Saturday, June 30, 2012

When allergic to ants... out for ones that fly.

Lesson learned.

I'm currently at the "muchies" stage of the two Bendryl I took, which means that the coma stage is not far now.  I'm already getting pretty clumsy (good thing I made biscuits before that really took hold), so it must be pretty soon.


I will give you my June goals report card and the last Blimey Cow photos (and, perhaps, a more hilarious version of this story) tomorrow.  Have a good night/day.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Life and Third Graders

Today, some of my third graders stopped by to see me during their lunch. Normally, at that time of the day, I'm pretty tired and grumpy, but a fervent prayer in the morning to put me in a better attitude to minister to these kids kept me in stitches at all of their antics all day long. My sixth graders stole my heart (we did one-on-one testing today, so I got a chance to know them as humans and not just students), and then these kids did, too.

The one little girl, 서영, has Down's Syndrome, as does her twin, and they've taken a real liking to me. This one is constantly babbling, whenever I see her. Today, I realized that she's saying, over and over, "영어 선생님!" (English teacher.) She got right up in my face to say this to me, today. I usually just let her do her thing, but the question is always there, "What am I going to do if she kisses me? What is the correct course of action?" I'm thinking I'm just going to let it slide, but I don't know what my co-workers will think is and isn't acceptable.

So, they stopped by to talk, and I brought out some stickers. Well, 서영 thought they were just the snazziest things she'd ever seen, and she didn't want me to be left out, meaning that, after I put her sticker on her hand, she grabbed the sheet from me and proceeded to empty it onto my arms and face. I returned the favor by decorating her glasses. She then removed some from my arms to do my glasses. It was very cute.

Then, I had a brilliant idea. "Teachable moment!" I said.

"Girls, how would you like to make a video for America?"
- "For America?"
"Yes. I can put it online."
- "All of America would see?"
"Well, they could if they wanted."
- "Would Obama see?"
"Maybe. If he wanted."
- "Okay."

They were hooked, and I think you will be, too, because they're so stinking adorable. This is what I got out of it. (Interestingly enough, it kind of fits what I'm sure a lot of people are thinking right now. Please note, I'm keeping my opinions on that subject entirely separate from this blog.)

"Hi Obama! I'm Korean people, and you is... uh... You name is Obama. And you is too tall and ugly."

Me: "What?! You should not tell Mr. Obama that!"

"No! It's you're handsome!"

Me: "Oh, ok. Good."

"이명박 [Korea's president], too."

Me: "All right, tell Mr. Obama bye-bye."


"No! No, no!"

Me: "No?"

"No bye-bye!"

Me: "No bye-bye... Do you have more to say?"

"No, no. Byeee!"

Me: "No? Oh, ok. Bye."
Blimey Cow photo-a-day 28. Joyous news!
I think this one speaks for itself.  ^_^

All right, friends, No bye-bye to you, too. ^_^ I've got to hit the sack. Goodnight!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The highest

Blimey Cow photo-a-day 27. A favorite quote

Since I first read this quote in Nate Kerr's Christian Tradition class (the class that is responsible for the destruction of my faith), I have not been able to shake it.  Morning, noon, or night, it will creep into my head, and I will find myself meditating on it.  No matter where I am when it hits, a quick prayer, even uttered by my heart in the spirit of the quote, will never fail to bring me back to the feet of Christ.

I don't know if it's because I'm finally fulfilling my purpose as a creation to praise the Creator...

I don't know if it's because, in praying this, I must fully turn my attention to G-d...

I don't know if it's just because I resonate so deeply with Augustine here...

But I do know that I never feel more right than when I'm acting with this quote at the forefront of my plans.

I would strongly, strongly recommend that you read a copy of Augustine's Confessions, which happens to be my favorite book.  I've linked an online preview of it for you, to make my point for me.  This book has entirely shaped the way that I write about faith and G-d (if you read it and read some of my such writings, I promise you, the influence will be unmistakable).  Seriously, check it out.  You won't be sorry you did.

Beyond that, I would encourage you to start praying this, as Augustine (and, to an extent, Paul) prayed.  I guarantee you, it will change your life.

Keep loving.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

And the winner is...

So, this was a really hard choice for me, because y'all did a far better job than I had been doing and strayed far away from J.K. Rowling's choice of character names.  (Although, apparently I forgot to rule out Madeleine L'engle's character names?)  Thank you.  You accomplished my goal.  But then, you all did well.  Seriously, everyone left me pondering the correct answer.  Which means that some of the other names may show up... Maybe even in reference to Charity... as in, I may or may not already have some ideas for how to use all of my favorites.  (Don't worry, if that happens, I'll be sure to send you some love.)

That being said, I'm doubting you want to read my babble today, so... on with the show.

The winning name was, I think, entered as a joke. However, it turned out to work on many levels for everything that I want Charity to be. It includes foreshadowing and symbolism... so, if it really was a joke, that's pretty awesome. Now, I will leave you to ponder who and what Charity could possibly be, as I announce that her name will be:

The actually entry was Charity Steward, submitted by Greg Steward (see why I think it was a joke?), but subtle differences in meaning, based on spelling, led me to change the "d" to a "t."

Greg, go ahead and contact me, and we'll talk about what you want and how to get it to you.
Where you go to subscribe

Meanwhile, everyone else can check out his blog here.

Make sure you subscribe so you don't miss any further possibilities to be a winner!

