Monday, December 27, 2010

10 months and counting

The Letts have now been in Korea for little over 10 months...leaving us with two more months in our one year contract! Taylor and I have been exploring options and praying for the year to follow, but are fairly certain that Korea is where we will be for at least another year. Our time here has been a roller coaster of emotions. I must admit that for the first six months, I could think of nothing but leaving and heading home after our year contract was fulfilled... but then my heart softened towards Korea and now I am excited about staying. Taylor was fairly constant throughout. Sure, there were times he wanted to stranggle his disrespectful middles schoolers, but all in all, things are looking up. Next year, Lord willing we stay, we will be moved (by Taylor's school) to an anpartment in Masan/Changwon. This is BIG news becuase Changwon is a Large city... not just a town, which quite frankly would be a step up from Yeongsan! I love our apartment though and so with the convenience and community that would come with Changwon living, we will be losing the large floor plan and the opportunity to host large crowds. I will also be losing my little plot of land right outside our apartment... so while I didn't get much out of the little garden patch this year due to late planting, I was kind of bummed knowing I wouldn't be able to go for round two. Luckily, pots are readily available and so I will attempt a little potted garden. Who knows, maybe we will luck out and get a top floor apartment with easy access to the roof! :) So for now, the Letts are waiting upon a contract and upon the Lord to work out all things for His GLORY and our good... Thankful for a God who cares and provides.

In most recent news, we got.... drum roll please.... an OVEN!!!!!!!! Taylor bought me an oven for Christmas! WHAT A GUY! I was totally floored, in complete shock! Here's the play by play:
I had asked Taylor if he could come home on his lunch break on Friday to bring me a few groceries for last minute goodies for our us and our Christmas guests. (I'll go into detail about that later) Like the great guy that he is, he agreed to it.... plus there were leftover tacos in the fridge... I might have used that in the conversation as a lure. ;) Anyways, upon arrival, he hollered from behind the front door to go to the bedroom and close the door. So, I excitedly obeyed! Corin made a comical exit from his room as he started trying to guess what daddy had in his hands... let's just say that our doors and walls are not sound proof. Of course, being a three year old, he was not really sure what it was, so he just proceeded in asking Taylor what he had. Taylor sent him to his room, just in case he realized the contents before I had a chance to see it, and soon he was leading me from our bedroom by the hand as I covered my eyes. We walked into our office as I anticipated the words" You can open your eyes." Honestly, I think I was expecting a Christmas tree... we hadn't yet bought one and or chopped on down, so Iwas thinking maybe he found one on a good deal at the store while getting groceries. So as I opened my eyes, I was started to see no tree. Then my eyes landed on the box. No WAY. It was an oven. Mind you ovens are not the same size in Korea... they are like oversized toaster ovens... but I could not believe there was one sitting in front of me. My mouth hung open and I started to tear up. Yes, I cried. I couldn't get any words out. I was in total shock. Taylor was eager to get my responce and asked if I liked it. I turned to him, eyes still full of tears and just hugged him. Words were not coming. I thought for a moment I had said something out loud but as I hugged Taylor I recognized that lump in my throat. After I let go of Taylor, mostly so he could breathe, I squealed with excitement... There we go... it kicked in! I was so stinking elated!!!! I began the recipe hunt the moment the door closed after Taylor left to go back to work! ;) And so, the story of the new addition to our family.

Now, back to the Christmas guests. Taylor and I decided that we didn't want to drive into Busan for the Church overnight Christmas event, mostly because I like my sleep and because there is just something about opening presents at home on Christmas morning with your own homemade goodies. So... we invited some singles. We thought they might be a little more likely to want company on Christmas. We got two takers. Anthony and Elizabeth joined us for Christmas Eve and then shared Christmas morning with us as well. Liz and I exchanged gifts and Taylor and Anthony exchanged gifts. It was fun having a slightly larger crowd than just the three of us. I was kind of gloomy thinking of Christmas on our own. I think having Anthony and Elizabeth took a bit of the sting out of missing family, hopefully it did the same for them. So for a recap of our Christmas: Eating, talking, movie, eating, sleeping (until 7:30!!! Thanks for that Christmas present Corin!), eating, opening of presents, eating and then relaxation!!!!!! Oh and some Skype calls here and there in the mix! :) For a Christmas away from Friends and family, it wasn't too shabby. Like the good photographer I am, I took absolutely no pictures of our Christmas. Sorry, but I prefer to be there rather than have to look at the pictures to decipher just what happened when I wasn't watching. Call me selfish if you must, but that is how I roll on Birthdays and Christmas.

A Big thanks to Anthony and Elizabeth for being such great guests and for our great gifts!

A HUGE thank you to God, our Father, who sent His Son to come in the humble form of a helpless infant. Thank You Jesus for living a life we can glean from and for Your submission to God's plan. Thank You Lord, for dying for our sins... for raising from the grave to conquer death once and for all... for leaving Your Spirit in Your stead. Thank You for Salvation through merely believing in Your TRUTH. Thank You.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cold, with a chance of flurries.

December is here. With December comes some drastic drops in the temperature. Winter is upon us and just yesterday we awoke to snow on the ground! :) Perhaps we have a chance at a white Christmas?! The house is chilly during the day, but we get things toasty at night with the floor heaters... amazing invention, floor heaters. (If we ever build our own home... I might have to request them!)
things have been pretty dull around here since Thanksgiving came and went. Corin and I spend most if not all our time indoors during the week. I am a wimp when it comes to cold weather... let's just get that out there and over with. A WIMP!! So, Corin and I had read and re-read his little shelf of books, passed time by doing alphabet flash cards, and coloring is up there on the list too. My desire to bake has since died down after two weeks of baking in preparation for TG. Corin is still a little zombie when it comes to legos, and it gives me a chance to "clean" and or relax with a cup of coffee.
Taylor has been practicing his new acoustic guitar and is sounding pretty darn good! I am impressed, but then I have never had much patience in learning a new skill. :) Taylor's last day of school is on December 24th... yes Christmas Eve, but then he is done for at least a few weeks... well done in the classroom. We are still unsure of what his "break" schedule is. During the summer he had to teach English camps, so we will see if those are in his wintery future as well.
As I look for new recipes to spice up our monthly menu, I am slapped in the face by "12 days of Cookies", "Holiday Baking ideas" and " Christmas Candy ideas." Luckily, most of the canies are stove top... but I mean come on... give an ovenless girl a break! Right?! One suprising fact I learned today is that my link was sent to one of my South Korean comrads by her friend in the States! Woohoo! Ovenlesschef is making the rounds! My largest number of blog viewings came just two days before shocker there, but I am sooo excited that my efforts in converting beloved oven food to ovenless food is paying off and I am able to pass those recipes along to others in my situation! :) Makes my heart happy.
Corin is growing like a weed. This past weekend, he drew... for th first time, a full person. Complete with head, body, arms, legs and of course, a belly button! :) So proud of my little artist. Another area I am proud of him in... he is potty trained! Woohoo! That's right, he pees and poops in the toilet with no help or inciting. (Although the fact that he gets two little pieces of candy each time he poops in the potty probably helps!) I know I know... for those without kids, this is of little concern for you... but when we get back, and if you babysit Cor, you will be joyous over this news! ;)
Taylor and I are scheduled to go on our second annual datenight in a couple weeks! :) The last time we had a sitter was in June for our FOURTH anniversary. I still can't believe Taylor and I have been married for four and a half years now. Crazy. Anyways, we are excited for a night out! :)
So with December comes contracts. Still praying about where we will be and waiting upon the Lord... but as of yet, we are undecided as to whether we will stay or come back to Texas. So, there you have it. The Lett life update. As soon as we know, you will know! ;)

Trusting in the Lord... "for He is Good, His love endured forever."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Corin the Entertainer

Corin is typically reserved in large crowds, but not so much this weekend. He was definitely the center of attention and got the most laughs too!

Shortly after sitting down with our piled plates of Thanksgiving goodness, we were treated to the serenading musical arrangements of Corin Spencer Lett. Apparently he felt comfortable enough to sing in front of everyone... even though I can't bribe him into singing for Grandmas and Grandpas on Skype... I even offer up candy! Anyways, Corin began singing the itsy bitsy spider and mid-way through pauses to request "everyone, sing wif me!" So, soon my livingroom was filled with adults singing the itsy bitsy spider while giggling at my adorable child. Yes, I was prideful at that moment... I will not deny it!

After the song was finished, Corin made his way through his typical playlist. Twinkle Twinkle, Jesus Loves me, My God is so Big, Father Abraham and a few others were the main source of entertainment as Corin begged the crowd to join in mid-song! It was so stinking cute. One of the gals was in tears she was laughing so hard. It was great. I love Corin. He makes my heart Happy! :) Thanks be to God for a son tha makes my heart smile!


Thanksgiving Abroad

Well, we survived our first BIG Holiday abroad. Sure, birthdays were slightly blah without family around, but Thanksgiving... I mean come on.
Well, to lessen the blow of "celebrating" the holiday without the warm oven lovin of our friends and family back home, we decided to invite several of our friends we've made here in Korea. It was a great feast! Taylor and I provided homemade chicken and noodles, cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin bread, and fried apple pie. The rest was provided by the guests! And boy did we have a bounty of food, even the single guys impressed with their homemade sides!
I was thankful that I had started preparations a week and a half in advance, making a different freezable portion of the meal each day or so leading up to the weekend of. It was a busy couple of weeks, but saved me the stress and agrivation of cooking all day the day of. So Saturday we started the day with steamed cinnamon rolls and caramel coffee sauce... Um, yah, not a low calorie Thanksgiving! haha! It was a great morning of relaxing and enjoying the company of those who came out early, the night before! We slowly made our way to one of the local towns to get last minute ingredients and then snacked our way to Thanksgiving dinner, which we had around 2:30 after most everyone had arrived! It was SOOOO yummy, and heart-warming to see such a great group of foreigners fill our house to make it feel homey for the Holidays! So good in fact, that we plan to have a New years bash as well! :) The rest of the afternoon was spent trying to roll ourselves from one place to the next while playing games, laughing, snacking on leftovers that we shouldn't have, and anticipating dessert! As the sun began to set, the smell of Fried pie crust filled the house and soon, the yummy pie filled our bellies. At this point, our home was now filled with the sounds of people grunting as they did... well... just about anything! haha! Oh the Thanksgiving grunts! That is when you know you have eaten well!
Soon friends were packing up and heading out. A few stayed behind for a mini sleep over at the Lett house and it did not take long before everyone was passed out after a long day of eating, laughing with and at Corin as he entertained us with his musical skills and screaming, and more eating. Life is good. God is GREAT! WE feel so blessed to have been able to host the meal in a house and with the resourses HE provided to us! Not to mention the friends He so lovingly brought into our lives! SO Blessed.

