Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

Our Sunday did not not start out quite the way we were hoping...we all managed to get ready for church on time, and we even got out the front door to start our walk (in the pouring down rain, of course!), and then it happened...Eric said "You guys go on ahead. I'll catch up with you!". So, we did. We walked across the parking lot and down the stairs to the back gate that we went out of last week to go to church. Eric ran back to the apartment to grab something. The kids and I waited and waited and waited. After about 15 minutes we decided to walk back home, expecting to find him in the bathroom or something, but no, he was nowhere to be found. So, we took off our shoes and sat down to read a book (I make it sound easy and it wasn't. Kennedy was crying because she didn't know where her dad was, Cade didn't want to read a book, and I was fuming. Where could he have gone?). Two minutes later, he walked in the door! He'd gone a different route to church completely bypassing us standing in the rain waiting for him. When we hadn't been at church, he turned around and walked back. Needless to say, we did not make it to church!
We weren't going to let our first free day in Korea go wasted, though! We decided to make the trek back to E-Mart and iPark Mall on our own. You may remember, a neighbor took us in his van the first day, and I had no recollection of how he may have driven there, but we'd heard there is a bus we can take, so decided to try it. We headed down our first hill, and quickly realized we didn't
know where the bus stop was, so we started walking down the second hill out of our "neighborhood". Then we saw the bus coming, so we watched where it stopped and headed down to the bus stop, hoping it was going the direction we wanted. Eventually another one came along, we hopped on, and rode through parts of town I did not recognize until I started seeing signs for iPark. We got off the bus a bit early (I think), and walked the rest of the way (still raining and about 75 degrees F). This mall is unlike any I've ever seen! It's 7 stories high with about 6 different wings. We walked in the first door to what looked similar to a Macy's with the Clinique counter, etc, but then you turn the corner and there's the Coach store in this other store. Turn around, and there's Gap clothing within this other store...I haven't figured it out yet! We eventually found American food at TGIFridays (We thought the kids would eat there. Turns out we were wrong. No kids menus, no chicken strips, no mac & cheese. Even the restaurants are different!) and ate lunch before heading to E-Mart to pick up a few more household items. Now, with a couple extra bags in hand, we were ready to head home. We walked out of the mall to find it raining harder than ever! We got about 1/3 of the way back to the bus stop we'd gotten off (not knowing exactly how it would take us home), and decided we'd grab a cab to take us home. As long as we can tell him we live in Kyleon-li-don and give him directions (in Korean) when we get close, then he'll take us right to our door. Best $4 we've spent in Korea (aside from the new umbrella we had to buy Eric today because he'd already lost his first one!)!

Planes, Trains, & Automobiles...or Buses, Taxis, & Feet

This has been a momentous week in many, many ways. One of the big things for me, though,  has been learning how to get around our area. Last weekend we spent a lot of time getting oriented with our neighborhood. At the beginning of the week, we started to get an idea of where our school is in relation to everything else. For Eric, life is pretty simple because he can take the bus to and from school every day and he doesn't need to know how to do it on his own unless he wants to (or he misses the bus!). I have a different circumstance, though! Because I'm part time, and I don't have a classroom to prepare, I get to leave early in the afternoons after all of our meetings are over. There is no half day bus,, I get to figure it out on my own!
My first attempt was on Wednesday. It was the day that it was really pouring down rain, making traffic awful, and making it a lot tougher to get a cab. I walked down the hill from the school (which is on a large road and there are usually lots of cabs) and I didn't see any cabs, so I figured I would start walking. I know that our house is to the right of the school, but it is also up the hill behind the school. Our bus has to take a strange route to get to school avoiding some small streets and impossible turns, so I had yet to see a direct walking route. I started walking and was not finding a way to get up the hill on any of the roads, so I decided to turn around and walk the 3 blocks I'd covered back to the front of the school. I managed to hail a cab this time and tell him where I wanted to go (Kyeon-li-don). He then proceeded to take the longest route through the worst traffic! I was not happy. I was hot, wet, and sitting in a cab that smelled very Korean. It was expensive, and I had a terrible headache, but I did finally get home after about an hour!
My second venture home by myself was Thursday. I managed to get in the taxi on the correct side of the street this time, so he went the direction I wanted him too, and when he looked confused, I was able to give him another landmark, so that he was headed the way I wanted him to go. This time it only took me about 5 minutes and cost about half what it had the day before (and I only spoke Korean to him--a major accomplishment in and of itself!). My next challenge was to return to school with the kids by 3:00 for our trip to Costco. This is a challenge because you can't simply say "Yongsan International School of Seoul". I could try to say it in Korean, but they still might not recognize, and I can't remember what it is. So, instead, you tell them the name of the subway stop that's outside of the school. The problem with that is that the school is actually opposite the subway stop, so if he takes me to the stop, I have to trudge up the hill to the school with the kids. So, I had to direct him (using all the Korean I know) the way I wanted him to go, so that he could take us to the front doors of the school (for 10 cents more!). We made it (on time even!).
Today, I chose yet another route home...on foot. I know we'd told some of you that it's about a 10-15 minute walk from our house. I don't remember who told us that, but they were wrong! It took me about 40 minutes to get home from school on foot (it probably isn't the shortest route; I haven't had anyone show it to me. I figured it out on my own!). I started by going up a huge, extremely steep staircase, followed by a huge, extremely steep hill. Then I found the extremely steep (and long) hill that we live at the bottom of, and walked down that. Just when I felt like I was getting close, I got to start up the hill that we live on. It is not huge or extremely steep, but my calves and thighs were already burning...I was ready to be home. I will add that it was not raining this afternoon, but the sun came out, and by the time I got home, I was dripping with sweat and needed a shower!

