Sunday, June 29, 2014


Today was Michelle day! As per usual the time flew as we ate, walked, talked, and sipped iced beverages.

She's such a lovely person and I'm so happy she loves her job despite the long hours. It makes me so excited to hear her say things like, "I think I needed that year and a half unemployed so now I know it was only God" and, "I feel so silly for crying when HK didn't work out because God had this lined up for me. It's perfect. He must have been thinking I was so stupid."

I've been praying for her ever since we started hanging out last year and I can see how much she's grown with God. It's really amazing to watch.

I also think she's awesome because she came bearing Dior gifts!!!! It's perfect in every way.

It's an ad for a doctors clinic of some kind.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


Seoul is pretty big. There are 11 million people living here. You'd think the chance of running into someone you know is pretty slim. However, this afternoon I managed to bump into two people in Sinsa.

The first was Sarah, a friend who I made on the subway to Jazz Festival. It was so crazy to see her, but I suppose she lives in the area so I wasn't too freaked out. We wandered down Garosugil and wasted some time before her blind date. That girl is brave! Anyway, I took it as a sign that I should be hanging out with her more often.

The second friend I bumped into was Dilys. I heard my name as I was about to descend into the subway and turned to see her. It has been months! We had a grand old yarn outside of a convenience store, both commenting every so often about how we better be going and then continuing to talk.

I love running into people! I think it's because I'm lazy and precious with my time but still interested in what people are doing and how they are. When you bump into each other it's so fortuitous. No planning, no leaving the house especially. It's perfect!

Korea has massive watermelons. For massive prices.


My precious little drama club students have cracked the code to the English library where we have our class and let themselves in before I arrived today.

I walked in through the open door to see six pairs of legs under the table and lots of muffled giggles escaping. I know I should have gone with it, but I couldn't suppress a laugh as I announced, "How did you get in here!?"

They then scurried out and said, "SURPRISE!" while I mock screamed.

They are completely adorable and always make my day.

Just look at those faces!


Si Hoon, the cheeky boy has rallied his classmates together and tried to create a gang. His motive is revenge. Apparently he has it in for his teacher because she told him off.

He's quite cunning, really because, although he's the mastermind behind the whole operation, he appointed different gang leaders to protect himself in case they were found out.

It didn't work out though, because once the teachers got a whiff of it they handed everyone a piece of paper and told everyone to write down everything. Poor Si Hoon was outed by every single student.

I often look at the beautiful kids and wonder about their futures. I wonder what kind of people they will grow into. What will they be like at high school? Which ones will be studious, and which ones will make life hell for others?

I know it's a very pessimistic thing to think, but I really want the best for them all. I hope they can learn to love other people and I sincerely hope Si Hoon takes all of his leadership potential to be a positive influence. He could do so much good.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Today I received the most terrifying email of my life. The worship pastor at church wanted to meet me before church tonight.

Panic consumed my entire being. I wasn't sure if it'd just be a conversation or if he wanted to audition me. But I didn't have time to prepare! I was freaked out!

The only thing I could do, because I was so anxious, was have a quick devotion time at my desk. It just took 15 minutes for God to clear my head and bring me closer to trusting him. It was a perspective shift and I realised I just needed to have faith.

I was still so scared when I sat down with him and asked my questions. Thank goodness he didn't audition me there and then! But he did tell me about the process and it seems quite out of my league.

Is it still obedience to make it to this point and then not take it further? Hmmmmmm.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


I have this one student who is constantly in distress.

I teach him the period before lunch and every week he says, mostly to himself in the cutest, most desperate way possible, "I'm verrrrrry hungrry."

Today he hung his head and held it in his hands as he announced it in despair.

These kids keep me smiling.

Monday, June 23, 2014


This evening I got to see Lucy Collins' beautiful face on my phone screen. It was so wonderful to hear her voice and laugh about old journals and how boy-crazy our teen years were.

