Tag Archives: South Korea

Pieces of our life…

Standard

Looking through pictures on my phone I am realizing that I have TONS of pictures that are like little pieces of the puzzle to our life in Yeosu, Korea. They are all so special to me, because put together they represent our daily life here in Korea. I decided that I should add the pictures to our blog that make up our every day life here. So often (me included) we over look the beautiful little snap shots of just a “normal” day. It is all apart of the big puzzle.

This is our life as of lately.

Love the flowers in full bloom!

Love the flowers in full bloom!

Care packages from our family= so much love.

Care packages from our family= so much love.

Monsters on my wall created by 3rd graders after teaching them my dad's favorite book "Where the Wild Things are"

Monsters on my wall created by 3rd graders after reading them my dad’s favorite book “Where the Wild Things Are”

My littlest "monsters"

My littlest “monsters”

Fireworks on every beach we have camped at!!! Koreans love their fireworks (and so do WE!)

Fireworks on every beach we have camped at!!! Koreans love their fireworks (and so do WE!)

We  have spent 4 weekends so far CAMPING!

We have spent 4 weekends so far CAMPING 🙂

I adore the open air markets.

I adore the open air markets.

:)

🙂

My walk to the bus stop after teaching at my "Friday School"

My walk to the bus stop after teaching at my “Friday School”

Tom's new hiking backpack- name TBD

Tom’s new hiking backpack- name TBD

Fresh fruit right off the tree in Jeju. Tasted like a cross between and orange and a grapefruit.

Fresh fruit right off the tree in Jeju. Tasted like a cross between and orange and a grapefruit.

We FOUND CHEESE!!!

We FOUND CHEESE!!!

Tea from South Africa, Wine from Chile, and Korean BBQ for dinner. Love it!

Tea from South Africa, Wine from Chile, and Korean BBQ for dinner. Love it!

My view EVERY SINGLE day walking to the bus stop after school. It will never ever get old.

My view EVERY SINGLE day walking to the bus stop after school. It will never ever get old.

:)

🙂

Lights on a bus to visit friends in Mokpo. ;) Normal.

Lights on a bus to visit friends in Mokpo. 😉 Normal.

I am one happy teacher :)

I am one happy teacher 🙂

Sometimes we forgot to take a moment to appreciate the little pieces that make the big picture SO beautiful!!!

Suncheon Garden Expo

Standard

Almost a month ago already I took a little field trip with my students to the Suncheon Garden Expo. Korea has TONS of festivals in the Spring/Summer amd Tom and I haven’t been as good as we would like about visiting the festivals- we have been so busy exploring that we forget to check the event calendar. So, when I found out I was going with my school I was pumped! It counts as a festival, right?! I wish I could have updated earlier, but better late than never! Suncheon is a city about 40 min away from where we live in Yeosu. We have been there quite a few times for bus connections en route to other destinations, but haven’t explored it yet! It was a quick hop, skip, and jump away from my school, and it was fun to explore the Expo! We had a cloudy day about 70 degrees outside. Perfect day to spend outside. The expo runs until October. It would be fun to go back with Tom to explore, but we haven’t decided yet! SO much to see and do still.

To sum it all up the festival basically is little gardens that represent different parts of the world.

Here we go!

Here we go!

Kindergarten kiddos!

Kindergarten kiddos!

Netherlands!

Netherlands!

4th graders :)

4th graders 🙂

me

photo (1)

Peace Garden

Peace Garden

eee

Kids artwork

Kids artwork

English teacher and Chinese teacher :) Korean, English, AND Chinese class for elementary kids at my school!

English teacher and Chinese teacher 🙂 Korean, English, AND Chinese class for elementary kids at my school!

I am in LONDON! :)

I am in LONDON! 🙂

Picnic time

Picnic time

dgjjkj

Wishes!!! :)

Wishes!!! 🙂 You write your wish on a piece of wood and tie it on.

Dream Bridge- Students draw/write their wishes and they were displayed on a long bridge!

Dream Bridge- Students draw/write their wishes and they were displayed on a long bridge!

I am living the DREAM!

I am living the DREAM!