Friday, July 29, 2011

What's the Difference?

There are so many things that are different here in I thought I would address some of the major differences that you may not have thought of yet...
1. Garbage: We have to sort nearly every piece of garbage that we garbage, paper garbage (cardboard, paper, etc.), plastics (hard, soft), aluminum, styrofoam, and "other" garbage...we have 3 different garbage cans and a bag we keep in the freezer for food garbage. Definitely different.
2. Smells: It's amazing how different the air here smells. Sometimes it's food (or fish), sometimes it's smoke, sometimes it's garbage, and sometimes it justs smells bad. Can't explain it. Other times it smells good. Regardless, it always smells different!
3. Cars: This one is probably pretty obvious. There are a lot of Hyundais, Kias, and Daewoos. Not many of anything else, including pick up trucks of any kind. If you see a Ford, it's usually driven by someone in US Army fatigues. There are a few Lexus, Mercedes, and Audis. They stick out like a sore thumb (or a silver spoon!).
4. Houses: Heat is through pipes under the floors, so everyone has hardwood. You can't wear your shoes in the house. You turn off your hot water, A/C, and gas (for the range) every time you leave the house. Everyone has enclosed balconies. We have a large one in front that is all glass windows where we dry our clothes. Our washing machine is on the back balcony. No one has a dryer.
5. Streets: All of the streets appear to be uphill! There are sidewalks, but their purpose is unclear. People drive on them, park on them, and attempt to walk on them. They are extremely narrow and cars still park in both directions on both sides. Then large buses drive through them. Red lights are a suggestion. Scooters are the only ones the right of way. No rules appear to apply to them. Pedestrians must yield to, scooters, and buses.
6. Food: Everything is individually packaged (I guess that's why they're so fanatical about their garbage!) including apples, cheese slices, and crackers. Food is expensive. All of it! We have wandered around more than one market wondering what to buy, but we have cooked two different kinds of pasta and tacos in the last week, so we're feeling pretty good about that! As far as eating out goes, it is easy to find just about any type of food you would like in our neighborhood: Indian, Thai, Korean, Japanese, Mexican, American, Jordanian, Italian, Chinese, Filipino. Pizza, coffee, and bakeries abound!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Costco Trip

Many of you know that our school sends a bus to Costco every Thursday after school for the staff, so today was our first trip! We were very excited to be able to find some American items in bulk and not to have to stop at the market every day overwhelmed by the Korean products. It's true that Costco in Korea is very different than in the States, but I was pleasantly surprised. Since the weather is pretty awful right now, it wasn't as packed as usual, and therefore I only got run over once and run into once or twice! I was, however, able to find everything that I was looking to buy today, and that made me extremely happy! The hard part is that whatever you buy you have lug out to the bus (where they organize it in the storage compartments based on where you live for easy access), and then from the bus stop to our apartment. Since it was the first trip, all of us bought more than we could carry and we had to make two trips from the bus stop, but all in all, I would say that we were happy with the results. Well...aside from the fact that in my haste, I picked out a box of diapers for Cade that are pink...Eric is NOT happy with me about that!!  


