Sunday, September 28, 2008

Coming Soon to a Blog Near You...

This has been a jam-packed week for us here in Korea. Right now we are fighting to stay awake so we must go clear off the bed before sleep can occur. However, we just wanted to let you know that updates will be come very soon (and more than one this week!). There will be lots of pictures and hopefully we will entertain you and inform you all at the same time.

For now, we miss you all and you are in our prayers.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

JOB Opportunity in PA


This is on behalf of my aunt. She is undergoing chemo treatment for cancer and needs some help at her farm.

This would be a live-in situation where the person would take care of her horses.
It would include living at the farm, feeding, grooming, letting out, and cleaning stalls for 12 horses.

I don't know what the pay would be, but the farm is gorgeous and I think my aunt is wonderful so it would be a great job for anyone interested.

PLEASE pass on this to anyone you think is qualified and interested. Have them comment on this site and then we will get in touch.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Wildlife for Sale

This is just to make sure you start to read the post. This is my subway/bus card. Something like a metro card. Matthew's card is just a normal looking one, but we wanted different cards so I got this one. What exactly do you think it means?? Bunny and the Whale, like Jonah and the Whale? Your guess is as good as mine.

It was wonderful to have a short week this week. Tuesday through Friday. Happiness is ours. We love our students, but since we are still settling in it was nice to have Monday off. This next week we get Friday off because we’re going to a Teachers’ Retreat at something called English Village. We’re excited because we will be seeing the people we met at orientation!

Wednesday we had a glorious surprise. Two things in the mail! One was a birthday card for Matthew from Grandma (for those who don’t know: the New Jersey Grandma). In the card it wished us many adventures…very appropriate =) The second item we received was a BOX! A package! And wonder of wonders…it was filled with all types of goodies! Jolly Ranchers, Teddy Grahams, Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Trail Mix, and…Dove Dark Chocolate. Those of you who don’t know, Matthew loves Dove Dark Chocolate (he gets this from his dad). Mama had sent them to us! Each of the items were specially chosen because she knew what we liked and had been craving (prior to Korea, and definitely in Korea!) We have savored each candy…mmmmm. Also in the box were two cards! One was for Matthew’s birthday, and the other from my little church back in Pennsylvania. Each person in the church had written a small message to us. It meant so much to hear from all of them and know that they were praying for us.

(selfishly guarding her prize!)

(a grin only food can bring)

This week we also got an email from my housemate Kristin. She is safe in Chad, Africa and is serving as a Student Missionary there. I was thrilled to here from her, and ask that you keep her in your prayers as she serves God there.

This week we also send in absentee ballot application things. It was good to find the post office and mail something to the good old USA! They were really nice at the post office, and hopefully the papers we sent work and we can vote.

Today after work/school was over we wanted to do a little more exploring of our city. We tried a bit during Chusok but hardly anything was open. Today we had a good time exploring and found some great stuff! We went to the underground shopping and walked a while and went up some stairs we hadn’t been to yet, and found ourselves on the opposite side of the train station. We had heard that good things awaited those who went to the other side of the train station and they were right!

We found a Paris Baguette store. These were everywhere in Seoul, but we hadn’t seen on here yet. It’s a bakery shop and the stuff there always looks delicious! There is another bakery like that near our apartment, but at Paris Baguette the signs are in English as well as Korean, so we can identify what we are buying. It helps to know if it’s just deep fried bread that you are looking at or a delicious donut with sugar on it. There tends to be more than just one item in Korea that looks like it has sugar coated on it, but is only deep fried bread.

The smells of the shop were too enticing, and since we get paid in six days (yay!) we decided to buy something for 1000 won ($1.00) and split it. We got some custard-cream-filled-cookie-something-or-other. There was less custard/cream than we thought, but it was good!

I had also been telling Matthew that I hadn’t seen any cute coffee shops around here (there had been tons in Seoul) and I wanted to find one. That way I could have my White Chocolate Mochas. =) Well, today we found many coffee shops. There had to be at least two per block where we were. We found two coffee shops that had English (one was actually the same company, Ediya Coffee as we’d had in Seoul). There was also one coffee shop that was so clean and cute looking we might just try something there and see what they’ll give us. Live life on the edge and all that good stuff.

Feeling very accomplished with our discoveries we decided to go back to the apartment. Going back underground we walked on the other side of the shops so we could look at different things.

Here is what we found.

Chipmunks! For sale as pets!! I personally think that the people just caught them and stuck them in the cage. I felt terrible for them and so did Matthew. He secretly got the pictures for me because I wanted to show you all. At the same shop there were lizards, beta fish, tiny hamster looking things (very cute), a hedgehog, beetles, and grub looking things. A strange assortment to be sure. We might go back and buy a beta fish once we have money. The prices for the fish were pretty reasonable. We don't know how much the chipmunks were...maybe we could buy them and release them into the wild!

Tomorrow will be three months since we’ve been married! It seems to me much longer and shorter than that. A lot has happened and changed since our wedding. Thank you again to everyone who made that day more perfect than we could have asked for!

Here are a few pictures of our apartment life. This is to show the mini-sink we have.