Blimey Cow photo of the day 26.  Big Head Kid impression
Big Head Kid shows up in a lot of the Blimey Cow videos.  He's pretty awesome, in that he vocalizes what my brain often thinks.  This is my 5-minute impression of him.  Luckily, we have the same hair color... ish.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Get ready...

...because I just epically shot 3 Blimey Cow photos in one.

23. Pajamas - I've been wearing this shirt to bed for several nights now. I also wore it to church on Sunday. Go ahead, judge me. But, when zombie polar bears come for your souls, I will rest easy knowing that they're not looking for mine.
24. Your best friend - Not the easiest question to photograph (I do live in Korea, for crying out loud), and the topic incredibly loaded. So, I took the entire stack of photos I had printed from last year and threw it next to me. Of course, the friends who are on top are the ones I've heard from recently, but, trust me, If you've met me, your photo is most likely in that stack somewhere.
25. Messy - My hair is wet. I'm not wearing make-up. There's a tissue next to my un-matched pillows. If you look closely enough, you'll notice that the bottom pillow has no case. It took me five tries to overcome the need for a duck face (I'm just going to blame it on exhaustion.  This is honestly the first time I've ever done it).  Yeah.  I think this photo counts as messy.

Now, I'm going to go get all this crap off my bed, and go to sleep.  Just try to stop me.  Okay, don't; I really want to sleep.

I'll talk to you tomorrow...

... When I announce who's winning the giveaway.  Not to worry, you still have roughly 24 hours to get in on this action.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I had never before seen Wicked.  Until yesterday, that is.  All I knew was that I really didn't like The Wizard of Oz, so I hadn't been in the biggest of rushes to see it.  If I had known how wonderful it was, I would have corrected this situation such a long time ago.  I hear the book is even better, so I'll have to invest some time into that, too.

Let me put it this way, this play actually made me start to like Glinda.  Trust me, that's saying a lot.  I mean, honestly, who chases tornados, congratulating people for killing others, gives away the shoes of said dead person, instructs the killer to go kill the original victim's sister to complete the destruction of the family, and promises an opportunity to go home in exchange, when, all the while, the ability to go home was already with the killer.  She's pretty much a b-word.  But, like I said, this play helped my opinion of her, which amuses me, since, apparently it makes most people like her less.  Go figure.

Our whole group

To top the night off, we went to one of Taylor's favorite restaurant, an Austrian place called Chef Meili's, located in Itaewon.  Let me tell you, the place was phenomenal.  As Nick and I conceded, it was definitely pricey, but worth every single penny.  We just have to make sure we don't go too often, for the sake of our wallets, of course, but also for the sake of my sanity - it made me miss Germany so much!  But yes, it was definitely good.  The salmon melted in my mouth, the samplings of my friend's foods were divine (yes, this place got me eating bites of meat and risking pain).  The desserts were fabulous.  It's a must-visit if you're ever in Seoul.

But the excellence of the weekend didn't end there.  Today, as I was walking home from church, I ran into Cameron and Lisa, who invited me to their picnic with Thomas and Bethany.  I didn't expect to hang out with them again so soon, but it was certainly an excellent choice.  The picnic was full of excellent food, including this great pasta salad Lisa made, and great conversations.  Lisa's story of her faith blew my mind and has kept me replaying it in my head all afternoon.  G-d certainly has plans for this woman.

I think this was very possibly my favorite weekend since coming to Korea.  :)

Two days left on the giveaway.  :)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A brief thought

My friend Jaimi reminded me of this yesterday.

Whenever I see this:

I picture this happening:

It actually did help my driving.

I'll be updating you about how amazing my day was today, tomorrow.

Incidentally, you only have until Tuesday to enter the giveaway!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Right here for your very much wish-fulfillment.

Way back in my freshman year of college, I was in Covenant Choir, which took a trip to Orlando, Florida.  My friend Kara and I ended up being rooming partners, and we stayed with an absolutely amazing family (Andy, Lorri, Sydney, and Carter); I still think about them sometimes, actually.  We had so much fun.

For example, I think this is one of the most adorable dogs ever.
Well, the amazing family came with their crazy dog, Ziggy, who just felt too much of a need to exert his dominance.  After watching him chase Kara's legs around the house for a half hour or so, I, half jokingly, half seriously, said I wanted a similarly awkward dog when I got older.  (Actually I want a more awkward dog, because not only do I want a dog that exerts his dominance, I want him to be so ugly it's cute.  It's okay.  You can go ahead and call the people with the jackets that help you hug yourself.  I won't hold it against you.)

For some reason, I feel like the more awkward a dog is, the more endearing it is.  I can't explain it.  Maybe I shouldn't think that absolutely awkward things are cute.  Maybe that will lead to uncomfortable situations.  Or... maybe it will make for excellent stories later.  I guess it just depends on how you see the glass.

So, yes, I challenged G-d and/or life to give me a dog with a need to exert its dominance. May I just throw it out there that you shouldn't put those kind of challenges out there without expecting them to happen.

Kara and Ziggy

Tonight, I had my friends Thomas and Bethany over for a long over-due dinner/hang-out time.  The food was delicious, thanks to The Awkward Chef.  (I made her veggie burgers again, and I finally got them all to turn out correctly!  It was a momentous occasion.)  Manila was out and running around when they came in.  (To be technical, she was the only one here to greet them; I had to run to the store for a second.)  They hit it off to begin with, but Manila must have felt threatened by Thomas' masculinity, because, by halfway through the evening, she had felt the need to mark a corner as her own.

