. today we played some rat-a-tat cat which is a game i got for christmas that they love. bedtime snack was followed by teeth brushing and bedtime stories. so fun! then i taught arthur how to play farkle! yeah!
i am glad tomorrow is wednesday for many reasons. reasons i am happy about tomorrow: the week is half over, i am one day closer to leaving for san francisco, and it is E day at school. E day has many specials and i try hard to be really productive on E days because my kids are out of the room so much. :) i also have to get on the scale in the morning............i suppose that is a pro and a con of tomorrow, but i am going to stay positive about it. :)
Monday, March 19, 2007
friday was the green scene coffeehouse for the SFS staff and families. some people chose to perform and/or read poetry and others like me just went, enjoyed coffee, snacks and great entertainment. the donation was only 5,000 won and that got you a cup of java. the snacks were donation too. i was in awe of how much talent there is on campus. many people sang and played instruments. it was really amazing. through out the beginning i sat in my chair wishing that i too could be musically inclined. then i remembered back to my journal entry that i read at the well easter service after the six week series on the door. the thoughts started racing through my mind. i am constantly struggling with how i can use my creativity to glorify God when i don't play anything. then i decided i had to focus on what i CAN do. i CAN do art and use my words to be creative. i wished i had my journal entry with me. then it came to me----words for a poem based on the journal entry i read. crazy stuff. my heart was pounding and i got really excited. at the end the folks in charge said that anyone who wanted could share. sure enough i had written a poem on the back of the program and another sheet of paper. it is definitely a work in progress, but also liberating to me to know that i can be creative in ways other than music. i can share my story with others through a creative media. i have really liked journaling and writing lately. so through my images and words i can share my story, glorify God and connect with others. yeah! i love feeling this way when i have sorted out stuff in my head. it is a release!
here is the poem i wrote:
wednesday was a much better day! suzy and i were headed to itaewon so i could get my ring fixed and get some dinner. we decided to take the bus instead of the subway and man that was an experience. the bus driving in seoul is like riding an old, wooden rollercoaster. there is nothing smooth about them. on the door should be a sign posted with warnings like they have at the entrance of rollercoasters. i tried bus "surfing" which is much more difficult than subway "surfing". "surfing" is when you ride with out holding on to anything without falling over. it is fun, but much more difficult on the buses. the #110 bus is a wild one! :) the joys of self entertainment on public transit. suzy and i laughed a lot which was most important. after dropping off my ring, we headed towards the yummy dolsot bibimbap place near where i get pedicures. near the dolsot place there is cute little cafe i always pass and have wondered about it. today they had a menu posted outside so suzy and i had a look. the menu items sounded yummy so we ditched plan A for plan B---eating at the cafe called the flying pan blue. i walked in and it was amazing! the place is small and open, but decorated in a contemporary, eclectic kind of way. i loved it! i could not believe this place! i was in love. after checking out the menu, i was hooked. suzy kept reminding me to try the food first. i ordered a sandwich set which is a sandwich, small bowl of soup and a salad. i chose the chicken curry sandwich that comes on homemade brown loaf. the soup was broccoli and potato. suzy and i also treated ourselves to a glass of white wine which was served in the appropriate glasses which was exciting. most places don't make the effort to serve wine in the correct glass. i was impressed! the whole time i was thinking, "man i could hang out here with a great book and a cup of coffee regularly." for those at home it is like a mix of empire cafe, brasil, daily grind and a lot of the fainting goat. i loved it! i took it all in and noticed all the details including the funky, cool light fixtures. the most unique are the bare light bulbls hanging by wire that have white feathered wings attached to make them look like they are flying. so cool! dinner was delicious! this IS my new favorite cafe in seoul. the ambience was cozy and inviting as well. great jazzy music and just the right mix of natural light and candles. ok, so i am sure you think i am over the top about this one place, but it is just that great! little things in korea = big points of excitement. i stopped at the grocery store on the way home since i had very little in the fridge from before my trip that was edible.
thursday i had swimming after school and then i was sitting with florence for the evening. she helped me bake my "texas" treats for friday. she was a great helper! i made cowboy cookies, mom's banana bread, chocolate pecan pie bars and took in chips, salsa and guacomole. amy made some cornbread to add to the mix as well. it was a hit and everything was yummy!
