lots of candy and preparation

A little over a week ago was Halloween.
Probably not news to anybody:)
But, the Friday before, my school had our Halloween party.
I’ve never really been a big fan of Halloween, so when this event started getting bigger and bigger, I had to take a couple deep breaths and just relax.
There was a lot that went into this event, especially because parents were invited, in hopes that two or three from each class would show up to help.  Well, most of the kids had at least one parent come for the party!

Boy oh boy, did we have a full house!
The day included:
trick or treating
a costume show
a quiz gamez
a haunted house
carving jack-o-lanterns
watching a Halloween movie.
Oh, and of course, eating a lot of candy!

we had a mummy and a scary zombie – two of the other foreign teachers decked out for the day


IMG_7339fashion show and pictures


IMG_7356eager to make a jack-o-lantern


much love!


little break. big memories.

The weekend of the 26th, was four days of no school.
If you read my last blog, or you know me well, then you may have guessed that I would travel somewhere given that little bit of extra time.
But , where did I go?
Well, one of my good friends here, Colette, and I went to Beijing, China.
Both of us have wanted to see the Great Wall, so we thought this would be a great opportunity.

It was a great trip.
Not only was it nice to have time away from school and teaching, to hang out with a friend, to try new food, but to also experience (even just minimally) a new place and culture.

I wish I could eloquently describe what it was like to see the Great Wall.  Unfortunately, the best I can come up with is, “It’s really big.”
But, please allow me add to that.
I went there knowing it is an enormous wall.  But, to see it in person makes you realize the immense size it actually is.
We went to the Badaling Wall, which apparently is the most restored and visited portion.
When standing on it, looking out over the landscape, you see beautiful mountains and wall.
In the distance, wall.
Even further in the distance, wall.

with Colette on the Great Wall






great wall
a little glimpse of what we saw:)


What else did we do in Beijing?
Well, we walked a great deal:
– to Tiananmen Square
– through the Forbidden City area

Tiananmen or Gate of Heavenly Peace – one of the entrances into the Forbidden City


just after leaving the Forbidden City



– to Jingshan and Bei Hai Parks
– through an area of Beijing to find the Friend’s Cafe – a cafe that has been modeled after Central Perk in Friends, where they play episodes of Friends all day

outside of a park


the street outside of where we stayed


the Friends Cafe


on our walk back / trying to find a bus


IMG_7081what better to do in an underground street crossing?!


Did we eat good food?
Was it a good trip?
Was it far too short?

I’m incredibly thankful to have had the opportunity to finally go to Beijing and to have such a great travel partner!


much love!


hanbok and a holiday

At school last Tuesday, we celebrated Chuesok.
You may be asking, “What is Chuesok?”
It is a big Korean holiday in the fall, and is often called Korean Thanksgiving.
There are different cultural customs that go into celebrating this holiday, and normally it is observed for three days.
This year, Chuseok fell on Sunday [27th] so we had Monday and Tuesday with no school [28th and 29th]!

Back to celebrating at school…
The five foreign teachers were asked to wear hanbok [traditional Korean outfit] for the celebration.
I had volunteered to ride in one of the vans in the morning to help greet kids, to make this day a little more special.  When our students started entering dressed in their own hanbok, I was surprised.
They were adorable!

in my hanbok – apparently it was a fusion dress (not quite traditional)


IMG_7115with Kate and Shea, the other two female foreign teachers, before the festivities


the kids in hanbok and the hats they made


IMG_6595isn’t she adorable?!


IMG_6618and one more, because he’s pretty cute as well!


Not only was Chuseok a good reason to get dressed up and have a party at school, but having a four day weekend was also pretty great.
I took full advantage of the time off of school and Korea’s close proximity to other countries.
What did I do for Chuseok?
I’ll let you know soon:)


much love


the overdue school update…

Sometimes, actually, many times, it is difficult for me to find the right words to express what I am thinking or feeling about something.
And, how, across thousands of miles, can I convey to you the progress and amazing changes that have been made at Champions between May of 2014 and when I just went back at the end of July?

I have been asked multiple times about an update on the Hallelujah Project.
For those of you that do not know: when I lived in Uganda, we started to build a new building, that would house a library and additional classrooms for Champions Christian Primary School.  Last July [2014] the Agape Library and three classrooms on the ground floor were officially opened.
But, there is more work to be done.  There is a second story, which is partially finished, that will eventually be more classroom space for this great school.

Going back to Mukono in July, I was not sure of what changes I would see at the school.
Boy was I surprised!
Driving up to the school, I could see differences immediately.
Buildings had been painted, making the school stand out, and also bringing it up a notch (many schools are painted).

what I saw when we first drove up


Not only was the L-shaped building painted, but they also added stairs to help make it more accessible and nicer looking.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthe stairs and more of the painting


They moved the cooking area and made it larger, which is more sufficient for cooking for 400 plus people daily.
And now, they had a couple of play-sets for the kids to enjoy during free times.

looking down to the kitchen (on the left) and the play-sets


There were other changes, such as in what classroom different grade levels were being taught, the staff, and some administrative organization.
Even being told about some of these things before I went back, it was so great to actually see things in person.

And the Hallelujah Project, how was that?
Oh my goodness, it was incredible to see the first story completed and in use.
To walk into a library full of books at a school that previously didn’t have books for their kids.

the Agape Library


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAshelves of National Geographic magazines and other various reading materials.