Every conversation I have with her is so edifying and encouraging.

I am very grateful for her friendship.

Potato bomb

Sunday, June 22, 2014


I'm so ready to make some good life decisions this week.

I woke up early and got some good time in with God. It was very much needed. That hour really sets off the day right. I haven't done it in far too long and I knew this whole time what was lacking.

The rest of my day I was able to see the little joys and blessings far easier.

I've made some decisions, and Claire will keep me accountable.

Starting this week I will:

1. Wake up and have my time with God every day.
2. Do the 30 Day Shred every day this week.
3. Set up an audition for the worship team (the most daunting one of all).


Asian rain is different from Oceania rain.

It started as I stepped out of the subway. Big fat teaspoonfuls of water started splashing on my head.

It was a shower to begin with and as I walked home, the drops started falling faster and faster. My pace sped up to match and I made it home just in time before I got absolutely drenched.

Right now I'm listening to cars swish by on the wet road and it's wonderful.
They were gooooooood.

It's been a solitary day.

Friday, June 20, 2014


I know I pretty much say it every day, but I really am extremely grateful for my position at my particular school.

I love being in my office full of teachers who are amazingly helpful. Today they all congregated around my computer and pointed at the map of Jeju Island, giving tips on things to see and how to use the buses while my co-teacher translated.

After 15 minutes I had a complete itinerary planned and I am now feeling very confident about taking my mum.

I tried my best to book flights too, but when they wouldn't accept my card, Sue paid with hers'. It really was lovely of them all, especially her!

On top of all that, SuYun took me to the yoga place and helped me understand the membership.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


My little kiddies played baseball today against a team that finished top of the league last year. The first two innings my students held them off pretty well, but then they got tired and started giving them runs.

I couldn't bear it any longer because every time our catcher fumbled it, they'd steal bases. He started fumbling it more and more because he got nervous.

It was terrible to watch after that.

But before it went horribly wrong I was so excited. I was jumping and cheering with the rest of them. Gwan Hee was pitching so well, and Dong Gyun made an amazing catch. Even my little 4th grader, Do Yoon caught the hugest guy out, even though it was super scary and fast.

I was so proud.

I now understand how parents can get up so early on a Saturday to watch their kids play team sports.


Check the swaggy uniforms.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


I have one very cheeky fifth grade student who never fails to brighten my day. Usually he's stealing my lunch and I let him because it's so darn cute when he tries to use target language from class in real life.

This week we are learning, "May I ...?," so of course when he sees my delicious pork salad at lunch he tries it on.

"Teacha, may I-uh eat-uh some pork-uh?"

Accompany the cute accent with his cute little face and his indomitable persistence and I've got no chance!

But today in class his cheek got the best of him and he said something he hadn't bargained for.

"Ms. Kim, may I-uh steal your heart-uh?"

It was obvious his intention was literal and he had no clue that he'd actually tried to hit on his teacher. However, when we explained the nuance, without batting an eyelid he said, "Yeah, don't you think we could make it work?" or something similar in Korean to SuYun.

What a character!
I tried a new tactic: slather it in mayo so he can't take it with his hands. I ended putting it on my spoon for him.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


I love it when little kids act like miniature adults. It's so surreal and amusing. It happens far too often in Korea though.

I always see students talking on their smartphones as they strut down the corridors. 

Tonight I saw a little boy standing at the crossing in the dark, waiting for the lights to change. He had his arms across his chest, feet in a wide stance, and he was yawning like a right old ahjeossi. 

It was adorable.

Monday, June 16, 2014


I've been doodling a lot recently. I have pages and pages of them. I wish there was some way I could use them for some other purpose. It seems a bit wasteful to throw out all that paper.

Anybody want to pay me for doodles?

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Today, as the train was going ch-ch-ch-ch on the tracks over the Han River, I looked out the window and straight down.

Beneath me, the ocean was glistening and it looked like I almost had my feet dangling over the side. I kinda wanted to jump in, but that would have been mighty dangerous and kinda dirty because the river isn't that clean.

