Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 1 - May 31

A sideways day! Slept in, lesson planned, listened to my Korean CD, played on the computer. I wish everyday was like this:

11:30 am -bran flakes with soy milk, flax seed, blueberries and 1 banana
2:00 - green tea, grapes
3:30 - salad with pinapple, turkey breast, chickpeas, peppers, tomatoes with cesear dressing
4:00 - 3 frozen strawberry shake with soy milk, water, flax seed and a sprinkle of mango for show
5:30 - walnuts/ dried cranberries
YOGA 6:30-7:10
7:30 - 2 hard boiled egg whites, 1/2 carrot, 1/2 cucumber
BASEBALL WITH HUBBY 9-10 pm
10:30 pm - orange!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

This story gives me goosebumps!

In 1938, Nicholas Winton helped 669 Jewish kids escape certain death from the Nazis. He never told anyone that he did this.

While on ski trip in Switzerland, Winton took a detour in Czechoslovakia to help the children of refugees. Nazi Germany had recently annexed a large part of Czechoslovakia and the news of Kristallnacht, a violent attack on Jews in Germany and Austria, had just reached Prague.

Winton set up a rescue operation for the children, filling out the required paperwork for them to be sent to homes in Sweden and Great Britain. He had to raise money to fund foster homes for all of them, and then he sent 669 children away from Czechoslovakia on trains before the Nazis closed down the borders.

Winton told no one that he did this, not even his wife. In 1988, his wife found a scrapbook full of pictures of the children and letters from parents in their attic. She arranged to have Winton's story appear in newspapers.

Many of the children Winton saved went on the BBC television program, That's Life, to meet him for the first time since the war. They refer to themselves as "Winton's children".

Winton is now 101 years old and has received awards from Israel and the Czech Republic as well as Knighthood from the Queen of England in 1993. (source)



* story found on OMG facts

Eating Clean!


This summer I'm going to eat healthy, I've decided! Because a) I want to wear a bikini to the beach, and b) it's about time I made an appointment for our studio wedding photos (almost a year late now). I'm not going to be counting calories, or points or measuring portions. I'm just going to choose wisely when I eat out and eat healthy when I'm at home. And I'm going to attempt to eat smaller meals more often. I'm not sure how I will do but when I put my mind to something then I'm pretty good at following through. The reason I'm telling YOU about it is so that I can be accountable to myself. Also, I would like some advice/ guidance from those of you who know about health and nutrition. And wouldn't it be great if I could motivate someone else to eat healthy. Lastly, my friend Becca was mentioning something about trying to encourage one another and keep each other updated about how well we are doing. So Becca, since I know we don't meet very often and never talk on the phone, this is for you!!!


I stocked up the fridge with healthy options: cheeries, mangoes, grapefruit, bananas, apples, blueberries, oranges, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, tofu, tuna, chicken and lots of green lettuce. I will do my best to post what I eat/ when I eat. Anyone else want to join me on this summer food photo journey?

Super busy Saturday

On Saturday morning I went to work at the Blue House. I've been doing a lot of overtime there because everyone is busy either preparing for the APPS conference in Seoul next week or the G-20 summit in Seoul in 5 months time. It's cool to be part of this. On Saturday I sat and watched 3 presentations in English which will be delivered to more than 20 deligates from over the world. And since it was Saturday and I was only going in for 2 hours I thought that perhaps I could have worn jeans. Actually Sung Hyun said it would be fine. Unexpectedly, I met the Deputy Chief of PSS (Presidential Security Service) -- where I work. He's second-in-command so I felt pretty special to sit next to him while we both gave feed back to the presenters. And I'm glad that I decided to wear a suit to work on a Saturday!

After lunch with the Blue House boys, I met up with Becca for our planned shopping date. Which was a success btw. Becca and I are the same size so it made for an interesting time. We were trading clothes back and forth between the fitting rooms. Overall it was a fun and exhausting experience since we were there for more than 2 hours.

