Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Afternoon with a Friend

Yesterday, my friend asked me to go out to lunch with her.  Since it was a day off for my husband and he already had the little girls, I was able to get away.  I thought that we were just going to meet at the PX Food Court, but Vikki said, "no way."  She wanted to take me to someplace better than that. So I got in my car and followed her down the main road a little ways.  Since parking is not easy to find near the restaurant, we parked my car on a side road and I hopped into her vehicle. 

The type of restaurant that she took me to was a Kalbi House.  It was a buffet where you choose your foods and then take them to your table, which is low to the ground, and cook your own meats there. Some people may call them "Beef and Leaf" because you cook your meat (beef, pork, squid, etc) and then wrap it in a leaf with your sides and eat it.  We had a great time at the restaurant and I'm hoping to take my husband back to try it out too.

It was also a market day yesterday.  That means that on the days that end in 5 or 0, vendors set up along the streets in a particular area to sell their wares.  There was everything from umbrellas, stockings and shoes...to fruits, veggies and fish. While we didn't take the time to shop, we did drive through the market area and I was able to snap some pictures.

First Day of School

Yesterday was a big day in our home, our two oldest girls started public school.  If you have read my earlier post, you  know that this was a day that I was dreading.  Except for one school year and a  few months of another, when we lived in a very conservative school district, our girls have been homeschooled.  This change has been harder on me that anyone else.  My girls begged their dad to let them go to the Department of Defense school here in Korea and he agreed that it would be good for them.  I'm still not too sure but I am trying to have a very positive outlook on this change for our family.  If I don't look like I am supporting  my husband in his decision, the girls will pick up on it.

So if you remember during your quiet time...please pray for me and my attitude about this decision.  I will be homeschooling the two younger girls and volunteering with my husband's unit, so I will be keeping myself busy.

Here is two pics of the girls on their first day of school in Korea.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Last Tuesday our belongings arrived from the states.  I worked hard to get everything set and within 24 hours, I had unpacked and removed every box from our apartment.  I mentioned that I would post some pictures when it was finished.  The little girls room was a mess, so once it's cleaned up, I'll  add their photos.  My bedroom is what  is remaining to be finished, so I will have to post pictures of that at a later date.  There are clothes everywhere.  If you wanted to see the before, click here.

Our living room

Other side of the living room

Katelyn's side of the room

Marissa's half of the room

Friday, August 27, 2010

Area 1 Korea - Protestant Women of the Chapel Kick Off

Ladies, Join us as “Soul Freak” Art Pace
provides you with a blend of
that will leave you amazed & entertained!

September 1, 2010   9:00AM
West Casey Chapel, Camp Casey

Childcare available for 6 months – 5 years
Please call to reserve your childcare slot
For more info call 010-4033-4929

You can also find us on facebook at

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It Has Arrived

I'm excited to say that after waiting for over eleven weeks, our belongings from the states have finally made their way here to Korea. We received the call last week that our HHG (HouseHoldGoods) would be arriving on Tuesday, 24 AUG.  I was overjoyed...to say the least.  Our appointment time was scheduled for 1:00 PM to 5:00PM.  That gave me enough time to run to the store for milk, sweep and mop the floors and have the kids to my friend's house at 12:30PM.

I forgot that the Commissary didn't open until 11AM, so I was running a little late. At 11:10AM, my daughter called me from home to say that someone was at the door asking for my husband.  I told her not to let anyone in but to call her dad on his cell because he was on his way to run an errand before coming home.  The next call I got was from my husband...the moving company was at the house and he was heading right there.  I needed to make my way home ASAP.  So I cut my grocery shopping short and headed home.

As I arrived, they were opening up the first crate of stuff. Whew, I made it just in time.  My job was to circle each item number on the inventory control sheet as they brought in the items and boxes and to mark if anything was damaged. Since we were only allowed to send half of our belongings to Korea, I knew it shouldn't take longer than 3 or so hours to unload and bring everything into the house. Not unpacking and setting up is a different story. The crew was very efficient and beds were put together before the lunch we ordered for them had even arrived. 

These are the pictures of the moving crew unloading and moving our stuff into the apartment.  I spent the rest of the evening unpacking and setting up the apartment.  At 9PM last night I crashed!!  My legs and feet hurt from being on them most of the day.  This morning I was up bright and early trying to get the rest of the boxes unpacked and everything put away.  Since I didn't finish until just  recently, I will have to take some "AFTER" pictures and post them tomorrow. I'm a bit tuckered out and need to get some sleep.  Good night!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Making Changes

I've decided to make some changes to the look and feel of my blog. Hopefully over the next week or two, I'll get everything accomplished that I have planned to do.  With our HHG (belongings) finally arriving here in Korea, only 11 weeks after we arrived, and the girls starting back to school next week, I am hoping to find some free time to knock some things out.  So you might notice subtle changes here and there, as I feel my way through the blogger design and templates.  Hopefully my plan will come together and the final product will be what I am hoping it to be.

