Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Completing Him Challenge....Be the woman your man needs

I recently read about this challenge on another blog and decided to post.   It's week #7 in the Summer Completing Him Challenge!  and this week's challenge is: Support his vision. Discuss his vision for your family. Where does he see your family in 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years. Share with us how you let your husband lead.
While I have recently chatted with my husband about his vision for our family, we haven't really purposed to put anything in writing.  But I can clearly remember a time in my 16 years of marriage that I struggled with my husband’s vision for our family. It's great when you are in charge and people have to follow you but it's not always fun being a follower when you don't understand, like or know where the leader is going.  Here's my story....

We had been on staff at my dad’s church for about 5 years, when he felt the call to be an Army chaplain. The road to get there would require 3 more years of education and being a full time senior pastor, so to me the career change was something I’d have time to adjust to little by little. After his first semester in Seminary, he told me that he needed to withdraw from the school due to teaching that was unbiblical. I was devastated as my husband had a full scholarship to attend there but I understood his decision and supported him whole heartedly. It was the next decision that threw me. In the process of looking at other schools, my husband wanted to pack up our family and move 300 miles away to finish his education. I did not want to go! I cried, I fought, I prayed, I received counsel…I cried some more. It took me a few months to submit my will to my husband’s leading. We notified the church board, put our house on the market and began to plan our move away from family and friends. Two months later, our house had still not sold but we received some news…my father, who was the Sr. Pastor of the church resigned. As my husband was seeking the Lord, he felt that we were suppose to stay at the church and not move. I couldn’t believe it…it had taken me months to finally come to terms with moving and now we were not moving.

My husband became the Sr. Pastor of the church and continued to work on his degree. He completed his degree two years later but wasn’t sure whether chaplaincy was still in his future. By this point we had been at the church for over 10 years. We were happy where we were and I thought we’d be there forever. I was working part –time from our home and we were saving money to purchase a house. The new year came and my husband came to me and told me he had to resign and pursue Army Chaplaincy. I was not prepared for his next statement. The bylaws required 30 days notice, so he was going to give his 30 days…next week. This couldn’t be happening. We would be homeless with the only income from my part-time job.

I had learned from the past to follow my husband leading and to submit to his vision and leadership for our family. We had a lot of change that next year but I can happily say that we are where God wants us to be. Now three years later, after a yearlong deployment to Iraq, we are now living in Korea for two years, ministering the soldiers and their families.

You may not enjoy where your husband feels his career or vision for your family is going but let me encourage you to trust God in the midst of what you might think of as a storm.

Side note:
My husband initally started this blog in 2007 to share his journey to military chaplaincy.  Here is his first post, just a week after his last day at the church.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My little sick girl

My baby, who is 3 1/2 years old, is the most strong willed of all four of my girls, at least at this age.  She has attitude... along with hands on the hips...has to always be first, and will push her way to the top.  I guess being the youngest of four, she wants to make sure everyone knows where her place is...and it's not last.  Sometimes it frustrates me...sometimes it makes me laugh.  I am continutally telling  her that as long as she is obedient, she is first in my book.  I'm hoping that it will spark obedience over pushing, shoving and plowing her way to the front.

But it breaks my heart to see my fiesty, strong willed little one get sick. She becomes the complete opposite of when she is well.  She just sleeps, crys, and want to be held by mommy.  This morning she woke up at 1AM with a high fever (since we don't have our stuff yet, I am not sure how high it really was) and was throwing up.  I cleaned up her bed and moved her into mine, with a towel under her in case another episode happened.  She threw up again, we got a new towel and she wanted me to hold her. So I propped myself up on pillows so that I could hold her for awhile.  It must have been at least an hour or so later, when I was so tired I couldn't hold her anymore, I laid her down next to me.

Throughout the day, her fever would break, she'd want a drink and then we would repeat the whole cycle again.  High fever, throwing up, crying and wanting to be held.  We watched more movies today than we normally do in a week.  She finally fell asleep during one of  the movies and I laid her on the sofa.  I took her picture and had to post it.  She still has a fever but was able to keep a little dinner down tonight.  I am hoping this is only a 24 hour thing and that none  of the other get sick.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Just Had to Share

This was when the children of the fallen let their balloons go with their notes for their parents.