And this is our beloved air conditioner. Don’t you wish you had one just like it?

One more note: We have a friend who has been diagnoised with a very serious cancer and we ask that you keep her in your prayers. We are not certain how much time she had left, but please pray for Valerie and her husband Brad. They were here in Korea before we came and they encouraged and inspired us to try it here. They are true servants of God.

We never know how long our time on earth is--make sure to let those you love know it.

We love and miss you all!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Happy Chusok!

Our Weekly Post:

We have completed our first full week of teaching here in Korea and…well, it has been better than we could have imagined! The students are amazing and we find it fun to teach them. We hope that they enjoy it as much as we are!

Chusok is the Korean thanksgiving. They go to the oldest male’s (I think so) home village and gather together there. It’s a time for family and thanksgiving similar to ours. It’s a big deal and almost everyone travels. We are not, but the foreign teachers (that’s us and the other out of country staff) are getting together on Sunday (actual Chusok) and having a dinner together, so that’ll be nice. We are bringing rice, vegetables, and juice. Should be fun.

Besides Chusok being a wonderful time for Koreans to get together, they are also generous. The main institute in Seoul, where we had our orientation sent each teacher a gift box. So Matthew and I got two. They are filled with different types of soy drinks. Strawberry, chocolate, banana, black bean (we have not tried that), regular, sweet, tropical fruit (this is SO good! Like a smoothie almost), and ginger (not so good). Soy drinks are pretty popular here, and especially with Sahmyook soy products because it’s Adventist. Something extra cool about getting the soy drinks is because God’s timing has been fun. Matthew and I are surviving on limited funds until pay day (Sept. 25th) so we have been very skimpy on what we buy. Our soy milk was starting to run out and I had mentioned to Matthew that we’d soon need to go and buy more—then the next day we get two big boxes of soy products! So God provided soy milk for us just when we needed it! This also happened another time this past week. We were getting to the end of the fresh fruit we’d bought and I was thinking about how we were going to try and get more without spending too much…then the school we are at give each teacher a bag of grapes! And in each bag there are about 4 bunches of grapes—so we have 8 bunches! It’s not a huge deal, but it was a wonderful blessing from God to have those little things taken care of.

(Our soy milk package)

On Friday we were very happy to receive our certificate of alien registration. Our alien cards are essential for many things. Internet and check cards cannot be obtained without this. So on Friday we headed off to the bank to get check cards and get the last remaining money from our banks (about $30.00). To get there we take bus 15. We did this successfully and were feeling very happy about public transportation.

Once receiving our wonderful and beautiful Visa Check Cards we wanted to go to E-Mart. E-Mart, as you might have guessed, is something like Wal-Mart. To get to E-Mart you take bus 23. Now we knew we had crossed the street from the bank, but weren’t sure of what side of the street we were to wait on. I thought we should cross and ask the bus driver, which we did. He didn’t speak much English, so we got on. After all bus 23 has to go around in a circle eventually right? So we’d just ride it until we got back around if necessary. It wasn’t long before we realized we were going the wrong way, but we just thought sitting tight was the best thing to do. So we did. Finally we were the last two people on the bus and the driver pulled into a deserted looking part of town. Since we live in the city there are always lots of people. Thus, when you travel into a region which has few people, it seems...well, almost scary and unsafe somehow. There was a carnival going on, but it felt like the horror movies where the creepy carnival music is playing in the background of a deserted area. Arriving in this town the bus driver opens the door and motions for us to get off. We got off, of course, but then just stood there. Matthew very wisely decided to go toward the carnival and ask someone. A wonderful lady helped us out. The conversation was something like this.

Matthew: E-Mart? What bus do we take?
Lady: E-mart-eh?
Matthew: E-Mart. What bus?
Lady: E-mart-eh?
Matthew: Yes.
Lady: Ah! (She points back from where we’d come on the bus.)
Me: What bus? (Holds up fingers) One? Two? Three?
Lady: Ah! (String of Korean followed this which we didn’t understand.)
Us: *Shrug*
Lady: (Puts numbers into calculator and holds up “23”)

We thanked her in English and Korean and ran toward a new bus headed back where we’d come from. This time we made it to E-Mart. Let me also mention that the bus system here is that when you see your stop is coming you press the button to let them know you want to get off. So we have to really pay attention since we are new and can’t understand Korean.

In E-Mart we spent a lot of time just going through the whole store. We wanted to know what was there and compare pricing with Costco and the other little store we’d been to. We had a good time and met two middle school boys who seemed very excited about Matthew’s height. They then told us that we were “handsome and beautiful”. (It is somewhat of a common phrase for Koreans to know it seems. One day on the way to school, after lunch, a group of high school boys saw me and say hi and that I was beautiful. Maybe they learn it from our American movies??) Anyway, looking around was fun, but sampling food was even better! They had samples in almost every aisle it seemed! Of course we didn’t try anything that look questionable. But we had ice coffee, tofu, grape juice, sweet breads, etc. =) You really have no clue as to just how wonderful this bread is - almost a danish, and the best danish we've ever had! However, keep in mind that we are poor, so almost every food is more wonderful than it has ever been.

