Friday, July 09, 2010

transportation games

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

we have moved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 24, 2010

red velvet art camp

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

here is a pic of my finished piece...

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

RAW(e) Pets & Animals

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

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

Monday, May 31, 2010

{seoul eats} cafe source--hongdae

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

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

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

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

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

click here for their site and menu.

click here for map.

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

Friday, May 28, 2010

simplifying our lives--the first steps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

movers came and went...

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

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

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

it's only wednesday?!?!

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 24, 2010

three weeks to go.....

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, May 15, 2010

i heart crazy.

things have been super, duper crazy for the last month or so. i am in the midst of the annual fourth grade production and i love it. it's crazy, choatic, messy, exhausting, but i thrive on anything artsy. i love it. i love the chaos. i love the crazy. i know deep in my heart that it all comes together and theater is about having faith that the fourth graders will rise to the occasion. i just love the process. i love letting go and letting things just be.

i have done the set design for the last three years. it is awesome. i love have art supplies everywhere and all sorts of random stuff around for those moments when you have to solve a problem with whatever you have got. on friday, i got to apply some fun kabuki makeup to some of the chorus boys. it was great. i loved it.

it is nice to also be encouraged. so many times i feel so judged here at my school. i teach differently than many here and always seem to be in target of the next parent discussion. the thing is when they see me in action backstage they always are like, "Wow! You are so talented." i just wish i could hear it more often. it is hard to stay in the cross hairs most of the year and then all of sudden get some love at the end.

i had some great reflections recently. i am reading the irresistible revolution by shane claiborne at the moment. in the book he talks about being an ordinary radical. that people who are sharing their beliefs and being real are often upsetting people. so i know in my heart of hearts that i am doing the right things for my kids by teaching the way i do. that makes parents uncomfortable b/c it is now how they learned in school. when people get uncomfortable they react.

i also thought that honestly i don't need affirmation from anyone but God. i have been praying every night for Him to fill me up and let me know that i am His and tat He delights in who i am, just me. He loves me always and unconditionally, but i do have to admit that it is hard sometimes to remind myself of this....especially in those moments when everything is falling apart.

crazy is good.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

RAW(e) Automotive

This week's RAW(e) theme is automotive. After going through all my pics, here is the one I am using...

Sami at Sailor & Company
The rules:
Do not edit your photo.
It must be straight out of the camera!
Don't link up until you post your photo
(and link to the actual post not your entire blog)
It must fit the theme, which is RED this week!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

my new 'do

gotta love some lucy. she is the best and her willingness to embrace my artsy desires to have funky hair. i will miss her for sure. let the list of things i miss about seoul begin....

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Spring Cleaning....

today we had a garage sale in our community up here on the hill at be honest, i wasn't thrilled. i have never been a big fan of garage sale selling, pricing items, haggling the price, etc. i think the haggling bit here in korea is also a pain b/c from my experience koreans like things cheap and i mean REAL cheap. they will haggle over 500 won (about 50 cents) on items that are already marked insanely low anyway.

well, we did it. we hauled our "treasures" over to the tables we set up and away much of it went. it began about 8am and lasted until about 11am or so. thank goodness we had our dear friend, Leslie, to help us. she is a queen of pricing and haggling. after paul and i came home and were quite happy with the end result. we got rid of a lot of our stuff, made some money, and got to visit with folks too.

one more thing to tick off the long to do list of preparing to move to another country...

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

RAW(e) red

Just to let my readers photo of the peppers was choosen as the winner at Sailor & Company's website. Yeah for me. I think I get a small prize, but I also get to pick this next week's winner and the theme is "running".

I am super encouraged and looking forward to participating each week as a creative outlet for myself.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

RAW(e) red

Trying to be more creative and Sami at Sailor & Company is making it happen with RAW(e) each week.