First off, I just need to say that we went to immigration this morning, and aside from the awful drive (if you haven't seen it in the news yet, Seoul is getting flooding it's never seen before and many streets and highways are flooded!), it was extremely easy! One of the amazing Korean women on staff took care of all of our paperwork to apply for our alien registration cards, and when we arrived she handed us our stack of paperwork and the money for the card. All we had to do was hand the woman the stack and have our fingerprints done (also considerably easier than in the States). Then we were back on the bus for another awful drive, we are so thankful that they make everything so easy for us! It will about 3 more weeks before we get our cards, though. So at least that long until we have Internet at home. We may be able to set up a time to use one of our neighbor's Internet in the meantime, and if so, we'll let you know!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Monsoon Season

It is WET here in Seoul. The first 3 days we were here everyone was talking about how it had rained for 28 straight days up until the day we arrived. Then there was a day or two of clear skies. I think that we saw half of one of them, and since it has been overcast. The other funny thing about those first 3 days was that everyone carried around an umbrella with them wherever they went. It would be just barely sprinkling and the Koreans would put up there umbrellas. But even the Americans carried theirs everywhere. It even became a joke with our tour guide that if he didn't bring his umbrella, then it might start raining.
Yesterday, we learned why everyone brings an umbrella everywhere! After school, we took the kids down to one of the local markets for a couple of groceries. While we were in the store it started raining...I mean REALLY raining. We had yet to carry an umbrella with us, so of course we didn't have one. Eric ran the 1/2 mile up hill back to our apartment with Cade in his arms, and Kennedy did our best to walk up hill in soaking wet flip flops with bright blue bags on our heads (picture to come!). We were all soaked to the core, so we took showers and put on dry clothes. It continued to pour down all night with such a strong lightning storm that we heard electric appliances turned on in some houses! I can't complain too much because at least it stays warm while pouring down rain, but I think we'll start carrying our umbrellas! The typhoons are upon us!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

First day on campus

Yesterday was our first day at school…it was pretty incredible! The campus is beautiful (though the weather was gray, cloudy, and hot!) and even more technologically advanced than we had thought! We had our medical checks first thing this morning, so that wasn’t too much fun, but it wasn’t as bad as I had thought it was going to be. Just the typical vision, hearing, a blood draw, blood pressure check, and urine sample. We were all happy to be done with it because it meant we got to eat again! They brought us doughnuts and water since we hadn’t been able to eat or drink since 10:00 the night before.

Then we made it back to school for our official tour. The school will have 915 students this year. They are starting construction this fall to add a fourth wing to accommodate about 200 more students. At this point there are three floors and three wings. The school has only been on this campus for the past 6 years, but they have a 50 year lease from the Korean government, so they plan to stay there awhile! After our tour, we had lunch with more staff and then a session on using Macs where we each got our MacBooks.

The kids spent today with their nanny for the first time. They both did a great job and were excited to see her this morning. Kennedy taught Vilma all of the little things that we hadn’t covered on Saturday (like where all the different types of trash go…have I covered that? It’s a blog post in of itself!), and Cade was his usual charming self! I think we all had a great day, and it felt good to get into a routine again!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The first 3 days of our food!

