Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Utah, As the Jet Lag Clears

My sister-in-law, Marji and nephew, Peter, are eating grilled salmon and shrimp with spinach salad.  I'm eating CAKE.  It's left over from my nephew Sam's wife, Kara's baby shower last Saturday.  Yum!
Another niece, Maegan, brought her darling 2 month old baby, Alyssa, along from Colorado, and 
she was the unofficial mascot for the event.  Kara's adorably pregnant, Maegan's a loving new mommy, Alyssa cooed and smiled and wriggled, filling the house with new family life.
They've gone back to their respective homes in Texas and Colorado,
but what a warm and welcoming celebration for my first week back.  
Tom's wife, Maji, is an artist with lace.  She hand weaves the most amazingly delicate creations, including this lace hankie, which is turned into a bonnet for the baby and then will be returned to it's original form when she grows older.  It's exquisite and to
watch her create these things looks overwhelmingly difficult!
Oh, and family members very much included pet doggies and kitties
(this is Harley and Dakota), who make me eager
to get back into my home and adopt a pet myself.
Now, back to why I'm eating cake.  Well, first of all, it's here, what other reason need there be?  But, this is desert.  Jordan and I tried out a new restaurant today.  
It's called The Wild Grape & we're going to use it for the small, family luncheon 
following Jordan and Karli's wedding.  Their food is fantastic!  They fries are covered in truffle oil and
this turkey panini is the best I've ever had, and as for Jordan's burger....mmmmmmm.
I picked it first of all, however, for the sake of ambiance.  With exposed brick inside, it has  
the rustic, early colonial American feel Karli and Jordan are going for.  Love it.
Real grape vines cover an arbor outside.  I don't think I've ever eaten 
with actual grapes hanging above me!  I asked if we could be seated outside, well, because of those grape vines shading fresh white table clothes.  Lovely setting.  Delicious food.  
We had the cheese & fruit plate appetizer which complemented the entrees perfectly.
After a few days of jet lag, I resumed the morning walks and found this gorgeous walk behind Tom and Marji's house in Spanish Fork.  
I'm so glad there are so many awe inspiring sights wherever we go!  Yesterday I drove a couple hours North to Logan, to check in on my friends and renters there.  They've lived in that townhome for 6 years and we're both happy we know each other and have this arrangement.  
I drove home as the sun was setting.
As if that wasn't enough inspiration to accompany me on the long drive home,
 the moon decided to make an appearance as I merged onto south bound interstate 15.  Had to pull over and try to capture the moment, rather than wreck the car staring at it.
There's plenty of things to worry about, as Jordan continues to wait for one of the jobs he's applied for to materialize, as do I.  Karli's transitioning through semesters, along with juggling housing issues, demands of work and career goals, while planning for a wedding at the same time 
haven't been entirely trouble free.  While neither they nor I are perfect, and we grapple with the uncertainties of today and tomorrow, she and Jordan handle things with style and grace, 
which, quite frankly, helps me adjust to this roller-coaster of change as well.
  They're amazing and life is grand (except when it's not--:-)).

