Basically 친구s.

Alright dear friends of Jangyu this one is for you…much love, many hugs, and see you soon… I couldn’t have asked for a better group of amazing and inspiring people to spend this last year… this is what I’m going to miss the most…enjoy!

even the toughest kid wanted a hug today…

September 25th

If you have previous posts…like from a year ago when I was moving from my apartment to my sister’s house to Nebraska to SK…you all know one thing. I hate packing. I would rather….do 100 other things and can come up with 100 excuses not to pack.. It’s gotta get done though. Thus the random blog post telling you once again that I should really hire someone to pack for me. I could just keep you company and direct you how to pack my things. It would be fun! 😉 And I’ve had practice. I think this time I’m just gonna starting tossing stuff. OK. Enough of that. Suitcase Out. Ready…pack.

Last night was homemade hummus and wine night with a friend and her brother- so exciting he came to visit her! I know how much it meant for my family to visit me.

Tomorrow…adventures in Changwon to pick up my bus ticket and go to the pension office.

a few hours later… andddd I’m 87% packed and ready to move out! Only drying laundry, a few knick-knacks in the corner and on the wall, toiletries, and that’s it!!! YAY! Fastest packing time yet. Getting rid of over 50 lbs of clothes/shoes/sheets/coats! And my big suitcase I’m taking home isn’t quite full yet. Megan-1, Packing/Moving-0. Score.

September 26th

Map to the Changwon Bus Terminal (From Jangyu I’m taking the 170 Bus to the “Circle” in Changwon then getting a taxi- hoping it’s faster with morning traffic, leaving at 6:30 to be to the bus terminal by 8 a.m.!)

Courtesy of:

Information on the Pension Office in Changwon courtesy of

Changwon Regional Office

  • Address: Kukminyeongeum Gyeongnamhoegwan Bldg. (국민연금 경남회관), 101-1 Sinwol-dong, Changwon City, Gyeongsangnam Province
  • Zip Code: 641-718
  • Phone No. : 055)278-9025, 278-9040
  • Fax No. : 055) 285-5010
  • How to get there: From Gyeongsangnam Province Office, cross the street and go about 70 meters. You can see their building on the left. Go to the 1st floor.

Items needed to obtain National Pension deposit into American bank account:

Local Bank Book
American Bank Information (blank check!)
Flight Ticket out of the country

AND SUCCESS!!!! I got to Changwon Bus Terminal about 7:30 (it was the quickest ride through the Tunnel ever!, bought my ticket without a problem, and was in a taxi and to the pension office by 8 a.m. I had to wait an hour, but they let me sit in the waiting room and I was offered coffee three different times. Then at about 5 or so til 9:00 a.m. I applied for my pension. I handed everything right over, filled out the form- make sure you have your Bank’s Swift Code!, got my receipt, and was out the door at 9:07. I wasn’t for sure the closest bus stop, so just started walking and there was one! I was back to Jangyu just in time for tea and 10:00 a.m. yoga class. What a great morning! After one year in Korea…I can successfully get myself to a nearby city, get a taxi to the bus terminal, buy a bus ticket for an advance ride to Incheon, taxi it to the Pension Office, apply for my Pension without my Director’s help, and find the nearest bus stop and get myself back to Jangyu without a hitch…yep I’d say that’s an accomplishment. Whohoo!

Last day (for real this time) at Gyedong Elementary School. And as the title suggests even the toughest kid wanted a hug today…in my second class the boys started singing a song with grand hand gestures that went something like this… “Megannnn….Megannnnn….Megannnnnnn…Don’t goooo Don’t goooo Don’t goooo…Americaaaaa Americaaaa. Americaaaa….NOOOOOOO. Goodbyeeeee Goodbyeeeee Goodbyeeee Goodbyeee…I wanted to laugh and cry all at the same time. I love these kiddos.

September 28th

You’re gonna miss this
You’re gonna want this back
You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you’re gonna miss this

*Trace Adkins: “You’re Gonna Miss This”

And…if my kids were the ones saying it, it’d sound like this…”pinishy-teacherrr, pinishy.” Yes, that’s right I’m finished with my contract. My very last teaching day at Goobong Elementary School in Korea. It was a fun day; bittersweet to say the least, and a few kids cried…I held it together til my very last class, then I cried. Then my co-teacher shook her finger at me because then she started to tear up too. I received some of the sweetest notes and my kids made good-bye posters for me. One of my favorite letter went something like this…”What’s your favorite color? blue? purple? pink? red? I think it is blue. I got you this blue pen. BUT Your red pen is not good. So I got you a red pen too. Please don’t forget me, Lailey.” So many hugs today…I’m really gonna miss this…teaching, the kids, the laughs…it’s been an unforgettable year.

And that is why I teach. I love it. I used to swear I’d never be a teacher, and now I’ve never been happier. I think I found my niche…I love working with ESL kids…I love learning some of the language and hearing a different language in the classroom. just as long as you, you stand by me. God Gave Me You…my sisters, my family, my friends… love!
October 2nd
Ah! What a crazy couple days, thanks to my amazing Jangyu family I stayed somewhat sane and focused and accomplished everything on my to do list. I am so blessed to have met such amazing people in this small Korea town…your friendship means the world to me! 
Quick reflect of the past few days…instead of going out in Busan we had a girls’ night of wine, movies, and chocolate, great Thanksgiving dinner of chicken and Baskin Robbins, Happy One Year to Brit!!! Relaxing holiday weekend…last minute souvenir shopping in Gimhae, BBQ dinner, packing and cleaning, tax office inquiry, closing bank accounts, money exchange, saying good-bye to yoga teacher and friends and turning in my apartment key…Brit’s gracious hospitality of letting me stay in her apartment has been wonderful! Sarah made it to Boracay and the place looks like paradise, can’t wait to hop on my midnight bus to Seoul tonight and be on the beach catching up within 24 hours! Pray for safe travels! See you in 21 days Korea. 

Have you ever tried a Tim-Tam Slam?

