July 29, 2012

R + N

Today is the best day ever because I woke up to message from my sister saying, "I'm engaged!" My sister and her boyfriend have been dating for a long time, like seven years long time, and we all knew this was coming sooner or later. Me, being the impatient younger sister that I am, was hoping it would come sooner rather than later. I just can't even begin to tell you all how excited I am for these two!


 
Best welcome home present ever, right? Congratulations Nebrisa & Ryan! I love you both so much and am so happy for you! 
Let the wedding planning begin! 
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July 28, 2012

Goodbye South Korea

Since a picture is worth a thousand words- I'm going to share some of my favorite pictures from this lovely adventure that I've had. 


















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July 25, 2012

Beyond Measure

There is no possible way that I can accurately describe my heart at this point in time. I think that this is quite possibly the heaviest my heart has ever felt. Many tears have fallen today, tears I did not think would be shed. I was given letters by many of my students today, and that is the most precious gift I could have ever received. These letters, written in their broken English, will be cherished for the rest of my life. The things said in them have blessed me beyond measure. These children will always be pressed upon my heart. I am the lucky one for getting to have spent the past eleven months with them. There is so much more I want to say, and so many snippets from the letters that I want to share, but at this time I just can't. The wound of saying goodbye is too fresh. As time passes, I would love to share more with you because of how special they are to me. 

What a beautiful adventure this has been. 

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July 21, 2012

As Long As Your Mine

Yesterday I had the pleasure of seeing "Wicked" in Seoul with my good friend Nick. This isn't the first time I've seen it (okay- it's the third...), but it's been a couple years since the last time and I had a great time! It was the Australian cast and they were fantastic. I was especially impressed by Galinda/Glinda. She was so entertaining! There were a couple times I wanted to just run up on stage and sing with her. Don't worry, I suppressed the urge! 


After the show, we went to Itaewon (a neighborhood in Seoul) and had a delicious dinner at Tomatillo's! Somehow Itaewon manages to be simultaneously be one of my favorite places and my most hated places. It's a foreigner hot spot, in fact, you'll see more foreigners than you will see Korean people in that area. Whether they are ex-pats living abroad, military, teachers, or tourists- you will see WAY too many foreigners. It's just a bit crowded, overwhelming, and shady at times. The upside, and the reason I love it, is because they have SO many foreign restaurants there. I'm not the biggest fan of Korean food, so it's nice to be able to have a "taste of home." Nick and I decided upon Tomatillo's for dinner, which is a Chipotle-esque restaurant. It's pretty good and by far the best Mexican food I've had in Korea. 


Then for dessert, which neither of us needed after stuffing our faces at Tomatillo's, we walked down the street to Tartine's Bakery. Tartine's is incredible, but I prefer to call it "Tiny Pie" because they sell the CUTEST tiny pies! 


And what better to wash down a tiny pie than chocolate milk? 
Tartine's- you are SUPER delicious, but I am so glad I don't live near you or I'd probably have a tiny pie every day!
All in all, I'd say it was a lovely way to spend my last weekend in Korea: good entertainment, good conversation, and good food. Is there anything more you need out of life? 

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July 20, 2012

Little Thoughts

Sometimes Korea feels like an alternate universe. I often feel like my friends and family are all living their "real" lives, while I'm existing in some sort of parallel reality that isn't as real. It's even weirder (more weird?) that I'm getting ready to leave.

There's no way that I've been away for 318 days, right? 

Has it been that long since I've snuggled with my sisters? Has it been that long since I've been out to last minute sushi dinners with my mom and dad? Has it been that long since I've played Wii until the wee (see what I did there?) hours of the morning with Eric? 

HAS IT BEEN THAT LONG?

It has. It feels that long too. Rather, it feels like it's all so far in the past that it happened in another lifetime while simultaneously feeling like I just arrived yesterday and there's no possible way I've lived in this country for ten and a half months.
But it's true. 
The calendar, just like Shakira's hips, don't lie. 

Something that even strikes me harder than the fact I've been gone so long, is that there is this whole piece of me that my family and other friends will never be able to fully relate to.
Sure, they will be able to listen to stories, they will understand certain aspects, but there are specific things that they will never truly get.

My mom will never meet Seo Kyung Hwa who mothered me the first couple months I was here by providing me with rides to school and coffee in the morning. My dad will never hear the vendors in the super market who do this absurd yell that reminds me so much of him when he is trying to be funny. My sisters will never meet the children named after them.
Okay, that one sounds really odd, but it's true. My students wanted to pick English names so I wrote names on the board and watched as they picked some of the most special names for their own. 

It's just an incredibly strange thing to have this piece of your life that only a specific and very isolated group of people will ever understand. I am so grateful for those people though, so grateful. 
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July 17, 2012

Wonderful Works

This post has been in my brain for a while. It has made its way to the pages of my journal, but after talking to a friend who was experiencing similar struggles, I decided I would post it so that maybe someone else could find encouragement in it.

