Sunday, September 28, 2014


This evening was absolutely perfect for a stroll along Chungyecheon, the stream. Sophia and I had great conversation and beverages  as we wandered along. Lights reflected off the water and willows lined the banks. It really was beautiful.

Can I BE more in love with this city!? (Thanks Chandler).

I went to a traditional market where we got a tray and went around the stores with our gold coins to purchase food for our tray.

More public pianos!

Cool installation at the stream.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


I love it when plans just work out. Mary was on her way to Seoul this afternoon and sent me a message on the odd chance I'd be free. I wasn't at first, but then other things didn't work out so I was able to hang out with her!

She's quality, so I was more than pleased.

Also, she was staying in a weird little hostel with a weird little man running it. He faffed about when we arrived to drop off her stuff, fumbling with the cash and showing us absolutely everything in the hostel at least twice.

An inventive breakfast made my morning fun.

So did this snap

Every sing person who sat on this piano was amazing. I heard Flight of the Bumblebee.

Friday, September 26, 2014


Ever since the new teachers arrived, I feel like I haven't had as much interaction with Sue and Suyun. It's easier to feel the age gap these days because of all the young blood in the office. That's why it was so nice to be back to the usual crew this evening.

Sue wanted to check out this place which had clip in hair extensions so we headed there after school and had a lot of fun trying on different styles. No one bought anything but we had a good time. Suyun usually has a pretty blunt, short bob so when she tried a long, wavy ponytail it was pretty weird. It just looked incredibly different. She went so red and couldn't handle it.

Then we wnet to dinner, followed by bingsu. By that time Sue had to leave, but Suyun and I had a hilarious time playing 1,2,3, There's Your Husband (an incredibly childish game- you can guess). She chose a stinky ahjussi for me! And after I was so nice to her too.

I made a good lunch

Some terrifying wigs.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


I was having my lunch as usual, getting a wee Korean lesson from Hyunji, one of my gorgeous 5th graders, when my new friend and coteacher Jung Jin came and sat down.

The sun was perfect so we took some selfies and chatted for a good amount of time while Hyunji looked on in amazement and every so often asked what the heck we were saying.

Reluctantly we slunk back inside to our office, arm in arm.

Mr Park asked us, "Are you friends?" in Korean and we both said "Yes" in unison. It was a lovely moment.

Humorous typo

Hyunji not keen on the selfie action.


I've only just got home from Japan practically and I'm already super excited about my next trip. I started the planning today. In two weeks I'll be off to see Emily in Hong Kong!

How exciting!

There's nothing like the rush of looking at tickets and talking about it. Once I get to that point there's no going back because I just get far too excited.


Dinner was fast, late, and good.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


I feel like I've achieved a lot this evening.

I guess my day wasn't that productive. I had very few classes and watched very many Australian X Factor performances on YouTube. Time well spent, I think.

Anyway, after school I managed, pilates, shower, cooking dinner (delicious btw), eating dinner, putting on some bone broth, doing the dishes, and all before language exchange!

I hope this is the start of a new productive spurt. I've been in a lazy rut for a while now.

I went to class but they weren't there so I investigated the screaming outside and it turns out they were practicing for sports day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


I'm a sucker for The X-Factor. I just think it's so beautiful and I like seeing if I agree with the judges. Sometimes I even think up comments in my head and pretend I've been successful enough for them to mean a lot to a contestant. That's quite a stretch.

Anyway, I love when you're not quite sure about a person and then they open their mouth. That moment when they hit the perfect starting note and it makes your body crawl with tinglies is just the best. My eyes well up and the rest of their performance is marked by the beauty of the beginning.

Monday, September 22, 2014


TL;DR - Just listen to the one called A Radical Economee

I'm still very disillusioned about the outcome of the elections today. Probably more than last night even. I mean, I realised they'd get the majority, but I didn't think it would be such a landslide.

In a weird coincidence that usually happens when God wants to teach me something profound, the whole message at church today was about God's radical socio-economic policies in the Old Testament with the Year of Jubilee. Every three years the whole community pooled together money so the poor could take what they needed, every seventh year all debts were cancelled which meant slaves were let go with severance pay too, and then in the 50th year, the Year of Jubilee, all the families could return to their original land and start over with what God gave them.

Then Jesus came along and declared he WAS that Jubilee. Those things are so close to God's heart that he said that was his whole mission, quoting Isaiah:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
   to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”     - Luke 4:18-19

That 'year of the Lord's favour' is the Year of Jubilee, when people are put on an even playing field once again. It's so close to his heart and it should be so close to our hearts. 