I know you're all curious to know what we've been eating, so here's the story...I think I may have mentioned that our first morning we had breakfast at Starbucks, so we felt right at home with bagels and coffee! We managed to wait until about noon for lunch that day, too, which was impressive considering how early we'd gotten up. By the time we did have lunch, the kids were exhausted and overwhelmed (okay, the adults may have been as well!), so we decided to go for some traditional American food. Eric had a burger, I had an artichoke dip appetizer, and the kids split a waffle (we were happy to have found a place that serves breakfast all day already!). For dinner that night, we went out with the larger group of new teachers for American teriyaki food from a restaurant based out of Seattle...we were feeling pretty comfortable there, too! The kids didn't even manage to stay awake until their rice got there, though!
Day two we were in our apartment already and were able to have cereal and oranges for breakfast (the school provided some groceries for us, so we had yet to buy any ourselves). This was our E-Mart trip morning, so by the time we were done there, we were completely drained, and  our awesome tour guide went down to the bottom of the hill and got us some of the cheap pizza from Pizza School (think Little Caesars $5 pepperoni) tastes great at the end of a long day, right? For dinner that night (again with our group) we ventured into Korean BBQ for the first time since our arrival! Eric and I had bulgogi which was very different from the bulgogi we'd had in the States, but was still very good, and I was thrilled to finally have had the experience of Korean food in Korea! 
On our third day, we had bagels and cream cheese for breakfast at home this time. For lunch after church, we went to a pita place that is pretty close, and seems to be the normal stop for many of the YISS staff that attend the Southern Baptist International Church (about a 10 minute walk for our apt). It was pretty good, and I'm sure we'll become regulars too! For dinner that night, we finally managed to cook in our own place, and we invited our tour guide, Barry, over for some pasta and marinara (out of a jar!). I went down to the bakery and picked up some really good garlic bread to go alongside. It wasn't much, but we were proud of ourselves!
Clearly, this international district that we live in has a little bit of everything from everywhere! I think we're going out for Thai food tonight with our group, and we're excited to try some of the other restaurants that are all within walking distance of our place, but we're also excited to feel comfortable enough (and have enough groceries!) to get on a more regular routine and start cooking at home!  

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Our 1st Trip to E-Mart

So, here it is....the part of the story you've all been waiting for...the shopping trip! Yesterday, we made our first trip to a big store, Korean style! One of our neighbors took us to E-Mart, a store similar to Target, but it's Target on steroids...three levels of shopping with everything from clothes and shoes to automotive to seafood. We started when the store opened on the top floor which has the housewares. We got our hangers, our drying rack (because dryers are few and far between in Korea), our garbage cans (because Koreans are diligent about sorting their trash), and a Swiffer type sweeper to try to keep our (fake) hardwood floors clean. That was pretty uneventful, though our blonde children are like celebrities here, and they get a ton of attention from Koreans who like to practice their English in conversations with our kids!
Then, of course, we headed downstairs to get some groceries and things like soap and shampoo, laundry soap, etc. Some of the major cultural differences started to appear here...for instance, there was a Korean salesmen of sorts next to every type of soap in the store (or so it seemed to me). All I wanted to do was pick out the cheapest shampoo I could find (Pantene was available at about $9 per bottle), but this woman wanted to help me pick it out. I finally managed to do that and get some body wash, and then it was time to get laundry soap. This woman really wanted to have a conversation with me about laundry the end, I was pleased to understand that I had chosen the right soap (by accident) for a top-loading washing machine. I don't have fabric softener yet, but I do have spot remover, so I'm happy! Next stop...groceries! At this point, I was beginning to see the side of Eric that I had seen during our card game at PFO where we got a glimpse into seeing how we would react to cultural differences. He was fading fast, so we split the list, and attempted to "rush" through getting the few basics we needed (cheese, oil, sugar, etc.). It was tough, though! I'm excited to go again without him so that I can take my time and find what I need! All in all, I was very pleased with what we found and how easy it was to recognize the same  items we have here just written in a different language.

Our Apartment

We are so excited to have a home again!! We had very low expectations for our apartment, and we were blown away by how nice it is! It's much bigger than we would have thought, and we even have an extra bedroom for those of you who come to visit us! We have far more storage than I ever dreamed, and plenty of space for the kids to run around and play (though there is a park in the neighborhood, too). We have air conditioning in the main area and in our bedroom, and the school provided fans for each of the kids' rooms. We have two bathrooms (which are small, but no smaller than we're used to). They remind me a little bit of a boat bathroom because the master bath has no tub, just a drain in the floor, and Koreans don't use shower curtains, though I've heard they are available now, and there is a rod. Each bedroom had a bed and a large wardrobe or dresser, and our room has a bookcase and nightstands. The extra bedroom has a wall of storage closets, so Eric has his own dressing room which will be nice on the mornings I don't work!
Our kitchen has a gas range, a refrigerator, and a kitchen table and chairs. W have a limited number of dishes, but no dishwasher, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem! We have basic pots and pans, knives, utensils, and silverware. They also provided some food: bagels and cream cheese, apples and oranges, cereal, butter, pasta, milk, juice, and a couple of chicken breasts. It was really nice to be able to spend the night here last night and have breakfast this morning before we've had to get any groceries or household supplies. We really appreciate all that YISS has done for us already!!