This was written a friend of mine and posted on her facebook page.

Why I Bought So Many Bananas

I was at HEB very early this morning. I nearly filled up my shopping cart with bananas. The cashier asked me why I was buying so many bananas. So, I shall explain why now.

I spent an amazing weekend volunteering with the USO at the Fort Hood TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) conference. This conference is for Gold Star families to come together to celebrate the lives of those they love who have died while serving our country. I signed up just to serve food, but I had no idea what an impact this weekend would have on me.

I met a mother whose only son committed suicide after coming home from combat and finding that he couldn’t face the enemies inside himself. She spoke about how her own family disowned her because they say her son did not die honorably. Her TAPS family is the only family she has now.

I heard a father speak about how he had never talked about his son’s death with anyone because he felt like if he didn’t talk about it then he wouldn’t have to grieve. But, his pain was overwhelming and he cried in front of the group. He said he had always thought he was a patriotic man but he never realized how patriotic he was until it cost him his son.

I heard another father speak about how he lost both of his sons in one week. He received word on a Tuesday that his younger son had been killed in Iraq and on that Friday his older son was killed in a car accident while driving home to be with the family for the funeral.

I met two families from a very small town in Texas who share an unfortunate bond of both having lost children in Afghanistan.

I met the brave wife of a soldier who was killed in the horrific shooting here at Fort Hood that claimed 13 lives on November 5, 2009.

I saw one lady at the conference whose son was in a class with my son and who I had seen several times at playtime at the gym and at story time at the library. She is always so energetic and full of life when I see her. I had no idea that her husband was killed recently and that she is a widow at such a young age.

I met one woman who is about 6 months pregnant with a little girl, the little girl her husband had always wanted. Her husband was killed just two months ago.

I met a friendly southern politician whose own hometown would not put the name of his dead son on the town’s war memorial. His son died in a motorcycle accident after coming home from his 3rd tour of duty. The town told this father that since his son had not died in combat that he had not “earned the right to be honored on the wall.”

I met other parents from Texas who shared with me about their son’s stubbornness and laziness. They said when their son joined the Army they had doubts about whether he would ever get out of bed on time for PT. Only at his funeral did his Army buddies tell them that their son was always the first one at PT. They now know that he loved what he did.

I met one man whose sister was killed in combat. He was going around the conference getting signatures from everyone there on his t-shirt. He came over to me and asked me to sign his shirt. I asked him why he was getting everyone to sign his shirt. He said, “Some people want autographs from athletes or rock stars, but I want autographs from true heroes.” He talked about how feisty his younger sister was and how he has her picture in his living room. He says he feels like she is always watching him to make sure he stays in line and does not misbehave and how he finds comfort in that.

One lady was the comedian of the group and one of the leaders. Her husband was killed. She spoke to people honestly and between the tears she found ways to make them laugh. She talked about how just after her husband was killed people felt the need to bring her a casserole. She said, “I will never understand what people thought I was going to do with 18 casseroles. I really wanted some chocolate and a beer.”

None of these families ever spoke of being anti-war and in fact I only heard them speak of their support for these wars and how they know that the world is a better place because of the sacrifices that their loved ones made. The patriotism in that room was unlike anything I have ever experienced before and I am an Army wife! They don’t ask the world to support the cause only to cherish your freedoms because they paid a high price for it.

These families did not want people to feel sorry for them or to try to understand what they are going through. They have each other to lean on for support and I am grateful to TAPS for being there for those families. They all spoke about their love for their service member, their love for the military, and their love for their country. They don’t want pity; they just don’t want us to forget. I may not remember all their names, but I will never forget their faces and their stories.

TAPS is a very loving group where they welcome each new member with big, sincere hugs while telling them “We wish you didn’t have to be a part of this group.”

On the last day of the conference, the families gathered together and wrote messages to their loved ones that they had lost on little square tissues. Then, they tied these tissues to balloons. They all went outside with their balloons and let them go.

There were also the children of the fallen at the conference. Each child was assigned a mentor, an active duty soldier who would be with them the whole weekend. These mentors talked with the kids about their parents that had died. They also did activities, played games, and took lots of pictures.