Have a wonderful Monday everyone!

Mail Call

Today was an exciting day for mail call here at our house.  My husband called to ask if I could send someone down to help bring the boxes up from the parking garage.  So the little girls and I went down to help.  They were so excited to see all the mail and boxes.  Part of the reason for such an accumlation of mail is that last week my husband was out of the area visiting soldiers from his unit and he was away for two nights...meaning he didn't get the mail.  Then on Friday, he was catching up on counseling and things that didn't get done while he was away, the mailroom was not open by the time he finished his day.

So today was the day.  We recived our homeschool curriculum that I had purchased from a friend, a box of business cards that are being used to advertise a Ladies Bible Study and two boxes from a friend of mine from college, Tracy, and her family.  The girls love helping, expecially opening boxes and when they opened the boxes from Tracy & family, the ooohhs and ahhhs started.  Oh mommy...look at this....oh this is my favorite...can I wear these bows now. I love this gum.  Is this for me?  Can you tell that they were excited?  LOL

So I want to give a shout out to Tracy and her wonderful family. We appreciate you thinking of us as we serve here in Korea.  It was such a treat to get things that we have missed, just love or can't buy because of the price.  You have blessed our family tremendously.

Eating Our Daily Bread

I am excited that our HHG (belongings) are finally making their way to Korea. We received word that they will be here next week. It has been a long 11 weeks without the comforts from home.

One of the things that I have been really missing is my devotional and Bible study materials.  Since arriving in Korea, I was able to snag an "Our Daily Bread" from the chapel.  I have been using this for the past two and a half months for my quiet time, but I can't wait till our stuff arrives.

Before leaving the states, I had purchased some new study books to use for my quiet time.  I have enjoyed Beth Moore's studies, so I have Stepping Up: A Journey through the Psalms of Ascent coming.  Upon a recommendation, I also decided to try Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed.: A Study of David.

I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of these new studies so I can start digging a little deeper into the Word.  In addition to what I have been doing, I am also reading through the entire Bible from front to back.  I started in Genesis over a year  ago and I am nearing the end.  It has been a great journey to take and will probably continue it again when I am finished.  Have you ever realized that there are just somethings that when you do them they again, you see a different perspective or something you missed the first time.  That's how I feel it is when you read the Bible again...and again.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Camp Stanley Chapel


Come out and fellowship with us as we celebrate Children’s Sunday.
August 29th at Camp Stanley Chapel at 10:00 AM.
Refreshments immediately following the Service at the Coffee House.
We will make Ice Cream Sundaes.

A Service dedicated for the children of our community.
There will be activities that will teach a Biblical principle for all ages.

Every month that has a 5th Sunday, we will celebrate with a Children's Sunday Service.

Also, beginning September 5th, after worship, the chapel will be providing a Children's Church program for those who are potty trained through age 7.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Driving in Korea

I am sure this will not be my only post on this subject.  Each day as I am out and about in Korea, I see and learn new things about how they drive over here. Honestly, when I first arrived, I was extremely afraid to get my license.  To me, they drive worse then New Yorkers...and my husband is one of those New Yorkers. 

But, in the midst of my fear I made the decision to go ahead and get my USFK license anyway.  The test wasn't too difficult, as long as you study for it and I passed on the first try.  While I was there, a young guy was taking it for the third time.  Poor guy!

Yes, he is running the red light
So my observations on driving in Korea so far....
  1. Red lights are optional
  2. Sidewalks are meant for driving
  3. Roads are meant for parking your car wherever you feel like putting it
  4. Driver's don't use their rearview mirrors and if they do, they don't care that you are passing them, they'll pull out in front of you anyway
  5. Kids will put their hand in the air and step in front of you to cross the street
  6. Green means go, yellow mean go, red mean go go go
So there are a few of my observations.  I know I will have many more to add and crazy stories to go along with it. And if I am lucky, some more pictures.

    At least he paused to see if anyone was coming before he ran the light.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Change for our Family

This past year has brought tremendous change for our family.  Just a year ago, we were living in Texas, plugging away at a year long deployment and today our family is together and we are living in a foreign country. Amazing how this journey of life and faith can take us to such interesting places.  We are embarking on yet another change for our family, the home education of our two older daughters.  For the last seven years, I have been homeschooling one if not both of our older girls but this will be changing in just over two weeks.

When we moved to Korea, the girls asked if they could attend the DoDD's (Department of Defense Dependent) School that was opening up here in our area of Korea.  My inital reaction was NO WAY!!  But my husband saw the struggle that I had with the girls during his year long deployment last year and he thought it was a good idea...you know to give me a break. I really don't think I need a break but the paperwork is complete, bus registration is done and the new school will be opening soon.  So on August 30th, the older two girls will be starting public school.

