Saturday, November 30, 2013


Today has been such a delight.

- I danced around my house with zero percent shame this morning just because I felt like it.

- God gave me peace about going to Seoul. Not 100% yet, but I know if he doesn't want it he'll carry me back to the right path.

- Jess came over and we went to the supermarket before crafting. I love pottering around while someone just hangs out with me.

- I took the leap of faith and made ribs for dinner. They turned out better than my wildest expectations and one rack was gone before we even sat down.

Life is good!

Also, it's my last day of official Whole30. I'll be going for a bit longer, but it certainly feels like an accomplishment.


Tonight I went to a Hanukkah evening which was a complete delight. Renee and the team put so much effort into it, going above and beyond with decorations, games, and even goodie bags for after.

She was even so thoughtful as to include an apple and soft toy in mine instead of all the lollies because she knows I don't eat that stuff. It really meant a lot to me.

Little touches are the most appreciated.

I also got my response back about Seoul. I got a position! Looks like I'll be staying in Korea another year. I thought I'd know for sure and have a great revelation when the email came but unfortunately, that wasn't the case. I did ask God to shout at me an answer though and I suppose you can't yell any louder than this!

Thursday, November 28, 2013


New traditions were forged today in light of American Thanksgiving. Who wouldn't want a reason to create delicious pumpkin-based dishes and celebrate gratitude!? I still don't know many details about the origins of the holiday and I seem to recall that they're not as positive as what it is today, but I'm still willing to eat loads of good food in honour of thankfulness.

Dani and Luke came over, armed with paleo-ified dishes and we watched many Thanksgiving episodes of Friends while we pottered about the kitchen and nibbled on spiced nuts. Then we shared the things we were thankful for before digging in to our chicken (in lieu of turkey), tangy roast veggies, herby stuffing, spinach salad, pumpkin souffle, and then pumpkin pie whilst we watched the absolute best of the episodes - where Joey gets the turkey stuck on his head.

We sure laughed a lot and it continued as we decided to do some pilates which had us hip thrusting and rolling all over my floor in piles of giggles. Luke tried to get us to do some press-ups but we would have none of it, instead going back for more pie.

It was a great first Thanksgiving, and I hope I will manage to celebrate it in some form every year from now on.

- Good food!
- Great friends so far from home
- Great friends at home who still feel so close
- An amazing family who I appreciate more daily
- A God who cares about me so much that he speaks, even when I'm not willing to listen
- The morning sun on my walks to work
- Warm lunches on freezing cold days
- The Whole30 and all my new energy
- The joy I find in creating
- Technology and the ability to connect
- Blessings that are new each day
- The way my classes surprise me (today a boy got up in the middle of class and handed me a throat lozenger without a word because he could see I was hurting)
- My new school slippers from Mum! So toasty, and I was just about to buy some!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


It snowed for real tonight. I didn't see it falling but I saw it piled up on cars and benches as I walked home from small group.

It's exciting and terrifying at the same time. I know I'm not built for cold climates but it's so darned beautiful. And it really does bring a special significant feeling along with it.

I feel like I have the right to sing those traditional Christmas songs about the frightful weather outside. I just wish I had a fireplace and no place to go. Then I would be quite cosy!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Walking out of school is usually a pleasant experience. I get to leave work behind and go home to where it is warm, cook myself some good food and chill for a bit.

Today it was enjoyable over and above the usual benefits. I felt like a star as I walked out.

Going down the stairs, I was followed by shouts of, "Byeeeeee teacher!" and a few girls yelled, "Kethereeeeeennne" after me. I don't know how they figured out my full name, but it was very cute how they pronounced it.

As I bowed to the gatekeeper, a chorus of "KATIE TEACHER!" had me searching for the originators. I found them leaning out a 4th storey window, waving furiously. I waved back and chuckled to myself.

My insides were warm, even if my toes were numb.

Monday, November 25, 2013


Tonight really felt like a special occasion because Dani and I went to the cinema to see The Hunger Games. I love going to the movies and I love hanging out with Dani.

She has a great way of hugging 'hello' and 'goodbye'. It's not just a social convention that she feels like playing along with. She really means it.

She gets a look of delight and reaches out her arms in a way that makes you feel so welcomed and loved. It's so genuine and her joy is so child-like.

Sorry Dani for analyzing your hugs in a weird way, but I really will miss them next year!

