Thursday, May 31, 2012

And you?

I'm sure you remember the riots in Cairo in the beginning of 2011.  I certainly do.  I followed that story like a hawk, keeping the TV turned to the news at all times.  I was sure someone was going to roll out the artillery and massacre them all when they were confined to the square, and I wasn't the only one who thought that.  It seemed like everyone thought that.  In spite of the great potential for death, the protestors did not set aside their religion.  In February, there is a major Muslim holiday called Milad Un Nabi (birthday Of The Prophet Muhammad), and when that holiday came 'round, plenty of people were still in midst of their protest, so the question arose - what would happen?  Would the government strike back while they were in their observant prayers?  Would the muslims succumb to fear and not observe it?  Would they disperse?

I think the solution shocked the whole world.  The Egyptian Christian community came together, a mere fortnight after a Muslim radical's suicide bombing took the lives of 23 Christians, to provide a human barrier between the Muslim worshipers and the military on the other side of them.

I found this photo attached to this article.
Today hase no significant ties to this event.  I just happened upon this photograph, which made me think about it all.  I began thinking of how many people would be against this idea - Christians protecting Muslims - but I cannot stand with anyone who says that it's wrong, because I believe that this is what we were put on this earth to do: Love your neighbor as you love yourself.  Moreover, we are called to love, unconditionally, uninhibitedly.  Don't believe me?  Let me prove it:

Find more translations here.
Please note, that in that day, Samaritans and Jews had nothing to do with each other.  The were enemies, and, yet, it was the Samaritan who was willing to protect this Jew as he returned from the very cause of their controversy (Don't know what that is?  Read up on it here).  Let me remind you of Jesus' instructions concerning the Samaritan: "Go and do likewise" (Luke 10:37).

So I ask you: Are you willing to take the plunge and protect those who may very well be seeking to destroy you?

Just a little food for thought today.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Just a little life update... for once.

I don't think I've given you an actual life update since I got to Korea... maybe some snarky pretend life updates, but I'm going to buckle down and give you an actual one.  Why?  Because my other option is lesson planning.

My trip to Thailand really opened my eyes to
how mixed  Buddhism and Hinduism have become.
We kicked off this week with Buddha's birthday.  Now, a lot of my Christian friends have been pretty fired up about this, justifying celebrations as not being about Buddha and so forth.  Here's the thing, though.  Plenty of people who couldn't care less about Christ have no problem celebrating Christmas and Easter.  Not to mention, Buddhism had absolutely nothing to do with religion until it mixed with Hinduism.  Before then, it was just a lifestyle about peace and unity with the world and yourself.  This does not in any way, shape, or form negate Christianity.  Buddhism now?  Yes, it does.  What Buddhism was meant to be? No it doesn't.  And if you really want me to ruffle your feathers, I can take that a step further and say that Christianity now negates what Christianity was meant to be, too, so there's a whole lot of negation going on here.  Like I mentioned before, I didn't spend the holiday doing much of anything special.  I took the bunny to the animal hospital, then laid around on Monday, working on some editing for my story.  Pre-bunny adventures, the bun and I attended a cookout on the roof of our apartment building, which ended with a not-so-happy manager kicking us off the roof.  The general consensus is that, yes, fireworks are legal in Korea, but perhaps we should have taken them to a beach or something.

Writing writing, writing...
Also... I'd like to paint my nails that color again.
Tuesday was the usual post-long-weekend duldrum of wanting more vacation.  I need to hurry and get this "being a writer" thing moving... I think I'd really like that, to be honest.  It wouldn't matter where I lived or what else I did, so long as I met my deadlines.  How can you help me? (Because I KNOW you all want to help me... haha.)  Tell people about the blog, and watch for my name on a fiction series a couple years from now.  When you see it, buy it.  :) hahah.

