Let's Not Forget

Yeah, yeah, our kittens are cute. But let's not forget why we even have kittens. It's because Kenny had no choice but to fall in love with THE best cat that has ever graced the earth while we were staying with my parents this summer.
Her name is Kimchi. My mother picked that name. I wanted to name her Christmas, because we found her at Christmas time, 2007, and she was pretty much the best present ever. Plus also*, I really just wanted to be able to sing that song from The Grinch year round: "Where are you Christmas? Why can't I find you?" See. Perfect. But mom said no and named her Kimchi instead because I was getting ready to go to Korea. Since her arrival on our back deck, she has taken it upon herself to be everything you wish for in a feline companion. Except for when she scratches the furniture with her claws (she still gets to play outside!) or when she pees not quite all the way inside the litter box. Or she sleeps on your face.
She has acquired a number of nicknames and is hardly called just plain Kimchi anymore. Except when I Skype with the mumsie and she holds her up to the screen and I call her name, "Kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiim- chaaaaaaaaaeeeeeeeeeee." She loves it, I promise. The mumsie, not so much. She has wooed every cat-hater that has entered our house, including The DaddyO. They're BFFs.
And while Kenny and I stayed in America with Kimchi, she wooed him as well. And now we get to have Miso and Bo! All because Kimmers is the most freaking awesome cat in the world. Don't argue with me on this. It's irrefutable. I mean, your cat is probably great, but it's not Kimmy. Plus also, she is prettier than any other cat. See?


*A little too much Junie B. Jones. Thank you Barbara Park for writing books that make me laugh so hard I cry.


Monday Magic

It worked! The schedule is magic. 
I got out of bed at 7:07 am. I cooked breakfast. I prayed. I went outside to jump some rope, but it was raining. So I had an impromptu dance recital in our living room to burn some of The Belly (which is back with a vengeance might I add). Then I Skyped with my mother, and answered some email. And now I'm blogging. And it's only 10 am! I'm so happy. We'll see if the magic continues for another day. And I encourage you to make your own schedules (but don't make them better than mine because then I'll feel stupid) and post them! Make sure you leave me a link in the comments if you do your own so I can share in your happy dance when you finally achieve your own daily goals!! 

For now, I'd like to leave you with a quotation I've been chewing on for a while. It's from the ever-wise words of Tamie, over at the owls & the angels. Seriously, if you're not reading her blog, you should be. 

THE EFFORT ISN'T IN VAIN. The effects of the effort may always be a mystery to us. We may not succeed in life in the ways we think we should succeed. We may make the same mistakes, getting hung up in the same places, our entire lives. But, somehow, still, in a way that is held always and only in the heart of God, the effort is not in vain. We have to try with all our hearts, all the while knowing that it is never the trying that will get us there. We have to stop trying and fall on God's mercy alone. 
Now, go! Live your awesome lives. And then tell me all about it. ;)  <<- First smiley face EVER on this blog. Mark this day in your calendar. History was made. (I blame Korea)


Here's Hoping for Better Days...

Or really, better time management! I've been hearing about how if you write down your goals, you're some ridiculous percent more likely to achieve them rather than if you just talk about it. So, I'm done talking. I got crafty and wrote down my goals for a daily weekday schedule. Loving this plan on a wall in the kitchen!

* We work from 1-9 everyday, just in case this schedule seems extremely strange. And "play" pretty much means "blog" or "write" or "read" or "generally fart around on the internet and wait for people to comment on your blog and then have a shower and check your email and check for comments again" kind of thing. Also, this does not apply to the weekends. Because those are sacred and should not be adulterated by silly things like schedules.

Whatcha think?


They're Getting So Big!!

I don't need any hate mail from anyone telling me how awful Miso's eyes look! We are cleaning them every morning and every night, but when she wakes up they're caked. Took them for another vet visit yesterday. They did SO much better this time and I just left the room when they started to squeal so I wouldn't have to sit there crying like a baby because my cats were stressed out. Anyway, Miso's face is changing the most, I think.