Now to backtrack just a tad... I will expand upon the Corin remarks.
Friday night a few of our guests came out early. (I say early as in they came Friday instead of Saturday, not that they came out early in the day... in fact, no one arrived before 8:30pm that night.) The first set of friends got here around 8:30 and we were able to pick them up from the bus station. Corin was super excited as he had been anticipating the arrival of friends all day! So... we let him stay up past his bedtime to greet them from the backseat of the Accent! :) After 30 minutes of playing and "catching" up with the Boys, Corin was in need of sleep and I was not sure he'd make it to the next arrival, which was set for a little past 9:30. So off to bed he went. Well, after our next set of friends arrived, we sat up and talked for hours before deciding to go to sleep. We typically let Corin fall asleep on our bed when we go to Hotels and then move him to a pallet on the floor and take over the bed ourselves... so we decided to do the same his evening for the sake of one of our friends who would have otherwise had to sleep on the floor. So, Taylor moved Corin to a badded warm part of the floor and Liz took over the littel twin bed. No problems.... until the next morning. 5:15am rolled around far too soon for us all as we heard the blood curdling scream of Corin and then the sound of him racing out of his room and into ours. As Liz recapped the story for us over coffe later that morning, we were enlightened as to the details.

Corin wakes up. Walks to his bed. Pulls blanket back to find Miss Ewizabef. Miss Ewizabef says hi. Corin says hi. Corin asks Miss Ewizabef what she is doing. Miss Ewizabef replies, "I am sleeping, would you like to lay down with me?" Corin replies, "Yes I would." Corin lies down on floor next to the bed and goes quiet. Miss Ewizabef assumes he is asleep. Corin bolts up to sitting position, cranks head around to get a good hard look at Miss Ewizabeth. Corin widens eyes. Corin screams. Miss Ewizabef sits up in shock. Not able to form words before Corin bolts for the door, she watched as he races out of the room, closing the door behind him.
5:20ish am
Corin enters parents' bedroom. Tears rolling down his cheeks, he pulls daddy's side of the covers back, climbs into bed and immediately falls asleep.
Corin approaches his bedroom door. Opens and walks in. Says hello to Miss Ewizabef as if nothing ever happened.

The end.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Autumn Outings

Fall is in full swing here on the penninsula of Korea. The colors are peaking and the weather is mighty chilly. The winter coast have been brought out once or twice already and the floor heaters are definitly earning thier keep! As the holidays approach, I am stocking the freezer with various forms of quick breads, ready to pull out and take or serve at a moments notice. Chili has become a staple meal in our menu, and hot teas are my comfort drink of choice. Apples are finally a reasonable price as they round out the season here and I am full up on persimmons! We have been gifted two bags of the bright orange fruit so far, and in less than a week's time frame. I am trying out various recipes that use up the unique fruit. It looks like a tomato, is crisp like an apple, and has a suttle sweet flavor. Koreans do not eat the skin, but we have been, and we are still alive, so I guess it is just a preference thing. So far, persimmon bread and smoothies have been the faves... of course they are good cut up raw too.

The past ten days we have had another house guest. This time it was one of Taylor's buddies from Dallas, who was eager to try any and all food and partake in the experiences. The first weekend, much like with mom and dad, we spent time in Busan just taking in the sites. We hit up an ocean front temple, took in the sites of Gwangalli beach and Gwangan Bridge, ate lots of food, and of course... introduced Tommy to the Korean love motels. During the week, he would go off on mini day trips and come back for food at a local diner. The most interesting meal would hands down have to be... FOR THOSE WITH WEAK STOMACHS PLEASE AVERT YOUR EYES AND BEGIN READING AT THE NEXT PARAGRAPH BREAK... like I was saying, most interesting meal was hands down dog soup. That's right. We ate dog meat. And you know what, it was tasty. It was similar to eating a roast, only with a slightly more chewy texture. Not rubbery though, just chewier, and it had a bit of a gamey taste. I would liken it to rabbit, only a more beefy flavor. Anyways, it was good. Corin enjoyed it too, other than the fact that the broth it was cooked in was pretty spicy. The funny part about eating the soup was that the restaurant owner had a pet dog tied up out back and it was whimpering and whining throughout the meal. Corin tried talking to the dog out the window as we sat at the table "chow"ing down on his friend. It was a rather hilarious situation. Of course went through a short phase of making jokes about how different dogs looked like they would make for good or bad meals based on appearances. So... now Taylor and I can say we have eaten dog. Of course Taylor then did a little info digging and found out the city just 10 minutes north of us is recorded to be one of the first places to consume dog meat in Korea. Go figure... we live in the redneck part of Korea. ;)

All in all, we have had a pretty fun time so far this Fall. I am eager to hit the last few places on my travel to do list before heading home in February. Since there are really only about two more cities, it should be fairly easy. :) Taylor got a Korean made, acoustic guitar and continues to improve his skills. Corin sings away the day, he has a pretty good voice too! I have been baking and attempting to decorate the home. All in all the Letts are doing well. No major sickness thus far other than the KFC scare the other night. Taylor and COrin had a "snack" at the KFC in Changwon when we "went into the city" one night last week and ended up with some minor stomach issues. Corin woke up in at 12:30 at night, screaming and clenching his stomach and back. It concerned us just a little bit, so we gave it a few minutes to see if he was just having a nightmare and after the screaming worsened and we had been able to get him talking, we bundled up for a quick trip to the E.R. Corin, still screaming was hunched over in my lap and I was trying my best to comfort him as well as trying to message his belly... I was convinced he had some BAD GAS.... while Taylor drove quickly, but safely to the loacl hospital. We got there. No lights on. Hmmm. I got out, ran to the door. Locked. Hmmm. I ran back to the car and we tried calling Taylor's co-teacher... at what was now 1am... with no luck. So, we turned around and were headed home. We decided to just call 119 which is ,as you might have guessed, 911 in the States. Just as Taylor was about to press the dial button, Corin let one rip and immediately fell asleep in my arms. Taylor and I had been praying and we left Tommy at home who was in prayer. God answered our prayers. And just in time too. So, we pulled up, took Corin in and Taylor laid down with him for a couple hours to make sure he was okay. The next day was a stinky day in the Lett house as the KFC worked it's wonder on the boys. I think we will be avoiding Mr. Sanders for a while. :) On that note, I will sign off!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fall is here!

I can't believe we are 3/4 done with our year here in Korea. The leaves outside are starting to change. There are patches of reds, yellows and purple in the piney mountain-sides of Korea. The drive to and from Busan overloads my mind with desires to stop smack dab in the middle of the highway and take a picture. Trust me... I have contemplated asking Taylor several times when there was a shoulder... but alas, I just take mental note of the scene and settle on taking local leafy pics instead. So... I am hoping to get some fall pics up soon, so that all can enjoy. I have also been encouraged to make a couple video clips of life in Korea... so keep an eye out for that as well. (Not so sure they will be all that great, I am not gifted with motion films!)

Wednesday, Taylor left for Seoul on a school field trip with the grade level giving him the most problems. To say the least, he was not excited to be going to a theme park with them anymore than I was excited to be home alone for three days... but turning down the principal's invite was not really an option. :( Corin and I have been taking walks, playing on the playground, collecting leaves, and watching the farmers gather their rice crops. The combines they use are TINY! I suppose growing up in a farming community in Indiana and riding in my grandpa's HUGE combine spoiled me into thinking all farm equiptment must be the same. Farming has a competely differnt face here. As Corin and I walk down the narrow road leading out behind our apartment, we walk past houses on one side and fields on the other. Each field is maybe 1/2 an acre and is separated from the next field by a concrete barrier or a wall of packed dirt. The rows are raised with small ditches or canals in between. The onions, and garlic are all planted by hand after the farmers have plowed, fertilized, smoothed out the soil. Walk behind tillers are used to create the canals and then the little old women work their magic. In some areas, you will find 20-30 people in the field planting... here, only about 8. Planting each garlic and onion bulb by hand. the women get the raw end of the deal in this case. Now don't get me wrong, I am not sawing women shouldn't be out in the fields... or that we are not cut out for outdoor work. I am not saying they should be in the kitchen or anything of the sort. My only concern is the end result. I have witnessed multiple older women who can not stand with out the aide of a cane or walker holding them above a 45 degree angle. They are literally crippled into this disformed shape due to a lifetime of bending over in the fields and in the home.... trust me, I use the Korean broom... it is torture. now in contrast, they can squat into a frog style sitting position with ease and can stand from that position without trouble.... even at 80. The older women here have some flexible hips and knees due to the "traditional" Korean sitting position. (I have witnessed Corin using the same pose as he plays with his toys... funny how we can pick up on others' habits.) As I watched through the spring and summer, I noticed that ALL crops were planted by hand and other than rice, were harvested by hand as well. It was interesting to see literal bus loads of people swarm from one field to the next during summer harvesting and then load up in the buses at the end of the day. The fields are constanly full of one crop or another. There is no down time. Mounds of manure with plastic covers sit near most fields or barns and is the main fertilizing staple. A field is usually harvested and within a few short days, replanted! I am amazed also at the use of space here. If there is a space for planting food, it is occupied with home gardens, left over seedlings, or fruit trees. Persimmons are everywhere and are such a gorgeous vibrant orange. The fruits are starting to fall off the trees and soon the store shelves and market streets will be filled with the deep orange globes. They look like tomatoes, if you've never seen one, and feel like a tomato too. As soon as I get a hold of a few models, I will be sure to post pictures for your viewing pleasure. Pumpkin vines are everywhere and pupmkins lie alongside the road, near houses, and even on roof overhangs. :) Fall flowers are in full swing... cosmos, merigolds, and other varieties line the roadsides as a welcoming change of roadside scenery. I know some cities back home plant flowers in medians and town centers, but here, even the highways have roadside blossoms! They take pride in making the roads a beautiful place to travel on.

