10 on 10- May

How does this happen every other month? The 10th goes by and I think, “Hey, it’s the 10th!” and yet I don’t remember to post my 10 photos… and this month the date was especially noticed because one of my longest, dearest friend celebrates her birthday on May 10 (Happy Birthday April!).

In my defense, it is still the 10th in ‘Merrrica.

My 10 photos were taken in the middle of April on a day when the blossoms were in their last hurrah. This is my final Cherry Blossom season in Korea and I had to make the most of it. One of my roommates, Alyssa, came along and joined me for my mini photo shoot near the Yangjae Flower Market (a week before I saw the line of trees from the window of a taxi and had to go back!).

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And because I love bonus pictures here is just one more. This is a picture of my students taking minutes to rip up the tape that took me hours to place around the room. Our map and transportation units are officially oooooover.

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Happy May everyone! It is the best month, after all.

10 on 10- April

The closer June comes, the more I start to think about all the places I went to but didn’t snap enough pictures (I know right, me? Not take pictures? It happens…). This months 10 on 10 is a little bit of this and a little bit of that, half of the pictures other people took for me, so my face is actually in this monthly post much more than usual.

For starters, my friend Allison made deep fried deviled eggs. They had to be photographed.

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Can someone say delicious? Okay, I will. DELICIOUS! After eating that yumminess I also celebrated my girl, Michelle’s, 30th BIRTHDAY! She blogs over at Gold Dust & Glitter, check her out.

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I finally got the change to go to Yangjae Flower Market (at 7:30 in the morning on a Saturday— not for the faint of heart my friend). After that I checked out cherry blossoms (and did a photo shoot that you will hear ALL ABOUT later) and went to a palace. This all happened yesterday on April 9th, so these pictures just make the cut (phew).

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Super proud of myself for remembering to post these on the 10th. Anyone want to give me a pat on the back? Fine. I will do it myself.

10 on 10- December

I am determined to publish my last 10 on 10 for 2015 on time this month! So I am writing this on the 9th and will set a timer (patting myself on the back).

Over the past three years my cousin over at Melissa Hines Photography has pushed me (in the best possible way) to be more creative and active with my photography. I am so grateful to her for that. In 2013 we did a 365 day photography project together and that really wore me out. But this project she suggested, posting 10 photos of the month on the 10th of the month, well —this one inspired me. I am definitely going to keep doing it in 2016.

My 10 photos for this month were taken on the same day on December 7th. It depicts a delicious potluck dinner I had with the New Philly Melbourne Church Plant Team. I cannot wait to do life with these beautiful humans (and the four that are already in Melbs, and our team member who is currently in Taiwan) in Australia starting next summer!

This first shot is where I travel from (Suwon) because I didn’t have 10 images from the potluck. But I love the view from this bridge.DSC_3918DSC_3966    DSC_3975     DSC_3969DSC_3970DSC_3980DSC_3983DSC_3976     DSC_3987DSC_3994

Had to include an image of me! #makingmemories

Koreanisms: Lines, Cars, and International Food Marts

Koreans are really into what is trendy. And they are willing to wait in LONG lines for said trendy things. Last week it was Softree Ice Cream. This week it’s Long-ffle’s. This line went around the street corner and down down down. What are these things? They are long waffles of course. I didn’t wait in line, I just took a picture, and then went to Softree’s across the street where there was no line, and yes— that ice cream was delicious!

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It takes me a while to notice things, I am known to not be the most observant person in the world. So it took months living in Korea for me to notice that Koreans tend to pick one of three colors for their vehicles: white, black, or silver. When I see a car that pops out I get super, super excited! It’s the little things…

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This is an 18 dollar bottle of vanilla extract. I feel like that is self-explanatory.

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The Strawberry Festival (Finally!)

This isn’t the first time I have blogged my life out of order, and it won’t be the last. So I make no apologies. For an actual post on what a Strawberry Festival in Korea is please follow THIS LINK to my dear friend’s blog. She is an actual blogger who tells important details and gives solid information and such.

We all know I just do things for the pictures.

Also, strawberries are my favorite fruit of all time. Best festival ever? YES.

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Happy. I seriously love strawberries.

 

My Korea -vs- My Parents’ Korea

I would like to start by making a disclaimer. I have lived in Seoul, South Korea for almost five years now.

I like it here, and sometimes I even love it here. It has become my home. So. Everything I say about Korea, I say with an understanding that no place is perfect.

When I lived in Michigan I loved my home, but I was not the biggest fan of the weather, or the drivers who forgot how to drive in the winter, or the drivers who had intense road rage, or the drivers… okay , I wasn’t the biggest fan of driving in general. But that is getting outside of the circle of the story, as I tend to do.

The parents arrived in Seoul on a Thursday evening. We took the bus to my apartment, dropped off their luggage, and immediately went to eat Korean BBQ (no surprise there).

I learned how to introduce my parents and tell everyone that they were visiting me from the USA and I told every Korean person that we met, literally. So of course this is the first thing I say to our server. Then I order us three servings of meat, drinks, and all that jazz. My dad, who always gives me a hard time for not speaking Korean fluently yet, was pretty impressed by my ordering skills. Hey, a girl’s gotta eat, you learn the basics fast.

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By the time the meal was over a server brought my dad a fork without him asking for it, after watching Dad stabbed the meat with one chopstick (he is resourceful) and they gave us a full extra serving of meat. And that was the beginning. The beginning of My Parents Korea.