Bo is changing too, but he's still got that baby face! Also in Kitty News, they are no longer hissing at each other. I was worried about that because we didn't get them from two different places; we got them from the same people and they had already been living together for the first three months of their lives! But perhaps it was just an adjustment period. And they totally bonded after their joint traumatic vet experience the other week. Whenever we come home from the vet, it's like they can feel how stressed out the other one is. So they always sleep together.

In human news, I have a head cold. Finally. Was wondering when it was going to hit. But this one was preceded by about 5 hours of dizziness. It was strange, and I left school one class early to go lie down. But turns out, closing my eyes, reading, standing up, walking, moving in general made it worse. I thought I was going to faint many times on the bus ride home! So I came home early, but wasn't productive at all. Just tried to sit really still. I think it's the lovely warm days combined with the beautifully cold nights and the air-conditioned classroom. So, I'll let you know how crappy I feel on a regular basis. Because I know you're all, "What's going on with Danielle? How is she feeling? Is she okay? Wish I was in Wonju to be with her...." Right? Am I right?


What the Crap Wednesday in Wonju

I have never been happier; I have never been more disappointed.
In myself.

Everything is good. I'm sure you're all so tired of my peachy outlook and all the gushing. You are longing for the Rage in the A.M. days, no? When every post was boiling over with the anger of adjusting to this country and adjusting to myself in this country. But no, now it's all sunflowers, gardens, and kitty sharts. And it really is good. I feel like I'm learning what it means to be a teacher. I am learning Korean with wonderful friends and teachers. I am learning about what it means to be a wife. And it's all good.

Except for the me part. I haven't achieved anything I've set out to achieve. I am still sleeping way too much, which sounds like a small problem but is ballooning into a big one. I am spending too much time wishing I was eating better instead of eating better. ( I am officially invoking ChubbO Chubbington status once more. Dang.) I am not keeping up with my email. I am not keeping my house in order. I am not making time for the small things- coffee on the veranda in the morning (impossible if you're sleeping through the morning), reading books in bed with the HubbO, following through on the tiny things I say to my students.

It's strange. My life could be so incredibly good. In fact, it is good, in spite of my totally crappy self. I can only imagine what it would be like if I finally got my shit together.... It's a weird feeling. To love your life, but to despise yourself. What the crap?


What a Weekend!

Last Saturday, we headed to Seoul for an excursion with our friends Sandra and Philip. They are expecting a baby in November! (Squeeeeeeeee! I pour an enormous amount of my baby cravings all over Sandra, but she takes it well!) We picked them up from their doctor's appointment early on Saturday morning, and after one tiny, inconsequential, life-threatening left turn, I drove us all to Seoul successfully. We had a great time stuffing our faces with Kraze Burger and shopping around Coex. Although we are running out of money, AND HOW, I still managed to purchase three new albums of Korean music and two Korean movies. I am serious about this language immersion thing and trying my best to study hard, or at least study some, everyday. Also, you may congratulate me. 
I spent about half an hour in a bookstore and DIDN'T BUY A SINGLE BOOK. It's like a world record for me, seriously. I can't remember ever walking out of a bookstore empty handed.

Anyway, two things that made me happy: One, my husband's smiling face and getting to spend some quality time with him after a week apart. Two, HOTDOGS from Costco!! Thanks Sandra and Philip for indulging my craving for both pizza AND hotdogs, because the ChubbO is still thriving!

We headed back on the deluxe bus with enough room for our feet, seats that seriously reclined, and an old Korean man behind me giving a serious lecture on Taoism to his poor neighbor. After he stopped talking, I slept almost the entire way home. Never riding standard buses again! Now we're spoiled.

On Sunday, my friend Jennifer came down to Wonju on a day trip. We had lots of fun and visited the Wonju Herb Farm. That's where most of the pictures are from. It was a beautiful garden with pond and after pond of waterlilies, beds of flowers, rows of birch trees, and a greenhouse full of herbs they encouraged you to touch and smell. Here are a few highlights... okay, a LOT of highlights!

(This is Lamb's Ear, or Lam's Ear if you're Korean.
It was indeed soft and like a lamb's ear!)

(Creative use of roof tiles.
Made me want to start my own roof tile garden.)

(Me and Jennifer looking lovely,
with cleavage conveniently cropped out!)

