Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Thank you!

Some of you may or may not have seen my post about the Typhoon that rolled through.  I wanted to thank everyone for checking on me!  All is well, and, in spite of my head bump (I took the post down that explained it all - sorry... it was too much of a rant), I'm doing so much better!  :)  I love you all and will talk to you soon.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Send me mail!

Clearly, I respond.  I'm not guaranteeing promptness, though.

Anne Nicole Royster 
Korea Nazarene University (Attn. Jenny Kim) 
#115 Faith Hall (Miteumgwan) 
456 Ssangyong-Dong Seobukgu Cheonan City Choongnam 
331 718 South Korea 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I am jet lagged.

But I promise I'm not dead.

Also, I'm starting to get goodbye letters from my students. Had I moved les in my life, I feel I'd cry from them (I'm not as insensitive as that sounds). These kids are sweethearts.

They also make me look really attractive when they draw me. Thank G-d for kids who care. :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Vacation: The Party

I was in the States such a short time, that we deemed it best to get as many of my friends as we could together in one place at one time.  While this turned out to be more stressful for me than anticipated, it did solve the problem of how to be in 5 places at one time (bring the places to you).  I'm going to put up my favorite pictures from the party (except for my most favorite, which is already up); pay attention to people's faces - that's what makes them so great.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Vacation: Family (Biological and Non) Visits

Part of what I was looking forward to the most about vacation was the opportunity to see my family.  I love them so much, and being this far away from them is ridiculously hard.  I've always lived far away, but I always knew I could hop a plane and see them in a couple hours.  Now, it takes at least 14 on a good day to get to them.  It kills me.  So, I made sure I got the chance to see as many of them as I could.

We stopped in Kentucky to see my cousin and his wife (You've already seen the one good picture I got from that stop).  We stopped in my birth town to see some "family" that we came to call our own as I was growing up.  We stopped in Virginia to see my dad's family (Again, I've already put the best one up).  On my last day, a lot of my mom's family came to see me (I'll detail that on a later post).  Oh, and when I say "we," I mean my mom, my friend Alex (who may as well be a sister or cousin, the way we mix with each other's families), and myself.

It was renewing to my spirit to visit my family.  I never have to explain myself to my family; they know me and always have.  I can make an offhand comment, and they will know every layer of meaning it could have.  One of my favorite memories was when I was gathered with my mom's family, feeling crankier and crankier by the moment.  Finally, my cousin Becky said to me, in an exasperated tone, "Would you just eat something already?!"  When she finally convinced me to, it was only a matter of 10 minutes before I was perfectly cheerful again.  In spite of my protests of being not hungry, she knew that low blood sugar means a cranky Anne.  It's things like this that make me oh so glad for my family. I never need to explain my background, because they lived it with me.  Knowing the context that intimately makes every story so much better.

Now, for your viewing pleasuring, more photos of my time with my dad's family:

This is what time we arrived.
This is what my grandmother decided we needed.
Actually, this is more like a third of what she decided we needed.  :)
Alex's face expreses our sentiments.

These are some more festivities that took place - all of them in good taste, I think. ;)
Oh, and don't worry.  The kid loved this game.

Vacation: The Reason for the Visit

What you may or may not have known about this trip is that it's been planned since Christmas, and it had little to nothing to do with my family.  See, while I was in an elevator with my mom, I got a message from my very dear friend Meret, telling me that she was engaged.  Unless you know Meret, this probably won't be a big deal to you, but, to those of us who were present through the growth of her and Casey's relationship, this was very exciting news.  It was so exciting that I started screaming in the elevator.  Those poor Korean women who were there with us had no idea how to handle it, and exited as quickly as they could.