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Flying Out Tomorrow

Ok, so I posted a photo of Mr. Lee and Kelly on Sunday, now meet the others.  
Here's Olivia Teacher with one of her classes--2nd graders.  Elly, the only girl in this class, is front and center.  That girl's going places.  Anyway, Olivia is all things feminine, pink, lovely and Hello Kitty.  She teaches with creativity and discipline--a fantastic teacher and wonderful friend.  
I told her I loved her perfume and she and Tasha teacher got it for me!
  Tasha teacher might be the kindest person I know.  She's just SO NICE!  I've watched her since she came to JC Academy and what an amazing teacher she's becoming!  She's still nice, but she knows how to "explain" what matters to teenaged boys. ;-)  
Jack teacher deals with the most difficult students in the school.  He calls his students "evil creatures from hell," but all of them joke around with and tease him too!  He's the one we rely on to fix anything that breaks, run errands, and basically be a brother to everyone here.  The Yente in me seriously wants to find him a wife, because he'd take good care of her!  It's true, Jack, you would! HehHehHeh!  
Here he is mock yelling for the camera (these are some of my best students)!
Anna is still relatively new to JC Academy, but we went together to see the 
Cherry Blossoms in the Spring.  She's an idealist, devoted, and very pretty. 
All the middle school girls (&, I'm sure, the boys do too.  They just don't tell ME) 
agree and want to look like her.
Now meet Amanda.  That's her real name.  She's from South Africa and I've no doubt the students will be thrilled with her.  Only 32 and very cute, she taught in Jinju for a year before joining us here to replace me.  She just flew in Sunday and started teaching today.  This photo does not do her justice, sorry, as I took it in my apartment at the end of Monday after she spent the day observing 
and meeting the students. Those are my suitcases.  Took her on a ridiculously long walk today, to show her favorite spots and then SHE had to teach and I took a nap.  :-(  OOPS.
She moves into this apartment after I leave tomorrow. 
Mr. Lee is taking us all out for bulgogi in a little bit, so I need to get going.  Leave here tomorrow around 10 am w/Mr. Lee and Kelly driving me to Busan airport.  20 or so hours later, it'll still be Wednesday and I expect to see my son waiting for me.  I'm going to let the trespasser in my house keep hiding from the police, and head over to Tom & Marji's house in Spanish Fork.  Hoping another brother, Mark is on the mend--something went amuck.  They thought it was a stroke, but now they're
not sure exactly what it is.  In the hospital right now.  
Tomorrow I "wake up" from Oz.  Like Dorothy, good and bad will be waiting, along with a family that I love!  Unlike Dorothy, I have chocolate bars, gifts and notes like this (unedited) 
to remind me where I've been.  
I love Julie too...and...Don't be surprised if I keep weaving Korea into my future blogs.  
Took too many photos, made too many memories not to!
That's it for now, from Sacheon, South Korea.  
I'm packing my camera and my next blog will be from Utah.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Final Days in Oz

Mr. Lee presented me with the most gorgeous, small jewelry box this week as a farewell gift.  I gasped like a little girl.  Since my photos won't do it justice,
I want to publicly thank him.  
This is Mr. Lee holding the gift, along with Kelly, 
the head teacher and most devoted administrative assistant on the planet.
Ok, since I cannot upload videos to my blog, consider checking out the singing of my church leader posted on Facebook.  Branch Pres. Lee Jin Man sang to me and repeated the performance when I asked him to, while his wife did some crazy dance off to the side!!  I couldn't get a repeat of that, but I did get a bit of the delightful argument which ensued between her and her husband!  
You can check out Lee Jin Man's song here (cut/paste in browser):

 Seriously, I wish I could post videos on my blog!  There must be a way.  Besides the song and dance, Pak Tae Won and He Bom did a piano/recorder duet of
"I Need Thee Every Hour"
and I got some fun little clips through out the week.  
But today was fantastic and here's the farewell dinner after Church--FUN & YUM. 
I've been fighting tears all week, with roller-coaster emotions of frustrating highs and lows.  
Too tired to do this blog.  Oh, and we have a welcome addition to our area--2 sister missionaries!  
We visited for about 2 hours, I adore them already.  They'll be here 
to help and watch over people I care about!
It's been SUCH A WEEK, too important to ignore, so here goes just a few cameos.
Kim Soon Ii and her son are a couple of my favorite people.  She owns the orchard I've helped in a few times and told me she has this dream, similar to my own, of spending a year at a time in many different countries and then come home for a year between each international experience.  I LOVE this woman; and her son is one of the most promising young men, other than my own, I know.  
That's a major connection between Kim Soon Ii and I--we have these great sons.
Speaking of whom, had a nice long video chat w/Jordan concerning his engagement trip and party in Seattle, and the coming plans for his and Karli's September 28th wedding.  This photo's one of my favorites--Karli has such a fantastic smile!  Looks like Jordan agrees in this photo, 
don't you think?  I can't wait to spend more time with you, Karli!
However, my own house in Midvale is still "haunted" and, well, there's that.  I find myself looking around and thinking, I have a decent job here and a nice, cozy apartment--why am I leaving again?  Then I look at my son and Karli photos, remember all the things I need/want to do 
and remember why I'm parting with kids like these--for now. 
Choke down tears and buy them ice cream.  Here's "Nicholas"--wish I could adopt him!
The ice cream runs became the proverbial snowball rolling out-of-control, 
because once I started (and it began w/a group of middle school boys I don't even like--just wanted to end on a slightly sweeter note), I couldn't very well stop! 
 I just lowered the spending limit to about 4-500 won (40 cents or so).  
No complaints--it's HOT outside!
Morning walks have been long because I can't get enough photos, free saunas, or soak in enough beauty.  I've even recorded some of my songs with this scenery, just for fun.  Out of breath, the vocals aren't so hot, but the views are! Got up early enough to see this sunrise on Saturday.  We're in something of a drought here, mid-90 temps, but something like 110 % humidity.  
Whatever it is, it outstrips the humidity I'm familiar with in Maryland.
But, oh how gorgeous it all is!!
From awe inspiring silhouettes to lush greenery and flowers, I wish I could 
share the sounds and scents of what accompanies me on these walks.
Farmers arise early because of the heat and go to work on laundry.
They lay out harvested crops to dry, water fields and spray for bugs--
I have to wave away swarms of mosquitos during part of the walk.
I can't figure out what these are.  But I see them growing, being cut down, and drying everywhere.
Nor can I figure out what this is--it looks like a peeled big, white radish?
Ok, that's it for now.  I'm hoping to squeeze in one more blog of my fellow teachers, replacement teacher, etc., before I fly out on Wednesday.  Jordan will be picking me up, and then I'll stay w/my wonderful brother, Tom, and his equally delightful wife, 
Marji, for a bit while we sort through and seek resolution to chaos.
Nothing feels real right now....

