Thank You For My Eat

Dear Mom,
Thank you cooking every day!
So thanks.
But sometimes hit my hands or head. I'm so sad.
Please don't hit me.
But I love you mom.
Thank you for my eat!

*We read a story in class about a family making a surprise dinner for mom. After we read the story and discussed some comprehension questions, we made cards for our moms. I asked the kids to tell their moms what they are thankful for and why they love their mom so much. This is what the youngest girl in the class wrote. 


First Report Card: Smyrna West

Kindergarten. I went to a small kindergarten all by itself on a hill. There was a playground to the left of the building and a steep green hill out front that we weren't allowed to go all the way down. There were a few trees and shrubs down close to the road and this was forbidden territory.

I think kindergarten was when I started loving school and boys. Although the order sometimes rearranged itself. I remember our class getting checked for lice, our class lying down every day on our blue and red mats for nap time, and our alphabet circle. During the alphabet circle, we listened to a song about each letter and then Mrs. Easley passed around an inflatable letter character. I loved those guys. They smelled like pool floats and I always held it a little too long and a little too close to my face.

We usually began our days with a coloring sheet. It wasn't a creative coloring sheet. It was a follow-the-directions coloring sheet. The teacher had already colored a sample and taped it to the board for us to copy. I was a serious colorer. But one day, we got a new girl. And she sat at my little group of desks. And she got her coloring sheet and started boldly coloring her horse fuchsia. It was the most beautiful horse I had ever seen, so I picked up a fuchsia crayon and started coloring that bad boy a serious shade of magenta. But then, I had my first crisis of conscience. I remembered we were supposed to color the sheet the same as the example on the board. I turned and looked over my shoulder. Sure enough, that guy was brown up there. No fuchsia horses. And so, I ditched the pinkish crayon, picked up a brown one, and drove it into the paper. I colored so hard, my hand was hurting and crayon wax was crumbled across my paper. It didn't help. Now my horse didn't look fuchsia or brown. It looked like a white horse covered in throw up. It was a mess.

After a while, Mrs. Easley asked us to bring our coloring pages to her. We always turned them in one at a time. I usually skipped to her desk, but that day I was slow poking it up there. My stomach was all knotty. I handed her my paper and she looked at me with angry eyebrows. She told me she was disappointed in me. The new girl made her mistake honestly, but I made mine knowing the rules. And as I turned around in shame to return to my seat, she swatted me. She swatted my behind. It was my one and only "corporeal punishment" of my entire educational career. I was crushed.

This may or may not have been the same day I was swinging on the playground and Daniel Graham dared me to jump off. And because he was a boy and cute and I loved him, I did it. And I did it well. Except that I landed on my feet too hard, fell to my knees in the dirt, and continued falling forward until my face met a perfectly placed grey rock sticking out of the dirt. My precision was amazing. I went home with a black eye. Also, my only black eye of my entire educational career.

Plus also, we made shrinky dinks. Mine was a picture of a rainbow with a tree and some grass and a cloud. I still have that old thing taped in my closet. It was a magnet that lived on our fridge. But then Dad got tired of all the junk on it and he bought a stainless steel front fridge, and magnets do not stick to that guy.

Now, my kindergarten is, according to the website, an alternative school for kids in 6th-12th grade. However, the reputation it has now is as a minimum security school for those kids with behavioral issues. Sounds like fuchsia horses are still not allowed.

*This post was inspired by Writing to Reach You's Ashley, who is currently blogging through her school years. As if I didn't have enough little series to keep up with. Anyway, it's what came out today. Feel free to start your own and make sure you leave me a link so I can get to it!

* In case you're wondering about the word kindergarten, here's some etymology: 1852, from German, literally "children's garden," from Kinder "children" (plural of Kind "child") + Garten "garden"). Coined in 1840 by Friedrich Fröbel (1782-1852) in reference to his method of developing intelligence in young children, the first one in English established in 1850 by Johannes Ronge, a German Catholic priest.


A marriage is...

Oh, marriage. It's a weird thing that never quite sits still for a definition. Sometimes I suddenly remember I'm in one. A marriage, I mean. I remember I'm a wife, I'm not alone, and that I have someone else to worry care about. 

