Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Last Time

The last few months have literally flown by and tonight I will board a bus that will take me to an airplane that will take me to China. There...I will board another flight heading home - California. Oh, how I have missed home SO much. And my family. And my friends. And my bed. And a clothes drier and a dish washer. And more food options other than Korean. And understanding the language. And not being stared at...or talked about. I look SO forward to running into my mom and dad's arms and seeing everyone at home and feeling the comfort of home. I absolutely cannot wait....
Korean Burn

Upo Wetlands

Dongwhasa Temple


Jinju Lantern Festival

Halloween 2012: Alice and the White Rabbit

Work Halloween

The first class I ever taught. :) Still adorable.

But now...let me tell you some of the things I am going to miss dearly...with all of my heart:
I'm going to miss the amazing friends I have made.
The incredible people I had the honor to know.
My little apartment.
My fabulous Korean Co-Teachers. 
Teaching - I will miss teaching!
My students - the adorable, crazy, hectic and incredible students.
Monday Farmer's Markets.
Not knowing the language - so learning.
Being stared at - and talked about.
Living alone.
Walking everywhere.
Traveling with ease. -- also, easily accessible public transportation.  
Going downtown on Saturday nights and dancing the night away until the morning.
Working later hours  -  and sleeping in.
Speaking and Reading Korean.
My favorite little places across town: The people at the Orange Shop, Soup Place, Sandwich place, little corner shop, and Starbucks have made this life SO much easier.
Having weeks for sleeping and weekends for exploring with little to no sleep.
Having friends from all over the world - where Ireland, Canada, South Africa and England can all sound so normal to me.
Growing accustomed to this world.
Children bowing to me.
Korean Springs and Falls.
Long walks with wonderful conversation.
Watching my students learn.
Watching myself grow...
Being in awe of the world I live in. (I know this will come back soon!)
And so on...

And finally, the last thing I learned in Korea:

55. I learned how to be me. Just me. :)

Thanks for staying with me this year - you all make me who I am. I love you all.

See you in America. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Korea: Summed Up in a Song

Yes...many of you have probably already seen this - but this is my Korean life - all in 4 minutes and with awesome dance moves as well.

Friday, September 7, 2012


I have finally found the BEST blog to describe my experiences here in Korea.

This girl uses videos/ pictures to describe what happens here - and they are HILARIOUS, because I know exactly what she means.

Here's the link to the blog:

She is so funny --- and I cannot stress HOW TRUE all of these things are. Now, you can all enjoy the random and crazy things that happen in this lovely country.



Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Summer Hiatus


I would like to apologize to everyone for taking a little "Summer Hiatus" and not blogging for quite some time. I HAVE BEEN HAVING TOO MUCH FUN! :)

SOOOOO much has happened these wonderful summer months. The months of June, July and most of August have literally FLOWN by. I cannot believe that I have been here for 10 months with a little more than 60 days left...I thought I better catch you all up before I'm telling you all this in person back in the U.S. goes for the recap:

In the middle of May, one of my best friends Katy came and visited me in Korea. She had finished up her contract as an English teacher in Indonesia and stopped in Daegu on her way home. It was so wonderful to spend some quality time in a foreign country with her. It was so surreal to go to the train station and pick her up. I was in pure bliss the whole week she was here. She got to accompany me to my school and classes. It was nice to have another teacher around as well. The kids really loved her. We got to explore my city of Daegu, and I got to impress Katy with my "expertise" in Korean cuisine and the language. We even went to a temple down in Busan with my Korean co-worker Sue, and we had a wonderful Korean BBQ meal. It was such a treat to have her with me. It was sad to say goodbye - but we knew we would see each other shortly -- FOR HER WEDDING!
Katy and I enjoying Duryu Park in Daegu, South Korea.

And then, before I knew it MOM & DAD were in KOREA!!!

