if i’m not mistaken…

…today is someone’s birthday.
(actually, it’s probably many someones’ birthdays)

But, there is only one person I know, for whom I am writing this blog.
He is less than twice my age for over two years now;
but at one point he was much older than me.

b and d - little
yep, me as a baby

 

I could probably make this really wordy, but I think I’ll cut right to the chase
Happy birthday, Poppy!

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in the snow maybe 7 years ago

I hope you have a great day!
Eat lots of chocolate (I even ate some last night:)

love,
.

 

it’s your birthday…

Well, well, well little seeeesssterrr, it is past 12AM on the twelfth of March, here in Korea – which means, it is officially your Birthday!!!

I guess I can start celebrating now; so, 13 extra hours to celebrate this day of you turning twenty-something years old.
Last night, I got semi-lost, or more like I couldn’t find the place I was looking for; so on my long walk home, I took 13 pictures to share with you in honor of the 13 extra hours of celebrating your day of birth this year.

image1 copy 2
i think they’re singing to you!

 

image5 copypink frogs, maybe?!

 

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do you think the animals are oblivious, they look so happy?

 

image2 copy 2birthday bacon!

 

image4 copy 2you can write your own caption for this…

 

image1 copyUnbelievable, it’s your birthday!!

 

image4 copyl could get you this notebook, if you want…

 

image2 copydo you remember the big Hello Kitty in NYC?

 

image1“oh baby, oh baby baby”

 

image3look, it’s your car

 

image5does your bank have these giant pin wheels?

 

image3 copytoday IS special!

 

 

image4these two wanted to wish you a happy birthday, as well

 

And because this blog (and your birthday) is not complete without another photo, here is one of my favorites:)

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yep, a classic

 

Happy happy birthday!
Enjoy all 37 hours of it:)

 

much love!

 

in my kitchen

I had intentions to write about something else tonight; but, as I shopped for and ate food, this is what I was thinking…
Boy, am I thankful I know how to cook.
Since I was little, I have been in the kitchen, A LOT!
The kitchen is a place I relax and have fun; experimenting and trying new things with whatever is available for cooking.
Tonight was no exception.
These were the ingredients I had to work with:

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garlic, mushrooms, squeeze tube tofu, and brown seaweed

 

image2my not so large cook-space

 

Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the finished food, that was eaten much too quick:)
But, I can show you my empty bowl and chopsticks as evidence of a meal well enjoyed:

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better than it sounds and I expected!

 

Since being in Korea, I have eaten out more than I typically ever do.  But, it is so much fun for me to cook with foods I have never cooked with, and sometimes don’t even know exactly what it is.
Thank you to my family who taught me at a young age how to cook and not to to be afraid to fail in the kitchen:)

 

much love!

 

getting ready for school

The rate I had been going with blog posting, some of you have probably expected another blog or two by now.
I’m sorry for the delay.  The last week has not only been busy preparing for school to start on Monday, but I have been sick.  Still not feeling 100%, but I know I will get there eventually:)

In preparing for the new school year to begin, and teach my own classes, I have had the opportunity to shadow the other foreign teachers to see their teaching styles and how they run different classes.  I think it was helpful to do that and to be able to ask them questions about how to handle different aspects of class.

My mornings and early afternoons will be filled with teaching various English subjects to two different 6 year old (Korean age) kindergarten classes.  The rest of my afternoon will be spread between two after school kindergarten classes, and three after school elementary classes.

This week we were preparing for all of those classes.
Making sure we know our schedules and what we’ll be teaching each class.
Do the foreign teachers understand the material?
Then there is preparing the classrooms for the morning kindergarten students – decorations!  After talking with one of my Korean co-teachers, she wanted me to handle much of the decorating because she has been busy, so I found things, printed, and laminated yesterday.

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pile of laminated decorations

 

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our class tree I made – we will place each students’ picture on it

 

There are still a couple more signs I want to make and preparations I need to make to feel ready for Monday; but I am feeling much more ready than I did when I stepped off of the plane a couple of weeks ago!

 

much love!

 

i made it

Before, I had mentioned that me getting this job and preparing to go to Korea was a whirlwind.  Well, leaving America was no different!