There was one little boy who really caught my attention. When his Mom told this little boy that he was getting his own soldier to hang out with, this sweet child said “Can we keep him?” I will never forget that little boy; he is the reason why I bought the bananas. Towards the end of the first day of the conference we ran out of bananas on the food line that I was working on. That same sweet little boy who wanted to “keep” his soldier came up and asked me for a banana. I told him that we did not have any bananas and asked him if I could get him something else. He smiled and said, “No thank you, I really just wanted a banana.”

My heart broke again. Here is a young boy whose father died to keep my family free and I could not even give him a banana. So, this morning when I was on my way into the conference I knew what I had to do. I went to the store and filled my basket with bananas. When the checkout lady asked me why I was buying so many bananas I simply said, “A little boy paid dearly for me and I will make sure that I do not let him down again.”

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Yummy's Restaurant

Yummy's is a Korean restaurant located just below our apartment complex.  I have been there a few times already and have sampled some fine foods.  This afternoon I was having lunch with some friends from the neighborhood.  I joined them a bit late and everyone  had ordered already.  I asked what everybody had ordered and it seemed that everyone was getting their same favorite dish. One of those dishes I had never tried before, so I decided to give it a whirl. It was an Egg Roll, and they had a few different kinds to choose from, so I ordred the Shrimp Egg Roll.

My Shrimp Egg Roll
Boy, I could already  taste it.  I haven't had an egg roll in quite some time and I was ready to bite into one.  When my friends roll arrived, it looked nothing like I had imagined.  I guess I was thinking Chinese Egg Roll and this was a Korean one....meaning VERY different.  Her roll also had what appeared  to me to be fish eggs all over the top off it and that kinda grossed me out.  I'm not the caviar type of girl. I was very anxious about mine, since it had not yet arrived.  I was very pleased that I did not see it covered in fish eggs like hers was but it was still not the egg roll I had  been imagining.

It wasn't my favorite, but it wasn't bad either.  Thankfully it was not spicy.  You never know when you order Korean food  how spicy it will or will not be.  I don't think I will order it again, but hey, this girl who likes routines and doesn't like to try new things is venturing out.  I think just living in a foreign country will do that to you.  You either stay in your apartment and only shop on the post, or you learn to get out of your comfort  zone and try new things.  So, why don't you do something new this  week. Come on, you know you can do it.  Take a friend alone to make it easier.
SsaSak Bibimbap

Flying Fish Egg Roll

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Parenting 101

Sometimes I feel that I need to go back to school when it comes to being a parent.  I guess the fact that we are raising four daughters, one who will be a teenager in a matter of months and one who was in diapers just last year, has something to do with it.  Girls have very interesting needs.  They can be emotional, hormonal and even just plain crazy.  You'd think that being a girl myself, I would remember back to the days of my youth and know exactly how to deal with them....WRONG!!  Everyday I am learning new things about my girls, myself and I am re-evaluating how I parent.  Besides, I've never been a parent of a teenager before, let alone a girl.

I have been doing lots of reading lately.  I want to be a good parent.  I want to understand my children's needs, no matter how diverse they may be. And diverse they are.  It's interesting looking at my girls and seeing the stark differences among them.  Realistically I need to parent them each differently, according to their own emotional makeup and needs. What works for one, may not work for the other....or should I say will definitely not work for the other. Also the fact that there is a five year gap between the older two girls and the younger two presents interesting set of circumstances in itself.

My oldest like to be in charge of the younger ones.  She like to be the "mommy" per say...but this is also repeated in the younger two. The five year old like to boss the three year old around and be her "mommy".  But then you have the baby of the family....she'll be four in November.  She doesn't like anybody bossing her around.  She is always striving to excel above the others.  She wants to be the best.  She loves to be first.  And if she isn't, she is terribly disappointed and sometimes distraught.

I must say that I have my hands full but I embrace the fact that God will never give me more than I am able to handle.  But I want to make sure I am doing my part, to be the best parent I can be for my girls.  So that is why I am glean, to learn, to better understand my girls. 