Back in the Old Testament, they had a theocracy and the powers couldn't even get it right. They never even got to that 50th year because they never stayed on track with God long enough. So I realised that I can't expect the current NZ government to have these values. It would be wonderful, and I definitely think it's their responsibility first and foremost to help every Kiwi to have food, shelter, water, education, and the best shot at life. I also don't believe that's what the current government puts first. But I can't just leave it all up to them to take care of these people who need help.

It's clearly part of our duty as Christians. Zaccheus' first response was to give away half of what he had to the poor. Clearly he understood that the heart of God. And again in Acts 2, the believers didn't consider anything they had as their own. They gave to each other as they had need. Some even sold property so they could give more away.

It was certainly a challenge to me. Where the government fails us, the church needs to step in. I need to have the mindset that everything I own is merely a loan from God. i get far too possessive of the contents of my bank account. Really, I'm only treasurer.

I also had more fun with Dan:

Taking a GoPro selfie

Kissing Dan W

Dan W kissing us.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


Today would have been very, very dark had it not been for the presence of Danny Cullum. His timing couldn't have been more perfect.

It was such a relief to have a little brother hanging out with me while the election results rolled in through texts. It's safe to say I'm pretty disappointed. Actually that's a massive understatement.

Anyway, we had a jam in the park with Claire and Karina and it was so beautiful. I felt like I could have been home for a second. If only the sound of the waves were our percussion. Instead we had the slapping of mosquitoes, but it was still wonderful.

We had so much to catch up on and only scratched the surface this evening. Old friends have a familiarity about them that can't be duplicated anywhere.

Also at 2am this morning was a fire alarm in my building and it was a bit scary. I felt like I was in a movie.

Great snap

Saturday, September 20, 2014


1. Suffrage. I'm so thankful that today 120 years ago, Kate Sheppard led the NZ Woman's Suffrage Union to success. It's the anniversary of the first vote open to women ever and I couldn't be prouder that New Zealand led the charge.

2. I'm simply thankful it's Friday. I can sleep a bit more tomorrow!

3. Friends and family who keep in touch from all around the world. Today I got a letter from Lindsay Call in the States and it absolutely made my day. I have a lot of friends tucked away in so many places and I love them all so much. THANKS GUYS!

How's that for a perfect blue sky! My view of the sky at lunch.

Some Friday night foot therapy.

Friday, September 19, 2014


1. I'm grateful for my lunch breaks. I was just sitting in the sun, eating my salad, when a bunch of little ones rushed up to me, formed a 'V' shape in front of me and started singing and dancing, completely unannounced. It was brilliant! I clapped along like a real Korean, very enthusiastically.

2. I'm grateful for that feeling clean and tidy gives you. It's just the best. We were forced to clean the office, rearrange the furniture, and do every little job the principal asked while she barked orders, inspected, and then changed her mind. She's mental. But when everything was in order it felt so gooooooood! No more dust on the window sills!

3. I'm grateful that life is a journey. I've been thinking a lot about balance in terms of exercise, nutrition, and everything else. They are particular areas I've struggled to not go over the edge either way and I hope I'm learning. I feel like I am.

She stole my glasses and became a model.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


1. I'm grateful for the gospel. Honestly, I should be pumped every day because it's my reason for singing. It gives me hope and it keeps me grounded. YOU CAN NEVER GRADUATE FROM THE GOSPEL.

2. I'm grateful for Hannah, whom I met tonight at church. She was the right amount of friendly and open and it made me so happy that she told me about her life. It's scary to get a bit vulnerable with a stranger, especially at church and especially about not knowing stuff. But she did. So brave!

3. I'm grateful for my purpose. Talking to Hannah made me realize that I love ministering to people. I walked out of church absolutely elated. Helping people see the beauty in God's word is one of the best feelings in life. It's the stuff that really counts and I'm just so chuffed God used me tonight. He wired me like this so I know it's in my future for real somehow but not just yet!

Something happened to someone at school so, free ddeok!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


1. I'm grateful for the creativity of cooking. It's coming back to me now.I'm starting to really enjoy making good food again and it feels so right.

2. I'm so grateful for spontaneous childish minds. Today as I was walking to the office, I passed a little girl, sliding along the wall towards me. She had a scowl as she locked eyes with me so I scowled right back and she cracked a grin then promptly shot me with a finger gun as she slunk past me, eye contacting the entire time.
It was lunch time so I headed down the corridor, only to see my little assassin. Of course, I thought on my feet and shot her before she could get me. She tried to glare at me, but couldn't suppress the smile, tugging at the corners of her mouth.
I kept walking because I'm cool like that, but halfway down the hall I heard telltale little footsteps so I whipped around. She froze in her tracks but let out a shriek of delight. I turned around and walked further. She hid behind various objects as the game of James Bond continued. I even had a bathroom break in the middle.
It was the most terrifying thing actually, because I was in a very compromising position (if you've ever used a squatter, you know what I mean) if she happened to get really cheeky and pop her head under the door.
Thankfully she didn't and the game could go on for a few more minutes. She taught me a lot today about uncontainable joy that kids naturally possess. She didn't filter her emotions one bit.

