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 it..so 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:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QcEQbWtkME love this!

*http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKcozRG0bIk&feature=related yep.

*http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sgk4cIELMHg&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ux1LVyhs6Pg&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8iKcdh5Ims&feature=related chill out.

Advertisements

97% Humidity- 95% Chance of Rain- 100% Cloud Cover

Friday July 6th

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NbUio2APNY&feature=related  “Picturesque” -Chase Coy

Elementary all-school test day. Poor kids are so run down with studying! We had a movie day for all our classes. Kind of a come and go if you want to watch the movie and hang out with Ally and I. Can I add opening bags of chips and can of soda and being a jungle gym to my resume? I think so! Kiddos just wanted to stay after the movie and play rather than go home, study, watch t.v. or go to another academy. I don’t blame them. Ally and I…well we’re really fun! 😉

Off at 3:30. Nap time for me! Then a lovely pasta and wine dinner with a new friend from South Africa. She is super sweet and actually lives in my same building. Looks like I have a new country to visit in the world with my own personal guide! A rainy evening, but relaxing just the same.

Was then invited to go to Gwangali Beach with my Cafe Muse friend, and Sarah for a late night (11 p.m!) coffee on the beach. A magical site to see: neon lights shimmer in the melodic waves splashing against my feet and the rain sparkles against the city lights…all my favorites in one…rain. city lights. beach. coffee. friends. I’m one lucky girl! Home at a late 3 a.m. then a wonderful skype chat with a close friend and her amazing kiddos til 5 a.m. because the coffee kept me up. Only a few hours of sleep before my lazy day of brunch, nap, and reading.

Saturday July 7th

Had brunch with Jen today. It was lovely! On my way back back stop in an antique shop that actually had Yankee Candles. The lady offered me tea while I looked around.

Insert 2 hour nap here.

Tonight Sarah and I cooked dinner then decided to hike up to the waterfall to have dessert and a beer. We hiked for a good 20-25 minutes along a road through a semi-wooded area that ended up being quite trafficked with cabs and scooters…we passed a few restaurants and dimly lit bars and closed cafes. With no sign of the waterfall in site, only the sounds of the rushing river. So we walked. We eventually came to the site…it was rather dark, but we thought oh well…then we got closer and saw the rock formation that she could’ve sworn was the waterfall, but there was no water running down the rocks…what the heck. We called our other friend who then confirmed that yes, the waterfall was…FAKE! @#^(&^. Seriously. A fake waterfall. We still had our cheesecake to eat and thought that a random picnic table outside a meat restaurant overlooking the river with a couple porch lights would be an excellent spot to enjoy our dessert. Then we walked back and had soju slushies with a complimentary fried egg and crunchy rice snacks.

Sunday July 8th

Woke up today to go to the beach. Taxi. Bus. Taxi. Beach. Lovely sun was finally out! More clouds and rain than I’ve ever seen. But I guess we are in “rainy” season. Quite a change from the beaming Arizona sun. Had the chance and got some sun back on my skin! We decided to go to the beach that locals usually only go to since it would be quieter. Fail. Today was “water park day with a concert!” So busy and loud and definitely not what we were expecting! haha!!! We stayed and luckily the waves drowned out most of the sound check noises. After a couple hours, got an ice-cream toast, (my fave coffee shop in Gimhae also has one overlooking the ocean!) and hung out inside for a bit. Back outside for another hour or so. Beach Observations: do not swim signs don’t actually mean no swimming, we were two of maybe 5 people in bathing suits- everyone else had umbrellas or was covered in head to toe…we often saw sweatshirts, sweatpants, hooded shirts and long sleeves! I’m not kidding.

Took a cab ride through Busan city. Quite enjoyable and was able to see a lot more neighborhoods, actual housing instead of high-rises, and cool back streets. Back roads housing and corridors with funky brick steps and brightly colored gates leading up to a cool “Korean” styled roof-top…love the character. Though my daydreams of how romantic and sexy living in a high-rise must be, being able to see over the coast or down at the city lights and party below or watching the sun just over the horizon waking up or going to sleep…then I flash to my quaint cottage, charming in it’s own way… with a teal gate and bricks steps leading up to a mangled garden of vines (the real secret to this rustic abode is the rooftop terrace…) just down an alley hidden between an antique shop and a bookstore…I love driving through neighborhoods and imagining what it must be like to live there.

Dropped off in the middle of the city and hunted for O’Taco. An “Authentic” Mexican food restaurant. We found it! DELICIOUS! And definitely very Authentic…excellent guacamole, tacos, burritos, chips/salsa…and margaritas! The people here were really nice too. For those of you looking for it…Exit 3 off of KSU…walk past Almost Famous and Blue Monkey- almost to the end of the road…it’s a white building on the left with a nice patio.

Grabbed a cup of cherries for the bus ride home outside the subway stop at Sasang, headed home, killed the massive bug in my apartment with mold cleaner, then went to bed after a fun-filled “Krazy Korean” weekend.

Monday July 9th

HAPPY 10 MONTHS IN SK to me!!! And Happy “a whole card deck” Birthday to my Dad!