The rules:
Do not edit your photo.
It must be straight out of the camera!
Don't link up until you post your photo
(and link to the actual post not your entire blog)
It must fit the theme, which is RED this week!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

the falgouts have landed.....

in phnom penh, cambodia, our future home. we arrived late on friday night and were picked up at the airport by a driver from the school. he was super nice and helpful. he took us to the hotel where we are staying which is near independence's huge and cool to see at night. we drove by it.

even though it was late and most things were shut on the drive from the airport, we are already loving the vibe here. very southeast asia and funky. we feel like we have made a great decision to move here at the end of june.

when we got to our hotel last night we had a friend sharing the room with us, a smallish little gecko on the wall. i love them and even more so that they are natural bug defense. yeah for cool creatures like geckos. the guy at the hotel went out to get us some burgers which was nice and they were ok. tasted like school kind of burgers, but if that is the worst it gets it is all good. we had a new soda like drink called "soursop".....interesting none the less. tasted like tangy mango juice. not bad.

the room is big and airy. the air con works well and we slept pretty well. we are meeting the head of school today out and about. very exciting to see our new home.

let the adventure begin!

Friday, March 12, 2010

things here and there.......

i am not sure what to say other than things have been busy and exciting at the same time. it's a hodge podge of things of thoughts for this post.

school is moving along. we are about to the begin the 4th grade play which is always an exciting time for me even though there is added stress. i thrive in the throes of creative stress, i think. i love it. i love being a part of something artsy and magical that i can also share with my students. fun times. it is hard to believe that we are almost down to the home stretch of the last quarter. wow. time has flown.

otterball is doing well and paul stays pretty busy. they have something exciting events coming up. one of which is the tin pan shows in nashville which is like sxsw in austin. otterball is sponsoring two shows. i think it is the beginning of april.

sam, our lovely geriatric cat, is doing better. we found a new vet which is much more convenient to the house. there is one dr at the moment who speaks great english, but i think they are about to hire an korean canadian dr soon who will also speak great english. it is a clinic with many drs and specialties. each time we have been we seem well taken care of and that sam's needs come first. he is on the mend for now. just growing older and with that comes with all the lovely "getting older" symptoms.

india is spunky as ever. we have been opening windows lately since the weather has gotten nicer. she runs from window to window on a frenzy and feisty adventure. she is nuts, but this week did manage to lay in my lap for extended periods of time which is shocking. the first time i put her there and she stayed, but the other two times she sat down herself. i was shocked and happy too.

in about a week we will be on a plane going to visit our new home---phnom penh, cambodia. we are super excited. this weekend we are going to begin the process of going through our stuff and figuring out what we will move this trip. we have been told we can take stuff with us and leave it there until we return at the end of june. it is exciting. we have met more and more people that love cambodia and/or have lived there. cannot wait!

in other news, i continue to be addicted to reading blogs and following the lives of other folks that have similar beliefs, lifestyles, interests, etc. all kind of blogs and people. recently i found a few bohemian mommas that are blogging about their lives on the road in america. they have dreads, eat healthy and sustainable, believe in being kind to mother earth, unschool their children, and love jesus. it is awesome to read about their adventures. one of them lives with her husband and 2 small girls in a RV powered by used veggie oil. wow! she had a great blog about simplying and living an "alternative" lifestyle. no, not the weird drug filled and rock and roll kind of lifestyle, but just different than many, most americans. i found her blog entry here encouraging because paul and i definitely fit into the "alternative" lifestyle. we choose to live overseas and do things that most people don't want to or cannot. we choose this because we love it and find much freedom in the opportunities we have been blessed with. we do believe that God has us on this adventure for him which is great and encouraging in itself. i am not going to lie and tell you all that is it easy and always fun and exciting. sure it probably seems that way, but life is life--no matter where you are geographically. there are ups and downs, there are struggles, there are joys and it is riddled with stints of homesickness and a desire for life to be convenient. it is hard to be away from dear family and friends, but we know that we do go to houston or the states we are able to devote our time there to lots of quality time of loving on our people instead of lots of quantity. on the flip side, we know that God is teaching us and letting us share our stories with folks here. it is crazy to most, but we love being in the middle of it. we know God has a plan and that is reason enough for us.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

back at it....

well, it has been almost a week or so back at work. it sure has been a long one. upon return, i found out that my lovely students were not so lovely while i was away. we had a deep & meaningful talk on tuesday, but it does not seem to have taken hold. today we began presentations of their home inquiry projects and some of the kids were being so rude to the classmate presenting. they were really wound up and after many attempts to being them back, it was hopeless. i passed out the three memos they needed and they went home.

after they left i sat there reflecting what to do. how do i instill kindness in them? how do i teach them not to be rude? it literally breaks my heart to think about them and how they are behaving. i am at a loss. i am not sure what to do. it makes me sad. i want them to want to be better people.

god, please help me love on them and treat them the way i want to be treated.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

more memorable moments....