3. I'm grateful for contagious little giggles like the one my gorgeous friend had today. It rang in my ears for hours and made me smile every time.
I bought these "limes" in Japan and was so excited about smuggling them into Korea. turns out they're just really sour mandarins or something.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


I've been challenged by Hannah to find three things to be grateful for each day for five days. It was on Facebook, but I thought it'd tie in better here. It's basically an extension of what I'm already doing. Perhaps it'll help me get back to the heart of it instead of just documenting my life.

Today I am grateful for:
1. Time with God. It's crazy that he would want to spend time with us, but then it's making so much sense lately because surely you've got to put time into any relationship for it to grow. If this is the most important relationship I will ever have, surely I should put more effort in. And God's just sitting there waiting for me to make some time for him. He's so patient with me.

2. Technology. I can keep in touch with friends via text, which is kinda like being just down the road even though we are millions of miles away. I can see my family's faces through a screen, and even though it's not the same as actually being there, it certainly beats not being able to. Imagine if letters were the only kind of correspondence!?

3. Democracy. As much as I hate the current NZ government, I have a tiny bit of power to do something about it. I exercised my rights today and voted at the embassy. It still feels amazing because I know that there are so many places and people that don't have the same freedom. I'm very privileged. Therefore, I think if you don't vote, you're a wally and you're never allowed to criticize the government because you gave up your chance to make it different.

This door was futuristic. It sealed shut and I had no escape!

Monday, September 15, 2014


It feels like forever since I've smelled fresh-cut grass and it drew me down towards it in no time at all. I was in the company of the finest friends and it was a beautiful ending to a wonderful Sunday. We sat on the green, sounds of a rookie Kpop star mixing with the fragrance, igniting our senses. Once again, I had to place the stars in the sky myself, but it only reminded me how spoilt I've been in the past and how much I have to be thankful for in this very moment of my life.

I made a TheLonelyPaleo Instagram for all the yummies.

I found Siri on my phone and she kept me very entertained for a while.

The boys being cute.

Nothing like good friends.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Once again the friendliness of a stranger completely caught me off guard and left me beaming.

I was waiting for Sarah in Itaewon, when a girl who had been standing by me a while struck up a conversation. It was really pleasant. Just the usual introductory questions, but it certainly made standing there much more fun.

Her friend arrived first so they were off. I'll never see her again, but our brief encounter had more of an impact on me than most conversations I've had lately.

Here's to being unafraid of strangers!


I've really, really missed clouds. These were some good ones as I emerged from the subway.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


Some days end up a whole lot better than you expect them to. This mornings' classes practically flew by and the kids had us grinning most of the time. Even the one I teach on my own went really well and everyone got involved. It's difficult to describe the elation after a good run, and the fact that it was Friday only made it that much more awesome.

A student ran up to me while I was walking home and gave me this soap she made in craft club. Adorable.

Friday, September 12, 2014


My lunch was perfect today. I thought it'd be yuck cos I just threw a whole lot of scraps together from my fridge and hoped for the best. But it was deeeelish.

It was also made a million times better by the perfect amount of sun rays. They have healing powers, I tell you.

After five classes in a row with a croaky throat, the sun lapped up all my ill and fed me with the good stuff.

Today was a good food day. This is dinner.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


I said goodbye to Japan today and a huge HELLO and CONGRATULATIONS to Laban and Amy.

They gon' get married and I'm so happy for them!

She's the closest person to me ever to get engaged and it's very very exciting. It was so good to see their smiling faces. Honestly, they couldn't stop.

Love and all that yuck stuff.

Scary though, when people my age get engaged. What's with all this growing up? It's happening far too often these days.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Kyoto is an amazing little place. It's the old fashioned town in Japan where there are streets of traditional style buildings and girls dressed up in their beautiful kimonos.

It was amazing to see them all scurrying about, shuffling around temple grounds and down cobbled streets. I couldn't help thinking how annoying the wooden shoes and the restricting skirts must be. They moved along at snails-pace. But they looked adorable.

Against the backdrop of the shrine we went to, they looked amazing in their traditional gear. Also in the revamped market, it was so cool to see couples all dressed up out and about, buying fermented fish and little rice cakes.