friday was good and more to come for details on that.............
saturday i met jen at the flying pan blue for brunch. again, amazing experience. this time i had french toast with citrus glazed bacon and fresh strawberries. the beverage was a canadian maple syrup latte............wow! this place is quickly winning my heart. it was really busy on saturday morning which made me happy. i want to make sure it stays around. jen and i then ventured across the river for some art action at the seoul arts centre. the exhibit is van gogh to picasso: masterworks from the cleveland museum of art. it was great! jen and i had lots of artsy conversation and admired many works of art we both enjoyed. my favorite was a charcoal/pencil nude by .......oh, i cannot remember his name. anyhow, it was really nice. we also walked through the other exhibit which i think we were supposed to pay for which was part of the korean contemporary arts festival. lots of cool works here. we both enjoyed seeing the large variety of medias, compositions, and design.
the weather was absolutely gorgeous saturday! after the art intake, we sat outside in front of the museum in the sun. we both enjoyed feeling the sun warm our skin. it was a bit cool, but just the right amount. we were trying to come up with another activity but could not think of anything close even with the resourceful seoul tour guide. we decided to get hair cuts in edae!! i will post a pic of my new look. i was sick of the mess and just cut it off. i love it!
after the pampering jen went home and i came back to school to go to wine night with some people from school. it was fun and was at a house off campus which was fun to see. i tasted 2 sauvignon blancs from new zealand and a pinot noir from new zealand as well. the last one we tried was chilean and is actually stored in ocean water. really interesting. i did not care for it much although i did find the process interesting. the food was amazing----cured salmon. it was awesome!
it was a heathon kind of day............no church. jen was not feeling well and i wanted to sleep in. sunday suzy and i had lunch and then went to edae to walk around. she got her hair conditioned and trimmed and i read. then we went to the little ikea shop (not official), but has a small selection of things. then we went to an area near the major art school hongik uninversity called hongdae. it is a funky, artsy part of town which i would compare to the museum/montrose area of houston. on saturdays and sundays there is a little area near the playground where artists set up tables to sell their work. some really cool stuff and pretty reasonably priced. i am definitely going back when i get home from san fran. :) suzy cooked pasta last night while i put together her ikea coat rack. we also watched grey's and had some good girl time.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
we left seoul about 7:45pm and did not arrive to hong kong until 11pm or so. i watched a great movie on the plane called "A Good Day". the food was ok.....standard airline food. although cathay pacific, the airline, is generous with the beverages. i was able to enjoy a glass of white wine with dinner at no charge. that was nice! a side note---this is the first trip i have evern taken when my back pack was sooooo light. i did not make note of the actual weight at the airport, but it was light traveling for me. :) i was proud of myself.
when we arrived in hong kong helen had a plan for which bus to take to our hotel. all of the buses are double decker ones like in london which makes since hong kong was ruled by britain for a long time. we managed to find the bus, get ourselves aboard with the luggage, and find seats. it took about 30 minutes to arrive to the hotel. upon attempting to check in we were told that we were at the wrong hotel.......ugh! same name, different location. the lady made a note in chinese (cantonese) for us to give to the taxi driver. so nice of her. we made our way to the correct hotel and then rested. i was exhausted!