It was peaceful seeing the sea below flickering past in between the tracks.
I had lunch with Stephanie today and it was deeeeelish.

Saturday, June 14, 2014


I smell like sweat and sunblock and it is glorious.

This is the scent of Summer.

Of laying on the beach.

Of reading books outside.

Of eating nectarines and cherries.

Of fish n chips and sand everywhere.

We drank iced tea at her stream

It looks like he has a condom on his finger.

Friday, June 13, 2014


Spontaneity is a quality that I don't naturally possess. If I don't have a fixed idea about what I'd like to do, I can be impulsive, but changing plans is stressful for me.

So this afternoon, as we were putting our shoes on to leave school, when Sue and SuYun suggested we go to a hill and take a walk around, I didn't really know how to respond. I had envisioned a night of Suits-watching, cooking dinner, and possibly even some pilates.

Those kind of plans are the hardest for me to break because my mind is all set for relax mode.

I'm glad I went along though, because we had great conversation in the fresh air on Walker Hill as I imagined who was staying in the private cottages and being driven around by the black minivans. One day I'd like to stay there for a night. It didn't feel like Seoul.

It reminded me of climbing up Mt. Vic with friends and looking out over the city lights. Of course, it was much less romantic and much more commercial, but it was a taste of home.
Field of flowers

Thursday, June 12, 2014


Tonight was my last Korean lesson with my tutor and I actually felt pretty sad.

He's been a good teacher and I think I've learnt a lot. I'm going to have to pull up my socks and motivate myself from now on. It'll be much harder without someone to disappoint if I don't study.

On the way home I saw a girl with a tiny helium balloon attached to her phone. It looked like something out of a cartoon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Sitting in the office this afternoon, we heard rumblings of thunder and saw flashes of lightning coming through the windows. It was soothing. I love storms!

I can almost bear the whole getting wet in the rain thing if it's a proper spectacle.

The best thing is that NZ was experiencing the same thing too. It was much more severe there though. But it felt like a connection.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


It's Keke's birthday! It was fun to finish work, go home, get dressed up, and go out on a weeknight. It had that Friday vibe.

We went to Hackney, which is our fave little tea and cake place on HBC, a cool foreigner street. I really want to live there and open my own little paleo cafe. I think it'd be a hit.

Anyway, the cakes looked delicious and the tea was incredibly soothing.

We got a whiff of the waiter as he walked past and had a discussion about his cologne. Eventually Daniel took one for the team and asked him what it was. He served us with a sheepish expression the rest of the evening.

Monday, June 9, 2014


Tonight I made an amazing dinner of an open burger. I even made chips to go with it. It was deeeeeeeelicious!

I didn't even realize I had missed the flavours so much. Maybe at this stage of the Whole30 my tastebuds are kicking in.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Never in my life have I been so tired. That's no exaggeration.

I know I was short and snappy all day long, but I had no idea how to change it. I tried, I really did!

We were up early and on the bus home to try beat the traffic. It worked! We were napping in our back seats like kings and suddenly we were home! After a torturous subway journey I absolutely scarfed down lunch and fell into bed.

I got up three hours later and watched a movie before sorting out my photos. As I looked back over the trip I was so grateful for my friends. We had so many laughs and saw so many amazing things.

Being in Korea has given me so many opportunities and I am so thankful.

Saturday, June 7, 2014


Today was incredible and exhausting.

We ventured up Mt. Seorak and found many magical places. Well, us and thousands of other people. I'll never get used to sharing nature with so many people. It doesn't seem right to this Kiwi girl.

Anyway, while the others were checking out a temple I wandered down a lonely path and found a stream with loads of rocks. It was just me! I could see people on the bridge in the distance, but all I could hear was water gushing through the rocks. I took off my shoes and made my way up the stream on my tip-toes.