I really need to learn how not to overcook shrimp

Sunday, November 24, 2013


You guys! This is my 1001st post! That's pretty awesome! I've nearly got three whole years full of posts. And I'm so thankful to anyone who has encouraged me to keep going, anyone who's ever commented, anyone who has ever bullied me into updating (Philip Kim), and anyone who has ever read my ramblings (that's you!). Thanks for caring.


Today we had thanksgiving dinner at church for 200 people in desperate need of some homestyle food. It was a joy to help out. And it was a miracle to be able to look at all the food (including pumpkin pie), and not be tempted at all. Thanks Whole30! You're amazing.

Maybe it was cos this breakfast blew my mind

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Tonight I had the girls over and I made a very delicious Mexican-inspired dinner. We had seasoned ground pork in lettuce cups with all kinds of fillings, spices, and homemade mayonnaise!! I pulled it off without a recipe and it worked!

I am discovering that I really enjoy cooking for people and I'm getting better at it. It brings me so much joy! Hurrah!

Every bite was delicious and we all got so full we started lying on my heated floor to stretch out our bellies. Another absolutely amazing feeling.

Friday, November 22, 2013


It's amazing what a music video can do to lift your spirits. I saw Pharrell's new 24hr video on Facebook and I was hooked. I must have listened to the song a hundred times just to see all the dancers.

I also showed my classes for the rest of the day and got them excited about the grandmas at 11:36am. They loved it.

You'll understand if you take a look.


The rays of morning light trickling through the trees, illuminating the fog were incredibly beautiful this morning.

I could see the puff of breath, belonging to a man who was out for a morning walk under the canopy of leaves still clinging for dear life to the branches in the last of Autumn.

I imagined that the fog was made up of warm breath from people who had braved the cold already. That was a pretty gross thought so I decided it was the Earth exhaling in response to the morning glow.
It helped that breakfast was a strawberry and coconut omlette.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


The heaters are on!

It's like Christmas. Really! My cheeks are rosy from the fake warmth, even if my toes still haven't thawed.

This morning I thought I was gonna die but now the world is a beautiful place.

It's amazing what a surge of electricity can do to lift the spirits.
The streamers are waving in delight!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Today was truly a gift.

Here's the sitch: It was club activity day so all students were on field trips with their clubs. All the teachers who didn't have clubs were at a gallery, but I had promised this one teacher to do a presentation to her students in the morning. After I'd made an absolute mess of showing them about what a wonderful country NZ is, I went back to my office, deliberated for about one minute and then went home.

I mean, I wouldn't have been at school if I didn't agree to the presentation.

I had a wonderful afternoon. I cooked, Skyped, chatted, exercised, and cooked some more.

The club teacher gave me a ham and egg sandwich and a Sprite for helping. Both I accepted and neither I can eat.

I made meatloaf and it's amazing.



People told me it doesn't snow in Daegu, but I saw it with my own eyes today. The boys were leaning out the window, looking up at the sky and I knew it had to be.

I found my own window and watched as they magically drifted down from heaven. So peaceful. So beautiful.

If only they weren't so cold! My school STILL hasn't turned on the heating and they insist on opening all the windows. Madness!

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Uh oh. Guys, I think I'm getting too comfortable with people here. At first I started out shy, not talking too much in group conversations. I'd take a back seat and listen. These days though, I have to tell myself not to dominate.

But really, it's great to just be with friends and people I don't know very well and be confident enough to just talk. It's cool to find that person again. I knew she was in there.

It seems a long while ago that I would stand around after church and wonder who there was I could approach without being awkward. Many times I just ran home or forced myself to stay and linger long enough for someone to find me.

Now I am pleased to be the person on the look out for the loiterers and be that connection they need.

Breakfast for dinner! One of my best. I'mma try and take photos of every meal from now on.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Breakfast today was amazing. I'm getting pretty good at this.

It's amazing how much you can miss a certain flavour without realizing it after a few months. Sure, there's the usual Burger Fuel, lamb roast, Mum's chicken casserole cravings, but they're kind of a given.

This morning the sweet aroma of smoked salmon drifted through my nostrils as I whipped up some gourmet scrambled eggs. Usually at home I hate the smell of salmon cooking, but today it was more than welcome to flood my apartment.


I couldn't even help eating half of it before I knew I had to take a picture to document this small victory.

Friday, November 15, 2013


The school has fresh meat in the form of a cute new science teacher.