we slept in on wednesday morning to get some rest b/c we knew that once the course started it would be really tiring. it was nice to rest. the funny part about the hotel was that there was a card in our room that stated that the quality of our sleep was of the upmost importance and we had choices of 4 different pillows if needed. it was funny! we got moving and checked out the grocery store across the street from the hotel. lots of great western food! then we went down the underground to an area near the harbor called Tsim Sha Tsui (aka TST). we found a place to eat lunch that was little. the menu was on the walls and the guys who waited tables wore blue button down shirts that remind me of the cuban shirts that they were at many mexican restaurants. it was good. i got a dumpling & noodle soup. helen and i were sitting at a table when we were joined by two different women that shared our table with us. this is common practice there. after lunch we walked around and looked at all the shops. in the middle of the city was this great park, kowloon park. it was beautiful and quite peaceful. we stopped and soaked in the green and nature. we even stopped at a starbucks. YES, the starbucks in hong kong has decaf! WOO HOO! i was thrilled. after a bit we took a ferry across the water to hong kong island. we were to meet a friend of helen's that used to teach at SFS in the british school about three years ago. liz met us at the piers and then we took another ferry to lantau island where she lives in an area called discovery bay. DB is a large ex-pat community. it is nice and they do not allow folks to have cars. so people use buses and such to get around. at the pier in DB there is a large new plaza that is really nice. we went into a small store before going to liz's apartment. it was small, but really cozy. over the head of her bed she has a large picture window that looks out over the water to disneyland hong kong. so every night she gets a fireworks show. :) we had tea and nibbles while helen and liz caught up and we all hung out. she has a cute cat that a friend rescued. moo schoo (sp?) is her name. she is small and spunky. i enjoyed loving on her while i was there. we went to a thai restaurant for dinner which was really yummy. after dinner we walked around and then went to the park-n-shop (grocery store). they have lots of western food in hong kong. the highlight of the shopping for me was the whole wheat fusilli noodles that i bought in addition to the cadbury's chocolates. after dinner helen and i caught the ferry back to TST and then got in a cab to take us to the hotel. it was a great day!
on thursday morning helen had found an island she wanted to go to, cheung chau. we took a ferry to it and spent the day walking around. in the guidebook there was a map with points to see on the walk. it was really nice. the island reminded me a lot of cinque terre in italy. small and quaint and there are no cars here either. the only transportation is bikes and a small machine like a john deere gator. we looked for a pub for lunch, but ended up at the little chinese place. we weren't sure what they had. we were pointed to take a table upstairs. we sat down and waited. there was no menu and the waitress just brought us food. it was quite an experience. we had no idea what any of it was, but happily tried it. the first item was three meatball looking things in a bamboo steamer thing. not sure what kind of meat or anything. i tried it but was not really thrilled with it. helen liked it better than i. then she brought us another bamboo steamer thing with three smaller ball like deals, but these were wrapped in a thin, rice paper like stuff. i took a bite and discovered it had seafood in it and i liked this one. yum! finally we received a last dish on a plate and the objects on it looked like white biscuity dough balls with some sort of brown stuff on the inside. i was hesitant, but took the risk. it was quite good. the bread part was sweet and the brown stuff was like barbqued meat. we weren't sure how much it all was or anything. it was definitely an experience. it was not that expensive so we were thankful. after lunch we began the journey of the walk around the island. we saw lots of temples, greenery and trees, and the ocean. it was really nice to get away from the bustling city and breath in the fresh air. we walked down back streets and saw lots of stuff including chinese medicine shops, incense stores, fruit and veg stands, and other random things. the last stop on the walk was a cave where pirates used to hide their loot. we were going to go in, but there was no light or anything. helen and i then got shown up by some older chinese folks that were at least 70. they went down and through it with out a second thought. we made our way back to the pier to catch the ferry to hong kong island and then we took the subway back to mong kok near the hotel. we were invited to an intro course that night at the center where we took the workshop. we got some dinner at the food court a few blocks away. i had indian and the main reason i went with it was the name of the restaurant---"indian by curry-in-a-hurry". too funny to resist. i liked what i had---double happiness. we had an intro talk about reflexes and development. it was interesting and i was intrigued by much the lady shared.
friday morning the workshop, braingym, began at 9am. it was a good course. i learned many things i can use with my kiddos and i also was pushed to have many questions. some of the things we talked about "pushed the envelope" for me. all day i questioned things that were shared and taught. i began to process and ask questions. we had taiwanese food for lunch. after lunch my internal questioning continued. i chewed on many things and made notes in my brain. day one ended and i was thoroughly tired. we went back to the hotel and had junk food for dinner from the grocery store near the hotel.