Manila, trying to figure out her species
But that wasn't enough; she had to move on to his arm, and she didn't just chin it or something.  No, she had to go and exert her dominance.  But she wasn't too good at it, though, because he couldn't figure out what was going on.  It was pretty amusing, but I put her away anyway.  Poor, over-stimulated bunny.  We'll try again anyway.

Be careful what you wish for, I guess.

In spite of the weirdness of having a rabbit that thinks she's anything but a rabbit, we had a great night (and it's been good to see her acting fully healthy again - she's even eating her pellets... occasionally).  We had veggie burgers (yum).  We had watermelon (yum yum).  We had Oreos and peanut butter (yum yum yum!).  We found the faces of Mary, Jesus, and Satan in the peanut butter.  We played Fluxx until we were laughing so hard it hurt.  I don't think anyone can deny the quality of the night, and I can't wait to have Bethany and Thomas over again.  :)

PS. Identify the quote from the title of this post.  Why?  Because life it more fun when you realize how much of what I say is actually quoting something.

Blimey Cow photo-a-day 22. Your favorite superhero (AKA Batman).
Lucky for Blimey Cow, my favorite superhero generally is Batman, although he is occasionally challenged by Wolverine.  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Today had all sorts of fun candids.

Here are the highlights:
  • The sixth graders are getting ready to take this majorly important test on Tuesday (please keep them in your prayers), so we spent class time this week playing a review game.  My favorite class was one that went from being a very high-scoring game, to two of the teams losing all their points, due to some unfortunate choices.  Then, when it seemed like a lock for Team B, Team C found a "switch points with another team" option.  Not even Team B could keep from laughing, so you know I lost it (so did my co-teacher, so I don't feel bad).  It was a situation that could have turned ugly, but the kids were having so much fun; I really appreciated it.
  • Korea had a blackout drill today.  All of it.  The government shut down the power to certain key buildings, and everyone else was on the honor system to turn it off on their own.  Honestly, I don't know how that helps anyone be prepared for anything, since all it changed was how hot we felt, but maybe my Korean counterparts got something from it.  (Or maybe, possibly the government just saved a TON of money today?  Maybe the U.S. should try it...)
  • Somehow a massive wooden structure got ripped out of the solid wood floor to which it was screwed.  The group of students blamed it on the one autistic child in their midst, but, somehow I get the feeling that they weren't being entirely truthful.  Call me crazy.
  • In telling my friend Cameron about that, we decided that the child must be the daughter of the Hulk, and is, therefore, genetically mutated.  We concluded that it's very irresponsible to have mutant children and not send them to Dr. Xavier for proper responsibility training.  (These are the things I talk about in real life.)
  • We all got together for our quarterly dinner with everyone in the program through KNU.  I remembered tonight how I thought I was going to hate all of those after the first one I went to.  Now, I realized that I very much look forward to them.
All in all, I'd call today quite successful.  Tomorrow, I don't have to teach, so I'm attempting to get ahead on my summer camp planning.  Wish me luck.

Blimey Cow photo-a-day 21. Something you NEED.
I NEED to get back in my Bible more.

All right y'all.  Bedtime.  Have fun with whatever it is that you're doing.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I think the purpose of the "Dead Man" pose at the end of the yoga routine is to allow for adult nap time.

Today, the yoga class at my school started, and yes, I was in attendance.  I was pretty excited about it, and even made it through mostly in Korean.  Problem is, it went for an hour and forty minutes.  Yoga isn't too strenuous, as you can probably guess, but doing weird stretches for that long is really tiring.  I'm exhausted.

That's also probably in part because I stayed up so late talking to Alex and Meret last night, but I really like talking to them, so exhaust myself I will.  Luckily, tomorrow I'm just playing a review bomb game with my sixth graders and getting the advanced kids started on The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  My boss is so excited about it that she wants to go through it, too.  I say, "Hey, go for it.  Just let me get the copies handed out to the kids first."  Yes, I photocopied the first chapter, which is perfectly legal, but it's not going to take them long to get through that, soooo:

It's looking like I'm going to need some copies of that book set aside for me... 24 to be exact.  Is anyone willing to help out on that front?  Contact me via any method if you are.

Blimey Cow photo-a-day 20.  Something you want.
I want to finish this journal off, because it's literally split into three parts:
Cover, paper, and bookmark.
My own fault.  I dropped it too many times.
Although, the last drop was in my sleep, so I'm considering blaming anything else.

Don't forget to enter your name idea on my giveaway!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The dirt on the giveaway

I need a good last name for a character in my story.  First name: Charity.  She's kind of a third-party plot-line.  (For those of you who read Stephenie Meyer, think Bree Tanner.)  I want her name to feel older and more sophisticated than the character does herself... if that makes any sense.

The person who comes up with the best name will win a giveaway.

Here's how this is going to work:

  1. Make sure you leave your name in the comment section.
  2. Make sure you leave your surname ideas for Charity.
  3. Make sure you pop back in next Tuesday to see if you've won.
  4. If you win, I will send you something cool and exciting from Korea.  AKA - your choice of a sampling of my favorite beauty supplies from here (and trust me, if there's one country in the world that knows skin, it's Korea), a sampling of my favorite snacks from here, or a combo of both.

Beauty is sure to include some of these:

Snackage is sure to include some of these:

Ready?  Go.

(I'm not really sure how to fulfill the photo of the day for today <21st Century America>, soooo... we'll go with some 21st Century Korea.  I'm picking the Barbie beauty supplies to cover that shot.)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Until they're gone.