It all worked out really nicely. Dad had to stay behind and train for a smart board for his classroom, so mom came a week early. It was absolutely wonderful getting to spend some time with Madre in Korea, just us girls. I'm sure Dad is real proud of our spending abilities too!
I went up to Seoul on the night of Tuesday, June 5th and met mom in the hotel. It took me awhile to arouse her from her sleep to let me in! But, eventually, I got my long awaited "mom-hug." I was overjoyed. We sat and drank coffee in Seoul the next day and just talked and talked. It was perfect.
I then took Mom back with me to Daegu and got to introduce her to my friends and ECC.
She took to the students and my job like a fish to water. You can take the girl out of the school, but you cannot take the school out of the girl. She is a natural teacher - and always will be - wherever she is.
For a week, Mom came with me to school, (or I dropped her off at the babysitters "starbucks" - and she would wait for me while I taught.) It was so wonderful. We also got a chance to reunite with a family friend who we met in Saudi Arabia. Diane Lund is now the principal at the Busan Foreign School in Korea, and she is the mother of a friend of mine that I met in Saudi. It is such a small world that we all ended up in Korea at the same time. It worked out so well.
Dad showed up a week later, and I was overjoyed to have both parents with me. My little apartment became a bit more crowded, but I was perfectly alright with that. You can see in the picture we were sleeping like the children's story "The Three Little Bears", but it was awesome.
Dad and Mom had a busy six weeks here. They had made a plan for every day and it was so much fun tagging along with them. On our first weekend we went up to Seoul and did the DMZ tour. It was such a crazy experience. You can overlook the country from afar and then climb down into very narrow and short tunnels. It was an experience I will never forget.

We then had an amazing bike ride along the river in Seoul. I had a blast doing this with my parents. It was beautiful weather and the scenery just made for the perfect day.
North Korea!
At the fence between North & South Korea.
The 3 Little Bears sleeping quarters while Mom & Dad where visiting.

Mom & I on the tracks leading to North Korea.

Bike ride in Seoul.
At the Yeosu World's Fair 2012.
 The next weekend we attended the World's Fair in Yeosu, South Korea. Dad had been super excited when he found out that the Fair was being held in Korea this year - so of course we went!
It was fun to explore the exhibits together. 
Yeosu World's Fair 2012
Yeosu 2012

Mom & Dad spent some weeks on Jeju Island and in Japan - but on the weekends, I got to be with them.

One weekend, we lucked out and got to stay in Diane Lund's apartment while she was back in America. We all appreciated this kind gesture. Diane lives in Haeundae Beach, a beautiful part of Busan, right next to the ocean. So, my friends got to come down and we all enjoyed the beach together on M&D's last weekend.

I had such an amazing time, and I am so lucky to have such wonderful parents. I am so blessed that they came all the way to Korea to visit me. It was very tough and emotional to say goodbye - but I'll see them again soon! :)

Two days after Mom & Dad left -- I was on a plane to America myself.....FOR MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING! :)

Katy McFadden GOT MARRIED! And I am SO glad I got to go. It was perfect. Absolute Perfection.
I landed in Chicago and my friends, Kristen, Bethany and Jessica were waiting for me with a big sign. I cried. I had not seen my girls in a long time - for many of us, it had been over a year since we were all together. CRAZY.

Although I was a jet-setter for the weekend (literally flying overseas for a weekend) - it was the best weekend of my summer. Just perfect. I got to watch my best friend walk down the aisle with the man of her dreams, standing by her side, and spent the best weekend with all of my favorite people. The best friends a girl could have. I love them all so much and I am so glad we were able to be together for such a special occasion.

Together again with my girls!
Katy & Kyle's Wedding Day


The Bean!

 Bethany, Jessica, Kristen and I lucked out because we got to spend a day in Chicago when we went back to the airport. The perfect way to end the perfect weekend - a wonderful time in Chicago with my loves.

And then --- it was back to Korea. Although it was VERY hard to get back on that plane - I knew it was for only three more months. -- I also knew that I was going to live those last three months to the fullest! And - I have!