Shopping was a success thanks to Becca. I was on a mission to find professional summer clothes for work. And $300 later I happily walked out with a handful of good pieces. I know that's a lot but I'm in desperate need for these clothes. I'll take back the white summer skirt ($20) and the white blazer ($80) because I wasn't sure if I should have gotten them in the first place, but I wanted to get Sung Hyun's check first. Luckly H&M in Meong Dong has a 30 day return policy.


Sung Hyun blowing kisses and winking! What a poser!

FUCKIN' SHIRT!

I went over to tell the Korean lady who was selling this shirt on the side of the street what it actually said. I repeated this phrase in Korean. She laughed and said 'oh well, Korean people won't know!'

아이고 코리아!

eRection time!



Next Wednesday is election day in Korea. The streets are filled with signs. Women and men are on the street handing out cards everywhere you go. Fliers are being delievered to our doorstep.

Normal, right?

All this seems fine, until you hear them sing out their campaign promises. Or drive by you standing up in a truck with music blaring. Or listen to them moan and grumble as they preach over a loud microphone as if they are about to go into labour. I WISH I WERE JOKING!

I'm having trouble deciding who I should vote for*. Take a look at some of the options:

#1) preacher lady who's going into labour



#2) Mr. pink shirt, pink heart-shaped balloons, fist in the air guy:

#3: Dancing ladies in white:



#4: Mrs. Kimchi fingers! My goodness, it will be a tough race. I can't wait to cast my ballot.



* WHO AM I KIDDING, I CAN'T VOTE!

Because you ALL deserve recognition

Thank you kindly for your overwhelming support. I wanted to take the time to thank you all individually. Your kind comments and words of advice either in the comments section of my blog or in the form of private messages were truly taken to heart. THANK YOU!

Kendra,

Sometimes I think I'm getting behind in life because all of my friends back home are well into their career and have purchased homes. And here I am in Korea living in a room probably the size of your bathroom. It was really refreshing to read your comment about my travels. Thank you kindly Kendra.

Donata,

I'm going to be rocking level 2 and you are probably going to still be able to run circles around me with this language. I too am happy that I get to see you during the summer.

Kristin,

I LOOOOOOVE YOU TOO FRIEND! I had this big elaborate plan to show up at your door with DQ blizzards. Actually I was going to just ring your doorbell and put them at your doorstep. Thank you for re-assuring me friend.

Kenda,

I guess you will eventually get the chance to annoy the roomie. Just not as soon as you liked. I hope, that if I can't make it to Steph's wedding, you'll give her an extra big hug for me. Thank you kindly for your support.

Trent,

Hey P.O, what has gotten into you? I'm so touched by your message. I hope Canada and YOU will always be there for me.

Shelley,

Yes the ecomony sucks now doesn't it. So much for sending money home anytime soon. I'm sorry that you are wanting to go home so badly. I will be happy to guide you through the immigration process. Email me whenever you need. My advice is to work on the forms little by little.

Beloved,

Thanks for the hug. I remember when you first contacted me 3 years ago and you told me your story about how you married a Korean man and lived in Korea for 6 years. At that time I thought 6 years was so long. Not so much anymore. I'll never forget, you were the first person that made me realize a future with Sung Hyun could be possible. Thank you!

Amy,

"Enter your summer with excitement"! What a great message. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you. I'm going to do exactly that Amy!

Helena,

Yes I'm quite confident in my decision and I'm pretty happy in my life as of present. I hope that I won't get too overwhelmed with school though. Btw, where did you study Korean? I was surprised to see you completely understood my Korean message! NICE!!!!

David,

Torn between two countries! Maybe I should write a song........okay maybe not. But yes, you're right, it's wonderful to know that there are good things on each side. Thanks David.

Rachel,

I'm pretty certain that I won't be able to get the kind of job/ salary I currently have in Korea once I move to Canada. I know that since I'm a female, F-2 (spousal) visa holder the opportunites here are endless. I think I'm a little spoiled and it will be hard to enter the working force in Canada after this.

Mel,

Hey Mel, I guess you know exactly what it's like to move back to your country once you've lived in Korea for a couple of years. I'm going to soak up as much good-stuff up as I can while I'm here. Anything you want me to do in your honour?

Becca,

Thanks for sharing your story. Now we can enjoy the summer together, although I don't know how much of it I can enjoy when I'll be studying so much. Perhaps you can drag me out for a shopping date.....hehe!

