LOOK AT ME I AM PRETTY.
christina jung is now and forever my official photographer.
christina and jamie are fantastically gorgeous as well.
LOOK AT ME I AM PRETTY.
christina jung is now and forever my official photographer.
christina and jamie are fantastically gorgeous as well.
whoever was the very first person in this world to design a dress with pockets i solute you. i would very much like to shake your hand, but both of mine are too busy enjoying the fantasticness (HOW can that not be a word?) that is putting my hands in the pockets of my dress. i love you.
p.s. has anyone ever taken the time to look at the word ‘pockets’ and appreciate it? i really feel that it wholeheartedly fits with what it is meant to describe/mean/be.
Try saying that ten time fast. Do it. Never gets old.
As Chuseok winds down to its inevitable end I sit here showered and therefore impeccably clean to head off to church (es) on a beautiful Sunday feeling happy and content with my weeklong holiday. From the best Chuseok dinner (courtesy my co-worker and the second best second grade teacher at APIS… okay tied for first ^^) I have ever had, to baking pizza for the neighbors, to finding the perfect church for me, to an island getaway, as well as having brunch, watering my classroom plants (I really would be incredibly embarrassed if they died), learning the ways of photography, shopping, bike riding along the Han River, more shopping, Italian dinner with girlfriends, and cleaning my apartment… I would say this week was a success.
To get away from the hustle and bustle of city life (as they say) on Tuesday morning I met a friend on the platform of line 1 at Wolgye Station (do we all know how I feel about this subway line? dread… I dread line 1, but of course this is besides the point) at 6 a.m. and by noon I was sitting on one of the beaches of DeokJeok Island, I could not believe I was still in Korea. Torrential downpour showed up to the party that evening, but it was nothing a little noraebong couldn’t fix (truth be told I had my first experience taking gravel on the ferry ride over, I was a little seasick, and thinking my body is immune to all drugs the way it is ibuprofen I took two… I felt GREAT, I was just incredibly drowsy and loopy and weak… therefore I took a nap and read an entire book the first day… which to be honest, is my ideal vacation) and noraebong we did…
On Wednesday, though I specifically ordered sunshine, it refused to show. My girlfriends and I made this trip with about 80 other expats from Seoul, and most of them just arrived a few weeks ago- newbies! So really, we didn’t need the sun to make warm friendships-see what I did there?- and throw a frisbee (okay I watched other people throw the frisbee while I made sand castles). That night we bonded even more eating marshmallows roasted over a campfire. Who doesn’t love a good campfire?
Our last day on the island greeted us with endless blue skies, a light breeze, and SUNSHINE. It was incredible. I promise to whoever visits, if it is the summer we will go to this island. I honestly can’t believe I was still in Korea… I mean, Korea is this amazing everywhere….er….
technically i have already done a nice long post on my love and passion for k-pop. and honestly this next post should be about how fantastic my chuseok (korean thanksgiving) vacation is going (i have mostly been able to forget about school and unhappy parents, okay- one unhappy parent, and really enjoy my time off) but i am so ridiculously happy at the moment because someone has finally showed me how to get k-pop on my ipod, i just need to talk about it. see i can’t just buy the songs on itunes (so silly), therefore when i need my k-pop fix i either wander around myeong-dong listening to the music blaring from the storefronts or click on youtube and hit repeat over and over again.
a friend showed me this website that let’s you put the audio from youtube videos into your music library on your computer. and since k-pop groups always put their music on youtube i am not stealing it. I LOVE TECHNOLOGY.
i now have my very own k-pop playlist featuring many of my favorite groups: bigbang, 2ne1, SHINEE, 2PM, Super Junior…
so when you see that random brunette bopping around seoul singing out “sorry sorry” at the top of her lungs that is MOST DEFINITELY me.
I am very sad right now. I am trying to let it roll off my back and not let it affect me. But it has. First year teachers will always have situations that arise and realize later that they should have handled things differently. Throw in a different culture and it intensifies. I have been attacked personally and told that I don’t deserve my teaching credential. I should be enjoying my holiday. I am so sad. My head hurts. I wish I was worshipping with my home church in Michigan tomorrow (Sunday) morning. I am the absolute happiest when I am worshipping.
