Thursday, October 31, 2013


It's so nice to hop into bed feeling clean with crinkly warm feet. I like listening to my heart slow down as I start the resting process, mulling over the day and planning the next one in my mind.

With my to-do list for the morning formed, I can bid the day goodbye and my brain can go into hibernation mode.

I went on a halloween candy run during lunch and smuggled this bad boy back into school amongst the goodies. I am stealth.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I love art. That may be a super pretentious thing to say, but I really do.

After school today my new teacher friend took me to see Kusama Yayoi's exhibition at the Daegu Art Gallery. It was amazing. On the surface it's easy to think that her works are childish, but they are really quite awesome.

I loved that each collection really had its own flavour and style. My favourite was watching a documentary about her. She's so small and frail and yet her work is incredibly vibrant.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


I love the little things my students do for me.

I got this gorgeous little mandarin from a girl today. It looks like her. They have matching fringes.

Monday, October 28, 2013


This morning I did an amazing thing. I made red wine poached pears for breakfast. too early for alcohol on a Monday morning you say?


But srsly guys, it evaporates off so it just makes them tasty and soft and like mulled wine without the buzz. Promise.

They don't look great but they sure did taste it.

Oh and the spicy aroma greeted me as I walked in the door after school. I can't believe how good it was!

Juxtaposition of The Word and the worldly.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


This has really been a happy trip to Busan. This morning I got to meet Sarah in actual person! I've been talking to her on Facebook since before I came. She's a friend of Lindsay's from America and so she put us in touch when I was applying to come to Korea.

It was most exciting to meet her and we had good chats about all sorts.

I will say that it was very strange for a while because her in-real-life voice didn't match the voice I had given her screen persona. I didn't let that come between us though!

Unfortunately we did not take a photo, but here are our beverages.


I have never seen so many people in one place as I did tonight on Gwangalli beach for the Busan Firework Festival.

Usually I'm pretty good at getting where I want to go, no matter who I have to shove out of my way, but tonight there was a wall of people that couldn't budge if they wanted to. I tried to go around them and venture out into the sea of picnic blankets but I only made it a few steps before realizing that it was fruitless. People were yelling at me in Korean from every direction. The man behind me started screaming, "GO BACK!" and waving me back to my friends while laughing at my predicament. I had to laugh too because the ahjumma in front of me wouldn't let me walk back.

I was an island and a complete spectacle. Those ahjummas are terrifying. A couple of them accosted a man as he bravely sprinted over the blankets. One of them had his leg and the other removed his shoe and started hitting him with it. It really was a sight!

The fireworks were incredible once we found a spot. They went on for an hour nonstop and would have probably cost billions of dollars.

These girls are great!

I found a Kiwi bar!

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Today was pretty freezing so it felt amazing to snuggle up in bed and watch a movie tonight. I had my cider and I was so cosy.

The film was called Strike! and it was the first M-rated film I saw, far before I was supposed to be watching them. I remember we went to the Lynch's place and while Mum and Lyndal were chatting, Sarah and I went upstairs and put it on in the attic room. We felt so badass and cool.

Well, I did anyway.

Watching it brought back all those rebellious feelings and I had to laugh a million times at how terrible the film really is.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


The documents for Seoul arrived today so I was in a bit of a frenzy trying to put them in order to send away. It'll be far easier to put the whole situation of next year in God's hands when there's nothing left I need to do.

Unfortunately I'm still waiting on a couple of things from school, but I do feel a sense of relief now that I'm a million times closer to closure.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


I ended up staying very late at school tonight, trying to get this newspaper done. It reminded me of how I felt when I stayed late at church last year, cramming in as much as I could. Scary!

I realized how much I hate it. Rumbling tummy, sore eyes, headache. I am so thankful that I don't have to do it a few times a week anymore. It made me grateful for my job which I can leave behind as I walk out the school gates each afternoon.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Sweet potato gnocchi night had finally arrived! I was feeling pretty flat after school so, although I'd been anticipating our cooking adventure, I wasn't as excited as I could have been on my way to Emart to meet Dani, Michael, and Luke.