Can’t believe I arrived in this land 10 months ago…probably the fastest and slowest 10 months of my life. Standing in the shower tonight that soaked the whole bathroom and the water drizzled from the attachable hose, hoping the tp wasn’t sopping wet by this point; after cutting my market fresh vegetables on the floor of my bedroom/office/closet/living room because there’s no counter space in the kitchen, ending a day of teaching the funniest, most adorable kids I have ever met- knowing exactly how to handle myself in the classroom…I can’t believe I walked into this tiny space I now call my home at 3 a.m. and had no towel to dry off with after 25 plus some odd hours of traveling, getting off a plane then getting on a bus to where I thought was the middle of nowhere to place I now call “home…” then standing in front of a bunch of kids who I didn’t know how I would remember all their names…I know that in the next 55 days of teaching I will shed tears wondering who will teach “my” babies, and who will hug them and who will give them high-fives, or who after challenging them for 30 minutes, will let them play a game for 20…divide that by 2- for 2 schools- and I have only Half that amount with each class. Knowing I have been cherishing the time spent with my kids, and treasuring it even more in my last two months…it’s been an incredible experience…and I have 2 months left! 


How I survived you may ask? Laughs. Smiles. Hugs. Friends. Yoga. Coffee. Wine. and the Support of my amazing friends and family back in the Western world. I truly cannot express my gratitude for your prayers and encouragement, knowing this year would be hard and having the faith that I could do it…knowing this is what I’ve always dreamed of doing: living and working in another country. I can’t wait to see what the next adventure will be!


Thursday July 12th


Yesterday I walked into class with my curly hair down and my co-teacher says to me…”Oh, Megan! Hair so cute today…like a baby lion’s!” (oh dear…had to giggle just a bit!)


Last night Sarah and I celebrated my 10-month-in-South Korea with souffle and sangria…my new favorite; patio seating with Eiffle Tower pictures for the backdrop you woulda thought we were in Paris… 


What a rainy week…was missing my sisters a lot and home in general. Sometimes the rain just puts me in a missing mood, but on the upside have received a few thoughtful emails from friends and family I hadn’t heard from in a while…such a delightful surprise to read their words and feel the love. I expressed my rainy mood to a friend and prayed for sunshine last night…


Don’t know how it happened, but after a night of tossing and turning I looked at the clock- 4:43 a.m. Got up and decided to go for a run…the birds were already singing and the sky light, didn’t know if the rain would start again so I left my ipod at home. Morning sound track of stillness and chirping, occasional rush of river water as I crossed a bridge…love it when I can rush through empty streets usually bustling with color and noise…(not that the excitement bothers me…just nice for a change) speaking hello to the elderly passing by in foreign words…humidity dripping from every part of me (the two years of Arizona in me is saying- what. the. heck. is this?)…my mind flashing back to early morning humid runs along a red dirt track in Africa…think the last time I felt similar humidity was five years ago when I would go running with this cool guy named Matt at 5-6 a.m. and bring up the sun almost every morning during my study abroad semester in Kenya…sometimes it’s good to relish in happy memories like these. Running helped clear my sprinting mind and my sprints calmed my focus. 


And I got my sunshine for the day! God is Good. All the time.


Didn’t miss the Gimhae bus, though I thought I almost missed it…after my 5 a.m. I will admit I fell back asleep after a shower, then dragged myself back out of back to actually “begin” then day… yummy kiwi and french toast.


Gave my seat up to an elderly woman. Everyone…literally everyone, I looked! was on their cell phones except me, and she was desperately trying to hang on during our rollar coaster ride. Turns out, I then snagged a window seat when someone else got up to exit. 


Arrived in Gimhae. Skyped with my lovely sister, then headed to Starbucks to get my co-teacher a smoothie and me an iced-coffee. “Modifying” drinks here is a bit challenging…I was really craving an iced coffee with vanilla and soy milk so I asked for it. The guy was super chipper and even though he gave me a strange look, I got my “modified” drink! Yay! 


Then started my mini walk to the school- already drenched in sweat- ew! Today I didn’t care…just so happy it was sunny out.  🙂 Went to my usual GS25 station and grabbed some water…the guy that’s always there is so nice! Don’t know if he understood when I said “Have a great day,” but he definitely makes mine with his kind smile and attempts at English.


Kids were amazing as usual, challenging yoga class, and then a couple drinks with a dear friend tonight. I am so blessed in this country so far from familiarity.

Jinny

sharing snacks

my beautiful friend, 선 영, who took us to the beach

my friends are lovely.

the bridge changes colors…so cool to see in the water

선 영

kids splashing in the fountains.

O’Taco

Wendy;s shirt!!!

my welcome home crew
most afternoons as I walk into the neighborhood
I’m greeted with,
“hi, hi, hi” followed by “bye, bye, bye!”

bi bim mandoo…not as good as the specialty shop, but still ok!

celebrating 10 months with sangria and chocolate
at our French Cafe
Thanks Sarah! 








sometimes only pictures can truly describe days in SK

if you did a double take, you are correct, the dog has pink ears!

stay off the bridge signs…guess I’ll go around it..

Jen and I’s Oatmeal Power Balls! Yay no-bakes! 

Icarus spelling my name…

Friends at Shabu Shabu

Neighborhood restaurant- outdoor seating where everyone gathers round!

this is what I read to order…yep I CAN read all that, it may take a minute, but I can do it! 
my view out my Goobong School window…look at those clouds!

Affrogato from Cafe Muse- espresso and homemade gelato!

How much is it?
School Market Day!

This is mine!

I want this please!

It’s too expensive! Lower price?

running up the hill…

Chicken salad at my favorite restaurant with a glass of wine…

Megan-Brittany-Sarah, cemented in one of the many ongoing construction sites

Cheers!

Market Day! Fresh Fruit!