Mom and dad,

I know you were probably the most disappointed since you were already preparing for our return. Find comfort in the fact that both Sung Hyun and I are really happy now. Thank you for always supporting us. It won't be too long until you kick us out of your place and tell us to fend for ourselves. HEHE! Love you and always miss you ;)

ONCE AGAIN, THANK-YOU EVERYONE!!!!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Where to start?

This past week has been rough, so kind comments and advice are greatly appreciated ;)

I cried more times in the past 4 days then I have in a long long time.

So here's the REAL scoop:

I tried to keep the fact that we got approved and passed the final stage of the immigration process a secret (SURPRISE #3, btw) because Sung Hyun and I were planning to leave Korea July 14th. The plan was to surprise all my friends back home by showing up at their doorsteps without any notice. I even had my friend arrange a patio party at her place on my birthday --invites sent and guests already confirmed. I was just going to quietly slip out of Korea and then post about my return back to Canada once I got there. That would have been a real shock to probably most of you, my readers, but I didn't want to ruin the surprise by celebrating it on my blog.

After meeting Charlie this past weekend, possibly for the last time since he's still completing his mandatory military service, I got scared about going back to Canada.

I absolutely LOVE my life right now. Yes it's tough at times, but I have an amazing job. Although it's challenging and always different, I love it. I walk away from it with a sense of accomplishment. AAAAAAAAND it's no secret how much I loved my Korean class. Once again, tough at times, especially when I had to walk up at 6, but something that just made me feel so alive.

So why leave Korea when things are going so well?

I thought it over. I cried! I talked to my friends here in Korea. And then I talked to Sung Hyun. I know it wasn't fair of me to tell him that I wanted to stay longer because he had already mentally prepared to leave in July -- and especially since he is the one who will have to say good-bye to his family.

So now where does that leave us?

Well, we just sent Sung Hyun's passport to the Canadian Embassy today to get the visa so we should receive that in a month (at the latest). Technically we will be able to go to Canada at that point. So if anything crazy goes on with North Korea, then we'll be on the first plane over. We absolutely MUST leave Korea before the 1 year mark of Sung Hyun's medical exam, however. He took that in February, so that means the latest we will be back is in February.

I don't know when I'm going to Canada. I don't want to make any promises because I'm sick of disappointing people. But all that I know is that I'm NOT ready to leave now. I'm following my heart and I hope I am making the right decision.

I'm signing up for level 2 Korean class at Sogang tomorrow. The program runs from June 3rd to August 18th. It's going to be tough. I'm going to curse at early mornings and late night study sessions. I'm going to wonder why the hell did I think signing up for Korean class was a good idea. Then at the end of it. I'm going to be so proud of myself for being able to accomplishing such a big feat. It's hard to balance full-time classes, 4 part-time jobs, topped off with the responsibilities of being a wife. But I can do it. And I have Charlie to thank for ever so subtly inspiring me to live my life to the fullest.

Ahhhhhhhhh, now I feel better for letting everything out! I didn't think it would be so difficult to leave. And perhaps my defense mechanism has kicked in and I'm simply putting off the inevitable. Either way, I love Korea and I'm very happy with where I am in my life right now. I feel pretty guilty about this decision. I don't know why. But I want to thank Tanya for giving me some insight and walking me through this. It's not the end of the world, but this was a big decision for me.

Advice in all forms is appreciated!

THE END!

p.s. I'm soooooo sorry to all my Canadian friends who had anticipated seeing me this summer. Much love to you all. Please understand my decision.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The most beautiful man I know!

Ever meet someone who had the capacity to touch your soul? The type of person who had the power to reach your heart? I have!!!The type of friendship I have with this man, is something that transcends language. It's can't be described with words. It can only be felt.

How do you say 'good-bye' to someone you care so deeply about? When I leave Korea, I will miss you the most Charlie ;)

(photo taken from Charlie's site - thanks friend)

In moments like this......

Last week in class I asked my Blue House boys if they could ever be rich without money. They didn't get it!

Dog for dinner!