It turns out that the good company, food, and wine really energized me. We were cooking for what seemed like forever, perfecting the little pieces of pasta with utmost care, and catching them as they bobbed to the surface of the water. All the while we talked and talked.

Dani and Luke had never hung out with Michael, who is a Kiwi I met on the subway a couple of months ago (crazy coincidence!), so I invited him along. I sent Dani a text asking if I could and told her the boys can talk about their muscles, so the whole time we were waiting for the topic to arise. It took much longer than expected. We were almost ready to eat before they started on gym experiences. Of course, then we watched a video and discussed protein powder. It was actually great fun.

I can't wait until next time. It'll be a Whole30 challenge.

Monday, October 21, 2013


Shanna and I played gin tonight which is always delightful.

Afterwards, we saw a couple of my students in the stationery store. It really makes me happy to see them out and about. These particular ones are pretty high level so I was proud to be talking so naturally with them in public. I bet they thought they were pretty smooth.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


I was having too much fun with Janet and her friends so I missed my train home. It's ok though because, being Korea, the next one was only a few minutes after. I bought some peanuts and settled in for the journey.

We had gone out for lunch and I had amazing 갈비탕. Then we had coffee at the cutest place called Alaska in Gangnam which had yummy pastries and good coffee! That's always a pleasant surprise in this country.

I love hanging out with Jan because it's so familiar. I love to boop her on the head and watch as she gets annoyed and then give her a hug. I'm not usually so huggy, but for her I make an exception. I can't help it!

This is a legit LV 가방 I'm pretty sure. The owner was super smart. I saw she was listening to some medical podcast in English about stuff I'd never even heard of.
Men take KTX fashion very seriously. This one is sporting a pink love heart pillow.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


I had two very hospitable and generous hosts today. I woke up at Michelle's and went to sleep at Janet's.

They both cooked for me (we have established how much I enjoy this) and I just sat and talked while they went about it. Korean home cooking is so much more delicious than restaurants. 

Michelle is an amazing chef. I might even hire her to cook every day for me when I live in Seoul. 

At Janet's church I met at least ten people who were fluent in English. It was crazy to have so many conversations with people. I felt so comfortable. Like going to a friendly church in NZ. 

Jan is involved in a new people course after the service so I joined in and played a game where we had to find Korean letters in newspapers and make a verse with them. I didn't even suck at it! Hooray for improving in Korean!
Michelle's yummy breakfast

Jan's friends tried to get me to be so angry that I made her cry before whipping out a cake and surprising her. I wasn't quite prepared for the starring role though so we just gave her the cake.

Friday, October 18, 2013


I was entertained by a little girl on the train for an hour and a half this evening.

She was so cute. 

It all started by her being curious and poking her head between the seats in front of me. After a while I started smiling at her. It became a game of peek-a-boo and silly facial expressions. 

I taught her to roll her tongue which was great fun until her baby sister caught us and started imitating us. She was a little less graceful about it, tugging on her tongue and adding sound effects, do her mother did not approve of me after that. 


I got a special wave from the girl when she left which was mighty sweet. She even had to come back to do it.

Michelle made me amazing 떡국

How cute is she in her Hello Kitty apron

She was the perfect host, making sure I was comfortable in every way.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


A teacher gave me a box of persimmons for helping his daughter with her speech. It was also incentive for helping his son with a recital in the future. No such thing as a free gift in this country. Gotta get used to that.

Anyway, NZ persimmons are rubbish compared to these. I've never had anything so juicy in my life. Two of them were grown by his parents and they were out-of-this-world incredible. 

Too bad I ruined all the muffins I made with them!
The fog was incredible this morning. Thick like a blanket.


I am an English nerd.

It brought me great delight to proof the English newspaper for school. 

I had it all out in front of me and red pen at the ready. There's something thoroughly therapeutic about the crosses and cutting out.