Friday September 14th

Today’s post is dedicated to the lovely Taryn who introduced Brit and I to the Tim-Tam Slam. The immediate reaction afterwards: Oh. My. Gosh. (It pretty much makes the top 5 list of best sensations in your mouth.) For those of you who don’t know what a Tim-Tam Slam is…well now I’m introducing you. See below for the photo diagram and step by step of how to do it.

1. buy the Tim-Tams

2. open the Tim-Tam package

4. bite opposite corners of Tim-Tam (fairly small)

5. use corner to suck hot liquid through (like a straw)
6. once hot liquid hits mouth- shove Tim-Tam into mouth
Slam it!
Feel it melt.
Oh. My. Gosh.
the best.

Third school today. This time just to sub in for the native teacher who had another appointment at another of her schools. Kids remember me from my subbing time in May. It was really fun today! No hangman! WHOHOO! Taught with my Director’s Assistant and she told me she really liked my teaching style so I could do whatever I wanted. Sweet. Surprise- I got to see my Gyedong co-teacher Ally who had been placed at Bugok…was so excited to see her! Day proceeds…kids had their books (amazing!), listened, etc. Then my Director’s Assistant paid me such a compliment: (the native teacher had returned from her appointment, at first I thought I would just be sitting there til finish time), she pulled me aside and said, Can you be the head teacher? I want her to watch your style of teaching and how you control the classroom. I want her to learn from you. (umm ok?!) It was really nice to hear that coming from her! I played three new games, kept control of the class, and in the end the native teacher was like wow, I’ve never heard of those games, and I can’t believe they listen to you…

background tunes as I blog:

10 days of teaching left. #$*&$)(&$#)@. (insert non-stressed, but super excited/ ohmygoshihavesooomuchtodo moment) To-do list keeps growing. Literally have something to remember to do almost everyday til my last day.

SAMPLE TO DO LIST (it will probably be revised by the time I post this blog…but here’s a peak!):

15: Busan: Neil and Emily’s Birthday/last big group jam for me
16: Timmie’s Birthday/Jen Leaving
17: Pay bills, go to bank, transfer money, pay yoga, Lesson
18: Coffee with Director’s Assistant
19: Meredith’s Birthday/Lesson/Shabu- Shabu for Dinner
20: Hang out with Co-teachers
21: Talk to Director about final paycheck
22: Orphanage/Beach
23: Indian Brunch
24: Lesson
25: Go to Pension Office- (just as I had google mapped the directions to the Gimhae office I found out I had to go to Changwon- so maybe I’ll do this the same day as the bus ticket)
26: Go to Changwon to get midnight bus ticket for INC/Lesson
27: Last Lesson/Finish packing to drop off big suitcases at friend’s. I’m only taking a carry-on to Boracay. (talk about minimal packing for 20 days…umm swimsuits and dresses?)
28: Last day of Teaching!
29: Clean
30: Turn in key

And I’ve been in “I have to fit in a bikini for Boracay” mode so have been running more consistently and adding in other exercises, yoga everyday-sometimes twice plus trying to really watch what I eat- (and of course whenever I fully commit to that is when I start craving hamburgers, souffles, pies, sangria, chocolate in double portions…), writing essays, and gathering things up to pack! I love having a packed schedule. It keeps me on task..tasks now become crucial- you-can’t-miss-this-deadline, that I begin to be more specific on when I actually have to get my butt into gear!

I’ve decided I’m going to the Pension Office by myself. I google mapped it- and have the address in Korean if I get lost. I also research all the documents I need to fill out a Pension form. I really don’t need to bother my director at this time especially when I am perfectly capable of getting from Point A to B, maybe a couple detours in between. I feel this is quite an accomplishment that I am able to do this, though I’m sure it will be an adventure. Story to follow.

September 16th

Happy Birthday to my lovely sister today!!! Cheers to a fabulous year!

Ugh. I woke up yesterday with a sore throat. As my dear friend puts it, “it’s time to come home.” Hoping to kick it in the butt asap! Today I have basically just been sleeping. Though I did have to say good-bye to a dear friend who is heading back to the states for a month. She is getting MARRIED on Saturday! I could not be more thrilled for her and her fiance!!! They are an amazing couple and have endured so much together already…so inspiring to all. Their wedding will be next August and I cannot wait to attend! I’ll get to see her for a bit in October when she returns from the states and I return from vacation.

Another typhoon is hitting Korea. It’s been raining all day. Strong winds and stronger rains are supposed to roll in tomorrow morning. And word just in: I don’t have school. Category 3 Typhoon to hit mid-Monday morning.

September 18th

this was my survival food for the

Typhoon day yesterday (Monday) ended up being a rainy morning, followed by no rain and a slight breeze except for a few heavy gusts that blew a couple signs and branches around…nothing stronger than a regular Nebraska day again. Met up with some friends at a cafe and was able to skype a friend that’s in Nepal doing volunteer work on a farm- to put it in most basic terms until I hear the details and stories in full. It was so good to see her!!! Had an amazing yoga class. My yoga teacher is so sweet…I paid for the rest of the month and she only charged me half price. I bought some mint and Korean tea to bring home.

Woke up this morning (Tuesday) to cool weather, no rain, no wind, and no humidity. It was glorious running! So thankful for the beautiful sunrise and ability to run. Blessed in so many ways.

9 teachings days. Had a small tear session last night…am really going to miss my friends here in Korea, and my cafe, and my yoga…but so torn with indescribable anticipation and excitement to go home. Vacation in exactly 2 weeks. 2 weeks I will be boarding the late night bus for Seoul to board a plane the next day for Boracay. I.Can’t.Wait!

Cheers to One Year to Brit, Sarah, and I…
How did we survive all those crazy weeks you ask?
Wednesday Wine Nights.
Bottle half off? Get two.
Yep. 30 plus bottles…this does not include the nights we had sangria, soju slushies, accidently threw a bottle or two away…or decided to have hot chocolate… 🙂
Love you ladies…could not have done this year without you…so many hysterical laughs and unforgettable memories!

Tuesday September 18th

Quote #1:
The look on the kids’ faces when they realized my eyes were different colored. (or maybe because I was wearing makeup and they looked different?) “Teacher…your eyes, different colored than mine!” I had to chuckle a bit…dear kids, it’s been over 6 months- you’re just noticing??! Oh my goodness and they noticed sooo many other things!