I have to admit...I am very nervous about this change.  I want to shelter and protect my girls.  There is enough junk in the world that they will ultimately be exposed to in time but I don't want them to have to hear and see things that children their age do not need to hear and see.  Even though I am not completely comfortable with this decision, I am submitting to what my husband feels will be good for them.  I really hope that it works out but I must say, I am not optimistic.  I guess if it doesn't work, we will go back to what we've been doing for the past 7 years. 

Even though the older two will be attending school, I will be homeschooling Victoria for Kindergarten.  I have also ordered materials for Breanna and will be working with her also.  We are using a different curriculum this year then I have used in the past for Kindergarten...My Father's World.  We have heard great things about it and we are anxious to get started.  I normally have used Abeka, so this will be a change for us.

So if you think about us during your quiet time, don't forget to say a prayer for our family.  If there is anything that you need prayer for, don't hesitate to email me and I will pray for you too.  Be blessed!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One of those days

Do you ever have "one of those days"?  Not that it's such a terrible day but one of those where...

  1. You're too tired to get up 
  2. It's too hot to go out
  3. Your too lazy to do anything 
  4. Your too cheap to run the air conditioning 
  5. It's too tiring to cook 
  6. Nobody wants to do their chores 
  7. Everybody fights against taking a nap
Well today is one of  these days in our house.

BUT   I got  up...I  just haven't gone outside.  I read a book...in front of the fan.  It's family movie night, so if chores aren't done, we don't go to dinner and the movies (which are free).  One little one is finally asleep and I am getting ready to lay down with the other one.  Here's to hoping the rest of the day goes well.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Shopping on the economy

This past weekend my family went shopping at two local stores.  I  would say they are similar to a Super Walmart in that they carry food, clothing, sporting goods, appliances, etc.  While we were there, I noticed quite a few products here in Korea that we buy in the USA.  I thought  I would  put together a small photo journal of our trip.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Electricity Update

Thank God for friends!  My friend Vikki was able to come up with a kilowatt usage chart.  Basically, this says if you use xxx kw it will cost you about $$$.  This is the information that I have been searching for to see what our usage will cost us in the long run.  Let me lay it out for you, in case you are in Korea and have been wondering the same thing.  These numbers are rounded and not to the penny.  Thank you again Vikk!

Kilowatts Used                          Cost
100 kw                                    6700 won
200 kw                                   20000 won
300 kw                                   40000 won
400 kw                                   78000 won
500 kw                                 115500 won  
600 kw                                 194000 won
700 kw                                 269000 won
800 kw                                 340000 won

Friday, August 6, 2010

Utilities in Korea

The bills for our first full month here  in Korea weren't too bad.  My husband moved in at the end of May and the girls and  I arrived here on the 5th of June.  Our utility bill for June arrived about two weeks ago and I was pleasantly surprised. Our electric portion of our bill was only about 78000 won, roughly $65.00 and our gas bill was 3400 won, under $3.00. I was actually very excited that the bills were so low for June but I am afraid that July and August are going to very different,especially the electric.

The average temperature in June was lower than the recent temps so we didn't have to run the air conditioning very much.  July came and it was a different story. The temperature has been between 86 and 95 degrees with a humidity of 65 - 90%, which makes for a very warm apartment. I would consider myself to be quite frugal and have only been running the air conditioning a few hours each evening to cool off the house before the girls go to bed. 

Our first month we used about 450 kw but I checked out usage this past month (July) and it has gone up to over 600kw.  The picture below is of the touch screen technology that we have in our apartment.  We can see who's at the front door, talk to neighbors in their apartments and track our utility usage. 
We have been told that the electric is priced in brackets. Say for instance you use under 500 kw, your bill will be 80,000won. If you use between 500 and 700kw, your bill will be  XX number of won (and it would double).  I hope that I am worrying for nothing but since we don't really know what the brackets are and the cost for each of them,  I am afraid that our electric for July will be pricey.  I guess  I can only wait until the bill comes in two weeks to find out. 

I know the gas bill will go up because as I have learned to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius, I have definitely been cooking more lately.   In addition to our  gas and electric, we also have to pay water and sewer and our portion of the fees at the apartment complex such as the cost of the parking garage lights, outdoor lighting, elevator cleaning person and recycling people.

As I was trying to research utility bills and usage in Korea, I came across this lovely article (NOT!)  It lets me know that our utilities here in South Korea will be going up due to an increase by the government.

While living in Korea has been very different, I can definitely tell you that it is an adventure that I am glad we have had the opportunity to do as a family.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Funny Faces

My girls love to take my camera and take pictures.  Unfortunately, most of them don't turn out or end up being of the walls or furniture. While importing pictures from the camera to the computer I came across some funny ones, so I thought I would share them with you.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Moving Up - Korean Style

We have been living here in Korea for two months now..I can't believe how time is flying.  My husband found out this week that our belongings should be arriving in country this weekend and will be released once they have gone through customs. That's the good news.  The not so great news is that it could take two weeks or longer to get cleared through customs.  I am praying that it is even less than that.