Dinner was amazing tonight. Apricot and coconut stuffed chicken breast with pumpkin. Mmmmmmyes.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


It was so nice to be cooked for again tonight by Shanna. It made going out in the cold totally worth it.

I just sat there and she made me a delicious meal. So nutritious too!

I'm beginning to appreciate food so much more now that I've cut the crap out of my diet. That new appreciation plus my love of people doing acts of service for me made it extra special.

I really looked like a teacher today. My outfit scared me a little.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


I really like hanging out with people I don't know completely well at the moment. It's a little out of character, but I'm finding it exciting.

It's really great to discover interesting, and sometimes surprising facts about new friends. 

They were having a time of discussing mutual friends over dinner and I felt a bit sad to be the person who doesn't know anyone to contribute. I'm used to always knowing someone who knows someone because the Christian community is so small in NZ. 

But it is cool to realise I am now connected to loads of new people from all over the world.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


As I stepped outside the incredible freshness in the air and the bright blue sky were more fitting for hopeful spring than a mid-autumn day. It seemed to say, "a beautiful summer of laying on a beach and reading books in the sun will soon be on its way." 

The telltale scuttling of brown leaves along the ground betrayed this hope and I was left to appreciate autumn in all it's crisp, sunshiney goodness. 

The air was so breathable and walking was very pleasant. 
I had lunch with a teacher and we absolutely demolished this 족발 

Friday, October 11, 2013


Today has probably been my favourite day in Korea so far. It was my School Festival which means they organised some fun activities with a lot of chilling in between. 

We met at the cinemas this morning and watched 소원 which was about a little girl who got kidnapped. It was so sad and I found myself in tears even though I couldn't understand the dialogue. Afterwards in the bathroom, all the girls were trying to cover up their blotchy faces and puffy red eyes. We were united by emotions. 

Back at school the students had a treasure hunt and I kept having to tell them that there were no tokens in my room. A couple of girls came in and told me they found one. When I started to tell them they couldn't have, they explained that they were talking about me! What cuties!

After that a few boys used my classroom to practice. After hearing them about one hundred times I decided to help them with their pronunciation of "funky" which was coming out a little offensive. In the end he opted for edgy though. If you can get away with it, why not!?

A couple more girls came to play Jenga and laugh at the boys with me. After they left another girl came in for a chat. I'm so glad she did. 

She lived in America last year but still isn't very confident about her skills so she's either sleeping or talking in class. It was so cool to talk to her. We chatted for almost two hours about all sorts of things and by the end I had forgotten she was a student. I almost told her my plans for next year but I stopped myself in time. It got a bit tricky when she started asking about it. 

With a sore throat and a happy heart I made my way over to the concert. I was blown away by the talented kids. They could sing and dance so well. I am so glad I stayed for it. 

My favourite part was congratulating them as they came off the stage. Every time their faces absolutely lit up. They loved the recognition. 

At the end of the night there was a guest dance troupe from a boys high school and the girls all got so excited. So did the teacher next to me. She screamed and keeled over when one boy did a backflip and then yelped when he took his shirt off. I steadied her while I was secretly swooning too. With wide eyes she told me they were second graders. Awkward. 

It was such a good day of bonding with students and now I can tell them how proud I am and show them the photos I took. Hopefully they will be chuffed.


I remember this day in 2010. It was a big deal apparently. I don't know what happened, I just remember being excited over the date.

Anyway, today I had one of the best classes of this year so far. They were amazing and so much fun. They caught on that if they answered my question about genre, I changed the music video, so they started making wild guesses so they could keep watching. Apparently Oasis could be hiphop, jazz, or even Kpop! These kids are the best! We had such a laugh.

As soon as the final bell rang today it started bucketing down. It was absolutely pouring. I walked home, and one minute in my shoes were absolutely drenched. My umbrella started leaking and dripping on my head. It was a miserable state of affairs.

But I saw a group of boys at the crossing and one of them screamed out "HI!" which made me smile.