You may or may not know that I lost my grandfather.  I mentioned him in my Thanksgiving post  this year (sorry... all the pictures have somehow bitten the dust), talking briefly about the kind of legacy he left for our family.  What you probably don't know is that my eldest cousin and I spent a decent amount of time stepping into his shoes and composing the sermonette for our family's Thanksgiving service, focusing entirely on the kind of legacy we want to leave, based on his example.

Today, my uncle posted links to what I think was my grandfather's last sermon, and I'd like to share it with you.  If you aren't sure if you should watch it, I will list all my reasons as to why you should below it.

First and foremost, my grandfather was a man of G-d, unwavering in his faith.

My grandfather was such an outstanding man that I'm still seeing messages from people I have never before met, telling me how he touched their lives, sometimes even saving them, which amazes me, since it was never his personal intention to enter the ministry; that was entirely G-d's doing.

My grandfather was our gentle patriarch.  He didn't fit the demanding description that word entails, and, quite honestly, my grandmother fit the bill of "running the house," but my grandfather was, without a doubt, our spiritual head.  Without him, I often feel like I'm floundering out in the seas of faith.

I want to reprint for you what I published on Facebook, shortly after his death:

I remember when Sarah asked you who your favorite grandkid was, and you responded that it was her.  (I thought Mom-mom was going to hit you.)  But then you clarified, "Whichever grandkid is on my lap is my favorite."  Of course, we all scrambled to be on your lap then - I'm sure you planned it that way.

I remember getting up to sing whenever we were at your church.  You'd always cringe when we'd start playing with the communion railing.  That made us want to do it all the more, by the way.  But I'm glad we got to sing; it always made you so happy - we could tell, even then.

I remember playing with marbles on your living room floor.  You always complained that someone was going to fall and get hurt.  I'm sure you meant it, but, now, I'm also sure that you were secretly glad that we wanted to be at your house - even if it was because you had all the marbles.

I remember all the Fourth of July's at your house.  (I never did understand why you didn't want to go see the fireworks.)  I remember how all of the grandkids would spend the day of trying to build a "chair swing" in the old tree out back.  We were convinced you knew how to do it but weren't about to tell us.  You clearly wanted to keep the knowledge to yourself. ;)

I remember wanting desperately to play with the typewriter in your office.  I think it was only one time that you let me.  When I finally got the chance, I was so excited, but I had never decided what I would write if the opportunity presented itself, so I just wrote, "I love you Pop-pop!"  And then, in order to make it to the next line and hear it ding, I wrote "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa."  :)

I remember being on a road trip with you and Mom-mom, and you convinced me that it was okay to have ice cream for dinner.  I still am okay with claiming that to this day.

I remember the time you were taking me to an evening service at church and you hit a deer with your car.  Listening to your response to the people who yelled at you for it was classic: "YOU JUST HIT A DEER!"  "Yes, I know!" and then you muttered, "obviously."

I remember cramming into your room at Thanksgiving at Willow Valley for our worship service.  You'd lead us through hymns, and by "lead" I mean that you would barely have the title of it out of your mouth before you'd boom out the first line of the song.  Sometimes it annoyed me, but now I look back on it and smile.

I also remember you watching football on Thanksgiving after we ate.  I always have wondered why... you would fall asleep as soon as you turned it on, but oh, if we changed the channel, you most certainly would wake up and put it back.

I remember when I found out you were sick.  I was at my other grandmother's house.  I cried all night.

I remember when we spent the afternoon in your kitchen.  You told every story of your life that I've heard before, and added some more to the cannon.  The meant so much to me.  You told me over and over how glad you were that I listened, but I'm not sure that you ever realized that it meant just as much to me that you trusted me with them.

I remember the last time I saw you - you looked so different.  Your voice was so much quieter, but your words will always ring loudly in my ear until I see you again.  "I love you so so much," you said.  I don't think anything will ever mean as much to me as that did.  I love you so so much too, Pop-pop.

I still love you so, so much, Pop-pop.

Looking forward to seeing you again.

Blimey Cow photo-a-day 18. Messy - My face, stained with tears after finishing this post.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

So, I messed up.

Yup.  I called both of my parents a week early for their respective holidays.  Which means that the photos of the day thing was right, and I should have had a photo of my mom last week and my dad this one.  However, I'm out of money on my Skype account, so a new photo will not be happening.  However, you can enjoy this lovely photo of my family:

A very merry Father's Day to you!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

16. Inspiration

I was in the middle of writing an entirely different blog post to you, when, suddenly, I got up, changed into jeans and just left my apartment.  I had no intention of doing it; it jut happened.  I started by stopping by the kitten area from yesterday's photo.  I hadn't seen a mom with them, so, as per my friend Nick's request, I went to see if they had someone/something caring for them.  I'm pretty sure I saw a momma cat today.  But, instead of coming back home, I started wandering around aimlessly.  I'm pretty sure I saw the Korean version of the mob, but I kept on moving.  I didn't stay around long enough to confirm it for you.