day two continued with more questions. i finally at one point spoke up and for the first time felt alienated because of my faith. i openly said i was a christian and i was not quite sure of the some of the theories. i felt as though some of the thinking was teaching people to take control of their lives and reprogram. it is difficult to share this as i know it may sound confusing and not real clear. here is the example.........a lady that was in the course had come to amy, the instructor, seven months prior with questions about whether or not she should pursue her PhD or not. amy performed a "balance" with this woman. a balance consists of creating a goal and going through the braingym movements that stimulate parts of the brain to help sift out "stuff" that is creating obstacles for the goal. the stuff can be fears, questions, misconceptions, etc. so why they are talking about this is when i decided to speak up and ask questions. i then asked does that seem realistic? i proposed a situation of me wanting to get a "balance" for a goal that i want to be a millionaire. i thought it was silly, but was told that it was possible. i then said i felt like this was a bit too much for me in the fact that i believe that God has a plan for my life and that i am not in control. there was no real answer to any of my questions provided. i knew there might not be and i was ok with that. i just felt like some of the thinking and teaching was flirting with a fine line that i was not so sure about playing with. i feel like i can sort myself out with God and ask Him for direction and healing. that is what i believe. so through out the rest of day two and most of day three i kept asking questions internally and praying that God would sort out this skepticism inside myself. i wanted answer or direction. at lunch on say two one of the other chinese women taking the course approached me and said that she was glad i had asked my questions. for she too is a christian and is not sure that some of the ideas match up with the Bible. i felt better and much more comfortable after our talk. her speaking to me was confirmation that i was not being too critical or crazy about what i was hearing and thinking. it was a nice way for God to speak to me. i was thankful. so i took the rest of the course not judging but with a caution that was helping me to discern. i am interested in what was shared and definitely have questions, but feel like i need to read more and learn more before figuring it all out. i am going to use some of the stuff in my classroom that i think are ok and based on facts and science. the other part that pushed the envelope for me will have to wait until i figure out more and can decide whether or not it is in alignment with my beliefs.
all this said, it was weekend of growth spiritually for me. never before have i had such a stir in my heart to be cautious or skeptical. it was a moment of excitement and wonder for me. i usually am pretty "head first" in believing things that are shared with me. for the first time i had been more slow to just agree and dive in. this is a huge thing for me and i felt close to God all weekend.
saturday night helen and i walked through one of the street markets on our way back to the hotel. it was busy and there were lots of people. nothing really jumped out at me as much of the stuff we have in korea. fake bags and watches were bountiful! :)
sunday we found an irish pub in TST to eat dinner at. i had fish and chips and tried an irish beer called kilkenny. it was creamy and really nice. the fish and chips were lovely too. we also got to watch some football on the big screen. the FA cup is on in europe at the moment so we watched chelsea play tottenham hot spurs. it was quite the game. tottenham was ahead when we left at the half. lots of folks came into the pub though to watch the match. we were surrounded by foreigners many of whom were from the UK.
monday morning we woke up and went to the grocery store for the last minute food purchases to bring back to korea. i got some thai rice which i heard was yummy. i got brown, red and black. i have yet to try them. i also got some ginger nut cookies that are english and are great with tea. with all my goodies my bag weighed only 17.5 kilograms. after packing up and checking out we went took the bus to the airport. the trip was back was good. i watched the movie "deja vu" on the flight. food was ok but i did get to have a glass of white wine with my meal again which was again free. :) nice touch when you travel.
all in all...........hong kong is great! i would like to go back and i know i will b/c paul is hip on going back. :)
Friday, March 16, 2007
7 days until i leave on a plane for san francisco to visit paul
56 days until the end of the school year
94 days until i leave korea for the summer
96 days until i arrive back into H-town
120 days until i become mrs. paul falgout :)
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Monday, March 05, 2007
today was pretty routine......i did not sleep well last night though so i did feel a bit "off" today. i managed to make it through the day though without any major mishaps or disasters. i am pretty organized with a sub coming so i all day i was prepping my kids for my time away and such.
the highlight of the teaching day was having afternoon recess duty in below freezing weather while snowing! wow, it was really, really, really cold out there. i stood in the field with my back to the wind and huddled with some of my girls trying to keep warm. i found that if i did not move my legs much then they would not touch my very cold pants and let air come up from my ankles. the girls were all blaming me that being outside was torture. i just kept watching the clock and reminding them that we can make it just a few more minutes. it was blasted cold and i really began to wonder how all of the kids were okay with being outside in the crazy coldness.
after school i had to run some errands for my trip. i invited lucy and george dornbach to come along which is always fun. i also thought maybe mom and dad could use some "kid-free" time. george and lucy always make me laugh and we have great conversation too. we walked down to edae and got my jeans' new hole stitched up. while waiting we went to smoothie king, then to auntie annie's. we ate our pretzels while sitting in a nearby coffee shop to keep warm. again still really cold outside. we picked up my jeans and headed for the grocery store. i needed to get some cat food and litter before leaving town. it was a fun trip!
here are some thoughts from the day:
"i can't feel my lips!" said katrina, one of the my students, while standing in the huddle on the field during afternoon recess. she was completely serious and if you knew her it would make you laugh, i did!
leg warmers and stir-up leggings pants are making a total come back in the fashion world in korea. scary.......enough said.