Quote #2:
I’m slowly losing my voice again. And by the 5th class I could barely speak with still one class to go so I couldn’t get them to pay attention like I normally can; instead I just stood at the front with a frown on my face. And one of the kid’s raises his hand and says, “Teacher, please. please,…smile!” I couldn’t help but burst out laughing.

Had a wonderful evening with my Director’s Assistant, Ahram. She is so lovely. She bought me tea and we sat and chatted about non-work stuff for a few hours. She told me that I have improved so much and that my first co-teachers didn’t think I would make it a full year, but since then I’ve become such a good teacher that that was the reason why Mr. Choii and I sent you to Bugok because we knew that you would do a great job with the kids while the other teacher was gone. (awwwww, I guess I didn’t realize they thought of me like that…it’s nice to hear words of appreciation especially coming from your foreign director.) Over the year I was able to improve my skills and use this as a opportunity to grow.

Saturday September 22nd

Scatterbrained mess right now. Started the day off going to acupuncture and skyping a friend. Met Brit and Alli to go to the orphanage. Had coffee first. Last Saturday at the orphanage…tried to block the emotion running through my head…held it together. Lovely day at the park with some of the kids… Went to dinner at a old-time market back alley restaurant. So delicious. The lady made the noodles in front of us then cooked them into a soup. Went shoe shopping- new marathon training shoes. Now sipping on grapefruit tea from my cafe. Supposed to go to the beach tonight, but still am sick and my friend is tired. Sweet friend that she is, she may be taking me to the Changwon bus terminal when I depart for Seoul. Contemplating the day with my new favorite music… Chillstep. Moodscape Spa Relaxation. and Chillout/Relax mixes.

can’t get enough of this stuff right now. 

Reflecting the week- excellent Shabu Shabu with friends on Wednesday, wonderful dinner and cafe with co-teachers on Thursday (Jen gave me her filled up DropTop card and I had one too, ironically before the cafe was chosen I offered to pay for coffee…then they chose that cafe and I only had to pay for my own peppermint tea.) Friday- lost my voice for the third day in a row while teaching- have been “pounding” the tea, and trying to rest…but only FIVE more teaching days…cannot believe it.

Tuesday morning

love the sunrise

child clinging to an IV pole…just strolling down the street
Gimhae classroom

am I a bad teacher if I just let them fight it out?
they’re laughing and screeching…
I’m sure it’s fine…

“they can’t come back in…”

Dana…what a girl with attitude!

Friday sunrise


laying in the massage bed and I had this little visitor…

she brought over her book…

back alley noodle place

rolling out the dough

Brit and I
Thanks, Chad!

sweetest lady!

3,000 won noodles…they used to be 800 won…
when the shop opened 17 years ago

Batman doing Gangnam Style…
on a pair of socks….

365 Days. 52 Weeks. 12 months. 1 year… in Korea.

Wednesday September 5th

Wellll…it turns out I didn’t have to say good-bye to my kiddos. Back at Gyedong for my last month in Korea. My director called me this past Saturday asking me to go back to my original school. My former co-teacher is no longer with me, and now I have a new co-teacher, Hannah. It was weird not having Ally there. Recap of the day: millions of hugs and shrieks, and surprised looks, “MEGAN-TEACHER IS BACK!” Almost started crying. The best. No books. No crayons. No paper. No worksheets. All I’ve got- 2 board markers, a white board, and an eraser. Apparently that’s all you need to keep kids entertained and attentive for 50 minutes. My kids were amazing- they listened, they were quiet when I asked, they participated, they spoke English…ahhh it was so cool to still have their respect and attentiveness. 🙂

I was thinking that if this had happened to me 365 days ago I would’ve had a complete meltdown. It was so cool to be able to stand with confidence in front of all my kids without my co-teacher’s help and have each and every focus. Wow. I did it. 361 days later…I’m alive. Goal accomplished. Amazing.  “Feels so Good” “Simply Amazing!”

Sunday September 9th
my official anniversary date of arriving on Korean soil…

I did it. 365 days. 52 weeks. 12 months. 1 year. In Korea. Thoughts of saving money for other life adventures by boarding that plane destined for Asia…South Korea (ummm where exactly is that??? yes, I did have to look on a map once I confirmed this decision…leave it to me to pick a place and not even know the geographic location…at least I got the continent right!) A year later… reflections, tears, smiles, laughter, skype dates home, and a million memories made with new friends in this country I now call a home, I know I made the best decision I could have ever made in my 25 years of living…and I’m almost 30 and they say the best years are still to come? What can I say, Life is amazingly good and indescribable at times. Blessed beyond measure and full of gratitude for the love and support from so many people- you know who you are!!!

A bit of de ja vu  this morning as when I arrived to Korea it was raining…I remember being so thankful I had brought my umbrella…and as I look out my window it’s still raining.

Today I met up with a few friends- did nails, drank coffee, dyed hair, then went to a jimjilbang. Afterwards went out for pork bbq and…they surprised me with a cake!!! It was so sweet of them!!! I’m so lucky to have met such wonderful people who have become like family to me.

Blogging throughout this year has been a lot of fun; I hope you have enjoyed reading them as much as I have enjoyed sharing my stories, thoughts, and pictures. I also hope you stay tuned as I wind up my contract ending on September 28th and as I prepare for my next adventure.

Love love love,

Monday September 10th

Received an email today stating I would be going to 3 schools this week. Gyedong. Goobong. and Bugok.  Week…Ready…Go!

Wednesday September 12th

Yesterday I missed the bus going to Gimhae. It was my own fault I couldn’t decide what to wear then at the last minute put a barrette in my hair. Now that I was already behind I just grabbed a coffee because it was that awkward “I’m going to be super late if I wait for the bus and ride it or be super early if I take a taxi,” time. Sooo the taxi won out.

Today most of my kids were absent because they were on a school picnic. The ones that did show we just played games.