“pot-bing-su” delicious summer treat of red bean, cereal, gelato, pineapple, blueberries

Summer Sunset

Only in the Starbucks in Korea…

homemade Chai tea from Yoga teacher

I love tea time.

garden outside my apartment

Construction that wakes me up at 5 a.m. even on Sundays!
I think about 5 new buildings have been built since I moved in.

more neighborhood gardens

heading to the main road

at the intersection catty-corner from my road

crossing the street…

in “Kabo-maul”

main intersection- directly across the street from my neighborhood

other direction crossing the street

heading up the road toward usual Cafe- now across the street

Cafe Muse- love the coffee beans in the glass table

homemade gelato and fruit

these kids make me laugh everyday!

Chloe and me

don’t look so serious girls!

Simon

I was putting my camera away and he batted his eyes for one more picture
I couldn’t say no!

Happy Fourth of July America!
From South Korea
Sitting in a French Cafe
Drinking Sangria
Eating Souffle
with Friends…
is this American?

July 5th

I think sometimes I get too excited about life. How the littlest things make me so happy. Like walking up to the bus stop seconds before it pulls up. Or enjoying the rain outside on a patio with an iced coffee before I begin a challenging day at school. Laughing with my kids and giving hugs and playing takwando. Being so proud of them when they can answer my questions even if it’s just a simple word or two; or when they don’t have to take a re-test for their spelling words. Hearing, “Megan-teacher, beautiful” and then seeing their eyes sparkle when I tell them they are beautiful too. Maybe I shouldn’t share these thoughts on facebook, or my blog, or a text, or a phone call; do I feel guilty for being so joyful? I can’t help it~ it just makes me so happy I could burst. Maybe this is what being in love is like.

Thoughts pouring and swimming like the monsoon rain trying to find any spot to land and soak. Just when I thought I had a plan all gets turned upside down with a discovery, a book, a comment, or conversation. All I know is this: 1. I’m supposed to travel. (Where? I’m still finding that out!) 2. I’m supposed to write/or teach. 3. I’m supposed to Love. Lately, I feel that God has truly placed these things on my heart. But, sometimes my head pounds like the thundering rains…So here I sit with my pen, sorting things out to clear my head and make sense of what He has called me to do. Writing the questions down, writing the things I could be called to give up, gritting my teeth to not start another plan…I find myself trying to plan things that are beyond my control…and I don’t want to be caught in my own agenda again.

…downpour!

sooo humid,  but I love a good rainy day sitting outside thinking

“Or we can take a risk, do something to help someone else, make a person smile, change someone’s world. Life to the fullest exists.” -Kisses from Katie

"my heart lives in so many places. with so many people…"

me and Rose
June 6th
Day off today. Woke up 5:45…two hour workout. Everyday I pass this sketchy looking holistic herb smelling massage shop on the corner of my street 10 seconds from my apartment. I decided to check it out- why not, right? Pointed to my shoulders and said massage? She took me to the back. Undressed and laid down. The next thing I knew she was putting cooling creams, silky lotions, and warm water mixtures all over my face! What the heck was going on?! She literally pounded my face and smacked it with the lotions! I dare not move. Then she rub my shoulders for like 30 seconds, put a mask on my face, and left me there for 20 minutes under a washclothed darkness. I could here voices speaking rapidly and there was another woman coming in to get a massage. I’m half naked on the table thinking can you please cover me now? The massage lady came back, finished the mask, put another thick cream on, then rinsed it and lotioned it one more time, sat me up and whacked my back (maybe that’s supposed to be massaging?) a few times, and then pointed to my clothes and left. I guess that’s what pointing to my shoulders and saying massage gets me! I looked over at the other lady and she was getting an actual massage, next mission: figure out what she said in order to get that! It was a delightful face massage…
Had lunch with a good friend, then took a nap, made dinner for our sweet Cafe Muse friend and she bought us beer while we sat out on her patio and ate. She is amazing! The nicest lady ever. Truly gracious. When she asked if I had a boyfriend, her explanation as to why I’m single was “Megan is high-quality. Elite. Difficult to find man I think.” After talking to her for awhile Sarah and I met up with Brit for our weekly Wednesday wine nights, but we switched it up a bit and did pie and water. 🙂 Still delicious. 
What more could I need in a place? Why do I feel like it’s home after 9 months? Passing the flower shops, smelling the humid summer air, calling a friend five minutes away, sipping coffee at a quaint cafe or breezing to morning yoga for tea and smiles just across the street. Cherishing every moment these next few months, knowing the tears of happiness, accomplishment, sadness in leaving what I know call my home, my Korean yoga-teacher mother, my Cafe Muse friend, and my amazing friends will come soon enough.

June 13th

Saturday was my 9-month in Korea. Celebrated with a waffle, friends, and going to an Orchestra concert that a few of the kids from Bangjuwon play in. One even plays the clarinet…hearing the instruments and the clarinet solo kinda made me miss band a little.

Happy 20th Birthday to my beautiful little sister, I love you!!! What a fun day! Rocked my open classes and received positive and encouraging comments from the parents who watched. Translated, they said: so much energy, I enjoyed the class, and my child has improved so much…amazing!

Went to yoga. After class my teacher poured this juice stuff so I asked what it was. Fermented Apricots. Turns out she grows apricot tress in her garden, picks them, mixes them with sugar and lets it sit in a crock jar for a year. (said via electronic translator, broken Korean that I understand and broken English that she understands.) It was delicious!!! Then one of her friends joined us for our chat before the next class started and she had made persimmon tea. Again- delicious!