Tuesday was also a flurry of preparations for the series of Skype calls that my 6th graders are doing.  Right now, they're studying how to hold phone calls in English, so I figured that this was a wonderful way to let them practice.  I had to make sure Skype was installed on all the computers, cameras and mics were working, and my callers were up-to-date and ready to go on info.  Even though I knew things would still glitch, I wanted it to be as glitch-free as possible.  What I didn't bank on were thunderstorms on the East Coast AND in Korea (no-thunderstorm central).  I guess that's how these things work, right?

The project that started it all: my fourth graders Skyping
with Jaimi and Sam.  (No, you didn't miss it.  I've just been bad
about keeping you updated.)
Today was the big kick off of the Skype calls.  It was definitely interesting.  The 6th grade girls couldn't get over having an American young man on the screen, so I'm a little tentative about how tomorrow is going to turn out on that front.  Of course, the men tomorrow won't have blonde hair, so it'll probably be a bit easier to handle.  Either way, I'm seriously considering a women-only policy for my higher grades.  I don't think that'll cause any stirs, since the boys aren't hormonally mature enough for that issue.  All-in-all, I think the kids did okay.  They certainly had some room for improvement, but my Thursday classes tend to be better than my Wednesday classes, so we'll see how that goes.  (Hopefully, I'll remember to snag some pictures on the sly tomorrow, too.  Maybe I'll ask someone to do some screen shots on their end for me?  We'll see.)

Today, lunch was incredibly good (and even came with cheese sticks!), except for this rice ball that made me nervous.

I ate this with my lunch today.  Look carefully.  Those little black dots are eyes...
apparently of fish that look exactly like worms.   I had to close my eyes to do it,
which one of my co-teachers noticed and may or may not be offended?
I don't know.  Either way, the fish/worms show up enough at school
that I should probably learn to eat them wide-eyed.

Today, I also got done at work early.  Apparently, on any month that has a fifth Wednesday, the teachers take off early to go hiking.  I was all set to go, but it was drizzling, so they opted against it, and everyone just went home.  Wouldn't you know it?  As soon as I got dropped off, the rain stopped.  Personally, I would have enjoyed either one, but they probably made the better call.  I'm too used to non-acidic rain.  But, I'll count it as a win for the home team.  You know what else I found out?  We don't have school on Friday; it's my school's "birthday."  I'll take it.

Day 01. Selfie.  No mirrors... just a fancy iPhone4.
Finally, I have opted to start the Summer of Blimey Cow Photo Challenge.  I'll be posting my shots on here, but I would love to see yours, too if you opt to do it, so find me on Twitter, where I will also be posting my shots.  (Or you can ALWAYS post links and things in my comments!)  We'll see how long I stay dedicated to this... and/or I'll just have some days that I'm posting a bunch of catch-up pictures. It is my blog, after all, so I can really just do whatever I want.

Have a lovely week, enjoy working on Friday, and pretend like I'm not actually mean enough to have just rubbed that in your face. ;)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The question you've all been asking: E.T.A.?

With my one-year mark in Korea quickly approaching, I've been receiving a lot of the same question: "When are you coming back to America?"

The answer to that question on its surface level is easy: I'll be Stateside from August 9th to the 18th.

The answer to the question that I'm pretty sure you're asking ("When are you moving back to the States?") is a little more complicated.  Let me try to explain.

Bahamas: My first international mission trip (2007)

When I was little, maybe in Kindergarten or first grade, some missionaries came to my church to speak about their work in Nigeria.  I knew then that I would be working outside of the U.S.  Never in my life has that underlying knowledge wavered.  This has nothing to do with a hatred or even a dislike for the United States.  I may say that I don't like living there, but that's not quite an accurate description of how I feel there.  I am definitely American by culture.  I am not fully American anymore, nor could I be the second I first stepped into another culture, but my overarching culture is American.  Here's the thing, living in the States makes me feel trapped.  When I'm there, there's this stress that's on me that most people only feel around finals or evaluation time.  I am not designed to be there, or at least not right now.  For that reason, it is not my current intention to return to the United States for any length of time.  I still may come back for schooling or do schooling online, I'm not sure; I'm just taking life one day at a time.

