Old School: My Favorite Seoul Posts

Hello my lovelies! I thought I'd do a roundup of my favorite posts that I wrote during my first year spent in Seoul. I moved to Cheonho in February of 2008 and we were married February 2009 and then took off for our 6 month honeymoon. After that, we moved to Wonju and spent almost two years there AND NEVER BOUGHT ONE SINGLE ROLL OF TOILET PAPER. No, I'm serious. I never bought toilet paper while we lived in that house because Kenny's friends and family had brought us toilet paper, Kleenex, and laundry detergent as housewarming gifts. I still think it's awesome.

So, anyway, I thought I'd share with you some of the best memories I made and some of the most profound moments I had when I lived in this big city a few years ago. Talk about self-referential, I know. Many of you might have started reading this blog after VEDA last August, so I thought it might be some background for the newer peeps as well. So, if you've got nothing to do, click through the archives and have a look!

Teacher, Teacher! I used to teach at an English preschool and my kids were hilarious. They also induced nervous breakdowns and lots of yelling, but mostly they were funny!

How to Be Surprised. This post is a reflection on what I felt when I am confronted with true vulnerability in others. And myself.

Subway BFF. This is part of the Imagine All The People series that's been defunct for a while, but which I'm planning to revive soon!

I Went Ice Skating. Pretty self-explanatory.

New Year, New Family. Reflections on the Lunar New Year  celebrated with Kenny's family a few weeks before our wedding.

And those are some of the posts I most enjoyed reading and most enjoy rereading. Hope you enjoyed them, too! Also, check here in case you missed the Apartment Tour Video or my Expectations video on YouTube. Subscribe, yo! 


Three Things

We've got the apartment pretty much set up to our satisfaction. We're still waiting to get a few more things to organize the kitchen space, because (don't even get me started on design and function and my dad is a cabinet builder/designer so good grief I know way too much about how WRONG this is) there's a lack of upper cabinet storage and the lower cabinets are funky. The only other thing I've left to do is organize my desk and crafting stuff, which is taking FOR. EV. ER. So, I thought I'd share some pictures of our space and I hope to get around to a video tour sometime this week!

the office corner
I'm really happy with the way our desks came together. Kenny's desk is the one Miso is so comfortably lying on.

the sleeping corner

I'm really happy about the recessed wall where we shoved the bed. It gives us a feel of divided space, but doesn't close off the room and make it feel smaller.

the living space
I love love love our new couch! Such a perfect fit for us and so comfortable. When I'm at home, if I'm not at the desk, I'm definitely on this couch. The cool thing about it is that it's adjustable. So, say we move into a new place in a few years and this couch's configuration doesn't work. Well, the long cushion is actually just velcroed to an ottoman. I make the long cushion part of the seating and take one of the single cushions and attach it to the ottoman and it can be moved around. It could also be done with the long cushion on the other side instead. It's flexibility is great for our nomadic lifestyle. We haven't exactly figured out what color it is yet.

the kitchen corner
So, it needs a little work, but it's functional and my washing machine has rid me of my drum machine prejudice.

the view
The lighting looks funky to the camera, but it's pretty in person. Our view is fantastic and I find myself often "waking up" from looking out the window and having to check the time.

Well, what do you think?


This film was shown yesterday at our church service as part of the Not For Sale Campaign, which is working to "re-abolish slavery" and put an end to human trafficking.

And, three:

Thanks to @clareyt for tweeting the link to this awesome video. Don't listen to the lies, girls!

That is all. 


On Moving

"So I'm holding within me a great sense of excitement, anticipation, and rejoicing at new beginnings, but at the same time, I'm also harboring a sense of loss and sadness. So many good things happened to us in this house. It's hard to believe it could get any better." (from my journal June 5, 2011)

{from Judykauffman via etsy}

So, we moved. We have been planning on moving. It wasn't a surprise, except for how fast it all fell into place. But I still felt sad about leaving Wonju. The night before we left, Kenny and I sat down in the living room and recounted all the blessings and good things that had happened to us in that quaint, perfect apartment. We numbered the things we were thankful for, the amazing gifts we received, and the beautiful friends we made there. I sobbed through the entire list and when Kenny prayed for us and the cats to have a good and non-stressful move and prayed that the next inhabitants of the house would find it just as wonderful and perfect as we have, I cried even harder. It was our first place as a married couple. The kitters came to us only a few weeks after we moved in. I had a fabulous community of coworkers and friends in town. We were so comfortable there. I was surprised at how attached I had become to that place, but now I'm so glad that I mourned leaving it. I still miss Wonju, but because I took the time to be sad and to admit how much it had meant to me, I can say I'm looking forward to seeing what this tiny Mapo house has for us.