Sailing & Jangdeung beach

Standard
“But time, it is like charm. You never have as much as you think.”
Khaled Hosseini – And the Mountains Echoed

The weeks are continuing to fly by, and the weekends seem to go even faster. The weekend of June 15th was spent sailing in Yeosu, and then lounging on a beach about an hour away (by city bus) to relax and camp. IT is absolutely gorgeous there, and was our second time visiting this beach. Our first time (a few weeks ago) we decided to head out to Jangdeung beach to explore, and since we had spent the weekend camping by the time we got there our phones had died so we were unable to take pictures. I am so glad we decided to go back to camp, because it is easily one of my favorite beaches in Korea so far. Secluded in the countryside, quiet, and stunningly beautiful we decided to pack our bags on Saturday spend the day/night on the beach. It was such a peaceful weekend. So wonderful to explore the area that we live in! We had been traveling every weekend so it was incredibly relaxing, and laid back to stay in Yeosu.

Saturday morning- We got invited to jump on board a morning sail cruise around Yeosu with elementary kids who were sailing! We were really excited, and it turned out to be a gorgeous morning on the Tall ship!

All aboard :)

All aboard 🙂

030

035038

My love

My love

gorgeous view from the boat looking out

gorgeous view from the boat looking out

Tom found a buddy!

Tom found a buddy!

055

Happiness.

Happiness.

066

Beautiful tall ship

Beautiful tall ship

We headed back to our apartment to gather our gear, and headed to Jangdeung beach! One of my favorite discoveries we have made.

072074

My hubby and a gorgeous beach= perfect!

My hubby and a gorgeous beach= perfect!

perfect.

perfect.

085

Beach time

Beach time. Breaking my rule of no self portraits, but I am too happy to care !

Sunset as we ate bbq. Perfect ending to a beautiful day.

Sunset as we ate bbq. Perfect ending to a beautiful day.

Some of the best adventures are right in your own backyard. I keep finding myself wishing for more time. More peaceful moments with people I love. More sunsets, more beaches, more mountains to climb.  What adventures have you gone on in the past week? I want to know! Was it planting flowers, a walk, a bike ride, or reading a new book? Fill me in. I love new adventures.

Livin’ the dream…

Standard
Livin’ the dream…

June 1st and 2nd are best described as what I would like to call a true adventure. Our friends Pat and Alyssa came to visit us in Yeosu. We had planned a weekend island hopping, and camping! I’d like to say though, that the best adventures are the most unplanned ones.

With the ferry times to some of the more popular islands around Yeosu not working out with our schedules…we thought we would try our luck with a ferry to a small island only 5 min away from the mainland. First going to the wrong ferry terminal used for day cruises we were instructed on the new ferry terminal we needed to get to. So on we went in a taxi! Onto the ferry and across the water just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the mainland.

Upon arrival we randomly got on what looked like a shuttle bus to a hotel. We were taken to a resort and told to camp in what I will call the backyard of the resort! Pat, Tom, Alyssa, and I were determined to find a beach, and camp on the ocean. Upon hearing there were no beaches on this island…back to the little slab of cement the ferry docks on to take it back to the mainland…typically I would call it a port, but slab of cement was exactly what it was. From the mainland we decided to go to a beach on Dolsan. Dolsan is an island that is connected by bridge to the mainland of Yeosu. Back in a taxi we went again this time with a plan, and a location in mind.

Arrive at beach #1 on Dolsan. It has a lovely marine life aquarium. ANDDDDDD a beautiful beach of…wait for it…. rocks! Not ideal for camping with tents. We begin searching for a beach with SAND. Began talking with the manager of the marine life aquarium, and long story short he had his co worker drive us about 20 minutes down, up, and around Dolsan to our final destination. Bangjukpo beach. Hotel California blared on the speakers while we all sang along as we zig zagged through the gorgeous countryside of Dolsan to the beach. I remember smiling so big that it hurt. Looking at Tom thinking “man, life is so good here…we are living the dream” and I know he thought just the same thing.

Watching baby goats frolic in the grass, collecting massive amounts of beautiful sea glass, a campfire, wonderful korean families with so much love to give, fireworks, relaxing on the beach, and simply enjoying the wonderful company of our friends…have all brought me extreme joy this past weekend.

We made it!!!

We made it!!!

My hubby!!

My hubby!!

043

044

baby goats

baby goats

052

058

056

Love the sunset...

