Sunday, October 26, 2008

Random News

Here is some random information we thought you'd be interested in. Or...we just wanted to post about. =)

These are our slippers. Pollution causes our floors to be continually dirty.

This is after wearing them only one day.

We broke Matthews trimmers (the voltage was higher than expected) so he had to buy scissors to cut his hair.

Abe, Beth-Anne, Matthew, and Paul. Game night with Matthew's religion class.

We've had trouble sleeping because of the light. We had a blanket over the wall but Matthew now has covered it with boxes taped to the window.

This is the room with the lights off in broad day light. Much better!

We finally found a book store with ENGLISH books! We got some classics to help us improve our English.

And lastly...we are leaving for Palau and Yap tomorrow morning!!! Ahhh!!! When we come back, we'll have pictures to show you about that!

Gyeonbok Palace- A story by pictures

It was a dreary looking Sunday...

The pollution was thick and we were feeling like it looks. But luckily Edward (former SAU student, now teaching with us here in Korea) had invited us to go with some of his level one students to a palace.

Happily we rode the subway. See their smiles?

We are learning to smile with "peace" signs. We are becoming so culturally aware, don't you think?

At first the guards were menacing!

But they warmed up after a while!

First we had to pass over the bridge and cleanse ourselves of our wicked thoughts. The statues were there to scare the evil spirits away.

And boy were we glad we did! Otherwise these two statues would have come to life and killed us with their horns!!

Some statues were not as scary.

Edward and I even tried to sneak up close to one!

There were beautiful things to see, each building was colored brightly.

This painting is over 150 years old.

A beautiful private get-away location for the royal family.

We all think we are royalty and should be allowed to go there...

but sadly we were not allowed and had to only look like royalty from the outside.

Otherwise the man-eating carp might have gotten us!

Even so, Matthew and I wanted to make sure and show our love for the place.

There were more statues to befriend and so Edward and I (being of the Tiger zodiac) were able to get up close and personal with this one.

Natalie and Matthew were even able to tame this pig statue as well (since they were of the pig Chinese zodiac). We were very proud of ourselves.

At this point Matthew began to feel rather hungry.

But he didn't want to eat the "silk" worms that were being sold on the streets.

So the students took us to a traditional Korean restaurant in Insa-dong. We are not totally sure of everything we ate, but certain things were pretty yummy.

Then we went for a walk and saw many more building and people. Statues were now limited, so we were a little sad.

But we were able to be entertained with music and art!

All in all it was a very full and good day.

More or different pictures will be put here.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Thank You

For most people I think that receiving good old fashion mail is a wonderful thing. This joyous feeling is multiplied in the millions when you are far away from home.

We just wanted to post a THANK YOU (we used the largest font possible to tell you!) to all of you who have sent us letters, cards, and packages. We don't have pictures of the cards from everyone, but you know who you are and thank you so much. Our refrigerator is now decorated with love from all of you. (It's the most decorated item in our apartment has!)
Here are a few pictures of our recent goodies!

(From Daddy, hazelnut dark chocolate)

(From Daddy, oh the glories of having American labled spices!)

(From Daddy. This is the look of is White Chocolate Mocha-Hot Chocolate)

(From Emily! I use it all the time!)

(From Geoff & Amy. Can you tell he's excited? The candles were especially a wonderful treat!)

(This is right after we got the package from Ron and Debbie. The video is self explanitory!)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Our Afternoon Trip to Seoul

A Blog of Matthew

We took a trip to Seoul yesterday to make a year-lasting investment, and this is what our trip yielded...

(brace yourselves!)

48 cans of vegeburger baby!

The case wrote it as "beji bogo."

And here's a flashback (about two weeks ago) to Foundation Day. This is a video from outside our apartment window!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

English Village- Teachers' Retreat

Wow, the days just keep getting busier! And it’s not about to let up any time soon. We are still doing updates from a while back so enjoy!

(View from our laundry room)

On September 26th we woke up to the first cool morning we’d experienced in Korea. It was wonderful. Not only was it cold, but there was a beautiful clear sky with the sun rising. We only get clear skies after it rains and it had rained pretty hard the day before.

That morning we left for our teacher’s retreat. All seven of our teachers got into our blue van and headed off to English Village. It took about two hours to get there, but it was nice to not have classes that Friday.