My lovely Cafe Muse lady took me to dinner to this delicious pork bbq restaurant I hadn’t ever been to before…it was so sweet of her. She told me she wishes we could have gone to dinner and hung out more this past year. She told me that I was one of her first customers when she opened shop last year…and time goes so fast! We have struck up a special friendship and I hope we don’t lose touch.

one year ago pictures…September 2011:

I ran out to greet the FedEx man
when he brought me the package with my Visa!

right before I left for Omaha…

my first picture of outside my apartment

first images of Korea


Ally and I

August 28th
Typhoon. Day off from school. Lazy morning. French toast and fruit. And then…wine and friends.
Opening my emails this morning and came across one from a friend- a devotional for the week. Gratitude. Being thankful for each circumstance, for every gift, staying content with what I have been given and able to experience. I know I get caught up in wanting more. Wanting more “me” time, wanting more travel, wanting more education, wanting more responsibilities, wanting more accessories…the list goes on and on. Why can’t  I be satisfied with what’s in front of me? Is it the pressures of society telling me I deserve more or need more in order to be happy? Is it constantly comparing myself to what others’ have…including both material items and accomplishments…and wishing I had the same as them? Is it the wondering what life would be like if I did have more money? The reality is that I have so much more that I deserve or could ever dream of having. I am rich in love, friendship, respect, honesty, hope, dreams, motivation, a sound mind…a home, a good job, vacation time, a bachelor’s degree, abroad experiences, accomplished goals, etc. My excuses that I don’t have enough or need more are put to shame. Absolute shame. I have enough for me. I shouldn’t compare to what other’s have or even don’t have. Who am I to measure what is enough for each of us?
A one day devotional about gratitude…it should be an everyday mindset. Being thankful. Everyday. Not just when I’m reminded to be grateful in an email…in the morning sunrise, when I eat, when I interact with people…all the time…teaching, running, reading, writing, listening, speaking, sleeping, eating…at all times. I know I take all these for granted when I should be constantly giving thanks. 
For the next month I’m going to list 10 people/things I am thankful for…that’s 10×30=300. 300 people and things…
On Prayer…
Why don’t we pray as often as we should? Why aren’t we in constant communication with our God?
I make up excuses…I’m too tired, God doesn’t want to hear this again, ignorance, forgetting, drifting thoughts when I do pray…
Lately I’ve been running without my headphones. It started when the rainy season began and I almost got caught in a downpour with my ipod. So not cool. If the sky even has one dark cloud in it I wouldn’t even think about bringing my ipod on my run. But now… it’s become my time with God…at least my attempt…especially when I run in the early mornings, I am so lucky with the beautiful peaceful quiet time…it’s almost magical. The sunrise, the birds, the crickets, the roosters, quiet hum of passing cars few and far between…the perfect time to give thanks…and praise…and pour my heart out, as I pound the pavement.
Last September I started praying before I teach…when I first started teaching I would have major anxiety…almost to the point of getting myself sick…and definitely to the point of shaking. I guess I’ve been praying before I teach for almost a whole year…maybe not everyday, but most days. For… peace. patience. right words. laughter. attentive kids. a smooth class with my co-teachers (both old and new)
Don’t remember who I was talking with this…perhaps a friend in Nebraska or my friend in Arizona…about being closer to God in tougher more unstable times…clinging to Him for all hope; but in the good times, just letting his presence slip away. My prayers were deeper, more reflective during my first few months of being in Korea; as I became more comfortable, more certain, more stable they are “flitty…” I don’t want my prayers to become so nonchalant and almost unnecessary…because it’s the way I communicate with my Savior, my Heavenly Father…how could I lower the importance of prayer just by the circumstances I’m in?

August 29th

Second to last teaching day in Jangyu…a few tears fell in my first class as my co-teacher translated that I would be leaving. Normal afternoon…cafe that night for Sarah’s last “wine night”. Dear sweet cafe lady made us chocolate banana shakes at my request. Yay! I am working on cards to give my kiddos on Friday…it will be a bittersweet moment…

August 30th

More gusty winds turned off the power in the Gimhae schools so we got to go home early. Finished my kids’ cards…I’m really excited that they turned out so cute! I’m gearing up for my last day in Gyedong. Just got off the phone with my co-teacher and we both said how teary-eyed we will be…I’m really going to miss her!

Read this verse from a friend:
Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.


That night Brit and I made Sarah’s going away gift…a picture of all of us at the “After One Week” Cherry Blossom Festival in Jinhae, we matted it in a map of Korea and put it in a frame…see below! It was my second thing I’ve done off Pinterest– how cute! 🙂

cracks me up every time…poster outside my classroom…can you read it?Left Side:the root of the hair
the back of the hand
the fleshy inside of the thigh
Right Side:eardrum

makin’ my cards with a chocolate banana shake…

handmade cards! I didn’t have enough of the others…

Brit and I with Sarah’s picture frame

August 31st
sunshine. morning run. yoga. iced-Americano. sweet friends. smiling kiddos. and faith knowing God has another adventure planned just around the corner…all equals the strength to make it through one tough day ahead. ♥

Last day at Gyedong Elementary School with my co-teacher Ally. Didn’t teach today, only a few hours at school…gave the kids their cards I made, took some super cute pictures, gave dozens of hugs and high-fives, and then they were gone. All my kids showed up to get their cards! My co-teacher had passed around some paper for the kids to write and draw on. The kids wrote the cutest things. “Good-buy Megun techer.” “I love you.” “Thank you for teaching me.” “I will be sad.” “I will miss you.”

It happened so fast I didn’t even have time to reflect and cry. I know the tears will eventually pour; now I’m just still in shock knowing I won’t be going to that classroom with those kids anymore…maybe Monday morning it will hit me harder. Nice afternoon at Duomo coffee shop with my co-teacher. So much fun, just chatting and talking about teaching and the kids, and laughing at our memories. It was delightful. She told me I was a warm-hearted American, unlike the other Americans she had met before. Such nice things to hear. She had never seen a teacher give out cards or make cards for the kids and thought it was really sweet I made her one too. *Heart-melt*

Anna and Cindy


my crazy kids

aww…”Megan-teacher we will miss you!”

Gina and Tanya!

