Thursday, December 30, 2010

An emotional heart-felt letter

Saying good-bye to my family and friends in Korea was so hard.

This is a good-bye letter that I made into a video before I left Korea. I sent it to my friend Charlie along with some other presents, but I guess he didn't watch the DVD (and I'm assuming he threw it out! by accident). So I'm posting it here, for him to see (NOT YOU ;)

But if you did watch it then please know I wear my heart on my sleeve and I'm a very emotional person. Sometimes it's hard to read that in words on my blog. This is just me......saying good-bye to a good please don't read into it. I too LOVE my husband. And he too knows that I also love my friends.

If you want to read more posts about what I've written about Charlie then you can follow this link.

Operation Once-a-Day: Wednesday

Today I passed on dessert.
My friend had us over for supper and I couldn't believe how Haven (her one-year old) attached herself to Sung Hyun.
And she wanted nothing to do with me!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Operation Once-a-Day: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday

Dear Jen,

Just because you didn't post for 3 days doesn't give you the right to forgo this project. Nothing in life is perfect, so stop trying to BE perfect. You have my permission to forget to take pictures of your operation once-a-day, yet still keep posting about it.

Your truly,


Okay now that I've got that off my chest let's carry on.

Sunday: decided to go without the sugary drink at the movie and had water and dry popcorn instead.

Monday: sprinkled flax seed on my peanut butter corn puff things (you know the ones that look like a round piece of cardboard)

Tuesday: went for second helpings at lunch (yummy Indian food btw) and decided not to finish off my plate. I didn't plan this. I was just full and decided not to over stuff myself. So maybe this doesn't count. BUT I don't care, because I'm not perfect!

Okay Jen, carry on.......

(sometimes I need to give myself a pep talk). I've got the post-Christmas blues coupled with a very homesick husband. Cures anyone?

My husband is homesick!

Korean randomness:

On the boat to Namisum
Our home
Preparing for family holiday
Attempting to tie cherry stems into knots with our teeth (look at that concentration)
My favourite snack in my favourite restaurant in my favourite chair
Studying Korean in front of work at the 63 building

I know this feeling very well.

Although I try to think positively in life (and on this blog), living in Korea for 5 years certainly was challenging at times. I would cry to Sung Hyun about how difficult it was to be misunderstood and always an outsider -- feeling like I never did belong. Now I know what it feels like to be on the other side. I feel helpless and don't know what to say to him when he is going through these exact emotions. He didn't know what homesickness was until now. He's just got to push through and I know he'll do alright, but it's hard to be on the other side knowing I can't do anything to help him.

Christmas is over and the reality of life here has set in. I too am having a hard time finding my groove. We certainly haven't found 'our' groove. I hope we'll get it soon.

(or I'm going back to Korea!)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Operation Once-a-Day: Saturday - Christmas Day

Healthy choice #10 = Tonight I decided to pass on the sauces. That meant no gravy on my turkey, mashed potatoes, and dressing. And no butter on my bread. And I did without the cool whip on my pumpkin pie crumble. And that was okay with me!

Operation Once-a-Day: Friday - Christmas Eve

Healthy choice #9 = since I knew I'd be snacking a lot on Christmas Eve I thought I'd have a healthy lunch of chicken breast on whole wheat buns with low-fat mayo and some veggies/ fruit

Friday, December 24, 2010

Operation Once-a-Day: Thursday

healthy choice #8: 15 min of exercise while shooting lasers at little kids. Today I treated my Korean student to a round at laser tag for completing her sticker chart.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Operation Once-a-Day: Wednesday

Today was cold. So cold! thankfully I didn't have to be out in the cold. But we treated ourselves to something warm for dinner. Sung Hyun and I went to a local Vietnamese restaurant for some pho.

Healthy choice #7: Added some veggies to my beef pho. I got a generous portion of broccoli, cauliflower, and celery.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

One year ago, we were......

Eating street food (pad thai) in Bangkok
Enjoying the beauty of a new culture
Marvelling over the ruins of Ankor Wat
Drinking beer at the top of ancient temples
In awe of natural beauty
Contributing to a local shelter by purchasing lunch and enjoying drinks at their local cafe
Splashing in the waters of a deserted Cambodian beach
Eating fresh mango for less than a dollar
Touring the temple grounds in Southern Laos or was it Northern Thailand (?)
Biking through the streets of Northern Laos
Climbing to the top of a temple to watch the sunset
and trekking in Northern Thailand

What an adventure!

Operation once a day!

Dinner was pizza and salad (any other ppl out there that could eat pizza everyday?). Well it was more like lunch for me since I woke up at 3pm and ate this 3 hours later. That's what happens when you don't go to bed until 6:30 am.......MY BAD!

