Monday, April 30, 2012

Dinner


The hubby made an awesome dinner tonight.  It could go down in my books as one of my favourites.  I've noticed that I have moved away from meat and I'm eating more beans and tofu -- not because I'm consciously trying to stay away from meat but more because my taste buds prefer this:

Quinoa, panfried kimchi, roasted garlic and boiled tofu!

See mom I'm eating!  Wanna come over for dinner and eat this?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Nothing special

This will be a random update of everything and nothing:

1.  I went to an out of town TESOL conference this past weekend.  It was fun!

2.  Starting Tuesday I will officially be cutting back my hours at work.  I got offered a permanent full-time position at RODS.  I accepted a permanent part-time position instead.  I know this is the right decision.  This will leave me with some time to 'figure things out'.

3.  I will start my 3rd grad class next week.  I enjoyed having a month off in between (eeeek! did time ever go by fast).  I finished my last class with a 91%, so I'm doing well in school.  

4.  I haven't finished decorating upstairs, but once I get that done I'll post some picture of what our bedroom/ guest room looks like.  



 In the mean time, here's a small peak at some wall art.  A couple paintings and mirrors have been added.  I'm getting shopped out.

5.  I have decided that I better start putting money into my RRSPs instead of into fake flowers for my house.  Those suckers cost a fortune......and yes, I kept the green orchids.

6.  My brother, the financial genius, came over to help me set up an online high interest savings account.   A guaranteed 1.8% is better than what my bank can offer me.  And this online bank has absolutely no fees.  So if you've got some extra money kicking around why don't you start one yourself at Ally.ca

7.  To kick off the end of our spending spree we each bought one thing.  A $27 hat for him and a $27 book for me.  Now to focus on saving....


8.  Remember said savings strategy?  Well, look how good that worked -- Joy was right!


Our saving jars are now tucked away under our sink.  I totally suck at making a plan and carrying through with it.  I'm thinking these jars would be of better use if they were stuffed with cookies and distributed to friends.

9.  In my quest to 'figure things out', I'm taking more time to think and ponder about what I want to get out of life.  Taking more time out for myself is something I need to start doing.  That is why I've decided to work the early shift from 8:00-11:30.  That leaves me with some time before I start my privates at 4:00 to do as I please.  

10.  I go through waves of good and bad as I try to navigate my way through my late 20's.  And it's tough.....But then I remember these wise words from my mom.  Enjoy!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

On therapy and fears

Oh, boy!

I saw the therapist once.

It was great!  I haven't been back.  I haven't made time for myself.  I haven't made myself a priority.  I don't believe that I'm worth the time.

Then today I stumbled upon a video linked to my friends facebook.  It is ever so clear that this is exactly what I'm experiencing now.  Watch it:



Vulnerability, my biggest fear!  Oh how I'm missing out on so much great...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Am I the only one who finds this funny?


THE THINGS IN OUR HOUSE

They fill up the spaces but leave bigger holes.

They define who we are but not who we want to be.

They are made of materials but not memories.

They provide us with support but not the kind that counts.

They liven up our area but not our soul.



THE THINGS IN OUR HOUSE

are not here to stay.

THE THINGS IN OUR HOUSE

will be gone one day.

THE THINGS IN OUR HOUSE...

...they're just that,

THINGS!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Dear Charlie...


Years have passed since we've seen each others faces but you are still such a dear friend to me. I hold you close to my heart and will remember you forever. I know some day we'll cross paths again and it will be like I never left. You see Charlie, that's the best thing about you and me; it doesn't matter how much distance, time, or space is between us, we still have the lovely memories we created together.

Saying goodbye to you was the hardest.

I hope your wedding was everything you dreamed....

Love you, friend ;)


OUR husband


An anonymous commenter in a previous post got me thinking about language -- specifically about possessive pronouns and adjectives.

I think (correct me if I'm wrong) the commenter was referring to when I used the phrase "stuff the vase with MY money". He/she said "I cringe every time you refer to MY money, as if Sung Hyun makes no money at all, or you're roommates instead of husband and wife."

He/she makes a good point!

