Sunday, April 27, 2014


(Written last Monday, but forgot to post! Old news is better than no news, right?)

This has been a tough week to be on the Korean peninsula, in spite of the fact that we're sheltered from local news. There's no way that we can miss the grief that everyone here is feeling, as a result of the deaths of so many people on the Sewol ferry to Jeju Island. Nearly every business we walk by has the coverage on, and we can't ignore the tears in their eyes as they watch it. So many young lives lost. We're praying that the suicide of the vice principal doesn't lead to a string of suicides relating to the disaster.

It's been an interesting week in other ways for me, as well. My classes were testing all week, so I didn't really have (get) to do any teaching. We also had a couple of department days--long days of meetings to plan for next year--so I didn't even see my classes for two days. The week ended on Thursday, since we observe Good Friday (another reason to love teaching in a Christian school!), so it was a pretty easy week in that regard.

This week was also exciting because even after having our soccer game cancelled on Wednesday because of pollution (that's a first for me!), the girls were still able to win our game on Thursday against one of our toughest opponents to clinch the first place slot. This is the first time in school history that the girls soccer team has held first place, and we're pretty excited! We only have one more game this week, and then the end-of-season tournament is next Friday and Saturday. This will be a busy week, but it's the last one!

Now, if only my students hadn't been turning in work this week! This three day weekend is consumed by emails with thesis statements awaiting approval, grading resumes and cover letters, and grading quizzes. All of that on top of all of our other activities.

On Friday, Eric took the kids to the park to have a picnic with friends while I got some grading done and then went to the doctor. Then, I met them at the park for another hour or so. The weather was beautiful, and the kids were happy to be at a different park and playing with friends.

On Saturday, Eric took Kennedy to his baseball game while I took Cade to soccer and swimming. Our high school swim teacher is offering a few weekend classes for Pre-K kids to get introduced to some swimming basics.

We really hadn't done anything for Kennedy before she began swimming lessons in Kindergarten, and she was fine, but Cade is a different kid. He has a healthy fear of water (where she doesn't), and just basics like putting his head in the water are things he needs an introduction to. I'm not sure that swimming lessons will be a good investment until we can get him over this fear.

Kennedy, on the other hand, is doing great in swim. Even though she took 3rd quarter off, she picked it right back up in 4th quarter, and she can now swim the entire length of our school's regulation size pool both on her front and her back. I was so impressed when I happened to be in the swim office last week and saw her little pink swim cap swimming in the deep end.

Anyway, Sunday, of course, was Easter. Eric and I were pretty lame this year. We don't tend to do a whole lot for Easter--not really baskets or anything big--but we have always had some little eggs to hide until this year. Costco sells big chocolate eggs, but Eric has been going with the kids since I started soccer, and that's not really the type of thing he thinks to pick up.

So, after being exhausted Saturday night and not preparing anything, he got up early on Sunday and hid the Hershey Kisses that Lindy sent for Valentine's Day. I don't think the kids were super impressed, but I think they're willing to take chocolate in any form. We didn't really have plans for the day aside from that.

After Skyping with Eric's mom in the morning, we headed to church. There, one of the families from our school invited us over for Easter lunch. They had been asking us to come over and begging to take the kids for a few hours for the last couple of months, and we just hadn't made it happen, so this was a good opportunity.

They took the kids home from church with them, and Eric and I had a coffee date for a couple of hours, which was nice. We ended up having a delicious lunch, complete with ham, macaroni and cheese, and some really good salads.

After lunch, their middle and high school-aged daughters hid real plastic eggs full of jelly beans outside for the kids to find. They had the best time! (And that was when they let us know how lame our Hershey Kiss hunt had been!) They were even more excited to get to take the eggs and baskets home for next year.

Have I mentioned how grateful we are for good friends here? We don't spend a lot of time with this particular family--their kids are our students--but they're very supportive, kind, and generous, and I've appreciated the time we've spent with them. Unfortunately, they're another family that's leaving at the end of this year.

I can't think of a smooth transition into these pictures, but I will say that it was in the 70s today. Kennedy and I were outside in sleeveless dresses for the egg hunt today, and I'm so grateful for the absence of snow and jackets!

Our second day in Seorak was spent in the snow. We spent the morning sledding on a little hill not far from our condo. They charged us a ridiculous amount for this little hill and sleds, but the kids had a lot of fun. The only downside was the hike back up the hill after the ride down, but such is life.

After sledding, we headed into Sokcho for lunch. After our adventures in eating the previous day, we ready for something a little more reliable--and a little more filling. So, we headed to Pizza Hut. I will admit that after having Pizza Hut about twice in my entire life in the States, I'm embarrassed by how often we have it here. It's probably the best pizza I've had in Korea, though.

It was important that we get some sustenance because our afternoon plans were to finally make it Seoraksan National Park--the whole point of this long drive. Eric went to a bachelor party last spring where they went hiking at Seoraksan, and he had been wanting to get back ever since.

To be honest, I'd been dying to go, as well, but I wanted to go in the fall when the leaves have turned and the foliage is beautiful. He promised me this year, but I don't think it's going to happen. Nonetheless, we went hiking on Seoraksan. In the snow.

Of course, hiking with kids (and hiking in Korea) isn't too vigorous, but we had a nice walk, and it wasn't too bitterly cold.

They got into several snowball fights, and I had a good time capturing the winter scenes. After a few hours, we were done. We still had a three-four hour drive home.

We hit the road without having eaten any dinner because no one was too hungry when we left. We picked up some snacks to sustain us for a bit, and we were on our way.

An hour or two into our trip, we needed gas and food, so we stopped at what turned out to be a pretty lame (by Korean standards) rest area. We got our gas, and then we headed in to try to find something to eat. There weren't many options, and what we ended up with was pretty hilarious. A microwaved hamburger. Bibimbap. Rice. Microwaved mandu. Yum.

But, it was food in our stomachs, and if I'm honest, that was not the worst road dinner we had while Travis was here!

As I said at the beginning, I actually wrote this post last weekend. Much has happened since then, but I just don't have the time to trash such a long post right now. Better late than never, right?

If things go as planned, I'll get some recent pictures uploaded and edited and get a post up this week.

Soccer is finally over, and I've started to make a dent in my grading, so I have high hopes!

And now, I've got to get some more grading done!

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