Monthly Archives: July 2013

One year of marriage.


So about a week ago I accidentally hit the “publish” button for this post. In an instant panic I hit the delete button. Cause I am just plain awkward like that. I was working on this post and it was NOT finished. What happened ( I am sure) is that the computer I was working on was slow and I started just clicking buttons out of frustration. I do this a lot (just ask my husband!) I deleted it in hopes that the email hadn’t been sent out to my blog followers that I had updated. Welllllll, it had. AND Tom saw the post which wasn’t supposed to be seen until August 3rd. Our one year anniversary. I am well aware that people don’t “publish” a post to make it public and then delete it, but I did. So there you have it folks. It’s finished now. ANDDDDD I’ll just continue to be that awkward girl over here with her awkward moments. 😉

SO it’s been a year. One year of marriage to my absolute best friend in this entire world.

Tom likes to always tell people “It’s been just COMPLETE BLISS!”

and while many days it really has been. There are days when it isn’t.

I’ve always been real with ya. I’m not going to sugar coat it for you.

Marriage is awesome. It is God’s greatest gift (besides the gift of life) that I have been blessed with, but it takes time, it takes work, and it takes a whole lotta compromise.

Taking a break from a 10 hour day spent exploring/hiking the coast of Jeju Island, South Korea.

Taking a break from a 10 hour day spent exploring/hiking the coast of Jeju Island, South Korea.

I don’t know much about marriage other then what we have experienced the first year of it…but unfortunately I have had people tell me “just wait until you have been married 10-20 years and then I will see what you think.” or things like “Are you sure you want to get married so young?” What I really want to tell them is that marriage can be awesome. I have hope/faith in a marriage built to grow closer to God.

In the past year I have learned that:
We must work together.
I’ve learned that it isn’t “I have to do this” it’s more of “I get to do this.”
I have learned that my husband would much rather feel respect than to feel loved.
I have learned that moving to South Korea has made our marriage stronger.
That when we spend time in the word we are more intentional with how we treat each other.
That I like to talk out my problems (who knew?) and Tom needs space/time.
That I am always right. (Just kidding hunny!)
That every single day I wake up and I must make an intentional choice to be the best wife that I can possibly be for Tom.

…and that when I married Tom I gained a wonderful family, and they are just simply awesome!

nuzzling in for a cuddle.

In a world surrounded by media expectations of marriage I’d like to say there is almost nothing I knew about marriage (that was actually realistically portrayed in the media) before we got married. I did however know that we both wanted to grow closer to God. I knew that it wouldn’t always be easy, but it is definitely worth it.

We dated a year, got engaged, and married 7 months later. There is no other way I would have wanted it. When you know…you know. We also knew that we wanted to spend our life together, taking the same path together, and figuring out life together. In both of our minds we didn’t feel as “one” until we took our vows for a marriage under God. People have asked Tom how he knew I was the “one” and he replies ” A better question to ask is how didn’t I know?” Being together is what made us happy. So one year ago we took the biggest leap of faith together, and said “I do.”

I look forward to the many seasons to come getting to know this incredible man on an even deeper level. I am his biggest fan. I love being his wife.

Gooseberry Falls, MN.

Enjoying a hike near Belleville, WI.


First fall as a married couple raking the yard at our duplex. November 2012.

Dominican honeymoon 🙂

I am so excited to look back in 10 years, and then in 20 years to see how much we have grown as a couple. Do I think it will be easy all of the time? Absolutely not.

Oktoberfest in New Glarus, WI

…but you better believe it that I am beyond thankful and grateful for the gift of marriage. Marriage can truly be a beautiful thing. We are just two people who love God… doing the best they can each day… to be the best that we can be for each other.

Winter date nights!

Goodbye America…Hello South Korea!

Enjoying the rain at the cliffs in Jeju!

Enjoying the rain at the cliffs in Jeju!

We will keep riding through life together!

I’ll never forget this note from Tom, and I still carry it with me where ever I go. I believe it was from Christmas 2010 (our first holiday spent together) I remember finding it in my backpack after getting back to college…

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So today, I am brought back to one year ago when we held hands, and our pastor read the verse we picked for our marriage from Mark 10:9

“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Tom, you are an incredible man. Thank you for believing in me. God has blessed me with the most incredible gift of marriage. Here’s to the many many years to come. Together.


Jangheung Water Festival


This past weekend we headed to Jangheung the rural city where our friend Amy (who was in our wedding!) lives. She is wrapping up her year in Korea so it was fun to visit the tiny little city one more time.  The first time we visited Jangheung was in April when we first got to Korea. It was spring weather and the town seemed as if it hadn’t yet come out of it’s winter shell.