I thought it was curious that the girls would congregate in large groups outside the teacher's office. Their giggling was anything but subtle as they hoped to catch a glimpse of him through the frosted windows.

My last class told me why this strange phenomenon had been happening all day. The girls rushed in, ran up to me and unleashed as they clutched my arms and their hearts. For once they had found the words but lacked the self control to put them in any coherent order.

One girl had even taken photos of him in class and shared them via Kakao Talk so all the girls could get involved.

I did see them. He is very cute.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


The trees are exchanging the glorious splendour of crimson and gold for crunchy browns. While it's certainly very satisfactory to hear one of these crisp leaves disintegrate beneath my foot (in fact, yesterday I encountered the best crunch of my life!), I can hardly appreciate it because my frozen toes distract me.

Walking home this afternoon I looked out over the once-green fields and thought about the changing seasons.

In some backwards way, it feels like the new has gone and the old has come.

The freshness of the air, bundles of clothing, dead plants, and permanently numb extremities remind me of March, when I first began walking the streets by the fields, wondering if they would ever turn green.

Surely enough they did. And now their season is over and it's time to let the ice have its turn.


The frost has officially arrived.

A glint caught my eye as I stepped out of my apartment this morning. The tiny crystals caught the sun's rays and were glimmering in the coolness of the air.

On closer inspection I saw that they had spiderwebbed themselves along the edges of windscreens and bonnets, creeping into the center.

Ice can really be a beautiful thing. If I hadn't been running late I would have stopped to take a photo.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


One of the third graders who came to visit last week popped into my office between classes today. She handed me an envelope and instructed me to open it. Inside was a beautiful gold plated, hand painted Korean lady in a hanbok. It's a bookmark and such a lovely gesture. She told me it was in exchange for the lollies I gave her last time.

I said thank you and marvelled at its detail so she and her friends started clapping in unison. It was bizarre, but it was definitely joyful. What a lovely, awkward moment.

Monday, November 11, 2013



The date today looks like the popular Korean snack, Pepero because it's a bunch of sticks covered in chocolate. They've cashed in on this idea and turned it into a special day to give Pepero to loved ones. It's mainly for couples, but a few girls get all cute with their friends, much like Valentine's Day.

Before school even started, I was gifted a little packet of chocolates by a sweet girl (the same ones who wanted to give me her shoes for my birthday). Then during one girl's speaking test, she whipped out some homemade candies for me. Winking, she said, "I'm loving you..." with a very cheeky tone. She followed it up by saying that she was just kidding. I love this girl!

At lunch time my regular Monday visitor came in and tried to give me some kind of treat, but I told him about my diet. He's so lovely. He told me I don't need it and if I want to be healthy with lots of energy I should eat a lot of everything and sleep a lot. Sounds like a dream! We'll see. I might try it if this doesn't work.

He prepares something to talk about each week and today he brought in a book, "The Abolition Of Man" by C.S. Lewis. We had a great yarn about how he wants to help people and o some kind of social justice. I really hope he gets to live out his dreams because this country needs some more ambition in the right areas.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Sorry I'm not sorry for all the God-content in today's post

God seriously rocked my boat today.

Following a discussion last night with the ladies I decided to be completely honest and admit to myself and to God that he might be saying no to this whole Seoul idea.

Ever since the beginning I've been to scared to actually pray about it because what if he didn't want me to go? Then what? Home? No thank you. Somewhere else in the world? That's just a bit scary at the moment.

I know his way is always best. I know I can trust him. I know he's been nothing but faithful and good to me.

But still... I have a stubborn and rebellious streak.

Today I decided I need to lay aside my agenda. I decided to pray, "Not my will but yours, Lord".

It wasn't easy, and I think I need to keep saying it in order to mean it.

The hardest thing is being in limbo. It's uncomfortable. I need to plan and to make it happen. Instead, I should be excited. I don't know what I will be doing next year. Maybe it still is Seoul, maybe not. But God knows and I need to trust him.

The knot in my stomach dissipated after worship. Singing "I surrender all" really helped. Now I just need to keep that on repeat in my brain until my heart gets the message!

Saturday, November 9, 2013


I really like having people at my place. Like, 진짜.

Tonight I played host to a group of ladies who came for a Saturday night bible study. Wooo! Raise the roof! Party! That's how we spend our weekends in Daegu. Not much else to do anyway. 