I thought I'd share some of the books that I have already read or those that are on my to do reading list for the future.  I'm sure when our stuff finally arrives from the states, this list will continue to grow.
Here's what's on my bookshelf.  If you have any suggestions, feel free to post them.

Bringing Up Girls
Keep the Siblings,Lose the Rivalry

Shephering a Child's Heart

Raising Maidens of Virtue

Ok,  I'm having a little difficulty posting and linking my pictures. Please forgive me.  It's late and I'll try to fix it tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Branching Out

I  have been making homemade bread for over a year now. It all started with finding the Master Recipe to "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day"  . Then I just had to buy the book.  I have not really ventured out from the master reicpe except to make the cinnamon rolls.  I enjoy this book because the recipes are for breads that don't have to be kneaded.  Last November I started buying wheat berries and grinding my own grain to make flour. 

I have been making the following recipe weekly, as we use it for our sandwiches.  I received this recipe from a friend of mine who has 10 children, so the recipe itself makes 5 loaves of bread.  Since our family is a bit smaller, I have cut the recipe in thirds for us but have on occasion made the full one.

3/4 cup oil

3/4 cup honey
4 tsp. salt
5 cups warm water
3 Tbsp. yeast
14 cups flour

Stir the first five ingredients together along with half  of the flour.  Then add the rest of the flour. The dough will probably get hard to stir. Put flour on your hands and start kneading the dough. You will have to add more flour to your hands and bread as you knead. After 6-8 minutes, or until the bread is no longer sticky, stop kneading and set it aside. (we usually cover the bowl with a towel to help it rise faster.) Once it has reached twice its height, divide it into five parts before placing them in buttered loaf pans. It bakes at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Well, I have decided to branch out and try new bread recipes.  My main inspiration will be two cookbooks, the one mentioned above ("Aristan Bread in Five Minutes a Day") and an additional bread cookbook that I  purchased before moving to Korea, "Kneadlessly Simple". 

This week I have also found two recipes online that I wanted to try.  The first was for hamburger rolls.  I will probably get to this one in the next two weeks, when we have an upcoming cookout on the schedule.  But, yesterday, I was making lasagna for Angel's Bible Study that he teaches on-post,  so I wanted to make a french or italian bread to go with it.  I found the recipe at a blog I have been frequenting called, Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.  It looked fairly simple  so I decided to try it out.

Now remember, we do not have all of our belongings here in Korea yet, so I am missing some key cookware with which to make things.  I ended up taking the broiler pan from our small oven and putting a piece of non stick foil on top of it. Our oven here measures 17" x 12" x 15", much smaller than ours in the states that measures 24-1/8 x 19-1/2 x 19-3/8.  Here is a link to the blog and recipe that I used.

Overall, I think  it turned out  pretty well. I little oddly shaped, but it tasted great and there were no leftovers to bring home today.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's Here!

Yes, I have posted previously about not having our van but I can't tell you how excited I am to have it here in Korea now.  While Angel's little hooptie is small, my van has a vastness about it.  I don't feel like a sitting target in it, like I do in my husband's car. 

Yesterday we took the bus and train from our apartment down to Yongsan, in Seoul to pick up our vehicle. We were all excited as we entered the lot and saw our van.  What the van means to me is.....the freedom to get around while Angel is at work....that the girls are not sitting in each others laps...the little ones can be harnessed in saftey seats.  To the girls, having the van means they are able to watch DVDs and not having to sit touching their sisters.

I am thankful that the Army allows us to ship a vehicle that fits our family.  I am thankful that God provided a hooptie for us, so that we would have transportation when we arrived. I am thankful!

Sunday, July 18, 2010


It's definitely Monsoon season here in Korea. It started raining a few days ago and for all intensive purposes (it's only drizzling now) is still raining. The 10 Day Forcast....R A I N! Maybe you've never heard of monsoon season and you are wondering what in the world am I talking about....well, monsoons are also referred to as rainy seasons. Here in Korea it lasts about a month or so. I have heard different timelines of when it begins and ends. Some say it begins in July and ends in August, while others say it's from late June to late July. In either case, there will be about a month of rain.