This weekend we will be getting a taste of Korean fireworks at a yearly festival in Busan and the following weekend will partake in a culturally diverse festival our church is participating in. I am excited! :) I love seeing traditional performances and various foods and products. I will plan to udate with details and pictures after that! So have a safe October and enjoy the weather!

Friday, September 17, 2010


Just wanted to pop in and say hello. We are getting excited as our first visitors are about to arrive on Thursday! My mom and dad are gonna fly allllll the way over here to come see us! Yahoo! Of course... I have NO IDEA (wink) why they chose the 10 day span surrounding Corin's third birthday?! We are excited to be able to have them here in our spacious home as we celebrate Cor's special day.
Corin and I are still working hard on this potty training business. Corin still refuses to poop in the toilet, but he's got the pee and flush routine down. Only a few dribble accidents here and there. The upside to Corin not wanting to poop in the toilet, is that he at least asks me to put a diaper on him when he has to go.... at least most of the time. Yesterday we were working in the garden and he was really getting into using the shovel and then I suppose he thought the garden could use some fertilizing... YUCK. Just as well I suppose. He was headed to the bathtub after getting muddy, so I guess it was better timing than I had thought at the moment.
Our garden has been flowering and then... well, we are waiting to see what happens next. I had to pull up all our canteloupe plants. They all dried up and began to decay... just as there were two melons about the size of my fist... poor melons, poor us. So, no canteloupe crop, but we still have hopes for the watermelons. (fingers crossed) Our jalapenos have been flowering and there is a little bitty pepper on one of the plants! woohoo! I really just wanted a garden for jalapenos anyways.. and cilantro. The herbs are doing well. I have already dried a couple bunches of Parsley and the basil is growing like crazy! Taylor and I enjoy fresh cilantro on our tacos too!
I have been reading Jane Austen's Persuasion as of late and am enjoying the humor extremely! I love to imagine myself as the narrotor, simply soaking in the hilariousness of this family and the awkward relationships within. Up next, Pride and Prejudice. Taylor and I have taken a break from our usual routine of a movie or television show each night and traded it for good old fashion reading. Good trade I'd say. Good trade.
Corin now thinks every book to be the Bible that does not have pictures in the text. He cracks me up. We are chugging along with our new Bible study program, in which he learns a new story of the Bible and a memory verse each week. We started in mid-August and I can already see the fruits of my labors! Corin now has 7 verses completely memorized and has a pretty good understanding the first half of Genesis. Of course, I used his lego men to recreate the stories for him, so now when he plays with them alone, I hear him saying things like "No Adam, that's bad, you disobeyed God" or "Eve, don't eat that!" Or "Jacob lied to his daddy... that's bad Jacob." Haha. Makes me smile inside and out.
If you are interested in the program we are following, or any of the websites I use for printouts, just shoot me an email and I would be more than happy to send along those links! :) (Just put "Bible links" as the header so I don't delete you on accident!)

Monday, September 6, 2010

On the downhill slope.

With almost 7 months under our belts, we have only 5 left to go! Sweet! We have had a great time in Korea and are looking forward to how the Lord will round out our year here. God has been doing some great things, but in ways we were not expecting. It just goes to show... "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21. When we first moved here, I was disappointed with our placement in a small farm town away from the city we had asked for. BUT... God had bigger plans for this little town. I was disappointed when NO ONE spoke English in our community... BUT...Turns out, God had big plans for the little people here. I was disappointed when NO kids were home during the daytime for Corin to play with... BUT, God had yet more plans to use me in entertaining and educating him during that time. Funny how God works in contradiction to our worldly desires...

Being in a small town has had a HUGE impact on our marriage. Without the distractions of the big city nightlife, we stay home everynight and spend time with one another. We are our only source of entertainment. Most nights we watcha movie or tv shows together as well as talk about our day. It has been nice to get to know one another once again. It seemed like the year leading up to Korea just slowly tore us apart. But... God had BIG plans for our SMALL town, and for that, I am very thankful for our remote placement. I am also looking forward to the continued growth in our marriage throughout the next 5 months to build a strong foundation when we come back to the busier life in the States.

While I cannot boast of any relationships built between myself and any of the women here in the complex... I can say that I have a fan club amongst the kiddos. Corin and I enjoy playing at the playground in the evenings and typically have the opportunity to talk to several of the local kids. The girls are especially interested in trying out their English skills on me and I am eager to talk with them. They are constantly trying to teach me new words, share their snacks, and complement me on my attire. (I should mention that it is usually t-shirt and jeans/shorts...hehe.)So, the small people in this small town are eager to communicate with me and so for that, I am thankful! One story relating to that...
Corin and I were playing on the playground one evening when a little boy starting saying "Oh my God." He kept repeating it and soon the whole merry-go-round was echoing those words. I grabbed the bar and stopped it from spinning. Then I looked at them very seriously and said "Please don't say that anymore" as I shook my head no. They all understood and soon after, one of the girls caught herself saying it again. The problem is, I was not sure they understood what they were really saying. I am constantly hearing Korean kids say this phrase. I think it is due to American movies having this phrase so prominantly and consistantly laced throughout the dialog. It is one of those phrases that they pick up so easily from watching the films. So... since I had the little girl that speaks really good english there to translate, I asked them to sit down and had her translate for me. She was eager to help and as soon as I explained it to her... she paused and stared at me as if in shock. Then she turned to the other kids and explained that saying "oh my God" was like swearing to Budda. That they were taking my God's name in vein. They all had the same reaction as they covered their mouths and widened their eyes. They all said they were sorry before running off to play. I have only heard that phrase one more time since then and it was a boy who caught himself midway through and then gave me a look as if to say he was sorry. I am glad they understand now... Hopefully they will call others out on it when they hear friends using the phrase.

As far as playdates go... we have none. ALL the kids Corin's age go to daycares. It is a status thing here and everyone tries to live up to that social expectation. So, while there are moms that stay home during the day, they are not raising their children at home. Sad. But... God has given me the opportunity to teach Corin scripture and share Bible stories with him during that time. I have been using an online pre-school Bible program and he is doing really well! It is great for both of us as we memorize scripture together."God's word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Him." Psalm 119:11 (slightly modified for Corin's understanding!) Of course we also learn the usual shapes, colors, numbers and letters... but I find the Bible program more rewarding. :) Glad I get to share this year of learning with Corin... it is such a growing experience for both of us! I cannot claim success and consistancy everyday, but on the whole, I would say we are doing pretty good!

Well, just letting you know how God has worked against our plans to meet our desires! It is great to see how God works in retrospect... since it can be hard to see what He is doing as it happens! We are in GOOD hands!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lasting memories!