Amy and Rose (she came to say bye!)


Love this picture!


my girls are all-grown up since Day 1

ordering from an ipad!

yummy cookies and cream frappe!
afternoon treat with Ally

9 p.m.: Grilled Cheese, Cinnamon, and Apple Sandwich. 2:00 a.m. Vanilla Latte from Starbucks.

this is not my sandwich…just the display!

1 tablespoon softened butter
2 slices white bread
1 small apple – peeled, cored, and sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 slice American cheese
Place a skillet over medium heat. Spread butter evenly and completely over one side of each bread slice. Arrange the apple slices on the unbuttered side of one of the bread slices. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the apples. Place the cheese slice atop the apples. Top with the remaining bread slice with the buttered side facing outward. Lie gently into the skillet. Cook sandwich on both sides until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Saturday August 25th

I’ve been sick lately with terrible stomachaches. Since I didn’t eat all day on Friday, my yoga teacher told me not to eat that night or breakfast the next morning, and then eat all natural food for lunch. Went to acupuncture that evening to get needles stuck in my foot- your feet are connected to everything. My heels ached when the doctor pressed on them and stuck the needle in, but after they were pulled, my feet and calves felt so much better and my stomach had stopped churning. Our friend who works at the orphanage was taking us out that night; I couldn’t pass it up. Ate the food and at the time it tasted soo good. Again, I woke up with the worst stomachache. Went to acupuncture again; again after everything, it felt even better than yesterday. Ate kiwi and a nectarine for lunch. Don’t know what to eat to make my stomach feel better, so I decided a bit of American-style food would maybe work. Decided to make my first “pinterest” recipe. Grilled cheese, cinnamon, and apple sandwich. Yep. Just what I  needed. Pinterest Success. Yay! Tasted amazing after a summer night run- and my feet didn’t even ache! Hoping tomorrow I’ll still feel better.

Orphanage today. I feel like now, after 7 months, the kids are really starting to warm up to me..the past few times have been so enjoyable, filled with more laughter than ever…I hope that for a brief moment in time the dark questions and worries that often hang in the air are forgotten. 

Beach at 11 pm. with my Cafe Muse lady, her friend, and Sarah. Drinking coffee and lattes. Perfect late night into 3:00 a.m. City lights. Glowing waters. Melancholy peaceful thoughts.

Gwangali Beach

Nampodong Market pictures from last weekend’s trip…see below…

so many colors!!!


gathering for a snack….

a sample of an afternoon market snack

hanging lantern- beautiful!

강남스타일 (Gangnam Style)

Cafe Muse (new camera photo)

beautiful chandelier

where my friends and I sit after yoga on “Monday at Muse”

my beautiful Cafe Lady

path I take to Yulha


my lovely friend

yulha skyline…

more lovely friends!

Must share… this video is and hot right now…and it’s probably one of the funniest videos out there…

Tuesday, August 14th
Tonight was a special night. My yoga teacher that I have been taking yoga classes from for almost an entire year invited Sarah and I to her home to enjoy dinner. Unbeknownst to me, she only lives just up the road from my usual flower shop. On top of the Mountain. Surrounded by gardens and trees. Stunning view of the misty mountains in the distance. The smell of earth and home and life sinks into the rainy air. Her daughter and a family friends joined us for the meal. All natural food…greens, fruits, soup, delicious! Listening to laughter and chatter and rain on the tin roof, we sat under an awning engulfed in mosquito netting on plastic chairs at two tables…sitting in my corner of the setting I took everything in….the chopstick match the 2 year old child and Sarah were playing, the story-telling between mother and daughter and the parents trying to keep the sister and brother in line. And me…talking to the yoga teacher’s friend. Who is happy. Never Married. Lived in Seoul, then moved to Jangyu Two Year Ago. Played the Cello and Piano. Now Teaches Piano Lessons. Lives with Yoga Teacher. And is soft-spoken unless something is really funny or exciting! She’s so sweet. Then we finished our conversation while she joined another and I took it all in again…especially the laughter. They say you can love in any language…well you sure can laugh too! What a beautiful evening with my beautiful Korean friends.

Monday August 20:
5 more Mondays. What a long day… Trying to western union money to the Philippines and spent a half hour waiting just to be told I needed my passport number. Back again the next day. Only two banks in Korea western union money. KB and IBK. Another hour and a half later I hope the correct amount is transferred… Vacation is just around the corner.

Tuesday August 21: 
Needed that gray light blue and cream colored with slivers of pink sky this morning on my run with the piercing streams of light as the morning sunk in.

Wednesday August 23: 
News of director not resigning with my school… Only three more days left with my faves and my kids Ive had since I started… Thought I had another month with them. My co-teacher is almost as bummed out as I am… Sad day today, trying to forget  the slough of questions and concerns flooding my thoughts. Staying positive til it’s goodbye time and I’m on to my new assignment. Not sure what September will bring, nothing like a job to keep me on my toes, focused, and relying on God to carry me through the unknown, the uncertain, and the frustrations.
A good friend only has 7 teaching days left and others too, will be departing shortly. It’s time to move on to the next chapter. Sometimes I think it’s what I do best.. Turn the pages to the next thing…faster than I should sometimes… Though in accessing the past year I felt like I finally stopped to relax and enjoy life rather than always looking forward to the next move. Just in the past few weeks have I really become anxious about being back home…it’s hard not to miss the sisters’ weekends, the girls’ nights, the birthday dinners, the family dinners, new babies, and engagements… 