I think most marriages must have a code, or a way that we talk to each other in ways that don't destroy. Take sweetheart. When I call Kenny sweetheart, I'm not really remarking on the sweetness of his heart. It's rather a polite way of calling him an idiot. And he knows this. He doesn't really appreciate it when I call him sweetheart, but it's much better than being called an idiot so he doesn't really complain. And it goes both ways, too. Sometimes he says to me, "It's incredible!" And I know that what he's really saying is, "It's incredible how dumb you can be sometimes." But he didn't call me dumb, and so I don't complain. I think these ways of expressing ourselves without using abusive language are important. Because you can't be satisfied with your spouse's behavior 100% of the time, but you don't want to go throwing hurtful words about, either. I mean, sure, it would be PERFECT if we didn't use "sweetheart" or "it's incredible" at all. If our hearts were always open and gracious towards each other and we forgave each other immediately for shortcomings. But hello? Real world, calling. It's not possible. And so the marriage code words are the next best thing.

Above all, I believe we is the most magical of all the marriage words.  For example, when Kenny says to me, "We need to clean the house. We can't live like this," I know he means YOU need to clean the house. I can't live like this. But he didn't come out and order me about. He threw himself into the guilty pile with me. And so, even though I knew he wasn't as guilty as me, I didn't have to be mad at him for accusing me of being an absolute slob this week, which would have been accurate and justified. 
Or, when I say, "We need to remember to give the cats their medicine," what I really mean is "Hey, YOU don't forget to give the cats their medicine." It's also a kind of secret code. It's also kind of what marriage is about, in a word. No matter whose fault or responsibility it may be, we throw our lot in together. Ruth said to Boaz, "Where you go, I will go." I say to Kenny, "What you are forced to do as a grown up person who lives with another grown up person, I will do with you." 

So, with my 8 months of marriage experience under my belt, I have discovered marriage is...

washing the dishes
scratching backs
scrubbing kitty poo off the floor
making out like you'll never see each other again
smiling at each other over coffee
marveling at how blessed you are
having sex before work and secretly smiling about it all day
taking out the garbage together
deciding not to buy a car
packing lunches
encouraging words
best cuddling position
using the word we... a lot
holding each other accountable
playing lullabies on the guitar in bed
waking up together
being grouchy and cute at the same time
laughing some more
reading out loud to each other
supporting each other's dreams
and washing the dishes.

We wash a lot of dishes. I am coming to believe that washing dishes is true love.


A Break

Hi guys. Things have slowed down considerably over here at Wonju Wife. Mostly because real life has sped up. We're nearing the end of the semester at school, apparently I have way too many ideas to do a good job on any of them, and I'm still a wife and a friend and a coffee drinker. If I didn't have a job, I could blog to my heart's content. But, I gotta make that money honey. I have a few things in the works that I'd like to post sometime this week, because I had a blast with my friend Angie who came to stay for the weekend. However, I've got to get some other stuff done first.

For one, I'm rereading the first four Harry Potter's (on #3 now) and then reading the rest that I never got to. I've been rereading all my childhood favorites from the school library, mostly because I can't afford my book-buying addiction anymore. Me and the HubbO sat down (okay, mostly the HubbO because my math is atrocious) and figured out our new budget until the end of the year. Let me just say, my daily iced caramel macchiato habit is in danger. It's going to be tough for a bit, because I'm an expert at spending money. I mean, it's not like I took any classes in it, but I'm qualified for a degree. But I'm also excited about the challenge presented.

I've recently been inspired by my good friend Melanie, who just shaved 20 minutes off her PR time in her 5th marathon! I loved following her training plan, reading about her long runs, her breaks, and then her ultimate triumph at Chicago last weekend. It's nice to have friends who are amazing people and achieve their dreams consistently through determination, hard work, and I hate to say it... planning! I've got to get some planning into my life. So, we've planned a budget, we've planned a book, I've planned... well, other stuff. So, let's see if I can get busy making that stuff happen!