We had a short summer vacation at ECC and I got to spend it with my friend Nikki who lives in Busan. It was so nice to explore and sleep in and be carefree for a few days. People were asking why we did not leave the country for our holiday - but to us, we thought, we did. We're in KOREA! This is a vacation for us!
Everyday, we went shopping, swimming, ate delicious food and just explored the beauty Korea has to offer. It was so relaxing and rejuvenating. It was exactly what I needed.

On Summer Vacation in Busan

Trekking Up the Mountain

Since vacation, I have been to two new islands as well. I visited Geoje Island and Namhae Island, where more swimming in the sea, snorkeling, cliff diving, kayaking, rafting, and a jelly fish sting have occurred.

My friends Megan, Michaela, and I went to Geoje for a mini getaway and just relaxed in a beautiful pension with an amazing view of the sea. 

Our pension on Geoje Island.

We celebrated Michaela's birthday on Geoje!

The next weekend, a few of us joined the group Adventure Korea and went to Namhae Island. Here, we met a group of 40 other foreigners and got to cliff dive, swim, kayak and snorkel around the island. It was incredible -- except for the jelly fish sting, but hey - it makes a good story.

Before kayaking on Namhae.

And now - I am on the countdown. I have 62 days until my last day in Korea. Which just seems surreal. I cannot believe it is almost here. Mind blown. So, I have made a pact with myself - I have 62 days to do everything I want to in Korea....and I'm SOOOO looking forward to the experience.
A new teacher just arrived. She is taking Michael's (my co-worker) place. Small world - she's from Warsaw, Indiana and made her decision to come to Korea by reading THIS blog. Small, small world. It is really interesting introducing her to everything and helping her along the way. When I first came here, I told myself that when it was my turn to help someone, I would do it 100%. Amy is very grateful, I know it. And I look at her, and think, wow....did I look that scared when I first got here? I know the answer, yes. Yes I did.  I'm glad I can be here to help her along the way for a short while.

My other exciting news is: I BOUGHT A TICKET TO AUSTRALIA!!!!! I have been mulling over this decision for quite some time - and then one day I just knew. I have always, ALWAYS, wanted to go to Australia and so I wanted to spend this hard earned money on doing something I have always wanted to do. I know it may be irresponsible, but down the road, someday in the future, I will look back and not regret spending the money to do something I have dreamed about for forever -- I would look back and regret it if I did not buy that ticket. So, on January 15, 2013 - my friend Megan (whom I met here in Korea) and I will embark on an adventure down under. I cannot wait! :) ... only this time, I'll be back in a month! ;)

That's all for the recap. I hope you made it all the way through! Thanks for sticking with me all this time. Your love and support has been superb and I feel like a rockstar because of you all! 

I love you.

Real fast : here's 3 more "Thing's I've Learned...."

52. Beaches in Korea during summertime are PACKED PACKED PACKED! If you are claustrophobic -- avoid them at all times. Umbrellas line the entire beach and they pack you in like animals...anything to make some cash. And, Koreans like their inner tubes in the water, so get used to getting bumped.

53. I want to adopt (or kidnap) a Korean child - they're so freaking adorable....Stella's my favorite. :)

54. My kid's can be quite the little clever ones when it comes to classwork...please refer to the picture below.  Enjoy.

Crowded Beaches
My favorite - Stella.

Points for creativity.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Gyeongju Flowers and Korean Weddings

The past few weeks have flown by...and I attribute this to busy weekends!
I'm actually amazed at how fast time is going. For once, I would like it to slow down please!

On the weekend of May 5th, a few friends and I took the hour bus ride to Gyeongju. It is a quaint little town that happened to be the original capital of Korea, before Seoul. Throughout Gyeongju, there are huge grass mounds, which happen to be burial mounds of the kings from the past. They are spread out all through the town, and you can see them from all over.