Thankfully I partially prepared ahead of time and bought enough umbrellas for my family and fitted the kids with rain boots. The little ones even have raincoats, though I am thinking I should have purchased some wet weather gear for me too! I guess it's not too late since I have another 3 plus weeks of this weather.
Hope I can find a sale on rainboots ;)

Monsoon Safety Gram

Friday, July 16, 2010

Gotta love a sale

While living overseas, I am missing walking into a store and finding a great sale and then having an additional coupon for that item and saving even more money. Kohl's has been my store of choice when it comes to clothing and home goods but I don't like shopping online for things. It's just not the same. You can't feel the material, see the actual color or even try on the item that tickles your fancy. Online shopping for clothing is definitely not for me.

I also miss the grocery stores in Pennsylvania that double your coupons and even have "triple your coupon" weeks. Where we used to live in Hanover, there were three grocery store chains within one mile of each other. I would buy the Sunday paper, pull out the ads and circle away. Then I would go through my coupon box...yes, I said box, not just an envelope, and pull out all the coupons that matched the sale items. I just love paying pennies for products or even getting things for free. If it was free but not a product I would use, no problem, there had to be someone at church who could benefit from my thrifty ways.
Here I can shop on the economy (meaning at local Korean stores) or I can use the Commissary. Yes, the Commissary does take coupons and even expired ones (up to six months past the expiration date) but they don't double and especially not triple. I still do my best to look for the deals and stock up when I can.

This week at the Commissary I hit the payday. There were lots of fruits on sale and I just had to have some. Strawberries were 99cents a lb, melons 28cents a lb, blueberries 1.49 a lb. I was so excited about the deals I found this week. The girls were helping me unload the groceries and laughing at how much I had bought. Of course they had to ask, "Was there a sale?"

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Van and HHG Update

When we left Texas in March our HHG (household goods aka.. stuff) were packed up and put into storage waiting for the approval to be shipped. That approval came in the form of my husband obtaining an apartment here in Korea. So once the apartment lease was signed my husband was able to make an appointment with transportation to have our stuff released from storage in Texas and shipped to Korea. Unfortunately we ran into some snags and our stuff did not ship until June 11th. They could not give us an approximate arrival date but gave us a phone number to call for that information. When we finally made the call to track our stuff, we were told that our belongings would arrive in Korea by August 23rd. That's a long time to live without the things that make life easier, but we have managed. Actually the simple life is quite refreshing, though I think the girls wish their toys would be here quicker.

Our van we held onto longer than expected due to problems with the lender getting us a letter of approval to ship. We were finally able to take the van to be shipped out on June 2nd. They immediately gave us a date of no later to arrive than...August 11th. I have heard stories of early arrival and have been diligently tracking the vehicle online. This last week the status changed from possession of the ocean carrier--to ...enroute to destination. This is exciting for me because if you have read earlier posts, we are all squeezing in my husband's hooptie car. I had my husband make a follow up call and the answer we got was that is should arrive next week. YEH!!! Having my own car will make things much easier, since currently I have been relying on public transportation to get around during the week.

There is so much we take for granted about of lives in the states and being without has made me very grateful. What are you grateful for today? Take a few minutes to make a list of the things you are grateful for and share them with your spouse or kids. Challenge them to do the same thing. I think if we focus on all that we have, it will take our eyes off of the things that we think we are missing. I'm gonna have to do this with my kids tonight too!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Neighborhood Restaurant

The other night we were out running errands and the next thing I new it was 6:00PM and we were still in the car driving home. Everyone was trying to talk me into going out for dinner but I would not have it. We could eat peanut butter and jelly if we had to. You see I am frugal and hate spending money eating out all the time. I'd rather put that money in the savings account and watch it grow.

So as we approached the apartment complex, everyone kept buggin to grab something out. I finally gave in when Angel suggested we try one of the places across from the apartment know support the local economy. Now I am not one for fried foods but a good ole fried chicken every now and then isn't gonna kill it. So Angel ordered some food, while I took the girls back to the apartment. It seemed to take him a while but afterwards I found out that they cut and cooked the chicken while he it was fresh. It came with some side dishes and soda also.
The girls loved the fact, they devoured it!!! We had no chicken left over at all. Now the side dishes were a different story. Only Angel liked the one(which we are still not sure what it is) and the other was just shredded cabbage with a glob of sauce on it. Over all, everyone was satisfied. We are thinking that it's a chain restaurant here in Korea, but were not 100% sure.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Little Something to Laugh About

Since we are military living in Korea, we have the added benefit of the US Postal Service. Any mail that friends and family from the states want to send can be done at no additional cost, even though we are overseas. It's just like we live in New York and they are in Pennsylvania.