My self worth has been weighing heavily on my shoulders lately. I remember writing in my diary in middle school about how I didn't feel _________ enough. 
Unfortunately, these feelings have arisen again.
You could fill in that blank with a million different adjectives and chances are that at some point in time, I have felt that way:

Not pretty enough.
Not thin enough.
Not funny enough.
Not smart enough.
Not talented enough. 

I have always been unconditionally loved by my family and friends. I've never longed for love and acceptance, but that doesn't mean that I have shown myself that same love and acceptance shown to me by others.
I have compared myself to a laundry list of unattainable traits and that is not okay.
Teddy Roosevelt is quoted as saying, "Comparison is the thief of joy" and I couldn't agree more.
Comparing myself to others, whether it be their appearance, personality, or possessions, robs me of the joy I am to find in my self worth. 
Comparing myself to another human being only shows me what I do not have and what I am not.
What I do not have and what I am not have no part of my self worth. 

My self worth comes from one place:
My Heavenly Father.
My worth is not found in my family,
how many friends I have, 
how many boys I've kissed (which is zero, in case you were wondering), 
the size of my clothes,
or any accomplishments I may have.

My worth is found in being the creation of the Creator.
There is nothing I could do to make God love me any more or any less.
Nothing.
My worth is fixed.
Set in stone.
Firm.
Unchanging.

"For you created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother's womb. 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well."
-Psalm 139:13-14
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July 13, 2012

He Said, She Said

This is my friend Shim HyungSeok. He goes by Seok but I like to call him Suck, which he absolutely loves (not). He makes fun of me for the way I pronounce Korean words. Here he is trying to tell me that they way I say "dog" is totally wrong. 

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I'm pretty positive they sound the same and Google translate agreed with me, but it's okay- he's the expert. The other day he asked me what the difference is between "bi***" & "sl**." I almost spit out my terrible tasting instant Korean coffee. 
Did I mention he listens to a ton of rap music? 
I taught him the phrase "hoochie mama" instead. He gets it confused with "hajima", which means a very firm "DON'T!" in Korean. Sometimes he'll pop into my office and call me a "hajimama."
I'm really going to miss that booger. 
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July 10, 2012

"Lord help the mister who comes between me and my sister!"

"A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves- a special kind of double."
-Toni Morrison
I have four sisters- four incredible, unique, outgoing, and loving sisters. The bond of sisters is so special because it's like a best friend, but closer. It's someone you are free to be completely yourself around, without fear of judgment or condemnation. A sister is someone who can call you out when you're being a drama queen, but you know that everything being said comes from a place of love.
Sisters are the most special kind of friends, and I'm lucky to have four sister-friends. Don't get me wrong, we fight. 
Oh do we fight...
But at the end of the day, we love each other regardless of whatever has happened.






Sophia, Me, Nebrisa, Gabby, & Camille

Sissybugs, I can't wait to see you. Thank you for loving me and supporting me through this whole process. Thank you for encouraging me to chase after this adventure and thank you for believing in me even when I have a difficult time believing in myself. I will see you guys in seventeen days. I hope you are ready for sister snuggles.

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July 7, 2012

The 4th of July on the 7th of July

Since the 4th fell on a Wednesday and South Korea decided not to observe the holiday (weird, right?), my friends and I planned a little celebration for the 7th. We decided to spend the evening at a lake that's about a short walk from our apartment complex. We each packed a picnic lunch and headed off for the lake to soak up some sun (it'd been POURING for most of the week) and enjoy one another's company.



The York's brought a volleyball and we ended up creating this really fun game called "Hot Ball" that is a mix between four square, horse, and volleyball. I won one of the rounds we played but lost in the championship game to Lisa. 
After playing quite a bit of Hot Ball, we lit some sparklers, roman candles, and fountain fireworks. It was a lot of fun. Fireworks are one of my favorite things about the 4th of July. I think they are magical anytime I see them, but there's something so nostalgic about seeing them on the 4th (or in my case, the 7th) of July. 




Can you see Thomas lighting his hair on fire in our Tebow picture? Thank goodness Cameron had such a quick reaction and ran over to put it out! It did give us all a pretty good laugh and luckily there was no visible damage done to Thomas' hair. I'd say it was a pretty perfect end to our 8th of July in Korea celebration! 

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July 4, 2012

The Oxford Trunk

I first heard about this great jewelry company from my dear friend Jess who happens to be friends with one of the owners, Jess. 
That makes THREE Jess', but apparently three Jess' with a love for pretty jewelry at a great price! I just ordered my first piece from The Oxford Trunk and I am so stinkin' excited for them to arrive.
Well, they'll actually arrive before I do, but that'll make them a coming home present, right? 

Just so we're clear- that's a totally justified purchase. 

(Dress Me Up Earrings, $14.00)

I love the look of these because they are super feminine but also very versatile. I have a lot of post earrings, but I think I need to start investing in some more dangle type earrings. I think these will turn out to be a pretty great investment, if you ask me. 
It was hard for me to just limit myself to one purchase though... there are so many great pieces for sale on their site right now! Everything has a great price too which makes me feel not so guilty about indulging in a little welcome home gift for myself.

(Let's not talk about the dress from Asos, the two American Apparel v-necks, and Frye boots that are also waiting for me as a "welcome home" present.)


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