Let's face it, though.  I'm saying all this, but you must understand that everything could change tomorrow.  I go where G-d sends me.  If G-d sends me back to the U.S., that's where I'll be.  I'm just speaking from my current understanding of the plan, but I am human, and I am small, so my understanding could be incredibly flawed.

All of that is to say:
My evaluation went very well, and, barring some major change, I will be staying in Korea another year.  (And that thought brings a smile to my face. ^_^)

Some of my third graders and me, directly after my evaluation

Monday, May 28, 2012

Okay, so what have we learned?

I can still hear my dad, singing those words at me  I hated them.  They usually popped up when I had dome something especially stupid, like knocking over my glass of milk or something (or wrote the word dome instead of done... See what I did there?).  Today, I feel like someone needs to come to my house and ask me that question.  Except don't, because today's Buddha's birthday, so we don't have school, and I'm celebrating by not wearing pants today.

So, after my three cups of coffee that I had yesterday afternoon at Kris' apartment (no creme, no sugar, so it was almost healthy... it probably would have been in a smaller amount), and the midnight trip to the animal hospital, I was wired, and stayed up until the moon went to bed, waking up just now.  No, I don't feel great, but it's not too bad.  I'm loopy enough to take the bun into my bathroom and actually encourage her to pee in the shower, though.  I'm glad I did.  I'm pleased to announce:

The pee is normal again!!!

Yeah, you probably didn't need to see that, but it fits with the theme of what I learned in this excursion.  Speaking of which, all together now:

Okay, so what have we learned?

  1. We learned that Korea has 24 hour vets.
  2. We learned that you that class syllabi are actually helpful.
  3. We learned that certain TESOL professor's wives are very self-sacrificing.
  4. We learned that bunnies may or may not have blood-colored pee from time-to-time... (I would have taken her to the vet whether I looked that up first or not.  The guinea pig died of tumors which were indicated by the blood in her urine.)
  5. We learned that I'm gonna be one of those crazy mommas that takes their babies to the doctor for every little thing.  (And one of those crazy mommas that posts pictures of every little thing here babies do: "Look!  Johnny made a poop in the potty!  Yayyyy!"  Prepare yourself.)
  6. We learned that I should probably just go ahead and set up a weekly appointment with a pediatrician, scheduled to start eight years from now or so.
Okay.  That's what I learned.  What did you learn?  (Yes, I was only dumb enough to say that to my father once.)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hey, Anne... what did you do with your long weekend?

Just a normal long weekend... you know...

Oh, yeah... aside from the fact that my rabbit started peeing blood, so I called and woke up one of my TESOL profs and his wife to beg them to take me to the 24 hour animal hospital and translate for me.  Unbeknownst to me, I was waking up a woman who was terrified of animals.


Bunny did NOT like the ultrasound procedure, but seemed to realize at some point that we were trying to help her, because she chilled out.

She REALLY did not like the X-ray, since we had to stretch her legs out.

But she was very good for her shots.

Let's see if she behaves when I have to give her her meds two times a day.

She could have an infection or a bladder inflammation, but the vet wasn't totally sure.  He referred me to a bunny specialist in Seoul, though.  A bunny specialist.  I don't even go to see human specialists.

Picture me throwing my hands up into the air here.  Now, look at this video of my bun being healthy.

Oh yeah... I busted up my $10/day budget for today.  Just an FYI.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


For those of you who don't look at my Facebook, I've made some delicious, totally cute desserts for an auction at the International Church tomorrow.  I've dubbed them "Couplecakes."

These things are so cute that I can't stand it!  Plus, they taste really delicious.  I'm glad that I saved a few for myself.

Recipe-wise, I'm not good at creating my own baking recipes, but I did modify THIS ONE.

Instead of the pineapple, I put in about 3/4 cup of shredded cucumber, some chocolates chunks, and 2 packets of apple cider mix.  And, those of you who know me, can rightfully expect me to double the amount of spices called for.  I like those spices.  They are delicious.