But in addition to our "US mailbox", which is located at Angel's work, we also have a mailbox here at our aparment building. Since we moved in about a month and a half ago, we have only recieved about two to three pieces of mail. One was an bill for the landlord and the other junk. So last week when I check the box and found this piece of mail in the box (see picture). To me, it appeared to be junk. I had recieved things like this in the looks like a plane ticket with numbers and dates and they want you to subscribe to something or join something to get a free ticket. So I impulsively put this in the paper recylcing bin in the house.
Later that evening, I was talking with my neighbor, who has lived in the complex for about 4 months now. She asked me if I got the gas bill today. I said...gas bill? No but I got a piece of junk mail. She asked if it was blue and I was about to say yes, but I started laughing so hard I couldn't speak. Through my laughing and crying I tried to tell her I thought it was trash and had put it in the circular file. Needless to say, I will check with my neighbor or realtor (we pay her the rent each month) before I throw anything else away that I find in my mailbox here at the apartment building. I hope the other stuff that I thought was junk...really was junk! LOL

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Walking Paths

The other night, our neighbors, who have been here a few months longer than we have, took us on a tour of the walking paths located near our apartment complex. We had a great time walking and talking. Some of the terrain gave me a workout. All of the paths we were on were dirt and many of them were narrow. I almost slipped once but caught myself. Good thing I was carrying the camera or someone would have taken advantage of the situation and taken a nice blackmail picture. LOL
Also along the paths were areas where there was some workout equipment. Actually you see this all over Korea...workout equipment located outside in apartment complexes, parks, schools and even along the river. This time out we didn't stop for a workout, but next time I'll have to give the equipment a try.
After our walk, which in my opinion, burned a bit of calories, we headed to ColdStone Creamery and had a treat. Little by little we are getting to know our local area. I wonder what adventure we will embark on this week.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fun with a friend

I must say that I was very worried about moving to Korea. It was honestly the last duty station in the world that I wanted to go to ever. But it's funny how God takes our NEVERS and makes them into EVERS. So here we are in Korea, the last place I ever wanted to be...I must say that the fears I had about moving here were unfounded or even imagined. Have you ever had a time(s) in your life where you went through something and look back and told yourself...if I knew the road I would have traveled, I would have taken a different path, yet through those challenges and circumstances, your faith grew. That's where I am...growing with God. Learning new things about my husband, my kids and myself as a parent.
I am very thankful that I have met some wonderful people with whom to share this two year journey. One of my friends I met through our kids. Since we live in an area in Korea that is not full of non-Koreans, the girls are always looking for Americans. While out on the playground one day, one of my girls made a new friend...he was Americdan. She brought him by the apartment and introduced me to him. I mentioned that I would have to meet his parents and within the hour, he had them down to meet me. That is how I met C&J.

I have had a great time getting to know our new neighbors. We have had lunched, walked into town and trekked the local walking paths. So, C and I decided to venture out and take our kids swimming at the local post pool. Since our husbands take the cars to work and it is at least a 20 minutes drive, we took public transportation. In the last few weeks, I have used both the bus and train systems here in Korea but this was Cs first time. So I was the one showing her the roaps. She had gone out the day before and purchased her T money (used for transportation here) and was ready to go. We took the bus from the back of the apartment complex to the train station. And then we took the train to the closet stop near our destination. I must say our trip went very smoothly and everyone had lots of fun.
I am not adventerous by nature, but when I can plan and do something with a friend, it always makes it easier. I have learned and I am still learning to step out of my comfort zone to try and to do new things. Living in Korea kind of forces you to do this, unless you want to live within the four walls of your apartment for 2 years. Not me!! With 4 kids, staying cooped up is no fun.