I also have to quit expecting to be perfect. It's the most disappointing and ridiculous part of my personality, always expecting the impossible. I am not perfect, and that's perfectly fine. It's okay, really. I AM OKAY. I will always have something to work on. There will not be a day when I look at myself and think, "Hmm... I think I'm done!" But for now, I will work toward my goals and remember that I'm okay.

Bear with me through the dry spot!


The Big Chop

So, it was time to do something with the dreadlocks. They had become one massive clump on the back of my head. Kenny sat down on Saturday night and cut them all apart so they could hang straight from my head again. But the results were disastrous because I hadn't been washing them properly. So, when he cut the matted hair apart he found a disgusting amount of shampoo caked in my hair accompanied by an also disgusting stench! This would never do. And so, I knew my time with the dreads was coming to an end. I was upset and on the verge of a s bout of depression because I was sure my hair was going to be super-duper-Natalie-Portman-in-VforVendetta-short. It hadn't grown as much as I had hoped it would since I had them done in February. I loved my dreads. They were super simple. But, if you don't respect the dreads and take care of them in the first few months you have them, they don't respect you back and you end up with a mess.
Sunday rolled around and Kenny called The Hair Guy. He had been recommended to us by Philip and Sandra. He is Korean, but spent a lot of time in London so we figured he would know what to do with the dreads. There are a ton of places in the Hongdae area in Seoul that specialize in dreads, but I couldn't be bothered to go to Seoul, and there wasn't enough time for that. So, we headed to the Hair Guy. And Guy worked some serious magic.

1. Guy razored my dreads a little more than halfway off. It wasn't physically painful, but it hurt nonetheless.
2. He and his amazing wife/assistant spent close to 3 hours picking out my dreads with combs, water, and a little magic sauce, which I assumed to be akin to detangler.
3. He combed it all out straight. It was NASTY. Can't you tell? Then we washed it again and again and he started chopping.
And..... VOILA:

Can you believe how much hair he saved? This is what it looks like after I do it myself, which is the style that counts because it's the one I can successfully make in the mornings.  (And yes, my shirt says Dunder Mifflin on it. I found it here in Korea last year on serious sale at one of those little clothes shops in the subway.)

(Yep. My HubbO brought me breakfast in bed this morning!)
I thought I would be stressed and unhappy with the haircut, but it pleases me.
It's so much longer than I thought it would be. Although, I did say, "Oh Guy,
I can't have bangs. My skin is too greasy and bangs just end up plastered
unattractively across my forehead." And he said, "Okay."
And then snipped a right short chunk in the front.

What do you think?


Why Stereotypes Work. Sometimes.

In my adult class last night, we were discussing things we hate. The conversation was based upon learning to express dislikes. We practiced talking about things we "don't like," things "that really bug me," things that "make me mad," and things that "piss me off."

Discussion Question: What does your mother do that drives you crazy?

Female Student 1: "My mom sometimes says to me, "Why don't you just consider a blind date?" That really drives me crazy.

Female Student 2: "Sometimes my mom cleans my room and it drives me crazy!"

Female Student 3: "My mother always acts like she likes my sister more whenever she visits. It drives me crazy when she does that. "

Male Student: "My mom always makes me feel better, so I don't understand this question."

And that's all I'm gonna say about that.


A Thank You Recipe (or, What the Crap? It's Wednesday and Danielle Cooked Something!!)

First, thank you to all of you who sent me encouraging, kind, and wise comments and emails about yesterday's post. I think sometimes I have to get angry enough at myself in order to kind of jumpstart any plans I've made. An old friend used to tell me that I didn't have a very healthy self-esteem because I was always berating myself or making fun of myself. But in all sincerity, I have a bit too much self-esteem. I mean, really. Who expects me to accomplish all my goals in one week, eh? And the more I berate myself, the angrier I get. I get so frustrated until the only thing left to do is to get started.

And so good news: I got up early this morning. (I missed my daily wake up phone call from Sandra and Philip today. ㅜ.ㅜ I guess that's what happens when you get up on time. You don't need anyone calling you to make sure you're out of the bed!) I had breakfast with Kenny and my mom-in-law who stayed with us for a few days while Bo was fixed and recovering from his surgery. THEN, ladies and gentlemen, I went on a hike. Yep, right this morning, I went on a little mini-hike out my backdoor. We hiked through the pine forest and let me tell you, it is a mountain back there! Then we jumped rope a bit and came back in and cooked lunch.