For the frosting, I followed this recipe... sort of.  I hard core fudged the measurements, based on what I had lying around.  I also substituted in some butter, which I wish I hadn't done, but I ran out of cream cheese, and something had to happen.  Suggestion: don't run out of creme cheese.

Couplecakes and their babycake

I looked around online to find Bible verses about love to pair with each set.  I had some ideas in my head of what I wanted to use, but I'm horrible at numbers, and, therefore, references.  Luckily, the internet excels at both of those things.

I'm not expecting these to bring in a lot of money, since there's only 2 or 3 cupcakes, but that's still more than the church had before, right?  So, if you like what you see, make sure you're at the International Church tomorrow to bid!

"...And still we open the door for him to surrender." - Ambassador Francisco Madeira

On April 13, 2012, The Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, Jacob Oulanyah, announced that their government would be extending the Amnesty Act, in order to protect any member of the LRA who wanted to surrender.  One month later, Caesar Achellam came out of the bush.  The words of Ambassador Francisco Madeira (as quoted at the top of this article) seemd to make it clear that this Amnesty Act included everyone in the LRA, including Joseph Kony himself.  However, that is now being disputed.  Read up on that HERE, then come back to me.

Amnesty Acts are nothing new in Africa.  The most widely successful example of it is that which happened in South Africa.  As an American, I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around that idea, but I'm a lot closer to it now than I used to be.  I used to write the idea off as preposterous, something that was only working for now by some miracle of G-d, while people were biding their time to return to how they had been.  But I have changed my mind.  Christ would extend these people grace.  As a person who claims to follow His lead, I cannot do anything but the same without tarnishing my witness and His reputation.

Why?  Because it's not black and white.

"[Cesar Achellam] is wanted by the International Criminal Court for rape, mutilation and murder of civilians, as well as forcibly recruiting children to serve as soldiers and sex slaves" (BBC).  It's hard to ignore those crimes.  They're horrific.  They make me want to vomit.  They rip out my heart.

Ceasar Achellam also spent at least 20 years under Joseph Kony.  20 years.  One look at his face spells it out for you: He was captured as a child.  He grew up in a culture of rape, mutilation, murder, and slavery.  He is no more responsible for thinking those actions are a way of life than I am for thinking that waffles are a breakfast food.

Don't get me wrong.  I do think that there was a part of him that knew those actions were inexcusable, just like there's a part of me that knows that waffles are not universally a breakfast food, but I am saying that it's not something that he could have avoided (and kept his life). 

Maybe waffles isn't an appropriate example.  Let's say lying - lying is pretty acceptable in American culture, especially white lies.  Or what about gluttony?  That's entirely acceptable in American culture, but it's on the list of the Seven Deadly Sins.  Interestingly enough, murder is not.  Wrath, however, is, and it is out of wrath that we want "justice" for this man.
Wrath (Latin, ira), also known as "rage", may be described as inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger. Wrath, in its purest form, presents with self-destructiveness, violence, and hate that may provoke feuds that can go on for centuries. Wrath may persist long after the person who did another a grievous wrong is dead. Feelings of anger can manifest in different ways, including impatiencerevenge, andvigilantism.
But let's talk about what it was that Mr. Achellam said.  Mr. Achellam went on record before the world, saying, "My coming out will have a big impact for the people still in the bush to come out and end this war soon."  If you ask me, these are not the words of a man who was acting of his own volition.  These are the words of a child, who finally found a way to return home.  Maybe I am being fooled by a man looking to save himself.  Maybe.  But I cannot in good conscious condone "justice" for this man.

While I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. How could I possibly say that this man deserves anything less?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

June goals, a head start

My friend Kelli (wife to JoshTaylor of Blimey Cow) has been doing this wonderful project of monthly resolutions.  I, being the non-committal person that I am, smiled, nodded, said "that's a good idea," and moved on.  BUT today, I was reality checked (think of how people check each other in hockey, and that's similar to how G-d checks me.  Don't think chess.  Don't even think wizard's chess.  Neither of those are violent enough).