But, the building is not finished.

the outside of the Hallelujah building


Pastor, Maama Frida, and I talked about the completion of the building when I was with them.
As much as I trust that this will be completed, they do too.

In order to finish it, we need to complete a couple sections of the wall, get windows and doors, and top it with a roof.
When the second story is finished, this will add at least three more, much needed, classrooms to this school.

Sometimes it seems daunting, how will this ever be completed?
From where will the money come?
But, looking back and seeing how far we have come and the amazing ways in which God has already provided for this project, I know it will be done.

some of the nursery kids – their classrooms are on the first floor of the Hallelujah Project


Will you join us and help to finish the Hallelujah Project?
We need people to people to continue to partner with us in prayer and with finances.
Let me know if you have any questions!
And, you can click here for more information on how you can financially support.

surrounded by most of upper primary my last morning there


much love!


microphones and malaria

When I returned from Uganda, I planned to give you an update on the Hallelujah Project.
I thought that would have been posted by now.  But you know, school started back up right away, I got malaria, and have needed rest, lots of rest.
And yesterday was Open Class – parents come in for a few hours on a Saturday to watch us teach their precious children.
No big deal, right?
The past couple of weeks have been prep for this special day.
Prepping materials and practicing with the kids.
We have to make a specific lesson, make posters or other materials, and work on pronunciation and what not with our classes.

my materials for my two classes


This past Monday, was my final day taking malaria medicine, which I don’t normally feel so great when on the tablets.  So in my mind I thought I will wake up Tuesday and be strong and healthy again.
Tuesday I woke up and was starting to lose my voice.  Each day I had less and less of a voice.  Saturday, when I was greeting my co-teacher, she decided I needed to wear a microphone in order for parents to hear me.

I felt like a tour guide or a game show host!


My body still feels exhausted a lot faster than normal.  But, I am making sure to eat well and get a lot of rest (so no one is allowed to worry – I am fine:)
Open Class is over!
One of our Hollywood Kids performances is over (we did that as well yesterday) – My six year olds put on the Ugly Duckling.
I have another group of six year olds doing the Ugly Duckling this Wednesday evening.

the costume rack and where they put on the performance


Now that open class is over, I will be writing more soon about my trip back to Uganda.


much love!


how to describe more than just a trip

How do I tell you more about my trip back home?
I could give you a play-by-play of every moment, from landing at Entebbe and having to wait over an  hour in line for my visa to officially enter the country of Uganda, until we finally said the goodbyes we had been putting off saying outside the departure doors at the same airport one week later.
Yes, that would be one way.
But for me, it’s the little stories; the not-so big moments.
Those are what make me smile.
The things I will remember the most.
Those are what made my trip what it was.

I hadn’t been to Mukono since May of 2014.  In one year’s time, kids can grow.
Arriving at the house I call home there, two of the three kids were back from school.  Both Ronnie and Joet are tall now.  Ronnie is right under my chin, and proudly, he can pick me up and carry me (a goal of his for some time now:)

Joet, Kata, and Ronnie  – taking fun photos with me before church


I was even able to go to visitation day to see the oldest from my house.  I hadn’t seen her since I first left at the end of December 2013.  We feasted and laughed with her, enjoying stories and being able to spend those precious few moments before they made all visitors leave.

IMG_6133so good to see this one again


Like I said in my previous blog, it was as if we picked up where things had been left off.  I answered questions about Korea, my family, and life.  They filled me in on the happenings there.
There was no awkward, “I don’t know where I belong” feeling.

reunited and it feels so good
laughter always ensues when I am with Justine:)


There have been a number of babies born in the community since my last visit.  It was great to finally meet and hold them.

IMG_6248with Favour – isn’t her smile beautiful?!


and this is Jeremiah – I couldn’t wait to meet him!


On Sunday, when I was greeting the church and telling them about what has been happening in my life and such, I taught them how to greet in Korean.  I made sure they knew, you don’t just say the words, but you also bow.
I had people bowing and sputtering through their version of annyeong haseyo for the remainder of the week.
It was so great.

I’m sure I could keep going.
Jumping back into life there felt so normal.  From helping cook dinners at the house and ironing and mending clothes again, to being back at the school.
It was so great to see my friends and family there.  And I am incredibly thankful for the time, even if it was so short.
There have been changes and progress made at the school, but I think I’ll save that for next time.


much love




It’s funny what time can do.
About five and a half months ago I flew from Michigan to South Korea.
After arriving at the airport, I needed to buy a bus ticket and get to Daegu.
Well, last night I arrived at Incheon airport in Seoul, bought a bus ticket, and made my way to Daegu.
This time though, the process seemed easier, and I knew where I was going.

flying over Hong Kong – one of my layovers


Almost four and a half years ago, in March 2011, I went to Mukono, Uganda for the first time.
At that time, I had no idea I would be going back.
And not just going back to visit, but that that would become my home.

flying into Entebbe during the day – I think this was a first for me


I may have only been in Mukono for one week, but my week was full and filling.
Although it had been a little over a year since the last time I was there, from the moment I was greeted at the airport, I was home.
Things weren’t having to be restarted; but rather, we were taking our finger off the pause button and starting where we left off.

It’s hard to believe my time there is over, and it’s back to teaching English to my Korean kindergarteners tomorrow.
I’m not even sure how to process or fully think about the last week.
But, I do plan to share more stories and pictures in upcoming days:)

For now, I will leave you with this:

having fun with Joet and Ronnie while making supper


much love