It's funny how one word can give the wrong vibe. In no sense did I mean to say that the money belongs to ME and Sung Hyun hasn't contributed to our finances. The my, in "stuff the vase with my money", was more in relationship to you (the reader) and me (the writer). As in, YOU decide what to do with MY money (after all I'm the one writing the blog, not Sung Hyun). I was actually contemplating putting OUR in the title but then I thought it sounded like the money belonged to you, the reader.

Confusing?

Anyways, I remember when Sung Hyun first introduced me to his friends as 'our' girlfriend. Korean culture is much less individual than Western culture. In Korean, for example, I'd say "this is our mom" not "this is my mom". The very basis of a language say a lot about that culture.

So in my Western circle of friends all of my girlfriends have professional careers. They are strong, independent women who stand on their own. All of them make more money than their spouses. All of them, with the exception of one or two, have separate bank accounts. They have a separate account for their joint expenses (ie. mortgage, utilities, and food).

Another couple I know doesn't share with one another how much money they make. They each contribute X number of dollars to the joint account and what is left in their individual accounts is 'their' personal money. I'm not saying this the the right or wrong way to handle their finances. This system works for them. They have "collective" money and "individual" money. And although this is not the way I choose to handle my finances with Sung Hyun, I don't think my friends way is incorrect either.

Next time I'll choose my words wisely, as to not exclude our husband ;)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Making a difference

On Friday night I invited my 'old' students to our place. They brought food!
YUM!
A lovely group indeed
And this lady brought me kimchi ;)
After dinner we played games.
I never anticipated the evening to be so fun. We all had a blast and Sung Hyun fit right in. I love the immigrant community in Regina. I feel like I understand them -- I know what it feels like to be living away from 'home'. The gang left at 10 pm. But since we all had a great time, I get the feeling that we'll be doing this again.
They even came with presents. The best part was reading the card. One lady wrote "I marked your name in my heart"

Friday, April 13, 2012

Stuff the VASE.....with my money

Help me decide how I should decorate my house because I'm having trouble deciding if I should put flowers in the vases:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Setting up house is expensive. I know it doesn't have to be. But we decided on a smaller more affordable place so that we can set it up to make it feel like home. And since my last post was about money let's talk about how ridiculously expensive home decor items can be.

Like these green orchids for example. Should I keep them or take them back. Does your mind change if I tell you those two stems cost $34?


My owl was the first home decor item. It was $45. I bought it at Anex (a local decor shop) The magnetic globe was the same price but it came from Chapters book store.


The long glass vase was $15 from Superstore. The metallic bookends were $10 a pop from Chapters. The gray hour glass was from HomeSense and it cost $15 (too bad I cracked it on the way home).

From left to right:

pink/purpleish orchid plus vase = $55 (Sung Hyun chipped it already ;(
orchids = $34 (for 2 stems)
green plant = $20 (from HomeSense)
metallic and white vase = $15 each (from Walmart)
purple flowers = $18 (HomeSense)

AND the large white vase with the purple/ metallic green leaves that inspired the colours for this room = $50 for the vase (that was the 50% off price) + $20 for the bunches of leaves.

I don't plan to add those numbers up and you don't have to do that for me.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Saving money.....

I'm good at saving money.....I'm bad and figuring out how to do it.

I don't have a plan. And that works for me -- for us.

Sung Hyun and I have been very respectful to one another when it comes to money. Before this was a big strain on us but now I'm so happy to report that we are both working toward a financial goal together. Sung Hyun even put $5000 into his own tax free savings account. I'm proud of him for saving! A couple of years ago this would have not been the case.

There are things that I don't think we should spend our money on, like cigarettes for example (those cost about $200 a month), but I have learned to let that go. Also, Sung Hyun earns money in this household so he has a right to decide what to do with it too.

As for me, I usually don't buy much -- the exception being our new place. I've gone crazy buying "what I want, without thinking about it" and it's okay as long as A) we don't get into debt and B) we don't let this mentality become a habit. So far, so good.

Last night we sat down and decided that we're going to visit an investor to get some RRSPs set up as well as a short term savings plan that could be used for say, travel or babies!

I'm NOT pregnant so no need to ask!