Blimey Cow photo-a-day 16. Inspiration
This is a photo of my receipt from Applebee.
I didn't know where I was headed, but my feet beelined for the most expensive restaurant I know here: Applebee (not to be confused with America's Applebee's).  It's this expensive buffet place that offers some high class food as well.  They're really good, and my pastor is always desperate to take people there.  But, in being there, I broke almost every rule I'd set for myself.  I broke my budget (the meal was roughly $25), I broke my water rule (I couldn't find the water filter at first, but was surprised to find that I didn't like the pop I had at all {as KelliTaylor said would happen} -too sweet!), I broke my unwritten "no eating out alone" rule, and I actually even broke my kosher rule (I'll come back to that).  To tell you the rather embarrassing truth, I didn't even have on socks, makeup, or deodorant.  My brain hadn't intended on going there, but, surprisingly, it was really refreshing and just what I needed.  Go figure, the introvert had an almost extroverted night.  Almost.

The entire staff there went out of their way to help me out.  We played charades for a bit, because Applebee has this not-so-complicated-but-feels-complicated-at-first system of placing plastic coins in the receiving bucket of your choice to order the food item of the corresponding picture above the bucket.  I knew this, but they really wanted to explain it to me, so I let them, first in Korean, then by a guy grabbing me by the hand and leading me across the restaurant to pantomime the whole process not one, but two times.  I later found out that one of the bus boys studying English in the US for 8 months, and, consequently, spent the rest of my meal pondering why they hadn't just grabbed him.  Either way, the directions were given and understood, so I grabbed one of the coins and went to place an order.  My mime, however, came running after me with my other coin, saying "Two!  Two coin!"  As it was the only thing he had worked up the courage to say to me, I figured it must be important to him.  Thus, I read through the Korean names, only recognizing one word: Creme.  I figured that was a pasta dish and ordered it.  Everything else looked to be meat, but I selected one that looked like it had the possibility of not being so.  I was right and wrong at the same time; it was shrimp.  Thinking of what Paul would say if he was there, I ate every last bite of that shrimp, and it was surprisingly delicious.

I was also surprised to find myself writing more of my novel in my head while sitting at my table.  I rather wished I had brought it with me.  For some reason, sitting and people watching gave birth to a new character, who I think will help get everything moving.  Well, I guess it's not really "for some reason."  When you meet her in the story, she'll be exactly where I was, doing exactly what I was doing.  She's just going to have a slightly different motivation.  She's going to be a lot of fun to write.  I

I'm thinking of naming her Charity, but I need a good last name for her.  My gut is saying Cambridge, but I'm thinking that's more of because J.K. Rowling named one of her characters Charity Burbage.  I'm thinking it would be better to not copy her so much, so, if you can think of a sophisticated, older-sounding, somewhat cooly intimidating surname for her, please list them off below.

In fact, how about this?: The person who comes up with the best name will win a giveaway.

Here's how this is going to work:

  1. Make sure you leave your name in the comment section.
  2. Make sure you leave your surname ideas for Charity.
  3. Make sure you pop back in to see if you've won.  I plan to introduce her in the next chapter, so, I should be needing a name by next week.
  4. If you win, I will send you something cool and exciting from Korea.  I haven't decided what yet, as I just decided to have this giveaway, but I'll go out soon and browse for the perfect prize.

Looking forward to your names!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Challenge Accepted.

Today, Blimey Cow asked us to take a photo of a sunset and/or cat.  I, being who I am, saw this as a challenge to do the "and," of course.  So, this is my "and" photo:

I know it's not easy to see, but the sun really is setting in this photo.
I just live in a city, so natural light gets drowned. 

See?  I live in a city.
This is the view from my window.  It's pretty amazing, is it not?

P.S.  I want to thank those of you who were clearly praying for me today.  Before I went under the laser, I noticed that the numbing creme hadn't been applied over the full area, so I got them to add more.  As a result, I only felt about one second of the procedure, and it was finished in record time.  The doctor thinks we won't have to do another one, but I'm probably going to go next week just to make sure.  Oh, what's more: They gave me this round for free.  :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

More video updating

As promised, the Blimey Cow photo-a-day from yesterday (#13. eyebrows):
One of my students learned the word "eyebrow" from the recently implemented self-study advanced-student reading program at my school.  I'm crazy proud of how well she did on her checkup worksheet.

14. Your siblings.
I have one, and I used the last of my Skype money to call him tonight.  I now need to suck it up and reload my account.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The gift of hearing

Not everyone can hear.  It's something we take for granted, but we shouldn't.

For a while, my mom thought she had lost hearing in one of her ears.  There were all sorts of tests done, an interesting edge of tension around the house... but the doctors found nothing wrong; her hearing was pretty much perfect.  In the end, it turned out to be a slight delay in the processing of the input from that ear.  She would see our mouths moving, but not be able to understand what we were saying, because she would get a garbled message until 30 seconds later or so when it processed.  That seems so awful to me.  It was frustrating enough being on the outside of it, but being on the inside seems even worse.  (Personally, I think she has a brand of Sensory Integration Dysfunction, but I'm no doctor.)

I say all this, because the thought of hearing has come up a lot in my life this week.

First, someone posted a recording of the voicemail message of a girl I knew in high school who died in 2009.  It was unreal hearing her voice again, and made me desperate to hear Kyle's.  Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, no similar such recording exists for him.  Then, today, I listened to a sermon of Nate Kerr's from later that year.  Hearing Nate's voice again made me realize just how much I miss him and his classes.  Granted, that's also something that's been slowly building this week, but now it's painful.

In a way, I found Nate's classes to be my small group in college, especially the ones that I had a free hour after.  There were those of us who would hang around and discuss religion, philosophy, life, etc., and he would guide us and speak truth into our lives.  It was those classes that made me feel okay working the nursery on Saturdays at Yeshuat Yisrael.  I fully considered him a pastor of mine, and had him fill out several letters of recommendation as such.  Now, I'm finding it harder to be fed, and there are no Nate Kerr classes to make up for it.  My heart aches.