Fast forward a couple of months, when I deliver my boss the good news, and ask to have my vacation over the weekend of Meret and Casey's wedding.  My boss looks at me, full of compassion and says, "I really want you to be able to go to the wedding.  I can tell it means a lot to you.  Can you ask your friend to move her wedding to August 11?  That would be better."  Dumbfounded, I tell her no.  (Please note, my boss wasn't being snide here.  This is apparently a decently standard practice in Korea.)  Later, I jokingly tell Meret about the request, as I express my regret that I'll be unable to make it.  Meret's response, however, surprises me even more.  "Tell her 'sure'," she says.  "I haven't put any deposits down anyway."

I went back to my boss, ate me words, and the rest is history.

By the time all was said and done, I had become an honorary member of the wedding party, and played all the music for the ceremony itself.  It was quite a daunting task, and I ended up doing a lot of rearranging of music on the spot, as dictated by my nerves, but, from what I've been told, it all turned out well.  I was given the opportunity to present the bride and groom with my gift - a song I had written for them, detailing their relationship from my point of view, via violin.  Meret loved it so much, she asked me to play it as her wedding march.  I was and am still incredibly honored.

I am so, so glad that got to see these two wonderful people wed.  I am and will be praying for them, and I cannot wait to meet up again with them (hopefully) in another year.

Abba G-d, shine your mercy and love on these two beautiful people as they twine their lives together, becoming one, bound by You.  You have promised us that a cord of three is not easily broken, so let it be with them.  Keep their eyes fixed steadfastly on You, as they grow together in Love and Truth.  Bring them to a place of doubtless trust, honor, and faithfulness.  Teach them to love each other as You love; give them a love that never fails.  Help them celebrate their joy fully and endure the pain together, always growing stronger.  What You have brought together, let no man tear apart.  In the name of Jesus Christ I pray.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Vacation: Istanbul

A long, long time ago, I sat next to Mr. JoshTaylor (of Blimey Cow) in Fine Arts class, where he criticized my eating habits a lot.  Somewhere along the line, his message got through to me, and I now adhere to many of the rules he tried to instill into me, but I wouldn't dare then!  I'm not one to do what I'm told. ;)  But my obnoxious stuborness isn't the point. While JoshTaylor and I were in that Fine Arts class, we were shown pictures of many things that I thought for sure I'd never get to see.

Things like

Westminster Abbey
The Wedding Feast at Cana
The Code of Hammurabi

But, in the end, I clearly saw them, and that realization was so overwhelming that I cried.

So, when my search for plane tickets to the U.S. turned up the chance to stop in Istanbul and see Hagia Sophia, yet another item that made my Bucket List, thanks to Fine Arts, I jumped at the chance (plust the $1,000 cost reduction from what I'd been looking at beforehand).

The results were two new friends I made on the plane and coerced into joining me, an invitation to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and THIS:

Entering Istanbul at sunrise

My first glimpse of Hagia Sophia

Alman Çeşmesi (German Fountain)

Blue Mosque

Hagia Sophia again

The ceiling of one of the mausoleums in Hagia Sophia

A beautifully spirited street vendor

At this point, I would say that Istanbul is neck and neck with Mainz for my favorite city that I've visited.  I would surely love to try living here sometime.  What a breath of fresh air to start out my journey!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

August 19

I am here. I'm tired, sweaty, and nasty, but I am here. Now for the two-hour bus ride back to my city...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August 18

Said goodbye to my family this morning, and I'm now at Dulles, waiting for my flight. :( But I've just decided that this will be a good year, and, suddenly, I feel ready to take on the world, even the stupid rabbit, waiting for me at my apartment.

August 17

Tonight was my last night Stateside, so we had a big party. It was overwhelming, but sooo good to see people from so many stages of my life all in one spot. :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

August 16

Today, my dad and I got to see the Orioles play the Red Sox! This is a tradition worth continuing, despite my distance from Camden Yards.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

August 15

Meg and I spent the day together, spending a considerable amount of that time losing fabulously at Mario Party.

Monday, August 13, 2012

August 12

I got to see my cousin and his wife!!! So so so exciting!!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

August 11

The beautiful bride and her now HUSBAND!

August 10

Mer's wedding rehearsal.