June 17th

My sister posted this amazing quote from this book that I’ve been wanting to read. It’s true…for me. My heart truly lies in so many places…the millions of pot holes, corn fields,cities, small towns, cafes, and roads between. My friends, family, and those hearts whom I’ve seen…I think of childhood friends, random strangers, roommates, colleagues, and my students. At the end of every journey, it always feels like I’m leaving home. I have made that particular place my dwelling. Each a home. Maybe that’s why I could make every place seem like home…God is everywhere. And in Him, I am home. My ultimate destination is heaven; my eternal home. Sadness is overwhelming each time I venture away from the place I have called home on earth…but it is sadness of heart longing for those people I have befriended and loved. The wanting to be with them; it shouldn’t be sadness of sorrow, but of joy. Knowing that the next place I stand will, in time, feel like home. Another place to live and to love. Another place to fulfill His plan.
“my heart lives in so many places. With so many people. But God whispers to me that I really have only one home, and that is with Him. I will never be content on this earth. I will always be a nomad. It was meant to be that way. My heart was created with a desire for a home, a nest, a sanctuary, and that can be found Only with Him in heaven. And I will continue bouncing from one home to another, loving with everything I have in whatever location I currently reside, excitedly awaiting the day when I am called heavenward and He says to me, ‘welcome home.'” -excerpt from “Kisses from Katie”

love these kids!

we made her dinner and she bought us beer…

my Cafe Muse lady and Sarah

Happy 9 Month!

coffee house diva!

Orchestra Concert

sweet ride. it’s remote controlled.

corner flower shop!

and I just think to myself…what a wonderful world…


friends’ pies at French Cafe

rice cakes and tea
yoga snack!

yep. acupuncture

i love the clouds captured in my coffee

cherries!

latte and toast while I write…perfection.

my international skirt.

us taking pictures of our motel!

it has a balcony overlooking the beach?

stumbled upon a mini festival on the beach
it highlighted various countries
including Kenya and Uganda
Korean-style chapati, yes please!
Oh and they knew about USIU.
Small World.

yay!

sunset on beach pre-race

pre-race beach walk

Jen’s jump! Whohoo!

I can’t jump- well I tried!

view of route!!!

of course we would get a text
notifying us of our race  time
not my best, but had fun!
Our awesome groupie! 

we got medals!

glittery
May 30th

Losing it. Completely losing it. Emotional wreck this week. Talked to a dear friend back home whom I miss so much and lost it. Sitting at a coffee shop wondering how am I ever going to leave this place and lost it. Listening to soothing music and laughing along with the conversation at tea before yoga and lost it. Late night nail party and snacks with a friend and lost it. A favorite student transferred to a hagwon today without warning except for a phone call last week saying it was a possibility…no more “Korean” good-byes or high- fives and lost it. Sipping tea at a French Cafe typing along to soft jazz that I soon realize is a Christmas mix with contemporary songs…and losing it.

Overwhelmed in goodness and the reality I know not wanting to start my official countdown even though my end-of-contract vacation is booked; how can I leave this life I’ve made here already? Time went too fast. Sometimes I regret a couple of the months I counted down. The solemn winter months were toughest on the soul, but I got through them. And now that summer is here Time doesn’t stop. It never did, but maybe I sped it up a bit.

Brakes are creaky, they haven’t been oiled in a while, the journey is mapped and the car isn’t slowing down, no place on this rocky road to oil these brakes. I’m in trouble. Don’t know where the next turn in this road will go, a journey un-mapped…trying not to freak out in this out-of control vehicle I find myself in. Stay calm. Brace yourself. Close my eyes? Maybe for a second. Don’t let go of the steering wheel? Only to Him. Only to Him who is in complete control of this spun-out journey. Now I can relax. Most of the time I can’t. Sometimes I don’t know how. Even my yoga teacher has tried to teach me to breathe. But I can’t. I’m trying!!! Trying so hard to let everything go. No, I don’t know what I’m going to do- so many choices and decisions to make when I return stateside.

I can do it! Just have to take time for a good cup of tea and tears… I know everything is gonna be alright. 🙂

not sure the date…but just random coffee shop thoughts from mid-May

My coffee shop was opened again. Now it’s nice enough to sit outside and enjoy the warm air and fresh breeze. Waiting a half hour for a hand drip coffee is worth it. So smooth and rich, no cream or sugar is even considered.

Letting go of inconveniences that I would have bothered by before… freeing myself of minor annoyances to live a more joyful life. Taking extra time to sit and take it all in rather than always rushing to the next thing. Hanging on to these things only caused more stress, so why not just let it go. Am I afraid of what others would say~ not having a real job and settling down? I haven’t seemed to quench the desire yet though quality time with those I love is more important than heading into my next adventure right away.

Lately- the past 4 weeks or so- my schedule has had me at three schools. it’s given me time to fully appreciate “my” kids. The kiddos I’ve had since day one. I must say I have grown quite attached to the class that hasn’t changed except for a couple of students… Cindy, Amy, Anna, Lyn, Sunny, Chloe, Julie, Nick, Simon, Jacob, Ian, Aiden, Noah, and Piter. They are in Super Kids 1 soon, to be 2; I have had them since they were in Phonics 3. They are so special to me. But now since posting this blog Aiden and Noah have since dropped the class…it just isn’t the same without them… I miss them already! This is the tough part of teaching…not saying good-bye to my students. They just leave the program without telling hardly anyone.