Since my birthday, I've been indulging too much.  At first, I justified it with "It's birthday week.  I'll let myself do what I want."  Then, it was, "I freaking just got out of the hospital because I couldn't breath," (bronchitis.  It's gone now.  Don't worry.) "I'll let myself do what I want."  Until today, it wasn't even a conscious thought.  I was just doing what I wanted with no regard to anything else.

But, today it became clear that this needed to stop.  Sooooo I'm setting some boundaries and some goals to whip myself into shape.  I'm hoping to set goals in these categories each month.  I'll check in and grade myself for you, too.  So, whether you like it or not, you're holding me accountable.
  1. Health: Aside from Project: 물 주세요, I am adding that I need to exercise every day.  I specifically need to slim down my thighs, as they're rubbing together when I walk and forming very painful blisters.  I'd show you a picture, but they're too high for me to feel comfortable putting that on my blog.
  2. Self-improvement: This month, I'm going to try to live on $10 a day.  I want to be saving much more than I am.  I'll allow my $10 a day to roll-over, so on days when I don't spend anything (like today), I'll have more for the next day.  This does not include things like bills, transportation, and tithe, but it does include my food budget.  We'll see how this goes.
  3. Focus on others: This month, I'd like to write a letter every day, mailing them once a week.  I think too much about myself.  Hopefully, this will make me think more about others.
  4. Other: (I couldn't think of a good category title for this one.) Write a page a day on my story. I need to find a good time in my day to do this, because writing just before I go to sleep is proving disastrous to my character development.
So, yes.  Those are my biggies.  We'll see how they go.  Today, I'm acing them, having only one left to do (exercise, of course... although I did take the stairs).  I'll keep you posted.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday, I slept in for the first time all week.  I was excited.
Today, I woke up to my alarm so I could watch the full solar eclipse.  I was expecting everything to go dark like it did in Heroes.  It didn't, so I didn't see the full eclipse, only the partial ones.

This is a photo taken by Adam Thomas.  Like I said, it wasn't actually dark outside, so I'm assuming he played with his settings a lot to make it look like this.  You can see the rest of his eclipse photos HERE.
Yesterday, I started my day with a full breakfast and a pleasant walk to church.
Today, I started my day with breakfast on the bus and the realization that I was going to have to deal with drama from two different continents.

Yesterday, I stood up for myself.
Today, I broke up my first fist-fight.

Yesterday, I joined my friends at Awesome Place for some coffee and laughs (true to Project: 물 주세요, I drank a kiwi-yogurt smoothie, which I figured would have less sugar than a green tea latte).
Today, I realized that that rolling pain across the crown of my head was a chronic tension headache.

Yesterday I finished LOST for the second time.  (I don't care what you say.  I still adore the ending).
Today, I started watching Alex McKenzie and Jesse Page's senior project.  This is Alex's first full-length film that he's scored, and Jesse did an amazing job with the sound editing, too. (I was thrilled to be able to cross "Be the voice of a cartoon character" off my Bucket List with this project.)

Yesterday, I pretended to clean my apartment.
Today, I plan to make an actual dent in it.

Yesterday, I wrote three pages.
Today, I have a feeling I'm going to be struggling to make the one-page quota.

Yesterday, I bought some nutmeg - ON SALE! :)
Today, I will be eating it on a sweet potato. :)

Yesterday, I let go of a lot of things.
Today, I think I snatched them off that shelf I set them on.  Ah well... we all have those days.

That my friends, was my yesterday and today, which happens to be one of my favorite albums, so I'm going to leave you with a song from it, documenting a problem that I do NOT have:

How about you?  What's your yesterday and today?