Tofu Enchiladas Bowls

Sideways bowl:

YUM! And that's totally healthy people! That big blob on sour cream is really 0% greek yogurt. Try that as a substitute and you wouldn't know the difference.

Dinner always looks better when it's served in fancy dishes. I was well known for my food presentation skills when I was a cook in the military.

Bet you didn't know I was in the Naval Reserves for 6 years!

Better comparison pictures for the rug dilemma

Okay readers, vote on this one (you too Kristin!)

Rug under?
Rug out?

New chair and thanks anonymous commenter


Living room update.

My new chair arrived. It's big like I expected, but looks even bigger since I was used to the room being so open. But at least it's comfortable.

Here is the room with the rug pulled out from under the sofa (sorry for the poor lighting):

Can you see I moved the 'cool' lamp a little to the right?

To compare -- rug under the sofa and lamp behind the record cabinet:

Hummmm....help!

I was trying to position the new chair. If the rug is under the sofa then one leg of the chair is on the rug. But if the rug is away from the sofa then all four legs of the chair sit on the hardwood.

See, the rug tucks nicely under that chair without the legs actually being on the rug.

And there is less dead space when the lamp is next to the record cabinet.

Tonight we purchased a buffet table that will go along the back wall. I was debating between a tall funky bookshelf or a fancy buffet table. The bookshelf would have dressed the room down. So I went with the fancier look. We got it at Sears Outlet. My dad saw it on Monday and said "yup, this is the one" but I couldn't buy the first one we saw. So we went other places and looked at more expensive furniture made of fake wood.

Finally I went back and got the first one. Dad, you were right! It was made of real wood and was marked down to $450 from $1300 because the bottom shelf was put on backwards (something Sung Hyun said he could fix!). I used my Sears card and points and paid $390 taxes in. I was happy with that!

So thanks to anonymous' comment in the last post. I will make the following changes:

1. I'll pull the sofa away from the window and wall (Sung Hyun won't like that idea because I talked about getting curtain which would require us to pull the sofa away from the window -- something he didn't want to do)

2. After I move the sofa away from the wall that should solve the outlet problem (especially if I move the record case a little further away from the sofa)

3. I'll move the things on the record case a little further away from one another.

Thanks anonymous!

____________________________________

Okay so the most obvious question after seeing these photos:

Rug -- under or out?

Monday, April 09, 2012

What would you dare to dream, if you knew you wouldn't fail?

We are led to believe that security, comfort and stability is a good life. But I think it's hazardous to our character and to our spirit. I think at some point we have to come face to face with the most primitive circumstances where there is nothing to help us but the whit in our own head, the courage in our own heart, and the strength in our own hands. It's in those moments that we realize there is more to us then we thought there ever was.

From a video on Youtube watched at 12:10 am on Tuesday, April 10th, 2012.

Our home

Our place is slowly coming together. Had we been wiser we would have set a budget for things, instead our motto seems to be "if you like it, buy it". And I'm turning into a house-a-holic; as in every time I'm out, I'm looking for something unique that would fit in our place. And we literally had to buy EVERYTHING since we didn't own very much.

But we saved our asses off and lived with 2 sets of in-laws for 2 years so we're treating ourselves. As for our style, well perhaps I should have hired an interior decorator, but we're just rollin' with it -- mixing Sung Hyun's likes with mine and compromising in the process.

So far it's been fun.

We are mixing modern with old. Is that even a style? The brown coffee table is an old record cabinet my grandpa made in the '60s. It's unique and vintage/ antique looking and I LOVE it in the mix. My mom almost "threw that old thing away"

We clearly need a wall hanging. I'm thinking of painting a picture of Seoul on a big canvas. My friend thinks I should hang some kind of abstract painting that ties in my colours -- purple and green. Still undecided about that one.

Okay I need your opinion: do you think our rug should be pulled out from under the sofa? It's tucked in about 3-4 inches?

On the right side of the rug we are bringing in an off-white (fake) leather arm chair. Now that I look at the space I'm actually thinking the chair will be too big. But it's custom ordered and arriving tomorrow. We shall see....

Today I was on the hunt for a buffet to go against the wall in the corner there. But my dad and I found a funky bookshelf/ display case. So now we don't know what to do. Maybe another blog vote?