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Packing up and so forth...

Ok, the weather here, I have to make a note of it.  Every day there's a possibility of rain in the forecast.   But, instead of rain, the air is so wet that my clothes won't dry when I hang them outside after a sweaty morning walk.  So, I turn a fan on them to encourage the process to reach completion.  When it actually rains, I think the air's drier--relieved to let go.    
It's Sunday now and I awoke from a nap to the sound of thunder and rainfall.  Ahhhhh, it's glorious! Monsoon season may have finally broken though whatever's kept it trapped in the air.  Hope so, for the sake of the river, crops and rice fields. 
HA!  It's true!  I checked my laundry hanging outside on the balcony--it's DRY.  
We're concluding summer break, here in Korea, and 
I've been off from teaching for 3 days and had time to prepare to leave.  How do I feel about it?  Honestly, rarely have my feelings been so torn.  I'll miss so many and so much here, but I keep promising myself I'll be back and mean it.  Further, my son's wedding, the disastrous situation that my current renter's creating, and several other things that need attending to, fill me w/a sense of longing and urgency to get back, which crowds in on the peace of finishing up my time here.  But the walks help with that.  When walking or teaching, I can really immerse myself "in the moment."  
My friend, Don, took this photo of these unusual berries for me.  
They look like some sort of craft store beads!
I've spent a lot of my time sorting and packing, 
cleaning the floor of my classroom and repainting part of the walls, compiling a list for my additions to Jordan and Karli's wedding invitations (I'm amazed at how many addresses I do not have), 
and hanging out with some friends.  
Went to the beach with Bharati and Don on Wednesday, towards the end of the day.  
I've not been here before, and the sand on my bare feet felt lovely.   We walked, watched the kids, families, tiny crabs and crossed this awesome footbridge.  Bharati and Don have a bit vacation time ahead of them, and they're spending it in Malaysia!  Wow!  
They're both delightful and I intend to keep in contact!
With her oldest son getting married in less than 2 weeks, my friend, Sherry Anderson, is going to the states for a couple of months.  She leaves tomorrow morning and I'll miss her.  
She surprised me with these 2 adorable, tiny teacups.  
She's my regular walking partner and 1st counselor in our little Relief Society organization. 
I've grown accustomed to talking about anything and everything with her...thank heavens for email!  The last time I left a foreign country I'd fallen in love with, there was no such thing.  
We went to Sacheon's nearby open market and 
ate a bunch of deep-fried shrimp, octopus, mandu and pajeon.
I remember discovering this food on an internet search when I was considering working in Korea.  I thought they looked delicious then and I wasn't disappointed!  Super spicy, the ones in the market.  Yum.  This is something I intend to practice making when I get back, but 
I'm going to try to add in some whole-wheat flour.
Last night was pizza and hang out with a couple of young brothers, Lee Gyum Jin and the local missionaries.  There were 5 pizzas for 6 of us, with no leftovers.  Ugh!  No, Carol, I'm not in the best shape ever, but the long walks help!  Anyway, Elder Massimini (I believe I've got that right?  It's an Italian name), is new to the area, plays the guitar and will fit right in!  
My contribution was a dinosaur puzzle and plastic frogs.  Both brothers loved 'em! :-)
I keep reminding myself that fascinating, funny and heart-warming kids and people are everywhere.  I believe and know that to be true.  But how I'll miss some of them here in Korea!!!