Love the sunset…

:)

🙂

063 090

091

Saturday's journey in red to Bangjukpo beach...Jangdeung beach journey in blue (Sunday)

Saturday’s journey in red to Bangjukpo beach…Jangdeung beach journey in blue (Sunday)

On Sunday Tom figured out how to take the city buses to the most beautiful little beach called Jangdeung beach. It was secluded, clean, and the mountains littered the backdrop. Our phones had both died so we have no pictures this time! That just means we need to visit again soon. It was about an hour trip… and I can’t believe the buses go out there. No town really. Just the fresh country air, sun, and the sand.

My heart continues to do leaps n’ bounds of joy. As every single day is a new adventure waiting to be discovered. We are just here in this little corner of the beautiful world…Livin’ the dream.

After school Adventures…

Standard
After school Adventures…

Tom likes to stay busy during the week.

I like to relax after a long day of teaching.

We have found meeting in the middle, and planning our weeks out in the beginning of the week allows for us to have the perfect combination of exploration, and relaxation. I keep waiting for this “WOW, this city is amazing” feeling to completely wear off, but it hasn’t for almost two months now, and it is a pretty big city. We have found that we will have plenty of mountains to climb, heaps of beaches to explore, and copious amounts of islands surrounding Yeosu that we haven’t even touched on yet. Here are some of my favorite pictures of our after school adventures from the past two weeks.

A hike up the mountain just a couple blocks from our house

A hike up the mountain just a couple blocks from our house

The top!

The top!

The walk to a little island (connected by a walking bridge) called Odongdo.

The walk to a little island (connected by a walking bridge) called Odongdo.

Yeosu expo in the back. Odongdo island.

Yeosu expo in the back. Odongdo island.

Tom jumpin for joy!

Tom jumpin for joy!

Exploring Odondo island.

Exploring Odongdo island.

Bamboo forest (Odongdo)

Bamboo forest (Odongdo)

080

Cliffs of Odongdo.

Cliffs of Odongdo.

Cute light show we stumbled upon.

Cute light show we stumbled upon.

Walkin back home!

Walkin back home!

Vino with some friends. I promise that is not all ours!

Vino with some friends. I promise that is not all ours!

Found another beach about 10 min from our apartment. Ungcheon beach!

Found another beach about 10 min from our apartment. Ungcheon beach!

Takin a stroll in a nearby neighborhood.

Takin a stroll in a nearby neighborhood.

Just hangin in the clouds after an evening hike :)

Just hangin in the clouds after an evening hike 🙂

SO yes, maybe that “amazing-new-town” feeling will eventually wear off. In some ways though, I look forward to it wearing off. I know we will discover our favorite little nooks n’ crannies of our city, and we will return time after time to our favorite places while we live here.

Until then though…We will continue to explore our fabulous little corner of the world. One jump picture, one mountain, and one beautiful beach at a time.

Within and Without

Standard
Within and Without

Yesterday, Tom and I went to see the movie: The Great Gatsby. I have always had a love for reading since about 4th grade so this classic novel was one that I read during high school. While many in my high school lit class despised the book…I remember getting so lost in the book that I would read for hours. I thought it was an incredibly well written book, and was completely fascinated with it. At 16 years old, I didn’t fully understand what some parts meant, and only would learn more as I learned & experienced more about life. Isn’t that the case though? The older you get…the more you learn. The more you experience. The more you love. I’d like to think that’s the case at least. It’s a sort of exhausting thing to think about, really. When all you need is time, but time simply goes too fast. Our time on earth is so fleeting.

The beautiful red roses are in full bloom around Korea.

The beautiful red roses are in full bloom around Korea.

photo[3]

photo[1]

“I was within and without. Simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”- That’s how I literally feel some days. I can’t write enough about how much we love Korea, but some days my brain feels like mush when I begin to think about the variety of life. It literally is inexhaustible.