After lunch/ dinner we went shopping to find some winter work clothes for Sung Hyun. Poor guy works outside in -25 degree weather. Sung Hyun was a little shocked to find that prices are 20 times higher in Canada (no joke!). This pair of coveralls were $520. Needless to say we walked out empty handed.

healthy choice #6: I was going to grab a diet coke and bag of chips for my evening snack but decided on an orange and glass of water instead.

Small meaningful choices. I love this little project! Anyone getting bored of seeing me post everyday about this? Any suggestions for other things to blog about? Suggestion box OPEN!
Random act of kindness: Today since we didn't buy anything in the work clothing store we gave our $10 discount coupon to someone who was standing in line and wished them a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Operation once a day!

Healthy choice #5

Eat a heart healthy breakfast ;) to get me started for the day
Tonight instead of having my regular English class with Nick at the local coffee shop, I invited him over to my house for some Christmas finger food and game night with my family. Fun times were had by all ;)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Operation once a day!

Healthy choice #4 - lots and lots of water for this sickie ;) And a day free of soft drinks

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Operation once a day!

Sung Hyun finally received his Permanent Resident card. Now he's threatening to run away to Korea with his passport and wooden ducks (long story!)

Healthy choice #3 - take a multi-vitamin and add some healthy options to my pantry.

Time for plan B

So just when I was thinking about some back up plans if the university teaching job didn't pull through I get an email from my director with an outline of the temporary teaching plan for 2011.

I scrolled down the first long list of classes and didn't see my name. Time for plan B, I though (which by the way was to be a stay at home wife......haha NOT!).

Then holy snap I see my name again and again and again and again and again (that's 5 times if you weren't counting). I'm teaching 5 classes next semester. That's a total of 18 teaching hours. Which works out to 36 paid hours, since for every hour of teaching they pay me for an hour of prep. That's like a full-time job people!!!!!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Hello friend

Last week my good friend Sarah got admitted to the hospital after she started losing her eye sight. Her blood sugar levels clocked in at a comatose state of 45 (normal is 4-7 if I recall correctly). She found out she is type A diabetic. She gives herself 5 insulin shots a day and also takes oral medication. Thankfully she is getting her sight back.

Glad you are okay friend! Don't know what I'd do without you ;)

Operation once a day!

My schedule is all wacky now that I'm not working. I've always been a night owl though. Last night I crawled into bed at 4:00 am -- two hours before my husband is up for work!

Today I am tackling my room:
It's a disaster and (I'm not going to lie) normally looks like this. Sung Hyun is such a neat freak and has decided he's not going to pick up after me. You mean he can't work full-time and then be a house husband? I thought marriage was all about compromise* wink!
Healthy choice #2

Anyone else join me on the challenge to incorporate one (small) healthy choice into their day? Tonight since I know I'm going to eat my weight in cheese dip (and not feel guilty about it) I made a conscious choice to eat some greens for lunch at 3. A romaine salad with a side of roasted veggies.

What did you do for yourself today?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Made a difference to that one.....

It's no secret how much my dad and I like the Starfish story from the original Chicken Soup for the Soul book. To summarize: A man was walking down a deserted Mexican beach at sunset when he saw another man in the distance leaning down, picking something up and hurling it out into the water. As the man grew nearer he noticed that the local native kept leaning down and picking up starfish that had been washed up onto the shore. He approached the man and said "excuse me sir, what are you doing?" to which the man replied "you see, it's low tide right now so I'm picking up all these starfish that have been washed up onto the shore and throwing them back into the ocean. If I don't throw them back into the water they will die up here from lack of oxygen". The puzzled man replied "there must be thousands of starfish washed up along thousands of beaches all over the world, can't you see you can't possibly make a difference?". The local native smiled, bend down and picked up yet another starfish, "made a difference to that one", he replied!

Love it, love it, love it!

So today when I woke up out of bed, I didn't think "oh geez I look awful", but instead sprung out of bed with a plan in action.

I'm not going on a diet. I'm not counting calories or points. I'm not sticking to a 5 meal a day eating clean plan because I know I can't jump into anything full force and expect it to work. I've been there done that. Typically it works like this: start eating clean on Monday. Eat healthy for a good week. Have a bad meal. Feel guilty. Negative self-talk. Eat healthy again but think 'how am I going to do this for the rest of my life?'. Give up. Feel guilty. Start again.

It certainly doesn't jive well with my 'all or nothing attitude'.