And yet, I can still hear his voice.  I can still hear MK's voice.  It's amazing what technology does for us.

Don't wait until people are gone from your life; soak them up as much as you can while you have them.

Yes, I fully realize that I'm not posting a photo.  I have the perfect photo to put up, but I forgot to take it today.  It will be here tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bring it in for a second.

It's easy for me to write and be silly on here.  It's easy for me to make everything look like a picnic.  It's easy for me to skip of a day of writing when stuff isn't perfect or when I'm exhausted.  But I'm not going to do that today.

My friend Greg asked me to write about community today.


The interesting part is, I'm pretty much the worst person to write about community.  I'm the girl who comes home every day and triple locks her door, puts on her pajamas at 6:30pm, and would sooner go hungry than go out to buy food even if the pantry is empty.  I'm the girl that dreads the phrase "This will be a group project."

And I revel in that... until I don't.

Tonight, I don't.  Tonight, I'm lonely.  Tonight, I've waited one night too long to be in community.  I can always tell when I have.  I get so tired, so lonely, so achey when that happens.  Don't get me wrong, I'm normally the introvert who needs the alone time, but I think there's also something in us that needs community - true community.

It's not about being with people, because I can do that and still be entirely alone.  It's about being known.  It's about sharing.  It's about being open.

How scary is that?

I've heard the result is beautiful.  I can't confirm that for you, as I don't do it regularly enough to tell, but that's the rumor.

What do you think?

Blimey Cow photo-a-day 12. Foodie - You know, I'm not really even sure what this means, but I look at it and I read "cute, small food."  Unfortunately, I read this after I'd already eaten, so I took a picture of the cute, small bowl from which I ate my dinner.

Now, I'm going to finish listening to this Francis Chan sermon, and I'm going to bed early.  I'm too tired to stay up late tonight.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The things I didn't tell you yesterday

I'm going to work my way backward, because that's the order that seems important to me.  Yesterday, I went to see Men in Black III.  Now, this is important to me, because I really like Will Smith, and THIS is why.  Yes, he's a good actor.  Yes, he's a good rapper.  But, holy cow, he's a fabulous role model.  I'm so glad that he has influenced my life.  So, I chose to take Lucy and her sister to go see this movie with me.  I'll forgive them for mistaking him for being his son (they starting trying to tell me he was in the Karate Kid), it's an easy mistake, I'm sure, when dealing with a language barrier.  

The three of us, waiting for the movie to start.
We got tickets for the premium theater, which comes with couches instead of seats
and your choice of coffee or iced tea.  I got some peach iced tea.  Yum yum!
I got the opportunity to talk to them about their middle school lives.  They both are loving it, but they're studying so hard.  Lucy's sister will take her high school entrance exams at the end of this year, so she's already got her nose to the grindstone, "Which is fine," I told them, "but only if you remember that if you work hard, you must play hard, too."  They nodded, and said, "Yes, Teacher."  I really hope that they were listening.  Lucy's going to swing by the school on Wednesday, so I hope to remind her of it then.

I got to the mall a bit earlier than I needed to be there to meet them, so I took some time, wandering around H&M, and do you know what I found?  YES.  I found shoes that FIT ME.  I don't know if they run the sizes big in that store, or if it just happened to be the style, or maybe my feet have lost weight, but I fit into a European 40 (US 9) size shoe, when I normall wear in the 44 region (10).  I'm so excited, because they're insanely cute.  Just putting them on and walking around made me feel so much more womanly.  I didn't realize how much I'd missed my heels.
Also, the bunny is eating and drinking on her own again.  It's not the way I'd like it to be, but at least it's happening some.

 Lastly, some Blimey Cow photo-a-day challenge update:
Day 10: Mom.  I thought that was stupid, because it was Father's Day, so I took a picture of me calling him.

Day 11: Messy (as in Mondays).
Somehow today, my flipflop's partner got lost in the 5 minutes it took to leave them alone at home.  I'm not sure how to deal with it.  I think the bunny may have used some of her telepathy powers as revenge for me force-feeding her?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Channeling Chuang Tzu

Ever get the feeling that you're not real?

I got that feeling today, and it's weird.  I don't really know what to make of it.  Really, a couple of hours ago, it hit, and, since then, I've had to work to remember that I'm not just someone's dream and my actions have consequences and stuff; I'm not just going to wake up and have it all go away.  (Although... I did do that a few weeks back.  That was AWFUL.)

Sound off.  Has that ever happened to you?  How did you shake it?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Restraint and the preference against it

I love my students so stinking much.  I just thought you should know that.  It's really been hitting me the past couple of weeks, ever since I started thinking more about them and less about me.  Yes, there are times that I raise my voice.  Yes, there are times that I yell at them (because that seems to be all they respond to).  Yes, there are times that I make them feel ashamed of themselves.  But it's occurred to me that I would fight to the death for these kids.

This instinct has become so strong in me that I'm often having to check myself: "'Venegeance is mine; I will repay,' saith the L-RD."  It's hard for me, because one of my strongest desires in this world is to do to child abusers exactly what they do to their victims.  I honestly and truly think I could tear someone limb-from-limb if I saw them lay a hand on a child, especially one of my students (Luckily, this has not yet been put to the test.  I'm a little scared of it, because I don't know for sure that I could control myself.), but that is not right; that is not holy.  Sometimes it's so so hard to do the right thing.