I decided I’d like to dedicate a post to my “school life” as a teacher…since it is such a large part of my time here in Korea. I work with incredibly amazing kids. I teach grades 3,4,5,6. I have three sections of each of those grades and I see each class 3x a week. I also teach “after school” English classes. On Friday’s I go to my “country school.” Where I teach one class of each 3,4,5,6th grade. I stay quite busy, but I really like that! Adjusting to teaching kids who speak hardly any English was a big transition for me in the beginning. Learning the expectations, schedules, and content of what I am teaching and how to teach was tricky in the beginning. I would say I FINALLY feel comfortable to be my goofy self, and throw in my own teaching style to the content of what we are required to teach. It took about a month of teaching to get into the groove. You know, it’s always that awkward beginning part of learning anything new. Mastering the ropes, adapting, and being FLEXIBLE!

photo[1]

photo[2]

The most important thing about being a teacher in Korea is be flexible. Well, maybe for any teacher. Some days though I come to school to find out a class is cancelled, I don’t teach at all tomorrow, or I have more classes then I expected. It is crazy to fly on the seat of your pants…but I am learning that’s just the kinda girl I am anyway. Up until a few years ago corporal punishment was accepted ,and used in the Korean schools. Now, they resort to things like P.E exercises for punishment, standing in the back of the classroom with arms up and eyes closed, or no outside time. Tom always tells me that “we didn’t come here to change their ways” and while I do understand that… I always try to give my kids some extra love while they are with me.

photo[1]

Tom is teaching middle school BOYS. ALL BOYS. I think God knew that I couldn’t handle middle school boys. So, he gave it to Tom! I think it is better that way since in Korea they respect men and especially love him because he is so tall. I mean let’s be real… I would die. Overall we are pretty happy about our jobs. We both work 8:40-5pm and we commute via bus each day. Tom and I both have multiple korean co teacher’s depending on the class and day. Mine teach along side with me while Tom’s teacher’s give him full reign of the rowdy, hormonal, and sassy boys… eh hem.I mean angels.

Just a sweaty commute home from work! :)

Just a sweaty commute home from work! 🙂

We did NOT plan this… note the “slippers” (sandal type things) we must wear while teaching! No regular shoes allowed.

One of my coteacher's (Mina) and I.

One of my coteacher’s (Mina) and I.

I’ve got lots to update you on. Including the past weekend on the Shinan Islands, and our after school adventures.. I look forward to writing more this week, and weekend!

All of my love from Yeosu, South Korea.

On the coast of somewhere beautiful…

Standard
On the coast of somewhere beautiful…

Soakin up the sun, sunlight dancin’ on the water, and I wish I was there 🙂

I am thankful for the company of wonderful friends (some old and some new) who make Korea seem even more like our home. I am thankful for great conversation, and dancing under the stars. I am thankful for the sun, sand, the Yellow Sea, and a little island called Oedaldo. I am thankful for a lovely fire after dark…complete with fireworks on the beach.  I am thankful for our health. I am thankful for friends who love to laugh, explore, and push themselves out of their comfort zone. Today, on Mother’s Day in America I am thankful to the moms everywhere who love their kids unconditionally, and have pushed them out of the nest to spread their wings and fly-even when that’s the hardest thing to do. I am thankful especially to my own mom for bringing me into this world, and for encouraging me to always be independent and strong. I am thankful for my mother-in-law who brought her son (my husband into this world) and for raising him to be the man he has become today.

My heart is full…and I am incredibly thankful for this amazing, and precious life I have been given.  Last night, as we fell asleep under the stars I couldn’t help, but send up a quick prayer to God thanking him for blessing me in so many incredible ways.

DSCN2215

Oedaldo Island

Oedaldo Island

tents on the water :)

tents on the water 🙂

072

100

093 087

girls oedaldo oedaldo DSCN2225

090

112

Making it our own.

Standard
Making it our own.

Happy Monday to all of our family and friends back home!

This past weekend was simply delightful. We are feeling so blessed to have friends here from Wisconsin, and also to have met new friends that we felt like we connected right away with and who became our first visitors in our new apartment in Yeosu. We randomly met Corey and Michelle in Mokpo while visiting friends from Wisconsin who are teaching in Korea. We invited them to come to check out Yeosu and they came this past weekend! Our highlights were hiking Gubong Mountain (the mountain my school is on!)  visiting the beach, riding “rail bikes” (bikes literally on an old railroad!) that went through a cool tunnel, and of course plenty of great conversation ,and awesome company.

013

Start of the hike

018

Beautiful view of our city from near the top of our hike!

020

Lovin our new friends 🙂

031

Planking on Gubong Mountain!

033

Boys at the beach skippin rocks. Boys will be boys 🙂

051

Gotta have the cute kiddo picture. They were having a blast in the water!!!