(We bought two basil plants and got to decorate the pots. But the battery on our camera went dead.
The pot on the left was done by Kenny and the one on the right was done by Jennifer. Miso was very curious about our basil. It smells so good and always makes me want pizza with basil on top!)

It was a beautiful weekend for us, filled with lovely friends and wonderful outings. (Do I sound 60 years old? Yes.) Still loving it here in Wonju. Except when it rains. And I don't have an umbrella. And the skies are gray and making me want to sleep through all my classes instead of teach them. But other than that, still loving it.



Today is Kenny's first day at work. We get to ride the bus together and ride home together, too! We had a wonderful weekend with many good friends, and I'm going to tell you all about it! Hopefully later tonight, I'll have a post in the works about my fabulous weekend in Seoul and Wonju. Until then, love you guys!!


A Quickie

Hey guys, I am thinking about you. A ton. Because everyday I have things I want to tell you, pictures I want to post, stuff to say. BUT. My mother-in-law has been here since Tuesday and we are having too much fun for me to hang out on the internet and compose blog posts. Also, it is rude. So, there was tons of kitty drama this week I must tell you about. There was much crying and wailing and lots of eating and ice cream. Also, I got to speak a lot of Korean this week and it was awesome. Kenny has been in Seoul since Sunday for his job training, which he likes, I think.

But, what  I really want to tell you...

Last night I was Skyping with my parents. My mom and I were chatting on her computer and behind her I can see my dad in the background at his computer and all of a sudden he turns around and says, "Time out. I need your help." And I'm all, Sure. Whatchu want, DaddyO?
And he says. Get this. He says. Seriously. "Where is my Wall?"
He's been using Facebook for like 2 months and just now he is figuring out he has a Wall. He's just been using the Home page. He never clicked on Profile because he thought that was just a place where you put your name and your picture and stuff.

Where is my Wall...Is that not the cutest thing you've ever heard from a 49 year old man? 


Miso and Bo

Our new babies! Miso is the girl and she's the golden one. Bo is the boy and he's sort of silverish. They don't get along at all. Every time Bo comes close to Miso, she'll hiss and make this gurgling sound in her throat. They're still getting used to using the litter box correctly, so I've been sweeping up litter pretty much since they got here. And Bo just sneezed so hard, he farted and splashed poop all over the floor! Ah, don't you love 'em?


Life of Anonymous Celebrity, Part VII: Wonju Style

Episode 1: So, I'm waiting at the bus stop after work. It's around 9:30 and I've been waiting for close to 15 minutes, which is weird. Usually, I only have to wait around 10 minutes for the next bus to come. The bus stop is a few meters from an intersection. I don't notice this car until I see it at the intersection, making a wide and hasty u-turn. I think it is strange that this guy whipped it around so fast and so I watch this white beat up car drive back down the street, this time on my side. But he doesn't keep driving. The window comes down, the car pulls over into the lane next to the sidewalk, comes to a full stop,  and this Korean guy says, "Hey. Can I take you home? I'm just chillin.'" He's maybe just graduated from college, or perhaps is a little closer to my age. He's leaning over toward the passenger side, yelling at me with one of his arms draped across the steering wheel, using the other to make ghetto-inspired hand gestures as he tries to get me into his car.

ME: What?
Korean Guy: I mean, can I take you home? I'm just chillin' (again with the chillin'?)
ME: Ummm... no, thanks. I'm going home to my husband. (Mention the husband, maybe he'll leave?)
KG: Yeah. That's cool, man. I can give you a ride. Just chillin, you know?
ME: That's really okay. I'm waiting for the bus."
KG: You sure? It will be much faster if I take you. The bus is sloooooow.
ME: I actually like the bus. I like to think about things. (Wow. That was lame.)
KG: Are you sure?
ME: Yes, I'm very sure. Um? You better go now. You should go.

Because by this time, the light has changed and there is a long line of cars behind this Korean guy, and they are all honking their horns and staring at me. Like I need more attention.
So, I was a bit uncomfortable. I wouldn't say I was scared, just uncomfortable with the situation. I haven't really figured this guy out. Maybe he was just a cool guy, apparently just chillin', who wanted to practice his English with somebody and he just happened to spot me at the bus stop, make a complete u-turn and head in the other direction to accomplish this goal. Or maybe I looked attractive. Because, you know, it was dark and all. And hey, I got a new catch phrase out of it, right?