--waiter at taco mamasita saying that paul's mexican street corn is "black belt goodness"

--beginning today at bongo java with good ol' oatmeal and a "warm & fuzzy" coffee and then just hanging out with my computer.

--going to calypso for lunch and eating amazing loaded black bean nachos.

--going back to ugly mugs for coffee and more hanging out.

--we (paul, jason and i) are driving to return the rental car and we pass a RV park. i said, "wouldn't it be cool to buy one and travel around america in one of those?" paul replies, "i don't like cars you can pee in." jason chimes in, "i have to disagree with you on that one." paul asks, "why? are you peeing right now?" jason comes back with, "well, it is a rental." i proceed to laugh until i cry.

--driving down the road there are over passes and underneath there are rocks that have been cut through to make the road (sedimentary rock). there has been water leaking from some of the rock and it has frozen make icicles. jason called it "frozen rock sweat" or after more thought on the phenomenon he decided he liked "frozen milky mountain discharge" better. either way, i laughed again and it was awesome.

--returning our rental car to the opryland hotel which is like disney world in a hotel. this place is nuts.

--walking around and shopping at the opry mills mall.

--watching jason attempt to take photos of the "frozen rock sweat" as we drove by which was not that successful, but worth the laugh for sure.

our next adventure...

i have accepted a new job that will begin on july 26th. the exciting part is that in july we will be moving to phnom penh, cambodia. yes, that is right. we are moving to an amazing country in SE asia and are thrilled about this new adventure. at the moment it is not quite for sure what grade i will be teaching, but possibly 4th, 5th, or 2nd all of which i am ok with. from the skype talks we have had with the head of school, i think this is a great place to work and be a part of.

paul has already done some research on places to eat and things to do. the interesting part is that we will live downtown with the locals. i will have to commute to school which is about 15-20 minutes via tuk tuk (a motorbike with a two seat space in the rear). we have read blogs, talked to our friends in seoul that lived and taught there for four years, and asked lots of questions. all in all, we feel like God opened unexpected doors and made it clear to us that we were to move to cambodia.

we are looking forward to a new adventure which includes new food, hot weather, wearing sandals all the time, being able to connect and have relationships with locals, serving people and loving on folks.

we are going in march for my spring break holiday to check things out. we want to see what is available, what is not, tour the school, look for apartments, and have a look around. it should be fun, exciting and also give us a good idea of just what kind of adventure we will be having.

cambodia, here we come!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

memorable moments of the day

  • eating amazing thai food at a place called the smiling elephant......the best outside of thailand
  • seeing alice cooper having lunch with people in sam and zoe's coffee shop
  • hanging out and touring don chaffer's studio
  • having a great laugh with a barista at sam and zoe's with lyndsay, jason, paul and i
barista: so do you all work together?
me: they do, but i am married to the one in the tan shirt (pointing to paul)
barista: awww, that is so sweet
us: (laughing out loud)
  • hearing erin mccarley play live at the bluebird cafe--WOW!
  • meeting her and having her sign her CD
  • going to 3rd and lindsley to hear the wooten brothers
  • guy at bar saying to paul, "dude, it's fidel castro" we laughed

it was awesome.
i love these moments.

making a difference......

one of my favorite quotes is by mahatma gandhi--"be the change you want to see in world."

so true. things don't just happen. there is action. people need to take notice and do something. little or simple, big or grandiose--it does not matter. people taking action makes things happen. did you know that you can make a difference in far reaching parts of the world?

last night i saw a film that spoke to me. it moved me and softened my heart. it also made me frustrated. it has moved me to take part in a movement of people and actions to put an end to malaria in africa by 2015.