Though I did find out the reason why I had to go to the third school on Tuesdays for two weeks was because the Friday kids told the Tuesday kids I was fun so they wanted to have me for class. I’ll take that as a compliment. 🙂

It’s somewhat amusing to me~ and I’m used to it by now, 8 months in~ but each occurrence seems to have it’s own twist: the coffee shop name, the music, and the menu (most of the time) is in English, but I order, sit down outside and I feel so out of place not being able to fluently communicate (broken language I can speak). This is my order: 여가체프 and 토스트.
~~~
As much as I love Starbucks, I must admit the leisurely feel of  an off the beaten path coffee shop gives me great pleasure. A chance to slow down life’s busy schedule for an hour or so. Drinking each sip in rather than slurping it through a straw makes me focus my thoughts on what’s around me. The heating sun peaking through the dazed clouds, the jazzy melodies every so often interrupted by the by the school’s loud speaker or cars zooming by make the backdrop for this morning of reflection.

An interesting morning it’s been. Thought I was late. Turns out the bus driver was late. Fourth stop. Screaming match between a middle aged man and driver. I think he was 18 minutes late and the man kept pointing at his watch. Clearly he had to be somewhere. He was pissed! Well I was worried not angry, but I had to keep that inside. How would I ever communicate that to the driver? then it’s about 10:30 and I get a text from my co-worker saying she will be late so I have 2 and a half hours to kill in Gimhae. Decide to roam around HomePlus because I wanted fruit for lunch and my friend Jen had been looking for coconut flakes for Oatmeal Power bars. Splurge of the day: Cherries, 9,000 won and Cheez-its for 4,500 won. Oh the little happinesses in life. The cherries were delicious. Back at the coffee shop from yesterday…I continue to catch up on writing and thoughts. Can’t believe I’m supposed to be running a half marathon in two days~motivation has been lacking. Weeks seem to be exhausting and I can’t get out of bed early enough. I want to try harder and snap out of this running funk. It used to be so easy and I wonder if I just need a vacation…? I give all my energy to the kids and just need some extra days off. at least there’s a long weekend next Monday and as much as I want to go somewhere I think I’m just going to make it a “me” weekend to sleep and get re-energized and motivated for my last three or so months of teaching. Only two more set of books. CRAZY.

(As of this post- 1. I ran my half marathon- it was so much fun! Jen and I had a fabulous time running and Sarah was our groupie for the day! After run thrill- soaking our feet in the sand and sea of 다대포해수욕장. 2. I have made a color coded running chart of running and boot camp workouts. Green is good. Orange is not. So far I have more green days than orange. 3. My long weekend was amazing- day 1 went to the orphanage, day 2 went to the beach with my friends and got a tan! day 3- had a picnic by the river, took a nap and relaxed!)

Do you have an item of clothing you just can’t part with? Well I do. I have this skirt. I got it on clearance at the Gap forever ago. It’s been with me all over the world. Kenya, Zanzibar, Mexico, and now Korea. It’s my international skirt. It’s seen a lot…from my assistant manager position at Payless, to eating fresh pineapple every morning in Zanzibar, to teaching elementary students English in Korea. I don’t think I could ever part with this skirt.

From a Korean- French Cafe take out bag that held Brit’s 8- month- Korean- anniversary White Chocolate Cheesecake: “For attracive lips: speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes: seek out the good. For a slim figure: share your Food with the hyngry. For beautiful hair: let a child run his fingers Through it. For poise: walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone…People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed redeemed. Never throw out anybody. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm. As you grow older, you wil discover that you have Two hands.” 

"purpose + meaning + joy= enjoying your life"

 May 5


The Banjuwon Orphanage went to the Lotte Sky Hills Country Club for a day of fun to celebrate Children’s Day. It was special to be able to be a part of this day with the kids!


May 9


Quote of the day: 


boy: “Megan- teacher, you sexy today.” friend:  “He love you.” 


And then a fist fight broke out. Calm down boys.

Happy 8 Months in Korea!




May 11


Three pots of tea. Strawberries. Before Yoga. Amazing. Another cherished evening with my yoga teacher and three others.

Exhausted after another week of battling a bout of homesickness, unsettling food, sleepless nights, and substitute teaching the craziest students who don’t listen and don’t bring their books to class. At least I figured out the tv that’s connected to the computer and we watched Despicable Me “Minion” youtube videos and Sesame Street colors, numbers, and abc clips… some of the kids wanted to color on the chalkboard so I let them. Quietest first class ever. What a relief! I have to go back again on Tuesday. Hopefully this will be the last day at the third school. Oh the consistency of constant change!

Bed at 10 p.m. tonight. 12 hours of sleep and sunshine predicted for tomorrow and brunch with Brit at a new cafe: Homestead Coffee. 

May 12: Shower-hopping and French Toast at Midnight

What started as a relatively normal girls’ night (which why would I ever think those nights are normal is beyond me) ended up into one hilarious night…a night for those…”remember that one time…in Korea…” history books. 

My girls: Brit and Sarah, and I headed to Lotte Mart to get pineapple, hair dye, sauce, wine, and peanut m/ms. A great combination for a splurge. 6,000 won for pineapple, 10,000 won for dye, 10,000 won for wine, 5,000 won for m/ms, and 1,000 won for Thai teriyaki sauce. Fabulous.

After careful contemplation we decided Sarah’s apartment was the best to mix up our stir fry because she had the biggest kitchen. Pineapple, fresh market veggies, noodles, and Thai sauce…wine…and m/ms. Delicious dinner…but then we realized that her trickling shower would not do for rinsing dyed hair so we headed to my apartment with our things.