Saturday, May 19, 2012


There was a mistake in the bloggerland, and, because I was trying to free up some more space for new photos, some old ones got deleted.  Boo.  Now, all you see is a pretty little circle with a line in it, instead of some lovely pictures... like the ones I posted of David and Sarah Schanck.  Boo.  If this troubles you as much as it does me, let me know and I'll take the time to go fix it.  Otherwise, remain in you vortex of silence... although, that vortex may also be caused by another issue in the bloggerland... apparently some of you can't comment??  I don't know how to fix that, the host of the bloggerland (the largest monopoly on the face of the planet, Google) is too good to have a "contact us for help" section.  They just users post on message boards.  I have yet to find an instance when that works.  Anyway.  Yes... problems.  There you go.

Looking for a new worship song?

My friend Emy and her fiance, Hamil, wrote this amazing song that I'd like to share with you.  Here, it is being performed by one of Trevecca's PR groups Refuge, although Emy and Hamil do appear in the video (Hamil is the first man you see outside of the band, Emy is the first woman).  Give it a listen, I think you'll find it changing your day.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Project: 물 주세요

The other day, I ran out of Coke.  I know... I can hear Jaimi gasping all the way over here, but it happened.  I decided that that marked the perfect time to go ahead and start something that my friend JoshTaylor of Blimey Cow has been trying to get me to do for a while: cut out the processed sugar in my drinks.  (Not to mention, my health has been so flukey lately that I could really use the immune-boost.)  Now, I'm not sure that I'm intending on going as ninja as he does on his diet, but I did set up some rules for myself:
  1. I won't buy pop (or sugar-high juices) except for special occasions.
  2. I won't drink pop (or sugar-high juices) unless directly offered ("no" isn't a culturally-acceptable word).
  3. At home, I will drink water, homemade juices, milk, or almond milk.
  4. If given the option, "What would you like to drink?" my answer will be "물 주세요" (Water, please!"
I've technically been doing this for several days now, but today was the first time I had to be conscious about it.  I'm telling you, there's nothing like a Coke when you're hot, tired, and thirsty, but I held out.  We'll see what tomorrow brings.

What health thing are you working on right now?  Let's go in this together.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I'm writing again.

The last time I wrote like this, it was in first grade.  I was writing a story called Planet X.  I gave up when I realized how much it was developing, though.  I wasn't willing to be in it for the long haul.  This time, I'm determined to see my story through.  Interestingly enough, it's kind of like a grown-up Planet X... sort of.  Perhaps that's why it's flowing so easily.  Anyway, I've promised myself that I'm going to write at least a page a day.  So far, that hasn't been a problem.  I'm not really worried about lack of inspiration, I'm more concerned about a lack of motivation at some point.

So, will you help me?  Will you ask me about it?  Will you hold me accountable?

It would make me really happy if you would.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Be Thou my Vision

On Sunday, I sang my favorite hymn in church... in Korean.  They've been on me to sing/play a solo in church for a while now, but I've been hesitant, because I didn't see how I could do that without drawing the attention toward me and away from G-d, but then I figured it out: a melody that I know really well, paired with words my churchmates can understand (i.e., Korean).  So, I sang.  Don't get excited.  There's no media for you today.

From the best I've been able to understand, it's not an incredibly popular hymn here.  No one has recognized it when I've hummed it for them, but holy cow, did G-d speak through it.  Whether it was the shock of Korean coming out of my mouth or the power of the song (or both), I had their attention from the word go (or 가세요, more appropriately).  They "amen"-ed as much as they do during a normal sermon - loud, unashamed, and heart-felt.  G-d was moving.

We often don't pay attention to the words we sing, but what if the person who you could never understand before, suddenly stood up and starting singing one in your language?  You'd probably listen differently.  I think we need to start paying attention to the words we sing like that all the time.  I mean, in Korea, these words are so important that they're included as part of their Bibles.  That's a big deal.

My Pop-pop had a habit of making us read certain verses of songs when he really wanted us to pay attention to their meaning, and you know what?  I can still quote you the verse he did it the most on. (And when I think, that G-d, His Son not sparing, sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in.  That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin.)