did you know that the US had its own issues with malaria in the early part of the 20th century? i did not, until last night. i was born in the latter part of the century, after the end of malaria in the US, i have never had to worry about getting malaria. i grew up in houston where there are plenty of mosquitoes, but never feared them. yes, i was annoyed by them and have had many rounds of "skeeter" bites that needed some TLC from mom. never once did she fear for my life because of them though. moms, dads, families in africa fear mosquitoes. today, in the year 2010, millions of people are dying from a disease that was eradicated from the US before my life began. how is it that this is happening? the news made a huge fuss about swine flu and H1N1, but no word of the absolutely disturbing amounts of people dying every 30 seconds in africa. they are dying from a preventable disease that can and should be treated and STOPPED.

they need help. they need your help. be a part of something bigger than yourself. be a part of putting an end to malaria by 2015.

learn more..........

be the change.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

east nashville...

i have fallen in love. east nashville is an amazing place. we have only been here about 12 hours or so, and i am already in love. the place we are staying and the hosts are great. we feel like family. it is close to all the cool stuff we want to be near and all things are accessible.

today we have worked at a coffee shop called ugly mugs and ate lunch at rose pepper across the street. good, yummy, warm mexican food. after lunch, we met with a realtor to explore what buying a house here in east nashville looks like and what needs to happen. it was good.

the next step in that process is to contact the bank (lenders) and determine how much money we can borrow to buy a house. well, sadly, it turns out that since it is an investment and not our own house that it is not as easy. we would need a whole lot of money in the bank and then they will consider this idea. what a bummer! it is a total derail of our thoughts and thinking. i know there must be a reason, but right now it does not seem logical to me. it sucks.

i still heart east nashville though.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Big Day in Boston

we spent the day out and about on friday exploring "beantown". we had fun. we started the day with lunch at a place called miracle of science. the menu there is on an adapted periodic table of elements. it was cool. the food was good....we had burgers. then we made our way around the corner to the MIT museum where things are all geeky and cool. it was neat place. my favorite would have to be the kinesthetic sculptures made of metal and such.

after the museum and a quick trip into the MIT coop, we walked across the main street bridge into the city of boston. we walked through the beacon hill area---imagine small house, cobble stone streets and all things boston-like--to the public garden. this is where the make way for ducklings statue is from the book written by robert mccloskey. a true treasure to children's literature. it was awesome.

then we made our way to the samuel adams brewery on the subway. it was great and free. we got tasting glasses at the end and got to try four different flavors of their brew. i also learned more about beer which is always interesting to me. there are only four ingredients in beer---water, malted barley, hops and yeast. it is hard to believe that from the four ingredients there a huge selection of beers with multitudes of tastes and flavors. i also learned that there are two groups of beer---lagers and ales. the only difference between the two is the length of fermentation and temperature. a dark, stout beer can be an ale and a really light ale can be like a lager. interesting to say the least!

after the brewery, we rode the train back into the city into the downtown area. i got to walk around a massive borders. it was fun and i got a few books. then we went to the union oyster house which is iconic here in town. paul had oysters and i had lazy man's lobster which was like a casserole with lobster meat and bread crumbs. it was good. we walked through quincy market before we went back to cambridge where we are staying and went to bed early. the long day out, the chilly temps and heaps of walking we did wore us out.

all in all, it was a great day!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Jet Lag is a total Drag!

As much I love sleeping, I am not doing as much of it as I would like. It really is a bummer. I felt so tired last night. I thought for sure that it was fixed, but it was not. I laid down about 9pm and awoke at midnight. I could not sleep, so I got up checked email, read blogs I follow, and piddled. Then I thought about 1:30ish I would be able to go back to sleep. Paul woke up about 2am and worked. I just laid there. I closed my eyes, but never felt like I was sleeping. Ugh! I wanted so badly to sleep. I finally got up about 5:30ish, maybe 6am. I had a headache, was warm, and wanted to be alseep. Paul said we should just start the day. It was a great idea, but I really wanted to be sleeping. I love to sleep. I love to be warm under the covers. This is what I really wanted to be doing. Instead, I got up, took a shower, we packed up and were about to leave when our hostess made us breakfast. We hung out, chatted, and sipped coffee. Now we are out sitting in a coffee shop in Cambridge. It's 9:45am and I am starting to feel tired which sucks. If I take a nap it will only make things worse.