The First Day

When I woke up at 3 am (Korean time) after only 6 hours of sleep, I had so many thoughts going through my head that it almost (I mean ALMOST) didn't matter that we were all up WAY too early! Our bodies thought that it was about noon, but I would've thought that after so much traveling, we would have slept a little longer! Regardless, the kids were up, so we were all up! We managed to keep them semi-quiet in bed until about 5 am, and then they were hungry and ready to go. Again, we managed to keep them busy until about 7 am when we headed down to the Starbucks for coffee and bagels for breakfast. We felt right at home!
Our first stop on our tour on first morning was our new apartment! We had such a tough night in the hotel that we had packed up our bags in the hotel room, hoping that we could get into our apartment sooner than originally planned. Upon arrival, we were even more ready to move in, have all of our things in one place, and have a home again!
From there, we toured our neighborhood on foot, walked up to Itaewon (a major shopping and eating area), and took the subway up to see the school (from a distance; we're not allowed to think about school until Monday!) and then we took a taxi back to have American food for lunch. After lunch, we went back to the hotel to get our stuff and then took everything to our new apartment to unpack. We were so excited!
After about 4 hours, we had unpacked all 13 bags, and even had everything put away! Then we had dinner with all of the new staff and tour guides at an American teriyaki restaurant (based out of Seattle!) which the kids fell asleep in the middle of (at about 5:30), giving us plenty of time to get to know our new co-workers! We took another taxi home with two sleeping kids and we were all in bed asleep by 7:30. It had been a long day!

Ah...the flight

First of all, I have to cover the cousin dropped us off at the airport, and Eric's mom met us at the drop off point with a Sky Cab and a huge cart for our luggage. In one trip we were able to bring all of our bags in and he brought us right up to the counter to get them checked in. Soon we had 9 bags checked (8 of which were free, the 9th was $110!) and we were back to 3 carry ons plus our personal items (1 each). We've finally got security down, so that was uneventful, and we even had time for some lunch while we waited at the gate. Soon it was time to board! We had been told that we were going to like international air travel, but we had no idea how nice it would be! There were more flight attendants than I could count, there was more leg room than I've ever seen on a plane, we each had a personal tv screen with all of the free movies we could watch in 12 hours, and we had two meals! The kids took naps at the beginning and end of the flight, and in between, they watched more tv than they'd watched in their entire lives up to that point! They both did a really great job, but we are very glad that we are not making that flight for another year!

When we arrived in Seoul, we were first surprised by how many people do speak English. And all of the signs are written in English as well as Korean, so that makes things very easy! We made it through Immigration easily and got our first stamps in our passports! Then we made it to baggage claim where we were able to get all of our bags easily (though the baggage carts--while free-- are smaller than the ones in the States, so we loaded up two this time!). Customs was no hand them your card that says you don't have plants or weapons and they say enjoy your stay! Then our HR director, our headmaster, and our tour guide met us outside customs just like they said they would! They had a truck bring the majority of our bags directly to our apartment, and we took the same 5 bags we've been living out of since June 12th to our hotel with us. We then took the bus with our "escorts" into the city to our hotel for the night. We had left my aunt's house at 10 am Wednesday, July 20th, and arrived at our hotel at about 9 pm Thursday 21st after about 17 hours of travel...we were exhausted!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

We are so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family that have been so supportive. Last night we had our last Bon Voyage dinner with my family, and while it is hard to say goodbye to everyone, they did their best to make it easy for us! We have such a strong support system at home that there is a large part of me that wonders why on earth we would leave it...then I remember that God called us to do this, and we will have a new support system when we get there. Thank you to each and every one of you for your prayers and support! I will do my best to keep you posted on everything that goes on upon our arrival in Seoul!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

How it all began...