This time the small little city was BOOMING! With water, water, water galore! This past weekend July 26th Jangheung celebrated it’s water festival. What water festival wouldn’t be complete without bare handed fish catching, the biggest water fight EVER (complete with techno music and fire truck hoses)… sand wrestling, pools, river kayaks, fountains, and zorbs on water. Oh, and not to mention Koreans dressed in costumes! The food was AMAZING. I had Turkish food/ ice cream, Tom had a giant hot dog, and we shared this delicious banana crepe rolled into a little pot sticker type thing. They had food from all over the world!

We had a great time staying cool AND it was free. So that was awesome.

Take a look:

Where the water fight took place!

Where the water fight took place!

post water fight. Drenched and HAPPY!

Post water fight. Drenched and HAPPY!

It was SO HOT!

It was SO HOT!

Fishing in the river- With NETS and hands!

Fishing in the river- With NETS and hands!

From river-to net- to box!

From river-to net- to box! Tom thought about trying it until we saw EELS in the nets. ICK!

Your guess is as good as mine...

Your guess is as good as mine…

Little pools set up all over to keep cool.

Little pools set up all over to keep cool.

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The view from the bridge. Tom and DJ walking along the foot massage path, Korean sand wrestling, Amy/Tom/ Me     :p

The view from the bridge. Tom and DJ walking along the foot massage path, Korean sand wrestling, Amy/Tom/ Me :p

School’s out for a MONTH!


So first semester of school is over tomorrow!

My students go on break for “vacation” until September 2nd. I have memories as a kid of summer vacation being a week at the lake, lots of time playing outside, ice cream, and camping!

and while it is hot here like summer… Most Korean kids will be attending “Hogwons” or private schools in the summer to study.

Starting next week I will be teaching my summer camp! My summer camp is 2 weeks long from 9 to 12.I have 3 & 4th graders together, and then 5 & 6th graders together. In the afternoon I will “desk warm” which is just time at the desk. I am actually really excited to have time to blog, catch up on TV shows, and read.” I can do whatever I please… just need to be at my desk. My summer camp theme is “Summer Olympic Games/ Around the world.” I am really excited, because I think the kids will love being active. I want to give them a chance to get up and get MOVING! My school wanted me to create an English summer camp that was “fun.” My kids love games so I hope they get really into it. I’m pretty excited myself. Some things I am most excited for: Making piñatas, teaching them the game “steal the bacon”, designing and creating an Olympian, teaching them about other countries, water balloon toss, and MANY MANY relay games!!!

I decided I wanted to incorporate teaching them about other countries as I feel passionate about traveling, and want to expose my students to other cultures other then their own. It’s so fun being able to incorporate pieces of who I am into my teaching here.

I wanted to post a few pictures of my kids who make teaching SO fun.

Sweet girls who always visit me at my desk :)

Sweet girls who always visit me at my desk 🙂

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I love his shirt! :)

I love his shirt! 🙂

Love my Friday "country school"

Love spending Friday’s at my “country school”

We are always dancing!!!

We are always dancing!!!

This past Monday we had a ceremony to welcome exchange students from Thailand to our school.

There was singing...

There was singing…



...and Taekwondo!

…and Taekwondo!

My kids make teaching awesome 🙂

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Suncheon Retreat Weekend


The weekend of July 13th Tom and I were invited by our good friends Cory and Michelle to go on a church retreat weekend in Suncheon. We had no idea what to expect, but it was a fabulous weekend! Suncheon is a city about 45 minutes by bus from Yeosu.

We pulled up to this awesome place surrounded by LOTS of nature and the mountains! There was even an outdoor pool which is pretty rare in Korea… the first we have seen since we have moved here in April. We spent time outside in the pool relaxing, and cooling off from the heat!

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Outdoor pool!

Outdoor pool!

Followed by a delicious dinner of fresh chicken (and I mean fresh)

From pen to table. Literally!

From pen to table. Literally!

Cute tables on the little creek!

Cute tables on the little creek!

Dinner outside near the creek.

Dinner outside near the creek.



…and a great message from a member of their church on trusting God’s plan for us. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

The morning was followed by Cory’s message on worrying. Focusing on Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

It was a wonderful weekend, and great reminder for me to refocus on God. Being in Korea has been a huge blessing for both Tom and I! We have an English speaking church service in Yeosu that we have attended twice, but have been traveling every weekend so it was really great to spend a weekend where we were reminded of God’s love for us, and being able to connect with other christians.

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My birthday in Korea!


This past weekend I turned 24.