I had warned the parents that Koreans can be a little adverse to foreigners, and that there are a lot of people in this city. You may get “sshhed!” for speaking English on the subway, or shoved as people try to get past you. You may have people standing so close to you in line that they are breathing in your ear. You may get mean looks, or someone spitting on your shoes (okay, that usually isn’t on purpose as they just spit wherever, whenever).

My parents went out to explore my neighborhood while I was at work their first full day here. After a while they tried to find my school just to pop in and say, “hi”. They got a little lost, and I may not have drawn the most detailed map… Anyway, a young man asked them if they needed help. He ended up getting a cab for them and figuring out where my apartment building was, when the only thing my parents remembered was that it was across the street from a BMW dealership. The man offered to pay for my parents taxi ride since he wasn’t sure if they had Korean money. My parents wouldn’t allow him to pay for the cab ride, but were so grateful for his help.

I come home to my parents telling me how nice every one was to them today, and so so helpful.

That night we take the subway. It’s a bit crowded, and I get my loud voice that carries from my mom… so I was worried that we would get “shh’ed” more than once. People jump out of their seats to let my parents sit down. Uh? And then, when we go to exit my mom stands up just as the train is jerking slightly to stop, loses her balance and lands right on top of my dad, who is still sitting. Loud enough for China to hear, my mom exclaims, “At least it’s my husbands lap!” The whole car is laughing, thinking the parents are just the cutest things since Hello Kitty. Uh?

The next day I take my parents out for bulgogi (my second choice after Korean BBQ) with about 12 different Korean side dishes. This is just a random fact, for fun.

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Afterwards we go to explore Chunggyecheon Stream. As we come out of the subway exit my dad’s eyes light up. We have found ourselves on hardware street. Both sides of the street are lined with little tool shops. Across the street it says, “Tools n Joy”. This is exactly how my dad feels. He goes into his version of “shopping mode”. Walking into each shop with my mom and I following excitedly behind. Because when Dad is happy, I am happy! Of course, being the man and amazing dad that he is, he isn’t looking for something for himself. He is looking for a small hallow tube to cut into pieces so I can propped open my broken cupboards and put stuff away without having to hold the heavy door up and use one hand.

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We find a store dedicated to tubes of all shapes, colors, and sizes. When we find “the one” (like… perfect width, perfect length, perfect color-bright!-, everything you could ask for in a tube) we ask the store owner how much it is. He smiles and says, “service!” which in Korea means, “free!”. I looked at him and said, “What? Really?” My dad said, “Thank you so much!”

We leave the hardware street, though we know we could leave my dad there for hours and he wouldn’t have noticed our absence. I take them to one of my favorite places in the city, the Chunggyecheon Stream (as mentioned before). When we get to the end I see a tourist stand and think, “Oh, good! I need to buy my parents a subway map— they might have one here.” I asked the lady selling guide books and maps for what I need. She looks at my parents and says, “Oh, I am sorry we sold out of all our maps. But here, take this book for free.” And she hands my dad a Korean guide-book, that has a SUBWAY MAP INSIDE. For free.

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After the stream we meet up with my lovely friend Hallie (and were later joined by the fabulous Zara and some friends of hers, side note, side note) who is all about festivals and found ourselves some awesome front row seats to the Lantern Festival’s parade. At the end of the parade they start giving away the lanterns, and we happened to be sitting where the parade almost ended. My parents both get handed lanterns. Hallie and Zara both get handed lanterns. Who doesn’t get a lantern? Oh, just guess.

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By the end of their second full day in Korea my parents couldn’t stop talking about how nice every one was, and how neat that they kept getting free things. Oh yeah, these stories happen to me all the time too…

 

 

The Parents Arrival

I had it all mapped out in my head. Finish work at 4, run home and change/grab book to read for the bus ride, get on airport bus at 4:31, get to the airport between 5:45 and 6, parents flight gets in at 6:25. Incheon is efficient and amazing and you are usually out of the customs line, with baggage in hand within 45 minutes to and hour. So. I figured if I arrived 30 minutes before my parents flight came in I would have about an hour and a half to find subway maps for them, buy them bottled water for when they got off the plane, taped together the fantastic sign I made, go to the bathroom, and chill. I like to be places early, you know me (points to self), I am very time-oriented.

I arrive at the airport at 5:42, three minutes earlier than my earliest time! I walk in and check out the list of arrival flights. I find my parents Delta number, and I do a double-take. Their flight arrived a FULL HOUR EARLY. I check the time again. Yep. 5:25 instead of 6:25. Which means they have already been on the ground for 30 minutes. Which means I have 15 minutes, or 30 minutes at the most. I STARTED TO FREAK OUT.

I run to their gate, afraid they already came through and I missed them. I double-check the huge board. Yep, still arrived one hour early. The most important thing for me is the sign, they must see the sign when they come out of the gate. So I lay it all on the ground and tape it together as fast as I can, while keeping one eye on the gate. People stare. Psshhh, they are obviously jealous.

I finish taping the sign, check the arrival board one more time, just in case. And then sit to wait.

I have no subway maps, I have no bottled water, and I have to pee. BUT, my sign is ready and my parents landed a full hour early! They weren’t looking forward to the length of the flight so God was already giving them favor for this trip.

My parents walk through the gate around 6:20, and I am there ready to receive them with my huge sign. There is laughter and smiles and hugs.

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#parentsinseoul2014