Tag Archives: wine

Surprises that warm the heart.

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The days keep flying and I just keep wishing I had more time.

More time to read, write, work out, bake delicious food, travel, longer weekends, drink coffee, drink tea. Drink wine with my husband. I keep finding myself wishing for more time.  Our weekends here are precious and valued time that Tom and I spend together traveling Korea and (if we are lucky) sometimes with our friends!

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…and so when Tom and I were presented with the opportunity to volunteer at an International English camp a few weeks back we debated over if we would give up our “precious time” to spend a weekend with kids after working 40 hours with kids. – We all need breaks every now and then 😉 We had heard great things about the camp and decided: “What the heck! Let’s do it.”

So, three weeks ago Tom and I went with 40 other foreign English teachers to volunteer at an International English Camp about 2 hours away from our city of Yeosu. 200 Korean middle school students in grade two (equivalent to our 8th grade in America) lined the pavement holding signs and cheering as the foreign teachers got off the bus upon arrival at camp. This was only the beginning of a fun-filled weekend teaching the kids how to cook food from our native countries, playing games/sports, doing a talent show, having a massive bonfire (fireworks were included!), stargazing, and teaching them a little about the places we originally call home.The best part about this was being able to hang out and have fun with the middle school kiddos in a normal environment! No pressure of studying. Just conversation and having fun. I have talked a bit about the pressures that the kids have in Korea to study, perform, study, perform AND repeat. If you’re interested in learning what these kids go through or just grasp an understanding of our life as teachers in Korea click here for a short 20 minute documentary! The camp was a great opportunity for us to be immersed in the culture of Korea that we so dearly love while getting to know some of the most amazing kids in a fun environment.

It was a heart warming weekend to say the least.

At the end one of the boys gave a wonderful speech that made me cry. He said the camp had given him confidence to use his English in conversation without being scared. Through all the hard days of teaching…feeling like what we are doing isn’t making a difference… that I am not teaching them enough. It’s the moments like this volunteer English camp that reminded me sometimes it’s the little moments in life that make a difference. It’s the smiles, hugs, and love. It’s the company of spending time with kids. Just getting to know them. Having the opportunity at the International camp showed me that what we are doing CAN make an impact!

The weekend we spent with the kiddos was a weekend that warmed my heart. I realized how selfish I was initially to view it as giving up “my time” when the kids had done SO much to warm my heart during our weekend together.

What things have you been doing lately (or have others done for YOU!?!)  that warm your heart?

Our life as of lately.

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The past few weekends have consisted of a half marathon, saying goodbye to friends whose time in Korea is complete, drinking wine, spending time on the gorgeous beach just 2 miles from our apartment (just let me brag one more time! I have never lived by the ocean) catching an awesome FREE jazz concert, new bible study, and getting the classroom ready for another semester of school.

The Weather: Has cooled down quite a bit, and is now comparable to summer in Wisconsin/ Minnesota. This week has been low 80’s and the humidity has vanished quite a bit! We can hike again-after taking a 2 month break due to insane humidity. We are excited to get back to enjoyable hiking, biking, AND running!

Our Schools: Both of our schools are back in full swing of second semester! We are loving being able to commute to work together, and having a car makes our commute to work about 15 minutes. NO complaints there. Two out of my three Korean co teachers have changed at semester. I am so lucky to have two new awesome co teacher’s who help me teach the English classes. They ROCK!

Our Apartment: We finally have a couch, and our apartment is finally decorated. It took 5 months, but it is cozy. We have had friends come visit, and the apartment has crammed fit 4 guests-6 total adults! If only you knew how small it is with 6 adults in there!! BUT we are thankful (it’s paid housing) … it’s new… AND we don’t live in a huge apartment complex like many of the Korean apartment buildings. Ours is maybe 15 apartments total in a small building vs. the 30+ story apartments that are scattered around our city (and much of Korea.)

After 5 months in Korea: We are falling more in love with our city-Yeosu. The view from my school (on the mountain) over looking the bay are second to none. We have the sweetest landlords who bend over backwards for us. We aren’t taking a second for granted. We are SO incredibly thankful for the opportunity to live, teach, and travel Korea (and also all over Asia!). I think it’s safe to say that we will be in Korea (granted our jobs will have us again) for longer than a year. Life here is so amazing. It’s easy. It’s stress free. It’s incredible to me that we can travel… AND pay off my university debt…AND SAVE- all while loving our day to day life/jobs!

The view from my school- it really never EVER gets old. So stunning.

The view from my school- it really never EVER gets old. So stunning.

Getting ready to change the desks in my classroom into groups. I don't miss this typical "korean style" of desks in rows. Ick!

Getting ready to change the desks in my classroom into groups. I don’t miss this typical “Korean style” of desks in rows. I much prefer groups of four.

We love live music.

We love live music.

4 friends. A road trip to the middle of Korea. A half marathon AND 18 pounds of grapes.

4 friends. A road trip to the middle of Korea. A half marathon AND 18 pounds of grapes for finishing!

Saying goodbye to my dear friend Alyssa. Her pictures of Korea were a huge inspiration to us moving to Korea...and we have spent lots of time camping/exploring Korea with her and Pat (pictured left) Alyssa is off traveling for the next 8 months and Pat will join her for some traveling in November when his teaching contract is up!

Saying goodbye to my dear friend Alyssa. Her experiences in Korea were a huge inspiration to us moving to Korea…and we have spent lots of time camping/exploring Korea with her and Pat (pictured left) Alyssa is off traveling for the next 8 months, and Pat will join her for some traveling in November when his teaching contract is up!

Wine/Apples/ Wisconsin cheese a special treat for us on a school night. ;)

Wine/Apples/ Wisconsin cheese a special treat for us on a school night. 😉

New bible study in Yeosu we were invited to.

New bible study in Yeosu we were invited to.

Darren and Rozanne- off to live in Thailand! So happy to have met this dynamic duo through our friend Melody. They spent 5 years in Korea, and Tom and I really enjoyed getting to spend some time with them at the tail end of their Korean journey.

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Ungcheon beach- just 2 miles from our apartment 🙂