Here's our kitchen -- with the orchid that Sung Hyun tipped over last night and now the glass is chipped. I scored a see through bar stool for our island today. Well I didn't score it, I paid for it.
kitchen table
2-tier coffee table. The top piece can be used as a side table but I like how they look when they are on top of one another.

'Tis da' house.

Thoughts on the rug -- pull out or leave tucked in?

Sunday, April 08, 2012

My penis is bigger than your penis...Na, Nah, Nah, Na, Nah Na.....


This Couple A, couple B, my _____ is better than your _____ (insert whatever) could probably turn into a blog series. I'm trying to find humour in the frustration.


***********************************************************

Last night Sung Hyun and I went to our Korean friend's house (couple A) for supper. We are connected with this Korean couple because I teach their two children and niece. We've grown close over the past year and Sung Hyun and I consider them to be our friends. We visit often.

There was another Korean couple at dinner last night (couple B). They are a year older than Sung Hyun. When Koreans get together, I find, it's a competition to see who is the best. Talk of Korea vs. Canada always comes up and I find myself trying to defend my country. Because Korean is ALWAYS better. In Korea the "cars are cheaper, in Korea you get a paid vacation plus a bonus, in Korea women don't have to work"....and on and on and on.

Now, I understand what it feels like to be in a different country and be frustrated with it. But never did I sit in front of a Korean and say "Canada is better because ...". I opened my heart up to Korean people. I made Korean friends. I made an effort to understand the culture, the people and even if I didn't agree with it, I listened. I spent a lot of money learning Korean. I knew that if I wanted to enjoy myself in Korea I had to get to know Korea. I'd have to get out of my comfort zone. SO I DID.

"So why don't you make Canadian friends?", I asked. "Because their mind is different than mine, they like football and I don't know about football" was his reply.

WOW!

The more I think about what we talked about last night, the angrier I get. The Korean man prided himself in the fact that he has never cooked and his wife does everything for him. He prided himself in the fact that he doesn't want his wife to ever have to work (as if it was a slant to me for deciding to work). Everything about Canada was wrong.

Then I said "it must be so stressful to have such a big responsibility to earn a lot of your money to care for your family." Both the men agreed. Then I said to the women "it must be so hard to have to care for your children alone" and they agreed.

But both Korean families agreed that the Korean way was the right way.

Because in Canada women should only care for their babies and not work because it's not healthy for the children. Then I asked if it was healthy for the husband and wife relationship when the wife is sleeping in their children's bed and not with their husband.

Then I asked how they made time for sex.

Our house is bigger than your house...NAH, NAH, NA


NA, NAH, NA, NAH!!!!!


Our Korean friends (couple A) just built a new house. Then their Korean friends (couple B) visited the new house and asked two questions: How much is it? How many square feet is it?

Then couple B purchased a lot in the same neighbourhood. And bought a bigger, more expensive house.

Now our friends (couple A) are jealous.

But couple B didn't have enough money to one-up their friends so they had to get some money from family in Korea. Couple B's parents wire transferred them $200,000 for their house.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

But it's a journey

This state of flux I'm in right now is not good. But I know that I'm meant to be here right now to figure things out. And that at the end of this, I'll be a much stronger and better person.

I'm figuring myself out. Getting to the core of the issues and it's a dark, scary place. To go back in your past and analysis at what point perfectionism defined my life. At what point, value and meaning came from a graded report and not from my any intrinsic value. Where I measured my worth by what others thought of me, instead of what I believed in myself.

It's a journey my blog friends. And there are ugly parts along the way. But the point is I'm putting one foot in front of the other. I'm acknowledging my weakness and admitting my faults.
I'm also surrounding myself with supportive people who are kind enough to lend an ear and offer feedback from their perspective. It's nice. It's refreshing. And it's empowering.

This journey with be one of self-discovery and reflection.

And ever so slowly I'm starting to realize that I deserve it because any other way I would be cheating myself out of a GREAT life.

And when I dip my toes a little further into the water I will share my story, with you, the world, to help others, to inspire.

Thanks to Shawna and Skott for the picture that inspired the post.