Hey, I'm just chillin', you know?

Episode 2: Friday night, after being "Hello"ed to death inside the galbi restaurant where we ate dinner, we were walking down the street in order to find a taxi. There is a car with its windows rolled down waiting at the stoplight. There is a boy in the passenger's seat and he is looking at me. He is maybe in 7th grade? He's getting greasy, as teens are wont to do. His face his shiny; his hair is slicked onto his forehead in oily pieces. He yells, at an incredibly impressive volume, "HELLOOOOOOOO!" So, I turn and say, "Hello," because why not? He's a kid. And his mom probably prodded him in the ribs with her elbow a thousand times telling him to practice his English with the woman on the street. But then, he yells even louder, "HEEEELLLLOOOOOO!" So I just turn around and keep walking down the street. But the light turns, and as the car makes the right turn and passes us, I can hear him yelling all the way down the street at me. A little much, no?

Anyway, all this to say, things haven't changed much. 6 months away, I've been missed by my public.


Learning Korean

Yesterday I went to my first Korean class. Well, technically it is just my first Korean class this  year. I went to two different classes last year, but didn't stick with either for more than one level because of the distance from my house. But now, I go to class at work by myself! I like my teacher- she's one of the bilingual teachers at ELP. And she decided that I should write her an email everyday in Korean as part of my efforts to become the next Misuda star (more on this later, when I have time to link to videos).

Anyway, in my efforts to improve quickly, I decided it would be much easier to type if I knew which letters would come up when I hit which keys. So, I pretty much bedazzled my computer keyboard. It made it much faster than the guess, punch, wrongO, backspace, guess again method.

Hopefully, I will continue to progress quickly and I'll be speaking Korean fluently in no time! The text on the picture says, "I am studying Korean." I just learned how to form the present continuous. And the past tense. And future. Because verbs are the meat of any language, yeah?

Must go eat a delicious lunch prepared by the HubbO. Took pictures on our morning walk today, so there should be photos for you later this weekend!! Have a great Friday!


Redeeming Myself, Maybe

So, yesterday I posted probably the worst video possible for those of you outside of Korea because now all you've been exposed to is the current strangeness that is the K-Pop scene. Of course, G-Dragon is still a hot little muffin and maybe you might think so if you saw him in one of his other videos, with his band called Big Bang. Here's one of the songs that I can actually listen to while I watch the video of his perfect teeth. So what if the man wears headbands and ponytails?

But anyway, I wanted to give you a little taste of what we're listening to in our house. My taste is mainly informed by Kenny's preferences, obviously. But I like this music. I've decided to give a short video playlist for your listening pleasure. You can thank me in the comments.

First up, here's Lucid Fall. He is my favorite Korean artist and I love ALL his songs. Every single one. If I had to pick a Korean artist to listen to for the rest of my life and I could only pick one, it'd be this guy.

Okay, and this is simply the happiest song in the history of happy songs. No matter what it makes me smile and dance. I like Kim Jong Kook (김종국) in this video because he's not being all manly and obsessed with working out. So, turn up the volume and do a happy dance!

This is from a band called Rollercoaster (롤러코스터)and this is their song Last Scene. They're kind of old school, but I enjoy it.

For another seriously happy song, here's Humming Urban Stereo with Hawaiian Couple. The video is quite cheesy, and so is the song from what I can gather. But I like it anyway. In the beginning of the video, the guy is saying, "I'm sorry. I don't know what I did, but please forgive me." And later, the announcement in the train station says something along the lines of, "The love is train is coming. So hug each other." Listen to this song and go hug somebody!

Last of all, this is a freaking awesome song you should go listen to. The embedding has been disabled, but click on this link and go listen. It's incredible. Seriously, start your day with this. Or end it with this. Or split it in two with this. It's by Jeon Ja Yang (전자양). It's perfection.