I didn't think I'd ever eat dog but yesterday I had the opportunity to try it. Yes I know how they are killed (although now, most shops are using more human ways) and yes I know that for some this is absolutely disgusting, but I thought I'd give it a go.

Here is the soup

The meat itself

The first bite

Another soup...
I don't know how to describe the taste. It didn't taste like beef. It was soft and tender and had a mild flavour. I was expecting it to be overly powerful and completely revolting. I was expecting to have to spit it out of my mouth. But I didn't. Eating live octopus was certainly more entertaining.
Then after the lovely couple dragged us to the dog restaurant (hehe), we hit up Yongsan to watch a movie together. Sung Hyun picked the movie and although I was sceptical about seeing an animation I highly recommend checking out How to train your dragon, in 3-D. It's the best movie I've seen in a long time. And congrats to 혜진 and Stuart, who passed the final step of the immigration process to Canada. They applied about 2 months prior to us ;) and plan to leave within the next couple of weeks. Good news for us......they'll be living in Saskatoon!

Fun Friday

Friday was park day with my friends from Korean class. It's always a pleasure to be around these gals.In Korea you can drink EVERYWHERE.......including the passenger seat of a taxi! So we thought we'd enjoy some wine
Unfortunately I couldn't drink because I had to leave for a 1.5 hour English lesson, so I enjoyed the snacks instead
We attempted to write a song and accompany it with live musical instruments, but it didn't work so well, plus I had to leave
Then we all met up again for dinner, but this time I brought along my hubby and friend Becca. We enjoyed a yummy spread of grilled meat and side dishes.
And since we were in the area we decided to call up our Japanese classmate/friend Hiromi and present her with her birthday gift. Two massive bottles of soju, a strawberry cupcake and a business card for a Kissing Room (inside joke). This girl can drink like a fish and has been proudly wearing the nickname, 아저씨!
This girl is sooooo funny ;)
In true 아저씨 style!~

School Festival

Last week I went to my students festival at her university. All the clubs in the school set up a booth and sold food/ drinks to raise money. She was responsible for manning the drama and physics tent. She's a physics student in the drama club.

Here's the walk up to the womens universityOf course the streets are lined with cute summer clothes Lots and lots of women Cute characters!

There's my student on the right. She's completely adorable and exremely intelligent. She's got a good head on her shoulders. Watch out Korea!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

blugghhhh

So suprise # 3, which as a job offer didn't pan out. Spoke too soon I guess.

I HATE WAITING!!!!!!!!! Waiting for word from Canadian immigration that is. As most of you know, we submitted our immigration paperwork to sponsor Sung Hyun, my husband, back to Canada. I feel so stuck, that I can't carry on until I get the final word. It says on the immigration website that the Canadian Embassy in Seoul will process it usually within six months. And to not inquire until then. We we sent it 2 months ago and had to re-submit papers since we didn't include proper paperwork for his military service. Everything is just hanging in the balance until then. I didn't think the waiting part would bother me, but it bothers me that we can't officially start our count-down to Canada until we've got our tickets in hand. THIS IS THE YEAR WE WILL GO TO CANADA!!!

I've decided to not take the next Korean language course for many many reasons (even thought I loved the first level). I plan to just enjoy my summer with family and friends and take it easy for once in my life. I work 2 days a week (Tuesday & Thursday) for about 5 hours each day. That leaves me with a lot of MEEEEEEE time. This is either going to be really good or really bad! Any thoughts?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I came to learn Korean, but that was only part of it...

I didn't expect to meet such a great group of people in my Korean class at Sogang. And the funny thing is that I was supposed to be in level 2 but I was falling behind in the first week because I didn't know all the grammar patterns so I dropped to level 1. I wasn't so happy that I was paying $1600 to construct basic Korean sentences so I did consider dropping out and getting a refund, but I decided to give it an honest go. Afterall, I never actually put effort into learning Korean until this class.

And so that was the purpose -- to learn Korean so that I could feel more comfortable communicating with my mother-in-law, since we had moved into her place at this point.

And that's what happened. I'm able to talk with my mom about basic things and I am happy that I took the class.