The thing we most need now is patience. Because we moved into a furnished apartment in Wonju, we didn't have much furniture: just our bed, our desks, and a kitchen island. We left so many things in the Wonju house because they weren't our style and we had bought them simply to meet an immediate need and because it was cheap. I don't want to do that here. I want to wait and look for exactly what I want. I want to build our home with intention so that we have things we delight in everyday and will want to take with us to the next place.

Money is also an issue for us this summer because I'm not working until August, paying to go to school, and Bo just cost us about $1,000.00 in surgeries in under a week. (The poor guy is having a rough time. First, he had contracted some periodontal disease from when he was so sick as a kitten. It had infected his gums and they were pulling away from his teeth. So he had a lot of reparative and preventative work done last Thursday. Then, on Sunday, while he was staying at my mom-in-law's, she called us and said he was limping and wouldn't let her touch him. We took him to the vet later that day and had x-rays done. But she said nothing looked broken. Apparently she missed his hip fracture, because I took him to another vet close to our house today and he could feel his hip out of place right away. So he's scheduled for hip surgery to remove the broken pieces of his hip bones tomorrow. My little Bo Bear has been in so much pain. And expensive pain, let me tell you.)

All of these circumstances combined means we need to practice the art of waiting. Waiting for the right piece of furniture, waiting for the paychecks to start coming in, and waiting to make sure we really need what we feel is so necessary right this minute.

And all you have to do is wait for me to get a few more things organized before I throw up a video tour of the new place!

P.S. Thank you to everyone who has continued to read this little blog. I haven't quite got the heart to change my name from Wonju Wife to whatever comes next yet. But I couldn't be happier with the lovely comments I've gotten from all of you. I still mentally click my heels and physically bounce around in my chair with joy everytime I read your words. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

P.P.S. I'm reading Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace this summer with a whole lot of cool Internet friends. If you haven't joined, read about it here, and do it already!


Just Do the Work

Confession: I buy things that are supposedly going to help me turn into a better version of myself. Honestly, I was just sitting at my desk looking at the three planners I have for 2011 so far, and I had the thought, “I need a new planner so I can really plan stuff.” Seriously, that’s what ran through my head.  If I don’t plan stuff now, what makes me think I’m going to plan stuff just because I buy a new planner? I have hundreds of blank journals at home because I get halfway through one and then refuse to pick back up after I’ve taken some time off. I buy a new one and think that the new journal will magically transform me into a disciplined journal writer.

I do this with new clothes as well. One new shirt is going to turn me into a fashion icon. Yeah right. I can see you all rolling your eyes.  And haircuts. I am always incredibly disappointed after new haircuts. It’s like I somehow think they’re going to make me thinner. If only, right?

People often talk about using the right tools or having the right accessories. But for me, sometimes, the accessories are just an excuse. Something I’m waiting for to do the hard work of personal transformation for me. Isn’t that what all this stuff is? An excuse. All this material crap has to be hauled around to apartment after apartment and country after country. Couldn’t I just go ahead and put in the hours of self-discipline and get rid of all the stuff?

I’m not buying anything new that will inevitably not turn me into a brand new shiny version of myself that is so close to perfection it will never exist. I’m just going to start using what I have and doing what I can to be who I need to be.

I have three planners. Surely one of them could work! 


The Rapidity is Exhilarating. And Scary.

May 31: Land in Korea. Travel to mom-in-law's house to reunite with my kitters. Mention before going to bed to the husband that we should look at apartments soon. 

June 1: Get up at 7:00 am. Husband is super duper on top of making appointments with realty offices in Seoul. See 5 apartments1 in Gwanghamun. See 3 apartments in Gangdong. Have 8 pm appointment to see an apartment in Mapo. Go to 8 pm appointment and love the place. It's bigger than most, has a view of the river, and enough room for our queen size bed and both our desks. We put a teeny tiny deposit of $100 down so he won't show it to anyone else. 

June 2: Go back to apartment. Double check it. We're still in love. 6 minute walk from subway station. Sign papers. We have an apartment. The guy asks us when we want to move in. Kenny says, "June 10th."

June 3: Load up the kitters and head back to our mansion2 in Wonju. Repeat to one another over and over, "Gosh, a week left here." "Wow, that was so fast!" 

It was completely unexpected. I thought I'd spend a last summer in Wonju. But hey, the new apartment has air conditioning and this one doesn't. So, I have a week to pack! And that's what's happened since I've been back. I'll slowly be going through pictures and journal entries and telling you about all our adventures in Frankfurt, on the Camino, in Barcelona, and in France. 

Feels so nice to be back.

1So basically we looked at one room places. They’re generally called officetels in Korea, but I don’t like the look of the word and I don’t like typing it either.
2Obviously since we’re downsizing to a one room studio type place, this two-bedroom apartment with it’s many doors and corners feels huge. 

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