I will post pictures of our move and apartment once our things get here but I thought in the meantime I would post some pictures about moving...Korean style.  Because we live on the first floor of our apartment building, this method of moving will not be used for us when our things get here.

Since Korea is densely populated, the most efficient use of space is to build up.  You will see 5 story buildings in town and on each floor are different store and businesses.  Same with housing.  About a mile from our apartment, they have torn down whatever was there before and you can see their plans to build huge 15 story or more apartment complexes in place of whatever was there before.

So if you live in all but the first floor of an apartment complex in Korea, your belongings are not brought up a service elevator or even the stairwell like in the states.  A huge lift is set up outside the building and your stuff is put on this lift and run up and down the side of the building.  I grabbed a few pictures the other day as someone across the way from me was moving out.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Major cultural differences

There are many differences between Eastern and Western cultures.  Some are very noticable while others are not as noticable until you are in a situation to observe them.  Here I have listed a few.  Everyday we are learning about our "new home".  I hope I am learning enough not to offend indivduals from our host nation.

Eastern Culture                                      Western Culture
- mutual dependence                                          - independence
- harmony with nature                                         - control nature
- hierarchy                                                          - equality
- conformity with group                                       - individuality
- marriage is based on what is appropriate          - marriage based on love
- subtle, indirect communication                          - open, direct communication
- love expressed through mutual obligation           - loved expressed openly, verbally
- stress on interpersonal  harmony                        - stress on individuality
- life shaped by position in family, gender and age - life shaped by own efforts
- woman's reason for being is wife and mother       - woman's choices as broad as man's

Monday, August 2, 2010

Reality Check...We're not in Texas anymore

I think it has finally hit me.  I have been so excited about a change of duty station, living overseas, experiencing a new culture and visiting new places with my family that I didn't see it...or maybe I ignored it.

Yesterday I was browsing a book that was given to me about military living in Korea .  One of the articles was about culture shock.  I thought "culture shock"  not me..I've been so excited knowing our family will be together for  two years, there will be lots of new things to see and do, and how many people really get to experience something  like this (living in another country). 

Then as I went to bed last night the reality hit me....

I may not see me parents for two years.
I will not be talking to my sister daily, like we did when I lived in Texas.
I will be missing the birthdays of my nieces, nephews and other family members.
I won't be shopping at Walmart or Target for quite awhile.
What I  know of as American Cable TV will not be in my future for quite some time.
I won't be spending the holidays with my family for the next two years.

Ok, I  need to stop there before I allow the negative things to take over.  I guess I could say I am experiencing a bit of culture shock now.  At this point, two years seems like a really long time.  It's longer than a deployment.  It means the difference between seeing my sister's new baby when he was born to meeting a toddler who walks and talks.  If I dwell on it, I get overwhelmed.

When we were in Texas, we were not close to family, but it was only a 26 hour car drive to get back to my parent's home.  Here, it is a 12 hour plane ride...another 6 hour plane ride and a drive.  It can't be done on a whim and will definitely cost me more than a trip from Texas to Pennsylvania.

So, at this point I need to just give my struggle, emotions and sadness about what I am missing in my life to God.  I need to lean on Him to get me through what I am feeling right now.  I can't imagine doing this as a 20 something new military bride and I can not imagine doing this journey without my faith.  I have a place to turn, a place to find refuge that not all families experiencing what we are going through have established in their lives.

Yesterday, my husband's sermon was on the importance of the body of Christ and the roles we each play.  We need each other.  We all have something to contribute, to help each other out.  Gathering together with other believers is important and we should not forsake that.  I need to get my focus off of myself and see what I have to give to encourage others who are going through the same things that I am going through.  I am thankful for some very good Christian friends that I have already met here in Korea....some in our apartment complex, others at chapel and others through facebook that I have connected with after arriving.

We all have something to contribute to the body of Christ and we need to be giving and not just sitting back waiting to receive.  What are your gifts and talents?  Do you have something to contribute to the body of Christ?  Maybe you don't think so, but step back and think again.  You like to cook...making a meal can bless someone.  You enjoy like to shop....buying a small gift can cheer someones day.  Is organizing fun for you? Maybe a busy mom could use your help.

Don't sit back and dwell on your situation but get busy and start blessing your friends, neighbors and those in your church with your gifts and talents.  Remember, without our pinky toe, we would not be able to keep our balance.  However small you think your contribution might be...it  is needed.

So I am going to stop thinking  about what I don't have or what I will be missing while living in Korea and start blessing others with what I do have.