Oh lunch. I've been meaning to care about cooking. Really. But it just hasn't happened. Until today. And so, I give you Junk Spaghetti, my very own recipe! It's like the first thing I've ever made. And basically, I thought it up while Kenny executed it. So I can't take all the credit. It was definitely a team effort. We wanted spaghetti, but didn't have any sauce on hand and we couldn't justify buying any at the little mart in front of the apartment because our house is full of food. Left over from Chuseok and from the awesome BBQ we had with friends on Sunday. So, we made the sauce ourselves!!

Ingredients: Whatever Junk You've Got In The Fridge!
We used:
1 large tomato
A few spoons of tomato paste (we found this in our kitchen when we moved in. Should I be telling you that?)
About two spoons of canned meat (don't you love it? It's actually beef in gochujang  )
One green chile
olive oil to your delight
a few sprinkles of mozzarella cheese
a lot of sprinkles of parmesan cheese
two spoons of honey
a little pasta water
half an onion
3 cloves of garlic
fresh basil from our basil plant!

How to make Junk Spaghetti sauce: Dice your tomato and put it in a pan with olive oil. Smush the tomato chunks with a spoon if you're not into chunky (like me) and then add the onions and garlic. Throw in a few spoons of the tomato paste. Add a little pasta water. Stir and stir. Ooh, add some pepper. Then put in some of that yummy scrumptious canned beef in chile paste. Stir that sauce, baby. The heat should be up enough so that it doesn't take too long for the sauce to start bubbling and smelling good. (Very exact, don't you think?) Add two rounds of honey in the pan. Add some more olive oil because your husband thinks the tomato paste is too sour. Chop your chile and put it in. Liberally sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Stir it around and ooh and ahh at the stringy cheesiness! Add a little more pasta water cause dang that sauce is thick. Wish that your husband had chopped the onion a little finer. (Remember? I do not love the chunky.)
And finally, stir in a few leaves of fresh basil and turn off the heat. Dump your spaghetti noodles into the sauce and stir it all around.

Plate that deliciousness and garnish with a bit more parmesan (one can never consume too much cheese) and a little leaf of basil. Then, enjoy your junk spaghetti.

Obviously, you must follow this recipe exactly or your junk spaghetti sauce will suck tremendously.


Frankly Speaking

Pursue, keep up with, circle round and round your life... know your own bone:
gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw at it still.  ~Thoreau

It all comes down to fear. I am afraid.

I've been thinking in spare moments. In the few minutes walk from the bus stop to the school. In the few minutes waiting for my macchiato in the coffee shop. In the few minutes while I wash the dishes. When I find myself thinking about why I'm not doing what I'm meant to be doing, I try to stop myself. But tonight, I didn't get to myself soon enough.

Why am I still struggling to get up in the morning? Why am I still spending more time reading blogs than writing one? Why am I still spending more time planning how I will study Korean than actually studying Korean? Why am I still talking about the planning stages of my writing project with Kenny instead of writing it? Why am I reading 10 different books now instead of writing one? Why am I lying in the bed for two extra hours in the morning instead of moving my body?

Today, while grading tests, I felt the fear turn over in my stomach. I realized I wasn't attempting anything because I was afraid of failing. I'm afraid of finding out that I'm not capable of what I set out to do. And so, to counteract the possibility of failure, I find ways to make sure I cannot succeed. I always have an excuse. My business seems to be creating excuses. 

I'm struggling to get up in the morning because if I have extra time, I should have something to show for it. What if I don't have anything to show? I'm spending more time reading other people's blogs than writing on mine because what if I don't get any comments, and no one reads my posts, and I'm not who I think I am to the blog world? I'm spending more time planning my study of Korean because what if I study a lot and hard and do the best I can and I never improve? I'm still talking about writing our book because what if I try to write my sections and it doesn't come together? What if I am not a writer at all? I am reading books because it's an excuse for not writing one myself. What if I stop reading and start writing, but nothing ever comes of it? I'm refusing to exercise because what if it doesn't help? What if I'm this big a year from now? What if I give up before I see results? I am afraid of failure.