August 9

I haven't had Internet, so I've been unable to publish your picture of the day. Sorry.

Picture: I'm finally with my girls again!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Istanbul layover

I made some new friends, and we're currently checking out Istanbul, meaning I can cross one more thing (Hagia Sophia) off my bucket list!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Testing 1...2...3...

This is a technology test. There may it may not be another in that appears, too, but, not to worry - all this achieves is that you now know that technology and I don't really get along. No biggie. So just respond on back and tell me what you see. Thanks!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Vacation again!

Hey, all!  I'm headed on vacation again.  I'm going to attempt to figure out email updating and post a picture of the day, but, if I can't, I hope you'll stick with me anyway.  Either way, you can be sure to hear from me in a couple weeks at the latest!

Anne Nicole Royster

Saturday, August 4, 2012

July Report Card

July kicked my butt a bit, goals-wise, as violin practicing usually ended up taking more than the hour I'd mentally planned for it, not to mention I got sick again, and, as I'm an over achiever, summer camp planning took what I'm reporting as a good 50 hours of planning, but, if I was being honest, I'd put it in the 75+ range.  That being said, I'm giving myself a lenient B.
  1. Drink 1.5L of water before indulging in other drinks.
    • I vote that this gets an A-.  I didn't really keep a record of whether or not I was doing this, but I definitely felt like I was, and, if I didn't, it was usually to drink a sports drink instead.  With as much as I've been sweating with the heat and humidity here, I don't consider that a bad thing.
  2. Practice my violin every day.
    • I'm giving this an A.  While it hasn't been every day, it's been nearly every day, and I've achieved my goal of feeling pretty ready for Meret's wedding.
  3. Go out with friends every week.
    • A+.  Mission very accomplished and then some.
  4. Work on my story (almost) every day, with the goal of finishing the first draft by the end of August.
    • F.  I think I wrote one time this month.  I really need someone to be willing to read it consistently and give me constructive feedback.
  5. At least think about doing Rosetta Stone once a week.
    • A.  I even did it twice.
  6. Make a hot-months bucket list.
    • C.  I hadn't done it until now: Hot months bucket list - Meret's wedding, Sonic, Istanbul, Mountain Dew Voltage, cousins, bathing suit, sleep, hair cut, superhero movies.  So, maybe that's only a vacation's worth of stuff, but, as it turns out, I'm pretty busy, and I'm not going to find time to do much else.  Also, when I'm free, no one else is.
  7. Shrink my "to mend" clothes pile.  (Maybe even just finish one???)
    • F.  I made this goal, knowing it probably wasn't going to happen.  Your attitude determines the outcome, I guess.
  8. Kick my summer camp's butt.
    • I - incomplete.  So far, since I've discovered that water guns make my kids participate, the summer camp seems to be being kicked, but I won't be able to tell you for sure for a couple more days.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Things that make me happy (in no particular order)

  • Pie
  • When things unexpectedly glow in the dark
  • A good hair day
  • Neon yellow clothing that looks good
  • Neon yellow nail polish
  • Oreos
  • Letters from friends
  • When someone calls me or messages me from the States
  • Seeing G-d at work
  • A really smart plot twist in a book or movie
  • When someone is willing to extend a joke with me
  • Coconuts
  • Elephants, giraffes, Orcas, and (most importantly) penguins
  • Dark chocolate in the 70-something percent range
  • Tickets to see the Orioles play, preferably at Camden yards against the Yankees
  • The Olympics
  • "Who Says," by John Mayer
  • Out-arguing someone
  • Double-wrapped Reese's
  • Orion the constellation
  • BatMoth
  • Superhero movies the stick to the comics
  • The giant-funnel water slides
  • Getting another stamp in my passport
  • Buying cute clothes for next to nothing
  • Finding that clothes fit better in the next size down
  • Finding people who will disregard disapproving stares with me
  • Soft T-shirts
  • Harry Potter
  • Mashed sweet potatoes
That's what I've got for you now.  What's your off-the-top of your head list?