Thursday, August 23, 2012

Intentions, plans, and goals

I'm not sure how it's possible I haven't blogged in three weeks.  After all, I had such good intentions.  Alas, intentions meaning nothing without follow-through.

Life has been full here, which I'm pretty sure was the subject of my last post.  I'd love to say I'm going to blog more starting now, but I'll let my actions speak for where my heart is.  I love to write and share life with those of you who read here, but I am also grateful that life is full.

What does it look like?  Well, lately it looks a lot like the photo above.  It is typhoon season, and that which we missed in July is upon us now in full swing.  The moisture and cooler air, albeit still saturated with humidity, is a welcome relief from the strong summer sun.

August has been a month all about planning (not that that is unusual for me).  We officially have less than one year remaining in Korea.  We want to be sure to use our year well.  So far I love this year.  My heart is so happy with our plans, and I'm excited to see how life actually turns out.  God's plan is always better -richer, deeper, more beautiful- than my plan.

Starting in September, we have something big every other month!  In one week, Husband's parents show up in our corner of Asia.  I have an itinerary for their two-week visit to combine rest and exploring with plenty of good eating and people watching.  We are thrilled they are coming to visit us over here across the Pacific.  We'll see if they're still happy to make the trip after 14 hours in the air!

November takes us to Thailand on a two-week adventure through the city and jungle of Chiang Mai as well as the Phuket-area beaches of the Amdaman Sea.  We will hike, camp, kayak, snorkel, and even stay in jungle huts and a longhouse in the mountains.  I am most excited for beach camping and delicious Thai food!

In January we head to New Zealand for the trip Husband and I are the most excited about.  Originally we planned our second trip to be on the beaches of southeast Asia, but the more we looked into locations, the more we realized New Zealand is where we really want to go.  It is an outdoor adventure paradise!  We will not even come close to exploring all this beautiful island has to offer, but we will certainly do our best!  It is going to be an absolute trip of our lifetime, and we decided to seize the moment with this one because we have no idea when a better time will come along. The circumstances are just right to really spend some time exploring this beautiful work of God's art.  We will spend 16 days in the southern hemisphere (remember, it will be summer there), venturing, hiking, and kayaking in the areas of Westland, Fiordland, Milford Sound, and Stewart Island (where we will do a Great White Shark cage dive).  We will hopefully live through that to finish the trip beach hiking and camping in Abel Tasman with a few days to spare at a small chalet alongside the Tasman Sea.

Sound idyllic?  I couldn't agree more.  I am simply beyond thrilled, elated, ecstatic for the Natural Beauty we are absolutely blessed to have the opportunity to explore.  

I could dream about these trips quite content for days, I think, but I know my time has more purpose.  Now that the trips are planned (and will be booked soon, but "Sweet Illusions" stole our credit card number, so we have been delayed) and husband is getting the hang of his new job, I have more time for my goals:

1) Memorize Korean numbers and "survival language" by the time my in-laws arrive.
2) Complete the substitute application so I can substitute teach on base this school year.
3) Write more posts for my other blog Joy Before You.
4) Teach the pre-school religious education class at church.
5) Get things rolling with CWOC (Catholic Women of the Chapel) to start in September.  I am interim-leader while our actual group leader is having her baby.
6) Plan the annual "Thunderbolt Feast" (a joint Thanksgiving celebration between the A-10 pilots and maintenance crews).
7) Enjoy running in temperatures below 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

But before I get to all that,I'm off to attempt a healthy carrot cake/muffin cream cheese filled roll with candied nuts on top type of thing.  Wish me luck!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Korean Summer School Graduate!

I am sad that Korean Summer School is over, but I am looking forward to practicing and diving deeper into the language to which I spent a month being introduced.  I have learned the Hangul alphabet, several Korean phrases, a wide range of vocabulary words, a couple Korean board games, and so much about this culture.  I hope to spend time regularly practicing my Korean with the Rosetta Stone Husband and I purchased months ago and sadly have barley used.

During the four weeks of class, we had the privilege of going on two field trips:  one to a Korean middle school and one exploring the Republic of Korea side of the Air Force base.

I am grateful for these lovely ladies (who are married to guys in my husband's squadron, which makes us insta-friends!).  They were excellent companions while we journeyed with a group of mostly middle school students.  We had pretty much just met before class began.  Now, after 10 hours per week together learning Korean, we have gotten pretty close.  I'm glad both of them will be here with me for the next year!

The highlight of the field trip for us was the cafeteria lunch!  It was the best food I've had in Korea yet! (In my part 2 post I will introduce you to the worst food I've had yet, also found at a cafeteria.)  Starting in the upper left and rotating clockwise around the tray:  kimchi (fermented cabbage with red pepper paste), bulgogi (seared beef with vegetables), something like sweet and sour meatballs, fish soup with potatoes? (that would be a cross section of a fish including bones, vertebrae and skin!), rice (to which I later added red pepper paste = my new favorite food!), pickled green onion in red pepper paste.

The middle school also had a small bookstore next to the cafeteria.  The Korean students all purchased ice cream treats there after lunch.  Wanting to fit in of course:) we followed suit and purchased a variety of Drumstick type cones, frozen shake-in-a-bag things, and frozen smoothies!

Another highlight of class was Korean food day!  Our teacher, Mr. Kwon, taught us how to make Kimbap, which is similar to sushi (except no raw fish).  Don't ever tell a Korean or Japanese person it's similar to sushi though.  They will both disagree whole heartedly.  It is its own food:)

Clockwise from the bowl of sticky rice:  blanched spinach, yellow pickled radish (tastes kind of like sweet pickles), steamed carrots, sliced pan-fried hotdogs, Krab, sesame oil, sliced fish cakes, sliced fried eggs.

Lay out the bamboo roller sheet.  Place a piece of seaweed paper on it with the rough side up.  Add a scoop or two of rice and spread it out evenly over the seaweed paper.  Towards the end closest to you, add a strip of each type of ingredient.  

Using the bamboo roller, tightly roll up the edge of the kimbap that is closest to you.  Roll it so all the fillings are enclosed, then squeeze and continue rolling.  When the roll is all rolled up, squeeze it gently all over to secure ingredients inside.  Carefully remove the bampboo roller.

With your hands, sprinkle sesame oil over the seaweed paper and spread it evenly over the surface.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Cut each roll into approximately 10 pieces.


More food coming up in Korean Summer School Part 2!
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