"my butt feels tingly," said george while enjoying his orange ka-bam smoothie. wow.....all i could manage to not spit up my drink in laughter. i also told him that i would sleep much better tonight knowing this insightful information. he was proud. :)
Sunday, March 04, 2007
today the weather has just been dreary. when i went up to school it was not really raining just kind of wet feeling. i took the umbrella just in case though. as i typed and jammed out to the fray i noticed the small droplets of water dangling from the tree branch outside my room. i was wishing i had my camera. the weather turned grayer as i worked and it started to rain officially. i finished up and made my way home. it is now just dripping and raining slowly. the wind is blowing just enough to make the wind chimes clang together steadily. i got home and the bottom part of my pants are wet and my shoes are sprinkled with lots of water drops. i like this weather as long as i am inside. it really reminds me of those wet texas days. i left the door open so i can hear the rain and then came inside to open the window near the table. as i sit here i hear a constant drip of water from the end of the building, birds chirping, distant banging from construction, and the wind occasionally blow the branches. it is nice. i have not turned on any lights just sit in the light from the window in front of my computer. sam and india seem intrigued by the noises from outside as they have both been sitting in front of the open window peering outside. they are so interesting to watch. i often wish i knew what they were thinking. oh, the life of a cat. india is constantly snapping her head left and right, something has caught her eye as she sits and listens. she thens relaxes and stretches out. the wind is cool and crisp. it is nice although does make me want a nice old fashioned quilt. on days like these i wish i could curl up on a deep, southern style front porch on a swing or some big comfy hammock with a heavy, old school quilt. mmmm.......a nice cup of coffee with some warm homemade biscuits. i would even be thrilled with a bowl of chili and some steaming sweet cornbread. these are times that i miss home and the things that i took for granted when i lived there.
i think i might go make some decaf coffee and enjoy some shortbread cookies. i am almost tempted to move my couch or chair closer to the window so i can curl up near nature.
Saturday, March 03, 2007
after she left i did begin to wonder. what about the situation made me so uncomfortable? was it that i could not speak with her? was i afraid of her? did i think subconciously she might be different than me? she was trying to be friendly and although we did not have means to communicate verbally, we could communicate. if i am completely honest, i sat there wondering what she was going to do or say next. not sure and feeling weird about the whole thing. at times, i did wish she would just go away because of my uncomfort, but i know that is not what God wants me to do. i feel silly being so honest but i also feel that i am not alone in this type of situation. they have happened often to me. and i am at point of wanting to know and having a sense of Godly direction with people that are in need.
anytime i was approached in houston to help someone i felt uncomfortable. i remember the night that paul and i were doing the laundry and this guy came in. from first looks he had a tough life. tall dude with worn clothes, hair needed some maintenace, and he carried a big black garbage bag with his clothes inside. yes, in looking at him he needed some cleaning up but he was still a human in need. he talked to paul and they introduced themselves to each other. charley, our new friend, just needed some quarters and detergent to wash his clothes. charley just needed the basics to get himself clean and sorted out. why did i freak out inside and wonder if i could do it? paul manages this situations with Godliness. i am in awe of how he handles people and takes the time to speak to them and help.
my question then is why do i have such a hard time helping others? we are all humans. God calls us to love one another as a brother. so what would i do? what is my uncomfort about? why do i tend to shy away and not get involved? i know that my passion is helping people, but sometimes i feel as if i can not do it. i feel scared........scared of what?
help me through this time of not knowing. i feel alone. give me the words and tools i need to connect with people. i struggle, i pray, i desire, i read, i want to be used by You, God. i want my life to be a reflection of you in it. i just feel when it comes to being with people i am not sure. i need to connect with people. God help me connect.