Brit had bought honey brown- lighter for the summer she thought, and me an almost black color- my usual. Sarah was our master beautician and gloved up to dye our hair. After soaking mine first, Sarah worked on Brit’s…and we quickly realized her honey brown was actually blonde (eeek!) Her hair was a dark brown to start.  When it came time to rinse, after further discussion we thought it best to go to Brit’s apartment because we needed to get her dark dye to fix her becoming blonde locks and she has constant hot water instead of constantly flushing the toilet to heat mine. So we trekked over to our third apartment of the night…wet dyed hair, plastic wrap around our necks, clipped up hair, a half a bottle of wine, and a million giggles.

“So why do I have plastic wrap around my head…” “Umm…did you forget we haven’t washed it out yet…”

“What if we see everyone that we know?” “Wellll we are going to Cabo-mal….oh wait everyone went to Busan….” “Oh good….”

“Guys, lets just sneak past this bus stop, there’s a lot of people standing there..they’re gonna think we’re crazy….” “Let’s just go around it… and hope they don’t see us.”

On our way, Sarah stepped into a store to grab a comb. Brit and I waited outside with our wet hair and the lady poked her head outside and goes “very beautiful…” (Wow, if she thinks we are beautiful now, wait til she sees us with our hair done and make-up on, and no plastic wrap around our necks!)

Third apartment later….I currently have conditioning hair and Brit is in the bathroom getting her hair re-dyed by Sarah.

Then we headed back to my apartment for a movie, “This Means War,” and French Toast. I love these ladies!

May 13: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1DBcXUEXdA&feature=g-user-u

Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.
[Ecclesiastes 5:18-20]” 
Enjoying your life or being empty in your life? A pastor’s words today challenged me. We were made to experience joy. Wherever we go…find joy. Find enjoyment in all the toils…in work; cultivate the soil…you take what’s there and you make it better.

I want to be more joyful…I am striving to change my attitude, my thoughts, the desires of my heart…to be purely joyful. To Enjoy His Creation…to take notice of the details in His paintings of flowers, sunrises, mountains, the perfumes of humidity and rain, the sounds of birds and laughter…the givings of strangers or friends- words of encouragement or a bowl of strawberries as the pastor received in the sermon, anything unexpected.

Don’t lose your awe and wonder…don’t lose your childlike fascination…you need to be there-be there; not just there- be actually there. really there-enjoying life.

May 8 was Parent’s Day so we made cards- my kids made me cards instead. 

after a rough morning- Brit bought me this to cheer me up-
of course in Korea there’s a cookie that says Happy Day!

Wednesday Wine Night: Happy 8 Month Cake!
Thanks Sarah!

Not sure if I’m ready to run, but I got this really cool lime green shirt
and awesome roster book with my and my friend Jen’s names in it!

Sunday Brunch

Can’t chant this with a straight face to save my life!

Tea Shop

Twins! No planning involved.

Service Blueberry Ice-cream. Enjoy.

yay!

whatta dude!

Lotte Sky Hills CC

my golf cart ride buddy! 
Happy Children’s Day!

What a Beautiful Saturday Morning Run!!!

"93 Million Miles" ~Jason Mraz

April 22nd
High rise apartments flash by as I am fixated on the raindrops racing to the edge of the window… I am on my way to Seoul to pick up my sister and I can’t help but reflect on the past 7.5 – 8 months. I have lived in Asia for this time. Establishing myself and living life. Working and navigating through my surroundings realizing each day I can accomplish something new. Eight months is a long time to go without a hug from your sister. My sisters. Who, despite our differences will always be there. Maybe some friends fail or fade away, not them. I cannot express how excited I am to have one of them share ten days in my Korean life with me. The other will experience her first overseas adventure this summer as she travels to Israel with her church group. I am so proud of her too. Maybe we didn’t always get along, but now is what matters: now they are friends who I have had all along, the encouragement I cherish, and the laughter I love…
Now it’s May 1st.
I dropped my sister off at the bus station after her visit…Good byes are hard; tears feel good. It was a hug from everything familiar, sweet, and comforting having her here. A brief stay…and wonderful. I’m just waiting for her call from Seoul tonight as I sit in a cafe and watch the rain, I write
Coral paint outlines the white trimmed window and the sea foam counter reaches across the back of the cafe. From my seat I glance through sheer curtains at the constant drops falling from the sky, glistening on the pavement as they splat to the ground. An Eiffel Tower replica stands on a lacy doilieable in the center. On each places on a wooden there are fresh pink flowers. The whole place looks dainty. Charmed from a movie or perfect fairy tale. Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten that piece of chocolate pie, but even though the tears had ceased a couple hours ago, my sister even said I deserved a treat tonight. And now the soulful sound of Norah Jones and Michael Buble melt the whole scene together.
Is it possible to never seem happy in a place? Oh, but I am happy. Perhaps it’s the degree of happy. Everyday you have the option of choosing to be happy with the circumstances given. I think I’m learning that location should not affect the degree of happiness. Past decisions or reasonings I can honestly say were determined by location. More than ever I can say coming here, to a place that wasn’t even remotely on my radar to be able to go to a place that I dreamed of, has opened my eyes to realities and ambitions I never realized before. This alone is enough to set my usual control of everything and my planned mindset, because now for the first time I don’t have a specific plan. I don’t have a checklist of what I need to do to accomplish my next step. For the first time after accomplishing a dream dreamt for so long I have to discover a new dream, a new drive, new motivation, to get where I need to go. It’s an exhilarating, but scary feeling I must say. I don’t know where I’ll go or wholl I’ll meet. All I know is I want to be nearer to those I care about and love so dearly. The future is always unknown and the path is sometimes foggy, but in my last 4 months in Korea I’ll have a clearer picture of where my next life adventure will be. The world is at my fingertips and the possibilities are endless. With prayer and guidance I know the next journey is going to be just as amazing as this!