They have to travel a long way so I've committed to making them dinner which will be quite a fun challenge I hope! My chicken curry went over a treat for sure, so it's off to a good start. 

What I love is just being real with them. We talked about our junk and that was that. No judgey judging. No holding back. We just were. 

True community was happening and it was indeed a blessing.

Friday, November 8, 2013


At the end of my last class today I felt very calm. It just came over me as I was shutting down the computer.

Usually by that point I've had enough and I'm making myself look busy and unapproachable (great teacher skills huh?) so that I can escape for the weekend with as much sanity intact as possible.

Not today.

The students walking up to me were even a welcomed interruption of my impending freedom. It did help that two of them were my favourites.

The boy is the same character from the "you're not a teacher!" incidents I mentioned previously in the year. He didn't get a chance to tell me about something in his speaking test and wanted to share it now. From what I understand, he was complaining to me about the Ministry of Women's Affairs in Korea and how they were embezzling money and turning the society on it's head. He was ranting about how women are gaining too much power and how he wants to move to Japan and find a wife.

I was a tad flabbergasted by his proclamations and tried my best to be gentle in giving out to him about his patriarchal views. In the end I was raving about how great it is that women are getting more equality in Korea and how I still think it's completely backward.

In the end I made him promise that if he goes to Japan, he will cook for his wife.

Here's a tree that caught my eye enough that I took my hand out of my warm pocket to snap a photo.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


The walk to school is getting very chilly.

I speed-walk between patches of sunlight on the pathway.

The sun on my back is welcomed relief from the bitter frost in the morning air.

There's a metaphor for life in there somewhere about hope and appreciating the beauty in fleeting moments, but I won't go there today.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


The trees were in radiant splendor up Palgongsan today. They brought out their best shades of yellow, orange, and red to dazzle us.

I went for a hike with a party of four which split into two pairs at the bottom of hundreds of steep stairs. I'm proud to say I was one of the two charging onwards and upwards under the golden canopy. 

Leaves we're falling like snow all around us, landing on our heads when we stopped to take photos. 

It really was amazing. I didn't know that nature had such vibrant colours. I wish I had my camera to capture them exactly. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


A hot lunch on a cold day is one of life's little pleasures.

My chicken and veggies were well worth the effort going down to the teacher's office, asking for help with the microwave, and feeling foolish just standing and waiting.

It was delicious, nutritious, and hit all the right spots.

Monday, November 4, 2013


As I was waiting for the subway I wondered why I was feeling strange. Something was off. It took a moment to realise that it was an odd smell making me feel weird. 

The scent wasn't bad in itself, it was rather the placement. 

I was sniffing Amy Ritchie in a grubby station in Daegu. It was coming from the girl next to me and if I closed my eyes I could pretend she was Amy, herself. 

I couldn't comprehend the association and was baffled, even when I had located the origin. 

I think of it as a little reminder of the warmth of home on a cold day. 

What a treat!

This is one of my most fashionable students recreating his shoes on the subway. That elastic comes in different colours and is changeable.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


That moment when you step away from a large group with whom you've spent a great deal of time is like a huge release of energy. 

As I walked from church until the time I got home I had nothing to do but reflect on the weekend. Breathing felt fresher and every step was a new thought or a reason to be thankful. 

The contrast between my rushed subway ride on Friday night and the peaceful bus journey this afternoon is incredible. 

I have been refreshed.
This is my new friend Leslie. She's cool.

These adorable kids sang and danced for us at church today.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


Worship tonight was so joyful. I possibly haven't ever sung so freely in my life. I was bursting and I couldn't help but explode with sound. 

It was like a party. We danced and sang and whooped. When the set finished I didn't ever want to stop. Good thing I'll be able to sing forever in Heaven! 

I might even sound like Beyoncé up there. 

(P.S. My phone autocorrects Beyoncé to have the accent. So my phone is the best.)

Friday, November 1, 2013


As I got ready for my church conference today I felt like a teenager all over again. It was like I was on my way to youth camp. 

The familiar, "What boys will be there?" question came to mind. Honestly, what else would a Christian event be about?!

It was just fun to be inside my 16 year old mind again and look forward to a camp that I didn't have to organise. 

It feels great to expect God to do things as well. There's an anticipation that he will speak to me and teach me through the worship, messages, seminars, and people there. 


Because I know you'll ask, there were no potential husbands. It's about God, guys!