054

On the Rail bikes near the ocean

060

heading into the tunnel under the mountain 🙂 SO fun

michelle elicia yeosu

Loving life!!!

024 028 036 058 078 tom and i railroad car yeosu

On Sunday… We went to a Korean Church service…in Korean! Tom’s co worker invited us to go, and we felt we should. It was interesting, but most of it I didn’t really know what was going on since it was in another language. The people (as always) were SO kind to us. Then, Tom got sick. Which resulted in him resting. I made the trek over by taxi in the afternoon to the only English speaking church in our city. It was so lovely. A small group of some Koreans, and some foreigners gathered to worship. It was so fabulous to feel apart of a church again as we are missing our church from the states! Tom will be excited to join me next weekend at the English speaking church. After church I grabbed coffee with some pretty sweet gals from church at..wait for it.. STARBUCKS!!!!!!! It was an awesome treat. It is the only Starbucks in Yeosu. Sunday night resulted in a trip to the hospital since Tommy is sick. 😦  Very interesting experience to say the least as we don’t speak much Korean, and they spoke just a tiny bit of English. Thank goodness for being able to use the hospital phone to call my co teacher so she could translate… since, we don’t have phones yet.

Today it was back to teaching! It was hard to say goodbye to the weekend as it has been absolutely BEAUTIFUL weather here! We are excited this weekend to hopefully camp with our friends, pending Tom feels better of course!

I will leave you with a video of three of my lovely students dancing to Psy’s new song “Gentlemen” a pretty big deal over here:

https://vimeo.com/65561222

How could I not love teaching when I have these kids? I can’t help, but smile! As always, feeling blessed beyond words.

Same, but different.

Standard
Same, but different.

The last few days it has become quite clear to me that many things here in South Korea do indeed remind me of where Tom and I come from originally (The Midwest United States.) Let me give you some examples and perhaps maybe you can understand exactly what I mean.

The past few days we have been filling our heads with information in orientation. From Gender roles here in Korea, Traditional Korean music, to learning a new language, and the Korean Wave (Kdramas, Kpop, and Korean Film) and although some of it is utterly and entirely mind boggling a lot of it is really the same, but different. My head is full of knowledge, and I am finding most everything I have learned quite fascinating. It is a lot to take in, and I guess I am most surprised by how much media/ korean pop music- Kpop influences daily life, and actually is tied into the demand to learn English… and really why Tom and I are here today… living in Korea to teach English.

I had NO idea that kpop is an entire and a rather large industry not only in Korea, but internationally. If you want to learn more I recommend this link (it is a bit long, but explains all about the ins and outs of Kpop): http://www.inaglobal.fr/en/music/article/k-pop-story-well-oiled-industry-standardized-catchy-tunes

And also, had no idea about the Medical Tourism industry here in Korea and how the Korean Wave has largely impacted that as well.

We are all the same, but different.

Something that has reminded me of the U.S specifically (when Tom and I took a trip to Colorado) is the hiking. It’s a really great thing we love hiking, because it is everywhere. Lucky for us! Today while hiking I was thinking to myself how much Korea reminds me of hiking in Colorado…and how the woodsy feeling reminds me of camping back in Wisconsin… (For more on our hiking click here where my husband has logged ALL of our hiking expeditions.

Image

Then…at the top we stumbled upon this:

Image

and then I think. Nope, we really are living in Korea…and I love it. I mean seriously? How can you not love hula hooping on top of a little mountain you just climbed. Korea, is much the same…but different.

Yesterday, we attended our very first professional Korean baseball game. No lie. These people don’t mess around. The only thing I could even compare this to is a Green Bay Packer game. The Korean baseball fans are DIE hard fans. Looks normal…

001010

.Image

…Until you watch the video!I loved every second of it. Check out the video I uploaded by clicking on the link below!! (Would have taken a longer video if the batteries hadn’t died)… but this gives you a little taste of what the fans are like:

https://vimeo.com/64385193

Tomorrow, we visit a temple for the day! I’m excited to relax, enjoy the lovely sunshine, and drink the famous lotus tea.

Here, in Korea… everything is the same, but different.

041 022

and we are still smiling as we get closer to seeing our new apartment, city, coworkers, and kids who will become a huge part of our lives for the next year 🙂

082 024