Monday, April 16

Spring's in Full Swing

The Cherry Blossoms are here! Unlike last year when I scooted with the Motorcycle Gang of Pohang to Gyeongju, (Missed that post? Read about it here: blossoms) this year our friend Peter drove a van load of us to Gyeongju's Bomun Lake to enjoy laughs with friends, and a picnic with the blossoms in the background. I got some beautiful photos of the cherry blossoms, we had perfect weather, yummy food, and even some go kart action!
Thanks Christie :)
Me, Nicci, Tonic, Heather, and Christie
Tonic Go Kartin'

Really happy it's warming up! :) Looking forward to more days like these!
haha! I almost forgot Sadie got her first Korean haircut! Bring on the heat - she's ready!

Wednesday, April 11

My first Korean wedding

The happy couple :)
This past weekend I was invited to attend my friend, Rim's, wedding. It was my first Korean wedding experience! :) 3 words to describe the wedding - fun, interesting, and very different. All in all, it was a great cultural experience and I'm really thankful I was able to attend.

A few Fun Facts about Korean Weddings:

1. Most weddings take place at a Wedding Hall

Think 'Wedding Factory'. Essentially, there are a gazillion brides getting married on the same day at the same venue. For example, when we walked into Rim's wedding venue, all 4 floors of the hall were packed with various wedding party attendants. There are a number of rooms each with different decor. The bride and groom rent out a room and this is where the wedding ceremony takes place.

Leigh and I with the lovely bride

BB English Teachers
2. Brides rent dresses

Instead of buying the wedding dress, brides rent and have the dress temporarily fitted for them. (Genius!)

3. Instead of bringing gifts - you give money

When we walked into the wedding hall, first we found Rim. She was sitting in a room by herself, we said hello and took photos with her.  Next stop, we found the line for she and her husband so we could get an envelope to put our cash gift in. Then we were handed a meal ticket for the buffet after the ceremony.

4.  There are lengthy Guest lists

You invite everyone you know - friends, classmates, neighbors, parent's friends. Everyone.

5. There's not a reception

Once the ceremony is over, guests wait for the post wedding photos. The first ones are of the family.  Then there is a friends and coworkers photo. Once the photos are finished, the bride and groom change into their hanboks, traditional Korean dress, for a more private ceremony and guests go to a cafeteria/restaurant style room in the Wedding Hall for a buffet meal.

In addition to these differences, there were a few others. The officiant of the wedding was a previous teacher of the groom. The bouquet toss was staged. Rim had chosen a friend to catch the bouquet.  The first toss didn't make for a good photo, so they repeated it 2 more times to get the perfect shot. Instead of having a wedding cake to be shared with guests, there was a fake cake with candles that the bride and her groom blew out together. 

It was a little funny to watch, I had in my mind weddings I'd attended back home, and some of the traditions here were so close to being the same, but then a strange twist was thrown in....although after being here for over a year and a half I shouldn't be so surprised by Korea's strange twists :)

My eyes were certainly opened as to how wedding ceremonies can differ across cultures. I feel like in America, so much pressure is put on having the most beautiful dress, the best venue, and spending a fortune on that 1 day, instead of keeping the focus on starting your life with that special someone. Though Korea's weddings might be a little too far the other way - taking the personal touch and emotion out of it - I appreciate both, though very different, for what they are!

Wishing the newlyweds a lifetime of love and happiness! :)

Friday, March 9

Marvelous March! :)

I thought February was going to the best month yet (haha hindsight is 20/20), Thank goodness it was the shortest month, even with the extra day! :) little did I know March was comin in swinging! March 1st was a holiday, and my school relocated to a brand new, beautiful building complete with a full 500 book library! (pictures coming soon!) After moving in, I had 2 days vacation, and started the weekend on an airplane to the Philippines to meet Leigh's mother and father for the first time AND see his sister's family again! :) The warm, sunny, Western cuisine and brand name shopping filled Philippines was an absolute welcome to freezing cold, rainy Korea!
lush, green backyard at Marijean and Ian's - yes that's a pool hidin behind that greenery!
a little family rock' bandin' yes please!