A lot of people have been asking us lately why we are moving to Korea. What possessed us to do this? What made us want to move to Korea? So I thought I’d answer those questions for those of you who don’t know…

First of all, teaching overseas is something that Eric and I have been talking about since before we were married. It’s something that we’ve both always wanted to do. Of course, when we were in college and newly married, we only wanted to teach in Australia. A country that speaks English and has warm weather. We didn’t want to have to get too uncomfortable in a new culture! But then, Kennedy came along…and that was the end of that dream…or so we thought! We decided that we would wait until the kids were in college or we were near retirement to fulfill our dream. After all, it seemed impractical to bring our kids around the world with us! In the last year or two, though, we discovered that a lot of people travel around the world to teach. And they bring their kids with them. What a novel idea! So, in January we started talking about the possibility of teaching overseas. Was it feasible with two young kids? What would we do with the house? Would it be profitable? Is this a good time for us? For our kids? After a lot of prayer, we decided that we would put in the effort and let God handle the rest! If God intended for us to do this right now, then He would make it happen. Our eyes were opened to the world of international schools and we started looking into placement agencies. We settled on a small investment in Educators Overseas which gave us a place to collect our letters of recommendation, guidance for our resumes, and the coveted Directory of International Schools. Thankfully, we didn’t pay them much because the directory was the only resource we received, but we wouldn’t have jobs without it! From that, we were able to start emailing our resumes and cover letters to HR directors and principals, and then we waited impatiently for their reply. We interviewed with a bi-lingual school in Kuwait first. God did not want us there (Kennedy does not speak Arabic, so we would have had to pay her tuition at another international school), so we turned down the job. We interviewed with a school in Kenya which is where we thought we were supposed to go, but we were not offered the positions. We were beginning to feel that this was not the year for us to go overseas. We were nearing the deadline that we had imposed so that we would have the time to get everything done. That’s when we got the email from YISS. After about a week’s worth of interviews, we accepted the positions, and we have been on the run ever since!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Your Questions Answered

We have been asked many of the same questions by many different people, so I thought I would take a few minutes to answer the most common questions. If you have a different one, comment below, and I will get to you when I can!
1. What on earth possessed you to move to Korea?
     We had always wanted to teach overseas, but when Kennedy came along, we thought we were going to have to wait until the kids were out of school. Then we realized that it would be a good experience for them, so we decided to look into it. We interviewed with several schools this year, and YISS was the best fit for our family.
2. Do you speak Korean?
     No. We know a few words, but we're hoping to learn more while we're there.
3. Are you going to be teaching English?
     No. We will be teaching at in international Christian school. All of our students speak English at various levels. We do not need to speak Korean in order to teach them, but we hope to learn some from them!
4. Where will you live?
     We will live in an apartment in Itaewon. It is about a 10 minute walk from school, but the school will send a bus for us, so we can take that if we don't want to walk.
5. What did you do with all of your things?
     We rented out our house on the 15th of June. My dad built a wall in our third garage to create a storage unit for us in our own house. That is where the majority of our things are being stored.
6. Will you have a car? How will you get around?
     We do not plan to get a car in Korea. We plan to do a lot of walking and use the subway and bus systems. The public transportation in Seoul is supposed to be great!
7. What are you bringing with you?
     We are primarily bringing clothes with us. We packed some of the kids' favorite toys, some of our favorite foods, and a waffle maker. Our apartment will be furnished by the school, so we don't have to bring anything of that sort. We can get most of the necessities that we need in Seoul. It's just hard to find clothes in our sizes! 
8. What will you be teaching?
     Eric will be teaching middle school math (pre-algebra and algebra), and I will be the middle school substitute part time (normally a full time position where I would go to school every day regardless of whether a teacher is out, but they found someone to split the position with me, so that I can stay home with the kids part time).
9. Where will your kids be while you are at work?
     We hired a Filipino nanny who has been living in Seoul for the past 8 years. She is almost 50 and has raised 5 of her own kids. She came with great references from the American military families that she has nannied for the past several years. So, our kids will be with her in our apartment on the days that I am at work.
10. When will you come back home to visit?
     We plan to come home to visit early next June. We have about a 7 week window that we have off next summer, so we should be here about 6 weeks. We'll spend most of that time in WA, but we'll also have about a week on the east coast for Evan's wedding!
11. Where will you shop?
     Korea has a little bit of everything for shopping. There is a Lotte Mart which is similar to Target and has everything we might need. There are also grocery stores and open markets for bartering. In addition, our school has a bus that goes to Costco every Thursday after school. So, we should be set!
12. How long will you be there?
    We signed a two year contract with YISS, but we don't know for sure how long we'll be there! Two years minimum. :)
13. How will you communicate with everyone back home?
     Obviously we will communicate through this blog. We will also use Facebook because it's easy! Our primary means of (two way) communication will be through Skype and Facetime. So, send us an email if you want our contact information!
I hope you got some new information. If there's something else you want to know, leave a comment for me!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Home Again, Home Again