It was SUCH an amazing weekend. One thing that I am beyond thankful for is our amazing friends we have met in Korea. They have really become like our family, and I am extremely thankful for their company, and each of the friendships we share with them. We spend a lot of time with these people, and are able to relate to each other on living away from our families, teaching in korea, our relationships/marriage, being christians, and just LIFE!

We ventured to Ungcheon beach about 15 min away from our apartment in Yeosu… have I mentioned how much I love living by the beach/ocean surrounded by mountains?! After a quick dance party in the beach parking lot we headed to the Ocean Resort water park in Yeosu which is just another 10 min or so from the beach. The water park had stunning views overlooking the beautiful ocean. Finished up the night with an AMAZING all you can eat buffet dinner at Marina buffet with western, Korean, Japanese, and Chinese food.

Ungcheon Beach

Ungcheon Beach

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Photo credit to LO

Parking lot dance party

Parking lot dance party- photo credit to Lauren

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view from the water park looking out

view from the water park looking out


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Laughter, games, food, amazing friends, AWESOME husband. I could not be more blessed.

24 is going to be a great year!

What we now know about Korea that we didn’t know then (part 2) ….


There are some things you just can’t learn until you experience it for yourself.

Tom and I were talking last night, and he said to me ” I knew nothing about Korea before we got here except the Korean War.” I started to think about it and the more that I did I thought out loud “Yeah, you are right. I really didn’t know anything at all either.” I mean, I knew what we had seen in pictures, and even though they say a picture speaks a thousand words a picture doesn’t let you experience it first hand.

So, here we are. Living and teaching in Korea. I first wrote what we now know about Korea that we didn’t know  after we had been here just a week. Well, to no surprise we have made more discoveries…and I’d like to share!

1. In general, Korea has an awesome transportation system. Buses, trains, taxis, and ferries can literally transport you (almost) anywhere that you need to go. I am still shocked by how you can take a bus anywhere in our city, and also take a bus to  cities all over Korea.  I would also add: Ride at your own risk! There have been times I have gasped out loud as the driver almost took the bus on two wheels around a corner. They all aren’t like that though! Just once in a while.

2. Not all Koreans are short. Not at all! Yes, I think there are more short people here, but I can tell you with confidence almost ALL of my 6th graders are taller than me. I stand 5 feet and 2 inches tall so it isn’t hard to be taller than me…but I think many people have the mindset that “Koreans are all short.” I have a picture to prove that this simply just isn’t TRUE! For those who haven’t met my husband he stands about 6 feet 4 inches tall.


3. I am not sure that there are strict traffic rules here- especially when it comes to parking. I have seen cars parked in the middle of the road, blocking other cars in, parked on a sidewalk, and blocking off a side road.  Motor bikes/moped type things drive on the sidewalk, and every time one is coming at me or behind me I think my heart skips a beat! They don’t really slow down either. So there’s that.

4. So on the topic of motor bikes. You can have almost ANY type of food delivered to your door from ANY restaurant within minutes and it will come on a motor bike. They also come back to pick up the bowls/chopsticks when you are finished. It’s a pretty clever little system if you ask me. We have yet to try it because our Korean isn’t really quite up to par yet to explain what we want and our apartment address in korean. One day soon though we will make it a goal. Just get out of the way when they deliver the food. Those bikes zoom through traffic lights, and drive on sidewalks ( like I said in #3)  They have a place to be so beware!

photo credit to

5. Korea rocks at open air markets. I love that we are supporting local, and that it’s fresh veggies/fruit. I have ranted and raved about the markets. I can’t say enough how much I love them! photo (3)

6. I love the specialized shops within walking distance of our apartment. If you need paint you go to the paint store. If you need hiking gear you go to to a hiking shop. Watch broken? Fix it at the watch store. You get the point. I love that we can support individual shops.

7. Your TP is most likely not in the stall. So don’t forget to grab it before you go in. That’s all I am gonna say about that.

8. Customer service is awesome! I actually don’t mind going to the bank or any sort of government office here. Back in the states I DREADED the DMV or visits to the post office. Here SPEED is everything. Including shipping/ordering packages online. Things come fast. Like crazy fast. Packages from a Korean company come in 2 days tops! No matter where it is coming from. I’ll also add that I love the button you push at the table when you are out to eat! Every restaurant has them, and you push it when you need something. A waiter or waitress will come promptly to your table once the button is pushed.  Why didn’t we think of that?!

9. Hiking is awesome AND every where.We plan to explore this place in Korea soon!

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10.  When it’s hot outside you eat hot things! This is one I struggle with the most. I am used to soups on a cold winter day back in the states. Here, Koreans love to have a temperature hot (and often times spicy food) on the 85 degree days. My co teacher told me ” Elicia, outside is hot your insides must be hot too.”  I told her in the winter I will eat all the soup I can get… but that is the last thing I want on a hot day!

