Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why I love being home

My friends don't just oblige when I insist on silly photos, but they encourage them!

Our annual mother daughter gathering (with Kyle )

More somber (notice there isn't another somber picture, but that was the title of this pic, "more somber")

Shock and awe

Something smells.  I LOVE my moms face in this picture!
If I had time to write a post, a real post, I might write a real list, but I feel as if these pics sum it up perfectly!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas

We made it to TEXAS!! We ran around for a few hours wrapping gifts and then ripped them apart in the span of an hour. I could have sworn I had winter clothes here, but turns out, I was wrong.  Looks like I will just be wearing my reindeer house shoes everywhere!!  Oh well... tis the season.
Hope your Christmas was as beautiful (in that our family is marvelous) and appreciated (in that we are so thankful to see our family and friends even for such a short time) as ours.  
Below are pictures of everyone in my class in front of the finished tree.  Enjoy!

Some people enjoy seeing the different craft ideas, so I thought I would put up a few pictures of the 6 year old (korean age) class Christmas project.  All they did was cut strips of construction paper and wrap them around a pencil for the swirl.  It was a cute effect.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

In Hawaii

No matter what happens, travel gives you a story to tell.
-- Jewish Proverb

Hawaii has been fantastic.

I saw my mom, whom I hadn't seen for an entire year.

We went to the beach.

And we'll be home before Christmas is completely over.  Hopefully I can find time to write about this trip while waiting in the airport for 12 hours on Christmas...  We shall see. See you soon!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Making a Christmas tree

Christmas in Korea is strange.  I mean, I understand that it isn't really their tradition and that through American movies and Western idea brainwashing, they have begun to incorporate our holidays into their culture in their own fashion.  There are similarities. Department stores put up beautiful Christmas tree displays.  Some of them are truly fabulous.  Even our little podunk town has strung Christmas lights on the shivering naked trees that line the street to the subway station.

The differences however are stark.  For instance, the biggest difference is how they spend Christmas.  They go on dates.  It's kind of like Valentines, in that if you don't have a loved one, you feel left out.  I don't know how this tradition started, but kids are left behind, and couples go out on a romantic outing.

Another difference is the gift giving.  I don't really think they give many gifts at Christmas.  This week, we have been practicing the question "What do you want for Christmas?"  These are the answers:
I want...
to make a snowman
my mom (her mom is very busy and she never sees her)

There is only one kid who has his exact toy picked out.  Jude, he's secretly my favorite, although, he also  is extremely hyperactive.  I just really like his enthusiasm.  Even when he is acting out, it is because he is just so enthusiastic about life! His wish is for a remote controlled toy tank.  That a boy.

And they don't do Christmas trees in the homes.  They see them around stores and in the movies so they know what they are, but the majority of them have never decorated a tree in their lives.  So I have made it my goal before I left to make sure they got the full experience of decorating a tree.  There was only one problem.  The preschool didn't provide us with a Christmas tree.  Not to fear, arts and crafts are here.

The first step- making a Christmas tree. Only half of the class showed up on the day (Fridays are more of fun days so some moms had taken their kids skiing) we made the tree.  The kids drew their little hands on green construction paper and cut them out.  But because only half of them were there, they ended up having to do twice the work, meaning they had to draw and cut at least ten hands a piece.  They were exhausted by the end of it. Literally, I had to give them a nap.  But after layering their hands into the shape of a Christmas tree, they were ecstatic.  Absolutely thrilled. And so was I.  In the end, the sweat and toil was worth it.


The next step was to make snowflakes.  They weren't so great at this, but some of the snowflakes really turned out beautifully.  Mostly the ones the parents helped with. They had snowflake homework after I realized that thirty minutes of snowflake cutting training would not be enough to create 6 year old masterpieces.  Their homework was to take home paper and teach their parents how to cut snowflakes so they could do it together.  They brought back some of their parents and sibling's snowflakes as well.

Next... making fake presents.  Wrapping pieces of construction paper with real wrapping paper and ribbon was a task, but they turned out pretty good.  I even let loose, and gave the kids control over to where they put their own present, under the tree.

The last step was making ornaments to actually decorate the tree with.  I printed out photos for each child to put in their locket like ornaments.  The outside, they decorated how they wished and on the inside flap, they put their picture for all to see when opened.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Boracay video

We've been hard at work editing the Philippine video (only a a few months after we got back.)  Not too shabby.  It could have been worse I suppose.  I mean, I edited a video of a trip we went on back in July, (what is that four months ago?) but have yet to write anything about it, so I still haven't posted said video.  Procrastination isn't good for me.