Manila lovin'

 Casey Family! :) So great to meet Leigh's family!
breakfast is served! :) yumm!
Me with security guard! (they're everywhere!)

Why! Oh Why! Can't Korea have shopping malls!
Chili's = happy Emily!
Big, juicy steak = happy happy Leigh! :)
Embassy housing
More Embassy Housing! :)
Us with a Jeepney! :)
Bye, Bye Philippines, Glimpse Of Philippines Volcano!

My friend Heather stayed with her all weekend, but she was not happy we left her
I came back feeling refreshed, loved by a new family, blessed, a little sunburnt (though welcomed), and ready to teach, also it felt good to miss friends in Korea!! :)  Honestly, I know I've met some lifelong friends here, and it feels so good to meet people of the same caliber AND thinking while living abroad. On top of just meeting Leigh's parents, Leigh and I just booked a ticket to HAWAIII!!!!! :) to see and for Leigh (meet for the 1st time) my Mom's side of the family! :) And it's only the 9th of March! So happy to be out experiencing the blessings God has provided for me! Life is an Easter Egg hunt!!! :) Go out and uncover your blessings! <3

Wednesday, February 29

Oeosa Temple

Living in Korea definitely has its perks - like being able to take a 10 minute drive, and end up in a tranquil, place of worship, surrounded by majestic nature, compliments of our great Creator!! That's exactly what Leigh and I did this past Saturday.  Growing up in the South, as I hiked up the small Korean mountain, I couldn't help but think how skinny would Christians be if we had to hike up mountains to worship? You better believe I'd think twice about indulging on that hashbrown casserole at Cracker Barrel! :)

Leigh getting temple rocks for his mom! :)

So majestic!
Our Fambily :)
Nature's Sanctuary!

Wednesday, February 15

Kathryn Visits Korea

Towards the end of November, my friend Kathryn -who you might remember from my Visit to America  post - expressed some interest in visiting Korea.  I told her to absolutely check into tickets (as you can tell from my blog, I've thoroughly enjoyed my time here) and to keep me posted. She bought her ticket the first weekend in January, declared 2012 her year 'for adventure' and set her countdown to Korea for t-30 days! I couldn't wait to have her here! I felt so special that someone would want to come all the way here to visit, and I knew if she could appreciate her experience in Korea even just 1/20th of the way that I do - it would be a worthwhile trip for her!

During her visit we stayed pretty busy! She nearly mastered chopsticks, indulged in some Korean cuisines (gimbap, cheese dong cass, Korean BBQ, mandoo). She volunteered as my teaching assistant, went shopping in Korean markets, said goodbye to modesty at the Korean Sauna (read about jim-jil bangs here), met a lot of the teachers in Pohang from English speaking countries all over, bounced around Pohang's sights: Bukbu Beach, Jukdo Market, Homigot, and Gyeongju's tourist hot spots: Bulguksa, Anapji, Gyeongju Observation Tower and Seokguram Grotto!
 Here's her visit in review via pictures:
Kat's first night in Korea - mac n cheese with chopsticks!
Kathryn at the "shijang" (traditional market) beside my school
Kathryn Teacher with some of BB English students!
My beautiful boss, Lee Si Rim, invited us to be in her wedding photos!
Gyeongju Observation Tower
Kathryn's Pagoda - Make a Wish!
Well water cheers at Bulguksa Temple in Gyeongju
Anapji pond in Gyeongju
Pohang Ladies at Live Story for Open Mic Night!
The first part of February was spent with a hometown friend in Korea - thanks for visiting Kathryn! The first part of March will be spent with Leigh's family in the Philippines! :) Definitely a great way to end the winter and start the Spring! Very Blessed :)

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