Even in teaching, I find myself holding something back. I'm afraid that if I give it everything I've got and yet my students don't excel, I will find I am not a good teacher. 

I keep telling myself that these things are waiting for me. They are waiting for me to get up the guts and do something. But what if they're not? What if, at 26 years old, I have to start over? 

I'm afraid of being lost. 


A Day Late

But hey, why start being on time now?
On October 2, 2006, I spied this seriously attractive Asian guy getting on a train to Exmouth Beach. And I wiggled my way past a bunch of people and smudged myself down the aisle in front of everyone else in order to plop into the chair next to him. But some Chinese man took my spot. And so, I settled for second best, the seat in front of hot Asian guy. And then I popped my head over the seat and introduced myself.
The rest is history.

Today is the beginning of our 4th year together. And that hot Asian guy is my husband.

P.S. I know it's not our wedding anniversary or anything. But it's the day I found the rest of me, so it counts. 


Crazypants October

HELLOOOOOO OCTOBER! And hello new fall design. Whatchu think?

So, two things:

1. Crazypants dream.
Number one, you are not going to believe this. But I rang in the new month with a dream about...wait for it....
Dooce. Seriously? Yes, I had a dream about THE Heather Armstrong and her Jon and her Marlo (Sadly, Leta did not make an appearance which was a bit of a disappointment, becuase really that girl is my BFF without even knowing it. and we could have pitched some serious fits about something food-related, I'm sure.) And I woke up and felt special. I felt like she had talked to me in real life. But in real life, she hasn't even talked to me on the Internet.

So, in this dream, I am riding with Jon and Heather, and Marlo on a motorcycle and it's a bit tight on that seat. And I am telling Heather that I, in fact, do not judge her for holding her newborn on the back of this motorcycle with one hand while holding onto Jon with the other, because has she been to Thailand? They ride like this all the time. No biggie. But I tell her I'm sorry, because I think she will get a lot of flak for this tomorrow. Or now, if she Twitters a picture of this. And she's all like, "Whatev. Thanks for being my friend and riding on this motorcycle with me." No problem.
Okay, that's weird. But what's worse is that we're on the way to church and we keep having all these conversations and I keep on bringing up my OWN BLOG. It's like I can hear myself being a fool and buttkisser. But I just can't stop myself. I keep starting every sentence with "Yeah, over at Wonju Wife..." Oh, the shame.
Also, her new haircut was in my dream. And we rode the motorcycle some more, and some other stuff happened.  I tried to call my mom at one point. And my friend Michelle Lowe (yes, she knows me in real life, shut up) was in church, but she had bangs which was weird. See? Crazypants. And I don't even read Dooce everyday. Isn't this strange? I am dreaming about BLOGGERS and my BLOG. Disgraceful? Perhaps. But I'm still pretty excited that Dooce was in my dream. And Marlo, because she is cute, and squishy, and soft. And Jon was an okay guy. I like him because he dances in the kitchen and I too can bust some serious moves in the kitchen.

2. Crazypants.

This is seriously overdue. I've been owing Wishcake a picture of crazypants for about oh.... 5 months? Wishcake says "crazypants" all the time, and I'm surprised she hasn't trademarked that sucker by now. But she hasn't, and so that's why I can use it excessively in this post without any financial backlash or repercussion. While we were in India, particularly Pushkar, I was a bit obsessed with the most comfortable pants on the face of this planet. And they didn't have a name, but they were all ridiculous colors and patterns and so I called them Crazypants. So, I walked around Pushkar saying, "OOooh! Look at those crazypants!" "Kenny! Should I buy these crazypants?" "Can you have too many pairs of crazypants?" "Love these crazypants; they're ridiculous!" etc. So, the entire time I was in Pushkar, I was thinking about Wishcake and her scrumptious blog and how she always said crazypants. And "she's a peach." But mostly she says crazypants. So, here you go Wishcake! These are crazypants.

Welcome to October everybody. (I don't particularly care for any one month over the other. But hey, why not find something to be happy about?) Also, if you're in Korea, enjoy your Chuseok holiday!!
추석 잘 보내세요!!
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