So, that's kind of what's going on in our house, Korean music wise. Besides all the G-Dragon YouTubing that's going on. Hope you enjoyed this foray into Korean music. I find that even if you can't understand the words, you can always hear the feelings. I can pick out certain phrases and words, but I often just enjoy the sound. My Korean classes begin tomorrow though! The free ones I get through my freaking awesome school. So, maybe I'll be able to sing all of these at the noraebang the next time we go! (Noraebang is karaoke in Korea. It literally means song room. And you go into your own room with your friends and have drinks and snacks and sing your heart out.)

On a P.S. sort of note: I was observed by my principal for the first time today. And basically all I did was the exact same thing I always do. Except, um, I ignored the fact that she was there. I feel like it went pretty well. The kids were great. They didn't freeze up or act any different. Perhaps they participated with a little bit more enthusiasm than usual, but hey, it could only help, right? Still loving my job. Wonder when the new will wear off?



Dear Currently Married with all Hopes and Dreams Satisfied Self,

What the crap? Yeah, so it's not Wednesday, but what the crap anyway. Use your brain sometimes. G-Dragon has dyed his hair blonde. It looks terrible. Puh-lease! His name is G-Dragon for crying out loud. Try to say that all sexily and like you're about to kiss him or something. Oh, G-Dragon, I love you. Nope. Doesn't work. Reminiscent of When Harry Met Sally's Harry saying, "Sheldon? You had great sex with Sheldon? No, I don't think so. Ride me big...Sheldon?" Negative on the Sheldon and the G-Dragon. During his Heartbreaker video, he reminds you of a woman most of the time. At the end, you thought maybe he had on a bra underneath his lacy jacket.

BUT, on the other hand Self, you did see him on a late night documentary about popular music and what makes it work and tick and why everybody loves it. And he seemed like a normal person with strangely attractive hands that moved a lot while he talked about how everything he presents to the public is basically programmed and planned from A to Z. And perhaps you were wrong to think that your amazing husband, who in your eyes, IS hotter than Rain(비), would make it impossible for you to ever fully indulge in another Johnny Depp Movie, well because you have your own personal Johnny Depp, who is every bit as much of a Don Juan as Don Juan in Don Juan. Because when you got married, you didn't scratch your eyes out, did you? And as we all know, Koreans have a certain sexy factor when it comes to you.

Honestly, G-Dragon though? You're finding yourself attracted to G-Dragon? Of all the Korean celebrities out there walking around without wearing form-fitting pants and sighing like women, you picked him? Really, you ought to be ashamed of yourSelf. But there's something to it, isn't there? Because he's popular. And he knows how to make dat money honey. And if someone who had reeled in billions of won on my image last year tells me to dye my hair blonde and kick up the feminine act a bit, I'd do it.

Although I don't really go for the music. Because apparently it sounds just like a bunch of other stuff. I go for the G-Dragon. There. I said it. Oh Self, stop being such a snob. If you like him, you like him. You're weird. And you're obviously sleep-deprived and all that. But still, just suck it up and like who you like. And don't be sorry about it. Because that makes you a wussy. And it's worse to be a sniveling wussy with no taste than a ChubbO with weird, but decisive taste.

But really. Get yourself together.
I'll be praying for you.



The Beginning of Serious

My new desk was delivered today. It is just like Kenny's, only in the opposite corner of the room. I love it. It's white and clean and simple. So, now I have no excuse! I will start to work on the things I have been putting off. I have an inspirational space to work in, one that makes me happy. As we've been putting the house together, I've been thinking a lot about my "style." And I would have always told you that I didn't have one. And it's true, I didn't. Until I learned to tell myself, "No." Because if you just say yes to your every whim, you end up with a lot of crap and style lets the door slam as she walks out. But as soon as I started limiting myself in small ways, using only one good idea at a time, instead of being indecisive and trying to utilize eleven different ideas in one space, I think my style started coming together a little more clearly. I'm not actually all that concerned with style. It's just something I've been noticing as we've been settling into the apartment. I wanted to create spaces in our home that made us happy, that made us feel we belong, no matter how long we end up staying here. I think I've begun to achieve that here. And it's exciting! Here are a few views of my new writing digs and some of the things I'm surrounding myself with while I blog to you!

(Where the magic happens.
Or where I waste enormous amounts of time on the Internet.
The pretty kitty is Kimchi. I'm going to post a few
Kimchi Photo Shoots from the summer here in a bit.)