I do keep reminding myself I am here for another month and to not shut away. So I’m not. I’m keeping myself in check… Going for another midnight beach outing this weekend and to the orphanage, as well as planning get-togethers with my co-teachers. In the back of my mind I wonder what it would be like to settle down and have a house with a permanent address. I don’t know how stability life is… It’s like a preconceived note to self when I sign a lease that this isn’t permanent and I know soon enough I’ll be looking to pack up and move again. My check address is from 3 years and about 4 addresses earlier, my drivers license doesn’t expire until 2051, but at rate I’m going that’ll be about 50 addresses expired.
The more I love traveling and seeing the world, the more I know what I want when I do live in a place for more than 2 years. And that includes an oven, a bathtub, a balcony, a lamp, a coffee maker, and a queen sized bed. And painted walls. But those dreams will come soon enough. And I’m going to relish in these comforts at my parents home and my friend’s new home for 5 months before my next jet sailing adventure. and for their welcoming arms I am forever grateful.
I can’t wait to learn to become domestic. Because that is one thing I’m not. Take it from the girl who burns microwave Mac and cheese or who starts to cook something, but then gives up and just starts eating the ingredients separately… Forget the chemistry in cooking. I am about to set foot in the kitchen and learn how to cook- ok I’m not completely helpless because I did make enchiladas last summer and they turned out just fine, I just get distracted and I have to start dinner 3 hours in advance. I know you’re probably laughing by now… And I would usually tell you to be quiet, however I know this quite humourous to all of you knowing me. Just remember that when I’m home during the day and you’re craving something, I will probably be sweet enough to whip it up for you. Just give me well enough warning, like maybe 2 hours. 🙂
I’m also excited to get a new wardrobe (I know it sounds silly, but the fashion in Asia, is well…not really me, so I haven’t shopped except for maybe an hour in H/M for an entire year!) Most of you know that even though I’m pretty well traveled I’m the world’s worst packer; meaning, I always bring everything, because it might rain or snow or be 75 degrees and heaven knows we might decide to go out in heels and then go hiking the next day and that requires at least 5 pairs of shoes. That being said I’ve recently become the world’s most frugal packer, so much in fact that I brought two pairs of shorts for three days and one shirt… So not funny. Thanks Mom for letting me borrow a shirt. And thank you beach for allowing me to only wear my swimsuit. I survived. The past year has helped me pack in a backpack for 5 days to Jeju in winter instead of a 50 lb rolling suitcase to grandma’s house. For the weekend. My trip home will consist of ONE suitcase (able to hold 50 plus lbs of luggage) to being full with hardly anything at all, a carrying of gifts and gadgets and my purse; Instead of my previous (2) 50 lb (do the math that’s 100 lbs not including my carry on) suitcases and a carry on and a backpack. Yep, I’ve whittled it down to nothing. Clothes are falling apart and ragged, and I’ve worn through my shoes too. It’s time to start fresh. And to stop wearing workout shorts that even my mother says are like circa 2005 maybe? I’m obviously not a fashionista, but its time to toss those articles that sag or never wear. New look. New clothes. Back to the basic items and no non-essentials like those college flashbacks of  “omg I have to have this latest glitzy top for this party, really Megan? You are 25 years old you do not need that top you will never wear even though it’s pretty, about as far as it’ll ever get worn will be from the mirror to closet because its -10 degrees outside and you’ll cover it up with a coat the whole night.” Pretty much. 

Thursday August 23:

As it pours down rain at the bus stop and I’m jabbering away, I’m probably going to miss the bus I’ve been waiting for for 20 minutes… Maybe I should pay attention.  Kids were soooo quiet and tired today, and I’m just loudly clapping away looking like a crazy person… Sometimes it’s so draining, pouring all my energy for them to say hello! And answer a question we’ve worked on for 6 months: how are you? Crickets. (awesome. €{*~£~€|€^£>\%%|*|!,£|¥) Then a butterfly flew into the room. Shrieks. Seriously!? I’m so glad vacation schedule is over next week. They are much more alive in the afternoons. Yay! 
4:00 yoga today. After yoga snack made me giggle. A lady brought in Dunkin donuts- oh the irony! (plus our yoga teacher is about all natural food and donuts, well they’re as far from natural as probably possible!) I had to run to the restroom and I was silently like ok I kinda want a donut but WHAT THE HECK is yoga teacher thinking right now. I come back to find a plate of lettuce next to the pile of donuts (cut, of course by scissors- those of you in SK totally get the scissor thing!) had to contain my laughter as the ladies made wraps of donuts and lettuce. Then the plate was finished and yoga teacher bustles into her back room and comes back with a peaches and nectarines and begins to peel them into a heaping pile. There’s about 5 of us sitting on the ground around the tea table. After those were finished yoga teacher bustles back again and in like a minute flat has fried eggs hot in a pan in front of us… The whole snack time just made me smile… The chitter chatter of the woman, the pitter patter of rain, and the soothing oceanic wave melodies in the background all completed my afternoon.
6:30 lesson. We were reading a book her mother had bought… It’s a collection of various stories and… So exciting: two of the stories were ones I had read to me when I was young, Stellaluna ( story about a baby fruit bat) and Amazing Grace (story if this girl who wants to be Peter Pan and the kids at school make fun of her, but her Mom and Grandma tell her she can be anything she wants). I taught her the following new words: sultry, clumsy, dawdle, and stuttered. 🙂
Sitting at my favorite cafe because I know if I go home I won’t be able to sleep or I’ll be able to sleep, but wake up again at 2 am ready for the day. I was sitting at a big table and there was a table for two was next to me and these three ladies came up and  motioned for me to borrow a chair I went to go switch tables but they kept saying no no no- just got up and moved anyway.. Next thing I knew she had a dish of crushed ice gelato and fruit in front of me- it’s so good! Can’t get over how sweet she is. One of the kindest women I have ever met.

and just like that I became an English-Science teacher

let’s shoot our rockets at Megan-teacher!


bus stop in the rain. i liked the teal posts in the back.

yoga-teacher’s amazing garden!

dinner guests

delicious homemade food

gathering of Korean family

lunch with co-teachers!


my personal chefs 🙂

so much fun!

bubble teas!

science day 2: pinwheels!

