Category Archives: Korea

Korea, I Miss You + Amy B Photography

We left Korea 5 months ago. We knew it would be hard to leave, but never did I imagine I would, or could, mourn a place the way I have that amazing country. At the last minute we decided to have our beautiful friend Amy, who is made of pure magic, light and the high feeling you get while eating a ton of candy, do a photoshoot just 2 days before we left the city. When she sent me the photos I went through every single emotion I possess. Pure joy, giddiness, horrible sadness, hilarity, big love. Everything. These photos are so beautiful and perfect and I just keep staring at them and thinking ‘How can we possibly be in that giant city of 10 million people and this is what it looks like?!’. Yall, that is just how perfect and unexpected this city is.

Also, besides Amy being a miracle worker behind the camera, she is SO good at selfies. Like HOW?! Anyway. Below are a few of my favorite images + the only way I know how to process through things: by writing. Ive made a list of the things I am missing right now from Korea and am dwelling on how much love and life we experienced there. You can see more photos and ugly cry the way I did over on Amy’s blog. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love someone I met on the internet and how it feels like Ive known them forever and my only regret is not actually knowing her the past 29 years. But luckily I get to spend a week with her in Germany in less than 2 weeks, so I can get that candy binging high again really soon.

So enjoy the beauty and come simmer in my sadness for a bit with me wont you?

THINGS I MISS ABOUT SEOUL

Just being in the middle of that amazing city with so much life and beauty buzzing all around me.

Walking out of the door and immediately being in the middle of an adventure.

The food. No where else in the world has the same mixture of flavor explosive foods. No Where. No Where.

Their love for the arts. Shows and concerts every day, all day, every where.

All the color and smell and texture and life.

That green oasis in the middle of that amazing city.


The ability to hike a mountain from a subway exit.

The highest class public transportation for lowest class prices.

The most adorable children in the whole world.

Life on the street.

The bustle and intermingling of every life stage all woven into one buzzing hive.

Character in every face.

The ease of a well orchestrated city, full of amenities and helpfulness.

Shopping on the street. Food vendors, cheap tourist junk, stores with their doors open.

Diversity in every corner. People, sights, sounds, smells, stores, scenery, culture, landscape, technology. Everything mingled together to create a patchwork quilt of life.

To the city of my heart, Seoul, I love you. 

Day In The Life 2016

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For the first time EVER I completed a day in the life. Every year this challenge happens and I take 2 awkward photos and abandon it immediately. This year, at the last second, in one of the busiest seasons, I decided to set my alarms for the whole day and snap a photo. One photo only, of whatever was happening. I am so happy with myself for following through and taking the time to prepare because without the hourly alarms this would not have happened. I am so grateful that I captured this glimpse into our lives here as this will be our last year here and I want to remember the details of each day. It was not a special day, but a normal day and that was the point, to capture our real life.

This is what a normal day in the life looked like for us in 2016. 

6:42 am Ive hit the snooze button multiple times and Terrell is completely ready to go and waiting on me while Im still in bed. #normal

7:09 am Driving to school! We are so grateful to have a car now that the weather is cold. School meetings begin at 7:20 am. We cut it close most days…

8:09 am Working in my office. Getting ready for the day, planning student sessions, checking emails, working on projects, etc etc.

9:37 am Teaching social skills lessons! This week’s lesson is all about preventing bullying by including others, so we played the human knot because everyone has to be involved to make the game work! This is by far my favorite part of my job.

10:46 am I have a few free minutes before lunch and I like to take time to do my morning pages, devotion or journal each day.

11:52 am Back from lunch and still finishing my coke. The missions fridge raises money for students trips and provides me the sweet nectar of life each day. #thankful

12:37 pm Catching up on emails, writing session notes and planning again.

1:03 pm Teaching the older students about Bullying. We are playing Bully Bingo!

2:03 pm More teaching. I let the winner of Bingo choose a 1 minute activity, obviously dancing to JT from Trolls is their top choice!

3:06 pm Garage Duty. Cold but not a bad 15 minutes, helping kids into cars and making sure they don’t get run over. It’s not a job for the weak.

4:01 pm Art Journaling After School Activity! These girls are so messy and so creative and so messy. I have mostly 3rd graders this year and they are much different from last years 5th graders who were really thoughtful in their pages, these girls are sticker crazy. But when I go around and ask them to tell me about their pages they really have put a lot of thought into the prompts and techniques I taught them and have done some really creative things! Also, art journaling is just fun.

5:02 pm Terrell is still working hard at his desk as I come pry him away.

5:36 pm We are finally home! And matching in the elevator! #theamazingmatchinghoopers

6:03 pm Terrell went out for dinner and I have just a few minutes before I have to leave for dinner and Bible study, so Im snacking and watching Friends to relax before more interaction time. #givemesomequietspace

7:07 pm Women’s Bible Study. Yummy food and some lovely ladies who are so encouraging and wise.