So here's my simple plan:


Everyday I'm going to make 1 healthy choice. I don't care if I eat a hamburger from McDonalds after that, but I'm going to consciously do something small everyday. That way I'm am making an effort to build healthier smaller reasonable habits. Doesn't that make sense? And I'm going to start TODAY. And I'm fricken' excited!!!! And I don't care that Christmas is 10 days away and will be eating glorious treats then. Because I'm not on a diet. So I'm not going to punish myself for enjoying Christmas treats.

And then I'm going to see if these small steps really do make a difference.

Who's in?
Healthy choice #1: Instead of waking up and eating 2 chocolate macaroons for breakfast, I made myself oatmeal with coconut and a small scoop (1 tsp) of peanut butter with a side of fruit.

And I'm not thinking: "why do I keep eating peanut butter full of sugar when I really should be eating the raw organic natural kind?"


I'm thinking: "Right on Jen, instead of eating cookies for breakfast you decided to eat natural oatmeal with fruit. YOU'RE AWESOME!!!!!!

Okay so now it's your turn! What healthy choice are you going to make today?

p.s. sorry for that on-line pep talk ;)


Ever have one of those 'oh my' moments?

I did tonight when I was looking through one of my students photo albums on Facebook. This picture would have been taken about a month ago and it is now officially my computer back drop to remind me that little choices add up (the good AND, in this case, the bad).

And because I really admire individuals who are brave enough to display their weaknesses, I too want to keep it real. So I'm sharing the picture with YOU:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Sung Hyun and I wrapped Christmas presents while listening to Christmas music
Mom and I made chocolate macaroons for our Christmas bake exchange
And in my little world, that's what you call a productive day!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What's up buttercup?

1. My awesome friend Doyoung from Korea sent me this nice little Korea Starbucks coffee mug for Christmas. I'm so lucky to have such a special friend. Thanks Doyoung!
As happy as I am to drink from this mug tonight it's not filled with sweet savoury tea but with lemon NeoCitron

2. I'm sick!

3. Two massive pimples have decided to gang up and make friend on the left side of my chin. And by gang up I mean sit side-by-side acting as a mountainous volcano ready to burst. Feels like high school all over again.

4. Our mortgage approval from the bank got REJECTED so even if we wanted to buy a place and move out, we couldn't without a) a larger down payment b) a co-signer.

5. Average bed time sleeping time (bed time sleeping time? - make sense?), since I'm on vacation, is around 3:30 am.

6. I have been occupying my time by watching the latest TV drama (latest to me having just return from living abroad) called 24.

7. My husband has been going hard at work for over 2 months now. Working in -25 degree weather and coming home with a smile on his face still makes me tingle inside.

8. A tornado has gone through my room and as much as my husband tries his best to keep it clean, somehow I am successful at counteracting his efforts.

9. A month ago I bought a bunch of Christmas gifts to send to my Korean family and friends. They still sit in the corner of my room.

10. Bought a second Groupon tonight! (is it bad that I stay up past 12 to find out what the next groupon will be. Addicted? YES!)


A couple of weeks ago I hosted an Epicure party. And look at the stash I got for myself:

On Saturday I went to a Christmas party and brought one of the dips. The extraordinary cheese dip (in that little bread bowl) is A-MAAAAAZING! And EVERYONE thought it was a hit!
I almost made it the next day just for an afternoon snack. But didn't!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ba humbug!

This marks the fourth month we are back in Canada! Four months! Time sure flies.

The house is decorated with Christmas cheer,
but I'm just not feeling it this year.

I'm not excited about Christmas shopping. I'm not interested in listening to Christmas music. I'm just not in the spirit.

It better kick in soon. DAMN IT!!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Condo shopping

Although we have intentions to live with our parents for like EVAAAAR ;) we had an appointment today to see if we could, at our current rate of employment (haha! who am I kidding, my working contract is up), get approved for a mortgage. We won't know numbers until Friday but we had a place in mind that we wanted to check out.

Today we took our first tour of a condo. I was first attracted to the considerably low price. And the pictures looked great!

But the condo was located close to the highway so there would be a constant stream of noise pollution. We are just interested in looking and getting the mortgage process started (since I may even find out on Friday that we aren't approved) but not too sure when (or if -- haha mom just joking) we will move out.

So do we stay at home and save money or move out and taken on the responsibility of a mortgage? Mom has suggested we rent but one bedroom apartments are over $1000 which would be the price of a monthly mortgage payment.

Side note: I know that it's weird that I live at home but I honestly enjoy it and think the benefits far out weight the loss of privacy -- which isn't an issue with either of us. And I think I'm so used to the Korean way of living that I don't find it all that bizarre.

Any thoughts about what you would do? Move out and gain freedom or stay home and save money?