But G-d loves all people.  Yes, He especially loves children, but that does not take away from His love for their abusers, neglecters, and destroyers.  G-d is amazing, unfathomable, and perfect.  I, clearly, am not, and I praise Him for that.  "You are so high among the highest, and I am low among the lowest, a mean thing."

Blimey Cow photo-a-day 09. Make it a milkshake, baby.
I'm a freak.  I hate milkshakes.  So, I walked into the 7-11 downstairs, and shook some milk.  I had a rabbit in the bag on my shoulder to distract anyone who noticed.

No... I'm not crazy...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Round 2

It was round 2 with the wart at the doctor's today.  I must say, this round was much less exciting.  Whether it was a fluke thing, or because the doctors reapplies the numbing cream after there was a ton of blood everywhere, after the first few hits with the lazer, I felt pretty much everything.  Actually, it didn't even take that long on my left hand (they decided to go ahead and hit the baby wart again).  I tried my best to not flinch or make noise, because I didn't want them to stop, but eventually it got so bad that I thought I was going to vomit, and I broke poker face.  They stopped.  I'm going to have to go back for round 3 next week.

I'm turning into a Korean with my doctoring habits.  Oh well, I supposed this is how they get their money on universal healthcare, but, honestly, I'm still going to end up lower than a lot of people would pay in a co-pay for one visit in the States, and they, too, would have to go back month after month to get the procedure redone.  At least this is only week after week.

The rabbit eagerly was licking water off the floor today, and gratefully was licking some ice cubes, so I think I have a new plan of attack for getting her back to normal.  She's starting to do all of her normal bunny things again, too (Note that this is censored for decent society, and read between the lines).  It's such a big relief.

This is unrelated to this post, except for being the Blimey Cow photo-a-day 08. #summerofblimeycow
(Which is a Twitter reference that I'm pretty much ignoring.)
This may be the only cow-related thing that I own.  It's a patch on a quilt that my mother HAND-SEWED for me, back when I graduated from high school.  We'll go ahead and say that the cars above the cows represent summer road-trips.

Finally, the exciting news, is that grades 3-6 are now all level-split for their English classes.  Third and fourth grades are split by simply separating out the low-level students, while I teach everyone else.  Fifth grade will soon be taught by separating the low-level students and allowing the high-level students to do some personalized guided-reading activities, while I teach the on-level students.  Sixth grade is following a similar model, but on a less regular basis.  I'm very excited about sixth grade, because, unlike the fifth grade (where each student is going to be given a book based on personal ability), the advanced sixth graders will all be reading The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  It will be so good for them, because, on the surface-level, it's an easy read, but it will be easy for me to slip in ideas about religion to get them thinking, asking questions, and so forth.  I'm currently opening channels of communication with HarperCollins Publishing about maybe getting some really cheap or maybe permission to photocopy my version?  If not, I'm going to be calling on you, friends, to hit your used bookstores and buy them out, so I can bring them back in August.  So, let's all cross our fingers, shall we?   (Because I'd really prefer to be bringing back new clothes and/or my own books, rather than books for my students.)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

First (and Second) Grade Philosophy

Today, in my first and second grade reading class, I read them a book that I knew was too hard for them, but, with the help of my head teacher's on-the-fly translating, they were able to understand.  I read it to them because I think it teaches an amazingly important lesson - one that it took me until college and Nate Kerr to learn, and here it was, all packaged neatly into a children's book (that one of my kids already knew and loved, mind you).  Here's what I want you to do.  I want you to log into your account, click on the title of the book below.  Read the preview pages and see if you can keep up with my first and second graders:

by Sarah Dyer

Now, I don't want you to feel bad if you don't come up with the answers my kids did.  These are the same kids that defined "friend" as "the act of loving." (Well, roughly.  We did that in Korean, so, technically, they defined "friend" as "사랑해.")

Blimey Cow Photo-a-Day 07. Something you LOVE:
My students.
Don't worry, they don't always look as frustrated as the guys do;
I'd just had them line up for their stickers when I remembered I wanted to take this shot.

So, I asked the kids to do a "thinking quiz."  I asked them to tell me what we should learn from this book. Here are the answers I got back, translated from Korean:

  1. We shouldn't steal.
  2. If we do steal, we should go to the police and give it back.
  3. Everything needs everything else.
  4. Everyone and everything is connected.
  5. We need everyone.

They're impressive little munchkins, aren't they?  AND, this was with no prompting from the teachers, except the repetition of the question.  I'm proud to be their teacher. :)

I'll leave it up to you to decide which theme it took me until college to learn. ;)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Today, I'm stressed.

06. I really like seeing my rabbit
be willing to drink her water.

My rabbit hasn't been eating like normal for the past couple of days.  In fact, the only thing she's choosing to eat is paper.  She'll drink water if I put it in her face, and she'll eat some hay and pellets, because she knows I'm stressed.  I've got a couple more tricks up my sleeve, but it may involve breaking the budget for this week.  I'm just trying to focus on my mother's words: "Money is a tool.  It's not worth anything if you don't use it."