English Village is a place that students go to learn English (I think it’s like an intensive course training). The students are all high school and younger. English Village is also used as a place for different retreats and so we went.

This is the first place we’ve been to in Korea that is in the country. It felt so good to breathe fresh air. I had not really ever experienced truly breathing fresh air before, because I was so use to it at home. But both Matthew and I could tell a huge difference. So those living in the country (or even in a US city) breathe deeply for us, we miss that clean air!

English Village is like nothing we’ve seen in Korea so it didn’t even feel like we were in Korea. It felt like we’d been transported to a difference place.

When we got there we ate lunch and started to look around. And slowly but surely we realized that everything was named after things in Virginia! Matthew was thrilled! Especially when we found “New Market”. This actually ended up being a food market but it was definitely named after his home town. There was even Shenandoah Park! But that ended up only being a really small area of land. Oddly there were also English styled telephone booths. So in essence we went to Virginia and England all in one weekend.

(If you make this bigger you might be able to see the names)

(New Market)

(Displaying Shenandoah Park)

(I couldn't resist)

We stayed in a place called American Dogwood. It’s a dormitory of sorts but it was pretty nice. Minus the fact that we had bunk beds. It’s amazing but a single bed is big enough for two people to fit on, since being in Korea we’ve had lots of practice.

We soaked up being in the country and just sitting around outside talking.

(Enjoying as much of a country life as we'll get in Korea.)

After exploring the area Matthew decided to go and play basketball. Since this was a teachers retreat we were with all the other SDA Language teachers.

We also met up with the people from our orientation group! This was wonderful. It was terrible to leave home and family, but at orientation our group really clicked. But then we were all sent off to different schools and so the teachers’ retreat was a mini-family reunion for us.

While Matthew played basketball I took a walk with some of the girls from orientation. It was great to walk on a road that was in the country, and to spend time comparing stories with our group from orientation.

(Some scenery from my walk)

Something fabulous about reading English as a native speaker is that things in English are very humorous when done wrong.

What does “Good wine needs no bush”? Have to do with anything? I would think that wine wouldn’t need a bush whether it was good or bad. Who knows, I don’t drink wine? But I think this was supposed to have some spiritual application because it looked like seminar titles for an SDA convention.

This is just a picture of the soda machines they have around here in Korea.

That night for supper we had spaghetti! Mmmm, and these delicious muffins that tasted more like take mix than anything else. It was wonderful. You can see our bunkbed in the background.

Most of our time on the retreat was spent in meetings. As all meetings go, some were good and some were not.

Saturday after lunch they took us to a trail to hike if we wanted. We were told that at the top there was a temple and it took 40 minutes to hike up. Then we were told that they’d be back in 40 minutes. So we all began to briskly walk up the trail. This was a steeper trail that at first anticipated. Being out of shape (I am not ashamed to say this because it’s true) it was not very fun. So I told Matthew that I’d rather enjoy the beautiful outdoors that we were rushing past, than get to the temple on top. So we stopped. I am so glad that we did. We climbed down into the place where the stream was and just relished each moment we were there.

(At the beginning of the trail)

(The trail. Yes it is paved and we even saw cars driving up and down it.)

(This guy was a pretty good sized fella..."

(If you can't tell by this point, by all our nature pictures, we've really missed it.)

Eventually our group came back down and we headed along with them. The temple looked cool in the pictures they showed me, but I’d rather have spend our time as we did. God’s nature is breathtaking, especially when you’ve been gone from it for so long.

Saturday even there was a talent show. It was really fun! Our coordinator Cleopatra go up and played, one of our teachers Oscar recited a poem and had a repeating line that said, “But that was yesterday”. It became a joke the whole night. It was great. And then another teacher, and fellow SAU student, Edward did a comedy routine that was based off of current events and the junior textbook we teach out of. It was hilarious. I’d tell it to you, but you wouldn’t get it all. It was amazing though. And Mary, my classmate from BMA, recited a poem she’d written. She was great! It was better than Dr. Seuss!

(Marcus, one of the Junior Directors from the A.O.)

(Cleopatra, our director)

That night they also gave away “Happy Money”, or basically gift certificates. These apparently can be used at different places, but Matthew and I both got some! They had different categories and luckily one was, “Most recently married.” Jaz and Andy (from orientation) got money too, so that was fun.

All in all it was a good experience. The highlights were seeing people and being in the country. If you couldn’t tell, we miss the country.