But something else happened. I met an amazing group of people. I just expected to take a Korean class--I didn't expect to make friends. Thanks for the amazing class, the loads of laughs, and the endless jokes...........I'll miss you all ;)

Eating lunch in the classroom with the teacher at the head of the table

Class photo time!!!! Our speaking teacher is holding the flowers we gave her! For a more detailed account of all the people in class check out Saebom's page HERE.

Enjoying a beer with the best teacher in the world, outside the school convenience store ;)

HOW CAN I EVER LEAVE KOREA?!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

The last few weeks in a nutshell

Now that my life has calmed down a bit I can get back to blogging. YAH! Here are some of the things I did in the month of May.

Prepared for my Korean final exam by studying Korean with Sung Hyun in the parkPartied with these pretty special people
Celebrated my 1 year anniversary with Sung Hyun
Successfully completed my Korean class!
I'll write a little something special about all of these things since I've got a ton of pictures and stories to share. Stay tunned!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

3 AMAZING THINGS HAPPENED YESTERDAY!

I'm on cloud number 9 and loving every minute of life ;)

1) Finally after numerous phone calls and email messages, we finally got our refund for our trip that was cancelled. Remember THIS?

2) I finished my Korean class!!!!! YAHHH! And scored really well:
90% spoken interview,
99% grammar,
97% written speaking exam
98% writing class,
91% reading, (hehe)
98% listening.
3) The last/ most important/ really amazing thing that happened will have to wait. I'm sorry, I'm sorry I'd love to tell you but I just have to hold tight for a little while. Don't worry it's really more exiciting for me then it is for you ;)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Korean writing exam

Tomorrow I have my first day of Korean exams. First up on the list is the writing exam. I'm only level 1 but pretty impressed that I wrote this all by myself without any help:

이번 방학 때 특별한 계획없어서 아직 잘 모르겠어요!
그런데 도나타 씨 하고 같이 중국이나 일본에 여행을 하고 싶어요.
일본이 중국보다 더 좋아요.
하지만 일본에 한번 가봤어요.
그래서 중국에 가고 싶어요.
왜냐하면 음식하고 호텔이 너무 싸요.
그리고 비행기 표도 싸요.
이번 방학 때 한국어를 공부하려고 해요.
요즘 한국생활이 너무 바뻐서 이번 학기에 열심히 공부 못 했어요.
여행을 하고 한국어를 열심히 공부할 거에요.

Pretty good for 9 weeks into my first real serious attempt at Korean. Don't ya' think!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Procrastination!

Pretty sure I'm the queen of procrastination. I've got the whole day off (YAH for childrens day in Korea) and instead of studying for my Korean final which is next week, I'm spending 2.5 hours cleaning my mother-in-laws bathroom and cooking up a storm in the kitchen! NO JOKE!

I've always been a procrastinator though so this comes as no surprise (right MOM!). But when you're learning a new language, it's not like you can cram 100 words a day into your brain and be able to recognize them, write them, spell them correctly and use them in conversation. On top of that I've got a good number of grammar patterns to learn. My Korean finals begin next Tuesday and finish on Thursday with the BIG interview.

Okay now onto the pictures of what I ate so far today:

My bowl of oats. In the mix: 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of oats, 1/2 banana, 6 pecans, 1 egg white, a sprinkle of flax seed, 15 or so raisins, a tsp of peanut butter!!!!

OMG and let me tell you about my lunch. This was divine and I know I will make it again. On the bottom a thin layer or brown rice, followed by cooked zucchini seasoned with spices. Next I heated up my left-over chicken from last night and topped it with jalapeno peppers and some crumbled feta. I let it cook long enough to heat up the chicken and melt the feta just a little. I topped the whole thing off with a dollop of the tofu dip. This was seriously heaven in my mouth. It was the right amount of spice balanced with a rich creamy texture and it had a little zip. Good thing I made two servings ;)

Okay now what else can I do to kill some time?

Yummy!

For dinner tonight, since Sung Hyun doesn't get home till 9:30 -- far to long for me to wait for dinner, I made seasoned chicken breast with crumbled feta and roast garlic. Then on the side I had sliced cucumber with Diana's 'tofu dip'. It was yummy and healthy!