We awoke to the sound of rain trickling down the screens of the open windows, rather than the usual scorching rays of the sun. The air was warm and damp as we srtuggled to maintain conciousness. As our minds began to defog themsleves, we arose to start the day. We had packed the night before and so now it was time to rinse ourselves off and load up the car... roadtrip time! After shoveling our bags into the car, we buckled up and headed to our friends home to pick them up as they would be joining us for an unforgettable adventure. We were not confidently sure of how to reach thier place, but we knew the general direction and so off we went. After a slight detour, we managed to steer ourselves in the correct direction and made it there intact. (Korean drivers are a bit... um... SCARY!) We popped in, had a cup of coffee, and some pastries for our pre-trip breakfast. Next we stocked to cooler, neatly packed the car, and the five of us loaded into the little hatchback Accent! The girls and Corin dominated the backseat as the guys navigated us through the "rough terrain" of Korean highways! Not long after noon we found ourselves in the scenic, Jiri-san National Park. Upon arrival, we were greeted by some rather chilly gusts of rain soaked wind. It was not what we were hoping for as we thought back to our tents we intended to use. With the rain now pouring, we settled down at a covered picnic table and ate our homemade lunches. It was rather fun to each a tastey salad out of a ziplock bag with chopsticks. It amazes me how I don't really miss the handy dandy fork anymore. After gobbling down the feast Melody had prepared, we washed it down with a few homemade chocolate cookies... again thanks to Mel... and were ready to search out dry sleeping quarters. Once piled back into the car, we cruised the roads nearby in hopes of an affordable motel. We decided to find a min-bak instead. A min-bak is basically a large "common room" where you build a pallet on the floor, and the whole crew (usually 4-8) people can have a cozy little slumber party and split the cost of a room. There is also an attached bathroom and adjustable heating for the floor. After sending Kyle in and out of the rain a few times, we finally found a min-bak that fit our budget and our space requirements! The rain was now coming down at a steady pace and in large quantities. We set out beds and began to wind down for the night when sirens began going off nearby. As the sirens blared, an announcement began repeating information over and over... Of course none of us understood what the lady was saying over the loud speaker, but we were pretty sure it had something to do with the amount of rain we'd recieved and the fact that we were the ONLY people occupying a room that night! haha! With nowhere to go, and the bill pre-paid, we decided to shrug it off and worry about it in the morning. Not long after sleep took over our thoughts, the siren and announcements blared again. It was now about 2 in the morning and the echos of rushing water filled the room. I tried to peek outside to catch a glimse of the river that ran along the side of the building about 20 yards away. There was not enough light though, and so I laid back down to be swept away by sleep. At 4am, I awoke to the sirens and announcement yet again. Still to dark to see anything, I relied on my sense of hearing to determine the situation concerning this raging river. I figured if we were in danger, the owner of the min-bak would come notify us... it would not look good on his part to let 5 waegooks die on his turf, right?! Anyways, back to sleep on the hard floor only to wake to the 6am morning call... I mean sirens. This time I was just plain annoyed. I just wanted to sleep. It was lighter out now and so I peeked out at the river. It was rushing and raging down it's little gully... which now looked smaller than it had yesterday in light of the heavy rainfall. The river had risen several feet and was now spitting water onto the banks as it crashed into the boulders that littered it's path. The rain had let up a bit and was now down to a mere drizzle. The crew woke up slowly and ate breakfast, drank "go juice" and began our day. The boys packed up the car and soon we were on a mission to find the owner so we could check out and hit the road. We ended up leaving the key and taking off after finding no signs of life... (makes you wonder if they took the hint from the announcements and left us to fend for ourselves!) Haha! I imagine they were still sleeping though considering Korea is called the land of the morning calm. (A.k.a. they like to sleep in!) After a bit of discussion and tourist map research, the men decided to attempt the drive-through section of the park. We were hopeful that the weather would clear up by the time we found the scenic road. As we officially entered Jiri-san National Park, we found a temple to walk around. Taylor and I had yet to visit a traditional Korean Temple and this seemed just as good as any to explore. The sun began to peek out from behind the clouds and patches of blue sky emerged in the distance. Certain we would be enjoying those blue skies shortly, we slowly made our way through the temple grounds and back to the car. We then began the climb up the mountain to the top where we would drive along along the ridge to see some amazing views... or so we thought! Soon after starting the trek in our little white car, the air around us became thick and white as well. WE were in HEAVY fog that didn't appear to be lifting anytime soon. With 20 feet of visibility, the drive was little less than scenic. The views were... well, non-existant. We make it to the top of the first ridge and stopped at the little scenic overlook to grab a snapshot of us by the binocular viewers. Unfortunately, those were the only things we COULD see! We did manage to pick up a few keepsakes at the souvenier shop and then ate lunch in the car before continuing on in the "cloud."
Soon we came across a waterfall and hopped out to catch a peek. It was just off the main road and as soon as we got within viewing distance, we pretty much got drenched by the spray shooting up off the rushing downpour of water. Pictures were a little tricky and almost not worth the effort of keeping the lens dry. Soon we were out of the fog and got to see some pretty amazing mountain views. The clouds of fog whisped through the mountain valleys and hugged the peaks, constantly shifting with the wind. It was hard to resist staying in one place and taking multiple shots of the same mountainside as the scene changed dramatically every two minutes. Finally, Melody and I were "summoned" via honking back into the car and we were off to see another waterfall. The last one was not too impressive and so we hoped to find a slightly more jaw-dropping display of God's creation. We found it. The next waterfall had an actual parking lot and wooden walkway with multiple sets of stairs that wound down to the hidden treasure of a waterfall. The water was insane! It rushed down the mountainside with such an incredible force. It was actually pretty scary to think of the power behind that water. There was a bridge draped across the gully which sent a rush of adrenaline through your veins as you crossed to the other side. The water raged underneath you as the mist swept sidewades across your body in the open air above the waters. Once on the other side, a metal frame satirway led you upward towards the mouth of the falls. It was such a breathtaking view to behold as my legs shook on the climb to the top. The water just gripped you with fear as your mind cycled through all the ways it could easily consume you. Each step was carefully planned and executed as we moved along the edge of the blouder atop the stairs. Each step Corin took had me clenching my jaw and widening my eyes! Soon we had our fill of picture taking and made our way back to the wooden staircase. Melody and I could now joke about our shakey legs as we made our way back to the car. Once we all buckled up, we headed off to Namhae, a "small" island off the southern coast. I say small in that it does not look all that big on a map, but once you start driving around it, the time can pass slower than expected. After a couple of random roads spitting us out into steel factories and such, we made our way across the bridge to Namhae! The sun was now beginning to set and we wanted to get to our campsite so we could set up the tents and relax as we watch the sun set behind the neighboring mountain ridges as the light reflected on the ocean waters. Soon after, we did just that. After dinner, we enjoyed a nice long chat as the the waves routinely washed ashore. The sound of lapping waves was so peaceful and soon we were in our tents and fast asleep. The next morning I woke up to the sound of the zipper on our tent "door." Taylor had set out early to reap the harvest the ocean had swept in through the night. Soon after, Corin woke up and was ready to hit the ground running... so we joined Tay on the beach in search of treasure. The beach was pretty nasty to my surprise. There was layer upon layer of seaweed doning the shore which hade been shining sand the day before. Trash, styrofoam, shoes and glass was tangled amongst the green globs and just covered the beach like a quilt of sheer nastiness. I was hesitant to walk amidst the "ocean's vomit," but I had never really gone seashell hunting before and I was eager to seize the opportunity after seeing Taylor's bounty! Corin stayed with dad as he investigated the pile of treasure, while I combed the beach for more trinkets. Soon we headed back up to camp to take pride in our harvest and show them off to Kyle and Melody. Soon after setting up for breakfast, little old Korean women began appearing with buckets and bags in tote. Apparently, they were the beach clean up crew and went to work sorting through the mess. The seaweed was set aside and the trash was thrown away. We all guestimated that the seaweed would be rinsed and used for food purposes... which made us a little more suspicious about our kim-bap meals! :) We soon packed up and set off for cleaner and brighter beaches! Along the way, we stopped at a wodden deck over-look. The deck peered out over layers upon layers of rice patties that trickled down the mountainside to the bluffs before the sea. A plaque stood alongside the deck informed us that there were over 100 layers of rice fields! Amazing! It was such a neat site to see. Soon after, we ended up at a nice large beach. The sun was now shining full force and the waves called to us as the sand glowed under the light. We geared up and headed out. Taylor took the first shift at the "base" as he took guarded our things. With only one re-application of sunscreen, we soon found ourselves red and tired from the blazing sun... but it was a great day at the beach! Corin found several washed up starfish and had fun playing with those. He also entertained/played with several Korean teenagers that were eager to try out their english skills on him! Corin LOVED the beach! We went inland for dinner and were treated to half of our neighboring tables dinner! It was a table full of old Korean men and they even shared a shot of soju with Kyle and Taylor. Corin won them over with hugs and the restaurant owner, a little old lady, was just full of smiles for Cor. We headed back to the campsite where we'd stayed the night before and made it there just after dark. There was no late night talking that night. We simply set up, and laid down. Rain started dripping through the screen skylight around 4am and Taylor made quick work of putting on the rainshield. It was a little harder to get up and going by the time the morning came... The lack of uninterupted sleep was beginning to show on our faces as we boiled our water for coffee that morning. The rain had let up by then and we soon packed up before the clouds opened up again. We were now on our way towards Tongyeong. A city on the next penninsula over toward the east. It was a wet dreary day, but we were hopeful to enjoy the festival that was being held in Tongyeong. On our way, we came across a couple HUGE dinosaur statues. Of course, we had to loop back so Corin could get a good look at them and then realized we were at the entrance to the local dinosaur museum... What better day to visit a museum, than a rainy one?! So off we went to explore the museum with Corin. He loved every bit of the fossils and figurines. He really wanted to touch and play with the various displays of dinosaurs, but we restained him and convinced him to play pretend. Taylor and I got hima little stuffed dino in the gift shop before continuing on towards Tongyeong. Soon we were navigating our way through the city in search of a place to sleep that night. We had all agreed it would be nice to have a warm shower and a cozy bed for our last night of vacation, so we found a motel that was reasonable priced and toted our bags up to the rooms before heading out to see the festival. Soon we were in the midst of Korean soldiers and festival staff in character for thier roles as historic members of Korean society. There were mostly craft booths set up along the bay's edge where you could try your hand at a local craft. What caught our eye first, was the halway of booths set up for kids. As we entered this area, we were greeted with a card that had multiple boxes for the various booths. At each booth, you would complete a task, or "challenge" and at the end of the alley, you would recieve a medal if you were sucessful in your attempts. Some of the stuff was not age appropriate for Corin in that it was just a little to hard for him, but he managed to make his own armor (out of carboard cutouts and yarn... well maybe the lady at the booth made it but who's keeping track?!), a wooden sword, and a bow and arrow set complete with suction-cup arrows! After he completed his challenged, we walked around the rest of the festival as I drooled over most of the crafts. We found a booth near the end that made really cool prints of the "turtle ship" which was the ship that helped lead the Koreans to victory at the Battle of Hansan... which is what the festival was celebrating... and we wanted to make our own print. So for only 1,000 won, we made a wood-block print and were so excited! (1,000 won is about 88 cents u.s. currency) It was coming up on dinner time and bedtime for Corin, so Taylor took Cor back to the motel and I was in charge of food for them. Kyle and Mel wanted Kim-bap and so I tagged along with them for a suprising meal. Normally kim-bap is a layer of seaweed wrapped around rice, vegiies and meat sometimes. This kimbap was seaweed around rice and a side of spicy octopus and kimchi turnips. Hmmmm. Not what we expected, but Taylor HAD warned us about Tongyeong being famous for this type of kimbap... so we were kind of asking for it. The three of us at least TRIED the side items and gobbled down all the kimbap rolls. I then headed out on my own to get the boys food and bring it home while Kyle and Melody stayed back to enjoy some of the festivities. Of couse... being the directionally challenged girl that I am, I got a little "off track" on my way back to the motel, but with Taylor's guidance, I made it safely to them with suprisingly still warm food! We scarfed down the meal and were asleep in no time. Finally, the last morning was here. Not that I was sick of vacation, but I was sick of feeling unrested. I needed a good night's sleep in my own bed and time to sit and relax. We went into town for the morning to get a few more prints made at the festival and to see a bit of the town itself. Taylor and I found a cute little shop full of handmade bags and purses, of which I just had to have one! So I pulled out the birthday money and got myself a new wallet. It is so pretty! I love it... and am ready to go back to the store for more! :) We got some coffee and ice cream from a littel shop before meeting back up with Kyle and Melody for lunch. After a nice filling bowl of ramyeon, we loaded up one final time and made our way back to Busan. I think we all had hit that wall... you know, the one where you just want to lay down for hours and not move or talk or do anything. It had been a great vacation! Corin was sad to see " Mr. Kyo and Mr. Mrs. Mewody" leave, but he totally crashed that night out of exhaustion too! :)
Taylor and I hope to get back to Jiri-san on a weekend with clear weather so we can see what we missed out on. We also hope to visit Namhae and Tongyeong again and perhaps take the cable car to the top of the local mountain. It was a very fun-filled and adventurous week with the Thib's! We were glad to have them along... and so thankful that they were willing to share vacation time with us too!
Check out these sites for more info on the trip! (Just click on the names of the places to go to the link)
Oh, and be sure to check out the photo gallery on the side bar entitled Korea vacation 2010.