So, in the spirit of truly looking at the words we sing and the message they're trying to give us, I'm going to post the words of this song for you (as printed in the Wesleyan hymnals I've seen), coupled with the Korean, since I seem to have a decent amount of Korean visitors.  I hope you will take the time to read it all.

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
내 맘의 주여 소망되소서
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
주 없이 모든 일 헛되어라
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
밤이나 낮이나 주님 생각
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
잘 때나 깰 때 함께하소서 

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
지혜의 주여 말씀으로서
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
언제나 내안에 계십소서
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
주는 내 아버지 나는 아들
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
주안에 내가 늘 살고지고

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
세상의 영광 나 안보여도
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
언제나 주님의 나의 기업
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
주님만 내 맘에 계시오니
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
영원한 주님 참 귀하셔라

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
영원한 주님 내 승리의 주
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
하늘의 기쁨을 주옵소서
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
어떠한 고난이 닥쳐와도
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.
만유의 주여 소망되소서


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Names you should know: John Schanck

Recently, my cousin John started getting some jobs in his ideal field, acting, and I couldn't be more thrilled for him.  I know I haven't even figured out my ideal field, let alone gotten a job in it (as far as I know... since I don't know what it is, maybe I have!), so for him to be doing this is a pretty big deal, I think.  I'm so stinking proud of my cousin that it hurts.

Well, back in January, he got a role in a short, student film, went on location, and got it all shot.  Today, I got to watch the whole thing, and I must say, I was pretty impressed.  Normally, I can smell this kind of ending from a mile away (Sorry, if you know my movie-predicting habits, I may have just ruined this for you.), but I did not seeing this ending coming.

So, here's what I would suggest:  Take a moment to watch the trailer, then make some popcorn, grab your friends, and enjoy.  

(Just so you know, this movie would be rated PG-13 for language, given this reason as found on the CARA website: "A motion picture’s single use of one of the harsher sexually-derived words, though only as an expletive, initially requires at least a PG-13 rating.  More than one such expletive requires an R rating, as must even one of those words used in a sexual context.")

Now, without any further ado, I am absolutely ecstatic to present:

The Whispers in the Walls

Directed by Isaac Ruth

Starring John Schanck and Nicole Cinaglia

Click here to see some more names you should know!

This movie has been posted with permission from the director.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Somebody That I Used to Know - Gotye

This is currently my favorite song, and it seems to be the world's, too.  There are so many excellent arrangements of it, and I've selected quite a few of them, for varying reasons, and, yes, I realize that two of these videos may make people uncomfortable (the 2nd, which is the original, and the 4th, which is the gLee cover), but fear not, in a fun twist (as pointed out to me by my friend Becca), the gLee video is sung by two brothers.  have selected each video for either its emotional portrayal of the song or its musicality or both.  Your heart will be able to identify them for you.

I've put my favorite arrangement of it first, followed by the original.  Next is my first exposure to the song.  The final is evidence of the world's adoration of it, and probably the one that tears at my heart the most.

I hope you can enjoy this song as much as I do!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Open Class

Today, I had my open class, which is just another way of saying that I had my evaluation today.  The funny thing is, I barely even was nervous.  I don't know if it's just that I feel confident that I do my job well or that all my years of performance training kicked in (or both).  But instead of the crippling nerves I used to get before anything, I was actually pretty excited for it.  I think I was mostly looking forward to proving myself.  By doing something well in front of others, I often am able to validate myself, regardless of their opinion of my performance.  If I feel I did well, then I'll feel comfortable in what I'm doing.  There's something very different in doing something in privacy and doing the same thing with an audience.  That audience somehow changes it all.

I started the class early, reminding the kids that they needed to be on their best behavior before all the other teachers and administrators (and Office of Education People) came in.  I have several high-level English-speakers in that class, including one who was born and raised in Australia, so I knew I could count on them to help me out.  In fact, Daniel, the kid from Australia, helped me tell my illustration story. They're such good kids, and I'm extremely fond of them all right now, as they did a wonderful job during class.  I fully intend on showering them with candy the next time I see them.