Jet lag is a total drag!

we are in boston....

finally arrived to boston after what seemed like the longest ever of travel times. it took 24 hours to get here (seoul time to approx seoul time). we were so tired.

after a great night's rest, some amazing breakfast by our hostess, we went out to roam around this area. loving it! we walked down to harvard square near the harvard campus. it was great. we found the one and only peet's coffee. paul and i set up our computers and he went to work while i piddled. then i went to the urban outfitters around the corner to get some new fun, non black/gray graphic t-shirts. i also got a fun pair of gloves. we had lunch at bartley's burgers which is famous. i had the tom brady burger which was yummy with sweet potato fries. YUM!

after lunch, we walked back to the house where we are staying. we rested and regrouped before going out to the north end of boston for some seafood at a place called the daily catch. it has been there for 37 years, small, and quite the little restaurant. paul got clam and calamari combo linguine with white sauce. i got fish and chips. our hostess recommended it. we walked parts of the freedom trail on the way there which was kind of cool.

we took the subway back to our neighborhood for coffees before dropping in a fun used book store called rodney's. then we came home. we are still pretty tired and trying to stay awake until at least 9:30....we have about another hour and a half but i don't think we are going to make it.

i heart boston! more fun plans for tomorrow......

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

busy times....

wow! things are so busy at the moment. in less than a week, paul and i travel to boston for a job fair. i had reports to write this week and have sub plans that i am working on. not to mention, packing and getting everything ready to go. i cannot believe that the time is here. my dear friend, sheree, came over this afternoon for a fashion consult for the job fair. it was fun and she was thrilled to see what i had stowed in my "war chest". i am working on ticking more things off the "to get done before i leave" list.

prayers are welcome and appreciated. i am still reminding myself of the same verse, "trust in the Lord..." proverbs 3:5-6.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

laughs, smiles and small moments....

i love a great laugh. a moment when you laugh and smile until your cheeks hurt....
today i was reflecting on sayings or phrases that have made me laugh/smile.

here are a few....

"and we are off like a herd of pregnant turtles." --anne, sfs colleague

"oh dear." --natalie, current student, stated right after i said, "oh guys, i am so excited." and in the perfect silence just after i finished she spoke. it was a classic moment.

i love to share these moments with friends. it is amazing. makes life and all its curve balls worth while. it's these small moments that make me know that i am ok, i am going to be ok, and all is well in my little, tiny world.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


it's a hard thing to learn and intentionally do when in the midst of life changes. i know that there is a plan for us, i do. i know that God will make it happen.

i learned this lesson the last time i had a major change in life.....knowing i would leave the elementary school i was teaching at in houston and do something else. i resigned with nothing in line at the time and people thought i was nuts. crazy! i just knew inside, i had this peace that something would happen and it would all be ok. my response to people at the time was, "i am out on a leap of faith. God will make it work. i have no doubt." i still heard lots of criticism, but deep down i knew that it would be ok. i also had already figured out the worst case which was find a job somewhere and do that for a year or so. no biggie. it would not kill me, nor would the world end.

so here i am again at the same situation. i have given up my job at seoul foreign and now i wait. i wait for God to make it happen. i have done my part---signed up for a recruiting agency and fair, sent out resumes and emails, and am tapping all my resources. now i wait. this time i find it a bit more challenging though. i think because now instead of it being just an I, it's an US--paul and me. i still know in my head that God will make it all work out and i don't need to worry, but i do just a bit. i have my ups and downs. i have good days where i am totally ok with whatever happens and then i have my days when i freak out and worry to no end.

what am i doing to help me through all of this? well, i have been praying. i have been reminding myself that God does have a plan and that no matter how impossible things seem or appear that He can make the impossible possible. i also repeat to myself often the following verse from proverbs 3:5-6, "trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." He will make it happen, i know.