Jiri-san National Park

Namhae, South Korea

Tongyeong Festival for Battle of Hansan

Shop where I got my new Wallet


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Summertime in South Korea

Okay. It is hot. I have not had a day where I wasn't sweaty and sticky for the past two weeks. Gross. Cooking is rather revolting to me now as I smell myself more than the food by the time all is said and done!(Is it revolting to you now too?!) haha! Anyways, there is a glimmer of hope... an event which I have been loking forward to for a while now... summer vacation! A road trip accross the sothern tip of Korea is in the works for next week! We will hit up beaches and festivals and National parks as well! I am so excited and to add to the fun, we will be joined by another couple from our church who just bought a car! Sweet! I am ready to sleep under the stars and eat food from a cooler and sink my toes into the sand! Summer vacation here we come!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The daily dish...

Sorry it has been a while, I know that only a handful of people probably even read this, but still... sorry I have neglected you! :)
Taylor is now a year older, Corin has been able to go "pee-pee" in the big boy toilet for a few days on his own now, and I am continuing to increase our waistlines with my kitchen experimentation! The summer heat is kicking in and with no air-conditioning, I am beginning to work more "water sports" into the daily routine with Corin. Before I get a million comments asking how hot it is here, I will clerify that it is comparable to midwestern summers... high 80's-low 90's with relatively consistant humidity. So not super hot... but A/C is not a popular comodity here.

So lately, the Lett family has been hanging with new friends or going on school field trips on our weekends. Last week, we went to a ceramics workshop where we were given barely any creative freedom in sculpting a dish out of clay. Of course there were molds that we shaped the clay with and then we were apparently supposed to follow our instructors every move there after. We didn't. (I know, REBELS!) I finished mine before she could really say anything though and Tay's... well she grabbed it out of his hands and "fixed" it for him. After she left him alone, he "repaired" the damage she had done as best he could! Hahaha! Corin got to play with "clay-dough" too! Of course he is the celebrity in the family, so he got to do whatever he wanted to with his hunk of clay! :/ Go figure. This kid gets all the perks of "waegook" life here. He gets money, candy, creative freedom... he may protest when we decide to come back! Anyways...(stay on topic, Lindsey) we should be getting our "plates" back soon and I will upload photos. I regret not taking my camera with me when we went, but I thought we would be getting a little too messy to bring the nice camera along. So... you will just have to wait along with us to see the end products!

Early on in the week, I bought a HUGE bag of onions. Now when I say huge, I mean the bag contains 75ish onions. Yes, HUGE! I thought I was being smart here. I mean, onions freeze well, so I would just dice them up and freeze them to use in , well just about everything! Plus... that would be my onion purchase for the rest of the year AND I was helping out a local farmer by buying directly from them on the roadside. It was only about $10.50 for the bag and I had enough ziplock bags, so I was golden! Oh wait... that's right... when I got home I realized the ziplocks would not be the problem, the freezer space would be! Oops. WEll, let's just say I am going to cram them in or we will have a LOT of onions in our food for the next few weeks! You can send me any good oniony recipes!;)

We have been having massive rains the past two weeks as we are apparently in "rainy season" mid-summer. The funniest part about the rainy season is that Taylor's co-teacher totally predicted the day it would start! haha! Anyways... the rain has put a damper on my laundry drying time, but has been nourishing our little garden! We have melons out the waazoo and now I am wondering what we will do with all the melon now that our freezer is full of onions?! Oh well. Here in Korea, fruit is traditionally given as a gift, hence the raised prices on our sweet produce. Taylor and I can now enjoy giving home grown gifts without breaking the bank! I am also looking forward to our jalepenos to start producing peppers... I am soooooo ready for a good batch of salsa. No more Pace picante sauce.

Taylor and I recieved a box full of blessings from friends and family the other day and just want to publicly thank all who contributed... Your love and generosity brought smiles to our faces, joy to our hearts, and tears to my eyes!

This weekend, we went on another field trip with Tay's school and we got to visit a Folk village as well as another wetland. I have pictures for you to peek at, so I will let them tell the story of our weekend journey as I sign off to go play with our little munchkin! I will post the pictures soon, but wanted to get this up. Love you guys! Thanks for all the prayers and support while we have been here!


Monday, June 21, 2010

Popsicles, petting zoo passengers and poopy pants... or not!