Our most exciting purchase from that day was a plant! (There was an adorable rabbit there, but I don’t think America would let me bring it home…) We have decided to buy plants because we want real oxygen instead of smog. When we get paid we want to have a plant for each room (a fair sized one). We have been recently re-disgusted with city life. Last Saturday we swept, moped, and towel dried our entire floor area. It was intense, but the church people were coming over unexpectedly so we had to make it clean. The floor had been making the bottom of our feet black before we cleaned it and it felt wonderful to have a clean house. Well, this week we noticed that our feet were getting dirty again and we leave our shoes at the door so we didn’t know how this was happening. Now we think we’ve figured it out. Since we don’t have AC we leave all the windows open to allow a breeze to flow through, thus the dirty smoggy air flows through and lands dirt on our floor. It’s gross. Truly gross. Matthew and I figured that in the winter it should be better because the windows will be closed, but we wanted some oxygen. Thus—the plants.

Our plant is lovely and it’s wonderful to have it. We were so happy when buying it, and it must sound silly to all of you reading this, but if you lived in the city like this (after being raised in the country) you might understand. =)

(We should name

(These are chocolate covered sunflower seeds. Really good actually. Maybe it's because it's a treat, but we had some Friday night at afterglow time...mmm)

Today, Saturday we went to Clubs (Sabbath School) and church as usual. We are fed potluck every week, and we are learning the true meaning of Pot-luck. Matthew told me that he was excited because it was Chusok weekend and he was imagining all kinds of wonderful food they would prepare. After church we went into the cafeteria and were handed ginger soy milk (as previously stated, not our favorite) and a warm white block. This white block is a rice cake (cake is used loosely here) called “songphyun”. Apparently these are made out of rice, beans, sesame seeds, and chestnuts. It is a hard thing to describe. It was warm and kind of flavorless. Almost sweet, but not really. There were also grapes on the table, so I ate those. Apparently they eat these rice cakes only at Chusok…? Don’t know if that’s totally true, but it’s what we heard. It appeared to be a whole meal, but we ate when we came home.

(The pot-luck meal)

Now Matthew is sleeping in the other room and I am typing this up and missing home. I can truly say that I love teaching my adult classes, but nothing is like home. We found out some hard news about some of our friends at home. Please keep them in your prayers.

We will see what tomorrow brings, but that’s all for now. We hope you are enjoying your weekend!

Happy Sabbath and Chusok!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Things we have done and learned recently (and haven’t had the time to blog about).

To more fully understand see our flickr account:

1. The Kimchee squat. Odd squatting position used as a resting sitting position without touching the dirty floor. Matthew cannot do it.
2. Matthew had to learn to wear an eye cover and stuff tissues in his ears to keep from being disturbed by the boys in the dorm we were staying at during orientation.
3. Soy chocolate milk is just as good here as the USA.
4. Ice cream is more appreciated when you are poor and can’t read the packaging.
5. Umbrellas are good for not only rain but for protection from the hot sun.
6. Walking on rocks is not therapeutic, no matter what it may look like.
7. Traveling to over populated areas is done better with friends.
8. We are thankful for Andy and Jaz.
9. Open markets with tentacles hanging off the sides are to be avoided at all costs.
10. When in a hot crowded subway pray that the person next to you is wearing deodorant.
11. Dressing up in traditional Korean outfits are fun, minus the crazy hair.
12. Play the drums is better than dressing up (sorry, no pictures for that).
13. Repacking for our final destination in Korea is a wonderful thing.
14. Incheon is near the airport, and thus closer to home. Very, very good.
15. Elevators are not a necessity in Korea. They are a luxury that only happens in buildings above five stories. We are on the fourth floor of a five story building. We get lots of exercise.
16. Red peppers can be seeing drying just about everywhere. Try not to think about that when you are eating the sauce they make from it.
17. Ramen as a staple food item happens in more places than just a college dormitory.
18. Any desire Beth-Anne had to go back in time and be “old fashion” is slowly disappearing as she hangs all her clothes to dry and has to iron all of them.
19. Washing machines in Korean are no fun. Especially when the water has been turned off and you didn’t know it.
20. Bumming internet off others is great, except when the only place to get it, is in the laundry room and has to be in a very certain spot-standing up.
21. Washing dishes in a Korean house is better done sitting down in a chair. The sinks are short.
22. The pastor of your church telling you they are coming over in a few hours creates a very clean house, very quickly.
23. In cities you can find a park area, even if it is surrounded by city.
24. Matthew loves the Olympics (1988)
25. We have a guest bedroom. Come visit.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Incheon It Is

Hey everyone!

Sorry, it's been a while since we last updated. We have been non-stop (for the most part) since we've been here. We've had two free afternoons, but not much beyond that. We will have blogs and pictures coming very soon, however, we wanted to let you know that we know where we are staying!

We are staying at Incheon! That may not mean much to you, but it is close to Seoul, and close to the airport. Those are both positives.

Anyway, more to you soon. TTFN

Matt and Beth-Anne