time

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.

image1
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.

image2
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:

image3
having fun with Joet and Ronnie while making supper

 

much love

 

 

summer vacay

Well, it’s almost time for my school here in South Korea to go on our week long Summer vacation.
Of course that means I want to go somewhere.
But where should I go?
Being in Asia, there are so many options.
I think I will go here…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
do you recognize it?

 

I’m going home!
Yep, I’m leaving Asia and going where my heart most wants to be, back in Africa
In Mukono, Uganda – with my family and friends.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
yes, this is where my heart is

 

IMG_2784let me tell you, I am excited to see her:)

 

I leave in just a couple of sleeps.
You probably won’t hear from me until I return
But then I can tell you all about my trip:)

 

much love!

 

expectations

You know those times when you are going into a situation, then things do not turn out like you expected?
Sometimes that can be a bad thing – thus over the past few years I have worked through letting go of having expectations.
But, this past Friday night, I went up to Seoul with one of my friends.  After checking in on the fourth floor, the lady took us down to one of the girls’ dorms on the first floor.  Upon walking in, I realized I had had expectations.
This place was not at all what I expected, but in a good way.
It was the nicest hostel I’ve ever stayed.

IMG_6071
from the entry way of our room

 

The next morning, Kelly and I awoke early, because we were being picked up to go on a Panmunjom [Joint Security Area] tour.

IMG_6075
with Kelly, after the bus ride, but before our briefing and tour

 

You can look up pictures and read stories online, but to see places in person and hear the history that goes along with what you are seeing is so much different.
Yesterday, I learned more about the history between North and South Korea, went into the DMZ [Demilitarized Zone], and was technically in North Korea at one point.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
in the JSA – facing the DPRK

 

Getting to the various places within the tour took less time than what Kelly and I had expected.  But, I learned and was able to see much during that time.

IMG_6079
overlooking Freedom Bridge – where prisoners were exchanged after the war

 

If you don’t know anything about North Korea or the DMZ, I encourage you to look some things up.  It is the world’s most heavily fortified border and tensions are high.

 

much love

 

Oh and my week long summer break will be coming up soon!
Where do you think I will be going?
Maybe not where you expect – but I’ll tell you in my next blog:)

what does it take?

Sometimes in life, we are asked questions to which we don’t have the answers.
Other times, there are questions asked where we have an answer in words and feelings from experience.

So what does it take to learn a new language?
time
practice
lessons
You know, all of the logical answers.  But I the one I’ve been thinking about quite a bit lately is passion.
I think it takes passion and desire to learn a new language.  I’m sure there are people who learn without that, but at least in my life and in the students I see, that makes a big difference.

image2
during one of my Korean classes

 

Last week, I finished the very basic level Korean class.  But I feel like I don’t really know anything; and besides reading, it’s hard for me to implement what I do know.
Although I want to learn Korean to communicate better here, I find it difficult to study, and I easily become distracted.  There are times I even start looking up words in Luganda [the language I learned in Uganda].

 

image1
my Luganda notebook

 

When I was learning Luganda, it was so much different for me.  I kept wanting to learn more and take more in.  I still become enthralled looking through my notes or learning new words.

In my students, I see passion being important as well.  The ones who don’t care or want to learn English, I don’t see as much progress as the ones who have enthusiasm for it.

I think this is applicable in other parts of life as well, but, recently I have been thinking about languages:)

 

much love

 

overdue for an update

Many days I think about writing a blog.
Then something happens and the blog gets put on the back burner.
What comes up?
Day to day that varies…
somedays it’s having extra work that needs to be done for school – like comments or plans
or maybe prepping for science project or an English Village day
sometimes it’s a friend asking me for dinner or coffee
other times it’s Korean class or needing to study my Korean
then there are the days when I am just too tired

For those of you that have been asking yourself (or even me:) things are going well.
Yes, I am adjusted.
In all honesty, I don’t really feel like there was a big time of adjustment for me.
When I came here, it was a new country, and I needed to learn what the food was like and get used to how life is done here.
Really, my adjustment was more to working in this school and being a teacher.
So, besides teaching at school every week, what have I been up to in Korea?
Quite a bit actually.
I have been hiking a few times

image1_1
view from my last hike

 

image1
from the first time I went hiking here – Mt. Apsen, overlooking Daegu

 

eating some great food
and desserts:)

image2
bing su, with my friend Colette

 

going to a beautiful island

image1
on Namhae

 

attempting to learn Korean
trying to keep in touch with people from America and Uganda
making friends and hanging out with them

image4
with some of my friends here

 

As busy as my days and weeks may be, I am truly thankful for the opportunity I have to be living here and doing this.

 

much love!

 

living is easy with eyes closed…

Let me tell you, being at this private kindergarten here in South Korea is much different than being at Champions in Uganda.
I could make a list for you, but in all honesty, I don’t think that really matters.
But, one of the ways that it does show is in the resources available and the opportunities presented to the kids.
An example of what I mean by the opportunities is, every month we have a picnic day, or field trip.
For May, our kindergarten picnic was a trip to pick strawberries.
It was quite fun, and absolutely a delicious experience!

image1
walking back in the little dome to pick strawberries

 

image4watching some of the other classes – our schools filled the dome we were in

 

image5 this cute, little one was covered in strawberry gook by the time we were done:)

 

image6one of my classes enjoying the picking process

 

image7
our class strawberry pail filling up quite nicely as I am handed one more

 

image8so putting Bugles (or similar chips) on fingers is not just American:)

 

image9although this pictures looks like they are in agony, they did have fun – they had just been running and being dinosaurs – dinosaurs don’t like their pictures being taken:)

 

The next day the kids each decorated a cake with cream and strawberries to take home for their parents as a gift for Parents’ Day.
Overall, I would say this was a great picnic day!

 

much love!

 

for the tall blonde I never lost in a store…

image2
that flower outside my gate I told you about

 

I know you were just expecting an email, but I thought you might like this a bit more:)

Today probably wouldn’t be quite as special without a certain three people…

DSC_0940
somehow he thought it was cute – even though it was trying to takeover the house!

 

DSC_1014
one would think there would be no silly photos today – but then that would truly not be a picture of your daughters

 

DSC_1008
but, because it is Mother’s Day, here is a nice one as well

 

And, remember that time we were all together when I was supposed to be in Africa?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
looks as though a certain gentleman grew suddenly taller:)

 

Happy Mother’s Day!
I hope you enjoyed it from beginning to end – you deserve a great day because you are such a great woman.
I love you!