Oh Korea! The things we will learn about you as time goes on.


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The Best of Yeosu


So, we have been in Korea almost 3 months.

These past three months have flown by SO fast! It seems like we have been in Korea forever as we feel really comfortable here, but at the same time these past 3 months have flashed before our eyes. We are still discovering bits of the city we now call home, but also doing more of what I call “regular life things” like shopping at our local market, working out more, unwinding at night with a documentary or a new show we are watching called Friday Night Lights. I thought it would be great to do a 3 month recap of our favorite places in Yeosu thus far. Ideally, I would love to make part 2,3, and 4 after 6, 9, and 12 months of living in Yeosu. We’ll see though 😉 No promises yet.

I’ll first start by saying that we LOVE hiking. I don’t talk much about it on my blog, because Tom is doing a great job documenting every single hike we do here.

Favorite Hike- Horangsan Mountain


Favorite place to shop- (hands down) the open air markets! 

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Favorite After School Adventure- Beautiful Odongdo Island

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Odongdo is a cute little island that you can walk out to from Yeosu!

Most relaxing thing to do in Yeosu Sunset Stroll and Turtle Park

sunset stroll with this guy ;)

sunset stroll with this guy 😉

Yeosu is lovely!

Yeosu is lovely!

Turtle Park is nestled in a neighborhood near our apartment called Yeocheon. Love watching people here!

Turtle Park is nestled in a neighborhood near our apartment called Yeocheon. Love watching people here!

Favorite beach- (by a landslide) Jangdeung beach

A gorgeous beach nestled in the country side has the best scenic views, and the most gorgeous beach. We took a city bus about 45 min to this beach!

A gorgeous beach nestled in the country side has the best scenic views, and the most gorgeous beach. We took a city bus about 45 min to this beach! I talked more about this beach here

Favorite Temple- Jinnamgwan Temple

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At the entrance!

At the entrance! Start of Date night.

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Stone man from 1592

View from the temple looking out!

View from the temple looking out!

Favorite Coffee Shop- IMI Coffee! 

Imi coffee also has live jazz music once a month. We caught free jazz music in June.

In Yeosudong (our neighborhood name) Imi coffee also has live jazz music once a month. We caught free jazz music in June.

One of our favorite places to eat (because this is too hard to choose) nicknamed ” Pork Palace”-

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Located in our neighborhod of Yeosudong. When it wasn’t too hot they kept the door/windows open which was awesome. They also smoke the pork before we cook it on hot coals at our table. 😉

Favorite place for entertainment- Yeulmaru  ( after visiting the temple Tom and I continued date night here! Duo piano concert 5$ a piece 🙂 Cool concerts, and cool art on display.

Love the fountains!

Love the fountains! Gorgeous brand new facility just built a year ago.

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My Favorite Candid Moments that I caught in a photo! (because these were too cute not to post)

Grandma dancin with the little boy :)

Grandma dancin with the little boy 🙂

My kids racing into school. Love my Friday's at the country school.

My kids racing into school. Love my Friday’s at the country school.

Hard to see ( I was far away and had to zoom in with my phone) but I love hand holding so I had to snap a pic!!!

Hard to see ( I was far away and had to zoom in with my phone) but I love hand holding so I had to snap a pic!!!

I know I have said this before, but I don’t think we could have picked a more perfect city to meet our interests. I think we are pretty spoiled with the mountains for hiking, and the beautiful beaches now that the weather feels like we live in a tropical rain forest. For any of you that know me I would also like to officially announce that I am FINALLY not cold. I can’t get enough of this heat. I have never felt humidity like this before, and although my hair is a crazy curly mess… I am loving the sunshine!


Do you have a favorite place you like to go back to time and time again? Or do you experiment with new places? I have a feeling our “favorite” places in Yeosu are ones we will visit time and time again.

My sister.


“Of two sisters one is always the watcher, one the dancer.”
Louise Glück

I found this quote perfectly fitting for my sister and I. Cheyenne has always been the watcher. While I was too busy gabbing away and vying for the spotlight Cheyenne was watching.  She was the observer. The quiet one around strangers (and probably because I did the talking for her!)  Her creativity was apparent at a very young age through her piano playing, art projects, and dancin’ skills.