Sometimes I still need you…

i can’t rock the floral denim

real friends get red bean on the side… xo

celebrating National Cheesecake Day!

lovely summer night

two of my favorite people…

and this is what i crave

green countryside

Insa-dong shopping

found a delicious Indian restaurant

Dad walking streets of Seoul

Mom trying her first Korean meal…with chopsticks

Namhae sunset

Rainbow House Pension…what an experience!

at the Temple by the Sea

3-6-9 hotel…and I got the rap song in my head…

Dinner made by yoga teacher and her friend…all natural food!

my Korean and American family having dinner…love!

i just can’t do it. a year away from the states and i feel like i could live in the covered wagon pioneer days minus the excessive accessibility of free wifi. of dresses, flats; no ovens, dryers, hair straighteners/dryers/curling irons, and shower curtains…and now i read a recent glamour magazine and floral denim is in. and i just can’t do it. just like i can’t do traditional movie dates on saturdays and sleeping in on sundays. i can, however, do a 5 a.m. sunrise run and coffee or a 2 a.m. on the beach then sleep all day. have my tastes changed that much?

and my parents are in south korea. repeat like a million times. it’s real. amazing! and now at 25 and 9 months i know 110% that my parents are the coolest. ever. and i love them so incredibly much. just chilling with two of my best friends i’ve made in korea, talking, joking, and drinking…having them meet the people i care about most in Korea was so cool…Cafe Muse lady, Yoga-teacher (she made us an amazing dinner on Monday night!), my co-teachers, and my friends! what an awesome experience to have, sharing just a glimpse of my life with them in korea!

as i shovel hand fulls of peanut butter m/ms (half a bag down, half a bag to go) and dove dark chocolate w/almonds (mind you) in my mouth whilst vowing my diet (for the millionth time) WILL start tomorrow. and my exercise routines WILL be more intense as i wipe another countless tear for a countless reason…good-byes are tough. the time between seeing my parents again is in reachable time, but it’s still hard, and then there’s another million reasons the tears continue to fall today. and it all adds up. even after a un-alarmed three hour nap, i’m still trying to pull myself together. 11 months tomorrow. i’m stronger than i ever thought i could be; knowing it’s ok to cry. and i’ll be surrounded by family soon. and i’m lucky to be so blessed that good-byes are tough. for i read a quote the other day: “how lucky i am to have something that makes saying good-bye so hard.” and i know the next couple months will remain true as a new chapter will start to unfold as my year in korea comes to an end.

laughter and a nap. two cures for this tearful day. laughter moment number one: Rose came in and said hello-Megan teacher (she left our program at the beginning of the month…she’s my little gangsta girl. laughter moment number two: after teaching my older students “what did you do last weekend?” and how it varied from “what did you do yesterday?” my two littlest phonics students were in the back having a make-up class and after I started the phrase…what did you do…the boy shouts YESTERDAY! it was hilarious! laughter moment number three: kids what is this mark: (!) answer: it’s exciting! gotta love these kids…and they continued to make me laugh throughout the day even though i cried all the way to school and all the way home. at least they helped me hold it together today.

Happy August.

잠시만요 (wait a moment, please!)

광안리 해수욕장

Moroccan Mint Tea Latte

work-beach-home-yoga= great day!

red umbrellas line the beach!

New daily routine: water fights with the neighborhood kiddos! Chasing me down the path on my way to yoga- soaking wet met with fits of shrieks from the kids when I cupped water from their bucket and got their already dripping selves wetter! Water guns, water bottles, garden hose, and a mini pool! Summer is wonderful.

July 26th

Morning schedule started today, even though I’m a “morning person” it’s still hard to get up knowing I must forego my morning nap and instead catch the 7:53 bus bound for Gimhae. Arrived to Gimhae at that awkward “do I make a run and grab coffee or be 15 minutes early to work?” time. Coffee won today… I figured I could catch a cab to the school. Oh. My. Gosh. 90 degrees and about 100% humidity- drenched just walking. The stillness is stifling. Only breeze is when cars whiz by. Entered Starbucks. Modified my drink without a problem, and even ran out to catch a cab to see if he would wait 5 minutes and it worked! Score. 잠시만요 (just a moment please!) then held up five fingers. He ended up turning at the wrong light so I redirected him and he turned off the meter. I paid him full price and gave him my bag of market crackers… He said in perfect English- thank you very much! Yay!

I love morning teaching…the kids are just too funny in the mornings— Teacher, I wake up 5 am- me: to do what?!?! Play computer games!!! Teacher- I eat 3 ice creams for breakfast- 2 at my house, 1 from friend. Teacher- I not awake I like after school program better- I mean afternoons! Teacher- I don’t like vacation- it’s too hot. 

Decided last night to just go to the beach after work. The light rail is literally across the river path from my school-almost there- and it only took an hour and 15 minutes!!! It was glorious. The perfect beach day…no wind, hot sun, and cooling waters. Love!

July 28th

 5 a.m. run before beaming sun. Saw my friend (the one I met a week or so ago when I was at the stoplight…the one that speaks great English…that one!) and was met with a chipper Hello! Do you exercise at this time everyday?- No, only 2-3 times a week. What’s your name? -Megan, and yours? My name’s Rock. I am very happy to meet you. Have a great day!

THEN watched the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremonies LIVE from LONDON with my good friends Neil, Brit, and Sarah. It was sooo awesome to see all the countries and London’s productions. Dubbed in Korean and Hangul reading of the countries’ names…very entertaining!

Skype convo that went like this: NE Football Team is wearing all red and black helmets for the Wisconsin game- really?!, Penn State Football Scandal- disgusting!, Colorado Batman movie shooting devastating!, and… the Smash Cake Phenomenon! Alright mommas your single friend now knows what a Smash Cake is! Impressed? Maybe I want my own Smash Cake photo sesh…thank you Allison! I love you! Laughing til I cried, she is the best friend and cousin and still loves me and calls my decision to move to South Korea logical and sane.

Waved hello to my neighbor- I think she’s the mother of the water fight boys- while crossing the street. Brunch with the girls. Orphanage this afternoon.

chicken sandwich!

Brit and I’s red velvet cupcake!
Aunt Kim’s red velvet cake is still the best!

aren’t these kids the cutest??

they love pictures!


delicious Korean food!