Corin and I took a day trip to Busan today. I had a lingering feeling that this day would be filled with interesting events as I packed the bag this morning. Yep... that feeling was right! ;)
After packing up and heading out the door, we waited outside our complex for the city bus to take us into town. We waited... and waited. A cute little old lady was sitting there with us as we both took turns glancing at our wrist watches. Finally... the bus showed up and we boarded for the short ride to town. Once we got off, we headed to go see daddy at his school for a quick money swap and then back to the intercity bus station to get our tickets to Busan. After purchasing our tickets, we sat down on the benches inside to wait for another 25 minutes for our outgoing bus. Corin began to entertain himself by playing with the occilating fan that was in the room. He seemed to be pretending to get hit by wind "bullets" everytime the fan passed by him... it was entertaining for us all! The bus station attendant particularly seemed to find Corin extra fun, he would walk up to Cor and pretend with him in between calling out buses that came and went! It was pretty funny to see a grown man (old enough to be his grandpa plus some) dodging air bullets! They were quite the pair... the little old ladies were pretty interested in him too as they made the sounds Corin would make each time the fan breeze touched his face. "Shweeeah, OOOOOOOOOO, Uuuuueeeewwwwwwffff, bang, bang, whoooooooooaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh! Ahhh!" The list went on and on, but these were a few of the echoed sound effects coming from the bus station this morning. After the fan lost its charm, Corin moved on to running in circles smack dab in the middle of the station. He bumped an older man on his way to buy a ticket before I could grab Cor, and then drag him to the side lines! Corin sat down and said sorry to the man. Less than two minutes later, that same kind man returned from the ajoining convenience store with two popsicles! One for Corin, and one for me! Wow! I was amazed and we both replied with a "Kamsahamnida" or thank you. Corin of course shoved the package back into his hands and asked him to open it. The man had no clue what Corin said, but instintively opened the package and handed Corin the cold treat. It took only seconds for me to realize this was no ordinary popsicle. This just so happened to be a red bean ice pop. Yum... my favorite. (please read with closed jaw and hesitant sarcasm) Then I realized that I myself had one to force down the hatch! Hmmm. They are not alllll that bad. I mean they are high in protein and refreshingly cold! The perfect summer snack! Of course Corin went to town on his and so now I had to get the package open and show my gratitude by appearing to enjoy it too. First lick... sweet, gritty, and cool. Not too bad. I think I can handle the gritty. Second lick... same as first, only this time I hit a bean. Third lick... I realized that bean was going to have to be chewed and swallowed. Fourth lick... the ice pop started dripping bean juice on me as the hot summer weather began to catch up with my popsicle procrastination! Oh no.... now I would have to bite it! And fast..... well, better fast than slow right? Wait.... if it was dripping on me... Yep, Corin was now soaking himself in bean juice as well. Sticky bean juice right before we get on a bus. Great. Luckily I had packed a second set of clothes so I had nothing to fear but my own popsicle when to my delight... "Masan!" yes! the attendant called for the Masan passengers and the station emptied out. Just as they all left the room, Corin walked up and stuck his popsicle in a dangerous drip zone over me... I did not have any spare clothes so I jumped out of the way. When I jumped, the popsicle "accidentally" fell out of my hands into the conveniently located trash can next to us. Well... I at least tried it before bailing out. I was proud of myself for that. And.... I even took a few bites before the audience dissapeared! Corin continued on in his efforts to dodge the drips while licking the red beans. Finally, the attendant came over and showed him how to do it! He took a huge bite out of the popsicle and handed it back saying "bite, bite, bite!" Haha.... it was pretty funny. Of course Corin went for it... he took the next bite, right after his newly established friend had just eaten off his treat. That's Korean closeness for you. There aren't really any "bubbles" here. No comfort zones. Anyways... COrin finally lost interest in the dripping mess and it went in the trash in time for me to wipe him down with wet wipes and change his shirt. The bus arrived, we loaded up, and off we rode to Busan!
Once we got to Busan, we headed for the subway where Corin was "pet" by multiple passer-byers. People love to touch his hair and face and that seemed to be in excess today. Finally Corin decided to hide behind me. We boarded the busy lunch-rush subway and stood near the door. Corin of course wanted to be held the entire time and was beginning to get frustrated and cranky with the people continuing to touch him.... So I headed for the corner to get out of the flow of traffic. There we stood as Corin pointed out the older men on the subway and called them all "Pa-Paws." (This is his version of the word grandpa.) After a quick transfer and a couple more stops, we finally reached our exit! Off the "train" and on to Mary's home!
We were meeting Ms. Mary for her haircut. When we got to the door, we were greeted with barking and Corin perked up a bit. "Puppy?" Yep, Ms. Mary had a sweet little dog that Corin was ready to play with! As Mary and I settled down to cut her hair, Corin snuggled up with Pepper. It didn't take long for Corin to come up with some funny stuff to talk to Pepper about as Mary and I carried on our own conversation. Each time Pepper would lick Corin, he would respond by telling her "No, don't eat me!" It was rather entertaining! Corin also decided to share bites of his carrot sticks with Pepper. It was a red bean popsicle all over again! Ha! After the hair was looking fabulous, Mary generously treated Corin and I to some tastey pizza! It has been a while since I have had a slice! Good stuff! Corin of course ate a couple of slices... with a spoon no less! Hahah... this kid goes for the route less traveled for sure! After yummy pizza and good talks, we all headed out to get Mary's eyes checked out. We went to a local eye-care facility/store (equivalent to Lenscrafters) and waited for Mary to drag out information from the technician performing her eye exam. She needed to have the exam done for her state-side license, so she needed him to fill out a form with the info from the check-up. It was like pulling teeth getting this guy to give her the reciept, a business card, even to write down the full address of the store! Yikes! hahah.... We are crossing our fingers that the DMV in the States is not too picky about the exam details! ;) Then we swung by the post office before heading back to the subway. The day had slipped through my fingers... before I knew it I was looking at my watch and reading 5:15. So... the voyage home began. We all boarded the subway and Mary parted shortly, with Corin in such sweet sorrow. He began sobbing as she exited the subway car and the doors closed behind her. It was so cute to see his affections for his new found friend! (Although I can't say sleep depravity and Pepper didn't play into the emotions a little!) This ride we stuck to the corner and were relieved to have a break from the "petting zoo" passengers. Finally we were at the intercity bus station and about to be able to relax and enjoy an hour of quiet and hopefully... for Corin... sleep. We got our tickets and made a bee-line for our beloved backseats on the bus. Just as we were settling in and getting comfy, a rather sweaty scented man decided to sit in the seat directly in front of us. Why? The bus was practically empty and he chose to grace US with his potent presence? Oh well... I soon had the clever thought of pointing our adjustable air vents in his direction. Slowly the sweat smell faded and I began to enjoy my seat again. Corin as usual, did not act according to my mental plan. No nap for him. (In his defense, he was amazingly well behaved the entire ride home!) We no sooner left the station than we were stuck in jam packed traffic. We sat still for about 20 minutes and then crawled to the edge of Busan. Finally, we hit the toll booth and it was smooth sailing from there. Corin was being great, I was fully relaxed and reflecting on my good conversations with Mary. We were about half-way home with half an hour left on that enclosed bus, when I began to get whiffs of some not so pleasant bodily odors. This time... it was not sweat. The guy in front of us was letting them rip! and man oh man... it smelled like he was about to R.I.P! They were disgustingly smelly. Putrid one might say. The guy never even blinked! At first, I thought it might be Corin, but when I took a sniff at the diaper, there was no lingering smell. Awwwww Man! With each new wave of stench, I found myself looking to the clock and counting down the minutes before we would be in open air! No wonder he chose the back of the bus.... "Oh look foreigners... even if they smell me, they won't be able to blame me... at least I won't be able to understand if they do!" Either that or "Look, a kid... kids always get blamed for gas. Perfect!" Oh well... I suppose it made for a good story-book ending to our day's adventures. Once we landed, we grabbed a taxi and a few minutes later, we were home! As soon as we popped out of the taxi, we were invited by some guys up at our new complex "mart" to have an ice cream with them. Half out of fear for red bean ice cream, and half knowing Corin needed sleep, I politely declined and gestured the sleeping motion before pointing to Corin. They bowed and smiled and bid us goodnight. With the sound of the unlocking deadbolt came the feeling of relief that I was home to relax and enjoy reflecting on the past ten hours. (Too bad the house was a mess... my fault!) A speed clean, tucking into bed, and tea making frenzy later... I resided to the computer room chair to await the arrival of my lovely hubby who should be home shortly from judging a speech competition in Busan... and with a set of bookshelves at that! :) All in all, a pretty good day with my little man!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The ins and outs, the dos and don'ts...

So I just read another expat's blog on their views of Korea so far, and thought I would give it a go too. I know I wrote a little something about it when we first got here, but a lot has changed in my perspective since four months ago! So here we go... the good, the bad, and the ugly of Korea:

(I briefly thought of listing off the likes and dislikes, but then considered it might detract from the purpose... in telling you WHY I like and dislike each of the following. So... I present you my opinions in paragraph form in hopes of making this blog entry slightly more enlightening!)
***Please note: This can and will not contain all likes and dislikes in accordance with time restrictions set by sleeping child and sleepy mommy. Thank you for your understanding regarding this matter.****

I suppose I should start with my dislikes so that we may end on a good note! Since arriving in Korea a little over four months ago, I have grown to enjoy things I did not care for before... or even things I hated before. However, there are some things that have not and may never change. I still hate the fish based soups... sorry, but they are not my thing. I still refuse to try anything with eyeballs still intact. (Hopefully this statement is self explanitory in my refusal... if not, we need to talk.) I do not enjoy older Korean telling me how to hold, dress, feed, and discipline my child. I do not enjoy the looks and comments(to put in polite terms) I recieve when I do not adhear to their "advice" in such matters. I do not enjoy the traffic which is not caused by accidents, but merely due to the fact that everyone tries to cut infront of everyone else and then no one ever gets anywhere.... traffic is pointless. I dislike scooters. Corin and I have almost been run over thrice now... and on the side walk. Grrrr. I dislike korean brooms. The brooms here are made for midgets... even the short Korean women have to bend over to use them. (I may come back with scoliosis due to sweeping every other day.) I dislike wallpaper, and the fact that it adorns alllll our walls and ceilings. I dislike the garbage system... if you need further explanation on that one, then you clearly missed the blog entry comprised of my ranting on this topic. I dislike the entercom system that is in every single apartment in Korea... The doorbell/video are connected to this phone-esk console in your apartment and has a uniform chime regardless of what area of Korea you are in. On top of the alarmingly loud video doorbell feature, which has no volume control, we are subjected to community announcements daily. Sometimes multiple times and quite consistantly at dinner time. Mind you, there is no volume control or mute button, or off switch... none. I am not thrilled with grocery prices concerning fruit or milk. Let's just say I could get a round trip ticket cheaper thatn I could get a watermelon every other week for a year. (I know.... odd comparison, but what can I say, I am a little homesick; so yes I have looked at ticket prices once or twice.) I dislike Korea being so far from Texas... while we are on the subject! ;) I dislike the fact that toddlers are sent to school from the time they are eating solid foods and that women who stay home to watch soaps while the kids are at said schools are considered stay home moms. Not cool. I don't dislike, but rather regret that we are not closer to Busan and our church body. I dislike the lack of modern conveniences which are apparently not as convenient here... such as clothes dryers, dishwashers, ovens and AIR CONDITIONING! Oh lordy, not sure I am ready for summer yet... today it only got to the mid eighties and I smell like I sat in a sauna for an hour! For now, those are the things that come to mind regarding dislikes.

On to bigger and better things... I am really starting to enjoy Korea. It is becoming more familiar to me and along with familiarity, comes comfort, with comfort comes increased joy and thanksgiving, with all these combined... I soon feel as though Korea will be like home.(In some respects never home, but that goes without saying... although I guess I said it so nevermind.) I am beginning to enjoy some of the spicy foods I once cried over. Yes, they still clear up my sinuses... but I LIKE it! haha! Foods I have grown to enjoy are mandu, spicy ramen, kimchi chigae (kimchi soup), and Korean "style" spicy rice dishes in general. Taylor and I actually eat at Korean restaurants on Sundays after church rather than the "american" style restaurants! Yummo! I enjoy duck... grilled duck (ori) very much! I like the little Korean elementary aged girls in our complex. They have been entertaining me and Corin as we watch them out our window! They have also been teaching me Korean words as I teach them English. Good exchange! In fact, tonight, we had a water gun fight at the playground and they learned "come here" and "stop" with pretty good annunciation! haha! They also decided it was funny to immitate my scream when they got me with the cold water in the rear! I enjoy public transportation when I have to take it. From the subway, to local buses, to taxis... they are generally pretty clean, cheap and fast! I like the feeling of safety here. I am not sure I have ever felt any fear of others... even on dark alleys in the city. The kids here play outside like when I was a kid. They come in at dusk after playing with their friends, riding bikes, and exploring the world around them. I truely LOVE seeing kids outside without that engrained fear of others. Even in the big city, you see kids in groups riding and playing together without a parent there... not sure that is the best idea, but I am glad Korea is still so innocent in this area. Crime by the way, the only crime I have heard of... is the naval ship sunk by the North Koreans. I like the fact that most people here are glad to have you trying to speak the language.... even if you are horrible at it like me. I am still playing charades for the most part. I love the scenery. Korea is really gorgeous. Taylor and I are blessed to live in a rural Mountain valley that is comprised mostly of small patchwork fields. Seriously... GORGEOUS! It makes for a really peaceful ride to and from Busan for church. I love the fact that every area of land is used too... if there is not a building, road or mountain... there is some sort of edible plant growing! :) Love it! I like the fact that ice cream comes in soooooooo many different flavor choices here! Haha! I like fact that we have no carpeted flooring, it makes cleaning so much easier... maybe more frequent, but easier! Having your shower, toilet, and sink all in one small area with a drain in the floor also makes for cleaning the bathroom way easier. You just scrub down, then hose down! It is great! (If we ever build a house... our bathrooms will resemble this design! I like the fact that there is public workout equiptment all over the place! Talk about not being able to make excuses for working out! I love it... there are eliptical machines, resistence machines, and stationary exercise bikes installed in most parks and even on most mountain hiking trails! How ingenious is that?! I sure wish the States would stop trying to make a fortune off the average citizen and provide some of these basics to the public too! I actually enjoy the public bath houses too! Call me crazy, but I am a fan of the jjimjjilbangs! There are so many things that I am not listing right now, but I am sure will pop up in the future!