So let me encourage you to do something outside of your normal, typical self or routines. Stretch yourself to try something new. You might be surprised at the fun you can have.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Taste of Korea

As I remember to actually do this, I will post pictures of some of the foods that we have tried while living here in Korea. I now have a small camera that easily fits in my purse and I can capture our two years living overseas in pictures.
I am backtracking in our timeline here a little bit to tell you about a few shopping trips that we had made to the local stores. These are Super Walmart type stores and the three that are local to us are HomePlus, Lotte Mart and EMart. Usually when we go shopping, we make sure to stop by the back of the food section where they are selling food and handing out samples. We have made a habit of purchasing a bakery item each time we go that we have not tried before.
This past trip, we puchased what looked like a filled croisant and a croisant with some type of crumb topping of the outside. The filled ones were extremely yummy...filled with a delicous cream. The others were good too but not as wonderful :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Camp Red Cloud

A friend of mine has started a blog for families who are being stationed in Area 1 in Korea. It is full of great information, resources and links that are essential to those who are relocating here. She also posts upcoming events and classes that are taking place among the local posts.

You can find her site at

There is a wealth of information to inlcude housing options, pay while in Korea and Command Sponsorship. Looking for things to do during your tour here..... she has tourism links, places to visit and upcoming tours through MWR.

Check out her blog and don't forget to pass it along to someone who might need it.

Underground Mall in Uijeongbu

When I heard that there was an underground mall here in Korea, I thought that was strange. I don't ever remember hearing about underground shopping in the USA. So we decided to venture out to find it. Since I had to stop on post before our shopping trip, I asked someone who has lived in Korea for the last year if she's been there before....not only has she but she gave me easy directions on how to get there.
We took the bus from post, since parking in Uijeongbu is not always easy to find. We took the bus to the train station and got off. The landmark we were told to look for was Baskin Robbins, and there it was right across the street. After we crossed the street, we looked for a sign or entrance to the underground mall. The only thing we saw was the subway entrance, but this entrance was not marked with the line number, nor the direction the train is suppose to be heading.

We decided to go down the stairs and check it out. When we got to the bottom of the steps the door we walked through said shopping, so we knew we were in the right place. Basically they have taken the old underground subway station and converted into a shopper's paradise. Most of the stores were either clothing, shoes, jewerly or cell phones. I think there were more cell phone shops than any other.
Since we were shopping over the lunch hour, the girls saw something familiar and asked if we could eat there.....Burger King. Most of the food was similar...whopper, whopper jr, fries, coke but there was also a bulgogi burger. Bulgogi is a marinated barbequed beef and is quite tasty, though no one opted to try it out. The cost was comprable to a combo meal in the states if you live in a large city. The Whopper Meal costs 6900 won or $5.62.

After everyone was finished eating, we decided to try something different....shaved ice red bean. I have attached a picture of our dessert. The bottom part is just shaved ice. On top of that was a red bean in a syrup, similar to a compote. A little ice cream was on top of that with some small pieces of fruit. Most of our family tried it...we have one who is not so adventurous, but I won't mention the name of my first born. LOL

Not only was there underground shopping but there we also lots of shops and even markets with all types of things for sale. In addition to what was at the underground market, there was also grain, produce, fish and homemade food products. There was so many places that we did not make it through the entire area. I guess we'll just have to go back another day!

The girls were getting tired of all the walking we were doing, so we took a break under the trees and the little ones put their feet in the water path (not sure what is really is called). They had a nice time cooling off before we headed back to post to get in our car and drive home.

We had a great day in Uijeongbu and getting to know a little more of our "new home".

Monday, July 5, 2010

COEX Aquarium

My husband had off today for July 4th and we decided to do something fun with the girls. It has been very humid lately and we thought an indoor activity would be refreshing. We took the bus from our apartment complex to the train station in Yangju. From there we took the train to the COEX Mall. It took a few transfers to get there, but all in all it was quite simple.