I come from a big family (you may hear me mention it a time or two) and there came a time when my mother got tired of cooking up a feast for her small army and called upon the children to help her out. One divine evening in my early teens I was chosen as my mother’s pupil in the art of making homemade pizza. The first time I made it the success was great and the praise from my family was limitless. They begged for more, I humbly obliged. Over a decade later I am still trying to improve my pizza making skills.
Then, a sad time struck when I moved into my apartment in Seoul in August 2009. I had no oven. I didn’t even have a counter really. I wasn’t able to cook a homemade pizza for over a year.
God is a gracious loving Father though and granted me an oven in my new apartment as I started my second year living in Seoul. Last Saturday I had a group of fine ladies from my Korean church over for a sleepover (yes you can have those at any age) and I decided it was time to re-awaken my one domestic ability. We headed over to the local E-mart and found the closest ingredients possible to recreate Melody’s Famous Homemade Pizza. The flour in Korea is slightly different, the sauce was a little off, and my oven isn’t able to distinguishes how hot it should get (in other words, it gets as hot as it wants because it’s broken)…. but despite all of these variables working against me the pizza didn’t come out half bad.
My lovely roommate came out from her room at one point and looked at me working in the kitchen with a face of extreme surprise, “I have never seen her in the kitchen before.” She explained to the other girls. Great, thanks for blowing my cover… so I can only cook one dish. I tried my hand at making chocolate chip cookies too, but those were a complete failure due to a)korea’s funky flour and b) my silly oven’s heat problem… they cooked fast on the bottom and stayed doughy on the top. Oh, well… at least I tried. I really wanted a fresh-out-of-the-oven-warm-chocolate-melting-in-your-mouth homemade cookie though…
Anyone in Seoul want to make me some cookies that taste like home? I am really craving some now.
This past Sunday had me crying for the second time since moving to Seoul. As someone who likes to be in touch with my feelings I hate the fact that it is difficult for me to cry emotionally, while at the same time I hate crying. Confusing, I know. There was once a time in my life when I would cry at the drop of a hat; good news, bad news, a painful headache, a sore wrist, oh and it also felt like my tear ducks were directly wired to my temper (and boy, did I have a temper when I was younger! ask the family…). Now, I must admit, crying makes me nervous; I don’t know what to do when people start shooting salty liquid from their eyes.
I could tell you the reason for the change from crying all the time to crying every six months/once a year (yes I keep track, yes I am ridiculous like that… my sister-in-law once told me she had a good cry every week. I wish I could do that, it really is cleansing as a female who experiences the world more emotionally than any male could understand) in two words: broken heart. Yes, yes, a silly boy had me crying myself to sleep every night for an entire semester of college (and NOT because of unrequited love, trust me, I know when to let go). I share that because I am sure many girls can relate… and well I love background information.
Back to Sunday. If I told you I was crying because my good friend Natalie was heading back to Canada I would a) possibly offend the nine other good friends I had to say goodbye to this summer who went back to their respective homelands and b) be lying. No offense to Natalie, who is awesome, but I know I am going to see her again and I am pretty familiar with saying goodbye (oh, the life of a traveler).
I bring up Natalie and her departure from Seoul because it is directly related to the red-faced, puffy-eyed look I had to sport Sunday afternoon. I hope Natalie doesn’t mind me sharing her life story, maybe I should change her name? Any how, when N moved to Seoul two years ago from a small town in a small province (yes she is Canadian, but I still love her) she had never left home before and she was… well, scared. The very first Sunday here one of her co-workers invited her to Young Joong Church. It is a Korean church and it does not have an English service. N went and was welcomed with open arms, despite the language barrier friends were made faster than ice cubes melt in a furnace, even the people who were scared to speak what little English they knew went up to talk to her. N kept going to YJ (I like to shorten things) and soon had a permanent friend who translated the sermons for her, while another friend translated all of the worship songs to English (so both Korean and English show as the songs are played, but were obviously sung in Korean by everyone but N). An English Cell (bible study type group) was created and N started working with children in an English ministry in the mornings.
This is the same church N brought me to back in December, the same church that welcomed me as a long-lost sister. I felt more at home among the congregation of this church within one hour than I did at the English church I had been attending for the past six months. The feeling of love and joy is infectious there, and it wasn’t because N and I are foreigners, it is because we are sisters in Christ and we all shared a common passion to know God more.