And just when I finish talking about paths and dreams and plans I turned to the start of May’s devotion page and read:

“Your Word is like a lamp for my feet and a light for my path…” Psalm 119: 105…God is good.
Last Friday (April 27) I was asked to be a substitute teacher at a third school. In the back of my head I sort of had this odd sinking feeling as to why they would ask me to be a sub when there’s usually a co-teacher. Well. Turns out my assumption was correct. No co-teacher. But also add in no teacher books, naughty kids who wouldn’t stay in the classroom and didn’t bring their books. And 2 classes of supposed conversation class but instead all they do is play hangman. (Until I taught them other games because I hate hangman- they actually ended up liking them a lot!) The other Korean teacher who has her own classes is super though- she’s been to the states, dated a guy from Kansas and knows where Nebraska is and has been there. She’s hung out in the UK for a while too. It was fun to chat with her before the classes started. I have to sub again this coming Friday as well.
The French Cafe is owned by two sisters. I shared with one (she spoke a bit of English) that my sister came to visit this past week from America. I thought it was special that her and her sister run the cafe. They are sitting in a corner now laughing and sharing dessert like I love doing with my sisters. This makes me miss them and anxious to see them again.
Having my sister here for just only a week was amazing; it meant the world to me that she was able to see and get a glimpse of my experience here in SK. I was able to share my favorite restaurants with her, show her my classroom, introduce her to friends and my Korean yoga family as well as go to a baseball games and the beach over the weekend. She was able to explore some on her own and made the trip back up to Seoul to spend a day walking the city. 

fan club

ice is a hot commodity- 3 in this mouth!

beautiful
perfectly manicured

flowers for Grandma

bus window across countryside

“what a cute view! my mom would kill me if she knew I stayed here”

CPK Avocado Festival- love

JAMBA JUICE!

Peanut Butter Bread

dream.

essentials from Home!

my Nancy is moving this week- so sad!

my beautiful sister after 7.5 months apart.








Running Route….
#2
#3

#4

#5

#6

baseball game!

starbucks. beach. 

Cafe DropTop

figuring out travel plans

french cafe. rainy night. tea. and chocolate.

.

Nobody Said It Was Easy

Sunday morning run

Happy Easter

Spring!

Cherry Blossoms

my crazy kids…

Nobody said it was easy…

Like I thought it would be a piece of cake
and I laughed to myself after the first word uttered
Seven months in. It still isn’t easy.

But I’ve learned…
Kids will be kids: they just want to play!
“It’s just not crucial…don’t stress yourself out.”
No matter how many times I ask What’s the Weather Like? I will get at least one blank stare.
If the child is angry…it’s not just angry…He’s always “angry birds.” Sometimes it’s “excellent, angry birds.”

“Teacher, GAME!” 45 minutes BEFORE class

my amazing yoga teacher with post-yoga snack! 
company while I wait for the bus!

I found Starbucks!

Every time I step outside, I have to really look at the signs to read them, sometimes I can’t read them, much less know what they mean.

When my students cry I don’t know what they’re crying about and they can’t tell me. They just give me teary eyed looks and all I can do is just give them a hug.

When my students are excited they try so hard to tell me what’s going on, but they get frustrated as much as I do when the meaning gets lost in translation. All we can do is smile!

When my students don’t want to learn or pay attention or don’t want to play a certain game, I don’t know why…I don’t know if they’ve had a bad day or their parents yelled at them, or they’re tired, or they have a million other hagwons to go to and homework to do. So then I just play games…I feel bad for these stressed out kids.

Having to be energetic for 6 hours a day to kids is….not a vacation….it’s work. Most of the time enjoyable work…but it’s work. Not a vacation. Vacation comes after the work. Sick days aren’t allowed. Some weeks I just need a midweek day off. (Thank goodness for Election Day on April 11th)

Gimhae Cherry Blossoms- lovely walk to work

Hey! We’re on T.V in HomePlus….let’s take a picture…

Saturday morning brunch…after a workout!

cutest kids at Banjuwon!

Doggy pile!

After 7 months I finally ventured into the pork restaurant. It really meant a lot to me to have a few friends there. The food was delicious and the company delightful. I know the owner was so thrilled we were there…he took a picture of us at 2 a.m. as we were all leaving as they were closing down. We had been there for almost 5 hours. This made me so happy as this is the restaurant I went into during my first week here to borrow a phone to call my co teacher and every day since then he has smiled, said hello, and/or bowed to me. What a cool experience with great people!