Boy, are we getting tired of traveling! We were far more successful on our flights home from Mississippi than we were on our flights getting there. Then we had a great weekend in Eastern Washington with my family. Now, we are down at Eric's mom's house spending some quality time with her and her family. But, in the last 6 days, we have slept in 6 different places!! Granted, one night we only moved from the tent to a trailer on the same property, but it was still a different place for the kids to fall asleep and wake up! The other night right before bed, my cousin left and said she was going to go home to sleep. Cade said, "I want to go home..." and we certainly understood what he meant! Our poor kids are doing an amazing job learning to be flexible, but we are all ready to be "home". We are hoping that our desire to have a home again will make our transition to Korea that much easier. It may be different, but we'll be together (alone!) and we'll finally be home!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thank You NICS!

Let me just say again how amazingly blessed we are to be having this overseas experience with such an awesome organization and such wonderful people. We have built some awesome relationships in the last two weeks and we are so excited to be a part of something so much bigger than us! We had a banquet tonight where we got an opportunity to see all of the people that donated their time, cars, money, and houses to PFO, and it was amazing to see how supportive this community really is! We have taken over the Lively's house the last two weeks, someone had loaned us their car for the last two weeks, and we have had every meal as well as two snacks a day provided for us for the last two weeks. Not to mention the people that volunteered to take care of our children taking them to the zoo, to the movies, and to the pool nearly every day. We have had an awesome couple of weeks building relationships and learning and preparing for our future, and we couldn't have done it without NICS and their amazing support!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Strangers in Our Own Land

It is really amazing how much information we have gained in the past week. Granted, it is exhausting and overwhelming, but it is all very reliable and practical information. The strangest thing we are experiencing is that feeling of being a stranger...already. We're prepared to feel that way in Korea (well, not really, but as well as we can be at this point), but it's weird feeling like a stranger in our own country. And I'm not even referring to the fact that the South is a different culture in and of itself. No, we are strangers in that we have never taught in Christian schools, been missionaries, or traveled outside the US (Mexico and Canada do NOT count with this group of TCKs (third culture kids). We feel like we are the only ones who are not well-traveled or who did not grow up traveling. Many, if not most, of the teachers here grew up as missionary kids (MKs) and so are very familiar with the international schools and the Christian international schools. Having not attended or taught in either, we are feeling overwhelmed by the all of the new information about how this world works. But I will say, that we are very excited to join this community! It's going to be an amazing experience regardless of it's struggles. Clearly, they feel this way, too, as they are excited to join it once again!

Friday, July 1, 2011

PFO Week One

Our first week at PFO has been quite an experience! We have to get up early and we go to bed late, but we’re learning a lot! We have to wake the kids up and get them dressed while they’re still mostly asleep (which is saying a lot for my kids!), and then leave our host home to get breakfast before we drop the kids off for their class and we go to our first session. We usually have about four two-hour sessions per day. We have breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Southern Baptist Education Center, and then most evenings there is some type of event going on. We’ve had dinner and lunches with our school group, so we’re getting to know the other new staff well which has been great! We’re even more excited for Korea now!
The kids have been having an awesome time! They are both with the same two teachers, and they are staying very busy. They go swimming almost every day, to the park, out to lunch, and tomorrow they’re going to the zoo! They are having the time of their lives!
We are enjoying some great Southern food, too! We haven’t had time to explore anything around us, but we’re headed to a Memphis Redbirds game tomorrow. Tonight our wonderful host family had a crawfish cookout for us, complete with loads of crawfish, potatoes, corn, mushrooms, onions, and fried alligator and catfish appetizers. We are learning the meaning of "Southern hospitality"!
We are really looking forward to having Sunday off!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...