The COEX is located south of the Han River in Seoul. It is the largest underground shopping mall in all of Asia. It not only has lots of shopping, restaurants and entertainment but a 16 screen multiplex cinema, Kimchi museum and aquarium. Our main goal of the day was to go to the aquarium but we did some window shopping along the way and even grabbed some lunch too. We were contemplating eating at one of the "american" restaurants that were in the mall but changed our mind when we saw the prices. Along with Bennigans, there was also a TGIF's, UNO's Pizzera and On the Border. We opted for another restaurant also found in the USA but more of a carryout, not sit down...Sabbaro's. So instead of paying 17,000 - 24,000 won per meal, we paid 22,000 for all 6 of us.
After lunch we headed for the aquarium. If you make your way to the COEX, be ready to walk! The admission prices weren't too bad (17,000 won for adults and 11,000 for children 5-12). At home in the states our favorite aquarium is located in Baltimore, Maryland at the Inner Harbor, so we were excited about today's trip. I must warn you, the COEX aquarium is not the National Baltimore Aquarium. At first I was very disappointed. It was just a lot of smaller fish in different types of tanks. BUT, the tanks were very creative (I won't say anymore cuz I don't want to spoil the treat). As we walked further into the aquarium the fish got a bit bigger and we even saw some sharks, stingrays, manatee and seals...oh yeh, and penguin too!

The girls had a good time and didn't even realize that they were missing the dolphin show or feeding of the sharks like they have in Baltimore. BUT, I double checked the prices in Baltimore and for our family of six we would have paid $105.-- and that would not include the dolphin show. We had only paid 67,000 won (or about $54.00USD) for the COEX aquarium, so not a bad deal for what you got. Not a place that I would purchase a membership to but all in all we had a fun day!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Celebration of Independence

Today is July 4th....better known in the states as Independence Day. We celebrate this holiday to remember the freedom that we gained from Great Britians rule over the colonies. It is a time of barbeques and parades, picnics and games, and oh yeh...don't forget the fireworks.

I remember growing up as a child, our immediate family would get together with all the aunts and uncles and cousins to celebrate with a huge barbeque. Our celebration often inlcuded a bushel or two of Maryland Steamed Crabs. (Oh how I miss that!) Kids would play and swim, adults would talk and eat! Oh how times were so simple when I was young.

I am also reminded of those who have sacrificed for the freedoms we have in the USA. The soldiers who have paid the price..... the ultime price --with their lives...... or those who were in the wrong place at the wrong time on 9/11. What more can one give than to lay down their life for a friend.

So as you celebrate today, don't forget to take time to reflect on the freedoms that we have and those who gave of themselves so that we have them.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Living with Less

You might be thinking that I am going to write about being frugal, living on a budget or even how to spend less and save more. Well, I'm not. We have been living in South Korea for almost a month now and I must say, I am getting used to living with less. Yes, at this time we have less stuff in our apartment since our HHG (house hold goods) have not arrived, but that is not what I am talking about either.

We are living in an area where previously, families where not allowed to join their soldiers on their tours. They don't have the same type of programs, childcare, youth groups etc that they have in the other posts or areas here in Korea. They also have smaller commissaries (grocery stores) and PXs (similar to Walmart without all the food).

In the US when you go to the grocery store, you have so many options of toothpaste, cereal, soup, etc. In our little commissary here, I am having a hard time finding products that I am used to buying in the states. And if I happen to find what I am looking for, the price is not what I am used to paying. Usually it costs much more.

The other day I went to get my husband deoderant and there were 6 options to choose from at the store. Not six different brand names, but six different products. Unlike Walmart, where there would proabably be over 25 different products available, and that is just men's deoderant.

I am learning to adjust how I do things in regard to cooking because I don't readily have what I did before. There is a bigger commissary in the city of Seoul, about 1- 1/2 hours away but it is not a convienent place to go to since we only have our little hooptie car and need to squish everyone in for the long ride.

I am reminded of those who have chosen to be missionaries in foreign countries. At least I have access to US products (through the commissary or PX) and things that are familiar to me, while those who are missionaries or move overseas to teach do not have that option. They are really sacrificing. I was speaking to a friend the other day who told a story about the wife of a school teacher living overseas. The one thing she really missed was graham crackers. How simple a thing to miss.

What things in your life can you give up or do without? Are you so accustomed to the finer things of life that you could not do without, should the economy or life dictate otherwise? I think I had taken for granted certain things that we have in the US. Living overseas for two years will definitely change my perspective on things.