And there is kind of a category that falls somewhere in between the two, maybe I will call it the things I do not agree with or fully understand...
I am in awe of the fact that women are the main field workers. I grew up in rural Indiana, where it was rare to see a woman in the fields or even on the tractors. I guess I just grew up with the idea that men were to be the farmers and doing the hard labor. Anyways, you see poor little old ladies hunched over with permanant back issues from bending over in the fields all their lives. It is sad to see. Not that it would not be sad to see little old men hunched over too. I can't really explain it... but I am not sure I feel the women should be doing the brunt of the field work. (Feel free to disagree.) I also do not understand why prescriptions and doctors appointments are so inexpensive, but over the counter drugs such as tylenol and ibuprofen are kind of ridiculously priced. I think that some of the foods which are so readily available and native here, should be less expensive rather than more expensive than what I pay in the states... such as rice and green tea. Odd. (this one may fall into the dislike category) I am also confused as to why Korea, who used to be one of the top retailers and outsources for shoes, does not carry a wider variety of sizes with so many expats living here. The women's shoe size cuts off at 8 and the men's at like a 9 or 9 1/2. Luckily I fit the top bracket of readily available shoe sizes... but Taylor will forcibly be ordering any footwear he needs online. Anyways... those are my fluid thoughts for the evening. Now my brain needs a rest and I need to relax! Thanks for joining us via the blog on our adventure here in Korea!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Potty Training: Rated PG

So last night we strapped the last diaper onto Corin's little behind and kissed him goodnight. I say last diaper, not in regards to him being fully potty trained and diaper free, but in reference to the fact that our baby wipes we ordered showed up yesterday... but not the diapers. So, assuming the diapers would be delivered today, I decided we could attempt a little potty training trial run and see how close he was to being ready.

The day started off with a bang, as I looked over to find Corin in the fetal position staring at his newly soiled pair of boxer briefs. He looked up only to make direct eye contact with me. His look said it all..."mom, that is not what was supposed to happen..." I laughed and explained that he needed to tell mommy when he needed to potty and we would go to the toilet to go potty like a big boy. As I cleaned him up in the bathroom, he asked me to put more big boy boxers on him... surely this is a good sign, right?! So about ten minutes later after several times of me nagging him to try the potty, he snuck away and puddled on the floor. Then he came running up and said he needed to potty. I took him to the toilet. He grunted a time or two, then smiled really big... "All done mama!" I nodded and continued to explain the pee pee needed to go into the potty.

Ten minutes later, he came to me with a rather bizarre look in his eyes, almost a deer in the headlights look. He rigidly told me he needed to potty and I realized he was holding it when I saw the little bity puddle on the floor. We ran super fast to the toilet and he stood up on the stool, placed his hands on his hips, and peeeeeeed! Hooray! We both gave each other high fives as we cheered for the big boy! Ten minutes later he came up to me again, this time with a much more proud look in his eyes and asked to go potty. We ran in, struck the potty pose, and again he peed in the big boy toilet! I was so encouraged by the fact that when I found his puddle, it was only a couple of drops! Sweet! Now he was getting the hang of it!...

We finished lunch and I had been expecting a delivery man to have rung the door bell by now, but much to my shigrin I was not yet in posession of a large box of discount diapers. What to do about nap time? Do I just resign to the fact that there would be wet sheets in need of washing, or would I just forego a nap until a certain box showed up? I of course opted for the wet sheets. Corin on the other hand, chose to stay up and wait it out. We both lost. Corin peed on the sheet before deciding to come out of his room in the most energetic way. He had no desire to go to the potty from that time forward and I was fresh out of clean boxer briefs by then. So... my little no-nap-nudist pranced about the livingroom playing with his toys in a very proud manner. His new found freedom also brought new found puddles and piles. Yuck. Really yuck. Really really yuck. Oh GROSS. It is one thing to change a poopy diaper. It is entirely different cleaning up a pile of poop off the floor. Luckily, the Lord was kind to me in that we have all laminate floors and so clean up proves easier than the alternative of carpet! For that, I am deeply grateful! We also have "fake leather" covered dining chairs... which I had not anticipated being so thankful for until I walked in from hanging the clothes after hearing Taylor say "no Corin... you go poop in the toilet!" Oh great... where was he pooping this time? Oh, standing up all bow-legged on the dining chair huh? Well... at least he was trying to keep himself clean during the process.

After a bath, Taylor and I asked Corin a series of questions in regards to his potty habits. "Do you go poopoo on chairs? Nooo, you go in the potty. Do you go poopoo on the floor? Noooo, you go in the potty. Do you go poopoo in your pants? Noooo, you go in the potty. Do you go poopoo in the sink? Noooo, you go in the potty. Corin, where do you go poopoo?" Corin responds " No I don't need to go poopoo." Well...let's hope our little talk had some form of impact on his next poopoo party. At this point, Taylor went to the store to get the emergency diapers that we had been holding out on buying in hopes that our huge box would arrive in just a few more minutes. They didn't. I was extremely joyous to have diapers in the house again.

While I am not giving up all together on potty training, I think he focuses best during the morning hours, and so I am planning to let him wear boxer briefs for a few hours each morning to get him used to actually going on the potty.... But... I might wait a day and give myself a little break! ;) All in all, I would say that Corin understands the need for going in the toilet, but he seems to do better when he has some sort of underwear on, than he does just going bare bottomed. Makes sense... I would not want wet clothes clinging to me either. So... when the boxers and patience run out, the diapers go on!

Finally done with cleaning doody for the day,

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Upo Wetlands...

This past weekend was Budda's Birthday and so we celebrated by not celebrating! :) We did however take advantage of our three day weekend and spent time together and with friends! Friday we just relaxed and hung out around the house. It has been a while since we had a day to ourselves to just lounge around the house together! So we watched movies, played at the playground and ate freshly made pan pizza! Yumm! It was a great day that was topped off by friends from Busan coming out to us! This was a nice change of pace from the typical routine. We are usually the ones driving into Busan! The Johnsons showed up later in the evening and we all watched a movie together while munching on popcorn and microwave cake! Haha... the joys of microwave cooking!
While Friday was a gorgeous warm and sunshine filled day, Saturday woke us with sprinkles and gloomy skies. We were slightly bummed as we had planned to hike a bit that day. But... instead we decided to checkout the local wetlands to see what we could see! :) I know you will be shocked when I tell you that they were wet! There were hiking trails and gorgeous views... views that I hope to see again on a nice sunny day. Corin loved hiking, even with the soggy sprinkles! I think it was a nice change of scenery for us all as we are used to the cityscapes!... well at least on the weekends. I just wanted to share some of our pictures and hope that you enjoy living vicariously through our blog during our adventures in South Korea. I really feel blessed to have been able to experience a new culture and country. Having never been outside the consecutive United States, I feel like traveling will be more highly anticipated in the future!
As for long term missions, we are still not sure where the Lord would have us... whether it be in the States or abroad, but I do know that He has already changed our hearts and marriage for the better just in these short three months we've been here.
Taylor and I are feeling the prayers of those who have been lifting us up as we grow closer to one another and closer to our Heavenly Father. One thing specifically that has been stirring in my heart, is the desire to minister from the home. I have been gripped by many scriptures relating to this topic as well as conversations Taylor and I have been able to share. God is really changing the way I look at being a stay at home mom and the many opportunities that this role lends itself to. I am eager to implement these desires, but seeing as how I can not speak Korean yet and the Koreans around me do not speak English... inviting is a bit tricky. The children here are much more receptive of me than the adults, so I take that opportunity to invite them to play with Corin and myself while at the playground. Most of the girls especially think Corin is just the cutest thing that ever walked on Earth. They follow him around like little puppy dogs and try to play with him, even when they have no clue what he is saying. It is great! Corin now has a little buddy at church too! There is a young Korean/American boy about 9 years old that just adores Corin! He simply could not resist Corin's invitation to play the first Sunday they met. So for the past three weeks, the bond has grown and this last Sunday, Sean asked his mom to invite us over so he could play with Corin! Haha... it makes me think of his aunt Natalie. Anyways Sulan, the mom, and I have planned to play together after church the next sunny sunday we get... so pray that this coming Sunday will be filled with sunshine and warmth! Sunday school started up at church as well, so this past Sunday was the first Sunday that Taylor and I both were able to sit through the service together! It was so nice to have that time together. Well.... I would say that is about it for updates. Sorry it was so random! I was a bit distracted today as I wrote this while Corin attempted to smoosh the fly buzzing around the room. I got whomped in the head a couple times as I entered the line of fire! Good thing he was trying to kill the fly with a wetwipe instead of a toy drill this time! Watch out! :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

A slice of humble pie!!

As most of you know by now, I am ovenless and only slightly bitter about it! I have been eager to experiment with different cooking methods in order to produce some of the foods that are difficult to obtain here. Some of the recipes are just plain daunting and so I have put a few to the side for when I have helping hands. But... I was not about to give up on hope that homemade bread could be in our weekly menu. Yeaterday I read several articles and recipes on steamed bread. This is a technique used for hundreds of years to create bread while lacking an oven. Traditionally you place a hearty bread dough in a tin can with a sealed lid, then submerge the tin can in water 2/3 up the outside edge of the can. This water would be in a large pot with crumbled tin foil on the bottom to keep the bread from burning on the bottom. Then you stick a lid on the pot and barely simmer the water for about two hours to produce a loaf of heavy/dense bread. It was usually made of rye, barley and such and served with beans on the open range! I however, do not have access to "fancy" flour nor do I have a huge tin can. What I really wanted were fluffy sweet dinner rolls. That is what I longed to make along side a big old pot of chicken noodles! Well, I have yet to make the noodles, but the bread that I conjured up turned out to be a success! Taylor and I enjoyed fresh steamed bread last night with our homemade chicken strips and homefries. We slathered on real butter, which we bought for the first time since living here, and let them melt in our mouths as we delighted in the wonders of the steaming tray! Ahhhhh.