But... to make up for the delay, I have a delightful menu for you.  We took around 40 minutes of video. We edited it down to 18 minutes.  We are quite proud of ourselves for this feat! And I think it is pretty entertaining to watch, however, not everyone has 18 minutes of their day to waste on watching our Philippine video, so for those of you who have either a short attention span, or don't have a lot of time, I have also created a 4 minutes video of little quick clips of the trip.  There is no text or explanation in this video as there isn't really any time.  It's a wham bam, thank you sam type of video.

Click here for the full length feature.  

The wham bam, thank you Sam, Philippine video- click here.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


That's right.  You read that right.  We are leaving Korea for an entire MONTH!!  We fly to Hawaii on Friday to meet the my mama, her friend and Kyle's 'rents for a glorious seven day leisure-filled vacation complete with whale watching, soaking up the sun, and stunning beaches, before we board another plane and head to Phoenix Arizona.  Who do we know in Phoenix?  No one.  Not a soul.  Well, one soul but she happens to be in Seoul! Ha!  I crack myself up.

So why Pheonix?  Because the airline, the ultimate decider, unless I want to pay an exuberant amount of money, and possibly give them my still beating heart to sell as a live organ, we are the lucky ones chosen to have a 12 hour layover on CHRISTMAS DAY in the Phoenix airport!  I know I am looking forward to sleeping on the cold floor waiting and praying for our airplane to decide to arrive 10 hours early just to take us back home.  That's what I should write to Santa Claus.

Dear Santa,
How are you today?  How are the elves?  I think I have some students in my class that might qualify as elves.  They are pretty darn cute. They aren't great at making toys, but they sure can destroy them.  Anyways, to get to the point, what I want for Christmas is not to have a 12 hour layover.  I don't mind a short layover.  I would even accept three hours, but 12, I might end up hurting someone and that wouldn't be good.  Thanks for understanding big man.  Looking forward to a plane neatly wrappted this year under the tree so I can fly myself home.  Have a good Christmas.

xoxox Your favorite on the "good list"

What do you think?  Excellent letter right?  Maybe I should have offered my preschool class as a bribe?

We will arrive home Christmas day, run around like mental cases trying to see everyone we have missed sorely for the last year in three short weeks and fly back exactly one month after we left the dreadful winter of Korea.  If you are planning to be in the area, and you still want to be our physical friend (as opposed to only a facebook friend) give us a ring or shoot us an email.  We want to see everyone!!  At least everyone in the Texas area.  Hopefully the next time we are home we will have yet another epic roadtrip and actually get to see our wind-scattered friends across the continental US of A.

What's the plan when we board the plane back to Korea?  Well, we resigned our contract.  Mostly out of convenience.  We most likely wont do anymore than another year here (in Korea).  We're saving money and thats the point of this venture (besides life experiences of course).

Looking forward to seeing all you wonderful folks!! Merry Early Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A decade later

New Years 2000-01 about three weeks after that first kiss.  I'm pretty sure I was already in love here.
Ten years ago on December 11, 2000, Kyle and I became an official couple.  We had been friends for over a year, but I barely knew the guy.  No one could say they REALLY knew Kyle.  He had stayed hidden in the shadows of the lockers, an observer and participant.  He was an actor like the rest of us, chatted with us but remained aloof in a way that wasn't obvious.  He had dual citzenship into both worlds.

Although we had known each other for a while, my crush didn't start developing until we were cast into roles as leads in the play "The History of Tom Jones."   His character Tom Jones, who was always trying to do the right thing, always ended up in the wrong places at the wrong time, kissing the wrong girls and generally was blamed for everything.  (Don't feel too bad for him, he got to kiss four girls in this play) Sophia (I) was his love interest.  But in real life, Kyle (Tom) was mine.

Kissing my crush on stage was a double edge sword, tortuously exhilarating. Maybe I'm a closeted masochist.  The crush continued long after the play had ended, but nothing but flirts came my way.  He was flirtatious enough to keep me hanging by a thread, but distant enough to make me bang my head against the stage in utter and complete confusion.