8:44 pm Im in bed reading, Terrell comes home with a melodica and serenades me. Its hilarious and so strange. He needs it to perform while on a field trip with kids. It even comes with a backpack/carrying case that says Roo Roo on it and has a picture of a bear in outerspace. We make fun of him endlessly for this, especially when he throws it over his shoulder and says ‘me and Roo Roo are ready to go’.

9:36 pm Reading and asleep by 10pm. These days are exhausting.

Andong, South Korea: Experience Traditional Korea

Andong, South Korea Travel Guide. See a traditional puppet show, mask dance, eat like a local and explore the 600 year old villages of Korean Culture. Last weekend we took a group of high school theatre students to Andong, South Korea to explore more traditional Korean culture to prepare for their upcoming performance, that will be based in old world Korea. This was a beautiful little slice of Korea and I knew this was the perfect piece of culture to share with those of you who won’t be able to travel to Korea and to create a little travel guide for those of you who will!

Andong is about 3 hours outside of Seoul, in the country side, amidst mountains and sprawling beauty. Truly, all of Korea is full of so much beauty. Let’s start with food! My favorite. This region of Korea is famous for jjimdak, a spicy chicken dish. We ate the medium spicy and it was pretty spicy, so beware. the cabbage may have been my favorite part of this meal. But what’s not to love? Carrots, good. Potatoes, good. Chicken, good. Glass noodles, good.

Andong1 Our first stop was Wolyeonggyo Bridge, which is beautiful and really difficult to take photos of at night. It’s a bridge that runs across the river and has a beautiful temple in the middle and one on the other side of the river. Andong2 Andong4Next we stopped at the Andong Fountain to see the show. It was actually really beautiful and fun. It lasted about 20 minutes. Here is a really fun video of it. Andong3By far, the best part of our trip was our traditional Hanok stay. We slept in a 500-year-old traditional Korean home and it was magical and so lame all at once. It was the best experience. It had been on our bucket list since we landed here in Korea. Until now, I don’t think I truly understood about traditional hanoks worked. They are a group of buildings that form these square courtyards and each building serves a different purpose for the home. (of course, all of them are slightly different, but this is a good general understanding). The buildings on the right and left are the sleeping rooms that we stayed in. The middle is a family room/living room type and has additional sleeping areas on both sides. Andong5Below is one of the sleeping rooms. You may can tell that the doors are very thin and you see the stack of pillows and sleeping pads. Koreans sleep on the floor and use Ondools, a floor heating system to stay warm in the winter. Hello warm feet in winter! Andong-

Andong9Andong6 Andong7 Growing peppers for Kimchi! Andong8 Andong10 Andong11 Andong12 After our, actually, pretty good night of sleeping on the floor, we headed to Hahoe Village.  It is over 500 years old (much of it has been rebuilt since the Japanese liked to burn things during the way) and many people still live here today! Andong13 Andong14 We got to experience many of the traditional ways of life before modernization. Below Terrell is ironing by beating the wooden dowels on the laundry, which we were told was a very enjoyable and rhythmic past time for Korean house wives. Andong15

Here we are churning tofu.

Andong16Carrying water from the well! The Korean’s do it without hands of course….Andong18Making delicious rice cakes, a serious arm workout. Andong17 Andong19 Andong20 The local shrine and Zelkova wishing tree, also over 600 years old. You can add your wishes here and this guy is real fun 😉 Andong21 The straw roofed houses are for the lower class citizens and the tiled homes are for the upper class. We also saw trees planted by Queen Elizabeth, US Presidents and homes by Korean rulers and war hero’s and great philosophers. This place grows a lot of fancy people! Andong22 Andong23 Andong24I am so entertained by Korea’s overuse of this exact sandal, everywhere you go. They are the ‘shared’ indoor sandal when you can’t wear shoes inside. We also attended a, free, traditional tea ceremony. We learned the proper tea holding and drinking etiquette and ate the most chewy and disgusting cookies. But this room was a library and was used for tea, thinking and study. I could spend hours here thinking and reading! Andong25 Andong26 Andong27 Andong28 Andong29 Back to more food, the village has some restaurants right outside where they serve local Mackerel and Bibimbop. Very salt, very delicious. Andong30 The Korean affinity for male genitalia entertains me to no end. On a serious note, they have traditional mask dance (Talchum) and puppet shows and museums here. There are 9 masks and each represent a type of person. The shows were a way for the commoners to make fun of the upper class and to bring up political issues that were being neglected. Andong31 Andong33 Andong34 Andong35 Andong36 Always, the foreigners get called out. Good thing my husband is a great sport and did a little dance with them 😉 Andong37We learned so much in 24 hours and experienced a ton of really stellar Korean culture. This was an amazing and easy trip to take from Seoul and needs very little ‘prep’ work as everything is in one central location once you get to the village. Now, I’m off to explore some more!