You can't tell but this entire area outside my school was an ankle-deep pool.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


I made the most of my last public holiday before Christmas by cleaning my house. I did it real good. Even found a mouldy onion in the cupboards! It was fuzzy and everything.

Anyway, I was indoors all day but then I had to go to Emart to get some supplies for dinner. I wasn't looking forward to walking there but stepping outdoors into the fresh (kinda) air after beeing cooped up all day felt pretty nice.

I could even understand a little why people feel like going for a walk sometimes.

But only a little because the journey home with all my groceries was far less energizing.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Today is Dan's birthday and my package arrived on time for him! That was a very nice surprise. Thanks for your cooperation Korea and NZ post.

It's yet another family even I'm not home for. I've missed all of their birthdays now. It's kinda weird to be away from them for that long. I wouldn't say I'm homesick, it just feels very abstract.

Being here is still surreal. I still have moments when I'm walking down the road of realizing afresh that I'm in Korea. It's so strange for about 30 seconds and then I have to think about something else because it freaks me out a bit.

That kind of feeling sort of surrounded me all day in a watered-down way.  It wasn't bad, just weird.
Embracing the slippers for the first time again.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


I was rescued by a policeman prince today.

I went to the police station totally ill-equipped to get what I needed in Korean (a criminal record check). I didn't even know where to go once I got in the entrance so I wandered about, feeling shady until I finally stumbled upon a place which looked like it handled documents.

The lady at the door couldn't understand me so she walked down the line of people at desks announcing my waygookin presence and everyone was at a loss except a dashing young policeman who saved my butt. He got me what I needed in perfect English and they oohed and aahed at his skills as I walked out the door. I thought they were going to break out into applause.

PTL he was there though because it was a long walk in the heat and I did not want to go back empty-handed.

Maybe he'll abuse his power and look me up in the system for a date. Probably highly likely.

Monday, October 7, 2013


Today was a great day. I got to church and it turned out they had enough singers so I didn't end up doing it. But I got to hang around and help people prep for the service. I was so useful! I love being useful.

I forgot how much I love doing that sort of thing. I used to fold things, set up tables, fill cups and bowls and it's kinda weird, but I've missed it. It was nice not be asking other people to do it though. I'm quite happy to be the doer, not the the delegator for a while yet!

Sunday, October 6, 2013


I had a home day today and the solitude was so nice. I watched a movie by myself, all tucked up in bed. Then I just fell asleep early. Before ten! It felt so necessary and so good!

Saturday, October 5, 2013


After our lunchtime walk, the school gatekeeper, a very smiley old man, greeted Rebekah and I. He said in Korean that I am getting more and more beautiful and she translated for me. It really brightened my day! He's a cool guy and I wish I could communicate better with him.

A few steps later Rebekah turned to me and said, "but you are having some problems with your skin," referring to a recent breakout (totally due to excess consumption of dried fruit).

She was making sure my ego was in check.

In addition to that, the sillouhettes of the purple hills against the backdrop of the orange sky was an amazing sight as my bus drove by.

I'm going to miss all this nature next year for sure.

Friday, October 4, 2013


The realisation about Seoul still hasn't sunk in today. It feels great to relive the surprise each time I think about it.

God really is so good. That's what I put it down to. Seriously. Everyone I talked to said transferring wasn't possible for me. But I'm doing it. Yewwwww!
I made the most heavenly peanut butter today.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


I had my interview for Seoul today, and after working myself up into a state for weeks, months even, that it was near impossible to transfer after just a year, I was fully prepared to argue my case. I had my points and I was going to win.

So when he opened with, "Hello, I have good news. Everything looks good for you to go to Seoul", I was stunned.

When I came to my senses, I grinned and fist pumped and told him my fears. I had no questions because I hadn't prepared for this eventuality. Instead we talked about moving companies and contract dates.

It's not 100% just yet so I'm trying not to be too excited but guys! I'M (probably) GOING TO SEOUL NEXT YEAR!!!

The subway wanted to celebrate with me. Apparently there's a secret party carriage and I just happened to sit in it.