Saturday, May 5th also was Children's Day in Korea. (If it would have fallen on a weekday, we would have had the day off - darn!) On this holiday, parents are given the day off and they are supposed to spend time with their children. I'm so glad Korea has this day...because there I times I believe I see these kids more than their parents see them. Lord knows they should have Children's Day once a month!
Brit, American, Brit, American

Families flying kites.

Our bikes!

L to R: Louise, Nikki, Megan and I

Burial Mound 
Nikki over the pond.

Beautiful Flowers

Anyways, on such a beautiful day, many families were at the park in Gyeongju flying kites, riding bikes, and playing with their kids in the flowers. It.Was.BEAUTIFUL! I absolutely loved every moment of our little getaway to Gyeongju. We rented bikes and just rode all around town. It felt so wonderful to do something that we do not get to do all the time. Gyeongju (aside from the burial mounds) is very flat and a perfect place to ride bikes. When we came upon the flower garden, we all just went crazy and rode around the park for hours! It was such a perfect day! The pictures really do not do the day justice!

Bonnie & I at the wedding.

This past weekend, Saturday, May 12th, I went to a Korean wedding! And boy, was it completely different from American weddings.
A guy from America, named Ryan, who taught here last year fell in love with a Korean girl, and they got married yesterday. It was such a treat to see and witness such a different kind of wedding.

Ryan's family from Washington flew out to be here, so that was nice...but other than them and a few of us from was ALL Korean people.

Here's how Korean weddings go:

*There is no church - there is a wedding hall (where about 4-7 other weddings are taking place as yours goes on as well).

*There is table seating, and then in the middle of the room, a fashion runway sort of structure.

*There is silly music and lots of colored lights.

*The mothers dress up in traditional dress (called hanboks).

*The friends of the couple are asked to come and pose with the bride before she "walks down the aisle" in a sort of weird photo opportunity. We had to stand around her and applaud. Huh?

*The bride and groom then pose for pictures before the wedding even takes place.

* Then, the groom walks the fashion runway, with his bride right behind him. He bows to the "priest"?. his parents, and then her mother. Then the bride and her father walk down the runway and there's some more bowing. Then, the "priest" talks...and talks...and Korean. So, who knows? Meanwhile, there are many "attendants" (people from the wedding hall) running around the couple making sure they look perfect for pictures. There's no talking done by the bride or groom, there's not even a kiss at the end.

*Once the "ceremony" is over, the couple sashshays down the runway, comes back and takes pictures with the families, and then the friends. And...there you have it. A Korean wedding.

*After the photos are taken, everyone, (and I mean EVERYONE - even from the other 4 weddings that are taking place) moves into the banquet/buffet room and there's numerous tables and a whole array of choices for food. All you have to do is find a seat.


I look forward to Katy and Kyle's wedding...something that is familiar. But, it was still a treat to witness Ryan and Inyeong's weird wedding.


On Tuesday, May 15th, KATY McFADDEN ARRIVES!!! And I am SOOOO excited! I will update all about her trip! I look forward to having such a wonderful friend to spend time with and witness my world. I cannot wait! It is going to be so amazing and wonderful! It's almost been a year since we've seen each other - so this reunion is longggggg overdue!

I cannot believe it's almost been a year since I graduated Manchester College (which is now becoming Manchester University) - at times, I think..."What have I done with this year?" And then, I remember...I'm in KOREA!!! And I'm going to live it up!

Love to you all!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

6 Month Photo Update

You know ... just in case.
LMFAO concert

Taking Stanley on a tour.


my neighborhood

happy girl.


I hit my 6th month mark today, April 26th. CRAZY! I really cannot believe how fast it went at times. Now...six more to go. I'm excited to see what unfolds...

Also, because I've been immersed in it for six months, I've finally started to like K-Pop (Korean Pop Music).

here's my favorite song so far. It's called "Sherlock" by SHINEE (pronounced like shiny) ...
 I have no idea what's going on, but I'm totally hooked! Enjoy!