Today’s Orphanage afternoon was one of my favorite times! The office lady’s son was back for the summer from college in the states. His name is Anthony. We (Brit, Sarah, Anthony, and I) took three (a boy and two girls) 4-5 year olds to the library. The orphanage has minimal, if none AC. At 90+ degrees it was worth the library afternoon! The rest of the kids were at camp. Libraries in Korea…aren’t quiet, it’s basically a family gathering in the AC reading, playing, taking naps, or studying, some of the books are in both English and Korea, shoes come off, and everyone sorta just hangs out in this big room. We just played, read, and cooled off. The girls were adorable and so giggly. We looked at picture books and were just silly! Afterwards, Anthony took us girls to eat dinner at a nicer kimbap restaurant. So delicious- iced noodles, mandoo, dukk bokki (spicy rice cake/fish cake in hot sauce), and kimbap. He was so nice to talk to (great English), opened our taxi/restaurant doors, and paid! What a cool dude. 

July 29th

On a bus by myself to visit a friend from Nebraska, I haven’t seen Ann in three years and decided to go visit her in 안동. So I’m on this bus- John Denver or some old time American artist is playing on the radio- I’m listening to my iPod but can still hear it. Through the mountain roads and green fields- it’s a beautiful trek. Decided to go through the notes I can make on my iPod… From 320 days ago! I read a couple and started tearing up- what a year! What an adventure and how I’ve grown in this country beyond what I could ever imagine! Even just reading a few sentences and how unsure and anxious I was; unsure how I would even make it a year… How far I’ve come since then. Amazing. And now I’m on a bus for three and a half hours by myself because I could navigate how to tell the taxi to drop me off at the bus terminal, but then found out the building terminal was only for Seoul, so then I had to walk to the actual bus stop outside the GS convenience store and read in Korean when the next bus would be arriving, luckily I had five minutes. About ten and a half months ago I never would have guessed I could be doing that. 

What a fun day! It was so great to catch up, talk about life, Korea, travel stories, and vacation plans! Such a dear friend and role model to me. It’s so crazy how life works and how our meeting spot after so long was in Korea!! We went to cafes, ate some Korean food, saw the river/dam of Andong, and walked around her quaint neighborhood.

green summer countryside

“Cherish your solitude.
Take trains by yourself
to places you’ve never been”
-Playwright Eve Ensler 


I can read this…it’s how I know where I’m going!

on the highway into Andong!

under this temple-like tunnel decor thing…

so much fun!!!!

찜닭 – famous Andong chicken dish! Delish!


view off “famous” bridge

see those buildings? that’s Andong!

my dear Nebraskan friend

and all of a sudden water started sprouting from the bridge!

Speaking of role models and time to think and reflect about how I ended up in Korea..or who influenced my interest in other countries (maybe I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, but this has just been on my mind and I wanted to share again)…this lovely woman I met in 2nd grade when I started riding horses. She is the daughter of my first grade teacher. My first grade teacher would take me riding on her quarter horses after school; one day she mentioned her daughter was studying abroad in Australia I was fascinated! Australia! Her daughter wrote me postcards (thus my constant inquiry- can you send me a postcard? thanks you to all who have picked up a postcard for me on your journey- it is greatly cherished!) 4 or 5 times throughout the summer and it was so special to receive such an exotic piece of mail filled with stories of adventures in the “Land Down Under.” I knew I was going to study abroad in the 2nd grade. This woman has been through a lot in the past 10 years and sometimes I wonder if she knows the amazing and incredible life-changing impact she had on the second grader who loved to ride horses in small town Nebraska. 🙂 

School’s Out for the Summer! [except when they go to English class]

keeping cool in this SK heat!

July 16th

Today I put 2 units of vocabulary words on the board for a game. (“touch game”- saying the word while the kids race to slap it first- they love it!!) They started whining and complaining and Ally translated to me why they were upset so I told them…well I think you all are so smart and can do it! Ally translated it back to them and they got so excited, oh teacher! really?! Yes! You are so smart! 🙂

July 17th

Getting my stride and morning routine back. Went to bed at 8:30 and up at 4:43. 5 a.m. run. This is my kind of morning. If it wasn’t cloudy then I could have watched the sunrise. No cars for the first mile or two. Coolness of humidity is better than the beating sun. Soundtrack of birds as mentioned before. I cannot stress the peacefullness I feel at this hour. Couple of good stretches of sprints and a slight incline on the route.

At the stop light, a complete stranger approaches me with a cheerful, “Good Morning!” “Where are you from?” -America. “Oh, very good!” “I have 2 Filipino-American friends.” -In Jangyu? “No, in Australia.” I was there for one year.” -Oh nice! “Yes, it was good.” -You speak very well “Oh really? Thank you! I practice my English everyday!” -Wow! That’s great. What are you doing now, going to school, working? “I am working. I pick up trash and recycle it.” -I see. It’s a beautiful morning to be outside. It’s rather cool now. “Yes, not too hot. It’s nice.” Light turns green. -I should cross now, I hope you have a great day! “Thank you so much, you too!”  What a great start to the day!

July 23-25

*One of the kids’ sentences was I throw a penny into a well to make a wish. so I pulled out a penny, you would have thought I pulled out gold and one of the boys gave me a 1000 won (almost a dollar) for then I gave him a dime too!

*Taught my students what compound words are (so excited!) AND they told me what they will be doing over vacation using the correct verb tense (i.e. “teacher, I will be going to my uncle’s home.”) 

*Introduced peanut butter on apples/crackers to my co-teacher and Cafe Muse lady

*Worked 9-Noon today, then treated my co-teacher to Indian Brunch- she loved it! SCHOOL’S OUT and Morning classes start tomorrow. In Korea, school’s only close for one month during the summer and one month during the winter. Hagwons/After School Programs (English, Math, Art, Computer, Science, Piano, Takwando etc.) are year round! 5-day Vacation and PARENTS Arrive in Korea in ONE WEEK!

*One of my favorites last day was today. I did get to say good-bye and give her a hug…She didn’t want to leave our program, but her mom wants her to go to an academy now… I will miss her…she’s a little ornery, but so smart and so much fun to teach!

*MY JOB IS ON THE MARKET FOR OCTOBER 1st!!! Please please please email me if you are would like details. I have the best kids ever! 🙂 My director’s assistant asked me if I knew anyone interested in my job.

Songs of the Week: love this!

* yep.

* chill out.

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