On my run today, I saw my yoga teacher and stopped to say hello! Then I saw a good friend on her way to work. When I was heading to meet my co-teacher I saw another friend. Today felt like I was in a home. A home of comfort and unfamiliarity all mixed under one roof. But it was filled with kindness and caring and love. A peace of mind flooded everything today…it was the strangest feeling…I felt safe and right; knowing this is exactly where I’m supposed to be at this moment in time. When nothing else seems that it could even be potentially right in your life…not other aspirations or people or occupation or emotions. When everything is as it should be. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like this before. I am blessed to feel this way. A time that I should cherish for the months and years to come. Maybe I will never feel this way again. Right now I am at peace. Calm. Happy. Filled with Joy. As if this is what I was meant to do with my life, but could never admit to teaching, traveling, making friends with the unexpected. Maybe this is what my life is supposed to be about. Maybe no matter how much I want to go home and settle down and get married; God knows that being in nations other than my own glorifies Him. So for the next year or so this is what I am meant to do. Only prayer, encouragement, and time will tell. This week hasn’t been perfect, however it feels normal; that all is well, that no matter what happens in the classroom everything is going to be fine and I’m giving 110% all day, everyday, no matter how tired I am. It just feels better this way. Going with the flow, and accepting obstacles as they appear… (usually out of nowhere.) I guess that’s what living in another country is all about. Sucking it up and dealing with things as they come, after all…I chose the country to live and work…the country didn’t make me come here; so why should I complain; instead look to each circumstance as an opportunity to be a better teacher, person, friend…and example of love?

This week I have ran 15 miles.. and am getting out of my winter slump. The half marathon is in 40 days. Timmie comes in 10 days. So much excitement! 🙂

I can’t stop laughing!

March 24th

Lovely Saturday morning run. Great afternoon playing with the kids at Banjuwon orphanage. Good conversation over wine at a friend’s apartment afterwards. Then my friend and I decided that instead of taking the bus back we would get a cab to another area of Gimhae. I had heard there were some great ethnic restaurants to try. Moroccan had closed it’s doors. We weren’t in the mood for Uzbek. And Indonesian was pack full of smokers and creepy stares. So we wandered aimlessly around for about 45 minutes, then had a bright idea to try another area of Gimhae. And we found….a pork restaurant with the words “Feel Good Pork” out front, a Vietnamese restaurant that was closed, an Oriental restaurant that was too expensive, a Chinese restaurant that literally blocked us from entering the doorway because they were full, a Pizza Hut, a restaurant with dead fish hanging from the rod outside and squirming octopus in a tank, bright lights of…Norebangs “singing rooms,” Hof and Soju (nix the food), and numerous cafes (nothing appealing to our appetites). After a total of two hours of walking in the wind, cold, tiredness we decided to take a taxi back to Jangyu… to the corner “Kimbap Janguk” restaurant in Jangyu for kimbap and mandoo. End result: we have explored two new areas of Gimhae that we had been meaning to do…nothing like doing it when you’re hungry and just want something to eat and your eyes are cross-eyed from trying to decipher and read all the signs! 🙂 But the mandoo was delicious, simple, and reliable…just have to laugh as we stood in the middle of the street in the two different neighborhoods looking up at all the signs figuring out which building to go into and which floor to go on…only to find our misfortunes. Only us, only here in SK!

March 28th


I woke up craving 김밥… which is rice, vegetables, and a bit of meat rolled in seaweed similar to sushi…except without the raw fish…fantastic with an iced vanilla latte on a patio…


Sunny and temperature rising to 70! Started the day in yoga. After pressing a certain point on my hand, my teacher smiles and says, “Chest- happy!” Then points to my stomach and says to pound it- or massage it. Ok.

Registered for the 다대포 하프 마라톤 (Daepo Beach Half Marathon) thanks to my awesome co-teacher!

Wednesdays are wine nights with two close friends…on my way to Lotte Mart to grab our bottle and peanut m/ms I had the following conversation with a cab driver that went something like this:

“hellllloooo….where are you from?” America. “ohh very beautiful…” Thank you. “I like America.” Ohh that’s good. “Can you speak 
Korean?” Umm a little. “Can you speak Japanese?” Uhh no. “Are you single or married?” Single… “Ohhhh meee toooo…” Ahh I see. “Well I like you. I only say like, not love.” Ok. “Here’s my card, you call me. I hope to see you again” Thank you sir…have a good night.

It’s one of those…did that just happen to me?, burst into a fit of inside giggles moments…

만우절 April Fool’s Day! 🙂

Today was an adventure…thanks to Sarah and Brittany we made a disappointing Cherry Blossom Festival’s lack of cherry blossoms into one hilarious afternoon. It started off with an enjoyable taxi ride to Jinhae…but when the taxi driver let us off at the train station where the lovely blossoms were supposed to be…we only found 2 blossoms and a waffle stand! Laughter turned into hysterical fits of giggles and we decided to explore Jinhae. After all we just spent 25,000 won on a cab ride, why not make it worth it! Wandered down random streets and found a stop sign, some beautiful flowers, exercise equipment, a full tree of blossoms, other numerous funny signs, and a market. We bought pretty scarfs and fresh strawberries and continued our  exploring. Funny shirt stores and a coffee shop with ice-cream to enjoy with our berries were next on the agenda. Down the next street…we finally found it- tents and people and music and color- the festival!!! We meandered through the vendors and craft tents, drank tea, and ate festival food. What an afternoon! I think to myself…this is what traveling is all about…when things don’t go as planned, do as Pete the Cat does and just keep walking in whatever shoes you might be wearing! 🙂

going out to Busan!

chocolate oreo McFlurry and FRIES- wouldn’t have it any other way!

Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival

two cherry blossoms…

random street in Jinhae

our first stop sign in Korea!!!

exercise park!

April Fool’s: they’re fake blossoms! 

fresh market fruit!

Would Pete the Cat cry? Goodness No! He would just keep on walking!

Tic-tac-toe anyone?

fresh market strawberries and ice-cream= perfection!

400 stair view…

Naval Academy

WE FOUND THE FESTIVAL!

Traditional Calligraphy…

Masks

Tea time…at the festival!

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