This morning we finished off the rolls by toasting them and, yet again, soaking them in real butter. They were so good... I was completely impressed with my accomplishment in the kitchen that I decided to venture into cookies today. With very limited baking supplies, I settled upon simple sugar cookies. I whipped up the batter in no time and set it in the freezer to firm up. My first attempt to "bake" them would be with the steamer. I was almost too hesitant to venture down that road though in concerns for the dough. I feared the dough would ooze through the small holes in the steaming tray before being able to firm up a bit. Well, upon the trial of the first cookie... my fears were realized. The dough began to goop up and ooze down before turning into the steamy spongy cookie I had hoped for. Oh well... I tried. On to the next method. I had seen several articles for skillet cookies... Of course all of them were more substantial doughs, but I was determined. So I grabbed the steamer lid and put a few balls of cookie dough in the pan atop the barely lit burner and topped it with the lid. I waited... and peeked.. and waited and peeked. A few minutes later I grew anxious for my buttery goodness of a cookie and grabbed the spatula. I removed the cookies to a cool plate and lifted and edge. RATS! Burnt. Oh well... I tried. So now my only resource left was the microwave. I am not a big fan of this contraption... I typically use it for popcorn and warming Corin's milk... other than that I use it as storage space by placing other objects atop the thing. But... I had recently created a pretty tasty chocolate cake in the nuker... so I thought I would give my cookies a chance too. It worked... the cookies baked and in only 1 minute... But... they were not like the cookies I had envisioned as I mixed the batter and ate a glob of the raw dough. They were thin and kind of flaky... sort of chewy. Just okay. Okay is not what I wanted. So.... back to the chopping block. I think a heartier dough would work in the pan or the microwave, but until next paycheck... the buttery flakes will have to do. :/ Guess I needed humilty after the high from the rolls.
For the successfully delicious dinner rolls... check out ovenlesschef, my new food blog! :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Consider it identified...

The Victorian funnel web spider!... apparently they are harmless. They are supposed to stay inside their webs for the most part and apparently ours have taken to the hollowed out holes in the walls... lazy! :) Anyways, we have a few around the house, so to be on the safe side I will be squirting them with yucky bug juice this weekend. Just thought I would let you know! :) And the visual always helps!
Meet Vicki #1:

She is the lazy hole dweller that terrorizes us from the front ally where we hang our laundry to dry. She is about nickel to quarter sized. She's the bigger of the two... the two that I am aware of! haha!

And meet Vicki #2:

She is the red headed little lassie of the two. She actually built her home and is hard at work eating bugs in the back ally where the washing machine dwells. She's about dime to penny sized.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

So now that I have started the family feud..

I just want to take a moment to say that I love my family. I admire and adore each one of the members for different reasons. Why? Because if I loved the same things about all of 'em... I'd get bored with them real quick! :) So... just a little note as to why I love the people I love...
God: I love you because you are my creator. You sustain me in all areas of this eternal life you have graciously bestowed upon me! i thankfully PRAISE You! And many more reasons for which there are not enough words...
Taylor: You truely are my better half. 'nuff said. I love you.
Corin: You are just too stinking cute not to love... you make me smile day in and day out.
Owen: Never forgotten, always loved.
Dad: You are and will always be the person I can sit in silence with and know that what is not being said means more than what could be. That... and you are my daddy.
Mom: You are one of the most energetic people I know with a kind heart that always beats for the right people! Thank you for the woman you have helped me to become! Again... always and forever my irreplacable mommy!
Trent: Well, you are my brother and though it was a rough start as kids, I will love you through it all! (Even if you shove me into the electric fence or try to feed me to the neighbor's collies... yes, I remember more... but I will keep those bitter thoughts to myself! haha!)
Ray: You have been such an outstanding model for Taylor in your walk with the Lord... and it shows. Thank you!
Kate: I think it is fair to say we know you can cook... so as to what I mentioned with Ray, thank you for MY fine young man!
Coops: Good for a laugh everynow and then... :)
Natalie: You are the little sister I wish I ALWAYS had! :) You are the coolest of 'em all!
And the rest of you... just think of your fondest memory with me, and remember that I was on the other end of that! I love you all and miss my HUGE family back home! (friends included)


The things you do for food!

So I have to start off by admitting that when Taylor and I first wed, I did not enjoy cooking all that much. I like to blame it on his mother!(Sorry Kate!)I grew up in a household where we were all having dinner at different times due to work, sports, and well... you name it. Anyways, my mom just didn't want to bother with fixing dinner for us all when she never knew who when or if anyone would be home...(can you blame her?! Nope.) so our traditional response to "What's for dinner" was "whatever you can find"... which usually meant cereal or soup if we were not too lazy to push the buttons on the microwave! haha! (Now that those daily distractions are gone, the Maynard house enjoys homecooked meals again... sorry I happened to be a sports junky growing up mom! Love you!)

Taylor on the other hand, grew up in a home where everyone sat around the dinner table... which was a foreign object to me... and ate "homemade" food. Homemade food? What?! Now some of you may have the same response.. "Like hamburger helper instead of take-out or drive thru?" No no no my friends... like made from scratch brownies, handtossed pizza crust, fresh out of the oven french bread, and spaghetti sauce without a screw off lid. CRAZY! I know... what was I thinking marrying a man with a mother like that?! What can I say, I love him... amazingly dangerous cook of a mother and all!

So anyways... we get back from the honeymoon and life begins right? I luck out the first week as we eat out at the local favorite restaurants, but our pockets told us this was not a sustainable habit, so to the grocery store we went. How naive we were... no grocery list or anything. At the time I knew all of about three recipes, all of which included some form of ready-made food and so Taylor and I were both eager to learn to cook. I had a trusty Julia Child cookbook now and was ready for the fun to begin! Yeah well, after some odd facial reactions and several failed attempts, I began to recycle the same recipes over and over again and then supplement with eating out here and there as well as open invites to dinner with the folks! Back then, if Taylor was craving some good cooking, we would go to his parents' home... even if it was just sloppy joes. Why? Because his mom made the buns from scratch... and no, the joes were not form a can either! Grr... this woman was going to be the death of me... or so I thought! Well... time passed and soon I began to get in the kitchen more. With the arrival of internet, came a plethora of recipes at my fingertips! I was so excited to try new recipes! I started menu planning and would go to the store with a detailed list of my grocery needs! I was so proud of myself. I was a coupon cutting, ad combing, recipe hunting woman on a mission... to cook at least as well as Taylor's mom. This way he would choose me over her if it came down to a tie.... because well, you know! ;)

By now, we are in the midst of our pregnancy with Corin and I am making homemade noodles from scratch! Yep... homemade! I was soooooooooo proud of myself. I had even made bread a time or two! Spaghetti sauce, forget about it...I had that down pat now, right down to the treasure bay leaves! :) So it looked like things were going to be okay between me and the MIL! I wasn't going to secretly hate her guts after all, now that I could halfway decently cook at least! But soon I became bored with it. Food was such a burden... cooking, cleaning, cooking, cleaning. Did it ever stop?! I felt like I was in the kitchen alllll day and it sort of bugged me. Okay, it really bugged me. Taylor would come home to me in tears about my struggles with identity outside of the kitchen and home. Of course by this time I had a two month old screaming at me from the sidelines, so I can't say that is wasn't a little emotional all around... but I took it out on the cooking! Plus... Corin would always act up right around 4pm everyday and so making dinner was my version of hell. When we moved into the house around the time Corin was 10 months old, he had outgrown that phase of being the little hellion, but had now moved to the mobile phase... which is a little disorrienting while making dinner. You have to run into the livingroom every three minutes and play marco-polo with the kid until you find him stuck in the laundry cabinet or jammed under a side table with an arm in a funny position.. things of that sort. With the easter egg hunt on 24/7, I was in no hurry to make elaborate dinners or meals that required much attention.

The various stages of infancy to toddler years have proven difficult in their own unique ways, but now that Corin is fairly self-sufficient... I am finally starting to fall in love with my kitchen. I am in there most of the day... and I love it! Of course the timing could have been a little better. Now that we are in Korea, I have no dishwasher or oven... or any of my appliances that I had neglected back home but now long for. None the less, I am and have fallen in love with food! I am making some sort of homemade bread at least twice a week. Most, if not all, of my meals start from scratch/ raw ingredients. I have made all my foods on stovetop and find great accomplishment in figuring out how to make foods I crave with out the oven. Of course the microwave has become our new friend if only because we can make a yummo chocolate cake in it and in less than 3 minutes!( It is a little dangerous to have this knowledge!... you want to make it all the time!) Anyways, I have become so obsessed with food that I find myself subscribed to various food blogs and always on the hunt for meals that are suitable for the stove-top. I even started a blog for my friends here in Korea who feel my pain in having loved and lost their ovens.

I suppose I am finally settling into my role as a stay at home mommy and beginning to thrive! Taylor is also excited about my new hobby/obsession! Haha! And don't tell his mom, but I think I have won him over! ;) I have been able to satisfy our cravings for hard to find foods like tortillas and don't get me started on Korea's version of pizza... Just say no thank you and move on. But... I have made us homemade pizza on the stove-top thanks to JD and am making all sorts of comfort foods that I thought we would just have to go without! Go me! :) haha. If you want to try some of the recipes we are enjoying here in Korea, just hop on over to the new blog and check it out!
The ovenless chef!
signing off