(New simple wooden boxes for all my junk from Daiso.
And a selection of my books that I'm currently paying attention to.
The rest live on the awesome shelves Kenny put up in the living room.)

(I bought this postcard with all intents on sending it to a friend over a year ago.
Found it unpacking stuff and decided I liked it too much to mail it. So, I framed it instead!)

(My mother bought this bag for me right before I left for grad school
at Exeter in 2006. I am finally using it! I carry it to school everyday.
So, a belated thanks to the Mumsie. I've been driving Kenny crazy
leaving it all over the house because I just didn't have a place to put it.
But no more. It fits perfectly.)

Love it? I love it.

Little Things I Love

As we get more settled into our little apartment, I keep finding small things that make me happy. Almost as happy as donuts. I'm working on learning to use our camera, too. There are like two pictures of Kenny out of over a thousand honeymoon photos. So, I think it's time I learned how to step behind the lens. What do you think?

(We got these coffee cups from one of Kenny's coworkers as a wedding gift.)

(My new planner, with plans!)

(I love this elephant ring holder. Keeps my wedding ring safe.
My grandmother gave it to me while we were in Florida.)

(Our vices.)

(I have developed a recent obsession with what time it is.
Doesn't change how fast I move, but at least I know how late I'll be.)

(These elephants and birds hang in our living room.)

(I'm extremely excited we have an office.
I smile every time I walk through the door
looking at our little big-headed cardboard couple.)

Now all I need is a picture of a donut to complete this list of tiny things bringing me joy!


What the Crap Wednesday: Early Thursday A.M. Edition

I know what you're all thinking.
"What the Crap? Where's ChubbO Chubbington? And what is this girl's hang up with alliteration?"
NO! Don't go!! You're in the right place. We're just as ChubbO as we used to be. In fact, I ate 5 little donut holes from Dunkin' Donuts today. You know why? To celebrate the fact that I lost about 4 pounds this week. Which is awesome. Because now I feel much better. And I fit in my clothes. So that's that.
But yes, I finally revamped the old blog. I hope you guys like it, and I sure hope you weren't reading it while all the changing was going on because it was wacky there for a while. I think I've got everything close to how I'd like it to be, only it's 2 in the morning and everything is blurry! So, I think I'll come back tomorrow and tweak a few more things.
Let me know what you think! Any suggestions or observations are welcome. All credit for the header and my new picture go to the HubbO. He's pretty awesome.
I just stayed up way past my bedtime. Working on my blog. What the crap?


A Few Good Things

I'm smiling.
My head and my heart are full up at the moment. First of all, I love my job. And I don't say that lightly. If you'll remember, I've never loved my job. In fact, most of the time I've loathed even having a job. I always felt that it kept me from having the time to accomplish what was really important to me. It got in the way of my writing, in the way of my thinking, and in the way of my reading and sometimes running. But my job feels good this time around. I feel like I could do something here, become a better teacher, learn a lot.

I had been dreading the beginning of this week because my adult classes started, and I was scared. Because with kids, I can always wing it and they have no clue. They usually don't care what I'm doing to begin with. But adult students. They're for real. So, I was really nervous last night as I stepped into my first class. It went so well. No one ate me. It's a sweet, small class of women. And tonight, my other class, turned out to be so smart and fun. They are eager to learn and it should be fun because they're at a nice level for a discussion class. I'm also excited about starting a Book Club with my 5th and 6th graders. I am so pumped that perhaps I can get some of these kids reading for real, discovering other places, experiencing wild things, living other lives. I'm excited. And overwhelmed.

Oddly enough, I'm enjoying taking the bus. It's not usually crowded as I go to work in the middle of the day. And in the evening it can be busy, but we live so far out that by the time I get home, I've usually stolen a seat and rocked out to whatever is currently playing on my iPod.

I'm reading The Writing Life by Annie Dillard. It is a good book by itself, but on the veranda in the morning with a bowl of Choco Chex, it's even better.

Also, there's a Dunkin' Donuts down the street from work. Do you really think God in all his Goodness would put one anywhere else besides a few minutes walk from me?

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