When I came back, the others had found me and we played for a while. I tried to build a dam and Daniel made and toppled his altar to the Lord a few times. It was my favourite part of the day.

Next we bought tickets for the cable car but found we had a couple of hours before we could get on. Bisondae was supposedly beautiful and 1.5kms away. Challenge accepted! We practically scampered up the mountain, through amazing greenery, past beautiful waterfalls and rock formations until we found our spot.

It was truly amazing. There were climbers dangling from peaks hundreds of meters above, turquoise water holes, and inscriptions by scholars and poets on the rocks. It was well worth the hurried hike, and because we made such good time, we could take plenty of photos and take it all in.

The cable car ended up being quite a different experience because we actually ascended into a cloud. We couldn't see a single thing more than a couple of meters away. We climbed to the peak and felt like we were going to drop off the Earth completely because all we could see was on step in front and then even that disappeared into nothing.

Perching on a rock, playing cards at the very end of the Earth is an experience I wont forget!

I was looking straight down.


I think I'm definitely learning how to be more laid back. It comes in handy when travelling in a foreign country with millions of people and not much space.

This morning I woke up bright and early and met Keke, Eric, and Daniel at the bus station to set off on our journey for Sokcho, a little coastal town about 2 hours away by bus. The earliest tickets we could purchase were for two and a half hours later so we whiled the time in Paris Baguette, sipping coffee, whisper-singing Happy Birthday to Dan, and chatting away. It was quite lovely.

Before long we were off! The two hours had passed before we were even quarter of the way there, however, and we knew we had more of the same to come. Normally, this probably would have been frustrating for me because in the past I would have had a checklist of things to achieve for the day and it would have ruined my itinerary. Not today!

Aside from needing to pee for a couple hours I had a wonderful time playing I Spy, Celebrity Heads, and rhythm games. Pretty soon six hours were up and we had arrived.

We went from the bus stop to Abai Village, a little township of North Korean defectors from the war. It was such an interesting place, certainly targeted at tourists, but full of colourful people and houses. We had special Abain Ojinguh Sundae, which is stuffed squid cooked by an ahjumma on a hot plate. Apparently it was delicious (I had packed some pork and veggies for myself).

On the way back we stopped at an art installation under the bridge, and then caught the gaetbae (rope-drawn boat) back to the shore. Our bus ended up taking millions of minutes to arrive, but we played Korean slapping games to occupy ourselves.

Today involved a lot of waiting, but all the games made it super fun.

Friday, June 6, 2014


It feels good to be appreciated.

SuYun wasn't feeling too great today so in the middle of our third class she just handed things off to me and went to operate the computer. I didn't mind because we have each other's backs and I got in the flow of things for the next couple of classes.

We didn't say anything more until after lunch when I overheard her saying to Sue that she didn't know what she'd have done without me today because she really doesn't feel great. She was saying how she was so grateful I could just take over.

Hearing stuff like that is so encouraging. I certainly appreciate everything she does, and I definitely didn't do it thinking there'd be any praise, but when it came it was very affirming.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


I saw MamaJang today and boy was it great. She emerged from the subway like something from my imagination, all elegant even in the blazing heat with a giant sunhat on her head. She came bearing many gifts of much chocolate from home (which will be consumed in one month's time).

We chatted for a while at my place and then she suggested we go to Lotte World. I practically leapt out of my seat, I was so excited.

It was so much fun! We went on crazy rides. She made me drop from the sky, I made her spin around in it, and much fun was had. But seriously, I was so scared on one ride that I couldn't breathe at all. I couldn't scream, cry, inhale, exhale, or control my face. I know I looked ridiculous because people were pointing and laughing from the ground.

Unfortunately, it was a holiday so everyone and their uncle had decided to go. We waited almost two hours for a ride that was less than one minute. But it was great bonding time!

This is before I nearly wet my self as I was dropped a million feet.

We snuck on a kiddies ride because the line was short and the man told us he'd let us go around once.