Up until then, I had had other boys to chase, other flirtations to lead.  I had always been the chaser, but when the mouse actually came my way, stood in front of me and looked into the eyes of the hunter, I had tucked my tail beneath my legs and sprinted to the nearest exit.  I was flirtatious, I enjoyed the thrill of hunt, but I never meant to actually attack, just stalk, that is until Kyle.  Maybe that was his plan all along. Maybe he could sense that I was a feline who needed a seemingly endless chase to be tricked into settling.  Maybe, had Kyle walked into my set trap the first or second time, I would have simply left him the cheese to nibble on and walked away.  But as it turned out, I didn't leave.  I honestly don't know what made the difference.  He called one day, and I could tell by the sound of his voice that he had made up his mind, that I would no longer dangle forever swatting at the catnip and I could have turned on my heels and made a run for it as I had always done in the past, but instead, I ran straight into his arms or rather his lips.  He claims, he had no intention of kissing me that day he came over, but we all know what sixteen year old boys are like and boy am I glad he went with his impulse.

The following day at school, I knew would be disastrous.  He would surely be awkward.  Would he pretend it hadn't happened?  He was male after all.  But there he was, waiting for me by the front door of the theater building, ready to show the world that he meant business.  That that kiss, wasn't just an impulse but some type of badge of liking (probably too early to say commitment).  He really did like me.  That like soon swirled into love and later, five years later, even marriage.

I can't believe it was ten years ago when that first kiss happened.  He was my first "true kiss." He was my first "real boyfriend."  How did it happen that I kissed the boy that I was going to marry on that fateful day? Sometimes I forget how much I love Kyle, but when I remember, when I am reminded of what my life would look like without his constant love and affection, I thank God for our lives being brought together.

I love the way he cries when he laughs.  I love how he isn't afraid to kiss me in public.  I love that he can make me laugh until my stomach cramps.  I love that he tames the beast when I get so angry I grow extra heads. I love that he has dreams and confidence that our dreams are attainable.  I love that he challenges me in ways no one else does.

I once made a list of characteristics of what I was looking for in a boyfriend/husband.  Besides being rich, he met every requirement, no one is perfect. We are so blessed in so many ways.  I thank God for these ten beautiful years with that 16 year old boy who is now my husband.
He asked me to homecoming "as a friend" before we started dating.
Our first prom
Our doorbell rang at 9 am on a Saturday.  Kyle ran to answer it.  He came back with these.  (Flowers are really special in Korea because they are ridiculously priced) It was a nice way to start the morning of our anniversary.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow fight

Walking home from lunch one afternoon after our second big snow of the year, my terminally cute children couldn't resist the temptation to pick up frigid snow with their bare hands and fling it at each other. Kyle sometimes comes to eat lunch with me.  I no longer eat with the other teachers since the preschool goes earlier, and we eat with the class. On that day, Kyle had joined me, and my strategy on avoiding being pelted was to have the kids fling their snowballs at my darling husband.  It did backfire as he then had the children turn on me.  But because I didn't have gloves, I mostly just took pictures of snow flinging.  In the end, the entire preschool came outside to have an all out snowball fight.  It was a blast.
The preschool teacher is about to pelt a student.  Don't worry, he deserves it.

Her hands were cold.

throwing snow at me.

the other 7 year old class (korean age)

Three of my students weren't there that day.  The other six had fun though.

I love this picture!

Watch out for flying snow!

Teacher Andrea- watch out!

rolling big snowballs :)

these are the wee little tikes!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Boracay (part 2)

Our second scuba trip, I wasn't able to actually go under.  The night before, I ate something that disagreed with me all night.  The nerves from my "shaky" first scuba trip wasn't helpful either, but I wok up nauseous.  Actually, I didn't wake up nauseous, I had nightmares throughout the night of throwing up in my breathing machine.  I doubt that would have happened, but non-the-less, it was enough to keep me above board for that go around.  I felt well enough to go on the boat trip however that day to take pictures of Kyle going in.  The island was called "Crocodile island" not because of the crocodiles snapping away, but because the shape of the island resembled the chomping sharp-toothed animal.
Kyle is ready to go in.
the boat from inside
You may have already seen the video of our dive, but if you haven't, you can watch it here.  While on the boat, I used my time to take pictures of the island, the boat, and the little boy shyly peaking at the white-faced stranger attempting and failing to take his picture.  When Kyle surfaced, and told me of how he had been taken deeper than he probably should have been, and that the current was EXTREMELY strong, I was over-joyed that I had sat this one out.

I might not have gotten a picture of the little boys face but I did get his feet!
I really this one.

adorable father son pic
our instructor

the island

the only picture we took of our delicious food that evening.

we took some night pics of us on the beach
In love!

the ambience around us was serene

The moon peaking out from behind the palm trees

We spent the rest of the day napping, shopping, and relaxing.  There was also an attempt at kayaking, but I failed and so returned to the beach and relaxing.