Today, I ended up watching the entire Venus Transit online, because it was too cloudy to see it well in real life. I woke far earlier than I meant, resulting in me being extremely tired, and just zombie-ing all day.  The dream that woke me was rather interesting, though.  Arnold Schwarzenegger was trying to bring me in to be a a part of Jack Black's "Crincess" - Corpse Princess, made up of many different body parts of dead people. Billy Dee Williams sold me out in exchange for the two of them returning his six children to him.  I couldn't blame him, but it was rather disappointing that I was going to have to die, since you can't be part of a "corpse princess" while you're alive, of course.  The strangest part was, I haven't watched a movie with any of them in it in years.

My epic fail of an attempt of a transit picture.

Watching NASA's broadcast of the transit.
My computer screen makes an excellent mirror, apparently.
I was rather annoyed with the telescope they were using that turned the sun purple.
It made it really hard to view Venus.

My friend Curran's picture of the transit.
He did a GREAT job capturing it!

Finally, I got an email today, informing me that I had misunderstood how much tuition was at the Law School I was researching.  Instead of being $30,000/year, it's $30,000 total.  I'm now considering it much more strongly, especially since they still uphold the Socratic Method (of which I am a HUGE fan), by offering live classroom chat sessions with other students and the professor, but I don't think that program offers even any introduction to International Law nor Juvenile Law, which is a big minus, as that's what I'd be interested in doing.  So, most likely, this program is still going to be a "no," but they've perked my interest again, so I'm definitely going to be praying about it and finding what G-d's will is, and I would appreciate it if you would, too.
The email

Speaking of prayer, I'd be really grateful if you participated in the prayer vigil I'm trying to put together for my Compassion Kid, Enock and his family.  His sister is living in the hospital, and it's putting a lot of strain on his family.  Thanks!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I would be remiss not to mention this.

Okay, I tried to go without mentioning, but, after updating both my Facebook and my Twitter, I began feeling guilty bout the prospect of not updating you about tomorrow, just in case you've been living under a rock.

In about nine hours from now (10:00pm in Korea), Venus is going to transit the sun.
No, this is not the Sun, impersonating Marilyn Monroe.

"What," you may ask, "the heck does that even mean?"  Well, I'm glad you asked.

It means that you've got the Earth, and you've got the Sun, and Venus is going to get all up between them like a scared kid who hides from his nightmares in his parent's bed, and it's going to stay there for about six hours, so you've got some time.  Here's what you need to do:

Sid, burning a hole in Woody's head.
Please don't do this to your eyes.
  1. You NEED to see this.  Seriously.  You're going to be dead the next time this happens.
  2. You need to not look directly at the Sun. Basically, it's a fate worse than death.  You're going to burn your eyes out.  
  3. You need to not look at the Sun through something with glass on it.  Remember Toy Story?  Yeah, you don't want to become your own Sid.
  4. You need to make like a third grader and make a "Pin-Hole Projector" instead.  Suck up your pride and do it already. 
  5. You need to visit NASA's observation page, so you can see what it actually looks like, too.  It's also good for those of you who are too cool for the Projectors.

Seriously, folks.  Just go do it.  You're not going to get this chance again.

Public Transportation

Blimey Cow Photo-A-Day
05. How you support you local chivalry.
To be honest, it sounds rather unchivalrous
to talk about that, so I'm just going to say
that the bus provides many opportunities,
and leave it at that.
One of my favorite things about living abroad is the fabulous public transportation.  Its availability has been a bit of a theme in the places I have lived abroad, and, I must admit, I've been rather spoiled.  Many of the expats miss their cars terribly, and, well, I do miss mine as well, but, as it is no longer with us, I think it's a different kind of missing it, because I don't miss driving - just my car.  Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

The busses, the taxis, the subways, the trains, the FEET - I love them, and I miss them when I'm not living near them.  They're awesome.  They get me where I want to go in a decent amount of time.  They somehow have fast-passes to get them around traffic.  AND, even when they go on strike, they still run.

Yes, I've survived a major public transportation strike in both Germany and Korea, now.  In Germany, the bus drivers went on strike for a week or so, if I remember correctly, but they still sent one around about every hour or so, because being timely is a HUGE deal in German culture.  Yesterday, the taxi drivers went on strike here, but they were up and running again by seven.  I assume that was mostly because continuing their strike past then would destroy the economy of our city, as the busses stop running at ten.  No public transportation to the downtown area = many people not gong out = many businesses not getting customers = well, you can do the math from there.  But, any way you slice it, the bearers of pubic transportation in these cities really take their jobs seriously.  It's not just a job; they're honestly looking out for public interest.  This is a big deal to me, in case you couldn't tell.

This guy walks his daughter and his bike very close to school every morning.
Then, he hops on this very interesting looking bike in his work attire, and off he goes.
Considering the lack of trees in our city, I'd say he's doing us all a big service.

My cousin Andrew (who just happened to graduate valedictorian of his class - I'm only a little proud) wrote a paper about how America could be so much better off by upgrading its public transportation system.  His time in Japan heavily influenced the paper, so I'm assuming they have excellent public transportation there, too.  I don't remember all the details of it, but I remember it being extremely well-written and convincing, so I'm hoping that, by my tagging him in this, he'll read this and share some of his thoughts.

It seems to me that just about the only country not with the program here is America.  Now, I know America is great, and it's the best at everything, and we all like our independence, and blah blah blah BLAH.  Here's the thing, folks - If you can think of nothing but yourself, think of this: better public transportation means that rush hour is much closer to actually living up to its name.  We'll talk about global responsibility another time.

All right, that's what I have for you.  I'm so sorry if you've been deprived of the wonders of good public transportation, and I hope you can experience it soon.