In case you couldn't tell, I'm feeling pretty good about my evaluation.  My Vice Principal even said that it seems like I have "a lot of passion for teaching."  I explained for my Head Teacher that I have a lot of passion for the kids, and what they need right now is an English teacher, but I'm not sure how much of that survived the translation process.  Nonetheless, it all seems to have gone well. :)  I'm happy.

That being said, here are some photographs that are not quite Facebook profile picture worthy, but I like anyway:


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Names you should know: Alexandria Alspach

My friend Alex is pretty amazing.  There are two of them actually, and they're both pretty amazing, to tell you the truth, but this time, I'm talking about the girl Alex, not the boy (but if you want to know more about why he's so amazing, you can click here.)

Anyway, Alex the girl has always had a heart for missions.  In fact, I met her because of my first trip to Germany, which we made together, although the only thing I can really remember of her from that is noticing that we used the same type of makeup.  Luckily, a much better friendship has bloomed since then.

The Germany crew in the Frankfurt airport
Left to right, Back: Me, Jonathan, Michael, Emily, Caleb
Front: Francis, Jenny, Carrie, Alex, Buffy

Since then, Alex has worked her fingers to the bone and given up countless hours of sleep to complete college and graduate with a B.S. in Special Education, and now is packing up her life and moving to Bulgaria in order to work in an orphanage focused on children with special needs.

Like I said, this girl is amazing.

Anyway, I'd like to encourage you to check out her blog and her donation page.  She's going to need a pretty decent amount of money to get started over there, so let's help her out.  I mean, really, how can you turn down this face: 

Check her out.  Subscribe to her blog.  Send her some love.

Love you all!

Click here to see some more names you should know!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sports Day

Okay.  I know it's been a while, and I'm sorry.  It's a long story, that I'm not actually going to elaborate on, because it's not really all that interesting unless you like whine with your cheese.  Instead, I'm going to say "Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles..." and "identify that quote."  Assuming she actually reads my blog, I vote Greykell Dutton for the win.

Anyway, what I want to write about is Sports Day.  They take that sucker pretty seriously around here.  It's pretty much how they view football in Texas, only it's field day... without the safety rules.

I'll admit it -  I was pretty annoyed when I was informed that we would pretty much be taking a week off in preparation for the big day.  "Why on earth do you need a practice day for field day?" I thought.  By the time practice day was over, I still didn't understand.  It wasn't until I saw the smiling faces of the entire community that I got it.  Practice day was needed, because there would be parents and grandparents jumping in everywhere, screaming and cheering.

Yes, that's right.  Koreans were taking time off from work to smile, laugh, and relax.

And then I got it.

Maybe to them, it's about encouraging their kids to be the best in the school.  But when I looked around, I saw a bunch of people doing what they most needed to do: Take a breather.  So now, I am a huge believer in Sports Day, even if I can hear every Maryland government official screaming about liabilities and wasted education time, because this is what life is about: LIVING and LOVING.

That being said, I'm going to show you some pictures and let you decide if it's worth a week of our year-round schooling:

The kids, lined up and at attention for the opening ceremony.
Grandparents came and got the full treatment: "50-yard-line" seats and food.  They were cute dressed up in their Sunday best.

A fun game where kids threw disks at poles.  The team that got the most disks on the poles won.

Every kid participated in a footrace, distanced by age group.
Even the youngest kids ran.

Parents waited at the finish line, with their fashionable parasols.

This game would never ever be legal in the States. :)

A parent-preschooler game.

Some cuties I made friends with.  They're the younger siblings of a student of mine.

A grandparent-student game

Yes, in true Asia-fashion, we involved a gong.

After a full day of activities, Sports Day ended in a tie.  I can't really say that I was upset, though.  There were much fewer kids to console this way.  

Even though I was cheering for the white team (they were the underdog all day, and I love an underdog), this little guy was way too cute. :)