This past Sunday was Ns last Sunday at YJ church. She got up and gave the kind of speech that makes you cry. Not only because her words were simple (she was speaking to a crowd of people where English is their second language after all) and sweet and true, but you could tangibly feel the emotions of every person in the room while she cried into the microphone. She was thanking them for welcoming her with open arms and they were returning the same gratitude to her, thanking her for making a visible impact on their lives as someone who was so different, and yet exactly the same (and ridiculously nice). God’s presence and love filled that room and taught us all that His hand is a part of everything, He will always guide us and bring along people to build a community with, to grow with, to live life with.
“And there will be no English or Korean in Heaven where we will all meet again!” Were the last words of Natalie’s touching speech.
The joy of this day has wiped the slate clean from the stress of the two before it. Not only am I officially an alien of Korea again (visitor no more, totally legal, should I be posting that on the internet…?), I also got a package from home. The greatest thing about living abroad are packages from home. Thank you big sister Amie.
One of my co-workers (and good friend) stopped by my classroom to see how I was doing (did I mention I had been having a tough week?) and told me she saw a package for me in the office. She said she thought “Good, Melody needs a good day.” She happened to stop by as my students were coming back from specials and about to have their afternoon snack time. So I abandoned them (okay my co-worker stayed to baby-sit) and headed to the office to get my box of love. Two now dull scissors and ten minutes later (did you use four rolls of packing tape Amie???) I finally got the box open. During this time I had informed my students that there were books inside for them. They were crowded around me, pumping their fists in the air chanting “books, books, books!” these kids seriously love to read.
Of course my sister packed a little something extra for me in the form of little boxes of different types of cereal (the one thing I probably miss the most as far as western food, the cereal selection here is either corn flakes or cheerios, and I am only exaggerating a little) and they happened to be on top of the books (smart packing). As soon as the lid was off twelve pairs of greedy hands went for the cereal, I literally almost had a heart attack as I calmly informed them (maybe bearing my teeth a little) that the cereal was MS. WELTONS and MS. WELTONS alone. They must have seen the animal look in my eyes, they only protested a little and then got excited once more when the books came out.
Then I discovered the cards. As I opened up the first one the writing on the envelope informed me that it was imperative I look at the pictures in order. This is what I, along with my students (all twelve crowded around my desk ooing, aahing, and going into hysterics when they saw my little nephew Noah in a pink pull up diaper) saw:
Literally could have died of joy right then and there. I carried the card containing the pictures around with me the rest of the day to show whoever would stop and look.
I slept through a typhoon last night.
I woke up to rain splattering my window thinking it was just another Thursday during monsoon season. I stepped outside with my umbrella and was almost knocked over by the wind. My umbrella didn’t stand a chance.
At 6:44 a.m. I got on the bus, it was crowded with high school students going to the school down the hill from mine. The bus driver proceeds to yell at his passengers (me…us) for the next two stops. I didn’t really notice the yelling to be honest, that is how a lot of Koreans communicate with each other. At first I thought everyone was just really mad, the people working in restaurants, at stores, bus drivers talking to each other during their breaks… then I had friends start translating for me and the conversations they are screaming at each other are actually about normal, every day life stuff. “I WENT TO THE STORE YESTERDAY AND GOT A REALLY GOOD DEAL ON BULGOGI!!!” reply:” REALLY? WHERE? DID YOU GO TO EMART? I LOVE BULGOGI!!!” reply: “NO I WENT TO HOMEPLUS AND I ALSO BOUGHT A DOG, IT IS SO CUTE.”
I am pretty sure I made that specific conversation up, but you get the picture. Back to the bus driver on the way to school, after he finished yelling he pulled over and I realized that everyone was getting off the bus. Correction, he was KICKING everyone off the bus. But, he only went two stops! I stand up to leave and say out loud, “well, that is just great, I have no idea what is going on because I don’t understand Korean…” and in my head I am wondering if I should wait for another bus. I decided to walk, I step off the bus and get whacked in the face by a flying branch. That decision might have been a bad idea.
As I reach my school (around 7:05ish) I see an entire section of road blocked off, well actually I can’t even see the road because it was covered with fallen trees. I wish I had pictures to show, but silly me forgot to take any, I was more concerned with getting inside a safe building and not getting nailed by anymore branches.
I walk into school and the power is out. But is school canceled? haha, NO, this is Korea people. By 9:30 a.m. (school starts at 8:10) I had 3/4 of my class and the rest stayed home, who stays home during a typhoon? Oh, and the power was back on at that point, no worries.