When Cheyenne was little gal she hid bread around the house to snack on it later! She would get hair cuts JUST for the lollipop the barber gave her after. She has loved animals for as long as I can remember. She has always been the “sweet” little girl, and personally the one who I would have wanted to be friends with as a kid. She always talked about God and faith. I distinctly remember her reciting “The lord is my shepherd I shall lack nothing” through out the days, and she often said prayers for our family.As the adorable kid turned into a young lady she became the “nice” girl that was friends with everyone. She was a slow poke at getting ready for school in the mornings. I would often leave her behind at home as I drove off to high school and left her in the dust! ( Like I said…she was the nice one)


So today. On the 13th of July. I want this incredible 22 year old beautiful young free spirited woman to know that her big sister loves her. That I am SO proud of the young  lady she has become…and that there is no one in this world who will ever understand my childhood exactly like she will. I know that whatever God has in store for you in the years to come will be great. You are incredible!…and I am so proud to call you my sister.



Oh yeah and the Korean kids I teach also wanted to wish you a very happy birthday (and I must admit they are pretty darn cute) :

Make Every Moment Count…


When I was just about to start my 6th grade year my dad joined the air force, and later told us we were moving to ENGLAND!

I had no idea then how lucky I was.

From seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa, The Mona Lisa at the Louvre in France, skiing the Swiss Alps in both Austria and Switzerland,  climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower, hiking the 5 cities that make up the gorgeous Cinque Terre in Italy (my personal favorite in Europe), visiting the Colosseum in Rome, meeting the queen of England, getting blessed by the pope in the Vatican city,  exploring  massive cathedrals in Germany, wandering the streets of Belgium, seeing the famous tulips in the Netherlands, driving through the rolling hills of Scotland, Ireland AND Whales. Not to mention exploring England’s Stonehenge, visiting Parliament, Big Ben, The Crown Jewels, and riding the London Eye. Countless castles, delicious food, and plenty of adventures.

These memories are just ones that come to mind when I think of my experience as a military kid living in Europe. I can positively tell you that I learned more in those three years about culture, food,art, exploration, traveling, history, and the world then I EVER did from a textbook. Even as a teenage girl I will never forget looking up at the work of Michelangelo at the Sistine Chapel in Italy, and feeling my stomach do somersaults. I hope some day (God willing) I will be able to provide these same experiences to my own children with my husband.

The world is incredibly big. It was in that moment it hit me how much there is to learn from history…and how big the world really is. That chapel was completed in 1481. INCREDIBLE.

Middle school quickly turned into high school. During middle school I wanted to be in the States.

During high school all I wanted was the freedom that college would bring.

During college all I wanted was freedom from studying AND working. I wanted freedom to be in the “real world.”

Now, I am in the real world.

I can tell you today with a happy heart I am finally learning to appreciate the moment.

Living in this moment. Enjoying the journey (and every step along the way!)

So, I will just be here in my little Korean corner of the world.

Living, enjoying, and loving life.

Making every moment count.

Back in 2000. With my sister :) Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy.

Back in 2000. With my sister 🙂 Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy.


If I could have you over for coffee…


If I could have you over for coffee…

You would see that my Korean apartment is definitely Korean, but the smallness of it has actually become our “new normal” and there is something to be said about living with only what you need.

The apartment would look clean. There is a 99% chance that it would be, but that isn’t because of me. I would tell you right away that the credit goes to my husband. If you came over on the 1% chance that it was dirty…it wouldn’t bother me a bit. I would assume you understand that life happens.

If I could have you over for coffee I would want to know more about you, your day, your struggles, what makes you happy, and what makes you sad.  You would find out real quick that I really don’t like small talk for very long, but that I love hearing stories. I love hearing ideas, thoughts, desires, and dreams.

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If you and I had coffee- there wouldn’t be a shortage of talking…because although I am learning to listen more. I still love to talk. I love to connect, but I also know when to stop.

I would definitely want to talk about my faith as a christian, but I would  be scared to offend you. I would probably want to build a friendship first so that I could tell you more about the best part of who I am, and why I am. If I could have you over for coffee I would tell you that when I say I am blessed it means that GOD has blessed me..and I am most certainly undeserving of it all.

I would tell you about marriage, my husband, and how we don’t know where life will take us in 5 years, but that the thought of that excites me. I would probably tell you that  I just finished the book And The Mountains Echoed ,and how I loved it. I would want to know if you read, and what you are reading.

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I would want you to know that just because I ran 2 marathons and because my genes have made it impossible to gain weight doesn’t mean I am in shape AND that I actually struggle to motivate myself to get out, and run. I would be proud to tell you that I am finally following through with a daily workout, and man it feels GOOD!

If I could have you over for coffee…

I’d want to know:

What you are most grateful for?

When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?

and this.

If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?

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