I had been waiting for my visa, in order for a ticket to be purchased so I could leave for Korea. Tuesday afternoon, my passport with my Korean visa was back in my possession.  That night, my ticket was purchased for Thursday afternoon.
Wednesday, I finished packing, while it kind of sunk-in that I was flying half way across the world the next day.
Thursday morning, one of my friends took me to the airport, then I spent the next 24 hours or so traveling to my new home in Daegu.

image1
waiting for my bus to Daegu at the Incheon airport Friday night

 

image3on the bus – yes, I need sleep!

 

image2and when you need sleep, sometimes the fisheye camera and funny faces come out:)

 

Saturday, we had orientation, all day.  I thought it was going to be orientation for the teachers, turns out it was orientation for the parents about this upcoming school year.  In the morning it was parents who have been with the school before; after lunch we had the same program all over again for parents new to the school.

I might still feel a little lost and like I have no idea what is going on, but slowly by slowly that feeling is dissipating.

It has been good to meet my fellow teachers and to get a little bit better understanding of what the school is like.  Also, to unpack and make this room feel a little bit like home.

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my room

 

image5the view from my room

 

much love!

 

so, what’s next?

So I’ve alluded to this over the past few days.  But I guess it’s finally time to fill you in on what’s coming up for me.
For quite some time I had been feeling like I should teach English.  Not something I’d ever really thought about doing.  I think education is important, and maybe there could be something from the experience for my future.

In less than one week, visa depending, I’m moving to Daegu, South Korea to teach English as a second language.
My students will mostly be kindergartners, with some older elementary students later in the day.

image1
next week, I should be on a plane to Korea:)

 

I wish I had more to share with you about what I’m doing and where I’m going, but I’m sure there will be a lot to tell once I get there and things get started.

What I can tell you for now is, the past couple of months have been a number of up and downs with jobs and preparations.
And this job, the process of getting it, and getting ready to go, has been quite the whirlwind.

As I mentioned before, being in America hasn’t been the easiest for me, but leaving is definitely full of many emotions.
There are feelings of being overwhelmed for what needs to be done here and sadness as I say my goodbyes; and excitement and nervousness for what is to come;

So soon.
So soon.
I can’t believe I leave in less than one week.

 

much love!

 

those non-plan plans

You know how sometimes you have a plan, even if you don’t have a plan?  Meaning, it’s not a really thought-through, worked out plan, but it’s just a rough idea in your mind of what “should happen.”
I think that’s where I was at when I returned to America from Uganda.

I felt like I was supposed to leave, but there was nothing lined up for me and I had no plans or ideas of what I was supposed to do once I got back to the land of America.
Somewhere in my mind though, even if I would never admit it, I thought I would only be in America for a short while, then leave again, perhaps even be moving back to Uganda.
But, that wasn’t happening.  Things weren’t going according to my “non-plan.”  And sometimes, that was really hard.  I would feel lost and like my life was in limbo.

All of this sounds pretty negative so far, but I don’t mean it to.  There were definitely some great parts about being back.
Being able to reconnect with friends and family in person; Skype is amazing but there is something to be said about interacting face-to-face.
I was able to take escape MI winter with one of my friends by taking a trip to CA for a couple of conferences, and while out there, see other friends.
Worked as a barista for a while, and I definitely enjoyed some of my conversations with the customers and my coworkers.

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with Lauren in CA

 

Then there are those unexpected parts of being back.  Those parts that are such a mix of emotions, where bittersweet is really the best way to describe it.
In October/November my parents sold their house and moved to Vermont, due to my dad getting a job transfer.  Despite at one point having had my own apartment, then traveling, and moving around the world, this had been my home, or “home base,” since I was in sixth grade.  In some ways it was really hard to be there for the moving process, and to have to go through so many memories and only save some.  But, at the same time I was really thankful for this opportunity for my parents and that I could be home for this change.

image1
last day with my pine tree, Alfred, I planted as a seed in a cup around 1993

 

Not only was this a change for my parents, but a change for me as well.  I had had been living with them since returning to America, but my friend and her husband graciously offered me a place to live with them.  There were so many questions and unknowns throughout.  Moving in and of itself was a change, but all that went with it was more of a change and more to process than I realized.

Last year at this time, if you would have told me I would still be in America in a year, I wouldn’t have been too thrilled about that.  That was not in my “non-plan.”
2014 may not have happened the way I thought it would, but I am thankful for all that happened and for where it took me.
2015 is shaping up to be an interesting year already – don’t you worry, I’ll fill you in soon on what some of that looks like:)

 

much love!