Friday, January 15, 2010

the first week back is over....

whew! it went fast, but also was exhausting. i have taken a nap everyday after school this week except for today. the week went fairly well. the kids and i were both adjusting to being back at school and most of the gang were struggling all week with being tired.

the highlight was listening and learning from my kiddos. they gave presentations this week from their science creatures from another planet and also their home inquiry projects. it has been exciting to see them share and present with the class. i have been trying to work on their presenting skills and getting them to "command" the audience by waiting before they began. fun times. they did an amazing job and worked really hard.

the other highlight was watching them help each other with learning how to scan images into photo shop then save them all in their folder on the student network. wow! they learn fast. they also learned how to import pics into microsoft photo story. so fun and exciting. next week the goal is get all their audio recorded and their digital story books will be complete. it has been a crazy process as technology resources are slim.

paul has had a stressful week with work, but i think the bulk of that is behind him. thank goodness. now we are just hanging out, thinking about schools and countries, and preparing for the job fair. any prayers are appreciated!

have a great weekend! peace......

Thursday, January 07, 2010


gosh it is truly one of my favorite activities and borders on the edge of crazy. i love to read! it is a great thing, but i sure do a lot of it. just over the last two weeks, i have read four books and started a fifth.

currently reading...
without reservations: the travels of an independent woman by alice steinbach (i read her other book this summer which was really good)

most recent reads...
crush it!: why now is the time to cash in on your passion by gary vaynerchuk (recommendation from paul and it was quite good)
tribes: we need you to lead us by seth godin (another one from paul)

i have a huge stack of books "to read" which is exciting and a little daunting since i start back at work on monday. although, i resolved to do more reading when i have down time. this includes saturday mornings when i wake up and paul is far from it. this is a nice time to have a warm cup of coffee and spend some time "massaging my brain" as i tell my students.

have you read anything worthwhile lately? i would love more to add to my list of books to read. pipe up, friends!

it's been a long, long time....

i know, i know. if there is anyone still reading my blog, thank you. it is ridiculous that i just stopped blogging. the lack on consistent internet is partly and mostly to blame, to be honest. very frustrating part of the summer trip in europe, but here i am.

so since the last post, we finished our month long adventure across europe. glasgow, edinburgh, felton (england), genoa (italy), amsterdam (the netherlands) and lastly munich (germany). edinburgh, felton and amsterdam were the highlights. edinburgh is just an amazing city. everyone should go there at some point in their life. felton is the home of dear friends from sfs. we had a great time experiencing the small english village and their village fair. it was great times. amsterdam is just as amazing as edinburgh. quaint, full of history, home to my favorite artist, and a place that is dear to my heart.

school started up and things have been interesting. we have battled h1n1, dealt with all sorts of scheduling interruptions and managed to stay on top of things the best we can. my kids are great. they have enjoyed this year so far it seems and things are going well. it is hard to believe that the first half of the school year is almost over. two more weeks until the semester ends. wow! time has flown and been full of all kinds of ups and downs.

paul and i have decided to move on from seoul. it was hard, but we know that now is the time. we are going to a recruiting fair in boston the first weekend in february. we are hoping to end up in southeast asia--vietnam,, cambodia, or thailand. we have made contact with some schools in the big cities and hope to know something before the end of february. we know that God has a plan and are excited for the next adventure.

we have been to chiang mai, thailand as well as saigon, vietnam this semester. so much fun! we really do love southeast asia. chiang mai was for a teaching workshop and then saigon was for the chu sok holiday. while in saigon, we visited some of the big schools there, interviewed, and had some great discussions.

for the christmas break, we headed to houston to spend time with family and friends. we had not been to houston for christmas in two years, so we figured it was time. although very, very busy and full, it was good to see folks and be able to catch up. paul and i both got new computers for ourselves while in texas. fun times!

now back in seoul, there is tons of snow on the ground. just before returning the city had about a foot of snow in one day which is record. the last time seoul received this much snow was in 1973 or so. crazy! it is pretty and does make life here more magical. although the streets are kind of gross due to the mix of snow and sand. very messy. i am not a fan, obviously. i prefer the non-sandy snow that is magical to look at.

school starts back on monday. i hope to be able to get in some good rest and read more books between now and then. i also hope to blog more frequently this year. i will work on it, for sure.

i am hoping there is someone still reading this blog.....if you do, please comment and let me know i still have some readers. :)

until then....